Links 6/8/19

Did the Romans really reach Scotland? BBC

A Former Military Operative Sets Sights on Poachers Der Spiegel

Brutal Truths American Conservative

How Proslavery Was the Constitution? New York Review of Books

Lost in Space

Jeff Bezos interrupted by protester, says space exploration is necessary to ‘save the Earth’ CNBC. What a nutter! How about spending some of those mega billions saving the Earth… instead of on expanding a business centred on unnecessary deliveries via fossil fuel vehicles of imported crap, much (most?) of which no one needs. Lambert included a related Link yesterday, but I couldn’t resist juxtaposing the latest Bezos lunacy against these other space links.

SPACED OUT Nasa to let TOURISTS visit the International Space Station from 2020 – but each trip will cost you £39million The Sun

India to carry out its 1st-ever space war exercise in July Economic Times

Space weather affects your daily life. It’s time to start paying attention. MIT Technology Review

Disruption Starts with Unhappy Customers, Not Technology Harvard Business Review

Waste Watch

Scrap Collector: Mount Everest now ‘world’s highest garbage dump’ Waste Dive

There’s an Ugly Side to the Makeup Aisle, and It’s Killing the Planet Bloomberg

France moves to ban destruction of unsold consumer goods TreeHugger

Health Care

We need worms Aeon (UserFriendly)

The Wonderful World of Free Market Drugs Counterpunch. Dean Baker.

Doctors call on AMA to drop ‘Medicare for All’ fight Chicago Business (UserFriendly)


European retreat: Brexit shows we have learnt nothing from D-Day Independent Patrick Cockburn.

Britain’s Renewal After Trump and Brexit Project Syndicate. Gordon Brown

737 MAX

Boeing delayed fix of defective 737 MAX warning light for three years: U.S. lawmakers Reuters

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Raphael Satter on brilliant spies, terrible spies, and “medium” spies Columbia Journalism Review

FedEx to no longer provide express shipping for Amazon in US FT (UserFriendly)

Class Warfare

Capitalism and its discontents Times Literary Supplement. Joseph Stiglitz.

How the Great Recession Is Still Straining State Finances 10 Years Later The Fiscal Times (furzy)

New Evidence of Age Bias in Hiring, and a Push to Fight It NYT (David L)


A Cross-Atlantic Plan to Break Capital’s Control Jacobin

Elizabeth Warren’s newest climate proposal is based on a WWII global aid package Grist

‘Bravo… Now Do the Iraq War’: After Hyde Reversal, 2020 Candidate Seth Moulton Reminds Biden of Other Position He May Want to Retract Common Dreams

MSNBC Host Clashes With Biden Advisor Symone Sanders on Hyde: Did He ‘Not Understand’ for 40 Years? Mediaite (UserFriendly)

Plan B Morning-After Pill Flying Off Shelves As States Move To Tighten Abortion Laws CBS Philly

Facebook Fracas

Overthrow the Prince of Facebook WSJ. Peggy Noonan. Today’s must-read. When you’ve lost Nooners…(Apologies for the paywall.)

Google’s latest search algorithm change hurts web traffic for Daily Mail and others Fast Company


Google warns of US national security risks from Huawei ban FT

Indonesia vs China in a fish fight at sea Asia Times. Indonesia seizes and impounds illegal fishing boats, then sinks them.

Why China struggles to win friends and make itself heard SCMP


Mere populism? Kejriwal plan to make transport free for Delhi women could actually transform city Scroll

India Readies for Delicate Trade Talks with US, as Shadow of Section 301 Probe Looms The Wire

Turkey gets culled from US defence program in warning sign for India Times of India


What next for Iraqʹs Kurds? Qantara

Trump Transition

While the world watches Donald Trump, it’s missing what’s really going on with US foreign policy Independent. Robert Fisk.

Why Trump now wants talks with Iran Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

Trump announces migration deal with Mexico, averting threatened tariffs WaPo

White House Pushing to Help Prisoners Before Their Release Marshall Project

Trump’s New Travel Restrictions Harm Both US and Cuban People TruthOut


The Truffaut Essays That Clear Up Misguided Notions of Auteurism New Yorker. Perhaps of interest to cinephiles of a certain age (or sensibility).

Obamas Ink Deal With Spotify to Produce, Host Podcasts Hollywood Reporter. Ka-ching! Count me as one person who won’t be tuning in.


Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Ignacio

    From Fisk’s article:

    The New York Times revealed this week, in a story with four reporters’ bylines, that an American-made precision GPS-guided bomb had indeed killed Mubarez’s wife Amina; his four daughters Anisa, aged 14, Safia, 12, Samina, seven and Fahima, five; his three sons Mohammad Wiqad, 10, Mohammad Ilyas, eight and Mohammad Fayaz, four; and four of their teenage cousins.

    Bravo, nice victory of the brave military. When is next?

  2. timbers

    Turkey gets culled from US defence program in warning sign for India Times of India

    I’m confused. Wouldn’t canceling your purchase of the F-35 be a good thing? It doesn’t work and costs too much. Now Turkey can spend far less money on better Russian plans that actually work.

    Hopefully India sees this for the reward it is.

  3. dearieme

    I grew up in Edinburgh, so this ancient monument rested right on my doorstep. But I had little awareness of its presence

    Lordy, I hate this sort of prolier-than-thou posing from the sort of people who write for the Beeb. “Oh look, I’m as ignorant as you are” is condescending tripe.

    1. sd

      Why didn’t you finish the sentence of your quote? It provides the context.
      But I had little awareness of its presence which is mind-boggling when you consider that it was such a remarkable feat of engineering.

      1. dearieme

        Because remarking that it wasn’t remotely a remarkable feat of engineering would have distracted from the point I was making.

    2. Synapsid


      A few days ago you mentioned that holes in your lawn testified to woodpeckers being around. Can you describe the connection? This is new to me and I’m curious.


      1. dearieme

        Woodpeckers here like to peck at the ground. I assume they are taking worms or ants or other creepy-crawlies. If woodpeckers lived solely off trees they wouldn’t make much of a living in Cambridgeshire.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Thanks. I would be interested to hear either way.

              If my guess was wrong, I will accept the embarassment. If my guess was correct, I will offer my reasoning for making the guess I made.

  4. dearieme

    How Proslavery Was the Constitution?

    If, as I suspect, some of the support in the South for American Independence was motivated by alarm at the growth of abolitionist sentiment in Britain, then no wonder the Constitution was a proslavery document.

      1. dearieme

        Thanks. Washington[‘s] … will freed his slaves pending the death of his widow

        Heh, heh; in other words his will didn’t free them at all.

        Franklin? Here perisheth another illusion.

        Maybe Americans should learn to toast the likes of Granville Sharp as the begetters of their independence.

        1. Svante

          Don’t get me wrong, Ben Franklin is fascinating. I simply wouldn’t want to be owned by any of them, risk being mauled by dogs; raped, whipped or just worked to death by their overseers; or hacked to death by pissed-off Seneca or Shawnee? I always loved the admonition that we appreciate, “they were men of their time?” Usually being told this by pontificating little neo-confederates. Moderation?

        2. Big River Bandido

          Washington’s will freed all the slaves Washington himself legally owned. He had no legal power to emancipate those that were part of his wife’s inheritance. According to Henry Wiencek in “An Imperfect God”, there is considerable evidence this caused a major argument between Washington and the rest of his family, especially Martha, hence the strict wording of the will on the emancipation clause.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            That dovetails with the new book, ‘They were HER property.”

            Question- would the NC commentariat reject slaves and become Abolitionists?

            1. Big River Bandido

              I’m not defending the laws of 1799. But they *were* the law of the time.

          2. Harold

            Washington also was extremely frugal (in contrast to Jefferson), because the law said you couldn’t free slaves that had no means of subsistence — preferably a skill or trade — but also I guess, money. Don’t remember the details. Jefferson appears to have freed his children by Sally Hemings.

            1. Yves Smith

              Wikipedia says the freed slaves had the right to live on his estate and be fed for the rest of their lives and the last one died in 1833.

            2. Big River Bandido

              His children by Sally Hemings were just about the only slaves Jefferson ever emancipated, at any time in his life. In contrast to Washington, whose writings and actions belie an increasing moral quandry over slavery and his role in sustaining it, Jefferson’s attitudes toward institution of slavery and toward those who were enslaved gradually hardened throughout his life.

              In addition, the laws of Virginia were repeatedly tightened between ~1750 and ~1820. By the end of that period it was near impossible to legally emancipate a slave in Virginia.

          3. dearieme

            Washington’s will freed all the slaves Washington himself legally owned.

            Nope; he simply instructed that they be freed after his widow had died, which isn’t the same thing at all.

            1. Big River Bandido

              All of the slaves Washington himself “owned” were freed. If you have a point to all this, it’s not very clear.

      2. Cal2

        Svante, sorry to burst your outrage bubble, but it wasn’t just the United States;

        94% of African Slaves went to South America and the Caribbean.

        The Jesuit Church, you know, the people that run the Vatican, that educated Jerry Brown the ex and Gavin Newsom, the current governor of California, the friends and logical leaders and spokesblabs for African Americans, was the largest owner of slaves in the world.

        1. Chef

          I see nothing in the latter link to indicate the Jesuits were the largest owners of slaves in the world.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I’ve been eating them for six or seven weeks now.
      Haven’t got sick once.
      Probably keep us both alive.

      Here’s the Jefferson Airplane version with proper credit to the late, great Paul Kantner who co-wrote the song with Crosby and Stills. Kantner expanded on the central idea of the song–

      We are leaving. You don’t need us.

      –in “Blows Against the Empire,” a science fiction concept album about leaving the planet entirely. This beautiful song, “Have You Seen the Stars Tonite?,” by Kantner is about the journey and includes the lines:

      Do you know
      We could go?
      We are free
      Any place you can think of
      We could be

      There are interesting comparisons and contrasts to be made between this common 60s counterculture theme of leaving The Man’s world for the mountains or a sailboat or another planet with The (Current) Man’s interest in heading to Mars or the moon.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Brutal Truths”

    Brutalism is by its very nature an architectural style that is designed by the elites, for a nice profit, to be imposed on those who have little say in the matter of living there. And yet these same elites would never live in such places but decry those that do who rebel at its anti-humanistic message by acts of vandalism and graffiti. The article mentioned Oscar Niemeyer’s vision of Brasilia as a striking achievement. Yeah, real striking that. I heard decades ago that anybody that could would fly to Rio de Janeiro on the weekends for fun as Brasilia is so drab because of its style. Some more on this place-

    1. dearieme

      Talking of the elites in an undifferentiated style isn’t much cop. Which elites were guilty of brutalism? Those members of the architectural elite who were imbued by Stalinist sentiments – which WKPD prefers to euphemise as ‘utopian socialist ideology’ and ‘socially progressive’. The main customers seem to have been arms of government, and – oh dear – universities.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Not just them. Tom Wolfe in his book “From Bauhaus to Our House” showed how corporate leaders and wealthy people were cowed by these architects so that they became subservient to them. The same sort who would spend their wealth on skyscrapers for major cities would let these architects make all the major decisions for them. Unbelievable.

        1. jsn

          That’s like blaming abstract expressionists for the CIA because the CIA funded them.

          Wolfe tells great fables, but that one was NeoLib misdirection: modern building systems were all industrializing to maximize profit by the elimination of labor costs and had been since the turn of that century. Deification of “Modernist Masters” by Bernay’s propaganda served the corporate purpose of de-skilling, de-paying and then eliminating labor wherever possible. Brutalism is just one manifestation of the soullessness of industrialized building: this soullessness is what everyone hates. Beautifully hand made modern things are as well loved as their venerable progenitors.

          Architect’s egos no doubt got the better of them as they were all too eager to assume they had bent the modern world to their vision rather than admit their visions succeeded because of the nascent NeoLiberal shaft for which they were the cultural fig leaf.

          1. jsn

            America’s privatized planners in particular were delighted to pick up Le Corbusier’s vision from “Ville Radieuse“, the idea behind Brasilia, because it dovetailed perfectly with privatized industrial policies as practiced by the big manufacturing concerns of the time: automobile manufacturing, the oil industry, residential construction, etc.

            This moment of visionary Capitalism has transformed what I can’t bring myself to call “urbanism” in the US into the dystopian hellscape of social isolation and smooth tracks for machines requiring increasing amounts of our time and money to get us to where we can support them, those machines and the oil companies that depend on them, from where we live. The only winners are the owners of the industries who’s central planners set this up. There is no clearer example of how “economic efficiency” maximizes waste to turn externalities into profit, isolating us and stealing our time to maintain cash flows.

            Le Corbusier didn’t invent the profitability of selling the populous on uniform, standardized industrialized goods, services and environments or market the ecological disaster of privatized internal combustion transportation, but he did make himself a global celebrity by playing to the vanity of the avaricious captains of industry behind these technologies and processes. Wolfe’s sympathy for these rapacious “victims” warms my heart.

            Completely amoral in his egotism, however, Le Corbusier followed this “opportunity space” wherever it led, briefly to the Soviet Union where it was publicly planned, then to various Fascist states. Interestingly, however, it was the aesthetic turn of mature Fascist European states that drove him into the wilderness during the war years. Heinrich Tessenow provided Der Furher with an aesthetic vision of totalitarianism that Albert Speer seconded based on “conservative” arguments not too distant from those in The American Conservative article.

            Aesthetics has been a stalking horse for many an evil intent. Beware the look of things, look at the material relations that bring them into being. This is where real power resides. The vanity of architects is too easy to manipulate and has a long pedigree as a fig leaf for power: it is only the powerful that build on a large enough scale to value the input of architects and the architectural product is only as good as the combined intentions of both client and architects, both dependent on larger structures of power and material relations.

          2. Svante

            Precisely: Cor-Ten made Falling Water possible, coated rebar in concrete too. Last time back home, my old neighborhood looked like half the new buildings landed & all of Carnegie, Scaife, Mellon, Thaw, Schenley & Westinghouse’s legacy had sprouted from the Appalachian boulders & shale. Mass produced fixtures, prefab whenever possible. Kinda look like prisons for Tolkien’s trolls?

            1. polecat

              How’s about a Gargoyle Revival ! .. What do you say ??

              We just need the kinds of architecture that will except such worthies .. something on a more human scale., instead of what amounts to faceless monoliths whirling around Jupiter !

    2. a different chris

      Yes the more homogeneous you can make the world the better for the globe-trotting elites.* So maybe Brutalism itself has been put aside, but only for more sophisticated techniques.

      *And no I’m not going to differentiate. How different is a world-trotting “public leader” like Macron from, say Bill Gates? Not much I claim. He just has to expense and of course I’m sure he has “a guy” for that…

    3. John

      A friend said that if you wanted to see modernist architecture in extreme decay, Brasilia was the place to go. All those simple lines and surfaces look great when new and in architectural sales models, but they do not age gracefully.

      1. Cal2

        They got rid of the ancient sink in the bathroom at Napoleon House… :-(

        “Washington slept here” would have possibly translated to “Napoleon was to wash here”

      1. dearieme

        Each to his own. I have a kinsman who owns a flat in the Barbican. If he leaves it to me I’ll sell it.

        1. Yves Smith

          Our Richard Smith lived in the Barbican and I stay with him and his wife Morag for 12 days when I was a volcano refugee in 2010.

          The unit was extremely well designed. Even with 3 of us in an 800 square foot apt, it didn’t feel crowded. It had windows on both ends and a very nice duck pond.

          However the complex did feel cold once you got outside the lovely gardens and the walks from the street and to the subway were long. I had the impression the wind in the winter there could be nasty because unlike the rest of the city, you didn’t have closely spaced buildings as windbreaks and you might even get wind tunnels.

    4. mpalomar

      Brasilia early on looked like a cow pasture where UFOs had touched down. No doubt weekend escapes to Rio were understandable in the early stages of construction.

      The critic and curmudgeon Robert Hughes who never much cared for modernism is quoted in the wiki link as noting that,

      Nothing dates faster than people’s fantasies about the future

      . I’m not sure this is correct but mega narratives whether settled upon architectural theory or elsewhere usually fail their intended purpose.

      One could alter Hughes to,

      Nothing dates faster than people’s fantasies about the past

      , considering the telling Washington DC retro fantasy of Roman and Greek temples.

      It’s hard to argue with the criticism of these mega building projects, they usually fail abysmally and the test of any construction is its livability and human scale.

      Oscar Niemeyer, Corbusier, Pei, Gerry and others were really more sculptors than architects. If you haven’t seen That Man From Rio, a silly romp with Jean Paul Belmondo and Francoise Dorleac, Catherine Deneuve’s sister, it has some fantastic scenes of Belmondo running through a partially built Brasilia.

  6. Krystyn Walentka

    Re: We need worms Aeon

    Bravo all around. I loved this part because it is so true across all areas of unhealthcare:

    Modern medicine asks what and how: what conditions do you have, and how do we treat them? But we should be asking why – this is the first critical step toward prevention. If we don’t know why something happens, we can’t hope to stop it. We might or might not be able to pull drowning people out of the river, but we really should ask how these people got in the river in the first place.

    I spoke to my psychiatrist about my fibromyalgia flare (what) two days ago and she suggested I take Cymbalta (how) which increases serotonin and norepinephrine between the synapses. I told her if I need more serotonin and norepinephrine why (!) wasn’t I making enough, and maybe we should focus on that. She looked confused so I schooled her on the metabolic pathways that create these neurotransmitters. (I am sure I have n issue making BH4, for those who are interested, and the air pollution in the summer destroys what little I make.)

    Asking why? has saved me money and becoming dependent on medications. And cymbalta is the worst.

    1. a different chris

      That was a great article, and I compliment you for taking an active role in your “therapy”. I confess I think that 80% of “psychiatric” problems are better solved with a psychologist, and the rest – like yours – have a lot to do with diet/sunlight/air and the rest of the modern worlds ills. Lucky for most of us that the advantages – so far -have outweighed the disadvantages.

      Anyway, I love the real “medical” mindset of these people:

      >The question is, why did it take 60 years to become popular, despite more than 10,000 Americans dying each year from a disease that could have been prevented?

      Duh. Because it’s really, really, REALLY hard to tell people to eat poop? :) I mean that’s usually an insult! You better be dead nuts positive it will work or forever you will be the “doctor that told me to eat sh*t” with appropriate eye-rolling.

      1. cuibono

        80% of psychiatric problems should stay far away from this profession altogether IMO.
        Read We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy–And the World’s Getting Worse

        1. Krystyn Walentka

          Thank you for that book suggestion.

          Some excerpts from the book here.

          We’ve had a hundred years of analysis, and people are getting more and more sensitive, and the world is getting worse and worse. Maybe it’s time to look at that. We still locate the psyche inside the skin. You go inside to locate the psyche, you examine your feelings and your dreams, they belong to you. Or it’s interrrelations, interpsyche, between your psyche and mine. That’s been extended a little bit into family systems and office groups — but the psyche, the soul, is still only within and between people. We’re working on our relationships constantly, and our feelings and reflections, but look what’s left out of that. . . .

          What’s left out is a deteriorating world.

          So why hasn’t therapy noticed that? Because psychotherapy is only working on that “inside” soul. By removing the soul from the world and not recognizing that the soul is also in the world, psychotherapy can’t do its job anymore. The buildings are sick, the institutions are sick, the banking system’s sick, the schools, the streets — the sickness is out there. . . .

        2. Eudora Welty

          Published in 1992!!!!!!! I read it back then. 1992 feels like the good old days.

      2. Carey

        A good diet and hard exercise- very hard, if necessary; and it sometimes is- are way more effective that psych meds, in my experience. No more pills for me, thanks,
        or talk ‘therapy’ at $120/hour…

        A decent book for those of us plagued with “meaning” questions:

        Maisel: Van Gogh Blues

        1. polecat

          Get back to the Garden .. it does wonders for the body & soul. One can get down and get funky with all that biota .. can ya dig it ?? I’ll bet James would !

          “GET UPA-GET ON OUT .. !
          “GET UPA-GET ON OUT .. !


      1. Krystyn Walentka

        Ha, yes, it is a lot of my focus and there is a lot of great research around it and neurological disorders. It is important but it is complicated. Different immune signals can lower or raise NO and therefore ONOO as well. So you really have to know what you are doing. NOS2 needs riboflavin and Arganise needs maganese. Deplete either and this will change oxidative stress balance in the body. One creating more superoxides and the other making more hydrogen peroxide. Health is a balance of both of these free radicals.

        Mood Disorders, CFS/ME and Fibro are disorders of oxidative stress IMHO. I see my mania/OCD/Fibro being too much O2- and my depression as too much H2O2.

  7. Jeff

    Re : SPACED OUT Nasa to let TOURISTS visit the International Space Station from 2020 – but each trip will cost you £39million.
    As the article says, “Transport will be provided by both Boeing and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, who are currently developing capsules that can carry humans to the ISS.” For the moment, Nasa has no transport capabilities. It lost them with the end of the Space shuttle, used Russian Soyuz rockets since, but the deal between Russia and Nasa is now end of life. Paying megabucks for a spaceflight is one thing, paying megabucks on untested equipment is still another. I’ll happily give my seat to Elon Musk.

    1. bob

      Space X has never flown with anything alive. Their ‘falcon heavy’ launch missed the window they were shooting for and sent the car into deep space. That’s a big deal.

    2. BobW

      IIRC, commercial boosters were heavily dependent on Russian rocket engines. I don’t know if that’s still true. So what might Russia do if they get peeved enough about sanctions?

      1. bob


        They are ‘recovered’ russian engines. Someone found a few hundred sitting around in Ukraine after the USSR breakup. Orbital (part of ULA) made their entire operation around them. There are only a fixed number of them with no plans to make more.

        1. bob

          Wow, they keep bouncing around a lot inside the Defense contractor space-

          “On April 29, 2014, Orbital Sciences announced that it would merge with Alliant Techsystems to create a new company called Orbital ATK, Inc.[4] The merger was completed on February 9, 2015 and Orbital Sciences ceased to exist as an independent entity.[5] On September 18, 2017, Northrop Grumman announced plans to purchase Orbital ATK for $7.8 billion in cash plus assumption of $1.4 billion in debt”

          Orbital’s entire operation was those ‘recovered’ engines. They had nothing else.

  8. Pat

    Every time I hear of the Obama’s podcast deal I find myself imagining Hillary and Chelsea going off on why not THEM?!?! I expect them to be offering to host a podcast in 10…9…8…

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      ” And now . . . welcome to Sheroes of Persistence, with your hosts Hil and Chel.”

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Turkey gets culled from US defence program ..”

    Oh, no. This is terrible! The Turkish Air Force was planning to acquire up to 120 of these aircraft for tens of billions of dollars. How are they going to get by without aircraft that have three-quarters of their numbers sitting on the deck because of lack of spare parts? Being unable to identify all those cracks that will have them trashed by as early as 2026 instead of decades later? Depending on a network based in the US to even get off the ground and be used? The Turks make nearly a thousand parts for the F-35 and were supposed to service the UK’s F-35s so that is out too. They’ve really done it to themselves this time. Oh well, maybe they can get a package deal on some Russian Sukhoi Su-35 Flankers instead.

    1. Chris Smith

      Turkey says “Please don’t throw me in that briar patch, Mr. Trump.” Perhaps the US Air Force should consider buying Russian equipment as their stuff seems to actually work.

        1. jsn

          TRK, I can’t speak to the veracity of this, but it does present an interesting thesis. This is that it wasn’t the arms race that killed the Soviet Union, but that a decade earlier the USSR’s MIC had essentially cemented it’s prestige to the point that the apparatchiks began to give it everything it wanted. With an open checkbook, all reality fled the MIC’s perception and it incrementally either took over or drained funds from every other sector of the economy. Ultimately this led to Kursk level incompetence in the Navy, an army that was only a shell, having not paid the actual soldiers in years and and air force as inspiring in that day as the F-35 is now.

          Turns out the commies were precocious and it’s taken capitalism another half century to arrive at the same profound incompetence in an MIC that MMT, as happened with the Soviets before, has completely protected from any real world negative effects: the money is always there to pay for failure, so success is just a luck accident where it happens and the propaganda machine churns night and day to explain why disaster is success…

          “Markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent” and States can stay insane so long as everyone in the irrational market believes the full coercive power of the state will be deployed to enforce debt obligations on the behalf of creditors. But at some point the fictive absurdity has to become so obvious as to provoke some reaction. Collapse of some sort seems most likely and I think, what with Case Deaton, the hollowing out of research budgets, the abandonment of infrastructure and the bipartisan commitment to maintaining a deliberately deadly Medical Industrial Complex, we’re half a decade into it already.

  10. Carolinian

    Re auteur–Pauline Kael, who once held the film critic’s chair at the New Yorker, didn’t think much of the auteur theory and always championed writers and their neglected contribution (famously, and controversially, in her book about Citizen Kane). While she did like Renoir and knew him personally she pooh poohed Truffaut’s obsession with Hitchcock.

    Critical fashion has revived the dubious theory but some of us tend to think that Brody’s far more famous and influential predecessor got it right. Perhaps a film director is less like an artist painting a canvas or the author of a book and more like the conductor of an orchestra. He/she is in charge, but the musicians do the playing. To be sure this downplays the role of “ideas” or “vision”–so popular among film professors–but arguably the medium is less about ideas and more like music in its appeal to pure emotion.

    1. ewmayer

      “Perhaps a film director is less like an artist painting a canvas or the author of a book and more like the conductor of an orchestra.” — While that is undoubtedly true of some directors, the analogy fails woth regard to most of the really notable directors. An orchestra plays a piece written by some composer, typically without altering said composer’s original score. The orchestra plays said notes with tempo and emphasis set by the conductor.

      With a film, even one based on a notable work of literature, the screenplay – and there are often several such – often ends up looking radically different from the literary source, as the screenwriters and director take the germ of the literary idea and fit it into their artistic vision for the film. For example, take Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker.

      1. Carolinian

        Oh undoubtedly there are “auteurs” including Truffaut himself. I’m arguing that trying to extend this concept to commercial directors like Howard Hawks is a conceit. And the reality is that almost all movies have some commercial considerations because they are very expensive to make. It is a collaborative art and in your analogy the screenwriter would be the “composer,” the actors and technicians the orchestra.

        I’m also arguing that the notion that auteurism is the highest form of cinema is mistaken. Some of us groan when Woody Allen is about to crank out yet another version of his personal “vision” (he very appropriately calls them “his little trifles”) and Truffaut had his share of clunkers. That collaborative aspect is one of the strengths of the medium, not a failing. Exploring Ingmar Bergman’s psyche really isn’t very interesting even while his skill as a director and great cinematographers and actors make those movies good. It’s a visceral medium, not intellectual.

    2. Big River Bandido

      As a conductor myself, I am sometimes envious of the amount of control a film director enjoys over the vision of the work. The film director has a more concrete impact on the way the author’s (composer’s) story is told; with the conductor the impact is more subtle, if just as powerful.

  11. dcblogger

    These videos of Walmart workers from Bernie Sanders are wonderful

    First, these videos put pressure on Walmart and all low wage employers to give their workers a raise. But they also tell Walmart workers that Bernie really thinks that they are important, they are GOTV videos. I have no way to know how many Walmart workers voted in the primaries of 2016, but I would guestimate less than 1%. If just 10% of Walmart workers vote for Bernie in the primaries of 2020, that is enough to transform the election. In the future every Democratic candidate, running at any level, is going to have to make similar videos. Of course nothing stops the Green Party from doing this.

    1. Carey

      More importantly in my opinion, after the nomination is stolen from Sanders next year, the many will be both energized and at least somewhat organized.

      duty now for the future (not sarc)

      1. lordkoos

        If that should happen twice they could also very well be demoralized rather than energized. The last time Bernie got screwed, I bet a lot of young people took away the realization that their vote doesn’t matter.

        1. Carey

          WRT your last sentence: their mcVote *doesn’t* matter.
          What comes after, does.

          One opinion.

      2. Lepton1

        If he fails to win enough delegates will you consider the nomination stolen? If so, what is the point of holding primaries?

    2. Oregoncharles

      Thanks for the idea. How much do you suppose they cost to make? Bernie at this point has plenty.

  12. Pelham

    Re the Hyde Amendment, a Politico poll three years ago found 58% of the public supports it. But maybe we’ve all “evolved” like Biden since then.

    (Good line about Biden: He’s evolved so quickly on so many subjects he should be in the next X-Men movie.)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Leadership can push an issue, and we have very little leadership on abortion except a vague claim Democrats are occasionally prochoice. Of that 58% most are Republicans anyway who aren’t going to vote Democratic, and the truth is the others likely don’t care enough to change their vote on Hyde. Any vaguely progressive issue with 40% support should be part and parcel of the nominal left’s platform. I remember when only Vermont had civil unions. In light of the recent GOP attacks on choice, any candidate for Team Blue needs to be prepared to lead before they step out. Even if Biden wasn’t a disaster, this should be disqualifying for any office except maybe an extreme red state where it might shift control of the chamber.

      Hyde was so popular the Clinton campaign didn’t push Timmy Kaine’s support of it at all.

      1. Pat

        Wellllll, it wasn’t as if Hillary “I believe in abstinence” Clinton hadn’t been endorsed by Planned Parenthood at the beginning of the primary. I’m presuming they thought picking Kaine was embarrassing enough for Cecile Richards and PP. (And his record on reproductive Rights was deeply embarrassing beyond his stance on the Hyde Amendment.)

        Frankly with few exceptions, most of the positions of the Dems elite are PR with power and good wealthy donor relations being their ownly real deeply held stance.

  13. Robert Valiant

    Re: Trump and Mexico Tariffs —

    This all seems rather engineered to me, as though the “deal” was made well ahead of Trump’s threat. It made Trump’s bully tactics look effective, and created another relief ratchet for the stock market.

        1. Robert Valiant

          Go figure. My intuition is almost always wrong, especially when I feel like making it known.

          Is anything real anymore?

          1. richard

            That is called “the cotto effect”. named after former mariner outfielder henry cotto, who wasn’t very good and was overrated by the mariner establishment and broadcasters. every time I would make known his shortcomings as a player, every single time, as long as it came from a sincere place in my heart of hating henry cotto, every single time he would get a hit. I know the “sincere place in my heart” bit sounds like no true scotsman, but it’s not, trust me. The caveat was just in place because we realized the effect could never be used cynically in an attempt to help the m’s win. It just wouldn’t work that way. But there is a “reverse cotto effect” where an ill timed praise of a player leads to competitive failure.
            anyway, it’s swirling above our heads right now: the cotto effect!

    1. marym

      There are probably Trumpworld insiders and observers who are pretty good at playing the market response to Trump initiatives, with or without a pre-arranged outcome. I don’t have a particular opinion on what’s happened in this case.

      As far as the deal itself, it’s not much of a deal.

      According to the document on display yesterday, the US will expand a process to send asylum seekers back into Mexico to wait while their cases are adjudicated. This process is already in litigation and possibly unconstitutional, according to WaPo; and not the “safe third country” agreement (requiring migrants to apply for asylum in Mexico) which Trump supposedly wanted.

      Also lots of boilerplate about Mexico cracking down on trafficking, their own southern border, etc. all to be reviewed in 90 days.

      Random twitter commentary supposes the seasonal summer decrease in border crossings will be touted as a measure of success, with a new tweet-crisis likely if numbers rise again in the fall. Probably the other items can also be statistically maneuvered as needed.

      Trump also tweeted today that “Mexico” has “agreed” to buy more US agricultural products. That’s not in the declaration. Mexico is already the 2nd largest US market, anyway, but what control would the Mexican government have over how much “Mexico” buys from the US?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Looks like the whole thing was just another shake-down of a country by Trump. Blow up a deal by using the ‘national security’ card as an excuse, wait for the other country to offer you goodies that will by coincidence help your re-election chances, then shamelessly incorporate that into the deal. Loved his tweet-

        Donald J. Trump



        1. marym

          This is sourced to 3 unnamed “Mexican officials” but fwiw:

          Mexico Never Agreed to Farm Deal With U.S., Contradicting Trump

          [Mexico] had given no indication of attempting to find alternative suppliers during the one-week standoff over Trump’s proposed steep tariffs on Mexican goods.

          Mexico has no state-owned agricultural conglomerate to buy food products or handle distribution, or a government program that could buy farm equipment for delivery to producers.

        2. Procopius

          I saw this suggestion made soon after the “tariffs” were announced, i.e. that they would announce a great victory and drop the tax. So it turns out the “great victory” was already consummated, but never announced so Trump could pretend it was a new thing. I’m pretty sure his base isn’t going to believe that story.

    1. crittermom

      Good article.

      I’d wanted to read it but hadn’t yet had time to search for it not paywalled.
      Much appreciated.

    2. JCC

      Thanks for the “shareToken” url, flora.

      Peggy Noonan’s “Imperious Twerp” description of Zuckerberg as well as their “greasy greaseball language” is about as close to perfect as any I’ve read.

    1. freedomny

      I really like Sema! I’m hoping that she has a successful campaign – she is one of the few I would donate to.

  14. shinola

    Re. “The wonderful world of free market drugs” (Counterpunch/Dean Baker)

    I always wonder why an article about the high cost of prescription drugs in the US fails to mention Jonas Salk & the polio vaccine. Although there is some question as to whether the vaccine was patentable, there was never even an attempt to do so.

    But then that was before the “Greed is good” era we now live in & gaming the patent system is SOP.

    1. a different chris

      It was great of Salk, but he also lived in a different time. Back then you had a job, it didn’t even have to be anything near a university professorship, and you without question would be fed and housed for the rest of your life.

      Now everything is precarious, even at the upper levels if you don’t have “family money”, so when a handle appears you gotta grab onto it and try to land a big enough chunk so you and your kids can be OK.

      Everybody’s got the professional (american) football player mentality, now.

  15. tegnost

    Wll, Stiglitz…What is there to say. I can only assume that when he blames most everything on “the right” he must be including all the right wing dems along with them because he describes them exactly. When stiglitz had the famous meet up with krugman and obama, he should have pounded the table and repeated this passage until the other two listened. Instead we got made men, protected by the centrist incrementalists…oops I meant the right wing duopoly. I do like stiglitz, and it was a good article, but geez… And now the passage…re the invisible hand…
    In short, this research showed that markets were not in general efficient whenever information was imperfect and markets incomplete – which is always. If one needed empirical evidence that unbridled greed was bad for the economy, one only had to look at the actions of the bankers in the run-up to the 2008 recession: their voraciousness brought the global economy to the brink of ruin. Again, policymakers, lawmakers and pro-business politicians on the right paid no attention: their economic arguments were simply a façade, a means to a less regulated market that would give them more opportunities for profits, more chances to exploit and take advantage of others.”

  16. Wukchumni

    Did the Romans really reach Scotland? BBC

    The people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and all else, now meddles no more and longs eagerly for just two things — shortbread and haggis!

  17. Cat Burglar

    The Mount Everest trash collection was not the first — there was an Everest cleanup expedition in the early 90s organized by Scott Fischer (who died there in the great 1996 debacle). Much of that garbage came from non-commercial expeditions, as guided ascents were not a regular event before the 1990s.

    Where mountaineering has become a form of mass tourism — whether it is guided or independent — you see the same problems. Food wrappers everywhere. Piles of poop, unburied, near camps, huts, in cracks behind ledges. Torn and broken climbing gear lying around. I remember a remote hut high on Mont Blanc that had a huge pile of trash and poop in front of it, back in the late 80s. It was eventually hauled out by helicopter, but I wonder if it did not just start piling up again.

    In Yosemite, El Capitan had poop all over the climbing routes until it was agreed everybody needed to take a plastic pipe “poop tube” along. Things changed because there was a fairly strong low-impact ethos among climbers, and because nobody wants to spend the night on a stinking ledge.

    In a high mountain environment, where your food, clothing, and shelter have to be carried up and down in sometimes difficult conditions, people just use that as an excuse to leave stuff behind, even their humanity. Think of how many people were in that line to the summit of Everest, and how many died that day — was there really so little labor power on hand to try to save the dying? If the value of climbing a mountain lies in the intimate and transformative encounter with the natural world, this voyage of self discovery has revealed that where there is trash and poop and dead people outside, there is just as much inside.

    1. Wukchumni

      Backpacking in the High Sierra for around 35 years, i’ve taken out enough trash to fill maybe one backpack in total, as the bring it in-take it out ethos is strong, and here on the west side in the National Park, essentially no mule packing aside from NPS stock resupplying trail crews & backcountry ranger stations. so the onus is on you, or more specifically, your back.

      More heavily used areas are feeling impact, we were at Crabtree Meadow a few years back, sharing camping space among what I reckoned to be close to 200 people on the fringes of the expansive meadow. I’ve never seen that many people camped overnight in the back of beyond.

      Usually with a little searching around a bit off-trail, we can have our own little ‘time-share’ to ourselves, as you don’t need a flat spot for a hammock-just a couple trees 10-15 feet apart, but that wasn’t in the cards @ Crabtree. I noticed more trash strewn there than i’ve ever seen before in the Sierra.

      1. a different chris

        I think we are dealing with two widely different mentalities here. People who climb Serious mountains are excessively egotistical, and aren’t going to think twice about discarding things that get between them and their self-gratification.

        We who hike the famous trails have
        1) quite a bit more respect for Nature, small as well as big
        2) aren’t going to win any prizes/get any acclaim so might as well put in the extra effort to pack it out – in fact if we leave a mess that’s *all* that would make us well-known…

        It’s like the difference between NASCAR and Uber. Both involve cars, both involve driving, but that’s the only link.

        I’ll never even finish the App Trail, let alone thru-hike it, so at least I can leave it as clean as when I got there.

        1. Wukchumni

          Yes, wildly different agendas. The idea of struggling for every breath you take near the death zone is quaint, and somebody else’s idea of fun.

          I’d rather go skinny dipping, lake bagging.

    2. Carolinian

      If the value of climbing a mountain lies in the intimate and transformative encounter with the natural world

      But if the subject is Everest climbing then that’s a big if. It could be more about well to do people and their vanity since nobody goes up for free although, hey, it’s cheaper than a trip to the Space Station.

      1. newcatty

        I will have my “intimate and transformative encounters with the natural world” with bagging slow walks around a creek or a lake. Sometimes having a , yes, old school picnic. I look out my window at the beautiful blue sky and lush greenery of the trees across the street. I am fortunate enough to have a home with a deck that oversees green meadow like back yards and with a view of a sacred mountain peak and range. The emphasis on either the vain or special experience of able bodied and, often, young people in their outdoor adventures and experience is interesting. The trashing of Everest as inevitable. Egos will desire to have one more notch on their guitars. We used to camp when much younger. I get that it is wonderful experience. As the population is aging, it is nice to appreciate the many subtle and more gentle experience of enjoying and being in a oneness with nature that most anyone can access.

  18. Wukchumni

    Celebrating my mom’s 94th and she’s getting over a sore throat & cough, so I went and got her a bottle of Robitussin @ Target, and got carded by the cashier.

    …how has it come to this?

    1. notabanktoadie

      …how has it come to this?

      The Tar Baby comes to mind with one non-principled pragmatic “fix” requiring another till the present mess.

    2. Ancient1

      I am 82 and get carded at Kroger for a six pack. Don’t recognize this country anymore.

    3. polecat

      Blame the progenitors of the War on Drugs and their hand-maidens, the Corporate Lawyers, and a supine public for outlawing common sense !

  19. Wukchumni

    Lost in Space
    I was too young to appreciate Star Trek in it’s original run, but Gilligan’s Island in Space was a perfect fit for a six year old. I was allowed to stay up until 9 pm once a week, well past the 8 pm lights out curfew, where if the closet in my bedroom was left open, sometimes hung up shirts turned into scary monsters in the scant available light of the dark from my vantage point on pillow.

  20. Cal2

    Re the AMA fighting Medicare, and decades later, Medicare For All.

    Some other organizations and their mission statements:

    “The Coalition for America’s Healthcare Lucre”

    and that old standby,

    The American Cancer Society, whose motto is
    “Early detection is the best cure.”

    So why isn’t it “Preventing cancer is the best policy?”
    “What you can do to avoid pesticides, GMOs, toxic chemicals and eat a healthy diet,” things like that?”

    Could it be because the American Cancer Society is funded by the Chemotherapy, x-ray machine, pharma, health insurance, junk food industries that cause and profit from cancer?
    And, they actually get people to volunteer and donate money on top of that?
    Interesting take on how the roll of government has been taken over by non-profits that sometimes control legislation for their benefactor’s interests.

    “Chapter 2, for example, shows how the “Big Three” health charities–the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, and American Heart Association–attracted to the financial benefits of this new political atmosphere, have evolved more and more into political organizations. Skirting, if not crossing, traditional legal boundaries, the charities have been increasing their political advocacy and appealing to the mindset driving federal health spending…”

    1. newcatty

      Cal2, excellent points. But, your question, of why isn’t it “preventing cancer is the best policy” is framed, perhaps not with intent, on how individuals can prevent cancer, or other of the Big Three” illness by, I am guessing, by eating organic foods. Being wise in not living in polluted cities or by toxic refineries, etc. Drinking filtered water. These are, indeed options, for many of us. But, it’s not the answer to the roots of the problems. The whole, systemic, ruined food, and pollution sources in this country re needed to be remedied. Just read that all people in this country have micro plastics in our bodies, glysophate found in even some organic fruits and vegetables and grains. Almost all potable water in the country has some toxic chemicals. Maybe, we can just hope Bernie can be our next president or?

    1. Carolinian

      Didn’t work for me. You can google up or rather duck duck go up an embedded version by searching the headline. Think the link I found probably leaves off the last sentence.

      She basically says that Zuck first tried to manipulate her and then to schmooze with her and that he’s a menace. Who can disagree?

      1. flora

        Yep. She also points out the internet is almost half a century old now; it’s time to stop treating it like some new new enjoyable option and start treating it like a utility, which it is.

        1. Craig H.

          The Feds have the power to do so but Mark the Short has lobbyists.

          The best anti Zuckerberg (and Musk and Bezos and Brin et al) counter might be Steve Outtrim’s Shadow History of Burning Man. These people worship Satan. The entire video / powerpoint presentation runs to over 20 hours but there is a one hour twelve minute condensed version. I downloaded his slide packs and checked approximately thirty of of his citations and every single one that I could check was solid. Some of his opinions are pretty whack but we all have a right to our opinions! (We do not have a right to our own facts and there is such a thing as objective reality. No neo_post_modern_ism_ology for me.)

          The one hour summary version:

          CryptoBeast #10 Burning Man, Acid Tests 2.0 and the Technocracy

          1. Conrad

            I try not to indulge my conspiracist side too much but you have to admit these some deeply weird stuff going on in popular culture. The vigilant citizens may have a point about all the esoteric iconography popping up in music videos.

            My favourite example is John Michael Greer’s recounting of how a bunch of 4 channer edgelords contributed to Trump’s victory by invoking an Egyptian frog god.

            1. Craig H.

              I have not read what JMG wrote about Pepe. The best source on Pepe I have seen:

              The truth about Pepe the Frog and the Cult of Kek

              Nobody has demonstrated to my knowledge that one single vote was cast in the process of this foofaraw; it is of the type as the supposed Russian tampering, purported Cambridge Analytica gaming, mythological voters-who-swung-from-Bernie-to-The-Donald, and all the other ilk of Monday Morning Quarterback yabber.

          2. Wellstone's Ghost

            Thanks for the link Craig. Positively fascinating and remarkably plausible. I know many “burners” who go every year. They are mostly artists who like to party. I’ll be curious to hear their reactions when I share this link with them.

            1. Wukchumni

              All of my burner friends are pretty normal as out there gets, some start working on the next year’s art project a few days after getting back from the playa, others hardly do any prep until a week before the really big show (…apologies to Ed) and it all works, creativity overload. Nothing even remotely close to supposed goings on @ Burning Man in the video.

              When I used to go our camp dispensed snow cones in the heat of the day, and turned into a bar @ night, lit up in blacklight. Everybody of the 20 or so pitched in around $50 for booze and $20 for snow cone fixins. Our art car was the Dub Rocket, which only played reggae music as luck would have it, formerly a 1990 Chrysler minivan.


        2. flora

          A quote from Noonan’s article. (when you’ve lost Noonan…)

          “Here’s what [Washington politicians] should be thinking: Break them up. Break them in two, in three; regulate them. Declare them to be what they’ve so successfully become: once a pleasure, now a utility.

          “It all depends on Congress, which has been too stupid to move in the past and is too stupid to move competently now. That’s what’s slowed those of us who want reform, knowing how badly they’d do it.

          “Yet now I find myself thinking: I don’t care. Do it incompetently, but do something.”

          1. John k

            But as noon an well knows, money talks, pols listen.
            Reform is most likely when there are oligarchs on both sides, as there was with net neutrality… and even here, and with the public voting neutrality, the public and neutrality lost.
            Need a progressive pres. Badly.

  21. Brindle


    Biden’s marijuana policy is stuck in the 80’s. Actually, his website does not have a Pot section. I wonder how long the MSM can prop up Biden—getting the sense of a slow (but speeding up) drip of losing support.

    —“Biden, who does not have a cannabis policy listed on his website, has opposed legalization in the past, called marijuana a “gateway drug” and helped shepherd the strict 1994 crime bill, now controversial among the Democratic grassroots.”—

    1. John k

      Biden dropped a lot in latest poll, now just 12 points ahead of sanders, hopefully on his way to down and out. Warren rising some, but can’t see her taking on trump.

    2. polecat

      I’m confused … isn’t grift, and by extension cronyism .. a BIGGER gateway drug … because if that’s the case, Unka Joe’s been using .. in spades !!

      As an aside : WWH = What Would $Hunter$ Do ?? And How Much ?

      Biden should spare everyone his flippant condescension.

      1. Procopius

        100% of heroin addicts have drunk water. Obviously, water is a gateway drug and must be banned. Anyone caught drinking water must be imprisoned as a deterrent to those who have not yet drunk water. /s

  22. kareninca

    Fecal transplants have helped us to control our dog’s IBD. It would be easier (and a lot cheaper) if we could just feed her the poop, but she also has food allergies that are set off by that (leading to blood in vomit). So it has to be injected by enema while she’s sedated. It has gotten us out of some bad flares. It really matters what other dog’s poop you have used; not all poop is the same.

    1. skippy

      In 2011, Sydney band Boy & Bear were living the great Australian music dream: Their debut album reached platinum sales, they won five ARIAs – including Album of the Year – and three of their songs placed in triple j’s Hottest 100.

      Led by frontman Dave Hosking, Boy & Bear would spend the next four years making two more studio albums, selling out shows, playing festivals, and touring the world.

      While 2011 marked Boy and Bear’s first year of extraordinary success, it’s also the first year Dave remembers getting sick.

  23. Sharkleberry Fin

    Kushner’s got those AML / BSA blues, “Help me, somebody, I need some rest / Oh, Looord, I’m so depressed.” Because Deutsche Bank deferred from actually filing Suspicious Activity Reports [SAR’s] regarding those transactions with slushy Russian / Qatari / Saudi entities, Deutsche Bank is not protected under the Safe Harbor provisions that would otherwise make Deutsche Bank immune from Discovery, protecting Kushner’s ID, and exempting the bank from regulatory sanction. SAR’s are designed to elicit candor, “glasnost” if you will, and can’t be used as evidence to jam anybody up. BUT only if a SAR is filed within the 30- or 60-day window. An executed SAR comes stacked with a statutory gag order in order to maximize its effectiveness as a counter-terrorism tool. What FinCen is really looking for are instances where a bank’s infrastructure is captured in pursuit of a client’s extra-legal business interests. Therefore, not filing a SAR is of greater interest than the actual sketchy transaction which trips an automated red-flag.

  24. Cal2

    Surprised no one has commented on the Disruptive Customer article.

    “What’s lacking leads to new business opportunities…”

    OK, I would give my custom to a business that hires at least some people from my age cohort, instead of only 20 somethings, pays and treats them well, who are native speakers of English, thus who understand nuances and subtleties instead of the blank stare, or “I can’t find that online,” a store which sells well made products produced by Americans, not “designed in California, made in China”, a store or meeting place where there are no ball games on screens, where classical music is played, or no music, instead of Top 40 shrieking about one’s emotions.

    Is that too much to ask?

    1. Carey

      That’s not too much to ask- depending on one’s class interest and goals, of course.

      Divide et impera is working very, very well, for the few. Almost perfectly, in fact.

  25. VietnamVet

    Joe Biden was right in the middle of turning the world upside down and restarted the Cold War when he flew off to Kiev to push for the attack against rebellious ethnic Russians in Donbass and finding his son a lucrative position with Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company. Joe Biden is a Globalist’s lacky. This all was a direct result of the Administration’s decision to bail out Wall Street and not jail any corporate criminals. As a result, the top 1% of U.S. households are now holding a record $303.9 billion of cash, a quantum leap from the under $15 billion they held just before the financial crisis.

    The decline in the life expectancy of Americans due to the loss of jobs, expensive healthcare, homelessness, opioid addiction and suicides led to the election of Donald Trump, a nationalist oligarch, as President of the USA. The FBI management after 60 days knew the Steele Dossier was garbage, but they too were globalist lackeys and the Russian investigation went on for two more years documenting no collusion. Everything since 2008 has been about money, the consequences to humanity be damned. Western Nationalist and Globalist Oligarchs are stomping around pushing violently to come out on top. They cannot admit that this is a multi-polar world and that, unless they back down, they will destroy themselves and most likely everyone else.

  26. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Calling all MMTérs.

    You’re seeking to understand how money actually works. It’s a good start.

    But on that quest I think it’s critical to dig even deeper. It may turn out that the Earth (USD or other national government scrip) is not at the center of the universe.

    This video (start at 18:50) lays out a very compelling case for how the system actually operates:

    Q: what would this imply for, or how would it change, the MMT view? Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. djrichard

      Hi OTPBDH,

      I think the article you’re linking to would say that the USD is still at the center of the universe. Just that the Fed Reserve isn’t at the center of the universe. Instead, the Fed Reserve is at the center of the US dollar liquidity system as it exists internal to the US. And the eurodollar is at the center of the US dollar liquidity system as it exists outside the US. Not only that, but the eurodollar is at the center of settling international balance of payments. But because the eurodollar is not on the Fed Reserve system, it’s more hamstrung without the Federal Reserve’s direct inter-bank lending liquidity and consequently more of a limiting factor to the growth of overall liquidity in the system.

      So this is a statement on private debt creation. Not a statement on public debt creation (which is where MMT has its focus). Though it does have an impact on treasury interest rates as the eurodollar system uses treasuries as part of its ersatz system of managing its balance sheet size. Which has the eye opening result that the interest rates on treasuries are more driven by the eurodollar non-reserve system than by the Federal Reserve system (or inflation expectations).

      Even so, at the end of the day, the Fed Gov doesn’t need to worry about what the interest rates are when determining the degree to issue new debt. For instance, the reason Volcker nipped spiraling inflation in the bud back in 1980 to 1982 had nothing to do with the concerns of the Fed Gov. And a lot to do with the concerns of debt holders who were losing out to inflation.

      That said, I do think MMT seems to be blissfully unaware of the interest rate setting mechanism and how it works in the private marketplace. Maybe this will get them to start thinking about how to incorporate that thinking.

      Disclaimer: I’m not an MMTer and can’t speak authoratively for it. The thoughts above are my opinions alone. But I see them as “fighting the good fight” which is that the Fed Gov’s appetite for debt issuance (and the marketplace for that debt) is not an issue. And I don’t believe the eurodollar story changes that.

      By the way, thanks again for linking to this article. For me personally it filled in huge gaps of what I thought I understood. Highly recommend it. And now I get to worry about this 4th time at kicking the can since 2008 / 2009 and it looks like it will be a doozy.


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