Links 7/22/19

The Washington Monument displayed a mesmerising tribute for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing Business Insider (KW).

Hawaii telescope protest shuts down 13 observatories on Mauna Kea Nature

NASA’s Lunar Space Station Is a Great/Terrible Idea IEEE Spectrum

The Black Hole Engulfing the World’s Bond Markets Bloomberg

Investing in the age of deglobalisation FT

A simulation of the insurance industry: The problem of risk model homogeneity (PDF) Torsten Heinrich, Juan Sabuco, J. Doyne Farmer. A new and unexpected source of fragility.

Brexit

Labour’s Brexit capitulation is the end of Corbynism Lee Jones, London School of Economics and Political Science

The Ham of Fate NYRB

Sure, Boris Johnson Is Funny. But Has He Ever Done a Job Well? NYT

Ukraine election: Zelensky’s party set to win big in parliamentary vote EuroNews. Mark Ames:

‘A Pre-Revolutionary Situation’: More Than 20,000 Rally in Moscow for Free Elections Moscow Times

China?

Triads linked to violent pro-China gangs as Hong Kong protests enter dangerous new phase Sydney Morning Herald. A thread on yesterday’s march:

Two of three men arrested over Hong Kong’s biggest bomb plot, discovered on eve of major anti-government protest, are members of pro-independence groups South China Morning Post

* * *

What Trump’s tale about the US trade war’s role in China’s economic decline got wrong South China Morning Post

Why an “AI Race” Between the U.S. and China Is a Terrible, Terrible Idea. The Intercept

China to tackle corruption in Belt and Road projects FT

What are click farms? A shadowy internet industry is booming in China Yahoo Finance

Abe fails to win two-thirds majority needed to revise constitution FT

The IMF Takeover of Pakistan The Diplomat

India

Live coverage: India’s Chandrayaan 2 moon mission counting down to liftoff Spaceflight Now

India Monitoring for ‘Signs of Fragility’ Among Shadow Banks Bloomberg

Between deprivation and decadence: the bleak view of India’s future The Interpreter

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico prepares for massive protest to expel governor AP

It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution Counterpunch. Well worth a read. (I encountered it as a cross-post, sourced to Counterpunch. To find the original, I googled for a sentence, and there was no hit for Counterpunch. Then I went to Counterpunch, and there it was. So Google’s black list is still in effect.) From the article: “But the jokes about needing carrion birds to devour the dead, that was the lit match. The chat messages didn’t start this.” The joke, about what to do with all the corpses after Hurricane Maria:

(Translation.) #awkward.

In Secret Chats, Brazil’s Chief Corruption Prosecutor Worried That Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister Would Protect Bolsonaro’s Senator-Son Flávio From Scandals The Intercept

Trump Transition

Merger Mania in the Military Industry Consortium News

Waco resident gets census test with citizenship question, despite Supreme Court blocking question on 2020 Census Waco Tribune

Why the 2020 census will have fewer personnel and offices Federal Times

Election security to take back seat at Mueller hearing The Hill (Furzy Mouse).

How Trump’s businesses are booming with lobbyists, donors and governments Guardian

The biggest civil trial in U.S. history will start with these Ohio counties WaPo

Sackler name no longer sparkles at the Louvre France24. How about Harvard?

Democrats in Disarray

Moderate Democrats Warn That AOC Is Distracting From Their Nonexistent Message New York Magazine. “… the Democrats’ burgeoning wing of affluent suburbanites….” For whom Pelosi and the DCCC optimized in 2018, with results that were predictable and predicted.

2020

Sanders’ early life in Brooklyn taught lessons, some tough AP

Elizabeth Warren’s Banking Sector Napalm The Reformed Broker

Health Care

Turning 26 Is A Potential Death Sentence For People With Type 1 Diabetes In America Buzzfeed

Fix The Insulin Problem Eschaton. Because you know the compromise solution will kick in by 2025, just like the minimum wage hike.

Migration

To folks in this Guatemalan town, success stories start with a trek to the U.S. Los Angeles Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

Nikki Haley’s Foreign Policy ‘Principles’ and China The American Conservative

Neoliberal Capitalism at a Dead End Monthly Review

Class Warfare

Prime Day for a union? Not yet at this Amazon warehouse Fast Company

‘This is unprecedented’: Alert, Nunavut, is warmer than Victoria CBC (CL).

Major U.S. cities are leaking methane at twice the rate previously believed Science

Twenty injured as 1,800 firefighters battle huge wildfires in Portugal with terrified residents forced to flee their homes Daily Mail

Between the Devil and the Green New Deal Commune (UserFriendly).

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

244 comments

  1. cnchal

    > Prime Day for a union? Not yet at this Amazon warehouse Fast Company

    On Monday, there was palpable anxiety about discussing life inside the company’s 855,000-square-foot, $100 million building, which opened last fall. “I’m grateful for this, it’s a good job,” said one fit Amazon employee, who recently worked a white collar job. “I work four 10s and run the equivalent of 25 miles a night, basically I run a marathon every day. I make $17.10 an hour and there’s lots of overtime. The benefits are great, although there’s no performance-based incentives.” He paused. “The unions are chomping at the bit to get in and they could use it here. No, I can’t give you my name.”

    For how many years is one able to run a marathon per day? What happens when the body gives out and you can’t run a hundred yards anymore? The answer is “you’re fired” and another broken body gets thrown on Amazon’s human scrap heap,

    Reply
  2. David B.

    To find the original, I googled for a sentence, and there was no hit for Counterpunch. Then I went to Counterpunch, and there it was. So Google’s black list is still in effect

    Why in the world are you using Google search at all? It is the most intrusive and obnoxious in its class. OK, maybe you were you just demonstrating a point about their evilness, and, in reality, you systematically use duckguckgo or startpage or whatever as your default? (In which case, apologies).

    Reply
    1. Eduardo

      For what its worth I just googled for “The chat messages were the proverbial anvil that fell on the camel” and the first result was the Counterpunch article.

      Reply
      1. Jeff W

        Same here.

        Prompted by your comment, I searched this sentence from the article The current upcoming generation of Puerto Ricans has galvanized those that came before in a way never before seen on the island. (with no enclosing quotation marks, although I would normally use them) and the Counterpunch artlcle was the very first result.

        Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Sadly, I use Google because

      1) Every time I use one of the other services, the results are even worse; and I also do this hundreds of times a day, so even for a relatively simple task like search, there’s still a switching cost.

      2) I wonder if my VPN is causing that odd results. It really did happen, or rather did not happen; perhaps I should have included a screen shot.

      Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    “‘A Pre-Revolutionary Situation’: More Than 20,000 Rally in Moscow for Free Elections”

    OK, let’s do some simple maths.

    Size of Moscow Rally – 20,000 people

    Size of Moscow proper – 12,190,000 people

    So, if all those people come from Moscow alone and were not bused in, that is about 1 out of every 600-odd Muscovites. Not so impressive now, is it? Would you believe that the Moscow Police outnumbered those protesters by 30,000 people? What is Russian for Rent-A-Crowd?

    Reply
    1. Olga

      The ridiculous headline caught my eye, too. Funny, that… Actually, Moscow is more like 15 million officially, and 20 million unofficially. But then Moscow Times represents the fifth column.

      Reply
    2. Maxwell Johnston

      I respectfully disagree. 20000 at any Moscow rally is impressive, given the usual police presence and risk of arrest. There is genuine anger at the widespread corruption, especially while most Russians experience stagnant or shrinking incomes. The recent Ivan Golunov case seems to have been a psychological turning point; by backing off so suddenly and unexpectedly (even tossing several top cops under the bus), the authorities displayed weakness (or at least it was perceived as such). Ordinary people seem to be losing their fear. So maybe “pre-revolutionary situation” is pretty accurate. FWIW: though I’ve long viewed the Moscow Times with skepticism, its recent reporting has improved considerably. Perhaps not coincidentally, MT has just started asking for reader donations. Which makes me wonder if their sponsors are annoyed at the new editorial policy and have cut off funding.

      Reply
      1. Alex

        I’d say ‘pre-revolutionary situation’ is an exaggeration based on what I’m hearing from my friends and acquaintances but I’m not as close to the events as in 2011-2014.

        20000 is a big number considering the very real risks that the protesters face but by far not as big as in 1991-1992 in Moscow or in other places where the street protests caused the government change.

        Reply
        1. Maxwell Johnston

          Agreed: 20000 is peanuts compared to the early 90s. But the trend is there. My gut feeling is that the winds of change are starting to blow. Young people in particular are unhappy with the present regime. Change will take time, but it is coming. Hence pre-revolutionary. Time will tell. And I truly hope it doesn’t end in a bloodbath.

          Reply
          1. Alex

            I definitely share your hopes. We shall see obviously but I currently it’s the same profile and modus operandi of the protesters that I saw and took part in in 2011-2012 during the protests against rigged elections and in 2014 against the war in Donbass, and those didn’t achieve much.

            Reply
          2. The Rev Kev

            I’ll take you up on that. Back in 1939 when the US had a much smaller population base, 20,000 people attended Madison Square Gardens for a rally of the American Nazi Party. Was that a trend? Same number remember but only about half the population base. That movement got snuffed out.
            And think of Occupy Wall Street. How many people were attending that – until it was brutally and ruthlessly stomped out by Obama. What happened to the trend there? Can you imagine what people would be saying if that had happened in Moscow and the other Russian cities and not New York and a dozen or more American cities?
            And when you say ‘Young people in particular are unhappy with the present regime.’ are you talking about Russia? Or would that be America whose young have far more to be unhappy about? You have to be fair about such things.

            Reply
      2. Carolinian

        Widespread corruption and crooked cops–good thing we have nothing like that here.

        And if the USG would stop trying to regime change every country not under our thumb perhaps news readers could better sort out which protests are legitimate and which are CIA facades. The sad reality is that the benefit of a doubt has to go with Putin, who may indeed not be a nice guy but is unquestionably the target of US machinations.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          Why would Putin not be a nice guy? What makes you say that? Besides US propaganda, of course. I am pretty sure he did not kill as many people as Mr. O – so in that respect he is much nicer. But besides that – what politician runs on a platform of being nice? Not one that I can think of. (FYI, VVP ceased to be ‘nice’ in western media eyes after his 2007 Munich speech, in which he asserted Russia’s independence.)

          Reply
            1. Olga

              My point was that the criterion of ‘niceness’ for a politician is meaningless. On a personal level, however, I’d wager that he is a nice guy (having observed him regularly in the last five yrs and in his native tongue). At least, IMNSHO.

              Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I read Caroline’s initial comment to mean that as well (“…Putin may not be a nice guy but…”)

                Reply
              2. Carolinian

                My point was that I don’t know with any certainty what Putin is and it’s really none of my (our) business since I don’t live in Russia. His approval ratings seem to be a lot higher than most American leaders for what that’s worth. Also there’s the reporting of M of A who has said protest crowd sizes in Moscow are often exaggerated.

                What does seem certain is that Putin is a very smart guy–certainly a lot smarter than Trump or Pelosi. And when he says he wants to be “partners” perhaps we should believe him.

                Reply
                1. Jessica

                  MoA seems to be very pro-Putin, so I accord less credibility to his comments about Putin than to his comments on other matters.

                  Reply
                  1. witters

                    So you give more credibility to his comments on the people he is (in your view) “anti”? Can you explain this interpretative heuristic?

                    Reply
                    1. Jessica

                      When anyone says something positive about some person or social faction that they are opposed to, I take that more seriously.
                      When anyone says something negative about some person or social faction that they support, I take that more seriously.
                      Less strongly, when MOA speaks about Syria or the Russian military or the like, I listen carefully because his pro-Putin stance may well mean that he is able and willing to note and pass along information that will be invisible or taboo to someone who remains faithful to the mainstream media’s fantasy that Putin is some kind of unique moral black hole through which unspeakable evil pours into this dimension.
                      Vladimir Cthulhuvich, so to speak.

                  2. Lambert Strether Post author

                    > MoA seems to be very pro-Putin

                    We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow. –Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston

                    Reply
          1. mpalomar

            I don’t know whether Putin is a nice guy or not but I have my doubts. He does appear to be far more competent than anything the US has trotted out recently.

            I think Jimmy Carter ran on a platform of being a nice guy, at least to an extent. JC of course was a one term president, replaced by Reagan who ran a little bit on being a nice guy as well.

            The extremely limited democracies or shall we say democratically challenged nations sometimes turn out extended presidencies and occasionally they turn out to be at least proficient at governing, having time to polish their acts.

            Reply
            1. Procopius

              Jimmy Carter was a nice guy, as proven by his behavior after leaving office, but he wasn’t very competent. His term in office seems to be about the time the Blob really started asserting control. Putin is very competent. Frankly, I think Pelosi is, too, at least much more than Schumer, who is great at fund-raising. I think Harding was probably a nice guy. Not sure, but maybe McKinley was, too, despite being a tool of Mark Hanna.

              Reply
              1. Jessica

                In office, he wasn’t even nice, as evidenced by US support for Pol Pot _after_ the killing fields and the US deliberately sinking Afghanistan into war.
                Might be the best ex-president we have ever had, though many of our better presidents never got to be ex (Lincoln, FDR).

                Reply
      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > 20000 at any Moscow rally is impressive

        That was my thought. I also thought that there seems to be rather a lot of protest bubbling right now: Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and now Moscow. And of course the ongoing Gilet Jaunes protests.

        Reply
    3. GF

      One can say “pre-revolutionary situation” about any “situation” that occurs before a revolution. A meaningless propagandistic statement.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I was thinking that too.

        Any moment, except when one is right in the middel of one, is likeley both post-revolutionary (for those countries having had one, or more, previously, including, say, industrial revolution, etc) AND pre-revolutionary (because we can rule out there will be one in the future).

        The discussion about the number of protesters should take into account that, unless there was a recent contested election, one would expect, intuitively, that there will be more protesters about, say, bread shortages, than about free elections. Not sure how equate the former to the latter – maybe 20,000 of the former is one million of the latter?

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > One can say “pre-revolutionary situation” about any “situation” that occurs before a revolution.

        In general, yes. Like “late capitalism,” it’s teleological, and we only know the truth of it after the event.

        That said, in the Russian context it might be more meaningful than to us.

        Reply
        1. Jessica

          Since the current Russian system depends more on suppressing visible demonstrations and on being seen to be able to do so, if that genie gets out of the bottle, there could be a rapid cascade effect. In that sense, 20,000 people demonstrating might be at least within shouting distance of “pre-revolutionary”. Although it was a _permitted_ demonstration. A non-permitted demonstration of that size would be more significant.

          Reply
  4. Henry Moon Pie

    “Between the devil and the GND”–

    A very important read, especially for the NC community. It is a head-on attack against the concept that an approach rooted in the 1930s can address our increasingly catastrophic situation successfully. The author’s point that fundamental cultural and social change is required rather than tinkering with a capitalist society is well-put in this paragraph:

    The problem with the Green New Deal is that it promises to change everything while keeping everything the same. It promises to switch out the energetic basis of modern society as if one were changing the battery in a car. You still buy a new iPhone every two years, but zero emissions. The world of the Green New Deal is this world but better—this world but with zero emissions, universal health care, and free college. The appeal is obvious but the combination impossible. We can’t remain in this world. To preserve the ecological niche in which we and our cohort of species have lived for the last eleven thousand years, we will have to completely reorganize society, changing where and how and most importantly why we live. Given current technology, there is no possibility to continue using more energy per person, more land per person, more more per person. This need not mean a gray world of grim austerity, though that’s what’s coming if inequality and dispossession continue. An emancipated society, in which no one can force another into work for reasons of property, could offer joy, meaning, freedom, satisfaction, and even a sort of abundance. We can easily have enough of what matters—conserving energy and other resources for food, shelter, and medicine. As is obvious to anyone who spends a good thirty seconds really looking, half of what surrounds us in capitalism is needless waste. Beyond our foundational needs, the most important abundance is an abundance of time, and time is, thankfully, carbon-zero, and even perhaps carbon-negative. If revolutionaries in societies that used one-fourth as much energy as we do thought communism right around the corner, then there’s no need to shackle ourselves to the gruesome imperatives of growth. A society in which everyone is free to pursue learning, play, sport, amusement, companionship, and travel, in this we see the abundance that matters.

    The last thing we need is more “jobs,” more churn, more busyness. The idea that we can continue to bustle around, earning bucks to pay the bills of a middle class lifestyle is silly, a point this article makes by examining the many contradictions inherent in the GND. We don’t need to defend or preserve the middle class. We need to make that way of living an anathema to be offered up in atonement for our sins against the planet and each other. Then we can get on with a new way of life, a new world, centered on love and mutual aid rather than accumulating stuff or “experiences.”

    Reply
    1. russell1200

      It is a race between resource depletion and global warming. As best I can tell, resource depletion seems to be winning, but I will concede that global warming’s potential tipping points look scary.

      The WSJ’s recent articles on the failures of fracking should seriously put peak oil back on the map.

      I guess the big question is “At what point, does the process of getting fuel, to run the system, use up too many resources to keep our current economic system running?”

      Reply
      1. Chris

        I agree. There’s magical thinking on both sides here that needs to be shut down quickly.

        The people thinking we can avoid dealing with our problems and continue on the current path are fools. Ignoring AOC won’t make resource limits and environmental realities go away. Likewise, assuming we just need to shop better is ridiculous. We need to do things differently just to maintain our status quo. Relying on technology that doesn’t exist yet, on materials we don’t have, or political accomplishments that we can’t even approach is madness.

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > It is a race between resource depletion and global warming. As best I can tell, resource depletion seems to be winning, but I will concede that global warming’s potential tipping points look scary.

        I disagree. I don’t think the issue is resource depletion at all. Remember peak oil? Then Dick Cheney came up with his energy plan, we started fracking — and not for profit, amazingly, leaving geopolitics as the only alternative explanation — and lo and behold, more oil.

        I think the issue is careening systems, and interactions between multiple careening systems. And we don’t really understand the systems, or the relations between them. Also, speculators like volatility, so plenty of people have incentives for keeping the systems unstable (the biggest case of IBGYBG you’ve ever seen).

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Its sometimes been called ” the Crisis Crisis”. Too many Crises to keep up. Each Crisis making several other Crises worse. A Crisis for every taste in Crisis.

          Reply
    2. jrs

      there is a likely a stronger case for a basic income or if one thinks it would work better, free basics of life in other forms (say free housing etc.), than more jobs as well the case is this: the only time carbon output went down was the great recession, society did not actually collapse in the recession, enough was provided to meet people’s needs, except many individuals suffered, because of unequal distribution.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I also wonder if fiat currency and global reserve currency status are a bad combination.

        One alternative – gold backed global reserve currency would reduce world trade quite a bit, I assume, and with that reduction, much less stuff to be consumed.

        On first thought, that seems like a bad idea – backing money with gold to fight resource depletion and global warming.

        Reply
    3. jrs

      ok not that relevant to the much larger point, but omg the accumulating “experiences” crowd is silly. I mean if your “experience” is meditating in a quiet room, or making love after proper use of effective birth control, then have it ha. But the amount of silliness many seem to aspire to in accumulating “experiences” rather than stuff …

      Reply
    4. David B Harrison

      I sent this to Commune regarding the Between the Devil and the Green New Deal article;Great deconstruction of magical thinking on the left,but with the usual major problems.First:The fifty percent waste you mention in todays’ society is more like eighty percent or more.Second:Back to the land solutions will not feed and house seven billion people.Third:Where do the animals and plants go when humans are trying to live a back to the land lifestyle and take up all of the best land and natural resources.Fourth:all of this is impossible with the narcissistic and libertarian society based on greed,decadence,and gluttony that we live in.If you have not noticed there is a good chance that the social breakdown will beat global warming as the method of our destruction.I have since 2007 read thousands of articles and essays and have come to the conclusion that sensible high density housing (built to be permanent) in all-in-one cities surrounded by farms is the only solution.See the rough draft of that solution at gofundme.com/25pvmzjg

      Reply
      1. Briny

        Arcologies, which makes a neck of a lot of sense to this engineer. Serious efficiencies to scale and likely to appeal to our “capitalist” Masters.

        Reply
  5. WheresOurTeddy

    Good riddance to bad rubbish in Ukraine. I’d watch The View to get Meghan McCain’s take on it since her dad was such a big fan of those neo-nazis, but I don’t hate myself enough to watch The View and.know full well no American media will report on this at all.

    Reply
    1. Procopius

      I agree with you entirely, but let’s wait until the new guys actually get control of the government and are able to exert control over at least the regular army before celebrating. I can’t believe the Nazis are so easily beaten. I don’t know what the numbers are, but I think their armed militias are not trivia.

      Reply
  6. dearieme

    Our results suggest that it would be valuable for regulators to incentivize model diversity.

    Regulators embracing diversity? Good luck with that.

    Reply
  7. PlutoniumKun

    A simulation of the insurance industry: The problem of risk model homogeneity (PDF) Torsten Heinrich, Juan Sabuco, J. Doyne Farmer. A new and unexpected source of fragility.

    Shorter: When everyone is using the same risk model, expect everyone to have the same answer, even if that answer is wrong.

    This is something I’ve noted as a much wider phenomenon – as information is digitised and put online, everyone is basing their analysis on a narrower range of information. This is fine if its correct, but if it was incorrectly inputted (or just becomes out of date), there is no countervailing source of information. I’ve seen three different consultants make the same error in statements about a particular plot of land – essentially, they all used the same online database as the basis of their survey which contained an error which would have been glaringly obvious to anyone who had visited the lands in question.

    I’ve no idea if this is really significant in the long term, but it seems pretty much a rule of nature that the less variety you have, the less resilience your system possesses. Yet another risk factor I would guess.

    Reply
    1. russell1200

      This has always been a big issue with Taleb. In his case he is usually railing against the use of bell-curve logic on systems that often jump out of the curve: like stock markets.

      Reply
    2. Craig H.

      The vocabulary word of the day is peascod.

      The legume or pericarp, or the pod, of the pea. (archaic)

      Mathematics may be compared to a mill of exquisite workmanship, which grinds you stuff of any degree of fineness; but, nevertheless, what you get out depends upon what you put in; and as the grandest mill in the world will not extract wheat-flour from peascod, so pages of formulae will not get a definite result out of loose data. — T. H. Huxley

      Reply
    3. Oregoncharles

      It’s a fundamental argument against concentration: the fewer actors, the greater the chance they’ll all make the same mistakes at roughly the same time – eg, use the same model. That could cause the business cycle all by itself, to say nothing of “black swans”.

      Reply
    4. Briny

      There’s really two additional problems. First off, the “rocket scientists” that Wall Street, Insurance industry, and pretty much all the rest use flit from company to company, with the occasional flit to academia and back, homogenizes the theoretical models used. It’s a problem in the sciences and engineering, so much so that it often requires an entire generation to die off before something new, and more accurate, to come along and be adopted.

      Second, determining what data is actually useful is getting harder, not easier. The advent of “Big Data” and “Data Scientists” speaks to this. Not only do you need clean data, as you point out, it has to be relevant to the problem at hand. True. cleaning the data did occupy quite a bit of my time. I’ve been doing “Big Data” since it consisted of a forklift with a palette load of punch cards and my own removable disk packs on the mainframe back in the ’70’s. Only grown “huuuger” since. Second, determining what data should go into the model was mind bending. So much so that in the ’90’s I developed a system that, when fed the cleaned data, would spend a week or more figuring out the right data to pay attention to as well as the capability to incorporate new data sources and reconfigure itself to rebuild from scratch, when necessary.

      [Non-linear, something done rarely, too. And that’s not going anywhere. Someone else can figure it out again, TYVM. I look out for societal downsides in all I do.]

      Reply
    5. Massinissa

      There’s a good article from a few years back that I think relates to this, entitled “How I used lies about a cartoon to prove history is meaningless on the internet”. Its more or less what it says on the tin, its a really good article.

      Reply
    6. Jessica

      “I’ve no idea if this is really significant in the long term”
      My instinct is that it is quite important.
      To a fair degree, many of our systems now are just ritualistic. Ten-percenters sling data around in the approved procedures and there is not enough concern about whether the data is accurate or even if it means anything at all.
      This is scaled up orders of magnitude and complexity, but is basically what finished off the Soviet Union.
      I would take this a step further and say that this is a symptom of a fundamentally rudderless society.

      Reply
  8. PlutoniumKun

    Abe fails to win two-thirds majority needed to revise constitution FT

    Good news I would say. Abe has been determined for years to force through changes to ‘normalise’ Japan (i.e. remove the anti-war elements of the constitution). I don’t think he and his LD faction will ever be stronger, but he still can’t get it through. This is pretty much the end of it for quite a few years I would think.

    Reply
    1. Plenue

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t one of the things Obama did in his closing days to give Abe permission to go ahead with this nonsense in exchange for Japan agreeing to be on board with the TPP? I’m happy to see both ends of this deal die.

      Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Nikki Haley’s Foreign Policy ‘Principles’ and China”

    Nikki is your typical neocon diplomat which means here crude, loud and mostly ineffective. They are there to play for local American audiences instead of doing their official jobs of being, oh I don’t know, actual working diplomats. They leave international relations worse off than when they first entered the job but they do get to burnish their resumes for that future job. America would be better served if they had the heavy metal band Metallica representing them. No, seriously. Now this is how you establish international relationships between different people-

    https://www.rt.com/russia/464745-metallica-tsoi-song-concert/

    Reply
        1. Off The Street

          Now available in the budget-friendly milli-Pope unit.

          Inspiration: How many Helens does it take to launch a single ship?

          Reply
          1. Briny

            Heck, these days you get a group discount. One carrier battle group if it’s the right Helen. IOW, one of the 1%.

            Reply
      1. Craig H.

        I read an article in spiegel a few years ago where the writer claimed it was a Bruce Springsteen concert that catalyzed the trashing of the wall. Never saw Springsteen’s take on that. If you look at the clips though he was obviously having the time of his life up there on the stage in front of a hundred thousand cheering east Berliners.

        Reply
    1. Carolinian

      I’d say Nikki is in a class by herself as she is so empty of any sort of principle other than ambition and a kind of all purpose belligerence. The NYRB article on Boris Johnson has this to say about him

      This is not just Boris in drag as Winston. It is intended to suggest a crazed logic. Churchill was an unprincipled opportunist, a serial bungler, and a congenitally untrustworthy egotist; therefore, only someone who has all of these qualities in abundance can become the new Churchill that conservative England craves. It is a mark of how far Britain has fallen that, in what may indeed be its biggest crisis since 1940, so many Tories are willing to suspend disbelief in Johnson’s pantomime caricature of the man who gave it the courage to “stand alone” in that dark hour. So what if he has the V for Victory sign the wrong way around?

      Haley lacks even the self awareness to see her schtick as camp and when challenged on her incompetence boasts “I don’t get confused.” What is it with our era that we have so many politicians who are all ego with nothing behind the facade? Haley keeps pretending the US is under dire threat so she will have a stage big enough for her preening. Heaven help us if her ambition of taking it all in 2024 ever came to pass.

      Reply
      1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        Conservative Britain craves a new Churchill? Last I made the round of pub in Anglia, they were all just hoping for someone with the simple competence to get the National ‘ealth to work more efficiently.

        Reply
  10. Krystyn Walentka

    RE: “Hawaii telescope protest shuts down 13 observatories on Mauna Kea”

    I lived on the Big Island, near Pahoa, for a few years around 2009 and was lucky enough, as a historian, to have enough knowledge of the U.S. colonization that I made pretty quick friends with some Hawaiian families that have lived there for countless generations. Most of them had Hawaiian flags flying upside down in their houses and yards. They were spending their time trying to get the younger generation riled up and off of haole drugs to fight for their sovereignty. They were teaching them they did not have to buy goods from the mainland to survive. They were teaching them about how their interdependence would lead to independence.

    I am talking about this mostly to show how activism works; it is slow, tedious but methodical, and may only express itself years later. The elders had what I would say was a “calm activism”, if that makes sense.

    There are a lot of haoles there who are complaining about these protests, reminds me of South Africa in a small sense. “How dare they stop traffic” and comments like that. But go search for photographs of the protests, you will see a lot of elders leading the way but also a lot of younger people. It is really wonderful for me to see this happening now after seeing how two generations had to suffer to finally regain their agency.

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      During the Soweto riots in 1976, I don’t recall that attitude. It more like “I hope that does not explode.”

      I left in January 1977.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Do the independence advocates want independence and reparations, or just independence?

      The same can be asked of those for Puerto Rico independence.

      Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If interdependence can lead to independence, do they not also achieve sovereignty?

          But no reparations?

          Reply
          1. Epynonymous

            I was thinking about the ‘age of deglobalization’ in the links and it occurred to me that Globalization isn’t too far off the mark from Manifest Destiny.

            ‘Commerce by any other name’

            Reply
          2. wilroncanada

            Whats your beef?
            What is this about the “reparations” fetish? Maybe you think the Haitian reparations of the 19th century more apropos: Haitian former slaves had to pay France for taking their colony away from them in 1802. The reverse “reparations” of $21 billion, demanded at the point of gunships in 1825, took 122 years to complete. The demand was fully supported by the United States, a slavery state. Of course, the “reparations” made sure Haiti remained a debt slave nation until the US could impose its series of “democratic dictators” through much of the 20th, and now into the 21st century.

            Reply
    3. Plenue

      I know you think the ‘elders’ (the reverence for this word and the idea that old people just deserve to be followed reminds me of the reverence many have for ‘scripture’) leading the youth is impressive and beautiful and whatever, but how much of that is simply adults indoctrinating naive youth? I’d much rather they teach the kids critical thinking and let them decide for themselves whether Hawaii is better off as a state or should push for independence, rather than just starting from the assumption that Hawaii should be independent and attempting to agitate the youth to protest for it (for the record, climate change is happening, and we’re probably all screwed. I’m still not keen on the cynical weaponization of children that I see going on with some protest movements. Greta Thunberg was groomed for her media role).

      Certainly the idea that they’re teaching kids that the ‘sacred mountain is being tainted!’ doesn’t make me sympathetic to them.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Being an “elder” myself, I’d like to be listened to, but that to me doesn’t imply deference, let alone reverence. I am enough of a modernist to be wary of the word “elders” and also, especially, of “ancestors.” ADOS seems really big both on “ancestors” and “lineage.”

        Reply
  11. sleepy

    “Moderate Democrats Warn That AOC Is Distracting From Their Nonexistent Message”

    Dems would help themselves immensely in the upcoming elections if they passed a bill genuinely lowering drug prices through government price negotiations. It would of course fail in the Senate, but so what? Repubs made a cottage industry and an electoral issue out of voting to repeal the ACA when it had no chance of passage.

    Dems could do the same, on drug prices and on a dozen other issues, and hammer the repubs on it, but they don’t want to.

    Reply
    1. John k

      Course they don’t want to… donors.
      They could push to allow citizens with Rx to import from Canada or eu, but won’t because donors.
      Think about it… pelosi requires prospects to stroke donors 4 hrs per day, so that’s the mentality.

      Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      Beltway press (and lefty media) still thinks Warren is a tool to squeeze Bernie out of the race. It’s just not working out that way. Warren’s actually grabbing a lot of potential Harris supporters. That evidence is showing up in polls and in anecdotal interviews. I recall TYT reporters getting confused when people they interviewed at events saying they liked “Warren and Harris”.

      It appears Bernie’s not getting those voters. However, Bernie does really well with Biden supporters. Strange race, I suppose. It seems Biden/Bernie are fighting for a more working class crowd and Warren/Harris are fighting for a more educated, high income crowd.

      I think what it suggests is that a large chunk of the base of team dem still believes most of its top brass are decent people who will make good legislation, if in a position of power to do so. Most of us commenters here think this is profoundly incorrect (and even Beltway press seems to understand it). I don’t think the splits in the party are showing up in the voting base, at least not yet, and not in an irreconcilable form.

      Reply
      1. Massinissa

        ” Warren’s actually grabbing a lot of potential Harris supporters.”

        Good. I actually think Harris is the worst case scenario in terms of candidates. I think I would prefer another Trump term, honestly. Not that I plan to vote for anyone at the top of the ticket besides the Green Party in the event that anyone other than Sanders wins the primary, but still

        I have many misgivings on Warren, but if she, or anyone else for that matter, can knock Harris out of the race, we are all better off.

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > It seems Biden/Bernie are fighting for a more working class crowd and Warren/Harris are fighting for a more educated, high income crowd.

        Warren does correllate to credentials — Wonks Love Her™! — but Sanders does not (although he has plenty of educated supporters). So, one might say, Sanders is going for where the most votes are; Warren is going for where the most Democrat base voters are.

        I haven’t seen that Biden’s support is working class. Link?

        Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Good. It means that Sanders and Warren are deducting more support from the Catfood Democrats than either could on herm’s own.

        Now. . . at the Convention . . . if neither one gets 50% + 1 of the delegate votes all by hermself on the first ballot, but their combined vote totals add up to more than 50% + 1 . . . wouldn’t it be nice if they and all their people had a mutual agreement that all their delegates would vote for whichever one of them had the more votes on ballot number one?

        Because if they both together added up to 50% + 1, and they pooled that 50% + 1 on the second ballot to achieve the nomination for one of them that was the beneficiary of that plan, then a Decent Democrat would be nominated on the Second Ballot, and the Catfood Establishment would be defeated.

        Reply
    2. JohnnyGL

      In any case, there is a sincere case to be made for Warren over Bernie. This one, from today’s links, explains how she’s got a tighter grip on how things work in Private Equity world.

      https://thereformedbroker.com/2019/07/21/elizabeth-warrens-banking-sector-napalm/

      Now, for me, that’s an excellent knowledge base and skill set to have, and it means I really want her to be in Bernie’s cabinet. But, I want Bernie in the top spot because he knows how to mobilize the electorate and pressure congress.

      Liz Warren has shown she can make mistakes (DNA test) and Repubs in Congress and right-wing media could conceivably get the upper-hand against her by distracting her from her agenda and denting her popularity. They’d look to make her a lame-duck as quickly as possible. Warren’s very good at fighting the INSIDER game, as seen during the CFPB fight. She took ground away from people like Geithner and probably kept Larry Summers out of Federal Reserve. That said, she’s not always superb (thought she can be at times) at playing the OUTSIDE game in the media, engaging with the public, etc.

      For the OUTSIDE game that goes on in full public view, Sanders is demonstrably better. He’d be very effective with the bully pulpit and he’s been very clear that he intends to use it. Sanders is much more likely to build a workable majority in Congress, given a couple of election cycles and appropriate use of pressure. It’s much easier to see Sanders building momentum as he gets agenda item after agenda item achieved.

      So, if Warren, from her job as Treasury Secretary, wants to pitch legislation to reign in Private Equity, then GREAT! However, it’s going to be Bernie who holds a rally with over 10K people in Louisville or Lexington, KY and gets McConnell to break and pass legislation.

      Reply
      1. Chris

        I don’t know if I believe that Warren knows the inside game better than Bernie. She created an agency that was quickly hamstrung. She supported new regs that were quickly side stepped. She has oodles of plans for new laws but won’t say why the laws we have on the books aren’t used to stop financial criminals. If I had to vote for a moderate Republican, I’d vote for her. But we’re not even through the primaries yet. So I don’t see the point in settling for a compromise candidate now.

        Reply
        1. mpalomar

          She supported new regs that were quickly side stepped

          I believe political capture nearly always precedes regulatory capture. So what to do? Campaign finance reform? Chicken and egg stuff I think.

          Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Her efforts to build this agency had such powerful enermies ( Obama, Geithner, etc.) that I am impressed she got it built at all.

          And under Trump, her Agency is not the only Agency and/or Department being hamstrung. If she or Sanders got elected President, she or he could do many things to de-hamstring that Agency.

          Reply
      2. zagonostra

        Warren lost me when she went off on how we need to protect our elections from the Russians and so far as I know no one has come out for pardoning Assange and Manning except Tulsi Gabbard.

        Warren would be a sure second term for Trump.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I keep trying to imagine Feisty Librarian Lady versus The Orange One in a debate. She loses so many different ways it’s embarrassing

          Reply
    1. Oh

      I think the full story was already in NC yesterday or the day before. It was about the sports trainer who became registered under medicare as a doctor and committed fraud. The monies he milked came out of SW Airlines insurance that was managed by United Healthcare.

      Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Abe fails to win supermajority needed to revise Japan’s constitution”

    Soooo, I take it that Abe’s Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere 2.0 project has to be put on hold for the moment?

    And just what is the deal with that gigantic jellyfish off Cornwall’s coastline? Last time I heard about something like that in that neck of the woods was in a Sherlock Holmes story-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventure_of_the_Lion%27s_Mane

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        More recently, one of Arthur C Clarke’s short stories about the big game hunter/fisherman who went fishing for a Leviathan somewhere in the Pacific, and caught one.

        Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Given the relative size of China versus Japan, I don’t think Japan has or ever will have a chance of developing a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere in the teeth of China’s One Ball One Chain Pan Afro-Eurasiastralia all-for-China Propserity Sphere.

      Reply
  13. jfleni

    RE: Hawaii telescope protest shuts down 13 observatories on Mauna Kea:

    This mountain is sacred to the native people of Hawaii, why not use the other THIRTEEN
    observatories on Mauna Kea, permitting the native people to use some their own territory instead of a gang of astronomy YUPPIES hogging it all!!

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      According to the story all of the telescopes are on the same “sacred” mountain. That’s why they are all shut down.

      If Hawaiians want to protest their colonization perhaps it would be more appropriate to picket Pearl Harbor or the Dole corporation. Presumably astronomy geeks make an easier target.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dole_Food_Company

      Reply
        1. Carolinian

          My Southern Baptist ancestors thought slavery was sacred. In a secular society perhaps the public good needs to take precedent over religion, even native American religion. Doubtless places can be set aside for them to access the mountain.

          Those telescopes are there because the location is specially suited for the needs of astronomy.

          Reply
          1. ChrisPacific

            Leaving aside the question of whether or not it’s valid to consider things sacred, the degree to which official processes respect these beliefs is often a proxy for power, influence and institutional racism. Are sites on Mauna Kea sacred to Hawaiians deserving of the same kind of protection as, say, the Western Wall in Jerusalem, or Notre Dame? Or are they just a bunch of savages who need to stand aside for scientific progress? Decisions like this have symbolic importance and are often representative of a larger issue – think about Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat, for example.

            So if you’d like to dig a little deeper on this, you might ask: has the plan for the new telescope involved the local Hawaiian community as stakeholders and been properly respectful of their concerns? Or has it been done unilaterally by mainland interests, with no interest in local matters of importance? How does that compare to similar decisions that have been taken in Hawaii in the past? Is there any way in which this can be seen as the continuation of a longer term struggle? Are the Hawaiians really just protesting this telescope, or a general pattern of being shut out of decisions and having their cultural traditions ignored?

            Reply
          2. Briny

            The location best suited for astronomy is space. You don’t have a pesky atmosphere above (weather, twinkling, &c.) nor a known, active volcano below (earthquakes, lava flows, pyroclastic flows). You even reduce the size of your mirrors and, properly done, you make it servicable (humans, robots) and can tinker-toy it for additional instruments such as more mirrors or other types.

            Sadly, as the James Webb telescope demonstrates, neither NASA nor the aerospace companies involved can deliver on-time or on-budget. Far easier, from that standpoint to create a monster telescope on Earth in a specially selected location despite the pitfalls of that location, whether physical or spiritual. Personally, having spent some years there, I’m with the Hawaiians on this but I’m the child of an anthropologist which admittedly colors my views significantly completely aside from the technical requirements.

            Reply
          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            And just how important are the “needs” of astronomy?

            Any more important than the “needs” of Bakken-frakers or XL pipeline builders?

            Reply
        2. newcatty

          Yes cui bono, as a matter of fact many Hawaiians think that Pearl Habor is a place of sacrilege . And, the mountain is indeed a sacred place for many Hawaiians, not just those who live on Big Island. The existing telescopes are not welcomed, but they are there. The protest to not to have a huge telescope, with a huge foot print on Mauna Ked, added to the 13 established telescopes is understandable. The new telescope would, inevitably, mean more traffic up the road to Mauna Kea. Not with just”astronomy geeks”, but with visitor and tourists, too. The bigger thing that comes to my mind, is why be sarcastic about calling the elders and younger peoples ‘ view of the mountain as “sacred”? Hmmm, perhaps you think that all sacred sites are just to be dismissed as sacred to some people’s? Many indigenous peoples are working to protect and preserve their lands and homes: sacred to them. Hopefully, we can realize that our environment and natural world is, indeed, sacred. The problem is when the natural world is seen to not be sacred and respected. It’s is to monetized, exploited for “resources”, polluted with impunity, used to support “economic growth and prosperity”, wars instead of peace. Damn the consequences. I support bringing back a sacredness to our thinking about the planet and her inhabitants.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            A local tribe of Native Americans here communicated vis a vis lit fires on mountain ridges, for fairly quick information flow. You might say they were telescoping it.

            And the sacred mountain here for them wasn’t a majestic High Sierra peak nearly 3 miles up in the scheme of things, nope. It was this pesky little nothingburger of a hill, er, oops peak in the foothills.

            Reply
          2. Carolinian

            Aren’t you treating the scientists with their desire for that clear sky, high altitude site as “frivolous.” Astronomy is about exploring and therefore celebrating nature just as much as those native Hawaiians. It’s not like they were putting a Hilton or a Sheraton up there.

            Reply
            1. newcatty

              No, I m not treating the scientists as being “frivolous”. Please go back and read my comment carefully. I never implied that point of view .Astronomy is about ” celebrating and exploring nature.” And, the fact that they want to use native Hawaiians sacred site to use the clear sky, high altitude is actually the problem. It is at the expense of more exploitation of the mountain for native people. And stating that they are not putting a hotel up there is disingenuous …Huh?

              Reply
          3. Plenue

            I’m going to be an ass here, but framing this as a supernatural issue doesn’t move me in the slightest. Mauna Kea is a kind of Hawaiian Olympus; a home of the gods. Let the gods sort it out. Unless of course they don’t actually exist…

            I care about the astronomy done there a lot more than I care about their ‘sacred’ mountain.

            Framing this as an issue of a colonized people being ridden roughshod over, their objections unheard (however stupid the basis for those objections may be), now that does move me. Make the argument in those terms, or in terms of concern of ecological damage done to the mountain. Or even no actual damage, but in terms of visually polluting a pristine natural treasure. Make the case that this is their state, their land, and they don’t want the telescopes there. But I’m not moved at all when they claim that it upsets the spiritual balance or whatever gibberish.

            If they also consider Pearl Harbor, a location literally designed to facilitate death, to be ‘sacrilege’, yet they focus more of their protests on some damn telescopes, it really does just look like they’re choosing to go after the astronomy nerds instead of a much more worthy target. Nerds are an easier target than soldiers I guess. Nerds don’t have MPs to bash your teeth in if you actually try anything.

            Reply
          4. Lambert Strether Post author

            One would think a sacred mountain would want to look at the stars.

            Perhaps the issue is not with telescopes as such. Why not consecrate them, and then block all the [family blogging] tourist cars?

            Reply
  14. PlutoniumKun

    Brexit:

    The Ham of Fate NYRB

    Sure, Boris Johnson Is Funny. But Has He Ever Done a Job Well? NYT

    Johnson seems certain now to be leader of the Conservatives. O’Toole in the NYRB puts it well:

    So while Trump’s anarchism shades into authoritarianism, Johnson’s shades into a kind of insouciant nihilism. The joker’s evasiveness that has taken him to the brink of power will be no use to him if he crosses that threshold and has to make fateful decisions. Brexit is finally moving beyond a joke. But what lies ahead for Johnson in those uncharted waters? His best joke was not meant to be one. In November 2016 he claimed that “Brexit means Brexit and we are going to make a titanic success of it.” In this weirdly akratic moment of British history, most of those who support Johnson actually know very well that Brexit is the Titanic and that his evasive actions will be of no avail. But if the ship is going down anyway, why not have some fun with Boris on the upper deck? There is a fatalistic end-of-days pleasure in the idea of Boris doing his Churchill impressions while the iceberg looms ever closer. When things are too serious to be contemplated in sobriety, send in the clown.

    I wonder if he’ll be the shortest serving PM in history. Three Ministers have resigned already, and there are rumours of defections to the LibDems. It would only take a handful to vote against him in a motion of confidence to lead to a probably election – there are still a few days of sitting in the Commons to do it.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Fay

      Why is it a “motion of confidence” is the technical term for a vote to support or not a government? I can see “motion of cowardice” applies.

      Reply
    2. Olga

      O’Toole’s takedown of BoJo is quite epic. He makes reading about the decline of a once powerful nation sooo very interesting. From his description, next to BoJo, May may come out looking like a giant of principles and earnestness.

      Reply
  15. rd

    The juxtaposition of the opioids trial in Ohio and the insulin rationing after age 26 is the quintessential juxtaposition of the US “healthcare” system. A basic necessity for Type 1 diabetics is made ridiculously expensive with shortages while huge shipments of addictive opioids that create massive health crises (including fatal overdoses) is a logical corporate business approach.

    Meanwhile, Canada makes basic insulin available over the counter at inexpensive prices. Because each province negotiates the standard price for drugs such as insulin, it doesn’t matter if you have pharmaceutical insurance or not – you get the same price that the insurer would pay even if you have to pay for it in cash, unlike the US. Somehow, the pharmaceutical manufacturers still supply Canada with insulin.

    However bringing that insulin into the US would endanger the US population according to the FDA: https://www.healthline.com/diabetesmine/true-or-false-you-can-buy-insulin-from-canada#3

    I assume one of the benefits of not living in a socialist country is that you have the right to die from being unable to afford basic drugs that are inexpensive in socialist countries.

    Reply
    1. Alex morfesis

      The fda has helped…along with some yacht loving mass tort lawyers(most are good but many oblivious)…to extend farma controls on meds by “suddenly” finding these medications are now “dangerous” just as they are about to be “generiked”…and we can’t have that…the notion people in omerika can live peaceably in and with their health…

      no no no…

      but yes…just conveniently…we have “this new thingee which looks like the old thingee but a bit improvished or at least not the same same”

      It is a bit difficult to figure out which sector to crown most evil in this american krapitalism system…the mic or the med(eecheez) gang…although technically the med(eecheez) kill more people in the you ess of hay hey haeee and the mic kills more ex-usa…

      Insulin has not been allowed to go generic in the usa for over 75 years…

      Human sacrifice for the entertainment of the few…the proud…the machine…

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        I think that IRC, that Bernie stated, on the AARP Iowa forum, that he is taking a bus of Americans, who depend on insulin, to Canada to buy insulin. It will be at one tenth of the cost of paying for it in the USA.

        Reply
      2. John Wright

        The article did not discuss insulin prices in other countries.

        It seems plausible that poorer countries MUST be getting their citizens’ insulin at affordable prices.

        It was as if the Buzzfeed reporter was unwilling to criticize the big pharma firms for pricing USA insulin high, despite many years of honing their production processes, which should result in lower production costs.

        Only one quote, from one of the insulin uses, at the end of the article hints that USA government/big Pharma is not handling the problem as well as other countries: “You see other countries doing it and it’s not this hard. There’s no reason for this to be the way that it is.”

        The author seems to view extended insurance as the only solution.

        Hard hitting thorough journalism NOT.

        Reply
        1. sbarrkum

          Insulin or Metformin etc (drugs for Type II) are free in Sri Lanka.
          Even endocrine tests too are free.

          Even in the little village I live and neaby Govt hospital there is a “clinic” once a week.
          Tested and medication for a week is given

          Reply
    2. zagonostra

      This ties into Michael Hudson article

      The United States has privatized and financialized infrastructure and basic needs such as public health and medical care, education and transportation that other countries have kept in their public domain to make their economies more cost-efficient by providing essential services at subsidized prices or freely. The United States also has led the practice of debt pyramiding, from housing to corporate finance. This financial engineering and wealth creation by inflating debt-financed real estate and stock market bubbles has made the United States a high-cost economy that cannot compete successfully with well-managed mixed economies.

      https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/07/michael-hudson-u-s-economic-warfare-and-likely-foreign-defenses.html

      Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      i don’t care if she is warm and understanding toward wall street, or cnbc contributores, what i care about is what she would do to rein it in, and i’m worried about a public face/private face.

      Reply
        1. Olga

          On the other hand, she did push through CFPB – one of the very few things that had been done for the benefit of a joe-blow-6pack. I’ve used it and can attest to its efficacy (and always thank Warren).

          Reply
        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          On the other hand, we find many communists in Beijing who are letting the capitalism flower bloom in China these day.

          Reply
      1. abynormal

        Pretz, Last week DB found its derivative exposure in the 100s of Trillions…banks globally are part of these trades, let alone mired in their own Trillions in OTC derivatives. CONTAGION is a breath away.
        Warren fought to regulate and bring the sunshine laws to the deadly derivative markets but her own party wouldn’t support her.
        The horse is out of the barn now….what could Warren or anyone do with 1,144 Trillion derivatives circling the planet looking to land???
        https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/12/10/warren_could_block_budget_bill_over_dodd-frank_change__124927.html

        Reply
    2. tegnost

      Bernie has to shout because all the support he has in the hoi polloi leads to him drawing large crowds of supporters who, as I noted earlier, support the things he is in the vanguard promoting.
      I’ll take your “napalm” article and raise it with the above linked article “Neoliberalism at a Dead End” which makes it pretty clear that if you are on the side of international finance capital then you are part of the problem.

      Reply
    3. Robert Valiant

      Warren is, by her own words, a “dyed in the wool capitalist.” or something very like that,

      I take that to mean, that when push comes to shove, she will represent and protect the interests of capital.

      Reply
      1. KLG

        Elizabeth Warren was still voting GOP in 1996, not that the Democrat choices have been all that enticing since, well, forever. What should we expect? Unicorns?

        And not so OT: That Texas Bar Association application in her own handwriting, the document in which Senator Professor Warren claims to be Native American, will provide The Donald with a gift that keeps on giving right up to another win in the EC, this time with an even larger deficit in the popular vote due to California, New York, and Illinois. Which will only make Trump Derangement Syndrome worse, perhaps terminal, among the usual members of my tribe of academics and urban “liberals” of The Resistance™.

        Reply
    4. Grant

      Well, that is her particular area of expertise, so I would hope that she is knowledgeable about that particular issue. I am sure the Palestinians would be wowed by that, should she become president and implemented her very vanilla foreign policy. I also don’t know what that expertise does for her waffling on single payer, and it certainly hasn’t aided her judgement on a number of occasions. How that makes her a better president or a better matchup against Trump isn’t obvious too. You could logically conclude that she would be a better fit for the Treasury, the SEC or the CFPB under a Sanders administration than president, given her knowledge and other issues/factors with Warren.

      But to reduce Sanders to shouting is pathetic, and I am so sick and tired of people doing this type of stuff. He has moved the Overton Window to the left more than any single candidate on the left in a really long time, without even winning the primary. Maybe you don’t like that, maybe you do. He has inspired people to run for office more than anyone (AOC included in that) and he has made enemies among the right people, who are much more open to Warren than Sanders, despite her knowledge of Wall Street and finance generally. They realize something you obviously don’t, and it isn’t her academic brilliance. Bernie was fighting for these same issues when Warren was voting for Reagan, and if he was to win the nomination, we don’t have to worry about him waffling on single payer or other issues, and being talked into changing very little. With Warren, I have little faith, outside of finance. On finance, she probably would push for good policies. I have little faith on most other things, and part of that isn’t just who now supports her, it is also who she has chosen to surround herself with and her waffling on things like single payer. Since she has already said that while she doesn’t take corporate money now, she could in the general election, I wouldn’t be surprised by a “pivot towards the center” on a number of issues. A good portion of her supporters seem to be economically privileged, so my guess is that they would be at least indifferent to that pivot.

      This primary has really revealed a lot about the Democratic Party and its voters, and it isn’t pretty.

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        I have to agree. Some of the dumbest voters I speak to are dyed-in-the-wool Democrats who simply eat whatever intellectual junk food the media and party bosses put in front of them. I’ve been a registered Democrat for 30 years now, and I have grown to hate the party and its members for being so feckless and unprincipled.

        Reply
        1. Mike Mc

          ^This. 35 years as a registered Democrat, though the scales fell from my eyes early in Obama’s first term when I failed to see banksters doing perp walks through Manhattan.

          Caucused for Bernie in my very red state in 2016, joined DSA after Trumpageddon, # 2 stepson working hard for DSA in Pittsburgh. DSA – and Bernie – are to me is the last chance for the Democratic Party to return to something even close to FDR’s vision for America.

          Trump re-elected means “every man for himself and God against all.”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aguirre,_the_Wrath_of_God

          Reply
      2. Briny

        I used to be a libertarian Republican. Bernie has principles and a pretty good moral/ethical framework that he’s demonstrated for a very long time. I’ll vote for that. Warren seems not so much and as for the rest of the field? Ferggit ’bout it.

        We need a serious corrective change applied to the entire system. Bernie’s solutions aren’t perfect but looking at how political-economy, and especially several thousand years of history, work it’s the right set for the times. Otherwise, it doesn’t look at all pretty, especially for the one to ten percent.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          From that Guardian piece on the liberal Democrat bubble:

          But one man I talked with – someone raised on a sugar plantation, retired from a life-long career in oil, a proud member of the Louisiana Tea Party and a Trump supporter – grinned broadly at the mention of Bernie Sanders. “Free college? Free medical care? How yawl going to pay for that? He’s a pie in the sky guy,” he said. “But he’s a good man, Uncle Bernie.” Although an oil worker, he was a fan of clean energy, and liked the idea of a Manhattan Project to implement it.

          Among Republicans, he isn’t alone.

          The phenomenon of people picking Sanders because he’s not an opportunistic sleazebag seems real, though I don’t know how to put numbers on it.

          Reply
  16. Summer

    RE: China / Click farms

    Somewhere, aren’t views time and date stamped?
    Without getting into identity, should be able to use that info to blow much of the fakery out of the water.

    Reply
    1. Briny

      You need serious log file analysis to pluck it out and what I was saying about “Big Data” above applies just as much here. Even though there are some good tools, used in the right hands on un-cheap hardware, in the open source world, it’s a tough nut to crack if you have any volume at all. Then, even if you have a smoking gun, getting it believed, with suitable rebates and such, by the platforms and intermediaries is such an uphill battle it’s usually far cheaper to write off the fraud. Looking at life-cycle costs here, not just a one-off “solution.”

      Reply
  17. Freshstart

    “Turning 26 Is A Potential Death Sentence For People With Type 1 Diabetes In America”

    Progressive’s latest slogan:

    “Act your age. Dump your parents’ insurance”

    Reply
    1. CitizenGuy

      “Progressive” is the name of an insurance company, mostly for vehicular insurance. I don’t think they do health insurance.

      Reply
  18. Summer

    RE: “Elizabeth Warren’s Banking Sector Napalm” The Reformed Broker
    “She reserves the most acute portion of her scorn for the private equity complex, which she sees as being almost wholly and universally arrayed against the interests of the American people.”

    Which is interesting with this development:
    “‘Blank cheque’ buyout vehicles step up fundraising”

    “Investors are pouring money into US shell companies at the fastest pace since the financial crisis, underlining the renewed interest in finding the next big corporate takeover.

    Special purpose acquisition companies, or spacs, raised $6.8bn in the US in the first half of the year, the largest six-month total since 2007. Spacs, also known as “blank cheque” buyout funds, hoover up investor capital by listing as a public company and then deploy the funds once a target acquisition is identified.”
    FT

    I’d also assume they wouldn’t want to buy anything at high prices.
    They didn’t after 2007…..

    Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    “Puerto Rico prepares for massive protest to expel governor”

    Probably nothing to worry about. It’s probably only a storm in a teacup. Might be different if they started adopting slogans like “No taxation without representation”.

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        But they don’t have direct voting representation in Congress either. And yet they are U.S citizens and have been for over a century. And that makes them in the eyes of the law officially second-class citizens.

        Reply
        1. edmondo

          I live in a gerrymandered district that hasn’t had a Democratic congressman since the 60s. We all are second class citizens, even those of us who pay taxes. Voting is over-rated.

          Reply
          1. richard

            on the mainland we experience very limited democracy, true that
            but it is still not the same thing as living in a colony, is it?

            Reply
        2. Big River Bandido

          I live in a gerrymandered district in which only corporate Democrats can get elected. Voting is nearly useless.

          Reply
          1. Carey

            Yes, same here. Wonder when we’ll start calling this long, tiresome show by its true name:
            Electoral Theater.

            Reply
      2. richard

        those exceptions total up to about 3.5 billion a year in federal taxes
        so they are significant (everyone who works for the gov’t is one exception)
        and workers there pay every other kind of official tax, and recieve none of the tax breaks that support (hah!) lower income citizens of states.
        the average income in PR is less than half that of West Virginia
        just throwing some more context in there

        Reply
    1. mpalomar

      Probably nothing to worry about. It’s probably only a storm in a teacup. Might be different if they started adopting slogans like “No taxation without representation”.
      – I’m rather impressed with PRs taking it to the street. It will probably end badly as what hasn’t recently? On the other hand sloganeering has not had a salubrious effect on the practice of democracy in the District of Columbia where, “No taxation without representation” adorned license plates, indeed was the very motto of DC activists for the time I lived there. Didn’t make a whit of difference. Of course that was deep in the belly of the beast.

      Reply
    1. zagonostra

      Good article, but in the concluding paragraph below, I think that the author is overly optimistic…They, the 1%, are unfortunately mainly correct, and the readers of NC are a very small and unrepresentative segment of the overall U.S. population that is not politically comatose.

      They also trust that the citizenry can be further fragmented, further distracted, and so they will continue to be invulnerable. Or worst case scenario, a few especially venal villains will need to be sacrificed, and then all will return to the bliss of Neofeudal exploitation.

      But they may have misread the American citizenry, just as they’ve misread history.

      Reply
    2. Cal2

      How about a Whetstone political party?

      That’s a device for sharpening pitchforks, scythes –think grim reaper tool–and, last but not least, guillotine blades.

      I suggest a pitchfork, tines up, would be an appropriate symbol, easily stenciled onto walls in gated communities etc.

      Reply
  20. Summer

    RE: “Neoliberal Capitalism at a Dead End” Monthly Review

    And that is still too diplomatic for what is happening.
    This is a system opposed to most people surviving…flat out and simple.

    Reply
    1. abynormal

      Economic development is something much wider and deeper than economics, let alone econometrics. Its roots lie outside the economic sphere, in education, organization, discipline and, beyond that in political Independence and a national consciousness of self reliance.
      Small Is Beautiful

      Reply
    2. John Steinbach

      The “Dead End” and “The Devil & the Green New Deal”, both very long and difficult reads need to be read together to begin to appreciate the magnitude of the current crisis. These are unblinking looks at grim near-term future. One deals with the failed political economy of Neo-liberalism and implications, and the other with the political economy of climate change and the gross inadequacies of the Green New Deal to address it.

      I’m glad that Lambert linked to the Monthly Review. From a Neo-Marxist perspective, it has been in the forefront of analyzing and integrating the end-stage crisis of capitalism & the global environmental crisis. I’m bookmarking Commune for future perusal.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        Yes, the Dead End is very good (takes a while, although what it says is not that complicated – as it is all around us). The observation that what we have today does not come close to fascism of the 1930s is so accurate – specifically, because back then, fascists mostly delivered on that job creation promise. This is not possible today, as the article explains. Makes me think we are in uncharted waters – capitalism at an end, and not even fascism/war can provide a relief valve. What’s next?

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          If we’re talking about the US, we don’t have fascists at all. We have an inept loudmouth. At worst it’s some of the style of Mussolini with absolutely none of the substance.

          I’m not saying the core point of the article is wrong though. There are likely limits to what even a genuine fascist could accomplish in the US.

          As for what’s next, part of me would like to think it would be some form of socialism. But that’s just lazy Marxist thinking; treating a better world as some sort of historical inevitability.

          Reply
    3. Acacia

      I found “Neoliberal Capitalism at a Dead End” a difficult but very rewarding read. Thanks, Lambert, for this nugget!

      One question. Patnaik and Patnaik argue that:

      “state spending cannot provide a counter to the ex ante tendency toward global overproduction within a regime of neoliberal globalization”

      They don’t discuss MMT, but it sounds like they’re arguing that in view of the dynamics of globalized capital, MMT can’t provide a workable counterforce.

      Thoughts, anyone?

      Reply
  21. ChiGal in Carolina

    what the squad is really all about:

    Top 4 Ways the Squad of young Congresswomen represent more Americans than Trump
    https://www.juancole.com/2019/07/congresswomen-represent-americans.html

    from the article:

    But the parents of these women were blue collar or service workers, and that is the real point. That’s 85% of the country. That is what this is really about. If they unite workers across race, the Squad could deprive Trump of one of his constituencies. Only 14% of blue collar workers who voted for Obama switched and voted for Trump. He promised them health care and better jobs. He hasn’t delivered. The Squad is appealing to them

    Reply
    1. flora

      Here’s an interesting article by Arli about the bubble thinking in elite educated Dem estab. Shorter: more educated and elite educated and credentialed, the more disconnected from on-the-ground reality.

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/21/democrats-republicans-political-beliefs-national-survey-poll

      ‘For Democrats, the education effect was even worse: the more educated a Democrat is, according to the study, the less he or she understands the Republican worldview.

      “This effect,” the report says, “is so strong that Democrats without a high school diploma are three times more accurate than those with a postgraduate degree.” And the more politically engaged a person is, the greater the distortion. ‘ (my emphasis)

      an aside: if the last 25 years of elite educated leaders (Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Eton, etc.) are any indication, an elite education is no guarantee of having the knowledge and shrewdness for leadership at higher levels. ( e.g. Boris Johnson as latest of elite education’s failure to produce competent leaders, imo. )

      Reply
      1. Acacia

        Thanks for this, flora. The phrase “bubble thinking” nicely lends itself to elaboration, e.g., “bubble dwellers”, “gaslit bubble thought”, etc. Anecdotally, I find the claim of this article true w.r.t. many of my PhD-equipped contacts.

        Reply
    2. Partyless Poster

      “Only 14% of blue collar workers who voted for Obama switched and voted for Trump. He promised them health care and better jobs. He hasn’t delivered. The Squad is appealing to them”

      Or they might be if they could stop making it about race instead of class.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Or they might be if they could stop making it about race instead of class.

        Remember that New Yorker AOC interview transcript. The headline from the interview was about Democrats being the party of “hemming and hawing.” Most of the other coverage was about identity politics. In the transcript, AOC centers, as we say, the working class. But that’s not the story.

        The media loves horserace coverage, and they love identity politics. That’s the only kind of politics they’ll cover. (And I’m starting to work on the theory that intersectionality and identity politics are all about, and only about, organizing meetings between aspirational “voices.” Not about organizing anything else, let alone mobilization. Can somebody point to any concrete political result from the idpol crowd that is not negative? #MeToo, maybe, but that’s a 10% thing, of, for, and by 10%-ers. #BlackLivesMatter, maybe but it was swiftly decapitated by Democrats.

        Reply
  22. anon in so cal

    Great reading material today, as always!

    Regarding AOC: she and two other members of The Squad voted to support Adam Schiff’s Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 3494), which “has multiple provisions calling for Intelligence Community (IC) reports on issues such as “influence operations and campaigns in the United States by the Communist Party of China” as well as an assessment on “legitimate and illegitimate financial and other assets of Vladimir Putin…”

    “But my reading of the bill’s language is much darker: it’s an attempt to prevent a future CIA torture program, should one be initiated, from ever being disclosed. So instead of ensuring that the CIA can never go down that dark road again, Chairman Schiff is helping—knowingly or not—Gina Haspel lay the legal groundwork for a resumption of the kind of “black site” madness that trashed America’s reputation abroad, produced zero actionable intelligence, and served as a recruiting tool for Salafist terrorist groups like ISIS.”

    https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/453221-the-peculiar-priorities-of-adam-schiff

    https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/alexandria_ocasio_cortez/412804

    Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Would be interesting to hear AOC or other squad members talk about why they voted for it.

        Reply
  23. Summer

    RE: Neoliberal Capitalism At A Dead End”

    “Not only are we not going to have wars between major powers in this era of fascist upsurge (of course, as will be discussed, we shall have other wars), but, by the same token, this fascist upsurge will not burn out through any cataclysmic war. What we are likely to see is a lingering fascism of less murderous intensity, which, when in power, does not necessarily do away with all the forms of bourgeois democracy, does not necessarily physically annihilate the opposition, and may even allow itself to get voted out of power occasionally. But since its successor government, as long as it remains within the confines of the neoliberal strategy, will also be incapable of alleviating the crisis, the fascist elements are likely to return to power as well…”

    Doesn’t mention the words “civil wars” in the article. Neoliberalism is just the kind of dead end ideology that would would make civil wars within nations a bigger industry. That could also be the fall back. “Hiring one half of the working class to kill the other” …many countries would get their turn. While global neoliberalism has perceived aversions to major wars, they live just fine with “contained” civil wars.
    That is not accounted for in this article.

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      Very true in Brexit. The division in the country is possibly a civilwar in the making.

      Luckily the ruling class anticipated this long ago, and made gun ownership illegal.

      Knives however…

      Reply
          1. Monty

            There’s plenty of young, braindead oafs crowing for a “hard brexit”. I don’t know what Freud would make of that.

            Reply
            1. Anonymous2

              75 % of 18-24 voted Remain, though. That is your principal fighting population. Especially now that group is probably aged 18-27.

              Reply
              1. Massinissa

                I dunno, if the young folks wanting a ‘hard brexit’ are more radicalized and more militant, then an armed conflict, assuming its a short one and not something long and drawn out like the American Civil War (and I hardly doubt it would ever get that far), they may turn the situation to their advantage. A well coordinated few can outmaneuver mass opposition. You can even see this in America, where the 1% is able to coordinate themselves against the other 99%, albeit in a (mostly) nonviolent fashion.

                Reply
                1. Anonymous2

                  Why would conflict be short? This is an intergenerational conflict. That sort of thing is likely to go on for decades.

                  Not that I am expecting major violence, just ongoing political struggles, maybe for the next ten or twenty years.

                  Reply
    2. Grant

      It’s kind of fascinating watching those in power, because in order to hold on to a system that has benefited them and in order to protect capital from the radical changes we need in order to deal with the environmental crisis, they are setting up human civilization to utterly collapse. What good is their money going to do them in 40 years if things don’t radically change? Whatever their existence would be, it would be better in a number of alternative economic systems than in a Mad Max world. Yet, they are so collectively stupid, so self-centered, so ideologically rigid and have such extreme tunnel vision that they seem unaware. Objectively, once the environmental crisis is in full swing, their lives as elites will be massively negatively impacted. Right now, the system allows them to suck up the value, the services and the resources that others have created. If the system that allows that collapses, they are then far more on their own.

      Neoliberalism has made it all but impossible to deal with these large macro issues. We in the US will be in particular trouble because we are armed to the teeth and those with the most guns have had their heads filled with nonsense and are already itching to turn their guns on others they have been trained to hate. It could get ugly really quickly, which makes what the Democrats have done to the left all the more destructive. It would be one thing if the “moderates” had anything to offer anyone outside of their donors and had actual solutions, but they don’t.

      We clearly are going to have to have some form of comprehensive economic planning in order to deal with the environmental crisis, but as Pigou said, not every planned economy is a socialist economy, so maybe they are banking on an authoritarian planned economy. Maybe the ultimate hope would be that they are high enough in the social pyramid to maintain some of their wealth and power.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        The problem is that many of those who do care deeply about the environmental crisis are utterly hopeless and some so much so that they are wrapped up in what are almost full on doom cults (which seem silly to me as even if doom was an absolute certainty. I’d choose hedonism over the doom cults). Will they even bother to vote? And meanwhile many don’t care. And that’s the masses. The elite are their own selfish stupid mess.

        Although it won’t right now, eco-f-ism (early 20th century ideology in Italy etc.) may become a thing eventually, and I can’t say I’d have no sympathy, because compared to endless growth capitalism … it’s less likely to lead to certain death of everyone and everything.

        Everything is deeply symptomatic of capitalist ideology pushed to the extreme, and not just ecology issues but social chaos. Could anything but a system that worships wealth (plus fame in this case) have propelled a Trump so far? Maybe another wanna-be strong man, but that particular one? Worship of wealth, helps to feed it.

        Reply
        1. Grant

          I don’t think that people are indifferent to the environment, polls don’t show that. What polls and tons of studies have shown is that there is a huge gap between what people want on policy versus what the state does, and lots and lots of people have given up. They don’t bother to vote and they don’t think the system cares what they think or want. It doesn’t. To them, politics is for the relatively well off that the system works for. In regards to the environment, no one in the media ever talks about the scale of the crisis, or the radical structural changes needed to deal with that crisis. Neither party offers anything near what is needed to deal with that crisis. So, people realize that there is a problem, polls show they want something to be done, but they don’t have a good understanding of the scope of the crisis or what needs to be done. In a hierarchical society like this one, that means those at the top have a responsibility, because they refuse to decentralize power, wealth and income and they have utterly failed. And among those at the top that do care about the environment, they almost always refuse to break with capitalism, which means that they offer no actual solutions. As humans, they just rationalize that away. They pretend that we have more time than we do, or that the peanuts they offer is up to the task when it is obvious it isn’t.

          The radicals that are engaged and are involved in activism are correct and offer actual solutions, but they are up against the totality of the system, the media, the dominant institutions in our society. In the end, we will have a planned economy and as things are going, it will be a brutal and authoritarian planned economy. If the environment totally collapses, likely given that authoritarian planning suffers massive informational problems that is required for planning to work, then there will be no functioning society or economy to plan.

          Reply
      2. Roy G

        My extremely cynical take is that most of the political and monetary power is held by ‘The Greatest Generation’ followed by the Baby Boomers, who realize their time left on this planet is limited and they don’t really care because they won’t be around to face the consequences.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          Quite a lot of Boomers among he commentariat here. They appear to care.

          Personally, I’m a year ahead of the Baby Boom, so Lost Generation.

          Reply
        2. Massinissa

          As someone under 30 and someone who has lurked and occasionally commented here for about ten years now, I was under the impression that most of the people on this site were boomers?

          My respects to all boomers in the commentariat, regardless of numbers. In fact, my respects to everyone in the commentariat period.

          Lastly if I may be cynical of your ‘cynical take’, I’m pretty sure there are plenty of Boomers with little to nothing and plenty of young people around my age who are descendants of wealth and are sucking on silver spoons, so I really don’t see the point of trying to turn this into some kind of demographic struggle based on arbitrary age metrics rather than measuring people by economic and social strata.

          Reply
  24. Susan the other`

    Hong Kong: Hey, I thought the Triad gangs were the henchmen of the KMT/Taiwan. No? Somehow I really don’t see Beijing in cahoots with the Triad guys.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Fay

      Triad gangs will do what is the right patriotic thing to do whether for the KMT or Chinese Communist Party. The KMT pays obeisance to the Chinese government. If it represents Taiwanese they represent the remainder of the people that followed Chiang from China to Taiwan. A few years ago the Sunflower movement of students protested continued military service after one draftee was tortured for three days and died. It was student movements in Taiwan that helped the Democratic Progressive Party to win the presidency replacing the KMT which ran second or third generation descendants of the original Chinese generalismos.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It seems these days, many KMT leaders are Taiwanese Taiwanese, and not necessarily mainlander Taiwanese.

        I think, just guessing, that it represents more than just those who followed Chiang from China to Taiwan.

        And I would agree that it would not be shocking to see Triad gangs work with Beijing, from where communists today rule over capitalistic China.

        Anything is possible, I suppose.

        Reply
      2. LuRenJia

        The draftee was not tortured. He was under discipline action for a few days for some violation at the barrack. It’s typical for handling discipline violators in Taiwan military at the time. If that constituted torture, the threshold would be too low. And if you apply it to what some country does…

        That incident was an unfortunate accident and the people in charge of the discipline unit in that barrack might not respond to it properly. Tawan’s Democratic Progressive Party DPP took the opportunity for its own political gains. By the way, the DPP is anything opposite to democratic and progressive if you care to dig further. The draftee’s sister even used it to get elected to Taiwan legislature.

        The so-called sunflower movement was also designed and executed by DPP and its affiliates for its political gains, not for the interests of people in Taiwan. A lot of the students in that movement didn’t even know the thing that they opposed to. Taiwan was under Ma regime when the movement occurred. Ma is a bumbler who couldn’t hold on principles but continued his attempts to please the opposition.

        DPP is very good at creating/making political calculations for its own interests. Along the way, Taiwan is consistently being screwed up. Only those at high positions in DPP benefits. Whatever democracy or human right are just excuses, if not jokes.

        Reply
  25. flora

    An aside on a personal item: For the last couple of months my emails to blogger with links have bounced back as blocked spam. My isp, my email address, my computer are all the same as prior. I’ve never sent a
    naughty email. The spam bounce looks like it’s coming from a google source. It says something like “ask recipient to put your emails into moderation instead of spam/reject.” Don’t know what’s going on.

    I tried emailing NC with query but of course the email bounced. What’s the old joke: You can’t get there from here? So I’m bringing it up in comments. Maybe someone at NC has an answer or a fix. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      This happens to some people who regularly send us links like UserFriendly. Some get through, some bounce. I have no idea why. I’m sorry you are having problems.

      Reply
  26. flora

    My comment went into mod land. Can I get there from here?

    Shorter: comment was about my sudden inability to reach NC via usual posted emal addresses. Everything bounces.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Nearly all my comments go via mod these days, it just seems to be a random glitch – they nearly all appear eventually.

      Reply
  27. Jeff W

    “Triads linked to violent pro-China gangs as Hong Kong protests enter dangerous new phase”

    From The Guardian “‘Where were the police?’ Hong Kong outcry after masked thugs launch attack” here:

    Flanked by Hong Kong’s police commissioner, security chief and government ministers on Monday, Lam attempted to deflect blame by condemning both sides. “Violence will only breed more violence and at the end of the day the whole of Hong Kong and the people will suffer,” she said.
    ….
    Hiring men to beat up protesters is not a new tactic, according to activists and observers, who say thugs were also behind attacks on pro-democracy protests in 2014.
    ….
    A widely circulated video showed pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho, who lives in Yuen Long, shaking hands with men in white and giving them a thumbs up.

    The inaction of the police (who are more than ready to deploy rubber bullets and tear gas against peaceful protesters on other occasions), the perceived triad/pro-Beijing connection, and the “both-sides”-ism of the Chief Executive—who “call[s] on all sectors…to safeguard the rule of law and say no to violence,” except if they’re, well, the police—will not play well with the Hong Kong public. (Ho’s office has already been trashed in response.)

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > will not play well with the Hong Kong public

      I don’t think we are close enough to know. OTOH, clearly a signal is being sent, but how the people of Hong Kong will react is another matter. Apparently, the young feel “they have nothing to lose,” but how about the retirees, and especially big business?

      Then, too, the Mainland may be saying: “We’ll try the triads first, and then send in the army.” Presumably somebody has thought to mine the bridges to the mainland; perhaps that is what that explosives story, if true, is really about.

      Reply
  28. VinceD

    Putting the “insulin problem” into perspective – I’m seeing Insulin R available at 67.00 per vial – EG diabeticpromotions.com.

    Reply
    1. Charlie

      Problem is that same R insulin would cost you $18 a vial 10 years ago. The cost of production hasn’t increased that much in 10 years, but elite hunger for unearned money certainly has.

      Reply
      1. VinceD

        Sure – sure – but it’s a lot different from the figures mentioned in these articles we’re reading – $5K+ per month.

        Reply
        1. Massinissa

          IIRC, isn’t part of the problem that the US allows regional pricing of insulin or something along those lines? I’m afraid I can’t recall.

          Reply
  29. Wukchumni

    I missed the UC Davis team that was up in Mineral King this weekend doing research for their Redwood Genome Project, sequencing coastal redwood and Sierra sequoia groves, and the object of their desire was the grove within a mile our of cabin, and it earned high praise indeed from somebody that’s been to nearly every known grove in the state…

    Here’s what one of the team members had to say…

    Atwell is such a pretty grove! Perhaps the prettiest for the entire species. We spatially covered the entire grove over 1.5 days, visiting Diamond and Above Diamond and the lowest tree (700’ down from Touchdown Jesus). The second day, we hiked the trail to the top, sampling Tunnel and a 302.5’ tall tree (one of the tallest known sequoias) on our way to the highest tree (8800’ up—incredible tree). Then we bushwhacked down into the forest just northeast of Dean. It’s a gorgeous bowl in there, covered in lupine with 270-290-footers!

    From Dean, we went to Arm and then down. Arm is 9.96’ diameter from the side, but only 4.69’ diameter from below, making it on average 7.32’ diameter. It’s slightly smaller than the largest coast redwood limb at 8.96’ diameter. Looking at rings in the burn scar, I suspect this may be one of the oldest giant sequoias—at least 3000 years if not up to 3500! It is one of my top two favorite sequoia trees ever.

    Reply
  30. GF

    “It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution”

    I used DuckDuckGo and Counterpunch was the first article

    Reply
  31. Synoia

    The IMF Takeover of Pakistan

    Does this mean that Pakistan is not Sovereign in it own currency after running persistent trade deficits?

    The IMF provide $6 Billion, and the condition is that Pakistan must pay over $37 billion to Creditors. Who gets to be squeezed for the $37 Billion? And how?

    Taxes or Domestic Expenditure?

    Reply
  32. Carey

    ‘All Hail Europe’s Permanent Ruling Class’:

    “..Those who count and those who are to be ruled are not the same group of people. That seems to be the essence of modern European politics: a political class and ideological cult that masquerades as a competent technocratic elite, despite its long and disastrous history. Von der Leyen’s terrible record as defense minister meant nothing. Neither did Lagarde’s record as head of the IMF, where, for instance, the Greek debt crisis was transformed into a social catastrophe. The deciding factor was their dedication to something that “those who count” are committed to. Elections are merely a necessary, archaic ritual of legitimization.”

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/all-hail-europes-permanent-ruling-class/

    Reply
  33. WestcoastDeplorable

    I regularly see links here on NC to FT. You guys DO realize Financial Times demands a subscription fee, don’t you? Not to bitch, because I love you guys, but it’s damned frustrating to not notice the “FT”, click there, and no be able to read the content. My advice? Eliminate FT from sites you link to.

    Reply
    1. abynormal

      Click on the title only or type it into your search engine in a new tab…you should pick it up free that way

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        OK, I tried that in FF:

        o entered “Investing in the age of deglobalisation ft.com” in the DDG search box

        o That brought up a bunch of links, with the one to the original article at top

        o Clicked that, got “Be a global citizen. Become an FT Subscriber.”

        So, what did I do wrong?

        Reply
        1. Carey

          This usually works for me for FT links using Firefox:

          -Open a private browser window
          -go to googie (only time I use them)
          -search headline and ‘FT’

          Voila (mostly).

          Reply
          1. ewmayer

            Thanks, but I’m afraid using Google is a dealbreaker for this NCer.

            And if Google is thus really being used to circumvent paywalls, isn’t that just a small-scale version of the kind of mass-copyright-infringement CalPERS got busted for not too long ago, with their sekrit internal free-docs dissemination?

            Reply
            1. Briny

              Same here concerning Google. Really doesn’t matter as even using Google FT website bounces all attempts with any browser which doesn’t surprise me as my security is multilayered and rather extreme. I just ignore FT links.

              Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > So, what did I do wrong?

          You didn’t clear your cookies. Most browsers will allow you to search cookies and clear only the ones you want. Before any NC session, I take about thirty seconds and clear “ft.”, “bloom”, “wap”, and so on.

          Reply
          1. ewmayer

            No, I use FF privacy settings to only permit cookies from a select whitelist of sites, *not* including FT. Or are you saying I need to allow the FT cookies to view the articles, but clear them regularly to help FT ‘forget’ how many articles I’ve read for free? OK, let’s try that – allow ft.com, load article (somehow the link I posted to it above got an NC url prefixed to it – no idea how that happened … anyhow, tried http://www.ft.com/content/8f67815e-aa07-11e9-984c-fac8325aaa04) – same result, paywall in my face. See the new ft.com cookie, deleted it and retried, same result.

            Reply
  34. Wukchumni

    The claim is that an inflated currency is being utilized to reclaim interest in the product being offered, in order to run afoul of failure, content with a yearning potential that shows a score in search of 40 or more before the year end report comes in late September.

    Touch em’ all, being the chosen path back, in a sport where the average fan is pushing 60 or pushing up daisies.

    Reply
    1. ewmayer

      Only neoliberal dogmatism prevents the state of CA from doing essentially the same thing, with the aim of making PG&E a genuine “public utility”, rather than one in name only.

      Reply
    1. jrs

      It’s a smear piece and from 2015 but ..

      It is the counterculture, the new left. But only that that was unabashedly countercultural in aim could survive until now with some semblance of principle, nothing else got through the Reagan revolution without near complete co-option (and you end up with Bill Clinton). Another era, another couple generations and of course it’s different and yes Bernie’s and our perspectives on things have become more culturally diverse (even just feminism alone would add so much to all this) and no it’s not a bad thing (much else has gotten worse since then of course, but there was real value there).

      The critique of education seems much more New Left than libertarian (maybe there was some overlap before libertarian-ism became Milton Freidman etc.), it’s Ivan Illich and yea with an adaptation I guess of Wilheim Reich. It’s not fundamentally coming from any type of right.

      Reply
    1. Massinissa

      I still support the GND after reading it, but more as I view it as a Trojan Horse for pushing the overton window farther in the desired direction rather than an actually workable plan or program. However, the article is absolutely smashing, and certainly smashed any lingering illusions I may have had with regards to its practicability if it was to be adopted ‘straight’.

      Reply
  35. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Bloomberg Black Hole of negative interest rate bonds:

    Here’s a link to a sober and clinical accounting examination of how negative yielding debt steadily eviscerates pensions, banks, insurers, and savers:

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-17/betting-against-gods-now-impossible

    Terrifying.

    Really difficult for me to think how the ZIRP-heads at the Fed, ECB, BOJ etc could not have thought this through a little. They either A.) really didn’t think about/understand this effect; or B.) They did know it all but also knew that to create debt-based money in a world already stuffed to the gills with debt the only remaining transmission channel is the stock market.

    Meantime, persistent rumours about the ECB planning to go from buying junk bonds to buying equities. I’m not against the idea of equity-based money but only if everyone owns equities, as it is 85% of stock market gains go to 15% of people.

    Reply
    1. eg

      Monetary policy is a sideshow compared to fiscal policy.

      Eventually our betters will figure this out, but only once they’ve tried every other possible dead end …

      Reply

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