Links 8/27/19

Why Is Mold Fuzzy? Live Science

Japanification: investors fear malaise is spreading globally FT

Recession watch: Does anyone know what they’re talking about? Columbia Journalism Review

Wall Street Prepares for the End of a Crucial Era Bloomberg. The end of LIBOR.

$572 million verdict handed down in Oklahoma opioid trial The Oklahoman. One of the more subtle and most pernicious effects of Google’s search algo is that it prioritizes global sources over local ones. I would far rather link to The Oklahoman on an Oklahoma story than the BCC, yet the BBC is at the top of Google results and I had to go look for The Oklahoman which, at the link, consolidates plenty of other coverage of this continuing story. Surely Google’s programmers are well-paid and smart enough to work out that The Oklahoman is “authoritative” on an Oklahoma story, and to surface links accordingly? Unless Google actively wishes to destroy local newsrooms, of course, by starving them of links and visibility. Same deal when I was looking for reporting on Biden’s visit to Hanover on Friday for petal’s post; the wire services and the Post were up top, but I had to dig for the Manchester Union-Leader, where the coverage was better. Google has utterly, utterly crapified search.

The case for strategic and managed climate retreat Science

Q&A: Is Agriculture the Answer to Climate Change? Modern Farmer

What happens when permafrost melts? Russia Beyond


Iran tells US to take ‘first step’, end sanctions Agence France Presse

Trump ready to meet Iran’s Rouhani for new nuclear deal FT

Al Shimari, et al. v. CACI Center for Constitutional Rights (Nippersmom). Abu Ghraib torture case dismissed.


Going prorogue: Boris Johnson could face legal action if Brexit battle builds City AM. Note the final paragraph.

Is Britain Becoming a Failed State? Chris Patten, Project Syndicate

An 8,000-Year-Old Platform in Britain Could Be the Oldest Boat-Building Site Ever Discovered Smithsonian

Book review – The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire New Indian Express


My 14 days of siege in Kashmir; a first-hand account from the valley Gulf News

Ground Report: In Drass, World’s Second-Coldest Inhabited Place, Winter Comes Early The Wire and In the Idea of an ‘All India NRC’, Echoes of Reich Citizenship Law The Wire

Another report from the ground on Kashmir. Thread:

Ghosts of Kashmir: Indian authorities refusing to issue death certificates for civilians killed in clashes, say families Independent

BREAKING: Jokowi announces East Kalimantan as site of new capital Jakarta Post. Meanwhile, The Greatest Country On Earth™ can’t get it together to decide what to do about a 108-year-old tunnel under the Hudson.

Palm oil: Indonesia and Malaysia push back as EU clamps down Nikkei Asian Review

Trade war fractures Asian global value chains Asian Correspondent. Author is from the Asian Development Bank.


Hong Kong protesters rotate tactics between radical and restrained, keeping city guessing South China Morning Post

In Hong Kong, Moderate And Radical Protesters Join Forces To Avoid Past Divisions NPR

Commentary: Call Hong Kong police who they are: heroes of Hong Kong Xinhua

In Hong Kong, Life Goes On (Despite the Whiff of Tear Gas) NYT

China Is Sending Keyboard Warriors Over The Firewall Foreign Policy

Senators Demand U.S. Pension Fund Reject China Investment Bloomberg

* * *

“Economic Development in China’s Northwest: Entrepreneurship and Identity along China’s Multi-Ethnic Borderlands” by Joshua Bird Asian Review of Books

China’s Sichuan province to remove restrictions on pig farming Reuters. “Land planners should prioritize the construction of large-scale slaughtering facilities and the mergers and reorganization of slaughtering and processing enterprises will also be encouraged.”

Pentagon accuses China of breaking commitment to peace in South China Sea VN Express

US exports to lobster-loving China go off cliff amid tariffs AP. Susan Collins: “Uh oh….”

Japan automakers need not worry about U.S. trade talks outcome: Motegi Reuters


Ex-Trump Affiliate Secretly Worked With Prosecutors, FBI and CIA for Years WSJ. “The revelations about Mr. Sater’s work for the government, which included going undercover in Cyprus to catch Russian cybercriminals and passing along tips about terrorists and a possible presidential-assassination plot, provide a more nuanced view of one past associate of Mr. Trump. They also add a new element to the story of a president whose life history has brought him into contact with an unusually colorful cast of characters.”

G7 summit statement issued on trade, Iran, Libya, Ukraine and Hong Kong Reuters

Trump Transition

Trump Has Added an Element of Randomness to Markets John Authers, Bloomberg. Since a good fraction of Trump’s voters were “volatility voters,” this was only to be expected.

Trial of High-Powered Lawyer Gregory Craig Exposes Seamy Side of Washington’s Elite NYT. Wait. There’s a side that’s not seamy?

Our Famously Free Press

The Media’s Russian Radiation Story Implodes Upon Scrutiny Scott Ritter, The American Conservative

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

The Tens Of Millions Of Faces Training Facial Recognition; You’ll Soon Be Able To Search For Yourself Hackaday

Google, University of Chicago named in suit charging misuse of patient data HealthCare IT News (suit). From July, still germane.

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Investigators scrutinizing video outside Epstein’s cell find some footage unusable, according to people familiar with the inquiry WaPo

NJ senator: Does Epstein’s alleged sex traffic ring prove Teterboro security is too lax? North Jersey Record. The flight logs.

Jeffrey Epstein’s Links To Scientists Are Even More Extensive Than We Thought Buzzfeed. The Rolodex.

Wills of Jeffrey Epstein, Aretha Franklin raise questions of legitimacy Investment News

Guillotine Watch

Cruise-line companies are building private Caribbean play zones The Economist

The Curse of Moral Purity Chris Hedges, Truthdig (Furzy Mouse). Very good.

What the voice inside your head says about you BBC

Antidote du Jour (Furzy Mouse):

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.


    1. Lee

      Yes! The Oklahoman on the opioid verdict and the Manchester Union story on Biden in Hanover were at the top of the page when I searched the topics on DDG.

    2. Carla

      I’m actually surprised that Lambert uses Google. The only time I use it is sometimes for NC links, when putting in the exact title gets me around a paywall. I use Startpage, where an Oklahoma tv station was the 4th link on the opioids story, and The Oklahoman was 7th. Perhaps I should switch to DDG.

      1. pricklyone

        If you use Startpage, you are using Google. Startpage uses Google results. Read the info page on Startpage’s site.

    3. Wukchumni

      Along with the earlier settlements from Big Opioid, Oklahoma has taken in a billion from the drug pushers. That’s chump change compared to the damage done, but perhaps with the other 49 states playing through, said pushers might overdose via bankruptcy.

    4. Mike

      Duck-duck-go has been my option for the last two years – even so-called “alternatives” like StartPage use Google as their base listing. I even get enraged when people use the term “google” to mean “internet search”. We’ve become a brand name nation, and continue to use faith in these behemoths where independent thought, investigation and analysis belong.

    5. lordkoos

      Yes I’m surprised that people still use google, what with their constant tracking. DDG is much better and they don’t track. Google = big brother.

    6. Tom Bradford

      It’s not just Search – I settled down the other night to stream a recording of “Messiah” from YouTube, and every few minutes suffered a flag ad across the bottom of the screen offering to put me in touch with my guardian angel!

      Far worse, though, was the unskippable 6-second ad in Japanese – gobbledegook to me – that was inserted in the middle of a Mahler symphony, and not even between movements.

      I’ve no objection to enduring a couple of short ads before a video runs – holding and serving the data does cost money – but as a result of the above I now download beforehand any musical or theatrical videos I want to watch, which seems to get around the ad placement routines.

      So as with people’s rejection of Google Search – I switched to DDG years ago – Google’s crass and single-minded pursuit of cash has actually shot itself in the foot.

      1. Angie Neer

        Tom, it’s nice to allow for the cost of holding and serving the data, but how about the people who made the “data” in the first place? Are these videos providing revenue to the musicians, technicians and tradespeople who created them? They invested a lot more effort in it than Google did.

  1. dearieme

    Recession watch: Does anyone know what they’re talking about?

    No, of course not; macroeconomics is junk. Or if any is not junk you’ll know only with hindsight.

    Be reasonable; if macroeconomics was too tough for that very clever blighter Maynard Keynes it’s certainly too tough for the midgets who have succeeded him.

    1. Hepativore

      Actually, I do not think that the idea of macroeconomics is “junk” so much as people in the field refuse to update their theories to reflect how markets and people actually work in relation to each other. For instance, Homo economicus is a mythical creature. The process of financial decision making is heavily influenced by emotional states and personal outlooks in life with rationality coming a distant second.

      As it stands now, economic models that predict market forces do not even come close to predicting human behavior. While this is a difficult thing to do under the best of circumstances, it would help if macroeconomists realized how outdated their models were in the first place.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Yves has a better word for it: hand-waving. They know the models don’t describe reality. But when you try to call them on it, they have a huge number of ready-made excuses – many of which are inconsistent with or directly opposed to others – about why what they do is the best that can be done.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    China’s Sichuan province to remove restrictions on pig farming Reuters. “Land planners should prioritize the construction of large-scale slaughtering facilities and the mergers and reorganization of slaughtering and processing enterprises will also be encouraged.”

    Keeping pork cheap is one of the mantras for the CCP – nothing is more likely to promote local unrest than a rise in the cost of pork noodle dishes.

    One the one hand it makes sense to promote local supplies to reduce animal movements and so control disease. But inland areas in China have very little capacity for absorbing all that hog manure. And of course they’ve got to be fed somehow, and a very high proportion of feed will be coming from those newly cleared Amazonian plains. This isn’t good news for either the Chinese or the Brazilian environment, but might well be good news for US soy farmers.

    If those tech billionaires put a little less money into their impossible burgers and instead worked out how to replace pork with something equally tasty but vegetable based in Chinese cooking, they’d be doing the planet (and pigs) a very big favour.

    1. Eclair

      Why have tech billionaires re-invent the wheel (or gunpowder, printing, silk production, porcelain) when Chinese vegetarian Buddhists have developed a sophisticated and nourishing plant-based cuisine over the past millennium? Tofu and seitan provided millions of Chinese with a delicious plant-base cuisine when the Brits were, to quote Mark Blyth, ‘painting themselves blue’ and running around half-naked while trying to trap the occasional rabbit.

      And, why not make it locally? It’s not rocket science. I remember walking about in the Muslim quarter in Xi’an in the 90’s and watching the local producer of sesame seed oil, sitting in the street with his crushing/extraction machine. And, there were local soy sauce and tofu producers.

      The recent demand for pork and other meats, reflects a market-driven campaign (probably funded by the American Pork Council) to persuade the Chinese that eating meat is the height of Western sophistication and having ‘made it.’

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The Chinese certainly didn’t need the Pork Council to push it in China – its always been the primary meat of choice. On my first visit to China in the 1990’s one of the first things I noticed when I arrived was that any Chinese with means were eating huge chunks of pork with every meal, and small quantities was the norm in most dishes for the poor. Chinese Buddhist vegetarian meals are indeed wonderful, and one of the finest meals I’ve ever had was in a Buddhist oriented restaurant in northern Guangxi. But notably my Chinese friends who I’d persuaded to bring me were extremely grumpy about the lack of meat – its very much a minority taste.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Perhaps more Mahayana Buddhists in China would help.

          In Theravada Buddhism, eating pork is OK, if the animal was not killed on the eater’s behalf (say, from alms giving by others). Still, that sounds like avoiding looking at the source…(no direct responsibility = OK)

          1. Oh

            I think Mahayana Buddhists in Japan eat meat too while Theravada Buddhists in Sri Lanka avoid doing so. I think it has to do with whether they’re Orthodox Buddists or not.
            When I visited southern Guanxi province I had a tough time finding vegetarian restaurants.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Not sure about Sri Lanka, but I think, the Tokugawa shogunate wanted to weaken Buddhists, and they forced them to marry, have children and eat meat.

        2. Holy Cow

          Yes, Chinese character for home, family is made by combining the character for roof and pig/pork.

      2. kareninca

        I wish that were all true, but really – tofu and seitan? I was vegan for 19 years for ethical reasons; I now have to eat some meat to keep my blood sugar down (I have loads of data). But I still don’t eat pork – for ethical reasons.

        But – four years ago I had a relative in the hospital and he couldn’t eat his bacon on his tray and it was going to be dumped anyway, so I ate it. I STILL can’t get that taste out of my brain. It was fabulous. There is a reason people eat pork instead of tofu and seitan. I’d like them to stop eating pigs but a equally tasty substitute is needed. Not tofu and seitan.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Have you tried Chinese vegetarian dishes?

          Of course, it doesn’t always work and there is a famous Fujianese dish, Buddha Jumps Over the Wall, involving shark fin, taro, etc., that not even the Buddha himself could resist (or so says the legend, or marketing).

          1. kareninca

            Yes, of course I’ve eaten Chinese vegetarian dishes, including “mock duck” and “mock pork” and “mock oyster” and so on. I live in California; they are readily available; I like them a lot; on the rare occasion that I eat out I do still eat them. But like I wrote, there is a reason that people eat actual pork instead.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From Sichuan, Wikipedia, on the origin of the name, Sichuan:

      It is commonly believed that the name Sichuan means “four rivers“, and in folk etymology this is usually taken to mean the province’s four major rivers: the Jialing, Jinsha (or Wu), Min, and Tuo.[5][6] According to historical geographer Tan Qixiang, “four rivers” is an erroneous interpretation of the place name.[7] The name of the province is actually a contraction of the phrases Sì Chuānlù (四川路, “Four Plain Circuits”) and Chuānxiá Sìlù (川峡四路, “Four Circuits of Chuanxia”),[note 1][8] referring to the division of the existing imperial administrative circuit in the area into four during the Northern Song dynasty.[9] The character Chuan (川) here means “plain” and not “river” as popularly assumed.[10][11] In addition to its postal map and Wade-Giles forms, the name has also been irregularly romanized as Szű-chuan and Szechuan.

      So, there are four major rivers, but the name itself does not refer to those 4 rivers, as is commonly assumed.

      Stil, there are 4 majaor rivers, one of them being the Yangtze, and the other 3 are its tributaries.

      Hanling pig manure will be critical, as the major city of Chongqing is not far downstream.

  3. dearieme

    Is Britain Becoming a Failed State? Chris Patten

    If a failed state is, by definition, one that is not run to the liking of Establishment figures such as Chris Patten, then yes. Obvs. Tautological, virtually.

    Here’s a simple rule of thumb: if the likes of Chris Patten and Toni Blair oppose something, the said thing is probably a good idea.

    1. Pavel

      ha ha, I had roughly the same reaction when I saw Chris Patten’s name. And Blair’s endless (and probably self-defeating) push to defeat Brexit is probably the single best reason to support it.

    2. EoH

      But after Brexit, the UK will still be a failed state. One could argue that getting to Brexit identifies it as already a failed state.

      1. Oh

        I think Britain became a failed state when the British Pound lost its reserve currency status! We will soon follow when the greenback loses its status.

    1. BobW

      Notonion 27 Aug. 2019

      Jail spokesperson Rosemary Woods reported an eighteen minute gap in videotape…

      1. Olga

        On a different kind of ‘gap:’
        “Yet, the protests and cries for punishment from our self-styled militants for women’s rights have been muted – to understate things. A brief flurry of ritual shock in the weeks immediately after Epstein’s arrest is all. Such condemnation as we heard or read placed the entire affair in the wadding of a general critique of the abuses carried out by privileged men since 1776. Now, just the usual titillation about the deplorable condition of Epstein’s jail cell and tidbits about Lady Ghislaine – the socialite super madame.”

        1. Oregoncharles

          This odd silence might be because the story is almost 10 years old. It’s possible Epstein was exploiting underage girls since his conviction, but that would have been remarkably stupid – and none have come forward, to my knowledge.

          A further factor (I speculate) might be that MeToo was primarily about workplace harassment; statutory rape is a different, even sadder story. And his inner circle consisted largely of young women; all are implicated, to say nothing of Bill Clinton.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Some footage is “unusable”? This sounds like they were trying to edit together a composite and had to leave “some footage” on the cutting room floor.

      Perhaps they just tried to go over the footage with an Arlo Guthrie song.

    3. Mike

      No- that episode was a lesson learned. This leakage of info is another brick in the wall of titllating gossip to feed the conspiracy stories that will have to compete with the FBI & CIA concoctions ready for media release, just to confuse the cat.

    4. WJ

      “It was not immediately clear why some video footage outside Epstein’s cell is too flawed for investigators to use or what is visible in the usable footage.”

      Hahahahahahahaha. Absurdist theater with a straight face.

      Meanwhile, from this NY Times article on the Sisters Who Tried to Take Down Epstein—

      We get a great quote attributed to Ghislaine Where Am I? Maxwell:

      When word got out that the sisters had given a detailed interview to the magazine [2012 Vanity Fair] the angry phone calls to her resumed, Ms. Farmer said.
      “Better be careful and watch your back,” she said Ms. Maxwell told her. “She said, ‘I know you go to the West Side Highway all the time. While you’re out there, just be really careful because there are a lot of ways to die there.’””

      1. hester

        Read that today. Hope Maxwell is arrested soon.

        Tho I’m just as dismayed (not surprised) that the FBI, the police, and the ptb just didn’t give 2 centimes about those 2 girls. Anything to protect the gravy train and keep the $$$ flowing.

        Sickening and vile.

    5. show_me

      Video tape ? Really ??
      The lack of funds for modern equipment is a clear indication of the lack of commitment to protect. If it’s really tape it should be noted (for those of you who didn’t experience the fabulousness of VCR’s in the 80’s) that tape recorders need constant oversight not to mention tape replenishment. Unless the video quality is frequently checked how would they know if what they’re recording is viewable?
      I would love to hear from those assigned to “video tape quality control” .

  4. dearieme

    they suggested a repair procedure that included … a state-of-the-art fiber-reinforced-polymer material: to be fair anyone who didn’t recommend a state-of-the-art something or other would be viewed as a terrible stick-in-the-mud.

    Jokowi announces East Kalimantan as site of new capital: but what about the poor Orang Utans?

    Pentagon accuses China of breaking commitment to peace You’ve got to laugh.

  5. Amfortas the hippie

    on the modern farmer article:
    re: “regenerative ag”
    while i’m naturally suspicious of financialised “remedies”…and cap and trade schemes seem to allow a continuation of BAU, I’m still for this.
    especially if it focuses on smaller farms.
    however, there are two huge caveats to the ability to sequester carbon by building healthy soil:
    1. poisoned manure. This is one of my long term peeves.
    “persistent herbicides”, out of dowpont(may they burn in hell) get sprayed on the hay, and go through the cow, or whatever, unharmed, into the manure. they also survive the composting process. so you spend all this time and effort gathering and composting manure, apply it to your field or bed, and the compost itself turns out to be an herbicide(remember, a tomato plant looks like a “broadleaf weed” to an herbicide)
    the county ag extension guy hawks this stuff to farmers as the latest tool…and he often doesn’t know about this follow on effect. poisoned manure is a death knell for any kind of sane agriculture practice.
    the soil test for these chems is proprietary, so you’re left with the Bean Test, which is time consuming and a rather dirty lens.
    2. neonic pesticides….I’m convinced that our current grasshopper plague(3 years running) is due to these horrible chems. they are indiscriminate…killing the good bugs along with the bad…and I’d bet my arm that they are responsible for the noticeable absence of swallows, scissortails and other flycatchers and bug eaters(poisoned bugs=poisoned bug eaters)(I’ve seen one scissortail this year, and no swallows…and very few bats)
    the pesticides themselves, meanwhile, are not effective for grasshoppers. they are mobile, so you spray one field with them, and they just move over to the margins, the woods or another unsprayed field…and then come right back.
    so you’re not getting these destructive pests, and at the same time, inadvertently killing off the most effective natural predators of these pests.
    the extension guy, again, is pushing these poisons on the hay farmers. “it’s the latest tool!”…likely without knowing these ancillary effects.

    so there’s no magic bullet….only a wholesale, top to bottom revolution in how we grow food will suffice.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      One thing that revolution will require is more people growing food. The dream of the ADMs, Bayers and Dows for robot tractors to be spraying ever more lethal poisons on GMOs designed to survive those poisons grown in 600 acre fields is a recipe that will destroy us in a multitude of ways. It will take people caring for plants and animals–and the soil, insects, birds, etc.–on an improved version of farming a century ago.

    2. jefemt

      Agreed- and our hubris that somehow the stuff doesn’t bioaccumulate and end up in ‘the smartest guys in the room’– humans– is jaw-dropping. We are what we eat.

      Karma, reaping what we sow, yada…

      One of my dearest, smartest permaculturalist / vegetarian chefs swears by the Rosa Health program (Medford, OR) that eschews grains, and is solidly vegetable/ fruit and occasional meat protein based diet as the key to health, along with exercise, ‘right acting/thinking/deliberate’ psycho-social lifestyle.

      It’s not rocket surgery, but it is clearly un-American!

      Interesting times, indeed…

    3. jefemt

      One of the worlds most well-known well -read and thoughtful pessimists, Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia clothing, climbing pioneer) feels that sustainable food is the magic key that might just save us all.

      Hey-ho, Lets Go!

      1. Cal2

        Yeah, purveyor of $300 recycled plastic windbreakers to save the planet, made in China. What a fraud that guy is.

        1. lordkoos

          At least Patagonia products last a very long time in, my personal experience. I have Patagonia garments that I still use after 25 years. I think there are probably better targets for your anger, like the makers of single-use plastic items.

          1. Cal2

            And the reason that Americans earning a livable wage instead of Chinese coolies cannot be part of his mission to save the world is?…..

            1. Monty

              Looks like they do have a few factories making clothes in the US. Quite unusual. That’s probably why they are so expensive!


              I think at least 50% of US consumers don’t care about such things. They care about 1. price and 2. convenience. Ethics and quality are usually ignored.

              1. Left in Wisconsin

                People are not born with developed consumption preferences. They are created and nurtured by advertising and ancillary (news articles and TV segments on “how to be a smart shopper”).

              2. Peter

                It’s not that they don’t care, it’s that they’re too poor, too worried about making the rent, wondering how they’ll put gas in the car, and explaining to their kids why they can’t participate in certain activities in which their wealthier school chums play because there is no money for such items.

              1. Cal2

                Feel free not to use it then. It’s part of my cultural patrimony in San Francisco. Actually “slave” would be more appropriate, due to the location of the factories. You can’t censor people’s First Amendment rights. If people listened to shrill censors, eventually all words, save a few verbs, would be banned.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              The reason is … Free Trade Agreements.

              Withdraw from and abrogate all the Free Trade Agreements and it would be unilaterally legal for America to tarrifize product coming in from elsewhere until it costs just as much as if it had been made in the US. Then at least the powerful disincentive aGAINST producing in the US will have been removed.

              But we have to take America totally out of the Free Trade Agreement System first to be able to do that.

    4. Cal2

      We already have that revolution in the market place; Authentic Organic Food.

      That is, high quality, small scale organic farmed food, that can be scaled up, certified by reputable agencies, like California Certified Organic Farmers, or Oregon Tilth, not the mass marketed compromises like ‘quality assurance international, sold at A**Whole Foods or Safeway.

      When people boycott factory food out of self preservation, there will be change. Make that “there already is change”. Organic food sales are doubling every decade approximately.

    5. Roxan

      Amfortas, you have finally explained my problems with manure! I simply could not understand why my usual gardening methods dont work. Makes me wonder about meat and milk, too.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i didn’t even know there was such a thing, until we’d wheelbarrowed 5 yards of rotted cow manure into the beds on the back lot when we were living in town.
        direct seeding wouldn’t germinate…and whatever i seeded inside, once i put it out, a week or two later, the leaves would curl, and the plant would get sickly and die…often lingering in a sort of half life.
        tomatoes look just like they were sprayed with 2-4-D(from past experience/unconscious farmer-neighbor); leaf curling in that particular way, strange yellowing(different from N deficiency, etc)
        since there was nowhere that 2-4-D could have drifted from, i went looking online.
        this fit, and sure enough, there the jugs of the stuff were on the feedstore shelf.
        old owner removed them…new owner put them back(and doesn’t like me:”damned hippie”)

        ergo, i no longer get cow manure from the local feedlot/auction—too many cows from too many ranchers.
        looking for a third horse person who stables(and has a loader, dammit) to fill out my needs.
        otherwise sticking to manure from on-site—so far, chickenhouse, and wherever the geese are bivouacked.

        i hypothesize that super-hot composting with a bunch of dry molasses,etc would shorten the breakdown time(normal composting: about 5 years, depending), but have not tested this, as yet.
        a quick soil test would be ideal…but dowpont won’t let it loose.

    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      > poisoned manure is a death knell for any kind of sane agriculture practice

      I keep mentioning the horrid stuff I got from Casella. Destroyed a melon patch. Nothing grew there again, except for quack grass, of course.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    The Media’s Russian Radiation Story Implodes Upon Scrutiny Scott Ritter, The American Conservative

    Fascinating if true, and his theory certainly makes a lot of sense and is consistent with official Russian statements. In short, he says the accident was not a nuclear powered cruise missile, but a liquid propellant rocket with a U-235 battery.

    Going by the commentary in the somewhat more tech savvy media, it seems the main source for the ‘Skyfall’ theory is opposition news within Russia. I’ve seen some reporting that goes into quite a lot of detail to support the theory that it was a reactor rather than a battery that was responsible for the fall-out – I wonder if we are now in the realms of active disinformation rather than just bad reporting.

    1. David

      I wondered at first why the Russians would be developing liquid-fueled rockets at this stage of the game, when the West has used solid fuels since the 1970s. But it seems they are. This analysis suggests why.
      The Russians have been worried for some time now that the US might develop a genuinely invulnerable first strike capability through widespread deployment of ABMs and enough warheads to take out the whole of the Russian capability. In that context, Ritter’s theory seems reasonable.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        That is interesting, I’d been wondering too why they seemed to be taking that backward step. Mind you, I recall reading years ago that big Russian solid fuel rockets were usually considered as much a danger to the operators as to the supposed targets.

            1. ambrit

              I read the biography of Parsons, “Strange Angel” a few years ago. The exposure of L Ron Hubbard as a philanderer and confidence artist was part of the Parsons story. I knew that there was something basically ‘wrong’ with Scientology simply due to it’s genesis.

    2. Bill Smith

      There were plenty of mainstream media reports that seem pretty accurate. Check the wiki page on the accident. They link to a number of articles back on August 10th that still seem reasonable.

    3. ewmayer

      Re. “U-235 battery” — note the RTGs described by Ritter as being used by the Russians are fuled by Cs-137, a byproduct of U-235 fission (i.e. extractable from nuclear power plant spent-fuel assemblies) with a half-life of 30 years.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    BREAKING: Jokowi announces East Kalimantan as site of new capital Jakarta Post.

    Unusually, this seems to be quite a rational decision rather than one based on politics or grandiosity. Jakarta is under enormous strain and it makes sense to shift the administrative centre somewhere else.

    Having said that, the history of ‘new’ capitals isn’t good – from Canberra to Brasilia they usually end up as dull, soulless places. Great cities grow organically, they are rarely started from scratch with any degree of success. Even attaching them to existing towns, like Ottawa or Bonn isn’t always a great idea. Germany moved its capital back to Berlin for a pretty good reason.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That reminds me of a planned city in Australia named Adelaide. You had a strong Presbyterian element in the early days of its founding and the city was nicknamed ‘The City of Churches’ through the number of church spires and its moral fiber. Fellow Australians referred to Adelaide though as the only graveyard in Australia lit up at night. Fortunately the city has changed its character since then but it took a long time to shake that image.

      1. dearieme

        Bloody gem of a city, Adelaide.

        Fellow Australians referred to Adelaide though as …

        Yeah, and Adelaideans referred to fellow Australians as the Convict States.

    2. DJG

      PlutoniumKun: I had to look up East Kalimantan yesterday:

      The proposed site of the new city is not far from Samarinda, a sizable city that is the capital of the region. Unlike Canberra and Brasilia, which were built inland (deliberately) to draw people away from the coast, it seems that the new capital will be on or near the coast.

      Jokowi is Javanese, so it is interesting that he would like to move the capital off Java. I’m wondering if his thinking is in line with the long history of Javanese resettlement in Indonesia, which, I gather, has had mixed success. Any Indonesia experts in the commentariat? Indonesia (like Brazil) is one of those countries that U.S. news media simply ignore, unless there is a disaster.

      Bonn, if I recall, was a sop to… Adenauer? He was from the Rhineland and decided that moving the capital there would keep it safe and Rhenish-cozy.

      Ottawa? Our Canadian colleagues can comment. I always thought that it is to keep the French speakers from invading Ontario and is far enough upriver to deter U.S. advances.

    3. dearieme

      But Berlin was an almost entirely synthetic city of the type you disparage. It started as a tiny town in a swamp. But lo – 1640: Frederick William, known as the “Great Elector”, succeeded his father George William as Elector of Brandenburg. Later he initiated a policy of promoting immigration and religious toleration. Over the following decades, Berlin expanded greatly in area and population with the founding of the new suburbs of Friedrichswerder and Dorotheenstadt. During his government Berlin reached 20,000 inhabitants and became significant among the cities in Central Europe for the first time.

      See? It became a distinguished city at the will of Elector Freddie Bill: none of your natural economic growth rubbish here. I dare say WKPD’s mention of religious toleration is an allusion to the Elector’s policy of inviting Huguenots to settle there.

      1. Olga

        From what you say, it seems possible that in 300-400 yrs, the new Indonesian capital may become a great city. Just imagine the amount of environmental destruction that will also take place in that time.

    4. Larry Taylor

      > Germany moved its capital back to Berlin for a pretty good reason.

      I was taught at school (in the ’60s) that the capital of Germany remained Berlin despite and throughout all of the vicissitudes. The West Germans just relocated their seat of government temporarily to Bonn.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The First Emperor of China inherited his capital, Xianyang.

      The next dynasty’s founder built his brand new captial, Chang’an, across the Wei River (and because the new city was on the south side of the river, its name did not involve the word ‘yang’ – of the yinyang pair – whereas Xianyang was on the north side of the river, there was a ‘yang’ in Xianyang).

      Later, a new Chang’an was built near the old Chang’an by the Sui dynasty founder.

      A thousand years or so later, the Mongols built their new capital in Dadu (literally, Grand Capital), aka Khanbaliq, near the capital, called Zhongdu, or Central Capital* of the previous dynasty (the Jin, established by the ancestors of the
      Manchus, the Jurchens).

      When the ethnic Han founder of Ming overthrew the Mongols, he located his capital in the old city of Nanjing (literally, the Southern Capital). His son, who defeated the legitimate succeeding emperor, his nephew, Jianwen, who was the grandson of the dynasty founder, moved the capital back to Beijing (llteral meaning – the Northern Capital), just a bit south of the Mongols’ capital, and erected the palace pretty much as we see it today. And there, the ultimate power of the Ming and Qing dynasties was located, for the next 500 years or so.

      Long story short – brand new capitals occured many times in Chinese history. And multiple capitals, simultaneously, were not unusual.

      *There were several capitals for the Jin.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    Japanification: investors fear malaise is spreading globally FT

    Deflation and zero or negative interest rates already seem baked in for Europe. As the article says, Ireland, Spain and Portugal have dipped into negative bond rates this year. You can either consider that a sign of their highly successful recoveries, or a sign that investors are getting quite desperate.

    Deflation and stagnation comes next. I’m not sure Europe has the sort of social stability Japan has – the latter has allowed it to accept lowered population growth and deflation. It is far more problematic for other countries.

    1. Grant

      It’s almost like private interests having the power to create most money and being responsible for most investment decisions, knowing that lots of information is missing in markets, might not work well anymore for society. There are lots of things to invest in that might not be profitable at all, since lots of non-market and collective costs and benefits are missing, but they would be a great societal benefit because of the non-market and collective benefits and the avoidance of collective non-market costs.

      Isn’t it time to talk about economic growth itself? We are clearly reaching limits in regards to throughput and pollution generation, and there is no limit on the growth of finance, the monetary system and debt. Seems that the entire system is a poor match for the needs of the present and future, but what do I know?

      1. Oregoncharles

        Thank you. I try to throw in these fundamental considerations from time to time, as do several others; especially important, I think, on a finance blog.

        ” We are clearly reaching limits in regards to throughput and pollution generation, and there is no limit on the growth of finance, the monetary system and debt.” – puts it extremely well, though “are…reaching” is optimistic. I think we reached those some time ago.

        CASSE – – is a site and organization trying to address those issues. I notice they’ve adopted a rather alarmist front page. Things are getting scary.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I think you are asking the right questions about money (how and why is it made? How can we get it to circulate?). But the State Theory of Money has always felt incomplete to me.
        M Hudson points out that debt always grows faster than the economy. So unless debt remains payable you risk money disconnecting entirely from the real economy it is meant to serve. So it’s not as simple as the State manufacturing money at will. Yes yes MMT links money creation to various measures of economic growth but these can be and are gamed. Apart from being very unreliable.
        What I like about our current system (very little) is that (theoretically anyway) money is created in response to actual demand. Of course that is completely subverted by the cheap parlour tricks of recent years like QE.

        1. Grant

          “What I like about our current system (very little) is that (theoretically anyway) money is created in response to actual demand. Of course that is completely subverted by the cheap parlour tricks of recent years like QE.”

          Demand for what, who demands things, what information is available to guide demand and do people have enough money to demand things that would have lower environmental and social non-market costs? Let’s say that a typical consumer wants to buy something or do something. Do they care about the environment? Even if they did, is there data to guide consumer decisions? Even if there is, can the huge amount of variables that have to be simultaneously considered be realistically done by individual consumers and businesses, and even if it could be, do people have the proper training to be able to make sense of the data? What about tacit information, which cannot realistically be transferred to people through markets? I mean, if I want to make an environmentally conscious decision, I not only have to know the impact of what I am buying, I realistically can’t know if my consumption is sustainable unless I also know what you and everyone else is also buying. Is that, again, remotely realistic? Am I going to choose to demand things, given this, that is good for society, especially in the present context, or will my demand likely make matters worse for the environment and society? Yes, I would argue that is almost certainly the case.

          Private interests make investments decisions without taking non-market and collective impacts into account because they do not have to. Lots of money is created for things that have huge negative non-market impacts and not enough things are funded that have positive non-market impacts. Why would a private financial institution consider anything other than what can be measured by markets and what leads to higher profits? Private interests will always operate in that way unless forced to take those things into account, and forcing them to do things that results in profit losses would be hard to justify in this system, even if we could prove the non-market benefits more than make up for the private profit losses. It is hard to monitor that they are doing what the state wants them to if it simply mandates things. The market says there is a demand for tons of exotic financial instruments that have next to no, possibly negative, societal value when non-market impacts are taken into account. There is a huge imbalance in regards to housing. We need affordable housing, and yet that is often not profitable. I work in planning, and developers have very little interest in affordable housing outside of things like density bonuses (which add relatively little to the affordable housing stock) because that is simply not profitable. So, developers focus on what is profitable for them, even if it results in higher social costs in regards to homelessness and housing costs that are increasingly unaffordable. So, I don’t see demand as being a justification what so ever for keeping these decisions in private hands. Besides anyway, to the extent that markets do exist, they can be a means of transferring information to producers and those supplying the money to make things or to provide services. It then becomes important to think where the money goes in the economy after it is created. If it goes to a Koch brother, the demand could be to buy a huge private jet. Not good for the environment. If it goes to a working person, it might allow them to rent an apartment that doesn’t have lead in the water. If it goes to an environmental organization, they might buy up some land and stop it from being destroyed by developers. But, I don’t think private banks have done a damn thing to justify us giving them this power. At the very least it should be open to debate. Do we trust private banks to make these decisions when so much information is missing in markets and when some investments benefit those banks but at the same time create huge social and environmental non-market costs for society? From a systems perspective, I think it is obvious that we need a much stronger role for public banking and public spending and far less for private spending and private money creation. Of the private spending that should exist, I think there should be far more social control on investment decisions. Maybe I am not considering things that should be considered. But, I at least think we should start debating this stuff. As this blog has shown, central banks increasingly are. I think we should widen the debate, and I think that MMT can be really useful in the debate.

    2. eg

      We are watching monetary policy strangle itself.

      Good riddance — it’s well past time that fiscal policy retake centre stage.

      Next up, capital controls and credit guidance …

  9. The Rev Kev

    “In the Idea of an ‘All India NRC’, Echoes of Reich Citizenship Law”

    Well it’s not like Modi is going to come out with a slogan saying ‘One Indian People, One Indian Nation, One Indian Leader – Me!’ but I note that this system could potentially be used to discriminate against the Dalits – those at the bottom of the pile in India’s caste system. Many countries are trying to cope with the rise of nationalism while others have opportunists using it to enable their rise to power. Modi is really encouraging Hindu nationalism in a vision where some of the population are being denied a place in their own country and Muslims are the first in line here-

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Chris Hedges fully on the money IMO & I really do fear for those who been encouraged in a ” If you got it flaunt it ” sort of way, from politicians who obviously do not give a damn about any consequences that might eventually arise in the form of a backlash.

      His mention of Weimar reminded me of the WW1 Vet Symbolist painters who documented the decadence & the disparity in wealth, notably Otto Dix whose vicious paintings first depicted the horrors of war before he moved onto Weimar culture with this & other exercises in resentment :

      1. Mike

        There have been a few, myself included, who have made the Weimar parallel, not only in regard to political/economic points, but also just the slow and stady reduction of social life to the market and entertainment. “Fun, fun, wanna have fun, fun” – caption for the bulk of our society.

        1. The Rev Kev

          No worries Eustache. I am still trying to forget some of the boners that I have pulled from time to time.

        2. Oregoncharles

          I think there’s a gremlin in the system; occasionally doubles a post, too.

          I believe Yves agreed that NC is to some extent the victim of its success, right out at the technical limits of the vehicle, but too hard to change over.

      2. Cal2

        “The continued inability of America’s liberal democratic establishment to address the ills besetting the country—climate change, unregulated global capitalism, mounting social inequality, a bloated military, endless foreign wars, out-of-control deficits and gun violence—means the inevitable snuffing out of our anemic democracy.”

        Maybe the “liberal democratic establishment” is the problem, not the obligatory solvers of the problem?

        OK Mr. Hedges, let’s give the people that ran the country in the time of our most widespread prosperity, the 1920s, or the 1950s, a chance to address those ills then.
        That is, white Christian males running the government, with their morals, civic unity, conservation ethics, immigration quotas, community standards and an effective tax rate of 90% on millionaires–adjusted for inflation of course.
        Would that satisfy a refugee from the seminary like you? :-)

        How can anyone take the continually whining bloviating Hedges seriously?
        e.g. “The Horrors of homophobia are destroying the country…”
        One of his finer quotes.

        1. Monty

          America was famous for “civic unity” up until the 50s? I must be reading the wrong history books!

          1. NotTimothyGeithner


            This is your problem. What are you one of those godless commies? Just sit back and let Joe and Mika tell you how we need to return to civility.

  10. Jesper

    About the Epstein affair: Before his death the denials by prominent people were about denying they themselves having done anything wrong, now after his death then the denials seem to have changed to be about noticing anything bad done by Epstein. Must be a relief for them to be able to shift focus from their own alleged actions to the actions done by a dead man. Some PR-consultants jobs got a lot easier after his death….

  11. EoH

    What is unusual about an 8,000 year-old shipbuilding platform found on the UK’s Isle of Wight? Any number of them could be found on the Clyde and in Northern Ireland. The British are always reluctant to refurbish what still works. :-}

  12. meadows

    Regarding the BBC article concerning the voices in our heads… great stuff! My “grounded” wife of decades is always asking me, as an amateur psychologist, “What were they thinking!?” This in regards to some odd social behavior.

    My reply is always, “I have no idea and I suspect they didn’t either.”

    And when she asks me, “What’s on your mind?” I reply, ” Within me are multitudes, each clamoring for a voice.”

    I know the Whitman quote is off and I am deliberately obfuscating, but I have very little control over my inner dialogs verbal or visual… I’m a cork in the ocean… I can only control, somewhat, my actions and reactions.

    Nor do I control the weather, only what I wear going into it. Observing one’s weather carefully is a useful thing.

  13. Blowncue

    Al-Shimari et al versus CACI:

    The case has not been dismissed. This is a civil action that has been filed multiple times and made several round trips between federal district court and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal.

    The defendant, a private contractor, appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal to reverse a District Court’s denial of defendant’s motion to dismiss on the grounds of derivative sovereign immunity.

    And other words the defendant’s sought to have the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal dismiss the case on the grounds that the defendant enjoyed derivative sovereign immunity.

  14. Blowncue

    To amplify, the trial date was suspended while interlocutory appeals were heard. Barring further appeals, I would expect the trial date to be reinstated and rescheduled.

    1. nippersmom

      Absolutely, and that is clear in the actual article. The appeal by the private contractor of the ruling that it is not entitled to derivative immunity is what was dismissed. The actual case against the contractor on behalf of the tortured prisoners should now be moving forward.

      1. pretzelattack

        ah, thank you. the mill is grinding exceeding slowly, but at least it is still grinding.

  15. Janie

    The Daily Oklahoman was owned and operated by E. K. Gaylord for seventy-plus years, and then his son took over. It was sold some 20 plus years ago, but I’ll bet the culture of the most right-wing daily in this country lives on. It used to be dead last in Columbia School of Journalism’s rankings. Haven’t lived there for some time, so no updated info on its quality now.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The Union-Leader is rabidly right-wing, too. It’s reporting on Biden in Hanover was still better than the nationals.

      Even if the choice comes down to a local oligarch vs. a global oligarch, which it does not always do, I’d still go with the local oligarch.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I agree. We had an illuminating experience during the “Battle for Seattle” over the WTO. We were in a rare position to watch a lot of TV (motel room), and observed that the local Seattle stations were far more honest about events than the network news. They have little choice – their readers were there.

      2. Janie

        Yes, local sources are preferable. Gaylord was rabidly pro Viet Nam war, castigated protesters and carried Alsop columns and i havent forgiven him. IMO, he is largely responsible for Oklahoma’s red state politics. Thankfully the political scene seems to be moderating recently.

        This is the dynasty that owns the Gaylord hotels in Nashville and Fort Worth.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Trump ready to meet Iran’s Rouhani for new nuclear deal”

    Trusting a deal put together by Trump? I am sure that there are plenty of people in New York alone that could advise on the wisdom of this. It is times like this that I can understand the ancient custom of hostage-swapping to make sure a treaty was upheld. These would be important hostages like children of the ruler and his extended family and they would live with the ruler in the other country living in luxury.
    I wonder how Barron Trump would feel about an extended stay in Tehran living with Hassan Rouhani’s family?

  17. T

    “…a president whose life history has brought him into contact with an unusually colorful cast of characters.”

    Delicious phrasing.

    1. Drake

      I’ve never thought Trump was the Howard Stern semi-regular guest (was he an official Wack Pack member?) best suited for the Oval Office. Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf would have been a natural.

  18. Jason Boxman

    I’d say based on your ongoing observations about how terrible Google Search is, and how important it is to be able to find quality information, that “search” ought to be a public good, managed by a public entity. If only we lived in a country where that sort of arrangement was conceivable.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “search” ought to be a public good, managed by a public entity.

      Like the library of Congress. We don’t really need more innovation. In fact, search was better at Google, say, two and certainly ten years ago. when Yves was writing her book.

  19. Summer

    RE: “I would far rather link to The Oklahoman on an Oklahoma story than the BCC, yet the BBC is at the top of Google results and I had to go look for The Oklahoman which, at the link, consolidates plenty of other coverage of this continuing story. Surely Google’s programmers are smart enought to work out that The Oklahoman is “authoritative” on an Oklahoma story, and to surface links accordingly? Unless Google actively wishes to destroy local newsrooms, of course, by starving them of links and visibility….”

    On some level, they aren’t smart enough to challenge rule by algorithm. People keep wanting or expecting that Google has humans deeply involved in news vetting. Google click vets. The all powerful number of clicks is still the primary concern of the advertising driven business. When the story came out, the BBC, known to large cities in Europe is going to get more clicks (moving it up) than the Oklahoman (entire state only a few million people). Google isn’t concerned with reporting depth and accuracy and probably a snobbish about thinking The Oklahoman, staffed by Okies, would have more insight about a subject than the BBC (staff probably filled with grads from elite schools).
    Their surveillance partners of Google would have more interest in the destruction of local newsrooms and controlling the narratives…

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Hong Kong protesters rotate tactics between radical and restrained, keeping city guessing”

    ‘Many wonder which protest movement – the restrained or the radical – will show up at big march planned for Saturday’. Whoever turns up, it is still the same movement and probably the same people. People keep on saying that this is all spontaneous and all home grown but I do not think that that excludes the possibility of a trained core operating among the crowds. Colour me cynical but I still remember the Ukrainian putsch. We all saw the Euromaiden people fighting against the police but all was not what it seemed.
    Before the fighting even started, 86 men went by coach to Poland where at a police training facility, ‘they received four weeks of intensive training in crowd management, person recognition, combat tactics, command skills, behavior in crisis situations, protection against gases used by police, erecting barricades, and especially shooting, including the handling of sniper rifles.’ I think the regular fighters were earning about $50 a day while their leaders were earning $100 a day. Nice work if you can get it. So the large crowds provided cover for these highly trained fighters who were the sharp end of the fighting against the police.
    In addition, western police went to the Ukrainian riot police to study their tactics beforehand and I have no doubt that the Euromaiden fighters took advantage of all this information that no doubt that they received. So perhaps the bulk majority of those Hong Kong protesters are sincere. That does not exclude the likelihood that there is a core of fighters that have received their training elsewhere and these are the radical ones tht we are seeing-

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I wonder if would agree:

      What is Voltaire Network International?
      Voltaire Network International is the publisher of this website. Thierry Meyssan is the director and legal representative.

      Voltaire Network International
      9th Floor
      Amtel Building
      148 Des Voeux Road
      Hong Kong

      > I do not think that that excludes the possibility of a trained core* operating among the crowds.

      It’s hard to prove a negative. But adding: If there was anything to this, why on earth hasn’t the Mainland organized a show trial? They broke up an enormous U.S. spy ring last year, and leaving aside that it would be crazy for us to run an enormous and risky operation from so compromised a base, why on earth is the Mainland not capable of ferreting out US operatives in HK? We’re not dealing with corrupt goons in Ukraine, here, but with a highly capable intelligence service. Occcam’s razor says that there’s no need to add “hidden hands” to the mix, even if we are competent, which we are not.

      * As if the Umbrella protests didn’t provide enough training! Do you think HKers are stupid or incapable?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The outsider connection possibility has been mentioned a few times recently.

        I’d like to see some evidence, in light of a recent link about the police in HK reporting no sign of foreign interference (or words to that effect).

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          The belief in outside agitators seems quasi-religious in character. The evidence of things not seen. Even tactical similarities prove nothing; there’s enough material in the press and in videos!

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            It’s the left-wing version of American Exceptionalism. Chomsky often expresses it. It is the belief that America is the unique cause of every bad event or every uprising or every everything else anywhere in the world. America is exceptionally evil. It is American Exceptional Evilism

            But American Exceptional Evilism is just American Exceptionalism standing on its head.

            It may also be lingering unexamined racism and racial contempt. How could the inferior and racially-handicapped non-white peoples of the world be able to maintain long-running protest actions? They must have hidden secret American White men leading them and organizing them somewhere.

        2. juliania

          The outsider influence happened historically when Hong Kong became what it is, temporarily speaking. Very different value stream from the mainland, which worked extremely well until it didn’t. And China may not be entirely to blame for that. It’s a very tricky situation, which might be compared to the position of persons in an occupied country who are making a living until the occupation leaves.

      2. The Rev Kev

        In all fairness, this story was broken by a Polish left-wing publication and about five years ago I saw coverage in Russian (of course) publications. I chose that Voltaire link as it repeated that story but the original story I saw, and which I could not find, included a picture of some of these guys posing with their instructors.
        It cannot be denied that some of the protestors have made trips to the US before the troubles started and one US embassy member was photographed in a meeting with some of the protestors in a hotel in Hong Kong. So, the involvement is there. As for proving a negative, I also cannot prove that Epstein was murdered in his cell but it certainly was a happy development for an awful lot of powerful people.

  21. Jim A.

    Re: The end of LIBOR
    Is there any consistency about what EXISTING contracts specify if LIBOR is unavailable? Because there are A lot of existing mortgages which could go on for decades. Would those be frozen if there is no more LIBOR. Becsse if the contact simply says something like “the most recently published LIBOR that would seem to be what would happen. And that could be HUGE if interest rates spike.

    1. Bill Smith

      There is wording in most of the ARM contracts I’ve seen that handles the issue. It says something like the rate used would be the one the industry agrees on. Which would likely be ICE.

  22. JohnnyGL

    A more sobering poll result from Morning Consult which shows NO deterioration for Biden. He’s still +13 on Sanders.

    Hard to know which is closer to the truth. I’ve noticed that the weekly Morning Consult poll seems to be slower and smaller in its reflection of polling shifts. They’ve got a very large sample size, so that could be a factor.

    1. lordkoos

      I have a hard time believing that Biden is that far ahead. Was this another one of those polls where they only called land lines?

    2. Grant

      You have to wonder what is going on between the ears of the people being polled, who continue to support Biden despite all that we see, his record and his corruption. It’s mind blowing how utterly lost so many people are. Why are people so determined to vote if they are so unwilling to do any research or critical thinking?

      1. inode_buddha

        In a word, Ideology. They agree with Biden’s professed positions, and are determine to be counted in that way. Whether or not he actually honors or accomplishes anything is entirely irrelevant to the ideologue. Same happens with other candidates, and other parties.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        People hate to learn, especially those who are accredited or believe in wisdom derived from simply being older. Perhaps, we failed as a society by tolerating grades beyond a pass/fail and letters of recommendation (And maybe entrance exams?). We mock the everybody gets a trophy upbringing, but I’m starting to think the constant presence of grades might really turn people off to learning but only regurgitation for means of advancement or a prize.

        Political and historical knowledge is so weak that people find pride in what is really innocuous crossword trivia decades later. Knowing Biden was a Senator is enough for too many people. Knowing the Senate exists is enough, and this isn’t really a knock on “the poors.” This is about people who have the access and resources to know better, but they don’t want their status challenged so they don’t bother to learn.

    3. Skip Intro

      I think the polling is more performative than predictive at this point, as if they didn’t learn anything from 2016. For every voter that gets dragged along to just ‘go with the winner’ another blows off voting because it’s in the bag, according to polls. Meanwhile the gaslighted price condos in DC and start cozying up to Hunter Biden.

    4. Briny

      I’ve noted the distinction between Likely Voters and Registered Voters seems to explain some of the variance as well as size and methodology, of course.

  23. Summer

    Something else for the climate change news:

    “Brazil reportedly plans to reject $20 million offered from G-7 countries to help fight the raging wildfires destroying the Amazon rainforest unless France’s president apologizes for calling Brazil’s president a liar.

    “We are thankful, but maybe those resources would be more relevant to reforest Europe,” Onyx Lorenzoni, chief of staff to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, told Brazilian news website G1….”

  24. Summer

    RE: Recession watch: Does anyone know what they’re talking about? Columbia Journalism Review…

    Yes, someone does but the info is going to cost you.
    It’s predicted by whoever is doing the rigging at any given time, but since they can’t say that and others are too invested in not believing it lest more of their worldview be revealed to be on a foundation of excrement, everyone falls in with the BS line: the market can’t be predicted.

  25. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The Curse of Moral Purity Chris Hedges, Truthdig (Furzy Mouse).

    Baqet asserts that the journalistic campaign to incriminate Trump as a Russian agent sputtered out and a new campaign–read moral crusade–arose six or seven weeks ago to focus on Trump’s racism. Trump’s racism, of course, did not begin six or seven weeks ago. It is the paper that switched narratives six or seven weeks ago, from one moral crusade to another.

    This is not journalism. It is moral purity masquerading as journalism…..

    While I’d agree that this is not “journalism,” I don’t agree that this latest focus is either “moral” or “pure.” And I sure don’t see how Russiagate could, in any sense, be considered a previous “moral crusade.”

    This is just more of the same derangement that has manifested over the last several years as increasingly desperate attempts to deny the very real concerns of americans who rejected the status quo in 2016, and possibly drag a befuddled biden over the finish line in the process.

    There’s nothing “moral” or “pure” about any of it, and the chasm that it threatens to open up in the country will far outlast the nyt’s limited attention span.

  26. Drake

    The Curse of Moral Purity Chris Hedges, Truthdig

    Yes, this is very good. Dean Baquet frankly seems like a person of very low intelligence, as Trump would say.

    “We won two Pulitzer Prizes covering that story. And I think we covered that story better than anybody else.”

    “We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?”

    Right. That’s what happens when you push a made-up, mendacious story for two years and watch it fall apart in front of your face when even an investigative team made up primarily of Clinton supporters can’t put together a case after more than two years and many millions of dollars. But hey, you got two Pulitzers, right? So that makes up for feeling a little, tiny bit flat-footed.

    1. Olga

      It is good, and yet I sometimes wonder about Hedges. For all his insights and eloquence about the situation in the US, somehow he never misses an opportunity to dump on USSR/Russia and/or the former socialist block. It’s as if someone told him: “we’ll tolerate your rantings, as long as you do us a little favour.” It’s been going on for a long time and is very annoying. (Not to mention that it really undermines his arguments: in an article about propaganda and the brainwashing of US audiences, he himself spreads a bit of propaganda useful to the blob!)

      1. Drake

        He’s just taking a cue from the Mueller report itself. It proved absolutely nothing, provided no evidence, but still concluded that there was a concerted, official Russian effort to subvert the election. Which we’re supposed to believe on nothing but the assertion itself. And everyone pushing the story yells ‘See! It was true! We were justified all along!”

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      an investigative team made up primarily of Clinton supporters can’t put together a case after more than two years and many millions of dollars.

      Not to be that guy, but two campaign teams made up of entirely of Clinton supporters couldn’t drag Hillary into the White House despite two multiyear efforts, billions of dollars, universal name recognition, and opponents who weren’t exactly ideal (even that Baraka Osama fellow). Would you trust Team Clinton with anything at this point?

  27. cfraenkel

    re: Google crappifying search. One suggestion if you want to push back against the borg: stop linking to AMP versions of articles – see the Chris Hedges Moral Purity link. Any URL with a /?amp in the parameter string will get sent to Google’s “optimized” copy of the page instead of the authors site.

  28. barrisj

    More evidence that Sen. Elizabeth Warren is positioning herself with Demo corporate elite as the “logical” candidate should Sleepy Joe finally proves untenable as serious presidential material. There have been reports of quiet, private meetups with the megadonor class, sandwiched in between EW’s “town-hall-meet-the-proles” appearances, and one suspects that she wants to unburden herself as being seen as a willing partner with Bernie Sanders in opposing mainstream DNC policy.

    What Elizabeth Warren Is Quietly Telling Democratic Insiders
    With phone calls, texts and handwritten notes, the Massachusetts senator is continuing an unusually determined outreach effort to show party officials she is aligned with them.

    SAN FRANCISCO — When Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts addressed a few hundred donors last week at a fund-raiser for the Democratic National Committee, she called for “big, structural change” and hurled her familiar populist lightning bolts at the forces of concentrated wealth.

    But Ms. Warren did not attend the event just to recite her stump speech. She had another, more tailored message for the Democratic check writers, state party leaders and committee members who were gathered at the elegant Fairmont San Francisco.

    1. Grant

      She is going to be the anti-Bernie weapon that so many people thought that Harris was going to be. I don’t think she will govern in radically different ways than Obama did, outside of some likely improvements on finance and some economic policies. The entire system will likely have to do more in regards to the environment out of necessity. But, she is not calling for radical changes, has hired a number of advisers that are troubling and has said that she might take corporate bribes in the general election. I think the reason that she never endorsed Bernie in 2016 should be re-examined. She knows that there are large differences between the two, and I think those differences were large enough that she didn’t want to sign on, and she was apparently being considered to be Clinton’s VP. She calculated what was likely to be in her interest and didn’t help to push Bernie over the finish line. Given how close it was in her state, she very likely could have made a difference, at least there. As things are turning out, she will not be what she would have been if Bernie wasn’t running, which is the left flank in the primaries. She will be the consensus candidate and the will not be a candidate of the left in regards to actual policy and governing. She will be a candidate of the center-left on rhetoric, that rhetoric will be better than the rhetoric we heard from Clinton in 2016, but probably somewhat similar to what Obama offered in 2008. But, once given power, Obama governed from the right and said himself that if he were around in the early 80’s, he would have been a moderate Republican. That isn’t how he ran. I am guessing that she would be very similar, but again, probably better on a few issues including her wheelhouse, finance and some economic policy. To be substantially better, she would have to support the more structural changes that Bernie wants, and that is not her. Even if there are compromises, lets say neither can get all of what they want, the compromises will be from positions that are already more compromised, and given that she lacks a radical critique of the system, that will matter. Remember that for a minute Obama was populist, and fast forward a few months and Volker was ditched because he was saying things that were too “liberal” for Obama.

      1. barrisj

        No surprise then that Sanders and Warren are tacking in opposite directions, with the Warren camp ready, willing, and able to welcome on board the erstwhile Sleepy Joe supporters, and Sanders digging in with his grass-roots/no megadonor support posture. Biden, IMHO, frankly is just a “front-runner” placeholder, and his “electability” pitch, heretofore the province of the MSM and DNC, will soon succumb to campaign realities.

        1. Grant

          I was never sold on Warren, but the longer this goes, the less I like her. She is better than Biden, but what is that saying? In the end, it is Bernie and a bunch of people that will largely be similar to Obama. She would probably be a little better in a few areas, some others would be worse, but they all would amont to about the same in many areas. And the consultants, think tank types and overpaid TV reporters will maintain their access to power, so everyone that matters wins.

          1. Charlie

            I’d really like to know how Tulsi Gabbard would be similar to Obama. Not to say it isn’t possible, but her tone has been stridently anti-war/regime change for quite some time. And the establishment is trying to cheat her even more than they are Sanders.

    2. Oh

      One never knows. Maybe Liz Warren was purposely set up to become the front runner and Biden’s entry was just a way to distract people.

  29. Robert McGregor

    (Brown Dog Antidote and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)

    Cute pic, but looks frighteningly like the Pit Bull in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” which tore the girls into mince meat.

    The movie is becoming quite a “cultural barometer” with many reviewers lining up on both sides of the social divide. Here is one of those reviews:

  30. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Cruise-line companies are building private Caribbean play zones

    This has been going on for a while now, not really new. When my folks retired a several years ago they took the family on a cruise. I’d never been on one before and won’t be going on another if I can help it, precisely because of this phenomenon. Our ship stopped on Grand Turk which was basically just a fairly small island with one small town that had a few small bars serving some simple food and drinks. Except the ship pulled up at the most enormous Margaritaville I’ve ever seen – I remember “Sweet Home Alabama” blasting from the PA system as we approached, and saw a bunch of tourists lounging by the pool. A pool right next to the {family blogging} Caribbean sea which was warm and crystal clear, so why the need for a pool?!?!? But I digress. I had not expected to see this kind of thing at all (it’s precisely the type of thing I like to go on vacation to get away from) so as soon as the boat landed we hightailed it as far away from Margaritaville as possible and enjoyed a very nice afternoon hanging out at the smaller places on the other side of the beach. Pretty much none of the other cruise passengers followed us, since this wretched Margaritaville had been built specifically to entertain people that the cruises dropped off. Not sure if it was owned by the cruise line but they were definitely working together. I also noted some well-heeled looking business types from the cruise talking shop as we got back on board – perhaps they had spotted some more opportunities to further develop the island. I can only imagine the development has gotten worse in the ensuing years.

    This insidious spread of soulless USian corporate “culture” is a plague in desperate need of eradication, before it eradicates everything else.

    1. Off The Street

      Street, or beach-level entrepreneurs find ways to reach those cruiser wallets. If you would like to buy some Cuban, or ‘Cuban’ or “Cuban” cigars, see el jefe at his card table over there. He will sell all of those boxes full of real or semi-real cigars, and won’t have to haggle. Of course, the fellow passengers will have to endure the smoke cloud as buyers puff frantically to enjoy all that contraband before docking stateside and risking ramifications.

  31. Tim

    Google has utterly, utterly crapified search.

    You use that in the past tense, it is ongoing. They are always updating the code, I’ve watch a consistent search I use everyday go from providing lots of worthwhile news articles, to in the last few months, becoming quite stale with only select sources showing up almost anywhere in the first few pages.

    I’m finally at the point where I just need to break the google habit and change search engines.

    So who else is the best search engine for news feeds?

    1. SpringTexan

      I don’t know of one. I’d like to. duckduckgo has some news but not really its forte (the regular search is not bad and I prefer it to google, but the news . . .)

      So I still usually use google for news even though it’s much worse than it was.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I mostly use duckduckgo myself but have also used Qwant. Qwant had a very nice layout which they recently changed. I liked the old format better but they are still much better than Google. Check it out –

  32. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Time for more Chinese Mitten Crabs (aka Shanghai Hairy Crabs)?

    From above:

    US exports to lobster-loving China go off cliff amid tariffs AP. Susan Collins: “Uh oh….”

    Apparently, there are hairy crab vending machines in many Chinese subway stations.

    Perhaps we can score another victory for localism here, though, being an invasive species, the hairy crab has been reported in many countries around the world.

  33. pretzelattack

    i see the decade long effort to get some justice for iraqi torture victims is finally kaput. rule of law my ass.

  34. Tim

    “NJ senator: Does Epstein’s alleged sex traffic ring prove Teterboro security is too lax? ”

    No, security is doing exactly what they are there to do. To keep the riff-raff away from the VIPs, not the other way around.

  35. Oregoncharles

    “Q&A: Is Agriculture the Answer to Climate Change? Modern Farmer”

    The irony, I guess you’d call it, is that the techniques of soil storage mostly originate with farmers. They aren’t really knew. The had part has been getting them out to other farmers, against the interests of the chemical companies.

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