Links 8/8/19

Earthquake caught on ‘cat cam’ BBC

Meet ‘Squawkzilla,’ the massive prehistoric parrot scientists say terrorized other birds Washington Post (Kevin W)

The ‘warspeak’ permeating everyday language puts us all in the trenches The Conversation

Earth’s last magnetic field reversal took far longer than once thought PhysOrg (David L)

“Qutrit” Experiments Are a First in Quantum Teleportation Scientific American (David L)

Battery-Powered Ships Next Up In Battle To Tackle Emissions Bloomberg

Too many female doctors go part-time or stop working — why that’s a big problem MarketWatch (resilc)


Article 370: Pakistan to Downgrade Diplomatic Ties With India The Wire (J-LS)


Boris Johnson pledges £250m for NHS artificial intelligence Guardian. Kevin W: “After the fiascos of IT and the health system in my own state, I can say that they would be better spending the money on nurse and increasing bed numbers instead. IT here is just a subsidy dumpster.”

These Are The Foods You Might Not Be Able To Buy In A No-Deal Brexit Britain Huffington Post


Iran is reportedly jamming ship GPS navigation systems to get them to wander into Iranian waters Business Insider (David L)

Dead Aircraft Carrier: What If Iran Sunk a Navy Carrier? National Interest

US Empire Tightens Sanctions On Venezuela And Manning Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

A new lawsuit accuses Apple of violating user’s privacy by allegedly allowing Siri to record without consent Business Insider (David L)

Skype, Slack, Other Electron-Based Apps Can Be Easily Backdoored ars technica

Oops! Twitter ‘sorry’ for sharing user data with advertisers without permission. What’s new? RT (Kevin W)

How AT&T Insiders Were Bribed to ‘Unlock’ Millions of Phones Wired (David L)

Microsoft contractors reportedly listen in on Skype call recordings, often from their own homes Business Insider (David L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

National Guard general who avoided combat in every war since Vietnam retires Duffle Blog

Trump Transition

Trump’s trip to Dayton and El Paso marked by protests, attacks on critics The Hill

Trump turns day of grieving for El Paso and Dayton shooting victims into day of grievances NBC (furzy)

Trump Says There Are Some Very Bad People on Both Sides Atlantic

Iraqi man dies after Trump administration deports him Politico (Kevin W)

Did Russian Interference Affect the 2016 Election Results? Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball. UserFriendly: “Nail in the Russiagate coffin.”

Health Care

A diabetic groom-to-be died after switching to $25 over-the-counter insulin to cut costs. His prescribed insulin cost nearly $1,200. Business Insider (Kevin W)


How Elizabeth Warren plans to reboot the farm economy Politico (resilc)

Kamala Harris Has Tulsi Gabbard Arrested Beet Press. UserFriendly: “Better than The Onion.”

California Scrubs Kamala Harris AG Records From Its Website PJMedia (furzy). Anyone could put in a Public Records Act request and the records would have to be provided…but one wonders what stalling tactics they might try.

L’affaire Epstein

Billionaire Leslie Wexner Says Jeffrey Epstein Misappropriated ‘Vast Sums’ From Him Wall Street Journal

The Emerging Republican Majority, 50 Years Later Atlantic

Kansas’ Long Road to Recovery After Years of Severe Budget Cuts Governing

Pacific Standard too:


Trump quietly used regulations to expand gun access Politico (resilc)

No Terrorist Is A ‘Lone Wolf’ FiveThirtyEight

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Texas police apologise for horseback officers leading black man by rope BBC (resilc)

The Oil Giants Might Finally Pay for Pulling the Biggest Hoax of All Esquire (David L)

How Economists’ Faith in Markets Broke America Atlantic

US yield curve sends strongest recession warning since 2007 Financial Times. Don’t forget the saying: “An inverted yield curve predicted nine of the last five recessions.”

Review: ‘Transaction Man’ and ‘The Economists’ Hour’ Atlantic (UserFriendly)

Why Trade Tariffs and Currency Devaluation Are a Dead End American Conservative (resilc)

Asset Managers With $74 Trillion Are Perched on Brink of Crisis Bloomberg. Important. Wish I had time to write this up. This is a development sorely to be wished since secondary market securities trading is the part of the financial services industry which is the biggest drag on productive activity.

Class Warfare

What the Fight Over Means Testing Is Really About American Prospect

Cities again see more overdose deaths than country towns Associated Press (UserFriendly)

A Scene from “Operation Clean Sweep” in Boston: Crushed Wheelchairs

Even Fixing Wisconsin’s Foxconn Deal Won’t Fix It, Says State-Requested Report The Verge

Antidote du jour. From the Pleasant Lake e-mail, courtesy Lawrence R:

Monarch caterpillar munching on milkweed seed pod. As you probably know, milkweed sap is sticky and very toxic. It doesn’t take much to kill a cow or horse! Yet this is the caterpillar’s primary host plant. Herbivorous insects are very good at detoxifying or sequestering plant chemicals that are there to deter consumption. Little wonder that they quickly evolve resistance to most the the chemicals we invent to kill or deter them from our crops and gardens!

And a bonus. Even though this is a long video by YouTube standards for this genre, it’s become popular in a short period of time. I was particularly taken by the Japanese-ness: the emphasis on the sadness of the cat, the selflessness of the vet, who took pride in her work, and the open sentimentality of the man who rescued her.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. dearieme

    Dead Aircraft Carrier: What If Iran Sunk a Navy Carrier?

    Is that acceptable American English? I refer to “sunk” for “sank”.

    1. mle in detroit

      It’s not acceptable to many, but it is common. I’ve learned simply to shrug and tell myself that languages are living things and they change.

    2. a different chris

      Two countries separated by a common language. Funny the echos of “Cambridge is/are sinking” here… of all things I would think the US and not-so-Great Britain would be pretty synced up when it comes to discussing boats.

      Guess not.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      isn’t it the subjunctive, in other words a contraction of “were to sink”? I seem to recall that the simple past tense is incorrect in that case.

      1. barefoot charley

        Which reminds me that the word ‘quash’ has pretty much become ‘squash.’ They used to be different as mist and mast.

        The language is decimated!

        And ChiGal, wouldn’t the subjunctive be ‘were to [infinitive]’ or ‘that it [infinitive]’? ie ‘were to sink’ as you say, no contraction permissible?

          1. barefoot charley

            Well cited.

            Kudos to William the Conqueror and friends that shepherds and milkmaids got a few centuries to simplify English grammar!

      2. Kurt Sperry

        This makes sense. The subjunctive mood is underapplied in English, but it remains useful.

        1. Elspeth

          ‘Underapplied’, to the point of non existent. Let’s get english ‘grammer’ straight’ something codified by the Victorians, actually deconstructing by the (don’t care what they call themselves I’m an American) English to fit Latin grammer by way of combination of the maudlin with the Gothic. And we wonder that children can’t read or spell.

    4. Tyronius

      Aside from the grammar dunking, does anyone else find it abhorrent that the esteemed admiral thinks A DOZEN AIRCRAFT CARRIER GROUPS ARE INADEQUATE?!

      No wonder other nations won’t play nice with us…

      1. LarryB

        Of course a dozen aren’t enough. You have to have more carriers than your opponents have missiles, after all.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Who in 2001 could’ve imagined that al-Qaeda would have a lobbyist in Washington DC in 2019?”

    Sadly not the first time something like this has happened. The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran -the MEK – are a terrorist organization that is actually guilty of killing Americans. This did not stop Washington lobbyists like John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani and the late John McCain from going to bat for them to get this terrorist registration lifted so that the US can pump resources into them. They should save their money. Iran is more likely to allow the MEK to become their rulers than America is to allow Martin Shkreli to become President. And let us not get into how the US is shielding and supplying al-Qaeda derivatives in Idlib in Syria.

  3. scoff

    Poignant story about the cat. Even more so, personally. A co-worker complained about a “bird” that had been outside his window all day. Turns out it wasn’t a bird at all.

    A stray kitten, no more than 5-6 weeks old, had been dumped or gotten lost at my workplace and was huddled under the bushes below his window. Managed to herd it into a box I had cut air holes in. Cutest little thing and feisty as all get out. Although we already have 2 rescue cats, we decided to keep this one, too. Just too cute to give up.

      1. scoff

        We’ve been slow to introduce them to each other, but so far, so good. The little one is completely unafraid. The grown ones aren’t quite sure how to react. I think they’re scared of losing lap time.

    1. False Solace

      Additional note: The cat video may indeed possess qualities of “Japanese-ness”, however it takes place in Korea and they’re speaking Korean.

  4. rattlemullet

    Billionaire Leslie Wexner Says Jeffrey Epstein Misappropriated ‘Vast Sums’ From Him

    News flash to Leslie Wexner, ” every billionaire misappropriates “Vast Sums” for him or herself generally off the backs of labor. The shear audacity of such a statement from a “Billionaire” is mind boggling. Never give a sucker an even break.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m assuming Wexner knew about this “misappropriated” money. For someone who had such close ties to Epstein and runs a company based on exploitation of the appearance of young women, he probably needs at least a plausible story for money going to Epstein, who seems to have had no legitimate business beyond becoming rich one day and hanging out with important people.

      Billionaires might not have a grasp of the cost of living, but they noveau riche version of billionaires didn’t become billionaires by letting the staff pilfer the money.

      1. Mike

        A guess here, but the tidbits about Epstein being connected to “intelligence” could answer much of the money question. Seed money from spy agency black funds might have made Epstein rich enough in the beginning to afford his connections to powerful people who would normally not look at him given his “credentials” or his finances.

        However, if you are thinking that this justice system and this current administration will “bare all”, please go back to sleep. Just enough will be hung out to blame a few sacrificial lambs.

        Pleasant dreams…

        1. JEHR

          The New Yorker has an article about Dershowitz and Epstein–both people one would prefer not to know. In fact, seems like money produces all kinds of bad behaviour–lying, sexual predation, etc. Every once in awhile we need a tonic (like people rescuing cats and birds!) to get rid of the toxicity of such people.

        2. bob

          I’m amazed by how no one is willing to call out the very obvious intel connections to Epstein.


          If prostitution is the oldest profession, the spooks sponging off them must be 2nd.

          For those worried about the usage of the word whorehouse: I’m just trying to keep it polite for the likes of the NYT

    2. urblintz

      So often I’ve been told not to judge a book by its cover… but sometimes instinct kicks in…
      and so often I’ve been told to “trust” my instincts. Am I confused?

      On the one hand he could seem a kindly and distinguished older gentleman, on the other he could seem like many kindly and distinguished older gentlemen who are known to be neither kindly nor gentle and distinguished only by their malign wealth and influence (Buffet, Munger, Welch… Reagan… it’s along and devastating list).

      What to do, what to do?!?!?!

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        What to do? Why, nothing. Which is precisely what will happen with the L’Affaire Epstein, Jeffrey and a few underlings may end up in jail but none of the Davos UberMenschen ever will.

        People who deny we now have two separate legal systems have just not been paying very close attention. Um, er, Panama Papers? Um, er, Obama’s Justice Department (Holder et al, Hilary destroying evidence under subpoena)? Um, er, FBIGate? A thwarted soft coup attempt didn’t even pierce the veil.

      2. Tom Bradford

        Trust, but verify is a Russian proverb. The phrase became well known in English when used by President Ronald Reagan on multiple occasions in the context of nuclear disarmament. – Wikipedia

    3. tawal

      Not to defend Epstein but if you read to the bottom of the article, it seems as though Epstein “repaid” the monies to Wexler’s wife’s foundations: $46 million out vs. $46.3 million in, back in 2008. Why all the family-blogging 11 years later?

  5. Stadist

    Why Trade Tariffs and Currency Devaluation Are a Dead End American Conservative (resilc)
    And especially this quote:

    It is interesting to note that even the jurist/economist Richard Posner, long a vigorous advocate of extending antitrust to outlaw all forms of coordinated behavior, has acknowledged that “the possibility cannot be excluded a priori that a loose-knit arrangement among competing firms may sometimes create net social benefits by restricting competition among the firms.”

    Of course I don’t know what kind of arrangements he is talking about, but governments can already restrict harmful competition by protecting employee rights, minimum wages etc. I would rather have democratically elected government setting the goal posts than some global cartels.

  6. Phacops

    Monarch caterpillers . . . Up in N Michigan we have a boom year for Monarchs. Down by my pond every Swamp Milkweed has several happily munching away. Yesterday found one climbing up on the garage door, evidently ready to pupate so put it in a box where I can watch the process.

    1. JohnM

      Here in central NY we also have a boom year for both monarchs and milkweed. I’ve seen more monarchs this year than the last 20 years put together. But the milky sap isn’t as toxic as some would have you believe, our sheep eat it without ill effect.

  7. Ignim Brites

    “Dead Aircraft Carrier: What If Iran Sunk a Navy Carrier?” Reading this one realizes how difficult it will be for US elites to accept the results of the 2008 election.

  8. Stanley Dundee

    Re: Dead Aircraft Carrier: What If Iran Sunk a Navy Carrier? Pure clickbait. The article, by a retired high-ranking admiral, is plea for, wait for it, more aircraft carriers: legislators should expedite the pace of carrier procurement from one every five years to every three or four. The question in the headline never arises.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Not much gratitude on that retired admiral’s part then. America has just spent $13 billion on a brand new aircraft carrier that was totally designed to US Navy specs. It has been delivered all right but the damn thing does not work and its not like these thing have a great warranty or anything. I read that the US Navy has about 235 admirals of various ranks which is about two admirals to every ship in the US navy has so perhaps a big chunk of them can join that admiral in retirement to finance all these new carriers that he wants.

      1. SufferinSuccotash

        Mr. Retired Admiral lost me here when describing Iran’s aggressive policies.
        Its reliance on violent sectarianism helps fuel Sunni extremist groups like ISIS.

            1. Pat

              Did he miss it, or did he expect that the audience he was trying to persuade with his propaganda would? How many Americans know the difference? How many get that America has been playing both sides of the terrorist group equation for well nigh on three decades that I know of? But Iran bad supports terrorists, we need equipment to fight them is simple with little or no gray and easy to sell.

              Unfortunately our captured press is there to support such bull hockey, not to run a sidebar essentially slicing and dicing the Retired Admiral’s ‘argument’ as they should. We may have been naive as a country but now we have a system that intentionally makes us naive AND ignorant.

              1. todde

                it’s all just varying degrees of corruption or incompetence.

                In this specific case, I assume the Admiral knows the subject he is discussing, so I will go with corrupt.

                It would be even scarier (I guess?!?) if the guy actually believes the BS he is spouting.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  My vote is for “corruption”, pure, simple, and absolute, three Iranians in a dinghy and a few modern missiles can send our multi-billion $ carriers to see Davy Jones, and all the brass with all the salad on their chests know this in their bones. It’s a “Sitting Duck Russian Fleet at Port Arthur in 1904” moment, a technological sea change.

                  The real surprise is that there is not a single solitary Smedley Butler among the 235 admirals. Maybe there are some vacancies at Boeing senior management, talk about needing men with absolutely no remaining moral compass whatsoever.

          1. SufferinSuccotash

            Um, yeah. And Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (along with US Special Forces) was fighting ISIS in N. Iraq.
            Funny how things work out.

          2. David

            I suppose he’s trying to say, clumsily, that Iran’s support for the Shia militias in Iraq, who in their own way are probably as vicious as ISIS, made Sunnis in Iraq more inclined to support ISIS as the lesser of two evils. If that is what he was trying to say he’s basically right.

        1. Martin Oline

          It is the old “The devil made me do it” argument that Flip Wilson used to death. Shiite extremism caused those nice Sunnis to do bad things that they wouldn’t normally do.

      2. Elspeth

        Are you serious? Admirals per ship? Really? Naval operations has about 50 admirals alone. And not shooting paper clips. Try really hard Rev and maybe you can get one to email you. It make for much more enlightening comments.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Would it surprise you to learn that even in the 1960s, that the US Army had more generals than they did to fight WW2? And back then the US Army was about eight million men and women strong. A major reason for this trend is that responsibility was pushed up and not down thus requiring more managers/generals.

    2. BoyDownTheLane

      But will the Pentagon sub-contract out the work on installing the elevators to the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, the Indians or maybe the Germans?

    3. David Mills

      Paul K Van Riper…

      The guy who sank (sunk) all 5 carriers in the Millenium Challenge war games. Iran’s stock of surface to surface anti-ship missiles has only improved since. This admiral is suggesting more carriers, he is talking his book and his book is full of crap propaganda.

      IRGC head (Solemani?) said US carriers used to be a threat, now they are targets.

      What happens if Iran sinks a US carrier is simple – LIMITED NUCLEAR RESPONSE. Sorry, game over. Let’s hope it doesn’t get there.

  9. Olga

    File under: Anatomy of a sovereign destruction
    In 2009, US supported a coup d’etat in Honduras (, which removed the democratically elected (and more progressive) president. BHO and HC had no problem with the overthrow (
    Now, Hondurans are protesting again
    “Pressure has been growing on Mr Hernández to step down ever since his brother Juan Antonio Hernández was arrested in Florida in November and accused of conspiring to smuggle large quantities of cocaine to the US.”

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Too many female doctors go part-time or stop working — why that’s a big problem MarketWatch

    I have quite a few medics in my family, including on the teaching side, and this has been acknowledged for years as a serious growing problem. Female doctors, quite sensibly, tend to go to specialities that allow for more family friendly hours and arrangements, in contrast to the more macho tradition among male doctors of long unsocial hours. Female doctors also have a far higher degree of drop out mid-career, whether to raise families or other reasons – hence you need to train far more female doctors to get ‘real hours’ of doctors work over an average career. Its a particular problem in family medicine which is notoriously tough for individual practitioners – its simply impossible to be a traditional family doctor without a very supportive and full time spouse running things at home.

    The answer of course should be for the medical profession to increase the supply of doctors and address those work time issues that make it family unfriendly. But there seems to be real institutional and cultural obstacles to this.

    1. hester

      Fwiw, I am one of those statistics. Went part time when kiddos were small. Very tough to juggle this in early momhood.

    2. jrs

      A few guys are willing to be Mr Mom for a doctor wife.

      But that’s even riskier IMO that becoming a stay-at-home mom, as the job market is going to be even less forgiving for Mr Moms who want to enter the workforce again than it is for women, and it’s not very forgiving for women who take time off to raise kids either.

    3. The Observer

      It may also have to do with the automation of the physician’s work — having to enter computer (insurance) required data, which then displays required actions — prescribe X, Y, & Z and require follow up with other physicians in same practice/hospital. My middle-aged physician ‘retired’ early because she couldn’t stand it. All that training to be a data entry clerk, and a tool of insurance & pharmaceutical corporations at that?

  11. John Beech

    Not an NRA member but when I see stuff about pushing back at the NRA it amazes me the lack of understanding how the NRA is basically just doing what its members want. So in effect, pushing back against the NRA is pushing back at Americans who, for whatever reason, embrace owning a lot of guns, e.g. as a hobby. And I really don’t know what the expectation is for greater background checks. After all, with so many weapons available, does anybody really think making it harder for ordinary people like me is going to stop a nutter, or a criminal, from buying a weapon and using it in a bad way? Seriously?!? Anyway, until the 2nd is repealed I will quite happily be a gun owner. And probably will be afterward, as well. Guess that will make me, and quite a few other Americans, a criminal in the eyes of the law. Sigh.

    1. sleepy

      I’ve seen polls that indicate the majority of NRA members want universal background checks, which the NRA opposes. That appears to reflect my opinion that the NRA is a lobbying group for something other than its membership.

    2. Otis B Driftwood

      Nope. The NRA was founded shortly after the Civil War to promote the proper and safe use of rifles and it remained that way until a few decades ago when it morphed into a public relations and lobbying arm for gun manufacturers.

      Given the vast amount of guns in this country on both an absolute and per capita basis no one can argue that they have not been spectacularly successful.

      They don’t give a damn about safe and proper use of guns. They only care about increasing guns sales and advocating an inflexible misreading of the 2nd Amendment that gives absolutely no consideration of the clause that gun ownership will be “well regulated”.

      Background checks absolutely will significantly reduce the number of guns getting into the hands of people who should not have them.

      And no, this will not inevitably lead to the repeal of the 2nd Amendment.

      1. Inode_buddha

        Here in NY you will get a background check anyway. It has been that way for decades.

        I have only one gun, a shotgun which fires only one shot. You can pry it out of my cold dead fingers.

        The reason why I left the NRA 20 years ago, is because they became political, as opposed to a safety training and legal awareness organization. When I was in HS, the NRA was like an ACLU for gun owners.

      2. J7915

        Yes the NRA gives a damn about gun safety. They don’t allow guns IIRC in their HQ, at their annual convention (safety rigged displays) don’t count, and just heard they were looking for a safehouse for WaynePierre in Tejas.
        It’s the general public’s safety they don’t give a flip about.

      3. Procopius

        Where can I find information about what the “background check” actually tells anyone? I believe one or two of the terrorists had police records, but the others did not. I believe one of the terrorists had mental problems that had been treated, but the others did not. What is the “tell” that you think “background checks” will give you? Please understand, I am not opposed to universal background checks, but I see it as just like the long lines at airports, security theater that makes people think “something is being done” when all it does is inconvenience people while real terrorists quietly go about their business.

    3. JeffC

      Is there, anywhere else in the world, constitutional protection for a particular hobby? Others handle self-protection by licensing those with legitimate needs, and obviously the US could do so as well, if it were not (most Murcans would say “wasn’t”) for the Hobby Amendment.

      1. Nordberg

        What is a hobby? Is it doing something you like for that simple fact? Then yes, art is a hobby that is protected. Amendment 1.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          False. There are limits to freedom of speech:

          Categories of speech that are given lesser or no protection by the First Amendment (and therefore may be restricted) include obscenity, fraud, child pornography, speech integral to illegal conduct, speech that incites imminent lawless action, speech that violates intellectual property law, true threats, and commercial speech such as advertising.

          Intellectual property laws have become very protective. A lot of people have been sued successfully for using small clips of other music in their music. We avoid using photo, even photos that were posted at sites where we have cross posting permission, because we are concerned about infringing on the photographer’s IP.

    4. prodigalson

      “there’s no way we can stop this” says only advanced nation that this happens to on a near daily basis.

      Also, 5% or so of the world population but owns well north of 1/3 of total global guns.

      “I have no idea how I got lung cancer and I certainly won’t stop smoking” says man with 3-pack a day habit.

      1. Monty

        If it’s so easy and so popular with everybody, why doesn’t someone amass a winning majority in our democratic system to do it?

        1. Biph

          Simple for the for the “pro-gun” people it’s a top 3 if not the top issue. For the “anti-gun” people it tends to be much further down the list of priorities and have a lot of different nuances on exactly what restrictions they favor. Kind of like pro-life vs pro-choice.

    5. Roy G

      This is ignorant of the real history of the NRA, so allow me to tell you the truth based on personal experience: My Dad was a lifetime member of the NRA, and for many years their organizational focus was on promoting gun safety, hunting and sport shooting. Then the gun manufacturers started influencing the organization and changing the mission to reducing any controls on gun ownership. The NRA became much more militant, and my Dad, like many other NRA members, noticed this change and he actually rescinded his NRA membership because of this.

      There are many many gun owners who have no problem with increased controls and checks on gun ownership, as well as banning certain types of weapons. I am one of them.

    6. cgregory

      The problem is that too many gun owners rank their weapon with the run-of-the-mill household appliance. Nobody thinks twice about the significance of selling a refrigerator, TV or microwave. So, they are just as casual about selling, gifting, lending, giving away, pawning, or leaving unsecured an artifact that is designed, unlike any other household appliance, to kill.

      The NRA ought to have no problem with a law that allows people to buy guns but forbids them to let go of them– in effect, the first buyer of a weapon would be responsible for its use during its entire life. If fifteen years after he/she has disposed of it and it is used in a crime, he/she will suffer the penalties just as much as the user committing the offense.

      This would eliminate 80% of the gun homicides in the US. Every first purchaser would in effect be highly motivated to be in favor of strict gun control, and the NRA could change its motto to, “You can have my gun when you unglue it from my cold, dead hands.”

  12. Carolinian

    Pepe Escobar, who once lived there, on Hong Kong.

    The big story in Hong Kong is not even the savage, counter-productive protests (imagine if this was in France, where Macron’s army is actually maiming and even killing Gilets Jaunes/Yellow Vests). The big story is the rot consuming HSBC – which has all the makings of the new Deutsche Bank scandal.

    HSBC holds $2.6 trillion in assets and an intergalactic horde of cockroaches in their basement – asking serious questions about money laundering and dodgy deals operated by global turbo-capitalist elites.

    In the end, Hong Kong will be left to its own internally corroding devices – slowly degrading to its final tawdry status as a Chinese Disneyland with a Western veneer. Shanghai is already in the process of being boosted as China’s top financial center. And Shenzhen already is the top high-tech hub. Hong Kong will be just an afterthought.

    He’s saying that China doesn’t care enough about Hong Kong to crack down with their military. He also endorses the idea that the NED has a hand in the goings on.

    1. jo6pac

      I agree with what he saying a China spokes person said it a few weeks ago there is no need HK today as the money markets have moved to Main Land or Shanghai. HK will drown in it own garbage.Sad

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That makes it sound like China would have no need of Senkaku Islands, which have no money markets at all and have never been a financial center.

        Compared those islands and HK to the Falkland Islands.

        On the other hand, I think it’s possible for Beijing to ‘have a hand’ in HK’s further financial center status degradation, if it so desires (all options, military or not, are open).

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I doubt is Pepe has ever been through the DD process a large pool of Western capital does before investing in a jurisdiction.

        Ask corporate America how their “mainland China investment” strategies have worked out. Getting $ in is fairly straightforward, getting returns and getting principal in $ out not so much.

        Then there is opacity. Alibaba has more than 160 subsidiaries, and BABA “shareholders” in New York have rights to a Cayman’s subsidiary that has partial rights to a portion of the Alibaba cash flows. As one prominent investor said, “good luck with that”.

        So no, Shanghai is not on the cusp of eclipsing HK regarding open access to capital markets. That’s why I think it’s still very useful to Beijing relatively as it is.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        HK is not alone.

        The list would include Tokyo, Shanghai, etc.

        Quakes and close proximity to Fukushima are addtional reasons for the former.

        And in, say, Beijing, there is bad air, and also quake fault lines to worry about.

        Not too many sure bets around the world.

    2. Olga

      Here is more on US meddling in HK – hope it may start persuading those hoplessly naive, who still believe that the US is not involved:
      “After a viral photo surfaced this week revealing continuing contact between well-known Hong Kong pro-independence protest leaders and a US diplomatic officer, China has summoned US consulate officials stationed in the city, Bloomberg reports.
      According to a statement from Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong, Chinese officials asked the Americans to clarify media reports that a US diplomat had contacted the local protest leaders. Bloomberg reports the clear firm message sent that “China firmly opposes any contacts with them and urges U.S. to stop sending wrong signals to violent law breakers in Hong Kong.””
      The protesters (what is their goal? demand?) are playing with fire, as China would likely just let HK be marginalised.

  13. Stephen V.

    Excellent piece on means testing::

    The language of the means-testing culture—“Shared sacrifice.” “Individual responsibility.” “Skin in the game.”—seems to stigmatize the new economy’s losers. With soaring inequality, those “losers” may include the vast majority of voters, which means these terms can trigger deep resentment and political blowback. By contrast, opponents are more likely to believe that access to certain goods and services—including medical treatment, pharmaceuticals, and education—is a human right, and should be freely available to everyone. [Unqiote]

    1. Brindle

      Yes the means testing article had some clear info. The pro means testing democrats are likely to also be the most neoliberal. They want people to have to prove and jump through seemingly endless hoops to show they are deserving of a basic human right like health care or college education.
      At its heart means testing has an authoritarian overtone.

      1. Big River Bandido

        And who gets to be the gatekeepers for all that means testing? Why, lots of good, “deserving” people, who went to the right schools — “professionals”, of course. (A category that, curiously, does not include teachers, but it does somehow include bankers.)

        1. Oregoncharles

          Teachers are considered professionals, as they have academic credentials and licenses. Just poorly-paid ones.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Freely available – I agree, and free.

      Free college education.

      And free healthcare and free medicine.

      Is clean water a human right too? Free water?

      Free housing?

  14. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Texas police apologise for horseback officers leading black man by rope BBC (resilc)

    He [Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale] said there was no “malicious intent” and has changed department policy to “prevent the use of this technique”.

    Given what’s going on in this country right now and in Texas specifically, how insane does a “peace officer” have to be to even consider doing something as bizarre and obviously reprehensible as this? And the idea that “department policy” has to be CHANGED to prevent it is literally beyond unbelievable.

    I cannot conceive of any “training” that would be effective with “LEOs” who so obviously don’t even possess two functioning neurons to rub together.

    Despite the relentless screaming of the msm about El Paso being all Trump’s fault, I think Texas has far deeper problems than Donald Trump. When cops pull a stunt like this in broad daylight and we find out that it is actually acceptable department “policy” under some unspecified circumstance, is it really so hard to understand a disturbed young Texas man’s delusions of wild West vigilantism?

    And where is Saint Beto on this? Surely it is worth at least one arm-flapping F bomb.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I saw this on the news and I thought “No!” I looked again and I thought “Aw hell no!” That guy was a mentally ill individual that suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. What you are supposed to do is to call an ambulance for transport to a hospital or a mental facility for a check-up. I am sure that the Galveston Area Ambulance Authority could have spared an ambulance if those police had just waited. It was only a four block trip after all. One thing is sure. I think that the Galveston Police public relations is in for one very bad week.

      1. John A

        Yes but according to a story I read here last week, a short ambulance ride can be billed out at $4,000. Not a good use of public funds, surely?

        1. katiebird

          Couldn’t they have called for a patrol car and driven him to wherever it was they were walking him? It didn’t have to be an ambulance.

  15. SunshineLaws

    Re: Harris’ record as AG and the public records act stalling tactics. I work public records in the state of Washington. California has stalling built into their system. While we have issues in my area that I freely admit, I have never seen anything quite like California. When I spoke with a person in an equivalent department there they explained that their time frame for producing records was 18-24 months. My timeline at that time was 1-3months for the same records. I know that they’ve improved, but I still get requests from them for records to act on that are 2 years, or more, old.

  16. Robert McGregor

    “Too many female doctors go part-time or stop working”

    That argues society doesn’t get its money’s worth out of training women to be doctors. That kind of “gives the lie” to the idea that women are systematically underpaid. They’re paid less, because they are more likely to leave their career early. And there’s the interesting conflict that there are more women in medical and law schools, because they are better students and more emotionally comfortable with the feminized academic system.

    1. Quentin

      ‘Feminized academy system.’ What is that in specific terms? As a man, I’d wager that a lot of women wouldn’t agree.

      1. Jeeves

        I’m obviously not the OP and can only guess, but my guess would be terms like:
        safe space, microaggression, triggering, etc.

        I also might be wrong since I consider the above things pretty much pure idiocy (obviously I am a male), but most of the student spokespersons I see in conjunction with these themes, which might be purely a bias and prejudice of myself being several thousand kilometres away, are female.

        These topics also always have a very emotional side or are purely emotional, e.g. supposedly cause fear. Something which is typically, maybe erroneously, associated with the female part of the human species.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Also not him, but I think he’s referring to a controversy some years ago, and some facts. In brief: girls do better in high school and college than boys. There are several possible explanations. One is that schools through high school are largely run by women – teachers and now principals; still catching up on superintendents. Perhaps as a result, the setting and demands are better suited to girls; boys tend to be “hyperactive.” Of course, this is much less true of college, though girls are still inclined to be better-behaved, but there may well be a carryover. (Personally, I think it’s a fact that schools are largely run by women – my wife was a teacher; so is Amfortas’s; but the effect on students is more subject to interpretation.)

        Separately, it’s also a fact that girls mature a year or two ahead of boys (averages, of course). That gives them an advantage through high school and probably college as well, which then may carry over into medical school.

        And indeed, the higher dropout rate among women doctors is alarming. I’ve written before about our system being unfriendly to human reproduction. It isn’t that we need more babies – we don’t; but we do need more women doctors, and less waste of their education. This is a pretty fundamental issue that I don’t see being addressed – you’d think that feminism would be all about it. What I see is that workplaces, including professions, were built around the male sole provider, with a caregiver at home. The whole social scene has changed, but it looks like workplaces haven’t. The stress levels don’t just drive out women; they also make for workplace shooters, mostly male, and similar morbid symptoms.

    2. Eclair

      My spouse, bless his heart, would make the same observation about female engineers during his career in the launch vehicle business. They worked for a few years, then left. I would chide him gently about one of his company’s favorite PR films: The One Hundred Launches of Delta.

      I watched it. All of it. Big, phallic machines exploding in clouds of flame and toxic gases, accompanied by noisy ‘booms.’ I suggested that maybe, after a few years of this, many women aerospace engineers would have second thoughts.

      The medical field, with its increasing reliance on technology, machines, computers, endless lab tests, and its decreasing emphasis on hands-on (literally) observation and diagnosis, might prove increasingly uncomfortable for many women. I mean, you can’t birth a baby without some hands-on work; it’s all about interpersonal relationships.

      1. Jeeves

        Those female aerospace engineers pretty much would have known beforehand. All rocket starts look like big phallic eruptions and it’s probably impossible for them to not have seen those before they started. Often it was PR like this that sent them to this field in the first place.
        Even if they haven’t: in the many years of study they probably have seen hundreds or thousands of starts they needed to study.

        Any field is increasingly relying on technology, labs, and other technical mumbo-jumbo instead of talking. Even fields like psychology where talking is the essence of it all you have more and more tests to determine brain functions, tons of drugs to “fix things”, etc. If this reasoning of women being uncomfortable with increased technology, should they all go back to the kitchen with the dishwasher and such carefully removed to raise the 5 kids?

        Sorry, but this reasoning is simply bogus.

        1. wilroncanada

          Sorry, Jeeves, but two statements in your post make no sense.
          In psychology, you do not have tests, other than “talk” tests to determine brain function, nor do you have”tons of drugs ‘to fix things’.” That is psychiatry. Of course, the idea of ‘fixing’ anything in emotional or brain functioning by drugs is to be likened to auto mechanics, a mostly male preserve.
          Second, as for being uncomfortable with increased technology, when I worked in business in the 1980s and 1990s, in the offices I called on, I sold the technology to the secretaries and receptionist, who then had to spoon-feed the technology to their male bosses.

    3. Ember Brody

      “the feminized academic system.”

      How was the academic system feminized? Did they put makeup and pretty clothes on the cadavers in the dissecting room? Did they sprinkle glitter on the physics textbooks? I’m really curious.

      1. Rory

        I can’t speak for Mr. McGregor, but perhaps if one substituted “de-masculinized” for “feminized” one could more readily point to changes that have occurred, for the better, in professional education.

      2. Monty

        I suspect they might be referring to a mix of militant feminism, safe spaces, trigger warnings and such on campus. Its a common pet peeve among anti-intellectuals on the right. The oligarchs prefer their consumers to be dumb as rocks and so they do everything they can to discredit and undermine academia.

      3. Oregoncharles

        I offer an explanation of what I THINK he’s talking about up above. It stems from a controversy some years ago.

    4. doug

      Artificial restricting the supply of doctors is the problem.

      I had never heard the phrase ‘feminized academic system’, so I searched it.


      1. J7915

        Maybe all those tough masculine doctors should re-read their text books on ethics, stress etc, and the Friday golf outings, conventions in exotic locals…

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        This goes back to 1968ish when the ABA lost a Supreme Court ruling about its ability to restrict the supply of attorneys. Under the old system, one school would open up a law school and then a medical school. Back when doctors just needed a copy of Grey’s and a bunch of leeches, this was a reasonable arrangement. As complexity was added the medical field, the costs ballooned for a medical school compared to a law library.

        Now colleges open up law schools because they are cheaper and produce similar prestige.

        Much of the licensing process for doctors was based around this arrangement. The practical solution is recognizing the changing education attainment of nurses and moving to license nurses for care practices we associated with MDs.

        One problem is the grandeur of Harvard when that kind of institution needs to be recognized as nothing more than a licensing center once again (after all, it was founded to make sure ministers actually read the bible).

        With women leaving the medical field (this isn’t new) to become mothers, I place the blame squarely on the government for failing to address a national health crisis.

    5. Bruce F

      I’ll reply to the idea of society “getting it’s money’s worth” by saying that the article states that patients have higher survival rates under the care of female doctors.

      The attrition of full-time female physicians could make matters even worse, the authors suggested, and not just because of the blow to leadership diversity in health care: Research shows that hospital patients treated by female doctors are less likely than those treated by male doctors to die or be readmitted within a month of being discharged.

    6. Katniss Everdeen

      Not much support among the commenters on that article for women who, having accepted one of the limited number of medical school spots and all the public “investment” over and above tuition that that education entails, make a “life choice” to limit their practice of medicine or eliminate it entirely.

      I don’t disagree.

      The medical profession already self-servingly limits the number of licensed physicians to keep compensation high. Subjecting americans to further supply constriction in deference to female physician’s personal life preferences is unacceptable.

      Having vehemently demanded and received equal access to the medical and other highly skilled and compensated professions, women must acknowledge and accept the attendant expectations and responsibilities. As far as I’m concerned, this is a critical issue when considering women’s suitability for limited access, socially vital professions. Not that they can’t do it but that, once trained, they may deliberately choose not to.

      And I say this as a woman.

      1. a different chris

        >women must acknowledge and accept the attendant expectations and responsibilities.

        You mean working so many hours that you can’t properly diagnose a head cold? I think women are figuring something important out – you need a bit of time away from that sort of stress to be better when you are there.

        And I hope I don’t actually understand this sentence:

        >Subjecting americans to further supply constriction in deference to female physician’s personal life preferences is unacceptable.

        There is no profession outside of the military where you get told how much to work.

      2. hester

        Having vehemently demanded and received equal access to the medical and other highly skilled and compensated professions, women must acknowledge and accept the attendant expectations and responsibilities. As far as I’m concerned, this is a critical issue when considering women’s suitability for limited access, socially vital professions. Not that they can’t do it but that, once trained, they may deliberately choose not to.

        Vehemently demanded? What are you reading and who’s telling you this tripe? Most of us worked hard, got good grades and got into Medical school.. demanding nothing. The reason why there are more women in med. school than men is that there are much better, faster and less exhausting ways to money than being a doctor. Many more. And much less tiring. It is the farthest thing from a 9 to 5 gig.


        Who do you think actually sets those expectations? I can assure you it isn’t women.. And why shouldn’t expectations change as the cohort changes? They should and will change. They must. For a variety of reasons.

        By the time I became an intern in Internal Medicine the ‘on-call’ schedule had changed in such a way that instead of being in the hospital 142 of 168 hours / week, it was more like 84 – 100. Huge difference. And MUCH better for the patients. Was paid chicken scratch for all those hours of work… but I didn’t care.

        All kinds of forces drive changes in expectations, on-call schedules, and responsibilities. Gender accommodation is only one. Patient safety is another, and more of a driver.

        And your comment about the medical profession self-servingly limiting the numbers of doctors is just ill-informed. The AAMC has been vigorous in supporting legislation that would increase Federal support for 3000 residency positions / year for at least 5 year and that was in 2018.

        Your argument is extremely demeaning and just as uninformed.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I am not the slightest bit uninformed.

          I’d suggest you start by reading Carolinian’s link below entitled “The Doctor Monopoly is Killing American Patients.” Here’s a taste:

          So why is there such a shortage of doctors and how did we get here?

          The simple explanation is that U.S. doctors operate as a cartel to restrict trade and reduce competition. The American Medical Association (AMA) artificially limits the number of doctors, which drives up salaries for doctors and reduces the availability of care. This has been the story of the AMA since it started, and now it has become deadly.

          I am providing a link, cribbed from comments on the article, that details the costs of educating a physician over and above tuition. The public invests significant pubic money to educate a single doctor, and has the right to expect, yes expect, that it will get one who understands that this investment is made because every doctor is desperately needed, not to provide a lucrative part-time gig.

          This is real life, not “Grey’s Anatomy.”

          As far as “demanding” goes, I stand by my “vehemently.” I was there in the 70s. The bargain was that women would do it every bit as well as a man, and we proved we could. Maybe even better. But it has to be all of the time, not just when it fits into a “life plan.” If a woman can’t commit to that, then she needs to step aside for those who can.

          PS. You may be interested in this comment on the article made by, near as I can tell, one of your male colleagues:

          Clearly women doctors should be paid to stay home and raise children. In fact, female cardiologists make three times more than female family doctors, so they’ll be three times better at parenting. Let’s train more female cardiologists so we’ll have more really great children. Why not pay female doctors more when they work less, since according to this “study”, part-time doctors are better doctors. Let’s cut salaries for the bad male docs, covering nights and weekends and Christmas so the great women docs can be the better doctors. Make sure females get time out of residency for childbearing too. Surely the male interns can pick up the slack so, as long as they stay under the 80 hour a week maximums. Small price to pay for the women’s happiness. Patients won’t have any issues either waiting a few more weeks for an appointment, children come first.

          1. hester

            1. Only a fraction of MDs practicing in the US belong to the AMA. The inflated membership numbers (which btw are < 1/3 of m.ds.) are from medical students. The AMA hardly has the power you might think.

            2. There was no bargain in the 70s.

            3. why would I be interested in that ridiculous comment from that maybe male MD?

            1. wilroncanada

              It’s OK Hester.
              Just take it to mean that women who become physicians can do more work than the equivalent men, often for less money, can do it more efficiently, and can still be better parents than their male counterparts who have to unwind with a drink or two, or maybe a round of golf on Fridays.
              There has been in most of the so-called first world, a shortage of physicians, especially family physicians. I”m in Canada and we have a similar problem.
              There are multiple contributing factors. The deliberate withholding of funds for medical schools, whether by the schools themselves or by medical associations, is certainly one. Another factor is the, also deliberate withholding of funds, by governments who use this as a brake on use of the system. Bureaucrats still believe in the idea of use as misuse, unless it’s their or their families’ personal uses. This is one of the reasons for importing physicians at or near the end of their medical training. Let the poor countries spend their much more scarce resources to train physicians so we (the so-called first world) can poach them.
              Another is, as noted by a previous poster, the inclination of a lot more men to choose other ways of making lots of money at lower cost and with fewer skills; i.e. the FIRE sector.

            2. Monty

              The Liaison Committee on Medical Education is an accrediting body for educational programs at schools of medicine in the United States and is sponsored by the American Medical Association.

              The argument is the AMA artificially restricts supply of medical school places by withholding accreditation from more venues. Medical school places are like little baby doctors!

          2. Anon

            In fact, female cardiologists make three times more than female family doctors, so they’ll be three times better at parenting.

            Not certain that isn’t comparing apples to strawberries. Cardiologists make more because they are specialists with ~4 more years of training than a family MD. I visit both, and my cardiologist isn’t interested in being on-time for scheduled appointments and preens alot when he arrives. Not certain he is worth the money. My family MD is a woman, always in the office, great personal touch, superior listener, and the same age as I am (70 y.o. male). She says she’s cutting back hours next year. She is priceless.

    7. John A

      Well in England, equal pay legislation means a woman cannot be paid less for doing an equivalent job as a man.
      On the reverse side, I had a female doctor friend who was determined to become a surgeon but to do so, she knew she would have to sacrifice having children. Not sure what the answer is, but certainly in England, there are more women than men in medical schools these days.

    8. Procopius

      I always thought you were supposed to be paid according to the work you are doing now, the marginal revenue you’re currently bringing into the enterprise. I’ve heard this argument for many years and it’s never made any sense to me. Why am I supposed to be more valuable because I’m likely to still be here thirty years from now?

  17. pjay

    Re: ‘Did Russian Interference Affect the 2016 Election Results?’ – Abramowitz (via Larry Sabato’s blog)

    First observation. Abramowitz opens with this:

    “Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, and the Mueller Report itself, make it very clear that the Russian government made a major effort to help Donald Trump win the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

    This, of course, is not “very clear” at all, though Abramowitz clearly believes it himself. However, we can breath a little easier now, because a noted political scientist has shown with regression analysis that the Evil Rooskies’ efforts were not successful in influencing the election after all. Whew! After Jane Mayer used the work of another noted academic (Kathleen Hall Jamieson) in the New Yorker to *prove* Russian influence was decisive, I was worried.

    Second observation: Maybe now that a noted political scientist (at the blog of an even more noted political scientist) has shown “scientifically” that Russia did not actually influence the election (despite Its evil efforts), the intelligensia can let this narrative go. Perhaps that is the hope. After all, once Gilens and Page, two other noted political scientists, showed with their rigorous analysis of survey results that economic elites dominate policy decisions, it became acceptable to hint at the possibility of oligarchy — in 2014!

    Thanks, academia, for keeping us informed.

    1. anon in so cal

      Quick skimming of Abramowitz’s article seems to indicate he repeats (and thereby) endorses a key Russiagate allegation, namely that Russia interfered or attempted to interfere in the 2016 election.

      This allegation has been shown to be unfounded. This is a common shortcoming of many other analyses that have successfully debunked the Russiagate psy ops: some of them nonetheless smuggle in this evidence-free claim.

      1. curlydan

        I read his analysis. A key issue is that in his model, he doesn’t have a variable for Russian meddling, so he relies on a few key states (MI, PA, WI) where his model predicted an even bigger Trump victory than was actually achieved.

        I don’t believe there was any Russian meddling that mattered either, but he’s saying that worse than expected results for Trump in those 3 states proves no meddling when it could literally be anything else in the universe of factors not in his model.

  18. tegnost

    from userfriendly’s russiagate…

    ” Even after controlling for traditional state partisanship and ideology, the size of the non-college white population in a state was a strong predictor of support for Donald Trump”

    guess that’s another reason for free college and getting rid of student loans…

    1. sleepy

      Well, yes, but also providing some decent jobs in those states would help as well.

      Iowa has a high literacy rate, high college board scores, high secondary school grad rates, and a high college attendance rate. What it doesn’t have is a large college educated population because after they graduate they all leave and go to Minneapolis, Chicago, or Denver because there are no jobs here.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Can states charge corporatons for hiring graduates trained and graduated by those states?

        Make the rates uniform, so the corporations can shop around.

        “The State of Iowa spent $100,000 to train the chemical engineer whom you just hired. We are looking to get that money back, and the reimbursement money (maybe $100,000 or maybe $80,000, which wll be determined by the federal government) is the same in all 50 states.”

        1. inode_buddha

          I’ve long said that if corps want you to know xyz or have qualification abc, then they can pay for it, given today’s inflation in the education game. My very paleo-conservative dad simply says to abolish the dept of Ed and end federal loan guarantees.

          1. Odysseus

            … because poor people don’t deserve educations.

            It’s hard to imagine a policy that would lock income inequality in even more strongly.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Kansas in Recovery”

    When you think about it, this article makes a good book-end to Thomas Frank’s 2004 book “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” What I mean is, Frank’s book tells how the Republicans took Kansas and this article show what happened after the experiment was over and Kansas was left in a shambles. If there was a decent political opposition in place, what they should be doing is highlighting places like Kansas as well as Wisconsin with its dodgy Foxcon deal to give the American government a simple message-

    “Republicans are Incompetent and Don’t Know How to Govern!”

    I mean the evidence is all there and only needs to be marshaled into a political message. Unfortunately there is no a decent political opposition in place and you have the democrats in place instead. In an idle moment, I sometimes blame the 1977 movie “Star Wars” for this. What I think happened was that a much younger Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer went to see this film back then and when they heard Obi-Wan Kenobi deliver the line: “as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.” they said to themselves “Yeah, we could totally do that to our supporters!”

    1. jo6pac

      Yeah, we could totally do that to our supporters!”

      LOL and thanks for this morning laugh, sad but very true.

  20. Widowson

    File this under crapification:

    My wife works for our UU church and up until a couple months ago used a new, now one-year-old, church-issued Dell bought at Staples for her work as the Director of Religious Exploration. A few months ago she started complaining about getting Windows 10 notices that her laptop power cord was causing errors, then one day the laptop posted to a blue screen requesting a BitLocker password to be able to log into her computer. The summer months are relatively slow for doing God’s work in NH as historically “everyone goes to the lake,” so I didn’t think much of it until last night, when I spent 5+ hours trying to figure out what on earth could have happened. Apparently, this is a bug among Dell laptops and neither Microsoft nor Dell have accepted responsibility. Long story short, BitLocker suddenly and inexplicably encrypts one’s drives and requests passwords and ID codes that were never issued. I’ve not figured out a way around it, and the prospects of basically my wife losing a year’s worth of work are very real. This is a case of owning the platform, but still having no legitimate control over the OS that comes with it that can and does randomly update itself into FUBAR situations like this. Neither Dell nor Microsoft provide any real support or answers to this issue, and I can see how situations like this can drive someone over the edge. Throw in the fact that I’m reading “A Lie Too Big To Fail“– previously referenced on this site– and I’m not having great hopes for the future of man.

    1. human

      I found this out decades ago while doing computer repairs. Every once in a while an official update from the windoze update site would crap out a computer. There was seldom mention of the problem and never any acceptance of responsibility. The failed update was simply disappeared. You had to revert to a previous state to restore function.

      1. Dan

        For $30 or so one can buy and external hard drive and back up their files periodically.
        Is there some reason his wife couldn’t have done this?

        1. Olga

          One could do that, but it hardly addresses the fundamental problem of an error that a consumer cannot correct and the vendor refuses to resolve.

      2. JCC

        Which is exactly why I dumped windows in 1997 right about when Windows 98 came out. I bought a brand new computer that blue-screened about once a week wiping out about half my data on the hard drive.

        I decided it was about time I learned about the UNIX OS and jumped to Linux (what I could afford at that time). It was a little painful at first, for example, downloading and “burning” 88 1.44 floppies over a phone modem, late work nights relearning and rebuilding a test system, and buying a slew of books, but once I learned my way around it and trained myself in networking, I’ve never looked back. Not only have I lost no data/pics/etc in 22 years, it also enabled me to get much better and more interesting jobs at a much higher rate of pay.

        Microsoft engineers a very bloated, complicated, and expensive OS, and over time it has not improved (my job now entails networking and integrating MS Servers with Linux Servers and Workstations, so I am still too familiar with MS). As a group at work, we spend far more time securing, re-imaging and repairing MS systems than UNIX-based systems while at home unattended upgrades with little to no worries are standard procedure. And other than a few games, there is nothing I cannot do on a Linux box that can be done on a MS box. Actually, much more on a Linux box if your hobby happens to be Amateur Radio.

    2. tegnost

      thanks for this info, my college student’s computer with win 10 is an hp and does a similar demand for unknown/unknowable password. Luckily the college has a computer lab and the techs there have spent many hours dispensing with all manner of excess junk (why does she need an amazon icon on her main page, and why is it so hard to get rid of?, just as one example)

      1. Tvc15

        And why is “my” Android smart phone pre-loaded with Facebook, Amazon, Google and Samsung applications that I do not want? I’ve disabled them, but at my low IT skill level can’t seem to delete them.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          Heh…I’ve gone around and around with a friend of mine who was trying to delete Google Assistant or somesuch from his Android phone, and kept asking me how to do it, and make it not ‘come back’.

          Aside from being in IT that aint my schtick…so I had to keep telling him that I’ve not owned an Android phone in *years* so I have no idea how, other then likely the only way is to jailbreak it…..and that’s not something I would ever try and just talk someone through over the phone even if I *did* know how to do it on a modern android phone.

          The mantra I kept trying to drill into his head was: If Google (or any of the other businesses) want it on yer phone, it will BE on yer phone…and active and up to all its nefarious tasks…whether you want it, or not, and no matter how much tinkering you do to try and disable it.

          Heck, even when there is an obvious ‘disable’ button – that _seems_ to work – chances are better then even that it doesn’t really mean ‘disable’ (in plain english) it just means ‘make the icon go away, but keep gathering data and sending it home to the mother ship’.

          I’ve mostly been a server/backend guy in my IT career so I don’t have an experts instincts on client OS stuff, but I do know enough to know that on basically *every* laptop, pc, drive, usb stick, or storage device of *any* kind….before actual usage I reformat it and install an OS from scratch from my own original install media. Never ever EVER use the crapware that came preinstalled on it.

          And, of course, just never use Windows anymore….complete spyware.

          Try Linux Mint Cinnamon, maybe. Works great for me – as well as my 83 year old Mom. :)

          1. diptherio

            I recently switched from Ubuntu MATE to MXLinux and have been enjoying it quite a bit. It runs noticeably faster on my older hardware than any Ubuntu derivative I’ve tried.

      2. Procopius

        The Ubuntu Unity desktop had an Amazon icon by default, but it was easy to get rid of — just right click and check “Unpin from favorites.” Customer demand made them get rid of it, and of the Unity desktop, too. I dunno, I kind of liked the Unity desktop. I installed Windows 10 for about an hour back when it first came out and hated it so much I’ve never gone back. When Windows 7 becomes unusable (and the Navy is still using Windows 2000 on its minesweepers) I’ll switch to Linux, probably Ubuntu because of its wonderful community support, but maybe Mint if I can change the desktop to something I’m comfortable with. Meanwhile there are games that I can’t run on Linux so I’m sticking with Windows for the time being.

    3. Carolinian

      This sounds like the way ransomware works. They encrypt vital data and demand bitcoin to issue the password.

      And no offense but your wife–and all those municipal governments–should always keep vital data backed up to a separate drive or even a thumb drive. Then you could restore Windows 10 from the restore disc (you did make one?) and carry on.

    4. ilpalazzo

      This is a known issue. Some windows updates can trigger this behavior where a change in the operating system can make encryption engine think it is being tampered with. Your wife probably uses Microsoft account to log in to the machine (I believe Windows 10 won’t suggest using encryption otherwise). If so, you can log in to Microsoft account from other computer and get encryption password there, the laptop should be listed among “my devices” or something similar.

    5. Monty

      Could somebody have contacted a tech support hotline and received remote support on the machine? It is a well known scam where you call in and some Indian guy pretends to help you tune up your PC. They will run a windows app called SysKey and sets a system password without telling you what it is. If you pay them a few 100 bucks, they will let you know the password. If it wasn’t you, check your phone records for very long 800 number outgoing calls. They can be really sneaky about it.

    6. Oregoncharles

      Sounds like the makings of a huge class-action suit. Hope you get something out of it. Both companies have deep pockets.

    1. Ignacio

      Bit warspeak is more annoying by far. The author gives three reasons to explain why is it used and why it is disgusting. There is an additional reason: the trivialization of warspeak lowers the bar for warmongering.

      1. Carey

        “..There is an additional reason: the trivialization of warspeak lowers the bar for warmongering.”

        Yes. That, in my opinion, is why it’s been made pervasive, here in the exceptional nation.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Qutrit” Experiments Are a First in Quantum Teleportation”

    Could it be that perhaps one day that we will have transporter technology?

    There would be side effects of course. On good scifi story had a transporter pad in each home so that meant for detectives, the word “alibi” meant nothing anymore as you could transport to the other side of the world, commit a murder, and transport back to your own home unseen. Actually I will finish that story to illustrate another effect. A detective found a murder suspect’s home but there was nobody there and the transporter pad was shorted out. The detective hid in the house and when the murderer emerged, arrested him. When he asked the guy why he did not simply transport away, the guy said that his pad had shorted out. The detective then asked the guy why he did not walk to the other side of the valley to use a transporter in a house there. The guy replied shocked “I didn’t think of that!”

    1. J7915

      Is that the scifi story where after the first bout of euphoria over the teleport technology, the pad was moved outside the homes to a porch or veranda?

      1. polecat

        Ok, but just consider all the flying insects flinting to and fro. I mean, porches and bugs go hand in hand .. right ?? Add telepods into the mix … and its molecularly, all the more so.

        God I’m hungry !! I could sure use a donut about now ….

    2. Louis Fyne

      there’s the classic metaphysical debate…if you step into a transporter, do you and your “soul” step out on the other side?

      Or are you killed and person stepping out at the other end is a mere identical clone?

      I’d never step into a transporter unless it was wormhole-based, lol

  22. Ignacio

    Re: Asset Managers With $74 Trillion Are Perched on Brink of Crisis Bloomberg. Important. Wish I had time to write this up. This is a development sorely to be wished since secondary market securities trading is the part of the financial services industry which is the biggest drag on productive activity.

    Thank you very much for this. My wife is very much interested on switching to such passive funds but we have trouble finding/selecting those and how to shop them.

  23. Ignacio

    US yield curve sends strongest recession warning since 2007 Financial Times. Don’t forget the saying: “An inverted yield curve predicted nine of the last five recessions.”

    Yep. Any case there are symptoms of financial stress, here in Spain, that ressemble much of what happened in 2008. Unfortunately, in Spain the economy goes very much with the booms and bust of real estate business. The economy has been recently booming on housing with increasing home sales and prices. There is a second housing bubble that pales in size when compared with the former and I think this has helped to let it pass almost unnoticed. But during the first 6 months of 2019 sales have plunged to the extent of reducing the inter annual rate drop to zero. This is the first shoe to drop. Second, there are evidences of financial stress in households. As it occurred in 2006-7, personal loans by lenders such as French Cofidis are now increasing and I believe this is a symptom of growing number of households that cannot meet their needs.

  24. Summer

    RE: “California Scrubs Kamala Harris AG Records From Its Website PJMedia (furzy). Anyone could put in a Public Records Act request and the records would have to be provided…but one wonders what stalling tactics they might try.”

    I also suspect her campaign wants to vet the record in context of the changing times. They didn’t expect it to be as problematic as it is. Also as AG, there were many things that were signed off on for political expediency rather than thoroughly deliberated.
    Very much an HC campaign type of move….

    1. Cal2

      Kamala: “I’m melting!!”

      “In 2014, California voters approved Prop. 47, which reduced drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. But the ballot summary crafted by AG Harris said not a word to voters that the initiative would also mean a drastic reduction in the number of DNA samples being collected for analysis.
      The impact of these disastrous policies [and her previous disastrous terms as district attorney] has been particularly harsh in Harris’ hometown of San Francisco, where they’ve seen a 24 percent explosion in property crimes from 2016 to 2017, 31,122 car burglaries in 2017 — a rate that is at least four times higher than in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, or Sacramento, and a pathetic 1.6 percent arrest rate.”

      Harris suffered an average 3 percentage point decline in five post-debate polls when compared with her pre-debate numbers. When the data site FiveThirtyEight on Wednesday weighted those five polls based on their sample size and quality,
      Harris suffered the greatest hit of any candidate
      — 2.8 percentage points.

      Harris’ fall was particularly dramatic in the Quinnipiac University poll, where her support fell from 20 percent immediately after the first debate to 7 percent in the poll released Tuesday.

      The death blow came with her response to Anderson Cooper when she basically refused to answer the main criticism of her time as AG when she said that
      “she didn’t need to answer that because the candidate that asked was beneath her.”

  25. Craig H.

    > These Are The Foods You Might Not Be Able To Buy In A No-Deal Brexit Britain

    There was nothing on this list that I buy at the grocery store weekly. To me the worst deprivation would be lemons. When the blockade kept lemons out of Germany there was a propaganda blitz that rhubarb were a perfect substitute for lemons.


    1. Oregoncharles

      Red currants might work as a substitute, too, with color as a bonus. They’re about as tart as lemons.

  26. JBird4049

    A Scene from “Operation Clean Sweep” in Boston: Crushed Wheelchairs

    Something like this has been done in the Bay Area several times. However, it was not in the dark when many would be sleeping and no wheelchairs were stolen by the police. Either way, I think that the police think of the weak, the defenseless as trash. So why not steal and throw their stuff away?

    Wheelchairs are like my hearing aids. With them I can function, without them…

    So these “public servants” decided to destroy people who have extremely poor mobility because someone beat up a prison guard, which requires being mobile. How brave of them.

  27. anon in so cal

    Re: Bernie and housing at the Northridge town hall:

    Currently, undocumented immigrants have been eligible to rent apartments in HUD public housing at reduced rent rates. Apparently, they face threat of eviction under Ben Carson’s new HUD rules.

    “Residents of Pacoima’s San Fernando Gardens face eviction under proposed HUD rule”

    “With President Trump’s threatened immigration raids and new proposed rules on legal status, residents at LA’s public housing projects are on edge. All this in a city already grappling with an affordable housing crisis…..

    More than 100,000 people across the country, including an estimated 55,000 children who are legal residents and citizens, could be evicted due to the immigration status of some members of their households, under rules proposed in April and published in the federal registry in May by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The deadline is July 9 for the public to give input on the rules.

    About a quarter of the more than 400 families living at San Fernando Gardens face the possibility of being booted from their apartments and becoming homeless, if the rules were to be adopted. Josefina and Mateo’s family is one of them.

    In Los Angeles, more than 900 families, many of them with children who are U.S. citizens or who have legal immigration status, could be forced out from apartments overseen or issued Section 8 vouchers, according to the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, the housing agency that operates San Fernando Gardens and 13 other public housing sites in the city.”

    “Step 2: Find HUD housing programs for eligible noncitizens.

    Public Housing, Project-Based Section 8 and the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher programs allow families that are considered ‘mixed families’ to be eligible for assistance. Mixed households are those that include members who are not citizens and do not have appropriate immigration status, to be eligible for assistance.

    However, HUD also adjusts the amount of rent the tenant pays based on the number of people in the household who are eligible immigrants. These HUD programs do not require that the head of the household be a citizen or eligible immigrant. These programs also adjust the amount of rent the tenant pays based on the number of people in the household who are eligible immigrants. This is called prorated assistance or prorated rent.”

    1. Dan

      Good. That means more low income housing for our veterans, our homeless and our own citizens who have fought in wars, paid taxes and helped build the country.

      Citizen children of illegals have done none of those things and can reside with the parents elsewhere.

      1. Monty

        Who is the real enemy of the American people? Powerless, desperate illegal immigrants trying to improve their lives, or powerful, influential oligarchs who systematically poison and defraud us all to enrich themselves.

        1. Dan

          It’s the “powerful, influential oligarchs who systematically poison and defraud us all to enrich themselves..”

          Illegals are one of the the tools they use to enrich themselves via cheaper labor, to further fund their activities, to break up any coherence or homogeneity in our society and to distract us from their activities. The overarching goal is to distract we the people from white collar criminality.

          However, part of fighting the disease is combating the symptoms, especially when there is a positive result, of providing more equitable low income housing for Americans, instead of foreigners.

            1. Dan

              Nope, it’s punching up, only it takes longer to take effect.
              Takes more vision and more guts, rather than repeating NPR nostrums to the herd that probably laughs at you behind your back.

      2. marym

        The housing is for mixed families and benefits are pro-rated based on number of eligible residents.

        Illegal immigrants “have fought in wars, paid taxes and helped build the country.”

        As far as taking care of “our own” – even if you choose not to consider people working, children born here, and children with one legal immigrant/citizen parent “your own” – they are not a priority of those making this decision about public housing.

        Housing experts also don’t buy the claim that this proposal would drastically change the length of the waitlists for people around the country seeking housing assistance. HUD’s suggested point of reference—those 32,000 HUD-assisted households—is dwarfed by the total number of people currently on these waitlists. A study conducted by the National Low Income Housing Coalition identified approximately 1.6 million families on waitlists for public housing and more than 2.8 million families on waitlists for the Housing Choice Voucher program (also known as Section 8).

        But Trump’s policy agenda is otherwise tailored to limit housing assistance—not expand it. The Trump administration has sought to slash spending on welfare and impose restrictive work requirements for those who receive assistance for food, healthcare, and housing. Congress has not passed the austerity budget envisioned by the White House. The White House has nevertheless put its stamp on housing policy in other ways. Carson rolled back a fair housing rule years in the making. He also announced last June that the department will revisit its rule on the legal doctrine known as “disparate impact,” the prohibition on policies that discriminate on the basis of race without doing so explicitly.


        1. JBird4049

          I really want the number of undocumented immigrants gone, but I am also do not like this political theater where the poorest, most vulnerable people get the chop. Further, there has been a long standing policy of evicting people, even entire families, in a one strike rule. Someone gets caught doing drugs on the street and everyone in their apartment is gone. No appeal. A family moves in and is a felon? Gone. Someone, say a visitor, caught with a gun? Gone. Goodbye residents.

          Whatever ones beliefs are, I would hope that cruelly punishing the already crushed while ignoring the blessed crimes is felt wrong. Much of Latin America, especially Central America, has been economically wasted by the American Elites for financial gain. The cry of “Communism!” and “Terrorism!” is just an often successful attempt to distract Americans from the wealthy treating non-Americans as “waste people” because it is profitable to do so. Just like how many Americans from the Colonial era to today have been treated. Close to four centuries of people being used as human manure. Rather like Soylent Green.

  28. human

    At a long ago protest in front of the UN in NYC, we were confined within crowd-control barricades when an elderly member in a wheel chair wished to get out of the crush and onto the adjacent sidewalk. A few of us assisted by moving the barricade enough to get him through when we attracted several police. We spat disdain at them as it was clearly obvious what we were doing. After a moments hesitation both sides returned to their duties (there’s that war-speak creeping in).

  29. WestcoastDeplorable

    One thing to add to the “Russian collusion” story…the DOJ actually has no (as in ZERO) proof the Russians did anything to interfere with the 2016 election, unless you want to count the Steele dossier paid for by Hiliary Clinton.
    And as I recall my 3rd grade English teacher….it’s “sank” not “sunk”.

  30. Oregoncharles

    “Earthquake caught on ‘cat cam’”

    The cats woke up significantly before there was any visible movement. That’s a well-known phenomenon; there’ve been efforts to find out both how they know, and how it could be used for short-term prediction.

  31. Oregoncharles

    “US yield curve sends strongest recession warning since 2007”
    FWIW, precious metals are going up. Silver is over $17, gold is over $1500. Mr. Market is getting nervous.

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Yup, after so many false alarms, I think this may finally be the bottom of the financial system’s bag of tricks.

  32. MichaelSF

    Please give a bit more warning to the readers when posting videos like the above “cat that lost her kittens” antidote. I was expecting a cat that had misplaced her kittens, not the accident scene, injuries, etc. The antidotes are normally fairly light-hearted fare, and this one was in no way that type of thing.

  33. Harold

    I think the video may have been Korean. Watched it on my phone and couldn’t access much information about it. It was very touching regardless of provenance.

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