Links 9/27/19

Why turkeys circle dead things—the creepy vigil, explained Popular Science. Resilc: “Very entertaining beast. We do our best to get their numbers up in Vermont.” Moi: My father hunted wild turkeys and he said they were smart and wary, but that was before many of them decided hanging out in backyards was OK. I regularly see them on Bailey Island. They might as well be deer.

Number Theorist Fears All Published Math Is Wrong Motherboard

Canadian ISPs Continue Quest To Bankrupt TVAddons, Site That Hosted Tons Of Legal Kodi Addons TechDirt (Chuck L)

Plastic Tea Bags Release Billions of Microplastics Into Every Cup Discover (David L). Eeew.

Salmon Farmers Fight to Protect Your Dinner from Climate Change Bloomberg

Can We Redesign The Modern City With Synthetic Biology? Could We Grow Our Houses Instead Of Building Them? Forbes (David L)

Giving nature human rights could be the best way to protect the planet New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

Foraging Is Part Of Swedish Identity; Now Its Countryside Is The Wildest Restaurant NPR (David L)


Brexit: EU leaders believe new extension is ‘likely’ BBC. The later part of the story contains a short discussion of what the EU might do if Johnson refuses to comply with the Benn Act.

Supreme court litigant advised to buy stab vest after death threats Guardian (guurst)

The current constitutional crisis is neither uniquely British nor uniquely about where sovereignty lies LSE British Politics and Society


George Washington Warned Us About Saudi Arabia American Conservative (resilc)

The Threat of Bolton Has Receded–But Not the Threat of War LobeLog (resilc)

Saudi Arabia says military response to Iran is possible BBC

Trump’s Iran Policy: A Q&A With Richard Falk The Nation (resilc)

Egypt: when the rivers run dry openDemocracy. Title a bit too poetic. About rising economic stress and corruption.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Can anti-drone systems really work? Asia Times

Suicide rate in active duty U.S. service members rises significantly Reuters (resilc). Neverending tours of duty will do that.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

DC Court: State Secrets Privilege Trumps Any Citizens’ Right To Know Whether Or Not Their Own Gov’t Is Trying To Kill Them TechDirt (Chuck L)

Vimeo Sued For Storing Faceprints of People Without Their Consent Sophos

Politicians Can Break Our Content Rules, YouTube CEO Says Politico and Facebook Confirms Its ‘Standards’ Don’t Apply To Politicians ars technica

Face masks to decoy t-shirts: The rise of anti-surveillance … Thompson Reuters (reslic).

Trump Transition

Trump administration imposes 18K limit on refugees, the lowest ever The Hill. Functionally equivalent to locking the door.

U.S. announces asylum deal with Honduras, could send migrants to one of world’s most violent nations Washington Post (furzy)

Looming Trump auto tariffs threaten blowback for US The Hill

Dependencies: Both Technological And Human, On Display In The Story Of A Developer Who Deleted Code Being Used By ICE TechDirt. Chuck L:

A bit weedsy on the IT front but then there’s this:

Also, it turned out to be incredibly effective. By Monday, Chef had completely reversed its position and said that it would not renew its work with ICE:

As many of you know, we began our work with the U.S. Government in earnest in 2014 and 2015. This included DHS and its various departments under a different set of circumstances than exists today. The overarching goal was to help them modernize their computing infrastructure and create a cooperative community of IT professionals inside the government that could share practices and approaches in a similar way to many open source communities. Policies such as family separation and detention did not yet exist.

While I and others privately opposed this and various other related policies, we did not take a position despite the recommendation of many of our employees. I apologize for this. I had hoped that traditional political checks and balances would provide remedy and that our relationship with our various government customers could avoid getting intermingled with these policies. However, it is clear that checks and balances have not provided relief to the fundamental issues of the policies in question. Chef, as well as other companies, can take stronger positions against these policies that violate basic human rights. Over the past year, many of our employees have constructively advocated for a change in our position, and I want to thank them.

Impeachment Saber Rattling

Trump Is The Deep State American Conservative

Trump Allies Predict an Impeachment Spiral Vanity Fair. Resilc: “That and $5 will get you a latte.”

If This Is Trump’s Best Case, The Ukraine Scandal Is Looking Really Bad For Him FiveThirtyEight. Resilc: “But look at the approval chart on same page…up.”

New York Times faces backlash after revealing details about whistleblower Guardian

Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine Scandal With Trump and Biden Atlantic

First GOP governor comes out in support of Trump impeachment inquiry Axios. Resilc: “I met him this summer. He’s not a real republican.”


Use it or Lose it: Efficiency Gains from Wealth Taxation Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. UserFriendly: “How much more proof do you need that the meritocratic 10% are firmly in Camp Warren then a fed working paper coming out to bolster her primary policy idea?”

From JohnnyGL. Not a good look:

Trump impeachment inquiry and a brutal 2020 election will further stoke ‘toxic’ workplaces, HR experts warn MarketWatch

Our Fabulously Free Press

MSNBC Cuts Off Presidential Press Conference Because “The President Isn’t Telling The Truth” Jonathan Turley

Not the Nobel Prize in Economics Finalists Mint Magazine. A poll! Winner announced in early Oct. Finalists include economists well known on this site, like Randy Wray, Steve Keen, and Mariana Mazzucato. You do have to register (presumably to prevent stuffing the ballot box) which I held my nose and did, and encourage you to do too.

Lyft Allegedly Let a Driver Give More Than 700 Rides After He Stomped on a Passenger’s Head Motherboard. Horrible.

NTSB faults Boeing tests of 737 MAX for not assessing how pilots respond to multiple alerts Seattle Times (Carey). From yesterday, still germane.

Plane Tests Must Use Average Pilots, NTSB Says After 737 MAX Crashes Wall Street Journal

WeWork halts all new lease agreements to stem losses Financial Times

Endeavor Pulls Its IPO Wall Street Journal. After Peleton IPO falls 7% on the first day from its offering price. Investors getting tired of being dumping grounds for over-aged “unicorns”. Recall we wrote both here and for New York Magazine that the conventional back of the envelope approach for valuing private shares overvalued unicorns by an average of nearly 50% by not doing the hard work of allowing for the fact that private co’s have multiple rounds with distinct economic rights, and the later rounds have better rights than the earlier ones (as in they suck value out of earlier investors). In the stone ages of my youth, equity investors were receptive to IPOs only 3 years out of five, and you have to have 18 months of profits to boot.

Climate change could cause a new mortgage default crisis Financial Times

Class Warfare

There are precious few places in America where the average worker can afford a median-priced home MarketWatch (resilc)

The 25 US cities where renters are becoming homeowners the quickest Business Insider

Student Loan Crisis Driving Racial Wealth Gap Credit Slips

Antidote du jour (skippy). Looks like he thinks he owns that bed:

And a bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. UserFriendly

      Yeah, so was NC. from July 3rd

      Will Hunter Biden Jeopardize His Father’s Campaign? New Yorker (UserFriendly). Pro tip: When you are in a hole, stop digging. Plus Hunter is way down the list of Biden senior baggage.

      and August 3rd

      Biden, Inc.: How ‘Middle Class’ Joe’s family cashed in on the family name Politico. UserFriendly: “Biden’s family; horribly corrupt! Must read.

      are my favorite but also back on April 9th I sent this link to Yves with the note “More on Ukraine.”

      Ukrainian to US prosecutors: Why don’t you want our evidence on Democrats?

      So, it’s been covered.

  1. jeremyharrison

    Honduras annual murder rate – 40 per 100,000

    Cities in Honduras with highest annual murder rates:
    San Pedro Sula – 47 per 100,000
    Distrito Central – 43 per 100,000
    US cities’ annual murder rates:
    St. Louis – 61 per 100,000
    Baltimore – 51 per 100,000

    Can residents of St. Louis or Baltimore claim asylum in Honduras?

      1. marym

        The Guardian 05/31/2019

        Education and healthcare have suffered severe cuts and multiple corruption scandals under the National party, which has ruled Honduras since a military-backed [*] coup deposed the elected president, Manual Zelaya, in 2009.

        The public health service is also close to collapse, with widespread shortages of medicines, staff, beds, cribs and equipment. About 40% of emergency rooms have inadequate medical cover, according to the National Commission for Human Rights.

        * + US backed

      2. Robert McGregor

        I know a refugee from the Congo who asked me, “Why does the US not want people to have health care?” She has found she could get better health care in the Congo than she can get in the US.

        1. Dan

          Well go back home then sister;
          In spite of our own citizens not getting government paid healthcare, we taxpayers are obliged to pay for her medical problems after she chose to come here?

          Americans can’t country shop like foreigners can.

          Bonus points for Trump’s reelection. She will be qualified under U.S. affirmative action laws to get a job ahead of those taxpayers.

          Perhaps she could lead tour groups of African-American youth to the Congo for a few months to see why emigration from the U.S. might not be such a good idea and to appreciate the advantages they have here and to get to work taking advantage of them.

          1. Don

            I think you misunderstood the Congolese woman’s observation. She was simply surprised
            at the lack of an adequate healthcare system in the U.S. She wasn’t asking for some kind of healthcare handout. The fact that you misunderstood the comment is interesting. You assume that any African (i.e. black person) is a bum, and that assumption
            distorted your interpretation of her comment. Your bias is showing..

    1. marym

      We could, of course, have policies to address the roots of violence in US cities and in countries where the US supports corrupt governments. We could have policies that directly benefit the homeless, the veterans, and any other group whose needs are used to excuse cruelty toward immigrants. This is a policy of those who don’t care about people in St. Louis or Baltimore either.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Hmm – what do those numbers say about the police depts. in St. Louis and Baltimore? They’re among the most violent, from the reporting we’ve seen.

  2. diptherio

    Jessica Gordon-Nembhard made it to the final round of the Not-the-Nobel! Woo hoo! And she got first listing to boot. So happy to see not only a cooperative researcher get the nod, but one whom I work with. I’ll be over here basking in reflected glory, thank you very much.

    1. STEPHEN V.

      Appreciate this. A friend introduced me to the story of B T Washington and Julian Rosenwald last year which led to some research on *Associationalism.* But *cooperative economics* is news to me..!

      1. Dan

        Rosenwald owned most of Sears and funded the founding of the NAACP.
        Most people probably don’t appreciate that.

        1. Stephen V.

          You’re right Dan. He also worked with BTW to construct almost 5,000 school houses for blacks across the South. And because the man didn’t want his name on anything (and he pioneered the spend down Foundation so his fortune was gone by 1947 IIRC) we don’t know him.
          diptherio’s colleague co-authored this paper::

          In which I find in footnote 26) …unemployment among members of the black population signals the growing liberation of black people from direct capitalist exploitative mechanisms.
          …The author then goes on to describe the need for blacks themselves to create a “safety net>” For me this resonates with the “self-reliance” strategy enacted by BTWashington at Tuskegee. But because he branded it as “industrial education” he was villified by some for not being politically strident enough. Long story. But an interesting one to me.

          1. anon in so cal

            The cited article mentions that the inner cities need jobs that are “family-supporting and wealth-creating.”

            It is beyond the article’s purview, but am wondering if illegal immigration has had an impact on prospects for black employment in the inner cities?

            In Los Angeles, at least, black residents believed this, at least for a time.

            “What’s behind the anger, as the Pew data hint, is the rapid change that legal and illegal Hispanic immigration is bringing to longtime black locales. Places like South Los Angeles and Compton, California, have transformed, virtually overnight, into majority-Latino communities. Huge numbers of new immigrants have also surged beyond newcomer magnets California and New York to reach fast-growing southern states like North Carolina and Georgia, bringing change to communities where blacks had gained economic and political power after years of struggle against Jim Crow laws. Since 1990, North Carolina’s Hispanic population has exploded from 76,726 people to nearly 600,000, the majority of them ethnically Mexican. In Georgia, the Hispanic population grew nearly sevenfold, to almost 700,000, from 1990 to 2006.”


            This study hints at the issue of the janitorial sector in Los Angeles, once a source of employment for blacks, who were unionized, and earned decent wages. Predatory corporations replaced unionized black workers with low-wage, non-union illegal immigrant labor, and inner city blacks lost out. It was a long hard slog to re-unionize the workers.


            In the meantime, “[S]ince the 1980s, the Black population in Los Angeles has declined by over 100,000 residents from 13% to 8% while the Inland Empire has gained over 250,000 Black residents.”


  3. TBone

    Re: plastic in tea. Has anyone thought about plastic K-Cups? Those seem not only wasteful but dangerous. Buy and brew loose tea? Is that any safer considering our water quality?

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      The water you’re using to brew the tea (via teabag, loose, or k-cup) is the same, regardless. Buy and use the tea that has the least amount of packaging, the least amount of non-recyclable packaging, and has the least intensive industrial process. For me this means loose tea (often in metal tins, which I re-use for storing other dry goods), or paper teabags. Sealing single servings of tea leaves into k-cups seems to be the most problematic (manufacturing the cups, extensive mechanics of filling and sealing them, extra weight of shipping, plastic waste, etc.). It still takes industrial process to fill and wrap up a paper teabag, but the waste is compostable.

      1. marieann

        I moved to loose leaf tea a couple of years ago when I found out that the paper tea bags were no longer compostable because they sealed the bag with plastic.
        I wish I could buy the tea in a tin

          1. trogg

            from the article: “If you’re worried about plastic in your tea, stick with paper tea bags or brewing with loose leaf.” So paper no-good also? I’m spending an arm and a leg on organic tea because I drink it every god damn day and I don’t want to put something in my body that’s bad for me with such regularity. Mine break down in compost.

        1. Wukchumni

          I wish I could buy the tea in a tin

          Not world peace, or a lessening of climate change so as to correspond with old norms we were used to, or a shiny new early 70’s Schwinn Sting-Ray with banana seat, sissy bar, slick back tire & knobby front tire? }rosebud…}

          1. marieann

            Of course my first wish would be to have more wishes….then I could get all those things…especially that cool bike :)

        2. Drake

          I had bought one comparatively expensive tea recently with fancy bags (won’t mention the brand) that I immediately thought of when I saw the headline. I feared the worst, but checked it and saw it was ‘artisan hand-stitched pouches’ made from silk. I may have to go back to loose-leaf if even paper bags are suspect. What a pain.

        3. JB

          If you don’t have a local store that sells loose leaf, you can order from the Tao of Tea out of Portland. They have a fantastic selection.

    1. Geo

      Years ago I met an Iraq War vet who lost one of his legs in Fallujia on his first tour of duty. He was an advocate for wounded vets (with Homes For Our Tripp’s) and also ran a program to help vets deal with ptsd. He told me he’d rather lose his other leg too than deal with the mental toll those who have had multiple tours have to deal with.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Maybe “America” ought to be thinking about and applying notions of national interest, and doctrine, and strategy, and tactics and I don’t know, “policies,” that don’t lead into the spy vs. spy vicious circle if weapon-antiweapon-antiantiweapon-antiantiantiweapon…?

        Of course that goes against what one can see of human nature, at least the “successful” part of it.

        Maybe the recent speech of Macron to gathered ambassadors after the August G-7 meeting might be a small step in that direction? Please forgive it this has been debunked and dismissed here already, and there are many reported sources but I kind of liked this one, in light of where humanity stands: Noting the demise of the West, and new realities.

        1. Olga

          I don’t think it was covered here (and probably not in the MSM), but his speech was very interesting. Of course, being a cynic, I wonder who gave him permission to say those things. But the direction is right…

      2. The Rev Kev

        I don’t think that there will be a magic bullet that will solve the problem of drone attacks but more how like the Russians are doing it in Syria’s Khmeimim air base. A layered defense with several weapons systems integrated together while using GPS jamming and spoofing as well. At the very least the Russians have knocked down over a hundred drones in several attacks.
        Even then, the Russians have just upgraded their bases to have hangers to shelter their aircraft against drones. Oh, and also to shelter their planes from the fierce heat and let the mechanics work under shade. It should be mentioned that those drones that attacked that base may have looked like they were assembled by Jed Clampett but the inner workings were highly sophisticated which suggested support from a State actor. But wait, it gets better.
        There was an attack by 13 drones not that long ago and the Russians have come out and directly accused the US of controlling the later stage of the attack from a US Poseidon-8 reconnaissance plane that was circling off the coastline. It was the Russian Deputy Defense Minister that said this so likely they have some sort of proof-

  4. Ignacio

    RE: Brexit: EU leaders believe new extension is ‘likely’ BBC. The later part of the story contains a short discussion of what the EU might do if Johnson refuses to comply with the Benn Act.

    I’ve found the article quite interesting. My conclusion is that an extension wouldn’t be granted to BoJo, but to the UK, only if Johnson resigns or a no-confidence motion is passed. In my view the article makes a mistaken case on why EU diplomats justify not negotiating with the Parliament instead of the Prime Minister. I doubt that any EU diplomat would make the case of Catalonia as a reason. It is non sensical. This would apply only if the EU was negotiating brexit, for instance, with the Parliament of Scotland, something which is out of bounds.

  5. jackiebass

    I have a question about your comment about the first GOP governor to support impeaching Trump. You say he isn’t a real republican. Is your idea of what a republican is based on todays republicans or past republicans? He is actually what a republican used to be before the moderates were purged from the party.

    1. Brian L.

      The “you” you are asking is resilc, a provider of links to NC. The gov is Scott of VT. I am guessing that resilc is saying that he isn’t a Republican of today. In other words, his position is of no real significance because he is not representative of what other Republicans think.

      1. Oh

        Oh really?. Seems to me he’s on the same page with Repigs when it comes to destroying the environment, helping big corporations and opposing any expenditures for the betterment of the common people.

  6. Ignacio

    Bravo for the bikes rescuing the deer! The deer looks calm while expecting them to help him out of the trap.

    1. Wukchumni

      Deer have been a Dime a dozen this summer, must have seen a few hundred in the higher climes, which you would think might lead to more mountain lion sightings than a few human-feline interfaces this season. Deer are whats for dinner. (also breakfast, lunch and late night snacking)

      Talked to the backcountry ranger @ Hockett Meadow, who saw only 4 black bears in 4 months posted there. I’m stalled out @ 3 bruin encounters for the year. The thought is that perhaps the clan of the cave bear formed a cult where a deity that looked over them and watched their every move, successfully raptured them to their just reward.

  7. Carla

    Hope all the presidential candidates who are so fond of employer-sponsored health insurance read the following:

    Article points out this equals the cost of buying a new economy car — EVERY YEAR. Although employers still pay the bulk of the premiums, more costs constantly are being shifted to employees via deductibles and co-pays.

    And Obamacare? It’s the public-private partnership gift that keeps on giving — to the Medical-Industrial Complex.

  8. John Beech

    So how do my left-leaning friends reading NK view the news Hunter Biden was the most qualified man the Chinese and Ukrainians could find to help them place $2B? Ignore for a moment the outrage regarding quid pro quo, and just concentrate on the basic question; was it a slimy deal, or not? Yes, or no?

    Me? I favor Senator Sanders so I am simply delighted at the sight of cockroaches scurrying in this light. Anyway, since the President has aimed the mother of all spotlights at Biden, does his claim knew nothing hold water? More importantly, does Biden survive?

    1. Chris Cosmos

      It appears the major media outlets are trying very hard to dismiss any talk of Biden in this matter. They are all saying “there’s nothing there” and if they repeat it often enough it will be a fact. The media really went to another level with Russiagate entirely inventing a scenario that had no substance but they made it become real and they continue to insist on its reality. Can the media now just make us believe anything?

      As for Biden, I’m surprised he can maintain his popularity. But I think we are now in an age of myth and reality may not matter.

      1. Carolinian

        From the MSNBC/Turley article

        Wallace simply declared Biden was cleared and that Trump was lying so there was no need for viewers to listen. It ignored any semblance of covering the news and MSNBC appears perfectly okay with a host regulating what viewers believe based on her view of what is true.

        It all goes with what Caitlin Johnstone has been saying about narratives. By this view NBC News is no longer a news network but rather a narrative network. They are going to tell us what to think and of course many viewers will go along because neatly packaged stories (preferably with happy endings) are more entertaining than dreary news reports. Maddow reportedly even stages dramatic scenes starring herself–complete with crying jags.

        Paddy Chayefsky, playwright and screenwriter, predicted it all in 1976’s Network. Pauline Kael may have scoffed at this “messianic farce” but with each passing year it comes closer to reality.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          nicole wallace is not a journalist, and, if those she’s surrounded by on msnbs are any indication, wouldn’t know one if she saw one. She is a political handler.

          In 2008, her job was to style, script and sell sarah palin as mccain’s VP–someone who was qualified to be president if mccain “went away.” Accordig to the book Game Change, she knew immediately that there was no way palin was qualified for the job, but doggedly worked to dupe the public anyway. Such are her “scruples.”

          Your point about “narratives” is interesting. Remember back when mueller turned his finished report over to Barr and the justice department, Barr “summarized” it as “No collusion, no obstruction,” and it was several weeks before the actual report was publicly released? msnbs went berserk over AG Barr’s seizure of “the narrative” from the Russiagaters who had controlled it for three years.

          Well, Barr is about to have the opportunity to seize “the narrative” again. The IG report on the deep state coup is in Barr’s hands and will be released soon. It’s reported to be damning. I think this quick pelosi pivot to “impeachment” is an attempt to establish narrative control before that bomb drops.

          It has been noted that pelosi’s solemn announcement of an impeachment “inquiry” really didn’ change anything. Constitutionally, a formal impeachment inquiry must be voted on by the house, a vote pelosi does not want to call because it may hurt some of the newer house dems politically.

          Pure narrative.

          1. KB

            thank you for that Katniss, been following….they really have lost their minds….though I said that to myself quite awhile ago, what now do I say?

          2. Carolinian

            attempt to establish narrative control before that bomb drops

            Makes sense to me. It’s gonna be a long thirteen months. I hear even Tulsi has now jumped on the impeachment bandwagon/distraction.

            1. anon in so cal

              Ukraine has apparently always been Tulsi’s problem area. No time to dig up the cites but she has apparently echoed the Nuland line for some time.

              1. hunkerdown

                To paraphrase an old saying: You can take the girl out of the farm CFR, but you can’t take the farm CFR out of the girl.

        2. Drake

          I was going to respond with something snarky about NBC news not having been a news network for quite some time, but really I’m not sure that the basic business of news is even separable from narrative. Selecting what to present as news in a limited window of time, even with the most sincere attempt at objectivity, is establishing a narrative (“what I’m telling you is important, what I’m not telling you is not”). The problem is that we no longer have even a pretense of objectivity, and the narrative is no longer a side-effect but the whole point. It’s not a problem of narrative, it’s a problem of propaganda.

          1. Carolinian

            Yes obviously a “news story” is a story, a narrative, but it’s supposed to be a story about the news–real stuff. The problem is that fiction is taking over.

            Hollywood does this all the time with their “based on a true story” disclaimer which covers a lot of real estate. For that reason I think movies based on real life events or people should always be treated with suspicion if you expect them to be more than merely entertaining.

            And maybe that’s all that many people expect from TV news. But “narrative” is crowding out the real news and the factual info that we need.

          2. Larry Taylor

            > I’m not sure that the basic business of news is even separable from narrative. …
            > The problem is that we no longer have even a pretense of objectivity, and the narrative
            > is no longer a side-effect but the whole point. It’s not a problem of narrative, it’s a
            > problem of propaganda.

            A while back I was visiting some friends in America. They turned the television on to watch the evening news on one of the big networks. I recall that the programme was called ‘World News Tonight’. I remember this because after watching the whole thing (of which, by the way, at least half of the time was lost to commercials), I was surprised that there was _not a single story_ devoted to anything that happened outside of the USA. ‘World News’ indeed. And that was at a time when the war on Iraq was in full flood!

    2. JohnnyGL

      I theorized yesterday that the only way to make this impeachment charge stick is to throw the Bidens under the bus. The messaging from team dem has been very clear: the right of the biden family to cash in shall not be challenged. Look at warren’s stumble above. A nice clear example of how she has the correct intuitive response to the question. But, then, immediately snaps back into ‘being a team player’.

      If she’s the nominee and falters in the general election, it’s clear the seeds of failure are being planted right now. Trump’s crew will thoroughly roast her for twisting herself in knots like this.

      1. hunkerdown

        Not just Biden, not just the Second Estate’s stenographers, but the whole of the professional-management aristocracy. Their entire lifestyles as literally the bourgeoisie (to quote WaPoo reporter Wesley Lowery’s tweet, now memory-holed) are based around the broad acceptance of the false conceit that they’re worthy of a higher rank than actual workers because reasons. All inequity (note ≠ inequality) is a false narrative that may from time to time offer minor practical value as a substitute for communication.

    3. Robert McGregor

      I think it is a good skill of politicians to know when A LIE IS ESSENTIAL TO KEEP THEIR CAREER. “Mr. Trump, was it quid pro quo?” He knows it was, but he cannot admit it, so lies as he has done thousands of times before. “Mr. Biden, did you know about Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine?” He cannot answer, “Yes,” and still run for president, so he lies.

      1. inode_buddha

        “I think it is a good skill of politicians to know when A LIE IS ESSENTIAL TO KEEP THEIR CAREER.”

        Since when should politics be a career?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Why shouldn’t it? Teddy Roosevelt was a career politician for many years. FDR was a career politician until his death. Sanders is a career politician.

          What’s the alternative? Amateurs playing at office-holding for a limited term or two? That way normal job-doing citizens could never run for office because they would lose their “real” job and have no job to come back to. Unless they promised in advance to use their amateur term-limited career in politics to audition for big money after politics, like Clinton and Obama did.

      2. hunkerdown

        Since when have the private “careers” of the professional-management class, which have largely consisted of lying to people to achieve a planned outcome to favor their private interest, been a legitimate public interest? Or, if you prefer pop culture, “Where do you think we are?” –Scrubs

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Trump’s Iran Policy: A Q&A With Richard Falk”

    I never thought about it before but I now see a resemblance between this situation and Brexit. No, really. After three years of Brexit wrangling, it has become obvious now that the best deal that the UK could ever get was the one that they already had. Same here with the Joint Comprehensive Plan. Under it things were settling down, Iran’s oil was going into the world market lowering oil prices, lots of companies were set to make enormous sums of money selling Iran a lot of stuff that they needed and even Israel recognized the benefits for the region. After reneging on the deal which has led to an escalation of conflict in this region, I think that Trump by now has realized his mistake. Iran has offered some more stricter measures if there was ever a re-negotition but they will never sign the terms of surrender which Trump’s neocon deal would be.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      This opens the opportunity for any one or more of the DemParty Nomination-seekers to promise to run on bringing America back into the Iran Deal if they are nominated.

    1. pjay

      Anyone who reads the transcript of Trump’s conversation half-way objectively can see that it was not about Trump wanting dirt on a political opponent (at least not mainly). Rather, it was about Russiagate, and the key role of Crowdstrike and Ukrainian “nationalists” in the operation with factions of the intelligence community and the Obama administration. The Ukrainian coup, and the role of Ukrainian “nationalists” in Russiagate, are central pieces in this puzzle. That is why this faction of the Establishment is going ballistic. Just as they blanketed the revelations of Hillary’s e-mails with 24/7 coverage of Russiagate, they will try to blanket the revelations regarding the Ukraine with 24/7 saturation coverage of Ukrainegate. The transparency of this farce is obvious to anyone who actually wants to look.

    2. semiconscious

      damn! & there are still people out there who insist that there’s no such thing as ‘trump derangement syndrome’?…

  10. The Rev Kev

    Elizabeth Warren: “I don’t know, I’d have to check my plan.”

    Spoken like a true technocrat! That sentence just begs to be made into meme.

    1. Wukchumni

      ‘Indian giver’ definition as per Merriam-Webster: a person who gives something to another and then takes it back.

    2. voteforno6

      To be fair, I have a hard time seeing how any ethics rules could enforce a ban on adult children of an elected official from attempting to cash in like this. Now, those same officials can certainly use quite a bit of “soft” power with their children and with anyone that might hire them, to dissuade them from cashing in. That this doesn’t happen is quite telling – about these officials, and their children.

      1. Jesper

        Yep, in my opinion this should not be a matter of personal ethics. If the behaviour is unacceptable then it should be curbed by law and not relying on the ethics of one individual. It might be interesting to hear the position on whether or not they consider the behaviour to be ethical and then make that a point for the election.
        The defense of the situation appears to be. I didn’t ask him what he was doing so how am I supposed to know whether or not he used my name and my connections to make money. (And if he did, so what? It is legal? & for all we know he wasn’t aware of this being protection money if it even was protection money?)
        Politicians who use the “it was/is not illegal” defense when caught doing something that some consider to be unethical might hope that the people consider it to be unethical is in a minority. If not, then elections can be lost. (Or won, if the loud minority is out of sync with the general population.)

  11. jefemt

    re: giving nature human rights….

    Famous Wyoming lawyer Gerry Spence wrote about this several places, I saw it in his very disturbing must -read on Randy Weaver and the Ruby Ridge Idaho debacle.

    Spence is a treasure, and the ‘rights of nature’ notion is of the sort of transformational thinking we had better get on to.

    Maybe we are on the cusp of the “Aquarian Age’, just a little late?

    The cynic in me cries that we are very busy stripping away human rights, everywhere— Nature may want to opt-out on all Ewww-man! contrivances…

  12. Polar Donkey

    Fastest cities to home ownership – Memphis came in 6th. While it is quick to get homeownership, doing it is another matter. A great deal of housing stock is of low quality and worth. Moving up the value ladder, say a house between $80,000 and $130,000 comes on market, you may get 6 out of state bidders to make it a rental before a local who wants to be owner occupied has a chance. Before the housing crisis, the city was 60+% single family owner occupied. It is now 60+% single family rental occupied.

    1. ewmayer

      At least PTON managed to raise a nice chunk of money from the degenerate gamblers, erm I mean savvy investors, so we can look forward to more of those TV ads featuring attractive models having quasi-orgasmic experiences in their 20-minute quickies on their internet-connected stationary spycycles. It’s like a hamster wheel with benefits…

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Saudi Arabia says military response to Iran is possible”

    Of course it is possible. So long as it is US troops that do the fighting and the dying. John Kerry in testimony has stated that Saudi Arabia offered to pick up the tab if the US attacked Iran. The Saudis would, however, let the US use the bases in Saudi Arabia that the US built and paid for – at a reasonable rate. Either that or let the $181 million unpaid bill for the Yemen support let slide. And I think that Israel offered to make the sandwiches for the US expeditionary force.

  14. Wukchumni

    Sporting desk:

    I think the quarterback i’ve been looking for going on one score and 6 years since losing 4 superbowls in a row, has arrived.

    We suffered through so many stiffs along the way, the names of which i’ve luckily forgotten for the most part, a parade of Palookas destined for short careers @ the helm, crouched over feeling up another fellow’s behind in anticipation of hand off.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      C’mon, who doesn’t remember the benching of Flutie in favor of Rob Johnson because Johnson was given a start against a Colts defense in a meaningless game where my grandmother would have racked up 300 passing yards? I know the transitive property doesn’t work, but gosh, did seeing McNair so close to winning the Super Bowl eat at you?

    2. petal

      That 4 SB stretch was fantastic, though, Wuk. Man. Those were the days! And then I moved to Boston in early 2001 and finally got to feel what it was like to win a SB. Ha!
      It was fun, though. My friend’s cousin was a TE on the Bills during that stretch, so it was extra fun. Even though I cheer for NE these days, still hoping Buffalo gets their mojo back. This weekend’s game should be interesting.

      1. Wukchumni

        I met my Buffalo bred better half in 1990, and SoCal NFL teams were pretty sucky, so I married into the Bills mafia as a made man of sorts.

        And what a strange long trip it has been.

        I remember calling her up when we were watching the Houston shellacking together in separate apartments, and I proposed we go out to drown our sorrows, and when I got to her place, a comeback had broke out with the Reich emerging victorious!

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Between the Biden story and the Crowdstrike story, there’s an image building in my mind:

      A golf ball labeled “Democratic Party” sits on a tee labeled “Impeachment.” Trump stands over the ball at the top of his back swing, and his driver is labeled “Ukraine.”

      It becomes clearer and clearer that the Democrats have tried to pull a double Rove, i.e. accusing your opponents of doing what you’ve already done. The problem is that the Dems are no Rove.

      1. Off The Street

        To further that golfing image, add Hillary’s mug and then put that ball into a deep water hazard, the kind with leeches.

  15. Robert McGregor

    “In the stone ages of my youth, equity investors were receptive to IPOs only 3 years out of five, and you have to have 18 months of profits to boot.”

    Yves, Is it true these multiple IPOs of losing companies have occurred because of self-dealing–there was just too much money to be made by both the investment banks, and the unicorn top executives by getting their IPO money. Even if the investors are losing, Kalanick and Neumann walked away with millions or billions.

    On a personal note, I have a friend whose relative was a top executive in Molycorp–a rare earth mining company several years back. Just like with Uber, Wework etc–Molycorp never made money, but still went to IPO. The company went bankrupt of course, but only have he walked away with several million. “Good work if you can get it.”

  16. The Rev Kev

    “MSNBC Cuts Off Presidential Press Conference Because “The President Isn’t Telling The Truth” ”

    Hey, I have no respect for Trump either as a person, a businessman or a politician. Hell, it is not even my country. But damn, he is still the President. This is just blatant partisanship on behalf of the media who has an axe to grind. Reminds me of the time in 2016 when one media guy admitted on TV that he did not know what else the media could do to help Hillary win.

    1. Wukchumni

      One thing the donkey show & pachyderm party used to be good at was not using swear words in public, and one wonders if the chief executive lets loose with an f-bomb on air via the bomb bay doors of his lips, does he get bleeped out?

    2. flora

      CNN and MSNBC have paid contributors to… uh… inform them about these things. /s

      From Politico last year:

      Former CIA Director John Brennan (2013-17) is the latest superspook to be reborn as a TV newsie. He just cashed in at NBC News as a “senior national security and intelligence analyst” ….

      But almost to a one, the TV spooks still identify with their former employers at the CIA, FBI, DEA, DHS, or other security agencies and remain protective of their institutions. This makes nearly every word that comes out of their mouths suspect. …

      Wonder if that’s how MSNBC “knows” what it claims to “know”. Maybe it could try hiring actual reporters to get its facts, instead of hiring spy agency “contributors”. Just a thought.

      1. Drake

        Their actual reporters are just stenographers to spy agencies anyway, so hiring a spook just cuts out the middleman. It’s much more efficient, and if I’m going to hear what the spy agencies have to say, I appreciate not having to believe that it’s coming from a reporter doing actual journalism. It helps me know it’s coming from Clapper if it’s literally coming from Clapper. I just find it hard to believe that they don’t even feel the need to conceal it anymore.

        1. Mike

          Gotta agree – all true investigative journalists are outside the main media firms, who are relying on intelligence idiots to mouth their money-making platitudes. Their campaign catering business should be stripped, but that’s all part of the propaganda plan.

    3. inode_buddha

      You can thank Reagan for that, when he abolished the Fairness Doctrine… the irony is lost on the Republicans, I have noticed.

  17. Craig H.

    > Why turkeys circle dead things—the creepy vigil, explained

    No one is going to get a turkey to solve a puzzle or play fetch, but they manage out in the world just fine.

    The article left one question unanswered:

    according to a 2017 blog post from the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Mark Hatfield

    I wonder if this is a salaried position?

    In my zip-code the turkeys are pretty stupid if you ask me. You have to pay attention to keep from running them over because they haven’t learned the look-left-right-left rule. Watching them try to fly is pretty amusing. I think the longest I have ever seen is thirty foot airborne, down a steep hill. More like a flap-assisted running long jump.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      A couple of years ago, I saw some turkeys roosting 40-45 feet up a Douglas Fir tree in Eugene, Oregon. Blew my mind.

  18. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Number Theorist Fears …”: I have trouble calling the results of a computer program testing every case of a proposition a “proof”. To me, a proof should do much more than simply demonstrate a proposition true or false. Proofs should given human insight into the mathematical structure of the concept space — should help a human “understand” what the theorem or proposition “means”. I sensed a weird movement in the teaching of mathematics when I was in school that treated intuition and understanding of the mathematics as unimportant compared with symbol manipulations to arrive at answers — for engineers, or symbol manipulations to arrive at a “proof”, for mathematicians. This movement seemed bent on ‘purifying’ mathematics to a minimal set of axioms and theorems, devoid of any discussion of insights.

    I recall a joke from that time about a mathematician presenting a proof to a lecture hall full of graduate students. He filled several chalk-boards proving some deep theorem in algebra. Somewhere near the middle of his presentation, he stated — “And the next step is trivially obvious.” — as he wrote an expression on the chalk board. But he suddenly stopped and looked at what he had written. He stared for several minutes and without a word slipped into an office at the corner of the lecture hall. Some of the students had to go to other classes but many remained waiting in the lecture. One went down and peaked into the window of the professor’s office and told everyone that the professor had created several haphazard heaps of papers on his desk — covered with notations –and was madly scribbling as he built the the heaps higher. Finally, after more than an hour, the professor returned to the chalk-board, to the expression where he’d stopped before, and without further comment or explanation he stated — “And this next step is trivially obvious.” — as he pointed to the expression and continued filling the chalk-boards with his proof.

    This is not to say I cannot see how computer programs, especially some of the visualization programs could be a great boon to mathematicians. For instance computers can be used generate counter-examples, or help visualize features of a higher dimensional space thereby suggesting new theorems and propositions. I suppose automatic theorem proving might obtain some reliably true and useful results. Even so, I have trouble trusting something I cannot in some sense understand.

    1. Off The Street

      I attended a presentation by a famous number-theorist and saw him wink at the audience when a grad student asked him a tough question. He said that is why he didn’t invite grad students to such events as they asked tough questions that were difficult to answer on the fly, then went on with the show.

      The rest of the audience was comfortable giving the professor the benefit of the doubt on that answer, back when credibility oozed out of pores and people took such reputational matters far more seriously.

    2. Jack Parsons

      How the worm as turned!

      The 4-color theorem was proven in the mid-70s via a program that created about 10k variations of a problem and proved each one in turn. The Mathematics community blew up in outrage: a proof was a consensus hallucination, something you and I agreed on. Relying on a computer-operated proof meant that you had to prove the program AND the hardware it ran on.

      All of this was covered by Scienterrific American at the time, when I was in high school.

      1. Susan the other`

        Too dangerous to admit we have no words and no symbols that are logical beyond a certain reality. The everyday one, I guess. This link surprised me because I’m reading excerpts from The Emperor’s New Mind which Penrose wrote 30 years ago. Excerpts because I’m too lost to actually read the concepts – he goes for pages explaining the logic in mathematical terms, algorithms and numbers… and then he pops up with something in English like, But none of this is provable… because at it’s heart there is a confounding contradiction to all our calculations. So I don’t feel so bad these days that this stuff is so far over my head I can’t even paraphrase it. But frustrating because words and math symbols are really the same thing. It’s like admitting that we really can’t communicate any truth. Penrose goes so far as to speculate that when the symbolic language of math is more refined it might be the key to understanding how quantum and relativity actually harmonize. He believes in intuition as well.

  19. jashley

    “Also, it turned out to be incredibly effective. By Monday, Chef had completely reversed its position and said that it would not renew its work with ICE:”

    Sorry, but as a longtime (over 30 years) member and leader of several large IT shops , this is outrageous.

    The guy should be and in a country that still believed in laws would be prosecuted.

    If he or the company wished to make a virtue display , they should camp out in front of their reps in the U.S. congress who will not pass anything to amend the current situation since it plays as a political issue for some of them.
    Back in April or so i seem to recall a plan put forth that was hailed from both sides , but nothing.

    It shows a total breakdown , just as serious as any banking scandal of any thought of civil processes.

    Thanks to all who support this action for your help in glorifying lawless actions.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is not a big deal except the NY Fed has been incompetent, which could wind up being a story.

      No one I know who is an actual trader thinks this is significant. Banks trying to milk it to present it as a problem due to new regs, as opposed to the Fed stupidly abandoning intervening via the repo market as it had FOREVAH until the crisis, when it thought it could go on auto-pilot by paying interest on reserves, which had the added beenie of being a small subsidy to banks. Fed is still stupidly refusing to drop interest on reserves and go back to doing everything via daily market ops (repo and reverse repos). Interest on reserves doesn’t work very well now that the world is no longer awash in liquidity due to the Fed shrinking its balance sheet.

      By not treating this as a nothingburger, Wall Street on Parade is playing into bank lobbyist hands. Shame, that.

  20. samhill

    Why turkeys circle dead things… “Very entertaining beast…”

    if you want to gain or heighten respect for the humble (wild) turkey google: PBS Nature – My Life As A Turkey, it should be up for free viewing if you are in the USA. One of my favourite nature docs by a scientist that heretically studies animals as anthropologist would. It should have been the national bird.

  21. Oregoncharles

    “Number Theorist Fears All Published Math Is Wrong ”
    A bit like Brexit: hilarious – if it doesn’t affect you. I wouldn’t like to be a mathematician in that climate. Fortunately, I don’t understand most of it at best, so I’m not too concerned.

    And a question for those who do understand it: do practical proofs matter? That is, is it true if it works in the real world? That would make math a branch of science, and take care of at least the theorems with practical application.

    1. ewmayer

      Note that the Slashdot link merely links-to and excerpts the original article, which is more extensive and to be preferred. Vice’s headline here is a bit clickbaity, more accurate would be “fears much recently published math is wrong”:

      As far as the practical import – the kinds of deep results in number theory and other pure-maths areas in question are unlikely to ever have any real-world import except possibly in one important area, namely cryptography*. Whether the twin prime conjecture eventually gets proven or not isn’t going to affect whether the sun rises in the morning, whether the latest space probe gets to where it’s supposed to, or whether the fate of the universe is eternal expansion or eventual recollapse. It’s more about gaining further understanding of what is true, what is not, and draining a few cups more of water from that vast ocean of “things we think are true or false but which have not been so proven.”

      The practical import really lies in avoidance of blind alleys and wasted time which can result from basing further work on a falsely proven result. Also the fact that many modern proofs have become so incredibly complex leads to a huge time burden on the small number of experts possibly capable of understanding them. It’s a conundrum – widepsread adoption of proving software could free said experts to do more of their own research rather than spend tons of time trying to understand someone else’s mega-length (alleged) proof, but historically speaking, math’s great proofs have not only established important results, they have pioneered new methods in the field – would automated proving deprive future mathematicins of such insights-to-be-gained?
      *OTOH, even in cryptography, most modern digital crypto in fact relies on an as-yet-unproven assumption, namely that integer factorization is hard. That hasn’t stopped a huge global multibillion-dollar computer security industry whose wares embody said assumption from springing up. And of course there is arguably the most famous unproven assumption in mathematics, the Riemann hypothesis, on whose as-yet-unproven truth a whole host of further results relies.

      1. DD

        The Motherboad and Vice headlines are both grossly misleading. All of published mathematics? I’m afraid that the clickbait phrase comes from the source himself (Kevin Buzzard at Imperial College, London) in the Vice. His more considered view is: “I think there is a non-zero chance that some of our great castles are built on sand. But I think it’s small”.

        Even this is too strong, I think. Mathematics over fifty years old may include some clinkers which have misled mathematicians into regarding as true propositions which are false. But to suppose that very many of the proofs in standard textbooks are faulty beyond repair is an exaggeration.

        Non-zero because there are prominent instances of theorems whose conclusions have been widely used, but whose proofs turned out to be faulty (one example is Dehn’s theorem, published in 1927; its proof was shown to be faulty in 1929, and a valid proof was given only in 1957 by Christos Papakyriakopoulos.

        It’s important to emphasize that the conclusion of the theorem has not turned out to be false. Papakyriakopoulos spent eight years on his proof in the belief that the conclusion of Dehn’s theorem is true. Similarly, when Wiles, after years of labor, completed his proof of the Fermat (now Wiles) theorem, he did so at a time when many mathematicians thought, for various nondemonstrative reasons, that the theorem had to be true; the alternative would have been to make the world of elliptic curves very strange.

        Two things have to happen for the conclusion of a theorem to turn out false. Its proof must contain an error in reasoning, and its conclusion has to be false. That sounds redundant, but it isn’t. It’s fair to say that before mathematicians made (informal) rigor a requirement most proofs, especially in analysis, were faulty. Not because they were “bad” proofs, but because they were incomplete or rested on axioms formerly held to be self-evident. The conclusions of those proofs, on the other hand, have mostly turned out true if stated correctly. That’s one excellent reason to treat any “this breaks mathematics” headline as unalloyed hype.

  22. McWatt

    “Maybe they could model the rules on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)? ”

    Call me old fashioned, and maybe even my posit isn’t even true, but can you imagine any American politician’s son or daughter working and being paid by foreign actors during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s and the outrage that would follow back then?

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Can We Redesign The Modern City With Synthetic Biology? Could We Grow Our Houses Instead Of Building Them?”

    Considering that these would be biological entities, what if they start to take on the characteristics of their inhabitants. Not their publicly displayed characteristics but their real ones? That could get very revealing that.

  24. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    Giving nature human rights is overdue and totally sensible, but we don’t seem to care much about giving humans human rights.

  25. skippy

    Just a heads up on the antidote du jour …

    That’s Ralph, a 60+Kg 13 month old straight back male black German Sheppard that she that must be obeyed and my youngest daughter doing Vet tech picked out as a play mate for our almost 2 year old 25 kg female Belgian Malinois cross Australian Kelpie.

    Yves opinion is half right, wife is the primary bond, hence Ralph squatting on my my side of the bed. Sigh … fine linen is thing of the past … chortle and don’t ask about floor maintenance.

    I would only add the intelligence of both is extraordinary, especially Rue the female Belgian Malinois cross Australian Kelpie, only surpassed by their altruistic emotional state. That said Ralph uses his paws like a pugilist and punches Rue and others in play, not that palm date husks stand much a chance against his maw.

    Rue on the other hand is as pretty and dainty as they come with eyes that just suck you in, until, she perceives a threat and goes in to Malinois protect mode, albeit awaiting.

    Yves you minx … wife is going to kill me if she sees this …

    1. anonymous

      I know exactly what you mean. One of my dogs is a Belgian Tervuren, who is, by far, more intelligent than any other dog I’ve owned. He and our smaller terrier will run around for a bit, but I am his primary playmate. He loves to think and work out puzzles, so we “train” for fun. I’m sure your vet tech daughter understands how to keep super smart shepherd and kelpie dogs happy. My bed also looks much like yours. I keep an extra flat sheet over the blanket and pillows, turning it down just to sleep, and changing it every couple of days, so that the bedding underneath can last a week between washes. They’re worth the mess. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy them.

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