Links 10/17/19

Dear patient readers,

Some of you have been getting one or two obnoxious ads that launch entire new windows: a fake Mac virus alert and an exhortation to upgrade your Flash. We’ve complained about them to our ad service, and they hadn’t done anything because tracking down and extracting the particular rogue ads from their “remnant” ads is hard, and they were planning to roll out a new ad system to us last weekend, which would have made this problem go away (plus make the site load way faster).

However, their dev team is behind schedule, so we did not go live last weekend. The frequency apparently got worse, so I insisted they use Google Adsense for the moment for remnant ads, which they are doing (and for which we thank them).

So apologies for any aggravation, but hopefully these problems are over.


* * *

Paris zoo unveils the “blob”, an organism with no brain but 720 sexes Reuters

‘Bingo!’ In a remarkable first, humpback whales spotted using their fins to scoop up fish Science (guurst).

People are reporting sightings of the Tasmanian tiger, thought to be extinct CNN

Humans Will Never Live on Another Planet, Nobel Laureate Says. Here’s Why. Live Science. Eat your heart out, Elon.

Yahoo Groups is shutting down and deleting all content on December 14, 2019. Reddit/r/Archiveteam (EM).



* * *

UK and EU on verge of Brexit deal Politico. “While accepting a customs border down the Irish Sea, the proposed deal would keep Northern Ireland within the U.K.’s customs remit when it comes to trade, diplomats say.”

Boris Johnson heads to crucial Brussels summit TODAY: Last-ditch talks go down to the wire after DUP scuppered Brexit draft – but PM and EU remain confident agreement CAN be ‘finalised’ within hours as even hardliners hail ‘great progress’ Daily Mail. “Downing Street confirmed the government will now table a motion for the Commons to sit on Saturday – the first Saturday sitting since the Falklands War. If there is a deal at the summit today MPs will be asked to approve it on Saturday, but if not Mr Johnson is expected to stage a vote on whether to delay Brexit or go for No Deal. ”

Brexit: madder and madder EU Referendum

Saturday’s gonna be a busy day….

On a lighter note, thread:

Europe’s Margrethe Vestager Takes a Rare Step Toward Big Tech NYT


Trump wrote letter to Erdogan telling him ‘don’t be a fool’ CNN. Contrarian view, and note the source:

Pelosi: Trump had ‘meltdown’ during White House meeting on Syria – as it happened Guardian. House votes against stopping a war they never voted to start.

Exclusive: U.S. carried out secret cyber strike on Iran in wake of Saudi oil attack: officials Reuters (WB).

The Unholy Mess of US Middle Eastern Strategy Valdai Discussion Club

Khmer Riche Reuters

The Koreas

Policy shift anticipated as North Korea’s Kim rides white horse on sacred mountain Reuters

A terrible pandemic is killing pigs around the world, and U.S. pork producers fear they could be hit next WaPo. No worries. We can sell to the UK after Brexit.

Huawei surveillance: Chinese snooping tech seen spreading to nations vulnerable to abuse, keeping tabs on trouble-makers Japan Times


Xi vows to shatter Hong Kong rebellion that is of his own making Nikkei Asian Review

Inside the battle for Hong Kong FT

Jimmy Sham, leader of Hong Kong democracy group Civil Human Rights Front, attacked on Mong Kok street South China Morning Post. Good old-fashioned police work:

* * *

China Makes A Move On OPEC’s No.2

Convivial War: How Wall Street Recolonized Brazil. Part Three. Brasil Wire

Haiti and the Convenience of Imperial Amnesia Black Agenda Report

Trump Transition

“There Is Definite Hanky-Panky Going On”: The Fantastically Profitable Mystery of the Trump Chaos Trades Vanity Fair. Looks like the deplorables aren’t the only volatility voters? Comments from traders welcome.

Top US think tank criticized for taking $12 million from a Russia-tied oligarch Quartz. CFR isn’t a bottom-feeder like CAP (UAE) so this is pretty shocking.

T-Mobile and Sprint get FCC approval to merge in 3-2 party-line vote Ars Technica

Obama endorses Justin Trudeau’s re-election bid just weeks after blackface scandal The Week


Protecting the ‘Whistleblower’ & Other Preposterous Pranks Consortium News. (But see Snowden, Ellsberg on “the whistleblower”).


Historically accurate election model shows Trump on his way to reelection The Hill (WB) (Original from Moody’s, which has an interesting discussion of methodology).


After 184 years, Cherokees seek House delegate seat promised in treaty Roll Call. Elizabeth?

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

The US military is trying to read minds MIT Technology Review (EJ).

CISA’s Request for Subpoena Power Lawfare. DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Google exec says Nest owners should probably warn their guests that their conversations are being recorded Business Insider (KW). Never, ever buy a device that’s marketed as being “smart.”

Well, well, well. Fancy that. shelves planned pr0n block The Register

Huge Child P**n Ring Busted as Authorities Cite Ability to Crack Bitcoin Privacy Gizmodo

Health Care

Wendell Potter Health care debate shows the lies I told for insurance companies about ‘Medicare for All’ worked NBC (MV).

737 MAX

Airlines Split on How to Inform Customers Once Troubled 737 Jets Return to Skies Sputnik News (KW).

‘Hunter killer assassins’: Why the Boeing saga is the story of our times Seattle Times

Pontifications: Muilenburg loses chairman’s title; are his days numbered? Leeham News and Analysis

Our Famously Free Press

Flacks and Figures The Baffler

The Business of Homelessness: NYC’s Biggest Shelter Contractor Makes Millions, Offers Shoddy Facilities Sludge

Class Warfare

Details revealed: What’s in the tentative UAW GM contract? WXYZ

UAW & GM Have an Agreement. Will Strikers Vote Yes? Labor Notes. Explanation of “tiers.”

Thousands of Chicago teachers vote to strike CBS

Aging, thin pipe likely cause of Philadelphia refinery fire Patriot-News. “Philadelphia Energy Solutions.” Never eat at a place called Mom’s….

Want To Know Whether A Psychology Study Will Replicate? Just Ask A Bunch Of People British Psychological Society

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. cnchal

      Lets see if I have a good understanding of what is happening here.

      Google’s Nest smart devices are always listening — their microphones detect loud noises and cameras track sudden movements in a home, and can start automatically recording at any time.
      Because of that, Nest owners should probably warn their house guests that they’re on camera, according to Google devices chief Rick Osterloh.

      When asked by a BBC reporter whether homeowners with Nest have such an obligation, Osterloh first said he hadn’t considered it.

      “Gosh, I haven’t thought about this before in quite this way,” Osterloh said. “It’s quite important for all these technologies to think about all users… we have to consider all stakeholders that might be in proximity.”

      The devices chief is an idiot. Yes or no? I think, no

      The devices chief is a liar. Yes or no? I think, yes.

      So, digital diarrhea is uploaded to the cloud on a continual basis, stored on multiple servers, so that that precious data is never lost, to be mined by Google continuously for glimmers of insight on how to sell you to advertisers, all the while burning ever greater amounts of fuel to generate moar electricity to keep the digital cesspool live. Then Google has the audacity to demand they get their power cheaper than everyone else because, well they use sooo much of it.

      Tech is a wasteland, is my understanding, and that is being kind. Yes or no?

      1. dearieme

        Phooey to “house guests”. What about the mousers and woofers – do they not have a right to privacy? It’s an emanation from a penumbra in your Constitution, surely?

      2. polecat

        Define YES. And the Big Chiefs @ Ghoolag, as with Facecrook, Twitnit et al, were all born with congenital Harcourt Fenten Mudd Syndrome … and therefore must be nagged into submission and contained .. permanent like !

        NORMAN #1 to the white courtesy communicator ….

      3. Lee

        In related news, I just searched for “cars not connected to internet” and the most recent critical article on the topic is Just say no to connected cars from 2015. All the other links appear to be pro-connectivity. This is in spite of strong public preference for privacy as well as safety concerns (Wikipedia).

        1. cnchal

          Yeah, all new cars are e-waste after the lease is up. I heard a funny one about Hyundai.

          From the lips of a service advisor that works there. Don’t buy one, they are total crap and the name stands for “Here’s why you not drive an import”. The engines are seizing up after a short while and one victim at the dealer has had a new engine and transmission and the car has 60,000 KM on it. The new engine and transmission should get just past the warranty before they seize again. After that the car is scrap. Misallocation of resources much?

          As for the consensus from automotive journalists singing from the tech bro hymnbook, here is Udo Ulfkotte from the article Bought Journalists

          Of course we were bought. We were bought in several ways. In your situation: when you buy a car or something else, you trust consumer tests. Look closer. How well is the car tested? I know of no colleagues, no journalists, who do testing of cars, that aren’t bribed – maybe they do exist.

          They get unlimited access to a car from the big car manufacturers, with free petrol and everything else. I had a work car in my newspaper, if not, I might have exploited this. I had a BMW or Mercedes in the newspaper. But there are, outside the paper, many colleagues who only have this kind of vehicle all year round. They are invited to South Africa, Malaysia, USA, to the grandest travels, when a new car is presented.

          Why? So that they will write positively about the car. But it doesn’t say in these reports «Advertisement from bought journalists».

          But that is the reality. You should also know – since we are on the subjects of tests – who owns which test magazines? Who owns the magazine Eco-test? It is owned by the Social Democrats. More than a hundred magazines belong to the Social Democrats. It isn’t about only one party, but many editorial rooms have political allegiance. Behind them are party political interests.

          Venal, to the core.

          1. Whoamolly

            In my experience a 13 year old Toyota (2006) built in Japan will run 400,000 miles if meticulously maintained. Expect one major repair (engine or tranny replacement for $2-3K) as an expected cost in that time. No electronics to hack remotely.

      4. Oh

        Google is a NEST of vipers. It’s time they’re put out of business. People better learn to refrain from using their products.

  1. witters

    From Tasmania, and with a fair knowledge of the bush, and with friends with a hell of a lot more, there ain’t no Tigers left. (Not that you will convince my sister. For whilst enjoying pre-marriage conjugal delights, she and her ex-husband are certain – beyond doubt – they saw a beauty.)

    1. pretzelattack

      yeah, started regarding these as comparable to nessie sightings, would like to believe, but…

      1. Robert Valiant

        Bigfoot doesn’t believe in you, either.

        That’s a bumper sticker on my daughter’s jalopy.

        1. pretzelattack

          and i can live with that!
          i think accepting that dinosaurs didn’t live somewhere in the brazilian rain forest was the hardest step.

          1. ambrit

            Or the Congo jungle.
            I’m told on reliable authority that “K” Street in the District of Columbia is rife with raptors.
            I do know, from personal experience that America is suffering under a Plague of Lucrevores.

  2. vlade

    @Taleb: Because the economic weapon was soooo effecient against Russia and to a lesser extent China.
    And because if you want to be taken seriously you write that could have been written for Onion. The satirists must be despairing now, because the reality beats them every time..

    1. flora

      I don’t know if Taleb is correct. I do think sanctions are better than a shooting war in both these cases, and that’s the choice our war-happy US Congress gives our presidents, imo. (See the Guardian article in today’s links.) How many Congressmen and women have children in the military, I wonder.

      1. vlade

        sanctions can work in very specific cases (like that everone who matters supports them). otherwise they are but a gesture

        sure, as a gesture they beat shooting war hands down.

        bur lets not pretend they are actually all powerfull

            1. Olga

              Econ sanctions represent war by other means (remember Iraq?).
              As for “I do think sanctions are better than a shooting war,” the question should be – why are disagreements pushed to escalate to the point, when it’s either sanctions or shooting?
              What happened to diplomacy? And or, perhaps, having reasonable demands on other countries to begin with – as in not forcing them to become an empire’s vassals or else?
              We’ve lived with these thuggish ways for so long now that most seem to have forgotten that a completely different way of countries relating to each other exists.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Ironic part is that Trump has the ultimate weapon at his disposal but he chooses tariffs and sanctions instead. That weapon goes by a 3-letter acronym: U.S.D.

                China’s financial system is dollarized.

                Internally they can use and control the RMB. For trade however they need dollars.

                Luckily China has the two most powerful lobbying orgs in DC: Wall St and Corporate America.

                Wall St saw to it that China was added to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. Automatically that meant the funds held by your pension or 401K now flow straight into China’s coffers in the form of USD. A quick $400B annually. So the worker just laid off so his job can go to China can be pleased to know: he’s financing it.

              2. Oh

                When the US imposes sanctions it’s not the failure of diplomacy but the wilful desire not to pursue it.

              3. Procopius

                Few Americans seem to know that the U.S. Navy imposed a blockade on Yemen in 2016, in support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I don’t know what, if anything, they allow through. I’d bet they block medicine and hospital supplies, though, because those can be dual purpose. They can be material support to soldiers wounded in combat, so “we” have to deny them to civilians, too.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think that is a worthy topic to examine.

            Economic sanctions are not usually considered as violence (directly), which is defined in Wikipedia this way:

            Violence is “the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy.”[2] Less conventional definitions are also used, such as the World Health Organization’s definition of violence as “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.”[3]

            The ‘less conventional’ definition above mentions ‘power’ which can be interpreted to include political or economic power, I assume.

            Normally, as said above, economic sanctions are not considered, directly, violent (involving the use of physical force, again, directly).

            And so, in this case, non-violence could be as damaging as violence.

            1. Olga

              You may need to expand your definition of “violence.”
              If an action results in damage to people (or animals) and/or death, it is violence (no matter what wiki says).

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                There are less conventional defintions, as mentioned above in the quote.

                The article give one example from the World Health Organization.

                The first one quoted is the conventional one, and not all agree. Most go with the convetional one, and with that, non-violence can be as damaging, for that reason, I think we need to look beyond that

    2. Jessica

      Sanctions work better against a smaller economy that is more dependent on international trade.
      They also work better if you single out one country rather than trying to simultaneously sanction both that country and many of its alternative trading partners.
      Which is to say, that sanctions work just like bullying, which they basically are.
      Though in this one case, preventing more Turkish genocide against non-Turks in the area is a worthy cause.

      1. barrisj

        The Trump letter to Erdogan:

        Erdogan Threw Trump Letter in the Trash: Report

        Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received a letter on October 9 from President Trump urging him to make a deal with the Kurds, and threw the letter into the trash bin, according to the BBC.

        “You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people,” Trump wrote, “and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy — and I will.”

        “President Erdogan received the letter, thoroughly rejected it and put it in the bin,” said sources close to the Turkish President.

        The Sultan not too pleased.

  3. ChristopherJ

    Great to see the NC community come out and support this great site and in record time. Reflects on how much you and the rest of the NC engine room is appreciated. Hope your move is working out.

    Re the Tas Tiger, I very much doubt the sightings, been too long. Sadly, the Tas Govt believe the dead dog is a bit of drawcard and uses its image, superimposed on the the triangle-shaped isle, as its logo. Given how the poor animal was hunted to extinction in a 100 years, they liked the taste of sheep apparently, it seems to me a cruel irony that they would use it as a sort of credential, something to celebrated.

    In other news another species became extinct in the time it took to make this post.

      1. JBird4049

        The California Grizzly subspecies was exterminated but hopefully we can get the grizzly reintroduced. Unlike the thylacine, we know where to go get them.

      2. JP

        I live on the boundary of the national forest. We see black bears all the time. They are big powerful creatures. If one really wanted to come in the house I don’t think my doors or windows would stop them. However they avoid humans for the most part but they love garbage. Generally speaking they run off if I so much as clap my hands. My thinking is they conflate humans with the traditional ruler of the forest, the grizzly. As I spend a lot of time outside, back in the woods and on the trail, I am perfectly happy knowing that I will not run into a grizzly. I grew up near the La Brea tar pits. There are lots of extinct mega fauna that roamed California. I am also happy not to run into any of them in the woods.

        1. jrs

          I’ve heard grizzlies never would have survived modern California anyway. Grizzlies habitats are where human populations centers are currently (unlike black bear habitats which are more remote). No way grizzles would have had enough habitat with the massive population centers that exist in CA now, even if they weren’t killed off long before that point.

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            Perhaps the big population centers wouldn’t exist had the grizzly remain. Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

  4. russell1200

    I think it would be awesome if the Cherokee’s got a representative in Congress. I don’t understand why E. Warren needs referencing. Or is it just more of the unpaid Bernie campaigning that seems to be the norm here?

    1. pretzelattack

      she’s currently the leading democratic candidate, no? it’s going to be brought up, because it reflects on her credibility, by supporters of all her opponents–not least trump.

    2. foghorn longhorn

      Imagine, the only candidate who talks about concrete, material benefits among the great unwashed, gets some support from the great unwashed masses.
      I tell you, I’m gobsmacked.

    3. T

      Could be in part a comment on her repeated refusals to meet or engage with Cherokee and tribal reps. (Some of which has been cited for us by this site.)

      1. russell1200

        So the answer is yes.

        The first Native Americans tribe getting separate representation in congress, is only relevant if it can be used as a barb against Warren.

        1. nippersmom

          And her troubled relationship with the Cherokee tribe is only noteworthy to you if you can try to turn it into a cudgel against Sanders supporters. Me thinks thou dost protest too much.

        2. Grant

          You seem angry that people are critiquing her for lies she told. You gonna continue to whine, if she gets the nomination, when Trump and his supporters endlessly attack her with it? It will work too. What good will the whining do? She brought it on herself and deserves the critiques. If this is your defense, good luck. This also cannot be tossed off onto another candidate. Bernie and his supporters are not responsible for what she did and the decisions she made, and it makes logical sense to critique her on this. It is just one of a number of valid critiques of her, and you never really respond to any of them with substance.

      2. dearieme

        But she only lied a little bit. I mean, her chosen geneticist managed to demonstrate to his own satisfaction that she could easily be 1/1024 indigenous American, though his comparison was (according to the papers) based on indigenous people from South America.

    4. Big River Bandido

      At every legit reference to “Cherokee”, all eyes will now turn to Elizabeth Warren to see if she’s blushing, and one more nail gets driven into the coffin of her presidential ambitions.

      The epithet really doesn’t have much to do with Warren and Cherokeegate. The poison in the political spear is the notion that Warren is a phony. In that sense, it’s politically lethal.

    5. mpalomar

      On the one hand it was a stupid sophomoric move by Warren and seems to reflect her ‘brat’ Republican period with a little hint of the white spite raised by the Allan Bakke decision from the 70s.
      It does of course say something about her but exactly what?
      My heavens, a dissembling politician, shocking, simply shocking.
      If she can’t shrug it off and move on, as Trump has shrugged off his many faux pas, than she ain’t ready to ‘rassle in the mud with the ugly in politics and politicians.

      On the other hand, in Trump, Americans have chosen the Ugly American as the face of the US, which quite appropriately has dropped any pretense of America the beautiful, with all its ugly wars, bristling weaponry and psycopathic allies.

      Anyone without a blemish out there on the stump? If it’s Bernie and I hope it is, he’ll be attacked as a socialist. Biden is a huge target,etc., etc.

      1. Yves Smith

        This IMO is the real problem.

        When Warren was caught out that her Cherokee story wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, she could have made it go away easily by what would likely have been a truthful confession: “I was told with great pride about my Cherokee history by my parents, so I had no reason to question it. I apologize to all Native Americans for my mistake.”

        All she had to do was say she was wrong and correctly pin it on believing family tales. I was brought up with a story about our ancestry (admittedly more distant ancestors) that proved to be bunk when my father did a genealogy, so this sort of thing isn’t that uncommon. Instead, she doubled down.

    6. Procopius

      She’s been smeared with the accusation that her foolish DNA test was an effort to claim membership in the Cherokee Tribe. It’s the same as calling her Pocahontas (funny, I never knew Pocahontas was Cherokee).

  5. Ignim Brites

    “The Unholy Mess of US Middle Eastern Strategy”

    Based on the assumption that the citizens of the US have deep and enduring interests in the Middle East. That though is what is on the table for debate. The lastest Dem confab demonstrates that the party, both the establishment and the insurgency, is thoroughly committed to Hubert Humphrey / Ricard Nixon (Peace with Honor) style temporizing. They are terrified that you cannot put an end to the forever wars without experiencing shame and loss of credibility, as the fall of Saigon demonstrated indelibly. Trump has certainly given the “governments” in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention Saudi Arabia, something to consider closely.

      1. Procopius

        I don’t think that’s what drove McNamara. I think he was driven by his refusal to accept that air power cannot win wars and that statistical analysis does not always describe power relations accurately. LBJ, though, was (rightfully) frightened of the extreme right-wing nut jobs. He did not want to be the President who “lost” Vietnam, even though North and South Vietnam were not actual countries, but were supposed to be temporary administrative areas until elections could be held (Dulles made sure they were not held). I think it was in Halberstam’s “The Best and the Brightest” that LBJ is quoted as saying that if he did not send combat troops to South Vietnam, “… they will say I’m not a manly man.”

    1. inode_buddha

      Somebody needs to remind AIPAC that they are in the minority wrt the rest of the US population.

      Further to the loss of credibility: What credibility? Is “losing face” the only time some people feel shame?

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      As Lambert noted, many of the same legislators who passively acquiesced to the unconstitutional actions of the executive branch in starting the endless wars in the Middle East and North Africa are now suddenly coming out of the woodwork to vocally oppose Trump’s ending “endless wars” that have led to so much human suffering, loss and impairment of life, and civic damage. Why?…

      1. John k

        The logical explanation is that most dem and rep elites favor forever wars. Most districts and states have either mil bases or corps or both, and are terrified at the loss of donations and jobs, in that order.
        So first don’t demand votes, then squeal if somebody stops a war.
        The exception proving the rule seems to be Yemen on account of killing a single journalist. Odd, that, considering msm is all for jailing some of them.

    3. xkeyscored

      To my mind, the shame lies in continuing an unwinnable war in order to save face, as Nixon did in Indochina. What kind of face, or honor as he put it, did he wish to preserve? The face of a thug who’ll keep killing for no gain except as a lesson to others? I can make no other sense of it.
      Anyone who wants a war for such disgustingly idiotic reasons as shame and credibility is severely sick and deranged, and absolutely should not get anyone’s vote. They deserve incarceration far more than serial killers with their tallies of ten or twenty.

      1. Procopius

        At the time they called it “credibility.” “If we cut and run in Vietnam no one will trust us to be an ally in the future.” Well, no one with the sense god gave a bedbug would trust us now. That is almost surely a good thing.

    1. Ignacio

      Apparently only the backstop changes and the rest is the same as May’s WA. Let’s see first if this is passed today in the EC. Press Conference by 18:30 with Juncker, Tusk, Varadkar and Barnier. It is apparent that everybody in the EU will align with Ireland and Ireland accepts the solution.

      This has been quite surprising! If this time is blocked in the Parliament(s) —> NO DEAL BY 31st Oct. Much better if it passes! Yet informed analysis on this so secretive change is needed pronto.

    2. vlade

      That depends on how much the MPs believe Juncker on “no extension”. Because if they vote it down, Johnson will have to ask for one. And imagine the EU says “Non!” (because so far, they always, always, assumed that the EU will be there to extend further..)

      Then the MPs will have less then two weeks to either agree to the WA, or trigger no-deal.

      Points to be made here:
      – WA is not “The deal”. The transition agreement ends 2020 unless both parties agree to extend somehow. Johnson can still bring his no-deal Brexit in, if he wants to, just a year later. He’d happily throw NI under the bus as was mentioned here many times (in this case it may mean basically handing NI over to the EU). Reminder – the transition period in the EU’s view is the space to give companies to relocate from the UK in a good order.
      – Seems like many people in the opposition miscalculated. But Johnson might have too, as I’m not so sure BP voters will go to Tories (they seem to me like a Farage’s fanclub, and BP can now turn surrender rethoric on Johnson and see how he likes it). I’m not really sure Tories will get a majority.
      – what would happen if the Parliament votes it down on Sat, and then no extension is granted? What is actually the last date the Parliament must agree on it for it to be implementable? What if Johnson after vote against the deal, asking for extension and receiveing ‘Non’, manages to dissolve the parliament by vote of no-confidence in its own government?

      Come back for the next installment on Saturday, and then again on Monday.

      TBH, I’ll prefer watching All Blacks vs. Ireland though.

      1. vlade

        Oh, and the ultimate irony – instead of no-deal being used as a lever by the UK on the EU, it’s the EU using it on the UK.

      2. David

        Well now. There’s less to this than meets the eye. I see two basic interpretations.
        – Johnson has deliberately negotiated a transitional arrangement (let’s repeat for the hundredth time that this is not a deal) that is bound to be voted down, and then cruise happily towards a no-deal exit. This is possible, but would require (1) a level of patience and foresight that I, for one, don’t associate with Bojo and (2) all the politicking with the DUP to get them on board to have been just for show. I’m dubious.
        – Johnson was desperate to get any “deal”, and so settled for one that actually worse than May’s. He may be hoping that it will be rejected, so he can go back to Brussels for more crisis talks.
        As you say, the interesting thing is what happens if the agreement is voted down. I hope and expect that the rebel alliance has had some consultations with Brussels about this. I can’t imagine that Brussels would actually say “no” to an extension if Bojo were forced to ask for one.
        It’s a long way from being over, in other words.

        1. Mirdif

          This deal is very likely to pass. It may require an election to campaign for it.

          The kittens over no deal have just been kicked down the road to the end of transition – mixed metaphor.

          The backstop has turned in to the forever arrangements and they’ve finally decided that alternative arrangements will never work. DUP chucked under the bus.

          I do wonder what the odds are that the a UK remains in transition for a decade.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          From my porch in the American South, it looks like BoJo and the Tories are about to cash in on a fortune, shorting the Pound. Billions of $$$ on the table. BoJos been savvy enough to make it this far without a deal…

      3. Mirdif

        Juncker didn’t say “no extension.” He said now that they have a deal he didn’t see the need for one. Something different altogether.

        Also, it’s not up to him and the 27 will never reject a request. The media class are either stupid or mendacious.

        1. David

          Frequently both, I think.
          Richard North makes the point in comments on his blog today that the requirements of the Benn Act have not been met, as this is not an “agreement” as specified by Art 50, requiring prior ratification by member states. I’m not sure it’s as clear-cut as that, but it’s true that the Benn Act is very precise: a Minister has to lay “before each House of Parliament a statement that the United Kingdom has concluded an agreement with the European Union under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union.”

  6. Lee

    Humans Will Never Live on Another Planet, Nobel Laureate Says. Here’s Why. Live Science. Eat your heart out, Elon.

    In addition to the distances involved that make the speed of light effectively equivalent to a snail’s pace, there is the problem of the lack of a supportive, self regenerating ecosystem consisting of very many elements and organisms involved in not well understood, complex relationships that are the result of coevolution over billions of years. Besides that all systems are go!

    Oops, I forgot to mention the likelihood of encountering novel extra-terrestrial pathogens on planets with microbial life to which our immune systems would be unable to fend off on.

    I await the headline: Billionaire Aims for Mars; Shoots Self in Foot

    1. The Rev Kev

      Just for a bit of context, the nearest star in relation to our own sun is Alpha Centauri A. Supposing that you wanted to send a Starship there, you are talking about a distance of approximately 41.32 trillion kilometers/25.67 trillion miles. And that is the nearest star. So unless somebody manages to develop Warp Drive, it is simply not going to happen. And a Generation ship is only a stunt that you would try if our own sun was going to go blooey.
      Doesn’t mean that I am not hoping that a Zefram Cochrane does not come along.

      1. a different chris

        Shhhhsssshh!!! Just shut up everyone, I beg you!

        If Elon (and others of our wealthy grandees) wants to launch himself in a rocket to Mars please do not do anything to dissuade him. We can make fun after he’s gone.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The ‘Helical Engine’ was in the news a few days ago.

        Now, we can all dream about 10 year round-trip vacations to Alpha Centauri.

      3. Amfortas the hippie

        here ya go(“zephram” would have been cooler than “sonny”)

        lack of “exotic matter” appears to be the holdup.
        …as well as the whole world of issues around antimatter(talk about NIMBY!)

        {my dad lives in clear lake, and still knows a bunch of nasa people from his time with apollo.
        i’ve let it be known that i’d like to buy sonny white a beer….for having the stones to even go there}

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thanks for the interesting link.

          Do you know if it’s just Americans, or are the Russians or Chinese also working on something similar?

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i do not.
            part of the problem is elsivier(mutters curses/sp-2) putting everything behind a frelling paywall…when i go aroaming and looking for cool things, whether it’s horticulture or warp drive, i run smack dab into it.
            i only accidentally learned about Dr White, when casimir effect(sp-2) was mentioned on one of the more recent star treks.
            i’ve learned a lot from wikiwanders,lol.
            apparently they’ve had some tiny successes…but not yet near to his goal of a “Chicago Pile for warp fields”.

      4. Henry

        While correct that with our current technologies relying on combustion to propel us isn’t going to get us far out of the solar system, if we develop technologies that can propel us at some significant fraction of the speed of light then time dilation works for us and while here on earth we might experience a million years on the spaceship it might only be 2 yrs, depending on the relative speed. See Einstein’s work:
        Now if we can avoid destroying ourselves we likely have a few billion years on earth to develop the technology before the sun burns out so I think it is quite possible. As for the pathogens, that would assume there is life already on these planets and it is just as likely to be years ahead of us as some lowly single celled pathogen so working on our diplomatic skills might be important before we venture too far since I suspect space suits are effective against most pathogens.

    2. Geo

      Can we at least let Elon, Bezos, and their cohorts try? I wouldn’t want to squash their dreams… or mine if an earth without their type.

      1. polecat

        Yeah, send em packing .. along with all their psychotic baggage …

        That’s some Real ‘Home’land security right there !!

    3. Dean

      It is not necessarily true that our immune systems would be defenseless. Your body is constantly creating antibody and t-cell specificities against antigens you may never be exposed to in your lifetime. Some specificities may be created against antigens that don’t exist in our environment.

      1. Lee

        Didn’t work so well for New World indigenes. Evidently there are some among us that are immune or at least resistant to the lethal effects of Ebola and other dread diseases but they are generally a small percentage of the population.

    4. neighbor7

      All of the “move to another planet” scenarios require the self-selection of a minute group of elite scientists (1950s) or billionaires (now) who get the boarding passes. It’s a small club, and …

      Hey, wasn’t Epstein setting up a sperm farm in the Southwest? And didn’t that crashed Israeli moon mission have human DNA aboard? Along with the tardigrades, who may well survive us all.

      1. ewmayer

        “…self-selection of a minute group of elite scientists (1950s)…” — Hmm, what does that conjure up? Ah yes:

        [Strangelove’s plan for post-nuclear war survival involves living underground with a 10:1 female-to-male ratio]

        General “Buck” Turgidson: Doctor, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn’t that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?

        Dr. Strangelove: Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious… service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.

        Ambassador de Sadesky: I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor.

    5. xkeyscored

      In the not so distant future we could, and might, send humans in the form of DNA, or DNA code on computers, along with robots to do some terraforming, etc. Quite why we’d bother is beyond me, but then I don’t use space as a scrapyard for old cars.

    1. T

      So… 900 times out of 10, you see one of these goobers doing a photo opp or PR stunt on a horse, the goober cannot ride and the horse looks unhappy.

      This is a good looking it horse and – based in still photos – he can ride. It’s like Ike all over again.

      Why Reagan allowed himself to be filmed and photographed around horses, I’ll never know.

  7. Lee

    Karl Sharro

    A thread on the historic roots of why it’s difficult for the UK and the EU to agree a deal. European culture is notoriously averse to compromise, largely because of the legacy of the warring tribes that historically dominated this region of the world.

    Is there a region of the world where warring tribes have not been a dominant historical and cultural determinant? There must be some somewhere but none comes immediately to mind. Perhaps others can provide uplifting, hope inspiring examples.

    1. ChrisPacific

      I suggest reading the thread before critiquing his ideas to get a feel for how serious (or not) he is about them.

      (But yes, ‘warring tribes’ is probably built into the human condition).

      1. Procopius

        Back in the ’50s there was discussion of the Fermi Paradox (“Where is everybody?”). The idea which seemed most likely to me was that intelligent life is not going to evolve from herbivores (or the equivalent), but from the predators. Predators are by definition aggressive and territorial. Therefore when a civilization reached the point where they developed nuclear technology it is inevitable that they would destroy themselves. We know that there is much less violence in our technological societies, but it is not reduced to none.

  8. Amfortas the hippie

    kicking my own a$$, again, with that fence work, so just catching up:
    sidebar from a link the other day led to this:

    which, once again, makes me wish i had a book budget.
    “I’ve been thinking about the homesteading question recently, because I’ve been working my way through Wendell Berry’s essays. His writing has mattered to me for a long time, and it influenced how my parents thought about what they were trying to do: living on a small farm in a very poor place, being part of the community, trying to take responsibility for a small, tractable portion of the world. In For Common Things I wanted that experience to stand for an ethic. And some of the environmentalists I worked with in the early 1990s were taking responsibility for interdependence. They were people who had chosen places and were doggedly working for them for the rest of their lives. But in hindsight, a lot of people were running away from interdependence. Living in the country was stylish. When I look at the family albums, the style is really great—even in the hayfield, even while working horses, even without Instagram filters. By the time I was old enough to process status, it wasn’t cool anymore, and people like my family really were living on the margins—not much money, a mix of OK jobs and not-great jobs, people going to jail for growing weed, everything. It wasn’t romantic. People who had family money moved on before I understood the difference between us and them. It turns out a lot of people had family money.”

    and what he says about infrastructure and the built environment that we move around in…i think about that all the time, in designing the infrastructure of my little patch(5 acres i have total control over, out of 20 where i merely have(sort of) influence.)
    laying pvc pipe(dioxins!) to get water here and there, so tree planting has a good chance of taking hold…similar to the discussion of roundup the other day: the poison is sometimes the best option(i could use steel or even clay pipe, but would be replacing it a whole lot sooner than i will with pvc.)
    same with my recent obsession with free telephone poles at the dump…balancing “cost”($, labor, back pain) with durability and with the fact that these creosoted timbers are in the world already…may as well use them for honorable ends, rather than just letting them pile up at the landfill.
    the now almost banal appropriation of the Native American trope, to consider effects “down to the seventh generation”…is hard to do…we’re not conditioned to think thataway…
    Purdy also mentions that some of the uber-rich are buying up land on the cheap to prepare for famine they see coming…and it occurs to me that that’swhat i’m doing with my little patch…but not to get rich.
    I grow my soil and permaculture and knowledge base for the same reason i keep a library…one day, folks around here might need a paper book on how to build a sand filter, or Aristotle’s Poetics.
    end rant…back to the fencerow…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Just a quick question Amf. You were talking about the difficulty of not having a book budget. Does your local library do inter-library loans at all? I do them often when I see a book that I want to read but don’t want to keep it. Sometimes when I see that the book is really good, I know that I can buy it, even second-hand, and know that it is what I want. Depends on how good your local library is and if they charge for this service.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        rick perry purposefully messed up the texas version of ILL…and then my favorite librarian of all time retired, replaced by somebody’s cousin…and her bulldog lady friend…who made the place unpleasant for strange intellectuals like me(didn’t know what an isbn was, and were visibly angry for my wasting their time)—-and then for everybody else. bulldog lady actually growled at me when i tried to get my card renewed.
        so i haven’t been back since 2012*…and have made my county comish. and the county judge aware of the reason for my boycott.
        i don’t know if the texas ILL has recovered.
        it’s sad, because during this same period, the local political economy and social situation has markedly improved…and i wonder what it would’ve been like to have a functioning enlightenment institution at the center of it.

        *(save for the now regular book sales, wherein they endeavor to rid themselves of the rest of the canon of western civilisation…which is how i’ve built my rather comprehensive history, economics etc sections…and yes…i lend books,lol—parallel institutions!)

        1. pretzelattack

          the texas ill still works, 3.00 a pop in my city (don’t know if it used to be free). i never could get one book, so i withdrew the request, but i’ve eventually gotten any other book i requested, some from other states.

          1. pretzelattack

            ok, talked to a librarian–the state of texas doesn’t pay the postage any more; that 3.00 fee locally is half the cost of the postage–and it isn’t available at every municipal library, especially smaller rural ones, because it apparently takes a lot of time. i vaguely recall you saying something about being near nacogdoches, it’s available there after you’ve had a card with them for 6 months, 3.00 a book. good luck.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              i’m from east texas…but i escaped the Pine Curtain decades ago. I’m in the Hill Country.
              seems like i remember always paying the postage…few dollars.
              regardless, prior to perry’s shenanigans, i could get just about anything—-and i do love me some Obscure,lol.
              internet made it a lot easier(feels like irony?), since i could hand the librarian an isbn, etc.
              if it wasn’t for those 2 women, I’d still be going to the library…but then, i might not have been as encouraged to build my own.
              the now retired librarian was great.
              i’m habitually overdue, and she’d make a big deal about giving me my nickel change…I’d be like “no…i like paying fines…buy more books”
              and she’d ask—-with curiosity, instead of the current lot’s suspicion and distaste—about the weird books i’d order. so we’d get to talk about Cicero or Gibbon or C. Wright Mills, or whatever.
              she also did Banned Books Week…way out here! in Incurious-Boobland!
              the bunch that replaced her don’t have an intellectual bone in them…the boss feels like an accountant, and the bulldog lady reminds me of some of my coonass great aunts.

    2. pretzelattack

      ILL charges 3 bucks here, only downside is you can check out the books for a max 3 weeks, but it’s great for seeing if you actually want to buy the book, or can scan it.

      1. JBird4049

        Three dollars to check out? It is free in the Bay Area and I can get books from across California.

        Texas is using you as as money generator. They use an intern or low level employee and ship the books on a regular inter-library delivery service. It cost something, but nowhere near three dollars.

        1. pretzelattack

          yeah the state government stopped reimbursing the libraries for the postage, cheapskates. maybe that was under perry. a local librarian told me it cost 6 dollars, so they split the fee in half.

          1. JBird4049

            Six seems high to me, but what do I know? Except for cutting funds from libraries, which is a nasty thing to do.

    3. David B Harrison

      I ran out of time to post my meetup group.South Central Kentuckians for Bernie 2020(Bowling Green,KY).

    4. anon y'mouse

      it would be nice to get a page up for your library recommendations–Books for the End Times or something.

      also, an Essential Jackpot Skills course would be lovely. few of us have access to a person nearby that can teach what only hands-on can make us learn.
      of course, this is a fantasy wishlist and i am not assigning you work to do, of which you have plenty.
      best of luck to you.

    5. JP

      Don’t use PVC. High density black polyethylene has no toxins and won’t break if a car runs over it. I get it from Kelly Pipe. I don’t know who makes it.

    1. Olga

      Thanks for posting. From Caitlin (has many links):

      “Yang’s statement about US intervention in foreign elections is indisputably true, of course. Both alternative and mainstream media outlets have thoroughly documented the fact that the US government’s own data shows them to have interfered in scores of foreign elections, far more than any other nation on earth. This includes an interference in Russia’s elections in the nineties that was so brazen they made a Hollywood movie about it. Former CIA Director James Woolsey openly admitted on Fox News last year that the US still interferes in foreign elections to this very day.”

      1. JBird4049

        My, my, Caitlin Johnson post is extremely sarcastically bitter, but then all this Russian Talking Point! and Russia!Russia!Russia! is like the loony talk about Obama’s long form birth certificate and the screaming that he was a Kenyan communist and not an American citizen. The fact that so many actually believed it was the scary part.

        The Democratic Punditric Elites are getting themselves nicely entombed into their own reality. The fact that they might be dragging us all in there with them is also scary.

  9. Jason Boxman

    The futures manipulation story made me think that, HFT firms probably pay big bucks to be colocated right next to Twitter servers, if that’s possible, to get tweets from Tump just a bit faster and calculate based on message content how best to profit.

    If you haven’t read Flash Boys, which I found at a used bookstore in NYC, I highly recommend it.

  10. DJG

    Click through to the Moody’s Analytics doc explaining its analysis and results. Chart 3: Note Roosevelt’s approval ratings.

    Now what did Roosevelt do that they others have not done?

    Unless someone is going to argue with me that people were naive in the 1930s and were really waiting for someone like Biden and Boot Edge Edge to explain the “real” situation to them.

    Also: Prepare ye-selves. This is one of the few sites that remained skeptical of polls all along in 2016. Yves Smith and Lambert Strether were pointing out all along that the Hillary Clinton coronation wasn’t happening. Maybe if someone had listened (interrupting brunch is sooo hard to do) we wouldn’t have had to endure these years of panic, Comey-worship, and plain agnotology.

    1. urblintz

      Indeed, I remember Yves’ “stick a fork in her” response well before anyone else was seeing through the declared certainty of her POTUS victory.

    2. inode_buddha

      I’m looking forward to seeing what the excuses are when Warren loses to Trump. What new load of steaming BS will the DNC foist on the rest of the world?

      I think it needs to be made known, loudly and clearly, for a few years, that the DNC and the Repubs have the same big-money backers, and they don’t care about anyone else.

        1. inode_buddha

          *sigh* I fear you are correct. And of course for some single-issue voters, identity is all that matters

    3. John k

      But we’d be in more wars, maybe including Russia.
      I’d rather have the present we’re suffering under… my family and I are all alive.

    4. Yves Smith

      The biggest danger to Trump is the economy. If a real recession starts say in June so the effects are clear by November, he’ll have trouble even against a not so hot Dem candidate.

  11. The Rev Kev


    Re: ‘a police officer is stepping on the bloodstains’. You can see that it was an accident and probably his sergeant will give him a bollocking afterwards for contaminating a crime scene. I had a thought the other day about the riots. Let us suppose that back in ’97 there never was a British handover of Hong Kong to China. China said that they were too busy and had to wash their hair or something. And that the British took up a further 50-year lease on Hong Kong so that the handover would then not be until 2047.
    OK then. So the British are still in charge of Hong Kong and still control the Hong Kong Police. Now imagine that it was the British that had to deal with these riots. Can you imagine what it would be like and how hard the British would be cracking down on these protestors? Maybe even calling in British Army units? If you think that the Spanish police are cracking down hard on the Catalan protestors at the moment, just image the British at work in Hong Kong.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      China could not have been too busy, as far as the handover of Hong Kong was concerned.

      Otherwise, Beijing would have lost the Mandate of Heaven (see below comment @ 12:13pm), and gifted it to Taibei instead.

      The hypothetical case here is almost impossible.

  12. Summer

    RE: “The US military is trying to read minds” MIT Technology Review (EJ).

    Mind reading, the new alchemy.

    But the establishment (and a good deal of the non-establishment) ultimate could give a damn what you think – real dream is to control it.

    1. Synoia

      More accuratly

      The US Military is spending a lot of money trying to read minds.

      I don’t believe actually achieving success is a promotion parameter.

      For Example:Star Wars program.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If it could be done to read without touching the subject’s head, that would make Mr. Spock jealous.

    2. neighbor7

      According to many sources, the Remote Viewing program had some startling successes, but these seemed linked to especially talented people. In the end not scalable, and due to the nature of such data, often not actionable.

      You’d think the histories of MK Ultra, Remote Viewing, etc. would have been instructive, but I suppose: new generation, new contracts, new $$$.

      1. Harrold

        Watch the movie – “The Men Who Stare at Goats”. Hilarious movie.

        I’m not to sure there were really an success outside of chance.

        1. skippy

          Remember when the book first came out, by chance I was browsing in the local book store whilst wife was showing kids some books to buy. Took a quick look and then picked out a few 3ish pages out of a few chapters – that’s when the flashbacks stared to happen … chortle …

          Did a short stint in the 101st and got dragged into the C.O.s [cognitive obstruction – not to be confused with commanding officer] office the moment I arrived to report for duty. Was informed I was the C.O.s wet dream of a driver – radio operator, must have been due to the amount of bolo badges on my uniform. Argued with him for over a half hour about why I should be in scouts due to my specific training and experience, to the point people could hear me outside the closed door.

          Anywho I was given a direct order and that was that, everything onward was a python- blackadder skit moving forward. Watching C.O. code name tubestake put a camo net on a GP medium tent wrong – failed to a line net to tent before erecting which increased the labour frustration to the point that he cut a new hole for the stove pipe exit. My revenge was to allow the scout platoon to over run and massacre the company H.Q., at night during brigade field exercise, whilst I was holed up in the thick brambles in my camouflaged lean too. The scouts squad Sgt had to call back some eager sorts that were considering entering the brambles to claim my scalp and yes I was waiting.

          All worked out well in the end, got sent to CCF before being reassigned, all the cadre were ex Viet SF sorts and we had a blast. Even was asked by one to chaperone his niece that was coming for a visit, great dinner at his house, saidly they would not put me through the motivator when my S4 SSgt [group of ex Viet airborne sorts] came to pick me up. Said it defeated the negative psychological aspect of the motivator. That and having to break into the base tailor/dry cleaning to get my Class As out, after having a pre reassignment dental check scheduled to conflict with their business hours. Quite the experience to see their faces as I departed the Company AO in my class A’s for the airport.

          Even had my Deer Hunter moment in Nashville by sitting in a bar by myself in the corner, whilst everyone looked out the corner of their eye. Only bettered by not getting a hotel room as no one was manning the lobby, so I waited till sun rise in the lobby and then hoofed it to the nearest taxi rank [few miles] only to have some cops slowly drive by in the early dawn … are you SF … what colour is my beret buddy … chortle ~~~

          Moral of the story is … first one has to differentiate what constitutes said – Goat or Men – before anything else … en fin …

          P.S. heads up Banff, youngest daughter is inbound for a working holiday, don’t let the cute fool you …

  13. QuarterBack

    Re “Cracking Bitcoin Privacy”, the word cracking implies some sort of breaking of Bitcoin’s underlying blockchain encryption, which is unlikely. More likely is just old fashioned detective work to forensically matchup the unique Bitcoin wallet ID with an individual.

    Although wallets can be created anonymously, every transaction to, and from the wallet is stored publicly and forever in the blockchain ledger, which is how the Bitcoin ecosystem knows how many coins are in any given wallet. Saying Bitcoin is private is a bit of an overstatement. It is private until it’s not.

    All human fingerprints are initially private and anonymous until their personal association is confirmed. If you used your fingerprint to authenticate as owner of a digital wallet, then others could confirm that you were the owner, and your fingerprint would be stored on the transaction ledger. Nobody would know it was you until you made a purchase that shipped to your personal address, or originated from an IP address tied to you, or if you exchanged funds with other non-anonymous associates in a social network that you are in. Once someone can apply detective work to tie your previously anonymous fingerprint to you, then every traction, amount, and time in the ledger can be then linked to you.

    1. Harrold

      There are Bitcoin washing services.

      I also believe that one of the only reasons Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, etc have any value is to allow Bitcoins to be converted to/from, further convoluting the trail. I think this is how the organizations that hold municipal computer systems hostage and demand Bitcoins hide their gains.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Well, well, well. Fancy that. shelves planned pr0n block”

    I am going with the idea that with British planning for the post-Brexit UK, that they discovered that you can’t protest or riot with only one hand effectively.

  15. Daryl

    > Exclusive: U.S. carried out secret cyber strike on Iran in wake of Saudi oil attack: officials Reuters (WB).

    > The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the operation took place in late September and took aim at Tehran’s ability to spread “propaganda.”

    > One of the officials said the strike affected physical hardware, but did not provide further details.

    Given the US’s track record of getting owned on a near-weekly basis and the lack of specifics here, I’m going to assume they left some mean Farsi comments on a blog somewhere or something. Literally anything and everything you do on a computer effects physical hardware.

  16. pjay

    Re: ‘Protecting the ‘Whistleblower’ & Other Preposterous Pranks’ Consortium News. (But see Snowden, Ellsberg on “the whistleblower”).

    So Ellsberg and Snowden lend their names to Ukrainegate (the latter after a pretty backhanded “defense” of Assange). We are supposed to see “The Whistleblower” in the same context as “Snowden” and “Ellsberg”, dealing with equivalent crimes. Whenever I think things can’t get more bizarre…

    I’ll go with Kunstler here. He may not be entirely correct, but he is *way* closer to the truth.

    1. urblintz

      Nader too: so far be it from me to doubt his (and Ellsberg’s) assertion that Trump must be impeached as a matter of Congressional responsibility. But Kunstler reminds that the national security apparatus was involved in ways that should give us pause and raises the question as to why the spooks are now so beloved by the TDS faux left.

      So we have Nader, hated by the Democrats still, detailing all the reasons why those who hate him should impeach Trump, the main goal of those who hate Nader most. Meanwhile, Ellsberg, who has faced some Dem hate himself for defending Assange, offers another strong defense of the Ukraine whistleblower… and Kunstler reminding opponents of Trump that the CIA and FBI are not their friends…

      “whenever I think things can’t get more bizarre…”

      1. pjay

        Yes. I had two thoughts when I read Nader’s long list of Trump’s crimes, legal corruption, and just general sliminess. First, I recalled many examples of previous administrations being guilty of the same things — or worse. Second, there is the fact that the Establishment is not going after Trump for any of these things. Rather, he is The Most Despicable Evil of All Time because he is challenging their geopolitical agenda (however inconsistently he might be doing so). Anti-Russia hysteria is part of this agenda and predates Trump’s candidacy.

        This impeachment “inquiry” is supposedly about Trump doing something — soliciting foreign assistance to smear a political opponent — which the Clinton campaign, the Obama administration, and elements of the intelligence community DID do. They solicited help from the Ukraine (ask Paul Manafort), from the UK (Steele dossier, anyone?), and perhaps other governments as well in an attempt to derail Trump’s campaign and, when that didn’t work, get rid of Trump the President by accusing him of treason. And this has absolutely NOTHING to do with all the many other crimes and misdemeanors listed by Nader.

        This whole farce makes me want to….,_1893,_The_Scream,_oil,_tempera_and_pastel_on_cardboard,_91_x_73_cm,_National_Gallery_of_Norway.jpg

  17. Summer

    RE:” Obama endorses Justin Trudeau’s re-election bid just weeks after blackface scandal” The Week

    The quip here is too obvious…

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        If the Trumpinator had any idea how he was viewed in Canada, he would endorse Trudeau as well.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I’ve tried to imagine the phone call between Justin and Barack.

          “Hi Barack it’s Justin! Hey ni**a I need some help with something, you feel me?”

          “Sure thing Justin, I’ve just been chillin with some good choom, ya know”

          “OK then, look, I did some messed up sh*t that, like, totally disrespected all black people in the worst possible way. I need a brotha to come stand next to me and stuff to make people think I din’t mean it”.

          “No problem-o Jus! Selling my people down the river is my specialty. We can do some fist bumps and stuff. My people will send you the invoice, I’ve got a presidential center we’re trying to fund so make the check out to The Al Jolson Virtue Signalling Institute”.

          1. Plenue

            They aren’t ‘his people’ though. Obama is half-Kenyan; he has no meaningful connection to the West African populations that make up the ancestry of most blacks in North America. It’s like saying Japanese-Americans should consider someone of Kazakh descent to be one of their own.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              OK so your argument is that Obama isn’t black?

              I’d estimate the African-American population that agrees with that sentiment at less than 10%

              1. Plenue

                That’s the thing. He literally is black. He’s also literally African-American, in a very direct way. But he’s not what either of those terms usually means colloquially. He has no connection to the historical experience of most African-Americans.

                And how many people believe a thing has no bearing on whether it’s true or not. I’m sure most black Americans also think Obama was a good guy who helped them. Doesn’t make it so.

    1. Jessica

      Hmm, doesn’t that constitute interference in the Canadian election? Even up in Canada, Obama has to be more influential than that Russian troll farm from 2016.

      1. pretzelattack

        did obama supply buff justin cartoons? cause that’s the line that must not be crossed. that’s when you know they’re serious about influencing an election.

      2. HotFlash

        Really, please, we promise to take the Bieber Justin back if you’ll take the Trudeau one.

        If I had been thinking of voting Liberal, and to be fair, we have a good Liberal MP in my riding, so I might have done, the Obama endorsement has finished that. My current plan is to vote Green — drag the NDP’s Overton window?

  18. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “The Business of Homelessness …” — The cost figures for supplying housing and ‘support’ for homeless families in NYC through Acacia are comparable to figures I’ve heard for the costs of housing the homeless in Oneonta, in Upstate NY. I am curious why the article skipped over the proportion of addicted and mentally ill in the Acacia public housing. Based on Annie’s report a fair number of the tenants where she lived received ‘medications’ which were handed out by staff “… this leaves residents frequently out of sync with their individual treatment regimens with some dire consequences.” I have to wonder how many of the homeless tenants were mentally ill? The apparent numbers of addicted clients and the number of attacks are also suggestive.

    My son is in the mental health system in my state and many of the complaints Annie cited are consistent with his complaints about life in the halfway-house where he lived. He received medications, enough to keep him constantly worried about the side-effects that randomly laid him in bed for several hours several times per month. He felt unsafe in the home and complained about not having enough to eat — he lost weight. There were no provisions for him to move from the half-way house to supported housing — patients came in but never left like the Hotel California.

    People endlessly complain about supporting the poor, homeless, and mentally ill. People demand more prisons and tougher laws. After reading this article and collating my son’s experiences, I believe our tax dollars are supporting the poor, homeless, and mentally ill far less than they are supporting a system built to exploit the poor, homeless, and mentally ill and line the pockets of the ‘service’ providers. The halfway houses and public housing projects appear as extensions of the Prison Industrial Complex which already exploits those convicted of any of a very long list of ‘crimes’ and many who are also mentally ill.

    1. anon y'mouse

      not to trivialize your comment in any way, because i agree with it and have long felt that way. but to voice such things is to run afoul of those people who provide such “services”, or the others of their class who think that anything that is done for the homeless and mentally ill is almost more than they deserve because they will never be “productive” human beings (i went to school with a girl who was getting her degree in psych and planned to work with such populations, and stated this as her reason. not the only individual who has said such things, but the most vibrant example).

      but in this society, it is exploitation all the way up and all the way down. that is the unfortunate tangle that this Great Chain of Being has caused. almost none of us can get by without exploitation of someone else, even those across the globe that we’ll never see. we all need jobs and a way to eat, and a place to live. so we engage in and thus perpetuate that system whether we want to or not, whether as exploiters or as exploitees, but generally as both.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        My sister is a social worker. She sometimes expresses similar opinions to those you cited. Her favorite complaint is that she should just quit working and collect welfare and she would receive almost as much income. I tell her she should be paid more and for my tax dollars I prefer that many of the people receiving welfare stayed out of the job market. I prefer they would not be making my big Mac [not that I ever eat big Macs].

        1. jrs

          Wow that’s a stereotype of those receiving welfare. But I do understand that it’s not in the class interest of the working class to push more and more people into the job market unless there were vastly more jobs. Otherwise it’s just more competition for the same number of jobs. So any working person ranting about people on welfare getting away with it is a sucker and a fool, do they really want them competing in the job market for their job instead?

    2. smoker

      I believe our tax dollars are supporting the poor, homeless, and mentally ill far less than they are supporting a system built to exploit the poor, homeless, and mentally ill and line the pockets of the ‘service’ providers. The halfway houses and public housing projects appear as extensions of the Prison Industrial Complex which already exploits those convicted of any of a very long list of ‘crimes’ and many who are also mentally ill.

      Yes, they certainly are. I wish the very best for you and your son; so very destructive and life threatening, is the utterly corrupted State of affairs.

      I’d be more explicit, but then I’d out myself, and possibly put a victim in even further harms way – as I’ve made logical pleading arguments for assistance to countless: naive and clueless; not naive, but gutless; not naive, but need a roof over their head; bordering on malign; and actually possibly malign; in the dogooder™ ‘professions’ (certainly including legislators, who have repeatedly expressed no concern, let alone in any actionable manner such as legislation, regarding firsthand testimony, with proof). From my experience contacting Newsrooms and Newspapers (also ideally falling under that dogooder™ category) over decades: 1) They are not at all interested until the matter becomes a full blown epidemic; 2) they always demand ‘dna’ which usually puts the whistleblower directly in harms way, much unlike highly protected and prominent anonymous sources™ and ‘whistleblowers’ which we’re witnessing with the impeachment for all the wrong reasons.

      Capitalism has created this dynamic, it’s always been venal and counter intuitive to well being.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From yesterday’s water cooler:

    3000-year-old toolkit…

    Now, a bagful of bronze artifacts and tools found at the bottom of the river in the middle of the battlefield suggests some of these warriors traveled from hundreds of kilometers away to fight. That suggests northern European societies were organized on such a large scale that leaders could call warriors to distant battlefields, long before modern communication systems and roads.”

    At about the same time, or earlier, it also happened in the Middle Kingdom.

    From Ba (state), Wikipedia:

    The state of Ba may have aided the founders of the Zhou dynasty in its overthrow of the Shang at the Battle of Muye in 1046 BC.

    The state of Ba was located in modern day Hubei and Sichuan.

    The battle of Muye occurred in modern day Henan.

    They are about a few hundred kilometers apart, siimilar to the distance mentioned in the first quote above.

    By the way, from the Battle of Muye, Wikipedia, we get this:

    The Zhou victory led to the Shang being replaced and subsequently justified the doctrine of the Mandate of Heaven.

    And from the Mandate of Heaven, Wikipedia, we get this:

    Throughout Chinese history, times of poverty and natural disasters were often taken as signs that heaven considered the incumbent ruler unjust and thus in need of replacement.

    The concept of the Mandate of Heaven was first used to support the rule of the kings of the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BCE), and legitimize their overthrow of the earlier Shang dynasty (1600–1069 BCE). It was used throughout the history of China to legitimize the successful overthrow and installation of new emperors, including by non-Han Chinese monarchs such as the Qing (1636–1912

  20. Geo

    “Paris zoo unveils the ‘blob’, an organism with no brain but 720 sexes”

    Something tells me this will become a right wing joke/meme about SJWs.

    1. Balakirev

      Paris zoo unveils the ‘blob’, an organism with no brain but 720 sexes.

      Its Saturdays are going to be very busy.

  21. Polar Donkey

    Pig Ebola coming to America- I work at a bbq restaurant. Needless to say pig Ebola is of great concern to me. Back when the China outbreak became news in May, our pork suppliers made fancy printed pamphlets showing how pig Ebola could never come to America. I told the owner these pork suppliers are total liars. I reckon we will see soon enough. Food prices will be going up because of massive corn, soybean, and potato crop failures from this year’s weather. Pig Ebola would drive not only pork, but other meats through the roof as well. More than half the restaurants in Memphis would go out of business.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      the line that leapt at me :”There is insufficient American organic soy, so hog farmers wishing to feed their animals organic soy often import it from China. And there are feed ingredients — B vitamins and trace minerals — that are manufactured only in China. The virus can survive for up to a month on these products, so they must be quarantined and heated to kill the virus.”

      we can’t make it here anymore….

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          this part esp:”…And there are feed ingredients — B vitamins and trace minerals — that are manufactured only in China….”

          one of many supply line/sourcing problems(rare earths,and apparently pet food..) created by our overclass.

          and,i wouldn’t grow organic soy(no room, for one, and i prefer “specialty crops” like tomatoes, lettuce, etc)…but i figure a lot of former farmers out here surely would, if it meant that they could keep the homestead.
          lack of parity pricing and “free trade” agreements that mean that locals must compete with peasants at the antipodes, plus the monopoly/monopsony way it’s all set up, make that unlikely

    2. JBird4049

      Speaking of the Mandate of Heaven in these United States…

      One thing that the United States has always had is relatively abundant and affordable food even though I have IIRC seen numbers showing food costs were 1/4 to 1/2 of a working class American family pre Great Depression.

      General hunger and localized mild famines were caused by the collapse of the economy and lack of income(nothing at all like Irish, Indian, or even the pre-nineteenth century European ones, but still not good) that did cause some deaths in places like New York City. Yes, NYC during the Great Depression. It is not talked mentioned much do to embarrassment and to maintain business (much like how the government of San Francisco lied manipulated the 1906 Earthquake and Fire fatalities from thousands down into hundreds). The deaths as well were in ones and twos found in apartments, hospitals and perhaps places like alleys. That is also another reason why rural families did better food wise, and why people living in the cities would testify about how their rural relatives saved them. It only was for a few years, still it probably pumped up the revolutionary fever then about.

      The federal government after the Second World War made it a goal of ensuring that their would always be plentiful, cheap, and to a point even nutritious food available. The goal being calories to survive, not an adequate number of micro nutrients. The current system of rules, laws, income supports via the farming bills are the results albeit now heavily twisted and corrupted.

      One of the things I have been thinking about as our climate does its mystery dance is what if there is a general collapse of wheat, corn, and potato crops for several years? It is not that likely that it would be so complete as to caused unsolvable widespread famine, because of the storage of so much grain and the ability to be always growing something in the United States. Different varieties of blight resistant potatoes can be grown almost anywhere with some dirt and a little water. But the Irish Potato Famine happened partly because Ireland was exporting food even during the worse of the famine. It was profitable to export the wheat and beef and ignore millions dying or fleeing.

      With the dysfunction of the various state and federal governments along with seeing every problem as requiring a military/militarized police hammer, I wonder what would having with widespread food shortages, or more likely drastic increases in food prices which would incentivize those investment firms to buy up food and store it, because profit!, is the neoliberal drug. And that did happen during the nineteenth century famines in Victorian England’s libertarian ideology. The local, and not so local, merchants bought up the food, what stocks were in government hands were not released because reasons, and the police and army prevented the starving from forcibly getting the food.

      Of course, neither British Ireland, Indian, nor the United Kingdom proper had or have large numbers of people armed. They had plenty of hungry, angry revolutionaries, but not much in the way of weapons of any kind, but even a Blue state like California has millions of armed people. Even in the Blue areas of the state. Armed with just rifles, or handguns more usually, but armed. And you can get ammonium nitrate (fertilizer) easily to make bombs.

    3. Procopius

      ??? The article I read was about Swine Flu. Ebola occurs in Africa, not China (I think I would have seen some news if there was an outbreak of Ebola in China). Did you forget your /snark tag? I agree with the points you’re making otherwise.

  22. E Bagum

    Khmer Riche Reuters
    This might be of interest. It’s a bit out of date (2007), but it shows the marital interconnectedness of Cambodia’s ruling elite. From the Phnom Penh Post originally.

    1. Olga

      My thought was “why now,” given that corruption in most countries is a fact – and has been for a long time.
      Is Cambodia not being a good vassal?
      Much more interesting and relevant would be an expose of certain US individuals (Clintons and their foundation, Bidens, Bushes, Trumps, Obamas, etc., etc.) and wide-spread corruption.

  23. David Carl Grimes

    Regarding Trump Chaos Trades

    I remember an episode of Billions where the hedge fund trader turned Treasury Secretary hands over a thumb drive of secret Cayman Islands accounts to Bobby Axelrod so that Bobby Axelrod can do insider trading on the Treasury Secretary’s behalf.

    Someone can make a lot of money from inside knowledge of Trump’s tweets. Maybe it’s Trump himself, maybe it’s Mnuchin, or Wilbur Ross. Maybe even Don Jr. The amounts made could dwarf anything Trump makes from the government patronizing Mar-A-Lago, his hotels, and golf courses.

    1. Oregoncharles

      This is true of Congress, too. Unlimited insider trading appears to be the main way they profit from their office.

  24. hemeantwell

    getting one or two obnoxious ads

    I read NC both on my PC and my phone. The phone version recently has been sticking in an idiotic ad as you scroll through an article that proclaims marvelous cancer breakthroughs, and in a font close to that of NC’s. Successfully annoying at first, and if I want to go full bore resentment I can bring in the very recent deaths of friends from same. I realize the constraints, but they’re awful.

  25. barrisj

    You think he was joking about this? More “emoluments” abuse:

    White House: US to Host Next G7 Summit at Trump National Doral Miami
    The White House said Thursday it has chosen President Donald Trump’s golf resort near Miami as the site for next year’s Group of Seven summit.
    The announcement to hold the event at Trump National Doral comes at the same time the president has accused Joe Biden’s family of profiting from public office because of Hunter Biden’s business activities in Ukraine when his father was vice president.

    The G-7 summit will be held June 10 to 12. The idea of holding the event at Trump’s resort has been criticized by government ethics watchdogs.

    “Ethics watchdogs”…HAW!

    1. ewmayer

      I’d like to see the financial arrangements involved – WH spokesman Mulvaney claims it’s cheaper than alternatives, so show us the basis for that. Of course DJT could put the issue to rest by donating all proceeds to charity, but it’s almost like he enjoys rubbing the establishment’s faces in this sort of thing, a kind of “whadda gonna do about it?” dickishness.

      I still see it as less sleazy that Bidens/Ukraine – G7s need a venue, and this is clearly a suitable – aside from the ownership – venue for such a meeting. Whereas Hunter B’s suitability for sitting on the board of Burisma was what, exactly?

      1. barrisj

        Yes, I can just see the Mickster sending a memo to the GSA for a call to solicit “competitive bids” from a variety of possible venues to host the event…and the winner is….Mar-a-Lago!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Dp we look at opportunity cost here? Will Trump make that argument?

          That is, the room or space has been booked already or would have been, and the Trump entity in question does not make more money either way.

      2. Procopius

        I think Hunter’s eligibility for the board seat had something to do with his daddy’s advocacy against EU/NATO countries buying Russian gas. It was an indirect way (well, not indirect enough) of getting the money to Good Old Joe.

    2. ewmayer

      Also, I must say that I find congresscritters whinging about emoluments quite rich, given the extent to which so many of them have benefited from the corruption gravy train that is legalized insider trading. It doesn’t get much more flagrant than the very – and olny – people empowered to make laws making ones which specifically set them above the ones which apply to everyone else. Pot, meet kettle.

      1. barrisj

        Here’s a chap who openly advertises his bidness interests, as if it’s part of his jawb description as president, and few now even comment on the impropriety of it all. Yes, it’s called “normalisation of behaviour”, and — you know — “well, what about___?” (fill in the blank). And so it goes well in to Year 3 of the Trump Era.

        1. ewmayer

          Call me weird, but normalization in recent decades of presidents blowing up entire foreign countries for no good reason and killing a million-ish furriners bothers me more than Trump getting some room bookings and PR by hosting an international confab at one of his resorts. Oddly, I never heard any impeachment hue and cry about the former kinds of activities. But I’m sure if – ooga booga! emoluments! – exercise you this much, you must have burned up the internet with your outrage-posts about Bush blowing up Iraq and Obama+Hillary destroying Libya. Honestly, to me this is an issue of petty corruption versus crimes against humanity. And I find the same DC and MSM twits calling for impeachment because of Trump’s – [a] emoluments violations and [b] ending the illegal US military presence in Syria – rather telling, in terms of the pathologically twisted ethics it reveals.

          1. barrisj

            Mate, you don’t know me and I certainly don’t know you, but I really, really resent your sneering sarcasm, especially as it refers to – as you put it – “burned up the Internet with your outrage-posts(sic) about Bush…”, etc., etc. Because you have absolutely no bloody clue what my comments history on multiple blogs going back to 2002 has been vis-à-vis the Cheney-Bush era, and your facile suppositions about what I may or may not have said about Obama’s drone policies, or the US Marines murderous assault on Fallujah, or the wholesale destruction of Libya by Nato, or…oh, the hell with it, people like you give me the shits, and I thank you to stay out of my face, right?

  26. xkeyscored

    China Makes A Move On OPEC’s No.2
    It appears that while the USA is threatening even its allies with sanctions, tariffs and trade wars, China is quietly and successfully integrating Eurasian economies with its own.

    “A deal would have had to have been done with Iraq anyway in order for China to put into place the planned Middle East section of its ‘One Belt, One Road’ strategy, so this problem with Iran has just meant that Beijing has had to change the order of the deals,” the Iraq source told …
    The Iraq deal that China is working on is similar in tone and range to that which had been accepted by Iran as part of the 25-year deal signed between Iran and China recently. In addition to being granted huge reductions on buying Iranian oil and gas, China would have been given the opportunity to build factories in Iran – and build-out infrastructure, such as railways – overseen by its own management staff from Chinese companies, that had the same operational structure and assembly lines as those in China, but utilising the currently cheap labour available in Iran. The deal on the table for Baghdad, according to the Iraq source, is remarkably similar, centered initially on Chinese companies undertaking various projects in Iraq in exchange for China receiving at least 100,000 bpd of oil from Iraq. This amount, when added to the current amount being exported to China, would mean that around 30 percent of Iraq’s total oil production will be going to Beijing.

      1. xkeyscored

        And allies who know where they stand, and don’t have to worry about regime change attempts next week when they’ve fallen out of favour.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          No insects can be their happy allies though.

          Perhaps Portugal or other greener nations can show the way to go beyond ‘this’ or ‘that’ (see Cognitive Framworks comments).

  27. MLS

    re: “THERE IS DEFINITE HANKY-PANKY GOING ON” Vanity Fair article;

    This article is almost complete drivel. I am no Trump fan and I’m not arguing against the main premise of the article, but there is exactly zero evidence to support it. To wit:

    STRIKE 1: The article opens with an example:

    In the last 10 minutes of trading at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Friday, September 13, someone got very lucky. That’s when he or she, or a group of people, sold short 120,000 “S&P e-minis”—electronically traded futures contracts linked to the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index—when the index was trading around 3010. The time was 3:50 p.m. in New York; it was nearing midnight in Tehran. A few hours later, drones attacked a large swath of Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, choking off production in the country and sending oil prices soaring. By the time the CME next opened, for pretrading on Sunday night, the S&P index had fallen 30 points, giving that very fortunate trader, or traders, a quick $180 million profit.

    I am not aware, not does the author even suggest that Trump tweeted or spoke about this event in any way that would move markets. The attack on SA refineries was obviously out of Trump’s control and there is nobody serious arguing that the US had something to do with it or had advanced knowledge. This sequence of events has exactly zero to do with Trump. Also, note the date of 9/13, as it’s relevant to the next “example”.

    STRIKE 2: We get something a little more nefarious, right?

    Three days earlier, in the last 10 minutes of trading, someone bought 82,000 S&P e-minis when the index was trading at 2969. That was nearly 4 a.m. on September 11 in Beijing, where a few hours later, the Chinese government announced that it would lift tariffs on a range of American-made products.

    The news was viewed positively. The S&P index moved swiftly on September 11 to 2996, up nearly 30 points. That same day, President Donald Trump said he would postpone tariffs on some Chinese goods, and the S&P index moved to 3016

    This certainly looks worse, but the premise of the article here is that Trump’s words move markets and questions whether traders know ahead of time what he’s going to say. In this case the catalyst came from the Chinese side when they announced they would lift tariffs. Did a leak come from the administration prior to this announcement? Possibly, it’s happened in every administration up to and including this one, but where is the evidence of that? Also note that this happened 3 days before the prior example, and there is a (sadly) long history of “breakthroughs” in the trade dispute meaning very little in practical terms. Yet the market reaction to trade optimism headlines is universally higher only to later pull back as reality sets in. Maybe – just maybe – the person(s) involved on the 9/13 trade was playing that probability and put on a short position expecting a market pullback. And then they got lucky with the SA attack.

    Also left out here is the fact that the market opened 9/11 at 2981, less than half a percent higher that the “questionable” futures contract purchase, even though news of the Chinese tariff lift was public, and the author argues that following Trump’s comments that same day about postponing tariffs the market moved to 3016, and in fact it did. Two days later on 9/13.

    Let’s keep going, STRIKE 3:

    A week earlier, three minutes before the CME closed on September 3, someone bought 55,000 e-mini contracts, with the index at about 2906. At around 9 p.m. in New York—9 a.m. in Hong Kong—the market started moving and kept rallying for the next six hours or so, reaching 2936. Around 2 p.m. in Hong Kong—2 a.m. in New York—Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong leader, announced that she would be withdrawing the controversial extradition bill that had been roiling the city in protest for months

    Again, very little to do with Trump. His administration (to common knowledge) has nothing to do with the HK protests and there are no words/tweets from Trump to tie to the event. Administration leak? Possible, but I doubt very much China would leak Lam’s announcement to the US, although it’s conceivable. In any event, this is just like strike 2 – no evidence tying this to anything Trump did or said. Further, the market closed September 4 at 2937, basically where the market was at Lam’s announcement 16 hours earlier. So, the market moved up 1% in the few hours prior to the announcement and then did nothing afterwards. One would think that if Trump is going to leak information, he would at least give you market-moving news.

    One more, for fun, STRIKE(ISH) 4:

    But these wins were peanuts compared to the money made by a trader, or group of traders, who bought 420,000 September e-minis in the last 30 minutes of trading on June 28. That was some 40% of the day’s trading volume in September e-minis—making it a trade that could not easily be ignored. By then, President Trump was already in Osaka, Japan—14 hours ahead of Chicago—and on his way to a roughly hour-long meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping as part of the G20 summit. On Saturday in Osaka, after the market had closed in Chicago, Trump emerged from his meeting with Xi and announced that the intermittent trade talks were “back on track.”

    The insinuation here is the Trump leaked the results of a meeting that had not yet occurred so traders could take positions on Friday. I guess it’s possible that Trump knew what he would say all along, but that’s left to the imagination of the reader. There’s no proof or even an accusation, so I suspect the author knows this claim is pretty weak. This is more likely traders playing an asymmetric risk/reward payoff.

    The rest of the article is an example with a confusing mention of suspicious trading activity, although it does raise the argument that Trump’s comments are akin to market manipulation. I think there’s merit to that claim, but this example was laid out in a very misleading way. It first describes the manipulation as “late August” and references Trump’s misleading comments during the G7 summit about a call from China. In the last paragraph the author points regulators to a specific event around Trump’s claims that he lied about a favorable call from China on trade on August 23, and they should take a look at this. He does not mention that Trump’s 8/23 comments were at the G7, and it is the same event he cited two paragraphs earlier. This is very misleading, because it’s suggested that Trump leaked his idea on 8/23 to make up the call from China so traders could get in position. What’s intentionally obfuscated by this sleight-of-hand is that expectations were very low on trade going into the G7 summit and the appropriate thing for savvy traders to do is position for a positive surprise. If you’re wrong, no big deal the market probably doesn’t move and you close your position. If you’re right, you profit. Risk in that situation, was asymmetrically skewed to the upside and traders positioned accordingly. By not mentioning the G7 in the specific trade profits, it’s very difficult for readers to make that connection.

  28. Oregoncharles

    Being a bit lazy, here: Can someone direct me to a good, quick intro to MMT? I need to send that to someone, but discovered that it is not in the list of topics. I do enjoy the “garrulous impudence” entry; worth a chuckle every time I scan the list. I could search it, but that’ll give me a long list with no way to know which is a good intro. I’d appreciate a recommendation. Thanks in advance.

    And, FWIW:

    Sea border, I assume? DUP doesn’t like it, but without a majority, they don’t matter so much.

      1. Grebo

        Cullen Roche is not an MMTer, in case you miss the not-so-subtle snark in his primer. It’s also not entirely accurate.

  29. Oregoncharles

    “Exclusive: U.S. carried out secret cyber strike on Iran in wake of Saudi oil attack: officials ”

    And nobody noticed, which is why they had to announce it.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For all we know, they could have blocked out all interent access in Tehran to Andy, the rock star based in Los Angeles, but is the most popular musician in Iran.

      That would have left many over there psychologically scared, for a while, if not more.

Comments are closed.