Links 10/24/19

Rats trained to drive tiny cars find it relaxing, scientists report Agence France-Presse

America’s Pile of Uneaten Bacon Is the Biggest in 48 Years Bloomberg

Forecast Suggests Rainforest Could Stop Producing Enough Rain To Sustain Itself By 2021 Guardian :-(

Deadly typhoon forces Japan to face its vulnerability to increasingly powerful storms Science (guurst)

Google and IBM Clash Over Milestone Quantum Computing Experiment Quanta Magazine (David L)

These U.N. Climate Scientists Think They Can Halt Global Warming for $300 Billion. Here’s How Time

The battle to break plastic’s bonds BBC (David L)



Hong Kong protesters warn replacing Carrie Lam may not be enough Financial Times

India’s economy is in crisis – and adulation for Abhijit Banerjee’s methods won’t solve it Scroll (J-LS)


EU Keeps Boris Johnson Waiting Over Length of Brexit Extension Bloomberg

Boris Johnson’s Top Team Is At War Over Whether To Call An Election Buzzfeed. He hasn’t had the votes…Why should he have them now? I know this is constitutionally bizarre. but look at how long May soldiered on when she should have been turfed out. Labour is not well served by an election soon and they might be better served a bit after Boris has visibly not lived up to his Oct 31 do or die promise.

The above confirmed by Jeremy Corbyn urged by MPs to resist calls for election Guardian

Brexit 2019 polls latest: Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has lost edge to Boris’s Tories Express

Moody’s warns a further Brexit delay would be ‘negative’ for the UK Telegraph

The White Cliffs of Brexit New Republic

New Cold War

Russian Pride and US Exceptionalism Consortiumnews (UserFriendly)


Iraqi PM says US troops do not have permission to stay in country Al Jazeera (furzy)

The Democrats Helped Cultivate the Barbarism of ISIS Counterpunch (resilc)

How (Not) To End Endless Wars LobeLog (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Google Accused of Creating Spy Tool to Squelch Worker Dissent Bloomberg (UserFriendly)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Pro-War Assumptions In Your Newspaper Current Affairs (UserFriendly)

Trump Transition

Trump Attacks California’s Cross-Border Cap-and-Trade Market New York Magazine (UserFriendly). Cap and trade is a scam. I’m surprised Trump isn’t down with it because it is full of abuses and the traders game the market like crazy.


Trump impeachment: Republicans storm secure hearing BBC

Democrats Are Already Arguing Over Trump’s Impeachment Articles Atlantic


Tulsi Versus Clinton World: The Fight Democrats Need to Have American Conservative (resilc)

Warren and Obama: It Got Messy Slate. Adrien F:

NC readers are already familiar with how Warren got to where she is now..but this adds a bit of light on her initial TARP role and how she weaponized it to make her mark and get the Obama boys’ attention..and ultimately got herself a US Senate seat..

Barney Frank told Obama that she wanted Obama’s job back in 2010..and now I am starting to think it might have been already the case in 2008 when she got that famous phone call from Harry Reid to head an “obscure” TARP Committee in DC even before Obama’s inauguration..I love Obama’s quote “Elizabeth, don’t overplay your hand..” when he is trying to pacify her with some role back in 2009..some hand she overplayed :)

Our Famously Free Press

Facebook isn’t free speech, it’s algorithmic amplification optimized for outrage TechCrunch (resilc)

AOC Has Some Great Questions for Mark Zuckerberg New York Magazine. Putting this here because the Borg tried to wrap itself in the “free press” mantle except when it’s not convenient.

6% of US Adults On Twitter Account For 73% of Political Tweets, Study Finds TechCrunch

From Dan K. Not to defend the Times, but they may have decided the big threat is the NSA and there’s no protecting against that:

Smug, Elitist Senator Attacks Middle-Class Journalist As a Smug Elitist New York Magazine

Dan K: “Product placement/protection is not a major component of my concept of ‘moderation’ but whatever. Forget it Jake, it’s ‘content'”.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Fired NYPD officer in Eric Garner’s chokehold death, Daniel Pantaleo, sues to get job back NBC

California Burning

California Blackout May Affect 1.5 Million Bloomberg

Tesla shares soar after crushing third-quarter earnings CNBC

A Taste of the Climate Apocalypse to Come ProPublica (resilc). On PG&E blackouts.

Ex-Boeing Pilot Complained of Management Pressure on MAX, Former Colleagues Say Wall Street Journal

Paul Krugman — finally — admits he was wrong! Lars P. Syll (UserFriendly)

The World’s Top Economists Just Made the Case For Why We Still Need English Majors Washington Post

Fed to increase repo market interventions again ahead of month-end Financial Times. The Fed has lost its mind. It could handle this on its trading desk with daily operations. They might be huge once in a while. WTF is going on with announcing programs with limits? This reduces, not enhances, its cred. And if it now has a distaste for using its money market desk, it should stop penalizing the discount window for banks that have a bill of good health.

Zuckerberg warns blocking Libra will be boon to China tech Financial Times. Horseshit. China will not let any non-Chinese crypto be important in China. So aside from the many other problems with Libra, the notion that it could be a “global currency” is laughable. The very fact that Bitcoin boosters have gotten the press and public to repeat the falsehood that it is a currency is the foundation for a lot of fuzzy thinking.

Class Warfare

The Enduring Power of Anticapitalism in American Politics New York Times (resilc)

Zombie debts are hounding struggling Americans. Will you be next? Guardian (KLG). From earlier this month, still germane.

Antidote du jour. Raven: “My beautiful rooster, Spike. Check out his spurs. He’s a very nasty creature.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Mr Zarate

    That is the very finest rooster!

    If they just bury 300 billion $1 bills wouldn’t that count as carbon capture. (especially if they were to be otherwise used to buy private jets)

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Rats trained to drive tiny cars find it relaxing, scientists report”

    That report makes no mention to what would happen if they got those seventeen rats, put them each in their own individual car, and then put them on a ring road with simulated traffic conditions. I suspect that the stress level revealed by testing their poop would indicate much higher levels of stress then. Maybe more so if you had a sign in with the rats that said “Los Angles Freeway”.

    1. ambrit

      I thought that this was a reference to the Fiat 500 or the Tata Torpedo.
      As for “rats,” well, the sky’s the limit….

    2. Lee

      I can see it now, rat drivers as the bridge between human driven cars and autonomous vehicles. But will they brake for cats?

    3. eg

      “Another working day has ended
      Only the rush hour hell to face
      Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes
      Contestants in a suicidal race
      Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance
      He knows that something somewhere has to break”
      The Police, Synchronicity II

  3. Darius

    Actually admire Warren for playing Obama. Republicans did it routinely, but Democrats were so over-awed by his overratedness that they let him play them for eight years.

      1. UserFriendly

        And if you’re new here, here is Yves shredding Obama’s bungling of the recession.
        Because the article tries to paint the Obama admin as doing everything possible to fix the recession and Warren as a crazed ideologue.

        1. Mike

          Probable that Obama’s financial advisors saw Warren as the pick of the right-wing litter to say what was necessary to keep banks and equity happy, while hooting populist policy as a cover. When she took consumer protection too seriously (i.e., used it to oppose Obama, Geithner et al and pose as the future alternative), the love turned to hatred. To me, it shows the widening divisions between alternative paths for continued elite control, and at the same time shows the final say that donors and former Republicans have over policy within the Democratic upper-crust. A true indication of decay and demise – not one answer gets the confidence of a majority enough to squelch the other.

      2. barefoot charley

        Good piece, thanks. It highlights her lessons learned from being a bully-pulpit outsider unable to keep 10 million families from losing their homes to Black Rock and other huge, anonymous investors who now own the bleak futures of whole communities; now she’s an insider. Who can she criticize?

        The mainstream media Warren boomlet seems to be playing out, as party owners clarify that she’s no Joe Biden after all. Here comes Buttigieg!

        1. Bernalkid

          If you stand on Bunker Hill and squint towards Brookline with a certain kind of vision you can make out where the Warren tsunami broke and receded leaving MIT with a mold problem in the basements.

    1. Phacops

      And play them, he did.

      After Obama unveiled his economic team of neoliberals who only failed upward and I pointed out that his dislike for labor made him a Democratic Hoover, I was banned from DK by that n’th dimensional chess muttering crowd.

      Despite their support for a transparently right-wing Obama, their continued losses at all levels of government, the loss of the 2016 presidential race, and the support of a neoliberal status quo by their leadership, the Democratic party remains obstinate in their refusal to acknowledge that they have failed to govern for the benefit of all citizens.

      Even my small local Democratic party refuses to face facts. After the 2016 debacle and I sat in on their postmortem, I was stunned when in their ignorance and stupidity they concluded that the losses were the result of messaging, not policy and governance.

  4. Antifa

    That plan to work on degraded soils worldwide to prevent desertification, to put carbon back into the soil, needs to concentrate on biochar. It holds on to fertilizer and moisture, and literally is carbon that stays in the soil, stabilizing its nutritive qualities.

    Biochar in desert-like areas where desertification is a risk can be done with solar ovens, or electric furnaces powered by solar. That way nothing need be burned to create it.

    1. JohnnyGL

      I’d be skeptical of biochar in the desert. Are there proven examples of it being helpful?

      Biochar has proven to be most useful in the tropics, where soils get leached of nutrients by excessive rainfall washing through.

      In the desert, the priority is usually water retention. The solution there is usually more organic matter, more shade.

      1. Steve H.

        “Two of biochar’s properties are its extremely low thermal conductivity and its ability to absorb water up to 5 times its weight.”

  5. skippy

    It might just be me but the AOC vs Zuck, Krugman impersonates Greenspan mea culpa, Jeff Bezos moon [literally] and to top it all off I had an ad on music streaming at work and was informed that 7/11 Slurpies now have electrolytes…. oh and Brexit falls on the 31st of October… I’d swear someone was messing with me ….

          1. skippy

            Wellie I guess some might consider a few options, like a rabid ‘Dumber and Dumber’ movie fan or a ploy thereof for the hearing. I mean it seems he did a thorough character study and was able to condense the entire colours of the two leading parts in the 5 minutes on offer – impromptu and if so it was a triumph.

            On the other hand, considering his dalliances with the far right, one might consider he’s gone all the way back to Rome, not that its just a bus stop on the road to the source.

            Yet as Carey suggests maybe the NSA has developed a male version of the Stepford wife program to counter the Snowden condition.

            1. ambrit

              I’ll call it an “Exceptionalist” haircut. As in; “I’m so special, I can ignore social conventions and look any old way I like.”
              Otherwise, an amateur try at “Prince Valiant” cosplay?

              1. skippy

                But for the want of a cod piece … and strapping leggings … I shat where I want … my time and coin compel me …

        1. Garushulion

          I saw one commenter ask “why does one of the richest men in the world look like he cut his hair with Crayola scissors?”

  6. JohnnyGL

    A further comment to yesterday’s thread about sanders, media blackout and severe underperformance among 65+ crowd, using my mother as a one person proxy.

    I should ask her if she’s watched any of the debates, but she’s often dozed off by 8-9pm. She’s often done somewhere between wheel of fortune and jeoppardy.

    I think she’s gettable. She views sanders favorably, but she’s very anti-warren (native american stuff means no trust). She often won’t bother with primaries, but will definitely show up in general election.

    The big issue is media blackout means she thinks bernie is barely in contention. She thinks it’s a two-horse race, biden-warren.

    She doesn’t talk politics a ton and isn’t big into the issues. She mostly votes on personal trust.

    I think some 30-second ad spots could work with people like her. Talk of drug prices, portray sanders as long-time fighter, show the big crowds at rallies and some heartfelt moments from townhallsand campaign events.

    Maybe hit some niche cable channels like gameshow network? Prob cheap to buy ad space.

    Sanders doesn’t need to crush this demo, but he needs a chunk of it. I don’t think 15-20% should be that hard.

      1. inode_buddha

        Sanders is now running a new ad series on FB about how his new poll numbers put him within the margin of error for #1.

    1. Acacia

      Per my post the other day, I now fail to see how Sanders has any chance whatsoever.

      It’s simple: Sanders’ stated policy positions are an existential threat to the DNC, so they will do whatever it takes to thwart his nomination. There cannot be a President Sanders and a DNC. Yet right now the DNC holds all the cards, because they have the superdelegates and final say over the outcome of the primary. They will have no compunction about making their decision in the proverbial smoky back room, with the “facts” being fixed around the policy. They will throw him under the bus again, but make it appear that “the voters” didn’t want him, ergo the perception management that @JohnnyGL describes above.

      1. JohnnyGL

        The DNC is not some all-powerful monolith.

        It’s actually very difficult to unite an entire party apparatus, even among ‘acceptable’ candidates. In 2016, the Clinton machine leveraged years of contacts, fundraising and consensus building and narrative shaping to create her ‘inevitability’.

        That doesn’t happen often, it’s very much NOT the case so far in 2016.

        DNC and party machinery don’t believe in Biden, but he’s got a core block of support and top brass like him. Donors very much aren’t sold. Media and donors are pushing Buttigieg, but base is luke-warm on him. The party activists like Warren, but she’s not winning the top brass among the party.

        This is not the set of circumstances that allows for rigging. Who are they going to rig it FOR??!?!?!

        Do recall, the RNC would have loved to throw Trump overboard in 2016, but had to back down when he pulled away from the pack. There was never unity around another candidate and the votes weren’t even close.

        1. John k

          Seems the big field helps Bernie just like it did trump.
          There’s Bernie representing the working class, everybody else is different flavors of not Bernie, the latter doesn’t coalesce because everybody wants it, they all go on so long as they have money and hope… ominous just now for biden. Repeat of reps in 2016.

        2. Skip Intro

          Someone here, I think it was me, mused/prayed that the DNC’s plan to flood the primary field to try and assure a second vote at the convention would, as is typical of the DNC, backfire. I projected that the identity-rainbow of corporate neoliberals would split the party, but focus the left. Perhaps this is now becoming evident. I always felt that Biden was pushed into running, but now, like Trump, he is in the predicament of being so prone to bizarre utterances that there is nothing he can say that will discredit him.

          And now the party and the Deep State Military Infotainment Complex are all in on the Ukraine thing to protect Biden’s emoluments. The whole story seems set up to inoculate Trump against corruption charges by hanging HunterB around the dem’s necks. The fact that using foreign aid to pull strings is the charge, when it is at the heart of the Biden Burisma business (not to mention Manafort), just adds richness, and exposes their complete lack of self-awareness or caution. How much damage will the dems take before they helicopter Bloomberg or Kerry in?
          Even the Washington Capitols occasionally get a basket. If they’ve already despaired, given up, and are going scorched earth on the 2020 election to take Bernie and Tulsi down with them, it is uglier than I imagined. Of course that would explain why the Queen of Warmongers seemed to imply that Tulsi was a 3rd party spoiler, pre-empting talk of Demexit.

          1. Carey

            That Kerry, in particular, is even being floated as a candidate™ is just
            beyond beyond. Thinking She v3.0 is gonna be back..

      2. Mike

        Sounds correct – I would fine-tune one thing – Dems need to make it look like voters rejected him, thus engineering polls and the vote (remember electronic vote counts…).

        Sanders does have a good cash position, however, and it may occur that his good advisors could get the ads you mention during the period after the debates. He still holds out hope of reforming the party with the surge of supporters he wants to bring into the party. It is a game theory approach. Let the games continue… but his probable loss leaves us out in the cold yet again. Howie Hawkins Day?

        1. Oregoncharles

          Just had a chance to meet Howie, when he came through Oregon. Impressive presentation, mostly on his budget for the GND. Real numbers! (All very approximate and aspirational, of course, at this stage.)

          However, even within the Oregon party, the nomination is very much up for grabs. It’s a bit like the Dem nomination: six candidates. Howie is the best known and the most experienced, but we all know where that gets us.

          Personally, I think the Dems will cheat all they have to to keep Bernie out. It isn’t only Repubs that can rig the machines. So best to be thinking about your options if we have another neither-of-the-above election.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Candidates have often been selected at the convention with backroom deals and shenanigans by the party power brokers that ignored primary voting.

          So unless the convention is a replay of ’68 with head bashing and outrage to expose the process to the light of day then IMO we’ll all just be going gently into that good night.

          Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

          1. Big River Bandido

            Candidates have often been selected at the convention with backroom deals and shenanigans by the party power brokers that ignored primary voting.

            You’re citing ancient history. First, 1968 was an anomaly; there were only 8 primaries, with no clear winner, one candidate murdered, and a very unpopular President at the head of the party. Prior to that…if memory serves, the last time there was more than one ballot taken at a Democrat convention was 1956, and I’m not even sure about that. The last brokered convention I can think of was 1924, when the Democrat nomination was useless.

      3. chuckster

        Said that four years ago and yet Bernie keeps playing in the DNC playground. What’s the definition of insanity again?

        1. KLG

          Where do you suggest he “play”? The Dem route is the only road with ballot access in all 50 states. Going the independent route to ballot access is a fool’s game that would take all his (all small donor) money and more time and people than he has.

          1. Mike

            I believe this is exactly why his left-wing urged him to break out right after 2016. Three solid years of party building around his platform might have had positive results of 50-state access and more exposure to his platform. And, if i’m not mistaken, there were those begging him to build inside-outside before his announcement in the previous race.

            I say might have, because the wall against him within the Democratic Party would be there anyway. The media would still block him, the intelligence agents would be out to get him, and his hope would be the troops volunteering on the ground plus his personal appearances to sway voters from that level, along with whatever TV ads he could afford. So, essentially he’d be in the same place but independent of DP pressure to support the winner. The bona fides he gets from being a Democrat would not play against the DNC actually rigging the primary. However, the stamina required would be much more tasking upon him.

        2. xformbykr

          I’d be relieved to see a third-party breakout featuring Sanders. (1) The DNC as far as I know has not disowned HRC’s accusations about a Russian plant and one could expect a similar tactic to emerge against Sanders during primaries. Working against the DNC in that case would be like running uphill; he’d have to be that much stronger. (2) If he did get the nomination, we could expect something like the McGovern campaign of 1972. There is some kind of good-faith expectation on Sanders part about dems and the DNC that they would support his candidacy if he got the nomination.
          I wish that some geniuses on his team have made some contingency plans for a third party breakout. I don’t believe that there is room for progress in the democrat party.

      4. Grant

        Well, that NY Times article a few months back about the anti-Bernie Democrats (Pete B., Pelosi, Schumer, Tanden, etc.) said that they realize that if he was to win a solid share of the votes, that giving it to someone else could be damaging for the party. That is why the propaganda is so intense and all-encompassing now. It is a big reason (among others) why I am skeptical about a lot of the polls and many of those doing the polls. There is a lot of manufacturing consent right now. They do not want to be put in that position. I do not think it will be so easy to give it to someone else, IF he does in fact get more votes than others running. The Democrats are already in trouble as far as having any legitimacy overall, and it could be the final straw with many people. However, it is obviously not certain at this point that he will get more votes, or even if he did, that the Democratic Party will not do what it can to rig the votes in any way they can.

        This really isn’t about Bernie as an individual though. The Democrats will do this to anyone on the left, in his rough ideological area, through organizations like the DCCC, DSCC, and all their affiliated groups and media figures. They are indifferent to Bernie as a person, it is his ideas and him wanting to actually democratize what is a very undemocratic party internally, that threatens them. But, Bernie has about the same chance as the changes he wants to see come about. In either instance, it will take massive social movements to push him and those changes through. It isn’t certain it will happen, obviously, but it wasn’t certain by any means that in early 20th century that Canada would one day have a single payer system, or that the US would have a publicly managed pension system. It also isn’t likely that we put in place the radical changes needed to deal with the environmental crisis in the time we have, but we better try regardless.

        1. barefoot charley

          I agree that Bernie will be kept from the nomination–but is that why he’s running? He’s moved the party’s Overton window leagues to the left. Liz Warren’s running as mini-Bernie (at the moment . . .), and the two nice boys started out as Bernie-lites until their remaining opportunities drifted toward Biden-lite, because Liz has a near-monopoly on querulous lefties. Bernie’s had, and will continue to have, a tremendous effect on Democratic talking points. He may even get some folks in the streets–until then it’s all talk.

          1. Grant

            Bernie is one person running for office. He isn’t the goal, to me he is the means of change within government, although change ultimately happens through organizing. I think he is in it to win, but he is facing the same opposition in running for office that those on the streets are facing in pushing for the changes he is seeking. They are challenging powerful interests, and he will win or lose just as movements will win or lose, to the same rough interests for the same rough reasons. I don’t agree that it is all talking points, any more than I think those pushing for single payer are little more than talking points. I also don’t know what people expected to happen, or expect to happen in the years ahead. He wants structural changes that will directly challenge powerful capitalist interests. Did everyone expect them to just roll over and let him win? It isn’t as if the right and corporate interests are against outright coups, witness what they have done in Latin America in the post WWII era. Evo Morales wasn’t all talk, he ran for office, there were social movements, powerful private interests challenged them and the social movements and Morales won. Will Bernie and movements win here? Maybe, maybe not, but the media in countries in Latin America is possibly even worse than it is here. In Venezuela, the media was central to the coup against Chavez. The coup plotters actually went on national TV at the time and thanked the media, RCTV in particular. I don’t analyze the challenges he if facing as a personal failure of his any more than I see the failure to have something like single payer to this point is a failure of those pushing for it. The system is corrupt, powerful interests are doing all they can to oppose them and getting to the point where the left can win isn’t easy, takes time and there will sometimes be defeats along the way.

            As far as people adopting his language but not his policies, his radical inclination and his willingness to challenge the interests those fake candidates are taking money from; again, nothing new. Lenin Moreno in Ecuador ran on Correa’s platform, right? Did he not do an about face when given power? It isn’t as if anyone took Harris, Gillibrand, Pete B and Booker seriously when they pretended to agree with Bernie’s policies. And there are clear differences between him and Warren. We can critique him, for good reason, for not doing a better job of distinguishing himself from Warren, but Warren pretending to be more aligned with him than she likely is should be expected. He has not only moved the language people use, he has impacted what the populace now expects from those in power, and it is becoming increasingly hard for their empty rhetoric to cover for what they actually do when given power. I don’t think Warren will push for the structural changes Bernie would, but I also don’t think most people at this point are paying tons of attention, and so her copying him is working to an extent. However, one recent poll did show him in second place nationally, it shows him dominating the youth vote, and I do think the polls are understating his support.

            Bernie can win, but nothing that has happened so far in this primary surprises me at all. He is right in it, those with power are doing everything they can to deny him power (just as they are trying to defeat the push for single payer and other structural changes) and water is wet. I also think it makes sense to think that the polls are not accurately reflecting who is or isn’t doing well. The question is whether or not he can get those that traditionally tend to vote in lower numbers to turn out. If that happens, the issue then becomes who is counting those votes.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            , and the two nice boys started out as Bernie-lites

            Huh? Except for claimed appeals to youth voters, those dopes were right wing shills. Beto has become better on a few issues. He’s still a clown, but he actually improved.

            1. barefoot charley

              Fair enough–I thought Mayo Pete’s patriotic puss-bursting at Tulsi (as if he’s so stupid he thinks we keep our agreements and fight honorable wars) was a new height of McCarthyite big-lie pandering against big truth, while Beto’s call to voluntarily confiscate automatic weapons was a comparable triumph of wishy-washy performative hippie fascism. But I get that they’ve always been awful, point taken.

              Grant, I really appreciate your analysis. We gotta start somewhere, and keep going.

            2. neo-realist

              Beto and Amy, I believe, are hanging around to become VP choices at the convention: Beto will tout an ability to haul in a big electoral vote prize in Texas and Amy will tout the potential to win swing states in midwest. Realistically, they’re not polling well enough to win the nomination, but they’re getting enough face time in the media to get the DNC power brokers to warm up to them when it comes time to select a running mate. Pete, for a similar reason to Amy.

          3. jrs

            Honestly I don’t consider a victory on talking points as a victory for anything. A bunch of that movement of the vocal cords and $3 will get you a coffee. I don’t even consider the Overton window moved, unless it moves in terms of policy not talking points. Getting people elected whatever the office? Yes. Getting policy? Yes, but we are very far from that with the current Fed gov of course, actually 180 degrees from it. But talking points? I also think a talking point victory can recede as fast as it comes, I fear it really, because see failed hopes have a price.

            1. Oregoncharles

              As Gilens and Page demonstrated in their “Princeton” study, there is no connection between “Getting people elected” and “getting policy.”

              Personally, I think that’s because so many people remain stuck in the 2-Party model; a duopoly makes it so easy to just buy policy. One objection to running as a Dem is that it does nothing to break down the duopoly – quite the contrary, it strengthens it.

            2. Grant

              You are identifying something that will be determined by movements, not anything Bernie does or doesn’t do, and you are being a bit dismissive. If these changes are put in place, it will be because social movements force them through. Bernie realizes this, and he is alone at realizing the centrality of this. Warren can reference this all she wants, but if she was really serious about this she wouldn’t be cozying up to the interests she is. Many of those very people are the ones those social movements will need to confront, and she is the best of the rest, which says tons about the field. No one cares at all about talking points or words in a speech, and the people that are most obviously just saying words without meaning any of it are not doing well. They can mouth anything they want, people are largely not buying it. Biden is a different animal.

              Candidates on the left are winning, and you have to count local races, DAs winning office, etc. I mean, people like Lee Carter and the DA in Philly ain’t nothing to sneeze at. Objective factors are going to increasingly force themselves on this system anyway. There is no getting around the environmental crisis, change will come. The question is whether it will be democratic and equitable or not. If we go down the path that the voters in the Republican Party and many in the Democratic Party seem intent on pushing us down, we are looking at a Bolsonaro like figure emerging. In ten years, Ellen will be hitting up a Knicks game with Trump and talking about putting aside their policy differences, from one person to another in the same class.

              My opinion is that if we all acknowledge that those in power, the media and many of those conducting polls have clear and obvious biases, why give in and be all doom and gloom? If you do so, you are helping their propaganda succeed. There are in fact plenty of reasons to think that Bernie is right in the thick of things. Yes, he runs in a horrible and corrupt party, and they will do anything they can to deny him power. But, look at what immense violence and repression that social movements in Latin America face and have faced. Far and away far greater than anything Bernie or his supporters are dealing with. The media here ignores him and when they pay attention, they lie about and slime him, but they don’t drag his supporters out of their beds and shoot them in the streets like they might to union organizers in Colombia, radical indigenous organizers in Bolivia or student activists in Chile. Yes, the odds against winning are big, but they are in those places too. This is peanuts compared to what people seeking structural changes in other countries face, and I think Bernie is still in a pretty good position.

              1. Big River Bandido

                if we all acknowledge that those in power, the media and many of those conducting polls have clear and obvious biases, why give in and be all doom and gloom? If you do so, you are helping their propaganda succeed.

                + 11.

      5. Chas

        I think if Biden, Mayor Pete, or any other corporate Democrat wins the primary then Sanders and Warren will be under intense pressure to form a third party. If one or both of them refuse, a third party may form anyway and if not, then the Green Party will surge.

        1. deplorado

          Warren, third party candidate?? How do you see that… She who fought and lied so hard for so long to get in the club, now to go rogue 3rd party??! No way, not at all who she is.

          Bernie – yes. If his campaign is thwarted, he should go serious 3rd party and start by putting it on the ballot in all 50 states.

      6. dcblogger

        as someone old enough to remember the fall of Jim Crow, the fall of Marcos, the fall of South Africa Apartheid, the fall of the Berlin Wall, I am confident that Sanders can win. Whatever else you can say about Davos Democrats, they are NOT invincible. Neither is Wall Street or the Military Industrial Complex.

    2. Lunker Walleye

      Caucus state person here. Most of the over 60 year olds I know are avid cable tv viewers who are completely in the tank for Biden and can’t be budged. His “folksy style” plays to the way a lot of people talk around here and is mistaken for authenticity. I have several friends who think Pete B. is terrific and that is showing up in polling — this seems to be on the increase. I formally dropped my D party membership after 2016 b.s. and am faced with having to re-enroll to attend caucus to support Bernie. This may yet drive me over the brink.

      1. JohnnyGL

        “Most of the over 60 year olds I know are avid cable tv viewers who are completely in the tank…”

        Yeah, definitely might be true, but some are NOT in the tank. Sanders doesn’t need to WIN this entire demo, but he needs more of it. Right now, he’s barely getting ANYONE in that bucket.

        Can he get 15%? I think so, he’s got something to offer. He’s got to reach them, though. Right now, he’s not doing so.

        1. Grant

          If you look at the average CNN, Fox News or MSNBC viewer, they are this very age group. Those networks are obviously entirely against Bernie and it seems that many of those polls skew towards that age group. To me, many of them are polls are largely among those that watch CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. The question is whether or not younger voters can save us from that voting block, and it isn’t just Bernie either. It is no more likely that we will get the structural changes we need, and will have any chance to deal with the environmental crisis, for this very reason. Voting in Biden over Bernie wouldn’t be a defeat of Bernie as much as it would be a defeat for any chance to solve our largest societal problems, and what can be done to people if they can’t be bothered to care? I mean, even if the average Biden supporter only cares about themselves, Biden has long supported cutting Social Security and Medicare, up to a few years ago he was arguing to means test those programs. He said that Paul Ryan was correct in his attacks against those programs. So, how do you reach a group of people if they will not budge on someone that even threatens things that will massively harm them? I don’t think this problem can be placed on Bernie. It is the media, but it is also older voters not realizing what impact their decisions are going to have on their kids and grandkids. If their main source of information is CNN and MSNBC, what can be done not just about Bernie, but also the large societal issues we need to address?

        2. Lunker Walleye

          I am not in the tank for Joe and much closer to 70 than 60 and never had cable tv. Agreed, Bernie must reach those who rely on the tube for their info.

        3. cloonan

          I’m a 69 yr old female that works from home and can therefore watch a lot of cable news. I mostly watch MSNBC and look for all of the ways that they are manufacturing consent-mostly now for Elizabeth Warren.
          I don’t answer my landline without screening the calls first, so I’ll never be asked about my support for Bernie in a poll.
          I don’t think they have any idea how much support Bernie actually has, though I hope his campaign has a better idea than polling companies. I’m pretty sure that the current polling model is broken

      2. Plenue

        Aren’t old people often lecturing the young about youths ‘lack of experience’? How the hell do you get to 60 and still not have the ability to spot a bullshitter?

      3. Oregoncharles

        Interesting, considering how many here are “over 60.” It’s a pretty select group, though.

    3. Clive

      Don’t underestimate the value of this kind of personal research (and sharing the results more widely). It can tell an awful lot about which way the wind is blowing (so long as it’s accepted as anecdotal, but there’s nothing wrong with this source of information of it’s appreciated as such).

      To give a related non-US example, my mother-in-law — who has never in her whole life voted anything other than for the the Conservatives here — has been “turned” by, I have to say, my good self showing them up for what they really are. She refuses, point blank, to vote for Johnson. I think she’ll vote Green as a protest vote, but I’m not sure if I should persist to try to get her to go over to the Dark Side and vote Labour. It’s a tricky one, as Labour are so rubbish here at the moment. At least with Sanders, it’s not like shooting yourselves in the foot to make a point.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Decades ago, a very popular animal at the Rio zoo (now I forget what it was) was actually elected Mayor. Protest votes can add up.

    4. Barbara

      The apolitical are the hardest to have a genuine talk about political/economic issues and the candidates. Part of the problem I know from old is that there are a lot of people who think politics is “dirty” and refuse to have anything to do with it. They look at surface things like “he’s a regular guy” while the guy is pushing a bankruptcy bill that can destroy people’s well-being.

      I have a friend, an old cloth coat republican, who said to me some time in 2015/2016, “I think we’re a lot closer politically that you might think.”


      “Yes, I’m really interested in this Bernie fella.”

      A month later, she said, “Did you hear? Mike Bloomberg might be running.”

      “Mike Bloomberg.”

      “Don’t you see, he’s just like Bernie.”

      “Mike Bloomberg is like Bernie Sanders.”

      It’s a hard slog.

      1. paintedjaguar

        Oh, I don’t know. There are people like my brother-in-law who think they are already well informed because they get a daily dose from mainstream media (in his case, on his Apple Phone). He thinks that guests on news shows are just giving out their honest opinions, and that the latest Trump Tidbit is important stuff. Also thinks it matters whether Trump is really a “good businessman”.

    5. Jeff W

      I think some 30-second ad spots could work with people like her. Talk of drug prices, portray sanders as long-time fighter, show the big crowds at rallies and some heartfelt moments from town halls and campaign events.

      Well, your mom might work on personal trust but she can trust Sanders on Social Security and Medicare, for example. Sanders is vehement about strengthening Social Security and making sure the payments reflect more closely the inflation that seniors actually face. Medicare would be better for your mom as well. Under Sanders’s Medicare-for-All proposal, seniors would not have to pay for dental care, hearing aids, and eye glasses, and they wouldn’t have to buy the supplemental insurance needed to cover what current Medicare does not or worry about paying for their medications.

      Sanders can run ads with big crowds and heartfelt moments but, in those ads, he can describe his policies that will help seniors. Your mom works on trust but she probably has some idea what her Social Security check looks like and how much she pays in medical costs, even with Medicare. That will all change to her benefit with Sanders and no other candidate, no matter how folksy they are.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        OMG yes, MeTV is cheap and per below, that is what my mother watches. I joke Perry Mason is her boyfriend.

        And ads on METV are super cheap. The local ambulance chasers all run ads on MeTV. I can recite some of them, they appear so often.

      2. paintedjaguar

        Unfortunately, I doubt the youthful Sanders team is savvy enough about TV or the elderly to get those ads made and aired where it would do some good. And look at what happened with Matt Orfalea. Who was also making terrific Bernie ads back in 2016, by the way.

    6. Yves Smith Post author

      My mother is a registered Republican and the only Democrat she ever gave $ to is Sanders! So there! Of course she is a knee jerk contrarian, does not like Trump but thinks Team Dem is shooting itself in the foot re 2020 with their candidates and prioritizing impeachment. But she mainly reads books. Her TV is NBC News every evening, the local TV news that follows, and reruns.

  7. guilliam

    This was an interesting article in the mail about Brexit. There are many issues I wouldn’t trust that rag on but it seems to be doing the best job of reporting divisions in the tory party at the moment because they haven’t yet decided which side to back and have plenty of contacts.

    Staggeringly there are apparently even bigger arseholes in the government than Boris Johnson at the moment, ‘Indeed, it was rumoured that Mr Cummings was furiously banging his fist during a meeting between Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn when the PM suggested a compromise to the Brexit timetable. After Labour blocked Mr Johnson’s fast-track Brexit timetable on Tuesday night, it was alleged that Mr Johnson had asked Mr Corbyn how long it might take to get the deal passed, at which point, according to The Telegraph, Mr Cummings furiously shouted, ‘No!’

    1. vlade

      If true – which would not surprise me at all – it’s only a question of time for Cummings to find that there’s not enough space in No 10 for two egos of that size. And that he’s not the PM.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, both.

        I have not met Cummings, but former colleagues, all Tory activists, did a decade ago and came back with a bad impression. The guy even then was very driven, to the point of fanaticism, and very dry. He was working for Gove at the time. Even then, apparently, he loathed Cameroon. It makes me wonder if, after all these years, he’s working for another master, not just Gove, but his master, Murdoch.

    2. larry

      According to Gary Gibbon of Channel 4 News, when Cummings loudly said No, he slamed his hand down on the table. It is the sort of thing a psychopathic narcissist might do when not getting their own way, or thinking they might not.

  8. DJG

    The Guardian? Waking up to how much damage the Clintons have caused?

    First, Nathan Robinson on the word salad of Hillary Clinton’s accusations.

    Today, Jill Stein.

    What I like here is that Stein points to how Clinton is a symptom (just as Trump is a symptom). The elites / the establishment will brook no challenges. Hence, the treatment of Assange, as detailed in yesterday’s (appalling) links.

    Further, the elites know that there won’t be events like the demonstrations in Chile or Ecuador. No burning trashcans in the style of Barcelona. The U.S. public is extremely good at doing what it is told to do. Only the U.S. public would believe that employer-sponsored health insurance with high deductibles, bad service, and limits on which doctors one may see is sacrosanct.

    Meanwhile, can anyone detail the fingers of the Clinton wing on the impeachment omnishambles? Closed hearings? It’s mere psychobabble to write that these people are nuts–but I don’t care about their mental health. I care about their effects on the body politic.

    1. ambrit

      Before this is all over, Boris might have to have a Brexit 50p Platinum coin minted to forestall hyperinflation.

      1. Anonymous2

        I liked the following which I read somewhere which I paraphrase:

        It’s 2192 as I report from Brussels on the traditional annual visit of the British Prime Minister to seek an extension to Brexit. No one can remember how the tradition first started but it has become a big draw over the years with thousands of tourists coming to watch.

        It made me laugh anyway.

      1. inode_buddha

        I would use old Coke bottle caps filled with cement. They aren’t worth as much as pennies, which can be melted down for the copper.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Pennies are mostly zinc, with a coating of copper.

          Wukchumni would point out that this is called “debasing the coinage” – though that originally applied to silver and gold coins. Pretty hard to debase paper, or electrons.

  9. Paradan

    Ok, so for years now I have struggled to understand Washington’s hatred of post-Soviet Russia. To simply blame it on the MIC needing a threat never sat well with me. It seemed like after the shock therapy of the 90’s, that Russia had become capitalist like us. They had Oligarchs and poverty and everything that makes America great. Nowhere have I found an explanation for the Russia-phobia that has been persistent since even before Georgia and Crimea. Until now…

    “Financial analyst Chris Weafer said the Russian state controls 60 percent of the GDP and 75 percent of the banking system.”

    This one line explains it all. It’s no wonder we’re on the brink of a nuclear war.

    1. Acacia

      Yes, they had oligarchs and Western-style privatization was going swimmingly until Putin came along and upset the apple cart. The hatred coincides with Putin’s rise, and explains why he has been its focal point. Indeed, the Russian state wouldn’t own what it does if things had gone as Western looters investors had hoped.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Paul Jay of Real News has floated the idea that in the post-Soviet smash-and-grab process in the 90s, western oligarchs were supposed to gain control of the commanding heights of the country. In the chaotic process that followed, the domestic players got the upper-hand and flipped-the-script on the Americans.

      Those domestic players saw what a wreck Russia has become….coalesced around Putin, purged a few of the big players that they didn’t like (Khodokovsky) because they seemed too beholden to western capital, and proceeded to begin the process of getting the country back on it’s feet to some degree.

      The successful intervention in Syria has shown Russia is a legit player in certain key regions. A number of key people in the US (Brennan and Clapper, for example) proceeded to lose their minds and drowned in Russophobic mania.

      Obama wasn’t thrilled with that bunch, and tried to gently quiet things down, but he basically failed and rode off into the sunset.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘Obama…tried to gently quiet things down’
        You must be talking about a different Obama. The Obama that I remember went full neocon in his last months of his Presidency and tried to antagonize the Russians as much as possible by doing stuff like seizing their Consulates and getting thuggish with their staff. It was like that with Trump about to become President, he wanted to destroy US-Russian relations as much as possible and to totally foul the waters for years to come while he still had a chance.

        1. JohnnyGL

          He didn’t escalate over Syria or launch any strikes (Trump did). He didn’t send military aid to Ukraine (Trump did).

          He also tried to have Kerry do ceasefire in Syria but the Pentagon undermined him, repeatedly, (specifically at Deir Ezzor) and Obama didn’t have the courage to fire people for screwing things up.

          Obama, personally, wasn’t great on Russia, but he also didn’t try very hard. It ended up being a very schizophrenic policy combination.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            To your point, a NYT Magazine cover story (How Hillary Became a Hawk) described how Hillary got generals lined up behind her to pressure Obama into escalating in Syria, and he didn’t play ball. This was pre-2016 election and supposed to show Hillary in a good light (I couldn’t fathom it save women feeling the need to overcompensate and be macho). Also showed Hillary hearts generals.

            1. Skip Intro

              I think he learned from Libya, where was pressured by the same gang, into creating what, even by US Intervention standards, was an unbelievable catastrophe for the world, if not his actual career.

          2. ewmayer

            “He didn’t escalate over Syria or launch any strikes (Trump did)” — While he stepped back from the brink when the DoD folks were about to unleash their “total war” plan, he and Hillary bear responsibility for significant fomenting of the Syrian civil war, including arming those “moderate rebels”, with lots of the arms coming via the Seymour-Hersh-detailed CIA ratline through the consulate in Benghazi, after Obama and Hillary turned Libya into a civil-war-and-jihadist-wracked nightmare. Trump indeed conducted strikes, but they appear to have been more or less pure “military strike theater”.

            “He didn’t send military aid to Ukraine (Trump did)” — Even Trump-loathing CNN agrees that Obama sent military aid, it was just called something else:


            1. JohnnyGL

              From your link, here was the big difference from Trump to Obama…“The Trump administration did approve the provision of arms to Ukraine, including sniper rifles, rocket launchers and Javelin anti-tank missiles, something long sought by Kiev.”

              And yes, you’re right that Obama let the CIA take their shot at knocking off Assad via the Timber-Sycamore program and amped up the rhetoric with the “Assad must go” talk.

              If I recall correctly, there was the car-bombing assassination of Assad’s brother that I think Michael Morrell very creepily alluded to like he wanted to take credit for it.

              The Sy Hersh articles really helped provide some clarity as to what on earth was really happening at the time.

              But, he would not go for the additional step….which ended up with a very schizophrenic, sort of passive-aggressive look.

              Of course the media used a kind of gas-lighting framing where they acted like the US did nothing at all.

              1. The Rev Kev

                There were several speeches where Obama showed his true colours. This is a clip from one of them-


                He also boasted how good that he was in killing people, let ISIS come to nearly toppling Iraq until they would do his bidding (Iran stepped in instead)…but what is the point. If you want to push it, he was like a smart and smooth version of Trump.

          3. VietnamVet

            The U.S. has committed more than $1.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014 after the Maidan Coup. “April 16, 2015 – 173rd Airborne Brigade arrives in Ukraine for Fearless Guardian.” My old Vietnam unit started training the Ukraine’s Nation Guard for combat in the Civil War that continues today in Donbass on Russia’s border. Hunter Biden was in country earning $50,000 a month while father VP Joe Biden spearheaded Barrack Obama’s restart of the Cold War. US propaganda is nowhere near the reality of spreading chaos in endless wars being fought for profit.

        2. Roy G

          Let us not forget the messy neolib coup in Ukraine orchestrated by State and Victoria Nuland. The only hair splitting we might add here is debating the personal role of Obama. My take is that, like his predecessors, he abdicated foreign policy to the Borg. Trump, for all of his other glaring faults, isn’t letting the Borg run foreign policy. The ‘Trump loves Putin’ propaganda is squarely aimed at squashing any rapprochement with Russia, as that is bad for the Borg’s interests.

    3. Phacops

      I think one dynamic I experienced is telling about how bias and consent is created.

      In my neck of the woods there is a local college in TC that sponsors a series of lectures on international affairs. I attended one given by an ex attache to Russia. In his talk he discussed the benefits to Russia if it opened itself up to free (unregulated) trade. It was a veritable Gish Gallop of neoliberal lies. The audience responded with rapt attention and I have no doubt, from talking to friends who attended, that they came away thinking that they understood international relations. Meanwhile, I kept on thinking that the Russian people and leadership aren’t stupid, that they can see whe wreckage of market driven austerity and the arbitrage of labor that has devastated the U.S., and why would they then trust anybody spouting Chicago school neoliberal claptrap.

      Sad. It made me feel very uncomfortable.

    4. David

      For the politicians and pundits, I’m sure its Cold War envy. They are jealous of their parents and grandparents who they see as fighting fir a noble cause. Now there are no noble causes, so they have to be invented.

    5. Mike

      I would caution anyone interested that two things should come to mind among critical readers here:

      1) While Putin cleared out western-leaning oligarchs, he also cleared out those who would not work with him and make reliable and conservative decisions, all the while nationalizing certain key industries and services that were prone to western AND domestic game-playing. The animus here is obviously the US dream of dominating those sectors, and thereby running Russia. It is also domestic oligarchs who cannot make the money possible under a Yeltsin-style regime.

      2) Putin still desires to work with the West in terror operations and global trade, as long as they recognize his dominance domestically; of course, that is impossible because of capital’s limits in playing expensive games and not garnering the controlling interest. Do remember that western interests still exist within the Kremlin, media and independent organizations still exist that oppose Putin, and elections, while manipulated, are just as verifiable as ours, maybe more so.

  10. inode_buddha

    Rooster antidote: thank you for this, you have no idea how this made my day… I got into a staring contest with one of them once, it’s one of my fondest memories. I lost. But I learned a lot about empty-mindedness, that I could never get from reading the Tao the Ching

    1. ambrit

      You are brave. I’d consider Dartmouth as being the political equivalent of “home field advantage” for Warren.

      1. petal

        I agree with your home field assessment 100%. I am curious to see the turnout and make up of the crowd. It is at 1:45pm, so not exactly a time when regular working people can go, and today is also a regular day when classes are being held so that may impact student numbers. I am lucky I can go. At least Bernie’s was a lot more accessible time-wise. Also this is very short notice. Should be interesting. It says it is a Town Hall. Luckily the weather is nice today. Thanks for the “brave” comment. I’m not. Just at that Kris Kristofferson point someone mentioned the other day.
        Give my best Mrs. Ambrit. Y’all have a nice day today.

        1. ambrit

          *Phyl waves.*
          We’ve known a few ‘Bobby McGees’ over the years. That Kris Kristofferson moment comes to us all every once in a while.
          Since this is “on short notice” you say, do check for us if there are any MSMs hanging around. I do not expect an operative of Warren’s calibre to do anything without extensive planning and preparation. This smells like something similar to the releasing of an important announcement on a Friday afternoon so as to sink out of sight over the weekend.
          Something’s up and you have valiantly shouldered the burden of being the watchdog for the public!
          We all here have your back. If you ask a question, assuming it is a Town Hall, identify yourself as the reporter for the Naked Capitalism Network. (On second thought, maybe not. Yves might object on legal grounds.[Feedback would be appreciated here.])

          1. petal

            Oh good idea on the MSMs. Will do! I joke in my head that I should get a press pass(ha!), but then again, I wouldn’t want it. Easier to fly under the radar and remain free and unhindered/unpoliced. I like being mysterious!
            I imagine the town hall format will be like Biden did, and she is planning on announcing some new plan/platform/policy. If not I’ll be surprised. Cheers.

  11. MK

    Zombie Debts in Illinois – horrible. The worst part is that Illinois’ fiscal solvency is a zombie as well, it just doesn’t know it yet. The pension time bomb will destroy Illinois within 10 years. I predict it will be the first state to file bankruptcy, followed by a rash of others.

    Bankruptcy – slowly at first, then suddenly.

    1. Wyoming

      Current US law does not allow a state to declare bankruptcy. So it would take a court case going all the way through the Supreme Court to get that to happen – and the attempt might fail. Default is certainly possible.

      1. inode_buddha

        You will see plenty of political unrest in Chicago if people’s pension checks start to bounce. But then maybe that’s exactly what is needed to wake up the populace.

        1. Dan

          Really? Try EBT cards no longer working.

          That poor family. Their approach should be along the lines of,

          “Dear Government Official. I will be happy to pay this alleged debt. Please send me a spreadsheet with all our family members withholding and tax payments for the last twenty years, as well as welfare, food stamp payments and copies of my daughter’s employer’s payroll records. All of these are in your databases. They will help me to reconcile my obligations.”

          The above approach works wonders to quell private debt collectors working on erroneous accounts.

          1. inode_buddha

            OK, EBT and pensions. I mention pensions because Illinois has been grossly underfunded since Nixon. And those state retirees are actually in a socio-economic position to do something about it.

            1. JBird4049

              It can result in a brushoff, but being piteous, polite, and annoyingly persistent can work. Having your EBT card not work at the checkout line is really unpleasant. Especially with a growling stomach.

              If you are curious about how the states are “enhancing” their revenues reading The Poverty Industry The Exploitation of America’s Most Vulnerable Citizens by Daniel L. Hatcher is very informative. Just be ready to stop yourself from hurling whatever form of media you are using through the window. Oh, yes.

    2. Grant

      There is a push to create a state bank in Illinois, and that could be a solution to many problems. Nationalizing the Fed and having it aid the states, could that be a possible solution? How much money has been given to financial capital since the crash, and yet we all assume that states will be left to die.

        1. Grant

          No, politicians wouldn’t run a state bank. The Bank of North Dakota works with the state, and it has often saved it and community banks in the state, especially since the crash. But it isn’t as if it is run by the governor, because those politicians don’t know how to run a bank.

          I would love to hear how we can solve our largest societal problems and deal with the environmental crisis if we don’t address who creates money, how it is created, where the money goes after it is created and who makes these decisions. For a wide range of reasons, if we don’t see more public sector banks and a more central role for public spending and money creation, we will not be able to deal with the environmental crisis either.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Hate to tell you, but there used to be a ton of state banks. All save ND were eventually shuttered due to rampant corruption. ND is a small state (so harder to hide bad behavior) settled by Swedes and Norwegians (brought more community/collectivist/egalitarian values and they’ve still held up pretty well).

            1. Grant

              I understand, but it isn’t as if private banks don’t have issues in regards to corruption. If I am not mistaken, those banks were largely an early 19th century phenomenon. I think there are logical concerns with any public institution as far as corruption, but we could learn from the good model that the BND has provided. We do need far more comprehensive economic planning in response to the environmental crisis and I think relying on private banks and private money creation to the extent we currently do is going to be a problem. Private banks are also about private accumulation, which often results in them externalizing costs and they make decisions largely with information present in markets. Since markets are largely missing environmental impacts, that seems to be a pretty big problem. If public banks are formed and those banks were to become a slush fund for corrupt politicians, that would obviously be a problem. I doubt they will come into being unless they are given a lot of independence from politicians. That won’t be easy, but it is an issue with private banks now too.

            2. Oregoncharles

              That would make Oregon a good candidate. It’s small, mostly rural, sizeable Nordic contingen (FWIW), and most important, a “clean” state politically. That’s because the voters punish any whiff of scandal severely.

              We’re working on it. Could be used to solve the problem of banking for pot growers and stores, too.

    3. Oregoncharles

      No, Indiana was the first (only?) state to file bankrupcy, back in the 1800’s. My father considered that part of our history quite amusing, given at least 100 years in between.

  12. dearieme

    Krugman writes that he and other mainstream economists “missed a crucial part of the story” in failing to realize that globalization would lead to … huge economic and social upheaval”

    He’s lying. The whole point – in economic theory as distinct from power politics – was to promote an upheaval so that the world’s poor could get richer. And they certainly did.

    1. ambrit

      Oh my. I would imagine that there is absolute wealth gain and relative wealth gain involved. It benefits a prole not if his wages go up by a half while the cost of living doubles.

      1. a different chris

        And to paraphrase somebody, if you control what’s measured then who cares who runs the place. “People used to live on less than $2/day!! Now it’s $5/day! They are way richer!”.

        Bull (family blogging) hockey. They can’t fish in their streams, they were forced off their land so they cannot garden or harvest wood for heat. But they got “richer” dearieme is told and he/she so wants to believe. Sure they did.

      2. dearieme

        You’re not seriously arguing that hundreds of millions of Chinese, for example, are not much richer? Surely you must know people who have been there?

        1. Oregoncharles

          Certain poor people, in certain countries, are much better off. Others are disastrously left behind, as in this country, so the difference increased, both within and between countries.

          China is a carefully-chosen example; for one thing, it was intentionally pumped up by 1st-world plutocrats; for another, its authoritarian government was able to manage the changes – in defiance of neoliberal theory, incidentally. If anything, China is proof that neoliberal policies aren’t good.

          Now they face a difficult transition, from export driven, which is no longer viable, to domestic-driven. We shall see.

          India is something of a counter-example: the previously middle class benefited, at the expense of the poor. That’s why they have a persistent armed insurrection.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Follow the money, China has $40 trillion in bank money supported by $2 trillion in equity in the banking system. Go the Beijing sometime and ask yourself where all that money came from. Answer: they printed it.

            The modern Indian rupee was launched in 1948 at 1:1 with the US dollar, currently trading at around $0.015. They must buy dollars before they can buy oil or wheat. No wonder they’re “poor”.

          2. Skip Intro

            Pretty awesome though, that the example for the success of ‘economics’ or ‘markets’ or whatever was/is communist.

            1. Oregoncharles

              You forgot the scare quotes around “communist.” I was trying to be precise when I wrote “authoritarian.” It is true that a sizeable portion of the economy is directly controlled by the government; that’s why they could have such a successful industrial policy.

              1. Skip Intro

                I’m not sure the word authoritarian applies, in common usage, to a centrally planned economy that spent generations redistributing wealth. It generally applies to the leadership styles, and cuts across many levels of ‘economic success’, including China. Of course even ‘industrial policy’ is anathema to true neoliberals, who generally sit around hoping for invisible hand jobs.

        2. Monty

          You said enriching the poor was, “The whole point”. That is a real stretch. It was an unavoidable side effect. The whole point of globalization was to further enrich those with capital already, whilst undermining the nation state and it’s ability to constrain them.

          1. JBird4049

            Enriching the poor? There is a growing American underclass living on 2, 3, 5 dollars cash a day, with often food stamps being the main source of (illiquid) income. The rent somewhere might be dirt cheap and the electric bill might be minimal too, but not having cash is a big problem. Great economy my foot.

            1. jrs

              and the backlash of some of the world’s poor getting richer (probably mostly just China) is unhinged Orange thing in charge of the empire, real authoritarians inspired by that and other factors globally, goods shipped all over the world just to avoid environmental and labor protections ..

              If there is a way to do this right (and maybe there isn’t but what we’ve gotten is at least as bad as anything else), something tells me this isn’t it …

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              The 1% have a two-step program and it’s going exceedingly well:

              Step 1: Steal from the poor;
              Step 2: Make sure everyone is poor.

              Above will stay the same until the hapless plebes figure out it’s about class, not gender, age, geography, ethnicity, or sports team (Red/Blue)

        3. Plenue

          “The exception, of course, is China. But China did not implement the policies that the IMF and World Bank force on countries: The “Washington Consensus.” They did not open their markets wide, unpeg their currency, and move to cash crops and commodities. Instead, they, like all but maybe three countries larger than city states who have ever industrialized, pursued mercantile policies, managed trade, and moved steadily up the value chain.”


          “You cannot wash the sins of the neoliberal consensus by adding in China’s numbers, when China didn’t follow it.”

          Now, would you like to try again?

      3. ewmayer

        “It benefits a prole not if his wages go up by a half while the cost of living doubles.” — It would certainly be interesting to see an analysis of wage and cost of living trends in the various Chinese industrial migrant-magnet zones over the past several decades. On the other side of the equation, I would add the following corollary:

        “It benefits a prole not if his cost of living is halved due to cheap imports and his wages go to zero thanks to same.”

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Do you honestly think the beneficiaries of “globalization” care one iota about “the world’s poor?”

      I think krugman senses that the apology / forgiveness train is about to derail, and he’d better get onboard before the revenge express comes barrelin’ down the track.

      And he’s got a book to peddle.

    3. Monty

      This satirical poster is putting Ken Wilber’s idea that, “Nobody is smart enough to be 100% wrong all the time” to the test! Very amusing. Great stuff!

    4. jrs

      richer in a sustainable way, or like a brief flash in a burning pan? I mean we’re going to be told the Brazilians are getting richer with the Amazon on fire, but doubtful.

    5. CarlH

      You watched what has happened worldwide for the last 40 years and concluded that the whole project was rolled out in order to help the poor? Please send me whatever you are smoking, in large quantities if possible. I will pay.

  13. Mike

    Re: Fed to increase repo market interventions again ahead of month-end – Financial Times.

    Does it seem to anybody else this increase says something else is going on with bank liquidity? Surely any shortfall in overnight lending could be covered by Fed intrusions, but this leads one to believe weak banks (are you listening, Duetsche Bank?) are getting funds covered by this easy explanation. The amounts pale in comparison to the 2008-2011 period, but Congress and its financial “regulators” should be OKing this.

    So, basically, I’m stumped as well as concerned.

    1. TroyIA

      A conspiracy theory I read about states that China has a massive amount of USD hidden in western banks and is systematically shifting assets around in order to probe which banks are vulnerable to a liquidity shock. Interesting if true.

      Repo-Acalypse Now

      1. Mike

        China does have pretty large dollar reserves, but the games they can play with it are limited, and they must watch their backs- the country they bite may not be the one that bites them back. The US does have Saudi Arabia and Europe in reserve.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Please don’t run stuff like that. It’s nonsense. I need to run but this is just silly.
        JP Morgan said flat out it had plenty of liquidity to provide but didn’t bother, it didn’t think it was worth the trouble. We’re talking way over $50 billion sitting on the sidelines at JPM alone.

        Honestly, if anything this is the big banks playing games to mess with the Fed and create the impression they need big bad regs changed. The Fed of the early 1990s would have come down on them like a hammer.

    2. yelladog

      Per what Troy said, the reality is we will never know the true problem.

      This whole month has shown a liquidity problem. The repos keep getting over-subscribed.

    3. Yves Smith Post author


      This is not about “weak banks”. There is absolutely no evidence of any problem with the banking system (save Eurobanks).

      This is about the very biggest banks hoarding liquidity because they are required to hold very very large liquidity buffers as a result of Dodd Frank. This is an unintended side effect of financial reform + Fed draining liquidity. And the NY Fed stupidly got rid of its 2 best trading desk guys in June, which appears not to have helped either.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Trump impeachment: Republicans storm secure hearing”

    It may be the effect of reading the series “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic” here but when I saw what had happened on video, I could not help but think how “Roman” that whole performance was.

  15. Dr. John Carpenter


    I don’t know how it is in everyone else’s neck of the woods, but I’m also noticing pedestrians doing things that frankly are dumb at higher rates than I’ve ever seen. Examples include: not using crosswalks, crossing against the lights or when the no walking sign is lit, running out in front of traffic, using the medians as a sidewalk, riding bikes the wrong way in bike lanes, etc. Not too long ago, I saw a pedestrian get off a bus and try to run across the street, only to get caught by a truck, who had the right of way and tried to avoid hitting her. I strongly doubt she survived.

    I do feel drivers are more aggressive and the massive uptick in gigantic trucks doesn’t help, but I’m just amazed at the ways I see people take their lives in their own hands as pedestrians.

    1. a different chris

      Naw I think this is the “everything is worse now” bias. Not accusing you of an emotional reaction, actually. When I was born a bit over 1/2 century ago the world had 1/2 as much people. My parent’s TV only got like 3 channels. Just less info.

      So in this case, the same percentage of pedestrians are doing stupid things, but there are twice as many but still just one of you. Thus your cognitive experience is correct that things have gotten worse, but you blame it on people getting stupider but it’s really just more people of the same intelligence distribution making dumb things happen twice as often.

    2. marieann

      Yes,pedestrians will do stupid things but drivers also do stupid things…and when they do stupid things someone dies. I think death is a high price to pay for being stupid.

      In the past few years I have noticed the increase in pedestrian deaths and also an increase in hit-and-run killings…it seems in my neck of the woods there is a biker/walker killed every week.

      I read my daily NC today just after I checked the BBC…there was a video out of Phoenix of a person running a red light and almost murdering 2 adults and a baby in a stroller.

      In my opinion cars have become to comfortable…cup holders,media players etc. just like the old rec. rooms but with the ability to kill……something has to be changed.

      1. JBird4049

        A bit of both. Impatient drivers thinking that their time is more important than the lives of others. Pedestrians who think the laws of California outweigh the laws of physics and Darwin. The complete obliviousness many have will driving/walking to everything else besides the little screen.

        I have noticed both kinds ignoring red lights either because they never see them or because they just don’t care.

      2. pretzelattack

        i’ve seen more cars running red lights the past couple of years. otoh i’ve come fairly close to hitting a couple of pedestrians walking across a dark road at night in heavy rain wearing dark clothing (not at a signal) when the street lights had been knocked out by the storm. driving is a tense experience these days.

    3. aleric

      Pedestrian deaths have been a problem in my suburb. Caused by a mix of unwise crossing, and unwise driving. One solution has been to convert 2 x 2 streets to 1 x 1 x 1 with turn lanes and raised medians in the center, and bike lanes on the side if room. It calms and simplifies traffic, and improves mutual visibility between drivers and pedestrians.

    4. LawnDart

      Twice this year I’ve had to halt/jump-back while half-way across the street and within the crosswalk in order not to be hit. Both drivers were 40-50 year old females, and each were looking at me as I was crossing before they stomped on the gas.

      Anecdotal, but yeah, I’d agree that there’s a lot more aggression and craziness in the air.

    5. Bugs Bunny

      Crossing the street while playing with the smartphone.

      In France, crossing the street while smoking and playing with the smartphone.

      1. xkeyscored

        Everywhere I know, driving enormous SUVs while playing with a phone. Which is worse, suicide or homicide?

    6. Arizona Slim

      Tucson’s SunLink streetcar line goes right through the University of Arizona campus. Near the west side of the campus, someone added the following message to the street surface, right near the streetcar tracks:

      Keep texting. Everything is fine.

    7. xkeyscored

      It doesn’t surprise me at all that pedestrian deaths are on the rise. More traffic, and more of that traffic is SUVs.
      And for years, “car safety” was taken to mean increased safety for the occupants. When airbags became all the thing years ago, my counter-suggestion that sharpened steel spikes should be embedded in every steering wheel was met with outrage by driver friends I mentioned it to. Even a more sensible proposal like surrounding vehicles with a large impact-absorbent material like polystyrene was deemed ridiculous. Instead, drivers have been made to feel invincible and indestructible, while next to nothing has been done to protect other road users, with entirely predictable results.

    8. Mike

      OK, it is not, to me, the stupidity of pedestrians or drivers, but the lack of preparation of both for the immense increase in traffic of both kinds. Impatience and the craving for speed rules our system more than ever before, while it seems driving lessons are stuck in the 1950s, while no lessons are offered to those walking said streets, highways, parking lots, etc.

      Stupidity has always existed – that stupidity plus crowding equals death, not only by accident but also the natural anger that spills out of a “roomy” culture such as ours when packed into less maneuverable zones. Stress, lack of time, and lack of empathy mix in a volatile way.

      1. JBird4049

        The fabulous Bay Area and LA traffic can drive people insane, true. And the ubiquitous cellphones are a distraction while there are the ever present chemically or mentally wanderers from Mars all this true.

        I just wonder how much emphasis is placed in modern driver’s training to protect the other people on the road? From my memory, I don’t recall driving conditions innately more dangerous, but they are more stressful. Maybe people are just whigging out.

        Also, I don’t quite get this emphasis on modern vehicle sizes. Size does not matter that much when traveling at speed. Yes, the likelihood of death instead of injury increases with size, but a wimpy little VW bug can easily put a pedestrian in the morgue and to a put another driver in the hospital at high speed.

        Arguing about how vehicle sizes make one more, or less safe, or dangerous is like arguing about how dangerous different sizes of bullets are. Yeah, a .22 short from a revolver is a wonderfully unimpressive thing, with no range, and unlikely to actually kill you until like a .308 from a hunting rifle is. But both bullets will injure or kill you. Just like any car or truck can.

        So, I was taught to keep my head on a swivel and maintain awareness. I am not that careful of a driver, but I always try to remember that I am not going anywhere important enough to die for or worse kill for. Traffic has always been stressful and oversized and overpowered vehicles have always been around. Just having smartphones, SUVs, and Urban Mega Trucks doesn’t seem to be the whole answer. Does anyone not remember the muscle cars that used to wrap themselves around trees and through pedestrians? All engine, no brakes with seatbelts optional.

        1. Mike

          Just to clarify, post was not about vehicle size, but rather the expectations of vast amounts of room to maneuver that our culture carries from our history and its frontier escapism. We are psychologically trained and propagandized into thinking we have space to be private, space to drive our cars without delay or impediment (watch a car ad and see the aloneness of the car, even in a city!). This reinforcement of an old cultural wish makes it worse for both pedestrians as well as drivers who are distracted by shiny baubles, other thoughts, etc.

          This would need a slow but all-encompassing education to undo, but it could start with reduction of auto traffic in general (side effect = carbon footprint reduction) that must accompany mass transit resurgence – certainly not possible under pressure to be profitable as well as lightning-fast.

        2. xkeyscored

          Re vehicle size and design, from the article (and correlating with my own experience):

          The correlation between vehicle design and pedestrian deaths is pretty stark. Unsurprisingly, SUVs are continuing to wreak havoc on the roads. While the people driving SUVs are slightly safer (1.6 percent decrease in SUV occupant deaths in 2018, according to the NHTSA), the number of pedestrians killed by those drivers has skyrocketed by 81 percent in the last decade, according to a report released last year by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
          This is mostly because of the way SUVs are designed: larger bodies and higher carriages mean pedestrians are more likely to suffer deadly blows to the head and torso. Higher clearances mean victims are more likely to get trapped underneath a speeding SUV instead of pushed onto the hood or off to the side.

    9. Anon

      Yeah, the opportunities for collisions with autos seems to be increasing. I’ve curtailed my cycling time to non-peak auto use. I try to wear reflectorized clothing or shoes when walking at night and am more vigilant than ever behind the wheel. However!

      Just last night I was traveling down a 40 MPH roadway and came within inches of (likely) killing a young male (18-20 yo) skateboarder riding in the CENTER of the travel lane (likely to avoid roadside gravel) without any lighting or reflectorized clothing. Only a lucky maneuver by each of us avoided an impact. Shaken, I pulled over to tell him he could have died. “Cool!”, he replied, (I think that’s GenX speak for “F— You!”) and continued down a relatively steep curve in the roadway.

      Do the statistics on traffic collisions know how to incorporate this type of event?

    10. Carl

      You guys need to experience traffic in a southeast asian country, like Vietnam. Pedestrians, bicycles, cars, rickshaws and a river of scooters manage to flow pretty smoothly most of the time, somehow without stoplights or traffic signals. People there drive like adults, unlike a lot of western countries.

      1. xkeyscored

        I have, and when it was 90% bicycles and small motorbikes, it did indeed flow smoothly. What’s more, when there were accidents, everyone got up and checked themselves for cuts and bruises. As more cars entered the mix, the intuitive flow went away, and serious injuries and deaths started rising. With the recent influx of SUVs, it’s a nightmare.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “The Democrats Helped Cultivate the Barbarism of ISIS”

    I saw an example of this barbarism on the news tonight. There were all these stories about the proven atrocities of Turkish-supported Syrian opposition forces. Stuff like executions, murders, beheading corpses. Jim Jeffrey, President Trump’s special representative on Syria, was also giving testimony about this to a House Foreign Affairs Committee today. The news did helpfully mention that a lot of them were ex-ISIS and al-Quada. When I was listening to these neocon talking points though, my eyes rolled back so hard that they snapped back into position again.
    These guys did not appear by magic. Remember those Jihadists that both the CIA and the Pentagon were operating separately not long ago? The ones that fought each other from time to time. The ones that received their weapons and gear from the west? Yeah, those guys. A lot of them are working for the Turks now. People like Jeffrey had this lunatic idea that these Jihadists form together with the Kurds in order to fight the Iranians but no matter how hard they shouted at them, both forces were mortal enemies and it was never going to happen. I have no idea what the Turks are going to do with these forces now that they cannot go after the Kurds to behead them but that is Erdogan’s problem now.

  17. Nik

    Any not-terrible Tesla financial news always gets overhyped but CNBC’s “crushing it” is particularly egregious.

    They reported 143M net income on 6.3B in revenue, just over 2%, while banking another 134M in regulatory credits.

    Wonder what that would have been if they hadn’t cut their workforce by 10% this year.

  18. Harry

    “He hasn’t had the votes…Why should he have them now? I know this is constitutionally bizarre. but look at how long May soldiered on when she should have been turfed out. Labour is not well served by an election soon and they might be better served a bit after Boris has visibly not lived up to his Oct 31 do or die promise.”

    Nailed on! Even a few months of leaving him in power/taking responsibility is likely to do wonders for Labour’s performance at the ballot box. Particularly cos the impact of the Anti-Semitism campaign is also likely to have a half life. Time is Corbyn’s friend. Particularly if the government doesnt have the votes for the expansive stimulus package they want.

  19. Tom Doak

    What I don’t understand about Brexit is how much of the strategy is being driven by polling – whether to call a new election or not, etc.

    Why does anyone think the polls in the U.K. are any more reliable [or less rigged] than the polls for the Democratic primary? After all, they got the polling on Brexit itself horribly wrong, which is how they got into this mess.

    1. Monty

      Because England’s electorate has a huge preponderance of selfish, ignorant, spiteful xenophobes. Who are they going to vote for but the Conservatives? (It’s not the done thing to vote NF)

  20. Dan

    “Cap and trade is a scam.” Absolutely, just another feeding opportunity for Wall Street traders to nibble off little pieces of every economic activity based on fossil fuels. It transfers the pollution and carbon somewhere else where people can pay more.

    Part of the “We want you to use less, to help save the earth, so that we can use more.”

    Plenty to explore, pro and con on this. “The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg”

    Here’s another example of how hypocritical California politicians are “fighting global warming.” Laws that allow unbridled “transit oriented building” around new transit:

    “188 West St. James, when finished, would consist of 640 residential units and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, according to Z&L Properties.”
    “A Taste of the Climate Apocalypse to Come (resilc). On PG&E blackouts.”
    If an arsonist sets a fire in the forest, is that a symptom of global warming? PG&E is the arsonist. The author is combining the obfuscation of a corporate crime to buttress his opinions and predictions on a completely unrelated issue.

  21. Chauncey Gardiner

    The Fed’s sudden initiation of overnight repo funding in large volume and restarting its large scale purchases of Treasury bills after an intraday spike to 10% in repo rates in on September 17th raises questions about the reasons for the Fed’s intervention indeed. Broad range of speculation about the underlying causes for this new Fed policy. Have read guesses ranging from liquidity problem(s) among systemically important financial institutions to the need for monetization of rising federal deficits to prevent interest rates from rising, inadequate Treasury securities collateral for critical repo funding, maintaining the prices of stock market indexes for political purposes, bumping up against regulatory liquidity and capital restrictions at some of the Primary Dealers, a very large and unexplained increase by the US Treasury in its Treasury General Account that has had the effect of pulling over $240 billion in cash liquidity from the financial system, and I expect there are other explanations. Darned if I know.

  22. Craig H.

    > Google and IBM Clash Over Milestone Quantum Computing Experiment

    About half way down:

    In their Nature paper, Google claims that their Sycamore processor took 200 seconds to perform a calculation that the world’s best supercomputer — which happens to be IBM’s Summit machine — would need 10,000 years to match. That’s not a practical time frame. But IBM now argues that Summit, which fills an area the size of two basketball courts at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, could perform the calculation in 2.5 days.

    Cool pictures.

    This was posted before but if you missed it: Scott’s Supreme Quantum Supremacy FAQ!

    Where is the squad squad when you need them?

    1. ewmayer

      My one major “hmmm…” the work is that Google’s problem definition, “finding the most likely bitstring for a random quantum circuit”, seems rather self-referential, a (qu)bit like “define a particular artificial computing problem which our primitive quantum circuitry can do.” Presumably if they really have the goods we can look forward to something of genuine interest, such as a quantum factoring result of a nontrivial integer, in the not-too-distant future. But I think we can all aree that IBM’s objection, which amounts to “Ha! You claim to be a billion times faster than our top supercomputer, but you’re really only a thousand times faster”, is truly inane.

  23. David Carl Grimes

    From NPR. This physician dropped all insurance, got rid of all staff, and now charges just $35 per visit.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Pittsburgh native here. And I know this particular neighborhood well. It’s near Pittsburgh’s Google office, which is located in a former Nabisco factory.

      Now, when I was a younger Slim and living in Pittsburgh, there was a Dr. Cohen in Squirrel Hill. He was legendary in that if you were unemployed, underemployed, or just plumb didn’t have insurance, he only charged five bucks a visit.

      One of my food co-op coworkers consulted with him, and it was quite handy, because my coworker lived in a rented room in Squirrel Hill. Oh, in case you’re wondering, said food co-op didn’t offer insurance for its employees. That was THE reason why I left and took another job at the University of Pittsburgh.

      Before I started at Pitt, I heard that the university offered health insurance, no questions asked. Well, there were questions. There was a form to fill out.

      But, being the resourceful slender Pittsburgher that I was, I answered “yes” to all of the questions where that answer looked best. Ditto for the questions that looked best with a “no” answer — that’s how I replied. And I got the first health insurance I had been able to obtain in five and a half years.

      1. Monty

        I wonder how long they can stay open before an agent of the AMA comes along and ties them up with some frivolous malpractice suits? The Cartel needs to show it’s got credibility or others may break ranks.

        1. Anon

          This sort of action is growing for doctors. My cardiologist was in a prestigious group practice in town. He constantly complained about the pressure to “see more patients” in the day. He said to me that overhead costs of the group practice was 30+% of gross income.

          He eventually retired from the group, opened a sole practice accepting only Medicare funded patients in a nearby valley. (He says the more rural location and lower real estate costs give him more time with his family and allows him to maintain his income.)

    2. a different chris

      Only tangential to the topic, but it’s my pet peeve and I have to bang on it;. Very beginning:

      Stanley lost her insurance after she quit her accounting job earlier this year to work part-time for herself,

      America is a land of entrepreneurs, people who are always ready to start the Next Big Thing! Anybody can do it!!! Work for yourself!

      No. If you can’t pursue your interest because you have a medical complication and the only way to pay for it is to work for Megacorp Inc then you don’t pursue your interest. Period. Or move to Canada and wait for citizenship. The risks are way too high. I don’t know* a single person, literally, over 25 that started anything. If they couldn’t be on their parents insurance then they needed to be married to somebody that could get health insurance.

      *I’m not saying there isn’t, heck there is a bunch. Most of them seem to start restaurants. I am an engineer and engineers tend to be better at risk evaluation plus more risk-adverse than, say, chefs, and engineers are who I know. But as much as I appreciate a talented cook, the majority seem to have some serious blind spots when it comes to money.

      1. ambrit

        Our half-horse town has a decent sized School of Business. Many of the eatery start-ups are trial runs by Business Grads. After three years, the enterprise folds and a new “Kool Bistro” takes it’s place. Add to this the fabulous opportunities for money laundering the restaurant field offers and we have a perfect ‘criminogenic’ environment. In point of fact, our entire town is a ‘criminogenic’ environment.
        I would delve deeper and ask why the woman quit. She might have been suffering the effects of a management campaign to squeeze out employees. In retail, that would take the form of irregular and constantly changing work schedules. The last place I worked retail, the “kiss of death” was when your weekly hours would start to shrink, and not recover, even when new workers were being hired. A very common occurrence, especially if you were one of the lucky ones with benefits.

      2. Anon

        Starting and growing a professional practice in engineering, or architecture, or city planning even, is very difficult today because the Internet and digital graphics and Google Earth allow large engineering and design firms to acquire contract work just about anywhere. They can keep an “affiliated” engineer in Seattle busy with a contract from the City of San Francisco. (Many companies keep a small one-person office in the vicinity to bring before the Supervisors for contract acquisition and approval.)

        Larger architectural practices locate near Architecture colleges to skim off talent cheaply. (There is a two to four year “apprenticeship” required to fulfill the licensing exam.) Architects that design houses are different as there is specific site knowledge , multiple reviews, and constant personal client contact that is needed.

      3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        By all means let’s organize our society and economy around the imperative to get a little help if you get sick. People, jobs, opportunities, mobility, entrepreneurship, investment and retirement planning…all should bow to threading the needle of retaining The Holy Insurance

  24. cnchal

    Cameron Murray

    In 10 years we will look back at the Facebook era and marvel at how much of their business was a fraud (i.e. buying fake exposure, etc).

    I also wonder how much of Google’s business is a fraud?

    I fail to understand the circular flow of cash to Google. Google sells advertising, which advertisers buy and then click farms in China and elswehere click on the ads, or bots click on the ads, draining the advertiser’s pocket and generating no sales. Who is paying the click farms and how is it determined which ads get clicked? The whole thing makes no sense unless Google is the one paying the click farms through a cutout to drain advertiser accounts.

    Can someone that has some insight into what appears to be advertising fraud by Google set those in the dark straight?

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I think it comes down to the old saw: “50% of what I spend on advertising is wasted, my problem is I cant figure out which 50%”.

      So GOOG/FB may be able to target your potential customer with some precision, but then when they sign up you often can’t really tell where they came from

      1. Oregoncharles

        I’m perpetually amused at how poor the “targeting” is. EG, a barrage of ads for something I just bought. They’re right; I WAS interested, but not any more.

        And I still don’t understand why I see so many ads for women’s fashions – is it the time of year? Not only am I male and wouldn’t dare buy clothes for my wife, we hardly ever buy new clothes.

  25. JBird4049

    I really dream about PG&E being seized under eminent domain, the entire management being defenestrated with the survivors doing lengthy prison terms, and finally having the entire electrical grid overhauled. If I have to pay my not so small bill, it should be given to something other than huge bonuses and dividends.

    It is all a fantasy, but one can dream.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      PG&E is getting all the press right now for its poor maintenance of the GRID’s transmission lines. How well is the rest of the GRID maintained?

      1. JBird4049

        Maintained? Anything is possible, but if what is so visible and obviously important has been ignored, what are the chances that what is hidden has gotten any attention at all? Just think of all the gas lines that PG&E has not been maintaining. The management spent the money given to it at its own request to do extra work on the lines on the more important bonuses and dividends. It has been a while since that neighborhood in San Bruno blew up, but the little I have heard since doesn’t make me feel safe.

        Riffing off xkeyscored, I would think a decade of working in the prison fire crews would be a good thing. I’m sure that the North Bay will plenty more forest fires soon.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          My point is that our entire country, indeed many countries in the world, are very heavily dependent on their electric power GRID. I don’t believe PG&E is the only utility company letting their portions of the GRID decay and fall apart. The Northeast Blackout of 2003 was the result of a few little problems including some poor maintenance at a couple of utility companies along the chain of transmission.

          The GRID is not the only network our country depends upon and many of these networks are also poorly maintained and interconnected with each other. For example consider the transportation networks the traffic signals depend on electric power.

  26. ewmayer

    “California Blackout May Affect 1.5 Million | Bloomberg” — Article describes the now-ubiquitous attendant political virtue signaling:

    “California Governor Gavin Newsom blasted all three of California’s major utilities at a media briefing, saying the blackouts are the result of “corporate greed” and their failure to invest enough in fire-proofing their equipment.”

    By way of contrast, see “San Jose to propose turning PG&E into giant customer-owned utility” in yesterday’s Links. My note to Yves on forwarding that link:

    Hooray! Finally, the leader of a major CA citizens-representing entity – San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo – proposes the glaringly obvious long-term solution for the corruptocracy that is PG&E. Invoke force majeure – or whatever legal basis gives the state the right to take over the utility – and starting using those $billions in annual revenues currently going to shareholder dividends and rewards-for-crookedness executive bonuses to begin a long-needed historic overhaul of the entire statewide PG&E infrastructure. Oddly, such a radical idea never seems to have crossed the mind of oh-so-smart CA governor Gavin Newsom, and one wonders why that is.

  27. Oregoncharles

    “These U.N. Climate Scientists Think They Can Halt Global Warming for $300 Billion. Here’s How”

    Soil sequestration of carbon. (Patting self on back) AFAIK, I was the first to raise this possibility here on NC. This article is focused on stopping desertification, which probably does offer tthe biggest returns, but good farmland and pasture can be managed in ways that maximize carbonization of the soil (I think I just made that word up). It’s a double benefit, since it also raises fertility and drought resistance.

    The real challenge, probably for both approaches, is not the techniques themselves but the SOCIAL engineering to get through to millions of farmers, peasants, land managers. It’s pretty basic good land management – something we obviously have big problems with. And in this country, farmers are getting old (this could be a serious long-term problem in itself) and are notoriously conservative. In places like India, they’re desperate, making it very hard to think long term. That’s probably where the $300 billion come in.

    It’s a rare ray of sunshine in the climate picture.

    1. Steve H.

      > AFAIK

      Looks like davidgmills on August 24, 2014 at 10:04 pm. But I note Lambert responded an hour later by bringing up “1491” by Charles C. Mann, which had been published in 2005.

      Please forgive me, I have a glitch about primary sources and have a knack for remembering publication dates. And who said it first did not necessarily say it best.

      It can also be said, there would have been no Church without Petra, tho ’twas not he who wrote the book…

  28. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thanks for link to the article in Scroll by Aparna Gopalan criticizing the work of neoliberal Indian economist Abhijit Banerjee and discussing India’s current economic issues, including extreme wealth inequality and high levels of abject poverty. It appears India has missed the manufacturing/exports-driven economic growth model that propelled much of East Asia. I have been intending to read more about Navendra Modi’s preferred economic growth model and social programs mix. Based on the article, Banerjee’s work really doesn’t seem to offer much that’s constructive in this regard. Further, I favor the writer’s view that economic policy generally needs more democratic scrutiny and public debate most everywhere.

  29. RMO

    Regarding the “Economists say we need more English majors” story: I was kind of surprised that “Homeland Security” is now a category of major – and up over 46% too!

  30. Moderate Market-Socialist

    The consistent reflexive anti-Warren, pro-Bernie messaging on this site makes me want to stop visiting NC altogether. I understand the commentariat’s criticisms of her but the endless negative coverage of her campaign reminds me of certain national outlets’ default anti-Bernie messaging. Some of her ideas are good—particularly on financial regulation— and deserve to be vetted objectively without the constant character assaults that toy with conspiracy theories.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      With all due respect, this is not “messaging,” which is both derogatory and implies some hidden PR hand is behind these views. These are the opinions of readers and they are able to substantiate them. If you don’t agree about what is being said against Warren and in favor of Sanders, you need to make a case, like pointing out particular instances where you think the commentary is wrong, as opposed to making a general and unsupported whinge because it doesn’t suit your taste.

  31. Plenue

    >America’s Pile of Uneaten Bacon Is the Biggest in 48 Years Bloomberg

    American bacon isn’t even very good (just compare it to British back cut bacon. The American fare is downright pathetic). I’ve never understood the weird cult obsession it supposedly has (you can get bacon flavored anything now). To the point I think it might be an entirely artificial fad created by ad companies.

  32. Jon Cloke

    Re: Jeremy Corbyn urged by MPs to resist calls for election

    You gotta love the Guardian, don’t you? Still trying to backseat drive the Labour Leader it’s done most to undermine with the fake ‘Corbyn-Labour-antisemitism’ campaign being run by Jonty Freedland there..

    As a Labour member I had and still have my doubts about Corbyn and his old-school group of vanguardists, but you have to admire the sheer dignity with which he’s met the deluge of obscene untruths the UK MSM have used to block his leadership.

    Plus, talk about playing a blinder as leader through the mass of idiocy masquerading as ‘Brexit analysis’ from the mainstream political commentariat and party mechanisms. Good job someone knows what they’re doing and is prepared to show PM BlowJob how to govern…

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