Links 12/21/19

Happy Winter Solstice!


Trail Cam Captures Opossum Pulling Ticks Off A Deer’s Face Sunny Skyz (Timotheus)

UK Scientists Record Fish ‘Singing’ Underwater, Mix The Sounds Into Jingle Bells Song Sputnik (Kevin W)

New Boson Appears In Nuclear Decay, Breaks Standard Model ars technica

Finland Is Making Its Online AI Crash Course Free To the World The Verge

Contractor Admits Planting Logic Bombs In His Software To Ensure He’d Get New Work ars technica. Does that also explain the bad McKinsey studies that have come to light of late?

Vaping-Related Lung Injuries Declining, As CDC Confirms Vitamin E Acetate As Main Culprit NPR

Nearly half US residents to be ‘obese’ in 2030, 1 in 4 to have ‘severe obesity,’ study says USA Today


Fact blurs with fiction in Huawei’s global rise Asia Times

Confirming earlier rumors:

New Zealand is destroying military-style guns after ban BBC


Six things Boris Johnson is going to pass while you’re not looking Daily Mash

Johnson clears path for Brexit with draft bill victory Financial Times

Brexit withdrawal bill: what’s new and what’s different Guardian (Kevin W)

London Will Never Give Independence – We Must Take It Craig Murray (Chuck L)

Harry Dunn crash death: US woman to be charged BBC (Kevin W)

New Cold War

Nord Stream 2: Trump approves sanctions on Russia gas pipeline BBC

Ukraine and Russia sign deal to continue gas supply to Europe Financial Times

The Long, Dark History of Russia’s Murder, Inc. New York Review of Books (resilc)


Netanyahu says ICC has ‘NO JURISDICTION’ to probe Israeli ‘war crimes’ in Palestine RT (JTM). In response to ICC to probe alleged war crimes in Palestinian areas, pending jurisdiction

Syria: 60,000 civilians flee surge of violence in Idlib DW

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Brookline Votes To Ban Face Surveillance Electronic Frontier Foundation

Over 267 Million Facebook Users Reportedly Had Data Exposed Online engadget

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Navy installed touch-screen steering systems to save money. Ten sailors paid with their lives. ProPublica. Dan K: “Touchscreen holocaust. It would save money by requiring fewer sailors to safely steer the ship.”

Trump Transition

A Unified Theory of the Trumps’ Creepy Aesthetic New Republic (Lance N). I don’t like defending Trump, but this article confirms a pet thesis: that what really offends many Goodthinking People about Trump is that he has no taste and doesn’t care either. Oh, and that he dated and married swimsuit models. Despite the handwringing otherwise, there are quite a few well-off people outside the coast who like decorating in gold and even being so tacky as to have cars that match.

Trump’s Food Stamp Cuts Will Be Devastating to Trump Country Mother Jones (resilc)

Trump signs $1.4 T spending package, averting shutdown The Hill

Multiple States Are Investigating Intuit Over TurboTax Free File Marketing ProPublica

Kentucky’s ex-governor pardoned a child rapist because the 9-year-old victim’s hymen was intact Washington Post (Kevin W)


Trump Impeachment: Ukrainegate Hidden Evidence OffGuardian (JTM)

The Democratic Leadership Strategy on Impeachment Is Doomed and Dangerous Nation (UserFriendly). Aaron Mate.

Democrats hope to focus public’s attention on McConnell in impeachment battle The Hill. Good luck with that.


The Impending Ruling Class Mental Breakdown and Riot Black Agenda Report

Bernie Could Be America’s First Feminist President The Nation (furzy)

Sanders: Instead of weapons funding we should pool resources to fight climate change The Hill (resilc)

MSNBC’s Biggest Election Year Fight May Be With the Left Hollywood Reporter (furzy). “May be”?

Our Famously Free Press

Facebook says a pro-Trump media outlet used artificial intelligence to create fake people and push conspiracies NBC (furzy)

U.S. Steel to Eliminate 1,545 Michigan Jobs Despite Trump Tariffs Bloomberg (furzy)

Volkswagon Has ‘Massive’ Software Problems With New ID3 Electric Vehicles Electrek

A Dramatic Error in American Spaceflight: Boeing was set to pass a meaningful milestone in spaceflight, but a glitch cut the mission short. Atlantic (David L)

The Big Business of Being a Space Janitor Axios

WeWork’s Sudden Fall Reveals the Cracks in the Startup Economy theoutline

SEC Probes Listings of Slack, Other Unicorns on NYSE Wall Street Journal

Losing Faith in the Humanities – The Chronicle of Higher Education (resilc)

Class Warfare

In the 2010s, America Forgot It Was Terrified of Socialism Vice (resilc)

After the Eviction Notice New York Times (resilc)

The World The Economist Made New Republic (Lance N)

A Decade of Liberal Delusion and Failure New Republic (resilc). Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a bonus. Johan L: “At least this pooch gets good healthcare!”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    Australia’s Prime Minister

    Scott Morison was saying “I don’t hold a hose, mate, and I don’t sit in a control room” while on holiday in Hawaii during the country’s catastrophic bushfire emergency. Meanwhile, Australia’s former Prime Minister – Tony Abbott – donned a yellow uniform and was seen fighting fires with a smoke-grimed face at Lemon Tree Passage. Ummm-

    Some guy on Twitter named Brendan Humphreys put together a useful fire warning sign for Scott Morrison-

    1. Conrad

      I was never a fan of old onion eater’s policies but he had a decent amount of community spirit. Wasn’t he a volunteer life guard as well?

    2. norm de plume

      I liked the placard I saw from a protest somewhere, a mock front page showing a cricket-clad PM holding his bat aloft in front of a huge wall of fire, with the headline: Australia retains Ashes FOREVER!

  2. flora

    re:impeachment redux

    Interesting, to me at least, that the rocket docket timetable of the House impeachment coincided with the deadline to pass a budget to avoid a(nother) govt shutdown. While all msm eyes were transfixed by the hyperventilating spectacle, behind the scenes the budget passed through the Dem House was filled with more tax breaks for the corporations and the .001%, more money than the admin asked for the MIC, and killed a bill that would end medical ‘surprise billing’ (another gift to medical PE investors and giant hospital corporations), basically a whole neolib wish list.

    Interesting the two events coincided, and, that Nancy decided not to sent on the articles to the Senate at this time. What gives? Is she hold on to them for a future time when she’ll need to use them as another distraction for the msm to report on? (no, that could not be the reason. ;) )

      1. Pat

        Pointed this out a couple of days ago (Slate and Buzzfeed). Happy that it is not just the online press pointing out it was Democrats killing this measure, Democrats in leadership positions. I also like that few, if any, of our media is falling for the kabuki used by Neal to stick the shiv in. Everyone gets that the ‘competing plan’ was there strictly to derail a law that end the hugely profitable but fraudulent price gauging of healthcare by private equity.

        If he keeps this up, walking POS Schumer might make me miss Al D’Amato… nah Al and Chuck are just two different colors of tulle, adding illusion to the political process.

        1. Carey

          ..and they could have just passed it for the good PR and then de-fanged it
          administratively, but it looks like they wanted to press the point:
          “No, Proles, we’re not gonna let you breathe, not a bit.”

          Good to know.

    1. Joe Well

      Where is AOC in all this? She was the prime mover on impeachment, specifically impeachment over a phone call rather than concentration camps and genocide.

      And now with impeachment she gave Pelosi cover to sell the country out again.

      I was wondering why many libreral centrists were expreasing admiration for her, a socialist. Maybe they recognized something?

      1. JP

        Concentration camps and genocide are well within the bipartisan consensus. I believe AOC is against both. Winning an election at any cost to control the direction and narrative is the partisan prize. Being bought is thoroughly bipartisan. Congress is not populated by engineers who must model reality to be successful. It is populated by bulls%*&ers who craft narratives. Many of whom are lawyers. Any prosecutor knows to keep things simple for the jury, which, in turn, has been selected for their simplicity. It’s not about a phone call.

        My admiration for AOC is for her immediate challenge to power, her quick study in the ways of power, her ability to be informed, command of detail, and ability to render complexity into accurate snap shots. She is not a lawyer but has a degree in economics, which is something sorely missing in congress. I’m going with the integrity of the person. That doesn’t mean she would have my vote.

        The labels conservative, liberal, socialist are a meaningless place to start any informed conversation. You could start a conversation with a definition of those terms but would quickly learn why they are far more effective as labels.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        “Prime mover”? What planet are you from? They were Schiff, Nadler, and Pelosi. Did you miss that Russiagate was in motion while AOC was still tending bar? AOC isn’t even on any of the key committees (Judiciary and Intel).

      3. Joe Well

        I shouldn’t have said THE prime mover, but ONE OF the prime movers in the House in actually pushing it over the line against Pelosi’s opposition. It seems like the House Dem consensus ever since Russiagate was just to tease their base with it and milk the suspense for all it was worth, until AOC, among others, rallied the base.

        AOC is one of the highest-profile members of Congress and she blasted Pelosi for resisting impeachment since May. In September, she tweeted, “At this point, the bigger national scandal isn’t the president’s lawbreaking behavior – it is the Democratic Party’s refusal to impeach him for it​.” “Lawbreaking behavior” is nice and vague, but in this case it seems like she is talking about the Ukraine phone call.

        There were other reps who pushed for impeachment, but AOC has one of the biggest platforms and crucially, expanded popular support for impeachment outside the MSNBC crowd. So yes, a key figure in the political/PR effort to move from conspiracy theories to actual impeachment.

        1. Geo

          “AOC is one of the highest-profile members of Congress and she blasted Pelosi for resisting impeachment since May.“

          Liz Warren is the one who made it a part of her campaign before anyone else. Rashida Tlaib was the one who made t-shirt with her “impeach the mf’er” quote on it. A lot of them were “blasting” Pelosi for dithering. AOC also “blasted” her for giving ICE more money and a lot of their things.

          Your central focus on AOC for the impeachment fiasco while ignoring her active role in spotlighting so many other issues of importance which no one else speaks about is interesting. Did you catch any of her speaking at the Sanders rally in LA today? Any other “high profile” Dems pushing such important issues and campaigns?

          1. Carey

            Thanks for this comment. I don’t trust *any of them* except Sanders,
            but AOC has been making more good noises than bad, and to claim
            that it was she who’s been driving Pelosi to impeachment is quite a stretch. Poor, helpless/hapless Rep. Pelosi… sure.

          2. Joe Well

            I love and admire AOC but this impeachment thing may end up taking Bernie off the campaign trail at a crucial moment, galvanize the Republicans, distract from other issues, and worst of all, give Trump, and likely all future presidents, a pass on all the blatant wrongdoing that was not covered in the impeachment articles.

            The fact is, this is the first time a president is being impeached in part for sending arms overseas…and it is for NOT sending enough arms overseas fast enough. What a precedent! On this one issue, Tulsi was right and AOC was wrong.

            Also, yes, Warren’s support for Russiagate is a big strike against her and a sign she was moving toward the Establishment.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Pelosi has repeatedly stared down the progressives in the House. The overwhelming majority of the freshmen reps are what used to be called Blue Dogs, as in corporate Dems. AOC making noise on this issue would not move Pelosi any more than it has on other issues.

          IMHO Pelosi didn’t try to tamp down Russiagate, and that created expectations that Something Big would happen. Plus she lives in the California/blue cities bubble.

          What Dem donors think matters to her way more than what AOC tweets about. If anything, Pelosi (secondarily, I sincerely doubt this would be a big issue in her calculus) would view impeachment as a way to reduce the attention recently given to progressive issues like single payer and student debt forgiveness.

          1. Joe Well

            Thank you, you and some other commenters above have clarified this much more than all the left media, much less MSM.

            I still wish AOC, Tlaib, and many others hadn’t pushed for impeachment. It is painful to watch my upper middle class Facebook activist friends get exercised about this but not about things like the attack on SSI. It is a weapon of mass distraction just as you say.

            As for why focus on AOC and a handful of other congresspeople…none of us had much faith in any of them to begin with.

            1. Joe Well

              Oops, for “none of us had much faith in any of them to begin with” I was referring to most members of Congress, not The Squad, etc.

              OK, having coffee now and logging off.

    1. tegnost

      Very sad news from skippy yesterday, here’s hoping that his family can weather the storm. Up to a point the human body is remarkable at healing so there is at least a horizon to look towards…

      1. Lee

        Thank you for mentioning this. I missed yesterday’s Water Cooler and so I just checked out the thread there regarding brave soul Skippy and his most difficult situation.

      2. katiebird

        Thank you for posting this here. I read his post last night and have been speechless with shock over what is happening to his wife, his family, and him.

        Skippy, I am so very sorry.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre


          Your sad situation reminds me of a phone call around 15 years ago which informed me that my wife had collapsed & was in the A&E with a suspected stroke which wasn’t. I recall how people struggled with words to express their sympathy which I could in any case read in their eyes. Like them I don’t know what to say to you that could in any way do justice to your tragedy. So here is a rather lame bunch of words that for you & yours that you achieve the most favourable possible outcome to such an awful situation.

    2. JBird4049

      Yes, the first video is an excellent introduction to Neoliberalism even for someone who has been reading about it for a few years. It takes all the facts and makes an informative, easy to follow, clear documentary.

    3. skippy

      At all …

      I am fine and will be, no matter how this event unfolds, use of this event was more about the dynamics of human existence, need to change the paradigm currently used to define it, and formulate optics which contend with these vagaries – without devolving into social cannibalism due to the metrics which promote such perspectives.

      I would also caution on romanticizing or projections about the status of the last 25 years of this experience, not unlike a realist painting of pre-industrial village or farm life. Funnily or not accrues in value for Capital in assuaging guilt by the finery of its brush strokes or colour palette whilst on the wall, regardless of history.

      The challenges of being in a long term relationship with someone that is afflicted by an assortment of biological issues stemming from ancestral DNA [Scottish village hyperthyroid] to environmental initial illness that set the ball rolling for a plethora of psychological conditions, having extremes going both ways. Per se absolutely dead set on when it comes to her clinical work from past pathology to currant paramedical, yet has significant challenges in personal relationships long term due to how the perspective OCD presents in such. Has a portfolio of accolades starting with student of the year w/ a grant attached to a cornucopia of letters about both her clinical abilities and personal touch with all those involved in the discharge of her duties as a paramedic.

      Imagine desire with a stick of dynamite attached too it, hormonal fluctuation during pregnancy and post, extremely ridged and narrow view of how life is to unfold and anything contra is not attributed to anything other than personal failure or the machinations of others to hold one back – in a seesaw of manic mannerisms. All of this is imitating from someone that in the past was defined to me, casually, by another female, as the personification of demure with simmering under tones – less than 5′ and 45-ish kg.

      All the kids are fine, not like in this day and age they don’t have the experience of watching other friends families dramas, not that I have not taken pains to offer the opportunity for them to consider various perspectives from books to conversations about how one might evaluate what is transpiring around them, and how to square all of that.

      Having said all that I would like to express what a distinction it is to belong to this community we call Naked Capitalism and how it allows us all to have a voice, exchange, disseminate, and reach a social consensus that transcends boarders and ridged ideology in the pursuit – not just of our own preservation – but life itself, so others might have the same opportunity in the future.

      Thank you Yves …. best lounge room on the orb, your service is noted by this defective human.

  3. Kevin C. Smith

    Wow, Yves, NC is on fire today! Tons of great links and comments, notably the cartoon about the OZ PM’s Fire Danger Scale … Obfuscate, Prevaricate, Evacuate!

  4. Steve H.

    > Sanders: Instead of weapons funding we should pool resources to fight climate change

    I’ll suggest this is the enormous news. Two reasons:

    1) While he did not say military or Pentagon, that’s what he’s talking about. Has he done that before? And there must be a path for reassignment of the time and money that the mil makes, or you’ve made an enemy of people who kill people for a living. Not a good career path.

    2) Truth is, this is the only way possible to actually avert cataclysm. As long as it’s a fight for resources, group-selection competitiveness drives a tragedy of the commons, and regulation is a joke. Sanders is defining it exactly – >our common enemy, which is climate change< defines the global, universal, group.

    Without that, it's just hunker down in the domes and greenhouses. Scorpions in the desert.

    1. xkeyscored

      At last. I may be wrong (I don’t follow every twist and turn of internal US politics), but I had the impression Sanders was a bit pro-weapons manufacturers because of jobs and all that. These weapons are designed to destroy, and it’s absolutely absurd to be using resources that could avert one global catastrophe to make another more likely.

    2. polecat

      This use of the term “fighting climate change” .. as if it’s a thing to be vanquished, is misleading, and I wish the Sanders, et. al. would stop use it. It’s a verbal sandwich full of empty calories. Adaptation, mitigation, conservation, living a life of modest quality without vast, and impossible to produce and store energy imputs for Billions of hominids .. and the all resource reaving that goes with it, is what needs to be conveyed .. not that we can have our collective cake and eat it !

      It’s really a fight against ourselves.

      1. Carey

        Hear, hear! How’s all this “fighting for/against” been going, anyway?

        The planet will heal, if we let it.

      2. jsn

        Steve H has a good point though.

        As with M4A and the hundreds of thousands of insurance jobs it’ll destroy and the necessity of addressing the needs of that vexed constituency of insurance employees, the Green New Deal needs to address the single biggest institutional carbon emitter in the world, the US military, without threatening to turf it’s patriotic paid killers out of a job. Service is what most went in for, propose a positive purpose to serve, GND can and should be construed as defense.

        I agree with your ethos and rhetoric, but I’m not the audience in need of conversion.

      1. Wukchumni

        A well told tale, except they butchered it by not getting the right NP in the title, it was Sequoia NP.

        The diminutive post office in the photo is one of the smallest ones in the country, and there are still a number of people in town related to those that participated in the utopian Kaweah Colony.

        Could you imagine visiting the Karl Marx tree in the white heat of the Cold War, circa 1960?

    1. Oregoncharles

      thank you for that. We’ve visited the Coast Redwoods, but not the Sequoias – they’re a bit further.

      So huge some of them resemble rock formations. I’ve tried to photograph really large trees, but you really can’t convey the scale without including a person for comparison. It isn’t easy, so I appreciate those pictures. Must be exciting to live among them.

      1. Wukchumni

        They’ve always been part of my life, as my dad was mad about em’, and I have photos from the mid 60’s of a toddler who managed to somehow clamber onto fallen Sequoias, and it set me up for an ongoing love affair.

        Similar to black bears of which i’ve seen around 900, I never tire of being around them, and chronologically i’m still very much a toddler in the grand scheme of things compared to a decent sized one that’s 1586 years old.

        They’re one of the few things in my life that really hasn’t changed all that much, sure they grew a bit-not that you could really discern the difference, though.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Democrats hope to focus public’s attention on McConnell in impeachment battle”

    I believe that the two articles of impeachment have already been read into the record so what is to stop the Republicans, after waiting for a few weeks to show the public that the Democrats are going to string this out till who knows when, from going ahead with the impeachment trial in the Senate. The Democrats may spit the dummy and stay away from the proceedings but that may not make them look any better if they refuse daily polite invitations to attend.

    1. TroyIA

      The Democrats have put the Republicans in a win-win situation. If the Senate has a trial the Republicans will make sure it is ran to their political advantage. On the other hand if the trial is delayed indefinitely the Republicans can fire up their base and urge them to be sure to vote in congressional races or otherwise Trump will be impeached after the election.

      Do the Democrats not have any savvy political advisers or are they trying to lose on purpose?

      1. jo6pac

        We have a winner. If they lose they don’t to do anything to be responsible for. They seat around the camp fire and complain that repugs make them vote for laws the hurt us on Main Street.

        Do the Democrats not have any savvy political advisers or are they trying to lose on purpose?

      2. Geo

        “Do the Democrats not have any savvy political advisers or are they trying to lose on purpose?”

        Are they really bad at their job or really good at it? My guess is they’re good at it.

    2. Gorenson

      “spit the dummy”–an idiom I’ve never heard of. What can it possibly mean? Often, by giving up the lead at the right moment, a “dead” dummy can be brought back to life. Is this what is suggested? But how can that help Pelosi and her gang of Demoncruds?

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Please bone up on US procedure. It’s not good to have you confuse readers.

      The Senate can’t do anything until the House passes a motion referring the impeachment to the Senate. The House ALSO needs to designate managers as part of that process.

      1. Joe Well

        Michael Tracey argued that it’s only Senate rules that require that the House formally transmit the impeachment verdict. The Constitution says that the Senate has to try an impeached president, and the Constitution trumps the Senate’s rules. Logically, then, the Senate could just modify its rules to try the president.

        But the whole delay is weird and impeachment has only been done twice before, so not a lot of precedent.

        My paranoid fear is that Pelosi or McConnell might try to time the proceedings so as to take Bernie and Warren off the campaign trail at a crucial moment, helping Biden.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          that, and sucking the air out of the room for the primaries.
          when’s super tuesday, again?
          surely they can engineer it so that their “high drama” coincides.
          “let’s talk about universal material benefits”
          ” ok, Vlad…trying to distract us from whats really important…”

          1. Hepativore

            Happy winter Solstice, everyone!

            Anyway, the funny thing is, that Biden himself has said that he only wants to be a one-term president. It makes me wonder if he knows that he has neither the energy or presence of mind to hold the office, and that he is merely doing so because of establishment pressure to stop Sanders at all costs. Plus, if the Democrats get the brokered convention they are after, he can bow out, satisfied that he helped the DNC protect the donor class from the Sanders threat.


            1. Robert Gray

              Sorry, Hepat, but you are guilty of an unthinking short-sightedness that is unfortunately all too common, even in enlightened circles: it is only the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. For hundreds of millions of us, today is the Summer Solstice! So why not just say

              Happy Solstice, everyone!

      1. Danny

        That reminds me, why don’t the ‘terroirists’ go after Wall Street, Rodeo Drive, Jackson Hole and hobby wineries, instead of where the average peeps hang?

        By the way, roast gopher has excellent terroir.

      1. barefoot charley

        What’s a working wine cave without 1,500 Swarovski crystals? Don’t these proles know anything?

    1. Burritonomics

      From the article:

      ”Ms. Warren’s comments also did not sit well with some local residents, who are accustomed to encountering politicians and their high-end contributors. Ms. Pelosi and Gov. Gavin Newsom of California each own a valuable vineyard nearby.”

      Of course they do.

      1. jrs

        Wow, then when we drink ourselves to deaths from despair they profit too. Maybe I should rethink this drinking myself through the debates – it’s only enriching Pelosi.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        And this –

        Wine is stored in caves around the world, and Mr. Hall noted that the Romans followed the practice. Storing wine underground saves money on climate control and humidification, said Jonathan Ruppert, the general manager of Gary’s Wine & Marketplace in St. Helena.

        “Caves are a necessity,” Mr. Ruppert said. “It’s the green way to keep wine and preserve it for aging.”

        Talk about missing the point.

    2. ChrisPacific

      Wow. Parts of that made me think i was reading The Onion:

      Inside the room, a strikingly long table made of wood and onyx sits below a raindrop chandelier with 1,500 Swarovski crystals…

      The Halls have given at least $2.4 million to Democratic candidates, committees and PACs since the 1980s, according to Federal Election Commission records…

      “It connoted something snobbish, which it really isn’t,” said Carl Myers, a retired general contractor who lives in St. Helena…

      …Mr. Hall emphasized that his wineries do not sell a $900 bottle of wine — or, at least, not a regularly sized one. The $900 bottle they do sell is three liters, he said…

      Also, Texans think he’s a liberal.

    3. Bugs Bunny

      Ripped from the NYT comments on the Bruni column :

      “I wonder what Senator Warren is thinking when she attacks wealthy Democrats who want to support the removal of Donald Trump from office by holding fundraisers for Democratic candidates. Does she really believe that these loyal Democrats want access to power through money the same way that Republicans do? I have worked for many wealthy people here in San Francisco (and by association, Napa Valley), who are dedicated to using their wealth for good causes; they take wealth as a responsibility and spend endless hours working for worthy causes. I admire them and am glad I am not one of them. I’d rather have the time to watch TV.

      I suspect that by attacking Pete Buttigieg with this wine cave foolishness she has alienated a large number of potential supporters, including myself.”

      No comment. Except that I don’t think the author is truthful about her métier.

  6. a different chris


    I worked with Dave when we were all young at Westinghouse. He was – and I have no doubt still is, I am horrible at keeping touch with people – a really nice, really decent guy. But this is what the world forces decent people to do.

    Note that there is a program used by DOD contractors that takes your source code and reduces it into unreadable rubbish (removes all whitespace, changes variable names to A1, A2… and other tricks) so the original DOD contractor – a company, not a person – is the only place you can turn for any upgrades.

    That’s considered completely OK, of course. Now I understand that Dave planted some things in the code that would actually cause it to break, so that’s a step worse. But not much of a step, as DOD-sized codebases are guaranteed to need more work. Their mistakes are “accidental” yes, but also statistically a sure thing. So the line is a bit grayer than it first seems.

    1. aleric

      Another grey zone is that after a few iterations of seeing that the reward for building reliable bulletproof systems is to be outsourced and/or replaced with younger and cheaper people, it seems better to not put in any more effort than necessary. Not deliberately malicious code, just don’t point out other’s bad ideas, and let your area simmer at the edge of crisis. Managers can get manager points with their buddys by ‘managing’ the problems, but not outright failure that would get things shut down. As Homer says, “if you don’t like your job you don’t strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That’s the American way.”

      1. Synoia

        My rules for writing code that has no bugs:

        No “if” statements
        No dynamic use of storage (get, free)
        Rigorous definition of state and actions at design time

        One system so developed ran continuously for 7 years.

      2. a different chris

        I will see what I can dig up after the holidays. I actually did something right as a young’un, I moved on from the MIC/Nuke Industry when the opportunity arose. Never looked back.

        But I bet I know a person or two that can give me a name for the de-readability software…bet it is (deliberately) hard to google the providers.

    2. Ralph Reed

      One of the key episodes ending the Cold War was Strategic Air Command’s launch systems software was unfixable due to contractor fraud.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Oh, Lordy, my younger brother was one of the beneficiaries of that: a bean counter helping manage the reinstall. Sort of wondered why they needed a whole new system, but of course he wasn’t telling us much. And in the interest of family peace, I don’t think I’ll question him about it now.

      2. Craig H.

        That sounds like the type of offense where the statutes permit capital punishment.

        Also: I wonder if Kubrick heard about this before he wrote Hal’s part.

  7. Craig H.

    > The World The Economist Made

    As Zevin describes it, liberalism “combined economic freedoms—the right to unconditional private property; low taxes; no internal tariffs; external free trade—with political freedoms: the rule of law; civil equality; freedom of the press and assembly; careers ‘open to talent’; responsible government.” But it has also been closely associated, at least in the dominant version represented by The Economist, with financial power.

    This article has got most of it but they leave out the part about the masses stay peaceful because sufficient bread and circus and whatnot trickles down to them and the spice must flow.

    Also the New Republic might give their every back cover and inside front cover pages to the devil if they could be The Economist. It is kind of amazing they are reviewing this book.

  8. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    Further to “bell end” cat, Elliott Higgins began life as a frequent commenter on the Grauniad’s blogs, little more than a neo con obsessive. He progressed to being one of the most venal propagandists online and one time recipient of Dutch national lottery funding. He lives in the Midlands. Down the road from him, above a fish and chips shop, is to the found the Syrian jihadist masquerading as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

    1. ambrit

      Wonderful ‘synchronicity’ of peoples and purposes! /s
      My late Dad had a ‘comedy record’ of an English comic. One side was a skit, in monologue, called “The Radio Hobbyist,” or some such. The personality type the comic portrayed sounds perfect for the fellow living “…above a fish and chips shop…” A crank with powerful friends.
      The open secret here is how such marginal, at best, commenters on the Syria tragedy come to have such gravitas and credit in the Main Stream Media.
      Even cynical old me is “..shocked, shocked..”
      On a tangential note; is Boris making any ‘suspicious’ noises about warmongering yet? That seems to be the ‘go to’ method of distracting the ‘masses’ from domestic fiascos.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Nord Stream 2: Trump approves sanctions on Russia gas pipeline”

    The Russians will probably finish that last segment themselves but the German reaction will be the one to watch out for – if there is one. Without Nord Stream 2, Germany will have to accept having a smaller economy because of insufficient energy to power it which will have knock-on effects in taxation, revenue raising & allocation, etc.
    This will make them less competitive against the US and other economies and if they are forced to buy US gas shipments, it will play hell with their budget due to the excessive cost. Having a US Ambassador that thinks of himself as a Proconsul of Germany has not lessened any tensions either. So we will see if there is any German reaction.

    1. curious euro

      When Russia finishes the pipeline, which is not really sure since the swiss special ships might finish in time or might be actually needed to finish the pipeline, then why would a reaction from Germany be needed?

      If/when the pipeline is done, Germany will take the gas from it for e.g. its chemical industry. From what I understand, the US hasn’t sanctioned users of russian gas in general, “only” companies who actively build on the pipeline, like the owner of the special ships used.

      If the US however doubles down and sanctions users of russian pipeline gas, then it will probably have a big fight on its hand. Then not only Germany is affected but almost all EU countries, except Poland and the Baltics of course.

    2. The Historian

      Frankly, I just don’t get the logic behind this move by Trump. Is he saying that he thinks that Germany is a colony of the US and that the US gets to determine where they get their resources? That is pretty high-handed, even for the US.

      1. xkeyscored

        I think that’s exactly what these sanctions are about. “The US considers the project a security risk to Europe” certainly sounds colonialist, and “The Trump administration fears the pipeline will tighten Russia’s grip over Europe’s energy supply and reduce its own share of the lucrative European market for American liquefied natural gas” sounds like the USA wants to tell Europe what to buy and where.
        I’m not sure about pinning it all on Trump though: “Congress voted through the measures as part of a defence bill last week and the legislation, which described the pipeline as a “tool of coercion”, was signed off by Mr Trump on Friday.”
        (Quotes from the BBC article)

        1. bob

          Why have NATO. Do you need a military against a country that you buy gas from. You give them enormous amounts of money and they can shut the switch at any time. Maybe we should bring Russia into NATO to defend against aliens.

          1. Louis Fyne

            (mild hyperbole) Belgium would fall apart without the cash from all the Eurocrat jobs in Brussels.

            And where would aspiring technocrats go without a stint at Nato on their CVs…think of the bureaucrats and politicians!

          2. John A

            Russia asked to join NATO, but were rejected. NATO needs a bogey man enemy to justify forcing all its members to spend 2% of GDP on US military equipment. The first thing American arms salespersons did when the Berlin Wall fell was to head to Eastern Europe to sell arms.

      2. Zamfir

        It might be high-handed, but it’s not new. Variations of this game have gone on since the 80s, when the first gas exports from Russia were starting. This is an upswing in aggression, but it’s mostly a continuation of standard US policy.

        I am not even sure that the increased aggression comes from Trump. It’s more that gas producers in the US are now more powerful than a decade ago (and somewhat desperate due to low gas prices in the US), so their interests add to the old-school geopolitics.

      3. EU Colonized

        Well Germany and EU are sure behaving as if they are colonies. Zero fight for what is good for EU. Think Russia sanctions. Hurt only EU, not US and a little bit Russia, which now have moved to produce themselves the stuff EU was selling to Russia. EU has screwed itself on the long-term by order from the US. US is not Europe’s friend, but is making sure that it gets weaker and cannot offer an alternative, economical, social or military.

    3. ptb

      If you want to amuse yourself you can see the ships here:

      They appear to be returning to port. Were last working just to the SSE of Bornholm (the Danish island).

      Here is a gazprom map of the route as of Oct. Most of the remaining route, the segment in German EEZ waters going in the southwest directon from Bornholm, is shallow water.

    4. Oregoncharles

      Any reaction will probably be very on-the-quiet.

      I keep wondering when Europe will decide to throw off the shackles. A complicating factor may be history: they’d rather an American master, mostly far away, than a German one.

    5. Mo's Bike Shop

      Didn’t we interfere with Japanese oil supplies once? For large values of happy, I can say I’m happy with synopsizing the result of World War 2 as being about ‘Who had the most oil?’ I feel like we are now vaporizing so many kinds of capital to maintain energy dominance. Can the US please stop fighting WWII sometime before WWIII?

  10. JBird4049

    The notoriously violent police in
    Chile’s brutal right-wing Pinochet-style regime (which is of course strongly backed by the US) just crushed a protester in between two armored vehicles.

    That Twitter link was f^&*()_ disturbing, but I noticed the crowd around the (dead?) protest went insane and charged one of the vehicles slow to leave. Governments and their goons tend to think violence will save them and that is not so. At some point, people just say to hell with this and any violence against them just makes things worse.

    1. ambrit

      That works in the short term. For the long term, organization and strategy are needed. As an example, this sort of outrage generally dies down after a week or two. The ‘opposition’s’ task is to keep the level of ‘outrage’ high for an extended time. That takes cadres “in the streets and barrios” to whip up the ‘righteous anger’ again and again.
      The turning point, from what I’ve read, is when the public begins attacking the security forces first. A program of IEDs would qualify as such, if widespread.

  11. bob

    Trail Cam Captures Opossum Pulling Ticks Off A Deer’s Face Sunny Skyz (Timotheus)

    That looks like deer baiting. Probably not the best idea to post it online. Carp cops are moving in.

  12. Carolinian

    The Hollywood Reporter

    A former Democratic contributor for MSNBC argues that the network has been very consistent in having a “pretty mainstream progressive view,” rather than “following the energy of their political base in the same way that Fox News does.”

    Assessing the situation, the ex-contributor says the network’s progressive critics are probably “frustrated that the kind of energy that they’re feeling among their base and at the grassroots level and across the campaign trail … is not the same kind of energy they’re feeling at MSNBC. It’s not because MSNBC is treating them unfairly, it’s that they don’t understand what MSNBC is about.”

    And what is it about? The article doesn’t say and since I don’t take cable I couldn’t say either. But I have been watching the Showtime miniseries The Loudest Voice about Roger Ailes and the rise of Fox News. In it Russell Crowe as Ailes says to Murdoch that Fox News will be completely about the conservative “base” and that catering to a loyal niche is what cable is all about. And it sounds like this is what MSNBC is about as well despite the above denial. It’s just that their base isn’t progressives but centrists. When they did have an actual liberal like Donohue they got rid of him.

    Ultimately the true base of both channels would be their wealthy owners. Obviously they aren’t going to give much of a hearing to a candidate who denounces billionaires.

    1. Geo

      The article is from the Hollywood Reporter so its not shocking their perspective is blinded by the glare of the sun shining off their infinity pool in the Hollywood Hills. They are the publication that thinks $20M movies are “indies”. They wouldn’t know what a real progressive is.

      1. Carolinian

        Like Deadline they’re not bad and good at show biz topics but seem to find Trump and his opponents irresistable. Seems a safe bet that Hollywood is part of MSNBC’s “base.”


  13. Wukchumni

    This used to be the absolute deadest time of year to sell new cars, but now the manufacturers have hit upon the idea that it’d make a nice surprise xmas gift vis a vis tv commercials, or treat yourself!

    If my wife came home with a gift wrapped new car I didn’t need, i’d be a bit on the furious side.

    1. a different chris

      I’m glad I’m not the only person who watches those with my jaw dropped to the floor. I’m sure your (and my) wife would have the same reaction with the reverse situation.

      This may be cleverer than it seems. Although I would think that buying your spouse a surprise $60k SUV is unlikely for all but the very few, it does help expand upon the “car as gift” meme. And if you are just the top 5% or so, you then can still be subject to a lot of pressure from your 17yr old to buy her (most likely) or him a new car.

      This car will be much, much less expensive. But it still will be bought, stunningly enough. This happened plenty at my kids very middle class high school.

      1. Wukchumni

        A childhood friend got a brand new 1977 Trans Am for his 16th birthday, while I got the hand me down puke green 1974 Pinto from my parents. Guess I didn’t rate.

        1. ambrit

          Lucky you. My Dad made me pay him off in full for the ‘surplus’ plumbing company work van, a ’63 Ford Falcon van, that I bought off of him, before I got my hands on it. My first wheels were a restoration project from the word go. It was actually quite a good ride. Plus, I was very popular when someone needed help moving.

  14. Robert Valiant

    Despite the handwringing otherwise, there are quite a few well-off people outside the coast who like decorating in gold and even being so tacky as to have cars that match.

    At what point up the socio-economic ladder do these sorts of concerns become manifest? And how does one know? I’m an upper lower-class “coastal,” and I’m mostly concerned with eating properly and keeping my dilapidated 50s rambler from leaking. Years ago, when my children were at home, and our family was solidly upper middle-class (at least that’s what I thought), I still didn’t consider what other people thought of my cars, nor did I think much about decorating colors.

    Honestly, I think I find simple survival more interesting.

    1. Wukchumni

      All of my life, those with immense, some might claim obscene amounts of wealth have been celebrated in these United States, but you can sense a backlash is coming to them & showy displays that come with the territory.

      1. ambrit

        To expand on your viticulture themed comments elsewhere; these people fit the description of “Teriorists.” They have a penchant for “Le Grand Crude.”

      2. Carolinian

        Well there was that period–late 60s, early 70s–when people like Leonard Bernstein dressed in jeans and conspicuous wealth was very un-hip. Tom Wolfe wrote an article about it,

        Then came Reagan–and Nancy.

        1. Wukchumni

          I really think the turning point came around 1975 when the first pro athletes got million a year contracts, and you can just imagine the jealousy of Ivy League types on Wall*Street as the pros started making moon money.

          By the time we got around to Reagan, high finance figured out how to hit the long ball via Milken, etc.

          I mentioned a week or 2 ago in regards to a pitcher who inked a nearly 1/3rd of a Billion $ contract, contrast that with the $125k 1 year deal that Sandy Koufax signed in 1966.

          1. Anon

            Well, the actual details are a bit different.

            Koufax and Don Drysdale (1965 World Series heroes) asked, together, for a $1 million, 3 year deal. That equated to a yearly salary of $166,000 for each of them for 3 years. (The highest paid player in MLB at the time was Willie Mays at $105,000.) The Dodgers, with by far the highest game attendance in baseball, offered Koufax $120k and Drysdale $105k. I believe that was the salary that they accepted.

            Much has changed since then. TV has made MLB a 7-8 $Billion a year enterprise. The LA Dodgers as a team are now worth billion$. Marvin Miller wrenched union power for the players. And remember, players have a very short earning window; Koufax retired at the age of 30 due to an elbow worn out from throwing curve balls. (Sandy was a condo neighbor of mine when I lived in Sun Valley, ID. A very special man.)

            And pitching is everything in the big leagues.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          That sounds right.

          I graduated from college in 1979. Women wore (depending on the season), T-shirts, sweatshirts, and jeans. Only the women from the the colleges that were seen as matrimonial in orientation (one was called “Pine Mattress”) wore makeup.

          2 years after that, I was part of the group that did campus recruiting. Just walking around, you could see a significant % of women wearing makeup, skirts, and hose, just to go to class. Gah.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I think you are missing the point of my comment, that of all the things to get upset about re Trump, it’s his taste? Really? IMHO this is another manifestation of the fact that a significant amount of the upset about him is his being so flagrantly nouveau riche and not caring.

      And you managed to miss the status signaling from the bourgeois on up? Women who color their hair feel unkept if their roots grow in. Cars are huge status symbols, up and down the line. Try driving an early 2000s car, even if in fine shape, and watch the reactions if someone you’ve first met walks you to it. People look at the quality of leather in shoes, tailoring and fabric as other status markers. Being thin is another status marker, as are teeth…..

      If you are really rich, the signals include flying on private jets, what charities you support, what art you collect, if you own a vineyard (or have your name on a hospital wing or building at a school….)

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Exactly what Epstein understood and exploited. Codes of status.

        Frankly the Clintons didn’t fit in either but they were somehow more acceptable than Trump.

        Nixon hated those people and who knows, maybe it contributed to his downfall.

        I won’t venture to speculate on what the wealthy thought of the Obamas. Perhaps Elizabeth Windsor could answer that.

      2. Robert Valiant

        Dear Yves,

        Well, since my original reply to your missing the point of my missing the point of your original editorial comment has disappeared, I’ll just say this:

        I think Naked Capitalism is a decent place, and you’re a very rational thinker, and good writer.

        However, I’ll also say, “thanks and so long,” because the bourgeois flavor of this corner of the Internet just doesn’t suit my proletariat tastes. It’s sad, but I think class really has become an unbridgeable chasm in western society. I think we can thank that, in part, for Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, et al.

        Best of luck, and maybe we’ll meet again one day on an anarchist blog somewhere.


        Robert (Bob) Valiant
        Kennewick, Washington, USA

        1. Bugs Bunny

          Friend, pretty sure that Yves wasn’t aiming that reply at you. Just talking about value signaling among the elite. I can understand how you took it though because this rabbit came from very humble roots and never noticed any of these artifacts until he was forced to by an East Coast university that somehow admitted him.

          No need to sign off.

          1. flora

            That was my take as well.
            Snobbery is snobbery, and I thought Yves was pointing that out in a forceful manner, not criticizing R.V.’s comment.
            In any event, I find R.V.’s comments a welcome point of view adding depth to the larger economic picture and its effects.

        2. Massinissa

          “because the bourgeois flavor of this corner of the Internet just doesn’t suit my proletariat tastes”

          I think you completely misunderstood her point. She wasn’t defending Trump’s tastes in any way, but pointing out that ALL the wealthy share similar tastes and singling Trump out as some kind of singular aberration leaves out that this is standard of our ruling class.

          None of us here support this kind status consumerism, and many of us likely share your ‘proletarian tastes’, its just that around here notions that Trump is some unique monster different from the rest of his class hold little water.

          1. Wukchumni

            I can’t relate to a world where what you wear, what you drive and what you drink and the conveyance which moves you around, really means anything.

            That said, it’s all part of the pecking order on high, and I get it. If Trump was seen in a 2007 Toyota Matrix with 136k miles, his world would come undone.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              “I can’t relate to a world where…”
              there’s a billboard on the southern approach to fredericksburg, advertising one of the oldest wineries in the area.
              “where wine is a pleasure, not a party”
              I get my dander up every time i pass this elitist pretension.
              Mr Valiant should stick around. and perhaps grow a little bit of a thicker hide.
              i appreciate a diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints, including his.

        3. ambrit

          Added to what the others have said; don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. It takes a thick skin to comment anywhere on the internet.
          Also, so what if this blog commenteriat skews a bit bourgeois? Do you want to lock yourself in an echo chamber? What good would that do for your understanding of the ‘reality’ on the ground? I and others admit to frequenting conservative blogs. It doesn’t mean we fully agree with the reigning philosophies on those blogs, but we do tend to learn much of a substantive nature that is not displayed on the “standard” MSM ‘news’ sources.
          The entire lesson of the internet is that “Knowledge Is Power.” Control the ‘knowledge’ or it’s accessibility, and you “rule” the society. Thus, a wide range of sources of information is required. Locking yourself away in the anarchist sphere of the internet is going to stunt your knowledge set, and limit your range of options for action. To effectively fight one’s enemies, one must understand them. So, to discommode the bourgeois, you first must get to know them.
          Finally, class has always been “ unbridgeable chasm in western society.” Else why all the revolts and movements on the part of the working classes?
          Anyway, don’t leave in a huff. You are better than that.

    3. Darthbobber

      This particular line of attack on Trump is exactly the line that used to be taken by the old rich and New England rich against the new rich. (And the ethnic rich)

    4. Mo's Bike Shop

      I dragged myself through it. The premise that through pure lucky chance Trump’s natural crassness is all that has extend his fifteen minutes of fame for the past thirty years is childish, if not a sign of denial. He’s been an earwig to all who fancy themselves cultural narrators. They can’t put him down.

      I found it too dull to appreciate the cultural schadenfreude. “Oh my god! White Belts!”

      And the linked martini looks like the Rest Of The Afternoon, if that’s a normal sized wine glass.

    5. cm

      I’m an upper lower-class “coastal”

      What in the world are you doing in Kennewick, then?????????

      I’ll be in Richland/Pasco next week for a wedding…

  15. Summer

    Re: “London Will Never Give Independence – We Must Take It” Craig Murray (Chuck L)

    Check the comments section. It contains a very hot “what to do about America” discussion.

    1. Summer

      And throughout the comments section, Europeans seem to believe that claims of soveriegnity do not match reality.

  16. JBird4049

    IIRC, Towards the end of the last two “upswings” really fancy cheeseburgers complete with real gold garnish and usually truffles as well became popular among the trend setters. They are baaaack.

      1. JBird4049

        Fake meat for the real gold with only the truffles as “real” food part of the trendy cheeseburger. Golly, what will they think of next? Is the cheese Velveeta? Expensive as Hades and about as real as cotton candy.

        This is a metaphor for something about life in the American Empire. Gold garnish and organic whatever for the real people of the meritocracy, meatloaf for the Deplorables, food stamps for the rest (oh wait, Trump wants to cut them!) food banks and soup kitchens for the disposable rest of us.

  17. Stormcrow

    The Long, Dark History of Russia’s Murder, Inc. New York Review of Books

    Up next: The bright, sunny history of the CIA

  18. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Facebook says a pro-Trump media outlet used artificial intelligence to create fake people and push conspiracies

    I admittedly only read the headline, but it’s as if the media is just discovering that sockpuppetry on the interwebs is a thing. Next they’ll be telling us all those Nigerian prince emails are a scam.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      RE: Facebook says a pro-Trump media outlet used artificial intelligence to create fake people and push conspiracies

      Headline only as well, but I smiled at the thought that they might be referring to 4chan with that phrasing. I’m figuring AI means something like ‘Mail Merge’, so I won’t spoil my smirk by reading.

  19. Big Tap

    To all happy first day of Winter. Of course in the Southern Hemisphere it’s the first day of Summer and the longest day of the year.

  20. Fred

    On the Trump’s aesthetic I agree. When I first saw he was running for President, I thought how can I vote for a man who thinks that comb over is flattering? Sometimes your initial impressions are right.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      and, since i rarely watch panels and interviews or anything newsy at all:
      from the margin of yours:
      the lovely Krystal Ball, et alia, going on about the disconnected, bubble dwelling 10-20%, who read articles about reporters going on “safari in their own country to see what the peasants are doing”>
      I count my father…and my brother…and my step brothers and all the houston bunch in that cohort.
      they don’t even know that they’re in a bubble.
      …and it’s almost painful when they come up here,lol.

          1. ambrit

            I bought an early copy of that book at a Library book sale years ago. A wonderful reflection on our South.

    1. newcatty

      I am not depressed or surprised. I said to myself, and others, when the Stones were the rage ( and the fake Beatle opposite niche) that Jagger was not welcome on my cloud. He would be the last guy I would spend a night together. I would bend his thumb backwards, if he tried to put me under it. My BF, and later spouse, laughed and said I took it all too seriously. It’s just awesome rock and roll…we likes it. There was lots of great rock and roll out there ( we saw , in person, many musicians in our city), that did not play that “persona”. I never saw the Stones perform and that was fine.

      I already admired and respected Roger Waters…

      1. Carey

        Even Keith Richards has described Jagger as “a snob”. Still, I like the Stones- a lot.
        Not much after ‘Some Girls’, though.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i noticed the other day that Exile on Mainstreet has entered my sons’ buddies’ playlists.
          my work is almost complete.
          ….one, a redneck mexican american who wants to be a plumber has Watermelons in Easter Hay in his playlist,now, due to a party we hosted where i stood over the pit and called out songs to play:
          from exclusively marty robbins and george jones, to zappa, in one sitting,lol.
          i stoop to frelling conquer.

          1. Carey


            You probably know about it, but there’s a tidy little George Jones
            compilation on a Rhino CD.

            Works for me

  21. smoker

    Re: After the Eviction Notice

    So disturbing, and this problem is only going to increase in the US as people realize they can no longer afford to rent anywhere, and there are millions of Boomers who rent, with no available affordable housing to move into, and no livable wage jobs (despite education) for those who would gladly continue working – due to an as yet to be headlined age discrimination which started during the boom Clinton/Gore ushered in, and exploded during Obama’s reign. Sickeningly, in Silicon Valley, 35 year olds feel over the hill.

    None of the candidates want to even address this rental housing issue (for all ages) with Federal Tax Policy even? Renters are the only ones who invest major sums of money into housing, with no equity whatsoever?

    1. newcatty

      Yes, it is the canary growing fainter and struggling for life in the dark gloom of the coal mine. The most basic human requirement for survival is shelter, after food and water. Clothing is also in that category. The poor and homeless ( absolutely including the working poor) at first , when attention started to be given to the ” national crisis and (in some people’s minds) and national disgrace”, was just, you know, the usual suspects. From hobos ( whom many saw as romanticized free spirits or stubborn old guys) to including the abandoned mentally ill, drug addicts, criminals, people with “something to hide”, teens on the run from neglect or abuse to? The numbers of people who are essentially w/o shelter is not going to remain out of sight, out of mind. Now, we know that mothers, fathers, grandparents, children and grandchildren are homeless. And, if they are not, many are living in what , once upon a time, poor or desolate housing. Many are living in ,what was once called a boarding house, in a room with their kids. They supposedly have access to “common areas”. This is not people who often even have more than a casual aquaintanceship with their “landlords”. This is not the “Golden Girls” living the high life in sunny Florida with the owner, who is an adorable rascal. No doubt, some examples of older, single women housing together is a good fit for some.

      Most older people on limited incomes don’t live in a golden fantasy world. Besides young people not being able to afford outrageous rents, now include the older people. Couple this with the “reports” that there are people hungry in this country. Age has become no restrictor on this tragic fact. This can not stand. Trickle down the ,as was mentioned , breads and circuses in all of their guises. Cheap, junk fast food will become not so cheap…when in dire poverty. Housing is just cold, hearted cash for the owners. Who gets to watch the circuses and gladiators ? Got cable tv( even if you personally choose not to…not the point)? Afford the cost of any pro sports tickets ? Attend any cultural events that include paying for tickets? Yep, am not going to include the all American past time of watching a game at the local pub. Many people can not afford the luxury of the food and drinks… OK, it’s time to stop now with my pov. I am fortunate to not be in the above circumstances. Too many are, though.

      1. smoker

        Your point of view seems valid to me.

        God knows what’s being planned behind closed doors for this increasing tragedy, the reality is too clear for Congress not to be aware of it. Meanwhile, I’m fully sure that amoral predators who are investing in those areas they’re betting the homeless will be forced to dwell and die in, or choose to be euthanized at.

        Meanwhile, Congress does absolutely nothing about putting a stop to obscenely biased, corrupted and deadly in its blatant discrimination AI, which is increasingly decimating millions of jobs, and virtually tagging people with social scores they’ll never get out from under, no matter how false. This, ever since Obama glibly announced there would be many jobs lost, and some pain, due to technology The Technocracy. A Bipartisan, Horrid Congress accepted it as a necessary reality.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The only thing missing was a police officer going in after with a drawn gun. When millions of people were being kicked out of their homes about a decade a go, I saw a photo that won an award at the time. It showed a cop, with pistol drawn, going into a house that had the family kicked out from it. Surrounding him was all the left overs from a family’s life and it was very sad.

      1. smoker

        It is heart rending. Even watching renters who leave before being evicted is heart rending, they’re forced to throw away many belongings, like perfectly good mattresses and basic necessities. Lived at an apartment complex turned into ratty ass condos for mostly foreign property ‘flippers’ who continued renting them out, then ‘flipping’ them. The despair, fear, and loss during a huge job downturn was horrid to witness, as many had lived there over ten years. I was lucky to be on my feet somewhat at the time, no longer.

        Every fricking sign, particularly in Silicon Valley, that advertises Apartment Homes™ should be torn down and destroyed. The average US renters have always been treated as second class leechers, I’ve witnessed it my entire adult life, now they’re being treated even worse.

        Thanks Clinton/Gore, Obomber/Biden, Nanny Pelosi, et al; and we thought that was only the mark of Republicans busy at work.

        1. smoker

          Thinking on this subject even more, it occurs to me why the powers that be are so invested in pitting each generation against the other. An empowered US renters’ ‘lobby’ could be enormous. It would cross all age – along with race, gender, religion, and geographic – spectrums. Renters, along with the homeless are increasing in vast numbers of all ages. The last thing the powers that be would want, is for those vast millions to stick together against them, and age is the easiest barrier for the powers that be to keep renters separated by.

  22. Yves Smith Post author

    I suggest you use Google rather than revert to wishful thinking and emotion. It isn’t sexist and it is absolutely not inaccurate. It is WIDELY known. You could have bothered spending 30 seconds looking.

    See As Women Take Over a Male-Dominated Field, the Pay Drops New York Times

    Does Bad Pay Cause Occupations to Feminize, Does Feminization Reduce Pay,and How Can We Tell with Longitudinal Data? Paper presented at the ASSA

    Women Dominate College Majors That Lead to Lower-Paying Work Harvard Business Review

    Go look at surveys of average wages v. gender mix. Dental assistants who are educated are lower paid than construction workers who don’t even have to have a high school degree.

    Feminized professions are lower paid. Period.

    And it isn’t feminist to deny that this situation exists. You can’t fix something that you insist on pretending isn’t happening.

    1. flora

      From Peggy Seeger’s song ‘I’m gonna be an engineer’

      The boss he says “We pay you as a lady,
      You only got the job because I can’t afford a man,
      With you I keep the profits high as may be,
      You’re just a cheaper pair of hands.

      Look what happened to clerical and teacher pay, adjusted for inflation, between 1880 – 1940, when both changed from an all male to a predominately female profession and work force.

      1. flora

        adding: this could explain in part some mens resistance to women entering their trades or professions – the real prospect of employers lowering their wages.

        1. Calypso Facto

          heard this song for the first time a few months ago and the line your only problem is, you’re a woman / you’re not worth the equal pay right after the part you quoted was like a punch in the gut. written a decade before I was born and still true

    2. The Rev Kev

      There is a corollary to this and that is where you have a field where women are well paid, that males move in and kick out the women or push them down the pay rungs as they take over senior positions. One example that has gotten mention here is that of the field of computing where women had that field almost to themselves and were pioneers in computing to boot. But then the rules were changed and now you have the “tech bros” running things. And this is not a new thing either. Consider-

      ‘For the most part, women were relegated to the lower class jobs but, clearly, could hold the same esteemed positions as males. Women were the first brewers and tavern keepers and also the first doctors and dentists in ancient Mesopotamia before those occupations proved lucrative and were taken over by men.’

      Everything old is new again.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        No, see below. It was to a comment that wound up in moderation (and to one made to WC yesterday where Lambert made an in-passing remark about pay in feminized professions).

        In the backstage, you can reply and then choose “approve and reply,” releasing both. The person was bent out of shape about Lambert’s remark and tried depicting it as false, which it isn’t.

        The fact that my reply showed up on a completely different post is beyond weird….

    3. kiwi

      The snobbery of feminists is amazing (and I say that as a feminist since grade school).

      Men still do all of the dirty, hard work of the world. Further, that dirty work has to be done, and it has to be done by people willing to do that kind of work (or, alternatively, we could all live in grass huts and carry out our own poo to somewhere – and maybe that is where we are heading anyway given environmental issues).

      But oh-so-smart feminists think these guys shouldn’t be paid as much as the women who got some schooling. Women deserve more pay for that reason alone, right?

      Do you think that people, oh wait, I mean the men capable and willing to do that kind of dirty work are in numbers comparable to women and men who take a few courses and get some sort of cushy entry level position? Really, it is as if feminists have no concept of supply/demand and how it can impact wages – and yet here you are, economist extraordinaire, acting as if a woman, just because she studied a few courses, is worth more than a man doing dirty work.

      Dental assistants, like many other lower level medically oriented positions, are a dime a dozen (of either sex).

      1. Anon

        Is it the heat from the fires? Or just global warming in general?

        The economic goal is equal pay for equal work. The female and male college president should be have similar salaries for similar work, and similar experience/skill. Some workers, male or female, have interest in particular types of work setting. If their skills are similar so should the pay.

        The difficulty is determining economic value. A father may value the teacher who educates his daughter. My elderly grandmother valued the trolley pilot who helped her get on and off the cable car while traveling around San Francisco. Me, I appreciate the dental technician with the oh so careful touch while cleaning my teeth.

        So, in the end, what society needs to focus on is a livable wage for all. So we don’t fight each other over the crumbs of a neoliberal world.

      2. ObjectiveFunction

        “Men still do all of the dirty, hard work of the world.”

        That’s just plain false. Get out more, mate. I recommend rural India.

        I’ve generally tuned out the ‘privilege’ / ‘your blues ain’t like mine’ Resentment Studies shtick as well myself, but that doesn’t entitle either of us to spew patent falsehoods.

        If I’m going to be like that guy at Google and stubbornly overgeneralize about observable gender divisions in labour, I might say:

        A. Men *tend* to monopolize work where there’s a good bit of sitting around scratching your nether parts, but then a periodic need to heft about heavy loads requiring upper body strength. The work environment may be nonlinear or dynamic, and may also present a nonzero chance of being maimed or killed for failing to OODA: construction, mining, fishing, mechanics, stevedoring, soldiering. Can women do these things? Sure, and do. Are they equally represented, even in Norway? No.

        Has the patriarchy excluded them? In part, yes, but men also have physical advantages, and also risk less in working away from family, at least in traditional societies. It’s a real chicken-egg argument in this case.

        B. Women on the other hand seem to get drafted into the countless repetitive tasks and piecework that make life function: cleaning, planting/threshing, fetching water, changing bedpans, weaving, soldering Iphones. Quality is in attention to details, so work environments are kept as orderly as circumstances allow. Can men do these things? Sure, and do….

        Now here’s where it gets thorny. Let’s set aside societies wealthy and/or socially repressed enough to ban June Cleaver from all non-home occupations.

        And per RevKev above, across cultures and technology levels, do men also tend to shunt women out of category B type ‘detail’ occupations that, for whatever reason, become desirably remunerative or prestigious? e.g. priesthood, accounting, gemstone carving, software coding. Frankly, signs point to yes, pretty consistently, across cultures and technologies. Sure, there are exceptions, but you need to dig for them.

        Why? At a guess, it is that to generate prestige and surpluses, these specialist occupations become (a) hierarchical and (b) ‘transactional’, and therefore nonlinear. Women can handle hierarchy and nonlinear just fine of course, but the transaction bit is trouble. The specialist now has to interact widely with strangers, to negotiate and burnish relationships.

        That’s a lot harder for women to pull off, in the face of social conventions which frown on close relationships with male strangers, and against a backdrop (implied or real) of potential sexual violence. So absent an exceptional matriarch emerging atop a male-dominated clan, women never seem to achieve roles more prominent than shopkeeper.

        Fortunately, there is no need for our sisters and daughters, or us, to live this way any longer. Sexual tensions still lurk in the background, but that is socially controllable, just as males don’t fight duels any longer.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      Sorry that this came up here. I hit “approve and reply” to a comment taking issue with something that Lambert made in Water Cooler yesterday and it showed up here! Bizarre.

  23. ewmayer

    “New Boson Appears In Nuclear Decay, Breaks Standard Model | ars technica” — Interesting to contrast the certainty conveyed by the headline with the wording of the URL itself. If I had a dollar for every “physics beyond the standard model confirmed! (well, maybe, possibly, if the error bars on our error bars are much tinier than the error bars themselves, or something)” headline I’ve seen in my lifetime…

  24. McDee

    From “A Decade of Liberal Delusion and Failure” by Alex Pareene: If liberals want to get the next decade right, after the previous one in which we repeatedly failed to save the world while telling ourselves we were doing so, we will need to stop nudging and begin fighting.
    Big Bill Haywood : A liberal is the guy that leaves the room when the fighting starts.

    1. Carey

      I saw little to argue with in that NR piece by Mr. Pareene, except I get this feeling that
      well-documented columns like this, claiming to be decrying these depredations of
      the Few, somehow have the effect of *normalizing them*, instead.

      Not sure I’m right, but this piece, and the WaPo Afghanistan one, and, and..

      bummer like it proles

  25. kareninca

    Re the obesity stats. If you know someone who is severely obese, please advise them to have a Fibroscan to check their liver. I have a close relative who is now in stage 5 cirrhosis of the liver due to obesity. Not due to drinking; he did not drink alcohol in excess. He is a college professor; he had all the usual blood tests, which were all fine. But blood tests do not detect cirrhosis. Let me repeat that: blood tests do not detect cirrhosis. He has about a year to live, unless he gets a transplant, he vomits blood and his muscles are wasting. But his liver values on his bloodwork are fine.

    Only a biopsy or a Fibroscan can detect this (Fibroscans are not perfect, but they are better than nothing). This relative only found out he had a problem when he had the characteristic bulge on his side, and went to the ER. His only “heads up” was that he was told he had fatty liver. But the cirrhosis diagnosis only came about six months after that.

    Not everyone who is severely obese gets cirrhosis. There is a (common) genetic variation which increases the risk; this relative has that variant. Also he ate terrible food all of the time: Dunkin Donuts; Starbursts, McDonald’s food. The liver is a filter. You can poison it. Obesity is coming to be a very common cause of cirrhosis. Once you have it, losing weight does not help. If you get cirrhosis from alcohol, stopping drinking can help. But changing your eating does not help, once you get it from obesity. It is not even clear what you should eat at that point (other than not eating toxic horrible stuff); I am not finding good data.

    I wanted to give him part of my liver, but I can’t; I’m not healthy enough myself. Living donation of part of your liver is a major operation.

    1. eg

      You can get fatty liver disease from consuming too much sugar, and you do not have to be obviously overweight.

  26. drumlin woodchuckles

    I only have a few minutes till back-to-work, so . . . about the outgoing Kentucky’s pardons . . . I think he diddit to get revenge on the people of Kentucky for defeating him in his most recent election.

  27. Tomonthebeach

    The ProPublica article on McCain merely articulated what I thought had to have happened from news reports. The services have a term for it – clusterf-ck. Alas, it appears that the article was written by people with no technical knowledge of the roles and standard operating procedures for steering Navy ships in open waters.

    How, in the end, could the CO not reason that with rudder amidships turning could only be due to a propeller-induced turn? If you cannot stop it – you go “all stop.” Equally disturbing was that there was no mention of reports from CIC (combat information center that monitors all the shipping in the vicinity) that a really big ship was CBDR (constant bearing decreasing range). There was no mention that the CO ordered turning on all running lights to make the ship highly visible, nor that he tried hailing the merchant ship on the radio and with flashing light warning it of a steering loss and the need to maneuver to avoid. Even having the signal bridge fire a flare to get their attention would have been prudent. I did not hear any of that happened. Apparently, the reporters did not know to ask.

    All the nonsense about shifting to after steering compounded the circus. That is because after steering does not control the engines – just the rudders. The ship had no rudder problem. The watch could have easily reported in seconds that both rudders were indeed amidships validating the bridge indicators. This meant “all stop” was the best option until the mess could be sorted out – thus avoiding a collision.

    Pinning the McCain on the electronics rather than the people seems unfair because any one of the tried and true things I just mentioned that should have happened likely would have avoided catastrophe – especially given that the captain was on the bridge. So, yes, he deserved to be fired even if there was no loss of life. The chief bosun’s mate as well. Then, the Navy should have held investigative hearings as to why they needed an unreliable, retro-fitted digital self-driving system in the first place.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I wondered too why the bridge crew did not do an emergency stop though I do not know what happens with two engines having different thrust settings when doing so. I was looking very closely at the display for that system and you can see that it needs a radical redesign. LCARS it is not. As an example, if the two engines are at different thrust settings, why not have one in a different colour on that bar? That way, at a glance you can tell that they are not in sync which would have been very valuable to know on that bridge at the time. It is not intuitive and seems to require you to pull information out of the system rather than the system pushing info to the user. Par for the course these days with computer interface design. In some ways, that Navy interface reminds me of something from the 1990s.

  28. deplorado

    “Losing Faith in the Humanities – The Chronicle of Higher Education”

    — paywalled. How to read it without the paywall?

  29. Synoia

    New Boson Appears In Nuclear Decay, Breaks Standard Model

    To be named the Trumptron, it only has an erratic rightward spin, makes the standard model bankrupt every few million revolutions and has a bombastic characteristic.

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