Links 4/2/18

South China Morning Post

NYRB

Yale Law Journal. “[C]urrent doctrine underappreciates the risk of predatory pricing and how integration across distinct business lines may prove anticompetitive. These concerns are heightened in the context of online platforms….”

Wolf Street (EM).

FT

Project Syndicate

FT

Popular Science

Brexit

FT

Politico

BBC. Dickens would recognize this, or .

Syraqistan

Bloomberg

Politico

Then again, “facts on the ground”…. Thread (CL):

1/ Trump says US will leave Syria soon but here in Manbij I visited front &saw how US soldiers for 1st time established fixed position near front, opposite Turkey backed forces. US flag on top of roof for Turks to see.

Here my story in Arabic. Will tweet details in English. 👇

— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa)

(The source is a roving reporter for )

China?

CCTV English

Nikkei Asian Review. Project delays, worries about debt, sovereignty concerns.

The Diplomat

New Cold War

NYT. Plot twist.

Le Monde Diplomatique

Handelsblatt

Washington Monthly

Robert Service, Foreign Policy

Trump Transition

WaPo

FiveThirtyEight

NYT

Federal News Radio

Facebook Fracas

The Onion

Fast Company

Nature

Bloomberg

New Statesman. “Let’s state the bleedin’ obvious. Soon Britain will hold a general election in which Jeremy Corbyn could become prime minister. Anybody who thinks SCL/CA would have no skin in that game is naive.” ( is Cambridge Analytica’s parent company.)

Health Care

LRB. The neoliberal effort to destroy the UK’s NHS continues apace.

NPR (DK).

Cracked. Not a humor piece. Depending on your sense of humor.

WUSA

Current Affairs

Class Warfare

The Intercept

Josh Bivens, Economic Policy Institute. : “Not awful but job creation with a stigmatized guarantee. Not the universal job guarantee that we have in mind. Why pursue this indirect route to full employment when we can pursue a direct route?” Perhaps I’m overly jaded and cynical, but these recommendations look like the “Medicare Extra” of Jobs Guarantees to me.

* * *

WSJ. A “striking piece of graphics journalism” high up on the WSJ masthead.

WSJ (DM). DM writes: “The words ‘wage/s,’ ‘salary/ies,’ and ‘pay’ do not appear until the comments section. E.g., ‘David Soto’: ‘I bet if they raised wages to $25/hr, they’d have applicants lined up out the parking lot.'”

WaPo

Reuters

The Register

Medium (DL).

The Week

The Atlantic. The Wilmington Massacre. Exceptionally ugly.

Antidote du jour ():

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

205 comments

  1. integer

    Caitlin Johnstone, Medium

    Assange isn’t hiding from justice, he is hiding from injustice. There is no reason to believe that this draconian empire would give him a fair trial and humane treatment. He can no more “leave whenever he wants” than he could if there was a firing squad stationed outside the embassy door.

    And now this same western empire has pressured Ecuador into cutting off Assange’s internet access, phone calls and visitors to its siege, with electronic jammers being placed inside the embassy to make doubly certain that he is completely cut off from the world. A whole new array of weapons have been added to the empire’s siege, and it’s getting a lot hotter in there.

    What all this has done, however, is prove irrefutably that Julian Assange has been right all along. The empire that he has been railing against throughout his entire time in the spotlight is every bit as depraved, oppressive and Orwellian as he has claimed, and is unquestionably deserving of his relentless assault upon it.

    Reply
    1. integer

      7. ( C ) If AG participants raise the issue of Vils Mirazayonov’s book “State Secrets: An Insider’s View of the Russian Chemical Weapons Program,” the Del should:

      — Report any instances in which the book is raised.

      — Not/not start or provoke conversations about the book or engage substantively if it comes up in conversation.

      — Express a lack of familiarity with the issue.

      — Quietly discourage substantive discussions by suggesting that the issue is ‘best left to experts in capitals.’

      CLINTON

      FWIW that ( C ) means the information is classified, so when…

      told FBI agents in July that she thought the classified “C” markings on emails recovered from her private emails were just a way to put paragraphs in alphabetical order…

      …she was lying.

      Reply
      1. David

        It’s worse than that. In US government practice, sensitive documents are marked, paragraph by paragraph, with abbreviations relating to the sensitivity of the information in the paragraph. So ‘R’ is Restricted, ‘C’ is Confidential, ‘S’ is Secret and so on. The document will carry, usually at the top and bottom of the page, a blanket security marking reflecting the highest classification it contains. The lowliest State Department official learns this on their first day.

        Reply
      2. Bill Smith

        7. ( C ) If AG participants raise the issue of Vils Mirazayonov’s book “State Secrets: An Insider’s View of the Russian Chemical Weapons Program,”

        The second half of the book “The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy” published in 2010 talks about the decision not to make a public issue of the Soviet / Russian chemical warfare programs that ran even under Yeltsin. The trade off was that the Russians would quietly end them.

        Reply
        1. integer

          7. ( C ) Drawing on the points provided in reftel, del rep met with delegates from the UK (Mark Matthews), Switzerland (Ruth flint), Austria (Hans Schramml) and Czech Republic (Jitka Brodska) to discuss the recent ill-considered comments made by Scientific Advisory Board Chairman Matousek to the Western Group. All of the delegates appreciated the clarification that the U.S. did not develop or weaponize NGA, including “Novichoks.” They also agreed with the U.S. that it is a bad idea to have a discussion on whether to add NGAs to the CWC Schedules of Chemicals. Finally, they all also stated that they had not heard of any interest by any delegation in pursuing such an effort, and the issue has not/not resurfaced in WEOG.

          So why would the US want to stop novichoks from being added to the CWC Schedules of Chemicals? BTW the “recent ill-considered comments made by Scientific Advisory Board Chairman Matousek to the Western Group” referred to in the above cable included the claim that the US was weaponizing novichoks at the , and Matousek held a position where he would probably learn about these sorts of things if they were happening.

          As for David E. Hoffman’s book, I don’t trust the assertions of anyone who works for the Washington Post.

          Reply
      3. perpetualWAR

        Lying comes naturally to the Clintons:
        “…I didn’t inhale.”
        “…I never had s. e. x. with that woman.”

        “I should be 50 points ahead!”

        Reply
      4. Procopius

        @David, 9:34 AM: While you are correct about the markings on each paragraph, someone may have older copies of documents, outside the control of the classification authority, still showing classified status of material which has been declassified. So much is over-classified that LOTS of old documents are out there that will appear to be classified, even though the material was declassified years ago. This is something that is hard to check on. In this case seeing just the one paragraph can be misleading because the notice of declassification will be placed at the top of the cable.

        Reply
      5. Lambert Strether Post author

        > classified “C” markings on emails recovered from her private emails were just a way to put paragraphs in alphabetical order…

        It isn’t like the shameless lying isn’t ubiquitous….

        Reply
  2. Emorej a Hong Kong

    Graham: Pulling out of Syria ‘the single worst decision’ Trump could make

    Is this the stupidest thing Graham has ever said? It would be for most people, but I don’t follow Graham closely enough to be sure.

    So many worse decisions are easy to envision and predict, up to an including accidentally starting WWIII the next time there is an atrocity in Syria — without waiting to verify whether it is a false flag operation by Jihadis.

    Of course an atrocity against the American troops (or contractors?) there would rile up opinion in the US. It is hard not to wonder whether inviting such a scenario one of the reasons they are still there?

    Reply
    1. Eureka Springs

      The challenge would be finding smart statements. Even more challenging, finding smart actions. He’s a perfect Senator Wormetongue and should remain one until we the peeps abolish the U.S. Senate entirely.

      Reply
    2. RUKidding

      So many bad decisions & things said by Graham, so very hard to choose the worst.

      This is clearly but one of the top contenders for worst of the worst.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        I dunno, didn’t he advocate arming the Ukrainians? And didn’t he support the CIA plan to train “moderate” rebel units? Long, long history of stupidity there.

        Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Is this the stupidest thing Graham has ever said?

      The subsequent Tweet about soldiers? Mercs? displaying the American flag — how handy that will be as a casus belli, if any of ’em get captured and strung up, Fallujah-style — makes me wonder what the chain of command really is. Perhaps Graham’s words were meant as a thread, a la Schumer’s “they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you” of the intelligence community.

      Reply
  3. Wukchumni

    Big box stores are dying. What do we do with all the bodies? Popular Science
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I see 1950’s-60’s empty bank buildings in the nearest Big Smoke (Visalia) all over the place. They built em’ big (for the time-nothing compared to a big box store now) and obviously the local commercial real estate market wasn’t good enough for some concern to demolish them and put something else in it’s place. There’s at least 6 of these white elephants i’m aware of.

    The lucky few get used a month a year leading up to Halloween, when a costume store takes over, and then they just sit for 11 stanzas more.

    So, what happens with empty Big Box stores that sold a small smattering of what you can procure online?

    I’m thinking ad hoc swapmeets.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Big box stores are dying. What to do with bodies?

      What do we doing with all the workers that used to work there? All these still living (perhaps barely, sadly) human bodies?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Everything’s been hollowed out in our culture, and said empty big box stores always had high ceilings, accentuating the look in particular, when emptied out.

        All it takes is a few more broken window panes than whomever is in charge of keeping the building intact, feels they can afford to fix, and then it’s a downward spiral for it’s existence, and truth be said, ever look at how quick they put these buildings up in the first place?

        Wasn’t as if they were thinking that it’d be a monument to some monopoly when being built, that chased away mom & pop stores and now was being treated to the same by an invisible competitor.

        Just in time structures

        Reply
        1. J Sterling

          I watched a glass office block go up across the street last year; they’re like cotton candy. The irony of capitalism is that in the pursuit of maximum return on minimum capital investment, it produces such insubstantial capital assets.

          Centuries from now, maybe people will wonder why it was called capitalism at all, when all the surviving structures they see are from non-capitalist enterprises, that built to endure.

          As Marx said, all that is solid melts into air with them.

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            Centuries from now this whole era is going to be a vast void for historians. There will be almost no record of what happened because of the ephemeral nature of our record-keeping. The paper mostly used will not even last a century, not being acid-free. Computer archives will be completely unreadable because nobody will recognize the formatting of the 1s and 0s. I already have dozens of CDs from ten years ago that are unreadable. I read somewhere recently that the U.S. Archive copy legislation onto parchment for long-term storage.

            Reply
            1. pricklyone

              If humans are still around in 20 years, I will consider it a big win. Past that, it will have to be somebody else’s worry.

              Reply
        2. WheresOurTeddy

          One remembers the 80s and 90s when the local shopkeeper was unceremoniously slaughtered by the big boxes while cheering masses with their cheap imports flooded into WalMart. Some at the time stopped and noticed the destruction of the America they knew and grew up with. I remember specifically a five-and-dime that had been in business for decades owned by a local family went under. People rallied, there was a newspaper article, etc etc. It was a TCBY within 6 months.

          When the TCBY went bust there were no rallies, no newspaper articles. Nobody was sad. So will it be with the boxes that killed mom and pop. Lord Bezos takes no prisoners, and gives no quarter. All shall be crushed under the tank treads of Amazon, whose stock price will be followed breathlessly by those in attendance here and elsewhere.

          And the beat goes on, while consolidation of ownership in this society just gets more and more compact in the hands of fewer and fewer. As Chris Rock said, “if poor people knew how rich rich people are, there’d be riots in the streets.”

          Reply
          1. Decency Gap

            ”As Chris Rock said, “if poor people knew how rich rich people are, there’d be riots in the streets.””

            Let us call that the decency or the evil gap.

            It applies to many other fields that touches the organization if the society. E.g., one of the main reason why war mongering neocons can get away with their lethal scams and lies is that normal decent people are unable to fathom the level of evil and indecency of these people and therefore does not react correctly. Decent people work in good faith. Our oligarchs, politicians etc don’t.

            Reply
          2. LifelongLib

            I like Gore Vidal:
            “If the poor knew how much fun the rich are having, they would rise up and eat them.”

            Reply
            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The idealist, the optimist scenario: The poor would seize the wealth and distribute it equitably.

              That’s what progressives offer.

              The pessimistic, the ‘I’ve seen too many humans’ person: The poor would kick the rich out, move into their mansions and enjoy their trophy wives.

              We non-violent progressives are not for that, even in the midst of another bloody revolution.

              Reply
            2. ArcadiaMommy

              If the people who think they are well off knew how the truly wealthy lived, the system would change immediately.

              Reply
            3. expat

              Fortunately, the rich are probably even more miserable than the poor. Rich people go to amazing parties and astonishing vacation destinations and worry about things, mainly about whether or not everyone knows they are rich and powerful and whether or not someone there is richer and more powerful.

              Look at Trump. He is rich but wasn’t happy because he was not powerful enough. Now he is powerful but not enough (wants to do away with courts and Congress). He is rich but obviously not rich enough because he is embarrassed to release his tax returns.

              The rich are different from you and me. They have more angst.

              Reply
      2. Adam Eran

        The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) mathematically modeled every congestion remedy up to and including double-decking the freeways. Only one remedy made a significant difference in congestion: mixed use. Old malls could profit from building residences either over them or in their parking lots (essentially free land for that affordable housing). Residences over retail even makes commercial sense. Wikipedia reports “lifestyle centers” (i.e. mixed residences and commerce/offices) earn 50 percent more per square foot than standard, single-use centers.

        …just a thought

        Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      Maybe something like the Public Market in Seattle (if that has not been killed off or warped like so much else there in the nature of “community” by the egregious selfishness of Tech and FIRE)?

      There’s a former Kmart in this area that became sort of a public market, subdivided into little shop spaces and flea market spots at small rents, indoors and air conditioned to make it year round in our hot, stormy climate. Opportunity for little people to run small businesses in the “bad part of town.” Have not looked recently to see how it’s doing.

      There is a “public space” in downtown St. Pete, as in via corruption, bought and paid for with maybe $40 or $50 million in 1970s public funds, then turned over to private “developers” who mismanaged and grasped until serial bankruptcies. Now owned (for maybe $5 million) by a guy who got rich by ripping off veterans via VA mortgage scams. All of these were based on trying to bring “high end shopping” to downtown St. Pete, inconsistent with the local “market.” Would have been a nice spot for something like the Public Market, great for local foods and “artisanal” specialties and other more modest businesses. Now it’s higher-end Yuppified, but So is downtown St. Pete. So it goes. .

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Back in the day in the late 80’s early 90’s, we’d go down to Rosarito Beach, south of Tijuana about 30 miles or so. This was the time when the Mexican peso was near nadir when measured against the dollar, about 10,000 pesos to 1 Yanqui dollar. Armed with a fistful of pesos, one could drink yourself silly for a pittance, and don’t get me started on the most excellent local fireworks they sell, which you could light off on the beach @ night.

        The town had 2 parts, the more touristy main part where the Rosarito Beach Hotel was, and the more local economy.

        I liked walking around and one thing you would see in both locales were strip malls where nobody had ever occupied a given store location as in brand new and abandoned, and there would be enough broken glass in the front of the store to allow squatters entrance.

        It would play perfectly into being a place for our legions of homeless, and all you need is a few handy rocks.

        Reply
        1. John k

          Used to go down to las Gaviotas, ocean bedroom community, 9 miles south of Rosarito, early 80’s, before and after kids. Wonderful place.

          Reply
    3. Alex morfesis

      Big box stores are evolving… Retail is always changing…
      gimbels…Woolworths… Howard Johnson restaurant…the “singer building” was demolished to make way for the world trade center buildings…life is not static…life evolves…

      Reply
  4. J Sterling

    On Cambridge Analytica mainly being able to sell themselves, I’ve often thought that if an advertising company can’t persuade you to pay more for their services than they’re worth, they probably can’t persuade your customers to pay more for yours.

    Reply
  5. Snooty_Noodle

    Funny about that Toys R Us/Big-Box retailer story: If memory serves me correctly, it wasn’t just Amazon that put Toys out of business, but the $5 billion of debt that its private equity parasites laid on it…

    Reply
    1. Baby Gerald

      Another funny fact: it happens to be the very same private equity vampire squid who destroyed KayBee Toys about a decade earlier. Mitt Romney’s old buddies at Bain Capital. They sure seem to have a thing against toy stores.

      Reply
      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Mitt hates fun. Strapped his dog to the roof of the car. That is not something someone with empathy for other living things does. Kind of like working at Bain.

        I remember my dear departed grandma who was still alive in 2012 told me: “Anyone who treats animals poorly has something wrong with them.” That fading Dust Bowl wisdom slips away more each day and I shudder to think what will happen when the only old people left are Baby Boomers.

        Reply
    2. jrs

      Yes you are right, the Toys R Us stores were PROFITABLE, despite Amazon, Amazon wasn’t the problem, private equity was.

      Reply
  6. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Big box stores are dying. What do we do with all the bodies?

    As in the article, one in our area was converted into a megachurch.

    I’d still prefer a bulldozer and then some grass seed.

    Reply
    1. Marco

      Mega church also for the local Kmart here. Guns+Bibles+Gold+10 year old SUVs. The huge parking lots are the big draw in suburban and exuberan cities. They have a ton of money or zoning laws were easily finagled and appears like a very expensive retrofit. I always throught these huge spaces could be large indoor tiny house villages. Forget the plumbing codes and allow for composting toilets.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      In this era, we can afford to do stuff like bulldozing buildings and consigning all the wreckage to some landfill somewhere. I would suspect that a century from now, such a building would be carefully disassembled and all materials would be re-purposed into other projects. The only thing that would go to waste would be the air inside that build before the disassembly.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        We need lots of WALL-Es to deal with that problem! As to the other problems? Maybe a nice thermonuclear cautery?

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          Maybe a nice thermonuclear cautery

          Trump is bringing that to us soon. Pompeo SecState? Bolton???? Not to mention a knuckledragger (i.e., a paramilitary non-analyst activist) as DCIA.

          Reply
    3. polecat

      Ditch the turf, as it’s an awful waste of space ! … If it were up to me, I’d plant edibles … for those in need, of course …

      Reply
    4. Fec

      Private equity is ruining retail. We’re in our 18th year in a third tier city selling women’s clothes and doing fine w/online sales. The Long Tail works.

      Gotta stay away from high rent associated with gentrification.

      Reply
  7. Wukchumni

    What the @#$%&!? Microsoft bans nudity, swearing in Skype, emails, Office 365 docs The Register
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    In 5 days of soaking last week @ Saline Valley, my unofficial count was 47 out of 58 attired merely in their birthday suits whilst in the hot springs.

    Lack of attire varies depending upon location and how easy it is to get there, @ Arizona hot springs-on the Colorado River, maybe it’s 50/50 in terms of nude/clothed, while most everybody that hiked 10 miles to Willett hot springs is in the buff in hot water.

    Nobody is naked aside from their time in the hot springs generally, so there’s never the feel of a nudist colony, but really about the only venue i’m aware of where it happens in these United States.

    Public nudity is still a big taboo.

    Reply
    1. barefoot charley

      Just a few decades ago my sister and I were hiking around Mono Lake on the CA NV border, and I spied a little pocket pool where I thought it would be fun to float on the concentrated salt. I said we can strip, look around, there’s no one for miles–so we did. Awhile later we heard voices approaching. My sister was dismayed, it was a couple with their teenage daughter. But when he saw us, Papa declared “I never thought I would see this in America!” in a pleasant German accent, and he stooped to untie his boots. All three climbed in with us for a pleasant visit.
      Just sayin.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        around 13 years ago, when I could feel the approach of the long anticipated arthritis (bad wreck when I was 20), I was given a canoe by my dad, and took to learning a 10 mile stretch of the Llano River.
        at least once a month I would go, during the warmer months…at first, I figured I was the only one who “wore the river”…or “wore a canoe”…but it turns out that even in the big middle of “conservative” Texas, there are folks who are eager to shed textiles when they reckon they can get away with it.
        Hippie Hollow, on Lake Travis, is still the only “legal” nude place in the state…but there are any number of stretches of river and beach and ponds in the woods where folks get nekkid.
        Our prudishness is mostly affect.

        Reply
        1. Edward E

          If you silently sneek down the Buffalo National River you’re likely to occasionally find pools of nekked folks. But they don’t like being surprised and rocks are easily picked up, just saying.
          We are still clothed for the winter, most of us probably should stay that way, honestly. Especially when the Rainbow Family come to the upper wilderness area, the woods are full of rangers and cops, doesn’t stop them though.

          Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      perils of software as a service. Your provider can lock you out at any time for any reason.

      The future is Windows 7 or Linux.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        Yup. The day will come when for some reason I can no longer use Windows 7 and then I quit Microsoft completely. I never did use their email thingy, whatever it was called, and I quit Office ten years ago, although I gotta say I hate Libre Office and it’s nowhere nearly as good as Office 2003. I find Ubuntu Linux good. I was lucky enough to work with TRSDOS, a Unix-like shell whose name escapes me, and then DOS 2.0-5.1 before reluctantly moving to Windows 3.0, so the command line doesn’t intimidate me.

        Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The marketplace is the domain in which the living body is turned into — and experienced as — a self-consciously realized object, a commodity.

        Which is why the furor over Stormy Daniels is so absurd. We are all Stormy (well, except for a very, very few).
        `
        On obesity, that’s one of the first things one notices returning to America from away.

        Reply
    3. ArcadiaMommy

      If it’s warm, you will always see naked people towards the southern end of Black’s Beach in La Jolla. If you park at the glider port there is a great (but tricky) hike down through the little canyons and then you can walk up the steps back to the glider port. We saw people doing naked yoga once. The kids were borderline hysterical with laughter. Not too many women tho, as the dads always point out.

      Reply
    4. Elizabeth Burton

      After reading numerous scare stories like this the last few days, I finally had occasion to boot up my Lenovo whereon I get email from my Outlook account. There, in the important-mail column, was the actual announcement of the Microsoft policy changes.

      The only thing they’re cracking down on is X-Box, which from discussing it with parents I know is something they’ve prayed for a long time. There isn’t a word said about nudity:

      The only reference to language is as follows:

      “In the Code of Conduct section, we’ve clarified that use of offensive language and fraudulent activity is prohibited. We’ve also clarified that violation of the Code of Conduct through Xbox Services may result in suspensions or bans from participation in Xbox Services, including forfeiture of content licenses, Xbox Gold Membership time, and Microsoft account balances associated with the account.”

      That’s it. That’s the entire reference in the terms-of-use agreement to anything remotely resembling “banning” anything. So, one can only reach the conclusion that someone yet again decided to stir the pot, wrote up the false information Microsoft would be monitoring your Word and listening in on your Skype calls to cut you off if you were naughty, and launched it into the wild. And, as is usual, a whole slew of people in venues that should know better swallowed it wholesale and spewed it back out.

      I found the narrative hard to believe when I first saw it, but time constraints prevented me from pursuing it; and I sometimes go weeks without using the Lenovo. It was sheer serendipity I did so this morning and saw the email from MS.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The Register link includes links to the relevant , the to which it applies. It’s not just XBox, most definitely.

        Now let’s parse they email they sent you. There are two sentences:

        [1]In the Code of Conduct section, we’ve clarified that use of offensive language and fraudulent activity is prohibited. [2] We’ve also clarified that violation of the Code of Conduct through Xbox Services may result in suspensions or bans from participation in Xbox Services

        Sentence [2] (as emphasized by the word “also”) applies only to the XBox. Sentence [1] does not. Sorry.

        Reply
    5. Oregoncharles

      The hippies tried to fix that, but apparently it didn’t stick – except for hot springs, and Amfortas, below.

      Reply
    6. UserFriendly

      Not just Microsoft.

      I wonder how much it has to do with that Stop sex trafficing Bill that just got enacted.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        That’s exactly it. My spidey sense is telling me that the real purpose of FOSTA has little to do with its ostensible purpose. I don’t like bills taking constitutional rights away that surface suddenly and get passed without debate; it reminds me of the USA PATRIOT Act. The whole thing stinks.

        Reply
  8. pretzelattack

    washington monthly:
    The United States is being led by a president who “won” an election with the open help of the Russian foreign intelligence service, which hacked the private campaign and personal emails of the president’s political opponents and released them through an organization led by a man hiding in an embassy on the run from rape charges.

    they just keep doubling down on the family blogging propaganda. everybody knows saddam has those wmd’s and the only way to be safe is to go to war!

    the only difference between this and iraq 2 is this time the desired enemy does indeed have wmd’s. what does one do when the conventional wisdom/groupthink in baghdad on the potomac is driving us toward a world war? trump finally (apparently, fingers crossed) is making a good decision- to withdraw from syria- and the response is wailing and gnashing of teeth. the u.s. is the most dangerous country on the planet.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      On reflection, I seriously doubt that Trump will be deposed between now and the next US elections in 2020. Even Silicon Valley is starting to warm up to Trump because of all the money he is throwing their way. After reading this delusional piece I am going to make a prediction. I think that at the beginning of 2020 you are going to see more and more stories on how Trump cannot be allowed to run for a second term because he really did not win it the first time around. Some people will go nuts at the thought of him running a second time. Hollywood will go ballistic. There will be all sort of legal challenges against him running. Mueller will say that he almost has the proof in hand to dump him. There will be more Women’s Marches against the whole thought of him running again. The Washington Post and New York Times will blow a gasket. In short, it will be glorious.

      Reply
      1. JEHR

        I think that Trump will have no problem winning his second term. There seems to be a yen in the US for his kind of politics, or maybe it is a sign of the normalization of Trumpism.

        Reply
          1. Edward E

            CIA is running as Dem

            Somebody wrote a song a long time ago to warn us about Trumpism, Laura Nyro : Flim Flam Man

            Reply
      2. Arizona Slim

        Point of history: When John Adams was running for re-election in 1800, there was a lot of noise made over his lack of fitness for office. So, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

        Reply
        1. LifelongLib

          I have to say this is the first time I’ve seen an analogy of John Adams with Donald Trump though…

          Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe they can work out a deal with the Postal Service to deliver the Post for free, when you order something from the Amazon.

      The question for the customer then is what to do with it. Is it, as Trump claimed, a lobbyist brochure, or newspaper?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        When the flat rate boxes from the USPS came out initially around 2004, one of the main reasons was to allow people to send stuff to family & friends in various ‘stanbox on the cheap, by routing it through an APO (army post office) in the states.

        Reply
      2. Brian

        fresh newspaper is usually sterile, but then they will replace the soy ink with something “out in the warehouse”

        Reply
      3. gepay

        I heat with wood. Newspapers are great for starting fires. I have switched to paper grocery bags as newspapers have become scarce in my area.

        Reply
    3. Indrid Cold

      To his credit, Obama was smart enough to find ways to work with Russia instead of just go along with the Borg’s fomenting of war. No one amidst all the post election hagiography of Obama has accused him of being ‘soft on Putin’ or invented baseless theories about how Obama was manipulated by Putins GRU.

      Reply
      1. Eureka Springs

        To his credit, Obama was smart enough to find ways to work with Russia instead of just go along with the Borg’s fomenting of war.

        Is this a joke?

        Ukraine – Crimea, Syria, sanctions, expelling Russian diplomatic personnel from the U.S., the Olympics, ramping up the nuke race, the rhetoric and lies by him and his party during the ’16 election immediately comes to mind.

        Reply
        1. JohnnyGL

          Don’t forget the repeated instances of the Pentagon/CIA/someone in the MIC breaking Sec.Kerry’s word every time he managed to work out a deal with Lavrov.

          Obama may not have actively participated in ramping-up tensions with Russia, but he also failed pathetically to stop the forces within his own administration, and within the larger establishment from ramping them up consistently, at least from 2014 on starting with the Maidan Sq. revolt. He also, at the very least, acquiesced to ‘regime change’ plans in Syria. He let Brennan’s CIA program run a rat line to smuggle weapons from Libya post-Gaddafi. He also let Brennan’s crew ship TOW missiles, probably via Turkey, to the FSA/ISIS/Al Qaeda goons in 2014-15 which led to the heavy losses in the Syrian Army that nearly toppled Assad himself and forced him to abandon almost half of the country.

          Obama even committed himself, personally, and politically when he said, “Assad must go”. That was a major concession to the regime change wrecking crew.

          They were only stopped because Putin upped the ante and made them back off. Obama was very much part of the problem, here, even if the Russian collusion narrative post-2016 might have finally reached the point where Obama finally just couldn’t stomach getting on board.

          Reply
      2. Bill Smith

        Actually, isn’t the complaint against Obama that he knew about hacking in regard to election campaigns and did nothing to warn/harden infrastructure in the US about it?

        If you go back and read the newspapers from the 2008 election:

        “Hackers broke into the computer systems of the Barack Obama and John McCain campaign teams during the US presidential race and stole a ”serious amount of files””

        Or the 2012 election:

        “Report: Chinese Hackers Were Constantly Targeting Mitt Romney During The 2012 Presidential Campaign.”

        What did Obama do about this in the 8 years he was president?

        Reply
        1. pretzelattack

          did these reports have any more credibility than the “russians hacked the election in 2018” reports? if not, no wonder they were ignored.

          Reply
        2. Procopius

          What, exactly, was Obama supposed to do? I don’t see any reason to pay any attention to the people who know nothing about computers or the internet and say, “He should have done something.”

          Reply
  9. taunger

    Intercept column notes that jobs guarantee is an inversion of work requirement messaging, a tactical turnabout I find very easy to use. Wonder what NC readers think of the rhetorical framework as presented by the Intercept.

    Reply
    1. cocomaan

      I liked the flip. It makes sense.

      When I worked in a welfare-to-work program as a case manager, I had buckets I put people into who came my way:

      – Victims of bad luck: These people usually had some problem that cropped up once and shattered their reality. They had to claw their way back to what they had.
      – Physical health problems: These were people, or their kids, who had crippling problems that kept them from working. It was just as likely that someone’s kids were suffering and they had to make caretaking a full time job as it was themselves.
      – Mental health problems: Schizophrenics and personality disorders abounded. Some were treated, others weren’t. It really hurt their chances of getting a job.
      – People not fit to work: I had a lot of clients who spent their entire lives “running the streets”, drug dealing, hustling, selling their bodies, whatever.
      – Drug addictions: Crippling
      – Domestic abuse: people who were being abused by family were common.
      – Criminal records: a huge number of people have criminal records and this prevents them from getting jobs

      The problem with this non exhaustive list of buckets is that I could easily see a job guarantee turning into a list of exceptions of how we don’t hire people but keep them on benefits. That’s actually the way the current system works. My case management was made up of an infinite number of reasons why people needed to continue benefits without working or doing productive activity.

      It’s a bit of a myth, too, that people have to work on welfare. They often have to prove they are looking for a job. But even if they don’t, nobody is taking TANF away from a family of kids. That just dones’t happen, despite the 5 year ticking timeline imposed by the Feds on their grants to the states.

      Reply
      1. JBird

        The irreducible number of the truly unemployable probably is much smaller than most think. The current work environment just chews people up and spits out the remains.

        It’s harder for the healthy to find and stay in the job(s) thal actually pays enough to live and there are plenty of people who can work well part-time or perhaps full time in an environment adjusted for them.

        Also, work is skill like anything else. It can be built or improved on, or lost like any other skill.

        Reply
        1. jrs

          Yea “can’t find a job that pays enough to actually live on, so why bother working?” might be a category of it’s own.

          Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      The JG is “a job for everyone who wants one.” It’s not a work requirement program.

      Although I’m sure both vengeful conservatives and gatekeeping liberals would love to turn it into one.

      Reply
  10. windsock

    “What Happens After Death?”… An article that conflates soul with consciousness…. hmm. I found a lot of it wandering into “wooo” territory. I suppose I should have know better, because the only definitive answer is “who knows?”

    Reply
    1. Indrid Cold

      The reductionist materialist epistemology is the result of the late 19th century revolt against Deism and the religious fervor that was a reaction against Darwins upset of biological sciences. I find it a bedrock article of faith amongst most of my “progressive” friends that psychological phenomenon can be reduced to physical states, or as often, that consciousness is an illusory epiphenomenon of same. Any evidence to the contrary is dismissed as “woo” and a “shut this idiot up” wave of the hand. Kind of like how it’s an Totally established that Putin secretly controls the world.

      Reply
      1. jsn

        There are few institutions left that even attempt to teach humility: in a neo-liberal world its seen as a suicidal tendency.

        To admit we have a pretty thin (5 mutable senses) information to our tiny (compared to the cosmos) grey, mush processor is more than the typical utility maximizer can deal with.

        “Putin” is my zen koan.

        Reply
    2. Lee

      Can’t recall who it was who it was when asked if he was prepared to enter the next world responded, “One world at a time!” Thoreau, maybe? In spite of all the carping and whinging I do, I’ve grown rather fond of the universe I’m in. Getting to this point has taken the better part of of seven decades. The mere thought of starting all over in novel surroundings is so tiring. I’m off to take a nap.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        How does that go – Don’t marry who you love, love who you marry.

        And you’re married to this universe. even if there are other more attractive universes.

        Reply
    3. lyman alpha blob

      Very woo-ey. I stopped reading after this part –

      Lanza points to the structure of the universe itself, and that the laws, forces, and constants of the universe appear to be fine-tuned for life, implying intelligence existed prior to matter.

      Physicist Victor Stenger diasgrees , as do many others.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Coincidences.

        It’s like the Moon, with its size, is positioned such that when it’s directly between us and the Sun, it more or less blocks the latter. More further out, we don’t get the complete solar eclipses.

        Reply
    1. Martine Finnucane

      Cattle have souls. It takes a lot of education to see otherwise, if you ever saw calves at play, or a cow’s protectiveness to her new born. Once seen, it takes a lot of forgetting to eat a burger “like a normal person.”

      Reply
    2. polecat

      My first thought when seeing that, was the probable crossing-over from species to species, of the tuberculosis bacterium.

      “Life .. finds a way ..”

      Reply
  11. bassmule

    “Using public office for private gain.”

    “More than at any time in history, the president of the United States is actively using the power and prestige of his office to line his own pockets: landing loans for his businesses, steering wealthy buyers to his condos, securing cheap foreign labor for his resorts, preserving federal subsidies for his housing projects, easing regulations on his golf courses, licensing his name to overseas projects, even peddling coffee mugs and shot glasses bearing the presidential seal. For Trump, whose business revolves around the marketability of his name, there has proved to be no public policy too big, and no private opportunity too crass, to exploit for personal profit.”

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      Yes. Knew it would happen. Was happening from the moment he declared his candidacy.

      Too bad all we rubes mainly hear about is his sexxytime with various porn stars or whatever. Personally, I could care less who 45 schtupped (if a consenting adult); adultry is something for his wives to worry about.

      I would prefer to hear more about the Emolluments Clause, but oddly enough (snark) no one dares discuss that. And we all know that Republicans in Congress ain’t gonna do their job in terms of this.

      Ergo… the Trump family is happy to go: KaChing, KaChing. If they get tapped on the wrist once in a while: So what?

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Profit comes in many forms.

      Some want money and some want fame.

      Beware of those who want power for power’s sake.

      I probably should include those who desire to be virtuous and want power.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe those too who desire that others be virtuous and want power to make it happen. e.g Prohibition

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s true – people are motivated differently; what profits one may or may not profit another.

          Reply
    3. John k

      Crass, gross, unappealing… sets libs hair on fire. I’m beginning to see the hidden beauty.
      The self enrichment is a trifle compared with the tax cut, gutting climate change policy… and all this a trifle vs the endless war over decades.

      Leave Syria soon… music to my ears, but not to the warmongers squealing in both wings of of our war party. Just imagine how many troops we’d have their now if she had won.

      Reply
    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yes, Trump should have used straws and cut-outs while in office, and waited to really cash in when it was time for his Presidential Library. Will nobody think of the n-o-o-o-r-r-r-m-m-m-s-s-s??????

      Yes, normally the Civics 101 person I really am would be shocked by all this, but the wheels fell off the normal behavior wagon way back in 2009, when the [genuflects at the highly articulate and drama-free] Obama administration gave the banksters impunity for their crimes. (If Obama had indicted some Wells Fargo executives in 2016, I bet Clinton would have won going away. He didn’t. “Let that sink in,” as they say.)

      I’d rather have the wound dripping pus all over everything than suppurating under the bandages applied by both party establishments, as it has been doing for years. Let it all out into the light, openly, and maybe somebody will end up doing something about it (though with Russia and Stormy Daniels being their main talking points, that somebody won’t be the Democrat Party).

      Reply
  12. dcblogger

    I don’t think I saw this link on today’s links
    The Oligarchs’ ‘Guaranteed Basic Income’ Scam

    Reply
    1. bassmule

      Indeed:

      “Neoliberalism heralds a return to the worst days of unregulated capitalism, after the Industrial Revolution when workers were denied a living wage and decent, safe working conditions. Oligarchs have not changed. They are out for themselves. They do not see government as an institution to defend and promote the rights and needs of citizens. They see it as an impediment to unrestricted exploitation and profit. Human beings, to oligarchs, are commodities. They are used to increase wealth and then discarded. Oligarchs don’t propose programs such as a guaranteed basic income unless they intend to profit from it. This is how they are wired. Don’t be fooled by the grins and oily promises of these human versions of the Cheshire Cat. The object is to spread confusion while they increase levels of exploitation.”

      Reply
      1. Indrid Cold

        A lot of oligarchs see government as a blunt instrument to bash the competition with. (Following from the Yale Law article)

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Big governments can be big blunt instruments.

          Small governments are likely small, blunt instruments when used as such.

          I mean, after all, how much more can be done with a big government like the Chinese government, than, say, with the government of Kiribati?

          Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Unfortunately, a lot of concepts can be used to scam. For example, the email or letters from abroad.

      And as we see above, jobs creation with a stigmatized guarantee

      Reply
    3. djrichard

      From an I’m pretty sure was linked to previously on NC:

      The true beauty of UBI, though, lies in its capitalist welfare: Tech giants keep profits high

      I made the following comment back then in response to the article

      Imagine we had UBI and imagine everything was fully automated, so that almost nobody was employed. How do the corporations set the price for their goods and services? It would have little to do with cost. It would have everything to do with “what the market can bear”. As a point of comparison, consider high speed internet service from your ISP. ISP’s typically make 90% profit margin on that. Has nothing to do with cost and everything to do with what the market can bear. That’s our future with UBI.

      And to amend that, that’s our future now as well. Privatized profits pull from two sources only: deficit spending by the Fed Gov and private debt issuance (money spent into existence). It’s those imbalances that allow the imbalanced trade between corporations and labor (i.e. where corporations collect the sur/profit) to happen.

      The only difference with UBI is:
      – we can give them more profit (i.e. to the degree that deficit spending increases with UBI)
      – more of us are participating in giving them their sur. I.e. there’s more of a common denominator.

      And to some degree the Fed Gov achieves the above two points already as well, as long as:
      – the Fed Gov is not shrinking deficit spending. Of course, this is always a topic that gets to be revisited every time we hit the debt ceiling.
      – the Fed Gov is not shrinking the pool of participants that it sprinkles its spending goodness on. And this is a topic every time we hit the debt ceiling as well: who’s deserving, who’s not.

      So maybe UBI would finally put the debt ceiling conversation to rest. One can hope.

      Otherwise, if we want to bring the corporations to heel, we need to increase balanced trade between us and the corporations. And that’s not going to happen until we stop outsourcing of jobs to the global supply chain. And that’s not going to happen until we achieve balanced trade with other countries. And that’s not going to happen until we put an end to direct foreign investment in the US by our trading partners.

      Alternatively, since our corporations act like natural monopolies in many cases, let’s just nationalize them. And then the Fed Gov can treat these “pumps” of goods and services as a public good rather than a private one.

      Reply
    1. ambrit

      I would say; “Stop horsing around,” but that would be an offer you could refuse.
      Godfather IV: President Corleone

      Reply
  13. Alex

    In other words: just admit everybody

    I agree with a lot of what is said there but there’s a certain contradiction with the idea to accept “anyone who has proved they are capable of doing the expected work.” In my own experience, after fairly competitive admissions process, between a quarter and a third of accepted students dropped from the college in the first 2 years. Now if a random sample of everyone who completed high school were admitted I suppose the survival ratio would be 10-20%. Imagine how hard it would be to teach such a class.

    Reply
    1. David

      This is roughly the system in France and it’s a disaster. Everyone who passes the baccalaureat, essentially a school-leaving exam, is entitled to a university place. Pressure to have more people succeed at the “bac,” and to reduce the ranks of the young unemployed, means that about 80% of young people now pass. So class sizes are enormous, and you see students queuing for places an hour before the lecture starts. But many of them have studied technical and vocational subjects like plumbing and hairdressing. So if you get a technical qualification in, say, woodwork, then because of the open enrollment system you can sign up for a degree in philosophy. (This is an extreme case but not impossible). Understandably, therefore, the drop-out rate is enormous, and trying to reduce the number of university entrants without offending against the sacred principle of equality is one of the hottest topics in French education at the moment.

      Reply
    2. Romancing The Loan

      Ideally in such a world fewer people (only those most interested and likely to stick it out) would be applying in the first place since college wouldn’t be the only route to a good future. The NYT today has a on how difficult it is for the rich to do home renovations because of a shortage of skilled laborers, and notes the decline of high school shop classes.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        4Amusing, as I can’t imagine, say, Little princess Paris Hilton, or anyone of her ilk … slathering ‘mud’ onto that taped sheetrocked wall ..

        As for the NYT .. they were against the labored, before they were for/against Labor !

        Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “The master plan to stop Brexit”

    I think that I see the weakness with the Best for Britain campaign here. The whole point of the campaign is to try to reset the clock back to June 22nd 2016 which for people like Soros (who lost his bets big time back then) would be really great. It would be fantastic. Forgetting about the fact that that option has long since disappeared in the rear-vision mirror and Europe has since moved on, here is the weakness.
    For all those voters who said Leave, they would be back again at square one. And all the conditions and failings that made them vote Leave in the first place would still be in place. Now unless there is some compact that if Brexit was repealed that this neglect and abandonment of large tracts of the UK would be reversed and cities like London would stop being wealth pumps for the rest of the country, then I would say Not Going To Happen.

    Reply
    1. Brian

      Every day, the reasons for exit become more clear. They leave a failing train in hopes to find another. They fight both the Eurorot and the UK rot to find a place to live. Perhaps they see that a wreck is coming and want to move perpindicular to it.

      Reply
    2. David

      Some “master plan”. Shorter version: if we hadn’t treated Leavers like idiots and criminals in 2016, we might have won. Perhaps we can ask for a replay?

      Reply
    3. ChrisPacific

      I like the idea about breaking the echo chamber and understanding exactly what Brexit will entail. Unfortunately I think they need to do some work on that themselves before coming up with a proposal, as I think “public vote on final Brexit” is unlikely to achieve any of the objectives they want. Yes, they could theoretically do it, and it would give the public the power to veto any agreed Brexit deal. But it is highly unlikely that they would be able to reverse Brexit entirely this way (given the UK factions involved and the need for unanimous EU approval) and since they would have no time to come up with an alternative, it would end up being a choice between the deal on offer and a no-deal/chaotic Brexit. At which point Remainers would have a choice between (1) rubber-stamping a deal that is against everything they stand for or (2) blowing up the economy and giving the Tories a convenient scapegoat to pin everything on, thereby escaping most of the blame for their appalling mismanagement. Some master plan.

      They would do better to accept that Brexit is going to happen and start planning for how to minimize the damage.

      Reply
  15. sleepy

    Re: Iowa jobs

    I live in Mason City IA, the town referenced in the article. And, yes, the lack of wage information in the article was telling. The going “minimum wage” for retail work, cashiers and so on, is about $10/hr. Probably about $9 for fast food. And most of those jobs are part time of course with paltry benefits if any. Many young people I know work 2 of those jobs. And there are jobs aplenty that still pay the actual minimum.

    Winnebago Industries has its RV production line about 30 minutes away in Forest City IA. Assembly line workers start at $12/hr (might be slightly more now). Many of the industries that were located here 20 yrs ago have closed up–and that had little to do with the availability of labor.

    North Iowa Area Community College built a state of the art digital machine tool program 10 or so years ago. Students got good, well-paying jobs, but they had to go up the road to Minnesota to get them, and there was some blowback from local businesses who complained that we weren’t training kids for local jobs. Well, there weren’t any local jobs. Minnesota is 30 minutes away and has higher wages and better labor regulations.

    This place doesn’t look particularly prosperous–outside the large local hospital. Used car lots, pawnshops, payday lenders all proliferate and local retail closes stores routinely.

    So anyone who wants to come here and cobble together a couple part time $10/hr jobs and rent a house for $500/month can probably make a subsistence go of it. Probably a better spot for a low-wage existence than many others–crime free, good schools, cheap rent.

    Reply
    1. Terry Humphrey

      Low wages/Low-skill employment, crime-free, good schools, cheap rent are attractions to Latino immigrants. Marshall, in Saline County, Missouri has seen its Latino population soar 50 per cent. They are now 13+ per cent of the total population of 12,000. Unfortunately, many are from El Salvador and Trump put them on notice he’s pulling the plug on them in pulling their TPS status—some of them have been here since 2001. The Governing class and natives of Marshall seem unaware they’re going to have consequences from this stupidity.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There seems to be a hierarchy of immigrants.

        I was at a Korean restaurant the other day. The management was Korean, but the workers were Latino.

        On the other hand, I have yet to see any Korean workers in any Peruvian or Mexican eateries.

        Is that to do with ‘there are jobs that Korean Americans won’t do?”

        Reply
        1. Janie

          Decades ago, when my husband wore suits and starched shirts, our L.A. area dry cleaner retired. A Korean couple bought and ran the business. Grandma did alterations and various children and relatives did whatever needed doing. Within ten years, the family advanced from on old sedan to a late-model BMW and the kids were in UCLA.

          Reply
  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China begins new tariffs on 128 US products CCTV English

    A related or maybe unrelated question: What is the tariff on intellectual property there, or anywhere?

    Reply
  17. DJG

    The article about dogs and smells and the NYBR essay on books about dogs, humans, and foxes both are enlightening. Given that recent studies also show that dogs’ vision is quite good, it may turn out that dogs, overall, sense the world better. Some things that I have read about wolves indicate that wolves’ senses are even finer than those of dogs.

    The co-evolution of humans and dogs is intriguing, which is what the NYBR essay delves into more.

    I was reminded of some research that I did a while ago: In a Roman house, the lares, which were the benevolent spirits that protected the house, were dressed in cloaks of dogskin. They also were almost always depicted as joyous and as dancing.

    And Rome, of course, is under the protection of the wolf that rescued Romulus and Remus.

    Reply
    1. georgieboy

      Good points.

      And sadly one must call total BS on the authors on this claim reported in the article:

      Pierotti and Fogg blame this wolf-hatred on Christianity, which they claim demonized wolves because “the Christian Church decided that many humans were living too close to nonhumans on a respectful basis.”

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Dogs, today, sense the world better.

      Humans 10,000 years also sensed the world better than humans today.

      “Use it or lose it.”

      Reply
    3. Lee

      For another good read on the subject, I recommend:

      Dogs
      A NEW UNDERSTANDING OF CANINE ORIGIN, BEHAVIOR AND EVOLUTION
      By RAYMOND COPPINGER AND LORNA COPPINGER

      Also:

      A Society of Wolves (Wildlife)
      Mcintyre, Rick

      Reply
  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Is China’s Belt and Road working? A progress report from eight countries Nikkei Asian Review. Project delays, worries about debt, sovereignty concerns.

    Those concerns – are they seeing a wooden horse on the Road, the Belt?

    Reply
    1. L

      I would say that for China the debt and Sovreignity issues are in fact the point, and the delays are a nonissue. Most of the OBOR and AIIB projects seem to come with stipulations that money flows to Chinese companies or that they have preferential operations. In this way China has locked in exclusive suppliers, exclusive ports, (see Sri Lanka) and others. In this way they are using the time-tested concept of rowing, that is loaning money out with the guarantee that more will flow back and that over time. That these relationships are also geographically beneficial is just a side deal.

      Reply
  19. ex-PFC Chuck

    re “What Happens After Death? New Theory Suggests Consciousness Moves To Another Universe” Medium

    One of my brother’s PhD classmates in graduate school at Princeton in the ’50s was Hugh Everett III, whose thesis was the first proposal of the of quantum mechanics, which was alluded to at the Medium link. From Wikipedia:

    In layman’s terms, the hypothesis states there is a very large—perhaps infinite[2]—number of universes, and everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but did not, has occurred in the past of some other universe or universes.

    Needless to say, it’s was and is controversial. Then there’s Norman Mailer’s notion in Ancient Evenings, his novel set in early Egypt, if a man arranges to be killed at the precise instant he’s impregnating a woman, his soul will pass into the male child so conceived.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      The Everetts are a very interesting family. Everett was way ahead of his time with his theories which have now gained some acceptance, but he ate and drank himself to death at an early age. His son went on the become a and his daughter committed suicide saying she wanted to go be with her father in an alternate universe.

      Reply
      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Thanks! I never knew that. My brother moved on to his alternate universe eight years ago, fighting cancer until the last few weeks.

        Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          I didn’t know anything about them myself until I read Max Tegmark’s book a couple years ago where he mentions Everett and his son. It’s a good read if you’re interested in multiverse theory. Everett’s multiverse is only one kind of several that physicists have now posited, some more plausible than others.

          And thank you! When I pulled that link earlier to respond to your comment I saw that the Eels were playing near me soon and I’m going to get tickets!

          Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If everything, i.e. 100%, that could possibly have happened has occurred in other universes, then, what is the purpose of the cosmos (encompassing the infinite number of universes)?

      That seems like a brute force way of exhausting all possibilities….a machine just crunching out numbers endlessly….like counting from 1 to infinity.

      Reply
      1. gepay

        On the other hand, String Theory which embraces other universes, has not produced any revelations on reality.
        That said, I too found the Tibetan Book of the Dead to be the most likely, to me, story of post death existence.

        Reply
  20. ambrit

    It is fun to see the WaPo going full speed ahead with the “Big Lie” of ‘Russia Dun It’ in their article, perhaps hagiography would be a better term, of the incoming NSA chief.
    Since America has declared that they will consider any cyber attack, of which, attribution will be the really hard part, as an act of war, the present American drive to develop a strong cyber offensive capability as the preferred strategy, suggests that someone, somewhere wants a war. After all, if America considers cyber shenanigans as war, why should ‘adversaries’ act any differently?
    I would hate to see the day, blessedly short I suspect, when America ‘takes out’ the electrical grid of Russia and the Russians reply by launching the nukes towards the Homeland.
    I really hope that I don’t live that long, but I fear that I will.

    Reply
    1. Brooklin Bridge

      It’s beginning to look as though anyone who isn’t directly in free fall over the Sammath Naur is going to get to ‘see it’ at least begin – fast and furious or slow and agonizing as the case may be.

      It’s a little hard to say just how generalized or breathless this article is, (he talks about American, Israeli and Saudi “aristocracy” and how they mesh and diverge) but his argument is definitely coherent if not compelling: -Eric Zuesse, Washington’s Blog

      Reply
    2. ChrisPacific

      I thought the “winning the important fights” comment was funny. I have met plenty of senior managers who won the important fights. Their methods for doing so differed, but one approach that was very common was to sort all the fights into ‘won’ and ‘lost’ buckets, and then apply the ‘important’ label to one of the buckets after the fact. Which one is left as an exercise for the reader.

      Reply
  21. Buck Eschaton

    For those theologically-minded, I’ll leave a couple links to articles re Atonement theology that when I read them for the first time more than a decade ago were quite thrilling. Creation/re-Creation, restoring the bonds of society. Atonement and Jubilee go together.

    And to go to along with these, Michael Hudson’s very relevant work.

    Didn’t Mr. Hudson have a new book coming around Easter?

    Reply
  22. ambrit

    About that Cracked piece. We looked into ‘alternative’ cancer therapies for Phyllis at a clinic in Mexico. Since this was a non-standard treatment regime, the money making angle was predominant. Everything we checked into about this and related venues screamed; send us your tired, your sick, your wealthy. Others need not apply.
    The other unexplored aspect of that story was the huge, yuuuge, reservoir of poor Americans who cannot even meet the ‘deductibles’ of present day American healthcare. When one cannot meet even ‘cheaper’ costs of something, that something is not available.
    America is a failing state.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      But don’tcha know ambrit, in Merica .. Host($)pitals are the new Taj Mahal($) .. even in my little town, with it’s higher unemployment, relative to the State as a whole, and the growing homeless community, opioids galore, and suicides, the local Medico Idustrial Complex keeps on expanding … and never fails to crow about it …
      … but hey, should I or mine ever be in need of medico ‘intervention’ … Who needs the comforts of one’s domicile, (THAT’S only for the Good($) ‘Doctor$, Admini$trator$,
      Commi$$ioner$, and the like) when one can experiance the luxury of living/dying in a cardboard refridgerator box in the brush !

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Yeah you rite.
        I’ve looked into jobs with some of the local Houses of Pain. The wages offered for lowly jobs are pathetic. (Lowly here includes mechanical construction and repair jobs. Maintenance has now been twisted to mean janitor.) Even wages for nurses and such are described to me as almost laughable, by nursies and such I’ve queried on the subject. The top people, even in the supposedly non-profit institutions are paid obscenely high wages.
        One local joke I heard went:
        Q: Why did the hospital CEO paint his helicopter in Medivac colours?
        A: So he wouldn’t get shot down.
        We’re not there yet.

        Reply
  23. Lee

    Trump says US will leave Syria soon but here in Manbij I visited front &saw how US soldiers for 1st time established fixed position near front, opposite Turkey backed forces. US flag on top of roof for Turks to see.

    Two NATO members squaring off. Maybe they’ll do the region a favor and blow each other to bits.

    Reply
    1. sleepy

      Well the Turks and Americans share an airbase at Incrilik, Turkey, so maybe they can just duke it out there.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Compare that to what Alexander (Iskander) of Macedonia did when he retreated from somewhere near the river Beas

      Deciding upon his return, Alexander ordered the construction of twelve huge altars “equal in height to the loftiest military towers, while exceeding them in breadth; to serve both as a thanks offering to the gods who had led him so far as conqueror, and also to serve as monuments of his own labours.

      We might have to build a few more fixed positions.

      Reply
  24. Craig H.

    > Mark Zuckerberg Prepares For Congressional Testimony By Poring Over Lawmakers’ Personal Data

    This is the Onion but corporate espionage is very much a thing. Zuckerberg has employees (or consultants) who are doing exactly this. In a way it is hilarious but also it is ain’t.

    Also: this is serious news and it was March 29, not April 1 and it’s one of those other cases where you only need to read the headline but really, everybody should read the headline:

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We’re not completely out of it yet…he could still run and become president, not for life though (that’s for China and a few other places).

      Reply
  25. allan

    [AP]
    The photos are reminiscent of the rallies in the Wisconsin Capitol in 2011. Let’s hope this turns out better.

    Reply
      1. allan

        An Oklahoma student said when she met with state Sen. Marty Quinn, he told her that teachers who are unhappy about their pay should find another job and that she is too young to fully understand what’s going on.

        Family values in Real America™.
        How long before Sen. Quinn is writing op-eds in the NYT to Red-splain it all to us?

        Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      My mother is a retired public school teacher. Still a union member.

      Yesterday, I was telling her about all of this current unrest, and we agreed over how lucky she was to work where she was well paid and the administration respected her. Her local also had VERY good negotiators at contract time — you know me, I had to point that out.

      Any-hoo, the Slim family is in solidarity with these teachers.

      Reply
  26. Carey

    I’m going to go for a Captain Obvious award and note that the level of cant in the news is becoming overwhelming. How long can this disconnection from reality last?

    Reply
    1. sleepy

      Yes, I’ve never seen anything like it. Nothing but Russia, Russia, Putin, and Trump 24/7 on the msm.

      Reply
    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Given the movement to block any alternative voices, it could well become permanent. In the meantime, any contradiction is labeled “right-wing propaganda”, which those not skilled in dealing with corporate-media propaganda are ill-equipped to counter. If there even is a way to counter it, since it’s clearly intended to put the one posting facts on the defensive.

      Then there are those who demand you provide chapter and verse to support the facts presented, because as we all know unless you’re paid by CNN/MSNBC/WaPo/NYT et al. you aren’t capable of knowing anything. The real hardcore brainwashed are the ones who, when referred to relevant reading material by qualified authors, sneeringly dismiss them as useless because they were clearly selected to maintain one’s bias.

      Reply
  27. allan

    Welcome to Hotel Sinclair Communications: you can check in anytime you want, but you can never leave

    Orwell’s Ministry of Truth didn’t include NDAs and clawbacks, so kudos to Sinclair for innovation.

    Reply
  28. Jim Haygood

    In late morning trade, the S&P 500 index broke below its Feb 8th “line in the sand” low of 2,581.

    It’s currently at 2,574 as Wall Street’s self-driving bots stampede.

    Au revoir, Bubble III. It was a great 8 yrs 10 months.

    Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      I’m not sure we’ve broken any big technical barriers, yet. But, I think it looks like we’re close.

      We could be setting up for some flash-crash stuff.

      Reply
    2. Jim Haygood

      What’s holding up in today’s smash?

      Treasuries — the traditional safe haven asset — and the old yellow dog, gold, just doing its job as an uncorrelated (to stocks) asset.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        The Chinese are making moves to price oil in Yuan now. Not too big a deal, yet. If the Chinese and the Russians can do a deal with the Saudis, or other Gulfies. Hmmm….

        Reply
      2. JohnnyGL

        Worth noting that with treasuries rising in the last week or two, corporate bond spreads are now starting to widen after a good, lengthy stretch of narrowing..

        Reply
        1. JohnnyGL

          Actually, minor correction….investment grade spreads are mostly steady vs. Treasuries.

          It’s the junkier end of the curve that’s deteriorating, at least a little.

          Reply
  29. JohnnyGL

    “Economists may warn that the combination of Trump’s protectionism, big tax cuts, and uncontrolled government borrowing, coming at a time when the US economy is already near full employment, will ultimately fuel inflationary pressure.” – Project Syndicate, Kaletsky.

    Kaletsky then goes on to argue that investors are likely wrong and are relying on a history of falling inflation and interest rates.

    I’d argue that investors could look at Kaletsky’s list and see…
    Tariffs – small potatoes
    big tax cuts – small multiplier
    uncontrolled (pejorative description, isn’t it?) government borrowing – more than offset by reduced private borrowing
    near full employment – Well, EPOP says otherwise. So do the numbers on hourly wages.

    I’d also argue that Mr. Kaletsky should see the recent interest rate hikes and oil price hikes as having a braking effect on the economy. Perhaps investors see these factors as more than offsetting the fiscal stimulus coming from tax cuts?

    Libor spikes and spread widening would only add to the squeeze on corporate borrowing costs.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “… when the US economy is already near full employment, will ultimately fuel inflationary pressure.” – Project Syndicate, Kaletsky”

      What is wrong with full employment?

      We have a vast reserve army of robots, just for crises like that.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        What’s wrong with inflation? You say “pay back your debts with cheaper money” like that’s a bad thing!

        (Lambert, non-economist, wildly oversimplifies. Do feel free to correct.)

        Reply
        1. JohnnyGL

          What’s wrong with inflation? Well, when combined with higher nominal interest rates, it makes it hard to pump asset bubbles in various sectors. That’s kind of at the core of our current economic model. :)

          Next, you’re going to tell me you want a new economic model!!! Come on!!! :)

          Reply
  30. Edward E

    Sassy was a beautiful black and tan beagle with such a nose, I often had to put an ear plug in one side of her nose or she’d chase two rabbits at the same time. She would catch rabbits alive and bring one back to train her pups, letting them nuzzle and scent. The rabbit always eventually got away. So cute to watch!

    Reply
    1. HotFlash

      Oh dear (wipes away tear). My Daisy-cat of happy memory did the same with mice, brought’em into the house to train her kittens. Yikes! And yes, the mouse *usually* got away while the kittens were just learning.

      Reply
      1. Edward E

        Was Daisy-cat an eat-sleep-mouser? Sassafras was eat-sleep-hunt, rabbits always on the brain. I should have entered her in championship competition because she always did everything right, she wouldn’t sight chase like her male companion. It was always the nose to the ground for seventeen wonderful years. Rabbits leave the least amount of scent of about all of nature.

        Reply
      2. Oregoncharles

        That’s what happened with the first mouse one of my cats caught: he let it go to play with it, and it promptly disappeared down a crevice. Since that house was severely infested, I was pretty disgusted – and I didn’t know cats could look embarrassed. He caught on after a while, though.

        Of course, I killed mice in that house.

        Reply
        1. Edward E

          We used to have that problem of mice in the house and mice & rats in the barns and brush. Now that friendly foxes have taken care of this place, you cannot find any. But I kind of spooked them one time while trying to chase off wild pig. They’re back under the propane tank again, I’ve noticed fresh digging. That’s what about foxes, they dig around a lot. Now the propane tank is trying to sink. Guess we’re going to have to get the guys out here to pick it up and I’ll reset it with new block or somehow.

          Reply
  31. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: Cyberattack on Atlanta
    I didn’t read anything in the link indicating something special about Atlanta as a target. Besides the possible generalization of such attacks I wondered whether the origin were an insider. Then I recalled reading of a security specialist asked to check on the security at a bank. The security specialist sent people in to leave a few USB sticks infected with some hack software around the bank. The specialist had the login password and remote access to a terminal inside the bank’s systems in less than a week.

    Reply
  32. troutcor

    Re: Master plan to stop Brexit:
    Work harder?
    Do MORE?
    Per . . . SUASION?
    Talking to . . . . . THOSE people?
    Come ON!
    Surely blaming the Russkies is the way to go.
    Everyone knows that!

    Reply
  33. RandyM

    If killing traded Russian double agents like Skripal is part of Putin’s “KGB playbook”, as Mathias Bruggmann claims, then Putin’s incompetence is comforting to witness. Wouldn’t a boring old bullet be easier.

    Reply
    1. HotFlash

      Absolutely! I mean, talk about incompetent. Apparently Mr Skripal’s wife and son (not sure) pre–deceased him without comment, surely if one wanted to, um, decease Mr. Skripal without comment, it could be done. The two surviving members of a family, ne fresh infrom Russia, found slumped over on a parkbench in a town a hop and a skip from Portland Down? Sketchy, to say the least! I mean, if I had been planning to kill Mr. S, I would have done him alone. Preferably a car accident — pedestrians die all the time. I can’t believe that V. Putin is this clueless. The US guys — well, maybe, and of course, there are always the .

      Reply
    2. Arizona Slim

      Those boring bullets sure worked for the Romanov family. Or, I should say, worked when it came to ensuring their demise in the basement of the Ipatiev House.

      Reply
  34. third time lucky

    NYT + poison plot twist – toxic door knobs.

    So no one Scripols met after leaving home, going to eat in restaurant, and much later passing out on bench where they harmed, but then finally managed to poison constable that came to their assistance? … It is to laugh.

    Only toxic door knob in UK is Boris Johnson.

    Reply
  35. JerryDenim

    Thanks for the link to the Wilmington Coup story in the Atlantic. I grew up in North Carolina and was shocked to hear this very ugly tale of deep-sixed Reconstruction history for the first time around the year 1998 from a classmate at UNC Wilmington. I was quite interested and attempted to run down some information on the topic but the existing scholarship and documentation at the time was somewhere between thin to nonexistent. I found very little information and even less context and documentation. A lot of the information I found seemed contradictory and confusing.

    A quick search this morning turned up a fairly meaty Wikipedia entry that I really enjoyed reading.

    Bending the 1898 coup story to make the entire tale about racism and white supremacy obscures one of the most important truths about the incident and the Jim Crow laws which were passed throughout the South following the events in North Carolina in 1898. The Wilmington coup which was orchestrated by the powerful elite business interests of the state was a direct response to the emergent threat of poor white Populist farmers unifying with black Republicans under the banner of the biracial, redistributionist “Fusionist” coalition. Since poor whites and poor blacks together constituted more than 90% of the South, having these two demographics working together politically and as a intertwineed socio-economic bloc was an existential threat to the great fortunes and power structures that survived the Civil War intact. So it was with Jim Crow. Jim Crow was as much about keeping poor whites and poor blacks apart politically as it was about keeping ‘negros in their place’.

    1898, 1968 or 2018- The most subversive and verboten political crime one can commit in the United States is unifying poor whites and blacks under the same bread and butter political banner. Just like MLK in 1968 with the multi-racial ‘Poor People’s Campaign’, unifying people in this manner is a threat to the system that will get you killed. When Bernie Sanders goes down to one of the last strong holds of racism in the Deep South- Mississippi- to help organize black and white Nissan workers he is picking up a very old and dangerous political baton.

    I believe it is no coincidence that just as our country reaches astonishing new levels of inequality and concentrated wealth, we just so happen to find ourselves bombarded by a conglomerated corporate media spewing hate, hysteria and outrage along the identity fault lines of race/gender/sexuality/religion. 1898 or 2018 the game has stayed the same. Divide and conquer. Then keep them divided at all cost.

    It also struck me while reading how a Bernie-supporting, revolutionary-minded rapper from the south (Michael Render-aka Killer Mike) might see recent efforts at gun control with a bit more suspicion than say rich, white, privileged high school kids with parents that didn’t grow up under Jim Crow or who have no recollection of the Civil Rights movement. I’m not siding against the Parkland kids, or saying teenagers deserve AR-15s or anything like that, I’m just saying, there are other legitimate lenses out there. This part from the Wilmington Coup Wikipedia entry grabbed me:

    “A number of black men attempted to purchase guns and powder, but the gun merchants, who were all white, refused to sell them any.[60][61] The merchants would also report, to the clubs, on any black person who tried to procure arms. Some blacks tried to circumvent the local merchants, by trying to purchase guns outside of the state, such as the Winchester Arms Company of New Jersey. However, the manufacture would refer the request back to their North Carolina state branch, which would then call the order in to the local Wilmington branch.[60][61] Once the state branch learned, from the local branch, that the purchasers were black, the state branch would refuse to fill the order. Despite it being legal for blacks to own and purchase guns, they were unable to procure any for their defense, except a few men who owned old army muskets or pistols. Merchants sold no guns to blacks between November 1st and November 10th, but later testified that they sold over 400 guns to whites over the same period.[60][61]”

    Reply
    1. JBird

      The coup was not the most lethal Jim Crow Era event. A couple of small primarily black towns/villages were erased from existence and maps (although most survived albeit homeless). I forgot where although one of those places was in the Florida Panhandle.

      Ethnic cleansing was a thing through out the entire country actually with many towns and some counties cleansed. So right after the Civil War there was a diaspora of black families seeking farms and other looking for work (as blacks perform much of the work including skilled work in the prewar and Civil War South including heavy industry, so many were much more than mere laborers.) within a few decades they were all pushed into their own ghettoes, just like the Jews had been, or to mostly marginal farmlands.

      If you want to read up on some real violence, read up on the destruction of the Black section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, nickname the Black Wallstreet, in 1921. Nearly completely destroyed including hospitals and the first aerial bombings of Americans in America by the Oklahoma national guard. The survivors said there were hidden mass graves, bodies dumped in the river, and maybe mineshafts. If you are thinking of reading the local newspaper’s accounts, don’t bother. Some people were able to describe what they had read, but all copies of the paper that had stories are missing. This includes local archives that have copies before and after but not during. As are the police and city records. One might almost believe that there was some sort of cover up. Heh.

      More seriously, despite the scale of the event, it almost disappeared from history between the complete destruction of all records, the mass scattering of the Black survivors, all of whom were encouraged not to make a fuss. It was only the deliberate documenting by a very few survivors soon after and local historians desire to interview the very few, very old something like 60 or 70 years afterwards that prevented that. Had not a small handful of traumatized, destitute survivors not written and their families not preserved, and the few stubborn academics or just curious people not later done some interviews, I would not be typing this out. I’m guessing less than twenty people over 70 years did the work making, preserving, and the original modern reporting on the massacre. There are very good reasons people are ignorant of the inconvenient truths of things like Jim Crow.

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        Thanks for these. I’d heard of Tulsa, but not of Wilmington.

        I also have seen stuff that suggests lots of poor whites got excluded from voting under Jim Crow. Can’t remember where I saw, but I feel like I saw that it was something ridiculous….like only 4% of adults in GA were actually able to vote around the start of the 20th Century between literacy tests, no women’s suffrage, property requirements, etc.

        Anyone know a good book that does a comprehensive analysis of what Jim Crow was really all about? I feel like there’s a much bigger story than just keeping down black people from voting and using lynching as an enforcement mechanism. It seems like there was a much bigger project that took place that we really need to grasp. It could be helpful for today’s efforts to organize and resist.

        Reply
        1. JBird

          I have not really looked recently; there is always more coming out. I just don’t know of any broad and comprehensive books; the individual aspects are all covered, but you have to bounce around to sort of get it all. However if anyone knows please let me know!

          But for now, you could start with The Strange Career of Jim Crow, and Slavery By Another Name for the Southern Jim Crow system, and The Sundown Towns, for the national pattern of racial exclusion, and for more fun reading Family Properties which covers the wonderfully slimy racially exploitive buying a home on contract in the early and middle 20th century, specifically in Chicago.

          That’s my suggested starter kit. Depressing as Hell but still interesting too.

          I also have to put several of them on by to buy and re-read list. I mostly check them out from the library. I am really realizing just how much rhyming of history between now and after Reconstruction.

          Reply
  36. Carey

    Seems to me that the Skripal story was designed to be implausible.
    C J Hopkins has written some good things on this topic, I think.

    Reply
  37. Montero de Suaza

    “How corporate dark money is taking power on both sides of the Atlantic”
    mentioned Ed Meese.
    Is this the same person as in Edwin Meese re PROMIS/INSLAW’s case?

    Reply

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