2:00PM Water Cooler 7/24/2018

By Lambert Strether of .

Trade

“Trump to offer emergency aid to farmers hurt by trade disputes” [] • The obvious riposte, and just in time for the midterms.

“Parsing China’s Bogus Response to the Latest Round of U.S. Tariffs” []. “The bottom-line analysis of China’s recent statement is that part of this trade war, which China launched two decades ago, will be won or lost in the court of global opinion. The media, policymakers and citizens around the world should not fall for the Chinese spin that it is the victim. Its violations of the letter and spirt of WTO’s rules are clear for all to see. If China does not act more like a legitimate WTO member, then the integrity of the global trading system will suffer the consequences.” • Opinion, obviously. But it got me thinking tangentially. What if China really is more fragile than we think? Thinking back to Links about mild bank runs, and adulterated Chinese vitamins and baby milk (and perhaps, adulterated concrete in all those building projects). Not signs of health, though the counter-argument would be that all these stories are rather Victorian, and the Brits and their empire did rather well for themselves for some time, . Nevertheless, this chart of Chinese GDP:

Speculating very freely now: Has China experienced a real, brutal downturn in the last few decades? If not, China might be ripe for a sort of societal (not necessarily financial) , and the Administration playing Jenga with its exports might well bring it on. I realize all of the stats are bad and we know nothing about China, but would any China hands in the commentariat care to chime in?

By Intsokzen at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3945452

Politics

2020

“Lockheed Martin to Create 8000 New Apprenticeship Opportunities” []. “Marilyn HewHewson,Lockheed Martin’s CEO, pledged on July 19 that the company will create 8,000 new apprenticeship opportunities and invest $5 million in vocational and trade programs over the next five years. The was announced as President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order establishing the President’s . The president’s newly formed council will develop and implement a national workforce strategy to address the growing skills gap in vocational workers’ readiness for current jobs and careers of the future.” • Too funny. Trump just stole the liberal Democrat “Training!” issue, and how easy it was, too, for some reason. Of course, the program won’t come to anything, but that’s hardly the point.

2018

“The House Tilts Toward the Democrats” []. “Democrats are now a little better than 50-50 to win the House. This is the first time this cycle we’ve gone beyond 50-50 odds on a House turnover. We’re making 17 House ratings changes this week, all in favor of the Democrats.” • Contrary to my view, FWIW, but I follow Inside Elections handicapping, exactly because they’re more conservative; no point calling a Blue Wave* prematurely, especially when liberal Democrat triumphalism distorts all the coverage.” NOTE * I’ve gotta think about that term “Blue Wave.” AOC, for example, isn’t “Blue” in any sense that the Democrat establishment would accept, or even understand. I mean, the DSA shirts aren’t blue, right? More: “It’s not that GOP fundraising, in total, was bad: Many vulnerable incumbents had very solid quarters. Rather, it’s that Democratic fundraising was extraordinary, with dozens of Democratic candidates turning in blockbuster quarters and outraising their GOP opponents. Money isn’t everything, but one expects incumbents to have a clear financial edge on their opponents, and it’s not clear that some current GOP members will have even that with several months of buckraking to go before the Nov. 6 election.” • The money is important, as Ferguson cogently urges here and here. But do note that this comment shows how practitioners like Sabato, as well as Establishment Democrats, mentally conceive of a “Blue Wave”: Ginormous amounts of money from the Donor Class to fund the Air War. That’s very different from the “knock on doors” Ground War espoused by AOC and the left generally, even if the outcome is “Blue” seats.

Just gonna say it: if you are throwing your weight behind Bernie 2020, you are virtually ensuring another four years of Trump. You are also getting in bed with the Russians.

Stop it.

— ElizabethCMcLaughlin (@ECMcLaughlin)

“Fox Business Thinks Ocasio-Cortez Saying Everyone Deserves a Living Wage Is Scary” []. • And in a neat example of liberals and conservatives working together against the left:

“Bernie Sanders, Ortiz — uh, Ocasio-Ortiz, in Kansas of all places, where there are at least one marginal House seat, this is self-destructive behavior,” [Hillary Clinton pollster Douglas Schoen] said, mispronouncing the candidate’s name. “Most Americans who vote in midterm elections are not socialist, don’t want socialist policies, and would like to know how we’re gonna pay for programs. As attractive as they may seem, we gotta be able to pay.”

“Mispronouncing the candidate’s name.” I don’t believe that’s accidental (though if it is, it says nothing good about Schoen). We’ve seen a campaign by liberal Democrats to blue AOC’s image, preparatory to redefining her themselves, and this is just another example of that.

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Fires Back at GOP Representative Who Called Her a ‘Girl … or Whatever'” []. • Presumably the “Girl … or Whatever” is meant to suggest AOC is a lesbian (and so what). But note also how the conservative “whatever” dovetails neatly with “mispronouncing” her name. Both neoliberal parties are working the same schtick.

WV-03:

Richard Ojeda is running in West Virginia on an aggressively left, populist platform. Trump won the district by nearly 50 points. just moved the House race to a toss up.

This guy could win:

— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim)

New Cold War

“Why the left needs to wise up to the growing Trump-Russia scandal” [Ryan Cooper, ]. • The problem is that there are so many assumptions built into the narrative that the left cannot accept. I’m not sure how to square that circle, but I know that Sanders and the left generally aren’t doing it.

Stats Watch

Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index, July 2018: “Manufacturing activity in the Fifth District slowed slightly but remained solidly in expansionary territory” []. “Together with other strong regional manufacturing reports, the Fifth District’s persistent strength along with price acceleration in July should bolster the case for further tightening by the Fed.”

Purchasing Managers’ Index Composite Flash, July 2018: “Signaling another month of solid growth for the U.S. economy with services steady” []. “High costs and tight labor conditions are of course consistent with unusual strength in demand, underscored by optimism for the year ahead which is above last year’s very strong trend.”

FHFA House Price Index, May 2018: “Price data in yesterday’s existing home sales report showed an uptick but not today’s FHFA house price index” []. “Though yearly rates are still healthy, they are bound to move lower if monthly rates remain flat. There has not been much punch at all in the nation’s housing data during this year’s Spring selling season, a negative not only for the nation’s home sellers and Realtors but also for second-quarter residential investment.”

Commodities: “Whirlpool Sinks With Raw Material Costs Climbing Around the World” []. “The maker of home appliances said rising raw material costs hurt results in three out of four of its regional markets in the second quarter, including North America, Asia and its struggling Europe, Middle East and Africa division. The only region where it didn’t cite input-cost inflation was in Latin America, which faced its own problems in the second quarter, including a Brazilian trucker strike. ‘Our annual steel contracts and hedging contracts with our base metals give us some protection but do not insulate us from these more material trends,’ Chief Executive Officer Marc Robert Bitzer said on a Tuesday morning conference call.” • There’s that supply chain fragility again….

Commodities: “Thieves Jump on Cobalt Craze With $10 Million Warehouse Heist” []. “About 112 metric tons of cobalt was stolen from a warehouse in Rotterdam owned by Vollers Group Gmbh earlier this month, according to a statement from the Minor Metals Trade Association, a U.K.-based industry group. At today’s prices, the loot is worth almost $10 million. The explosion in cobalt prices over the past two years has made the metal enticing for crooks….”

Finance: “Amazon a prime threat to fund managers, analysts warn” []. “A move by the tech giant Amazon into selling mutual funds would spark a price war that could slash asset managers’ profit margins — already under pressure — still further, analysts have warned. Amazon is ‘well-placed’ to move into selling funds to retail investors, said analysts at the research house Bernstein in a note published on July 24 — thanks to the roughly 100 million people who subscribe to its flagship Amazon Prime service. Edward Houghton, one of Bernstein’s senior analysts, added that ‘given the industry’s profitability, [it] may well be minded to do so.’ Amazon could also set up robo-advisory services, the analysts wrote, as Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has already done. Robo-advisers provide automated investment advice and direct customers’ money toward particular mutual funds. But the Bernstein team said if they were ‘hypothetically’ advising Amazon on asset management strategy, they would recommend the tech firm steer clear of actually managing money itself. ‘The potential revenue would not outweigh the risks to reputation*,” they wrote. Nevertheless, a move by Amazon to set up an online fund supermarket could spark a fresh fee war among asset managers.” • It’s always alll about the fee-fees, isn’t it? NOTE * Kidding, right? I would have thought the Crash would have put a stake in the heart of the “reputational damage” thesis. If Goldman Sachs and Citibank are TBTF, what’s Amazon? If can skate away clean, why not Jeff Bezos, who has a house organ of his own in DC?

Banks: “Banks Are Falling Out Of Favor With The Wealthy” []. “Slowly but surely, cash is moving away from banks as depositors increasingly shift funds to products that pay higher yields. That much has become abundantly clear during the current earnings season whereby the big banks have reported an acceleration in deposit outflows especially from wealthy individuals as interest rates continue rising across the board. … Understandably, the wealthy tend to have plenty of cash sloshing in their bank accounts with about 40 percent holding 10-24 percent of their portfolios in cash; 14 percent hold 25-50 percent and 8 percent hold 50 percent or more of their portfolios in cash. A full 38 percent, however, hold less than 10 percent of their portfolios in cash.” • But will there be banks on Mars?

Shipping: “July trucking market off to a slower start” []. “The July trucking market has started off slow, at least compared to the peak volumes that we saw at the end of the second quarter. The gradual slow down in rejections is evidence that carriers are getting less selective in the freight market versus May and June…. This is a normal July freight pattern that occurs every year. Auto plants shut down in mid summer and shippers take extended vacations. We are seeing this same trend show up in other data sets, like hourly driving utilization.”

Shipping: “Cass Freight Index report highlights ongoing strength of freight economy” []. “The most recent edition of the Cass Freight Index Report from Cass Information Systems continued to point to a very strong freight economy, with both freight shipments and expenditures finished the first half of 2018 in strong fashion.”

Shipping: “What’s Going on in Trucking and Rail?” [ (EM)]. “Transportation – trucking in particular, but also railroads – is an infamously cyclical industry that suffered through the “transportation recession” from 2015 through much of 2016, when the goods-based sector in the US slowed down, inventories were high, and demand from shippers fell sharply. With impeccable timing, it came just after the industry had invested in capacity additions. Excess capacity reigned, and prices fell. Now, once again, euphoric trucking companies are building capacity to meet demand. This has led to record orders for new Class 8 trucks that exceed the capacity of truck manufacturers that two years ago were laying off workers. And so the cyclicality of the business continues.” • Same capacity cycle happens at sea. “… But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here, everybody’s gonna jump for joy.” Or not!

Transportation: “Safety groups call for Senate to add ‘commonsense improvements’ before passing AV START Act” []. (AV = Autonomous Vehicle = robot cars (and trucks). • What is wrong with these people? I can’t imagine weaker tea than the vacuous — though doubtless [heads nodding] focus-grouped — “common sense”; the gun regulation groups use it too, for pity’s sake, and look at how well they’re doing. Anyhow, here IMNSHO is the key demand, which is critical: “Compel all AVs to capture detailed crash data in a format that will aid investigators such as the NTSB and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.” The alternative being incompatible data formats, tending toward a system where the robot car makers investigate themselves. I can’t imagine anything that would work more against “safety culture” than that. if Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, Embraer, Cessna, Gulfstream, and all the legacy manufacturers* all had different and proprietary data formats for their Black Box data! (And for “safety culture,” please reread this important material from yesterday’s Water Cooler. Yes, it’s about the Thai cave rescue but click through anyhow; the lessons are general.) Silicon Valley and safety culture are incompatible, and guess who’s leading the robot car charge? NOTE * Aircraft mavens in the readership please hop in and correct me, here!

Transportation: “BlackFly electric ultralight unveiled” []. “OPENER has unveiled the BlackFly, an ultralight all-electric fixed-wing vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. ‘BlackFly is a single-seat Personal Aerial Vehicle (PAV) designed and built for a new world of three-dimensional transportation,” company officials said in a prepared release. BlackFly is simple to master and requires no formal licensing in the USA or special skills to operate safely,’ officials continued.” • Big if true. Dunno about the marketing. “Flies” are vermin, and in Maine, “Black Flies” are especially vicious. And are scooters in the sky necessarily a good thing?

Mr. Market: “Google is a great investor, and Alphabet earnings are showing the results” []. “Alphabet Inc.’s big earnings beat was partly due to large gains from investments, and not the money it spends on its own company.” • Rather like GM and GE going into the finance business?

Five Horsemen: “Well–received earnings at Alphabet have sent Alphabet, Facebook and Microsoft to new record highs” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen July 24 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “Yesterday’s mild market gain raised the mania-panic index to 60 (complacency)” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. (The NakedCap mania-panic index is an equally-weighted average of seven technical indicators derived from stock indexes, volatility (VIX), Treasuries, junk bonds, equity options, and internal measures of new highs vs new lows and up volume vs down volume … each converted to a scale of 0 to 100 before averaging, using thirty years of history for five of the seven series.)

Mania panic index July 23 2018

Rapture Index: Closes down 1 on oil prices. “American oil production hits a new high” []. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 181. Will 175 be the new floor?

Our Famously Free Press

“Why we need local journalism: Look around at how vulnerable we are right now” []. “No one lives in America, exactly. We all live somewhere in America, like the nearly 9 million of us in New York City. The thing I love about local news is that it doesn’t scale. It happens one court hearing or campaign or crime at a time so that you can fairly try and connect political decisions to individual people, the life of the city to that of its inhabitants. Tracking those connections is crucial since the powers that be will always try to arbitrage things, and get their cut. There’s only so much to go around, and how it gets spread defines who we are and how we live.” • But capital loves scale, and also loves arbitrage. Especially so for Silicon Valley and private equity. So here we are!

“Flemish master Rubens’ paintings have fallen foul of Facebook’s censors” ]. “Mark Zuckerberg’s ever so slightly beleaguered team of censors have found themselves embroiled in one of their most unusual mistakes to date. Posts featuring paintings by Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens have been removed from the site, having fallen foul of strict nudity regulations. The paintings, which were being used on the social media platform as part of a promotion for the Belgian region of Flanders, featured – as you’d expect from the artist responsible for the term ‘Rubenesque’ – a fair amount of cherubic flesh. It was, so it seems, a display of nudity so wanton that Facebook had no option but to hide the posts. Even if the flesh in question was 400 year old paint splattered on 400 year old canvas.” • Just break up Facebook and have family-friendly and normal social media networks. It’s insane to have a ginormous monopoly trying to impose a uniform censorship policy on the world. Holy moly.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Handy:

Find out if you are shadowbanned on Twitter

If you have been shadowbanned we’ll give you your voice back.

If you think Twitters shadowbanning is unacceptable get ready for something new.

A Twitter replacement owned by its users. No more censorship.

— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom)

Class Warfare

“‘It’s the New Form of Affordable Housing’: More People Are Living in Their Cars” []. “When a homeless count was conducted in Seattle this year, the city realized that more people are living in their car than ever before and than the year prior. In King County, which surrounds Seattle, around 25 percent of the homeless population is reported to live in their vehicles… There’s been an explosion in many major cities — from Los Angeles to Portland, Ore., to San Francisco — of ‘vehicular homelessness.’ The issue is of particular concern on the West Coast.” • Best economy ever! Just look at those Blue Cities go! ! Which might be true if the back seat of your car was in the front, I suppose…

News of The Wired

The “knob” datatype goes up to 11:

Introducing Rockstar – a proposal for a Turing-complete programming language in which you can write programs that are also 1980s power ballads.

Here's an idiomatic implementation of FizzBuzz that complies with the draft language specification.

— Dylan Beattie 🇪🇺 (@dylanbeattie)

“Why Is Synaptic Pruning Important for the Developing Brain?” []. “For decades neuroscientists believed that neural pruning ended shortly after birth. But in 1979 the late Peter Huttenlocher, a neurologist at the University of Chicago, demonstrated that this excess production and pruning strategy actually continues for synapses long after birth.”

Remembrance of things past:

LV: Cape Kennedy, Fla.
AR: Moon

— Niels Lesniewski (@nielslesniewski)

This is so “right stuff” I can’t hardly stand it.

“Thinner and Lighter Laptops Have Screwed Us All” []. “Over the last few days we’ve seen outcry about Apple’s new MacBook Pro, which offers an optional top-end i9 processor, and how its performance is throttled to the point of parody as the laptop heats up over time… Apple’s insatiable thirst for thinner, which we can see across the iPhone and Mac, appears to have finally caught up with the company. Its new hardware is the most powerful yet, but the form factor betrays that on-paper performance, because the laptop’s form factor means it’s thermally constrained… Outside of making the MacBook thicker—which is unheard of, for Apple—there’s little the company can do to solve this. This isn’t the only thermally constrained machine Apple builds, either. After years of silence, Apple admitted in 2017 that the top-end Mac Pro was stagnant because ‘[…] we designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner, if you will.’… The MacBook Pro isn’t designed for pro users at all, it’s a slick marketing machine designed to sell to the wealthy ‘prosumer’ that wouldn’t notice anyway. That much has been clear since the introduction of the Touch Bar and death of the SD slot—and it’s making a ton of money anyway.” • Which is frustrating if you’re a gamer, but has business consequences if you’re a professional (the class of users Apple hates and wants to get rid of). Which allows me to vent:

Allow me to explain. I have two-and-one-half hours to write this post, which always includes at least one graphic. For graphics, the workflow is: (1) download, (2) resize/edit/rename, (3) upload to the site, and (4) place in HTML. The above screen shows the problem at step (3): the Mac apparently does not collect the file creation or addition date at the moment the graphic is added to the file system via download. If it were, the graphic file I want to upload would be at the top of the dialog box. Instead, it ends up at the bottom, so that every time I upload a file to the site I have to waste a little time by scrolling to the bottom of the file dialog, which is long, and worse — maybe Apple Marketing will pay attention, here — I get to experience a brief jouissance of toothgrinding frustration as I realize how much Apple hates me, the professional user. At one time, this horrid UI/UX would never have been allowed, but the iOS programmers have been gradually crapifying the professional Mac user’s experience, and so has Apple as a whole. Crapified keyboards. Laptops where performance is throttled when the machine overheats, which it inevitably does after twenty or so minutes, because functional heat sinks have been sacrificed on the altar of thinness. What is wrong with you people? But who cares about my time? My laptop is thin! And don’t @ me; I’ve got over twenty years of Mac muscle memory; switching costs are significant. Marketing: Just sell me a ™ laptop!

* * *

Readers, feel free to me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (Aleric):

Aleric writes: “Aleric here. Only a few weeks of spring between winter and summer here in Minnesota this year – blizzard in mid-April, then 100 on Memorial Day. Lots of my delicate spring flowers never bloomed – some plants however are doing well – here are a few.” Yucca and catmint…

* * *

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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.

218 comments

  1. hemeantwell

    “Flies” are vermin, and in Maine, “Black Flies” are especially vicious.

    A little long, but from someone who once went canoeing in Canada way too early in the summer, this turns misery into a grin. Wayne Hemsworth’s “Black Fly Song,” done as a cartoon.

    1. hemeantwell

      Some clarification from a poster at youtube. You wonder about black flies shaping population distribution:

      Most people don’t understand the northern black fly experience. I lived in Labrador for 10 years. Many people know of black fly season in southern parts of Canada or northern US. In those areas, once it gets summer hot, the black flies are gone. In northern Canada, where only a small percentage of Canadians live, the black fly season is June to September, because the summer never gets hot enough to kill them. The average summer temperature in Labrador, for example, is 17C or 63F. If you get away from highways and towns, and on a calm day, the black flies are as bad as the song says.

    2. HotFlash

      Oh, I *love* the NFB, these people were crazy and maybe still are.

      I am particularly fond of the animation, it’s something about the distance, I think, but this a tonne of good stuff made that Hollywood would never, ever touch.

      1. Matt Alfalfafield

        Not NFB but similar to their classic style – this CBC animated short from the 80s is one of the best I’ve ever seen:

        is about, well, a man who planted trees. Can’t recommend it highly enough if you’ve got half an hour to spare.

        1. RMO

          Paddle To The Sea was in my elementary school’s tiny film library so we saw it numerous times. With my millennial age friends it seems to be either The Sweater or The Logdriver’s Waltz that is engraved in their minds, depending on whether they from east or west Canada. My favorite? Blake. If you have any affinity for flying I highly recommend it.

          As to the BlackFly here is a link to a summary of the section of the regulations under which it would be operated:

    3. Kilgore Trout

      Here are two other versions of the song, one going way back. I think I first heard it sung by Jackie Washington back in the early 60’s, when the great folk scare was still in its infancy, but I couldn’t find a version of it. Jim and Jean on Art Linkletter’s show: who would have thought? Jim and Jean are best known, imho, for their version of Phil Ochs’ “Crucifixation”, written by Ochs about the Kennedy assassination.


      1. wilroncanada

        Kilgore, 5:03pm
        Black Fly was one of the folk songs done by Alan Mills on CBC Radio in the early 1950s. (Mills is also credited with writing “I know an old lady who swallowed a fly.) CBC had a folk music show on Saturday mornings from the post-WWII 1940s through the 50s, under a variety of names. The earlier host was Tom Kines, I think–those were my single digit years.

  2. david

    For good ‘contrary’ views on China see anything by Michael Pettis – China Financial Markets

    Under bezzle – need to address the bad environmental consequences of space ‘tourism’

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s very unusual, in the 5,000 years of Chinese history, including some legendary rulers, to have a period of uninterrupted GDP growth, and to see the people of Middle Kingdom wanting to move abroad, especially the elites.

      After the Shang dynasty was overthrown, one prince, Gija, ran away to Korea and established the Gija Joseon dynasty…according to legend, and is challenged today by Korean nationalists, now that the world doesn’t revolve around China anymore, and there is no likelihood of another borrowing of Chinese culture, such when, centuries ago, Confucianism was introduced.

      And when the first empire (QIn) had ended, some Qin elites escaped to Japan (or so I have heard).

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Michael Pettis is excellent – mostly because he understands economic history and can place China’s growth in the wider historic context. He doesn’t talk in terms of Minsky moments, but he clearly thinks China is due a huge correction, although he has written that its more likely too be a longer term deflationary correction rather than a crash. His articles are very closely argued and convincing.

      Its difficult being a bear about China, I’ve been reading China bears since the late 1990’s (Gordon Chang was maybe the first), and all have been wrong so far. The crucial thing is that China seems to have managed to get past the middle income trap (or at least, is doing so) as its managed to develop a pretty good network of domestic high tech companies (this is where many rapidly developing countries in the past have failed). But the potential deflationary traps are all there and there is no question but there is rampant malinvestment all over China. But China does run by different rules than other countries, so an old fashioned bank collapse or credit crunch seems very unlikely. But the reality is that China has maintained its blip free growth through massive credit infusions and this simply can’t go on forever – each successive wave is less successful and just builds up more problems. But I don’t think anyone really knows the form it will take when it finally has its Minsky moment.

      As for Lamberts point about concrete, this is actually a serious issue in China, mostly because of the refusal of the Chinese to allow imports of foreign concrete for specialised uses. I can’t find it right now, but about 5 years ago there was a detailed article in a civil engineering magazine arguing that the high speed rail network in China will have to be progressively slowed down because of inadequate stiffness in the concrete structures (High Speed Rail requires a very high spec of structure due to a ‘pulse’ effect as trains run over 150mph or so). Its actually surprising there haven’t been more problems of this nature given the incredible speed of Chinas development – certainly there is massive corruption in construction, and little real tradition of quality. But thats not necessarily an impediment to growth.

    3. Ultrapope

      I’ve been trying to get a grip on modern China and have run across a lot of Michael Pettis’s articles/books. Haven’t read much outside of a few of his articles, but he seems real apt at cutting through the ideology and BS. Ho-Fung Hung’s another scholar whose name I keep coming across. He’s written a few pieces for the New Left Review on China post-gfc that were very illuminating. Ching Kwan Lee is another. She seems to have real keen insights into labor issues in China as well as Chinese investment in Africa.

      If anyone has other suggestions I’d love to hear about them. Not a China wonk yet but trying to get started down that path.

    4. Rates

      I am far from a Chinese expert. But I’ve read many books (economic and otherwise) about it, and I also speak the language a little bit. Ok maybe more than a little bit but far from expert level.

      Yves would occasionally quote Neal Stephenson’s book Snow Crash but the author has another good book (well he has several good ones) called the Diamond Age. Although it’s not really spelled out in the book, the real strength of China is that there will always be a China i.e. some people will leave China always but there will always be enough remaining to make China a viable nation hence the 5000 years history. The United States though may not be around after a couple of hundred years. Heck Europe today is quite different from a thousand years ago.

      Basically China is like Lord Varys: “Storms come and go, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on padding”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Actually, China today is quite different from a thousand years ago.

        For one, Beijing has been the capital, more or less, during that time, but was never the capital of the empire, one even once before that. It was either Xian or Luoyang, or Kaifeng, most of the time, before 1,000 AD.

        Two years ago, it was even more different. From Chinese Nobility, Wikipedia (but covers the general population):

        Special “commanderies of immigrants” and “white registers” were created for the massive amount of northern origin Han Chinese who moved south during the Eastern Jin dynasty.[20] The southern Chinese aristocracy was formed from the offspring these migrants.[21] Celestial Masters and the nobility of northern China subdued the nobility of southern China during the Eastern Jin and Western Jin in Jiangnan in particular.[22] The most populous region of China was southern China after the depopulation of the north and the migration of northern Chinese to southern China.[23][24] Different waves of migration of aristocratic Chinese from northern China to the south at different times resulted in distinct groups of lineages, with some lineages arriving in the 300s-400s and others in the 800s-900s.[25]

        It was during the first period (300s – 400s AD) that a whole village of Han people would be murdered by the Xianbei, and vice versa. And you see mass migration and the depopulation mentioned in the above article.

        Northern Chinese who settled in Fujian, and later Taiwan, have preserved the sounds of Old Chinese, and ancient Chinese poems only rhyme today when read in that dialect, but not in Mandarin, which, I am guessing, was how Mongols, Khitans, Jurchens, Manchus pronounced Chinese.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And until the Qing dynasty, China very rarely included Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, or Manchuria.

        In during the Qing dynasty, Vladivostok was lost to Russians. From Xianfeng emperor, Wikipedia:

        During the Xianfeng Emperor’s reign, China lost part of Manchuria to the Russian Empire. In 1858, according to the Treaty of Aigun, the territory between Stanovoy Mountains and Amur River was ceded to Russia, and in 1860, according to the Treaty of Beijing, the same thing happened also to the area east of Ussuri River. After that treaty, the Russians founded the city of Vladivostok in the area they had annexed.

        Not sure if people in China have forgotten about that.

        Depending on the needs of the regime, I suppose…from time to time, maybe necessary to remind them to resist their aggressive northern bear neighbor.

      3. Rates

        MyLessThanPrimeBeef, of course the details are different. But that’s not the point. Up to 400 years ago, there wasn’t a United States, but China as a nation has been around for a REALLY long time. Since we are on the quoting game, here’s one from the American Historical Society:

        “China has the longest continuous history of any country in the world—3,500 years of written history. And even 3,500 years ago China’s civilization was old!”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Chinese civilization is quite ancient.

          China, the People’s Republic of China, as a country has been around not REALLY that long…since 1949?

          Before that, it was another country, the Republic of China, and before the Great Qing empire, etc.

          As for ‘longest continuous history’ of any country, in this case, of China, does it count if the rulers of Yuan dynasty were Mongols? Can Israel be said to have a continuous history, when, for a longer period in her case, it was ruled by other powers?

        2. bruce wilder

          Sometimes, the hyperbole concerning how ancient Chinese history is, compared to the Middle East can be exaggerated. There is a rough correspondence between the emergence of China from legend into documented history and similar developments around the Mediterranean. The Shang Dynasty, which is the earliest supported by extensive archaeological research corresponds in time to Mycenean Greece, the earliest written Chinese (on Oracle bones) has an analogue to the earliest Greek, linear b. The Eastern Zhou emerge about the same time as the Greek Dark Ages ended. The Chinese Empire is first founded as a truly unified state about the same time the Roman Republic is winning the Punic Wars.

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            I’d be interested by 3500 year-old writing. My understanding is that China was so organized so early there are few bottlenecks concerning which writing made it through certain regimes.

            But yeah, imagine if the Toltecs or the Harappans had a seat on the UN Security Council.

    5. djrichard

      Just my 2 cents. From a 10 day trip to China, one of the things that stuck in my mind was the emphasis on harmony. It stuck with me as I saw it as something that was distinctly different compared to the US in that harmony has always been a low priority in the US, even before all this recent “unpleasantness”.

      Anyways, the reason I bring it up is that if I’m ruling China and I’m making decisions on risk management, then the end game is always the same: sustaining harmony. If the stock market needs to be sacrificed for that end-game (e.g. maybe it’s simply too expensive to prop it up – whatever that means), then I let it go. But if the stock market is necessary to maintaining harmony, then I prop it up at all cost. And I’m betting it is (well not really betting) critical, because the success of the housing market and the stock market are probably tied together at the hip and the housing market from what I can tell is more critical to harmony in China.

      So basically the stock market becomes a utility in China. Just like what Ben Hunt was describing here, , except he was applying this thinking for the US stock market.

      1. djrichard

        Just to whing a little bit on the harmony thing …

        The powers that be both in the US and China need deterrents, so the populace doesn’t get out line. It would be interesting to compare how both countries keep a strangle hold on “reality” (or the simulation of reality if you will) as part of that, e.g. what’s the norm and what’s an intolerable violation of a norm, and the degree to which they sell the idea that the individual should serve authority vs providing deterrents to individuals being independent of authority (e.g. need that job don’t you).

        Anyways, it seems to me that harmony potentially brings a different flavor from the above. Maybe the closest the US comes is the recent campaigns we’re seeing against “divisiveness”. Is it just me, or is this campaign starting to show up in commercials now too? I’m seeing the messaging in a Ford commercial “We The People” and a commercial for Lipton Iced Tea “Refreshingly Optimistic Moments”. [It looks like Lipton campaign started in Jan of this year, so maybe less recent than I’m imagining.]

        But imagine if the US truly had “harmony” as a tool in its woodshed. And I can imagine how that conversation goes. “How else is the US going to keep the indians on the reservation? By having an outcome that is more harmonious for those indians? What, are you kidding?”

  3. fresno dan

    Sorry to beat a dead horse Um….Glad and obsessed with beating a dead horse.
    I didn’t know if you (Lambert) were serious or had seen this reply about Carter Page

    JohnnyGL
    July 23, 2018 at 10:47 am
    Don’t forget Page was an FBI informant previously, too! He helped them as a witness in a case around 2013, or so.

    Reply ↓
    Lambert Strether
    July 23, 2018 at 8:12 pm
    Got a link? That’s interesting.

    Reply ↓
    fresno dan
    July 23, 2018 at 9:51 pm
    Lambert Strether
    July 23, 2018 at 8:12 pm
    I comment too late…..

    fresno dan
    July 22, 2018 at 8:40 am
    …..
    One other point, but Zero Hedge and Brietbart are saying that Page was an “informant” or “source” with regard to the prosecution of a Russian unregistered agent. As always, take with a ton of salt, but they are NOT always wrong.

    OH, actually its old news

    “The agent said he and another agent had interviewed Page in June 2013 and Page told them he exchanged emails with Podobnyy and sometimes met in person. Page told the agents that he provided Podobnyy with his outlook on the “current and future of the energy industry” and “provided documents … about the energy business.”
    ====================
    Wow…how intelligent is the FBI if it thinks Carter Page has anything to offer that is ….intelligent?
    …..

    1. JohnnyGL

      Sorry, I missed the follow up. Thanks for covering, Fresno Dan!

      I recall finding this interesting. It was before Stefan Halper has been revealed as an ACTUAL spy/informant.

      I think I’d seen the Buzz articles, but the Globe one has basically the same information.

      Imagine if the FBI had said, “nice work on this previous case, now go insert yourself into the Trump campaign so we can use you as a trojan horse to justify surveillance on the Trump campaign to a FISA court”.

      I recall feeling like it was one of those “it’d be irresponsible NOT to speculate” moments, where you think about how this guy had worked with them in the past on a corruption case, it’s not a stretch to think they might use him again in the future.

      1. djrichard

        I’m not exactly keeping my ear to the ground on this, but I remember Carter Page speaking to some of this in an interview awhile back. See from 7:41 and 9:11 in particular in

    2. Bill Smith

      If the story is correct, the FBI needed someone to pass a notebook that was bugged to the Russians. Carter Page was in with the Russians. Carter Page is in the news as having passed a notebook with information on US energy industry to them. The story goes on that the Russians took a notebook back their office and the FBI was able to listen in.

        1. Bill Smith

          Hard cover binder. Bug was in the stiff hard cover. Allegedly worked in a way that when it was transported into a ‘secure’ room it still might work. Or would call home when it was taken back out of the ‘secure’ room and transmit what it heard?

        2. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

          Re Lambert’s laptop woes (all about that bass [sic]):

          What he needs is an Apple machine with ‘all the right junk in all the right places’ and overall more ‘booty’. Let us hope that the Apple marketing department looks at the niche below (nb: nothing to do with computers and an antidote to boot) and decides to think again about its base.

          If the link does not work, in youtube.com search on: pmj all about that bass tour

          Pip-Pip!(lost in the music)

      1. HotFlash

        The story goes on that the Russians took a notebook back their office and the FBI was able to listen in.

        Very interesting! Would you have a link for that?

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      Flippant question re: Russia Russia Russia

      Is there enough coherence to any of this to disprove a counter-argument that this is the Chinese telling their operatives in the Democratic party to keep a hard line on Russia?

      Not that any of this comes up in meatspace. I did talk to someone recently about making baked potato chips.

  4. Carolinian

    Supposedly the thin profile of current Macs was also the reason the keyboard can’t be replaced and is glued to the battery. It could be those rumors that Apple is really a fashion company are true. As Vogue might say, “one can never be too rich or too thin.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      These clowns believe their twisted version of “design” is paramount. Coco Chanel would be rolling in her grave; her clothes were not only beautiful, they solved real problems for the people who wore them, which also explains why they’re timeless. Cook and Jonny Ive are second-rate designers because they don’t understand this.

      1. barrelrollDash80

        Is this problem with your laptop screen also carried over to an external monitor that you can hook up to your laptop? I have an old HP LCD monitor hooked to my vintage 2006 Macbook pro 17 which I rotate 90 degrees so I can read web pages in portrait mode. Reduces down scrolling for me considerably.

          1. RMO

            Apple has been losing it for several years now. I’ve bought a LOT of Apple stuff over the years but the next time I need a laptop, media player, desktop etc. Apple won’t be in consideration. That surprises me. A tiny example of Apple’s decline? They can’t even make a decent cable these days. Every Macbook power supply cable, iPod cable etc. etc. has a jacket made from something that makes meringue seem durable. If you’re ever sentenced to hanging, request a rope made by Apple and as long as the drop isn’t too far you have a good chance of surviving.

          2. barrelrollDash80

            If you are uploading a file using a dialog presented by your browser, the browser usually calls OS X file handling services. Usually that would be the Finder. If you have customized your Finder tool bar to contain the ARRANGE button, it should also appear in your browser upload dialog. The ARRANGE button allows you to specify how to sort the items in the folder you are looking at. The choices are name, kind, application, date last opened, date added, date modified, date created, size, and tags. It takes a mouse click in the dialog box to select the sort order, then you can pick your file. I use this feature often to get stuff to sort to the top where I can easily get at it.

      2. Bugs Bunny

        Lambert, wrt your issue with file at the bottom of the window, you just have to click on the date tab at the top and it will always reorder it to the first file. It will also hold that configuration until the next time you change it.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          This ought to work. I’ve tried it, and there’s a lag. Ultimately, it orders. But instantly it does not, and I don’t want to wait.

          Perhaps this is related to my weird dock icon issues. My Mac is just crufty.

          1. Bugs Bunny

            Probably you have memory issues. It’s writing graphics and that’s the lag. If you can, get some additional memory and upgrade to the biggest SSD you can fit in so when it writes to VM it’s as fast as possible. You’ll need someone who can install off the shelf components. Sorry, that’s all I’ve got. 🙏

      3. Plenue

        Above you said:

        “Which is frustrating if you’re a gamer, but has business consequences if you’re a professional (the class of users Apple hates and wants to get rid of).”

        Well if you’re any kind of serious gamer, pretty much by definition you aren’t doing it on a Mac. The scene there is better than it was a few years ago, but it’s still pretty empty. I suppose someone could buy the Mac and install Windows or Linux on it, since it’s all standard PC hardware now, but talk about a waste of money. For 2400 bucks you could get a Windows laptop with better specs, or one with equivalent specs for significantly less money.

        I have no idea what a business professional would use a computer for, probably lots of charts and similar, which I imagine need lots of raw number-crunching power. But Apple also has all the artists, musicians, and video editors. That’s the crowd they spent a very long time focusing on. Programs like Photoshop absolutely eat through processor power (and memory). Having an overheating laptop that throttles its high-end CPU will completely discredit Apple with that kind of crowd.

        1. David May

          I would just like to point out that the first step in design thinking is to empathise with the user…

    2. Arizona Slim

      Count me as one who always has been skeptical of the skinny laptop craze. When I’m using a laptop, I want it to have some, well, girth.

      1. Jen

        My current work laptop is a Lenovo P50. Probably weighs 10 pounds, but even though it’s 3 years old, it only wheezes occasionally when I have several massive spreadsheets open, and if I drop kick it across the room it still works. Our IT group briefly outfitted me with a thin laptop and it was useless.

        1. carycat

          I have a number of Lenovo laptops from different weight classes :-) and my go to machine is still a 5 yr old W530 (grand daddy to the P50) for getting work done.

          If you must live within the Apple walled garden, there is such a thing as a Hackintosh. I had a Mac Book (with the magsafe power cord, the only good thing they did with HW in many years) with a “I need another replacement battery” habit, so I flirted with a Hackintosh (for those not afraid of Apple lawyers) on cheap commodity HW for a few days and everything works. But I was able and did quit Apple (owner/user since early Apple II days) for good.
          Just as Google is an advertising company, Apple is a fashion/lifestyle company who is further along the crapification curve.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        Tablets should be thicker. The last designer who was comparing the ergonomics of a tablet to the 500+ year traditions of the volume/weight ratio of books is long gone. My current bedroom tablet is plenty light, but it’s designed like a throwing star.

        Buy this unfixable thing, and put it in a bumper.

    3. Darthbobber

      It’s also the reason for the rush across manufacturers to usb-c, also the abandonment of an Ethernet port. By no means just apple, either, though since I use their machines they’re the ones who always draw my annoyance.

      The thinner mantra is now pushed by most players, and the back from the biggest herd of users tells them all that it’s unacceptably risky not to march that way with those to their right and left.

      1. Darthbobber

        My annoyance with apple is somewhat moderated by the fact that my job also forces me to make use of a number of windows machines, which can still induce teeth-gnashing rage in me.

    4. Danpaco

      Most of the pro users (film types) I know switched to Alienware laptops. Mac pros just can’t do the editing and rendering required with speed anymore.

      1. jonhoops

        Oh bunk. FCPX renders way faster than Premiere or Resolve on either platform. If you are doing FX or 3D you might want a Windows machine, but for editing a current Mac with FCP X is great. And at the end of the day the graphics cards are what matters for these applications. For final renders you have a render farm which is usually a bunch of headless linux boxes. While Apple has been crapping on us artists for a while now, it is still preferable to Windows for a lot of us. And the new iMac Pro is pretty nice.

  5. Synoia

    112 metric tons of cobalt was stolen from a warehouse in Rotterdam owned by Vollers Group Gmbh earlier this month

    112 Tons of anything is hard to steal. 10 to 20 truckloads, which is not a quick heist.

    I smell and inside job, or insurance fraud, or both.

    1. Wyoming

      Umm not quite on the number of loads required.

      For European heavy trucks the following would apply. And this is if they were carrying ‘legal’ weight loads and there is no reason thieves would pay attention to load limits.

      For the heaviest EU truck class it would be 2 loads
      For the 2nd heaviest EU truck class it would be 3 loads
      For the 3rd heaviest EU truck class it would be 4 and a smigin.

      Metal takes up little space so that would not have been an issue.

      Two forklifts and a few trucks and this would have not taken more than 10-15 mins.

    2. John k

      Well, at least six, max container weight I think under 20 mT.
      Six rolling down the road not exactly invisible.

      1. carycat

        If ISIS can run large conveys of oil trucks from Iraq to Turkey with nary a peep from anybody until those pesky Russians showed up, no reason why this is any different. The spice must flow.

  6. Rojo

    “Why the left needs to wise up to the growing Trump-Russia scandal”

    That article still rests largely on “why is Trump nice to Putin”?

    Counter Trump’s body language with the myriad of his actions that have been counter to Russia’s interest — arming Ukraine, sanctions, expelling diplomats, joint exercises — and it seems like that’s awfully shaky ground.

    Generally the problem for the left is the lack of a coherent vision. How does an autocrat like Putin fit in?

    1. Carey

      Looks like they got to Ryan Cooper, as well. Cooper used “astounding” to describe the idea of a Putin-Trump meeting in the States. Why?

      Always willing to look at real *evidence* regarding the notion of Trump
      working for Putin, of course.

      Strange times.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I was very disappointed to see Cooper’s joining the Russiagate craziness.

        Now if Lambert comes on here one day touting sources like Brennan and Clapper, I’m going to be checking my garden twice a day for “invasive” plants.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          add Michael Klare to the list of pod people.

          Goes on about the Sino-Russian confab many years ago calling for a multipolar world system and keeping in mind things like fairness and sovereignty, while coming out against hegemony.
          When I read that sino-russian statement, back then, I thought it very sensible.
          But I remain consistent in my aversion to US Global Empire….
          Pod Klare has no such qualms, apparently, and instead strongly insinuates that Pax Americana is essential to Peace and Stability(!?!).
          I pointed out the similarity of all this to PNAC and was again named Vlad.
          It’s just a crazy old world.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            and! from Ryan Cooper, the warning:”And whoever wins the 2020 Democratic primary — say Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders — is highly likely to face a serious campaign of dirty tricks from Russian intelligence…”
            …as opposed to the dirty tricks by the gop, the DNC, the DCCC and the MSM?
            He’s also got a link to “Jill Stein is a Russian!”.
            There may or may not be something there, regarding Russian “interference”. It wouldn’t surprise me, given our own history of such things, and the fact that it’s quite common practice, but it feels a lot like the Boy who cried Wolf…and it’s not like the Dems(let alone the DOJ of any admin) has done anything at all about “securing the election machinery” since such hacking became news, in 2004(Ken Blackwell). The streetlights are flickering.

      2. Canadian

        Well, if Trump is working for Putin, then, as Putin’s agent, we should call him ‘Agent Orange’.

    2. Bill Smith

      An interesting theory is that while Putin many not have anything on Trump, Trump may think he does.

      Trump would know about some shady deals that he did…that have not yet come to light.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        As if anything short of dropping a nuclear bomb on 5th Ave and Central Park could bring down Trump. Nobody has anything on anyone. We’re way beyond that kind of world. Trump is talking to Putin because that’s what presidents do. Russia is a big, powerful country that is part ally, part competitor, part problem.

        Who was the last president who didn’t meet a Russian leader? Hoover? I guess Eisenhower sent Nixon as a proxy.

        /rant

        1. Summer

          They can only talk about Russia because to talk about the myriad of corruptions that should have prevented his run for President, most of the corruptions can’t be prosecuted because the entire swamp would catch fire or they’ve been made “legal” to protect other swamp inhabitants.

        2. dcrane

          As if anything short of dropping a nuclear bomb on 5th Ave and Central Park could bring down Trump.

          Exactly. 18 months’ worth of revelations about Trump’s relentless lying, p*ssy grabbing, race-baiting, mob-associating, tax-cheating, and wife raping didn’t stop him before the election, so what could Putin reveal that would make a difference now? Taped conversations between the two of them discussing plans to defraud American voters? And how can that turn out to be true when Trump campaigned on challenging NATO and opening up to Russia?

        3. The Rev Kev

          “As if anything short of dropping a nuclear bomb on 5th Ave and Central Park could bring down Trump.”

          All this talk of nuclear bombs. Can’t we just drop them. No, wait. I mean from conversation, not the bombs themselves.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        Is there any analysis of what kind of oppo would worry Trump?

        I mean, he could be shagging Bigfoot, and what?

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          “hard” proof of penis size?
          gay orgy in a baptist church?
          I got nothing…which is quite a thing.
          a world where embarrassment is so passe.

    3. curlydan

      A question for those of all political stripes could be, Who is Trump not nice to when he’s around them? It’s a character fault of his I believe because he’s a salesman. From far away, he can be a total [bleep]. But get him face-to-face, and he turns nice. He did it with Putin, with NK’s leader, with the big pharma CEOs, with Theresa May, etc.

    4. clarky90

      Re, “the growing Trump-Russia scandal”

      “”Chaff”, called “Düppel” by the Luftwaffe …is a radar countermeasure in which aircraft or other targets spread a cloud of small, thin pieces of aluminium, metallized glass fibre or plastic, which either appears as a cluster of primary targets on radar screens or swamps the screen with multiple returns.

      Modern armed forces use chaff … to distract radar-guided missiles from their targets…..”

      I just realized why I read the truck, train and shipping news in Water Cooler, every morning (NZ time). We are reading about the “bombers”, not the diversionary chaff.

      The Aether is full of “chaff” right now.

      Oh My God!!! Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump……DONALD TRUMP!

      1. jsn

        Yes, and if the Ds actually gave a —- about what Trump is actually doing domestically, that’s what we’d be hearing about!

    5. djrichard

      This title should be changed to “The center needs the left to wise up to the growing Trump-Russia scandal”.

      After that bit of clarification, maybe the center can do some outreach to the left to find out what the left really “needs”. They might be shocked to find out that the left doesn’t need anything vis-a-vis the Trump-Russia scandal. Or who knows, maybe there could be some horse trading – Bernie already seems to be doing some of that. Just a recommendation though: resist the temptation!

  7. fresno dan

    ElizabethCMcLaughlin
    @ECMcLaughlin
    Just gonna say it: if you are throwing your weight behind Bernie 2020, you are virtually ensuring another four years of Trump. You are also getting in bed with the Russians.

    Picture of Maria Butina
    goo.gl/mLrG5h

    I want you to know that I am a f*cking patriot, and love of country is the only reason I’m boinking that Russkie. I don’t wanna, but I won’t f*cking stop until this country is safe. I keep my friends close, and my enemies closer…so close, only a very thin sheen of sweat separates us….
    I considered using the word “bang” but seeing how the NRA is associated with this, I thought that would be rather tasteless….

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > in bed with

      The weird hypersexualiztion continues. I never did get to this one (NSFW):

      Trump and Putin are meeting in Finland next month. That's a long way to travel for a blowjob, but hey — Putin's got the money.

      — Bette Midler (@BetteMidler)

      1. Rojo

        Presumably it’s Putin getting serviced. But Finland’s not that far from Russia — they share a border.

        Midler needs to work on sentence structure

      2. bob

        I keep hoping that was peak boomer.

        I have way too much evidence to the contrary. They will never, ever die.

        1. JTMcPhee

          And millennial don’t grope and rape and loot? Not to worry, bob, us oldsters do eventually die. Some of you youngsters may figure out how to live on (how old are Musk and Thiel and Zuckerberg?) and on, but I don’t see your age set doing much to keep the species alive and living better.

          Time for another 2-minute hate?

          We are all in this together. Age-baiting ain’t going to help.

    2. Whoa Molly!

      re: “You are also getting in bed with the Russians.

      Stop it.”
      ===========•=======•========
      At first I got angry. Gonna say something about men in my family served in US military since 1796…

      Then I realized this sort of hallucination is in same ballpark as “precious bodily fluids”.

      You literally cant talk to someone who is hallucinating and hysterical.

      1. HotFlash

        I have been in bed with Russians (well, one at a time — what do you take me for?). It can be very pleasant, depending on other circumstances. They also make wonderful music, interesting conversation, have excellent manners, and very nice chocolates. And tea. Generally speaking.

        1. DJG

          + + + And one of the reasons that I come to Cfdtrade (and they don’t call it Naked for nothing) is sentimental education.

      2. Oregoncharles

        I don’t think they’re hallucinating. I think it’s (mostly) calculated political propaganda. She supports mainstream, neoliberal Dems, and she’s pulling out all the stops.

        1. Whoa Molly!

          Re: propaganda operative

          Thanks for the heads up.

          I don’t spend enough time online or pay enough attention to ID the vermin at a glance.

          1. Whoa Molly!

            Its “baiting”.

            The purpose is twofold.

            1) to smear and dehumanize Bernie and his supporters.

            2) Joyful high-5 giggles “yeah! Got em!” on the side she works for.

            Plus the repetition of a deadly serious false accusation.

            Enraging the “target group” is just frosting an the cake.

            1. Whoa Molly!

              Re: propaganda operative

              Best I can tell the correct term for this (paid?) propaganda might be ‘gaslighting’ or ‘trolling’ and not ‘baiting’

      1. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        July 24, 2018 at 6:35 pm

        I will save that link…..uh…um…..er…..so I can be on the look out for Russkie spies!!!

    3. Code Name D

      It’s tempting to think this is a random tweet with no meaning behind it. But this linking Bernie with Russia-Russia-Russia is starting to become more common. And the investigation did accuse one of Bernie’s campaign managers as receiving funds from a Russian front group. (Again, to make our dear leader look bad I suppose.)

      I fear it’s just a matter of time before Bernie is full on accused of Russian collusion – for no other reason than to prevent him from running in 2020.

      And because Burnie repeats this nonsense, I guess he will turn himself into the NSA for torture – I mean, enhanced interrogation, once his number comes up.

  8. RUKidding

    “Most Americans who vote in midterm elections are not socialist, don’t want socialist policies, and would like to know how we’re gonna pay for programs. As attractive as they may seem, we gotta be able to pay.”

    Both neoliberal parties are working the same schtick.

    Boy, I’ll say!!

    Just got back from a visit with super fundie conserva-religious sibling. Accidentally mentioned that my taxes went UP with Trump’s/the Republicans’ latest tax scam. I got the usual “lecture” which mainly boiled down to the first quote, above. IOW, we simply canNOT have “nice things” because WHO WILL PAY for it? Uh… lemme see: by FAIRLY taxing bilionaires and squillionaires? But, No. Of course not. That wouldn’t be “fair,” and anyway they “create jobs” ‘n stuff blah blah blah.

    Sadly, Big D is no better, and I get the same hyperventilating b.s. from Big D voting friends and acquaintances who canNOT believe that I’d support “that SOCIALIST” Bernie Sanders. As if being a democratic socialist was sinful or something. And again with the: Who is going to PAY for stuff? Where does the MONEY come from?????

    And so on.

    The big fat propaganda wurlitzer continues do its job. Everyone is brainwashed with the same b.s. talking points.

    1. fresno dan

      RUKidding
      July 24, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      Apparently, the money will come from where ever it comes from since at least 1930, as there has only been 4 years since 1970 when there was not a deficit. AND ODD THING, always, always, ALWAYS deficits under republicans and usually increasing deficits under republicans.
      AND
      “...we simply can NOT have “nice things” because WHO WILL PAY for it?”
      Maybe instead of spending more on defense than all other countries combined several times over.
      I know…I know, logic, reality, and FACTS that contradicts what your relative’s masters on FOX news tells them to believe is not gonna happen….
      AND

      You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter. We won the mid-term elections, this is our due.

      DEFICIT Money….which has the magical property when used for defense spending and killing WILL NEVER EVER be inflationary, but a deficit penny spent to alleviate the suffering of a poor person will cause the collapse of civilization.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I believe once people taste free money, say, UBI, they will never ask that question (where does it come from) again.

      When you see a ten dollar bill on the ground, do you ask where that comes from? Virtuous people do; most, if they are like me, will be glad to have one such luck break, just this once, in this heartless world.

      1. noonespecial

        Per Ron DeSantis’ remarks directed at AOC exhorting voters to smarten up, I wonder if he recently read John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces? His words do seem to parrot the thoughts of Ignatius. Maybe the world would be a better place if more free thinkers adopted Ignatius’ level-headedness and not be seduced by the failings of the fungus amongst us. /s/

      2. HotFlash

        My usual reply – how are we paying for the wars

        Ding! And the same way we paid for the bank bailouts.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I say “We’ll print money, just like we did for Iraq and the bailouts.”

          That actually seems to work. Neither escapade has a lot of fans but the sky didn’t fall after either one, in terms of paying for anything, at least.

          1. Bruce F

            I’ll butt in to add something you’re well aware of – we already “pay” double, per capita, for our health “care”. We pay twice the price for crap results.

            Seems like a useful thing to bring up when talking about how to pay for something like single payer.

            I also wanted to say thanks for all the hard work put in by you and the crew and NC!

            1. Amfortas the Hippie

              wasn’t there a thing in Forbes not long ago about $21 Trillion in essentially hot checks by Dod and their minions?
              didn’t get much play, so maybe not(I’m a babe in the woods with accountancy).
              Nevertheless, all the money needed is in the hole in the middle of the pentagon, so maybe we should look there.

        2. Partyless Poster

          What bugs me about that is its soooo obvious.
          How can anyone honestly overlook how we pay for wars and military.
          Do they think were that stupid?

      3. RUKidding

        I’m sure my relative would pop out some ready-made rightwing talking point mostly about how we neeeeeeed to fight our bounden enemies, esp the dirty Moozlinz. This same relative has gone on and on at me about YES! there really truly really really is Sharia Law being imposed on hapless US Christiany citizens NOW, today! IT’s a thing, even though I have no proof of it. Believe me. Onward Xtian soldiers marching as to WAR blah blah.

        So asking about where the money for War, Inc comes from wouldn’t work in this particular case. We NEEEEED to spend all of that money and MOAR!!!!111!!!

        And so on…

    3. JohnnyGL

      If you have an MMT understanding, then the question of “how are you gonna pay?” for Medicare for All becomes….

      BY CUTTING TAXES!!! Just like a Republican would do!

      No, seriously, if we shrink health care spending by $1.50 (reduced spending on insurance, lower drug prices, lower hospital charges) for each $1 spending increase in the public sector, then we’ll need to make up for the shortfall in effective demand.

      Insurance companies will likely lay off billing and claims staff.
      Drug companies may need to lay off sales staff, and reduce marketing spending.

      We’ll need to boost demand to make up for these factors.

      1. RUKidding

        Oh but Medicare for all is sinful or something. /not really snark. Seems like this is what’s being preached in their “churches.” Or something close to that.

      2. Kurtismayfield

        When Healthcare comes up, I tell them that the great communist state of Switzerland has a better, more regulated private insurance system oh and the do it for thousands cheaper per person. They come back with “But it’s so small” (Which is really just “It’s so white”, but I ignore that), and I ask “What about economies of scale?”. At that point the subject gets changed.

  9. voteforno6

    Re: Richard Ojeda

    Hoo-boy. If he wins, I don’t think the Dems in Washington will know how to deal with him. He doesn’t look like, or sound like, just about any other politician there. Plus he’s from West Virginia – what are the odds that those establishment Dems are going to be condescending towards him? Whatever happens, he seems like the kind of person who would set them straight. He’s going to scare the s**t out of some people, and it’ll be fun to watch.

    That’s assuming he wins – I think he’s got a chance. Does anyone think that he’ll have a hard time convincing his constituents that he’s going to fight for them?

    1. HotFlash

      Yeah, very impressive guy! DNC, look out, you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

  10. fresno dan

    Buzz Aldrin’s Apollo 11 travel reimbursement request, 49 years ago:

    “In lulu”???? I think he meant in lieu….
    and 33 bucks? Parking was free, and gas was, what 20 cents a gallon. Even at only 10 mph, 100 miles should have been 10 gallons, so it should just be 2$
    What other per diem was there? I can’t make out the writing at the bottom.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Were they given points for the number of miles traveled back then? You would reckon that a 480,000 mile round trip would give you some. No chance of an upgrade though.

  11. marym

    Here’s a to the status of the court-ordered reuniting of the families separated at the border in recent months.

    According to the status report filed in federal court in San Diego, the administration says there have been 879 families reunited — nearly doubled since Friday. Another 538 parents are in government custody and cleared for reunification but waiting on transportation for reunification.

    There are 1,634 out of 2,551 separated children who have been potentially cleared for reunification. Another 194 are either ineligible or declined reunification, 463 are not believed to be in the country and another 260 are being reviewed. The Department of Health and Human Services believes many of those children may have been released to another family member or sponsor.

    Another status

    The Trump administration may have already deported as many as 463 migrant parents who were separated from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border, and they may have lost their right to reunification, Justice Department lawyers said in a court filing on Monday.

    Those parents may not be eligible to be reunified with their children, according to the filing, which grouped parents not in the U.S. as either potentially eligible or not eligible

    .

    Some thoughts:
    It’s been clear almost from the beginning of this phase of immigration events that the administration wasn’t concerned with reuniting the families. Records weren’t kept, procedures weren’t in place, and parents are continually being deported ().

    This raises the questions: What they did they intend? What was happening with unaccompanied and separated children already? How much of this is this an extension of existing practices.

    There likely have been/are some procedures to find family member sponsors, or to separate some sub-set of children from possible abusers or traffickers. But with no record-keeping, and young children who don’t speak English, or are too young to speak or understand at all, can those procedures be all that effective?

    The detention centers, “shelters,” and transport arrangements didn’t spring up overnight, though the bureaucratic incompetence of the Trump administration probably contributed to their seemingly having been unprepared for the sudden volume,

    Here’s a from a thread about attempted activist reporting, including some of these business interests in the detention world. So, part of any plan is profit.

    What else was supposed to happen though? There are issues from the Obama years (, ). There’s a haunting story from earlier this year of a mother asked to put oversized clothes on her daughter before the separation ()

    What happens to un-reunited children? Adoption ( )? What about those that aren’t adopted?

    I know there’s some disagreement here at NC as to where this issue stands in the hierarchy of issues; and whether some of the protests are merely anti-Trumpism. Speaking only for myself, I’m concerned with other issues in the hierarchy too. Part of what makes this a prominent issue for me, beyond the brutality, are its connection to other policing/incarceration issues, and to emerging white supremacist policies and attitudes.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Some of these business interests in the detention world. So, part of any plan is profit.

      Exactly like Ferguson (“law enforcement for profit”). Following the money always clarifies.

      1. Arizona Slim

        The Tucson shelter was a student housing complex, and, before that, a hotel. Additional details here:

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Thanks marym for another thoughtful contribution. A little information mixed in with the horserace and levity is the proverbial medicine that we needed to take with a spoonful of sugar to begin with.

      It is so hard to sort the wheat from the chaff, thanks for making it easier on the rest of us.

      Soldier on!

    3. fresno dan

      marym
      July 24, 2018 at 3:03 pm
      “This raises the questions: What they did they intend?”
      F*CK the downtrodden? Sorry, I am getting so cynical and nasty in my old age….or maybe less naive….

  12. Jason Boxman

    It sounds like I bought one of the last decent MBPs ever made, then. I bought a 2015 refurbished direct from Apple in 2016. I guess I’ll be keeping it until it breaks, which hopefully will not be for another 5 years. I avoided the new, broken by design keyboards, the loss of the magsafe ™ connector, and removal of the SD card slot.

    I think, like the Democratic Party, Apples understands it can run on brand fumes for decades and continue to make bank.

    1. Angie Neer

      You’re right, you have the last good MBP. Treat it kindly. I’m another Mac user from way back, and Lambert’s observation that Apple is running away from professional users is depressingly spot on. I am still hanging in there but not the least bit interested in their newer hardware. In my small business I use a couple of desktops, and I recently standardized on the 2012 Mini. I have one I bought new and it has always been my faithful friend, so I bought two more used ones this year. Am hoping to get another 5 years out of them, but who knows.

    2. Randy

      My wife’s 2009 MBP is still going strong only NEEDS a new battery (no problem), the same for my 2011. A couple of 500GB SSD hard drives can be had for $200. We don’t need the batteries since they replaced desktop PCs.

      You should expect much more than 5 years life unless you spill something on it.

      We are not “power users” though.

  13. Summer

    Re:Thinner and lighter laptops

    Sounds like they are designed to look good (perception of new and improved), simple, and to allegedly think for people, but annoy anyone who is actually thinking.

  14. Lambert Strether Post author

    Readers, a query:

    I’ve been strongly advised not to walk barefoot in my garden — which, as readers have seen, is more a habitat than a garden — because of , (, the one that causes a meat allergy). I also need to protect not only my feet but my ankles on up. (I don’t wear shorts.)

    The thing is, (a) I love walking barefoot, and (b) I hate even the best * I can buy locally, because they are no longer made in Maine, fit worse, and are just not a pleasure to walk in [snarl]. And I don’t want to wear socks.**

    With all these admittedly overly cranky requirements, is there hope? Like, for example, are there outdoor socks with soles, so I can feel the ground, at least?*** How about something like Pro-Keds high-tops? Other thoughts?

    NOTE * Boat shoes are super-WASPy. Sue me. Anyhow, I want shoes I can just slip on, because who wants to waste time lacing up one’s damn shoes?

    NOTE ** Because what kind of WASP wears socks with their boat shoes, even if they don’t own a boat? Anyhow, I don’t want an extra thing to do in the morning, and I don’t want another item to launder. Plus, odor.

    NOTE *** No, I’m not wearing socks with sandals. It’s declassé.

    1. Big River Bandido

      I think class is irrelevant here. Wearing socks with boat shoes is just…tacky.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Dunno personally cuz I wouldn’t walk around barefoot where there were ticks, but

      Doesn’t seem like you can do without chemicals…

    3. neo-realist

      NOTE ** Because what kind of WASP wears socks with their boat shoes, even if they don’t own a boat? Anyhow, I don’t want an extra thing to do in the morning, and I don’t want another item to launder. Plus, odor.

      Quite a few people in the Seattle area do wear boat shoes, and many do so with socks.

      I think they’re square super-WASPy.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The West Coast is… sort of an outpost, really. I don’t think it counts.

        (Doing the identity politics thing myself, here, I see.)

        Adding, wool socks, even permethrin-infused, in summer? FFS. What’s the point of summer if you can’t go barefoot?

        1. polecat

          Outpost u say !

          You mean outposts like Seattle, Olympia, Portlandia, Corvallis, San Francisco ?? [… uh, I’m runnnin outta wbippin posts ..
          … surrounded by flyover .. yes, even west of said “bastians of bluish psudo-sophistication’ ..

          1. barefoot charley

            Speaking from underneath my cranky contrarian hat–blame the hat!–I live in NorCal’s storied tick country, where close friends have had Lymes for decades, guinea-pigging and googling for uneducated MDs, and advising me when I came down with it, twice. I pick off ticks regularly.

            Further, I know that just because our culture can be outlandishly reactive doesn’t mean, in every single instance without exception, that a given hysteria isn’t called for. But I would no sooner wear shoes against nature than a suit of armor. Nature, like gardens, is for walking barefoot in. It’s hard for me to believe that a tick migration should efface one of summer’s joys, even one that involves occasionally stepping on wasps. Nature happens.

            Oops, and nothing personal about wasps!

            1. Oregoncharles

              You don’t have thistles and blackberries? Going barefoot around here is not for the faint hearted.

        2. Richard

          Message from the outpost (Seattle)
          I wear very smart looking, thin soled sneakers sometimes.
          I’ve never called them boat shoes, but I guess they fit the description.
          I wear tiny little bootie socks with them.
          I don’t think it looks square at all, maybe waspy.
          Oh, we count buddy boy

    4. noonespecial

      Might I recommend road-testing the booties that surfers wear while surfing in cold water? While they may require a bit of cleaning, they may provide protection yet not so insulated as to be so boat-shoe like. Something in the 2mm/3mm neoprene mix might do the trick.

        1. Eureka Springs

          In my experience no clothing or chemical comes close to protecting you from ticks. The more clothing you wear, perhaps especially socks, the more places they have to hide. The best thing you can do is check yourself each and every time you come back inside. Preferably a quick shower as well. Replace and launder clothes after each venture out.

    5. Bugs Bunny

      Hunter boots. See e.g. Kate Moss at Glastonbury. Wear socks or you’ll never be able to pull them off alone.

    6. RUKidding

      I dunno about good alternatives, but I strongly encourage you to wear shoes and socks. I have several friends, relatives and acquaintances who’ve gotten Limes disease, and it ain’t pretty… and it pretty much never goes away.

      Far better to have to take the time to wear and launder socks than to get sick like that.

      Just saying…

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        These might work if they can’t get through the fabric. But that’s like walking around in rubber, not exactly the barefoot feeling you’re looking for.

    7. bob

      Socks and Crocs. Match made in heaven. Bugs have no purchase, crocs dry very quickly if they get wet.

      Make sure to wear thicker socks, it keeps the meaner bugs at bay.

      I hated crocs when they first came out. Now, it’s my summer uniform.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          No. No, they’re not. Also likely not good for your feet since they all come from the same mold, with no give.

    8. Jeremy Grimm

      Just step into your yellow waders! [Sorry if this duplicates — Skynet appeared to eat a first attempt.]

    9. Randy

      When it comes to ticks it doesn’t matter if you are wearing shoes or not. They will get on your shoes and crawl up past your socks until they find some skin they can sink their mouth parts into.

      Wood Ticks will bite anywhere when they first emerge in spring and they are hungry, later they are more patient and head for your hairline to latch on for a meal.

      Black Legged Ticks(AKA deer ticks, bear ticks) ticks bite anywhere. i don’t know much about Lone Star Tick habits since we don’t have them here – yet. The Black Legged Tick nymphs are so small you will never know you are their host until the deed is done. My wife got Lymes from Black Legged Tick bites under the breast and on her back, she never knew what hit her. The nymphs are smaller than a pinhead. Another person I knew got bit under his scrotum, he never had a chance of finding it or avoiding chronic Lyme’s as nobody even knew about Lyme’s then.

      I am in the woods a lot. I deal with them by wearing coveralls sprayed with Permithrin and I spray below my knees and my boots with DEET. I always shower after coming in. I find an occasional tick on the bathroom floor but they are half dead and no threat because of the Permithrin.

      For casual walking around the garden or yard just spray feet/shoes and lower pants legs with DEET to just above the height of the vegetation you are walking in. Try to avoid wet areas, ticks need moisture to survive, they dehydrate and die without it. They are also VERY, VERY numerous in wet areas.

      If you are working/weeding in the garden spray your arms with DEET. I was weeding one day and when I was done I thought I had a speck of dirt on my forearm except it wouldn’t brush off. It was a Black Legged tick nymph. They are very small and you don’t even want to mess with them. Be knowledgeable, be forearmed and be careful. You are better off with some DEET on your skin than Lyme’s in your bloodstream.

      It sucks that we have to take all these precautions but that is the way it is.

      Also don’t forget about that cat of yours.

      1. Jean

        Deet is toxic.
        Do your own research and don’t fall for covering yourself in pesticides.

        Here’s an alternative:

        “So how effective is 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) which did well in our tests, ? Consumer Reports looked at plant-oil based repellents and found that one “product in our insect repellent ratings that contained 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) did well in our tests, warding off mosquitoes and ticks for at least 7 hours.”

        While DEET is the gold standard of insect repellents, it is also a strong synthetic chemical with a tarnished reputation. Known to the chemistry set as N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, DEET was potentially linked to 14 cases of brain damage in the 1980s and 90s, inciting a flood of fear amongst consumers that has yet to recede.

        Other reports of ill effects from the ingredients haven’t helped its cause. Scientific American describes one study, among others:

        “A study conducted in the late 1980s on Everglades National Park employees to determine the effects of DEET found that a full one-quarter of the subjects studied experienced negative health effects that they blamed on exposure to the chemical. Effects included rashes, skin irritation, numb or burning lips, nausea, headaches, dizziness and difficulty concentrating.”

        1. Carolinian

          I’ve been a camper all my life and have never liked Deet. Somehow you can almost tell instinctively by the smell that something is bad news. However i don’t see the harm of spraying it on your shoes or pants where it isn’t even in with your skin.

          Mostly I just wear long sleeves and pants to ward off mosquitoes and fortunately where I live Lyme isn’t much of a problem.

    10. Kurtismayfield

      Lambert, can you think of the last time you saw a tick ing on someone’s feet? Now if you want to argue that wearing slick shoes (like the forementioned rain boots) would not allow them to crawl up, ok I can go with that.

      I worked in the Hamptons, NY outside for years. No matter how careful you are, those buggers are still gonna .

    11. The Rev Kev

      Is using a lemongrass and eucalyptus oil mixture an option? I don’t know how effective it would be for your needs but it may be worth looking into.

      1. Larry Y

        Who knows. You don’t know what is the concentration of active ingredients in the oil. Heck, how do you even know if it’s the right type of eucalyptus?

        As for other “natural” tick repellent – here’s a CDC link on various options . Some are more suitable for people, some are for use on lawns and gardens.

        What I use are commercial brands Repel and Cutter for Lemon eucalyptus oil (Citriodiol). Have to have complete coverage, not just dab it. Also, it wears off faster than Deet or Picardin. I use it because it doesn’t melt certain synthetic fabrics like Deet, has better tactile feel than Picardin, and it tastes better than either of them.

    12. Oregoncharles

      you might check into water shoes; not sure of the commercial name, but they’re stretchy nylon fabric on a grippy rubber sole. Meant for the beach, I think. Very flexible, so you would feel the ground. We wear them for protection and traction when hiking in creeks, but they’re minimal slipons and would work around the garden, too.

      Probably on sale right now, too, since they’re a summer item.

      I almost called them water moccasins, but you wouldn’t want to step on one of those.

      1. Edward E

        Grippy swim shoes are awesome for me around the river. Lambert, you could spray them with a little salty water. Saltwater will keep the ticks away, being so moisture sensitive they avoid salt like the plague.

        Also, here’s something for all the folks in the Eastern states…
        Laura Nyro & Duane Allman “Listen to the wailing of the rain on the river banks.”

    13. Jen

      if just for puttering about the yard kayak shoes might work. Getting a few chickens would solve your tick problem, but create a different issue for walking barefoot.

    14. Lemmy Caution

      Consider getting some guinea fowl — they are excellent tick predators and unlike chickens won’t damage your yard or garden.

    15. BobWhite

      Have you tried Barefoot Shoes?

      These are classic ones from Vibram:

      (not an endorsement, just a suggestion…)

    16. Solar Hero

      Wear what you want. Rigorously check for ticks afterward. Have tweezers and a lighter.

    17. Alex V

      Slip on versions from this company are my go-to shoe for summer. The soles are only a few mm thick, so it’s almost as good as barefoot and not too hot.

  15. Max

    More people living in their cars:

    In San Jose, I live across the street from a Salvation Army community center that gives out free food during the day. Within eyeshot of my front door I would say that there are probably 3-4 different people living out of their cars parked on the street, nightly. The cars/people seem to rotate and in general people are very discrete. I will sometimes see someone changing or brushing their teeth in the morning, but they are often gone by the afternoon (probably at work).

    I also play softball at a city park near the airport. Last night there were at least 10 RVs along the small access road that runs parallel to the park. We also saw an SJPD officer pointing a shotgun at a man handcuffed on the ground, the officer was alone and at no point did any other patrol cars arrive.

    Is this the new normal?

    1. RUKidding

      Lots of similar things happening here in Sacramento, which has also had a huge increase in people forced into living rough on the streets. I’m sure most would be grateful to have a car or RV to live in, sad as that situation is.

      Attended a workshop run by our local public library (which, according to that awful libertarian Long Island Prof over the the weekend, should be shut down stat and replaced by an Amazon bookstore because Profits! Shareholders! etc), which highlighted how the rapid increase in homelessness is due mainly (in CA at least) to the dearth of affordable housing options. Many who are homeless are still working full time. Some live in shelters and highlighted how very difficult it is to live in a shelter and hold down a full or part time job due to the draconian hours that most shelters impose.

      Very sad and difficult situation. Yet I have acquaintances who complain bitterly about how they simply don’t want to SEE homeless people.

      Yes, simply so offensive… these people who can’t afford to rent an apartment. Go off and die somewhere, I guess. Don’t want to offend anyone’s delicate sensibilities.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Give them a pair of very dark glasses — something close to a #15 welder’s filter.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Not the new normal in all places. Many communities in the area where I live enforce ordinances preventing parking on the streets between 2 am and 5 am. I don’t know where anyone could go to sleep in their car around here. We don’t even have a 24-hour Walmart store.

    3. polecat

      Read ‘The Parable of the Sower’ for one possible ‘future’ ..
      … or maybe ‘A Canticle for Leiboweitz’ for a longer view !

    4. neo-realist

      In one of our more upscale young urban professional neighborhoods in Seattle—Ballard—homelessness has gotten totally out of control.

      Yes, in Urban America, this is the new normal, with no end in sight short of a radical change in government and priorities.

    5. Wukchumni

      There’s a definite pecking order to being homeless, and it all boils down to location location location.

      Does the old guard get the choice spots, or does the nouveau risk have enough past class to claim the right?

      Valhalla in terms of vehicles, has to be the member of a family or a friend that allows you to live in some wheeled metal box on the driveway, why you’re almost not homeless!

    6. anon

      Something that disturbs me to no end about the Silicon Valley homeless travesty, is that outside of building some (but not near enough) affordable housing, way too late in the day to ever staunch what will be the oncoming tide regarding Silicon Campus™ Valley, I’ve yet to see any discussion of: employment laws (both new ones, and the strengthening of existent discrimination laws); Visa Caps [1]; REIT penalties for subhuman Housing and Greed; tax policies; corporate oversight by the public; addressing, via legislation and severe penalties, the corrupt, degrading and dehumanizing backdrop of Public Housing and many Housing Authorities™; and UNRELENTING PUBLIC SHAMING, by both legislators and news outlets, of those who clearly are – and have been -aiding and abetting the years old now homelessness travesty amidst such obscene wealth. All of those above listed actions could be implemented to help prevent descents into homeless in the first place. It’s shameful and criminal that none of them have been.

      For just three examples:institute tax policies highly penalizing importing from Ivy Leagues,or other nations, versus hiring the able, easily trainable and willing in the community first; rewarding local hiring and training which used to be the Standard; illegalize refusing to hire those who were temporarily out of work [2].

      [1] It’s one thing to have a melting pot, it’s yet another to disembowel and potentially make homeless the remaining black and Hispanic minorities along with the disenfranchised non ivy league youth; non tech workers; older workers; and females in general – all of whom already populate a given community – under the lie of diversifying, while actually gentrifying down to very young male, and white ivy leaguers along with predominantly young male, and Asian tech workers. Further, contrary to popular myth, increasingly more ending up homeless have skilled occupations; degrees, and professions.

      [2] Especially given the significant population of Silicon Valley – many of which only pay those temporaries 50% of the contract amount, yet provide zero to very little benefits to those temporary workers – for which it is near impossible to work at an assignment for, finish that assignment for, and not end up unemployed for a time.

      California is not, never has been, an employee’s Utopia. California’s unemployment ‘wages’ were utterly pathetic for decades, given the cost of living, well into the early 2000’s until a bunch of 18 to 20 year old frat boy CEOs with wealthy and powerful parents lost their shirt’s in the Dot Com Bust. At that point the maximum unemployment jumped from about a pathetic $460 a month (which wouldn’t even cover a month’s rent in the average studio apartment at the time) by about 100% to around $840 a month. Even then, it was still lower than other Blue™ states which had a far lower cost of living.

      Don’t know what the current rates and requirements are; especially when Fake Aholes like Gavin Newsom, with Bill Clinton (when Newsom was the Mayor of San Francisco I believe, of course a Search™ pulls up nothing, but I vividly recollect the two of them pontificating on it together when Newsom first aspired towards the Governorship) touting free Corporate labor in exchange for unemployment benefits, as I recollect.

      1. diptherio

        It is. There are hundreds of instances devoted to particular topics or communities, which then link to eachother. I use the social.coop instance, which is owned and controlled by the users (using Loomio, an on-line decision making platform developed by a worker co-op).

    1. Summer

      Maybe nobody in the MSM talks about it because of the fear the competition will hurt Twitter stock.
      You can use duckduck go and other search engines than that overhyped one that you are already familiar with.

  16. JohnnyGL

    For those who need a good Russia-gate rant!!!

    Kyle’s often got good stuff, but this is superb, even for him.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Aaron Mate does a more sophisticated version of Kyle’s rant, by interviewing Trita Parsi.

  17. FreeMarketApologist

    Re “But the Bernstein team said if they were ‘hypothetically’ advising Amazon on asset management strategy, they would recommend the tech firm steer clear of actually managing money itself.”

    As a general money manager that took deposits and held assets (think Vanguard) they would have to register as a broker-dealer, which would open the company up to significant regulatory scrutiny. They could try to create and wall off a legal entity to reduce the potential exposure, but it would be difficult.

  18. diptherio

    -Shelterforce

    Most communities practice some form of land value return and recycling (LVRR). That portion of the property tax applied to land values returns natural and publicly created values to the public sector where they can be recycled to help make infrastructure financially self-sustaining.

    But most communities capture only a small fraction of the land value that they create. In most communities, property tax rates range between 1 and 2 percent of market value. If this stream of payments were collapsed into a single, one-time payment, it would be worth about $10 to $20 for every $100 of publicly created land value. Thus, most communities are giving away 80 to 90 percent of the land value they create. The best-served land in most communities is owned by wealthy individuals and corporations. So most communities collect taxes from everyone and, by providing infrastructure, enrich those who are already affluent. This is part of the reason for growing inequality.

  19. marym

    Re: Trade – emergency aid to farmers

    In the meantime, the administration has sought ways for the Agriculture Department to help farmers survive the pain of retaliation. As part of the program announced on Tuesday, the department will draw on the financial resources of a program known as the Commodity Credit Corporation, which helps shore up American farmers by buying their crops.

    The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is a wholly owned United States government corporation that was created in 1933 to “stabilize, support, and protect farm income and prices” (federally chartered by the CCC Charter Act of 1948 (P.L. 80-806)).

    The CCC was incorporated October 17, 1933, under a Delaware charter pursuant to Executive Order 6340 issued the previous day by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Pretty sure my grandparents bought their farm in Iowa in 1951 with help from a CCC loan.

  20. ChiGal in Carolina

    I gotta say, I have been waiting my whole life for a personal whirligig. With a name like Black Fly? Burners will be all over it.

  21. Neal

    re Lockheed

    For those not familiar with DoD contract accounting

    Unlike normal business, overhead costs are billed back to the government. So the costs of all these interns et al will wind up being billed to the taxpayers.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      You mean they will be part of defense allocations. Taxes are social policy, not a way of gathering money for federal expenses.

  22. Richard

    Don’t know if anyone here follows Kyle Kulinski, but he is on fire today. he is on dems idea to turn summit hysteria into midterm success:

  23. Wukchumni

    Anything flown on Apollo 11 is the ne ultra of space collectibles. Something from Apollo 11 is worth 10-20x as much as similar item on one of the other 5 moon landings.

    I knew an auctioneer that had so many consignments from a certain someone on that mission that were all ‘flight flown’, that the joke was that it was a miracle the Saturn V rocket was able to leave the gantry. Ha ha!

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Hmmm.

      I gave my wife a present of a Geiger tube, one out of ten that James Van Allen had made for the original Explorer 1 satellite. It wasn’t used because the mica had cracked. A friend at Montana State University, who was building a cubesat to celebrate the anniversary of the original Explorer satellite, was having trouble locating a suitable geiger tube, so he called his PhD chair — James Van Allen — and asked for advice. Van said, “Just a minute”, looked through his desk, found a few left over from the original batch, and sent them off to Bozeman, which is where I got one.

      I suggested she make a necklace out of it. She responded, without missing a beat, that she needed two more. “Why?”, I asked, shocked by the request. “Earrings.”

      My eyes rolled to the ceiling.

  24. Plenue

    Forbes has killed the article that was linked yesterday about replacing libraries with amazon bookstores:

    The article managed to get nearly universal negative reaction.

    I suppose booksellers don’t like libraries because they feel they cut into sales. But I frequently use libraries as a source of demos to see if a book is worthwhile before buying it.

    1. Carey

      My take on that Forbes article is that they knew very well what kind of response
      they’d get from it. More softening-up of the many.

  25. dcblogger

    we could impeach Trump tomorrow on grounds of conspiracy to commit child abduction, child abduction is a crime against humanity.

    1. John k

      Yeah, but…
      Saint Obama did the same, except there was no outrage from the press so it didn’t stop, and he racked up much bigger numbers than trump. Granted it was over a longer period.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Flemish master Rubens’ paintings have fallen foul of Facebook’s censors”

    ‘A group of museums in Belgium has made a promotional video mocking Facebook’s censorship of nudity, which they argue prevents art lovers from admiring great Flemish painters such as Rubens, Bruegel, and Van Eyck.’ They had ‘police’ chase away anybody who had a social media account from those paintings. Story with hilarious video at-

      1. The Rev Kev

        Always thought it strange how a cosmopolitan people like Americans can have corporations that act like 16th century Puritans. As an example, I see American TV programs out here that feel the need to blur out anything that might have offended John Calvin himself whereas most Americans from what I can see act like grown-ups in such matters. Lowest common denominator at work?

      2. polecat

        No. Just no ! Don’t give ANY leeway to these creeps, to strangle whatever little common sense still exists !

        “You know, when I put this slice of steak in my mouth, the Matrix is telling me that it’s Juicy .. and Delicious” .. “Emmmmm”…
        Ignorance truly IS bliss !
        Oh, and one other thing, I don’t wanna remember nothing .. NOTHING !!
        …….. “and one last thing .. I’d like to be somebody important, someone famous, you know .. like a conniving social platform CEO griftbag, or a sleezy online mercantilist ….oh, and I wanna be rich ! .. RICHER that any f*ckstick on the Planet !!!”

        ok, so I took a few liberties with that last bit of dialog …

  27. Kim Kaufman

    re “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Fires Back at GOP Representative Who Called Her a ‘Girl … or Whatever’” [The Cut].

    I think “the girl” is referring, dismissively, to her youth and the “whatever” is this:

    I mean, she’s in a totally different universe,” the 39-year-old said to a laughing crowd. “It’s basically socialism wrapped in ignorance.”

    1. Massinissa

      I’ll take socialism wrapped in ignorance over capitalism wrapped in ignorance any day of the week…

  28. ChrisPacific

    That Rockstar language spec is the best thing ever. Although it needs more aliases so that we can compile existing song lyrics.

  29. The Rev Kev

    “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Fires Back at GOP Representative Who Called Her a ‘Girl … or Whatever’”: ‘Presumably the “Girl … or Whatever” is meant to suggest AOC is a lesbian (and so what).’

    So, are we going back to gay-bashing again? Will they once more be considered security risks because Russia? I guess that ‘liberal’ support for that community was really only about virtue-signalling to each other and that there was no real buy-in on a personal level. And I don’t care how many of them say that some of their best friends are gay.

  30. Carey

    Some respite from the manufactured madness can be found, by me anyway, in this wonderful Nina Hedenius film from 1996, Gubben i Stugan:

    Maybe it’ll work for someone else, too.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Along somewhat similar lines, there is the “Primitive Technology” series on Youtube. Very different setting – Australia, I think. Also wordless. The guy just silently demonstrates assorted primitive technologies, from stone tools to clay roof tiles fired in a hand-made kiln. There are a lot of them now. The lack of words makes them strangely soothing, and the processes he demonstrates are very interesting (I’m not vouching for accuracy).

      Just the thing after reading about politics gets you riled up. And heck, the way things are going we might need some of those skills.

      1. polecat

        I always wanted to learn flintnapping, as arrowheads and spearpoints aren’t cheap, you know !
        And if, purchance, WW3 were to come to pass, I’d be ready to rumble .. with the rats, dogs, raccoons, deer …. and the occasional humon.

  31. freedomny

    OK – Just found Team Human podcast – with Douglas Rushkoff. So f* amazing!

    Have you guys listened to this?

  32. Summer

    Ivanka just announced a shut down her fashion line with its Chinese connections. Don’t know about the psrmanemce, but NOW you know it’s getting real.

  33. VietnamVet

    The Safety Culture ties together professional training, wages, engineering, science and government regulation. The recent CSX accident that killed two Amtrak employees was directly caused by the CSX Conductor not setting the switch back to the mainline and the Engineer not verifying the switch was in the correct position. The railroad’s operating procedures that would have prevented the accident were streamlined by the recently deceased CEO who was hired to increase shareholder value. Both political parties support eliminating government regulation. Offshore airline maintenance has tripled in the last decade. Corporate decisions are made on the basis of increasing profit and CEO bonuses. Altogether, this retreat into the myths and old time capitalists beliefs guarantees a future of catastrophic crashes.

  34. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” National Council for the American Worker”. Maybe it will come to nothing, as suggested.
    But what if it comes to something? Trump and the Trumpublicans will get the credit.

    And a National Council genuine industrial apprentice-ship program could be different than the neoliberal Clintonite advice to the poors to go to community college or private for-profit college at their own debt-enslavement expense to get a “training” in “something-or-other”.

    And if you really want to seccede America from the Global System, you have to rebuild the thingmaking skills and knowledge here in America which the IFTC carefully worked to destroy and exterminate from here in America over the last few decades. If America is going to make its own things again for its own consumption, Americans will have to be taught again how to make those things. If eager young thingmaker-wannabe Americans know that a pro-America anti-Free Trade policy will guarantee those young thingmaker-wannabes a job making American things in America for Americans to buy in America, then those eager young thingmaker-wannabes might well enter such a program.

    It could be part of a Restore America program for the next few decades.
    Americans trained to produce American production for American consumption. And meeting so many needs domestically that we would import near-zero anything and would therefor have to export near-zero anything in return. Because we would need near-zero foreign earnings to import the near-zero foreign goods and services we would be importing.

    We could limit trade to genuinely truthful comparative-advantage situations of trading maple syrup for coconuts, for example.

    ” America has Stood Up!”

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Thanks dw, I was thinking the same…a real internship program WOULD work on both macro and micro levels.Can’t count the number of people who have asked me how, or where, I learned my craft (stained glass restoration/commission).

    2. marym

      The council will consist of people from Trump’s cabinet and senior staff. So far he and they have put forth no policies that protect or improve the lives of whatever workers they aren’t planning to ban, deport, incarcerate, disenfranchise, or deprive of whatever is left of the safety net, public education, labor rights, and consumer, workplace and environmental safety protections.

  35. Wukchumni

    “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

    Eric Blair

  36. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

    Cake-and-Eat-It-ism?

    It seems that the illegal-immigration dichotomy is way out in the open.

    From my reading of it the farmers in California want cheap illegal labour but at the same time want the rule of law.

    Extract that caught my eye:

    “In a July 18 email to California Republican staffers, the farm bureau’s Rolph warned that members would take a political hit if they back or sponsor the legislation. Rolph called E-Verify a “socialist” idea ..

    Given that farmers are to be placated for the affects of the trade war will they simililary re-imbursed for the lack of cheap labour when anti-illegal-immigrant measures really start to bite?

    Is Trump a socialist for farmers?

    A fascinating noodle-scratcher!

    Pip-Pip!

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