Links 10/17/18

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Mammals cannot evolve fast enough to escape current extinction crisis ScienceDaily (Kevin W) :-(

Rolls-Royce Wants To Fill the Seas With Self-Sailing Ships Wired

Climate Change Might Double the Cost of a Beer Wired

China?

Why China Inc is still stuck in 2015 Asia Times

How social democracy lost its way: a report from Germany Financial Times. This article is frustrating because it is all about the SPD and does not give a clear enough sense of whey the SPD started defecting from social democratic principles, which is at least part of the reason for its decline. For instance, in the US, as ECONNED explains longer-form, the move to the right was not organic, but was fomented by right-wingers, many of them John Birchers, who wanted to tear down the New Deal and put unions in their place. They engaged on an open-ended, extremely-funded campaign, and created think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation to create a veneer of intellectual respectability. My impression is that the UK had a role in neoliberal ideas getting traction on the Continent, but it would be nice to have a better picture than this story gives. Some snippets:

Many of the party’s core voters have seen their lives turned upside down by sweeping economic and social change, from globalisation and automation to mass migration. The SPD, once so confident in the righteousness of its cause, has struggled to formulate a response. “The SPD has a leadership problem and a narrative problem,” says Andrea Römmele, a professor at Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance. “The party has no story to tell to the voters, and a story is what voters need.”….

Over the past decade, the SPD has shared responsibility for deeply unpopular decisions – on austerity measures and refugee policy, for example – without being able to stamp its own authority on government. The cross-party alliances have blurred the party’s political identity, and convinced many voters that the SPD is no longer a genuine alternative to Germany’s conservative bloc.

That impression, of course, has been nourished for years by Merkel herself. Since she took over as CDU leader in 2000, she has nudged her party steadily towards the centre left, both in substance and tone. For the SPD, meanwhile, Merkel’s increasingly firm grasp on the political centre has been hard to counter, especially while locked in a coalition government with her.

Britain fell for a neoliberal con trick – even the IMF says so Guardian (PlutoniumKun)

Brexit

From Politico’s European newsletter:

Exit numbers: A new Eurobarometer survey out this morning indicates a jump in support for Remain in the U.K. It also reveals rather strong views in most other EU countries that leaving is not a good option — 66 percent of respondents would vote for their country to stay in the Union. But look at the detailed figures here, and you’ll see how governments’ anti-EU rhetoric can influence public opinion, as in Italy.

Barnier open to extending Brexit transition by another year Financial Times. Not clear he has his principals on board. The EU rejected the UK request for 24 months before v. the 18 they now have. Admittedly, they weren’t faced with a crash out then. The reason I am a bit leery is the Financial Times has run stories based on reports by “EU diplomats” several times about Brexit breaks the UK was supposedly going to be offered that proved to be wrong. Maybe the FT has figured this out and now is speaking to more reliable “EU diplomats” but I’d like to see more confirmation.

EU’s Tusk to ask May for new ideas to break Brexit impasse Reuters

Expectations low’ as PM heads to Brussels BBC

Blair, Clegg and Heseltine: We need another EU-Referendum Die Welt

Britain will face a £36 billion Brexit bill even if it fails to agree a trade deal with EU, warns Chancellor Telegraph

This tweet is technically correct but substantively silly, since one extra year is not enough to negotiate a trade deal (unless the UK accepts EU terms) and way too little time to restructure its economy to deal with the EU on a Canada-style free trade agreement basis, which is where it may wind up (est, timetable is 5 to 10 years):

Talk of extending the transition/implementation period… why is that important?

As it currently stands:

Govt has to negotiate the full future relationship (chart 1)
Govt has to implement said future relationship (chart 2)

More info: https://t.co/DJKMgoX0ME pic..com/jp2SIzJQnB

— Joe Owen (@jl_owen) October 17, 2018

Kamikaze May Politico

Brexit is contributing to marriage breakdowns – UK psychotherapist The Journal (PlutoniumKun)

People’s Vote v Hard Brexit Now 😭😭😭😭You What!!! Divided Brexit Britain 🇬🇧 pic..com/MEp4QpU2K0

— ARTIST TAXI DRIVER (@chunkymark) October 17, 2018

Syraqistan

Reality Breaks Up a Saudi Prince Charming’s Media Narrative New York Times. UserFriendly: “Holy crap NYT goes introspective on their love of MBS aka Mr. Bone Saw. This is a must read.”

Jamal Khashoggi: Where The Road to Damascus & The Path to 9/11 Converge George Washington. Lots of detail. This tidbit comes close to the end:

One last fact to mention: the timing of Khashoggi’s disappearance when taken in connection with the 9/11 Families’ litigation. Last Friday, something very notable happened in the 9/11 litigation against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For the first time ever, the Department of Justice stood on the side of the 9/11 Families and publicly committed to finally releasing three large tranches of formerly secret documents that we believe connect the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 attacks. This is the biggest development we have had in our over 16 years of litigation.

Saudia Arabia’s crown prince went a ghastly step too far Washington Post (furzy)

Demanding End to Saudi Arabia’s “Blank Check” for Atrocities, Sanders to Give Senate Yet Another Chance to Stop US Complicity in Yemen Massacre Common Dreams (UserFriendly)

Saudis Plan To Pin Khashoggi Slaying on ‘Rogue’ General Daily Beast (furzy)

Journalists at Saudi consulate in Istanbul spotting cleaners coming into building just before Turkish investigators are scheduled to arrive to probe Jamal Khashoggi disappearance (via APTN ) pic..com/iAAjM0PpGu

— Borzou Daragahi 🖊🗒 (@borzou) October 15, 2018

Coverup Deal Will Blame Khashoggi Death On Extreme Torture Moon of Alabama

Israel’s 50-Year Time Bomb Consortium News

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

GDPR is ‘Kryptonite’ to Google and Facebook, Brave Executive Tells EU Yahoo (CNN)

‘Do Not Track,’ the Privacy Tool Used by Millions of People, Doesn’t Do Anything Gizmodo

Amazon worker pushes Bezos to stop selling facial recognition tech to law enforcement The Hill

It turns out that Facebook could in fact use data collected from its Portal in-home video device to target you with ads Recode. Well, duh.

Tariff Tantrum

Washington Post Says that Protectionism for Its Friends is “Free Trade” Dean Baker

Trump Transition

Did you see that painting hanging behind Trump during ‘60 Minutes’ interview? Here’s what we know about it Seattle Times (furzy). Wowsers.

Mueller is everywhere, except the midterms Politico

Mueller Ready to Deliver Key Findings in His Trump Probe, Sources Say Bloomberg. Story published at 4:00 AM. Don’t ask me….

Hillary Clinton: Bill’s affair with Monica Lewinsky wasn’t an abuse of power because ‘she was an adult‘New York Daily News (UserFriendly)

Michael Avenatti Is Making Concrete Moves to Run for President in 2020 Against Trump Daily Beast (furzy)

Meet the Mathematicians Fighting against Gerrymandering Scientific American (Dr. Kevin)

McConnell Bloomberg Interview on Entitlements, Rising Deficits Bloomberg. UserFriendly: “Smacks head on desk. Kill me already.”

The Great American Health Care Panic Politico

In Tennessee, a Democrat scrambles to turn out voters as polls show slide Reuters. EM:

“…momentum appears to have shifted against Bredesen in this closely-watched Senate battle despite the endorsement of pop star Taylor Swift and the rumblings of a Democratic wave. The Oct. 6 confirmation of President Donald Trump’s polarizing Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh, injected new energy into Republicans, say Republican party leaders.”

I wonder about that ‘despite the endorsement of’ in the bit I underlined – the DNC’s love of celebrities may not be shared by hoi polloi the the degree Team Blue seems to believe it is. Is Taylor Swift going to increase their paychecks and make healthcare and college more affordable?

California hits PG&E with $5 million in citations for gas leaks SF Chronicle. David S: “Oh, and power still isn’t restored to 1500-odd customers….”

YouTube went down for over an hour during an abrupt worldwide outage Business Insider

Police State Watch

US looks to circumvent environmental opposition by using military sites, including Adak, for coal and gas exports Associated Press (Glenn F, Kevin W)

The Expanding News Desert UNC Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media (furzy)

Self-Censorship: Where The Real Damage Is Being Done Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

Faced with a daily barrage of news, college students find it hard to tell what’s real and what’s ‘fake news’ News @ Northeastern (furzy)

Why’s the World’s Biggest Asset Manager Advising the ECB on the Health of EU Banks? Wolf Street. EM:

This is not the first time the ECB has turned to BlackRock for advisory support. In 2014, the central bank hired BlackRock Solutions, an advisory unit of BlackRock, to provide advice on the design and implementation of the central bank’s upcoming purchase of asset-backed securities. In other words, just before the ECB embarked on one of the biggest QE programs in world history, it sought the advice of the world’s largest asset manager – i.e. the company most invested in the assets it intended to buy.

Why New York Has So Many Empty Storefronts Atlantic (UserFriendy)

Bond Traders Are Paid Big to Dump U.S. Treasuries and Go Abroad Bloomberg

Uber considers spinning off self-driving car unit Financial Times

Class Warfare

Can Trauma Be Inherited Between Generations? Atlantic (UserFriendly)

US Unemployment Rate Hits 50-Year Low: What Does the Number Reveal and Conceal? Real News. Familiar terrain for NC readers, but might be a useful share for people you want to get up the curve.

The Student Debt Crisis, Labor Market Credentialization, and Racial Inequality: How the Current Student Debt Debate Gets the Economics Wrong Roosevelt Institute. UserFriendly: “The fact that this even needs to be argued makes me want to blow my brains out.”

Antidote du jour (William B). Pelican on Alameda Creek, Fremont, CA.:

And a bonus video (this is an upload to NC, so hopefully it works). From Jeff C:

This 27 sec video was taken mid-afternoon the day before the 800+ point drop in the Dow. That day was the first time I have seen bears on the property, much less literally at the door.

I accidentally bumped-the slow-motion button, so we can watch the bear proceed downward slowly with, as it happens, stops along the way. Fitting, no?

Fans of Jungian analysis might note that a dream animal symbol appearing as two or more typically flags that what it represents is not far from becoming conscious.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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157 comments

  1. Unna

    Happy Canada Legal Weed Day! Ah, if you’re so inclined.
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/legal-marijuana-st-johns-first-sales-1.4865855

    So. You all come up to the Great White North. Spend some of that high priced Yankee money. Smoke a little dope. And forget about all your worries concerning Madame Orageuse and Monsieur Le Président du Court-Dessous.

    Your travel agent will suggest a “progressive” sea to sea to sea Continental Smoke Out. Begin by getting high in Newfoundland. Do a joint on the beach while watching picturesque icebergs float by. Eat a hearty bowl of Seal Flipper Soup. And top it off by getting “Screeched-In” via downing a tumbler of Screech Rum and kissing a cod. If you’re not careful you might even get back to America in time to vote in the November election. But only if the American border guards will let you back in after having to admit you’ve indulged.

    1. Whoa Molly!

      “only if the American border guards will let you back in after having to admit you’ve indulged.”

      People who speak legal tell me that lying to border agent is a felony. Thus the tack I take as a US citizen border crosser is, tell the truth if asked (on all things).

      Am I wrong on this? Perhaps someone knowledgeable can comment?

      Serious question. (And to make the whole situation even more kafka-esque, pot is legal in my home state, too.)

        1. zer0

          How can you say that while living in America?

          Always lie, never tell the truth to any authoritative figure, especially if the truth is controversial. The truth leads to being exiled, jailed, ostracized, or even killed. Dont believe me? See what happens to whistleblowers in America. See what happens to the poor souls that try to shed light in the darkest corners. See what happens to families who in the face of police brutality, try to maintain their shred of dignity.

          And while every lawyer in America lies to take the bar (the same signed agreement that kept Jews and Blacks from US law for around a century), America loves to think think of itself as an honest culture. It is far far from that. Politicians lie to merely get votes, and you would actually tell someone that honesty leading to an arrest or warrant is a good thing? Laughable, truly laughable. If lies were so bad, how come every breach of Congressional oath isnt even mentioned let alone prosecuted?

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Thanks for sharing this. Didn’t realize I was honoring Canada this morning when I heated up some left over edibles. Will do my best to avoid the border.

      1. Wukchumni

        O Cannabis!
        Fully legal in their native land!
        True patriot love in all thy hand’s command.
        With glowing bowls we see thee rise,
        The True North strong and free!
        From far and wide,
        O Canada, don’t bogart that spliff.
        Got to keep it legalized you see!
        O Canada, we stand in awe of thee.
        O Canada, we stand in awe of thee.

      2. kgw

        It’s just payback for the Canadian border guards behavior in the ’70’s…

        Traveled to B.C. for the summer to help a friend who had just bought 160 acres of land get ready for the coming winter.
        As we (3 of us) were stopped at the border, the guards separated us so they could question us individually. We all lied when they asked that question. ;~}

        1. Wukchumni

          We did a couple of family station wagon trips to Calgary in 1967 & 72, and i’m pretty sure the statute of limitations is over, but we smuggled plums from our tree in SoCal, up to the frozen tundra of the Gulag Hockeypelago, eluding capture by the border guards, who meekly waved us on, if memory serves.

    3. Unna

      As I see it, and just to scratch the surface, the issues are:
      Will legalization increase use? By how much? Among whom, what age groups, teens and tweens, old people? Increased use while driving, operating machinery on the job? Use among other professionals such as medical care workers? What about bans by employers on use by workers including drug tests? What about government tracking of who purchases?

      Balanced by: Reducing the amounts of illegal income which can find it’s way into legal businesses? Reduction of gang activity? Elimination of toxic chemicals finding their way into what people use? Elimination of criminal arrest and conviction stigmatization? Shift from alcohol use to MJ use?

      But I ask, and I’m curious, why legalization in various places now? Is it just a political trend which has finally caught on and/or have our elites suddenly become enlightened and benevolent? Of course, I’m suspicious by nature and experience. What are the political and social consequences of mass legal availability of MJ into the future? How will increased use shape our social perceptions and affect our cultural values? Which societies around the world have high use of intoxicants and why do they? What, if anything, do such societies have in common?

      Large social experiment being carried on in Canada and we’ll have to wait to see the results.

      1. Wukchumni

        We were on a road trip to visit friends in Brookings, Or., and 420 was legal there before California, and we witnessed the oddest thing…

        There’s a place near the Cal-Or border called All-Star Liquors or something like that, and there’s billboards on the way that pronounce it to be the 8th wonder of the world, etc. In reality any BevMo has a much wider selection, but I digress.

        And just over the border in Oregon are about half a dozen pot shoppes.

        The idea being, that Oregonians beat higher booze taxes in state by heading south, and Californians head north to purchase legal weed.

      2. Buckeye

        Yeah, I have told people I don’t support legal Pot because it seems like a backdoor way for the elites to dope people into submission.

        1. Petter

          Governor Jerry Brown when asked in a Rolling Stone interview:
          ————————–
          Have you run into challenges with the marijuana legalization passed last year?
          It’s a bold experiment! It’s a bold experiment. We don’t know how many people will be stoned, how long. Is it going to reduce the influence of criminals and cartels? Or is it going to lead to just another – you know: There they go! [Droops his head back on the couch, pretends to be a stoner.] “Well, I’m gonna have another joint; don’t worry about climate change.” [Makes huge inhaling noise as he pantomimes smoking a doobie.] “It’s all great.”
          What would you recommend to other governors?
          [Colorado Gov. John] Hickenlooper says it’s working pretty good. He has more experience. I would say the devotion and the zeal of the marijuana people is extraordinary. And far exceeds the mainline church community’s, as I encounter it.
          https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/jerry-browns-california-dream-the-rolling-stone-interview-201940/

  2. emorej a hong kong

    US looks to circumvent environmental opposition by using military sites, including Adak, for coal and gas exports Associated Press

    If it’s “terrorism” to block a private carbon export facility, will activism against a military carbon export facility result in activists being treated at “enemy combatants”?

    1. Charger01

      Protests will be at a minimum, because a military sentence for civil disobedience is going to be stiff indeed.

      As a recall, this was a major plot point for Karl Denninger’s book “Leverage”, about building out a new energy infrastructure with thorium breeder reactors on military bases in the US. The concept was to bypass the majority of regulations in order to expedite the use of nukes to replace fossil fuels within a 10 year timeframe. I can understand the attraction of a somewhat simple solution to a complex.problem..

  3. vlade

    Brexit EU poll – a lot will be likely made of the “only 51% are for” (the actual number in the data is 53%, page 28, so looks like someone can’t copy) – but it needs to be viewed in the light that “only” 35% (vs. 34% in the politico article) would vote out, and the rest was undecided/would not vote. Assuming the last category would not show up, the result would be 60-40, which would be a pretty decisive (this would be actually the result even with politico’s 51 vs 34). With that result, it would be pretty hard to argue “people’s will was overturned”, although I’m sure someone would try..

  4. A Small Part of the Pantomime

    Hm, I thought it looked familiar. The backroom poker president painting should have dogs instead of people! Antidote or anti-antidote?

  5. Livius Drusus

    Re: Michael Avenatti Is Making Concrete Moves to Run for President in 2020 Against Trump.

    This doesn’t surprise me. I have seen some Democrats online talking about Avenatti running because he is just as mean and nasty as Trump and knows how to fight. Now, I am not one to obsess about civility but do we really need our own Trump? The idea that you need to be a jerk to win is something that I am seeing more and more from people. It is seeping into the culture at large too and producing a more vicious populace.

    Bernie Sanders is very popular but he doesn’t need to be a jerk. Sanders is tough but that is different from being a jerk. People seem to think that you must either be a jerk or a wimp and there is nothing in between the two. A Trump-Avenatti election would be horrible for the country as it would just be another disgusting food fight election focused on scandals and insults.

    I think Sanders could potentially win some weak (less hardcore) Republican voters, independents and nonvoters especially in the key Rust Belt states that won the election for Trump. Sanders has crossover appeal. Somebody like Avenatti would not have that kind of appeal outside of hardcore partisan Democrats.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It seems the Dems and their mainstream defenders will do anything – anything – to avoid the obvious conclusion based on all existing polling that only Sanders (and possibly Gabbard) have any crossover appeal.

      1. Charger01

        Team Pepsi does not want to have good policy, rather they want a good looking charismatic leader for people to identify with (and to fall in love with) as their avatar for political success. The problem is that people will come and go, and policy (or the laws you implement) will outlast your candidate by a mile.

    2. Roger Smith

      Avenatti is a modern day Jerry Springer as far as I can see. The fact that anyone even gives this clown the time of day astonishes me (as in all of these articles). Posturing to run for office? What the heck are his policy positions? He will start and drop out before the first debates even happen, if Mr. Clown Shoes even gets that far.

      1. Charger01

        Team Pepsi’s Herman Cain is probably a bit better analogy. I can’t wait to hear “9, 9, 9” as his campaign motto.

        I seriously cannot believe that Kamela Harris or Cory Booker haven’t made their grand announcement that their running.

          1. charger01

            That’s the cheap joke. Both Pepsi and Coke are bad for you.
            But their brands endure, no matter what they sell. They still endure.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In the first story of De Sica’s “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,’ with Marcelo Mastroiannni and Sophia Loren, the latter had to stay pregnant all the time to avoid (debt) prison.

          In a way, the Italians were very humane (for not jailing would-be mothers).

      2. Jonhoops

        The same could be said of Trump. So that argument falls a little flat. Policy Postions? Who gives a shit about that? Trump proved that was a losing strategy. Much better to come up with demeaning nicknames.

        1. nippersmom

          Because his opponent had such compelling policy positions? More war and regime change for profit, “never-ever” single payer, and telling Wall Street to “cut it out” don’t sound like winning policies to me.

          It’s not that no one “gives a shit” about policy positions; it’s that no one wants to vote for shitty policy positions.

          1. Unna

            2016 election was like the Rodney Dangerfield joke: “Your wife, tell me, is she good?” RD: “My wife? Uh, compared to what?” 2016 was a “compared to what” election.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              It was a Dangerfiled joke and we elected Al Czervik – Rodney Dangerfield’s character from Caddyshack who was a boorish real estate developer upsetting the snobs – as president.

              My prediction – Dangerfield’s closing line from the movie will become Trump’s campaign slogan.

              TRUMP 2020: Hey everybody, we’re all going to get laid!

    3. John Dickens

      Will progressive policies beat the ethics-free republicans, unburdened by any moral impulses? If not, it could be attractive to nominate a fighter like Avenatti, although his nastiness seems to be in service to attracting publicity to build his brand.

      The larger problem for me is that electing jerks to beat Trump makes it easier, next time, to elect an even worse person (OK, maybe Trump is the bottom, but who knows who might be out there?). Avenatti or another asshole could be the first slide down a slippery slope to an even more unimaginably awful human being in the white house.

    4. ewmayer

      Meanwhile, the defamation suit Avenatti filed vs Trump on behalf of Stormee Weathers (or whatever TF his client’s meaty-orologically-inspired p0rn-star name is) got tossed:

      Judge dismisses Stormy Daniels defamation lawsuit against Trump | Reuters

      “The Court agrees with Mr. Trump’s argument because the tweet in question constitutes ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ normally associated with politics and public discourse in the United States. The First Amendment protects this type of rhetorical statement,” Otero wrote.

      Between clowns like this real-life Saul Goodman PR-whore and Liz Warren trumpeting the finding that she has between 0.1% and 1% native American ancestry (by way of comparison, most Asians and Europeans have 1–2% DNA in common with the extinct Neanderthals) as some kind of big “I’m a member of an oppressed ethnic minority” victory over the orange-haired master baiter, the odds of Trump getting a second term keep increasing.

  6. Corbin Dallas

    The TN race is sad to me -not because I like Bredseden but because had we put up someone different, we could have had real change. As it is the governor will certainly try to push through more Medicaid work requirements which are the cruelest thing in the world. Not sure I would put much stock in what R leaders said about what motivated their base (their statements are as prescriptive as descriptive) however.

    Unrelatedly, this is an interesting thread about Sears and Jim Crow:

    https://.com/louishyman/status/1051872178415828993

    In my history of consumption class, I teach about #Sears, but what most people don’t know is just how radical the catalogue was in the era of #Jim Crow. #storians

    1. tiebie66

      I do not understand Americans. They are about to elect another SCOTUS for which they would soon give an approval rating of less than 20%. They do this repeatedly, yet do not seem to notice! Why bother? It seems so blindingly obvious that the NC commentariat, in general and by way of speaking, deplores the Republicans and laments the aimlessness of the Democrats. If only this or only that! Yet every two years they have the opportunity to make a clean sweep: to not elect anyone from any of the two major parties. Every ballot has one or more independents on, no? Am I mistaken? Return only independents. At first, it might be a bit of a mess, but do you really want to continue as is and whine about it? There is no meaningful difference between the major parties. Just look at the defense budget! Everyone in favor! I say, cut three quarters of it! And what could not be done with the savings in terms of medicare and education! But no, making more expensive weapons to change regimes and kill thousands of people and displace millions more all over the world meets with virtually no resistance.
      It seems to me that all Americans can do is fret about tweaking the system – hoping a wave will emerge from it. In some languages, the word for “hope” is the same as the word for “wait”. With this wishful thinking, there will be much tweaking and a very long wait.

      1. Oregoncharles

        There isn’t actually an independent option on every ballot line, but that’s a very worthy goal.

        I hope something like this will eventually happen; I agree with your point.

        1. Big Tap

          The Electoral College almost guarantees only the Democrats or Republicans will win. An independent would need to get at least 270 EC votes or it would go to the U.S. House. Only Democrats and Republicans are in the House and would select one of their own not an independent.

          1. Oregoncharles

            I think you underestimate both the level of turmoil in which an independent might win, and the perverse effects of plurality voting. The latter means that if there are 3 equal candidates, someone can win with 34% of the vote – and even less if there are more than 3. Minority office holders are not a good thing, but it is an opening that could easily give someone the necessary 270 votes – as it did Trump, or Bill Clinton.

            The last time the EC deadlocked and it went to the House, the resulting scandal nearly brought down the government. That was a long time ago; most people are unaware of the arrangement, so a House vote for someone who lost the popular vote would probably lead to torches and pitchforks – or at the least, a drastic cleanout of the House.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    Why New York Has So Many Empty Storefronts Atlantic (UserFriendy)

    The article nails the obvious culprit of landlords sitting on properties in the hope of attracting a long term big name tenant.

    What happens when cities become too expensive to afford any semblance of that boisterous diversity? The author E. B. White called New York an assembly of “tiny neighborhood units.” But the 2018 landlord waiting game is denuding New York of its particularity and turning the city into a high-density simulacrum of the American suburb. The West Village landlords hoping to lease their spaces to national chains are turning one of America’s most famous neighborhoods into a labyrinthine strip mall. Their strategy bodes the disappearance of those quirky restaurants, curious antique shops, and any coffee shops that aren’t publicly traded on the NYSE.

    The obvious solution to this is a tax on vacant property. They’ve just introduced one here in Ireland (aimed at empty sites, not necessarily vacant units) and its generated very significant activity on lands that owners were happy to sit on.

    Incidental to this, I don’t think that its in any way inevitable that the growth of Amazon dooms retail. Amazon has had relatively little impact in Europe in comparison to the US (although it certainly has hit some specialist chains, especially in electronics). I wonder if the type of predatory behaviour we’ve seen with Sears has made many US retail chains simply unable to focus enough on their core business to win new customers.

    1. Watt4Bob

      When you’re deep in bubble land, every square foot is a real-estate play.

      Retail tenants are just in the way of your marvelous virtual future profits, until the bubble pops.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It doesn’t have to be in a bubble. After the crash in Ireland quite a few landlords kept units vacent even when there were tenants available because (apparently) they preferred to maintain their notional ‘bubble’ valuation than a realistic post-bubble valuation.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      The landlords have been doubling retail rentals in my ‘hood. And yes, many big storefronts vacant. I have been watching some and most that are vacant have been vacant so long that the landlord has now lost money relative to if he’d kept the rent the same, let alone merely put through a modest increase.

      1. lifetime renter

        I’ve always thought (with no evidence) that there must be backdoor financial compensations for keeping storefronts vacant. Tax credits, deductions, or some other financial shenanigans? Is this not true? (If not, why not? cynical me asks.)

  8. Stephen V.

    http://angryarab.blogspot.com/?m=1

    Hat tip the Real News. Excellent Kashoggi background and history.

    1. barefoot charley

      Very interesting, thanks!

      Kashoggi was an early mujahaddin with Bin Laden, turned against him when the Saud family government did. He has always been a Salafist propagandist working with/for the Saudi government. The leftist Lebanese-background academic interviewed thinks Kashoggi was killed as a defector (“He thought MBS was doing the right things in the wrong way”), not a traitor, to the one-man government which has just weakened itself–because the new kid isn’t as smart as he thinks. Eliminating all points of view and independent powers seemed smart, till now. Kashoggi had bet on the wrong princes, now on lockdown.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Barnier open to extending Brexit transition by another year Financial Times. Not clear he has his principals on board. The EU rejected the UK request for 24 months before v. the 18 they now have. Admittedly, they weren’t faced with a crash out then. The reason I am a bit leery is the Financial Times has run stories based on reports by “EU diplomats” several times about Brexit breaks the UK was supposedly going to be offered that proved to be wrong. Maybe the FT has figured this out and now is speaking to more reliable “EU diplomats” but I’d like to see more confirmation.

    He seems certainly at least to have consulted the Irish govenment, as RTE is reporting. It obviously doesn’t solve anything, and frankly I am pretty sure the DUP/hard Brexiters will not accept it. And it does seem to go against a lot of what the EU has been saying previously, not least because this interferes in a major way with the EU budget/election cycle.

    I wonder if this is all simply designed to show that the EU is trying to be the good faith negotiator, while putting forward ‘compromises’ it knows full well May can’t get past her party. Or maybe, as the Politico link is suggesting, the real plan is the create a crisis in December to help May push a last minute deal through.

    1. David

      I wonder if there isn’t a bit of intra-EU politicking going on here. Barnier has, after all, devoted two years of his life to this shambles, and even civil servants are allowed to have feelings. I suspect he wants to put the maximum pressure on member states to give him more flexibility, and also make sure that, when the history books are written, he comes out well for his attempts to pull off a deal against the odds. The formulation “EU diplomats” is interesting, and could mean several things. If it’s diplomats of member states based in Brussels, then it means that Barnier has been briefing them on what he and his staff are going to propose, in the knowledge that somebody will leak the contents to the media. On the other hand, if it really means “EU officials” then its Barnier’s staff leaking directly.
      In either case, I think we’re moving towards a stage where the EU will be having its own internal problems.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thats an interesting insight. I assume Barnier wants to come out of this looking good – I guess you don’t get to be in his job without having acute political skills, and he may well be manoevering to see how he can ensure that no blame lands on him. Perhaps he sees being over-ruled by the member states as better than having to admit he couldn’t close the deal with his UK counterparts.

    2. Mirdif

      The Guardian now has direct quotes from Simon Coveney about this exact offer.

      “The EU side is willing to allow more time in the transition period to agree an alternative solution to the backstop,”

      It looks to me that the EU side is doing it’s level best to prevent a crash out.

      1. vlade

        They will still get the blame by the UK, so I fully expect it’s more to their domestic, and world-wide audience (i.e. I’m sure that other countries are watching the incompetence of the UK negotiation…)

      2. Jeff

        A “transition period” implies first and foremost an agreement. That implies agreeing on a/ the exit bill (where the Tories were backpedaling), b/ status of EU residents in UK and UK residents in EU (haven’t heard much progress on this recently) and c/ the Irish border.
        So May must get her house in order, or there will be no Withdrawal Agreement and hence no transition.

        1. Mirdif

          My reading of this is that the EU might allow a time-limited backstop until the end of the transition period and they can use the transition period to then come up with an unlimited backstop. Just another way to kick the can down the road in the hope something turns up.

          They’re trying to hit pause on the crash out scenario as they know May cannot move. This has benefits for both the mercantilist traditions who want to take business away from the UK as well as the Anglophiles in the EU.

          For May, she lives to fight another day in the hope something new comes along. I guess we might get another election next year post-Brexit in this scenario I’m envisaging but I don’t expect anything much to change.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            No, the EU has said there has to be a permanent backstop. France and other will absolutely not tolerate allowing NI to be a backdoor into the EU for smugglers.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Would that include having NI be a transit point for American goods like chlorinated chicken which would not meet EU food standards or stuff from China like baby-milk powder which meets nobody’s food standards? Actually, anything from any country that did not meet EU standards.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        And from Varadkar:

        Taoiseach Leo Varakdar has said he could support the idea of a one year extension to the two year transition period which will run after 29 March next year.

        However, it could not be a substitute for the backstop, he said.

        “From Ireland’s point of view we’re willing to hear any proposals that might help to bring about a solution.

        “A lot of us feel that negotiating a new economic and security relationship between the EU and UK within two years would be a real challenge and bear in mind within those two years you’d have to negotiate this new relationship, and it also have to be ratified by 28 parliaments.

        “But I really need to say though that any extension to the transition period couldn’t be a substitute for the backstop. We would still need to have that, but perhaps it would allow people to have greater confidence that it would ever need to be invoked.”

        The more I see of this, the less it seems. Barnier is simply throwing out the idea of giving more time if there is an agreement, he must know well this doesn’t in any way address the issues of the DUP/Ultras. I think we’ll see a string of these stories essentially offering minor concessions, the primary aim being to keep up the appearance of progress and EU flexibility.

  10. Olga

    Hmm, winds of change? Have not known The Texas Tribune to be a touchy-feely kinda publication, but they’re now publishing stories about environmental destruction, including in Texas. This is an interesting piece about the former Energy Sec. Moniz – and how to monetize one’s “underpaid” government position, much on the runaway energy sector (and yes, thanks, Obama!):
    https://www.texastribune.org/2018/10/16/how-washington-unleashed-fossil-fuel-exports-and-sold-out-climate/
    “The Permian boom is expected to accelerate — worsening air quality and driving up water use in a region prone to drought. In June, IHS Markit predicted a “stunning” bump in crude production by 2023, putting the basin above every member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries except Saudi Arabia. In a speech to the United Nations in September, Trump condemned the 15 OPEC members for “ripping off the rest of the world” and said, “The United States stands ready to export our abundant, affordable supply of oil, clean coal and natural gas.”
    On the other hand, a large ranch in the area up for sale in a bankruptcy proceeding:
    https://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/growth/article220075245.html

  11. Carolinian

    Re Caitlin Johnstone on web censorship:

    And that ultimately is precisely the point. If the social engineers can make an example of a few dissident voices in the public eye, everyone else will rein in their own speech and behavior to avoid the same fate. The overall effect of this phenomenon is actually far more effective in suppressing dissident speech than the overt censorship is by itself, because self-censorship actually silences exponentially more anti-establishment opinions. For every one voice you crack down on overtly, a thousand more silence themselves out of self-preservation, not saying things they would otherwise say and not doing things they would otherwise do.

    Here’s suggesting that censorship, not surveillance, is the real Silicon Valley threat to be worried about. After all if you want to construct a system of social control then it’s obviously a lot more efficient to control the pipe through which dissenting views are brought to the public than to pursue thought control on an individual basis–the well known haystack problem. In fact SV arguably came to power as a response to group think among the older media of television and newspapers. The succession of such press enthusiasms as Clinton impeachment, Bush supreme court selection (strongly supported by network pundits) and the Iraq war created a hunger for an alternative and Silicon Valley libertarians under the banner of “information wants to be free” said they would fit the bill. Now Google and Facebook and Twitter are becoming what the TV networks once were and we are back to square one.

    Platforms may be the new enemy and sites like NC the way out. “The only way to ensure freedom of the press is to own your own.”

    1. Roger Smith

      After recent events (and more recent still, the NPC account bans) I am not sure why any one is using Twitter. I jumped ship shortly after they change the chronological and made it impossible to use the site for what it was for, live news . Likewise I abandoned Facebook two months ago and do not regret it at all ( it was before the massive account hack). If I could fine an alternative to Gmail and its services I would abandon that too. Unfortunately in my experience gmail is the most secure, service.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Glad you mentioned NPC. I just heard about it this morning and I think it’s hilarious. And essentially accurate. No wonder got all aflutter.

        Here’s a nyt “primer,” for those who haven’t heard about it. And some more pretty funny examples in the article on it over at Zero Hedge.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/16/us/politics/npc--ban.html

        https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-16/4chan-sparks-mass-triggering-npc-meme--responds-ban-hammer

      2. Summer

        There it is again…the removal of chronological searches or viewing of info.
        I guess if memory is decimated everything will look like “innovations.”

      3. Jeff

        Gmail is an email service, so you should be able to get alternatives almost anywhere (your ISP should be able to provide you with one, but many others allow you to subscribe).
        Otherwise, Framasoft tries to create free non-Google services – up to you to see if they fit your needs.
        Currently I use OpenStreetMap for maps and Quant as a search engine (which works better for me than DuckDuckGo, but each to his/her own taste).

      4. oh

        If you want an alternative to gmail there are many choices. Here are two that offer end-to-end encryption of e-mail for free:

        tutanota.com
        protonmail.com

        Google and all of its services are designed to spy on your every activity. They seduce with some free stuff but pick your pocket (and your life) at every turn. There is OpenstreetMap as an alternative to googlemaps, duckduckgo for anonymous searches, and signal for encrypted phone calls and messaging. Unless we get people to use these non google alternatives their communications to us on gmail will leave wide open at least one part of the communication channel for Google to farm and sell data about you.

        BTW, gmail is not secure (as noted above) and also has a very poor interface. It makes deletion of your data difficult because they hold on to it.

    2. tegnost

      Yeah, chrome updated last night and now when I go to the seattle times it’s “Access Denied on this server” I guess they’re still working out the bugs because no problem getting NC, which as long time readers know has not always been the case, there were lots of attacks on the site a while back.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Caitlins piece was denied to me just now. Something about an Internal Server Error.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    How social democracy lost its way: a report from Germany Financial Times.

    This isn’t an area I’m an expert in, but the impression I’ve had over the years is that in northern Europe in particular the main driver behind the weakening of social democracy was a combination of frustration in the 1980’s and 90’s at the perception that they were falling behind the allegedly more dynamic Anglosphere, along with the impact of the fall of the Iron Curtain leading the far left to lose confidence in its beliefs, with the softer left losing its argument that social democracy was an essential alternative to communism.

    While for outsiders, countries like Sweden and Denmark seem like consensual paradises, all those countries have long had very strong (and often very nasty) right wing power bases. The construction of a post war social democratic settlement in those – and other north European countries – was based on a shared belief across the establishment that the rich and powerful needed to share – or be seen to share – power and wealth as a way to stabilise their countries in the shape of a military/political threat from the east and a cultural/economic threat from the west.

    From the perspective of those countries from the 1980’s onwards, social democracy seemed less successful economically than monetarist style right wing economics, and the ‘threat’ for many people seemed less one of Soviet tanks, than Russian plumbers, or for that matter, European companies falling in the face of the might of US business. Hence the huge popularity of Blair’s ‘third way’, which seemed to come to the rescue of the centre right at just the right time for them. Of course, for reasons we all know, the ‘third way’ was really a direct route down the sink hole. It seems to have been fatal for the centre left.

    The big problem now of course is that the centre left is not being replaced by Greens or a harder left, or something new. Its been replaced by a populist right.

    1. DJG

      Thanks, Plutonium Kun: This is also the history of Italian politics after WWII. The population had suffered during the colonial wars of the 1930s and then the world war. There was a civil war within the war in Italy after the fall of Mussolini, with strong repercussions in the the North, the country’s industrial base. Then the Partito Comunista Italiano emerged as a very serious party (intellectually, socially, at the ballot box). Some compromises had to be made by the so-called Christian Democats, NATO, and the U S of A.

      Your description of Blairism / Clintonism–which evidenced in Italy as the Partito Democratico (modeled after, and just as feckless as the U.S. Democratic Party)–also explains the rise of the untenable coaltion of Five Stars and Lega (Nord).

    2. TheMog

      I think the ‘falling behind’ certainly played a role. I grew up in Germany and there was a feeling of stagnation in the 80s kinda right up to the reunification. There certainly was political stagnation with Kohl essentially sucking the air out of the political room until his tenure became untenable. The reunification bump then gave way to another bout of stagnation in the late 90s (which admittedly was when I left Germany).

      The other big part that (IMHO) led to the decline of the SPD is that they caught the Clintonesque/Blairite “Third Way” bug in a really bad way. Schröder was definitely pulling the SPD into a “CDU light” direction. Some of the space left behind was filled by “Die Linke”, aka the remnants of the SED, and to a certain extent also by the Green party. My personal opinion is that this at least partially cut off the air supply for the SPD, not being helped with them being willing participants in “Grand” Coalitions.

      I haven’t lived in Germany for about 20 years now but still go back fairly regularly. It feels to me like it’s back in the 80s, only with smartphones – political stagnation with Merkel being glued to, sorry, occupying the seat her mentor Kohl was stuck in for too long. Similar to back then, the left-ish parties doesn’t seem to offer decent alternatives and there’s a distinct rise on the right. In the 80s and 90s it was the Republikaner, now it’s the AfD.

    3. Oregoncharles

      NC just (yesterday?) posted an article in Linkis about the Greens gaining in Bavaria, one of the most conservative German states. AfD is gaining, too, at the expense of the CSU. And the Greens govern several other states, as well.

  13. Stephen Gardner

    The offices of the opposition party in the last presidentials in France (La France Insoumise) were searched along with the homes of several members including Jean-Luc Melenchon himself. There are political angles to this story but of course the western press is treating it as a simple corruption investigation. And Melenchon, the Bernie Sanders of France, is being marginalized as a “far left leader” by Reuters. Apparently Melenchon was very upset when the police laid hands upon him and let his anger show (righteous anger in my book). Now they are giving him a hard time in the French press for saying “La Republique c’est moi” (a little too reminiscent of Louis XIV saying “L’etat c’est moi”). This bears further treatment here I think. Just put “France insoumise offices searched” in the search engine of your choice. I woke up to this in my Youtube this morning because I subscribe to the Melenchon channel. So far it hasn’t been prominent in the press here.

    1. David

      The searches took place on Tuesday, and were related to two hardy perennials of the French political scene – employment of non-existent staff and cheating on campaign expenses. Other candidates have suffered similarly. However, it appears that the searches (conducted both at the offices of LFI and at Mélenchon’s home) caused angry exchanges and even, it’s alleged, some violence . Mélenchon said yesterday that the police arrived with weapons and body armour. There are a number of videos circulating showing what happened, including on this site. Today, the parquet de Paris said that it was opening an investigation against him for threats and aggressive behaviour against the forces of justice.
      Watch this space.

      1. Stephen Gardner

        Oh yeah, I’m keeping my eye on it. I saw his exchange with the police and there was some pushing and jostling but although probably technically against the law I don’t think that they would be making a big deal out of it if it weren’t for the fact that he is someone who is against the neoliberal order. This phenomenon is worldwide. The real owners are not going to brook any resistance from the left. Be it in Brazil, Greece, the US, wherever–they are afraid. The neoliberal order is faltering and any threat, no matter how inconsequential feels like a mortal threat to these guys. I have news for them. Guys like Melenchon aren’t gonna topple the system–it will fall over on its own due to its fundamental unsustainability.

    2. vidimi

      the french media are trying to make a big deal out of melonchon’s “outburst” but it remains to be seen how much traction this gets. macron is very unpopular now and it seems that only the left wing parties got raided yesterday despite all parties being under investigation.

  14. Wukchumni

    What a fun bear encounter in that video, a trio no less.

    I’ve seen lots of bears and never tire of their antics, as some of the things they do are for our benefit.

    We were on an overnight backpack on the Paradise trail in Mineral King a few years ago, and within a quarter mile of the trailhead, we came across a mother and cub, the young one about the size of a medium microwave oven.

    They were 100 feet away from us, and for whatever reason, mom decides to climb a 125 foot tall tree that’s another 100 feet away, and in a series of grappling moves with all limbs, ascended the sentinel to the crown in a dozen seconds. An exhibition of strength, can you do this, pesky human?

    Well, up comes junior and it takes him about a minute to get up around halfway to the top and he gets cold feet, and won’t go any further. Meanwhile, mom is causing all sorts of treebris to fall from on high and the little bruin is getting pelted.

    But no harm-no foul, and they both descend and depart and that’s that.

    There was no reason to climb that tree, if we weren’t there.

    1. Wukchumni

      p.s.

      If you really want to see a bear, a late Oct-early Nov drive on the Generals Hwy in Sequoia NP from around 2,000 to 5,000 feet, should net you some.

      The most i’ve seen in one day is 9, and they’re easy to spot, all you look for is stopped cars sometimes, other times just keep a watchful eye for movement.

      Acorns are ripe and boo-boo’s gotta put on weight for the winter, so they’re noshing near oak trees alongside the road.

        1. Wukchumni

          Bears have a sense of smell 7x that of a dog, so yeah they smell everything. They have pretty bad eyesight as a trade-off.

          Nobody’s been killed by a bear in California since 1870, and i’ve never heard of menstruating women being in any particular peril when around them.

  15. Carolinian

    Re The Atlantic epigenetics article

    The current Civil War paper overcomes some of these drawbacks, since it looked at thousands of veterans and their children. But the study examined only the statistics, not the genes themselves, so the idea that the connection is epigenetic is more like conjecture, or a process of elimination.

    Isn’t it just as likely that those Union prisoners traumatized by war passed on negative characteristics to their offspring after they were born? I’m no biologist but this study doesn’t sound very persuasive.

  16. Laughingsong

    “Faced with a daily barrage of news, college students find it hard to tell what’s real and what’s ‘fake news’ “

    Step awaaaay from the smartphone and use that squishy thing in your head . . .eeeeeeeeeew, yeah it’s gross but not just there to zombies.

    1. Charger01

      Critical thinking in public education is a challenge right now, but adding cold water to the ideals of a bias-free press compounds the problem. We’re (as a society) are raising a generation of cynics.

      1. Jessica

        Nowadays, it is necessary to have a solid grounding in history and anthropology and other social sciences so that one has a reasonable sense of what might be possible. Most fake news and mainstream propaganda doesn’t pass the smell test if your intellectual nose is developed enough.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Exactly. What you need is the newly patented ‘Becnel Enlightenment Algeauxrithm’ that filters out every piece of fake news.

          How does it work? Simple! The Algeauxrithm does a simple word scan to check for the occurrence of “Identifiers.”

          News articles will be banned if they contain any reference to Sex, Race, and Religion.

          POLICY POLICY POLICY

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When it (college) is free, you’re the product.

      Will it come to that?

      “Hey, dean, I need a spare (human) part for my well-oiled corporate machine. When can you send over a hacker…er, a programmer?”

  17. tricia

    re Khashoggi and the prince.

    In a way, the Saudis were being logical- if they can kill and starve thousands of Yemenis without world outrage, certainly they can get away with disappearing one ‘journalist.’ Except not.
    When it’s all about the elite club of which they’re a major funding member…pretty obvious there’d be a problem. I mean, this gruesome event is something the beltway crowd actually has to feel– just too close and personal. they’ve been sullied by this barbarity.

    I know this has been said. But all the more disgusting given this report about (war crimes) intentionally targeting food supplies in Yemen bombings:

    “from August 2015 there appears a shift from military and governmental to civilian and economic targets, including water and transport infrastructure, food production and distribution, roads and transport, schools, cultural monuments, clinics and hospitals, and houses, fields and flocks.”

    “If one places the damage to the resources of food producers (farmers, herders, and fishers) alongside
    the targeting of food processing, storage and transport in urban areas and the wider economic war, there
    is strong evidence that Coalition strategy has aimed to destroy food production and distribution in the
    areas under the control of Sanʿaʾ.”

    “…In short, to target agriculture in Yemen requires a
    certain precision in aiming.”

    https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/strategies-of-the-coalition-in-the-yemen-war/

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In a way, their (whoever the bad guys were) mistake was not setting up a trap in Yemen.

      “Hey, I have a breaking story for a journalist like you. When can you come down here? You’ll be safe from all the bombings here. Trust me.”

      1. Olga

        Not sure why, but this made me think about how the war against Iran in the 1980s sort of became a trap for Saddam Hussein. In that war, the west supported him against Iran… but in the end, he spent lots of treasure and life, and 13 years later faced his own demise.

  18. JTMcPhee

    Is it good news for the political economy of the “nation” and planet that the birth rate in the US is apparently declining? https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6284045/US-birth-rate-hits-record-low-CDC-reveals-drops-region.html Too little, too late maybe, but Nature and “enlightened self-interest” and poverty and depression maybe taking a hand?

    But hey, I thought poverty made for more and more children, not less! Maybe that was only in the world where there were lots of “welfare mommas” and disappearing “baby daddies!” Or in the industrializing ugly “towns” of Britain and Europe?

    Yes, it is complicated, of course…

    1. Louis Fyne

      immigration is still going strong. the US is minting thousands of first world consumerists every day.

      but discussing a more rational, merit/points-based immigration policy is the third rail of identity and liberal-progressive politics. And will eventually delve into ad hominem mudslinging.

      1. Wukchumni

        Judging from the number of Indian nationals in gaol, caught trying to sneak in from down under, down Mexico way. it’s a different kind of illegal, yearning to be free, etc.

        A small but growing number of asylum seekers from India have been crossing into the U.S. through Mexico in recent years, taking advantage of travel routes forged by Latino immigrants. So far during the 2018 fiscal year, 4,197 of those arrested by Border Patrol agents have been Indian nationals, according to data from Syracuse University. In seeking asylum, they often claim political and religious persecution at home. But some Sikhs have alleged they are not allowed to wear turbans while in custody at facilities in California.

        http://www.latimes.com/newsletters/la-me-todays-headlines-20180814-story.html

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Didn’t you also mention Pakistanis (and not just Indians) coming through from Mexico as well?

  19. jsn

    Atlantic article on Retail

    This article ignores the force preventing the “retail market” from settling: REITs and private equity.

    I’ve been watching various individual and institutional cash hoards buy up big chunks of New York and then package it with debt and sell it to REITs. Once encased in the REIT amber, for a retail space to lease for something less than what was written into the deal requires the REIT to ante up capital to fill the cash flow hole a lower rent punches in the financial model. With capital as cheap as it continues to be, extend and pretend is still the asset manager’s friend.

    What happens when that game ends?

    1. Baby Gerald

      Thank you, jsn, for explaining the deeper ‘why’ behind this terrible trend. I always assumed it was some underlying collective force rather than, say, an unwritten agreement amongst property owners to demand such-and-such per square foot and not a penny less. How a retailer or restaurant that is successful is suddenly driven out after ten or twenty years in a location because of a massive rent hike, only to see that location remain vacant years later feels wrong. Take for example, the uptown Les Halles. When Anthony Bourdain died, the flowers piled up in front of the doors of the long-vacant uptown establishment looked as much like a memorial to the dead restaurant itself.

      I’m all for taxing these vacant storefronts, using the collected taxes to fund homeless services. I’m also for forcing these vancant ground-level storefronts in winter to otherwise provide basic shelter services. Nothing is more appalling than seeing a homeless person sheltering his or herself in the doorways of these empty stores. See how fast the rentals fill up when faced with the option of filling them with cots and blankets instead.

  20. Wukchumni

    Adak and the rest of the Aleutians have a reputation for incredibly awful weather, or at least that’s what all of the servicemen doing time there in WW2, thought of the place.

    We’re going to route exports through there?

    1. Oregoncharles

      I’m just grateful there are no military bases with access to the sea in Oregon. Sen. Morse did us a big favor by alienating all the other Senators, so no military goodies for Oregon. Washington’s in trouble, though.

  21. DJG

    I rest my case: The Partito Democratico, like the U.S. Democratic Party, is one gigantic grifting operation.

    https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2018/10/16/matteo-renzi-si-offre-come-speaker-per-convegni-nel-mondo-quanto-costa-ingaggiarlo-20mila-euro/4697398/

    At least he doesn’t charge as much as Hillary Clinton.

  22. John Wright

    Had some early morning humor when I went to look at the NYTimes website

    The Times Website messaged:

    “Support independent journalism. Subscribe to The New York Times.”

    After the Iraq War support and Syrian military action pimping, Ukraine military action promotion, the entire Russia!, Russia!, Russia! narrative and general support of anything the US security state wants to do, this statement is seems “over the top”,

    Maybe it is a simple typo, as it is better as:.

    “Support dependent journalism. Subscribe to the New York Times.”

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Hillary Clinton: Bill’s affair with Monica Lewinsky wasn’t an abuse of power because ‘she was an adult'”

    “Enabler”

    noun: enabler; plural noun: enablers

    a person or thing that makes something possible.
    “the people who run these workshops are crime enablers”
    a person who encourages or enables negative or self-destructive behaviour in another.
    “he criticized her role as an enabler in her husband’s pathological womanizing”

    1. Summer

      But on this subject:

      There were a string of sexual assualt allegations against Slick Willy throughout his political career.
      I guess their plan is just to keep the focus on one. This is going to be fun to watch the MSM dance around.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Good point; they’ve carefully chosen the one that wasn’t assault (by Lewinski’s own account). It was harassment, since he was her boss. Some of the other stories are much worse.

    2. JTMcPhee

      “Will no one rid us of these annoying sociopaths?” One guesses that maybe apoptosis will take them down?

      “The grifters you shall always have with you.” And the causes of poverty are.., How much loot and destruction is enough, O Clintons?

      One of their fellow grifters with whom they played was Yasser Arafat, of whom a nice if lengthy write up was in the Atlantic years ago: “In a ruined country —How Yasser Arafat destroyed Palestine,” http://www.middleeast.org/launch/redirect.cgi?num=192&a=45. Long, but with lots of explication on all the “partners,” overt and covert, that Arafat grifters with.

      “Apres nous le deluge…”

    3. nippersmom

      If a Republican made that comment about the victim of another Republican, the Democrats and their minions in the MSM would be sharpening their knives.

  24. Craig H.

    > Reality Breaks Up a Saudi Prince Charming’s Media Narrative

    This is far closer to Reality and it’s a movie clip.

    Don’t Ever Take Sides Against the Family

    To be honest I could not stomach reading to the end of the New York Times piece. I had to stop at the point where . . .

    Vanity Fair noted at the time that the festivities were not marred by talk of civilian deaths in Yemen from Saudi-led airstrikes; the crown prince’s “anti-corruption” move to imprison scores of Saudi businessmen, including the owners of Saudi television networks and key rivals, at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton; or the five-year prison sentence the Saudi royal court handed the journalist Saleh al-Shehi for criticizing the government.

    Also the youtube label does not have the Michael Corleone line verbatim. It’s “Don’t take sides against the family again. Ever.

    When was the last time a British or French monarch summarily executed a family member?

    1. barefoot charley

      I guess that would be Good Queen Bess, offing half-sister Mary Queen of Scots in 1587 after years of captivity. 400 years of family civility! Sort of.

  25. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The Great American Health Care Panic Politico

    So, it could just be me, but this article had a bit of a passive-aggressive “vibe” to it. Beyond use of the word “panic,” there were these scene setters:

    With whiffs of cigarette smoke wafting from the adjoining Band Box bar, surrounded by the nonstop clatter of bowling pins, Donna Brown and Kaci Rickert sat across from each other at a little low table one recent evening at the shabby, homey Levittown Lanes.
    —–
    Four miles down busy New Falls Road, inside squat, gray brick Sparky’s World Famous Shot & Beer Bar, dangling strands of Christmas lights cut through the Camel haze of the dark bar on a late afternoon. Jim Hamlen, 75, a retired steelworker and onetime union Democrat wearing a T-shirt that says he’s a Vietnam veteran, took drags and sips of two-buck beer and talked about Trump. “When I first heard Trump, I thought, ‘Oh, no, here we go,’” he said. “But the more I listened to him, the more I thought about it. I always said to myself, ‘This country needs a president who’s a super businessman, who can make deals, and wouldn’t get pushed around.’”
    —–
    [In Levittown] In 1957, angry mobs of white people hurled bottles and rocks through the picture window of the three-bedroom ranch on Deepgreen Lane that housed their first black neighbors.

    Do these old, white racists who hang around shabby bowling alleys smoking cigarettes, breathing second hand smoke and drinking cheap beer in the afternoon in dive bars really DESERVE “healthcare” paid for by all those who work hard and take better care of themselves???? Maybe there wouldn’t need to be so much “panic” if they were more personally responsible and less demanding of “socialist” solutions to self-created problems.

    Per Wikipedia:

    Passive–aggressive behavior is characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation.

    Dunno. The whole article seemed half a beat off to me if demonstrating the need for universal “healthcare” was its point.

    1. jsn

      I tried to read it and decided they were trying to play on exactly the prejudices you called out, and waste my time: thank you for taking one for the team!

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Rolls-Royce Wants to Fill the Seas With Self-Sailing Ships'”

    I don’t see anything wrong with this idea. After all, it is not like things go wrong at sea-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztfkHJNj4ds

    And it is not like there is any corrosive chemicals present to degrade circuits and the like such as for example, sea water. And if something did go wrong at least you have a crew aboard that could undertake the repairs quickly. Oh, wait. At least hackers will never get into the system to hold the company hostage or terrorists use it to say, crash an LPG ship into a major port. At least that is not possible. And I know that humans cause all sorts of disaster as sea but at least algorithms have a solid track record.
    I myself am looking forward to these ships coming into service. When they do, I intend to board one as by the laws of maritime salvage it will be classified as an abandoned ship as there is no crew aboard. I wonder what the finder’s fee will be for a major ship?

  27. Wukchumni

    My dream animal sighting would be glimpsing a wolverine in the High Sierra, the rarest of the larger 4 legs good contingent.

    One was spotted a couple hundred miles north of here, so there’s hope!

    https://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/25748/20160726/look-scientists-spot-rare-wolverine-sierra-nevada.htm

    1. kgw

      My wife and I were backpacking out of Tuolumne Meadows in the ’70’s… I was fishing at the in to one of the lower lakes, caught movement across the ridge above the lake, and, lo and behold, there went a short-legged, wide-bodied creature with a tail: wolverine. Headed for the Upper McCabe Lake.

  28. In the Land of Farmers

    Re: Mammals cannot evolve fast enough to escape current extinction crisis ScienceDaily

    This is the end result of technology. All technology. Technology is a level that increases the speed of environmental change.

    Am I a Luddite? No. I am worse that a Luddite.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A Neanderthal?

      They have been much maligned, I believe. For one thing, they generated much less trash* than we (Sapiens Sapiens – that Sapiens squared) branch.

      *Material trash, as well as mental trash (it seems to me).

      1. Oregoncharles

        “Modern” humans interbred repeatedly with Neanderthals, and raised the babies, so in reality, Neanderthals were us, if a little odd looking. The pretense that they were a different species is unraveling.

        Incidentally, this makes the human species a lot older than usually said – at least half a million years.

        1. vidimi

          this is true. if humans and neandertals were a different species, their offspring would have been sterile. this is clearly untrue.

      1. polecat

        Maybe modern ‘technology’ itself will become an ‘extinction level event’ in it’s own right … witness the real-time discombobulation of the ‘Giants’ — Faceborg, Goolag, and Twatted, facing possible regulatory ‘intervention’ (I know, till Hell freezes over, right ?? .. with the help of all the hair-on-fire intellectual yet idiots, on the one hand … and the ethereally annoying, and snarky ‘chans’ on the other !

  29. Synoia

    California hits PG&E with $5 million in citations for gas leaks

    It is long overdue to stop punishing Corporations, that is shareholders, and not Corporation’s executives. If the fine was levied on the CEO there would be a sharp change.

    I fail to understand how they criminal conspiracy charges, for intent to harm.

  30. Hameloose Cannon

    / Trauma, epigenetics, Atlantic article / The memories trauma creates cannot integrate into one’s own narrative structure. The memories disturb the ongoing linear construction of a self-timeline. These memories exist outside of one’s past, present, and future. Remembering the traumatic event is often involuntary with little control over the mental logic that leads to and from the traumatic recall. Catastrophe becomes a gas that infuses the occupying space. The possibility that life’s terrible bits irritate otherwise dormant genes into action is profound. History may have a biologic palimpsest within our DNA that can haunt across generations. Given the atmosphere here, one wonders whether this is technology to be exploited. Imagine markets of “futures” to create, social classes to stratify, military applications… Hearts & Minds and Genomes…

    1. Wukchumni

      Not being quite a year old in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I was more worried about being able to finally hold my head up, than anything incoming, and I think it probably set me up for life when it comes to potential shit going down, but it was imprinted earlier when after say 47 generations of Bohemians going nowhere fast in the old country, all of the sudden things got real in 1939, and generation #48 had emergency plans, an away game that was a new homeland.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE8kGMfXaFU

      1. Oregoncharles

        I was a senior in high school during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and remember it vividly. It was a national trauma. And when my cohort, literally my class, got to college, JFK was assassinated. Trauma #2. Shortly after that, the Free Speech Movement and all hell broke loose – aka “The Sixties.” I don’t think we’re quite done with that trauma, though my class is now past retirement age.

  31. David Carl Grimes

    So it was race and not economic anxiety that made Obama voters switch to Trump? What do readers make of this

    A new study reveals the real reason Obama voters switched to Trump

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/10/16/17980820/trump-obama-2016-race-racism-class-economy-2018-midterm

    1. marym

      The Vox “take” on issues seems to be generally of the liberalish-technocrat variety amply criticized at NC. Where their “explainers” are useful, imo, is that they provide a lot of links, so a reader can judge both the logic of the take, and the sources they cite. A bit of an additional challenge in this particular case, as they link back to their own posts which in turn have links.

      My 2¢ on race is that in 2008 economically anxious voters who weren’t racist, but culturally still not necessarily comfortable about diversity and race, stepped out of their comfort zone a bit to take a chance on Obama. The failures of the Obama promise, and constant racial attacks from the right made the Trump appeals to bigotry of various sorts attractive again.

      After 2 years of Trump/Republicans doing nothing that materially improves the economic prospects for working white people, and much to harm those prospects; and with Trump’s rhetoric appealing almost exclusively to racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, if his approval rating continues to hold steady, it appears to point to bigotry as a motivating force.

      1. Lambert Strether

        The districts that flipped the country to Trump voted for Obama, often twice. Liberals are still claiming they’re racist anyhow, but it seems to me they’re not above the usual background level of racism if they voted for the black guy twice — after unrelenting Republican coded appeals to exactly their putative racism.

        Never change, Democrats! Never change!

        1. marym

          The Democrats seem incapable of recognizing that the failure of the Obama administration to deliver for the 90% (and the accompanying/enabling failure of establishment Democrats and their supporters to push for something better) has the result of increasing the appeal of a bigoted demagogue.

          Now we’ll see what will be the result of the failure of the demagogue and his enablers to deliver for the 90%, and whether any force from the left emerges as an alternative.

          1. todde

            Again:

            2nd Amendment now safe from Supreme Court attack.

            Abortion rights now open to attack from the Supreme Court.

            Every small business with income just got a tax break.

            Every Evangelical got Jerusalem as the holy capital of Israel.

            1. marym

              Time will tell whether small business owners, their workers, their customers, and their communities will fare well under Trumpian economics. The rest aren’t issues attributable to economic anxiety.

      2. David Carl Grimes

        Corporate Democrats are like Climate Change Deniers in the Republican Party. They refuse to believe facts, even the obvious ones. Instead, they construct their own alternative reality.

    2. Lambert Strether

      It’s not a study of actual districts or voters. It’s concocted from some database. By contrast, from “Salient Economic Characteristics of the Counties that Flipped to Trump, Sorted by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs,” Trump counties have more financial insecurity, more battlefield casualties, worse public health, falling life expectancy, and bigger opioid problems. I concluded:

      Of course, there are other factors behind Trump’s victory, very much including geography (the rural/urban/suburban divide) and racism. However, my goal is provide Democrats with economic talking points. If (with Google) we define economics as:

      The condition of a region or group as regards material prosperity.

      Then every single one of those items above is an economic issue. What, after all, is more material, or less conducive to prosperity, than falling life expectancy or losing a family member to opioids? Or in a useless war? What is less conducive to well-being? It seems to me that when enormous organic damage is inflicted on a population, the effects can only be political, as we see in the rise of Hitler after the slaughter of millions in the trenches of World War I (or, conversely, the establishment of the NHS after the loss of millions in World War II). It boggles the mind that liberal Democrat apparatchiks and their tame stenographers have been systematically suppressing discussion of economic issues and policies since 2016, and I can only welcome the leadership’s new embrace of the topic, however tepid. In any case, it now behooves them to explain how A Better Deal addresses the pain points listed above, concretely. (This applies especially to the competition specialists behind the Deal.) These are all, quite literally, issues of life and death.

      To be fair, there’s good money doing these studies. After you get quoted in Vox, you get to be a talking head. You can go on Rachel.

  32. Chauncey Gardiner

    Appreciate both antidotes today. Read recently that both California state agencies and volunteer groups are taking steps to reestablish salmon and trout runs to Alameda Creek after extinction or severe depletion of the runs. Hope the pelican featured in the photo flies back to the Bay for its next meal.

    The video of the two black bears visit is amazing. Got a kick out of Jeff C’s comment when submitting it. Thank you.

  33. Wukchumni

    SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. October 16, 2018 – Park fire crews will begin ignitions on a 483-acre prescribed burn in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park as early as Friday, October 19, 2018. Timing will be based on measurements of fuel moisture and weather conditions, as well as coordination with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. This project, called the Sherman Prescribed Burn, is located roughly half of a mile northeast of the Giant Forest Museum, and consists of segments on both sides of the Generals Highway. Seven days of ignitions are planned.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The diminutive seeds from the smallest of all pine cones needs to be packing heat in order to germinate, and conditions are ripe for fuego in the forest for the trees, with little chance of spread.

    Smoky happens.

  34. Heliopause

    “the DNC’s love of celebrities may not be shared by hoi polloi the the degree Team Blue seems to believe it is.”

    I’m still convinced that Clinton blew the 2016 election the night before, when she held a huge rally with every conceivable political and entertainment celebrity in attendance. People talk about Trump’s gauche displays of wealth, but that rally screamed elitism as loudly as anything Trump has done.

    1. Geo

      I still blame the rising of health care costs announced in October (around the same time as the Comey bs that so many blame for Clinton’s sudden drop in the polls) and Obama’s media tour pushing for the TPP at the same time.

      Premiums rising 22% (Oct, 2016)
      https://money.cnn.com/2016/10/24/news/economy/obamacare-premiums/index.html

      Obama’s last push for TPP (Sept, 2016)

      Trump isn’t the only one to object to the T.P.P., of course. Bernie Sanders hates it with a passion, and Hillary Clinton, who once favored it, now opposes it. Even Lawrence Summers, the former Treasury Secretary and a free-trade advocate, has argued that any trade gains the T.P.P. produces might not be worth the effort expended to reach an agreement.
      https://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/why-obama-is-still-trying-to-pass-the-t-p-p

  35. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    Bahahaha!

    I fn love the Artist Taxi Driver!

    “WE GOT BODY PART MOUTAIN AND BLOODY RABIES!”

    Classic.

    Ill tell you what, between NC, Artist Taxi Driver, and UK Big Brother, I feel like im finally starting to get British Politics.

    Also why is John Oliver such a Clintonite wolf in Populist Clothing?

  36. ChristopherJ

    Probably linked previously, but, Chris Hedges from Oct 9.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBcOyv8LZ8s

    Openly calling for revolution and the overthrow of the State. Without mass civil disobedience, he sees no hope. Powerful and emotional

  37. Plenue

    >Israel’s 50-Year Time Bomb Consortium News

    For all the hasbara about how Israel-Palestine is some complex, unsolvable conflict that has existed since time immemorial, the truth is that it’s about the simplest conflict on the planet. Israel is a colonial project. Zionists want it all. If it belonged (or they believe it belonged) to ancient Israel and Judah, it belongs to modern Israel. The occupied territories and the cancerous growth of illegal settlements post-1967 aren’t aberrations. The country itself is fundamentally built on theft and ethnic cleansing. Very few critics or media will engage with this simple fact. Israel has *never* acted in good faith, either regarding a two state solution, or in making Israel a multi-ethnic nation of all its citizens.

    I’m fully convinced that many, maybe even a majority at this point, of Israelis would simply carpet bomb the Palestinians in the occupied territories out of existence and be done with them, if they knew they could get away with it. Since they can’t do that, the goal is to literally starve and suppress Palestinians until they simply give up and leave. The same goes for Israeli ‘Arab’ citizens. They technically have citizenship and representation, but both are little more than a farce. They aren’t welcomed or wanted as citizens.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Were Rabin and the Rabinists acting in bad faith during their part in negotiating the Oslo Accords? Certainly Netanyahu and the Likudists thought Rabin and the Rabinists were acting in good faith and meant for a State of Palestine to emerge along with, instead of instead of, a State of Israel. Netanyahu and the Likudists were convinced enough of Rabin’s good faith in this matter that Netanyahu and the Likudists engineered Rabin’s assassination to stop the Oslo process from proceeding.

      Was Netanyahu mistaken? Is there reason to think a non-assassinated Rabin would have tricked Arafat into a No-State-of-Palestine-After-All conclusion? Is it offensive to the Left-Wing sensibility to think that assassinations really do change things?

      http://rigint.blogspot.com/2006/07/violent-bear-it-away.html

      1. Irrational

        Read “Beware of small states” by Davis Hearst. The Israelis and their pre-cursors have been acting in bad faith since the 1800s.

  38. Roland

    I wonder whether, having failed to get a war in Syria, the Borg has finally decided to go do the KSA.

  39. Roland

    By “a war,” in that context, I meant the sort of war they wanted.

    KSA is the last of the strong Arab countries. Iraq and Syria have been devastated by years of war. Egypt is poor and unstable. The various Gulf principalities are rich but small.

    So if the general programme is make the desert more of a desert, and then call it peace–which is the only consistent and intelligible explanation of the Western Bloc’s policies in the region–then the KSA is the obvious next big target.

    Everybody in the West hates the Saudis and even the usual antiwar people wouldn’t mind them getting bombed. Syria at least was able to get belated assistance from its Cold War legacy protecting power. KSA wouldn’t even have that.

    The Saudis better have a secret nuclear arsenal. They’re gonna need it.

  40. chuck roast

    Thank you so much for the Artist Taxi Driver.

    I just took three buses and a train today. That ravin’ wacko made it all worth while. Please keep him coming.

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