Links 10/19/18

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Science

National Geograpic

FT

Liberty Street Economics

The Onion

Economist

Farm Journal

Syraqistan

CNN

NYT. Again, I don’t want to be Mr. Counter-Suggestible here, but the signature, as it were, of this operation, as it were, is very familiar: (1) Anonymous leaks from intelligence commmunity, (2) evidence nobody can examine, (3) prurient, viral-friendly detail (piss tapes; the saw), (4) inflammatory headlines qualified by text like “increasingly convinced” and “alleged” in the body, (5) moral panic and frantic virtue signaling in the political class, and (6) full spectrum dominance in mainstream press coverage. Of course, this time everything could be true; gaslights really do flicker, after all. And if that’s the case, then all previous gaslighting will seem true, or at least truthy, via the halo effect, a salutary result for all concerned. So we’re talking win-win, here.

Philip Giraldi, Council for the National Interest. Kill a chicken to scare the monkeys. Khashoggi would be the chicken, but who are the monkeys? Internal Saudi factions would be my guess.

Haaretz. Who doesn’t hate loose ends?

HuffPo. The conclusion: “In long term, though, businesses and policymakers will need to signal consistently ― in public and in private ― that, despite the potential damage that sanctions on Saudi Arabia might do to the global economy, there are values that the international community is not ready to sacrifice. The challenge for the international community is to decide what those values are.” Indeed.

Barron’s

Council on Foreign Relations. Deck: “The threat of deep fakes.”

Poynter

Brexit

Guardian

New Statesman

The House. Not a lot of detail on the actual fight, though.

EU Referendum

Buzz

Financial News

Le Blog de Thomas Piketty (in English).

China?

FT

The Diplomat

China Labour Bulletin. Sadly, there’s no animated time-line, but compare the counts in 2011 with the counts in 2018. Assuming there’s no data issue, of course. Readers?

(PDF) Made in China. Starts on page 12.

South China Morning Post

Nikkei Asian Review

New Cold War

Roll Call

The Hill

Stephen Cohen, The Nation

Trump Transtion

Roll Call

National Law Journal.

Des Moines Register

Pro Publica

Democrats in Disarray

Thomas Edsall, NYT. “The dominant role of well-educated, relatively upscale white Democrats in moving the party to the left reflects the declining role of the working class in shaping the party’s ideology.” Moving “left” and away from the working class is a neat trick, hitherto unknown to political science.

Associated Press. After gutting hundreds of news rooms with their fraudulent “pivot to video” campaign, Facebooks wants to be nice. (Hilariously, AP quotes a spokesman for Media Matters, David Brock’s beard for his oppo operation, as a source.)

Class Warfare

Harvard Crimson

WSWS

Conversable Economist

The New Republic

FT. This article is much better than the vapid, clickbait headline. In fact, you can skip the rules and go to the rest of the article, which has nothing to do with the office.

Public Books

Nature

Asian Correspondent

Antidote du jour ():

Bonus antidote (repeats, for some reason):

The massive gator known as ‘Chubbs’, famous for shocking golfers in Tampa, Florida was just spotted again

— Breaking911 (@Breaking911)

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

201 comments

  1. emorej a hong kong


    Bernie seizes the Khashoggi moment to connect dots: Yemen, arms sales & need for USA to stop pouring gasoline on Saudi-Iran rivalry.
    More evidence that Bernie’s 2016 caution on foreign affairs is mainly about waiting for opportunities to seize upon cracks in the Matrix.

    Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        The left can deploy the tactic of ‘never let a crisis go to waste’ as well as neo-liberal profiteers. In fact, that’s historically how we’ve made progress.

        For those who’ve been critical of Sanders’ foreign policy concepts/views/theories, he’s the still the leading voice in Congress rallying opposition to actual imperialist actions (including via our proxies). And the fact that he’s picked up some Republican support means the DC blob has to respect the proposals because they’re ‘bipartisan’, which is kind of like baptizing them with holy water in their world.

        Reply
        1. pjay

          Re: “… the leading voice in Congress rallying opposition to actual imperialist actions…”

          He is the leading voice when he takes the lead (as with the Saudi’s). But on Russia (and Syria) his position *enables* what I consider to be imperialist actions.

          My earlier comment here apparently fell down the memory hole. Perhaps I worded it too strongly. I’ll just post this link to Caitlyn Johnstone, who summarizes my feelings (it’s from February; unfortunately, Bernie has made some even stronger statements since then):

          Reply
        2. knowbuddhau

          “…baptizing them with holy water in their world.” Stop, you’re killing me!

          Not so sure about “has to respect” tho.

          Reply
    1. WheresOurTeddy

      “You take the #actblue neoliberalism pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red democratic socialism pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

      Reply
      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Haha YESSSS

        Mr. Anderson….

        Speaking of movie references, I believe the “Chubbs” gator is a Happy Gilmore reference. Probably Adam Sandlers best movie.

        “GOD DAMN ALLIGATOR BIT MY HAND OFF!”
        – Chubbs as played by the great Carl Weathers

        Heres to hoping this gator actually lives!

        Reply
    2. nippersdad

      Bear baiting the Russians without evidence of wrongdoing isn’t exemplary of an ongoing caution in foreign affairs, though. While his going after the Saudi’s and trying to end the appalling war in Yemen is welcome news, his lack of consistency might have the effect of making him look like he is just jumping on the latest bandwagon. Again.

      If the Pentagon’s cloud contractor is going after the House of Saud in his own personal propaganda outlet, how big a crack in the Matrix can it actually be?

      Reply
      1. scarn

        I agree with you about Sanders’s statements about Russia. He probably is being opportunistic about KSA, and it’s kind of funny to see Kashoggi lionized as a heroic dissident. But don’t care what Bernie’s motives are here. That video is excellent and I’m very happy to see him release it, no matter what the reasons are.

        Reply
        1. nippersdad

          Agreed. Having the (potential) death of a lounge lizard in the halls of power used as the precipitating event for ending the war in Yemen when all the thousands of dead and dying couldn’t get it done is a sardonically funny example of how our government actually works.

          But, you know, if it gets the job done……..

          Reply
          1. JohnnyGL

            “Throughout history a lot of good has been done for all the wrong reasons. Sometimes, that’s just how things work” – me. :)

            Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There have been many opportunities to seize upon cracks in the Matrix, though, just on Russiagate (which is both domestic and FP) alone.

      Sanders seems to say more and more often about Yemen (a mostly Saudi things) than Syria (bigger players here).

      Reply
  2. Msmolly

    “Killing Jamal Khashoggi Was Easy. Explaining It Is Much Harder Philip Giraldi, Council for the National Interest. Kill a chicken to scare the monkies. Khashoggi would be the chicken, but who are the monkies? Internal Saudi factions would be my guess.”

    I think you mean “monkeys” and not “monkies” Lambert

    Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      lol I was going to say, Who are the monkies?

      Why, the little guys in robes and tonsure haircuts over there busy making cheese and ale of course!

      Reply
  3. PlutoniumKun

    The Democrats’ Left Turn Is Not an Illusion Thomas Edsall, NYT. “The dominant role of well-educated, relatively upscale white Democrats in moving the party to the left reflects the declining role of the working class in shaping the party’s ideology.” Moving “left” and away from the working class is a neat trick, hitherto unknown to political science.

    This is something I’ve noticed about US political discourse – the association of identity politics with the ‘left’, while I’ve always seen it as an outgrowth of centrist ‘liberalism’. Its addressed quite nicely in the interview with Helen Pluckrose:

    A discussion with Helen Pluckrose, co-author of “Grievance Studies” hoax article WSWS

    WSWS: Many of these people call themselves “left-wing”—do you think that is a fair label?

    HP: Well, it was initially taken up by people with the same kind of aims to equalize society, to help the marginalized. I don’t doubt some of their motives. But one thing is, they have always been very opposed to the socialist left. When they say oppressive forces are being maintained by discourse, they mention white supremacy, the patriarchy, etc., but the class analysis was completely lacking from the start. There is almost no attention paid to working class issues.

    and she finishes off with:

    WSWS: And the Democrats are doing further damage by attacking the presumption of innocence and by claiming through the #MeToo campaign that all accusers should be believed, no matter what.

    HP: The left, by moving away from objective reality, by moving away from truth, has fed into this abandonment of the notion of due process. Essentially by prioritizing identities, the whole “believe women” thing has caught on in these layers.

    It may be well intended, and it is awful when women aren’t believed, but by advocating for blind belief on the grounds of the accusers’ identity as women rather than individual action and the underlying facts is undermining confidence in the “left.” It is a Kafka trap, it is totalitarian. What we need is a strong, rational, objective left to oppose this type of politics.

    I was in two minds about the ‘Grievance Studies’ hoax, but after reading this interview, I think she and her fellow conspirators are very much on the right track.

    Reply
    1. Livius Drusus

      Terms like “right” and “left” are not as useful as they once were.The Democrats are really only moving left on identity and social issues. For example, there are far fewer pro-life/anti-choice Democrats in Congress now than there were just 10 years ago.

      However there is still a strong neoliberal wing within the Democratic Party but they are counted as left-wing because of their stances on issues like immigration, gay rights, abortion, feminism, etc. This reflects the class composition of the leadership of the party among well-educated, upscale liberals. Rank-and-file Democratic voters are probably a bit more socially conservative (particularly black and Hispanic voters) but more left-wing on economics than the leadership.

      Similarly, Republican voters tend to be less conservative on economics than the party leadership (most don’t want to see cuts to Social Security and Medicare and rank-and-file Republicans are becoming increasing skeptical about free trade) and perhaps even less conservative on social issues (with the exception of religious conservatives). Both parties are now run by activists who tend to be well-educated and affluent, hence the greater emphasis on social, cultural and identity issues within our politics.

      Ordinary Americans consistently rank economic issues like jobs and health care as more important than cultural and identity issues.The polarization we see reflects polarization within the political class (strong partisans, issue activists, party officials and big money donors) more than the population as a whole.

      Reply
      1. DJG

        PlutoniumKun and Livius Drusus: The problem is not with the categories of right and left. In fact, for many in our corrupt elites, scumbling the categories is the perfect excuse for their endless résumé-building, crony capitalism, war-as-policy, and general looting. Yet Claire McCaskill sure knew how to trot out the hammer-and-sickle when she was trying to red-bait Bernie Sanders.

        Years ago, I read Norberto Bobbio’s seminal book, Right and Left. I read it in Italian. It is also available in English. The edition that I have also includes a kind of rebuttal essay by the estimable Perry Anderson as an appendix.

        For Bobbio (and Anderson), the left is still animated by the idea of the French Revolution: Liberté, égalité, fraternité. By historical accident, the American Revolution happened first, with its life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. But the left is still animated by the qualities that I will English as Freedom, Fairness, and Solidarity. You will note that neither the elites aligned with the Democrats nor the elites aligned with the Republicans believe much in this threesome of first principles. The Democrats believe in “process” and “incremental change.” The Republicans, as narrow-minded conservatives, mainly believe in avarice, hierarchy, and invented traditions like Respect for the Flag.

        The Democrats have turned civil-rights movements into a chance to join the Democratic Party and be monetarized. The Human Rights Campaign is possibly the most notorious instance: Mainly upper-middle-class gay men dining off the crumbs of the Democrats. Among the Republicans, you have an obvious disdain for the needs of their working class and petit bourgeois supporters, who are easily riled by appeals to hierarchy and tradition (but Respect for the Veterans, and Thank You for Your Service).

        Among both elites, there is an obvious tendency to undermine solidarity. Democrats and unions. Republicans and “right to work” and the insecure petit bourgeoisie constantly made insecure by crappy health insurance and mingy retirement savings plans.

        Yet all you have to do is apply a class analysis, as Pluckrose does, and you are back to Bobbio and other “traditional” leftists (although Bobbio wasn’t, and Perry Anderson is). As Lambert keeps writing, The left is concerned about social class and the welfare of the working class (anyone who works for wages). The U.S. elites live off “the markets.” Ergo, they are typical ooooshy liberalish reactionaries. Hence, the growth of economics departments and business schools–the elites’ new seminaries.

        The idea that the left and right are murky categories is great for such luminaries as the Big Dog, Mrs. Big Dog, Matteo Renzi, Tony Blair–as well as Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and so on.

        What the U.S. truly could use is a dose of social solidarity, which would allow leftist movements to emerge in force. I wonder why there is an endless war on social solidarity… and back to Pluckrose’s arguments.

        Reply
        1. Andrew Watts

          Socialists never actively allied with the Left until reactionary royalists threatened to seize power and when fascism arose in Europe. Which is say that we’re reverting to the historical mean of socialism as the alternative to the left and right political spectrum that emerged from the French revolution. Early socialists were always considered an alternative sociopolitical force that morally revolted against the cruelties of modernity.

          Reply
        2. JBird4049

          he problem is not with the categories of right and left. In fact, for many in our corrupt elites, scumbling the categories is the perfect excuse for their endless résumé-building, crony capitalism, war-as-policy, and general looting.

          In the United States, there is effectively no left wing. Both of the main political parties are now either center right Democrats or right wing Republicans. Both are economically rightwing, even in the Republicans’ case reactionary. There is barely a liberal wing in the ostensibly left Democratic Party.

          The entire mainstream political class accept the Neoliberal or Washington Consensus of low taxes, sparse regulations, and near nonexistent safety net with all the economic wealth being tilted to the already well off. So long as democracy of any kind impedes this, it and the very rule of law be should destroyed. Which is one of the reasons financial and political corruption with increasingly frequent and large voter purges by both parties are happening.

          Weaponized identity politics, and social and religious beliefs, are also being used by both parties to give the facade of their being truly different.

          Reply
      2. jackiebass

        The neoliberal democrats still control the party. That’s why they lost the last election of congress and president. They don’t represent what used to be their base. Many of these people voted for trump. They aren’t democrats but moderate republicans that have been forced out of the republican party. If you want to point fingers , Bill Clinton is your target. He actually destroyed the old time traditional democrat party. It’s comparable to the conservative christians, and the tea party movement and what they did to the republican party.

        Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Because the Times is the house organ of liberal Democrats, and they dominate the party machinery? (For some definition of “believe” that includes a lot of qualification…)

        Reply
  4. emorej a hong kong

    Chuka Umunna Will Be Paid £65,000 A Year To Chair A New Centrist Think Tank Buzz

    This is so obviously not the way to position Umunna, for leading or even joining a faction that quits the Labour Party, that it makes me wonder if the Blairites are going to sit tight inside the party until a Corbyn Prime Minister-ship can be argued to have “tried and failed” Corbyn’s policies.
    Of course the most likely way to fail will be to be sabotaged by anti-Corbyn MPs who have escaped de-selection.

    Reply
    1. paul

      I doubt chukka will ever lead anything.

      Still being a vapid, useless blot on humanity is no bar to a well rewarded life as david cameron’s tea boy has shown today:

      Reply
    2. Paul O

      I am not convinced the structural changes within Labour are really that connected to Corbyn becoming Prime Minister. It is more about blocking the ‘Blairites’ from regaining control for the long term. Sitting tight is a high risk strategy.

      Reply
      1. AnonymouseUK

        You are absolutely right. In even the most left-wing of constituencies the concern at the ward and constituency levels is to make sure that the left have a deep bench of talent and get experience at running the levers of power. It’s not that Blairites are completely unwelcome, more just kept on a short leash with no ability to impact motions, etc…The left is already trying to work out the “post-Corbyn” landscape as he is human and we cannot be dependent on personalities if we have generational changes we need to make.

        Reply
  5. Amfortas the Hippie

    Helen Pluckrose, et alia, are my new Lefty heroes.
    The idpol hijacking of the left, so called, is horrifying…nearly impossible to counter with reason, given the hysteria and yelling.
    And of course, anything I say is immediately and preemptively negated by my lack of pigment and the mere presence of a third leg.
    Viewed through the lens of yesterday’s Centrism Paradox, and the whole propornot,brockian strawmen,I worry that our language (left,right,fascism,etc,etc) is inadequate.

    Reply
  6. Donald

    This NYT piece is really interesting. Or rather, the fact they felt they had to justify themselves and the Western elite is interesting. Total nonsense, of course. The Western elites had no difficulty understanding that Assad and Putin were bombing children in Aleppo, but the poor dears couldn’t wrap their heads around the fact that the US and Britain were helping the Saudis do the same thing.

    Reply
  7. Wukchumni

    Just about every storied place of antiquity i’ve been has one thing in common, they used quarried rock as building material.

    Would a place such as Angkor Wat still be here if it’s walls were made of particle board, w/ Tyvek shrouding it and a layer of stucco as a finishing touch?

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Storied antiquity often had plenty of slaves to tote around all those heavy rocks. Our stick built architecture was designed so it could be constructed by one man (or ordered from the Sears catalog).

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Hard to know if slaves built these, but they are magnificent…

        Sicily is the happy hunting ground for ancient Greek temples, and Agrigento the sweet spot.

        A really interesting one is the Temple of the Olympian Zeus, and what makes it special is it collapsed in an earthquake, so you can see how the columns were done, with ‘rebar’ being an important part of the construction.

        Reply
      2. Lee

        Can’t speak to other ancient monumental projects, but archaeological evidence indicates that Egyptian pyramid laborers were well compensated and had high standards of living for the period.

        Reply
          1. Massinissa

            It wasn’t religiously motivated, it was corvee labor. Though I guess you could also call that subservience, though by that standard, so would be taxation.

            Reply
            1. laughingsong

              “I used to be all messed up on drugs, but since I found the Lord, now I’m all messed up on the Lord.”

              Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Michael Hudson at (naturally) Cfdtrade:

          The reasons rulers did this was that if you let creditors make loans to cultivators and say “Now you have to work off your loan for us,” the cultivators would not be able to fulfill their duties of corvée labor. Taxes were paid in the form of labor, corvée service. That’s how from 11000 BC onwards, civilizations built their big monuments. Monuments like Stonehenge but even bigger, like Göbekli Tepe in Turkey to the Egyptian pyramids, Mesopotamian Ziggurats, and city walls. This basic cultural, military and economic infrastructure was built by public labor. The question is how did you get the people to work for this?

          If people didn’t want to build these cultural monuments and defense works, they would have run away, as they did after about 1600 BC. But when archeologists dug up the remains of the labor camps for building the pyramids and the temples, they found they weren’t built by slave labor working for porridge rations. There was a lot of meat in the diet. There was a lot of beer at the parties. They arranged it as a socialization process, working on public projects during the time labor was not necessary for planting and harvesting. You find rulers depicted on iconographic, either on murals or on cylinder seals carrying baskets of earth on their head. Backbreaking work, but they got to party afterwards. Socialization and mixing.

          Reply
          1. Ekatarina Velika

            Lambert, this comment reminded me of youth work brigades in the former Yugoslavia:
            Also, from NYT (1976):
            Volunteering on big infrastructure projects in exchange for honours, socialisation and mixing instead of monetary compensation. Can’t imagine many people wanting to do this nowadays in absence of a clear unifying ideal or ideology.

            Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Mostly true about quarried rock, but perhaps not ‘just about every place.’

      The (supposed) birth place of Jesus is just a hole on the ground with a silver star, surrounded by later buildings from, yes, quarried rock, though it would still be storied place with them.

      The Holy Grail, per Indiana Jones, was made of wood, or per the script I understand, earthen (clay) not rock nor stone, much less gold.

      Japanese Shinto buildings are regularly rebuilt at the same storied places.

      The place Otzi man was discovered, storied, is of snow and natural rock.

      The oldest wooden pagoda dates back to the mid-Tang dynasty and is located on Mount Wutai.

      The cave paintings (before antiquity) are located inside in natural caves (not quarried).

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Our Indians here will be remembered for time immemorial, as their mortars (acorn grinding holes) sunk into granite are all over the place.

        There’s nothing aside from regular weathering to make them go away. I’d imagine they’ll be very much visible in say thousands of years hence.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          A lot of storied anthropological sites are just bones, tools, jewelries and other small artifacts, and not much building materials (if there were any for anything older than the neolithic age).

          Even at more recent antiquity sites, we see materials other than quarried rock – the terracotta warriors buried in the ground, for example.

          Reply
    3. Grebo

      Selection bias. All the less storied buildings of antiquity, made of mud and sticks, have melted away like a McMansion in a tornado. Stonehenge was preceded by Woodhenge. Only the holes remain.
      On the other hand, the 2000 year old Pantheon is made of concrete, and it has been plausibly suggested that the Pyramid’s blocks were cast in geopolymer.

      Reply
  8. Seth A Miller

    How times change! In 1994 and 1997 when New York was dismantling rent regulation, not a peep was heard from even the most staunchly left-wing opinion outlets. (E.g., the Nation said nothing, and Tomasky, writing for the Village Voice, recycled the talking point about how rich people shouldn’t be rent regulated, so let’s deregulate their apartments and make them permanently unaffordable to anyone else). The “liberal” mainstream, particularly the Times, was against us, in a typical “but we aren’t giving our opinion or anything” fashion.

    Now the New Republic, and even the New York Times, is talking like rent regulation has always been the obvious way to protect working people in the big cities. Well, welcome aboard the train you [family blogger] hypocrites.

    Reply
    1. How is it legal

      Truly.

      And does The New Republic and the New York TImes even mean it, as opposed to not Publically endorsing the ever increasing amount of California’s unsheltered homelessness. And what a (knowingly, or just plain unresearched?) tall tale told about the California Democratic Party rallying around the California Rent Control ballot initiative, Proposition 10. (See my comment farther below.)

      Reply
  9. blennylips

    Speaking of shocking golfers in Florida, who’da thought we’d ever see this:

    Turning the Toxic Tide is a series of editorials published collectively by the six editorial boards of USA TODAY Network-Florida, with the goal of providing an environmental road map for the state’s next governor, legislators and congressional delegation. This is the first in the series.

    We must return to the culture of responsible stewardship that predominated in years past. Over the past decade we have abandoned that legacy as leaders sought to boost economic growth at the expense of the environment. Regulatory agencies were dismantled and defanged, “business-friendly” guidelines replaced the more measured, cautious policies that had previously been in place.

    No longer can we prioritize economic growth over environmental preservation. Indeed, there must be a new understanding that, here in Florida, clean water is necessary for sustainable economic progress.

    Key state agencies must be revitalized and depoliticized. Funding must be boosted, even if this means higher taxes. There must be more enforcement, more inspections, tougher standards.

    Maybe Chubbs was fleeing this:

    Reply
    1. Jomo

      At least six more feet of sea level rise in the next 100 years with category 4-5 hurricanes every year is gonna “fix” Florida faster than any state government regulations. I already lost my coastal house to storm surge in 2016, I moved inland to an elevation of 20 feet so hopefully I’ll be okay. The grandkids and great grandkids, if there are any, may live in a tropical paradise or a toxic cesspool. I do care about the future, it just seems “the die is cast”, for sea level rise, climate change, and Florida.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Maximum estimated sea level rise, if all the ice melted, is about 200 feet. For comparison, the Willamette River where we are, a couple hundred river miles from the ocean, is just about 200 ft. We’d have oceanfront property, what was left of it.

        20 feet may be enough for your lifetime, but probably not your kids’ lifetimes.

        Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “In Admissions, Harvard Favors Those Who Fund It, Internal Emails Show”

    In other news, water is wet, the sky is blue and George W. Bush really did earn his way into Yale.

    And is that a wombat in tonight’s Antidote du jour? It featured once as the unofficial mascot at the 2000 Sydney Olympics () probably based on its sedentary habits and how it eats roots and leaves.

    Reply
    1. John Wright

      Yes, it is surprising that anyone is “shocked, shocked” about this.

      But if they truly do stock the Harvard student body only with promising deserving students, they will lose those wannabees who want their kids to associate with the very important peoples’ children.

      The very important peoples’ children will not be at Harvard.

      Harvard might end up with more Nobel prize winners, but its influence in government/politics/business could wane.

      On the bright side, this may silence a few people who asserted that George W. Bush couldn’t be as dim as he seemed because he graduated from Yale (undergrad) and Harvard Business School.

      Far too late to save the world from the Middle East debacles GWB advocated for.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Meanwhile in the lower ranks of the I.V. League, folks are selling plasma for a few bucks, in the interesting thread on blood.

        I’m forever banned from giving blood, on account of this:

        (Ironically, British blood is considered a risk for contamination with the prions causing the neurodegenerative condition Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, and is not accepted outside the country.)

        Reply
    2. Andrew Watts

      Institutions like Harvard are how the ruling class perpetuates itself. Occasionally they allow new blood to enter the lower ranks. I say ‘blood’ with another purpose though. It is a means of mocking Liz Warren.

      Who could’ve known we’d see Blood and Soil Democrats. How progressive… for the year 1890.

      Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Or “Blood and Silicon” if you’re Peter Thiel.

          I think (along with everything else) that Warren has fallen into one of those tropes that’s ubiquitous in the zeitgeist but I’ve never had time to assault: “It’s in our DNA” (which you hear especially of companies but also of institutions generally). As soon as you think about it, the elite perspective is instantly clear: Good breeding is the key to success (as opposed to good luck, as in having chosen the right family to be born into). Conflating the notions of “heritage” and DNA is also ubiquitous, as the success of companies like 23andme shows. So the Cherokee notion of civic citizenship comes as a discordant note.

          Reply
  11. Livius Drusus

    Re: Why is Labor Force Participation Falling for Prime-Age Males?

    Dean Baker has tackled this issue a number of times.

    Baker’s point is that we have seen a decline in labor force participation among both men and women but for some reason the media focus is almost entirely on men. Baker also argues that lack of demand is the main culprit and not technological change.

    I suspect that the reason for the emphasis on men not working is that it makes for a better morality tale than women not working. In some ways unemployed men have become the new welfare queens when it comes to having a folk demon to represent immoral poor people. That is why you see articles where they pick out some guy in his 30s who lives at home and spends his time playing videos games and that is supposed to represent poor men. This inevitably produces feelings of disgust within the populace and reduces public support for policies that might get people back to work.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      There seems an inbaked assumption that men dropping out of the labour force are spending all day on Playstation or selling drugs, while women dropping out are raising kids or doing good things in their communities. Maybe this is true, maybe not. A few years ago Slate did a report series that indicated that in many communities the men dropping out are in fact just reverting to being live at home parents – its simply a role reversal.

      But yes, you are right, there is I think a political agenda in focusing on the ‘male’ part of the problem.

      Reply
      1. Trent

        I’m 34 years old and recently ended a five year stint at bnymellon this past July. Started with the company at entry level making 25,000 a year. Have a degree in history (hold your snide remarks) which has no applicable value to anyone other then myself. Anyways the entry level job I landed was customer service. Other then learning a few of bnymellon a ancient systems to check customers balances and review card activity, send out new debit cards, you spent all your time on the phone. This generally averaged about 500 or more phone calls a month. That was in the higher range of our group of ten or so but I figured work hard and move your way up. Boy was I naive. I did manage to work my way up two more positions and my ending salary after five years was 39,880. The benefits were subpar but what I couldn’t stand the most was the politics of the office place. Cliches and favorites, older employees who were essentially retired and did nothing all day (not a knock against older people, if I was in one of those positions at that age I’m not sure what I’d do with myself.) essentially the name of the game was do as little as possible and suck up to the manager, who didn’t do much himself. The turnover was thru the roof in each of the three positions I worked and moving to another position had nothing to do with performance but who you knew. So after saving up enough to live for about 11 months I quit. Somedays I do play video games but generally I read. I haven’t been searching very hard for a new position because I know that if I want something more intellectually stimulating I’ll have to go back to school and spend a hundred grand. Still pay my own bills and rent, so not living in my parents basement. But knowing what I know about the economy and having had my heart broken by people who act like they’re still in high school I’ve decided to retire for a brief stint. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! And if anyone would ever like to talk economics or politics in the Pittsburgh area over a coffee let me know.

        Reply
        1. Unna

          History is a great thing to study. But now that you have to make a living, think about Health Care. All those old people swarming around are going to need it. All those young people eating GMOs are going to need it too.

          Reply
        2. zer0

          Hi Trent, sorry to hear that. I cant believe that working 5 years lead to only $40k, which is a barely livable wage even in more rural areas, let alone Pittsburgh.

          Im sure you know what is best for you. I would suggest, though, thinking about moving overseas if that is in the cards. In Europe, you could teach english or history with your degree, and while the wages are low, everything is paid for.

          My sister was in a similar situation to you. She graduated with an environmental policy degree, and even though she worked at some senators office, the job barely covered her living expenses in DC.

          She moved to Berkeley and had a similarly hard time even with her boyfriend who was employed at the school as a lab tech.

          So they both moved to Prague in the Czech Republic and have really enjoyed it so far. I was amazed with how quickly they found work, and jealous at the 1.5 month vacations, nearly free healthcare, tons of free public transportation, etc. Its really paradise compared to the US, where you end up spending what seems to be every waking second worrying about work and bills, and getting barely enough vacation as to not revolt against management.

          Hope everything works out for you.

          Reply
          1. Kurtismayfield

            Im sure you know what is best for you. I would suggest, though, thinking about moving overseas if that is in the cards. In Europe, you could teach english or history with your degree, and while the wages are low, everything is paid for.

            I would second that.. and I would not suggest to a young male to go into teaching in the US anymore. You are assumed to be guilty for your Y chromosome.

            Reply
        3. False Solace

          I decided to do a mini-retirement 10 years ago. For about 18 months I spent my time writing, teaching myself to cook, learning how to shop on a budget, reading NC, exercising, and other such pleasantries. I did a little consulting on the side, but decided to seek a full time position when I saw the economy starting to implode. Figured it’d be a good idea to get a steady paycheck before they became a lot harder to come by. I’d probably be further along in my career if I hadn’t taken a year off, but I don’t regret it. It was good for my mental and physical health.

          Reply
        4. knowbuddhau

          You might not have to spend a hundred grand. You might have all you need already. There’s plenty of intellectual stimulation to hand, just depends on how you see things.

          What gets you out of bed, what’s the thought that wakes you up? What is it you really want to *do?

          Reply
        5. Lambert Strether Post author

          > if anyone would ever like to talk economics or politics in the Pittsburgh area over a coffee let me know.

          Not to put work on your desk, especially if you are introverted, but perhaps there could be a Pittsburgh meetup?

          Reply
      2. yelladog

        For a nation, it is much more dangerous to have prime-age males not working than women.

        These males used to start getting together and could soon turn into rebellions of varying degrees. The odds of women doing such things is minimal.

        It is more a message to the elite than it is to normal people. So yes, a political agenda, but maybe not the one you were looking for.

        Reply
        1. knowbuddhau

          That’s right, historically, patrolling boundaries looking for something to kill, or a fight with the neighbors, is what us male social primates are good at. It’s always been a problem, turning little monsters into decent people. Meaning, properly Establishmentarian. Instead of locking us up or sending us “over there” to kill other young men for their obscene profits, could try providing the conditions for us to make actual sustainable livelihoods, instead of just inhumane scientifically managed jobs that amount to digging our own graves. Now with more opioids, bc profit.

          But we must know an entirely different species of women. Where do you get the idea that women don’t get together for rebelliousness of varying degrees?

          If the word “suffragette” doesn’t ring a bell, might want to look that up. For starters.

          Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are also more women graduating from college than men these days (from articles I have read).

      I see this (college education) more connected to this linked story about male labor participation than any political angle.

      Reply
    3. Left in Wisconsin

      The crazy, or not, thing about the piece in links is that the paper cited by the Conversable Economist provides a perfectly plausible answer to the question but CE refuses to accept it:
      Perhaps more of a clue comes from the employment survey data itself. As Tüzemen reports:

      Those who report their status as “not in the labor force” also respond to another question, which asks, “what best describes your situation at this time? For example, are you disabled, ill, in school, taking care of house or family, in retirement, or something else?”

      The answers to this survey question suggest that between 1996 and 2016, the share of nonparticipating men who give “disability” as an answer has declined, while the share who refer to family responsibilities, taking care of family, and in retirement have all increased.

      …the biggest rise is not in the lowest-skill or highest-skill groups, but rather in the middle.

      Leaving aside the tendentious way economists define skill (normally by ‘years of schooling’), otherwise middle and working class men are choosing to do care work rather than work sh1tty jobs. But, as a true economist, CE knows better:

      This pattern suggests to me that some of the labor market nonparticipants who wanted a job have now returned to the labor market, while others have given up on employment.

      Because if there is one thing every economist knows, it is that unpaid care work is not real work.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the paper cited by the Conversable Economist provides a perfectly plausible answer to the question but CE refuses to accept it

        Always fun to see the machinery working in plain sight, isn’t it?

        Reply
    4. ewmayer

      Wolf Richter recently addressed the it’s-bad-for-the-whole-working-class-but-especially-for-men issue:

      | Wolf Street

      ‘Median real earnings for men who worked full-time year-round fell a full 3.0% in 2017 to $52,146. On an inflation-adjusted basis, men had earned more than that in 1972 ($53,609). This translates into 45 years of real-earnings decline for men:
      [chart]

      Men have suffered the brunt of the real-wage repression over the past four decades, obtained in part via inflation, an insidious process where wages inch up, but not quite enough to keep up with the Fed-engineered loss of purchasing power of the dollar – a process Wall Street economists praise with conviction.

      In addition, even a slight but systematic and purposeful miscalculation of inflation, for example a percentage point or less each year, is cumulative; and over the span of four decades, the real-real earnings decline is large. Wonder why many men are frustrated?’

      Reply
  12. Ignim Brites

    Mr Counter Suggestible. You laid out the case for sceptism pretty well. To state it succinctly, this Khashoggi affair, appears to be a pre-planned agitprop campaign to break the Trump admins alliance with MBS. To what end though?

    Reply
    1. Donald

      I don’t think there is much of a counter case. It is true that the lurid details come from anonymous officials, but nobody has a good case for arguing Khashoggi wasn’t murdered by the Saudis. The question is now which Saudi will make a good scapegoat or is Bone Saw going to be successfully pushed out?

      I think the Western elites have been fine with Saudi brutality in Yemen. They are shocked by Khashoggi because he is one of them and it shows Bone Saw is too stupid to know what lines not to cross. They want a more competent low key thug controlling our ( I mean their) oil, someone who will do as he is told or at least cause less trouble.

      Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      I’m sceptical about consiracy theories about this. Occams Razor suggests that yes, MbS and his people really are this stupid.

      I’m pretty sure that the Blob (or whatever you want to call it) has been pretty worried about his antics for some time, and have a Plan B to hand (that Plan B is almost certainly goes by the name ). They’ve been waiting for him to either shape up, or make the sort of fatal mistake he seems to have been born to make. I think they are just going to sieze a perfect opportunity to get a more reliable al-Saud in position.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am still doubtful, and wonder if we will ever find out if it was not yet another false flag operation.

        Reply
        1. willf

          A false flag operation? You mean that Khashoggi was murdered by someone other than Saudis while he was inside the Saudi embassy?

          Reply
    3. Carolinian

      MBS bought a 30 million dollar yacht on a whim. He may have also single handedly been the author of the Yemen genocide. Even if the Turkish version of what happened isn’t true it might just as well have been true and totally in character with Jared Kushner’s best pal. The story here is not the atrocity but that people and particularly our MSM are talking about it. If there are behind the scenes string pullers then it may be that the FP blob has decided that the crown prince is too thuggish and erratic even for us.

      Reply
      1. Donald

        Yeah, exactly. And I linked to a NYT piece above which tries to excuse the indifference to our role in the Yemen genocide. People in the elite classes want this to be about Khashoggi alone–they can pretend to be morally outraged if US and UK complicity in Yemen is left out of the picture.

        Reply
        1. pjay

          Right. As you point out above, the NYT article is ridiculous in a lot of ways. But its main message — the effectiveness of personifying evil (or the victims of evil) — is PsyOps 101. This does not explain the blob reaction, though. I think you nailed it in another comment: “They want a more competent low key thug controlling our ( I mean their) oil”.

          Reply
          1. Duck1

            But what if MBS holds on to the crown? And practices some smart disruptive retaliation like sinking the oil for $ scheme?
            A friend wants to know.

            Reply
              1. polecat

                You gonna suit up and fly right .. into that cobra pit ? (Rhetorical)
                Cuz I sure as hell ain’t !
                Oh ! Silly me .. for forgetting that we’ll just send in the new-age hashsassins to do the dirty work ..

                I hear tell they do them some fine backdoor ‘scrimshaw’..

                Reply
    4. blennylips

      > To what end though?

      dunno, last time the incubator babies served the cause of invading Iraq…any other large countries nearby we’ve not invaded lately?

      Reply
    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      > To what end though

      That’s what baffles me. We’ve taken their money for years, both in the Beltway and Silicon Valley. We’re helping them fight a war in Yemen. The beheadings, and so forth, have never been a problem before. We flew their elite out of the country after 9/11 when every other airplane was grounded. We’ll need their oil when fracking comes up dry, as it will.

      So cui bono? All that seems left is wild speculation: (1) Cranking up SaudiSaudiSaudi because RussiaRussiaRussia isn’t gonna come through (Saudi factional infighting + opportunism); (2) Israel would be very happy if they were our only “friend” in the Middle East (Bibi realpolitik + AIPAC (????); (3) The Saudis have been lying about their reserves and the jig is almost up, so they have no leverage any more.

      Who knows?

      Reply
  13. PlutoniumKun

    How modern cities could suffer the same fate as ancient Angkor Asian Correspondent

    Angkor was once the largest city on Earth. But its huge growth made it unworkable, unwieldy, and ultimately irreparable. Its critical urban infrastructure was both complex and interdependent, meaning that a seemingly small disruption (such as a flood) could fracture the entire network and bring down an entire city.

    I do wonder about this. I find it fascinating that some cities manage to survive and grow long after the original reason for their foundation has past (for example, Rome, or London), while others – usually pre-industrial – have often simply vanished. Cities are usually remarkably resilient – a list of the great cities of Europe or Asia or the Middle East of 200 years ago or 500 or even 1000 years ago will look remarkably similar to the list of great cities of today. But climate change will mean challenges that are largely unprecedented.

    I suspect a reason that cities like Angkor or its pre-Colombian American equivalents disappeared is that when faced with stress, the residents had an alternative – they simply took to the hills above the floods (or away from a drought), cleared land, and reverted to being subsistence farmers when it looked like that remaining as city dwellers could only bring starvation. If they hadn’t had this choice, they may have knuckled under and gotten through it, like Berliners in 1945 or Damascenes(ites?) more recently. I think with climate change we’ll see efforts to keep the big cities going, long after it makes economic sense, there is simply too much invested in them, and not enough alternatives.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      We went to Mesa Verde NP first before going to Chaco Canyon, and really, one ought to do it the other way around.

      The cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde are beautiful, but totally of a defensive nature-hidden away. It’s what we would do if the USA went crazy in a gun toting zombie fashion, and we had to disappear into the Sierra Nevada, far from impolite society.

      Chaco Canyon is completely different in that the monumental great houses were pretty much in the open, with no obvious defensive measures against hostile outsiders. Climate change in the guise of a 50 year long drought, put paid to a place that had the tallest buildings in the USA, before white man showed up.

      Reply
    2. Quentin

      Rome was reduced to a largish village with sheep grazing on the Roman Forum. The Vatican probably kept the place on the map.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its chicken and egg though. The Vatican stayed in Rome (and not, for example, Avignon), for a reason. Rome still mattered. Yes, it was just a large village at one point, but at that time in history so was pretty much every other urban area in Italy and beyond.

        Reply
      2. Harold

        Cows grazed there until the 18th c. Forum was known as the “vaccino”—cow pasture. Malaria (Roman fever) also kept population down. Tourists stayed away in summer, Popes headed for the hilltowns.

        Reply
    3. BobW

      Detroit didn’t keep going… I certainly left (in the 70s) and most of the city left in the following years. There were other opportunities elsewhere then, but they have dried up lately. After living in a few states I’m in NW Arkansas now, and for good in both senses.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        It may have shrunk, but last time I looked Detroit was still there. Same with many other struggling cities that have lost their original raison d’etre, such as Liverpool.

        Reply
      2. rd

        The Rust Belt (inland Massachusetts across to Chicago) should be very well positioned to do well with climate change. The temperate climate can survive a fair amount of warming (upstate NY becoming like interior Virgina/NC), there is no evidence that the region will be hit by drought, it is far enough away from the Gulf of Mexico that rainfall will likely increase but not catastrophically, etc. The region is the headwaters of the major southern rivers, so floodplain flooding is generally not too bad – the area sends its water downstream to flood other areas to the south.

        Risk management studies have shown that the region is generally not prone to major natural disasters. In some areas, like Central New York, the biggest potential disaster is a chemical train derailment which can happen anywhere.

        So as parts of the US become unlivable, these areas should remain livable. There is a lot of infrastructure in place, but it needs to be be repaired and modernized. There are numerous large reliable sources of drinking and industrial water. The environmental clean-ups of the past three decades are improving the water quality.

        I expect we will see the Rust Belt rebound economically in the coming decades as the coastlines and southern floodplains get flooded and some southern regions endure increasing droughts. Many of the same factors that played a major role in the Rust Belt becoming great in the Industrial Revolution will come back to the fore.

        Reply
        1. polecat

          You left out the peppering of future nuclear dead zones, of which many inhabit at least areas within the Rust belt .. not that the rest of the ‘present country’ east of the Continental Divide doesn’t have Their potential toxic issues ..

          MCMGA — Make Cautionary Monuments Great Again .. There’s a jobs program in the making !

          Reply
      3. False Solace

        Eve [speaking of Detroit]: But this place will rise again.

        Adam: Will it?

        Eve: Yeah. There’s water here. And when the cities in the South are burning, this place will bloom.

        Reply
    4. The Rev Kev

      I think that an interesting study could be made about places like this in working out the relationship of that society’s leaders and its engineers. People forget that leaders may do the leading for a society but it is the engineers that actually build it. When they get shunted aside as inconsequential for that society, then watch what happens next (no, I am not an engineer at all).

      Reply
  14. Wukchumni

    Are kids allowed to be idle these days?

    I remember being bored a lot growing up, which was quite the catalyst for creativity of the do it yourself type.

    My most idle time is in the wilderness, where electronic tethers have no (YWMV) reach, and if on a backpack trip, I might have a New Yorker, or 1 book, as my entire outside information regime for say a week.

    Of course, there’s lots of information still inside your mind bouncing about, along with your companions who are also in the same boat, technology-less, that is.

    Reply
    1. Olga

      Yes, a very good analysis by Pepe E. Neither China nor Russia are under any illusions, as to what is really driving US’ actions:

      “A glaring giveaway that these overlapping sanctions on Russia and China are all about the good old Brzezinski fear of Eurasia being dominated by the emergence of “peer competitors” was recently offered by Wess Mitchell, the US State Department Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs – the same post previously held by Victoria “F*ck the EU” Nuland. This is the original Mitchell testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And this is the redacted, sanitized State Department version. A crucial phrase in the middle of the second paragraph simply disappeared: ‘It continues to be among the foremost national security interests of the United States to prevent the domination of the Eurasian landmass by hostile powers.’”

      In case it is not obvious, “the hostile powers” on the Eurasian landmass are the very people who live there.
      The original speech:
      Saniised version:

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        1. There will always be, in any nation, different factions and different schools.

        2. “Hostile powers” are those who live there. Additionally, there are other smaller nations there as well. One school of thought may deem how those powers deal with those smaller nations as our business. Another school may disagree. While there are still others who say it depends on the situation.

        3. China should be under no illusion about the US, or Russia. Russia should be under no illusion about China, or the US. America should be under no illusion about China or Russia.

        Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think he talked about different scenarios.

            One was for Japan and China to conquer Russia. Today, it’s more likely China does it alone.

            Another was for Germany and Russia to form an alliance. But how long will that last?

            Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Lockheed-Martin’s corporate slogan is “We never forget who we are working for.” Sneaky little sh1ts. Straight out of the evil mind and mouth of GE Jack Welch: shareholder value trumps all.

      Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “More Khashoggi-MBS Links Revealed as Suspected Killer Dies in ‘Suspicious Car Accident’ ”

    I think that this point that it is obvious that Khashoggi was not really a journalist but an “asset” of those in power. The coordinated attack upon MSB, though fully deserved, is noteworthy in itself in how business, the media, government and the like all pulled support and attacked MSB with really only Trump trying to fight a rear-guard action to defend him. I do not know if this idea might be valid or not but when you think about it, MSB has been one of Trump’s greatest supporters and he has Saudi Arabia’s wealth to back him up.
    Could this all be part of an operation by the so-called deep state to burn the bridges between Trump and MSB then? They have been trying to get Trump since 2016 and if they could break MSB’s support for Trump by having Trump sanction MSB and MSB retaliated against America, it would leave Trump even more isolated in the White House. Ignim Brites above has suggested the same.
    As for that hit team I see that one of them has died already. A tragic shame that. One day this whole story could make a really great film. For those Saudis in that hit team, they may think that they are in some sort of Tom Cruise “Mission Impossible” film but will eventually be horrified to find themselves in the same position as the survivors in the “Final Destination” films.

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Burton

      When one of the establishment minions in the Twitterverse went all delighted about the idea of investigating Trump’s ties with SA, I asked if there were plans to investigate the Clinton Foundation for same. Everyone being equal before the law and all that.

      Crickets.

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > They have been trying to get Trump since 2016 and if they could break MSB’s support for Trump by having Trump sanction MSB and MSB retaliated against America, it would leave Trump even more isolated in the White House. Ignim Brites above has suggested the same.

      Suppose you’ve got a tenant (Trump) occupying a property (the White House) you own (you’re a member of an elite faction). Do you burn down the house to chase out the tenant? That seems crazed, to me (but then our elites, regardless of faction, seem especially crazed right now).

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Normally I would say no but recently you had one high official suggest blockading Russia to stop its hydrocarbons going to market and another suggesting launching a first strike on a missile system in Russia itself that may or may not be in breach of a treaty. Gawd, where do they find these sort of people?

        Reply
        1. HotFlash

          Max Blumenthal at The Real News . Title of video is ‘Inside Nikki Haley’s Shocking Speech to Secretive Far-Right Group’, and yeah, I was a little shocked. Just when you think they can’t be any more bald-facedly incompetent…

          Reply
  16. PlutoniumKun

    Jim O’Neill: Will Italy sink Europe? Financial News

    I think its fair to say that when an ex Goldman Sachs, and ex Tory party minister is writing things like this, the intellectual argument against austerity has been won.

    Under these conditions, the EU authorities would do well not to oppose the current Italian government’s plans too aggressively. If mainstream liberals are worried about the implications of a democratically elected populist government, then they should worry even more about what could come next if economic circumstances worsen. At this stage, Italy needs stronger nominal GDP growth — plain and simple.

    The question is whether the German government (in particular) is listening.

    Reply
  17. emorej a hong kong

    This should be filed under Imperial collapse.

    In Admissions, Harvard Favors Those Who Fund It, Internal Emails Show Harvard Crimson

    Buried lede:

    This student’s family at one point donated $8.7 million to the University — but … “Going forward, I don’t see a significant opportunity for further major gifts.”

    It’s amazing that Harvard couldn’t find a way to settle this lawsuit before these types of emails were introduced in open court, proving that school “loyalty” is a one way street.
    Every “admissions consultant” should now be (if they haven’t already been) recommending to potential donors that they hold back the majority of donations, like one would hold back progress payments in dealing with a fly-by-night contractor.
    There should be an app (if there isn’t already one in South Korea) for funding a trust with instructions to make donations to whichever elite university admits and enrolls a particular applicant. Preferential treatment after admission could be incentivized by making further donations contingent upon the student’s continued enrollment and eventual graduation. Of course this is already done informally (Exhibit A: George W. Bush’s “gentleman’s C” at Yale), but imagine the efficiency (and health benefits) of doing away with all those winks and nudges.

    Reply
  18. Steve H.

    > A discussion with Helen Pluckrose, co-author of “Grievance Studies” hoax article

    Pluckrose is seriously punching up. I’ve been masticating the Centrist Paradox from yesterday, and I note that Pluckrose’s critique of postmodernism agrees on the facts with a perspective from the right v Critical Thinking, which uses Cultural Marxism as a keyword marker. See Jay’s “Dialectical Imagination” to get the facts that are interpreted in very different ways by these wings.

    Despite reservations I have about the Centrist Paradox paper, if Adler’s conclusions as valid, they demand explanation. Here’s one with a lumpy fit.

    First, that center is not uneducated. However, they appear more indoctrinated to mainstream status quo (ie economics) than Postmodern ideology. Back in the days of network domination, while there were three flavors the main meal was pretty consistent. Now there is a Big Sort not only in physical neighborhoods but in information. If the lesson from college was that information carries ideology, then there is a pragmatic objectivism to paying more attention to what actually affects your life than what the media tells you is important. “If a fact is true, but is incomplete, then it might actually leave us more ignorant than we were before.” Who is allowed within the Dunbar Limit of trusted sources is critical here, and the Gao paper showed that dense networks are more resilient than sparce ones.

    The Holland Code has a primary dimension of Artistic/Conventional which has explanatory value in small-town values. Say a third of the town is Artistic, a third Conventional (Conformist), and a third in the middle. Conflict tween the poles is resolved when the middle doesn’t want to dump energy into the problem, the Artists move away to urban centers (Blue), and the Conformists don’t migrate (rural = Red). Those rural areas then become centers of Traditional and Survival dimensions of the WVS, while urban skews Rational and Self-expression.

    The Center in Adler’s study has a far more positive attitude toward a ‘Strong Leader’ than even the far right wing (Fig. 8). If they are giving greater weight to local facts, they know the value of a good leader to the business that gives them bread. Couple that with mainstream economics in the political realm and you get ‘Government should be run like a business.’ I am recalling the ‘fight’ for the suburbs in the last election, educated, not poor, and skewing Republican on economic issues.

    The problem is that the Center is still more satisfied with democracy than the far right (Fig. 3). That right-wing dissatisfaction can fuel the small group of committed citizens to get an authoritarian leader elected, which then the center conforms to by their positive attitude toward a ‘strong’ leader, regardless of ideology.

    This is the value that Pluckrose really brings to the table. Like Adolph Reed, she has identified Identity Politics as uniting the Democratic Party strategy with a right-wing ideology. Liz Warren is the dead canary here. And for the love of mercy, can we not have anything approaching Turchin’s 2020 asymptote based on correlating veracity with gender, please? That’s a truly worse-case scenario.

    Reply
    1. flora

      Thanks for this very interesting comment. On identity politics:


      “Any struggles of the oppressed, be it blacks or women, which are only for themselves and then not for the least of them, the most deprived, the most exploited of them, are inevitably self-serving and narrow and unable to enlarge the human condition…The question for me is: what is it in the black and Third world experience, in the experience of the oppressed and the exploited, that gives one the imagination to see other oppression and the will to fight for a better society for all, a more equal, just free society, a socialist society?”

      – British-Sri Lankan socialist and anti-racist activist and thinker Ambalavaner Sivanandan.

      Fighting for a better society for all isn’t part of the right-wing ideology or identity politic ideology.

      Reply
  19. Wukchumni

    When I was growing up, the LA Times was my roadmap to figuring out the news, usually the best stuff was hidden on page 9 of the first section. Sadly, it’s salad days are long past, heck they just figured out that Fentanyl is the reason as many people are dying, as are those from bullets, in our country.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Fentanyl smuggled from China is killing thousands of Americans

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s going to be a lot more expensive (and hopefully harder) to ship small orders straight from all kinds of Chinese factories going forward, via USPS (that would also likely see less business or fewer deliveries…how many fewer remains to be seen).

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        ha ha

        A pound of Fentanyl is worth a small fortune. I don’t think they’ll lose sleep over the opium, er opioid trade having to pay higher postage rates.

        Reply
      2. Mel

        The high-tech Maker culture, right-to-repair and all, depends heavily on supplies from China, now that they can’t get high-tech supplies from anywhere else.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It will be tough, but hopefully not tougher that it was for post-war Japan, Germany, Italy and other nations.

          It is possible, and we have a chance here, to be able to make all kinds of products again that we can’t today, but could years ago.

          That’s my encouragement for those who say ‘but we don’t make them here.’

          Reply
  20. The Rev Kev

    “A new device can identify air travellers carrying an infectious disease”

    Wouldn’t it be hilarious if based on the technology of the ion mobility spectrometry devices talked about in this article, they could detect all drugs in a person’s system as well and that they then deployed these detectors at Tokyo’s airport in 2020 to check out each athlete as they arrived for the 2020 Summer Olympics Games? Of course the sponsors would never allow it or half the athletes that turned up would be on the next plane home but still….

    Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      I’ve heard no word as to whether there’s been resolution. But I walked past the Marriott and the Sheraton in the Back Bay on Tuesday, and strikers were still there. (They’ve been picketing at the site for several weeks now.)

      Reply
    2. How is it legal

      I linked an October 17th, WWS piece in a comment near the bottom of this ‘page.’ Otherwise, the only thing I could find current on it (can we say: blackout by Marriot?) was this San Francisco State University’s Golden Gate Express piece (one of only two pieces at ), regarding the San Francisco Strike: 10/19/18

      Striking Marriott workers across the country are persevering as they head into their third week of protest, spurred on by continuous media coverage of demonstrations on the street, all of which is taking a toll on hotel operations.

      The San Francisco Labor Council is planning a solidarity march for Saturday, Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. on Yerba Buena Lane, a plaza on Market Street between 3rd and 4th Street, which will involve hundreds of protestors including 15 SF State students from six different majors, according to student Kiley Wyart.

      Wow, I wouldn’t call the articles that came up in my search as continuous media coverage, and certainly not the 2 Golden Gate Express pieces. The piece goes on to highly laud the San Francisco UNITE HERE Local 2 [Sweetheart] Union, which the I linked to, in a comment below, had shamed.

      Reply
    3. Procopius

      Are they still continuing? I have noticed that the media rarely report strikes. I am a bit surprised that this one was reported at all, even by Vox, which I rarely read. I expect the half dozen owners of most of the media don’t want to let workers know that some of them are organizing and fighting for better conditions.

      Reply
  21. Wukchumni

    Last time I was on a yacht, it was considerably bigger than MbS’s, and much more expensive.

    Now, the idea that we were sharing it with a few thousand other people, does make for a different lodging situation between behemoths.

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        A cruise is a great way to go to somewhat exotic locales and learn almost nothing about the place, while being trapped in what looks like a shopping mall that’s one long corridor.

        Reply
  22. JTMcPhee

    From Mammon’s lips to our ears: Are we too broke to stick to our principles?

    Assumes facts not in evidence: “principles.”

    Reply
  23. The Rev Kev

    “Inconvenient Thoughts on Cold War and Other News”

    Once again Stephen Cohen calls it. Nothing like old school marshaling of facts. For some insight on US strategy towards Russia, the link below is the testimony of a State Department wonk to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee several weeks ago. It boils down to two points. One: We are attacking Russia in every possible way until they buckle and crawl to us for relief. Two: More money, please.

    Reply
    1. Spoofs desu

      Indeed—and not uncorrelated with the Disinformation on Steroids link from cfr.

      I can’t believe these academics sometimes. What planet are they living on that they want to turn over some AI management process to the national security state to make sure we get accurate information? The security state guys invented the deep fake.

      Anyway, it is not 100% clear that we didn’t have fake news before recent years’ social media explosion…And the 80s/90s monetization/fragmentation of the news likely set the stage for it.

      Nuff said….

      Reply
      1. JBird40489

        Anyway, it is not 100% clear that we didn’t have fake news before recent years’ social media explosion…

        There has always been fake news. The quality and quantity of it has greatly increased because the skills of creating and dissemination of it has increasingly gotten insidiously good. Billions of dollars have been spent for decades doing this and the internet has been a wonderful turbocharger.

        Reply
        1. Spoofs desu

          “The quality and quantity of it has greatly increased because the skills of creating and dissemination…”

          This true but I think we are talking about a chicken-or-the egg thing here. And of course there has always been fake news. It just used to be a lot less of it whic in my mind is the source of the problem.

          Your stated increase in quantity and quality (not sure what quality fake news is but I get your point on the technology thing) increase in fake news is NOT necessarily because of the skills in creating it has increased. It’s because the major networks/newspapers at some point decided that, from institutional standpoint, that informing the public on how the world works was not really
          part of thier value system.

          Thus, in some dimension, it really made it irrelevant wether I get my news from fox/cbs or Facebook or a YouTube video. This in turn created the opportunity your describing.

          Just as one small example, all the major newspapers, at some point (80s/90s), cut most all of thier foreign correspondents because it was expensive and wasn’t generating profits (allegedly) and thus the quality went through the floor. Or as Paul Krugman once said, the focus on “fair and balanced” got so extreme that he came up with the ultimate, jokingly fake headline: “Experts Claim The World is Flat. Opinions Differ”.

          Thus, if the MSM was actually focused on adding any modicum of value, we would have much less of a problem. As demonstrated by the market/elections, etc., and the cfr link/article, they have about as much credibility as a “quality” YouTube video, for significant part of the population. This why everybody is hyperventilating.

          So, turning the problem over to the national security state is not the solution.

          Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > it is not 100% clear that we didn’t have fake news before recent years’ social media explosion

        It is 100% clear that we did have it; see the role of the in planting WMD stories in the press, very much including the New York Times; see Sam Gardiner’s (almost vanished from the Internet, oddly) for detail on the stories.

        Reply
        1. Spoofs desu

          Thanks for the msg./links Lambert–

          Those are great anecdotes for a very important issue; going to war. And it is pretty clear that the MSM was complicit (Judith Miller, I think her name was) in creating this deep fake.

          This is what is so annoying about the cfr article/link by these goofy academics in an allegedly serious magazine; basically they are complaining that they are losing the deep fake battle. It is hypocritical, at best. Try adding some value if you really want to compete with diversified sources of info.

          Rant off:-)

          Reply
  24. Wukchumni

    Growing up, this was my idol…

    John Goddard is most known for his amazing “Life List” of accomplishments. At the age of fifteen John Goddard listed 127 goals he wished to experience or achieve in his lifetime. The list is impressive and audacious, but the results have been truly incredible.

    Reply
  25. EoH

    The Democrats Left Turn is Not an Illusion. I would agree with Thomas Edsall’s title, but not his arguments. His voluminous use of Gallup polls seems to score well on the obamometer, but I’m unconvinced.

    In any case, this supposed turn might move the party to the left of where Eisenhower had the GOP in the 1950s. But it would remain to the right of the Democratic Party from the 1960s. Would today’s party attempt to pass sweeping legislation on civil rights, voting rights or medical coverage for the aged or for all? So, there’s a ways to go.

    Any progressive turn by either party would be welcome. It would delay the rot caused by rampant neoliberal policies and billionaire-run government. But if it happens to the Dems, it seems more likely to be caused by the current leadership’s attempt to preempt new, younger, more progressive leaders – women and people of color. To describe that change as driven by a shrinking educated white leadership seems to miss the forest for the trees.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Emphasize “delay.” Best Change us mopes can Hope ™ for.

      I wonder what thoughts and “feelings” float through the heads of people like Obama and his potent spouse and the Clantons and Dick Less Cheney and Idi Amin and Netanyahooo, once they have attained the kind of power (and attendant wealth) that lets them go all insouciant about moving the levers and weapons of power without regard to deadly and destructive consequence. Said motions leading to really industrial scale disruption and demolition and dispossession. It’s more than just that “they are different from you and me.”

      Are there identifiable moments when they realize that morals and ethics and decency and civility are just “words of weakness,” just convenient myths to be manipulated and deployed like smoke and mirrors? Just “quaint” words like “rule of law” and “ConstitutionBillofRights” and “ international law” and “sovereignty” and the rest of the now drivel I and so many others were so carefully taught?

      How do these pathogens and predators and tumors get to the point that it is all just a Neo board game that combines Monopoly! ™ and Risk! ™?

      So mopes like me, suckered into the Imperial Army, can say like the little girl in the old Shake-n-Bake commercial, “And Ah haelped!”

      Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Maybe equivalent to the curtain in “The Wizard of Oz” movie? “Pay no attention to that man behind the ‘beard’!”

      Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      A “beard” refers to, or used to refer to, a woman that a gay man “dates,” (appears with, squires around) in order to hide the fact that he is gay. The woman was his “beard.”

      Back in the day when being a gay man needed to be hidden.

      Reply
    3. Alfred

      A “beard” is a kind of “front man,” especially one whose chief role is to disguise by his speech, behavior, or mere presence some presumably shameful reality. Historically, the most familiar usage of this slang term has been in reference to a woman who (knowingly?) dates or marries a homosexual man in order to provide him with the heterosexual credentials required for social or business success. The term is therefore pejorative. Its meaning derives from its suggestion of a false beard worn by an actor playing a role. By implication, a woman who agrees to be a man’s “beard” becomes a kind of conspirator by providing him with a false identity.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Historically, the most familiar usage of this slang term has been in reference to a woman who (knowingly?) dates or marries a homosexual man in order to provide him with the heterosexual credentials required for social or business success.

        People forget just how dangerous being seen as not straight was. Being ostracizaion, imprisonment, execution, torture, or just being ruined was not just accepted, but frequently the law.

        Despite that being homosexual was often reluctantly accepted so long as appearances were maintained. Same sex couples would be each other’s beards. Four friends in two same sex relationships would effectively marry each other by creating the appearance of two straight couples.

        Also, it wasn’t always voluntary. Depending on the individual’s status and employment (working class slub, business executive, royalty, movie star, etc.) their family, employers, governments would insist on them having a beard, or those accepted punishments would happen. Hypocrisy true, but reality.

        Reply
  26. Carey

    ‘Jurors urge Judge to Uphold Monsanto [Roundup] Cancer Ruling:


    dewayne-johnson

    Is Monsanto the evilest corporation on the planet? So many contenders…

    Reply
  27. How is it legal

    Re: The Deceptive, Shameful, Lucratively Funded War Against Rent Control
    Huh:

    … the California Democratic Party, has rallied around the ballot initiative.

    Could’ve fooled me, formally endorsing it, versus rallying behind it, are not the same things, at all. For one example, I can’t find one instance where Ro Khanna has even utters the words rent control, let alone Prop 10. The Silicon Valley Mercury News, which usually always supports the California Democratic Party’s Agenda,™ has unsurprisingly come out against it, as has the San Francisco Chronicle (). Both newspapers reporting in two of the hardest hit rental markets and unsheltered homeless in the state. Shame on them.

    Yet another reason why I stopped buying both newspapers, and voting for anything but propositions, quite sometime ago.

    Reply
    1. How is it legal

      Versus actually rallying behind rent controls (which California’s Blue Party and Fourth Estate have historically been vastly, Majority opposed to, since many of them are Rentiers themselves), right along with their Brethren Republican Party, this is the kind of sht the California Democratic Party really perpetrates in Districts where long living residents can no longer afford to live:

      Strikers on the picket lines at Marriott hotels in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland have expressed their determination to fight poverty level wages and increased medical costs as they struggle to live in one of the most expensive metropolitan areas in America. The 2,700 workers in the Bay Area who walked out on October 4 and 5 are part of nearly 8,000 workers in Boston, Detroit and the Hawaiian islands of Oahu and Maui who are striking against the world’s largest hotel chain.

      “We’re all overworked,” Alfredo, a 38-year-old cook with Marriott Oakland, told the World Socialist Web Site. “After I come out of the kitchen, I have been working so hard, I’m sweating like I just spent a couple hours in the gym.”

      Alfredo continued, “They’re raising the cost of our medical benefits from $25 to $300 a month. You have workers here who have worked with Marriott for over 35 years. They are old, and they gave their life to this company. The main reason they don’t retire is because they’ll lose their medical benefits if they quit, and now Marriott does this. Nobody can afford these costs and still make ends meet on our pay.

      The Sweetheart Union:

      Far from mobilizing the broad support hotel workers have to shut down the hotel industry, the UNITE HERE union has limited picketing to symbolic levels, allowing Marriott to continue operations with strikebreakers. At the same time, it has left workers on starvation-level strike benefits of $60 a day, even though the union has assets worth more than $150 million and pays its union president, Donald Taylor, a salary of $362,034.

      The Sweetheart Union, and the California Democratic Party:

      While isolating the striking workers, the UNITE HERE union has given the Democratic Party a platform to posture as their saviors and hustle for workers’ votes in the run up to the November 6 election. Last week, the union staged a civil disobedience protest in conjunction with the Democrats in downtown San Francisco. Anand Singh, the head of UNITE HERE Local 2, and Wei-Ling Huber, president of East Bay’s Local 2850, were among dozens who were arrested.

      The bottom line of the piece:

      Far from speaking for workers, the Democrats, no less than the Republicans, have overseen more than a decade of declining worker living standards even as they handed over trillions of dollars to bailout the Wall Street banks. In Illinois, the unions are backing billionaire gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker, one of the heirs to the Hyatt Hotel fortune. The Chicago-based Pritzkers—who played a prominent role in Obama’s rise to the White House—are notorious for their attacks on hotel workers.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Ah yes, this is a rant, but the devolution of California’s political scene into the very worst of the Neo-Guilded Age corruption split between the Hollywood Rambo Liberals and the Reactionary John Birchers continues here in the Golden State.

        I barely remember when both parties were sane and actually governed for the welfare of the whole state. One might not have agreed with some of the parties’ politics and there was always some corruption but at least you could trust that the place was reasonably well governed. Not anymore.

        After seeing how both my state’s ruling parties only see their fellow Californians as chumps and marks, and seeing how Puerto Rico was financially screwed and then left to rot after the hurricane can anyone assure me that that will not happen if the Big One hits California? It would give the disaster capitalists of both parties an orgasmic opportunity to make bank by inflicting the same “reforms” that the Federal government put into place in New Orleans and Puerto Rico.

        Reply
        1. How is it legal

          … if the Big One hits California

          Gavin Newsom (who I’m betting will be our next, horrid, Pay to Play Governor), will likely head off to Hawaii for a vacation (in a , like the one that ferried his Montana Wedding guests), . And then there’s just (that last link is well worth it, if not just for that, unguarded moment, photo of Newsom), which he unsurprisingly shared with his primary challenger, Villaraigosa.

          Speaking of Gavin, I could kick myself for forgetting to mentioning his name, along with Khanna’s, as not rallying behind Proposition 10. :

          Real estate interests argue — and gubernatorial candidates Gavin Newsom and John Cox agreethat a return of the strong rent control laws of the late ‘70s and ‘80s would endanger …[Major League Rentiers – How is it legal]

          Also, I love how neither Newsom, or Cox, have Campaign Phone numbers. Yet, if you access their campaign sites, they want your DNA. Your DNA will then be immediately shared with thousands of Parasites – Demanding and Shaming you for Money you don’t have anymore, and Support of their Party’s Contending Creep. I was validated in that disgust over the lack of a campaign phone number a short while back, speaking to a young man with a wife and small children. They were barely making it in their Hometown of rent skyrocketing Sacramento (California’s Capitol, for those out of staters reading). He was answering phones at a Non Profit, when we spoke. It breaks my heart how horridly both Partys treat the populace they’re supposed to be Public Servants to in California; particularly the Democratic Party, which has always claimed to care about the vulnerable and oppressed.

          Reply
          1. How is it legal

            (DNA, in that last paragraph, meaning: phone number; email address, residence address, etcetera. It’s ugly enough that you have no phone number to call them and air your suggestions and concerns, yet they can RoboCall and text your mobile phone – which numbers you didn’t offer them – using your first name, as if they’re your ally. Worse, you can’t even call back to ask them to stop harassing you with unanswerable (and unblockable, for many) RoboCalls and texts.)

            Reply
  28. Edward E

    Cold Wave Brings Heavy Snow to Northwest China

    “It’s the time of year to look at the weather models and either shake your head or get excited about the upcoming winter … maybe sooner rather than later. Just to prove it can & will happen in October, here’s an example scenario next week of a massive blizzard.”

    Possible blizzard coming early to the Nawth East. Our elk were bugling a month early.

    Reply
    1. Jen

      I’ll believe it when I see it, but my hens, who usually go through a desultory molt that spans from August to December, were done and done, full feathered out at the end of September, and no one went full on oven ready this year.

      Reply
      1. Edward E

        Do you remember James Hansen predicted a super El Niño every year for like eight years and it finally came? Well I think the step up warmth from that is now leaving us and we’re in for some bitter cold.

        Reply
  29. Fred1

    Lambert:

    Nice Zappa reference, “hitherto unknown” in your teaser to “The Democrats’ Left Turn Is Not an Illusion Thomas Edsall, NYT.”

    Reply
  30. Synoia

    The massive gator known as ‘Chubbs’, famous for shocking golfers in Tampa, Florida was just spotted again

    Really? Wasn’t Trump in the White House all last week?

    Reply
  31. Wukchumni

    “A hundred petty crimes or petty accidents will not strike the imagination of crowds in the least, whereas a single great crime or a single great accident will profoundly impress them, even though the results be infinitely less disastrous than those of the hundred small accidents put together.”

    …from The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1896)

    Gustave Le Bon

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Which doesn’t explain both the media’s lukewarm attention to the 40 children murdered in Yemen when the Us helped the Saudis target a bus. There are plenty of people who would have woke up and paid attention had that gotten a fraction of the noise generated by Khashoggi.

      That’s what makes that NYT piece about Yemen so disgusting. It makes it sound as if the people of the US are all so narcissistic they can’t handle major disasters, which premise is disproven over and over. If the Bus Children had been worth the attention of the MSM, there would have been protests and nagging of Congresscritters.

      Reply
  32. Oregoncharles

    ” Khashoggi would be the chicken, but who are the monkeys? Internal Saudi factions would be my guess.”
    Saudi exiles, is another suggestion (forget where I saw it). Exiles are often the base of resistance movements – in alliance with internal factions, obviously. MBS appears to have alienated large portions of the royal family in trying to secure his power.

    Personally, I find this one plausible in a way that others are not. The Saudis have both means and very obvious motive. That said, being Mr. Counter-suggestible is pretty much Lambert’s job.

    Reply
  33. Oregoncharles

    On “Will Italy Sink the Eurozone?” (evidently he doesn’t think so – but it could):

    I agree that the EU and Eurozone cannot afford a Greek-style crisis in Italy, which is the 3rd (more or less) largest economy in the EZ. Italy is too big to fail, and has leverage because of that.

    However, this paragraph contains a flagrant self-contradiction:

    “But what Italy needs is a broad structural reform program to improve productivity. That is the only way to achieve a higher long-term growth rate, given the country’s demographics. In addition to enacting policies to boost the labour-force participation rate among women, Italy must provide more attractive opportunities for its young people.”

    “Productivity,” here means increasing production PER WORKER. Unless you have full employment, which Italy does not, that will eliminate jobs, making it impossible to “provide more attractive opportunities for its young people.” It’s an economist’s lie that the author here repeats, and it’s largely irrelevant to the topic at hand, which is the danger that Italy poses to the Eurozone’s extreme neo-liberal policies.

    Reply
  34. Plenue

    >Khashoggi misinformation highlights a growing number of fake fact-checkers Poynter

    A very large part of the problem isn’t malevolence. It’s that our media is increasingly manned by highly gifted toddlers (, ) who know literally nothing about whatever subject they’ve been put in charge of. This episode remains one of my favorites: .

    Reply
  35. knowbuddhau

    What on earth is that antidote? The way it towers over that pampus grass, which grows up to 8′ tall, must be some kind of South American megafauna. Thought they were extinct. /s

    Reply
  36. Carey

    Agreed. I was thinking about this awhile back after watching the movie ‘Shattered Glass’:
    “WTF was a twenty-three year old kid doing writing lead articles (false, as it turns out)
    for The New Republic?” And it’s everywhere now, as you say.

    Reply

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