Links 10/3/18

ScienceAlert (Kevin W)

The Scroll (J-LS)

? Slashdot. A pet peeve of mine! And to the extent there is documentation (with the device or online) it usually sucks. The documentation for my 3G Nokia 3310 (a new issue retro dumbphone) was terrible, but since after barely any use, the phone no longer effectively makes calls (it says it is dialing but isn’t and my antique 2G Nokia can make calls in the same spots, so it isn’t a network issue), I suppose it is no loss.

kxan.com (J-LS)

North Korea

The Hill

Indonesia

Channel News Asia (J-LS) :-(

Asia Times (J-LS)

Politico

Brexit

Guardian (Kevin W). May already said no, making it about not ceding (partial) control of Northern Ireland to the EU as opposed to coalition dynamics. But the DUP wants to makes sure the soft Brexit wing of the Tories got the memo. This stance pretty much assures a crash out.

Politico. See, I told you the Ultras don’t want the job. They just want to keep May in line.

Back in 2016 I asked the question about ISDS when discussing TTIP and whether foreign companies who had invested over a trillion pounds of FDI in the UK might have the right to sue UK Gov for Brexit compensation.

— Jason J Hunter (@JasonJHunter)

Dear ,
There is no better Brexit when it comes to the Good Friday Agreement and Northern Ireland. As you still seem bamboozled by all this Paddywackery here’s a few pointers for your next stab in the dark –

— Patrick Kielty (@PatricKielty)

Alright stop, collaborate and listen… Introducing Theresa May's No Deal Brexit

— JOE Politics (@PoliticsJOE_UK)

Noam Chomsky, Intercept (UserFriendly).

New Cold War

Moon of Alabama (guurst)

RT

Syraqistan

Afghanistan: Suicide bomber targets election rally in Nangarhar AlJazeera

"Trump says he told Saudi's King Salman that the ruler wouldn't last without US support"

— THAILAND [ News ] (@nakhon224)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Associated Press

The Hill

Politico. This could be fun.

Travelers arriving in New Zealand could now face a fine of up to $3,200 (5,000 NZD) if they refuse to allow border officials access to their phones or electronic devices

— CNN (@CNN)

Tariff Tantrum

The Conversation

Angry Bear. We ran the earlier forecast as a cross post, so glad to see this piece run.

Trump Transition

New York Times. This is impressively detailed. I don’t mean to sound unduly skeptical, but the tax pro I reached was underwhelmed by this story, so I think we need to let the tax mavens chew over this one. The shortcomings here apparently include: 1. Settlements of big estates often involve disputes between the IRS and the estate and heirs over valuation of assets. IRS usually loses. Famous example was Sy Newhouse. This example from the story is not part of the estate but another apparent abuse (failure to pay gift taxes): the article goes through a fishy-looing valuation of Trump Palace shares bought by Fred Trump and later sold to The Donald at an extremely knocked-down price, but omits that Fred Trump bought the shares at the peak of the 1980s cycle, in 1987, and the NYC real estate market collapsed in the early 1990s. So even though Fred Trump still almost certainly exaggerated how much the value of his shares fell, both the residential and commercial RE markets in NYC tanked during this period, and the article is remiss in not mentioning that. 2. A lot of the alleged abuse in this article is of the father not paying gift taxes on gifts to The Donald. The donor is the one who has the tax liability, not the recipient. The story also reminds readers of a particular illegal gift for which fines were paid: the purchase of chips at one of Trump’s casinos with money that came from Trump’s father. The article puts likely gift tax abuses next to accounts of the father setting up trusts and partnerships from which The Donald benefitted. That sort of thing is very common among the rich; you’d need to know a lot more to see if there was anything improper (the big allegation is valuation abuse, see point 1 above). Note the father was clearly moving income aggressively into his kids’ hands when they were young, witness the article saying Trump was getting $200,000 a year at age 3, and even states: “Fred Trump was relentless and creative in finding ways to channel this wealth to his children.”. Recall the drama over Trump’s ginormous tax loss deduction in the 1990s, which tax experts have chewed over and came up with.

Put it another way: let’s see how tax experts who have some knowledge of how much people on the high end get away with calibrate what in this story is really bad v. what looks bad but the IRS has lost enough cases on that the tax pros think they are at little risk in pushing the envelope way beyond where mere mortals could go.

Having said that, there is a long discussion of overpaying for third-party services to various Fred Trump properties, with the excess proceeds largely going to Trump heirs with the apparent intent to escape gift taxes (note the recipients presumably paid income taxes). What does this look like? Private equity charging portfolio companies fees for services not rendered at all (as in they are disguised dividends) and/or inflated fees. They likely got this idea from NYC real estate families (most NYC big end commercial real estate is developed and owned by families like the Fisher Brothers and the LeFraks). The higher costs also served to justify rent increases in rent-regulated residential buildings that would otherwise have been impermissible. In other words, this looks like a hot new grifting idea making the rounds among the lawyers that served families like the Trumps.

Lambert says there is little Twitterverse follow through on this story. Too dull compared to Kavanaugh? Or as Lambert says, this is already in the price, that a New York real estate developer playing tax games, some of which may be illegal, is not all that surprising?

BBC

Bloomberg

New York Times

Public Discourse (UserFriendly). Important.

The Hill

Kavanaugh

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. Today’s must read.

The Hill

Bloomberg (UserFriendly)

CNN

Closing the barn door after the horse is in the next county:

SCHUMER: of Dems take over the Senate, we will have to look at setting the SCOTUS nominee requirement back up to 60 votes

— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews)

National Conference of State Legislatures (UserFriendly)

Intercept (UserFriendly)

New York Times (Kevin W)

Elektrek. Hhm. Sudden upward revision of , but #s still lower than Tesla’s

) Forbes. Probably applies to construction generally.

Barron’s

Wall Street Journal

Project Syndicate (David L)

Guillotine Watch

New York Post

T Bloomberg (J-LS)

Class Warfare

Centrists: Bernie Sanders may talk a good game, but he's so ineffective he only got [squints at headlines] one of the world's largest and most powerful corporations to jack up its wages for thousands of workers.

— David Sirota (@davidsirota)

Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

Devil in the details. Amazon will no longer give some warehouse workers stock options.

These were problematic for sure — they didn’t vest for 2yrs, so most workers never collected. But getting rid of them is one benefit cut that Amazon is making in exchange for $15/hr.

— Stacy Mitchell (@stacyfmitchell)

Slate

Wall Street Journal. Not a surprise.

Lars P. Syll. UserFriendly: “Europe marches on down our failed school privatization trail.”

UserFriendly: “Look who’s trying to whitewash his record with populist drag.”

"We're going to have to re-imagine economic security in the time of rising automation, we're going to have to consider Universal Basic Income"

— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYangVFA)

Antidote du jour, from JS in Ontario:

Mink (I think) beside the pond on my golf course. From today. Cute and curious. I squeaked to attract its attention and got a great response.

The course is managed, inspected and certified for bird and wildlife habitat protection/restoration/enhancement. We keep many bee hives, herbs and seasonal vegetables and produce some maple syrup on our floodplain-based urban golf course property. All are used in the restaurant (and sold separately, if there is any sur). Many species of plants, trees, birds and other animals live here. We specifically protect and fence off sand traps when the snapping turtles lay their eggs in them.

And a bonus video from Kevin W:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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260 comments

  1. Louis Fyne

    >>>The Great Revolt: Understanding Real Trump Voters

    It’s the “will of the people” if the Establishment likes the winners of elections.

    It’s “populism” if the powers that be don’t.

    Trump is the symptom, not the cause. Thanks Carter-Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama

    Reply
      1. LifelongLib

        “Nixon escaped the soup?”

        IIRC there was a post here calling Nixon “the last New Dealer”. He supported national health care and a guaranteed annual income, but was considered a conservative at the time. Times have changed…

        Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I still suggest . . . Carter-Reagan Clintobusha. The Carter-Reagan Clintobusha Presidents.

      Or maybe the FTT Presidents. FTT standing for Free Trade Treason.

      Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      The US DoD has long had a role in giving public support to private business that are deemed to be strategic, usually by overpaying for military equipment. Airbus has long complained about how Boeing recieves this type of subsidy. Its unsurprising that Musk has found the same money tree.

      Reply
      1. WobblyTelomeres

        I think Russia/ROSCOSMOS is complaining just a bit too much. The US has been buying Russian motors (the ) for years to use in the Atlas V, a ULA (United Launch Alliance, a joint venture by Boeing and Lockheed-Martin) rocket. This arose because of concerns that after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Soviet rocket builders/designers/scientists would, out of desperation, sell their talents to other, less friendly-to-US-goals, countries. That is, to keep them from designing ICBMs for Iran and North Korea, the US bought the motors to keep everyone employed.

        The MIC (Boeing, Lockheed-Martin) dislikes Musk as much as the Russian motor builders do.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          Hmmm, and I thought it was because US did not have anything comparable and designing new engines would be too costly and take too long, with no assured success.

          Reply
            1. Mark Pontin

              What Wobby Telomeres says. VTOL launchers that would enable rocket reusability and thereby massively lower orbital launch costs were the holy grail of any long-term space effort for eighty years, back to the first science-fictional envisionings of rocket ships.

              No government and corporate effort — and certainly not any configuration of the space industry in Russia/the USSR — was able to do it.

              SpaceX has.

              I don’t know what role Musk played in that. He’s certainly full of excrement in many other respects. His notion of going to Mars and back in giant chemical rockets like the BFR strikes me as frankly stupid and dishonest, because you’re going to need NERVA-style nuclear drives beyond the moon. Nevertheless, credit where credit’s due.

              Reply
    2. bob

      The two businesses he has founded, that may actually make money-

      1. A bank (paypal)
      2. A defense contractor

      He’s saving the world with his genius! We didn’t have enough banks or defense contractors before he graced us all with his innovation!

      Reply
        1. skippy

          In 1995, Elon Musk and his brother Kimbal founded Zip2 with $28,000 out of their father’s bank account. 4 years later, it was acquired by Compaq for $307 million, with Elon making $22 million. A little under a month later, he put $10 million of that into co-founding X.com, which he envisioned to be the future of online banking. A year after, it merged with Confinity to create PayPal.

          In June 2002, Elon Musk founded SpaceX using some of the $12 million he had left over from Zip2. Then in October, PayPal was acquired for $1.5 billion, and, being the company’s largest shareholder, he made $165 million. With this large sum of money, Elon later allocated about $90 million to SpaceX, which could have gone to waste had he not taken a crucial investment from Draper Fisher Jurveston in 2008.

          In 2006, he became a significant investor who jumpstarted his cousins’ company Solar City, that of which he is currently chairman. From 2003-2009, he had spent over $70 million of his own money to ensure the longevity of Tesla Motors. For a time, he was chairman, lead investor, and head designer, but wasn’t CEO until 2008, when they nearly spiraled into bankruptcy after missing out on a $100 million investment.

          These companies, who each had their fair share of financial crises, are now worth billions of dollars today, and will only continue to flourish. Elon holds about a 20-30% stake in Tesla, Solar City, and SpaceX, all contributing to his estimated net worth of $13.2 billion.

          Reply
  2. JCC

    I found the Public Discourse article was interesting and relatively accurate until I got to the section on the Supreme Court. If anything, the biggest thing I’ve noticed with the SC is shifting power away from the people and towards the Fed Govt and Corporate Power.

    Then I saw that the article was written by someone that is part if The Heritage Foundation and I immediately wondered if the “third in importance” conservative SC consideration wasn’t intentionally skewed by the original authors as well as the reviewer. Even though it was “third in importance” it seemed to be empathized by more than a third of the article.

    Reply
    1. JCC

      (Geez, I meant to say “more emphasis” was put on the SC issue. Turning nouns into verbs is really a Bad Thing… what was I thinking? – must be I was too surprised and thinking too much about reading tomorrow’s Links Section today :-)

      Reply
    2. diptherio

      What I found more telling than the third-in-importance SC were the first two in importance: better jobs and protecting the social safety net. That’s not a narrative you hear about Trump voters much: they were chiefly concerned with helping working class people and protecting Medicare and Social Security.

      Reply
    1. Duck1

      Yeah, I don’t get how I got a 10/2 comment on 10/3 links. Must have done some DeLorean time travel or something.

      Reply
  3. blowncue

    Two articles in the press today about Kavanaugh worth a review – and this is despite my fatigue with the onslaught of biased, overanalyzed pablum:

    1) “I Know Brett Kavanaugh, but I Wouldn’t Confirm Him” Benjamin Wittes, The Atlantic . I think Wittes writes one of the most well-argued – and well written – essays I have read to date.

    2) “Kavanaugh’s 1983 Letter Offers Inside Look at High School Clique” Kate Kelly and David Enrich, New York Times. Imagine you wanted to leave a trail of bread crumbs for FBI investigators, but wanted to both gain access to multiple sources who knew Kavanaugh and avoid charges of bias or even “fake news.” What could you do?

    Well, you could structure an article as a trip down memory lane – think, “Fast Times at Georgetown Prep” – and within a sympathetic narrative, honeycomb the names of seven individuals I hadn’t known of, and at least nine (9) data points that the FBI would consider to be of interest. I see absolutely no allegations or interpretations made by the reporters. The article is just….facts. It’s very confusing.

    I can come back and list the nine data points I discern, but I wanted to wait and let others read the article, and see if the same data points are independently identified.

    Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    “Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes”

    Jeez, everybody knows Trump’s history of wheeling & dealing serial episodes of bankruptcy by now so why wait two years and just before the midterms to bring it up? Oh, I just think that I answered my own question. Other people are shocked however-

    Reply
    1. Webstir

      Rev,

      I read that article last night. Prior to even finishing the first paragraph I thought “the Times is trying to get sued by Trump so it can obtain further discovery of his tax records.”

      There’s really no downside for the paper. The clicks the lawsuit would generate would more than compensate it for the legal fees. Yeah, there was a long talk with house counsel before this story ran, and the obvious conclusion was that getting sued is the point.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        One thing i’ve never seen done, is the NYT lead claiming that Galligula was given $413 million, and then you read down a bit further, it’s in nowadays dollar value, not the amount given originally.

        I guess it all outcomes with the territory.

        Reply
    2. Enquiring Mind

      Transfer pricing, not just for MNCs anymore.

      Now your enterprise can emulate the big kids.

      Get the respect that you’ve earned.

      The marketing practically writes itself. Now if only there were some way to sandwich in some Double Dutch or Irish somewhere, beyond a desert or flavored coffee.

      Reply
    3. Pavel

      There was a great documentary made on Trump and his various scams, bankruptcies, and other scandals made in the late ’90s or ’00s. Trump managed to block its initial release but it appeared online during the 2016 campaign. I watched it early and told my friends, “Well, don’t worry about Trump, he’s got so many scandals he could never be elected!” Silly me.

      My point is mainly that this was all well known for decades (though perhaps not in such detail on these tax issues) but there are ample photos of Mike Bloomberg, Chuck Schumer, and last but not least of Hillary & Bill Clinton palling it up with this apparent monster at weddings, golf courses, etc. throughout the decades.

      And they wonder why 50% of the electorate don’t vote!

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        If anything, he reminds me so much of slimy telemarketers, whose heyday was in the 80’s and 90’s, cajoling people into losing their money on the phone, maybe on ‘oil leases’ or ‘metric tons of gold’ or whatever prop was needed to fuel greed.

        The best ones in the country were boiler-rooms in Newport Beach, Ca. & Long Island, NY. Everywhere else was the bush leagues.

        They’d say anything and layer lies on top of their lies, to make a sale.

        Reply
      2. Elizabeth Burton

        Didn’t the authors of Shattered say in one of the early chapters that the Clintons didn’t really have a “relationship” with Trump and were uncomfortable around him? I need to finish reading that book.

        Reply
      3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Air- and column- and mind-space for decades-old tax-foolery by The Orange Man but not a single peep about the hundreds of billions Amazon or Google or Lockheed or Microsoft or Mariott avoid paying with their Irish and Dutch peek-a-boo tax arrangements. No mention of the $37 *trillion* sitting offshore untaxed in the Caymans or Jersey even though we know chapter and verse due to the Panama Papers.

        And the *moral outrage* at a frat party fondler getting on the SC but radio silence and zero moral outrage about *incinerating Yemeni children with American bombs* or the ongoing slaughter in the world’s largest open-air gulag Gaza. Meantime DNC Chairman Perez says it’s perfectly OK for Dem senators to vote for Kavanaugh anyway regardless what comes out.

        I’ve almost reached my “flute point”. That’s where I take off all my clothes, climb up a tree, and spend my time toodling tunes in the sunny breezes.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          Better hurry. It’s almost winter, so unless you live in much sunnier climes, you’ll freeze your patooty.

          Reply
      4. ChiGal in Carolina

        Netflix has it now as one installment of a series on money & corruption, don’t remember the name right now.

        Reply
    4. ewmayer

      I’m filing this one under “Trump is an oligarch, that’s how these people roll”. Nice bit of selective outrage theater by the NYT, though, it ranks right up there with the similarly detailed exposé the paper did a few years back on the massively corrupt influence-peddling operation known as the Clinton Foundation. Oh wait – the NYT never did such a takedown of the CF. Odd, that.

      Reply
  5. allan

    Who needs ISDS when some of its potential effects are already hard-wired into USMCA?
    [WaPo]

    A handful of major industries scored big wins in President Trump’s North American trade agreement — at times at the expense of ordinary consumers in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

    The winners include oil companies, technology firms and retailers, but chief among them are pharmaceutical companies, which gained guarantees against competition from cheaper generic drugs. …

    Critics of the trade agreement argued that by setting a minimum of 10 years of protection [for biologics], the trilateral pact shields the pharmaceutical industry from future legislative attempts in the United States to shorten biologic drug monopolies.

    It “decreases U.S. sovereignty,” said Jeff Francer, general counsel for the Association for Accessible Medicines, a lobbying group for generic drugmakers. “It would be much harder for Congress to try to roll back 12 years to seven years if we’re enshrining 10 years in a free-trade agreement.”

    Celeste Drake, a trade policy specialist at the AFL-CIO labor federation, criticized the provision for restricting future action by U.S. lawmakers, and for impeding Mexico’s and Canada’s health-care systems. “This is not appropriate for a trade agreement. We think every country in the world should be able to decide as a democratic society what their rules are going to be with respect to medicine,” she said. …

    Reply
  6. Steve H.

    > Climate Change Is Forcing the Insurance Industry to Recalculate Wall Street Journal

    That’s funny, the present tense part. Actuarial modelling tends to be pretty good. Lost the links, but insurance companies started restricting home insurance (necessary for mortgages) in Florida over a decade ago. They did the same for Long Island, which seemed weird until Sandy hit.

    Sort of like climate modelling by the oil companies, kept in-house for competitive advantage, and may be years ahead of public sources due to private facts.

    Reply
  7. el_tel

    re cellphone issues: 2G networks have been phased out in a number of countries to re-use the bandwidth for “new generation” fast internet-capable services. In the UK certain operators (Three) never had any in the first place, relying in the early days on legislation allowing them to piggyback on the 2G networks of the existing companies until they built their new 3G infrastructure. That agreement las long since expired. And other legacy carriers have either phased out, or have published plans to phase out, their 2G networks in the next 5 or so years.

    Unfortunately (and this might explain some of Yves’s problems with one of her “dumb phones”) it may be that the firmware of the phone is actually set up to use a 3G (or more) network in the ever increasing 2G blackspots/greyspots (for certain – NOT ALL – carriers): a customer must check what their intended carrier is doing with 2G coverage before buying. I read an article recently which pretty much said caveat emptor regarding decisions to get one of the “new generation dumb phones” – many will either become a brick very soon, or are actually “under the hood” defaulting to 3G/4G etc thus negating some of the reasons techy people are trying to avoid smartphones in the first place.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Whatever happened to copper wires, maintained by a regulated monopoly, pretty much bullet-proof (except in parts of flyover country, where shooting up infrastructure is such a common pastime)? Largely unaffected by a lot of disasters that take cell communications and the necessary internet “off-line?”

      Oh, I guess I remember: “Monetizable vulnerability to increase rents.”

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Copper landlines mean the provider is a common carrier and subject to regulation. So they are being eliminated.

        Verizon is getting rid of all copper in Manhattan with BS excuses about maintenance. They could just have charged more and people like me would have paid.

        Reply
    2. Glen

      I’ve kept the same land line phone number for 35 years. It provides our DSL internet connection which is it’s primary function. It connects to a fax after eight rings and 99% of the time we never hear it ring nor answer it, but it comes in handy when you need to make the phone call that’s too important to put up with cell phone drops which are the norm where I live.

      Reply
    3. Jack Gavin

      My wife was informed Saturday that her broken flip-phone was not replaceable by Verizon because the technology used – Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) is being/has been/was/will be eliminated. CDMA (Code Division Multiple Acess) is used in smart phone technology. She was told there were no “dumb phones” available (at least from Verizon).

      I have now overshot my knowledge headlights as well as speaking way above my pay grade. -:)

      Reply
      1. WobblyTelomeres

        There are lots of flip phones available. You just have to leave Verizon. I have a flip phone from Consumer Cellular, no data, no text messages (my choice), no complaints. $13.50/mo (AARP discount).

        Reply
  8. John

    More and more of the stories referenced by Links and by Water Cooler are behind pay walls. What then is the point of such compilations?

    Reply
    1. el_tel

      Difficult for NC – if the story is interesting they shouldn’t just ignore it. My strategy is to sign up for the “free x number of articles per month” plans many have….then I use my “freebies” judiciously, just for the links from sites like NC that seem of most interest to me. Other more tech-savvy people seem able to find versions of articles “out in the wild” but I don’t endorse that…!

      Reply
    2. hemeantwell

      Frustrating, yes, but occasionally remedied. It’s become part of my routine to put the title in quotes and hope someone’s snatched the article for the public good. E.g. today’s Evans-Pritchard article on Kavanaugh is on someone’s WordPress site.

      Reply
          1. todde

            that’s par for the course as they say.

            I’ve personally had cops falsify my witness statement and they are under no compulsion to keep the original handwritten notes.

            Reply
              1. oh

                They just send a (false) case to the judicial branch so the system (including the lawyers) can squeeze $$$$ from you. Of course, you and I know that they’re above the law.

                Reply
          2. JohnnyGL

            Only Senator I’ve seen trying to actually land a glove on Kavanaugh was Sanders by asking the FBI to look into potential perjury during his testimony to Congress.

            Paul Jay on Real News made a fuss about this and I think he’s right to do so. The Dems need to actually fight on this, instead of just laying down as per their usual approach of ‘asking questions’ but not actually stopping anything the Republicans want to do.

            I really need to call my Senators on this.

            Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              The DemSens all quietly support Kavanaugh. They pretend in public to oppose him in hopes of getting brownie points with potential Blue Wave voters.

              Sanders opposes Kavanaugh for real? Well . . . Sanders is not a Democrat.

              The DemSens will consult closely with the RepSens before the Confirmation Vote is taken. There will be vote-trading across Party Lines in order to make sure that Kavanaugh will get enough DemSen votes to make up for any RepSen votes that he will lose.

              Reply
        1. Henry Moon Pie

          What a strange place DC is. So Evans-Pritchard is saying that Kavanaugh covered for the Clintons in the Foster death? He seems to imply that Kavanaugh did so because Starr, and perhaps others, were anxious to close off that aspect of the Starr investigation.

          No wonder Kavanaugh included the Clintons in his railing against the vast left wing conspiracy. They doubled crossed him after he did them a solid.

          So where would an honest and thorough Vince Foster investigation have led that people with power in Washington wanted to shut it down?

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            The idea that DC is a “strange place” is the illusion they want to preserve, when in fact it’s all pretty much clear as day. Citibank calls the president-elect and tells him who his cabinet will be. No, a jet did not crash into the Pentagon. E. Howard Hunt was on the grassy knoll that day. Michelle O hugs Geo Bush and now The Left loves the FBI. Kavanaugh assists in the Vince Foster coverup because TPTB know that pulling on loose Clinton threads will out them all, Red and Blue (notice how pulling the Manafort thread led to John Podesta). It’s “palace intrigue” that would make an Ottoman court eunuch blush with envy, and all of the “Red versus Blue” theater is just to distract the plebes from the real players in the real Game of Thrones.

            Reply
          2. Harrold

            So basically, Kenneth Starr was in cahoots with Bill Clinton on the entire White Water investigation?

            The impeachment was a fake to cover up Vince Foster’s murder?

            Reply
              1. Yves Smith Post author

                There was a suit by the law enforcement guy v. Kavanaugh saying he directed agents to engage in alleged witness tampering. That’s not nothing.

                Reply
                1. todde

                  Kavanaugh’s name never appeared in the suit.

                  There is absolutely nothing in the suit about his grand jury testimony except to say that the prosecutor was aware of the harassment before his testimony.

                  Plaintiff testified before the grand jury, as scheduled, on November 1, 1995. Amend. Compl. ¶ 83. Plaintiff alleges that the prosecutors questioning him had been informed, prior to his testimony, about plaintiffs allegations of being harassed by more than twenty-five individuals. Id. Plaintiff alleges his belief that he had been discredited, stating that prosecutors did not believe his “bizarre account of being harassed, at one point asking Plaintiff to `tell us a little bit about the alleged harassment.'” Amend. Compl. ¶ 83.

                  I will say Ambrose has a history investigating the Clintons and Vince Foster.

                  But this seems weak.

                  Reply
        2. Unna

          K is a career apparatchik for the State, in my humble opinion. So here he seems to be doing his job protecting, not the Clintons, but the status and “legitimacy”, thus power, of the institution of the presidency before the eyes of the population. A sex scandal by Bill, the indivdual, is OK. Of course, K most immediately works for his “clan” which is his “roof”. Bill was from the opposing clan. I love these Russian terms. And so Bill’s sex life was fair game just so long that it didn’t touch the institution of the presidency itself. But, in the end K is ultimately loyal to that iteration of governmental/economic power which his clan commits him to serve. That’s who he serves. All this is, how do they say, so clarifying. And so if K, the apparatchik, is being nominated, quite possibly the fix is in by both “system” Democrats and “system” Republicans. Ok to get him for sex. Not Ok to go after his judicial philosophy so much. And the show goes on.

          Reply
      1. Donald

        I didn’t think about the ethics of posting the WordPress link until I read el tel’s comment after posting. I was just eager to see what people thought. Sorry about that. I don’t read pirated internet books ( well, once, but never again). I never gave any thought to the pirated articles until now.

        Reply
        1. Tehk Zsi

          Stealing profits from multi million corporate empires who also act as Gate keepers to crucial info for an informed electorate.

          Somehow I don’t feel bad for not supporting corporate interests in this country.

          Reply
        2. cyclist

          I rationalize it this way:
          Should I view a pirated copy, the marginal cost to the Telegraph is zero.
          I will never, ever, subscribe to the Torygraph, so the boy scout alternative is not reading the article.
          If I read the article and mention it to others, it is at least free publicity for the Telegraph.

          Reply
          1. barefoot charley

            Let’s be honest hypocrites on this one. I’ll slip past a paywall when I have to, and pay for honest news when I value it. We’ve had such bypasses offered us several times, and I always appreciate them, as I do the advice for making Murdoch, Bezos et al a little less richer on occasion. We can be impure without getting all Kavanaugh about it.

            Reply
          2. Olga

            I pay quite a lot annually to support independent media, bloggers, etc (including the local daily and NC, of course). Will never give money to MSM again – and generally just skip them altogether. But don’t feel too bad if I have to peak at a few MSM articles in the course of the year.

            Reply
        3. Elizabeth Burton

          Hmmm—all I had to do to access The Telegraph was turn off my ad blocker. If I start getting spam, well, there are ways to deal with that.

          Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Modern Monetary Theory Grapples With People Actually Paying Attention to It”: ‘In so-called fiat currency systems (meaning societies in which money isn’t backed by physically valuable commodities like gold or silver) governments literally create the money and tax it later to control for inflation and keep it in demand.’

    Aren’t taxes also used to create demand for money as well? What I am thinking of is the Hut Taxes () in places like Natal, South Africa in the 19th century that I have read about. Admittedly this was under a physically-backed currency but what happened was that British colonialists levied heavy taxes on native huts. The locals, who measured their wealth in cattle ownership, were thus forced to sell their labour into the colonial economy to raise the money to pay the taxes. Thus, in this case, the taxes came first which then created the demand for money to liquidate the taxes.

    Reply
    1. el_tel

      re taxes being used to create demand for money. Yes that has been my understanding having read in the past articles like the one you link to….and which has helped me in discussions with “mainstream macro types” in arguing that British colonialists had to first spend money into circulation and force natives to want/need it before taxes could be collected.

      Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              I wouldn’t worry. We’d be so busy shaking hands with old friends that we wouldn’t have time to worry about the venue.

              Reply
            2. Laughingsong

              Maybe not hell since we are laughing at the pun and not 1) doing or wanting to do the cutting, or 2) laughing at the fact people lost hands. It’s non-PC and certainly insensitive, maybe we’ll just push the mop in Purgatory for a millennium or so.

              Reply
    2. Goyo Marquez

      Yes!

      And also, I’d anyway say, spending money into existence is itself a tax by the sovereign on the production of the country, it is a tax-in-kind, a tax in goods and services, and taxing the money the citizens receive in exchange for those goods and services is a double tax.

      Reply
  10. Todde

    I will say paying a 3 year old a salary is a no-no.

    Aa for the rest, the time and effort required to give an answer isn’t worth it.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Is it up to any of us mere mortals to decide whether a toddler is merely great, or the greatest toddler of all time?

      Reply
                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I fear he is getting more attention than he deserves.

                  Maybe that’s what he wants.

                  “That’s a lovely and wet mink (I think) you got there by the pond…”

                  Reply
          1. JacobiteInTraining

            Wait, which Dear Leader are we talking about? I’ve lost track…

            Then again, maybe both Dear Leaders will soon, errmn, ‘be as one’:

            (Only Ji-Tae, Lonely Racoon of Haeju, knows for sure…..)

            Reply
            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Breaking News!

              This is Brian Williams reporting live from the site of the historic and marathon Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump basketball and golf slug fest. In 18 holes of golf, Trump and Kim have set a new historic rate of holes in one with 47 breaking my own record of 42 holes in one on an 18 hole golf course.

              Do we have the video? No, not yet? I see, but there are reports Kim has posterized the President in the basketball part of the competition while President Trump has made several half court shots. Am I am being told Kim and Trump will take on the Washington Generals in a show of international good will in a 2 on 5 contest.

              Reply
  11. Christy

    With Trump’s renegotiation of NAFTA/USMC(A), and the biggest change being THE NAME, as a Bernie Supporter (never Hillary) and first time volunteer and as a resident of a rustbelt/manufacturing state, I can say with distinction TRUMP has lost me as a possible voter.

    I considered voting for him in 2020 because of 1. His stance on the globalist free trade agenda, 2. Because of him pulling out of (NAFTA on steroids and Obama disasterous trade deal) the TPP, 3. Because of him ending the Regime Change warmongering in the ME mainly Obama’s diasterous policy in Syria and Hillary’s in Libya,(although he is allowing SA bomb the HELL out of Yemen w/US military blessing) 4. Softening the rhetoric on Russia (with Hillary, we might be at war already) 5. Ending the $600 mandate on the ACA 6. His EO allowing people to purchase health insurance over state lines. 7. His calling out of MSM as Fake News. Lets face it the MSM is bought and paid for by our corporate overloads but no solution in sight. All negative commenters do not respond, I don’t care about what you have to say.

    NAFTA reneg was REALLY big with me. He just blew it. All the bluster and bloviating for a (small hands, LOSER) deal such as USMC–is a big FU to people.

    Reply
    1. Llewelyn Moss

      I heard some CNN analyst say that the new USMCA deal is essentially the TPP agreement with minor changes. Maybe Yves will do an analysis at some point.

      IMO, your list of positives were just self-serving things he did to gain his own advantage, not done to help the working class slobs. Happy accidents.

      Reply
    2. a different chris

      >All negative commenters do not respond, I don’t care about what you have to say.

      I am at least sympathetic, maybe actually mostly seeing things your way. But comments like that are not going to get you my support. I guess you don’t care about that, either…

      Reply
    3. RUKidding

      I agree with some, but not all, of your reasons for voting for/liking Trump (although I would never ever vote for him, myself). However, imo, he hasn’t really followed through on most of those things in one way or another. Mostly empty rhetoric with some exceptions.

      It’s easy to state that we might already be at War if HRC had won. I think that’s too difficult to predict.

      However, the NAFTA/TPP stuff were both things that I thought I could get behind, but, of course, no big surprise, it was all smoke ‘n mirrors from Don the Con. Not that I ever expected him to follow through. Why would he? His benefactors will funnel moola into his pockets (it will happen, despite his alleged loss of his filthy lucre recently) if he goes along to get along.

      He’s good a schmoozing his base, as I heard some of his blather last night about how he’s “taking care of” USA farmers ‘n such. Eh? Not really.

      Oh well. Yet another B.S. artist in the White House. No big surprise. Trump’s got a long line of B.S. artists to follow after.

      Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Natural Gas Prices Could Quadruple This Winter, Says Analyst”

    There was the possibility of again bringing in Russian ships loaded with gas to meet demand like they did last winter but by then it would probably be illegal to do so under the next set of sanctions, especially if it was paid for in US dollars.
    On a note, Amazons stock rose as Americans were forced to go online to buy blankets, scarves, thermal long-johns, jumpers, woolen gloves and caps to cope with the oncoming winter.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      And . The US can’t import too much gas at the moment as it doesn’t have the facilities for large scale imports of LNG. At the moment, its simply burning more than its producing. I suspect that prices won’t go up too much, as they can cut off supplies to some industrial users to remove demand pressure in a cold spell. But whatever way you look at it, the international natural gas market is a free for all right now, and its hard to know how its all going to end up. The only certainty is that someone is going to find they’ve spent billions on infrastructure they can’t use.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        > as they can cut off supplies to some industrial users to remove demand pressure in a cold spell.

        Oh my: you, like, me, “clearly don’t understand today’s sophisticated manufacturing logistics” or whatever the heck that poster thought he/she was saying in some past thread. :)

        Four hours, man! If it shows up later than that we’re screwed!! Oh, and if it shows up an hour early we’re screwed, too unless we can get the supplier to pay for offsite storage. Which we can because they are Chinese and don’t even know what to do with all the dollars they are sloshing around in…

        Yeah, that’s sophisticated. And they have the guts to call it “flexible manufacturing”. Sounds more like most of the crap software I’ve seen the insides of… touch a part of it and it all breaks.

        Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I was reading at that this law not only applies to visitors to the country but also New Zealand citizens returning to the country. As that country has about 4.7 million people living there and just last year alone 2.9 million Kiwis took trips overseas for holidays or to visit family & friends, that would mean that most citizens would be forced to let the authorities to have a sneak and a peek into their digital lives upon returning.

      Reply
    2. RUKidding

      Hard to say what the Kiwis are looking for on E-devices.

      I visited Uzbekistan last year and went across it’s borders 3 times (traveling to other countries and back). We were warned that border patrol may search our E-devices coming into the country. They never did, but we witnessed them searching Uzbeki citizens devices and some tourists told us their devices were searched.

      Uzbekistan has restrictions on certain types of political materials, so I think that’s mostly what they were looking for, although locals said they could get in trouble for porn. I’m not sure.

      But what NZ is looking for is a good guess.

      Reply
      1. el_tel

        Could be evidence of top bankers benefiting from NZ tax law with permanent residency whilst they, in fact, live all their lives in SE Asia (Singapore mainly). This was why Australia quietly changed its definition of “permanent residency” – something that was previously equivalent to citizenship (can’t vote but on other hand won’t be called up for jury service). My PR visa in Aus had new “small print”:
        “Unlimited right to remain in Australia” (Fine, same as before). BUT also “unlimited right to exit and re-enter Australia for FIVE YEARS”. Thus, if I’d annoyed the Aussie govt in any way and travelled abroad after the initial 5 years, a border guard could legitimately refuse me re-entry.
        Someone in the know told me that in practice they look up on the computer how much of the previous five years you were physically resident in Australia in making a decision – as a then academic who spent (literally – I worked it out) 4 of my first 5 years there travelling (conferences etc as an academic) I decided citizenship was the best way to neutralise the whole issue. Sure, NZ could probably address this issue by other means (if it’s a real issue as it was in Aus) rather than phone investigation, but who knows if this reason is a pretext for for other general nosiness….

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I wonder if they asked Rupert for his phone on his last trip to AU? That trip resulted in a new Australian Prime Minister.

          But not the one Rupert annointed, LOL. His boy was Tony Abbott, the guy who carried Rupert’s water when he was P.M. (News Corp didn’t want pesky Netflix et al getting a foothold here so they got Tony to make sure Australia “broadband” was nothing of the sort, $45B spent for internet speeds worse than Bulgaria’s with the usual gatekeeper stuff. Abbott was famous of course for his statement that “the internet is nothing but digital graffiti”).

          The Abbott proxy in this fight was the true snarling corporo-fascist Peter Dutton, but Dutton lost out at the moment of truth so we now have “the accidental PM” Scott Morrison. Morrison spends his weekends speaking in tongues (rabid Pentacostalist) but apart from that is the quintessential empty suit, a placeholder until the election in less than a year when Labor will ride in.

          Which is perfectly OK with Rupert! Who said it was “OK with him” to have a Labor government for three years if it meant he could install his guy after that. We’re all glad to hear H.R.H. Murdoch has chosen such beneficence for the nation!

          Meantime Abbott has been assigned “Special Minister for Indigenous Affairs” which is a bit like installing Dr. Carl Mengele as “Head of Medical Ethics”. Abbott announced that unlike previous esteemed holders of the post he would not be making any visits to indigenous communities, he would stay in his office in order to “research the issues”.

          Australia: a mine with perfect beaches, run from London for the exclusive personal benefit of Rupert Murdoch.

          Reply
      2. Elizabeth Burton

        Could all those squillionaires building bunkers in NZ have put a bee in the government’s ear it needed to find a way to keep the hoi polloi who might arrive with progressive anti-neoliberal ideas in check?

        Reply
  13. a different chris

    Oh noes, they aren’t going to give people who make $10/hr stock options.

    Amazon stock is almost 2K a share. So say you take the “option to buy” one stock this year. That means you have to have put away 2K on your $10/hr income for when the option comes due, not easy. And even if you manage that and, say, AMZN doubles, you make a whopping 2K. And if you don’t hold on to it for very long, and you probably can’t if you’re making $10/hr and your car is falling apart, you have a ridiculous tax hit.

    You need money to make money in the stock market. That never changes.

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      Yeah. Like getting an hourly raise, whilst “losing” the purported “prize” of getting stock options is such a joke. As that tweet already indicates, you have to work there 2 years to vest – I’ll be you have to work for Amazon for 2 years at certain level of hours per week, which is likely hard to do.

      So let’s all wail about how the dastardly Libruls are ruining the peons chances of owning “valuable” Amazon stock.

      Sheesh. Cry me a river.

      Reply
    2. Elizabeth Burton

      In case we needed any more proof of just how clueless the elites are, that tweet certainly qualifies.

      Reply
  14. PlutoniumKun

    3 Reasons Nuclear Power Plants Are More Expensive In The West (It’s Not Regulation) Forbes. Probably applies to construction generally.

    The article is weak beer and doesn’t really offer any explanation beyond ‘duh, its how you manage construction’. isn’t much better and shows a poor understanding of construction issues. It is also contradictory in advocating simplifying and standardising construction, while also promoting new nuclear types. The nuclear industry in the 1960’s had the right idea – focusing on one design (the PWR) and building at scale and at numbers. And it still failed economically. Basically, they can pick a proven design now and push hard to reduce the costs – the problem with this being that there aren’t any really good proven designs there, all have their ‘issues’. Or they can go down the route of unproved Gen IV designs, many of which sound very good, but will likely to take decades before we can be sure they work as good in reality as in theory. By which time, from the perspective of climate change, it’ll be far too late.

    It also explains why construction costs are higher in the west than the east without addressing the deeper issues. Its recommendations of not starting work without a good final design, and in using a single controlling contractor is old hat – everyone in construction knows this. The problem is that in the ‘west’, construction has been financialized, its all about multiple partners extracting value, not actually building things. This applies as much to, for example, rolling out public transport schemes as it does to nuclear power. At least in China and Japan they understand that if you want to build infrastructure, you must provide long term sources of funding and you must keep financial parasites and ideologues far, far away. Or put another way, give the money to a good group of engineers, provide them with a good time period to refine and get it right, and let them get on with it. This is how things used to be done in the ‘west’ too (and still is in much of Europe, despite the best efforts of MBA types and economists).

    Reply
    1. vlade

      TBH, the “problem” with nuclear is that it was forced by public to pay for all the externalities (well, maybe not all, but a lot of them), across pretty much all the value chain (from mining uranium to storage). While the other ones – notably coal, etc. didn’t and don’t. I suspect that if the coal, or even gas, plants + the extractive industries related to them, were to pay the same level of externalities as nuclear does, they would not be much more profitable.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, I don’t think anyone really knows the ‘true’ price of any form of energy. Nobody has, for example, managed to come up with an accurate figure for how much military spending is used just to keep shipping lanes open for oil and LNG.

        Reply
            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I wonder which is happier:

              self licking ice cream

              sound-detection capable, no one is around, falling tree

              Reply
      2. a different chris

        OTOH, nobody will insure a nuke plant at any sane price. It’s a weird externality because if nothing happens then no gummint money is spent (unlike PK’s example of protecting the oil shipping lanes) but I dunno if it can be simply ignored.

        Reply
    2. Enquiring Mind

      One of the poster children for the western nuke money pit is the Washington Public Power Supply System, known as WPPSS, pronounced whoops with good reason. That group was comprised largely of 88 small and smaller municipal, PUD and similar utilities led by a board of volunteers. Toss in some Wall Street bond sharpies and you could feel the rush of fees leaving the state. Some fees stayed, typically at hotels and restaurants, when, to use a then-current phrase, the legions of pin-striped pettifoggers showed up to pick over the remains.

      The WPPSS board decided, in its finite wisdom, to pursue a few different types of nuke plant to spread the risk. Diversification, not just for stockholders anymore. Toss in some on-the-fly redesigns, a few regulatory updates and watch those cost overruns turn into billions more than the original sales pitch.

      Reply
  15. anonymous II you

    The article: is more propaganda about minimum wage. $15/hr is already too low on both coasts particularly in NYC, LA, San Fran and Seattle where families of four barely get by on about $100/k. The article stridently crows about $19 being the minimum at the city airports in four years. Raising the minimum wage nationally to at least $13 would cover all the bases for regional differences and states would then have to back fill with higher minimums to address the reality of economic and financial differences related to regional situations.

    Reply
  16. PlutoniumKun

    The Great Revolt: Understanding Real Trump Voters Public Discourse (UserFriendly). Important.

    Very good indeed.

    Perhaps this should not be surprising. Belief in popular self-government is deeply rooted in the American political psyche. Yet, over the past two or three generations, activist courts—often on the basis of debatable and novel interpretations of the Constitution—have been busily narrowing the bounds within which the American people are permitted to govern their country. We boast of being a democracy, but the people are not allowed to decide the definition of marriage or to prescribe a prayer for the beginning of the public school day. It was to be expected that this would produce a spirited response in a significant number of voters.

    I think this isn’t just a US thing – all over the world you can see some pretty terrible politicians elected who’s main appeal seems to be that they infuriate urban elites. You see it with Rob Forde in Canada, the range of swivel eyed idiots the otherwise admirable Ozzies elect, and a few pretty awful pols in Ireland and elsewhere. You see it when Eastern European countries vote for almost ridiculously backward looking politicians even when they are not doing so badly economically (Poland, for example).

    It seems to be a constant factor overlooked by metropolitan observers that there is a real resentment at being told that they are in some way stupid or retrograde, and a common response is, quite simply, to do the exact opposite of what they feel their ‘betters’ are telling them. This process is getting stronger, partly due to rising inequality, but also I think the perception (and reality) of increasing power moving from rural areas, small towns, and forgotten cities, to the ‘big’ metropolitan areas. In other words, its geographical inequality as much as economic inequality.

    Reply
    1. el_tel

      Thank you, great summary. Your last paragraph in particular resonates. Returning to the city of my birth and seeing the sheer levels of despondency/impotence at “having any possibility of influence to change things” compared to earlier – even the 1980s when Thatcher destroyed swathes of Midlands/Northern manufacturing/coal – really is shocking.

      When people are energised enough to engage with the process they (via the media) target the wrong thing. For instance my Dad (a company Director) is driven mad by engaging with people on Facebook groups set up for local suburbs – the latest business closure inevitably generates shrieks of “the council killed them with business rates!” He points out that business rates are trivial (and in many cases zero). It is RENTS that killed them. The Classical economists would go mad, but the neoclassicals are blase about it all – this is sheer (in the true economic sense) pure rent extraction killing capital and labour. My local suburb – in my youth a nice “semi-posh” shopping area – is now just full of charity shops, vaping outlets, betting shops and discount stores one step above poundland. Grim.

      Reply
    2. Steve H.

      > to do the exact opposite of what they feel their ‘betters’ are telling them.

      That implies they are putting in work to perceive the ‘better fools.’ It looks more like an ideational Big Sort. In the late 1960’s, Cronkite dominated, and about everybody was seeing the combat footage from Vietnam. There was a common shared image set, and (I believe) the anchors were oriented toward journalistic ethics. If John Robb is right about , that is long over:

      “The subscribers of the NYT and the WSJ are <1% of the eligible electorate. Viewers of FOX, MSNBC, etc. are 1%.

      In contrast, as of 2017, a whopping 67% of the electorate got news from social networking."

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        on the same Plutoniumkun quote:
        late in the Clinton Era, then during Freedom Fries…and then again during Michele Obama’s gardening follies…there was a teabilly cohort around here…redneck husbands, mostly…who refused to eat salad of any kind.
        They wanted what amounted to an Atkins Diet on steroids…because, “ain’t no wimmens or commies gonna tell me how to eat!”.
        Think I remember,also, a story about a place, “Heart Attack Burger”(?)…that actually catered to this…with nurses for waitresses, and everything.
        All to put a proverbial(if unnoticed) stick in the eye of various Hillary Analogs who “told them what to do”.
        On the broader topic covered in that excellent article, I like their categories of trump voters…and this:
        FTA:”The Great Revolt is refreshing and enlightening in part because it is so non-judgmental. The urge to denounce Trump’s voters has already been indulged far beyond the limits of reason, prudence, and justice, and the authors wisely eschew it. Rather, they listen sympathetically to these voters in order to learn about them and their concerns.”
        …which has been my strategy(except for the obamacare debate, sometimes;; I get heated,lol) in my lay anthropology fieldwork.
        Accept them as they are, and avoid terrorwords.
        To get into the Evangelism Phase of bringing American Liberalism to the hinterlands, one must speak their language…and not preemptively diss them.
        Good find.

        Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      ‘ the range of swivel eyed idiots the otherwise admirable Ozzies elect’

      I object! They are not swivel eyed at all! It is just that their eyes are constantly scanning everywhere to see where the next knife to the back is coming from. But yes, they are in fact idiots.

      Reply
      1. el_tel

        Tony Abbott was my constituency MP when I lived in Sydney! My Aussie citizenship certificate, being associated with his “area” and thus not common, might be worth a bob or two on eBay one day should I decide to dump my Aussie citizenship….!

        Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Aussie Aussie oy oy, but it isn’t as if you have a monopoly on swivel-eyed idiots, Joe Barton & Louie Gohmert would fit in perfectly down under.

            Reply
          2. el_tel

            Having him as my MP (and Prime Minister) when I got citizenship was hilarious……here’s a guy who presents himself as the ultimate social conservative but whose constituency has 2 of the 4 official naturist beaches in Sydney, and where I witnessed (typically straight rather than than gay) “behaviour that shouldn’t be seen by innocent minors” on beaches etc on a routine basis. It’s like the “secretly gay Republicans” in the US. Abbott’s constituency is a hotbed for “non-traditional” social values/behaviour. It was a hoot living there…..yet you’d never know from the MSM media there and have to have local knowledge to really appreciate what *really* goes on in his constituency! I inevitably wondered WTF goes on in constituency meetings of his party there?!

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              The only reason that he became Prime Minister was because he promised to never, ever wear “budgie-smugglers” in public again if he was elected.

              Reply
              1. el_tel

                LOL. He’ll never live that one down…….unfortunately unlike his idiotic climate change and national broadband policies…..

                Reply
              2. Wukchumni

                We had a President who stated in the debates before being hired on, that he would lessen foreign entanglements, and then 9/11 supplied an easy opening and here we are.

                Reply
                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  In all fairness, the Supreme Court installed him. Close enough to steal is like losing when the opponent is George W. Bush, but you have to give voters a bit of credit.

                  Reply
    4. a different chris

      Wait a second. I was inclined to be receptive to that stuff but this is the example?

      We boast of being a democracy, but the people are not allowed to decide the definition of marriage or to prescribe a prayer for the beginning of the public school day.

      We wanted to be a democracy in how the government spends our money. We also wanted limits on how majority voters can attack our personal freedoms. That’s always been the dichotomy , and it works pretty well excepts for the occasional infestations of rich people. “Marriage” arguably shouldn’t have a tax benefit, and thus should be except for “next of kin” sorts of legal issues, out of the public realm. And nobody should make our kids sit there and listen to religious BS.

      OTOH, Daniel Davies said mandatory school prayer turned Britain into a country of atheists in like two generations, so maybe I should just stay quiet and let y’all have at it…

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        In the context of the article, this is paraphrasing what rural traditional voters are saying (which isn’t to say the author doesn’t agree). The point is that people feel ‘progress’ is being forced upon them by an outside elite, rather than believing that they have any real say.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          Well, they DON’T have any real say, and neither do we, according to a well-known study – and grim experience.

          Democracy, shmockracy.

          Reply
      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        Completely agree. The author is stating as fact what is his opinion: that the gradual extension of power to more and more groups of people is taking power away from “the people”.

        NOT is experienced by some of the people as a loss of power.

        Which after all, is pretty damn obvious and books have been written about it.

        Consider the source…

        Reply
    5. bob

      “that they infuriate are urban elites”

      Where are all the media outlets and “personalities” based? Where do the pols go once they are elected?

      This myth needs to be buried.

      Reply
    6. vidimi

      poland is an interesting case. its government is ridiculously backwards socally but almost socialist in its economic policy. that’s why the economy took off and they are now the former soviet bloc’s first developed economy.

      i think the elections to watch now are the upcoming brasilian ones where the stakes are really high. hopefully, they do not elect their own swivel-eyed fascist.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        “and they are now the former soviet bloc’s first developed economy.” I think some would take issue with that statement. Not based in reality. Ask Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, east Germans… And in all those countries, Polish goods have a bad reputation (such as “never buy food with the “made in Poland” label).

        Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    “Mixed Reactions to 2020 Census Preparation”

    In the United States, when you fill out a census form and knowingly put in false information, is that a felony offense according to the laws? I was thinking that if the citizenship question was inserted in the 2020 census and someone answered that they were when in fact they were not, if that could be also used against them in terms of expulsion from the country.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      We were staying in a hut on the Abel Tasman tramp about a dozen years ago on the day of the NZ census, and the hut warden handed out forms to everybody, including foreigners, and we dutifully filled in the details. I guess the same would go on in hotels/motels, caravan parks, etc.

      Usually about 85% of those staying in huts on various walks are from another country, and demand for hut space is getting so desirous that the NZ DOC (Department of Conservation, not Dept of Corrections like here) doubled the price per night stay to all foreigners earlier this year.

      Reply
      1. JacobiteInTraining

        I had an old-fashioned picture once, taken during a census year (USA) from the late 90’s, wherein a little cabin we were building on Admiralty Island/SE Alaska (middle of nowhere, in the middle of nowhere — probably 30 miles from the nearest village, but accessible via boat) …had a census packet in a plastic bag hung from a nail on the front porch.

        It wasn’t hanging from the door…because there *was* no door yet. And yet, here was this census packet waiting us to find it and fill it out.

        I always assumed it was someones idea of a joke, but who knows…..was there some skiff with a lonely/cold/wet guy just motoring around the inlets and coves looking for isolated cabins here and there?

        In other news, the next spring when we came back to finish a door, we found the interior had been trashed by a Griz who chewed up a lot of stuff, and slept there for some time….left all sorts of fur and, well…other stuff..in the neighborhood.

        Heh. Good times.

        Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The key here is knowingly vs. unintentionally (or mistakenly).

      And a reason why we urgently need mind-reading technology.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It depends on what the survey is for, I suppose.

        For a population survey of Iraq or Syria, do you include non-citizens like military contractors or foreign soldiers?

        For the US population, do we include non-citizens like short term tourists, or even long term tourists?

        Reply
  18. Not From Here

    Laying the excuse to fail to govern, and thus to keep money flowing from donors. It’s the corporate Dems who pushed Trump’s nominees over the goal post.

    Closing the barn door after the horse is in the next county:

    SCHUMER: of Dems take over the Senate, we will have to look at setting the SCOTUS nominee requirement back up to 60 votes

    — Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) October 2, 2018

    Reply
  19. KB

    Health Care: Not in links today or for awhile…..but, want to make sure people understand that Bernie’s Health Care Bill has significant defects in it , mainly section 611 (b)…..and that HR676, Conyers original single payer bill is now being headed by a new person, hum, at the moment forgot the name. And, it is also being tortured by provisions similar to section 611(b)….
    Kip Sullivan has been investigating these and posting about them.
    Perhaps Yves or Lambert will cover?
    I am too busy at the moment but if anyone is concerned can post links at another time frame
    It has me deeply concerned with American’s in general showing more interest in a Medicare for all Type system that the Dems are in secret going about working on destroying the huge benefits that were in the original HR676
    Ugg

    Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Keith Ellison. Conyers had a #MeToo but he went without throwing a tantrum.

      At the link, go to Medicare For All Bills under Tools for Education to see a comparison of the bills.

      Reply
  20. Lupemax

    can’t read today’s must read about Brett Kavanaugh by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard because it’s behind a paywall? Any tips on how to read this without subscribing?

    Reply
  21. Carla

    It’s frustrating when “Today’s must read” is behind a subscription paywall. Of course, this is true of more and more “Links” every day…

    Reply
    1. todde

      I found it pretty underwhelming….

      Kavanaugh supposedly tampered with a witness and Vince Foster was shot in his neck, not in his mouth.

      When Mr Knowlton appeared at the grand jury – thinking he was doing his civic duty – he says he was subjected to two and a half hours of character assassination by Mr Kavanaugh. There was little attempt to find out what he knew about the Foster death scene.

      The nub of the dispute was over compelling evidence of a wound in Foster’s neck, which contradicted the official version that Foster shot himself in the mouth and had essentially been suppressed. The key crime scene photos had vanished and the FBI labs said others were over-exposed and useless.

      Reply
      1. Llewelyn Moss

        How convenient that all the evidence just up and disappeared.
        “The key crime scene photos had vanished and the FBI labs said others were over-exposed and useless.”

        Gives me great confidence in the results of the FBI Investigation of the Kavanaugh / Ford dispute.
        And BTW, Trump fired Comey. So I expect the new FBI chief will ensure that this “Investigation” yields the ‘correct’ answer. :-)

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Each FBI investigation should be judged on its own merits and demerits.

          In the same way, each poster’s comment ought be judged on its own, and not on our own reactions to his/her previous comments.

          Reply
      2. Carla

        Thank you. I don’t know enough about the Vince Foster case to really understand this when taken out of context, but I’ll just take your word for it that it was underwhelming.

        Reply
        1. todde

          it was a strange article.

          The FBI was physically intimidating witnesses, which is odd if Kavanaugh was doing it also. (assuming the fbi was working for the Clintons)

          Reply
        2. Yves Smith Post author

          I found the article outside the paywall, so I wonder why readers are having different results, particularly since it wound up on Yahoo, meaning the Torygraph syndicated it.

          The reason I found this to be a must read was the bit that came late, that false testimony was submitted in the name of a witness, Patrick Knowlton, who was the first to arrive at the Vince Foster death scene. Knowlton tried to get the testimony corrected and instead was apparently intimidated before a grand jury hearing and then abused at the hearing by Kavanaugh, to the degree that Knowlton filed a suit against FBI agents he said were working for Kavanaugh, a pretty much unheard of step.

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            That URL works just fine, thank you.

            I don’t understand why anyone would dismiss that article; it cogently and convincingly accuses FBI agents of witness tampering. Holy family blog! It’s hair raising. And it means the Foster case isn’t properly closed at all.

            It’s also yet another reason Kavanaugh shouldn’t be on any court, let alone the SCOTUS. He shouldn’t even have a law license.

            Reply
            1. VietnamVet

              Vince Foster’s death wasn’t a suicide. What’s next? Brett Kavanaugh led the establishment’s coverup. My God. The Resistance is so intent taking down the President and his hangers-on; they are dissing deep state apparatchik and the FBI (their own enforcers). Don’t the plutocrats know they are shooting themselves in the foot?

              Reply
  22. marym

    Re: Heritage Foundation Review of The Great Revolt: Understanding Real Trump Voters

    (Heritage Foundation Visiting Scholar review of a book co-authored by a former board member of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Media & Public Policy and a current author at the the Federalist)

    Sources and methods

    Much of her gimmick rests on the idea that her interlocutors are apostate populist Democrats who swung to the Republican Party. This is the story many conservatives prefer to tell about Trump — that he is a populist phenomenon, not the product of regular country-clubs-and-chambers-of-commerce Republicanism. Certainly these left-to-right populists exist in America, but Zito has a knack for finding the ones who, apparently unbeknownst to her, have become Republican Party officials.

    There’s also a Vox Zito explainer, but my browser is currently indicating some security problem with their ad server, so maybe look for the link at another time.

    If Trump and his “real” voters represent anything for these authors except tools for implementing a far-right agenda on behalf of the .01% now that would be would be a phenomenon worth reporting

    Reply
  23. PhillyPhily

    Re: Amazon’s raise: I found this that mentions the possibility that the $15 minimum wage only applies to workers classified as “employees”, not the ones classified as 1099 contractors.

    Has anyone seen evidence that Amazon might shift to more temporary and contract workers to avoid actually paying the $15?

    Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Only heretics (in the religion of Mammon) would fail to profit-maximize.

        We can reliably prediction future actions based on that principle.

        Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      This was discussed before here and refuted. Temps WILL be included including those provided through staffing contractors.

      Reply
  24. Watt4Bob

    Is anyone else surprised and conflicted over the topics covered by the Evans-Pritchard piece?

    After thinking, for years, that the whole ‘Vince Foster was murdered’ meme was true ‘conspiracy theory’, territory, we now hear that Brett Kavanaugh, evidently acting on behalf of the ‘Deep State’, was party to covering up a murder.

    Just when you think things couldn’t get weirder?

    I’m thinking Kavanaugh’s anger is based not on the efforts of his accusers, but on the inaction of those he believes owe him for past services rendered.

    He probably believes that his path to the SC was promised, and now, despite his service to the vast bi-partisan conspiracy, and despite the promises, instead of his path being strewn with rose petals, he’s being dragged through the mud.

    Bad luck Brent, b**fed by the same guys he’s been working tirelessly to serve all these years?

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I found that a bit weird. I don’t know much about the Vince Foster thing, but like you I’d always assumed it was just something the wider reaches of the right wing loved to speculate about. Certainly my Republican relatives thought it was a big deal.

      I’d love it if someone could explain why Starr and Kavanaugh were involved in suppressing evidence that it really was a murder.

      Reply
      1. Kristiina

        I thought nothing, absolutely nothing would make me look into the K. business. But now I see I am busying search engines. Interesting if true.

        Reply
        1. Kristiina

          So I found two different stories. One is that K. is a conspiracy-motivated baddie going after the C. folks because of meannes of character. He personally opened up the Foster case when it was already closed and kept on bothering all and even wanting to question H. And now the new story no. 2 says K. is the cover-up artist for the C. folks. This story is even backed up by witness Knowlton. Some interesting cognitive dissonance. But confusion is good for the brain – if one stays clear from the automatic strategies.

          Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From the part quoted by todde at 9:44am above:

      The key crime scene photos had vanished and the FBI labs said others were over-exposed and useless.

      How did they vanish?

      Does that lead to Kavanaugh?

      Was the over-exposure done on purpose?

      Can we connect that to K?

      Reply
        1. Watt4Bob

          Not sure it’s a ‘blind-spot’.

          I just think Brett Kavanaugh’s possible involvement in covering up for them is the most fascinating thing I’ve read in many months, if not years.

          As far as I’m concerned, the FBI can crawl up Brett Kavanaugh’s b*tt until they find enough to “Lock Her Up”, and her honey too.

          The depth of the Clintons depravity is old news, the ‘Deep State’ in the person of Brett Kavanaugh, providing cover for them is pointing us in a whole new direction.

          Reply
  25. Wukchumni

    Brett Kavanaugh & I went to different high schools together, and I never knew if it was him or I that stuck a pack of 16 firecrackers with a delayed fuse in the box to your left on the wall when sitting on the throne that supplied the waxy paper thingamajigger you stick on the toilet before using, and then a lit and split to the exit and out the door, and who’s coming in after making it in the clear, but the vice principal, who was a disciplinarian’s disciplinarian, handy with the paddle.

    Nobody got hurt, I heard, but the sound of 16 firecrackers going off a foot from your head has to be one hellova cacophony.

    They never found the perp…

    Reply
    1. Edward E

      They had waxy paper thingamajiggers way back when you went to high school? Thought they only had outhouses that far back. Good thing y’all didn’t do that in the classroom.

      Reply
        1. Old Jake

          the thingamajig is called a Texas T-shirt. Sometimes people even wear them.

          Thank you so very much. I haven’t laughed like that in a month or more.

          Reply
  26. The Rev Kev

    “Volcano erupts in Indonesia’s quake-hit Sulawesi”

    Poor b******* just can’t catch a break, can they? They are going to need some serious help and not just the nickel-and-dime stuff that I am seeing.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Were they related (vs. can’t catch a break)?

      Pending volcanic eruption caused quakes, or the other way around? Were they connected?

      Reply
    2. ChristopherJ

      Yes Kev, half a mil bucks was the admittedly the first salvo from our plucky government.

      How much of our precious ‘taxpayer dollars’ went to the Clintons?

      By way of contrast…

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        $88 million. That is how much the Oz government ‘donated’ to the Clinton Foundation. $88 million. And nobody even knew about it till it came out after she lost in 2016.

        Reply
  27. NotTimothyGeithner

    About Trump and taxes, I’m reminded of Mitt Romney and his 60.9 million votes in 2012, so its already priced in.

    The Conservative Id is largely dedicated to annoying “liberals” (though the more I think about it the more I think it applies to new Democrats who are obsessed with civility and worry about Jeb Bartlett’s place in history), so any concern raised by “liberal” media which includes day time FoxNews show is going to be ignored if not out right celebrated.

    The mechanisms of how the Trump family’s taxes worked and how to prohibit it in the future and so forth is more important than Trump himself as he’s obviously a skeevy person.

    Reply
    1. Hameloose Cannon

      Donald Trump’s All County Building Supply & Maintenance generated fraudulent invoices to transfer Fred Trump’s pre-tax wealth to Donald Trump. And then Fred Trump used these phony, padded invoices to justify raising rents, thereby defrauding the State of New York and the tenants. That is petty thievery. Call it “neoliberal”, call it “graft”, call it “Clinton-esque”, but how can this get a shrug and a pass?

      Reply
  28. Wukchumni

    A little photoshop, a Scottish loch later, and make sure to place it way in the distance and a bit muddled, and presto, you have Nessie, in a mink coat no less.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Perhaps you’re thinking of my days in the Roman Legion, when ‘on leave’ meant something else entirely, but wipe that out of your mind.

      Reply
      1. Edward E

        Had three Arkansas Razorbacks game tickets laying on the dash of the van while shopping for slacks for my dad. Came back and somebody put four more on top. Anybody want to go to the ‘Bama game in Razorback Stadium? Eureka? Last time the only sign of intelligence was a sign on the other side that read, “Tuscaloosa 545 miles ——->>>>™

        Reply
  29. Molly

    My sinister battle with Brett Kavanaugh over the truth Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. Today’s must read.

    Only can read part of this without subscribing to The Telegraph. So most of it is inaccessible.

    Reply
  30. pretzelattack

    re obama video; the biggest family blogging challenge to workers is capitalism. i couldn’t tell if he was wearing his comfortable shoes.

    Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      And from the link bemoaning the high cost of the Obamas raking it in:

      In office, the Obamas showed grace and courage under fire and a keen appreciation, in policy as well as rhetoric, for the travails of the non-rich.

      So if you get that he saved Wall Street instead of Main Street, I guess it’s safe to say Michelle’s obscene book tour is priceless.

      Reply
  31. frosty zoom

    in regards to mmt:

    of course the quantity of money available to a government can be stretched far beyond what we currently believe safe, for all we have to do is believe that all is well.

    unfortunately, the greater the supply of money, the faster we will destroy this planet. the gold standard, however idiotic, kept us somewhat in check as we had to find the gold before we could destroy everything else.

    perhaps we need a monetary system that gives us money as a reward for preserving natural places, not one that fuels the fires of our own destruction.

    i have remarked in a similar way previously, and unfortunately it seems people think i am advocating for a return of the gold standard. this is nonsense. gold extraction is a bane on our environment. i am advocating for the creation of a monetary system that mitigates, not enables, ecocide.

    so alas, it seems to me that mmt in the hands of humans is a very dangerous thing. i imagine that CO2 levels really started to take off in august of 1971.

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      unfortunately, the greater the supply of money, the faster we will destroy this planet. the gold standard, however idiotic, kept us somewhat in check as we had to find the gold before we could destroy everything else.

      Really?

      WW I
      WW II

      Reply
  32. Mark in Portland

    I learned this here, I think: copy the first sentence or two visible in the paywalled article into your search engine of choice and it’s probable that one of the resulting links will be accessible to all. My experience with copying and pasting the title instead has been less successful.

    Reply
    1. marym

      Maybe Yves will comment on this, but as I understand what she said recently, if you “cut and paste” into a search engine, and get through to the original post, it’s because the publisher has allowed this loophole. The advantage of search engine prominence off-setting potential subscription income. I think maybe a link to the post on yahoo news would be similar to the search engine loophole – advantageous to the original publisher (?? not sure). I would be concerned as to whether a link to a copy of the post on another website is playing fair, unless it’s the author’s own website and/or an author-approved cross post.

      Reply
  33. lightly49

    Absolutely can’t access Ambrose Evans-Pritchard article at the Telegraph. I’m not using IOS or Android systems, so suspect that is the problem. Meanwhile, had to pay for a subscription to learn that it will not provide access. Then, the site provided no way to cancel the ill-begotten subscription, so I just ordered a replacement for the credit card I used to place the order.

    Now, half an hour later, I still have no way to read that article, but at least in a couple of weeks, their billing software will hit a cyber brick wall when my card number changes.

    Reply
  34. JerryDenim

    The AEP Telegraph “must read” piece was interesting indeed. Really throws the early-ninties Clinton conspiracy theory door wide open again. Besides the damning professional ethics revelation of Kavanaugh leaking evidence to a grand jury, Evans-Pritchard is very clear that he believes Kavanaugh made a careerist decision, when he performed an about-face in order to aide and abet an FBI cover-up regarding the details of Vince Foster’s death. Short version; AEP says Foster was shot in the neck and Kavanaugh knew it, but helped propagate the suicide, gunshot wound inside the mouth story.

    Seems participating in a cover-up or committing a heinous crime in pursuit of elite solidarity is the singular resume item that qualifies one for high office and power in this country. It appears to be an initiation ritual that serves to prove allegiance to the ruling class above all.

    Maybe that’s why Kavanaugh looked so angry before Congress. He really wants to blurt out: “I did my part to save the Clinton Presidency and only let the Republicans score political points when I was part of the Starr investigation! You f*%king Democrats owe me damn it!!!”

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think he’d be in great danger if this was the case.

      “He knows too much.”

      And I am not so sure we know what transpired.

      Reply
    2. todde

      so basically you have to commit a crime to get in.

      I wonder if you have to get beat up too.

      You get beat in and you get beat out, as they say…

      Reply
    3. tegnost

      so many black swans in this kavanaugh ordeal. Who knew that those early 80’s frat scoundrels horrific habits would bite them? What I remember is don’t let anyone you care about go into one of those houses.

      Reply
  35. Mark Gisleson

    When I started as a business writer in 1988, tech writing/documentation was a niche I passed over, better left to the techs who wrote that stuff. Not always well, but they knew what they were doing. Then, as the cultural of business opted to stop paying any writers not employed in Marketing or Advertising (mostly legacy hires), the pay for writing started plummeting.

    That’s when tech writing got bad. It got bad because other kinds of writers were scrambling for living wages and suddenly you would lose jobs to less qualified insiders. Maybe good writers, but no clue about tech. My gig was still working for me so I never got caught up in any of this but technical documentation stinks because companies pay a penny or two a word for the kind of writing that should be done by someone who understands the product. Most documentation now is done by people who probably haven’t even seen the actual product (and probably can’t afford to own one).

    The 6-point type you’re looking at with a magnifying glass was either written by someone who doesn’t know how to do that kind of writing, or someone who didn’t speak English as a first language.

    This is the culture of business when business majors don’t take liberal arts classes, then undervalue the liberal artsy end of their business.

    Reply
  36. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “We’re going to have to re-imagine economic security in the time of rising automation, we’re going to have to consider Universal Basic Income” @BarackObama

    I hope he has changed (re-imagined).

    Reply
      1. Geo

        Back in 2009 I was doing a wedding video for a very wealthy couple (Jamie Dimon was a guest at their wedding). While discussing the recent economic issues of the day I joked, “The great thing about being broke is no matter how bad the economy tanks I’m still broke”. They looked at me like I had three heads. I don’t think the concept of having “nothing to lose” was something they could imagine.

        Reply
  37. ChrisAtRU

    “An Italian mayor rejuvenated his town’s economy by accepting thousands of migrants – now he’s been arrested for it

    #MMT subtext:

    “The reconstruction of the town is largely thanks to the creation of a comprehensive infrastructure which includes dozens of workshops located in abandoned homes, providing new arrivals with training opportunities. Alongside the creation of a local currency to stimulate the economy, this has created jobs as increasing numbers of teachers and support workers are required.”

    Reply
  38. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From Caitlin Johnstone’s piece:

    how this concession is largely being made out of fear of an antitrust case which could break up the massive corporation,

    Trump and Bannon have to keep that pressure on.

    Will Sanders acknowledge this contributing factor?

    Give credit where credit is due (at least according to the article).

    Reply
  39. Carolinian

    Re Caitlin Johnstone on the Amazon raise–this is one of her weaker columns. She cites Bezos’ supposedly desire to move most of humanity off into space–and thereafter service the elite back on Earth–as evidence of his true evil intentions rather than the reality which is that Bezos is a bit of a loon. She also cites a Michael Krieger column that says the pay increase is part of a general Bezos campaign to raise all minimum wages to $15 and drive his competitors out of business. But that’s crazy since with wages at least $15 then who would work at Amazon warehouses with their Big Brother atmosphere and physical demands?…particularly since some have said that his real motive is a labor shortage.

    Amazon is under attack from Trump and perhaps he sees this PR move as a way to keep at least one political party on his side rather than taking flak from both directions. But the Bezos as Evil Genius meme is greatly overdone. When the bubble finally bursts he may be one of the first to plunge to earth.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      When the bubble finally bursts he may be one of the first to plunge to earth.

      It will be a boom for Bezos. Amazon is where people go for low prices so when their wallets are tight(er) more will shop there most likely. Plus, the deeper infrastructure (server farms, etc) are the big money items for Amazon. Those aren’t going to lose value unless the whole system crashes too. At that point we’ll all have bigger problems than merely economic.

      Reply
  40. Jason Boxman

    I think Barack Obama decriminalized tax evasion, symbolically, with his pick for Treasury Secretary. Liberal Democrats are shameless and useless.

    Reply
    1. Todde

      I voted for him and had high hopes.

      I was done with him when he did that. That was about 2 weeks into his presidency

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I sensed something was up when, even before the election, I read about his ‘private position’ on NAFTA at a fundraiser.

        To me, that was ‘preponderance of evidence.’

        Apparently not, for many others.

        It was merely a job interview at that stage, and even presuming his innocence from the very start of this one man’s inquiry, my verdict was that his public positions were, and not likely to be the same once elected, as his private positions.

        On hindsight, I think I rushed it a bit, and have been proven correct only because I was lucky.

        And so, I wouldn’t recommend it.

        Reply
        1. Roger Bigod

          It was obvious from Obama’s betrayal on the FISA vote that he was going to be worthless.

          I voted for him anyway, for sentimental reasons. My precinct at the time was in an inner city neighborhood of a medium-sized Southern city. The only other white people were the poll officials. There was no talking or overt emotion, just patient waiting and voting. My distant relative Faulkner would have appreciated the scene.

          On the way home I had a fiftyish white male cab driver. Very blue collar. He approved of my choice, until I commented that I had probably wasted my vote but had no regrets. He got emotional and scolded me for disloyalty to my union member grandfather. The past, I was reminded, isn’t even past.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I voted for Obama in order to prevent McCain getting elected. World War Three seemed too big a risk to run. And if that was avoided, 8 years of President Palin after McCain seemed like another risk too big to run.

            In 2012, I voted for Rocky Anderson, ” the Other white Mormon”.

            Reply
  41. PNW_WarriorWomyn

    No paywall for that Ambrose Evans Pritchard article that’s behind lock and key at The Telegraph but available for free in the New Zealand Herald.

    Reply
  42. EoH

    Mr. Schumer is not bolting the barn door after the barn is empty. When he suggests that victorious Democrats might restore a 60-vote majority for SCOTUS nominees, he is reassuring Republicans that he will give them veto power over Democratic nominees, even when the GOP loses control of the Senate. In exchange, perhaps, they should not fight so hard over Brett Kavanaugh. Once more, he would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Reply
    1. flora

      I’m reminded that every football team is each composed of 2 sub-teams – the offense squad that makes goals, and the defense squad that blocks the opposing team from making goals. The current GOP/Dem duopoly is one team – offense and defense squads on the same team. Makes ya wonder who they’re really playing against. (rhetorical comment. heh. )

      Reply
      1. WobblyTelomeres

        The only thing dumber than a Democrat or a Republican is when those pricks work together. You see, in our two-party system, the Democrats are the party of no ideas and the Republicans are the party of bad ideas. It usually goes something like this. A Republican will stand up in Congress and say, ‘I’ve got a really bad idea.’ And a Democrat will immediately jump to his feet and declare, ‘And I can make it sh*ttier.’

        Lewis Black

        Reply
  43. Oregoncharles

    “Note To NATO – You Don’t “Take Out” Missiles Without Having A War ”
    Does that really need saying? Well, MoA seems to think so. Not a good sign if it does.

    Reply
  44. Phil in KC

    Re Amazon eliminating stock options. One presumes this applies to those on wages, not the salaried, certainly not the executives. When you are making 15 dollars/hour, it’s probably a wiser strategy to bank the extra dollars in a rainy-day account rather than in some illiquid asset. No one is going to get rich on 15 dollars/hour, but you should be able to pay the rent and keep your car in repair.

    Reply
  45. Oregoncharles

    “Brussels to Rome: Don’t push it”

    If I was the Italian gov’t, I wouldn’t pay much mind. Italy is TBTF, so the EU has good reason not to do more than complain. The horrible examples mentioned in the article aren’t so horrible; they’re largely symbolic. Poland and Hungary have already demonstrated that the EU has trouble coping with blithe defiance, and they aren’t even the 4th largest economy in the “union.”

    What’s good for Germany is also good for Italy (goose, meet gander). Fortunately, they aren’t Greece.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Italy has a bunch of wobbly banks and the EU has been refusing to bail them out under the new and really terrible banking resolution rules that came into effect IIRC in January 2016.

      Reply

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