Links 7/12/17

Rip currents swept away a Florida family. Then beachgoers formed a human chain. WaPo. So there is hope for humanity!

Thailand’s exotic cats becoming hard to find Nikkei Asian Review :-(

Sources: Cohn is Trump’s top candidate to replace Yellen at Fed Politico. Why haven’t we put a Goldman alum on the Supreme Court? What are we waiting for?

Finra Launches U.S. Treasury Transaction Reporting WSJ

Entrepreneurs Are Betting on a Billion-Dollar Future for Hemp Bloomberg

Desjardins Suspends New Pipeline Investments The Energy Mix. North America’s biggest association of credit unions.

Uber Sees Financial Growth and Possible Waymo Settlement Bloomberg. During a “15-minute call with backers.” Certainly doesn’t leave a lot of time for questions, does it? One can only wonder why….

Theranos is considering renting out its headquarters Business Insider. Karma.

Amazon Prime Hits 85 Million Subscribers, “Prime Air” Cargo Planes Ready For Takeoff MishTalk (EM). EM comments: “Mish fails to mention that Amazon employed a raft of coercive pricing and item-availability tactics in an all-out effort to force users into Prime – a very large % of items which used to be available to all customers are now ‘Prime only’.”

Paying Professors: Inside Google’s Academic Influence Campaign WSJ (AF).

Sniffing the scent of free publicity, Google and Facebook steamroll into net neutrality protest The Register

Brexit

Dimon warns EU could force banks to move staff out of UK FT

Boris Johnson says EU can ‘go whistle’ on Brexit settlement bill Deutsche Welle

Brand new Macron, same old colonialism Guardian

North Korea

G20 leaders miss the mark on North Korea as historic nuclear weapons treaty reached Asian Correspondent

What is True and Not True About North Korea’s Hwasong-14 ICBM: A Technical Evaluation 38North

China?

China backs economic power with political muscle in Africa FT. And “peacekeepers,” oddly not in the headline.

Why Chinese youth are increasingly dropping out of society World Economic Forum (PU).

New Cold War

Read Donald Trump Jr.’s Emails About Russia Meeting Roll Call. I count five, so it doesn’t take long. Usual disclaimer: As Nina Illingworth writes: “The two core accusations behind Russiagate are: A) Trump is an intel asset; B) Russia rigged the election.”

Donald Trump Jr. is an idiot NY Post. Don Junior to Don Senior: “Hold my beer.”

The Wall Begins to Crumble: Notes on Collusion Lawfare

The Everybody-Does-It Defense of Collusion The Atlantic

Which Campaign Truly Colluded With Russia? Moon of Alabama

Was The Meeting Between Donald Trump Jr. and The Russian Lawyer Really “Treason” or The “Smoking Gun” of Collusion? Jonathan Turley (HM).

Be Careful How You Define Collusion: On the Veselnitskaya Bombshell and the Steele Dossier emptywheel

How much trouble is Donald Trump Jr in? FT

Trump Jr.’s emails could put him in legal jeopardy, but more would be required for criminal case, analysts say WaPo

Don Jr. and the email chain that devoured American democracy Will Bunch, Philadelphia Daily News

Forgetting the ‘Dirty Dossier’ on Trump Robert Parry, Consortium News

Trump’s Son Is Acting Just Like His Dad Bloomberg

Trump & The Smoking Yawn The American Conservative. “Who’s being naive, Kay?”

Trump’s Biggest Political Asset Is Supporters Who Believe Any Negative News Is Fake New York Magazine

Trump’s Russia Lawyer Isn’t Seeking Security Clearance, And May Have Trouble Getting One Pro Publica

Imperial Collapse Watch

Betsy DeVos Invested In Military Tech Contractor Run By Son-In-Law, While Brother Shaped Afghan War Policy International Business Times. Admirably simple and direct!

Nuclear Weapons Site Alarms Shut Off, Scientists Inhale Uranium Scientific American

Trump Transition

Donald Trump’s clash of civilisations versus the global community Martin Wolf, FT

House Republicans Reject Trump’s Bid to Slash EPA’s Funding Bloomberg

Federal government cancels costly, decade-long search for a new FBI headquarters WaPo

The Defense of the FBI Against Donald Trump Has to Start Now Foreign Policy

Critics Blocked from President’s Twitter Account File Suit Knight First Amendment Institute

Democratic leaders to secretly huddle over strategy to save DACA McClatchy

Health Care

Recess Postponed in Senate Roll Call. A very big deal.

G.O.P. Senators Vow to Unveil Health Bill Thursday, Despite Deep Divisions NYT

Remember health care? The Senate is voting next week. Vox

Uneven Playing Field: Applying Different Rules to Competing Health Plans Kaiser Family Foundation. Analysis of the Cruz “Consumer Choice” Amendment.

Republicans’ best play amid health bill chaos is failure USA Today

Robert Pollin works out the economics of single-payer in California • Michael McCarthy, author of Dismantling Solidarity, on the history of pension funds in the U.S. (podcast) Left Business Observer

Economic Analysis of the Healthy California Single-Payer Health Care Proposal (SB-562) PERI. From LBO, but I want to call it out as a separate link.

Geospatial analysis of nonmedical vaccine exemptions and pertussis outbreaks in the United States PNAS

Democrats in Disarray

On Stone Mountain Boston Review (DG). “White Supremacy and the Birth of the Modern Democratic Party.”

State Official Refutes Report That Feds Sought Grand Jury Testimony in Sanders Investigation Seven Days

California Democrats plunge into ‘civil war’ Politico

Cash flowed from subways to skis Adirondack Daily Enterprise (Bob). An earlier version of this story has a headline that’s a bit more direct: “ORDA received almost $5M from MTA.”

Left Wing Movement Targets Local Elections attn:. A good wrap-up.

Transitioning from a party to a movement Deutsche Welle

Class Warfare

Arbitration as Wealth Transfer Yale Law & Policy Review

The Hartz myth: A closer look at Germany’s labour market reforms Centre for European Reform

The Fall of Working-Class New York Jacobin

America’s Rich Will Get Richer, Its Poor Poorer With Obamacare Repeal Bloombert

Gender, racial bias in astronomy revealed EarthSky (CL).

50 States of McMansion Hell: Rankin County, Mississippi McMansion Hell

Toilet Paper Roll Size in U.S. ‘Steadily Shrinking’ Over the Wire (BW).

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

186 comments

  1. paul

    Interesting photo essay on what the tories new best buddies are doing with their new found inward investment:

    Towers of Hate

    I would hate to think what the daily mail would make of it if it occured during the notting hill carnival.

    This however, is just a bit of traditional fun.

    Reply
  2. craazyboy

    Another Song!

    Confusious

    [Epitaph – King Crimson]

    Confusious, entertains us,
    With thoughts that confuse us,
    Coalescing to images,
    Our Cognition they test.

    Willowy wisps
    The shapes that they take.
    Our past, our Present, our Future,
    They slowly make.

    Pot.

    These thoughts and images,
    Enhanced by The Pot!

    The Pot conquered our Minds
    Our Body Politic too.
    It is the Economy….
    It’s all that we do.

    Our Babies in K12 School,
    They do it too!
    These Opiates grip our Conciousness
    Like a Python would do.

    These Opiates, they kill us…
    It’s as certain as taxes.
    Our only chance at redemption,
    Is breaks the chains with Axes.

    And Jesus.

    We must fight the Drug Dealers,
    Foreigners from afar.
    Our Babies are dying,
    At the hand of no law.

    The Dealers, insane in their addiction,
    Chocolate to light brown skin,
    Believed to be from Afgani,
    And dangerous to our kin.

    They are killing our Babies…
    We must fight them Here,
    So our Babies can grow older,
    And then fight them There!

    Reply
  3. Jason

    “The two core accusations behind Russiagate are: A) Trump is an intel asset; B) Russia rigged the election.”

    is an attempt to get ahead of a raging disaster, but isn’t really true. The core accusations at this point would appear to be: Trump’s campaign manager, son, and son-in-law met with a person they believed to be representing the Russian government in order to obtain damaging information on Hillary Clinton and her campaign. And then they lied about meeting Russian government contacts, including in Kushner’s case lying on his disclosure form, which is perjury. (That Trump & co are idiots, who got Russian propaganda help in their victory has been blindingly obvious for some time.) That Trump immediately followed up this secret meeting by his advisors with a promise that negative information on Clinton would be emerging soon is just circumstantial, but damning all the same.

    Reply
    1. Donald

      She isn’t talking about the current revelations–she is talking about what people have been claiming for months. The phrase ” hacking the election” implies what she says and so far there is no evidence for those two claims. As for the details of the current scandal, she doesn’t deny what you say as best I can tell. That’s why she thinks Trump is going down. What concerns her ( and other sane people) is whether this rather mundane example of pokitical corruption ( where the crime so far appears to be the coverup) will be used by our lovely elites to justify more wars with Russian allies in the Middle East.

      If similar levels of scrutiny were aimed at the interactions between Israel and the US or the Saudis and the US, there would be similar headlines. The difference is that it is utterly normal for billionaires and lobbies to buy politicians and drag us into supporting war crimes or committing them ourselves.

      Reply
      1. Tertium Squid

        From an Intercept article on the same subject:

        After the election, Kushner Companies found many more suitors interested in doing business

        Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      The “core accusations” will expand and contract to fit the desired outcome.

      Not unlike the “core accusations” against Saddam Hussein in the run up to the Iraq war, as summarized in the Downing Street Memo, when the “evidence” against him was “thin”:

      Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.

      PS. Thanks to Robert Parry at Consortium News (link above) for his reminder about the steele Dossier, which is an actual example of soliciting a foreign government for opposition research, but must be conveniently swept under the rug since it was the clinton campaign that did it. ……facts fixed around the policy being business as usual in that bastion of democracy, washington, d.c. and its msm mouthpieces.

      But at least it wasn’t chelsea who did it.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The “core accusations” will expand and contract to fit the desired outcome.

        Exactly. It’s the drip, drip, drip that tells you the sources are driving this. There’s no reporting going on, although there’s a good deal of access journalism.

        Reply
    3. kees_popinga

      “The core accusations at this point” is a telling phrase. A) and B) were the points Dems and their media enablers were pushing after losing the election. Now they’re pushing new points. “It’s not the sex, it’s the lying” is what your comment reminds me of. Hillary’s team worked with Russians to get dirt on Trump (golden showers) and we’re supposed to care that Trump did something similar. Both candidates are liars; both were terrible.

      Reply
      1. RUKidding

        Agree w all you said.

        Great distraction from the looting & pillaging currently ongoing, which appears to benefit the Ds as much as the Rs.

        Reply
      2. Emma

        Ummm…. please don’t but-but me with Clinton and her campaign entourage working with Russians to get dirt on Trump. There is a distinct difference between paying the snoop-who-digs-the-p—, and directly seeking it from, allegedly, what is officially regarded, a hostile and foreign government’s security apparatus.
        Do consider too the overwhelming lack of consistency in Trump Jnrs’ story, that he never reported the meeting to the FBI, and indeed, had previously denied such a meeting, that he also attended the meeting with Trumps’ son-in-law (who was (and still is?) a confirmed proponent for private communication back channels which leverage Russian Embassy tools and resources for a POTUS-elect and his entourage, and which bypass all forms of official US channels), and also had Trumps’ close and trusted advisor attend too.
        It’s truly quite heartwarming isn’t it? If indeed all three men wanted to save orphaned kiddie-winkles that is……
        Yet, we now know that Trump Jnr was perfectly willing and happy to accept the alleged support of a foreign, and officially hostile intelligence service to discredit not only an opponent to his father, but a fellow American. Trump Jnr shot himself in the mirror here with his flagrant lack of applied thought. He was the baby-cat who jumped into a Russian girls’ lap, and looked up to her all the while she flashed her eyes like a pair of scissors. To Trump Jnr, she was his solution, and she wasn’t even a hostile order. But hey, that could be deemed progress for geopolitics, eh?! Alas though, there was nothing great about what Trump Jnr did. Nor for America.
        Some GOP-ers with principles think so too. What Trump Jnr did was not only not-so-beautiful, but not-so-great. At all. But so it might appear now as with father, as with son perhaps. They can both be read like a non-fiction book. But a poor one at that. For they seem to lack that vital index with a proper contents list which great leaders have, and which the rest of the world used to expect of American leaders. There was nothing outstanding nor brave or even selfless about what Trump Jnr did, along with Trumps’ son-in-law. Trump Jnr did it simply because he sought greatness, whatever the cost. Loyalty to the possibility of power. Not to his country. And all on the coattails of his father. He was like the child bestowed with great riches yet ardent for some desperate glory. Just not the Owens’ “children ardent for desperate glory” kind.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > There is a distinct difference between paying the snoop-who-digs-the-p—, and directly seeking it from, allegedly, what is officially regarded, a hostile and foreign government’s security apparatus.

          I agree. It’s an important “norm” to use cut-outs, as professionals do, as opposed to dealing direct, as a bumbling amateur like Junior did.

          Are we at war with Russia? I didn’t get the memo. Nation states are inherently in conflict. Unless you’re arguing that if Junior had gotten the same info from a shady Dutch lawyer, everything would have been jake with the angels?

          Reply
          1. Emma

            Look, both are an accommodation of stupidity without proper investigation and analysis. And both have great potential to lead one down that nefarious path of coercion. It increases the ability of one particular party to get what they want of another party. Indeed, eventually, quite possibly, an entire nation.

            So it builds up like an avalanche above a sleeping nation. All because the American political class have been either incapable, or unwilling, to put in place a sufficiently high security zone…..but that would require, probably, having a sufficiently high sincerity zone in the first place, wouldn’t it?! What they don’t seem to recognize is that their choices and actions as politicians DO affect their fellow Americans.

            So, did what either Trump Jnr or Clintons’ campaign party do further national interests? I think not. There was clearly an abuse of office for personal gain by both sides. However, Trump Jnr behaved more improperly, and dangerously so, by permitting a contact with alleged and direct links to the Kremlin, the possibility to interfere in the ‘democratic’ process of another nation. His own country no less!

            Is this what a potential leader has to do to remain competitive in the present American political climate? Do you not recognize Lambert how this might contribute to collusion, corruption, and blackmail? it is a slippery slope. A very slippery one indeed. But man, oh man, is this the best thing potential American leaders can do? Really?

            The influence of any nation to subvert another can only have limits when it encounters real opposition. For that to occur, political leaders require the ability to prevent it from happening in the first place. It’s not just about leveraging a vast array of effective tools and resources at their disposal. It’s also about saying no. So, Trump Jnr could have declined the meeting rather than willingly complied with the request. But he didn’t. He showed he’s not only a pushover for corrupting, but that he’s right on (as is Trumps’ son-in-law….), intentionally so, for corrupting his very own nation.

            Reply
            1. Sue

              Apropos of Trump Jr. there were some LOL youtube videos circulating last years. They had to do with Trump’s opening of his hotel in Panama. Trump Jr offered an interview from one of the suits a few days before the hotel’s inauguration. He stated how wonderfully Panama’s economy was growing and how he observed more luxurious autos on the streets than ever before. He, of course, had been carried away by the lifestyles of those he mingled with: the executives from the tax shelter law firms and the entrepreneurs like himself who “catered” to them. Incidentally, on the day of the opening, cats and dogs began to pour down like there was no tomorrow, and guess what? The run-down city’s sewage system collapsed, the streets of Panama City were a disgusting pool of toilette paper, urine and feces. I love it when metaphors and the realities they stand for merge into one

              Reply
            2. Procopius

              I’m 80 years old. In my lifetime I’ve come to the conclusion that 99% of the claims about our national interest have been pure lies. No, there’s no difference between getting opposition research from someone you think has connections to a foreign intelligence organization and a spy whom you hire to get opposition research from sources in a foreign intelligence organization. Our government has been lying about the danger from Russia since 1917 and before that it was danger from Eastern European Anarchists.

              Reply
              1. Sue

                Yes. We could go on and on about this. The US government banned or place obstacles to the entry of German immigrants who were opposed to the Nazi regime too early.

                Reply
        2. bugs

          ” directly seeking it from, allegedly, what is officially regarded, a hostile and foreign government’s security apparatus.” Is this how you describe the “cunty” manager of a manufactured Azerbaijan pop star and a provincial government attorney? From what it looks like the only thing Don Jr. got out of the deal was a lobbying spiel.

          Reply
        3. todde

          And the snoop who digs the p—, where did he get his information from?

          Russian Intelligence and Russian governmental officials.

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            And Hillary’s people who hired him had to know that. The difference is, back at that time Russian intelligence was not being used as a distraction from the Third Way Democrats’ incompetence. “What, WE wasted two billion dollars? No, certainly not, we … Oh, look over there, a squirrel!”

            Reply
      3. rbueres

        am I wrong to think that the “showers” was requested by a republican during the primaries and not “Hillary”?

        Reply
    4. Rajesh

      All of this hoopla could have been avoided if republicans had the good sense to vote for Ted Cruz in the primaries as opposed to “the guy Obama dislikes” because in hindsight its obvious that Clinton would have lost anyway. This has put the entire party in jeopardy.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Ted Cruz? Are you kidding? He’s a weenie. Republicans hate that quality in their electeds. Also, he’s a Christian nutter, and a key to Trump’s victory over the GOP was his lack of Christian demagoguery which people are getting tired of in general.

        Reply
        1. Rajesh

          Christianity has gone through a lot of pain with gay and child molestation revelations and having a decent practising Christian as President would have helped matters. But I guess we’ll never know. I’ve always felt that from Gore/Bush onwards America has always voted the wrong person into office.

          Reply
          1. nippersmom

            A “decent practising Christian as President” might not be a bad thing. I would, however, strongly disagree with your characterization of Ted Cruz as a decent practicing Christian.

            Reply
            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              To me a good Christian is one who defers to God what God does, which is, He can come into all his believers Himself.

              And no one should usurp His authority.

              “You do your worshiping thing, and I will do my worshiping thing.”

              Reply
          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > having a decent practising Christian as President would have helped matters

            I think Bush was a decent practising Christian. At least a lot of self-identified Christians said so. Tony Blair was born again.

            So this is a ridiculous argument. Look to policy, not to the personal characteristics of politicians.

            Reply
          3. Plenue

            What, like Carter? I think a few million dead Afghans would have something to say about his practiced Christianity, if they weren’t, you know, dead.

            Reply
          4. kareninca

            “Christianity has gone through a lot of pain with gay and child molestation revelations”

            What a strange claim concerning “Christianity”. Are you talking about American Christianity, or world Christianity? American Christianity is overwhelmingly Protestant (about 45 percent of Americans are Protestant; about 20 percent of Americans are Catholic). It is true that American Catholics are dealing with child molestation issues, but American Protestants aren’t. And the occasional anti-gay evangelical who is revealed to be gay is not really all that relevant.

            If you are talking about Christianity worldwide, it is true that there are far more Catholics (There are approximately 2.1 billion Christians in the world. Of these, 1.6 billion, approximately, are Roman Catholic, and approximately 2-300 million are Orthodox. The rest, approximately 2-300 million, are of various Protestant denominations)(https://www.quora.com/How-many-Protestants-are-there-in-the-world-compared-to-Catholics-Orthodox-Muslims-Buddhists-and-Hindus). But that doesn’t seem really relevant to the American political scene.

            Reply
            1. Oregoncharles

              “but American Protestants aren’t”
              No, evangelical ministers hit the news for sexual abuse at least as often as priests. They don’t usually have as deep pockets.

              It seems plausible that sexual abuse is a characteristic of authoritarian religions – probably of authoritarian institutions in general.

              Reply
              1. kareninca

                “No, evangelical ministers hit the news for sexual abuse at least as often as priests.”

                Any data to back your claim that the rates of abuse are the same? Or are you just claiming that the number of news reports is the same for each?

                Actually, if there are just as many reports of ministers as of priests, that suggests that ministers are the better lot. Since there are far more ministers than priests.

                Also, I notice that you have somehow changed the topic from sexual molestation of children, to “sexual abuse” (which would include harassing adult parishioners, which is an entirely different thing). What exactly are you claiming here? Are you actually claiming that Protestant ministers are just as likely to molest children as Catholic priests are? Again, some evidence would be nice, rather than just an assertion.

                Reply
    5. cocomaan

      I just want to add another assumption: that Russia is an “enemy”. The calls for prosecution for treason (Kaine was most recently saying the T word) rely on “giving aid and comfort” to “enemies”.

      Last time I checked, we aren’t at war with Russia. We’ve never been at war with Russia. Even if he gave aid or comfort to them, it needs to be proved to me that we’re dealing with an enemy.

      I think “enemy” should be defined as nations on whom Congress has declared war. That’s clearly the purpose of the constitution here.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Preventing our naked aggression into Syria has genuinely destroyed the psyches of the imperialists. The “global force for good” propaganda has really addled minds.

        I should note “free trade types” promised American dominate in agriculture, tech, resource extraction, finance, and legal fields as the world globalized. For obvious reasons (especially the promise of exporting lawyers which doesn’t make much sense), a renewed Russia is a more practical threat to American dominance of those sectors as Russia can operate on a scale Germany cant and can offer a less potential heavy hand than China (a billion chinese is intimidating after all) and finance can move any old time. As the country falls apart, our politicians are blaming anyone but themselves.

        Kaine personally was under the impression there would be an Obama/Kaine ticket in 2008. He lost the House as DNC chair and dismantled any element of organizing done by the Democratic party, and then he was part of the team that lost to Trump. I imagine he is dealing with the loss of his dreams after coming so close. Given Warner’s squeaker, Kaine, always a less popular figure, is not a given to be reelected.

        Reply
        1. Dandelion

          Actually, we did invade Russia in the 1920s. We may have forgotten about it, but I doubt the Russians have.

          Reply
    6. DH

      My three key takeaways from the Don Jr. e-mails:

      1. Paul Manafort was supposed to be the experienced campaign hand, all-knowing in campaign affairs. He should have killed the meeting and e-mail train the instant that Don Jr. sent it to him. He did not, which means the adult in the room was participating in the drinking game. There could be lots of these types of revelations because they had no internal filter inside the campaign.
      2. Somebody in the White House (Bannon?) is out to get Kushner. I don’t think Don Jr. is the target. These e-mails put Kushner firmly in the e-mail train and in the room with the Russian.
      3. It is clear that Don Jr. is the poster child for why we need to have a 90% estate tax with no loopholes. If he hadn’t been born into wealth, then he would probably be under-qualified to wash cars for a living and he would be filling up our Big Gulp cups when we stop into the 7-11.

      Reply
    7. CD

      The Trump family has done a lot of business around the world, much of it in Russia. Much of his business is with very questionable people, many criminals. Hotels and especially casinos are a good way to hide and transfer illegal money.

      Trump has loans around the world with very questionable people, some who are criminals. The New Yorker magazine detailed one failed deal in Azerbajan with a man who is a criminal.

      So it should not surprise that stories have come out about Trump’s questionable dealings in Russia. When we elected the man, we also bought his whole stable of question marks and criminals.

      So, I’m not surprised Russia keeps coming up in the news. I think we will keep hearing about Trump’s business partners over the next three and a half years, or longer — that’s the bad news as I see it. No doubt there are now reporters looking for more bad news. And the news when it comes our twill create problems for us and for Trump.

      Maybe it’s better that he gets tied up in scandals than run the country. But I hope it doesn’t come to impeachment, a possibility that could have even more unpleasant consequences.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        No, Trump has not done a lot of business in Russia. He was the host of a Miss Universe show there in 2013 and set up some legal entities for JVs that never got done.

        Trump’s real estate is very seriously underlevered. “Criminals” don’t lend on a scale to fund projects like his. He did give a business card and an office to a US felon, which we mentioned aeons ago, who is a member of the Brighton Beach, as in Jewish mafia.

        Making stuff up is against our written site policies (see “agnotology”).

        Reply
        1. pantaraxia

          Yves, technically you are correct in stating ‘Trump has not done a lot of business in Russia’, however it seems that Trump has done a lot of business with ex-Russians (and satellite countries) most, if not all, with ties to the Russo-jewish mafia. From Trump Soho to Trump Toronto to Trump Florida (affectionately known as ‘little Moscow’ by the locals) the footprints of this mafia are all over Trumps projects.

          This US felon to whom Trump gave ‘a business card and an office’ also happened to have previously been a senior executive at Bayrock, the firm which partnered with Trump in both the Soho and Fort Lauderdale projects. (Bayrock and its ties to the looting of Kazakhstan are detailed in the article below.)

          As to your contention that ‘“Criminals” don’t lend on a scale to fund projects like his’, what better way to launder the vast sums looted from the former Soviet Union.

          Before you accuse me of agnotology, I strongly suggest you read the following article written by James S. Henry, an investigative journalist, who according to Wikipedia ‘has written extensively on the problems of tax justice and development finance.[2] Henry is a senior adviser at the Tax Justice Network.[3]’.

          The Curious World of Donald Trump’s Private Russian Connections
          https://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/12/19/the-curious-world-of-donald-trumps-private-russian-connections/

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith

            This isn’t journalism. This is Google searches + uninformed innuendo.

            1. Anyone who is involved in NY real estate will tell you Russians at all levels have been the targets for purchases of condos. In one year, I believe 2014, 70% of the residential real estate sales in Brooklyn were to Russians. I hate to tell you but that does not mean anything with respect to Trump.

            The money came through banks, and under the law, it is the banks that are responsible for all anti-money laundering checks. The New York Times did a huge expose of how many condos in the Time Warner Center could be traced to really shady foreign owners and almost certainly were dirty money. The Times never once alleged that the developer had done anything wrong, that this instead reflected a gaping hole in money laundering laws.

            The “money pouring in,” even if that was true (I’ve been in the M&A business and you always say you have tons of demand even when, as is often the case, you have little or none, and “Russia” is terribly convenient because no one could independently confirm or deny) would be for condo sales. BTW that Donald Jr. quote which has been repeated ad nauseum, is the ONLY statement of that sort ever to come out to the Trump organization.

            2. James doesn’t know Trump’s history as well as he pretends to. Trump had six bankruptcies out of hundreds of corporate entities that he owned. He was one of only two major NYC real estate developers (the other being Related, owned by Steve Ross, who later developed the Time Warner Center mentioned above) who got to keep most of their NYC empires post the nasty early 1990s recession. And banks love lending to post bankruptcy credits. They have cleaned up balance sheets. There are people who had much worse busts than Trump (let’s start with Bruce Eichner) to whom banks were lending after their messy restructurings. I’m told the reason big banks save Deutsche later avoided Trump is he’s a royal pain in the ass, and not due to his financial record. But there are plenty of mid-market lenders, and Trump appeared to have lined some of them up and paid no financial penalty for going to new sources.

            As Francine McKenna wrote, Donald Trump has had no trouble getting big loans at competitive rates:

            The idea that banks won’t lend to Trump because of his bankruptcy history is the equivalent of fake news…

            The MarketWatch analysis shows a variety of lenders, all big banks or listed specialized finance companies like Ladder Capital, that have provided lots of money to Trump over the years in the forms of short-, medium- and long-term loans and at competitive rates, whether fixed or variable.

            “The Treasury yield that matches the term of the loan is the closest starting benchmark for Trump-sized commercial real estate loans,” said Robert Thesman, a certified public accountant in Washington state who specializes in real estate tax issues. The 10-year Treasury swap rate is also used and tracks the bonds closely, according to one expert.

            Trump’s outstanding loans were granted at rates between 2 points over and under the matching Treasury-yield benchmark at inception. That’s despite the well-documented record of bankruptcy filings that dot Trump’s history of casino investment.

            Among others, the Bank of China, which is a pretty conservative lender, loaned money to Trump.

            3. The ‘Stans and Russia are two different political and economic universes. They also now happen to be completely different countries too, or did you miss that?

            4. Arif and Sater are not Russians. They are Kazahks. Mark Ames and John Helmer have separately confirmed that they are not “Russian mafia” but “Jewish mafia” but the press seems not to acknowledge the existence of Jewish mafia these days. On top of that, no one of any meaningful wealth or sophistication in Russia would ever do business with them. Wealthy and politically connected people who were careful (and there are Russian oligarchs who have cleaned up their acts and decided to play things relatively safe and tame, I know one personally, he’ listed in the Forbes top 100 list) would never talk to Sater because he’s a low life former felon. The ones who are successful and crooked wouldn’t trust him either because when he was in prison he sang like a bird. So his market appears to be marks.

            Finally, this is grasping at straws. The supposed case against Trump is that he’s either a Russian agent or so beholden to Putin that he is willing to do the Russian government favors. Even though I’ve just debunked your claims, even if they had been true, SO WHAT??? How does doing business with a low level crook with no official connections whatsoever, in fact one who’d be regarded with extreme prejudice by anyone with an intelligence services background, translate into Russian government influence? That’s as barmy as saying if I hired someone in London to get more UK readers and ad revenues, I’m therefore a stooge of Theresa May’s government. It’s even more loopy given that Trump’s relationship with the seedy Bayrock guys has long been a matter of public record and hence can’t be used to influence Trump (as in has no embarrassment value, aside from the fact that Trump appears to be constitutionally incapable of being embarrassed).

            Reply
            1. pantaraxia

              Yves, thank you for your clarification. My concern was never about Trump being in Putin’s pocket but rather his vulnerability to charges of money-laundering in coordination with the Jewish mafia.

              My use of the term ‘Russo-jewish ’ was unfortunately somewhat misleading. It was meant in a more generic sense to include former Soviet countries (Ukraine and Georgia come to mind along with Kazakhstan).It was also a means of addressing the issue with the ever-present threat of anti-semitism hovering in the background. Apologies for that.

              Reply
  4. Nick

    Re: Left Wing Movement Targets Local Elections

    This is for real, and I think driven by real grassroots sentiment rather than any of our grand strategizing. I had a chuckle when I found that not only one, but 2 out of 3 candidates for today’s special election Dem primary (likely decisive) in Providence Ward 3 were members of the Democratic Socialists of America.

    Reply
    1. Benedict@Large

      Why would the DSA run two candidates against each other? Oh, let me guess. The third candidate is a DINO, and some money just popped up out of nowhere for the second DSAer?

      Reply
      1. Nick

        No Initiative on the part of the chapter to put anyone forward to run if I’m not mistaken, rather the two just happened to be members and wanted to run. Just a lot of enthusiasm all around was my intended point.

        Reply
  5. allan

    EPA chief wants scientists to debate climate on TV [Reuters]

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is in the early stages of launching a debate about climate change that could air on television – challenging scientists to prove the widespread view that global warming is a serious threat, the head of the agency said. …

    “There are lots of questions that have not been asked and answered (about climate change),” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.

    “Who better to do that than a group of scientists… getting together and having a robust discussion for all the world to see,” he added without explaining how the scientists would be chosen. …

    Working title, Earth: The Biggest Loser.

    Reply
      1. allan

        Larsen C is mere flesh wound …

        On the other hand, it does contain about twice as much fresh water as Lake Erie,
        and surely there must be a way to monetize this.

        Reply
        1. carycat

          Towing a big iceberg to the middle east (or some other thirsty place) is a perennial pipe dream. It was in the news as recently as May 2017. Never mind the ecological disruption that will cause along the way (and after it reached its destination) from the change in temperature and salinity as the inevitable melt off mixes with the surrounding water.
          Nice bezzle though.

          Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Sounds like a good opportunity to expose them, if the debate is not rigged, sorry, staged.

        It should be welcomed.

        The title can be: Earth, you can’t lose. Humans might die out, but not you. But let’s take a look at you anyway…unfiltered.

        Reply
  6. Tim

    Yet another unreported non-fake news story:

    Australian Special forces, have committed murder against civilians in Afghanistan:

    See the link her http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-11/killings-of-unarmed-afghans-by-australian-special-forces/8466642

    It is the second time a story of “Coalition Forces” committing atrocities inside of 2 months, remember UAE and torture?

    It seems as if we are all now reconciled to the fact that forces fighting on our behalf can and will commit murder and atrocities, what happened to our values such as the rule of law?

    Reply
    1. MoiAussie

      Also from the Australian Shame File, and also reported by ABC (Oz):
      Battle for Mosul: Amnesty accuses Islamic State, Iraq Government, US-led coalition of war crimes

      Amnesty International has accused the Islamic State (IS) group, the Iraqi Government and the US-led coalition, which includes Australia, of war crimes in the battle for Mosul.

      The most notorious attack came in mid-March when a US war plane bombed a building to kill two IS snipers.

      The American investigation said the building collapsed when the bomb detonated explosives secretly stored there by IS. More than 100 civilians were killed.

      But Mr Walsby said it was just the most well-known case of the US-led coalition using bombs that were much too powerful, given the risks..

      Reply
  7. voteforno6

    This Trump-Russia thing is officially the dumbest political scandal of my lifetime. It has put me in the uncomfortable position of feeling compelled to defend Trump,a person who is clearly unfit to be President. I’m a little irked at the Democrats for pushing this stuff, while the looting and pillaging of the country continues. Then again, the Dems are complicit in that looting, so maybe that’s the point.

    Reply
    1. timbers

      Yes.

      As someone said here in comments a few days back “Russiagate is birtherism for establishment types.”

      I’m spreading the word and using that every opportunity I get whenever it comes and even when it doesn’t – “Russiagate is birtherism for Democrats and establishment types.”

      Reply
      1. sid_finster

        It ain’t just for Democrats. Establishment Team R politicians also drink from that toxic fountain.

        And yes, it is discomforting having to defend Trump.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Only if you live in the sort of binary world that both party establishments and the political class would like you to live in. Illingworth’s post today is an excellent example of how not to do that.

          Reply
      2. CD

        Russia is here to stay, for at least the next three and a half years, as a source of scandal and merriment.

        See my post above.

        Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Monica-gate gives it a run for its money. There too the Times and the Post were prominent in goosing up the story, an opposition party refused to accept a president elected without a majority (due to Perot), Beltway disdain for White House political outsiders (true back then) played a role.

      Reply
      1. sid_finster

        IIRC, the beltway had no problems accepting Bill.

        In particular, the press coverage Clinton received when he took office rivaled any hagiography or the most shameless flattery in the court of some absolute despot, and the MSM dutifully recited every Team D talking point (“perjury isn’t really perjury when it’s about sex!”) during l’affaire Lewinsky.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Your memory is quite different from mine. Before Monica-gate there was Travelgate, Jennifer Flowers and various other minor pseudo scandals. The Times in particular went big for the Whitewater investigation long before impeachment happened. When Clinton was finally caught dallying David Broder sniffed “he trashed the place and it wasn’t his place.” There were stories at the time about society Washington’s disdain for the rubes from Arkansas.

          Indeed now that the WaPo is so exercised about Hillary losing the election it might be amusing to dig up some of their old stories during the Starr investigation suggesting she was going to be indicted any minute. Monica-gate and Putin-gate are remarkably similar and feature some of the same press players.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            The pattern of ever-shifting explanations of what the scandal was really “about” is very similar between WhiteWater and whatever we’re looking at now.

            IIRC, WaterGate and the Iran-Contra investigation lacked that pattern.

            Reply
      2. Adam Eran

        According to Thomas Frank, Newt and Bill Clinton made a deal to privatized Social Security, but Monica put an end to that plan…So good on Monica, even as a silly distraction

        Reply
        1. CD

          Hard to believe we’d be thankful to a “spirited” intern for saving SocSec. Good old Bill.

          I’ve read the same factoid in two places, one of which may have been Frank.

          Reply
    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Hillary losing in 2016 shattered many worlds despite her 2008 efforts. Why wasn’t Hillary up by 50 points? I don’t believe this was a Hillary only sentiment, but if Trump can be President, how does this bode for incumbent Democrats given the Sanders strength? Who are the most popular Democrats today? Sanders and Warren, a lifelong Republican. Sanders wrecked Hillary in many blue states despite the end tire establishment being aligned with Hillary, and he did it with young voters. Barring a 9/11 style event, the 17 year olds have more in common with the 18 year old Sanders supporters than the 80 year old Clinton supporters.

      The real state of the economy is the flip side. The Democrats tried to run on the Obama economy and wound up with Trump, McConnell, and Ryan. ACA isn’t turning into unicorns, and elite Democrats have no response to questions about how they want to improve health care. On top of it, the party has no young members. The great white hope of moderate Mittens supporters, Ossoff, lost, due to sharp declines among African Americans and renters, the Democratic base. All the efforts to woo big donors has led to a party incapable of defeating Donald Trump. If Team Blue can’t win, they won’t have donors.

      Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s the next James Bond blockbuster: To Russia, With Hate.

          (Hopefully in time to de-brainwash those who grew up on ‘From Russia, With Love.”)

          Reply
      1. different clue

        Won’t DLC Democrats continue to have donors as long as they show they can prevent New Deal Reactionaries from defeating them in Primary Challenges? If the point of the Democratic Party is to prevent any New Deal Revivalists or Democratic Bernie Socialists from ever getting elected to anything ever, and the DLC Democrats remain able to keep “Real Democrats” prevented; then the DLC Democrats will keep getting donor money.

        Reply
    4. Anonymous

      The Trump Jr. is beyond ridiculous. The woman they met worked for the government as a lawyer, but was not an official representative, any more than the thousands of lawyers who work for the US government are official representatives of it.

      Secondly, when she met them her topic was not Hillary Clinton, but the ban on adopting Russian children to the U.S.. This was a peculiar topic to bring up, especially in light of the Clinton’s relationship with Laura Silsby.

      This story is a huge nothingburger. Meeting with foreign nationals, even Russians, to discuss rumors is not illegal.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        If you believe her story, yes. I haven’t posted this clip in awhile:

        “Report back to me when… I don’t know. When it makes sense.” What a wonderful collection of bumbling operatives, to be sure.

        Reply
        1. bugs

          “If you believe her story”

          Her version is more plausible. The alternative is that she gave Don Jr. the dirt on Clinton. The problem with this is that the dirt on Clinton never materialized. It remains an excuse for losing an election.

          Reply
        2. craazyboy

          Ha! In a good mood now – Just got back in from the pool having a few nice brews. The weather got cooler here! Because rain!

          I’m extremely happy to report I concluded a very successful beer run to Trader Joes. Picked up a new fantastic oatmeal stout from a unknown no-name brewery in Palo Alto. (They be known, somewhere!) Cheap! $5.50 a sixpack and I bought a single bottle (yes, real bottle) for $1.30!

          Next, a Popular Deschutes, Porter, my Fav porter, for only $1.30 a single bottle. Then a “Kilt Lifter” clone from an unknown craft brewery for $1.30. Identical to the famous one from Phoenix at $9-$12. (sale?)

          Then an old standby, a fine example of American Lager, Simpler Times, from Wisconsin in cans, for only $3.50 a six!

          That concluded my purchases, but they have the whole gamut covered, with singles to try out on everything! Plenty of IPAs from national craft brewers (Stone!) and cheap, but good, unknowns. Light Ale, Amber Ale, Dark Lager. Even Domestic Hefeweizen, and wonder of wonders, the old world favorite, Pilsner Urquell ,from the Czechs at only $7.50!

          Started out the day with fun and successful flights at the airfield, and am now concluding it with some wonderful beer and watching Twin Peaks, re-booted by David Lynch.

          David Lynch is awesomely awesome. Even almost Terrifyingly so.

          Reply
    5. DH

      These types of scandals are political Darwin Awards that take out the dumbest, most-entitled political actors. The only big surprise in this e-mail train is that Don Jr. didn’t use Twitter to tell his dad about the upcoming meeting.

      I am not super-big on conspiracy theories because successful conspiracies require intelligence, skill, cunning, and secrecy to pull off. Those qualities are rarely found all within the same people as witnessed in this e-mail train. The long-term successful politicians may do various nefarious things, but they are generally not smart enough to leave an electronic or paper trail behind them. However, they often get complacent over time and go down.

      Reply
    6. Richard Musser

      This is the nail, and you have struck it dead on. The Party, after years of unwholesome seclusion, with only itself and its retainers to look upon and speak to, fell into Ill Health. When the people recoiled at its state, rather than taking this moment to reflect, learn and grow, the Party instead fell into a madness. All who saw Them were dismayed.
      Living in Seattle, it is sometimes difficult to know if the sweet natured, cheerful liberal companion has been taken by the Russia madness, but I always assume yes and smile sweet-naturedly back. What am trying to say here? It has frightened me I guess, feeling like many friends may have “turned a corner” politically, in these last few months, into people I don’t recognize.

      Reply
    7. Oregoncharles

      The confusion is intentional; the whole thing is a massive cover-up for the Dems’ misfeasance in the election. Or malfeasance, maybe both.

      You don’t have to defend Trump; you can say he’s horrible, so how did they let him get elected? And, of course, there’s no reason to think Hillary would have been better, though less flagrantly embarrassing.

      I always present it as: in the runup to the convention, the Dems KNEW (1) that Trump would be the opponent; and (2) from the polls, that Bernie was their stronger candidate. So why did they knowingly nominate their weaker candidate? How serious were they?

      That usually ends the conversation, barring some spluttering.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The Dems not only knew that Trump would be their opponent, they actively sought to bring that about (the Podesta “Pied Piper” email). Be careful what you wish for…

        Reply
      2. different clue

        Today’s Dems are all Clintonites. Bernie was never “their” candidate. They made sure to get Bernie “prevented” in order to make sure we would not have a New Deal Revival President. The Clintonites decided that letting Trump get elected was a price worth paying in order to prevent Sanders from getting nominated and maybe elected.

        Maybe “Mommy Wokest” didn’t realize that herself. Maybe she thought this really was about coronating her into the White House.

        Different groups of people will suggest different approaches. Some will say “Third Party”. Others will say “purge and burn all traces of Clintonism from the Democratic Party”. As long as “some” are not jealous and envious of “others” for not joining in the approaches of “some”, then “some” are free to do as they like.

        But if “some” start to lecture “others” on how “others” have some sort of duty to join the Green Party, then “others” might well decide that they have a duty to exterminate the Green Party along with exterminating the Clintonites.

        Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    Re: Toilet Paper Roll Size in U.S. ‘Steadily Shrinking’
    That’s hilarious! Wasn’t Naked Capitalism asking for example of crapification not a few days ago? I guess that this has to count as one in an very eloquent way.

    Reply
  9. Tom Stone

    Sweet jesus, that politico article is clueless.
    I love the quote from Reggie Jones-Sawyer whose most famous quip is “This is California, we don’t have much use for the Constitution”.
    The Center right faction (Berniecrats) are arguing with the outright fascists about how to keep California a one party state and it’s a “Civil War”?

    Reply
      1. Eclair

        I do love McMansion Hell! One such atrocity is being built just a 10 minute walk from our house, on Jackass Hill Road. No kidding.

        It has been under construction for at least three years; I think the builder does it in his (or her) off-hours. Think what the offspring of Olde English half-timbered mated with French Renaissance chateau would look like. And, then throw in some Edward Gorey furbelows.

        Reply
        1. PhilK

          LOL! McMansion Hell on Jackass Hill Road!

          That reminds me of a McMansion Hell I saw in the Santa Clara area a few years ago, called “Pavo Real Estates”. “Pavo real” is the Spanish name for the peacock, but the clueless upper-class twits that bought there probably had no idea that the literal meaning is “royal turkey”!

          Reply
        2. Hana M

          McMansion Hell is the best! Zillow tried to take her down but seems to have gotten so much negative feedback that they have dropped their lawsuit threats. The Fifty States of McMansion Hell are archived here: http://mcmansionhell.com/archive It’s a fun time-waster to work your way through past 50s.

          Amazing how many are still on the market. More than a few are foreclosure properties. I was amused to see that the realtor handling this property in Bear, Delaware has taken at least some of McMansion Hell’s comments to heart and got rid of the dead salmon wall color.

          http://mcmansionhell.com/post/157889533726/50-states-of-mcmansion-hell-bear-delaware

          https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/Bear-DE/pmf,pf_pt/81731728_zpid/10301_rid/globalrelevanceex_sort/39.76395,-75.490838,39.422138,-76.106072_rect/10_zm/

          Reply
          1. Clive

            I lu-rrr-rrrr-ve McMansion Hell. The one in the link is a classic. I keep meaning to contact her and tell here to check out “Octagon Homes” which are undisputed masters of the art here. They are on a one-company mission to put my entire county at risk of McMansion blight. This horror is going up, or threatening to, a few miles down the road from me. Check out the back view and you’ll see why the whole country is being plunged into a French door shortage crisis, the direct cause of which is the construction of this “home”.

            Reply
            1. Hana M

              Oh, my! I particularly like the American-style attached garage with the prestige autos parked in front of the garage doors. And the weird rooflines….why, why? And what are those strange posts mounted on the first floor deck?

              Reply
              1. Clive

                Ha! Yes, it’s like “my cars are so hugely expensive I just have to park them right here where y’all can see them”. Not too sure about those post adornments myself either but I was hoping they’re future proofing for when the peasantry grab their pitchforks, storm the place and threatened to hang the owners from them.

                Reply
              2. skippy

                “And the weird rooflines….why, why? And what are those strange posts mounted on the first floor deck?”

                Architectural embellishments of masculine grandeur, off setting the feminine 4 pane oversized windows…. chortle…

                disheveled…. Damn you Clive…. I have a fetish about fine finishes and all that woodwork…. salivate…. probably pre-finished anyway…. sniff….

                Reply
      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Right you are, Slim, it’s hilarious.

        There was a neighborhood of small 60’s houses near Oakbrook, Illinois that I used to drive through just to gawk. Someone had knocked down one of the bungalows and wedged a gigantic mcmansion in on the same tiny lot. It was the only house that looked like that–towering over all the neighbors and bursting with all of it’s mcmansional glory. It looked so bloated, I think you needed to walk single file from the front yard to the back along either side, and anyone packing a few extra pounds would need to go through the house.

        I never figured out who was more pissed–the neighbors or the fool who built it and will forever be known as “the one who lives in that house.”

        Reply
        1. polecat

          There are ‘mcmansions’ wthin view from our lot, across the street and now logged block just beyond … NO Yard with which to plant a vegetable garden, should hard(er) times come !!
          Lots of jacked-up trucks though … ‘YEEHAAAA’

          They can starve for all I care.

          Reply
      3. Jess

        A word on McMansions: In the coastal city I live in, many lots are only 25 wide by 100′ long and we have a 26′ height limit. Virtually every house in my area would fit the McMansion stereotype of massive bulk on a small lot simply because all the lots are small. And thanks to the latest bubble, the average price of a home in my neighborhood is $1.1 mil.

        Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      One of the things that has mystified me about Germany for the past couple of decades is, where on earth have the Unions been? Most German industries are heavily unionised and they’ve been considered a very powerful force – they were not wiped out in the manner British and US Unions were in the 1980’s. And yet German wages have stagnated since the 1990’s while profits in the big countries have soared. Yet there has hardly been a peep out of them.

      Reply
      1. visitor

        Most unions linked to the industrial sector have stood staunchly behind the economic policies enacted under Schröder, and pursued under Merkel.

        To make it short, they bought into the idea that Germany’s prosperity is linked to its exports, which consist essentially of industrial products. It is therefore necessary to protect the export machine, since German employment have come to depend so crucially on it.

        The competitive advantage of German firms is massively determined by (a) an undervalued € compared to other EU members and (b) an internal deflation achieved through continued salary restraint.

        German trade unions are therefore for the € and for wage restraint, because they are necessary to maintain the export competitiveness of Germany, and hence to preserve jobs at home.

        Perversely, internal demand is also lacking and cannot easily replace the hypertrophied export sector, because (1) wage restraint has stifled internal demand; (2) stagnating internal demand has significantly depressed internal investment; (3) German firms increasingly specialize in products for export markets.

        Conversely, German trade unions have been very aggressive in sectors that are not export-oriented. There have been multiple, hard strikes in the airline and railway sectors demanding higher wages, for instance, and German trade unions have been aggressively organizing in giant Internet retailers like Amazon.

        Finally, the public sector in Germany is severely constrained by the constitutional “Schuldenbremse” (debt brake) — which prohibits covering a budget deficit with new debt. With no room whatsoever for wage raises, trade unions accept wage freezes in the hope of avoiding job cuts.

        Reply
      2. John

        Re: where on earth have the Unions been

        You mean the union-leaders or union-workers? I suspect the union-leaders like 3* Michelin restaurants too…

        Reply
  10. ambrit

    Just a quick note before work. That McMansion H— photo essay is spot on. I worked on the plumbing for dozens and dozens of similar houses during my days as a residential construction worker. This sized house is not unusual, and the “taste” that informs its’ ambiance is well nigh ubiquitous here in the American Deep South. The fun part of this equation is the utilities bill. Cooling one of those monsters in a Southern summer ain’t cheap!

    Reply
      1. Clive

        Yep, 5 to 7 tons chugging away at 12 SEER trying to keep, say, 5,000 sq ft at 75-ish / 50% RH in 95+ / 55% dry bulb ambients could easily hit the magic $1000 / mth.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Ah, but the ambient humidity here is closer to 70 to 90 percent during the day. Thunderstorms daily right now. I’ve also encountered some who keep their inside temperature closer to 72 F. Excess knows no bounds.

          Reply
          1. Clive

            Wowsers. I’ll never again call anything we have here a “muggy day”. I suppose in sort-of unjustified fairness to those sitting in 72 degrees, with that kind of latent heat load to deal with, it doesn’t matter much if they set their thermostats to 72 or a much more civic minded 78 — the systems will run more-or-less continuously anyway assuming you’re getting several air changes per hour due to inevitable infiltration. Reducing the size of the conditioned space is the best option. Try telling that to your typical McMansion owner though…

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Being a son of the Northern climes, I’m wet, as in t-shirt visibly soaked in minutes, when working outdoors. Another unexpected side issue is that I start to sweat after my afternoon tea break, even when sitting on the porch doing nothing!
              We here use two window units now, situated in the startegic spots of the house, which is just under 1500 square foot in the “conditioned” space, not “under roof.” One works the bedroom, the other the kitchen and “computer nook” adjacent to the kitchen. We manage to keep our electricity bill under $125 a month in the summer that way. Parsimony is, strangely enough, a virtue when one is financially constrained. Then we see the homeless at the “Hobo Camp” off of Broadway Drive, and don’t feel quite so virtuous. There has been an explosion of that this past year. We always say that the man who invented air conditioning should be, at the least, canonized by the Church.
              As for trying to “educate” any McMansion owner about anything….

              Reply
  11. Stephen Rhodes

    Careless wording of the day citation
    (healthcare)

    “I think there will be a lot of stabilization,” Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican. “There will be a lot more spending, that’s for sure. And the American people are going to be ripped off a lot more than they should be.”

    —Bloomberg

    Reply
  12. roadrider

    RE; Trump & The Smoking Yawn

    The only example he can find of Obama’s corruption is the transgender bathroom thing (which isn’t actually corruption at all)?

    As far as foreign influence on the US political process why isn’t anyone talking about the biggest elephant in the room – Israel?

    Reply
    1. Donald

      On Israel, it is precisely because it is the biggest elephant in the room that people don’t talk about it. It’s the basic rule of American scandals– we give the most attention to medium sized ones. The biggest ones are ignored.

      A different example–the Saudis spread money around and we have been helping them commit war crimes in Yemen for over two years. Is it a scandal that we have helped create the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world right now? Not at all.

      Reply
      1. roadrider

        Well, yeah – that was my point. And that’s only one example of Obama’s corrupt (which is to say run of the mill for the establishment class) ways.

        Reply
  13. Terry Flynn

    re: The Single Payer California article.

    Cost savings are, of course, important – very much so in the USA. But there has always been a marked skew towards this type of analysis rather than one that also considers outcome gains. It reminded me of a general point regarding US healthcare reform which has been on my mind for many years now. When in academia my ‘home field’ of expertise was health economics. The International Health Economics Association conference was held every two years. I (along with lots of colleagues I chatted to) considered it to be a silly conference. Although the idea was that people were exposed to different areas of the field, in practice the vast majority of people self-selected into one of three fields and didn’t attend sessions outside their own ‘area’:
    (1) Development economics (those working in African and Asian health primarily)
    (2) Cost-effectiveness/cost-utility analysis (those working in Europe, Canada, and Australasia)
    (3) Health insurance (those working in the USA).

    The conference was way too big and given this self-selection (and the fact certain US economists *ahem* had no time for us working in ‘socialised medicine’) we thought splitting it up would have been better. FDA funded research reinforced the different paradigms by concentrating more on things like Patient-Reported-Outcome-Measures (PROMs) at the expense of studies that tried to quantify population health gain per £/$/whatever spent.

    Now of course there are MMT-type issues concerning ‘what’s the actual budget/resources available for healthcare’ but apart from those researchers using certain types of analysis that transcended the 3 areas above, I always considered it a real shame that more of what we’ve learnt from (2) has not made it into the debate about (3). (To partly answer my own question, the reason was that health economics in area (2) deliberately broke off from mainstream economics around 1980 and now owes more to operations research than traditional ‘welfare economics’.)

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think when you look at ‘real’ outcomes, the US system comes out even worse than when you look at raw cost figures. I have quite a few medics in my family who have worked around the world and they are unanimous in saying there is a vast amount of overtreatment in the US which leads to huge wastage. The US obsession (driven by markets of course) on cancer testing for healthy people almost certainly leads to a huge number of false positives, with people treated expensively and dangerously for no good reason at all. And as Yves here regularly points out, there is a lot of surgical intervention for issues which time and healthy diets would be the best option.

      A relative of mine is just about to start a major research project on opiate abuse in the US, with a follow up comparative study of Europe. One thing he told me is that he notices is that US doctors are simply not taught how to say ‘no’ to patients in a constructive manner. They simply don’t know how to deal with patients who insist they should have X or Y treatment, when the reality is that nothing at all (or simple painkillers) is best. Its assumed that if a patient has insurance, and is demanding something, you might reason up to a point, but after that, just give it to him. Training in how to deal with patients like this (who are of course extremely common) is standard in most other countries.

      Reply
      1. Cujo359

        One blindingly obvious outcome that isn’t easily turned into profit/loss calculations is the relatively short life expectancy in the US compared with most other advanced countries. What does that cost us? What does it cost to have workers who get sick more often or die earlier, requiring their employers to replace their skills more often? That strikes me as something that you can’t calculate on the back of an envelope, but it’s a real cost of substandard health care.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          The irony is that the shorter life expectancy goes hand in hand with a system which revolves around keeping the terminally ill alive for long after any quality of life has gone (so long as they have coverage). There is a huge ethical difference between the US and most other countries when it comes to end of life care.

          I’d be curious to find out if anyone has ever done a study on expected life spans for Americans excluding direct healthcare provision. One the one hand, American diets are normally pretty terrible by European or Asian standards, on the other, Americans usually drink and smoke a little less than most other countries.

          Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Of course one could take the other side of the argument and point out that when shoes and other items were hand made poor children often couldn’t afford to have shoes at all, much less repairable ones. And when it comes to electronics the amount of raw materials used has been steadily decreasing as has the power consumption. Probably the most flagrant example of planned obsolescence was the American car industry of the 1950s/60s where middle class people expected to change to a new car every three years and engines weren’t designed to last much more than 100k miles.

      Without a doubt the environmental costs of the mass production economy are proving to be severe but a middle way may be needed. Perhaps the law should state that the more resources that go into a product the more repairable it should be.

      Reply
  14. Carla

    When it ran the piece about Chinese youth dropping out, the WEF omitted the author’s name. I went to the original at sixthtone.com and learned that it was written by Zeng Yuli, a freelance writer focusing on Chinese youth culture. It’s a good piece and he deserves credit.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The observations on Sang culture in China and Japan strangely mirrors my own feelings of despair and lack of power to improve the world I will leave to my children. But the formula Zeng Yuli offers at the close of his essay rings hollow for me. It sounds too much an echo of nostrums like a favorite of mine from the 60s: “Join the Movement to Change Corporate America from Within”. And the problems our young face and will face are not limited to the kind of problems a “stiff upper lip” and Zeng Yuli’s “…tackle the problem head-on … promoting social reform and progress” might wrestle. Many debts come due for our children to pay as even now they pay in facing a world of bleak choices. I agree with Zeng Yuli that dejection and choosing “the way of political indifference, complacency, and listlessness, viewing society’s problems as inevitable and ineradicable, and seeking refuge in small comforts and ephemeral pleasures” is self-defeating. I am at a loss trying to imagine better choics.

      Reply
      1. UserFriendly

        When I submitted it I said ‘Not just in China.’
        I know dozens of people that feel the same way. We have a pseudo democracy where nothing ever changes for the better no matter how hard we try all while the rich get richer and the planet dies. I would be absolutely shocked if there was anything even remotely resembling a functional economy by the end of my life. I can’t seem to muster the ability to find joy in the trivialities of low expectations and the mundane realities of daily existence though.

        Reply
        1. MoiAussie

          We have a pseudo democracy where nothing ever changes for the better no matter how hard we try all while the rich get richer and the planet dies.

          Throughout my adult life there have with few exceptions always been enough people who voted against their own long-term interests to ensure government by the parties of big business and the elites. In democracies where voting is not compulsory, an amazing number of people, who could have easily swung the election, simply fail to vote (about 1/3 in the recent UK election). The phenomenon of people voting against their interests hasn’t improved over the years (Britain’s recent blip excepted) but become worse. The main problem is not that we live in pseudo-democracies, it is that so many voters are too blind or selfish or scared to support governments that would implement radical change. IOW, we, the 95%, are not all trying, many of us are working against change or doing nothing.

          The exception in Australia was the Whitlam government in 1972, which did more good in its 3 years than any government before or since. The CIA soon put paid to that.

          Reply
          1. Jeremy Grimm

            How would the silent third manage to vote for their interests in the US election(s) recently past? What about elections for Representatives, Senators, Governors, State Representatives, State Senators, County Freeholders, Mayor, City Council? We can’t even vote “None of the above”. If things are better in the U.K. or Australia — I hope they stay that way and I hope your silent third get out to vote and vote for their best interests. As for the US — I’m not sure what we have to hope for whether we vote or not.

            Reply
            1. MoiAussie

              Apparently in the US presidential election turnout was 58%. If a fraction of the 42% who didn’t vote had turned out for Sanders, he would be president. If one tenth of the 32% who didn’t vote in the UK had voted Labour, Corbyn would be PM. If half of the 25% who didn’t vote in France had turned out for La France Insoumise, then Mélenchon would be President, and Macron consigned to the dustbin of history.

              Reply
  15. Huey Long

    RE: North Korean Missiles

    Thanks for this link! While I enjoyed the article, I am loving the 38north website and its wealth of open source intel on NK.

    Reply
  16. nick

    Be sure to grab your pearl necklace for something to hold on to before reading “Trump & The Smoking Yawn” in The American Conservative:

    “Yet Obama and his administration attempted to force policies on public schools that would have permitted males in female locker rooms, and overall would have mandated observation of the gender ideology lie as if it were fact. To a lot of people, this is not corruption, it’s justice. But to many others — like me — it is profoundly corrupt, morally and intellectually, because of what it teaches about basic biological and moral reality — and in turn, how it destroys awareness of critical fundamental truths.”

    (Likely) criminal conspiracy, campaign finance violations, and obstruction of justice versus “I had to explain what a trans person is to my kids and now I’m upset.” I am glad that the American Conservative will always be there to remind us in these trying times about where to draw the ethical line.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Likely…for both parties and their candidates.

      The question then is, do we let the left hand investigate the right hand, or the right hand investigate the left hand?

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yep, that’s Rod Dreher. I should have warned you. But I’m a “take what you like and leave the rest” guy, so I thought this rang true:

      Look, I don’t say that to defend what looks like might become a serious scandal. I am saying, though, that within the Establishment’s way of doing things, real moral and ethical corruption that has had real effects on real people has been simply the way business gets done. And nobody within that world much cares, or even sees it.

      And:

      I’ve figured all along that Team Trump was guilty of something in this regard. You don’t get so cozy with a Russian made man like Paul Manafort, not if you have the ethics of Donald Trump, and not get your hands dirty in some way. The problem so far is that much of the Trump-Russia speculation in the media has gotten out ahead of the known facts. That problem is rapidly going away, and may have just done so.

      Here’s the thing that dogs me, and that’s a measure of my own cynicism about Trump: I’m struggling to care about this story at this point. Me, I’ve priced this corruption into my estimation of the man.

      An interesting perpspective [Gallic shrug].

      Reply
      1. Plenue

        I’m rather bemused by his implicit awe of the position of President of the United States, and his outrage at how Trump defiles it. But Trump still has yet to rack up a record of death and destruction comparable to any of his predecessors going back at least half a century. I’d say even the least harmful of them did far more to sully their position than bumbling Trump. Trump is an embarrassing clown, but in terms of actual substance he still has a long way to go to reach the level of evil of people like Obama, Reagan, and both Bushes. It’s amazing how Trump’s buffoonery apparently is unacceptable, but past President’s literally destroying entire countries gets a pass, because at least they did it with some dignity and a comforting charisma.

        Reply
  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Read Donald Trump Jr.’s Emails About Russia Meeting Roll Call. I count five, so it doesn’t take long. Usual disclaimer: As Nina Illingworth writes: “The two core accusations behind Russiagate are: A) Trump is an intel asset; B) Russia rigged the election.”

    Is anyone working with this highest Russian ‘intel asset’ in the US (anyone in Congress, for example, working for him, by passing a legislation Trump might have spoken favorably of in the past*, like, ‘Canadian healthcare is great. We should have one like that’ or something similar) guilty of being an accessory to his ‘treason’?

    *Yes, even in the past. Leave no stone unturned, for all those of us who want be the next Sherlock Holmes.

    It’s time to assess damage or potential threats, and contain it or them.

    “Single Payer is a Russian communist plot.”

    (End of sarcasm)…unless you think not…you’re educated, you decide.

    Reply
  18. Jim Haygood

    It’s 10 a.m. … the Dow’s at a record high, and after proclaiming Prime Day the greatest global shopping event evahhhh, Amazin’ stock is back in quadruple digits.

    Bezos is in his flivver Prime Air cargo jet, and all’s well with the world. :-)

    Reply
  19. DJG

    With regard to the Trump Jr e-mail chain, I will await the indictments. Given that white-collar America is terrified of indictments, because if indictments of the interlocking directorate of the politicobusinesso class start, there should be no end, I don’t see indictments happening. One of the most striking developments of the last thirty or so years is that there are no consequences for the behavior of the U.S. upper middle class or U.S. corporations. Just one for-instance: How much money is parked overseas by U.S. business in active tax avoidance?

    So let all of the e-mail chains come out, including the ones on Clinton’s wiped hard drive, which evidently were copied many times and may have been what Veselnitskaya was hinting that she had.

    And let the indictments begin. I’d say that it is time to clear out some prison cells, but I won’t count on findings of guilt in our corrupted justice system.

    Reply
    1. DH

      Don Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort all wear ties and suits. It’s written into the US Constitution that wearing a tie and suit precludes indictment.

      Reply
    2. Plenue

      There’s nothing to indict. Junior met with a Russian lawyer promising dirt on a political opponent, and then not only didn’t have any info, but used the meeting as an opportunity to lobby for Russian business interests. No info was exchanged, and no further meetings happened. The end. And even if info had be handed over, there’s nothing illegal here. And there’s no indication this lawyer has any connection to the Russian government. Liberals are really scrapping the bottom of the barrel on this.

      I also suspect the story is already morphing in the minds of liberals, and soon we’ll be treated to rants about how Donald Trump Jr met with a Russian government agent who personally handed him hacked emails. But remember, it’s always the mean Republicans who are ‘low information voters’.

      Reply
      1. DH

        I believe some of the campaign laws include solicitation as well as actual procurement of assistance. However, it is unlikely that an indictment would occur simply for taking one meeting like this. But, one of the big problems with convicting white collar crimes is the ability to show intent behind a series of relatively mechanical transactions. This e-mail trail would be critical in showing intent if there was a critical mass of continued events. It is also another brick in the perjury wall, since it appears that many actual meetings were never recorded on the first edition of security clearance documents for Kushner.

        Reply
  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “Mish fails to mention that Amazon employed a raft of coercive pricing and item-availability tactics in an all-out effort to force users into Prime – a very large % of items which used to be available to all customers are now ‘Prime only’.”

    Mish did mention this in his column today about Trump Jr., Smoking Guy Hype Vs. Reality:

    And if the charges were reversed, I would not be alleging Hillary committed treason or was guilty of anything at all by talking to the Russians.

    And this gets to a more general point – a point about the unreliability of logic and evidence. It is that they are not enough by themselves. Logic is not enough by itself. Evidence is not enough. We have to supplement it by looking at the presenter’s motive.

    Thus, the exclamation of someone’s ‘conflict of interest.’

    “You claim 1 + 1 = 2, but we question your motive. Now, we are skeptical.”

    What if Mish had said that he would not go after Hillary were the charges reversed? He would have written the same, with the same evidence and combed through them with the same logic, but we would be doubtful…because they are not enough.

    We don’t see so enough, think so enough, analyze so well, without looking at the person himself/herself.

    The mind is not enough. It needs the heart.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Yes — So I looked up the word “shadowtime” which I heard yesterday on an NPR program while on a long drive. The search took me to a strange but interesting site: “The Bureau of Linguistic Reality” [https://bureauoflinguisticalreality.com/]

      Reply
  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Sources: Cohn is Trump’s top candidate to replace Yellen at Fed Politico. Why haven’t we put a Goldman alum on the Supreme Court? What are we waiting for?

    I assume GS only has A+ students from school (and A+ students acing this worldwide contest for wealth).

    And, thus, another demonstration why we overvalue the brain too much, over the heart.

    Reply
      1. Jim Haygood

        HBS = Hardball Business School
        HLS = Horsefeathers Law School

        It’s a big club, and we ain’t in it.

        *thoughtfully sharpens pitchfork tines with a bastard file*

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Horsefeathers….Haygood=rescuer of lost words.

          As for Bannon on the Supremes: would he be any worse than Roberts?

          Reply
  22. thump

    Why haven’t we put a Goldman alum on the Supreme Court?

    With the “lifetime appointment” thing, the revolving door would stop revolving. No point in keeping that corner office waiting for their return.

    Reply
  23. Alex Morfesis

    If your grandpa is a commie than you gotta turn him in…in my left hand I have a scripted set of events which will eventually lead to the grandson of a person I will use to destroy people’s lives..and in this political theatre, the grandson will then help take down a president who is not one of us…

    Just totally amazed how this magnitsky thingee is about and caused by actions of the grandson of the head of the communist party in the us of hey hey hey during the timeframe attacked by McCarthy

    but then again…Greta van susteren is the daughter of crazy uncle joes chief aid…

    It’$ a $mall world after all…

    Browder…who created the situation which would lead to the death of magnitsky, is the grandson of one certain earl browder…the favorite punching bag of senator joe McCarthy…well…let me rephrase that…browder himself was basically untouched…just anyone around him got crushed…just goes to show…

    The more things change…
    Will ceases never wonder…

    Reply
  24. Pat

    That is a lovely family portrait in the antidote.
    Helps fuel.my fantasies about cuddly polar bears. Still lovely.

    Reply
  25. George Phillies

    ” – a very large % of items which used to be available to all customers are now ‘Prime only’.” ”

    I use Amazon regularly, for things I cannot buy locally, and have yet to encounter this issue.

    Reply
  26. abynormal

    Uhhh, my Lockheed credit union has announced no checks or currency deposits accepted from Any foreign countries.

    Reply
  27. Cujo359

    Re: Single payer effort in California, David Dayen has written an expose of the growing split between various factions supporting single payer efforts in the state. He also briefly mentions the opposition:

    One sign of how Sacramento viewed the effort was the curious lack of opposition to the bill. “Insurers, doctors, I’ve been on the other side when they’re actually opposed to something,” said Anthony Wright of Health Access California, which supports the legislation but hasn’t formally joined the coalition. “I’ve seen what they can do, hiring lobbyists in the Capitol. You see none of that.”

    If that’s true, it looks like the usual opponents aren’t worried that they’ll see a serious legislative effort this year. Dayen’s article could be an explanation why.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Here, in California, there is no need to capture the D party.

      We can referendum that, put it on an initiative.

      That’s better than wasting time, energy and whatever (maybe money) on reforming the D party.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        I’m told there’s enough skepticism re referendums that in CA it is widely accepted in political circles 75-80% support in July for it to pass in Nov. People can do the “this is nice in theory but what about this problem” and erode support faster than you think. And as Dayen and other have pointed out, there’s a provision in the CA constitution that 40% of state spending has to go to education, so that needs to be fixed too for single payer to be possible.

        Reply
        1. Cujo359

          Here in the state of Washington we see that sort of thing a lot. Referendums that the average voter would either benefit from, or incur no significant costs from if the won’t benefit, go down to defeat because those voters get the idea that they’re going to be shelling out big bucks for the benefit of “special interests”. The “anti-” TV and radio commercials often bear little resemblance to the truth, but people seem to take them seriously.

          The only referendums that seem to consistently pass here are the wacky anti-tax initiatives. Anything that will cost money is almost certainly doomed to fail.

          Reply
        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Maybe we can say healing is educational.

          Then, health care (or the part that is considered educational, like consultation, nutrition help, fitness classes, etc) can be included in that 40%.

          Reply
          1. Elizabeth Burton

            Maybe we can say healing is educational.

            Given that sick children are in no condition to learn, and given that many poor children don’t have access to dental care because Medicaid pays such a pittance dentists refuse to accept it, that’s really not a totally incorrect argument.

            Reply
        3. Jess

          With respect to ballot measures in CA, one should differentiate between referendums and initiatives. There are two important distinctions. One is that a referendum is a vote on a particular action by a government body, (local city council to state legislature) and you normally only have 30 days to collect the required number of valid petition signatures. Hence, except at the local level or in the case of wildly dubious legislative action, not practical to pull off. Initiatives, however, have about a 165 day window to collect signatures.[Technically it’s 180 days; however, there are requirements related to publishing the notice of intent, posting the notice of intent, and getting the appropriate election official’s Summary of the measure (which has to appear on the signature petition), which reduce the true effective period to about 165 days, give or take given the individual situation.]

          As for the % needed to gain passage, that depends a lot on what the specific measure is about. In some cases, the margin you cited is more or less correct. In other cases, the measure reflects a groundswell of support which the opposition has great difficulty making a dent in. (Prop 13 is the classic example. But Prop 218 was another, as was the Three Strikes Initiative in response to the kidnap-rape-murder of Polly Klass.)

          Reply
  28. Anon

    RE: Riptides and Hope for Humanity

    Actually, there’s no hope for inland tourists visiting an open ocean beach. They will likely get caught “in over their heads” at a beach (w/no lifeguards). Riptides are a common occurrence at rising tide on many, if not most, ocean beach. (It has to do with the topographic shape of the beach and the increasing flow of water from the rising tide.)

    Few “landlubbers” are strong swimmers and fewer still realize that calmly swimming parallel to the beach is the surest technique to surviving riptides. (That, or a flotation device.)

    While the human chain was an interesting solution (while actually putting untrained people at risk) the best solution to saving folks from watery demise is to bring them a flotation tube. (Clinging to it is a natural response.)

    The police response in the article was educated: most are not trained for water rescue.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Bizarrely, police are being trained to take no risks at all, and people are dying as a result – often of police gunfire.

      That’s bizarre because of their claim to “hero” status. Not, except for individuals. It may take a while, but people are going to catch on.

      I agree: the spontaneous human chain is an example of humanity at its best.

      Reply
  29. Oregoncharles

    “Boris Johnson says EU can ‘go whistle’ on Brexit settlement bill”

    Provocateur is part of BJ’s job description.

    There was an interesting exercise on NC a few days ago: an attempt to figure out the itemization of the EU’s “Brexit settlement bill”. Nobody could, including Europeans who support the EU’ side. Conclusion: it’s inflated for effect. If it’s based on prior agreements, it should be fairly easy to figure out AND ITEMIZE. An un-itemized bill is posturing, not negotiating. That’s the stage both sides are still at – and the inflated bill looks a lot like willful sabotage of the negotiation.

    Let’s hope they all get over the posturing stage fairly soon, or the only beneficiary will be Donald Trump, since He’ll have the UK at his mercy..

    Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Oops, paywall. Do you think you could tell us what it’s about? It’s a British paper, so not exactly unbiased.

        Reply
  30. ewmayer

    o “Trump’s Biggest Political Asset Is Supporters Who Believe Any Negative News Is Fake | New York Magazine” — …and our esteemed propaganda-spewing MSM which continue to provide plenty of ammo for said ‘delusion’. Oddly, the headline omits mention of that.

    o “Donald Trump’s clash of civilisations versus the global community | Martin Wolf, FT” — Wolf presumably means the same western-dominated “global community” which has been engaged in a de facto clash of civilizations – and classes – for decades now, leaving millions dead and billions worse off thatn they should be.

    o “Federal government cancels costly, decade-long search for a new FBI headquarters | WaPo” — I hear the Silicon valley grift-mill unicorn formerly known as Theranos is renting out space, cheap. Comes complete with the lingering stench of hig-profile Theranos board members like Henry Kissinger!

    Reply

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