Links 5/18/15

First fully warm-blooded fish: The opah or moonfish Science Daily

Nine dead in clash between biker gangs at Texas ‘breastaurant’: Shoot-out leaves bodies strewn across parking lot as police warn more Bandidos and Cossacks are flocking to scene for all-out war Daily Mail. “Why do America’s biker gangs insist on dressing like thugs?” @tanehisicoates

Hedge Funds Close Doors, Facing Low Returns and Investor Scrutiny NYT

World’s central bankers braced for big divergence FT

Why the Fed is starting to get nervous Business Spectator

Noah Smith, Paul Romer, “Mathiness”, and Baking the Politics into the Microfoundations… Washington Center for Equitable Growth

China coal use falls: CO2 reduction this year could equal UK total emissions over same period Greenpeace

Can drones replace satellites? International Electrotechnical Commission

Trade Traitors

Republicans claim enough votes to pass fast-track trade bill Reuters

How Much Should a Currency Be Worth? No One Really Knows WSJ. So currency manipulation could be hard to prove….

China Liked TPP — Until U.S. Officials Opened Their Mouths Foreign Policy

Country-of-Origin Meat Labels Face WTO Decision WSJ

In bourbon country, a shot of scandal WaPo. I like the steroids in the silver, heart-shaped box part.

Kansas could lose millions for limiting welfare recipients to $25 at ATMs McClatchy

Claim: Guards ignored cries of pain so Nevada inmate removed his own teeth Las Vegas Review-Journal

Alabama jail forced to release prisoners after it ran out of food Digital Journal

US states seek to block city fracking bans FT

States saying ‘no’ to cities seeking to regulate businesses AP


Alexis Tsipras letter reveals precariousness of Greece’s finances Peter Spiegel, FT

Greek Endgame Nears for Tsipras as Bank Collateral Hits Buffers Bloomberg

Greece has no money to pay the IMF, Alexis Tsipras warned creditors Telegraph. But then they looked under the couch cushions…
Would leaving euro be more of a catastrophe for Greece than staying? Guardian


The simple core of the Grexit and Brexit conundrums Wolfgang Münchau, FT


Key Iraqi City Falls to ISIS as Last of Security Forces Flee NYT

Iraq’s Anbar in ‘total collapse,’ on brink of falling to Islamic State Bangor Daily News

U.S. ‘expedites’ weapons shipments to Iraq in wake of ISIS advances CNN. Another lick at the ice cream cone.

Was The Killing Of The IS Oil Minister A Combined Syrian-U.S. Operation? Moon of Alabama

Officials: Saudi-Led Coalition Airstrikes Resume in Yemen NYT

Special Report: The middle-class Islamists behind Tunisia’s museum attack Reuters

ISIS Grudgingly Admits Half Its 71 Soldiers In US Already Married, More Than $50K In Debt Duffel Blog

Honor the Vietnamese, Not Those Who Killed Them Truthout

Dear Old Blighty

Trident whistleblower says nuclear subs are insecure, unsafe and ‘a disaster waiting to happen’ The Herald. The whistleblower is, naturally, on the run. Here’s the report [PDF]. Best part: “A missile compartment was used as an exercise gym.” Puts getting jacked in a whole new light….

EU exit may be in UK’s best interest, says top manufacturing firm Telegraph

Police warn big budget cuts will lead to ‘paramilitary’ force Guardian

Intelligence officers given immunity from hacking laws, tribunal told Guardian

Private healthcare companies accused of using tax relief to undercut the NHS Independent (Steve)

Class Warfare

How to Save the Middle Class Bloomberg. “… the fallacy that middle-class Americans are falling behind because the 1 percent is enriching itself at their expense.”

Chris Christie Administration Paid $600M In Financial Fees In 2014 David Sirota, International Business Times. Versus $427M a year on student aid.

U.S. workers miss billions in retirement matches: study Reuters. That’s not a bug…

How to join the 1% The Economist. Start by choosing the right parents.

Poor Little Rich Women NYT

The Poor Get Prison [PDF] Institute of Policy Studies

The Secret Corporate Takeover Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate

Panic, depression and stress: The case against meditation New Scientist. Take mindfulness — please! (Normally, I don’t link to the brutally paywalled New Scientist, but the visible paragraphs are worth pondering.)

The Object as Subject Chronicle of Higher Education

See The Original Alice In Wonderland Manuscript, Handwritten & Illustrated By Lewis Carroll (1864) Open Culture

The mathematically proven winning strategy for 14 of the most popular games WaPo. And we all know how much they like a “sure thing” in the Beltway….

Programmed to Ignore? Do the Math. Interesting Meyers-Briggs explication from a serious science blogger. I think the interesting question is not whether M-B is “true” — in the same way that the Four Humours, the three Buddhist personality types, or “millenials” and/or “Boomers” are or are not “true” — but that people “identify as” M-B personality types, and that such identification can be statistically significant for a blog readership. And if that’s true, how to leverage it?

Black Co-ops Were A Method of Economic Survival Grassroots Economic Organizing (diptherio). Old post, but useful history.

Other Economies Are Possible Counterpunch

Antidote du jour (via):


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.


  1. Ben Johannson

    I can’t identify with the New Scientist article on meditation. Rather than leading to the breakdown of “sense of self”, in quieting my thoughts I feel more myself than ever. A lot of this depression talk I am hearing about recently appears (in my opinion) a side-effect of chatter addiction withdrawal. We think of the nonstop nattering neuroses in our heads as ourselves and feel loss as the neural connections enabling it go dormant.

    1. Ditto

      I fast and meditate.

      For along time, I tried to quiet my mind, and it was depressing bc it became another form of avoidance and suppression.

      It was only after I came to accept fears and problems for what they are – things I would have to face and addess rather than ignore – that I ironically became much more centered in the present.

      I believe a lot of the problem with how these things are taught is that meditation can lead to suppression and denial rather than I’m going to accept this and deal with it

      Example : I’m unemployed. Rather ruan trying to take My mind off off it , I simply accept that my fears of not finding a job is real, that I may indeed not find one and come back to the moment rather than tryng to suppress the fear by taking it out of my mind or lying to myself

      1. jrs

        “It was only after I came to accept fears and problems for what they are – things I would have to face and addess rather than ignore – that I ironically became much more centered in the present.”

        That’s often what a lot of the mindfulness philosophies argue for, facing fears and problems (see “mindfulness” based psychologies like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy etc.).

        Meditation may have it’s risks (so does everything), on the other hand my nervous system has always run on very high stress anyway so … my normal may never have been normal either. So what are you gonna do?

        1. Susan the other

          I think there is a human trait, ages old, that amounts to passive meditation. And for many people I know, including myself, it is as natural as breathing. When you walk into a room you can take the measure of everyone there because you start from a humanistic base – we are all good – and then you can delight in all their various geniuses. But just because some are delightful doesn’t mean we should take them up like soldiers.

      2. Ben Johannson

        That’s interesting. My response is quite different, in that meditation gives me relief from depression and stress. My tendency to overreact became moderated and sleep improved once I learned to shut off racing thoughts.

    2. human

      Certainly, formal meditation aids any number, however, as far as I am concerned, if you are _not_ depressed, in our day and age, you are sick.

      1. neo-realist

        These people are outliers for sure, but I know a suburban couple–friends of friends–steady employment, home owners, and a one year kid, who just…………………………………….won a million dollar lottery:/…….for real. I think their depression issues, if any at all, are cured for the foreseeable future.

    3. subgenius

      I ‘meditated’ for years before I learned how to meditate. Early experiences were interesting, but a total failure as far as actual meditation goes because most western-taught meditation is, in fact, neutered bollocks taught as a ‘self help’ by people with no actual understanding (much in the way yoga in the west is).

      You don’t, for example ‘try to quiet your mind’. A mind like a millpond is the RESULT of the process. But it is not achieved the way it is thought about in 99.9% of what I hear from ‘meditation’ teachers. The whole process is a mix of really obvious and utterly counterintuitive and it would take a book length comment to even start to explain it. Or I could say ’empty your mind’ and everybody would entirely miss the point….

      My first REAL meditation teacher (an oldish daoist priest) was a serious kung fu guy (not the famous kind you see in the media, but the kind who in his earlier life had fought to the death – fairly frequently) and his opening teachings were basically a warning that meditation is the toughest and scariest thing you can put yourself through. Way worse than serious fighting. More like chosing to put yourself through torture. But if you are down for the challenge you can go a LONG way.

      This has since been repeated by several subsequent teachers (daoist and Buddhist). All have very strongly indicated pretty much the same as the article. It DOES pass, usually, if you stick to it…but there are no guarantees…and it requires a LOT of meditation to even get to the point where the real deal begins (like… Sitting for hours daily, and NOT using western bollocks like visualisation or the laughable western take on mantras.)

      1. lord koos

        It may not fit your definition of meditation, but visualization certainly is not “bollocks”.

        1. subgenius

          In terms of meditation, I hate to break it to you, but yes, it is.

          Reason: meditation is a path to clearing the mind to a state of nonthinking. In order to visualize, you have to consciously engage thought. I have hung for pretty extended periods with individuals considered enlightened by major ancient traditions, and others welll on their way. All agree on this.

    4. Antifa

      Western notions of meditation are better described as concentration, for it a conscious effort to not be distracted by one’s breathing, thoughts, feelings, or body. Which is essential to obtaining a meditative state, certainly, but concentration is to meditation as standing is to dancing. Only one of them can sweep you away.

      What is swept away in meditation is ‘you’ — the individual sense of self. There is no individual self to any human being, only a collection of memories and habits and the endless ever-thinking of the monkey mind, all of which tends to create a sense of ego, or individual self. But there’s nothing really there, which is what Hinduism and Buddhism would have you experience for yourself in meditation. If there is consciousness, awareness, in the universe, it is necessarily one, not many. This is self-evident in a meditative state, and far more real than any sense of individual ego.

      Most people who practice a musical instrument find the practicing and practicing frustrating. Sometimes beyond frustrating. A source of anxiety and depression even. “I’ll never master this song!” is how you feel, until one day that tune just flows out by itself, as if you weren’t even trying. As if you were just there when it happened.

      That’s the difference between the frustration and effort of concentration (which the article describes as meditation), and the effortless, timeless flow of meditation. You don’t ‘do’ meditation. You’re just there when it happens — after much, much practice of concentration.

      What’s really fascinating is that a full state of meditation is always present within the human brain. You know how some people can bump their head or have a stroke or awaken from a coma and suddenly they can play the piano or some other such full blown skill emerges? There have been similar cases where people suddenly found themselves living almost exclusively in the right hemisphere of their brain. For them, sitting in deep meditation is effortless, if not nearly constant.

      1. jrs

        It’s pretty much always made sense to me that identity as it is usually defined (personality) was not real in some sense, were habits formed by early experience etc., and that oneself was primarily deep down just a being who experiences. But that has just always made sense to me intellectually. Still personality traits can be near impossible to shake. And I accept that one is a unity as a biological organism, that lives through the physical lifespan and one day dies.

      2. Ben Johannson

        Western meditative tradition is more than concentration. Self-control and discipline are key; the stoics used meditation to objectify emotion in pursuit of “clear and right thinking” for achievement of the virtuous life. This is not a matter of learning to ignore distractions so you can focus on something. It’s about the power to choose how one feels and to act in accordance with nature.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Who you gonna believe — the Secretary of State, or your lying eyes?

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed confidence that the [ISIS] takeover of Ramadi would be reversed in the coming weeks.

    “I am convinced that as the forces are redeployed, and as the days flow in the weeks ahead, that’s going to change, as overall (they) have been driven back … I am absolutely confident in the days ahead that will be reversed.”

    “Ramadi has been contested since last summer and ISIL now has the advantage,” Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith said. The loss of the city would not mean the Iraq campaign was turning in Islamic State’s favor, but it would give the group a “propaganda boost”.

    “That just means the coalition will have to support Iraqi forces to take it back later,” Smith said, adding that the United States was continuing to provide air support and advice.

    It’s just a ‘propaganda boost,’ comrades. Let the militants strut and preen, until our mighty Mainstream Media demolishes them. Ramadi is ours!

    1. Susan the other

      All this stuff just makes me appreciate Hansel and Gretel. They left a trail of breadcrumbs the satellites could see from space. Ah. Clever. Next year I will recant everything I have been saying if I turn out to be nuts. But for now the only reason I see for our farting around in Iraq is to clear a path to the Caspian.

  3. Jeremy Grimm

    The comments were especially rich in good links yesterday and links from those links. I noticed several of them showed up in the main links section today.

  4. spooz

    An earlier, non-paywalled look at the downside of mindfulness meditation, contains this quote from the Buddhist perspective:
    “Almost everyone who gets anywhere with meditation will pass through periods of negative emotion, confusion, [and] disorientation. …The same can happen in psychotherapy and other growth modalities. I would not refer to these types of experiences as ‘dark night.’ I would reserve the term for a somewhat rarer phenomenon. Within the Buddhist tradition, [this] is sometimes referred to as ‘falling into the Pit of the Void.’ It entails an authentic and irreversible insight into Emptiness and No Self. Instead of being empowering and fulfilling … it turns into the opposite. In a sense, it’s Enlightenment’s Evil Twin. This is serious but still manageable through intensive … guidance under a competent teacher. In some cases, it takes months or even years to fully metabolize, but in my experience the results are almost always highly positive.”

    1. subgenius

      Yes. This. But more…

      Part of the process is that you have to fully experience YOU. Guess what…most people suppress their inner asshole from their selfimage…so exposing it can lead to ‘issues’. These can be VERY serious issues. Psychotic break type issues….

  5. jjmacjohnson

    “Why do America’s biker gangs insist on dressing like thugs?”

    Because they are.

    I worked as kid in a factory with Hell’s Angels and they were exactly that.

    And these were the guys that were going “straight”.

    Plus every one needs a uniform.

    1. sam s smith

      They wear and drive similiar bikes so that witnesses will have a difficult time identifying them.

    2. KFritz

      William Queen, an ATF agent who was the equivalent of Joe Pistone, penetrating deeply into an ‘outlaw’ motorcycle club, “wrote that what makes a group like them different from the Mafia is that crime and violence are not used as expedients in pursuit of profit, but that the priorities are reversed. Mayhem and lawlessness are inherent in living “The Life” and the money they obtain by illegal means is only wanted as a way to perpetuate that lifestyle.” (from the Wikipedia article, “Outlaw motorcycle club)

      While it’s true that the uniformity of dress obscures individual identity in the case of crimes, the elaborateness of the ‘totem’ decorations to the uniforms belies the outfits as predominantly utitilitarian.

      Outlaw/1% cycle clubs are proportionately a bigger social/crime problem in Scandinavia, Canada, and (seemingly) Australia than in the US. The Hells Angels website is ‘nice’ enough to chronicle the malignant spread of the brotherhood around the world: click on the “Charters” link.

  6. Carla

    Thanks for repeating the “Kansas could lose millions” link again today.

    The criminal actions of our political and financial classes (actually, IS there a difference? maybe it’s a worthless distinction) cannot be brought to our attention too often. For the suffering they inflict on the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society, it’s almost impossible to think of ways to punish them enough. But I’ll keep trying…

  7. Code Name D

    ” The fallacy that middle-class Americans are falling behind because the 1 percent is enriching itself at their expense.”

    How is this a fallacy?

    1. Benedict@Large

      The American middle class is falling behind because of Congress’s refusal to keep employment tight. (Capitalism cannot do this by itself.) The 1 percent is enriching itself by and endless stream of tax cuts. These are two separate actions by Congress. Linking them together is the fallacy.

      1. jrs

        The lower taxes just let them keep the money. But they can get more money in the first place by reducing labor costs (outsourcing etc.). There’s the link.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Fallacious arguments can arrive at true conclusions.

      Something to keep in mind, as, for example, the rich privatize water in one’s village. They are getting richer and you don’t have water, and Congress does nothing.

    3. Calgacus

      It’s not. The article is propaganda, as evinced by its opposition of “pro-growth” to “redistribution”. Redistribution would be quite pro-growth. But even more important is predistribution – not strangling the poor/unemployed/working/middle class by withholding access to income. The most essential part is the state, controlled by the 1%, disemploying millions, say the bottom 10%, so that the 1% can revel in observing their misery. But maintaining a rigged, oligarchical economic structure where the 1% enriches itself at the expense mainly of the next 89% – like MyLessThanPrimeBeef’s water privatization example – so that they will soon join the bottom 10%’s living standard, is an important part of the plan.

      1. Ed

        Economies around the world have seen substantial redistribution from the poorer and middling classes to the wealthier classes, and little to no growth. So perhaps “redistribution” and “growth” are opposed after all.

      2. jrs

        anti-growth plus redistribution seem to be the policies that make any environmental sense.

    1. tgs

      I read that article and felt that at the end I had worked off a lot of bad karma doing so. Reneging on the Russian debt, which a lot of our financial savants are recommending, would involve further erosion of international standards and safeguards. From Reuters:

      Moscow was canny enough to structure the debt as Eurobonds governed by UK law and enforceable in British courts. So even without demanding repayment, the Kremlin as holder of almost a fifth of the outstanding bonds will wield huge clout if Ukraine is forced down the debt restructuring path.

      Some have argued that Ukraine should repudiate the debt as ‘odious’. Greece, on the other hand, is being forced to take a loan that it clearly cannot repay – I would have thought that the very definition of ‘odious’ – though of course that is probably not the legal definition.

      Michael Hudson has been very vocal about the fact that an IMF loan to Ukraine would violate the IMF’s rules for loans. But then again, rules no longer seem to be important when there is a larger political aim. Think of France and its Mistrals.

  8. human

    Why do America’s police insist on dressing like thugs?

    Maybe when we can answer this we can begin to answer the original question.

    1. afisher

      This is a great question. Perhaps the answer is from the above: because they are.

      The massive arrest yesterday: the Police knew of this gathering IN ADVANCE. At least that is what they are saying in the Texas newspapers.

    2. human

      Great replies, all.

      The point being that when “we” come to grips with the fact that we are the progeny, ideological if not biological, of those who sent armed thugs 300 miles into Mexico in 1846, 3 centuries earlier armed thugs from across the seas imposed their will upon 2 continents (histories by Zinn and Chomsky can fill in with 100 more examples) there will be no effective national discussion regarding the future of civilization. Period.

      What little I know of biker history, I vaguely recall that they are an offshoot of states rightists. They certainly act as autonomous and with sovereignty. How is this any different from “our” elites? Other than the fact that they act with more morals, ethics and courage as they defend their convictions personally instead of using legislation and hiring cannon fodder.

      As Al Capone so succinctly put it, “Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class.”

      1. subgenius

        I take great issue with your disparaging remark about my ancestry.

        As an English national, I demand recognition of the fact that MY forebearers stomped on pretty much all people everywhere. And we would do it again, if it wasnt for those pesky upstart nations like yours and China.

        2 continents, indeed. Harumpf.

          1. subgenius

            Ya gotta love Eddie…seen him live on 2 continents…one of the funniest guys alive, at least before his hollywood misadventures.

      2. Optimader

        They are the unintended consequence of postWWII vets being chucked back into society. Look up the Hollister CA riot which was the loose basis for the movie The Wild Ones.

        I recall HST quipping that when he did his Hell’s Angels research he road a BMW motorcycle in the event he ever needed to get away from them

        1. skippy

          The post WWII vets, especially pacific theater, came home with new found habits acquired after prolonged exposure in an extremely violent enviroment, some did transition back [various degrees] tho some did not.

          Yet this observation is as old as the hills….

          He, who is the Lord of all the world that moves and breathes, who for the Brahman, first, before all, found the Cows;
          Indra, who cast the Dasyu (Vritra) down beneath his feet, him girt by Marutas, we invoke to be our friend.
          He has bestowed the earth upon the Arya, and rain upon the man who brings oblation.
          Drive all our enemies away, Drinker of Soma, the Western, Mighty Conqueror, and the Eastern, Slayer of Dragons.
          Drinker of Soma, drive off our Northern foes and Southern, that we in thy wide shelter may be joyful.

          – Indra slaying Vritra, The Rig Veda, Early Bronze Age.

          Warfare is the art of breaking your opponent’s will to fight. Death & destruction- either on your side or your enemy’s have little to do with it. And even the best of us are nothing compared to what we can be- on Speed. Herodotus writes about Scythians burning Hemp bushes before a battle & inhaling the vapours. Tacitus mentions Germans using what we’d call hallucinatory drugs (though Germania isn’t what we’d call an unbiased source). We all know of Viking berserkers foaming at their mouths & fighting like wild beasts in a trance.

          PS: There are some who consider this to be proof of caste discrimination in Bronze age India. That’s nonsense. Vritra- & his Dasya armies- are clearly mentioned to be fire-breathing supernatural entities who ‘ringed the Earth with fire’ & ‘drank her rivers & clouds’. There is a very clear demarcation between Humans (Aryan, Tribal & Mlechha alike) & Demons.

          Fittingly enough, Indra ‘bestowing’ the Earth upon the ‘Arya’ (while high on Soma) also ties in nicely with the events during World War 2…

          One thing that always confused me about World War 2 was how soldiers could stand up to the horror that was the Eastern Front for so long. There’s propaganda of course, and the Commissar/ Gestapo wacko at the back would’ve been a big factor but history tells us Humans are usually miserable weak creatures who are afraid of death & despair…

          Then how does one survive when it is raining Fire & Death? One does what Indra did when faced with the Father of Dragons (& the Sea & Fire). One drinks Soma.

          ‘Armoured Chocolate’: Chocolate-coated Meth, Standard issue to Armoured Units

          ‘Flyer’s Chocolate’: More Meth with the same chocolate, Standard issue to Pilots. (This pic is some funny boy’s version of the real thing. I’ll tell why we have so few surviving samples later).

          Letters from German author Heinrich Böll feature accounts of a pill administered by Nazi health practitioners that was promoted as an “alertness aid.” Böll later received international notoriety as the most famous post-war writer and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972.

          What Boll was referring to was the German version of Speed: Pervitin. Introduced in 1938 by German drug-maker Temmler Werk, Pervitin reduced inhibitions, induced Euphoria & made soldiers more compliant to authority. The Allies executed thousands who were simply too drugged to protest their superiors’ orders.

          We even have letters from miserable wretches suffering from withdrawal on the Front.

          “It’s tough out here, and I hope you’ll understand if I’m only able to write to you once every two to four days soon. Today I’m writing you mainly to ask for some Pervitin… Love, Hein.”

          – Some long-dead Wehrmacht trooper in the Sixth Army, Stalingrad 1941.

          “I feel…cold and apathetic, completely without interests,”

          – Another long-dead Wehrmacht soldier in Poland demonstrating Pervitin withdrawal symptoms, 1940

          Hitler himself was doped up on Pervitin, Cocaine & what not throughout most of the War. No wonder he was a mess of a general!

          And now, as I have promised- why haven’t we got more samples of these Nazi drugs? The answer is simple. With typical German efficiency, the potency, reliability & safety of this Nazi stuff was far beyond anything the Allies could produce at the time.

          So, the Allies ate all of it.

          The Soviets used something they called- & still call- ‘Vint’ (Screw). Incredible addictive, damaging & cheap, it was created by Japanese Chemist Nagai Nagayoshi back in the 1800s- and was standard issue under the name ‘Shabu’ to the Kwantung army (or the guys who would become the Kwantung Army) during the Russo-Japanese War of 1905.

          One good thing about Vint-inspired massed Banzai charges is that you don’t have to spend so much on the victims of Vint-addiction after the war is over. I wouldn’t be surprised if all those Kamikaze pilots & Banzai-charge infantrymen were high during their attacks. It’d also go a long way in explaining the suicidal mentality of Imperial Japan. I don’t remember where- but I’d once read an account of Chinese commanders- Nationalist & Communist alike- expressing astonishment at how reckless the Japanese were.

          Again- these are Chinese commanders talking about how ‘reckless the Japanese were’.

          On the Western Front, the primary consumers, producers & distributors of War-drugs were the Imperial British. They’d faced drug-using soldiers in Yemen & Afghanistan earlier, and knew just how powerful these things could be. I’d reckon a major factor in Imperial Britain’s success during their 200 year long War on the Khyber was the fact that all of them were high; the Muslims on Wahhabi fanaticism (Can anyone give a comparison of the Middle East before and after the discovery of oil?), Sikhs & Hindus on racial hatred, the Whites on Drugs.

          “British troops used 72 million amphetamine tablets in the Second World War and the RAF got through so many that “Methedrine won the Battle of Britain” according to one report.”

          “Until the Korean War, Benzedrine was used extensively…by the British Armed forces and it was an open secret that many pilots engaged in a boot-legging operation to supply troops in Africa, Europe…and the Pacific…The amount of Benzedrine supplied to United States servicemen by the British has been estimated at nearly 80 million tablets & pills, and probably another 80 to 100 million were supplied by United States Medics…In addition, Amphetamines were easily obtainable from military medical officers & aides.”

          This is excluding the supply of ‘other drugs’ like Qat, Barbiturates, Heroin as well as cocaine in some cases. This also excluded home-brewed, or rather, field-brewed addictive substances made by the militaries, as well as the stocks captured from the Nazis. This also excludes the drugs pushed through by the soldiers’ families. The biggest export from British-occupied Yemen during the time was Qat- sparking off a drug epidemic that still affects Yemen today. Even now, rarely do we find any Allied aircraft wreckage in the North-East that does not have stacks of amphetamines in them. I remember reading an India Today article trying to put it in pc speech; ‘Medical supplies including amphetamines & heroin’, they’d written. Yeah, right- 50 kilograms of ‘medical supplies including amphetamines & heroin’…

          A major factor why we know so much about drug usage within the Axis, and not within the Allies, is that the Allies simply ignored the problem outright- when they weren’t busy covering things up. The Germans got off lucky in the sense that practically all their Youth- addicted or otherwise- were dead. The Japanese, however, had impressive de-addiction programs lined up as early as 1951. Dainippon Sumimoto, responsible for creating most of the Shabu, spearheaded the effort- Japanese efficiency at work again!

          Unfortunately for many of their soldiers, the Allies- Britain, America & USSR- have never been known for efficiency. The French got off lightly- in part because of their early surrender as well as the fact that most of their army was Muslim & eschewed narcotics to a large extent, but the drug supply had been on a scale vast enough to ruin Yemeni agriculture forever & spark off Afghanistan’s Opium crisis. I also don’t know of any large-scale de-addiction programs in the Allied states- even though with a known production of over 400 million doses after 1942 for the Western Front alone at the very least, there must have been millions of addicts after the war ended.

          “In Japan, After World War II, intravenous meth abuse reached epidemic proportions. This was due to the fact that the Japanese military had large amounts of Meth stock piled and after the war, made it available to the public. The United States Military has used Amphetamine in every war since World War II. In the Vietnam War, American Soldiers used more Amphetamine than the rest of the world did during World War II. During the 1970’s and the 1980’s, the biker gangs such as the Hell’s Angels were responsible for 90% of the methamphetamine produced in the United States. This changed in the late 80’s because the Mexican gangs/mafia began manufacturing Meth in Mexico and smuggling it into the U.S. The biker gangs then began purchasing Meth from the Mexicans because it was cheaper and easier than manufacturing their own.”

          Skippy…. the thing that stands out from a sociological point, is the difference between, say, indigenous sorts consuming psychotropics in communal manner w/ deference to nature / the group and what occurs when the market shows up. Youth migrate to towns and city’s to seek the cargo cult only to find themselves permanently stuck at the bottom rung, where old psychotropics [and some new] are used to mentally escape or diminish the anxiety their new surroundings feature.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            “As your attorney, I advise you to take a hit out of the little brown bottle in my shaving kit.”

            Even more seriously, I’ve always wondered why the emphasis on drugs in Thomas Pynchon’s novel of World War II, Gravity’s Rainbow. I chalked it up to the Sixties, but your comment puts the book in a whole new light.

              1. Skippy

                Additionally – Ritalin, Adderall and Dexedrine serve the same purpose as the aforementioned above Lambert.

          2. jrs

            Maybe that’s where to recruit revolutionaries from: the rehab (getting them to relapse will be no problem).

          3. jrs

            Of course maybe drug use explains Obama, beyond the speculation that he’s evil, greedy and afraid of the deep state (all of which are also plausible).

            Maybe drug use explains the entire sociopathy of the ruling class. They sure act like they aren’t in touch with external reality.

          4. Demeter

            Now I’m REALLY depressed….how can sane people fight against addicts?

            And all this US war against drugs is the height of hypocrisy.

    3. coboarts

      Bikers, Cops – what really impressed me was the total beer potential in that parking lot.

  9. Andrew Watts

    RE: Key Iraqi City Falls to ISIS as Last of Security Forces Flee

    I see little reason to change my previous assessment concerning these events. Although if the enemies of the Islamic State can actually get their s— together there’s still a chance.

    This situation shouldn’t surprise anybody who’s been paying attention to Iraq. The security situation in Anbar province has rapidly deteriorated since December when I warned that Ramadi and the rest of the province held by the Iraqi government was under threat of falling to the Islamic State. Before the December offensive in Anbar IS held barely any of the city and only small pockets of the surrounding area. The offensive resulted in IS capturing around 40% of the area. Since then a war of attrition has degraded the ability for the Iraqi Security Forces and tribal police/militants to resist the Islamic State. Which was complicated by Sunni tribes fighting a civil war against each other.

    The US Ambassador to Iraq has assured the Iraqis that the American troops in Ain-Al Assad airbase aren’t going anywhere. Which is a whole different kind of stupid when you think about it. Meanwhile Barry just gave the Gulf states a security guarantee at Camp David.

  10. Andrew Watts

    RE: Iraq’s Anbar in ‘total collapse,’ on brink of falling to Islamic State

    Boy, if I was one of those people who were playing with non-existent military formations in an imaginary campaign to take back Mosul since last year I’d feel pretty stupid right about now.

    Baghdad will likely be the next strategic target after IS has consolidated control over the province and secured the remaining military bases and camps in Anbar. I’m sure there will be no end to the idiotic commentary from media commentators who insist that the Islamic State can’t possible threaten Baghdad but what do they know? As for my estimation they’re very capable of shutting down the international airport and sacking the Green Zone. In effect this would partition Iraq and the Kurds would likely declare independence.

    RE: U.S. ‘expedites’ weapons shipments to Iraq in wake of ISIS advances

    I’m sure that the Islamic State appreciates the resupply. When the 8th brigade HQ in central Ramadi fell they left behind something like three regiments of war material. It’s unknown how much material was secured from the Anbar Operations Center.

    1. vidimi

      could ISIS just be a desperate attempt to keep Iraq from falling into the Iranian sphere of influence? Seems like a very auspicious silver lining

      1. James Levy

        All sorts of questions here. The major one for me is, why are the Shiites not fighting? I also don’t understand how American air assets are performing so poorly. ISIS is not fighting a guerilla war–it is launching conventional attacks against fixed targets. The Americans have been successfully busting up attacks like that with air power since D-Day. Please, don’t confuse me with the air power enthusiasts–I didn’t say it could win a war. But historically, ask the Germans at Mortain or The Bulge or the North Vietnamese during the 1972 Easter Offensive what it’s like to have the weather clear and the USAF show up in strength while you’re out in the open. The results were not pretty.

        The Iraqis and their American advisors have had enough time since the emergence of ISIS to whip at least a few brigades into shape, and the Shiite militias know without a doubt what will befall their coreligionists is ISIS gains traction and sweeps south. And American air units have had 12 freakin’ years to learn every nook and cranny of Iraq. We must have maps of that country down to the square meter, and the drones and satellites in place to monitor everything that moves there. This defeat is either, as vidimi states, an indication that the Americans want ISIS to win, or the US military is a 600 billion dollar fraud, hopelessly inept and corrupt. I can’t really see a third alternative. If anyone has one, I’m all ears.

        1. Ed

          I agree with this analysis. Once the US and some non-US news media and government got caught red handed lying about Iraq in 2002-3, I find it increasingly difficult to believe mainstream news media reports about anything, and about the Middle East in particular (and about Iraq especially in particular). So I have no idea whatsoever what is happening in Iraq. ISIS might not even exist as far as I am concerned. The whole thing might be fabricated as in “Scoop.”

          However, you have raised two plausible theories. The first is that ISIS itself is a creation of the US “deep state”, or of US “deep state” allies such as Saudi Arabia, or most plausibly of a faction in the Saudi succession struggle. Saudis definitely prefer Sunni Islamist fundamentalist over secular leftist dictators and Shiite backed governments in general, and US will play along with the Saudis, so is not really trying that hard to stop ISIS. The second is that the US military has been so hollowed out that it can’t even use air power, its core competency, anymore. Or both could be true.

        2. tiresoup

          IMHO it’s not about ISIS “winning” but US using them to take out Assad. I think that protestations of incompetence are often a cover story. They aren’t really trying, as you pointed out. I don’t pretend to know what the goals really are, but both ISIS and the US want Assad gone – for different reasons. I think there is sufficient hubris at top policy planning levels to believe we can control ISIS until the dirty work is done. An added bonus is that ISIS threatens Iran, who Saudi Arabia and Israel, our strongest allies, hate more than ISIS. It is strange how quiet the Israelis are on the topic of ISIS. Additionally, ISIS is an ongoing terror threat who we can use to drum up fear and compliance at home – as well as justify high levels of military spending. Looked at this way, ISIS is a very convenient problem.

          1. Jim Haygood

            ‘ISIS is a very convenient problem.’

            If ISIS didn’t exist, we would have to invent them.

            Oh, wait …

        3. cnchal

          . . . or the US military is a 600 billion dollar fraud, . . . per year.

          . . . hopelessly inept and corrupt.

          I can’t imagine that an individual working in the ‘military’ would see their occupation as corrupt, and not many people like to admit to ineptitude, but when you look at the total sum, it sure seems that way.

          Corruption is self defeating. Take the F35 as an example.

          For the next half century, the plan is to use these to dominate the skies and strike fear into the heart of whoever happens to be the enemy at the time. They are slower and less maneuverable than the old jets being replaced, never mind the Chinese copy that is substantially faster and more maneuverable than the old ones as well.

          So, what is the point of using elaborate productivity tools like cad cam software, high end computerized machine tools and all the “work” that goes into producing these exquisitely crafted, slow fighter jets? Is it just pork, make work?

          I don’t think that was the intention, but that is the result.

        4. Andrew Watts

          The Shia are fighting. They just aren’t doing a very good job of it. The problem is organization and experience. The Islamic State is filled with battle tested guerrillas who’ve been fighting for years in Iraq during the insurgency and in the Syrian Civil War. The conventional contingent has NCOs and officers with experience from not only the Gulf War I and II but the Iran-Iraq war. In comparison the Iraqi Army was thrown together by the US during the occupation and I bet the readiness reports were faked or downright fraudulent. While the bulk of the Iraqi forces haven’t received any training since the Americans left. It’s one thing to take a few months to teach basic military skills but developing small-unit tactics and coordinating large scale strategic maneuvers is another.

          Secondly, the Islamic State only moves massed formations under the cover of weather where airstrikes are ineffectual. When they do move without the cover of sandstorms they do so in small units that makes targeting them have less than the devastating effect you seem to think they would’ve had. This is asymmetric warfare not the battle of the Bulge.

          Third, the Islamic State is fighting with home field advantage in Anbar. Not only is it Sunni territory but quite a number of Anbar tribes are fighting with IS. The whole propaganda about the Surge working… well, it actually didn’t. The epic failure of General Petraeus is readily apparent now. The Sunni were only biding their time to re-ignite their war.

          This defeat is either, as vidimi states, an indication that the Americans want ISIS to win, or the US military is a 600 billion dollar fraud,

          I favor the theory that the US military is one giant racket. If you view TPP as an anti-Chinese military alliance it’s mostly a naval strategy based upon the works of Alfred Thayer Mahan. There’s just one little problem… Mahan’s theories died with the Prince of Wales when the Japanese sunk it.

          In the modern era China is developing anti-satellite weapons to deprive the US military of GPS technology. Without GPS the US Navy cannot navigate and thus are unable to close the straights of Malacca like they plan to in any Sino-American war, the US Air Force’s expensive toys will never leave the ground and a war against China will likely be fought with ground troops not having the benefit of air power.

          In other words, it’s not going to go well. But maybe the sun will never set on the American empire. It’s ’cause we’re so exceptional. Am I right?

          1. James Levy

            I take everything you say very seriously and note it well even where I am not sure you are correct or believe you may be mistaken. That said, there are only so many approach routes to Ramadi, and interdicting them should not be beyond the capacity of what is still the world’s preeminent air force. They haven’t been rearmed with crappy F-35’s yet, and the US never agreed to the submunition ban so they should have been able to sew cluster bombs full of minelets all over the approaches to Ramadi even if they couldn’t stay in the air 24/7 due to sandstorms (and they should be able to bomb from above such foul weather using IR in a pinch). Again, you may be right, but I think you’re making ISIS sound about 10 feet tall and I’m not convinced they are. You also seem to be discounting the experience Shiite militias gained in the civil war and the insurgency (some Shiites did fight against the occupation). What I think is that a very deep game is being played and we have little conception of what it is and where all the players stand.

            1. Andrew Watts

              Fair enough. I don’t know the state of American air assets on the ground in Iraq so either you’re over-estimating the potential striking power available or I’m underestimating the effect the airstrikes are capable of having. But consider the fact that the US Air Force is trying to replace the A-10 with the non-functional F-35 in the first place. The use of munitions like cluster bombs would inflict massive civilian casualties and despite what a lot of the anti-war crowd thinks about the topic these are very much a concern. For no other reason than it provides a propaganda boost to the enemy.

              I don’t think I’m guilty of thinking of IS as an unstoppable juggernaut. I’ve said it before that the Islamic State’s greatest advantage is the lack of unity among it’s enemies. If the US / Iran / Assad were on the same page IS wouldn’t be fairing so well. They also seem incapable of taking and holding Shia and Kurdish territory over any length of time. Which means they’re largely confined to Sunni areas with the assistance of supporters and sleeper cells. Unfortunately there is a lot of adjacent Sunni territory and in Syria they are starting to prove this rule to either be a flawed assumption, an exception to the rule, or just plain wrong.

              “*Snip* You also seem to be discounting the experience Shiite militias gained in the civil war and the insurgency (some Shiites did fight against the occupation). What I think is that a very deep game is being played and we have little conception of what it is and where all the players stand.”

              However, the worst of the fighting during the insurgency was in the Sunni triangle. These battles took place in cities like Ramadi and Garma…. hey, wait a minute… why does this sound familiar?! Anyway, I haven’t seen an adequate demonstration of the Shia militia’s overall military prowess to form a well grounded opinion yet. In the few instances where they put on a demonstration like in the Battle of Tikrit didn’t really impress me. The good news is that it won’t be long before we find out which is also the bad news.

              What I think is that a very deep game is being played and we have little conception of what it is and where all the players stand.

              The problem with this kind of thinking is that it has zero predictive capability. It also assumes that the Establishment in Washington has reached a consensus on what should be done.

      2. Andrew Watts

        Except Iranian influence has only expanded since the Islamic State has begun seizing Iraqi territory. With the collapse of the Iraqi armed forces in June and repeated setbacks against the Islamic State the Iraqis are increasingly dependent on Iranian aid via the Shia militias. Another detail for consideration is that when Baghdad was previously under threat after the fall of Mosul it was rumored that the Iranian 3rd Division was covertly deployed to help secure Diyālā province. Whether that’s true or not I don’t know, but I do believe cross-border Iranian airstrikes occurred.

        The other major factor is that the Islamic State doesn’t lead a unified Sunni bloc in the region as the hundreds of thousands of Sunni fleeing their rule will firmly attest. The Gulf monarchies are also in the sights of IS. The attack on the Saudi border and assassination of the commanding general of the Saudi border guards that followed the declaration of war was an early indication where this war will spread next imo.

        Bottom line the sun is going to set on the American empire in spite of the aura of invincibility most Americans think magically surrounds the country. I consider things like TPP to be a desperate attempt to stem the hemorrhaging.

        1. vidimi

          sure, but iranian influence is strong on the ‘legitimate’ iraqi state; should isil conquer the country, the iraqi government would collapse and, with it, the iranian influence.

          1. Andrew Watts

            Not likely. In the scenario where the Iraqi government collapses the Iranians will probably overtly intervene and set up a Iraqi-Shia successor state in Basra. While the Islamic State focuses it’s attention on neighboring Sunni states that are being infiltrated and vulnerable.

              1. Andrew Watts

                It doesn’t matter what the US and KSA want to happen. Both the US/KSA wanted to keep the Shia militias from operating in Anbar province but they’re currently massing for a counter-attack on Ramadi. The Baghdad government doesn’t have any choice because they’re dependent on Iran. Every step of the road to failed statehood will result in an increase in Iranian influence over the country.

    2. VietnamVet

      The American response to the Islamic State is schizophrenic. Likely because ISIS has Turkey’s support and it is the only force that can take down the Assad Regime and neuter Hezbollah; Israel’s prime objective. Also, the longer the war the more profits to be made. A determined air campaign directed by forward air controllers worked in Afghanistan, Libya, and Kurdistan. Likely, America is telling the Baghdad government and the Shiite militias to do what they tell them or else. Plus, I surmise the situation is around Ramadi is too fluid and dangerous to put their trusted air controllers on the ground to direct the attacks.

  11. DJG

    The amazing opah: The Wikipedia entry says that almost nothing is known of their behavior, ecology, and biology (hence the sudden discovery that they are warm blooded). And this is a fish that is up to a meter across. A reminder that the oceans are still largely unknown to human science, which does not mean that the oceans will save humans from human-induced climate change and the extinctions that we are now carrying out.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One day, scientists will discover that not all humans are warm-blooded – some are cold-blooded.

      But most non-scientists already know that.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The tweets from the #BlackLivesMatter people on the Waco events were awesome. I should create a compendium.

      Why don’t white leaders speak out on white-on-white crime… Biker family structure… Spot on, relentless, and very very funny.

  12. samhill

    Trident whistleblower says nuclear subs are insecure, unsafe and ‘a disaster waiting to happen’ The Herald.

    The British Navy’s way of getting more funding?

  13. vidimi

    The DoTheMath article is very interesting, but i’m very skeptical of the conclusions. the problem is that the author treats each of the “personality types” holistically rather than looking at each of the letters individually.

    Playing off of this extreme skew, let’s pretend that 100% of INTJ types would listen to the Do the Math message and take it seriously (persuadable). This group has already shown a predilection: let’s take it to the extreme. Admittedly, this may be opening the barn door too wide, but we’ll see that even this generous assumption results in a very small barn. We can then calculate the interest level in other groups. – See more at:

    for one thing, the sample data show that one of the greatest predictor letters in the M-B alphabet soup for whether or not someone is a reader of the forum is the first one: I is much more likely to be a forum reader. out of the 114 responses, only 17.5% were Es. This can be interpreted as extroverted people being much less likely to spend their time on an internet forum, preferring the company of physical humans instead. All this suggests then is that these people are not necessarily unreceptive of your message, just that if you want to reach them, you need to find other, more personal means.

    But an even better predictor appears to be the second letter: almost 90% of readers are iNtuitive and only 10% are Sensory. This should be very counter-intuitive to N-types as S personalities should be more open to persuasion when presented with evidence. Conversely, N-personalities should be more likely to jump to conclusions (score one for the author). Rather than conclude that 80%+ of the world doesn’t give a damn about energy decline, I would ask why the message isn’t reaching them. Without knowing anything about the blog beyond this post, the type of persuasion used may be the culprit. What may seem like imperceptible differences in tone may be more engaging to people of the same personality types. The author’s INTJ style may be perfectly suited to other INTJs, but ISFPs may find it abrasive and, hence, may be less likely to be regular readers. It’s not immediately clear how to measure this, but it would need to be tested before any inferences could be drawn.

    Ts and Js are also more likely to be blog readers than Fs and Ps, respectively, but this difference narrows, or even reverses for J/P, when adjusted for INTJ. For Ts, we may conclude that they are easier reached through logic whereas it’s better to appeal to Fs’ intellect through their emotion, and for Js and Ps we may dismiss the difference as noise.

    Also, and this is a more specific comment to INTJs, is that people of this personality type may develop strong opinions on subjects and become committed to a view (perhaps tying in with the point on messaging above?) leading them to seek out others who share similar perspectives (echo chambers). That is, INTJs are more likely to be forum readers because they are introverted, intuitive, logical and more likely to seek out confirmation of their views. Therefore, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the majority readers of a shrill, conservative, drill baby drill blog would also be INTJs. As a result, the conclusion shouldn’t be that “It’s as if you called a meeting in San Diego to discuss drill bits and almost half the attendees were red-heads” but that it’s as if you called a meeting in church and the attendees were christians.

    Lastly, that certain personality types aren’t represented among blog readers doesn’t mean that people with those personalities do not care about those issues for the simple reason that reading a blog is not tantamount to caring. This should be obvious to anyone, but blogs are just media of information and how that information is used is more relevant. Some people get their information from other sources and maybe some people just feel it. I’d be surprised if a survey of the general population didn’t show a much more even distribution by personality-types by issues.

    1. subgenius

      There is a lot of meat in the comments following the original post. Much coverage of this. There are, however, a LOT of them.

    2. Ed

      I am an ISTP according to the expensive, lengthy test I took in business school. I usually test as INTP on cheap internet tests, and tested as a INTJ (!) on the cheap internet test the post linked to, which would mean according to his theory I should agree with the central message of the blog on peak energy.

      I actually do agree with the central message of his blog, and I tested as INTJ just like the blogger according to his own test. However, my ISTP way of thinking noted that I am not really INTJ, the most accurate test indicated I was ISTP in which case I shouldn’t be receptive at all (actually the “S” and the “N” parts are very close). Also “S” types are very empirical in how they or we think compared to “N” types and should be more willing to just accept where the evidence leads.

      1. subgenius

        If you accept MB testing as a paradigm, you should understand its not a binary system, but a range – so maybe you are not strongly typed and fall close to midrange on several metrics…thus mood, environmet etc could sway results. Or its all bollocks.

      2. EmilianoZ

        I also came out as an INTJ on that cheap test they linked to (although with only 11% for the J). Maybe that test is just faulty and is biased towards INTJ. Many questions are impossible to answer. You wanna to say: it depends on the the specific situation/problem.

      3. jgordon

        After you have a good understanding of what they’re testing for and how the MBTI model works you should have the capacity to judge for yourself what your four letter label should be. Though that said, it is just a rough model, and let’s not confuse the model (useful as it may be) for the infinitely more complex reality that we’ve extracted the model from.

    3. jgordon

      Therefore, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the majority readers of a shrill, conservative, drill baby drill blog would also be INTJs.

      Most of what you said is very sensible and good, however speaking as an INTJ I find your postulation that INTJs could be attracted to shrill anything to be amusing. That said I’d like to see the data myself.

      Probably you’re right that heavily quantitative and empirical blog sites aren’t the best forum for widely spreading the message of a sustainability. But regardless that doesn’t change the fact the general public is ignorant, apathetic, delusional, or even hostile when confronted with the unpleasant realities of resource depletion and ecological collapse. If you have a better means of purveying the necessary information and challenging the prevailing complacency then by all means do it! Because by all available evidence, we’re screwed as is.

  14. Steve in Flyover

    Trident Story

    Why would you be surprised that the missile compartment be used as a gym? The biggest open space in the boat. In fact, probably the only open space in the boat.

    As far as the whistleblower’s accusations, the LAST person I’m going to ask an opinion from is a 25 year old that’s a year out of college.

      1. frosty zoom

        lambert, if you read the comments on the linked article, they too, attack the whistler’s age, and thus, credibility.

        “steve in flyover” is more likely “harold in gchq*”

        *happy victoria day, guys, from the dominion of canada!

  15. Jason Boxman

    Regarding the Trident II, once I interviewed for a position with the team that managed all manner of documentation for the missile and the equipment that services it. It’s actually sourced from Lockheed Martin and the office building walls were adorned with photos of successful test launches and nuclear submarines. (The office is naturally on a military base; there’s your public private partnership in action; a wrong turn on the way to getting clearance for the interview resulted in an officer placing his hand on his holstered gun and asking me to turn around. I complied.) It felt very much like a museum, rather than an operational weapons program scheduled to remain in service for another 20 plus years. One interview question, unsurprisingly, was whether I had a problem working with a weapon of mass destruction.

    1. frosty zoom

      let’s hope mr. “choke the whistle” obama doesn’t read your post (or mine!). i hear quito’s really nice this time of year.

  16. Hierophant

    I emailed both my state Senators about TPP, here is the wonderfully thought out and personal email I received from Patty Murray:

    “Thank you for contacting me regarding Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. I appreciate having the benefit of your views on this matter.

    The views of Washingtonians are very important to my work. I will keep your thoughts in mind, and I encourage you to stay in touch. If you would like to know more about my work in the Senate, please feel free to sign up for my weekly updates at Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.


    Patty Murray
    United States Senator”

    It’s nice to know they care! :/

    1. frosty zoom

      thanks for calling govcorp. para el español, oprima el 2.
      for trade, press 1, for war, press 2, for pork, press 3.
      for contibutions please stay on the line.

    2. jrs

      Haha, you didn’t contact them through that Patriot act website did you? I just go to their webpages if I’m emailing them and submit. I don’t think I’ve gotten replied to about another issue at least (yea the replies are pretty bad).

      1. Hierophant

        I contacted her directly through her website.
        At least my traitorous rep had the time to read the Subject line of my email: (if only he would actually read the damn TPP!)

        Thank you for contacting me to share your views regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. As a member of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee and President’s Export Council, I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this matter and welcome the opportunity to respond.

        As you know, the United States is in discussions to join with ten other nations in a regional free trade agreement, the TPP. In March 2013, U.S. trade negotiators met for the 16th round of talks with representatives from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam in Singapore to further discuss the details of this agreement. The 17th round of negotiations will take place in Lima, Peru. Most recently, the current negotiating countries agreed to let Japan join the TPP pending the completion of the domestic procedures of the current parties to the agreement. Please know that I am following the progression of the TPP closely.

        Washington State stands to significantly gain from a robust trade agenda. Forty-percent of the jobs in our state are connected to trade, and we export more than $60 billion in goods and services annually. That is why I joined with my colleagues in urging the U.S. Trade Representative to take part in the TPP negotiations. You may be interested to know that during the negotiations process the U.S. Trade Representative has requested formal comments and held hearings on the negotiations to allow stakeholders to provide their input. Furthermore, this agreement is expected to contain provisions related to the environment and labor.

        The TPP represents another opportunity for Washington businesses, farmers, and manufacturers to expand into additional markets and to garner a greater market share in those countries in which they are already active. Several of the countries negotiating the TPP are significant export markets for Washington State and the U.S. Last year, the U.S. exported over 700 billion dollars worth of goods to TPP countries and if you include Japan the number is over 800 billion dollars. Pursuing new market initiatives results in the creation of jobs here at home and ensures that we do not fall behind our competitors.

        Please know that as the TPP talks progress, I am actively engaged in discussions with the U.S. Trade Representative to ensure that this is a high-standard agreement to the benefit of Washington workers, farmers, and businesses. With 95% of the world’s consumers living outside of our borders, we must work to ensure that U.S. businesses can “Sell American” across the globe.

        Once again, thank you for taking the time to get in touch with me. Your interest and input are valued, and I hope to hear from you in the future regarding other matters of importance. I encourage you to visit my website and sign-up for my monthly e-newsletter at to learn more about other issues impacting the 8th Congressional District and our nation. You can also follow my work online and receive frequent updates on legislation being considered in Congress by visiting me on Twitter (, Facebook ( and YouTube (


        David G. Reichert
        Member of Congress

        Please DO NOT REPLY to this e-mail because it was sent from an unattended mailbox. If you’d like to reply, please send a response via my website, Thank you for your help in making sure I receive your important communications.

    3. neo-realist

      She’s my Senator, and I’m a little disappointed in a response from her that rises to the level of an email autoreply. I’ve had much more thoughtful responses from Murray in the past on other issues. I guess she’s gotten so many negative responses to her vote and it’s such an embarrassing vote for her that a non-response was the best she could do.

  17. chitownrdh

    The Secret Corporate Takeover, J. Stiglitz reveals another very scary part of the TPP that I was not aware of
    “Worse still, corporations in advanced countries can create subsidiaries in member countries through which to invest back home, and then sue, giving them a new channel to bloc regulations”

  18. curlydan

    As an INTJ who’s really tired of taking the Myers-Briggs tests (aka spend a worthless day with your coworkers temporarily learning 20% of the reasons why they’re so weird), I’m trying to develop a new and interesting personality test, but I need a little help. It’s all based on taste in music.

    Are you…
    John Coltrane or Miles Davis?
    Rolling Stones or Beatles?
    Mozart or Beethoven?

    and I really need one more. Any suggestions? Maybe something Country (Willie Nelson or Garth Brooks)?

    So far, I’m definitely a Coltrane/Stones/Mozart although I’m very close to the border of Mozart/Beethoven.

    1. subgenius

      Lol…I actually coded exactly this test back in the first dotcom…It was how I learned about MB…previously I was focused on neuroscience, rather than pop psychology.

      Oh..and its more mozart/bach…

    2. neo-realist

      I’m a Rolling Stones guy who likes punk. People I knew in high school who liked the Beatles were very dismissive of punk.

    3. EmilianoZ

      Definitely Beatles/Bach and no jazz please.

      Suggestions for other entries in the test:

      Sex Pistols or Clash?
      Nirvana or Smashing Pumpkins?
      Oasis or Blur?
      ABBA or Boney M?
      The Jam or The Style Council?
      Public Enemy or Run DMC?
      Jim Morrison or Van Morrison?
      Neil Young or Neil Diamond?
      Billy Joel or Elton John?
      Cyndi Lauper or Suzanne Vega?
      Madonna or Tori Amos?
      The Replacements or Goo Goo Dolls?
      Hans Zimmer or James Horner?
      Nino Rota or Ennio Morricone?
      Daft Punk or Phoenix?
      Philip Glass or Michael Nyman?
      Wagner or Bizet?
      Michael Jackson or Jermaine Jackson?

      1. curlydan

        Thank you, EmilianoZ! Sorry for my delayed response…I was on vacation for a few days. I definitely will consider Billy Joel/Elton John. I also like Daft Punk or Phoenix. I’ll have to look into some of the other artists like Michael Nyman.

  19. kareninca

    I read a post by a one-percenter in the Palo Alto area today. She was responding on a neighborhood list to the question about what to do about a possibly-thieving nanny or housekeeper. This woman is the head of a big tech company, and is affiliated with a think tank. Her net worth is easily in the many tens of millions; probably more. She suggested that the homeowner set out a few dollars on a counter in order to tempt the housekeeper (or nanny), and set up a secret webcam in order to catch the woman in the act, so that she could be reported to the police. Yes, that’s right. Her suggestion was to treat a human being (I’m going to bet an impoverished woman of color) like a pet in a YouTube video.
    This is beyond evil.

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