Links 8/26/15

Whales Are Mysteriously Dying in the Pacific Northwest Esquire (resilc) :-(

Aphantasia: A life without mental images BBC

‘Beer goggles effect’ is a myth, study suggests MinnPost (Chuck L)

Swedish model condemns her ‘absurd’ industry after she is deemed ‘way too big’ by agencies who told the 19-year-old her ‘butt is too large’ and her ‘hips are too wide Daily Mail (Chuck L)

Three generations of Swedish family linked by single womb MedicalXpress (Robert M)

Economic Forecasts in the Age of Big Data Project Syndicate (David L)

This new Nokia candybar phone is a classic reborn Daily Dot. Hah, my original retro phone is now apparently in! But mine is better because it’s not very NSA trackable.

“OMG I can’t ever unsee that”: What happened when the aftermath of the Bangkok bomb blast was streamed live on Periscope First Draft

Researchers may have found a cancer cell’s ‘off’ switch Engadget (RR)

Doctors have discovered a revolutionary treatment for knee injuries Business Insider

Designing The Back-To-School Scent The Lighthouse (Chuck L)

In The Search For The Perfect Sugar Substitute, Another Candidate Emerges NPR (David L)

Refusing to bow to airport liquids ban, woman drinks bottle of cognac Boing Boing

Former Tibetan Monk Is Being Accused of Defrauding Chinese Real Estate Investors – Bloomberg (resilc)

Mr. Market Has a Sad

European Stocks Open Lower, Chinese Markets Close Down Wall Street Journal

Questions over Li Keqiang’s future amid China market turmoil Financial Times. Scott: “I guess this isn’t Kremlinology.” Notice how no FT reporter is named in the byline.

Brave (miserable) new normal world RT (resilc)

China’s central bank is fighting against the waves of cash flowing out of the country Quartz

Stock market not being felt by most Business Insider. Lambert: “Extraordinary drop in stock ownership post 2008.”

Monday’s stock market debacle stinks of a robot-driven flash crash Business Insider (David L)

The Stock Market Is Not the Economy Dean Baker, FAIR (Judy B). Will someone notify the Fed?

US and Mexico open first new rail link in more than a century Guardian (resilc)


Yanis Varoufakis brands Alexis Tsipras the ‘new De Gaulle’ as election gets ugly Guardian

Greece’s Syriza projects election confidence despite split Reuters

SYRIZA’s split sends waves of turbulence to the European Left failed evolution. Subhead: “Another reason for Merkel, Schäuble and the Brussels bureaufascists to rejoice.” As we said early on, Syriza has set the European left back ten years. But I don’t buy the thesis that the big bad Germans masterminded Syriza’s becoming their tool. Syriza managed to engineer for them a victory so complete that they never could have achieved it on their own


Meet the European Fighters Who Have Gone to War in Ukraine Vice


Inquiry Weighs Whether ISIS Analysis Was Distorted New York Times (Gabriel)

Turkey’s War on Terror and the Iran Deal War on the Rocks (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Should Prison Sentences Be Based On Crimes That Haven’t Been Committed Yet? Vice

Bernie Sanders Gets Stamp of Approval From Cornel West New York Times (Kevin C). Some heads are guaranteed to explode.

Second Poll Shows Sanders Leading Again in Key State of New Hampshire, Even Among ‘Moderates’ Alternet. New Hampshire, but still…

Donald Trump trips up Republicans on immigration Financial Times

David Duke Endorses Trump: ‘He Understands The Real Sentiment Of America’ Crooks and Liars (resilc)

Where’s the Republican Outrage Over Saudi Arabia? Foreign Policy in Focus (resilc)

New Jersey’s Effort to Legalize Sports Betting Is Denied on Appeal New York Times. Resilc: “Let’s keep it underground and untaxed, great idea.”

Fate Of U.S. Fracking Could Rest With Colorado Supreme Court OilPrice

Weekend Diversion: The Horror And Beauty of California’s Wildfires Starts With A Bang! (Chuck L)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Ferguson Announces an Amnesty on Warrants New York Times

Video Shows Police Harassing Innocent People for ‘Air Fresheners’ Free Thought Project. Yet another case of being guilty of driving while black.

How companies make millions off lead-poisoned, poor blacks Washington Post. Important.

Oshkosh Wins $30 Billion U.S. Army Contract to Build Humvee Replacement Bloomberg. Resilc: “I will need one to drive down a beat up US Interstate soon.”

Central Bank Confidential Howard Davies, Project Syndicate

Fed Has Bigger Worries Than China Bloomberg

Puerto Rico Turmoil Sinks Sewer Bond New York Times

Class Warfare

Against Charity Jacobin (Steve H). Important. It should come as no surprise that a guy like Paul Singer has come up with complicated rartionalizations for hurting the poor.

Almost One-Third Of Children Live In Poverty In ‘The Richest Nation In The World’ Shadowproof

Where We Are More Crows than Eagles (martha r)

Paid Parental Leave Is Fueling Sweden’s Start-up Boom New Republic (Swedish Lex)

The Last Refuge of the Incompetent Archdruid. Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour (Kim K, from the National Park Service):

Kitten-4 links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Gabriel

    In reading the indeed excellent archdruid post, I’m deriving a trivial amusement by conjecturing how, if we’re now living in a pre-French Revolution era, 200 years from now there’ll be some Simon Schama who’ll write fairly luscious books about the doceur de vivre of ancien-regime America, with poignant word-pictures of, say, “the subtle” David Brooks in his brownstone reading the New Yorker while his water sommelier. . .
    Put another way, I certainly see now what Paine found so grotesque in Burke and his reveries about Marie-Antoinette.

  2. andyb

    The story on the whale deaths is just a great example of the disinformation propaganda that we are being fed on a daily basis. Supposedly, the deaths are attributable to global warming, or poisonous algae. The missing part of this story is the death, not just of whales, but 100s of entire species that live in and around the Pacific. Millions of starfish, the entire sardine population, seals, salmon, etc. The cause is “unknown” to “captured” government scientists and researchers (both in the US and Canada) even though independent research shows nuclear elements present in the autopsies. But the unstoppable radiation from Fukushima can never be mentioned as it would stop the nuke industry payoffs to the politicians. The Pacific Ocean is dying folks, and has ceased to be a source of food for the world. Perhaps the wake up call will be when the deaths in Japan and among the Pacific Islanders are exposed. Not holding my breath.

    1. m

      Sonar is known to harm & kill marine life. Isn’t sonar used for off shore exploration of gas & oil at ocean depths?

    2. mk

      Thank you for mentioning Fukushima, as I read the article my mind was chanting, ‘Fukushima, Fukushima, etc.’

      1. Praedor

        I have suspicions of Fukushima too, but the fact is that radiation levels in the water almost anywhere you wish to measure in the Pacific show miniscule radioactivity…dilution over the vast Pacific. BUT (big but), it sidesteps the issue to say this because there are clearly very high radiation zones in the Pacific as you close in on Japan, before the radioactivity-laced water really disperses and diffuses. Anything that passed through these areas is going to take a hit. Hard. Place on top of that acidification from climate change, water temp increases completely changing the distribution of plankton and diatoms, etc, and you get a nice perfect storm of crossed abuses. You can side-step all kinds of clear conclusions by waving your hand through any number of these insults.

        Scientists are much less likely to avoid saying anything about radiation or climate change than any official government source. There’s a reason that the FDA and government in general quit (and REFUSES) to test radiation levels in fish caught and placed into the US market. Mustn’t screw up the economy or trade. Those two things are VASTLY more important than life on earth or human (or natural) health.

        1. optimader

          Q: Is there any link to these large whale deaths to the Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown?

          A: It is highly unlikely. From the one fin whale which was accessible to investigators, muscle samples were sent to the University of Alaska Fairbanks for radionuclide analysis, specifically cesium 134/137. Preliminary results do not suggest any unusual exposure to human-generated radionuclides, specifically cesium, that would be considered harmful to wildlife. Further testing is underway.

          More likely related to a bacteria/toxic bloom due the large temperatue swing at their niche in the food-chain (IMO). I was up in the costal geography this past July and it was unusually HOT

        2. hermanas

          As a member of the oceanographic crew that discovered the Kepone poisoning of the James River, I was surprised that Congress’ response was to cut C.B.I.’s funding and kill it.

            1. hermanas

              Yes, ’till later that December when the Research Vessel Ridgley Warfield caught fire during a gale in the New York Bight.

        3. BEast

          I read years ago of a teenager who looked for — and found — radiation in seaweed she bought at a local “health food” store. IIRC, this was in Canada.

          Very interesting! Good job on your science project, kid! Now, where are the studies by grown-ups? The wide sampling? The longitudinal studies?

          Other than that one study that found radioactive iodine from Fukushima in every one of a small number of tuna caught of the U.S. West Coast, (years before ocean currents brought the radiation — these fish swim huge distances), I’ve seen and heard next to nothing.

          I no longer eat Pacific seafood. Or Gulf Coast seafood, after the BP blowout and dispersants.

    3. nippersdad

      I have seen this too. There was a conversation on this topic last week in The Hill, and anyone even daring to mention Fukushima was immediately attacked and belittled. It looks like it will be a combination of many factors, just as with honey bee decline, but it was telling how fast anyone mentioning radiation from Japan was jumped on.

    4. participant-observer-observed

      And Japan just approved restart of another nuke station on an earthquake fault. Silent condoning of environmental war crime.

      It is the karmic fallout for Billionaire west coast oceanfront owners.

    5. Howard Beale IV

      Don’t forget that massive plastic garbage mass the size of Texas meandering around the Pacific.

    6. Gio Bruno

      Stop the conspiracy theories! Global warming likely is playing a part in the trophic cascade of death and disease seen in Pacific marine animals this summer. However, scientists like to be specific about causes.

      The Pacific Ocean (especially off the US West Coast) is much warmer (avg. +3.7 degrees F.) than EVER recorded. Warm ocean water has been known to decimate krill and sardines (whale food) AND accelerate the growth of toxic algae (clams/mussels are presently quarantined). Soon enough post mortems will show the likely cause of death in these whales. I doubt it will be Fukushima. (As terrible as that event has borne out to be.)

    7. Massinissa

      Would you look up ‘ocean acidification’ instead of blabbering your silly conspiracy theories?

      Chernobyl never had an impact on the environment. Go look at modern Chernobyl: The place is overrun with plants.

      1. Gaianne

        “Chernobyl never had an inpact on the environmenty . . . the place is overrun with plants.”

        /snark off

        There. Fixed it.


  3. Ed

    On the whales, I find Occam’s razor to be a good tool to cut through the bs, as it should be. Andyb is most likely correct. A reactor in Japan recently released lots of radioactive material in the Pacific. We would expect after that to see lots of dead fish and whales, which is exactly what happened. There is no need to look for an alternative explanation. In the long or medium term, the oceans are dying due to climate change, but I don’t think the process would produce lots of dead fish all of a sudden in one particular ocean.

    On the Swedish model link, I’ve noticed a pattern (purely anecdotally) of employers being more fussy/ unreasonable in terms of who they hire. I attribute this to a combination of a labor glut, and being able to secure debt and rents being more important to companies than making products and services people want to buy. So it becomes as if they are doing someone they like a favor by hiring them.

    A commentator on another site explained the stock market crash as a function of the bosses who would normally override the trading programs being on vacation in August. Or that is the week where most of the plunge protection week takes its vacation. As Paul Craig Roberts pointed out in his columns, US equity markets have been too manipulated for too long to perform any price discovery function any more. Nor are they that important for companies to raise capital. They are pretty much useless.

    The Vice link took me to an article about baseball, which was interesting but I don’t think it was the intended link.

    1. BondsOfSteel

      OTOH, it’s been the craziest summer here in the PNW. It’s only rained once in 3 months, and we’ve had more 90 deg days than… well.. ever. Seattle’s like San Diego! Even the rainforest dried up and caught fire.

      The water temp is really warm… all my open water swim friends are talking about how you don’t need a wetsuit to swim in Puget Sound this year. It’s still cold… but doable. Crazy.

      Personally, I’d be shocked if this didn’t have some kinda effect on sea life.

  4. Carolinian

    Interesting Dana Milbank column suggesting that Biden may be calculating less a serious run than a way to shake up the Dem race so it won’t just be between Hillary–who could blow up at any time like an IED–and Sanders who many party stalwarts probably wouldn’t accept.


    His list of possible entrants may be dubious, but doubtless the party poobahs are starting to worry about HRC.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This might be possible. Bernie more than anyone represents a threat to the immediate revolving door. It shows the intellectual bankruptcy of Team Blue. Hillary besides already being a loser and a birth/death model that doesn’t favor her specifically has a terrible record and is connected to numerous scandals which will be dredged up. I’m astounded Democrats thought she could make a run 8 years after a failed run where she had all the same advantages and more plausible deniability for previous actions. Libya and Syria destroyed the excuse that the Iraq vote was a bargainin’ chip.

    2. Ed

      Biden is 73. Hillary Clinton is 68 and Sanders is 73. Is the Democratic Party confusing itself with the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, which until recently was dominated by geriatrics? Anyway Sanders at least seems pretty healthy but the other too not so much. Biden’s two presidential campaigns also fell really flat. I think that should have ruled him out for the Vice Presidency, let alone for the presidency.

      Nonetheless, the Dem establishment obviously doesn’t want Sanders, and needs a backup, if only as a stand-in, if Hillary Clinton can’t get the job done against Sanders or has to withdraw for health or scandal related reasons. They do have a problem with their bench. Not many governors left, and the most visible politicians in the party are either too old or too obviously corrupt. Its interesting that Martin O’Malley seemingly has vanished.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        O’Malley took too long to annojnce and announced during the protests in Baltimore. Two, O’Malley didn’t voice his concerns over the direction of Team Blue during 2014 publicly. In the mean time, Sanders grabbed most of the oxygen for a liberal place. In a sense, O’Malley’s best narrative is a younger Bernie with a shorter record.

        I don’t think there is a desire for an unknown either because we had that with Obama, Bill, and Carter. I think Obama’s relative popularity is linked to his skin color and novelty for whatever reason a person chooses, so it won’t transfer to another candidate. I don’t think new voters and for errors Obama voters are interested in projecting onto a promise.

        As far as Biden as VP, it got him out of the Senate and kept Evan Bayh or Tim Kaine from being Team Blue front runners. I’d put out my Hillary sign out front from my campaign collection of signs if they were running. Even in 2008, the Democrats had problems especially with a younger President. The VP would be just be ignored, much like Biden was.

      2. neo-realist

        There appears to be a younger potential democratic bench, but I suspect they’re deferring to Hillary for 2016 and waiting for 2020 or 2024 for their shot—-Deval Patrick, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Amy Klobucha

          1. OIFVet

            Harold Ford, Jr. Perfect democrat candidate, which is why I have to suppress my gag reflex every time I hear him talk.

        1. Praedor

          Ah, but do ANY of these younger Hillarys really stand for something different than the course we’ve been on for 30+ years? Simply running on “more regulations for Wall St” isn’t enough. It’s a pretty icing on a shit cake. Or “reform student loans” so they are lower interest or can be eliminated in bankruptcy court isn’t going to cut it. Bernie offers a REAL change, not just a few more porous regulations for Wall St to make is LOOK like something’s being done, not just readjusting the dials on student loans (he wants to basically do away with them entirely, the right thing to do, and make public university free). He wants to do away with Obamacare by offering up singlepayer, not merely adjust aspects of the Obamacare. Do ANY of the younger Hillarys offer anything remotely like this?

          Young, old, I don’t care, if you don’t offer to REALLY change things then you are DOA as far as I’m concerned. No triangulation with its BULLSHIT “See? I’ve pissed off the left AND the right so I must be right!” No more throwing life preservers at neoliberalism, no more privatization, no murmurs of “grand bargains” on Social Security and Medicare, no buying into the “MUST cut the debt because government finances needs to be like home finances”.

          O’Malley is much more acceptable, in my book, than anyone who is NOT Sanders right now. I’ve no interest in the young Hillarys unless they really go off the neoliberal establishment reservation. Toss out the Chicago School once and for all and adopt MMT. Period.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          They aren’t a bench. They are u accomplished and have no following. Booker is a charter school king pin and DLC star. Klobouchar is MIA on any issue, unwilling to stick her neck out. Shes a nothing until she changes it. I know every Senator, and shes simply a cookie cutter senator until she changes that. Patrick works in high finance and is under investigation by the Massachusetts state house.

          Gillenbrand does stand out. She hasn’t been a heinous Senator as she was in the House (her district wasnt very blue; interestingly enough a Republican I know said I would like her as a Senator) and made noise against entrenched villains, but she is new, was originally appointed of a safe seat, and lacks a manifesto or presence over the years especially as viewers turn off traditional media. Has she been critical of the administration? Not really. She needs to churn out a book/manifesto or write more LOTEs about the direction and not mindless press releases.

          Right now, this isn’t a bench but random names who meet the non-white male checklist of an ideal candidate for turning out non-voters. Although, it’s really not that easy or everyone would do this.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Accomplished at what, is the question. Booker is clearly accomplished at kowtowing to private equity. So he’ll need to distinguish himself somehow.

            And who said a bench wasn’t composed of accomplished individuals?

            1. John Zelnicker

              Lambert – There is a “u” and a space before “accomplished” in NTG’s comment and I suspect he meant unaccomplished and hit the space bar instead of the “n” key. The meaning of the comment makes more sense to me this way.

          2. neo-realist

            They don’t have to be potentially transformative leaders to be a bench, but rumored, subtle or overt ambition for the office normally suffices, doesn’t it:)?

      3. different clue

        If I were to hold Sanders’s age against him, then what am I left with? All the younger Democrats are DLC-type Third Way Clintonite proteges. Sanders is a superior relic from before the Democratic Party became “New Laborized”.

        1. jrs

          And even then he never ran as a Democrat until now so he isn’t exactly what the Democratic Party can produce (although how much help the Democratic party may have given Sander’s campaigns previously I don’t know as he certainly helped the Democrats by holding office. But he wasn’t officially even of the Democratic party – so it’s still not conclusive the Democratic party can produce anything of any worth). They say they don’t have a bench, but what kind of monstrosities would a bench produce in a world flooded by campaign bribery? About like the fish produced outside of Mr Burns nuke plant in the Simpsons probably.

  5. S. Haust

    RE: Against Charity

    Ummm! The person mentioned is Peter Singer, not Paul Singer.
    I haven’t read much of the piece yet or its argument but it seems to
    me that this point is rather basic

    1. S. Haust

      OK, I’ve read it now and, though it mentions a “movement” known as Effective Altruism,
      the piece itself is a sustained takedown of nakket crapitalism. It just seems uhhh!
      unlikely that other P. Singer would think along these lines.

    2. Steve H.

      Much as I would like to take credit for an implied hat-tip, I am afraid it was not I that brought this post to NC.

  6. Brindle

    re: Last Refuge of the Incompetent/ Archdruid

    Definitely a good read. In the last graf she/he makes an important point about the future—“intentional technological regression”. Most Americans conceptually don’t have any idea what this might mean:

    —“I’ve talked in previous posts about intentional technological regression as an option, not just for individuals but as a matter of public policy. I’ve also talked at quite some length about the role that narrative plays in helping to imagine alternative futures.”.—

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perfect sugar substitute – new candidate.

      Because science/technology. Tomorrow, there will be a new explanation for its side effects…but not yet today.

      Is this what is meant by technology regression? Less consumption (on many fronts, not necessarily sugar), instead of fancy, new gadgets?

      1. Praedor

        The side effect that is almost certain to go with it, as with ALL sugar substitutes, is it will actually enhance obesity because it will trick the body into thinking real sugar is coming only to find it ain’t so, with the metabolism screwed up as a result. Obesity/weight gain follows.

        Other side effects, if any, are just value-add.

      2. optimader

        Perfect sugar substitute – new candidate.
        A more (healthfully)evolved palate, as in: appreciation of taste and flavor,

    2. DanB

      I take “intentional technological regression” to mean loss of complexity, as in instead of having gas, oil or electric supplied heat or electricity, you have wood or some form of passive energy supply. I m unable to envision a society that consciously opts for a reduction in social and technical complexity. I enjoyed reading this piece but feel the Archdruid may be relying too much on past as prologue analysis. I would ask, How come the vast majority of climate change proponents have not realized that the limits to growth apply? Why do so many think we can have smartgrowth? It’s the same reason, I suspect, that peak oil has been either dismissed or badly misunderstood: our culture cannot reconcile the end of growth with our mythology of the boundless frontier. Growth is ending all over the world and playing out as economic and financial crises. At least now the status quo is beginning to talk about how to restart growth. But how far is this from from asking, How to address our many crisis and dilemmas if growth is over?

      1. cheale

        I think many members of our modern society have opted for a reduction in social complexity. The number and complexity of social interactions of someone who spends their life glued to a phone or computer screen (where the relationships are more superficial) would seem to be much lower than someone living in a preindustrial society, who relays on a complex network of social interactions to survive.

        I also think the idea of technological regression means an increase in complexity since it involves more interaction with the variables of weather, wild animals (in the most general sense), plants and all other life, which are much more unpredictable and unquantifiable than the filtered, human created virtual world.

        1. Carla

          Excellent points. And worth serious consideration by moi, as I spend more or more time online each day…

      2. nihil obstet

        The archdruid’s historical account differs somewhat from my memory. Since 1972 or so, environmentalists have talked about reducing use of fossil fuels as providing a future of cleaner air and water and lots of new jobs in the transition. In the late 1970s, Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House. They didn’t call themselves a climate change movement, but it was the same fight. In 1980 the oilmen’s candidate won, and have used the levers of government (including courts — watch Bidder 70 to see how the justice system works on the issue) to maintain the profitability of extractive industries. I don’t agree that only the idiocy of the left keeps us from effective power.

        Similarly, he contrasts the left’s failure to articulate good results of the climate change actions (with which I repeat, I don’t think an objective recounting would justify), with the right’s success. I really don’t know what the right has offered except fear and disaster if you don’t agree with them.

        It seemed to me that the archdruid had a story and selected carefully edited history to support it.

  7. JEHR

    Once life in the oceans is depleted, we can say “Goodbye” to the human species. Being who we are, we will not react until it is too late. We seem to be a failed experiment.

    1. Praedor

      We are a nice example of why SETI finds no sign of advanced alien life: we do ourselves in because of blind, short-sighted greed and bizarre religions (such as economics that’s based on perpetual/endless growth…of population, of consumption, etc along with actual spiritual religions that hold to the same – be fruitful and multiply, no birthcontrol!, have babies!, god provided everything for us to use (up) as desired!).

    1. hunkerdown

      When mobile-first sites need little custom affordances like icons that scale as well and as quickly as text, Web Fonts are the go-to solution. Usually they repurpose Asian codepoints because they’re conveniently numbered and who’s going to use those on a Latin alphabet website? If their font doesn’t load, however, Hangul it is.

  8. Roquentin

    Re: How companies make millions off lead-poisoned, poor blacks Washington Post

    During my brief stint in a personal injury mill after college, I can tell you lawsuit funding companies are crooked as a barrel of snakes. It amounts to legalized loan sharking. I saw a great deal of settlement payouts completely eaten by the lawsuit funding companies for a fraction of what was paid out to the plaintiff. When a settlement was a little light, you could usually talk down the doctors. Doctors are good people at heart, by and large. The lawsuit funding companies gave zero fucks. Lawsuit funding companies are the worst….the absolute worst kind of swine.

    1. diptherio

      One occasionally yearns for the return of vigilante justice in these cases…but that would be wrong, wouldn’t it?

        1. diptherio

          Well, I tend to think more of the Montana Vigilantes, who actually did a pretty good job by most accounts, and surely offed fewer innocent people than our modern day, professional, enforcers of the law.

          Their main problem, so far as I can tell, is that–much like our present-day pros–they worked almost exclusively in the interests of the elite. Nothings perfect, I guess….

  9. diptherio

    Re: Humvee replacement

    The initial contract, including options, is valued at $6.75 billion for about 17,000 vehicles, the Army said in a statement.

    About $400,000 per vehicle, if my math is right (I sometimes get confused when there are so many zeroes involved). Good thing we don’t have anything better to spend that money on like, say, the VA or something…

    1. Lambert Strether

      And the Humvees, after all the hype, turned out to be lousy vehicles for Iraq. How much you wanna bet we spend $30 billion for a vehicle that’s worse than useless in the next war? Ka-ching.

      1. diptherio

        The land-based version of the F-35 (although given the F-35’s problems, the F-35 may well turn out to be the land-based version of the F-35).

    2. Jim Haygood

      Compare to the original WW II jeep:

      Willys-Overland and Ford turned out 651,068 Jeeps, at a rate of one every two minutes, at a cost of $749 per unit, the price escalating as the war continued from the original contract price of $648.74.

      Escalate $749 in 1942 for inflation, and it’s worth $10,965 today … 2.75% of the Humvee’s $400,000 per unit cost.

      Why did engineers in the 1940s accomplish miracles that appear impossible today? Because they were forced to balance binding constraints of time, cost, weight and materials availability.

      Having an unlimited, cost-plus budget to design gold-plated fantasy equipment makes you fat and stupid. One can confidently forecast that Hummer II will be as big a failure as Hummer I. Now we just need to find the next war to lose.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        And a Congress that took its oversight rule seriously. Truman almost blew the cover off the Manhattan Project because he was investigating how money was being allocated.

        1. Jim Haygood

          ‘Lugging all that armor plating around takes fuel.’

          Whereas the irregulars who seem to be prevailing in these mideast conflicts are usually photographed driving Toyota pickups. Not much blast protection, but highly mobile.

          ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.’ — Muhammed Ali

          1. OIFVet

            These Toyotas are a blast off-road. A friend still has a mid-80’s SR5 or VR5 or whatever the heck that truck is called, with manual and a transfer case. We go off-roading through mud or deep snow like it’s nothing. Definitely more mobile and cheaper than a humvee.

        2. OIFVet

          6-8 mpg for the unarmored version, which is what my unit went in with. “You go to war with the Army you have, not the one you want”, after all. I couldn’t tell you what the up-armored version got, we never got it before I left the service, but it’s bound to be a lot less. We jury-rigged our own armor in country, it was only slightly better than the base soft-skinned version. Looking at this replacement, I can’t say that the lessons learned were implemented. It looks unwieldy and ill-suited for urban operations, too heavy to be very useful off-road, and I don’t see any signs the bottom of the thing was designed to deflect mine blast sideways. And BTW, the humvee’s basic version cost in the neighborhood of 50k-70k per unit. Thus the military toy cost inflation continues to skyrocket, but we are too broke to pay for a decent safety net. Priorities…

          Next up – the B-2 replacement. It’s advertised at $550 million per copy, which means it’s going to cost at least 5 times that.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Same effing story with the M113 and its replacement (sic), the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (also sic), shown proudly and testosteronially racing out of the covers of Popular Mechanic and other Real Men’s Magazines, bullets and shells and grenades spitting Righteous Death out of every muzzle and orifice, grim white soldier faces in the windscreens…

            I recall reading the advice some crewperson gave, “If someone starts shooting at you, get the hell out and find a ditch to get into.” Also recall that quite a number were killed by that disgusting cowardly misnomer, that camo for incompetence and futility, “friendly fire…”

            As to finding the next war to lose, hey, has no one noticed “we” or our effing Big Bad Warfighters’ are already engaged in at least a dozen? And “winning” is measured by where your office is in the Pentagram, and the size of your “program,” and whether your effing “system” has been officially “deployed,” like the unarmed idiot ‘s delight V-22, that gets to fly around the edges of shooting to keep its losses down to “accidents.” FUBAR. “Winning” and “victory” and “success,” like “war,” are not even defined terms in the DoDdering War Departments “Dictionary of Military Terms” that all by itself costs billions to create and maintain, to keep up with the MilBabble Narrative Bullsh_t… Fun reading, for insight into the mindset that’s killing us…

        3. Gabriel

          Apropos, John Dolan/Gary Brecher/The War Nerd:

          The great weapon of early 21st century warfare is the Toyota Hilux pickup. Every male over 16 in this part of the world who has the money has a Toyota Hilux pickup. They can roll across…

          Mark: There’s something grimly, comically War Nerdy about that. Because everyone wants to think about “Star Wars” or some laser weapon, like that new Navy laser gun is what every war nerd wants. But actually, no, in that part of the world where they still do fight, everyone wants a Toyota Highland pickup for mobility.

          Gary: A Toyota Hilux pickup.

          Mark: Very “Mad Mex.”

          Gary: Yeah. An AK, and an RPG or two, and you’re set. What else do you need? That was Islamic State’s big asset. This is very flat land. You’ll notice that once the land stops being flat, they don’t do so well.But you can cross the so-called Iraqi-Syria border anywhere. It is just all sediment from the rivers, the two great rivers. That meant they could attack any town. They could concentrate, and the defenders who were demoralized anyway couldn’t concentrate.

          They took all those towns, but now they have to face the United States Air Force. The United States military has a lot of limitations, but once you’re…

          Mark: I’m sorry. I’m sorry to cut you off. I just got a note from our producer that we should get Toyota to sponsor the War Nerd in future.[laughter]

          Gary: That would be beautiful.

          Mark: OK, carry on.

          Gary: They could have me in a Toyota Hilux saying, “Hi, I’m here and I, oh, I see a vulnerable little town up there and I do believe it’s a Yazidi town. Whoo-ie!”

          Mark: When I want to cleanse the Yazidi, I use Toyota Hilux. Geez, Hilux, yeah.

          Whole thing available here from Pando website or in the “Pandodaily” podcast in iTunes.
          (PS. If anyone likes, I might add *ahem*,

      2. diptherio

        You think it’s a coincidence that a “hummer” is also a type of fellatio? I don’t…

      3. optimader

        Actually, the replacement for the original purpose of a HUMVEE already exists and has for years. It’s called a Pinzgauer.

        The notion of successfully “armoring up” (file under MRAP what should be essentially a disposable high mobility utility vehicles ( the original concept of a “Jeep”) turns it into something all together different that does nothing particularly well.
        That’s what MIC procurement committees ultimately vapor lock on.

  10. craazyman

    does anybody want to shred the Beer Goggles study?

    I would do it, but it’s so easy it would be like lion hunting at the zoo.

    One has to uphold a minimal standard of craft, after all.

    1. ambrit

      Shredding the study would be fun, but I scrolled all the way down on the linked to site and found that the ‘byline,’ “Second Opinion,” under which the article was identified by the newspaper was stated to be a sponsored item, paid for by UCare, a large health care ‘facilitator.’ So, a beer sizzled study reported by a captured crapified column, in a for profit newspaper. No wonder we’re all careening wildly down this “Beast From 20,000 Fathoms” haunted rollercoaster towards the Great Reset. Where’s Lee Van Cleef with the radioactive bullet when we need him?

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I can’t ever unsee that…on Periscope…Thailand…video.

    It’s easier to see than to un-see.

    It’s easier to know than to un-know.

    It’s easier to remember than to forget.

    It’s easier to do than to undo.

    So, it’s important to think about one’s exit as well as one’s entry, not just in going into, say, Vietnam.

    Moreover, one can save (a life) by doing (for example, pulling someone from a burning house).

    One can also save lives by refraining from doing (not smoke publicly).

    On the latter, can one then say, I stop myself from doing many bad things today (something like, oh, I just failed to buy 1,000,000 shares of that fracking company, oh, another 2 million shares I did not buy, and a few seconds later, oh, more shares I didn’t buy – that will show my disdain for fracking), and therefore, I saved a lot of lives?

    Or, “I didn’t drive a thousand miles on my carbon emitting car today. I made a positive contribution. In fact, I have contributed for 1,000 days straight.”

    ****Just some of my thoughts on positive/negative, visible/invisible, yin/yang.****

    1. ambrit

      I wonder if anyone has done the work about the “horror threshold” of ‘normal ordinary’ people and those who watched “Faces of Death” dozens of times.
      There is a great gulf between ‘seeing’ and ‘understanding.’
      If the Materialists and the Judaeo Christian Islamists are right, what we do is of the utmost importance. If the Karmic Reincarnatory creeds are correct, what we do is of no importance. Initial assumptions are conclusive.

      1. Vatch

        If the Karmic Reincarnatory creeds are correct, what we do is of no importance.

        I don’t understand how your conclusion follows from your premise. Could you please explain? “Karma” means action; in other words, the concept is intimately involved in what we do.

        1. ambrit

          My apologies. You are correct. I should have separated the terms Karmic and Reincarnatory. That’s what happens when I make a comment up ‘on the fly,’ as it were. I have used the, I believe, commonly conflated terms Karma and Reincarnation. One, indeed, does not imply the other. To assert that is sloppy thinking. Mea culpa.
          I would have done better by myself by reformulating the penultimate sentence to read: “…what we do is of *little* importance.” With that change, my premise is that, given multiple lifetimes, progress or regress can be incremental. Instead of “Road to Damascus” epiphanies, small bursts of ‘enlightenment’ can propel us to our eventual fates. Taken to its’ ultimate extreme, Reincarnatory philosophy can only point to the process of living, multiple, unknowable times, as its’ focus. Even ‘eventual fates’ becomes a meaningless concept.
          To return to my original comment; initial assumptions determine the outcomes. What we teach our children becomes determinative.
          Thanks for holding my feet to the fire. I’m going to have to slow down a bit.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Perhaps it’s Reincarnatory Calculus… can it be that if we sum all the deeds of little importance, the total can approach infinity?

            And then, we can ask another question: Do questions determine answers? Does the way we frame a question determine its answer?

            1. ambrit

              There’s poetry in there.
              Repurposing your definition; “..if we sum all of our deeds of little importance, we approach the Infinite.”

  12. afisher

    GOP non-outrage over Saudi meddling in US politics. Could it be that they have 3 ex-Senators that are the lobbying agents for Saudi via the $1.4M ad buy denouncing the Iran deal?

    Although the Saudi Arabian government publicly declared its tentative support for the widely-praised Iran nuclear deal last month, new reports reveal it is secretly funding propaganda efforts to undermine it. A new group called the American Security Initiative has spent over $6 million on advertisements criticizing the deal — using money supplied by the Saudi monarchy.
    The president of the American Security Initiative Norm Coleman is a former Republican senator who now runs the lobbying firm, Hogan Lovells. He is a registered lobbyist for Saudi Arabia and his firm is on retainer for the Saudi monarchy at a rate of $60,000 per month.
    According to The Intercept, “In July 2014, Coleman described his work as ‘providing legal services to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia’ on issues including ‘legal and policy developments involving Iran and limiting Iranian nuclear capability.’”
    Other founders of the American Security Initiative include former Senator Joe Lieberman ( a Democrat) and former Senator Saxby Chambliss (a Republican), who works at DLA Piper, yet another firm hired to lobby on behalf of the Saudi monarchy. Opposition to the deal enjoys bipartisan support.
    The lobbying effort has run commercials in nine states — Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia — and was initiated in partnership with a group called Veterans Against the Deal. One ad features a maimed Iraq War veteran who ominously warns that “Every politician who is involved in this will be held accountable. They will have blood on their hands.”

    The last statement is right out the the RW Heritage handbook. sigh.

  13. Jim Haygood

    Commodity prices, as measured by the CCI index (17 equal-weighted commodities), carry on falling. It’s down another half percent at mid-morning.

    Commodities have lost roughly half their value versus the commodity price peaks of 2008 and 2011. Now they’re back at the Dec. 2008 panic low. This is visible in the chart of GCC, a fund which tracks the CCI index:

    Even a blind Fedster could realize that this is not the time to be hiking rates. They could have done so a year or two ago, but missed their chance. A rate hike now would be sticking another poisoned dart into the neck of an already stumbling bull.

  14. afisher

    Air Freshener’s are a distraction??? How about the job required hang tags? Just another metric of the police state – why did you stop me? I felt like harrassing someone.

    I was stopped because the police failed to recognize the newest State Auto License sticker that is REQUIRED to obstruct one’s vision.

  15. participant-observer-observed

    China Daily weekly version aug 21-27 version highlights the fact that even with slowdowns, growth projected is still 7% w central bank still holding 4 trillion in reserves.

    NC readers would love the lead story full if econogeek fun, i.e.:

    “As China’s capital account opens wider, it is being forced to choose between retaining monetary autonomy-that is, controlling the interest rate-or controlling the exchange rate…”

    I would love to see Yves or Lambert comment on that piece. However, i don’t see a URL on the broadsheet. Just a fb link ….ironic since do hope loading fb in china lol

  16. Jay M

    In order carry out effective altruism, I invested in a pack of bootstraps. Thanks were profuse as I distributed them to the local bindlestiffs, though I noticed most were sporting somewhat shredded pairs of converse, if not flip-flops. Well, it was the altruism that counted, and I felt blessed, and it was effectively a hell of a lot cheaper than buying them a decent pair of shoes.

  17. curlydan

    Maybe I don’t get it, but do we really need a sugar substitute when sugar only has 15 to 16 calories per teaspoon? Want to try something relatively untested for that tradeoff? My kitchen is littered with other family members’ Truvia packets.

  18. Tertium Squid

    Against Charity is terrific. Here:

    The absurd result is that Effective Altruism implores individuals to pay whatever price the market demands for basic necessities on moral grounds that cut against subjecting those necessities to capitalist market logic at all.

    Absurd yes, but it was set up this way on purpose! For a very long time, progressives (of a certain sort) have preached this as the apex of moral behavior: making loads of money so you can make the wicked and amoral people around you economically dependent and thus require them to do good as you see fit.

    Here’s a quote from “Acres of Diamonds”, a popular old Chataqua talk given hundreds of times by Russell Conwell:

    Love is the grandest thing on God’s earth, but fortunate the lover who has plenty of money. Money is power: money has powers; and for a man to say, “I do not want money,” is to say, “I do not wish to do any good to my fellowmen.” It is absurd thus to talk. It is absurd to disconnect them. This is a wonderfully great life, and you ought to spend your time getting money, because of the power there is in money. And yet this religious prejudice is so great that some people think it is a great honor to be one of God’s poor.

    Both quotes use the word “absurd” which fascinates me.

  19. Jim Haygood

    From the King Coal article:

    ‘President Abraham Lincoln approved a controversial Act of Congress in 1863 to carve out West Virginia as a new state. Even some of Lincoln’s advisors deemed the move unconstitutional.’

    Ol’ Abe ‘legalized’ rump West Virginia’s secession, since it was seceding to join his side. ‘It’s okay when we do it.’

    Maybe bad karma is WV’s problem — from its original sin of having been created by an act of wartime looting.

  20. Synoia

    Oshkosh Wins $30 Billion U.S. Army Contract to Build Humvee

    Oshkosh Corp. won an initial contract Tuesday from the U.S. Army for its new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, a $30 billion program, for 55,000 vehicles, approximately $500,000 per vehicle.

    The initial contract, including options, is valued at $6.75 billion for about 17,000 vehicles, the Army said in a statement. At a cost of $397,000 per vehicle, about the cost of 15 F150 trucks (or equivalent)

    The F150 can probably perform 90% of the requirement.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Spotted two MRAPs cruising the potted roads of Pinellas County with the Sheriff’s insignia unobtrusively !!!!POLICE!!!!! painted on the OD ugly. Headed to the County garage, ready to take on the Cuban invaders and all them terrarists. WTF, indeed…

  21. susan the other

    The Fed Has Bigger Worries than China. BBG. Mark Gilbert. It looks like nothing but deflation and tight money since the end of the taper. The economy has been slowing, there is no inflation except in the stock market and that might have run its course finally because the Fed isn’t feeding it with QE. So is the lag time for this tightening just now hitting China? Raises the question, How much of our QE wound up in China? Growth is negative here. Last nite on France24, the Debate, they once again discussed China’s crash. And they invited Steve Keen to comment. He said that China was suffering from private debt that had only increased since 2008, in spite and because of government interventions, and it is preventing a functioning economy. (So why now is it crashing – must wonder if it is because we are not feeding it our dollars anymore.) Steve Keen went on to say that China could only get out of this if it forgives the massive burden of private debt to get things moving again. With that thought everyone on the planet must be thinking it would be a good thing for China to become the juggernaut of environmental cleanup – sort of a mirror image of growth. But why not – nothing else is functioning as it once was. And Keen also said that Xi was such a powerful leader, who was not yet captured by crony capitalism, that he could just step up and cancel the private debt that is paralyzing China.

  22. financial matters

    Flexibility. Despite problems, China may have it. Mazzucato and Wray give interesting reports.


    “Another area that is disregarded by traditional analysis is the immense investments that China is making in what will very likely be the next big thing after the Internet: the green technology revolution.

    China continues to be the number one investor in renewable energy outside of China—mainly through the investments of its strategic public China Development Bank (a Chinese version of the German KfW). As private finance continues to finance other types of finance in the west (due to over ‘financialization’ of many economies), China’s banking system is financing the ‘real economy’ in many countries, including infrastructure in countries like the UK.

    And here, the attention should come back to our own inability, in the EU, to react in a flexible dynamic way to what continues to be a political and economic tragedy of epic proportion.”



    “China will lose more jobs than Europe—this is a global phenomenon. It is relatively easy to resolve through government creation of replacement jobs—largely in the public services and in infrastructure investment—but governments won’t do it out of fear they’ll “run out of money”.

    While it looks like we have a Greek problem, we actually have an EZ problem. Country after country will face attacks until finally the center—Germany—cannot hold.

    The US can—if it wants to—continue to recover and that would help the rest of the world. Will she choose robust recovery? I do not think so. The austerity disease has taken hold in Washington, too.

    To put this in highly technical terms, we’re all pretty much screwed.”

  23. Kim Kaufman

    Thanks for the antidote, Yves. The backstory is this is one of a couple of mountain lion kittens newly discovered in the Santa Monica mountains. Having grown up in NYC, I’m still so amazed at how close Los Angeles cohabits with nature and wild animals, not just pets

    1. Gio Bruno

      Cohabits? This afternoon a mountain lion snatched someone’s poodle living in a suburb of LA.

      Oh, and the father of that young cub was run over while trying to cross Interstate 5.

  24. Oregoncharles

    Just a personal note on the wildfires:

    Last weekend, the whole Willamette Valley, including our town, was under a thick, stinking pall of smoke because the prevailing wind had reversed and blown the smoke from eastern Washington in our direction. A couple of small fires in the area added to it. From the maps I’ve seen, there are dozens of fires in eastern Washington. Flags were at half mast because of the fire fighters who were killed.

    But we were scheduled to go to the Columbia Gorge, so we went. Fortunately, the wind reversed in time and the sky was clear when we got there. However, we camped within a mile or two of one of the fires, on the upper Washougal River. Saw firefighters returning and signs pointing to the fire area, but there seemed to be no danger where we were – thanks in part to the winds going back to normal.

    IOW, the fire season here is almost as bad as in California. Drought is a reality all over the West.

  25. optimader
    The street artist Banksy has just released a promotional video for his Dismaland exhibition – bemusement park, the satirical amusement park that opened last week in Weston-super-Mare, England. With this trailer using the advertising codes, Banksy unveils the strange and twisted universe of the exhibition, with a nice overview of the works designed by 50 artists from around the world, invited to work on the project.

  26. jrs

    Paid parental leave fueling a start up boom? Yea but if you want paid parental leave argue it’s good for children. That make sense. If you want people to try their hand at entrepreneurship argue for something like guaranteed income instead (or at least a year or two of guaranteed income once or twice in a lifetime?) so that childfree people are not excluded. It seems wrong to exclude people from economic opportunities just because they don’t want to or can’t breed.

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