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Links 7/26/16

Don’t think too positive Aeon (Micael. One of my pet topics! See The Dark Side of Optimism

How climate change is rapidly taking the planet apart Flassbeck Economics (guurst). See its comments on fracking.

World is growing taller — but very unevenly Financial Times. Average height reflects the caliber of diets in babies and children.

What a City With Driverless Cars Will Look Like (In 10 Years or Less) Michael Shedlock. EM: “Ooh! A partner at ‘a prestigious Silicon Valley VC firm’ waxing technotopian about ‘entire cities totally driverless within ten years’! Complete with unicorns and sparkly ponies! They wouldn’t be taking their book or anything now, would they?”

This Is Your Brain on Silence Nautilus (Micael)

Brexit

Too soon to start bilateral UK trade talks – U.S. trade chief Reuters

Brexit’s Biggest Fans Face New £115 Billion Pension Hole Bloomberg

BREXIT FALLOUT: ‘It is very possible that the long bull market in real estate is over’ Business Insider

G-20 Fears Brexit Blowback if Breaking Up Is Hard to Do Wall Street Journal

Normandy siege: Knifemen ‘shouted Daesh and slit 86-year-old priest’s throat’ after taking nuns hostage in church before being shot dead Telegraph. Ugh.

Backlash builds pressure on Merkel’s migrants policy The Times (furzy)

VW is winning, at least in Europe Politico

Commerzbank warns on capital position Financial Times

Natwest and RBS may charge firms to hold deposits BBC (vlade). Business customers can’t stuff their cash in mattresses as easily as retail investors can.

U.S. Presses Greece on Economic Overhauls Ahead of Debt Talks Wall Street

Fuerteventura Inter: Scots firm at centre of organised crime probe into weapons deal Herald Scotland. Richard Smith: “Scottish Limited Partnerships are front page news in Scotland today.”

China

China’s growth sucks in more debt bucks for less bang Reuters. Not a new observation, but the problem is becoming more acute.

Xi’s China: The rise of party politics Financial Times

Turkey

Thoughts on the Coup Attempt in Turkey Russia Observer (guurst)

Black Lives Matter protest Rio police violence ahead of Olympics Reuters (EM)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Suspect required to unlock iPhone using Touch ID in second federal case 9to5Mac (Chuck L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

All Cards on the Table: First-Use of Nuclear Weapons War on the Rocks (resilc). Today’s must read. As we’ve said for some time, the reason the US has been putting “defensive” missiles all over Eastern Europe.

Calling the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat a ‘Frigate’ Doesn’t Make It Any Less Crappy War Is Boring (resilc)

2016

4 brutal poll numbers that greet Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention Washington Post

CNN Poll (LI). See how many voter claim they’ve made up their minds on Trump v. Clinton. Also see Johnson and Stein numbers.

US PRESIDENTIAL BETTING: Donald Trump is seriously close to winning Business Insider. Gee, it was not all that long ago that Nate Silver said Trump had effectively no chance. Oh, but now he’s reversed himself: Shock Poll: Nate Silver’s Election Forecast Now Has Trump Winning Alternet

With Pick, Hillary Clinton Signals She’s Looking Past Inauguration Day New York Times. Hubris yet again.

Hillary-Kaine: Back to the Center Truthout (RR)

Bernie Sanders Says ‘Elect Hillary,’ Gets Heavily Booed Wall Street Journal (Li)

Bernie Sanders Left Delegates With No Way to Fight but Boo Intercept (resilc)

The Democratic Convention Is Starting and Bernie Sanders Fans Are Still Super Pissed Vice (resilc)

If Hillary and her devious DNC disciples stab a good man like Bernie in the back, how can she be trusted with the keys to the White House? Piers Morgan, Daily Mail (Li)

Progressive Democrats Push to Quell Revolt Wall Street Journal

EXCLUSIVE: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on Releasing DNC Emails That Ousted Debbie Wasserman Schultz YouTube (Philip U)

Sanders-backing inspiration for Gordon Gekko would pick Trump over Clinton CNBC (TF). Asher Edelman’s publicist is awfully good to get everyone to believe that he was the model for Gekko. But interesting nevertheless.

Democratic Machine Chose Clinton Long Ago. But Why? Bloomberg (resilc)

Way before the DNC maybe tried to sway the convention, the mob did Guardian (resilc)

One big yawn? The academics bewitched by boredom Times of Higher Education (Micael). Who has time to be bored?

New evidence suggests DNC hackers penetrated deeper than previously thought ars technca (Chuck L). Repeats unproven claim that they were “state sponsored.”

Time to stop joking and start thinking about Trump MacroBusiness

Why Obama Has Failed to Close Guantánamo – The New Yorker (furzy)

Could Giant Suction Cups Turn Lake Erie Into a Regional Energy Hub? Pacific Standard (Chuck L)

Wildfire threatens 10,000 homes near Los Angeles Reuters (Chuck L)

Faulty Data? Why The Oil Glut Could Be Much Smaller Than Believed OilPrice

Citigroup, HSBC Jettison Customers as Era of Global Empires Ends Bloomberg

Why public-sector pension plans take more risk Economist

Pension Returns Slump, Squeezing States and Cities Wall Street Journal

Calm markets raise big risks for complacent investors Mohamed El-Erian, Financial Times

Class Warfare

No More Fucking Farmers’ Markets’. Foodie localism loves farming in theory, but not in practice Aeon (Micael). Quelle surprise! Farming is physical work.

The New Ruling Class Hedgehog Review (Micael)

Antidote du jour:

pwild19-610x405

And a bons video from furzy:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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322 comments

  1. timotheus

    Antidote #1 = perfect metaphor for the political conventions: “See how much I love my cute children? I’ll still eat you for breakfast.”

  2. Paul Jonker-Hoffren

    Normany Siege: I haven’t yet seen a reputable newspaper (Le Figaro, Le Monde) report the islamic terrorist aspect of this attack. They write that the motive is unclear, but the anti-terrorist brigade was quickly present (probably in a reaction to the recent attacks in München, Nice etc.).

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Regardless of what word he shouted, he brutally butchered a Catholic priest saying mass, not a very common occurrence. One would surmise he was definitely not a devout Catholic, so maybe he was some other religion.

        1. vlade

          Oh, just look to history how many devout catholics happily butchered other devout catholics (including priests – on both sides).

          Regardless, my point was he was not an ISIS trained recruit. He may have been influenced by them, but then, say Sonboly was influenced more by Breivik (even though same claimed he shouted Alahu Akkbar)… And if we let the politicians drive in the “he was a terrorist”, all it does is even more civil liberties taken, even more police state.

        2. vlade

          And, your post seems to implicate that other religion = Islam = ISIS. I’d be very careful between putting the equal signs there…

          1. EndOfTheWorld

            Will you concede he is a muslim? I myself don’t care a whole hell of a lot if he’s with ISIS or some other outfit.

            1. bdy

              Will you concede he is a (M)uslim?

              I will, also that GWB, Hitler and Mel Gibson are Christian. If you’re interested in villifying an ideology as murderous by association (I’m not interested in that btw) you should start with belief in God.

            2. vlade

              Yes. And? I can give you a list of terrorist of just about any religion you mention. And if we were to go into debate there, I’d point out that quite a few politicians in Israel in the last half a century started as terrorists (say Menachem Begin)

                1. cwaltz

                  Then what was the point of asking someone to concede that he was Muslim?

                  Clinton, by the way, NOT MUSLIM, and responsible for many deaths. The fact that she had the State Dept behind her doesn’t make her hands any cleaner either.

                  1. EndOfTheWorld

                    A lot of Muslims are murdering people in spectacular ways in Europe. It’s a problem.

                    1. Jake

                      Now why would they be doing that? There has to be a root cause (OK, maybe more than one) somewhere.

                    2. cwaltz

                      Hmmmmmmmm maybe they are tired of seeing their countries and neighbors blown up by those nice “Christian” people.

                      The problem wouldn’t exist if there weren’t so many greedy people who were intent on remaking the Middle East and making a mess in the process.

      2. john

        I’ve been off the internet (decided to pay the phone bill), so I’m a bit behind and totally unread, but the abortive coup in Turkey might be the exact opposite. Namely a cover for a purge.

        The competing theories are the erratic actions in Turkey are cunningly crafted belligerence or unhinged ego-centrism. The US motivations would either be pro or anti Kurd in this speculation.

        I’ll keep watching.

        1. horostam

          someone i know said this, and i made fun of them. is erdogan really that smart? what about joining the eu?

          if anything, it made the the whole world realize they want him gone

          1. JTMcPhee

            What, “gone” like “the whole world wants Saddam/Moammar/Bashad/Bernie gone”?

    1. vidimi

      what disturbed me the most about this, and not to take anything away from the murder of the priest which was disturbing enough, was how the police summarily executed the perps rather than making any plans to apprehend them. i fear the americanisation of french police.

      1. Subgenius

        There is a specialist squad within the French police that specialize in terror threats and other serious threats to the populace. They basically allow only surrender or execution. I think the idea is that there is no doubt that you should surrender if you intend to live, once they are in play.

    2. The Trumpening

      ISIS has claimed this attack.
      The assailants were bearded and screaming in Arabic
      They beheaded a priest.
      One terrorist was a “Fiche S” and had an electronic bracelet.

      The Socialists are totally dependent on Muslim votes. So Hollande will play defense attorney for Islam as much as possible, If he has the slightest chance he will call a blatant Islamist attack the work of a “déséquilibré”. But he is not totally foolish and so when the evidence is overwhelming, he will admit it is an Islamist attack.

      But as Michel Houellebecq foresaw in his novel ‘Sousmission” the media will also attempt to down play these events as “it” starts to happen. For example when an ISIS suicide bomber struck a youth concert in Germany over the weekend, the BBC headline read: “Syrian migrant dies in German blast”. Those damn racist German blasts are at it again!

      BTW, Houellebecq set his novel in 2022 and was heavy criticized since that was way too soon for “it” to happen. They way things are going, the quasi-Civil War he described may already be in full effect during 2017,

      1. Barmitt O'Bamney

        I wonder if anyone on this appalling thread wants to take anything they said back now. Probably not. Probably they’d just double down on denial and reroute through tinfoil territory.

  3. EndOfTheWorld

    Nate Silver is a useless as tits on a boar hog. Which state was it he said Hill had about a 100% chance of winning, and she lost? The fact that MSM gives this inept propagandist any air time at all is the reason I don’t pay any attention at all to MSM.

    1. cocomaan

      You’re thinking of Michigan.

      Polling data clearly has some fundamental flaws. Do you think they will clean it up by 2020, able by then to at least be 50% accurate in their candidate predictions? I don’t.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Yeah, polls are imperfect, but they treat this Nate Silver guy like he is Mr. Superpoller, the maestro of pollology, when in reality his success rate is horrible. Way past time to quit putting him on air, like they finally did with Richard Bruce Cheney.

        1. Christopher Fay

          If he was good he’d be predicting baseball, instead he’s helping to build a news org narrative on the inflammability of Hillary

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            There is a reason Nate never was called up to a GM’s office while other stat guys with less popular websites made it.

            There is a scene in “Moneyball” where Brad Pitt goes to recruit Scott Hatteberg to play first, but what the book and movie leave out is Beane, the Oakland GM, knew Hatteberg was still hungry, he would earn his contract.

            A baseball commissioner for one of the minor leagues told me this was the problem with 538 some years ago when I had to pick his brain about the book “Moneyball. ”

            On the political side, Nate largely corrected CNN’s poll of polls when he didn’t just average the final numbers together but used the raw numbers giving him greater accuracy because he was using a greater data set properly. His current problem is he still does this during a prolonged depression Versailles refuses to acknowledge, declines in Democratic based organization, and cell phones becoming even more ubiquitous. Nate doesn’t have a system to address this, and the pollsters he always used are still using traditional headline numbers to create their polls. Since its math, journalists are frightened and don’t realize what Nate was doing to out predict CNN.

            I believe this is why Gallup quit the daily tracking poll game because they understood their household surveys didn’t match up with official numbers except for the eye popping poverty numbers after the census.

            1. Optimader

              Elective human behaviour is not neccesarily rational. Predicting political whimsy in the voting booth is a different deal than taking a data driven crack at athletic performance.

      2. Vatch

        One of the difficulties with polling is that they must predict how people will vote, as well as the extent of the electoral fraud. Predicting the actual vote totals and the official vote totals are sometimes completely different.

        1. ira

          The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.

          — Stalin

    2. ChiGal

      Propagandist as in using his influence to scare folks into voting HRC? I don’t doubt it but how does he do it if he still using the same methodology? Isn’t it more likely the change reflects the disgust of the electorate after the WikiLeaks revelations despite the DNC efforts to divert attention to the Russians?

      1. low integer

        Was going to add ejection seat in a helicopter, but thought I’d check if they exist first and they do!

        For improved pilot survivability the Ka-50 is fitted with a NPP Zvezda (transl. Star) K-37-800 ejection seat, which is a rare feature for a helicopter. Before the rocket in the ejection seat deploys, the rotor blades are blown away by explosive charges in the rotor disc and the canopy is jettisoned.
        Kamov Ka-50

        1. JTMcPhee

          Not ejection seats, maybe, but there was an effort to equip at least the valuable pilots of all those Hueys (not us back-seaters, expendable mopes that we were) with parachutes: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/694355.pdf

          Of somewhat limited utility, required sufficient forward airspeed and altitude to allow deployment of canopy before human impacted dirt. And of course the recommendation that you not pull the ripcord until clear of the meat cleavers whirling around overhead and back at the end of the tail boom…

          If our rulers had not sent us there to kill gooks and all that, along with a whole lot of corruption, said ‘chutes would have been unnecessary.

          1. low integer

            I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to be in the middle of all that. I have looked at a fair amount of the work of the Vietnam war photographers though, and some of it is very confronting. Nothing like the real thing though, I’m sure. I was not born until years after the Vietnam war had ended btw.

    3. TheCatSaid

      Silver is captured or being used to push agendas of others. For the last several years he is being used to shape events; major errors go unremarked by him or those who use his predictions. Silver is a big promoter of the necessity of “correcting” exit poll data (with other US pollsters, but Silver has been particularly vocal about “explaining” its necessity) based on “actual” election “results”. The problem is that official election results in the USA have been dodgy in many places and times, and to extents that we do not know.

      Raw exit polling data could tell us more. When analyzed skilfully, it can identifying precincts, counties and states that should be audited.

      See R. H. Phillips’ extensive report “Exit Polls vs. Vote Counts: 2016 Democratic Presidential Primary” to understand what raw exit polling data can and cannot tell us.

      The report also reveals that capturing raw exit polling data and observing how(in whose favor) and when it was subsequently “adjusted” can provide important clues.

  4. allan

    Many U.S. states, cities, missing chance of lifetime to borrow [Reuters]

    The yield on top-rated municipal 30-year bonds hit a bottom of 1.93 percent on July 6. That is far below the 3.27 percent of a year earlier and even below the comparable Treasury yield thanks to an income tax exemption granted to U.S. investors on the interest earned on most muni bonds.

    There are several reasons why municipalities are slow in exploiting what could be a rare window of opportunity created by historically low global rates and investors’ intense hunt for higher returns.

    For one, municipal borrowers have to clear hurdles including those at the ballot box, which makes it hard for them to respond quickly to changing market conditions.

    Some communities are also still aching from recession-era budget cuts and remain reluctant to take on new debt service costs, however low they may be. Some are hemmed in by sluggish economies, big pension liabilities – which crowd out new projects – or both.

    Just imagine if at least one political party had spent the last 7 1/2 years talking about the importance of infrastructure spending at a time of low interest rates, rather than blabbering about `green shoots’, `summer of recovery™’ and `government needs to tighten its belt, just like families’. Oh, well.

    On the bright side, in case of a Clinton presidency we can expect to see lots of public private partnerships to take advantage of the low rates.

    1. Steve C

      Compromise is important, my son, as the establishment, and now the liberal goodthinkers, tell us. So important that Obama perfected the precompromise, giving away things to the opposition for free before you even begin to talk. Let’s hope Hillary continues this fine tradition.

    2. a different chris

      The sad thing is, that although your post makes perfect sense in the world we used to live in — today I have to wonder how “rare” this “opportunity” actually will be going forward. What exactly is going to push interest rates back up?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        A rate rise to just 1% and they will have to close Japan, debt service at zero-to-negative rates is already almost 30% of all gov’t revenues

    3. Kokuanani

      Don’t forget the “scary, scary debt is going to bite us” meme promoted throughout this time.

      1. Steve C

        The debt is so scary that interest rates have been at historic lows for years. But the national budget is a kitchen table conversation.

        1. Optimader

          Yeah those people i see taking stuff back out of their grocery carts just dont get it.

          As we know Soveriegn Countries cant go broke in its own currency, just the Citizens can do that.

      2. Optimader

        Debt finances preparation for and execution of perpetual War which is the purest form of inflation. It’s like a reverse form of compound interest!

        So “Debt” will just “bite” the people on fixed incomes, but who cares about them, they didnt save enough, right?
        Debt just “nibbles” on the rest of us competing to be the closest to first use of fiat currency! But thats just exciting fun, why i’d bet we can make a TV show!
        Lets find a cherubic faced girl and teach her how to shoot a bow and arrow! Oh… Wait…well how about a gang of boys with Glocks? Mmm maybe thats still a bit edgy :0/

        I’ll just keep thinking on this.

    4. Christopher Fay

      I’ve been mumbling to myself abut infrastructure at the family holiday dinner table for 14 years. Once in a while a bridge falls down to help me out, but not enough in succession.

    5. ChiGal

      “Some are hemmed in by sluggish economies, big pension liabilities – which crowd out new projects – or both.”

      Not to mention the negative effects of past privatization such as the selling off of parking meter revenue in Chicago to Wall Street.

    6. barrisj

      You mean that this could signal the end of taxpayer-financed (bonds) mega-stadia for NFL teams? Those same teams owned by billionaires? The billionaires that promise “huge revenue gains” for cities willing to commit taxpayer dollars for new stadia? Now, here is an economic model that is in desperate need of overhauling…but it doesn’t stop these bastards from recycling the old tried-and-true ways.

  5. anon12

    WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange on the DNC Leaks, the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Hillary’s reaction.

    And I haven’t watched the you tube with Julian Assange (linked above) so apologies if this is already covered, but some of you might prefer reading it anyway:

    JULIAN ASSANGE: “Well, I mean, that’s interesting. We have seen that with a lot of other publications. I guess there’s a question: What does that mean for the U.S. Democratic Party? It is important for there to be examples of accountability. The resignation was an example of that. Now, of course, Hillary Clinton has tried to immediately produce a counter-example by putting out a statement, within hours, saying that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a great friend, and she’s incorporating her into her campaign, she’s going to be pushing for her re-election to the Congress.

    So that’s a very interesting signaling by Hillary Clinton that if you act in a corrupt way that benefits Hillary Clinton, you will be taken care of. Why does she need to put that out? Certainly, it’s not a signal that helps with the public at all. It’s not a signal that helps with unity at the DNC, at the convention. It’s a signal to Hillary Clinton partisans to keep on going on, you’ll be taken care of. But it’s a very destructive signal for a future presidency, because it’s—effectively, it’s expanding the Overton window of corruption. It doesn’t really matter what you do, how you behave; as long as that is going to benefit Hillary Clinton, you’ll be protected.”

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      Right, it’s not that Hill is tone-deaf, exactly—it’s just that she figures the fix is in with Diebold, etc., and no matter what she says or does she’ll be elected prez. Extreme arrogance in her “taking care” of DWS, especially when you consider that not only has Deb gotten a little bad press lately, she is also extremely incompetent at everything she does. And not exactly photogenic, either.

        1. John Wright

          This is an unfair slam at Harding.

          Harding was well aware of his limitations, unlike Hillary, and told people he would have been a better ambassador than President, as the Presidency was pushed on him.

          He admitted he had brought in corrupt cronies, who caused all the scandals in his administration..

          Here’s a quote from Harding:

          “I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies in a fight. But my friends, my goddamned friends, they’re the ones who keep me walking the floor at nights!”

          Watergate’s John Dean wrote a book “Warren G. Harding: The American Presidents Series: The 29th President, 1921-1923” partially defending Harding.

          If one looks at what Harding did, or more importantly did not do (wars), he was not so bad.

          If Hillary were a female version of Harding, she might merit my vote over Trump.

          1. EndOfTheWorld

            Yes, I don’t see any of that humility in Hillary. She’s great, and if you don’t believe it, just ask her. You can’t say “the presidency was pushed on her.” Many people would have been happy if she just wandered off.

      1. Tvc15

        Agree with EOTW. She can be as egregious and shameless as she wants because the election fix is already in just like when she knew that she wouldn’t be indicted for her emails.

        1. John k

          Ah, but she knew the fix was in on the emails. She knew the important vote was hers. OTOH, the election has more voters, and the swingers look to be fading away.
          Will be heartbroken if wrong.

    2. John Wright

      Through all of this one Hillary appointee is quietly waiting for a possible job upgrade.

      If HRC is eventually elected and then removed via impeachment or health issues, then Tim Kaine will see his ceremonial VP job massively upgraded.

      Assuming HRC is elected, Kaine might be a silent, yet effective, member of the “Impeach Hillary” camp as he sees a great job promotion as a result.

      With Hillary signaling unethical behavior is fine with her if the results are good, Hillary might select members of her administration that behave the same way but optimizing for THEIR benefit, not hers.

      Maybe President HRC will be so distracted by infighting she won’t inflame Russia?

      1. Optimader

        With Hillary signaling unethical behavior is fine
        I would stop the sentence here i think.

      2. TheCatSaid

        Highly strategic–I agree with your assessment re: Kaine. His presence on the ticket is dangerous; there are many circumstances in which he’d take over if HRC sticks it out & wins in November. Pence is also a dangerous choice, given his far-right ideology.

        No wholesome choices in either Pres or VP candidates in the 2 main parties. We’re being set up for an extremist right-wing executive.

    3. vidimi

      i would like to see something about the propagation of the BernieBro narrative in the DNC emails. that would properly piss off sanderistas.

    4. Ho

      So that’s a very interesting signaling by Hillary Clinton that if you act in a corrupt way that benefits Hillary Clinton, you will be taken care of. Why does she need to put that out?

      So, I was thinking abt the Dem convention, and wondering if, between the polls and the thousands and thousands of Bernie supporters in the streets, the Dem superdelegates, who are mainly incumbents and apparatchiks, thinking maybe they should jump the S S CLinton and vote Bernie?

      So, Hillary’s elevation of DWS may have been aimed at them?

      She’s demonstrated the whip with Bernie, and now we see the carrot.

  6. Bill Smith

    “the reason the US has been putting “defensive” nukes all over Eastern Europe is to give us a first-strike advantage,”

    That is ridiculous. The articles published here in the last week said the nuclear weapons in Turkey were B-61 nuclear bombs and that there were no nuclear capable aircraft stationed there. Sounds more like last strike than first strike.

    It is more sensible to argue that we shouldn’t have the weapons there at all – not that they are first strike nuclear weapons.

    Given the mention of all over Eastern Europe, where in ‘Eastern Europe’ have we deployed these ‘nukes’ – first strike or not? Incirlik, Turkey, (accepting that Turkey is in Eastern Europe), anywhere else?

    1. vlade

      No, at least not openly. Poles asked for nukes to be located in Poland, but to my knowledge US didn’t go with it.

          1. JohnnyGL

            http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/naval/submarines/2015/03/12/poland-submarine-tender-tomahawk-orka-jankowski/70223826/

            Polish subs with Tomahawks? Apparently, they’re interested.

            Tomahawks can be nuclear armed. Article doesn’t say they’re interested in doing just that, but it’s not a huge leap, either. More important is if Russia THINKS there’s a chance of nuclear arms.

            Also, even conventionally armed cruise missiles can do some very heavy damage.

            To be clear, this is complete speculation by me, but when we’re talking end-of-world stuff, the Noonan quote oft used is applicable here. It would be irresponsible NOT to speculate. If I’m reading this and thinking about the possibility, so are the Russian defense analysts.

              1. craazyboy

                That’s good news. I haven’t been paying close attention lately. Except there is the new $trillion Obama nuclear arsenal modernization bill. Just “strategic” stuff we needn’t worry about?

              2. JohnnyGL

                Bill, thanks for that correction/update.

                As you maybe can tell by now, my defense industry knowledge has faded since the end of the cold war. I have some family with some defense industry knowledge and experience, but personally lost interest and haven’t done enough to keep up.

      1. JohnnyGL

        I know a lot of people dislike RT, but that looks legit to my (mostly untrained) eye.

        I’m digging in the back corners of my brain here, my knowledge is dated….but, I wonder if the US has an answer to the Russian boomer fleet of subs? Do they maintain those, still? It was a big thing in the cold war. The argument being that even if a country gets wiped off the map, as long as the nuclear armed subs are still live and have orders to shoot, the balance of MAD (mutual assured destruction) is still maintained. At the height of the cold war, both the Soviets and the US could still have wiped one another out with subs only and without even using ICBMs (though, ICBMs are usually the quick trigger weapon of choice. Those are the weapons that get the planet destroyed in about an hour or so).

        The sub fleet takes longer as the subs have to get into position within a few hundred miles of the targets. Does Russia still have that ace to play? Meaning, can Putin say, “Yes, you can survive and basically win a nuclear war, but all we have to do is park ONE sub off the east coast and you lose at least 1/2 a dozen cities.”

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          There was a photo from one of the Russian defense briefings for the Duma in Octoberish where the updated nuclear missiles meant to retaliate if the land based missiles were wiped out by creating tsunamis from subs too far away from land to be tracked was clearly seen.

          It’s likely the Chinese have a similar program.

          1. craazyboy

            Plus, an outbreak of nuclear war would be a rotten time to find out how the Chinese truly feel about America.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34797252

          Here we go.

          After all, Iraq and Libya had no wmds and were targets. North Korea has them, and Iran has enough weaponry to clog the oil straits. With Syria, they pushed the asymmetrical angle until it was clear the forces of army defectors were done without real help.

          The world should approach the U.S. with a “verify, then trust on a step by step basis” strategy.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Plus Iran, until very recently the big bogeyman of the Middle East and still now regularly criticized, has never been launched an offensive. They’ve made clear they will be brutal if attacked, which is a different posture.

        3. craazyboy

          “Do they maintain those, still?”

          Methinks it would be their top priority – because it’s the only thing they really need.

        4. Mark P.

          Johnny GL writes:

          [1] ‘Does Russia still have that ace to play?’

          Yes. US nuclear deterrence doctrine traditionally talked about the nuclear tripod. In other words, deterrence stands on three legs — ICBMs launched from sea (subs), air (bomber) and land. The Soviets and now the Russians do the same — that’s standard deterrence doctrine.

          And the Russians still have one thing more, as far as I know — the old Perimeter/Dead Hand doomsday system —
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Hand_(nuclear_war)

          [2] ‘I wonder if the US has an answer to the Russian boomer fleet of subs? …’

          No. They’ve been pouring money into anti-missile missiles since the 1950s. It doesn’t really work at all, no matter what its proponents say. The Patriot missiles in Gulf 1 never worked, for instance. It has been a multi-million dollar spigot for places like MIT’s Lincoln Labs and the big military-industrial corporations for decades, so research spending for missile defense isn’t going away.

          But no, missile defense has never reliably worked and doesn’t now. And if it did, Russia MIRVs its ICBMs just like we do (i.e. it puts multiple — often 8 — reentry vehicles with nuclear warheads on top of one ICBM launcher). You can’t hit all those.

          1. JohnnyGL

            A snippet from Bill Smith’s FAS link above…”Russia has partly followed the initiative by eliminating a third of its non-strategic naval nuclear weapons since 1991, but is holding on to the rest to compensate against superior U.S. conventional naval forces.”

            I didn’t realize the US had dropped naval nukes altogether.

            Per your point [2], thanks for reminding me about the funny part of Gulf War where CNN gave constant edge-of-your seat coverage to missile defense systems (patriot batteries) that couldn’t stop the missiles (SCUDS) that Saddam couldn’t actually hit anything with because they were so inaccurate!

            I have a quote in my head (maybe from war nerd) about anti-missile systems as a concept. I think he said hitting SCUDS with a patriot missile was like taking out a flying grain silo with an exploding pile of shrapnel. Made me laugh as part of a larger point about the fundamental difficulty with the whole concept.

            And yes, your point on MIRVs is apt. You miss one and you’ve failed because now you’ve missed a bunch.

    2. Christopher Fay

      Bill Smith at http://turcopolier.typepad.com the author is worried as Turkey has access to some of those bombs, and the U. S. has uncertain access to the base, that Incirlik is another Islamic bomb. And the eastern expansion of U. S. aggression (nato expansion) will lead to nukes in eastern Europe. If you read Sic Semper Tyrannis you will read we no longer have a land army. Lambert asks why we’re not seeing the victory monuments going up for our Afghan or Iraq victories, are we? War between nuclear powers is nuclear war, and Yves said eastern nato expansion is to get U. S. nukes up close to Russia. Russian nukes can hit the U. S. in 17 minutes.

      Also you don’t expect our government to tell the truth about where it’s putting its nukes, do you?

    3. Softie

      “The articles published here in the last week said the nuclear weapons in Turkey were B-61 nuclear bombs and that there were no nuclear capable aircraft stationed there. Sounds more like last strike than first strike.”

      B61 can be launched from many jets, such as F16, according to Wikipedia.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And as linked in my comments today, the Belgians, for Cliffs sake, have “shared access” to “NATO” B-61s that they can deploy as in blow up off their aging nuclear-capable F-16s. What could possibly go wrong? Bill Smith is a pretty good spokesperson for the Great Game and its players.

  7. JTMcPhee

    About those nuclear weapons Genies all over the place, hoping to escape from their bottles:
    Apparently the little tale I told here a few days ago about US naval ship weapons officers on a port call in Beppu, Japan, telling me that they had authority at a level far below the wise restraint (smirk) of the POTUS to fire off anti-ship and other surface to surface nuclear warheads missiles, was not just eyewash. https://fas.org/blogs/security/2016/02/nuclear-weapons-at-sea/

    This ties to the “important” link in today’s assortment above, “First Use,” and ought to tell the rest of us that the Fokkers who prepare for Armageddon are still very much “in command of the situation…” ” Must give the President options and flexibility.” Boooolsheeet.

    Awwww,what military would ever be stupid enough to detonate nuclear weapons, anyway? And all the safeguards make accident and error impossible, right? Here’s reports of one kind of accident and error, https://nsarchive.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/document-friday-narrative-summaries-of-accidents-involving-nuclear-weapons/. And here are the many times that nuclear foreplay by the Fokkers who play these games have nearly screwed our pooches: http://www.planetdolan.com/15-times-world-war-3-nearly-started/

    One of these times the luck will run out. Too bad a few Fokkers still playing Risk! get to kill all the rest of us…

    1. Uahsenaa

      It’s worth bringing into the conversation that the US is the only country in the world to have actually used a nuclear weapon against a target, rather than simply detonate one as a test. And the justification we used is not only horrific but salient for the present circumstances. The basic calculus of “murder your civilians to save our soldiers” could easily apply in any of the current or fomenting battlefields, especially with the war fatigue in this country and politicians’ need to avoid at least the appearance of “boots on the ground.”

      1. Jagger

        It’s worth bringing into the conversation that the US is the only country in the world to have actually used a nuclear weapon against a target,

        True enough but to use this argument to single out the US as particularly barbaric or trigger happy with nuclear weapons is an unfair argument. Do you have any doubt that Hitler or Tojo or Stalin or Churchill would have done exactly the same if they had managed to develop an atomic bomb first? I have no doubts.

        The reason we have the infamy of being the only country to actually use nuclear weapons to attack cities is because we were the first to develop a useable nuclear weapon during a long grueling world war which had already resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions.

        1. Jagger

          ….resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions….

          Actually tens of millions…somewhere around 65 million…the four horsemen were definitely on a rampage…

          1. JTMcPhee

            oh no, the exceptional US is clearly not never barbaric or trigger happy ((((with nuclear weapons so far at least, just that one moment))))

            “Carpet bomb ’em!”
            “Nuke ’em back to the Stone Age!”
            “Glassify the sand ni__ers!”
            “Kill ’em all, and let G_D sort ’em out!”

            1. jagger

              oh no, the exceptional US is clearly not never barbaric or trigger happy

              That is my point, the US is not particularly exceptional. Again, Churchill, Stalin, Tojo, Hitler would have done exactly the same thing if they had had the opportunity. And without a doubt, you would find many people within their populations making the same bloodlusty statements as you list. The only difference is we had the bomb FIRST at the end of a long World War. If we had been SECOND, we would be pointing at some other country as exceptional barbaric for first use of the bomb. Leaders, people and countries around the world are fully capable of the barbarity of using the bomb on enemy cities. And during WW2, would have, if they had the chance.

              So if you feel other nations and leaders would not have done the same, make your case. Otherwise bashing the US as exceptional barbaric for first use of the bomb is just not logical. Plenty of other valid arguments but first use of the bomb is not one of them.

              1. myshkin

                “to use this argument to single out the US as particularly barbaric or trigger happy with nuclear weapons is an unfair argument. Do you have any doubt that Hitler or Tojo or Stalin or Churchill would have done exactly the same if they had managed to develop an atomic bomb first?”
                That’s quite a list of humanitarians for the US to take a measure of its own barbarism against.

          2. Anon

            “Actually tens of millions…somewhere around 65 million…the four horsemen were definitely on a rampage…”

            But those millions were not American soldiers or civilians. Most of them, in fact, were Russian. The WWII cost the US 0.035% of it’s population. Russia lost 30-35% of it’s population. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed > 225,000+ civilians. The total loss of American military during WWII was ~ 400,000.

            …just sayin’.

        2. Uahsenaa

          Misconstrues my argument for effect. At no point did I say “Americans are especially barbaric or trigger happy.” What I pointed to was an argument put forward by the US government and its backers to justify what they were doing. Once the fact of the atomic bombing was accomplished, the justification and the circumstances surrounding it moved from the realm of mere speculation (re: Stalin, Hitler and the like–though the Russian case is far more complex than you make it seem) into the realm of precedent, which, because the US got away with the nuclear bombing (and the far more horrific fire-bombings of Tokyo and Dresden) without punishment or condemnation, it creates a quasi-legal justification for future use of similar weapons under similar circumstances. The modern Japanese state, which, at least constitutionally if not officially, is pacifist would have to struggle to justify such an act in a way the US does not. You only have to look to how anti-nuke the Japan polity are vs. the US to see how the historical fact of being the perpetrator and the perpetrated upon have played out in modern day politics.

          At any rate, the question of US belligerence can be easily calculated based on the number of countries we have bombed, invaded, or drone struck in the past 15 years since 9/11, relative to any other country with a similar military capacity (Russia, China, or India, for instance).

      2. Optimader

        ” The basic calculus of “murder your civilians to save our soldiers”

        When has that not been the case?

        -Or- another premeditated strategy, murder your civilians and repopulate the territory with your own

        1. softie

          Actually it’s the other way around. People I mean machines die for Capital. Today humans are not humans in the traditional sense. According to modern science, this was about 20 years ago, if you listen to guys such as Rodney Brooks, former Director of MIT AI Lab, humans “are machines whose components are biochemicals.” We live in en epoch in which humans have already disappeared.

          Destruction of both war materials – produced by industries for the sole purpose of profit-seeking and maximization – and competitors’ industrial input bases (their population aka machines, etc) is absolutely a must for consumption of not yet commercializable adanced mass murder technologies. The other side of Freud’s Eros is Thanos. The love of profit for further accumulation of Capital can only be realized through death drive. There is no distinction between reason and unreason, rationality and irrationality.

      3. John Wright

        I’m reading Gar Alperovitz’s book “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth” it is 670 pages, not counting the references at the end, so it will take a while to finish.

        His premise is the “save our soldiers” is a manufactured myth as the true reason the bombs were used was to show Russia the USA had these weapons.

        Eisenhower eventually went public with a statement about his words to Secretary of War Stimson,
        before the bombs were dropped: “I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary….no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives, It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeing some way to surrender with a minimum loss of “face.”

        In Eisenhower’s view, the “murder your civilians to save our soldiers” is not validated.

        A demonstration to Russia may have been the real justification.

        1. myshkin

          NC commentariat did this back and forth and back again when Obama went to Hiroshima.
          If you’re interested you might check back in the archive.

    2. polecat

      They’ve apparently moved away from the ‘Risk’ board…… and jumped over to ‘Nukem’ !!

    1. voteforno6

      That was entertaining…I have to think that some of the effusiveness over this show is because it is so hard for the unwashed masses to see it. There’s still a certain snobbery that holds that theater is a more elevated art form than cinema, and Hamilton allows the elites to indulge that snobbishness.

    2. Brindle

      Hmm…. a show that both Rahm Emanuel and Dick Cheney like?
      Good closing sentence:

      “Barack Obama deported more immigrants than any other president and expanded the drone program in order to kill almost 3,500 people — but he gave patronage to a neoliberal nerdcore musical. God bless this great land.”

    3. sluggo

      Interesting. My father was in Moscow on business, and he bought a decent seat to the Bolshoi Ballet Company, and it cost him like $50 American. Completely different mentality in Russia.

    4. Uahsenaa

      I guess your average theater-goer doesn’t want to see a musical about Olaudah Equiano, who would also bring to the fore the inconvenient truth that the British banned slavery long before the Americans did.

    5. DJG

      Thanks, MikeNY: We know the symptoms. U.S. culture never rises above the reassuring middle-brow. Color-blind casting somehow is multiculturalism, or something. I’m seeing a lot of this in the U.S. art world: Shoddy and shallow work passed off as very very deep. (I had the unfortunate luck of sitting through a very very deep trilogy by a very edgy Chicago theater one Saturday not so long ago.) In Chicago, painting, theater, and writing are also overlaid with the city’s provincialism and bristling self-regard.

      I can hardly wait for the sequel, Van Buren!

      1. RMO

        What! You’re still waiting for the Van Buren add-on to Fallout 3? It’s deader than Half Life 2 Epsiode 3/Half Life 3 is! :-) Don’t worry, if Hillary wins we have about a 30% chance of playing Fallout in real life. My dog is all ready to go.

        1. RMO

          Re: Hamilton itself though, it makes me think of a couple of things. Such as just how far through the looking glass we must that what seems to be essentially “Springtime For Hitler” but written neither in a deliberate attempt to make a bomb nor tongue in cheek can actually become a huge smash. It also vaguely reminds me of how when Billy Bishop Goes To War made it to New York the Reaganites loved it, not apparently realizing that is was intended ironically.

  8. Jim A

    Re: driverless cars in 10 years….The average age of a passenger car in the US was 11.4 years in 2014. That’s the first car age figure that I could easily find. The figure that we’re really interested in is what percentage of cars are more than 10 years old.

    1. Praedor

      I don’t get the point of “driverless cars”. It’s not like you can sit back and read, snooze, text, watch TV, etc. You have to PAY ATTENTION and be ready to take over at a moment’s notice.

      Seems to me that “driverless cars” are just an invitation for carelessness. People WILL read, text, snooze, get blow jobs, etc, and there WILL be wrecks as the car screws up (or gets hacked) and causes a nice chain reaction pile-up.

      1. craazyboy

        The point as always, is….. “because they can do it*”. The consumer is now being sold on how cool (and valuable) it is.

        It will be a disaster. They are too many variables out there on the roads and highways. A car is NOT a assembly line robot. Unless they somehow turn the road into a assembly line. But that could be called a “train” in that case.

        *Or think they can.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The investor is being defrauded. There won’t be many self driving cars sold. The car insurers will never allow them on the roads.

          For consumers, I see a vh1 “Remember the ’10’s” with YouTube celebrities going “what ever happened to self driving cars?” I had to Skype into this gig. No computer drove me.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s just a new and pragmatic rocket pack for the technocrats of the 21st century. The infrastructure and programming issues are staggering but the promise of being free to work during a commute and not having to ride a bus is a beautiful dream for the bourgeois who can’t afford drivers or helicopters.

        Yes, it’s also a sign of how dead they are culturally. Rocket packs still speak to our dreams of flying. and new frontiers. Self driving cars are for the lazy.

        1. a different chris

          “free to work during a commute”.. and if you can do that, what’s the point of the “commute” part?

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, it clearly shows how idiotic that prediction is. The only way that very rapid driverless car transitions could be made is if there was a cheap conversion kit for existing cars, and that seems unlikely. The kits now marketed for trucks cost 10’s of thousands of dollars each.

      I would be amazed if there were any significant number of driverless cars or trucks within 5 years, and even then they are likely to be only for set fixed routes (such as delivery vehicles on highways). There are just too many technical and regulatory hurdles to jump. And I suspect that it will not prove possible to mix driverless cars into a mostly driver environment – there would have to be a ‘big bang’ style change, which could take decades to arrange.

      1. craazyboy

        I saw a utube vid of a demo somewhere in Europe where a convoy of a hundred or something self driving 18 wheelers where cued up at a truck stop and slowly lumbered up the on ramp to the autonomousbahn? spaced by a few feet (distance sensors – cool!) and slowly accelerated down the pike and maybe a half hour later the caravan made a lane change to the middle lane.

        And no cars can get on for a few miles of on ramps during the whole process. Fortunately, the camera angle also showed a raised train track in the background, with a train zipping along.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          The thing is, there have been auto driving systems for motorways in Europe since the 1980’s. I remember in the late 1980’s attending a lecture given by a transport engineer outlining all the practical research. It was all EU funded. These were intended for ‘hands off’ long distance driving, the main aim was to increase road capacity by having these automated road trains. There is nothing at all new about this.

          Modern systems are no doubt much more advanced, but there is no evidence that I’ve seen that the fundamental problems have been overcome.

      2. docG

        Driverless cars there will be, you can be sure of that. Not because the AI is for real (it isn’t and never will be); nor because they’ll be affordable (they never will); nor because all the various “kinks” will be worked out over time (they never will); nor because they are not disasters waiting to happen (they most certainly are) — but because there is far too much money invested (including US taxpayer money) for anyone in business or government to back away from this totally insane idea, hatched by billionaires captured by a combination of hubris, boredom and the problem of figuring out what to do with their billions in spare cash.

        They will build them, that’s for sure. And they will be totally driverless. They’ll have to be, because it’s unrealistic to expect anyone investing tons of money in such a vehicle to totally defeat its purpose by continually monitoring it just as though it weren’t driverless, but just an ordinary car. Duh!

        The problem is: no one but a hopeless tech nerd like the guy who recently killed himself in his beloved Tesla will ever want to actually risk life and limb (not to mention peace of mind) by riding in one. Of course there will always be fools like the fools who’ve signed up for one-way trips to Mars, willing to try anything that sounds “cool.” As for me, forget it. I’d never be able to relax in one of these infernal machines and I’m betting that most sane individuals feel the same way. Hell, I don’t want to even be in the vicinity of one these things, as a driver, a pedestrian or even sitting in a house that could be destroyed at any minute by some idiot’s “autonomous vehicle” suddenly morphed into a guided missile.

        My prediction: if you build it, they will NOT come. And it won’t really matter because you’ll have many billions to spare on your Mars colonization project.

    3. Goyo Marquez

      It depends on what the meaning of driverless is. Most people are imagining fully autonomous vehicles, but think of them instead as vehicles which ride on rails, electronic rails, vehicles which are required to report their position and speed to a central computer, like subway trains, and you get a better idea of how it might work.

      As for the advantages, you’ll not need to own a car because Uber like cars will be quickly available when you need them, cars can be lighter because the safety feature of heavy cars will be replaced with electronics, lighter cars means faster and less energy consuming, maybe fossils fuel engines a thing of the past. It will provide a means of true mass transportation for people who can’t now afford cars and who don’t live in New York. Multiple car families will be a thing of the past, because the car will be able to drive itself to pick up other family members rather than being parked in a driveway or parking lot all day.

      The real hang up is not getting government involved. Imagine if the early car makers had insisted on a libertarian solution to all their obstacles, ‘Roads? We don’t need roads.’

      1. craazyboy

        nope. imagine people connecting their own subway car to the subway train, while it’s moving along at full speed. we do not have the technology.

      2. cwaltz

        That will be fun when satellite signals go out.

        Disclosure: when signals go out for trains everyone is required to stay exactly where they are to prevent collisions. Try to imagine that on a highway.

        In theory, driverless cars are a good idea because a majority of accidents are the result of driver error(driver tired, driver distracted, driver multitasking). In practice, I suspect driverless cars will just come with their own pile of NEW problems that cause accidents and that’s just if somehow the government manages to subsidize their purchase because there is no way someone one paycheck away from broke is going to sink his money into a fancy, expensive self driving car without some sort of built in incentive.

        1. craazyboy

          GPS position accuracy bounces around all over the place depending on a whole bunch of factors. Then with control systems and sensors in general, latency(time lag) is a huge problem. It basically sucks.

          In the case of GPS, I can get my toy monster truck to outrun position updates at 20mph.

            1. craazyboy

              There are a variety of ways you may try doing it. I just mentioned GPS as an example of what the problems are – and I’ve worked with GPS a lot.

              So, now, extrapolate – what is your sensor and wifi connected latency to the “central computer” and round trip back to the vehicles electronic control system, it’s prime mover and braking system and what mass and inertia moving at what speed would you like to modify to whatever the set point is that is still in memory back at the central computer?

              1. Goyo Marquez

                It’s not one system it’s two. The system on the vehicle making local decisions and the highway system providing overall location information for the highway and for the vehicles traveling on the highway.

                  1. cnchal

                    In the June 2016 Car & Driver are a couple of articles about autonomous cars, and it’s coming faster than we think.

                    By Eric Tingwell: Map Quest – High definition maps plot the course to autonomous cars

                    The cameras and radar sensors that enable today’s highly automated cruise control systems can see only 250 yards ahead in the best conditions. That’s barely more than six seconds of lead time at 80 MPH, and traffic, weather and topography often shrink visibility to even shorter distances. For true autonomy, self driving cars will need a better understanding of the bigger picture.

                    The coming generation of so-called high definition maps will supply that picture, along with enough detail for computers to make predictive decisions rather than reactive adjustments. While today’s navigation maps represent each road as a single lane, HD maps include multiple lanes with usage rules, curbs, shoulders, road signs, and guard rails. Armed with high definition maps,the smartest cars will leapfrog slow moving traffic, negotiate interchanges, move over for merging cars, choose the correct lane for an exit, and know where to stop in an emergency – all without driver input.

                    In charting the course for autonomous cars, mapmakers face a major paradox. The more detailed the map, the more likely it is to be inaccurate. Lanes become shoulders, speed limits change, and construction turns meticulously planned traffic patterns into chaos. That’s why Here–a mapping company owned by BMW, Diamler, and the Volkswagen Group–envisions a future in which autonomous vehicles redraw the maps as they travel the roads.

                    “We map areas yearly. That’s probably not fresh enough to maintain what we need going forward,” says John Ristevski, vice president of reality capture and processing at Here. “We need to reflect any changes in the environment in real time.” A dynamic layer in Here’s HD maps aggregates live data from fixed sensors, government agencies, and other cars on the road to adapt to temporary lane closures, accidents, and traffic jams along with permanent changes to traffic patterns.

                    For the mapmakers, the route ahead is marked and clear of obstacles. Her’s Ristevski predicts that the most advanced cars will drive entrance-to-exit on our highways without driver intervention or supervision within three to five years.

                    A companion sidebar with the title:
                    To Know Where You’re going, You’ve Got To Know Where You Are

                    Even the most detailed map is useless if you don’t know your location. Consumer-grade GPS can only place a car within a 10 foot circle, so mapmakers have developed methods to pinpoint it’s exact position on their HD maps, a process known as localization.

                    TomTom augments it’s high-def maps with RoadDNA, which compares live data captured by an onboard lidar sensor with images recorded by it’s mapping vans. By identifying patterns in the images and subtle differences between the locations of fixed landmarks RoadDNA can determine a car’s side to side position on a road to within six inches. In a typical 138 inch-wide lane, that’s precise enough to let the car steer. A six-inch drift in one direction or the other is something that most of can hardly perceive, even if we are driving down the road ourselves. . .

                    We can make some guesses about the future, and the trickle down theory is at work here. First these systems will be tried and tested on the 1% as available options until finally they become mandatory, like seat belts, on all cars. Just a matter of time.

                    Under certain conditions these HD map systems won’t work, so the steering wheel will likely be there far into the future.

                    1. TheCatSaid

                      Imagine the havok that could be wreaked with a “Man In The Middle” attack on GPS satellite data!

                    2. craazyboy

                      The military has been working on optical camera target recognition systems since the 80s. I knew some guys at Hughes doing it. Computer graphics processing speeds are finally getting fast enough where it may be cost effective. I’m waiting for the starry eyed silicon valley MBAs to blow enough money on it so they get real cheap and I can buy them for my toys. Even so, I fly radio controlled quadcopters right now looking thru a small cam mounted on the quad and most high def cams have too much delay and the lag will make you crash. We can get cams with 1/10 second delay and be 480p definition, which is what some really good flyers going at 60-70mph need to keep from crashing. And that’s with no traffic.

                      The maps will be a problem. Think they can keep them sinked with every road repair and construction project going on? Anything in a road that shouldn’t be there?

                      It will find it’s way into luxury cars, and I do hope the driver uses the steering wheel. Brakes too. We’ll see how it goes.

                    3. cnchal

                      . . . Computer graphics processing speeds are finally getting fast enough where it may be cost effective. . .

                      One could consider cost effective processing speeds to be a form of infinite mineral deposits to be mined with ideas.

                      The adoption of autonomous driving already looks like the car is commanded by itself instead of some type of central command and will be able to use only those roads which are plotted. Might some roads miss the setup camera? Will there be roads that are unplotted? If so, the steering wheel stays, even if only as an emergency device.

                      How people react to the hand of government, which has behind it the financial power of a lot of miscreants, will determine the acceptance rate and how fast this is forced or adopted, depending on your view.

                      It wouldn’t surprise me to see autonomous driving options first put to use on the interstate and be ubiquitous in five years. Processing power being so cheap and all that.

                1. cwaltz

                  The railroad has a system that locates the trains on the tracks to help dispatchers direct traffic on the tracks and all it takes is a cable being cut accidentally to disrupt it.

                  I’m trying to imagine how this type of system works with millions of cars nationwide instead of hundreds of trains. I don’t think it’s going to be nearly as efficient as they are hoping. Personally, I wish the money being spent on driverless POVs was being spent on infrastructure changes that made public transportation more viable for most of us. If you don’t want to have to think when you get into a vehicle then perhaps you should be getting in a vehicle where someone else does the driving. That’s not even getting into the pollution that is the result of all the personally owned vehicles being on the road to begin with that could be prevented from damaging the planet.

              2. craazyman

                The triumph of mobility science will be the driverless motorcycle.

                You never hear them talking about that.

                I can make a driverless car myself by pointing one down a street and letting it go. What’s so special about it?

      3. cnchal

        Multiple car families will be a thing of the past, because the car will be able to drive itself to pick up other family members rather than being parked in a driveway or parking lot all day.

        Ever driven a taxi? The germs, bacteria and body fluids left behind will gross you out.

  9. crow

    No More Fucking Farmers Markets:

    I’ve organically gardened a quarter acre of ground for 40 years now, supplying a good proportion of the food my family needs each year. I don’t do it because I can’t afford to buy food. Far from it. I do it in large part so I can control how my food is produced, for the exercise and for the shear satisfaction of doing it. But it’s hard, dirty, sweaty physical work out in the hot sun, often when the humidity is up there and bugs are biting. It’s not a lifestyle that many Americans could do or would tolerate, but that’s their choice. Support your local organic farmer. Believe me, they deserve it.

    1. Arizona Slim

      A local friend used to sell her product at a Tucson farmers market. Some competition moved in and she didn’t think that they followed proper food handling procedures.

      So she reported them to the health department. Owner of the farmers market kicked her out.

      She is still in business and doing quite well. As for those competitors, I think they are long gone.

      Market owner is widely considered to be a local icon. But some of us know better.

      1. DJG

        I was on the committee to open the farmers market in my end of the Edgewater neighborhood in Chicago. At our first meeting with the neighborhood development organization, a nonprofit, the staff said: No, the farmers can’t all be organic. It is hard and costly to get certification here in Illinois (and Michigan and Wisconsin, the homes of some of the farmers). So that fantasy went out the window immediately. We rely on best practices and seasonality. No winter watermelons, as mentioned in the article.

        Also, my work with the committee means that I know how little farmers make each time they appear at the market. A couple hundred dollars? So I have adopted a cardinal rule: Never take a sample, even if offered. It cuts into the farmer’s minimal profits. Yet there are people who go to farmers’ markets as a free snack.

        1. MtnLife

          Will take a slight exception to your rule regarding samples. Yes, profits are fairly minimal but usually samples are set aside ahead of time and are written off as advertising costs. Anything we don’t sample out we eat ourselves. We want people to try our goods. That being said, if you show up 3 weeks in a row, sample everything, and don’t buy anything – then you are being an ass. If you buy fairly regularly feel free to grab a snack with your purchase.
          In Vermont, all farmers market items must be at least 50% grown by the seller. Not 50% of the items but a 50% stake in each item.

        2. cwaltz

          The government has been pushing farmers markets and my community received a grant.

          http://www.roanoke.com/news/local/christiansburg/federal-grant-to-boost-christiansburg-market/article_4fbca069-f9f9-59d0-9d50-c7f512c1df58.html

          Our neighbors in Blacksburg already have a market that has enough vendors to operate twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

          Our area also is taking advantage of grants to put in pedestrian crossings and bike racks as part of an effort of the US government to prevent obesity which is nice to see.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A suggestion: We convert high school football fields for farming.

      Teach students something they can benefit themselves (then and there – use it in school cafeteria, and in the future).

      For students who want ‘academic courses’ to become future hedge fund managers, they can pay for those optional courses themselves.

      “Organic Potato Farming 101”

      “Introduction to Organic Hemp Farming.”

      1. Tvc15

        Great suggestions, but they make too much sense and of course don’t benefit the ruling class. I live in central Maine which is rural, poor, and has a lot of small farms, however the schools here do not take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Instead they serve kids the same processed crap you’d find in any poor school district. We wouldn’t even need to use the football field. I’d just add an organic farm to the potato and hemp fields you mentioned. Just imagine the benefits: budget savings, healthy foods and valuable life skills.

      2. Arizona Slim

        Hear, hear, MyLessThanPrimeBeef. Now, which sports-obsessed high school wants to go first?

        [crickets]

        As much as they get bashed on this board, and deservedly so, I expect to see the first conversion happening at a charter school.

        1. apotropaic

          They already are. My son’s charter school treats lunch as a class and they grow food for it as well as another weekly session called ‘edible schoolyard’. Of course it isn’t your normal corporate charter but a non profit independent charter school so there’s that.

    3. polecat

      Yes, I concur……..

      I do the same with an approx. 1/5 acre (city) lot….dusty, sweaty, dirty…..but the rewards are worth the effort!

      A large % of Americans have be come ‘soft’…and will likely starve should supply chains get wonky and/or stop!

      seeds! …what are those?? dirt!… eck!

      1. cwaltz

        I don’t think I’d describe families working 2 jobs to cobble together enough money to pay the bills as” soft.”

        The reality is if you are already working 40+ hours at another job and raising children then the last thing you want to add to your list is the physical effort it takes to farm. As it stands right now many Americans seem to think real cooking requires too much time and effort(planning, shopping and then preparing) I can’t imagine them adding planting, nourishing and then cultivating crops to that checklist.

        I’m actually kind of surprised to hear many of your high schools don’t include greenhouses. Our high school actually does plant and sell fruits and vegetables. It’s some sort of program that is supposed to teach the kids how to operate a business. Then again, Virginia Tech was originally “cow college”, with it’s roots heavily planted in being part of an agricultural community.

    4. craazyman

      Fuk if the grocery store’s not air conditioned I find that it’s hard work just shopping for vegetables.

      A garden? AYFKM? With bugs? Oh man.

  10. Aumua

    Re: Today’s Must Read article.

    All Cards on the Table: First-Use of Nuclear Weapons War on the Rocks (resilc). Today’s must read. As we’ve said for some time, the reason the US has been putting “defensive” nukes all over Eastern Europe is to give us a first-strike advantage, in that those “defensive” installations will stop any response. And Obama is about to turn this over to trigger-happy Hillary.

    Well guess what, I read the article. And the spin that’s being put on it here is a gross mischaracterization of what the article is even talking about, the facts about U.S. missiles in Eastern Europe, and what the new defensive “nukes” actually are.

    First of all, I challenge the authors here or anyone else to come up with any source verifying that the U.S. is increasing its nuclear arsenal in Easter Europe at all. In fact, this article (Vice) says that the U.S. has about 2.5% of the nuclear arms in Eastern Europe that it had in the early 70s. I cannot find any reference to a recent increase.

    The Aegis missile defense system, which I’m pretty sure is what we’re actually talking about here, is not a nuke. It’s not even a conventional explosive warhead. Essentially it’s a slab of metal designed to ram into a ballistic missile and disable it. Not too much of a first-strike advantage there, although I suppose you could argue that it might turn a second-strike scenario into a first-strike one. I’m not defending the aggressive posturing here, or having nuclear arsenals in general. But I am interested in the truth, and keeping it clear.

    So let’s talk about the article itself then. You wouldn’t know it from reading the summary given here, but that fact is that the U.S. has always had a first-strike policy for nukes, since we’ve had them. What’s being discussed here is whether or not we should adopt a policy of not striking first. And the conclusion drawn in the article is that we shouldn’t. Draw your own conclusions there, but those are the facts.

    I know that some of the points I’ve made about the inaccuracies here have already been brought up in past NC commentaries. So I would like to know why you are back repeating the same old stuff here again. I ask again: Yves, Lambert, is the official stance of the NC writers now that we must stop ‘trigger happy’ Hillary at all costs (vote Trump) or else she will destroy the planet? If that’s the case, then ok, but then I have to downgrade this site from ‘worthy news and commentary’ to ‘unreliable and clearly biased’ news and commentary, and maybe I’ll come back after the election or something.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Russia does not agree with the US claims about the stated purpose of the system in Romanian, and argues it could very quickly be repurposed to attack Russia with Tomahawk missiles. Those can carry nuclear payloads:

      https://www.rt.com/news/347313-putin-us-missile-defense-nuclear/

      This is a finance and economics site. We are only as good as our links in other areas. Given the massive amount of wildly inaccurate “information” we see in finance and politics, it’s hard to believe that what we get in the US media is any better with respect to geopolitics. Not that Russian sources aren’t trying to present a point of view either, but the US has been increasingly provoking Russia for reasons that seem more to do with neocon fantasies and the US military industrial complex wanting to sell more toys than our national interest more properly conceived. Reagan, who was hardly soft on Russia, thought the neocons were crazy and kept them well away from any position of authority. George Kennan, no slouch as a Cold Warrior, said that the US decision under Bill Clinton to move NATO into the former Warsaw Pact states would prove to be the biggest geopolitical mistake we ever made.

      1. Aumua

        As a matter of fact, in researching my comment and trying to get to the bottom of this I have already read all 3 of those articles, and not one of them is proof of nuclear arms increase. The only one which even suggests the possibility is the RT article, and that offers nothing but bald speculation about how the missiles could be converted. The other two articles clearly say that the Aegis is a defensive system with no explosive warhead of any kind, and which is also ineffective against ICBMs. So unless you’re going to just go ahead and call these missiles ‘nuclear arms’ in spite of these facts then I’m just not seeing what you’re seeing.

        What I am seeing, and I hate to see it here, but what I see is scaremongering.

        edit: Ah, you removed two of the links I see, and changed the wording to remove ‘nuclear’. Well that’s a start. And what are we left with? The RT article.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I protested the Iraq War because it was clear that the US was mobilizing to go in when Saddam represented at most a threat only to his own people. Hans Blix and the UN inspectors were not only in Iraq, they were going through the possible WMD sites based on priority and had gone through the top 75% at the time when we invaded. If Saddam had had anything, and we now know he didn’t, he would have been moving it about on trucks and even then the movements would be visible from satellite.

          We’ve produced failed states all over the Middle East, with the result that the refugee flow into Europe is putting huge stress on the fault lines that existed due to the bad resolution of the banking crisis. At a bare minimum, it’s strengthening the hand of right wingers like Marinie Le Pen. We keep provoking Russia and were explicit that the economic sanctions were to force regime change. All they did was solidify Putin’s position. Even the Moscow intelligensia started defending him.

          China is a far bigger geopolitical risk yet we’ve gotten ourselves in an economic co-dependency with them.

          In other words, our foreign policy is reckless and the US media keeps airbrushing out its insanities and internal contradictions.

          So please tell me why being worried is not rational and justified?

          1. DJG

            Yves: You’d think this crisis would be staring people in the face–it is self-evident. Yet endless war is now the norm, and U.S. culture teaches that actions have no consequences. What could possibly go wrong with three to six million refugees on the move in the Middle East? With hundreds trying to cross to Italy each day from Libya and Tunisia, and drowning?

            And what happened the time that the U.S.S.R. moved the missiles into Cuba?

          2. Praedor

            I’d add:

            Hillary, as Sec State, actively sought confrontation with Russia over Georgia/South Ossetia. Then again, had sought direct confrontation with Russia in Ukraine (after Russia logically responded to an illegal coup in Ukraine in a transparent attempt to seize Ukrainian gas/oil AND kick Russia out of ITS Crimea). Side note: Crimea has always been historically Russian territory. It was administratively “gifted” to Ukraine by Kruschev, a Ukrainian, in 1954, in a manner that would not be recognized as legit today but that’s not convenient to the neocon narrative.

            Hillary STILL seeks direct confrontation with Russia in Syria to this day by STILL calling for a “No Fly Zone” in Syria to protect US-favored Islamist radicals. A No-Fly Zone in Syria is somewhat akin to Russia trying to impose a No-Fly Zone in Germany. Russia has MAJOR military (and air force) bases in Syria. The US CANNOT No-Fly them there just as Russia cannot No-Fly the US in Germany where WE have multiple military bases. Hillary IS seeking war with Russia so, yes, we do need to be concerned about ALL our nukes everywhere because Hillary IS acting in a way that almost guarantees their near-future use as a stupid, predictable miscalculation with regards to kicking the bear goes off-the-rails.

        2. hemeantwell

          I wish this site were just scaremongering. Or, I wish that NC was just reporting scaremongering.

          Instead, what I’ve been seeing for at least a year is a growing concern on the part of a broad spectrum of people that confrontation with Russia will lead to a nuclear exchange. The basis for these worries does not lie in the number of nukes available, but rather in the fact that the US, pursuing confrontational policies that, as Yves notes, even George Kennan, the original formulator of containment strategy, has condemned. William Perry, a former defense secretary, argues similarly. When the US, with a military that vastly outstrips Russian capacities in most respects, stages coups and military exercises on its borders and plans to install ABMs that could knock down Russian nukes, they are, and they know they are, forcing the Russians to be more wary of a range of offensive possibilities. This includes having to trim down their “wait and see” delay period before launching a counterstrike against what they perceive, or misperceive, to be an “existential threat.” To the extent this trim down involves letting nuclear strike authority flow down organizational chains, we are in that much greater danger.

          So, you at best have a valid quibble. If you think you have more than that, ask the current German FM (might be the DM), who has recently condemned NATO warmongering. I was just in Berlin and talked with a Die Linke representative. They are worried, and were relieved to finally see some public pushback from high level officials.

          1. Praedor

            US ABMs are largely ineffective, certainly against Russian weapons. Putin has stated, accurately, that they can be easily thwarted with fairly minor tweaks to Russian weapons. He has also promised that these tweaks ARE being made.

            Boom. Uber-expensive, mostly failed US ABMs are already rendered null and void by inexpensive tweaks to missiles and warheads by the Russians.

            Well done Obama. Well done Hillary.

            1. craazyboy

              That hasn’t stopped us from trying to make better ones tho. We have active R&D going on. Here is where location gets interesting. It’s very hard to hit an ICBM descending at MACH 15-20 – especially when it can split into multiple warheads.

              Then I recall the Russians made the warheads spin and reflect whatever waves sensors were using to target the warheads, confusing the sensors. I thought that was cute – and a few billion more US DOD dollars flushed down the drain.

              But if you can hit the ICBMs on the way up, it gets much easier. But the missiles have to be close to the launch point.

              Also, Tomahawks can carry nuke warheads – and Russian spy sats won’t be able to tell the difference – so you have a “verification” problem. Remember how we don’t trust each other!

              The caveat being, anyone whom has read Catch 22 knows that things don’t always work as designed. So IMHO, we shouldn’t even mess with the whole nuke thing. Maybe get Putin’s opinion as well.

              Besides, if Hillary loses the election here, she may run in Poland or Romania and get some nukes to play with that way.

              Just kidding. Maybe.

              1. Aumua

                Right? Win or lose, we’d better string old Hillary up, and then dissect her into a thousand pieces just to be sure the world is safe once and for all from her maniacal plans for Armageddon. But first, vote Trump 2016 (c).

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Hear, hear, I second that program.
                  But then I think we need a Global Truth and Reconciliation Initiative. You have to start somewhere, so let’s start with 9/11, where are the two planes that hit the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania cornfield. What was the role of Bush, Cheney, and the Saudis led by wonderful Bandar Bush. Then we can pull in The Iraq War, with a public recounting of all of the communications and wikileaks before and during. Follow that with an airing of Ukraine, followed by Libya, Yemen, Honduras, Afghanistan, and Syria.
                  At the conclusion Hilary might think a vivisection was a downgrade from what she was receiving.

            2. hemeantwell

              I agree with your point about the likely inefficacy of US ABMs. But I think that they at least add another worrisome variable into the thinking of Russian strategic planners. Putin has some reason for treating them dismissively, but I’m very sure that stance is not their only take on the matter.

              Over the years, watching US and Soviet/Russian leaders talk about comparative strategic strength and security has been watching contradictory motives play out in the most grave of issues. I think it’s been more true for the US since the military-industrial complex has to, to quote the good Senator Vandenberg, “scare the hell out of the American people” to get funding, but both sides have alternately stressed the efficacious power of their own weaponry and then the warlike intent of their opponent as shown in the power of the other side’s.

              I’m glad to see people referring to SSTyrannis here. To see ex-military, in many respects well to my right politically, talk about their disgust with NATO provocations is both enlightening and reassuring.

        3. JTMcPhee

          You only point to one of many parts of Aegis. There’s much more: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegis_Combat_System

          And from the manufacturer, who sells this stuff all around the planet, http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/aegis.html

          And of course ship borne and otherwise Aegis is only one piece of the arsenal “NATO” fields, to “confront our (sic) enemies” all over the place. Not to mention all the sneaky Petes busily seeking to undermine and overthrow or at least destabilize the established governments of so many nations. Nuland: “Fuck the EU!” Cheney: “Go fuck yourself!”

          Scaremongering? You are just all trying to enforce honesty and accuracy, right? What good is a political economy if all the wealth goes to military stuff, particularly stuff that threatens an end to the species. Pretty well established that the neocons or whatever are “confronting Russia” via NATO encirclement.

          As to nuclear weapons in Europe, here’s an article on the “doctrine” that includes info on numbers of weapons on the ground or ready to launch: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_sharing

          As to what the Clintonites and the various other factions wanting to demolish and loot Russia and all those other little countries everywhere are pushing, there’s lots of “policy” to chew on. And “facts.” Ihttps://news.vice.com/article/american-nuclear-weapons-in-belgium-kleine-brogel

          interesting that NATO now “confronts” not only Russia, but China and India and maybe Brazil (after the Olympisc, of course. ) Some thoughts on the subject: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/07/as-us-controlled-nato-meets-u-s-war-on-russia-and-china-will-mean-ruin-for-the-whole-of-europe-and-asia/

          Also interesting that “Aumua” is a title conferred on “orators” aka “talking Chiefs” by the leaders of Pago Pago: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amata_Coleman_Radewagen

          So the message is “shut up, hippies”?

        4. Katniss Everdeen

          In terms of the word “nuclear,” does depleted uranium count, or is a mushroom cloud required?

        5. timbers

          Aumua:

          Putin himself has repeatedly stated in very strong terms the Aegis can be armed with first strike nuclear attack weapons and warned it is extremely destabilizing to the current balance and that Russia has no choice but to respond. There is even suggestions here and there (not from Putin but commentators) that Russia may feel is must launch a first strike defensive nuclear attack to counter Aegis deployment.

          Putin himself has highlight this. What is incredible about this is the Western media has so ignored this, coming from a leader of such stature and importance as Putin. He has said “no one is listening” which seems to be the Washington War Party’s policy on Putin.

          Google PUTIN SAYS AEGIS CAN BE ARMED WITH FIRST STRIKE and you will find a cornucopia to choose from. Honestly their have been so many articles on this on the blogs I follow it’s hard to pick any one article specifically.

          I read RT, Puppet Masters, Vineyard of the Saker among others.

          It really is scary stuff IMO.

      2. Aumua

        Ok, you’ve completely rewritten your response twice, Yves. It’s a little closer to something I can agree with now, I suppose. Gotta run though.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Challenging me to defend a link and an in-passing remark, which is a hell of a lot less serious than a post, is more stress than I need. I am on the verge of exhaustion due to the pace this blog demands. The links outside finance are to give readers a more general look at events and those are subject to the same vagaries of reporting. Readers regularly complain of about the caliber of reporting…actual reporting, with editors and fact-checkers, in the New York Times, the Post, the Guardian, and so on, and you hold a site run by all of 1.3 people to what is apparently an even higher standard on topics outside our beat?

          And I find the idea that the US is entertaining the idea of engaging in a first strike, which is what you acknowledged the policy change is about, to be deeply alarming.

          I suggest you read another site. We clearly not what you are looking for.

          1. low integer

            I am on the verge of exhaustion due to the pace this blog demands.

            I love NC yet as a reader I consider your wellbeing more important. Please put your health first Yves.

            1. abynormal

              +1000 when the Aumua’s demand content alignment regarding nuclear deployments i start humming run-for-the-hills.

              1. EndOfTheWorld

                Maybe you’re trying to do it all yourself, too much. Maybe you need to put on another moderator. OK, you twisted my arm. I’ll do it.

                1. abynormal

                  i was never a fan of iron maiden fan, so thanks.
                  but now i’m humming WE’RE ON A ROAD TO NOWHERE COME ON LET’S GO
                  ‘ )

            2. craazyboy

              Yeah. Get some sleep. Obviously we need to wait for WikiLeaks to publish the hacked Pentagon emails.

          2. JohnnyGL

            Aumua, the original link was worth a read. It’s a strange hyper-afraid mentality among some pundits in the think-tank crowd. They still want to live in a uni-polar world.

            The vice article you linked to had some good stuff in it, too.

            I haven’t seen what Yves re-wrote, but let’s not rip Yves to pieces over a passing remark, we’ve all said/written things in our lives that aren’t perfect and Yves and Lambert provide a heckuva lot of content. They’ll have a couple of misses here and there but value add from this blog is well worth it.

          3. tegnost

            I would support a day without posts, it seems lambert was partly brought on (guessing here, don’t know for sure) to take weekends and add water cooler for afternoon reading and that has been great. But no days off year after year is too much, and you are such valuable people to most of us. On San Juan Island many businesses shut down for a month in the winter because it’s so slow, what about figuring out the slowest time and shutting down as much as possible. We would all benefit from you being more rested and having time to ponder. Please consider it.

            1. cwaltz

              I would definitely support a day a week where there is just an open thread and members provided links if it makes life easier for yves and lambert. Everyone needs personal time beyond what they feel are their obligations. Not getting that time is a recipe for burnout.

          4. Yves Smith Post author

            Sorry to have whined. It’s not attractive. I was up all night, really wanted to turn in, and feeling put upon.

            Aumua could have made the same argument without then using it as a basis for attacking our integrity, particularly since this was not in an area where we’ve claimed expertise. That’s what got me going.

            1. cwaltz

              It’s okay. Most of us whine from time to time. You’re only human.

              Get some sleep and pleasant dreams.

            2. Alex morfesis

              It’s your bistro…you get to put the specials up on the board…the tourists from the bus can walk down atlantic ave and find another place if they dont like the brand of olive oil you use…please yourself first and worry not…and rest often…the world will still be here when you return from dreamland…

      3. vidimi

        Pat Buchanan, cold warrior extraordinaire, thinks current US policy towards Russia is BSI.

        1. hemeantwell

          Right. It’s worth nothing that the libertarian antiwar.com sees Trump as pursuing a “Buchananite” foreign policy, at least vis-a-vis Russia.

      4. tegnost

        “This is a finance and economics site. We are only as good as our links in other areas. Given the massive amount of wildly inaccurate “information” we see in finance and politics, it’s hard to believe that what we get in the US media is any better with respect to geopolitics.”
        +1 yves, and thanks for everything
        …although it is a finance issue because when you get down to it globalisation means ruling the world from wall st, and the russkies are in the way. Disaster capitalism at it’s finest. Interesting aumua brings up trump who, when it’s convenient, is either putins bestie or dr. strangelove, For the record, hillary supporters would be better served by not mentioning trump, just stick to hillary…of course that’s not probably going to win any votes…and yes aumua, by all means go back to pbs and npr. Ignorance is bliss after all. Think positive.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Hillary supporters would be best served by focusing on organizing Democrats through registration efforts and offering personal testimony for why they are Democrats while canvassing, but this requires a good morale situation and isn’t for the feint hearted.

          The other problem is Hillary’s support comes from the classic bourgeois who don’t want to rub shoulders with sometimes voters and non voters and are largely democrats because mommy and daddy were democrats.

          The only reason they didn’t put the hammer on Bernie sooner was they hoped to use Sanders supporters to do the work the David Brocks and West Wing fetishists won’t do. It’s easiest to just blame Nader.

    2. Carolinian

      Yes the article says what you say it does but the reason it is a must read is that it is a window into the thinking of the Strangeloves running our defense policy–thinking you apparently agree with. The fact that the article’s authors quote Asshat Carter is pretty much a tip off.

      As for those supposedly benign Aegis systems there’s this from the RT article that Yves links upthread

      “The missiles are put into a capsule used for launches of sea-based Tomahawk missiles. Now they are placing their antimissiles there, which are capable of engaging a target at a distance of up to 500 kilometers [310 miles]. But technologies are developing, and we know around what year the Americans will get a new missile, which will have a range not of 500 kilometers, but 1,000, and then even more – and from that moment they will start threatening our nuclear capability,” Putin said at a meeting with the heads of international news agencies at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Friday.

      While it is true that the so-called ABM program was started under Bush jr–allegedly to defeat those Iranian nuke missiles that don’t exist–the Obama and would-be HRC administrations believe in continuing an agressive posture toward Russia and their imaginary zeal for invading Europe or reconstituting the Soviet Union. It’s HRC’s embrace of the neocon propaganda stance on Russia that makes her so dangerous.

      So enough with the “nothing to see here.” Try Princeton’s Steve Cohen on the lunacy of current NATO attitudes if you don’t like NC. Of course his is a dissenting view because the CFR/MSM/HRC consensus is that it’s Russia, not us, who is trying to rekindle the Cold War. This is also nuts.

    3. pretzelattack

      my impression is that no, we have not always had a first strike policy. where do you get this? and btw, you realize that a purely defensive weapon can be a serious, serious, destabilizing threat, right?

      1. grayslady

        “your comments generally are much needed here”

        Not when they are inflammatory or insulting to the blog owner. Waving around words like “scaremongering,” or threatening to take your ball and go home, aren’t worthy of the majority of commenters here. This is still the private space of Yves Smith, and we comment here at her discretion.

        1. abynormal

          There ya go…+10k. this blog doesn’t exist without Yves…her health Is Everything during these times and the times aren’t getting easier.

        2. ChiGal

          Agreed. But generally unlike some others A is exactly what Yves & Lambert want: sober, rational, using appropriate arguments, providing evidence…no resort to “bite me” as a debate tactic, etc.

          It goes without saying that both Yves’s and Lambert’s health matters and that I greatly appreciate the public service they are providing.

            1. ChiGal

              It’s just a real obvious example, and quick to write. I do this on my phone so no keyboard. Sadly there are many more examples of debased discourse on this site despite its strengths and the best efforts of Yves and Lambert.

              And btw I am nobody’s pet. What exactly are you contributing by insulting me?

    4. Christopher Fay

      Predictive behavior, as I have filed you under unreliable and clearly biased, and potentially filing you under more sophisticated hillary troll. Turcopolier has ridiculed the idea that the Aegis will work except for costing deca-billions of dollars. And the Russians working with political-economy restraints have produce some weapons that are more advanced than ours, the 17 min nuke missile for example. And their for now unchallengeable air defense system, and better strategic thinking leaders. One of the drawbacks of the Clintons’ thinking for us as a nation is one the prime considerations of the Clintons’ is how they can profit.

      1. abynormal

        allow me to help you with that last bit…prime considerations of the Clintons’ is how they illegally profit. wish 3 strikes included them.

    5. Jan

      Had no idea the Us had any nucleair weapons in Eastern Europe in the 70s, as EE was part of the Warsaw pact. To be precise, Eastern Germany, Poland, Ceskoslovakia, Rumania, Bulgaria were all part of the WP.
      No Nato forces there at the time.

      1. Antifa

        Oh, we were there all right. We were the guys in the Burberry trench coats who were always talking to our lapels.

    6. JohnnyGL

      Aumua: “First of all, I challenge the authors here or anyone else to come up with any source verifying that the U.S. is increasing its nuclear arsenal in Easter Europe at all. In fact, this article (Vice) says that the U.S. has about 2.5% of the nuclear arms in Eastern Europe that it had in the early 70s. I cannot find any reference to a recent increase.” — you cite this point from the Vice article to provide evidence that tensions aren’t being raised. However, this doesn’t support your case, it seems tangential. The next two paragraphs in the article discuss how measures were taken to start rapidly reducing the number of nukes in Europe right after the peak due to security fears.

      As far as I understand the tensions come not from the number of nukes, but from their locations, deployments and looking at where the lines are drawn. There’s a real question about why nuclear weapons need to be deployed in Poland and Romania and Turkey. When does a ‘defensive’ posture get so ambitious that it starts to look more like a fence to cage in Russia? What strategic interest does the USA have in protecting the Baltic countries? It may be the case that these countries want “protection” from the US against Russia, but it’s not necessarily a good idea for the US to offer protection to everyone who asks.

      It’s very important to make sure the world doesn’t transition away from MAD and towards NUTS. Having well-placed delivery systems of new, more sophisticated weapons (or even old ones like tomahawk cruise missiles in more sensitive locations) could well be considered a real game-changer.

      If you’re going to poke the bear, you’d better have a damned good reason for doing so. Right now, I don’t see one!

      1. Aumua

        Wow. So it’s almost unanimous then? To be fair, I know I stuck my neck out pretty far, maybe farther than I ever have here, and there’s nothing like a juicy neck sticking so far out for producing axes of all sizes and shapes. I will also certainly admit that I got a little bit personal in my posts, unnecessarily. I apologize. It’s just that I did see this very same idea of the U.S. increasing it’s nukes in Eastern Europe put forth before here, and it was debunked then. So seeing it again.. I don’t know. It got me going I guess. I admit my post was confrontational, but I did try to be fair and polite, like I always do.

        I said that am not condoning what I clearly stated were aggressive moves by the west. Anyone who has read some of my posts here knows that I am as much of a spiritual hippie as anyone here, and I’ve been developing my opinion and philosophy about the current world state as I go along. A lot of it currently boils down to that we shouldn’t be voting out of fear. The MSM says fear Trump, but then I see the same thing here: fear Clinton. The other side of the same coin.

        My posts may come off a little more disjointed and unreasonable here because Yves rewrote her response after the fact. She also changed the comment on the link above, after the fact This is not meant to be an attack or accusation, it’s just by way of defending myself from the very real moving goalposts. My original point, and there have a whole army of straw men.. was that there really is no hard evidence that the west is increasing it’s nuclear arms/capabilities/weapons in that region. I do not honestly take RT to be a reliable source. I know what Putin says about the missiles.

        Yves, Lambert. You guys are great. I’m on your side! This election is just a hell of a thing.. truly, up is down, and down is up, and up and down are both sideways, also. Sorting out the actual truth is a daunting task.

        1. clarky90

          The Russian People are alarmed by the actions of the West. We should back off! IMO

          A Russian Warning

          by

          Eugenia V Gurevich, PhD
          http://thesaker.ru/
          Dmitri Orlov
          http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/
          The Saker (A. Raevsky)
          http://thesaker.is/

          http://thesaker.is/a-russian-warning/

          “……We also appeal to the American people to take peaceful but forceful action to oppose any politician or party that engages in irresponsible, provocative Russia-baiting, and that condones and supports a policy of needless confrontation with a nuclear superpower that is capable of destroying the US in about an hour. Speak up, break through the barrier of mass media propaganda, and make your fellow Americans aware of the immense danger of a confrontation between Russia and the US.

          There is no objective reason why US and Russia should consider each other as adversaries. The current confrontation is entirely the result of the extremist views of the neoconservative movement, whose members have infiltrated the US Federal government, and who consider any country that refuses to obey their dictates as an enemy to be crushed. Thanks to their tireless efforts, over a million innocent people have already died in the former Yugoslavia, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, the Ukraine, Yemen, Somalia and in many other countries—all because of their maniacal insistence that the USA must be a world empire, not a just a regular, normal country, and that every national leader must either bow down before it, or be overthrown. In Russia, the irresistible force that is the neocon movement has finally encountered the immovable object. They must be forced to back down before they destroy us all.

          We are absolutely and categorically certain that Russia will never attack the US, nor any EU member state, that Russia is not at all interested in recreating the USSR, and that there is no “Russian threat” or “Russian aggression.”

        2. VietnamVet

          I am not an expert but I survived the Cold War. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) has worked since 1945 to the very second that you read this. USA, UK, China, and Russia all have ICBMs armed with hydrogen bombs that will survive a first strike and assure the complete and total destruction of the attacker. Ronald Reagan and his supporters never grasped that Anti-Ballistic Missiles by defending against incoming missiles makes a first strike more likely by the nations who possess them; destabilizing MAD. To neo-conservatives and other crazies, the anti-ballistic missiles in Bulgaria make regime change in the Kremlin possible. In reality, they are an ignition point of mankind’s possible extinction.

          1. Aumua

            We do have the ICBMs pointed at each other and that is where we are, and where we have been since the 50’s. The anti-ballistic missiles in Bulgaria are also not effective against ICBMs.

  11. Ed

    “Don’t think too positive”

    I found it best to don’t think about the future at all, except for the minimum amount needed in order to plan. Don’t visualize anything. Its very hard to do. People naturally fantasize.

    1. Clive

      Re: Positivity is a negative

      This (being wary of positive thinking) is one of the best pieces of advice I ever received. It wasn’t laid bare as in the linked-to article in the above, but I gleaned it from talking to a friend. Michiko was a Japanese lady living in England, who helped my with my language studies. I once asked her, struggling and frustrated about how I would ever make sense of all these squiggles, how she managed to learn English and wasn’t she ever tempted to give up. “Oh”, she said, “well, I haven’t actually learned English yet. I’m still learning. It’s my lifetime project. That’s the way I think about it, something I’ll never achieve, something I’ll always be getting wrong and having to improve”.

      That phrase — about something being a “lifetime project” — struck me as being not a little non-western. I was always inculturalated (if that’s a word) into thinking that you started something, you followed it through for a while, then you completed it and it was a success. It never really occurred to me before I spoke to Michiko that there are some things that you are, in effect, on a ceaseless conveyor belt of failure for but nevertheless you still end up accomplishing something good. It seemed to keep her sane through all the exasperations of learning a foreign language and even after 20 years finding out that “Reading” wasn’t a verb but a town just outside of London. And you don’t pronounce it “reeding” but “red-ing”. And so on.

      I’m sure if I’d not spoken to her about the subject and appreciated her outlook, I would have quit learning Japanese long before now. It is just one setback after another. But being realistic and even pessimistic about what you will be able to do and what you will never be able to do — and whether those things are achievable some of the time, all of the time or none of the time — is I think essential when trying to complete any task above a trivial level of complexity.

      1. ChiGal

        Useful framing for REAL mental health vs the cheesy “you can do anything you set your mind to” bs that pervades the field, thx

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In Chado, or Tea Ceremony as it is commonly called, I have been taught one never graduates, but when gets to 10 (from 1 to 10), one goes back to 1 again, and one receives a piece of paper permission to study on the next level (the piece of paper does not signify your possession of degree/knowledge, but permission to continue to learn in order to make one less ignorant), and one goes back to 1, one realizes (personal experience) one sees, perceives and understands 1 differently.

        We can all benefit from going back to kindergarten.

      3. nycTerrierist

        Useful wisdom from your Japanese friend. And an attitude to cultivate for those in the arts:

        “The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do.” Henry Moore

    2. barrisj

      Barbara Ehrenreich effectively demolished the “positive thinking” posturing some years ago:

      Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America
      https://www.amazon.com/Bright-sided-Positive-Thinking-Undermining-America/dp/0312658850/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1469553143&sr=1-1&keywords=barbara+ehrenreich+bright-sided

      But, when one is dealing with what is described as a “national trait”, it’s no surprise that the positivity shite continues to get a hearing.

  12. Arizona Slim

    Thanks for linking to the farmers market article. I know the author and her husband.

    They busted their asses, and it wasn’t enough. They are former farmers and it’s a damn shame.

  13. Steve H.

    – CNN Poll

    I especially appreciate the historical documentation. Clinton peaked in Nov 2012, from whence her unfavorables have now doubled.

    Pence’s numbers were eye-popping for me, but I live in Indiana. I guess most people didn’t notice him as much as we did. Given that, and what Hudson said about him, he’s more of an asset than I thought, even without Koch backing. Though I believe Pence would forgive the Koch flirtations in an instant.

    Stein Johnson: even after all this the Greens are an error bar. But Johnson could flip the election. And boy is it flippable.

      1. cwaltz

        Democracy is a lifetime project.

        We’re dealing with a corrupt duopoly as it is because most people seem to think of it as something they need to participate in every two years or something they can hand off to someone else.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Pence’s strength is he helps Trump with people who are unsure about his New York City background and lack of familiarity with Christian buzzwords. They are the kinds who need constant reassurance. Other than that, Pence is one of many awful Republican governors. Most people won’t vote on the VP except to recoil, but there are emotionally needy people out there. Pence is the guy for Trump’s weakness on the right.

      Unlike a Palin type, Pence is put together well enough to not embarrass himself which is all the American msm is capable of exposing on their own.

    2. DJG

      Yves: Thanks for the CNN poll, which is fascinating. Q3a on choice of candidate is confusing—in that the Libertarians and Greens are bouncing up and down. These bounces signal, at least to my eye, that people are rather desperately trying to figure out how to vote. Let’s hope that the populace doesn’t do its usual too-clever-by-half turkeys-voting-for-Thanksgiving. (So I’m not sure that I agree with Steve H with the Greens being a kind of margin of error.)

      Negatives for Clinton and Trump are sky high, as you keep reminding us.

      Q7: Note the steadiness of Bernie Sanders’s support. Too bad that Sarah Silverman can’t figure it out.

      I realize that Ted Cruz made a spectacle of himself at the Republican Convention. But are the questions about Cruz just to see if the respondents will emit smoke from their ears? Negatives galore.

      1. vidimi

        i think cruz may have helped trump with his antics at the convention.

        a lot of sanders supporters will look at that and wish their candidate had done that. it might stiffen their resolve to vote against hillary in november.

      2. Steve H.

        “The margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points.”

        “Q3a. (P5a.)
        July 22-24
        Stein, the Green party candidate 3%”

        What happens to the tail if a response is less than the margin of error? I don’t know.

        But the Libertarians have a 3:1 advantage for being a viable national 3rd party over the Greens, And the Greens trend has them disappearing in a month, though I expect the trend to reverse.

        1. Steve H.

          I’ll just drop this here:

          IU Corpse Flower Live Feed

          So sad, the stalk was purple a couple of days ago, and the flower is magnificent, if it comes in. I expect Clinton’s favorables will go up slightly in the next few months. But just because you hold your nose doesn’t mean it’s going to bloom.

        2. cwaltz

          I’m thinking the Democratic convention bounce may impact third parties more than it improves the Democrats numbers.

          We shall see though. Here’s to hoping that finally there is a tipping point and a line drawn in the sand that at the very least overt corruption will not be tolerated by the electorate.

        3. cm

          I strongly dispute that sampling error, as the survey is based on landline phone calls. Terminating land lines in favor of cell phones is the survey world’s elephant in the room.

      3. Brian

        We should try to remember, every day, a statement attibuted to many, and something as old as democracy because once formed, someone wants it broken.

        “if voting meant anything, we wouldn’t be allowed to”

        try to remember this. It will help your sensibilities until we outlaw the absurd process.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          Yeah. That’s why a myriad of wealthy interests, i.e. the Koch brothers, are spending many hundreds of millions of dollars in this one election season to influence electoral politics. Because votes don’t count.

          Better trolls please.

          1. Tom Allen

            One could certainly argue that wealthy interests spend millions of dollars in elections not so much to influence voters, but to purchase influence with politicians. (E.g., “I donated a million to your last campaign, and now you owe me.”) A lot of wealthy people donate to both major parties just to hedge their bets.

          2. hunkerdown

            No, the welathy interests are out to set the agenda such that voting doesn’t have any effect against them. How does one vote against the agenda that has been set? By staying home and depriving said election of its legitimacy.

  14. hemeantwell

    One big yawn? The academics bewitched by boredom Times of Higher Education (Micael). Who has time to be bored?

    This article sets a new standard for demonstrating how much is lost when psychoanalysis, including its most rudimentary and intuitively plausible concepts, has been dustbinned because psychoanalysis has been declared immune to empirical criticism and so can’t be take seriously.

    Clinically, much of the time boredom is explained by conflict suppression and how, as part of that process, affects become blocked, choked off. You can see it in some of the examples in the article, like the guy who’s bored in a lecture. Maybe he wants to argue with the lecturer but feels he cannot and so expresses his objection as dismissive indifference? Maybe he wants more from the lecturer, doesn’t know how to get it and dulls out? Maybe he wants to be off having sex? There’s little in the article that suggests any difficulties with a surplus of desire and how that can come to be awkwardly, self-defeatingly managed. The article itself seems to hope for an intellectual resolution to boredom — look at all the pretty ideas! — in which case it only adds to the problem.

    I worry that one day I’ll only find articles like this boring.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can boredom be partly due to peer pressure?

      If one guy is bored, and yawns, will others yawn too?

      Pretty soon, the whole class is bored.

  15. I Have Strange Dreams

    We are living in strange times.

    re daily anecdote: we were on holiday in France last week when a travelling circus set up right outside our apartment block. We were just 50 meters from the lion enclosure. What a surreal sight to make a cup of tea and step onto your balcony to be greeted by the sight of a dozen lions.

    During our stay in Normandy we also enjoyed the Bastille day fireworks while the massacre was unfolding in Nice. Then we come home to more madness in Germany and leave just after the attack near Rouen.

    In the background the Trump/Clintoon farce rumbles on. I need a few weeks or months in a cabin by a lake, with no electricity. May we all find some serenity, somewhere.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And the knife-wielding mass killer in Japan.

      (That may be why the Mongols only allowed one kitchen knife per 12 Han Chinese families – knife control).

      Just looked up Rouen. It’s a mad, mad, mad world.

      France is under martial law – does it need something stronger than that? How do people over there go about making sure their families are safe?

    2. Skippy

      “We are living in strange times.”

      Indeed… brother in law just got back from a month in the EU w/ family, mostly Paris and sea side Italy.

      The strange part is all the Americans apologizing for the election circus fracas thingy…

  16. voteforno6

    It seems that not everyone got the memo from the Clinton campaign that “the Rooskies are coming” in their coverage of the DNC email leak. Looks like there’s some real reporting going on:

    DNC sought to hide details of Clinton funding deal

    DNC Leak Shows Mechanics of a Slanted Campaign

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s such an absurd over the top talking point that I wonder if David Brock still isn’t a movement conservative dedicated to destroying the Democratic Party.

      1. pretzelattack

        no no brock “saw the light” and switched to clinton because he simply didn’t have it in him any more to smear people full time. i really do wonder what turned him, and on what terms richard mellon scaife and the clintons buried the hatchet.

        1. Arizona Slim

          He talked about what turned him in Blinded by the Right.

          Long story short, he got tired of lying about who he really was. Which led Brock to come out of the closet.

          1. pretzelattack

            that’s what he says. now i see the kind of people he used to work for working for and supporting clinton, and i wonder. i wonder if he just jumped ship to the future of neocons/neoliberals. he may have gotten tired of lying about who he really was, but he hasn’t tired of lying about who other people are.

  17. tgs

    In light of Hillary’s doing the rounds saying that the ‘Russians did it’, it is worthwhile reading the recent work on that claim by cyber security professional, Jeffrey Carr. His latest is:

    Faith-based Attribution

    He writes:

    It’s important to know that the process of attributing an attack by a cybersecurity company has nothing to do with the scientific method. Claims of attribution aren’t testable or repeatable because the hypothesis is never proven right or wrong.

    Neither are claims of attribution admissible in any criminal case, so those who make the claim don’t have to abide by any rules of evidence (i.e., hearsay, relevance, admissibility).

    When it comes to cybersecurity estimates of attribution, no one holds the company that makes the claim accountable because there’s no way to prove whether the assignment of attribution is true or false unless (1) there is a criminal conviction, (2) the hacker is caught in the act, or (3) a government employee leaked the evidence.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      no way to prove whether the assignment of attribution is true or false unless (1) there is a criminal conviction or (2), or (3).

      How do they prove assignment of attribution to get a criminal conviction?

      Just use the answer to that question, one assumes, and one can hold the company accountable.

  18. Jason Boxman

    On optimism: Someone here quoted William of Orange earlier this year: “One need not hope in order to undertake nor succeed in order to persevere”, which I now have posted on a wall along with this by Alexander the Great: “Nothing is impossible to him who would try.”

    Thanks for that.

  19. ChiGal

    Really appreciate the article on silence. Lately I have had a series of out of town friends staying with me and 2 of them constantly run the TV. Waking up in the morning to make my coffee and escape to the porch I feel positively assaulted, as if by fingernails on a chalkboard.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some or many children fear darkness.

      The adults I know, almost all of them fear silence. Little infants don’t.

      1. Mike Mc

        There’s also the “white noise” quotient plus some other factors. I listen to either local AM or NPR because the time is frequently announced, sparing me a glance at iPhone/wall clock and local AM in the morning tells me about traffic and weather too.

        TV is more insistent on grabbing attention, but I know people who keep it on because it indicates someone is watching, i.e. there might be more than the single female who actually lives there.

        Finally I use either to mask traffic noise or neighbors if they’re more annoying than the abble gabble of the TV or radio. (And living in the Midwest means I’m about an hour or less away from very quiet rural areas, so there’s that…)

    2. ambrit

      A friend in high school couldn’t go to sleep without the radio on.
      At one point in my birth families peregrinations, we lived in Virginia Gardens, a part of the Miami Dade metroplex. We were a few blocks from the end of one of the runways of the Miami International Airport. I don’t remember the noise of the aircraft landing and taking off. I do distinctly remember how quiet it was in the house we subsequently moved into, away from the airport. The silence kept me awake at night for weeks.

  20. Buttinksy

    One of the better rundowns on yesterday’s Democratic Convention, from Jeffrey St. Clair.

    + Bernie kept repeating the withered platitude that; “We’re stronger when we stand together.” But together with whom? For what? Perhaps all the crying was at the ragged spectacle of Sanders humiliating himself for 50 straight minutes on behalf of a ticket which has only contempt for him and his followers.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/26/dont-cry-for-me-dnc-notes-from-the-democratic-convention/

    1. JM

      I watched the speech and I do not recall Bernie repeating the withered platitude that we’re all stronger together. As much as I would have loved to see him stand up there and blast Clinton and Clintoinian politics, that would have been the wrong thing to do. I saw his speech as attempting to tie Clinton to his agenda. The “Hillary knows” phrasing is as much a threat as it is a demonstrative statement of fact. The fact of the matter is that he lost the rigged primary. In the eyes of Clinton’s supporters, he has shown now to be magnanimous in defeat while still working to get some “paper” accomplishments (the platform, etc.).

      One can interpret it as him selling out or him compromising his “principles” but I see it as him taking small but strategic steps to win over the other half of the Democratic party. Look, a lot of democratic party members are uneasy with Sanders. And I get it. The language he uses is very forward for the credentialed class and they are not used to it. As much as the credentialed class is lambasted here (and rightfully so), I have many friends in that group and they are not horrible people. They work hard, within a system they will readily admit is unfair and rigged, but they are on the conservative end of the democratic party. For these people, it is not enough to point out the system is rigged. That much is obvious. Had Bernie had more time, I think he could have convinced more of the credentialed class but he ran out of time.

      By continuing to organize Bernie has a shot at winning these people over to his side. By verbally demonizing Clinton in a primetime address, his chances of bringing them over to his side would have decreased substantially. So my guess is Bernie is holding out for Clinton to lose (though he would never admit it) and then go aggressive to further capture the national party apparatus. Will it work? Who knows. Though it is incontrovertible that Nader did not cost Gore the election, Bernie must at all costs avoid having that label hung around his neck. Given the low information voters that follow Clinton, that is a tremendous risk he should not be willing to take.

      Of course, the establishment media will likely try to pin a loss on him anyway but with that primetime address I don’t think people will buy it. Before Bernie’s speech, Jane Sanders was on NBC countering the nonsense that Bernie must deliver his followers. The NBC people sounded ridiculous to Jane’s straightforward explanation that they cannot force their supporters to do anything. If Trump wins the election and Bernie is seen as not doing anything major to subvert Clinton’s run, my sense is people will come around and the progressive wing of the party will be emboldened. As it is now that outcome is looking more and more likely and I think that is the best possible outcome given the circumstances.

      1. hreik

        good comment. nuanced and imho correct. however, i think the fix is already in w the voting machines.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Sanders risks making Hillary so strong (with all the ‘give an inch’ progressive promises that are not likely kept, if not we are so lucky that they are not replaced by their polar opposites post election) she wins in November with that gamble of first endorsing and then, giving last night’s second half speech

        Hillary is pursuing her ueber-Frau strategy of ‘the end justifies the means.’ In response, no one should worry about getting any blame.

        Remember, history is written by the victors.

        Let her lose, occupy the D party, move progressively forward, and you write your history.

        1. Anne

          I somehow managed to fall asleep before Bernie’s speech was finished – I think I blinked out somewhere after about 35 or 40 minutes.

          The parts I had trouble with were the ones where he talked about what it is Hillary “understands;” I get that those are things that he wants her to understand, and that he’s trying to convince his supporters that she understands, but I think most people who supported Sanders don’t really believe she does understand.

          What we know is that she pretends to understand to get votes – and then, after she gets what she wants, reverts to her most comfortable position, like parting one’s hair on the other side: no matter what you do, it just wants to be where it’s always been.

          So that rang a little hollow for me; since I know Sanders knows that these are things Clinton isn’t really behind in any principled way, I think it’s his way of boxing her in – it’s just that, as honorable as his effort is, I don’t see it working.

          While I don’t intend to vote for Clinton – I will vote for Stein or abstain from the presidential vote – the bigger fear that I have about Trump/Pence is that there will come a point where Trump gets bored, or isn’t getting enough love, and he will find a reason to step down, leaving a true religious conservative ideologue in the Oval office.

          1. cwaltz

            I actually tuned in for his speech because I like Bernie(ignored Warren and the rest of the Democratic cartoon characters) and I felt like it felt very phony. He didn’t even change his line about the Koch brothers despite the fact that these guys support Clinton. It definitely felt like a phoned in speech. It definitely didn’t convince me that even HE believed what he was saying.

  21. rich

    Forget Helicopter Money, Helicopter Coupons May Work, OECD Says

    “Helicopter money by itself isn’t going to be any more effective at gaining economic growth than what the central banks have been doing already,” Mann told Francine Lacqua and Tom Keene on Bloomberg TV. As a saver, “you’re just going to take the helicopter money and put it in your mattress — where you’ve been keeping the rest of it,” she said. “Now, helicopter shopping coupons: we could talk about that, where you actually have to go spend the money.”

    “We can’t just stick with this low nominal GDP growth,” said Mann. “As policy makers and as politicians we have to recognize that we have the tools” and that “it’s our responsibility as politicians and policy makers to do that because otherwise our youth won’t have jobs and a better future and our old people: we won’t be able to pay for their pensions. ”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-26/forget-helicopter-money-helicopter-coupons-may-work-oecd-says

    hmmm…to fill the pension and infrastructure holes?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Love it!

      J-Yel buys Amazon bonds; Amazon issues “Bezos Bucks” to every household in America; prosperity returns.

      Why didn’t I think of this? :-(

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What happens when everything you shop is Made in Mars?

      “My patriotic duty is to shop, shop, shop. Our currency is accepted everywhere in the solar system.”

      “The Martians? They are to continue raising good quality mail-order brides.”

    3. Antifa

      Welcome to the consumer gulag, comrades! What a party!

      Helicopter coupons exchanged for goods will produce corporate profits which will be sucked up to the 1% because that is how our economy is rigged to work, and more wealth will be stashed overseas by people who already have more billions than they could ever need.

      We don’t need helicopters, we need to turn off the vacuum cleaner sucking all the profits out of our nation.

      A functioning economy is a cycle, not a pipeline. The entire wealth of the 1% is supposed to almost entirely cycle back to Main Street in the form of wages, benefits, education, infrastructure, research, etc. It is not to be shipped overseas to be held in a vault.

  22. Jim Haygood

    On Nymag is an article titled “The Case Against the Media. By the Media.” It sounded promising. But after a few ‘grafs, it dawned on me that it was just a massive cut-and-paste job.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/case-against-media.html

    How massive? Plugged into the website word count service at wordcounter.net, it totals an impressive 20,810 words. At 200 wpm, that’s 1 hr 44 min to read the whole thing.

    Did this journo need an editor? Or was the author getting paid by the word? “The more you paste, the more you make.”

    America’s MSM: plumbing new lows every day.

  23. Ed Ciaccio

    Re: “All Cards on the Table: First-Use of Nuclear Weapons”

    A seemingly rational-sounding call to continue the current suicidal policy which threatens all life on earth. Conspicuous by its absence is the reality of Nuclear Winter if only a fraction of the more than 15,000 nuclear warheads were used.

    This is the twisted thinking and “logic” of violent sociopaths.

  24. tegnost

    mish article
    “The real hold up on driverless cars isn’t technology — it’s all of us”
    This is totally true, and funny a silly con valley dude can’t see that in it’s true light, which is most of us like to drive, like to ride motorcycles, etc…And to our admitted detriment we, and especially silly con valley “type A’s” want to be in front of everyone else, imagine the high blood pressure from being in a line of self driving cars who suddenly stop because there’s congestion somewhere? All one needs to do is watch how 90% of bmw’s drive (like type A)ssh*les, so any inclusion of self driving anything will have self important people needing some cultural recognition of their fantasticness and they will have special privileges no doubt, the VC guy is going to ditch the Astin, really? Sorry, don’t think so but but definately huge piles of money to be made, thus I fully expect the hillary platform to include some silly con valley gravy in the form of infrastructure to make the autonomous vehicle more profitable. Don’t miss the flassbeck article, by the way, none of this self driving fantasy is going to slow that process down. I know why mish loves it, but I see another angle on the highway. Mish wants to see all those truck drivers unemployed for some bizarre reason (I enjoy reading mish, but this whole no one should get paid is bizarre). Yes, there are self driving cars right now, yes, there will be more self driving cars in the future, but no self driving cars won’t solve a single issue facing our pathetic nation.

    1. armchair

      Robert Moses would’ve loved driverless cars. He could have built all of the new expressways. Reading the Power Broker was so illuminating. Moses proved that relentless building of infrastructure for single occupancy or family vehicles only produced more traffic jams. I am sure the driverless cars will be so smart that they can drive around the traffic jams, it just might take a couple of hours . . .

      If only Silicon Valley would come up with an idea like driverless subways, driverless commuter trains, new driverless busways, driverless bike paths, driverless density and driverless urban design.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If you oppose Silly Con Valley, you oppose progress.

      If you oppose progress, you are against civilization itself.

      Maybe we have to set aside many caves for you Neo-Luddites.

      By the way, when it’s all driverless cars for the serfs, there will special, private toll Grand Prix Autobahns where the rich can thrill themselves by personally driving their fantasy race cars (but not driveless) at 100 MPH.

      Finally, you Neo-Luddites, grow up!!!

      Stop being eternal 2 year olds.

    3. flora

      Man, driverless cars and trucks are gonna be so easy to hack and hijack. Good times ahead tech savy thieves.

    4. HotFlash

      But you don’t understand the business model! Very Important People (for a premium, of course — they can afford it, that’s how you know they are VIP) can be fast-tracked through traffic jams, around accidents, broken watermains or police activity, whatever. For a premium, of course.

      Another benefit is that driverless cars will take your children to school, soccer, the dentist, etc *all by themselves*!! Builds self-reliance.

      1. Plenue

        The Japanese manage to merge self-reliance and ubiquitous public transport by teaching young children to ride buses and trains by themselves. Only in America could the idea that independence relies on owning an expensive, multi-ton horseless carriage so completely dominate.

    5. Plenue

      “My vision is that driverless trucks will displace millions of long-haul truck drivers in a six to eight year time frame.”

      Given that this is Mike Shedlock, I honestly can’t tell whether he thinks this is a good thing or not. This is the same guy who criticizes increasing the minimum wage because he ‘knows’ it will cost people jobs. Given his comical degree of libertarian bent, I’ll go with him approving of this.

      1. Someone has introduced a new product.

      2. if it succeeds it’s because it deserves to.

      3. A lot of people lose their jobs because of the ‘innovation’

      4. ???

      5. Progress!

  25. tegnost

    “If only Silicon Valley would come up with an idea like driverless subways, driverless commuter trains, new driverless busways, driverless bike paths, driverless density and driverless urban design.”
    now that is some infrastructure I could get behind!

    1. vlade

      Driverless subways and commuter trains are a reality. London’s DLR is either of these, you chose ;)

  26. flora

    I received an email from Sanders’ campaign this a.m. asking me to join “Our Revolution” by clicking a link and entering my email address. Sanders’ campaign already has my email address from several past donations. So what purpose does this new email sign-up sheet serve? I have a couple of guesses. I didn’t enroll. I won’t support the Hillary/DNC, not even if they use Sanders as an intermediary. My support for Sanders’ campaign wasn’t about Sanders, it was about the economic issues. Those issues haven’t changed. Sanders says now he will do everything he can to get H/K elected. He promised to do that so he’s keeping his word, and he probably wants to stay in good graces with his Senate colleagues. I, however, cannot support the DNC’s neoliberal economics, Reaganomics. At this point I part ways with Bernie. He no longer speaks for me.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sanders says now he will do everything he can to get H/K elected

      That includes ‘I will do my best to deliver my supporters. I can’t deliver them. But I will try. I will give 100% to try to deliver them?????????’

      He can’t deliver, he says.

      “You will try, right?’

      Your 100% best try is all Hillary can ask.

      Is that the difference – deliver vs. try my b best to deliver?

      1. ambrit

        In our new neoliberal ethos, being told to “deliver” something means exactly that; even when said delivery is impossible. In the Boxx Stores that is called “meeting your metrics.” Magical Thinking as applied to non magical existence.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Hillary seems to be OK with ‘I will do my best to get her elected’ and not ‘I will get her elected.’

          Why not take ‘I will do my best to deliver my people?’

      2. Jen

        I would be surprised if Sanders, having so much time with actual voters rather than hiding behind rope lines, thinks he can put pin back in the grenade.

        Whether he wants to? No idea.

    2. nycTerrierist

      Same here. I didn’t sign that email. Won’t let it seem like Bernie is delivering supporters to Shillary.
      He can ask, but let the dwindling numbers speak for themselves.

      1. MojaveWolf

        Likewise. I love Bernie and will be forever greatful to him for jumpstarting what I desperately hope is a genuine, long lasting and eventually effective political revolution, but I was so horrified and dismayed by the second half of that speech and a certain portion of that e-mail last night I woke up thinking about it hours before I wanted to this morning and was unable to go back to sleep.

        “(T)here is so much more to do. It starts with defeating Donald Trump in November,”

        No, no it doesn’t.

        I’m all about the revolution, but not joining “Our Revolution” when getting Hillary elected is supposed to be “Step 1” on the agenda.

        Stein’s poll #s may be low, but she’s what we have, and however dysfunctional the Greens as a whole may be (not agreeing w/either side in that argument because I just don’t know, and it’s irrelevant to me at this point), she’s shown a willingness to look outside the confines of her party and a desire to broaden it’s base and raise its aspirations. If she wins I think she’ll do a far better job than the other 3 running (and good grief, people, if you hate the TPP please don’t vote for Johnson; Trump and Stein are the two people who oppose it; Johnson is the one candidate who publicly admits he favors it, and doesn’t want to overturn Citizens United). That’s where my part of the revolution is headed.

        1. gordon

          The view from the other side of the Pacific is vague and incomplete, but could it be that Trump is offering Peace and Bread?

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      No, I think that he wants and needs a list for this campaign to be different than his Presidential bid. I am pretty sure he can use the money he raised to run for President only for that (experts please correct if needed). So I can see the logic of making sure the two are well segregated.

    4. reslez

      I clicked the link. I’m willing to see where “Our Revolution” goes. I knew what Bernie was when I caucused for him, he has not surprised me so far — what surprised me was We, The People — everyone who supported him and donated and nearly won the nomination vs overwhelming establishment support and crookedness. I find that quite inspiring.

      I intend to keep an eye on wherever things go now, Sanders included. It’s not mutually exclusive with voting for Jill Stein in November. Cause I’ll be doing that, too.

      1. flora

        Yes, I agree with this: ” – what surprised me was ‘We, The People’ “.

        “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else. ” Churchill.
        Yes, I think that’s right.

  27. Neunundneunzig Luftballons

    Anura in his unfortunate partisan frenzy is all wet when he characterizes AEGIS systems as shooting a ‘slab.’ Ever since CG 52 AEGIS platforms have had Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) fire control that integrates Tomahawk cruise missiles for strikes “deep in enemy territory.”

    https://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/cg-47.htm

    But the frantic correcting of the record over European nuke emplacements is very interesting. With NATO overextended, fiscally enfeebled, and threatened by Turkey and the Scottish people, Hillary’s Strangeloves and beltway sugar daddies are understandably twitchy about a rerun of CND-type transnational mobilization renewing this sort of thing:

    http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/collection/38/euromissiles-crisis

  28. Don Midwest USA

    Thanks for the article on Turkey and their recent coup.

    It sure looks like Erdogan is trying to become a Sultan and it is clear that he is clamping down on any one who challenges his rule. And he started the war with the Kurds as part of his power grab.

    On another site, someone directed me to Boiling Frogs, a web page run by Sibel Edmonds.

    She is claiming that the coup was carried out with several of the units from the NATO Rapid Deployment Corps and also linked to the CIA and the Gulan followers.

    I am not sure what to make of her allegations. She was the Arabic translator that blew the whistle on FBI failures before and after 9/11 and was pounced on by the government.

    Is there anyone who has been following her work over the years and has a comment on the article noted above?

    Here is the link

    And the title. Not sure about how this will be formatted so have extra information in the title.

    Newsbud Breaking News: Turkey’s Coup Plotters are Members of NATO’s Rapid Deployable Corps

    1. vlade

      I don’t have any inside track on this, but the coup was extremely inefficient (or very efficient – like shelling the parliament as opposed to presidential palace, conspirator’s F16 having a lock on Erdogan’s plane but not shooting etc.), and the counterstrike very efficient (it takes a long time to compile lists of tens of thousands of people, unless you have them well in advance).

      I talked to a Turkish taxi driver last week, and his take is that it was Erdogan false flag.

      1. Don Midwest USA

        Taxi drivers know a lot, some times.

        My sense is that it was a false flag operation as well.

        The material posted by Sibel Edwards doesn’t smell right to me. Especially since the CIA has had so much practice in coups, they would do it better than it was done

        But our inept military and military strategy could indicate that the CIA has become sloppy in coup execution. And not sure about NATO participation.

        How long until story comes out? Weeks? Months? Years?

        In any case, it looks like Erdogan is in there for the long haul and he will continue to suppress dissent. Economic problems will come around to bite him, but he probably will wiggle out of them.

  29. docG

    Reading the article “How climate change is rapidly taking the planet apart” I just have to laugh. Especially amusing is the bit about “rain bombs” falling from the sky. Does he realize how neatly this feeds into the Chicken Little meme?

    And I have to cry, of course, at the same time. Do the people who write this sort of thing, day in and day out, have any idea of the effect they’re having? On the one hand, they want to see the world take urgent action to forestall the climate change devastation they feel sure is on the way. On the other hand, in order to make it sound urgent enough they feel the need to pile disaster upon disaster, to emphasize over and over that IT IS HAPPENING NOW, and it may already BE TOO LATE!!!!! You can almost see the cartoon spirals in rainbow colors emanating from the whites of his popping eyes. Judging from his hysterical rhetoric, we are clearly doomed. The END TIMES are upon us.

    So what is the effect of this double whammy on your typical reader, my friend? Do you really see him all riled up and ready to get out there, taking to the streets, stopping traffic and insisting that all those gas guzzlers be terminated immediately. Or out on the runways, preventing planes from taking off? Or maybe purchasing an assault rifle to wipe out those greedy fossil fuel tycoons, making money hand over fist by dooming all those wonderful, above-average, grandchildren patiently waiting to be born.

    I don’t think so. Oh there will be some, that’s for sure. Just as with ISIS, there will always be homicidal maniacs out there, psychopaths just waiting for an excuse to wreak mayhem. But most people — well, most of us will just shrug and turn to the sports pages, or as in my case, the book review or the Arts section, snob that I am. Hey, if things are THAT bad, then clearly they are beyond hope — so why bother even thinking about it. The name of what I’m talking about is: desensitization.

    By turning “climate change” into a doomsday scenario, reacting hysterically to every “extreme” event — as though extreme events have never happened in the past — you overplay your hand. If things have reached such a pass, if we are all doomed by our many past sins, then forget it, it’s already too late. Suppose we imposed the tax you want to see, sending the price of almost everything skyrocketing, making life all but impossible for hundreds of millions of low income people around the world, forestalling any hope of economic advancement for the poorest of the poor, realistically, in accord with the drastic situation you see all around you, then the best we might hope for would be a delay of a few months or maybe a year or so before total doom sets in.

    So yes. We are being bombarded from the sky. By “rain bombs,” yes — it’s been documented. All over the place. Yes. The sky is literally falling. So what, pray tell, do you propose to do about it? And how, pray tell, do you think you are going to mobilize the world to drastically change literally EVERYTHING to prevent total disaster, when as you yourself make clear: it is all so very hopeless.

    1. Steve H.

      I believe the article offers its solutions. This is what caught my eye:

      “According to NASA, as the Earth approaches 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit warming (the increase of global average temperature), the resulting increase in water vapour traps an extra 2 Watts of energy per-square-meter.”

      My living room is about 50 m^3, so that’s an old-style bulb, or about 8 of my new ones. That is not insignificant.

    2. Aumua

      I don’t agree with sensationalism as a tactic, and I definitely do not side with the doomers. But the science says that warmer air holds more water vapor, and therefore more energy, and that will lead to wilder weather all around. I’m no expert, but I’ve always been a weather freak, I am currently studying Physics, and my goal is to parlay that into Atmospheric Science. Deny it all you want, the science behind climate change is real, and the end of life on Earth option is unfortunately on the table. I’m assuming of course that you are in the denier camp, as your post contains several of the standard denier talking points.

      1. pretzelattack

        i don’t know what “doomers” are. i’ve seen the term used to refer to people that accept the science, or scientists like james hansen and michael mann.

      2. docg

        Yes, Aumua, you can call me a “denier” if you like. I see myself as a skeptic, but “denier” will do. Because yes, I am “in denial” regarding the sort of hysterical alarmism promoted on a daily basis in the media by people like the author of this (unsigned) screed, who obviously can’t tell the difference between an extreme weather event and a climate trend. As I see it, this whole “climate change” meme is a perfect example of mass hysteria. And like other examples of mass hysteria in history sooner or later most people will simply get bored with it and move on to some other pathological obsession. No point in saying “I told you so” when that time comes, because no one will any longer be interested. Or else, we’ll all be dead. Take your pick.

        The bad faith of this sort of alarmism is painfully evident in the article scrutinized above. What is he actually saying? What is it he expects the world to do in response to his apocalyptic visions? As though “the world” is even bothering to read what he has to say. On the one hand he is assuring us that our days are numbered, thanks to certain floods, storms, fires, heat waves, etc. of the sort I recall from news reports over a period of many years, but for him are avatars from a disastrous future that can hardly be imagined. And on the other hand he is begging the world to “do something” to prevent the catastrophe he’s so eloquently envisioned, which looks, through his eyes, as pretty inevitable. Why, it’s already happening as he speaks. So what can we possibly do?

        Clearly this is ideology, not science. In fact it’s much closer to a religious cult, the sort of thing that convinced all those folks at Jonestown to drink the Kool Aid, which is actually not that far from what he seems to expect from us. I’m sure he wouldn’t be interested and possibly you wouldn’t either (as it would threaten your future as a budding climate scientist), but what “the science” tells us, i.e., the real science, not the phony science of the professional alarmists, is that there are no real long terms trends as far as extreme weather events are concerned. No long term trend toward greater and greater heat waves; no long term trends for droughts; no long term trend toward more forest fires; no long term trend for hurricanes; no long term trend for any sort of extreme weather events. And yes there are some records being broken this year — records have been broken in the past as well, that too is nothing new. And yes, it’s hotter now than it was 100 years ago. Roughly 1 degree centigrade hotter. Sound like a lot to you? Not to me, no. But during the entire period from 1910 through 2014 there were only 20 years when an increase in “global warming” could actually be correlated with a serious increase in CO2. If you don’t believe me, check it out. It there in “the science” — if you’re willing to look for it.

        1. Aumua

          I know I’m not going to convince you, and the strange thing is.. I don’t get the sense that there are a whole of people reading along here who are on the fence about it either so.. whatever you say. You’re right.

  30. Plenue

    >Calling the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat a ‘Frigate’ Doesn’t Make It Any Less Crappy

    “For one, the Navy plans to award contracts for frigate construction before it completes a study to determine whether the LCS seaframes can actually accommodate the planned new equipment that transforms a baseline LCS into a frigate. Moreover, frigate construction will be well underway by the time the Navy tests the design in realistic conditions.”

    This is insane even by the usual standards of the Pentagon. Worst case they’ll end up with a bunch of LCS’s that can only be LCS’s.

  31. RMO

    If you take the view that a nation’s military exists for the purpose of defending the nation’s people and borders and being able to prevail in combat against an enemy for the purpose of altering the political situation for the benefit of the nation then, yes it is insane. On the other hand, if the purpose of a nation’s military is simply to suck up vast quantities of money and distribute it lavishly to a select few than it’s a perfectly sensible ship program:-)

    1. Plenue

      Absolutely. But at one time it was possible for the MIC to at least produce something that mostly worked at the end of long development times and obscene paychecks.

      1. RMO

        I agree. It would be somewhat interesting to try to determine when the balance fully swung into the situation you have now where none of it seems to work at all well except for the latter purpose I mentioned.

  32. Roland

    I don’t know whether any of the various ABM systems work or not. But I can make a few observations:

    1. I can’t trust any report that says an ABM system works. There would be all sorts of reasons why someone would lie about that (intimidation of enemies, to obtain continued funding, etc. etc.).

    2. I can’t trust any report that says an ABM system doesn’t work, either. That’s because even if a system did work, they might pretend it doesn’t in order to confuse the enemy over which countermeasures to develop.

    3. Statements made by foreign leaders regarding the effectiveness of ABM cannot be worth very much.

    In other words, any publicly available statement on the effectiveness of an ABM system is likely to be misinformation of some kind or another. Unless I test the stuff myself, or I received top-secret info from a source I could trust, or I actually see what happens in a war–God forbid !–I can’t really know whether ABM works or not.

    While I can’t know whether any ABM systems actually work, nevertheless I may continue to observe:

    4. Actions speak louder than words. The fact that administration after administration, for a period of over 30 years, regardless of party, continues to develop and deploy ABM systems, would indicate that people in a position to know have reason to believe that the systems have their uses.

    5. I also note the relative lack of partisan bickering surrounding ABM, compared to the controversies which have dogged many other weapon systems.

    6. Because I can recall a few of the objections made to the old “Star Wars” programme, I realize that some of those, considered damning at the time, have already been overcome. e.g. lack of computing power, lack of communications bandwidth, the number of surveillance satellites that would be needed to be placed in orbit.

    I therefore truly doubt that MIC graft is the main theme. I do believe ABM is a matter of imperial high policy.

    1. vidimi

      points 1-3 are good, but 4-5 are very tenuous, 6 is debatable

      4-as far as decisions go, keeping things the same is the simplest option available. therefore, the best reason for why administration after administration continues to deploy ABM is continuation, not that it works. after all, administration after administration continues all sorts of failed policy. see war on drugs, trickle down economics, etc

      5-bipartisan concensus is a better indicator of national political insanity than it is of whether an idea is good. see above plus the war on terror, middle east strategy, deficit spending, etc

      6-all those things sound very expensive – i.e. lucrative for contractors. if i’m NATO and i want to justify my continued existence, a good strategy would be to hype up my enemy, maximise sunk costs, and keep those sunk costs from being acknowledged as sunk costs. however, just because something is definitely MIC graft, that doesn’t exclude the likelihood that it is imperial high policy (not everything produced by graft is useless). i hope that it’s only graft, but i fear that it is part of policy as well. The US has been antagonising Russia since at least 2012 and keeps escalating. ABM as policy indicates that the US may be willing to take this escalation to its logical conclusion.

      1. craazyboy

        After the fall of the soviet union, we did keep R&D going on ABMs, because we could – no one in a position to object strongly. Then along came The Axis of Evil. It became important that in a possible future of N. Korea and Iran ICBMs, it certainly would be nice to have ABMs that actually worked. GWB did ramp up our efforts here.

        What Roland said on whether we’ll ever know if they really work or not.

        But it does depend on your definition of “work”. A system that is 95% effective may sound pretty good to S. Korea or Israel when the potential ICBM threat is from an enemy that may be able to launch a dozen or few missiles to knock down. Not so much if you are the US and thousands come raining down from one or more enemies. After all, the 5% that got thru would surely collapse the financial system – and then we are screwed!

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