Links 8/23/16

Want to know if your relationship will work? Try the ‘IKEA rage’ test Express

Germans may soon be required to keep 10-day stockpile of food in case of attack Washington Post (furzy)

With Moderate Drinking Under Fire, Alcohol Companies Go on Offensive Wall Street Journal. Another demonstration of the shortsightedness of reaching conclusions about health impacts by looking at one disease only. The obsession with cholesterol levels similarly is the result of a fixation on heart disease, as opposed to all factor death rates.


The Brexit Question That Nobody Asked Bloomberg

Merkel, Hollande, Renzi: Symbolism, but no substance Politico

Brexit: Article 50 must be triggered within months to avoid a ‘neverendum’, warns Iain Duncan Smith Independent

How can cities boost their night-time economies? Prospect (JLS)


Why No One Trusts China’s Markets Bloomberg (furzy)

China’s political agenda for the G20 summit Bruegel

Chileans protest against Pinochet-era private pension scheme BBC (resilc)

Blood in Honduras, Silence in the United States Boston Review (resilc)


Saudis bomb Sanaa during “Million-Person march” Juan Cole (resilc)

One year on, Russia’s war in Syria is hardly a ‘quagmire’ Christian Science Monitor (furzy)

A Close Call in Syria American Conservative

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

WiFi Signals Can ID Individuals by Body Shape Motherboard (resilc)

Commentary: Evidence points to another Snowden at the NSA Reuters (furzy)

Clinton E-mail Tar Baby

Emails: Clinton aide arranged meeting with foundation donor The Hill

Federal Judge Sets Deadline on Clinton Email Review Wall Street Journal

Clinton’s Campaign Manager Defends Foreign Foundation Money Bloomberg (resilc)

Consultant Raised Cash for Hillary Clinton, Used Access for Meeting with Coal Giant, Emails Reveal Intercept

Emails Show Clinton Foundation Donor Reached Out To Hillary Clinton Before Arms Export Boost International Business Times


U.S. Gasoline Consumption On Target For A Record Year OilPrice (resilc)

In a Normal Campaign Season, Candidates Could Have a Tax Debate Bloomberg (furzy)

Hillary’s Hubris: Only Tell the Rich for $5000 a Minute! Counterpunch

Eating Cake With Hillary Clinton American Conservative (resilc)

Clinton’s Transition Team: a Corporate Presidency Foretold Counterpunch (resilc)

Analyzing Trump’s Election Chances: What Does Trump Need To Do To Win? Michael Shedlock. Chuck L: “If Trump does indeed carry Minnesota, as Mish suggests is possible, I know a lot of people who will totally lose it.”

Melania Trump threatens to sue news outlets CNN (furzy)

Trump Says He Isn’t Waffling on Immigration Wall Street Journal

12-Year-Old Boy Helps Run Trump Field Operation In Colorado Huffington Post (Li)

Vacationing President Obama Dedicates 18th-Hole Birdie To Louisiana Flood Victims Babylon Bee (resilc)

Obamacare Options? In Many Parts of Country, Only One Insurer Will Remain New York Times. Li, who lives in New York City and has to buy Obamacare policies, objects strongly to the claim that New York is a bastion of competition.

Boone County therapist receives letter about opioid epidemic from President Obama WCHS. Lambert: “Pathetic”.

Flint’s Water Crisis and the ‘Troublemaker’ Scientist New York Times (Dr. Kevin)

New York Says ‘Work Is Not Done’ on GE’s Hudson Cleanup Wall Street Journal. Astonishing how long this has gone on.

An Inside Look at Utah’s Land Grab Legal Scheme — Pacific Standard (Chuck L)

How San Francisco’s hippy explosion shaped the modern world Guardian (furzy)

Deutsche Bank’s $10-Billion Scandal New Yorker

The Fed’s Disastrous Facebook Page Launch American Banker (JLS)

Private Placement: European Companies Issue Debt Simply Because the ECB will Buy That Debt Michael Shedlock (EM)

To Crack Down on Securities Fraud, States Reward Whistle-Blowers Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Forget Fed rate calls — be ready for the return of inflation New York Times

Class Warfare

Bay Area transit system to subsidize Uber, Lyft rides Mercury News (resilc)

Auto-Parts Makers Unite to Make Self-Driving System Wall Street Journal

Ramen is displacing tobacco as most popular US prison currency, study finds Guardian

Hillary’s Problem, Explained by Technology Nicholas Cohn. From last month, but still today’s must read.

Antidote du jour. Via Lambert, this is Anne Webber’s horse. And no, she is not a relative.

summer grass 2. links

And a bonus video from our Richard Smith:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Stormcrow

    Where can we read more about “all factor death rates”? I have often wondered about the wisdom of focusing on one disease only in isolation. Thanks.

  2. Pavel

    Re IKEA: I shopped there in London several decades ago and remember quite vividly a very stressful episode trying to assemble a bookshelf with my girlfriend. Amazing that the company is so successful when so many of the user experiences are so horrific.

    And since we can all use a laugh these days, I highly (pun intended :) recommend the HIKEA series of youtube parodies. In the first one a couple try to assemble IKEA furniture after dropping tabs of LSD. Enjoy!

    Hikea: These Guys Drop Acid & Build Ikea Furniture (It’s Hilarious)

    NOTE: I am not condoning or encouraging any illicit drug use. Just say NO! :)

    1. fresno dan

      August 23, 2016 at 7:27 am

      IKEA has long been parodied for the complexity of assembling its flat-pack furniture.

      But according to Professor Durvasula, the Liatorp is the most deadly item in the entire range.

      The 9ft wide and 7ft high unit sells for £825 in the UK and is three separate bookcases joined together with three doors on the front.

      According to the manual, there are 22 different kinds of screw or bracket and 13 different pieces of wood that go into its assembly.

      With so many different kinds of screwing its like your reading the Kamasutra rather than a furniture assembly manual….

      Couple: Next time, lets just do the basic missionary …. furniture assembly and skip all this Swedish screwing.

      1. mad as hell.

        I bought a 24 cubed book shelf from Ikea when we lived in Philadelphia a few years ago. I hired a retired handyman to put it together for $100. Took him a afternoon to put it together and secure it to the wall. Wound up being a selling point to the home when we sold. I’d probaly would have been tinkering with it for a long time if I hadn’t hired the handyman!

        1. petal

          On our college ad board a few weeks ago, someone that had bought a bunch of IKEA stuff was looking to hire someone to put it together for them. Quite good pay, too. I almost bit but thought better of it.

        2. RabidGandhi

          $100 for half a day’s work, minus travel expenses and other sundry costs (equipment? not to mention insurance).

          Sweet Vishnu, I hope my retirement doesn’t look like that.

        3. Ed

          The thing the article doesn’t mention is that IKEA itself will assemble the furniture if you pay for.

          I assembled my first two IKEA bookshelves but after that just plan to have them assemble the stuff and mentally price that into any purchases.

          IKEA is a normal furniture store, that uses the sales tactic of removing the price of the final assembly from the price tag. People have to be aware of this. A purchaser will still pay for the final assembly. They will either pay for IKEA or someone else to do it, or through their own time, labor, and stress, and if you are in a situation where you are cash poor but can assemble furniture without it falling apart easily and time rich, then you should be advertising to assemble other peoples’ furniture. That is how an economy works.

          1. polecat

            I refuse to hire anyone to assemble something i’m fully capable of doing, instructions be damned…..someone else can do the assembly when they can pull the screwdriver from my cold, dead, arthritic fingers !

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I look for ready-assembled, used furniture, like real paulownia tansu.

              One can pick up one such tea tansu (about 3′ tall) for around $100.

              1. polecat

                yeah…genuine ‘mostly’ solid wood furniture can be had, in town here, at the local Habitat for Humanity store …. prices depend on the quality & condition of the piece……

                As a side note…I have a dresser I purchased from Ikea a decade ago, with the leading edges de-laminating on the top and the drawers…

                ..debating whether to complain to Ikea ….. in hope of a replacement ….or just redo myself with aluminum stock, instead of the glued-on plastic laminate !! :'(

          2. Alejandro

            “That is how an economy works.”

            Absent from your “analysis”, is how this “business model” disrupted the livelihoods of generations of furniture and cabinet makers…more unseen/unspoken, in “our” “great” transformation, “because markets”…

      2. Antifa

        IKEA furniture IS superbly designed and engineered — for cheap factory production of glossy looking ‘pieces of furniture.’ In plain English, each IKEA shelf, board, drawer front or whatever that you pull out of the box has to look finished, glossy and good. Imagine ordering a trumpet or saxophone, and having it arrive in 183 well polished pieces, and instructions in five languages for assembling it yourself. That’s the IKEA model: you are in for a rough time, and will have a facsimile of the real thing when you’re done.

        You can improve on IKEA’s instructions by using glue whererever you can, but the persistent fault in IKEA products is that it’s only a facsimile of furniture. Real furniture can be found second hand, or at an unpainted furniture outlet. Put some skin in the game and do the finishing (or refinishing) yourself.

    2. Anne

      Having assembled more than a few pieces of IKEA furniture, my husband used to say that the genius of self-assembly is that when you’re finally finished, you really feel like you own it, it’s yours, it didn’t just roll off an assembly line, there was your sweat and the echo of every curse word you ever knew holding that sucker together…

      1. Ed

        I think one factor behind the stress on relationships is simply that men value having furniture around much less than women do, at least that is the case with my relationship.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Furniture? What about pillows, Ed? Is your furniture equipped with attractive pillows in complementary colors?

        2. Anne

          the other stress is that a lot of men think they can assemble things without following the directions…

            1. polecat

              Why is it I ALWAYS end up with at least one piece of hardware left…I mean, I scrutinize the hieroglyphic instructions to the letter…er..idiom….??

              1. John Zelnicker

                @polecat – A lot of times there will be a couple of extra screws, washers, etc., in the package in case the buyer loses one.

    3. Ulysses

      The experience of U.S. workers with IKEA was a wake up call to many that U.S. labor had become part of the exploitable 3rd world, and was no longer part of the 1st world, like Swedish labor.

      “Laborers in Swedwood plants in Sweden produce bookcases and tables similar to those manufactured in Danville. The big difference is that the Europeans enjoy a minimum wage of about $19 an hour and a government-mandated five weeks of paid vacation. Full-time employees in Danville start at $8 an hour with 12 vacation days — eight of them on dates determined by the company.

      What’s more, as many as one-third of the workers at the Danville plant have been drawn from local temporary-staffing agencies. These workers receive even lower wages and no benefits, employees said.”

      Retail workers, of course, have it even worse. Working for an IKEA store is only marginally better than working for Walmart.

      1. OIFVet

        That’s actually an improvement in their labor compensation. IKEA used Eastern European prison labor back during the cold war. Fitting, given the nazi sympathies of its founder.

      2. Eclair

        Irony, karma, destructive capitalism? Jamestown, NY was once known as The Furniture Capital of the US. Swedish immigrants flocked here beginning in the early 1800’s; the region was heavily forested, the Chadacoin River, flowing from Lake Chautauqua provided water power. And many of the immigrants, the majority of whom came from the southern Swedish province of Småland, known for its rocks, lakes, forests and poverty, had worked in the region’s small furniture factories and were skilled furniture makers.

        The district known as Swede Hill in Jamestown, if filled with substantial wooden houses that held a close-knit community. In the 1940’s, the factories began their migration to areas of the world where labor was cheaper and the furniture factories closed, were pulled down, or burned. My in-laws’ house is built using enormous beams from a demolished furniture factory; its rooms are filled with solidly-built wood furniture from those factories. Swede Hill’s houses are a bit tattered and some are openly decaying.

        The founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, is a Småland boy … or was, until he left Sweden to avoid paying the taxes. Although, in his old age, he has returned and seeks rehabilitation for his decades of tax-avoidance. There is no IKEA in Jamestown; the closest one is in Pittsburg, a 3 hour drive. Almost one-quarter of Jamestown’s households makes under $15,000 per year. Job growth is a negative 0.6%. The population there is too poor even for low-cost IKEA.

        1. kgw

          Cabinetmaker here…My sister-in-law bought a house and wanted bookcases in a niche in her living room. Ended up with Ikea bookcases: 3 cases that looked like 3 cases, with endless lines of unmeeting melamine, that swayed. Ended up having me make actual Birch plywood, solid wood edged cases with low cabinets as a base, with custom molding from my shop that made the whole assembly into an integral piece of furniture. Sitting bench centered on the low cabinets, middle third. Painted with a satin finish oil-base. Light years ahead…

  3. Skippy

    Ref – Bay Area transit system to subsidize Uber, Lyft rides

    End game…. financial conglomerate and the removal of public transport…

    Disheveled Marsupial…. all complaints can be forwarded to Uber via app…

    1. Jim

      A very scary prospect indeed. Sort of like bringing the Affordable Care Act’s wildly successful model of service delivery to public transit?

      Also, I can’t believe there are actual people who talk like this:

      “‘The world has been disrupted in many ways by new technology that has affected business segments like brick-and-mortar businesses (and) housing. Think Airbnb,’ said Randy Rentschler, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. ‘Now public transit is beginning to feel it. Bus systems haven’t changed much in the last 50 years.'”

      Makes me happy I don’t live in the Bay Area.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Anyone who doesn’t agree with people who talk like that is a Luddite, or a Luddite sympathizer.

      2. tegnost

        “Bus systems haven’t changed much in the last 50 years.”
        if it ain’t broke don’t fix it has become break it so you can “fix” it…
        …although I would argue that bus systems have changed, anyone who regularly rides buses knows that there is an effort long underway to reduce service.
        The new democrat party mantra
        “No public transportation!, no public schools!or maybe
        “Defund! Disrupt! Deregulate!”, it sounds more revolutionary
        and you can wear one of those chavez-y french chapeaus

        1. OIFVet

          “No public transportation!, no public schools!or maybe
          “Defund! Disrupt! Deregulate!”

          Ayn Rand Akbar!

    2. Goyo Marquez

      Once they destroy public transportation the next step is regulation of ride sharing so that only approved ride sharers can ride share.

    3. coboarts

      I live in Livermore, so this affects me. I don’t think it’s such a bad idea. An old teacher friend of mine told me about his experience living in Panama. They had decided to subsidize the taxis. A 50 cent taxi ride whenever, wherever you needed to go. Comparing that to the difficulties my mother had down in San Diego, trying to make doctor appointments and get to her one night a week choir it would have solved so many problems. I realized immediately how much better that would be for us with our geographically spread out civilization. We spend gazillions of dollars funding a transportation system that is unusable. Everybody likes to vote for public transportation, but nobody uses it. BART is great, but as soon as you have to switch to the buses – no way. I have never Uber’d or Lyft’d so far, but I could use this new system. Why, well, I work about 15 miles from where I live. There is a bus stop a convenient half mile from my house. However, it would take me easily two hours to get to work using the buses. So, should we add dozens more bus routes to make the system work or try what they are trying?

      1. Skippy

        You might consider the increasing crapification of – everything – making it seem reasonable.

        Disheveled Marsupial… not that I would consider anything Panama a good example…

      2. Xihuitl

        In France the health insurance pays for people to take taxis to their medical appointments, if they need it.

  4. EndOfTheWorld

    RE: Mish’s projection for the election. He clearly shows that’s it hard for a Republican to win. But it’s not as cut-and-dried as he lays it out. Some of those battle ground states are possible wins for The Donald, as it becomes clear to all just how much of a crook Hill is. This election doesn’t go by the textbook. Anything is possible.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Compare Slick Willy to the very nice Mrs. Trump —- which one would Joe Average rather see when he turns on the tv?

        This is a consideration to many voters. Trump’s whole family is good looking. The Clintons look like hell.

        1. Jim Haygood

          A cannibal would take one look at Hillary and say, “I’ll have the salad today, please.”

          1. EndOfTheWorld

            Really, some people think about the first lady when they vote. A certain percentage of the populace is interested in women’s fashion. (Some are obsessed with it.) The hapless Hill tries to play up to this demographic with her North Korean style pant suits. The American first lady is always a big deal in this regard, ever since Jackie Kennedy wowed the world. Note how the press tried to turn the half-decent Michelle Obama into some kind of hot dish. With Mrs. Trump they have a real model for the fashion and a real fox to boot.

          2. Antifa

            A cannibal would take one look at Bill “Chicken Bones” Clinton and say, “I don’t eat leftovers.”

          3. Fighting Bob

            Count on Mr Haygood for the shallow, snot comments on a woman’s appearance.

            Again and again.

            She wears pantsuits.
            She has wrinkles.
            She has cankles.
            Enough already. It’s childish.

            There is plenty to blast about re: Clinton.
            But again and again, it’s the tiresome drive-by diss.
            Yves, are you happy to see this terrific site devolving into snot rockets about Clinton’s appearance?
            Are you fine with this?
            As a woman, are you fine with reducing discussions on Clinton to what she wears or what she looks like?
            I am befuddled as to why you seem okay with your site tumbling into Yahoo news rejoinders.
            Who cares whether she wears pantsuits or what color they are?
            And what a waste of valuable space, let’s run her down for having wrinkles.

            I know, if I don’t like the mudslinging, leave.

            But I’ve been a daily reader of this site forever and it’s painful to see such a superlative place be reduced in this way.
            It’s too good for that.

  5. voteforno6

    Re: Clinton Email Tar Baby

    Already Clinton’s media sycophants are rushing out the expected defenses: there’s nothing to see here, this is just how things are done, what’s the big deal with a few meetings, anyway, and besides, the Clinton Foundation does a lot of good work, so why would you want to cause unnecessary suffering by shutting them down?

    Has anyone done a thorough investigation of the Foundation’s actual work? There are a lot of claims thrown around, but I don’t think I’ve seen any actual reporting on its accomplishments. Considering that Ms. Clinton is favored to become the next President, this seems like a curious lack of initiative on the part of the media.

    1. Marco

      The most humorous so far is Bono requesting a live-feed with the International Space Station during every U2 concert. Why are people at the top so f@cked in da head??

      1. Jim Haygood

        How about a crowdfunded campaign to buy Bono a one-way ticket to the International Space Station?

        It’s just my job five days a week
        A rocket man, a rocket man

        1. ColdWarVet

          Better still, how about a plain old one way ticket to interstellar space? Put a GoPro with a satellite link on him and we can watch him blather his way off into eternity.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Someone owns that already.

            Either you get permission, from its googol-aire owner, or try another planet.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Watch the video called “Clinton Cash.” Good overview of the family quid pro quo operation.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I’ve seen it and I’ve read the book. But I think it’s all a vast right wing conspiracy to smear some of the world’s greatest philanthropists.

          According to james carville, without the clinton foundation, “lots of little children will die.” (At least I think that’s what he said. When he gets to praising the clintons, he kinda seems to start speaking in tongues.)

          1. Pavel

            In other words:

            –without the Clintons: “lots of little children will die”
            –with the Clintons: lots of little children did die (cf Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc etc)

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It has been a vast right wing conspiracy since the early 1990s, if not earlier (assuming those uneducated bigots could foresee the coming Greatness in the 1980s, 1970s and 1960s).

        2. voteforno6

          Overviews are nice, but it would be nice to see some reporting that follows the money all the way through to the end. They’ve pulled in millions in donations – where has all that money gone?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If the foundation is non-profit, it has still been very profitable for some people…inside and outside the foundation.

            Non-profit = profitable

            Hopefully, we stop picking on only for-profits.

          2. Pat

            If I remember correctly, it was reported about a year ago Chelsea gets $900,000/year for being on the Board, no information on any benefits. She is the Vice Chairman, and there are 9 others on the Board including Bill. She may be the best paid, but I would assume the Chairman is better paid and there is going to be compensation for the others. So think between 8 million and 10 million a year just for those ten people.

            I can’t imagine there aren’t other lower profile key positions at the Foundation that don’t pay as well (Huma anyone?) So add in a half dozen of those and that is another million or twenty. It is hard work making sure all those little children in various places get less than useful help.

    1. abynormal

      Yo, U Tha Man JGordon…Awesome Site & Thanks

      One of the most groundbreaking aspects of the Zapatista insurgency has been the strides it has made in destabilizing patriarchy. This social transformation has largely been born out of the indefatigable work ethic and iron will of the Zapatista women. Given their recognition that any struggle against colonialism and capitalism necessitates a struggle against patriarchy, Zapatista women implemented what is known as ‘Women’s Revolutionary Law’ within their communities. The conviction they maintain regarding equality was poignantly captured in a communiqué written by Subcomandante Marcos (now Galeano) released shortly after the 1994 rebellion, which states: “The first EZLN uprising occurred in March of 1993 and was led by the Zapatista women. There were no casualties—and they won.”7

      Cuando Una Mujer Avanza, No Hay Hombre Que Retrocede

      (‘When a Woman Advances, No Man is Left Behind’)
      …we may turn this on its head if Hilary advances and expect her to turn hard on EZLN

  6. EndOfTheWorld

    RE: the increasingly numerous articles documenting play-for-pay by Hill—the key question that the election will answer is: Will the USA say play-for-pay is A-OK?

    1. timbers

      I for one am amazed after reading Lamberts post on how Clinton’s aid at State Dept directed inquiries to the Clinton Foundation for the obvious purpose of requiring a sizable donation to see Hillary. The corruption is so transparent. Using public office for private gain. The silence of law enforcement agencies is expected yet truly depressing. Clinton should be arrested and charged. But she won’t and the media FBI & Justice Dept will protect her. After all “no career prosecutor” would bring these charges against the future Queen of (highly profitable) Wars.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Here, the government can’t just print money and spend, and so a choice has to be made – we only have enough to investigate Putin’s Manchurian candidate.

    2. NYPaul

      If the supposedly highly intelligent NY Times readers are any indication, the answer is, Yes.

      A smattering of the first few, highly recommended comments:

      1. “The triple standard continues – woman, a Clinton, and Democrat. Whitewater, a half-dozen
      conspiracy theories, Benghazi, and now “the emails”. 2104 Recommended

      2. ” If this judge isn’t careful, he might determine the course of the election and discredit the judiciary branch, Judges should stay out of the political process and let the people decide how much honesty or bombastery they want.” 1153 Recommended

      3. ” I know this is useless, but there’s nothing sinister here. Everyone deletes emails. The scolding, censorious tone in the media- to say nothing of the screaming of the Hate Hillary crew – is frustrating and disheartening. The actual story is no scandal. A year later nothing that Clinton did was then against the rules; and the State Dep’t knew she had the server.” 1500 Recommended

      4. ” Bottom line, nothing: no sinister plan, no arrogance, no carelessness (despite what Comey claims). Just an effort to maintain confidentiality that was entirely legal and, for political reasons, has backfired. 1500 Recommended

      5. ” Considering all that Hillary Clinton has gone through during her career is mind boggling, I would’ve broken down a long time ago. Yet she is still at it, despite all the hatred and venom thrown at her. Her perseverance shows strength and character. 1700 Recommended
      So, nothing to see here….

      Out of approximately 1000 comments, I estimate roughly 80% were similar.

      A touch of Cognitive dissonance in the Big Apple?


      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        The New York Times online letters pages have been heavily manipulated by Clinton operatives for ~6 months now. The effort kicked into high gear when she was battling Sanders. Her partisans may not be leaning on the NYT quite as heavily now, but I would not regard comments there as diagnostic of any mass opinion trends. Not even among the ‘liberal’ elite.

  7. Foppe


    Another demonstration of the shortsightedness of reaching conclusions about health impacts by looking at one disease only. The obsession with cholesterol levels similarly is the result of a fixation on heart disease, as opposed to all factor death rates.

    While I don’t disagree that such a principle can blind one to other issues; however, total cholesterol levels are a pretty good indicator of overall health, because of how basically all diseases of affluence — which, not incidentally, dominate the list of top 15 killers — are caused by the balance of micro/macronutrients obtained through one’s diet (affected on the one hand by what you consume, and on the other by what your displace by doing so, esp. fiber) by consuming a diet in which the majority of calories (and secondarily overall volume) comes from animal products, plus plant oils/fats — i.e., the Standard American/Western Diet. There is research showing this going back well over a century, and it almost got “exposed” by McGovern back in ’72, but thanks to how ‘his’ report was (re)written (with its deliberately obscuring phrasing of the questions in terms of macronutrients as opposed to the ‘whole foods’ that contain various configurations of micro/macronutrients in a ‘package’), people are blind to it, and it’s only now that it’s finally starting to become undeniable that animal protein and all extracted fats/oils *all* negatively contribute to health, and that your diet is healthy only insofar as it consists of whole plant foods, with no oil (which has no nutritive value whatsoever anyway, especially once you compare foods per calorie, rather than per gram).
    In any case, the food group (the distinctions between the different products are basically as meaningless as the differences between different brands / types of cigarettes) that is the biggest contributor to all of the ‘diseases of the blood’ (elevated cholesterol/HT, plaque deposition, liver, kidney, cvd-related alzheimers, diabetes (-> intramuscular dietary fat clogging insulin receptors), the autoimmune diseases (triggered by the same mechanisms that lead the human body to generally reject donor organs), the GI tract (mostly protein plus fiber deficiency), parkinsons/alzheimers (-> heavy metals from meat), osteo (linked with acidic diets — i.e. diets calorically heavy in (animal) protein, fats); plant oils/fats are just as undesirable, though somewhat less important simply because fewer calories come from them, for most people. In other words, the majority of people basically die from chronic food poisoning, even though the solution is so simple: adopt a whole foods, oil-free, plant based diet, and you will give your body the tools, and the time, to clean up the mess. So I would recommend to anyone who wishes to stay healthy while aging to have a look at this video (, and/or to read John McDougall’s The Starch Solution.

    1. Katharine

      > oil (which has no nutritive value whatsoever anyway

      Not true unless you have come up with a remarkable new definition of nutritive value, in which case please share it with us.

      1. Vatch

        Katharine, you are absolutely correct. Those who doubt the nutritional value of some fatty acids, which are provided by nutritional oils, should read this:

        Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them.

        Note that an essential oil is not the same as an essential fatty acid.

        1. Foppe

          I am not making assertions about EFAs, I am making statements about extracted oils, which are the highly concentrated products that people throw in their food while cooking because they think it makes stuff taste better.
          To be clear: any/all EFAs you need (basically only ALA & EPA, as the body can produce DHA out of those) you can get from a wfpb diet; in the case of ALA, you can get it from something like ground flaxseed. All other fat you need to sustain bodily processes that utilize FAs you can get from whole plant foods, including grains, oats, and even from broccoli.

      2. Foppe

        Sure, oil contains calories, but theyŕe next to unusable if you take into account how strongly the human body dislikes generating sugars via ketosis. “Calories” are basically the only thing in favor of oils, yet these are empty calories, as they pack next to no antioxidants/micronutrients per calorie (again, gram/gram comparisons are meaningless; you need calories, not weight). And any micronutrient that you do find in oil can be found in higher concentrations in different foodstuffs, which also contain other worthwhile micro/macronutrients.

        1. Jeff

          I hope you are aware that the human body (and all other mammals, afaik) run on ‘oil’ for its basic energy provision and only sugar for emergencies?
          It is a well-known, but little publicized, fact that your body will synthesize more cholesterol to transport all those fatty acids than you can possible ingest by eating.

          1. Foppe

            Say what? Sorry, but that is entirely incorrect. As for the second point, even if it is true (I don’t know either way), I fail to see how it is relevant; you cannot transport what you do not (over)consume, and the human body functions best on a diet in which only 10-15% calories come from fat, ~10% from protein (although these are basically useless because amino acids basically can’t be transformed into sugars), and the remaining ~80% from carbs, preferably starches.

      3. jrs

        Some oil like olive oil does seem to have a lot of phytonutrients, which will be missed in a focus on only on vitamins and minerals. Of course fats are also needed to absorb a lot of plant nutrients, that is fat soluble vitamins plus some phytonutrients.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Yves is right I think on the general point – the new wave of anti-alcohol research is over emphasising individual diseases without looking at holistic health effects. There is no doubt that there is a growing consensus that even fairly moderate drinking (about 15 units a week) is associated with increases in some cancers. However, there is no evidence that I am aware of that moderate drinking is associated with general ill-health or excess mortality. In fact, country by country comparisons (a very crude way of looking at it) would seem to indicate that countries with high beer/wine consumption tend to be among the healthiest and longest living countries. This is a common problem in health studies – an unjustified extrapolation of conclusions based on fairly limited results.

      I personally think the recommendations by the Belgian health authorities are the most common sense ones – they recommend 2-3 days a week entirely alcohol free, and no binging. But otherwise, they don’t recommend strict weekly limits (just as well considering the strength of good Belgian beer). On the basis of current science, I think that’s the most pragmatic advice.

      1. Foppe

        Basically all health research overemphasizes individual diseases and contributing factors, though, because of the reigning reductionist paradigm (the hallmark of professionalism), basically. (And this is also why food isn’t taken seriously as a possible solution — too many interactions, too many moving parts, you cannot get funding for it because “insufficiently specific” + big pharma doesn’t want the competition, etc.).
        For a sustained critique, see T. Colin Campbell’s Whole: rethinking the science of Nutrition.

      2. Synoia

        If moderate drinking exacerbated some diseases, Europe would be the center of incidence these diseases, and their national health services at the forefront of the anti-alcohol campaign, both to extend life and cut costs.

        It is not. What conclusion does one draw from that observation?

        That the common parts of the gene pool shared by Europe and the US (white people) suddenly became susceptible to alcohol related diseases because it relocates 3,000 miles west?

  8. Higgs Boson

    Breaking: Did Washington Just Declare a ‘No Fly’ Zone in Syria?

    Do these morons think Russia will blink first?

    From the article:

    Pentagon Spokesman Peter Cook was asked numerous times in numerous ways whether this amounts to a US “no fly zone” over parts of Syria. His first response was vague but threatening:

    We will use our air power as needed to protect coalition forces and our partnered operations. …We advise the Syrian regime to steer clear of [certain] areas.


    “Is this a ‘no-fly’ zone, then,” asked another reporter. It’s not a “no-fly zone” Cook responded.

    Another journalist tried to get some clarity:
    How is telling Syria not to fly in certain areas not a ‘no fly’ zone?

    “Call it what you will,” Cook eventually said.

    1. Pavel

      With regard to Russia, Dmitri Orlov just posted a must-read analysis of US vs Russian military power and experience. The short version is that Russia could take out the US in a matter of hours, and the US military has been weakened by decades of corruption and graft. I only recently encountered Orlov (via the Peak Prosperity podcast series) but he is a real expert in these matters and doesn’t mince his words. A few extracts below but read the whole piece:

      A whiff of World War III hangs in the air. In the US, Cold War 2.0 is on, and the anti-Russian rhetoric emanating from the Clinton campaign, echoed by the mass media, hearkens back to McCarthyism and the red scare. In response, many people are starting to think that Armageddon might be nigh—an all-out nuclear exchange, followed by nuclear winter and human extinction. It seems that many people in the US like to think that way. Goodness gracious!

      But, you know, this is hardly unreasonable of them. The US is spiraling down into financial, economic and political collapse, losing its standing in the world and turning into a continent-sized ghetto full of drug abuse, violence and decaying infrastructure, its population vice-ridden, poisoned with genetically modified food, morbidly obese, exploited by predatory police departments and city halls, plus a wide assortment of rackets, from medicine to education to real estate… That we know.

      But this way of thinking involves a break with reality. There is exactly one nation in the world that nukes other countries, and that would be the United States. It gratuitously nuked Japan, which was ready to surrender anyway, just because it could. It prepared to nuke Russia at the start of the Cold War, but was prevented from doing so by a lack of a sufficiently large number of nuclear bombs at the time. And it attempted to render Russia defenseless against nuclear attack, abandoning the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, but has been prevented from doing so by Russia’s new weapons. These include, among others, long-range supersonic cruise missiles (Kalibr), and suborbital intercontinental missiles carrying multiple nuclear payloads capable of evasive maneuvers as they approach their targets (Sarmat). All of these new weapons are impossible to intercept using any conceivable defensive technology. At the same time, Russia has also developed its own defensive capabilities, and its latest S-500 system will effectively seal off Russia’s airspace, being able to intercept targets both close to the ground and in low Earth orbit.

      In the meantime, the US has squandered a fantastic sum of money fattening up its notoriously corrupt defense establishment with various versions of “Star Wars,” but none of that money has been particularly well spent. The two installations in Europe of Aegis Ashore (completed in Romania, planned in Poland) won’t help against Kalibr missiles launched from submarines or small ships in the Pacific or the Atlantic, close to US shores, or against intercontinental missiles that can fly around them. The THAAD installation currently going into South Korea (which the locals are currently protesting by shaving their heads) won’t change the picture either.

      None of these justifications works vis-à-vis Russia. In dollar terms, the US outspends Russia on defense hands down. However, viewed in terms of purchasing parity, Russia manages to buy as much as ten times more defensive capability per unit national wealth than the US, largely negating this advantage. Also, what the US gets for its money is inferior: the Russian military gets the weapons it wants; the US military gets what the corrupt political establishment and their accomplices in the military-industrial complex want in order to enrich themselves. In terms of being an advertising campaign for weapons sales, watching Russian weaponry in action in Syria, effectively wiping out terrorists in short order through a relentless bombing campaign using scant resources, then seeing US weaponry used by the Saudis in Yemen, with much support and advice from the US, being continuously defeated by lightly armed insurgents, is unlikely to generate too many additional sales leads. Lastly, the project of maintaining US global hegemony seems to be on the rocks as well. Russia and China are now in a de facto military union. Russia’s superior weaponry, coupled with China’s almost infinitely huge infantry, make it an undefeatable combination. Russia now has a permanent air base in Syria, has made a deal with Iran to use Iranian military bases, and is in the process of prying Turkey away from NATO. As the US military, with its numerous useless bases around the world and piles of useless gadgets, turns into an international embarrassment, it remains, for the time being, a public jobs program for employing incompetents, and a rich source of graft…

      A few more surgical strikes can take out the oil and gas pipelines, import terminals, highway bridges and tunnels, railroads and airlines. A few months without access to money and financial services, electricity, gasoline, diesel, natural gas, air transport or imported spare parts needed to repair the damage should be enough to force the US to capitulate. If it makes any efforts to restore any of these services, an additional strike or two would quickly negate them.

      The number of “balls of flame” can be optimized by taking advantage of destructive synergies: a GPS jammer deployed near the site of an attack can prevent responders from navigating to it; taking out a supply depot together with the facility it serves, coupled with transportation system disruptions, can delay repairs by many months; a simple bomb threat can immobilize a transportation hub, making it a sitting duck instead of a large number of moving targets; etc.

      Club Orlov: A Thousand Balls of Flame

      Rather grim but essential reading. Hillary and the neocons seem intent on further provoking Russia… it is just absolute insanity. Orlov’s points about the ageing US infrastructure (e.g. the power grid) and how vulnerable it is to rapid and low-cost weaponry; meanwhile the US spends $800 billion per year ostensibly to defeat “terrorists” who don’t have any navy or air force… sigh.

      1. Jim Haygood

        I would have titled it “Great Balls of Flame.” But it’s still a good essay. Orlov’s description of today’s USA USA! sounds a lot like the decrepit Soviet Union just before it imploded:

        “a continent-sized ghetto full of drug abuse, violence and decaying infrastructure, its population vice-ridden, poisoned with genetically modified food, morbidly obese, exploited by predatory police departments and city halls, plus a wide assortment of rackets, from medicine to education to real estate…”

        Like the Soviets, America’s dysfunctional Depublicrat duopoly will stick to their value-subtracting global domination model until it collapses.

        1. tony

          Except that the Soviet population was healthy, educated and well adjusted, posessing both functional communities and local gardens.

      2. JTMcPhee

        One wonders if the same dynamics (General?) in play in what is called, for conversational convenience, the United States, might end up in play in Russia — a professional caste of lobbyists and corporatists and “Latest and Greatest Game Changer” fetishists and all the various hangers-on, all attached leech-like to whatever money-generating political economy infrastructure exists in Russia these days. Leading to their own versions of the F-35 and Littoral Combat Ship and Sgt. York DIVAD and Bradley Fighting Vehicle and so forth…

        Or maybe the oligarchs there are somehow either programmed differently (“Mother Russia” vs. “Homeland Security”) or wise enough to see to protecting the national interests of the state that provides their own personal rice bowls means not bleeding the instrumentalities of national power for personal gain. Though I hear the Russian oligarchy is “globalizing” happily away, in pursuit of their own insatiable personal pleasure preferences, which seems to be the driver of all of this fin de species behavior… Nero fiddled, Caligula did his thing, etc.

        Captured so poignantly in Cirsei’s explanation of her motivation in the drive to grab the Iron Throne: “I do all this (the murder, extortion, incest, decimation, degradation, etc.) because it feels good!”

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It’s called Russia in the 90’s. The whole place was falling apart for a variety of reasons. Putin came back because Mendedev was determined to undo all his work through not having vision. Putin is keenly aware of a need for a succession and political process which is difficult in a country where succession was in a closed room or blood based.

          The Russian oligarchs have been presented with a choice of playing ball or exile, and exile is a problem for anyone who isn’t the flavor of the day. The former Georgian President fled to Ukraine because there was growing notice Obama had him stashed in New York despite our NATO ally, Georgia, wanting him for a host of crimes including murder. How long can he last as an Ukrainian patriot?

          1. Steve Gunderson

            Putin had Mendedev warm his seat while he sat out 4 years due to term limitations. Putin returning was always the plan.

          2. Antifa

            Putin is an oligarch, a gangster when needed, and a profoundly patriotic Russian to the core. He runs a country where other oligarchs need to take his counsel and directions to them quite seriously, or else.

            He’s not a nationalist; he is a patriot and puts Russia’s interests before his own. In short, he is what the Russians always admire — a good Czar.

            Where he will find another Putin some day remains to be seen.

        2. inode_buddha

          Ever since Reagan’s 2nd term, I have been saying that the USA is going to implode the same way the Soviets did, and for the same reasons. I was dismissed as a young pup who knew nothing of worldly ways, particularly by my conservative acquaintances. I like to remind them about trickle-down every now and then, much like having a flea stuck in your sock during an importanf meeting.

      3. fresno dan

        August 23, 2016 at 8:28 am

        We believe our own propaganda and Hollywood films too much – some forget it was the Russians who defeated WWII Germany. If it hadn’t been a two front war for Germany, there is no way a sea borne invasion could have succeeded.
        Our successes in Grenada, Panama, and Iraq 1 blind us to the fact our record is downright dismal – can’t defeat guys in pajamas in Vietnam, and we can’t defeat goat herders in Afghanistan.

        Like the black knight in the monty python skid, we think we’re victorious because we refuse to acknowledge defeat.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I don’t know of any military historian who believes that. At no stage of WWII was any less than 80% of Nazi forces on the eastern front. The Western Front from D-Day onwards was a minor regional series of battle, mostly concerned with making sure the Soviets didn’t advance past Germany. The failure to take Stalingrad and Leningrad in the winter of ’42 doomed the German war effort. The very best the Germans could hope for after that was to establish a front along eastern Europe and try to grind the Soviets to a halt and then hope that the Soviet economy would collapse (as happened in WWI) and that the British would agree to a truce. It would have taken a year or two longer, but the failure to take the key Soviet strategic cities in the initial advance meant the Soviets could not be militarily defeated, and all Hitler’s generals knew that from 1942. All they could hope for was containment.

            The US victory in WW2 was over Japan, not Germany, and the Russians were not at war with Japan.

              1. Synoia

                The US also provided leased a great deal of armaments to Great Britain.

                Yes , the US was simultaneously at war with Germany and Britain.

              2. Joe Hunter

                You are correct about the Lend Lease to Russia, but you do not consider the blood shed by the Russian people during the German invasion or the siege of of their cities. They had more military and civilian casualties than the other allies and more privation. The Eastern Front saved the allies so that they could prepare for the invasion of the Western Front. We must not forget the furor of the Russian army as they advanced through Germany toward the West and those consequences. Perhaps this was deserved considering the actions of the Dulles brothers.

                1. Steve Gunderson

                  A large number of Soviet losses were self-inflicted due to Stalin’s paranoia.

                  Remember that Stalin purged the military leadership of the Soviet military during 1937-1938. There was an estimated 35,000 military officers removed from duty during this time period.

                  The Soviet invasion of Finland during Winter War in 1939 showcased how inept the Soviet military was. They lost over 300,000 casualties. It was probably a huge determining factor in making Hitler think a defeat of the Soviet Union was possible.

                  And in April 1941, another mini-purge began, that continued AFTER the Nazi had attacked.

                  1. Antifa

                    Plus Stalin utterly wasted his border armies by not withdrawing them before the advancing wave of German troops. Millions of Russian soldiers went to work in Germany instead of falling back and letting the Germans stretch their supply lines beyond the breaking point.

              3. OIFVet

                The equipment only began to arrive in quantity after the Soviets had already stopped the Germans at Moscow and Stalingrad:

                As late as the end of 1942, the Red Army faced 193 German divisions, while Anglo-American forces in Africa faced only four. To Stalin and people in the Soviet Union, the western Allies’ failure to open a second front in Europe until June 6, 1944 was deliberately intended to let the Soviet Union bear the brunt of the fighting and casualties.

                Lend-Lease aid was slow to arrive. During the most crucial period of the war on the Eastern Front it remained little more than a trickle. Only following the Battle of Stalingrad (August 19, 1942-February 2, 1943), when the Soviet Union’s eventual victory seemed assured, did American aid began to arrive on a significant scale – 85% of the supplies arrived after the beginning of 1943. Although the vast majority of the Red Army’s best aircraft, tanks, guns and ammunition continued to be manufactured in the Soviet Union, its mobility and communications, in particular, came to rely on Lend-Lease…. As Stalin told Roosevelt, without Lend-Lease “victory would have been delayed.”

                PlutoniumKun’s point stands.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Couldn’t the Germans have sent a second Lenin to Russia, after 1942, repeating WWI?

              1. Antifa

                All the communists Germany was aware of were long since sent to the camps by ’42, or fled overseas, and Russia’s NKVD was in the habit of promptly shooting anyone who spoke out against the Man of Steel.

                Lenin was sent into a nation in collapse and civil war and revolution in WWI. Russia in 1942 was fighting as one united people, literally dying at their lathes and forges from exhaustion and cold.

            2. Vatch

              At no stage of WWII was any less than 80% of Nazi forces on the eastern front.

              That seems to be an exaggeration; 60% to 70% seems more reasonable. Of course the Soviets were indispensible to the victory over the Nazis — I have no desire to claim otherwise. But here’s an interesting web site with the numbers of German divisions in the various theaters throughout the war; I don’t see 80%, although there might have been a few months at that level:


              1. Vatch

                I tried to post a more complex message, but Skynet had other ideas. It is likely that for much of the war, the German divisions on the eastern front were not at full strength. It’s a very complex collection of topics, and when people argue, it’s often true that both people are partly correct.

          2. timbers

            Of course, the USA would have lost had not Russia entered WWII.

            What you said –

            Of course, the Russians would have lost if the US had not entered WWII.

            is highly debatable if not improbable.

            1. Antifa

              It is more accurate to say that FDR and Churchill let Russia carry most of the burden of the war to keep Stalin from taking all of Europe. Had no Western front ever been opened, Stalin would have been happy to take everything Germany had at the time, including France.

              Once they were kicked out of Europe, the British acted first to save their Middle Eastern oil fields from the Italians, and then Rommel, and the USA only sent serious military supplies to the Russians once the Germans had been stopped at Stalingrad and the Caucasus Mountains, beyond which lay the rich oil fields of Baku. At that point they knew the Soviets would be in Berlin in due course, and they needed to be there to stop them.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The Chinese’ claim is that they kept over 1 million Imperial soldiers bogged down all over China, so the Soviets could transfer their divisions west, potentially to march all the way to France.

      4. PlutoniumKun

        Its interesting, but he overstates the military case. The Russian military is very good, but it was severely damaged by the economic collapse of the 1990’s. It is only now starting to recover – it lost a lot of ground in technology relative to the US. It is particularly hampered by a lack of skills in composite technologies and in computer hardware (excellent software of course). Russia also lost a lot of ground in jet engine technology and other areas of heavy engineering (including submarine manufacture). Many of Russias best engineers now live in the US. Unless very well organised, western technology will still beat Russian technology, as the Israeli’s have shown, and was proven in the Gulf wars. And it would be somewhat naïve of anyone to think that the Russian military is immune to the corruption of the rest of the economy.

        The US military has been hamstrung by a gigantic waste of resources in graft and corruption, but its still got a lot of hardware intended for a ‘big’ war. Much to the annoyance of the marketers for the F22 and F35, the A-10, F-16 and F-15 are still outstanding warplanes (its embarrassing for them because the F-16 and F15 have a habit of beating both in dogfights). And while they may be aging and falling apart, they still have thousands of them. While possibly vulnerable to some weapons such as wake following torpedoes, the US Navy still has a gigantic quantitative and qualitative advantage over everyone else. And while the US military has been pretty terrible at actually winning wars, its had plenty of practice, and that’s allowed the military to upgrade and improve many weapons. As an example, the Patriot SAMs that proved so useless at intercepting Scuds in Gulf Wars 1 and II have been substantially improved and now seem quite capable – the Saudi’s seem to have used them successfully to intercept Houthi missiles (a pity for them that they can’t do the same against their anti-tank missiles, the Houthi seem to have been destroying Abrams tanks for fun).

        I also think its inconceivable that a Russian government would authorise attacks on the US. An incoming Kalibr missile would be interpreted as a nuclear missile, even if it wasn’t, so inviting retaliation. In any event, Russia is even more vulnerable than the US to such strikes – It has a much less dense infrastructure network and so it would be much easier to knock out Russian power supplies if the US chose to do so.

        The US has proven very weak in fighting unconventional wars, not least because it has shown little interest in developing the weapons for those wars – this is one reason the Saudi’s seem to be struggling so much – their M1 Abrams tanks are far too vulnerable to quite simple anti-tank weapons in the badlands of north Yemen, and supersonic combat aircraft are of limited use in this type of action. The Russians learned a lot in Afghanistan and Chechnya. But even they struggled in the latter two wars. The reality is that well organised unconventional armies can do a lot of damage if they can get their hands on MANPADS and guided anti-tank weapons, as Hizbollah and the Houthi’s are proving. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the US would not be good at the type of war they have long planned for – a major confrontation with a major power.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The U.S. doesn’t have the logistical capacity for a larger war. Iraq was only possible because Bill, not wanting to look weak, kept pre-supplied equipment there, so it was only a matter of moving soldiers on commercial planes in the end against an enemy that wasn’t interested in fighting and had suffered from two decades of war and international sanctions. The Iraqi army of course had lost its chief supplier in 1991.

          We have combat ships but no support ships. Sailors need laundry done, and Bill Clinton cut these ships in favor of ports of call such as Aden.

          We have planes that don’t work or can do what an equipped Cessna can do. Every supply flight will need escorts which means our air support for the forward troops will be non existent, and those plane engines need to be rebuilt every two weeks or so of operation. The MIGs have a longer shelf life. A carrier doesn’t need to be sunk to be made useless. Without a flat top, it’s floating scrap.

          We can’t control the strait of Hormuz, so goodbye European airspace once oil shipments cease. NATO uses Pakistan and Russia to supply Afghanistan. Goodbye Afghanistan mission.

          We have forward bases that lack defenses. Those drone bases are close to where they operate.

          Then of course, there is man power. The U.S. military on the march simply can’t absorb new soldiers which would be needed for operating abroad. The Kurdish Amazons fight in the afternoon, go home, take a day off, and go fight in the morning, sew in the afternoon, take a day off, go to a quilt show, and fight if the enemy is still around. An army deployed needs to be able to march, dig in, fight, sleep, march, fight, dig in, every day until a ceasefire is signed. You can’t just field those guys. Even the Soviets really advanced with small armies of men who could meet the see requirements. The rest were support.

          Even our guys who landed on DDay (probably the best raw soldiers ever), they didn’t just have two eight week training periods. They had been at it for a year before they went.

          We simply don’t have the capacity to fight a major war.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Its exploiting this weakness that is the more likely war scenario than that set out by Orlov. One view of China’s long term military strategy is that in a conflict with the US it can restrict a war to a specific front (for example, the south China Sea and islands) and engage in a war of attrition – essentially, grind down the US’s capacity to feed arms and supplies into a distant theatre over a period of time. The US would be reluctant to attack the Chinese mainland or expand the conflict geographically (because nukes), so in tactical and strategic terms it could neutralise the US’s military superiority on a narrow front. Its probably as a recognition of this that the US has been slowly backtracking on its commitment to Taiwan in recent years.

            It wouldn’t surprise me if the Russians had similar thoughts.

        2. Synoia

          the US Navy still has a gigantic quantitative and qualitative advantage over everyone else

          Yeah, yeah. Carriers are targets. Why do you believe the Chinese built their hyper-sonic missile? Carriers are as obsolete as battleships.

        3. JTMcPhee

          “The only way to win is not to play the game.”

          But “we” will be convinced of the manifest destiny of US Technological Superiority as the element that will result in US VICTORY in a game that the only way our Grand Bloated Global Network-Centric Interoperababble Battlespace. Has not worked out in practice, has it? And there are reasons for that, some of them laid out here: Observations by a guy (Van Riper) who kicked the Brobdingnagian asses of our great military industrial machine so badly in a $250 million “war game” (Millenium Challenge 2002) that the Brass had to call themselves a Mulligan on, and reset the game so that only the predetermined result would be “achieved:”

          The part that chaps me the worst is the bullsh!t assumption that any of this is necessary and inevitable. The ancient wisdom of Sun Tzu, that our great War College Graduates and Battlespace Managers profess to follow, makes it real clear that “war” is generally a bad idea, that the costs to the “peasants” eventually bankrupt the Realm, and that foreign wars at the ends of vast supply chains and dependent on materiel from the Realm are REALLY really bad ideas. Anyone who hasn’t read this little classic or hasn’t read it recently might benefit from at least reading over the initial chapters that lay out what ought to be the fundamental considerations:

          But the MIC has long since skipped past the important initial considerations (as have all the rest of the fokking warrior types (the few that actually do the fighting and the many who Battlespace Manage from comfy ergonomic chairs or pontificate about how to “win” in “war,” two terms that they don’t even bother to define, since the goals they work from are largely self-promotion and self-aggrandizement. Jumped right past all the strategic and tactical considerations, on to the Mil-babble constructs of “doctrines” and dogmas llike the current faves of “counterinsurgency” and “full-spectrum dominance.” Used-car dealers come up with more trenchant and seductive vibes, but they don’t have access to the nation’s wealth.

          So “we” get to yakking among our informed selves about which nation is more vulnerable to the various Black Swan Great Balls of Fire “Strikes” (that disgusting military notion that sucks in the idiot patriots), into the idiot dead-end foolishness of Geopolitics as just a Great Game of RISK! ™ as if that was the indisputable, ineluctable destiny and purpose of humanity. Oh, wait! on the evidence, nuclear weapons, cyber weapons, autonomous killing machines, nanobots, bio-weapons, rail guns, and all the rest, it appears to be the case!

          So the wise people in their wisdom invest in General atomics and General Dynamics and the General Staff that can’t find its a$$ with both hands. But those Generals sure know how to live high on the hog at the expense of the mopes who have to live in fear because the Generals and their post-“service” employers in the ICC part of the MIC: Generals llive like kings — with the insularity and impunity and arrogance that implies:, and more from the WaPo even,

          So the only way for ORDINARY PEOPLE to win the game is not to let the effing Generals and the creatures they hang around with play…

        4. Nark P.

          ‘he US Navy still has a gigantic quantitative and qualitative advantage over everyone else.’

          The US Navy has a fleet full of surface ships with aluminum superstructures that will burn down to the waterline when a rocket hits them. Also, what Synoia says.

      5. Optimader

        A few more surgical strikes can take out the oil and gas pipelines, import terminals, highway bridges and tunnels, railroads and airlines. A few months without access to money and financial services, electricity, gasoline, diesel, natural gas, air transport or imported spare parts needed to repair the damage should be enough to force the US to capitulate. If it makes any efforts to restore any of these service

        I find this kinda matetial rather hyperbolic. Is it not at the least a mutual risk exposure? Or is Russia immune to “Surgical Strikes” –(i always wince a little bit when I see that term and my minds eye goes to the Pernemunde propaganda film of succesful V-2 rocket launches edited together.)
        The seamless capabilities of the Russian wonder weapons vs the profoundly hapless US military capability smells like counting Bison Bombers at the MayDay parade.
        One may find policy, misuse and corruption of appropriation Objectionable, but dont underestimate the whithering overkill potential

        1. tony

          Orlov is hugely biased, and I would take his arguments with a grain of salt. However the difference is the complexity of the economy and the requirements of the population. If you manage to take down the US electric grid, you will lose most of the economy and things like refrigeration. The US relies on JIT delivery networks, even the federal government has no food stores, but instead has money stashed away to buy food with. The population lives in cities which rely on long supply networks.

          The EMP Commission, in 2008, estimated that within 12 months of a nationwide blackout, up to 90% of the U.S. population could possibly perish from starvation, disease and societal breakdown. I suspect that i fearmongering, but even a fifth of that would hurt.

          Of course, the actually important metrics to most Americans, corporate profits, S&P500 and the GDP, would be hit even worse.

          Russia already provides 40% of its food from local gardens. Take out Russian grid, and they might not have an economy, but they will have food, warmth and a functional community.

      6. Lips

        Let me say that Orlov’s Reinventing Collapse is a great read & I realize this is a liberal leaning site, but the American Military is the preeminent fighting force in the world. Nam, Iraq2 & the Afpac conflicts were bad decisions made for various reasons political & economic, but fighting a guerrilla war is hard & unless one follows the Powell Doctrine, victory is far from assured. Especially when your foe does not acknowledge the Geneva Convention by wearing proper uniforms. When you don’t know who is sniping you, that’s when doors get kicked in & innocent people get killed. 6 months of this on 4 hours of sleep a night in 100 degree weather & you turn into a paranoid zombie of sorts. No one wins in this situation.

        War is won at the company level, with NCOs mentoring the junior officers as well as the lower ranking squad members. Aside from my immediate family, the strongest relationships I’ve ever formed were with the guys I served with & would have died for if things came to that. A conscript, which the Russians use on a large scale, has lower morale than a volunteer & most likely fights reluctantly. Their food is substandard & they often have to kick back some of their meager pay to their commanding officer. Anyway, a conventional war between Russia or China is not going to happen, the costs & logistics make it prohibitive.

        I spent several years as an Atomic Demolition Munitions Combat Engineer (12E) in the mid 80s outside of Stuttgart. Our mission was to take out as much infrastructure as we could before the Soviets overwhelmed southern West Germany with SADMs, backpack nukes, & our life expectancy was an average of two days if the SHTF. See our page on FB: 275 Engineer Company ADM. Put an American soldier to a task he can identify with and there is no better on the globe.

        1. Pat

          There could be a reason for the meme that you do not start a land war in Asia.

          I am old peacenik with little interest in military strategy or history. That said, I have no reason to doubt either the capabilities or the loyalty of the average member of the military. I have much reason to doubt the veracity and reasoning of the upper echelons of that same military, and most of the elected officials regarding the military. War is not decided, nor is the strategy determined at the company level, as you say pretty much every military conflict we have been in for any length of time were bad decisions and they were made above the pay grade of those most paying the cost. Same with the equipment purchased, ordered or even designed.

          And many of the same people who made those decisions and decided those strategies are the ones most interested in expanding our conflicts with Russia. Forgive me, but what I see is more stupid sacrifice of that preeminent fighting force of which you are so proud in another situation no one wins. It is past time to stop that.

        2. JTMcPhee

          Lips: As to those ragheads and hajjis in their tribal robes “sniping you” (in blatant! unfair! violation of the Law Of War! that the US sneers at left and right) from behind those rocks, dare one ask, as I asked when I finally had a few months of “in country” experience in Vietnam, WHAT THE F___ are Our Troops We Support DOING THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE?

          You were all set, grimly ready, to get on with the “task you could identify,” which was to blow up as much of the civilian landscape as you could with your SADMS and “backpack nukes,” as fast as possible, killing lots of mope Europeans in the process, so as to make bitter any “Soviet Rollup” of the NATO carpet. What effing kind of PURPOSE is that to be proud of or to make any kind of sense of, at all? It is just effing INSANITY. Oh, and yes, to fight on with grim honor until you got killed, doing your best to save your buddies who are helping you blow everything up…

          And of course in retrospect, all the stuff you and the rest of us were told about the Unstoppable Warsaw Pact Supersoldiers and their Superior Masses of Armor was a bunch of shall we say, exaggerations? As was the twist our Rulers put on the nature of even the worst intentions they could impute to the Evil Soviets? And you are now convinced that the Russian army, maybe the Chinese too, is a Paper Tiger made up of poorly fed conscripts that have to pay kickbacks to their officers and NCOs? This is different from Today’s Army in great detail, that is why our “volunteers” in the lower ranks depend on FOOD STAMPS and public assistance to eke out their great pay and allowances?

          So the Brass field a bunch of Troops, who get dumped in Forward Bases in distant valleys in Notagainistan or places like Khe Sanh, troops told to go patrol or sit still and either way “draw fire” in hostile terrain that is hostile BECAUSE IT IS NOT THEIRS IN THE FIRST PLACE, to do what? INVITE mortaring and RPGing and sniping and IEDing and ambushes, that then get doctrinized to do what? Justify all that kicking in of doors and killing civilians and bombing and strafing MSF hospitals and running a Phoenix Program?

          So, you put your thumb on the head of the nail, take a giant swing with the hammer, and get all teary and profane when it hurts? How about not putting your thumb on the nailhead in the first place?

          But noooo, in the world the way it is, that is never an option. Because WE are the BIG STICK EMPIRE, do what our war racketeers say or get nuked or given the IMF treatment or have your elected government overthrown by the Spooks! Forget all that stuff that Sun Tzu pointed out about the idiocy and futility of foreign wars, especially where the Ruler does not have “heaven on his/her side…”

          There’s a reason that some species go extinct, and it generally involves inability to avoid stupidity…

        3. HotFlash

          Especially when your foe does not acknowledge the Geneva Convention by wearing proper uniforms.

          Woohoo! Lucky for the USA! USA!that the American Revulotion happened before that that pesky Geneva Convention and we could just wear whatever clothes we happened to have on. (sorry,it’s a pdf) That’s progress, I guess — no more of those tacky ‘come as you are’ wars.

          /s, for the sarcasm challenged.

        4. OIFVet

          War is won at the company level….

          and lost on the political level. The wars in Afghanistan and ME were lost before they even began. It wasn’t just the Bush administration’s fault. The failure was decades in the making, with US meddling and coups in the region. Blowback is a real b!tch…

        5. Lips

          If you haven’t sacrificed something for the society in which you live, then you are a poor human being whose opinion means little.

          1. OIFVet

            So explain the existence of our elites, then. FWIW, I care little for sardaukars’ sacrifice. And yes, I used to be one myself.

        6. Antifa

          That is just military peacocking. Every military organization in the world has elite, highly trained, expert soldiers who identify with their task, their mission, and their country. It doesn’t make a bit of difference which country they are fighting for — they are superb soldiers, ready to kill and destroy whatever enemy they are directed toward.

          And yet, as Kissinger put it, they are all merely “dumb beasts” to be used for the enrichment of whomever invests them in warfare. There’s money to be made off their lives and deaths, for as long as they are willing to kill on command.

    2. VietnamVet

      The western media and governments are not being honest. A hybrid war “Cold War 2.0” with Russia is underway that is being fought with proxy forces (Jihadists and neo-Nazis) plus economic sanctions. It all started in 2008 when Georgia invaded South Ossetia and Russia intervened.

      Google russian-meddling-in-u-s-election-backfiring-on-putin-hurting-trump

      Since then, for example “The Russian Invasion of Crimea”, the Information Operations fail to mention certain pertinent facts such as Sevastopol has been a Russian Naval Base since 1783 or that Russia fought Great Britain and Germany there previously in the last two hundred years.

      A hybrid war “Cold War 2.0” with Russia is underway with proxy forces (Jihadists and neo-Nazis) and economic sanctions. The Great Game continues. It is all intertwined; the corruption, the power grabs and the war drum beating. But, the belief that a conventional war can be fought with Russia is insanity. There is a reason why there has not been one conventional existential war between nuclear powers since 1945. It is because a hot shooting war will inevitably lead to a nuclear holocaust. We are living today because Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) works.

        1. VietnamVet

          MAD works till it doesn’t. It basically comes down to truth, reality and honesty. If the West is no longer governed by reproducible observations and just laws; then anything; even the most unimaginable neo-conservative psychotic break such as winning a first strike nuclear war with 21 million casualties, becomes possible.

          1. Skippy

            Did you read the posts[?], not to mention the numerous times we were a whisker away.

            I think if you had read them or understood the broader implications involved you might entertain the concept that game theory increases the likely hood, make false assumptions concerning performance just like neoclassical, or better groom entire age cohorts to a bent perception of reality.

            Disheveled Marsupial….. you do understand that we have had decades of MAD as economics – right – ????

  9. fresno dan

    So I couldn’t remember where I read this, so I just googled “deaf man shot dead by police” – after all, how many times do the police shoot unarmed deaf people???? – -turns out, quite a few times.

    And of course, my bugaboo
    “Trooper Jermaine Saunders has retained an attorney and the State Bureau of Investigation is waiting to interview him.”

    Who, other than cops, gets to have a waiting period after shooting someone dead under circumstances that warrant an investigation?

    1. pretzelattack

      i was immediately reminded of the case in seattle, homeless deaf guy who liked to whittle wood was crossing the street, using a knife to do the whittling, not remotely threatening anybody, cop told him to stop, from behind, then when he kept going the cop just shot him. cop wasn’t indicted.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        John T Williams, 7th-generation wood carver. The cop went a full 4-5 seconds from ‘hey!’ to ‘spray and pray’:

        Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn declared February 27, 2011, to be “John T. Williams Day” in the city. In August 2011, the City of Seattle paid Williams’ family a settlement of $1.5 million. A 34 feet high totem pole honoring Williams was erected at the Seattle Center on February 26, 2012.

        Thats what life is worth, in Seattle. (If your Estate gets media coverage, and a good lawyer)


        1. neo-realist

          I posted a link to that case a while back. Would you believe that Whitlatch has appealed to get her job back. It wouldn’t shock me if she did. A lot of diehard cops in the union oppose the federal monitoring.

          The city would not make proper amends to Wingate so he has brought a federal suit which will be tried at the end of October.

    2. Auntienene

      I wear two hearing aids. The NJ motor vehicle agency used to affix hearing-impairment symbols to a drivers license on request. Then, of course, the crapification and “tax on time” was implemented by the state when they began to require an application, signed by your ENT physician. Why? It’s not like the sticker would affect anyone else; I don’t get to park in a handicapped space. Just how would somebody misuse this?
      The way things are now, the first thing I do on contact with any authority, such as TSA, is tell them I’m impaired and get an acknowledgment and hope there won’t be any problems. Pretty sure it helps that I’m a middle-aged white woman…

  10. pretzelattack

    i like the intense, focused look the cat has, and the way the dogs appear to be respectfully standing at attention.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Amazed by those chill dogs. Mine would go nuts — he loves to chase skateboards (I have no idea what he’d do if he caught one) — and the cat would be an added provocation!

  11. Anne

    I sense there is a toxic brew a-bubbling…

    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and caldron bubble.
    Fillet of a fenny snake,
    In the caldron boil and bake;
    Eye of newt and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
    Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
    Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing,
    For a charm of powerful trouble,
    Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

    I’ve felt for a long time that the Clinton Foundation was a kind of high-level money-laundering organization that rewarded “donors” with access to highly-placed fixers; and I’ve also felt for a long time that the Clintons could never be content with doing actual good works because they were the right thing to do, a la Jimmy Carter, but would end up using so-called good works as a beard for what they really were after: more money and more power.

    So, with the pay-to-play features of being a Clinton Foundation donor beginning to come to light, how is it not possible to suspect that the $250,000 speeches also bought special access? Or the promise of access, given that everyone knew she was looking to run for president?

    And am I the only one who wonders what was in it for Huma Abedin, who seems to have compromised herself six ways from Sunday, and on almost every front one can imagine, just so she could facilitate the flow of cash into Foundation coffers?

    We’re way beyond entitlement and chutzpah here – way beyond.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Which is why Clinton will not be President for a full term.

      She will be brought down by a combination of legal and health problems and substance abuse. This is the same combination that ended Nixon’s political career.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am just curious why people hadn’t been smart enough to have done a similar foundation in history.

        Of course, this just confirms my own biased smart-people-phobia.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “One phone call – that’s all it takes to get the progressive media, sorry, (a terrible mistake) , liberal media, that is to say, Democrats’ media, going.”

        Perhaps had the right wingers complained about the Democrats’ Media Bias, instead of the Liberal Media Bias, they would have said the same thing, but with the correct words.

        Or they could have also said, the Neoliberal Media Bias…that’s even more accurate.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I wonder if there has been a “mishap” in Syria. A dead GI in an undeclared war of aggression would be hard to spin. It’s speculation, but the mouth pieces are being very open out acts of war these days. Any U.S. soldier caught in Syria would be fair game. Heck, the Syrians could disappear them to the CIA torture sites we operated with Assad.

      1. carycat

        no problem. that’s what drones are for, won’t be any identifiable remains. don’t they always preach “take one for the team” to the cannon fodder?

    3. Jim Haygood

      “We’re way beyond entitlement and chutzpah here – way beyond.”

      It’s the Big Lie principle, Anne. If the Clintons were still doing the penny-ante graft that they used to back when they were so poor — stealing White House furniture and selling pardons for paper bags full of hundred dollar bills — the game would be over.

      But the sheer effrontery of raising a couple of billion dollars via international influence peddling, then labeling it “charity,” is so brassy, so monstrous, that would-be critics are led to wonder, “Hey, maybe I’m the one who’s crazy. After all, law enforcement and the media don’t seem bothered by it.”

      The Clinton Foundation is our version of Malaysia’s scandal-ridden 1MDB, whose website features photos of smiling children benefitted by its charitable works funded with laundered money:

      When the Clinton Foundation finally topples, it’s going to blow the lid on an international web of top-level corruption that will make the principals behind the Panama papers look like petty shoplifters.

      Then poor Hillary will follow in the path of the Right Rev Tony Blair and experience a religious conversion. You read it here first.

      1. Tom

        Growing consensus: The Clintons are corrupt, shameless, greedy bastards.

        The .01% of the 1%: Yeah, but the Clintons are our corrupt, shameless, greedy bastards.

          1. jgordon

            Don’t think so. Apparently a lot of people want to blow it voting for Jill Stein or staying home. Well having the most corrupt, amoral, and psychotic president in the history of the US should be very interesting.

            Though it is doubtful that humanity will survive the experience, if by some small chance we do historians will be having fun with this one for centuries. How was it that Americans managed to elect a leader so grossly, overtly, mind-blowingly corrupt? It’ll be a testament to how ignorant, sad, and pathetic we are as a people today for future generations.

            Trump’s not great, but at least he’s not a criminal.

      2. Synoia

        Right Rev Tony Blair

        I’ve known Bishops in the UK, and Tony Blair is no Bishop.

        However the Actress and the Bishop jokes do apply.

      1. Vatch

        Is that “Great North Road” by Peter Hamilton? I haven’t read that one. How does it compare to “Pandora’s Star” and “Judas Unchained”?

        1. abynormal

          yes, that Peter…sorry i haven’t read this book.
          i’m not a sify reader per se…when i start i will come to you for guidance…ok?

          i rec’d ‘Air Guitar’ this wkn for an early Bday present…i got a secret librarian that elevates my life above tolerable. (thank you shadowtrader)

            1. abynormal

              Thank You Vatch! & Opti….i love star timelapses. brings ‘living in the moment’ deeper meanings.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Little boys and girls must dream big.

      Hopefully, the next generation can top that. Perhaps the next decade will really be the Roaring Twenties for the elites.

      “What you saw in 2016 was nothing in comparison to what we are wasting on, sorry, doing today.”

  12. mad as hell.

    So Mr. President travels to Louisiana today for a performance. I’m gonna guess that if he shows up in a long sleeved shirt the sleeves will be rolled up. Showing that he is ready to get to work and help the folks of Louisiana. Then again he is on vacation so he might be wearing a short sleeve presidential polo shirt. Wearing that kind of shirt might remind people that he is on vacation so I’m only gonna bet half the farm on long sleeves!

  13. Uahsenaa

    The “Hillary’s Problem” article aside from making the mistake of trying to understand technocratically what could just as easily be understood ideologically, misconstrues a number of readily observable facts in order to make its schematic point. For instance:

    Traditional supporting groups such as unions had lost most of their power, so Democrats were reduced to making friends with Wall Street bankers and Hollywood moguls if they wanted to match all-powerful Republicans.

    While the protasis is true, the conclusion does not hold water. The Democrats retained control of Congress throughout the postwar era, until 1994, precipitated in part by Clinton’s own bumbling and rightward lurch, even after the mass defection from the party as a result of Nixon’s southern strategy. This notion that New Dem./Neoliberal ideology was a response to all-powerful, entrenched Republicans simply isn’t true, because Republicans were neither entrenched nor all-powerful at that time. The New Dems wanted money, because they wanted money, simple as that. This notion that they needed money in order to buy media in order to set the national political agenda is a load of crap. They didn’t condescend to meet with Wall Street types out of necessity but because they are fundamentally like them and share their world view.

    Again, ideology is simply the more elegant explanation of the available facts.

    1. Tom Allen

      Author Nicolas Colin is an Entrepreneur (he capitalizes the word) for tech start-up/investment firm TheFamily. In his words: “My idols have always been the strategists who engineer spectacular victories by constantly refining the art of inspiring voters, and in so doing change the course of history. Ed Rollins, Lee Atwater, James Carville, Paul Begala, Philip Gould, and Karl Rove are the ones I admire the most….”

    2. Jim Haygood

      Nick rewrites the history of technology:

      “Individualist values were shared by people as different as the counter-culture activists who rioted on campuses in 1969 and the middle class voters who joined Nixon’s silent majority in 1968 and 1972. Another signal of the rise of individualist values was the unprecedented passion for personal computing.”

      Huh? The IBM PC was launched on 12 Aug 1981, a full decade after the Nixon era. In Dick’s day, the only people with a “passion for personal computing” were hobbyist nerds, soldering breadboards with Heathkit components. But the nerds weren’t rich (or even fashionable) in them days, so it didn’t matter.

      1. Synoia

        The first IBM PC, the IBM 5100 was launched in 1976. It was a complete failure. Probably due to its reliance on APL, a write only programming language.

        And the spreadsheet had yet to be invented.

    3. RabidGandhi

      I would love to see Tom Ferguson’s take on today’s must-read since it cites him so heavily. From what I’ve read Ferguson pointed to a Trump-like character being inevitable as politicians became less dependant on voters and more dependant on big ticket donors. I.e., nothing to do with technology and everything to do with income inequality, in direct opposition to Colin’s immediate rejection of “the popular way: voters are angry; they vote for the opposition“.

      The article is deeply flawed, and I’m sorry to have wasted my time on it. HRC does not have a technology problem; she has a corruption problem that no amount of Obama-style turdpolishing can fix. Big think pieces like this remind me of the Best and the Brightest trying to figure out the POE code in Dr Strangelove: but they can’t make sense of it because Peace on Earth is just not in their realm of possibilities. Likewise for Colin and the rest of the Acela brainiacs. They are so divorced from the obvious, clear-cut, simple reasons why people are pissed and are turning to options like Sanders, Trump, Corbyn, that they have to write 5,000 word behemoths on Medium to try and find a way around the obvious.

      1. fosforos

        The misleading nature of this “polisci” periodization of surface politics, which misses the underlying class interests at play,is revealed by its choice of 1948 as a marker. The “New Deal Coalition” was smashed in 1944 when Roosevelt, the Bosses, the Financiers, and the Bourbons united against the unions and the left to dump Henry Wallace and put a docile nonentity, Truman, to succeed Roosevelt. The Cold War promptly began (the atomic bombs, the OSS “rat line” to reutilize the best Nazi operatives) and by mid-1946 (Greece/Turkey military aid) was in full swing, with the onset of the Red Scare domestically. Taft-Hartley in 1946 was not the work of a “Republican-dominated Congress” but a Bipartisan declaration of war against the labor movement, passed over Truman’s pretend-veto with a massive Democratic vote. Ever since then the keyword in US politics has been Bipartisan Cold War Consensus. Even hinting at a challenge to that consensus cost Kennedy his life and is today fomenting against Donald the Trumpe-l’oeil a level of redbaiting reminiscent of the slander campaign against Henry Wallace in 1948.

      2. divadab

        I agree that parts of Colin’s thesis are weaker than others. But IMHO the Democrat party’s problem is the same as that of the Republicans – a disconnect between its major funders (“investors”) and the actual voters, who are no longer obediently following the “investors'” teevee sales pitches. This is the disconnect that Trump is masterfully exploiting – and that Sanders almost did the same thing with.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Hillary’s Problem explained in market terms is a perfectly ugly form of political analysis. Forcing political analysis into market terms is a cartoon of neoliberal worship of the market. It might have been written by the deep thinkers who developed the rationale for Obamacare. All-in-all shallow at its greatest depth and remarkably ugly.

      I prefer the analysis of C. Wright Mills and Domhoff []. Money is only one of many tools the Power Elite use for control.

      1. divadab

        Just because money in politics offends you doesn’t mean that’s not how it works in America. Money talks – the Supreme Court said so – and it’s protected talk.

        1. hunkerdown

          But the score is not the game. To say that “money” is their goal is a half-truth or oversimplification, at best. The money is only good for what it can buy. What it buys is superiority for themselves and lack for others, in the great Abrahamic tradition of inequity.

          You seem to be quite invested (pardon the pun) in selling your truth about money. Perhaps growing up in a point-scoring culture has caused people to forget that point-scoring games are only one of many different kinds of contest.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          Please read my comment again. I said forcing political analysis into a market model offends me — neoliberalism offends me with its efforts to turn everything into a market or explainable as a market. Also note that I conclude with the statement “Money is only one of many tools the Power Elite use for control.” In other words yes “Money talks” and we both agree on that AND other factors “talk”.

  14. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Clinton’s Transition Team: a Corporate Presidency Foretold Counterpunch (resilc)

    Those people who are going to vote for the “progressive” and then “hold her feet to the fire” had better get going before this thing gets away from ’em.

    1. Anne

      Pretty sure Clinton had asbestos implants so she wouldn’t have to worry about her feet feeling the heat.

        1. fresno dan


          Has anyone considered she’s a demon, and TRYING to get to hell?
          and as ambitious as she is, she won’t settle for the 1st circle….it could get much, much worse…

    2. Pat

      I think all those progressives will find out the closest they get to her is 10 seconds to get a photo taken after spending over $30,000 to help her and her corporate advisors get elected. If that, they may not be able to get that close unless they buy the ticket with someone else’s name.

      Otherwise they will get to meet with some third or fourth tier flunky who just keeps reminding them they have no place else to go unless they want Trump or later Cruz.

      1. Arizona Slim

        A client told me the story of the women-centric Clinton event that she attended back in 2008.

        She had to borrow money from her husband in order to attend. ISTR hearing that the admission fee was $10,000. Or maybe that was a donation. I dunno.

        Any-hoo, my client went because she was hoping to chat with Clinton about women and girls in STEM education. That was the client’s area of expertise.

        Did that chat happen? Nope.

        The event consisted of Clinton delivering prepared remarks to the audience. That was it.

        Suffice it to say that my client was disappointed.

        1. fresno dan

          Arizona Slim
          August 23, 2016 at 12:45 pm

          I feel sorry for your friend. Here, let me help her out – Here is what Hillary would have said to her after your friend talked to Hillary about stem cells.

          “I want to thank you so much for your valuable and knowledgeable insights regarding the state of education for young women in STEM fields – your comments will certainly help me fashion legislation and programs tailored to the needs of today’s young women and be instrumental in advancing the prospects of today’s young women. I have sponsored a number of bills to advance and increase the participation of our young women in today’s challenging science and technology fields. Again, thank you so much for your support and this is our website should you want to continue supporting this important work.”

          Seeing as how I’m old and decrepit like Hillary, its practically the same thing….

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I suppose you can get many volunteers for those 3rd or 4th tier flunky jobs.

        “The power to look down on people rich enough to dnoate $30,000 or more.”

  15. drugstoreblonde

    RE: The story from PS regarding the Public Lands Fight in Utah…

    …there are so many parts now in motion, it’s difficult to keep a handle on them all.

    Though I haven’t kept up as well as I should living a continent away in Berlin, it appears that the effort being led by Utah’s congressional delegation to “horse trade” its way out of a potential NM designation in Grand Gulch/Cedar Mesa is proceeding apace. With Obama looking to the 12th round to push through his trade packages, I can’t imagine that “doing the right thing” is on the agenda.

    As mentioned in the article, the death of Anton Scalia has certainly dampened the legal aspirations of states seeking to usurp federal land. However, even before his death, the decline in revenues from oil, natural gas, and minerals, was beginning to take the rose tint off of the reports that these groups were circulating. I know that in Utah, where education funding per pupil consistently ranks on par with Mississippi, state ownership of lands was sold as some kind of educational panacea. But where even in years with record budget surpluses in which money earmarked for education was allocated elsewhere, even the voting public that is a “choir” (in more ways than one) have become incredulous.

    Even if Utah were to sue the federal government and lose, I have a feeling that the next time oil was trading above $120/barrel, we will inevitably face another round of spurious lawsuits, which will likely be based on laws and legal documents produced around the time of the Mining Act.

    Utah is a patchwork of sanctuary and sacrifice zones. Even Salt Lake City is ringed by wilderness on one side and the largest open pit mine in the country on the other…

  16. Anne Webber

    Hey my horse and good buddy Cam made today’s antidote this am! Awhile back, Lambert was looking for photos of plants for his 2pm Water Cooler posts and I thought it would be nice to send in a photo of lush pasture grass. We humans tend tend to take grass for granted – its something we walk on or have to mow. But for many of the planet’s creatures, including my boy Cam, grass is breakfast, lunch and dinner. The photo was taken in mid May and was quite lush, just a few weeks off from its first cutting of hay. Unfortunately, the Seacoast of New Hampshire has experienced an epic drought this Summer, and now this pasture is dry to the bone with an unlikely chance for a second cutting of hay. Anyway, the photo was plant-centric. I will send you a proper photo of Cam.

    A little about Cam – he is a beautiful chestnut American Saddlebred gelding and was an Amish buggy horse in Pennsylvania for most of his life. After being ‘the family car’ for at least a decade or so, his Amish family turned him over to a horse rescue organization in New Jersey and found his way to New Hampshire where we met and I took him on as my personal riding and driving horse. Thanks Yves and ‘Happy Trails’ to everyone!

  17. DJG

    Two observations from Sirota’s article on the Clinton Conflict-of-Interest Foundation. First, I am already getting a whiff that Huma Abedin is shortly going to be treated like Monica Lewinsky. Poor, Huma, she did it all on her own, just an over-eager ceiling-buster. (This is the Clintons’ m.o., going all the way back to when she was the mysterious Cattle Futures Queen of Arkansas and other people were fined for their behaviors.)

    Second, there is this curious locution:
    –Abedin told Band that Clinton had initially rejected a previous request for a meeting with Salman because “she doesn’t want to commit to anything for thurs or fri until she knows how she will feel.” Soon after, though, Abedin told Band that the State Department was now offering Salman a meeting with Clinton.

    Now, “knows how she will feel” can refer to continuing illness. Or it can refer to a tight schedule of flights and ensuing jet lag. Lambert is looking for proof, and this paragraph is only a hint as to health.

    And a third, on the Intercept article: the e-mail exchanges that I read were barely literate, which is not a shock these days, I suppose. Abouddin can barely put together a coherent sentence. But when there’s so much money involved, people only look at the dollar symbols, I suppose.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Huma writes like a 15-year-old Valley girrrrrl — a style that will garner her lots of hits on the Prison Babes site.

      1. ambrit

        I’m waiting for the poor lassie to literally go “under the bus” some afternoon. She knows too much to be allowed to run loose.
        If she does agree to “take the fall,” expect her to get Martha Stewarts ‘designer’ prison cell at Club Fed.
        Poor Martha Stewart; she went to jail as the only woman indicted in a fairly large insider trading case. Makes me think of the Zapatista story and anti paternalism. If Stewart became a ‘radical’ feminist…

        1. Synoia

          Abedin is about to have an unfortunate accident.

          I see a close resemblance between the leaders of the US, and Mafia chieftains.

          1. inode_buddha

            More likely another botched robbery. Y’know, eventually the neolibs in general, and the Clinons in particular, will run out of cards to play. And then it will be bald, in-your-face “who will stop me?”

  18. dk

    Hillary’s Problem, Explained by Technology Nicholas Cohn

    Lots of important facts, and a few insights, but completely omits the roots of Cohn’s Third wave: Cesar Chaves’ voter turnout model, arguably a variant of the First wave local community model, but creating ad hoc grassroots coalitions focused on specific issues and/ or races. The major parties were never comfortable with this method, because it could be difficult (and not inexpensive) for them to control the coalitions after first use; and Cohn correctly recognizes an aspect of the problem in his “misalignment” model. This is also the rationale behind dismantling OFA after 2008; the DNC knew they couldn’t control it, and there was more money to be made selling watered-down and neoliberal programs to big national donors. An active grassroots coordination medium would inevitable misalign with those interests.

    Cohn seems to think that technology created or at least laid the groundwork for his Third wave, when in fact the tactics now applied on Facebook and other new/social media merely leverage and streamline the turnout model of outreach to drive performance at the polls. The decline of telephone landlines and rise of cellphones is not mentioned at all; without that conversion, Facebook would not be as important as it has become (and not just in politics) in the modern/Third wave. The turnout model originally worked off of hand-written index cards, then moved to lists on personal computers, and leveraged newly digitized voter registration data, lowering costs and extending reach. It is still actively operating across the web/internet.

    Cohn also focuses almost exclusively on the presidencies; the same rules apply to Congressional power, but require considerably more detailed and intricate management, especially in the Third wave scenario. Regardless of the party makeup of the congressional houses, political influence, be it from corporate dollars or from voters and other sources of money and ideas, must maintain active pressure in order to either support or oppose presidential initiatives (and similarly, presidential power cannot easily or completely inhibit congressional initiative). Cohn’s analyses are still cogent and relevant, but weakened by thess simplifications and oversights.

    1. jsn

      Cohn also thinks the New Deal was cobbled together to garner the votes of the groups Truman mentioned in the quote he uses rather than the groups being cobbled together to support the New Deal.

      Your Chaves reference is salient to this: the vision/ideology attracts disparate constituencies, disparate constituencies don’t cobble together an attractive ideology/vision.

      1. dk

        The Chaves model doesn’t preclude disparate constituencies cobbling together an attractive ideology/vision, as the First wave boss/patronage and second wave mass media/money do.

        All three do allow constituencies to be harnessed without intentional subscription to underlying ideology/vision, as indeed does all political persuasion. This problem has little to do with the specific turnout model.

  19. William C

    I asked that question about Brexit! I am still asking it. No good answers received to date.

  20. Steve H.

    “Harder, who also represented Hulk Hogan in his successful defamation suit against Gawker Media, confirmed that the notices should be interpreted as a threat to sue.”

    – Melania Trump threatens to sue news outlets CNN (furzy)

    It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

    One side has the Big Dogs. The other has the fightin’ist dog on the planet right now and threatens to own the kennel.

    Recall T backed down Rupert Murdoch. First debate is scheduled Monday, Sep 26. Mark it on your calendar.

    1. fresno dan

      Steve H.
      August 23, 2016 at 10:51 am

      duly noted.
      I figure I’ll open a chardonnay for when Hillary is yammering, and a Cabernet Sauvignon for when Trump is blathering – and by the end of the debate I’ll be fully prepared for the election…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Worker mobility.

      Very few countries have working walls. I think only one and it’s not the one across the Yellow Sea from South Korea..

  21. dcblogger

    Germans may soon be required to keep 10-day stockpile of food in case of attack Washington Post (furzy
    clearly they are down with WWIII

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The National Weather Service Hurricanes site recommends that people in the US have a survival kit, water (min. 1 gal. per person per day) and food for 5-days along with a quick depart kit.

      Interesting the Germans would keep a 10-day stockpile of food. Neither 5 days nor 10 days of food would be enough in the event of war or a serious hurricane like the category 5 that hit Fiji. The just in time practices in stocking store shelves could make any substantial disruption to the supply chain an interesting time.

      1. ambrit

        The experience after Katrina on the Gulf Coast bears that theory out. We were relying on MREs for weeks. The mobile ‘soup kitchens’ that came around were independent and irregular. We ate some wonderful ‘out of town’ food.
        The big problem with donations was storage and sorting. I remember a pile of donated clothing in the parking lot of a Delchamps food store in Slidell. It could easily have filled a 52′ tractor trailer container. It sat out in the rain for weeks. People would show up and start burrowing. Ah, the joys of disaster.

        1. EndOfTheWorld

          @ambrit, I myself was in Slidell after Katrina with the National Guard. St. Tammany Parish, right? That’s the only time I heard Americans speaking French to each other. Not just a little Cajun slang, but speaking French.

          I remember the notorious sheriff gave us a briefing. He wanted soldiers with rifles standing guard because his cops only had pistols, and in Lousiana a pistol doesn’t scare anybody. He said even his crazy wife carried a pistol.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I will not make fun of survivalist nuts again.

        BTW, what are the 10 best emergency foods to stockpile?

        1. divadab

          long shelf life items – unhusked, unprocessed:
          wheat (lasts over 50 years)
          dry beans
          dry peas

          all these can be eaten or used as seed stock in a pinch.

          powdered milk
          sesame seeds
          dehy vegs – carrots, onions, chiles, garlic
          dehy apples
          chocolate and coffee

          AND – WATER

        2. fresno dan

          Cabernet Sauvignon
          Petit Sirah
          Gamay (aka Beaujolais)
          Sauvignon Blanc
          6 pack of beer

          Now, some tendentious people might say these are liquids, but they have calories! And when it gets that bad, I don’t wanna die sober…

          and the “quick depart kit” is called in survivalist lingo a “bug out kit”

          Hmmmm….looking at my stockpile, I better hit the wine store.

            1. fresno dan

              YOUR RIGHT!
              I better add a case just to be sure – you never know when disaster strikes that a bunch of teetotalers will seek protection in my underground bar and discover the soothing effects of malbec.

  22. dcblogger

    Bernie Sanders’ new group is already in turmoil

    “It’s about both the fundraising and the spending: Jeff would like to take big money from rich people including billionaires and spend it on ads,” said Claire Sandberg, who was the digital organizing director of the campaign and the organizing director of Our Revolution (whose entire department of four left) before quitting. “That’s the opposite of what this campaign and this movement are supposed to be about and after being very firm and raising alarm the staff felt that we had no choice but to quit.”

    this is Politico, so I will believe it when I see it. The Revolution is not Bernie, and he may end up playing Francisco de Miranda to someone else’ s Simon Bolivar. One thing is certain, the toothpaste is not going back in the tube.

    1. Eureka Springs

      No but you have already seen it spit out (sanders quitting before it was over) and circle the drain (the convention). This is just the last foam of that most predictable saga.

      Be sure and sign their next petition. Somebody will surely see it on ebay in 150 years…. Included with a Gore Lieberman cap.

  23. savebyirony

    From time to time NC runs articles about the increasing costs of drugs and wonder if readers here where aware of the rising costs of epi pens.

    A number of years ago i was working as a camp counselor with a co-worker who had a severe allergy to bee stings. She taught everyone she worked with how to administer her epi pen if she were stung. We were out one afternoon with a group of campers and other counselors on a hike and she was stung. If she had not had that epi pen with her, i think there is little doubt she would have died within minutes out there in front of all those kids because of how quickly and severely her breathing was being inhibited. But another counselor administered the shot, we made sure she was well hydrated and rested and she was able to hike back in due time.

    These things work, they save lives, for years their costs were quite stable; and then the patent changes hands and people will needless die.

      1. abynormal

        you know its BAD when… Martin Shkreli has chimed in: “These guys are really vultures. What drives this company’s moral compass?” he told NBC News in a phone interview.
        Bloomie: “Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, asked the drugmaker to explain “a steep price increase in the product in recent years,” citing complaints from constituents who say they have to pay as much as $500 for one of the pens. Grassley heads the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

        “The substantial price increase could limit access to a much-needed medication,” Grassley wrote to Mylan Chief Executive officer Heather Bresch in an Aug. 22 letter.

        Following the news of the letter, Mylan shares promptly fell 1.5% below $48.

        in a separate letter Monday, Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Mylan’s practices with regards to EpiPen’s price. She called for the FTC to look into whether Mylan had done anything to deny competitors access to the market in order to keep raising prices.

        EpiPen is a self-administered injection of epinephrine, a drug that can be used to treat allergic reactions from bee stings, food allergies or other triggers. Since acquiring the drug in 2007, Mylan has raised the price several times, up from about $57 a shot when it first took over sales of the product, a review of pricing data by Bloomberg found.

        Mylan spokeswoman Nina Devlin declined to comment specifically on the letters. The company says that it offers several programs to help people afford the drug. “Ensuring access to epinephrine — the only first-line treatment for anaphylaxis — is a core part of our mission.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Is there go-to one source for how the rich and powerful are connected, by DNA and marriage?

        1. fresno dan

          August 23, 2016 at 11:45 am

          I was watching the Nightly Business Report on PBS and they had a story on this. Turns out Sue Herera gets this product for her 3 kids – the interview was suppose to be done by Tyler Matheson (sp?), but Herera took over – a motivated interviewer! The guest, who was not a spokesperson for the company and none too sympathetic about the price increase noted that he did not know if the product*** had changed and that “research had been done to justify the price increase, Sue piped up that she has seen NO CHANGE in the delivery device what so ever (you go girl!!!)

          ***The “product” in this case is the device, the syringe. The active ingredient is epinephrine, which is cheap.
          The price is going up because they can raise the price. Where is all the competition? Where is the market equilibrium????

        2. Roger Bigod

          This is mysterious. Epinephrine is one of two adrenal hormones (along with noradrenaline) that’s been known for 100 years or so. It’s been off patent for a while, if it was even patented. It’s a small organic molecule, so the production cost should be about 10 cents.The injector can’t be much more.

          Clearly this isn’t possible. Because markets.

    1. divadab

      Anaphylactic shock from insect stings can be headed off without recourse to profiteering scum.
      1) plant – chew up some plantain (it’s probably growing in your yard or on the sidewalk) and apply as a poultice – it acts quick to minimize swelling at the bite site and stop the spread of the allergic reaction;
      2) this sounds weird but it works – have someone insult the shit out of you and make you fighting mad. The adrenalin you generate will counter the allergic reaction and could save you a trip to the hospital.

      Both have worked for me – plantain when I was stung 5 times working on the roof – and the anger thing was done to me by a smart EMT who really got my goat when I was stung at the county fair. I do still carry a (long-expired since I refuse to buy from profiteering scum) an epipen and an anakit. But I haven;t used them.

      1. Roger Bigod

        Great story, but anaphylaxis is nothing to fool around with. A vial and syringe sounds safer. The vial would need to be replaced every 1-2 years.

  24. fresno dan

    Paul Tioxon
    August 23, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks for that. Everyone interested in the Plutocracy, these links are invaluable.
    I have to say, some of these people are busy little beavers….or cockroaches. The top 0.1% are connected through ELEVEN!! interconnections!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They should be required required reading for all high school students.

      Of course, hopefully not too many male and female Darth Vader-wannabees will use it as a dating guide.

  25. Dave

    “How cities can enhance their night time economies.”

    Put in more frequent transit where possible so people can drink without worrying about the gauntlet of DUI checkpoints.
    Controlling thugs on transit would be another thing. Make crimes on public transit akin to school zones. Institute one year bans, followed by lifetime bans for repeat offenders using the restraining order laws.

    Facilitate music by eliminating bureaucracy. A restaurant near us had a delightful tradition of people bringing acoustic instruments and playing together on a certain night of the week. It got popular and everyone won.

    Then the town instituted an expensive cabaret license requirement, as well as extra liability insurance demands on the old hippies singing Irish folk tunes with acoustic instruments.

    I guess “to be fair” everyone has to pay the same price because of the extramural shootings at a hip hop event. Funny, how that never happens at Andre Rieu concerts?

    1. hunkerdown

      Notice the lack of mention of Nuit Debout. Clearly, by “enhanced night-time economies”, they’re not talking about political economies, but entertaining the demanding, entitled bourgeoisie.

      The modern school provides only anti-patterns for society. School zones are merely zones for teaching Simon Says to impressionable, thinking children (since it’s beginner-level, live ammo is not used). Did you forget that you live with real people, not imaginary friends? If punitive sentences worked for anyone but the system that administers them, wouldn’t they have by now? Let other riders take care of them. It’s utterly simple and doesn’t need credentialled martinets to interpose themselves. Guy gropes you → break his finger. The problems of negative reinforcement and identification have been solved with one quick, easy snap. This liberal mortification-of-the-flesh call-daddy nonsense is suicide for the sake of the credentialled (i.e. the reserve army of the useless), and needs to be laughed out of public life like yesterday.

      Facilitating music might be interesting, but it doesn’t work well when residential units are built right on top of venues. The boundaries of the “night-time economy” are not soundproof. It’s another instance of honoring the imaginary friend by sacrificing people and the homes in which they reside. Another delusional habit of thought that Americans, and humans generally, would do well to vociferously renounce. But that goes straight back to the part about “enhanced night-time economies” and settler ideology, which renders moot the whole question of how to “enhance” in favor of who exactly is being chosen as winners and losers.

      1. Dave

        “Guy gropes you, break his finger.” Androphobic feminist fantasies aside, the older woman coming home dog-tired from work is not going to kick the asses of a bunch of junior high thuglets on the bus.

        “Let other riders take care of them.” Google and watch “Bearded guy beats down thug on bus” for an example of that. Vigilantiism does work, but it is not looked favorably upon by the legal system, even if people cheer it on.

        1. hunkerdown

          Androphobic? Wait, when did it become okay to touch other people’s bodies without their consent? Oh, when the sons of Abraham do it. Got it. In any case, the exact reaction is open to variation based on the situation — point being that nobody should be forced to whine to mommy and daddy state to fix their problems, if those problems happen to be other people with rapey boundaries. And that goes without regard to gender or sex. Grab my butt, wear the deed for the next several weeks. Besides, junior-high kids are easy to push onto the tracks and won’t be missed.

          Of course the legal system doesn’t like it. They’re credentialled whiners who need slaves to be better-than in order that their righteous Platonic arrogance can retain the prestige it’s stolen and killed over the past two and a half millennia, and this is how they get it. On the other hand, they generally follow the law, when they can be convinced it applies to them.

  26. Jim

    I don’t know if Nicolas Colin has been exposed to the recent writings of Soshana Zuboff but he really should take the time to absorb what she is saying as her arguments throw into question some of his key assumptions.

    But first, trying to build his analysis around Ferguson’s Investment theory of politics was a smart move yet his discussion on the rise of American individualism is largely ahistorical–such individualism has been and still is the life-blood of American culture(and going back to the founding of the country, not simply the 1960s) and one of the reasons why the left has never been able to get much of a foothold–because it fails to accept the reality of this entrepreneurial past. The creation of an eventual political consensus supporting the transition from the more personalized competitive capitalist property production system of the mid-19th century to the more corporate administered system that began to emerge at the end of the 19th century being a case in point. The rise of individualism served as key foundation for this type of American capitalism.

    Colin then seems to assume that today voters empowered by digital technology are in the process of regaining power and influence over corporate investors–he sees them as becoming a powerful investor group themselves and now have to be courted like more traditional investor groupings.

    Colin also makes a profoundly important point when he highlights the radical misalignment between what supposedly these newly empowered voters want and what the big donors(in both parties) want. Yet he fails to take into consideration that Silicon Valley is simultaneously in the process of undermining and contesting/containing this supposed new voter power.

    Zuboff has persuasively argued that the country is now in transition from a mass-production based capitalism to what she calls surveillance capitalism–where tech users (voters) become a new source of free raw material that feeds a new type of manufacturing process that extracts behavioral data from them without their permission–a gradual institutionalization of a new process of extractive accumulation which links quite nicely with what is happening in the financial sphere.

    The emergence of surveillance capitalism is attempting to turn every voter, contrary to Colin, into a surveillance asset controlled and monitored by High-Tech and Finance.

  27. opimader

    I’d provide the actual link, but that causes the post to get eaten (in the past). Chris Rhodes is an interesting fellow, a good back of the napkin estimator..
    Energy Balance
    Blog Postings
    Talks and Media Appearances.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2016

    Atomic Level Data Storage.

    This brief commentary will appear in the next issue of the journal Science Progress of which I am an editor. Meanwhile here is a preview of a fascinating development in computing technology.

    There is a growing trend to store more of our data in large data centres using cloud computing resources. Indeed, the amount of data produced by humans increases by more than one billion gigabytes per day. Thus, it is necessary to construct continually more data centres, the running of which consumes large amounts of energy. In order to maintain the capacity of storage media in pace with demand, it is necessary to reduce the amount of space that each piece of information occupies. However, there are limits to how small we can go, due to the roughness of the materials used for data storage, meaning that thousands of atoms are necessary to specify each piece of information. However, if the smoothness of the material could be honed down to the level of individual atoms, it might be possible for each data element to consist of just a single atom. Researchers at Delft University of Technology have achieved precisely this, by placing chlorine atoms on a copper surface, which form a perfect square grid. At particular locations on the grid, there is a chlorine atom missing, leaving a hole. Using the tip of a scanning tunnelling electron microscope (STEM), it is possible to move another chlorine atom into the hole from elsewhere in the grid. A good analogy is with a sliding puzzle, in which small square elements are moved around with a finger, so that the hole is effectively moved around the grid.

    Multiple holes can be moved around in precise arrangements to form “bits” (101010, etc), “letters” (ABC, etc), then “words”, to describe eventually an entire text. The Delft researchers have managed to construct an entire one kilobyte, containing 8,000 atomic bits, where each bit is represented by the position of a single chlorine atom. Although there have been previous reports of simple logos, e.g. “IBM” and “2000”, being “written” by towing around atoms molecules on surfaces, this is by far the largest atomically assembled architecture so constructed to date. In addition, the memory also contains atomic-scale markers which render it possible to steer the STM tip through the large array of bits. These markers are of particular importance, since they both mark the start and end of each line, and can furthermore identify the presence of contamination or a crystal defect in a sector of the grid which impede its facility for data storage. Such features are essential if the technology is to be scaled-up further.

    The areal storage density of the memory is 502 Terabits per square inch, which exceeds existing state-of-the-art hard-disk drives by a factor of three orders of magnitude. To place this storage density in context, the text of all the books ever written by humans could be written on the surface the area of a postage stamp. In its present form, the memory needs to be kept in an ultra-clean, vacuum-environment and at low temperatures (< 77 K). It is hoped that the relative robustness of the material will enable it to be used outside the laboratory and in practical applications.

    Kalff, F.E. et al. (2016) Nature Nanotechnology, Published online 18 July 2016. doi:10.1038/nnano.2016.131

  28. Oregoncharles

    “Germans may soon be required to keep 10-day stockpile of food in case of attack”
    Not at all a bad idea, though more than 10 days would be better. Mormons are required to do this.

    It isn’t so complicated. Some years ago, we started buying certain staples – rice, beans, oatmeal – in wholesale bags, to save money. Our co-op gives a discount for doing this. (The rice and beans – 2 kinds of each- come in 20 lb. bags, easy to manage – they fit in a 5-gallon bucket. Oatmeal, it turns out, comes in a 50 lb. bag, which is about 5 feet high and would make a decent dance partner, though clumsy. That takes THREE buckets.)

    The unintended bonus is that we have at least six months of (boring) food in the pump house. The real problem would be water, if there’s no electricity, since we’re on a well. If I was serious about being prepared, I’d have enough generator for the pump and the refrigerators and freezer.

    But at least, if there’s a collapse or an earthquake, our family will have enough to eat, which reduces the burden on emergency services.

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