Links 6/14/17

When flatworms go to space, they grow two heads ars technica. Chuck L: “What will happen when humans procreate in space?”

Daily aspirin behind more than 3,000 deaths a year, study suggests Telegraph

Grenfell Tower fire: Massive blaze engulfs block of flats near White City as trapped residents scream for help Telegraph. Normally I don’t feature local tragedies, but the photos are astonishing, in a bad way.


Pressure builds on China to punish firms trading with North Korea Asia Times

Japan Inc’s silence over Toshiba sends chill across Tokyo Financial Times

UK Election Aftermath

A Joke in Very Poor Taste London Review of Books. On May and Northern Ireland.



David Cameron calls on Theresa May to embrace ‘softer’ Brexit Financial Times

Schaeuble Says U.K. Welcome Back if Brexit Was Overturned Bloomberg

Labour is a government in waiting, Corbyn tells his MPs as he unveils autumn tour of the marginals he needs to win power Daily Mail. Note this is the top item in the UK news section once you get past celebrity gossip and the horrific White City fire, under the heading “May’s Election Disaster”.

Defiant May signals she will not compromise over hard Brexit at crunch talks in Brussels next week Telegraph

Sleepwalking towards a chaotic Brexit Martin Wolf, Financial Times

Guardian and Observer newspapers to become tabloids BBC

New Cold War

The Big Fat Compendium Of Russiagate Debunkery Caitlin Johnston (RR). Epic.


Congress Fails to Stop Arms to Saudi as it Bombs Yemen Institute for Public Accuracy

Why Afghanistan? Fighting a War for the War System Itself Truthout

Imperial Collapse Watch

One-quarter of F-35 fighter jets grounded over oxygen issues Reuters. EM: “Because keeping pilots supplied with supplemental oxygen at altitude is a brand-new technical problem Lockheed had to solve from scratch! But I am confident gifting them a few more $Bln in governmental largesse will fix this. We can’t have The Exceptional Nation naked and undefended, can we?”

Fake news? Nobody beats the western media Vineyard of the Saker

Trade Traitors

Requests for Comments: Negotiating Objectives Regarding Modernization of North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico From an e-mail blast by Lori Wallach of Public Citizen:

USTR’s on-line NAFTA renegotiation comments docket platform crashed yesterday as an unprecedented number of people submitted their views.

The USTR ticker currently shows more than 12,000 individuals comments accepted. That begs the question of what happened to tens of thousands of additional submissions…

We know Public Citizen members filed at least 11,000 individual comments directly to the docket. Groups from the Presbyterian Church to Sierra Club to Witness for Peace to several unions to Friends of the Earth and CTC counted more than 40,000 additional submissions.

Even the 12K that now register on the ticker represent a major break from the typical hundreds of industry comments and dozens of union/environmental/consumer group submissions that a USTR trade pact notice docket receives.

Trump Transition

Sessions Calls Notion He Colluded With Russia a ‘Detestable Lie’ Bloomberg

Sessions blasts claims he knew of Russian collusion Financial Times

What Sessions did (and didn’t) tell us BBC

11 states sue Trump’s DOE over stalled energy-use limits ABC

Trump’s Promise Not to Touch Social Security Is Gone Now New York Magazine (resilc)

Is Impeaching Trump A Good Idea? Ian Welsh

Gundlach Says D.C. Establishment Wants to `Wait Trump Out’ Bloomberg

Trump Is Too Late to Bring Back Coal Bloomberg. Resilc: “WVa would be smart to load every topped off ridge with windmills and send a check to each resident.”


AP sources: Trump tells senators House health bill ‘mean’ Washington Post

Supreme Court invalidates gender inequality in citizenship law Reuters (EM). Just made things worse for some children with one American parent…

Bernie Sanders lambasts ‘absolute failure’ of Democratic party’s strategy Guardian

Elizabeth Warren Calls for Targeted Deregulation of Community Banks Wall Street Journal. Wowsers. Warren, who is fabulously data driven, has to know the calls for these breaks aren’t economically justified, as was confirmed by a reader whose comment we hoisted in a post yesterday. Key extract:

As a former DC lobbyist for a credit union trade association, I can verify that all the trades are getting behind Dodd-Frank repeal, even if it only marginally benefits their members. At this point, these decisions are far more political than practical. They went to get in good with the Republican majority and punch back at CFPB for keeping them accountable. And the compliance costs at this point are baked in. Just about all of the regulations emanating from DF are fully in effect and the compliance costs have already been imposed. Repealing these regulations wont save any money for institutions, since all their compliance systems are already in place. In fact, repealing regulations that are already in effect can actually cost banks, since they need to go back and make changes again.

So this must be a tactical concession while she tries to hold the ground on the CFPB.

Kill Me Now

Why human security is national security for Small Island Developing States Brookings. Hana:

The Clinton Global Initiative lives! “Blessed be the fruit!”

Anne-Marie Slaughter’s call for a “people-centered foreign policy” has been instrumental in broadening the field’s focus beyond the mainly traditional notions of security to one where security is more broadly formulated and operationalized. Specifically, it’s important for foreign policy experts and practitioners to not see women as passive agents of development.

It just gets worse. From the heart of the Clinton formulated and operationalized Blob.

Terry McAuliffe Is Thinking of Running for President New York Magazine (resilc)

Terry McAuliffe 2020? Name one Democrat who can stop him Washington Examiner. Resilc: “Stay home 2020.”

What is “the Resistance,” Anyway? Black Agenda Report

Police State Watch

Right-Wing Militia Helps Police Arrest Portland Protesters Real News Network

Northam defeats Sanders-backed candidate in Va. gov primary The Hill

Guillotine Watch

Hong Kong Parking Space Sells for Record $664,300, Ming Pao Says Bloomberg

Just another frat party’: Disgusted parents of Penn State pledge watch as students joke while teen’s death tape plays at hearing and then laugh and hug outside court as bereaved family looks on Daily Mail. Have to confess I went looking for DM’s gossip on Theresa May and found this as their lead story for US readers.

Offshore profits and domestic productivity VoxEU

TPG’s Bonderman Resigns After Cracking Sexist Joke at Uber Meet Bloomberg. Wow, I never thought I’d use Bonderman, who really is a classic PE shark in a nice suit, as an example of confused new social standards. So let me get this straight…Uber and Silicon Valley generally have rampant sexism and sexual harassment which only gets dealt with in a serious way…just about never. But those guys are young bucks. An old white guy engaging in merely insensitive behavior (and signaling that getting female board members won’t change much, which IMSHO is correct) gets pushed out? Normally a super abject apology would do. Retrograde behavior is more acceptable when perpetrated by the young, it seems. And who knows, Bonderman may have wanted off the board (not just because he’s enough of a dinosaur to have trouble with enforcing modern gender norms but perhaps also that he recognizes Uber is a garbage barge) and unconsciously engineered his exit.

Uber Embraces Major Reforms as Travis Kalanick, the C.E.O., Steps Away New York Times. Talk is cheap. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Class Warfare

“For the Many, Not the Few:” Labour Party Gains in Britain Highlight Political Viability of Socialism Counterpunch

Court Strikes Obama-Era Rule Capping Cost of Phone Calls From Prison New York Times

Antidote du jour. From Timotheus: “Devin Russel of Oro Valley, Arizona, via The Naturalist’s Notebook: ‘The bobcat stayed on my concrete block wall for about 15 seconds, just long enough to capture this photo.'”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Linda

    When Pres. Trump’s twitter page loads, balloons float up the page. It’s very festive. :)

    Turns out, it’s his birthday. Occurs to me a user wouldn’t have access to add special coding to the page. Or would one? Is this something Twitter automatically adds if you input your birthday?

    Well, from the news you can’t use dept. this morning. Starting off with something light.

  2. vlade

    Will noone rid me of this meddlesome vicar’s daughter?

    Instead of looking at Russian (non)support for Corbyn, someone should examine May’s head on how can she insist on doing the same over and over as it fails repeatedly (cf Einstein’s definition of madness).

    You (US) thought you had it (potentially) bad with Clinton? Compared to May she’d look sane (which is not a great ask TBH).

    1. Benedict@Large

      “… how can she insist on doing the same over and over as it fails repeatedly …”

      Good question, and of course it applies to so many we follow here at NC. Only one answer. The MSM has to be seriously bought out. The owners, publishers, chief editors of news and op-ed and have to be in on it.

      So much for that tin hat, because how can any conspiracy that large be organized and maintained without serious leaks? It can’t. But what’s a better answer?

      1. vlade

        I have never ruled out sheer idiocy. That said, I’m not sure what is worse – that our “Great Leaders” are total idiots, or that they are smart but bought?

        1. Anonymous2

          Someone needs to tell her:

          Enough is enough.

          On substance, someone in the place to know (Neild, McKenzie, someone like that?) said that newspaper owners talk to each other more often than one might suppose.

          and on the leaks point – the leak would have to be to the newspapers would it not?

          1. Anonymous2

            Just to add.

            Vince Cable in last year’s Leveson lecture painted a picture, along with the panel contributors, of a corrupt UK with the newspapers at the centre of the corruption. No surprise that they do not write about it.

            The husband of a niece of mine is a journalist (and a nice guy) who has worked for two major UK broadsheets. When I asked him about journalists morals he said quite clearly that you have to leave them outside the door when you enter the office each day.

            1. Anonymous2

              Final thought.

              Jukes, in his book Beyond Contempt, on the Hacking trial (Coulson, Wade etc.), relates an interesting story. During the trial he bumped into an acquaintance who had worked at the Murdoch Press but had left.
              This person claimed to have seen evidence whilst with Newscorp which showed that the defendants (and not just Coulson) had perjured themselves during the course of the trial (surprising, that).
              Jukes asked him if he would testify and the prosecution IIRC correctly were informed. After some reflection, the potential witness who was still in the newspaper industry though not the Murdoch press decided he would not testify. Was he insufficiently certain of his evidence or frightened that Murdoch’s arm is too long and too vengeful to take the risk? Reading Jukes, I thought he thought probably the latter was the case.

          1. Susan the other

            maybe reverse psychology… she was a Remainer but they lost the vote… so Theresa has embraced democracy like a bludgeon – she’s gonna show the Brexiters what a mistake it is… could she be that nuts? Schaeuble has said very clearly that if Parliament or another referendum, or some democratic decision by the British people votes to come back to the EU they will be welcome, no questions asked… Schaeuble said that. The whole Brexit threat might even have been a bluff to force the EU’s hand and it backfired.

            1. Synoia

              Overweening ambition is the cause. She’ll do anything to satisfy that ambition, and becoming a Bremainer in the Tory party is political suicide.

              “Beware that Cassius, he has a mean and hungry look.”

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        It isn’t a conspiracy, it’s the New Order. No need for secrecy when corporations are people and they own the media.

        You are correct.

        1. Carla

          ChiGal — hope you’re familiar with HJR-48. Don’t know where in “Carolina” you may be, but if you’re in the district of Walter Jones’ (R-NC-3), please thank him for being the only Republican (so far) to co-sponsor HJR-48. If you’re in the district of Alma S. Adams (D-NC-12), please thank her for signing. Anywhere else, please call your Congress Critter and urge him/her to sign on.

          And wherever NC readers may be in the U.S., please let your Senator know that you want him/her to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.

          “H.J.Res.48 – Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only.115th Congress (2017-2018)”

        2. Procopius

          I don’t remember the details and it’s too late at night to research it, but I remember back in the … was it the ’50s? … the Supreme Court ruled that it was not necessary for executives in the tobacco industry to meet together at “little dinners” like Judge Gary used to hold for steel executives to violate the Sherman Antitrust Act. Noam Chomsky explains very clearly in Manufacturing Consent how the editors and publishers communicate with each other and internalize the values that makes communication unnecessary. They know each other’s hearts. After 15 of 20 years of working in newspapers of television or radio you **know** what’s pleasing to your boss.

      3. John k

        Dont need a conspiracy when rag owners all have the he same motivation, push down wages to goose corp profits, even if not a conglomerate it’s what their advertisers want to see. And Russia is selling to enough dems to boost circulation.

        Make money entertaining selling the masses… bread and circuses… dems clinging to declining power… or it’s illusion…

        She had one job… keep the progressives from power… mission accomplished… but she thought there was a bonus… sad.

      4. Mike

        Serious leaks??? Try the Manhattan Project, or Cointelpro, or a number of secret projects from your open-minded security bureaus. Some secrets are kept verrrrry well, thank you. I’m sure we don’t know the bulk because…

      5. Akz

        Access and revolving doors are the carrots that sustain the Washington consensus narrative.

      6. Allegorio

        There is such a thing as conspiracy of interest, without overt bribery, but in on all the goodies; without overt collusion, but everyone knows what is expected of them.

    2. Christopher (Dale) Rogers


      It actually gets worse for the Maybot, for today London has suffered another preventable disaster, this time in a Tower Block fire – the person who is now her Chief of Staff, was formerly Housing Minister before losing his seat last week – guess what, his Department sat on a Report on the same Tower Block that has just burned to the ground with loss of life and many injuries. Not only that, The former May of London, Boris Johnson, & the Tories cut three fire stations from the district where the fire happened, this just weeks after two terrorist attacks, themselves blamed on a lack of police officers due to Tory Austerity – you can’t make this stuff up and all the shite will stick to May and her god awful government & advisers.

      1. vlade

        The only competency May has ever had (that I could see) was to airbrush/sweep under the carpet here mistakes, errors and catastrophes as a Home Secretary (and there was a few). As a PM, in times of Brexit, it’s not really a useable skill anymore (it would take waaay to large an airbrush/carpet even for so accomplished escape artist she is).

        There are only two people I’d like to see fall harder than May. Boris and Farage. Unfortunately, both of those means suffering for millions (literally), so..

    3. mpalomar

      “how can she insist on doing the same over and over”
      1 It’s her job description.
      2 There is no alternative.

  3. Linda

    Seeing the New York Magazine article by Jonathan Chait reminded me The Intercept’s Greenwald and Scahill pushed back hard at Chait for a tweet he sent out saying Reality Winner leaked to try to convince Greenwald the Russia hacking was true.

    I don’t see it on a page I can cut and paste for an excerpt, so here it is in a Greenwald tweet. It is 2 pages so you need to click an arrow on the right to see the 2nd page.

  4. taunger

    Yves, I believe you are missing some context on the Bonderman flop. Not that anything you said is wrong, but that his comments came at a meeting about sexual harrassment and that they were immediately public . Also, Huffington. Is what he did worse than the young bucks? Hell no! Do they have plausible deniability created by horrifying corporate culture? Probably. Did Bonderman?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Trust me, there are companies with worse corporate cultures (there was one where the execs were routinely forcing themselves on the secretaries, and I mean physically, not verbally) where the execs were eventually busted. I mentioned it in passing in a 2003 article. Sexual harassment is against the law, and professing ignorance of the law is no excuse.

      1. Mike

        All true, but there are a vast number of whelps out there in finance-land chuckling at the comment and nodding in agreement. This “culture” will not go down without a total makeover to the systemic supports for it (and, right now, there’s a George Carlin out there screaming about “verbal fascism” [‘hey, it was just a joke…”], which then begs the question of method and tactic, as if shaming one idiot will change it all – reference the Penn State gigglers DURING the break in trial).

        Can’t we invite all the “mysoginists” to a party and, at the appropriate time, load them on a boat to sit off the continental shelf for life?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I hate to tell you, but the reason I am less sympathetic to this than I ought to be is that we have tons of energy spent not just in this instance but among a lot of privileged young feminists about verbal slights, which are the least important issue women face. So what if men start censoring themselves? Does that get women paid more, or even get men to do more housework, which is a bigger issue in gender equality than you’d think (it’s a big factor in why having kids limits women’s careers, if the men carried more of the load at home, they’d be better able to manage a career. This isn’t just a pet peeve; evidence from the Nordic countries, where there is more gender equality, reflects that).

          I once had a client who said stuff about me, to my face, in front of other people from my firm, that makes Bonderman look like a schoolboy. Yet it was clearly my client (the real source of power) who was not going anywhere (as in no one internally would have a shot at stealing him) who respected my judgment and paid his bills on time.

          Similarly, when I was briefly at Salomon (early 1980s), it was known for typical trader behavior: interestingly not soliciting women for sex (which was common everywhere else) but totally rude crude non PC talk. Yet Salomon also didn’t care if you had two heads if you could make money for them. They’d promote smart secretaries to associates in investment banking, something you would not see anywhere else.

          By contrast, at Goldman, where everyone talked in a PC manner, I was sexually harassed. And at Lehman, another shop where everyone was well groomed and well mannered (back in the day, its investment bankers pound for pound were the best on the Street), like most IBanks then had a analyst program, for college grads to work for 2 years before presumably going to Bschool. It was an open secret on Wall Street that Lehman hired very pretty women to be analysts and the partners expected to prey on them.

  5. Darius

    As a D.C. resident, I paid little attention to the Virginia governor’s race. The only ad I saw was Periello touting his strong ties to Obama. As you can imagine, I was totally turned off.

    1. xformbykr

      same here; I had not known at all that Perioello was backed by Bernie; his ads did not convey that.

  6. Jim A.

    Obamacare repeal. I’ve said before that Trump doesn’t seem to have any real agenda, he just wants to take credit for whatever passes. But Ryan DOES have an agenda and it is destroying Medicaid by block-granting it. It seems unlikely that he will allow a bill onto the House floor unless it does this.

  7. ambrit

    Trump et. al. will, if they insist on the Ultra wish to gut Social Security, begin the public revolt against the governing elites. Oldies are often dependent on those monthly SS cheques. This cohort also has a lot of time on its’ hands with which to organize and “act.” Medicine can be, and usually is, a hidden “actor” in the culture wars. Starvation, on the other hand… is a great motivator.
    “People” speak about “reforming” or taking over the Democrat Party. Someone(s) should do the same with the AARP.

    1. kurtismayfield

      They will never go after the benefits of current with drawers from the system. They will make it so any changes only affect those under a certain age, or if they start collecting at a future date. That way the current retirees can feel ok to vote “I got mine, everyone else can go pound sand”

      And I don’t know if you are going to get a revolt from the younger cohort, who fully expect SS not to be there for them (despite all data that says the worst it could get is 71% of benefits if nothing changes). Just more pulling up the ladder.

      1. Pat

        I truly believe the time that was possible is past. Not because I believe SS is beloved, but because I am pretty darn sure most of the deplorables, the oldies, etc all know that 1.) It is pretty much the only way most people in America can ever stop working as all other retirement means have been stripped and 2.) The government will NEVER stop collecting the percentage of wages they get from their paycheck. Oh and the oldies do think their kids and grandkids should also be able to stop working someday.

        I don’t doubt most of DC believes what you posit. They manage to delude themselves a lot. But the Republicans should have figured that out back in Bushes day.

        1. kurtismayfield

          You make a good point.. they probably would have gotten away with block grants or something that would never keep up with inflation back then.. not like SS is keeping up now. But they tried to pitch the “private sector” genie and that failed miserably.

          I still count on them trying the olde “divide and conquer” strategy.. hopefully more thoughtful minds prevail.

    2. Marco

      I always like to point to my mother as prime example of willful blindness of our elders to political reality. Her monthly SS check is the only thing keeping her out of one of her children’s basement. Whenever something affects her pocketbook her first instinct is to blame the Democrats. And she doesn’t even watch FoxNews (her FaceBook feed is way more toxic). When prescription copays increased…who did she blame? ObamaCare. And republicans are smart and devious enough to blame Team D for forcing them to do this. My mother would swallow that line quite easily.

      1. TK421

        Why not blame Obamacare? The Democrats could have fully covered everyone, but instead they just had to have the support of Joe Lieberman or Olympia Snowe.

        1. John k

          Those worthies had nothing to do with it. Dems are owned by many, but not least pharma and insurance. Never ever has nothing to do with centrist reps.

  8. MoiAussie

    War Crimes Watch: Anti-ISIS Coalition ‘Using White Phosphorus’ in Iraq and Syria, Endangering Civilians

    Stories have been circulating about this for 2 weeks, but there’s now official confirmation from a NZ General.

    The U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria is employing the use of white phosphorus, endangering civilians trapped in the cities of Raqqa and Mosul, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday. The rights group said the coalition is using the white phosphorus-loaded munitions in the two largest cities under ISIS’s control: the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa and the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

    “No matter how white phosphorus is used, it poses a high risk of horrific and long-lasting harm in crowded cities like Raqqa and Mosul and any other areas with concentrations of civilians,” said Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch.

    The U.S-led coalition, responding to Newsweek ’s request for comment, said it was “looking into” the accusations. But a general, New Zealand Brigadier Hugh McAslan acknowledged late Tuesday that the forces had used the munition in Mosul, but not to target combatants.

    The Israeli military has previously used the weapon in its wars with Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Shiite Houthi rebels have previously accused Saudi Arabia of dropping phosphorous bombs in Yemen.

    Such use of chemical weapons by the coalition apparently doesn’t cross any red lines.

    In related news Foreign Policy reports: The United States Used Depleted Uranium in Syria.

    Officials have confirmed that the U.S. military, despite vowing not to use depleted uranium weapons on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria, fired thousands of rounds of the munitions during two high-profile raids on oil trucks in Islamic State-controlled Syria in late 2015. The air assaults mark the first confirmed use of this armament since the 2003 Iraq invasion, when it was used hundreds of thousands of times, setting off outrage among local communities, which alleged that its toxic material caused cancer and birth defects..

    Serbia is also planning to sue NATO for using depleted uranium munitions in Yugoslavia.

  9. RenoDino

    Why Afghanistan? Fighting a War for the War System Itself Truthout

    This is a primer on how to write an article and entirely miss the main point of our occupation of Afghanistan. According this report, we keep doubling down there because the military can’t stomach the idea of defeat at the hands of ragtag Taliban militias. We can’t walk away because we have too much invested. It would be a huge loss of face, etc. War is a project that must be kept alive to maintain the war machine that is the U.S. military.

    All true, but Afghanistan has gone from a military proving ground to a forward base camp for the Empire in the Far East. It’s a twofer siting on the boarders of both China and Russia. Fighting the Taliban is no longer the main mission there, it’s an expensive annoyance. It’s a distraction from the main goal to build a huge military installation and colony on the borders of our main adversaries. The Taliban must never be defeated because we need them as an excuse to stay in Afghanistan for a 1000 years. We are changing history, such is the glory of our world domination. We will be the first Empire that goes there to live and not to die.

    1. RUKidding

      +1000. Yes, absolutely. And with China building the New Silk Road, there’s even more reasons for US Taxpayers – but heaven forfend, not the corporations or the 1% – on the hook for this expensive quagmire that presents suspiciously low returns on the investment.

      Plus plenty of people are making plenty of money offa the Afghanistan quagmire.

      1. Optimader

        Negative returns
        Perpetual deployment of escalating cost weapon rev *.* naturally results in countermeasure rev*.* that costs 0.***% of that latest spoiling fruit weapon scheme.

        This is all a broken window scheme in the guise of a congressional district corporate welfare graft & jobs program

        1. RUKidding

          Agree. But someone’s getting some money out of it, while our own infrastructure in the USA rots and further declines. And we need to gut and cut Medicare and Social Security because we can’t “afford” them anymore.

          But hey: let’s send troops to Afghanistan and spend big bucks there. Woot.

          DJT wants to increase Military Industrial Complex spending by a yuuuge amount because… we need it. or something.

          1. optimader

            But someone’s getting some money out of it,

            yes, the brilliant scheme was to distribute pentagon weapons programs into congressional districts across the country. Now the lament is don’t stop building ******, or we will risk loosing jobs! Other than some opaque “value: portion for export which is also a tool to reduce per weapon acquisition $$ ( “foreign aid” )

            Weapons hardware, and the jobs derived, are classic broken window fallacy economics. As, well the MIL infrastructure scalps productive labor from the private sector that could otherwise be adding real value in the US economy.

    2. sid_finster

      How you gonna supply that huge base?

      Moving stuff in from Pakistan is expensive and dangerous. We basically have to pay road tax to all and sundry to move so much as a liter of diesel.

      Aerial supply even more expensive, and large-scale supply is only possible for a limited timeframe as wear and tear on the airframes takes over.

      1. RUKidding

        It’s really frustrating to witness this insane waste, isn’t it? For what ROI? Certainly no ROI for the average US taxpayer, that’s for sure.

        But Trump wants to massively increase Military spending, while cutting and gutting Medicare and Social Security (because we can’t “afford” them). His loyal fans clap and cheer.

        Go figure.

        1. Susan the other

          Since the little “terrorist” incident last week in Teheran (which got almost no coverage), I’ve got a sinking feeling we are now going to destabilize Iran. And that’s the reason for more troops. I think it’s toast.

          1. Procopius

            I worry about that because both Mattis and H.R. McMaster seem to have pledged allegiance to Netanyahu, same as Hillary. Israel has been trying for years to get us to fight Iran for them. Now they seem to have formed an alliance with KSA. Iran is not going to be as easy as Iraq, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a lot more costly that Afghanistan, which we still don’t see a definition of success or an exit strategy for.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not a burden on the taxpayers.

          It’s not funded by them…the Pentagon is a not a household.

    3. Procopius

      Yes, the American Enterprise Institute used to have a clear explanation of the strategic thinking up on their Program for a New American Century (PNAC) web site as far back as 1998. It gets cleverly shuffled out of everybody’s attention. I think originally Cheney intended to set up the permanent bases in Iraq (remember that Halliburton spin-off RBK was given forty or fifty no-bid contracts to build large permanent bases in Iraq shortly before we were forced to withdraw in 2011?).

  10. pricklyone

    Re: Kalanick ‘step-back”
    As pointed out in another link here somewhere, still has control of the votes.
    Has TK realized that the Bezzle is end-stage, and is looking for deniability in whatever comes next?
    A lot of very powerful richies are invested in this scam. If it all goes pearshaped, it won’t be little T’s fault, as he was absent when it all fell apart.
    Had to laugh at the portrayal in the story, as having “built a 70 billion dollar company”.
    This is what passes for value, now. A giant unprofitable sinkhole.
    Guess it worked for Amazon… eventually.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Why can’t it (a self-driving taxi service) be a self-managing corporation (the corporation manages itself, without humans)?

    1. Savonarola

      No, shooting at a baseball field about 10 miles South of the Capitol in Alexandria Va. The shooter, apparently, has Bernie’s face as wallpaper on his FB. Which doesn’t make him any different from any other crazy with a rifle in this country, as far as I’m concerned, but will likely be used for a lot of nonsense and backlash. Hang on tight.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Sympathy and prayers for the victims.

        As usual, we can expect speculations, whether it’s from this side or that side, and extrapolations.

    2. jrs

      maybe they were going to take away what healthcare he has? They think they can do anything to us, take away everything, jobs, Medicaid, food stamps etc.. And yes that they are Republicans means they think it all the more so. Sometimes, somethings got to give.

    3. allan

      Tyson Foods lobbyist among shooting victims [Politico]

      A Tyson Foods lobbyist was among the shooting victims Wednesday at a Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va.

      “We have confirmed that Matt Mika, director-government relations for our Washington, D.C. office, is among those who was shot this morning in Alexandria,” Gary Mickelson, a Tyson spokesman, said in a statement. …

      Mika is one of at least three members of the GOP baseball team who were injured in the shooting, …

  11. Carolinian

    Re Medium/Russiagate debunking. Great link but of course the larger point is that Dems have convinced themselves that getting rid of Trump justifies any level of lying and therefore this article’s clearheaded assault on their propaganda doesn’t matter. And that might even be a defensible position if they weren’t dragging Russia into it–something that could get millions of us on the sidelines killed. This is why Hillary had to be stopped and thank goodness was stopped.

    And making truth the collateral damage also threatens the free speech rights of all of us. How long before they start talking about “fellow travelers” and other arcane phrases from McCarthy times and start advocating active censorship of dissenting views? What the Dems are doing is much worse than Trump and a great risk for them. The country eventually came to its senses over McCarthy and the current Dems may eventually join Tailgunner Joe in the trash bin of history.

    1. sid_finster

      In this case, much of the Russia hysteria is bipartisan.

      Therein lies the problem, and why it’s so hard to walk back (something like prisoners’ dilemma).

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The angry Clinton primary voters are another issue. The Dems elites went full steam ahead for “the greatest candidate in the history of ever” and along the way made all kinds of crazy promises. Their supporters understandably want to know what happened. “OMG Russia” is great because its hard to check for the average person.

        Instead of reforming the party, the Dems have clapped loudly while formenting the mob. If they back track now, their most ardent supporters will still want to know about “OMG Russia.” The questions about the DNC’s competence and values will remain.

        1. RUKidding

          It has been a great distraction, and MANY (too many) of my friends and acquaintances have fallen for it hook, line & sinker. Very distressing, frankly. And I witness much of the same degradation on some so-called “leftish” websites, where they’re in full the ROOOSKIES screwed our ‘lection!!!111!! mode. Equally despressing. I have stopped visiting some sites because they’re utter crap anymore.

          But it certainly has achieved the GOAL of distracting D voters from how they were robbed and screwed by the Red Queen and her royal courtiers. And the D party is doing bloody Eff All to make any sort of significant changes that would improve the lives of the 99%.

          It’s infuriating. I attempt to explain the issues to some friends, who will kinda sorta listen to me, but I simply cannot even talk to other friends about these issues. Their minds are completely CLOSED. They think I’m a traitor (really).

          Very sad. But the Ds have achieved their usual divide and conquer goals.

      2. Carolinian

        Well I don’t have cable but sounds like MSNBC is leading the charge on this, not Fox. Of course if one believes in the Deep State that’s always bipartisan.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Caity is already under attack from the Narrative Police. She was accused of being in the pay of the Russians because a Russian site aggregated two of her Newslogue articles—clearly attributed as such. Being who she is, she immediately posted a confrontation between her and the author calling him out for a liar. It got interesting from there.

      Granted, the Daily Banter isn’t WaPo, but given the general acceptance of the whole Russia narrative and the ease with which stuff gets twisted via social media, the idea that contrary voices will be silenced in whatever way can be implemented is getting less and less funny.

      This was her update on the situation as of Monday.

      1. Carolinian

        The great Diana Johnstone is American and was born in 1934–lives in Paris. Caitlin Johnstone is Australian but does say she came from a “family of journalists.” However there doesn’t seem to be a connection that I can find.

    3. Visitor from the East

      Did you read the comments? Someone asked about the invasion of Crimea. She claimed the inhabitants asked for deliverance from their Ukrainian overlords. Shades of the Anschluss.

      1. Carolinian

        Crimea wasn’t “invaded”–Russians were already there because of the major bases agreed to by Ukraine. The Crimeans voted to secede and join Russia in a referendum that may well have been Russia’s idea but there have been no credible allegations that the vote was rigged. Turnout was high. And finally regions such as Crimea and eastern Ukraine have had every reason to fear the western part of the country where armed gangs attack anyone perceived as being pro Russian.

        Of course if you have some evidence that large majorities of Crimeans are sorry about what happened then by all means link away. I’ve seen no reports. And if you contend that Crimean secession was somehow comparable to what happened in America in the 19th century then consider that Lincoln was democratically elected by an entire country whereas the government of Ukraine fell as the result of a coup.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        We used precisely the same mechanism (a referendum and secession) in Kosovo. Spare me the pearl clutching and the bogus historical comparisons.

  12. MoiAussie

    The cause of the tragic loss of 92 people, including members of the Red Army Choir, in an air crash in Sochi last Xmas, has now been revealed as pilot error. Flight Global reports:

    Erratic control preceded military Tu-154’s fatal descent.

    The captain of the aircraft, while taxiing out, had experienced “difficulty” in determining location on the airport, the document adds, owing to the “complex” taxiway system and the two intersecting runways at Sochi. […] As it passed 218m – just 1min 3s into the flight – it was flying at 201kt, pitched 1.5° nose-down, and the descent rate of 1,180-1,575ft/min triggered the aircraft’s hazardous approach warning system, designed to prevent a collision with terrain.

    The document says the activation of the warning coincided with “erratic” movement by the captain of the control wheel, which was rolled 10.7° to the right then 53.5° left, while the left foot pedal was pressed and the control column was pulled. It states that the Tu-154 started banking sharply to the left, adding that the captain was experiencing spatial disorientation.

    Other sources (which I won’t link to avoid any risk of sullying NC’s reputation) confirm that this is based on an official inquiry report from the Russian Defense Ministry.

  13. John Wright

    Re: Anne-Marie Slaughter’s call for a “people-centered foreign policy”

    This is from March 17, 2015.

    “Syria, Slaughter charges, “is the Rwanda of this administration.” The President, she says, was wrong three years ago when he refused to arm the Syrian rebellion against strongman Bashar Al-Assad. He’s been wrong ever since in refusing to bomb air bases that enable Assad to drop barrel bombs on his own people. And he was wrong to let a terrorist threat in that war-torn country morph into ISIS.”

    Slaughter (well, that is her name) apparently recommends the USA should center bomb sights on foreign people.

    To her, that is a “people centered” foreign policy.

    In my view, it is a more than a minor blessing that HRC advisers Slaughter and Nuland are somewhat removed from the levers of power because Trump won.

    Maybe the Donald remains the “less effective evil”.

    1. sid_finster

      Interventionists have learned to use human rights talk to justify their never-ending wars.

      Do remind me, what was Ribbentrop’s ultimate fate?

  14. Hana M

    On the Grenfell Tower horror there is are multiple government and private sector failures including poor redesign that increased flat density without providing a second stairwell. There was no sprinkler system and apparently the fire alarms stopped working. See this series of tweets: and from Dawn Foster of The Guardian

    Grenfell is council housing and many of the residents were refugees from Syria. There were also elderly and handicapped living on high floors. Residents had warned of poor access for emergency vehicles and other fire risks. Cuts to fire-fighting services may also have played a role. The company that did the refurbishment deleted the page on Grenfell from its web page as the building blazed.

      1. Hana M

        I can believe it. A very active Grenfell residents’ group had repeatedly warned of fire hazards in the complex.

        Meanwhile three companies involved in the refurbishment deleted all information on the Grenfell project from their websites. Fortunately speedy British bloggers and tweeters have captured the now missing pages.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I’d go with Hana’s ‘multiple government and private sector failures’ as a start.

  15. MoiAussie

    Grenfell Tower fire This article suggests flammable external cladding was used in the tower renovation, which can cause fires to spread rapidly to higher floors.

    London fire: Grenfell Tower renovated with deadly cladding

    The London tower devastated by a vicious building fire may have been installed with flammable cladding during a recent renovation. Online records indicate contractor Harley Facades Limited installed “over-cladding with ACM cassette rainscreen” at Grenfell Tower.

    ACM stands for aluminium composite material, which is the same combustible product blamed for fuelling nearly a dozen major high-rise fires globally in the past decade, including in Melbourne in 2014.

    One person was killed and another six people injured in Roubaix, France, in 2012 after Mermoz Tower was refurbished with flammable cladding.

    So much for building regs. If true, whoever signed off on this must be feeling very uneasy.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Don’t think the track record on holding corporations and their minions accountable for the impact on the poor of their cost-saving mentality leaves them much to be uneasy about.

      More’s the pity.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Or the current crop of “government officials,” all solemn and concerned, in their Severe Austerian Robes, frowning, eyes flicking side to side, seeking escape from any consequence or responsibility…

        How to compel or induce broad agreement on what constitutes the base level of a “living” that ought to be accorded to every person, just because we are all the same species? To include actual rules with teeth that would punish and deter those grasping monsters and idiot True Believers in “Capitalism, The Ruling Ideology Justifying Destructive Greed”? Even progressives and liberals and people of kindly disposition can’t come to agreement or accept anyything like even the weak notion that government ought to “promote the GENERAL welfare” and work to guarantee “Life, Liberty and the Purfuit of Happineff…” But that’s never been a norm or goal in the real world, now has it?

    2. Jim Haygood

      ACM death cladding — oy! Panels made of Aluminum Composite Material are ALL OVER office buildings, shopping centers and airports in the US. Two major brands are Alucobond and Reynobond:

      Panel makers love the stuff because it’s cheaper and easier to fab than all-metal sheets. Of course, elite architects like Frank Gehry and Philip Johnson would no more use ACM than they would wear a polyester tuxedo. Steve Jobs didn’t allow no Alucobond on his spaceship.

      For sure, ACM has been fire tested in lab furnaces. But probably not in multi-story configurations, which might make all the difference thanks to curtain wall chimney effects.

      1. MoiAussie

        It seems that the company responsible for the ACM cladding may no longer exist, and may also have been phoenixed – became insolvent, transferred its assets into a new corporate vehicle, and gone straight back into business. From September 2015:

        Cladding firm Harley Curtain Wall pre-packed

        East Sussex curtain walling specialist Harley Curtain Wall has been placed in administration. Assets of the firm were sold in a pre-pack deal to Harley Facades, although 11 staff were made redundant.

        Harley Facades is run by former Harley Curtain Wall director Richard Bailey, who started the original business back in 1997 after working for several industry curtain walling contractors, including Elemeta.

        Julie Palmer, regional managing partner at insolvency specialist Begbies Traynor, said: “Unfortunately, after reviewing all options we were left with little choice but to close the business. The firm had entered difficulty due to cashflow problems.”

        Among recent contracts it delivered the £3m overcladding for the 1960s Grenfell Tower block in London’s Notting Hill last year for regeneration specialist Rydon.

        What’s not clear here is whether Harley Curtain Wall or Harley Facades (or both) delivered on the contract.

      2. Ancient 1

        US fire safety codes require fire blocking at each floor with curtain wall construction. Blocking must have a NFPA rating number and must be approved during building construction document review by jurisdiction responsible for permitting process. Life Safety 101 is the order of the day for Life Safety in design and construction.

      3. Susan the other

        I’ve seen a lot of that stuff going in around town, mostly public buildings. It looks flimsy, cheap, bent and dented. And now we learn it isn’t accurately coded.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Thanks for link.

      The successes of Sanders, Mélenchon and Corbyn have confirmed that a significant sector of the population are aware of the need for a radical shift towards more social, democratic and ecological policies, the need to halt the continuing movement towards new wars in the Middle East, Europe (Ukraine), the Far East (Korea) and Africa.

      On the other hand the emerging American, British and French Left can hardly be expected already to include the political and programmatic subjects with the capacity to wage war against an “Empire of Finance” that has become stronger than ever.

      There is no doubt that any government attempting to implement such policies will find itself immediately up against the pressure of “the markets” in a globalized economic environment where financial capital has enormous power to pressure any state and also the technological means for unprecedented monitoring and manipulation both of small leadership groups and large social collectives. Recourse to an updated Keynes is a first but still insufficient response. The creation of parties and movements capable of responding to the difficult requirements of the “war” they will be obliged to wage if they are to implement their policies has yet to be done. It cannot be regarded as having been done just because certain politicians have performed quite well in electoral confrontations.

      We are still very early days.

  16. Bugs Bunny

    Re the Bonderman defenestration – sounds to me like he’d had his fill of Ms Huffington and mouthed off to her.

    Good way to get off that board, have his insult on the business page and pee her off at the same time.

    1. tegnost

      I too believe bonderman didn’t mind taking flight from uber, I think it’s also a sort of morality tale of our times. The prevailing notion that all us old people need to die in order for the new world to be born in the guise of the wizard coding teen means that all the ethical rules governing us must also die, and the next gen won’t be shackled with the stifling notion of social responsibility, just a BIG to help usher us, hopefully silently, into the great beyond and thus they can reach the stars on a pile minecraft blocks created in the virtual reality which is so much cleaner than the real world.

  17. Robert Hahl

    I was thinking that Russiagate is starting to look like the program to report and promote UFO sightings (to suppress talk about all the strange flying machines then being tested over the western desert), so the opening line of “The Big Fat Compendium Of Russiagate Debunkery” struck a cord:

    “Russiagate is like a mirage: from a distance it looks like something, but once you move in for a closer look, there’s nothing there. Nothing. Nothing solid, nothing substantial, nothing you can point at and say, ‘Here it is….'”

    If so the question is, what is Russiagate supposed to prevent us from talking about?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      -For the Dems, they want to stifle discussion about the train wreck of the Clinton campaign, especially the courtiers as opposed to the electeds. Anyone who has held statewide office has imagined their Oval Office drapes. The Clintons political record alone should have created demand for an alternative even at the elite levels. Her endorsers demonstrated a fundamental disregard for the selection of a credible nominee. I also believe there is an obsession with Mittens “moderates” who like Palin saw Russia everywhere. Like “pro-life” or “pro-gun” Democrats in years past, huffing about Russia is the Issue Dems believe they can take from the Republicans.

      -there is the McCain crowd who dream of sending people to die

      -the profiteers. The msm and the MIC need an enemy. Islamic terrorists just isn’t driving support. China is too large and would be too obviously racial given the U.S.’s history. Blockbusters have gratuitous, “hey, we are in China for this act” scenes. Russia is great. It’s much smaller in non geographical terms, appeals to Boomer nostalgia, and allows for spending on projects such as the F-35. Yeltsin was portrayed as a loveable doofus in the Western press, so anyone who doesn’t allow Wall Street to strip mine Russia will be seen as inherently evil.

      1. neo-realist

        You don’t have conscription, so there isn’t enough canon fodder for the McCain crowd to fulfill their dream. Furthermore we don’t have the political courage to engage against countries that can inflict a significant body count against us, e.g., China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.

        Proxy wars and drones a plenty seem to be the order for the foreseeable future. Or maybe a false flag from some other Islamic nation that gets us into a police action, but against one that won’t bleed us all that much in manpower.

    2. Sutter Cane

      It is supposed to keep us from talking about how worthless the Democrats are.

      Look at Trump calling the AHCA “mean”. He’s doing more to resist the passage of the AHCA than the Democratic senators who refuse to block it by any means.

      Anything to change any criticism of the Democrats to “Yes, but…”

      1. fresno dan

        Sutter Cane
        June 14, 2017 at 10:23 am

        One source said Trump called the House bill “mean, mean, mean” and said, “We need to be more generous, more kind.” The other source said Trump used a vulgar phrase to describe the House bill and told the senators, “We need to be more generous.”
        “Vulgar phrase”??? Inquiring minds want to know what it was….

        And if Trump can turn repubs and FOX around about the Russkies, could Trump make single payer a repub issue???????
        I NEVER EVER would have believed a year ago that FOX news would be critical of people who are critical of Russians…..or in the “security” / “deep” state. I never ever would have believed a repub “soft” on Putin could be nominated. OF COURSE Trump words and actual government policy are two different things….

        1. reslez

          One of the major difficulties Trillian experienced in her relationship with Zaphod was learning to distinguish between him pretending to be stupid just to get people off their guard, pretending to be stupid because he couldn’t be bothered to think and wanted someone else to do it for him, pretending to be outrageously stupid to hide the fact that he actually didn’t understand what was going on, and really being genuinely stupid.

          — Douglas Adams

    3. JEHR

      The answer to Robert Hahl’s last question: The odd thing is that while Russiagate takes all the oxygen out of the building, there are lists and lists of Trump’s deregulations that are getting very little airing in any publication. See here.

      The world will be different after Trump!

        1. RUKidding

          It’s BOTH frankly.

          I’ve been vetching since Day One of Trump’s Presidency that we’re getting precious little info about what’s actually going on in Congress.

          This is a two-fer. It neatly puts D voters in the Bell Jar of whining and complainig endlessly about Russians!!11!! so that they: a) don’t really look at how horrible the Ds are and are not representing them in the slightest, and b) so that neither D, nor R , voters are aware of the rapine, plunder and pillaging going on from the R-led Congress.

          This is something that I keep trying to point out to my friends who permit themselves to get their knickers inna knot DAILY over the latest Trump Outrage Du Jour – it’s like: STOP. Pay attention to those mostly WHITE MEN over there in Congress.

          Nope. Not interested. “Didja SEEEEEE that last Tweet!!11!! OMG!!!111!!! I am so OUTRAGED!!!111!!!”

          Lather, rinse, repeat.

          Talk about: wake up sheeples.

  18. allan

    The Strange Civil Rights Views of Trump’s Latest Court Nominees [Politico]

    Wednesday’s confirmation hearing for three of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees may lack the intrigue of James Comey’s blockbuster testimony, but for anyone who cares about the integrity and independence of America’s courts, the stakes could hardly be higher. The hearing will illustrate how Trump is advancing an anti-civil rights agenda—not just through executive orders and agency actions, but by attempting to alter the makeup of the judiciary. …

    … at the same time that he ridicules the judiciary for thwarting his proposals, he is working to reshape it. So far, he has named 16 nominees to the federal district and circuit courts—a group pulled almost entirely from the membership rolls of the conservative Federalist Society. On Wednesday, three of those nominees will appear before the U.S. Senate: Kevin Newsom, an 11th Circuit nominee from Alabama; John Bush, a 6th Circuit nominee from Kentucky; and Damien Schiff, a nominee for the federal Court of Claims. Together, they evince a deep hostility toward civil rights. …

    The GOP can taste the tax cuts, the slashed safety net and the stacked judiciary.
    Until they get their fill, Trump can do whatever he wants and they won’t care.

    1. RUKidding


      Eh? The Republicans attempting to distance themselves from Trump are liars. Trump is the totally logical and foreseeable outcome of the Roger Aisles/Lee Atwater/Newt Gingrich ideology and practices foisted upon us for the past 4 decades. Trump’s the ne plus ultra Republican. Get ready for whomever takes his place because HE (almost certainly the next one will be a white male) will make Trump look reasonable.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      “…….the integrity and independence of America’s courts….”


      There are “judges” who put people behind bars for months or years for inability to make bail, on charges that wouldn’t even be punishable with jail time upon conviction.

      How many “judges” have decried civil asset forfeiture or stop and frisk?

      “Integrity” is hardly a word I’d use in connection with america’s judiciary.

  19. Jim Haygood

    CPI, comrades: it’s shrinking. Yo, really. Last month headline consumer prices were rising at 2.2% y-o-y, while the less volatile core rate (of more interest to Fedsters) rose 1.9%. In this morning’s release, headline CPI decelerated to 1.9% y-o-y while core slowed to 1.7%.

    Lord knows the John Law Society [Brad DeLong, Joe Stiglitz, Dean Bonkers, et al] are advocating mightily to boost becalmed inflation to a more comfortable three percent or so, echoing the blues song One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer: “one drink ain’t enough, Jack, so you’d better make it three.” But it ain’t workin’.

    Now the Yellenites, who are holding one of their monetary seances even as we speak, confront a dilemma. Rate hikes are what you do to slow inflation. But it’s already slowing. Surely there is some way that intelligent people of goodwill can fudge this conundrum. Presser at two …

    1. justanotherprogressive

      CPI shrinking? Really? Oh, yea, the CPI is based on urban areas – flyover country is pretty much ignored, isn’t it? In my area, the cost of food, gasoline, rents, etc. are actually going up…….

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I believe we have hyper-infation in election-CPI.

        Ever more costly to elect politicians, and the quality of representation is never worse. Talk about double whammy.

        Economists talk of the substitution effect. Perhaps, here, if anti-adventures politicians are too expensive, we substitute with free college tuition ones, even though we like to have them both.

    2. JTMcPhee

      “Shrinking”? Maybe the “official numbers” are less big than anticipated, but even those show the very selective set of cost of living items is still increasing. Those of us who have learned to swim in the deep waters of our political economy, who have a comfortable amount of fat on their bones and money in the bank, can make noises about how the CPI is “shrinking.” Nice stat to cite. But of course those of us on fixed incomes are watching the costs of everything we need to stay alive, at modest or minimal levels, rising, and rising, and rising again. And doing, of necessity, the “substitutions” of ever-crappier stuff of life for the crappy stuff of life that we could “afford” last year…

      Even Forbes knows that the CPI thing is BS.

      Maybe the observation is tongue in cheek?

      1. Jim Haygood

        CPI has its problems, to be sure. That’s why the Yellenites have their own custom inflation measure, core PCE, which with the aid of a whip and a chair can be induced to stand on its hind legs and dance.

        But taking CPI — warts and all — as a black-box input, our challenge is to discern what the black-box output will be. Ex-FOMCer Kocherlakota of the John Law Society makes it real plain:

        My story is a pretty simple one: we really have more slack left in the economy, in the labor market, than the unemployment rate would point to. That slack is coming from the fact that employment fell very far in the Great Recession and has returned to a sustainable level of maximum employment very slowly.

        I’d rather keep the [Federal Reserve] balance sheet large. I’d go further than many and say really the right question is how do we think about growing the balance sheet so as to keep it large as the economy grows. Eventually even $4.5 trillion will seem small given growth in the economy.

        The Fed is not at 2% inflation. I don’t see 2% inflation as likely to come for 2-3 years given the Fed’s current plans for tightening. So I would be thinking about even into 2020 is where I would be thinking about inflation getting back to 2% on sustainable basis.

        Ten trillion or bust, as it were. Pray that we don’t run out of govies and agencies to feed the hungry maw of the Fed’s balance sheet!

      2. fresno dan

        June 14, 2017 at 10:21 am

        right on !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. Vatch

      The year over year CPI continues to increase. It’s only isolated months that show a drop. One could say that the year over year is increasing at a lower rate, but it is still increasing.

  20. fresno dan

    After a presidential election, so the rule goes, audiences dissipate. According to the Pew Research Center, viewership for the primetime schedules of CNN, Fox News and MSNBC increased 55% to 4.8 million viewers in 2016, while daytime cable viewership grew 36%. In the first half of this year, viewing levels have not shrunk.
    The ratings growth for news programming also comes at a time when the largest broadcast and cable networks are struggling with ratings erosion for primetime entertainment programming. Media buyers, who control millions of dollars in advertising spending, recognize these days that it’s hard to beat real-world politics for intrigue and suspense.

    CBS News president Rhodes calls the environment energizing for people who love the thrill of the hunt. “Nobody comes to work hoping for a slow news day,” he says.
    Every cop, every prosecutor, every reporter…even every former FDA inspector…. wants to FIND something BIG….it is what your job IS. There is little disincentive to make a big hoopla that eventually results in nothing but gets you plenty of attention, while stating “nothing to see here” can get one labeled as lazy or in the tank for someone.
    Does anyone here believe that cops are not judged on number/significance of arrests, or prosecutors on convictions?
    If the day comes that all the recent events are agreed to as an insignificant kerfuffle, even FOX would be disappointed as the ratings declined. Of course, FOX would spin it as a big bad media conspiracy and consign to the memory hole FOX’s part in advancing “The Blob” (all that “wiretapping”) during the Bush years that FOX now is so skeptical of.

    “Nobody comes to work hoping for a slow news day,” he says.
    and you know what – me big hypocrite – cause I soak it up…..

  21. DH

    “One-quarter of F-35 fighter jets grounded over oxygen issues Reuters. EM: “Because keeping pilots supplied with supplemental oxygen at altitude is a brand-new technical problem Lockheed had to solve from scratch! But I am confident gifting them a few more $Bln in governmental largesse will fix this. We can’t have The Exceptional Nation naked and undefended, can we?””

    I think EM’s sarcasm is misplaced. He clearly does not understand how difficult it is to create and supply virtual oxygen supplied by computer chips and delivered through radio waves to the pilot. This is a high-tech airplane after all.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      “He clearly does not understand how difficult it is to create and supply virtual oxygen supplied by computer chips and delivered through radio waves to the pilot.”
      OK — how difficult is it to solve a problem which has been solved before — more than a few times in other aircraft. Your phrase “… delivered through radio wave to the pilot” … has me stumped. Did F-35 discover a physical transformation of radio waves into oxygen? — or is it more accurate (?) to say F-35 manages the supply of oxygen to the pilot through commands (from the pilot? voice or data?) to supply oxygen? Whether via wire, fiber, or other did the use of radio waves preclude testing? Of the three means I mentioned radio waves are far from my first pick for reliability. So is F-35 “high-tech” or is there some other property it is very HIGH in besides costs?

      1. integer

        I think DH was just making fun of the propensity of tech types to assume that the best solution to every problem is the application of moar technology, regardless of whether or not effective low(er)-tech solutions are already available.

  22. Down2Long

    Re:Prison Calls. A friend of mine went to jail on L.A. County. Before the FCC interstate rules went into affect the first minute of every call was $3.50, 0.50 for each additional minute. Adds up fast. Not to mention abrupt ends to calls when “body count” and myriad other institutional interruptions occur.

    Recently I noticed my money was lasting longer. Somehow the rate had dropped to $0.25 a minute. That had to be a knock on result by the former FCC rule.

    Make no mistake, there is no “free market” in prison calls. L.A. County gets a piece of the action. The last public disclosure I saw was $17 million dollars a year from the skim of prison call revenue to L.A. County.

    The money is supposed to be used for additional “inmate services” and amenities that improve the inmate ….um…..consumer experience. Last audit showed all the money disappeared into L.A. County’s greedy maw, no inmate improvements at all. Quelle surprise, to quote Yves.

    Furthermore, our very corrupt politicians here in SoCal reap big rewards from the prison service industry contributions. The other scandal are the “gift boxes” one must buy from a monopoly to send to inmates. A box of 12 tiny bags of “Snacks” I.e. tiny bags of Fritos, et al, is $38.

    A case of Maruchan soup packets — which along with cans of mackerel, has replaced cigarettes as prison monetary currency — will set you back $58.00. I can buy that much Maruchan at the local 99c for 3 or 4 dollars – 25 cents a package.

    My car got towed from a residential street the other days with a confusing street sign. $300 for the tow, $93 ticket. 3 other cars towed from the same place. The meter people descend like locusts.

    This is a big “liberal” city/county that treats its citizens like ants treat aphids.

    Robert Sheer, that liberal lion, has called out the unfairness ofwhat’s going on in L.A. viz its citizens to support our bloated government workforce and their pensions. He reasons it is not justifiable to extract enormous sums from the citizenry, in every conceivable way, to support prevailing public employee pay/pensions that are triple even the unionized employees earnngs in the private sector. Yes, they should be higher, but they are not, and us citizens have to play the hand we’re dealt.

    City Council in L.A. also passed a law that fined parents $250 every time their kid was late to school. Many times these were teenagers who were late because they were getting their younger siblings ready for school, since Mom was on the 6 AM bus to go take care of a rich family’s children o. Beverly Hills. Who but an out of touch elite thinks the solution to every problem, (read revenue opportunity) is a fee or a fine? Perhaps the highest paid City Council in the nation – almost $200k a year, city county and, 20 staff. Little kings/queens, not to mention tributes from developers. My “liberal” city councilman couldn’t even be bothered to come to the one candidate debate.

    This is the flip side of one party rule on Los Angeles. As Gore Vidal so rightly pointed out, America has one political party with two right wings.

    And to paraphrase the Orifice of Omaha, if you don’t know who the mark is, you’re it. Ah, the rot it runs deep.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “to extract enormous sums from the citizenry … to support prevailing public employee pensions”

      Public pension crisis will be the leitmotif of the 2020s. The 7%-plus returns assumed by Calpers and its cavalier little brothers across the land are institutionalized fraud in plain sight.

      When Bubble III (Peace be upon it!) finally stumbles and falls, public pensions will scream for life-altering tax grabs that would leave marginalized citizens living in their cars or camping in the woods after the shakedown … if they don’t resort to mob retaliation.

      And they kissed each other
      And they turned around
      And they saw me standing in the aisle

      Well I did not say much
      I just stood there watching
      As that .45 told them goodbye

      And the lights of L.A. County
      Are a mighty pretty sight
      When you’re kneeling at the altar
      With an old friend at your side

      Lyle Lovett, L.A. County

        1. Susan the other

          I agree. Because when the finance industry pulls the rug from under capitalism and it all falls down and nobody has a job, everything stops. Dead. Fake statistics notwithstanding. So a single payer pension plan would work and a good way to get one started is to start a jobs guarantee program. The more I look at JG the more it looks like a universal solution to lotsa things. Or at least a viable start to solving our intractable “free-market” problems.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I fail to see any connection between this transparent exploitation of the burgeoning prison population by the States and phone service providers. Comparing crimes between those using the phones and those providing the phone service … I KNOW which parties I would be putting in prison. The public pensions crises are a very RED HERRING. An NC commentariat notable like Jim Haygood should be ashamed to drawn a discussion of blatant exploitation and extortion of an underclass to the pending “public pension crisis”.

      Phone calls tie prisoners to their family and friends. Without the support of family and friends “recidivism” [scare quotes because of the ease with which parole violations are defined] increases. Family and friends make a vital difference to a prisoner’s life … AND their life after prison. I believe the corporate types happy to tax this vital human tie deserve severe punishments — I’d put them in the “general population” wearing a prison fatigue stating in bolt lettering imprinted with LARGE letters on their prison shirts and the butts of their pants — “I made big bucks charging your mom to talk to you while you’re incarcerated.”

  23. Vatch

    Finally. Manslaughter charge reaches Gov. Snyder’s cabinet over Flint water crisis:

    Michigan’s public health director and chief medical executive have been charged with criminal wrongdoing related to the Flint water crisis, moving an investigation by state Attorney General Bill Schuette closer than ever to Gov. Rick Snyder.

    Genesee District Judge David Guinn authorized charges Wednesday, June 14, for Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Eden Wells.

    Lyon, appointed by Snyder to lead DHHS in April 2015, was charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter, a 15-year felony.

    He also faces a single count of misconduct in office.

    Wells, who has worked in public health in the state for more than a decade, faces charges of obstruction of justice and lying to a police officer.

    1. Vatch

      Update: 5 officials will be charged with manslaughter.

      Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, former City of Flint Water Department Manager Howard Croft, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Drinking Water Chief Liane Shekter-Smith and Water Supervisor Steven Busch will all face involuntary manslaughter charges related to their alleged failure to act in the Flint Water Crisis, Schuette announced in a release on Wednesday, June 14.

      1. RUKidding

        Finally. Some sort of justice is served… sort of. I notice that Gov Snyder’s name is not on that list, however. Unfortunate.

    2. Vatch

      Apparently this is not about the lead poisoning (I guess nobody’s death has been attributed to lead in Flint’s drinking water — brain damage, sure, but no deaths). Instead, it’s about legionnaires’ disease that got into the water system; the officials covered it up, and someone died.

    3. Allegorio

      Next, Class War Crimes Trials for the rest of the thieves that operate governments all over this country.

  24. fresno dan

    Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported.
    One of the mysteries about the 2016 presidential election is why Russian intelligence, after gaining access to state and local systems, didn’t try to disrupt the vote.
    Such operations need not change votes to be effective. In fact, the Obama administration believed that the Russians were possibly preparing to delete voter registration information or slow vote tallying in order to undermine confidence in the election.

    in order to undermine confidence in the election.
    OUCH – I hurt myself laughing….I’m thinking US presidential nominees are the greatest threat to confidence in the system…

    And one other point – I have no idea whether any of this computer stuff poses any real threat or not – but it seems rather illogical to me that if it does, why do we keep forcing the square peg of insecure software into the round hole of “security” – maybe paper is BETTER? But of course, our tech giants and FANGS might not make squillions of money…

    1. Cujo359

      If we put as much effort into making voting machines secure as the NSA and military do for bulk encryptors or avionics, then I think they’d be secure. Whether the advantages of electronic voting are worth that is an open question, but in principle I don’t see why it can’t be done.

      1. Allegorio

        The insecurity of electronic voting systems are by design! The Russian hacking media storm are to cover up the election fixing that is already going on. When and if they get caught, the Russians did it.

    2. reslez

      1. If you believe any of this I have an exciting oceanfront real estate opportunity for you in Arizona!

      2. Why is the solution not “paper ballots, hand counted, in public”? Weird how they never mention that….

  25. crittermom

    Love the Bobcat photo. Great capture!
    As always, the nature photos are a wonderful antidote to all the ugly (truthful) news.
    Thanks once again for that feature, NC. Much appreciated.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Oro Valley is just north of Tucson. Bobcat sightings are frequent out there.

      In Tucson, the big buzz is over how many coyotes have moved into the center of town. Maybe they like the hipster vibe of our gentrifying Downtown. Maybe they’re just hungry.

      I’m seeing more of them in my nabe. And one of my chicken-keeping neighbors has already lost one of her best egg layers.

        1. Carl

          Coyotes are the cockroaches of the canine world. Kinda like those damn English sparrows. They’ll be here after we’re gone.

  26. MoiAussie

    It seems Turkey is not the only one coming to Qatar’s aid. Oz and the US are sending cows.

    Flying 4,000 cows to Qatar is one man’s way to beat the Saudis

    The showdown between Qatar and its neighbours has […] prompted one Qatari businessman to fly 4,000 cows to the Gulf desert in an act of resistance and opportunity to fill the void left by a collapse in the supply of fresh milk.

    It will take as many as 60 flights for Qatar Airways to deliver the 590-kilogram beasts that Moutaz Al Khayyat, chairman of Power International Holding, bought in Australia and the US. “This is the time to work for Qatar,” he said.

    Al Khayyat, whose main business is a construction firm that built Qatar’s biggest mall, had been expanding the company’s agricultural business at a farm 50 kilometres north of Doha. Food security is part of Qatar’s government strategy to steer the economy away from petrodollars, known, like in Saudi Arabia, as “Vision 2030”.

    Facilities for the Holstein cows are ready, though the company will take a hit on the shipping cost for the animals, which increased more than five times to $8 million.

    Clearly Qatar was already trying to reduce its dependence on its Gulf neighbours.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Also reducing dependence on camel milk?

      Is camel’s milk yogurt or cheese not as tasty?

      Not sure if Holstein cows can survive as well as camels in Qatar.

      1. Nouq camel milk ice cream

        I guess the cows will be parked in a huge facility with aircon. Not sure about their future diet though…

      2. craazyboy

        They’re keeping brown camels for the chocolate milk production. Young Arab Princes likes their chocolate milk.

  27. Altandmain

    Sanders today wrote an article in the NY Times:

    The Guardian on the Democrats on the Sanders wing – they need their votes

    This is very alarming. Generation Y cannot afford healthcare:

    1. Vatch

      Sanders makes some good points in his article, and most of his advice is for Democratic party leaders. One sentence could also be considered advice for voters:

      Democrats will not win if the 2018 midterm election turnout resembles the unbelievably low 36.7 percent of eligible voters who cast ballots in 2014.

      People need to vote in 2018. If they don’t vote in large numbers, the incumbents (of both parties) will win. And it’s not enough to simply vote in the general election in November. People need to vote in the primary, because that’s when a lot of the establishment candidates (of both parties) can be effectively challenged.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There is no guarantee Sanders is not pulling a Bernanke’s Too-Big-To-Fail bailout of the D Party, if he doesn’t come out and take on establishment politicians like Schumer.

        1. Vatch

          Schumer won’t be up for reelection until 2022. My point is that individual citizens need to vote in both the primary and general elections in 2018 — especially the primary election. If there’s an establishment politician (of either party) in your district, and he or she routinely supports the interests of the billionaires and giant corporations over the interests of the great majority of citizens, then vote against that politician. Bernie Sanders can’t do everything for us; sometimes we have to take care of ourselves.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The risk Sanders is doing (not he can’t or can do everything)…what he is doing is preventing the D party from going away naturally…Too big to fail.

            There is a school of thought that it is beyond reform.

          2. Jeremy Grimm

            Great advice … but how am I supposed to vote in any election when all the candidates … primary and general … routinely support the interests of billionaires and giant corporations over the interests of the great majority of citizens? I can’t even clearly vote “NO”. To repeat an old Russian joke (apocryphal?): How should I vote when I can vote for Stalin, Stalin — or Stalin?

        2. DH

          Schumer is playing the Mitch McConnell role for the Democrats in the Senate, effectively blockading the worst of the GOP legislation.

          The key is House Democrats. They have to be able to come up with rational, sellable policies in counterpoint to the GOP. That will not happen under Pelosi’s leadership – they are currently invisible and will therefore get crushed in the next mid-terms unless the current inanity in Washington escalates further..

          1. Allegorio

            Nancy Pelosi attends Pete Peterson seminars for heaven’s sake. Can’t afford Universal Healthcare, no, can’t afford Social Security. Let them eat cat food says Nancy Peolosi. It is time to primary the biatch!

    1. allan

      And another one for class warfare in the US:

      Trump Budget Would Leave Low-Income Families Feeling the Heat

      …The NAACP calculates that the elimination of the energy assistance program would impact over one million African Americans and nearly 7 million Americans in total. They also estimate that thousands of people a year would face health risks without the program — a number that would only increase in the face of climate change. …

      About half of the program’s current funding goes toward winter heating, but Franklin says he is particularly worries about the need for cooling during hot summers. Specifically, the urban heat island effect, which can cause city temperatures to rise as much as 22 degrees above normal, will be hard on low-income city populations. …

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We need trees more than ever before, for summer shade.

        And Luddite ideas.

        Like the ancient Persian Yakhchal (from Wikipedia):

        Yakhchāl (Persian: یخچال‎‎ “ice pit”; yakh meaning “ice” and chāl meaning “pit”) is an ancient type of evaporative cooler. Above ground, the structure had a domed shape, but had a subterranean storage space; it was often used to store ice, but sometimes was used to store food as well. The subterranean space coupled with the thick heat-resistant construction material insulated the storage space year round. These structures were mainly built and used in Persia. Many that were built hundreds of years ago remain standing.[1]

            1. Skip Intro

              Luddites were not anti-technology, but opposed to technological changes that took their jobs; more anti-capital than anti-technology.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I think the popular perception is off, with the common usage to mean anti-technology unjustifiably.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef...

              Not necessarily not wanting to try new ones…just slowly…until they are proven…because hype.

              If it takes a hundred years, or more, that’s what it takes.

        1. fresno dan

          June 14, 2017 at 12:45 pm

          I remember being a child and going to the zoo – in the summer – nothing but concrete. Temperature about 176 million degrees….if there had been shade.

          Now, the zoo is completed planted and shaded, and even on the hottest day it feels now really cool and nice….

          NOW, if only FRESNO car dealers could figure out black leather interiors are not optimal for Fresno cars…
          I wouldn’t want to have ONLY an evaporative cooler, but they are very useful at night, morning, and many, many days out of the year….its especially dry in Fresno, so a little bit of added humidity really helps.

          1. Carl

            Evaporative coolers are ineffective in high humidity areas, like about half of Texas and most of the South.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump’s Promise Not to Touch Social Security Is Gone Now New York Magazine (resilc)

    AP sources: Trump tells senators House health bill ‘mean’ Washington Post

    Cutting Social Security is mean too.

    Maybe he will say that in another interview.

    1. Allegorio

      Like Trump University wasn’t mean, or trashing the Bonwit Teller building, or running casinos to bilk the suckers, or having Roy Cohn for a mentor. The Donald is just so nice.

    1. Vatch

      This is similar to the tactics used by children who are afraid of a monster under the bed or in the closet. They pull the sheets over their head, and the monster is unable to get to them.

  29. Oregoncharles

    ” Mnuchin replied, “The president has made clear that on Social Security, that’s not something he’s addressing now, but if Congress wants to review that, obviously that’s within your prerogative.” Mnuchin was not pledging to cut Social Security. Instead, he was deferring the choice to Congress.”

    From “Trump’s Promise Not to Touch Social Security Is Gone Now New York Magazine” – which is a gross overinterpretation of Mnuchin’s comment. In the first place, Mnuchin can’t commit his boss. In the second place, he’s merely acknowledging Congress’s prerogative. He didn’t even commit himself. What he does not address is the President’s chief power in the matter: the veto, if Congress were to choose to lose the next election en masse. And since Congress is unlikely to do something that amounts to a resignation, there would be little point in addressing it.

    The article is Democratic Party silliness.

  30. ewmayer

    o “Bernie Sanders lambasts ‘absolute failure’ of Democratic party’s strategy Guardian” — While fully embracing the Russia! Russia! in(s)anity.

    o “Anne-Marie Slaughter’s call for a “people-centered foreign policy” — as long as those “people” are the Clintons, their flunkies and generous donors to the CF/CGI corruption machine, that is.

  31. Dale

    This loaded earlier, won’t now. Is it just my laptop malfunctioning?

    The Big Fat Compendium Of Russiagate Debunkery Caitlin Johnston (RR). Epic.

  32. craazyboy

    When flatworms go to space, they grow two heads ars technica. Chuck L: “What will happen when humans procreate in space?”

    Everyone knows flatworms are symmetric, end to end. They wanted two buttholes, since there’s no gravity, and they have to “push” to make things go down the gravity chute properly. (twice a day, too)

    They ended up with two heads and got smarter, instead. Now they want to come home to good ol’ terra firma:)

  33. tony

    signaling that getting female board members won’t change much

    I’m pretty sure this was the inexcusable action. You must at all times maintain the pretense that having a women/black/pick your identity leader is super important and will make all the difference. Minor crimes like rape or militarization of the police are not even mentioned. Because they don’t negatively affect the other rulers.

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