Links 6/18/2017

The Epic Shared Journey of Bison and Grizzly Bears Counterpunch (Darius)

Organic Weed? Marijuana Growers Go Green National Geographic (Charles)

A Great Way to Learn About Product Design: Visit the Museum of Failures Core 77 (resilc)

2017 Surface Pro least repairable ever; Surface Laptop is made of glue Ars Technica. More crapification: So much for the right to repair….

Hong Kong bridge scandal widens with revelation that concrete tests were faked at 55 other projects SCMP

American Chipmakers Had a Toxic Problem. Then They Outsourced It Bloomberg

Chancellor of Unity Handelsblatt. Helmut Kohl obit.


The Nazis Used It, We Use It LRB. Depressing but important read on the return of famine as a weapon of war. “Mass starvation as a consequence of the weather has very nearly disappeared: today’s famines are all caused by political decisions, yet journalists still use the phrase ‘man-made famine’ as if such events were unusual.”

Documents shedding light on CIA-orchestrated Iranian coup of ’53 released by State Dept RT America (furzy)

Imperial Collapse Watch


Class Warfare

74 Seconds podcast: After the verdict MPR News. Phil U: “The mom’s speech a few min in is powerful.”

As Uber Leaders Step Aside, Arianna Huffington’s Influence Grows NYT (David L). She’s a real dope for taking this on…hubris.

Buying a home? Good luck with that MPR News (Phil U).

Rural divide WaPo. Even the WaPo’s catching on.




Countering ISIL’s Digital Caliphate: An Alternative Model Small Wars Journal (resilc)

Qatar-Gulf crisis: All the latest updates Al Jazeera


Grenfell Tower Inferno Aftermath

London fire: Prime Minister Theresa May admits support for Grenfell families ‘was not good enough’ Evening Standard

Grenfell Tower fire: MPs attack Kensington council for failure to spend £270m reserves on housing Independent

Many are complaining that “green targets” are to blame for the Grenfell fire. They’re wrong. Treehugger

Revealed: the tower block fire warnings that ministers ignored Guardian

Grenfell Tower is Theresa May’s Katrina moment – her political career cannot survive it Independent. Patrick Cockburn’s latest.

UK Election Aftermath

It’s not the first time the Tories have been forced into bed with Unionists – and this long alliance is troubling Independent. Robert Fisk’s history recap.

Et tu, Boris TLS.  Big, big fan of Mary Beard’s A Don’s Life blog.

The consensus is that there must be an orderly transition – but Theresa May is finished New Statesman


Brexit talks to go ahead without us The Daily Mash

May Is Living Brexit Nightmare She Warned Of Bloomberg

Queen’s speech will be last until 2019 as Parliament doubles how long it will sit for to handle Brexit Independent

We’re in crisis, say firms as EU workers shun UK: new survey by recruiter shows business wants to delay Brexit This is Money

Big business leaders press Theresa May to rethink hard Brexit Guardian

Health Care

From Coast to Coast Jacobin

We asked 8 Senate Republicans to explain what their health bill is trying to do Vox (Chuck L)

After pressure campaign, Maddow loses major sponsor Media Equalizer (furzy)


How Demonetisation Broke Delhi’s Markets – But Not People’s Faith in the Move The Wire

The real problem with India’s jobs data is that they hide more than they reveal Quartz

Bank of Maharashtra put under RBI ‘corrective action’ due to bad loans Reuters

Politics and business combine in Bangladesh to turn Chittagong Hill Tracts into a disaster zone

Nuclear Weapons Ban? What Needs to be Banned Is U.S. Arrogance Counterpunch. By no means a perfect piece, but Diana Johnstone is always worth reading.

Belleville Shooting

Lawmakers struggle to maintain unity after shooting The Hill

The Toxic State of America Der Spiegel. Resilc: “early stages. a recession away from real trouble.”

Trump Transition


When Generals Make Policies – From Tactics To Strategy To Political Decision Moon of Alabama

The Obscure Lawyer Who Might Become the Most Powerful Woman in Washington Politico

Character assassination? The theatre takes on Trump FT

Cuba Is Trump’s Most Revealing Foreign-Policy Blunder New York Magazine. resilc: “an expanded middle east and afghanistan is much worse.”

Trump Has A Solution, But It’s Not Clear That There’s A Problem FiveThirtyEight

Trump Approval Ratings: Is The President Gaining Ground Despite Russia Investigation? International Business Times

US senators renew effort to outlaw shell companies FT. Too funny– fear of the influence of Boris and Natasha prompts gestures toward long-overdue changes.

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. allan

    American Chipmakers Had a Toxic Problem. Then They Outsourced It

    They must have gotten the memo that Larry Summers wrote as the World Bank’s chief economist:

    DATE: December 12, 1991
    TO: Distribution
    FR: Lawrence H. Summers
    Subject: GEP

    ‘Dirty’ Industries: Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Less Developed Countries]? I can think of three reasons:

    1) The measurements of the costs of health impairing pollution depends on the foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality. From this point of view a given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.

    2) The costs of pollution are likely to be non-linear as the initial increments of pollution probably have very low cost. I’ve always though that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted, their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City. Only the lamentable facts that so much pollution is generated by non-tradable industries (transport, electrical generation) and that the unit transport costs of solid waste are so high prevent world welfare enhancing trade in air pollution and waste.

    3) The demand for a clean environment for aesthetic and health reasons is likely to have very high income elasticity. The concern over an agent that causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostrate cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostrate cancer than in a country where under 5 mortality is is 200 per thousand. Also, much of the concern over industrial atmosphere discharge is about visibility impairing particulates. These discharges may have very little direct health impact. Clearly trade in goods that embody aesthetic pollution concerns could be welfare enhancing. While production is mobile the consumption of pretty air is a non-tradable.

    The problem with the arguments against all of these proposals for more pollution in LDCs (intrinsic rights to certain goods, moral reasons, social concerns, lack of adequate markets, etc.) could be turned around and used more or less effectively against every Bank proposal for liberalization.

    Never forget and never forgive.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.

      Which is also why landfills and hog lagoons and fracking injection wells and so on end up in the flyover territories, and not in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, or Shaker Heights or Montgomery County or Greenwich.

      1. HBE

        This. Fracking is the big one that sticks out. New York had massive support from environmental groups, celebrities, and others to help ban fracking in that state. And once it was banned they all patted themselves on the backs for saving the world and packed up.

        When in reality all they did was push that fracking into the Dakota’s and other flyover states. They externalized the problem to flyover, where the resources and help to stop it never materialized to the same degree.

        Their real concern wasn’t The Environment, but their environment.

          1. frosty zoom


            so, one lant pritchett was mr. summers underling at the worm bank, and he takes credit for writing that gem, having had mr. summers “only” sign it.

            and, as the wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round, according to wiki, mr. pritchett:

            “is an American development economist. He is currently Professor of the Practice of International Development at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.”

        1. oh

          Let’s not forget to blame the uppermost 10% for feeding the frenzy by buying the latest and greatest electronics, cell phones, PCs, Macs. gaz guzzlers and other “toys”. Hybrid cars, electric vehicles, electronics that use lithium batteries are also on this list.

          1. Vatch

            I don’t see how fuel efficient hybrid or electric cars can be blamed for fracking. Sure, any technology that uses energy or produces pollution is troublesome, but compared to wasteful SUVs, luxury cars, and muscle cars, the hybrids and electrics are pretty good.

            Since any consumption of resources or production of pollution is bad, the root problem is too many people, some of whom obviously pollute too much, but they all cause pollution.

      2. Vatch

        hog lagoons…flyover territories

        Here’s a map of the prevalence of factory farms in each county of the U.S. There are some in the coastal parts of the country, especially in California’s agricultural counties, but the heartland has the most. Hog farms are overwhelmingly concentrated in the Midwest and North Carolina. You’re absolutely correct that rich people would not tolerate the stench in areas where they live.;location:US;year:2012

        1. ambrit

          Those giant chicken house complexes are pretty rank too. I used to think that the paper factory in Bogalusa smelled bad.
          Looking ahead, the eventual replacement or refurbishment of municipal waste water treatment “farms” will add even more pong to living.

      3. Harry

        Yup, thats how it should be. After all the market fully recognises the true marginal revenue product of labor – which means workers in poor countries which make poor wages are just less productive – or put another way, you get paid what you deserve!

        So given Larry believes that, its not at all surprising that he thinks the poor would benefit from additional pollution – for the right fee of course.

        I also note that the famous and oh so clever economist wrote “prostrate cancer”.

        I guess cos those who get it spend a lot of time bent over. A bit like the poor people whom he aims to govern.

        1. Propertius

          it’s a win-win: the value of labor will increase due to its reduction in availability (caused by increased death rates and diminished fertility caused by pollution). The overall poverty rate will decline, since it will be mostly poor people who sicken and die and the rich will prosper.

          Ponies for everyone!

      4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Economic logic
        Sometimes it’s worse to go with logic, than with the heart.

        And now, a college logic course (or an economics class) is free, in some progressive states, but to enlighten the mind, cultivate the heart, one still has to donate to a guru or a master.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          “Economic logic”, I would question the assertion that there is, or can be, such a thing.
          A domain of infinite complexity that is governed by human emotion.
          A room full of priests incanting formulae like GDP = C + I + G + Xn when trying to model Bob pondering a purchase at the Apple store. Or Mary’s behavior when she learns that Bob just spent the grocery money.
          Or better yet Janet, she puts her hood on and surveys the world through her fogged-up telescope and declares all is well.

    2. jefemt

      Printed and framed. The gall. I am deer in the headlights blinking

      And I am prostrate pondering my prostate…..

      The final sentence is one to pay attention to- that the arguments can be turned around. My dad used to call that an oppo, a poop turned inside-out.

      We need a entirely new policy direction and group of lawmakers who will do that logical-argument turning to create a “new world order” on behalf of the least among us, here in ‘Merika , and therefore around the world.

      Collateral damage. We droned some folks. Have the chips fall where I say they should fall.

      LOVE my smartphone!!!

      snark snark sarc wheeze sputter….

    3. justanotherprogressive

      Another chapter in the 0.1%’s Bible, aka “There Is No Morality, There Is Only Money”?

  2. Paper Mac


    “Most likely, the crews on one or both ships just did the wrong thing or miscalculated. ”

    You don’t say?!?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Nah, experts who have examined the incident are saying Putin hacked the navigation and autopilot systems of both vessels and caused the collision to embarrass the Empire. Or something.

      After all, not so long ago, US naval and Soviet warships, many armed with nuclear warheaded missiles, were intentionally colliding with each other in the “Sea of Japan” and other nearby and “far flung” waters, doing that thing that tough guys with beer muscles in sleazy bars across the planet do — Chest bumping, often leading to sucker-punching, occasionally leading to brawls, and shootings and stabbings. What a fun species we are!

      It’s not like there’s not a long history of oopsies and brushbacks and “accidentally on purposes:”, just involving submarines, not all the surface ships.

      There’s also lots of slanted and “fake news” from NATO-land:

      And armchair geopoliticians and Grand ?Strategists, take note: “How The US And China Will Go To War,”

      Not with a bang (initially,) but with a “whoops!” And an “Uh-oh…”

      1. Paper Mac

        Most of the collisions you’re referencing are attributable to the semi-wartime conditions of the cold war (ie American SSNs trailing SSBNs or frigates playing chicken), though. I don’t doubt that that the Fitzgerald incident was accidental, but Wired’s “explanation” is glib in the extreme. It seems like there must have been either a pretty serious equipment failure on Fitzgerald or a totally derelict watch. Either way, someone “doing the wrong thing” or “miscalculating” is hardly an explanation- there would have had to have been a whole serious of “wrong things” or “miscalculations” up and down the chain of command for something like this to happen.

        One wonders if it’s a sign of the current state of the USN Pacific fleet, which, of late, seems to be in the news more frequently for mechanical breakdowns (eg. 3 LCS engine plant breakdowns in 2016) or corruption than for whatever imperial power projection duties they’re supposed to be undertaking.

        1. Pookah Harvey

          Makes you wonder if maybe Trump was correct that the fleet was headed to Korea—- and then just got lost!

        2. TimmyB

          Every ship accident I’ve seen is the result of a chain of errors. Most likely, this accident is the result of series of errors and if one of those errors had been corrected, the accident would not have occurred.

          1. Procopius

            Every event is the result of a chain of happenings. That is no more helpful than “the will of God.”

        3. Synoia

          It seems like there must have been either a pretty serious equipment failure on Fitzgerald or a totally derelict watch.

          A totally derelict watch on BOTH ships. No surprise about the container ship, many large ships sail on autopilot and the watch-keeping is both poor and viability from the Bridge over the cargo bad.

          But the Navy Vessel? No excuse there. The Captain and Watch Officers are all going to have abrupt career changes.

          1. Oregoncharles

            As someone noted yesterday, the starboard ship has right of way; that’s where the freighter was.

            Especially if it’s bigger and less agile.

            Both ships did have radar and collision-avoidance equpt. – what did they do, turn off the annoying beeping?

        4. Optimader

          Large object getting larger. Turn til it gets smaller

          You can nake the algo a little more complicated but not much. Maybe add a wooping klaxon for effect
          Btw ftomthe pics i saw, thd container ship won

      2. craazyboy

        I think someone is gonna get a stern kick in the bow over this.

        It’s not like scooting around like a walk in the park on a Starboard out there!

        Thomas L. Freidman been composing a special editorial report all weekend on this.

        Newt Gingrich was just given a new book advance.

        We’ll get to the bottom of this soggy mess.

        Obviously, Lockheed needs a new contract to retro the fleet with turn signals. Just because other ships are bigger doesn’t mean they get “right of way”. Even if they do drive the wrong direction in the Left sea lane. If they get pushy, we can blow their obnoxious sterns outa da pond!

    2. bronco

      Destroyer , smaller , faster, more maneuverable ,good sight lines in all directions.
      Container ship , massive , slow , sluggish, poor sight lines , badly trained crew , radar probably wasn’t even on.

      Destroyer comes in to the left of the container ship and tries to pass in a channel is my guess , channel zigs , ships can’t zag , tucks up under the bow and gets bounced off.
      Possibilities ? Electronic systems that cost millions don’t work, commander asleep or drunk. Poorly made steering wheel falls off in the helmsmans hands? Toyota or GM sourced throttle cable sticks?

      The 7 missing sailors were probably tossed from the deck at impact , grim prognosis for those poor souls.

      A few decades ago there was an explosion in a battleship gun turret and the Navy fell all over itself to hang the blame on some poor crewman they claimed was gay and or suicidal. Wonder if we see a repeat of that?

      1. craazyboy

        Russian swarm of drone Roos_Ski-Dos jammed the Aegis radar and hacked the battle nav charts outlining the path to Korea.

        Or maybe sea monsters. CIA is investigating.

        Mercenary Sea Monsters hired by Putin?

        Yeah, that’s the ticket!

      2. Oregoncharles

        The missing seamen were discovered drowned in their bedrooms (berths). It looks like the captain was in the same place – his cabin was completely flooded.

        The pictures don’t show the severe damage below the waterline; modern freighters have a bulb below the bow, which ripped open the bottom of the destroyer.

        I think they don’t make warships like they used to; for one thing, guided missile frigates aren’t meant to be in close combat. At least it didn’t sink.

      3. LifelongLib

        IIRC for the turret explosion it was found that one of the guns had a sticky rammer that would jump suddenly, and the gunpowder was from WW2 and weeping nitroglycerin. Seems like a more plausible source of the explosion than a sailor’s personal issues…

        1. Procopius

          I don’t remember the incident, but the idea that they would try to blame one low ranking crewman is entirely believable. That’s the way they make rank. I must add, not all of “them.” I served under some very fine officers who cared about both integrity and taking care of their subordinates. The problem is, few of them achieve the highest ranks (I served under one who later did).

    3. justanotherprogressive

      And we are all on the “rush to judgement” train that the press provides for us, aren’t we? We don’t know really anything yet about what happened in the Kensington fire or the collision off the coast of Japan, but dammit, HEADS HAVE TO ROLL!! Leave it to the press to want to take the place of a court of law…..aren’t they always looking for new jobs since they can’t seem to do the ones they have?

      Investigations take a long time – so much data has to be looked at and analyzed before the reasons why something happened are apparent – but who has time for that, huh? Just slay our favorite victims right now!!!

      1. JTMcPhee

        Yaas, we must always liberally give the full benefit of the doubt to all those folks who it ends up being occasionally established, after the PR types get on the case and everyone has shredded the evidence, “forgotten” everything and lawyers up, are “responsible (sic)’ for various horrors and “Just Tragedies, unavoidable Tragedies,” after years of judicious study and careful obfuscation and taking full advantage of how time erases outrage, covers it over with the plating of more recent outrages that then need to be weighed and studied and judged to a hair. While cops shoot people obeying their conflicting orders, congrescritters take bribes they have rendered fully legal, soldiers kick in doors in Kandahar and Mosul and Helmand for the what, fifth time and kill civilians, and Saudi nationals somehow are spirited out of the country in the 9/11 timeframe, on and on…

        And you can just bet that ‘investigations” will do a lot of careful looking at and analyzing of “so much data,” won’t they? As they always have done before? Ask Pat Tillman’s family and friends and Band of Brothers how that works, and the many other Artful Dodges that have been discussed here at NC.

        Actually, the “press” or some of its practitioners seem to have actually been pretty diligent in digging up the rotting policy corpses in the Kensington fire situation, but gee, we got to give the Navy a chance to see if there’s a plausible-deniability/minimal-career-damage story, as was done will Tillman’s “friendly-fire” death, to be worked up for how a US destroyer full of “highly trained seamen” and hundreds of millions in radar and radio and navigation gear would get gored almost to death by the fuel-efficiency-promoting “bulb” that sticks out like the ram of an ancient trireme from the bow of a freighter.

        There’s some great propaganda written into one MSM article that is part of the ‘rush to judgment’ thing:

        Collisions at sea have become rare in recent decades as navigational technology has improved.

        The current case recalled the collision between the submarine USS Greeneville and a training ship belonging to a Japanese fishery high school in 2001 off the coast of Hawaii.

        In that incident, the Greeneville suddenly surfaced underneath the Japanese ship, causing it to sink and claiming nine lives, four of them high school students.

        “Things like this happens because of human error, sometimes complicated by some technical difficulty,” Cronin said, calling it “heroic” that the crew was able to get back to port. “U.S.-Japan cooperation has been fantastic,” he said.

        Japanese coast guard and military ships assisted with the rescue, and Japanese planes and helicopters searched the waters before the bodies were found.

        That shows how the alliance between the United States and Japan helps American interests, analysts said. In previous statements, President Trump had called the value of the alliance into question, complaining on the campaign trail that the United States was paying “billions” for the defense of Japan, a rich country.

        “Helps American interests.”

        And yes, we are all at sea in 20,000 leagues of Bernays Boolsheet, thanks to the entire thrust of all the best that the Enlightenment and human nature have been able to bring us to… “You don’t make judgments as citizens based on the information you would like to have, but on the information you’ve got…”

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          Brilliant! And yet, and yet…JAP makes a good point too. Not opposed to investigative reporting, but so much of it is speculation. Airtime that could be better used to educate and explicate policy doncha know

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Russia pays for her own defense, but I hope we can similarly cooperate anywhere, be it off the Sakhalin island or Cuba.

    4. oh

      The Destroyer had all the latest in navigation systems. A lot of good it did for the crew! Let’s spend a billion or two more on each ship. Oh, BTW, self driving cars, anyone?

  3. Chris G

    Brexit: trenchant view from a former UK official in Brussels:

    tl;dr: “the chances of this govt getting any deal, let alone a good one, in only 21 months, are minimal. But I think they know this. The level of complexity is too much, the preparations too poor, the messaging self-defeating. So I think the plan remains to walk out of negotiations, which will, of course, be a catastrophe for the UK. And all for want of a little humility, trust, honesty, organisation and understanding. But they just couldn’t help themselves, could they?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Nor could all the European and Eurasian rulers and their vast and serried military industrial machines, back in July 1914. Joyous full-page newspaper headlines, those first days of August — “IT’S WAR!

      Since when have any of our rulers displayed humility, trust, honesty, organization and understanding? Any two of those, if shown to be present, instantly disqualify from leadership any person that evinces them…

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre


        Very true, & in terms of the European bunch I have noticed a large tendency from in particular, middle class Remainers to now ignore any articles that contain criticisms of what they now appear to see as the land of milk & honey. Occasionally you get a ” It’s not perfect ” & words to the effect that it can be reformed from within, which strikes me as being at odds with the avoidance of any information which highlights it’s Neo / Ordoliberal construct & other failings.

        They tend to be the same people who heaped piles of abuse against those who voted for Brexit.

        1. Anonymous2

          An ad hominem attack on people for making ad hominem attacks?

          The arguments for the UK staying in the EU are really pretty simple and twofold.

          1.It will be poorer outside and therefore less able to afford good health care and educational provision.

          2.It will be less influential outside and therefore more likely to be under the thumb of others like Trump.

          There are plenty of issues with distribution of wealth and income inside the UK but the problems which exist arise much more from UK government policies than anything stemming from the EU.

          Leaving the EU will compound the UK ‘s problems, not improve them. Why do you think Murdoch supports Brexit? Because it will strengthen his grip on UK politics. Do you think he wants to make the UK a fairer society?

          1. JTMcPhee

            Ooooh, that’s ad hominem?!? Yah, “obviously” the “arguments” for Remaining are so very simple, reducible to just two items, neh? Really? How much National Health Service and “council housing” and other “social” benefits can you buy for the cost of a couple of Trident missile subs, much less the lap-dog involvement of the UK and its rahther enormous military and its One-Fifth Eye in the great global panopticon?

            And short-term, no doubt at all that the UK’s citizens and residents will be ‘worse off.” Because as you note, those who will be doing the Brexiting will be both incompetent and acting in bad faith, and in the interest of the Elite. The disease of globalism, spread by the vectors of FIRE and empire, is a pandemic, and there’s a good chance it will turn out to be a true murrain. The whole effing world of mopes and ordinary people is, and has, and will be suffering some pretty severe pain, thanks to “unions” like the EU and its constituent moving parts, and NATO, and so forth…

            Which is more painful? To rip the Band-Aid (TM) off right quick and let the air get at the wound, or peel it slowly and let the pathogens keep creeping in?

            Who asked for the votes on all this, again? and “cui bono”?

            Of course, as noted repeatedly here by folks who know more about all the many parts and bits, “It’s complicated,” now isn’t it?

            1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

              The comment was not about the wisdom or otherwise of Brexit, it was about the attitude of some people to not getting their own way & having a tantrum because of it, leading them to a stereotypical view of around 16 million people, which in my view is very similar to that shown in the US……” Deplorables “.

              I do not believe that those running the EU are a force for good of which their treatment of Greece is just one of many examples & I also believe that turning a blind eye to it’s faults, while indulging in fantasies of reform by those whose professed concern for those at the sharp end, that was abandoned the minute they felt that their own interests were threatened, was reprehensible.

    2. Alex Morfesis

      Former uk official should have any govt pension stripped for incompetence or treason…ankle grabbing 101…don’t recall dr strangescheauble-luv suggesting greece would have to pay the eu for a grexit nor any reports suggesting there were any massive arrearages outstanding from the uk…

      Moodys and s&p miss again ??

      The notion any negotiation is to be fair is quaint and sadly pedestrian…

      while there were many self inflicted reasons for the state of economic relations with the eu, one should not discount the utter contempt emanating from northern europe towards any who might not show proper deference to the needs of berlin…

      To be quite direct, the german govt relishes the fact it never surrendered nor signed a peace treaty after ww2…its official position is the govt was under occupation and its military surrendered under duress…one should not discount this reality nor attempt to eye roll past its significance…

        1. Alex Morfesis

          Not a german peace treaty…wikinonsencia is not an “authority”…read the actual document…it was simply an agreement for removal of foreign troops…fake plus two agreement…

  4. RenoDino

    We asked 8 Senate Republicans to explain what their health bill is trying to do

    As they have been saying all along, their perfect bill would give power back to the people to get the medical coverage they want and need at a price they can afford. Rather than have insurers sort them out by health issues, consumers could cherry pick what kinds of coverage is best for them. Pricey policy options that cover burdensome diseases like cancer, heart and respiratory illness and diabetes could be eliminated by consumer choice in favor of more affordable ones like toe fungus.

    The fat balding fifty-year-old male who is forced to buy maternity coverage has become the poster child of today’s ACA. If he were allowed to chose for himself, he would reject this option outright, and might choose instead to be covered for sexually transmitted diseases, such is his prowess.

    Giving consumers the power to decide for themselves in a free market place would start a bidding war among insurers and health providers driving down prices, so the argument goes. Electronic bill boards outside hospitals would flash daily specials. Algorithms would seek out search requests on the internet for medical conditions and send coupons out for emergency treatments at “insane” price.

    This is the Republican health bill that awaits us. I just wish they sounded as excited as I am.

    1. Altandmain

      A bidding war will not lead to better quality care. Quite the opposite – corners will be cut.

  5. carycat

    It is telling that all the reports I’ve seen from CNN to Aljazeera to Wired to The Guardian do not show the ship’s tracks as the accident evolves. Given the amount of $$$ in electronics on the destroyer, you would think they have a very good record of their own track plus any “threats” nearby.
    Not mentioned is also who has right of way which has been codified and generally abided to by sailors since the days of sail.
    While you may fault the tanker’s crew (overworked, understaffed, and underpaid because profits) for being inattentive, how can the captain and watch officer of the destroyer not be at fault for letting a lumbering giant ram you?
    Wait for the captain to be quietly reassigned to captain an ice breaker in the artic after a few months. Unless he is the child of a high ranking politician or military officer, then he will be running for the Senate.

    1. allan

      Wait for the captain to be quietly reassigned to captain an ice breaker in the artic after a few months.

      The accident resulted in many fatalities, and the captain isn’t far enough up the chain of command
      to have a Petraeus-style Get Keep Out of Jail card. He’s in deep trouble.

      Speaking of the golden boy:

      Petraeus: We went to Afghanistan for a reason, and we need to stay [PBS Newshour]

      JUDY WOODRUFF: Wars in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, tensions within the Gulf states, and a new administration trying to manage an exploding region, all topics for retired General David Petraeus.

      He commanded American and coalition forces in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and served as overall commander of U.S. military operations in the Middle East. He later served as director of the CIA in 2011 and 2012. He’s now with a global investment firm.

      We spoke a short time ago. …

      There’s something missing from that bio, it’s just on the tip of my tongue …

      1. justanotherprogressive

        “There’s something missing from that bio, it’s just on the tip of my tongue …”

        He’s with a global investment firm (rehabilitation for the rich), so it can be forgotten now; it no longer matters……

      2. ambrit

        Yes, you are right comrade. PBS makes no mention of his many years of excellent service to the Russian Federation through his continued f— ups in foreign climes. There was an inamorata who tried to lead him back to basic capitalist amorality, but we exposed her just in time, thank Lenin.
        Now that “Asset 104” is being rehabilitated within the American Nomenklatura, we here on Lubyanka Square anticipate many more years of fruitful service from Comrade XXXXXX.
        The “Russians did it” meme is greater than anyone realizes.

    2. OffgassingWaddler

      From looking at the photos, if both ships were underway, the Fitzgerald should have given way (impact on starboard). However, from closer inspection, it is possible the Fitzgerald was anchored. The damage is contained to the point of impact. If a 500+ ft vessel was underway, it is doubtful that it could stop immediately, even when punched by a 700+ ft vessel. The physics just don’t seem to support that. Which would mean that the impacted area would be larger, and swept towards the stern.


      1. JTMcPhee

        If the Mighty Fitz were at anchor? If that were the case, I’m guessing that the world would have heard about that fact (unless there’s some Blob plot afoot to protect the “face” of some other Friendly Government or other).

        A T-bone collision, where the heavily built “ram” of the cargo ship,, penetrated the hull at close to a right angle, might very well have not produced the apparently missing and speculative damage you refer to.

        It’s not like Imperial military assets have not given lots of people around the planet a lot of reasons to take a shot at them. And the phrase “Ramming speed!” is in the common parlance, usually as a joke, but here’s what’s behind it:

        And of course way back in 1994, 17 years before 9/11, good old Tom Clancy imagined up the use of a fully fueled commercial jet as a weapon of vast destruction, targeted in the case of his novel “Debt of Honor” at the Imperial US Capitol. Wonderful story for the nihilists among us to relish: He and like-minded Excitement Novelists have come up with a bunch more ways the world as we think we know it might end…

        i’d add that after the 9/11 attack, our Great Military and Security (sic) Leaders apparently convened a bunch of authors and auteurs like Clancy and Brown, who also wrote long before 9/11 about “fictional” use of airliners as huge cruise missiles/drones, to brainstorm the next possible or likely “terror” attack on Our Sacred Homeland, and also likely come up with ‘scenarios” our great War Leaders and Spooks could activate in pursuit of “American Interests,” as we all march toward Extreme and Final Globalization…

        And then there’s this kind of thinking going on:

        1. integer

          It’s not like Imperial military assets have not given lots of people around the planet a lot of reasons to take a shot at them.

          The fact that the freighter was of Philippine nationality lends plausibility to this kind of “accidentally on purpose” scenario imo. The US special forces that are now in the Philippines to (nominally) fight ISIS were apparently deployed by the US without permission from Duterte, and this has got to be stirring up some resentment among the Filipino population, especially as Duterte asked US special forces to leave the Southern Philippines last September. There is also the South China Sea thing, in which the US tried to use the Philippines as a proxy against China. While Duterte surely has his issues, I did like how he called 0bama a “son of a bitch”.

    3. Ernesto Lyon

      The captain’s navy career is over. Even if he was completely not at fault. If a ship gets damaged on your watch you’re done.

            1. Altandmain


              As of this time, there have been two patients requiring medical evacuation. One was Cmdr. Bryce Benson, Fitzgerald’s commanding officer, who was transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka and is reportedly in stable condition. A second MEDEVAC is in progress. Other injured are being assessed. There are seven Sailors unaccounted for; the ship and the Japanese Coast Guard continues to search for them.

              The 7 are now of course dead, but I think the captain is alive.

              Last I heard he was released from hospital:

        1. Altandmain

          Considering the fatalities associated with Tesla’s self driving automobiles, the technology needs to mature.

  6. JTMcPhee

    And on the use of starvation as a means of killing off large numbers of fellow (sic) humans, there’s of course the whole story (not) told through the great imagery of “expansion” across the North American continent, and far beyond in all directions, stuff like these curriculum suggestions for our callow youth to learn “the truth’ from:

    And let us remember that the Israelites are engaging in mass starvation “putting on a diet,” all those Palestinians/Philistines/Arabs/Muslims who dare to stand in way of/cannot even get out of the way of, the westward, southward, northward and eastward expansion of the elastic blob labeled “the State of Israel:” Noam Chomsky has this explanation for how “the peace process” actually works, involving what Yiddish humor reduces to a horrid joke, the IDF blasting Gaza and the West Bank being referred to as “mowing the lawn:”

    The World Bank’s take on the actions of Israel regarding the Palestinians is telling, as much for its revealing the underlying neoliberal frame (“unable to compete in the global market place”) as for the reportage on the impacts of “exogenous policy”:

    Israel’s system of checkpoints and restrictions in the occupied West Bank inflicts long-term damage on Palestinians’ ability to compete in the global market, the World Bank said in a report on Tuesday.

    And of course there’s the current example of Greece, and other neoliberal experiments in governance, like Flint and the rest of the US internal colonization and gulag…

    What wonderful parallels between American and German and Israeli “democracies” and the “policies” of the ruling elites in each…

    1. HopeLB

      Don’t forget the forced starvation of 6 million Irish by the Brits who shipped out the edibles.

      1. clarky90

        The proliferation of ubiquitous “junk food” is a form of starvation. The mechanism of death is different (slower)- diabetes, heart disease, depression, addictions… as opposed to the metabolism of one’s own lean tissue mass and muscle. Fake Food is suffering and death in a modern, for profit, guise.

        It is like those poor sea mammals, fish and birds whose stomachs are full of bits of plastic.

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: From Coast to Coast Jacobin

    This past November, Colorado voters resoundingly voted down Amendment 69, a ballot measure that would have created a statewide universal, publicly financed health-care system called ColoradoCare. One of the industry opposition’s key tactics was to raise concerns over whether the initiative would cover reproductive care. Colorado’s constitution bans public funding for abortions, and because Amendment 69 did not explicitly override the prohibition, opponents argued the ban would stand, prohibiting ColoradoCare from providing comprehensive reproductive health care.

    In other words, the opposition used abortion not to mobilize the anti-choice right, but to fracture and divide the Left, and they succeeded. NARAL publicly opposed the initiative, and their perverse framing of ColoradoCare as anti-women’s health caught the Yes campaign flat-footed. It also gave weak-kneed Democratic officials an excuse to oppose ColoradoCare, which they did in droves.

    That voters continue to be persuaded by this contorted, industry-sponsored oppositional “logic” is beyond frustrating at this point. That naral allows itself to become a co-conspirator is unforgivable.

    That the democrat party is irredeemably ideologically bankrupt is undeniable.

    While I won’t deny that success in california could possibly open the single-payer floodgates, I don’t have much hope for a state that somehow allowed itself to be dissuaded from passing a gmo labeling law a few years ago, and continues to insist that hrc should be president today on their say so.

    Something has gone seriously wrong out there. Perhaps it’s too much dependence on artificial intelligence, and not enough dependence on the actual kind.

    1. Carolinian

      Perhaps it all goes back to the way the abortion issue was “decided.” If legal abortion is the law of the land then why should states be able to restrict it? And so we have abortion continually being used as a wedge–in this case against single payer.

      1. ambrit

        Really, the “abortion” issue is a “wedge issue” used against the freedom of women.
        As I say to those with whom I have argued the issue; “I’ll give you abortion restrictions when you give me free and totally unrestricted contraception for anyone at any age.”

        1. Carolinian

          Well in this case NARAL is holding single payer hostage to a change in the CO constitution. So it becomes a wedge for both sides. Since there are wide regional disparities in support for abortion and contraception perhaps these services should be kept apart from things like “universal” health care. NGOs and other means could be found to help poor women with reproductive health problems. After all the Supreme Court decided abortion based on the right to privacy, not the right to health care.

          What I’m saying is that it all comes down to the failure to legalize abortion through legislation or Constitutional amendment rather than Supreme Court decree. If on the other hand one believes that the right to a safe and legal abortion is an inherent human right–no social consensus needed–then perhaps NARAL was correct that it should have been included in the proposed new system.

          1. ambrit

            I thought that things like insurance and medical were state level issues, not being reserved to the national government in the Constitution. Working from the precept that “All politics is local,” many “progressive,” not to mention “regressive” policy platforms play out at the state level. Many of the programs emanating from the Federal level are managed and run by the states. HUD is, Food Stamps is, Medicaid is, etc. etc. So, the entire concept of “universal” anything in a Federal Republic is almost Orwellian in its’ make up. I seem to remember a war breaking out over the control of the rules of what constitutes “property.”
            I keep going back to the observation that America is really a number of distinct regions loosely held together by a supposedly central power.

          2. Lambert Strether

            > it all comes down to the failure to legalize abortion through legislation or Constitutional amendment rather than Supreme Court decree.

            Yep. Hostage not only to NARAL but to NARAL’s failed strategy.

        2. Pat

          I would also say that it is a failure of the courts to recognize that this is a constitutional issue as it is an imposition of religious beliefs on others. Every law banning it is not only saying that women don’t know what they are doing it is one saying that the religious beliefs of people not remotely connected to the woman or their doctor are more important than those seeking or performing abortions. All of them should have been struck down years ago, regardless.

          But I’m weird that way.

          1. Mike

            I would guess that the abortion issue is, deep down, a population and racial issue. Just like our willingness to kill of red, brown, and black people, and only reluctantly other whites who horn in on our turf (thank you, Mr. Carlin), we must increase the white man’s repro rate to avoid being swamped by them “others”. Malthus is still very popular with the neo-cons who feel that Muslims and Hindi are just too numerous, and thus we slay them (thank you, Mr. Black).

    2. polecat

      Well, it was NARAL after all, who not so long ago put their support behind that punk, Joe Lieberman, rather than the more progressive Tedder Lamont ! NARAL has been keen on the GRIFT gravytrain for some time now, no ? … and I agree, the Democrats are bankrupt!!

      1. Pat

        Reminds one of Planned Parenthood picking Clinton over Sanders doesn’t it. Pretty sure there were money promises there as well.

    3. Eureka Springs

      Whatever went wrong…it happened decades back. Reagan, Pelosi, DiFi are more than enough proof of that.

  8. justanotherprogressive

    RE: “Rural divide WaPo. Even the WaPo’s catching on.”

    No, WaPo isn’t catching on. They are still trying to interpret Rural America through their East Coast neoliberal lenses.

    You cannot talk about Rural America without talking about land ownership and the changes that have occurred since the 50’s. Larger tracts of land are being held by fewer people, and those large tracts of land need fewer people to operate. Those farming related jobs, like running silos, and meat slaughterhouses, tractor mechanics, etc that used to support the small towns have moved away and become consolidated. For example, you don’t do your own wheat harvesting any more using local people, you hire a combine company from Texas or where-ever.

    The jobs that existed in the past to support the small communities were mostly unskilled labor jobs – no one needed an education when you could get a job at the local silo or machine shop. You learned from your parents and then from your employer, so education was never valued that much in Rural America – it just wasn’t needed. But now those jobs no longer exist…..but the traditions remain……

    Rural America is mostly white because when the land grabs were going on, it was only whites that had the opportunity to get this land, and this land has been passed down through families and then sold off to guess who? Rich whites.

    Odd that nobody talks about this when talking about Rural America…….

    1. Montanamaven

      very astute. That is what happened to our small town. When I moved there 23 years ago, there was a farm supply store. Now he works at The Dollar Store. Many ranchers sold to millionaires and billionaires like our new congressman. Some of the former owners then became the ranch managers. My husband can’t afford to hire anybody, so he does the work himself. (Neither of his children want to ranch. The work is hard and the profit can be meager.)

  9. HBE

    MPR Article

    David Arbit, director of research and economics for the Minneapolis Association of Realtors, also said we’re not in a housing bubble.

    Something I commented on a few weeks back about Minnesota’s real estate market. We are most definitely in a bubble. Nearly all homes are on the market for under 2 weeks, and I’m seeing quite a few (~25%) get sold, and then relisted within a few months.

    These are not considered purchases, it’s a mania built on longer term 40 year fixed mortgages. Just like long term car loans the potential for default is massive.

    It seems ridiculous that banks would be offering such long terms knowing that a huge portion will default if there is the slightest economic hiccup. I guess it’s not an issue if the farthest into the future you look is the next quarter and achieving growth in a horrible economic climate. Extend the timeline a bit and I believe this is going to blow up in a lot of faces.

    But “were not in a housing bubble”, so all’s well. /s

    1. perpetualWAR

      Banks fund loans knowing full well that a default will be coming. Whaddya think credit default swaps means? When people don’t go to jail, they repeat the grift.

    2. Alex Morfesis

      The “term”(length) of most home loans is irrelevant…very few buy and hold a home until the loan is paid off…the amortization out to 40 years simply reduces the monthly payout. There were many reasons for the great late 1932 into 1933 crash in the usa, much caused by the hyper end of boom build in 1927 with the 5 year baloon notes due with no capacity(willing cooperation/market) to roll over the paper coming due…the HOLC and other govt actions extended them out to 15 years and then a sustainable market developed to push out to 30 years…

      The average american homeowner moves within a decade…

      Americans pay much more than many citizens of oecd or other advanced economies for housing in respects to interest rates and payment scheduled. Globally, citizens pay many multiples higher times income than americans do and too many american real estate “professionals” are stuck in a volker world of interest to income ratios…imagining 8, 10 &12 percent interest rates are just around the corner…that was a convenient anomaly to break interstate banking prohibitions…it was not real…it was a manufactured blip with a purpose…

  10. Annotherone

    Re: Rural Divide (WaPo)- Most of the commentary on that piece at WaPo is disheartening. As a dweller in semi-rural USA (town of some 24,000 souls in OK) I agree with commenter LexLincoln who wrote: “Americans love to pigeon-hole, to label any and everyone. It’s beyond ridiculous, it’s how we find ourselves and others boxed in to a set of values that are not of our making. Stop with the labeling, everyone. It’s a lazy and unproductive way of viewing the world. It’s a bigoted way to think, too. ”
    Also with commenter Thunder & Lightning:
    “……..Liberal rural people are now in danger of becoming the forgotten demographic. We do exist.”
    (In my own case, though, amend “Liberal” to read “lefty”).

    There seems to be an effort afoot in the USA not only to to perpetuate, but to widen, this rural/urban divide that is, after all, a natural phenomenon and one which can be found in all countries. It often exists without nearly as much rancour as is becoming apparent in the USA. Is a little understanding, from both sides, too much to ask? .

    1. jsn

      There is no institutional venue for such communications. The press, local governments and the US House & Senate all being owned by more or less the same people.

      On the other hand, I personally follow several dozen blogs and their associated commenters and find an encouraging pluralism and reasonableness distinctly dissociated from our formal institutions. This pluralism has been born out in conversations I’ve had with people across the continent in my business travels where even self identified Rs & Ds are alienated by their “own” rabid parties.

      It is down to us to build new institutions of citizenship outside the brainwashed sphere of corporatism that has engulfed all of our legacy institutions. The challenge is finding time outside of that required to get by in the current system for organizing and sustaining such a communicative space. Our hosts here are my heros!’

      1. Annotherone

        Agree 100% regarding our hosts’ heroic efforts!
        Though I haven’t had the same kind of experiences as you describe, I do appreciate your points.

    2. Lord Koos

      There are also plenty of right-wingers in “liberal” coastal cities as well as lefties in rural areas. The media loves to frame things in absolutes such as red-state/blue state… it’s lazy journalism, and most citizens don’t want to consider problems in a more nuanced fashion anyway, because that means having to take the time to educate yourself on the issues.

      There are so many ways to keep the American people divided. White/black/brown, rural/urban, boomers/millenials, well off/struggling, abortion, gun control, pro-war/anti-war, Democrats/Republicans etc. Our masters always have more than one hand to play.

  11. Lynne

    Re der Spiegel article:
    It’s disheartening too see yet again another article decrying the lack of civility and dehumanization of opponents like it’s a new phenomenon and soberly proclaiming that Trump bears responsibility. Yes, Trump is abhorrent. Yet years ago, David Gergen and Anderson Cooper were sniggering like schoolboys on national TV as they exchanged obscene jokes aimed at dehumanizing conservatives. Where was the concern then about their much-prized civility and coarsening? Or didn’t it matter because then the people being dehumanized were just masses from flyover country? Perhaps they should toddle over to the Washington Post and join in the pile on their readers are giving those who don’t live within an easy drive of a Whole Foods.

    1. Lynne

      Arrgh, sorry, didn’t get this finished in time. Wanted to say, for that matter, where were they during the attacks on Occupy, which went beyond ridicule into violence? Where were the calls for civility then?

      This is not new, and it has its roots in the divide and conquer tactics used to attack any of the 90% with the idea that they have a right to an opinion and say.

  12. Susan the other

    Hmmmm. The State Dept. is finally releasing most of the docs on the 1953 Iranian coup. We know this stuff already so the only purpose is probably for propaganda. Against another coup? When Moon of Alabama says that we have no strategy, it is mistaken. We have a strategy – as Diana Johnstone says – surely our strategy is for war with Russia, China and Iran. Not necessarily all at once. What we do not have is democracy. We have not been informed and so we look at all the surreptitious activity and say the military is incompetent. No they are not. They are doing what they have been told to do. And Iran is one of the targets. The last remaining target in the middle east. To leave now would waste all our efforts for the last 15 years. We have maintained a siege of Iran, we have surrounded Iran – and now we are losing momentum. Goofing up in Syria and Iraq. We are reluctant invaders especially in a time of instant exposure for false flag operations and etc. The old hands don’t know how to move this thing forward because it is so internationally illegal and so anti-democratic as to be treasonous. But that doesn’t cause their puppet masters to demure in the slightest. We are going to mess around over there until we can start a war with Iran.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      I agree with Moon – we have no strategy when it comes to foreign relations. Whomever talks to Trump last is our foreign policy, it seems. Where do we want to be in 5 years, 10 years? Is war and all its destruction the only option?

      But this lack of strategy is right in line with everything else in this country. We have no vision when it comes to science – where is it that we want to be in 10 years, 20 years? Do we want to be leaders or are we again waiting for a Sputnik crisis?

      We have no vision when it comes to education, what is it that our students need to know? Is education to just get them a job? Is education to make them better citizens? Why are we educating? Is it just to feed private education companies right now?

      We have no vision when it comes to the economy – where is it that the US will be in 20 years, 40 years? Our economy is based on a few people getting richer right now, but even they know this can’t last….so where are we going?

      1. jsn

        All central planning within the US sphere has been delegated by Govt to the private corporations that finance the careers of the political class.

        This has resulted in an oligarchical constellation of private power centers who’s foreign, domestic and industrial policies conflict. The only space where US policy remains coherent is that of labor policy where the policy is “anti ” and perfectly aligned across the oligarchy.

        The oligarchs are trying to institutionalize their current advantage which requires that 40 years from now looks as much like now is inhumanly possible. Hence our embrace of sanction, embargoe, surveillance, torture and assasination. From that perspective it is important that as many of us as possible be as ignorant as possible making the last 30 years education policy almost as “successful” as labor policy.

      2. Blennylips

        We may not have a vision for education, but the founders of PE were inspired by two “red scares” (1848, 1919) and as Gatto explains in “dumbing us down” that seven lessons are always taught:
        1. Confusion, 2. Class position, 3. Indifference, 4. Emotional dependency, 5. Intellectual dependency, 6. Provisional self-esteem, and 7. One can’t hide.

        At the ’91 NY state teacher of the year ceremony, Gatto, the winner, explains this to his colleagues: Why Schools Don’t Educate

      3. Elizabeth Burton

        Is it just to feed private education companies right now?

        Short answer: yes. It’s definitely not to “make better citizens,” given that any kind of in-depth study of history has been shunted aside for sound bites so the kids can spend the necessary amount of time boning up for the standardized tests that will decide whether their teachers will have jobs and/or their school stay open. As for civics, that’s off the curriculum in many if not most schools because the last thing those privatizing education want are people who understand they’ve being used and abused.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The strategy is to prevent China from undermining U.S. corporate and military influence.

      The growth industries under Obama were finance, defense, arguably tech, and resource extraction. Our competitors in the West are too small to undermine U.S. influence or too fractured to hurt the bottom line.

      Finance can move in a day.

      Why buy F-35s if you aren’t interested in conquest and don’t have a relationship where you need U.S. defenses?

      Tech? The Chinese and Russians aren’t stupid.

      Resource extraction? Mother Russia and Iran.

      China is still the Middle Kingdom in many ways and too large for its neighbors to simply accept Chinese commerce and culture without the risk of being overwhelmed (Vietnam’s original full name literally means a strategy for keeping the Chinese out). Iran and Russia are the answers to China’s problem. Unlike the former colonial powers counted as U.S. vassal states, Iran and Russia are sufficiently distant and potential self sufficient to tell China to take a hike at any old time (the UK is still a crummy island). Neighbors of China can use relations with Iran and Russia to gain access to China without being overwhelmed. Russia and Iran aren’t threats to overwhelm.countries such as Vietnam.

      Obama’s pivot to Asia was heard by the Chinese and Russians. The goal is to make Russia and Iran pariahs to prevent countries from using them as mediators between small countries and China.

      The growth of European ocean going trade occurred after the collapse of the Old Silk Road. What good is the U.S. Navy if their is a second one?

      The rumor around Kissinger is he represents a view that we should be aligned with Moscow against Beijing. At this point, the Russians won’t take that deal.

      Part of the neoconservative thought process is the wunderweapons used to great effect in First Gulf War would eventually be countered by China and a renewed Russia. The Seven Countries in Seven Years alarm raised by Wes Clarke was based on the notion that Russia would export air defense effectively making U.S. air power obsolete as we know it, meaning old fashioned boots on the ground and control of strategic points would control the world and subsequent trade.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I should add “OMG Russia” is also about the “End of History” by Francis Fukayama.

        The Marxist historian (key word) like idea of the inevitable victory of Versailles on the Potomac over all the villains of the world can’t simply happen if countries keep changing. Their comfortable position might not last.

      2. Susan the other

        This theory of new boots on the ground is mind-boggling – because the only thing that can counter the vast electro-politic is boots on the ground? In any serious way. And otherwise this also makes sense. It is like some chemical process separating lighter solutions and leaving the real sediment of the issue. Which now in the 21 century we should be able to negotiate. If not, there is probably a national ego problem.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Tech will always be countered by tech. At the end of the day, soldiers are necessary, and people much like Goering noted don’t have the desire to simply go and take their neighbor’s stuff. The trick is to get it with as few as people as possible while wunder weapons let you do it.

          These are not nice people. Obama’s “American Exceptionalism” garbage was simply an update of the “White Man’s Burden” for a more modern America. Obama as a follower was largely putting into action the general consensus on seizing the opportunity created by the collapse of the USSR. There is a certain distrust for European players as part of Old Europe who need to be minded as doddering parents. Americans can’t be colonial masters when the effective difference is we don’t put the relationship on maps.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          TPP was ultimately about trying to cut China out of world trade. To sell it to the various industries and countries, Obama had to offer up otherwise seemingly bizarre concessions because if he makes the end goal public it becomes an all out trade war and forces BRIICS to move faster so to speak.

          It probably irritates Europe a good deal. Africa and South America certainly won’t like it.

          Brzezinki’s book “The Grand Chessboard” spells it out in his title. The goal of chess is to control the board and subsequently movement by bringing up your supported units faster than your opponent. Don’t get attached to favorite pieces. White should always win in a game between equally matched opponents. The book is about preventing a Eurasian power from challenging U.S. global hegemony. The Seventh Fleet, not Wall Street or Hollywood, gives the U.S. power. The Silk Road weakens the Seventh Fleet.

          In person, these people are all exceedingly nice and probably polite. I bet they say “please” and “thank you.”

          Lavrov declaration that the U.S. only sees the world as enemies and vassals wasn’t a random politician speaking off the cuff. Lavrov is a serious diplomat who has survived since the USSR (I believe he was the last Soviet Ambassador to the UN). He isn’t a creature of Putin. If he says that kind of thing, you can bet its how world leaders see it.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Tillerson’s recent statement before Congress (paraphrased): “I’ve been around the world and have not met a single leader who told me America needs to toughen its stance against Russia”.

            I’m afraid however that the ruling ethos of the Republic (i.e. Naked Kleptocracy) trumps all of the geo-political stuff. Certifiable actors like McCain and Graham do nothing but ensure the flow of spice to the arms business and Alpha Male Trump goes along, just like his predecessor did.

            At the beginning of his term Bubba sat down with Wall St and asked them what would govern the state of the economy during his term. “The bond market” came the reply, so Bubba worked to create a surplus they would like. This time it seems The Orange Man sat down with the same folks, asked the same question, and this time the reply was “arms sales, military, and war”. America’s a one-trick economy, can’t operate without the Merchants of Death stuff (of course you could beat swords to plowshares but nobody seems to know how to get that going).

    3. HopeLB

      I agree with Susan. Last night on the c-span they had a panel discussing after school programs and the need for continued funding. At the end many of them made the point in various ways that after school programs help ready recruits for the military! It was astonishing! We are indeed headed for another big one. I certainly looks as though there is long term planning involved here.

  13. Marco

    RE Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Managment Organization (KCTMO)

    Just a US observer here trying to think of an American equivalent to KCTMO. What an opaque little fiefdom wrt to who really controls this org. I see their Wikipedia page has finally been updated to reflect Grenfell. Although it’s still sparse with regards to their budget, how they receive funding and who behind the curtain really executes real power. If/when/how the Tories deflect blame for this tragedy the heads at KCTMO seem like they will be the first to roll.

  14. Ignim Brites

    “The Toxic State of America”. Pretty much standard issue and in fact achronistic lamentation on America’s divided politics. It misses the really new element in the toxicity; namely, the practically mainstream observation that a deep state coup is underway. A prequisite to success will be a climate of anarchy and goverment collapse so as to provide a defacto justification for the seizure of power. So who is to say for certain that the baseball game assassin wasn’t a Treadstone type operative? There remains another key element missing though and that is the name and face of an eligible dictator. The only one who comes to mind as a possibility is David Gergen. LOL!

  15. Oregoncharles

    “2017 Surface Pro least repairable ever; Surface Laptop is made of glue”
    A disposable computer. Is it cheap?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are Han dynasty lacquer cups and bowls that have survived for for 2,000 years…practically not-degradable, like plastic ones.

      Maybe we use it instead of glue.

  16. Altandmain

    This is an older article, but well worth a read:

    The smug style in American liberalism: It’s not helping, folks — but there’s a better way

    Caitlin Johnson on the MSM:

    Fracking and earthquakes:

    1. justanotherprogressive

      Injecting water into faults or dissolvable formations has been known to cause seismic activity since the 70’s, but it is nice to see that what is old is new again….

      I love OK’s take on fracking and earthquakes. No, no, it’s not the fracking that causes the earthquakes, it’s the waste water injection……..
      Of course, wastewater injection is a byproduct of fracking…….

      1. Altandmain

        Bottom line is that fracking is looking less and less attractive given the environmental impacts.

        I think that one of the positive aspects of the low price of natural gas and oil is that it makes the hardest to get fossil fuels (and therefore worst polluting) very unprofitable.

        The downside is that it slows down the delay of adopting alternatives.

      2. bob

        “No, no, it’s not the fracking that causes the earthquakes, it’s the waste water injection”

        It can’t possibly be related to the strings of anti-tank mines that they use to “frack”.

        Where’s the data? That many smaller, planned seismic events can be used to very effectively map where the faults very accurately. When they are blasting, they are looking at screens that show the extent of the blast effects in real time.

        Oh, that’s right. That’s the intellectual property of the people who are responsible for the blasting. Trade secrets.

    2. Marieann

      Wow, thanks for the Caitlin Johnson link, she has quite a few very interesting articles.

      I just started reading The Untold History of the US, as recommended by one of the NC readers. I have just finished the introduction and it nauseated me….I’m not sure I’ll be able to get through it.

    3. Julia Versau

      It’s Caitlin Johnstone, FYI (not Johnson). I bother to note this because she deserves not only the attention (she’s fantastic), but proper attribution.

      1. Marieann

        You’re right, sorry. I bookmarked her page.
        I have a lot of reading…her writing took me down the rabbit hole……on a Sunday too, when dinner needs to be made :)

  17. Alex Morfesis

    The strange coup against helmut kohl…have tried to pierce thru the money trail that via shaeuble led to kohl…a not so small part of me tends to question the narrative and wonders did muti and wolfgang(among other parties in interest) create this

    seems the only person effected by it was kohl…and his fingerprints were not exceedingly close to the cash…

    may his memory be eternal…

  18. cocomaan

    Der Spiegel “Toxic State of America”

    A political battle is raging in the United States in which the competing camps are no longer engaging in debate. Instead, each side is denying the other’s right to participate in the democratic process.

    I resent the idea that there are only two sides to the democratic process in America. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people find this kind of action repugnant. The extremist idiots are in the minority. If you said that half of Hillary voters would find this guy’s action acceptable, you’re talking about 30 million people and that’s a paltry 10% of the country’s population.

    As Annotherone said above about the dangers of labeling, I think it’s equally damaging to say that there are clear cut sides in what is going on here.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I resent the idea that there are only two sides to the democratic process in America.

      Unfortunately, there are two sides, indeed, that dominate the democratic process in America…they occupy the attention of our mass media (in fact, constitute the political reality for them). Those who don’t vote more or less do not exist in that reality, that world.

      We can try to get money out of politics and send in more saviours to DC, but until the captured mass media is liberated, their propaganda stopped, the coup lives…the sun continues to shine for the empire.

  19. Alex Morfesis

    The troubles reach back into america again…for reasons that have somewhat confused me over the last few decades(ok…maybe some people misinterpret some of my relations) the troubles seem to find me…it has come to my attention some orangemen have formed an irish band for the specific purpose of them playing at known ira-i$h supporting establishments to then take confrontational actions….

    will ceases never wonder

  20. Darn

    Sloppy work by the usually good Robert Fisk despite 40 years of writing about Northern Ireland.

    “This final attempt at Home Rule thus saved Lloyd George’s life – but it doomed Ireland to a harsh war of independence and, later, to civil war” — if Home Rule happened without partition wouldn’t there have been civil war between the IRA and UVF?

    “Protestants continued to control their own Cabinet at Stormont, but only as a province – something which is undefined in UK law and which placed the Northern Ireland majority (then) as both half in and half out of the mother country”. Yeah, there isn’t such thing as a “province” in law, and Northern Ireland is just Northern Ireland. Half in and half out, though? Scotland and Wales also have devolution, are they half in and half out?

    “The people of Northern Ireland are thus citizens of the United Kingdom – but cannot claim, as the Protestants have, to be legally British”. When Protestants say British, they mean part of a nation which covers the whole UK. The legal term for citizenship of the UK is “British citizenship” which is what it says inside the passport. Nobody ever said Northern Ireland is part of Great Britain.

    “Britain imposed direct rule on Northern Ireland – after the brutal Protestant “B” Specials and the Protestant-run Royal Ulster Constabulary had been used to crush Nationalist pro-democracy demonstrations in the six counties”. Used by who? By the UK govt? No — by the NI govt, which would not give control over the security forces to the UK govt, which is why the UK govt got rid of the NI govt, imposing direct rule.

    “the majority might have welcomed Westminster’s decision, since it implied that the province was part of Britain” — no, it just meant NI was still part of the UK, but without devolution.

    “A hard Brexit might put the border under police control. …. In reality, of course … the very terms soft and hard Brexit are ridiculous. Nobody anywhere in the UK knows what they mean”. So why does he say a hard Brexit might put the border under police control if he doesn’t know what a soft one would do?

    “anti-abortion, misogynist, homophobic” — if you like; the UUP are also against gay marriage and abortion, the SDLP is against abortion, SF is in favour only in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and rape. The DUP allowed an Assembly vote on pardoning convicted homosexuals to proceed, and prevented a vote on a wrecking amendment. Misogynist? Hmm, led by a woman, like SF, but unlike the UUP and SDLP.

    “diresputable crew” — yeah, but see above about the UUP, SDLP, and SF.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I continue to be proud that my Scots-Irish ancestors took a good look at Northern Ireland and got the h… out.

      On the other hand, I don’t wear orange on St. Patrick’s Day.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Orangemen don’t?

          Yes, it would be rude; that’s what I mean. That, and I despise the whole colonization idea.

          1. Darn

            Orangemen don’t parade then, on the 12th July mostly. (They’re not able to undo colonisation after 400 yrs, imagine if America did, and the Republic is unable to absorb them without their own consent, the boom didn’t last long enough to make it feasible. Insert boilerplate remark about the NHS being better value than health insurance in Oregon, etc etc etc)

  21. Ignim Brites

    “When Generals Make Policies – From Tactics To Strategy To Political Decision”. Andrew Bachevich has an interesting piece over at the LATimes and referenced in Realclearworld. He suggests that Trump is setting up the generals to take the fall for failure in Afghanistan. Now that the Divine Monsieur Obama is out of office, elite opinion will turn decisively against “the good war”. If Mattis were smart he would pull a De Gualle and recommend complete withdrawl from Afghanistan citing lack of political committment to victory. Not only would this put the onus for failure on the political class (although really who really cares at this point) but would recommend him to the deep state as a potential strong man should the coup succeed.

    1. Darn

      Ugh. Is political humour getting blacker? Easy to see why. Is supposed to be a feature of Russian humour (so you work for Putin?), and both would correlate with the “deaths from despair”. Discuss.

  22. robnume

    On the 8 Republicans/Health Care: So, as I understand it, per the Senators quoted in this article, the real problem with U.S. ‘healthcare’ is that insurance companies are not making enough money? Yeah, that’s the real problem here. What a bunch of Scuzzballs!
    Single. Payer. Now.

  23. Plenue


    “Legal experts say obstruction is difficult to prove—Robert Mueller may have to discover what was being protected, too.”

    What about the little fact that even if Trump was obstructing justice, he was 100% within his legal authority to do so? The FBI is not independent of executive power; the President can fire its Director, or even shut down specific investigations, whenever he feels like it. And even that is assuming there was any ‘justice’ to obstruct. But there was no investigation into any crime. There was a drawn out investigation into if any crimes had even been committed. It doesn’t speak much to the quality of the ‘legal experts’ in the media if they miss basic facts like these.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is this about ‘I hope you can let it go?’

      If so, there is

      1. I hope you can let it go.
      2. You’re in charge, I hope you can get it go.
      3. I hope you can let it go. But that’ your job to determine. Don’t let anyone influence you.

      That’s why they say, ‘the speech, the whole, entire speech, nothing but from his speech.”

      Who knows if the former director didn’t hear the rest of 3, or forgot to write it down.

  24. Patrick Donnelly

    Diana should be made aware that the tsunami weapon merely requires detonation of the clathrates on adjacent seabed to destroy cities without radiation fallout….. except when the target has a “nukular” power station or 8….

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