Links 6/27/17

Uranus is a ‘nightmare’ with a lopsided, tumbling magnetic shield that opens and closes every day like a light switch Daily Mail

Why Italy’s €17bn bank rescue deal is making waves across Europe FT

Draghi Says ECB Policy Has Helped Reduce Inequality WSJ

Next global crash could come “with a vengeance”, central bankers have warned City AM

87th Annual Report (PDF) Bank for International Settlements. Reader comments on a post regarding this report were pleasingly caustic; here’s the whole thing.

Investor nervousness rises as yield curve flattens FT

Federal student loan interest rates to rise Saturday CNBC. “Rates were set based on the Treasury Department’s May 10 auction of 10-year notes.” Now there’s a system that makes it easy for families to plan.

California to List Glyphosate as Cancer-Causing; Monsanto Vows Fight US News. The real cancer is privatizing the world’s germplasm


White House accuses Syria of planning another chemical attack, warns it would ‘pay a heavy price’ Telegraph

Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack Counterpunch. Oddly, or not, Hersh’s story hasn’t been picked up by any mainstream media.

The Qatar Crisis Jacobin

Will Macron’s Marchers take power? Le blog de Thomas Piketty, Le Monde (in English).

France’s Macron ‘to end state of emergency’, but keep its anti-terror powers AFP

Sylvie Goulard a été rémunérée à hauteur de 10.000 euros par mois par un think tank américain Le JDD (via). Google translation. I checked with the Académie française, and yes, “think tank” is French for think tank.

Brazil’s Crisis Deepens as President Michel Temer Is Accused of Corruption AP

Poll shows Lula and Silva tied in 2018 Brazil presidential vote Reuters


Global banks should beware China’s deal spree FT

Sino-Russian venture poised to chase Airbus, Boeing Nikkei Asian Review


SPENDING’S UP AND DUP Theresa May faces fury as deal with the DUP to stay in power could cost British taxpayers £24BILLION The Sun. When you’ve lost The Sun…

The Conservative-DUP deal is great news for the DUP, but bad news for Theresa May New Statesman

Grenfell tower: The beginning of the end for the Tory austerity regime Independent

Grenfell Tower: Cladding firm ends global sales for tower blocks BBC

San Francisco Is Burning GQ

Health Care

Senate Obamacare repeal bill would leave 22 million more without health insurance McClatchy. The CBO report drops. The simplest metric of all makes the bill even harder to sell.

Here’s where Republican senators stand on the health care bill CNN. Opposes in current form but open to negotiations: 6. Still reviewing but has concerns: 3. Still reviewing but had specific demands: 4.

Collins, King won’t support Senate bill to replace Obamacare Bangor Daily News

Senate Obamacare repeal on brink of defeat Politico. “The party will meet in a full caucus lunch on Tuesday for a gut check and some senators will dine with Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday evening.”

Senate health bill breaks GOP promises on costs and Trump’s on coverage USA Today

American Medical Association: Healthcare bill violates the ‘do no harm’ standard Business Insider. So, 540,000 deaths over the next decade (BCRA) violates “do no harm,” but 320,000 deaths (ACA) does not?

Trump Wants Health Care Bill by August Recess Roll Call

A White House-backed group is going after a Republican senator who refuses to support the GOP healthcare bill Business Insider. Dean Heller.

The Senate’s Secretly Bipartisan Health Bill Avik Roy, NYT. Well, neoliberalism is bipartisan.

* * *

Democrats Help Corporate Donors Block California Health Care Measure, And Progressives Lose Again David Sirota, Business Insider. A good wrap-up, well worth a read, and includes a discussion of Proposition 98.

Planned Parenthood Supports Shelving Single-Payer (Again) Progressive Army

House Ethics Committee is reviewing allegations against three Democrats WaPo

Could Travis County Have The Best Bet Against Election Hacking? Texas Monthly. Betteridge’s Law….

New Cold War

The Compartments in WaPo’s Russian Hack Magnum Opus emptywheel. (My own views here and here.) “Whatever else this article is designed to do, I think, it is designed to be a threat to Putin, from long gone Obama officials”

The WaPo strikes another blow for the Deep State against Russia Fabius Maximus

Open Thread 2017-25 (first item) Moon of Alabama

Trump Transition

Justices agree to weigh in on travel ban, allow parts of it to go into effect SCOTUSblog

Trump sends FBI director nomination to the Senate The Hill

Trump CIA Director Mike Pompeo says leaking on rise thanks to ‘worship’ of Edward Snowden Independent (Re Silc).

Trump a Mostly Invisible President at Koch Political Summit Bloomberg

A ‘dangerously erratic’ Donald Trump doesn’t solve crises, he creates them Sidney Morning Herald

Addressing Trump’s Errant Foreign Policy The American Conservative (Re Silc). “But on a broader basis, the president has allowed his non-interventionist stance to be subverted by the Republican establishment. He has backed away from seeking an alliance with Russia. He has accepted continued deep American involvement in the Middle East. He has given the Pentagon more money, which, without military reform, just buys more expensive defeats. He has pursued strategically irrelevant quarrels with Iran and, dangerously, North Korea. This is not what ‘America First’ looks like.”

Trumping the Constitution Jack Balkin. Seems to think “domestic propaganda machines” operate on behalf of only one party, but an interesting framework.

Kushner Adds Prominent Lawyer Abbe Lowell to Defense Team NYT. With Jamie Gorelick, quite a team.

US court grants Elsevier millions in damages from Sci-Hub Nature. A bit stale, still worth a read.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Exclusive: U.S. warship stayed on deadly collision course despite warning – container ship captain Reuters

Syrian dogfight reveals F-35 stealth fighter may be toothless tiger Read all the way to the end.

Why are the Western Balkans in crisis? These are the three primary tensions. WaPo

The Fall of the USSR Ian Welsh

Three journalists leaving CNN after retracted article CNN. It took the Times a lot longer to get rid of Judy Miller!

Class Warfare

Understanding Income Risk: New Insights from Big Data Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Useful for the precariat?

These workers’ lives are endangered while contractors running nuclear weapons plants make millions USA Today

Amazon Robots Poised to Revamp How Whole Foods Runs Warehouses Bloomberg

Myths of Job-Killing Robots Obscure Real Causes of Inequality Truthout

How a Rising Minimum Wage Affects Jobs in Seattle NYT

Poor teeth Aeon

Socialism’s Future May Be Its Past Bhaskar Sunkara, NYT

African Americans Have Lost Untold Acres of Land Over the Last Century The Nation

The Silence of the Lambs TNR

U.S. Mayors Back 100% Renewable Energy, Vow to Fill Climate Leadership Void Inside Climate News

Fathers & Daughters NYRB. On Louis CK.

The Mere Presence of Your Smartphone Reduces Brain Power, Study Shows The University of Texas at Austin (CL). That’s not a bug…

Video imaging of single molecule DNA replication Science Daily. Video:

Antidote du jour (via):

Apparently, cheetahs are really nervous animals, so some zoos give them “support dogs” to relax.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


      1. Alex Morfesis

        Tovarich, when everyone have less money then we all more poor and reduced inequality available for annual reporting

        Yes some are “morequal” but still we have the equal word in phrasiology…

        No no…not kraziology…that category only for special former important peoples taking nice staycation on other side of urals…

  1. SeanL

    Just to note that in Australia higher ed the interest rate for student loan liabilities (income contingent loans) = consumer price index (~2%). Which means that outstanding loans do NOT grow in real terms. So there is no ‘time’ penalty for those that take longer to pay their loans off.

  2. Romancing The Loan

    The San Francisco Is Burning article is a really, really well-written and zeitgeist-y piece. The landlord’s lack of conscience is chilling, the fact that he only went to prison for eighteen months (when one of his tenants would have done ten years at least) is infuriating, and the parts about how stories of the brutality of the police and the rich are starting to spread (and be exaggerated) among the remaining poor makes me wonder when they’re going to start shooting back.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Agreed. Very interesting. Particularly enjoyed this bit with regard to this proudly defiant “sanctuary city”:

      “They recognize this is a Mexican neighborhood until someone dangles some money to do a luxury condo and suddenly it’s not so important it’s a Mexican neighborhood,” said Spike. “They like everything about them except for them.”

      Baghdad by the Bay is the way SF used to refer to itself, if I recall. Presumably they still do.

    2. ambrit

      The basic metric seems to be that “shots heard in the night,” to which we have become inured, are acceptable as long as the shots are not heard in the “gated enclaves” of the Enabling 10%.
      The Republican Baseball team practice shooting should be a wake up call, but it won’t be. The “lazy mans'” way will win out; treat the symptoms, not the disease.
      The Black Panthers were feared by their contemporary elites precisely because they agitated for attacks on the real oppressors. As long as the poor and “of colour” fight each other, things are fine for your average “elite.” Organize those same “battling deplorables” and one has a potent striking force.
      United Front.

      1. Alex Morfesis

        Not to be to difficult, but “shots heard in the night” are much more likely coming from the “$@fe” fortress communities…twice as many people shoot themselves than shoot someone else…being an evil drone lemming is not natural for most…

        The panthers were feared most for their coordinated and mostly successful free breakfast program for children…

        violence makes for some “useful” filler between commercials and ads but scares no one with any puppeteering capacities…

        To a puppeteering rentier the greatest violence is competition and reduced capital inflows…

        didn’t say reduced profits…

        capitalism is about capital…

        profits are malleable…

        capital can be deposited and deployed today

      2. JohnnyGL

        “The Black Panthers were feared by their contemporary elites precisely because they agitated for attacks on the real oppressors. ”

        — Not to pick a bone with you, but I suspect many of the elder spokepersons for the Panthers themselves would claim they were only exercising their rights to defend themselves from police attacks. Those who wanted to smear them often suggested they were extremists who advocated violent attacks against police.

        1. Blennylips

          Ah, brings back Radical chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers.


          The first piece is set in the duplex on Park Avenue in Manhattan inhabited by conductor Leonard Bernstein, his wife the actress Felicia Cohn Montealegre, and their three children. Bernstein assembled many of his wealthy socialite friends to meet with representatives of the controversial Black Panthers and discuss ways to help their cause.[2] The party was a typical affair for Bernstein, a longtime Democrat, who was known for hosting civil rights leaders at such parties.

          Now that was a cocktail party.

    3. Mark P

      Across the Bay in Berkeley, a suspicious number of buildings have been catching fire over the last couple of years, too.

      1. Procopius

        Later in the story it admits there is nothing unusual or suspicious about the number of fires. The number of fires has been pretty constant over recent years. It’s just their financial value that is making people suspicious. But property values have been shooting up so fast and so much in San Francisco you pretty much have to be a conspiracy theorist to to find them suspicious. I find them suspicious.

    4. Kaligula

      The poor are already rising in protest. In the article, the owner was afraid to walk into the building and let property manager to the work.

      It will take awhile, because it is hard to find time to arm and plot counteraction when you spend tons of time just ekeing a living (barely!) But once the threshold is breached, watch out…

      It is slso worrisome in that it foretells breaking down society’s self-governance and acceptance of mayhem. Will be bloody! Oligarchs won’t go away quietly.

      1. Romancing The Loan

        I don’t think the owner’s fear of his tenants was rational. It was certainly depicted as a rationalization for class-based distaste combined with not wanting to do the work required to maintain a multi-unit residential building.

  3. funemployed

    It always gladdens me to see rejections of the ridiculous notion that the economy will fall apart if, for some reason, technology makes it easier to make stuff.

    Still, the notion that the only “work” that counts is that which results in measurable increases in productivity strikes me as exceedingly wrongheaded. Raising healthy happy children is work. Carrying and bearing children is work. Cleaning up is work. Caring for the elderly is work (whether you’re paid or not, the task is the task). Throwing a dinner party is work. Participating in democratic politics is work. Socializing and play are fundamentally necessary to functioning human communities and mental health, whether you call them “work.” or not.

    In a society where large numbers of people hate their jobs and have little time or energy left to live satisfying lives, a society where many professionals put in 60+ hrs a week just to not get fired, a society where large numbers of other people live desperate, exhausting lives because they can’t find “work,” and yet, large portions of the vital work of politics, community building, finding happiness, seeking and sharing knowledge, renewing family ties, cultural renewal, raising and educating children, apprenticeship in the tasks where there are expertise shortages (e.g. medicine), and caring for others and our environment goes undone. Well, that society sucks, which means there’s a lot work that needs doing that isn’t being done. If we can’t figure out how to allocate resources, that’s a political/economic problem, not a technological one.

    tl;dr: We’ll be out of work when everyone is satisfied with how stuff is. Til then, there’s work to do.

    1. funemployed

      Also, all exponential functions eventually turn into a functionally vertical line, which anyone who paid attention in high school math class knows. So….

      1. Blennylips

        funemployed: +1000! for that first comment.

        In the real world with physical limits, exponential descriptions tend to turn into logistics curves.

        “Infinite Growth On A Finite Planet”
        infinite growth on a finite planet
        and it’s not gonna work too
        well, we all have something burning
        deep inside our brains
        this way of life that we perpetuate cannot sustain
        hitting peak oil
        still we seek oil
        fossil fuels are going the way of the dinosaur
        infinite growth on a finite planet
        and it’s not gonna work too
        wells are running dry
        the earth is cooking in the heat
        population soaring,our experiment complete
        well, we refuse to reduce our refuse
        we got a vortex of trash in the Pacific Ocean
        the size of Texas, y’all
        infinite growth on a finite planet
        and it’s not gonna last too
        long ago we missed the chance to study and revise
        but we don’t look for warning signs
        we only look at bottom lines

    2. Ignacio

      Good commentary! I make similar points when I talk to my friends. There is no lack of tasks, jobs, things to do and many more can be added to those you mention. Societies arbitrarily give economic values to all different tasks and when you think about it… well it is crazy! Why on earth a soccer player earns millions and a bus driver few thousands? Why on earth activities like banking or advertising, that don’t add real value, cannibalize most tasks in our societies? (note I avoid using the word “economies”). You can even argue that these introduce great distortions like the income differences between the soccer player and the bus driver. Why on earth health care is care for the wealthy? Why on earth we do not value environmental protection?…. Last but not least, why on earth nukes are accumulated here and there?

      We should start de-economizing our view of the mankind.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Societies arbitrarily give economic values to all different tasks

        If only it were arbitrary.

        1. jsn

          Excellent point.
          To the extent a “pricing function” works, it is as a result of the prior political decisions that structured the market.

          Our market is set up to maximize rents so a sports star naturally makes orders of magnitude more than a nurse: look at the vertically integrated tiers of rents a sports star throws off.

          “It’s the politics of the sneaker pimps” (ht:public enemy)

    3. polecat

      A typical summer’s day of ‘non-work’ for polecat : wash dirty dishes, grind & brew morning coffee, go out and collect chicken poop and put into compost bin, turn said compost, feed chickens ….. so they poop even moarrr, uhg ! , check laying boxes for eggs, fill water dispenser, make more ‘bee tea’ syrup, place newly filled feeder jars in bee hives, add a bar .. or two to hive boxes, feed fish in pond, water veggies, water ornamentals …. and don’t forget the bamboo …. , prune chamomile, pick off said chamomile flowers from stems, set out chamomile to dry in sun, thin out grape vines, weed yard, give said weeds to hens (yum !) …. , start a load of wash, hang laundry to dry on solar dryer, take a break …. read somenakedcapitalism, deadhead perennials of spent flowers, take a shower, kiss wife, make dinner (yum !), chauffeur child from work to home (does not own a car !), watch a movie, read in bed, sleep, next morning : repeat …….

      But hey …. I don’t have a ‘paying’ ‘gig’….. so I really don’t count, as I’m just a ‘useless eater’ , therefore, I DON’T DESERVE DECENT HEALTH CARE, OR POLITICIANS WHO DON’T LIE OR GRIFT, OR NICE THINGS** !!

      **actually, I already have ALL the nice things one could want !

  4. PlutoniumKun

    SPENDING’S UP AND DUP Theresa May faces fury as deal with the DUP to stay in power could cost British taxpayers £24BILLION The Sun. When you’ve lost The Sun…

    The Conservative-DUP deal is great news for the DUP, but bad news for Theresa May New Statesman

    I’m amazed at the political ineptness from May. On the day after the election a DUP spokesman said that there was no way they would ever vote for a Corbyn government – this is stating the obvious, but I was surprised that a DUP member would be stupid enough to give the game away and so throw away their main leverage in negotiating. But the Tories completely ignored this and did a deal with them anyway – a deal which has huge potential to blow up in their faces. They could and should have simply called the DUP’s bluff – there is no way the DUP would vote down the government if it gave an advantage to Corbyn.

    The deal is very dangerous. Not least because the DUP have proven themselves deeply corrupt. It also causes huge problems for the Northern Ireland peace process and will hugely complicate Brexit, making the DUP a powerbroker in any agreement over Irish border issues.

    1. ambrit

      Is Sinn Fein a Communist oriented organization, or is that just the IRA? Even an aging hybrid anglo such as myself finds it confusing. There is so much propaganda, so little clarity. Conflicts going back to Bad King John in the thirteenth century are so hard to resolve. (Even I’ll admit that Cromwell was a p—k in his “governance” of the Irish Catholics. Oh Great God, deliver us from “devout” leaders.)
      One Ireland sounds like such a sensible solution. Do it like America does, with “State” governments to handle divergences of social norms within a Federal framework.
      Time for work. Toodles!

      1. PlutoniumKun

        No, Sinn Fein is not, and never was Communist oriented. The hard line leftist Marxist grouping within the Sinn Fein/IRA left in the original ‘split’ back in the early 1970’s (they became the ‘Official’ IRA and the Workers Party, later absorbed by the Irish Labour Party). Republican leftists tended to associated with the INLA/IRSP, an avowedly Marxist grouping which peaked in the 1980’s, but has gradually faded into irrelevance, although there are occasional attempts to revive the IRSP (Irish Republican Socialist Party).

        At present, Sinn Fein has a number of distinct elements, ranging from very mildly left of centre to more conventional left wing. A strong element (informally led by Pearse Doherty, an up and coming Donegal SFer) admires Syriza, etc., and see themselves as populist anti-capitalists, but the mainstream (as represented by Gerry Adams/Mary Lou MacDonald) would be comfortably within mainstream European left wing establishment politics. In politics in the Republic they have tended to find themselves in a niche between the Trotskyist left wing groups on one side, and the Irish Labour Party (very firmly Blairite) and Fianna Fail (centrist, vaguely left on economics, conservative on other issues) on the right.

        Sinn Fein have tended to deliberately blur their economic policy simply because they see themselves as a national liberation movement, and never wanted to alienate their many quite conservative rural supporters by identifying with the hard left. So their economics tends to be of the fairly populist non-ideological variety. Plenty of individuals within the party would be very left wing, but there are also plenty who would hardly be called left wing or progressive at all. The traditional hard left in Ireland (excluding the IRSP) have traditionally been very anti-Republican, although they’ve tended to keep schtum on that when campaigning in working class districts.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Yep. As you may guess, I have lots of Irish relatives and Sinn Fein does divide people in the way you describe. Ironically, had he not died, Martin McGuinness might have embodied the ‘Only Nixon could go to China’ maxim (as he was an ex-IRA member but trusted even by the late DUP ‘saint’ – haha – Ian Paiseley) but Gerry Adams engenders a lot of suspicion as an opportunist. Thus Sinn Fein haven’t yet ‘broken through’ – but if Adams stood aside in favour of the newer generation I think they’d exercise much more power and influence across the whole island of Ireland.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Yes, Martin McGuinness’s death is tragic in many respects, not least that he was the best placed Republican to negotiate a deal that could protect the peace over Brexit. Adams is enormously powerful and popular within Sinn Fein, but he does not have the same ability as McGuinness to appeal to those outside Republicanism. I’m not quite sure his chosen successor – Mary Lou McDonald – has that ability either. She is quite an impressive person (she represents my constituency), but she doesn’t have much appeal outside the party and is an unknown in Northern Ireland.

        2. hemeantwell

          A tweak of PK’s point: the Official wing was repudiated by the INLA for cleaving to a gradualist, “the contradictions will mature in the long run” interpretation of Marxism that has become, more or less rightly, associated with accomodationist Marxist parties in Europe. This goes back at least to the struggles over revisionism in the German SPD in the late 1800s.

          In the context of Irish Marxism I think you’re right to talk about a blurring out of means of production expropriative principles. That isn’t to say that the INLA didn’t think of themselves as ditching, for good reasons, any illusions about capitalism/British imperialism they regarded the Official wing as maintaining. But I think that, in terms of practice, they were inclined to frame this difference militarily, both in terms of choice of targets — British imperialism and its representatives — and frequency of attacks. To them, more mechanistic, in the long run we’ll inevitably win versions of Marxism would lead to military quiescence, which would then risk a recurrence of the failures to defend the Catholic community that led to “IRA = I ran away” ridicule in the late 60s.

      2. Terry Flynn

        Sinn Fein are playing the long game. If this leads to a resumption of Stormont then they win extra money for their constituencies – win. If it doesn’t and the DUP’s desire for a customs union (to maintain a ‘soft border’ fails (as it probably will), then it strengthens their case that the UK govt can’t be trusted and stiffens resolve among Nationalists that their brand of secession from the Union is the only solution.

        This deal is only going to weaken support in Great Britain that we should be ‘the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland‘. Own goal for the Tories and NI unionists.

      3. Mark P.

        Sinn Fein is officially a Marxist-Leninist organization and supported the USSR when that was still around. In practice, following the Soviet collapse, one faction move towards espousing free-market economics, and generally the whole party has drifted a bit from the official line.

        And sure, one Ireland is a sensible solution and furthermore the British have wanted to offload the expense of North Ireland for decades. Even before this deal with the DUP, it received more public money and generated less tax revenue per head than any other part of the UK, including Scotland. Per annum costs usually have run between 9-11 billion sterling. Trouble is, the majority of the Northern Irish don’t want to leave.

        I’m over in the UK now. There’s enough resentment from pretty much every region and segment of society here to this May-DUP deal — on the Tory side, not only the SUN but the TIMES dislikes it — that the blowback to it sooner or later is going to take down one or all of those involved. May is a supremely maladroit politician.

        1. makedoanmend

          No, the current Sinn Fein party (the only remaining Sinn Fein party to my knowledge) , was not and is not a Marxist or a communist party.

          Sinn Fein the Workers Party (or Official Sinn Fein) was nominally a Marxist-Leninist Party but eventually joined the current Irish Labour Party, and that is another story entirely.

          That party is not the same as the current Sinn Fein (Provisional Sinn Fein) party which holds elected seats on both sides of the Irish border. They have styled themselves as left of centre but never as marxist, and many on the Left love to attack them as not being remotely leftist.

          1. Terry Flynn

            I don’t disagree. But a lot of the criticism reflects Gerry Adams’s malign influence over the Party, which has precluded the move left that many supporters really want. He holds such sway because during the 1980s in UK TV/radio interviews his voice had to be ‘dubbed’ by a commentator due to a stupid rule the Tories introduced which was a compromise between ‘not letting alleged IRA sympathisers airtime’ (which, IIRC the courts vetoed) and letting his voice be heard directly on national TV.

            Of course this simply increased his standing across Ireland (despite the fact McGuinness arguably did a lot more for peace after the Good Friday Accord).

            1. makedoanmend

              We’ll have to somewhat’ish disagree’ish on this point.

              What I know of SF supporters doesn’t lead me to believe that SF’s political compass will shift more towards the left when Adams retires; and many supporters of SF, even those not particularly enamoured of Adams, don’t view him as malign in any measure.

              When speaking with party members and elected representatives ranging from the local to national scene, I get a sense of them wanting a “fairer” society for everyone. They are well meaning, and really do want a more level playing field so to speak, but they are far from advocating economic policies which would rock the current economic consensus in my meagre opinion. Having said that, they have always provided costed budgets to support their economic policies in the Republic.

              I think PK put it rather well when he said SF’s especially economic policies tend to be “blurred”.

              Only time may tell.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                A key problem for Sinn Fein is that while there are many within the party who would prefer to be more left and more populist, in the Irish electoral system it is inevitable that they would have to go into coalition, most likely with Fianna Fail (of course, every party denies that they would enter coalition with SF, and nobody believes any of them). Adams (and McDonald) in particular aspires to be in a party of power, not one of protest.

                This means that they have to follow a narrow line of being radical enough to attract wide working class support, while ‘respectable’ enough that they don’t preclude themselves from coalition with a centrist party. Its a very tricky line to follow.

                1. makedoanmend

                  100% agree. But that’s one fine line they’ll have to reconnoitre, negotiate and reconcile between their various existing and target constituencies.

                  Should be fun watching it unfold in the current climate, which my niece is telling me is going monopoly-mad once again.

                  Is Dalkey up for sale? I’ll put two hotels on it.

                  1. PlutoniumKun

                    Yup, house prices increasing rapidly, and zoned land increasing in price even more (i.e. developers are gambling the rise will contiue at this pace for a few years). All the old Celtic Tiger veterans are dusting off their Armani suits and are back in action.

                    1. makedoanmend

                      Oh woe is me…Ireland…further away…

                      “If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction…”

              2. Terry Flynn

                Thanks, I can accept your better knowledge of the people on the ground. One observation and one clarification. The observation is that, in common with so many Eurozone countries, people have yet to realise that their strongly European views are not consistent with ‘putting things right’ in the real economy: SF (in common with ALL parties) MUST cost their policies to balance the books as Eire no longer has its own currency – it uses a ‘foreign’ one (the Euro). If people freed themselves from buying into that constraint (and exited the Eurozone) then I think their views would shift left – though of course that’s opinion, not fact.

                The clarification is that Adams’s hold is malign not in the sense of Irish people’s views of him personally – but that he holds sway to a large extent because he caused such a headache for the British government in the 80s/90s. I don’t personally think that’s a good reason to hold sway today and is therefore malign (but understandable). As you say, time will tell, and I think we’ll get a clearer picture if and when enough people realise they’re stuck in a Eurozone straitjacket that prevents them from even considering how things could be done differently. I merely think SF are best placed to exploit the freedom that entails if and when it happens.

    2. vlade

      May is desperate and thrashing around. Even more so, as Tories, as a party, are facing only bad choices (of their own making, TBH, but still bad). It does look to me like Tory gov’ts are coming up with new and inventive ways how to fuck up the UK more and more.

      The way I see it is that everyone in the Tory party is trying to distance themselves from May/DUP (did you see that tweet from a Tory MP? “It’s not a coalition you dick!”), so that she can be dumped at the opportunate time. But it makes it hard, as Tories tend to have loyalty to the party first, so with a few exceptions, it’s not very convincing of them (fun to watch though) trying to toe the party line while distancing themselves from May at the same time. The interesting bit on this is Scotland. Davidson has already said she puts at least two things before party loyalty – country (by which I assume she means the UK, being unionist), and LGBT rights. And now protestant wahabist are getting extra funding for NI, what will she do?

      I’m sure that this all makes May feel great – almost like Gordon Brown, except worse (at least he lost the election, so didn’t really have to clean up his own mess). Still can’t find it in me to pity her – she wanted it, she called the elections, she run the campaign, she run the ship very tightly – it’s all hers.

    3. Terry Flynn

      Indeed. I’ve known from the get-go that economic issues surrounding this deal will be its undoing. The social issues – abortion, gay rights etc – are all just a smokescreen. The DUP knew they’d never get those and even May wasn’t idiotic enough to make concessions there.But pork-barrel politics in an age of austerity where the countries/principalities of the rest of the UK (not to mention England itself) have restrictions and limits on their spending? Political dynamite.

      The previously quiet REMAIN/’wet’ wings of the Tory party won’t stand for this for long. They’re watching their personal constituency electorates and are terrified…and it’s going to embolden them. Expect more ‘Anna Soubrys’ to start making trouble. This reminds me of the coverage after Black Wednesday during Major’s government. Regular diatribes by the supposedly Tory-friendly media leading to death via a thousand cuts. Whilst (as discussed yesterday) Corbyn has his own internal party inconsistencies to deal with, if, as the comment notes, you’ve lost the Sun, then the otherwise toxic attacks on Labour will not have the bite they had otherwise and the Tories are in serious trouble. When the Tories maintain the fiction of the ‘national credit card’, there’s a certain schaudenfreude in seeing it come back to haunt them.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Indeed. 2 years max (when BREXIT is finalised). In the meantime it depends if any of the power-hungry people in the wings think they can do better….and for the moment they all realise they can’t. Better to let her carry the can.

    4. begob

      Seems like a canny deal by the DUP. They get direct rule, while SF makes up its mind about whether to enter government with the leader whose resignation they demanded, all while extra pork is being delivered to their constituencies. And they get to do it again in two years time – if Mrs May survives that long.

      1. Terry Flynn

        SF won’t take their seats as they refuse to acknowledge the monarch. Full stop. They know full well that’s what got them there and eliminated the SDLP and they won’t compromise. Ever. And they also know (as I said above) that they have nothing to lose under the current arrangement. It’s the DUP that is playing a high risk game here. They risk losing support if and when the Tories fail and the BREXIT negotiations get horrible, We’ve already reached ‘peak DUP’.

        1. begob

          If SF wants to set up a new NI administration they’ll have to accept Foster. Nothing to do with seats in Westminster.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Yes but that’s not what I said.

            No Stormont strengthens their hand. Stormont means more influence over cash for NI.
            They have nothing to gain by compromising their core principle and acknowledging the Queen. They don’t want to get involved in what would be a profoundly messy progressive coalition at Westminster which would sacrifice their core principle for no guaranteed gain.

    5. Clive

      Any more comments along this kind of blatantly sectarian line and you will be banned. If I’d seen this comment earlier, I’d have straight-off deleted it. As it is, luckily the usual high standards of the Naked Capitalism commentariat have ably debunked it and if I pull your comment I have to un-nest and reinstate the other posters’ replies.

      This isn’t the first time you’ve strayed close to the edge of acceptability and now you’ve gone way over it. No more warnings.

    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      I had to delete some sectarian shit-stirring (hopefully preserving the proper nesting of the comment threads).

      Unfortunately, that meant that I had to delete some comments made in good faith, but needs must… So, sorry.

    7. ChrisPacific

      So are you arguing that May should have tried to form a minority government, on the assumption that DUP wouldn’t vote to bring them down? That strikes me as very risky as well, for different reasons. Even if DUP are ideologically opposed to Corbyn, I wouldn’t put it past them to vote with his party on matters that touch on their particular interests (admittedly I don’t know enough about the political situation to come up with examples, but I’d hesitate to claim that none exist, and I suspect that Brexit might become a rich source of them). That would effectively give them veto power over any given decision. May could theoretically work around that by seeking support from other minor parties on a case by case basis, but that’s inefficient and requires negotiation and consensus-building skills that are typically not fostered or valued in a FPP system, and which May has given no indication that she possesses.

      I’m not disagreeing with your points on the danger of a DUP alliance for one moment, I’m just observing that there weren’t a lot of alternatives, and some of them would have ended up with DUP as a de facto power broker anyway.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    Syrian dogfight reveals F-35 stealth fighter may be toothless tiger Read all the way to the end.

    Its funny how things change, and yet stay the same. Back in the 1960’s brand new F4 Phantoms were sent out to fight primitive NVA Migs and had their asses handed to them because they found the missiles were too easy to evade, and the lack of a gun meant they couldn’t go into tight dogfights (quickly changed by giving them guns). The F-35 has a gun, unfortunately its found that the stealthy cover has to open up in order for it to fire, throwing the pilots aim at the crucial second of firing.

    A 2008 study by the RAND Corporation showed that, even assuming a 50 per cent offensive missile success rate and a 100 per cent successful defensive missile evasion rate, F-35 Strike Fighters would run out of missiles long before they ran out of targets.

    F-35 proponents argued this warning was not relevant, as missile success rates were close to 100 per cent. Given Sunday’s performance, perhaps they were being optimistic.

    Very quietly, the US Navy has already admitted the F-35 doesn’t work – it just ordered another 100 F/A 18’s from Boeing. It would never do that if the F-35 was performing as its claimed. What we’ll most likely see is a reduced number of F-35’s being bought for a specialist forward control role (the only one the stealth aspect works for), while billions are pushed into prolonging the life of existing aircraft to do the work it was supposed to do. A great success all round for defence contractors.

    But as is slowly dawning on the Australians, Canadians, Norwegians Italians and others, they are being sold a pup. They’ll keep denying this as long as they can, but the taxpayers of those countries may prove less tolerant than US ones.

    1. vlade

      TBH, I’d like to know why exactly are planes like these even considered. Cost of ground/sea based SAMs missiles is small compared to the planes – say S400 costs 400m for the whole battery (8 launchers, 112 missiles + C&C). F35 costs around 80m/unit IIRC, so yes, you can get 5 of them for S400 battery. But if the S400 has effectivity against F35 >5% (i.e. at least 5% of missiles hits), you’re quids in. Chances are you’re quids in anyways if as the marginal cost of an extra S400 missile is say 2m (and it’s likely lower), you need just 2% hit ratio.

      For an airborne platform drones could work just as well of not better, since it can perform evasion maneuvres no human pilot could carry out.

      I’m happy to be told otherwise :)

      1. Mark P.

        I used to be a journalist and covered security issues, among other things. When I talked to them a decade ago, the most forward-thinking Pentagon consultants accepted the idea that air warfare’s future would likely feature squadrons or flights of drone fighters moving at 4-6 times the speed of sound (not an acceleration human beings can sustain for long) and that these drones might possibly be controlled by a human operator in a separate aircraft — a de facto human squadron leader or flight commander.

        In other words, an argument could be made for the F-35 as the platform that would fulfill this role, so that it and its human pilot would stand off 20-300 miles from the actual conflict much as aircraft carriers and other capital ships are now stood off out of range of the center of operations.

        In practice, of course, the first thing any enemy would try to target would be that platform.

        Furthermore, here in 2017 US Air Force generals have often come up via being fighter pilots and are intensely resistant to the idea of the glory of fighter pilots vanishing into history. It’s always struck me as an analogous situation to the insistence by conservative military commanders even up through WWI-WWII on the primacy of the cavalry, and it’s likely to end in the same tragic way.

        1. Jacobite_In_Training

          That and Battleships. We need more Battleships.

          There will NEVER EVER be a sea engagement wherein the Line Of Battle will not be critical to Naval success of The Empire. Aircraft carriers? Sexy, sure, but not what gets the job done.

          We need lots more Super Duper Uber Dreadnoughts with those erect and manly-looking main guns to truly be…errm… _potent_.


        2. Optimader

          Once the roll of the under performing fighter bomber close air support airframe is is reduced to function as a standoff platform, it might as well be a C-130- mire volume for electronic wigets, and lord knows they have been over-produced as congressional district corporate welfare artifacts that are stashed at airports all over this country.

          For the most part, the notion of air to air combat is a historical legacy, the same as the dreadnaughts that countries threw treasure at to the point of not being able deploy them for their intended use for feat of loosing them in a conflict .

      2. NotTimothyGeithner


        Everyone needs a piece. Corruption is rampant.

        The other side is perceived cost savings. The promise of the F-35 is less planes could solve and avert crises before they grew into something else. An expensive plane today is worth more than a huge build up later. Still, there are a myriad of potential missions, so the idea is to construct a plane all the pilots can use, can be moved on carriers when air bases aren’t practical, and will be able to perform all the missions if it’s needed. An A-10 can’t simply be deployed in Syria because the Syrian jets would knock them down with no problem, so if you needed to provide support for ground support where the sky isn’t under your control, you need a plane that can deliver ordinance and theoretically maneuver. There is a reasoning for the F-35 if you want full spectrum dominance across multiple battlefront with less soldiers and corresponding logistics. When you add more planes, you add more ground crews, hangars, targets, and bases potentially depending on range. The F-35 would take off from well beyond the reach of many foes.

        The obvious flaw Is its based on the belief in a magical advancement of technology or that wunder weapons can simply be wished into existence. I’m reminded of the World War II Era battleships we built. Our “intelligence” people proposed the Japanese would want to build vessels that could slip through the Panama Canal because “freedom.” As a result, we built battleship that couldn’t pass through the canal. The Japanese battleships were almost twice as big as the ones we built. The truth is many people are simply stupid.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          The F-35 is the Air Force version of the Army’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

          The truth is many people are simply stupid.

          Not to slam the military, but when I was growing up oh so long ago those young men who went to the service academies were, at best, second tier intellects. They weren’t stupid (although that may apply to McCain), they just seemed unable to avoid creating logical short circuits, grounded in truisms as it were, when presented with great complexity.

        2. TK421

          the Japanese would want to build vessels that could slip through the Panama Canal because “freedom”.

          What on God’s green earth does that mean?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The expectation was the Japanese would desire navy ships capable of crossing the Panama Canal and would use the Canal as a basis for the size of their vessels. The geniuses at the Navy started building battleships of our own which couldn’t cross the canal as they were too big. The Japanese built vessels which were nearly twice as large as our own because they simply had no designs on the Panama Canal or to cross into the Atlantic.

            Given the location of Japan, the importance of the Panama Canal to the Japanese Navy is not really important. Our planners in their arrogance assumed the Japanese would be as obsessed with America as Americans are and would want to cross the Panama Canal.

            1. Optimader

              Bigger =easier target.
              File under Fairey Swordfish

              The largest class of US battleship, the Iowa class was built in NY and Philedelphia shipyards, so passage through the panama canal was an emminently sensible design requirement. (Panamax)

      3. Mark P.

        I used to be a journalist and covered security issues, among other things. When I talked to them a decade ago, the most forward-thinking Pentagon consultants accepted the idea that air warfare’s future would likely feature squadrons or flights of drone fighters moving at 4-6 times the speed of sound (not an acceleration human beings can sustain for long) and that these drones might possibly be controlled by a human operator in a separate aircraft — a de facto human squadron leader or flight commander.

        In other words, an argument could be made for the F-35 as the platform that would fulfill this role, so that it and its human pilot would stand off 20-300 miles from the actual conflict much as aircraft carriers and other capital ships are now stood off out of range of the center of operations.
        In practice, of course, the first thing any enemy would try to target would be that platform.

        Furthermore, here in 2017 US Air Force generals have often come up via being fighter pilots and are intensely resistant to the idea of the glory of fighter pilots vanishing into history. It’s always struck me as an analogous situation to the insistence by conservative military commanders even up through WWI-WWII on the primacy of the cavalry, and it’s likely to end in the same tragic way.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Furthermore, here in 2017 US Air Force generals have often come up via being fighter pilots and are intensely resistant to the idea of the glory of fighter pilots vanishing into history.

          FWIW, NASA is the same way. You can argue until you are blue in the face that human bags of watery protoplasm are incompatible with space travel, but Buck Rogers.

        2. craazyboy

          Except the problem With looking for an application for failed concepts, and built hardware, is they are searching for a solution to the failed concept.

          So they assume they have a carrier group nearby.

          If so, missiles launched from a carrier group are more effective and cheaper. We already have AWACS command and control, other large planes that could launch existing missiles, lots of them. New small swarm drones, penetrating defenses with large numbers, could be added and launched, sun at their backs against ground sea or air targets. We have P3 Aircraft with missile, depth charge and torpedo capability. These are triply lethal against subs and ships. We could use more of those, and upgrading possibilities too.

          It almost seems like we have a large multi force military already.

      4. tony

        A lot of this is probably psychological. I find Americans want to build superweapons that are invinsible. Same with infantry and navy, a belief that you should destroy the enemy with no losses due to utter superiority.

        There is rarely consideration of resource efficiency.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Damn right we Aussies are being sold a pup and the choice of the F-35 was purely a political decision here. Any fighter the R.A.A.F. fields must, because of the huge distances involved in flying round the country, have two engines (in case of engine failure) and should have a very long range. That is two strikes against the F-35 from the get go!
      God knows what will happen if our guys have to take on modern Russian or Chinese supplied fighters in the next coupla decades we have the F-35. This is beginning to remind me of how back in the first year of the war in the Pacific, our boys had to take on Zeros and were under no illusion what inferior planes they had. One squadron, before going into battle, radioed back the gladiator’s message: “We who are about to die salute you!” Our fighter pilots deserve better of us.

    3. optimader

      Back in the 1960’s brand new F4 Phantoms were sent out to fight primitive NVA Migs and had their asses handed to them because they found the missiles were too easy to evade, and the lack of a gun meant they couldn’t go into tight dogfights (quickly changed by giving them

      That is a misstatement, during the Vietnam “police action”:
      F-4 Phantom had a 5.41:1 kill ratio (unpacking the navy version, it had a 3.07:1 ratio)
      F-8 Crusader had a 6:1 kill ratio

      You are correct that the Phantom was offensively limited in the beginning with A-A missiles that tracked poorly. That doesn’t extrapolate to being handed their asses which I interpret to meaning high air combat losses.

      The offensive role issue of the day was nnot the aircraft, it was the first generation AtoA missile guidance systems. Meaning in order to actually score a kill, the F-4 had to really spank the migs ( get behind them before firing ). Most F-4 losses (and aircraft losses in general) are attributed to SAM missile strikes or ground fire not Air to Air combat losses. In fact, IIRC, for a period of time, the Vietnamese AF grounded their fighters due to losses, probably while Russian or Chinese pilots were being oriented to take on air combat roles –call it proxy war live training.

      BTW The Crusader did have four cannons ..

      Lets be historically factual…Just trying to keep it real…

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Those figures are for the war in total – in fact, it was barely 1:1 in the early years, when the F4 was expected to dominate entirely. The F-8 might have had an excellent ratio, but only with a very small number of kills (19 over the entire war). For what its worth, the NVA claimed to have shot down at least 20 F-8s. Of course its an exaggeration to say they were ‘handed their asses’, but in truth the F4 were expected to dominate easily and immediately over what were even then considered out of date NVA aircraft (even the elderly Mig-17 held its own), and this never happened.

        The reality is that the tiny and out of date NVA prevented the USAF and USN from ever gaining full air superiority, which was their strategic objective. They succeeded and won the war. As the Vietnamese knew, winning battles was not important, winning the war was the only objective.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > winning battles was not important, winning the war was the only objective.

          A lesson for the Democrats, here. Of course, the consultants and strategists are only hired on a battle-by-battle basis….

          1. polecat

            DEMOCRATS ??

            LESSONS ?? **

            You surely jest, good sir !

            ** as far the Republicans and lessons are concerned … they learn by rote …. accompanied by the … ahem … ‘use’ … of an iron rule !

          2. optimader

            If electoral victories are battles, and the presidency is the war, one sure as hell better win battles !.

              1. vlade

                You mean McClellan EVER won a battle? I don’t count Antietam, as HE certainly did nothing to win it – the best I could say is that he tried very hard not to lose it. Clinton does look like McClellan though now that you mention him..

                TBH, Democrats don’t need Grant, they need Sherman – someone who can mercilessly put his sights on one goal (winning the war), see how to get there (by dumping things that don’t work – i.e. ignoring the problems facing majority of the population)

              2. optimader

                Nailed, I agree.
                The Vietnam “Police Action” was a political war of attrition, the objective was to force a negotiated settlement rather than conventional war to retain realestate and overthrow the N Vietnamese regime.

                The US was backing a corrupt government that was the result of a military coup which resulted in a AF general “President” pursing a strategy of appointing cronies into the government and military (ARVN) which precipitously imploded after the US withdrawal.

                No lecture here, you’re old enough I’m sure you know this history having lived through those times..

        2. optimader

          .Those figures are for the war in total
          How else do you quantitatively measure the efficacy of a F/A aircraft??

          – in fact, it was barely 1:1 in the early years

          The reality is that the tiny and out of date NVA prevented the USAF and USN from ever gaining full air superiority,

          No, “tiny and out of date NVA” is whimsical hyperbole. What does full air superiority actuall mean?

          The reality is it was a proxy war with the USSR which lavished SAM missile sights and operating technicians, as well as literally thousands of AA batteries into the theatre of operations.

          In the end, the effectiveness of the soviet SAM missiles was largely degraded.. A phenomena that continues to this day with weapon and countermeasures,

          Linebacker II destroyed most of the legitimate targets in North Vietnam and added a new target: the North Vietnamese air defense system. By 27 December 1972, North Vietnam was virtually defenseless and began arrangements for new peace talks. On 29 December 1972, President Nixon ordered a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam, ending Linebacker II

          The Vietnam “police action” had no clear objective beyond supporting a corrupt regime, while pushing back against a perceived expansion of Soviet influence. The US eventually withdrew support from a corrupt and ineffective South Vietnamese regime which collapsed, along with its military.
          Winning battles is of course important, in the end the NVA had to route the South Vietnamese military.

          Rounding the Cape on this to the original point, the F-4 is arguably the operationally longest lived and most effective Fighter/attack aircraft ever built! With the ability to accelerate away from a problem at mach2, dogfighting was largely irrelevant.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Just a quick bit of history here. The F-4 was spruiked in its early days as a new plane that would do the mission of many different aircraft (like the F-35), it would replace both current fighters & bombers (like the F-35), the Air Force and the Navy would both be able to fly it thus driving down costs (like the F-35), it would not need guns as the missiles would do all the work for it (like the F-35), it would not even have to be maneuverable as its missiles would do all the fighting from a distance (like the F-35).
        That’s right, we have seen this movie before. All the arguments that I have heard about how good the F-35 was going to be was the same stuff that they were claiming for the F-4 back in the sixties. Back then it was Robert MacNamara and his whizz kids who came up with this. As for keeping it real, everybody has heard of Top Gun, right? Well, Top Gun (and the USAF Red Flag) came into existence because US air power just could not get on top of the lowly North Vietnamese Air Force. US pilots had lost a lot of air-to-air skills as it was thought that they would not need them so much as the technology of the planes and the missiles would do all the heavy lifting – do’h!

        1. optimader

          Back then it was Robert MacNamara and his whizz kids who came up with this

          This is not a military aviation site… buuut I’ll point out you are thinking of the F-111

          Well, Top Gun (and the USAF Red Flag) came into existence because US air power just could not get on top of the lowly North Vietnamese Air Force. US pilots

          Groan.. please quantify, what does “get on top of” mean?

          Done with this thread..

    4. Brian

      So what happens to the F-35 of an ally when an older plane (with 6 air to air missiles) or a tired missle defense system, automatic weapons fire, (whichever comes first) take the first one down in combat? They don’t seem to have any pilot protection now, because they forgot to build it into the original design. Hypoxia doesn’t seem like a perk.

    5. Ed

      My suspicion with tech is that there is an optimum level of tech where the gadget does pretty much everything you could expect it to do, and developing the tech after that point is not worth the cost.

      So the F-18s and F-22s may be pretty much it in terms of fighter technology. There may be no next generation of fighters, until they are replaced by missiles and drones.

    6. Blennylips

      But as is slowly dawning on the Australians, Canadians, Norwegians Italians and others, they are being sold a pup. They’ll keep denying this as long as they can, but the taxpayers of those countries may prove less tolerant than US ones.

      For all the puzzlement in the thread above, I think it is easily explained by the iron law of institutions, or a corollary of it.

      See Gripen 4 Canada, 2013

      When the U.S. government realized it didn’t really have the need nor the funds to keep building the expensive F-22… It kept building them. Why? Because F-22 production had been dispersed throughout the USA. Cutting F-22 production meant cutting high paying jobs. Any senator voting against F-22 production would have to face more than a few angry constituants. F-22 production kept going long after it was almost universally agreed to end it. Eventually, a total of 195 F-22s were built out of the original 750 planned.

      Like the F-22, F-35 production is spread out. Unlike the F-22, production isn’t merely limited to the U.S. Components for the F-35 are built in America, Canada, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Israel, Australia, Denmark, Singapore, and Norway. With a planned production run close to 2500 aircraft, any country leaving the program risks losing a lot of jobs.

      1. optimader

        Congressional district corporate welfare program.
        Distributing weapon widget/subcomponents production across the country was a brilliant strategy imo.
        In the end, the F-22 program should have been sustained and the “less expensive” F-35 been put to the curb.

  6. Emorej a Hong Kong

    Piketty is persuasive that the substance of Macron’s proposals so far are so substantively timid as to ensure that, as his mandate for flamboyance fades (although who didn’t like his swagger towards Trump), even more of France’s electorate will turn against neo-liberal globalism, and perhaps set up a 2022 Presidential second round between Melenchon & Le Pen (and/or their respective successors).

    1. David

      Yes it’s a good piece by Piketty, which particularly points up the fact that the French are still stuck with this ludicrous tax system where you don’t actually pay your tax bill until nearly a year after the end of the previous financial year. In fact, the French system is technically very good, and most people file on line in a few minutes. It would be capable of absorbing this change easily.
      But Macron’s strategy is change without real change. He plans to occupy so much of the political space, by deliberately fragmenting other political parties with compromises and offers of jobs, that he can present himself in 2022 as the only person who can save France from Le Pen or Mélenchon exploiting the chaos he has himself created. But to do this, he needs the financial establishment and the media in his pockets, and the former (which largely owns the latter) is the main beneficiary of the “reforms” we’ve heard of so far.

      1. Anonymous2

        I know we are still looking nearly five years ahead, but is there not a good chance the Republicains, or whatever they call themselves by then, will be back in the frame? Presumably Sarko/ Fillon & Co will have some sort of successors?

    2. Sputnik Sweetheart

      I found this excerpt of the article interesting:

      In any case, it is extremely alarming to see a President take the risk of permanently compromising a reform as structural as the implementation of tax deduction at source, simply to ensure more visibility to a very small tax reform (which, no matter what one might think about the content, is only a minor parametric reform: the rate of an existing tax is being raised, to lower that of another).

      It seems to me that this is how Macron operates: draw attention to something relatively small/a rhetorical flourish, but then do nothing to reform a situation or do its opposite (sort of like a magician really!).
      – Saying that Assad is “not an enemy of France, but an enemy of Syria.” This makes people happy that he won’t participate in the Syrian conflict, but still gives him the loophole to be able to intervene if the situation in Syria becomes more tense, using the idea that “Assad must go.”
      – “Make Our Planet Great Again.” His Minister of Agriculture recently tried to legalise neocortinoid pesticides and spraying by plane, which was met by some protest by people, as well as the response from his Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot, who quickly responded that they would do no such thing. (This is of course not counting his support of CETA and his decision to hire a former nuclear lobbyist as his prime minister)

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        He’s just their Obama: pretty face, carefully-chosen weasel words, zero change from the neo-lib agenda.

    3. witters

      “(although who didn’t like his swagger towards Trump)”

      Me. Swaggering politicians of any style are dangerous and toxic. (Is it a John Wayne movie you want?)

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Planned Parenthood Supports Shelving Single-Payer (Again) Progressive Army

    From Planned Parenthood’s statement “explaining” it’s opposition to California single-payer:

    And we will work together to make sure our state’s health system provides quality, affordable access to care for all Californians.

    So, count Planned Parenthood in on “healthcare” reform except, apparently, in the event that a law is introduced to “provide quality, affordable access to care for all Californians.”

    Gotta admit, I’m seriously starting to wonder if, like the democrat party, Planned Parenthood is all that it cracks itself up to be. The incoherence is getting too blatant to ignore.

    1. Pat

      I would bet there are a lot of Planned Parenthood employees and volunteers who are gobsmacked by the actions of those at the top. You know the ones who really do struggle to provide quality affordable Care at the clinics. Of course these are also the ones both passionate about that cause and likely to be able to find a job doing it under single payer.

      Unfortunately those who get to make these calls know very well that single payer ends their well paid jobs with no replacement in sight for most. But then I figured out that really supporting the cause was not the real agenda the moment Cecile Richards announced support of Clinton during the primary. I knew how willing Clinton was to throw women’s reproductive rights under the bus to achieve her personal goals having watched her do it over and over for years.

      Still this was strikingly overt and ham handed. There really is no mistaking the hypocrisy.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        The disconnect between those at the top of unions and other organizations who make the political decisions and their rank-and-file was glaringly apparent during the campaigns. SEIU members were outraged when they were informed they were supporting Clinton, which led to the national running photos of a dozen or so “eager volunteers” heading out to bang on doors for her while the people I was hearing from were working their butts off for Bernie.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Similar things could be said about SEIU. Top brass seem to have made this call, do the members feel the same way?

      1. polecat

        This is why ‘unions’ …. at least the big ones .. are toothless, and held by many of us plebs with disregard ! …. It’s because the ‘Top brass’, as you refer to the union reps , are almost all, in actuality, grifting neoliberals looking out for #1 !!

    3. Dandelion

      Pritzger family is now one of the biggest donors to PP. I think we’re seeing that effect in a number of areas with PP.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      Sounds to me like Buffett is being drug out to “calm the masses” again…..
      “See, we rich people aren’t so bad…..”

      1. Jim Haygood

        It’s just biz on Uncle Warren’s part. If corporations can unload their health care costs onto the gov (which will fund them with borrowing), profits go up and stock options go farther into the money. Sweet!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          As long as we get good health care, tell the corporations to hurry up and unload the costs onto the government (which will print to fund).

        2. Brian

          Warren just announced he is bailing out a Canadian housing lender that is now suffering the runs which could be from stress. If Warren is smart like legend says, maybe a payday loan, high on usury, guaranteed paid back in a short time by the Canadian government? It may be propaganda, we saw it in 1929. (below) He may be the last oligarch they can trot out as a “good rich guy” to help a bank with their image. (hmm.. Wells Fargo).
          Why would uncle grandpa go against his mantra by bailing out a company that appears to have been built on scandal that has never ceased, being under investigation by the government for some serial frauds, when indictments appear imminent and worse, its stock is in decline, and there are those damn runs?
          It walks us back to Pre crash 1929. Jesse Livermore, Chase and others did their propaganda tour publicly touting the millions they bought in stocks to shore up the market after the leaks began. They made more money shorting the market than they paid to prop it up. It always seems to require some unseen leverage.

          The Crash of 1929, PBS documentary

        3. Alejandro

          Paraphrasing WB:”from 5 to 17 pennies on the dollar and ‘growing’, and there are only 100 pennies in a dollar”.

          Seems those 12 pennies are already being used to make ” profits go up and stock options go farther into the money”…but ” Sweet!” for who?

          >”(which will fund them with borrowing)”
          This is one of those stratagems, seeded by the uncle Milts and Greenspeak “sages”, and propagated ad nauseam by the neoliberal project, that just ain’t true. The issuer of the currency does not need to “borrow” what it alone can issue AND could be much more effective in regulating the incentives to lower healthcare costs. Incentives that the upper echelons of the healthcare racket don’t have.

          On this issue I’ll take the oracle over the “sages”.

        4. Mark P.

          Why shouldn’t the corporations unload their healthcare costs onto the government?

          When everywhere else in the world does it differently and it makes American companies ridiculously uncompetitive, I’ve always wondered why they put up with it. I’ve assumed it’s because it makes American workers that much more desperately serf-like and compliant in case they lose health insurance.

          1. cnchal

            Then wonder no more.

            I think it’s more of an attitude like “honor among thieves” or “professional courtesy” or “politics”.

            We are in the business of exploitation and so are they.

          2. Left in Wisconsin

            I think the right term is “class solidarity.” Think of all the poor health insurance co execs that might be put out of work! And, worse, see their stock options go kaput!

            1. Mark P.

              We are in the business of exploitation and so are they.

              That’s another way of putting it.

      2. polecat

        I wanna see Buffet hanging …. naked … by one of fresno dan’s glaringly red tenacular appendages, before he is consumed by the oceanic whirlpool of neoliberal madness !

        1. fresno dan

          June 27, 2017 at 2:52 pm

          Hey, maintaining tentacles is not cheap – I’m not some UBER peon who uses his car without adequate compensation for capital cost, depreciation, maintenance and associated administrative support.
          A couple of baskets of claims should provide adequate compensation – but you have to deliver the oracle to my basement aquarium….

          1. polecat

            You mentioned ‘claims’ …

            Excuse me, but I can’t help in thinking that what you actually meant was ‘warren CLAMS**’ ??

            **Collateralizingly Lecherous but Amicable Mentoring Shithead

            1. fresno dan

              June 27, 2017 at 4:25 pm

              your right….nice, juicy clams…..but as I understand it, the oracle has made a fortune made on claims…..\

              but in the world of cephalopods, a claim on a clam is nearly as good as clamping on a claim…..

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      He’s also endorsed higher taxes in the past. He plays the part of a folksy well meaning billionaire when we need to get of billionaires. Do his papers push single payer? The all endorsed Hillary over Sanders.

      Since the Dems are such screw ups and won’t retake anything goes until after a purge, a faint hearted support of single payer today is effectively meaningless.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Who will be purged and who will do the purging?

        Will the purging be voluntary or involuntary? The Rump Party won’t come soon enough (whoever gets it, the left or the neoliberals).

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      It’s like everybody is for single payer but the Democrat establishment (even the conservatives would swallow hard and and accept it. But the Democrats hate not only the policy but its advocates).

  8. s.n.

    from the Jonathan Cook article on the Hersh Syria story:

    Hersh’s new investigation was paid for by the London Review of Books, which declined to publish it. This is almost disturbing as the events in question.

    Anyone have idea why LRB declined to publish the piece they commissioned?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      No idea about the LRB declination, but can it be a coincidence that at the same time Sy Hersh releases his story, Sean Spicer tweets this somewhat mysterious statement?

      “The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children,” according to a White House statement released Monday night.

      “The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack,” the statement added. “As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”

      Sounds like someone doesn’t want “Assad must go” taken off the table. As of now, no “images” of someone waving around a vial of sarin gas and looking gravely concerned.

      1. jawbone

        How would “potential preparations for …chemical weapons attack” be seen or become known?

        Serious question.

    2. Roger Smith

      This piece was linked in the Moon open thread:

      Hersh had also offered the article to the London Review of Books. The editors accepted it, paid for it, and prepared a fact checked article for publication, but decided against doing so, as they told Hersh, because of concerns that the magazine would vulnerable to criticism for seeming to take the view of the Syrian and Russian governments when it came to the April 4th bombing in Khan Sheikhoun.

      It is sort of a Welt introduction to Hersh/his publishing with them.

      1. curlydan

        Thanks for that link, great explanation of what happens to a reporter who refuses to play for the Red Team or Blue Team.

    3. DorothyT

      From the Ray McGovern piece: Honoring Seymour Hersh and his (continuing) life’s work.

      In remarks to Die Welt, Seymour Hersh, who first became famous for exposing the My Lai massacre story during the Vietnam War and disclosed the Abu Ghraib abuse story during the Iraq War, explained that he still gets upset at government lying and at the reluctance of the media to hold governments accountable:

      “We have a President in America today who lies repeatedly … but he must learn that he cannot lie about intelligence relied upon before authorizing an act of war. There are those in the Trump administration who understand this, which is why I learned the information I did. If this story creates even a few moments of regret in the White House, it will have served a very high purpose.”

    4. grizziz

      Here is Caitlan Johnstone’s piece examining the quote taken from, I believe a De Welt article, that Mary-Kay Wilmers, editor and chief of the LRB was “vulnerable to criticism for seeming to take the view of the Syrian and Russian governments.” + Petro dollars flowing to the City of London could be diverted to another safe haven prior to Eurodollar clearing in Frankfurt due to “Brexit”, British Arms sales to the nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the training and indoctrination of future Arab leaders at Chatham House + the British intuition that the Baathist Party -anywhere they are still found in the Mideast- are Socialists and thus a risk to British owned property gained through British appropriation during the glory years of empire.

      Hersh’s, “The Rat Line and The Rat Line” was sufficiently anti-Erdogan at a time when he was consolidating his power in defiance of the West and the Libya cock-up too evident to defend when that the story was published.

    5. witters

      I asked the LRB. This is what I got. I’ve asked for them to elaborate. Nothing yet.

      “We would dearly have liked to publish Seymour Hersh’s story but we needed more supporting evidence and detail than we and his sources were able to get.

      Best wishes,

      The Editors”

  9. Stephen Tynan

    “According to an insider account, the Clinton team, put together the Russia Gate narrative within 24 hours of her defeat. The Clinton account explained that Russian hacking and election meddling caused her unexpected loss. Her opponent, Donald Trump, was a puppet of Putin. Trump, they said, “encourages espionage against our people.” The scurrilous Trump dossier, prepared by a London opposition research firm, Orbis, and paid for by unidentified Democrat donors, formed a key part of the Clinton narrative: Trump’s sexual and business escapades in Russia had made him a hostage of the Kremlin, ready to do its bidding. That was Hillary’s way to say that Trump is really not President of the United States—a siren call adopted by the Democratic party and media.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A siren call adopted by the Democratic Party, McCain, Graham and media.

      Here, the D party refers to Pelosi, Bernie (Independent investigation, no doubt about the media here, at all) Sanders and Schumer.

      Maybe someday, they and their patriotism are vindicated.

    2. Roger Smith

      The problem with this account is that she introduced this line during the first or second debate, out of left field as I recall.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The line was bubbling before that, but the “Russian Puppet” line in October’s debate escalated the talking point and legitimized a lot of cray cray (Louise Mensch, for example). One more timeline I wish somebody would create…

  10. visitor

    In the past three years, the reputable LRB had already published three investigations by Hersh on Syria, entitled “Whose Sarin?”, “The Red Line and the Rat Line” and “Military to Military” that were devastating for the dominant narrative on the conflict.

    The LRB justified its retraction “because of concerns that the magazine would vulnerable to criticism for seeming to take the view of the Syrian and Russian governments when it came to the April 4th bombing in Khan Sheikhoun.“.

    One can legitimately suspect massive outside pressure on the LRB to stop the flow of inconvenient revelations.

    1. s.n.

      massive outside pressure – and then some. But whose?
      Unseemly cowardice on the part of LRB.

      1. simjam

        Presumedly, Hersh tried to get his article published first in an American publication (New Yorker, NYRB?), then went to LRB and was refused on all occasions. Is Hersh blacklisted for publishing non-fiction? He needs to speak up.

        1. Carolinian

          Hersh is old enough not to have to worry about his future journalistic career–not true of those stenographers at the New Yorker, Slate, The New Republic and (now?) the LRB.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            He’s also not a “journalist” by training. Hersh missed Rolodex 101.

            After all, can people who are out to expose the shenanigans of the establishment be counted on if they are licensed by the establishment?

      2. Eureka Springs

        What’s so odd is the fact Sy has published quite a few articles in LRB which revealed far more. Much of the current article contains info many of us knew.

  11. s.n.

    brief article –that raises more questions than it answers – with lots of photos from “the largest protest on the topic in the history of Israel to date”.

    Thousands in Jerusalem protest abduction of Yemenite babies following disclosure some were experimented on

    Known as the Yemenite Children Affair, in the first decade after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, there was a systematic kidnapping of newborn Yemenite children, carried out by Israeli hospitals and government institutions….

    The babies who went missing, parents claim, were given away to childless Ashkenazi families (Jews of European descent–the dominant ethnic group in Israel at the time), leaving the Yemenite families with no answers regarding their children’s fate. In most cases, the families were told the children died unexpectedly….

    A Knesset committee followed up by confirming earlier this month that Yemenite babies died during the 1950s after state medical institutions conducted experiments on them.

    1. I Have Strange Dreams

      Wow. So the blood libel is actually true? Just kidding. Still, not a good look.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In the 1950’s, right after World War II and the numerous experiments on humans from one end of the Euro-Asia land mass to other.

  12. WobblyTelomeres

    Re: MoA

    Best comment!!!

    I don’t speak French, but I’m pretty sure the French word for “think tank” is bordel.

    Is it gauche to comment to a comment on another site?

  13. DJG

    Fabius Maximus on the WaPo story. Another invocation of the dogs of war worthy of Madeleine Albright from another woman never subject to the draft!

    –The article is rich with (alleged) facts and filled with first-person testimony. Such as these quotes by Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

    –“At one point in the White House deliberations …Rice pointed to the FBI’s McCabe and said: ‘You guys have been begging to do this for years. Now is your chance.;”
    –“McCabe was among others in the Situation Room challenged by Rice to go to the ‘max of their comfort zones’ in deciding retaliatory measures.”

    So much for the idea that women are better managers because of their natural sensitivity. And the larger question: What is the reason for this influential group of absolutely blood-thirsty women within the Democratic Party?

    And as always: I am in favor of endless war in the Middle East so long as Chelsea Clinton is commissioned as a second lieutenant.

    1. Mark P.

      I am in favor of endless war in the Middle East so long as Chelsea Clinton is commissioned as a second lieutenant.


    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      2nd lieutenant Chelsea is fine, but it doesn’t affect the war mongers. The war profiteers would gladly send their kids off to die if they thought it would put a feather in their cap. Right now, the thrill is sending their kids in suits to tsk poor kids from West Virginia about “human rights” in some foreign land. That’s a power move.

      “There’s profit to be had” is the real drive. Look at the British Royals, they send Harry to Afghanistan every few months to make it seem like they aren’t a family of parasites. If Harry died In the service of the subjects, then the Royals would have really proved their worth. William was too marketable while he had hair to risk sending abroad. They put Kate up front these days.

  14. Pat

    Not to say I have much respect for the AMA regarding most “healthcare” reforms, but they aren’t the most hypocritical group the last few days. ACA did harm by extending a system that had losers, but it did reduce the number of losers. The proposed reform increases the number.

    Their failure is their refusal to state that our system does not work and needs to be scrapped.

  15. craazyboy

    Here’s a quicky!
    A sad Song. For Chelsea.

    Argent – Liar

    Chelsea Rants!

    I thought you said…I’d be Prez ee Dent!
    Is that what you said?
    Is that what you said?
    Is that what you sa~id?

    Daddy had a coronary
    I only had my Barry
    To show me the way…
    Daddy had his Doctor
    Makes clots go away, [This song paid for, in part, by Drano(tm) Disposal Corporation]
    LIAR! [Thunder Clap]

    I don’t know what I should do..
    Feel like I’m Black and Blue
    Just like my Mom…Just like my Mom..Oh ye..ahhh.

    LIAR! [Thunder Clap]

    The Wedding was Grand [Gong]
    Whatsisname just ra~an.
    When I got naked
    And showed him my pla~an.

    I’m floating ‘buv the ground
    Snakes in my ha~ir.
    Roaches take a Stand
    I am of their La~ir.

    My coronation…
    Forcasted by Dionysis
    Queen of Eternal Darkness…
    Is what I a~m!

    LIAR! [Thunder Clap]

    [Refrain of Thunder Claps and Gong Play, fading to Eternal Blackness…]

    I thought you said…I’d be Prez ee Dent!
    All of my Dreams, have gone and went………….

    1. Brian

      thanks craazy I am sorry about what I said regarding you being Dan Quayle. You have both imagination and talent, and as we know……

      1. craazyboy

        Dan was an Alma Mater of mine at Purdue!

        He was right too, about Indyans spelling potato with a toe at the front. However, they also pronounce “pen” as “pin”, so anything is possible!

    1. jrs

      I’ve come around to this view when I did the math and found out Dems actually have the supermajority to pass this DESPITE prop 13 2/3s requirements.

      Prop 13 is still ridiculous, but not that relevant here, as Dems actually control 2/3s of the state senate AND 2/3s of the state assembly. It was ALL their decision to make.

  16. fresno dan

    Fathers & Daughters NYRB. On Louis CK.

    Louie takes fatherhood seriously. His own father, he tells a friend in one episode, was “not around,” and he wants to do it differently. But the show is always threatening to pull the rug out from under Louie’s great-dad conceit—not because he isn’t a good father, but because the value of his work is unknown and unknowable. The same social forces that have brought more men into the web of child care have also revealed that children do fine with all kinds of caretakers: grandparents, nannies, day care workers—pretty much any reliable, kind adult could perform any one of Louie’s tasks with no detriment to his daughters.
    My own theory of parents is that they are like baseball managers – they can screw up a good team but can’t change a bad team – all in all, probably not as instrumental in people’s lives as commonly thought or HOPED (by parents).

    If I had grown up in a more “middle class” house under more typical circumstances, would I have gotten a PhD? Maybe….but I doubt it would have changed my marriage status, or my basic personality. Sure, there are (few) people I know who have great relationships with their parents….and their wives, and everybody else. And they have sibling who are unemployed and been drug users, and worse.

    His own father, he tells a friend in one episode, was “not around,”
    Maybe if his father had been around, maybe he would be even worse off…

    1. Ed

      “My own theory of parents is that they are like baseball managers – they can screw up a good team but can’t change a bad team”

      I’m a parent with a five year old and I think that is a GREAT theory.

      However, I grew up being raised by a single mother, a widow, and my brother pointed out that if my father had lived longer, his professional connections would have made it much easier for us to get a job. One thing parents do is provide social and monetary capital/ inheritances. But the effectiveness of the teaching/ nurturing is overrated.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Oh dear god, yes.

        All ya gotta do is look about…nobody raises a psychopath, not even psychopaths. Does bad parenting aid/speed the process? Surely…but not every “bad seed” has had that triggering trauma.

      2. fresno dan

        June 27, 2017 at 12:47 pm

        Or do you think Hillary Clinton’s parents are bad???
        I guess Hillary could be debatable. Let’s use the H guy from Germany – were his parents bad?

        Are parents bad because they are trying to be bad??? Or they have no clue how to raise “good”*** children?

        ***Is good going to Church…..of the flying spaghetti monster twice on Sunday….

  17. Jim Haygood

    BBC article on Grenfell Tower:

    Arconic said it was discontinuing global sales of Reynobond PE for tower blocks due to “issues” identified by the fire, which is feared to have killed at least 79.

    The government said 75 buildings in 26 council areas had now failed fire safety tests – every one tested so far.

    Sounds like a good basis for a massive lawsuit in US federal court. Not only by UK councils, but also by families of the fire victims.

    Arconic (ARNC) is off 15.5% since the day before the fire. Grenfell Tower is their Bhopal. Which raises an interesting question: the US successfully extradites wanted persons from the UK on demand. Does this work in reverse, should Arconic executives be indicted in the UK on criminal charges?

    1. Chris

      Arconic’s published recommendation to customers was to only use the flammable version of the sheet on low-rise buildings (less than 10 metres), and to use the absolutely fireproof version on any building over 30 metres (which the Grenfell Tower is).
      Hardly Arconic’s fault if developers choose to nudge their profit margin by saving a few pounds per panel.

  18. Vatch

    Poor teeth Aeon

    From the article:

    But it wasn’t sugar, heaps of which are sucked down daily by the middle and upper classes, that guided his and my grandma’s dental fates. And it wasn’t meth. It was lack of insurance, lack of knowledge, lack of good nutrition – poverties into which much of the country was born.

    Yes and no. Sugar is a huge problem for people’s teeth, although regular dental care can protect people from losing their teeth. During the European Middle Ages, people had much healthier teeth than many modern people have. Why? The sugar and molasses trade from the tropics hadn’t developed yet. Yes, people had dental problems, but not much decay. See this:

    Contrary to the depiction of medieval peasants with blackened and rotting teeth, the average person in the Middle Ages had teeth which were in very good condition. This is substantially due to one factor – the rarity of sugar in the diet. Most medieval people simply could not afford sugar and those who could used it sparingly – usually as a seasoning or minor ingredient and almost never as a condiment or the basis of a dish. This means that most people used natural sugars such as those in fruits and honey and even then ate this kind of sugar sparingly. Taken with a diet high in calcium via dairy foods, high in vegetables and cereals and low in foods that cause decay, the average medieval person ate the way most modern dentists would recommend for good teeth.

    Not surprisingly, tooth decay was actually much less prevalent in the Middle Ages than it became in later centuries, when mass imports of sugar from the tropics made it a staple rather than a rarity. Surveys of archaeological data from the medieval period show that an average of only 20% of teeth show any sign of decay, as opposed to up to 90% in some early twentieth century populations. A more common dental issue for medieval people was not decay but wear. Eating stone-ground bread daily as part of almost every meal meant medieval people’s teeth saw considerable abrasion from grit which, over years led to the teeth being worn down. To an extent this actually helped prevent decay, as their molars had less crevices in which plaque could accumulate. But in the long run it could lead to the complete abrasion of dentine and tooth loss.

    1. jrs

      so they didn’t eat sugar, but they did eat things like bread which can break down into sugar … which half the time we are told are “the same thing as sugar” (something which I’ve never entirely believed but ..)

      1. Vatch

        I think some types of bread might have a similar effect in the blood stream as dietary sugar, but the effect on the teeth is quite different. Refined white bread is probably the most problematic, and that didn’t exist in the Middle Ages.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      Her point was that the sugar intake of middle and upper middle class kids was equal to hers, and to that of the derided ‘white trash’ she grew up with.

      It was a beautifully written piece, & despite it being 3 years old, still timely and worthy of inclusion here.

      There were a great many good US health coverage articles in links today. Not much discussion yet though. Most interesting among them was the piece on Trump’s decision to beat down a select few Senate Republican holdouts. Heller & a bunch of Southern red state men…… but neither Maine senator and not Murkowski. The Trumpistas assumption seems to be that these guys are more vulnerable. Possibly because their constituents are more willing to injure themselves – and their most vulnerable neighbors and relatives – in order to stay pure in thought and action.

  19. craazyboy

    *****BREAKING NEWS*****

    “Jack Ma Comes Out Of Toolbox. Admits He Is A Mannequin!”

    Facial recognition software cannot make a match with any known human face!
    New Facebook Security Software denies Jack an account!

  20. Peter Pan

    The Compartments in WaPo’s Russian Hack Magnum Opus emptywheel.

    The impression I get is that the CIA had some questionable human intelligence on Putin being directly involved in a nonexistent hacking of the election. The FSB was sanctioned for harassing CIA agents operating within Russia with diplomatic cover. The GRU was sanctioned for providing military intelligence to the Donbass Rebels in Ukraine.

    The primary entity that would’ve been responsible for directing the interference into the U.S. election would have been the SVR (Russian Foreign Intelligence). So the SVR was sanctioned by closure of the two Russian compounds in the U.S. and the expulsion of SVR agents with diplomatic cover.

    That’s my TFHCT and I’m sticking with it until I see some real evidence.

    1. Andrew Watts

      My favorite part of WaPo’s article is the part where it took the Obama administration and US intelligence community months to figure out that the products of hacking the DNC would be publicly released and/or used as propaganda… by anyone. Seriously, post-Snowden? Hilarious!

      The FSB was sanctioned for harassing CIA agents operating within Russia with diplomatic cover.

      The Russians began to target our “diplomats” for harassment after Mike Morell advocated for instructing jihadi-rebel groups on how to target Russian/Iranian personnel in Syria. While not a declaration of war between intelligence agencies I’m pretty sure the Russians set out to teach the CIA a lesson.

      I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention an interesting sidenote. The complaints that went up the US State Department’s European grapevine as a result probably ended up on Victoria “F— the EU” Nuland’s desk. It’s hard not to appreciate Russia’s sense of humor.

  21. bdy

    Poll Shows Lula and Silva Tied …

    What is Silva all about? The article doesn’t devote a single sentence (sloppy editing?), and the internets can’t seem to agree at all. TY in advance for informed opinions or trustworthy links.

  22. flora

    New ransomware cyber attack is spreading across Russia and Europe.

    and from ZDNet:

    “Danish transport and energy firm Maersk has confirmed that its IT systems are down across multiple sites due to a cyberattack, while Russian petroleum company Rosneft has reported a “massive hacker attack” hitting its servers.

    “The attack has also hit the United States, with American pharmaceutical firm Merck stating that its computer network has been compromised as part of “a global hack”.

    “British advertising firm WPP has also said it has also been affected by a cyberattack and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre is investigating reports of the attack.”

    It’s being spread, apparently, by the Eternal Blue Microsoft zero day Windows exploit. Microsoft released a patch to close this exploit earlier in the year. If you haven’t already done so, please update/patch your Windows operating system, particularly your servers.

      1. polecat

        What is she gonna do ….. swoop down into the Blackexappropriationofnortherneuropeancneoclassicalarchitecture …. from the Millennium Falcon ??

    1. Vatch

      The person who said that was replying to Michelle Goldberg, so it’s not clear that he was referring to Michelle Obama when he said that. And Ms. Goldberg was being sarcastic or jocular when she suggested Mark Ruffalo, so Isaac Chotiner may have been equally jocular when he mentioned George Clooney.

      Oddly, or perhaps not, the word “Sanders” does not appear in the article.

      1. tongorad

        You’re right, that was a bad reading on my part regarding Michelle. Perhaps the text made me ill.

    2. Julia Versau

      Thanks for the link, but I’m going to basically take your word for it. Two paragraphs did me in. What’s wrong with the Democratic party? For starters, those “seven smart, terrified liberals” should have looked in the mirror.

  23. Livius Drusus

    Re: Myths of Job-Killing Robots Obscure Real Causes of Inequality

    Sad to see that most of the comments below the article seem to dismiss Baker’s point and are still falling for the “blame the robots” story. The media really has done a good job pounding this meme into the population’s head. Real reform will never happen in this country until people understand why the middle-class is dying and stop believing in the myths put out by the MSM.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Hmmm. I had a different read. From Baker’s article:

      The robot story is likely attractive to many people since it appears to pin the blame for inequality on the natural development of technology. This undoubtedly explains why we hear it so frequently even though there is zero evidence to support it. Maybe if the proponents understood their own argument better they would stop repeating it.

      A bit condescending. He fails to note that the two postures

      a) “The robots are coming! The robots are coming!”, and
      b) “Technological advances are not the cause of inequality”

      are not mutually exclusive.

      Personally, I long for autonomous vehicles every time I ride my motorcycle and fear for my life when passing someone checking their facebook posts (or worse replying) while piloting a two ton vehicle at speed.

  24. Andrew Watts

    RE: Trump CIA Director Mike Pompeo says leaking on rise thanks to ‘worship’ of Edward Snowden

    In other news, we have an idiot for a CIA director. He honestly thinks that North Korea would become a part of Western Civilization? I’m going to ignore any obvious jibs because it’s just too easy. I will say that I’ve always found the “domino theory” so beloved by America’s ruling class during the Cold War to be incredibly racist. Asians all look alike so they must act and respond similarly to stimuli.

    “In some ways, I do think it’s accelerated,” Mr Pompeo told MSNBC. “I think there is a phenomenon, the worship of Edward Snowden, and those who steal American secrets for the purpose of self-aggrandisement or money or for whatever their motivation may be, does seem to be on the increase.”

    That’s the pot calling the kettle… nevermind. The CIA has always had a problem with former employees writing books that disclose things that should probably stay classified. It’s so bad that the Russian FSB probably maintains a bookcase full of tomes written by former CIA people.

    …and if you can’t hide the identity of CIA officers under diplomatic cover from an autistic fifteen year old armed with a public library card… well, hey, good luck out there secret agent man!

    “It’s tough. You now have not only nation states trying to steal our stuff, but non-state, hostile intelligence services, well-funded – folks like WikiLeaks, out there trying to steal American secrets for the sole purpose of undermining the United States and democracy,”

    Geez, there is no such thing as a “friendly” foreign intelligence agency. Yet another reason Pompeo is a joke and it’s not a funny one either. It’s gonna be easy for foreign intelligence agencies to bamboozle this guy. The Trump administration might be even more disastrous than I originally thought.


    1. Andrew Watts

      …and if you can’t hide the identity of CIA officers under diplomatic cover from an autistic fifteen year old armed with a public library card…

      I’d post a recommended reading list on the CIA but then I’d be guilty of multiple violations of the Espionage Act.

      Sometimes, I wish I had a friendlier relationship with the FBI.

  25. Andrew

    From what I could tell reading the Sy Hersh piece on Trump’s Syrian ‘Red Line’, it wasn’t bad intel that led to the pointless 59 cruise missiles attack, it was that The Donald had already made his mind up that ‘something must be done’, despite being told by his advisors, the CIA, NSA etc. that the intelligence available to them didn’t point to a chemical weapons attack. So they came up with the cruise missile option as the best way for him to save face.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      And as soon as The Donald launched those missiles, our famously free press fawned all over him, and (IIRC) The Blob turned the knobs down from 11 for a few days. Every cloud has a silver lining!

  26. Sputnik Sweetheart

    Perry Anderson’s take on the French election: The Centre Can Hold/The French Spring

    Such was not, however, the narrative in the French, let alone international media. There, the election featured as a dramatic, even nerve-wracking contest, dominated by the threat of the Front National—thinly veiled fascism or rabidly toxic populism, according to taste—coming to power, in a nightmare Gallic version of Trump’s victory in America. In part, the typical logic of press and television dictated this. News is not news if it is predictable: titillating frissons of fear sell better than boring assurances of comfort. But also, and much more important for the purposes of the second round, was the standard logic of the established order: the more lurid the danger from the extreme right, the more overwhelming the need for all decent citizens to rally behind the champion of democracy, whose identity could at first be left tactfully blank, before becoming, to general relief, an enchanting young banker.

    It’s amazing what the subjectivity and the power of a narrative can do. When the British and Americans had Thatcher and Reagan, the French had Mitterand, who did things differently (austerity and heavy central planning). Now the French are a few steps behind us, or maybe even on a different track. But if you do what Anderson does and analyse French history, the event takes on a different meaning, that Macron will probably do what Juppe and Sarkozy failed at, and what Hollande succeeded in.

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