Links 7/14/17

Happy Bastille Day!

Ravens—like humans and apes—can plan for the future Science

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Spots Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (photos) NASA

Amazon is getting too big and the government is talking about it MarketWatch. Says hedgie Douglas Kass.

A dynamic model of financial balances for the United Kingdom Bank Undergound (UserFriendly). Though from 2016, UserFriendly: “Excellent stock flow model from BOE in super easy to read blog with working paper linked.”

5 Things to Know about the Trillion-Ton Iceberg Scientific American

Doomsday narratives about climate change don’t work. But here’s what does Guardian

Era of ‘Biological Annihilation’ Is Underway, Scientists Warn NYT

Syraqistan

Syria Summary – Will The Trump-Putin Agreement Hold? Moon of Alabama

Trump Says U.S. Seeks a Syria Cease-Fire in a Second Area Bloomberg

Brexit

Britain concedes it will have to pay EU exit bill FT

Britain is incapable of managing Brexit and calamity will follow Martin Wolf, FT

Britain’s Jeremy Corbyn: I got my ideas from Bernie Sanders WaPo

Spy drones, blast zones, treetop sit-ins: getting fracking gas to Scotland The Ferret

Brussels supports end to Greek deficit procedure EU Business

Calibri in spotlight as ‘Fontgate’ could leave Pakistan sans Sharif The Express Tribune. Shades of Rathergate!

China?

Anbang’s Fall Closes Wild Chapter in China’s Insurance Industry Bloomberg

Liu Xiaobo – the quiet, determined teller of China’s inconvenient truths South China Morning Post

Would impeaching Trump restore the rule of law? Lessons from Latin America Quartz

Yes, Trump Can Accept Gifts NYT. On emoluments.

New Cold War

‘A million miles per hour’: Inside Trump’s campaign when Trump Jr. met with Russian lawyer WaPo

Peter W. Smith, GOP operative who sought Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, committed suicide, records show Chicago-Tribune

Co-founder of firm behind Trump-Russia dossier will not testify before Senate next week Politico

High-Profile Team Sues Trump Campaign, Alleging Role in DNC Hack (PDF) National Journal. Page 18: “By March 2016, the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (“GRU”) gained unauthorized access to DNC networks, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (“DCCC”) networks, and the personal email accounts of Democratic party officials and political figures. By May 2016, the GRU had extracted large volumes of data from DNC networks, including email accounts of DNC staffers.”

Trump’s Russian Laundromat The New Republic. If this pans out, it looks like David Warsh got it right; Water Cooler, March 29: “Summarizing Warsh’s informed speculation, the Trump+Russia story is more likely to be a New York real estate story starting back in the 90s.”

Millions Of Policy Proposals Spill Into Sea As Brookings Institution Think Tanker Runs Aground Off Crimea Coast The Onion. That’s the third Crimean story that’s floated through the zeitgeist to land on my desk in the last three days, after many months of nothing.

Poland remembers victims of massacres by Ukrainians Radio Poland

Trump Transition

Here’s the White House’s Transcript of What Trump Told Reporters Off the Record Bloomberg

An Analysis of the President’s 2018 Budget (PDF) CBO

Forecast of weak economic growth raises big questions about Trump’s populist agenda WaPo. CBO report on Trump budget.

Two Trump federal appeals court nominees survive judiciary committee votes Washington Examiner

Trump Tests Legal Limits by Delaying Dozens of Obama’s Rules Bloomberg

Health Care

The updated Senate health care bill: What you need to know Politico

Senate GOP revises health care bill, but prospects still uncertain McClatchy

Who wants to be #3?

Collins says she’ll vote against new GOP health plan Bangor Daily News

Rand Paul: Crony capitalism isn’t a right, so why does Senate healthcare bill give insurance companies the right to a bailout? Washington Examiner. I’ll take that as a No.

Capito Cites Medicaid Concerns in Review of New GOP Proposal US News. “Concerns” (unlike “issues”) isn’t exactly “Hell, no” but it’s nowhere near “Yes,” either.

Sandoval: Early take on health bill is that not much changed, it’s still cause for ‘great concern’ Nevada Independent. Hence, I assume, Dean Heller.

Sens. Graham, Cassidy Offer Alternative Health Care Plan That Gives States Power to Decide to Keep or Replace Obamacare CBS

Medicaid Still Key Sticking Point in GOP Health Debate Roll Call

Insurance experts question Cruz’s assertion about single risk pool Politico

The massive Senate GOP shift on pre-existing conditions Axios. Important.

New US healthcare bill would drop tax cuts for rich FT. With the real tax bill yet to be written? Pull the other one. It’s got bells on!

The Health 202: Doctors make last-ditch effort to sink GOP health-care bill WaPo

Senate Republicans exempt own health coverage from part of latest proposal Vox. Classy!

Nurses Aren’t Giving Up on California’s Single-Payer Push US News.

Democrats in Disarray

Bernie Sanders again tops poll of most approved of Senators; Mitch McConnell again most unfavorable MassLive

Video shows Minneapolis police officer shooting two dogs in north Minneapolis yard Star-Tribune (Huey). Huey: “The video footage of this incident is unreal, and the police testilying is deplorable. Were police always this cowardly or is this a new trend we’re seeing?”

At four years old, the Black Lives Matter network takes stock of its work on the ground Mic

Imperial Collapse Watch

Congress Greases Flightpath for the F-35 Boondoggle The American Conservative

A whistleblower plays by the rules at CIA, and finds ‘nothing gets done’ McClatchy. Film at 11.

Only in America

Open carry law for knives and swords to begin in September ABC

Guillotine Watch

Wealthy investment bank executive is caught stealing $210 of groceries from Whole Foods that he hid in his children’s stroller Daily Mail

Class Warfare

A Maine nonprofit paid its disabled workers less than minimum wage, while its executives got six figures Bangor Daily News. And another neoliberal infestation, this time in Medicaid.

Home care workers have our lives in their hands. They’re paid only $10 an hour Guardian (emptyfull).

Dem. NC Governor Signs Anti-Farmworker Union Bill, Opening Door to More Attacks Payday Report

DOJ announces charges against 400 people for $1.3 billion in health-care fraud WaPo. “The investigation particularly focused on medical professionals who were involved in the unlawful distribution of opioids and other prescription narcotics, officials said.”

Partisanship and the media: How personal politics affect where people go, what they trust, and whether they pay American Press Institute

For years, we’ve been told fat clogs our arteries. Now, scientists say that’s all wrong. Quartz

Jimmy Carter gets medical attention after collapsing from dehydration in Winnipeg CBC (Re Silc).

Antidote du jour:

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.

168 comments

  1. Livius Drusus

    Regarding crony capitalism and healthcare, isn’t this the biggest problem with healthcare reform, whether it comes from the Republicans or Democrats? It seems like any reform we get will have to be designed to maintain the incomes and profits of powerful entrenched interests. Insurance companies, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and the medical profession will all oppose any reform that threatens to reduce the amount of money they make via cost controls, even though we desperately need to control costs in the healthcare industry to get us in line with the rest of the industrialized world.

    This is why I am skeptical about healthcare reform. Too many powerful interests will have to take a haircut in order for a robust universal healthcare reform to work. No matter which party is in office we will end up with another “reform” that will do nothing to control costs and Americans will have to subsidize these powerful interests. It is infuriating that ordinary working Americans are expected to take haircuts via austerity and so-called free trade agreements in order to supposedly save public money or reduce prices for goods and services but powerful and wealthy interests can never take haircuts to get costs in order. If workers want higher wages we are treated to stories about overly expensive food and manufactured goods, but why is this same argument not applied to medical and dental services and prescription drugs?

    Reply
    1. oh

      Any “reform” by Congress will be taken advantage of to line the pockets of members of Congress and the 1% (through their Corporations). Tax reform has been used time and again to do that. Healthcare reform was used by Obama and the DimRats to give away millions of $$$$ to pharma, insurance and hospitals. Whenever there’s a crisis, looting of the public funds is the norm (e.g. after 9/11, after the Great Recession). We have to join together to get rid of the majority of the Congress in every election, especially those that have been there for more than one term.

      Reply
  2. David Camoner

    Neoliberalism caused Irish Coast Guard helicopter to crash, killing all four crew members.

    Absence of Blackrock Island on warning system raised four years before R116 crash

    The Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue service is run by a private operator, CHC Ireland, which is a subsidiary of a global helicopter services provider based in Canada.

    It won a ten-year €500 million contract to provide the service in 2012.

    All of the Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue helicopters have been equipped with an Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System since 2013.

    The EGPWS is designed to warn pilots to take corrective action to avoid a collision if they get too close to terrain or a known obstacle. But the system can only work if its database has a complete picture of the terrain and obstacles on a flight path.

    Blackrock Island was not in the system. The pilots flying Rescue 116 did not receive a warning and did not see the island until it was too late.

    a pilot had flagged the absence of Blackrock Island from the system four years ago – but the error was not corrected.

    Reply
  3. Angry Panda

    Simple “you have no idea what you are talking about” test when it comes to the “evil Russian hackers”. This is in reference to the “Sues Trump…Alleging DNC Hack” quote.

    Russia has for decades – going back to the USSR days – had two wholly separate branches of intelligence services. One was military intelligence, reporting directly to the General Staff and – shockingly – concerned with largely military-related matters. The other handled all the “civilian” spying – agents, cryptography, assassinations, all those things in John Le Carre novels.

    Logically, one would think the whole “evil Russian hacker” thing would have been conducted under the auspices of the non-military spy branch, since stealing (i.e. hacking and downloading) political documents (emails), disrupting or interfering in political elections, recruiting some unspecified American “helpers”, et cetera ad nauseam, seems to have nothing to do with military intelligence.

    The test, then, is this. GRU is Russia’s military intelligence branch, whereas the SVR (literally “Foreign Intelligence Service” – ha!) is the non-military intelligence service (formerly part of the KGB, which had been broken up in the 90s because ponies). Consequently, if any person, or article, or source, or report, or whatever, talking about “evil Russian hackers” is focusing on the letters “GRU” and ignoring completely the letters “SVR”…there is a good chance they know nothing. [I half-suspect someone had originally just Googled “Russian military intelligence”, because what other kind could there be, and then all the other idiots just went into parrot mode.]

    Reply
    1. HBE

      +10 Imperial collapse watch.

      They’ve (“the blob” and retainers) even managed to crapify their own propaganda.

      Is there really a difference between established (msm) human and bot reporting, if the human version cuts out critical thinking as well?

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Trump Jr used the term “crown prosecutor” in the released emails, but so did everyone else when the story was first out. There hasn’t been a “crown” anything in Russia since 1917. The Trump’s are so poorly educated it’s reasonable to conclude they would mix up terms, but the first sign the story was bs was the paranoid use of this phrase.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          In the above Bloomberg AF1 transcript Trump seems to think Bastille Day has something to do with WW1 but on the other hand the press questioners think Russia plotted with Trump before the election which Trump calls–correctly one has little doubt–a witch hunt. So which side’s ignorance and misinformation is more consequential? When it comes to the truth it seems to be the undereducated versus the disinterested.

          The other noteworthy thing about the transcript is that Trump is still saying he wants to get along with all national leaders when possible. This dealmaker impulse is a real threat to TPTB and shows that there may yet be hope for the Donald on foreign policy at least.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Just because we didn’t understand the women of Salem, and even if they couldn’t read, even if they were uneducated, there was still no reason to hunt and burn them.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              If the theory that the “women of Salem” were the local midwives and were “eliminated” in order to increase the livelihoods of the local “official” doctors, who were the other birthing specialists holds water, then there was a very specific reason to “eliminate” them.
              The other, more “respectable” reason would be plain old patriarchal power politics. We can’t have “outsiders” having any say in the running of society now, can we? In that day, women as a group were “officially” considered as an inferior sub species, and so treated. Today, I’d venture to guess that that niche is filled by the “Deplorable” sub species. s/ My, how we have progressed! \s

              Reply
              1. Andrew Watts

                America has a proud history of mass hysteria regarding fifth columnists. Heck, Tom Paine vacillated between Infowars-type paranoia concerning loyalist Tories and nationalist re-conciliation rhetoric in Common Sense. Other targets at the time were French Canadians, Catholics, Injuns, Quakers, Roundheads, and the Scots-Irish.

                I haven’t even gotten past 1776 yet.

                Reply
              2. LifelongLib

                Another theory is that the people of Salem were members of a culture that believed in witchcraft and its power to harm, and got carried away by their fear of it. But that doesn’t fit our modern political notions. And FWIW, convicted witches in England and New England were hanged, not burned — witchcraft was a felony.

                Reply
                1. ambrit

                  That could be so in civil procedures. Prior to the Reformation in England, witches were in the purview of the Ecclesiastical Courts I believe. The “Hammer for Witches” of that time spells out how to go about anti-Witch campaigns.
                  The “Auto da Fe” was a religious event, a pious public execution.
                  They might be “modern,” but economic reasons for social actions are not negated by being at work in ages past.

                  Reply
                  1. Katsue

                    Nitpick here – the Malleus Maleficarum wasn’t an approved procedure guide for the Inquisition – in fact it was placed by the Vatican on the Index of Prohibited Books.

                    The Spanish Inquisition (a state agency rather than a church body, albeit one staffed by clergy) largely didn’t prosecute alleged witches, though it did prosecute people for making allegations of witchcraft in addition to its core remit of prosecuting alleged crypto-Jews, crypto-Muslims and crypto-Protestants.

                    Reply
                    1. ambrit

                      Ah. And all these years I had thought that the “Malleus Maleficarum” was canon. I remembered it because the authors were English churchmen.
                      As for the never expected Spanish Inquisition, well, what about the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith?” Yes, heresy was its’ main reason for being, so, who focused on witches?

                  2. LifelongLib

                    The writers of the Malleus Maleficarum were German, and it was first published in Germany.

                    Not all of the accused in the Salem witch trials were women, nor were they all poor. But then as now the better off had more means to defend themselves. IIRC one gentleman who was accused promptly hired a lawyer and brought a slander suit for 10000 pounds, which scared the court out of taking any further action against him. Sadly the less well off could not afford such a vigorous response.

                    Reply
                2. Procopius

                  Also, apparently they used torture to extract confessions if the accused didn’t confess. I’d have to look up the details, but I remember there was a man who refused to confess and died while being “pressed,” i.e. having stones piled on his chest.

                  Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The point isn’t that the GRU doesn’t engage in foreign intelligence. The point was that it’s unlikely the GRU engages in information gathering at the DNC absent anything other than mass collection as the DNC doesn’t fall under its umbrella. The SVR would be set up to accomplish this, similar to how the NSA and CIA have different focuses.

        The reporting that uses “military intelligence” is suspect because they can’t get basics correct.

        I know the caveat is it intelligence and thus sneaky, but still, clarification should be provided if this is the case. “Military intelligence” sounds scarier than an alphabet soup agency not featured in a James Bond movie. Given the standing of the msm, making these kinds of “mistakes” doesn’t do much for their credibility.

        Reply
        1. Byron the Light Bulb

          All “radioelectric” intelligence is collected by the GRU, the main intelligence directorate, under the Ministry of Defense, for the SVR, foreign intelligence service. Effective as of 2003.

          Reply
        2. Procopius

          I’m confused. For the past several months I’ve been reading that the initials for the civilian intelligence agency was FSA. I’ve seen that in many stories. I have no reason to doubt that they should have been citing the SVR, but where does the confusion come from? Also, the Crowdstrike report, if I remember it correctly, claimed the earliest intrusion(s) was by the GRU, and it was only later there were more intrusions by the FSA. Of course they were referring to two hypothesized entities, Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear, when there is no evidence that they are even actual entities, just a convenient label for intrusions that seemed to have similar characteristics. Maybe the abbreviation FSA doesn’t appear in the crowdstrike report.

          Reply
    2. John Wright

      The direct link to the lawsuit document is https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3893512/Protect-Democracy-20170712.pdf

      Perhaps part of the reason that the Democrats are not getting much traction with the Russian influence story is that it calls into question their competence in national security matters and IT security.

      First the Democrats had to defend HRC and her private email server, now they are arguing they handled their own email systems so poorly the DNC was hacked by the Russians.

      And they had 1 billion to spend on electing HRC while Trump spent 0.5 billion.

      100’s of millions for advertising, little for DNC data security.

      In effect the Democrats are saying, we are weak on national security issues and were hacked by the evil Russians causing our well-funded candidate to lose..

      Assuming HRC had been elected, one suspects the entire Russian Hack story would not have seen the light of day.

      We might have instead elected a candidate whose party silently remained vulnerable to Russian hacking and influence during her entire time in office.

      America is being informed of DNC/HRC incompetence by the Democratic elite themselves.

      Hats off to the Democratic elite and media for letting the US voter know they avoided potential national security issues by NOT electing Hillary Clinton.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Yes, the real gist is that the Dems had really, really terrible computer security. As in essentially none. Didn’t respond when warned, either.

        Interestingly, when you say this in a pro-Dem place like Salon, the usual Dem trolls leave you strictly alone.

        Reply
    3. sid_finster

      Russiagate proponents want Trump gone, and russiagate happens to be the fastest way to be rid of Trump, short of actual assassination.

      Therefore, the establishment harps on russiagate, with the most innocuous assertions heralded as proof of a grand and overarching conspiracy. Logic, facts, evidence, or ethics do not matter, so long as the witch gets hunted down. Hell, half the time the russiagate proponents babble on about the malign influence of the KGB, which has been defunct for what, over 20 years?

      Then there is the little matter of consequences. The establishment wants Trump gone, I get it. But the poor dopes who follow Madow? As Yves put it, once we give a de facto veto over election results to unelected, unaccountable organizations like the FBI and CIA, we will never get that veto power back.

      And surely the CIA would never ever use that power on the Good Guys(R), right?

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        Well, Russiagate seems to be the brainchild of torture apologist John Brennan based on a Top Top Top Top Top Secret document he got from some foreign intelligence agency (possibly the Estonians) which caused him to set up the same kind of cherry picking operation that Cheney used to lie us into Iraq. Anyway, I’m happy that on the one hand more people seem to be starting to get skeptical of the huge overload of accusations and the lengthy absence of proof. Others seem to be getting even more hysterically deranged. What’s the CIA doing in this, anyway, they are not supposed to be allowed to operate in the U.S. at all for any reason. The Old Queen would have had Brennan’s guts for garters.

        Reply
    4. justanotherprogressive

      You may be right, but how in the world does anyone know how Russia spying system is operated? We don’t even know “who does what” in our own country – how could we possibly understand how a much more closed system like Russia’s works? I’m betting that Russia’s spy agencies don’t follow Russia’s stated “rules” any more than our spy agencies do…..

      Reply
      1. DH

        This is looking more and more like a classic Soviet “honey trap” where the bait is Hillary info instead of a gorgeous blonde. The Russians were probably laughing as they kept adding people to the meet to ensure a completely suspicious crew creating a compelling compromising appearance. They could potentially have made it more obvious if they included Boris and Natasha from The Bullwinkle Show. http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-jr-meeting-robert-mueller-rinat-akhmetshin-2017-7

        The mini-Trumps need to spend more time reading John Le Carre and Tom Clancy novels and watching James Bond movies, since they don’t appear to recognize basic plot lines. I am sure they can get Daniel Craig or Sean Connery to meet with them to explain how all this works since they don’t trust their intelligence service briefers.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          One thing is, most of this stuff only looks suspicious if you look at it from the paranoid viewpoint of today. If you remember the context of June, 2016, why would anyone thing meeting a Russian lawyer was any kind of big deal? Trump’s joke of wishing that “if the Russians have the deleted emails” they would release them was seized on by the Dems and said to be a request for the Russians to hack Hillaries server, but the Republicans had been saying for weeks that her server had been hacked and the server actually hadn’t been in use for months, if not years. Almost every accusation floating around comes from taking a “could have been” and turning it into “was” without any justification.

          Reply
  4. allan

    Come for the Brexit … stay for the destruction of the rule of law:

    Theresa May accused of exploiting Brexit to scrap people’s rights
    [Independent]

    Even worse than the “Henry the VIII powers” mentioned in yesterday’s Links:

    Theresa May has been accused of trying to snatch sweeping new powers that would allow her to scrap people’s rights after Brexit without telling Parliament.

    Buried in the newly published Repeal Bill is a clause permitting ministers to tamper unhindered with employment and environmental protections as long as they deem there to be an “urgent” need.

    The Government was expected to try for some new powers in the 63-page bill, but the measures proposed go even further than the “Henry the VIII powers”, which already weakened scrutiny. …

    Given the volume of regulation is so great, ministers had previously suggested they would need some powers to quickly change pieces of the legislation to make it suitable for life after Brexit – including the Henry VIII powers that would see them able to change laws by statutory instrument with a lower level of scrutiny in Parliament.

    But the bill finally unveiled on Thursday contained a section entitled “scrutiny procedure in certain urgent cases”, allowing a law to be changed “without a draft of the instrument being laid before” Parliament. …

    The Department for Exiting the European Union told The Independent the “urgent” procedure would only be used in “exceptional circumstances”, describing it as “a contingency”. …

    However, it admitted there were no specific restrictions in the legislation to prevent ministers also changing aspects of law they “do not like”. …

    Reply
    1. MoiAussie

      Australia’s Neocon government has been quick to follow May’s lead in rights scrapping.

      Australian PM seeks access to encrypted messages

      Turnbull, a lawyer and merchant banker, feels that nothing can stand in his way.

      Mr Turnbull said he was not seeking a “back door” and wanted communications handed over in “the usual way that applies in the offline world”.

      Prof Woodward said modern encryption methods had not been cracked. But Mr Turnbull said Australian law would prevail over the laws of mathematics.

      Turnbull is being ably assisted by his arrogant, incompetent, and much reviled Attorney General.

      The UK and NZ laws inspiring Australia’s encryption crackdown

      Attorney-General George Brandis has said the government will seek to gain “appropriate legal powers” to access communications sent with end-to-end encryption by criminal groups. It remains unclear exactly how the government expects law enforcement and security agencies to gain access encrypted messages, since it has repeatedly denied that it wants to force the introduction of backdoors.

      Brandis offered some indication of shape the planned “coercive powers” would take, telling a press conference today that they would be “of the kind” recently introduced in the UK and New Zealand. In those countries, the laws that have inspired Brandis remain controversial, vague and as yet untested.

      It seems the “5 eyes” members are playing follow the leader on this. Next, Canada?

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Green’s senator Scott Ludlum put this encryption grab in the right perspective:
        “The government is seeking to outlaw certain kinds of mathematics”.
        Ludlum is *precisely* the kind of politician we need around the globe: extremely knowledgeable and so very hard to bamboozle. You’d add “not purchasable” to the list of his qualifications. I met with him privately several times.
        Unfortunately he was forced to resign yesterday due to a citizenship oversight. It’s a real loss for the country.

        Reply
  5. Direction

    Thanks for the ferret story. Scotland connection! Real reporting! I wonder how many pipelines are being actively resisted in this country since we never hear about this sort of thing in the msm. Spread the word. I know the native communities in my area were starting to hold large local town hall meetings to support the Dakota resistance right before things ended. If you would like to act locally to support efforts like this, that is one option for organizing around an issue. meet in your own neighborhood to come up with ideas on how to support genuine active resistance efforts like this one. Support does not have to be monetary. When you are parked up in a tree, isolated, or in jail, it really helps to receive cards and news clippings from far away to know your message is reaching people, and it sounds like they would really like help getting their message out to people in Scotland.

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Burton

      In Pennsylvania, a community of activist nuns built a chapel on the route of an intended pipeline to block construction, which the pipeline company was apparently planning, per Dakota Access, to just bull ahead with before any actual permits were issued.

      More needs to be said about the fact these pipelines were originally approved when people were under the misapprehension their contents were going to support the US’s “energy independence.” Many do not know that fossil fuel exports are now legal again, and that the bulk of what will pass through these exercises in greed will be going so the fossil fuel companies can milk every last dime.

      Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      So they want to be able to sell the seats to “deep-pocketed business travelers” knowing the company will pick up the tab no matter what.

      If the government were to tax a company’s revenues we’d hear the now customary wailing and gnashing of teeth that it will cost jawbz or cause prices to rise as the company passed on the extra cost to consumers.

      But if another corporation institutes large extra fees, essentially a corporate tax, that’s somehow just good business and a win-win for everybody.

      Puhleeeeze.

      Reply
  6. b

    “Liu Xiaobo – the quiet, determined teller of China’s inconvenient truths ”

    Not mention in that shameless piece:

    Liu Xiabao, the Chinese Neoconservative prepped up with money from the NED and the Nobel Warmonger Price.

    Promoter of the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan who said that U.S. wars on Vietnam and Korea were just. The man who said that China needs 300 years of foreign occupation to become civilized. The guy who wanted to privatize Chinese land and commons down to the last square foot. Unknown in China but advertised as hope of the Chinese by every “western” propaganda outlet.

    Tariq Ali on Lu
    https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/12/13/18666439.php
    also:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/dec/15/nobel-winner-liu-xiaobo-chinese-dissident

    Reply
    1. MoiAussie

      Thanks for that. Given the choice between tactful silence and speaking uncomfortable truths about the dead, I’ve always preferred setting the record straight.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are there unknowns in America but advertised as hope of the West by every Chinese propaganda outlet?

      And will they seek protection in the Chinese embassy in Washington DC?

      Maybe even given a Confucian World Harmony Prize in China.

      Reply
  7. Dean

    Wealthy investment bank executive is caught stealing $210 of groceries from Whole Foods that he hid in his children’s stroller Daily Mail

    It wasn’t the exec’s fault! The children grabbed the items and he just didn’t notice. Amirght?

    Reply
  8. Bye, Felicia

    El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke outraised Ted Cruz in Q2, in efforts to unseat Cruz in the Senate.

    “O’Rourke did it in a surprising, and for Cruz, concerning way: $0 from corporate PACs, 46,574 individual donations, and more than 80 percent of the money coming from genuine Texans. In other words, this is not a Jon-Ossoff-style phenomenon where people around the country are throwing money at O’Rourke.”

    “O’Rourke is a backer of single payer universal healthcare. He’s ardently pro-choice. And he took on the the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) at the height of the 2014 Israel-Gaza War, casting one of only eight votes against the Iron Dome rocket defense system.”

    Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    Re: “Open carry law for knives and swords to begin in September.” This is crazy in a handbag. If they love the idea of people carrying swords and knives in public, then they will love the newer open carry law for flamethrowers! After all, you can own a flamethrower in nearly every state in the union so why not have the right to carry them in public?

    Reply
    1. DJG

      Knives are definitely a problem, and it is hard to image what “open carry” of a knife means, considering how small they are. As to open carry of swords, I say let ‘er rip. Just as it turns out that only Toshiro Mifune can pull off a man bun, we will discover endless numbers of Americans who can neither use a sword nor wear a man bun.

      I was reading about ancient Rome a couple of nights back. Within the pomerium, the sacred limits of the city (where were sizable and included most of the famous Seven Hills), no weapons were allowed. Soldiers were required to put on civilian dress. Use of a weapon within the pomerium was a sacrileg. No wonder Rome fell: Why didn’t they have a Second Amendment to protect all of those good guys with daggers?

      Reply
      1. DH

        We will all be able to hire our own samurai now. How cool will it be to swagger down the street accompanied by a bodyguard with a samurai sword. Decapitation will be a much more effective deterrent against mugging than just getting shot in the arm.

        Reply
        1. witters

          “Decapitation will be a much more effective deterrent against mugging than just getting shot in the arm.”

          Texas and ISIS. A neat match.

          Reply
    2. Christopher Fay

      Flamethrowers? I’d be afraid guillotines will come first. And when you have such a tool of justice, it’d be a shame not to use it.

      But seriously with knives, swords and forks, dueling is due to come back.

      Reply
    3. Andrew Watts

      Passing a law that allows the open carry of flamethrowers is a positive step in the direction for the ownership and maintenance of doomsday devices.

      Why should half a dozen sociopaths in the world have all the fun?!

      Reply
      1. gepay

        maybe jokes are not appropriate – On June 11, 1964, shortly after 9 a.m., Seifert approached the schoolyard of the Catholic elementary school located at Volkhovener Weg 209-211, armed with a self-made flamethrower, a lance and a mace. The school consisted of one main building and four wooden barracks, each housing two classes with a total of eight teachers and 380 students.

        As Seifert entered the school compound through the smaller of two gates he was observed by three crossing guards who mistook him for a mechanic trying to repair the gate’s broken lock and asked him what he was doing there. Seifert ignored them and, after blocking off the gate with a wooden wedge, proceeded towards teacher Anna Langohr who was teaching a group of girls in sports at the schoolyard. When Langohr, who knew Seifert, asked if she could help him, he ignited his flamethrower and attacked her and the girls.

        Seifert then went to one of the barracks, smashed in the windows with the mace, and aimed his weapon at the children in the classrooms, setting them on fire. He continued to attack the people running and jumping out of the burning building until his flamethrower ran out of fuel, whereupon he threw it away. When teacher Gertrud Bollenrath stepped out on the schoolyard Seifert fatally stabbed her in the chest with his lance and then approached the barrack where Ursula Kuhr and Mrs. Kunz were teaching. The two women tried to keep the doors shut, but Seifert managed to tear one of them open, making Mrs. Kuhr lose her balance. After she fell down the flight of stairs and landed on the ground in front of the building Seifert stabbed her in both legs and once between her shoulders.

        Seifert then fled the school compound and swallowed E605, a poisonous insecticide, in hopes of committing suicide, but as the substance was diluted he did not die immediately. Chased by 20 to 30 people he ran towards a railroad embankment where he tried to fend off his pursuers with his lance. When police arrived at the scene at 9:38 a.m. he tried to stab one of the officers, but was eventually brought down with a shot in his leg. He was arrested and brought to the University Hospital in Lindenthal where he was questioned several times, before he died at 20:35 CET.[4]

        The attack had lasted for about 15 minutes. Ursula Kuhr died at the scene, while Gertrud Bollenrath succumbed to her wounds in hospital at 1 p.m. the same day. Along with teachers Anna Langohr and Wiltrud Schweden twenty-eight students were brought to hospitals, some of them with burns to 90 percent of their body. Eight of the students succumbed to their wounds in the following weeks.[5][6]

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          That was kinda my point. Hard to concentrate on shopping in a supermarket when the people near you have military assault rifles, katanas, daggers and the like. They are not a fashion accessory and are heavy and awkward enough to carry that you have to go out of your way to carry them. They are just there for people to make a point that they can carry them whenever they want (nah, nah, you can’t stop me!).
          Some of these people have no clue as for example when two guys carried their assault rifles while wearing ski masks into a police station (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoaOhOCtJ_0). Are they kidding? That f*****t Seifert kinda makes my point. What if he had access, legally, to military grade weapons? There will always be homicidal maniacs like Seifert…inadequate people. No need to make their path easier.

          Reply
      1. polecat

        Whaddaabout ninja stars .. ??

        If ninja stars are outlawed, only outlaws will have … uh .. stars

        “uh, Marshall Dillon” ..”there’s a dude at Ned’s bar down the street .. in a dress … wearin some kind of .. bun ….. an talkin real funny like !!”

        Reply
      1. ambrit

        You won’t like the return of the “Code Duello.” That anachronism enshrined the concept of “Might Makes Right.” Curiously, the skills needed to fence effectively require training and commitment. That sounds close to a Meritocratic creed. (“We’re the better fighters, so, we deserve more of everything than those less well endowed.”)

        Reply
        1. Massinissa

          Sometimes I wonder if the reason duels went out of fashion is because of the rise of firearms in duels… Much less training to just shoot somebody, you might get a lucky shot…

          Reply
          1. EGrise

            Richard Burton (the Victorian explorer) wrote an interesting book on swords wherein he lamented the decline of duelling everywhere except in the “utilitarian” United States, where we dispensed with sword fighting and just shot each other with revolvers.

            Reply
        2. EGrise

          Oh no kidding. Not to mention the other aspects of duelling: for example, more than a few historians think that naval hero Stephen Decatur was effectively maneuvered into a fatal duel by other officers jealous of his fame and success. Duelling strikes me as a Pandora’s Box that never quite empties out.

          Besides, I drag enough stuff around with me as it is, the last thing in the world I need is a Claymore strapped to my laptop bag…

          Reply
  10. MoiAussie

    Doomsday narratives about climate change don’t work. But here’s what does

    Instead of being defeatist, look to climate change heroes who are leading the way

    This vacuous article offers solace to those whose denialism has collapsed – tell nice stories and all will be well.

    We are at a point today where every decision we make counts in deciding what America’s climate change story will be – including the fundamental decision of how we tell climate change stories.

    Let’s start telling stories of hope and heroes.

    Yes, don’t listen to all those nasty negative thinkers warning of dire consequences, put on a happy face and be a hopeful climate change heroine. Tell your story, and let the power of your positivity blow away all those horrible heat trapping molecules.

    The level of derangement on climate in the US is reaching stratospheric heights.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Ravens—like humans and apes—can plan for the future Science

      Looking at Climate Change, a sane person would question whether humans can really plan for a sustainable, non-suicidal future.

      And as we experience Global Warming, an objective person is skeptical humans should be called Sapiens. (Conflict of interest much, by the scientist who came up with that?)

      Reply
      1. MoiAussie

        an objective person is skeptical humans should be called Sapiens

        I suggested the more appropriate species designator Homo asinalis here at NC some months ago, but it hasn’t caught on.

        Reply
          1. clinical wasteman

            Also missed it the first time, so thanks for repeating it now. Hope it catches on this time, unless it implies that We’re all Democrats now!

            Reply
    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      Wrong. Dead wrong. This is one of the few intelligent articles I have ever seen about the narrative approach to climate change action.

      The way climate change is presented in our media today is guaranteed to alienate a large and powerful segment of the population. It’s always: 1) descriptions of climate change headlined with dire warnings and predictions of apocalypse followed by 2) dictates about “What We Must Do!!!” demanding individual sacrifice without end.

      It’s a counter factual, petulant narrative that appeals to the “I’m an environmentalist! I shop at Whole Foods!” types, and alienates normal suburban schlubs in flyover. And that’s the idea. These pop press narratives aren’t about promoting legitimate, coordinated action; they’re about constantly defining sides in a frivolous, stupid argument. Meanwhile, nothing gets done except at the margins.

      Reply
      1. clinical wasteman

        Couldn’t bring myself to look at the Gordian today, but +thousands, Fluffy, for that summation of Monbiotic morality. The more apocalyptic the tone, the more the pretense that behavior modification will solve the problem trivializes the whole thing. For a tiny (but gorgeously upholstered!) minority in Europe, North America, etc., lifestyle “sacrifices” may well be a source of (additional) self-satisfaction. But where those same people get the heartstopping gall to tell the rest of the world’s population to consume less, I’ll never know. Gaia Guillotine Watch?
        Anyway, once again the wealthofnegations.org definition seems to apply:
        SACRIFICE (n.) 1. A technical term used in the addition of insult to injury.

        Reply
      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I appreciated your quote:

        “These pop press narratives aren’t about promoting legitimate, coordinated action; they’re about constantly defining sides in a frivolous, stupid argument. Meanwhile, nothing gets done except at the margins.”

        And I thought it applied to quite a number of our real problems, starting with health care.

        Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      This feel good piece opinion piece in the Guardian has a funny smell to it.

      A little background on this author:
      “Victoria Herrmann is the President and Managing Director of The Arctic Institute. In addition to managing the Institute and Board of Directors, her research and writing focus on climate change, community adaptation, human development, and resource economies, with a particular focus on Arctic oil and gas. She is a Gates Scholar at the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge, where she is pursuing a PhD in Political Geography of the Arctic. In 2016, Victoria is traveling across the United States for a National Geographic funded book on climate change stories, America’s Eroding Edges.”
      This is from the Arctic Institute site at [http://www.thearcticinstitute.org/]

      Poking around the site was like poking around in cotton candy.
      It’s a 501(c)3 tax exempt nonprofit organization based in Washington DC.

      One of their research topics is “Natural Resources and Energy” which has a library with backgrounders on all the countries hovering over the Arctic looking for play and includes a picture of an oil pipeline in the snows above a few references there with titles like “Arctic Oil and Natural Gas Potential” — a report from 2009 by an author with the U.S. Energy Information Administration [an agency of the U.S. government or just named to look like one?].

      The “Experts” link includes photos of Arctic Institute leadership. You have to bring up the bio page for each to find out what they are expert in. Most are photogenic, very young, and after checking several bios I still didn’t find any that included expertise in science or climate science. The “Leadership Team” shows six of the Institutes leaders — not one of them has anything to do with science or climate science.

      The Institutes affiliates include “High North Dialogue” (as vague in purpose as its title), “Arctic Business”, and “Youth Perspectives” — “a publishing platform for Arctic students to voice their opinions.”

      The climate change Mission from the “Climate Change Projects” link:
      http://www.thearcticinstitute.org/projects/climate-change/
      To investigate the challenges and opportunities of climate change in the Arctic beyond melting sea ice.

      To connect climate science with national and international policies in the circumpolar north.

      To create a global network of traditional knowledge holders and scholars on its applications to climate innovation.

      Of course climate change was only one of several projects most of which related to ways to exploit the changing situation in the Arctic.

      I guess in a few decades the Arctic Institute and other such 501(c)3 tax exempt nonprofit organizations may be a good source for the climate science and entrepreneurship we’ll need to create geoengineering projects like “Space Mirrors!” — [obscure reference to Phillip Mirowski’s lecture keynote for “Life and Debt’ conference
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7ewn29w-9I minute 46 — 48:30 “Hey tomorrow we’re going to have space mirrors!”] The best science money can buy from the Marketplace of ideas.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Some follow-up:
        Commander David Slayton, retired from the U.S. Navy, is the Chairman and Executive Director of the Board of Directors of the Arctic Institute. He is also a Research Fellow of the Hoover Institution handling their Arctic Security Initiative. The Board’s of Directors “provide governance of financial affairs, guide the selection of research projects, and safeguard the independence of the Institute’s work.” There is one other Fellow, actually a Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Admiral Gary Roughhead of the Hoover Institute who is also interested in the Arctic and Energy Policy, International Security and Military Strategy overlapping the interests of Commander Slayton. I don’t know whether they are affiliated in any other ways — but I suppose the probably both work on some aspect of the Hoover Institute’s Arctic Security Initiative. The Hoover Institute is a partner of the Atlas Network [https://www.atlasnetwork.org/]
        “Atlas Network is a nonprofit organization connecting a global network of more than 450 free-market organizations in over 90 countries to the
        ideas and resources needed to advance the cause of liberty.”

        The Arctic Institute, founded in 2011 is named very similarly to the Arctic Institute of North America created in 1945 by the Canadian Parliment. JSTOR seems to think well of the Arctic Institute of North America “… The Institute’s core comprises Arctic, North America’s premier journal of northern research …” [http://www.jstor.org/publisher/aina].

        Reply
        1. Grebo

          Excellent bloodhounding Jeremy. The Atlas Network is the thinktank-coordinating tentacle of the Mont Pelerin Society. Which is to say the Arctic Institute is therefore part of the Neoliberal underground.

          Reply
        2. John Wright

          A additional thank you to Jeremy for finding the back story.

          The entire climate change problem is one of scale, there have been simply too many human consumers of resources producing/accumulating more waste products than can be handled by the environment.

          Any Climate Change feel good article that does not attempt to handle the scaling issues of any proposed recommendations (“stories”) is cause for skepticism.

          Note Jeremy’s finding that Victoria Herrmann is “traveling across the United States for a National Geographic funded book on climate change stories, America’s Eroding Edges.””

          Herrmann may be casting a wide net to find climate change successes while being surrounded by failures (“eroding edges”).

          Victoria’s statement “I’m going to repeat that, because it’s really important. The narratives we read, hear and see informs how we understand climate change, and that understanding dictates whether we act or don’t.”

          Even repeating this statement does not make it “really important” as she gives no indication of what narrative influenced actions will matter.

          Her example of “Elizabeth Wheaton is installing pumps and raising streets to protect neightborhoods” is classified as a success story, neglecting that energy, possibly from fossil fuels,will be used to run the pumps and raise the streets, so the success does not scale up.

          She closes with “I’m the first to admit that hope in the US is hard to come by these days. With the country now ready to pull out of the Paris agreement, it’s hard not to feel like America has entered a four- or eight-year period of stagnation.”

          Even if the USA had stayed in the Paris agreement, there was little cause for hope as there was little progress (some might say even “stagnation”) under Obama.

          Victoria Herrmann should be required to show how her “telling stories of hope and heroes” is anything more than a case of “look at the battles we are winning, not at the devastating war we are losing.”

          Reply
  11. Tertium Squid

    Employers decide how much to pay people with disabilities by timing them at certain job tasks and then comparing their speed to the speed and pay of non-disabled employees elsewhere.

    That’s how these non-profits help disabled people? Pro-rate their pay?

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The organization couldn’t employ as many people with disabilities if it didn’t pay them a subminimum wage, she said. It currently employs 47 people at subminimum wages, according to Johnson.

      I guess what’s good for the no $15 living wage, fast food goose, is good for the subminimum wage, disabled exploiting non-profit gander.

      And the result is the same–the guy at the top gets a bonus.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        The scary part of this is that the non profits are market testing what the oligarchical class wants to do across the entire economy.
        The overall logic fails. Disabled people should, by definition, need more resources to live, not less. As with the Wal Mart model, I’m guessing that the state is expected to pick up the shortfall through service programs. Unfortunately, states look to be reducing ‘services.’ Charles Dickens would feel right at home.

        Reply
  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Video shows Minneapolis police officer shooting two dogs in north Minneapolis yard Star-Tribune (Huey).

    So, I don’t have one of these home alarms and never would. But I have known people who do. In my experience, every time the alarm is tripped, the company calls the house to verify legitimacy. I used to get a call when my next door neighbor’s alarm went off asking if they should call the police. I always said “No” and that I’d go check–it happened several times over the course of 8 years. Nothing was ever wrong. I knew the house, their pets and the alarm code. I never took a gun.

    My question is, and maybe it’s purely rhetorical, when you put one of these things in your house, do you agree to the police invading your house / yard without verifying that their “assistance” is even necessary? These cops showed up some 20 minutes after the alarm was shut off. How long do they get to break into your house and yard and shoot your dogs before the “danger” is considered past?

    I’ve no idea why anyone would install one of these things and pay the monthly freight. With so many trigger-happy cops in constant “fear for their lives” just lookin’ for a reason to blow someone or something away, I think I’ll just take my chances with the infrequent burglars. Unlike the cops, they’re not out looking for trouble.

    Reply
    1. MoiAussie

      These cops showed up some 20 minutes after the alarm was shut off. How long do they get to break into your house and yard and shoot your dogs before the “danger” is considered past?

      Modern policing allows them to show up and do whatever they want whenever they want.

      Reply
      1. Charger01

        Bingo. House alarm calls are a low priority, as they are consider property crime….not a home invasion. The police are not obligated to respond. Please keep that in mind.

        Reply
    2. PeonInChief

      They need to give the police lessons. For instance, try ringing the doorbell. If someone answers and all is well, go do something useful. There would never have been a problem if they’d done that.

      Reply
  13. Stephen Rhodes

    Healthcare

    Watch the White Christians Party go for the gravy

    . . . Now that resistance is “melting away,” reports Caitlin Owens, because, as a GOP aide tells her, “No one wants to be bad guy.” (You might think “bad guy” means a person who denies medical care to sick people, but in this context, it indicates precisely the opposite.)

    July 14, 2017
    8:19 am NY Magazine

    Current plan: Pass BCRA now with most of the tax cuts that are its real essence simply transferred to the next budget bill. And preserve the Medicaid cuts; oh, be sure, to preserve that savagery in the BCRA—so that that cost savings will be passed on as tax cuts. . . after a polite delay for the celebrating to die down.

    Reply
    1. Stephen Rhodes

      Any third Republican senator could have given a press conference Thursday afternoon and killed the bill. But it didn’t happen. Instead of finding their exit ramp off the bill, they’re trying to find their way to yes.

      Jim Newell—Slate

      Reply
    2. Stephen Rhodes

      Ends Justify the Means
      Still later—

      Let the buying begin. The Senate health care bill handed policy to conservatives and will now try to pay off the “moderates” (I mean there really are no actual Republican moderates, but we’ll just use that as shorthand) with a kitty obtained by essentially delaying tax cuts for a few months (they’ll assuredly come back in the Republican tax cut package).

      David Dayen

      emphasis added

      Reply
  14. Tertium Squid

    For every gram of fat, we get nine calories of energy; carbs and proteins both only yield four each for the same amount. If you’re trying to lose weight, fats aren’t your friend.

    Of course they are. Fats take much longer to pass out of your digestive tract, so it’s much longer before you get hungry again. The same calorie load of carbs gets “processed” much faster, and you’re hungry again right away.

    My experience anyway. I lost 50 pounds just by eating more fats and protein and fewer carbs, and I’m hungry less than before. And when were you ever steered wrong by an internet anecdote? :/

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The reality is our perception of fats has probably been skewed by the results that have been reported, both in journals and the media.

      Gee, what a surprise! That almost never happens!

      The authors of the review don’t specifically say why there’s been a reporting bias around the risk of cholesterol, fats, and heart health.

      But here’s a clue:

      The global market for statins, the drugs that lower LDL cholesterol, was $20.5 billion in 2011. The demand for statins is declining, especially because the American Heart Association recently put out guidelines (paywall) suggesting doctors prescribe them less. But they’re still expected to bring in $12.5 billion in 2018.

      It’s hard to imagine the ripples this could cause to the peripheral neuropathy industry, of which the statin industry is a charter member. And best to keep an eye on any investments you’ve made in those pill bottle and safety cap manufacturing company stocks.

      Reply
      1. justanotherprogressive

        Ah, statins create much more money than the $12.5 billion. Statins also have nasty side effects and think of all the money Big Pharma makes treating those side effects.

        I was prescribed a statin because my “bad” cholesterol was slightly higher than the new “limits” put out by the American Heart Association. When I started having really bad side effects, like severe muscle and joint pain, elevated billirubin levels, depression and just feeling sick all the time, my doctor had a whole slew of new pills she wanted me to take to relieve the side effects of the statins (and I suppose she would have had even more pills to relieve the side effects of those pills.) My body would have become a chemical warfare zone. Instead, I just stopped taking the statins. I can live with “slightly elevated cholesterol” – I sure couldn’t live on those statins!

        BTW, get this: “It’s now believed that about a third of adults in the U.S. could benefit from statins.” Really? I believe this should be rewritten as: “Big Pharma believes that they could benefit greatly if about a third of adults in the U.S. took statins.”
        http://news.heart.org/doctor-discussion-is-key-for-cholesterol-treatment/

        Reply
        1. neo-realist

          I was prescribed a statin due to slightly elevated cholesterol and family history of heart disease on father’s side. So far, the only discernible side effect has been “regularity”, which one can obtain over the counter substances to alleviate that issue.

          You have to make choices, either die from the heart disease due to the elevated cholesterol (some family members have died in their early 50’s due to hd), or wait with baited breath and opioids for the neuropathy.

          Reply
          1. justanotherprogressive

            Quality of life is ever as important as quantity of life. I’m glad they work for you – they didn’t work for me…..or anyone else I personally know who was on them……

            Reply
          2. justanotherprogressive

            I also question that “family history” thing that doctors so love. My father died from a heart attack at the age of 69, but he had been an alcoholic since his teens, so my doctor INSISTS that I have a family history of heart condition – she completely ignores that all my non-alcoholic uncles on my father’s side (he had five brothers) lived into their 90’s……and the same on my mother’s side…..in fact my mother will be 98 this year……

            Reply
            1. neo-realist

              Father died from heart failure at the age of 51. Wasn’t an alcoholic, but appeared to eat a high fat meat heavy diet like a lot of depression/WW II era generation.

              Reply
        2. polecat

          Thank Heyzeus I’ve avoided the doctors of medical malpractice, so far … !
          I’d rather die, with access to beautiful things in my personal sphere, together with family, than in some sterile (Ha!) hospitalincorporated, surrounded be BMW’rd grifting hacks in scrubs !

          Now, on the other hand, if I could throw their entrials across my kithen floor, and thus devine my biological fate, well ….

          Reply
      2. ambrit

        Ah, I learned the pill bottle manufacturer stock pain infliction lesson years ago.
        While in Middle School, I saved up some of the money I made at various jobs and invested it in a company that had the patent for the first childproof pill bottle cap. (This happened so long ago, I am not worried about legal or ethical issues in saying the name of the company out loud: Loral Corporation.)
        So, here I am, a school kid looking at his first “killing” in the Market. Wait a minute! The implementation of the law requiring childproof caps on pill bottles was pushed back several years to allow for “competing designs” to the Loral product to enter the market!? This disillusioned kid salvages what he can of his suddenly halved in value investment, (roughly a thousand dollars,) and “doubles up” on the stock at the dip. (More thousands of dollars, in hundred dollar increments.) I eventually cashed in the investment when it was about 25% over the break even point and used the money to defray University expenses.
        My eventual lesson learned from this is the realization that there is no such thing as a “Free Market.” (After all, the decision to delay enforcement of the childproof cap law had to have lead to the unnecessary deaths of some children somewhere. Thus, Lesson #2: Capitalism, and by inference Corporations, are not organic, sentient beings because they have no hearts.)

        Reply
      3. ginnie nyc

        I get various physician newsletters by email, all affiliated with New England Journal of Medicine. I swear, 25% of the papers in Internal Medicine are new and exciting excuses to use statins. The pharma industry clearly recognizes that statin scrips for cholesterol are dropping, and are trying to maintain drug validity and sales volume through other means.

        Reply
    2. Yves Smith

      Sorry, I was a fattie and the way I’ve been able to get and stay thin is by keeping fat intake low. I also am never hungry. Avoiding simple carbs (sugars) and refined foods is a good idea but beyond that, some strategies work better for some people than others.

      Reply
      1. Tertium Squid

        Totally agree. I was an early middle aged really big guy (~300 lb) with a super active lifestyle. I was eating 4000 calories a day and was still craving. Now I eat 2500 (with almost no processed carbs and more fat, protein and lots and lots of greens) and am hardly hungry at all.

        My body really really didn’t want to be 300 pounds so as soon as I took my foot off the gas I dropped dramatically. But if I wanted to lose 50 more I think that’d be a drastic difficulty.

        Reply
    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      “…maybe, we’ve actually been wrong about the facts of fats.

      First, the bad news: Plant fats—the “good” ones—probably aren’t much better for you than animal fats.”

      I found the entire article incoherent: ‘fats aren’t as bad as we thought, but they are still bad, but we won’t tell you how in any specifics. Anyway, somebody found some 40 year old punch cards from a study with very questionable consent. And lower cholesterol was worse. So, obviously you should watch out for fats’

      Clear as mud. A lot like the pot/federal deficits/etc. aren’t bad articles that nonetheless have to remind you that they are bad.

      Reply
      1. witters

        “Clear as mud.” Yep, like pretty much all “nutritional science.” But the anecdotes are powerful and generalisable…

        Reply
  15. L

    Murkowski may be on the fence but there are clear attempts to woo her in this bill:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/senate-health-care-bill-bcra-alaska-lisa-murkowski-2017-7

    In brief they wrote in money for states where the cost of insurance premiums are 75% higher than the national average. Only one state meets that definition.

    This may be driven in part by the fact that they have used her as a prop for much of the discussion routinely citing Alaska’s case as an example for the nation. This is of course a bit of a canard as Alaska is always higher on health-care costs (small widely distributed population many of whom work in tough physical industries) so the basic ratio wasn’t changed much by the ACA.

    Reply
    1. bwilli123

      Another set of standards ( if you’re a nice guy)

      “See, all along, there was this thing. The constitution. Section 44. Dual citizens aren’t eligible to sit in parliament. If Ludlam had, say, done any other thing that he wasn’t allowed to do – like, for instance, get a job that required a degree in engineering but forgot to check whether he’d actually passed the exams until nine years in, at which point, quelle horreur!, he discovered he’d flunked, his employer might yell fraud.”
      ..”The law’s funny like that. And it usually wants you to pay back, with interest, what you weren’t entitled to have been paid. Ignorance is no defence, even if you’re a nice guy.”

      In short, 9 years of overpayment – no question yet of re-imbursing the taxpayer, much less penalties. Try arguing the same if you were Senators Pauline Hanson or Bob Day.

      http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/hey-scott-ludlam-the-law-is-a-thing-its-funny-like-that-20170714-gxbjve.html

      Reply
      1. Grebo

        The constitution. Section 44. Dual citizens aren’t eligible to sit in parliament.

        Interesting. I thought all Commonwealth countries allowed citizens of other Commonwealth countries to sit in their parliaments. I guess it must be optional.

        Reply
      2. Kfish

        Funny how a previous Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, held UK citizenship all the way through his term as PM and is STILL sitting in parliament today. Ignorance is no defence, but if you’ve got the balls to stay put and dare the bastards to throw you out, you might just be allowed to stay.

        The problem with self-enforcement is that the decent ones like Ludlam will remove themselves, but the shitbags like Abbott will ignore the law and stay.

        Reply
  16. DJG

    The article on ravens and their planning, from Science. There are times these days when we read articles about the intelligence, adaptivity, and sheer sacredness of animals, and I wonder about when these observers decided to start observing. No one knew that ravens and crows have personalities and make plans?

    From Wikipedia (yes, even Wikipedia knew): “In Greek mythology, ravens are associated with Apollo, the god of prophecy. They are said to be a symbol of good luck, and were the god’s messengers in the mortal world.”

    Next up: Parrots are discovered to have more concerns than getting cracker.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is also the Flat-Man Dogma that animals and plants revolve around Man who is flat.

      A Round-Man, on the other hand, understand that Man and animals and plants revolve around each other, that Man is not the center of the universe, and as far as I know, we haven’t yet the math, the geometry to describe their orbits yet…they are more like dances.

      Reply
      1. craazyboy

        Also humans resemble animals!

        See the Antidote – This is a Giraffe, making his “silly human face”. Pretty good impression, no? The Giraffe Dude is a “standup” comedian (they have to, it’s not their fault…)

        This guy also does a great pre-AI baby robot…says, “I can help!” whenever he sees a human screw up. Great entertainer – the girls love him, especially the bitchy ones!

        Reply
  17. diptherio

    Home care workers have our lives in their hands. They’re paid only $10 an hour Guardian (emptyfull).

    I’ve been saying this for years — the more practically important your job is to the basic functioning of our society, the less you get paid for it.

    A friend just started working part-time at Delta for the flight benefits. His duties include loading and unloading luggage, performing safety checks on planes, maneuvering large vehicles about in tight spaces without puncturing a plane hull or getting sucked into a turbine….all for $8/hour! Managers get $12/hour and a lot more responsibility.

    Delta knows that the only reason people work for them is for the free travel perks so they can get away with paying a pittance. However, as someone who occasionally flies, knowing that the guy doing the safety check on any given plane 1) only got 30 minutes of training, 2) doesn’t really know anything about airplanes, and 3) only gets paid $8/hour is slightly terrifying. And ponying up for first-class doesn’t change any of that….

    Reply
    1. Lee

      In the 1970s I was a union rep for nursing home workers. That was a truly Dante-esque experience. Based on what I’ve seen of nursing homes, I will if able end myself before it comes to that. A very good read on the topic, if a bit grim, is Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal. I’m in the part of the book where he describes the problem and how it evolved. I’m assuming suggestions for solutions will follow. I do hope for a happy ending.

      Reply
    2. J.Fever

      Too funny.
      “And ponying up for first-class doesn’t change any of that….”
      All they will do is make you(the safety check guy), attend a training class(video), and receive certification(piece of paper.)
      Losing 2 hours of your life.
      And you still make $8/hr.

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > knowing that the guy doing the safety check on any given plane 1) only got 30 minutes of training, 2) doesn’t really know anything about airplanes, and 3) only gets paid $8/hour is slightly terrifying.

      The planes themselves must be brilliantly engineered… Which is why I worry a lot about Boeing’s crapifying everything with union-busting especially on the 787, since it’s a new platform. And of course the $8.00 guy is inspecting a machine where the repair was outsourced to a $2.00 guy.

      There’s a lot of ruin in an airplane…

      Reply
      1. LifelongLib

        A late family friend was a Boeing engineer who said he didn’t like flying because he was always aware of how much could go wrong.

        Reply
  18. A Farmer

    Re: White House Transcript of off-the-record conversation:

    The first thing I signed, the first day, was the Keystone Pipeline. That first * was the Keystone and the Dakota Access Pipeline — also Dakota Access. Now, what does that mean? Dakota Access takes it to the Pacific. Who do they compete with? Russia. Hillary would have never signed — that was with the reservation — she would have never signed it. I was given great credit for that one. That was a tough one. First day. It’s also 48,000 jobs between both of them. The other one I signed, that was the Keystone. That was dead. That was dead for two years. It was never going to happen. I revived it on day one. You know, you’ll check, please check it. I have to be exactly accurate. They’ll say, oh I wasn’t totally accurate. But that goes to the Gulf, right? Competes with Russia.

    Except for the part where the Dakota Access Pipeline runs from North Dakota to Illinois, he almost knows something.

    Reply
    1. allan

      Also too:

      But we are seriously looking at a solar wall. And remember this, it’s a 2,000 mile border, but you don’t need 2,000 miles of wall because you have a lot of natural barriers. You have mountains.
      You have some rivers that are violent and vicious.

      Shades of Reagan’s killer trees.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Well he is a 70 year old guy talking off the top of his head….just like Reagan. Perhaps when the press asks a sharp question he should shuffle and say “there you go again.” Trump needs some folksy lessons.

        Reply
    2. DH

      I just find it very amusing that Trump is unable to anonymously leak to the press given how his White House is an information (disinformation?) sieve. Clearly, he was expecting the “off-the-record” conversation to be splattered on front pages across America. After all, there is a deluge of off-the record stuff getting published from his White House every day.

      He must have been stunned when the press took “off the record” to be, well, off the record. so that meant he had to go on the record with the off the record stuff to get it out.

      The main lesson for Trump from this episode is that if he wants off the record stuff to get leaked to the press, he needs to write it down in a Top Secret memo ad circulate it to a small group of advisors in the White House.

      Reply
  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Wealthy investment bank executive is caught stealing $210 of groceries from Whole Foods that he hid in his children’s stroller Daily Mail

    That reads like a sudden, though temporary perhaps, conversion to wealth-sharing.

    Reply
  20. timbers

    5 Things to Know about the Trillion-Ton Iceberg Scientific American

    Been following this calving event for months and I think virtually all the articles go like this – as does the Scientific American above:

    Yesterday, as news of the calving spread, many researchers were careful to note that they were not chalking it up to global warming.

    Followed by:

    Still, climate change did impact other icebergs and ice shelf collapses in the region recently. Meltwater ponds formed on the surface of the Larsen B shelf and weakened the ice as they pushed downward, causing it to crack and splinter apart.

    But:

    Researchers caution that the formation of the Larsen C iceberg does not mean Antarctica is breaking apart…

    Yet:

    they also say climate change should not be ruled out. Warmer ocean waters are eating away at the base of the shelf, according to McGrath of Colorado State University. He said the Antarctic Peninsula is the most rapidly warming region on the continent…

    However:

    he described the calving as both “natural and concerning.”

    And eat your cake and have it, too:

    “We don’t know either way, we just know calving is a natural process, but that this is going to put the shelf into its most retreated form that we’ve observed,” he said. “This is certainly not Antarctica falling apart.”

    “Mama, you’re not dying of cancer…you’re just getting old and that is a natural process. We had to amputate your hand (Larson A 1995) then your arm (Larson B 2002) and now your foot (Larson C) to remove the cancers and tumors spreading throughout your body. But cancer is a natural normal process and we don’t know yet if it means anything more than that.”

    I sold my condo on the coast in Quincy. Everyone told me the buyer would have to get flood insurance according the new FEMA flood maps (I had no mortgage and thus did not have to get it). The real estate broker put verbiage in the listing flood insurance required w/o asking me – I told her to remove it. Real estate agents and insurance brokers all assumed and told me the property required flood insurance. I pushed back and found a lady working for an insurance company who actually checked according to the rules. She provided a certificate from an insurance underwriting stating it did NOT require flood insurance because the land touched the flood zone but not the building. I kept a copy and gave it to the Condo Association. The new buyer and thus all the others in the Condo Association did NOT have to get flood insurance.

    That was last year. Today, FEMA flood map still shows land not property in flood zone. But just recently the city of Quincy posted a “Revised Corrected Flood Map” on their city website showing the building in the flood zone, along side the FEMA map. Technically, insurance goes by FEMA map not Quincy map. But contradiction could be FEMA behind in updating, or not, but it’s clear what the tread line is and that it’s only a matter of time before mortgage companies require this property to have flood insurance.

    And that’s why I sold and moved to higher ground. “Natural” process or not.

    Reply
    1. MoiAussie

      I just love the stupidity of Scientific American in the 21st century – it’s such a perfect example of the crapification of public science journalism. From the article:

      Will it make oceans rise?

      Barely. Ice shelves are already floating in the water, so they don’t contribute to sea-level rise in any meaningful way. Like how ice melting in a glass doesn’t cause it to overflow. The Larsen C iceberg will add 0.1 millimeter in sea-level rise, so it won’t be detectable.

      Talk about focusing on a tree and missing the forest. Try this for size:

      ‘Catastrophic collapse’ of West Antarctic ice sheet could raise global sea levels by three metres, warns scientist

      Climate change and the hole in the ozone layer could cause “a catastrophic collapse” of the vast amount of ice on west Antarctica, raising sea levels by 3.3 metres, a leading scientist has warned.

      Following the calving of one of the largest icebergs ever known – about a quarter the size of Wales and weighing a trillion tonnes – Professor Nancy Bertler, of the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington, said global warming and the hole in the ozone layer had caused the sudden break-up of “numerous ice shelves” in the region “some of which have been shown to have existed for 10,000 years or more”.

      While these do not add to sea levels, their removal can significantly increase the speed of land ice flowing into the sea.

      Reply
      1. alex morfesis

        not 2 b a gore globaloni warmerngerer…but all this noise of we don’t know what could happen if an iceberg this big ever…except…that cover band for the b-52’s…you know…b-15

        https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=76599

        actually we know exactly what something twice as big as Larsen c (a68) will do…

        although, since acting as if one has never seen anything “like this before”…does help in trying to get funding because this iceberg “could be different”

        maybe the iceberg that just took a vaycay should be renamed Larcen-y

        seems that every hard hitting and thoughtful acela vanity press member has an extremely short memory…or convenient amnesia…can’t help your fellow acelanistas get funding if you do something as awkward as point out facts…

        yes, yes…there are a few articles out there, below the fold, past page 7, somewhere amongst the notices for local religious services…

        for the record…if me were king…solar and micro wind along with hydropower would be the law, nothing that burns carbon drawn from beneath the surface…nat gas would be a transitional conduit with a set date of termination of 2030…vehicle travel would be reduced to 3 days per week only until then…with public golf cart type vehicles to connect people to public transport…zoning changes to reduce distances between housing and commerce…and no putting green lawns…wild growth or low growth grass…no more lawnmowing every couple of weeks…

        as king one can demand all sorts of silly things…

        although if the peanut gallery is not too pleased, the reign might not last until the next rain…

        Reply
        1. MoiAussie

          I’ve always had some sympathy for the archdruid’s idea, voiced in fiction, that in some not-so-far-away future anyone caught extracting any form of subsurface carbon would be immediately buried alive as a propitiatory sacrifice and warning to others.

          Reply
    2. Jeremy Grimm

      A statement in the “5 Things to Know about the Trillion-Ton Iceberg” caught my attention:

      “… this week’s event does not signal that the region is entering a new state. That is happening in the Arctic, which has already been dramatically reshaped by human-caused global warming, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers. Scientists do not believe Antarctica is in a precipitous state of warming right now.”

      We also had a link to the Guardian climate feel good article “Doomsday narratives about climate don’t work” calling attention to happy stories about Arctic responses to climate disasters. This originated from a think tank which appears focused on how best to exploit the Arctic region as the poles melt.

      So we have two links suggesting “don’t look here” at the Antarctic “look here instead” at the Arctic.

      But the Times warns of “Biological Annihilation”.

      Strange.

      Reply
  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Yes, Trump Can Accept Gifts NYT. On emoluments.

    Senators gift themselves all the time…by exempting themselves from various laws.

    Reply
  22. Lee

    For years, we’ve been told fat clogs our arteries. Now, scientists say that’s all wrong. Quartz

    I went on a high protein, low carb diet.I would have a daily snack using pieces of bacon as a cracker, topped with triple cream brie and a slice of strawberry. I lost weight and my cholesterol numbers improved. Now, years later and having resumed a more “normal” but non-junk food diet, I have gradually gained weight and my cholesterol numbers are not so good. My current doctor tells me to cut down on sugar and “white carbs”. She didn’t mention dietary fat. She did prescribe a statin, which I suspect was making me feel ill so I quit taking it. Hopefully, the change in diet and a bit more exercise will do the trick.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s what science is…today’s best explanation (to be superseded tomorrow).

      Perhaps a better word is guess, today’s best guess, since it is to be replaced later, and also this reason: the word ‘explanation’ seems to be too authoritative, whereas, the word guess is a closer reflection of the ignorant, not-fully-comprehending state we are in.

      So, who knows, next week, if we live that long, we could be back to ‘scientists wrong*, again; avoid fat.’

      *notice the article doesn’t say, ‘Scientists are wrong’, but ‘For years, we’ve been told something. Now, smart people say that that is all wrong.’ The ‘wrong’ is to be linked to us, we who did the listening.

      Reply
      1. Irrational

        That’s why you shouldn’t pay too much attention to what they say, just to eat a varied, balanced diet.

        Reply
      1. Lee

        My daughter is using a very strict version of this diet to lose weight she gained from two pregnancies. It’s working quite well and she feels great. A somewhat less strict version will follow.

        Reply
      2. jrs

        only it seems to make one sick plus give heart palpitations, but I’m told they eventually go away …

        You only feel like the diet will kill you, but remember folks whatever you do don’t listen to your body. Sure you imagine ending up in the emergency room and how foolish that will look as well (having to explain: “yes I kept going on the diet despite mounting physical pain and that is why I am here …”), but with will power you can power through it! No pain, no gain!

        Reply
    2. Yves Smith

      You need a new doctor.

      Only people with heart disease should take statins. You MD NEVER should have prescribed it.

      And the preoccupation with cholesterol is way overdone. For women, the cholesterol level with the lowest all factor death rate is 270.

      Reply
  23. Jim Haygood

    J-Yel on Wednesday:

    Temporary factors appear to be at work. It’s premature to reach the judgment that we’re not on the path to 2 percent inflation over the next couple of years.

    This morning:

    The rate of inflation over the past 12 months slowed to 1.6% in June from 1.9% in the prior month, and it is down from five-year high of 2.7% just five months ago.

    Never mind nailing the number. A whole roomful of PhD Econs can’t even get the direction right. Maybe they should just ask Siri or something.

    Siri to J-Yel: “I don’t know, but there’s an app for that.

    Reply
  24. flora

    Globalisation: the rise and fall of an idea that swept the world. – Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/14/globalisation-the-rise-and-fall-of-an-idea-that-swept-the-world

    “It was only a few decades ago that globalisation was held by many, even by some critics, to be an inevitable, unstoppable force. “Rejecting globalisation,” the American journalist George Packer has written, “was like rejecting the sunrise.” Globalisation could take place in services, capital and ideas, making it a notoriously imprecise term; but what it meant most often was making it cheaper to trade across borders – something that seemed to many at the time to be an unquestionable good. In practice, this often meant that industry would move from rich countries, where labour was expensive, to poor countries, where labour was cheaper. People in the rich countries would either have to accept lower wages to compete, or lose their jobs. But no matter what, the goods they formerly produced would now be imported, and be even cheaper. And the unemployed could get new, higher-skilled jobs (if they got the requisite training). Mainstream economists and politicians upheld the consensus about the merits of globalisation, with little concern that there might be political consequences.

    “Back then, economists could calmly chalk up anti-globalisation sentiment to a marginal group of delusional protesters, or disgruntled stragglers still toiling uselessly in “sunset industries”. These days, as sizable constituencies have voted in country after country for anti-free-trade policies, or candidates that promise to limit them, the old self-assurance is gone. Millions have rejected, with uncertain results, the punishing logic that globalisation could not be stopped. The backlash has swelled a wave of soul-searching among economists, one that had already begun to roll ashore with the financial crisis. How did they fail to foresee the repercussions?”

    Reply
    1. Altandmain

      Let’s face it, corporate globalization was little more than attempt by the rich to rationalize a mass transit of wealth from the middle class to the rich.

      Reply
    2. Ranger Rick

      We’re just a hop skip and a jump from capital controls, and then we’ll really see the knives come out.

      Reply
      1. Jess

        Care to amplify on that statement? Outline a scenario of who does what, who profits and who gets gored, what the political scene ramifications are?

        Reply
    1. newcatty

      The situatuon in much of our country in which so many people can not find or can afford decent, affordable ( such as rent per month being no more than 30% of monthly income) is outrageous. The situation of homelessness is also outrageous and shameful. The fact that many low wage or people who even are considered middle wage workers can not afford one or, especially two bedroom apartments, in most cities is just another form of homelessness. Having to “houseshare” with a homeowner looking to make their mortgage payment ( or just to make some more bucks) by living in a bedroom (often with one or two kids) is not a solution. I know of one case where the mother and children were suposed to have access to house living areas, but were so treated with disrespect and distain, they ended up isolated in the bedroom, except slipping into kitchen. Then there are the people living in one bedroom apartments with children. Then there are the single, no kids, people paying close to or at 50% of their income on rent. This is happening many places, not just in the much lamented San Francisco.
      This is not just due to the egregious inequality of wealth and economic classes in this country. Or to decent paying jobs being a joke for so many. Many single mothers ( from personal experience with close family member, too) are being left to struggle with low monthly income due to divorce. Of course this can apply to some men also. The mom I know, has an exhusband, father of their children, who due to his being able to afford excellent lawyers, when he chooses, as well as a shared custody, has an excellent income. He lives in a luxurious two bedroom apartment in a nice area of Orange County, CA. Due to CA law his exwife must live close proximity to him. She is alow wage worker and he has managed to pay very little percentage of his income for child support over the years. Exwife has had her credit ruined due to his misssing payments, and so on. Now exwife has been asked to leave house share situation. She is being refused any rental opportunity due to ruined credit and not having three times, often times, the monthly cost of apartment! Exhusband refuses to co-sign for an apartment for her and his children to have a home in his chosen area. And, no, there are no other people able or available, to do so. This woman is not able to qualify for affordable housing in area, either. I am sure she is an example of the degradation of much of our society and selfish service to self of many of its members. This state of hollow core of being is not just limited to many in the upper economic classes. I do not know how things will work out for this mother. Her choices are not positive right now.

      Reply
  25. Andrew Watts

    RE: Syria Summary – Will The Trump-Putin Agreement Hold?

    If the agreement only covers Daraa then it’ll hopefully hold for a few weeks. The SAA and it’s allies could easily mop the remaining pocket of Southern Front rebels / IS / HTS but this would likely trigger a hostile response from Israel which has provided logistical and fire support to the jihadist-rebels near the occupied Golan Heights. However if the agreement was suppose to include Badia or Sweida then it never took hold. I think the only good news about this agreement is that Putin/Trump were able to make some kind of deal.

    The whole “Kurds are a trojan horse” narrative is bull—-. The Syrian Kurds are in their current position because they’ve shrewdly dealt with every single player. Nobody could’ve seen the importance PYD/YPG would play in the future in 2013/2014. They were doing more losing than winning against various opponents back then. Furthermore if the US abandons or betrays them than Russia or Iran will bid for their allegiance.

    Most people in the KRG don’t even take Barzani’s rhetoric seriously. Nor has the US officially sanctioned it which is consistent with their goal of keeping Iraq unified. It appears that Barzani is looking for concessions from Baghdad to cope with the KRG’s economic crisis. Magnier had a few good observations and insight into Iran/Hezbollah early in the Syrian Civil War but look at the drivel he spouts now.

    High-ranking officials I spoke to in Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus believe the US does not have a clear strategy in Syria and Iraq. Regardless of this inaccurate assessment, and watching the events unfold, the US administration actually seems pretty confident of its strategy in Iraq and Syria.

    Yeah, okay.

    Reply
  26. Anonymous

    Having worked in disabilities services I know that it is legal to pay disabled people, substantially disabled, less than minimum wage in order to encourage businesses to hire them.

    As for the six figure salary of the director, $100,000 in a major urban area for a senior executive running a service center with hundreds of complicated clients and a large staff isn’t a lot of money.

    Reply
    1. ginnie nyc

      Yes, it’s currently legal. And it’s wrong. It’s immoral. As for the director’s salary, I would say that’s very high for a non-profit in the State of Maine, especially with only 80 employees.

      The Skill Inc. outfit is very corrupt – the article goes into excellent detail about the many many Dept. of Labor investigations into it. The grotesquely low salaries for the staff are simply a medical sign of the company’s moral corruption.

      Reply
  27. Lambert Strether Post author

    Lessons in disaster: A top Clinton adviser searches for meaning in a shocking loss WaPo:

    If all had gone as planned, and as most in Washington had expected, Jake Sullivan would be hard at work just steps from the Oval Office.

    He was the elite of the Washington elite: Rhodes scholar, Yale Law School graduate, clerk to a Supreme Court justice, the person at Hillary Clinton’s side when she circled the world as secretary of state, a steady voice in the Situation Room for President Barack Obama.

    The conventional wisdom held that Sullivan was a lock to be the national security adviser in a Clinton administration. At 40, he would have been the youngest to hold that position in U.S. history.

    Instead, Donald Trump won the presidency, and Sullivan says he sometimes feels like a “ghoulish reminder” to friends of an election that shook the Washington establishment like no other in decades.

    Jeebus. Grow a pair!

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Here in Tucson, there were quite a number of Democratic Party types who were behaving like The Inevitable One’s victory was a lock. Why, they’d soon be jumping on the Hill-train and going to DC. Buh-bye, Tucson and Southern Arizona, we’re outta here!

      Oops. Time for Plan B.

      Reply
    2. flora

      “…searches for meaning….” ??

      Note to Sullivan and the Washington establishment: The number of voters who live inside your bubble are vastly outnumbered by the voters who live outside your bubble. You guys need to get out more.

      Reply
      1. flora

        adding:
        Even Larry Summers is getting out more these days. He’s quoted in the Guardian article linked above.

        “In Summers’s recent writings, this sombre conclusion has often been paired with a surprising political goal: advocating for a “responsible nationalism”. Now he argues that politicians must recognise that “the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good”.”

        Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How many of those totally-entrenched party apparatchiks are all about their career moves?

      So entrenched are he and his ilk at mid and lower levels that it takes far less work, and with far, far fewer obstacles to overcome, to start a new party.

      Reply
    4. relstprof

      The fact that the Yale law students are concerned about the future of a “coastal elite”, without any sense of irony, is absolutely stunning.

      The rot goes deeeeep. And no, Sullivan doesn’t get points for what little shred of self-reflection he’s come to in the last six months. Not when there were people on the left (and right, for that matter) pointing out all of this in the run-up to the campaign season.

      I’m kind of amazed that this was published. If it was meant to re-cast people like Sullivan in a sympathetic light, it fails miserably.

      Reply
  28. nechaev

    contains several interesting quotes and some even more interesting comments appended:

    Israeli paper investigates 50-year-ago attack on ‘USS Liberty,’ while US papers leave it in the letters column

    June 8 marked the 50th anniversary of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, killing 34 American sailors. The case remains a mystery that is the subject of a Haaretz investigation in Israel and a new book, but U.S. media won’t even address the controversy, leaving the case entirely to Letters to the Editor.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2017/07/israeli-investigates-letters/

    Reply
    1. Jim Haygood

      U.S. media won’t even address the controversy” … but Newsweek publishes a 5,000-word essay from a former Israeli security advisor [now ensconced at Hahhhvid] which blames the US for — get this — not doing enough for the deserving Israelis in 1967. Seriously:

      The US is a generally reliable patron, which does try to live up to its commitments, but it has failed Israel on a number of important occasions. These include, to cite just a few, Johnson’s failure to open the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping in 1967.

      At least to some extent, acts of Israeli independence should be viewed today not as signs of disregard for, or defiance of, the US, but as an indication of the maturity of the relationship and the success of American policy.

      https://www.yahoo.com/news/long-could-israel-survive-without-041004167.html

      A “mature relationship” with a rich OECD country that expects $3.5 billion a year of aid is like a “mature relationship” with an adult child who still expects an allowance and free living quarters in the basement, while whingeing about Mom’s cooking.

      It’s par for the course, for the “little country that never grew up.”

      Reply
      1. polecat

        But we’re still, to this day !, Israel’s b!TcH, no ?
        …. the count seems might high re. all the ‘dual-citizenry in our state and federal governments & (s)think tanks !
        Can you say T*R*E*A*S*O*N boys n girls ?? …. well can ya ?!!

        Reply
  29. Arizona Slim

    Slim here with an on-the-ground Uber update from Tucson:

    Last month, I mentioned that Uber’s Downtown location had stopped offering the 101 classes for new drivers. Sign said that they were cancelled until further notice.

    Well, now they’ve gone one step further. Their office has been vacated.

    Just another data point on the death watch …

    Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        Ja. It does appear to be kaput as far as having the office space it has occupied for at least two years. And no word on where those 101 classes are now being held.

        Reply
  30. Propertius

    A surprising number of states already allow open carry of knives and swords, Lambert. The new Texas law is, in fact, pretty similar to existing law in California (which allows open carry of swords, daggers, dirks, or fixed-blade knives of any length as long as they’re sheathed). It’s very slightly more permissive than Maine, which allows open carry of pretty much anything other than a dagger or stiletto – and is completely silent on the subject of swords.

    Why pick on Texas? Did you get a bad batch of barbecue in San Antonio once?

    Reply
  31. clinical wasteman

    If anyone has an answer to the question raised somewhere above about what open carry of small but lethal knives would look like — do they need to be brandished at all times, or held in some kind of super-conspicuous sheath? — I’d be genuinely interested to know how that works in those states where it’s legal. The question seems less frivolous from here (London), because firearm ownership and use is more widespread than it ever used to be here but still well below the level across most of the Americas, and is quite systematically suppressed by the police (except in their own case of course). So that knives have a lot to do with
    1. the fact that supposedly ‘criminal’ demographics — i.e. working-class youth — are by far the most frequent victims of violent and often lethal armed assault,
    and 2. the criminalization of that entire demographic on the grounds that a lot young people (not the ones looking forward to a “Gap Year”) do carry blades, mostly for ‘deterrence’ purposes. (Also, swords — supposedly the “Samurai” sort according to the frothing Evening Standard — are not uncommon in planned group attacks, which all too often do end in death or grievous mutilation. Fencing artistry has little to do with it though: the victims tend to be unarmed or nearly so, and the swords apparently function much like baseball bats, as a sort of mid-range damage multiplier when the odds are already all in the armed groups’ favour.)
    It’s important to remember though that the media image of all working-class male teenagers, black ones in particular, as knife maniacs or swordsmen is grotesquely libellous. Including against “gang members”, that notoriously fluid category, always defined from above. In London there are a maybe a few dozen horrible cases a year where young people feel obliged to kill each other (and in doing so generally pre-book their own killing &/or killing-by-jail time), and a handful of truly hideous sword-type group ambushes. This is enough to make ‘potential gang members’ by far the biggest victim demographic, but it’s by no means a reason to criminalize them pre-emptively from the age of about 10, as police, schools and welfare agencies do, or to evict their families indiscriminately from municipal housing, or to flinch at the very sight of them on the street, which is something I see ‘potential’ Guardian readers doing all the time. The actual balance of power here bears repeating: the ‘gang member’ has WAY more to fear from the Guardian reader, who will sooner or later swallow his/her entire neighborhood whole, making it safe for Pop-up Sores (no typo).

    Reply
    1. Jess

      Might I suggest that to make future posts more easily readable you engage in the ancient practice of dividing your comment into paragraphs?

      Reply
      1. clinical wasteman

        You might suggest whatever you please, but:
        1. Tell that to William Gaddis.
        2. The template doesn’t like indentations, and non-indented paragraph breaks are a confusing mess. And line-breaks between paragraphs a) make the whole thing seem to claim more space than it merits, and b) are also handled erratically by the template: sometimes they show up, sometimes they don’t.
        3. The whole point is concision, i.e. NOT wasting the reader’s time with repetition and fussy tricks of presentation. To say as much as possible as briefly as it can be said. If everything belongs in one paragraph because it’s all one idea, breaking it up makes the text less readable, because it appears to announce a shift in the argument where none exists.
        4. Sorry, some ideas/arguments are indivisible. Padding them with book-length froth (congealed froth, I guess, if it’s going to be padding), as in the endless microparagraphs, chapters, subchapters, glosses and perorations of academic publishing (“In this section I will demonstrate that […], with reference to Kant (1997) and Hobbes (2013)…“), always makes the argument harder to grasp as a whole.
        5. You could always stop reading somewhere and come back later if you’re that short of mental breath. In fact you don’t have to read it at all, although I’m flattered that you did persist with this comment for long enough to be annoyed by it.
        6. Some writers take exactly the opposite approach, and that works perfectly too if they’re good enough. The only thing that never works is a half-familyblogged attempt at compromise between two incompatible ways of writing.
        7. Why stop at paragraphs?! If someone will upload the software, perhaps we can all comment in PowerPoint from now on!

        Reply
  32. Parker Dooley

    “Wealthy investment bank executive is caught stealing $210 of groceries from Whole Foods that he hid in his children’s stroller”

    Lucky he wasn’t in Virginia. $210 is grand larceny here!

    Reply

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