Links 7/27/17

Dear patient readers,

Please give a round of applause to Lambert, Jerri-Lynn, and Outis who sorted out, within hours of my telling them I couldn’t read or post as a result of an eye injury incurred in Los Angeles (which led to emergency room visits in LA and San Francisco, ugh) how to divvy up the work I was supposed to do over the next few days, and then early this week, to keep you all fed with your daily ration of information, analysis, and animal pictures.

While I did get my Los Angeles and San Francisco meetups done, and I think the readers enjoyed each of them a great deal, the rest of the trip was a bit of a bust. I felt particularly bad about the dinner meeting I had right after the LA meetup, in which I quickly got into so much distress (scratched cornea, and trust me, they are incredibly painful and I have a very high pain threshold) that I had to bail out when the appetizers arrived. One of my hosts (wife of an MD) took me to Cedars Sinai and stayed with me for 5 hours while (among other things) I saw 2 doctors and had my eye flushed out with a huge bag of saline solution. I also learned a lot about the state of eye technology (even when I am in bad shape, I always make the doctors explain what they are doing in quite a bit of detail).

The LA session wound up being a big group discussion of many current political topics, with a lot of the participants interested in further discussion and potentially some focused activism. The participants created a list for future communication and meetings. I know some readers were unable to come due to the date and location not fitting their calendars. If you would like to be included in the NC Los Angeles mailing list, please write me at yves-at-nakedcapitalism.com with “Los Angeles Group” in the headline, and I will forward your message to the organizer.

One-Third of British Columbia’s Oil and Gas Wells Are Leaking Significant Levels of Methane The Ecologist (Micael)

Judge Orders Apple To Pay $506 Million For A-Series Processor Patent Infringement HotHardware

EU Commission sets deadline for Facebook, Twitter, Google unfair terms and conditions New Europe (Micael)

Travelers’ electronics at US airports to get enhanced screening, TSA says ars technica

Did antidepressants help make this man a mass-murderer? BBC

Finishing course of antibiotics could harm you, doctors say The Times. Lordie. How many years have doctors been prescribing antibotics, and no one knows how long a “course” should be? Help me. Here is the underlying study: http://www.bmj.com/content/358/bmj.j3418

China?

CIA analyst: Beijing poses a greater threat than Russia Asia Times

For China’s Global Ambitions, ‘Iran Is at the Center of Everything’ New York Times (Sid S)

European Cities Are Reclaiming Public Services From the Private Sector Vice Impact (Sid S). From earlier this month, still germane.

EU warns Poland on voting rights suspension amid judicial reforms DW

Poland hits back at EU ‘blackmail’ over judicial reforms Guardian

The international effects of ECB’s monetary policy Bruegel

EU-Canada agreement on passenger names declared illegal: ECJ New Europe (Micael)

Brexit

Government orders study looking at the impact of ending free movement from the EU Sky News. Help me. this is being done only now?

EU workforce report ‘will arrive too late’ The Times. Duh.

Brexit: Amber Rudd announces ‘implementation period’ to delay promised curbs on EU immigration Independent

Cabinet split: Michael Gove says Britain will ‘not accept’ US chlorinated chicken after Brexit Telegraph

Amazon and Starbucks take reputation hit from tax avoidance publicity Independent

Rogers and Todorov: New UK law creates liability for gross human rights abuses FCPA Blog

BATTLE TO OPPOSE WATER PRIVATIZATION RETURNS GREECE TO FRONTLINES OF E.U. CRISIS Occupy.com

The EU’s Avoidable Greek Tragedy Social Europe (Micael)

Venezuela

Can Venezuela Resurrect Its Economy? Council on Foreign Relations

Venezuela opposition starts 48-hour nationwide strike Aljazeera (Micael)

Clash between Venezuelan government and opposition raises threat of civil war WSWS (Micael)

Syraqistan

A Shameful Silence: Where is the Outrage Over the Slaughter of Civilians in Mosul? Defend Democracy

How CIA and Allies Trapped Obama in the Syrian Arms Debacle American Conservative (margarita)

The Saudi Power Balance Is On A Knife-Edge OilPrice

Senior Israeli Minister Warns Palestinians of “Third Nakba” LobeLog. Resilc: “Our tax $ at work…maybe the Israelis can give them smallpox blankets? worked for us….

New Cold War

Russia sanctions bill hits new snag Politico

Germany calls for more EU sanctions on Russia New Europe (Micael)

Russia sanctions fuel new Cold War Norman Solomon, USA Today

Commission succeeds in blunting US sanctions on Russia Politico

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Feds Crack Trump Protesters’ Phones to Charge Them With Felony Rioting Daily Beast (Chuck L)

Every Swedish car owners’ details may have leaked in explosive IT failure ZDNet (Chuck L)

Sweden leaks details of almost all of its citizens in move that could bring down government Independent (Brian C)

These cheap phones come at a price — your privacy CNET (Chuck L)

Trump Transition

Trump and the Trumpists Wolfgang Streeck. A must read.

Inside Trump’s snap decision to ban transgender troops Politico

I Served. Trump Never Did’: Trans Veterans Respond to The President’s Ban Vice (resilc)

Trump Affirms the Military Ain’t a Freak Show by Publius Tacitus Sic Semper Tyrannis. Chuck L:

This SST post probably won’t go over well with much of the NC commentariate but it does reflect how experienced combat soldiers, and especially commanding officers, look on these things. Trump’s statement regarding transgender people follows logically from Mattis’s memo of last Friday as described in the following SST post yesterday:

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/07/mattis-get-unnecessary-training-off-warfighters-backs-ttg.html#comment-6a00d8341c72e153ef01b8d299c390970c

Betsy DeVos: Trump’s illiberal ally seen as most dangerous education chief ever Guardian

Trump Is Selling Out the Midwest, Biofuel Industry Says Bloomberg. Resilc: “This and cutting Syria aid are MAJOR wins.”

Is Trump Ruining Book Sales? New Republic. The common cold will be his fault too.

Bannon Is Said to Call for 44% Tax on Incomes Above $5 Million Bloomberg (resilc)

Trump’s Cultural Revolution Bloomberg

Obamacare

The Four Major Health Care Scenarios Nate Silver

Obamacare Repeal Fails Early in Senate Health-Care Debate Bloomberg

The Real Motive for the ‘Skinny Bill’ Farce New York Magazine (resilc)

I want to give you a quick update on what’s happening with the disastrous Republican efforts to strip health care away from 22 million people. Bernie Sanders, Facebook (Kevin C)

Why Some Insurance Plans Limit Specialized Treatments Knowledge@Wharton

Democrats Smear Jill Stein Black Agenda Report (Darius)

Housing, battling racism and a municipal bank top agenda for L.A. council president Los Angeles Times (Joe Costello). A municipal bank for LA?

Teen allegedly harassed by police for mowing lawns in affluent neighborhood Fox23 (resilc)

Kill Me Now

Clinton book to double down on Russia, Comey message The Hill. Let us not forget that her last book was mainly pulped…but we’ll be unable to avoid encountering headlines of reviews.

Taibbi: Government Misled Public on Fannie/Freddie Takeover Rolling Stone (resilc)

Four Lloyds Bank workers and three ‘bespoke money launderers’ who raided £750,000 from the accounts of rich clients and lavished it on luxury lifestyles are jailed for 38 years Daily Mail. Look at how the authorities pounce on people who steal from the wealthy! Too bad for the rest of you.

New York Subsidy To Lure Aetna Benefits A Cuomo Donor International Business Times

Amazon has a secret health care team called 1492 focused on medical records, virtual doc visits CNBC

Wells Fargo Lawyer Who Released Client Information Wants It Back Bloomberg. Chuck L: “Another Wells Fargo innovation in customer disservice.”

FOMC Review: No Hike, No Balance Sheet Move, Timing Clearer Roubini Global Economics

Class Warfare

Skyrocketing Rents in California Signal a Broader US Housing Crisis Truthout

How work changed to make us all passionate quitters aeon (Chuck L). A must read. IMHO this is a big reason productivity isn’t growing. Turnover is a big cost to a business. And employees with their eye on the door won’t go that extra mile for their company. By contrast, Goldman has very low turnover and it is very adept at getting employees to invest psychologically in the firm.

Antidote du jour. Stephen who was at the SF meetup promised cat pics. This is Willow, who likes climbing in bed.

And Richard Smith and I loved this one but Lambert really didn’t:

http://www.fox23.com/news/trending-now/teen-allegedly-harassed-by-police-for-mowing-lawns-in-affluent-neighborhood/572401721?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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241 comments

  1. MoiAussie

    Crapification department: Google has dropped Google Instant Search

    Several years after Google launched Google Instant, they are killing the default search feature to bring search more inline with mobile devices.

    Now with the changes in how searchers use mobile — and over 50% of all Google searches being on mobile — Google decided to do away with this feature.

    Support for desktops and the productive use of computers for real work is being eroded at an astonishing pace. Everything is now optimized for the lowest common denominator.

    Time for a massive anti-google protest, but that’s unlikely to happen.

    1. zer0

      They need to break the monopolies, before the monopolies break this country even more than they already have. Where does one see competition these days? Cryptos? Everything else is owned by 1 or 2 big players.

          1. robnume

            I, too, have been an avid fan of DuckDuckGo for years now. Great links today. Hope your eye is getting better, Yves and that there is no permanent damage. So many nerve endings in the eye; it’s bound to be painful. So sorry. Thanks to Lambert, Jerri Lynn and Outis for filling in for our injured NC “CEO.”

    2. Kurt Sperry

      I’d turned off Instant Search years ago. It didn’t help me search at all, I just found it annoying.

      Can we just stipulate Google is a utility and please either regulate it as such or nationalize it?

    3. different clue

      This would be a fine opportunity for somebody to create a good Search Engine Company with a good Search Engine. Perhaps they could call it Shinola Search.

      In the meantime, people who want good searching can try the different No-Google search engines and see if they are good enough.

      1. Whine Country

        So if you call it Shinola Search your ad pitch could be: If you know the difference between $hit and Shinola, you’ll dump your current search engine and move on with us. I like it. No need to mention Google in the slogan since pretty much everyone knows it’s $hit. It’s merely habit that keeps everyone’s feet in cement.

        1. different clue

          If enough other people feel the same way, then Shinola Search could take off and go somewhere. I have no bussiness knowledge so I have no idea how Shinola would make money to stay in bussiness to keep providing shinola quality searching capabilities. I am not a computer person so it won’t be me who creates Shinola.

          But maybe somebody will create Shinola and make it a good search engine in the many ways that many people would like a search engine to be good.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What is his ulterior motive this time?

      Going after Amazon was really going after freedom of press and the Washington Post.

      Buying the Washington Post was really buying journalists themselves, to cover politically for the new owner.

      Wait, no one should mention the new owner’s motive for buying a newspaper, which is not a real newspaper now. What is there to go after?

  2. Bunk McNulty

    Re: Transgender and Military

    “But the U.S. military is not a social biosphere for testing social and sexual justice theories.” Oh, but it is!

    “One of the great ironies of American history since World War II is that the military—typically a conservative institution—has often been at the forefront of civil rights. In the 1940s, the 1970s, and the early 2000s, military integration and promotion policies were in many ways more progressive than similar efforts in the civilian world. Today, the military is one of the best ways for people from marginalized groups to succeed based solely on job performance.”

    Integrating The US Military

    1. JTMcPhee

      “Marginalized” people “succeeding”? Effing Booolsheet. “Succeeding” at what? Piloting drones? kicking in doors in Kandahar, frying civilians in Fallujah, happily boarding C-5s and C-7s to go invade and wage aggressive and idiotically futile violence as “warfighters in Wogland?” Managing officers’ and NCOs’ “clubs” and PXs, BXs and commissaries at “bases” around the planet? Teaching “militants” how to shoot? Shuffling megatons of paperwork in Procurement or Supply Heaven, in the Pentagram and elsewhere? All in aid of what has become so peculiarly “American,” a vast wasteland of bleeding out the national wealth in pursuit of some mythical “full spectrum dominance” to make the wealth-stripping by “US Interests” more compendious?

      What kind of idiotic purblind false “liberalism” is it to claim a “right” to take part in the worst, most world-damaging part of the US political economy? These folks, who are all about “rights” and “mobility” and all that, why are they not marching and forming up in battalions of “activists” opposing and finding ways to spool down the US imperial military idiocy? Rather than just attaching themselves like remoras to the Megalodon shark of “more war fill time,” looking for crumbs of “career” and sickest of all, the “right” to be a Combat Trooper, to go kill Wogs who dare to object and resist the invasions and “unjust warring” of the Empire on behalf, as Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler long since outed, of planet-burning business interests? War is a racket, no way to argue otherwise — so why do people “struggle” and “fight” to find “validation” and “upward career paths” as “made men (and women, and other liberal sexual identifiers)”? Like these people: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Made_man

      Just an enormous bunch of Fokking Boolsheeeet. Hey, sorry your neoliberal nation has gotten organized by the racketeers so it’s hard to find a decent jawb — but to join up with a LOSING military that can’t even define a winning strategy (in conflicts that are from the larger perspective totally perverse, meaningless and unjust, but sadly NOT UNAMERICAN), to demand the “right” to do so, is just cute for some individuals, but just a fine symbol and symptom of how corrupt and divorced from even the pretext and pretense of “supporting and defending the Constution” has been and more immanently has become…

      But you folks just go for it, if it floats your boats. That’s your risidual tiny “right,” I guess. Make a big fuss about how ou should be allowed a place on the USS Gerald Ford or in the 3rd Marines or the maintenance crew of an F-35. Just own up to the futility and hypocrisy of the “demands” for “justice” and “rights” when you enlist in the organization that kills stupidly in places it has no “international legal right” to be, doing stupid and corrupt and vicious sh!t in the name of “American Interests” like those of Bechtel, Lockheed Martin, General Atomics, Monsanto…

    2. douglass truth

      Yes – almost all the comments on the Publius’ site could be from the Truman era. word for word, just change to Transgender (or whatever slur was used instead) from Negro.

      1. Annoyed by Stupidity

        So how exactly are post-op MtF transwomn supposed to serve after having sexual reassignment surgery (SRS)? This link (warning GRAPHIC & DEPRESSING) is a collection of posts to reddit about the physical and depressing reality of dilating what is essentially an open wound 1-2 hours, 3 times a day, for months.

        Say a transitioned person gets through the hell of that early phase of dilating, they still have to continue to do it for the rest of their lives to maintain their genitalia. Imagine having someone, with essentially an open wound serving in the field who has to spend one to two hours everyday dilating. It’s an open invitation for all kinds of real and life-threatening complications due to the filthiness of war and training for war. It also makes them sitting ducks, as well as compromising their readiness to fight or do their jobs as conditions warrant.

        Ok so, maybe the military can limit it to just providing hormones.

        Well many people medical conditions requiring maintenance meds, are not allowed to enlist and serve. Diabetics are not allowed to serve. Epileptics are not allowed to serve. Etc etc

        While hormones aren’t biologically necessary to transitioning individuals to stay alive, given their rate of suicide (a fact trans people use to defend their rights and access to treatment), it might not necessarily be true. It also creates a logistical nightmare for the military. And beyond that, ask any transitioning person if they think their hormones are unnecessary, or if they could give them up for 30 days for training or 6 months to the 1.5 years while operating in a warzone. The answer for the vast majority of them will be no.

        I get that being trans is inherent to the person, but transitioning is a medical process. And the military can’t be responsible for the medical needs of transitioning individuals, like they aren’t for diabetics, epileptics, and many other numerous medical conditions that disqualify citizens from serving and/or once discovered while serving leads them to be medically discharged.

        Being trans may be an inherent quality like race, but transitioning in and of itself is a highly medicalized set of procedures, that frankly, are still optional and unnecessary for a transperson to be alive in the biological sense of being alive.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Perhaps you’re asking the wrong question. Not all military jobs involve combat. Given modern medicine, is there truly any reason for those with diabetes or epilepsy to not serve as long as they are assigned to one of the multitude of non-combat positions that make up the bulk of operations? I think not, provided their condition is controlled. “Unfit for combat” only applies if the goal is the collection of cannon fodder in the modern military.

          Second, what is the percentage of trans MtF who undergo surgery while enlisted? Without that information, any discussion isn’t possible. Indeed, using surgery as a reason to oppose enlistment for trans people is something of a straw man without data. Especially in light of the number of trans individuals already serving and who have served?

          1. TK421

            Not all military jobs involve combat.

            No, but 99% of them involve physical and mental duress that most civilians can’t comprehend. Climbing up a rock-strewn hill in Afghanistan every day, hauling around heavy rucksacks, setting up and striking camps–all of these demand a lot of physical prowess, and anything that detracts from that quality makes one less fit to serve. That goes for everyone. I’m old, fat, and near-sighted. If I tried to enlist, they’d probably laugh at me. And that’s fine. Not everyone has the right to join the military.

            1. Anon

              No, but 99% of them involve physical and mental duress that most civilians can’t comprehend.

              Even the non-combat desk jobs?

        2. jrs

          well hormones they are probably providing for many a biological female who serves anyway, it’s called hormonal birth control.

        3. Mo's Bike Shop

          Did the order only apply to post operative trans? As in born trans are allowed in if they stick with what they’ve got? If so I missed that.

        4. TK421

          Thank you for that informative and thoughtful comment. It goes to show, to me, that one joins the military to give, not to get back. If you’re headed to the recruitment office thinking about all the ways that the military will have to accommodate you, turn around and go home.

      2. Corbin Dallas

        Thank you. The Sic Semper Tyrannis article and the comments were revolting displays of bigotry and, more, glee at vulnerable groups being targeted. I’m no fan of “identity politics” as political measures (and indeed, don’t care that the military is losing members, as I am anti-growing the US military) but this was a disgusting move by t_d to just inflame toxic masculinity for no reason.

        All these Respectable Rational Military morons have no way to compare gender reassignment costs to the cost of grounded fighter jets, huh? Also, having been a medic for a while that dealt with lots of people from armed forces, let me explain that NONE OF YOU are “normal” by any means. the diabetes, sicknesses, back problems, opiate addictions – these are ok with manly morons like the general and his commenters, huh?

        Sickening, just sickening.

        1. Indrid Cold

          They were right in that it will cost Trump nothing politically.
          It’s just another no downside way to keep liberals hair on fire.
          That the military is this country’s test bed for social engineering is pretty sad. Since Reagan, everything in this country has to be run through the filter of the military and corporations. Can it kill and or make money? If so, the it gets the national nod. Sad.
          First, I’m sick of social engineering, which is another form of mass mind control by competing elit groups.
          Sexual minorities have gained the acceptance that they have through ceaseless struggle. Not joining the damn Marine Corps.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            “Does it kill or make money?”
            Or both.
            Someday we will get the overworked, overstimulated, distracted, and endlessly propagandized plebes to see the enormity of this tragic state of affairs. A singular, real, focussed anti-war movement is long overdue.

            1. Aumua

              An anti-war movement is really something we can all get behind, a great unifying call. Right democrats? Right, repubs? Right, Hillary? Donald? SANDERS? Right?

          2. Mike

            True, and more. The military long ago became just another jobs program – with the immediate death thing in case you “went frontlines”. It is sad that transgender people see being kill-bait (and, more probably, killers, or at least abettors) as “movin’ on up” in this system. They will not gain equality from service after returning home to a system of deep bias, which they defended by destroying other countries on the cheap.

            At home is where you fight all the phobias to which Americans fall prey, by slow and steady erosion of the myths and caricatures. Ask any Black in poverty whether service by other Blacks gave them a boost.

            1. Plenue

              The military as an institution is itself about the biggest freak show you can imagine. It exists for one purpose and one purpose only: to murder people its government says should be made dead. They gussy it up under a lot of blather about ‘honor’, and ‘duty’, and ‘loyalty’, but in the end they’re no different from the ever-vilified mercenary, who at least has the decency to admit they kill for money. It’s also a perpetual cesspit of weird macho nonsense and meaningless Napoleonic parade ground garbage. The strange macho antics ‘elite’ forces like the SEALs and Spetsnaz do does not make for better soldiers (and after the recent debacle of the Yemen raid, where the SEALs walked into an ambush knowing they’d been spotted, and proceeded to rage kill everything in sight after one of their number was killed, I’m not at all inclined to view these clowns as elite anything. ‘Special’ forces, perhaps). Nor does knowing how to march in perfect robotic unison or to engage in synchronized rifle choreography. What makes better soldiers is endless training and drilling in practical combat skills.

              I see this transgender ban as yet another case of the macho military wringing its hands over what it views as the ‘pussification’ of the armed forces. Remember: masculinity is about the most fragile thing you can imagine.

        2. PKMKII

          All these Respectable Rational Military morons have no way to compare gender reassignment costs to the cost of grounded fighter jets, huh?

          Or for that matter, the replacement costs for replacing trans military members given the boot. You’re look at around $20,000 a pop just in recruitment costs, never mind BT, and that’s tens of thousands of soldiers. Way, way more than the medical costs for supporting the trans soldiers who are on hormones or other such treatments.

        3. Elizabeth Burton

          Notably missing from all the outrage: a reminder that Obama waited till last June to rescind the original ban. Are we to believe the Constitutional Scholar didn’t know that by so doing he was leaving it wide open to just this?

      3. jrs

        “If you disagree with Trump then, in my view, you are an extremist and in denial by human biology. While transgender people exist, they are an extremely small minority. A biological rarity if you will.”

        he seems to be confusing transgender with intersex, which is not the same and which IS a biological rarity, although probably more common than people think.

        I’m not sure what his anecdote about the Korean girl has to do with heterosexual males and transsexuals anyway, unless the point is WOMEN should fear men in the military and THAT THEY SHOULD. They have gotten away with rape inside the military as well.

        1. Plenue

          Anyone who talks about ‘the realities of biology’ in defense of bigotry is virtually guaranteed to have no actual knowledge of biology. Or psychology, for that matter.

      4. Liberal Mole

        Exactly! If implemented, it will go the way of all the other earlier bans.

        I doubt if the SST authors even know kids in our current HS and college generation. My kids went to a well-funded public school that is 70% black and hispanic in New York. For them it is already the norm to have gay, transgender, or other (I truly cannot keep track of all the classifications, not being an oversexed teenager) classmates and friends, as it is to have friends of both sexes, all colors, different religions. This may not be true in all areas of the country, but this is certainly part of the generation that our armed forces are recruiting from, so like every other ban before, it’s spitting in the wind.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > For them it is already the norm to have gay, transgender, or other (I truly cannot keep track of all the classifications, not being an oversexed teenager) classmates and friends, as it is to have friends of both sexes, all colors, different religions.

          But:

          > I get that being trans is inherent to the person, but transitioning is a medical process. And the military can’t be responsible for the medical needs of transitioning individuals, like they aren’t for diabetics, epileptics, and many other numerous medical conditions that disqualify citizens from serving and/or once discovered while serving leads them to be medically discharged.

          I think the confusion of “friends” with “soldiers” is a category error.

    3. Carolinian

      And when Vietnam rolled around many of those blacks–lucky them–became cannon fodder while some more privileged whites (our president?) partied at college. This desire for people to seek “normalization” through military service also has the reverse effect of normalizing the military–an institution that should be vastly smaller and true to its name: Defense Department.

    4. Ranger Rick

      I still think this is about Manning. Someone, somewhere, decided to flag being transgender a security risk on par with being a drug addict or in massive debt.

      1. Carolinian

        The treatment of Manning was atrocious but on the other hand perhaps his persecutors were correct that he was “not with the program.” The hard heads at SST see war as a messy and immoral business that should only be prosecuted when necessary. One suspects that the warm and fuzzy attitudes one sees in the media toward the military mostly come from people who have never been in it. Whereas the true veterans are a lot more cynical. One surprising and refreshing thing about the film War Machine is that it is the first film in a long time to treat the generals as klowns.

        All of which is to say that the military with its emphasis on authority and obedience is not a particularly “liberal” institution and the attitudes of some of those old hands at SST hardly surprising. Only hypocritical societies go on about “the most moral army in the world” and therefore we should think twice before criticizing those who, from a variety of motives and some of them altruistic, have been willing to do our dirty work for us. There are things that happen in war that are a lot worse than mistreatment of the transgendered. The Dems who recoil in shock from what Trump did seem a lot less concerned about this.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Carolinian.

          Having grown up in a military family, albeit quite progressive, and around servicemen and their children, again many quite progressive, I echo what you say.

          It was amazing to see the UK MSM, especially the air waves, froth about that yesterday and ignore entirely Brexit, further impoverishment of UK society and Bank of England warnings about the economy slowing down.

        2. AnnieB

          Indeed. Those who support the military and its wars for oil and other resources need to face the facts, as stated by Carolinian and stop being so stupidly hypocritical. Militaries are war machines that chew up soldiers and as such need to be ruthless. They are not organizations set up for fair and humane treatment. That our military has changed over decades to accept minorities is a credit to societal change, not to the willingness of the military to be generous and kind.

        3. Katniss Everdeen

          There are things that happen in war that are a lot worse than mistreatment of the transgendered. The Dems who recoil in shock from what Trump did seem a lot less concerned about this.

          This. In spades.

          The imperial american military is the most unapologetically lethal machine the planet has ever known. That the most vocal criticism of this organization is that it is insufficiently sensitive to the needs of those who feel they were born with the wrong gender is well and truly beyond bizarre.

          1. ChrisPacific

            It also inflicts long term physical and mental trauma on a significant percentage of its members, simply from the nature of the job. While I agree in principle that it ought to be open to the transgender to join, perhaps a higher priority ought to be creating a world in which they don’t need to.

            In general I think that the military ought to reflect the values of the society it is tasked with defending. The extent to which that includes transgender rights in the US, if any, is still a question that is very much up for debate. Settle that, and the military question will resolve itself.

    5. Wmkohler

      Glad to see the commentators here for the most part acquitting themselves well with regards to the Publius article.

      It once again seems that Trump has opted for maximum publicity with a minimum of actual preparation for how his new policy will actually be implemented. The likely result is a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” style scenario with plenty of grey area in terms of when and how the stated rules are applied.

      Anecdotally, it seems like a disproportionate number of trans people end up enlisting, due in part to relatively tolerant signals from the leadership in past years and the difficulty of obtaining other forms of employment as a trans person in many areas of the country. I was unaware that the US has so many people signing up to join the army that they can easily afford to rebuff a number, any number, of those most inclined to put their name on the dotted line. It rather seemed that we would need to consider measures along the lines of reinstating the draft if we actually wanted to achieve what one might surmise are our current strategic goals in Afghanistan and elsewhere – but I’m sure I know much less about it than the experienced combat soldiers and commanding officers Chuck mentions.

  3. MoiAussie

    Finishing course of antibiotics could harm you, doctors say
    Here’s a non-paywalled version of an article on this from the Grauniad.

    This is somewhat controversial, given historical advice. I tend to think that stopping when you feel better is probably more risky than finishing the course, particularly for infected wounds, etc. Unless you’re a very accurate judge of when you’re “cured”.

    I rarely take antibiotics, but I’ve noticed that courses prescribed here nowadays are shorter than they used to be. My daughter’s recent course of amoxycillin was just 5 days, and even shorter courses are common, e.g. 3 days.

    The optimal course probably varies very much from individual to individual, and getting it just right would probably require a level of diagnsotic monitoring that would be prohibitively complex or expensive. Then there’s the whole issue of antibiotics in foodstuffs to consider.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Over-use of antibiotics for both medical and commercial purposes has almost killed their utility in disease treatment. The biology is well established, microbes are very prolific, and roll over their generations very frequently. Each generation will have less susceptible survivors, so the medication will become worthless (except in the sales and marketing sense) eventually.

      Most doctors do not even bother with what is a relatively inexpensive bit of diagnostics: susceptibility testing, which does require collecting a specimen of the infective agent and seeing what antibiotics still actually might work to knock the population down to where the person’s immune system could clean up the remainder. http://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-antibacterial-susceptibility-testing “Relatively inexpensive,” particularly if one includes the many downstream costs of not effectively treating, over-treating, or just “making patients and parents feel better” by “placebo prescribing.”

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I don’t agree with your statement. I’ve had to use antibiotics for dental, ear, and recently a fingernail infection (it got to be surprisingly nasty and the MD said the only way to clear it up was an oral antibiotic, nothing topical would do). They work when targeted appropriately. We do have the big problem of the rise of antibiotic resistant diseases, as well as stupid overuse (giving antibiotics to people with the winter flu, which still seems to be a common practice).

        1. JTMcPhee

          Which statement? Seems to me we were saying the same thing. Of course antibiotics are effective and necessary. I finished a course of them not so long ago myself. And I spent three days in the VA hospital, a couple of years ago after a scratch turned septic, on IV high-potency antibiotics for what could easily have become one of those “flesh-eating” experiences. It’s the over-use, for flu and colds and the like, and commercial use in animal feed, e.g. , that’s the problem. And doctors do not do susceptibility testing as frequently as they should, for all the reasons that typify the sickness of the US medical services industry. Giving an antibiotic to which the particular pathogen is resistant can make a bad situation worse.

  4. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you to Yves for the link to Oil Price’s article about Saudi Arabia.

    The National Guard was the last Saudi unit my dad was assigned to. He was based in the kingdom from 1992 – 2013 and met some of the royal family regualrly, including Abdullah, Mitab and Mohammed, as he was one of their doctors as well as being a public health advisor and university lecturer.

    The Guard is staffed by a particular group of Bedouins, the Shammar. King Abdullah’s mother hailed from that group. They are also to be found in Iraq. Some helped the Ottomans run the area before the Al Sauds emerged from Najd and hijacked what became the kingdom. Therefore, tribal loyalty has a part to play and may come into play. King Abdullah is / was not one of the Sudairi Seven. His accession was resented by some of the Sudairi group, but that was necessary to maintain fraternal and tribal harmony.

    I visited dad once a year, usually in the spring, and was even able to get some work done as my employer for some of that period, HSBC, had an office in down town Riyadh. One thing that remains with me is how (blissfully) ignorant most of the western elites, especially the jackasses who proliferate on week-end talk shows, are about the Middle East.

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Experts eh ?…..they appear to be increasingly proving themselves wrong in many fields. My Dad would almost froth at the mouth at what he referred to as idiots in Ivory Towers – mainly in respect to military matters, as he once having left the army became a keen amateur military historian. His main complaint was their lack of common sense, the tendency towards bias & the construction of sacred cows, while also ignoring or sidelining anything that questioned their dogma. As it turned out he proved to be correct on many things.
      He introduced me to Tim Severin the Irish adventurer & explorer who by being actually on the ground, using extensive research, common sense & as close as possible matching the ancient conditions, disproved much of what the armchair theorists decided was set in concrete. I remember him pretend rowing in an armchair then jumping around yelling like an excited child when the Argo succeeded in rowing after much effort, through the Dardanelles strait, something which had been decided by the experts as being impossible for both them & Jason.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think there are plenty of experts who ‘know’ the issues and problems. The big problem is that to get ahead in Washington (and plenty of other places) it seems you have to wilfully ‘not know’ certain things.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          Yes PK I agree & this place features many, also in my experience there are people who rise to the top by way of brown nosing who keep better people down, perhaps reaching the level of their own incompetence as someone once pointed out & of course there are those who adopt rigid fixed positions in which flexibility & creativity would be more useful.

          I have some personal experience of people who are drenched in theory, while being hopeless at applying the practical within the real world.

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Merci, Eustache.

        Dad was ex military, too, and served in the RAF for a quarter of a century to 1991. He echoes what your dad says.

  5. shinola

    Yes, a BIG THANK YOU to Lambert, Jerri-Lynn & Outis!

    This NC junkie appreciates your efforts in providing the daily fix.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’ll second those thoughts but please, Yves, take care of your eyes. Don’t (familyblog) around with them as sight is too precious to take any unnecessary chances with it. Hope that you get better soon.

  6. Terry Flynn

    re: antidepressants and mass-murder

    I’ve not been exactly reticent about my own mental health issues so here goes.
    SSRIs and their variants are *supposed* to work within 4-5 days (according to psychopharmacologists), just like the old MAOIs and Triclcyclics do. They don’t. You get the warning from the doc that “it may take “up to 4 weeks to feel the benefit”. This in itself raises questions like:
    (1) Do modern antidepressants work at all? Or is it all a placebo effect?
    (2) If they *do* work, they don’t work according to the pharmacological model that underpinned their original licensing. Which should raise uncomfortable questions.

    Now, the benefits of modern antidepressants have been subject to obvious diminishing returns. My therapist described the anti-depressant+mood stabiliser I am on as “the mother of all mental health interventions” – it’s true. (Yes the MAOI has side effects – medics these days are taught that MAOIs are on a par with leech therapy – wrong wrong wrong. Lots of recent studies reinforce my experience – there are just one or two foods I need to be careful of but otherwise no problem.) No other medication has EVER come close in efficacy. Pretty much all the benefits since around 1970 have been marginal and questionable improvements in effectiveness, with better side effect profiles. But these “small improvements in effectiveness” are heterogeneous across groups, time, and, like I said, don’t actually fit the model they are supposed to be consistent with.

    One interesting criticism of modern SSRIs/SNRIs is the following. Patients in an RCT *must* be informed about possible side effects (which are pretty endemic to all these meds). So a man now finds he can’t get a stiffy, knows he is in the ‘treatment’ not ‘control’ arm and ‘blinding’ has thus been compromised. He may well overstate mental health benefits in the belief/hope that “the drug will help”. Thus, some researchers believe the (small) benefit of SSRIs/SNRIs observed in RCTs actually OVERSTATES their benefit.

    Anecdotally, one thing I know from older shrinks. They think that since the mid 1970s only one or two drugs in mental health have been beneficial – these are largely mood stabilisers and not antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs.

    Opioids are of course a scandal. But the next scandal is pregabalin – the ‘wonder drug’ for anxiety. I’ll write about this if people are interested but I already know that it’s the street drug of choice in my my city – forget heroin, etc. The next scandal is already known by docs in the know. But nobody is listening……yet.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks.
        Pregabalin is another ‘viagra’ – developed for one thing but found to be amazing for something else. The something else is ‘anxiety disorders’. The UK, US and (probably very soon Aus) licence it for that. Indeed it is seen as a drug to ‘get a patient off valium or some other benzodiazepine’ – it has all of the benefits without the tolerance and addiction problems.

        Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is. Yes, for *some* people pregabalin is amazing – indeed the positive effect on anxiety in the trials mean it *must* be beneficial for some people. The trouble is there are in fact two very distinct subgroups….one for whom it may be great, the other for whom it is truly awful. Pregabalin is regarded as a ‘drug to help get a patient off valium’ – HAHA! For me valium was a drug to help get me off pregabalin. I NEVER experienced the classic ‘tolerance’ and ‘addiction’ issues with valium (thankfully). But a recent BBC report on a ‘street’ person who went into rehab after admitting to being on 600mg per day pregabalin made me almost vomit up my breakfast in front of my family….a shrink in Sydney had pushed me up to that dose. No wonder the shrink in the UK was gobsmacked when he saw what I was on.

        It took me 18 months to get off that drug – all the withdrawals effects you can possibly imagine. But I managed it…whilst running a business…..thus I understand why some ‘wonder drugs’ are. for some subgroups, possibly the worst thing ever.

        A doctor treating me told me that most people ‘sectioned’ under the mental health act (compulsorily put into inpatient care) in his unit were addicted to pregabalin….and that it’s now the street drug of choice. I have a few tablets which I keep in reserve for if I ever need to do an 8+ hour flight again – I have a slipped disc and flights invariably cause it to press on the nerve and pregabalin is the ONLY painkiller that works……but I know full well I then face 2 weeks of night sweats……hence why I am glad to be “globally centrally located” in the UK again these days…..lots of travel is simply off limits to me.

        1. UserFriendly

          Having taking Gabapentin (a very similar drug) neuropathic pain I found them to be very ineffective compared to benzodiazepines.

          1. Terry Flynn

            I find pregabalin better for the neuropathic pain but benzos better for anxiety.

            (I never taken Gabapentin but I’ve heard reports of people saying pregabalin was “streets ahead of it” in terms of pain relief).

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      My uncle suffered from depression (so severe he’d sleep 22 hours a day and sought out electroshock therapy). He was put on every drug combo imaginable. He had one of two experiences: either they did nothing, or they worked for a few months and then he’d start reverting to his former state. He was a classic example of his brain chemistry adapting to override the meds.

      I also recall a MD in the UK writing that there is a meaningful % of the population that can’t get off SSRIs once they are on them, something like 15%. They have terrible withdrawal symptoms and they last a very long time, too long for most people to ride them out. Google being crapified, I can’t find his article (which was over five years ago) but he was writing from personal experience as well as that of other patients.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Sorry to hear about your uncle. I went through years as a ‘guinea pig’ trying every SSRI/SNRI/Tricyclic available. I genuinely think there is something odd about SSRIs that is simply not understood – the fact they don’t “work as the psychopharmacologists say they should” should have rung alarm bells long ago…..and thus issues like dependence like you mention become far more understandable.

        The sad fact is that if you want to ensure you “hit depression from every angle, as soon as possible – namely via all three main neurotransmitters in a clinical model we know works according to theory” then you should go straight to an MAOI – the 4th line treatment under the NHS. The trouble is doctors are taught this is leech therapy – read the bloody literature! There is a good reason why older mental health experts won’t move from MAOIs – they work much better than anything invented since. Obviously a working mother who “grabs a ready meal for dinner” may not be a good candidate for an MAOI but there are a LOT more people who should be on them.

      2. MoiAussie

        That might be David Healy, a psychiatrist who has written extensively on SSRI’s and best practice on managing withdrawal from them. He’s certainly a sceptic about their value in treating depression, and talks at length about various dangers (not necessarily to all patients, but certainly to some).

        He wrote a book called Let Them eat Prozac – the introductory chapter of which is here, and a 25-year anniversary piece Prozac and SSRIs: Twenty-Fifth Anniversary. The conclusion is as follows.

        Twenty-five years ago, no one could have imagined that the bulk of the treatment literature would be ghostwritten, that negative trials could be portrayed as glowingly positive studies of a drug, that controlled trials could have been transformed into a gold-standard method to hide adverse events, or that dead bodies could have been hidden from medical academics so easily. Twenty-five years ago no one would have believed that a drug less effective for nerves or melancholia than heroin, alcohol or older and cheaper antidepressants could have been brought on the market and that almost as a matter of national policy people would be encouraged to take it for life.

        Food for thought indeed.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Indeed, thanks for the quote. It very much chimes with the concerns I expressed above about modern treatments.

          I have unfortunately come to the conclusion that if the mental health doc I see is under 55 I automatically go “on guard” and ready to basically say “sod off”.

        2. Basil Pesto

          David Healy is indeed quoted at length in the above linked BBC article.

          As it happens I’m currently (voluntarily) at a psychiatric hospital. My own experience with sertraline is that it’s useful and allowed me to function better than I do with no drugs, but that it also has a ceiling of usefulness. So we have tried other treatments (including a reversible MAOI/RIMA that unfortunately exacerbated my pre-existing tinnitus to an unbearable degree, and had to stop), none of which have been successful to date. I am back on sertraline because my depression had become acute and we (my neuropsych and I) know that I tolerate it (with the exception of sexual side effects in the form of anorgasmia, rather than straightforward erectile dysfunction, which may also be a psychosexual issue and in any case isn’t a big enough issue to discount the sertraline’s positive effects), and am taking it in tandem with an anti-convulsant, which has a secondary effect as a mood stabiliser and a tertiary effect as a treatment for unipolar depression, especially the refractory kind, which is what I’m dealing with. The idea is to wean me off the sertraline when I’ve settled a bit, and rely solely on the anticonvulsant, if it works. So far so good. Certainly no homicidal urges yet!

          On that, the BBC article is an interesting example of a nexus between medicine and law. I would be interested on existing jurisprudence on medication-induced psychosis being used as a criminal defence in common law jurisdictions. In the case of sertraline, it seems like it would be quite challenging to prove indeed.

          1. Notorious P.A.T.

            What kind of psychiatric hospital lets patients talk to people like us? But seriously, good luck with your treatment.

            1. Basil Pesto

              Heh, I’m new to the site (having my curiosity piqued by the persuasive Uber pieces) and I’m still sort of sussing it out and getting a feel for it, but I can see why you’d say that I think! Thanks though

      3. JTMcPhee

        Yves, I am curious why you still use Google. I get much better results from DuckDuckGo.

      4. Annoyed by Stupidity

        I finally overcame serious clinical depression by growing and consuming psilocybin mushrooms. I have been hospitalized several times due to ideation, was titrated to the highest doses of SSRIs and finally put on anti-psychotics, which I took for about two or three days before being like nope (Risperdal is an evil drug that diminishes the self, it’s the closest thing to a mental straitjacket or possibly even a lobotomy I’ve ever experienced).

        I feel like the mushrooms helped me with my depression, and helped to correct the damage done to me by modern psycho-pharmacology.

        Having been recovered from my mental illness now for a few years, I really feel like that SSRI intervention made it worse. I feel like if I had been offered real therapy and group therapy instead of drugs, I wouldn’t have spent 15 years of my life going through cycles of self-destruction. I feel like that SSRIs not only create suicidal ideation in the beginning, but throughout their use. I don’t have any proof beyond my own experience, but I know I will never take psychotropic meds again in my life.

        1. Terry Flynn

          I think the ‘honest’ psychopharmacologists would agree that there’s something not right with SSRIs.

          The problem is (as usual) money. SSRIs have not received the cash needed to understand how they really work (or not), how addictive they might be, etc.

        2. blennylips

          Clinical depression runs throughout my family, for at least three generations. I too tried courses of SSRIs — I never felt it was helping and despaired at the libido effects. I eventually said [family blog] it and quit cold turkey (not the wisest thing I ever did) and began self medicating with good ole weed. The transition was rough (taking the lid off of a pressure cooker), but I would never go back either.

          During my earlier recovery after removal of a brain tumor I had the immense luck to get a therapist from the hospital adjacent “Sister Kenny Brain Injury Clinic.

          There I was introduced to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Later I learned that the philosophical basis (if any) of CBT is Stoicism. These plus the weed dood it for me!

          Here is the best one hour intro to Stoic roots of CBT I’ve found: STOICON ’16: Donald Robertson – Stoicism, Mindfulness, and Cognitive Therapy [YT].

          I hear there are good effects with “open label” placebos too: Why I Take Fake Pills

          1. Terry Flynn

            These plus the weed dood it for me!

            Yeah, CBT can be helpful but like in so many areas of academia and medicine you have a bunch of advocates who have an agenda pushing it as the “solution in itself” when in reality it is most useful as part of a wider treatment.

            Nobody in academia likes to share credit if they can possibly avoid doing so.

          2. B1whois

            I also used to suffer a deep depression. I wore the same clothes everyday. I slept for as many hours as possible. I stayed in my house and didn’t talk to anyone or socialize. I had suicidal fantasies. I had homicidal fantasies.

            The psychiatrist would prescribe drugs and then asked me how I felt. I would be unable to answer this question, because how I felt depended on what had happened that week. You see, I had been a highly committed activist, and my depressed state was in response to the dwindling quality of life in the US.

            Eventually I just stopped taking the antidepressants. After I got a little better I practically threw myself out of the country. It is the US that made me sick. It is Uruguay that is helping me heal. Hear there is Peace and Freedom, here there is a civilized community. These things are necessary for good mental health. ;)

      5. Lee

        I recently started taking duloxetine and am finding it helpful for coping with chronic pain, which I’ve had for 11 years and is the caused by a lumbar vertebra having slipped forward putting pressure on my spinal chord. For ten years I have been taking morphine to good effect. It allows me to function physically and mentally to a degree that would otherwise be impossible. There is a great deal of reasonable concern regarding the misuse and abuse of drugs but there are success stories as well as horror stories.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Duloxetine needs more research – I’ve heard enough anecdotes about its beneficial effects in a variety of areas that I think there is something ‘different’ about it that should ‘push it up the treatment ladder’. I think there are some interesting interactions it has with other drugs that magnify its effects too.

      6. Anonymous

        Depression can be a side effect of hypothyroidism, which most MDs are terrible at diagnosing and treating.

        If you have depression and fatigue find a M.D. or ND who will treat it with natural thyroid ( which cost about $10/month).

        1. Terry Flynn

          yes my sister insisted on proper thyroid testing (not ‘just’ the TSH test) which uncovered thyroid issues.
          My TSH level is *Always* at the very bottom of the reference range, no matter what clinic is doing the analysis….so next time the GP says they want a blood test I’m going to demand they ask for the ‘proper’ Thyroid function tests.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Oh, I forgot to mention something important!

          One of my endocrinologists said that 1/3 of the women who were on antidepressants had low testosterone, and getting testosterone would have fixed their depression. But women are just about never tested for testosterone.

      7. Berit Bryn Jensen

        Yves: “He was a classic example of his brain chemistry adapting to override the meds.” Why limit and simplify the issue to one of “brain chemistry”? The human brain is more complicated than the best of researchers (Steven Rose?) can hope to imagine, let alone fully understand, and is in constant intercommunication with its body and varying external situations. There are unlimited unknowns and some well known reasons underpinning serious depressions. Loss, grief, sadness, unhappiness and economic worries are common. But many/most? doctors still ignore issues of malnutrition, the central importance of enough vitamins and minerals, preferably in the food. And I’ve made a habit of reading the excellent nakedcapitalism.com in the morning, thank you, to have a good start and avoid news in the evening, to keep calm and have a good night’s sleep.

    2. visitor

      This is the very first time I stumble on the name “pregabalin” — and learn that it is an emerging addiction problem. Had I followed only the MSM, it would probably have taken years before I became informed about the topic.

      This is one of the crucial role of blogs like NC: learning from people in the trenches about what important evolution is really happening there right now. Issues like the CALPERS shenanigans or the New Zealand/Scotland corporate fraud machines have been discussed here for years — but have become press items only recently.

      So yes, if you know that something important is going on with pregabalin, tell us more.

      And the information about mood stabilizers/anti-depressants was intriguing as well. May come useful to ask questions to medics if the needs (hopefully never) arises.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks. I’ve not been shy to post about my mental health problems – otherwise I wouldn’t have shed any light on this issue…..I’m just thankful that I am now on a life course that largely solves the issues I experienced. But now I’ve (thanks to working in health) become privy to lots of facts I might not have otherwise learnt, I wanted to mention them. Particularly since medicine is still so heterogeneous – yesterday I agreed with a poster about how slow the UK was in recognising subgroup issues in cancer compared to Aus. *This* issue is the UK (correctly) regarding Aussie prescription of this drug as in many cases almost akin to being a “drug dealer”.

      2. DonCoyote

        Salon had an interesting article on gabapentin last week. According to Wikipedia, pregabalin (aka Lyrica) was developed as a “successor” to gabapentin (aka Neurontin).

        “Pregabalin is useful when added to other treatments, when those other treatments are not controlling partial epilepsy. Its use alone is less effective than some other seizure medications. It is unclear how it compares to gabapentin for this use.” So according to Wikipedia (not always the most reliable), pregabalin works best interacting with other drugs. Of course, as Terry pointed out, we often don’t have good models for direct drug effects, so for interaction drugs/effects, we’re really just trying and hoping.

        Something tells me there is something less than random about the interactions–that is, the subpopulations for whom these drugs either work exceptionally well or exceptionally poorly, both in terms of other drugs taken as well as underlying demographic variables. Maybe big data will get us there, someday–if anyone looks.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Yes – GPs here in Nottingham try to get a patient onto Gabapentin if they have heard of pregabalin and request it. As you say, we are going to need a lot more data on subpopulations in order to understand pregabalin’s effects – I am firmly of the opinion that epigenetics is a factor (though having done my PhD and postdoc at Bristol you might expect that!) My latent genes for Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) were ‘switched on early’ because of various factors in my academic career that for legal reasons I probably shouldn’t refer to. GAD only ‘switched on’ in my mother when she retired and ‘stopped being someone in the limelight’, similarly with my grandmother (former teacher). I was unfortunate to have the condition “switched on early”.

    3. justanotherprogressive

      Thank you for this, and yes, I would also be very interested in what you have to say….I think you come to this discussion from a unique perspective, given your credentials.

      A dear friend of mine just committed suicide after a year of dealing with what the doctors called “anxiety”. Their method of treating her was to say: “Well, let’s try this……” but none of it ever worked, and none of it saved her life. I feel that we are in the dark ages of mental health care where people are dying and nobody seems to be interested in advancing the field…..

      1. Terry Flynn

        Honest psychiatrists – like my UK one – reveal the truth: We can’t treat anxiety, full stop.

        It’s the least understood/treatable area of mental health. But it’s becoming the most prevalent, given the neoliberal emphasis on individualism. Anxiety can be the worst thing to happen to a person – I am glad I had a friend to talk to one Boxing Day in Sydney else I’d have been climbing up the Sydney Harbour Bridge (thanks to an SNRI).

        The current incentives are all wrong. We need incentives that make companies go back to first principles regarding what MAOIs do to the three neurotransmitters; there are one or two (regarded as controversial) trials looking at things like amphetamine and other ‘bad’ drugs in treating depressions and anxiety. The basic problem is that these treatments are (a) old and unprofitable, and (b) politically unacceptable.

        It is awful. My MAOI ‘works’ because it partly metabolises to an analogue of amphetamine (thus giving me energy, reducing my appetite – so I am no longer a bloater!) etc.

        But that doesn’t cut the mustard.

        1. UserFriendly

          Well I’ve been on just about every type of antidepressant too so here are some of my notes. Through all of this I was, and still am, on a script of amphetamine that I take as needed for ADD.

          Lexapro; a SSRI I was on for about 6 months that really didn’t do much of anything but if I had to describe it i would say it made sad not happen, as opposed to stopping depression.

          Wellbutrin; a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor I was on for about 6 months that was mostly effective as an antidepressant but it totally nuked my short term memory while I was on it.

          Seroquel; an atypical antipsychotic / mood stabilizer I have been on and off for 10 years. This is one hell of a sleeping pill, it just puts you down hard. I always bite the time seel though so I can wake up but it still works throughout the day to keep me not depressed, most of the time.

          Klonopin 6 years a benzodiazepine that has a 12 hour half life and is just as strong as Xanax. My health insurance ran out after college and the Seroquel cost $300 a month so I talked my doctor into switching me to this and letting me just call in for refills and only have rare appointments. When I got back on insurance I just added back the Seroquel.

          I do occasionally use hallucinogens when I’m in a depressive funk, also I have found ketamine to be a life saver.

          If I feel like I need to change things up though I’ll see if I can try out Moclobemide even if that involves buying elsewhere.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Thanks for that. I have a love hate relationship with seroquel (quetiapine). It is a good mood stabiliser and I used it for years at low dose for chronic insomnia. Now as a mood stabiliser I’m taking small doses frequently – annoying but the extended release formulation simply doesn’t release at a constant rate for me.

          2. Terry Flynn

            PS – quetiapine in the immediate release format is off patent so should be cheap – the original branded version is seroquel (and likely not to be the cheapest formulation).

            Unfortunately the extended release version is (I believe) still within patent so costs a *lot* more.

        2. kareninca

          I have a family member who has unbelievable, unimaginable anxiety. It is due to OCD, according to his shrinks. It’s not the usual “count the blades of grass” OCD; I wouldn’t have recognized it as OCD, but that is their conclusion. Anyway, the medication that has caused him to turn the corner is dextroamphetamine. He’s on a bunch of other meds, too, but the dextro was the game changer. It allows him to shift his focus from the source of his anxiety onto something else. There was one small study on this use as of the time he started on it last year (Lorrin Koran); that’s all. My relative was lucky enough to be treated at an academic center where they were willing to try something different. It has also helped is depression immensely.

          Thank you for your posts on this topic; they are very interesting and helpful.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Thanks – I am convinced amphetamine derivatives have a bigger part to play. Someone I know with ADHD and anxiety is on that drug.

      2. Terry Flynn

        PS I feel for you regarding your friend and agree that nobody seems interested in advancing the field……these days ‘advancing the field’, in academia/medicine generally seems to be all about tweaking something we know lots about already…..not about making truly groundbreaking steps forward.

        I’ve been guilty of getting angry when people just don’t seem to ‘get’ the need for an emphasis on ‘real improvements’ to individuals. Indeed I apologise for a previous altercation we had – I am generally a lot better these days about how I deal with conversations but occasionally I unfortunately allows someone to ‘press my buttons’. I apologised to Outis and apologise to you. I am generally better these days at keeping the personal separate from the professional results I’ve found….but I make mistakes.

        1. justanotherprogressive

          You needn’t apologize, and I never hold a grudge (takes too much energy). I too, am sorry I responded back in such a manner…….I think it was “just one of those days…..”

          1. Terry Flynn

            Thanks! Yeah just something in the air that day….

            I wish we knew the antidote so as to get more people to realise what is happening/where we are going…. :-(

              1. Terry Flynn

                Thank you!
                I try to be constructive on topics I understand…..without getting too ‘het up’, but I guess I fail on the latter sometimes when I do a survey that challenges the status quo. Anyway I’ve got about one more year to see if I can make money from such surveys – I’m very aware of Yves’s warning about setting up your own business so if I fail at least I know I went in with eyes wide open.

                1. Dead Dog

                  Thank you, Terry. Always read your comments.

                  Tried prozac and another to counter depression, which, upon reflection, was just strong feelings of anger and sadness at my contract not being renewed. Was on them for about 10 years.

                  Never felt any different not taking them, but they make a lot of bucks for the companies and clinicians

    4. jrs

      the (sexual) side effects DO kick in within 5 days, so something is doing something. But the effects not so much, which is not encouraging, if one wanted to be encouraged quickly, which might tend to be something one wants if depressed and especially if they were also skeptical of the meds to begin with.

      They almost certainly don’t work by the pharmacological model, are we still talking serotonin, isn’t there very little evidence for that? Possibly they might work on encouraging brain growth or something, that was one hypothesis.

      1. Terry Flynn

        yes the sexual side effects kick in within 5 days….but trust me, an MAOI ALSO has the benefit kick in within 5 days (as the pharmacology insists it must). Thus the SSRI is ‘working’ in a weird way.

        I don’t think we’re radically disagreeing here – that SSRIs maybe work by another method…..but we need to know what that method is if confidence in mental health medicine is to be maintained.

    5. Jeremy

      You can also have too much Serotonin http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/04/04/high-serotonin-levels-symptoms-adverse-reactions/. Symptoms look quite similar to the symptoms that the SSRI’s are trying to address – low energy and agitation.

      Not much fun watching someone go downhill as the Serotonin levels built beyond a critical threshold but not knowing why. Glad to say that removing the source of the extra Serotonin (5-HTP in this case) has solved the problem pretty quickly.

      1. Terry Flynnn

        serotonin syndrome is quite rare…….it typically manifests in patients who withhold info from their doc (like they’re also using St Johns Wort from the local ‘health’ shop).

    1. Eureka Springs

      Better barricades! Because graciously accepting then ignoring a petition as usual would have preserved the illusion that party is in any way democratic. How many times and ways must that party make it perfectly clear before people get it?

      Our ‘revolution’ (as in running in circles) indeed.

      You want a people’s platform, much more elected ones who represent it, you better start another organization/party PDQ.

  7. Clive

    As a long-time veteran of eye cornea problems, sympathy to Yves and a hearty well done for getting through the worst of it. As one ophthalmologist I worked with on a charitable undertaking once said to me — and it really stuck in my mind — if you have pain in the eye, whether it is a foreign body causing irritation, dry eye syndrome or any other disease process — you cannot do anything else which requires any sort of concentration whatsoever.

    It can therefore be amazingly debilitating. And all the worse as, to the onlooker, there might not be any much sign of what is causing you such excruciating pain.

    Only bit of advice — giving generic medical advice is normally a big no-no but I’ll make an exception here — if you’ve been prescribed any steroidal anti-inflamatory drops such as dexamethazone or flourometholone (FML) then ask to have them tapered off as soon as practicable. They can contribute to cataract formation in a relatively short space of time at moderate or high doses. And raise intraocular pressure. Antibiotics are usually very safe and well tolerated, but report any bruising or signs of poor blood function if they give you chloramphenicol. Very rarely, but not as uncommon as the label would suggest, it can cause nasty side effects.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      So sorry to hear you are subject to eye problems!

      Wowsers, thanks for the last bit of intel. I was given only 2 different kinds of antibiotics (Cipro and an erythromycin gel) and they let me take the painkiller eyedrops which have cocaine in them (US MDs are not supposed to give them to patients) but I never used them, since they only last 20-30 mins or so and the MDs tell you to use them at the very most 2x a day, basically if you can’t get to sleep (and so the first night I didn’t sleep).

      It never occurred to me that they might give me steroids….I avoid them like the plague and took them only once (after having a difficult wisdom tooth extraction, and I don’t think I needed it and probably shouldn’t have bothered). I hope never to be in that position again but good to know that as something to avoid.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Don’t get me started about Cipro and its siblings. That class of antibiotics has wrecked havoc in my extended family. They have a nasty way of greatly weakening connective tissue on occasion. My nephew, a teacher and coach, suffered a detached bicep while spotting a junior high girl doing a mundane gymnastic move. His late father had a less serious problem with it but a cousin on that side of his family was permanently disabled by it and has been wheel chair bound since. Then there’s my son-in-law, who still wears a wrist brace 8 years after his encounter with the stuff. If I can find it on my moribund former laptop I’ll send you the research he did on the subject 5-6 years ago.

    2. ambrit

      Thanks for the steroid info.
      I had a freak eye injury on a job back in the eighties, how goofy I’m ashamed to admit, (Hint: It involved a brush blade, or sling blade.) The Emergency Room doctor gave me the cocaine drops as well. I seem to remember having to have Phyl put the antibiotic gel in that eye. The pain when I blinked was indescribable. As you said, concentration on anything was impossible. No sleep for two nights. (Phyl made me “sleep” in another room so that she could get some sleep herself.) No driving, and when you lived way out in “the woods” as we then did, that was a problem. (Phyl has always disliked driving.) Worst of all was, no reading!
      Good for you for your “outside interests.” You are a man of parts.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Bill aggressively courted the “I’ve got mine to hell with everyone else” crowd. It’s not really a shock when they reveal their true face on platforms such as twitter.

    2. Vatch

      I think I’m having inner ear problems, because I can’t keep my balance. No, wait, it’s not my inner ear, it’s Steve Bannon — I agree with him about something! It’s making my head spin!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Be still my beating heart and wandering eyes.

        “Play the message-ball or policy-ball,” as they say in basketball, or baseball.

    1. HBE

      Interesting times. Reps turning into FDR era dems and dems turning into full blown 80’s reps (just without any semblance of a survival instinct).

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I wouldn’t say the GOP is turning into FDR. This GOP Congressman simply knows Schumer’s “better” rhetoric is, for as milquetoast as it is, pure bs to con people into keeping guys like Schumer from being replaced.

        The Congressman saw Corey Booker’s Presidential dreams evaporate over one vote, not quite one vote. Its the track record before the vote that the vote illuminated, but given the state of Team Blue, the wrong vote at the wrong time is a killer for careers. As long as Dems are fighting, they are organizing against the GOP. Given Trump’s ability to trounce Jeb and his $250 million Jeb lit on fire, the GOP is probably weaker than is realized, completely dependent on Democrats aligning with Wall Street in recent years.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Bannon Is Said to Call for 44% Tax on Incomes Above $5 Million Bloomberg (resilc)

          That could be a step in the FDR direction, and let the Democrats align with Wall Street, the GOP can be completely and irrationally dependent on those Democrats.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I assumed Bannon was targeting actors (Hollywood liberals) and sports stars who are the people who draw these kinds of salaries. Its like Shaq’s line about his own paycheck. Its not Shaq’s paycheck people should worry about, but the guy who signs it.

            Messing is still a pig of course, but capital gains, bs trusts, and estates are the real issue.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              But what to do about companies who get unlimited free money so they “reinvest” and never show a profit, so they can pay zero taxes, so they can bankrupt any actual business, and so their richest-man-in-the-world owner can foist his political views on the nation by buying one of the biggest newspapers?

              Anti-trust is always “too much, too late” and I’m rarely a fan but in this case the behemoth is taking out a giant swath of middle-class businesses and is eating its way up to some really big businesses too. Maybe Bannon will give The Orange Man some very good anti-trust advice to go along with his multi-millionaire tax ideas.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              $5 million a year income is a lot more than $5 million in wealth.

              That tax hits not merely the 1%, but those richer than the 1%.

              To be in the 1%, the income is probably around $400K/yr.

              So,

              1. It will spare those merely in the 1%.
              2. It will hit anyone making more than $5 million a year, including Brady’s boss.

            3. polecat

              So will members of CONgress be exempt from such a tax … like they are with regard to insider trading … oops … I mean wall street gambling .. oops .. I mean investing ??

            4. Yves Smith Post author

              No, the 1% consists primarily of CEOs. A lot of the 0.1% gets most of their income as capital gains, as for hedgies and private equity types, or inherited wealth like the Walton siblings.

  8. johnnygl

    Good leadership plans for the leader’s absence. Such a smooth handover is a good sign for the future of NC. It’s in good hands!

  9. Michael Kurilla

    It’s not a matter of not knowing how long a course of antibiotics should be, but rather we don’t know how short it could be. When companies do studies to support drug licensure, they design the trial with a specific treatment length. No one wants to have a trial fail because they didn’t treat enough, so they tend to err on the longer side. Then if the drug is approved, that length becomes the official recommendation.

    The problem is we pay by the pill, not for the efficacious treatment course and so the pharmaceutical company has no incentive for further studies to see if less drug (due to a shorter course) would be as good. If we paid for the treatment, rather than the pill, companies would have an incentive to shorten treatment courses.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We’re in the Dark Ages.

      How long or short should it be? We don’t really know. Switching to paying for the treatment, rather than the pill, the money for the greedy would be to shorten the treatment too much, instead of the current problem of prolonging the treatment excessively.

      Only thing we know is in America, we eat chlorinated chicken and hormone-boosted beef.

      1. MoiAussie

        Courtesy of blennylips here’s another aspect of How long or short should it be?

        ‘Feeling better’ different from ‘wanting to get pissed’, antibiotic users told

        PATIENTS do not have to finish courses of antibiotics if they feel better but that is not the same as wanting to get hammered, doctors have warned.

        Dr Helen Archer said: “In clinics trials, more than 80 per cent of patients reported being over an infection within 30-40 minutes of their mate Sam texting them from the pub. […]

        1. GF

          To see and read the complete story of why antibiotics are now not working for some patients, watch the “What the Health” documentary on Netflix then read the book for the details. If I was the EU or UK I would not let any non-organic food from America in.

  10. MoiAussie

    Michael Gove says Britain will ‘not accept’ US chlorinated chicken after Brexit

    That may be Mr. Gove’s view, but it seems the UK cabinet is split on this. And It’s not just chicken. As this article makes clear, UK food standards are a matter where the UK will have to choose between Single Market standards or meeting US demands.

    Despite an upbeat welcome of the UK’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox in the United States, negotiations in Washington stumbled against their first obstacle, that is, chlorinated chicken.

    The U.S. farming lobby insists that any future deal with the U.K. must include agriculture, in the very same manner they had insisted on hormone-boosted beef and chlorine-washed chicken during Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations in 2014.

    On Wednesday, the British government refused to guarantee EU food quality standards after Brexit. The issues of chlorinated chicken and the use of antibiotics for beef production were dismissed by No. 10 as “hypothetical,” the BBC reports.

    Brussels will not accept the UK becoming a backdoor for food it considers substandard into the Single Market. While the UK transfers much of the choice for goods and services to the consumer, the EU has minimum quality standards and tariffs […] The UK will have a choice between the US and the Single Market. Both, can’t be done.

    Yet another example of the UK between a rock and a hard place on future trade deals.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      This is actually a huge issue for Northern Ireland. The food and agriculture industries north and south are heavily integrated (much more integrated than across the UK). If the UK were to adopt any looser food regulation than permitted by the EU this would mean an absolute halt to food movements over the border, otherwise Irish products would be ‘contaminated’ in a legal/regulatory sense. The DUP have been quiet on this, but once their many farmer voters realise the damage this could cause, it could be a very significant political issue.

      If the British government had any political sense they wouldn’t even be suggesting this – if there is one thing that could bring a government down over Brexit, it is the suggestion of hormone stuffed cows, GM bread and salmonella eggs. Even the most anti-EU Home Counties Torygraph readers would not put up with this. This could be the modern version of the Corn Laws.

    2. blennylips

      IF Britain strikes a new trade deal with the US, what low-quality food will be on your menu? via thedailymash (utm free link!)

      Humorous now, but just you wait!

      Pig-flavour Chunky Bits
      Made from the parts of pigs no one knew existed, such as the ‘inner flange’ and the ‘duct hole’. The resulting product tastes so unlike pork it has to be flavoured with the equally mysterious ‘bacon concentrate’.

      American chocolate
      Actually a form of edible plastic, American chocolate is incredibly sweet with a watery, milk-like flavour that leaves an oily residue in your mouth. Preferred by most Americans to real chocolate because they actively enjoy nausea.

  11. Marco

    RE Venezuelan Civil War. Can American involvement in that country honestly be described as regime change? Not a rhetorical question as I have had quite a few Venezuelan friends and they seem very class conscious (not in a good way). One close friend’s family left Caracas for Miami in the late 80s. They were comfortably upper middle-class and a house in Miami was a status symbol. Education was VERY important but they were truly awful to their house help while I stayed with them. My friend said Venezuelan culture traditionally was very stratified and in many ways before Chavez approached Cuba before Castro. And like the expat Cubans in Miami the Venezuelans just couldn’t “let it go” and accept the political reaction to the highly unequal society they created. Just anecdotal observations from a stupid American.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve a few Venezuelan friends from fairly middle class (but not wealthy) backgrounds and I find their class consciousness quite breath taking. The absolute refusal of the 20% or so wealthiest to accept the bona fides of the government is deeply ingrained. That said, I don’t think there can be much doubt that there is a sophisticated and systematic policy led by the US to undermine Maduro at whatever cost. The situation in Honduras proves that the ‘Blob’, and that includes the Dems, has no scruples about supporting vicious right wing dictatorships over even mildly reformist left wing governments in South and Central America.

      1. Marco

        And it is an elegant strategy wrt to the expat right-paramilitary-sympathizing 20%. Let them launder their assets in Miami via property giving juice to a boom-bust economy as construction seems the only thing driving the hot South Florida market. So hot that people are priced out of Miami and pushing into the traditionally down-market spring break hell of Ft Lauderdale / Oakland Park displacing poorer Haitian immigrants (refugees). Housing costs are insane for land that will be underwater in 40 years.

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, PK.

        I have met some of them (often mestizo, but masquerading as white), and the (white) upper class ones and echo what you say.

        In 2005/6, Chavez addressed the Canning Society in London. I was working for HSBC around Latin America at the time and attended the talk. It was amazing to see one upper class guy, a bit of a slick willie, heckle Chavez throughout. He would not shut up, but was not asked to leave. There were demos, kept apart by police barriers, outside.

      3. JohnnyGL

        It does seem that LatAm has almost uniformly uncompromising elites that have a neo-colonial few of their fellow lower-class citizens.

        For anyone who thinks that a more ‘mildly-reformist’ left might be able to strike a compromise, Brazil provides a stark example of what happens to a party like the Workers Party that generally tried to play ball within the existing ‘rules of the game’ as defined by the elites’ political culture. Even the mild reform attempts made under Lula and Dilma have been viciously beaten back ASAP, and it couldn’t be done at the ballot box, so extra-constitutional means were utilized!

        I’m not sure how things will play out in Venezuela, but I suspect we’ll see the same scenario that we’ve been seeing since 2002 in that country where extremist elites overplay their hands, show their contempt for democracy, and their willingness to employ borderline terrorist tactics to make the country ungovernable and retake power.

        My gut tells me Maduro and the PSUV are in the driver’s seat and the opposition are showing desperation. It’s nothing the Chavista’s haven’t seen before and they’re prepared to defeat them again.

        Am I being optimistic?

  12. Richard

    Read the Aeon piece, and one line in the conclusion caught my eye: “History brings unintended consequences, even to doctrinaire and theoretical ideas”
    Is it possible history brings unintended consequences especially to doctrinaire and theoretical ideas? Or do I only hope?
    Thanks for the suggestion Yves! Personally speaking, I ran like hell from the whole Me Inc constantly reinvent and remarket yourself stress factory when it began to dominate our work culture in the 90’s. Not too many places to seek refuge, but teaching has worked for me, to feel like I belong in a community, with long term investments running both ways.
    If I seriously imagined quitting my job, or even be forced to switch schools, I could see that inducing a panic attack. Am I part of the unintended consequence of Quitter culture, too?
    Thanks again, and to Outis, Jerri-Lynn and Lambert for keeping the class busy while you were absent! :) Hope your eye is swell!

    1. Jane

      The non-competes sprouting up everywhere appear to be the unintended consequence of The Quitter’s culture; balance of power has to lean toward the company, corporations rarely like even playing fields for competitors or employees.

    2. Sutter Cane

      I ran like hell from the whole Me Inc constantly reinvent and remarket yourself stress factory when it began to dominate our work culture in the 90’s.

      Same here circa mid-2000s. When I decided to leave a previous industry that was being decimated by the internet, I looked specifically for work that would shield me from all of that. I ended up as one of those government worker parasites the right wingers like to complain about. My work is necessary to society, boring, but not unpleasant. My day ends at 5, and, barring the building burning down, I never get an after-hours call or email from my supervisor.

      I described my job to a more highly-compensated friend in a much more demanding position. They said, “That sounds like heaven.”

      1. Richard

        I like Jane’s term “non-competes”! And since the entire private economy tends to be built around an “irresponsible employer” model (meaning the employer takes no responsibility for employee security or long term well being), there isn’t so much room for non-competes. I wonder how many might choose this type of work if it were more available? It’s treated like a niche, though the motivations around non-competing speak to a more universal human need for belonging.
        Personally, my job can indeed be pretty stressful, with long hours during the school year. But it’s also seasonal work where I live (summer break), with periods to recharge. And the stresses are often shared, with a sense of communal responsibility.
        It may not exactly be heaven ( in my case, anyway:)), but one look out the window at the Friedmanesque dog eat dog, and I’m very thankful.

      2. Richard

        btw, Sutter, I like your handle, a nod to a very underrated John Carpenter movie! Or is it a nod to mad, reclusive authors?

  13. Merf56

    My heart goes out to the young men in Houston being threatened and harassed by police. Apparently the pursuing of the so called ‘American Dream’ while black is a crime. Instead of continuing to threaten them the officer could have asked them for a few cards and passed them out to friends family and coworkers in order to HELP these young men grow their business….. a missed opportunity to build trust. In the immortal words of our ‘president’ – SAD…….

    1. JTFaraday

      I’ve had the sneaking suspicion for a while now that we “need” Latino immigrants because it’s not okay for black men to work as service people in the suburbs. Maybe it’s different in the south, but…

      1. cgeye

        Um, it’s more than speculation… from what I recall, Juan Trippe of PanAm started cheap flights from Puerto Rico to NYC, during the years immigration laws were relaxed for the Caribbean, and US Black people started moving away from servant positions during the Civil Rights Movement — I don’t have a citation, but I recall that being explored in the press during the past few years.

  14. Benedict@Large

    RE:

    BATTLE TO OPPOSE WATER PRIVATIZATION RETURNS GREECE TO FRONTLINES OF E.U. CRISIS || Occupy.com

    When this privatization stuff in Greece started happening, I recommended that political parties there who opposed this come out with a statement that, weThe asset strippers need to understand it’s not a free ride just because they’ve bribed the current set of power brokers. re they to gain leadership power, they would (much in the fashion of onerous debt, cancel these sales, and that anyone participating in the should not that when making their bid. While this would have significantly diminished the value of these purchases, most of us pretty much understood the Greeks weren’t going to get the money from these sales anyways. Instead however, it would have thrown a monkey wrench in the German banks ability to profit from their asset stripping.

    I’d make this same suggestion today to anyone facing privatization against the public’s will. The asset strippers need to have more at risk if the want to pull this crap.

    1. Alex Morfesis

      Terribly disappointed at my fellow ellenes…being from ithaki has had the disturbing side effect of expecting fellow cellmates wanting to open the gates, not bang cups against the bars asking for more corn syruped spiced tomatoes sauce to cover up the taste of cardboard…

      Germany and most of northern europe have a higher percentage of govt enterprises than ellas…the percentage of french govt activity as to gdp is mind bending…

      The solution is to convince the ellenic diaspora to mount offers to purchase and privatize german govt owned and linked enterprises using the same “all liabilities” formula popularized to underpay for ellenic entities…

      Start with “Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus”…$¢haeubles brothers old government playpen…add in all the costs and expenses of the typically underfunded german pension and medical benefits promise and offer them a “token” dollar since the now accepted liabilities calculation used to “give” then ellenic national rail system to italy is now a great template to make “offers” for “failing” german government sponsored or owned enterprises…

      When the north starts being forced to follow the rules being “enforced” on the south in Europe, there might be a sudden epiphany…

      Of course tovarish…if I had two “____”
      Of course we would share…

      What ?? Shirts…no…hold on now…
      two shirts I have…no sharing…

      Sometimes the best defense is a persistent offense…

      1. clinical wasteman

        Much as I’d love to see the Bayreuth Festspielhaus renamed the Markos-Vamvakarishaus (and my Bavarian Lebensgefaehrtin would definitely have more Elective Affinities with an Elias-Petropoulos-Institut than with an employer named after Goethe), none of my ellenic diaspora friends in London, Berlin, Munich or Melbourne shows any more sign of ever exiting shirtsplitting penury than I or any of my other friends do, so a successful raid on RWE or Deutsche Bahn would require quite a remarkable feat of crowdfunding.
        History suggests certain other ways of confiscating assets “from below”; not that there’s much sign of anything like that happening any time soon either, but unless the wealthy parts of the diaspora suddenly forget that their bread is buttered, so to speak, on the systemic side, it’s even harder to see why they would sponsor the levelling of that system.
        Then again, even that sounds realistic compared with the idea that incorruptible Greek opposition parties could scare off the privatizers by saying they would cancel the deals. Didn’t Syriza already bring the house down (both figurative senses) a few years back by saying something like that shortly before performing somersaults of retreat? That leaves PASOK and Nea Demokratia — basically brown-envelope-collating machines with political brands attached, plus Golden Dawn, which merely wants to reshuffle the suffering on blood/soil grounds and is ‘clientelist’ by definition, openly buying support by feeding approved sections of the half-starved, and then finally the KKE (Stalinist party thrown to the anglo-American and German wolves by Stalin in the civil war of the 1940s), whose hostility to privatization, financial looting in general, systemic corruption, the EU, all other parties, etc. etc. seems quite sincere but has so far failed to cost the financial looters a single moment’s lost sleep this century.

  15. edmondo

    Four Lloyds Bank workers and three ‘bespoke money launderers’ who raided £750,000 from the accounts of rich clients and lavished it on luxury lifestyles are jailed for 38 years Daily Mail.

    Reminds me of something I learned from a professor in my MBA schooling: “If you steal a million dollars from one person, you are a thief. Steal one dollar from a million people and you are an entrepreneur”.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s the same with shortening the lives of one million people by one year, with toxic foodstuff, slowly and imperceptibly (or almost imperceptibly), for example, versus taking the life of a healthy person, in a highly visible manner (as in, covered by the newspaper all over the nation).

      And we’re conditioned to be more shocked by a person face-slapping another one who has just insulted his children, than by someone being confined to a prison cell for 10 months.

      That’s how the human brain is trained because the brain works that way.

  16. John Wright

    Re: “Clinton book to double down on Russia, Comey message”

    This has this quote from Joe Biden:

    “Biden took it a step further at a Las Vegas hedge fund conference in May, saying: “I never thought she was a great candidate. I thought I was a great candidate.””

    This has Joe Biden, Delaware credit card industry shill and Iraq war supporter thinking he was “a great candidate”

    Amazing, but telling, that out of office Biden is even invited to a “Las Vegas hedge fund conference”

    I wonder if Hillary Clinton is amping up the Russian influence story since it appears the 30000 “innocuous” HRC emails that were shredded will not be recovered, and possible email quid pro quo evidence of Russian influence on SOS HRC (Uranium deal?) seems unlikely to see the light of day.

    If HRC had completely backed up the server before the deletion operation and left the backup with an above reproach individual, she would have a counter to such speculation.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Hillary Clinton ran for President of the United States twice and lost once to a guy name Barack Hussein Obama and then to Donald Trump. Beyond wanting to live in the White House, can you articulate why she thought she should be President? Hillary’s narcissism largely answers why she does anything.

      Why would a book about the myriad of campaign failures which could largely be copied and pasted from a book about the 2007/8 campaign improve her chances at remaining in the public eye?

      Even the Clintonian focus on the server is meant to distract from the absurdity of having an unrepentant Iraq War supporter run for President in 2016. It made no sense.

      1. Jim Haygood

        NotTim — it’s about Simon & Schuster’s multi-million dollar bribe advance!

        The book could just as well be filled with casserole recipes and yoga poses.

        She needs the money to pay the contractor who renovated the “Chelsea house” next door.

  17. DJG

    Wolfgang Streeck article, Trump and the Trumpists, is an excellent diagnosis. Lo and behold, it is full of evocations of Marx. (Just as some of the cultural aspects of Trump and the Trumpists, and their id-like behavior, go back to Freud.) Good thing that U.S. liberals hold Marx and Freud in such high regard!

    One quibble and one compliment: There has been a spate of articles with analyses that indicate that one of Trump’s strongholds is white suburban America. Suburbia is not the same as, say, LaCrosse, Wisconsin. So I’m wondering how Streeck’s class / status analysis should change. Yet compliments to Streeck for mentioning Ames, Iowa. Often, German and English experts on the U S of A are expert mainly at dealing with New York City, Boston, and California. Having to pass time in Rock Island, Illinois, never occurs to them, so that the life in smaller American cities, which are often quite vital, as the Quad Cities are, is a mystery to those interpreting the U S of A to the Anglo-Germano elites.

    1. fresno dan

      DJG
      July 27, 2017 at 9:23 am

      OVER THE PAST quarter century, the center-left made a historic commitment to internationalism, a movement both promoting and requiring economic and social modernization….
      In the 1990s, the center-left placed its hopes for restoring growth and consolidating public finance on liberalized international markets…..
      Economic losers were punished by ever-lower wages and reduced social security benefits. Economic winners were rewarded by higher profits and lower taxes. Policies to this effect were hard to sell to center-left voters, so they were attributed to the irresistible natural force of globalization. In this way, the center-left hoped to escape responsibility for the pain inflicted on its constituents. The bitter medicine did not work; nor was the center-left granted political immunity.
      ==================================================
      “Natural force of globalization”
      Nothing about modern human life is “natural” – it took a while, but people are catching on that the distribution of assets, wealth, income, goodies (call it what you will) is a function of who makes the rules, and merit and “natural” processes have precious little to do with it….

      And for those interested, I am at level 5 of my HICAP training. So how many knew there are ten medigap plans – A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N???
      And note to all vampires – all of the medigap plans EXCEPT K and L cover the entire cost of the first 3 pints of blood*** while hospitalized….
      *** I assume if your are a vampire it is a “medical necessity”

      1. Richard

        Do your really think people are catching on to the man behind the curtain with neo-liberalism Dan? You may be right, but unfortunately we haven’t replaced “the irresistible force”/just the way it is/gods will with a vigorous alternative vision yet. So with nothing to replace an increasingly discredited elite perspective, we get emptiness and vacuum, filled in due time by, ahem, right wing populists.

    2. montanamaven

      This:

      Almost a century ago, Max Weber drew a distinction between class and status.12 Classes are constituted by the market; status groups by a particular way of life and a specific claim to social respect. Status groups are home-grown social communities; classes become classes only through organization.

      And this:

      The center-left took satisfaction in informing Americans deprived of an accessible identity that they were shortly to become “a minority in their own land.” They found their predicted irrelevance galling; its celebration, intolerable. Trumpism promised them a restauration of their honor. The country would be reconstituted as a united status group, one defending its integrity against both immigrants and urban elites. Exactly like the center-left politics of identity, Trumpism is all about collective honor.

      And this:

      Trump, who in an act of instinctive political genius, made of class another, forgotten, dishonored status group. This enabled him to attract voters in still relatively comfortable economic circumstances who no longer felt sufficiently respected by the forces of cultural modernization.

      “Respect” and “Honor” are repeated by this author as the key elements that bind the Trumpists together. Losing your good job; losing face in your family and community; or being called “deplorable” by elitists who were responsible for the pillage of your communities. Even the more comfortable electricians and contractors felt the contempt. What else were they to do but finally fight back and put a stick in the eye of the elite.
      In my personal experience in the small towns I spend time in; upstate NY and Montana, I sense a kind of swelling of pride when Trumpists see Trump on the TV. “He’s our guy”, they say, “He tells it like it is.”

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      Yet compliments to Streeck for mentioning Ames, Iowa.

      Streeck spent the better part of a decade here at UW-Madison (mid-80s-mid90s). (Though his more recent stays in the US have been all in NYC, I believe.) And in the year or so that we overlapped, I found his curiousity about American culture really refreshing. I remember hearing him talk about the Circus World museum in Baraboo and he was positively wide-eyed.

      That said, and though I generally agree with his perspective, I find his more recent writing much less nuanced than previous. I suppose that comes from getting older and more depressed at the socio-political condition. This piece, for example, suggests it was inevitable that Trump would win the midwestern states whereas the actual outcome was quite close and could easily have gone the other way.

      Which is only a small quibble. The point he makes about status overtaking class I think brilliantly explains the current party alignment and the particular predicament of the Dem Party – the party thinks it is entitled to the votes of people it detests but those voters somehow continue to disagree. I also think he is dead on in noting that the Trumps have no real solutions to offer, and that things are likely to get worse before they get better.

      1. JTFaraday

        Agree it was a little too binary. But do like that he emphasized the cultural resentment, and that many Trump voters don’t actually expect him to deliver economic policy.

  18. Jim Haygood

    Only learnt this morning that Hillary’s “book” is titled What Happened [sans question mark].

    Sounds like a longer version of the pedestrian essay I wrote on blue-ruled paper upon beginning 4th grade: How I Spent My Summer Vacation. Sadly, it was of interest to no one other than my parents, and sold zero copies.

    Hillary’s self-absorbed narcissism leads her to believe that we actually care about her failed campaign, her abused, strife-ridden staffers, her squalid ethical dodges, her dirty money, and her self-serving, blame-transferring rationalizations.

    Uh, NO.

    But I’m interested in obtaining a remaindered copy for $0.01 because it would make a good fire starter this winter … as well as serving as a symbolic burning of the witch, as her photo blackens and curls in the bright licking flames.

    1. MoiAussie

      Perhaps a public book burning could be arranged to entertain the snowflakes.

      I wonder what the organisers would be charged with.

    2. Carolinian

      Sounds like a longer version of the pedestrian essay I wrote on blue-ruled paper upon beginning 4th grade: How I Spent My Summer Vacation.

      LOL!

    3. ambrit

      My 3rd grade essay about my “Summer Vacation” had nothing about a squandered billion dollars in it.
      The Iraki Occupation Authority had a billion dollars shrink wrapped on pallets and shipped to Baghdad. The aim was to purchase a “friendly” government for that country. HRM HRC spent a billion on trying to buy a “friendly” government for America. Both efforts failed. HRM HRCs’ latest screed looks to be her version of the dreaded “surge” strategy that has led to such stellar successes for America in the Middle East.
      Your idea for uses for the remaindered copies of the HRM HRC books is wonderful. We could invite Trump over to a good old fashioned “Hillary Book Burning!” We could all stand around the bonfire singing verses of the “Seth Rich Leid.” Then we’ll slouch on down to some mall or other where Her Royal Majesty Hillary Rodham Clinton will descend from “out of the clouds” in a pale green globe and exhort all and sundry to: “Click your heels three times and say: There’s no place like the Homeland. There’s no place like the Homeland. There’s no place like the Homeland.” And poof! We’ll be exactly there!
      Next up: The DNCs’ “Thousand Year Administration.”

        1. roxy

          “She wants to make sure the resources coming in to Onward Together have maximum impact,” said one source familiar with the process. “She’s playing the long game.”

          “Mommy’s running for president again!” Selena Meyer

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The Clinton Foundation or whatever Bill did after his White House stint was largely a joke about how the best he could afford was Harlem in his desperate bid to be near Wall Street. After Kerry lost in 2004, the path for Hillary opened up which is when the money started rolling in.

            Hillary just lit $1.4 billion on fire. With her age and track record, I bet they aren’t receiving the resources especially from the Republican linked donors the Clintons aggressively courted. In the primaries, anyone who voted who wasn’t old enough to vote for Gore did NOT vote for Hillary. The kids who will be old enough in 2020 or didn’t participate, they aren’t voting for a politician on the national stage for 25 years. Shes done. She joined up with Dean because hes done too, but they just can’t let go.

            1. Jim Haygood

              See I got a candle and it burns so bright
              In my window every night
              Well it’s over, I know it
              But I can’t let go

              — Lucinda Williams, Can’t Let Go

          2. newcatty

            Ha! Imagine Catherine’s face drop and freeze, as she reaches out for her strong and loving wife.

        2. ambrit

          Sontag would be conflicted. Just take the plot idea of Bradburys’ “The Fireman,” aka “Fahrenheit 451” and apply it to the Internet. Somehow I don’t see HRM HRC being played by Oskar Werner, much less Julie Christie. Cyril Cusack now, he just might do for the HRM HRC part.
          Now that I think on a infotainment level about HRM HRC, I think that the Welsh actress, Sian Phillips (Livia in the BBC “I Claudius,”) would do a great HRM HRC as she has already played a scheming wife to a head of State, (Augustus Caesar.)

          1. Carolinian

            I, Claudius was a great show but I’ve just been reading the Lambert recommended SPQR which suggests many of the lurid details–which come down to us from the ancients to be sure–could be invented. That said Bill might want to stay away from figs. Hillary does have something of the Livia about her.

            1. polecat

              “Claudius, Caligula was here. He ssaid he won’t mmake me a goddess, and that I would stew in Hell. Claudius …. I Want To Be A GODDESS !!”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I had a snotty comment about the innocuous and detached potential content of the book, but then I remembered no one read “It Takes a Village” until earlier this year. Admittedly, I tried to once, but its the usual boiler plate stuff.

        https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/06/the-internet-is-reacting-to-a-very-problematic-sec.html

        The Republican who succeeded Bill in the Governor’s mansion ended the practice. I guess it was an only Nixon can go to China moment that the greatest political mind EVAH!, Bill Clinton, couldn’t accomplish while he was too busy golfing at segregated courses.

    4. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      July 27, 2017 at 9:23 am

      “Sadly, it was of interest to no one other than my parents, and sold zero copies.”

      Just another example of early, unrecognized genius. I would be fascinated to read your early musings – perhaps it contains such gems as “buy Cisco!” or “after 1980 US government bond rates rates will continually decline”
      Alas, the paucity of funds in my employ when I was 8 years old would render even your prescient musings of the markets of little return….

      1. Jim Haygood

        “after 1980 US government bond rates rates will continually decline”

        Honestly Dan, while earning 19% in a money market fund that year, I thought yields might go to 30 or 50 percent. Wrongo!

        However, in correspondence with a work colleague in 1986, we did muse on the possibility of negative interest rates. Neither of us could take it seriously, but it happened.

        Unfortunately, being 25 years early doesn’t make any money. :-(

    5. polecat

      Just wait a year or two, they’ll be stacks and stacks
      of HER book in Goodwill, and other thrift stores, for all your immolation needs !

  19. JTMcPhee

    Re “CIA analyst” on “China as greater threat than Russia:” Comparative degree tells us exactly what, in terms of “magnitude of threat,” or what is actually threatened?

    CIA talking its book again — keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

    1. alex morfesis

      now now…those poor folks in Loudoun County drank the real estate agent koolayde and bought that mcmansion with the particle board beams and the plastic siding…they have mortgages to pay…

      have you no decency man…

      look…you are ignoring the chinese gun boat patrols on the hudson and east rivers…the other ones on the mississippi…how else are those chinese forcing…forcing their products upon americans…

      by the way…everyone missed that yesterday was the anniversary of the beginning of ww2 in china with the japanese “intervention” and the 8 powers “allowing” the japanese to move against General Song and the 29th army…80 years ago it all began…the disruption of lives in the middle kingdom that only now is recovering from the insanity of war…

      The start of larger military actions was the end of what the middle kingdom called the “unequal treaty”, a relic from the boxer rebellion, which was the Schaeubalization of china, much as the EU is doing to ellas today…

      sir…is it not true Russia and China have all those troops in mexico…and canada…just ready to step in and convince americans to surrender…

      memo to langley…come up with a better script…or it goes straight to dvd…

      start by renaming spratley’s sulu

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Put the date earlier, when the British backstabbed the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. Confucianism, Tatar outsiders, and slaughter versus Christianity, ethnic Chinese, and much less slaughter and Merry Old England picked the former, because money.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Troops in Mexico and Canada… I saw that on TV, didn’t I? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Dawn

        …the youth will save us all from the Red Menace… wasn’t it right about that time, 1984, that long hair and beards that were “Leftist”-hippie-cretin-y, and warranted beating and killing of the hirsute, and magically and fairly suddenly became de rigeur for Duck Dynasty types? At about the same time, the “conservatives” suddenly discovered like the Chinese before them that Red was an Auspicious Colour — to the point that the people who up to that point shouted “Better Dead Than Red!” and were willing to Loose the Nukes to prove how serious they were about it, suddenly adopted Red as the Colour of Conservatism… whatever that means, any more…

        Mimesis…

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I would say “overpriced” and cheap housing. Power players aside, the bulk of the people in Nova…there is a reason the Chinese can hire spies so cheaply. They really need the money to stay afloat.

          The 90’s was a depression for that part of Virginia. Many of the “bombed out” shopping centers sit quietly, falling apart amid the suburban sprawl.

          Even a shift of money would be a disaster for the MIC employees. Who would want in their right minds to develop Northern Virginia? Hillary did well Republicans in these parts for a reason, and Congressional staffers live here, lobbyists, reporters, and on and on it goes.

  20. MoiAussie

    These cheap phones come at a price — your privacy
    Travelers’ electronics at US airports to get enhanced screening
    Feds Crack Trump Protesters’ Phones to Charge Them With Felony Rioting

    Cheap chinese phones are very much a case of caveat emptor, but phones in general, tablets, and most i-products are effectively locked down against user control. Sure, there’re plenty of little sliders to turn this and that on and off, but you only get control of the things that the manufacturer wants you to control, and they can revoke that at any time with an “upgrade” that you can’t easily back out of. This happens regularly with routers and wifi modems. itunes is routinely cited as an example of a bloated app that acts as a gatekeeper to prevent complete user control, and google’s android won’t let you download apps unless you identify yourself to Google. MS’s latest OS tries to turn your desktop into a large screen phone, and the almost unavoidable upgrades remove/replace features at Redmond’s pleasure.

    Web based services, particularly Google’s, are regularly being crapified and “streamlined” to meet the “needs” of phone users. Use of mobile devices increasingly requires you to reveal your identity, not just to the phone company, but also to third parties. Governments, meanwhile, have made it clear that they reserve the right to hack into your device, to bypass encryption, go fishing for evidence, check your contacts, msgs, web searches, etc. And if you hide behind a router or run a VPN, they’ll hack that too.

    Joining the dots, it’s not hard to see where this is all going. At some point, for the greater good, it will be illegal to own a computing device where the user retains full control over the OS, the apps, the connections permitted, etc. The only desktops, laptops, permitted will be those that run government approved software, and they will be carefully monitored to ensure that remains the case.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The nightmare for a Luddite is cheap smart-underwear with little to no privacy.

      Young people are said to be more open to new technologies, and to embrace them more. With properly monitoring, the hope of our future can be guided to the right, correct and approved future.

      It’s those deplorable Luddites, ignorant of yoga and nice New York restaurants, who hinder our progress towards a better tomorrow.

  21. Vatch

    Thanks for the link to the article about Betsy DeVos. She needs to be watched carefully and constantly. Here’s a nice pair of paragraphs from the article:

    Critics point to DeVos’s record in Michigan, where she used her wealth to push legislators to defund public education in favour of for-profit charter schools. Students’ test results have plummeted as a consequence, they argue.

    Sroka, who is based in Detroit, said: “What’s so amazing is that Betsy DeVos and the DeVos family have almost singlehandedly destroyed public schools in the state of Michigan. They’ve gone from some of the best in the country to among the worst in the region. It’s mind-boggling that anyone would put her in charge of education policy.”

    Here’s another sentence, with which I only partially agree:

    Along with the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, she is said to be at the tip of the spear of Trump’s illiberal agenda.

    Trump’s agenda is a trident, not a spear, and the terrible EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is the third prong.

    1. ambrit

      Trump is actually a closet Luddite. His ‘agenda’ is a sledgehammer. Smash up the machinery of government, (the parts that his class don’t like.)

      1. Richard

        The Luddites kind of rocked, my friend. I agree with your analysis of Trump, but can we compare him to someone else?

  22. Nick H

    Does anybody else feel the blistering cognitive dissonance from the Trump trans military ban? Obviously, it’s a dumb thing, if you’re trans and want to join the military nothing should stop you, but…..

    I guess we need our imperialism to be intersectional now? People are really going to go about pearl clutching because an oppressed group is being banned from oppressing other groups? Shouldn’t being an ‘ally’ extend to all of humanity? Wouldn’t a trans person understand that better than most?

    A friend of mine was huffing and puffing about this last night, and like many who are upset by this, they never seem to get terribly upset about the half-generation of spending trillions of dollars creating failed states and murdering countless brown people.

  23. Linda

    Bloomberg

    A surge in Amazon.com Inc. shares Thursday morning in advance of the online retailer’s earnings report has propelled founder Jeff Bezos past Bill Gates as the world’s richest person.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Equally amazing is today’s even larger 5.8% pop in Facebook shares, on earnings news.

      Perhaps tech lords Bezos and Zuckerberg can reach a power sharing agreement to serve as co-rulers of a better world.

      “Like” us … or else!

      1. ambrit

        Like us or be Deleted!
        I can see the Tech Lords as rogue Daleks.
        “Submit or be exterminated! Exterminated!”
        There will have to be a little Dr. Who in all of us.

        1. amousie

          Ambrit, I said below I thought Bezos was Davros. How about Zuckerberg as the Cybercontroller? We could even pin a gold star on his chest?

          Now who’s the leader of the Sontarans?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think these are the things a very rich person would want:

        1. To be immortal

        2. To be able to command the little people, to tell them what to do, what to say, and to defend the order by questioning the motives of those who dare to take on the overlords, etc.

    2. Vatch

      What I’m trying to figure out is whether Bezos is Voldemort, Sauron, or Palpatine. Which one is he?

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          37 seconds after being uploaded, Bezos/Voldemort can be seen gloating via a perfected rendered avatar on a 7k wallscreen, “Now, I shall copy myself ALL OVER THE WOR…” and, simultaneously, a janitor in the back stumbles over a power cord.

          “Oops.”

      1. amousie

        Can’t he be Davros?

        I think he’d make a very fine Davros and just think of how his babies will evolve until they conquer the Time Lords. Plus maybe Davros originally conceived of them at Davos, home of said Time Lords. Oh, wait that’s Gallifrey. But isn’t Davos kind of like a world onto its own at certain times of the year? Almost like it exists in another time and place outside of Earth? ETA *** And don’t said Time Lords think that only they know best on what the rules of the universe should be and how species should be grateful for… Time Lord generosity… Time Lord…? And just think of the Time War to come…***

        Nope. Guess that’s just me.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Davros was pro-Dalek. On one level, he placed value on people outside himself. Does Bezos do this?

          1. amousie

            I suspect Bezos cares about “people” he thinks count. Customers, workers… I suspect they are just a means to the end. Would like to be wrong about that. But it seems to be a cultural / learned behavior within his class or his status group.

            If MyLessThanPrimeBeef is correct then eventually the Daleks (Amazon) will bring Bezos back to life and he’ll get his immortality.

            And I know the Emperor creates the Cult of Skaros but perhaps they already exist in the Washington Post… perhaps? I know the Mark III version of the Daleks couldn’t fly but soon they’re like Drones in the sky, delivering their extermination orders. Pure hate. No mercy.

            I wonder if the Amazon Cloud are the nanogenes of the Empire. Living or Dead you can’t escape the Amazon Warehouses or information net. Unless of course you’re clever boy or an impossible girl just trying to make a souffle.

            Then there’s all that timey-wimey stuff that doesn’t exactly work for the narrative. Kind of like how the Dalek Empire (Amazon) is the greatest without any outside help (no special sales tax deals, special tax zones, infrastructure deals, etc., etc., etc.) A “pure-bred” mutation which adapts and survives a devastating war.

            The one thing I will say is that public persona Bezos just doesn’t have that public charisma that Davros does. I suspect that private persona Bezos might.

  24. RickM

    A biochemist/molecular cell biologist here who, among other things teaches medical students, but not an infectious disease expert, so caveat emptor: Regarding antibiotic resistance, it seems clear that under treatment of an individual would not lead to the type of resistance in the “ESKAPE” bacteria that are wreaking most havoc through resistance to treatment (e.g., MRSA and its even more dangerous vancomycin-resistant strain found on wrestling and yoga mats). That resistance is often the result of horizontal gene transfer (plasmids, transposons) and is caused by promiscuous/prophylactic use of antibiotics in many contexts, including their over-the-counter sale in many countries and their use in industrial confined animal feeding operations (pigs, chickens, cattle feedlots; a problem in the US). As pointed out in the article, resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and viral diseases such as AIDS is more often the result of “classical” mutations, which is why combination therapy is indicated for these diseases. A mutation that confers a selective advantage against one drug cannot gain a foothold as long as the pathogen is held in check by the other two drugs.

    That the idea of the “full course” treatment comes primarily from an early (1941) anecdote involving Howard Flory and the treatment of Staphylococcal sepsis is strange. And disheartening, once again proving that “what you don’t know” isn’t nearly as dangerous and “what you know that isn’t so.”

  25. Effem

    Fannie/Freddie would have no profits if the government properly charged for it’s full-backstop. The return on risk-free capital is currently negative.

    1. GF

      Why not reduce the fees Fannie and Freddie are charging home buyers to the point of zero profit. As a quasi government agency, they should not be allowed to make a profit.

  26. ex-PFC Chuck

    The “must read” Trump and Trumpists piece by Wolfgang Streeck is quite long but definitely worth the time. It’s the most insightful and nuanced analysis that I’ve seen regarding the social, political and economic forces that led to the rise of people like The Donald. Streeck is a German sociologist who works the interfaces of his discipline with economics and politics.There’s a lot of good info, links and references in the footnotes as well. Streeck’s How Will Capitalism End? Essays on a Failing System is also worth the read.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I want to give you a quick update on what’s happening with the disastrous Republican efforts to strip health care away from 22 million people. Bernie Sanders, Facebook (Kevin C)

    Is that hearth care or unaffordably-high-deductible health insurance those 22 million have now?

    Too many will lose health care, but we could use a somewhat more actual number.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump Is Selling Out the Midwest, Biofuel Industry Says Bloomberg. Resilc: “This and cutting Syria aid are MAJOR wins.”

    On the face of it, the proposed cut is relatively small, reducing the amount of renewable fuel that refineries have to buy in 2018 to 19.24 billion gallons, from 19.28 billion gallons in 2017. But the signal it sends to the market—telling investors the U.S. renewable fuel industry will no longer grow—could be devastating.

    It’s about signals.

    And so, it’s not so much Trump is standing up to the MIC, in Syria specifically, it’s the precedent it will set for future outsider presidents.

    He’s making it easier for any commander-in-chief who can distance himself/herself from the F-35 program and ‘Investigate Russian election interference’ long enough to stand up to the MIC, to resist more adventures abroad.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      If only this corn was actually a “renewable” industry, take endless quantities of fossil fuel (nitrogen fertilizer), grow corn with it, take gobs of free taxpayer money to convert it to much less EROEI fuel.
      Now if he would just apply the same EREOI math to Janet Yellen’s product we’d be getting somewhere

  29. Roger Smith

    I haven’t been able to locate any further information yet, but according to Bernie Sanders’ Facebook:

    Republicans are introducing a single-payer amendment. We must guarantee health care as a right…

    Completed with…

    …but we will not participate in their sham.”

    Huh? Wait what does their amendment say/do? I’d like to know instead of playing partisan theater and ignoring it. Can it be pushed to do more than whatever it might already do? Details?

    1. Richard

      I don’t have any details, but can make a guess. That means Bernie is willing to use his political capital to cover for libs who don’t actually support single payer, but who don’t want to go on the record against single payer. What a poor, but unsurprising use of his influence. Compare with Corbyn, and despair at least a little.

  30. JoeK

    from the arstechnica article:

    “the TSA announced amid growing fears that electronic devices can pose as homemade bombs.”

    This kind of sloppiness (of thinking) is so common in web-based articles I had to point this one out. I’d wager the writer didn’t realize he/she got it backwards nor did whoever did the “editing.”

  31. Pat

    Yves take good care of yourself. Scratched corneas are extremely painful, but beyond that they can leave minute scar tissue. Keep an eye on it, so to speak.

    Thanks to everyone at NC for stepping in and keeping this haven of sanity open.

    Willow is gorgeous. Thanks for that shot of her.

  32. Pat

    Another anecdote on SSRIs. I have been prescribed them three times. One had no effect on me. The other had a minute effect that managed to remove the mute I had put on my emotions. It also raised my hormonal levels, particularly one that is the primary indicator of a Pituitary tumor. Took a little bit of detection to figure out that it was the drug and not one of those. Several years later, despite my telling my newer doctor this, they assigned me the same drug to deal with my increasing depression. This time I was smart enough to get the hormone test after several months. At which point my doctor and I argued and I took the no drug rather than continue on the SSRI since he wouldn’t try other options as he had decided they would all have the same effect.

    I now worry about going off the really deep end rather than just the low level constant depression. But frankly I don’t want to have to deal with surgery or worse because the body decided there really did need to be a tumor to go along with the signs. As I get older I come more and more to the conclusion there are no easy answers.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Look up 5-HTP. It’s a serotonin precursor, so tends to raise the level, or at least make sure it’s adequate. Very mild; sleep aid and calming anti-depressant. Might help, available at any health-food place. Or L-tryptophan; but that one is more expensive at my store.

      Only warning for 5-HTP: has a direct effect on the gut, so too much will make you throw up – could even be useful for that. Not pleasant, but not dangerous. I don’t recommend doubling the dose at one time.

      (L-tryptophan is just an amino acid, so doesn’t have the gut effect. About like eating a lot of turkey. 5-Hydroxy-Tryptophan is derived from it.)

      Good luck, anyway.

  33. Oregoncharles

    Under “Police State,”, from http://www.thedailybeast.com/louis-trumantis-wife-called-911-to-say-he-was-having-a-heart-attack-the-police-came-and-broke-his-back, the final paragraph: ““That’s not right. That’s not how it should be. I’m trying to tell white people: They’re coming for you, too, bro.””

    Tramunti is Italian-American. He was having a seizure. It was EMTs that called the police.

    Was in the sidebar to “Feds Crack Trump Protesters’ Phones to Charge Them With Felony Rioting”

  34. Oregoncharles

    Welcome back, Yves. You’ll be glad to hear that the substitute teachers did just fine.

    Scratched corneas are horrible.

  35. Lambert Strether

    Police say ‘reasonable grounds’ for charges in Grenfell blaze FT (Ha!). From the article:

    Kensington & Chelsea council and the body that manages its housing stock* have both been told there are “reasonable grounds” to suspect they may have committed corporate manslaughter in the deadly Grenfell Tower fire, police have told surviving residents.

    News of the potential charges was revealed in a letter from the Metropolitan Police to surviving residents of the 24-storey block, where at least 80 people were killed in a deadly blaze on June 14.

    And now to determine the ties between the perps and real estate interests…

    * Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization

  36. ewmayer

    Yves’ comments re. her corneal injury, together with the article on Medicine’s cluelessness about how to administer antibiotics prompt me to comment – note that two of the most-egregious misuses of antibiotics are

    [1] Prescribing antibiotics before verifying the presence of a pathogen treatable by same (a.k.a, ‘culture and sensitivity’ test);

    [2] Prescribing systemic antibiotics for localized/topical conditions.

    W.r.to the second of these, in addition to the standard first-aid bottle of rubbing alcohol and antibacterial ointment, every household should also have a bottle (~$10 for 16oz at most pharmacies or online) of Povidone-Iodine solution, basically a generic version of Betadyne. Highly effective topically and, unlike antibiotic creams and systemic antibiotics, no risk of breeding resistance. In addition to that, here is a simple homebrew compound I use for eye irritation: Mix 1 part water (tap water is fine), 1 part 70% rubbing alcohol, add table salt in amount similar to standard saline solution. (~1 teaspoon per 16oz, need not be exact, just check that it tastes roughly seawater-salty). Filled into a nasal-spray bottle it also works great for nasal irritation and minor sinus infections (as in, preventing them from proceeding to major ones). Stings a bit, but in a good “it’s working” and quickly dissipating way. You can dip a Q-tip in the stuff to help fish out foreign matter.

    Don’t know if multiple daily uses of such would be sufficient for the more severe kind of scratch Yves experienced, but for minor irritation from foreign matter, allergies, etc it works great.

  37. JEHR

    At the risk of being censored for the comparison, I have noticed some parallels between two leaders who use the vilification of groups of people to achieve their purpose of unifying others whose beliefs the leader shares:

    One leader attacked Slavs, Jews, Gypsys, the mentally and physically disabled, opposing politicians, communists, journalists, etc;

    The other leader attacks Muslims, Islamic believers, illegal immigrants, refugees, those working in the U.S. without citizenship, transgender people, sanctuary cities, the media (as enemies of the people), etc.

    I am not making a one-to-one comparison with differing situations, but I am just saying that certain leaders use vilification of unwanted groups in order to achieve their goals. The other leader is satisfying his base with each of his vilifications.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Also, the other leader is open to a non-aggression pact with those communist Russians, so much so, he is hoped by some to veto the Russia sanctions bill.

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