Links 7/6/17

Why modern mortar crumbles, but Roman concrete lasts millennia Science

The Global Growth Slump: Causes and Consequences Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Now Fed Officials Are Starting to Wonder If the VIX Is Too Low Bloomberg

RBS on brink of settling chunk of pre-crisis US mortgage probe Sky News. A fine. Of course.

How Uber’s Tax Calculation May Have Cost Drivers Hundreds of Millions NYT. All that stupid money sloshing about and Uber can’t make a profit even after ripping off its drivers.

Mom feared being beaten by United crew, so she didn’t complain when her son’s seat was given away Boing Boing. That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

US lifts laptop ban on passengers flying with Etihad, Emirates and Turkish Airlines Tech Crunch

Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science? Guardian

Scientists Know How Big the Larsen C Iceberg Will Be Climate Central

Searing Heat Is Hurting Texas Wind Power Bloomberg (Re Silc).

Volvo set to be first automaker to ditch cars powered solely by gas Japan Times


G20: A summit full of contradictions Deutsche Welle

Ahead of G20 summit, Putin calls sanctions ‘covert form’ of protectionism Reuters

Europe’s fixer, Merkel faces test in preparing the continent to confront Trump Denver Post

Merkel reiterates Europe can no longer fully rely on U.S. CBC

Here’s a history of Donald Trump’s brief, but tumultuous, relationship with Angela Merkel Mic

Only Radical Thinking and Action Can Tame Globalization Der Spiegel (Re Silc). “They all believe that free trade and the market economy do not produce prosperity for all and merely make the rich richer. They are convinced that the intertwined global economy, digital advance and untamed financial markets only serve a small elite and that the masses become the losers. The majority, they believe, are excluded from prosperity.”


EU chief mocks Brexit by comparing Britain’s trade ambitions to a Monty Python sketch Telegraph. The Black Knight, of course. “Just a flesh wound.”

EU hopes to win London’s euro trading sunk by undersea cables FT. ECB: “Financial centres next to oceans have an advantage ‘because they are directly connected to the internet backbone, at the expense of landlocked cities like Zurich….'”


Corbyn’s earned the right to do what he pleases – and he’s decided to leave mewling self-entitled Blairites out in the cold Independent. Too generous.

Reasons for Corbyn LRB

Dutch PM pleased that MH17 perpetrators will be tried in NL: “Next step” towards the truth NL Times


“They Should Look Up What Dictator Means!” Die Ziet. Interview with Erdogan.

US ready to work with Russia on Syria ‘no-fly zones’: Tillerson AFP

Mosul’s bloody endgame: a bitter new beginning? Cable

* * *

Qatar crisis deepens after Arab states attack ‘negative’ Doha FT

Exclusive: Energy giants court Qatar for gas expansion role despite crisis Reuters

The Saudi-Qatar Spat – Qatar And Iran Are Winning – MbZ, MbS Lose Face Moon of Alabama

Saudi Bloc Slams Qatar ‘Complacency’ Over Gulf Crisis Demands Bloomberg (Re Silc).

Qatar crisis: Saudi Arabia as anti-hero? Le Monde Diplomatique

* * *

Military chief could be new commander of ISIS Asia Times

United States Files Civil Action To Forfeit Thousands Of Ancient Iraqi Artifacts Imported By Hobby Lobby United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York. At least the Iraq war was good for something.

Army Unveils 700-Part Op-Order Process For Fighting New Wars Americans Won’t Care About Duffel Blog

North Korea

US warns Kim Jong-un it is prepared to use its ‘considerable military forces’ against North Korea Telegraph

Can U.S. defend against North Korea missiles? Not everyone agrees Reuters

West Coast lawmakers divided on ever-more provocatory, nuclear-armed North Korea McClatchy


Chinese tech billionaire’s woes mount with asset freeze CNN. “[His company’s] U.S. interests include electric car company Faraday Future and offices in Silicon Valley.”

China polishes up rust belt with switch to creative industries FT. If this both true and a parallel process to what happened in this country — I’d love to know who the Chinese Richard Florida is — that means that Chinese workers are completely [family blog]-ed, and Chinese volatility voters will revoke the Mandate of Heaven. We can’t all become artisanal noodle makers in Chong Qing.

China calls border row with India ‘the worst in 30 years’ as both sides dig in heels South China Morning Post

Who Did Thucydides Trap? The American Conservative

A Cultural Failure: U.S. Special Operations in the Philippines and the Rise of the Islamic State War on the Rocks

Why Another Philippines Terrorist Attack is Coming The Diplomat

Democrats in Disarray

2 Silicon Valley billionaires want to reinvent the Democratic Party with a new project called ‘WTF’ Business Insider. Oh good. Squillionaires with bright ideas.

Hated by the Right. Mocked by the Left. Who Wants to Be ‘Liberal’ Anymore? NYT. The idea that today, liberals and conservatives are two flavors of neoliberal seems to elude The Grey Lady.

New Cold War

Here are the people investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election WaPo

Trump Transition

Trump administration sets one of the slowest paces for staffing and nominations in recent history WaPo. Important!

Noam Chomsky: On Trump and the State of the Union NYT

This DOJ Letter May Be More Alarming Than Trump Commission’s Request For Voter Data HuffPo

Now involving Reddit and neo-Nazis, the spiraling Trump-CNN feud is 2017 in a nutshell LA Times

Health Care

Actuaries identify “critical issues” in Senate health bill Axios

Medicare Halts Release of Much-Anticipated Data Pro Publica. Gee, that’s odd. It’s Medicare Advantage data.

Five things Canadians get wrong about the health system Globe & Mail

Maine Voices: Priceless benefits would come from single-payer health care system Portland Press-Herald

Our Famously Free Press

As Democratic Voters Shift Left, ‘Liberal Media’ Keep Shifting Right FAIR

So this one time at a journalism conference… Medium (DK).

Class Warfare

How the AI Revolution Creates New Work John Robb, Medium

Programmers in India Have Created the Country’s First Tech-Sector Union The Nation

Americans are going deeper into debt to buy cars CNN

America’s Future Is Texas The New Yorker. The deck: “With right-wing zealots taking over the legislature even as the state’s demographics shift leftward, Texas has become the nation’s bellwether.” I’ve helpfully underlined the category error.

Oath Keepers’ actions at Woodland Mall upset family Sentinel-Tribune (see also). Yikes.

The rise of the “private government” Bill Mitchell (Furzy Mouse).

Antidote du jour:

Lambert here, about that cat: The cat would live in the barn, not a dank basement, and solve any potential problem with rodents for me (a “barn cat,” as we say in Maine). I say “would” because we hardly know each other! And I don’t have to decide until it gets colder. (I also worry about scaring off birds; I like birds.)

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. craazyboy

    Now Fed Officials Are Starting to Wonder If the VIX Is Too Low Bloomberg

    How many words are there for “Greenspan Put”?

    No wonder everyone is confused?!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This is the type of noodles to try (from Wikipedia, Biangbiang noodles):

      Biangbiang noodles, alternatively known as you po che mian in Chinese, are a type of noodles popular in the cuisine of China’s Shaanxi Province. The noodles, touted as one of the “ten strange wonders of Shaanxi” (陕西十大怪), are described as being like a belt, owing to their thickness and length.

      So strange, the Chinese word for it is not in the dictionary (again, from Wikipedia):

      Made up of 58 strokes in its traditional form (43 in simplified Chinese), the Chinese character for “biáng” is one of the most complex Chinese characters in contemporary usage,[1] although the character is not found in modern dictionaries or even in the Kangxi dictionary.
      The character is composed of 言 (speak; 7 strokes) in the middle flanked by 幺 (tiny; 2×3 strokes) on both sides. Below it, 馬 (horse; 10 strokes) is similarly flanked by 長 (grow; 2×8 strokes). This central block itself is surrounded by 月 (moon; 4 strokes) to the left, 心 (heart; 4 strokes) below, and刂 (knife; 2 strokes) to the right. These in turn are surrounded by a second layer of characters, namely 穴 (cave; 5 strokes) on the top and 辶 (walk; 4 strokes) curving around the left and bottom.

      You can’t enter it into the computer:

      Neither the traditional nor the simplified Chinese characters for “biáng” can be entered into computers because they are not yet encoded in Unicode, although they have been submitted to the Ideographic Rapporteur Group for inclusion in “IRG Working Set 2015”.[2] However, phonetic substitutes like 彪彪面 (biāobiāomiàn) or 冰冰面 (bīngbīngmiàn) are often used instead.
      The character is described by the following ideographic description sequence:[3]

      Go to the Wikipedia article to see an image of the character.

      1. Clive

        Chinese characters (sorry, they’re all kanji as far as I’m concerned, which is very insulting to the Chinese who invented them!) have a long and often confused etymology. Since you can make up virtually limitless numbers of ideograms using either established or new radicals (constituent sub elements) their numbers grew to the tens of thousands. This was unmanageable even to native speakers.

        So there have been a lot of periodic rationalisations as obscure and confusing characters got formally “unapproved”. The Japanese did the same shortly after WWII but it is still possible to encounter old, no longer generally used, characters in both Chinese and Japanese written text.

        It’s downright annoying for non-native speakers and often used just for effect by mother tongue language users. A bit like making up new words in English, just to sound modern, retro or merely different for the sake of it. Of course, I have been known to come up with new self-invented words myself, so I will shut up at this point.

      2. craazyboy

        The Chinese should eat their Chinese Letters!

        No more hunger!

        I’d invent a nice Plum Sauce for them.

        You shouldn’t feed long complex Chinese letters to computers. They are high in carbohydrates, and the computers will turn into Networked Quantum Computers, probably networked to nosy and nasty Tentacles.

        That would certainly be bad. And the End of the World.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And some noodles for belts.

          “Save animals. Wear vegetarian belts.”

      3. WeakenedSquire

        That particular character most likely has a very modern explanation: it was invented by a restaurant as a marketing device. It has a superficial resemblance to some older characters with many strokes, but it’s much uglier IMO.

  2. craazyboy

    “Military chief could be new commander of ISIS Asia Times”

    “ISIS Casts Net Wide To Fill Vacant Top Spot At ISIS.”

  3. allan

    Medicare Halts Release of Much-Anticipated Data

    Maybe Medicare administrator Seema Verma is just delaying making the data public
    so she can order a red-team, blue-team exercise
    to see whether the Medicare Advantage numbers are reliable.
    Just like Scott Pruitt is doing for global warming.
    Surely it’s all super-legit, nothing to see here, move along.

  4. Quanka

    In that Uber article, I think the author identifies evidence of Uber calculating the fare from the driver’s perspective differently than what the customer sees. I had read about this, I think in the CA class action from the driver’s alleging what equates to wage theft. Uber pays the driver based on the shortest possible route, not how the ride actually resulted. So if customer pays more than the fastest possible route, Uber pockets the difference. At least that is what has been laid out by the driver’s suit.

    If I am reading correctly – I haven’t checked the author’s math – sales tax is being calculated against the driver fare, which is wrong since this is a tax incurred by the customer according to state law in NY. So if Uber has a widespread issue of wage theft as is alleged in CA — they might have an equivalently large sales tax problem resulting from the same (it should be noted) CORPORATE level policy.

    See section: (In a quirk of Uber’s system, the sales tax shown has sometimes been calculated on a passenger fare generated before the ride that doesn’t necessarily match the metered fare — as appears to have happened in this case.)

      1. ChrisPacific

        Uber has received what I consider an extraordinary amount of regulatory forbearance by arguing that they represent a new business model, the old regulations are outdated, and regulators need to update their approach in order to deliver what their voters want. If it all turns out to have been smoke and mirrors, and especially if it becomes as trendy to bash Uber as it once was to jump on the Uber bandwagon, I expect the gloves will come off. We’ve been seeing that happen in some jurisdictions already.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    China polishes up rust belt with switch to creative industries FT. If this both true and a parallel process to what happened in this country — I’d love to know who the Chinese Richard Florida is — that means that Chinese workers are completely [family blog]-ed, and Chinese volatility voters will revoke the Mandate of Heaven. We can’t all become artisanal noodle makers in Chong Qing.

    This doesn’t bode well…. (I don’t know Pittsburgh, but I know Birmingham very well)

    Zhang Guangning, former chairman of Anshan Steel, one of China’s largest steelmakers, and ex-mayor of the southern city of Guangzhou, draws analogies with the regeneration of Birmingham in the UK and Pittsburgh in the US to illustrate what needs to be done in China.

    One reason China grew so fast is that when it adds capacity to its industry it hasn’t shut down the previous out of date plant – it has just kept adding more and newer capacity on top of the old stuff. So there are still many old Mao era plants chucking out pollution without producing very much. Its good news for the Chinese environment that they can shut these down without greatly reducing capacity, but its not good news for all the workers that there seems no real alternative work. The iron ricebowl has long ago been smelted down.

    The Chinese are obviously aware that in the West and elsewhere the transition has been managed through tourism and various tenuous forms of knowledge industry. And to some extent it makes sense – in Chinese families its quite common for the older generation, rather than retiring, to move into small scale businesses as they hand over to younger members the responsibility for looking after the family, so there is plenty of scope for some transition. And a younger generation of Chinese are keen to take longer holidays and travel within their own country. Already, existing tourism hotspots like Guilin are bursting at the seams during the holiday season.

    But as the French geographer Christophe Guilluy points out, only a relatively select number of cities make the transition successfully, for all sorts of reasons that aren’t always understood. The Chinese government, curiously for a supposed Marxist Leninist inspired Party, seem curiously immune to any arguments that they will have no choice if they are to maintain stability but put in place a strong public welfare system. They simply can’t rely on free market job growth to keep the peace. This is the lesson they need to learn from Pittsburgh and Birmingham, not marketing rubbish about a new economy.

    1. Mike

      Uhhh, the Pittsburgh reference is an extreme hoot. If you plan on taking the population of the cities down by about 60% (Pittsburgh lost population from 676,806 in 1950, to 305,704 in 2010), you might have to start killing them, since there is no room in agriculture for all those “misfits”.

      Pittsburgh’s former residents ended up out West (Arizona, New Mexico, California, etc.) – does China have such an outlet?

  6. scott 2

    On the hottest TX day last summer ERCOT said 68,000 MW was being generated, and only 2000 of those were from wind. This after covering an area the size of Indiana with turbines.

    Now electricity producers are selling us “pure solar” electricity plans. How do those electrons know which house to go to?

    1. a different chris

      They are so stupid — not even looking at the basic rightness or wrongness, but how they present their argument:

      “But the last few years of the Obama administration and the 2016 primary season once again created a rush to the left…. But the results at the voting booth have been anything but positive: Democrats lost over 1,000 legislative seats across the country and control of both houses of Congress”

      Dudes, your very own timeline shows exactly why the “rush” to the left. The crap you guys were selling has basically sunk the ship. The working class, of all colors and sexes, is going under for the third time and the only people that even seem to notice that are the far right and “far” (for America) left.

      So are they dumb enough to not even realize what they said, or even dumber to think us readers kan’t reed?

      PS: did this crack anybody else up — the perfumed courtier Penn is of course laughable, but here’s what apparently makes Andrew the go-to guy on how Midwesterners think: “Andrew Stein is a former Manhattan borough president and New York City Council president.”


    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s not disarray. This is a blue print for what not to do.

      Before Hillary lost to Trump partially due to not understanding how the electoral college worked, Hillary lost to Obama due to not understanding how delegates were allocated under the guidance of Mark Penn!

    3. Mrs Smith

      Reading this just verified for me that the Dems are just as insane as the Repubs. It’s genuinely hard to believe that these guys believe what they’re selling, and yet they keep trying to push it out there like it’s a fresh idea. Blergh!

    4. oh

      Obviously, his definition of center is further right of the Repigs. I hope the Dimrats take his advice. We’ll see people leave the Dimrat party in droves.

  7. philnc

    Reading the comments section of almost any Bloomberg article can make you doubt the future of human civilization, or even its past.

    The Thucydides Trap author and his latest critic in the American Conservative have both completely misread the old Athenian and subsequent history. If anyone with influence is listening to them, we’re doomed.

    1. Alex Morfesis

      War is never inevitable…but fake maps and fake history helps create conflict…the a/c article mentions spain and the sultanate of sulu…without breathing the “$pratley$” were/are part of that kingdom…

      despite best efforts to stalinize them from the history books and ignore any claims, they are still floating around…

      and that goofy 9 dash south china sea map…

      was “originally” an 11 dash map “invented” by csk in 1947 to create some(in his mind) negotiating flank to deal with the arms embargo truman had chosen…

      in 2009 the red army “presented” the csk map in attempting to create a new negotiating position in respects to its muscling in on Philippines island claims…and “then” announced it had accepted the 1947 csk map claim in 1949…

      they just forgot to mention it out loud…

      War is never inevitable…and usually started or discussed by people with miserable home lifes…

      1. Alex Morfesis

        Oops…csk should read cks…fearless leader…has been reading up on dsk and the bumping heads he did on russian inf money and gnatzee art theft issues of his wifes family fortune

      2. Summer

        “War is never inevitable…”

        For the USA war is eternal, but it’s been a long time since “bombs bursted in air” in the lower 48 so it’s out of sight, out of mind.
        War is usually started and discussed by people with some market they want to control.

  8. divadab

    Re: Hobby Lobby – not really a surprise that these christianistas are utter hypocrites – looters and thieves, profiting from the misery of others by stealing their ancient artifacts.

    Where are the criminal charges? This docket is a civil matter – which means fines and disgorgement at best and the scum who looted Iraq will get off scot-free.

    I already would never enter a Hobby Lobby store but this crime needs locking people up.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Yes, yes and yes.

      It’s worth remembering that those that scream the loudest are always the biggest frauds.

    2. Vatch

      Does this mean that some of the artifacts that were looted from the National Museum of Iraq have now been recovered? If so, this is good news.

      Note to the owners of Hobby Lobby:

      Stealing is a violation of one of the Ten Commandments. Different denominations have different numbering, but this commandment is either number seven or eight.

      Stealing is also a violation of one of the Cardinal Precepts of Buddhism.

      1. RUKidding

        That’s where you’re making a cardinal error. Hobby Lobby is owned by Mormons. Despite their propaganda to the contrary, they don’t really believe in that Biblical hooey. I think the Angel Moroni wrote on the golden plates (or whatever they were) something like this: steal everything that’s not nailed down, especially if it’s owned by “others” who don’t belong to our “religion.”

        That said, Mormonism isn’t the only “religion” that believes and acts this way.

        1. Vatch

          I don’t think the Greens are Mormons.

          Hobby Lobby says it aims to honor the Lord by following biblical principles; establish a work environment that builds character, strengthens individuals and nurtures families and provides a return on its owner’s investment so he can share the Lord’s blessings with its 13,000 employees. Mardel was established “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ,” quoting St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

          No Hobby Lobby store is open on Sunday “in order to allow our employees and customers more time for worship and family.”

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The thing is, a lot of museums are in the west are like that.

          The Elgin Marbles, the Pergamon Altar or treasures looted from Beijing’s Old Summer Palace, for example.

        3. divadab

          @Rukidding I hope you are kidding because your anti-Mormon screed is not accurate wrt to Hobby Lobby nor to Mormon doctrine. Hobby Lobby’s owners are dominionist christians of the “non-denominational, Bible-based” type. You might like their views on Mormons because they don’t consider them Christians either.

          Like most bigotry, yours is supported by ignorance – to Mormons, the Ten Commandments are sacred commandments.

          Consider your ignorant and mendacious comment flagged.

          1. kareninca

            Thank you. I find anti-Christian bigotry as offensive as other forms of bigotry. It often gets a free pass.

        4. Garrett Pace

          As a lifelong Mormon, your assertions do not reflect my ideals or experience in the faith.

          1. kareninca

            The Mormons I have known have been wonderful people. I am sorry that you are having to see this sort of ugly bigotry here.

    3. ewmayer

      At the same time, another court, in form of Diana Roberts and the Supremes, is weighing the merits of a suit which seeks compensation for terrorism in form of officially-snactioned looting of historic Persian artifacts:

      U.S. top court takes up fight over ancient Persian artifacts | Reuters

      As I noted when I first posted the above link when it first appeared last week:

      “So, if the court allows the suit to proceed, 1997 terror victims – in which 5 died – *can* sue Iran, but 9/11 victims – in which thousands died – *cannot* sue Saudi Arabia – gotcha. And looking to seize cultural treasures … yowsers. How about we apply the same logic and disproportionate compensation demands to the thousands who died in the most recent Israeli ‘lawn-mowing’ in Gaza?”

  9. Pat

    Stunning peacock.

    And barn is better than wild, but strictly indoor with a human is best for cat and birds. If anyone you know wants a cat with that in mind perhaps that lovely intruder might be a good choice.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Just saw your comment before I chimed in below.

      I agree, a barn would be better than homeless but better and safer yet for all would be indoor life with appreciative human(s).

        1. Pat

          Look, I admit I’m prejudiced to the possibility of that cat becoming a domestic cat with a home and human staff.

          That said, one of Lambert’s caveats was his concern for birds, and a barn cat is still a danger to birds. The cat being safe AND the birds being safe is only accomplished with the cat being an indoor cat.

          Ultimately it is up to the cat and Lambert. Despite the opinionated nature of some of the community.

        2. ejf

          Here in Albuquerque. there are no barns. There are some trees. Lots of birds fly into town on their way north and south on the change of seasons. We feed the birds AND we feed an always returning group of stray cats. 5 of them at last count and a skunk every so often. So far the only casualties have been birds picked off by an occasional hawk or owl. The stray cats worry about the roadrunners, the hawk, the owls, and the coyotes.

      1. Optimader

        Kats and birds have coexisted for millennia.

        Sure there’s some carnage, but birds arent stupid either. Ever try and sneak up and catch one without tools?

        So put a bell (on the Kat) with a just little ducttape or epoxy glue on it to dampen it’s sound and even up the game –and so you dont have to listen to a GD bell perpetually tinkling.

        The birds will hear it and everyone will coexist if there are birdie goodies in your habitat they will linger

      2. Optimader

        Imo kats should have freedom of navigation
        Mine had great fun outside. One was very gregarious and made friends with neighbors in at least a two block radius tgat i know of
        The other kept it local and was a mouse serial killer.

    2. Paleobotantist

      A cat that goes outside can easily be equiped with a collar with a noisy bell. This spares the birds but not the mice (usually hunted by an unmoving wait and then a pounce. This way all happy (except rodents). Buy several belled collars at a time as cats are good at removing them.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Actually, it doesn’t spare the birds. Reason: Birds don’t associate the bells with danger.

        Keep the cats indoors. They’re better off that way. And so is the ecosystem.

        1. perpetualWAR

          I’m getting a little incensed by this cat convo. I’ve had cats and dogs forever. My cats have always been indoor/outdoor. My cats kill the rodents, leave the birds to bathe in my birdbath and house themselves in my birdhouses.

          I’ve had one bird killed in my 40 yrs of owning pets and it was my dog who killed it.

          1. KFritz

            My cats (many years ago) ‘presented’ me with rats each spring–left them at the door where they’d be found. I was never ‘presented’ with a bird. Is this your experience? Sidebar: as I recall from interaction with farmers (45 years and more ago), the trick to keeping a ‘ratter’ cat is to provide enough food to attract it, but just little enough to force it to hunt vermin. Does this dovetail with anyone else’s experience?

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              I hope you know your cats present you with rats because they think you can’t hunt.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    China calls border row with India ‘the worst in 30 years’ as both sides dig in heels South China Morning Post

    This article is a little misleading as it implies the land in conflict is disuputed between China and India – in fact its disputed between Bhutan and China. The Indians are concerned because its part of a very strategically vulnerable area, the ‘chickens neck’ of land in Sikkim, one of the few places where there is a direct border interface between China and India.

    The Bhutanese are in a sensitive position here. They have wisely decided to deal with having China on their doorstep by not having any active boundaries – there are no direct roads between Bhutan and China, the border is almost all some of the highest and most inhospitable parts of the Himalaya – its not even possible to trek across the border without some serious hard core technical support (I’m not sure anyone has done it in modern times).

    On the other side, the Bhutanese have no choice but to deal with India. They share a long porous border and all Bhutanese trade has to go through India, with the exception of a few flights to Bangkok. Bhutan people use Indian health services (Bhutan is too small and poor to have any major modern hospital – the government pays to send cancer patients to Kolkota and Bangkok) and the biggest export is hydro power, all going to India and Bangladesh. Almost all engineering and technical work is done by Indians in Bhutan and the rupee is practically a parallel currency.

    To make it worse, the Indians have previously intervened in Bhutan militarily. In the 1980’s the Indians threatened Bhutan over Maoist rebels in lowland forest areas. Neither the Indians nor the Bhutanese have any love for the desperately poor, mostly buddhist/bon tribal people of those areas, who are most closely ethnically/culturally related to Nepalese. The Bhutanese somewhat reluctantly, with Indian military ‘help’, subdued the rebels.

    Its not clear whats behind the current conflict, but a look at googlemaps shows a newly built spur road from the main Indian/Chinese road going into Bhutan in the disputed area. I would guess the Chinese built this, either with the aim of opening up the area for ‘settlement’, or possibly trying to create an alternative route into India via Bhutan – making the Bhutanese an offer they can’t refuse to allow then connect to the roads between Paro/Thimphu and then south to India. It would be a very ‘Chinese’ thing to use weaker neighbours as buffers/routes to gain access to bigger markets (such as using Laos as an access to Thailand). I suspect the Bhutanese are pretty much determined to stop this, they like their relative isolation and have no interest in the economic ‘benefits’ China will bring. But inviting in the Indian army is a recipe for creating a very nasty situation. I very much doubt the Bhutanese would have done this except as a very last resort, so I would guess this has been brewing for some time.

  11. RenoDino

    As Democratic Voters Shift Left, ‘Liberal Media’ Keep Shifting Right FAIR

    Article incorrectly concludes that the Liberal Media is trying to distance itself from the increasing popularity of the progressive left wing by its failure to hire any of its representative who they see as threat to their business interests. Instead, they are hiring old-line establishment Trump-hating Republicans to counter the far-left threat.

    The MSM “left leaning” outlets wrote off the progressives as nut cases long ago. They are really hiring the Republicans to give them street cred with their neolib audience from both parties and bolster their attack on Trump with support from the right who should like him but don’t because he’s a monster that they can’t tame.

    1. Mike

      This is, ultimately, us vs. them. It was guaranteed that the MSM would follow the right and insist that the Dems come along, or else, since WaPo and NYT have been in bed with them and their spies since the 1950s (maybe earlier?). So its the NeoCon Party and its media against citizens and No Party. First we should throw out the Dems and fake allies, but to do that we need to communicate with our side. Can’t use MSM, and we can’t waffle on treating them like the enemy. After that, rage against the machine…

  12. PlutoniumKun

    * * *

    Qatar crisis deepens after Arab states attack ‘negative’ Doha FT

    Exclusive: Energy giants court Qatar for gas expansion role despite crisis Reuters

    The Saudi-Qatar Spat – Qatar And Iran Are Winning – MbZ, MbS Lose Face Moon of Alabama

    Saudi Bloc Slams Qatar ‘Complacency’ Over Gulf Crisis Demands Bloomberg (Re Silc).

    I suspect MoA is right and the Qatari’s are already winning this hands down. The Saudi’s grossly overplayed their hand in making their demands public, so leaving them with no climbdown space.

    Such a huge loss of face will have consequences. When the Saudi clown prince launched the war against Yemen he expected, and announced, that Sanaa would fall within days. Two years later Sanaa has not fallen and the Saudis are losing the war. Qatar was expected to fold within days. But it has enough capital and income to sustain the current situation for many years to come. The war against Yemen and the sanctions against Qatar were indirectly aimed against Iran- the Saudis’ cpsen arch-enemy. But without investing even a dime Iran is now the winner from both conflicts. MbS, the Saudi clown prince, has twice proven to be a terrible strategist who endangers his country.

    The Saudi King Salman and his son said that neither of them will take part in the upcoming G-20 meeting in Hamburg. Rumors have it that they fear an imminent coup should one of them leave the country.

    No one should be surprised if the Salman era finds a bloody end within the next week or month.

    I can only assume that someone in Washington will persuade Trump and Kushner (if it is really he who is behind Trumps policy) that there is no way the Saudi’s can be permitted to go to war with Qatar when there is a huge US base right in the middle. With no military option, the Qatari’s can probably sit things out indefinitely. The same can’t be said of the UAE if Qatar cut off their gas supply (80% of UAE electricity is generated from Qatari gas).

    MoA must surely be right that this puts the House of Saud in real danger. Maybe it will be a bloodless palace coup. Maybe it will get very nasty. The House of Saud has lots of F-15’s but they aren’t much use in a civil war. If this happens, the Iranians and Putin will be the big winners (a nice spike in oil prices and a disastrous setback for US Middle Eastern policy).

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      LOL “US Middle Eastern Policy” LOL
      Foment as much war as possible in as many places as possible so the $$$ continue to flow from chump taxpayer pockets to arms merchants, we need a new electro-magnetic rail gun that shoots lasers from space much more than we need a clean glass of water or a way to get our infant mortality rates above Bulgaria’s. 7 in 10 Americans can’t put $1000 together, but if you’re a billionaire arms merchant I mean have you even seen the cost of a new Cote D’Azur villa these days? It’s outrageous.

      What we need is much, much more of this:

  13. timbers

    Our Famously Free Press

    As Democratic Voters Shift Left, ‘Liberal Media’ Keep Shifting Right FAIR

    Horrifying. Like this:

    “MSNBC announced it had hired torture-supporting, climate-denying, anti-Arab racist Bret Stephens, a recent hire at the New York Times opinion page. Stephens—whose very first article at the Times had to be corrected due to his misunderstanding of basic climate science—will be an “on-air contributor” for both MSNBC and NBC.”

    No wonder I cancelled cable and stopped watching MSM years ago. I’ve taken to calling my associates who go along with the Russia hacking thing as the Tea Partiers of the Democrats. There are a lot of them but their is also a lot us as in those who liked Bernie over Hillary. But their numbers seem vastly larger because they dominate the air waves.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can those Democratic voters shift too much that they are no longer Democrats?

      It reads as if that these voters are trapped inside the party, and can never escape.

      1. leftover

        That depends on what the working definition would be for “Democrat.”
        I felt trapped this last election. I know I wasn’t all alone. And I’m not even a Democrat!

  14. a different chris

    Ok and whilst I am being burned by the stupidity, from “Americans going deeper in debt to buy new cars”

    We’ve got this: “The long loans are a sign of consumers’ confidence in the economy and their belief they will be able to pay up, analyst Jessica Caldwell said.”

    Followed by this, from the same bird brain: “Cars buyers end up owing money on about a third of cars that are traded in at dealerships, Caldwell said. That debt then usually gets wrapped up in the new car loan”

    Maybe the long car loans are a sign of what people can manage given being upside down on the previous vehicle? I’m not saying people don’t overbuy, but I don’t think that’s the whole or even the majority of the story.

    1. Arizona Slim

      A few years ago, I was chatting with one of my thirty-something neighbors. At the time, she was married to a guy who was really good at restoring old Mercedes cars. That’s what they drove.

      She said, “The reason we don’t have new cars is because we can’t afford them.”

      Alas, they have since gotten divorced. She sold the three vintage Mercedes and the money helped to pay the divorce lawyer. Nowadays, she gets around by bicycle. Her car, a vintage Plymouth, seldom leaves the driveway.

    1. Vatch

      I love that slogan! Here’s a variation:

      “We’re Democrats. The Republicans are even worse than we are.”

      If enough good candidates run in the 2018 Democratic primaries, it might be possible for the Democrats to switch to a slogan that isn’t worthy of ridicule.

    2. Doncoyote

      I thought that was HRC’s slogan already from 2016?

      I also liked “We win moral victories, not elections”–echoes of Lambert’s Dem trope of always “fighting for”. Explains why Dems are such warmongers, I guess.

      “Let’s fight.” “Them’s fightin’ words”.

      1. Pat

        For me the one that shows how clueless they are is the “She persisted We Resisted”. According to the Hill this refers to Warren and Sessions (which is clueless in a whole other manner)*, but frankly I would want it to make clear that Hillary persisted in wanting to be President and enough people resisted to stop her.

        *So Warren went after Sessions, okay. But the resisted part, if accurate and successful, would mean that Sessions was not sworn in as Attorney General. Clearly, however, resistance in this instance means that we will put on a show of having a backbone but accomplish nothing. Got it.

    3. Jen

      Shorter: “We suck less!”

      Since that’s been their unofficial slogan for nigh on a decade now, they may as well make it official. Especially as they continue to embrace the suck, as it were.

    4. Edward E

      Meanwhile, the era of Polish jokes are coming to an end today, replaced by a new era of jokes about the USA.

  15. Jeff N

    I’m reading the Oath Keepers article up above – Am I reading it correctly that the “security” was trying to charge the family a $10 fee to walk through the mall? Did the mall hire this “security” to prevent old fogies from mall walking and not buying anything?

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Mom feared being beaten by United crew, so she didn’t complain when her son’s seat was given away Boing Boing. That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

    We can just make the whole planet one giant airplane.

    1. WeakenedSquire

      In order to free up a paid-for seat, Delta staff arbitrarily made up a “rule” that two-year-olds are required to sit in their parents’ laps and cannot have their own seats. It’s for the kids’ safety, they told the parents. Won’t somebody please think of the children!

      In the end the entire family was booted off the flight and had to book new tickets on United the next day. United clearly took good notes. Cha-ching!

      1. RUKidding

        It’s seems to me that both United and Delta are breaking FAA Regulations. It seems to me that the FAA should be stepping in here and doing something. Not sure what. A fine, at least.

        But of course, regulations “hobble” our very important businesses, and Mr. Free Market will ensure that somehow the consumer is provided with the best of all worlds. Argle bargle blagh.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One day, it would be, ‘Too many passengers this spaceship Earth. We’re booting you off to Mars…now that the billionaires have moved on from there to more hospitable exoplanets.’

  17. Colonel Smithers

    Readers may be interested in As a Mauritian Creole and regular visitor to Louisiana, I have observed and had a good chuckle when, last year, CNN’s travel show featured New Orleans and interviewed some earnest and hip fashionistas and IT hucksters, but no one of Creole or Cajun origin, presumably as they are a bit too rough for the Boho crowd from out of state.

    On a related note, some Louisiana Creoles are visiting their Mauritian cousins, a first ever reunion, this September. The ancestors in common were / are Keatings from Ireland. One branch went west, via Philadelphia, and the other south, via Bordeaux and the French East India Company. There’s a lot of that between the Francophone areas of North America, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.

    1. barefoot charley

      +1 Thanks, Colonel Smithers! I hope you know of fiction’s finest recent trilogy, which I immensely enjoyed, including its fascinating slices of Mauritanian history and pidgen from colonial times. A wonderful, tongue-drunk 3-volume read: Amitov Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke and Flood of Fire, an end-to-end history of Britain’s Opium War from mostly colonial points of view. Most of the survivors live happily ever after in Mauritius. But they have to get back there . . .

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Sounds like a marvelous Mauritian get together.

      I was thinking of families like the Keatings last week, when I was wandering through a small Irish town on the Barrow River in the south-east. The Barrow was a major navigation in the 18th Century – the prevailing winds tended to bring ships from Bordeaux to the mouth of the Barrow in Wexford – so it was often (for this and political reasons) easier for wine and brandy shippers to send their wares to Wexford, and have it brought up through Ireland along the Barrow and Grand Canal navigations, where it would end up in Dublin for transhipment to England – the English did love their Bordeaux wines, even when at war with the French. Grain and beef went in the other direction, usually organised by Quaker and Hugenot settlers of French extraction. In the other direction went the ambitious sons of wealthy catholic families (Catholics then being forbidden from attending university in Ireland or England), among them the sons of Wexford families like the Keatings, Hennessey’s and Bartons (those families were generally, ironically enough, from medieval Norman origins). They then became Hiberno-French soldiers, brandymakers, vineyard owners and adventurers through the growing French empire.

      1. barefoot charley

        Yes, the early ‘Anglo-Irish’ Norman conquerors went native like all the invaders of Ireland before them, until the English found their stiff upper lips–and treated the Anglo-Normans like Irish. (I’m what used to be called Scotch-Irish, so am an afficianado of the subtleties of English racism.) Fascinating that it was easier to blow claret up to and across Ireland than to ship it direct up the (often awful) Channel.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, BC and PK. I will share with the Keating friends in Louisiana and Mauritius.

          BTW the Mauritian Keatings are big racehorse owners on the island and in South Africa and Dubai.

          There is a book detailing Irish settlement on the island from the mid-18th century. Irish priests and nuns were common until a generation ago.

          Another place with a big Irish influence is Lesotho.

    3. kgc

      Me, I’m a descendant of the O’Farrells of Longford. My great-great-grandfather Jasper somehow managed to obtain an education as a surveyor even though he was a Catholic, then emigrated to Buenos Aires and then to California (still part of Mexico). There he laid out the streets of San Francisco, for (according to family legend) one plat in every block. Unfortunately for him, local propertyowners objected to the width of Market Street, resulting (again according to family legend) to Jasper, forewarned of retribution, throwing himself on a horse and fleeing to his land outside the city.

      More importantly, Jasper wrote a letter fiercely objecting to Kit Carson’s murder of a Mexican. And, on being appointed to a commission to adjudicate disputes between settlers and Indians, often ruled in favor of the Indians. These are matters of record, not just family history. He remembered what the English did to Ireland, where his ancestors were in a similar position to the Indians.

      I’m very proud of him.

  18. johnnygl

    Here’s your daily dose of optimism for today!

    For the details, sounds like there’s no big money donors involved, 16k people at $25 each on average. The bernie funding model lives on!!!

    The words ‘putin’ and ‘russia’ show up nowhere in his ad, but single-payer does. Sounds like a real human being dealing with real problems that real people face. Nice change from the constant palace-politics style intrigue that we hear about in media.

    1. Ancient 1

      This Randy,”Iron Stach” Bryce is not who he says he is. I suggest you research more in depth information about him and check his Twitter feed.

  19. leftover

    Re: Hated by the Right. Mocked by the Left.

    “The idea that today, liberals and conservatives are two flavors of neoliberal seems to elude The Grey Lady.”

    As it does…apparently…with most Liberals and Conservatives. Especially in the media…see the FAIR link.

    No mention in the article of the one thing that has always delineated the difference between American Liberals and actual existing Leftism: Capitalism. American Liberals love it. Leftists? Not so much.

    1. curlydan

      And one other delineator: imperialism and the M.I.C. Liberals live with it, especially when one of theirs is in power. Leftists: not so much.

  20. nechaev

    These first tricklings of news about unrest in the Rif don’t seem to bode well for the continued stability of a country in which – last year – wall posters were proclaiming to be an oasis of peace, tolerance and stability in an otherwise restive MENA. The monarchy successfully defused the 2012 Arab Spring, and has not merely tolerated but officially sponsored the Amazigh linguistic/ethnic identity movement amongst Berber majority. But perhaps to no avail?

    Moroccans want more than monarchy delivers
    Anger in the Rif
    Protests that began last autumn in the Rif may go nationwide as Moroccans demand jobs, infrastructure that works and reform. But will the king listen?
    [sadly behind a paywall]

    Protests grow over police actions in Morocco

    On June 25, during the Eid al-Fitr celebration observing the end of Ramadan, violence erupted. The people of Al-Hoceima — who are still defiant and have become accustomed to taking to the streets — were heavily beaten by police. Pictures and videos of protesters bleeding while rubber bullets were fired have circulated online since then.

    Moroccan journalist Imad Stitou, who has been monitoring the public discontent in Al-Hoceima, said, “This is the most serious problem that the Moroccan regime has faced since [King] Mohammed VI came to power [in 1999].” It’s worse, he said, than the 2011 Arab Spring rebellion, known in Morocco as the February 20 Movement.

    “I think it is the end of what was known as the new era,” Stitou told Al-Monitor, referring to the peace brought about by the king’s pledge in 2011 to turn over some power to the legislature and create a position for a prime minister.

  21. Alex Morfesis

    Transitions & cabinet making (wapo) Don trumpioni has surrendered to the con-grease-in-all “commission” syndicate…sadly he is not anywhere near as gr8 a negotiator as he would imagine…

    he has to call the bluff of the con-grease kritters…while the republicans still control the legislature he needs to do a massive take away…

    Impeach me if you dare…

    fire Mueller and declare an end to this russia nonsense…

    declare the electoral college has spoken…

    and demand…

    yes “demand” articles of impeachment & a vote and if approved, a trial in the senate…

    exclaim he will never resign so stop wasting the time that should be used to deal with the needs of the country instead of the needs of the political party apparatchiks…

    “If you’re gonna fire me…fire me…otherwise let’s get to work…”

    Although gridlock is our friend, the impotence, incompetence and incontinence on capital hill can not be fixed…

    Then again…an honest assessment of Don trumpioni might suggest he likes being “forced” not to be able to deliver…

    Onto 2018…anyone got Bobby Kennedy’s phone number…

  22. stefan

    A money quote from Noam Chomsky: “For liberal opinion, the political crime of the century, as it is sometimes called, is Russian interference in American elections. The effects of the crime are undetectable, unlike the massive effects of interference by corporate power and private wealth, not considered a crime but the normal workings of democracy.”

    1. g3

      Anybody else surprised that NYT gave space to Chomsky, or is it just me? IIRC, he is a no-no for the lamestream media(thanks Sarah Palin, for once) because of his harsh critic of the Empire. Tho I have seen his writings distributed by NYT Syndicate, whatever that means.

  23. Altandmain

    The housing bubble bursts in Toronto:

    Dems try new slogan: ‘Have you seen the other guys?’

    Doubling down on failure? I believe Lambert likes to say “help me”?

    German Police Deploy Water Cannon Against G20 Protesters

    Democrat Official Calls Security During Meeting – Removes Bernie Supporter For Criticizing Party

    The Deputy Chair of the DNC, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) called for security to remove a Bernie Sanders supporter on Wednesday.

    Note that this was the same Ellison of course that many on the left backed for chair. I”m thinking he wouldn’t have been much better than Perez.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A few choices.

      1. Keep on obstructing the D party or hope for new saviors like Ellison to take power.

      2. Go build a new party…everyday, a little bigger and stronger.

      2-Alt. Take over a smaller party. Infiltrate and elect a new party chairperson who is more effective, who can organize.

      To me, the first involves a lot of negative energy.

      The second is mostly positive energy, and to a similar degree, the third.

  24. Susan the other

    About the Dutch bringing the MH17 perpetrators to trial. They plan to prosecute “those who shot MH17 down.” Well… what about those wonderful trustworthy Dutch who allowed MH17 to flyover a war zone in the first place?? Will they bring those guys to trial? And did the Dutch ever seek the truth about which particular upstanding Dutch people allowed the Lockerbie flight to take off? Right – everyone really trusts the Dutch judicial system.

    1. LifelongLib

      IIRC flights were allowed in the area at the altitude MH17 was flying. They were prohibited at a lower altitude but apparently nobody thought there were weapons present that could hit anything flying that high.

      1. Gaianne

        It seems that commercial aircraft were not legally prohibited from flying over the war zone. But the point is that the Ukrainian air traffic control redirected flight MH 17 from its original path skirting the war zone to a new path directly over it, and commanded a new, lower flight altitude as well. The air crew complied and unfortunate results ensued.

        The Ukraine has never given an adequate explanation (nor any explanation, really) for the redirection.

        No on-ground crash investigation has established exactly how the plane was brought down (a weapon of some kind, obviously) nor who did it.


    2. optimader

      what about those wonderful trustworthy Dutch who allowed MH17 to flyover a war zone in the first place??

      1.) Your hindsight could use vision correction. Get your confirmation bias and facts straight, What does MH stand for?

      Please explain what authority the Dutch had regarding the MH 17 flightpath? Was it not following a standard air traffic route that was considered safe by international aviation authorities between Europe and Asia?

      2.) More generally, was Malaysian Air setting a new industry standard re: conflict zone overflight following this route?

      And did the Dutch ever seek the truth about which particular upstanding Dutch people allowed the Lockerbie flight to take off?

      PanAm Flight 103
      3.) wtf? Other than providing a physical location for the Scottish Court in the Netherlands to conduct a Scots Law trial subsequent to the crash, what in the wide world of sports are you slandering the Dutch and the Dutch legal system about specifically????

      I await John Helmer throwing s pot of ink at the wall on this.

      1. andyb

        My uncle flew, carrier based, for the USN in Korea and Vietnam. He was shot up many times but managed to survive. He viewed the pics of the downed fuselage and said that the circular holes were definitely caused by 50cal air-to-air gunfire. That leaves out any ground based Russkies and instead points to the Ukrainian fighter that was observed following MH-17. Separate thought: Why isn’t Nuland in prison? Even though the Russian “invasion” of Ukraine is utter BS, why is there no mention of the illegal coup?

        1. Optimader

          Well who was shooting .50cal bullets at your Uncle??

          The mumbojumbo of a Ukranian fighter folliwing and shooting down mh17 has been kicked to death and put through the chipper, so dont perpetuate nonsense, it is irresponsible.

          Even the Russians concede their was no other aircraft involved, as well Almaz-Antey the buk missle OEM concedes a buk missle was used to shoot down mh17

          Nuland and every other ahoke that may brling in jail for some reason other than shooting down mh17 different subjects . File under: sophomoric deflection

        2. redleg

          They would be 20/23/25/30 mm if it was from a fighter cannon, depending on the weapons platform and aircraft.
          But as an artillery/infantry officer, I had the same thought when I saw the photos. Direct fire damage, not shrapnel/blast.

      2. The Rev Kev

        If I remember right, it was Ukrainian air traffic control that controls all flights over their territory and it was they that diverted MH17 over the combat zone where earlier lights were flying more north of there. If you want to see their records, forget it. Those records were seized by Ukrainian spooks and have not seen the light of day since.
        As for a “special” court, all that means is that they do not have the guts to take it to an international court as their evidence would be shredded in a proper court of law. Would the court be run the same way as the investigation where nothing gets released unless Ukraine says so? Will this be like that court trial that arose from the 2005 Beirut bombing where it was used to beat over the head whatever political group or nation that was out of vogue at the time?
        We all know what the results of this trial will be so how about the ‘court’ gets on with it and appoint an international panel of five selected judges to oversee the case with judges coming from the Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. That should do it. If you are unsure of what this is all about, look up the term ‘lawfare’ ( and that should give you a clue.

  25. perpetualWAR

    Don’t worry about scaring off birds. I have always had cats. The birds come to my birdbath and still use it.

    He’s a handsome cat and having a barn, ya gotta have a barn cat!

    KEEP HIM! (but, no pressure)

  26. Ted

    The link to the Guardian article on academic publishing profits is why I come to Naked Capitalism often. People who want to understand how otherwise very smart people (well in some domains) can willingly, gladly even, turn themselves into a slave labor force for The Man should read that as a case example.

    1. Alex Morfesis

      This silly notion of democracy, freedom, equity and govern-mint being reasonable is a somewhat modern idea…

      before ike was able to “adjust” the “thinking” of scotus by getting his freethinkers in place, the “silver platter doctrine” was the law of the land from 1914…

      weeks v usa(1914)
      gambino v usa (1929)
      lustig v usa (1949)

      This freedumb thingee will come to pass is the mindset of the plutocratic apparatchiks of all political persuasions…

  27. Oregoncharles

    “We can’t all become artisanal noodle makers in Chong Qing.”
    This reflects current economic reality, I guess, but in the bigger picture, it isn’t really true. Aside from the high-tech items that don’t actually employ that many people (one reason we have such intractable unemployment), most of the stuff we need and use could be made on a craft basis, and was in the past. Done intelligently, this would be far more sustainable, because we’d be substituting human care for capital and for resource use (not completely, but as much as possible). This approach is precisely the prerequisite to a sustainable, “steady-state” economy.

    And of course, it’s the reason the Archdruid proposed (and I think advocated for) looking to revived, “retro” technologies. I realize that “artisanal” is presently mostly just a fashion statement, but it’s also the only way to live well at a lower standard of consumption.

    China, in particular, has a magnificent tradition of craftsmanship. Their command economy might provide a platform for reviving that without losing too much. It might even be a way to even up the present economic disparity between city and country – which is just the sort of thing that leads to revolutions. I don’t think the odds are good, given an authoritarian, corrupt system, but I don’t think it should be so casually dismissed. In th elong run, it’s what we have to do, and a working model would be a huge boon.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Chinese craftsmanship.

      It doesn’t matter what they say how much fakes look realistic these days, but they really can’t fake old blue and whites or underglaze reds, for these reasons:

      1. Old Jingdezhen was a vast, assembly line factory.

      2. Every stage of production, from sourcing the clay, the glaze ingredients, to throwing (or molding, the preferred technique during the Yuan dynasty, but not in the preceding Song or following Ming dynasty), painting, glazing and firing involved specialists who spent decades perfecting their crafts…anonymously, unlike today’s named artists or forgers who buy off the shelf

      3. In one dynasty, the Yuan dynasty, when Mongols ruled, a son could only work the same field his father did. So, you got to be really good at, say, painting dragons or peacocks (for Persian porcelain buyers).

      4. People saw the world differently, from the mind’s eye. So, for example, old Chinese paintings lack perspective. Today’s forgers usually paint with that. Also, brush stroke techniques change over time. That offers another clue.

      1. Oregoncharles

        So the peak ancient skills may not be recoverable. But China still has excellent craftspeople; making that a bigger part of the economy would be a step forward (of back, if you’re the Archdruid.)

        things do change, as time goes by.

  28. Oregoncharles

    From the Thucydides article: “Allison argues that when rising powers threaten the position of established powers, the inevitable competition can lead to conflict and, eventually, war.”

    That’s a truism hardly worth discussing. The question is whether it ALWAYS leads to war, and what might deflect the process.

    A nuclear standoff just might do it.

    1. Mike

      Above and beyond the smoke and mirrors of this “terrorist” issue, there is one frighteningly bad remark in the article:

      “The potential for the Islamic State to gain a significant foothold in the Philippines was known to both American and Philippine security forces as early as 2014.”

      Excuse me, how about Operation Bojinka in 1995??? How was that not important when it was part of our 9/11 investigation? About how long has Special Operations known about possible Al Qaeda/ISIS movements there? And, more importantly, WTF did they do about it, except maybe support it for future use?

      We do have short memories, but c’mon.


  29. Oregoncharles

    I didn’t realize peacocks COULD fly – though come to think, I’ve seen them arrayed on a rooftop.

    Gorgeous picture, anyway.

    1. craazyboy

      We’ve got ’em at the zoo. Couple dozen, walking around on the lawn. I think they tie or peg their wings. Beautiful birds, almost beyond belief. The prismatic colors in sunlight are beyond spectacular.

      They have a few males, but these are smaller, grey and dull looking. They do seem perky, however!

      1. Oregoncharles

        “Peacock” = male (note the second syllable.).
        It’s the hens, the females, that are dull colored – birds’ practice being the opposite of people’s.

  30. Craig H.

    The New Yorker article is long and far better than I expected it to be. The author is a Texas native and understands a few of the nuances of the Texas political scene. Texas politics is way too confusing for any one mind to grasp much of it. The explanations for the gerrymandered Congressional districts and the tradition of airhead governors seem accurate to me.

  31. ewmayer

    o “The Global Growth Slump: Causes and Consequences | Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco” — Would any of our readers masochistic enough – or required by their job – to read this care to comment on whether it contains any mention of “serial-bubble-blowing and exponential-consumer-credit-supporting policies by the world’s major central banks”? Thanks!

    o “Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science? | Guardian” — Headline question contains its own answer, in the form of ‘staggeringly profitable’.

    o “Merkel reiterates Europe can no longer fully rely on U.S. | CBC” — And in what universe should Europe be able to ‘fully rely on U.S.’? Y’all are a bunch of economically advanced, wealthy-overall, sovereign states – grow the fvck up and learn to manage your own affairs. Starting with defense would be a good first step. Ah, but the rub there is that it might actually force you to seek peaceful co-existence with nearby nations, most especially Russia. And we all know that those hugely provocative and hugely expensive NATO exercises on Russia’s border are good for business. If your business is being a warmongering American-slash-Western-world-exceptionalist or profiteer therefrom, that is.

    o “Here are the people investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election | WaPo” — ‘Alleged’ is clearly one of the words on CraPo’s internal verbiage blacklist.

    o “How the AI Revolution Creates New Work | John Robb, Medium” — New work in form of expanded shameless-shilling opportunities for tech PR shills pretending to be journalists, at least.

    o “Here’s a history of Donald Trump’s brief, but tumultuous, relationship with Angela Merkel | Mic” — Some wag really, really needs to rewrite this in form of one of those raunchy fantasy reader letters certain Men’s Magazines publish as a regular feature. Since this is a family blog, we could keep it reasonable via creative use of euphemisms for the parties’ naughty bits. “Shameless and unersättliche little minx that she was under that polished political veneer, Kanzlerin M. simply could not get enough of Donald T’s turgid Blutwurst. The second night of the G20 summit, their secret tryst location echoed with the sounds of their private ‘negotiation’. ‘Ach, oh, uh!’ stöhnte Kanzlerin M. in her lustful ecstasy. ‘Zis clause is unacceptable! But it feels so good, Liebchen…bitte run it by me once more, zis time more slowly, ja?’.” That sort of thing.

  32. Punta Pete

    “The global growth slump.” No mention in the article of the work by Robert Gordon who argued (persuasively IMHO) that we have mined the large increases in productivity that resulted from the industrial progress of the last century and that now we are on the downward slope of realizing only incremental grains from discoveries in areas such as genetic research.

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