Links 7/7/17

Boaty McBoatface returns home from abyss Science Daily

Researchers show how cancer spreads in mice Medical News Today (DL; original).

Whiff of animal spirits in the air on Wall Street FT

Silver just had a flash crash Business Insider (DL).

Largest Cryptocurrency Exchange Hacked! Over $1 Million Worth Bitcoin and Ether Stolen The Hacker News (Furzy Mouse). That’s not very much.

The smart money: are we on the cusp of a cashless society? FT

If Silicon Valley’s Billionaires Want To Fix Our Rotten Politics, They Should Start At Home Matt Stoller, Buzzfeed


Qatar: Rex Tillerson to travel to Kuwait in bid to resolve Arab dispute ABC

Qatar crisis: Saudi-led bloc vows new measures BBC

Elizabeth Warren, back from first trip to Afghanistan, says, ‘I’m not there on a troop increase’ WaPo

The Fraud of the White Helmets Philip Giraldi, The Unz Review


G20 summit could mark end of the US as global leader, but what’s next? Guardian

Trump, in Poland, Asks if West Has the ‘Will to Survive’ NYT

Trump Goes To Europe, Trashes U.S. Intelligence Agencies HuffPo

Trump’s Divide and Conquer Handelsblatt

G20 economies buck Trump’s protectionist trade tone FT

Taking On North Korea at the G20 CFR

Turkey Against the World Der Spiegel

More Than 70 Officers Injured in G20 Protests The Atlantic

France’s Macron Wants a Technocratic Presidential State Ian Welsh

Macron’s outstretched hand to Trump is bid to keep US ‘in the circle’ The Local

Yanis Varoufakis: A New Deal for the 21st Century NYT (Furzy Mouse).

EU and Japan reach agreement on historic free trade deal EU Business


As China grows, equal opportunity and social mobility are fast becoming a cruel lie South China Morning Post

Bitcoin can be an asset but not currency – China central bank adviser Reuters

Hanging coffins: China’s mysterious sky graveyards CNN

North Korea

North Korea Missile Test: Best Response May Be Surprisingly Low-Tech Scientific American

U.S. seeks funds tied to North Korea from eight big banks Reuters

Abe, Trump and Moon agree to tighten pressure on North Korea Nikkei Asian Review

How (Not) to Kill Kim Jong Un Foreign Policy

Why Won’t the Democrats Challenge Trump on North Korea? The Atlantic (Re Silc).

New Cold War

The Undeniable Pattern Of Russian Hacking Moon of Alabama

Russians Are Said to Be Suspects in Nuclear Site Hackings Bloomberg. Sourcing: “current and former U.S. officials.” See above.

Here’s the public evidence that supports the idea that Russia interfered in the 2016 election WaPo

Under Trump, U.S.-Russian Relations Hit New Low Foreign Policy. The deck is rich: “Amid a new ‘Red Scare,’ officials fear any contact with Moscow.” Mission accomplished!

Trump Transition

Trump voter commission to store data on White House computers under Pence staff direction WaPo. Crazy pants.

Trump Voter Fraud Commission Was Cautioned About Seeking Sensitive Voter Information HuffPo

18 States Sue Betsy DeVos for Killing Student Loan Protections US News

Walter Shaub, head of government ethics office who feuded with Trump, resigns USA Today

The Untold Story of How Gary Cohn Fell for Donald Trump Vanity Fair. Hope and change… MAGA… So it goes….

2016 Post Mortem

Clinton lost because war-ravaged communities in PA, WI, and MI saw her as pro-war, study says Mondoweiss (MR; original).

Democrats in Disarray

At NYT, Fantasy of Bill Clinton’s Centrism Saving the Dems Never Gets Old FAIR

How the Booker Window Explains Centrist Implosion Paste (MR). Fun!

The rise of the internet’s ‘dirtbag left’ MacLeans (MR).

Health Care

Sanders to host red state rallies opposing GOP healthcare bill The Hill

#SitInSaveLives: Arrests Nationwide as Groups Mobilize to Stop Trumpcare Common Dreams

McConnell: If we can’t repeal Obamacare, we’ll fix it Politico

GOP activists put Congress on notice: Repeal Obamacare or get voted out McClatchy

GOP Senators Weigh Higher Health Premiums’ Possible Effect on Midterms WSJ

Don’t Expect Health Coverage If You Survive a Gunshot Wound Bloomberg

Even as they criticize Trump’s agenda, tech execs like Eric Schmidt and Elon Musk are backing Republican campaigns Recode

Guillotine Watch

Meet the ‘Wine Whisperers,’ Fancy Grape Fixers for Billionaires Bloomberg

Class Warfare

A People’s History of Koch Industries: How Stalin Funded the Tea Party Movement Yasha Levine, The eXiled (MT). From 2010.

A review of labor market conditions The FRED Blog, Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis

Microsoft to lay off ‘several thousand’ employees ZD Net

How the Growth of E-Commerce Is Shifting Retail Jobs NYT

What Can We Learn From The Nordic Model? Social Europe (MT). MT writes: “A history lesson about possibilities. Sweden nowadays is a neoliberal taxpayer subsidized privatized heaven: education, healthcare, immigrant housing all sectors reaping obscene taxpayer money for crappified services.”

To End Distracted Driving, MIT Figures Out How People Really Drive Wired (DL).

How the Oil Pipeline Began Nautilus (MT).

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. craazyboy

    Boobs are not intellegent!

    (I think it’s important that people know this!)

    Boobs are not intellegent!
    Everyone should know that.

    They are outer space capsules
    From another outer space planet.

    They carry one emissary,
    and driving is not necessary.

    A President and a Vice President
    Whom are Trained in Galactic Diplomacy.

    They have been on Earth since Ancient Times,
    When Hebrews walked the Earth,
    The dominant Species of The Times.
    The rest of us, carried heavy stones,
    And The Hebrews ran the mines.

    Copper slaves would dig and dig
    And molds from silicon rake.

    The Bronze poured in the molds
    And rice bowls they would make.

    Not all Space Aliens travel in Boobs,
    Bearded Clams some take.

    Self-Driving Clams
    Is how the long trip they make!

    They navigate
    With beared whiskers
    Radio waves, the whiskers take!

    Once on our Earth
    Quantum Entanglement they do,
    And with our population they take back home,
    A Pen Pal they will make!

    But not really…

    They tell us we are all still Great,
    A nest for all we are destined to make.

    They control our minds
    And vile things make
    Us do…
    And other things too.

    Some silly things
    Like in a Zoo.
    But some got us in World War One and Two
    And Three is coming surely, too!

  2. craazyboy

    Court Of The Crimson (Purple) Queen – King Crimson

    Bag Pipers march across the land,
    In kilts so airily.
    Their step is both bold and light,
    What do they know, that not we?

    The Pipers sound most out of tune
    They blow loudly without break.
    The pipes are moving most eerily,
    Like tenticles or snakes.

    Connected to the airbags, yet
    The MSM News is made.
    The BBC, Reuters, and all the rest,
    The fake news broadcasted, endlessly.

    For us there is no break or rest,
    We trudge on endlessly.

    Their eyeless sockets in their heads
    They a’ march in’ on and on.
    With each beat they take a step,
    And Progress do we make…

    [The Unfinished Song]–Sh7YE

    1. ambrit

      We told you. Don’t take more than two “buttons” bro! BTW, how’s the new sweat lodge working out?

    2. Roger Smith

      Confusion will be our epitaph…

      And because this song is is just so good:

      The wall on which the prophets wrote
      Is cracking at the seams
      Upon the instruments of death
      The sunlight brightly gleams
      When every man is torn apart
      With nightmares and with dreams,
      Will no one lay the laurel wreath
      As silence drowns the screams

      Between the iron gates of fate,
      The seeds of time were sown,
      And watered by the deeds of those
      Who know and who are known;
      Knowledge is a deadly friend
      When no one sets the rules
      The fate of all mankind I see
      Is in the hands of fools

      Confusion will be my epitaph
      As I crawl a cracked and broken path
      If we make it we can all sit back and laugh,
      But I fear tomorrow I’ll be crying,
      Yes I fear tomorrow I’ll be crying

          1. craazyboy

            There was 21st Century Schizoid Man. Prescient!

            I’d say that about marked the beginning of “thrashing”.

  3. Antifa

    The Guardian article asks what comes next as the US shows up at the G20 as an increasingly shaky and faltering empire. With Trump as our Great Leader.

    Well, what else but the whimper that comes at the end of all empires? The G20 minus the USA is a collection of 19 sovereign nations looking to cooperate and do some business together here in the real world. There’s lots of jockeying for position and advantage involved, but everyone is long since accustomed to that. The USA is the only nation trying to support an empire of global military, economic, and cultural domination on top of running a nation, and we have exhausted every means we have ever cooked up for continuing this effort.

    What next? The American Empire continues to lose relevance on the world stage, gradually retreating into being what it can sustain — being one nation among a couple hundred others, dealing intelligently with its own problems while elbowing its way through the travails of world trade.

    So many Americans seem to think the most exceptional, biggest, baddest, city-on-a-hill empire in human history has to go on, or has to go out with a bang, but it doesn’t. There will be all kinds of shouting and screaming about our decline from true believers, but over the coming years financial exhaustion will bring an end to our policing the whole planet, and the staggeringly large Pentagon budget will become only what is necessary to protect our dirt — not all the dirt everywhere the sun shines. The sun has set on the American Empire.

    We have bridges to rebuild, and a nation to run, and no business conquering the planet for the very few richest of the richest among us. Empires always end, and they always end in exhaustion, for their foundation is a nation whipped into a furious effort and ideology that cannot possibly be sustained.

    1. Alex Morfesis

      Empires(imperiums) end by invasion, breaking up or losses of territory at the neglected frontiers…

      unless and until true-doe($) kanukistani begin ranting about taking back montana…

      Even if one loses oneself in some dystopian noise, there are few populated natural border barriers where there might be some delineated separation possibilities and there are zero states that have natural barriers even if they imagined they could go it alone…even if kalipornia, tey-has and flow-rid-duh decided to try being their own sovz…

      it would last 30 seconds…

      Kali lives off the offshoring of the rust belt to asia, pimping the U.S. economy for its growth the last 50 years…

      Teh-has likes to talk up a storm, but without the floating airport castles that project power…houston oil might have one or two problems not finding their Delaware incorporates interests being seized by every petty tinpot colonel around this blue marble…

      And flow-rid-duh is the only major state without its own federal reserve bank…what unique selling proposition will it offer the world ??

      And even then, the other 47 would hold together…

      Canada would fight any move by those states or alaska as it would ignite the famous words of
      degaulle(d) with his imprudent burp about a french free nation in north america…

      Mexico has less military jets than the teterboro air force…

      For all the noise & blabber of book writers looking for tenure or some excuse to get paid to speak at some seminar or association gathering, the you ess of hey hey hey is actually in a unique position in respects to not rhyming with history and the usual manner hegemons leave the stage…

      We might find a new and improved way to fall off the barstool, but history offers very little to reflect upon “the coming demise” of the great american experience(200+ years on, it shouldn’t be called an “experiment” any longer)…

      My 2 ¢ in this 3 penny opera…

      1. Huey Long

        Teterboro Airforce!!!

        You had me laughing pretty hard with that one! I used to live right next to that place.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Huffpo writers are sure the end of “our” Great Empire will be accomplished by a “deal” orchestrated by you know who…

        Under the banner huffpo headline today, TRUMP MEETS HIS MAKER!, of course referring to the “historic” face to face with Putin, there’s this:

        It’s not like US proconsuls around the blue marble have not been selling off, for the benefit of themselves and their friends, pieces of the wealth of the Imperium, for generations.. it’s just bleeding entropy, enervated by good old self-interest and self-pleading…

        And I’m not seeing too much interest in my part of follow-rid-uh for schism.. loss of tourism and the “next fool” in the longest running sale of under-water “properties” to the next sucker…

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        They did the calculations several years ago: revenue from cloud customers are 1/3 of revenues from customers using the same features via on-premises software licenses, I worked there for 10 years and used to sell software to enterprises, every 3 years we would renegotiate the enterprise license agreement, we’d throw in everything but the kitchen sink, customer ended up buying a whole lot of stuff that never got deployed.

        Kinda like what happened to the record business when you didn’t have to buy the whole album, just a song or two.

        They still get massive kudos for facing up to their Eastman Kodak moment

  4. IHateBanks

    Rhetorical question. If I spend a few minutes perusing the links, but open none of them for an in depth read, does that make me a “low information” voter?

    I deliberately have no other news feeds, so if I am aware of it, I read it here.

    1. Baby Gerald

      Simply scanning links list and commentary here leaves one more informed than reading something like the NYT or WaPo from cover to cover. Because the agendas of those institutions seem to have deviated from delivering information into shaping opinion.

      This site is an invaluable resource, even if you don’t have time or energy to follow the threads deeper.

  5. Carla

    Hidden subsidy of exempting employer-provided health insurance from taxes:

    “For the federal government, the health benefits exclusion is the single largest tax expenditure, accumulating over the next decade to about 1.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. (Economists say it is effectively the federal government’s third-largest health care expenditure, after Medicare, which cost about $581 billion last year, and Medicaid, at $349 billion.)

    It costs five times as much as the subsidies the Affordable Care Act set up to help people buy health insurance, which are estimated to total $49 billion this year. And it is far more than the $70 billion the federal government is spending to expand Medicaid under Obamacare this year.” …

    … “In its 2016 analysis, the C.B.O. found that imposing income and payroll taxes on premiums higher than the 50th percentile beginning in 2020 — this would be contributions above $7,700 a year for individuals and $19,080 for families — would cut the federal deficit by $429 billion by 2026, more than either the House or Senate health bills would achieve, according to C.B.O. analyses.”

    1. WeakenedSquire

      As usual at the NYT, liberal elitism is crowding out common sense. Only an economist or a Democrat would call a tax break a “cost” to the federal government. From the perspective of the people who are receiving the break, the money never belonged to gov in the first place.

      But go ahead, try and put another tax on the middle and upper classes’ health insurance premiums. That sounds like a winner!

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Raising this specter helps move us toward single payer, which is in the best interest of business (except insurance companies), not a bad thing.

      2. Fiery Hunt

        How is health insurance benefits not income (subject to income tax)????

        If others have to pay it, then yes, those who benefit from corporate benefits should have to pay it too.
        As a self-employed small business owner, I have to pay income tax on the money I would buy insurance with…if I had health insurance.

        1. HotFlash

          Well, the purpose (or *a* purpose, for you non-MMTers) of a tax is to influence behaviour. If you want employers to provide health insurance, you reward them by making it non-taxable — that makes the employers happy, b/c (I think this is the case, anyway) if it is not taxable then not subject to the employer portion of payroll taxes, and employees happy since they don’t pay income and other payroll taxes on it.

          Oh, and the insurance companies very much win, too.

          1. Adam Eran

            Sorry, but if it’s not a write-off, leaving it untaxed isn’t much of an incentive. Write-offs and tax credits are incentives, IMHO. The current system lets employers/employees pay for health insurance in pre-tax dollars.

    2. JTMcPhee

      “Tax expenditures” in the hundreds of billions:

      I’m not very bright about complex financial tomfoolery, like the virtues of derivatives, or stuff like MMT and “trade” and GDP and such, and find it hard to deal with obscurant euphemisms, so I have to try to remind myself regularly of the meaning of phrases like “tax expenditure.” Wiki has what seems like a fairly clear exposition on the phrase, at I guess if the thing we call “government” can loan dollars into existence, that same thing can “spend” tax dollars that never pass through the complicated bowels of money creation. Or do they? “Is a puzzlement.”

      But it seems to me that there is such an amazing unstated assumption behind the concept, though, that still befuddles and bemuses: That there is a Tax Machine operated “under color of law” by the federal (and state and local?) government that sets some amount to be collected “in equity,” to fund all the functions of said government. And that the operators of said machine then conclude that some part of the functions of said governments is to be accomplished by letting the tax payer just not pay some part of the taxes that supposedly fuel that machine.

      Seems to me that what I recall from my Tax course in law school was mostly about how to avoid and evade without consequence, and how to “influence tax policy” at the legislative and agency and judicial level on behalf of the clients we callow greedheads assumed we were about to represent. At least after the basic notions of the “constitutionality” of taxation and nods to the salutary effects of “leveling” by knocking the tops off the hugest “fortunes…”

      “Tax expenditure.” Seems a pretty pure oxymoron to me, but then I’m not “sophisticated” (which used to mean “adulterated, spoiled, cheapened,” back in the day…)

      1. Gary O.

        Except for seven brief periods, the federal government has always spent more than it received in taxes, showing taxes are not needed for spending. It does not follow, however, that taxes are not needed for other things; they are primarily needed to create demand for acceptance of dollars. Google three words: taxes, drive, money. Short explanation: Others will accept dollars, not because they think they can dupe the next guy with them, but because there are a lot of people out there who owe taxes, which can only be paid in dollars, and need to acquire them in order to pay their tax bill and avoid going to jail. See Beardsley Ruml, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, “Taxes for Revenue Are Obsolete” (1946), cited in Wray, “Do We Need Taxes? The MMT Perspective”

    3. nippersmom

      I have health insurance through my employer, and have had for many years. They pay a large portion of the premium; I pay a smaller percentage. What the article also fails to consider is that, while the “subsidy” in the form of a tax break may be higher than the subsidy provided under the ACA, unlike many who purchase insurance under the ACA, I can actually afford to use my insurance. Co-pays and deductibles are not so egregiously high that the insurance is another useless drain on an already tight budget.

      If the NYT was really interested in lowering the actual cost to the people, whose interests the government allegedly exists to represent, it would support a universal healthcare system like Medicare for All rather than just trying to prop up the boondoggle ACA. I haven’t seen that editorial yet, and I’m not holding my breath.

  6. Terry Flynn

    re Nordic model.

    Anecdotes are of course not data but Sweden (in my 5 months there) showed some excellent but also potentially worrying developments.

    Big health datasets to gain insights into genetic factors influencing diseases: great. Greater fragmentation of the system at the patient level meaning getting the care you need is becoming more a case of who you know – not. (IIRC although scoring well overall on OECD/other measures of healthcare Sweden falls down heavily on one or two criteria and I think integrated care was one – private secondary care providers are becoming the only way forward in some specialties.)

    Additionally the encouragement not to use cash worried me… given the potential for fraud in many electronic payment systems they seem remarkably gung ho about this.

    1. Carolinian

      Then there’s that whole Assange witchhunt thing. Their “justice” system seems decidedly odd.

      But they did give us Ingmar Bergman.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Sweden’s odd full stop. They are certainly not racist as a society but (as various locals explained to me) they are very insular. Even a non-local Swede (and thus fluent in Swedish) must put in a lot of leg-work to ‘get in on the inside’ – ‘fika’ (coffee and cakes) done regularly for long while before meeting for a drink, let alone go out/come home for dinner. Not at all like how those from Anglo-Saxon countries or Southern Europe do things (jump right in). They are good in that neoliberalism hasn’t (massively) affected some sectors like higher education – I was told apologetically that I’d “only” have 5 years to prove myself – hahaha – luxury. They give you 6-12 months in UK/US/Aus these days.

        However, whether or not senior people believe this, many Swedes lower down believe in promotion just by length of tenure in the job and woe betide those who are brought in as experts from ‘outside’ and are perceived to ‘displace’ someone else in the pecking order. It remains an enigma to me that a country that produced such manifestly successful companies as IKEA and H&M succeeded when so many of the internal processes are not set up to promote those who are best at the job, or in some cases, even understand the job. *shrug*

        1. justanotherprogressive

          “best at the job”……..
          What in the world does that mean?

          If means being “best at the job” means you can quickly make a lot of money for yourself and maybe a few others, then I guess the Swedes have it all wrong. But if being “best at the job” means making sure that all employees benefit and the country benefits, I’d say the Swedes have it right. Their economy seems to work far better for them than ours does for us with our insistence on outsiders “fixing things”……

          I once had a boss who said that you really don’t know your job until you’ve been in it for five years, and I tend to think he is right. You really don’t start to care about everyone succeeding until you understand the interrelationships between you and the other employees and that takes time to learn. You really don’t invest yourself in your company’s having a future if you feel that they aren’t investing in you. You may be a rising star in your company and get promoted rapidly and jump around between companies making goodies for yourself but what do you really contribute to the well-being of those around you or your company? What do you leave behind that matters? Is your company going to continue into the future because you were there? Do you even care?

          Perhaps Swedes are wary of “outsiders” because they see what it has done to this country and others…..perhaps they like knowing that they have a chance to succeed if they stay with it. Perhaps they don’t like the idea of an outsider coming in and shaking things up and trotting off to greener pastures, leaving them to clean up the mess……

          Is the ability to make money on the short term REALLY better than a stable economy where people know they have a future and know that they are all working together? Perhaps those “outsiders” that think that they are “best at the job” are just deluding themselves…….money does that to people…..

          BTW, your views about “best at the job” seem to be chapter and verse from the neoliberal playbook. Did you know?

          1. Terry Flynn

            “best at the job”……..
            What in the world does that mean

            In my case, having literally written the textbook and being one of the 3 world experts in my field – having had a successful career in which I largely worked in improving health for various nations, having co-developed quality of life instruments used to try to improve the well-being of older people, carers and children, some of the most vulnerable people in society (winning millions of pounds, dollars and euros to try to achieve this). Please don’t make assumptions. Look me up and my academic publications. I have a google scholar profile.

            And so no, my career, and why the Swedes hired me, was not some ‘neoliberal plot’ to make money. They hired me because I’ve done more to improve healthcare in the UK, Australia and various EU countries than most other people on the planet. They wanted me to help quantify the problems with antibiotic resistance (amongst others).

            Your last comment is perilously close to an ad hominem attack in my book and suggests you’ve paid no attention to my past posts. Do it again and I’ll report you.

            1. justanotherprogressive

              Forgive me for questioning your brilliance – obviously a personal fault on my part- no doubt. And my last comment – an “ad hominem attack”? Hardly! I don’t know anything about you. So many people have been so deeply ingrained with neoliberal thinking that they often don’t know when they are quoting it…….and it was your position on the subject of “outsiders” that I was disagreeing with….

              And I am terribly sorry that I don’t follow your every post……so no, I don’t know that much about you……I am only going by what you posted above…….I did not know that you had such stature as to be no longer questioned or disagreed with…..

              But we were not talking healthcare here, were we? We were talking about economic systems and the value or lack of value of “outsiders” to those economic systems, were we not?

              In any event, your comment :
              “However, whether or not senior people believe this, many Swedes lower down believe in promotion just by length of tenure in the job and woe betide those who are brought in as experts from ‘outside’ and are perceived to ‘displace’ someone else in the pecking order. It remains an enigma to me that a country that produced such manifestly successful companies as IKEA and H&M succeeded when so many of the internal processes are not set up to promote those who are best at the job, or in some cases, even understand the job. *shrug*”

              was a bit jarring for someone who considers himself not to be a neoliberal, since, and I will repeat myself – that the Swedish economic system seems to be working better for the Swedes than our economic system is working for us…..

              And I would point out to you that way back when (like in the 50’s and 60’s) corporations in this country that promoted from within (instead of bringing in “outsiders”) were far more stable than our corporations are today- as was our economy…..neoliberalism changed all that….

              Perhaps there are other definitions of what “best at the job” means?

            2. kareninca

              Terry, the internet is a big place. So is the world. There are a lot of researchers and consultants out there. No-one has heard of any of them, really, other than their colleagues.

              It is kind of like academics. A “world class” academic I know was asked by his kid if he was famous because of what he does. He told his kid that because of his position, there were a few people in the world who knew who he was, who wouldn’t otherwise. He’s a wise and perceptive person.

              I’ve never noticed your posts, and I read a lot of the posts here with some care. There are a couple hundred a day. As it happens, I have read justaprogressive’s posts with some pleasure (not always agreement). Outside of your professional space, if you want attention, being convincing and reasonable is much better than bragging and threatening.

        2. diptherio

          I’ve got a Nepali friend who’s an H&M department manager at one of their stores in the Middle East. I’ve heard his horror stories. H&M is NOT a good company to work for or to make purchases from. Sounded like a cross between WalMart and Amazon to me. Just sayin’.

          1. oh

            I feel IKEA is just the same as H&M. Chinese stuff that you have to assemble at Swedish prices. What a deal! What a fad!

  7. Ebr

    On the coming “cashless society” — I suspect that some people advocate it to exclude the “dirty plebs” from certain corners of society. Exclusion is itself a form of social control, and compels any member of the aspirational middle class to qualify first for a credit card, and then the right sort of credit card and so to spend their money in certain sorts of ways.

    A good canary for the coal mine would be if Costco stopped accepting cash.

    Anyone else have a canary for the coal mine?

    1. ambrit

      Sure, from our end of the “pool;” food stamps are now debit card analogues. Difficult to “trade,” hard to hoard, and transparent in their usage. Panopticons ‘R Us. (Former lower middle class “citizen consumers” are shunted into the Pain City siding. Feature, not bug.) Next time you are in a check out line at your local feed store, watch the faces of the surrounding people when a “late great” dressed postulant whips out the EBT card. I guarantee a master class in social dynamics compressed into a minute. Sort of a Zen Sociology session. (Guess who holds the “encouragement” stick!)
      Off to work I go.

      1. oh

        Unemployment Benefits are paid electronically with the not so subtle hint to use a ‘free’ debit card to withdraw the money if you don’t want it tied to your bank account or don’t have one.

        1. ambrit

          Indeed, the low rent emporium I toil in now, pays us with a nationally organized electronic debit card. The actual mechanics of the card are opaque. Hidden fees, if any, are truly well hidden. Every time I call the 888 number to check up on my balance, I have to suffer through an importunate spiel to “download the app” to check the balance on my I-phone. No information on how the company plans to use the data they glean from the “customers” I-phone. No clue given that the company should understand that not only do the totality of the public not even have an I-phone, but that the continued use of a “dumb” phone to access card information is an indicator of non I-phone possession. When the enforcement of norms is financialized, then rational people can assume that the norms themselves have been financialized. As I jested recently with some of the younger workers at my present place of pain acclimation, “I’m proud to say that my Permanent Record says; ‘Does not play well with others.'”

      1. JTMcPhee

        And then, to complete the charmed circle, the government can’t “tax expend” it if it’s not reduced to data…

  8. allan

    Significant Racial Disparities Persist in Hospital Readmissions [URMC]

    A new study in the journal Health Affairs shows that, despite being designed to more effectively manage care and control costs, black patients enrolled with Medicare Advantage are far more likely to be readmitted to the hospital after a surgery than those enrolled on traditional Medicare. Furthermore, significant disparities continue to exist in readmission rate between black and white Medicare patients. …

    Using a database compiled by the State of New York, the authors of the study examined 30-day hospital readmission for individuals over the age of 65 for six major surgeries – isolated coronary artery bypass graft, pulmonary lobectomy, endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm, open repair and abdominal aortic aneurysm, colectomy, and hip replacement.

    They found that black patients on traditional Medicare where 33 percent more likely to be readmitted after a surgery than whites. More strikingly, black patients enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans were 64 percent more likely to be readmitted.

    The authors speculate that several factors may be behind this disparity, such as lower quality surgical care, poorer support and follow-up care when a patient leaves the hospital, and less social and community support. They also suggest that limitations on the choice of providers that many managed care plans impose on patients may have a disproportionate impact on black patients.

    File under America is Already Great / Narrow Networks Aren’t Just for Exchange Plans.

  9. NotTimothyGeithner

    “I’m not there on a troop increase” -Warren

    Why are we still there Liz? Over 15 years of nation building…

    1. JTMcPhee

      Not to worry, she’s just another cheap-date politician, and undoubtedly will “get there” after the usual spa treatments and ’emoluments,’ because she can see The Main Chance as well as any other pol. Which war contractors are based or are big operators in MA,, and who’s on her “Friends” list?

      At least she’s supposedly less bad, if one believes the Bernays output regarding her, and of course she’s a “she…”

      1. Jim Haygood

        Little Liz never once gave it away
        Everybody had to pay and pay
        A hustle here and a hustle there
        Eastern Mass is the place where they said
        Hey babe, take a walk on the war side
        I said hey Liz, take a walk on the war side

        — Lou Reed, Walk on the Wild Side

        1. Carolinian

          Liz recently spotted dirty dancing at Bob Corker Russia sanctions biker bar. With hair down could resemble Tuesday Weld.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            “Wearing Ambush and a french wig…she’s got a touch of Tuesday Weld…” H/T Steely Dan

            1. sporble

              Actually it’s Donald Fagen (from “The Nightfly”), more like half of Steely Dan, but it still made me smile, thanks!

    2. Optimader

      That would be a fair question for her to be required to answer after she spent raxpayer money to go on a political field trip

      “Ahhh Liz, maybe that helmet woud be more confortable if you didnt wear it backwards?”

    3. Andrew Watts

      Whatever. I see this as just an attempt at scapegoating for the embarrassing failure in Afghanistan. Which has already begun earnestly among serious people.

      Our generals failed in Afghanistan – Foreign Policy

      It’s bound to disappoint people who think Lizzie is something more than a liberal Republican.

  10. NotTimothyGeithner

    “Clinton lost because…saw her as pro-war,”

    Did Hillary’s voters not know this about her?

    1. PhilK

      Most did not care because they did not know. Many would not have cared even if they had known. The knowing and uncaring would of course be a core Hillary demographic.

    2. Scott

      I dislike articles like this because it removes agency from Clinton. Voters didn’t perceive her as pro-war; she is pro-war.

      However, the article raises and answers (to a degree) the impact of the wars on the American people and how it changes by state.

    3. nippersmom

      The headline is a bit misleading, IMO. The article correlates Clinton’s failure to attract voters specifically with communities that have a large number of casualties from the ongoing wars. I think the issue is larger than that; the House of Nipper cannot be alone in having rejected Clinton largely on the basis of her war-mongering despite not being directly impacted in that way by the ongoing wars. Before we even knew who else was running,and even without the considering the rest of her egregious record, we knew we would not be voting for Mrs. Clinton precisely because of her pro-war, pro-regime change views.

      1. nippersdad

        Yup! If the DNC cannot manage to field candidates that are not utterly corrupt warmongers then they needn’t look to The House of Nipper for any type of support. That is the deplorably sanctimonious bottom line round these parts, and it is unlikely to change any time in the foreseeable future regardless of the trash put forward by the Republican Party. Having seen the “other guys” doesn’t make such as the Clintons any more palatable.

        1. DJG

          What’s, errrrrr, interesting is that I told a friend that I voted for Jill Stein because I was voting for peace. Her response, being a rather outraged Clintonite, was almost as if no serious person votes for peace. I’m still wondering. So kudos to the House of Nipper, and I can imagine the conversations that you’ve been having outside the walls of the family palazzo.

    4. Roger Smith

      “But she us a woman!” queue the pre-programmed response of fascist et al. slurs.

      1. oh

        When I pointed out how stupid her own campaign slogan was “I’m wither” I was called a misogynist! I told them she came up with the slogan, not me!

    5. justanotherprogressive

      The “elites” just can’t give up, can they? “No, it really wasn’t because of us and our economic policies – it was because of _________(name your favorite straw man).”

      I’m thinking those neoliberals will say anything to detract from the real reasons Clinton lost, reasons we non-“elite” know all too much about…..

        1. perpetualWAR

          BHO “hoped” we wouldn’t notice as he threw us under the bus.

          19.2 million Americans lost their homes. We noticed.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            And the Democrats lost control of the Senate because of that (Ferguson shows via the foreclosure crisis). Not, as current conventional wisdom has it, from ObamaCare!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The simple reason is a person with her poor negative ratings should never have been tolerated as a candidate regardless of one’s views. The GOP at least recognized the danger of Trump and didn’t solidly line up behind Jeb.

        The reasons for the negative ratings are irrelevant. They exist. The official reasoning* for the super delegates was to actually keep a majority within the party from nominating someone due to passion who carried such high negatives. Every “responsible” and “pragmatic” member of the Team Blue elite ran a candidate who could only win in a bizarre fantasy where her opponent is Donald Trump.

        *Unofficially, it’s to stop a Sanders type, but they can’t come out and say it.

  11. HBE

    Trump Goes To Europe, Trashes U.S. Intelligence Agencies.

    Whoa… The comments on this anti Putin piece almost make zero hedge comments look rational and sane.

    Apparently, (according to huffpo comments) the new smoking gun for Russian collusion with the Trump admin, can be found in his tax returns.

    More tribalists are going off the deep end every day, while alienating even more voters.

    Third party please.

    1. sleepy

      The msm/cable industry has doubled down on Russiagate and taken it to new depths of hysteria. I have rarely seen anything like it in my lifetime. “The American people await the latest body language between Putin and Trump!” nonsense is nonstop.

      I have also heard hogwash pundits conflate the anti-G20 demonstrations as directed at Trump specifically.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        For much of the “liberal media” (I mean the reporters who consider themselves “liberal” and definitely push that angle), they are largely paid to serve as gate keepers for Democratic voters to keep the voters from becoming too uppity. They were supposed to deliver Hillary in an environment where no one seriously believed the Republicans could win the White House. Kerry was attrocious and was still 10,000 votes away. The country has become less white while the GOP has embraced the ghost of Jim Crow supporting Bill F Buckley.

        Donahue was fired despite high ratings. Olbermann was fired despite high ratings and arguably making MSDNC into something other than CNN’s weird cousin that features Imus in the morning. They were fired in the case of Donahue not supporting the company line and in the case of Olbermann for potentially being a loose cannon (I’m convinced his youtube series is meant to demonstrate he can be a loyal MSDNC host).

        If Amanda Marcotte can’t deliver Hillary, what good is she? Shes not a reporter as much as an attempt to be an “opinion maker.” If they don’t keep the noise level loud and the ratings up, I suspect the powers that be who are very Republican leaning will seek new blood all over the media landscape. After all, NBCNews major hires after “Hillary won the popular vote” were Republicans such as Megan Kelly, Greta, and now Brett Stephens, a climate change denialist who also was hired at the NYT.

        There is a very real personal stake in this madness for the elite media. Elected Democrats too, especially ones who claim the mantle of “pragmatism.” Hillary’s negative approval rating meant she was not a “pragmatic” candidate by the traditional meaning of the word.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Giant kudos to the citizens willing to get sprayed and smashed in the streets of Hamburg, the pics show a few hardcore anarchists but I’m struck by how the great majority just look like regular people with regular haircuts and jobs who are getting smashed by neolib corporo-fascism

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      As if Trump is not saying what every one of our allies is thinking. I’m too sure the Europeans are spoiling for a war with Russia on the say so of the cia and nyt.

      It worked out so well the last time.

    3. Plenue

      Oh, the tax returns thing isn’t actually new. They’ve been going on about that nonsense for months, even after Maddow’s embarrassing episode.

  12. DJG

    Matt Stoller, curiously, puts his foot wrong in the article about Silicon Valley and “well-meaning” business people. I expect better of him. About ten seconds of class analysis would have meant that Matt might have figured out why Silicon Valley billionaires aren’t capable of leading a new politics. The Silicon Valley billionaires these days range from semi-scoundrelly Marc Andreesen to undesirable (at so many levels) alien Peter Thiel to the merely millionaire-ish and oh-so-lamented Carly Fiorina. Further, Uber is just one of many startups designed to engage in class warfare. I won’t even mention such visions of indentured servitude as Mechanical Turk, Blue Apron, or that Internet dog-poop pickup service.

    And the proof is in the article itself: Stoller is arguing that we should remain patient with the Herbert Hoover wing of the Democratic Party? (Let alone the Monkey Trial wing of the Republicans.) >>>

    “It is basically what Hillary Clinton sought, and it was the presidency of Barack Obama: dignified, technocratic, Ivy league, not too right, not too left. You could go back to the 1920s, and Herbert Hoover’s notion of “Associationalism”, to find this strong yearning for everyone to cooperate in putting together a society that works for everyone, mediated by the powerful. We need a politics centered on being pro-capitalism, pro-planet, and pro-social.”

    And if, as evidence suggests, pro-capitalism is anti-planet and anti-society and anti-solidarity? Maybe we would all be more dignified if our dignity weren’t being assaulted by late-state neoliberal capitalism and its courtiers.

  13. Christopher Fay

    Isn’t Kuwait supposed to be a democracy by now? Wasn’t that part of the presumed deal for that staged CNN-docudrama Iraq Gulf War I, the Good Guys Win?

    1. optimader

      Isn’t Kuwait supposed to be a democracy by now? Wasn’t that part of the presumed deal for that staged CNN

      I appreciate this is probably tongue in cheek, but No and No.

      If you dig a bit on the internetz, you will find Zapata Oil subsidiary -Zapata Offshore in 1961 was the first foreign exploration concession granted oil rights off the coast of Kuwait.

      Zapata Oil Exploration, very messy relationships in a spooky way.

      One hand washes the other…

      This is fairly scrubbed from common internetz links, but still can be found in book excerpts.

  14. Jim Haygood

    In this morning’s announcement, the unemployment rate (derived from a household survey) ticked up from 4.3% to 4.4%.

    In turn, this produced a slight uptick in the U-rate compared to its 12 and 36-month moving averages, a model developed by bond king Jeffrey Gundlach. Chart:

    Currently the U-rate is at 93.4% of its more sensitive 12-month MA, where a value of 100.0% would be a recession warning, and a value 101.5% would definitively signal recession.

    Stocks seem mildly cheered at the open this morning. Bubble III is the health of the state, comrades.

  15. Jim Haygood

    How a state budget squabble can strain a marriage:

    Cash-starved Illinois enacted its first budget since 2015 after the House voted on Thursday to override Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of the plan.

    Despite the $36 billion budget getting pushed through, Illinois remains in a financial mess [with] $15 billion of unpaid bills and owes a quarter-trillion dollars in pensions to state workers when they retire.

    Moody’s said on Wednesday that it may still make Illinois the first state with a “junk” credit rating despite the $5 billion being raised by the tax hike.

    The budget fight became so contentious that even Governor Rauner and his wife appeared to be on different sides at the end.

    The Ounce of Prevention Fund, an early childhood education foundation run by Diana Rauner, put out a statement earlier this week urging Illinois lawmakers to override her husband’s veto.

    Oh my … bad! Presumably the guv has a Murphy bed in the anteroom where he can continue camping out while his rebellious spouse has the run of the mansion.

    If I sound sarcastic, it’s because I deplore the notion of elected officials believing that their families were authorized to go into government as well. For more background, consult my tome Le Clintonisme: Pourquoi Suce-t-il? [Clintonism: Why Does It Suck?]

    1. Optimader

      In the case of Rauhner, not too sure he’s encouraging her?
      In the case of hillary, i think Bill used her as a variation on the concept of a Sin Eater. Let her be a deflective sinkhole for animosity

  16. Vatch

    Meet the ‘Wine Whisperers,’ Fancy Grape Fixers for Billionaires Bloomberg

    I searched in vain for the words “resveratrol” and “polyphenol” in the article. The billionaires may not be getting the advice that they need from their wine whisperers.

    1. Bunk McNulty

      Hmmm. They’ll die of alcohol poisoning before they ingest enough wine-borne resveratrol to get any benefit from it. So yeah, I guess they do need to be encouraged to seek it out. And I guess if they want to drink excruciatingly tannic young Madirans (made from Tannat, a grape high in those doggone polyphenols!) that’s their business, too.

  17. Ranger Rick

    Had a good laugh while reading the “dirtbag left” article. How did that work out for them in 2000? 2004? As usual they are completely missing the point: if they are failing to connect it is not the quality or tone of the message. It’s the ideas.

    1. Roger Smith

      Relating back to those new DCCC signs and bad ideas, “Because come on, look at the other guys…”

      You mean those other guys who are defeating you with the same low grade policies hand over foot? Those leading the mass defenestration of Democrats from government buildings? Those guys? I am pretty people usually like to support and relate with Winners…

  18. allan

    How Republicans Protect Anonymous Donors And Their ‘Dark Money’ Groups [IBT]

    Lawmakers in the current Congress have slipped language into two spending bills to protect so-called “dark money” nonprofits from IRS scrutiny. The provisions prevent the IRS from examining or defining the nebulous rules that govern those groups, which are not required to disclose their donors. Critics say those groups are taking advantage of a broken campaign finance system — and charge that Republicans in both Congress and the Federal Elections Commission are making sure the system doesn’t get fixed. …

    A 501-c-(4) can engage in politics and still maintain its tax exempt status so long as politics is not its “primary activity.” Traditionally, that’s been interpreted to mean that a 501-c-(4) group can’t spend more than than half of its resources on politics, but the rule has never been clearly defined and critics say the ambiguity has led to abuse in the form of groups that spend the majority, if not all, of their time and money on politics, without repercussions.

    While the IRS has tried to clarify the classification, Congress has prevented it from doing so, citing the 2013 IRS scandal that arose from the agency’s flawed handling of a deluge of new 501-c-(4) groups in the aftermath of Citizens United. As a result, the spigot of money from anonymous-donor groups has stayed open. …

    At the start of the GOP primaries, the candidate who scared me the most was Scott Walker,
    based on how successful he had been in taking over all three branches of government
    and destroying the rule of law in Wisconsin.
    But it looks like the GOP is doing just fine without him in D.C.

    File under Republicans Play to Win, Democrats Play to Fundraise and Listbuild.

    1. Vatch

      I couldn’t find the two bills that the author described. There’s a link to the text of one bill, and that seems to have been subsumed under Division E of H.R.244 – the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, which became law on May 5. However, the PDF that the article links to shows a date of June 28, so I’m confused.

    1. Edward E

      We want to turn the industrialized world into worker cooperatives and get rid of the elite power steering, but I cannot speak for everyone.

      1. Roger Smith

        Interesting, thanks! I just hadn’t really seen a concrete explanation for the protests in some articles I glossed over this morning.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Um, maybe that 5 guys have 50% of the world’s wealth? That $34 *trillion* is hidden in offshore tax havens and governments look the other way and squeeze Grandma instead? Or perhaps that the system piles endless debt on future generations to fund things like nuclear bombs and new ways to kill impoverished brown people? Yes, the protesters are being somewhat impolite…it’s about time.

          1. ewmayer

            ITYM “5 guys have as much of the world’s wealth as the poorest 50% of the world population.” Unless those 5 guys have all of that $34 Trillion which you mention and more in secret havens which elude the Forbes 500 list-makers, because those same 5 are too shy to admit that they are all in fact deca-Trillionaires.

            IIRC Bill Gates owns something between 0.01-0.1% of total U.S. wealth – still too much, to be sure, but let’s at least get our orders of magnitude right.

        2. HotFlash

          Ah, reminds me of a story…

          Morning of 9/11. My DH is flabbergasted, “But why the World Trade Center?”

          Our son, “Dad, it’s the *World Trade Center*.”

          The G20, from whence nearly all bad things flow.

        3. wilroncanada

          A condemnation of the quality of the journalism, not that the protests are inexplicable.

  19. JTMcPhee

    Possible military-fan-boy alert: Speaking of war, particularly asymmetric war and the wonders of global trade in arms, I ran across an article linked out of Wiki’s “Top 100 US Military Contractors,” Said article is about Barrett Firearms Manufacturing. A real rags-to-riches, Good Old American Know-How Entrepreneurialism story:

    Barrett Firearms Manufacturing is an American manufacturer of firearms and ammunition located in the unincorporated town of Christiana, Tennessee. It was founded in 1982 by Ronnie G. Barrett for the single purpose of building semi-automatic rifles chambered for the powerful .50 BMG (12.7×99mm NATO) ammunition, originally developed for and used in M2 Browning machine guns. Barrett began his work in the early 1980s and the first working rifles were available in 1982, hence the designation M82. Barrett designed every single part of the weapon personally and then went on to market the weapon and mass-produce it out of his own pocket. He continued to develop his rifle through the 1980s, and developed the improved M82A1 rifle by 1986.

    Barrett introduced the M82 in 1982 but did not make any significant sales until 1989. These first large sales were to Sweden. Soon afterward, the M82 was purchased by the United States armed forces, and it was deployed in the Gulf War. Today the company has contracts with dozens of countries to supply sniper rifles.

    The success of the M82A1 has led the company to develop several other models of .50 BMG rifles, including the M95, M99, and M99-1. These are lighter and lower cost bolt-action rifles.

    An early customer of the M82 (or ‘Barrett Light Fifty’) was the IRA, which conducted a sniper campaign against the British Armed Forces in the North of Ireland.[3] An unidentified IRA volunteer, quoted by author Toby Harnden, said that:

    What’s special about the Barrett is the huge kinetic energy… The bullet can just walk through a flak jacket. South Armagh was the prime place to use such weapon because of the availability of Brits. They came to dread it and that was part of its effectiveness.”[4]

    By 1997, troops were being issued with body armour containing a ceramic plate made from boron carbide, which could protect the trunk from a .50 calibre round; Kevlar flak jacket had proved useless against such a bullet. But a set of boron carbide body armour not only cost £4,000 but weighed 32 lb (15 kg), making it too heavy to be worn on patrol; even soldiers at static checkpoints could only wear it for two hours at a time.[5] The morale of the troops was so low that some servicemen had to be disciplined for remaining in shelter while under orders to check vehicles.[6] A British major said that:

    “That meant that to some extent the IRA had succeeded in forcing troops off the ground and it made helicopters more vulnerable so we had to guard against using them too much.”[7]

    [Photo caption: “A U.S. Army sniper with Bravo Company, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division stands ready to engage targets during a mission on the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq.” Not dated, not surprisingly — could be yesterday, or tomorrow…]

    In current US military use is the M82A3, as well as a new updated version, the M107. It is described as an anti-materiel rifle. While the M107 is highly effective against soft targets, and is used by explosive ordnance disposal teams with special military HEIAP ammunition, its power is not required for anti-personnel use: the heavy recoil and weight are an unnecessary penalty.

    In January 2011, Barrett announced the M107’s successor, the M107A1 was available for commercial release. M107A1 enhancements include a reduction in overall weight of 4 pounds, increased accuracy, the ability to accept a Barrett suppressor via its modified cylindrical titanium muzzle brake, and additional modifications to improve overall durability and operator utility.

    The M82A1 has been purchased by over 40 military organizations worldwide. It became popular during the first Gulf War for its use in disabling Iraqi armored personnel carriers from a mile away. Fighters in the Bosnian Army used just one .50 caliber rifle to great effect in fending off Serb forces in Srebrenica during the Bosnian War of the early 1990s. Florin Krasniqi and his associates acquired dozens of the rifles in the late ’90s for use in the Kosovo War.

    More recently, Barrett has developed the REC7 upper receiver for the AR-15, chambered in 6.8 mm Remington SPC, which was one of the weapons the Army reviewed in 2008 while drafting requirements for a potential M4 carbine replacement. Barrett is also developing the XM109, a variant of the M82A1 designed to fire a 25 mm munition. [That’s twice the diameter of the .50 round, with four (4) or more times the “kinetic energy.”]

    In response to California’s ban of civilian ownership of .50 BMG rifles, Barrett suspended sales and service to all law enforcement agencies in California.[8]

    Barrett has also developed the .416 Barrett, a rifle round based on the .50 BMG. The purpose of this round is to allow first round hits out to 2,500 meters (2,730 yd) from a cold bore and is not prohibited for sale to civilians in California.

    In October 2008, Barrett introduced the new M98B. The M98B is a bolt-action rifle chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum. It went on sale in 2009.[9]

    On February 26, 2016, Tennessee named the Barrett M82 the official rifle of the State of Tennessee.[10]

    Then there’s stuff like this: “Criminal use of the 50 cal sniper rifle,” and “ISIS using homemade .23 cal sniper rifle,”

    Amazing that there are cheerleaders for the act and art of “sniping,” virtual worship of “great shots” like killing a “Taliban” (assumes facts not in evidence) from two (2) miles away with a single, partially computer-directed, shot, and of guys like Carlos Hathcock and Chris Kyle and others of not-American pedigree: “The Deadliest Snipers of All Time,:

    And DARPA is right in there, in the research for aand “procurement” of, a nice first-shot computer-directed sniper sight. See the beautiful exhibition of WarThink in this invitation to bid via “Broad Agency Announcement — One Shot Phase 2 Enhanced (2E),” from the deadly-seriously-not-ironically-at-all-named “Adaptive Execution Office:” One direction the bureaucratic state can move…

    Just fascinating, what us humans will do to each other, devoid of and immune to any moral compunctions or even regrets…

  20. subgenius

    Re. Driver distraction

    I have always thought the general lack of awareness while in command of a vehicle evident in the US population was the consequence of not learning to drive on a manual transmission….

    1. polecat

      Distraction ?? … I’ll tell you distraction ! …… It’s when the clutch, connected to that manual transmission of yours, decides its gonna do the funky chicken, and you have to ‘speed shift’ ALL THE WAY from point A .. to points B, C, & D, without stopping even once !!

      Try paying a bridge toll on a rolling glide .. not easy at all !

  21. allan

    An anti-antidote:

    Emperor penguins may disappear by the end of this century []

    … The model projects that for the next 2 decades, populations will remain stable, and may even increase slightly as the penguins move to locations that are more habitable. After 2050, it all goes downhill. Although the rate of population decline may vary, by the year 2100 almost all emperor penguins may be gone, the researchers write recently in Biological Conservation. That’s because climate change will have rendered all their habitats inhospitable by then. Gaining endangered status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, the scientists say, may be one way of arresting what might otherwise be their final march.

    Surely Interior Secretary Zinke, who would oversee granting any protected status to the penguins,
    will move this to the front of the queue.
    Just as soon as he’s finished gutting and cancelling national monuments,
    starting with Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears.
    Speaking of which:

    Creation of Bears Ears National Monument was a response to years of grave-robbing
    [SLC Tribune]

  22. Carolinian

    That pipeline story is pretty interesting.

    The nitroglycerine was delivered to the well in a special wagon, skillfully driven. One man, driving a nitroglycerine wagon over a bump a few inches high, disappeared. His fragments, one writer later suggested, would have fit in a cigar box. The shooter, though, had the most dangerous job. Once the torpedo had been filled, and lowered into the bottom of the well, it was his job to make it explode, by dropping a 10-pound cast-iron projectile onto it. The projectile was a go-devil. Well shooting, oil men wrote, sent shivers from one end of oil country to the other, and nearly blew Bradford, Pennsylvania into Cataraugus County, New York. Hence go-devil: You had to go like the devil when you dropped it.

  23. Mike

    RE: A People’s History of Koch Industries: How Stalin Funded the Tea Party Movement Yasha Levine, The eXiled (MT). From 2010.

    Wow, this is the 999th example of how the “true” right-wing has borrowed from Uncle Joe. We still try to keep to the distinction of left and right when discussing dictatorships. One could dismiss the Kochs, Hitlers, and Stalins of the world as men in desperate need of a Daddy, but authoritarianism has a pan-human draw, and some of that is a need to clean up what seems a complicated mess, one which seems to be occurring now.

    We have a culture that spawns a need for authority, a cry for the fearless leader who will do our thinking for us. Democratic movements (not to be confused with the Party in question) usually fail when everyone goes home, thinking the government they put in power is theirs forever, to be ignored while we go to work again.

    Hate to be the anarchist here, but democracy is not for the lazy or rarely attentive.

  24. Peter VE

    The spittle flecked comments responding to the Wa Po “public evidence” of Russian hacking are indicative of the general level of their readers. Thank you, Yves & Lambert, for the intelligent discussions that happen here, and on the other moderated forums such as those on the sites of Col. Pat Lang, Dmitri Orlov, or John Michael Greer.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I think some NC readers may have added their $.02 to that article. When I checked it, the comment at the top of the list was calling BS on the WaPo’s supposed “evidence”:

      Sorry, but I just don’t buy anything the Washington Post, Neocon Outpost and Shill, is selling. Nothing. This paper lied repeatedly in its role to promote Operation Iraqi Freedom. Liars then, liars now. Trump simply isn’t following the Neocon Playbook, therefore he must be discredited and, if possible, removed. This “news organization” is the spear point of propaganda to delegitimize President Donald Trump. We should fear the Washington Post far more than we fear Russia. Naturally, Wapo’s legion of supporters will hurl strawmen, why do you love Trump so? To save you the trouble I will say without any compunction that Trump is a pig in human disguise, yet he is still less of a murderous beast than the PFing Neocons.

      And +1 to the thank you for this bastion of sanity.

  25. optimader

    Here’s the public evidence that supports the idea that Russia interfered in the 2016 election

    I very quickly scanned the article, only due to my curiosity re: the pathetically parsed leader.. This is written like a late night UHF commercial from the 1970’s

    do they go anywhere near providing ANY evidence that the 2016 was “interfered with”, let alone assignment of that interference.

    At a high level, the Venn diagram of hacking and Interference don’t necessarily intersect and there from should not be subject to an implied conflation as being synonymous.
    So the WaPo should cough up ANY evidence ANYONE interfered with the 2016 election, or STFU already.

    As has been pointed out ad nauseum, HRC campaign and the DNC didn’t need any help loosing an election to a guy they derided the entire campaign as someone that isn’t a serious candidate.

    They were pathetic and should be incredibly embarrassed they lost to DTrump.

    for younger readers..

    1. Roger Smith

      I started scanning earlier until I saw that their first main point wast he CrowdStrike “findings”…already debunked. Yesterday’s Fake News.

  26. Andrew Watts

    RE: G20 summit could mark end of the US as global leader, but what’s next?

    Chaos. This should’ve been apparent when the political class started talking about visions and strategy in the abstract before Brexit and Trump.

    It was time to run for the hills a long time ago. Oh well.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Sure seems to me the Empire has brought Chaos already.

      One can hope that if the BrAss Hats can be disarmed of the nuclear, cyber and other weapons our wealth has given them to play with, maybe the next go-round will be less fraught… Maybe not, militarization and global neoliberalism are toothpaste long since squeezed out of their tubes, down to the last dollop. Good luck putting that stuff back where it came from.

      And our Gangsters and their “Racket” are hardly the only folks with markers on the board of the Great Game of RISK! (TM), so there’s little chance of anything getting better, I would say, no matter who the next aspiring hegemons are…

      1. Andrew Watts

        That’s usually what happens when empires crash and burn. I’ve never been that worried about a nuclear war though. We’re led by a bunch of ruthlessly greedy cowards and nuclear war is bad for business. Imagine if the Roman Empire or Attila the Hun had nukes.

        That would’ve been a game-changer for sure.

  27. Andrew Watts

    RE: Trump, in Poland, Asks if West Has the ‘Will to Survive’

    While people like Bannon accept the cyclical nature of history they ascribe civilization’s decline to the failure of value systems. It’s attractive to the right-wing because they get to re-fight the social/culture war they’ve already lost. When in reality the social war on youth is a futile struggle against the future.

    “We’ll never make America great again as long as kids are using foul language, smoking pot, fornicating, and listening to negro music. Make more white babies!“

    While the failure to contemplate other factors like the formation of warbands, mass migration, and breakdown of mimesis in the present has proven to be disastrous. Which isn’t to say the Left is any better at understanding history. The popular belief in progress, which Christopher Lasch routinely mocked using the example of both World Wars, is contrary to any cyclical theory of history. They are too keen to blame the degradation of the environment and materialist factors in their analysis of decline. In the latter case it is merely a challenge to, and failure of, sociopolitical organization. In the former it’s also a failure of enlightenment thinking which imagined man as the conqueror of nature.

    While people like the Archdruid have found a wider audience for their views on decline. A concrete analysis of the present is bound to attract all kinds of negative attention. Which is to say I’m pretty sure some Feds out there think I maintain a unhealthy interest in Syria and a foreign terrorist organization.

    They’re probably right.

  28. Gus

    DirtyFuckingHippies are now the Dirtbag Left… newz to me…
    But I got bigz luvz and lulz for that Will Menaker quote from a recent episode of his show, addressing an imagined audience of pragmatist liberals and centrists: “Yes, let’s come together. But get this through your f–king head: you must bend the knee to us. Not the other way around. You have been proven as failures, and your entire worldview has been discredited.”

  29. different clue

    “Booker Window” somehow reminds me of “Overton Window”. If it reminds others of “Overton Window”, then it might be a little confusing . . . because one is a time span and the other is not.

    Why not give the Booker Interval time span a name that will remind people of another time span which is already mildly famous . . . the Friedman Unit? Why not call it the “Booker Unit”?

    “We’ll see Bookerlite’s true colors after a Booker Unit has passed.”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Err…how many BUs are in a Friedman Unit? Im pretty certain this was the point all those years ago.

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