Links 7/8/17

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The Internet Is Bugging Out Over a Drawing Beetle Creators (furzy)

Exceptionally rare ‘pale tiger’ photographed in the wild Guardian. Very handsome.

Flight attendant breaks wine bottle over head of passenger lunging for exit Associated Press. A rare occasion where the flight crew did the right thing by roughing the passenger up.

Great Barrier Reef dead at 25 million The Sun (David L). Horrible.

America’s nearing a record number of weather disasters, and it’s not even hurricane season yet. Grist

Australia Wants Chips in $100 Bills to Stop Crime, Hoarding by Elderly Bitsonline (furzy). So the pensioners will convert the cash into more volatile stores of wealth, like gold or diamonds.

Google and Facebook Give Net Neutrality Campaign a Boost Fortune. A big deal since both have lots of clout in the Beltway.

Human faeces is shit for the environment – but is now making entrepreneurs flush The Ecologist (micael)

Drug-resistant ‘superbug gonorrhea’ is emerging, WHO warns – Health CBC (martha r)


US bomber planes fly over East and South China Seas BBC (furzy)

Financial “Collateral Damage” Highlights China’s and Fed’s Impossible Task Michael Shedlock

What If the Chinese Are Just Biding Their Time? American Conservative

North Korea

North Korea’s Fast-Track Missile Development: How Far It’s Come and Why It Has the U.S. on Edge Counterpunch. Important.

Hawaii, Alaska contemplate coming into North Korean missile range Reuters. EM:

Unwittingly funny headline – picture state officials in AK and HI contemplating: ‘Hmm, maybe it would be a good thing for us to move into North Korean missile range – might be a good way to get more money from DC.’ Anyway, they’ve been within missile range of China and the deplorable Rooskies for over a half-century now, so the alarmism seems overdone. But whatever helps sell that ad copy, right, Reuters?

The Unacknowledged Logic of North Korea’s Missile Tests Nation

1997 Asian Crisis Lessons Lost Triple Crisis

MEPs back new tax disclosure rules for multinationals EUBusiness


Paris rolls out ‘red-white-and-blue carpet’ for banks Financial Times

Gulf between Theresa May and her chancellor over Brexit widens as he demands ‘closest possible’ ties with EU while she uses G20 to woo US and China Telegraph

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour takes eight-point poll lead over Conservatives London Evening Standard (martha r)

UK Labour leader Corbyn appoints opponents to cabinet as Blairite right wing continue to plot WSWS. Sometimes the best of bad options is to keep your enemies close.

New Cold War

Rival accounts emerge from first Trump-Putin meeting

Trump-Putin meeting deepens divisions in US establishment on Russia policy WSWS (micael)

Trump Emerges From Putin Meeting With Cease-Fire and Little Else Bloomberg. Given the apparent lack of groundwork, why is this being dissed?


Hiding US Lies About Libyan Invasion Consortiumnews (martha r)

New front in Syria as Turks rout Kurds with Putin’s blessing Asia Times

The Next Phase of Middle East Conflict Project Syndicate. I assume readers can screen out the bias.

The Road to Tehran Defend Democracy

Imperial Collapse Watch

John McCain: The Patriotic Fighter for Sale Near Eastern Outlook (micael)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Hackers targeting US nuclear power plants, report finds CNET

Trump Transition

State Department concocting “fake” intellectual property “Twitter feud” ars technica (furzy). As if the US has a shortage of well-heeled backers of intellectual property protections?

Appeals Court Refuses to Weigh In on Trump Travel Ban Rules Bloomberg

The Trump Administration’s Voter-Suppression Plans Are Backfiring Badly Nation (furzy)

A Court Is Considering A Request To Halt The Trump Election Commission’s Request For State Voter Lists Buzzfeed. Notice that Arkansas is the only state to have turned over the data.

Election Experts See Flaws in Trump Voter Commission’s Plan to Smoke Out Fraud TruthOut

G20 Meeting Takes Awkward Turn as Trump Informs Mexico They’re “Absolutely” Still Paying for His Wall Vanity Fair. Resilc: “Just send an invoice, then factor out the account payable to GS.”

CNN parent’s $85B deal at little risk from Trump Politico (furzy)

Trump is destroying the idol of the presidency. That’s a good thing. The Week (resilc)


The Battles Ahead: Meet the Biggest Opponents of Single-Payer TruthOut (furzy)

Senate Republicans face protests and sit-ins at home over health care bill Yahoo (martha r)

Conservative warns McConnell to not give up on ObamaCare repeal The Hill. Freedom Caucus has a hissy fit! The Senators are well aware of what strategy maximizes their odds of survival and they are not taking orders from pols with shorter terms in smaller districts. Put it another way: “What about ‘I don’t have the votes’ don’t you understand?”

Senate Republicans face protests and sit-ins at home over health care bill Yahoo

‘Democracy vouchers’ aim to amplify low-income voices, to conservative ire Guardian (furzy). I know I am supposed to applaud this idea but I hate it. Pumps more $ into a corrupt system, lining the pockets of feckless operatives.

The Little Democratic Strategist That Could(n’t) Jacobin

‘Democracy vouchers’ aim to amplify low-income voices, to conservative ire Guardian (furzy). I know I’m supposed to approve of this idea but I don’t. It validates and pumps more money into our corrupt campaign financing system.

Can The DCCC Screw Up CO-06 Again? They’re Trying As Hard As They Can DownWithTyranny!

GOP Lawmaker: Allegations Against Jane Sanders Were ‘Hearsay’ Snopes (furzy)

Little-Known Challengers Seek To Unseat Bernie Sanders In 2018 Vermont Public Radio. Martha r: “Really a non-story. It would take a lot more to unseat sanders in VT.”

We Need to Stop This “Andrew Cuomo 2020” Nonsense Immediately Slate. The fact that Zephyr Teachout spent only $250,000 and still got 34% of the vote in the primary when Cuomo spent IIRC $11 million to beat her says he has quite the glass jaw.

If it turned out that Hobby Lobby was funding ISIS with its improperly imported ancient clay artifacts, that would be… Washington Post (furzy)

Our Famously Free Press

After 1,379 Days, NYT Corrects Bogus Claim Iran ‘Sponsored’ 9/11 FAIR (furzy)

MSM, Still Living in Propaganda-ville Consortium News (Sid S)

Rachel Maddow’s Exclusive “Scoop” About a Fake NSA Document Raises Several Key Questions Glenn Greenwald, Intercept

Indigenous Journalist Faces Trial For Flying Drone To Document DAPL Shadowproof (martha r)

Only in America

Recordings Reveal FBI Gave Man a Rifle, Urged Him to Carry Out Mass Shooting to ‘Defend Islam’ Free Thought (furzy)

This Roofing Company Is Giving Away Free Guns with Every Purchase Vice (resilc)

Cops Say Repeat Prison Escapee Got Help from a Drone Vice (resilc)

Fed hits back at monetary policy critics Financial Times

Banks, bondholders driving the legal conflict over Flint’s water supply WSWS (micael)

Amazon threatened to kill its Whole Foods deal if the grocer started a bidding war recode. How could the board go along with this? Admittedly, they can always find some banker to issue a fairness opinion, but it’s generally considered de rigeur to put a company up for sale and encourage bids. Amazon’s posture comes close to an admission that it expected higher bids if word of its offer got out

Guillotine Watch

Shkreli’s Ex-Compliance Officer Says He Quit Over Dodgy Deals Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Americans Who Can’t Afford Their Homes Up 146 Percent NBC

Private Equity Sees No End to the Drug and Mental-Health Gold Rush Bloomberg

Facebook seeks ‘closer world’ on its future campus Financial Times. Faceborg acting like it’s running a company town, to provide for housing for serfs lower income workers. While it looks nice as a social engineering gesture, how much of it is driven by the fact that the well paid workers need a servant class, which means housing them nearby? I know this is better than nothing, but relative to the housing stress in the area, this is crumbs when loaves are needed.

Amazon (AMZN) Prime is conquering American households Quartz (resilc). Not mine! I’ve also cut my Amazon use way down (can’t say I never use it, but I increasingly shop on Amazon to check reviews and buy elsewhere, and will pay a reasonable price premium, although most of the time that isn’t necessary).

Matthew Taylor report urges more rights for workers in gig economy revamp The Times. The Tory Treasury secretary, Phillip Hammond, is willing to go way further than anything being proposed in the US to protect gig economy workers by introducing a new labor category of “dependent contractors” and imposing labor standards. Admittedly, this is to end-run a Labour proposal to ban all “zero hours” contracts. But it’s a lot more than I would have expected.

Antidote du jour (Kittie Wilson via Lawrence R):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. ArkansasAngie

    In “The Battles Ahead: Meet the Biggest Opponents of Single-Payer ” it talks about how much revenue a health care insurance company makes.

    I’ve been trying to find profit numbers vs revenue for the Healthcare insurance and Pharm industries. Can’t find the numbers

    Healthcare in my mind is a monopoly.

    It’s the profits (not revenue) that is at issue.

    1. JTMcPhee

      On the possible path to single-payer? I’d say it’s both profits and revenue. You can hide a lot of really dysfunctional incentives and lost motion in a large revenue stream that does not generate accounting-recognized “profits.” See, e.g., the Pentagon thing. And that large revenue stream, in the hands of the kinds of people who pretty much inevitably end up controlling it, translates pretty directly into the kinds of briberypayments and other inducements that direct “policy.”

      I’d wonder out loud how the globufustination, in all its manifold manifest self-interested that makes up “the US” could ever achieve any kind of “equity” (in all senses) in achieving any kind of sensible provision of actual HEALTH CARE to all 300-million-odd Lesser People?

      And I’m sure I just missed the seminar, but there’s lots of references to “single payer,” but what actual “policy” structure ought Wise and Decent People congregate behind? There’s so much energy being put into obfuscating and diffusing and defusing the issue, by the usual suspects, that it’s hard to see how the kind of sort of groundswell that appears to be building in response to the horrors of the existing “medical UNsurance” system can solidify into “making {single payer, whatever that means in the end} all nice and legal.”

      What does “single payer” even mean, then? So many choices, so many opportunities for grifters to derail decency —, and, and, and

      What are “we, the people” supposed to be getting behind? Since “we” are so far behind the Elites on this and so many other important things…?

      1. leftover

        It’s true the terms “Single Payer” and “Medicare-for-All” can often become vague in all the politicalized rhetoric. And ripe for exploitation by unprincipled opportunists. I think what “we the people” should get behind is HR 676 The Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act. It’s clear and comprehensive. The progressive funding proposals add up. The healthcare monopsony is proven to control costs better than for-profit market-dominated regulation. It’s an end to Health Insurance As We Know It. It’s healthcare assurance. And it has enough Democratic Party names on it for the electorate to demand some accountability.

        I’m not sure about all the “social democracy” and “social justice” claims deep-thinking Single Payer advocates continue to try and sanctify to reinforce support. For Just Plain Folk? HR 676 achieves the goals of universal and equitable access to healthcare, affordability and cost control. It’s not nationalization. But like the ObamaCare® salesforce told us back in 2009, we shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

        1. marym

          Totally agree that we should make HR 676 the focus, for the reasons you state.

          Also, though it doesn’t nationalize care, it does require participating providers to be public or not-for-profit. Section 103a:

          (a) Requirement To Be Public Or Non-Profit.—

          (1) IN GENERAL.—No institution may be a participating provider unless it is a public or not-for-profit institution. Private physicians, private clinics, and private health care providers shall continue to operate as private entities, but are prohibited from being investor owned.
          (2) CONVERSION OF INVESTOR-OWNED PROVIDERS.—For-profit providers of care opting to participate shall be required to convert to not-for-profit status [15-year conversion timeline for this portion of the bill].

          In addition to specific reference to HR 676 advocates should be clear that a national insurance or national healthcare plan must be universal, comprehensive, not-for-profit, publicly financed, and publicly administered.

          1. leftover

            The nonprofit angle can be a good point, as long as the conversion timeline gets a mention. There’s a good deal of reasonable anxiety over impact to the economy that’s always exploited by the opposition.

            With that in mind, I always frame it as “publicly financed, privately delivered.” There’s also a good deal of anxiety concerning “government takeover” of healthcare…not all of it unfounded…that’s ripe for exploitation. People need to be reassured that they and their doctors, (need and availability), will be in control of their healthcare choices.

            1. marym

              Fair points, thanks. We do still need to emphasize not-for-profit as far as the insurance aspect – either non-profit public insurance (Medicare for All) or eliminating insurance as such (national health plan).

              1. leftover

                No “public option.” Either improved Medicare-for-All…no Medigap…no Medicare Advantage…no Part D…no cost sharing, deductibles or any financial barriers to medically necessary care…or it’s not Single Payer. A “public option” means tiers. Access rationed based on economic class…affordability.
                That’s the problem.

                It has to be a national program. Otherwise the funding falls apart and the economic benefits disappear.

                1. marym

                  Agree with “not” any of those things, but “single payer” doesn’t in itself mean not-for-profit.

                  It can mean the single payer is a for-profit insurance company (as this CEO may be proposing).

                  Or it can mean that the single payer is the government, but the payments go to for-profit insurance companies (as in Medicare Advantage and Medicaid managed care), not to providers (as this news item tries to frame it).

                  That’s why I agree with your original comment that the focus should be on HR 676.

      2. Carla

        Yes, I have this terrible fear that we’ll get single-payer, and the payer will be United Health — biggest health insurance company in the country, and probably in the world. They’ve already got their fangs in Britain’s NHS.

        I think Mandos over at is right — first, we have to make it absolutely unacceptable for people to SAY that anyone — any human being — is not entitled to health care. Some will think it, but we have to make it impossible for them to say it and still be included in human society. Once we establish that healthcare is an inviolable RIGHT, figuring out how to pay for it is the relatively easy part.

        1. leftover

          It’s unfortunate but true that the “healthcare is a human right” issue always opens the door for a lot of reactionary right-wing nonsense that alienates too much of the general public in America. Especially right now. This isn’t 1960s Canada. I wish it were.

          HR 676 deals effectively with the demand everyone be entitled to medically necessary healthcare while preserving a sense of control for the more nationalistic among us. See Title I–Eligibility And Benefits on page 4 (PDF). What it says…essentially…is that nobody residing in the US or its territories will be denied healthcare, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to get a bill. Residency criteria “for determining residency for eligibility purposes” will be set by the HHS Secretary…the sitting Administration.

          Such a radical change to our healthcare system is already pushing the anti-capitalist envelope close to its American limits. And the truth is, if we want a Single Payer system in this country we’re going to need significant support from working class Americans who identify as conservative. The economic benefits of Single Payer are already paving inroads into that community. We need to assure these folks their sociopolitical concerns will be respected within that new structure. Everybody in. Nobody out.

    2. Toolate

      Not exactly. Revenue growth even without profit pays for multimillionaire middle management galore plus all sorts of perks…and the side deals that these companies make for various and sundry consultants and IT bells and whistles boggles the mind ….

    1. Antifa

      Consumers won’t pay any attention to DRM deals until the web becomes something they can look at but not touch, and their only relationship with web content is to fork over money for the privilege of selling their eyeballs to advertisers, along with all their personal information and preferences. It’s like subscribing to food — who wants to pay for something you ate two months ago?

      Who will buy something you aren’t actually allowed to own, or tinker with?

      The net effect of these DRM restrictions will be to so constrict new web content (because some corporation with a thousand lawyers will always be happy to claim your original content is a ripoff of their product in some obscure way) that less and less content will be published. To publish anything is to risk being sued.

      DRM will turn the web into a Blockbuster video store. “What’s on the shelves is what we have.” The public walked away from Blockbuster even when it was all that was available. It was that awful.

      The public will network. ‘Have connection, will socialize’ is our creed. We’ll just have to take it peer-to-peer, and make it so encrypted and anonymized that even a thousand lawyers can’t catch us.

  2. allan

    Amazon threatened to kill its Whole Foods deal if the grocer started a bidding war

    Shorter Bezos: Price discovery for me but not for thee.
    Funny how self-proclaimed market fundamentalists do everything they can
    to avoid competition and free markets.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I still think that this deal will be the modern-day equivalent of AOL-Time Warner.

      1. bronco

        I was a day trader sitting on 100 shares of AOL who unwisely decided to take a 4 day vacation when that deal dropped. As I recall it went from $80 or so when I left to about $12 when I returned . I had a stop set at $75 ish but it didn’t get executed . Most expensive and least satisfying vacation I’ve ever had

        1. justanotherprogressive

          That’s kind of why I keep my money in Treasuries (although they don’t make any money for me) these days. The ordinary person’s chances to execute a trade become virtually zero when bad things start happening……and since I am no better than anyone else at “predicting”, I’ll just keep what I have…..

        2. CD

          Maybe the Amazon-WholeFoods deal is a way to study another industry. What better way to rob an industry than to buy one of its competitors.

          There’s a lot of toe-in-the-pool going on, especially where you have the resources. Think of the Russian’s IT attack on the Ukraine as a different toe-in-the-pool. But the same idea.

          Interesting times ahead. When they compare business to a game, we’ll see some real games coming. Wal-Mart, Kroger, WholeFoods, etc.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Anti-trust law enforcement, for AMZN, GOOG, and FB.
            Bezos put millions of Mom and Pop local bricks-and-mortar stores out of business, and now they’re opening…local bricks-and-mortar stores.
            So we need to ask: is adding to the billions of the world’s second richest man by smashing the middle class a clever way to run a society?

  3. Jim Haygood

    A rare setback for our rulers behind the throne:

    Twitter is continuing its fight against the U.S. government as its looks to publicly disclose the exact number of national security requests it receives. The government has argued that releasing data on the number of requests “would impair national security interests and is properly classified.”

    U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers rejected the Justice Department’s motion for summary judgment, according to a filing Thursday, which means Twitter’s 2014 case can move forward. “The Government’s restrictions on Twitter’s speech are content-based prior restraints subject to the highest level of scrutiny under the First Amendment,” the order states.

    The case began in 2014 under then-Attorney General Eric Holder, but has since been transferred to current Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

    Reporting exactly how many times federal lawbreakers trash the Constitution is bad. Publishing broad ranges of their chronic constitutional violations is borderline seditious, but tolerated.

    The final sentence says it all: it makes no difference which branch of the Depublicrat party is in charge. Both the admin and the 535 KongressKlowns are surveilled by the spook agencies. Elected officials aren’t permitted to know these numbers either … which shows who’s actually in charge here.

    Now and then a rogue judge like Yvonne Rogers makes an errant lunge at enforcing the dead-letter constitution. Not a problem — a compliant scrum of nine hacks in black at 1 First Street NE, who’ve spent a lifetime being socialized into the national security state, can be relied upon to tamp down such judicial revolts.

    Thank you, Harry S Truman, for leaving WW II spook agencies in place to turn the USA into a paranoid national security state sporting a flimsy facade of Potemkin democracy. Coke or Pepsi; Trump or Cuomo in 2020? As the great George H. W. Bush orated, “Message: I care.” Bwa ha ha ha …

    1. allan

      Federal judge strikes down Utah’s ‘ag gag’ law as unconstitutional [SLC Trib]

      A federal judge on Friday struck down Utah’s “ag gag” law, siding with animal-rights activists that the statute — which prohibits unauthorized filming of agricultural operations — violates free-speech rights.

      U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby made the ruling on a case in which two animal-rights groups and an activist sued the state over the “agriculture operation interference” law, approved in 2012 by the Legislature. The law prohibited lying to gain access to a livestock operation, made secret recording illegal and required permission from the owner for someone who wishes to film. …

      “Utah undoubtedly has an interest in addressing perceived threats to the state agricultural industry,” the federal judge wrote, “and as history shows, it has a variety of constitutionally permissible tools at its disposal to do so. Suppressing broad swaths of protected speech without justification, however, is not one of them.” …

      Yet another rogue judge, following an extremist agenda drafted by wild-eyed radicals 228 years ago.

    2. knowbuddhau

      And thanks to FDR and the good ol’ boys who selected Truman over Henry Wallace.

      Wallace almost became the nation’s president. In 1940, he was FDR’s running mate and served as his vice president for four years. But in 1944, against the advice of the Democratic Party’s progressives and liberals – including his wife Eleanor – FDR reluctantly allowed the party’s conservative, pro-business and segregationist wing to replace Wallace with Sen. Harry Truman as the vice presidential candidate, a move that Stone calls the “greatest blunder” of Roosevelt’s career. Had Wallace remained as vice president, he would have become president when FDR died in April 1945.

      Wallace opposed the cold war, the arms race with the Soviet Union and racial segregation. He was a strong advocate of labor unions, national health insurance, public works jobs and women’s equality. He would have been, without question, the most radical president in American history. He would have served out the remaining three years of FDR’s fourth term and certainly would have sought to be elected on his own in 1948.

      Then, as now, the stewards of our political economy had a gift from the god(s)(esses)(what have you): a sure thing. But instead of acting as a conduit of whatever is that energy that fructifies a land, instead of accepting their role as conductors, they converted a public good into private gain and so begat this Wasteland.

      If we’re looking for a model for our times in ancient Mediterranean history, it’s not Thucydides we should look to, it’s King Minos. He had a gift from a god, Poseidon. It was a most magnificent bull. He was supposed to just pass it on. But no, he had to go and convert a public good into private gain. He thought he could crapify the sacrifice and Poseidon would never know. Next thing he knows, his wife, Persiphae, has gone and begat a monstrosity with his precious bull.

      He tries to hide his shame in a top secret, high tech labyrinth. He practices human sacrifice by demanding another nation send their best youths to die for his dishonor. But you can’t hide a Wasteland from the people dying of despair in it.

      On a more positive note, the Grail legends, especially Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parsifal, tell us that the way out of a wasteland is through us all living as authentic lives as we can stand. The state is corrupt, the churches are corrupt, (whether your church is one of the traditionals or the church of Monday Night Football), business is corrupt; what’s a person of integrity to do?

      Campbell famously said, follow your bliss. I like to say, find your funk. It’s crucial that we all get down and get as funky as we can stand. Whatever is that energy that fructifies a land, it’s not generated in a privatized and centralized power station and then distributed over a decrepit legacy grid. Pass it on.

      We need the funk
      We gotta have that funk!
      — Parliament

      1. JamesG

        What “truth out” conveniently leaves out:

        … after hearing from Gulag survivor and friend Vladimir Petrov about the true nature of the 1944 Vice Presidential visit to Magadan, Wallace had publicly apologized for having allowed himself to be fooled by the Soviets.[49] In 1952 Wallace published Where I Was Wrong, in which he explained that his seemingly-trusting stance toward the Soviet Union and Joseph Stalin stemmed from inadequate information about Stalin’s crimes, and that he now considered himself an anti-Communist.

        He wrote various letters to “people who he thought had traduced [maligned] him” and advocated the re-election of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956.[24] In 1961, President-elect John F. Kennedy invited Wallace to his inauguration ceremony, even though he had supported Kennedy’s opponent Richard Nixon.

        1. ambrit

          It’s a shame about Wallaces’ about turn. He conveniently said that he was “anti-Communist” when he was really “anti-Stalinist.” The difference is as large as that between being a small ‘d’ democrat, and a Party loyal Democrat.
          As for “being fooled,” well, the Allies lied to the Russians then, as we are lying to the Russians now. Then Stalin was promised certain things at the end of the Hitler War, only to have the Allies backtrack when they saw an advantage to be gained from so doing. Bush and Clinton promised no NATO on Russias’ border and subsequently broke those promises.
          Authoritarianism displays the same ugly characteristics whether emanating from a “Fearless Leader” or from a “Clique of the Connected.”
          However, I question the cross contaminations probable between a neo-conservative foreign policy and a progressive domestic policy. As an example, Dick Nixon, despite his oft cited Cold Warrior leanings, did normalize relations with the most populous nation on earth, China, and continue the pro citizen FDR, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson social policies.
          No, as the present dispute about Bernie Sanders political maneuverings show, purity tests do much more harm than good. That’s why opponents of politicians and parties foment such petty minded squabbles in the first place. The disruptions and degradations that attend upon such “Purity Tests” are generally the reason for the initial attacks, not mere side effects.
          The last sentence in the squib you posted makes me wonder. Why make such a big deal about Kennedy inviting Wallace to the Inaugural? After all, Kennedy was the heir to the FDR mantle, and Wallace was a visible embodiment of the Democrat Parties glory days. Kennedy had just “stolen” the election from Nixon, and thus, needed all the public support he could muster. I hope to Diety that HRC doesn’t take the Nixon dramatic arc to heart. Both lost squeakers, Nixon through good old American manipulations, Clinton to phantom (imaginary, but still articles of faith to Democrat loyalists,)”Russian” manipulations. Nixon went on to finally win the Presidency later. Here’s hoping HRC doesn’t plan on replicating Nixons’ history.

          1. Mike

            Thank you, Ambrit- few will mention the difference between Stalin and Communism, and fewer will look beyond the words of a Henry Wallace to see the shadow of opportunism cast its darkness over innocence. Wallace was truly a true believer, from the most wide-eyed perspective, but refused to ask any questions of what was, for him, an advantageous position of tagging along with the Russians during the Depression and after WW2. It was also opportunism and the need to keep “relevant” after the revelations by Petrov that sent his “conscience” into high gear. So, the leap from Progressivism to Nixonianism, all the better to support the Dulles boys. Sad indeed- and a sign of weak principles.

    3. CD

      “Reporting exactly how many times
      federal lawbreakers trash the Constitution is bad.”

      Wow. I had to catch my breath with that one. Seeing that idea in pixels kind of braced me, and tightened a few body parts as well.

  4. Enquiring Mind

    When will Faceborg announce that they are providing fishes to the masses, too? They seem to want to be all things to all people, or was that Google, or Amazon? It is so difficult to keep them all straight!

    1. ambrit

      They are all sermonizing to the masses from atop Mount Capital.
      As with the alluded to Biblical event, materialists can argue that the loaves and fishes was a rhetorical device used to get a theological point across. Then the theology in play was monotheism. Today the theology at play is neo-liberalism.

      1. HotFlash

        Look, nobody can get anywhere with loaves and fishes these days. Ya gotta do pizza and beer at the very least.

          1. polecat

            Bearing cheap, awful tasting pizza, and Budwizzer, instead of the real thing most likely !

        1. ambrit

          I was just scrolling by and saw your comment. Hoo boy! Everyone back then drank beer. The water wasn’t trustworthy. That’s why “limpid clear mountain springs” are the gold standard for water. Nothing upstream to pollute it. Pizza now, that’s yet another import from China.
          Besides, who wants to “get anywhere” when loafing and fishing are available?
          In that vein, “Duprees’ Diamond Blues” by the Grateful Dead:

  5. Carolinian

    While reading the American Conservative piece on China I spotted this possibly more interesting link.

    The article’s headline is “Why is Nikki Haley still UN ambassador” and it points out that she often seems to be making up US policy in her own head. Probing inside that bizarre mental clockwork we get such statements as

    if there’s anything I have no patience for, it’s bullies, and the UN was being such a bully to Israel, because they could

    but of course it is Haley who enjoys playing the bully and declaring herself “the new sheriff” in town who is going to clean up the surprisingly all powerful UN. As any SC resident could have warned Trump, our former governor’s lack of self awareness is almost total.

    Time to boot the egregious Nikki and pack her sponsor Pence off to the EOB where he can conduct his own toothless version of Veep.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Hailey is clearly trying the Hillary strategy. If she can be responsible for a few heads on pikes of foreign leaders, she will be up 50 points in 2024 or earlier. The serious columnists must have “Nikki Hailey looks Presidential” columns ready to go. Outside of Versailles, she will be seen as repugnant as she doesn’t have the celebrity attachment of Hillary.

      1. Carolinian

        She clearly is ambitious and it’s possible her shtick is partly cynical calculation. I’d say that makes it even worse.

        1. ambrit

          I’d say that that makes her identical to Hillary. Has Haley had any American citizens killed yet? That would make the case.

    2. RenoDino

      Perfect spot for her. It’s a worthless, toothless organization that has totally and completely lost any and all relevance. Her appointment validates its status as a ship of fools where cheap shots and hypocrisy are the order of the day.

    3. sid_finster

      I honestly don’t know whether Nikki is genuinely nutso, or whether she thinks that Team R and the foreign policy establishment want nutso and she has ambitions for higher office so she’ll give them nutso.

      I suppose that it does not matter. “By their works ye shall know them…” and her works are those of a sociopath.

    4. HotFlash

      Thank you, C’ian. Well-spotted and most interesting, if more than a little alarming.

      (as you can see, taking lessons from Col Smithers — another reason why I love this place!)

    5. vidimi

      that’s funny, because the guardian just published a puff piece on haley today, calling her the lone voice of wisdom on foreign policy in trump’s white house. i won’t link to the article, but if ever more proof was needed that the guardian is irredeemable and not worthy of our donations, there it is.

    6. agog

      The former Indian diplomat M K Bhadrakumar’s supposition that Haley is a cat’s paw for the Israel lobby puts her motives in rather more plausible perspective.

      Sometimes things make perfect sense.

  6. RenoDino

    Nice idea, but not going to happen.

    North Korea has the backing of the other two great nuclear super powers in order to drive the U.S. off the Korean peninsula. Soon the U.S. will have to decide if saving Seoul is worth San Francisco. The Chinese sent a a very clear message to the U.S.: We prefer Kim to you on our border. So much for our special relationship with the Middle Kingdom.

    N. Korea is not a rogue state. Putin and Xi have the perfect tool in Kim, who is using their help to rapidly develop his weapons systems. Either America must commit to a nuclear first strike or it must decamp from the south and accept defeat. Either way, America loses.

    1. B1whois

      How does America lose by “committing a nuclear first strike”? It would seem like a win to me, as it would install even more fear of the US threat.

      1. sid_finster

        Seoul goes up in a puff. San Francisco too, maybe, unless NK has a suitcase nuke stashed somewhere. Surely vaporizing a few cities will boost the global economy!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Don’t neutron bombs kill people, but do not damage buildings?

          What if the bad guys have anti-neutron bombs that inflict expensive corporate property damage, but don’t kill humans, animals and plants?

          Will we be limited to seeking vandalism charges?

          1. ambrit

            An EMP over the Great Plains would devastate the American economy, plus some other incidental computer controlled processes.

              1. ambrit

                Well, looks over shoulder, yes.
                Also, of some “silver lining” utility would be the concomitant shuttering of all those Magazine Mills and Repo Vultures. A few years ago, a “claims recovery specialist” called us in reference to a ten year old bill we had refused to pay. After going through the apocalyptic visions of personal credit degradation the caller asked me when they could expect payment. My reply was to ask him if he had any knowledge of the statute of limitations that applied to our case. Immediate hang up by the “collector.” The Repo company was situated in a mid western state for some arcane legal reason. Getting rid of outfits like that would almost make up for the rest of the “damage.”

      2. justanotherprogressive

        Perhaps you need to “think through” what happens if the US commits the first nuclear strike. Do you think it will stop there?

        1. B1whois

          I honestly don’t know what Reno Dino intended to say. He said commit to a nuclear first strike, not commit a nuclear first strike. Hopefully replies with some more insight on the what he was thinking.

          1. RenoDino

            I see your point, but it’s a distinction without a difference. Since conventional war is not an option, it’s either nuke them or leave. If it’s the latter, the North will then invade the South. That’s Kim goal and he appears to have China’s support, who does not want an American ally on their border. I thought the Chinese might be more open to a deal if we gave in on trade, the South China Seas and Taiwan. Turns out they want it all and so do we.

            If Trump nukes them. the MSM here will love it, but the rest of world will brand him a pariah and madman. So not much of a change there. The world economy will take a temporary hit, but central banks will ride to the rescue and buy every asset in sight.
            Again, about where we are now.

            Being a first striker will increase our Most Wanted level.

            1. HotFlash

              Whattya mean, “It’s either nuke them or leave.”?

              AND GO WHERE????!!!!

              Why yes, yes, I am shouting.

              1. Oregoncharles

                I do indeed see your point, but he means leave Korea and, presumably, go home.

                Last I heard, the S. Koreans could defend themselves – but would probably make a deal.

            2. Bittercup

              If it’s the latter, the North will then invade the South.

              That assertion badly needs to be debated instead of merely assumed.

            3. Oregoncharles

              False alternative. There is at least a third: continue the present standoff, much the likeliest.

          2. ambrit

            The problem with that formulation is that, as organizations function, they tend to use all available resources. The “no first use” doctrine is designed to remove that temptation from the “lower level” functionaries. America adopting a “first strike” strategy option, publicly, will destabilize the world like nothing else could. Soon, everyone with a nuclear capability will have fingers on the buttons of use, and near nuclear nations will be sprinting to acquire such weapons, for self preservation if nothing else.
            Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) will have evolved from theory to public policy to literal descriptor of the worlds politics.

            1. Oregoncharles

              Unfortunately, the US has had a more-or-less public “first strike” policy all along. That’s why deterrence – Mutual Assured Destruction – has been so importance.

              You know, we already went through all this. I never had to hide under my desk, but my wife did. I thought we were done with it, I really did. Whoever brought it back definitely needs hanging, slowly.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We try to march towards peace.

      How we do it is critical (to survival).

      It also matters who is moving into where we once were.

      One question is, after removing the legion from Britain, sorry, Seoul, what will happen to Japan? Does the latter like the Kim family as a neighbor, or Americans/South Koreans?

      1. ambrit

        The Japanese, under Abe, are already taking the first steps toward remilitarization. That section of the world has always been the scene of strife.

      2. HotFlash

        We try to march towards peace.

        How we do it is critical (to survival).

        Um, yeah. Agree. Mostly. But. Perhaps we should not be ‘marching’ towards peace? Would a better ‘how’ be, oh, I dunno, strolling towards peace? Dancing? Gardening? Bicycling? Hugging? If the first tool we have is a march, what sort of outcome can we expect?

        1. Richard Musser

          I would personally love to Hug Our Way To Peace. Just so I could go on O’Reilly or somewhere to explain the program and weather their anti-hugging abuse.
          But put me down as done with marching. In general ;)

    3. Alex Morfesis

      The perfect solution to the “north korea” $ave the military budget program is to let fearless leader, 1dumbsun, win…

      withdraw all troops, remove dmz barriers, let him keep his nukes and missles…let him meet with trump and get most favored nation status for trading…zero tariffs…

      Welcome to the club, have a cigar…

      Not snark…

      the ultimate take away…he will be forced to declare a victory…have some parades…and then explain within 30 months to his people how it is fearless leader knows nothing about global trade…

      with no enemy to point to as an excuse why “the people must continue to sacrifice”…

      within 3 years he will be doing online videos and hoping to get his 8 bux per thousand views to afford the free buffet casinos in vegas while hanging with dennis Rodman & robin leach…

      The best way to get rid of a loud recalcitrant opponent is to unilaterally give them what they are demanding and insisting on before they are actually ready and capable of handling “their success”…

      Works in american local politics to diffuse the loudmouth who might grow into an opponent…

      Won’t happen as the penopticonis* have run out of global enemies…

      gotta keep the shelves fully and properly stocked…until a new enemy is found, no removal of old ones…

      remember, the granma(cuba) sailed the day of the korean armistice…and crazy uncle joe found in his hand an amazing chinese take out menu the week after stalin and mao made peace and russia agreed to withdraw from manchukuo…

      yeah yeah no causation and all that…

      you live your matrix, melive mine…

      prefer the yellow pill actually…

      and the hypnotists are on strike in mena…something about their cousins not getting visas approved for entry to the you ess of hay…

      What, you think it’s human nature for some annoyed young person praying for the return of ya-zues to Damascus to bring on the kingdom and the glory to turn himself to pink mist to get to some mid level of heaven ???

      And there might be a reason some babe gets to heaven and is still a virgin…really…72 whinee take out the trash…mow the lawn…no you can’t go play golf there is work to do around the house…when are you going to get a better job…when are we going to…

      There could be a reason…

      and it takes a whole lot of mezzmurr to get into someones head like that…

      most militaries still can’t figure out how to get soldiers to stop missing on purpose…

      But there is no grift in “peace and carats”…

      “Preyor and Warship” is what is important…

      * as in penta-gone

    4. optimader

      1.) Reduce trade with china/russia other countries that are technology enablers by they same % they increase trade with NK.

      2.) Make it clear that there are Aegis-equipped guided-missile destroyers (defensive) and at least at least one Ohio class sub (offensive) parked on station, both financially subsidized by local interested Asian partners.
      Presumably an Ageis system is quite effective at such close range, and presumably nuke vs non nuke missiles can be differentiated based on nuclear emissions (as well the angle at which an ICBM is launched). Make it discreetly clear any with an unacceptable launch profile will be destroyed along with the launch site.

      3.) Make public the suppliers of the materials of construction and technology for NK ICBM missiles, freeze their foreign assets and embargo any other western business relationships with said suppliers.

      I don’t doubt the technical elements of 2.) are already in effect, but let some other interested parties foot the bill.

      The NK leadership doesn’t want to commit suicide, life is too good. So allow them a stable but progressively degraded existence. Focuses the mind.

      1. Bittercup

        Idk, they seem plenty focused already, spartan existence and all. This strikes me as a strategy of doubling down on what’s already been done in the past, with the hopes that maybe THIS time it’ll have the desired effect.

        1. optimader

          What has been done in the past is periodic bribing with the hope that behavior will change. Hasn’t worked, wont work. As well there has been no economic consequence to those that supply NK technology.

          I very much doubt NK is has indigenous superalloy metallurgical capacity, nor has the electronic infrastructure to build the elements required for anything more than the most primitive guidance systems.. N.warhead miniaturization? yeah.. not so much

          Indeed the top hierarchy does not live a Spartan life, quite the opposite. Does Kim look like he could run 300 yards?

          Nor is any of what I suggest a preemptive military posture. It is merely an approach to being very clear and consistent.

          Reducing imports from the usual suspects that are supplying NK would force business back into the US that was artificially offshored not because a sensible thing to do, but because preferential tax treatment encouraged it.

          So I don’t see this aspect of the strategy being anything but a potential win for the US middleclass.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Hmmm, lets get out a map here. So, the US launches an attack on North Korea, maybe trying to kill their leadership. According to my map, North Korea has tens of thousands of artillery pieces on the border with with South Korea and that the capital Seoul is well within range. If the US pulled a stunt like that you would expect a massive bombardment killing tens of thousands of South Koreans and an unknown number of US troops. Not good!
        That landscape is a bitch to fight in so would countries like the UK, France, etc eagerly send their troops for the Korean War Part 2? For yet another American adventure? Supposing all went well for the US and they were conquering North Korea. Do you really think that China would let the US win and then proceed to park nuclear missiles on the Yalu River? Or practice annual invasion exercises on the border? My map says no way!
        In retrospect, perhaps it was not wise for the west to demonstrates what happens when a country gives up its nuclear program (cough-libya-cough). The place gets turned into a charnel house, its gold gets stolen by the west (cough-libya-cough-ukraine) and its leader gets a bayonet, literally, up the khyber. Then again, Koreans don’t get to vote in American elections so they wouldn’t care. Just to make it fun, all those countries like Germany that would see this happen would realize that the same could happen to them and wonder about US military formations stationed in their country, especially if they had a border with a country that the US didn’t like.

        1. witters

          Now now Rev Kev. Don’t put a downer into RenoDino’s day. He’s trashed the UN – to defend Haley (!); and he is advising N War on Nth Korea. And now you, a minister no less, are ruining his day.

          1. The Rev Kev

            You’re right of course.I just see so many idiots (general officers too) and neocons willing to go on TV or in print and say let’s just whack them that it gets my goat. The problem is that no-one is asking these geniuses what happens The Day After. Oh wait, somebody actually did once (

            1. Oregoncharles

              That was before the discovery of Nuclear Winter – so it’s actually much worse.

        2. optimader

          the number or artillery pieces, all in that I recall reading was 13,000, much of that doesn’t hae the range it strike Seoul.

          A worthwhile read for perspective..

          …Tube and Rocket Artillery

          The biggest anticipated cost of a North Korean artillery barrage in response to an attack would be the at least partial destruction of Seoul. But the volume of fire that the North can direct against the South Korean capital is limited by some important factors. Of the vast artillery force deployed by the North along the border, only a small portion — Koksan 170-mm self-propelled guns, as well as 240-mm and 300-mm multiple launch rocket systems — are capable of actually reaching Seoul. Broadly speaking, the bulk of Pyongyang’s artillery can reach only into the northern border area of South Korea or the northern outskirts of Seoul.

          All forms of North Korean artillery have problems with volume and effectiveness of fire, but those issues are often more pronounced for the longer-range systems. Problems include the high malfunction rate of indigenous ammunition, poorly trained artillery crews, and a reluctance to expend critical artillery assets by exposing their positions.,,,,,,

          1. The Rev Kev

            Of course all that is true. However, if I was the North Korean leadership, I might go with the philosophy of use it before you lose it – and keep a second strike capability stashed in all those tunnels that they have built over the past 70-odd years. Remember the pain that Hezbollah caused to the invading Israelis in the 2006 Lebanon War with all their tunnels?
            If you read through the last section of that 5-part report they make the case that yeah, we should totally strike North Korea but I am very suss on taking the word of Stratfor who has been recognized as “The Shadow CIA”. You never know if this was the analysis of real CIA professional analysts or the same “select” analysts that said that, yeah, Russia totally hacked the US elections.

        1. ambrit

          Oh wondrous heart! Andrew Lang and the fables of a bygone age!
          Instead of a re-boot of the “Tale of Orlando: Faster and Furiosoest,” a telling of perhaps “The Dragon and the George,” by Gordon R Dickson.

          1. HotFlash

            One o’these days, ambrit, I’m gonna show up in Hattiesburg and you can buy me a beer.

  7. Jim Haygood

    The “Russian election meddling” paper wrings its ink-stained hands over a summer of commuter hell:

    If there were any lingering doubts about the urgency of the comprehensive repairs to the tracks at Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan, the derailment of another commuter train on Thursday night should have quashed them.

    The derailment, the third since late March at Penn Station, happened at a crucial junction that is scheduled to be closed and replaced this summer. Officials of Amtrak, which owns and operates the station, have admitted that the junction, [Interlocking A], is long overdue for an overhaul.

    The work, scheduled to start on Monday and continue until early September, will require New Jersey Transit, the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak — the three railroads that share Penn Station — to divert dozens of daily trains that carry thousands of passengers.

    Naturally, not a word is devoted by the NYT to the question of why a dangerously degraded interlocking that’s caused three accidents this year got that way. Five minutes of internet searching would’ve turned up this:

    Amtrak stated in 2010 that the backlog of needed repairs of the track it owns on the Northeast Corridor included over 200 bridges, most dating to the 19th century, tunnels under Baltimore dating to the American Civil War Era and functionally obsolete track switches which would cost $5.2 billion to repair (more than triple Amtrak’s total annual budget).

    Ever more apt grows the comparison to the latter days of the Soviet Union. The US wields a global empire of military bases, but the infrastructure of its largest city lies in shambles, while the presidential budget proposes CUTTING Amtrak funding.

    This is how empires die: slowly and ignominiously, while beating their chests and trumpeting hollow claims of military might.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      And even as the u.s. continues to fail miserably at all things domestic–“healthcare,” education and infrastructure to name a few–we, the people, are continuously led to believe that there is one thing we can do better and harder than anyone else–all things military.

      What if it isn’t true? What if we really can’t do “defense” any better than we do anything else? And what if everyone else on the planet knows the truth, and is just biding their time before delivering the knockout punch?

      1. visitor

        What if we really can’t do “defense” any better than we do anything else?

        The historical evidence shows that the military of the USA is geared, trained, equipped towards aggressive operations (i.e. attacking and invading other countries), and is consequently mediocre at carrying out defensive actions.

        In fact, since the Vietnam war there were several occurrences when the US military had to defend itself or Americans against incontrovertible external aggression — and failed miserably:

        1) The Mayaguez incident (1975).
        2) The Tehran embassy rescue operation (1980).
        3) 11th September 2001 (they could not even defend the Pentagon).

        And there were many other cases where the US military was just daringly placing itself in hot waters and was surprised by the consequences:

        4) Beirut barracks bombings (1983).
        5) USS Stark bombing (1987).
        6) Khobar Towers bombing (1996).
        7) USN Cole bombing (2000).

        The endless bloodletting in Iraq and Afghanistan was such that it resulted in a new popular acronym: IED.

        Yes, when the adversary goes on the offensive, things can get sticky indeed, and the US military in the last 40 years or so lacks a convincing track record in defense.

        1. JTMcPhee

          And as to IEDs, and “playing defense,” the US military and its so very wise and well paid contractors have spent billions trying to “evolve” a defense to these dirt-simple devices that Wogs use so successfully to DEFEND THEMSELVES against the mighty invincible offense of the US, er, “coalition” forces. They called it the “Joint” (everything is “joint,” these days) “Improvised -Threat” (everything is a “threat,” these days) “Defeat” Organization” (JIDO). Not sure how “Defeat’ crept into the moniker — the military almost never, ever uses that term — sshhh,

          After all that money produced lots of Really Great Expensive Tech-y Ideas, but no significant results, the thing was downgraded and its budget “degraded”, and the conclusions that seem to have resulted from all this is that the best way to “defeat” an IED was to walk or drive over it to set it off, and as far as preventing their emplacement and success, to depend on the ‘sixth senses” of observant Troops. And more random efforts, like bombing the sh!t out of places where people resent US/Coalition intrusions.

          Recall that IEDs in Iraq, and many of them in most other places, are often made up of US-made or -provided large caliber artillery shells and bombs and “plastic explosives,” or the stuff that Tim McVeigh made his truck bomb out of…

          “The only way to win, is not to play the game…” But it’s really how one construes what constitutes a “victory…” $$$$ >>>>>> me “smells like napalm in the morning…”

      2. Cujo359

        Given enough time, those priorities will ensure that we’re only average on defense, if not below average. This report that I wrote about nearly eight years ago should have served as a warning to anyone who can comprehend obvious trends, but it hasn’t so far.

        A nation’s defense depends as much on the health and strength of its people and infrastructures as it does on military technology or strategy. An all-out war might be unthinkable, but even the smaller wars we seem to get into constantly are carried out by our young. How well can they do that when they’re not healthy enough to stand the stresses of combat, or smart enough to use the weapons we give them? And while we probably won’t be involved in another mechanized war like those since the mid 19th Century, the condition of our infrastructure affect how difficult it is to develop and maintain those weapons.

        You’d think our leaders would have figured this out by now, but they don’t show much sign of having done so.

          1. Blennylips

            See my

            July 8, 2017 at 6:33 pm

            This map lends credence to the ZH “Chicago’s Terrible New Plan To Force High School Kids Into The Military” story.

            Illinois is well in the greenishly toned hexagons (tufte, forgive them) saying that at 71% of military age local kidlettes are ineligible to join.

    2. WeakenedSquire

      I’d say that after the last few months of tone-deaf virtue-signalling by the city’s dopey mayor, the state’s boy king, and its leading deep-state propaganda organ–not to mention the decades of deceit by the predator banksters that nest there–the Trumpsters have concluded that their flyover country base is in no mood to help out old New York. You’ll note that the mercurial clown-president, who does get symbolism right even as he is always wrong on substance, has barely returned to the city that spurned him. And USDOT just announced it is pulling out of the Obama-era agreement to build new tunnels under the Hudson.

      If the city wants the trains to run on time, let it pay for them. It’s got plenty of money already, and anywhere else in the world–where construction costs are multiple times lower–the investments it needs could easily be made within the existing budget. If New York can’t manage this, it’s only because its political class is too far gone into corruption and rent-seeking to put its own house in order.

  8. Tinky

    “So the pensioners will convert the cash into more volatile stores of wealth, like gold or diamonds.”

    Wait – gold is a more volatile store of wealth that fiat currencies? Really? News to me, unless you are referring to a very narrow time-frame.

    1. Jim Haygood

      By definition, the legal tender numeraire — gold, dollars, Bitcoin, whatevah — has zero volatility, since it is the measuring unit with which other assets’ volatility is calculated.

      For pensioners, the essential problem is not volatility but the insidious devaluation of purchasing power (2 percent per year is now official Fed writ) which will slowly eat them alive … for the greater good. :-)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        So, if a barely satisfying meal for one person costs 1/200 oz of gold, now, but will cost 1/100 oz of gold in 2020, it’s the meal (one of the many assets) that is volatile, not gold?

        Why can’t we compare a currency relative to gold, volatility-wise?

      2. Mel

        And with gold and diamonds, you buy retail, but you sell wholesale, unless you’re really lucky. It can still be an improvement over coming away with nothing at all.

        1. ambrit

          Sorry to sound “prepper” but silver, like “junk silver,” (old 90% silver coinage,) can act as actual tender. You might have to “buy retail,” but one does not have to return it to the rent seekers that claim to be the gatekeepers. Silver coinage will circulate fairly freely. What would be a “canary in the coalmine” event would be if the banks and their fellow travelers refused to accept silver at weight value, or demanded conversion into fiat before processing the transaction proposed. Even better, convert specie into electronic fiat to carry on business. Then the “official” exchange rates would be the gaming point.
          So, as Comrade Jim has pointed out on numerous occasions, as in Venezuela or Brazil etc. the spread between the “official” exchange rate and the “organic” exchange rate will become the nexus of rent extraction.

          1. skippy

            The thing is tho in Venezuela case it was the money exchangers that sought to profit on the rate gaming.

            disheveled…. rational agents seeking to maximize their [“I”] utility strikes again…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Two things.

      1. long term vs. short term. Something may be more stable short term (until the regime experiences change), but not long term.

      2. Sampling frequency.

      The example for the latter is something you might see in an old Western film, where the wheels of a stagecoach went backwards as the horses sprinted forward. The trick is in the rotational frequency of the wheels vs. the camera speed (how fast it shot a frame).

      And so, the world might seem it is moving forward, or backward, depending on how fast the mind observes it.

    3. diptherio

      The price of gold goes up and down a lot. The value of a dollar is much more stable. The value of a fiat currency derives from the necessity to pay taxes in that currency. A diamond derives its value from the (pretend) scarcity of diamonds. You can now make diamonds in the lab, that work just like ‘real’ diamonds. If someone, however, tries to make a fiat currency in a lab and then use it like real fiat currency, they get arrested. So yes, fiat currencies are much less volatile than commodity prices, at least in countries whose debt is denominated in their own currency.

      1. JTMcPhee

        What lab do the “notional dollars” that make up the, what is it now, $4 QUADRILLION in “derivative transactions,” come out of?

        Those magical deals look like counterfeiting on a yuuuge scale to this mope… “All nice and legal,” is it?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          One word: “Regime-change.”

          Is Saddam Hussein era Iraqi money still good?

          Or General Lee’s confederacy paper money?

          Or gold?

          1. ambrit

            What about the Saddam era Iraki counterfeit hundreds? I’m told that they are as good as the “real” thing.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I will be looking for them at the nearest Hobby Lobby*.

              *This is not an endorsement. I’m no celebrity.

              1. Edward E

                Is there a good way to get them off of a wall intact after they’ve been used for wall paper? Asking for a friend.

        2. Eureka Springs

          @JTM. Thanks for that.. a point which has long confused me. Counterfeit malignant cancer, indeed.

          I’m amazed derivatives aren’t hawked on the streets and late night TV ads.

  9. jfleni

    RE: Indigenous Journalist Faces Trial For Flying Drone To Document DAPL Construction

    The GREASE monkeys and their billy-club brigades will stop at nothing to discredit and lie about non-violent and legimate oposition to their destructive schemes.

    One believable forecast shows mountains of steel pipelines being sold for scrap as the pipeline clowns and the bulk of the oil business both go bust, but probably much too late to help both native people and the rest of us.

    1. diptherio

      As Winona LaDuke pointed out, all those pipes for DAPL could be re-purposed for Flint’s water system, where they’d actually be doing some good.

  10. JCC

    On “North Korea’s Fast Track Missile Development…” the “Threats and Provocations” section alone is worth reading.

    As someone who took part in two of these war games over there, (Team Spirit Exercises in the mid-eighties) I can tell you they are huge. Thousands of soldiers, aircraft, and hundreds of tons of other weaponry are shipped in at least once a year and just about the entire country participates in pretending to invade N Korea, although officially they are pretending to defend against a N Korean invasion. I don’t think anyone can imagine how big these war games are unless they’ve seen one in action.

    It is no wonder that the N Koreans are constantly on the defensive.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If they could get Taiwan, Vietnam and India to do that, China would be pretty busy as well.

      1. sleepy

        Well why not. We already do it in the Baltic region. Nothing wrong with planning for a world war on three, four, or is it five, fronts. Liberate the South China Sea, secure the Indian border, bring democracy to Pyongyang, and take Kaliningrad all in three days tops.

        The only thing holding us back is that Putin has Trump’s pecker in his pocket (h/t to LBJ).

        1. JTMcPhee

          Planning is so veery much fun! And does not involve icky stuff like getting actually shot back at! And if, in the case of a war game you don’t like the result of, you can always spool it back, change the parameters, limit the play, and “make it come out right.” And YUUUGE amounts of money can get moved into the bureaucratic structure that does all the planning! And you can bet your sweet bippy that the current OPLAN, son of SIOP ( has all those various fronts and scenarios nicely laid out, all the targeting matrices for what to do with 7,000 warheads (more or less), to make the rubble bounce and glow…

          I recall an article decades ago that reported that the old SIOP, predecessor to OPLAN, included “contingencies” to incinerate Southern Hemisphere cities, and those of “our allies,” too, to be sure that in the event of that Grand Come To Jesus Day, no one would be left in a position to “TAKE OVER” (our precious bodily fluids? Charcoaled cremains?) i believe it was a RAND analysis that came up with that notion.

          Of course, that was when the war planners, ‘thinking the unthinkable,’ had more like 18,000 or 20,000 warheads to work with…

          I wonder where the Israel Ites would be directing THEIR “200 to 600” nukes, in the event of the Big Terminal Shootout at the Not-OK Corral? And whether, since their spooks and spies have so completely infiltrated “our” Most Holy Secrets of Secrets, like the OPLAN and all “our” diplomatic channels, and have so completely “done what Putin is claimed to have done” in perverting US “democratic” processes, I wonder, do “our” war planners know (not just have to hazard a guess) what the Israeli equivalent of the OPLAN contains? I bet not…

          But the Samson Option has always been left ‘”on the table,” beside the challah and Mogen David. And Israel’s rulers have never forsworn first use of weapons they actually do have, and have started wars and “acted aggressively in violation of global norms” any number of times…

          Planning is so very much FUN, and so wonderfully COMPLICATED, and produces such great CAREERS for the practitioners! I wonder how many cells, in how many dimensions, there are in the matrix these folks work on…?

          1. Vatch

            Planning is so very much FUN

            It’s like being paid to participate in a role playing video game.

            1. JTMcPhee

              …and if you’re lucky, your “plan” (see McChrystal and those other “counter-insurgency” Whiz Kids) gets actually activated, and then you can find a rock to hide under, or a jawb with some multinational or FIRE outfit, when once again our Troops march into the jawbreaker of asymmetric war on someone else’s terrain, on land that those Wogs not only are familiar with in intense tactical detail, but which they love, in that sense of “this land is my land, get the Fokk out of here!” Even if they beat the women and rape the little boys and go on playing their Pashto Playtime games of coruscating loyalties and tribal relentless endless feuds and endemic corruption, with that kind of pride, and sense of person and place, that not even the whitest-sidewall Jarhead, jumping OO-RAH out of a Blackhawk or CH-46 or even the mighty V-22, or whipping around in an up-armored Humvee or Abrams, or getting shot to pieces in some ditch or blown to our version of Kingdom Come by one of those more-evil-than-2,000-pound-JDAMs,, because THEY DARE to KILL US!, , can aspire to…

              The very notion produces reams of Milbabble sh!t like this Wiki entry on “Counter-insurgency in Northern Afghanistan” (featuring the Wise McChrystal, and a bunch of Germans who were part of the Great White We Gonna Take Afghanistan by Storm Coalition:

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Facebook seeks ‘closer world’ on its future campus Financial Times. Faceborg acting like it’s running a company town, to provide for housing for serfs lower income workers. While it looks nice as a social engineering gesture, how much of it is driven by the fact that the well paid workers need a servant class, which means housing them nearby? I know this is better than nothing, but relative to the housing stress in the area, this is crumbs when loaves are needed.

    Why not housing the whole corporation on an aircraft carrier (after suitable remodeling of course, to include hiking trails, open sea air yoga fields, organic gardens, etc)?

    “Faceborg, not just a job, but an adventure?”

    “This month, we will be touring the ice free North Pole.”

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Drug-resistant ‘superbug gonorrhea’ is emerging, WHO warns – Health CBC (martha r)

    Should have said ‘this is only today’s best explanation or solution’ more often, when dispensing the medicine, for the last, I don’t know, 50 years?

    Without the qualifier (unfortunately only used in philosophy of science debates), human nature (hubris) took over and we have become even more careless.

  13. justanotherprogressive

    Another story about that bad Amazon….

    But Amazon is succeeding because they saw what none of the brick and mortar stores saw….

    Brick and mortar stores are now mostly chain stores – they aren’t the mom and pop stores of our glory days (those brick and mortar chain stores drove them out) – and they did nothing to keep our loyalty. When Amazon first started, brick and mortar stores should have seen where this would go, but they thought they had a captive audience and were intent on crapifying their stores (for profits) and ignoring the needs of their customers. Can you actually fault Amazon for seeing that?

    The last independent grocery in the area (one I loved shopping at) sold out to a chain last year, and yes, the shopping experience has crapified considerably – they no longer order those special items for customers that kept us coming back, produce and meat is not bought from local farms and ranches anymore, and they no longer care whether we like what they have to offer or not. Do I feel any loyalty to that chain store? Not hardly……Amazon is easier and since brick and mortar offers me nothing special, why not shop Amazon? Amazon is doing nothing different than those chain stores did to the mom and pop stores of my youth…..

    1. Laughingsong

      “Amazon is doing nothing different than those chain stores did”

      Which is why many people stopped shopping at places like Walmart, and decry the way they use their supply-chain clout to crapify products (demanding lower supplier pricing does that), which also punishes those companies trying to put out a decent product and local stores trying to sell decent products.

      Except Amazon is worse: besides the above, and the similar crappy employee experiences, it also impoverishes municipalities of their rightful sales tax revenue.

      But to me, the least understandable thing about using Amazon compared to those big chains? In the case of the chain stores, in many cases they are now the only store within miles, forcing people into shopping there whether they want to or not . . . But on the internet one has multiple choices, so people do not have to shop at Amazon. I would love to see a mass exodus from it.

      1. justanotherprogressive

        You do have a point – there are many places to shop from on the Internet – not just Amazon!! Maybe Bezos needs a taste of his own medicine……

      2. Vatch

        …it also impoverishes municipalities of their rightful sales tax revenue.

        Internet vendors, especially Amazon, in effect enjoyed a huge subsidy by not charging customers sales tax. In many cases nowadays, they do have to charge the sales tax, but in its early years, Amazon reaped a huge benefit from this. Amazon is a very opportunistic parasite.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump is destroying the idol of the presidency. That’s a good thing. The Week (resilc)

    The American Shiva is working hard.

  15. hemeantwell

    Re the American Conservative article on Allison’s Thucydides Trap

    “While Britain long understood itself to be exceptional, it also generally understood itself to be particular—a distinct nation with distinct traditions—rather than universal. America, by contrast, has always conceived of itself in grandly universal and missionary terms, providing little scope for any other power to have an independent sphere. From ancient times, meanwhile, China conceived itself as being the center of civilization itself, even the center of the universe. These are not self-conceptions that can easily accommodate peer-to-peer relationships with other powers. China’s memory of more than a century of foreign domination, moreover, is if anything a deeper well of grievance than Germany’s anxiety of belatedness for having failed to achieve a unified identity comparable to Britain’s or France’s in time to establish its own global empire.”

    A nice reveal of the hogwash about assuming that traditions of national ambition, to the extent they can really be determined, determine power projection instead of material interests. The British Empire didn’t limit itself because of its particularistic as opposed to its universalistic cultural pretensions. The French, Dutch, German, American et al imperiums determined its limits. The Brits, aka British capital, would have been very happy to expand as much as possible. The present contest will be driven by the extent to which either party sees the other as blocking essential markets and resources. The conflict will be contained if those interests can be moderated and adjusted.

    It’s a shame that Allison is likely going to be remembered for this sagacious idealism. At the beginning of his career he did a fine paper on the different interest sets determining American policy during the Cuban missile crisis. Now he’s contributing to a version of national character theory, something that should be relegated to tipsy conversations among tourists.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      Apparently misusing the “The Thucydides Trap” is the new meme…..

    2. justanotherprogressive

      Hackers targeting US nuclear power plants…..and why not since our own CIA did the groundwork for them and even provided a working model (Stuxnet)…….

      Just another case of where nobody thought through what they were doing, I guess…..

      1. justanotherprogressive

        Yikes! Posted as a reply instead of an independent post. Sorry about that!!!

        1. sleepy

          Yet when I read your post I thought that was in reference to the fact that American values are indeed universal.

    3. Mark P.

      ‘At the beginning of his career he did a fine paper on the different interest sets determining American policy during the Cuban missile crisis.’

      Except that Allison’s framing of the Cuban missile crisis was entirely dishonest about why it happened and what it meant.

  16. Andrew Watts

    RE: What If the Chinese Are Just Biding Their Time?

    The Chinese are doing what they always do in a high-level game of Go. They build up a formidable defensive position with strong internal lines of communication. When it is near completion they begin increasing their influence on the periphery of their holdings. During this process they forge an outer defensive line which renders their position near invincible and dares their opponent to try to either attack prematurely or impulsively. Which typically leads to a decisive victory in a final confrontation that’s waged on their terms.

    It’s kinda unnecessary to say, but a Sino-American war probably isn’t going to go well for the US. The Chinese have basically completed phase one of their strategic plan. See Wikipedia entry on the “String of Pearls”. I forgot to mention that the Asians don’t call it ‘Go’. It’s kinda popular to refer to it as ‘War’ over there.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      On the trade-war and economic-war fronts, instead of the military war front (which in includes cyber warfare), we have both won and lost – we have lost badly to China in the undeclared trade and economic wars but on those same fronts, ‘we’, actually the elites, have won against the Deplorables .

      Net-net though, if you count the number of billionaires and their wealth, it’s a win!!!

      Should the Deplorables stage a comeback, perhaps China can be checked as well.

      1. optimader

        At a macro level China’s energy resources suck, if our environmental stewardship has issues, theirs is comparatively absurd on all levels, they are poisoning themselves at a prodigious rate, big fresh water issues, they messed with their population mix, they are at peak labor in an export based economy, they haw made impressive mal-investment —-and the Chinese with enough stolen wealth vote with their feet wanting to be in North America.

        Ok, we are presently in a mutual economic death embrace but I would much rather be here rather than there.

        1. Andrew Watts

          China is starting to build power plants it needs in nearby countries. Something like thirty plus coal-fire power plants are being built in surrounding countries that’ll probably end up exporting most of their power back to China. A lot of the wealthy people fleeing the country are people who would probably be executed by the state on corruption charges.

      2. Andrew Watts

        Dismantling your industrial base and impoverishing your people for short term gain seems like a dumb thing to do if you’re the dominant imperial power.

        But I wouldn’t accuse any of our dip—- imperialists of being smart either.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          An infamy, that shall be etched in the stone of history, when they started the war on the Deplorables, without officially declaring so.

          What a sneaky bunch of neoliberals.

    2. Toske

      That’s always been their strategy. They’ve always focused on defense and told themselves that they’re the most important, strong and civilized nation on Earth, but it doesn’t seem to have worked out so well for them. They’ve been the ones getting handily dominated by several nations over the centuries, some far smaller than them. Now they’ve gone and spent the last several decades polluting their country to hell to make actual goods for us in exchange for a bunch of fiat currency, and their slowdown is about to get even worse as factories continue to migrate back to rich nations thanks to automation.

  17. leftover

    The biggest opponent of Single Payer, a National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA), that is within reach of electorate influence is the Democratic Party. Single Payer legislation has been active in the House of Representatives since 2003. It is the Democrats that have consistently refused to do anything to forward that legislation past dumping it in committee. It is the Democrats that have consistently told the electorate Single Payer isn’t “feasible.” Democratic Party leadership won’t even request a CBO score for HR 676. It is the Democrats, right now, that will do everything in their power to squash Single Payer activism.

    While Republican politicos face healthcare policy protests at home, Democratic Party politicians, and their toadies, are being celebrated for trying to save ObamaCare®, the neoliberal healthcare policy legitimizing the priority of profit over patient outcomes, turning people into commodities to be traded like chattel in a for-profit marketplace. It will be the Democrats who will negotiate the End To Medicaid-As-We-Know-It. Just as they did with welfare in 1996. That’s what the Republicans want. The Democrats will make sure they get it. Business As Usual. So much for “Resistance.”

    Be it Trumpcare or ObamaCare®, when the industry shapes the debate, it wins either way. Because we lose.
    Capitalism…what a concept.

  18. WeakenedSquire

    Amazon has turned into one of those companies that does many things (barely) adequately but none well. I have given up on them for anything but books because the ever-gyrating prices are so fishy. Often you can’t even tell exactly what you’re buying because they have so many sellers marketing slightly varying quantities of the same thing with maddeningly imprecise product descriptions. I realize this is by design and not by accident. Sorry, Bezos, it’s not worth the hassle for this household.

    1. PeonInChief

      You have to be very careful and read the reviews. More than a few times, I’ve seen products for a good price, only to read the reviews and discover that it’s some kind of counterfeit or knockoff. And we got a free one-month Prime trial. I cancelled when I realized that I hadn’t used it once.

  19. Andrew Watts

    RE: Trump is destroying the idol of the presidency. That’s a good thing.

    Bah. It seems like after Nietzsche proclaimed the death of God people started transferring their superstitious belief into technological progress and government. That isn’t something I’ve suffered from considering how easily it is to trash the men who became presidents.

    In honor of the fourth of July, I choose to trash George Washington’s reputation. Anybody who says Washington is a good general is full of it. He is a strong competitor in the race for the title of worst military blunderer in American history. In the Battle of Long Island, Washington reinforced his isolated position instead of retreating after Howe landed over 10,000 troops. The British had naval superiority and superior land forces making Washington’s maneuver one of the most suicidal actions in American history. This might’ve led to the destruction of the entire Continental Army if the Howe brothers were more aggressive.

    The only reason why Washington doesn’t win handily is because American generals are often forced to play the role of diplomat and politician on behalf of, and frequently to, their own government. He usually excelled in this awkward position that military personnel of other countries aren’t typically required to fill.

    Incidentally, this example is more proof that Congress has always been full of self-serving and greedy fools. It’s a miracle we haven’t had a full-blown military coup in this country. Which is a reason why I can’t say that destroying the false idol of the presidency is a good thing. What institution left standing has the trust and faith of the American people?

    The military. “Uh-oh!”

  20. Patricia

    Re fighting with Dem party versus ‘unity’ versus third party.

    I’ve not been thoroughly reading NC recently, so don’t know whether following has been linked. Especially interesting on how Repubs run themselves:

    The article from Dissent, referenced in the article, is also worth reading:

    If formerly linked here, my apologies.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Cops Say Repeat Prison Escapee Got Help from a Drone Vice (resilc)

    Robot help (for land escapees) should be cheaper in the future.


    To leave the Devil’s Island, you would still need a sturdy drone (with room for one).

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Paris rolls out ‘red-white-and-blue carpet’ for banks Financial Times

    They can woo our banks as well.

    “Yankees go home! American banks, please stay.”

    1. Andrew Watts

      “Yankees go home! American banks, please stay.”

      Whatcha talkin’ about? Parisians love American tourists! Haha!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I may have to re-watch National Lampoon’s European Vacation. I thought the garçon wasn’t not too happy.

        “When in Paris, do as the Parisians do…Speak French.”

  23. Andrew Watts

    RE: The Next Phase of Middle East Conflict

    Hah. The Syrian Civil War isn’t even close to being over even if the fighting temporarily stops. There are so many plausible disaster scenarios that could lead to an escalated crisis.

    The recent grain harvest was well under the government’s projections leading to an increased risk of famine. This is in spite of better than average rainfall in the agricultural regions. The coalition of loosely connected military forces that support Damascus could evolve into Warlordism and the division of government controlled territory. The Syrian Democratic Forces and SAA could begin hostilities in earnest dragging their foreign supporters into the fray as well. The consolidation of rebel-jihadi forces under the leadership of Al Qaeda. The re-emergence of Islamic State in Syria is possible but it kinda seems like the least likely scenario to happen.

    I can’t honestly help but think all these people are mentally masturbating to a game of Risk. Furthermore, it looks like butchering yesterday’s comment into a ridiculous rhetorical farce was a waste of my time.

    RE: Trump Emerges From Putin Meeting With Cease-Fire and Little Else Given the apparent lack of groundwork, why is this being dissed?

    It’s nothing special because cease fires don’t last between armed groups in Syria. The Astana talks have reportedly failed to produce a new consensus much less an agreement between Russia-Iran-Turkey.

    There is a lot of other outstanding issues in Syria too. The Russians are probably angry that the US/SDF crossed the Euphrates and seized all the dams in the process. Even though attacking Raqqa into the well-prepared positions to the north of the city kinda seems like something a General Custer or some WWI general would do. Being denied a role in the liberation of Raqqa. Not to mention the bombing of SAA-allied forces in the south and the shoot down of the Syrian air force plane which overflew SDF units multiple times.

  24. optimader

    This week, Outside Magazine published an obituary of the Great Barrier Reef and it quickly went viral. “The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness,” the obituary began. “It was 25 million years old.” It turns out scientists aren’t very happy that the world’s largest coral reef system was proclaimed dead — mainly because it isn’t.

    “We’re very far from an obituary.”

    The Great Barrier Reef is definitely in a dire situation, but “we’re very far from an obituary,” Russell Brainard, chief of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Program at NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center….

    1. justanotherprogressive

      Actually the last line of that article says it all:

      “But if water temperatures continue to rise, then the Great Barrier Reef might indeed die. Then the Outside Magazine obituary will become true.”

      Sorry but I think that Brainard is being way too hopeful thinking that all those little band-aids will help, since we aren’t doing a thing to address the real problem of why the Great Barrier Reef is dying….

      1. optimader

        yes well that may be exactly right. Do you think any financial allocation to the TGBR will be better served by accurately stating it is dying rather than past tense dead?

        A closer to home healthcare analogy. Do you want to hear a medical practitioner in a hospital say you are dead??

        There is rarely harm in stating things accurately.

        1. justanotherprogressive

          I’m thinking if a doctor said I was dying, I’d definitely pay attention, and I’d prefer if he not sugarcoat the options…….but that doesn’t appear to be happening with the Great Coral Reef…….and all the sugarcoating of its ability to survive aren’t helping either….

          1. optimader

            I’m thinking if a doctor said I was dying, I’d definitely pay attention
            well, if he said you were dead that would pretty much narrow up your options wouldn’t it?

            1. justanotherprogressive

              Well, if a doctor told me I was dead, I’d make sure he put it in writing, because I’m going to have a hell of a time messing with all those people I was waiting for karma to take care of…..

              1. justanotherprogressive

                Errr….that should have been I’m going to have a hell of a good time……as in: “Remember me? I’m your new resident ghost…..”

              2. optimader

                To advance the metaphor you wont be collecting any Medicare and funds budgeted for reef study will presumably be substantially redirected elsewhere consistent with it being “dead”.

              1. optimader

                But when he/they said my mother was (brain)dead, what was I to do
                Sympathies on that, but I think that would be another thread. I’d start with a second opinion, then plan accordingly to her wishes if she expressed them.

                , both my parents are flaming out, Ironically it would be more merciful for my dad if he could mentally checkout rather than have literally all his physiological systems collapse while he is fully sentient. Difficult to watch. Even under the best conditions, there is no quality to life when all personal dignity is stripped away.

                1. John Zelnicker

                  @optimader – My sympathies. Watching parents approaching the end is always difficult. I think continuing awareness as one’s body deteriorates must be very difficult and it’s the one thing I probably fear the most now that I’m getting older (67). One of my parents died quickly and one slowly. There are advantages/disadvantages with each, and I hope your situation works out for the best. Just make sure, while they are still here, that there is nothing left unsaid.

                  1. optimader

                    Thanks for the sentiment John.

                    A difficulty that I didn’t fully anticipate is that although we were fortunate to be able get both parents into a “nursing” home, in home care was no longer practical, it is what is more specifically termed a “memory care facility” -Mom has Alzheimers. Woah, little did I know…

                    So my father is essentially the odd man out immersed in an environment of residence that are essentially out of their minds, no other way to put it.
                    The (underpaid) and seemingly always short-staffed staff is conditioned to dealing with residence at a most basic level of aptitude.
                    Fortunately my sister who is a RN, MHA is close by so she spends a lot of time there riding herd both on care issues and the facility administrators.
                    These homes are a hugely profitable racket owned by large Entities and they will provide as little care as they can get away with.
                    The administrators do not enjoy seeing my sister. I cannot imagine what goes on in geriatric care facilities where patients do not have savvy medical advocates.
                    How old, infirm and special needs people are cared for is a real measure of a society.

                    1. ambrit

                      Sorry about your ordeal, or more properly, your parents’ travails. Phyls Mom had Alzheimers, and was institutionalized, along with her husband, John. He was mentally all there but physically failing. Your observation about your Dads’ “odd man out” status is too true. John essentially gave up and let himself die. Lesson here is that the aware component of the dyad needs reinforcement and “something to live for.” Your Dad is lucky in having a strong family to support him. The evidence suggests that the family member care givers of Alzheimers patients die off more quickly than the Alzheimers patients they help. Plain old depression is a daily companion when one is in the caregivers situation.
                      Your sister is right to hold the facilities operators feet to the fire. We saw the “banality of evil” first hand in our semi regular visits to John and Kathy in the “Home.” As an example, Phyllis got absolutely nowhere in “advocating” for a healthier diet for her parents while they were living in the “Warehouse.” The meals served to the inmates were invariably institutional cafeteria food. When the large conglomerate bought out the owners of the facility about halfway through John and Kathy’s stay there, the food, if you could believe it, became even more “institutionalized.” Of the dozen or so times we visited in the latter regime period, we never once saw anything fresh on the plate.
                      Keep supporting your sisters visits to the “Home.” They are your Dad’s lifeline to sanity.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    A Court Is Considering A Request To Halt The Trump Election Commission’s Request For State Voter Lists Buzzfeed. Notice that Arkansas is the only state to have turned over the data.

    Does it make any difference it’s a request, and not a demand, to each state?

    Can’t one simply decline a request, without requesting the court to halt it?

    1. Edward E

      Yes, from what I understand more than a dozen states did reject the request.

      Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office said Wednesday that it will share some Arkansas voter data with a commission tasked by President Donald Trump to investigate voter fraud.

      However, Chris Powell, a spokesman for the office, said information considered confidential — including Social Security numbers, felony convictions, military status and driver’s license numbers — will be withheld. Names, addresses, dates of birth, political party affiliations, voter history since 2008, registration status, email addresses and phone numbers will be shared.

      Powell said the office would provide the same information to anyone who filed a state Freedom of Information Act request. He said political parties, companies, researchers and other individuals frequently request the database information. He noted that the database does not say for whom someone voted — only whether or not they voted…

      … According to statements and news reports, three of the six states surrounding Arkansas are planning similar responses. Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma election officials said they will provide public voter information to the election commission but will protect private information.

      The Texas and Missouri secretaries of state are Republicans. Oklahoma elections are administered by a state board whose members are appointed by the governor, currently a Republican.

      However, officials from Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi rejected the commission’s request for various reasons.

      Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, a Republican, accused the commission of “playing politics” and said “you can purchase the limited public information, available by law, to any candidate running for office. That’s it.”

      Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, a Republican, said Tennessee law does not allow him to release the requested information.

      Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, said in a statement: “My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great state to launch from.”

      Kris Kobach, vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, told The Associated Press that news stories stating that 44 states have “refused” to provide voter information to the commission are “patently false.”

      Kobach said 20 states have agreed to comply with the request, while 16 are reviewing what information they can release.

      He said only 14 states and the District of Columbia have refused the request outright. Kobach said the commission will use public records requests to obtain data that states won’t provide.

      When Powell was asked if Martin, a Republican, had any concerns about submitting the information to a national database, Powell said, “Voter list data is made publicly available by law, and it’s not unusual for us to get a request for this kind of information.”

      1. HotFlash

        Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, said in a statement: “My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great state to launch from.”

        Interesting. Gotta find out more about this guy.

        So, about the Mississippi stars’n’bars flag, after the Dylan Roof shootings, in a written statement, Hosemann said

        “Our State will be 200 years old in 2017. If the flag does not represent our citizens today, then we, as a body, should select one that does.

        This discussion must not deter from our efforts to create jobs, address the autism epidemic, reduce crime or educate our children.”

        Seen worse.

  26. Altandmain

    Bernie Sanders Is Doing What Democrats Refuse To Do – He’s Talking To Americans

    The Democrats hate Bernie because he exposes their true nature …. and he might actually build a connection with people.

    Why Half of America Doesn’t Even Live Paycheck to Paycheck

    It’s the class warfare! Wages aren’t high enough.

    The Mass Killing of Civilians, Now in Syria and Iraq, Is Part of a Long Depressing Pattern of American War Making

    The ongoing war in the Middle East is very much like Vietnam and a lot of innocent people are getting killed.

    How the Booker Window Explains Centrist Implosion

    Is this guy seriously the best the Establishment can do for 2020? :p

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Be consistent with ‘it’s up to you.’

      Bernie Sanders Is Doing What Democrats Refuse To Do – He’s Talking To Americans

      The Democrats hate Bernie because he exposes their true nature …. and he might actually build a connection with people.

      To be consistent with ‘not up to me,’ it should be ‘Americans are talking with other Americans.’

      “Even Deplorables are Americans….even Libertarians, I suppose.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “No. You go talk with those Americans (those right wing Americans).”

      2. CD

        I’ve read a few slams here against the Dems. I think they deserve much of that criticism. Call them self-satisfied, overconfident, self-blindered, and so on.

        However, I think it’s easy to underestimate the size of the the task now facing the Dems. It includes jobs such as — coming up with a direction and set of beliefs [What are we for?], deciding how to finance the next Presidential and Cong races, deciding how to tear away from Wall Street, building stronger research foundations like the right, getting out the progressive message [this took the Reps years to do], taking back a few governorships, finding new faces who buy the new marching orders, and so on.

        Will two or three years be enough to do most of this? The Dems may lose the next Presidential election because they may need more time and work to re-group. Wouldn’t surprise me.

        Then again, the Reps may put suicide vests on each other and self-implode over health care and tax change legislation. The common wisdom is that Reps give a good talk but can’t legislate.

        1. HotFlash

          It includes jobs such as — coming up with a direction and set of beliefs [What are we for?], deciding how to finance the next Presidential and Cong races, deciding how to tear away from Wall Street, building stronger research foundations like the right, getting out the progressive message [this took the Reps years to do], taking back a few governorships, finding new faces who buy the new marching orders, and so on


          They could maybe start with, oh, Medicare for All, no corporate campaign $$, um, what else was it that old guy said?

        2. Massinissa

          Its hard to get a group of politicians to understand something when they get political donations for not understanding it…

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Rachel Maddow’s Exclusive “Scoop” About a Fake NSA Document Raises Several Key Questions Glenn Greenwald, Intercept

    What was that they said – you have to just repeat it often enough.

    And the more unbelievable the story, the harder for people to reject when the story comes from what they perceive to be what-things-are.

    Then change comes (regime change at the propaganda ministry or the paper money printing bureau), and it’s all worthless, and despised.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Hawaii, Alaska contemplate coming into North Korean missile range Reuters. EM:

    Unwittingly funny headline – picture state officials in AK and HI contemplating: ‘Hmm, maybe it would be a good thing for us to move into North Korean missile range – might be a good way to get more money from DC.’ Anyway, they’ve been within missile range of China and the deplorable Rooskies for over a half-century now, so the alarmism seems overdone. But whatever helps sell that ad copy, right, Reuters?

    Russia and China have more to lose.

    They are like Americans with mortgaged homes. You can sit down and threaten, sorry, negotiate with them.

    “This is a nice neighborhood, with good schools for you kids.”

    N. Koreans are more like hungry Russians before they stormed the Winter Palace, or the French after being told that they could eat cake.

    They should be feared, like Chinese workers are by Beijing (per a comment earlier this week).

    1. HotFlash

      It should be easy for Hawaii, but Alaska will have to unhitch from Canada. Well, as my Momma used to say, where there’s a will there’s a way…

    1. allan

      Also too:

      Former Obama staffers say they’re running for office to protect his legacy [San Jose Mercury News]

      As one of Barack Obama’s top political organizers, Buffy Wicks plotted national campaign strategy, mobilized support for the Affordable Care Act and helped marshal the thousands of volunteers who carried Obama to the White House. …

      Wicks is one of at least 20 former Obama administration staffers who have decided to seek elected office around the country in the eight months since President Donald Trump’s election. From former interns to senior officials, they’re running for everything from school board to city council to Congress to governor.

      Part of the inspiration is simply being out of a job. If Democrat Hillary Clinton had won the presidency, many would have been contenders for top White House posts. But most say they also feel a responsibility to protect Obama’s hard-won policies as the Trump administration tries to put them through a wood-chipper. …

      Responsibility to protect. Used without a shred of self-awareness or irony.

      Clinton, Inc., and Obama, LLC, have no intention of going gentle into that good night …

      1. David Carl Grimes

        This is why Obama bought a house in DC – instead of renting. He plans to stay longer than the 2 years it will take his youngest daughter to graduate from High School

      2. Vatch

        From the article:

        Kelly Gonez, 29, interned on Obama’s campaign and worked as a policy adviser in the Department of Education before running for and winning a seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education earlier this year.

        “I’m a very introverted person, so being in elected office was not something I pictured for myself,” the former science teacher said. But Trump’s election made her realize that her work for the federal government — helping write handbooks for educators about how to support undocumented students and consulting on policies banning immigration enforcement activity in schools — was under threat.

        “Seeing someone try to take away undocumented kids’ opportunity to get a good public education made me think a voice like mine was needed,” she said. Besides, she added, the fact that Trump became president helped alleviate her doubts that she was qualified for school board.

        More on Ms. Gonez:

        Kelly Fitzpatrick-Gonez is the District 6 representative on the Los Angeles Unified School District school board in California. Fitzpatrick-Gonez won a first term in the by-district general election on May 16, 2017.

        Fitzpatrick-Gonez was one of two newcomers elected to the board on May 16, 2017, and their elections marked a change in the board majority. Prior to the general election, a majority of the board was supported by the teachers union, which was reflected in a 4-3 vote to support three state bills regulating charter schools in April 2017. The vote was split between those supported by the teachers union, who voted in favor of the resolution, and those supported by charter school associations. Fitzpatrick-Gonez and fellow newcomer Nick Melvoin voiced opposition to the resolution.

        Hmm. A charter school supporter.

      3. Edward E

        I would go ahead out on a limb and say Ivanka will do that for her dad. Or maybe she was just trying to make sure world leaders know about Ivanka Trump fine

      1. optimader

        Looks like a class act
        The girl with prison quality tattoos should have left the gray on?

        In the weeks leading up to the summit, police cars have been burned and train lines have been sabotaged.

        Authorities in Hamburg and the nearby city of Rostock have confiscated improvised weapons such as fire-extinguishers filled with flammable liquid, baseball bats and other items in several raids.


    1. optimader

      Apparently the irony is lost on the nitwit taking the selfie using an iconic tool of capitalism??
      John R is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  29. lambert strether

    Link to Grist–

    You’d think there would be a Grif Magazine.

    Business model!

  30. lambert strether

    Link to Grist–

    You’d think there would be a Grift Magazine.

    Business model!

    1. ambrit

      I know that it’s too snarky but, the present incarnation of the MSM follows the “Grift Industries Communications Modelling Method.” What did we expect when it became clear that the “National Enquirer” was the template for ‘modern’ information dissemination.
      I can hear Bezos or Zuckerberg now; “But it’s honest grift!”

  31. kareninca

    Yale study re why women freeze eggs for future use. The guess had been that it was in order to be able to better climb the professional ladder. But, it seems that it is due to a shortage of partners who are seen to be adequate.

    “Researchers found that in more than 90 per cent of cases, the women were attempting to buy extra time because they could not find a partner to settle down with, amid a “dearth of educated men”.
    Experts said the research busts the myth that “selfish career women” were choosing to put their fertility on ice in a bid to put their careers first.”

    I do see this. There are a lot fewer men going to college these days than women. And although I know some women who don’t mind marrying “down” educationally, I mostly see it in rural areas like I’m from; in the old days it would be the farmer who married the schoolteacher (in the recent case of a family friend of mine, the schoolteacher who married a prison guard who hadn’t gone to college but who is very smart). I’m not seeing a lot of it among the upper middle class; I’d be curious what other people are seeing.

    I am seeing perhaps a little change here in Silicon valley. I was waiting for the bathroom with an acquaintance who is 45 and never married. She has always dated very well educated men (she went to Rice). I am so tired of seeing her be poor; she works hard at interesting jobs but she does not have money for eyeglasses or a safe place to live in Oakland. I gestured to a room nearby where the Ham radio club was meeting. I said, jokingly, “lots of tolerably marriageable men with pensions in there.” Her eyes widened. It was like a light went on. She said, “you know, I am looking for excitement most of all. But a pension sounds very, very good.”

    This could be filed under “crapification of life.”

    1. ambrit

      As an amplification to your comment: I am a sixty something balding white haired male. In my present job I have encountered several customers, all female so far, who picked me, (I must look very non threatening,) to unload a similar story on. Retail sales floors have a sufficient degree of anonymity to allow the unburdening of grief without the threat of exposure and subsequent humiliation before ones’ peers. Once I establish that I am in a “long term relationship,” even more freedom of expression becomes evident. (I am thus a Triple Non Threat; Older, non Lascivious, and Constrained.) Several of these women stated out front that they had borne children partially to cement an existing relationship. Said relationship goes the way of all flesh, and the woman is left with a child to raise alone or with help from her kinship group. Most of these women subtly were asking me, (as a representative of the Patriarchy perhaps,) how far they should submit themselves to the importunings of the men in their lives.
      I don’t know how well it works but I tell them that relationships are two way streets. Stand up for themselves and do not settle for just anything. I haven’t considered before your comment that the dearth of “worthy” partners could be a permanent condition.
      As a side issue with this situation would be the large numbers of children growing up in single parent households. I see so many twenty something women now with a child and no partner. Anyone here who grew up that way, or know about it? Information is needed.

      1. CD

        I think educated black women face the same problem situation. Few educated, professional black men.

        I would guess that some will date suitable white men, even though the woman’s family may disapprove.

        1. ambrit

          Consider where I am writing from, Mississippi, and then realize that there are a lot of mixed race children of young women, say, sixteen up into the low twenties in age visible in the public mix here. Both black and white women have these mixed children. It is becoming socialized at the “street level.” What is interesting to note, and a check for internal biases to boot, is that the young men involved are showing an equal opportunity exploitiveness towards women. This bodes ill for social cohesion, at least, the old fashioned nuclear family model of society. The extended family is returning to America in a different form, out of necessity. Welcome to the Neo Third World.

      2. kareninca

        Well, the claim is that kids raised by single moms are just fine (from Science news; just came out): I don’t know. My dad was and is (knock on wood; he’s in lousy shape) such a great thing in my life that it is depressing to me to think of kids without dads. I guess if you don’t have one maybe you don’t miss it? Single moms do seem to create big social groups for their kids.

        I have a neighbor who told me that she decided not to date at all until her daughter went off to college. Since she didn’t feel she could trust non-biologically related men around her daughter. I know so many women who were molested by their mom’s boyfriend or their stepfather that I think that she was showing depressingly good sense.

        1. ambrit

          I’ve observed such hypervigilance towards juvenile females quite a bit. It’s as if, young mothers have figured out that the “Sexy Sadie” persona so heavily propagandized to young females is really a load of s–t.

    2. Michael

      i kinda hate to post this because I share this view with some of the worst cretins on the planet, but women seek upward mobility in marriage. For various reasons- many of them positive changes to society (which is where I differ from the cretins who want to roll everything back)– there are very few men to choose from for women with high social status themselves.

      Consider also that the men they consider their equals are generally attached at a much younger age or are chasing women younger than women of the age where egg freezing starts to make sense.

      So women want social status in a partner, men want youth, and that leaves a giant hole for younger unaccomplished men and older accomplished women.

    1. Blennylips

      just went to Search page for Chicago. Nothing. goto the US section and scan page. double nada. enter chicago in the search box and return.

      top “card???” from CNN: “Chicago’s new requirement for high school students: No plan, no diploma” Only HS story on the page.

      Click into the story and one mention of military:

      Under a controversial new requirement, starting in 2020, students hoping to graduate from a public high school in Chicago must provide evidence they, too, have a plan for the future: either acceptance to college or a gap-year program, a trade apprenticeship, military enlistment or a job offer.

      “It will help students think about what they want to do next in life,” said Gillarm, who wants to study exercise science in college.

      Strategic deployment of the new

      Did they count on CNN’s reputation swirling down the drain about now? While ZH’s is rising…

  32. ewmayer

    o From “Rachel Maddow’s Exclusive “Scoop” About a Fake NSA Document Raises Several Key Questions | Glenn Greenwald, Intercept”:

    None of this is to suggest that there is no newsworthy story here. It appears, at least if one accepts Maddow’s descriptions of the document, that someone did send her an altered document. But there is a massive difference in terms of the importance of this story if it was sent by some random person from the public who obtained the document after The Intercept published it, as opposed to someone who had access to it before publication.

    Greenwald is being far too kind – how is a pretty-faced self-promoting bubblehead like Maddow who works for an MSM fake-news-and-propaganda outlet like MSNBC falling for a 4Chan-style prank newsworthy, except in the sense that it reinforces why outfits like MSNBC have 0 credibility left and should be shunned by anyone interested in the truth?

    o “Facebook seeks ‘closer world’ on its future campus | Financial Times” — ‘Closer’ is clearly a typo, should read ‘closed’. You’re welcome, FT.

    1. kimsarah

      She talks down to viewers like 10-year-olds because that’s what she assumes the intelligence level is, if that.

  33. optimader

    Hawaii, Alaska contemplate coming into North Korean missile range Reuters. EM:
    one may ask, nice places nd all, but what is worth trying to blow up in either Hawaii or Alaska that justifies an act of suicide?

    1. Oregoncharles

      Pearl Harbor.

      Both are thick with military installations, to say nothing of the oil fields and shipping docks.

      Granted, I don’t think those justify suicide; fortunately, that consideration has prevented nuclear war for most of my life.

  34. bob


    “In April 2014, the same month the city switched to the Flint River, KWA sold $220 million in bonds to more than 30 investors, including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc. The latter had previously acquired the investment banking and financial restructuring firm Miller Buckfire, which played a key role in the Snyder administration’s conspiracy to throw Detroit into bankruptcy.”

    The phrase “public infrastructure” doesn’t mean anything anymore. The muni bonds are the end, the “infrastructure” is the mean. To produce the bonds. The “public” part is the people who is backstopping all of this, in the names of JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc..

    Without the middlemen, how on earth could the market function? /s

    Bankruptcy is very lucrative for the monied classes. As well as tax free income, they then end up with the checkbook, and no troublesome democracy in the way.

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