Links 8/3/17

‘Exceptional’ British record shark caught off Cornwall BBC

Rabbit ears are back! Antenna sales back on the rise as millennials are shocked to discover broadcast TV is FREE Daily Mail

UPDATED: Siedle, Raimondo Critic, to be Awarded $48M in SEC Record Whistleblower Case Private equity sleaze.

Steep fees call into question bitcoin’s promise for the underbanked America Banker

Tesla mum on new accounting rules that could significantly change financial results Francine McKenna, MarketWatch

Electric-Car Revolution Is Shaking Up the Biggest Metals Markets Bloomberg

The Cobalt Pipeline WaPo. Good article on “blood cobalt” in your cell phone, but this: “The worst conditions affect Congo’s ‘artisanal’ miners — a too-quaint name for the impoverished workers who mine without pneumatic drills or diesel draglines.” “Artisanal miners.” I can’t even.

Climate change to cause humid heatwaves that will kill even healthy people Guardian. “The new analysis assesses the impact of climate change on the deadly combination of heat and humidity, measured as the “wet bulb” temperature (WBT). Once this reaches 35C, the human body cannot cool itself by sweating and even fit people sitting in the shade will die within six hours.” India: “Summer or pre-monsoon season, lasting from April to June (April to July in northwestern India). In western and southern regions, the hottest month is April; for northern regions of India, May is the hottest month. Temperatures average around 32–40 °C (90–104 °F) in most of the interior.” The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.

‘Flash drought’ could devastate half the High Plains wheat harvest Grist


Venezuela: 10 Dead, 200 Voting Centers Attacked as US Sanctions Maduro Venezuelanalysis

Venezuela vote fix: President added an extra MILLION votes in blood-soaked election to make him a dictator as fears are raised country will default on huge debts Daily Mail. On the e-voting fix: Smartmatic.

Venezuela – The National Constituent Assembly is in Place – But the fight for Sovereignty isn’t Over Vineyard of the Saker. The post doesn’t mention oil. Odd.

AP Explains: Brazil Congress to vote on president’s future AP


Trump Says U.S.‘Losing’ Afghan War in Tense Meeting With Generals NYT

US Threatens To Pull This War Over If Everyone Doesn’t Stop Asking For An Afghan Strategy Break Duffel Blog

Reuters Suggests But Can Not Find “Iran’s new route to Yemen” Moon of Alabama


Brussels fears Britain’s ‘Brexit chaos’ part of cunning plan Politico

United Ireland referendum is inevitable after Brexit, says Irish parliamentary report author Independent

Brexit: At-a-glance guide to the UK-EU negotiations BBC

Grenfell: names of wealthy empty-home owners in borough revealed Guardian

Why exorcisms are on the rise in France The Economist (MT). MT: “So no chance having exorcists purge the evil out of neoliberals, right?”


China’s Cashless Revolution Bloomberg

China’s FX regulator joins fight to shut problematic offshore M&A FT

Amazon and Alibaba square off in Southeast Asia Nikkei Asian Review

Our Famously Free Press

Using Tech Tools to Do Data Reporting NYT. I guess that’s why the Times could axe 27 reporters and gut the copy desk; they’re going to do everything with data! Oh, and video.

New Cold War

HAMILTON 68: DASHBOARD TRACKING RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA ON TWITTER German Marshall Fund Alliance for Securing Democracy. From the FAQ:

Q. Why don’t you name these accounts? Can you tell me if a specific account is a Russian bot?

By analyzing large groups of accounts, we can track the activity and focus of the network using accounts from each category. Our analytical methods allow us to determine when groups of accounts are acting in a synchronized manner, but they do not always allow us to definitively separate the sources of influence (knowing instigators of and participants in Russian influence campaigns) and unknowing participants (people who participate without realizing they are being manipulated). We prefer to focus on the behavior of the overall network rather than get dragged into hundreds of individual debates over which troll fits which role.

(“… which troll fits which role” is, as I am sure readers instantly realized, a textbook case of question begging.) “I have here in my hand a list…” Here’s the advisory board. They seem nice. Bipartisan. And here’s a sample of the results of their activity tracking. You can run your eye over them, just to get a notion of the quality:

Looks like Laurene Powell Jobs and the Emerson Collective have a silent partner…

The Hacking Wars Are Going to Get Much Worse NYT. “It’s only a matter of time before a state’s response to a cyberattack escalates into full-blown military conflict.” And if I were looking for the mother of all self-licking ice cream cones, cyber, where attacks have attribution problems that are (purported to be) solved only by intelligence community technocrats working in secret, would be my ideal candidate. Not that I’m foily.

Oh, Wait. Maybe It Was Collusion. NYT. Readers may entertain themselves by enumerating the rich variety of qualifiers in this piece. In the space of two paragraphs, I caught “probably”, “could have”, “entirely plausible”, “might then have”, and “might well have.” Which would be ludicrous, if material like this was also not being used to construct a casus belli.

* * *

Trump signs what he calls ‘seriously flawed’ bill imposing new sanctions on Russia WaPo. The image of Trump holding up an umbrella is telling.

New Russian Sanctions Show Putin Exactly Where To Retaliate Medium

Ban lift on German OPAL line will let Russian gas flow New Europe (MT).

* * *

The Week Donald Trump Lost the South China Sea Foreign Policy. The Blob.

Making sense of the known unknowns in the South China Sea The Lowy Interpreter. The Blob’s pseudopodium in Oz.

On Being Nosey Ribbon Farm

Not a shot! Anti-vax movement prompts Brooklynites to withhold inoculations from their pets, vets say Brooklyn Paper

Should we stop keeping pets? Why more and more ethicists say yes Guardian

Trump Transition

The story behind our Trump golf story (and a certain explosive quote) (with podcast) Golf

Trump’s 6 red alerts Mike Allen, Axios

* * *

John Kelly Is Destined to Fail Frank Rich, New York Magazine (Re Silc) vs. John Kelly closes the Oval Office door Axios. The latter sure reads like a beat sweetener to me.

Marines on top: Defense Secretary James Mattis must be feeling good about this lineup Foreign Policy

Trump’s new top aide assures Sessions his job is safe AP

* * *

Trump isn’t changing the Republican Party. The Republican Party is changing Trump. WaPo

Washington ‘swamp’ sucks life from Trump trade strategy FT

How Romney Loyalists Hijacked Trump’s Foreign Policy The American Conservative

Trump has lost his gift for propaganda The Week

Democrats in Disarray

Zuckerberg hires former Clinton pollster Joel Benenson Politico. Good. Great!

Sen. Cory Booker just introduced a bill that could legalize marijuana nationwide Vox. Sanders introduced a bill to deschedule marijuana in 2015. Importantly “The legislation would also be retroactive, so it would automatically expunge federal marijuana use and possession crimes from people’s records and let those currently serving time in prison for marijuana use or possession petition for resentencing.” Personally, I think it’s a very good sign when even the most vile opportunists compete to do the right thing.

Democrats may be losing, but centrists aren’t Carl Beijer

Class Warfare

UAW Vote At Mississippi Nissan Plant Begins Aug. 3 NPR

Struggling Americans Once Sought Greener Pastures—Now They’re Stuck WSJ

Modern Family Dissent. Important!

Terrifying news about the state of the Republic Fabius Maximus. I’ve resolved to ignore all articles with “terrifying” in the headline, but I’m making an exception in this case. (Here is the full article, a PDF from Journal of Democracy.)

New Deal Archive and Map The Living New Deal (marym). Amazing.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. feox

      I must recommend that article.

      First, let me preface that I don’t believe that the bumbling incompetence of Brexit is in any way false or a pretense. It is true ineptitude caused by the same factors as those causing the incompetence of the Obamacare repeal: in both cases, the Right spent many years promising multiple self-contradictory and irrealistic things (sovereignty and frictionless trade in Brexit; no mandate and pre-existing conditions in Obamacare repeal) while packing those intellectual discrepancies into the culture war to fool the electorate. The voters finally gave the Right the full power to do what was promised to them. But of course, there was no plan because they could not be a plan because no plan could ever satisfy the aforementioned contradictions.

      That being said, I think North’s contention that enormous capital interests (from the UK and elsewhere) is getting ready to profit from the chaos and buy out the UK on cheap is very much true. Afterall, it would just be stupid to lose the many opportunities of a good “disruptive transition”.

      1. Craig H.

        In the Economist last week they had a scorching article where they claimed the government has not one single employee who had participated in trade negotiations in the last twenty years. It was as dismal as Krugman predicting the stock market was going to crash the day after the election. I would link it but it went into the recycle bin and I can’t find it with my google bar.

    2. Terry Flynn

      Thanks for that. V interesting.
      Regarding Irish unity – I think that once a BREXIT deal is finally hammered out it may well make a soft border between the Republic and Northern Ireland impossible in practice – smuggling of people, goods, etc, and I doubt that any soft BREXIT deal is on the cards at the moment. At that point I agree with the Indie author that there’ll be sufficient pressure in the north for a referendum. Of course you could establish the trade-offs between sticking with various exited-hard-border-UK options and a straight re-unification with southern Ireland among Northern Irelanders….but doing a choice model would be far too sensible…..and I don’t think I’ll get my fingers burnt again touching such issues! In any case my name would make me appear hopelessly partisan – when I really don’t care about NI one way or the other!

    3. vidimi

      John Helmer shone his torchlight on legatum on a couple of occasions. just another corrupt, billionnaire-funded shill tank.

  1. David Creamon

    I cannot understand why a normal, healthy person would want to keep a dog in a city. As a companion for the elderly or as an assistant for those with disabilities, fine.

    1. Yves Smith

      There are a lot of dog breeds that don’t need a lot of activity and they do fine in apartments. Counterintuitively, some big dogs like Great Danes are pretty lazy and make good apartment dogs, but I’d never feel comfortable optically with a big dog in anything less than a big apartment.

      Here is a list of apartment dog candidates:

      There is an 18 year old Jack Russell in our building that is going strong and seems quite happy.

      1. j84ustin

        And Chows are good apartment/urban dogs as well. They need less exercise than your average dog. Mine (chow mix) was happy living in the city.

        1. a different chris

          German Shepherds (Alsatians if we are mad at the Germans again) can also do apartments surprisingly enough, but there is the mauling of guests and the incredible shedding, so few at least in the US try.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            My plush coat GSD doesn’t shed too badly. She doesn’t have the undercoat like a short-haired type. She can do lazy but she’d far rather be active. Being a responsible dog owner for a GSD is *great* daily exercise, and gets you out and moving when you definitely would otherwise not.

            1. savedbyirony

              Second the shedding comment though our short coated Bella’s shedding isn’t too bad most of the year. Twice a year for about two weeks at a time she blows her coat and then, well, one could knit a sweater.

              I think German Shepherds can make great apartment dogs for someone who would prefer to have a mid-sized dog in the city just as long as they do as you say and responsibly exercise them vigorously twice a day. Especially for someone living in a warmer climate, ours at least prefers to nap from late morning to late afternoon but early mornings and around dusk she wants to play and run. More challenging with them is they really need a job and mental stimulation and human company throughout the day. A lonely GSD with little mental stimulation is likely to take apart the house and imo not having her needs met.

              Oh, and for dealing with the mauling of guests, if they are crate trained (meaning to go lie down in their crate on command when guest arrive, which is easy to train them to do so long as they have not been conditioned to see the crate as a place of punishment rather than their den), that is a way to introduce the dog and guests when all is calm.

              Never thought i would want a German Shepard for a dog. We always had various retrievers or mutts before and then we stumbled into taking in this dog. She’s wonderful, good company and plenty of work. Love the breed now and very impressed with how quickly and willingly they learn. And no doubt having her in our life makes us better people as we try to give her a good life as well.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Yes. And that’s part of the problem. Pets are animals, not people. Humans do not give birth to puppies or kittens.

          Denying biology does not make animals into children.

          1. witters

            “Denying biology does not make animals into children.”

            Coevolution is more complicated than that: Consider: When a mother and a baby look into each other’s eyes, their oxycontin levels rise. And this rise is pleasurable and so encourages them to look more and again, and this further pushes up their oxycontin levels… You can see how it goes. And the same is true of us and dogs when we look into each other’s eyes! Hence, perhaps, the reason so many see their dog as their “child”, and why that seeing is not exactly a delusion.

      1. Anon

        Because they provide “friendship”? Act as sentinel? Provide theatre at the dog park? Provide conversational entre’ while walking them. Apparently, some male homeless use them for protection.

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      Why are pet ‘companions’ just for the elderly? I’d like to have a dog, and I’m only in my mid-50s (please don’t tell me that makes me elderly). At the same time, a single elderly friend (late 80s) of mine bristles when people idly suggest he get a ‘companion’ pet — “What do I need one of those for?”

    3. justanotherprogressive

      When I was living in the DC area, I couldn’t have a pet because I traveled so much. But there are dog owners out there who will let you pet their pooches, and I am grateful that they did. Just seeing a friendly face and getting a chance to pet them on my walk to the Metro just made my whole day brighter. I now have pets and I can’t imagine being without them, no matter where I live……

      1. perpetualWAR

        I, too, cannot imagine life without a dog. In today’s world their is such loneliness…..however, you cannot be lonely with a 4-legged companion in your house.

        Dogs Rule. And Drool.

    4. Arizona Slim

      I agree with what was said in the petkeeping article. People have pets because they want them.

    5. funemployed

      I think this article does a disservice to dog and cat owners. Dogs and cats aren’t like Chinchillas or Geckos. They have coevolved with humans in mutually willing and beneficial relationships for 10s of thousands of years. Dogs in particular are emotionally and evolutionarily connected to humans in deep ways.

      Without humans, dogs wouldn’t exist. They’d still be wolves. Casting them out of our societies after all this time doesn’t seem ethical to me, but borderline genocidal.

      1. Ted

        Yes, but those people are “ethicists” and by god they know what’s right. When did “ethicist” become a thing anyway?

        1. pebird

          Ethicist = someone who pontificates about ethics.

          Does not mean an ethicist has ethics or can identify an ethical crisis, just as an economist is not necessarily wealthy nor can identify an economic crisis.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > When did “ethicist” become a thing anyway?

          When the market took over and nobody had any anymore.

          Adding, random Google search:

          Norman Bowie dates the birth of business ethics as November 1974, with the first conference in business ethics, which was held at the University of Kansas, and which resulted in the first anthology used in the new courses that started popping up thereafter in business ethics.12 Whether one chooses that date or some other event, it is difficult to identify any previous period with the sort of concerted activity that developed in a short period thereafter. In 1979 three anthologies in business ethics appeared: Tom Beauchamp and Norman Bowie, Ethical Theory and Business; Thomas Donaldson and Patricia Werhane, Ethical Issues in Business: A Philosophical Approach; and Vincent Barry, Moral Issues in Business. In 1982 the first single-authored books in the field appeared: Richard De George, Business Ethics; and Manuel G. Velasquez, Business Ethics: Concepts and Cases. The books found a ready market, and courses in business ethics both in philosophy departments and in schools of business developed rapidly. As they did, the number of textbooks increased exponentially.

          The field developed very similarly to the field of medical ethics, which had emerged ten years earlier in the 1960s, and the name paralleled that of the earlier field—although even whether the term “business ethics” should be adopted was discussed among the relatively small group that was engaged in starting what has become a field. The seminal work of John Rawls in 1971, A Theory of Justice, had helped make the application of ethics to economic and business issues more acceptable to academic philosophers than had previously been the case.

          I would love to know who the first “ethicist” was, by which I mean the person who first hung out their shingle with “ethicist” on it (and not some long-dead philosopher).

      2. jawbone

        And a good many cats learned to connect so well with humans that they are supremely good at training their humans….

        I welcome my furry overlord. I do wish she would herd toward the food bowl alongside me, instead of in front of me!

        But do give indoor plenty of active play time.

        1. a different chris

          Yeah, at least she/he has an excuse as she wants to “show you” the food bowl like you are too stupid to remember where it is. But in other cases, cats simply cannot admit they are following you. So they walk in front of you but keep turning back to see where you are actually going and hilarity (to onlookers, anyway) ensues.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I checked. Kittens do this to get their moms to stop and nurse.

            When my cats want the laser pointer or to go out on the porch, they just run on ahead to where they want to be. They don’t wait for me.

            Because we feed them when they are annoying, it just reinforces the behavior.

      3. Lee

        My dogs are among the best people I have ever known.

        Also, I will never again keep just one dog. Most I’ve known absolutely hate being left at home alone and some will act out destructively.

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Dogs in particular are emotionally and evolutionarily connected to humans

        That’s what I don’t like about dogs. The neediness [ducks].

        To be fair, if Lorenz’s distinction between canus lupus and canus aureus holds, it’s the wolf I prefer. But even then.

        1. Carl

          Nothing beats being greeted by the dog when you walk in the door, even when you’ve been gone 5 minutes.

        2. kareninca

          There’s neediness and neediness. None of our dogs have been emotionally needy. They have been too psychologically healthy for that. We are basically treat and walk servants. Even dogs that are psychologically needy can generally have their emotional needs met by a second dog. But – they have had veterinary needs that keep us restricted to a very small choice of geographical areas, since we are not willing to see anyone but a real specialist for specialty problems. The problem is that (for instance), there are only three really great dog gastroenterologists in the entire country; it is nothing like human medicine. The actual vet visits and treatments aren’t all that costly (a minuscule fraction of what the human equivalents would be), but having to live near veterinary schools can be very costly. Taking your pet to an incompetent vet – and there are plenty of them – by accident really focuses the mind.

    6. David Creamon

      After reading all the replies, I think I need to requalify my statement to mean “dogs not suited to the urban environment!” Thanks for all the interesting info.

    7. Carl

      We live in a city, and we have a big back yard, so our dogs have lots of exercise and fresh air. In addition, we walk them daily, and sometimes take them to various dog parks. They seem happy with their lives.

  2. JTMcPhee

    Marines on top: Are they the new Praetorian Guard?

    Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler was a highly decorated Imperial Worker until he saw a different light.

    Will the Gyrenes break their oath to “support and defend the Constitution ,” and does that Constitution include the Amendments?

    Militarized police forces, “fusion centers,” the Panopticon sees all and knows where the choke points are, the Penagram is long past civilian control. Did I mention the many hands of the CIA? Sounds like a scripting job for a Tom Clancy novel…

    What could possibly go wrong?

  3. Corbin Dallas

    I’m shocked, but not shocked at how much the MSM here and its attendant army of Columbia SIPA grads working at foreign policy journals have inculcated the Maduro bad/Opposition good narrative. I can find faults with Maduro and Chavismo but the opposition – like in Brazil – is a bunch of rich rightwingers who have stooped to nothing in order to win “their” country back.

    For the Venezuelan people, to see what happened in Brazil – the slow coup that was reported in gushing town by our bloviating media (see – might be a good push to continue to fight the “Opposition”.

    1. Carolinian

      Could be Operation Mockingbird is still in full swing. Also the press, being a bully, loves to have a whipping boy that the gang can all get together and pummel.

    2. John k

      There is a point where the faults snowball, both on account of the ongoing incompetence and corruption plus the desire to cling to power, overwhelm the regimes former advantages Wrt the poor.
      Are the poor being fed today? And if not, why the reluctance to see this regime swept into the dustbin? Nothing wrong with socialism, Nordic countries’ populations seem quite content, but there is always a point where incompetence and corruption become too much for any ism, not least ours, getting pretty close.
      The oil curse rarely gets to the point that the population is not fed, granted dictatorships to retain control of the wealth are quite common.

      1. MoiAussie

        why the reluctance to see this regime swept into the dustbin?

        Because government by the current opposition forces will be far worse for everyone except the elites, and they will ensure that the people don’t get the chance to exercise power again.

        Sweeping things into the dustbin instead of fixing them is often a big mistake.

        1. JTMcPhee

          So TINA to “staying the course.” ?

          Am reminded of the joke about the haughty, arrogant US naval officer calling on the radio to warn a radar target to change course because “tonnage” and gunz. “You will change course immediately, turn 15 degrees to port NOW!”

          The reply? “Happy to oblige, if only I could, guv’nor, but you’re talking at a 120-foot stone lighthouse built on a basalt reef.”

          And in other news, the recent deadly collision between the USS Fitzgerald and “that civilian ship” was (despite serious effort to shift the blame, the fault of our Imperial Navy’s great seamanship:

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Can we lament the countries that always seem to be on the receiving end? Afghanistan and Iraq for Bush, Rwanda and Haiti for the Clintons, Libya, Syria, and Yemen for Obama. Is there something about being desperately poor that inspires our Dear Leaders to plunder and destruction? “You’re poor, and that highlights how unfairly rich I am, therefore I need to kill you’? Or does regular deep abiding depravity and utter moral bankruptcy explain it?

            1. JTMcPhee

              Them poor people often have the misfortune to be born atop a pile of lootable resources, or maybe are living in locations on the Great Game of Idiotic RISK! board that these well-polished terds play upon, using us mopes as game tokens… and of course whole swathes of this Sainted Contininnynent of Exceptionalism have now come to experience that same thing. Frack, mountain-topping, acid mine drainage, Flint, pipelines, chicken and beef and pig factories, on and on, while the Fokkers circle overhead, laughing and smirking…

      2. Mike

        The major problem with disapproving with Maduro’s vote/overreach is that the USA is doing it with the Privilege to Protect doctrine firmly up Venezuela’s *ss. This has been brewing since Chavismo won its first election, but Libya and Syria came first. We don’t like nations who take themselves and their independence seriously, and that has not changed since we took the Philippines and Cuba before 1900. While not playing the US game often hurts any nation so innocent to believe they can do so, people like you still like to blame them for the outcome. Please read more about imperial games we have played in Latin America. Agency counts.

        Right now, we are interfering in the Venezuelan economy and undermining its ability to fulfill any promised gains because they are not dependent enough upon us. Our banks and political org’s are the lynchpins in this. We’ll learn this in about 20 years when the CIA/NSA release the FOIA documents to demands from “researchers” whose curiosity will be safe…then.

        Meanwhile, let Venezuelans worry about corruption and do something about their government on their own. Rule: first do no harm.

        1. JTMcPhee

          “Agency counts.” Particularly the one that starts with “Central intelligence…”

      3. Richard

        ‘Why the reluctance to see this regime swept into the dustbin?’
        Because the ‘opposition’ hasn’t changed, and they mean the people ill. They are also and have been historically comprised of elites and astroturf, heavily subsidized and supported by our own elites. This is simply ‘soft’ regime change, the special treatment the rest of America gets from its big brother.

    3. B1whois

      I added a comment to this discussion about 8 hours ago. It went to moderation and hasn’t come out yet. I’m having a sad about it, because I would have liked to have heard comments on the article I linked. Likely now everyone is moved on…

  4. Darius

    What shocks me is that a centrist Democrat is getting out in front on weed. I would think it wouldn’t get past the poll-testing, focus-grouping gate-keepers. If Booker doesn’t stop, I may be forced to conclude he has at least half a brain. Still, I haven’t read the legislation. But, it bears watching.

    1. johnnygl

      Nope, wrong conclusion in my view. Booker gets tons of heat on twitter and among progressive journos for being a corporate sellout. If this is the result, then we should yell louder at him. Wake me up when he starts holding rallies around NJ and the country to push sessions to change federal policy on drugs.

      Recall that bernie got heat for being crappy on foreign policy and police reform. He listened and improved somewhat.

      1. a different chris

        I think a corporate sellout is exactly the type of person you would expect to get out in front of the weed train now. Lots of money to be made if we can keep regular people from growing it.

        update: reading more carefully, I believe Christopher Fay below made this point already..

        1. Darius

          This issue is lying on the ground waiting for someone to pick it up. Of course, like the public option, it also can be gamed for the elites. Maybe Booker is carrying big pharma water here.

    2. Christopher Fay

      Americans I think are way out ahead of our leaders and broadly support the end of prohibition. What Darius and Johnnygl say. Booker needs to put up some points “for the people”, it’s a safe play. He can back track and see the need for guiding regulation by our great white fathers later.

    3. Uahsenaa

      Kamala Harris also recently came out in favor of a (weasally worded) plan for free college tuition, whereas previously she was securely in the “we can’t have nice things” camp. This seems to me all the more reason to hold their feet to the fire, if they’re opportunistic enough to give people what they want and need in order to stay in power.

      1. John k

        Pendulum is turning back… some dems seem to be getting permission to shift left… but is it real? Or more like big o, promise anything, take the money, and turn on a dime after election?
        I don’t believe conversions, she’s a neo lib or wouldn’t be getting all that money in the hamptons, which are devoid of progressives.
        Have to have public and private positions…

    4. Arizona Slim

      The guy wants to stay in office. That’s why he’s getting on board the pot train.

    5. Daryl

      Weed seems like a smart issue to get ahead on. Doesn’t offend too many of their corporate keepers, even some Repubs are in on it so you can blather about “bipartisanship” or whatever, you can tax the s*** out of it without offending anyone.

  5. Bill Smith

    Reuters Suggests But Can Not Find “Iran’s new route to Yemen”

    While I don’t know if it is true or not the Reuters article pretty plainly explains the route. Moon thinks its crap but that is a different argument. Click bait title?

    And the map looks pretty clearly labeled “Areas of Control”.

    1. MoiAussie

      the Reuters article pretty plainly explains the route

      Actually, it’s plain as mud. The transfers supposedly happen in Kuwaiti waters, which are far from Yemen and the “areas of control” on the map. How stuff is meant to get from there to Yemen is never mentioned.

      Seems like Kuwait may be having its arm twisted by the Saudis to cut ties with Iran.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The article and maps says nothing about routes into Yemen. It simply claims that there are transhipments taking place in Kuwaiti and Iraqi waters which is 1000 miles from Yemen. Yemen waters and all its land borders are controlled by the Saudi’s or its allies.

    3. jawbone

      I had to look twice at the labeling of the map of the area. Since when did the Persian Gulf get renamed to “The Gulf”? Is that some kind of nod to Saudi interests? Or… what?

  6. BoycottAmazon

    “John Kelly Is Destined to Fail” Frank Rich

    Probably it is “John Kelly Is supposed to Fail”. He is a long time operative, not an idiot. His job, probably, is to grease the steps for Trump, and get Mike Pence, by exposing more failings in the administration.

  7. Sam Adams

    Re:Climate change to cause humid heatwaves that will kill even healthy people
    Anyone care to share insight into the imact on the USA? Whenever I read these articles I wonder what will be the imact.

    1. MoiAussie

      ‘Flash drought’ could devastate half the High Plains wheat harvest above
      Hot car deaths reach record numbers in July (CNN)
      Heat-related deaths expected to spike for 10 US cities (The Weather Network)
      California wildfire explodes in size as blazes scorch US West (Reuters)
      Oregon Governor Declares State of Emergency Due to Wildfires (US News & World Report)
      Dangerous heat wave scorches Southwestern US (CNN)
      It’s going to hit 120 degrees in the Southwest again this weekend (USA today)
      Portland could hit 109 degrees this week, breaking all-time record (USA today)

      1. visitor

        In the article about “flash droughts”, the punch comes at the end:

        Last week, Swanson wrote a personal letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a Montana native, asking him to ease grazing restrictions on a nearby wildlife refuge. Two days later, he did so.

        How can we adapt to the climate getting out of whack?

        By culling cattle and reducing the stress on pastures and water?

        Of course not — rather, by putting the remaining natural resources under even greater pressure!

        It increasingly looks as if assuming the worst scenario is the reasonable thing to do. Nothing substantial will change until catastrophic impacts tip over the current system.

      2. blennylips

        adding to your list:

        Meat industry blamed for largest-ever ‘dead zone’ in Gulf of Mexico (The Gaurdian Guardian)
        SMOKEZILLA Versus the Heat Wave (Cliff Mass Weather and Climate Blog)
        The Miami area endured an absurd flooding event Tuesday afternoon (The Washington Post)

        1. polecat

          Re. ‘Smokezilla’ … it was soooo smokey hereabouts, that you could almost stare at the sun, without blinking, with said smoke coming in big drifts. I had to do some watering of the yard, and found my sinuses in full-on distress .. uhg ! At least the smoke reduced what would otherwise have been an even hotter day … didn’t help to lower the dew point however …

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Smoke from British Columbia fires shrouds Northwest with poor air quality, dubbed ‘Smokezilla’ by tweeters FOX

            And why didn’t I go to Twitter first. From the air:

            And a handy map:

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Although a bit out of date, Tim Flannery’s book ‘The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and it Peoples’ is an excellent overview of the USA and Canadas climate history.

      He has argued that the particular shape of the North American continent acts as a sort of ‘climate funnel’ which has resulted in more extreme and more rapid climate changes in response to global changes over the past few million years. Flannery is a highly respected scientist, but I’m not sure if that view is universally held – most climate modellers tend to resist going down to a more regional scale. However, there is no doubt that some parts of the US are prone to rapid climate swings in response to global changes, this is clear from the archaeological and paleobiological record.

    3. allan

      It is currently 35 C in Vienna, with a high of 37 C = 99 F forecast.
      Which would be 12 C = 22 F above average for the date.
      Tourists are hiding in their rooms (if they have AC).
      Those few foolish enough to try to see the sights are stumbling from shaded spot to shaded spot,
      drenched in sweat.

      I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the restaurant and cafe industry
      is taking it on the (sun burnt) chin, and can’t imagine what it would be like
      to be homeless in this heat.

  8. scott2

    A 35C WBT, which is what would happen when it’s 115F with a dewpoint of 91F, corresponds to a traditional “heat index” of 172F.

  9. timbers


    Trump Says U.S.‘Losing’ Afghan War in Tense Meeting With Generals NYT

    There is so much to love and hate in this account. Trump dances around the edges of sanity, but keeps asking the wrong question which is basically “How do we win?” As MOA keeps saying, the only way for the U.S. to win in Afghanistan is to withdraw completely.

    “We aren’t winning,” Trump complained, according to these officials. “We are losing.”

    One official said Trump pointed to maps showing the Taliban gaining ground, and that Mattis responded to the president by saying the U.S. is losing because it doesn’t have the strategy it needs.

    Trump vented to his national security team that the veterans told him forces from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have not been helpful, and he lamented that China is making money off of Afghanistan’s estimated $1 trillion in rare minerals while American troops are fighting the war, officials said.

    Still, Trump asks many of the RIGHT questions – enough of the right question that IMO there is a space for someone to pipe up with the correct advice and Trump might go along with it, like:

    “Mr. President if you want mineral rights to mine in Afghanistan like China has, if you want to forever stop the gain of territory against U.S. troops – then make peace with the Taliban, withdraw all forces, and negotiate with the legitimate government – the Taliban.”

    It would be nice if a light bulb would go off in someone’s head and that sort of plan would be adopted.

    1. a different chris

      I keep claiming that “they” — yeah, I can’t point to anybody in particular, but how would I know? — want endless war.

      Trump says we “are losing”, but how can we “lose” in Afghanistan? We can always take territory back, for awhile. And we will. On and on and on it will go… unless the US populace revolts. Nobody else can stop our war machine.

      Maybe the forces that want the minerals can win this one, to do that they really need to find another bone for the war machine to chew on. Yemen?

      1. oh

        How can we lose? We already did a long time ago. The military-industrial-congressional complex is the only winner.

    2. sid_finster

      Even if Trump wanted to cut a deal with the Taliban, he can’t. The neocons controlling both legacy parties would be on every talk show, newscast and op-ed in the land, thundering about how this proves that anything less than eternal war is playing straight into Putin’s hands!

      “Do you want Jones to come back?”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner *2009* *2012* *2014*

        I should note Trump became President despite the opposition of the media and Versailles on the Potomac after criticizing the Iraq War and hero to brain dead Democratic partisans, John McCain. I would think the media blasting Afghanistan Occupation Propaganda 24/7 would be good for withdrawal efforts.Given the blackout of news over Afghanistan over the last eight years, I think Americans would be shocked to find out how many soldiers were “sacrificed” in Afghanistan on behalf of war profiteers.

    3. John k

      Maybe the right thing, sad to concede the womenfolk to that regime,
      But not our business, I suppose… we’re not world’s policeman, not anymore…
      So the best deal is they don’t export terrorism to US?
      Ok, go for it.

      1. polecat

        No, no, no !! Can’t have those pretty poppies destroyed now can we … I mean, what would the (C)onspiratorial • (I)dealogical • (A)ssholery doooooooo without ALL☆THAT☆CHEDDAR !!

        Oh, right … gotta keep our youth strung-out and submissive, if not outright dead !

    4. DH

      Trump needs to ask “What does winning look like?”.

      We assume that occupying land means that we are winning. That is not how guerrilla forces define losing.

      We are winning if the local population works with us to expel the guerillas. The real lesson of Hue in the 1968 Tet offensive was that the North Vietnamese could infiltrate an entire military division and equipment into a city through the surrounding countryside and the locals didn’t tell the US or Saigon government. This is an indication that you are losing the war, even if you then defeat the enemy in battle.

      There is now hope in Iraq because the Iraqi forces were willing to go in and fight house to house to expel Isis from Mosul. If they had stood their ground a few years ago when Isis took over Mosul, there would have been much less loss of life.

  10. QuarterBack

    Re NYT Hacking Wars story, I have long had the same “self-licking ice cream cone” concerns. The military industrial complex has been slowly shaping polic opinion to make “kenetic” response to cyber attacks palatable. Consider this 2013 article:

    Cyber as a Casus Belli has two inherent fatal flaws in its inability to accurately prove attribution and the extent of damage. The former makes it impossible to know if a counter attack is against a party that had any role in the original cyber attack, and the latter makes it impossible to prove or verify harm, which is the foundation of the “proportional response” required under the international laws of war.

    These two flaws can raise the potential of false flags to a new level. Do we really want to shed blood of untold numbers of military and civilian soles because of a report of a unattributable cyber attack on a purported “crital infrastructure component” that nobody every heard of,and that cannot be confirmed as existing in the first place? Gulf of Tonkin, eat your heart out.

    Look no further than our present history. We are slowly moving towards war with Russia based on the premise of a cyber attack that may, or may not, have actually happened, and no one has been allowed to inspect the physical servers related to the claimed attack.

    International laws of war should be clear that kenetic response to cyber attacks must be off the table. The only acceptable proportionate attacks should e economic or offensive cyber. Full stop.

      1. polecat

        “Wecolme to Atomic Saloon” … “Please leave your arsenals at the counter▪intelligence ….”

  11. JTMcPhee

    Random click on the “New Deal Map” produced this:


    Palmer Square Post Office (former) – Princeton NJThe historic former Palmer Square post office in Princeton, New Jersey, was constructed in 1934. It was originally Princeton’s main post office. Now, the building is privately owned. The…Full Info

    1. Darius

      Big grudge against Bush and Obama Postal Service management for selling off landmark post offices. Part of the conscious crapification of the post office in preparation for privatization. Grrr.

      What’s it called when your words start with the same consonants?

  12. Livius Drusus

    Re: exorcisms in France, Pope Francis actually encourages priests to get in touch with exorcists for troubled parishioners, although the local bishop has to determine whether the case of possession is legitimate or not after the subject goes to a regular medical professional. In most cases they will judge the problem a case of mental disturbance, hence the reluctance of priests to perform the rite and the rise of these for-profit exorcists.


  13. Tom Stone

    Secret laws, secret courts, pervasive corruption which includes Police armed with tanks who take more $ through Civil Asset Forfeiture each year than Burglars do…elites that are immune from the laws that govern the majority.
    All documented here.
    And you still regard the USA as a Republic and think of yourself as a Citizen?

    1. Eureka Springs

      ^ What Tom said.

      I think the peacock photo with every persons head stuck in their phone rather than on magnificence in their presence says so much. Denial ain’t just a subway in Manhattan.

      1. neighbor7

        I haven’t been on a NYC subway in a year or so, but don’t remember phones being that powerful! (Books, maybe…)

      2. mpalomar

        Makes you wonder how the peacock feels about the whole deal and who the real peacock is; guy with bird or bird. Somebody is looking for attention and I assume that the riders know it and may not appreciate the whole bit.
        I used to ride the subway to work regularly, in the summer it was hell and I hear it’s worse now. One of the first rules was eye contact and not engaging the grifters. This guy look like a grifter and speaking of ethics and pets I’m not sure about his.

    2. John k

      Heavens no.
      But where should I go? Family, friends etc, a mild climate, good local bridge club… and probably no place is safe if WWIII.
      For most of us, it’s complicated. Plus, maybe things are changing…
      Trump won because massive discontent.
      Dem party is shrinking.
      Bernie making slow progress, might run again… and not too old. He at 80% far better than any neolib dem or rep.

  14. Frenchguy

    RE: Venezuela – The National Constituent Assembly is in Place – But the fight for Sovereignty isn’t Over

    “Venezuela has voted on 30 July for a National Constituent Assembly (ANC – Asamblea Nacional Constituyente) with a resounding close to 8.1 million votes”

    I was under the impression 8.1 millions was the total of votes, not of pro-constituant votes. (yes the opposition called a boycott but even then I would be very skeptical of anything over 80% pro).

    “The election result is another resounding victory, when compared to the opposition’s plebiscite [whose] announced result cannot be checked, as the voter’s bulletins were burned by the opposition”

    Actually, destroying bulletins once the count is done is standard procedure (at least in France) for very understandable reasons.

    “Dictators around the world, like France under Macron, the UK under Mme. May, and probably soon Germany under Mme. Merkel”

    You can say a lot of things about those three but they are not dictators, not even close (have you seen May lately ? it’s hard to even call her the PM… And why “soon” for Merkel ?)

    “The new or adjusted Constitution is expected to allow the government to sovereignly control its borders and its economy with whatever means it has to take to keep the criminals out and regain full sovereignty.”

    How ? Just by saying “taking back control !” ?

    This is as much propaganda as anything we can read in the usual suspects…

    1. Jim Haygood

      Dolor today, comrades — a fresh collapse of the bolivar to 15,893 per dollar, from 13,781 yesterday.

      This represents a loss of about 40 percent of its value in the past week, and a jaw-dropping 99.85% since the economic illiterate Madouche-o took charge four years ago.

      Threadbare Venezuelan socialism is functionally indistinguishable from endemic anencephaly.

      1. Carolinian

        Perhaps you are right that the Chavistas are foolishly trying to thread the needle by running a command economy while letting their US backed bourgeoisie opposition do whatever they like. Even the guy who attacked the seat of government from a helicopter is still running around making speeches. If Venezuela really was a dictatorship then here’s guessing he’d be carted off to the nearest concentration camp along with those regime opponents who are allowed to freely publish their newspapers.

        Here’s suggesting that the US objection to Maduro is not that he is a dictator but that he’s not “our SOB” as FDR once put it. I wonder how you reconcile being a libertarian with all this overseas US meddling. Whatever kind of government Venezuela has it’s none of our business. And if we make it our business here’s hoping we don’t come down on the side of would be tyrants.

        1. Richard

          +1 – Back to the old standards on this one, I say. “The United States should be a well wisher of democracy everywhere, but a protector of only her own” – yikes, anyone got the source?

          1. Richard

            JQ Adams sorry – and it was ‘friend’ and ‘custodian’ instead of what I said….A lot to take exception with with the 19th century landed gentry, but I approve of the distrust of empire and the military…

    2. B1whois

      I was also very disappointed by the Saker article on Venezuela. It was hysterical, over-the-top, and lacking sound analysis. Among the comments I found a link to another site which seemed more reasoned in its analysis, and discussed oil, although their main focus was Israel pulling the strings everywhere. The commentary on Venezuela was part of a larger post written by a certian James Petras:

      Washington and Brussels: Running in Reverse

      “Sanctions and Intervention: Venezuela

      For the past 15 years, the US, with support from the EU, has waged covert and overt political and military campaigns to overthrow the Chavista government. Prior to the collapse of the global oil price, this was met with little success. Now, the fall of regional allies, the rise of rightist regimes and the economic vulnerabilities of the Venezuelan mono-economy are
      threatening the government in Caracas.

      In 2002, Washington and the EU backed a failed military-business coup. This was followed by a failed bosses oil lockout in 2003. Washington then supported a failed electoral boycott in 2005 and backed a series of unsuccessful presidential candidates and opposition
      congressional parties – until 2015.

      Meanwhile, US has backed cross-border attacks by Colombian gangster-paramilitary groups against Venezuelan towns and land reform settlements. Its ‘Democracy’ NGO’s have promoted the terrorist sabotage of oil fields, power plants and public transport systems, as well as clinics and police stations.

      Repeatedly, the Chavista forces successfully defeated US-backed terrorist sabotage and referendums. However, the oil price crash over the last three years has changed the socio-economic correlation of forces. Declining income from its oil exports have cut Venezuela’s
      imports of vital food, medicine and manufactured goods.

      US escalated its special operations, providing financing and training via self-styled ‘non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) to opposition parties and violent ‘pro-democracy’

      The private retail, banking and transport sectors have paralyzed production and
      consumption through artificial shortages (hoarding), black market activity, speculation and massive overseas transfers of foreign currency.

      Unlike other successful governments targeted by the US and EU with sanctions and sabotage, Venezuela has remained incapable of substituting production and diversifying its economy. It did not clamp down on hostile NGO groups, nor did it effectively confront violent street protests and capture the terrorists who attacked and assassinated police and military officials, government workers and civilian supporters of the Chavista government.

      As the crisis deepened, the US and EU mass media repeatedly called for a military coupor ‘regime change’ backed by ‘strong international (sic) efforts’, thinly coded language for a US-led invasion in collaboration with the far right regimes of Colombia, Brazil and Argentina.

      US-funded street thugs have intimidated bus company owners, small business people, and professionals – and especially targeted public employees who lived in neighborhood with a strong opposition presence, forcing them to close businesses or flee.

      Economic sanctions have escalated with open US government threats to seize
      Venezuelan refineries located in the US (CITGO) and freeze its overseas assets.

      CIA and Pentagon operatives have attempted to penetrate the military to ‘turn them’ against the constitutionally legitimate government through bribes and threats against their

      The prospects of civil war is reaching a crescendo in late July 2017, as the government fought back convoking and winning free elections for a constituent assembly to elect representatives, based on class and community interests, to counter the US-business-controlled
      Congress, which has been at war with the Presidency. The US and its local and overseas collaborators threaten a total blockade with the seizure of overseas assets leading to a possible
      civil war and invasion.

      Any US-backed war in Venezuela will bring the most retrograde racist oligarchs to power and will result in mass slaughter of the poor and lower middle classes who had benefitedfrom the Chavista social programs, the assassination of their leaders, teachers, intellectuals,
      artists and activists, the destruction of the economy and wide-spread hunger and disease, in other words, a nightmarish ‘Libyan solution on the Caribbean’. The US may turn back social
      democracy, but Venezuelan revolutionaries will fight on for their very lives.”

    3. Alejandro

      >” You can say a lot of things about those three but they are not dictators, not even close”

      I agree, but the same can be said of Maduro and the late Chavez, yet the empty claims propagate. I find absurd, slapping this label on anyone , for calling for a Constituent Assembly, which in essence is a project to clarify and codify, how they want to be governed…not just consent but active participation

      Context always matters, e.g., has the neoliberal project been a “revolution” or “counter-revolution”? In their(Vzla) context, how should their oil rent extraction be apportioned, and to what purpose? Should this be decided autonomously or heteronomously? Through plutocracy, kleptocracy, oligarchy or “democracy”?

    4. mpalomar

      I think Venezuelans vote referendum on whatever, if anything the National Constituent Assembly comes up with; if true there is still an ongoing democratic process.
      Ken Livingston former MP( suspended?) and mayor of London had this thought, “One of the things that Chávez did when he came to power, he didn’t kill all the oligarchs. There was about 200 families who controlled about 80% of the wealth in Venezuela,” Livingstone told Talk Radio. Now that’s dictatorial.

  15. craazyboy

    Been slowly building up the Flying Machine Fleet over the past few weeks. Soon I’ll have 10 airplanes and 2 quadcopters and one Tricopter! The Tricopter is really cool. Took time out to write a related song.

    The Sounds of Propellers – Simon and Garfunkel

    Geeks from Silicon Valley know
    The place to be is racing drones
    At the track they’re flying fast
    At a hundred they go past!
    With their quads they have a blast!

    [Chorus – Presbyterian All Girl Choir – All dressed in White – wearing red Trump baseball caps]

    To fast for him, we’re quite certain
    One wrong move, it’d be curtains
    Carbon fiber explodes in air
    Then the Sounds of Silence.

    [End Chorus]

    The quads they go screaming by
    Just a blur, they streak thru sky
    For neck and neck, onboard cam tracks 50
    The fastest guys fly one hundred and fifty!

    [Chorus – Presbyterian All Girl Choir – All dressed in White – wearing red Trump baseball caps]

    To fast for me, I’m quite certain
    One wrong move, it’d be curtains
    Carbon fiber explodes in air
    Then the Sounds of Silence.

    [End Chorus]

    At field is the place for me
    Flying my birds, naturally,
    Soaring up their way up high
    Filming vids of countryside.
    Doing acrobatic moves,
    Going hundred, those that move.

    [Chorus – Presbyterian All Girl Choir – All dressed in White – wearing red Trump baseball caps]

    To fast for him, we’re quite certain
    One wrong move, it’d be curtains
    Carbon fiber explodes in air
    Then the Sounds of Silence.

    [End Chorus]

    Birds come by
    For a visit.
    Got some vultures, got some hawks
    Stately birds
    Game they stalk.

    They get near, to say Hi to my planes
    We play games.
    Then they fly, at safe distance

    1. sid_finster

      I used to fly airplanes as a kid. Actually, I built more than I flew; I liked building and I hated crashes, so I used to give away airplanes I had built, since I couldn’t bear crashing something that had taken so much work. Let someone else wreck the thing.

      Last year, I was given a little co-axial helicopter for Christmas and decided that the little guy was lots of fun, and a lot less time and hassle than the big sailplanes and nitro planes I used to build and fly. Then my children gave the helicopter a name and started demanding helicopter shows every morning, so I was given a little quad for my birthday. The children built a “helicopter house” from cardboard boxes for them to live in.

      Since I was running out of stunts to perform for the kids, I got a very squirrelly collective-pitch copter with my winnings from a trivia contest, then I built another from parts.

      1. craazyboy

        It’s a really fun hobby. It got so much easier to build planes too. Electric w/ Lipo battery is simpler, cheaper, lighter, and better performance too. The frames are foam now, they just glue together. You can build one in a few hours. ‘Course you can still do it the old way, with your choice of power plants.

        They still have mostly old timers flying big gas balsa planes. We have one guy that used to fly real stunt airplanes and has a half scale model with 12 ft wingspan. He uses a 20hp gas chain saw engine and it just screams. Another guy (actually two guys) has a pair of 7ft wingspan Decathlon trainers, red and blue with sunrise paint jobs on the wing, Those are built in China and imported for $750 each. Then add another $500 in big power plant, servo and RC parts. These things look real, and they can get the down to 2 mph for flybys and landings. Beautiful airplanes!

        Another guy has a military contract for his recon airplane drone. It’s got cameras pointed every which direction and also a full set of night vision cams.

        Other guys have big flying wings and airplanes with full automation capabilities and they go miles away. They fly thru goggles and also have a ground station with a big screen TV and on screen display with all flight data! Some other guys (elsewhere) have birds that can go 20 – 30 miles!

        Lots to do with this stuff.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Yah — ask the Boys of ISIS what kinds of stuff they can do…

          From those two uniquely American sources, Popular Mechanics and the wonderful NYT, two reports:

          Here’s one among many online sources for all this tech-insanity gadgetry: Note that this site has a special category for sex to us, too! This hobby around here is largely a game for older men and a few wives and one younger woman who’s an electical engineer and concentrates on what most of us think of as recreational drones, the white 4-motor bulgy-bodied types with the camera dangling down beneath/ One of these has facial recognition software or some such that you can teach to recognize yourself, or some other person ostensibly, and to have it fly right to you or follow you around like it was a pooch on an electonic leash. Many have GPS guidance systems that can be programmed to go to a specific geopoint — like our great Imperial (and many other warfighting entities’) “smart weapons.” I bet most “civilian” drone operators are better at keying in the coordinates than a lot of the Troops entrusted to lay down ordnance on “targets” out there — search YouTube for “friendly fire,” for a taste of how the great can’t -win-a-war military does at killing itself…

          This is all part of the Great Vulnerability we humans are making for ourselves– from reliance on vast computer networks and Code, to demolishing the biosphere, to stuff like CRSP-R (the inventor of which is now fearful of what she hath wrought, . But of course such concerns, or those expressed by Bill Gates and Musk about “artificial intelligence” (sic) are all just number-Pam by Luddism, aren’t they? Besides, there’s PROFIT and Alpha and Beta and maybe Omega to be made in Investing In The Future! Of Biotechnology!

          PS, I’ve got a little Air Wing of 11 “foamie” model planes, mostly scale models of old biplanes and a Piper Cub and Dehavilland of Canada Beaver, and “warplanes” like the North American T-28, and a couple of trainers that are easier to fly — several have 6-axis “autopilots” (actually gyro stabilizers) that if you remember to push a button when the plane goes out of control, will restore straight-and-level flight. That still won’t keep the plane from flying into a tree or building or car, or motoring off over the horizon, but then the ones I fly have only about 6-10 minutes of flight time on the batteries that power them…

          1. craazyboy

            I don’t think toy quads will have much terrorism impact. I got a camera quad like the white DJI, and it can only carry another 1 lb of payload. You can get parts to buy bigger ones, up to 4ft prop center span. They could carry 5lbs of C4.

            A night vision recon drone, long range, sounds very useful.

            My airplane fleet is all foamy – you can fix ’em when they crash! I’ve got a trainer/ 5 ft. wingspan w/ 3 axis stabilization. A Cool and fast 47 in. Acro plane w/ 6 axis – I do flips, rolls, s turns, flat turns, death spirals, knife edges, upside down flying, and vertical prop hangs. Next there is the brand new Spitfire – can do 100mph and full acro. Then I have 2 high speed wings – 90 mph. Also, (3) 3D acro foamies. Fun as hell and nearly indestructible. Next, I designed a couple experimental craft. Built from Walmart foam board. One is a slow flying delta wing – should go all the way down to zero, then flitter to the ground. Finally, “Vader”, my shoebox size Imperial Fighter.

            Then my 2 ft. Dia. camera quad (home designed and built) with full autopilot. I plug in google earth coordinates for GPS following. My freestyle little quad with FPV cam and googles. And finally, my tricopter – the baddest acro flyer of them all!

            This will keep me busy a looong time!

            1. JTMcPhee

              A Glock 17 weighs around a pound and a half. An M67 frag grenade weighs 14 ounces. Here’s a video with some concern attached to it, of a kid’s quad project with a shooting firing pistol attached and operational: Just playing around, a couple of teens built a foam plane that lofted 7 or 8 pounds,

              And of course the fokking military is way ahead on this — the War Dept proves that drones don’t have to be big to kill people effectively, and I’m sure they hire the enthusiastic young who love playing with tech toys to add stuff like this to the Arsenal of Democracy (sic):

              Not that anything could possibly go wrong with applications of the stuff that you and I enjoy as a hobby, taken to the extreme that what passes for “logic” in our modern world dictates.

              BTW, my Beaver can fly with at least two pounds of payload, and that plane is hardly optimized for use as an ISIS UAV… Those folks have of course proven to be resilient, adaptable, and smart. Their procurement and deployment cycle time is on the order of days, not the years that “the army you have” takes…

        2. sid_finster

          It’s amazing how much cheaper, effective and more available the technology is.

          As a kid, helicopters were hella expensive (guessing $300 for a kit plus engine, radio and accessories) and that didn’t come with fpv cameras or gyros. And that was something you had to assemble, and (without gyros) better do it right the first time or there would be an expensive crash.

          Looking back, I am amazed that anyone persisted.

          Then, electrics were strictly for even bigger nerds than I was. Heavy, slow and expensive. They only really worked for powered gliders and not well then. I won’t even get into radios or the joys of mechanical mixing.

          Now, any toolio can walk into a Walmart and walk out with a SkyPervert™ quadcopter way more sophisticated than anything available when i was a kid, RTF, for under $100.

          I do miss building, however. Shaping balsa and cutting out cloth and choosing paint schemes and making everything strong and light and straight.

  16. j84ustin

    re: Pet vaccinations. My elderly dog almost died – twice – from the vaccinations he received from two different locations in two different years. So for the last two years of his life he went unvaccinated. The few times a vet saw him after this, and they asked if he was vaccinated, I would say no and explain what happened (vesitbular disease, unable to walk or stand). They always understood/accepted why he was unvaccinated.

  17. james brown

    ” we dictate what they eat, where they live, how they behave, how they look, even whether they get to keep their sex organs.”

    The only thing I dictate to my pet is that he/she not be an annoyance to anyone not on my property. But I do the same for myself, to the best of my abilities, and I’d so the same with a child, if I had one. My dogs rule my life and happily so. I do on occasion have pangs of guilt about how they are from broken homes though. My dogs wake me up in the morning and we all go to bed together (not literally). Yes they may suffer some from my association with them but I don’t throw them on the grill nor have more dominant predators eaten them. No pangs of guilt here.

  18. Off The Street

    Blood cobalt and artisanal mining made me wonder who is going to curate the assortment of picks, shovels and other tools? Surely there is a story there. /s

  19. ChiGal in Carolina

    The peacock is stuffed and mounted. Dead, deceased, etc.

    No wonder no one is paying attention.

  20. Vatch

    Do you know anyone with cardiovascular disease or asthma? Have you seen photographs of smog in giant Chinese cities? Apparently the Republicans in the House of Representatives don’t know anyone with those illnesses, and haven’t seen such photographs, because they passed H.R. 806, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, by a vote of 229 to 199. Or maybe they just don’t care.

    For a concise explanation of the problems with this bill, see this by Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts:

    Under the Clean Air Act, the the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to issue National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health from harmful concentrations of pollution.The EPA works with states to implement the limits set in NAAQS, establishing areas as being in attainment or nonattainment, and setting compliance timelines for reducing emissions of specific pollutants, including ozone, lead, and carbon monoxide.

    On October 1, 2015, the EPA promulgated a new rule strengthening the NAAQs for ground-level ozone based on an extensive scientific review of the harmful effects of ozone. H.R. 806 would block the EPA from requiring states to designate attainment and nonattainment areas until 2025, and prevent the EPA from subjecting states to penalties for not meeting the ozone standards.

    This legislation is dangerous for the public health of the American people, and is compounded by the fact that the Trump Administration and congressional Republicans continue to push for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. We must be doing more to ensure that all Americans have clean air to breathe, and this bill does the exact opposite.

    Readers might want to let their Senators know that they should vote against this harmful bill.

  21. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website


    “I’ve resolved to ignore all articles with “terrifying” in the headline, but I’m making an exception in this case.”

    That’s perfectly stated, imo. In our age of desperate clickbait headlines, such adjectives have come to mean nothing. But some findings, like those of Foa and Mounk, are truly terrifying.

    I hope people are inspired to act by their warning, especially by the conclusion to their follow-up paper (see today’s post). These should be a motivation for action, not despair.

    Which is why I end all posts like this by linking to suggestions about some of the many ways we can reform America. Unfortunately such posts are less popular than the scary ones.

    “If it bleeds, it leads” shows our desire for entertainment, not useful information. Reform might be impossible until that changes.

  22. Jim Haygood

    From our DIY pension department:

    [Twenty-six percent of Boomers] hold equity stakes at least 10 percentage points above Fidelity’s recommended allocation for their age. The average equity stake for boomers is 68.8 percent.

    For someone who wants to retire in 10 years—say a 55-year-old planning to retire in 2027—the recommendation is 64 percent in stocks. So the average equity stake isn’t far off, but there are some extremely equity-heavy portfolios out there.

    Boomers may also be very tech-heavy in their retirement portfolios, since they are less likely to be in widely diversified target-date funds than younger workers. Millennials’ accounts hold 87.4 percent in stocks on average.

    Oh my … backtesting shows that high equity allocations produce higher returns. Problem is that the periodic severe dips in stocks (e.g., a 55% loss from Oct 2007 to Mar 2009) are more than most people can tolerate.

    When half of your equity has evaporated in a bear market, while the MSM is crying doom [“unemployment soaring; banks shaky; trillion-dollar deficits”], the logic of panic says “Get me the hell out!

    Millennials who didn’t participate in the 2008 debacle will be appalled by how badly their target date funds (holding 90% equity for people in their 20s and 30s) get smashed in the next selloff.

    Wall Street’s secular religion of “buy and hold” has no answer to the unpleasant fact that equity-heavy portfolios are simply too painful for most people to stick with during downturns. Their advice is “Lie back and endure the chemo; you’ll get over it!” :-)

    1. Jim Haygood

      Lest the above sound like pointless whingeing, consider this rule: compare the month-end S&P 500 total return index [^SP500TR on Yahoo Finance] to its 10-month average. If it’s more than 3% lower, sell; if more than 3% higher buy; otherwise stay with last month’s position.

      This mechanical discipline (no judgement or forecasting required) would have sold stocks on Jan 31, 2008 at a 10.5% loss from the high point on Oct 31, 2007. It would have bought them back on Jun 30, 2009 at a price 33.3% lower than it sold.

      Wall Street don’t like little people using moving average rules, because the bagholders [someone has to hold them equities during the dip] end up being their institutional clients. :-(

    2. Arizona Slim

      Whenever the stock market investment shamers tell me that I should have more money in The Market, I remind them of the Great Crash of 1929. The Market didn’t recover the value lost until 1954. That’s 25 years, or about half of one’s working career.

      If I’m feeling really frisky, I remind them of the period between 1965 and 1982, when The Market essentially went nowhere.

  23. Vatch

    The subway passengers are all pretending to ignore the peacock. If I had been there, I would have been staring at it with a big smile on my face!

  24. Jim Haygood

    Reuters reports, citing White House officials, that President Trump is expected to sign a memorandum tomorrow targeting China’s intellectual property and trade practices — the first shot in what could escalate into a major US-China trade war.

    What a week, comrades: Trump signs sanctions on Russia and Iran, then lashes out at China.

    What’s going to happen? Simple: Asian powers, anchored by Russia on the west end and China on the east, will step up cooperation in trade, transport, defense, and (most importantly) finance and payments, so as to sidestep the politically-managed US dollar which is key to enforcing US sanctions.

    With no strategic vision, the US empire crumbles to dust. Let it bleed …

    1. Arizona Slim

      Fun question: What do you think is happening in Russia these days?

      Answer: Russia is turning into one of the most self-sufficient countries on the planet.

      Which implies that, to the Russians, US sanctions have a motivational effect.

  25. fresno dan

    Rabbit ears are back! Antenna sales back on the rise as millennials are shocked to discover broadcast TV is FREE Daily Mail

    Carlos Vallalobos also sells digital antennas in San Diegom where skeptical customers question his claims that they can access free TV channels.
    One woman in particular was convinced he was selling an illegal device. He told the WSJ: ‘She was mad. She says, “No, you can’t live in America for free, what are you talking about?

    Rabbit ears, use it on bunny slippers to communicate with Putin, enjoy it for the decadent capitalistic commercial supported free TV!
    I’m not gonna say I told you so…..even though, by saying I’m not gonna say I told you so, I’m telling you so…

    1. carycat

      There are a lot of DIY designs out there on the web. When the FCC mandated transition to digital kicked in, I build one out of a piece of cardboard for backing, some 12 gauge copper wire left over from a home electrical system upgrade, and a spare 75 Ohm to 300 Ohm balum (which would have set me back under $5 at the Radio Shack or mail order). Did not even have to add the chicken wire / tin foil as a reflector that will give me more range. The bulk of the TV transmitters are 12 to 15 miles away and I was able to pull them all in. Worked just as well as a big 3′ by 3′ Channel Master that the professional TV installers swear by, which I have gotten for a song at some point. A lot of digital TVs still come with a tuner.
      Antennas are still analog voodoo (unless you are part of the vanishing breed of analog trained EEs), but they are fun to build as an inexpensive hobby. This can be done in an afternoon.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        You probably could have left out the cardboard and just stripped the last 6″ of wire bare.

    2. DH

      We have a couple of rabbit ears for our TVs. the digital signals are great when they come in (we are in a valley that sometimes doesn’t have good reception).

      We have four kids, age 24 and older. Not one of them has ever bought a TV. They generally watch TV on line on phones, tablets, and laptops.

  26. Jason Boxman

    I’ve been terrified of burning alive since climate change first hit my radar. Exciting times to be alive, eh?

    1. Arizona Slim

      I just heard some neoliberals doing that very thing.

      And, guess what, I just tuned them out and focused even harder on my cornhole game. I play in a monthly tournament and my game still needs a lot of work.

    1. Arizona Slim

      It died after it tried to pronounce Cornish names. (We’ve given the world some real tongue twisters. And we like it that way!)

  27. Chris Hargens

    Regarding “Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism,” James Chappel writes that on Cooper’s reading,”the progressive icons like Frances Fox Piven, Wolfgang Streeck, and even Nancy Fraser are unable to think beyond the sexual contract of the midcentury social democracy. They all provide some version of the familiar left argument that feminism, by sending women into the workforce, served as a handmaiden to neoliberalism. Their response, Cooper argues, is to criticize feminism as a mere politics of recognition and reinstate some kind of normative family order in the service of a more properly redistributive politics.” My reading of Streeck suggests that this is an oversimplification, one slanted to suggest that Streeck, and others, are demonizing feminism.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Most people (unlike old uber-INTJ codgers like me (more or less)) have hostages to fortune, in the form of families, especially children. Generally, politics — conceived of as actions that you can ask and expect people to take — doesn’t take those hostages into account, or does so from a policy perspective, where the payoff is long-term, while the costs of activism, especially to children, are short-term. (I’m sure the Civil Rights movement faced and solved this problem, as do unions to a lesser degree, and it would be interesting to know how what they said about it.) So it’s easy to chant, in unison “We must take it to the streets!” To which the riposte is, and properly, “But what about the children?”

      To me this article is a subset of the problem of developing a notion of class that includes and can speak to the whole person (as intersectionality should do). In fact, it’s possible that “class analysis” that focuses on individuals — especially wage workers — has the wrong unit of analysis, the right one being the family, including a “breadwinner” but also emotional labor. (This would be interesting since it could give an account of the rise of aristocracies, “legacy admissions” in the 10% and so forth.) The liberal Democrat shibboleth “working families” would then be covering up something very important, or perhaps hiding it in plain sight; as liberal shibboleth tend to do.

  28. B1whois

    The Dissent article, marked as important, regarding the Modern Family, closed with this interesting final sentence:

    The “Bernie Bro” phenomenon, fictitious as it might have been, points to a moral and political problem that many of us face: what might it mean to be a “Bernie Dad”?

    I’m not sure I understand the question. What might it mean to be a Bernie parent? Can anyone speculate?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think in this case it points to how one reconciles Homer’s fathering of Lisa (a Buddhist and vegetarian), Bart (who Marge notes idolizes Homer and at other times, Homer has clearly demonstrated a desire for Bart’s approval more than the other kids ), and Maggie (the piece focuses on this particular relationship) with his preferred life, working at a bowling alley, and the need to raise those same kids while maintaining a political life. I should note “The Simpsons” is one of the only programs I’ve seen where we see the family’s interaction and regular interaction with a house of worship and school.

      The author missed the opportunity to note the episode “Last Exit to Springfield” (usually considered one of the two best episodes despite a reliance on filler gags) which largely explains the dilemma. “Lisa needs braces” is a familiar refrain to fans of the show, but the recognition that “if we give up our dental plan, I’ll have to pay for Lisa’s braces” led to Homer becoming the union president and leading a strike. Even Homer’s job as safety inspector of the power plant came from an episode where he lobbied for a stop sign to replace a yield sign after a car nearly hit his family. Homer recognized the power plant was the largest threat to his family given the buffoonery of the employees. Its best not to focus on “The Simpsons” as logically coherent from episode to episode.

      Its easier for a young person with no responsibilities to be ideologically pure. What does it mean for a person with responsibilities to be ideologically pure or progressive? I wouldn’t have used the BernieBro description given the baggage associated with it, but what does it mean for a cop who supports Sanders style policies with a family?

      1. JTFaraday

        Shouldn’t a cop with a family support Bernie’s policies? The bigger question is why would anyone without substantial family wealth– already in the bag– support neoliberal policies?

  29. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Vineyard of the Saker. The post doesn’t mention oil. Odd.

    Actually it does, the Saker just doesn’t use the actual word ‘oil’ –

    A new puppet government would return Venezuela to the pre-Chavez years – or most likely much worse – giving away Venezuelans world’s largest hydrocarbon deposit is [sic] to US petrol giants and torturing Chavistas and anybody who had in the past opposed and still opposes the violent undemocratic, oppressive servile-to-Washington elite.

  30. hemeantwell

    Terrifying news about the state of the Republic Fabius Maximus

    The subject’s interesting but the data isn’t so much since the cutoff is 2011, just before Occupy and well before Sanders, Corbyn, democracy of the squares, etc. Peter Mair and other have covered the declining participation angle very well in that time range and the authors’ lack of reference to dysfunctional parties, which just maybe might have some effect on mass attitudes, is also telling to the point of damning. Sooo, this becomes another one of those seemingly sophisticated, sorta warm data-based worries about the masses that elites can take up to obscure their role in political devolution.

  31. Leftist Utopian

    Commentary in the LA TImes about Venezuela. Author claims that progressive left wing pundits like Naomi Klein were completely wrong in their support of Chavez. But wasn’t Chavez a good guy and Naomi Klein right? Isn’t it Maduro that’s the entire problem? Anyway, the country is verging on civil war, and the LA Times article is looking for someone to blame.,amp.html

  32. Goyo Marquez

    Couple thoughts on the waning of Democracy
    – When I was a kid, 60s-70s, at least in our rural California schools, Democracy was what America was about not freedom or liberty so much. Now it seems to have reversed, our most important virtue is now freedom, democracy has taken a back seat.

    – The left opposes majority rule for its issues, the right opposes majority rule for its issues. Of course to the left its issues are above Democracy, but that’s true for the right as well.

    – Maybe thinking about it this way would help: If tyranny is a given do we want it to be the tyranny of the majority, or the tyranny of virtuous people? “Virtuous” being ultimately determined, as it always has been, by success in armed conflict.

  33. ewmayer

    o Re. The Cobalt Pipeline — So following WaPo’s stylings here, slaves in the US antebellum deep south would be described as “artisanal cotton harvesters”?

    o Re. The Hacking Wars Are Going to Get Much Worse | NYT. “It’s only a matter of time before a state’s response to a cyberattack escalates into full-blown military conflict.” — Especially if perma-warmongering propaganda rags like the NYT have their way. Heck, they’ve been furiously spinning the evidence-free allegations of Russian state hacking of the DNC – not a government entity, a private club, and a thoroughly corrupt one at that – into a casus belli since the election. When I try to picture the kinds of folks pushing these narratives I can’t help but recall the scene toward the end of The Dead Zone in which Martin Sheen’s crazed US president proclaims “The missiles are flying … hallelujah!”

  34. steelyman

    It seems that one of the co-authors of the Fabius Maximus Democracy article, Yasha Mounk, has previously posted deceptive items on his blog re Putin “murdering journalists”:

    1. Ivy League Reputation Damaged? Harvard Professors Publish ‘Fake News’ on Russia – Sputnik International

    2. MoA – As Anti-Trump / Anti-Russia Campaign Fails – Yascha Mounk Feeds New Lies

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