Links 4/14/18

20+ Rarely Seen Photos Of America In The 1950’s Show How Different Life Was Before Bored Panda

I’m British, and I experienced the biggest culture shock when I started working in the US Business Insider (Kevin W). I dunno. He must look too friendly. It’s not difficult to discourage most people from chatting you up, save the insistent ones on airplanes.

Climate Change Is Messing With Your Dinner Bloomberg

Portugal reaches 100% renewables, ends fossil fuel subsidies RenewEconomy (UserFriendly)

Europe divided over robot ‘personhood’ Politico (Dr. Kevin)

The long, slow demise of credit card signatures starts today CNET

Glutamatergic Signaling Drives Ketamine-Mediated Response in Depression: Evidence from Dynamic Causal Modeling International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology (David L)

E. Coli Linked to Chopped Romaine Lettuce Infects People in 11 States New York Times (David L)


Xi reviews China’s biggest naval parade ‘in 600 years’ Asia Times

China Delays Deal Reviews as U.S. Trade Frictions Build Wall Street Journal

Is May 1968 About to Happen Again, or Be Surpassed? Mass Strikes, Occupations and the Fight for the Future Perfect in France Counterpunch


Brexit: aviation hurdles Richard North. A must read if you have any interest in Brexit. Some readers have been skeptical about our earlier remarks about the looming clusterfuck of the UK withdrawing from EU aviation safety rules. More ugly details.

Jaguar Land Rover to cut 1,000 UK jobs as Brexit hits the motor industry Independent

Free trade in Africa: An important goal but not easy to achieve Bruegel


US and allies launch strikes on Syria chemical weapons sites BBC

Trump Attacks Syria With Chemical Experts on the Way ConsortiumNews

Russia says Britain helped fake Syria chemical attack, calls for emergency UN meeting to ‘avert danger of war’ (Kevin W). Wellie, the “allies” made sure that is now irrelevant.

Senate Dems press Trump on legal justification for potential Syria strike The Hill

Syria crisis: UN chief says Cold War is back BBC

Russian Warships Are Initiating Offensive Stances in Preparation of Potential Military Conflict Russia Insider

Tucker’s Prudence: When Fox News Becomes the Voice of Reason Gihon Journal (UserFriendly)

The pundits were wrong about Assad and the Islamic State. As usual, they’re not willing to admit it Los Angeles Times (UserFriendly)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook Uses Artificial Intelligence to Predict Your Future Actions for Advertisers, Says Confidential Document Intercept (Bill B)

Police used facial recognition technology to locate and arrest a man at a pop concert NME (Kevin W)

Have you been watching porn? openDemocracy

Looking to Listen: Audio-Visual Speech Separation Google Research

Trump Transition

How Trump Could Fire Robert Mueller Bloomberg

Trump Pardons Libby, Sending Message to Mueller’s Targets Real News

Please Chill the Fuck Out About the Pee Tape Vice

Trump escalates Amazon clash with US postal price review Financial Times

GOP Committee Chairmen Seek Comey Memos From Justice Department Bloomberg

Watchdog: Fired FBI official McCabe leaked to media to help himself The Hill

Michael Cohen’s Attorneys Claim Thousands of Privileged Documents Scooped Up in Raid New York Law Journal Google the headline.

Economists understand little about the causes of growth Economist

Michael Bloomberg Takes on the Coal Industry New Yorker (furzy)

Tesla ships flawed parts from suppliers to a local machine shop for fixes, and they’re piled up outside CNBC (Kevin W)

Goldman Sachs: Curing Patients’ Illnesses Is Bad for Business GritPost (UserFriendly)

Apple threatens leakers with criminal action in leaked memo – report Guardian

Wells Fargo Says It Faces a $1 Billion Fine Over Its Loan Scandals Time. Gee, Paribas paid a $9.8 billion fine for violating sanctions against Sudan, Iran, and Cuba. You can see where our priorities lie..

Class Warfare

Charleston bans sitting, lying down along King and Market streets amid panhandling complaints Post and Courier (Christopher M)

What the Rich Won’t Tell You New York Times. Important. The 1% feel they are not rich because they aren’t the 0.1%. FluffytheObeseCat: “The author repeatedly hammers home the point that, it doesn’t matter if you feel politely bad about wealth inequality. Those fine sensibilities and polite silences are beside the point if they effect no improvements.”

How did we let modern slavery become part of our everyday lives? Guardian (Paul R)

How much is an hour worth? The war over the minimum wage Guardian

First-Ever Evictions Database Shows: ‘We’re In the Middle Of A Housing Crisis’ NPR (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour. Crittermom: “Apparently, fawns grow into their ears!”

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Filiform Radical

      Reminded me of this 2000-year-old chestnut:

      Remember, Roman, to hold the peoples under your dominion (these are your skills), and to impose a custom of peace, to spare the subjugated and vanquish the proud.

  1. cnchal

    Re: What the Rich Won’t Tell You

    Most or all of the rich in that article work in finance in New York, and describe themselves as “working hard” and deserving of the money they “earn”. Is “working hard” a euphemism for “ripping your client’s face off”?

    Bernie Sanders: The business of Wall Street is fraud and greed.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      The two people that I know that work in finance didn’t work hard to get their jobs.. sure they work hard while they are there, but they were the sons of already successful financiers. So yes you may work hard, but you also have to realize that I would never have the opportunity to get those jobs and you were born into it.

      1. JTMcPhee

        What, exactly, does “work hard” mean?

        I worked in an aviation unit in Vietnam through a year, 16 hour days in the “rush periods” and when the air temp was 105 and the humidity 100%, also in monsoon rain conditions. I got to go up into the “hellhole,” the opening in the belly of a UH-1 “Huey” where the cargo hook hangs down, to repair hydraulics and install the dampers that reduce the vibrations of the transmission and rotor system, where the air temp was 140-plus and you did not back out until you fainted or the job was finished. I worked while I was sick with dysentery from the water supplies our Brass allowed to become polluted. And then after “a day’s work,” I got to do KP (kitchen work in the mess tents) and guard duty (go to sleep and you risked getting killed by Charlie or court-martialed by your Army). And of course got to “burn sh!t,” which involved pulling half-55-gallon drums out from under the holes in the latrine, adding diesel fuel to the poop, and setting it afire, then dumping the residue down the bank into the canal from which we drew our drinking water.

        All that was to facilitate the Enterprise of War, which killed so many mopes and made the rotten few important, powerful, and rich.

        I also worked assembling and repairing bicycles, and pumping gas (remember those days?), and as a high-speed kitchen drudge in an Upper Crust restaurant, and collecting rich folks’ garbage, to help earn my way through college. And I am sure others here have WORKED (classical physics defines “work” as “force applied through a distance—“ I guess leveraging and stealing ordinary peoples’ wealth and futures is a kind of “force,” and certainly there’s a great distance between the High Tower of Goldman Sachs and the bungalow in Keokuk) a lot worse and harder than I have. And of course there will be no testimonies from those who don’t even know how to access and participate in this site, and whose days are filled with actual real work, and who do Deplorable stuff that is becoming a kind of Untouchable Caste Divide, even more so.

        What kind of “hard work” do the People of the Street do, again? And where do they eat lunch, and take a crap, and do they even have to go get their own cup of very special coffee? Where do they go home to at night? Do they wash their own dishes, and “uniforms,” and take turns as doorman?

        Why do people buy into the notion that figuring out ever more complicated derivative scams and M&As and engaging in control fraud and running HST algos and defrauding their “customers” from their ergonomic chairs in front of their multiplex screens or in those conference rooms and offices looking down on the mopes? (Especially now that the Regulators have quashed even the tiny bit of attempts to make them subject to “fiduciary obligations,” and sanctified “arbitration” as the Holy Remedy For All Sins, Complete With Token “Hail Mary” and “Our Father” Prayers And Guaranteed Indulgences, that and the “cash settlements” that don’t even bear realistic scrutiny as to effects, and whether the monies are even paid to the “enforcer.”)

        Work, my aching patoot. “Value” in what they do? They get to establish the “values,” it appears. Though I guess their own Overlords establish their “compensation” and “bonuses,” what they get paid (I challenge the notion that they “earn it”) for financialization and monetization and fraud and constantly punching the Real Economy to the edge of collapse and always on the path of Groaf and everyone loves Volatility, of the right kind, now don’t they?

        I guess I should be glad that for the moment, those who “work” at “studying options and setting policy” have not brought on the “nuclear exchange” (cf. “Stock Exchange”?) that so many of us anticipate and fear. I guess that is work, all right, cruise missiles and other “smart weapons” on the Road To Damascus “applied through a distance.”

        And you can bet some folks who Work On Wall Street are very happy that Raytheon stock is up… got to replenish those Tomahawk holes in the supply chain, with new! Improved! Versions on the way:

        1. whine country

          I think what they really mean is they hardly work as opposed to what you describe which is working hard. That’s the trouble with people who, at the end of the day, produce nothing more than words.

        2. kurtismayfield

          What they think as working hard is to make deals so that they can make a lot of money. I agree with you that sitting in front of your desk or being a hedge fund manager is nothing compared to laboring how you have done

        3. Ancient1

          To JTM/10:50 AM/4/14/18
          I appreciate your comment this day. So much truth, but nobody is doing anything about our conditions in this country. Work. This country was built with “hard Work” by ordinary people and now we are the lowest Caste, suckered by our “Betters”. This not my country anymore. but there is no other place to flee to.

        4. nothing but the truth

          if you have time and energy to complain about injustice, you’re not working hard enough.

          They want you to feel ‘passion’ about your job and gratitude that you are able to stay alive.

          1. JTMcPhee

            I thought it was the non-disclosure agreements and loyalty oaths and employment contracts that were supposed to “buy their silence” and “keeps them on the reservation…” And that Class Identification, and networking and Old School Ties…

    2. Rates

      What the Rich Won’t Tell You: They have great acting skills.

      What the Rich Won’t Tell You: After the author left, each of the interviewers roared in laughter at the innocence of the reporter.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        No they probably didn’t laugh, but their actually money earning husbands might have if they’d been listening in. The interviewees were disproportionately women, and many were ‘stay-at-home’ mothers. Who both inherited and married into money (that was also sometimes inherited). And even when the wealth wasn’t dominantly inherited, the credentials and connections that propelled their earnings certainly were. I was impressed that 20% of her interviewees were non-white. However, I have a very strong suspicion that the nonwhite respondents were overwhelmingly of east and south Asian ancestry, and from families that had been merchant class or skilled tradesmen….. for many more generations than the WASPs who made up the New York rich before them.

        The study was exemplary of the impacts of endogamy. And our fluid, yet unbreakable caste system.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I have to tell you, but a lot of people who wind up in finance are not from wealth. WASP does not = rich, for starters. If they are in their 40s, that would mean they graduated from college in the late 1990s. The Ivies and equivalents were not as catastrophically costly then as they are now. Their parents would often have been upper income (think doctors in the more lucrative practices, lawyers at big firms, corporate executives) but that does not mean inherited fortunes, particularly if there was a divorce. And I know people in that age cohort who came from modest backgrounds (as in went to college on scholarship + work study).

          Wall Street and big law firms want people who are insecure because they actually do work hard (I often did over 100 hour work weeks, which means if you pay your bills on time and get your laundry done, you have a successful personal life). The time stress is intense. And there is often a lot of travel, which is physically taxing. And unlike the old days, when you couldn’t do much when flying, junior people are now expected to work on a plane.

          I agree that the more senior people whinging about how hard they work is a bit much (even if they work 70 hours a week, they still have a lot of control over their environment) but for people in the first 2-4 years in investment banking, the hours are as bad as being a resident (I regularly did all nighters and once did 2 all nighters in a row). So

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            parents would often have been upper income (think doctors in the more lucrative practices, lawyers at big firms, corporate executives) but that does not mean inherited fortunes

            Yes. I re-read the article. I over-stated the extent of inherited wealth among the interviewees. This: “the credentials and connections that propelled their earnings certainly were [class-based]” appears broadly true, however. The social inheritance probably is more critical than money for most. And it certainly is part of the ‘downplay the money but…… don’t lose it’ ethos.

            The thing is, no one in this cohort is “laughing” about income inequality. For one thing (and in contrast to most of the rest of us) they are frequently within the outer orbit of the ultra-wealthy. Most have probably had to sign a few NDAs in their day. It sensitizes them to the genuine maldistribution of power in our society, I think. Not necessarily in a good way.

          2. Heraclitus

            And, in my experience, going to high end schools and getting the great jobs out of school are no guarantee of anything, certainly not wealth. I got some glimmer of this when I attended my top ten business school’s annual real estate club event when I was a student. I met a couple of alumni (one of whom was a Sikh), who were former investment bankers. Both had wrangled their way into owning NYC apartment buildings, one each, I think, after a few years of I-banking. They thought the apartment buildings were wealth building machines. Investment banking, not so much. As in everything glamorous on the outside, in I-banking ‘many are called but few are chosen.’ Only a few people do really, really well.

  2. Louis Fyne

    -I’m British, and I experienced the biggest culture shock when I started working in the US –

    Germans say the exact same thing when working in the UK

    1. Jack Lifton

      All socialization is local, and in a “healthy” society is based on the family and the values of the immediate ” community. ” Those who recognize themselves as deplorables are in fact the vast majority of Americans increasingly distancing themselves from a celebrity obsessed culture of wealth with no moral compass at all.
      The true American culture is unknown to the financial elites. The founders apparently anticipated this. This the electoral college.

      1. Quentin

        No, exactly the opposite. The Electoral College was instituted to protect the privilege of the Framers and their class, the then elites. In the last election the ruse backfired and the elites went to a mega-tizzy (which hasn’t abated) because they sensed loss of privilege.

        1. MK

          Keep the lesser populated slave states on par with the more populous non-slave states. The EC was a tool to keep the states united and concentrate federal power through the constitution instead of the diffuse articles of confederation. The slave states required a more or less equal footing with the ‘north’ to sign on to the new power structure.

          Of course, that only lasted for about 70 years.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Wasn’t a slave state the most populous? 3 of the top 5 were slave states. Virginia had claims on half the continent.

            Then of course, the economy was agrarian, and advances in communication and travel shouldn’t be understated when assessing the decisions made by people in the past.

            To paraphrase an exchange between a brown nose and an American history professor:

            “3 months seems like a long time to send messages, why would you say it was rapid”

            “They didn’t have phones.”

            Not being dominated by Virginia was a major concern especially with Washington, Jefferson, and the young Madison and Monroe lurking about. They were celebrities at that point.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                You sure about that one?


                Virginia subtracting slaves still has 100,000 more people than Massachussetts and has a higher population than PA. Maryland and North Carolina round out the top six in population. South Carolina sans slaves still out numbered Vermont, Maine, and Rhode Island. If we are doing population based on the 3/5 Compromise, South Carolina was larger than New Jersey.

                1. unna

                  Maybe less important what the EC was meant to do back when. More important thing is, what does it do today as far as the distribution of power across sections and populations of America.

                  1. NotTimothyGeithner

                    This isn’t the point. And making dishonest arguments based on historic illiteracy doesn’t do any favors especially when abolishing the EC for obvious reasons as seen in 2000 (#resistance types obviously forgot about this election),

                    1. JCC

                      Honest question; out of curiosity what is the point? If it wasn’t for the EC we would have HRC in the Presidency today. Would we be better off? Would the 7 ME Wars be suddenly shut down? Would we get a complete and effective Dodd-Frank Regulation of Wall Street. Would Monopoly/Surveillance Capitalism suddenly end up in the cross-hairs? Would the expansion of NATO suddenly stop creeping right up to the Russian Borders?

                      I know the Electoral College has issues, but if it weren’t for that, Clinton’s 457 County win would have overshadowed Trumps 2,626 County win, and fly-over country would, as usual, be completely over-shadowed… with strong resentment.

                      Never minding the fact that Trump lied to the people that voted for him and the above questions remain, I’m not sure the entire country needs to be primarily run de facto by the East and West Coasts as well as de jure.

                      We need some kind of fix, and I freely admit I don’t know what it is, but I’m not sure the EC needs to be completely abolished.

                      Whether it was the Agrarian Society Elite of the late 1700/1800’s that held the majority of the power, or the Financial/Corporate Society Elite of the East and West Coasts that now hold the power, it was awful nice to see the Clinton Corporate Faction of the Dem Party get thoroughly screwed in the last election cycle, and it was the EC that did it.

                      I’ll make the usual required caveat statement that I think Trump is highly dangerous, but Clinton’s constant and never-ending whinging about majorities and the EC is almost a pleasure to listen to.

                      Suggestions as to how to address one of age old questions concerning American Democracy that Alexis de Tocqueville, among others, specifically brought up in his book Democracy In America about 190 years ago, i.e., how does a democratic society defend itself against a Rule By Plutocracy, is what we really need. Right now I’m not convinced that a complete abolishment of the EC is a very effective solution.

                    2. NotTimothyGeithner

                      To address your point, we don’t know how events would turn out if there was no electoral college just for 2016. Hillary Clinton under performed Kerry across a number of that states that were competitive in recent years. Yes, she did worse than Kerry through the Mid West and PA. How many people voted simply to vote for the first woman? Part of turning Virginia blue was convincing non-voters that winning was possible or that votes mattered. Would Virginia be “blue” without George Allen’s 2006 “gaffe” (an understatement) convincing people they needed to vote even if they didn’t think winning was possible and that voting was worth their time? Most registered voters stayed home. I would note Hillary’s token nature didn’t motivate people in states which were already competitive.

                      Much in the same way, would Obama have invested so much time targeting delegates in 2008 if the delegates favored a one man/one vote approach? I don’t know, but a candidate who manages to lose two elections despite having more votes twice was probably not foiled by the electoral college. Even in 2000, there was a belief in the Clinton camp that Gore would win the electoral college and lose the popular vote (yeah, they really are terrible at politics. Look how much damage Perot did).

                      If we had a popular vote, would Trump be the GOP nominee? The electoral college might guarantee a host of red states where evangelicals might balk at the Dondald, making a vote for Trump not a waste. The same Trump primary voter might have made a different calculation if the goal was to win the popular vote.

                      We should simply abolish the Presidency and state based Senate and embrace PR re-districting.

                    3. barefoot charley

                      fwiw, the logic of the EC is unknown because participants in the constitutional convention were sworn to secrecy. That vow applied less forcefully in the South, because their elites were richer and more skeptical than northerners, so they had to be convinced by their representatives to go along. It was said down South that the 3/5 of a person compromise which artificially inflated their count of, er, people who counted, was intended to inflate the representation of *property.* Wealth. Greater population in the North, greater wealth in the South. The Electoral College established which value had greater value (property, duh), and the compromise was accepted by the North. The EC has different effects today, but it does prevent a handful of coastal states from ignoring the others (after 30 years . . .) For good and ill, it forces parties to have national polices, or lose elections (the alternative so far being the Civil War).

      2. marym

        This would be an accurate description of “Those who recognize themselves as deplorable” if by “distancing themselves from” you mean “voted for a self-proclaimed epitome of.” And sorry, but the “true American culture” includes all of us, not just insulate, deplorable-identifying white Trump voters.

    2. zer0

      And the French and Swiss say the same thing about Germany. Probably the Czechs too.
      32 hour weeks, 1 year paid maternity leave (up to 2 years with partial pay), 1.5 months vacay.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Rarely Seen Photos Of America In The 1950’s Show How Different Life Was Before”

    Spent over half an hour going through this amazing collection of fotos. I bet that a lot of people seeing those fotos are probably matching up what is in them with what is there now as far as buildings are concerned. Trying to put something together to describe this set from the 50s the word that came to mind was ‘prosperity’. You can see it right there. Most of the people are prosperous and have the money and tastes to dress well (nice to see, from a guy’s view, that the 50s had their own share of babes too). People were buying good cars, good clothes and were going on holidays. They even looked healthier in those fotos. I think that if it was possible, a lot of people would like to move there.
    And as far as that “Have you been watching porn?” article is concerned, the results for that came in a long time ago. About 80% admitted that they did do so and the other 20% were liars.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      1. 1950’s.

      I like to watch older movies, especially those with scenes outside. You can see what the world was like then, in the 80’s, 70′, 60’s, etc. You see the buildings, public infrastructure, people, how they lived what they ate, how they socialized, and rivers, mountains, forests, etc. With the latter few from Nature, sometimes you wonder at their agelessness, their eternal beauty, and sometimes you are saddened at what has been lost.

      2. Porn

      Is a progressive, enlightened world to be measured, partly, by how people, especially men, are liberated from it?

      “We don’t watch it. There is no such repression. We have no need for any vicarious substitutes. We have eliminated it, not just by getting rid of wealth and gender inequality. We did something else.”

      I wish I know what that something else was.

      Or is a progressive, enlightened society measured by the lack of shame attached to watching it?

      “It’s OK to come out of that particular closet. This is not the 1950’s America anymore, when it was legalized, but not de-stigmatized. We accept that not-getting-it will always be a problem. That men will always want to get it more than they’ve got is their eternal biological burden.”

      1. GF

        The main thing I noticed in the photos with cars was that they were all American made except James Deans Porsche.

      2. Oregoncharles

        About a third of porn customers are women, and it would be more if more porn catered to them.

    2. John k

      Blacks and Hispanics might prefer here.
      Granted police here have license to kill, but that was certainly true then.
      Not many rich blacks back then.

    3. Quentin

      Yes, and most importantly we were all about 60-70 years younger then! The rest is, as they say, history.

      1. Felix_47

        The change in the immigration law in 1965 led to a degree of change no one imagined. Although it is not to blame for the economic devastation we have one can see the correlation in a temporal sense. That magical period of hope is long gone.

      1. ambrit

        Just walk down Bourbon Street during Southern Decadence. (Not to mention some of the side streets in the Quarter.)

    4. Oregoncharles

      Gore Vidal called the 1950s to 60s “America’s Golden Age.” Indeed, there was a lot of injustice for certain groups (women, too), but prosperity was nonetheless much more evenly spread – though the South might not agree, mainly because it had so many people it insisted on holding down.

      That’s when the Boomers were growing up – and it nonetheless led to the nearly insurrectionary late 60s, now just 50 years ago. Not sure just what to make of that, though I remember my own thinking then. Of course, the Viet Nam War had a lot to do with it.

      1. Summer

        “though the South might not agree, mainly because it had so many people it insisted on holding down….”

        South of the Canadian border?

        1. Oregoncharles

          The South, as in the former Confederacy minus Texas and Florida, was definitely impoverished compared to the rest of the country in the 50s and 60s. That’s at least partly because of segregation, since that meant keeping a large portion of their population impoverished and unproductive.

          Sometimes there’s a bit of justice in the world.

  4. rjs

    looks like we almost lost the Great Lakes:

    Near Miss at Line 5. Great Lakes Crown Jewel at Risk — Last week, 550 gallons of coolant containing the carcinogenic solvent benzene were released into Lake Michigan from an electrical transmission cable running under the Straits of Mackinac. It happened because a ship went through the Straits dragging its anchor.

    Enbridge Energy clearly had an “oh shit!” moment since the twin oil pipelines they own that run under the Straits were just a few hundred yards away. Sure enough, after an inspection, they found three dents in the two pipelines which carry nearly 1 million gallons of petroleum per hour. The pipelines, part of Enbridge’s Line 5, are 65 years old.

  5. OIFVet

    The Russians claim that Syrian air defenses intercepted 71 of 103 cruise missiles fired by the US and the coalition of the Euro Poodles. One conclusion that can be drawn from this is that little to no electronic warfare was conducted by the aggressors to jam and suppress Syrian radars and defense communications. In turn, this means that either this was a show strike negotiated behind the scenes with Russia ahead of time, or Russia’s warnings served to severely limit the scope and scale of the strike. I put my money on the former. So in the end about $150 million worth of missiles were launched just to make noise and save face. Can’t have that money go toward anything that actually makes sense, like education and healthcare, you know.

    1. Matt

      Missiles still have to destroy something. Russia I think is going to quickly tire of having to play these games just because US governance is so dysfunctional.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Indeed. “U.S., U.K. and French forces administered [sic] the strikes,” writes Marketwatch, hewing to the MIC-approved ‘surgical’ theme. Paging Dr Mengele!

      Eager to get his fluffy face included in the war heroes photo, our Norwegian poodle barks excitedly:

      NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Saturday that the alliance “considers the use of chemical weapons unacceptable.”

      Stoltenberg said that the strike “will reduce the regime’s ability to further attack the people of Syria with chemical weapons.”

      He added that “those responsible must be held accountable.”

      You’d think Syria would be irrelevant to NATO, whose treaty describes it as a defensive alliance. But since Bill Clinton turned NATO loose on “out of area” operations in Serbia, rogue NATO has become a global force for aggression. “We fixed Afghanistan, now we’ll fix Syria,” as NATO might say if ECOMCON gives it some TV slots.

      Fortunately treaties aren’t enforceable anymore in the USA, with its dead-letter constitution. A few impotent Kongress Klowns bark in the night, but their letters go straight into the Oval Office shredder.

      *heads down to the Donald J Trump Post Office to mail in his war taxes*

      1. Jesper

        When the ‘elite’ uses phrases like:

        He added that “those responsible must be held accountable.”

        then it is clear that our ‘elite’ has no shame. Accountability is only for the little people or is the ‘elite’ never ever responsible for anything as they are never ever held to account? Or maybe, the ‘elite’ are actually held responsible but in secret?
        It seems accountability for our public sector ‘elite’ is about claiming credit for things that goes well and diffusing responsiblity for things when they go badly. The equivalent from the private sector is by privatising the profits while socialising the losses. The crisis of legitimacy is only surprising to the people in the ‘elite’.

        1. Sid_finster

          Our elite, like just about every elite everywhere, are functionally indistinguishable from sociopaths.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            I quit trying to distinguish. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck…

    3. integer

      Yes, it appears some behind the scenes negotiations, or at least communication aimed at reducing casualties, took place between the US and Russia before the strike:

      Syrian strike is not conflict between superpowers, Russia was warned ahead – US envoy to Moscow RT

      The US warned Russia ahead of the overnight strikes on Syria, US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman said, adding that the military action was not “about the conflict between superpowers.”

      “Before we took the action, the United States communicated with the Russian Federation to reduce the danger of any Russian or civilian casualties,” Huntsman said, claiming that “all the targets were linked with the Assad regime’s illegal chemical weapons program.”

      In any case, Trump seems satisfied. From a a little less than an hour ago:

      A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!

      So… Mission accomplished… What was the mission again?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Congrats, integer, you’ve just spotted a glitch in the Truman Show. From AP:

        [General Joseph] Dunford said the U.S. did not coordinate targets with or notify the Russian government of the strikes, beyond normal airspace “de-confliction” communications.

        “Before we took action, the United States communicated with the Russian Federation to reduce the danger of any Russian or civilian casualties.”

        — US Ambassador Jon Huntsman’s video statement

        Got to protect the fragile egos of America’s cowboy generals. “We don’t need no stinkin’ advance warnings.”

      2. Chauncey Gardiner

        Re “Mission Accomplished”… It’s a deep game, this “Great Game” of global hegemony and the fates of nations, where millions of lost and damaged lives are irrelevant to the players, or perhaps even a welcome by-product of the quest for power and wealth. It is no accident that Dear Leader used the term “Mission Accomplished”. It is a repetitive “In your face” propaganda message reminder intended for domestic consumption and directed at opponents of executive branch co-option of congressional War Powers under the Constitution and the endless wars of the Neocon Network, and was designed to demonstrate “We Never Lost Control”. But their need to explicitly state it raises an obvious question.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          But you could also read some 11-dimensional chess into the move, it’s no secret that the famous “Mission Accomplished” utterance by that Previously-The-Worst-Possible-President-Imaginable Geo.Bush is now widely acknowledged to have been a very ill-advised and wildly premature comment. And the kid glove attack, apparently with advance stage-managing with the Russians, might have been calculated to be just enough to shut the (mainly Democratic) WEAAC (War Everywhere and Always Crowd) up for a news cycle or two without really committing the U.S. to anything wider.

    4. JeffC

      That conclusion can be drawn only if you take Russian claims of Syrian defense success at face value. When the weapons of war are press releases, it’s generally a mistake to assume the parties are straight shooters.

    5. The Rev Kev

      Hey, hey, hey, everyone! Saudi Arabia paid for all those missiles so Trump, May and especially Macron had to show something for all that money! OK, the attack is over for now and I think that a few conclusions can be drawn. The attack was limited and seems to have been negotiated beforehand with the Russians. It looks too like the Russians let the Syrians handle the missiles with their own defensive network and, if so, did a credible job by shooting down 70% of the incoming missiles using 30 year old gear.
      May will pay for this domestically by bypassing the Parliament and using her Cabinet to hide behind in making the decision to attack and Corbyn has already criticized her. I would not be surprised to see the French people galvanized by Macron throwing France into a war that nobody wants involvement in. I do not think that this will make those three powers look good launching an attack just before that newly-arrived OPCW team were about to start their investigations. Expect lots of shouting at the UNSC meeting in a day or so.
      The Russian Foreign Ministry has stated: “All facts point to the desire of the US and its allies to provide the radicals and extremists with an opportunity to gather their breath, restore their ranks, drag out the bloodshed on Syrian soil and thereby complicate the political settlement”. Still, the Syrians are now readying an attack on an ISIS pocket south of Damascus. Unless the west tries to save them as well. But what will the Russian response be?
      The attack gave them a chance to study western missile technologies without giving away their own technologies if they had responded. It seems that the Russians say that they are thinking of supplying the more advanced S-300 air defense system to the Syrians as well as ‘other countries’ (uh-oh!). Guaranteed they will take other actions. Reading the MSM I am getting the impression that the purpose of the attack was a proxy attack in that the message is actually ‘Russia. Get out of Syria! Or else!’ And if the Jihadist use chemicals again, then the west will attack the Syrians again. Trump has tweeted ‘Mission Accomplished’ and if he is smart, he should let it rest there.
      I am reminded of something that I read recently when it said-

      ‘What’s next? Keep an eye of the news, because it seems like history is getting ready to turn a page, slowly.’

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Putin like most popular leaders is sensitive to the demands of the street. My sense is U.S. behavior has not been sitting well with the Russian street. My gut is Mattis pushed for an attack that wouldn’t demand an immediate response, knowing the Russians would never approve anything. The big surprise as the loss of so many misses by Syrian air defense, hence the subdued response. I wouldn’t be surprised if the hot line between U.S. and Russia has been shut down. The U.S. is the colonial pig, and two chemical weapon hoaxes didn’t push Western support for an attack. A third one won’t either. The msm hasn’t been putting up many polls on the matter after all. Even #resistance dolts seem to think Mother wouldn’t have done this, but belief in a secret Hillary was always a powerful drug.

      2. MK

        RE: The attack gave them a chance to study western missile technologies without giving away their own technologies if they had responded.

        But did it? If the west just shot off old school tomahawk missiles as they did in the strike last year, it would appear the same old same old technology was used on both sides.

        Perhaps there was some new radar or satellite technology involved?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It did give them a chance to observe the effects of a smaller style operation against older air defense. 1991 and 2003 were large operations against an opponent where much of the force was deployed in Kuwait and then completely shattered after years of sanctions. The Syrian state wasn’t as strong last year either. It probably filtered down to their defense capability.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Quote from another site: “Regardless the shop is open and the latest in weapons tech was on display. The US used its JSSAM, the French it’s Scalp and the UK its Storm Shadow.” You can be sure that Russian and Syrians forensics teams are scouring the countryside for any parts of these missiles to see what they can learn. And Russian sensor systems would have learnt what the profiles were for these new weapons.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Will it be

            1. Russians can now sell more anti-missile systems?

            2. Our military gets more money, because the other guys are learning now, and we have to stay a step ahead?

            3. Both

            4. something else

          2. Wyoming

            I would point out that:

            1. The Storm Shadow and the Scalp are the same missile.

            2. The Storm Shadow/Scalp are NOT the latest in technology as they were designed in the 1990’s, original orders were from 97/98, and were in service more than 15 years ago.

            3. The JSSAM was designed in the 90’s and early 2000’s (they had a lot of issues and problems with it) and went into service in 2009.

            4. It would not be surprising if some of the Storm Shadow/Scalps were shot down. It would be more interesting if any of the JSSAM’s were.

            5. Some reports are calling these missiles ‘long-range’ but they are not. They are medium range cruise missiles.

            It would be a little inaccurate to call these the latest in technology with supersonic missiles out there now.

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            The cynic in me wonders if whatever toys the Syrians got from Russia could have stopped/misdirected even more missiles and they chose to throttle that back…

        3. blennylips

          Perhaps there was some new radar or satellite technology involved?

          Dunno, but snafu-solomon ’bout lost it over the attack:

          Watching the Pentagon briefing on the strike last night and the amount of ordnance that was expended is almost breathtaking.

          They used alot of missiles on a few targets.

          In other words they destroyed a building, bounced rubble, bounced rubble again and obviously did it one more time.


          Worth a visit for the sales poster
          “the best value of any air-to-surface missile in its class – Lockheed Martin”

      3. ted

        well, if the report is accurate and 70 percent failed, we have to ask how many of those were just dud weapons and how many intercepted. What may be on display here is the quality if the munitions industry, mainly in the US. If it is anything like Tesla, expect American manufacturers of all things that go boom to suck just as much. F 35 anyone?

        This above all else is probably why we hear so little about the goings on of the US’s many wars. The MIC does not want it to be know just how crappy their many super high tech bombs and bullets are in the field.

      4. Wyoming

        Yesterday most were overcome with anxiety about the risks of WWIII. Today we know that the US and Russian govt/militaries dealt with this small crisis just the way I projected they would yesterday.

        They coordinated to avoid any Russian deaths.

        The Russians may not even have shot at any of the missiles (I thought they would).

        The targets were very limited and worthless (just like last time).

        The Syrians were allowed time to get out of the way.

        The US got to practice a bit and so did the Syrians. All good.

        The big downside now is that the rebels are perfectly set up to trigger some kind of US attack on Syria at any time by staging some sort of ‘chemical attack’. Eventually the US will have to target something valuable and actually try and kill some Syrian of value to Assad.

        The Syrian claims of some 70% success in shooting down the (likely older model) cruise missiles is most likely a wild ass exaggeration. Over the next couple of weeks there will be leaks out of the US military (look for them in the military blogs) where we will learn a more accurate number (not necessarily the exact truth though).

        What will the Russian reaction to all this be? In Syria there will probably not be any meaningful change as this attack was not of substance and the slow strangling of the rebels will proceed apace. I would expect that the Russians will respond in some other place in a non-military way. But maybe not. They were not damaged in this attack and may just ignore it.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Verizon experienced (!) a major “outage” a day or so ago, in most of Florida and I hear in the NY area as well, reportedly something to do with the maze of optical cables that replace all that “old tech” copper wire that Verizon has been stripping out of its system. As a result, millions of people, for 6 or 8 hours, had no connection to each other or to “emergency services.”

          The 911 agencies suggested that someone experiencing (!) a heart attack or stroke or other emergency go find a neighbor who had a different cell provider, or maybe a pay phone still connected to copper, to call for help.

          I, personally, am convinced that this was Putin and Assad conspiring with the Chinese to fire a warning shot across the bow of the USS Jugganaut… /sarc, but who knows, any more, in the current mess of profit-taking destabilizing vulnerabilities we mopes who make up the Real Economy have to live under… when some anonymous sh@t in Bengal or Borneo can learn some code skills and install one of those ransom programs on my computer despite all my precautions, or lock up hospital records, or shut down or blow up an electric utility’s operations, STUXNET and the rest…

          Is there “code” that would let us mopes who are troubled by spam and all those spoofed-exchange scam phone calls from numbers that look so much like the boss’s or your grandmother’s, reach out and touch the SOBs in some way that deters their predations? I’m sure NSA and Cybercommand and their sort around the globe, and all the ‘security’ parts of the Great Supranational Corporate Kleptocracy, can do it.

        2. bones

          Wyoming, Could you come back and share links to the military blogs you follow when this sort of info is leaked?

      5. rkka

        “It looks too like the Russians let the Syrians handle the missiles with their own defensive network and, if so, did a credible job by shooting down 70% of the incoming missiles”

        The Russians have been selling more advanced SAMs to the Syrians, such as the SA17, as well as the Pantsyr gun/missile system. The latter is a very capable point defense system against cruise missiles.

    6. Summer

      “So in the end about $150 million worth of missiles were launched just to make noise and save face…”

      And now they all have to be replaced.

      You think that was totally out of their calculations for the decision?

    7. Scylla

      I saw a tweet last night from someone claiming to be Syrian, with sources in the Syrian MOD, that claimed that every single missile launched by British assets failed to hit their targets due to electronic countermeasures or physical interception. If that is actually true, there have to be some folks in the UK that are quite upset. I think we are all very lucky that the Syrians and Russians are more mature than our own idiotic leaders.

      1. Jim Haygood

        I think we are all very lucky that the Syrians and Russians are more mature than our own idiotic leaders.

        Having a far smaller economy than the US — Russia’s GDP is but seven (7) percent of America’s — Putin has to play his cards calmly and rationally, under the constraint of severely limited resources.

        As long it can borrow a trillion a year at less than 3 percent interest, the US thinks it is economically invincible. But public pensions haven’t been funded and infrastructure hasn’t been upgraded.

        Soon the credit-driven US bubble economy will fold like a cheap suit as prosperity fades into the rear view mirror. US federal debt-to-GDP is 107 percent and rising. Our permanent war economy is not doing well, comrades.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It doesn’t have to borrow. One way is to pay all cash. There are other ways.

            At present, the Treasury department does issue notes, bills and bonds.

            Of course, the State department could borrow from the CIA, in theory, for example. Or the Pentagon from Social Security, on paper at least.

            1. Plenue

              It was sarcasm. This is Haygood’s entire gimmick. He knows how our fiat money works, he just refuses to accept it.

    8. wilroncanada

      The poodle and the corgi came running to join the big pit bulldog when he barked. The three together are still afraid of the big bear.

  6. fresno dan

    Goldman Sachs: Curing Patients’ Illnesses Is Bad for Business GritPost (UserFriendly)

    The thousand-hour life span of the modern incandescent dates to 1924, when representatives from the world’s largest lighting companies—including such familiar names as Philips, Osram, and General Electric (which took over Shelby Electric circa 1912)—met in Switzerland to form Phoebus, arguably the first cartel with global reach. The bulbs’ life spans had by then increased to the point that they were causing what one senior member of the group described as a “mire” in sales turnover. And so, one of its priorities was to depress lamp life, to a thousand-hour standard.
    In its day, however, the shift to planned obsolescence was in keeping with the views of a growing body of economists and businesspeople who felt that, unless you dealt in coffins, it was bad business and unsound economics to sell a person any product only once. By the late nineteen-twenties, the repetitive-sales model had become so popular that Paul Mazur, a partner at Lehman Brothers, declared obsolescence the “new god” of the American business élite.
    Gotta protect the market….and the casket manufacturers certainly don’t think less death is a good thing. You wanna screw up capitalism just to go on living??? how selfish…..

    1. JBird

      In its day, however, the shift to planned obsolescence was in keeping with the views of a growing body of economists and businesspeople who felt that, unless you dealt in coffins, it was bad business and unsound economics to sell a person any product only once.

      Gee whiz, is that why there is a market on eBay for old kitchen appliances from earlier than about the 1980s? Or perhaps why Apple is making so hard to economically, if at all, fix their electronics? I like how the prices for new cheaply made junk is always the same, or higher, than the old stuff. Same price, buy twice, or thrice. See profit.

  7. blennylips

    Is May 1968 About to Happen Again…

    For those who want to follow from home:

    A Call For Intergalactic Solidarity Actions Everywhere []
    We are writing with the smell of tear gas rising from our fingers. The springtime symphony of birdsong is punctuated by the explosive echo of concussion grenades. Our eyes are watering, less from the gas than the sadness; because our friends’ homes, barns and organic farms are being destroyed. Bulldozers, supported by 2500 riot police, armored vehicles, helicopters and drones, are rampaging through these forests, pastures and wetlands to crush the future we are building here on the to the zad (The zone à defendre).

    So, airport not gonna be built, but can’t let those hippies get a win!

  8. Kurtismayfield

    More degeneration of responsibility for LEO’s in the US of A:

    The cop who shot the SWATTING victim in Kansas will not be brought up on charges

    If anyone is not knowledgable about this case, here is a synopsis:

    #1. Guy was SWAT’ed by another person that he played video games with.

    The deadly confrontation occurred after a man made a hoax 911 call posing as a deranged gunman who was holding his family hostage.

    We now know Finch wasn’t armed, but the police officer didn’t know that at the time. Based on the 911 call, police believed they were confronting a gunman who had already killed his father and was holding other family members at gunpoint.

    #2. The man answered the door in his own home and had the police pointing guns at him asking for his ID.

    But District Attorney Marc Bennett said on Thursday that he saw Finch reaching toward his waistband and believed that he was reaching for a weapon. In reality, Finch was unarmed.

    #3. The police officer shot him in the head because of this.

    At no point did the victim show resistance or violence towards the police. The police were never under threat and they still killed him.

    If this was truly a kidnapping situation, the kidnapper would have never opened the door and would have sent a hostage to open the door. So the cops could have shot a hostage.

    The person who is up on charges is the one who made the call. He is being charged with involuntary manslaughter. I went and looked up what that is:

    Involuntary manslaughter

    21-3404. Involuntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter is the unintentional killing of a human being committed:

    (a) Recklessly;

    (b) in the commission of, or attempt to commit, or flight from any felony, other than an inherently dangerous felony as defined in K.S.A. 21-3436 and amendments thereto, that is enacted for the protection of human life or safety or a misdemeanor that is enacted for the protection of human life or safety, including acts described in K.S.A. 8-1566 and subsection (a) of 8-1568, and amendments thereto, but excluding the acts described in K.S.A. 8-1567 and amendments thereto; or

    (c) during the commission of a lawful act in an unlawful manner.

    Involuntary manslaughter is a severity level 5, person felony.

    Now, does the prosecution have to convince a jury that the caller believed that the police could be used as a weapon that could murder someone? Isn’t this getting the prosecution to admit that the police are a murder weapon?

    1. fresno dan

      April 14, 2018 at 9:26 am

      Yesterday, there was also a post about this incident
      April 13, 2018 at 8:26 am
      Cop not charged for killing innocent ‘swatting’ prank victim [NYDN]

      I am very much in danger of exploding – it is an outrage and it shows the utter contempt the “authorities” have for innocent civilians. They do NOT “serve and protect” but oppress and coerce. They are the state enforcers and NO accountability in their mission of control can ever be brought, lest their be a crack in their solidarity, and thereby endanger their absolute fidelity to enforce the will of the state.
      The most cavalier analysis of the situation shows the consummate and absolute disregard for the person who was, AT THE VERY LEAST, a victim of reckless homicide. The rationale for the shooting on its face is preposterous. That such an absurd outcome is put forward as legal or just so straight forwardly shows how far this country had declined.

      Considering that the police are SUPPOSEDLY trained professionals, it just proves that we are to serve the government, not the government serves us.

      1. kurtismayfield

        I am sorry, I did not see the post yesterday on this topic.

        What will really infuriate you is reading Warren vs. DC, or Castle Rock vs. Gonzales. Only after reading those cases did I realize it is not the job of the police to protect and serve, and they are tools of the state.

        1. fresno dan

          April 14, 2018 at 5:37 pm

          No problem repeating the link – it bears repeating. Yeah, I’m familiar with the cases. As well as the legal system and sovereign immunity – they do a d*mn fine job of covering their own as$es…

          1. fresno dan

            and one other point:
            the police – not responding competently to real crimes (Williams ver DC), but responding and killing innocent civilians to fake crimes…..
            perhaps it has something to do with the hero worship of police and a well designed system to deflect accountability and responsibility…..

  9. Eureka Springs

    I wonder how many Syrians are sitting around thanking Gawd, Allah and the all mighty Dallah that their cousin was killed by a US bomb or US / Saudi funded a liver eating invader, rather than a chem weapon, whether Assad or white helmets did it?


    1. Jim Haygood

      From “We’ll be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now” [speech in Ohio, March 29] to bombing it in fifteen days flat — ‘erratic’ isn’t a strong enough word to describe Trump’s majestic, Biden-like flip-flop.

      Despite having rudely jerked him to heel on Syria, the MIC doubtless views Trump’s clinical mental instability as an unacceptable risk to its global war plans.

      Seizing his lawyer Michael Cohen’s papers and tapes — which may expose the obvious fact that Trump HAD to be involved in the $130,000 payout to Stormy Daniels — is one way of blackmailing Potus.

      What sort of ‘compliance’ can be obtained with a sealed indictment, quashable at the option of the MIC? Don’t look now, but this is turning ugly, with much more going on beneath the surface. Today is roughly equivalent to George W Bush’s deer-in-the-headlights look as his reading of My Pet Goat to some third graders was interrupted one fine Florida morning.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Yes and this demonstrates so well problems both above and beneath the surface are systemic:

        Check out these similar letters warning the president about commencing offensive strikes against Syria without congressional approval.

        2013 signers: 119 Rs, 21 Ds
        2018 signers: 15 Rs, 73 Ds
        Very few of us signed both

        I would wager the 21 and 15 respectively are allowed to do so for theatrical purposes only.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If this is turning ugly, with the MIC holding the Damocle’s sword, what can congress, which is located in the Swamp, do?

            It seems there are 2 options

            1. Submit
            2. Confront the MIC, may require siding with Trump.

  10. Quentin

    America is exceptional, we got it from the mouth of Saint Barak himself when he stood, if I’m not mistaken, before the UN General Assembly. I remember being appalled that the man had the arrogant gall to say that with a straight face to the representatives of the world. In fact he may have smiled, according to his standard behaviour, because he thought he’d delivered a cutesy zinger. How many Democrats got their undies in a knot about this statement. None. Now the horrific Pompeo must be admonished for going a step further and literally spelling out what American Exceptionalism entails. Well, good for him, the goon. And let’s not forget Madeleine Albright’s equally obnoxious sentiment.

    Isn’t it somewhat ironic that in the item directly preceding Nina Byzantina’s Justin Amash points out the the strongest opposition to offensive strikes against Syria in 2013 and 2018 came from the party which was not in control of the White House: Republicans reject Obama, Democrats reject Trump? How snugly bipartisan in mirrored way.

  11. Harry

    Npr sucks ass so bad they make radio free europe look objective.

    Apparently there are a thousand ways of dealing with non-payment of rent other than eviction. However the margin was too small to mention any of them.

    I don’t know why i bother to read or listen to anything they say.

    There must be so be alternative talk radio show?

    1. David Carl Grimes

      One eye-opening statement was that rents in poor neighborhoods are not that far off from other neighborhoods. The yields are so high, payback is measured in months and not years. So why wouldn’t you be a slum landlord?

      I recall Jared Kushner owning hundreds of homes in slum infested Baltimore.

      1. barefoot charley

        It’s a fact in real estate as in the rest of life that the poorer you are, the more profitable you are. That’s why Uncle Warren Buffet is the biggest trailer-park owner in America. No one gives a damn how much rent you charge or how few services you deliver. Win win! The funny thing is, high-profit rental properties are, by algorithmic definition, high-risk, and banks avoid loaning on them. Ergo, high-tech redlining. It’s not illegal, it’s computerized!

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Police used facial recognition technology to locate and arrest a man at a pop concert NME (Kevin W)

    I believe something similar is already available, or can be developed, to locate and disarm (via face recognition/weapon detection/etc, combined with smart – or Dallas-level magic – bullets or small drones), a school shooter.

  13. Craig H.

    “We have a very high confidence that Syria was responsible.”

    They must have good shit. I haven’t been that high since my early 20’s.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Michael Cohen’s Attorneys Claim Thousands of Privileged Documents Scooped Up in Raid”

    So the message is that if you are a lawyer for Trump, you will be punished and your practice will suffer. How many clients will Michael Cohen now lose? Probably can’t even sue for this little fishing expedition. National Security you know.

    As for tonight’s Antidote du Jour: Nice to see how our Feline Overlords are kind enough to let some of us humans think that we are training them occasionally.

    1. Jim Haygood

      From Bloomberg:

      Investigators have reason to believe “that Cohen has exceedingly few clients and a low volume of potentially privileged communications,” they said.

      The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan had obtained earlier search warrants on multiple different email accounts maintained by Cohen, and reviewed them for privileged material, the prosecutors said.

      “Zero emails were exchanged with President Trump,” they wrote.

      Apparently Cohen has his own business interests, which may occupy more of his time than serving walk-in clients. One such is a passive investment in NYC taxi medallions [a quasi-monopoly license]:

      Medallions now sell for a fraction of the record $1.3 million price in 2014, and in many cases, are worth far less than what their owners borrowed to buy them.

      Last year, Cohen reportedly owed more than $40,000 in back taxes related to the medallions. The man charged with managing Cohen’s medallions — “Taxi King” Gene Friedman — was arrested in June 2017 for allegedly defrauding the state on taxi fees. Friedman’s arrest was cited by Cohen as the reason for the unpaid taxes.

      If in fact Trump is one of Cohen’s only (or sole) clients, their relationship may go beyond an arm’s length client-attorney situation to include extensive personal exchanges — perfect blackmail material, especially as it relates to dalliances concealed by NDAs.

      1. JTMcPhee

        When you go jumping on the pile, Jim, remember to point your spikes at the opposing baseman’s face///

    2. njbr

      The rumor is that Cohen made a journey to Prague via Germany to meet with Russians in summer 2016.

      The correct term for Cohen is “fixer”, not lawyer. Is there legal protection for a “fixer” engaging in shady or outright illegal activities for a variety of clients under the protection of “client confidentiality”?

      When we worked out east on projects we hired a Mr. Gombozi, Esq. to make arrangements for permits and such–he preferred a bundle of hundreds for his expenses.

      Pretty clear case law says no to that sort of arrangements.

        1. Katniss Everdeen


          A blogger named sundance at theconservativetreehous has been all over this for awhile and has an interesting take.

          He notes that when it first came out that Trump’s Michael Cohen was supposedly in Prague, it was, in fact, debunked. It turned out to be a different Michael Cohen.

          Here’s where it gets complicated.

          sundance contends that the fact of a Michael Cohen’s being in Prague, and apparently someone by that name was there at the time, was turned up in an illegal fisa search conducted during the obama administration, in an effort to get dirt on Trump. They just got the wrong guy with a pretty common name.

          This info was funneled to Fusion GPS and wound up in the Steele “dossier.”

          When Buzzfeed published the dossier and implicated Trump’s Michael Cohen, he denied he was there, proved he was somewhere else, and is now suing Buzzfeed and Fusion for defamation.

          sundance’s theory is that the raid on Cohen’s home and office is an attempt to gain some leverage over him and get him to drop the lawsuit. sundance suggests that, should the lawsuit proceed, Buzzfeed and Fusion will be forced to defend the published information by explaining where it came from, and exposing their “collusion” with obama’s DOJ and, ultimately, the DOJ’s “collusion” with the clinton campaign.

          OK, as I said, FWIW. But I find the theory pretty persuasive, particularly in view of the fact that, at the time all this was going on, clinton was virtually guaranteed the win, and no one would have ever been the wiser. So much of the mess in which the country currently finds itself can be explained by the simple fact that pretty much everyone was convinced clinton would win, and none of this would ever see the light of day.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Well this ups the ante:

            Michael Cohen

            Bad reporting, bad information and bad story by same reporter Peter Stone @McClatchyDC. No matter how many times or ways they write it, I have never been to Prague. I was in LA with my son. Proven!

            11:53 AM – Apr 14, 2018

            It is true that I once was welcomed into Russia’s UN mission on East 67th Street in Manhattan. But it was a party — REALLY! And well catered, I might add. :-)

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              Many of the commenters on that McClatchy article seem to be aware that Trump’s Cohen was not in Prague at that time. Apparently he was with his son at USC discussing an athletic scholarship and the USC coach has confirmed that.

              I don’t care whose “fixer” he is, Cohen couldn’t possibly be stupid enough to so emphatically deny something that could be so easily proven if, in fact, he actually had been there.

              So, the question becomes, what the hell’s going on with mueller? Why in the world is he playing the fool by doubling down on this? Sounds pretty desperate to me. Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time, and lookey here, comey was his partner in crime then too, in the same kind of high stakes game:


              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                People do get to a certain age and look back on their lives. In the case of Mueller, there were times where he could have fancied himself the “next President” or had dreams of being remembered positively. His name will always be linked to the Iraq War, the WMD hoax, torture, entrapment, the anthrax farce, and various failures of the FBI during his tenure.

                If Bob Mueller is wrong on “OMG Russia,” he might really be the barbarous clown his record indicates he is. In short, Mueller is 73 and has a record which will pose questions to future historians along the lines of “why was Mueller employed for so long?”

              2. integer

                So, the question becomes, what the hell’s going on with mueller?

                I’m not sure about Cohen, but Mueller really is a “fixer”, and he works for the establishment. Looking at Mueller’s career through this lens leads to some quite interesting theories about other cases he has been involved in, which, in addition to those listed by NotTimothyGeithner above, include the Lockerbie bombing and 9/11.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              According to sundance, and he has written a number of posts on this, it’s both. rosenstein knew exactly what he was getting when he appointed mueller, agenda-wise. There’s history there.

              And while it’s not often mentioned, it’s rosenstein’s job to keep mueller on task, which no one would ever accuse rosenstein of doing.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Which “Russians?” Kasparov and Dostoevsky and Shostakovich and Nureyev and Gagarin were or are Russians. “Government officials?” Oh fork it. Who cares? The NArrative Wins, as we all know…

        1. njbr

          The Justice Department special counsel has evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

          Confirmation of the trip would lend credence to a retired British spy’s report that Cohen strategized there with a powerful Kremlin figure about Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

                1. njbr

                  Ah ha,ha…from Jared’s journalistic venture….

                  Since the mid-1990s, the Czech Republic has been something of a playground for Russian spies—and most of them are in Prague. It’s not difficult to see why they’re here. As a member of both NATO and the European Union, the country is a tempting target for the Kremlin. Prague is a great place to live and work, there’s a pro-Russian element of the population (even after the Soviet 1968 invasion there inexplicably are still Czech Russophiles), there’s a lot of Russian business going on in the country, and Kremlin operatives gained a solid foothold here just after the Cold War, when it was easy.


    3. marym

      Regardless of the pros and cons of the Mueller investigation, it does seem to have pulled on a thread connected to white collar crime of assorted flavors, and some of this will unravel.

      Unless we think no such connections are believable; or they don’t warrant [pun absolutely intended] follow-up; or there’s no one in the establishment legal system attempting to serve with some degree of professional integrity, Cohen is as well protected as anyone (and certainly more protected than many in our society) from infringement of his rights, at least for now.

      To the contrary, the investigation is not pushing the edge of the law regarding the attorney-client privilege. The law only protects communications pertinent to the receipt of legal advice, not everything in an attorney’s office. The privilege is held by the client, not the attorney, and does not protect communications concerning future crimes. The privilege is undisturbed if protected communications disclosed to the government are blocked from direct or indirect use in prosecuting the client. This separation is typically accomplished by a “taint team” that screens material for privileged information that is withheld from prosecutors. Taint team vetting may be challenged as insufficiently protective of attorney-client communications by the defendant before a federal judge.

      U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood [Reagan appointee to USDNY since 1988] on Friday ordered attorneys for Cohen to hand over a list of Cohen’s law clients and proof of their relationship by 10 a.m. Monday, so she can decide whether materials seized from Cohen’s office by federal law enforcement agents last week should be protected by attorney-client privilege.

      That list will be a public record, Wood said, because the identities of an attorney’s clients are not subject to attorney-client privilege unless the mere name itself would reveal the kind of advice sought or given.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Kimba Wood is the federal judge who pretty much on her own, cut Michael Mullen a huge reduction in the jail time he was sentenced to for his big part in the junk bond racket that had so much to do with the now mostly forgotten “savings and loan scandal/crisis.” The excuse was that Milken had “aided investigation and prosecution” of others in his racket. Former prosecutors and investigative reporters called that pretty pure BS. Milken looted a couple of billon, was supposed to pay a $600 million fine, maybe, and got to keep the rest. While little old folks got hammered. Law don’t apply to rich folks, ma.

        1. JBird

          Is this the second or is it the third time that people are trying to Milken pardoned? The article was a description of a vomitous and worshipful praise of an ostensibly good man and financial genius rather than the crooked ruiner of lives that he is. When I read the part blaming class envy for his conviction, I had to reread it just to be sure I read it.

    4. njbr

      Well, did the Prague meeting occur ?

      As a Lawyer, was he representing Trump’s interests ?

      Can’t have that.

      Was he a freelancing “fixer” ala’ Stormy Daniels, taking out a “home equity loan” to cover airfare and hotels ?


      I wonder what the tapes say ?

      Passing the bar exam is not a “get out of jail free” card and does not make the illegal legal.

      1. willf

        Well, did the Prague meeting occur ?

        No, it did not. The Michael Cohen in question was at USC with his son, which USC confirms. The Michael Cohen who was in Prague was a different person.

  15. Sid_finster

    I am reaching the point where the best outcome realistically imaginable is for Trump to be removed on the flimsiest possible pretext, and then for civil war to break out as a result.

    The resulting carnage and disruption would reduce American power, and provide a welcome distraction for the Deep State.

  16. Frenchguy

    The French government published a document to support its assertion that chemical weapons have been used in Syria.

    Short version: “we have seen videos on the internet and it definitely looks like a chemical attack”. I kid you not… They claim to have also some exclusive testimonies but, as proof, it’s not much better and they just mention that in passing. I’m quite ashamed for the analysts who wrote that.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “The spontaneous nature of the circulation of images on all social networks confirms that it is not a video montage or recycled images. Some of the entities that published this information are recognized as usually reliable.” — Évaluation nationale, 14 avril 2018

      Translation of the translation: “We read it on the Twitter, so it must be true.


      ? BREAKING: #OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team has arrived in Damascus, #Syria to commence its work.

      7:30 AM – 14 Apr 2018

      Bombing first, investigation afterwards. `Stuff and nonsense!’ said Alice loudly … — Lewis Carroll

      1. Jim Haygood

        Dastardly Russians poke Macron in the eye, claiming France wasn’t even there:

        “Russian air defense systems at the Hmeymim and Tartus bases have timely found and controlled all the missile launches from naval and air vehicles of the US and Britain,” the Russian General Staff stated, adding that it hadn’t recorded French aviation’s participation in the attack.

    2. Sid_finster

      Well, did none other than St. John Kerry not state his conclusion that “Russia invaded Ukraine” was based on “social media evidence”?

      Kerry or Macron or whoever will use whatever supports his preordained conclusion, and ignore or pooh pooh everything that doesn’t.

  17. Lee

    Perhaps the airstrike on Syria is no more than a Parthian shot. History when it neither repeats nor rhymes may still contain irony.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Could be.

      The Parthian shot was so famed, it was portrayed often on Chinese bronze and pottery works.

  18. njbr

    The “historic claims to the South China Sea” claimed by China are put to a lie by “the biggest naval display in 600 years”. In the 1300’s a complete and total ban on ANY naval activity or shipping was enacted by the then Emperor. Further, the “9 dashed line” of purported historic influence was just the taking of the area of Japan’s influence in the early 20th century.

    Chutzpah relying on historic ignorance.

    1. JBird

      Hey, it works for us Americans, so why not?

      Of course, history does tend to hit back. See Afghanistan, and Iraq, and Vietnam, and Iran, and so on, but in the meantime profit and power; it is usually the generation, or the succeeding regime that gets hit, while the perps go free.

    2. Oregoncharles

      It reveals just how much “Red” China is just an extension of Imperial China: they insist on every Imperial claim there ever was, no matter how thin.

      1. JBird

        Then Vietnam and the whole of the Koreas would also be “Chinese,” which explains some of Vietnamese hostility towards China.

  19. allan

    How much does your CEO make compared with you? Now, that ratio is public [Orange County Register]

    Warning: do not read if you have eaten recently or been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

    In Long Beach, Joseph Zubretsky, the new CEO of Molina Healthcare, the giant insurer, is set to take home $20.9 million over a year.

    That’s 450 times the pay of Molina’s median worker.

    In Irvine, Michael Mussallem, CEO of Edwards LifeSciences, the heart valve manufacturer, made $10.8 million last year.

    That was 215 times more than Edwards’ median employee.

    In Glendale, Ronald L. Havner, Jr., CEO of Public Storage, the self-storage company, earned $10.5 million.

    That was 439 times the salary of his company’s median worker. …

    Mattel, the El Segundo toy maker, famous for its Barbie dolls, is a case in point. Its CEO-to-worker pay ratio — 4,987 to one — is partly because three quarters of its workforce is in China and other low-paying countries, dragging down the median worker’s annual pay to $6,271. …

    1. Mark Alexander

      I didn’t see a list in that article, but found one here. At the Very Large Software Company I worked at until a couple of years ago, the pay ratio is less than 20:1. But look at the rightmost column, which gives the percentage of a CEO’s pay that is in cash. That’s the real kicker; the CEO at my former employer gets most of his enormous pay in stock options.

    2. JBird

      In the United States during 60s, the ratio was 30 to 1 between the lowest and highest paid employees, and the minimum wage was, adjusted for inflation, around $10.80 an hour, maybe a bit higher. That does not include the increase in productivity, which in the past increased the pay of everyone from top to bottom. Restated, the greater the productivity, the higher the wages, and productivity has gone up greatly since 1968. If the present had been like the past, $15 plus dollars plus per an hour, maybe greater. Some have even said more than $20 an hour although that does seem a bit high, but I don’t know enough to accept, or challenge, the much higher level.

      It does give some explanation as to why my family could afford an admittedly dumpy whole house in the Bay Area while working retail jobs and not more than one full time per for one or two persons, none of this 2-3 jobs for unpteen family members nonsense. Also as to why I hardly ever saw a homeless person until the 80s. The economic winners have vacuumed up all the houses and apartments often not to live in, but as an investment, thus squeezing everyone else out especially as what little new housing is for the high end market.

      Just think how someone in the South, or the Rust Belt, could live if they could have a full time job at $15 an hour, or even the (often very) poor areas of California away from the coast. You could even rent a very cheap apartment in most areas of California, even in much of the Bay Area, at the the higher $20 level. Yet somehow American businesses can’t afford to pay Americans (customers) even $15 because the Capitalist Free Market Gods will hurt us although they could do the equivalent in the past. I am not very religious, but I think that maybe some people should worry that capital G–God is around. The eye of the needle and all that. One can always dream anyways.

      Gee, am I sounding a bit bitter?

      1. allan

        That one CEO’s quote in the story is mind boggling:

        “Comparing what I do to the median employee is not even apples and oranges. It’s more like fruit compared to Star Wars. They don’t know how to allocate capital, and their educational level and skill set is vastly different.

        “People have decisions to make as to whether they want to improve themselves and get higher paying jobs,” Havner added. “Some people decide to do that and others don’t.”

        Late stage capitalism in all it’s glory.

        1. Pat

          How much of a company would there be without those workers? And how many of those jobs could that CEO even do?

          My guess is that the correct response is “not much” and “not many”.

  20. Jim Haygood

    Street party in Damascus!

    Pearson Sharp

    At a rally in Damascus today, celebrating their victory in shooting down American missiles. The Syrians I’m meeting are unbelievably friendly.. I talked to a soldier at the rally and when I said I was American, he beamed and said “Welcome! We still love you”

    [video of dancing Syrians follows]

    Winning hearts and minds …

  21. Expat2uruguay

    This week has seen so many terrible stories of war, of coming/continuing political instability in the US, of the dangers of climate change being accelerated, of the profit motive in us Healthcare, and on and on and on. Each story so big that it briefly takes over the spotlight before the next one. I hate to say it, but it reminds me of the finale of a firework show. Each story breaks upon the ones that came before but you can only follow it briefly before the next story breaks and all of them form a web of despair. And after a time of watching a fireworks display finale the inevitable question comes up, when will it end?

    Maybe someone can write a poem about that? Surely not me…

    And also this week came the story that more than five glasses of wine a week can make your life years shorter. Well, I have to admit that I have decided, damn the consequences I will live my life with gusto and vigor. I’m going to drink as many glasses of wine as I like, as I figure that none of us is going to live another 10 or 15 years anyway. And those that do will wish they drank a lot more. Bottoms Up friends, into the drink once more!

  22. Altandmain

    Re: That Economist article on growth

    n economist might explain China’s rapid growth in the 1980s by saying that it began to deploy more capital per worker and to adopt foreign technologies. Yet it was very clearly the result of a political decision to loosen state control over economic activity. It would similarly be accurate to say that China’s future growth will depend on how well it develops and deploys new technologies. But that depends on decisions about economic governance taken by its leaders, which will in turn be influenced by social and geopolitical forces that economists scarcely understand and generally ignore. Economists might imagine that if they were put in charge of a poor country, they could get it to grow. But a formula for growth that takes no account of social and political complexities is no formula at all.

    The issue I have with this is that it implies that Laissez-faire was the solution. The biggest Chinese firms remain state owned enterprises.

    Furthermore, they pursued an “East Asian mercantilism” strategy that resembled that of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, if you consider it a nation, and Singapore than anything resembling the Anglo Laissez-faire, which is little more than intellectual cover for the rich to steal a nation’s wealth.

    We would have been far better off ignoring the Economist and doing the opposite of what it suggested in the Anglo world. Alas, the real purpose of the Economist, to give the rich intellectual cover to loot society, is never discussed.

    Also, here’s Ian Welsh on unemployment:

    As usual he has good points.

    1. Summer

      “Alas, the real purpose of the Economist, to give the rich intellectual cover to loot society, is never discussed.”

      From the article:
      “But a formula for growth that takes no account of social and political complexities is no formula at all.”
      That’s how they describe looting: social and political complexities.

      They marvel at what China has done economically.

      I look at China and I see a country that got all the invaders out, didn’t join the post WWII arms race, controls its natural resources, and is not in debt to the World Bank or IMF.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It reads like they are talking about central planning and ukases issued from the Poliburo, with respect to social and political complexities.

        But if they mean looting, emperors never had to overtly loot. It was assumed that they owned everything, even if they owned nothing officially.

        I think there is a saying in Zen, not really related to emperors, that says, the person who owns nothing has everything.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That is, ‘a formula for growth that takes no account of looting is no formula at all.’

            Or, a genuine formula for growth must account for looting.

            Does the formula say, produce this much steel for domestic use, another amount to export, and the rest for the looters at Beijing?’

    2. JBird

      China also destroyed much of its environment with massive pollution as in routine dumping of industrial waste just anywhere, including the rivers and lakes, and the horrendous smoke which causes all sorts of illnesses. The true cost of production is inflicted on the health of the people and their environment, which China will have to spend generations to cleanup or pay with its the health for the rapid growth.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It would really be the deep, dark art of war for China to have anything to do with America’s renewed obsession with Russia.

      2. Summer

        Yeah, but it’s known “economic growth” doesn’t prioritize the environment…anywhere.

    1. jawbone

      Oops, begob — got on a long phone call before I could hit post…not meaning to over-post.

      Very interesting about the OPCW not bothering to mention these results.

      1. begob

        I suppose at the end of every rabbit hole you will find bones. Or maybe a note tied round a half-eaten carrot: “Gotcha!”

        Try the wikipedia page (and maybe the history of its editing). Assuming the Swiss lab information is accurate … I don’t know what to think, but is there a touch of humour in this whole affair, given past failed attempts to roll Iraq and Syria into complicity? Did Putin and Lavrov share a few shots of vodka over Christmas, after a sweaty bout of judo, when one said to the other: “Do you know what would be a hootski …?” Or are the Brits just stupid, but robust enough to ride the propaganda?

  23. jawbone

    Interesting comment at Craig Murray’s blog:

    April 14, 2018 at 15:48
    Lavrov said a Swiss lab identified the Salisbury toxin as “BZ” [1], looking at signs and symptoms [2] they are more consistent with what was described (recall: one of the witnesses described Skripal-father as pointing at random objects in the air) and delayed onset. Incidently, vectors of toxicity of BZ are through (a) aerosol, (b) dermis, and (c) GI-tract (perhaps why Zizzi is quarantined?) [3].


  24. Jason Boxman

    I guess that’s NYC? In Boston, I don’t think I’ve _ever_ had someone talk to me, anywhere, unless it’s at a Meetup or networking event. And I’ve heard from others that it’s difficult to meet people here. I don’t find it much different from Orlando in that aspect, though.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      New Yorkers regard not wasting one’s time as the highest form of courtesy. That is why our famed directness and brevity are often mistaken for rudeness.

      I find people in NYC are perfectly willing to have short chats with strangers. But they are just as willing to leave you alone.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        “New Yorkers regard not wasting one’s time as the highest form of courtesy.”

        Except for the culture shock (I understand some people might find this odd), I always thought New York City dwellers were the most helpful and friendly people. Telling people to be mindful of others is an important life lesson. There is nothing more irritating than the person who stands in the door way and says “sorry” and expects to be acknowledged as a paragon of virtue.

  25. Doug Hillman

    Mark Weisbrot is right about Jeffrey Sachs’ succinct analysis of the US war on Syria — in just two minutes Sachs shreds the propaganda comprising 98% of MSM coverage.

    Most surprising, however, is that his comments actually aired on MS[DNC]’s Morning Joe. Maybe his spot was too brief to cut off, but some poor censor is likely to be fired as a result. The USG organized crime syndicate doesn’t tolerate the truth.

    1. JTMcPhee

      When I was watching that Sachs video, it seemed to me at several points that Sach’s words did not match his lip movements. It was striking, to me at least. Of course maybe it was just some “delay” or “technical glitch,” but in our new world order, with the Matrix maybe already in place, but though I am not much of a lip reader ( though I did get encouraged be “mentors” to learn a little bit of that skill as an attorney, and also being able to read the other guys’ notes upside down across the table), the audible did not match the visual.

      For whatever that indicates and portends. I’m waiting for the indistinguishsble virtual reality Pixar production of Nancy Pelosi doing “it” with Sheldon Adelson… the combinations and permutations and possibilities are just breathtaking, reminding me of a sci-fi story in Analog, maybe 40 years ago, where the heroine is a tech genius who can create such masterpieces with some AI help, but saves the Day by being able to fish back through the provenance of some “video evidence” faked up to provoke a war… long before “Wag the Dog..,”

      And it is too bad Sachs did not take a moment to deflate the several Narrative falsehoods spouted by that General Jerkblob. But we mopes will take the little bits of honesty we can get…

  26. Edward E

    Way to go… At destroyed Syria lab, workers say they produce antidotes to snake venom not toxic weapons

    The site, according to Western powers, was part of the Syrian government’s “chemical weapons infrastructure.”

    But Said told AFP only non-lethal research and development was under way at the centre.

    “As we work in civilian pharmaceutical and chemical research, we did not expect that we would be hit,” he said.

    Instead, the centre had been producing antidotes to scorpion and snake venom while running tests on chemical products used in making food, medicine and children’s toys, according to Said.

    “If there were chemical weapons, we would not be able to stand here. I’ve been here since 5:30 am in full health — I’m not coughing,” he added.

    1. Edward E

      Saw something about a destroyed facility (Barzah)? having been inspected by OPCW in the past and was actually asked to assist them this weekend. May be this very facility.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is it plagiarism?

      Because bombing a pharmaceutical factory has already been done before.

  27. UserFriendly

    Thanks for the Ketamine paper. I’m glad they are making progress with that, I have been on every antidepressant under the sun and nothing has been anywhere as effective as Ketamine. Unfortunately as that paper notes (and anecdotally I had suspected already) a large part of ketamine’s antidepressant effects come from AMPA regulation, which is caused by a metabolite of the R enantiomer of ketamine; while the more fun short term effects that make ketamine a fun club drug are a byproduct of ketamine’s NMDA action for which the S enantiomer is about 3 times more potent. So many dealers only sell the s-enantiomer and many more couldn’t tell you which one they have. :-( Stupid drug prohibition.

    1. Edward E

      If you want to try kudzu plant as an antidepressant you’re welcome to come out here and dig up all you want. I hear it’s an effective stimulant and used to combat alcoholism and tobaccoism. Extract might make a dietary supplement business for you, never know until you try. It’s quite an exercise digging out the tubers, good for the body.

      1. Oregoncharles

        The Japanese EAT kudzu, feed the tops to animals and make starch from the tubers -you can occasionally buy it in health food stores. Probably no drug effect in that, though.

      2. UserFriendly

        I quit smoking cold turkey a decade ago on the first try and I only drink socially. I’ve been on adderall for a very long time though so the chance of me feeling any stimulant effects from something that isn’t really a stimulant is slim to none, I can drink coffee and go to sleep. Thanks for the suggestion though.

        1. Edward E

          Since I’m going back out cross country twuckn, thought we’d just make a paying job out of kudzu wars. The neighbors sawmill is firing up too, they need help. Superstar could probably put you to work at the health food store and remodeling project.

      3. Eureka Springs

        Ha! Yes digging in the Ozarks will make you a very happy person. Happy to do anything else. I’ve been planting trees around the place all week. Right where the guy with a front end loader said it’s a no-go a few years back. Solid rock.

        1. Edward E

          What kind of trees are you planting? Did you get any rough weather up your way? That tornado did all the damage in Mountainburg, the cell also tore a few things up at Hollister, MO. Salus had some damage, watched the heavy cell go towards Deer but folks over there made it okay. We call this NewRocks County because after every big rain there appears lots of new rocks.

          1. Eureka Springs

            This year, Black Gum, Sarvis, Washington Hawthorne, Ginko, even Bald Cyprus, which is a crapp shoot I know, but I love them. I’m in a nicely tucked in Kings River valley, so I watched that cell from Huntsville on the way to Hollister, Mo from my back porch. What a show!

            Wish we got more rain out of it all so the floating conditions were improved for the week for the blooming Dogwood run.

            That story about the 100th latitude moving east sure rings true from our perspective, now on the new western dry edge.

            At least the peach and pear blossoms weren’t hit by last weeks snow.

            1. Edward E

              Sounds like you are having fun staying busy. Way back years the Stephens boys and I used to go up and down parts of the Kings River, but mostly War Eagle and forks of the White. There was so much rain around here surely the Big Piney, Mulberry and Buffalo River are up good. At 2,200+ elevation first it looked like the pear trees froze but the blossoms didn’t fall off right away so yes maybe they’ll make a lot of pears. We have had no shortage of rain since 2014, seems like everything is coated in moss and slime. Brush everything down with outdoor bleach once or twice a year and hose off.

              I need to go over to Arkiefornia and help my dad some at my brother’s place before I go back to work. Hopefully his aid and attendance will kick in pretty soon as he needs a lot of care. He doesn’t like the boondocks at all, my brother too, city slickers. But maybe can make a quick hike down to the Glory Hole Falls running fast. Buffalo had pretty good flow even before the rain. There was an tremendous amount of lightning, it looked like Deer & Parthenon area was on fire as it moved along. Glad it missed you all… yawl

              Big jake just strutted across the yard. About a four inch beard maybe

  28. barrisj

    Excellent background info on the “Syrian-American Medical Society”, the prime source of “news” and videos purportedly showing “chemical warfare victims” in Douma, as well as being active round other heavily-publicized “Assad gassed his own people” venues.

    This crowd works closely with “White Helmet” types, and other Western/Gulf/KSA funded anti-Assad NGOs, whose chief role now is to present instant “documentation” of CW attacks by SAG, insuring yet more “coalition” missile attacks to come.

  29. Summer

    Re: Europe divided over robot “personhood.”

    See the problem with letting them get away with the words they use to describe robo-data?
    But they don’t give a rat’s butt about actual people. Why should they care that robo-data doesn’t?

    Oh, and these new non-human, non-person slaves are getting the red carpet treatment. Imgine that.

    Civilized? Never.

  30. blennylips

    Any other Nina Paley fans out there?

    Good time for the trailer of her latest: SEDER-MASOCHISM

    First trailer for my new feature film, Seder-Masochism.

    Az Moshiakh Vet Kimen
    by Pepi Littman
    From Yiddish song recorded by Pepi Littman circa 1910 on 78rpm disc. Record label, date & location unknown; probably recorded in Europe, in budapest or Lemberg (Polish: Lwow; Yiddish: Lviv), possibly with musicians from Gimpel’s Lemberg Yiddish Theatre.

  31. Pat

    Working Families has endorsed Cynthia Nixon in the NY State gubernatorial primary. Interesting considering their history of turning themselves inside out to have Cuomo on their slate in the last election for governor.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I have a real problem with the name of this party. Because it excludes single people.

      But then again, everyone knows that we singletons are too busy partying. We don’t have time to, ahem, work.

  32. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China’s largest naval parade in 600 years.

    That would be since 1418…right around the time of Muslim eunuch Adm. Zheng He’s Treasury Boats.

    And he got those boats from emperor Yong Le, who was said to have ordered those voyages in order to search for his nephew, whose throne he usurped and whose body was never found in the smoldering ruins of Nanjing.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Mission accomplished.

      — George W Bush (May 2, 2003)
      — Donald J Trump (Apr 14, 2018)

      Same orangutan chest thumping, same damp squib result.

  33. chuck roast

    Over at The Saker you can see Russian Gen. Rudskoy’s response to the FUKUS missle barrage on Syria. Clearly the entire thing was Kabuki Theatre.
    I now have a lot of respect for Mad Dog Mattis who must have closely coordinated this with his Russian counterparts in what amounted to a great strum und drang of blanks. These guys really played a good game of chess.
    Imagine Mad Dog Bolton running around in circles biting his tail after being totally outmaneuvered by Mattis.
    All this nonsense has actually left me a bit more hopeful.
    Now, if only Madame Pantsuit would go away.

  34. ambrit

    Ah so, the Grim Reaper comes for us all.
    Art Bell, who we all probably listened to at one insomnial hour or another dies on Friday the Thirteenth.
    I come by my Conspiracy Theory Credentials honestly, having matriculated from the “Coast to Coast AM” degree program many years ago. When the Dean hands you your sheet of aluminum foil and the instructions for folding The Hat, you are ready for the very much wider “real” world that lurks out there, somewhere.
    Art Ball, R.I.P.

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