Links 4/19/18

Our mini-fundraiser for Water Cooler is on! As of this hour, 107 donors — our goal is 275 –have already invested to support Water Cooler, which provides both economic and political coverage, to help us all keep our footing in today’s torrent of propaganda and sheer bullsh*t. Independent funding is key to having an independent editorial point of view. Please join us and participate via Lambert’s Water Cooler Tip Jar, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, PayPal, or even the US mail. To give more, click on the arrow heads to the right of the amount. Thanks to all!

Recycling will be dumped by councils nationwide as costs blow out, government association says Kevin W: “Is it recycling if your plan is to ship it to another country?

Theresa May’s new plastic crusade: Prime Minister in dramatic pledge to ban ALL plastic cotton buds, straws and drink stirrers Daily Mail


China wants to wean itself off foreign technology. Now it will see how hard that will be Quartz (Kevin W)

North Korea

North Korea: Prisoner issue looms large after Mike Pompeo’s secret trip DW

Trump ‘will walk out’ if North Korea talks not fruitful BBC

In China and India, men outnumber women on a massive scale. The consequences are far-reaching Washington Post. Important. Sad also.


May dealt embarrassing Brexit defeat in House of Lords Reuters. The key amendment is pure optics. May is just supposed to report progress. She’s not required to succeed. But there is the interesting question of what if anything she is required to do.

Brexit: a psychic epidemic Richard North. Important.

Government suffers two Brexit defeats in House of Lords Financial Times

David Davis looks to seize Brexit initiative from Michel Barnier Financial Times. This is ridiculous. The EU has been asking the UK repeatedly what sort of future relationship it wants. The idea that David belatedly taking up a long-overdue task amounts to a clever end-run of the EU is spin that only teh too-credulous UK press would parrot. And that’s before getting to the fact that every Brexit position paper produced by the UK has sucked.

New Cold War

As lies on Syrian gas attack unravel, US and UK shift to claims of Russian “cyber war” WSWS

Ukraine’s NATO Bid Risks Even Worse U.S.-Russia Ties ConsortiumNews


Out of 20 Major Editorials on Trump’s Syria Strikes, Zero Opposed FAIR. UserFriendly: “Shocked!”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

‘No Company Is So Important Its Existence Justifies Setting Up a Police State’ New York Magazine (Paul R). Today’s must read.

Exclusive – Facebook to put 1.5 billion users out of reach of new EU privacy law Reuters

A Google update just created a big problem for anti-censorship tools The Verge

More than 3,300 Android apps are improperly tracking kids, study finds PhysOrg

Data firm leaks 48 million user profiles it scraped from Facebook, LinkedIn, others ZDNet

Gmail to introduce new privacy features, including ‘confidential mode’ and self destructing emails Thai Tech (furzy)

Imperial Collapse Watch

‘Eternal Flaming Wheelbarrow Full of Cash’ picked as Global War On Terror Memorial Duffelblog (JTM)

Trade Traitors

Trump is swiftly backtracking on a radical change to his trade policy Business Insider

Tampa Bay Times to slash jobs in wake of paper tariff Tampa Bay Business Journal. Tariffs are a blunt instrument..

Trump Transition

Senators Offer Up Unprecedented War Powers to President American Conservative

Comey and McCabe Leap From The Moral High Ground Into The Trump Abyss Jonathan Turley. Brutal.

The Trump administration doubles down in the Wall Street Journal on why trickle-down really does work Economic Policy Institute. Moar voodoo economics.

Haley spat fuels political chatter around White House The Hill

Cynthia Nixon Gets Cuomo to Play to Type New York Times. UserFriendly: “God, they are such snobs.”

There is occasionally some justice in this world:

Puerto Rico hit by first island-wide blackout since Hurricane Maria BBC

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black Man Blocked From Entering a New Jersey Gym Where He’s a Paid Member Alternet

Kansas Trio Convicted in Plot to Bomb Somali Immigrants New York Times (furzy)

Amazon’s Bezos Says Company Topped 100 Million Prime Members Bloomberg (Kevin W)

California Opens Investigation Into Tesla Workplace Conditions Bloomberg

Elon Musk wants to ramp up Model 3 production while it’s already struggling — but his plan doesn’t make sense Business Insider. Covered by Jim Haygood in comments yesterday, and IMHO better too.

What is sustainable finance? Economist (David L). A scam.

Junk Bond Market Still in Total Denial, Fighting the Fed Wolf Street (EM)

Congressional Review Act Confusion: Indirect Auto Lending Guidance Edition (a/k/a The Fast & the Pointless) Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Finra’s Black Hole Intercept (Chuck L). Finra is a joke. This is yet more proof.

Investors Are Getting Worried About an Inverted Yield Curve Bloomberg

Is the US economy booming? April 2018 update Angry Bear. For those who feel the need to say more than, “Are you kidding?”

Class Warfare

US CEO pay, bank profits, corporate cash set new records WSWS

100 Top Colleges Vow To Enroll More Low-Income Students NPR

How is America preparing for the future of work? MIT Technology Review

Automation and American Leadership Robert Skidelsky, Project Syndicate (David L)

Antidote du jour (Ed T). Not quite separated at birth:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Wukchumni

    Recycling will be dumped by councils nationwide as costs blow out, government association says Kevin W: “Is it recycling if your plan is to ship it to another country?

    Recycling died on January 1st, and the autopsy revealed that despite being declared dead by China, many countries still think it’s alive.

    Kinda sad, in that it was really the only thing we accomplished as a society in a limited scale that made us think we were making a difference-even if it was all a chimera ruse, sending it to the People’s Republic in otherwise empty TEU’s recently disgorged of bright and shiny new consumer goods.

    1. Edward E

      Perhaps we serfs can turn trash into treasure…… or infrastructure. Whilst the boggy creek legends persue all the new hypersonic weaponry WMD.

        1. Edward E

          Well ah’ be (gotta study that) darn, that would be a way to seal off the ends of a Steelmaster ® quonset hut cabin. Built with stormy climate in mind, you don’t want big windows that can break. Bottles would let light in and if one ever gets broken just push in a new one with a little mortar.

          Found a Laura Nyro song that you might like.

          Cat reminds me of Mao… “Swollen in head, weak in legs, sharp in tongue but empty in belly.” -Mao Zedong

          U.S. Debt Problem Gets Worse

          The net interest payments will exceed the spending on defense in 2023 and it will exceed all non-defense spending by 2025.

          CBO says the US will spend more on interest payments on the public debt than it does on the military beginning in 2023 Debt-service expenses are projected to outpace all non-defense discretionary spending by 2025.

    2. JTMcPhee

      There are mopes who live in the world’s garbage dumps, innovators and baseline entrepreneurs and microcapitalists, who eat the food “thrown away” and scavenge stuff they can “do Commerce” with and “extract value” from — “trash roots recycling.” The ranks of dump-lovers include growing numbers of USians, and many more “wogs.” (Numbers of said “wogs” die every year from collecting and recycling the brass casings from Forever Global War End-of-Supply-Chain Operations-and-Actions.)

      It does not appear that Dump Livers can make much of a dent via their entrepreneurial efforts in the plastic refuse from stuff like that vast Marketing Success called “bottled plain or vitamin or enhanced water,” the manufactured demand and carelessness if the consumer population is just too flunking yuuuuge. And yes, I know that “somehow” there’s no money most places to create healthy public water supplies, and so much filth is dumped where such water sources come from, so e.g. “our troops” have to engage in “product placement” for e.g. Evian when invading and occupying and regime/changing for Democracy over in “wogspace.”

      Eat it up.
      Wear it out.
      Make it do.
      Do without?


      1. Wukchumni

        When I was a lad, drinking fountains were everywhere, and now they’re largely nowhere to be seen, how come?

        1. Jean

          Should be a requirement to install water fountains in all the same new buildings that are subject to the Americans With Disabilities Act, that is pretty much everywhere.

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        (I’ve missed you people. intertubes been down for a week)
        Out here, I am the garbage man.
        Once a month, or two…depending on season, and how many relatives have stayed at my mom’s house next door…I load up the black trailer and head to the dump.
        I take dirt roads so I can amble along and notice anything that flies off.
        I often come out of the dump with more(by weight) than I went in with….the metal pile is my fave(amateur blacksmith/sword caster/putterer/cracker-rigger), although the giant yard-waste derived compost pile is pretty cool, too. There’s also a giant pile of telephone poles that I’ve been “helping” them with–they are required by law, de facto, to just let it sit there.
        So I’m putting in a sort of palisade on the north end of our place(privacy, and bullet proof(faces road), in case it all goes to hell, and the ravening hordes show up).
        Folks throw away all manner of useful material. Even lumber…some obviously up to a hundred years old.

        We, on the other hand, don’t throw any such thing away,lol.
        The last 4 years of building my house have whittled down my saved material(windows salvaged from 10 or so houses included=big greenhouse room with a clawfoot that doubles as passive solar heating on sunny winter days. couldn’t have afforded it without salvage)
        I often have the thought that I couldn’t get away with most of this activity if I lived in town…zoning, etc…even way out here)
        an interesting anecdotal observation, re: the metal pile: it is technically illegal for me to pick through it, since some company bought the rights to all that metal. (i’m friends with the landfill king, so I am exempt). The same thing happened 40 years ago to railroad cross ties. we used to go down there and collect the cast offs for landscaping and fences, but some corp bought the rights, and the railroad police(!) would be johnny on the spot to prosecute.

        So far, I have found no use for all the plastic trash.
        the tons of paper could conceivably be used to make home grown bunghole fodder(autarky/cottage industry!), or mulch(although I worry about what’s in the inks, etc)…and the glass could be easily repurposed/re-used if there were economic incentives. otherwise, Art!

    3. CanCyn

      Recycling was never the answer. It is the last of the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) for a reason. Note that the first one is Reduce, again it is first for a reason. Arguably something we humans seem incapable of doing. I have been struggling for a few years to make my life more waste & plastic free. In general, I’d say I’m using a lot less plastic, buying a lot less stuff but it isn’t easy.
      It will be interesting to see what happens as the piles that China is now refusing start to build up here.

    4. Christopher

      thank you Lambert and others for comments on recycling. China obviously no longer needs our recycled waste, they have enough of their own now.

      It’s a big issue here as only around 15% of plastics are recycled and our council is warehousing it at present, hoping for a solution which ain’t coming.

      A lack of government regulation is to blame IMHO. They could clearly say to all food and drink manufacturers, you can only sell your product here in Australia if you use recycled plastic and glass. Manufacturers use new plastic and glass because it’s cheaper. I thought we had governments to protect us and the environment when markets fail. Silly me.

      Similarly, at least 50% of my washloads contain plastic clothing. Every load I lose a portion of those plastics into the stormwater and into the ocean, and into the food chain. Again, could easily say to retailers, you can only sell plastic garments if they are recycled, or you can’t sell plastic clothes at all to Australians…

      Finding solutions is easy, it’s governing that’s hard when you rely on business to fund your election.

      Still, I read somewhere our gut microbes are evolving and there is hope we will be able to digest microplastics soon.

  2. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    Further to the Brexit links, yesterday’s thread and my comment about the Bank of England’s “Britzerland” meeting yesterday afternoon, I asked a friend who attended what this is all about.

    Interest has revived in how the Switzerland manages its relationship with the EU / big brother next door, the Swiss authorities and financial system support key sectors, which are often the same as in the UK, and the two mercantilist powers can cooperate. This is the third such cycle of interest over a dozen years, the latest due to Brexit.

    The Swiss are interested as they need allies against the EU, but their interests do diverge, which is not always apparent to / appreciated by UK observers / participants, partly for cultural reasons. UK trade associations work closely with Swiss ones, much to the annoyance of EU27 trade bodies.

    These matters were managed by City trade bodies, but, since Brexit, the Bank of England and Treasury have taken over.

    The UK reckons that the City and Swiss can mobilise money and expertise, resources that the EU27 don’t have or have enough of, so that can be leveraged. Allied to the UK’s military prowess, the thinking goes that eventually, even after the hard Brexit expected by all stakeholders, the EU27 will come around to their thinking, i.e. letting the UK and Swiss have their cake and eat it.

    Having worked on such matters, including in Brussels and Switzerland and alongside my friend and the Treasury’s representative, I remain unconvinced. My friend appears to have been won over, but then his pay and rations depend on it.

    1. OIFVet

      “Allied to the UK’s military prowess…” Good lord, these people live in fantasy land. What will the UK do if it doesn’t get its way, threaten to land an invasion force at Dunkirk?

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you.

        You’re right about the fantasy.

        None of the stakeholders involved has ever served or knows much outside the City and Whitehall bubble.

        It’s part of scaring the EU27, especially the former Warsaw Pact members, into easing off, but a longer term play.

        The British armed forces are hollowed out, like the rest of the country. If you watch Trooping The Colour / the Queen’s Official Birthday parade in June, you will notice that the formations have changed due to a shortage of soldiers.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Someone should point out to them what happened in Basra and Kandahar, their performance was embarrassing. Its not just a lack of resources, the British Army doesn’t seem to know how to fight anymore, which I assume is an institutional issue.

          But the failure of the UK press to report on their performance means I think an element of the public are still delusional over British military power, which is always a very dangerous thing as it leads to chickenhawk politicians making very bad decisions. The French (whatever the rights and wrongs of their presence there), are pretty hardened from all their little north African adventures.

          1. Christopher Dale Rogers

            Allegedly, as far as the UK neoliberals and neocons are concerned, we don’t actually require a well equipped and trained fighting force, rather, we just sell armaments to dictators and head choppers and things will be fine.

            The UK navy, airforce and army are a laughing stock, effectively Tory defence policy seems reliant on a nuclear weapons system leased from the USA and a power projection capability based on aircraft carriers with no aircraft that leak like a sieve.

            The delightful thing about the Brexit debacle is that it demonstrates comprehensively how absolutely incompetent the UK’s Elite have become. The pursuit of greed , above and beyond all else, will be their undoing – that they don’t understand this salient fact is all the more laughable.

            Indeed, the bias of the BBC, specifically its current affairs and news output, is but a cloak for how rotten our nation has become. If any Institution is given any public scrutiny the entire house of cards collapses, as we’ve just witnessed with the Windrush affair – of course, it makes sense to attack the leader of the Opposition, who it would seem is not only a clear and present threat to this charade, but is actually to blame for this entire charade.

            The sooner these imbeciles are ejected from any office of influence the better off the UK will be.

      2. Lambert Strether

        C’mon, let’s be fair. The UK has a class of aircraft carriers with a membership of one (shortly to be two). They can sail the HMS Queen Elizabeth through the Mediterranean up around Monaco or so and launch airstrikes in support of the Swiss. With their VSTOL F-35-Bs….

  3. allan

    The algorithm is a harsh mistress:

    The inside story of Katie Couric’s Yahoo debacle
    [NY Post]

    … [Yahoo CEO Marissa] Mayer had set up Yahoo News to be a slave to an algorithm: If you read Kardashian stories, you’d be fed more pop culture; if you read Tom Brady stories, you’d get more NFL news.

    But the problem, at least for Couric, was that the algorithm treated news from any outlet — be it Yahoo-produced or not — with equal weight, rather than favoring its own content. And because there are many more non-Yahoo outlets than Yahoo outlets, the algorithm was much more likely to serve non-Yahoo sites. …

    The only thing that can possibly make you sympathize with an overpaid celebrity journalist
    is an overpaid celebrity CEO.

  4. Alex morfesis

    Tampa bay times($t Pete times) seems to be looking for any excuse to not execute…a perfect example is them allowing public notice lawsuit ads to slip to some fake and shake business vanity press chain…

    the law in Florida has specific requirements for public notice and the now Tampa bay times is technically the “only” publication which qualifies but refuses to call anyone on it and has just given away the legal notice ad business…

    In one northern county the vanity press chain does not even bother faking the ghost “sales in a newsbox” game…

    the only available copies are “left” in the lobby of an office building apparently still partially owned by a northern counties “boss Hogg” type family that has fake farms (it is now blueberry “self pick” time to keep calling it a farm for real estate tax purposes)

    this same family county politician is using HUD funds to falsely declare empty or underused mobile homes as a nuisance and removing the limited affordable if not perfect housing on the west side of the county since she has “impotent Wahl Stuhreet friends” who say if she can just get rid of “da riffraff” in the county, her families fake farms could be worth beeleeyunz…

    there are a grand total of “three” copies left in the lobby every week of the vanity business press weekly to qualify for people to lose their rights in lawsuits by “public notice”…and I suspect I am the only person who grabs a copy on a somewhat regular basis…

    oh…and they actually also slap two counties ads together in one vanity weekly publication…

    because people in Tampa will go to pick “boss hogg” blueberries and just happen to know to stop and walk into the lobby of a building that does not even list the vanity press chain on its shared office space nameplates on the wall…

    The paper is not even trying…

    America…what a concept…

  5. Steve H.

    > In China and India, men outnumber women on a massive scale.

    China has surplus 34 million males. ‘In the two countries, 50 million excess males are under age 20.’ Unemployed males less than 30 years old have been linked causally with jihadis, and by Turchin with political instability. Death, pestilence and famine strike all genders equally, and the remaining horseman is war.

    “… for the gods by that one’s loveliness joined Troy and Hellas in battle, causing death so that they might draw off from the earth the outrage of unstinting numbers of mortals.” – Euripides

    Qiao Liang: “This means that Americans may schedule a war for ten years later. While war may still not happen in a decade, we must be prepared for it. If Chinese do not want a war in the next ten years, we need to put all of our affairs in order, including the preparation of the military and war.” ‘One belt, one road’ speech, 2015.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Steve.

      That surplus is often exported, for example to Chinese construction projects in Africa and the archipelagos in the Indian Ocean.

      There are estimated to be 1m Chinese settlers, not the workers mentioned above, in Africa. Intermarriage is increasing. I have heard of mixed couples in Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

      A friend from Congo / Zaire mentioned Chinese prostitutes accompanying the projects and undercutting local suppliers.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think its an important point that at least one motivation for Chinese infrastructure investment abroad is to export a surplus of male workers, at least for a few years. They may well be tempted to expand the military for just this reason.

        A further potential issue in China is, as any educated Chinese woman will tell you, is that Chinese women are doing proportionately better in the big cities, meaning a shortage of ‘suitable’ husbands (i.e. those who they consider their equal). And lots of women are taken up by a few rich guys, as lots of women prefer the freedom of being a mistress. So this leaves a lot of frustrated young working guys. That’s bad news for any society.

        Chinese prostitutes don’t just follow workers though – you’ll find ‘locals only’ brothels in any Chinese community abroad, for whatever reason, both workers and clients prefer to shop within the community. Around the corner from my office in Dublin a Chinese guy was stabbed to death in 2002 in a pitched battle between the Liaoning and the Fujian communities over an unpaid brothel bill. Given their reputation, I suspect it was a Fujianese who didn’t pay up…

        1. Bill Smith

          “Better to be crying in the back of a BMW than happy on the back of a motorcycle.”

          Quote from an unmarried professional woman I met in Shanghai.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Export of surplus men.

          From Hoa People, Wikipedia

          :The ancestors of the Trần clan originated from the province of Fujian before they migrated under Trần Kinh (陳京, Chén Jīng) to Đại Việt, where their mixed-blooded descendants established the Trần dynasty which ruled Đại Việt. The descendants of the Trần clan who came to rule Đại Việt were of mixed-blooded descent due to many intermarriages between the Trần and several royal members of the Lý dynasty alongside members of their royal court as in the case of Trần Lý[73][74] and Trần Thừa, the latter whose son Trần Thái Tông would later become the first emperor of the Trần dynasty.[7

          In the 17th century many Chinese men from southeastern Chinese provinces like Fujian continued to move to southeast Asia, including Vietnam, many of the Chinese married native women after settling down in places like Hội An.[106]

          The Ming Chinese refugees were mostly male immigrants who generally married local Vietnamese or Khmer women while fostering a strong Chinese cultural identity in their descendants.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Hoi An (above) is an interesting city, and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

            From Wikipedia;

            Originally, Hai Pho was a divided town with the Japanese settlement across the “Japanese Bridge” (16th-17th century). The bridge (Chùa cầu) is a unique covered structure built by the Japanese, the only known covered bridge with a Buddhist temple attached to one side.[citation needed]

            And its shipwreck:

            The Hoi An wreck, a shipwreck from the mid-to-late fifteenth century, was discovered off the coast of the city in the 1990s. A few years later, it was excavated; thousands of ceramic artefacts were discovered.[citation needed]

            I happen to have a small blue-and-white jar salvaged from it. My guess is that it was not Vietnamese blue and white, but made in Jingdezhen, China.

      1. Utah

        Well, being a former mormon from Utah (polygamy was practiced here until the early 1900s, though it officially ended in 1896 when Utah became a state), I am pretty sure polyandry would be a bad solution. In the only indigenous cultures that practice 1 female/ two males relationships, the two males are always related (often brothers). I’m sure it is a lot easier to be accepting of another man’s child if it at least shares some of your genes. But a one child policy (though unofficially these days, from what I understand) and a woman with 2 husbands sounds like a recipe for disaster.

          1. ambrit

            Another ‘catchy name’ for it is “kidnapped child brides.”
            Socially enforced young marriage and childbearing ages come into play here. ‘Barefoot and pregnant’ is still a “Traditional” ‘value’ in some circles.

            1. Wukchumni

              You wouldn’t think it, but some very good beers are brewed in the Beehive State, including Polygamy Porter, among the funny monikers for suds.

        1. a different chris

          …I’m imagining a 1-on-1 basketball game where the first basket wins. And the prize is a lifetime asset. Lordy that would get totally out of hand.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s possible that polygamy occurs AFTER a disaster, as well as being a recipe for disaster.

          Specifically, I am thinking of the years after WWII, in the USSR or Germany, where many men (and women) died.

          My guess is that male American soldiers helped to work out the imbalance, and there was no need for legalizing polygamy (even just temporarily).

          1. blennylips

            As observed by Bernie Gunther:

            She laughed. ‘You’ve no idea how much food there is in that place. Those Yanks are on over 4,000 calories a day. A GI eats your monthly meat ration in just one night, and still has room for ice-cream.’ She finished her breakfast and produced a packet of Lucky Strike from her coat pocket. ‘Want one?’
            ‘Did you steal those as well?’ But I took one anyway and bowed my head to the match she was striking.
            ‘Always the detective,’ she muttered, adding, rather more irritatedly, ‘As a matter of fact these were a present, from one of the Yanks. Some of them are just boys, you know. They can be very kind.’
            ‘I’ll bet they can,’ I heard myself growl.
            ‘They like to talk, that’s all.’
            ‘I’m sure your English must be improving.’

      1. Adrienne

        Thank you jaxbeau.

        Just about everything in the article “China, India grapple with the consequences of too many men” serves to erase females. Starting at the top:

        “Too many men” is really “Too few women.”

        “A combination of cultural preferences, government decree and modern medical technology…”

        Oh hey, let’s not “trigger” anyone by saying what’s really happening: government policies that severely undervalue women’s place in society, combined with ancient misogynist cultural “preferences,” enabled by accessible sonogram & abortion technology, have enabled female feticide on a scale never before seen in history.

        Only one reference in the article to selective abortion, and even so the female human is nowhere in evidence:

        “…sneaking off to larger cities for an illegal sonogram and then an abortion had taken its toll…”

        NOT “and then an abortion of the female fetus had taken its toll…

        Oh, the poor men! No wives for these sad, horny fellows!

        But of 50 million+ selectively aborted female fetuses, not a word…

        1. Adrienne

          I do not fault the mothers in this reality. They are under enormous pressure in patriarchal societies to produce male children, and can be beaten, divorced, or worse if they do not produce male offspring.

          In the old days—and even now in the areas of the world lacking modern medical technology—mothers were [are] expected to take the female infant out into a field and abandon it, smother it, or simply deny it enough milk to live. Women who access to legal, affordable abortion can at least avoid this horror.

          1. ChrisPacific

            Yes, on reading the headline (and again when reading the article) I kept thinking that the long term solution to the problem was to value women equally with men. If the legion of sad mateless men want something to fill the void, they could try taking up this cause. A bonus is that it would probably make them more attractive as partners.

  6. Frenchguy

    Buzzfeed had a great piece out:

    The UK Refused To Raid A Company Suspected Of Money Laundering, Citing Its Tory Donations

    With an awesome passage:

    When BuzzFeed News first approached HMRC to ask about its response to the French request, the agency’s senior press officer strongly denied that Lycamobile’s donations would ever be cited as a reason not to conduct criminal raids. “No HMRC official would ever write such a letter,” he said. “This is the United Kingdom for God’s sake, not some third world banana republic where the organs of state are in hock to some sort of kleptocracy.”

    However, after verifying the contents of the email seen by BuzzFeed News, another HMRC spokesman said that it was “regrettable”.

    1. Alex morfesis

      Kleptocracy…certainly not…1st minister May very specifically stated she would “act” vigorously…she never said she would actually be vigorous…

      Besides…it is not her problem diction and proper capacity to understand context within the multiple possible uses and definitions of words…

      Take for example democracy vs demokrati. Kleptocracy and kleptokrati…cracy is drunkenness or simply wine…krati is government or power structure… So…

      Kleptocracy would imply drunken thieves…and the 1st minister would never lower herself to allow her station to be one of drunken fools…

      now if someone had properly described it as a kleptokrati…

      Mister deMille…she is ready for her close up

  7. Wukchumni

    Fresno, so close to Yosemite, so far from hope.

    An unlikely source making assertions that a grandmother was really a grand wizard in the scheme of things, will probably only cause the locals to indulge in yet more alcohol* (Fresno was judged the drunkest city of size in America by Men’s Health magazine in 2010 & 2011) in order to forget where they live, if only temporarily.

    * despite being fully legal in the state, Fresno has 0 places to acquire 420.

      1. Wukchumni

        Fresno and I have had a long distance relationship for some time now, and i’d put out a restraining order on myself, if it didn’t a Trader Joe’s there.

  8. funemployed

    “the governor has instead had to endure the indignity of a primary challenge, and that from a woman who had the audacity to seek the Democratic nomination without any political experience.”

    Then “Is everyone showing gratitude? No”


        1. Jim Haygood

          NYT should join the 21st century and use /sarc tags (probably intended in the quoted passage), emoticons and gifs in their editorials.

          How else are they gonna convince callow yoots to “read the paper”?

    1. Kurtismayfield

      My favorite part was how the Working Families Party endorsement was “stolen”. Like Cuomo kept it under lock and key at home.

      This man wants to run for president? We have had enough egomaniacs thank you.

  9. L

    In China and India, men outnumber women on a massive scale. The consequences are far-reaching Washington Post. Important. Sad also.

    Sad but in China’s case it also ties into two other things. The first is the booming tide if migrant workers who are, under Chinese law, illegal. Even though they power the economy they cannot legally live or settle down where they work so as the article notes they build big houses back home but they actually can’t settle in the city where they work. Beijing’s new governor even began a campaign to force them to leave that has an eerie similarity to Trump’s calls for a wall. Thus the legally-sanctioned two-class system is creating both ghost villages at home and an underclass of lonely poor men in the cities.

    The second in probably historical. As I’m sure the party knows the last time that they had a large force of angry poor and unmarried men, they had a revolution.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One other exacerbating issue is that many Western men like Chinese women (and Slavic women, but that’s another story).

      And perhaps some Chinese women prefer Western men.

  10. Jim Haygood

    Gloom among the rich:

    The U.S. economy is firing on all cylinders, yet 75 percent of ultra-high net worth investors predict it will hit recession by 2020, a J.P. Morgan survey found.

    Of those expecting an economic downturn in the U.S., a fifth of respondents — 21 percent — believe it will begin in 2019 and 50 percent expect the next recession to start in 2020.

    J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s Spring Investment Barometer, released this week, surveyed more than 700 global private clients across Europe and the Middle East.

    Meanwhile social mood, as reflected in popular culture, darkens some more:

    After receiving resoundingly positive reviews and being touted as the “scariest movie in years”, excitement for Hereditary has reached a new high.

    Distributed by A24 (The Witch, Green Room, Lady Bird), the horror movie has received a new, terrifying trailer.

    Following the screening, Hereditary was deemed “the most traumatically terrifying horror movie in ages” by The AV Club, with Variety praising its haunted house chills which are said to evoke classics such as Rosemary’s Baby [1968] and The Wicker Man [1973].

    Feels like late 1968, when the US economy was about to embark on fifteen years of stagflation. Bring back the Misery Index (the economic indicator, not the deathgrind band).

        1. ambrit

          A lot of those ‘backfires’ we’ve been hearing at night around here, (true report,) are turning out to have been shootings ‘over yonder.’
          So, firing on all cylinders sounds eerily like firing on all comers.
          As noted above, the Chinese might be worrying about a rising cohort of younger, unemployed and unattached men, but we aren’t. We should be.

    1. ewmayer

      “The U.S. economy is firing on all cylinders” — it’s just that 50 years ago it a was a domestically manufactured V8, whereas now it’s a repurposed 2-stroke lawnmower engine made in China. But it’s 20%[*] cheaper, which all those out-of-work former-domestic-manufacturing-economy workers will surely appreciate!
      [*] Broken down as: Costs 10% as much to manufacture thanks to slave labor, crapified quality and 0 environmental regulations to worry about, sells for 80% of the V8’s price, with the extra 70% thus freed up as profit going to the C-suiters and shareholder class. Since quality degradation does not factor into such calculations due to the miracle of “substitution”, buyers are now getting “the same item for less”, and you can see that it’s true that “globalization really does make everyone better off!”, as the economist-shill class loves to repetitiously chant in unison. I just, like, mathematically proved it.

  11. Kevin the Cynic

    I feel the a Burning Wheel Barrel of Filled with Cash, while humorous, ultimately imparts the wrong impression as to the “spirit” of the conflict. It implies a sense of Senseless Waste, an absurdity, if you will, devoid of any semblance of goal, direction, or even logic. It comes across as destruction for the sake of destructio, which I perceive as the exact opposite of the reality. To capture the spirit of Michael Parenti, I believe that it was very intentional, very well thought out, and by no means wasteful. The money went exactly where it was always meant to end up, which is in the hands of the Arms Manufacturers, regional politicians, and the Energy Sector, and was used for a very specific aim, that is to say the promotions of Corporate American Imperialism abroad. It is only illogical when viewed from the perspective of anyone who has what might be called Humanity, but for those unburdened by this restraining quality of mind, who understand the history and aims of Capitalism, it is business as usual.

    1. Sid Finster

      Not to mention a mere wheelbarrow full of eternal flaming cash would be far too charitable.

      We’re talking at least a dump truck, minimum.

          1. ambrit

            A hedge fund traders’ computer terminal. That’ll burn through ‘wealth’ faster than anything known to Man or God.

      1. jsn

        Kevin the Accurate Perceiver,
        In an armed services member, as I understand the Duffle Blog writers are, your level of accurate perception (sorry to repeatedly misspell cynic so) could lead to a dishonorable discharge.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    In a village of 200 adult women and 100 adult men, is it practical to have monogamy? A few are bound to be ‘immoral’ (to see it that way, though, seems deplorable to the more enlightened) to those believe in monogamy.

    “It’s mathematically impossible,” insisted a few in the village (you often run across the same phrase often on the internet even today, not just in that village).

    So, polygamy is one possible solution for them.

    Similarly, when you have too many adult men, polyandry is one way to handle it.

    The other way, in China, is what was used to be called ‘Passions of the Cut Sleeve’ (a story for another day or another post). From Popular Magazine dot com:

    The Fujianese men are extremely fond of male beauty. No matter how rich or poor, handsome or ugly, they all find a companion of their own status. Between the two the older is called the “bond [adoptive] elder brother” (qixiong), the younger “bond younger brother” (qidi). When this elder bother goes to the house of the younger brother, the parents of the latter take care of him and love him like a son-in-law. And the younger brother’s expenses, including those of his marriage are all covered by the elder brother. They love each other and at the age of thirty are still sleeping in the same bed together like husband and wife.

    Shen Defu • Miscellaneous Musings from the Humble Broom Book Room, c. 1620 CE

    Note: 1620 would place it in the last years of the Ming dynasty.

    And the same for too many women. From the same article (

    Mme Fan, who is seventeen, meets a girl two years younger in a Buddhist convent. They fall desperately in love and take oaths of devotion before the Buddha in the presence of their approving servants. The girl laments that they must be separated and wishes they could be reincarnated as man and wife. In a charming scene they playfully try on a man’s robes to see who might better fit the part. Then Mme Fan hits upon a more practical solution: she asks her husband to take the younger woman into the household as a concubine. He agrees, and the play ends happily.

    Louis Crompton • Homosexuality and Civilisation, 2003 CE

    Mathematically, speaking like how an AI Robot would speak, you have to go to polyandry, or you have to buy, sorry, import foreign women/brides. Or hope that the Passions of the Cut Sleeve are discovered among enough men.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In a village of 200 adult women and 100 adult men, is it practical to have monogamy? A few are bound to be ‘immoral’ (to see it that way, though, seems deplorable to the more enlightened) to those believe in monogamy.

        “It’s mathematically impossible,” insisted a few in the village (you often run across the same phrase often on the internet even today, not just in that village).

        So, polygamy is one possible solution for them.

        Similarly, when you have too many adult men, polyandry is one way to handle it.

        That is the only one time I use the word ‘polygamy.’

        Then, I mention ‘polyandry’ in the next sentence, and the word is used one more time, in the last paragraph:

        Mathematically, speaking like how an AI Robot would speak, you have to go to polyandry, or you have to buy, sorry, import foreign women/brides. Or hope that the Passions of the Cut Sleeve are discovered among enough men.

  13. LarryB

    How are the ex-SS marches in Latvia any more disgusting than all the ways we still “honor” the vicious bastards that fought for the Confederacy? None are still alive to march, but their evil legacy certainly lives.

    1. Sid Finster

      The junta in Ukraine also regularly trots out SS veterans and concentration camp guards as heroes.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Complex question here. In Nazi-ruled “Ostland”, there were to be sure many local thugs happy to draw a paycheck shoving Jews, Slavs and other untermenschen into mass graves.

        But as the Germans scraped the bottom of the manpower barrel late in the war, those “Hiwis” gave way to local draftees who found themselves impressed into Waffen SS formations for logistical reasons, and also to keep an eye on them (especially after the Italian, Finnish and Rumanian armies defected). Under those colors they defended their homelands against the Red Army, for which they are dubiously honored today. (The Estonian film “1944” treats of this; it’s viewable on Youtube)

        But these same kids also found themselves practicing the evil trade of the SS in places like Yugoslavia up to the very end, trapped between the guns of their nominal comrades and vengeful enemies for whom an SS blood group tatoo was an instant death mark. Most of the survivors either deserted into the forests or fell into the hands of the Western Allies.

        A sad history, one of many from that time, worthy of remembrance, but not with parades.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > The junta in Ukraine also regularly trots out SS veterans and concentration camp guards as heroes.

        Wait, what? They’re the good guys! Victoria Nuland told me so!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Who was that 1956 person?

        That’s quite amazing. What was the age? Over 110?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thank you, Wukie.

            Life is amazing, isn’t it??

            One hundred years from now, there can still be people there who are living today (to tell our stories…sad stories, and maybe some happy stories…if humans manage to survive the coming disasters).

            1. Wukchumni

              I worry about our ability to remember, which is being atrophied as we rely on machines to do it for us.

              That’s no bueno…

  14. blennylips

    Google Crappification Watch:

    Is it just me? The google search result page no longer has a “map” tab. Almost positive it was there yesterday.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Just tested it; there is a map tab for me, on two searches, one obviously geographical (“Paris”) the other not (“appliance”).

      But have you noticed how awful the news search is? Weird selections, and the results are only a single page. Often, regular search is better for news (although “better” and “actually good” are not the same).

  15. Jim Haygood

    Ed Yardeni’s fundamental economic indicator, stalled since March 1st, continued its slow sideways drift today. Chart:

    Helping the indicator was a marginal rise in Bloomberg Consumer Comfort to a fresh 17-year high. But industrial materials prices eased downward, while the 4-week average of new unemployment claims drifted higher. New claims reached a still-low 231,250, up from 220,500 on March 1st.

    Evidently the upside breakout in crude oil and and the two-year Treasury yield hasn’t toasted the economy yet. But the heating grid is glowing an evil orange.

    1. Expat2uruguay

      At the 20 minute Mark he spends 8 minutes talking about elections and the importance of paper ballots counted by hand!!!

    2. Jim Haygood

      America’s lapdog press reaches a new low [FAIR article]:

      None of the top 100 newspapers questioned the US’s legal or moral right to bomb Syria, and all accepted US government claims to be neutral arbiters of “international law.”

      The total lack of editorial board dissent is consistent with major papers’ tradition of uniform acceptance of US military action. The most influential paper in the country, the New York Times, has not opposed a single US war—from the Persian Gulf to Bosnia, to Kosovo to Iraq to Libya to the forever war on ISIS—in the past 30 years.

      Just talked my high-school age nephew out of studying journalism and becoming a presstitute-stenographer for America’s rotten lamestream media.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Hopefully “little rocket man” missed this, as it may interfere with the ability to ensure the “fruitfulness” of the North Korean “talks.” I hear he may be one of those annoying people who watches what others do, and not what they say.

        “Fruitful,” by the way, is defined in american english as cheerful and unconditional surrender.

        1. voteforno6

          I don’t know…if we make Canada take Ted Cruz back, does that mean that the U.S. has to keep Justin Bieber? Are we sure that we want that trade-off?

              1. Wukchumni

                UFC #86

                Molly Pitcher versus Laura Secord

                2 heroines go into the octagon, only one comes out.

                $49.99/C$153.52 PPV

        2. Lee

          Based on my various positive interactions with Canadians, finding them a warmhearted and generous lot, Ted Cruz is the shocking exception to the rule.

      1. Lambert Strether

        That depends on what you think the role of the Democrat Party is, and the best way to get it to fulfill that role. IMNSHO, that depends very much on the individual candidate. O’Rourke opposes #MedicareForAll, for example.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump ‘will walk out’ if North Korea talks not fruitful BBC

    Presumably more bluffing, and Trump does act more blunt and rude than some past presidents.

    Like with a presidential debate, you plan ahead, be thorough with the details and the victory is won before it starts.

    1. polecat

      What if littlekim does an end run to the anti-matted goalpost, kicking a peanutball above that orange-haired goaldenmen keeper … ‘;]

    2. Enquiring Mind

      My go-to image of Trump is the kid doing a cannonball into the pool to announce himself. He has his own playbook and seizes whatever opportunity to try to throw everyone else off balance, or soak them, to get some initial advantage. That approach got results with his escalator ride immigration position to shift focus and get free media attention, then expanded with the name-calling during what were called the debates for more freebies, and saw many other incarnations. One more recent example of what one could call [family blog] Trumpdacity could be sending the carrier groups toward the Norks. What will come next?

    3. Arizona Slim

      Blunt and rude? Trump? Mehhh!

      Well, I’d like to pit him against, say, Richard Nixon. That guy was seriously lacking in the manners department. And Jimmy Carter. The White House version of that fellow wasn’t what anyone would call nice.

      OTOH, the White House has been home to some genuinely nice guys. Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan come to mine.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Blunt and rude? In the running, and taking the lead, LBJ, with Adelson coming up alongside… two and a half furlongs, on mud, for a 50-guinea cup…

  17. Jim Haygood

    Can’t trust nobody:

    One of President Donald Trump’s longtime legal advisers said he warned the president in a phone call Friday that Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer and close friend, would turn against the president and cooperate with federal prosecutors if faced with criminal charges.

    Mr. Trump made the call seeking advice from Jay Goldberg, who represented Mr. Trump in the 1990s and early 2000s. Mr. Goldberg said he cautioned the president not to trust Mr. Cohen. On a scale of 100 to 1, where 100 is fully protecting the president, Mr. Cohen “isn’t even a 1,” he said he told Mr. Trump.

    In the call, Mr. Goldberg, a former prosecutor who represented Mr. Trump in divorce and real-estate matters, said he told the president Mr. Cohen could even agree to wear a wire and try to record conversations with Mr. Trump. “You have to be alert,” Mr. Goldberg said he told the president. “I don’t care what Michael says.”

    Judge Nap amps it up a step farther with this rather startling assertion:

    [Prosecutors] revealed that the source of their purported knowledge of the Trump-Cohen relationship was surveillance of Cohen, whose telephone calls, emails and text messages the feds had been capturing for months.

    That means that federal prosecutors have overheard the president of the United States in telephone conversations he believed were protected by privilege, in which he was talking to a man under criminal investigation who he has said was his lawyer.

    Assume for the sake of discussion that Trump and Cohen weren’t plotting anything illegal. Yet investigators were wiretapping the president as he talked with his attorney? That’s really quite outrageous. Apparently the president needs to use full encryption for all calls and messages. He’s not being paranoid — they really are out to get him.

  18. Roger Smith

    Does anyone have a line in on the new Cuban President, Miguel Diaz-Canel? Did the elite Miami emigrates get their control back?

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I’ll do a quick and dirty translation of a biographical sketch of Diaz-Canel published in the Italian daily paper, La Repubblica yesterday authored by Omero Ciai:

      Light eyes, with the handsome looks of Richard Gere and rock ‘n roll fan since his youth. The man chosen by Raul Castro is a functionary who spent his entire career in the Communist Party, but far from the capital, Havana, and far from what Fidel stigmatized as the “honey of power” that corrupts and contaminates the purity of ideology, when he eliminated from consideration two long time “Castroisti”: Carlos Lage and Filipe Perez Roque. Born in Santa Clara, the city of the mausoleum of Che Guevera in the center of the island, on the 20th of April 1960 – 58 years ago tomorrow – Miguel Diaz-Canel, son of a mechanic and a teacher, is in the liturgy of the regime an example of authentic revolution: infancy of great poverty, studied, applied himself and found success thanks to the Party. A “young man of the people” who graduated as an electrical engineer at 22 years, completed three years of obligatory military service, and then joined the “Young Communists” beginning his work as a teacher while in Nicaragua to support the Sandinista revolution there.

      While a student at the University, he was a fan of The Beatles, whom Castro pointed to as an example of “capitalist decadence”, he grew his hair long, and worked in the fields with Marta Villanueva who became his first wife and mother of his only two children. Later, in 1994, he became he became secretary general of the Party of his town which were his best years. Finding himself then in the aftermath of the fall of the USSR a “special period” when much of the island was reduced to hunger. His first notable act was, much appreciated by his fellow citizens, to take up traveling by bicycle to his office, renouncing the auto he was entitled to as a local party leader. His second was to remain in his humble house, although he was again entitled to a larger one. In nine years as secretary of Santa Clara he picked up the nickname “Diaz y Noche” (day and night) in homage to tireless efforts to improve the quality of state services in favor of the town’s citizens. He was known to disguise himself so he wouldn’t be recognized when he was checking on the proper working of a school, hospital, or factory. In Santa Clara, he became famous as an open-minded manager, who defended a cultural center for trans and gay people from the orthodox. In 2003, he was transferred to Holguin a relatively rich area thanks to tourism, where he divorced and stayed where he met Raul Castro and from where six years later he was called to be Minister of Education, In 2012 he was name vice-president and became the first heir to Raul’s leadership position. At this point his public appearances and curiosity about his biography became more notable and he became known as among the first members of the nomenclatura to be seen with a tablet computer under his arm at meetings. With Raul, he is seen as trustworthy and loyal and not prone to going off script. seemingly aware of, at least until yesterday, his vulnerable position as heir apparent, a position none of his generation managed to successfully survive before him. Fidel had thrown them all out, and Raul had followed suit. As is always the case in Cuba, the date chose for Diaz-Canel’s nomination was wasn’t chosen at random. Today, April 19th, is the anniversary of The Bay of Pigs, when Fidel repulsed the invasion of the Miami exiles organized by the CIA.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > he picked up the nickname “Diaz y Noche”

        Filling the potholes and doing whatever the Cuban equivalent is of plowing the streets always helps.

        “Pothole Raul”….

    1. Roger Smith

      If people can’t spot that as a fake we have more serious problems on our hands. I am so tired of this establishment push that “people are stupid and can’t think for themselves.

      1. polecat

        “people are stupid and can’t think for themselves.”

        From my perspective, I think we’re doomed as there are too many competing narratives, combined with technologies we can’t control …

        1. Jim Haygood

          “technologies we can’t control …”

          The IMF’s handsome Chris Lagarde assures us that everything’s copacetic:

          A reporter specifically asked [Lagarde] about Facebook, Google and Amazon, though Lagarde didn’t mention any company by name.

          More competition would foster productivity and innovation, the IMF chief said. But Lagarde said she was uncertain how to facilitate “market disruptors.”

          “I’m not sure breaking up some of the tech titans would actually be the right answer. It used to be the right answer,” she said.

          The problem requires “new thinking” and this must happen “quickly,” she said.

          Used to be but not now? If that’s “new thinking,” well it don’t compute.

      2. Jonhoops

        This is 1st generation technology and is pretty convincing. It only took a few years to go from primitive 3d animation to Jurassic Park, so I wouldn’t be too dismissive. Plus it doesn’t take much to fool people.

      1. ambrit

        Now that I think about it some more; that “edited video” is really a glorified “Glory Hole.” A glory hole cum Orwellian ‘Memory Hole.’ Throw money at it and the presstitutes will scramble on hands and knees after the ‘Almighty Dollar.’ There is actually too much potential for humour in this conceit.
        Some days I fear that the Cosmos will be better off without us.

  19. integer

    A follow-up on ex-Pink Floyd member Roger Waters’ recent denouncement of the White Helmets:

    Exclusive Emails Show How The White Helmets Tried To Recruit Roger Waters With Saudi Money Max Blumenthal, the Grayzone Project

    These emailed solicitations from White Helmets representatives and activists were provided by Waters to the Grayzone Project, and are published in full at the bottom of this article. The documents demonstrate how the organization’s well-funded public relations apparatus has targeted celebrities as the key to the hearts and minds of the broader Western public.

    Unlike many other A-listers, however, Waters took time to research the White Helmets and investigate its ulterior agenda.

    “I was quite suspicious after I was invited to that [White Helmets] dinner,” Waters told the Grayzone Project. “And now my worst suspicions have been confirmed.”

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Trump ‘will walk out’ if North Korea talks not fruitful”

    It is probably at this point that the North Koreans are realizing that the only reason why the US is not launching Tomahawk strikes on them and trying to kill their leadership is the fact that they have a nuclear arsenal as well as a bucket load of artillery pointing towards Seoul. The US idea is that the North Koreans give up their nukes and then find a way to be happy about that decision. Right. To give up their nukes, the North Koreans would have to trust Trump, trust the Pentagon and to trust the deep state. Yeah, a real non-starter. I have a proposal.
    How about the North Koreans give up their nukes. The US then withdraws all but a regiment of troops on the ground. Now here is the kicker. The Russians and the Chinese help set up batteries of S-400 missiles supplemented by an extensive network of Pantsir medium range missiles. With this in place the North Koreans would reckon that they may be safe and since the Pentagon has no wish to attack North Korea there would be no reason for them to object, especially since it is a defensive system, right? Then, to seal the deal (Trump would love that phrase) North Korea and China sign a mutual defense pact so that if one was invaded, the other would go to their aid. What is not to love?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From Wikipedia, Korean War:

      After the formation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese government named the Western nations, led by the United States, as the biggest threat to its national security.[88] Basing this judgment on China’s century of humiliation beginning in the early 19th century,[89] U.S. support for the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War,[90] and the ideological struggles between revolutionaries and reactionaries,[91] the Chinese leadership believed that China would become a critical battleground in the United States’ crusade against Communism.[92] As a countermeasure and to elevate China’s standing among the worldwide Communist movements, the Chinese leadership adopted a foreign policy that actively promoted Communist revolutions throughout territories on China’s periphery.[93]

      Prelude to war (1950)
      By 1949, South Korean forces had reduced the active number of communist guerrillas in the South from 5,000 to 1,000. However, Kim Il-sung believed that the guerrillas weakened the South Korean military and that a North Korean invasion would be welcomed by much of the South Korean population. Kim began seeking Stalin’s support for an invasion in March 1949, traveling to Moscow to attempt to persuade him.[94]

      Serious border clashes between South and North occurred on August 4, 1949, when thousands of North Korean troops attacked South Korean troops occupying territory north of the 38th parallel. The 2nd and 18th infantry regiments of ROKA repulsed initial attacks in Kuksa-bong (above the 38th parallel)[95] and Ch’ungmu,[96] and at the end of the clashes ROKA troops were “completely routed”.[97]

      Stalin initially did not think the time was right for a war in Korea. Chinese Communist forces were still embroiled in the Chinese Civil War, while U.S. forces remained stationed in South Korea.[98] By spring 1950, he believed that the strategic situation had changed: Mao’s Communist forces had secured final victory in China, U.S. forces had withdrawn from Korea, and the Soviets detonated their first nuclear bomb, breaking the U.S. atomic monopoly. As the U.S. had not directly intervened to stop the communist victory in China, Stalin calculated that they would be even less willing to fight in Korea, which had much less strategic significance. The Soviets had also cracked the codes used by the U.S. to communicate with their embassy in Moscow, and reading these dispatches convinced Stalin that Korea did not have the importance to the US that would warrant a nuclear confrontation.[99] Stalin began a more aggressive strategy in Asia based on these developments, including promising economic and military aid to China through the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance.[100]

      In April 1950, Stalin gave Kim permission to invade the South under the condition that Mao would agree to send reinforcements if needed. Stalin made it clear that Soviet forces would not openly engage in combat, to avoid a direct war with the United States.[101] Kim met with Mao in May 1950. Mao was concerned the U.S. would intervene but agreed to support the North Korean invasion. China desperately needed the economic and military aid promised by the Soviets.[102] However, Mao sent more ethnic Korean PLA veterans to Korea and promised to move an army closer to the Korean border.[103] Once Mao’s commitment was secured, preparations for war accelerated.[104][105]

      Soviet generals with extensive combat experience from the Second World War were sent to North Korea as the Soviet Advisory Group. These generals completed the plans for the attack by May.[106] The original plans called for a skirmish to be initiated in the Ongjin Peninsula on the west coast of Korea. The North Koreans would then launch a counterattack that would capture Seoul and encircle and destroy the South Korean army. The final stage would involve destroying South Korean government remnants, capturing the rest of South Korea, including the ports.[107]

      On 7 June 1950, Kim Il-sung called for a Korea-wide election on 5–8 August 1950 and a consultative conference in Haeju on 15–17 June 1950. On 11 June, the North sent three diplomats to the South as a peace overture that Rhee rejected outright.[101] On 21 June, Kim Il-Sung revised his war plan to involve a general attack across the 38th parallel, rather than a limited operation in the Ongjin peninsula. Kim was concerned that South Korean agents learned about the plans and South Korean forces were strengthening their defenses. Stalin agreed to this change of plan.[108]

      While these preparations were underway in the North, there were frequent clashes along the 38th parallel, especially at Kaesong and Ongjin, many initiated by the South.[42][43] The Republic of Korea Army (ROK Army) was being trained by the U.S. Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG). On the eve of war, KMAG’s commander General William Lynn Roberts voiced utmost confidence in the ROK Army and boasted that any North Korean invasion would merely provide “target practice”.[109] For his part, Syngman Rhee repeatedly expressed his desire to conquer the North, including when U.S. diplomat John Foster Dulles visited Korea on 18 June.[110]

      Although some South Korean and U.S. intelligence officers predicted an attack from the North, similar predictions were made before and nothing happened.[111] The Central Intelligence Agency noted the southward movement by the Korean People’s Army (KPA), but assessed this as a “defensive measure” and concluded an invasion was “unlikely”.[112] On 23 June, UN observers inspected the border and did not detect that war was imminent.[113]

      The North Koreans attacked first, even though Chinese leadership thought China would be a critical battleground in the US crusade against Communism.

      1. ewmayer

        “The North Koreans attacked first” — not so fast. That needs some further delving, specifically into the bit about “attacked South Korean troops occupying territory north of the 38th parallel”. If said occupation was deliberately intended to provoke the Norks, it succeeded, but also makes the South not-blameless in the matter.

  21. Wukchumni

    Anybody else notice how conversation about cryptocurrency all of the sudden went away, when some sharpie in the traditional money business figured out that all you needed to do to make it radioactive is link it to underage thinking?

  22. James Graham

    When I tried to recycle used AA batteries at our local center I was told they could not accept them unless both ends were covered with tape.

    The employee suggested I discard them in a Dumpster.

    I bet that new federal regulation has increased the number of batteries going into land fills.

    1. a different chris

      I *did* and was then told it was the wrong kind of tape. Nobody in power really wants us to recycle, I really think in their minds the problem will solve itself once us Deplorables (yeah, and that includes you proud Democrats) are wiped from the landscape.

    2. HotFlash

      When I took my old paint and batteries and other toxics to my Community Environment Day I asked the guys taking them in what happened to them. They told me, as if reciting, “They are disposed of properly.” I asked what did that mean. They looked at each other. One finally said, “We don’t know.”

      1. Wukchumni

        I’d guess with the exception of aluminum cans, all other recyclables that are collected as of late, are promptly thrown in the trash, that is after being sorted out by people with makework jobs @ ‘the recycling center’.

      2. ambrit

        I had to laugh when I found out that the semi sorted waste stream of plastics, glass, toxics etc. from around here were, when the recycling resources were stretched thin, often mixed in with the plain old landfill.
        A plain and simple “Recycling Deposit” on all containers would go a long way to slowing down the degradation of the environment. Plus, added feature, recreate a low skill employment niche.
        I actually applaud the Chinese for rejecting the Wests’ waste streams. Force the producers of the garbage to face up to the ‘downstream’ effects of overproduction. (Don’t get me going on ‘packaging.’)

        1. jonboinAR

          Definitely, there should be a required deposit on all containers. When I was a kid, all pop bottles had a deposit. We kids saw to it that the bottles got returned, as we were all little sugar/caffeine(?) junkies. I remember being about 12 and actually somewhat appalled when the carbonated sugar beverage companies began shipping their molotov sugar cocktail bombs in unrecyclable bottles. Even in my uninformed half-formed 12 year old mind that seemed wasteful and a product of poor long-term thinking.

          Recycling, I mean real recycling, does not have to be profitable. It has to be mandatory.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The deposit should be so high that college town fratboys and sports fans will no longer throw bottles to watch them break and listen to the pretty tinkle.

  23. Jim Haygood

    “Junk bonds in la-la land,” complains Wolf Richter in an article linked above:

    The spread between the broad junk-bond index and equivalent Treasury yields has narrowed to 3.33 percentage points. Beyond the brief dip on January 26 (to a spread of 3.23 points), it’s the narrowest spread since the la-la days in July 2007 before the Financial Crisis put an end to it.

    During the hysteria of early 2016 when crude oil fell to $27 a barrel and doom-mongers said the energy sector would take down the junk market, Craazymon Fund was formed to boldly fade their panic-attack arm-waving. On Mar 2, 2016 junk bonds yielded 7.31% more than Treasuries (Merrill Lynch H0A0 index). By yesterday the spread had fallen to 3.24%, giving junk bonds a double-barreled return from both high coupons and capital gains owing to falling yields.

    If low energy prices were the culprit for the early 2016 swoon, high energy prices now benefit junk bonds. So does rising inflation, which tends to confer more pricing power on small and medium-sized companies. Eventually these trends will go too far and crater the economy. But for now, junk issuers are doing okay.

    1. JohnnyGL

      If you had the foresight to recognize 2 years ago that cheap money was driving the oil patch rather than expensive oil, and then understand that the party was going to continue because institutional money has ‘nowhere else to go’ and because ‘the party must continue’ then your understanding of how the sector works is vastly superior and I bow to you. :)

  24. Wukchumni

    We heard you’re confused, that’s ok
    I thought our little wild time had just begun
    I guess you kind of scared yourself, you turned on Trump
    But if you have a change of heart

    Nikki, don’t feel any dumber
    But you don’t wanna call sanctions on nobody else
    Instead, send it off in a letter to yourself
    Nikki, don’t feel any dumber
    It’s not like you did it on your own
    You might read it to make you feel better
    When you get atoned

  25. Kevin the Cynic

    Got to love the MIT article. Suggestion number one for how people can better navigate the future American economy–stay in school. Brilliant. It not like the huge cost of going to school, along with the increasingly untenable position of attending and working enough hours to support one’s self, factor in to the reason why many are steering clear of pursuing an education.

    Maybe I am just a bitter cynical dropout who does not have the pluck to go back, but it just seems like every time I contemplate returning I am immediate repulsed by the tens of thousands of additional dollars of debt that I would have to shackle myself to so that I can receive a piece of paper that somehow demonstrates that I am an educated citizen who can be given the due respect afforded to such a distinction. It also doesn’t help that I work my 10/hour job with former college graduates, most of whom have yet to come to the creeping realization that their respective pieces of paper mean next to nothing in a society designed to entice young people into to positions of such grotesque debt for the purpose of keeping them compliant to the status quo, lest they fall into the social abyss. Do not get me wrong, Education is the path to Liberation and frankly one of the best forms of Resistance and Rebellion, especially in a day and age when ignorance and trivial obsession are prompted, but the idea of making oneself more desirable to the System is the path of a peasant at best and slave at a worst.

    Until the paper is free, I figure I will remain delinquent.

    1. Wukchumni

      If you applied yourself, just about everything you would learn in college is right here on this contraption for free, sans diploma of course.

      Good luck though trying to get a prospective employer to see the value of having an intelligent employee not burdened by student loans.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Judging by the number of baristas with a college degrees, I feel

        1. Either we live in a very cultured society
        2. not spending at lease four years of our precious time in life with the joy we deserve.

      2. ambrit

        My (low) end of the employment scale shows that employers actively dislike and discourage intelligent employees. I expect this trend to end up creating a fully dysfunctional economy. The ‘aversion to intelligence’ is creeping up the ‘skills’ ladder in the economy. I liken it to the rise of “Multiple Guess” questions in school tests. Understanding the underlying processes so as to think ahead to manage difficulties more efficiently gives way to knowing what, out of a preset series of choices, gives the best results when matched with a problem. The ‘quest for perfection,’ or something approximating such, yields to ‘just getting by.’
        We live in an “Age of Rust.”

        1. Wukchumni

          Commodus, who George W. is a dead ringer for historically, is widely thought of as the harbinger of the end of the Roman Empire…

          “In the view of Dio Cassius, a contemporary observer of the period, his accession marked the descent “from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust“” (Wiki)

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            History is not symmetrical.

            Augustus found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.

            (To be honesty, I am not sure. The Colosseum in Rome today seems to be made of bricks. Then, I remember it was built after he died).

            1. ambrit

              History might not be symmetrical, but it is very much like a Light Lyric Opera.
              For instance, what would we consider the ‘heritage’ of the British Empire? The English language as the international tongue of aircraft pilots? The Enlightenment predated the British Empire, so, that’s out. The Japanese Imperial Navy as the scion of the Royal Navy? Yes, the modern Japanese Navy continues the traditions of the IJN, and thus, the RN. But, whither goeth they when China asserts naval supremacy in the South China Sea? I don’t see China giving even lip service to any Co-Prosperity Sphere. Tsushima was fought against a semi European autocracy, ie. Russia. Who will be the combatants in the Battle of the Spratlys? Rajah Ruperts’ navy and the Emperor Xis’?
              As the King of Siam is reputed to have said; “Tis a puzzlement.”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Education is the path to Liberation.

      1. One can get it anywhere*, and one never stops learning.

      2. What you get in school is not necessarily education. It may be something the MIC needs to fill the Sputnik-gap. Or so that we can out-hack the Chinese, instead of the other way around. As you say, the System figures in there.

      *It’s true. You can get it from ex-stock manipulators (e.g. the Reminiscences of a stock operator…) or from a Deplorable.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s what Miyamoto Musashi did – he conquered himself at the end, and thus became a true master (or so I learned from watching Inagaki’s the Samurai trilogy).

          1. ambrit

            I watched those films too. The photography was impressive. And the colours. The themes are suitably timeless, but would a Western audience ‘get’ such ideas as selflessness, honour, and self control? (Maybe I overestimate an ‘Eastern’ audience.)
            The beginning of the tale, with the “Wild Man” theme reminded me strongly of the Epic of Gilgamesh and the character Enkidu.
            Beneath Culture lies Myth.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Sam Clemens reportedly said he never let schooling interfere with his education. He could get away with it because he didn’t yet live in a society where schooling took precedence over knowledge.

  26. Musicismath

    Owen Jones has just written a good opinion piece, one that crystallises a lot of my misgivings about political discourse in Britain so far this year — the sense of a coordinated effort between “moderates” and the right to completely marginalise left-wing voices:

    This general pattern of shutting down any and all left-wing arguments and scrutiny — even though we are an utterly marginalised faction in a media afflicted by suffocating groupthink — is deeply and profoundly sinister. But it is also part and parcel of something else — an attempt to delegitimise the left as a political force.
    There is a massive disconnect between where the media is and the political reality of the country. Rather than attempting to bridge that gap, the media is doubling down, and treating the left as barbarians at the gate who have to be kept out at all costs.

    Owen Jones, Delegitimising the British left, Medium (19 April 2018).

  27. Big River Bandido

    The Wall Street Journal “obituary” for Tony Podesta is a real example of WTF. What does he do when he gets the word that his company won’t be able to meet the next payroll? Why, he gives himself an advance and goes on vacation to Italy, of course. His business tanks, wife leaves him, and he loses his precious art collection.

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. If only the rest of Clintonland would feel his pain in the same way.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    100 Top Colleges Vow To Enroll More Low-Income Students NPR

    I was hoping they enroll more low-GPA students who have shown they’re passionate about learning.

    1. ewmayer

      Note they haven’t actually even done anything yet – they’re still at the “vowing and scraping” stage. As long as they get favorable press with this kind of pinky-swearing, no need to *do* anything.

      To paraphrase a Beavis & Butthead episode:

      Mr. Van Dreesen: I want you guys to “vow” me.

      Butthead: Is that, like, allowed on school property?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Time to ban ALL plastic credit cards?

      That’s one crucial way to reduce plastic usage – don’t buy with plastic.

      1. Wukchumni

        I ease my way on up to the outdoor one-armed bandit and slide a slim petroleum based product into a petroleum based reader that allows me to utilize a petroleum based hose to insert 150 pounds of petroleum into my vehicle without ever seeing a drop of it.

  29. Brooklin Bridge

    Watched NOVA last night. 2 hrs. on Climate Change. I missed the advertising in the beginning, however, where they call out their sponsors. Did David Koch bail out of sponsorship or something? The relationship, ironically called, “The Odd Couple”, of Koch sponsoring NOVA as a way of controlling it made sense for years when NOVA would barely touch climate change, never mind, shhhh, G-L-O-B-A-L W-A-R-M-I-N-G, shudder, with a ten foot pole, but last’s nights episode of NOVA? 2 solid hours? The Odd Couple would actually fit.

    Is this part of the Oil Industry trying to slosh on a coat of whitish paint all over itself while still hotter than burning tar? Is it PBS, waking up to just how far beneath any bottom basement floor of despicable it’s broadcasting standards have fallen? Or is this just the usual false prophets doing a little realism dance, while shaking their bag of dead bleached bones of extinct species, to throw off the hounds?

    Whatever, the program was, amazingly, a pretty good broadcast on the subject.

  30. Oregoncharles

    “In China and India, men outnumber women on a massive scale. The consequences are far-reaching”
    Interesting social experiment. This should mean that women in those countries have bargaining power they never had before, and indeed that shows up in the article: all those bachelors building houses and saving their money. It also leads to tragedies – for instance, a few years back, a young Indian woman and her fiance murdered by her brother because she was marrying out of her caste – and leaving him behind. The communists may actually have shifted the balance in China: conditions appear to be more severe for women in India. The one-child policy may have had a big effect, too.

    Of course, the worst problem is the high potential for violence. Marriage traditionally serves to keep men within bounds; with no stake int he future, they may resort to violence.

    One solution, not even mentioned, would be polyandry. Tibet, in between the two countries, offers an example. There, it was tied to a tightly restricted population that acknowledged a tightly restricted carrying capacity (net result: until it was conquered, Tibet was more prosperous than China, in terms of basic living conditions). In some other, rather rare cultures, extreme matrilineality amounted to polyandry. It’s clear from the story that the cultures in both countries are rigid enough to make the adjustment very difficult. Unfortunately, it’s a situation that could easily lead to rogue armies and conflict between nuclear powers. Probably a good thing there are some very discouraging mountains in between.

  31. ewmayer

    o “How is America preparing for the future of work? MIT Technology Review” — For the victims of the Opioid epidemic, the “future of work in America” is already here.

    o “Theresa May’s new plastic crusade: Prime Minister in dramatic pledge to ban ALL plastic cotton buds, straws and drink stirrers | Daily Mail” — Has Treeza found a way to blame Vladimir Putin for the world being inundated in plastic? Just in case the latest chem-weapons false-flag thing fails to work out as a pretext for a distraction from her domestic-policy-incompetence woes, it would be good to have a Plan B, right?

    o “Gmail to introduce new privacy features, including ‘confidential mode’ and self destructing emails | Thai Tech” — So after a certain amount of time, only Google and its various “interested third party” partners will know what you wrote and who you sent it to? Handy! /sarc

    o “Amazon’s Bezos Says Company Topped 100 Million Prime Members Bloomberg” — They keep trying – via Prime-only items, regular intrusion of “Join Prime!” pages which I have to click-to-accept-or-decline when I login to my account, and “You Could Get Free 2-Day Shipping If You Join Prime!” popups when I go to checkout – to cajole me, and I keep refusing. But I can see how many people would simply get worn down by the neverending coercion campaign. And it can be a good deal for many folks, depending on how often and for what kinds of things they use Amazon. For low-volume rarely-needed-in-a-hurry folks like me, the numbers don’t add up, but their algos clearly are designed to not take No for an answer. Algos never tire, but the coders behind them know that people do.

  32. Lambert Strether

    > Theresa May’s new plastic crusade: Prime Minister in dramatic pledge to ban ALL plastic cotton buds, straws and drink stirrers

    This is like Bill Clinton triangulating with school uniforms. Who’s advising May? Dick Morriss?

  33. XXYY

    The feature also includes a confidential mode which will prevent the recipient of the email from forwarding, downloading, printing or copying and pasting text from the email.

    Um, it doesn’t prevent you from taking a screen shot and posting it on Twitter, I assume.

    “Staff Writer”‘s opinions aside, Google’s strange improvements do highlight the need for major improvements to the email protocol here in the post ARPANET era. A lot of commercial firms (medical and financial, e.g.) rightly discourage the use of email for sensitive material, instead setting up awkward and lame proprietary systems as part of their own web sites. It’s a cumbersome arrangement, and the need to visit and separately log in to every individual site to see if you have “mail” misses most of the point of email: having a convenient single inbox where you can get and file messages from, and reply to, all senders you’re corresponding with, using a familiar and sophisticated mail client.

    I can think of several issues:

    (1) Privacy of the actual message while in transit. This is the obvious one, and has been addressed in non-standardized and hard to use ways by things like PGP.

    (2) Privacy of routing info and metadata while in transit. Building a graph of people’s associates is a big goal of surveillance programs, and if 3rd parties can see who you’re corresponding with by watching mail traffic, they can easily do it. Tor tries to use a complex arrangement to obscure the relationship between senders and receivers for web services to address this vulnerability.

    (3) Privacy while at rest on a mail server. Email is generally store-and-forward, so there are going to be one or more places where your mail is sitting on a 3rd party server where it’s fair game for the operator, their employees, and law enforcement. The identity of the sender and receiver, and the message content, need to be protected during this time.

    (4) Privacy while at rest in your own mail client(s) and device disks. Similar to 3, but a different vulnerability in that all your material is conveniently collected in one place for snoops, customs agents, and law enforcement. This vulnerability may be covered by other schemes to protect the entire device, e.g., whole disk encryption.

    (5) Authentication. The system needs to be able to recognize you and bring the appropriate decryption or whatever to bear, while ensuring that this doesn’t happen for others. Not a unique problem, but it’s not being solved very well right now despite a lot of effort and thinking by people in the field.

    (6) Key management. I assume a lot of this would be managed by asymmetric crypto systems, so senders would use your public key to do various things, and you would use your private key to “undo” them. Managing these keys has always been difficult in, e.g., PGP, and has made that system largely unusable unless you are really knowledgeable and dedicated.

    It would be great to gather the same mental firepower that developed the original email standards back in the nice-guy era and have them do V2.0 for the present day, developing new standards that everyone would adopt and support so we could use email with confidence and privacy.

  34. Pookah Harvey

    Fisk’s report that he could find no evidence of a chemical attack in Douma is corroborated by another on the ground report from a small right wing Trump supporting news agency OAN

    Absolutely no mention on any MSM that I have seen.


  35. Spring Texan

    Yep, and although Beto is no leftist, he truly would NOT have been the Democratic Party establishment’s first choice, they wanted one of the Cruz brothers and Beto beat them to the pass – good for him.

    And he balked at the Democratic Party dialing-for-dollars requirements for Congressfolk after they wanted him to apologize to donors for one of his votes — I like that.

    And he’s OK on marijuana. And he’s actually really campaigning and talking to actual people.

    I’d be giddy if he beat Cruz.

  36. Rob

    I have subscribed for some time, but for the last week or so, no longer receive email. I cannot find any pathway to fix this cold turkey withdrawal. Any suggestions from anywhere would be welcome

Comments are closed.