Links 4/27/18

A cell phone carrier in Asia has a perverse sense of humor. While my dumb phone is charging, it can still take calls. Apparently this network regards charging phones as off line and gives overseas callers this message:

You have reached a test number. [cheesy woo woo music starts] This highway leads to the shadowy tip of reality. You’re on a through route to the land of the different, the bizarre, the unexplainable. Go as far as you like on this road. Its limits are only those of the mind itself. Ladies and gentlemen, you’re entering the wondrous dimension of the imagination. Next stop, the code zone.” [pause in speaking, woo woo music gets louder] There may have been more but I got the idea

How to Hit the Brakes on Climate Change Bloomberg (PlutoniumKun)

The smartphone sales slowdown is real Axios

Pump And Dump Schemes Take Over Crypto Markets SafeHaven

Smart contracts, stupid humans: new major Ethereum ERC-20 token bugs BatchOverflow and ProxyOverflow David Gerard. Richard Smith: “Live sightings of the genius of smart contracts and the wonders of immutability.” Moi: Adam Leviin wrote a paper on how residential mortgage securities were immutable contacts, or as he put it, “Frankenstein contracts”. Lambert: “Just avoid any product with the word ‘smart’ in its marketing collateral and you’ll be fine.”

Analyzing Operation GhostSecret: Attack Seeks to Steal Data Worldwide McAfee (furzy). Established readers will recall that many security experts debunked the notion that the Sony Pictures hack was brought to you by North Korea. First, Sony was so badly protected that hacking it was akin to going through an open door. Second, the North Korean attribution was laughably poor. One item I recall is the breathless claim that the “keyboard” (which is a misleading term no pro would use) was “Korean”. In fact, the choice was South Korean….and the use of their language is outlawed in North Korea (the dialects are sufficiently different as for them to be more like distinct languages).

North Korea

Kim Jong Un Sits Down for Historic Talks With South Korea’s Moon Bloomberg

Kim Jong Un says Koreas on “starting line” of a new history Washington Post

Kim Jong-un to get photo-op of the century at Inter-Korean Summit Asia Times. EM:

Note the rather unjournalistic choice of words in the Asia Times article: “In a photo-op that looks certain to become iconic, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will waddle across the inter-Korean border in the iconic truce village of Panmunjom at 9:30am on Friday for the third-ever inter-Korean summit…”. Watching the coverage on one of the local Korean TV affiliates, the body language of the 2 leaders at their face-to-face meeting was very friendly, and undiplomatic though it may be, “waddle” is an accurate description of the portly Kim Jong-un’s gait. Important as this event is, if they pre-empt my regular Korean evening dramas – tonight would normally be Queen of Mystery 2 followed by Let’s Watch the Sunset – for it, I’m gonna be pissed. :)

Parents sue North Korea, saying Warmbier ‘tortured and murdered’ Reuters (furzy)


Canadian Senate lost at South China Sea South China Morning Post


Irish prime minister: Progress on border needed by June EU summit Politico. Note escalation from a threat to a red line.

EU doesn’t need the City of London, says chief Brexit negotiator Guardian. We’ve repeatedly said this was the EU’s view and that we regard it as correct. The UK has astonishingly carried on as if the City is somehow uniquely valuable, as if British firms were necessary to the Continent, and separately, as if the activities performed there could not be moved elsewhere if necessary. Yet again, the EU has to be explicit when the UK insists on not getting an oft-sent message (the City is getting no breaks).

Barnier rebuffs UK hopes of special financial services access Financial Times. Again, not news if you have been paying attention.

There’s a much better option for leaving the EU staring us in the face if only we could seize it Telegraph. Way too late, someone catches up with Richard North.

Resistance to joint proposal to WTO leaves UK and EU divided Guardian. This is a big deal despite the anodyne headline. We’ve never been on board with the oft-made claim that the UK could somehow default to WTO rules. Without getting into details, the EU often has quotas regarding imports from various third countries. So what happens when the UK leaves the EU and the UK and EU want to come up with a deal on goods where other countries in the world are subject to quotas or higher tariffs? The EU and UK acted as if they could not just settle their hash but impose a new arrangement on all the other third countries. Not surprisingly, they aren’t going along.


As Trump Berates Iran, His Options are Limited Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch

Russia presents alleged Syrian witnesses in The Hague to disprove chemical attack claims (Kevin W)

Russia presents unharmed Syrians to OPCW, Western envoys condemn ‘stunt’ Reuters. UserFriendly: “​ROFLMAO stunt?​”

We will deliver S300 to Syria. Russian Army answers to threats by Lieberman Defend Democracy

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Google and Facebook Likely to Benefit From Europe’s Privacy Crackdown Wall Street Journal (Li)

How a Genealogy Site Led to the Front Door of the Golden State Killer Suspect New York Times. I know we are supposed to be glad this guy was caught, but this is also a reminder of why never to give a DNA sample if you can possibly avoid it.

Ex-California policeman arrested in ‘Golden State’ serial killer case Reuters (EM). Explains more clearly the importance of him having been a cop.

Trump Transition

Trump Says He May Curb Russia Probe as Mueller Bill Advances Bloomberg

Trump’s Stormy Morning on “Fox & Friends” New Yorker (furzy)

Trump per above again gets his own way by crowding out another interview. Reader Li, whose web surfing range is wider than mine, flagged this Fox interview with Comey, which really is something: James Comey on Clinton probe, Russia investigation. See also the follow up between Trey Gowdy and Tucker Carlson.

Report: Columbia Professor Used By Comey For Leak Was Actually A Special Government Employee With The FBI Jonathan Turley

In Trump’s embrace, Macron risks catching Tony Blair syndrome Politico

The Macron-Trump Summit and the Dandruff Factor New Yorker (furzy)

After Macron high, Trump’s Merkel comedown Politico

US-German conflicts — what you need to know DW

2016 Post Mortem

Jill Stein Defies Senate Intelligence Document Request, Calling It “Overbroad” and Unconstitutional Intercept (Kevin W). Good for her. The request was disgraceful, particularly after Stein effectively went to bat for Clinton by filing suits challenging election results.

Democrats Prepare to Pimp The Left Again in 2018 and 2020 Bruce Dixon

The West Wing reboot: Aaron Sorkin considering revival Radio Times. UserFriendly: “This is how liberals deal with republicans in the White House.”

Democratic super PAC meddling in GOP primary in West Virginia Washington Examiner (UserFriendly). As Talleyrand said of the Bourbons, “They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.”

Claims by Joy Reid’s Cybersecurity Expert Fall Apart Daily Beast

Opioid Crisis Cost Washington State $9 Billion in 2016 Governing

Health Insurers Spend $158K to Make Sure ‘Blue Wave’ Is Against Medicare for All GritPost (UserFriendly)

Bill Cosby Found Guilty of Sexual Assault in Retrial New York Times

On tectonic plates, the economic system & the economics profession Ann Pettifor (Chuck L)

Tesla Autopilot crisis deepens with loss of third Autopilot boss in 18 months ars technica

Deutsche Bank has a €60bn problem – but doesn’t want to talk about it IFR. Richard Smith: “Multiple levels of IBGYBG going on here The chief exec lifecycle cycle (shorter term) and the ‘book trades, trouser bonus and vamoose’ cycle from 10+ years ago.”

Ford is basically giving up on US car business, and GM is not far behind CNBC (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

How Guaranteeing Jobs Became the Hot New Policy Priority for 2020 Dems Daily Beast (UserFriendly)

What Does America Have to Complain About? Bloomberg. (UserFriendly). Need we say more: “…. adapted from a speech given at the “Disinvitation Dinner,” an event sponsored by the William F. Buckley, Jr. program at Yale University.”

A high class problem (UserFriendly):

The Amazon Effect On Housing Markets SafeHaven

Big Business Tax Breaks May Worsen Income Inequality Governing. UserFriendly: “May? lol.”

Rural Teachers Working Second Jobs, Struggling To Make Ends Meet CBS Denver

Why we should bulldoze the business school Guardian (vlade)

Antidote du jour. Crittermom:

White-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata), also known as the hummingbird moth.

The cherry tree just bloomed & they showed up to feast last night.
This was the first time I photographed them after dark.

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Alex

    Re GDPR will help, not hinder, Facebook and Google, competitors say

    I’m playing the world’s smallest violin for those small ad companies who will be hurt.

    From my own experience (somewhat tangential) for a regular business GDPR compliance is an issue but definitely not an insurmountable one. The caveat is that no one knows how exactly many parts of the GDPR will be defined by the regulators, so it’s really hard to say something definite now.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      I had complaints from one self-published author and one publisher with a company like mine that Facebook refused to post promos for their books on the grounds of alleged “community standards” and/or “spam” violations. Neither book violated anyone’s standards, nor did the promos. I’ve also heard from other small-business owners they’ve had promos nixed.

      Like it or not, Facebook is a major tool for small business to use to reach customers. The furor over first “fake news” and then “Russian bots” and now Cambridge Analytica have given the company just the excuse it needs to block such marketing and demand we pay just like the Big Boys if we want to sell anything. One might even consider it a brick in the wall against net neutrality.

      It’s early days, but the number of my company’s posts that have been showing up on my own Newsfeed with “You should boost this post” on them have become frequent to the point of annoyance. In other words, I’m being spammed by Facebook with my own promos. Given it’s clear FB is up to its old trick of sending paid ads off to one of their “like farms” overseas (the last one got more than 1000 “likes” on Instagram—from Brazil), those of us with little to no ad budget could be in deep doo-doo.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Honestly, you are a jerk. I depend on a small ad company. You are wishing for the death of small sites. We have avoided FB entirely (we get only 1% of our traffic from them) but we still suffer from the way FB sucks all the air out of the ad market. And we aren’t the only losers. Bigger sites like newspapers are also losing to FB.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        GDPR is a wider net than people think:

        “This Regulation applies to the processing of personal data by a controller not established in the Union, but in a place where Member State law applies by virtue of public international law”.

        (I support the goals of GDPR but I wish them luck, if they had a fleet of black helicopters to travel to New Zealand and pick up Kim DotCom like the FBI did, that would be one thing, NZ territorial sovereignty didn’t seem to do much for Mr. DotCom).

        But yes Yves it will hobble small ad companies. Think of the lawyers FB could afford to manage the move of customer data out of Ireland and back to Calif., not to mention the rest of their regulatory Whack-a-Mole.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    How to Hit the Brakes on Climate Change Bloomberg

    Ford is basically giving up on US car business, and GM is not far behind CNBC (Kevin W)

    Very contrasting stories. Ford seems to have given up on its quest to be the greenest carmaker, and is now, along with Chrysler and probably GM going all out for trucks and SUV’s. Meanwhile:

    China adds a London-sized electric bus fleet every five weeks

    If I read it right, this move by US carmakers is almost entirely driven by profit targets, not considerations of long term investment or market share. It obviously makes them extremely vulnerable to an oil price surge (they really do have such short term memories). If that happens, then Asian and European carmakers will wipe the floor with them, they simply won’t have the cars to compete.

    Its good to see that the Chinese are going all in for electric buses. Buses cause urban pollution out of all proportion to the number of buses on the road (not to mention noise), they should be a target for EV developments even before cars. Properly scheduled, buses can compete even with light rail for capacity in urban areas, at a fraction of the capital and running cost of rail investments. But they just aren’t sexy (well, except for this one).

      1. johnnygl

        If we re-name it the F-35 bus can we get congress to splash some cash on those? Does it have secret fridge comparments stocked with cocktails?

        Who says public transport can’t be bad-@ss?!!??!

    1. cnchal

      The Asian and European car makers are doing everything in their power to make cars as repulsive as possible.

      Seen the latest Camry?

      1. a different chris

        Oh we didn’t realize cars were a fashion accessory. We thought they were tools. Apologies.

        1. sleepy

          Yes, there are far more reasons to dislike cars other than looks, but imho no reason to combine their inherent weaknesses as a transportation model with their absolutely fugly appearance nowadays which the makers seem intent on doing.

        2. Edward E

          Maybe we’ll eventually get to see a Mercury ® made in Mexico. Then if you have the money you can buy a Mexican Cougar.

          1. SimonGirty

            Well, all my boomer yuppie acquaintances keep blaming their Mercury Retrograde for being late, ill prepared, oblivious to their surroundings, speciously obtuse. But, they’re totally unaware their Volvos are Chinese, Jaguars are Indian and Teslas… heck, where’d Tesla go? Geeley? BYD?

            1. Edward E

              My dad was smart, he found a ’67 Mercury Cougar with a handling package built by Carroll Shelby and that was my very first car. It kept us kids alive, I even did a Duke’s of Hazzard got it airborne and didn’t hurt it.
              Looked just like this, wish they’d do that again I loved it.


              1. SimonGirty

                Was the teenager’s spandex melted to the fender? Damn, my first car was a wrecked ’63 Valiant convertible; pop-riveted beer cans covered in toxic Black Magic. No seatbelts, plastic throttle linkage snapped just as LSD had turned my friend into a bored velocioraptor. He immediately turned the car off, as we were seated in the crumple zone. 2nd car was a 1953 Buick Roadmonster straight eight (you could watch the chromed fuel gague drop). 3rd car: a used BMW 2002, in fucking Pittsburgh, in winter, at night, stoned! Driven mostly sideways. Jeepers, did you DIE, pops?

                1. Edward E

                  Oh wow, the speed and power of those old cars helped to bring places closer together,,, like this world and the next.
                  Dad lucked out, that was back in the day when used cars were marked down a lot. Before used dealers figured out how to make lots of money on them. In 1985 or so I practically gave that car to a guy who intended to restore it for his teenager. Wonder if it’s still in one piece…

          2. The Rev Kev

            I’m sorry. When you said “if you have the money you can buy a Mexican Cougar” I lost my concentration there for a moment.

        3. cnchal

          Let me fill you in on the plot.

          Toyota’s sales strategy seems to consist of making their cars so freakishly ugly, that when a potential customer walks into their showroom they can be easily steered towards a slightly less ugly small SUV or gargantuan SUV which is more profitable and as a side effect guzzles twice a much gas per unit of use.

          They have jumped the shark in automotive styling.

          1. Lord Koos

            I think part of what is happening is that Asian car makers are no longer catering to western tastes and are designing for Asian markets.

      2. Alex V

        The car makers are doing everything in their power to make cars as repulsive as possible.

        Seen the latest anything?

        1. Mike Mc

          Somewhere there’s a study or three about the link between baroque car design and ornamentation and current events. IOW the stranger the times, the uglier the design. Read a newspaper or watched the news lately? We’re lucky they haven’t introduced the Mad Max line of SUVs…

        2. Kurt Sperry

          It’s brand differentiation driven I think. The engineering solutions are all converging towards a design consensus based on empirical aero and safety demands which means the vehicles are all *very* similar under the coachwork, so the only way to create a visual brand distinction is with silly and pointless creases in the side sheet metal, overstyled grilles, and gimmicky over the top lighting sets. If the styling were rational, the cars would all look more-or-less identical and have noses like my 2004 Jetta,

            1. homeroid

              Hear here. I think all the auto co’s design the same thing. All suv’s look the same. As a professional driver, i would say we need more visibility and less style. I want to see behind as much as up front.How about a 50’s pick a me up truck with good heat and constant 4wd. Dont need all the gee-gaws. Just what works and works and works.

            2. SimonGirty

              Since my beloved 1st generation Altima got it’s engine compartment run over by a totally undocumented guy pulling a container, by the Lincoln Tunnel at 4:30AM (and I still had to tape it up and race half way across PA. to work). My choice for a replacement was based upon: EuroNCAP, dependability, emergency handling, COST and the ability to outrun the preponderant NYC taxis of the period (eg: I wanted the thing to be so dorky in appearance, it wouldn’t get swiped, stripped for parts). Avoiding or surviving a distracted SUV side impact became my cheif criteria. Far from me to complain, or jinx myself.

            3. SimonGirty

              Since my beloved 1st generation Altima got it’s engine compartment run over by a totally undocumented Asian guy pulling a container, by the Lincoln Tunnel at 4:30AM (and I still had to tape it up and race half way across PA. to work). My choice for a replacement was based upon: EuroNCAP test, dependability, emergency handling, COST and the ability to outrun most of the preponderant NYC taxis of the period (eg: I wanted the thing to be so dorky in appearance, it wouldn’t get swiped, stripped for parts). Avoiding or surviving a side impact became my cheif criteria. Far from me to complain, or jinx myself.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Not sure if “How to Hit the Brakes on Climate Change” was the original total of that Bloomberg article or not, but if so, it appears somebody, perhaps from a fossil fuel PR firm, has helped Bloomberg get their mind right.

      When you click the link, the title now reads “Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry”.

  3. cocomaan

    Signs point to Trump being partly responsible for this North Korea detente.

    If he’s helped engineer it, he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. Full stop. This is MASSIVE. I know people who fought in that war.

    Or, at least, far more than Obama, who as far as I can tell didn’t make peace anywhere in the world (Myanmar being his most celebrated, but was rife with genocide by Kyi).

    1. cocomaan

      Some parts of the Iran nuclear deal sunset this summer. The rumor is that a more robust Iran deal is in the works as well.

      Trump keeps this up and he’ll be a despised Teddy Roosevelt.

    2. divadab

      Yes. But let’s not forget the Iran nuclear deal – an Obama/Kerry production. And the non-invasion of Syria by Obama.

      You can recognize Trump while not taking a cheap swipe at Obama, no?

      1. cocomaan

        I can’t tell if you’re joking.

        Assuming you aren’t, Obama was waging a proxy war in Syria with Russia and is responsible for that war dragging on and on and on throughout his entire term. If anything, Obama made that war more horrific and more damaging. His policy in Iraq turned the Sunni Awakening into ISIS and ISIS into a household name.

        The Iran nuclear deal is a joke. Iran was immediately violating it. The failure of the current deal is why Macron and Trump hinted they are writing a new deal.

        Dennis Rodman turns out to be a more effective ambassador than Hillary and John Kerry combined. Those secretaries appear to have thought their job was to see how many wars we could wage simultaneously.

        1. visitor

          The Iran nuclear deal is a joke. Iran was immediately violating it.

          What are you talking about? The IAEA has been in charge of supervising the implementation of the nuclear deal framework and repeatedly confirmed that Iran was abiding by its provisions.

          1. cocomaan

            Iran was launching ballistic missiles shortly after the deal was signed, as I recall.

            And like I said, Macron and Trump are already in talks about redesigning the deal for a reason.

            1. Katsue

              As I understand it, there is no provision of the Iran nuclear deal that restrains Iran from developing conventional ballistic missiles.

              1. cocomaan

                Goes nicely against the spirit of the agreement, no?

                Clearly a better peace deal is needed anyway considering the Iranian proxy wars with Saudi Arabia throughout the greater middle east.

                1. jsn

                  The “sprit of the agreement” is “nuclear”, not “ballistic”. Israel has been deprived of its nuclear Iran bogy man and has moved the bar and the US has now agreed. Obama, to his credit, didn’t bite on this Israeli position, but the Donald now apparently has. We’ll see soon enough.

                  1. cocomaan

                    That’s a fine position to take. I understand it.

                    The person I was originally responding to also wanted to give Obama credit for Syria, which is ludicrous and not reasonable in the slightest.

                    1. visitor

                      On this point you are entirely right. Obama was of a devious kind — unlike Trump who goes about everything in a blatant way.

                2. visitor

                  The topics of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action are:

                  Enrichment, Enrichment R&D, Stockpiles, Arak, Heavy Water, Reprocessing, Sanctions.

                  There are also Transparency and Confidence Building measures that deal exclusively with atomic issues (joining additional protocols of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, allowing inspections of nuclear facilities, clearing up questions about the development of nuclear technology).

                  Nowhere does the agreement address missiles or any kind of vector for atomic bombs, or any technology related to that. Your point about the “spirit” of the treaty is without grounds.

                  1. cocomaan

                    Don’t be dramatic, it has plenty of grounds. Throwing missiles around that have everything but the nuke is provocative. Iran knew exactly what it was doing.

                    1. a different chris

                      What are they “provoking”?? Why would they provoke it?

                      So Iran is:
                      1) A sly, sly backstabbing, clever underhanded manipulator of everything that goes on in the Middle East
                      2) Crazy laughing in-your-face endtimes nutjobs that are going to blow us all up ASAP

                      You can’t have them as both. You need a cup of coffee and a good sit. You accuse us of being “dramatic”, but look at the comments here? Who is pearl-clutching?

                      This is no love of Iran, speaking. They stink. The US stinks. Israel stinks. Assad stinks. The UK stinks. We just need all these pigs (sorry, not fair to pigs) to not get into a fight. Holding one up as worse than the rest will cause exactly that.

                    2. Darius

                      Iran was the stooge. Not having nukes makes them more vulnerable to a US attack. The lesson of Iraq and Libya is go for the nukes.

                    3. JohnnyGL

                      Iran HAD to keep ballistic missiles so it can defend itself against US carrier-based air power. Iran’s best card to play in a war has always been the threat of closing the straights of Hormuz to the Persian Gulf and lobbing missiles into Saudi oil fields.

                      There’s no way Iran would agree to restrict ballistic missiles AND nukes, you may as well just ask them to unilaterally disarm and negotiate their surrender.

                  2. The Rev Kev

                    Totally agree here. The treaty was signed. Iran has fulfilled all it obligations while the US reimposed nearly all the sanctions and threatened other countries if they did business with Iran. Iran uses its missile program to stop the Israelis from attacking it which is why the whole subject of missiles came up. As for that “spirit” of the treaty – could you imagine it if you could sue someone because they did not meet the “spirit” of a contract?

                3. a different chris

                  If you get to decide what the “spirit” of an agreement is, no point in having any agreements with you.

                  A political or business agreement is what is written down on cold, hard paper. Nothing more, nothing less.

                  1. cocomaan

                    That couldn’t be further from the truth. Political agreements come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and clarity and non-clarity. Contracts leave things silent as a matter of negotiation.

                    Iran launching ballistic missiles after signing onto the deal was just plain provocative.

                    I’m being accused of being a warmonger A Different Chris, but that couldn’t be more wrong either. I’m interested in peace. That is the goal. The Iranian deal was flawed, wasn’t taken seriously by the Iranians, and needs to be negotiated in order to end the horrific wars instigated by them and Saudi Arabia in their play for power in the MENA.

                    But I don’t feel nearly as strong about this as I did about divadab’s claims that Syria was somehow an Obama success, which is absurd. People jumped onto the thing they disagreed with, though.

                    1. The Rev Kev

                      Maybe you should be looking at Saudi Arabia instead of Iran. As far as I can recall, there were no Iranians on the 9/11 aircraft but there were 15 Saudis.
                      America might have done better by invading Saudi Arabia instead of Afghanistan and Iraq. I see little threat internationally from Iranians but I see a great threat from Wahhabism.

                    2. polecat

                      So, what of the Israelis … to this day, they have not signed on to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty .. unlike the Republic of Iran .. and, as far as I know, they still deny ANY possession of nuclear weapons .. officially !

                    3. chris9059

                      “Contracts leave things silent as a matter of negotiation” is not the same thing as “one party unilaterally gets to impose additional terms”, which is what Trump and you are proposing.

                    4. Yves Smith Post author

                      No, contracts leave things silent because spelling every possible scenario out would cost too much in time and effort and no deals would ever be signed.

                      This is clearly not this sort of topic. The deal was never about conventional weapons. This is agnotology. One more comment like this and you go into moderation. You’ve violated our comments Policies multiple times on this thread.

                4. Sid Finster

                  What crap is this? Saudi Arabia is waging wars, y proxy and in person with Iranian proxies.

                  Don’t go blaming the victim.

                  Not to mention the sophistry about the “spirit of the agreement” – the agreement says what is says and only what it says, and it only mentions nuclear weapons.

                  That’s just an excuse put forth for the United States to break its word.

                  1. cocomaan

                    Iran has been involved in plenty of proxy operations. They’re just as power hungry as the Saudis.

                    I’ve literally looked at pictures of Iranian arms being sent to militias in other countries.

                    I’m not saying I agree with American handling of the Iranians. I’m saying I don’t agree with it at all. Clearly something else needs to be done and done soon.

                    1. Frenchguy

                      How dare they take the business of hardworking US arms manufacturers ? This is an outrage indeed…

                      Nice trolling though, wp !

                    2. Sid Finster

                      There might be Iranian arms, but the invasions and proxy wars are all Saudi.

                      Next you’ll blame Syria and Yemen for defending themselves.

                5. drumlin woodchuckles

                  No, it does not.

                  Invoking the “spirit” of the agreement is the kind of bogus fake argument that people like John Bolton use.

                  Invoking the “spirit” of the agreement and claiming that missile development “violates” the “spirit” of the agreement is offering a bright shiny squirrel to divert from the basic fact that the Nuclear Agreement is about nuclear fact, not disingenuously invoked goalpost-moving diversions about “missiles” and “spirits”.

                6. Darthbobber

                  I love that “spirit of the agreement” phrase. As anybody who was ever foolish enough to try to enforce the “spirit” of a contract learned, these things don’t actually have a spirit. Only the letter.

                  Whenever a lawyer or a diplomat berates someone for violating the spirit of such a thing this invariably means that the other party is in fact in compliance with the terms of the agreement and the lawyer/diplomat is pounding the table.

            1. kgw

              The U.S. is the biggest bloviator on the planet, by far! Assuming they can tell others what to do is their biggest failing, and they think its their best quality…

        2. third time lucky

          The Iran nuclear deal is a joke. Iran was immediately violating it. The failure of the current deal is why Macron and Trump hinted they are writing a new deal.

          Any proof other than talking heads ala fauxnews? Ah, didn’t think so.

        3. marym

          Macron has consistently said he wants to keep the deal. He’s also willing to participate in negotiations on additional issues.

          But in an address to the US Congress on Wednesday, Macron appealed to the country’s leaders to preserve the Iran deal and remain part of the global community, taking a clear jab at Trump’s “America First” agenda.

          He reaffirmed France’s commitment to the Iran accord, reminding Congress that both his country and the United States had signed it. “That is why we cannot say we should get rid of it like that,” he said.

          Trump has criticized the current agreement for failing to address Iran’s ballistic missile program or its role in the Syrian conflict. European leaders have sought to address those issues separately.


          Macron on Tuesday outlined a three-point plan that addresses several — but not all — of Trump’s complaints about the nuclear accord. The plan, which is short on details, presumably forms the basis for ongoing negotiations between the United States and Europe.

          He also thinks Trump wants to scuttle the deal for the sake of domestic politics. Guardian:

          Emmanuel Macron conceded he had probably failed in his attempt during a three-day trip to Washington to persuade Donald Trump to stay in the Iran nuclear deal, describing US flip-flopping on international agreements as “insane”.

          …Macron offered Trump the prospect of negotiations on a new complementary deal that would address Iranian missile development and Tehran’s military intervention in the Middle East.

          But speaking to US reporters before leaving Washington, Macron said: “My view – I don’t know what your president will decide – is that he will get rid of this deal on his own, for domestic reasons.”

        4. Alex V

          This is agnotology. Iran has consistently been found to be in compliance with the terms of the agreement. Please provide proof of their violating the agreement as written. Otherwise you’re just using most of the “debating tricks” Yves has specific site policy against.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Agreed. Cocoman, you need to drop this or you go into moderation. This is intellectually dishonest on multiple levels. And then you double down by engaging in broken record, another policy violation.

      2. CallingTheKettleBlack


        Can you recognize Obama while not taking a cheap swipe at Trump?

        To use your own words, “let’s not forget” Obama’s administration sold more weapons than any other since World War II.

        How can you claim the non-invasion of Syria a win for Obama (and for those shallow-minded enough to think so, no I’m not advocating an invasion of Syria).

        Compare Syria before Obama and after Obama and please explain to the readers here what improvements Obama made to Syria during his tenure. Or better yet, why not explain how Syria is worse off due to Obama.

      1. Brian

        He could do very little and be considered great by some. He could do something remarkable and be viewed as great by some.

      2. perpetualWAR

        Considering Obama is considered a “great” President and he allowed 19 million homes stolen with fraudulent docs…..anything is possible.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Irish prime minister: Progress on border needed by June EU summit Politico. Note escalation from a threat to a red line.

    “Without the Irish border [issue resolved] there can be no withdrawal agreement,” Varadkar said in a lecture in the Belgian city of Leuven. “Let there be no doubt about that.”

    This is unusually direct and forthright from Varadkar (strangely, it doesn’t seem to have been picked up by most of the media here). I would be very surprised if he said that without having firmly received backing for it from Barnier, Merkel, etc. It seems to shut out the possibility of any further fudging, and I’m sure he is aware that it leaves open the possibility (or even probability) of the UK just storming out.

    Just to give some context here – it seems an increasing probability that Varadkar will go for an election around October. Everything his is doing now is with an eye to that election. He is still riding high in the polls and will want to be seen as standing up to London on this – a weak climbdown or to have been seen as having been doublecrossed by Brussels would be disastrous for him. I suspect he sees the risk of a failure in the talks as a price worth paying as he would not get the political blame – on the contrary, he will have been seen as having taken a strong stance.

    Its pretty clear that barring a fudge, the only way out for May is to agree to an Irish Sea border (at least, as a face-saving measure, on a temporary basis). I don’t see anything else she can possibly get past her cabinet that would satisfy EU demands. The DUP will walk out, but she may gamble she can survive without them by persuading the Ultras that this is the only way they can get the clean Brexit they want.

    1. visitor

      Everything his is doing now is with an eye to that election.

      Like most people, my notions about the internal politics of Ireland are very vague, so it is unclear to me why an Irish prime minister would act differently. Isn’t the resolution of the border issue upon Brexit vital for Ireland in any case — elections pending or not?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its a little hard to explain, but Varadkar belongs to the most conservative and generally pro-British party, Fine Gael. They would never admit it, but they’ve generally been pretty hostile to northern Irish nationalists and sympathetic to the Tories (he was one of a group of young politicians derisively labelled the ‘Tory Boys’ in past years). Their natural reflex would have been to be accommodating to Britain and sought some sort of compromise solution, some sort of fudgy soft border arrangement. So they have somewhat surprised people by the hard line stance they’ve taken on the principle of an open border and upholding the Good Friday Agreement, even when this has put them on the same side as Sinn Fein (who they loath with a passion).

        To a certain extent Varadkar has been caught by surprise by the popularity of taking a hard line stance – it has polled well, especially in rural border areas. So he is now trapped in that he can’t really step back from it without appearing weak. So its interesting to see him doubling down on the strategy and going against his normal political instinct of always leaving a backdoor to retreat or compromise. Its also protected Fine Gael from attacks from the main opposition parties who would have been expected to be more hard line. Its a very good piece of triangulation in a political sense (he has learned well from the previous PM, Enda Kenny, who was a master at using opponents strengths against them).

        There is some establishment nervousness at this – the Dublin business and political establishment would reflexively be compromisers with anything Britain proposes, and wouldn’t hesitate to sell out Northern Ireland nationalists if it suited them. But so far there has been surprising unanimity across the political spectrum from left to right, radical to conservative that Ireland has to take a hard line and insist that the EU sticks with it.

        1. Clive

          I’ve been trying to read the runes about how much if any room for manoeuvre May has left herself on the sea border option. Not much, from what I can tell — if she’s in a hole, she carried on digging during her recent NI visit.

          Would the DUP pull the plug over this issue? Difficult to say isn’t it? The Conservatives could try to soldier on as a minority government — but Labour and the SNP would be itching for a no-confidence motion which if the DUP voted against or even merely abstained would lead to an election and who knows where we’d be after that.

          And no deal by the EU means a hard Brexit which is a hard border anyway.

          But the Republic doesn’t have a choice, it has to insist on a proper solution otherwise it’ll be marginalised in the EU and that’s the only game in town for Dublin. With Britain leaving, the EU will have a much easier time ensuring consistency between the EU27, so there’ll be less scope for U.K.-like foot dragging by anyone. Conversely, there is as you say nothing in it for the Republic to side with Britain on this.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Exactly. When the Brexit vote was announced, I fully expected London to focus on Ireland as a ‘weak link’ in the EU structure – i.e. use a mixture of incentives and threats to get Ireland on board with a number of the compromises that they’d need to make Brexit work and then use Irelands veto in the UK’s interest. Of course, foolishly I’d assumed competence on behalf of London’s negotiating team. They did the exact opposite – some of the statements made by government Ministers have been so tone deaf and stupid they genuinely shocked a lot of Irish people – especially conservative pro-British types. I think the FG establishment in particular were quite stunned at the open contempt they were shown. It takes some doing to make FG and SF allies, but in effect that’s exactly what they’ve become in the last few months. SF are even rumoured to be co-operating with FG over appointing some anti-Brexit Unionists to the Irish Senate (the Irish lower house – basically a talking shop).

            I don’t really know about the DUP. They are aware I think that they overplayed their hand, but their reflex is always to say ‘no’. But they must be aware that if they walk out, this could mean a Corbyn government, so it is high risk for them. There is also the risk that, for example, the SNP could say they would never vote with the DUP to bring the government down – the SNP could gamble that a minority Tory government desperate for votes might be easier to manipulate (its not clear to me if they want an election this year). The LibDems might also do this out of principle.

            1. begob

              Have I missed the US government’s line on the GFA & Brexit? George Mitchell put in a plea a couple of weeks ago.

          2. Oregoncharles

            @ Clive: “And no deal by the EU means a hard Brexit which is a hard border anyway.”

            Yes, that’s the risk for Ireland.

  5. Katsue

    If the DPRK bothers to enter a defence in the Warmbier case, it would be hard to see how they could lose. The coroner’s report stated that no evidence could be found of Otto Warmbier having been tortured.

  6. UserFriendly

    Russia presents unharmed Syrians to OPCW, Western envoys condemn ‘stunt’ Reuters

    I got that one from Reuters twitter and I just had to subtweet it.

    Syria: Here’s that kid you said we gassed to death.
    West: Stop it with your stunts, we need to regime change you and install an Al-Qaeda lead government because war crimes and democracy. Don’t you agree Saudi Arabia and Israel?
    SA: Yeah, Syria’s horrible.
    Israel: War Criminal!!!

    1. polecat

      Except for the larvae …

      So I would consider the subject of the Antidote as a blessing … before the curse. Most tomato plants would agree. ‘;]

    2. HotFlash

      Yes indeed, a great beauty, crittermom. WRT the larvae, I will simply have to grow more tomatoes.

  7. Amfortas the Hippie

    on the rural teachers working second job: yes. My wife is considering a summer job…again…but this time for the specific reason of obtaining “work credits” for social security.
    she doesn’t trust TRS(Texas’ teacher retirement system) to be there when needed(of course, I don’t trust SS to be there either,lol)
    and a quirk(feature?) of the way things are set up is that if one teaches exclusively, one is not eligible for social security. whatever credits she earned prior to teaching wither away relatively quickly.
    To my understanding, it’s similar to the way railroad workers are excluded from the “universal” social security system…not to mention “farm workers”(who are also exempt from many labor protections…no overtime, for instance)

    on the utility of bidness skools…Pshaw,lol. I have long advocated a semester in a trailer park as a requirement for an MBA. acute experience of poverty, even with the knowledge that it’s temporary, would do wonders for the lack of humanity of many of those people

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      1. Good idea about a semester in a trailer park…even for physics majors (they might end up working on Wall Street, like MBA grads…all paths lead to the Rome of money).

      2. Social Security for All – i.e. universal. Public workers and private sector workers should all be included.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        I’ll also add…as I work my way through all these links…that one of the problems with getting there is exemplified by the Bloomberg article/speech by Ch. murray: blind hatred of gooberment, and a selectively blind view of big business(free market= natural phenomenon/holy mountain).
        (and note the storm troopers holding the little flags in the pic,lol).
        I’m all for a reappearance of toquevillian civility…it is present, more or less, where I live(except in the midst of grand psyops like post-911). and yes, I agree wholeheartedly that some things the gov does are silly and counterproductive and even evil…but to toss out…say… socialised medicine because of the ussr is myopic and places much too much faith in greed and rapine and the worst tendencies of being human.
        with many of our remaining safety net things, they are dysfunctional BECAUSE people like murray inserted themselves in the implementation process, after they couldn’t kill the legislation.
        In order to have a floor, below which our neighbors are not allowed to fall, we must also have a ceiling.
        because not having a ceiling leads to the very elite gated isolation/disregard we see today.

        1. Brian

          Imagine what would happen if the people of this ‘land’ stood up and demanded that which would benefit them and crossed the 66% to create an amendment to the consititution regarding our rights? We will never gain such if the 3 branches of the poisoned tree have anything to say about it. There isn’t much evidence that our ‘tree’ will ever work for the people when they are going about destroying us with such passion and vigor. Yet sadly, not all the states in this nation even have the right to bring such a referendum to a vote. What kind of cruel joke is the republican form of government or the lure of democracy if the people have no say?
          I suggest we deal with all pollution, permanent health care for all, term limits, bribery/lobbyist, limits to military spending. What if we find a list that means enough to all of use to get out there and vote? Might we find a future?

      2. LifelongLib

        My dad was a federal employee and doesn’t get social security, but I’m a state government employee and will get it. So some governments do participate. I don’t know how that’s decided though.

        1. Spring Texan

          Today’s federal employees are different from the CSRS employee your dad was. They do get SS but they get a far reduced pension — and newer federal employees pay MUCH MORE in which is effectively a wage cut and far too much to pay for the reduced amount. I no longer could recommend working for the federal government, which is sad.

          It’s decided by whether the governmental employer and the employee pay into social security. Today’s feds do. Which is OK, the new retirement system that replaced CSRS was not too terrible, but changes to it and the new bad deal on pensions and pension contributions is dreadful. Replublicans want to extend that to all federal employees not just recent ones which as I said is effectively just a LARGE pay cut.

    2. Spring Texan

      If she taught in Austin Independent School District, she’d pay into – and be eligible for – both TRS and SS. But unfortuantely that is rare for teachers in Texas, school districts don’t want to pay their social security share.

  8. Arizona Slim

    Thanks for including the photo of the striking teachers’ march on Phoenix. I’m hearing crowd counts of between 60,000 and 70,000.

    Busy day today. I’m off to a quick breakfast then out to do some strike support.

    1. Eclair

      Thank you for your service, Arizona Slim!

      Yeah, this is all over the front page of today’s NYT …. oh, wait …..

          1. jsn

            Thanks! But isn’t CO purple?

            I’ve not seen a successful mass action here in the big apple since the printers union shut down mid town when Maxwell bought the Daily News back in the Pleistocene!

            (There is no doubt I’m forgetting a lot, but that’s what it feels like)

          2. marym

            Colorado teachers
            Colorado teachers rally for a second day at the state Capitol to demand education funding increase

            Friday’s rally features teachers from nearly 30 school districts

            The Colorado Education Association said the walkouts are needed to alert residents and lawmakers about the paltry status of school funding in Colorado. The state’s schools, currently underfunded by $822 million, are $2,700 below the national average in per-pupil funding, the CEA said.

            Lawmakers must also commit to reducing or freezing corporate tax breaks of all kinds until school funding is restored and per-pupil funding reaches the national average, the CEA said. Legislators must increase the state’s cost of living allowance for retirees to encourage more people to enter the teaching profession, the CEA said.


            Dan Boyce Verified account @BoyceDan 19m19 minutes ago
            Part of the line of many thousands of #colorado teachers marching on the capitol for better pay and school funding.


            Jacobin Verified account @jacobinmag 6m6 minutes ago
            It’s not just Arizona — for the second day in a row, Colorado teachers are rallying at the state capitol for more funding and better pay. (Photo by @YoDiegoYo)

    2. ArcadiaMommy

      As I was driving kids to school this morning, I also noticed that there were teachers out with #RedForEd signs, red clothing, etc. at the charter school and private school (my guys in parochial school so no strike). Nothing at the local public elementary, middle school and high school.

      Lots of honks, waves, and cars painted with #RedForEd signs. There are a lot of after school places opening during the day at reduced rates for child care. I hear only 100% support for the teachers.

  9. dcblogger

    Someone explain to Bruce Dixon that the Green Party can’t win votes by denigrating the Democrats, the Greens need to present themselves as serious about being a political party and then people will start to vote for them.

    1. Eureka Springs

      I’ve long said the worst thing that happens to Greens is former Democrats who change parties but not their ways. Unless and until some third party operates in a small d manner with binding platform (read current D party platform on abortion and then Pelosi removing the so-called litmus test on it for example), what’s the point other than more divide and conquer with smoke and mirrors? Add a little id pol and some NPR tonality, same as it ever was.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They shouldn’t, as many groups who used to vote the D party are hearing these days that ‘they don’t have to be Democrats.’

      What used to be automatic may now likely to be not earned.

    3. Oregoncharles

      I guess I should answer this seriously – not my first impulse.

      First of all: The Greens are a rival party – and yes, we’re quite serious about it. One of our jobs is holding our rivals responsible for their records. In practice, we run against the Democrats, if there’s one in the race, because they’re marginally closer to our own positions, barring the “realignment” that might be underway. Our job is to convince voters we stand for their values – and the other guys do not.

      On a more psychological level, a lot of us (not all) are former Democrats. In the first place, we tend to hold a grudge; more to the point, we tend to think that our own reasons for leaving the D party (eg, the Clintons) are likely to motivate others, as well.

      Admittedly, in general negative campaigning is undesirable. We talk about policies far more than the “major” parties, because we also think people need reasons to move to us. But there’s a very fine line between negative campaigning and holding opponents accountable.

      then there’s this, from today’s Water Cooler:
      I have no idea whether Bragman is a Green – but does there really have to be so MUCH to “denigrate”?

  10. Summer

    Re: Kim Jong Un Sits Down for Historic Talks With South Korea’s Moon (Bloomberg)

    The exact two countries that need to be working it out. Good.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      According to msnbs this morning, since “only” an “armistice” was signed in 1953, the two Koreas are “technically still at war.” Quoting Ali Velshi: “Moon and Kim announced their intention to seek a full peace. But a treaty officially ending the ‘war’ can only be reached by the united states and North Korea.”

      An official, technical fly in the official, technical ointment I have no doubt, and its name is “full peace.”

      1. a different chris

        Of course because… not sure. Actually I am sure, the US bases on S. Korea. Technically, though, SK is a soverign nation and the US bases are only there at it’s forebearance, and they could tell them to make peace or go home.

        Technically. I can sometime see how it was to live under the Mob rule during Prohibition. Friendly guys as long as you didn’t cross any lines.

        1. Wyoming

          Though the US returned command of the South Korean armed forces to their control in 1994 that was only in during peace time.

          In case of war the US still has command of the SK military. Negotiations have been off and on for years as the US has offered to return war command. But the SK’s have actually been dragging their feet on this. It would definitely be a good time to hand such control over. The current timetable is after 2020.

          The UN resolution authorizing war is also an issue to be dealt with. It is not clear that a NK/SK peace treaty would be enough to get the US to remove its military.

          1. False Solace

            NK doesn’t want the US to remove its troops. 50,000 hostages in easy missile range? They aren’t going anywhere.

            SK leadership may not necessarily want them gone either. US military spending causes a lot of economic activity in specific areas that would suddenly vanish. Plus, once the US is gone the border with China suddenly looms a lot closer.

            1. Oregoncharles

              There are still US troops in Germany, 72 years later. Realistically, one of their functions is to reassure other Europeans.

      2. Jim Haygood

        Here’s betting that even if “full peace” breaks out between the two Koreas, the US will refuse to demobilize its military presence.

        Like bedbugs, dermatophytes and cockroaches, yankee occupation troops are hellishly difficult to get rid of.

  11. Scott

    The Atlantic makes the case that we should simply defer to experts and do no analysis ourselves.

    After all these are well-credentialed people who have never made a mistake in their analysis.

    While the criticism of Trump here is well-grounded, I’ve found this blind faith in experts to be incredibly discouraging. In my (comparatively short) professional career, I have seen the expert (whether internal or external) provide really poor actual analysis based on faulty assumptions and baselines, sometimes hiding evidence that contradicts their conclusions.

    1. a different chris

      >I’ve found this blind faith in experts to be incredibly discouraging.

      And I keep saying, the real problem with “AI” is exactly that. Not what it will know, but what it will know that isn’t so. The world seems to move forward, not just in science, “one death at a time” and we’re going to give great weight to the outputs of things that don’t die.

      That will not work out well. Attacking an individual who currently occupies the high ground is hard enough, try it with Deep Thought.

    2. Sid Finster

      Boy, I am so glad that the experts were all correct in the runup to the financial crisis, when even my stupid self could tell that the boom was unsupported, unsustainable, would end badly, and the only people who agreed with me were crackpots spouting on about Masons and Jews and the Illuminati and suchforth.

      Meanwhile, the experts, responsible, respectable, credentialed, experienced individuals paid exorbitant amounts of money for their expertise on such stuff, they unanimously insisted that the Emperor was wearing a Zegna suit, of a conservative stripe, although there were some discussions as to what tie the Emperor was wearing.

      The experts spoke calmly, soothingly, authoritatively, but at the same time, I could count the pimples dotting the Emperor’s [FAMILY BLOG]. Who was I supposed to believe?

      Another way to paraphrase the Atlantic’s argument: democracy is too hard to be left to individuals, so let us handle it from here.

      1. JBird

        Those pimples were all there for those willing to look. Maybe not the entire ugly posterior, but enough to ask what was not right; not only the old cultist groupthink, but the magic of bribery, consultant fees, pay raises, and bonuses kept them b*******ing in harmony.

    3. Darthbobber

      The Atlantic has been pushing this line for awhile. Would be problemmatic even if the definition of “expert” on any given thing we’re not so conveniently malleable.

  12. third time lucky

    “Jill Stein Defies Senate Intelligence Document Request, Calling It “Overbroad” and Unconstitutional” Intercept

    Horrid title by Intercept, who, other than Greenwald, are getting lazy. Green Party / Stein complied with most parts of the document requests, but rejected parts that were deemed by them to be both unconstitutional and racist/witch hunting.

    1. The Rev Kev

      “fishing expedition”
      a search or investigation undertaken with the hope, though not the stated purpose, of discovering information.
      ‘they worried about an FBI fishing expedition’

      1. mle detroit

        The DNC lawsuit is also an oppo research/fishing expedition. Per Toobin in the New Yorker and several lawyers I know, it’s all about getting to discovery, resulting in documents and depositions (i.e., what Mueller knows) so they can make it public. Which the DNC must presume will be of benefit to them.

        1. begob

          But the court tailors the scope of discovery to avoid that. A better example of fishing expedition may be in using the Steele dossier to apply for a warrant from the FISA court.

        2. Oregoncharles

          And the catch is what they’ll have to give up in discovery. In fact, it might behoove the Russians to go along. They could learn a lot. They won’t, of course, as it would impinge on their sovereignty, but Wikileaks might – and publish all of it.

  13. allan

    Montana State’s Faculty Senate narrowly votes down proposed economics research center to be funded
    by an active Charles Koch Foundation grant.

    Montana State University’s Faculty Senate this week voted down a plan to establish an economic research center with an $5.76 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation.

    Senators were split over the proposal, with 12 voting for and 13 against the proposed Center for Regulation and Applied Economic Analysis.

    Because the grant was awarded to several faculty members in 2016, Koch-funded research on regulatory economics will continue at Montana State. Yet establishing with a center with the grant would have arguably boosted that research’s status and national reach. …

    … professors at Montana State and elsewhere generally worry about the Koch Foundation’s soaring levels of giving to higher education — $77 million in 2016 alone — given the Koch family’s massive donations to political causes with an eye toward deregulation. …

    Good for MSU, but the fact that it was barely defeated 13-12 is alarming.

    1. Webstir

      UofM alum here. I don’t know why MSU would want to smear it’s academics with soft science BS economics anyway. That sounds more like a UofM kinda thing. Prediction: Despite both Missoula and the UofM generally being considered left-wing, the Koch’s will make the same offer to UofM, which, due to dire economic straights will take the offer.

      Watch it happen … and btw, thanks for link.

  14. Craig H.

    > Ford is basically giving up on US car business, and GM is not far behind

    They are still going to make mustangs. For a second there I was thinking this was going to be a big story.

    The antidote today could be the best one all month. (The hanging upside down snow leopard might still be in first place.)

    1. a different chris

      Which is ironic, since the Mustang historically was cobbled together from more “mainline” car parts. I don’t know anything about the modern ones but I suspect it’s even more true. Ah well.

      1. Oregoncharles

        That would enable them to keep their basic running gear production…running, in case they want to get back in.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Read a book once which included how the Mustang came about and it basically originated out of a brain-storming session when it was realized that there was a niche for such a car that was not being fulfilled. It was a massive success until the company started to blow out the size and weight of the car which made a lot of their buyers unhappy since it was supposed to be a compact in the first place. They shrunk it back to size in the early seventies but then Ford could not resist adding to the size and weight again. Don’t know how it fared when the oil crisis hit and the Japanese compacts took off.

        1. RMO

          “the Mustang historically was cobbled together from more “mainline” car parts. I don’t know anything about the modern ones but I suspect it’s even more true”

          Not really. The current Mustang doesn’t share much at all with other Ford products. It sells well enough at a high enough margin to make this worthwhile for Ford – at least for now. I had a GT convertible of the current generation as a rental car a while back. A surprisingly nice car to drive and it got about 24mpg which is crazy considering it’s size, weight and performance.

  15. Frenchguy

    Not sure if you already picked it up but France had some problems with its missiles during the infamous Syria strikes. In the French press reports differ. Apparently, three frigates were on-site and one (or two) was unable to lauch its missiles. One of them finally succeeded but, in the end, there were less missiles fired than originally planned. Unsurprisingly, the reporting on this is very irritating to the French defense ministry…

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its always a little embarrassing when you go to war for the sole purpose of advertising your military equipment for sale, and then it doesn’t actually work very well.

      1. Bill Smith

        Happens. For example, typically for high value targets there would be two bombers assigned to attack it. A primary and a backup. If the primary can’t launch the weapons the backup will.

        in the opening minutes of the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 there was AP press on a B-52 that was the backup for another bomber. The ALCM didn’t launch on the primary B-52 and the backup had to launch.

      2. visitor

        Some details from a French media source indicate that the problem was worse than what the National Interest article reports.

        1) A first frigate attempted to fire missiles and failed. A second vessel tried and failed as well. The third, reserve ship, was then tasked to launch the missiles and finally succeeded.

        2) One of the 5 Rafale airplanes that were to fire missiles had to abort the launch and release them in the sea.

        The French ministry of defense has not clarified whether the missiles are to blame, or rather their launch harnesses.

    2. Grebo

      As I recall, the Russians claimed they didn’t see any French missiles at all. This report makes me wonder if some of the follow up attacks attributed to Israel may have actually been late arriving Rafales.

  16. Susan the other

    Wow. Daily Beast. The Jobs Guarantee Program is on its way. Never thought I’d read this stuff about the democrats. I think they had to purge Hillary (miss baffle them with identity economix) before they could clear their heads.

    1. Susan the other

      And speaking of identity economix and class-interest, Ann Pettifor,, is great today. She demands the answer to the question, “How does the economy really work?” The economix profession has refused to touch this topic directly because they are part of the smoke-screen. She says economists should not continue to draw conclusions from micro reasoning (eq: the household budget nonsense) and start looking for the macro (the tectonic plates of ecomomics). And I couldn’t help thinking how this refusal to look at the problem is why the environment continues to be neglected. Denial of course. But she is focusing like a laser today. Thanks for his link.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “We will deliver S300 to Syria. Russian Army answers to threats by Lieberman”

    I think that what happened here is that the Russians and the Americans are coordinating their efforts as shown by the stories that came out in the last missile strike. None of the professionals think it a good idea to get into a shooting match with each other. However, a fortnight ago the Israelis attacked an airfield in Syria killing several Iranians and never coordinated it with the Russians but took to boasting about the strike.
    I think that was when the Russians decided to up their air defenses there as they can never trust the Israelis and soon it will be time to go after the Jihadist pockets that border Jordan and Israel, both of whom support the Jihadists. The only way that they will be able to do this without constant strikes from Israel is to establish an Anti Access/Area Denial region with the S-300 and this is not good news for Israel. Israel seems to be under the impression that they can kill whoever they like and that other countries cannot do anything about it. Like the US, Israel depends on its aerial superiority and to have that disappear or become the whim of another country is verging on intolerable, hence Lieberamnn’s little outbreak.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Follow the money: Vlad, Donald, Bibi, and Salman probably just stage it all, then trundle off to Davos to roll in their winnings and plan the next act in the shadowplay.

      Sucks if your country’s name comes up as the next host for the festivities, but good fun indeed if you are an offshore billionaire arms company shareholder.

      Emmanuel’s frigates had impotentia erecti with failure to achieve sufficient turgidity for missile emission? That’s good news, not bad news, he can now urgently go back to his chumps taxpayers and demand more money. Kinda like the F-35.

  18. olga

    US-German conflicts — what you need to know DW. While the article lists many ‘conventional-wisdom’ issues, Pepe Escobar gets at the real problem: “the threat’ (at least to the US) of Germany joining with Russia and China –
    Even according to the odious Z. Brzezinski, a major boogyman in the beltway has always been the possibility of Russia and Germany combining forces (economic, that is).
    And on the topic of major Asina meetings – here is another one:

    1. Sid Finster

      Russia and Germany are today natural allies, in that Russia has things (markets for German products, raw materials, and an educated workforce that can work in German factories without actually being moved to Germany) that Germany wants, and can trade for the things Germany has (markets for Russian products, investment capital, tech and know how and machine tools) that Russia wants, and neither really competes for the same things at this time.

      The United States refuses to allow this natural alliance.

      Russia and China and Russia and Iran are not natural allies, but have been forced together by American aggression.

      1. Olga

        Not sure I’d agree with R-C and/or R-I not being natural allies. Why not? What is a natural ally anyway? Interests change over time… if the treat now is the spectre of US hegemony (and all the horrors that that has wrought onto the world), then those who want to retain national sovereignty/independence and oppose the hegemon may just be natural allies.

  19. Edward E

    I never watched and barely ever heard of ‘The Cosby Mysteries,’ but you know, they ought to do one more episode and he can be the subject of the investigations.

  20. John k

    I am quite pleased the rapist/murderer cop is in jail, and wish the backlog of rape kits across the country were immediately analyzed. This populist position is well supported whenever the question is polled.
    I agree that taking samples from arrested but not convicted is questionable, but getting repeat serial offenders off the streets is critical to the public’s well being.
    And why not have samples of all cops?

    1. ArcadiaMommy

      Why not get everyone’s DNA samples? Most serial murders/rapists are not police officers. Or at least not the ones we know about. My father worked on these cases and he said there are many more of these serial offenders out there but they victimize people that no one cares about – the homeless, prostitutes, illegal immigrants, poor people, etc.

      There is a bigger problem – that there are so many people that society does not care about.

      1. The Rev Kev

        “Why not get everyone’s DNA samples?”

        Simple, because of the law of unintended consequences. Suppose that you give your DNA to fight crime. Sounds good until a few weeks later you get a letter from your health insurer saying that, based on your DNA, that they will no longer be insuring you for the following conditions with a long shopping list of diseases. They might even cancel your insurance altogether. In Australia, if you get a DNA test you are by law required to let your insurance company know so that they can peek at the results. Tell me that your Congress would never enact such a law in the US.

        1. John k

          So what we need first is m4a, then we can test everybody?
          I think it’s worth the loss of privacy, but not everybody feels the same. I agree with AM that the poor are most vulnerable to all kinds of misdeeds, not least rape and murder.

  21. Wyoming

    I am quite pleased the rapist/murderer cop is in jail, and wish the backlog of rape kits across the country were immediately analyzed.

    One of my closest relatives does DNA analysis for one of our Red states in their forensic dept. The reason there are backlogs is because the elected representatives of a whole lot of state legislators refuse to budget for enough DNA analysts to be able to run tests on all the samples which pour in all the time.

    So they are forced to triage what they do to get the most critical cases done first. This process naturally results large numbers of samples sitting a long time.

    There is also a typical scam going on where ideological politicians keep the funds in the govt low and this builds a backlog and then they budget special money to funnel the work to private labs where the per sample costs are much higher. Feed the capitalist system – taxpayers get screwed.

    I agree that taking samples from arrested but not convicted is questionable, but getting repeat serial offenders off the streets is critical to the public’s well being.

    This is contradictory. An amazing number of serial criminals are caught just by doing the samples upon arrest. The sample is analyzed and then the computer database is queried to find out if the DNA matches that from other unsolved crimes. And bingo happens all the time.

    One can make an argument that all cops should be in the system. One can make an argument that at birth everyone’s DNA is taken and goes in the system also. And that if you have a drivers license you go in. Or for lots of other reasons. Or just everyone. A slippery slope indeed and there is no easy answer.

  22. ewmayer

    o “Russia presents alleged Syrian witnesses in The Hague to disprove chemical attack claims (Kevin W)” — Notice how the MSM only deploy the word ‘alleged’ when it’s the Axis of Evil doing the averring.

    o From the Bloomberg “What Does America Have to Complain About?” piece, here is author Charles Murray (and there is much more nauseatingly pollyannaish stuff in there):

    I have found that a good place to start is by asking myself, “What do I have to complain about? How is government getting in the way of my life?” And the answer is — for me personally — not much.

    Instead of asking his comfortable credentialed-elite-self that question, Mr. Murray would do well to ask it of, say:

    o Anyone whose job has been eliminated by offshoring;
    o Anyone whose salary has dropped or stagnated while that of his company’s C-suiters has skyrocketed;
    o Anyone working multiple jobs or being inexorably reduced to debt slavery just to make ends meet;
    o Anyone whose health insurance costs have skyrocketed without any concomitant gain in quality of coverage;
    o Anyone whose college costs have skyrocketed without any concomitant gain in quality of education;
    o Anyone whose housing costs have skyrocketed without any concomitant gain in quality of same;
    o Anyone whose savings are steadily being eroded by years of central-bank interest-rate suppression intended to subsidize the TBTF bank cartels;
    o Anyone whose children face worse prospects work and life than his or her own were at the same age;
    o Anyone who has lost a child, spouse, friend or relative in one of the myriads of US imperial-war projects;
    o Anyone who has lost a child, spouse, friend or relative to a police shooting;
    o Anyone who has been a victim of government theft via civil asset forfeiture;
    o Anyone who wishes to travel by air – either internationally or domestically – without being treated like a suspected terrorist;
    o Anyone who wishes to live his or her life without the certainty that the government and hundreds of private corporations are relentlessly collecting data about them and the people in their ‘social graph’ which can and will be used against them in one way or another;
    o Anyone who still believes in the virtues of representative democracy.

    I’m sure there are many more categories of poll-respondents which can be added to the above list. “Disinvitation Dinner”? More like “Disinformation Dinner”. But I suppose it’s too much to expect any kind of humility or less willful ignorance from the self-anointed “cognitive elite” co-author of The Bell Curve.

  23. The Rev Kev

    Maybe Charles Murray should stop asking himself how the government is getting in the way of his life and ask people in say, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, etc. I reckon that they could give him an earful.
    I think that ewmayer’s list pretty well nailed it. I had not realized that this guy was the co-author of the Bell Curve. Shouldn’t have been surprised. If he is so unaware, maybe someone should suggest that he take his next holidays in Afghanistan. It’s supposed to be lovely this time of year. He should totally go.

  24. djrichard

    .@GOP email to reporters on job guarantee, single-payer, $15 wage, free college: “By the time we get to 2020, will there be any Bernie policy that the rest of the field hasn’t adopted? Or will the debate stage be filled with self-avowed socialists?”

    It’s nice to have everyone on this band wagon. But until the dems disavow the deficit as boogie man, I’m unconvinced that any of this will get legislated. Because the deficit don’t you know. And markets.

    1. JBird

      I agree with you on that although with the possible exception of a job guarantee, none of this is particularly socialist although a socialist economy would almost certainly have some variation of the whole list.

      But our two major parties are center right and right wing parties at least economically. One can even make a good argument that the Democratic Party with the exception of some social issues is not even socially liberal. Certainly its actions aren’t.

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