Links 5/12/18

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‘Parents should ask before changing baby’s nappy’: ABC commentator Startsat60 (Kevin W)

Should you ask your baby’s consent before changing their nappy? No, that would be gaslighting Guardian. Dr. Kevin: “The comments are as much fun as the article.”

How many office bastards can you spot? Daily Mash

Wolves on a plane: How a Eureka sanctuary pulled off rewilding 4 critically endangered pups St. Louis Post-Dispatch (J-LS)

Cheetahs chase family at safari park BBC

What’s a safe distance between us and a supernova? EarthSky (Chuck L). If worrying about being hit by an asteroid isn’t enough for you…..

Volcanic activity threatens Hawaii geothermal plant long at center of resident concerns – Washington Post. Kevin W flags this quote:

“This is one of the most unstable pieces of land on the entire planet, and they knew that,” said Robert Petricci, president of the Puna Pono Alliance watchdog group, who lives near the plant. “They built it anyway to make money.”

Tesla’s giant battery in Australia reduced grid service cost by 90% electrek

Pesticide Use on Crops Grown in Refuges Spikes in California, Oregon, Arkansas, Tennessee, Maryland Center for Biological Diversity. Glenn F:

This report from the Center for Biological Diversity is eye opening for more than the obvious reason – pesticide use is allowed in wildlife refuges. The another reason, which I had no idea was going on, is that non-organic agriculture is allowed in the wildlife refuges. Really disgusting.
This is the pdf report.

New Alcohol Study Is Mostly Hype. Journal, Authors, Media To Blame American Council on Science and Health (RR). From last month, still germane.

North Korea

Trump’s ‘Bellicosity’ and North Korea American Conservative

US offers to help rebuild N Korea economy if it denuclearises BBC


UK ‘more racist after Brexit’ The Times

‘Impossible position’: Brexit is going nowhere fast CNN. Confirms US coverage is even worse than the UK’s.

Army chiefs RAGE as government hounds British soldiers over Northern Ireland Troubles Express (Kevin W)

Grenfell Tower fire: Government makes U-turn on inquiry panel after pressure from bereaved families Independent (Kevin W)

100% mortgages that crashed the economy are BACK: Barclays and the Post Office are among big lenders offering the loan deals to attract first time buyers without a deposit Daily Mail

New Cold War

Many Russia-linked Facebook ads weren’t explicitly pro-Trump. That doesn’t mean they weren’t pro-Trump. Washington Post. UserFriendly: “Your daily stupid.”


“Iran Is Completely Different! This US-Led Regime Change Will Work Out Fine!” Caitlin Johnstonem (UserFriendy)

“Bureaucrats Versus Artists… W. Patrick Lang, Unz Review (Chuck L)

Missile attacks reflect changing strategic landscape Asia Times. Important.

If Europe Wants to Remain on the World Stage, It Must Resist Trump on Iran Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch

France: Europe isn’t US ‘vassal,’ should trade with Iran Associated Press

Trump Isn’t the First US President to Betray Iran Truthout

Book Review: Washington’s Long War on Syria, by Stephen Gowans ZERO ANTHROPOLOGY (UserFriendy)

Who Ordered Black Cube’s Dirty Tricks? New York Review of Books (Kevin W)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Experts Say Keep Amazon’s Alexa Away From Your Kids Intercept. Brian C: “‘The Echo Dot for kids is functionally identical to the Echo Dot for adults, except that it’s brightly colored and inexplicably costs $30 more than the grown-up version.’ Shoot me now.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Time to break free from America Irrussianality

Trump Transition

Trump close to wiping out TPS program for immigrants The Hill

Elderly Retired CIA Analyst [Ray McGovern] Dragged from Senate Hearing for Exposing Gina Haspel’s War Crimes The Daily Sheeple. (Judy B). Lambert had ConsortiumNew’s account but this has a video.

Mueller Asked for Details After Ford Rejected Cohen Bid Wall Street Journal

Drug Industry Dodges Its Worst Fears in Trump’s Plan to Lower Prices Bloomberg

WaPo Positions Support for Torturer as Vote for Feminism FAIR (UserFriendly)

Obama Paved Way for Haspel by Failing to Hold Torturers Accountable: Reporter Jeremy Scahill DemocracyNow! The only way you could find Kamala Harris impressive is if that confirmed your priors.

White House Aide And Former Fox Expert Mock McCain As Dying and A Traitor Jonathan Turley

How the Online Left Fuels the Right New York Times. UserFriendly: “​This is spot on.​ Apparently she is getting blowback for it, which figures.”

Record Numbers of Women Running for Office May Not Mean Big Gains in Congress Bloomberg


New NRA president says gun control activists are ‘civil terrorists’ Guardian (furzy)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black activist jailed for his Facebook posts speaks out about secret FBI surveillance Guardian (MGL). OMFG, you must read this. And where is the US coverage? Or the Dem pols calling this out?

Another Black Customer Was Violently Arrested at Waffle House — Now Critics Want a Boycott Grub Street (J-LS)

Monica Lewinsky: What We All Can Learn from My Disinvitation Debacle Vanity Fair (Chuck L). It must be awful to have your life hopelessly tethered to something dumb you did in your early 20s.

Damning report shows Portland Public Schools disregard of sexual misconduct over decades OregonLive (Chris M). Ugly.

‘Don’t be a bonehead,’ buy Tesla shares: Analyst CNBC. Right. And Charlie Gasparino was such a true believer in Lehman’s Dick Fuld in June 2008 that he called me to threaten litigation over my criticism of his cheerleading. Having said that, there could well be lucrative dead cat bounce trades, but mere mortals usually lose out if they try to pull that off.

The Dynamics of Japanese Government Bonds’ Nominal Yields Levy Institute

Uber Stumbles in Lengthy CFO Search Ahead of IPO Wall Street Journal. Under Sarbanes Oxley, the CEO and CFO have to personally certify the financials.

The Burnout Crisis in American Medicine Atlantic (Dr. Kevin). Subhead: “Are electronic medical records and demanding regulations contributing to a historic doctor shortage?” NC has been featuring posts about the problems and risks of electronic health records for years.

Guillotine Watch

The Upscale Way to Prepare for Doomsday—from $79,500 Teslas to $275 Jeans Wall Street Journal. Five years of “doomsday” (say no electricity without a generator) = Little Home on the Prairie lifestyles. For starters, no more prescription drugs. The last ones made would have, say, 4 year rated shelf lives and maybe one or two years of OK effectiveness after that, max.

Class Warfare

Let Them Eat Trump Steaks Paul Krugman, New York Times (furzy)

The Nation’ Names Atossa Araxia Abrahamian Senior Editor The Nation. UserFriendly points out that she is an MMT advocate.

Most Working-Age SNAP Participants Work, But Often in Unstable Jobs Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (furzy)

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus video, via Jerri-Lynn, with commentary Watch: A humpback whale nudged this diver out of harm’s way to save her from a nearby shark:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Altandmain

    I think that we on the left do have one big thing in common with the Trump base. We are both downwardly mobile, having suffered immensely from the results of neoliberalism.

    Younger voters, supporting politicians like Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Cobryn, and similar politicians have been hit the most of all generations. Poor job prospects, crippling student debt, unaffordable housing costs, and other obstacles have left young people unable to make a middle class living. That is not to say that young people are the only base of the left and certainly not in the case of the NC readership base, but Generation Y is going to be the decisive one in the coming decades. The strong support of Sanders and Cobryn by young people is one of the most important and encouraging signs of society.

    The Trump base varies from the members of the so-called Romney coalition to the working class white. They have suffered and are extremely anxious about the status quo. The loss of manufacturing jobs for example is a big deal. No neoliberal ever discusses why nations such as Germany and Japan have manufacturing jobs. They try to scapegoat unions and pro-worker government regulations. There are decreasing opportunities for those displaced and America has poor social mobility. Even the wealthier Trump voters likely felt economic anxiety. Perhaps the only exception is the ultra rich, a small grouo that hoped to gain off the tax cuts for them Trump was proposing. Most however voted for Trump because the status quo was intolerable.

    What separates us from the Clinton base and the Establishment Republicans (outside of the Romney voters that went for Trump) is that they are the beneficiaries of neoliberalism. Clinton’s base in the upper middle class and the rich, her true base, got far more wealthy relative to the rest of us specifically due to the neoliberal reforms that started in the mid to late 1970s.

    I think that the reason why there was such a divide between the supporters of Clinton and Sanders is because the wealthier base that Clinton represented benefited rather than suffered from neoliberalism. Lacking any sense of noblesse oblige, they were dismissive of the economic concerns raised by the Sanders base and could not emphathize with them, despite all the liberal hypocrisy about being liberals being empathetic.

    When they voted for Clinton over Sanders, they wanted a neoliberal that would continue the status quo. Effectively, a large chunk of the upper middle class is aligned with the Wall Street interests and against those of the working class. Another reason is that the upper middle class intuitively sensed that Sanders would close the gap between the middle and upper middle class. This is not what the upper middle class wanted and they voted accordingly.

    I think that had Sanders won the Democratic Primary in 2016, many of these 10 percenters may very well have gone for a Bush or Romney type in a hypothetical left wing vs Establishment GOP race. I still think that Bernie Sanders would have won, but the upper middle class would have tried hard to preserve the existing order and still does. By contrast, there would have been gains in Trump supporters. One of the things that I noticed watching the Jimmy Dore show was that there are many Trump supporters who regularly comment and who have a positive impression of Jimmy Dore. They may not agree with everything he says, but they appreciate the honesty. Polls show that as many as a quarter of Trump voters may have switched in a Sanders vs Trump hypothetical election.

    I think that in terms of class division, we may very well have more in common with the Trump base than the Clinton base. That could be extremely important someday. Trump has betrayed his base and will not deliver the desired change to improve the livelihoods of his economic despair base. It may someday open the door for Trump-left wing voters in a similar way that Obama’s betrayal led to Obama-Trump voters that swung the 2016 election in the Midwest and Florida. The question is, how to build a second New Deal like coalition?

    1. DorothyT

      Hat tip to AltandMain

      I hadn’t seen Ralph Nader interviewed for a very long time. He was on The Beat with Ari Melber this week, older but as articulate as ever:

      Nader said that instead of blaming third party candidates like himself and other external factors for losses that resulted from their own incompetence and inability to articulate an inspiring platform, Democrats must embrace widely popular ideas like Medicare for All and a living wage if they are to oust the “corporate indentured” Republican Party.

    2. travy

      well some of us held our nose and voted for clinton because we didn’t think a 74 year old socialist jew promising free college education and healthcare for all could win a national election. perhaps we were wrong, but that doesn’t mean our interests were “aligned with wall street”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        So you thought a do nothing Senator connected to the political establishment that ushered in the GOP Congressional majorities, who has been wrong on every foreign policy decision for 20 years, and had already lost to Barack Obama was a good candidate? Given America’s growing multi-cultural status, was a person with surnames of Rodham and Clinton really a good idea? Its not quite Cabot and Lodge, but yeah…I don’t know how she could get more WASPY. Was her family background in finance? Yes it was.

        Yes, I know the polls said, but the polls were modeled on 2008 turnout numbers which were shaped by on the ground organizing built up over several years and assisted by the national party. Given Obama’s dismantling of the party starting in 2009 and the Clinton’s focus on personal politics during their tenure, I still don’t get how anyone “thought” Hillary was a good candidate.

      2. ambrit

        “that doesn’t mean our interests were “aligned with wall street”
        Well, actually, it does. Why? Because one must look to the practical (there’s that word again) results of ones’ vote to judge. The Neo-liberal cadres have learnt to use aspiration as a weapon against genuine self interest. Hence, Clinton, homme et femme using ‘intersectionality’ and identity politics to promise the moon while delivering green cheese.
        With Trump, one could realistically expect to get either some real reform or deconstruction. In todays’ socio-political climate, either outcome is acceptable.

      3. Massinissa

        Great plan. Vote for the ‘electable’ candidate even if theyre as far right as the Republicans. That’s bound take the Senate and House from those nasty Republicans!

        Oh wait…

        Maybe we should just vote for who the better candidate is even if they arn’t ‘electable’. I mean, its not as if Hillary beat Trump or anything, so its not as if the ‘vote for the electable candidate, that candidate will win!’ strategy actually worked.

      4. Lord Koos

        Really — Americans elected a black man twice but you don’t think they would vote for a Jew? At any rate, you were indeed wrong.

        1. Massinissa

          Or a 74 y/o, apparently. Though voting for then 69 y/o Hillary Clinton apparently makes more sense somehow…

      5. curlydan

        that’s what my parents told me they did. I was truly shocked since they were much more aligned with Sanders’ beliefs and positions. the primary is a clear chance to influence the Democratic Party. I’d encourage you to take that chance next time. Otherwise, the Dems will be tied to Wall St’s hip forever.

      6. Pat

        Or you just hadn’t accepted that the lesser evil is still evil.

        One of the hardest things about being ‘realistic’ about politics is getting that people with good intentions still do incredibly stupid things because of what seem to be good reasons. Clinton was a terrible candidate. Not just because she ran an incompetent campaign but because her negatives were so high from the start AND she was tone deaf and utterly disconnected with the majority of the American public Please remember that 70% of the eligible voting public did not vote for Clinton, both candidates were rejected by the majority. And all of those things were clear to anyone paying attention. Others have pointed out that the Democratic Party had been hollowed out by Obama’s choice. She was not a winner, and that was before Sanders got into it. But she had money and the supposedly tip top organization, so… She was not the lesser evil in the primary, but frankly that was her whole campaign for President after getting the nomination. It wasn’t enough because for many she couldn’t even make that case – despite blowing a billion dollars trying to buy the Presidency.

        Voting for Clinton was voting for Wall Street and the Tech Jerks and yes the MIC regardless of why it was done. Because that was why she had the money, and that was why she was the only candidate as far as the Democratic regulars were concerned. I spent years wasting votes on Democratic LOTEs, denying that what I was doing was enabling the very things i was most against. It took years of denial before accepting that if candidates/politicians do not actively support (insert the appropriate POLICY/policies – in my case real single payer Medicare for All no market health care) they are not really asking to represent me or you, they just want to con us out of our vote. If we allow ourselves to be conned we are still supporting the power brokers – Kochs, ALEC, Adelson, Wall Street, Google, Bezos, etc.

        1. newcatty

          Pat: Or you just hadn’t accepted that the lesser evil is still evil.

          Preach it sister!

        1. Expat

          Perhaps, but the important point here is not so much that America elected Trump, but that America was faced with a choice between two obviously evil, corrupt candidates. Hillary should have been excluded altogether; there should be a constitutional amendment barring spouses of elected officials, their children and grandchildren from running for any elected office. Bernie was too socialist for America; Americans love all their socialist features as long as no one tells them it’s socialism.

          America ended up with what it deserves. It elected Reagan twice. It elected GS Bush twice. It re-elected Obama! Frankly, you might as well put Hector Camacho in the Oval Office with Palin as VP.

          1. Wukchumni

            We in the Palinstinian Movement take great umbrage over getting second billing yet again.

            Couldn’t the Sarah out hector, Hector?

            You betcha!

          2. Elizabeth Burton

            Not germane to the discussion, but did anyone else hear about Sarah Palin—yes, that Sarah Palin—going public defending Julian Assange?

      7. Jeff W

        some of us held our nose and voted for clinton because we didn’t think a 74 year old socialist jew promising free college education and healthcare for all could win a national election. perhaps we were wrong

        Well, given that Bernie Sanders has been and is consistently ranked as the most popular Senator, if not major politician in the US, perhaps that belief might be characterized as one of pluralistic ignorance (aka “no one believes, but everyone thinks that everyone else believes”), reinforced and amplified by Washington establishment types who kept on saying Sanders was “unelectable.”

      8. Oregoncharles

        Travy: I don’t understand how you could think that. Essentially every poll for months, before the convention, showed Sanders doing much better against every Republican than Clinton. Anyone following the campaigns knew that. The Democrats knew that when they knowingly nominated their weaker candidate.

        I wasn’t even a Bernie supporter – I’m a Green, and very partisan. Personally, I took the Clinton nomination as a measure of just how hopeless the Democratic Party really is.

      9. WheresOurTeddy

        If you voted for Clinton, you voted for the Oligarchy and Wall Street.
        Sanders would have won by 10 points.

    3. Sid_finster

      This will not be a popular opinion around here, but the Tea Party, as originally constituted and not as co-opted, had much in common with occupy Wall Street.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The thing to take from their ‘rugged individualism,’ is to think, observe and reason individually with rigor (or ruggedness).

        One should not rely on the government to tell one how or what to think.

        Ideas, on the other hand, belong to no one humans but to ideas themselves. And we humans can only share them ideas collectively, not individually. So, there is, or should not be, something like Newton’s laws, but just laws of motion, for example.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Populism, as well as some confusion about means and ends.

        The Tea Party were essentially the same people Trump just scammed.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I spotted a little tidbit at the bottom of the link ‘Missile attacks reflect changing strategic landscape’ that I think might fit under your comment.

      “The restive Russian public is hungry for domestic economic growth and a reduction in military confrontations. Putin has already signaled he is going in that direction and is trying to reduce military expenditures.”

      Might be nice to be able to substitute ‘American’ for ‘Russian’ and [U.S. President of any flavor] for ‘Putin’. Just imagine a U.S. President responding to a restive American public with something other than the FBI.

      1. Altandmain

        Trump has been going in the opposite direction.

        He has increased military spending and has cut social spending. There is no sign that he will abate. Actually, he is pretty much a “conventional” GOP type politician in policy at this point, even if he acts like a pseudo-populist.

      2. Sid_finster

        The American MSM expends a lot of hot air in trying to explain what they want ivan Ivanovich Ivanovich Ivanov (aka the Russian John For) to be thinking.

        I am eternally grateful to Russia because it was there that I started to get wise.

    5. Lord Koos

      “Effectively, a large chunk of the upper middle class is aligned with the Wall Street interests and against those of the working class. Another reason is that the upper middle class intuitively sensed that Sanders would close the gap between the middle and upper middle class. This is not what the upper middle class wanted and they voted accordingly.”

      I agree with this, and I have friends who wanted Clinton over Sanders, but I’m certain their decision was as you say, an instinctive one rather than conscious. Most of these people would not think of themselves as allied with Wall St, but politically that is the end result. I think many liberals do not want to face the fact that they might be selfishly motivated.

      1. Massinissa

        They dont mind Wall Street, not really: all of Wall Street’s problems would be solved if they just hired more women and minorities!

        Torture is bad… But its ok when Gina Haspel does it!

        Wall Street is bad… But if it had the correct percent of blacks, Latinos and asians, there would be no more problem!

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I believe, early on, there were comments about Hillary’s low information supporters.

        Perhaps selfishness explains better or more Clinton voters.

      3. Altandmain

        I’ll be honest, I think that wealthy Liberals are as bad as wealthy conservatives. They vote according to their class interests.

        Why else would they be so disdainful of the fallout from neoliberalism and its worst victims? They certainly refused to discuss serious matters of policy with the Sanders base. It has for example, only been through a lot of arm twisting that they got the $15 minimum wage, but even then, it is years away and by then inflation may very well have meant that it will need to be much higher.

        I like this comment by Yves:

        A loyal Democrat and former state official remarked, as if it was obvious, that the Democrats were more corrupt than Republicans by virtue of having to pretend they were not serving the rich, while the Republicans are up front as to what they are about.

        Even worse, as class stratification becomes more pronounced in the US, many Democrats can’t even do a good job of pretending they want the votes of working people that they hold in contempt. Hillary Clinton couldn’t stand mixing with them. By contrast, one of the keys of Trump’s success is he loves selling. With his Queens accent, nouveau riche (read non-elite) habits, and ability to fake (or actually drum up during his rallies) interest in lower class people, he can outrun Democratic party snobs.

        I think that we are seeing this happen with how the liberal movement has treated working class whites and with Sanders supporters, who they contemptously called “Bernie Bros”.

        If the liberal elite (and yes I think that is a fair term) actually cared, they would support economic policies that would likely result in a dramatic reduction in inequality, underemployment, a universal healthcare system, and pretty much what looks like the Sanders or Green Party platforms.

        Within the upper middle class, we see the following:

        – Very high respect for credentials – such as degrees of universities that are famous, professional designations, etc
        – Emphasis on networking (relationships are not real friendships but transactional)
        – They tend to push the Silicon Valley style of technology startups everywhere

        The upper middle class is doing fairly well. Yes they have to work long hours in big city law, in finance for Wall Street, in management consulting, in technology, and a few other high paying sectors, but they have benefited at the expense of their fellow citizens. Liberal homeowners also fight for things like low property taxes and NIMBY laws that make housing unaffordable.

        You will not get very many liberals to admit this. Karl Marx would have called this upper middle class the Petite bourgeoisie.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL


          You’re on the right track. It’s about class, and everything that divides along other lines (race, gender, abortion, guns, culture, D versus R) should be resisted at all costs.

          There’s 1% of Them and 99% of Us. Never forget this.

          The sooner the atheist African-American LGBT single mother living in Oakland and the Baptist straight white unemployed male truck driver living in Louisville realize their economic interests are 100% aligned the better.

          People who insist on dividing along other axes are the enemy because they are doing the 1%’s work for them. Their pet interest can be addressed as a subset, after The Battle That Matters The Most is fought and won.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I kind of like the term Top Ten Percent Democrats ( TTP Democrats). Or Top Ten Percenter. Or something similar.

          I like the concept enough that I will mention it from time to time till it either catches on or dies in silence.

        3. Oregoncharles

          The Petit Bourgeoisie were the small shopkeepers. Financially, they have more in common with workers than with the merchants and bankers of the bourgeoisie. Still do – they actually work for a living, rather than living more or less off rents. The highly paid professionals have a foot in both camps.

        4. Alex V

          I like to summarize this feeling with this:

          “How unbelievably gauche of him to eat KFC on his private plane.”

        5. Elizabeth Burton

          As Rev. William Barber’s new incarnation of the Poor People’s Campaign starts rolling, I suppose it was inevitable someone would begin waving the “language” flag. What’s sad is that the first one I saw was on a site that bills itself as extremely progressive.

          They took exception to Mr. Barber’s referring to the current economic situation and those responsible for it as immoral. In other words, the campaign itself is necessary and wonderful and needs to be supported, but we shouldn’t call the people killing us nasty names. Both Caity Johnstone and I are regularly informed we would have a better chance of being heard if we used “more appropriate language.”

          If anyone needs evidence to support the premise of middle-class angst being at the root of the status quo, that right here should do it. They like being able to make pious noises about supporting [insert liberal talking point issue here] as long as they don’t have to actively do anything beyond providing lip support. And they will attack anyone who dares suggest that’s what they’re doing.

    6. Procopius

      I think you may have a distorted picture of who the Trump base are. First data item I noticed after the election was that the median income of people who voted for Trump was $70,000 a year. That means half of them make more than that. There’s a reason the Democratic Elite are fixated on appealing to the prosperous upper middle class suburban women. The thing is, they aren’t going to turn out for Schumer and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The Democrats need to return to the center from their current right wing positions.

  2. fresno dan

    ‘Parents should ask before changing baby’s nappy’: ABC commentator Startsat60 (Kevin W)

    She explained she works with newborns to help them feel comfortable and confident in their own bodies. Apparently, this includes checking with a baby before you change smelly nappies.
    You gotta be sh*tting me….uh, or someone

    1. johnnygl

      I got two kids. They usually say ‘no’ when you ask them because they don’t want to stop playing or whatever. Eventually, you gotta bring the hammer down because the risk of diaper rash gets substantial and if you think you’ve got trouble getting consent when the kid has a nice, healthy patch of skin under there….when there’s a rash…it’s blood-curdling screaming the whole time…

      “we can do this the easy way or the hard way, kid…”

      1. Buck Eschaton

        Neoliberalism…why can’t one just do something out of loving commitment? Why is it so important to start making formal contracts with your infant? Sounds a little like training for 1984 totalitarianism.

          1. ambrit

            You mean like the new Iowa law?
            “A fetus shall be considered a ‘person’ for legal purposes when he, she, or it activates its’ first telecommunications device.”
            Decision of the Supreme Court in the seminal case: AT&T vs. Humanity
            Now we know what the Baby Bells were all about.

  3. Angry Panda

    Interestingly enough, I had first seen the “Ray McGovern being dragged out of Gina Haspel hearings” video a couple of days ago. On RUSSIAN blogs. Specifically, they were reposting a 4-minute RNN story (which includes both the “highlights” and the full unedited video appended), without even adding subtitles or a voiceover in Russian (which is often done to western videos). The general tone went something like “and these people lecture others about human rights”.

    The point is this. Other people, non-americans – and I mean in the blogosphere and on social media, not mainstream TV or whatnot – pay attention to what is going on here. They watch (some) American news, read (some) American newspaper articles, and are able to, for themselves, come to snap social-media level judgments about what they see.

    In my view, the Gina Haspel nomination is a colossal mistake first and foremost not because she ran a torture prison, not because of anything to do with her career, but because even ordinary people, without the aid of mass media, around the world, see America appoint a torturer as head of the CIA. You have just lost countless hearts and minds all over the place, because the next time America says A and their local-language media says B, who are they going to believe? On the subject of human rights and such, at least? In a way, it reminds me of how back in the early years of the Cold War any time the US said something about “freedom” and “equality” the response was – but you have segregation…

    …all of which goes to show you how out of touch the Washington “class” is these days.

    1. johnnygl


      One might get the feeling our political class knows exactly the message they’re sending.

      They only fake the human rights stuff for the domestic audience and they don’t really try that hard.

      1. jsn

        If you didn’t read this above, you should. Lang’s critique of the intelligence community, with which he’s intimately familiar, is I believe applicable to all of our administrative agencies. It’s a rampant epidemic of Lambert’s “iron law of institutions” where the self replicating managerial class is completely blind to all reality outside it’s own institutions.

        Their perceptions are so dependent on the bogus iconography of the US their own institutions maintain that, while as you say they may know exactly the message they’re sending, they also believe it is appropriate and fair. The delusions run so deep they can’t even begin to question them without devastatingly shattering blows to their self images.

    2. Sid_finster

      Since when did public opinion matter, especially the opinions of non-american peons?

      If anything, naming an overt torturer as CIA chief sends an important message: “we will openly run roughshod over every law and civilized norm out there, and there is nothing you can do about it.”

      1. JBird

        What? Torture is vital for use in The War On Terror™! (sarcasm)

        Honestly, I don’t think that they are sending any message except maybe to appear to have machismo. They are are too shallow as human beings to realize the evil they do, I think. The smallest, laziest, honest efforts are needed to know that torture does not work, and that the “evidence” gotten is often nothing but lies, that there are good reasons for the Bill of Rights, and for the Nuremberg Trials; nah, ethics, morality, thoughtfulness, reflection, honesty, (self)respect, just trying to be a decent human being, don’t mean nothing to too many.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          All true, but as Jim Wright said eloquently last week, the bottom line is that torture is wrong. It is morally indefensible whether it works or not, and even more so with regard to a nation that at least pretends to honor human rights. There is simply no excuse for a country that claims to be civilized to use torture for any reason whatsoever. Period.

          1. JBird

            Absolutely. However, the people with the influence, authority, and power do not think so. Whatever they say their ostensible political ideology, social ideas, and religious beliefs are, aren’t.

            So what do we do now?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We’re not defending them. We’re calling attention to the controversy.

      Plus the claim re IRA records is bullshit. The officialdom was doing everything it could to arrest IRA leaders in real time.

  4. c_heale

    Monica Lewinsky’s disinvitation is disgusting. Bill Clinton should have been the one disinvited, or better still not invited in the first place…

    1. edmondo

      It must be awful to have your life hopelessly tethered to something dumb you did in your early 20s.

      I thought you we referring to student loans for graduate school

  5. cnchal

    Elderly Retired CIA Analyst [Ray McGovern] Dragged from Senate Hearing for Exposing Gina Haspel’s War Crimes The Daily Sheeple.

    When retired CIA analysts are being dragged by police out of a Senate hearing for exposing the horrendous crimes of the person being appointed to head the CIA, it speaks to the level of tyranny which has taken hold in America. If you haven’t been, now may be a good time to start paying attention.

    “Now” is too late.

    On some level Trump is a genius by showing the peasants how screwed the system is.

    1. Arizona Slim

      In the arrest video, the police keep telling McGovern to stop resisting. I think we should make that a battle cry. As in, telling the neoliberals to stop resisting. Likewise, the one percenters.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Yeah, I love that crap the cops mouth, “STOP RESISTING,” mouthing it for the cameras, for ‘the record.” While they beat the crap out of the “subject-turned-object.” The language of the New Millennium…

        I do wonder if the subject’s shoulder was actually dislocated… but he sure looked to be in pain, and props to him for staying on message while being dragged and hammered… Too bad so many of us don’t have the props to do stuff like that. But then we know what the likely treatment will be…And who dares interpose themselves between the men and women who have signed on to wear the uniforms and carry the truncheons and tazers and those 9mm and 40 cal “service pistols.”

        1. pretzelattack

          there was a prior injury so that was probably aggravated. yeah they must teach them to yell “stop resisting” to justify beating somebody with a bullshit self defense excuse. like we can’t see what’s going on.

          1. Baby Gerald

            There is a 2-part interview with Ray McGovern on RealNews. Here’s a link to the first part: Ray McGovern: Gina Haspel Supervised Nazi-Era Interrogation Techniques (Pt. 1/2)

            At about the 9:19 mark he starts to explain the origins of the phrase ‘enhanced interrogation’ [from our good friends at the Gestapo, of course].

            We just promoted a torturer and liar and our administration is rife with them. They beat down anyone who dares challenge their gangster methods, present or past. We have a mainstream press delivering edicts and proclamations without any questioning or accountability. Our supposed elected representatives vote against their own constituents in favor of secret agendas and special interests. Combine this discussion with sight of the uniformed goons storming in and dragging the McGovern out with extreme prejudice and the only conclusion one can draw is that we’re living in a fascist state already.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I am starting to love that word ‘enhanced’. The British have decided to use thermobaric bombs but did not want to admit using it so they simply renamed these weapons as “enhanced blast” weapons and the problem was solved.

            2. Procopius

              I don’t speak, read, or write Russian, but I trust tne novelists who claimed to translate from the original, and I’m pretty sure the KGB used the phrase, “augmented interrogation.”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Way back to as early as Iran in the 50s, there were good reasons to not join the CIA, much less to retire from it.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Lots of good paying middle class jobs with the CIA for people with the appropriate credentials who “want to serve their country (for some definition of ‘country’):”

        View Jobs

        Contribute to a mission of importance.

        It takes a wide variety of highly talented professionals to meet the CIA’s mission. In fact, the range and variety of our professional positions are extensive — from attorneys to graphic designers to mechanics. No matter which of the 50 different career disciplines you choose to work in at CIA, you will be certain to play a vital role in the national security of our nation every day. There is no better place to use your skills and talents for the sake of your country.

        Start exploring all occupations in the Business, IT & Security field by clicking one of the links below:….. Anyone interested can go look here, , to see the range of “opportunities” available in the Blob… And of course one would be working for, you know, like it was noted the other day, the Government…

  6. fresno dan

    Cheetahs chase family at safari park BBC

    Makes me wonder how many bleached tourist bones are lying on the Savanna in the lion section of the park…

    1. The Rev Kev

      It was only a coupla days ago that a Leopard grabbed a three-year old boy from a nanny at a wildlife park in Uganda, dragged him off into the bushes and ate him. And that is not the only instance of such an attack in the past coupla months. What is wrong with these people? You would reckon that the word ‘wildlife’ would give them a clue.

      1. visitor

        The proper definition of wilderness: a place where there are creatures that can hunt you down.

      2. Lee

        As appealing as a young human might be as a between meal snack, I’m guessing the cheetahs were just exercising their territorial prerogative. In Yellowstone people can watch animals from their cars or standing on the roads and critters will ignore you. However, if you step off the road, ears prick up, calls are given and flight ensues. Elk fitted with life sign monitors who otherwise remain oblivious to humans watching them from roadsides, show stress responses to humans that leave the roadways even at considerable distance.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Agreed. Cheetahs aren’t all that big and they still went after the adult. They didn’t look like they were trying to pick off the child.

        2. ObjectiveFunction

          The tiger safari at Ranthambore is in entirely open topped vehicles. The tigers don’t distinguish the passengers from the (too big to eat) transport… unless you are foolish enough to step out of it. But once they see you as distinct, climbing back in will not help you….

      3. rd

        It appears to be universal for modern humans to be baffled by nature. We have people “frustrated” that they haven’t been able to return to their homes that are in the middle of a volcanic eruption and people who didn’t realize that they are living in a wildfire-mud flow cycle area that requires every 30 years or so baffled by how nothing could be done to prevent it.

        We have been conditioned to think of the world as an extension of our living room, not realizing that the world is actually a fairly dangerous place and that historically age 50 was ripe old age. The concept of predators being predators appears to have disappeared along with many other things. These people are generally also baffled and unprepared when their home, constructed in a floodplain, floods.

    2. David Mills

      I think this is Darwin award worthy… Cheetah = 80km/h + teeth, do the math.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “WaPo Positions Support for Torturer as Vote for Feminism”

    In a weird sort of way, the story of Gina Haspel actually makes historical sense. Whether on the American frontier with Indians or in the 19th century wilds of Afghanistan the same advice came up – if captured, never, ever, let yourself be turned over to the women!

    As for tonight’s Antidote du jour – is that a beaver that?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for that. It looks like something leftover from the Age of Mammals to my eye.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          South America has some weird critters by world standards including the fossil record. North America would get enough travel that the critters tended to be similar to Eurasia with more dwarfism or gigantism. The extra difficulties of traveling let a few crazy critters come to pass down South as it was easier to isolate or less ecological niches were filled by Eurasian travelers.

          Yes, they are rodents, but they kind of are ecological niche cross of deer and buffalo.

          These guys lived in South America from 62 million to 1.8 million years ago. Look closely at the “wings” on the reconstructed fossil. We might call them arms.

        1. Synapsid

          visitor, MLTPB,

          As HotFlash says, it is a capybara. Supposed to be very affectionate.

    1. Jean

      As you watch a decorated Vietnam veteran and CIA analyst being dragged out of the hearing remember that we must do this this to
      Fight the people that hate us for our freedoms.”

    2. divadab

      Capybara, I think. Related, but no giant black tail and head is too big. Sharp teeth like abeaver tho so do not corner or threaten they can bite a pretty good chunk out of you.

      1. Wukchumni

        Did anybody read about the people that turned in what they thought was a stray kitten to an animal shelter, that turned out to be a bobcat?

        The feline in question really looked more cat than what about bob, and older bobcats have these jheri curl sideburns of sorts, and of course all have not much of a tail.

    3. Edward E

      Looks like a Muskrat Truck, but I’ve had a couple of Flying Monkey Ale so I understand if you ignore me… Smashbomb IPA

    4. Procopius

      Remember Kipling advised the young redcoat in Afghanistan to save one bullet for himself if he was wounded and unable to escape, “… to die like a man before night, when the women come out.” I seem to recall reading (possibly fictional accounts) that in pre-Columbian times it was the women who tortured captives to death.

  8. William Beyer

    I read Steven Gowan’s book on Syria last summer, and it is spectacular. It exposes the scary depths of propaganda we see every day in MSM “reporting.”

  9. Jean

    Wonder what the parents would have done it their child was being ripped apart and eaten by the cheetahs? How stupid can people be? Talk about a Darwin runner up…

    Is it wrong for me to root for the cheetahs?

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Sounded a bit like the Dutch people in the car were rooting for the cheetahs. You can hear gasps, chuckling, omg’s and wtf’s but no screaming at the French people to get back in the car. Obviously stupid people but not at least trying to help them is really unethical.

          1. Wukchumni

            No offense, but when a sit-down comedian sees an opportunity to use a one-liner that will more than likely never get a chance to be used again in my lifetime, it must be submitted for your approval.

        1. ambrit

          Oooooh! You’re making many of us hopping mad!
          Oh! Oh! Oh!
          Chester (Cheeto) Cheetah versus Pepe the Frog!
          (I give you credit for ‘Ultra-Subtle’ powers.)
          What peak in the Sierras do I have to climb to bathe my battered id in your ethereal effulgence?

            1. ambrit

              Ah ha! You do not stint on the arduousness of the ‘search’ for enlightenment, do you.
              Do you deal with the same ‘handlers’ as does Fresno Dan? One of the ways to said peak crosses “Bunny Ears Pass!” If that had been Red Kaweah peak, I would have been certain of it.
              An old joke.
              The customs man asks; “Your ID please.”
              Traveller screams into the fumbling functionaries face; “Is this pleasing enough!!??”

              1. Wukchumni

                Another way to get there is via Hands & Knees Pass which is just like it says in terms of terrain, it’ll get you to the highest Big 5 Lake off-trail from Glacier Pass, another off-trail pass.

                Pants Pass is yet another off-trail approach and again aptly named, as you’ll be on your arse occasionally en route.

                One time we came down it and there were little piles of rocks that moved with us, and then we’d plant our poles and stop and the piles would keep going down the steep embankment. By the time we got to the highest of the lakes in the 9 Lakes Basin and stopped, I pulled off my boots and while one pebble in them is uncomfortable, 37 in one boot isn’t so bad.

                The only handlers I have are my owners, the motley crew of felines that think they own the place.

                1. Wukchumni


                  There is a register on most every Sierra peak, and sometimes it’ll be as elementary as an old film canister with little paper sheets, or exquisite as a book in a metal clamshell case, as the one on Black Kaweah that was stolen about 6 years ago.

                  When I signed my name on it, there were about 20 pages previously, from 1924 onward. Maybe it had been climbed 75x heretofore. Formidable, but fun.

                  Those that had also signed it, were a who’s who of famous Sierra climbers, a pantheon of peak baggers extraordinaire.


  10. fresno dan

    The Dynamics of Japanese Government Bonds’ Nominal Yields Levy Institute
    It shows that the low short-term interest rate, induced by the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) accommodative monetary policy, is mainly responsible for keeping long-term JGBs’ nominal yields exceptionally low for a
    protracted period. The results also demonstrate that higher government debt and deficit ratios do
    not exert upward pressure on JGBs’ nominal yields.

    I read the above….
    and than I read the below

    Prevailing explanations of the decline in real interest rates since the early 1980s are premised on the notion that real interest rates are driven by variations in desired saving and investment. But based on data stretching back to 1870 for 19 countries, our systematic analysis casts doubt on this view. The link between real interest rates and saving-investment determinants appears tenuous. While it is possible to find some relationships consistent with the theory in some periods, particularly over the last 30 years, they do not survive over the extended sample. This holds both at the national and global level. By contrast, we find evidence that persistent shifts in real interest rates coincide with changes in monetary regimes. Moreover, external influences on countries’ real interest rates appear to reflect idiosyncratic variations in interest rates of countries that dominate global monetary and financial conditions rather than common movements in global saving and investment. All this points to an underrated role of monetary policy in determining real interest rates over long horizons.
    and it kinda makes me think “supply and demand” has nothing to do with interest rates….
    and at this…uh, er, rate, its gonna make me cynical that “supply and demand” affects anything…..

    1. johnnygl

      It’s almost like MMT is true…since, you know, it’s based on observations of how the monetary system actually works.

    2. Jim Haygood

      persistent shifts in real interest rates coincide with changes in monetary regimes

      Before the Federal Reserve was founded on a day that shall live in infamy — Dec 23, 1913 [Merry Christmas, serfs!] — the upward-sloping Treasury yield curve which we regard as normal today was nonexistent. During the decades prior to 1913, the yield curve was mostly flat. Investors consistently preferred long-term bonds over short-term ones to avoid transaction costs.

      What changed? Under the gold standard, inflation was not to be expected. The US price level hardly changed between 1790 and 1930. Thus, long bonds were at no risk of having their purchasing power stolen (yes, stolen) by inflation.

      Under the dreadful yoke of the full-fiat monetary system imposed in 1971, but foreshadowed beginning in the early 1940s as Treasuries began to displace gold as the predominant asset on the Fed’s balance sheet, long bonds are at greater risk of impairment due to sustained inflation and thus trade at consistently higher yields.

      In response to the record lows in nominal yields in 2016, the Federal Reserve began deliberately cheering on inflation with a target of a perpetual two percent. Now it’s at 2.5 percent [12-month change in CPI] and the New York Fed’s underlying inflation gauge projects 3.2 percent in a year or so as crude oil — somewhat of a leading inflation indicator — rockets higher.

      Why can’t the BOJ pull off the same feat? It’s Planet Japan, Jake.

      1. John k

        Falling population is deflationary. Fewer people buy less stuff. House prices fall.
        The dark ages were 500 years of falling prices. More people, more stuff, same amount of money, falling prices. Deflationary, naturally low interest rates. Renaissance preceded increased money supply from America’s, but more money drove demand for all things. Centuries of rising standard of living ensued.
        Nothing wrong with rising or falling prices. Question is, which regime helps raise standard of living? Mild inflation, which requires fiat, works best, notwithstanding reasonable wealth distribution is another matter… at least wealth rises.
        The 150 years ending with GD (gold standard) were a period of frequent deep recessions and depressions, spaced just 3-4 years apart. GD was neither deepest or longest. Cross of gold, indeed.

        1. Wukchumni

          Compared to the Romans and their tri-metalic fungible funds, there really wasn’t much in the way of money in commerce in the Dark Ages, and the designs went from little works of art, to roundish blobs of metal.

          And aside from the Byzantine Empire, almost no gold coins were issued from say around 400 AD onwards, until the Ventians & Florentines got their all that glitters groove back post Dark Ages.

          1. visitor

            aside from the Byzantine Empire, almost no gold coins were issued from say around 400 AD onwards, until the Ventians & Florentines

            What all those people obsessed by the gold standard forget is that for the vast majority of countries having a metallic monetary standard, for most of their history, the base was silver — not gold.

            Athens and the drachma (silver); Rome and the denarius (silver); Germanic states and the Thaler (silver); Parthian and Sassanian empires (silver); the Spanish empire and the piece of eight (silver — and it was the closest thing to a world currency in its time); China (a silver-based economy since basically forever — right into the 1930s, China was officially on a silver-based standard). Till the fourth quarter of the 19th century, most countries were either on a silver-based or on a bimetallic standard; the gold standard effectively lasted about half a century, until the Great Depression.

            1. Wukchumni

              Of the 2 metals, they found mind boggling amounts of silver in the new world, so much so that it forever tipped the 16-1 ratio that had held steady for eons, to a current ratio of around 80-1.

              The Latin Monetary Union was established right in your timeline of the barbarous ascendant, and all gold coins issued by given countries had to have standardized weights and fineness.


              1. visitor

                What helped the establishment of the gold standard in the late 19th century (which even the UK had given up in the previous century leaving the Spanish-based silver standard to rule) was the discovery of mind-boggling amounts of gold in Australia, California, South-Africa, Russia and Canada, starting from the 1840s.

                Conveniently enough, most of those discoveries occurred in the British empire, which proceeded to impose gold as the standard for bank clearing — leading, among other things, the LMU members to abandon bimetallism one by one in the late 1870s / early 1880s.

                1. Wukchumni

                  Way more silver than gold was found in the new world, if not why is the ratio skewed 5x as much towards gold, compared to the silver-gold ratio from biblical times to say right around the time of the Comstock Lode?

                  The last time it was close to 16-1 is awfully interesting, in that it was in 1980 when the brothers Hunt tried to corner the market on physical silver.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          How much can we look up to those centuries of rising standard of living and money from the Americas knowing they came with the natives dying out?

          1. Wukchumni

            Our diseases did the trick, plain and simple.

            Stone age immunity just didn’t cut it for the natives.

              1. Wukchumni

                Lance not a lot, really.

                How do you kill millions when there’s just a few of you, with heavy metal in hand?

                1. ambrit

                  Cortes started out in Mexico by making alliances with tribes and groups opposed to the central Aztec empire.
                  Divide and conquer.
                  Then, the epidemics. I’ve read that within a century of the Spaniards landing, the native population dropped by half, or more.
                  Then, there is the factor of superstition. Both Cortes and Pizarro captured and neutralized the head of an ultra centralized state apparatus. Since the king was the earthly manifestation of the gods, when the king was captured and killed, that meant that the Spaniards had more powerful gods. Belief is a powerful tool, for good and bad.

                2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Hunger enforced by swords…kind of like sanctions.

                  Not a few just gave up living.

      2. skippy

        Mr Haygood…

        Stolen is a curious perspective to have when considering financial paper, especially decadal long, not to mention the wars fought over it. Since wages and productivity diverged how much wage theft has been parked in tax havens [34T] or long paper. I mean how much social or economic activity is that driving outside wealth managers and pipeline facilitators.

        Still have that Fed chip on your shoulder I see and why was it created again, something about the free banking period along with public and private sectors taking turns bailing each other out. But I guess as long as the wealthy have a safe place to park proceeds of questionable origins, ready to pounce on the bust part of the cycle its all just enlighten investment strategy.

        Still waiting to hear how the value is stored into a thing or how the monetary system needs to be an ad hoc hard and fiat standard just to service bond holders. Oh yes I remember, smoothing out.

        Personally I say use it or lose it outside a reasonable amount, it is – our – money at the end of the day.

    3. nothing but the truth

      the govt can anchor interest rates wherever it wants.

      it cannot however guarantee a reasonably stable asset price to labour wage ratio.

      ie, if it forces interest rates to zero, it will force asset values sky high. which is a feature not a bug these days, but a dangerous one.

  11. Henry Moon Pie

    “For starters, no more prescription drugs.”

    Yep. That’s why I’m filling my garden with as many medicinal herbs as I can grow and learning as much as I can about their uses, properties and chemistry. On top of the risk of collapse, I’m doing this also because: 1) I don’t trust the products of the pharmaceutical industry; and 2) I expect drug pricing issues and Medicare coverage to get even worse.

    Added to all that, they’re beautiful plants and many of them are pollinator favorites.

    Grow your own.

    1. Janie

      Henry Moon Pie: Would you please recommend a reliable book/reference source for those of us who would like to grow medicinal herbs.

      1. DJG

        Janie: Also, pick up a copy of Honey from a Weed, a classic memoir / cookery book / and travel tale by Patience Gray. She gives little profiles of many herbs and weeds. She was big on eating weeds, and I do recommend getting (cultivated) dandelion, which has been sprayed less. There are two chapters on the joys (and some perils) of eating mushrooms.

        Lots of home remedies, including using thyme for loss of appetite, hangover, and colds–depending.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Just two books I picked up at a second-hand bookstore after looking through what they had:

        McHoy & Westland, The Herb Bible;

        Bremness, The Complete Book of Herbs.

        They’ve proven useful in providing plant preferences and characteristics along with uses so I can choose which herbs to grow.

        I’ve also found that Annie’s Heirloom Seeds provides very detailed instructions for starting some of the harder-to-germinate herbs.

        We have a great public library where I live, and I’ve used that resource to learn more about Chinese and Native American herbal traditions. Another resource is my neighborhood with its Chinese herbal shops and supermarkets that carry a lot of Chinese vegetable and herb seeds. My Korean neighbor has shared some of her seed with me as well.

        And I use Internet resources to learn more about what grows in my yard that I didn’t start. I try to avoid pulling any plant that I can’t identify. There was a lot of useful stuff, from chickweed to purslane on the “weed” side to some plants left behind by previous occupants.

    2. clarky90

      I fossick in my own back yard, and neighborhood; for wild food and herbal remedies. I told my friends and neighbors of my quest. I put out “the word”. There is much old knowledge that has been suppressed, but never destroyed.

      I have stopped trying to buy random remedies from Nepal, India or South America.

      I found a chaga mushroom (As used by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn) on a local birch tree. I have been drinking chaga tea and making chaga tincture.

      This World has not changed, we have.

    3. Oregoncharles

      I just started a packet of echinacea seeds (beautiful as well as medicinal). EVERY SINGLE ONE came up. Not sure what I’m going to do with them all – gifts, maybe.

      Also started pyrethrum seeds, natural insecticide. Not as great a germ. rate, but I’ll have a nice row of them. Daisies with silver leaves. I ordered them because I couldn’t find real powdered pyrethrum flowers.

      Otherwise, I’m not so well supplied with medicinals, nor with the knowledge to use them. Will have to work on that – a good friend is an herbalist. I do have a Chinese knotweed that’s supposed to be medicinal; pretty rampant in shade.

      Wonder if I can grow saw palmetto? There isn’t much I actually use.

  12. edmondo

    US offers to help rebuild N Korea economy if it denuclearises BBC

    Does that mean if the people of Flint, Michigan agree to give up their nukes, they can have safe drinking water?

    1. johnnygl

      They’d better power up the centrifuges and start enriching, just to strengthen their hand in negotiations….

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is always MMT money for the Pentagon, the MIC, the spy agencies and, as is the case here, the State department, but not Social Security.

  13. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

    France and trade with Iran:

    Perhaps Macron has the impression that France is on the way to becoming a boiling frog (no pun intended) with regard to international trade as the US breaks it’s side of the deal with Iran. What next from the White house? Perhaps this is the moment of pivot towards China for Europe as the Chinese don’t seem to care who they trade with.

    The US has unfortunate history of ideological qualms that seem without rationality to outsiders. Trade with massive China is OK, but tiny Cuba is not OK, (despite having a military base there).

    Do great Empires fall due to paradox?

    Perhaps the French calculus is: If there are signs are of a coming wider trade war, better bring it on now and keep customers rather than later when potential partners are radically reduced.

    In the case of Iran, I imagine the Russians will be cosying up. If pre-Bolshevik Russia is anything to go by, start thinking secret treaties.


    ps What about the odd coincidence of the newly announced man at NRA. who during the Reagan years showed true American spirit in expediting arms to Iran?

    1. JTMcPhee

      What’s a principal common element in all of this? The wonderful grandness of “trade.” Which of course “trumps” and drives all other considerations, and has for many centuries. Along, of course, with the inexhaustible appetites of out limbic systems, for pleasure and for “dominion,” of course:

      Genesis 1:26-28 King James Version (KJV)

      26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

      27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

      28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

      So hey, we are just doing what YHWH commanded, amiright? After all, it’s right there in YHWH’s own words in the Holly Bibble, the OT part at least… A charmingly legalistic explication of the scope of the agency relationship that YHWH is written to have ordained and settled upon us helps clarify the thinking on the subject:

      All part and parcel of the built-in (apparently) drives and behaviors, including the ability to rationalize and prevaricate, that make us humans a plague species on this here planet “of ours” as we have the hubris to say…

  14. Andrew Watts

    RE: Black activist jailed for his Facebook posts speaks out about secret FBI surveillance

    It’s been fairly obvious since Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter started that the Feds have been gearing up for another Days of Rage or a reincarnation of the Weather Underground. The surveillance of activist Facebook pages and internet commentary of dissident websites is baked into that cake. But really, praising somebody who murdered a cop? That is practically guaranteed to generate a hostile police response anywhere at any time.

    A good rule of thumb is to refrain from cheering on violence. Don’t even joke about calling airstrikes on yeehadists or witnessing a bunch of horny birds attacking them for trespassing on their mating ground.

    Somebody could get in trouble for that.

    1. diptherio

      But really, praising somebody who murdered a cop? That is practically guaranteed to generate a hostile police response anywhere at any time.

      But, of course, praising a cop who murdered somebody is totally legit. And if expressing approval for violence towards law enforcement were such a big no-no, a whole lot of people on the right would have found themselves in Balogun’s position during and after the Bundy standoff. No, it’s not about what he said, it’s about the color of his skin and the shape of his politics.

      1. Andrew Watts

        That’s yet another disturbing manifestation of the authoritarian tendencies of the decaying society we live in. The Feds keep a careful watch on the right-wing radicals who preach race war and their fellow travelers in the sovereign citizen movement too. I’m not denying that Balogun’s race and political views didn’t play a role in his arrest either but there are significant differences between the Bundy standoffs and his situation.

        The Malheur occupation reeked of a sting operation and/or entrapment that was heavily monitored by the FBI. Balogun was probably already under surveillance when he praised the individual who murdered a cop but if he wasn’t that would’ve done it. His organizing efforts combined with his public statements in the context of the Feds playbook from the Days of Rage is what got him raided.

        The unequal treatment that is meted out to non-white Americans shouldn’t detract from the idea that left wing activists need to very careful in what they say in our current political environment.

        1. Olga

          “… shouldn’t detract from the idea that left wing activists need to [be] very careful in what they say in our current political environment.”
          Well, yes, isn’t that the whole point of the exercise?
          To get us all to shut up or just say what is acceptable to TPTB.
          Thanks for stating it so clearly.

          1. Andrew Watts

            I doubt that you know too many young activists with that attitude. The very idea that surveillance will have a chilling effect on dissent doesn’t deter too many of them. Being infiltrated and reported on by the police isn’t unusual and is usually anticipated. The old joke from the late 90s and early 00s was that if you didn’t have a police file you shouldn’t even be considered an activist.

            The problem here is that Balogun didn’t think twice about the fact his Facebook post could have any consequence. That’s pretty stupid no matter how unjustified the Feds were. The activist who advocates committing a violent act or cheering one on is usually a cop… or a moron.

            1. Badger-in-Exile

              The old joke from the late 90s and early 00s was that if you didn’t have a police file you shouldn’t even be considered an activist.

              In the ’70s and ’80s at the University of Wisconsin there was a professor in the History Department named Harvey Goldberg. (He’s in Wikipedia.) His main area of concentration was European Social History from the French Revolution to the present. He did a lot of research at the national archives in France. In one lecture he mentioned a discovery he had made, of a dusty old folder containing the police dossier on a particular meeting of a group of revolutionaries in Paris in 1870. There were by all accounts seven persons present at that meeting … and the folder contained no fewer than four first-person reports (i.e., written by undercover agents who had infiltrated the cell).

              With the general increase in surveillance of all forms from the late 90s and early 00s until now, I wouldn’t be surprised if more people had police files than not.

              1. Andrew Watts

                Those were the days of the Patriot Act and the FBI’s concentrated harassment of activists / “eco-terrorists”. The NSA’s collection of increasing amounts of internet traffic didn’t go entirely unnoticed either. It’s important to point out that one of the things Snowden revealed in the FISC ruling is that the Feds have been collecting massive amounts of metadata since the late 70s.

                They were collecting it from the Post Office as well. I’m pretty sure that anybody receiving a radical newsletter or communist journal was on a list. Probably anybody mailed environmental / green newsletters were too.

              2. The Rev Kev

                I remember an old episode of the TV series “Get Smart” from the 60s where agents 86 and 99 were told to infiltrate an undercover group that were planning on blowing up the Pentagon. Turned out that one was from the CIA, another from MI6, another from the Mossad, another from Scotland Yard. The last true member of that group had died years earlier and that the whole group was now only made up of infiltrators unaware of the others. You wonder if stuff like this happens in true life.

        2. JBird

          shouldn’t detract from the idea that left wing activists need to very careful in what they say in our current political environment.

          The 1st Amendment only exist so far, right, got that. The 50s, 60s, and even the 70s have plenty of instances where white liberals wound up beaten, jailed, injured, framed, or just dead.

          To see some real brutality, read about the prosecution of unionists, socialists, communists, equal rights, anti-lynching, any real reformist activities actually from the late 1860s to the 1930s. Being white protects you only so far.

          All this history has conveniently disappeared. Perhaps, if it was more well known, people would not be so quick to support torture, or the bombings and dronings of wedding parties, hospitals, markets, parties. Or the destruction of the Bill of Rights, the existence of Homan Square, the NSA/CIA/FBI/Local Police/Megacorps spying programs, or the advancement of neoliberalism. I believe this ignorance is a feature, not a bug.

          1. Andrew Watts

            The first amendment doesn’t cover advocating violence and it’s a little vague what constitutes “fighting words”. I brought up the Days of Rage and Weathermen for more than one reason you know. I’m not completely unaware of what happened to white activists throughout that period of American history.

            1. JBird

              Please don’t think anything I say is an attack on you. All our rights have at least some limitations. The problem is that what is considered advocating violence is constantly expanded until it has no meaning because mere words become the same as violent physical actions, which receives the same reaction from The Powers That Be.

              It is like the police who always say that fearing for their lives from the unarmed, the unknowning, or even the obedient required the victims to die. The boundary required for the officer’s safety always increases while the other human being’s safety decreases. Strangely, demanding respect for one’s live, never mind one’ Rights, becomes a criminal act requiring violent persecution from the police state. The police are looking for reasons, however silly, to hammer people.

              Please note that merely pointing to the probable unjust, unethical, immoral, and often cowardly actions of a relative few is very likely is considered a hostile act by some in the police and the government. This is not hyperbole. This is just reality.

      2. LennyR

        A few years ago on some internet group or other that allows commenters to include a ‘tag line’ or ‘signature’ after their message, I saw one such that I couldn’t believe. It said ‘My two favorite words in the English language: officer down’. Wow. Asking for trouble, much? I wonder how many watch lists that guy is on.

        1. Craig H.

          Didn’t Henry Rollins once have a punchline in his act about how he laughs every time he hears that a pig gets greased?

          And now he works for the 6 mainstream media corporations and it would be interesting to see a copy of his 1040 form and see how much he was paid last year so I think it depends who you are. Henry maybe started doing odd jobs for the CIA when he was in high school.

    2. Daryl

      I noticed this fellow is being charged with “illegal gun ownership.” Surely the NRA et al will be leaping to his defense in short order.

  15. Jeff

    Missile attacks reflect changing strategic landscape

    The article contains a number of factual and analytical errors.
    The main factual error is that it was Israel, not Iran, that started bombing. Furthermore, most of the Israeli missiles were downed by Syrian defenses, and there was very little damage (1 soldier dead iirc, and a few wounded).
    The analytical error (very common in the blogo- and twitter- sphere, it seems), is that Russia is in Syria to protect Syria. Russia has stated very clearly that they are in Syria a/ to protect their own interests (kill the terrorists over there before they get to the motherland) and b/ to help the legal government protect itself against the terrorists.
    They have no interest in taking sides between eg Syria and Turkey or between Israel and Syria (one can make several arguments as to why Russia should prefer Israel and Turkey above Syria), and they limit themselves to a mediation/consulting role (in which they are quite successful).
    What is new (and very dangerous) is that a/ Syria is now shooting back (although they didn’t shoot at ‘Israel’ proper, but only at the Israeli occupier in the Golan of what is still legally Syria) and b/ US and Israel want an open war with Iran, so any excuse will do.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      What I found interesting about this link was the paragraph with the very brief thumbnail — “Iran’s strategic objective is to dominate an arc of countries from Iran, through Iraq, Lebanon and Syria and eventually Jordan as a powerful Shia front that would form the basis not only for Iran’s expansion but would put huge military pressure on Israel.” This view of Iran’s strategic aims offers a different perspective for viewing the American actions toward Iran and understanding the broader situation. I had tended to view Iran as an innocent victim of occult U.S. policy. Regarding Iran’s strategic aims I wonder whether they threaten Israel in the Great Game as much as they might threaten the Saudis. In other words I question the link’s assertion — “But Syria is far more important because of its proximity to Israel and the many installations Iran has built there.” — which seems to contradict much of the rest of the discussion best summarized by — “Iran is dangerously exposed in Syria.” The U.S. may fawn over Israel right-or-wrong but I suspect this often serves to cover our ties with the Saudis. The U.S. seems to have been terribly kind toward the Saudis in so many ways and so little mentioned.

      If as you assert — “US and Israel want an open war with Iran, so any excuse will do.” What strategic aims do you believe motivate the U.S. and Israel in wanting open war? Swords are rattling but the ‘why’ gets lost in what noise I can hear with my old ears.

      1. JTMcPhee

        That statement of Iran’s supposed strategic objective seems to this aging observer to be more BS from the “foreign policy” Yankees. The ones who get us all to engage in the reductionist process of speaking of complexes of people most of whom just want to make it through the day, albeit many of them wanting to be a little richer than when the day started, at other people’s expense of course. And who refify/personify/hypostatize. Those big collections of people with their many personal goals and interests under a single word: “Iran,” “Israel,” “Niger,” “the US,” “Russias,” as if those vast simplifications have substantive meaning in the action. That attribution of such a grandiose “strategic objective” to “Iran,” maybe that’s a combination of what the psychs call “projection,” with a large dollop of Bernays sauce? All of which foreign policy wonks seem to have a penchant for reducing the immense complexities of human stupidity in interactions to the fairly simplistic formulae and range of behaviors that set the range of play in the Game Of RISK! ™ or its more recent incarnation, RISK Empire! ™ — Please note the bit about how since all players have a role in operating the Empire, in some situations they may find it advantageous (for some definition of “advantageous”) to attack their own nation (Israeli or US or Russian, even, false flag ops, perchance?):

        The Empire is controlled by all players simultaneously. The Empire is made up pre-set territories (not card-drawn) made up as one would like. The Empire ought to be large enough to pose a threat to all other players. A leader of the Empire can be chosen by dice roll or vote. Gameplay is unique here because players assume the role of the leader of their own nation and take part in governing the Empire. This allows unusual possibilities in the game (i.e. a player may suggest that the Empire attack their own nation if the deem it to be advantageous).

        And of course most of the game play is not about making things better for everyone, it’s about where to ‘reinforce armies” and “which nations to declare war on.” Too bad our Rulers and the military complex have only managed to reach this level of play, and too bad that in the whole “business enterprise” called “war,” they only pay lip service to Sun Tzu’s manifestly wise advice and principles when it comes to embarking on the Homeland-killing activity…

        I. Laying Plans

        1. Sun Tzu said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State.

        2. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.

        3. The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

        4. These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.

        5,6. The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.

        7. Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons.

        8. Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.

        9. The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness.

        10. By method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.

        11. These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.

        12. Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise:–

        13. (1) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law? (2) Which of the two generals has most ability? (3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth? (4) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced? (5) Which army is stronger? (6) On which side are officers and men more highly trained? (7) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?

        14. By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory or defeat.

        There’s a lot more at

    2. Bill Smith

      The article also leaves out that there where two things that happened. There was a Israeli patrol on the Israeli side of the border. The Israeli’s had overhead surveillance that showed either Syrian / Hezbollah / Iranian team setting up a Kormet (AT-14) to take a shot at the patrol. The Israeli’s called down artillery / tank fire on the Kormet team. It was at that point things really heated up. Was the rocket fire on the Israeli’s in response to their shelling of the Kormet team? Was it a coincidence? But whatever, the Israeli’s used that to kick off their attacks on the Syrian / Iranians.

      Nobody really knows for sure many missiles the Syrians knocked down. Likely not as many as the Russians / Syrians claimed. The Israelis might have an idea given the optical guidance systems on Spike and Delilah missiles. What is known is that Russian didn’t take any direct action. It is not even certain that they passed any information from their AD systems to the Syrians. As to how much damage the Israeli’s did, one thing is certain, not as much as they claimed.

      It is surprising that the Syrians didn’t follow through on their threat from the time they hit the F-16 a month or two ago to barrage long range anti aircraft missiles into the air over northern Israeli. It appears that they only fired a handful that reached out of Syria. (One was found just over the Lebanese border.)

    3. liam

      Another calculation in Russia stepping back could be to allow Europe the space to distance themselves from the US on Iran.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “The Upscale Way to Prepare for Doomsday—from $79,500 Teslas to $275 Jeans”

    From what I have read, ‘bonus preppers’ want to ready themselves for the apocalypse with the finer things of life and are filling their homes with the best of everything. I suppose that you can call it a variant of late-stage consumerism. But you know what? If the Armageddon does come, the homes of these ‘bonus preppers’ will have another name – supply depots!

    1. Wukchumni

      My prepping all revolves around upscale snow turning into downscale water by the time it passes by me in the river.

      The long drought was a good test to see how the river reacted, and @ the ebb of empty in the summer of 2015, the deepest point in our swimming hole was @ my chest, whereas previously it was @ my neck.

      This area had one of the highest regional population densities of Indians in the whole of the USA, pre-contact with the settlers, as flowing water from the higher climes was a given.

    2. Altandmain

      The article is pay-walled for me, but a Tesla seems like a ridiculous way to prepare for doomsday. Where are you going to get enough electricity to charge it up? Furthermore, you would need lots of spare parts (and Tesla is very restrictive on parts, effectively giving a “screw you” to the right to repair provisions).

      Finally, you would need to have the skills to work on a Tesla. Hint: Most rich people are not licensed mechanics nor do they have any special skills working on EVs, despite looking down on working class folks who do as “low class, hands dirty” types.

      1. The Rev Kev

        If you Google the title of the article, most results will still be behind a paywall but sometimes you can luck out and find a hit showing the original article up on display.

  17. Eustache De Saint Pierre

    As far as I can tell the British Post Office mortgages are provided by the Bank of Ireland, which means I believe that if there is trouble ahead, it will land in the lap of the Irish.

  18. Jim Haygood

    Sheldon Silver: finally headed to jail, barring another judicial miracle:

    Sheldon Silver, the former powerful Democratic speaker of the New York State Assembly, was found guilty of federal corruption charges on Friday, less than a year after his first conviction on the same charges was thrown out.

    Mr. Silver’s retrial was widely watched as a test of the government’s ability to prosecute official corruption under a narrower definition. But from the outset, prosecutors this time seemed to hold an upper hand: The original verdict was only thrown out because the judge’s jury instructions were too broad, as defined by the Supreme Court decision.

    Mr. Silver sat impassively as the jury forewoman announced the verdict, which came at the end of the first full day of deliberations. His lawyer, Michael S. Feldberg, said he planned to appeal, citing “multiple legal issues.”

    Sentencing is set for July 13; in the first trial, Judge Valerie E. Caproni imposed a 12-year sentence.

    Fortunately cases of corruption like Mr Silver’s are extremely rare in New York …

    *bursts out laughing*

    1. rd

      Actually, cases of corruption like Mr Silver’s are extremely rare in New York because they are usually not investigated and prosecuted.

  19. Andrew Watts

    RE: Missile attacks reflect changing strategic landscape

    A strong Iranian presence in Syria isn’t in the interests of Russia. It greatly diminishes their ability to deescalate any potential conflict with other powers. The Shia jihadists and Iranian mercenaries are capable shock troops, but the relative lack of central control over them probably concerns the Russians.

    The shared interests between the US and Russia and the intrusion of America’s domestic politics that prevents their realization is one of the reasons why the Syrian Civil War is so infuriating to watch unfold. Eventually the US will have to strike a deal with Russia that will facilitate an American withdrawal.

    Whether that deal will adequately cover the concerns and interests while re-integrating the Federation of Northern Syria into a unified Syria is something I can only hope for.

    1. Jim Haygood

      From the article: “Israel was getting ready to retaliate for an Iranian rocket attack on Israeli military units in the strategically sensitive Golan.

      Yet the NYT, in the 13th paragraph of its article about the event, concedes:

      Iran’s rocket attack against Israel came after what appeared to have been an Israeli missile strike against a village in the Syrian Golan Heights late on Wednesday.

      Middle eastern correspondent Elijah Magnier says this marks an important change:

      What is new is the location where Damascus decided to hit back: the occupied Golan Heights (20 rockets were fired at Israeli military positions).

      Israel would like to continue hitting any target it chooses in Syria without suffering retaliation. With its latest attack, Israel’s “unintended consequences” or provocation has forced the Syrian government to consider the occupied Golan Heights as the next battlefield.

      The Israeli Iron Dome is inefficient and unable to protect Israel from rockets and missiles launched simultaneously. Now the battle has moved into Syrian territory occupied by Israel to the dislike of Tel Aviv, and Russia.

      Damascus and Tehran have trained over 16 local Syrian groups ready to liberate the Golan Heights or to clash with any possible Israeli advance into Syrian territory.

      For half a century Syria has been largely silent about Israel’s occupation and settlement of the Golan Heights, probably because Syria was impotent to do anything about it.

      Syria is terrible at public relations. But putting the focus on its seized land — the Golan Heights — casts the US and Israel in the role of outlaw states in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 497. The Golan Heights, after all, belongs to Syria, not to the Israeli squatters and soldiers encamped on it.

      1. Andrew Watts

        For half a century Syria has been largely silent about Israel’s occupation and settlement of the Golan Heights, probably because Syria was impotent to do anything about it.

        None of that statement is true or even close to it. The Syrian government and media complains about the occupation all the time. Nor has the Israeli side been inactive diplomatically. On numerous occasions Israel has offered Syria a peace deal that included the return of the Golan Heights. I think the last offer was in 2002 but there hasn’t been a successful deal that’s ended the war between Syria and Israel.

        The Golan Heights, after all, belongs to Syria, not to the Israeli squatters and soldiers encamped on it.

        Voluntarily surrendering the high ground in the middle of a long running war isn’t a good idea. The settling of people just means that this war will exist in perpetuity. Which is probably the official Israeli perspective at any rate after all this time.

        1. Carolinian

          On numerous occasions Israel has offered Syria a peace deal that included the return of the Golan Heights. I think the last offer was in 2002

          Source? Links please.

          1. Andrew Watts

            Olmert ‘offers Golan Heights in peace deal’ – The Guardian

            I was wrong about the date. This story was actually from 2007 when an Italian newspaper La Republica conducted an interview with Bashar al-Assad. Assad claimed that peace was close and that Erdogan was acting as a diplomatic go-between.

            Israel isn’t giving up the Golan Heights while Syria is allied with Iran and Hezbollah.

            1. Andrew Watts

              It turns out I wasn’t wrong about the date. The peace talks between Israel and Syria unofficially began in 2004 and extended to 2007/8, but preliminary preparations were being made in 2002 when I first heard about them.

              There was also a last minute set of negotiations in 2010/2011 before the war erupted that reportedly included a Syrian offer to satisfy Israel’s demands but it didn’t go anywhere because informal peace talks were cancelled after the Israeli military raided the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara.


        2. Jim Haygood

          surrendering the high ground in the middle of a long running war

          This would be a clever double entendre in the counterfactual case that Israel actually had the moral high ground.

          Nice try though!

      2. Enquiring Mind

        From my handy User Guide to NYT Articles:

        Begin reading the article at the end to find the buried lede.
        If you want a full ration of the PC posturing and name-checking with a dash of virtue-signaling, continue up to the beginning.

        Whatever happened to those Who-What-When-Where-Why and How ideas that kids were once taught? Oh, yeah…

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I have stopped reading many magazine and newspaper articles that employ what is termed an anecdotal lede. An enticing and obscure title draws me into an article beginning with a lengthy human-interest story intended to continue my reading to where the article discusses what the title was supposed to be about. Human-interest stories seldom hold my interest and the ‘meat’ of the article related to the enticing title — if it can be found — leaves me wondering “Where is the Beef?”

      3. Bill Smith

        “Iran’s rocket attack against Israel came after what appeared to have been an Israeli missile strike against a village in the Syrian Golan Heights late on Wednesday.”

        Assuming it was Iran that ties in on the strike on the Kornet team.

        “The Israeli Iron Dome is inefficient and unable to protect Israel from rockets and missiles launched simultaneously.”

        It has worked fairly well when Hamas and others tried barrage rocket attacks out of Gaza. (Barrage here is defined as 10 – 20 rockets launched at the same time towards the same location.) I am not sure what the metric for efficiency is though. If it is the cost ratio between interceptor and intercepted that would sure be right. Particularly against machine gun fire :)

        Recent analysis of the data shows ‘fairly well’ to be about 75% success rate in successful interceptions of rockets fired into an area defended by Iron Dome. However a lot of those are fairly slow / homemade rockets.

        On the other hand if someone was to fire, say, 10 rockets with a small CEP against an Iron Dome battery itself, (have to know the location of the launchers) the likelihood of the battery not being damaged or worse is low. Putting radar homing warheads on some kind of guided rocket would severely comprise the system as the radars are easier to locate than the launchers.

  20. Andrew Watts

    RE: “Bureaucrats Versus Artists…”

    The idea that if our political leaders were given adequate information about a situation they’d make optimal solutions seems hopelessly idealistic or naively optimistic. The US operated without intelligence agencies and a maintained a shell of a military for much of it’s history with no issues. If anything the maintenance of a standing army and intelligence apparatus has endowed Washington with a false sense of security and confidence in their efforts that is completely unwarranted. The enduring presence of both hasn’t made the US more secure, or effective, either at home or abroad on foreign shores.

    The truth is that intelligence is an art best practiced by gifted eccentrics, people widely and deeply educated, favored by nature and training with intuition beyond the average and who care more for the truth than anything else.

    I found that part hilarious for obvious reasons.

    1. diptherio

      The idea that if our political leaders were given adequate information about a situation they’d make optimal solutions seems hopelessly idealistic or naively optimistic.

      I think the word you’re looking for is actually “moronic.” Calling that type of thinking “idealistic” or “optimistic” is like saying someone who walks off a cliff on the assumption that by flapping his arms he’ll be able to fly is being “optimistic.” It’s not. It’s just dumb.

      1. Andrew Watts

        I wouldn’t call anybody who dedicated their career to public service a moron. Colonel Lang is a lot of things but stupid isn’t one of them. His article was filled with a kind of wistful idealism. An unrealized version of the world in which we live in that seems attainable but always out of grasp. I empathize with that feeling.

    2. Olga

      I usually learn something from articles on P. Lang’s blog – but this was a bit much. The best part of it are the comments…

    3. jsn

      I’m afraid technological complexity requires institutional complexity with it. Our civilization has been on an apparently suicidal tear of technological development since about 1700.

      “The US operated without intelligence agencies and a maintained a shell of a military for much of it’s history with no issues.” While it’s Monroe Doctrine mission of expropriating native lands and displacing neighboring, corrupt imperial elites allowed the steady demographic and technological advance of the underlying capitalist system, with “primitive accumulation” offered to the common man through territorial expropriation, “markets” formed a society to the ideological form preferred by US elites. The mythologies deployed, primarily racism and laissez-faire capitalism, to color this raw expropriation made the system self policing for those within the ideological construct.

      First the Progressives under TR and then the New Dealers under FDR transformed this imperialist, expropriationist system into a popular democratic socialism that ensured growing standards of living for expanding portions of the overall national demographic, culminating with the world’s strongest middle class that finally delivered on Civil War emancipation with the Civil Rights acts of the 60s.

      This is the world of public service Pat Lang entered into around 1960. His idealism is residual of the high water mark of American civilization. To the extent that we want the internet, to the extent we want affordable food or transportation with out current demographic heft, institutional complexity will be required and Lang’s critique of how “managerialism” locks such necessary institutions into “the iron law” whereby “bureaucrats” defeat the “artists” (those who actually make and do) in any institutional mission is to my mind very important.

      Also, his idealism about what is necessary to defend such a civilization, where such a thing to be brought back into existence, will be a necessary component of any such attempt: the leftist base of both the Progressive movement and the New Deal were met with systematic violence by the conservative forces of imperialist capitalism, we should expect no different in the future, as todays link on Facebook surveillance highlights.

      Lang is certainly not a leftist, but he is sympathetic to the position that broad prosperity is the basis of national strength. Conservatives like him are necessary to defend a civilizations accomplishments. And if a system is to be built that can contain the social and environmental devastation of our resurgent imperialist, capitalist, expropriationist system, it will a truly conservative one that will require a great deal of idealistic violence: it will be met at every step, as it is already, with venal expropriationist violence.

      1. Andrew Watts

        There’s a lot of good stuff here so apologies for not having the time to reply to it all.

        First the Progressives under TR and then the New Dealers under FDR transformed this imperialist, expropriationist system into a popular democratic socialism that ensured growing standards of living for expanding portions of the overall national demographic, culminating with the world’s strongest middle class that finally delivered on Civil War emancipation with the Civil Rights acts of the 60s.

        It’s also an undeniable fact and discomforting to the left to admit that the New Deal forged the Army which would fight in World War II. The Civilian Conservation Corps got the men who would fight in the war into shape and ensured they weren’t undernourished. There is a direct correlation between inequality and the inability for most fighting age men to be qualified for the armed forces. Not to mention the effect that racial integration of the military had on the burgeoning Civil Rights movement.

        This is the world of public service Pat Lang entered into around 1960. His idealism is residual of the high water mark of American civilization. To the extent that we want the internet, to the extent we want affordable food or transportation with out current demographic heft, institutional complexity will be required and Lang’s critique of how “managerialism” locks such necessary institutions into “the iron law” whereby “bureaucrats” defeat the “artists” (those who actually make and do) in any institutional mission is to my mind very important.

        The duel between artists and ‘crats which ends in the crushing victory of the iron law seems like a prelude to disaster. The timid and self-serving behavior that underwrites our institutions is one of the reasons why they’re falling into the depths of disgrace and held in such growing contempt.

        Also, his idealism about what is necessary to defend such a civilization, where such a thing to be brought back into existence, will be a necessary component of any such attempt: the leftist base of both the Progressive movement and the New Deal were met with systematic violence by the conservative forces of imperialist capitalism, we should expect no different in the future, as todays link on Facebook surveillance highlights.

        I’m such a bitter and cynical idealist that I believe such a conflict isn’t inevitable but entirely unnecessary as well. The cynical aspect comes from the belief that most people are unknowingly spiraling towards that very outcome making said conflict inevitable. Hence my contemptuous denouncement of Balogun and people like him while maintaining a minimum amount of sympathy.

        Lang is certainly not a leftist, but he is sympathetic to the position that broad prosperity is the basis of national strength. Conservatives like him are necessary to defend a civilizations accomplishments. And if a system is to be built that can contain the social and environmental devastation of our resurgent imperialist, capitalist, expropriationist system, it will a truly conservative one that will require a great deal of idealistic violence: it will be met at every step, as it is already, with venal expropriationist violence.

        I don’t believe that conservatives or the right will receive or maintain a monopoly on renewing or saving our civilization from the many ordeals it’s plowed into. if anything they will continue to resort to their retreat into archaism which will only speed up it’s collapse. Nor do I believe that violence that is idealistically motivated, or otherwise, has any power of renewal. That idea sounds like a fascist myth emerging from a totalitarian-minded vision of the future.

        1. Wukchumni

          This was the 1936 usual daily fare @ the CCC camp nearby @ Cain’s Flat…

          “In 1936, a typical camp’s menu on one day was the following. Breakfast: bran flakes, fried ham and gravy, fried eggs, fried potatoes, hot cakes, butter toast, syrup, jam, coffee, milk, sugar. Lunch: vegetable soup, roast beef, brown gravy, assorted cold meats, mashed potatoes, cabbage slaw, creamed peas, lettuce salad, tomatoes, mince pie, doughnuts, coffee, milk, iced tea, buttermilk. Dinner: vegetable beef soup, roast pork and jelly, baked beef heart and dressing, German fried potatoes, steamed carrots, celery, cottage cheese, sliced beets, mince pie, cupcakes, coffee, milk, ice tea, buttermilk.”

    4. Oregoncharles

      “maintained a shell of a military for much of it’s history with no issues”
      You mean the British did NOT burn the Capitol in the War of 1812? The only battle the US won was New Orleans, AFTER the peace treaty was signed – but still, I believe, with significant effect.

  21. John

    Volcanic activity threatens geothermal plant

    Mess with Pele and you pay… sooner or later

    1. Arizona Slim

      Pele has already shown an appetite for cars, roads, and utility poles. A geothermal plant? That’s one of the main courses!

      1. newcatty

        Human hubris has always angered the goddesses. When we were at the Big Island I was awed by Pele’s powerful beauty. We saw women honoring her with silent invocations and offerings of a lei.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “This is one of the most unstable pieces of land on the entire planet, and they knew that,” said Robert Petricci, president of the Puna Pono Alliance watchdog group, who lives near the plant. “They built it anyway to make money.”

      From time to time, I see people hide beyond a progressive cause (for Gaia, or for equality, etc), for their own greed (or glory, ego, etc).

      Was it also the case here, that ‘We’re saving the planet with geothermal energy, don’t you dare to stop us’) argument was used to get their way (to, in this case, make money)?

    3. heresy101

      The Kochsucker article on the geothermal plant from the Jeff Bezos Rag is nothing but anti-renewable propaganda. Unlike the Geyers Geothermal in northern California (once through steam), the Ormat process is binary where hot steam comes up from the well goes through a heat exchanger and then is injected back into the well, which are sealed closed loop.

      One of the commenters describes the issues well:
      Let’s look at the science before we go of on a tangent of condemnation. The geothermal plant makes sense being where it is; the residential neighborhoods do NOT make sense where they are. Their location was, is and will continue to be foolish. The longest continually active volcano in the world is not a good place to live but it’s a good place to tap free energy.

      First, we build geothermal plants where there is geothermal energy. Geothermal energy comes from volcanic activity, even those in California which are not close to active volcanoes (we think). The one in Hawaii was built on the flank of a volcano because (wait for it) that’s where the energy is, and a lot of it.

      Pentane does not power wind turbines; the wind does. I don’t know how pentane would be used by a wind turbine at all. I hope the author meant to say “pentane powers the generator turbines in the plant.”
      Pentane is a low boiling point liquid used instead of water because it is more efficient than water at boiling and being recooled into a liquid repeatedly, and doesn’t corrode the pipes stuck down into the heated earth to extract the energy. “Because of their low boiling points, low cost, and relative safety, pentanes are used as a working medium in geothermal power stations in some blended refrigerants.” (wiki)
      Pentane as a gas will burn or explode. Exploding is bad. Burning pentane is likely to be extremely clean, producing CO2 an water. While the CO2 products of combustion would be additive to greenhouse gases, there should be no serious toxics produced. Pentane is a 5 carbon gas next to butane and propane, gases you burn in your backyard barbecue.

      One could question whether the geo facility was built too close to the volcano, but the only reason for geo plants is to capture underground heat.

      We may need 50MW of power around the clock in the next few years and a geothermal plant in northern Nevada from one of the binary geothermal companies would be ideal.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        We may need 50MW of power around the clock in the next few years and a geothermal plant in northern Nevada from one of the binary geothermal companies would be ideal”

        Where is the “we” in this sentence?

        1. heresy101

          Sorry there should have been quotes around “Let’s look .. and .. underground heat.”

          The “we” is a small northern California municipal utility that already gets a fair amount of power from the Geysers geothermal plants. The Geysers are all under contract and there is limited future generation because of the nature of the geothermal field.

      2. rd

        I agree that it makes far more sense to put easily abandoned geothermal plants around active volcanoes than subdivisions. Explosions are bad, but if nobody is around, what would it have mattered? Once the lava level goes down a bit more in the crater so it can interact with groundwater, they are likely to have steam-driven car-sized rocks flying through the air, which would make a one-off pentane explosion look likes child’s play…..

  22. dontknowitall

    On the shelf life of medications “rated shelf lives and maybe one or two years of OK effectiveness after that, max.” is not correct. According to the FDA/Dept. of Defense SLEP program:

    “Shelf-Life Extension Program (SLEP), a collaboration between the FDA and the Department of Defense that aims to reduce medication costs for the military. It has found that 88% of 122 different drugs stored under ideal conditions should have their expiration dates extended more than 1 year, with an average extension of 66 months, and a maximum extension of 278 months. The SLEP is extremely cost-effective; each dollar spent on it saves $13 to $94 in medication costs.”

    Unnecessarily short shelf life for many meds only helps pad the pharma industry bottom line at the expense of consumers.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This does not change the conclusion. It just means the meds supply will be exhausted due to use rather than loss of potency. It might move back the onset of “Little Home on the Prairie” as the norm by two years. Life without antibiotics will be nasty.

      1. Expat

        Lester Brown and the Group of Rome have been ridiculed for decades for being wrong when they were just too specific and slightly too pessimistic. Now anyone who cries “The sky is falling” is lumped into the same basket: water, air, fertile land, antibiotics, oil, food, climate change, meteorites, etc.
        I agree with Lon Chaney Jr’s Monster.

  23. Jean

    “Barely old enough to enter a bar Lewinsky”

    Now imagine if a slightly older Monica had the nerve and gumption to run for office after *That*?

    Kamala Devi Harris got her start in 1994 by having an affair with Willie Brown, who was serving as the California Assembly Speaker and then became the mayor of San Francisco.

    Brown was 60 years old and Harris was 29 when their affair finally became public knowledge. Harris was so brazen that she came out publicly as his date at his 60th birthday party, despite Brown’s wife of 36 years being in attendance. That’s fighting for the rights of women.

    Harris is a disaster in the making for the Democrats. Here’s what will be used against her:

    Job training for illegals?


          1. JBird

            Brown is the reason we have term limits as his opponents could not defeat him otherwise.

    1. whine country

      And when Willie Brown was not working in the Assembly or as Mayor he practiced law. Not many people know that his law practice business model was adopted by and forms the basis of Michael Cohen’s practice

    2. neo-realist

      I could see the GOP having a field day with this affair if Harris runs for the Presidency and gets into the general election—they might call her a Chocolate Courtney Stodden w/ a pantsuit.

  24. John

    Support Gina Haspel because she is a woman. Give me a break! She is a torturer! Did she do the deeds herself or look down smiling, as seems to be her default mode? How could I know? That would be classified as sensitive national security stuff. Isn’t it amazing how the really embarrassing words and actions must be veiled in secrecy? How can we support institutions. an administration, a government whose public face is a torturer? I suppose she will be confirmed. Why ? because Trump, because no stones, because being re-elected is more important than being able to live with yourself sober. Then again perhaps the yes voters in the Senate really do approve of torture despite all those years with John McCain among them. Is there a depth to which we cannot sink? Stay tuned.

    1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

      John & ‘further to sink’

      The history of the 20th century especially around 1933-1945 shows that there is much further to sink.

      It all depends on the whether the military drink the well-known cooling beverage as the wehrmacht did.

      When the politicians absolve themselves from all responsibility or are incapable for whatever reason, the military is perhaps your only hope – despite all appearances.

      Let us hope that they know and are prepared to act on their eminent responsibilities as the pillars of civilization.


    2. Arizona Slim

      Reminds me of stuff I used to read in Ms. Magazine. As in:

      She’s a woman! She’s the first woman to do [whatever]! Yay, woman!

    3. pretzelattack

      as somebody said, she is waterboarding the glass ceiling. and just enough democrats, champions of diversity, will support and help her achieve this monumental goal.

      1. newcatty

        A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle (did I remember that one right)?

        A woman without any moral compass of respect of and decency for other human beings is like a person without a conscience . I have a man in my life ,as a spouse and partner, so I guess that means that its really cool that that there are fish that have bicycles( I think I saw a sand trout on a tiny three wheeler in the dry riverbed last time I was walking along the Riallto in Tucson). Maybe Madeline Albright will keep a special place for Gina when the Gang`s all there.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Missile attacks reflect changing strategic landscape”

    I wonder if a grand deal can be made where the US, France and all the other odds & bods removes their occupation troops from Syria if Iran will move their troops back across the border to Iran. In such a deal everyone would come out a winner. Iran and the US save on all the costs of keeping troops there. Israel might be persuaded to back off a bit. Syria can get on with rebuilding their country while they mop up the remnants of the Jihadists still left. So, a win-win deal here?
    I somehow doubt it. The US is occupying a big chunk of the resources like oil, water & farmlands that Syria will need to rebuild itself with which is kinda the whole point of them being there. Turkey would have to eventually give up the land that it is occupying which would be anathema that to them. They are already supplying Turkish textbooks to the children in these areas which indicates that they want those lands forever. Without the US the Kurds would have to go back to their homelands which, when you think about it, might be wise when you consider what happened to Kurdish Iraq. This war isn’t over yet.

  26. KLG

    The takedown of the alcohol study that was published in The Lancet is good. But please keep in mind who and what constitutes the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), as if the name is not a dead giveaway: a front group originally funded by Scaife and Olin and now a minor but effective mouthpiece of the usual suspects…Think of “wise use” and “evidence based” as the obfuscations they have become.

    1. Ted

      Please also keep in mind that the entire industry is compromised. If you are shocked at the sources of funding for the American Council on Science and Health, I would encourage you to consider what entities fund most if not all academic research these days. And also consider that very powerful financial and psychological incentives are now in place for all researchers, editors, and publishers to overhype anything and eveything in order to drive sales of content and advertising (and invitations to fancy parties). People who buy into the “conservative sources of funding corrupt otherwise noble and innocent research” simply do not understand the political economy of knowledge production in its current form.

      1. KLG

        So, Ted, I think we probably agree on substance, but what is this “industry” and what are these “entities (that) fund most if not all academic research these days” of which you speak? I have been working in basic science (biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, molecular evolution) at every level since I was 19 years old and now I am just old. Anyway, as a biologist, I still feel 25 years old; there is something new to build upon every month. This is not unusual in biology, whatever the chemists and physicists and mathematicians believe.

        Yes, fundamental science is in crisis in the US. And yes, “discoveries” are hyped beyond all meaning. But that is largely because so much of the research community has gone from a somewhat benign approximation of Animal Farm (all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others) to an explicit recapitulation of Lord of the Flies, as public funding has decreased in real terms, by was much as 30-40% depending on agency and measurement methods over the past ~20-30 years. Previously it was always difficult to get your work funded by NIH, NSF, AHA, ACS, DOE, USDA. Your proposals had to be excellent (actually outstanding; the first rule of a grant applicant is to know that “excellent” really means “awful” and the toggle switch is simply who reviews the application). But back in the day the rule of thumb was: One-third of applications get funded, one-third will get funded, and one-third of applications are hopeless and will remain so. Now? Public funding of basic science has become a lottery, but one that is nevertheless skewed ever more severely towards the “more equal animals.” I have worked in places that are the benefit of this lottery and those that are not. It is better to have the benefit of the doubt because of where you work. But still, there is no objective difference between a grant proposal judged to be in the top 10% and another that comes in at 31%.

        So, society has a choice. You always get what you pay for, eventually. In the current regime, Program Directors in granting agencies have been forced (though willingly in many cases; it is good to play at god) to choose the “winners” ex ante. Unfortunately this cannot be done. In my field, NSF is all about big data and quantitative models, but this iteration of “Systems Biology” is no more likely to work than that evangelized by the early systems biologists who thought they were ascendant after WWII and through much of the 1950s, until the success of Molecular Biology as a discipline put them in the shade. As one of the Great Men of Biology through the entire 20th Century put it about these scientists (paraphrase): Lovely maths, inability to conceive of a meaningful hypothesis or experiment. Yeah, that about sums it up in 2018, too. But damn, look at all that big data! Terabytes galore! Be still my heart!

        As for “conservative sources of funding (that) corrupt otherwise noble and innocent research,” maybe. Maybe not. 30 years ago I worked on a very successful project developing new, more sensitive diagnostics based on purely basic research on how certain marine organisms glow in the dark. This was funded by one of the Big Five, at the time, pharmaceutical companies. I learned the relevant techniques at an independent research fully funded by that company, alas, defunct for about 20 years due to Big Pharma completely losing the plot. There was a first right to development of any products, but no restriction on publishing any and all results. Still, it is a fact that if you don’t look at the acknowledgments of a published scientific paper, you are not doing your due diligence. It is not accidental that cardiologists most enthusiastic about the “prophylactic” use of statins have been supported by Pfizer et al. Conflicts are taken seriously now, and that is a good thing, though in the deluge of digital hype this is sometimes lost in translation.

        But it is also not to be forgotten that the same basic research that led to the industry-supported research mentioned above was responsible for the discovery of one protein molecule that completely revolutionized the practice of cell biology. That work was funded by NIH and NSF because it asked a good question of natural history: How do marine invertebrates glow in the dark? The scientists who did the work were at academic institutions of every type. Simple question, somewhat complex answer, revolutionary discovery. How much are we missing now that that kind of research is anathema? The question answers itself.

        So, people will go where the money is, as they hang on by their fingernails, and increasingly the money has an interest in the results. That is not a matter of conservative, or other. It is simply a fact of life. And one more public good, in the larger sense, is vitiated beyond all meaning by market fundamentalism.

        1. makedoanmend

          Thanks for the insights KLG (and the other contributors). The last sentence says it all. Says it all about everything any more, actually.

          (Biology is the best!)

        2. jsn

          That last paragraph is pretty fatalistic. Money is mankind’s most effective and persistent myth, all the others, religion, economics etc. are just window dressing. Money is a man made construct we all bow down to for permission as if it existed in any form but our collective imagination.

          Good government has always and everywhere been government that deploys the incentive power of the money myth of the collective good of the governed society.

          Where it fails to do so, that society shortly ceases to exist. This is what we are witnessing now in the Anglosphere West with our other Western allies watching in slack jawed horror: we’ve conceded to Mammon all power over society despite Mammon/money being nothing but an empty signifier. It has been different in the past, it can be different again in the future.

      2. clarky90

        We live in a World of “Fake Knowledge”. It is cooked up by “Bought (fake) Academics”. After being baked and packaged; the Fake Knowledge is rushed, via broadband, to the many “distribution centers” of the MSM, Facebook, Google…. to be crammed down the throats (into the brains) of the hungry consumers of junk-thought.

        Would you like to super size your CV with a Nobel-Prize? They are on sale!!!

  27. The Rev Kev

    “What’s a safe distance between us and a supernova?”

    How about moving to the Delta Quadrant if one goes off nearby.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      That link reminded me of the Arthur C. Clarke’s short story “The Star.”

  28. Ted

    Re: Lancet alcohol study

    The authors seem to be surprised that suddenly scientists, journalists and journal editorial staffs are hyping nothing burgers (to wit: being an alcoholic will significantly shorten your life! … and … duh!)

    As a soon to be exiting journal editor and career minded academic, I can report my experience that these three (authors, editors, publishers, and journos) are natural co-consipirators in the neoliberal game of getting eyeballs on content in the hope that it will lead to rising citation and other metrics of “impact.” (Which in turn generates the secret sauce of profitability for all three groups). Over-hyping one’s otherwise mediocre accomplishments or findings is the new normal in academia, and the publishing of academic work by large publication houses is at the moment one of the most profitable businesses in the world.

    I suspect everyone knows this, which may be why I often hear this tune being hummed around the hall ways (for seam reason most loudly near the dean’s office and at academic conferences.

  29. Wukchumni

    Never been in a legal 420 establishment in California before, and must admit I felt like a kid in a cannabis store, they must’ve had a hundred strains on display.

    They offer free delivery with a minimum purchase, which is $60 worth of Rx FOB here, and they deliver as far away as Porterville and up towards the border with Fresno County (as 420 draconian of a place as one can imagine in the golden state) and forgive for comparing them to pizza delivery guys, but the combination of the 2 sounds like kismet.

      1. Wukchumni

        Looking @ my receipt, the city MJ tax was $4.20, funny that.

        I’d imagine you tip the delivery guy in Twinkies, right?

        1. ambrit

          Unless he was a ‘Twinkie.’
          Butt, I digress.
          “Gee thanks mister! I already got my papers!”
          “Now, drive careful sweetcheeks.”
          “Ok sir! I got my eyes on the road and my hands upon the wheel!”

  30. Katz

    The Nation’ Names Atossa Araxia Abrahamian Senior Editor The Nation.

    Abrahamian is a she!

  31. The Rev Kev

    “US offers to help rebuild N Korea economy if it denuclearises”

    I wonder if that rebuilding might include special heavy railway lines, mining facilities and a well-developed port. North Korea may be dirt-poor but it turns out that they are sitting on $US6 trillion to $US10 trillion of mineral wealth which includes “reserves of more than 200 mineral types distributed over 80% of its territory with ten reserves recording large deposits of magnetite, tungsten ore, graphite, gold ore, and molybdenum” as well as rare-earth metals. The place is a cornucopia of mineral wealth that has a lot of people salivating. Trouble is, the locals are too tough to be brushed aside and the wealth stolen like in earlier times.

    1. Synapsid

      Rev Kev,

      You could replace “North Korea” with “Afghanistan” and the comment would be just as valid.

  32. IronForge

    1) Yves, may I suggest changing “Syraqistan” to “Issaudsyraqistanranmen” or “MENA ClusterMuster” to better represent the conflicts the USA Military and MIC are involved in? ^_^

    2) IANAL; but Mister Ray McGovern should have hired a Lawyer and filed a Petition to Testify as a Friend of Congress (like the way the One of the Taliban Leadership did). He didn’t expose anything there. He was rounded up and removed like a Punk Heckler. He may scored some points with DemocracyNow! Viewers and Campus Radicals; but I believe there were far better ways to get a Case Presented before Congress and “We the People”.

    I concur with the Retired General and Flag Officers’ Petition to have Ms Haspell rejected as Director. The entire Interrogation Scheme need to be reigned in. Comprehensive Review and some form of Accountable Due Process should be mandated.

    I State this as a Veteran and Son of a Veteran. The Commanding Officer of my first Command (Navy Prep) was a Hanoi Hilton Guest POW, my Battalion Officer there was (then-Major) Defense Secretary Mattis, and my Late HS Coach and Mentor (I was a Football Co-Capt/Wrestling Capt) was a WWII Mustang LCol of the Green Beret.

    1. pretzelattack

      what more effective ways? an article at consortium news? filing a petition that will be rejected while this farce of a hearing goes on and torture is rewarded, instead of speaking out, is not mcgovern’s style. blaming him instead of the senators that won’t ask the questions, or the gutless cops that took the 78 year old down while shouting “stop resisting” is pretty low.

    2. JTMcPhee

      “Building a consensus against.” That’s what us mopes can do. As best we can, swimming upstream against the flood tide of money and profit and BS and lies from the organs of state security…

      I personally prefer, as a name for the category tied most closely to the “longest war (or whatever the activity can be most accurately called) in US history,” let’s all call it “Notagain?istan.”

      1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

        Re. Notagain?istan:

        Perhaps you could go with: ‘Here-We-Blithely-Go-Again-Istan’.

        Milo Minderbinder says put him in for 0.0000000000000000000000000001 percent whatever it is.


  33. IronForge

    Forgot to mention – the LCol has a Son who Served in the Vietnam Theater, and spent some time as a POW.

  34. Otis B Driftwood

    Found human excrement in my little garden at the front of my house this morning. That’s a first for me, but hardly uncommon in this area nowadays. I have a tiny 50 sf garden that I planted with hopseed and lavender and mulch spread around them to discourage weeds, and that is where I found the poop. My home in this formerly working class San Francisco east bay community is small by any standard, but it is nevertheless valued at $1M – 4 times what I paid for it 20 years ago, a distant past now as these were the days when homes were affordable and destitute, desperate people weren’t camped out beneath the overpasses and on the backstreets of industrial areas.

    1. John k

      I just came back from a three day stay, I seem to get good weather when I visit. Saw a large pile at an inset doorway.
      Wonder if cities could get together, build inland communities for homeless in low cost areas, give them jobs within the community… would they go?
      All the cities have armies of homeless.

      1. newcatty

        All the cities have armies of homeless.

        The two examples of seeing human excrement in a home garden and a doorway is as profound and startling concrete evidence of the degradation of the common good in USA. I know what you mean by calling the large number of homeless “armies”. Would the armies be shepparded or marched into built communities? Would guess that many would. The fact that the underlying causes of the large number of destitute people living in streets and are not being addressed by our feudal lords and ladies. Let them eat cake scrounged from a dumpster. Oh…any businesses have cracked down on that…Its unseemly. And, dumpster diving is also a cool art, for some. From what IRC homeless people are not the “hobos”, “outcasts” and “throw away” people of ago, only. Now, there have always been”mentally ill” among them. Its now a significant number of populations. Why is this? Shelters have seen a big increase in women and often families. Runaway kids are on the upswing…

        1. ambrit

          Well, I can testify that ‘Dumpster Diving,’ a sport I used to excel at, is indeed illegal. Why? As the policewoman patiently explained to me, the contents of a dumpster are the legal property of the company that owns said dumpster. She let me off with a warning. She wouldn’t tell me who had called me in. Probably for the best.

            1. ambrit

              I was shaken but not stirred. There was no bond required.
              Luckily I didn’t try a “doppel gainer” or there would have been a respectable “dumpster fire.” If the incident had happened today, the police report would have said; “..dumpster fired upon.”

    2. sd

      Be very very careful of not getting CDiff (Clostridium difficile) from the poop. Especially if the donor was recently a resident in any kind of medical facility. If you get water diarrhea, you need to get your stool tested asap.

    3. Wukchumni

      The closest homeless I see are in Visalia, and none here that i’ve noticed, and I wonder how it plays on the minds of homeowners in the Big Smokes that are inundated with LairBnB types milling around all the time. When I see the milieu from a passing car @ 40 mph, i’m more of a voyeur, wondering what’s the story with the woman in her mid 20’s begging on the corner of Lover’s Lane (a real street name, by the way) hoisting a cardboard sign, you used to never see solo homeless females not all that long ago, or the pudgy couple that decided to hang out with all their worldly goods in the loading dock in the back parking lot of a defunct business. They’re new to the game as they easily have 8-10 shopping cart loads worth, and that ain’t gonna work. Gotta pare it down to 1 ‘borrowed’ tumbrel per.

      And one thing about California homeless, they all have bitchin’ tans.

    4. Wukchumni

      Another question to those living among our caste-aways…

      Do you ever give thought to beating a path out of dodge, equity refugee style, for somewhere else?

      1. ambrit

        I’m not there yet, but I’d guess that there are two main constraints.
        1) Location, location, location. Good panhandling areas are few and far between.
        2) Back to the land requires an institutional ‘memory’ no longer available to the ‘average’ westerner. How many of us can skin a rabbit and cook it over an open fire? Dig a well? Build a camo shelter? Grow anything?
        As for your loading dock squatters. Several years ago, police in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, busted a small crew that was using the abandoned warehouse space in a Katrinaized Winn Dixie store for a meth lab.
        A new mandatory set of high school classes should be: “Hobo Mechanics,” “Homeless Tech,” “Streetcorner Sales,” “Self Promotion” and “The Art of the Steal.”

  35. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Uber Stumbles in Lengthy CFO Search Ahead of IPO Wall Street Journal. Under Sarbanes Oxley, the CEO and CFO have to personally certify the financials.

    As a flying car company, it would be innovative and disrupting to offer flying shares for their upcoming iPO.

    “These shares will fly.”

  36. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    This report from the Center for Biological Diversity is eye opening for more than the obvious reason – pesticide use is allowed in wildlife refuges. The another reason, which I had no idea was going on, is that non-organic agriculture is allowed in the wildlife refuges. Really disgusting.
    This is the pdf report.

    Wildlife or wild people, non-wildlife or non-wild people, in refuges or apartments or homes, organic agriculture should be the default.

    Why do we want to only allow it (organic ag) in wildlife refuges? Aren’t humans as precious (but not more) as wildlife?

      1. newcatty

        An important revelation of the report is that commercial agriculture is being allowed in wildlife refuges. Why is that even existing in public commons? Then to exacerbate the inevitable disruption to the purposeof having wildlife refuges, poisonous pesticides are used with impunity and are ruinous of the ecological status of the habitat for the very life that is to be preserved and protected.
        This is one of the most important reports to be in the public

  37. Lee

    Naturally occurring bacteria that eat antibiotics could be a human health boon. Hmmm

    Ten years ago, Dr. Gautam Dantas had one of those rare moments you hear about in science—a serendipitous discovery. He and his colleagues were trying to kill some bacteria they had collected from soil. So, naturally, they tried knocking them out with some antibiotics.

    They were unsuccessful. The soil bacteria were resistant to the drugs—but the bacteria ate the very antibiotics that were meant to kill them. The discovery came as a shock to Gautam, now Professor of Pathology and Immunology at Washington University in St. Louis, and he says it changed the course of his career.

    1. polecat

      Malcolm: “Life .. finds a way. ”

      And to paraphrase Obi Wan: “these aren’t the bacteria your looking for.”

      1. Lee

        What if microbes are in fact the apex predators. Then we are just melodramatic germ meat. There is no escaping the food web. I think I’ll get some revenge before they get me by having
        a grilled cheese for lunch. ; )

  38. Massinissa

    Everything in the Guardian article about the black activist was startling, but this in particular caught my eye:

    “The FBI, Keighley said, learned of the protest from a video on Infowars, a far-right site run by the commentator Alex Jones, known for spreading false news and conspiracy theories.

    The reference to Infowars stunned Balogun: “They’re using a conspiracy theorist video as a reason to justify their tyranny? That is a big insult.””

    The FBI watch Infowars? Is it because theyre trying to track right wing extremism like the kind occasionally espoused by Alex Jones, or is it because some members of the FBI like to watch his show and believe at least some of it?

    The latter explanation absolutely terrifies me.

    And Im not even sure the first explanation is plausible: Do the FBI agents monitoring right wing groups also monitor these so called ‘black identity extremists’? Shouldnt that be handled by a different group of agents? Do FBI agents monitoring different kinds of groups share pertinent information with each other? I have no idea how these kinds of things work.

    Though I suppose government agents believing an anti-government conspiracy theorist television show is somewhat contradictory, but its not contradictory enough to fully allay my fears…

    1. ambrit

      This is old hat.
      For real scary stuff, look into Janet Renos’ tenure as Attorney General. Yet another ‘gift’ that Bill Clinton threw at us.
      Think Waco.

      1. Wukchumni


        For me the moment of zeitgeist came a few years prior, when I was hanging out @ a friend’s business in Toluca Lake doing something I almost never do, watching daytime tv, when just a few miles away, the North Hollywood bank robbery was going on, and watched the whole shootout outside thing go down as it happened unedited in all it’s gory, and it was clear the coppers were outgunned, and thus begat the polizeye version we’re all too familiar with now.

        1. Lee

          Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas on HBO is worth checking out. Some of it is available on youtube.

          In his most recent episode he interviews one of the cops, along with his wife, that was involved in the LA bank robbery shootout. He suffered profound ptsd and stated that several officers also involved in the incident committed suicide not long after the event.

    2. Dita

      I suspect it is the latter explanation – some FBI members watch his show and have the power to act on it. We have a president also who clearly was a fan of Gatestone Institute (Bolton), Brussels Journal, Gates of Vienna, JihadWatch….

  39. marym

    Donnelly a “yes” on Haspel. Not to worry though, he had a “tough, frank, and extensive” discussion with her. Dems are worthless.

    1. allan

      If Donnelly (or Joe Manchin) think he’s going to get even a single Republican voter to support him
      because of this, or his earlier vote for Pompeo, he’s an idiot.

  40. ambrit

    Another submission for the ‘Zeitgeist Watch’ department.
    Yet another b— s— ‘job’ offer on my local craigslist:
    So, the ‘micro-entrepreneur’ supplies everything physical needed to carry out the job, and then has to wait for payment for services rendered. Plus, cover all his or her incidental expenses.
    Could this qualify as a ‘pyramid scheme?’ Or, let’s be frank, rent extraction gone wild.
    Is this a ‘short’ of ‘poverty (TM)?’

      1. ambrit

        The comrade worker here is the secondary, perhaps the tertiary, middle man in the activity! As seasoned strugglers for sanity know full well, such a position is ripe for exploitation. The “pivot person” in any circle is jerked around. I know this fundamentally.

  41. Oregoncharles

    “Pesticide Use on Crops Grown in Refuges Spikes in California, Oregon, Arkansas, Tennessee, Maryland Center for Biological Diversity. ”
    Of direct personal relevance, since we spend a lot of time at the refuges that are strewn up and down the Willamette Valley. They’re refuges for people, as well as wildlife. Our town is bracketed by a couple of them; one in particular is a favorite hiking and wildlife viewing area. I’m relieved to see the WV refuges didn’t make the Worst 5 list, but they nonetheless harbor commercial agriculture. In the Valley, that’s mostly grass seed production, which makes considerable sense: the primary clients are geese, and geese eat grass, which actually grows in the winter when they’re here. But that doesn’t mean they don’t use herbicides – 2, 4D is used specifically to kill broadleaf weeds in grass. I think I’ll ask the nearest refuge what is used there.

    Last year we saw an unexpected feature of grass production in the refuge: flying hay. Literally; there were clumps of hay drifting through the air, quite high up. It was in late summer, when the grass has been cut and is drying in the fields. I assume there was a dust devil (mini-whirlwind) that lofted some of it hundreds of feet up – we used binoculars to solve the mystery. Though surrounded by grass seed fields, the refuge is the only place I’ve seen it flying.

  42. Oregoncharles

    ” A humpback whale nudged this diver out of harm’s way to save her from a nearby shark:”
    I’d seen that one; truly amazing. Mammal solidarity?

    I think the real explanation is that they welcome any opportunity to frustrate sharks. But it may well have thought that she was a friendly presence, so worth protecting.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      There is a lot of evidence of dolphins being altruistic, like helping exhausted swimmers stay at the surface so they don’t drown. Humpbacks rarely get close to people but maybe we’d observe more altruism if they did.

      But yes, I could see “Screw that shark” as a motive.

  43. UserFriendly

    The Nation’ Names Atossa Araxia Abrahamian Senior Editor The Nation. UserFriendly points out that he is an MMT advocate.


  44. Expat

    I love the offer to rebuild North Korea. Like we rebuilt Iraq, Afghanistan, or Libya? America destroyed North Korea in the first place.
    Personally, I think the North Koreans would be nuts to trust America and doubly nuts to believe anything Trump says. If they surrender, they will be rounded up and turned over to Gina the Queen of Not Torturing Unless They are More Evil Than US Haspel.
    If 35% of a country contained a deadly, incurable disease that threatened the entire world, I think the US would bomb the entire country to contain that disease. But what do you do when the disease is called Trumpism?

  45. freedeomny

    Re the Black activist jailed for FB posts – NO – I have not seen this anywhere. And WTF but I find this article really scary.

  46. freedeomny

    How the online left fuels the right – the link doesn’t open for me as I don’t have a subscription….but would love to read the article. Any help would be appreciated :)

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      NYT gives you 10 free articles a month.

      Its algo isn’t very smart, so if you use a different browser, you get 10 more free articles.

  47. Wukchumni

    We and another couple decided to go to NZ for a month next year, and I walked the Milford Track in the early 90’s and it was spectacular, and would like to do it again. It’s wildly popular and we’ll be going around the peak time as far as lack of rain goes, as one thing that really separates the Sierra Nevada and say a hut-to-hut hike such as the Routeburn Track, is you’re pretty much guaranteed clear weather on the former, whereas if you’re walking though clouds and rain on the latter and can’t hardly see in front of you, forget about the amazing scenery-it doesn’t exist, you could do that in Topeka instead.

    Hard to arrange the weather 9 months out though.

  48. Daryl

    > Holy shit; huge. Law enforcement have access to a system that can geolocate almost any phone in the US; the system doesn’t really check if the officer has legal authority to do so. One officer allegedly used to spy on judges, other law enforcement

    Should I be more concerned that the cops have this, or marketers? Neither is really very consoling.

    1. ambrit

      Definitely worry about the cops first. Marketers don’t, so far, track you down and kill you.

  49. Dugh

    Illinois public pensions:

    Get this, which is part of the Fed’s reasoning: “New taxes wouldn’t affect people thinking of moving to Illinois. While they would have to pay higher property taxes, that would be offset by not having to pay as much for their new homes. In addition, current homeowners would not be able to avoid the new tax by selling their homes and moving because home prices should reflect the new tax burden quickly.”

    How clever :(

    So the average, private sector working stiffs, many whom have probably seen their pensions and benefits gutted and pocketed by corporate predatory vampires, get stuck with the added cost burden of government failure and poorly planned, bloated pensions that are impossible to keep and were never on sound financial footing.

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