Links 6/12/18

On a Wing and a Song—Bats Belt Out High-Pitched Tunes to Woo Mates Scientific American

Vollgeld defeat comes as a relief to central bankers FT. Speaking of bats…

Malady mongers: How drug companies sell treatments by inventing diseases Yahoo News

Daimler Trucks lowers expectations on self-driving tech FT. Note: “Mr Musk told shareholders last week that “fully-enhanced self-driving” in its passenger cars would be available in a couple of months.” Wrong. Musk tweeted “we will begin to enable full self-driving features,” whatever that means.

Domino’s Pizza unveils U.S. infrastructure project filling potholes Yahoo Finance. Oh for pity’s sake.

North Korea

Trump and Kim sign ‘comprehensive’ document to end summit The Hill. “[T]he contents of which remain unknown.” Frankly, I’m surprised Bolton allowed anything to be signed.

Trump-Kim summit: Two leaders promise to forge a new partnership WaPo

Commentary: Make DPRK-U.S. summit starting point for nuclear-free, peaceful peninsula Xinhua

Feature: North Korea peace deal could reshape Russian gas export priorities S&P Global

Why Do Democrats Want to Sabotage North Korea Talks? Counterpunch (EM).

Trump’s unlikely allies on North Korea talks — progressive Democrats McClatchy

In pictures: Donald Trump meets Kim Jong Un FT

From Little Rocket Man to denuclearization: A timeline of US-North Korea relations under Kim Jong Un Deutsche Welle

Tearful Rodman claims vindication for Kim ties Agence France Presse. While hawking his coin operation his T-shirt, I am sad to say.

The Hard Part for Trump: Making North Korea Keep Its Summit Promises WSJ. And vice versa, surely, given that the United States is not agreement-capable.

This Is Bigger Than a Meeting With Kim Jong Un Defense One

Trump’s Creative Destruction of the International Order Foreign Policy

Donald Trump’s New World Order The New Yorker


US opens new $255m de facto embassy in Taiwan FT

China’s Undocumented Filipino Housekeepers Eke Out Risky Living Sixth Tone

Andhra Pradesh to become India’s first Zero Budget Natural Farming state UN Environment

New Cold War

There’s actually lots of evidence of Trump-Russia collusion Matthew Yglesias, Vox

Soft Power Irrussianality

Trump Transition

Kudlow hospitalized for heart attack, Trump tweets ahead of Kim summit CNN

GOP scolds Trump team for feud with Canada Politico

G7: the most honest summit – ever! The Interpreter. From the heart of the Australian national security establishment….

Sessions: Victims of domestic violence will not qualify for asylum Axios

Mick Mulvaney changed the CFPB’s sign to BCFP Vox

Judge in Emoluments Case Questions Defense of Trump’s Hotel Profits NYT

Democrats in Disarray

Bernie Sanders was right, and Democrats are running on his message. But will the party listen? NBC. Some Democrats.

City must pay at least $1B to fix NYCHA nightmare after feds cite Daily News reports exposing the agency’s lies on housing conditions NY Daily News

Supreme Court’s conservative justices uphold Ohio’s voter purge system Vox

Net Neutrality

Washington State Is Now the Only Place in America with Net Neutrality Vice

Net Neutrality Loss Could Rekindle ISP Alternatives for Internet Access Scientific American. If only one of them could serve Yves’ apartment!

How Net Neutrality Actually Ended Long Before This Week NYT

Health Care

‘More independent rural hospitals will seek some type of affiliation with a larger hospital.’ Modern Health Care

Farmers already at higher risk of suicide face pressure from tariffs MPR News

Police State Watch

Police framed a teen for four burglaries so chief could tout perfect clearance rate, prosecutors say Washington Post

New York Gang Database Expanded by 70 Percent Under Mayor Bill de Blasio The Intercept

Imperial Collapse Watch

Army to issue updated chemical protective suits for toxic command climates Duffel Blog

Class Warfare

Worker testifies that Tesla stopped him from organizing union Reuters

Seattle City Council to consider repeal of head tax less than a month after approving it Seattle Times. That was fast.

A Tale Of Two Tonys The American Conservative

Before Colin Kaepernick, There Was Eartha Kitt Medium (GF). GF: “I hadn’t heard this story before even though I was part of the protest generation in 1968. It is amazing!”

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. fresno dan

    Trump and Kim sign ‘comprehensive’ document to end summit The Hill. “[T]he contents of which remain unknown.” Frankly, I’m surprised Bolton allowed anything to be signed.

    rephrased as: A summit for carrying on an undertaking of great advantage … but nobody to know what it is.
    Deja vu all over again….

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think we have to wait and see with this. I’m entirely in two minds about this – its entirely possible that Trump is determined to humiliate Obama and the Dem establishment by doing a deal with North Korea – essentially declaring victory on the basis of Kim not rocking the boat (i.e. not launching any missiles and maintaining the fiction of discussing nuke disarmament) for a few years, so Trump can focus on other things.

      The other theory is that he is setting things up for a failure which can be blamed on Kim – by, for example, setting out conditions NK can’t possibly agree to, and using this as an excuse for military action.

      Either are possible, only time will tell. I do hope its the first.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        It’s also entirely possible that Trump, like so many other americans, wants peace instead of endless war, and all the cacaphony surrounding his presidency has been concocted by those whose power and finances depend on peace never happening.

        His campaign “promise” to “get along” better with other countries was one of the big reasons he was elected president of this war-weary country, and landed him in the hot water he’s been in since before his inauguration.

        While many of us have “hoped,” for decades, that foreign policy would involve diplomacy instead of destruction, it was almost impossible to imagine what that would look like. Maybe this is it, and it’s been so long that we can’t even recognize it.

        1. Samesame

          Kim Trump Bolton

          The document

          Point 2 sounds like implementing the Washington Consensus. The people of NK say hello to the Oligarchs. Your life will be crap going forward too.

          “United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-up negotiations, led by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo”
          – maybe Bolton scores high on the marshmallow test and can wait a few months to start the bombing. Pompeo delivers the same kind of ridiculous list of demands of total capitulation as to Iran and then the bombings start

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think Bolton has to be there, because you have to keep your adversaries close (or closer).

            And Trump likes to keep his cards close. Precisely because of that, he has to have someone like Bolton nearby, lest the warmongers make a wrong guess and act rashly.

            That’s my guess.

            1. oh

              I’d like to see Bolton promoted to Chief of Security at Guantanamo, where he will test all aspects of security as an insider. This will be a permanent position.

        2. IdahoSpud

          Indeed. Thanks for putting so eloquently some of the thoughts that have been rolling around in my head. One would hope establishing a more friendly dialogue with N. Korea would be seen as a good thing. Is it only a good thing if someone from the “establishment” class does it?

          1. Aumua

            I’m somewhat positive about it, but that is very much tempered by the fact that we’re dealing with Trump here, where every sane looking, rational move is followed up by an even more insane, irrational move.

        3. JTMcPhee

          Katniss— yeah, what you said. Though of course there are a lot of other moving parts and “interests” and pressures to do Moar Stupid, all the time (until some Red Button Black Swan event, of course.) In the meantime, burn more coal and buy a 7,000 pound truck and use our gasoline-powered ‘yard blowers” to blast our grass clippings and cigarette butts and dog poop onto our neighbors’ yards and into the streets where it will clog the storm sewers and stuff…

          Not so sure that this is a “war-weary country,” going by the rah-rah crap from deplorables and even “liberals” to the effect that “Trump did not GET ENOUGH from Kim.” “We’re the EMpire, and we say what goes, if only our Emperor had the Right Stuff! (Who cares that we mopes are bleeding out, left and right, as long as the Imperial Power Rules The World, and we can make everyone else Say Uncle!)”

        4. PlutoniumKun

          If he wanted peace instead of war then why on earth has he thrown away the Iran deal? Thats throwing a lot of fuel on the Middle East fire.

          Not to mention he hasn’t reined in his Saudi buddies from turning Yemen into a death zone.

          1. johnnygl

            I suspect the answer isn’t that trump wants peace, but a atrategic shift, and maybe a tactical one, too.

            Trump wants regime change in iran and he wants to encircle china. Cutting a deal with russia and n korea make sense in this framework.

            Perhaps dems would rather cut a deal with iran and bring regime change to n korea???

            1. ChrisFromGeorgia

              I’m a little surprised that so many think that “regime change” would work in N. Korea. My guess is that it’s an empty threat.

              For one thing, if it failed so miserably in Syria, which is surrounded by countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel that were essentially U.S. neo-con puppet regimes funneling weapons and aid to the regime changers, why would it have a prayer in North Korea which has only the South to worry about? And quite a nice deterrent in all those conventional artillery bastions pointed at Seoul.

              The neo-cons seem to have succeeded in one sense – they have built an image of themselves as way more competent in the minds of the masses than in reality.

              I also suspect that Bolton may playing more of a “bad cop” role and not so much interested in regime change, at least in N. Korea. He is after all a paleo-con and I think we might want to at least entertain the idea that he is up to something else besides the usual “bomb ’em into the stone age” routine. Perhaps a break in the action there might free up resources to focus on another enemy …

                1. Procopius

                  Me too. Isn’t he one of the original signers of PNAC? And he certainly worked hand in glove with the other neocons in pushing us into the war in Iraq. He still claims Saddam had WMD.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                I think everybody in the Beltway has something on somebody else, and somebody else has something on them. It’s the way of the world. (That’s what not only oppo, but the intelligence community are for. Not to mention constant surveillance by corporations.

                So, since “home movies” are a constant factor for/among all elites, we can simply discard them from our analysis, rather like crossing out terms on both sides of an equation.

              2. False Solace

                Maybe you just get more from being nice to dictators and nasty to leaders of pseudodemocracies.

              3. Procopius

                “… complete give away.” Hello? What was given away? The statement looks to me like completely meaningless statements strung together.

          2. Carolinian

            Not long ago Trump was threatening to unleash nukes on NK. While you say an attack is still possible that seems increasingly unlikely given recent events.

            So the same could be true of Iran where consequences of an attack could crash the world economy. Some have claimed his rejection of the Iran deal was simply a payback to his big donor Adelson. The goal for Trump and likely Bibi as well is to keep Iran weak and isolated rather than start a new war that would be a disaster for everyone. Even George W. Bush refused to go along with Cheney’s desire to attack Iran. They thought attacking Iraq would be a cakewalk. Nobody thinks that about Iran–especially the Pentagon.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Though of course “The Pentagram” is always looking for that Unanswerable Weapon System that will let the generals, plopped in their ergonomic chairs at their consoles where they Manage Battlespaces ™, to finally achieve “full spectrum dominance” over the whole freakin’ planet, “ex centrum terram ad astrae.”

              The assumption that there are Wise Generals and Colonels who will oppose and halt really insane military and geopolitical actions and initiatives by the Imperial Bubble is totally wishful thinking, from my view as a follower of “military policy.” A view built over the decades since I got my own eyes opened to the incompetence, idiocy and corruption of the imperial military and its contractors, from my enlistment therein and seeing what “war, the enterprise,” really is “on the ground,” and from keeping track of as much of the motions and foolishness of the globalized war machinery as I could stomach, and a bit more, from what is “publicly available.”

              We mopes should not comfort ourselves that there is any significant restraint on the the thrust to dominate, the looting that is the war machinery, and the kinds of vectors and impulses and incentives that let the sociopaths and full-on-psychos and bland careerists end up at the top of the “chain of command,” that is effectively wrapped around the limbs and necks of the rest of us… and busily making “good-paying jobs” and vastly overpaid executive paydays out of war-gaming and laying out “scenarios on scenarios on scenarios” ad infinitum, and “detecting threats” while busily creating ‘threats” of their own, and weaponizing virtually everything, paid for out of all the wealth that might otherwise give our species, and so many others, a chance to have all of us live a decent life.

              1. Carolinian

                My impression is that for the Colonels and Generals these days is that it’s all about the bennies. Why rock the gravy train with a serious war? They like full employment wars like Afghanistan where they can pretend to be doing something without stirring up too much public attention.

            2. Procopius

              My hope is that Mattis managed to explain to Trump that a war with PDRK would almost certainly turn nuclear quickly, and a nuclear war is exactly equivalent to fighting a duel with hand grenades in a telephone booth.There’s even a risk of war with Iran turning nuclear, although they don’t have nuclear weapons. I believe that when the casualty reports started coming home Trump would decide he has to push his big red button.

          3. oh

            Trump probably made a deal with Kim for him to show up at the summit. Trump gets the PR and Kim gets the money.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              That’s how it works in the TV industry, assuming Kim is the star of the moment.

              Still, sometimes, you get flops, and some other times, blockbusters.

        5. johnnygl

          It’s also possible he wants to minimize other commitments and possible flashpoints so he can focus on his preferred target….Iran.

          His schizophrenic Syria policy makes a little more sense in the context of focusing on Iran.

          Although, Pence and Rubio really seem to have it in for Venezuela, but i’m not sure Trump cares.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Between a man and a woman quarreling often, and a man and a woman who is not aware of the former’s existence (or the other way around), my guess, from watching a lot of romance movies, is the former two are more likely to bond.

            Giving Kim was shooting missiles and detonating only a few months earlier, to scare the world and infuriate Trump, I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

            We will see if the plot develops similarly between Iran and the Angela Merkle’s staring contest opponent.

            “Those kids. Minutes ago, they were screaming at each other and now, they are heading to Las Vegas.”

            1. JTMcPhee

              “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” unfortunately. Along with the Casinos, the hotels, and the money… Trump is a bit player in the rackets, is all… Adelson and Kochs and Murdoch and Dimon and the Clintons and so many others are way ahead in the game.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I know of a lot of couples here in Los Angeles took what happened in Vegas back to their new homes (or apartments) in the Southland.

        6. Geo

          Well said.

          It’s obvious the “smart people” either weren’t up to the job of building peaceful relationships with “enemies”, or more likely, their job was to enable turmoil as it’s more profitable.

          The so-called “Deep State” has a long track record of sowing turmoil and hostilities around the globe and their cheerleaders and financiers in the media and congress seem to brand Trump as the anti-Christ except when he’s dropping bombs and suddenly he’s “very presidential”.

          There are many, many terrible things about Trump from his domestic policies to his personal profiteering to his abhorrent personality, but I’m saddened that I agree with his foreign policy more than that of most of our elected war mongers and chickenhawks.

          He’s surrounded himself with generals and Bolton which truly worries me, and he’s clearly not an inquisitive or deep thinker, but he seems to be stumbling into better scenerios in troubled places than past presidents. If he can smooth out the tragic situations in NK, tame the hostilities with Russia, and find a way to finally pull out of Syria, that will be something positive.

          I have no hope for his policies with the Saudis and Israel, nor Central and South America. But, it’s not like past presidents did anything beneficial there either.

          As for his “trade wars” and dissing our allies… I’m on the fence. I don’t trust his motives but the neoliberal global establishment could use a swift kick in the shorts. It’s just a shame it’s coming from a right wing dolt and not the Left.

          1. Samesame

            Please, take note of the fact that nothing is being said about signing a Peace Treaty. US has refused to sign a Peace Treaty ending the Korean War of the 50s

            1. JTMcPhee

              The US was an internationally-illegal combatant in the Korean conflict, not the only one of course, but to my mind the most outrageous, including all the meddling in the politics of Korea to install and maintain “our guys,” and the dropping of 680,000 TONS of just air-droppped bombs and napalm on both north and south.

              Remind me what state the US declared war against, again, back in 1950? Seems to me the real parties in interest to a peace treaty resolving (as much as such paper ever resolves anything) the current state of affairs are the two parts of the Korean Peninsula…

                1. oh

                  THE UNSC routinely rubber stamps US war mongering moves. The council is stacked with US stooges. Before China was made a member they only had to placate the Soviet Union to get a resolution passed. Somehow, the US has managed to get (war) resolutions passed when it needed it (Iraq is just one example).

                2. JTMcPhee

                  Kind of ignores the entire runup to the actual hostilities. And you’re right, I don’t hate the UN, I just recognize the institution for what it is, in large part — a means of playing the Great Game, with a nice face on it that would give us mopes some feeling that there are restraints on the raw use of force and power by the Big Nations. And of course in the current form of the institution, there’s lots of corruption, and all those Big State vetos of the few sort of good suggestions that work their way through the filtration processes in the bureaucracy and the political game play. And of course the fig leaf resolutions regarding what the Empire wants to do in places like Iraq and Libya and so forth. Some thoughts on why N. Koreans hate the US (hint: it’s not for our freedoms) — . Some more context, present-tense:

                  There are UN resolutions that apply, e.g., to Israel and Palestinians, and what actions have those triggered to enforce them?

                  The UN, like the League of Nations, is a nice ideal, in the realm of ideals. What it is in reality? Something else. Like so much in this world, where nothing is ever what us mopes think it is…

        7. Katniss Everdeen

          The suspicion surrounding this “agreement” is thoroughly understandable. The lies and duplicity of the foreign “policy” / “defense” establishment have been going on for as long as I can remember. I really have no idea whether there are ulterior motives involved, and I can’t explain Trump’s other Middle East actions.

          But as one who hates, with every fiber of my being, what the mic IS and has caused this country to become, for today, at least, I’d like to take some pleasure in the idea that Trump has given them the black eye that they were afraid he would. And indulge myself in imagining that it’s real. And that there might be more to come. Even if it’s a jerk who threw the punch.

          Resurrecting the idea of “green shoots.”

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Cancelling the war games probably meant a paycheck hit to a bunch of staff sergeants supplying America’s GWOE (Great War On Everything).
            So fascinating to watch the MSM and the Death Merchant mainstream Dems and Repubs react.

            1. Procopius

              As a former Sergeant First Class, I hope you’re using the phrase “bunch of staff sergeants” metaphorically. I can tell you that none of the other sergeants I knew felt they were sufficiently compensated for being sent to war.I admit, though, that I have heard of soldiers who only feel alive when they’re in combat.

        8. feox

          That is BS, his Iran policy alone should make clear that no such hypothesis is rational. Yet we still see some try to make the argument…

        9. BenLA

          but bolton as national security advisor? I had my hopes up as well, but that doesn’t make sense.
          Similar to when Obama selected geithner as sec of treasury, you figured their words on the associated subjects didn’t amount for much.

        10. Odysseus

          It’s also entirely possible that Trump, like so many other americans, wants peace instead of endless war,

          To the extent that Trump can be said to want anything, yes, I agree that this is possible.

          and all the cacaphony surrounding his presidency has been concocted by those whose power and finances depend on peace never happening.

          No. The media has many failings, but this is not one of them. Trump has legitimately done many awful things that legitimately must be criticized.

          1. ewmayer

            “No. The media has many failings, but this is not one of them. Trump has legitimately done many awful things that legitimately must be criticized.”

            But those things are for the most part not the ones the dismal MSM has been cacophonous about, e.g. impeachment! Lack of decorum! Russia puppet! Disrespectful of norms! Against the Holy Free Trade! Clinically [insert desired wild-eyed remote diagnosis here]!

      2. oh

        Kim Jong Un is not an idiot. He’s playing Trump to look good with China and the rest of the world. He knows fully well that Trump doesn’t honor treaties and he’s got his nukes ready in case of any military action by the US.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Anything from Carter?

        I think Rodman cried.

        (Two out of a few who tried to bring peace there).

      2. La Peruse

        What’s really interesting is clause 3:

        complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

        They should talk to New Zealanders about that, who have been nuclear free since 1984 and in the process broke the ANZUS defense alliance with the US due to US defense policy to neither confirm nor deny if a particular vessel or aircraft has nukes on board. Depending on who’s doing the interpreting, denuclearization may mean much more than no more war games, compliance may mean no more US forces.

    2. rd

      I think the primary lesson of the past week is that Canada should develop nuclear weapons to get Trump to cave on steel tariffs and stop yammering about Canadian dairy farmers.

      As I see it:

      Kim got: 1. A gorgeous photo of him with Trump to use for the next decade in North Korean propaganda
      2. Trump will stop military exercises in S. Korea (a long-term goal of N. Korea and China)

      Trump got: 1. An agreement to discuss denuclearization of the Korean peninsula
      2. An agreement to dismantle a missile testing facility
      3. Very pissed off allies because he had to look tough before caving to Kim.
      4. A surprised S. Korea and Japan who didn’t know the exercises would cease

      So I think Kim can feast off what he got from this meeting for at least 5 years. Trump seemed to keep repeating “verifiable” in a press conference but it was unclear what was to be verified.

    3. Summer

      Wait a minute, wait a minute, Imma let yo finish, but the only thing missing from this summit was Kanye…

      Imagine it’s the year 2000 and someone says that one day you’ll be discussing the finer points of nuclear disarmament and peace deals brought to you by Trump and Dennis Rodman…

      I’m going with it’s more of the same as it ever was foreign policy because we’re still in the same wars. This is more foreign policy for positioning in the wars here and to come. Wars that have been on the docket long before Trump and Rodman.

      1. rd

        This is why SNL and The Onion writers are throwing their arms up in despair these days. The real world is more outlandish than what comedy writers can conceive of (or be allowed to present). More and more, they are simply working off of real transcripts.

    4. barrisj

      I would be shocked – I say shocked – if Trump’s declaration about suspending the annual “war games” will withstand the pressures being applied by the JCS, Mattis, Bolton, Pentagon types, et al, who have vested interests in maintaining these exercises as “credible projections of US military power and resolve” yadda-yadda. Look for “clarification” from the WH in the next few weeks (days?) which essentially will walk back Trump’s “pledge” to Mr Kim. War games are here to stay until or unless comprehensive agreements worked out in which cancellation of those joint exercises are one of many signed-off clauses.

  2. Quentin

    Oh, that Yglesias article is a real puffy doozy. Lots of suspicion means probable guilt about—well something! Evidently it all now has to do with intention, probable cause, not anything concrete. And according to him any president other than Trump would have been tarred and feathered out of Washington a long time ago. Where did he did that up in his fever dreams or is heroically assuming the role of the the last man standing to save Miss Hillary’s honour?

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Same thoughts. These people must really believe that we’re just not getting it so they have to repeat the same mushy “believed to involved Russian agents” or “likely ordered directly by Vladimir Putin” checklist of non facts over and over again. Assange usually gets accused as well.


      1. Arizona Slim

        Oh, that reminds me of something. I need to do some Russian vocabulary work today. And pronunciation. That needs some effort as well.

          1. Arizona Slim

            Thanks, Rev Kev. One of the videos is from the Real Russian Club, and I’m a member.

            Which reminds me of another thing, I need to get back to that RRC lesson on Russian verb conjugation.

    2. johnnygl

      What kills me is that there’s a much STRONGER case for collusion with like 3-4 other countries….none of them being Russia.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And an undeniable lay-down case of collusion among the SOBs who populate the State of Deep, the corporate C-Suites, K Street, the hallowed Halls of the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body ™, the “media,” all that stuff. All aimed at drowning any elements of “general welfare policy” or actual, you know, “democracy” (that total chimaerical and fraudulent and adulterated word, any more) that might surface from the giant pot of Bernays sauce we are all poaching in.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Well, there’s THAT collusion case, too.

          I was thinking more of collusion between Trump and Israel (UN vote), Trump and China (ZTE loan bribe), Trump-Saudis (weapons deals), Trump-UAE, Kushner’s attempted shakedown of Qatar to finance that stupid albatross of a building. I’m sure others could list ones I’m not thinking of.

          All these collusion cases….but NOOOOOOO…Dems only have eyes for Russia!!!

          1. JTMcPhee

            And on the collusion and corruption front, the Dems are blind in both eyes to the Clinton grift, and Feinstein, and a host of others. Trump is a piker, compared to other grifters who sat in that chair.

      2. ChrisPacific

        Yes, when you get past the list of things that he admitted weren’t evidence but grounds for suspicion (despite the headline) the actual evidence he offers seems to be that the Trump tower meeting and Manafort possibly acting on behalf of Russian interests were pay for play. But what isn’t pay for play in DC these days?

        The New Zealand media has been running feature articles for a while now about the embassy’s achievements in access diplomacy, by means of a lobbyist with Trump connections. If you want evidence of a foreign government paying for influence over the president, there it is in black and white. And it’s far from the only example (just take what is already known about the role of UK intelligence services in the whole thing).

    3. JCC

      I got a kick out of the words in the title of the article, “actually lots of evidence” and then about two paragraphs down, the “Circumstantial Evidence” sub-title listing his “lots of” circumstantial bullet points that prove (???) collusion, such as Trump’s incredibly outrageous statement, “Wikileaks, I love Wikileaks”.

      You gotta be kiddin’ me…

    4. Swamp Yankee

      I’ve been following Yglesias since 2003. I believe he actually believes this stuff — his problem is that, despite his high-middlebrow intellectual pose, he’s actually not that bright. He’s brighter than Ezra Klein, but that’s like doing better on a driving test than a second-grader. They’re both highly schooling fish — herd animals, as Nietzsche put it. When it was time to be for the war, they were for the war; when it was time to be against the war they were against it; when it was time to be for the war again (I’m with Her!), they were for it again. They have neither brains, nor guts, nor decency.

      Rather, his elite connections (parents, Dalton, and esp. Harvard, DCville), give him the requisite intellectual arrogance to think he knows something, whereas most actually intelligent people realize they know very little and are correspondingly humble.

      Why again should we listen to someone with no expertise or life experience, like Yglesias or Klein?

      The real answer that dare not speak its name (at least in Establishment circles): because their parents have money, and they tell people with money what they want to hear.

      As a phrase I learned here at NC has it: garbage in, garbage out.

        1. Julia Versau

          Matt Yglesias is the absolute worst. When I see his byline, I run in the opposite direction. He’s a nitwit, an intellectual lightweight, and a water carrier for TPTB.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            Agreed, Julia; it’s been amusing to watch him go very quickly from leftish collegiate poseur to David Broder 2.0, all in the space of fifteen years.

      1. Harold

        He strikes me as bright when he talks about philosophy. Half the time he is trolling. Klein is the real operator and koolaide imbiber. A cold fish.

        1. Balakirev

          I wonder if we could start an effective rumor that Ygleisias is trolling for Russia? There is no evidence, but he makes such an outcry against Russia based on circumstantial nonsense, that he actually drives people to believe there’s nothing to the story.

          So, he’s either a Russian plant, perhaps a Siberian tomato variety, or trolling for Putin. Makes as much sense as anything else manufactured by the Blob and circulated by the nattering nabobs, doesn’t it?

    5. Sid_finster

      Apparently now anyone exchanging conversation ever with a Russian person is proof of conspiracy.

      Except, of course, the alleged Russians who supplied the dossier. They can be trusted, no matter how absurd their allegations.

      1. Procopius

        Yeah, I always found it curious that Flynn supposedly did something wrong by contacting the Russian ambassador. He was on the transition team and was designated as the next national security adviser. He had plenty of reasons to be in touch with the Russian ambassador, the Israeli ambassador, the French ambassador, the British ambassador, the German ambassador, etc. In fact I tried to point out at the time that if he had not been in touch with the Russian ambassador it would have been dereliction of duty.

    6. Elizabeth Burton

      Just saw a meme condescendingly asking whether we ignorant souls who dared reject Hillary ever considered we might be victims of Russian propaganda. The irony of that, given those who cling to her cult never once actually did any research, escapes them, of course.

      1. todde

        But I hated the Clintons when Russia was the USSR….

        in fact, many other people I know, from both the left and the right have also hated the Clintons for 25 plus years

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Doesn’t matter. Those who are not with her are against her, and therefore either Russian trolls or stooges. Initially, of course, we were either Trump supporters or victims of right-wing propaganda, but Russians have that intriguing foreign aroma, y’know?

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Malady mongers: How drug companies sell treatments by inventing diseases”

    This article reminds me of an episode from the Big Bang Theory:

    Leonard: “You don’t go into science for the money.”
    Bernadette: “Speak for yourself. Last month my company both invented and cured restless eye syndrome. Ka-ching, ya blinky chumps!”

    1. Octopii

      Family member who produced some tv commercials told us how this all works: a drug company (or sham advocate organization run by the drug company) starts an “awareness” ad campaign that leads viewers to think that if they have a certain set of symptoms they may have a particular condition. The particular condition is in fact made up or over exaggerated, but the pharma company has a drug to address it. Then after a few months a new campaign is started to advertise the company’s remedy. One example was “opiod induced constipation” I guess cause enough of America is on opioids now that a constipation drug looks profitable.

      We can easily spot those ads now and have a laugh. But it’s unbelievable the practice is allowed by the FDA.

      1. ewmayer

        Or the PharmaBros give a fancy new title to a well-known condition – e.g. emphysema morphs into “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)” – which eliminates any poor-lifestyle-choices stigma associated with the old name, and which ‘new malady’ *obviously* requires a fancy high-priced new drug with a list of side effects as long as your arm to treat. And instead of mentioning “smoking/overeating/whatever is bad for your health” in the ads, the ads not-so-subtly imply “with our miracle lifestyle drugs, you can keep doing all your favorite health-harmful stuff! Light that cig! Stuff that piehole! Sit in that chair all day long!”

    2. Carla

      On the malady mongers theme, here’s an important piece:

      (“Nearly half of all people who had healthy eyes before Lasik developed visual aberrations for the first time after the procedure”)

      Note that Lasik is elective surgery performed on healthy eyes with distance vision problems that are easily correctable with glasses or contact lenses.

      I’m so glad I never fell for it. And one of the few bright sides of aging: I have become far-sighted enough that I no longer need glasses to drive or watch a movie; yet I’m still able to read without glasses. Yippee!

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Given what I’ve been told by many people with severe myopia, including my daughter, this might not be the world’s best example. Notably missing from that “half the people” is any information on whether the surgery was necessary, or was undertaken for the sake of convenience.

        My daughter was legally blind in one eye, such that wearing glasses was all but impossible because the weight of the one lens kept them constantly atilt. And contacts weren’t an option. She had the surgery back when it was fairly new, and so mainly prescribed for people like her for whom it was the best choice. It wasn’t long after that you could see Lasik billboards all over the country, and the “never wear glasses or contacts again” messages became constant.

        So, is it the procedure that’s at fault? Or the greed of those who saw a cash cow?

        1. Carla

          I would say the greed of those who saw a cash cow and decided to sell it to anyone who would succumb to advertising and buy. Medicine and profit just don’t mix.

      2. Aumua

        I’m so glad I never fell for it. And one of the few bright sides of aging: I have become far-sighted enough that I no longer need glasses to drive or watch a movie; yet I’m still able to read without glasses. Yippee!

        I’m not sure this is representative of many cases. As someone who has been nearsighted and worn glasses from a young age, I can say that as I approach 50 my oncoming age induced farsightedness has not reversed my nearsightedness one bit. In fact, what I need now is bifocals, a change I have been avoiding for as long as I can.

        1. Procopius

          I swotched to bifocals in the Army, but many years later I discovered that a big cause of my problem was cataracts, which existed from an early age. I did not need glasses when I enlisted in the Air Force at 18, but when I enlisted in the Army ten years later I did. However I always had a problem driving at night, because the mild form of cataract I had then made oncoming headlights dazzle me. The cataracts finally got bad enough that I had to have both lenses replaced about four years ago. I toyed with the idea of lazik, but never trusted the operaters enough to spend that much money. Guess it was as well, but I still need glasses, which is a big handicap when playing pool or snooker.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    A Tale of Two Tonys American Conservative.

    I can’t imagine that many Trump voters were watching the Tony Awards last night, so they wouldn’t have seen that virtue-signaling display. But it will enjoy a long life on social media, where it will do Donald Trump a lot of good with the masses, because it will solidify their entirely accurate belief that the cultural elites hate them. De Niro and the standing-ovation-giving audience are so vain that they don’t recognize this.

    I really do wonder if the penny will ever drop on the cultural and political elites that the more they hate on Trump, the more he benefits. It may not be deliberate, but Trump has really discovered the lodestone of how to win elections and be popular by breaking every single rule of politics and popularity. I never took De Niro as a fool, but he and those who cheered him really are Trumps useful idiots.

    1. Carolinian

      I’d say it’s dubious that DeNiro did himself any harm among the people who watch Robert DeNiro movies. Meryl Streep denounced Trump without using the ‘f’ word and is still churning them out.

      The media that are more at risk are the “news” organizations like CNN whose ratings have declined quite a bit while Fox is firmly back on top of the cable news.channels.

    2. Geo

      DeNiro isn’t a fool but he is a rich (family blog) who lives in a bubble of delusional entitlement. His restaurant in Manhattan was Weinstein’s go-to for “meetings” with starlets and the waitstaff were instructed to aid him in his conquests (bring the women alcoholic drinks even when they only ordered non-alcoholic ones for example).

      If DeNiro didn’t know his place was being used for Weinstein’s exploits he’s a moron. Most likely he turned the other way (enabled) because money/power/prestige are his motivating values, not humanity.

      Beyond that, to go from being one of the most iconic acting talents of his generation to being “Bad Grampa” and “Meet the Fockers” is a clear example of a man who values acquiring more wealth over any sort of integrity and artistry. Pacino realized he was going that direction and redirected himself toward indies and thoughtful films lending his star power to films that may not have been seen otherwise. DeNiro just wants big paychecks and doesn’t care about the “art”. Even his Tribeca Film Festival is all about celebrity worship and has nothing to do with promoting truly independent films.

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      Setting aside issues of stardom and the effects of public attention over long periods of time, I suspect it’s just a bad habit (closely related but not identical to addiction). One develops a bad taste for someone and then everything about them must be so – in this case the epitome of vulgarity.and superficiality which could translate generally to stupidity with all the rich earthy options our our vernacular offers to evoke it. And the habit becomes established and even self justifying to the point one hardly notices how little attention is given to accuracy or to consequences. One tends to “feed it.” And curiously, it is also a social phenomenon that can be shared so well that another can finish your thought, not to mention your sentence, before you do.

      Because it is often partly justified, (and for justified, it doesn’t get much better than Trump), it’s pretty easy to “slip into” and I suspect we all have it to one degree or another (I certainly catch myself at it from time to time). It’s not just reserved for Hillary bots (DeNiro?) though I imagine they are branched into it like 220 volt current.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Whatever the case may be, I think you’re right that Trump benefits greatly; and for that matter exploits it both consciously and unconsciously.

        1. Carolinian

          The increasing shrillness–‘c’ word, ‘f’ word–likely results from the realization that Trump is not going to be impeached. The coastals still can’t believe that this guy beat the sainted Hillary.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Yes! Now that you bring it up, I suspect that realization is going around like the Mumps and it really bugs people. And then there is that hanging question… “No, no, he can’t possibly get another go round…, could he???” On the shrillness, it’s also a Robert DeNiro kind of tough guy phrase which, since it’s Trump, he can get away with it in that venue.

      2. Procopius

        Minor quibble: English is not actually a very good language for cursing, unless you dragoon some of the more colorful Pictish and Celtic usages. Arabic is well known as an excellent language for cursing, and I believe Farsi (the language spoken in Iran) is even better. Mandarin Chinese is quite good (I always admired “egg of a turtle”) and novels I have read make me think Cantonese may be the best in the world.

    4. Pat

      There had actually been several quiet political statements throughout the evening that were cheered on. The first put in personal terms. Featured actor in a musical winner Ari’el Stachel talked about and to his parents in his acceptance speech noting that he had tried to hide his Middle Eastern heritage and how wrong that had been and how The Band’s Visit and his entire experience of being with the musical from the start had been about acceptance of self and others. Glenda Jackson talked about America’s embrace of others and how it had always been great accepting her award. And there was the not so quiet one of having students from the Marjory Stone Douglas drama class of Parkland Florida performing ‘Seasons of Love’.

      Sadly DeNiro’s actions were a crass tantrum in comparison. And frankly the audience should be ashamed of themselves, not because they agreed with him but because by standing and applauding this they embraced the type of behavior they have all been bemoaning about Trump. Yes, they failed to recognize that De Niro was acting just like Trump. Hijacking an event that had nothing to do with his political unhappiness is straight out of Trump’s narcissistic playbook.

      As others have pointed out will end up helping Trump more than hurting him. More importantly it might hurt many of those who stood in that audience. See one of the things the Tonys does is help promote Broadway and theater overall. Much of the power of the production is that it gives a not so free big commercial to the shows on Broadway and by extension their possible future tours throughout the country. How does that moment help that? Or the American Theater Wings other goal of more arts education (something that is an overwhelming overall good for education overall and should be embraced by anyone who really is interested in improving American schools for real and not as some machiavellian plot of profit and destruction.) It doesn’t.

      But an overprivileged narcissistic old man who has literally walked through most of his jobs for the past decade got to get a thrill by yelling for someone to get off his block. And a whole bunch of people who hadn’t actually thought it through helped.

  5. bassmule

    Caitlin Johnstone in fine form:

    Twelve Tips For Making Sense Of The World


    “This is why billionaires keep hoarding more and more wealth while using legalized bribery to stifle economic justice legislation. It isn’t because they want to be able to buy thousands of luxury cars or dozens of private jets; they can only use one at a time the same as everyone else. They hoard wealth to keep the rest of the population from having it. Because money equals power, spreading wealth around would be tantamount to making everyone king, and because power is relative, making everyone king would mean that no one is king.”

    1. Geo

      Thank you. Not only a great read but one I needed at this particular moment in my life. Didn’t outright fix any of the issues I’m dealing with but helped make better sense of them and comforted me in the knowledge that I’m not totally crazy (though, partially crazy I will admit to) and not totally alone in this emotional struggle in the world and personal life.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        You express yourself heartbreakingly well: I (and likely many others) feel you. Will definitely read it, thanks.

    2. hemeantwell

      My fave of the 12 is this:

      This is why I am dismissive of arguments that “Israel controls America” or “America controls Europe”. There is no “Israel” or “America”; they’re made-up ideas which rulers once upon a time treated as real, but in the modern days of nationless plutocracy they no longer do. There are individuals, there are corporations, there are government agencies, there are factions and groups, and these are what the ruling elites deal with. Governmental structures are only tools which are used by the ruling elites for the purpose of manipulation, control, and military violence, and they only do so insofar as it is useful. The idea of real nations and governments is a cutesy fairy tale sold to the masses so they won’t see the manipulations.

      Weber got there ahead of her re the state being basically about exercising a monopoly over the legitimate use of force in a territory, but critical disdain for the ideology surrounding it was not in his deck.

    3. Massinissa

      ” spreading wealth around would be tantamount to making everyone king”

      I immediately start thinking of Huey Long’s slogan, “Every Man a King”…

        1. Procopius

          You are God. You have just used your god-powers to make yourself forget it. What Alan Watts taught. I’ve thought about it from time to time for a long time, but I still don’t get it.

    4. shinola

      Another thanks for the article, bassmule. I hope Yves or Lambert pick up on it for inclusion in Links or Watercooler. Definitely a worthy article.

  6. Eureka Springs

    Most honest summit ever.

    Admittedly I don’t watch television.. ever. Barely recognized the name Anthony Bourdain, couldn’t have told you why. And anytime I scanned a transcript of Trump speaking I found reporting on Trumps words to be extremely dishonest. But the photo in this article is simply amazing. In a world of human beings who have never learned how to deal with a bully in an elementary schoolyard, these “leaders” certainly are taking a dose of their own cough syrup and squirming. Trump is having a grand time. I would love to see 60 seconds of video (without audio) around the instant this photo was taken.

    He could get reelected with this photo alone. If I were half the scoundrel he is I would never ever walk in another room without kicking over a table and storming out. This guy really may be exactly what we deserve.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The photo, with Merkle and Trump front and center, kind of reminds me of Rembrandts’ Nightwatch, or maybe it’s another painting I don’t recall now.

      1. Quentin

        Good observation, the focused Baroque intensity around the narrow receding table. What was the silly, useless table doing there anyway?

      2. Eclair

        Yes, MLTPB! I immediately thought “Rembrandt,” when I saw it. He did some amazing group pictures; rather than have a static lineup of civic worthies, he created tension by the use of vivid chiaroscuro and unorthodox arrangements of figures.

        Maybe “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp?” But who is the cadaver?

    2. c_heale

      For those of you have seen the movie Scarface (the 80’s Al Pacino one), all this fuss about Trump reminds me of the moment when Pacino is in an expensive restaurant and goes on a rant about how everyone looks at him as the bad guy, when they are equally guilty. Trump may be as bad as some people like to paint him, but none of the other leaders are in any way better. They are all as bad or worse.

  7. Eric Blood Axe

    Justin Trudeau’ grandmother was an Elliot Eliots were Border bandits, Grandparents are more important fhan parents fr pesonality, Trump had better be careful.

    1. divadab

      Maybe 500 years ago. The more recent and germane grandparent was a Kirkland, heir to the development fortune – there’s a suburb in Montreal named for the family – Kirkland. And a shopping center of the same name.

      Also consider his father – who notably refused to leave the stand when separatists were throwing beer bottles and booing – and who also braved a hostile crowd in Alberta (angry at Trudeau pere’s national energy policy that gave Alberta lower-than-market prices for oil), shutting up a particularly agressive protester – “Sonny, if you keep that up I’ll kick your ass” – and he shut up.

      Trudeau styles himself very non-threatening, but he is much tougher than he appears. He may have inherited his brains from his mother but Trump is really making him look good and uniting Canadians behind him – quite a feat because with all his political correctness he is not particularly popular.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “… who also braved a hostile crowd in Alberta (angry at Trudeau pere’s national energy policy that gave Alberta lower-than-market prices for oil), shutting up a particularly agressive protester – “Sonny, if you keep that up I’ll kick your ass” – and he shut up.”

        What would the pere do with corn farmers selling less to Mexico? Would he back down?

        1. divadab

          “What would the pere do with corn farmers selling less to Mexico? Would he back down?”

          Not sure if Canada exports much corn to Mexico. But if you mean would Trudeau pere defend NAFTA – against an ignorant bully – unequivocally YES!

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            What part of NAFTA would Trudeau pere defend the hardest? The part where government subsidized Midwestern Chemo Corn is dumped on the Mexican market to destroy the living and lives of several million Mexican farm families? Or the part where the de-jobbed Mexican ex-farmers were all supposed to move to the border to work in one of the hundreds of maquiladoras which were supposed to be built there to be ready and waiting for them? Or some other part like that?

        1. ambrit

          Hey, some memories are looooooong.
          The Irish are still pissed off about Cromwells’ savaging of their land in the sixteen hundreds. The Scots revere William Wallace from waaaay back there.
          The Sunni and Shia of Middle Eastern fame, are still fighting over who is the rightful heir to the mantle of the Prophet, and that happened thirteen hundred years ago!

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I know in Norway (and the US, Canada), the story of Birkebeiner escorting the 2 yr old Haakon Hakkonsson (in the 12th century) to his capital is still celebrated with ski and bike races.

            1. JerryDenim

              Also depicted in a painting that you see everywhere in Norway. There’s a Norwegian outdoor clothing company, similar to Eddie Bauer, that even uses a stylized version of the iconic painting as their logo.

          2. marieann

            “The Scots revere William Wallace from waaaay back there.”

            Damm right, I know lots of Scots who still dislike the English…Sassanach is not used as a term of endearment :)

        2. divadab

          500 years is only 20 generations. A mere blink in the history of the species. And still in the folk memories of many. I had a great aunt who would not sit at a table with a Campbell – because they betrayed the other Highland Clans at Culloden.

          If you think that what happened in 1517 is irrelevent you lack wisdom.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It used to be that many Koreans would not buy Japanese products.

            Today, people, in Seoul and elsewhere, are more tolerant.

          2. Chris

            I always thought the big stain on the honour of the ‘filthy Campbells’ was the massacre at Glencoe…

        3. Sid_finster

          Go back 500 years or more and I am sure you can find a robber or a pirate in just about everyone’s family tree.

          Go back a bit further and you might find Genghis Khan.

          Somehow I doubt this has any relevance to a particular modern
          day Canadian metrosexual’s character.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Some good, some bad, some tasty.

            From the Battle of Vienna (about 500 years ago):

            Several culinary legends are related to the Battle of Vienna. One legend is that the croissant was invented in Vienna, either in 1683 or during the earlier siege in 1529, to celebrate the defeat of the Ottoman attack on the city, with the shape referring to the crescents on the Ottoman flags.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Forgot to say this…important.

              The above is something I think Anthony Bourdain would have said on this occasion. It was inspired by him. A tribute to him.

            2. Jeff W

              Whatever the truth of that culinary legend, it is the case that those quintessentially French pastries—croissants, brioches, and pains au chocolat, among others—are called viennoiseries to this very day. Their ubiquity in France began with the opening by Austrian artillery officer, baker, and (later) press mogul August Zang of his immensely popular Boulangerie Viennoise in Paris in 1839.

    2. c_heale

      I can’t agree with you there. Imo Trudeau is like Tony Blair – a neoliberal with a smile – and I can’t see him being as particularly tough. He seems like a typical spoiled (as in spoiled child) career politician.

  8. Rob W

    Did anyone read Demographic Structural Theory 25 years on in yesterday’s links? Very interesting discussion of the causes of revolution. Check it out. It’s worth the effort.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “G7: the most honest summit – ever!” : ‘From the heart of the Australian national security establishment…. ‘

    I suspect that there would have been totally different slant on what they had to say here if this had been the G20 of which Australia is part of. The Lowe Institute. Bah!

  10. DJG

    Colin Kaepernick and Eartha Kitt: Both are multiracial, which may be why they have a special animus against the U.S. system of racial classification, which ends up turning out bizarreries like “Latinx.” On the other hand, it shouldn’t just be a “black” thing: It doesn’t take much digging in one’s ancestry to find out how mongrelly one is. My Sicilian (hardly purebreds) grandparents were married in a town outside Palermo with an Arabic name (!!!, time to close the ports).

    The immortal Earth Kitt:

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I didn’t know much about Eartha Kitt, but reading that article definitely raised her in my estimation, that was a very courageous thing to do.

      1. Quentin

        Oh yes, absolutely, the Johnsons completely destroyed her. She told Mrs Johnson to her face in the White House that her husband was a murderer. She still had some succes in Europe. Not until many, many years later did she reemerge with a big hit in the US and elsewhere. I don’t remember the name. Of course it something elegantly naughty.

  11. Matthew G. Saroff

    On the Dick Cavett show, Kitt said that Johnson was literally calling club owners to cancel her after that.

  12. The Rev Kev

    I was reading today an account by a guy trying to work out what the Trump Doctrine is all about and happened to know someone who works in the White House. When he asked his contact what the Trump Doctrine was all about, he was told the following by his contact to explain it all:

    “It’s America, b***h!”

  13. fresno dan

    The Civilian Office of Police Accountability determined that Officer Robert Rialmo unjustifiably shot Quintonio LeGrier and 55-year-old Bettie Jones while responding to a domestic disturbance on the West Side on the day after Christmas two years ago, according to documents obtained by the Tribune through an open records request. After LeGrier approached officers with an aluminum baseball bat, Rialmo shot the teen and accidentally hit Jones, a neighbor standing nearby.

    The ruling, dated Dec. 22, casts doubt on Rialmo’s account of events and turns in part on investigators’ determination that the evidence indicated that LeGrier did not swing the bat at Rialmo, as the officer has said. Investigators also found that the evidence — including shell casings, witness statements and forensic analysis — also suggested Rialmo was farther away from LeGrier when he fired than the officer has said. LeGrier fell in the vestibule of an apartment building, and Rialmo said he opened fire from the building’s front porch, but investigators determined it was more likely the officer was between the bottom of the porch and the sidewalk out front.
    The settlement adds to the more than $500 million that Chicago has paid out to settle lawsuits over allegations of police misconduct in the last decade.
    The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office announced in February 2017 that no criminal charges would be filed against the officer after finding there was “insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Rialmo did not act in self-defense in shooting LeGrier and Jones.”
    forget it Jake, its Chitown….
    forget it taxpayers, its Chitown….

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Clinton wasn’t octogenarian when he led the way.
          Obama wasn’t octogenarian when he led the way.

          What will “no octogenarians allowed” achieve?

          1. zagonostra

            The operative word is “rely.” I voted for Bernie and probably would again if he runs. It’s just nice to see new faces flow into the political world where an incumbent now days seems to become ensconced for life once in office…also no fan of Trudeau.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              I think Sanders has been working hard at helping new faces grow whole new movements designed to bring in lots of new faces. Would I be wrong to think so?

              1. Elizabeth Burton

                Au contraire, you’ve hit the nail on the proverbial. You’d think it would be easy for people to understand that, but I guess it’s really hard for some to get over the need to have a knight come and rescue the damsel instead of the damsel recruiting the peasants to knock off the dragon themselves.

        2. crittermom

          Great link. Thanks!
          I’ve always admired the fact that Iceland threw their banksters in jail, unlike the US who… well, you know that story.

    1. Craig H.

      The file name is Korean magpie. The photograph is even better than the day’s best head line, Tearful Rodman claims vindication for Kim ties.

      Somebody at ESPN is getting grief today; their Rodman story is from AP. Good photos though.

      Is pot coin what I think it is?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Normally, the antidote is an antidote; I don’t seek to connect it to the events of the day thematically.

        However, today I felt I would make a very rare exception, because Korean agency is important to the Singapore story.

        1. c_heale

          There are so many magpies here in Korea, I don’t think I’ve been to any country where they have been so prevalent. Must be something to do with the landscape – lots of small and not so small mountains with paddy fields in between. They are also seen as lucky and/or bringers of good news.

  14. Lorenzo

    Domino’s Pizza unveils U.S. infrastructure project filling potholes

    I think this little news article might just be the best retort you can find against that powerful incantation ‘America is already great’

    some rich tidbits:

    “Facing an already harsher winter than usual for Delaware, this is an opportunity to get additional money to stretch our city’s limited resources,” said Eric Norenberg, city manager of the town, on the website.

    Delaware? Limited resources? Cry me a river


    In Milford, Domino’s says it helped fix 40 potholes on 10 roads in 10 hours with four crew members.

    now I’m no expert, but 1 pothole per person/hour smells like a hastily done job to say the least all the way down form here in Buenos Aires. If I were trying to keep my ‘great-tasting pizza’ from harm, I’d take the long way around, folks!

    1. Jim Haygood

      Prevention is the best cure for potholes.

      Argentina’s truckers, taking a cue from their Brazilian comrades, plan to strike on Thursday if their demands for a 27% raise to keep up with galloping inflation aren’t met.

      *heads down to Avenida Costanera to fish for dinner*

    2. Arizona Slim

      I would like to nominate Tucson. Our potholes give lunar craters a run for their money.

      As for pizza, that’s something I’d like to learn how to make.

      1. nippersmom

        I’d be satisfied if our local Domino’s fixed the potholes in their own parking lot.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not sure about pizza, but when I have time, I make my own organic soy milk.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      My guess is they filled the potholes with the pizza. Done in half an hour or less or it’s free!

    4. Aumua

      The weird thing about the article is that makes no mention whatsoever of Dominos’ delivery drivers, their cars or their safety. It’s focused exclusively on the carryout customer as the only person potentially inconvenienced or endangered by potholes. Dominos is famous for delivery, but it is clear that the drivers are not even considered people at all in this equation.

  15. Jim Haygood

    Legendary trader Paul Tudor Jones talks dirty bullish on CNBC:

    “I think you’ll see rates go up and stocks go up in tandem at the end of the year,” Jones told CNBC Tuesday morning. “I can see things getting crazy particularly at year-end after the midterm elections.”

    This scenario has been discussed several times here at NC — the 1954 analogue, when the D party reclaimed the House two years into the Ike admin. Stocks, which had been rising all year, achieved escape velocity after the election and rang up the Dow Industrials’ best post-WW II year ever.

    It’s not only the heartening prospect of a tiny change behind the iron curtain of our petrified duopoly, but also that depriving one party of across-the-board control tends to brake spending and inflation.

    Today the y-o-y CPI quickened to 2.8% headline, 2.2% core — an overshoot that’s set to be exacerbated by the R party’s crackpot fiscal stim, which will recklessly hike the deficit to over 5% of GDP in the tenth year of an expansion — cuckoo!

    Even as we speak, Lord Japewell is huddling in the Eccles Building with his somber band of PhDs in flake-o-nomics. No doubt they will administer another therapeutic rate hike, while grimly proceeding with their liquidationist bond dumping campaign that’s teeing up the US economy for another slow, sad tequila sunset come 2020.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      2.8% headline, 2.2% core — an overshoot

      Yes, everyone knows the 2% target is really a hard cap – never to be hit without pain following.

  16. Lorenzo

    Domino’s Pizza unveils U.S. infrastructure project filling potholes

    This little news article might just be the best tool for fighting that very common and powerful incantation ‘America is already great’ I’ve seen in some time.

    Some rich tidbits from this jewel

    “Facing an already harsher winter than usual for Delaware, this is an opportunity to get additional money to stretch our city’s limited resources,” said Eric Norenberg, city manager of the town, on the website.

    Delaware? Limited resources? Cry me a river. And

    In Milford, Domino’s says it helped fix 40 potholes on 10 roads in 10 hours with four crew members.

    now I’m no expert, but 1 pothole per person/hour smells like a hastily done job, to say the least, all the way down here from Buenos Aires! If I were trying to keep my ‘great-tasting pizza’ from any pothole-related harm, I’d take the long way around folks!

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Feature: North Korea peace deal could reshape Russian gas export priorities”

    Now this could prove interesting. The border between Russia and North Korea is about 17 kilometers (11 miles) long so a gas pipe could be easily routed through here. South Korea is a already a major energy importer and it is the second-largest importer of liquefied natural gas in the world. Being able to source gas from Russia direct without port facilities would be a big win for the South Koreans but I think that official Washington would have a melt down. Washington is already threatening Germany as it is hooking up another LPG pipe from Russia as it has dire need of more gas but the thought of another ally becoming dependent on Russian gas would flip their lids.
    It actually gets better. For that gas to get to South Korea it would obviously have to go through North Korea and this means one thing – Transit fees! That would make people Bolton go ballistic as they do not want North Korea to have access to hard cash. You can bet that the fees will not be in US dollars but probably in Russian rubles or perhaps even Chinese yuan. It may be that North Korea forgoes some of these fees and take payment in LP gas for their own developmental needs. It may be that there might be a Russian-Chinese-North Korean-South Korean effort down the track to set up an integrated power grid. As North Korea at night looks like it is in total blackout (, this can only be a win for their economy. Yes, this could prove very interesting.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I know a guy who’s the general manager for one of Tucson’s largest (and best) hotels. Before he came to T-town, he was in Chicago, and he was in the employ of the Trump organization.

        According to this fellow, Trump treats his top management like gold, and he does know how to run a good hotel.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Checkpoint Charlie is a very popular tourist spot these days (I’m a traveler, not a tourist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!….maybe). Lots of money being made there.

          Perhaps something similar at the MDL (Military Demarcation Line).

            1. The Rev Kev

              Went through Checkpoint Charlie when it was up and running. Not as interesting as it sounds and the East German border officials were all dour and stern. What was interesting was East German coins. They were all made of aluminium and were feather-light. Still got a couple as souvenirs and never saw anything like it anywhere else.

          1. Milton

            “There was a checkpoint Charlie
            He didn’t crack a smile
            But it’s no laughing party
            When you’ve been on the murder mile
            Only takes one itchy trigger
            One more widow, one less white n…”

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    US opens new $255m de facto embassy in Taiwan FT

    Will there be a section at the de facto embassy devoted to helping the aborigines of Formosa gain their independence from those Han Taiwanese who want to gain independence from Han Chinese China?

    “A greater Austronesian nation…from Hawaii, Taiwan, New Zealand, and all the way to Madagascar.”

    1. ambrit

      You forgot Australia. As for Tasmania….
      Van Diemans Land is next. Then New Schwabenland. Finally, Mars!

        1. Synapsid



          They’ve been there since long before there were Austronesian languages, probably, let alone an Austronesian expansion.

    2. zagonostra

      “The money just isn’t there” — to provide universal healthcare, to create environmental sustainability . . . to ensure that everyone has clean drinking water. I could name dozens more “nice ideas” that are financial impossibilities, relegated to the trash bin of wishful thinking. We all could.

      But “the money,” whatever that actually is, remains quietly, unquestionably present to maintain a suicidal status quo of expanding war, prisons, border “protection” and, of course, environmental exploitation.

      Is it simply human stupidity that’s at the center of such irony?

  19. rjs

    re: Mick Mulvaney changed the CFPB’s sign to BCFP

    the actual change dropped the C altogether

  20. Jim Haygood

    US trade war general Peter Navarro says sorry to Canada. Rewind to Sunday:

    Peter Navarro: “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door…that’s what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference.”

    Today’s update:

    Peter Navarro: “I used language that was inappropriate, and basically lost the power of that message. That was my mistake, those were my words. I own that … We need to focus on policy differences.”


    1. Expat

      Amazing how the Trumpeteers can say whatever they want, then either vaguely apologize or simply claim it was not true and get away with it. One Democrat calls Ivana or someone a feckless £$%* and that person should be waterboarded, expropriated, and deported.
      I am fed up.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I’m reminded of the various expressions of frustration.

        Stop the world: I want to get off.

        I’m mad as h*ll. I’m not going to take it anymore.

        Turn on, tune in, drop out.

        Will the last fed-up person leaving the US to become an ex-pat turn out the lights?

    2. c_heale

      Well, it is also possible Trudeau said something behind the scenes and then went back on his word, isn’t it?

  21. dcblogger

    hoo boy

    This Is Bigger Than a Meeting With Kim Jong Un

    “Remind me of Secretary Kerry’s visit to Tehran, or the time that Obama met with” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, John Delury, a Korea expert at Yonsei University, challenged me when we got together in Seoul in May. I couldn’t, because those things never happened. And that was precisely Delury’s point.
    What Donald Trump is doing with North Korea is in fact “bolder” than what Barack Obama did with Iran, he argued. Delury disagreed with Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the nuclear agreement with Iran, and acknowledged that America’s relations with Iran are even more toxic than its relations with North Korea because Washington and Tehran are on opposing sides of conflicts across the Middle East. Still, he maintained that Obama’s “complicated, technical” deal may have been “too focused” on constraining Iran’s nuclear capabilities. “It wasn’t a deep political settlement,” he explained, whereas “what I see Trump working on with Kim Jong Un is … a fundamental transformation of the relationship.”

    Trump is a buffoon, he has no idea what he is doing, flowing from one impulse to another. He is like a character in a Tom Sharpe novel. People watch him and make up stories about what he is doing as some sort of rationalization, but Trump is exactly what he appears to be, a malevolent fool.

    1. Carolinian

      I agree that Trump is hard to understand or predict but it is interesting that as the domestic political attacks weaken he may be circling back to his original, Buchananesque campaign rhetoric–hardball trade and immigration policies and less internationalism in foreign policy. Trump is clearly no intellectual, but he may not be as dumb as you think when it comes to promoting the greater glory of Trump. Much of that “malevolence” could be a ploy.

      Or not. But I’d guess any Trump actions from here on out would be geared toward that re-election that he seems to be seriously pursuing. Starting a major war would be contrary to that goal.

      1. Aumua

        Really? I’m not so sure starting a war would be bad for re-election. That’s part of what’s really scary about these times.

    2. Olga

      There may be some logic behind the madness… but to understand what it is, we must first know the forces backing DT and understand their motivations.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.” –Winston Churchill

      I think what matters is the outcome: “Jaw jaw.”

      Trump may indeed be a malevolent fool (outcome aside). What we tend to forget is that the foreign policy establishment, along with the intelligence community, are also malevolent fools. Looking at outcomes, it’s hard to conclude otherwise.

      90% of the commentary I’ve read on this is Beltway types whinging because they and theirs didn’t get a piece of the action (which is what “norms” is code for). And I’m not the only one:

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      And speaking of “jaw jaw,” it behooves us to ask what the Koreans themselves think:

      Lol no. And:

    5. danpaco

      I’m all for continuing a dialogue, which is all this agreement does. Kudos to Trump for throwing out the whole “preconditions for talks” BS. But there is still plenty of opportunity for Trump’s zero sum lizard brain to wreck it all. At least both side will definitely have a nice photo to show.

  22. HotFlash

    Thank you for that, it seems to fit the facts. However, there are classes of people who make their living, sometimes very nice ones, ‘explaining’ the actions of God, or Mr. Market, always after the fact. In my view, if you can’t predict, you got nuthin’.

    1. Expat

      Ha! No one can predict! Well, not true. I predict that the markets will go up over the long term more or less in line with GDP growth and inflation.
      Please send your cash now and I will keep up these awesome predictions.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Read the comments to that tweet. They all read like a Clinton-voters support group.

  23. bronco

    Whats the deal with Vox links? Is it supposed to be ironic ? I have yet to see any connection to reality in any of them. It’s like linking to the Onion , but so on the down low , that its a parody of a real story about a parody.

    1. Sid_finster

      Opposition research, my guess.

      Although it this is the best they can come up with, then the opposition is pretty weak.

  24. EoH

    Re Zachary Karabell’s short comment in Foreign Policy on Trump’s so-called “creative destruction,” I realize the phrase is a self-praising description borrowed from economics, but surely he means destruction.

    It is “creative” only for those who first survive it and then benefit from it, usually a small fraction of the whole. An asteroid impact in the Yucatan might eventually benefit shrews, but then dominant dinosaurs neither survived nor benefited from the destruction. Whether those two characteristics apply to what is labeled as Trump’s foreign policy has yet to be determined.

  25. JohnnyGL

    In case anyone needed a reminder on how AWFUL Dem party leadership is….here’s the list of demands for a N. Korea peace deal. Shorter version: full and complete surrender.

    They know full well that they’ve just inserted a set of poison pill provisions and they’re not even pretending otherwise.

    Anything Trump tries to do that is even vaguely positive, Dems are there to block it and/or make it impossible.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If Trump gets what he wants, the thinking goes, that would make him a dictator.

      So, those Dems are trying to preserve democracy…I think.

  26. zagonostra

    Refer: Democrats in Disarray:

    After reading below link from the intercept I went over to DemocracyNow! and did a search on Alexandria ocasio cortez and it came back null. I haven’t been over to DN in a long time, but I was curious since Juan González, who is someone I respect and is a staunch supporter of Puerto Rico co-host the shows occasionally.

    What has happened over there at DN? Is it the Soros money? They will do a whole hour with Naomi Klein, but do you think Amy would have Chris Hedges, Glen Ford, or Richard Wolf, for a whole hour to delve deeply into class consciousness and economics?

    It seems that DN has learned to stay in the safety zone of the environment, Identity politics, immigration, and Trumpisms…still, like an old girlfriend, you kind of wonder what they are up to now and then….

  27. none

    Musk tweets “To date, Autopilot resources have rightly focused entirely on safety. With V9, we will begin to enable full self-driving features.”

    Yeah that safety thing wasn’t working out anyway. Best to move on from it and enable full self-driving features. It will make cars great again!

    Someone on Slashdot had a good comment:

    have you ever driven in a Tesla?

    It’s a nice car. It’s a luxury car, nice interior. Kind of makes you feel like royalty, like a king. Or queen. More specifically, a princess. In particular, Princess Diana.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump’s Creative Destruction of the International Order Foreign Policy

    Alternatively, this could be (here, I think I might be plagiarizing myself) “Trump is Shiva, the creator destroyer.”

  29. JB

    I recommend reading the New Yorker article “Donald Trump’s New World Order” written by Adam Entous, but grab a cup of coffee first, it’s a long one. The level of detail is so robust that I have to assume the Trump admin provided access and information to Entous to write this piece. It certainly explains where Trump stands with Israel and foreign policy in the Middle East, and where the Obama admin stood. There are also some interesting details that tie into the “Russia collusion” situation/narrative.

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