Links 6/24/18

Horses remember if you smiled or frowned when they last saw you New Scientist (KS).

Rat Suspect Found Dead In ATM Amid $19,000 Worth Of Chewed Indian Rupees HuffPo (KW).

Walmart defies investor push to rewrite bond rules FT

This Deal Shows How the Junk-Credit Market is Still Irrationally Exuberant Wolf Street (EM).

The Supreme Court decision that will put more taxes on internet sales is good news for you Business Insider (KW).

Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse NYT


Turks go to the polls in crucial election Asia Times

Erdogan’s precarious push for power FT

Don’t Trust Anybody About Turkey’s Elections Foreign Policy

A German ‘Iran Bank’ could save the nuclear deal Handelsblatt

“In Search of the Phoenicians” by Josephine Quinn Asian Review of Books


Huge anti-Brexit demonstration throngs central London Guardian

Brexit: PM urged to speed up no-deal Brexit plans BBC

Brexit Could Cripple Britain’s Ports The Atlantic

Airbus Brexit warning alarms long supply chain FT

North Korea

Korea seeks to speed up ‘northern’ economic projects with Russia Korea Times. Railroads, pipelines, electricity grid.

Former US chief spook does U-turn on denuclearization Asia Times


Xi sells Seychelles by India’s seashore as Modi’s foreign policy drowns Quartz. Best headline ever….

Which American CEOs did Xi Jinping meet in Beijing? UPS, Pfizer, Goldman all on the list Politico

Inside a Heist of American Chip Designs, as China Bids for Tech Power NYT

Before the Revolution NYRB

Mahathir Seeks to Recover $4.5 Billion 1MDB Funds, Goldman Fees Bloomberg

The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People Counterpunch

New Cold War

Russiagate’s ‘Core Narrative’ Has Always Lacked Actual Evidence The Nation

Mueller’s Fruit of the Poisonous Tree WSJ

Mention of Trump campaign may be off the table at Manafort trial Politico

Trump Transition

Military largely absent from government reorganization Federal News Radio

What’s inside Trump’s major government overhaul Federal Times

Look at How Employable All These Trump People Are Splinter News


Images of Children Crying The Automatic Earth. Illargi critiques two bullshit images of crying migrant children (one used immediately below). There was a third, propagated by Jon Favreau and “a number of prominent liberals.”

It’s all in the framing:

The owner of the Red Hen explains why she asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave WaPo

‘What would Mr. Rogers think about you?’ hecklers yell at Pam Bondi outside of Mr. Rogers film Orlando Weekly

Seth Rogen Refuses Photo with Paul Ryan, Scolds GOP Lawmaker in Front of His Kids Newsweek

Washington, D.C.: the Psychopath Capital of America Politico. The paper is not yet peer-reviewed.

Democrats in Disarray

The Democratic Party is moving steadily leftward. So why does the left still distrust it? Vox

Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley, Facing Progressive Challenge, Turns to GOP Lobbying Firm for Cash The Intercept

A California Billionaire Sets Michigan’s Energy Policy WSJ Tom Steyer.

Health Care

The Conservative Case for Universal Healthcare The American Conservative

Class Warfare

Where’s the “Gig Economy?” Kim Moody, Jacobin. I’m reading Moody’s new book, On New Terrain. So far, it’s really good.

Extreme Inequality Creates Global Disorder James Galbraith, The Nation

Eviction tactics squeeze renters: AJC analysis shows landlords increasingly use filings to collect late rent Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Massachusetts is on the verge of eliminating time-and-a-half pay MassLive

Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time Counterpunch

Teenager uses sign language to communicate with blind and deaf man during flight CNN (KW).

Why personal agency matters more than personal data Project VRM

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote, thread:

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

    Images of Children Crying The Automatic Earth. Illargi critiques two bullshit images of crying migrant children (one used immediately below). There was a third, propagated by Jon Favreau and “a number of prominent liberals.”

    REPEAT if you didn’t see my comment yesterday, its new to you
    fresno dan
    June 23, 2018 at 8:11 pm
    response to
    June 23, 2018 at 11:12 am

    (the picture of a little boy in a cage)
    It has since emerged that the picture was in fact NOT from a detention facility at all, and instead was taken at a protest against Trump’s immigration policies held on June 10 outside Dallas City Hall. The demonstration organized by Brown Berets de Cemanahuac was held to call out the policy of family separation and confining undocumented children.
    Ergo: an activist journalist and undocumented immigrant makes it look as if a picture depicts something that in reality it did not. Note also that the article says he wanted to comment on the Trump immigration crackdown, because he has memories of the Obama immigration crackdown, when he saw children locked up. But then, hey, that’s social media, right? Anyone can say anything.

    (added today) It’s different, though, when TIME Magazine uses such politics. And its editor-in-chief defends the use of the picture by saying it was the most visible symbol of something, even though he knew full well that the photo didn’t depict that something. That’s a mighty slippery scale. If they could have achieved the same effect with a picture of a overripe banana taken in the Pacific in the 1950’s, they probably would have used it. It’s the effect that counts, not the facts.
    Incredible. First, would it really have been that hard to find a photo of a child caged BECAUSE of Trump policies? Second, but more importantly, why is it SUCH a big deal when Trump does it but not when Obama does it?
    and third….truth dies in darkness

    1. timbers

      My Democratic friends at work have brought up Trump’s immigration policy several times with me – as Yves says with the outrage meter dialed up to 11. They know I regard Trump/Hillary/Obama of approximately equal qualities, but frequently point out that Hillary’s lost to a deeply unpopular crazy party as her opponent and what does that say about her and why don’t Dems think about that instead of Russia all the time?

      If I wasn’t rushing to meet work deadlines, I would not have bit my tongue and asked her “how many families do you suppose were separated or wiped off the earth when Obama and Hillary bombed Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and other nations?”

      I guess that puts me in the “normalization” column – I was dismissed and unfriended by Dems when I talked about Obama doing bad things like bomb bomb bombing like it was going out of style. Now Dems want to talk about bad things with me because Trump is doing it, and what I’m seeing is a lack of interest on their part that America hurting people and only interest in bashing Trump…I guess these things have been normalized to me so I don’t get bothered by it anymore.

      1. JohnnyGL

        When they mention ‘immigration’ and don’t mention ‘regime change’ policies throughout Latin America, which got migrants running in the first place, in the same sentence. That tells you they don’t know what they’re talking about and should be gently guided in the right direction. Unfortunately, there’s a culture of ‘not wanting to know’ among some people.

        When someone like Michael Hayden is out there moaning about the policy when he knows damn well about the history involved, it should be clear that there’s a psy-ops game being played.

      2. nippersdad

        Re: Dismissed and unfriended, I think that the tribalism has been completely normalized.

        A friend of mine, a local member of the NAACP, was pulling out her hair the other day in all caps about Trump’s immigration policies and ow Obama would have been impeached for such actions. We had had this conversation several times during the Obama Administration, already. After pointing out that the only real difference between Obama and Trump was the zero tolerance policy, that Obama had had to discontinue some of the very same actions due to lawsuits by immigration lawyers, I was roundly condemned by everyone in the thread.

        One of them kept talking about how the US was founded upon injustice to minorities and how I wouldn’t understand, yet they didn’t seem to see the irony of a black man, virtually single handedly, creating a multi-billion dollar industry out of the trafficking of millions of brown people. I was tempted to ask, hypothetically, what the etiquette for dealing with those who would defend such people is…..but it was so much easier to just unfollow her.

        I had nothing like the excuse of deadlines for biting my tongue, though. I just wimped out. I cannot believe we may have to endure yet another eight years of this crap.

        1. loblolly

          Eight years?

          There is an entire generation of people who are trained to respond to emotional manipulation, and then to amplify it in a way that is absolutely toxic to democracy. They are a weapon and they are going to be used against the rest of us as long as we permit it.

          President Trump was elected legimately by Americans with legitimate grievances about public policy as delivered by the Uniparty for the last 30 years.

          The man is a centrist is a sea of extremists. Economic extremists who cannot comprehend that none of their equations include the social contract that binds a nation together. Political extremists who at the one end are the emo-mob I reference above and at the other are the totalitarian fascists who have turned the power of the state against the electorate. Capitalist extremists, manifested as multinational corporations and banks who believe that everything and everyone are subservient to their ordinations and pursuits.

          The attack on the center, our American experiment, by so many extremists is untenable.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I do notice the emotional manipulation and the amplification along the way by the manipulated.

          2. Westcoastdeplorable

            I like your phrase “as long as we permit it”. Right here and now those of us normal, sane, non-queer citizens should band together to push back with our wallets and words.
            One way we can do that is make damn sure the mid-terms go our way in amazing numbers.

          3. richard

            Are you real? Is this a joke?
            Trump is no centrist. I understand that many factors contributed to Trump, including the frustration of millions who are lied to endlessly by neoliberals who don’t represent them. I get that, and I get that there are many Trump voters I could make common cause with, especially on an issue by issue basis.
            But that doesn’t make Trump a centrist. None of that makes him a centrist. His political faction is dominated by the oil and gas industry, who want to suffocate us in plastic and C02, by military figures who dream of endless and boundless war, and by bankers who still aren’t done robbing us. This is who is represents. If you think that’s centrist, I’d suggest getting the old compass recalibrated.

            1. loblolly

              Am I for real, asks the poster who fails to see anything of himself I. my explicit description of the archetype he belongs to as a preamble to my above comment.

              If you cannot even see yourself, how can you claim to have any perspective on anything else?

              1. flora

                I believe that voting for Trump was voting to give the middle finger to the establishment politicians and the cozy status quo in both parties . I believe the Brexit vote was the same.

                I’ve remarked that the 90% have no effective national representation. The 90% can, however, vote to throw a wrench into the works that are grinding them down, which I think they have done. No guarantees that anything will get better – things might get worse, even much worse. Still, ignoring the 90% is no longer an option if the Dems want to get back into power, and impliment policies that benefit the 90%. It’s questionable if the Dem estab cares about this.

                1. flora

                  adding: Althought, with the recent Republican Mikey Bloomberg ‘donation’ to the Dem party of $80 million, I’m sure the Dem estab can afford to ignore the 90% for a while longer.

                  (Was this a ‘hostile takeover of the Clinton estab of the Dem pary by Republican Bloomberg? heh.)

              2. Richard

                Okay, I call bs.
                I, a poster who fails to see anything of himself in the archetype that preambled your comment, call bs on your transendental wordsalad. I objected to your modeling of Trump as a centrist. Can you explain why you would choose that word, and explain in what sense that could be true, for a man accelerating the planet towards climate disaster, and who threatens armageddon casually, to name but two of his many non-centrist political traits?
                So could you just do that for me? Tell me how, based on the sum of his actions, you think Trump is a centrist.

                PS I also got problems with “emo-mob”! But we can save that for later.

              3. Yves Smith

                You provided no substantiation whatsoever for your assertion that Trump is a centrist. Your remark is absolutely false. Look at his tax cuts, his court appointments, his position on climate change, his weakening of already weak bank regulation, his jihad against the CFPB, fer Chrissakes.

                When challenged, your response amounted to a candy-assed personal attack rather than engaging with the substance of the comment. That is out of line too.

                Agnotology is against our written site Policies. You need to stop making shit up if you are going to continue to have comment privileges here.

      3. Pat

        I am not being asked about “Trump’s” immigration policies. Now this could be that during the election I was spouting all the statistics available regarding Obama’s deportations and the use of private detention centers.

        But I am also past my self examination period regarding “normalization”. No I don’t get outraged by terrible hideous policy after policy, judge after judge. As I have figured out, I spent years outraged and shouting into the wilderness. I have overloaded on it. Now that others “realize” these things are wrong, I believe my job is to help them realize that it isn’t just about getting rid of Trump, it is about getting rid of the policies/rules/system that gave us Trump, and that he uses daily. You just get rid of Trump and that changes the core problems how?

        I was very proud when I started off on some speaker the other day who talked about how Democrats should be running on health care, and how if they didn’t make it clear they needed to run on Medicare for All this guy wasn’t really about the change that was needed, but just about having the right team. I didn’t get far before my young co-workers took over noting the flaw in his premise
        and went premium increases were a problem before Trump and would be after regardless of tax policy. And that Democrats should just own that ACA didn’t and doesn’t work and they were stupid to pass a Republican health care reform plan and now they would go for the one the world has proven works and that most Americans want – Medicare for All.

        I now have hope they will shorten the period between outrage voting for party change and outrage voting for policy changes party be damned. (This shocking our media and political class for the second time in a decade or so…)

        1. loblolly

          I’m outraged that no matter who we elect no politician will stand up for the American people and put a stop to Illegal immigration.

          I’m tired of being gaslighted and emotionally abused by a vocal minority. A minority who have no right to dictate to me about what is right and wrong.

          You occupy no moral high ground and seek to usurp with your hectoring the right of American citizens to make their own moral choices.

          1. wilroncanada

            “You” ( the USian population) deserve every migrant who lands at your door as long as you continue to continue to murder them, directly or by proxy, in their own countries. “You” (the USian population) are the illegals, along with “Us” Canadians, “Us” Europeans, “Us” Israelis, Australians, New Zealanders, Japanese, and more. “You” and “We” are living off their misery. “You” and “We” must change, or else.

            1. Loblolly

              I see. I am to be punished for the actions of those who precededd me, those who act in my name without my consent and those in other nations who act against their citizens.

              Then you close with a thinly veiled threat.

          2. Procopius

            I don’t think “illegal” immigration is a problem. I think people who demand it be stopped are.

      4. Plenue

        Yemen is my go-to response. 130 children are dying there daily, mostly from starvation, as a direct result of US warmongering. in my experience no one currently claiming outrage about immigrant children being taken from their families gives one iota of a shit about Yemeni children actually dying. In fact hardly anyone seems to know there’s a genocide even going on in Yemen (probably because people like John Oliver haven’t talked about it in three years, when he spent a couple minutes vilifying the Houthis.

        1. loblolly

          Yemen, where children are dying because of Iranian mullah’s funding and arming of the extremist Houthis?

          Was that what you meant to say, because it came out all garbled?

          1. richard

            Must have been the same hiccup where you forgot to mention blockade, siege warfare, and genocide.

            1. loblolly

              In my moral universe, we and our allies are the good guys and the insane religious extremists in Iran and Yemen who took up arms against their neighbors and countrymen are the bad guys.

              1. Plenue

                There’s no evidence that Iran provides any meaningful material support to the Houthis (and it’s not at all clear how they would even deliver it through the blockade if they did. Fishing boats? Because the Saudis bomb those regularly too).

                And there’s something patently ridiculous about criticizing Houthis as religious extremists, but not their Wahhabist Saudi opponents. Before Saudi Arabia started their genocidal war, the Houthis were the most effective counter to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

                For that matter, the entire meme of depicting Iran, a country with at least as much of a functioning democratic system as Israel, as run by crazed religion leaders, while Saudi Arabia, run by an autocratic absolute monarch who derives his legitimacy from a religious role (Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques) as an acceptable US ally, is utterly insane.

                Your ‘moral universe’ is a cesspool.

                1. Sid Finster

                  In my moral universe, there is no excuse for genocide.

                  What loblolly is doing is the equivalent of blaming a rape victim, saying that she somehow “deserved it”.

              1. Plenue

                “Where is the evidence of deliberate starvation?”

                The fact that Saudi Arabia is bombing civilian infrastructure and blockading the country?





                SA and the UAE are now attacking the last port under Houthi control, Hoydeidah. When they take it, they’ll cut off the already meager supplies that are getting through. Their goal is to starve the Houthis into submission.

                Now, you can go ahead and not care about the Houthi ‘fanatics’, but far from all of the 18 million people in Houthi held territory are Houthi. Again, how is this policy of deliberate starvation justified?

                1. Yves Smith

                  And in particular, Yemen imports its 90% of food. And the Saudis have targeted municipal waterworks, so the cholera also appears to be by design.

    2. Lee

      Also posted yesterday. Where are the pictures depicting these outrages?

      June 23, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      With over 2 million fellow citizens incarcerated, the real money to be made is imprisoning our own. Not that some of them don’t belong there but a great many do not. I wonder how many cruelly and unnecessarily busted up families that adds up to. Will be hearing the cries of these kids separated from their locked up loved ones?

      How about the 20,000 in the juvenile justice system, most locked up for non-violent crimes and the 7,200 whose offenses weren’t even criminal? And then there’s the 4,500 juveniles serving time in adult facilities.

      1. fresno dan

        June 24, 2018 at 9:45 am

        “the real money to be made is imprisoning our own”
        Housing bubble – we’ll all get rich selling each other each other’s house…..
        Incarceration bubble – we’ll all get rich charging each other with each other’s crime (get it? charging with crime AND charging for money)

        1. Procopius

          Reminds me of a science-fiction joke about a dystopian post-nuclear world, back in the ’50s. The narrator is explaining to a group of children what the wide glass-bottomed lake in front of them is. “It was once the capital of a mighty empire. We don’t understand much about it. Apparently they somehow lived by scratching each other’s backs and washing each other’s clothes. That’s why it was called “Washing Done.”

    3. FluffytheObeseCat

      Would all of you stop indulging in this studied ignorance of how our carceral state works?

      Yes, it really is that hard to get photos or video of anyone in private, for-profit prisons. There’s damned good reasons why we never see much in the way of images from our vast prison state: they don’t let anyone document what they are doing, and they have the surveillance infrastructure needed to block most images from getting out.

      Why do you think the one vetted, high quality piece of news about kids in these holding facilities is audio-only? Because audio was the only way someone could get evidence out of that joint. You can capture audio through a “turned off” cell phone in a shirt pocket….. not so much video.

      There are good arguments to be made against fake news pictures in articles critiquing Trump immigration policies. Embedding fake photos of random crying kids is poor journalism, and encourage the Alex Jones/“I don’t believe the Liberal media” types in their incessant dismissal of reality.

      However, journalists very rarely get vetted, attention-worthy visual evidence out of our gulag archipelago. The grifters running these ops make it their life’s work to keep negative evidence from seeing the light of day. Public oversight is their enemy, and they know it.

      1. lambert strether

        > Would all of you stop indulging in this studied ignorance of how our carceral state works?

        I’m not sure why the proposition “A photo presented as being of subject A should actually be of subject A” is controversial. If our sadly diminished press can’t get the photo they need to support a story, they don’t get to run another photo. This has nothing to do with the carceral state (a bad thing, needless to say).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          When they have something genuine to report, who is going to believe them?

          (Wait, how many believe in the mainstream media today? Is this a case of nothing-to-lose?)

          1. Plenue

            “How many believe in the mainstream media today?”

            Judging by my sister-in-law, plenty. I’m the crazy, wacky conspiracy theorist in the family, for…um…not believing in conspiracy theories (RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA!).

        2. cat's paw

          All of this recalls to mind a long-form article early in the Obama administration on the massive ramping up of deportation and immigrant warehousing. It was in a magazine that had recently been launched, aiming for “serious” journalism, and very quickly folded. Why, I don’t know, but the timing was not propitious. It appeared and disappeared during the early-mid phase of the recession. It was called Pacific…something, I think? I’ve been trying to remember the name for a while now. If anybody remembers chime in.

          At any rate, the article I mention was fairly informative, focusing on the massive facilities built to warehouse immigrants in a prison-like netherworld for long and indefinite periods of time until being deported. The facilities were providing needed infrastructure to the intensifying roundups and deportations then occurring. I recall them being privately owned and run, but I’m not certain. I was a bit shocked this was occurring under Obama’s administration. At the time nobody was talking about this and there was no other reporting of that I was aware of. That bit of business, along with how O’s administration was handling the recession, made it clear to just how strictly he was going to color within the lines. There were going to be no transformations. It’s still somewhat amazing to me just how many (and which) government and private institutions were able to concentrate and intensify their power under Obama.

          Again, if anyone remembers the short-lived magazine help me out. I’d like to review that article again in light of recent events– and the last 9-10 years.

            1. cat's paw

              Is it? I thought it tanked. I haven’t seen a hard copy or even a reference to it online in several years. Thanks.

      2. roxan

        I worked with ‘disturbed children’ off and on from 1976 to 2006, and once an agency sent me to a juvenile detention center. Kids aren’t treated any better than adults when incarcerated, and yes, no chance to make videos unless you are technically skilled enough to hide a camera in your lapel or something. In addition, staff is closely watched. There are cameras everywhere, computers, phones, etc all spied on. You are never alone a second. In many jail-like Psych facilities, there is a constant effort to catch staff members doing something, anything, illegal and even set them up. That is, actually, common. So, people are afraid to do anything. There is always the intimidation from HIPAA rules. Everything is ‘private’. Even the presence of a patient in an institution can’t be divulged to a relative–it’s a violation of their ‘right to privacy.’ Also, children can’t be hugged or, really, touched at all aside of delivering medical care of some sort. That is all considered a form of sexual ‘abuse.’ I took a crying 5-year-old on my knee once, and was instantly told to desist before I was seen. None of this is new. As nearly as I can tell, once a child is grabbed by social services and ends in the foster system, their life is ruined.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thank for mentioning the privacy issue and why taking pictures and videos of kids is a problem.

          From the Automatic Earth article:

          An online article about the picture, published by Time Magazine, initially reported the girl was taken from her mother, but was subsequently corrected to make clear that: “The girl was not carried away screaming by US Border Patrol agents; her mother picked her up and the two were taken away together.” Time Magazine nonetheless used the image of the sobbing child on its cover, next to an image of President Trump looming over her, with the caption “Welcome to America”.

          The Time’s correction is incomplete. Here, we picture the process as

          1. Separate the child…now the kid stands by herself, instead of being held by the mother
          2 Agents drag the kid away

          The girl was not carried away screaming by the agents, Time Magazine says in its correction (that relates to #2). But according to a BBC article, the mother put her down (this relates #1).

          Honduran Deputy Foreign Minister Nelly Jerez verified Mr Valera’s version of events to Reuters.

          Carlos Ruiz, the Border Patrol agent who stopped Ms Sanchez and her daughter, said the mother was asked to set the child down so she could be searched.

          “The kid immediately started crying as she set her down,” said Mr Ruiz. “I personally went up to the mother and asked her, ‘Are you doing OK? Is the kid OK?’

          “And she said, ‘Yes. She’s tired and thirsty. It’s 11 o’clock at night.'”

          Here, it says, the agents dd not touch the girl as she was set down by her mother.

          Further down the BBC article:

          Mr Valera said Ms Sanchez and their daughter had left the Honduran city of Puerto Cortes without telling him or the couple’s three other children

          He said he believed she went to the US in search of better economic opportunities.

          Mr Valera told Reuters: “If they are deported, that is OK as long as they do not leave the child without her mother. I am waiting to see what happens with them.”

          He told the Daily Mail he understands Ms Sanchez paid $6,000 to a smuggler to get her across the border.

          Why did the mother leave without telling the father and her other children? Is there more here? Marriage problems?

          And $6,000 which is in the range of how much it costs to get into the US…from $2,000 r up to be $10,000 or more (see this article:

          Contrast that with the news recently that most Americans would be hard press to come up with $400 in an emergency. How many Americans could afford $4,000 to sneak into, say, France?

          And lastly, from the above Dailymail article:

          When Cardenas Vela ran the Rio Bravo ‘plaza’ for the cartel from 2009 to 2011, he collected $250 to $300 for a Mexican immigrant, $500 to $700 for a Central American and about $1,500 for someone from Europe or Asia, he testified.

          From Asia…like China, India, Pakistan and maybe Syria or Saudi Arabia? They are all in Asia.

          And so, here borders, immigrants and national security all become interconnected.

          1. fresno dan

            June 24, 2018 at 3:04 pm

            Thanks for all that research.
            But it certainly shows how complex the issue is, and that probably any new “safeguards” will have unintended consequences…

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              You’re welcome.

              From the Dailymail article, it sounds like it’s big business and lots of money to be made in smuggling people across the border.

              From a Pewresearch article from 2014


              About 229,000 Mexicans were apprehended by the Border Patrol in fiscal year 2014 compared with 257,000 non-Mexicans during the previous year, according to recently published Border Patrol data. Taken together, total apprehensions of Mexican and non-Mexican unauthorized immigrants (more than 486,000) were up 16% over the previous year.

              Say at $2,000 each for those unfinished jobs, that’s $2,000 x 486,000 = $972,000,000.

              Close to one billion dollars a year (from those who got caught).

              Even if the success rate is 50%, the total is close to $2 billion (486,000 got through, 486,000 got caught).

              1. roxan

                Excellent comment and articles! Nothing is ever so simple as it seems. Money is always involved, somehow….

      3. dcblogger

        Yes, it really is that hard to get photos or video of anyone in private, for-profit prisons. There’s damned good reasons why we never see much in the way of images from our vast prison state: they don’t let anyone document what they are doing, and they have the surveillance infrastructure needed to block most images from getting out.

        Why do you think the one vetted, high quality piece of news about kids in these holding facilities is audio-only? Because audio was the only way someone could get evidence out of that joint. You can capture audio through a “turned off” cell phone in a shirt pocket….. not so much video.

        See the forest. That the child in that photo may have been misidentified as to their circumstances is that tree, the forest is that their are hundreds of children list like her being held in Trump’s baby prisons. It may have gone one under Obama, but most of us did not know about it. Given that Archives plans to destroy the records it is obvious that the truth is horrific.

        I am disappointed that lambert and others have been so dismissive of the protests as mere virtue signally, as if they have windows into the souls of those doing it.
        The ICE Public Affairs officer in San Francisco has resigned

        the ground is shifting very fast, this might not be the issue you want to organize around, but it is the issue that has caught the popular imagination.

        1. fresno dan

          June 24, 2018 at 3:36 pm

          First, I always respect your comments and find them elucidating and thought provoking (your in a small group that I do a search on to make sure I haven’t missed anything you’ve said).
          Second, I agree that the term “virtue signalling” can be less than constructive. The question should be: is it actually virtuous? What are the counter arguments? Just as patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, “think of the children” is the first line of a grifter…..

          When I bring up that Obama policies, maybe less odious in quantity, but qualitatively similar if not identical to what Trump is doing, I, like a lot of NC commentators, are objecting to being “played.” That is, Trump is accused of yelling “squirrel” to a room full of dogs, yet no one is asking who filled the room with dogs instead of cats? Who decided children at the border are newsworthy and children in Yemen are not “newsworthy” (does the cost of reporters in the mid east have ANYTHING to do with it or is Exxon advertising dollars too important?)
          WHY exactly is immigration the ONLY issue on cable, and not day and night coverage of opioid deaths? Why are cuts to Medicaid not newsworthy?

          There is the axiom that “if it bleeds, it leads.” But has this 24/7 “news” coverage led to a well informed populace that has elected thoughtful leaders so that our criminal justice system functions more JUSTLY or has it led to sheer manipulation and great injustice?
          If pictures can’t be taken inside of prisons, that needs to be REPORTED. PICTURES and news are not synonymous, and if there are pictures that are not objectively TRUE and ACCURATE, they undercut the press. And if the press can’t go into or take pictures of detention centers, the battlecry of activists should be: WHAT ARE YOU HIDING?

          1. dcblogger

            Thank you for your kind words.

            I do not have a television, so I am oblivious as to what they are doing. My news comes from NC, McClatchy and my twitter list.

            The Saudis have $800 billion invested in our country, that buys a lot of love.

            It is not just cable manipulation, or we would still be talking about RUSSIA! this is the issue that has caught the public imagination. The is the 5 Knights case.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > It is not just cable manipulation, or we would still be talking about RUSSIA!

              Or it’s a pivot to a second, more fruitful, campaign.

              “Maddow wept.”

              Of course, it’s possible that she was manipulative with the previous moral panic, and genuine with this moral panic. I’m skeptical. See, again, Luke 17:2.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          LOL “Trump’s baby prisons” LOL.

          I’ll FIFY

          Clinton’s baby prisons, continued by Bush, expanded by Saint Obama, inherited and expanded further by Trump.

          But oh oh “we didn’t know”. Precisely. And who exactly was responsible for us not knowing? Oh, look, it was the party whose candidate missed “Her Turn” in 2016 that kept it in the dark for 8 years. While “She” was busy coup-ing Honduras, doncha know.

          You see, this is why Saint O wins my coveted Worst_President_Ever award (yes I’m counting Andrew Johnson and Millard Fillmore). Under the Cheney Administration you had truth-in-advertising: you knew you were dealing with pure, snarling warmonger corporo-fascists. But under Saint O you had the exact same warmongering corporo-fascism, but with a mellifluous, good-looking hip brother telling you none of it was true. That’s much more insidious and destructive in my view (and in the view of the distinguished panel when they make the WPE award).

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > so dismissive of the protests as mere virtue signally, as if they have windows into the souls of those doing it.

          This is not hard. Take the three tests for a movement: Is it universal, consistent, and systematic?

          Most the coverage I read on this topic — and virtually everything in the press –coverage is universal (“babies”), not consistent (why this issue, now, and not dropping life expectancy — i.e., actual deaths — on the average in the country, and in particular in the flyover states), and above all not systematic (no consideration of the roles played by both Obama and Bush). So combine a universal claim (“babies”) with outrage (“babies!!!!!”) and sprinkle lightly with Democratic partisanship via historical erasure — let’s not forget the midterms! — and I’m perfectly happy to qualify most of what I read and hear on this topic as virtue signaling.

          Yes, there many on the ground who are protesting with good faith and in good heart, making the engineers* of this moral panic who sucked them in all the more reprehensible (Luke 17:2).

          In other words, your claim that I’m looking into people’s souls is false (or no more false than Listen Liberal! is false.) All you have to do is look at what’s said and, more importantly, what’s not said. (Your claim is also a personal assault on me, which is against site policy. Watch it.)

          It is true that this issue has “caught the popular imagination” (or at least some factions of it); note lack of agency. I continue to insist that for the left, absent policy proposals that the 90% can support, that’s it’s an identity-politics driven poisoned chalice.

          * NOTE Does anybody really believe that it’s a coincidence that wall-to-wall migrants have been swapped in for Russia!Russia!Russia?

      4. loblolly

        out of our gulag archipelago.

        Our prisons are full of political dissidents?

        On a scale to rival the vast ideologically driven penal system of the former Soviet Union?

        I had no idea.

        1. Matt

          The gulag system held both political prisoners as well as common criminals. Or did you think that the Soviet Union didn’t have murderers, thieves, and rapists?

          1. Loblolly

            The “gulag archipelago” is a reference to Solschenizyn’s novel of the same name which was primarily an indictment of the political oppression of citizens by the ideological Soviet state.

            Using that term to describe the American prision system is dishonest and the kind of affectation people with weak arguments use.

            1. FluffytheObeseCat

              The present day American carceral state-within-a-state is a Kafkaesque, life-destroying monstrosity. The gulag archipelago of the USSR was worse. The term “gulag archipelago’ is an overstatement. One that allowed you to artfully evade all the statements that came before it. Therefore I am sorry that I used it. I hate giving ammunition to baloney salesmen who latch hard onto errors….. in order to run away from the accurate points that surround them.

              The stiff indignation you put on over it was a real nice touch BTW.

        2. Massinissa

          America has more people incarcerated than any other nation. The Soviet Union had less people incarcerated, but had *slightly* more people incarcerated per capita, but not by much.

          1. Loblolly

            Well good for us. We have higher standards and expectations for people in our high trust society.

      5. anonymous

        One of the apparently legitimate photos and articles that triggered additional outrage was the photo and video of immigrant children on a jet that was arriving at New York’s La Guardia airport the other evening. It was the catalyst for mass protests against Trump’s immigration actions, in Terminal B at La Guardia.

        Here’s a Tweet of the New York Times’ video

    4. NoOneInParticular

      The pictures are not fake, they have simply been hijacked for use as persuasion. The cage picture, in particular, demonstrates the danger in relying on social media for one’s news. There is no editor working to guarantee that facts (pictures, in this case) remain in context. Getty’s listing for the crying child picture has a caption that makes the context clear (I have no way of knowing if, when originally posted there, the caption might have been inaccurate and subsequently corrected) so anyone who uses it now from its original source has no excuse for getting the context wrong. Anyone who simply lifts it from a social media thread is likely to add to the lie by being an unwitting participant in the old game of telephone.

      “Activist journalist” is an oxymoron. The danger for a journalist who crosses into activism is loss of credibility – by not letting facts get in the way of a good story, which is a powerful temptation when one wants to change the world. It’s possible to be an “activist journalist” and be accurate and fair. But it’s a fine line to walk.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I used “framing” because I can’t even use the word “fake” any more.

        Perhaps “bogus” would do.

        That’s a good point on the Getty caption:

        MCALLEN, TX – JUNE 12: A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. The asylum seekers had rafted across the Rio Grande from Mexico and were detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents before being sent to a processing center for possible separation. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is executing the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards undocumented immigrants. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also said that domestic and gang violence in immigrants’ country of origin would no longer qualify them for political asylum status. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

        I’ve noticed a tendency among liberals on this topic to defend the broadest possible moral claims (“families should not be separated”) with narrowly tailored, parsing legal claims (“Obama may have separated families, but he didn’t criminalize migrants”). So perhaps I’ve fallen into the same habit of thought; this photo is about “possible separation,” not actual separation, therefore, since it’s being used to illustrate the topic of family separation, it’s bogus. And as journalism it is bogus; even as advocacy it’s bogus. That isn’t to say that Trump didn’t make a bad system worse. It would be a real service to the public, however, if liberal Democrats would come up with a concrete proposal to improve the system (perhaps a little more than making sure the children had lawyers, a rather transparent giveaway to credentialed professionals). If the proposal is Open Borders, so be it, and let the case be made; I’ve changed my mind before, after all. And if it’s not, what is it?

        1. danpaco

          What exactly is meant by the term “open borders”? open within NAFTA? , similar to the EU?,open hemispherically?
          As I see it, before the ink was even dry on NAFTA in the 90’s congress took up immigration enforcement and sent us down the path we are on today. The idea of open borders died in the 90’s and locked in the labour arbitrage with Mexico where auto workers still make $2.50/hr.
          Yes, the democrats missed an ideal opportunity to explain what their position is on immigration, which leads me to believe it’s more of the same or they don’t have one.

          1. Wukchumni

            It’s seldom pointed out why labor got so plentiful from south of the border, but you have to back to the late 1970’s, when it was a solid 12.5 Pesos to the Dollar, and then a slow grinding hyperinflation set in over a decade, eventually having the Peso go to over 10,000 to the Dollar, before it was replaced by the Nuevo Peso @ 1000-1 conversion rate for old to new money.

            It’s easy to get lost in the numbers game of which instance was the worst in terms of loss of value in hyperinflation capers, and Mexico was nowhere near as bad as Weimar in the early 20’s, but it lasted a lot longer and wiped out the small middle class in the country and impoverished everybody.

            That was the catalyst, they were working for peanuts in their home currency, and if your money isn’t worth anything and losing value all the time, it’s like a hot potato you have to get rid of promptly, saving is for idiots!

            Lets say you were a little well off with 100,000 Pesos in the bank on any old day in 1977, and it’s value then was $8000 U.S. and you went into a coma, and awoke in 1991 and it was worth a princely ten bucks American?

            You might just lapse back into said coma…

    5. Katniss Everdeen

      So….After a solid week of hysteria and histrionics over decades-old immigration policies that have only become a moral national “emergency” since a president who wants to “renegotiate” nafta and tighten up the borders got elected, I’m starting to think it’s time to pull back and look at this situation from 30,000 feet.

      From Wikipedia:

      Metaphorically a “Trojan Horse” has come to mean any trick or stratagem that causes a target to invite a foe into a securely protected bastion or place.

      Is there anyone here who seriously believes that time magazine, jon favreau and the activist illegal immigrant “journalist” (to name a few) all made innocent “mistakes” in publishing deceptive images to further a narrative? I mean, TIME MAGAZINE????

      On July 1, Mexico will elect a new president. The overwhelming favorite is Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). AMLO has called for mass immigration to the United States during a speech Tuesday declaring it a “human right” for all North Americans.

      “And soon, very soon — after the victory of our movement — we will defend all the migrants in the American continent and all the migrants in the world,” Obrador said, adding that immigrants “must leave their towns and find a life in the United States.”

      Recently I have posted links here that, in 2014, the leaders of Mexico and Guatemala announced a program to provide safe passage through Mexico for migrants, including unaccompanied minors, seeking to enter the united states. The program was extended to other Central American countries.

      I have also posted links to a 2013 hillary clinton speech to a Brazilian bank in which she spoke of her “dream” of a “hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.” (Julian Assange continues to pay the price for that tidbit of information today.) That would be the same hillary clinton who was presumably to follow the sainted obama at the nation’s helm.

      Do you see where I’m goin’ with this?

      Having spent two years cynically and toxically polarizing this country’s citizenry over nothing more than what side of any issue Donald Trump comes down on, the globalists have more than primed the pump. The doors to the country will be opened enthusiastically–no need for obama-era stealth or to storm the gates. Pretty much for no other reason than that Donald Trump says not to. I’d go so far as to say that the people of this country are never gonna know what hit ’em.

      1. KB

        Thanks for that Katniss…
        I am aware of all of this too….finally, another awake person…

        I remember at a 2006 State Democratic Convention ( I was a delegate and still trying to figure out what was going wrong in the party, so forgive me) when a repeat candidate that never got anywhere, said close to what you quoted Hillary said about the “common market” and also highway intention going from southern Mexico to Northern Canada….eye opening for some including me but in general he was not taken seriously.

        At least then, 2006, he was allowed to speak. I doubt that would happen today.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I’m not seeing a transcript at the (ugh) Daily Caller. Something from outside the conservative echo chamber, please. (I hardly ever link to Talking Points Memo, for example, for just the same reason.)

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          This is a link I’ve seen cited in other places. I used google translate, but can’t seem to copy and paste from the translated version. So I’ll transcribe: (Quotes in the original.)

          “And soon, very soon, to the triumph of our movement we are going to defend the migrants of the entire American continent and all the migrants of the world who, by necessity, have to leave their villages to seek life in the United States, it is a human right that we are going to defend,” he [AMLO] said.

          I’ll keep looking.

          1. anonymous

            Think AMLO is saying immigrants are, by (presumably, economic) necessity, forced to leave their towns and head to the US, and that they have a human right to find work and he will defend that right.

            I don’t think he’s exhorting them to leave Mexico.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Not if those “jawbs” are paying the wages that globalists will pay. Can’t live on what you make, then what?

            Anyone remember this “feature” of the dissipation of the Roman Empire?

            The Migration Period was a period during the decline of the Roman Empire around the 4th to 6th centuries AD in which there were widespread migrations of peoples within or into Europe, mostly into Roman territory, notably the Germanic tribes and the Huns. It has also been termed in English by the German loanword Völkerwanderung[note 2] and—from the Roman and Greek perspective—the Barbarian Invasions.[2] Many of the migrations were movements of Germanic, Hunnic, Slavic and other peoples into the territory of the then declining Roman Empire, with or without accompanying invasions or war.


            Nothing is ever what we think it is… “The most persistent principles in the universe are accident and error…” And of course “Surprise!”

            1. Plenue

              Not really sure what point you’re trying to make. But to late Roman writers the problem wasn’t keeping the ‘barbarians’ out; it was not accommodating them properly. The official Lupicinus was remembered with infamy for abusing and exploiting Goths so badly that they rebelled and went to war.

          2. VietnamVet

            Despite the “best of all possible world” media meme, the rise of the scapegoats (Russia for the Democrats and Guatemalans for the Republicans) indicate that something has gone really bad in the USA. Indeed, the suicide rate is up 30% and Americans are dying at an earlier age. If stable societies aren’t built in the USA, Mexico and Central America (jobs for all who are able bodied), all hell will break out when Coyote Ships filled with millions from the flooded lowlands across the world sail into North Americas ports. Billions spent on building border walls, not alleviating climate change, are a total waste.

      3. Richard

        I’m sorry, I don’t see where you’re going with this. Completely stumped. You seem to be scaremongering (sorry, but that how I’d call it) but could you be more clear about what I’m supposed to be scared of?
        Obrador, maybe?

      4. Jeremy Grimm

        I see where you are going with this — I think — but my take away from your comment is captured in the reference to a “Trojan Horse” and the suggestion all is not as it is made to seem. The length of this thread on this topic is stunning as if the immigration issue were of commensurate concern among those things we might be concerned about and equally powerless to change.

        As far as where you are going with this, partisan politics and Mexico’s probable President, I cannot help recalling the way H-1B visas are handled, after seeing a TATA labeled multi-story office building from the train, and recalling the NAFTA desire to allow Mexican truck drivers to drive on U.S. highways. Ignoring immigration as a separate issue my 30,000 foot view of things is that ‘we’ — the people here and abroad — and our concerns, do not matter to those whole rule us.

      5. The Rev Kev

        For what it is worth “Time” magazine has a long history of misreporting events. The late author Robert Heinlein was relating (and this was in the seventies) that he was on the spot for three events that “Time” covered in their magazine and what they reported had no resemblance to what he personally witnessed himself.

      6. anonymous

        NeoLiberals / Globalists absolutely want Open Borders.

        Open Borders means the free flow of capital and labor.

        Someone else noted that we’ve got 3.9% unemployment (yes, the real rate is much higher) and decades of stagnating, if not declining, wages. Perfect recipe for across the board wage increase, right? Wrong. Solution: open the borders and keep a lid on wages.

        1. danpaco

          Am I missing something? Neoliberal’s and globalist (I hate that term) would not want open borders for labour. That would be allowing the opposition (labour) an equal place in the global economy, since capital already flows freely between boarders. The moneyed elites need closed borders so to exploit the labour arbitrage between countries and therefore maximize profit and power.
          Have a look at German average incomes. They have been rising steadily over the last 20 years. Germany is the perfect example of open boarders (that term needs a proper explanation). For all of the EU’s flaws, it is the only trade agreement that allows the free flow of labour.

      7. drumlin woodchuckles

        This ( and downthread) comments appear to be about the same subject I saw and mentioned a comment about yesterday in a comment. That Mr. Obrador is said to have called for mass migration invasion of the United States as part of his ( “our”) movement, etc. I wondered if this was even a real story or not.

        I hope someone does the research fairly fast to determine if Obrador really held this rally and if he really announced that policy initiative to be implemented in the event of his getting elected President of Mexico. ( Though even if nobody researches anything about the concocted fakeness or reported realness of this story and the events it is about, we will find out in a general way based on what Obrador does after getting elected, if he is elected).

        I would again suggest that . . . IF this story is real and IF the rally it purports to describe has really happened . . . THEN the Obrador Administration ( if there is one) will turn Trumpism into an enduring movement in this country and will get Republicans elected to an FDR-New Deal sized majority in the House and Senate for as long as aMERican people feel they need a government devoted to preventing this Obrador Initiative from succeeding.

        If this is all true, and if a successfully elected Obrador thinks he can troll Trump with statements like this and with actions designed to make it look as if these statements really are policy; then Obrador will , in the process of trolling Trump, also have deeply hated and deeply enraged and deeply enfeared at least 150 million Americans at the same time. It would be a “Pearl Harbor” moment. Would President Obrador really want a “Battle of Midway” response?

        Because if he really did say that, and if he really tries to do that, then a “Battle of Midway” response may well be what he creates for himself and his country.

    6. Procopius

      Apparently it really was that hard to find children caged in the current round of atrocities. Notice how reporters were only able to tour a couple of the jails with permission and accompanied. We still don’t know where the girls were sent or the toddlers. At least I don’t, but I just got out of bed. This was appparently a spur of the moment thing, and they used facilities that were not used before. Actually, that’s very chilling. It suggests they have lots of spare capacity.

  2. fresno dan

    The Conservative Case for Universal Healthcare The American Conservative

    The objections to socialized healthcare crumble upon impact with the reality. One beloved piece of folklore is that once people are given free healthcare they’ll abuse it by going on weird medical joyrides, just because they can, or simply let themselves go because they’ll have free doctor visits.
    I don’t know about you, but I loves me some colonoscopies…not to mention all the toxic chemical cocktails I drink, because being treated for cancer is a joy as well…..

    seriously, the article is a great primer on all the ridiculous arguments against universal healthcare and why those arguments are so, so, SO wrong.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Yep, an oldie but goodie, thanks for reposting. Let good sense rather than moral outrage prevail. Problem is those vested interests (AMA, Big Pharma) own our legislators. Campaign finance reform is a necessary first step, but Dems have demonstrated no more appetite for action (vs lip service) on it than Reps.

      (And agreed, Dan, colonoscopies are the bomb!)

      1. Wukchumni

        (And agreed, Dan, colonoscopies are the bomb!)
        Hear, here. I had one and never looked back.

        1. fresno dan

          June 24, 2018 at 8:54 am

          You know, I wonder why I like colonoscopies so much….ME, the CENTER of attention – cameras, filming, etc., maybe it was my desire to be in movies. But I never made it in Hollywood, so instead of BEING IN THE MOVIES, I had to settle for the movies BEING IN ME…..

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I just went in for my yearly checkup, and the colonoscopy procedure was described to me, with some relish, by my doctor. The camera, the snipping of the polyps… Not invasive at all! Maybe I’ll die with those polyps, if any, instead of from them…

            1. Yves Smith

              Only the exam is covered under Obamacare, not any snipping….so people who thought they were getting a free colonoscopy are regularly upset to get bills in the (admittedly low) thousands of dollars.

              You can get a virtual colonoscopy. You still have to not eat and drink a weirdo drink but they just look at your innards (as in no probe shoved in you, which separately has the risk of infection and perforation. 15% of the colonoscopy equipment isn’t cleaned properly). It doesn’t catch everything but it catches most things.

              Or you can do what the world outside the US does for people not in high risk groups: a fecal occult stool test. Easy, they give you the results right there, and good results provided you get one every year.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Personally, I can’t wait for single-payer, so that I can go through a biopsy with depressive antibiotics every six months.

      1. Richard

        I will, and I hope you are right sir. Somebody steal somebodies clothes around here and get this thing started!
        Seriously, how do you mean? That sounds interesting.

  3. Wukchumni

    Marmots are the only member of the 4 legs good community in the higher reaches of the back of beyond in the Sierra Nevada that will actually come towards you, kinda fearless little bastards.

    I’ve never had a black bear make off with my food in the backcountry and seeing as they have a sense of smell 7x as strong as that of a dog-you have to take precautions, and we have always typically used the counter balance method which entails finding a small enough branch that wouldn’t support a bear’s weight that’s around 15 feet up on a tree 10 feet out from the branch. Using a length of parachute cord, you tie a small rock around the end and throw it over the branch, and then with a couple of stuff sacks with your food & toiletries, you tie one of the sacks and then hoist it up as far as you can go, and then take the other sack and tie it as high up as possible, and if you’ve done it right, the 2 sacks will be dangling about 10 feet above you. Nowadays here in Sequoia NP, you’re required to carry a bear-proof food canister that weighs a few pounds and is an awkward fit in your backpack.

    Marmots on the other hand, have gotten my stuff and their bailiwick is brine.

    I’ve never seen a beastie that craves salt as they do, and our secretions are an all you can lick or chew through buffet, so make sure you hang that sweaty shirt from today’s walk on a high enough branch of a tree, along with your boots (we were up above treeline once and a marm ate the tongue on a friend’s boot in about 10 minutes, while we were only about 25 feet away) so as to keep them from harm’s way. Marms can’t climb much so you don’t need the branch to be very high. Our urine is laden with salty intake, and i’ve had as many as 5 marmots @ one time licking up after me looking up at me.

    A friend calls them ‘the marmot cong’ as they are a ruthless foe that keeps you on your toes that lives in tunnels dug out from under rocks typically, not unlike their VC counterparts in the Vietnam War.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That Marmot may look cute in that image sunning himself on those rocks but all I could think of was to tell him to get his back against some rocks or he’ll end up as eagle bait.

    2. Stephen V.

      Speaking of Sequoia NP,
      IIRC marmots also have a hankering
      For the rubber parts of automobiles…

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        In places where lots of cars gather together and park in marmot country, car-rubber feeding stations should be set up with all kinds of rubber car parts ( hoses etc.) so the marmots can eat all they want without going into the cars.

        If marmots consider attacking the cars to be part of the fun, then marmot feeders disguised as cars can be set up and filled with hundreds of pounds of delicious rubber hoses and other tasty rubber parts. Keep the marmots fed and happy, and keep the cars safe.

    3. Synapsid


      I used bear bagging for years in the Sierras and elsewhere and never had bears get at the food but squirrels could–they’d go down the line to the bag. I finally poked a hole in an aluminum pie pan, cut in from the rim to the hole, and slid the thing onto the line between two knots. It did stop squirrels.

      I got the idea from the ratguards on ships’ hawsers.

  4. timbers

    North Korea

    Korea seeks to speed up ‘northern’ economic projects with Russia Korea Times. Railroads, pipelines, electricity grid.

    From the article:

    As President Moon Jae-in began his four-day trip to Russia Thursday, expectations are heightening over trilateral economic cooperation plans linking the two Koreas with Russia. They are likely to start in sectors such as railways, pipelines and electricity grids.

    “When the peaceful mood settles in the Korean Peninsula, North Korea can join in cooperation between South Korea and Russia. This will greatly help their economy and development,” President Moon said in an interview with the Russian media Wednesday before leaving for Russia.

    Why do I get a bad feeling about this…as in the Deep State is never going to allow peace with the Koreas because it would incidentally benefit their #1 target for regime change, Russia?

    And incidentally, why can’t America have a leaders who says think like Moon said – “When America and her neighbors on Earth are in a peaceful mood, it will greatly help cooperation and her economy and development.” ?

      1. Milton

        I hear Deep State and I think of something out of James Bond…
        I instead use the term Entrenched State. Sounds more immovable and less conspiratorial.

      2. neo-realist

        IMO, Deep State equivalent to TPTB: Elements of plutocrat, corporate, military, executive and congressional branches of government, and intelligence power working together to satisfy mutual interests–Written about by the likes of C Wright Mills, Bertram Gross, Peter Dale Scott, Fletcher Prouty, and most recently, Mike Lofgren. Specifically, more like the political actors working for the money power.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Agreed, neo-realist. And having a working notion of a Deep State is not inconsistent with the reality that power groups (think maybe Game of Thrones?) are always looking to rip off other elements of the *power category.* The phrase sounds awkward and has become a bit shopworn, but for me at least it is an acceptable “handle” for what I, in my little corner, perceive is happening.

          But then we get into the definitional warfare that so disables “people on the Left.” Are folks who fall into the “Left” category socialists in all kinds of varieties, or social democrats, or syndicalsts, or Pure Marxists (“what-everrrr.”), Marxist-Leninists, Left-Libertarians, on and on?

          The people who have all the money and power tend not to quibble about such fripperies. They have a simple organizing principle, and they measure everything against it as they play the game — more wealth, more control and domination. My first wife’s parents were a corporate couple — he was a lobbyist and PR spinner for US Steel/USX, she the perfect corporate wife totally aligned with her hubby’s career and their joint accumulation. Her advice to her daughters, and to me when I got sucked into their orbit? “If you have a choice of two things to do, always do the one that will get you the most money.”

          And we mopes can’t get it together to synthesize an agreed statement of our own principle driver that might be used to measure everything against. Like composting and coppicing, and sustainable farrming, and taking Navy showers rather than having those precious “Rainforest Showerheads” and multiple nozzles spraying us, and only using a cupful of water to brush your teeth, and choices, including “not buying them,” among the flood of crapified goods that lead to what might be thought of as “better for everyone,” and political economic decisions, and political parties and governance structures. A tough roe to hoe, since too many of us have aspirations to join the other set.

          And many of us, from experience, know what all too often happens when we try to form our beloved “co-housing” and “intentional communities.” Disaffection settles in, whether brought by our own desires, or via agents provocateur, or because we have learned too much of the wrong kind of stuff. And of course there are exceptions, where comity and community are created out of whole cloth, but they sure seem to be rare, and the villages of yore are mostly blitzed by the Global World.

          And our useful knowledge, like how to grow food and build sensible shelter and make things that are useful and that last, out of materials that aren’t generated by looting and extraction, and even in the realm of Code, too often gets turned into just more tools and energies and clubs for the Few to batter us down with.

          Lots of observations and insights in NC that point in the direction of a set of principles that might be livable for the species. Maybe ogling the charts of the Five Horsemen of the Techpocalypse is not one of them?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Sometimes Naked Capitalism runs articles which fit into the category called Permaculture. If it does so again, those might be the articles for people to submit information, links, book/magazine/periodical titles, etc. on these subjects pertaining to eco-viable survival. That way, we or other seekers would know which general category of posts-and-threads to go to in hopes of finding such information and links for consideration and possible use.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Oh, and also . . . . in the daily Links section there is sometimes a subsection titled
              Gaia. Articles in that might well provide occasion for commenters to leave eco-bio-survival-oriented information in the relevant threads.

              People wishing to search back in time for such links or book-titles-offered or other things . . . can look at every Links section and search the sub-listings for Gaia. And upon finding a Gaia subsection, scan comments quickly for any Gaia-relevant comments with eco-bio-survival information or links to such information.

    1. Andrew Watts

      The diplomatic process appears to be taking place through a heavily top-to-bottom manner with frequent direct communication between the leaders of North/South Korea/US with other back channels of communication. The Pentagon was apparently taken aback by the announcement that military exercises would be suspended and has apparently been sidelined. Meanwhile the State Department wasn’t even reportedly involved in the early beginnings of the discussions in the first place. I refuse to say anything nice about Pompeo, or the CIA, or speculate about what might be happening in the background so I’m leaving it at that.

      If anybody in Washington had a half of a brain they’d realize that building economic and military links between regional countries on China’s border wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. But hey, these people are giving the collapse of Imperial Spain and the Hapsburg dynasty a run for their money.

    2. danpaco

      Which countries “deep state” will never allow it?
      China’s? I’m sure they are happy with the status quo, while America’s focused on NK nukes they build islands and airstrips in the south china sea.
      South Korea’s? losing out on massive US military stimulus would not be ideal.
      US? who in the US military establishment doesn’t love a good boogyman.
      Russia? gas, gas and more gas.
      North Korea’s? the ruling family loves the status quo and who doesn’t love a good boogyman.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I am hopeful the Transiberian R.R. might be completed. It would be a very good thing for both Koreas and contemplating a R.R. line from Seoul to Moscow conjures romantic images of Dr. Zhivalgo and Dersu Urzala (book and movie). However, without using the term Deep State out of deference to Lambert, I agree with you concern that a significant component of the Power Elite ruling our nation might work to counter the R.R. and pipeline through North Korea. And I have no insight or ability to conjecture what motives drive this component of the Power Elite.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Motive? “More for ME,” as an organizing principle? One that the robbers and looters can coalesce around, working together to achieve the Powell Memo preference, until some dishonor among thieves cracks a piece off the monolith?

  5. Wukchumni

    On our roadtrip, I was taken by the vast amount of almond trees that dominate the food forests we passed through. It’s the money crop de jure when it comes to the law of profits and largely predicated upon export. It’s already had a tariffist attack on it, and probably not the last, seeing the reign of error’s predilection for escalating things.

    1. fresno dan

      June 24, 2018 at 8:27 am

      I took a train trip up to SF (or more accurately the city across the bay and than to SF by bus) from Fresno just for the experience and the SEA, nay, OCEAN of almonds trees was quite amazing (and boring – I like almond trees as much as the next guy, but c’mon!!!)
      By the way, its like Amtrac is trying to discourage people from taking the train. Just trying to get the Actual destination that you arrive at in the bay area (some podunk town north of Oakland) instead of actually San Francisco, the Amtrac site constantly would erase my destination when I put in the dates – what’s up with that?

      1. Wukchumni

        A lot of them are corporate farms looking for an exotic return on their gotten gains, and to give you an idea of what’s what, we were south of Chico which is a good peach growing area and stopped at a fruit stand for some goodies, and the orchard on the outskirts of the stand had a no trespassing sign and was owned by Deseret Industries, aka the Mormon church.

        1. polecat

          Almond orchards by the jillions are food deserts .. as seen in the compounded eyes of the Honey Bee.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I took that trip once years ago. The town was “Emory” then. Maybe it is still “Emory” now.

    2. John k

      One almond requires one gallon of water. And it’s exported.
      Ag adds 2% to Ca gdp, and consumes 2/3 of water used by man. (Ca gdp about 3 trillion, 2%=60 billion.)

  6. Wukchumni

    Is a photo good enough, or have we passed the rubicom and must have video accompaniment so as to be bonafide?

  7. The Rev Kev

    That Huckabee Sanders story was even worse than I thought. Stephanie Wilkinson never even made the decision to evict the Sanders party but took a straw poll of her staff instead. The story mentioning the fact that some of the staff were gay who may have had an axe to grind with a previous Trump policy makes you wonder if that was a major reason to evict Sanders.
    In passing, that Stephanie Wilkinson must have been a bit of a lead-foot. If she actually drove the 200 miles from her home to the restaurant she part-owned and got there while the Sanders party were still on their cheese boards in front of them, then she must have been flooring it. Maybe the story meant 20 miles?
    The people singing Wilkinson’s praises are aware that what goes around comes around, don’t they? Is this going to mean that from now on this sort of thing will be standard for both Democrat and Republican administrations? I understand that people in America are already separating themselves into Democrat and Republican communities but will this mean that businesses will also have to raise their flags for which political faction they support? That would be lunacy squared.
    In short, virtue successfully signaled!

    1. Wukchumni

      One thing that the draft did, was it allowed Americans to get to know one another, not just the {other 1%} Johnny Got His Gun types that make up our military presently.

      Alabama learned that California was ok, and NYC’s best buddy was from Arkansas, kismet of sorts.

      We tend to live by stereotype of the worst qualities of a place vis a vis it’s populace, in the current state of affairs.

      1. JTMcPhee

        My experience with the military (Army 1966-69) at military installations in the US and in Vietnam is that there were lots of seams and hatreds in that mostly-draft military. Blacks in Vietnam separated themselves (abetted by whites, especially among the NCO groups but right up the chain of command. When I was at Ft. Rucker, AL, we had an actual race riot, that started with some incident at a 7-11 and quickly spread across the base.

        Humans seemingly can’t… can’t all just get along, maybe.

    2. Fraibert

      As one of the commenters on the Washington Post article noted correctly in my view (see, this situation also provides an “alternate” approach to the baker facing the “baking a cake” situation for a homosexual wedding (or some other activity that ashopkeeper finds morally disagreeable)–simply decline to perform services for non-Trump supporters, Democrats, people who work for certain employers, people who wear red shoes, etc. (basically, for any reason that doesn’t isn’t prohibited by law, which admittedly can have wrinkles–NYC bans housing discrimination based on source of income, for example.)

      In any case, I agree that this will probably cause additional skirmishes in the politics wars, and I don’t see it as being all that wise.

      Moreover, if businesses’ are supposed to pick “sides,” that applies not just customer-facing businesses. Suppliers will also be forced to do so. In that case, that’s a real commercial mess…

    3. marym

      What went around already came around. If only Republicans had spoken up about children in cages during the Obama years, instead of virtue signaling about wedding cakes…

      1. David

        If only….

        From 2014,

        Dear Mr. President,

        …We therefore urge you to take the following actions to address the current national security and humanitarian crisis on the Southern Border:

        5. Expedite the processing and removal of illegal immigrants who are apprehended at our Southern Border…

        The letter was signed by 24 Texas House Republicans.

        1. marym

          That letter didn’t say anything about children in cages. It was about portraying immigrants as dangerous criminals, ending DACA protections, and demanding more incarceration and deportations.


          In a series of votes on a spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security, the GOP majority moved to block all funding for the president’s executive actions on immigration. Going even further, Republicans voted to stop Obama’s three-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, effectively calling for the deportation of kids brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents.

          1. David

            Humanitarian crisis doesn’t include “children in cages”? The Congressmen were “speaking up” about a problem.

            If we didn’t have a 680,000 immigration case backlog (source), we wouldn’t need cages, or DACA or DAPA or any of the other immigration band-aids.

            The GOP has been asking, both under Obama and Trump, for a Congressional solution to this problem, not an Executive Order solution.

            Obama’s immigration order overreaches: Our view

            …The order’s biggest flaw, however, is the precedent it would set by giving the president sweeping authority to interpret immigration laws virtually any way he or she sees fit. The same people who think Obama should have broad powers over immigration enforcement will feel a lot differently if a Republican wins the White House in November.

            Imagine what orders Ted Cruz or Donald Trump would issue if elected president. Trump has advocated mass deportations, temporarily banning entry of foreign Muslims, and building a border wall financed by confiscating the remittances that undocumented workers attempt to send to their families back home…

            The court would be wise to limit the president’s authority in this area, and leave Congress and the White House to work out through the legislative process how to handle undocumented immigrants, as maddening as that might be.

            The Supreme Court blocked Obama’s order, and here we are; unwinding Obama’s mess to get back to where we started.

            1. marym

              The “humanitarian crisis” appears to be the phrase used by “both sides” to reference the numbers of unaccompanied minors, and the strain on facilities, not their treatment at the facilities.

              If Republicans knew about children in cages, and if they thought that was a bad thing, it would be possibly the only thing, real or fake, they claimed to think about Obama, that Republicans didn’t explicitly condemn, repeatedly, in every official and media forum available. I wish they had, but I don’t think they did.

              Yes, they opposed Obama’s policy and process. Their answer was, and has always been, more jail, more deportations, more militarization of the border.

              1. David

                Media forums like these?

                Los Angeles Times – Jun 18, 2014

                More than 800 of the youngsters are being held at a former warehouse in Nogales, Ariz., now also deployed as a detention center for migrant youths… most were corralled behind chain-link fences topped with razor wire, huddling for warmth on plastic mats under flimsy metallic Mylar blankets…

                In Brownsville, the group included young mothers, many of whom looked exhausted. Some of the children looked dazed or stared blankly from the cells, while others waved and smiled. Many slept…

                Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat who represents the valley, sent a letter to [HHS Secretary Jeh] Johnson on Wednesday demanding answers to a slew of questions about the flow of young migrants and what’s being done to stop it.

                Public Radio International – August 4, 2014

                At a Border Patrol station near McAllen, Texas, about 40 people were crammed in a small cell, lying body-to-body on a concrete floor with a stench of body odor hanging in the air. Women and children pressed their faces against the glass windows and doors, peering out at their guards with blank stares…The cells had labels outside that grouped detainees by age: children ages 12 to 14, children over 14, adult men and so on. Many of the cells had mothers and smaller children together.

                The Hill – July 24, 2014

                What they saw there was “horrific,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. 
“Mothers and children are crowded into a facility that was not designed for this purpose,” she said…

                While many are unaccompanied youths, kept in separate facilities, many families are being housed together in group detention. The rights groups said that, by law, asylum seekers are supposed to be housed in the least restrictive manner possible.

                In that way, they argue, the Obama administration is violating the law, particularly when it comes to the children.

                Four years on and what’s changed?

                1. marym

                  This is good information about what was known about child detention conditions at the time. The Cornyn-Cellar letter referenced in the first link didn’t say anything about detention conditions (Link). So they knew, but didn’t address it. *

                  What changed in 4 years?

                  During the Obama years establishment Democrats, media, advocacy groups such as those in your links who probably were more aligned with Democrats than not, and Obama’s partisans knew, should have known, were in denial, and/or deflected attention. All failed to address something terrible. Four years later when something terrible is in the hands of their political adversary they’re speaking out. No excuse for the former behavior.

                  During the Obama years Republicans and their aligned pundits and media who knew didn’t think it was terrible. If they had it would have been in the news 24/7 like the birth certificate the “death panels” and everything else, large and small, that they disapproved about Obama. Four years later with a Republican administration they still don’t think it’s terrible. Their criticism is of the hypocrisy of the Democrats, not the conditions in the detention facilities. No excuse for the former or the current behavior.

                  * The only possibly relevant of the 12 questions is “12. What process is available for state and local entities and non-profit organizations to offer their services and facilities to assist in this effort?” but no mention of any detention conditions that need addressing.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Presumably most people, Republicans and Democrats, did not know about Obama’s atrocious policy until recently.

        In that case, it would be impossible, until the person was there or knew, to speak up about that during the Obama years.

        And it became scandalous upon the revelation that what was attributed to now occurred under Obama.

        1. marym

          Based on the news of the last few weeks it’s not clear to me how much was “known” during the Obama years, by whom, where reported, etc. Even so it would probably be difficult for any of us outside the “Deep State” or “Deep Media” to asses how the information was suppressed.

          It’s good, imo, that people are:
          – Responding to the current situation
          – Bringing earlier immigrant detention issues into the current spotlight
          – Connecting all this to related issues like private prisons and repercussions from US policies in Latin America
          – Comparing, contrasting, and criticizing the vast array of other domestic and foreign abuses resulting from US policy

          It’s really bad that a case can be made that the current situation – separating children from parents with apparently no process to reunite them regardless of whether parents are deported or detained; and no provisions for adequate care – horrifying as it is, is not the even most horrifying issue.

            1. marym

              Sorry, I know that and agree. Meant it as sarc.

              Edit: any of us outside the political and media establishment

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If you, me or anyone trusting the initial reports and criticized this administration and not the past ones, it could be that you or others did not know.

            Had you or others known about precious years, and not called out Obama, we’d be judged selective.

            So, likely you, many Republicans and Democrats did not know.

    4. kj1313

      Many of the leftists see this as a result of coddling and safe spaces granted by liberals towards conservatives leading to this friction point. Those on the left who I follow want more ostracism towards the bad actors and if they’re in your family cut them out of your life.

    5. JamesG

      It is one thing to kick someone out of a big city night club but Lexington is a small town surrounded by empty country and these seven people were eating.

      Humans require nourishment and interfering with a meal is cruel.

      Some virtue signal.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Yes, they were thrown out of the only eating establishment in Lexington, Virginia…never mind the myriad of chains along I-81 that would be available. Truly, they were in a savage land.

        Given her family history, the restaurant probably put some stray dogs at risk! How cruel is that!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The first principle of war is the objective.

          Here, what do you hope to accomplish.

          From the Art of War – pick a favorable moment to attack.

          I see emotional satisfaction (and it could simply lead to a private feud between the business and its workers, and those seeking to respond back), but perhaps some can lay out the overall picture.

    6. Richard

      Aimed toward the powerful only, toward those whose decisions immiserate the many, and limited to mockery and shaming, I’m okay with it. 100% and always.

  8. Bill Smith

    “Russiagate’s ‘Core Narrative’ Has Always Lacked Actual Evidence”

    Cohen’s sub title divides this into two parts: 1) Trump Russia collusion and 2) Russia “attacked America”

    I’ve seen no evidence of actual Trump Russia collusion. I doubt there was any need for it.

    (Skipping any US interference in foreign elections) as for Russian ‘interference’ or messing about in the foreign elections there is a lot of historical precedent for that. In the book Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism published over decade ago the former general in Romanian intelligence talked about how they worked with the KGB to pick sides in Western elections where they cared and could, to smear the candidates they didn’t like.

    In the book The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, also published years ago the authors talk about KGB memos that sided with Carter over Reagan.
    In the book MR. PUTIN – OPERATIVE IN THE KREMLIN published in 2013 covers some of Putin’s dislike of Clinton. The updated book published in 2017 expands on it. Putin didn’t believe that Clinton caused the 2011-2012 demonstrations but concluded she seized on them and help escalate them. I believe his words on the issue where that she “encouraged his political opponents to take to the streets”.

    In summary it is a longstanding practice of the Soviet Union / Russia to push their favorite candidate, if possible, forward in a foreign election. This requires no knowledge on the part of the favored candidate much less collusion. In a choice between Clinton and Trump there would be little doubt over which they would favor.

    In my opinion there is a lot of evidence of the Russians messing about in the 2016 US presidential election. As to the actual effect on the outcome, while the candidate they likely favored won, how much that was due to their efforts compared to myriad of other things that mattered is not determined and not likely determinable.

    1. Sid_finster

      The Soviet Union is not Russia. Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is not founded on an ideology of world domination.

      Otherwise, you seem awfully light on details, other than references to some Soviet activities that happened 40 or more years ago.

    2. The Rev Kev

      If what you say is true, then Putin must be the smartest man on this planet with an IQ of 2,000. I mean, he saw Trump back in 2011, maybe on an old repeat of “The Apprentice”, and said to himself: “Da, there is the future President of the United States! This will happen.”
      Seriously, out of 335 million Americans, how many of them thought way back in 2011 that Donald Trump would ever, ever, be President of the United States? What possible argument could the Russians ever make to the average American that this would be a great idea? No, this had ‘Made in the USA’ stamped all over it – unfortunately.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’ll help you out.

        -Putin in early 2009 sees Hillary’s idiotic reset button and observes Obama is at best feckless and religiously devoted to Wall Street beyond simple pilfering.
        -As a result, Vlad recognizes Obama will harm the Democratic Party which ushered historic Democratic majorities.
        -He sees cranky Trump in 2011 and keeps an eye on him as a potential rabble rouser who can throw stones at a rudderless Democratic Party and potentially challenge Old Guard Republicans, the bastions of civility. Putin also knows of the last two, two term Republican Presidents, one was openly racist and one was a blithering idiot. GOP voters don’t care about civility.
        -A doofus, Santorum, gives Romney and by extension the traditional GOP Blue Bloods a run for its money despite hangups of awarding Iowa delegates to Santorum.
        -Vlad being smarter than every American politico recognizes the 41/Romney wing won’t fade away but won’t be able to win. If they couldn’t defeat Obama in 2012, they won’t be able to win in 2016.
        -With the Democrats not grooming rising stars and Obama increasingly relying on defenses of being persecuted despite being President, HRC would be the nominee. Even in 2008, polling indicated Hillary would often lose to Republican candidates even with the shadow of Shrub.
        -Putin hatches his plot to do nefarious stuff by saying the same the exact same things about Trump as he has said about Obama, Kerry, Hillary, and pretty much every candidate in foreign elections
        -Hillary not running against a pack of destined losers with the 41/Romney wing defeated in the GOP primaries by a rabble rouser with a candidate less dynamic than Mittens proceeds to become over confident.
        -ELECTION HACKED!!! Because Putin said generic things about Trump.
        -Maddow wept!
        -Putin breathes a sigh of relief knowing that all those reliably rich, white males would have voted for Joe Biden…knowing full well every third time Presidential candidate always becomes President.


        As to the recruitment process, it must have happened. Why else would a narcissistic buffoon have run for President if he wasn’t a Manchurian candidate? To launch a right wing alternative to Fox News that would be really crazy? C’mon, whats next trying to launch two failed alternatives to the NFL? The only answer that makes sense is Putin did it. The West should just surrender at this point.

        1. Bill Smith

          I don’t follow your points about any recruitment process.

          I said “This requires no knowledge on the part of the favored candidate much less collusion.”

        2. bronco

          Legal marijuana is a great thing you should go easy on the gummies though they can cause all sorts of visions

      2. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        June 24, 2018 at 10:53 am

        Well, the Simpsons knew back in…..wait for it…..2000!!!! While we were all worried about civilization collapsing due to our computers (Y2K) not being able to…compute….that the year 1999 turns into the year 2000, the Simpsons understood an orange menace would be the beginning of dogs mating with cats….

        I have it on good authority (my own fevered imagination) that Trump has his Top Men analyzing every Simpsons episode for insights into the future….

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          At least deep analysis of the Simpsons offers Trump a better guide for action than Reagan’s dementia directed through Nancy’s astrologer.

      3. Bill Smith

        I said

        “This requires no knowledge on the part of the favored candidate much less collusion.”

        So there was no need for Putin to think anything of Trump back in 2011. Reading the Russian newspapers I get the feeling that Putin is often an opportunist in his path to his greater goals. One of his stated goals is to increase Russian influence. Hillary was opposed to that, Trump was more favorable.

        The Russians took advantage of an opportunity they saw that was relatively inexpensive. How much it mattered is hard to say. My opinion is not much given all the other factors at play.

    3. John Wright

      I’d like to see some of your evidence.

      The entire Russia “influenced/threw the election of Trump” belief should be quite concerning to the elite.

      As I remember, per Advertising Age, $9.8 billion was spent by both parties in the 2016 election cycle
      and the USA spends around $70 billion on government security operations (the CIA+NSA+FBI).

      Meanwhile, the Russians allegedly spent $50K on Facebook ads to influence the election to Trump.

      The elite view of elections may be summed up by none other than Hillary Clinton as she was captured on tape saying of a foreign country’s election, “We shouldn’t hold an election unless we can determine the outcome”.

      That is the story of the election, the media elite believed they could control the American electorate into getting “likeable enough”, per Obama-2008, HRC over the finish line.

      However, the entire world watched the USA political elite and media elite lose their mojo as Trump won.

      As a result, perhaps the political/media elite could foresee a very diminished role in the future, with attendant drop in personal income and influence.

      When the Democrats (and supporting Republicans) could not make HRC happen, they needed to find a dastardly Boris/Natasha story to justify their miss-spent efforts to the donors.

      In my cynicism, I see the entire “Russia, Russia, Russia” story as an attempt to demonstrate to wealthy donors that the Democrats can still manipulate their voters into believing something with little basis in fact.

      Becoming irrelevant in politics can really hit the old paycheck.

    4. Harold

      “In the book The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, also published years ago the authors talk about KGB memos that sided with Carter over Reagan.”

      Books cited here are not considered reliable — to put it mildly.

    5. Olga

      ‘In summary it is a longstanding practice of the Soviet Union / Russia to push their favorite candidate, if possible, forward in a foreign election.”
      Not much of what you say is accurate, but the above comment is just plain goofy. In fact, opposite is likely true. VV Putin (at least) once said that meddling (or whatever one calls it) in US elections would be pointless, because it is not the candidate that matters, but the system. The US system (underpinned by the borg) remains the same, no matter who is in the WH.
      My sense is that the Russian govt was amused by DT’s colourful personality and probably liked his statements on getting along with Russia (remember those?). But believing that they would somehow transform into reality – I don’t think they were that naive.
      Repeating claims on Russian interference is just plain irresponsible.

      1. Bill Smith

        Soviet and Eastern block intelligence officers who conducted the operations to push their favorite candidates and later wrote about their actions are not considered reliable sources?

        Yes, DT statements where far more favorable towards Russian than Clinton’s. So it would be fairly straightforward to figure out who the Russians would like better.

    6. pretzelattack

      one would think the kgb might have pointed out the october surprise, then, being such a super secret service that never fails. or might have noticed that reagan was going senile.

  9. Richard

    The DC psychopathy article is a kind of hoot, I thought. A couple thousands words in search of that “still, it raises some disturbing questions” sort of ending. The writer poses as reflective, could this possibly mean there is a clear link between seeking power in this country, and mental illness, oh my, that’s a dilly. Even a link between psychopathy and the Democratic party? Harumpf, that one is too silly to even consider!
    Well think again chump. You’re surrounded but viscious, down stabbing, uplicking party members, completely devoid of empathy. How on earth you could ever doubt that is beyond me.
    But, it just may be one of those things that is not said (“Welcome to Washington DC, home to the world’s largest population of women and men unable to feel empathy”), or only hinted aat in the last paragraph of an essay.
    So hurrah Politico. Once again crisis is averted. Say, are you able to read my facial gestures?

    1. freedomny

      Was so not surprised by this article. One of the reasons why I think we have such few really great politicians in the country (and which makes Bernie Sanders so unusual) is that many morally good people, at least the ones in my life, aren’t particularly comfortable with power. Power might actually bother them. Which makes the current movements, which are bottom up movements, all the more interesting. Bernie said repeatedly “it’s not about me” which Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also says continually in her campaign. The Poor People campaign is also in line with this. I find this all hopeful…

      1. jefemt

        Boy howdy. And when I see a rich anti-government dude running for republican party seat, I says to myself…

      2. Sid_finster

        Is it not self-evident that, while power can get things done, power also not only attracts precisely the people who should not have it (aka sociopaths) the way cocaine attracts addicts, but that sociopaths will quickly displace and take power from non-sociopaths?

        The story of Henry VI of England, to name but one, is quite instructive.

      3. hemeantwell

        I’ll pass on reading the article because it seems to fuzz out the useful distinction between sociopathy and psychopathy. Sociopathy is a form of narcissistic disorder in which reality testing is more or less intact and put in the service of self-aggrandizement. Psychopathy refers to a narcissistic disorder in which reality testing starts to be overwhelmed by narcissistic fantasy. So, Dahmer was a psychopath, he related to people via primitive incorporation, by eating them. It’s likely he held other delusions. Seems like a distinction worth maintaining, especially with such an overtly narcissistic and reality-fabricating mess in the WH. If he blows, it will be S >>> P.

        It’s worth considering to what extent catch-all party politics conditions political sociopathy. If your party is always bending its core values to gain more funding or snare another group of voters, what might be called your political superego can get pretty weak. Promises are made to be broken, everyone knows it, it’s winning that counts, and so on.

      1. el_tel

        Well it’s done by state not city, but yes I have that same concern and it ties in with a comment I made elsewhere in the thread to the piece about risk. You really need to measure the traits correctly and I’d personally have looked at the distribution within each state. Betcha NY has a huge mode (NYC) that equals/exceeds DC but a much longer tail. This author standardised on T-scores (?!)

        I personally would be showing the raw distributions preferably using methods that more properly recognise the individual respondent’s probability of identifying with each trait (thus all on a ratio scale and no standardisation required), quoting some fraction of the top of the distribution – I don’t know what the cut-off should be….maybe something as simple as the top quintile if you want to avoid the problems inherent in using things like income or some proxy for political power…but these values (and I’ll bet the two- and three-way interactions between the trait-scores) would/should be examined in quite a lot more detail and might tell us a whole let more about what is going on.

      2. Lord Koos

        The piece does mention that Murphy “found that dense, coastal areas scored highest by far—with Washington dominant among them.” So the takeaway might be that people living outside the coastal cities including the so-called flyover states are more sane than than our politicians? Surprise surprise…

    2. el_tel

      Whilst I have seen evidence elsewhere that is broadly in line with this, the paper (probably because it hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet) doesn’t really discuss the other work that’s been done that in some senses corroborates their findings, but in other senses should make us cautious. First of all, the main personality questionnaire used in the British NHS recognises that psychopathy is not unidimensional (which, to be fair, the paper does touch on). There are two narcissistic traits in the version used in British clinical practice. One broadly measures “external” narcissism – whether you would tread on friends and others because you believe yourself to be right and lack empathy with the results of your behaviour – whilst the second measures “internal” narcissism – whether your belief in being right leads you to be “mouthy” etc. I’m heavily simplifying and paraphrasing them here but that’s the gist of them.

      Lots of academics, teachers etc score more highly than the general population on the second one…and this doesn’t bother psychiatrists in itself. It’s when a person scores highly on *both* that red flags begin to be raised….and even then it doesn’t automatically mean “psychopath”. Correlations with the other trait scores become important, often accompanied by personal interactions with such people. But the “white collar psychopath” is a known phenomenon – my therapist offered to lend me a book on them when I was having huge problems in academia. Anecdotally it’s taken as read that institutions actively select on the basis of high scores in choosing CEOs – since these people are perceived to “get things done” (no matter the human cost).

      The second concern revolves on data collection methods – the use of category rating scales to measure people. There are already papers out there by “colleagues of colleagues” of mine that demonstrate the biases that can arise when people give numbers or identify with statements that are numbered, with alternative measures that have been shown to give much more sensible correlations between the traits (including the big 5). This strays into technical stuff not appropriate for this forum but there’s a quite a bit that could (IMHO) have been done to improve the conduct of this study. As I say, I don’t necessarily think broad conclusions would change, but a lot of the “2nd order” conclusions might prove more shaky.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I liked this article because what it asserted, matched what I’ve always thought — not about D.C. per se but about those whom human organizations select for positions of power and authority. [Before waxing too generous in praise of Politico, I must point out this piece was written by an intern. That struck me as very odd. Is somebody inside Politico using the intern to express something a full employee might be afraid to write? How did the piece get past the editors? Does the intern have some special political pull inside Politico?]

      Regarding evolution of various species of animal, their genome is usually the sole focus. I believe human society and culture makes humankind a very different species of animal. Before going further with this — I have no fondness for the metaphysics of the evolution of history. If it is true, as I believe it is, that today’s human culture and society tends to select leaders based on their qualities of insanity then I would postulate a possible benefit to our species from the population bottleneck we are careening toward. I suspect desperate populations will not forgive and forget those who brought them to the precipice. Perhaps — though at unconceivable costs — the human society and culture which survives will be a culture with values better aligned with the long term survival of our species. Perhaps the urges of Wotan lie more in our culture and its aggrandizement of the insane and not so much in our genes.

      “Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.” ― Herman Goering

  10. JohnnyGL

    I read the awful Vox article so you don’t have to.

    Shorter Vox: The Democratic Party has a long tradition of kettling and stabbing the left and its activists with shanks. Lefties should embrace this tradition of making some noise and then losing.

    Also, the writer really struggles to make a distinction between “talking left” and pursuing actual left-leaning policies.

    Additionally, the writer doesn’t seem to see any problems with the Democratic Party as it is currently constituted…pay no mind to the electoral wipeouts around the country and the record low turnout for the 2014 midterms. No concerns over the results in 2016, either. No course change needed, everything is just fine for Vox.

    1. nippersdad

      The most telling line in the article for me was this: “Leaving Sanders supporters’ criticism of neoliberal sellouts to one side, a labor-liberal alliance committed to both economic and social liberalism remains the Party’s center of gravity and ideological anchor.”

      Who got to define the terms “economic and social liberalism” here? Sanders, himself, was criticized for pointing out that the labor leaders attending Martha’s vineyard parties were not inhabiting the same reality as those they purport to represent during the debates, and Obama’s lack of interest in card check after his initial election seems telling, not to mention all of his trade deals, bank bailouts, attempts at “Grand Bargains”…… I fail to see how investor state privileges for multi-national conglomerates would be indicative of a “center of gravity” that falls within the economic and socially liberal interests of your average Party voter. You can’t really leave aside Sanders supporters criticisms of neoliberal sellouts and still have any understanding of what they or Sanders are talking about.

      Your precis of this article rings very true, but it also had a sort of pleading quality to it which seems new. First they ignore you…..

    2. whine country

      ” the writer really struggles to make a distinction between “talking left” and pursuing actual left-leaning policies” No offense but do you think the writer is the only person unable to see the elephant in the room?. The Democrat Party is a slow motion train wreck that began in 1992 and that’s what’s so hard to believe let alone understand. All you need to do is remember the prescient words of James Carville one of the architects of this train wreck: (1) “It’s the economy stupid” and (2) “I used to think if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or a .400 baseball hitter. But now I want to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody. ” The Democrat party is one of two wholly owned subsidiaries of the oligarchs who benefit most from the “economy” and are in reality confined to a limited area of operation so as to not be “intimidated” by the bond market. And so it goes…their best hope at keeping on keeping on – elect Hillary Clinton, heir to the tradition first instigated by her hubby. Like the punch line of an old joke: “We already know what you are, now we’re just haggling about the price”. It’s easy to see what has ensued when you really look at it without all the emotions. The hen house has been decimated because there has been no one to keep the two foxes from taking turns guarding it. Simply put, the system will not survive as long as there is no one giving any more than lip service to representing the “people” and, what’s even worse is that the longer it takes to figure this out, the more disastrous the consequences when it finally resolves. Unfortunately what allows the current system to persist is the fact that any attempt to actually create and sustain a “Peoples” Party is falsely portayed as promoting “socialism” which is a classic straw man argument. If a party can represent the interests of owners in a capitalist system then why can’t it represent the interest of other stakeholders without resorting to socialism? The problem is that the party representing the other stakeholders is really not attacking capitalism but is attacking the precious profits and existing privileges of the owners. Whoever said that sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me was dead wrong. The version of capitalism we are engaging in now needs fixing and no socialism is required to fix it. Making that single point would be a start on the road to a cure.

    3. Pelham

      Good points.

      On a more particular note, I’ll just highlight something I saw here this week to the effect the Dems in Congress are working quietly with Republicans to introduce restrictive measures that would make it impossible for the next Congress to follow up on any of the supposedly left/progressive economic ideas that are touted in the current campaign season. Prominent among these is some kind of pay-as-you-go provision that would effectively rule out major funding for much of anything.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Any type of “pay-go” (or “pay-as-you-go”) agreement that you describe could be easily ignored by any political players with no dog in that fight.

        Note how easily Republicans (who created the concept in budget rules) simply ignore it whenever it’s inconvenient to their policy or political interests. Note, too, how slavishly Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and the Democrat misleadership *follow* the rule, period. Why, it’s almost as if those Democrats don’t really care…

        1. John k

          Those dems aren’t dems, they’re reps. And they care deeply about whatever their donors care about, and nothing else.

    4. Lord Koos

      When I saw the line “The Democratic Party is moving steadily leftward.” I knew I didn’t need to read it. While the voters may be moving in that direction, the party is another story. After the elections this fall we’ll see if there is any evidence of that claim, I’m not holding my breath.

  11. JohnnyGL

    Thanks for the Masslive link about cutting time and a half. I gotta call my state rep.

    1. Swamp Yankee

      Yes, our Mass. Democratic [sic] Party at work, JohnnyGL! A state rep I know (district next to mine) justified it on the grounds of getting to 15 dollars/hr in _five_years_ time; that should do a lot of good for workers starving now!

      And they wonder why no one likes or trusts them.

      There is a good debate over this issue going on over at BlueMassGroup, a ‘progressive’ blog on MA politics. About half the contributors are Machine types or dead-end Clintonistas, but a critical mass ( a third, maybe?) are Dem Socialist types who are calling foul on this deal.

      And the latter are beginning to talk more seriously about primarying people. It’s time. The Machine loves the Business Class, and vice versa.

    1. el_tel

      Thanks, nice article. I’ve only skim-read but one statement that stuck out – not for being wrong per se, but for being incomplete:

      Psychologists determine our “paranoia” or “risk aversion” by subjecting a person to a single experiment…

      BAD psychologists do this – and yes since so many don’t design experiments properly, it is understandable why this was written. But mathematical psychologists identified a large part of the problem decades ago – that one datapoint means you can’t estimate the VARIANCE of the individual’s risk function/utility function. The huge implications for this were proven in 1985 when the implications of aggregating across people with different (internal) variances – heteroscedasticity – were proven (namely that you no longer have a “nuisance with standard errors” as in a regression estimating a continuous variable but you have biased estimates with no way to correct them. In essence the “clever” person looks beyond the “average 4 foot depth” of the river and considers the variation.

      FWIW when in academia I saw presentations from some people who’d taken the trouble to properly design experiments and what they found when trying to replicate Kahneman’s “nobel” model of Prospect Theory….the results were not pretty!

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse”: ‘People have started to raise their hands in trainings and ask what to do about this’

    I got this. The answer is to junk all that stuff. If you can’t control these things and they are gaslighting you, then get rid of them. They are by their very nature insecure. If you don’t want to use a hammer on them, then a large bucket of water will do.

    1. Bill Smith

      Not a good idea to do that to the thermostat… Restraining orders that explicitly included this stuff seem to be a better idea.

    2. sd

      I still can’t figure out why anyone needs a fridge with an app that allows them to look in their refrigerator from afar. Do people check their fridges on their lunch hour, do they miss their leftovers, are they worried the yogurt is going to hurt the butter….?

      1. Wukchumni

        The foods I grew up eating were better unseen, as our diet was Slavic centric, which meant opening the fridge and staring down some deceased cow’s cerebellum wrapped in cellophane, that would be breaded and cooked in the oven, and than later clandestinely fed to Nero-our Irish Setter, under the table @ any convenient moment, dreading the idea of leftovers…

        …and then there was also the late bovine’s tongue we can talk about, not to mention liver, gizzards et al as far playing the organ meats go

        Oh well, the upside was plum dumplings, yummm.

        1. nippersdad

          Once, when preparing for a Halloween party, I thought it might be fun to make some authentic central European cuisine for the buffet, so I bought a Transylvanian cookbook…..Offal doesn’t even begin to describe it. That looks like a cuisine made up of the stuff that would otherwise end up on the floor.

          Agreed. There is some pretty gruesome stuff in there.

          1. Wukchumni

            My mom would practically drool over a 12 pack of chicken necks in the supermarket, yeah, I ate all the 2nd class carne.

          2. wilroncanada

            You’d love haggis!

            On the other hand, as a skit from the “Royal Canadian Air Farce” once said: English Cuisine? English Cuisine? monsieur there is no such thing.

        2. fresno dan

          June 24, 2018 at 10:20 am

          I remember my mother buying Calves brains at the supermarket. As my cooking consists of going to restaurants and microwaving prepared food, are calves brains sold at supermarkets any more? I also remember pigs feet and chicken necks – not that I ate any of that, I was a picky eater.
          Still, I wonder about my mother’s dementia and if she was an unrecognized victim of BSE…(yes, I know the official story of feeding sheep to cows….)

          1. Wukchumni

            I’ve never seen any of the offal things I ate, ever offered on any menu, with the exception of cabeza street tacos down in Mexico.

            I wonder how the selling point on gizzards would be if offered @ KFC?

            “They’re rubbery good!”

            1. fresno dan

              June 24, 2018 at 1:24 pm

              Of course, I do like hot dogs…with extra tails and snouts….and other ….things….I can’t mention on a family blog

    3. Eclair

      I don’t know what ads are appearing on your version of this article, but mine features two Wells Fargo pieces of propaganda. Essentially, they are stating that ‘we have changed; we are re-committing ourselves to you, we have been abusive in the past, but things are going to be different from now on.’ Isn’t this sort of ‘re-affirmation’ a characteristic of abusers? ‘Yeah, I beat you up last night, but I’ve changed.’ Magically.

      Maybe the algorithm that places these lovely PR pieces has a dark sense of humor.

    4. blennylips

      If you don’t want to use a hammer on them, then a large bucket of water will do.

      Don’t forget the screwdriver. Sometimes a screwdriver is all you need:

      Emergent Tech | Internet of Things
      Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist
      Tapplock: Once, twice, three times a screwup
      By Kieren McCarthy in San Francisco 15 Jun 2018 at 21:32

  13. Wukchumni

    We were driving back through the NP and a friend aboard on the sojourn had never seen the Sherman Tree before, so we paid it a visit (along with a few hundred other people, in fact the line for a selfie and/or traditional pose with the brobdingnagian was 8 people long for those of you scoring @ home) and it’s the biggest living thing of all, but #7 is just a few hundred yards away and never gets visited, nor does it require a fence around it, as the Sherman is a NIMBY in that regard.

    The thing about them as far as size goes, it’d be akin to looking @ a 800 foot long cruise ship, and then turn around and there’s a 700 foot long cruise ship 180 degrees away. You can hardly discern a difference when measuring up things colossal in the Giant Forest, where more of the largest of the large dwell, than any other grove.

    In sharp contrast, the coastal Sequoias are all about height, when it comes to measuring up.

    Sumo wrestlers versus Basketball players

  14. Wukchumni

    A friend turned me onto “Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind” by Yuval Noah Harari, when we were up in Oregon, and what a profound work that i’m in the process of devouring with much relish as he musters out the history of homo sapiens over the last 70,000 years in one tidy package of a tome.

    If you enjoy Jared Diamond’s way of thinking, it’s in a similar vein.

    Much recommended~

    1. Alex

      Didn’t read it in full but skimmed it, including the section on money. He basically repeats the conventional story about barter evolving into money even though there are no proofs whatsoever that barter was a dominant system anywhere. So exercise your scepticism when reading the other parts as well!

      1. Wukchumni

        One thing he emphasizes is our need to believe in things that aren’t real be it dogma or collective agreement on something that never transpired but grew into our mythos as fact, and I thought the money chapter was excellent in how he described conventional American bank lending in a couple of pages, in that how 10 dollars are lent for every one taken in, and it’s all just a giant confidence game, that is faith in the future.

        In a world full of dismal scientistic babble, it was refreshing.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That barter ‘evolved’ into money is a tenuous claim…Not always for sure, but perhaps from time to time.

        The other question is, did humans barter long before the invention of money (but not necessarily evolving into it)? Here, we can look to prehistoric trade and ask how that happened.

        From ‘Trade,’ Wikipedia (Prehistory section):

        Trade originated with human communication in prehistoric times. Trading was the main facility of prehistoric people, who bartered goods and services from each other before the innovation of modern-day currency. Peter Watson dates the history of long-distance commerce from circa 150,000 years ago.[7]

        In the Mediterranean region the earliest contact between cultures were of members of the species Homo sapiens principally using the Danube river, at a time beginning 35,000–30,000 BCE.[8][9][10]

        Some trace the origins of commerce to the very start of transaction in prehistoric times. Apart from traditional self-sufficiency, trading became a principal facility of prehistoric people, who bartered what they had for goods and services from each other.

        1. Lord Koos

          Our use of the word “trade” would seem to indicate barter was the original form of commerce.

          1. el_tel

            Apologies if my memory fails and I have the wrong reference but wasn’t it David Graeber’s book that debunked the idea that barter was ever a historical type of trade, according to the historical and anthropological evidence?

            Communities used informal debt…then when trading with “lesser known people – new communities from over the horizon” they progressed to money (precious metals etc).

            Barter only ever happened when communities broke down like (briefly) in post-USSR communities. In short the economists’ “story” was exactly that – and had it completely back to front. Didn’t Adam Smith even admit that a lot of the “stories” in the Wealth of Nations (which I have read) were really just that. His Theory of Moral Sentiments is far more nuanced.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              How would it have worked when, in prehistory, when two strangers (or two groups/clans/tribes of strangers) met, presumably peaceful, and they started eyeing goods they fancied?

              “Let’s go back after dark, and surprise them?”

              1. Alex

                With strangers barter was indeed used. However the trade with strangers was generally unimportant as most of goods that most people needed were grown or made by themselves or by their neighbours, in which case the exchange was usually on the basis of gifts and favours.
                Another method of “exchange” that doesn’t involve barter is tribute which was also often used.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I think we can say, at the beginning of humanity, trade was not normal (or, not a normal everyday activity).

                  That is, at the beginning, trade was abnormal. and money, to those early humans, may even have been more terrifying than beasts they painted in caves, had some strangers insisted upon it for goods.

                  Those long ago days (what, 25,000 years ago?).

            2. Wukchumni

              Barter most definitely went on here among the various Yokut tribes and as far afield as the Paiute on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada.

              Everybody had a certain something that was common to the area, bu scarce elsewhere.

              Chert is a poor substitute for obsidian when it came to arrow armament, but you can only get it from the Owens Valley tribes, who also have those tasty pine nuts, maybe if we give them acorns that don’t grow there in trade, we can cut a fat cow?

              There are trans Sierra trails and places along the way that are clear evidence that trade was constant, and it’s interesting in the places i’ve encountered of theirs are situated in beautiful spots, one i’m quite fond of is way off-trail in a grove of giant sequoias, there is a large boulder that pretty flat on top and there’s 2 grinding holes with the original pestles still in them. About 200 feet away is a perfect line of 5 giants all around 1,500 years old and a dozen feet wide at eye level, each a perfect 30 feet apart. It had the perfect ju ju going on.

              The only universal item of value to all tribes was sea shells, probably valued the highest of all things.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                The Ice Maiden found in the Altai Mountains and the mummy (or mummies) in the Tarim Basin all pointed to some groups of people possibly related to the Sarmatians or ancient Greek’s Amazonians.

                They likely traded with the Xia or Shang Chinese, or earlier tribes here, with jade from Hotian (the main ancient source for Nephrite jade). If they used money, it would likely have been cowrie shells. In fact, they have discovered like cowrie shell bronze containers (with Near Eastern motifs, like lions attacking prey) in Yunnan. So far, the people from further west did trade with the Chinese using cowrie shells.

                Still, I think barter was more (or as) likely as trade with money (cowrie shells).

              2. Alex

                Well the Graeber’s point is not that barter has never happened but that it wasn’t the basic mode of exchange. In your cases it’s also about exchanging non-essential goods with relative strangers. Would they use barter between themselves?

                So positioning barter as the precursor of money reveals the uncritical acceptance of the dominant narrative

            3. richard

              This is what I have taken from Graeber as well, especially that there is historical record of a barter system. Oh, that one of the biggest reasons currencies were implemented was to pay soldiers. They needed something portable (go away, scary armed guy) to give them.
              Need to give Graeber a reread this summer.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I don’t know if there is anything more recent, more update, but for while, perhaps since its popularization by Jared Diamond, farming/civilization/history has been seen as a step down from the previous hunter-gatherer lifestyle when humans were taller and presumably healthier.

                I don’t know if that is still the current thinking.

                From those thinking that way, currencies and the step down (from a better, older world) were linked….that is, not desirable.

            4. Stephen V.

              Your memory on Graeber 5000 Years of Debt is correct. Plus as far as I have found so far all the MMT’ers subscribe to the *myth of barter*. I am waiting for my local library to get Credit & State Theories of Money by Wray. Michael Hudson also marshalls tons of historical evidence to argue that Credit preceded trade and Barter. Where I part ways with them is in the necessity of the government as *Creator.* I’ve a ways to go before I can articulate this position!

        2. Oregoncharles

          Archeology finds things turning up a long, long way from home, so there was some sort of trade, often over long distances.

          Reciprocity is a fundamental principle of social relations. So how did people manage that when trading over long distances – without money? IOW, the brute fact is that trade far predates anything resembling money. Hence the idea that barter came first.

          I wish I remembered it better, but Malinowski, one of the pioneer anthropologists, described the trade networks in the Trobriand Islands. IIRC, it wasn’t straight tit-for-tat barter; it had more to do with maintaining relationships. Nonetheless, goods moved in both directions.

          Hudson’s point from Sumeria wasn’t so much that people didn’t barter, as that money arose mainly from administrative debt relations, as a record keeping device. Probably like the Incan quipus (SP?). The next step would be for those debt instruments to be used in existing trade networks – instead of, or to facilitate, barter. Logically, that’s what it does: facilitates trading apples for oranges. Among other things.

      3. c_heale

        I found the general ideas interesting but with too many assertions. Not only the poor economic thinking, but his knowledge of chemistry, for example, was laughable (I have a degree in the subject), at elementary school level imo. Take a lot of what he writes with a pinch of salt. I have a far higher regard for Jared’s Diamond’s work which seems to be pretty well backed up with original sources.

  15. JohnnyGL

    Re: Marmot Underground twitter thread. Good stuff.

    Having recently moved into a house where the previous owner paid landscapers to maintain lawn grass and some ornamental shrubs and trees and nothing else, I’ve been amazed at just how dry and lifeless the soil is on the property in spite of our 40-50in of annual precip. Grass seems to let ZERO water get more than 2in below the surface. The chemically treated mulch from the big box retailers has almost nothing crawling around in it. It was much easier to garden with the yard at my previous house where the prior owners had basically allowed the yard to re-forest itself.

    Separately, and more related to the thread, it’s also worth mentioning the loss of top predators means that today’s suburban eco-systems aren’t regulated from the top-down at all. It’s hard to find a balance. It’d be nice if there were foxes or something to come eat the bunnies that are nibbling on all my plants!

  16. timbers

    WolfStreet did an article on the auto industry and noted Mexicans in U.S. auto factories make $2.50/hr. That floored me. So 25 years ago in 1993 or thereabouts, President Clinton signed NAFTA saying it would create jobs growth and income for U.S. and Mexicans. Today, Mexicans earn $2.50/hr in American auto factories relocated to Mexico.

    In 2016 or there abouts, President Obama gave a speech in an Amazon warehouse extolling it’s $11/hr wages as a gateway to the middle class. I’m afraid to think what Amazon will pay 25 years from now

    It’s not to connect the dots. The reason Trump is President is because Democrats think Clinton, Obama, and Hillary did a good job.

      1. Eclair

        You obviously missed the news that night: “The Koch Brothers, Jamie Daimon, the entire Sakler family, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Martin Shkreli issued a joint communique today, announcing that they have finalized a deal with Lord Lucifer, the shadowy head of Hel Inc.. In return for annual undisclosed, but rumored to be in the high billions, amounts, the group of titans have given up rights to their souls.

        The souls will be re-located to the economically depressed borderlands, to the area former known as Purgatory, where they can be put to use spinning dreams of a better life for all humanity. The dream product will be cryogenically frozen, using the latest techniques, packaged onto expendable launch vehicles and blasted off into outer space, where they will travel for eternity, or until metal fatigue sets in.

        Reportedly, CEO’s of health insurance corporations, weapons companies and even some highly placed government officials are currently in negotiations with Lord Lucifer. One senior US Senator, who declined to be named, stated: ‘Selling my soul will allow me to formulate laws and policy completely free of the cumbersome entanglements of morals, ethics and even garden-variety compassion, that so burden current governance. I can concentrate of the important thing: how much cash, and power, I can accumulate.

    1. perpetualWAR

      I keep saying to people who rail against Trump: “Yes, he’s bad, but so far he has not allowed the banks to steal 18 mil American homes like Obama did.” That shuts them up. Or really ignorant people claim all the foreclosures happened during Bush admin.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        “Worst President ever”!!!

        Really? Trump went to war in Iraq and destroyed the Fourth Amendment with his felonious warrantless surveillance program? Really?

        Of course, there’s still time in Trump’s term, but Bush set a bar about as high as James Buchanan…

  17. SimonGirty

    Re, Russiagate’s core narrative: is it just me, or does it seem to be a recurring theme: where prestigious news organization “x” finally concedes, Just KIDDING! Robby Mook paid us to run David Brock’s “Russia, Russia, RUSSIA” hackneyed scam, to ‘splain how you’re all living in a neoConfederate theocracy now. Then, suddenly, all the prestigious PropR’Not™ approved blogs are, like… “just messing with you, we just made it all up, drunk out of our heads, election night… y’know, to silence dissent and monitize liberal dread of Trump’s well armed, pissed-off and desperate deplorables?”

        1. SimonGirty

          Well, idle hands, an’at? All them tiny, mylar wrapped independent contractors, caged in the Nogales WalMart need to pay for their SMAK ramen and blue flavored Flavorade® somehow. On-the-jawb trainin

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Duh…”the election was hacked.” Of course, I’ve found #Resistance types eyes glaze over if you ask this particular question, and don’t bother with asking about their support for paper ballots, its never occurred to them.

        My sense is the #Resistance types were really addled by the birth certificate and other Republican craziness over the years believing it to be key to Team Blue election losses instead of the absence of organizing and poor governing. I don’t know if it originates from a child like belief in the “reasonableness” of Republicans, but for those who see politics as a spectator sport, nonsensical arguments are all they need especially if they lack values that don’t extend beyond tribalism and celebrity worship. “If only those reasonable Republicans weren’t so misguided they would vote Democratic” is a refrain I’ve found familiar. Perhaps, it has a root in the sacrificing of single issues over the years and pushing right wing candidates to win Country Club Republicans and still losing. Instead of punishing and removing that ilk, HRC, as the standard bearer for that strategy, was declared President for life despite questionable elections prospects.

      2. SimonGirty

        BernieBros®, Jill Stein, Naomi Klein, failed pipeline, Assange, BLM, Deplorables, antifa, Rooski Doop… of all the perfectly credible, well documented, decades long interactions Trump’s blithely lied about, with Russian oligarchs, criminal cartels and conspiracies totally ignored by the media; with both electable candidates in 2016… no, I wouldn’t bother holding my breath, awaiting salvation through a Pence presidency? Who’s benefitting?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Russiagate’s core narrative

      People who watch or encounter cable please correct me, but my impression is that “Russia! Russia! Russia!” stopped when the migrant moral panic started, almost as if a switch was flipped. Which is enough to make a cynical old geezer like me question the good faith of both narratives.

      Perhaps it will heat up again in September, when Mueller finally comes up with some deliverables*, but to me it seems to have died down to mere Twitter taunting.

      * NOTE See under “Pumpkin Papers,” in particular this footnote:

      6. Alger Hiss, In the Court of Public Opinion (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1957), p. 275. The Pumpkin Papers had first been authenticated, before the Woodstock appeared, by comparing the typeface with that of documents known to have been typed on the Hisses’s machine during the 1930s. During the appeal, Hiss’s lawyers hired an expert craftsman to build a typewriter with a typeface identical to Hiss’s original Woodstock. After a year of work, he produced a typewriter whose type was a close, but not perfect, match, and which the defense used to support its claim that Woodstock 230099 could have been a fake. See Hiss, pp. 369-375, and Michael Squier, “Typewriter Evidence,” The New York Times Magazine , 3 February 1952, p. 53.

      To unpack this a little, my hypothetical and extremely paranoid theory is that new “evidence” from the intelligence community will appear, whether physical (as with Hiss) or digital. The difficulty is how one authenticates evidence that comes from a politicized community with an unlimited budget and deep institutional expertise in fakery.

      1. David

        If the rumors of a Trump-Putin meeting around the NATO summit in July are to be believed, one might expect the Russia narrative to come back then.

        Either way, I would expect Trump to stick his finger in Europe’s eye as he did at the G7.

  18. Wukchumni

    re: Antidote

    For the next month or so, make sure the undercarriage of your jalopy is wrapped up with a tarp if you park @ the trailheads of Mineral King, in Sequoia NP.

    Here’s the NPS recommendations to counter the marmot cong from disabling your vehicle, and a photo of a marmot-proof car burrito.

    You Are Entering Marmot Country.

    Each spring and early summer until mid-July, the marmots of Mineral King have been known to dine on radiator hoses and car wiring. They can disable a vehicle. On several occasions, marmots have not escaped the engine compartment quickly enough and unsuspecting drivers have given them rides to other parts of the parks; several have ridden as far as southern California!

    How can you protect your vehicle and marmots?

    -Wash the outside, undercarriage, and engine compartment of your vehicle before visiting.

    -Physically block marmots by driving over a tarp and then wrapping it around your entire vehicle. Cover the wheel wells. Wrapping chicken wire around the vehicle is no longer advised, as marmots have learned to get around the wire.

    -Use only non-toxic methods to prevent marmots from accessing your vehicle. Do not use any poison or substance that pose a risk to the environment, human or animal health, safety or property.

    – If you visit Mineral King especially before mid-July, check for possible damage when you return to your vehicle. Before starting your car, look under the hood for marmots or signs of chewing. Check hoses, belts, electrical wiring, insulation, and radiator fluid level. Inspect under the vehicle for signs of coolant or brake fluid leakage.

    -Turn key to “on”, but do not start your vehicle. Check that all indicator lights come on. If lights don’t come on, wiring may have been damaged.

    -Start the engine and listen for unusual sounds.

    -Report any damage to your vehicle.

    Final score last summer:

    Marmots 4, Cars 0 (3 anti-freeze hoses and 1 transmission line disabled)

    1. Lord Koos

      Living in central WA state, previously I had only seen marmots at high elevations, such as Mt Rainier national park, until last year, when I saw one lurking under my neighbor’s van, right here in town. They seem like they could adapt easily to a more urban existence (although any marmot that sipped anti-freeze would soon be a dead marmot).

  19. The Rev Kev

    “In Search of the Phoenicians” by Josephine Quinn

    The disputes about who the Phoenicians actually were is not new and the same has been noted of the Celtic people who lived at the same time. This, for example, is what Wikipedia says about the Celts-

    “The Celts were an Indo-European people in Iron Age and Medieval Europe who spoke Celtic languages and had cultural similarities, although the relationship between ethnic, linguistic and cultural factors in the Celtic world remains uncertain and controversial. The exact geographic spread of the ancient Celts is also disputed; in particular, the ways in which the Iron Age inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland should be regarded as Celts have become a subject of controversy”.

    So why should the Phoenicians be any different? Just because they did not have a flag, national anthem and a capital does not mean that they were not a people.

    1. el_tel

      Yeah on one level I do understand the scientific need/desire to better classify and understand these groups. But it’s not my area and content myself with wonder at anecdotal things I encountered like driving through Cantabria and Asturias on the way to Galicia along the northern Spanish roads and being fascinated that the only music on the car radio (this was 1998) we heard was music that I’d swear were Celtic jigs from Ireland that I’d heard from my childhood trips there to see family. Only later did I do a bit of reading to understand the history.

      Then you get Galicia itself which may as well be Portugal – a language/dialect that is closer to Portuguese than Castillian Spanish. Indeed the EU, when making infrastructural budget decisions, actually treats/treated Portugal and Galicia as a single region. It was all an eye-opener for me and a pleasure to learn of the differences, even if the scientists continue to argue over the ancestral origins of some of these groups.

      1. Oregoncharles

        A friend who grew up in the Celtic part of Brittany (France) was quite surprised at how similar Galicia was. The Celtic language there died out a few generations ago.

        Incidentally, there is also a Galicia in, I believe, Slovakia, the other end of the Celtic area. The name means “frontier.”

        1. Swamp Yankee

          The eastern Galicia was a crown land of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; despite its (probably) Celtic name, it was mostly occupied by ethnic Slavs (Slovaks, Poles, Ruthenians). Lemberg/Lviv/Lvov, which was the capital of Austrian Galicia, is sometimes thought of as the easternmost city in Central Europe; today it’s in western Ukraine.

          So the name with a connotation of “frontier” seems very apt.

      1. el_tel

        Indeed and another anecdote – my former main barber (and his staff) are Kurds. When I first asked where he immigrated from he instantly said “Kurdistan”. Knowing a reasonable amount about the subject (and the British Empire’s role in carving up the region) I noted immediately he didn’t say Iraq/Syria/Turkey/Iran….after a few more careful questions where I was desperately trying not to offend with a stupid question, I bit the bullet and asked if they were from the “Iraqi region” and he confirmed – obviously very surprised I asked the “right question”.

        These days he’s my backup barber – the Bulgarian barber shop 6 doors down is where I go….cuts my weird hair better (ironically because he is less likely to get distracted by discussing the economic and political situation in the region!) But I did learn that these particular former-Iraqi Kurds are profoundly ambivalent about their Syrian counterparts. Racking your brains for articles NC has posted on the Syrian Kurds’ complex alliances when you want to switch off for half an hour is nerve-wracking anyway! The Bulgarian at least has a simple narrative for his former home: “Bulgaria is thoroughly corrupt and whilst I am glad to be here I can’t believe you ever let it into the EU!”

      2. Massinissa

        The difference is we know for a fact that the Kurds identify as Kurds.

        We do not know at all whether or not the Phoenicians identify as Phoenicians at all.

  20. Craig H.

    It looks like spiegel is about to throw in the towel for Merkel.

    The Approaching End to Merkel’s Tenure

    Given the current number of reporters, writers, broadcasting networks, &c it would be pretty hard to come up with another world leader ever who has had more praise tossed on them. They ought to have a parade for her with some lowlife whispering into her ear that victory is fleeting.

    1. Sid_finster

      The reason Merkel has not been ditched already is elite fear of what might follow her.

    2. nippersdad

      I hereby nominate Hillary Clinton for the lowlife following Merkel around speaking hometruths that she, herself, cannot understand. It might be both educational and cathartic for her. Special place in hell, and all that.

  21. Pelham

    Re the Jacobin article on the gig economy:

    The point is made that gig work doesn’t account for very many jobs. Maybe. But I would respond that the mere description of gig work has highlighted for most of us the precarity of our employment. Thus, any job from which you can be instantly dismissed for any reason and minus any means for you to object or protest is, in plain fact, a gig.

    The only difference in the current climate is that the term hadn’t been deployed until recently. Now that it’s out there, those of us laboring under such conditions can at last correctly label the nature of our work.

    1. anon y'mouse

      I constantly ask myself why we are not considering the large number of people who work for one workplace a number of months on a repeated contractual basis through a temp agency as “gig workers”. Why are we allowing companies to skirt hiring people for jobs, sometimes for years, this way.
      Somehow I doubt you can claim unemployment if your temp “contract” (where it appears thatthe agency that mediates your employment gets a cut to essentially disenfranchise the worker from full employee rights) at the pig plant you have been carving pork bumholes for export for the last 1.5 years, magically comes to an end.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Employment has been precarious most of the time, whether “permanent” (“full time”) or not. Moody makes this point forcefully in his book.

      1. LD

        The Fed’s SHED (Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking) only goes back to 2013 but has some very good data about gig work. The most frequently mentioned reason for gig work (39%) is to supplement income from regular work. Among gig workers, 15% say the income is “very important.”

        Even among full-time jobs, hours and pay can vary. 12% of full-time workers have irregular work schedules. So, it’s not just worrying about whether you’ll keep your job, but whether you’ll get enough hours to make rent next month.

  22. Wukchumni

    Our friend with us on the roadtrip is a behaviorist whose specialty is autistic kids, and she works for the various school districts in LA getting to know the school lay of the land, and something she told me I found interesting, in that we were talking about how our schools have acquired the look of gaols these days, and she related there are widely different protocols on entrance to campuses she frequents, in that one might just wear a badge and pass through, while other schools are more stringent and require id, etc, or somewhere in between.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s how a CIA, or a Pentagon (etc) worker gets to his/her workplace…a badge, ID, or more.

      Our LA students are well-prepared for the real world.

      (The few times I had to wear a badge, say at a convention, I felt…important, like a VIP….”Not everyone can come inside this area…ONLY THE ACCEPTED…QUALIFIED..WITH CLEARANCE.”).

      1. wilroncanada

        The architecture part of schools, as Kunstler intimates, is to have replaced schools built to resemble factories, with schools that both look and function like shopping malls, because that has been the major function of the graduates (or inmates) in modern society.

        1. blennylips

          And so that now prisons are replacing malls as a profit center, the switch to the carceral architecture as a better preparation.

  23. Wukchumni

    Who can say how things will go, when the world goes tilt?

    Our leader’s low morals have inspired us in a race to incivility, and if we’re bottom dwellers as a society when the economy is supposedly as good as it gets, how do we react when push>meets<shove

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There will be those believe in collective guilt…we are all responsible for our leaders’ low morals.

      (Perhaps ours are low as well).

      1. Wukchumni

        We’ve accepted shylocks in the guise of payday loan places and their ilk, fleecing the public with the good graces of government as long as there is a greenback dollar in it for everyone, with scant concern for how many are circling the porcelain en route to being homeless, and then acquiring untouchable status, no matter the interest rate, and a blight on the communities where they used to live inside, vicious circle indeed.

        Could we stoop any lower on a loan basis?

        Methinks not.

          1. Wukchumni

            My favorite was a payday lender in Hurricane, Utah with a clipping in his window from the SLC newspaper proudly proclaiming that his establishment had the lowest apr in the state @ 356%, versus the state high of 912%.

            I guess it’d be up to credit card apr’s to plumb the depths, eh?

  24. Alex

    Re in search for Phoenicians, what I don’t like is the emphasis on the artificiality of the Phoenician identity vis-a-vis the Arab (or Druze/Maronite/whatever they identified with previously) one. Any identity is imposed or assumed at some point and the Arab one is no different in case of Lebanon.

  25. Synoia

    The Democratic Party is moving steadily leftward. So why does the left still distrust it?

    Fool me once, shame on you,
    Fool me twice…

    Could the left be justified in it’s distrust?

  26. P

    From “The Supreme Court decision that will put more taxes on internet sales is good news for you

    Over the decades, states have faced growing problems with tax adequacy. Sales taxes have suffered base erosion, as I discussed above. Property taxes have come under major political pressure: Taxpayers have revolted against increases in this inflexible tax, voting to impose caps that have in some states kept revenue growth well below economic growth.

    These pressures have pushed states in two main directions: raising sales tax rates, and relying more on income taxes, especially (in recent years) on high earners.

    Hmmm, good news for you or the high earners.?

    1. Jason Boxman

      Exactly. Sales and use taxing is immoral, so I fail to see how this tax increase on working people is in any way a good thing. It simply allows a reversion to the status quo.

  27. Wukchumni

    We had another drowning in the National Park yesterday, this aqua tragedy involving a number of people attempting to rescue a 5 year old that fell in, a 22 year old male would-be rescuer being the victim.

    Meanwhile in the swimming with the fishes dept:, the flow has really dropped like a rock compared to a fortnight past, and our swimming hole has a few stout boulders that constrict the flow into a 4 foot gap and there’s a rock seat of sorts, where one can squeeze in and it’s a 66 degree jaccuzi that feels like the 5,000 fingers of Dr. T, pulsing on your backside as you sit in it’s embraces. It’s 102 outside, but in the shade by the river it’s only in the high 80’s and one need only to go back in the water every 15 minutes.

    There’s a part of one of the rivers here, that locals like to ‘surf’ and it seems like a fine way to break your neck and something i’d never try as if you miss, you surf into a clump of rocks, but all the same, I enjoy watching others attempting to do the same.

  28. blennylips

    Filed under Science is has started to pop

    Particle Physics now Belly Up
    …And each time the theorists in the field, rather than recognizing the error in their ways, merely adjusted their models to evade experimental bounds and continued as before. Will you let them get away with this once again?

    Did not see this one coming: “missing matter” found. Big chunk anyway.

    So thanks dark matter, don’t let the nebula hit you on the way out.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The one worry I have is when scientists monkey around, sorry, design tests using/basing on their faulty, but adjusted, models (which evade experimental bounds smartly), when done with sufficient energy, they might severely damage the world.

      1. blennylips

        Yes. Remember that beautiful thermodynamics started as a problem in mining coal – pumping water up out from depth.

        Science was born of capitalism, I feel.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          With the Scientific Method, we tend to go back to the original thing – Induction.

          Here, we may ask, if we have been lucky with all the tests scientists have conducted to test (or based on) various faulty or today’s best-explanation models, without any catastrophe, can we say we’ll not have one in the future, that we will always be lucky, even as the tests get ever more energetic?

          That is one vexing induction question (for me anyway).

          1. blennylips

            At the risk of misnegation, I can safely say

            we can never say we’ll not have one in the future

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              This brings us to the key question.

              Consider the following scenarios, two tests:

              1. Flying a kite in a thunderstorm
              2. Testing a theory about the fundamental nature of reality

              In the first case, we can guess the probable damage due to the experiment = probability of the scientist being struck by lightening x the value of his/her life.

              Let say the former is 60% and the life of the scientist who knowing the risk, still wants to do the test, or zero (scientific truth is more important).

              That is, 0.6 x 0, or 0….(0.6 x 0 = 0).

              But that may be too drastic, cold blooded and inhuman for us to say.

              So, let’s say 0.6 x one human death, or 0.6 death.

              Now, in the second case, the probable damage from the experiment is the probability of the universe being destroyed (we are testing something fundamental about reality) x the value of the universe (which I estimate to be infinity).

              And let assume the probability of the universe being destroyed in such an experiment is very small, let’s say 1/googolplex, but not zero.

              Then, in this case

              The probably damage = something not zero (but finite) x infinity, or infinity (something finite x infinity = infinity).

              What this tells us is that as we design more and more powerful experiments, as we get closer and closer to knowing the very basic nature of the universe, we have to confront the fact that we have been merely lucky so far, and the second scenario becomes more and more relevant.

              1. blennylips

                Careful with the distributions:

                Consider a more extreme example than the Casino experiment. Assume a collection of people play Russian Roulette a single time for a million dollars –this is the central story in Fooled by Randomness. About five out of six will make money. If someone used a standard cost-benefit analysis, he would have claimed that one has 83.33% chance of gains, for an “expected” average return per shot of $833,333. But if you played Russian roulette more than once, you are deemed to end up in the cemetery. Your expected return is … not computable.

                Nassim Nicholas Taleb
                Aug 25, 2017
                The Logic of Risk Taking
                A central chapter that crystallizes all my work. In forth. Skin in the Game

  29. dcblogger

    One of the qualities are a pre-revolutionary society is the presence of delusional thinking among all sectors of society, military disasters combined with domestic repression amongst the ruling class, and conspiracy theories among the opposition.
    Thus Charles I unsuccessful wars against Spain, France, and most disastrously the Scots, combined with his ever escalating persecution of Puritan dissenters. On the part of the Puritan opposition, the idea that they “knew” that Charles was a secret Catholic, converted by his Catholic wife, and that the Queen was behind the Irish uprising. Otherwise intelligent people believed such things.

    In France the Paris opposition “knew” that the Queen was an Austrian agent. In Russia the opposition “knew” that the Tsarina was a German agent and that Rasputin was her lover.

    As lambert keeps saying, the Village is a sack of pus waiting to burst, well Trump’s election burst the boil and things will get worse for a while.

    Expect Trump’s supporters to start mobbing people in public places and things will only escalate. It won’t happen here in DC where they would not dare, but in other places. Things are about to get much worse,

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are you saying otherwise intelligent people now believe such things as Trump being a Russian agent and that based on history, we can soon expect his supporters to be driven out, mobbed (instead of mobbing)?

      1. dcblogger

        I know that many otherwise intelligent people believe every rumor that has been circulated concerning Trump and Russia.

        I am also saying that the sort of destabilization we used to visit on other countries we are now about to visit upon ourselves.

        The Metro DC DSA has been on a campaign of staging protests outside the homes of CEOs of ICE contrators and staging protests. Nothing major, but certainly very annoying. Stephen Miller was harassed at a Mexican restaurant in the Shaw district. to my delight.

        Now I have NO illusions about these tactics. All of this is happening because the Democratic party has completely failed in its role as a people’s party, so people are going outside of traditional politics. So yeah, this is going to escalate and I am not looking forward to that. I have no fears that Trump supporters will harass anyone within a 50 mile radius of DC, but further afield it will be a different matter.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s more the Trump supporters being mobbed than they doing the mobbing, from your comment about the Metro DC DSA.

          And that would be slightly different from your original comment. Is that correct?

    2. Duke of Prunes

      I’m not doubting the premise, but, to me, it seems like the anti-Trumpers have already started this – chasing a cabinet member and a publicist from restaurants. Dis-ing politicians at movies. Refusing selfies. Oh the humanity.

  30. Eureka Springs

    The Democratic Party is moving steadily leftward.

    Does the author micro dose, much? Left of what? Moving at a tectonic pace or slower?

  31. dcblogger

    Trump has divided the military industrial complex, DHS is mostly with him (chief of staff Kelly was Obama’s secretary of DHS) but the Pentagon does not seem so enthusiastic and the NSA/CIA appear to be hostile. A divided MIC is a very good thing.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder if the key here is a sympathetic judge…perhaps that is always the case.

  32. Andrew Watts

    RE: Former US chief spook does U-turn on denuclearization

    “Kim had never met Xi before this year but has so far met him three times, most recently this week. The ceremonials surrounding Kim’s latest trip were almost at the level of a state visit, Moon noted.

    While it has been widely reported that the meetings happened at the invitation of Xi, Moon revealed that it was, in fact, Kim who had initiated all three meetings.

    He cited sources in Beijing which he did not wish to reveal for the information. “Previously, China had asked [for a visit] but North Korea had refused,” Moon said.”

    I’ve repeatedly said for months now that the North Koreans have shirked Chinese influence. By doing so it has reassured the South Koreans that improving relations with them are the priority and maintained a basis for negotiation. This development started to become apparent after Kim’s uncle was executed for treason. North Korea didn’t bulge one bit when their ally China joined in on the international sanctions.

    We’ll just have to wait to see if Kim is using his nuclear program as bargaining chips to be leveraged. However, I firmly believe that events will develop much quicker than anybody realizes.

  33. Oregoncharles

    ““In Search of the Phoenicians” by Josephine Quinn ”
    Oddly, this review never mentions whether there was a Phoenician language, but Wikipedia says there was a Phoenician alphabet, which implies that there was. They’re also referred to as a “Semitic” people; Semitic is a language family.

    Nationhood is a modern concept, largely unknown in ancient times, but languages have always defined ethnicity. That said, they may have existed largely in contradistinction to “Greeks” or “Romans” – both basically languages.

    Also: the picture of a Phoenician ship is remarkably similar to a Viking longboat. The similarity is probably due to technical considerations, but Bronze Age trade was much wider than Iron Age – the chief source of tin was in England, quite close to Scandinavia.

  34. precariat

    Re: WSJ op-ed Mueller and the poisoned tree

    “When the government deprives a person of life, liberty or property, it is required to use fundamentally fair processes.” So good of the WSJ to awaken to the corruption of justice in this country. Where were they when possible ”vindictiveness” drove the prosecution of Aaron Schwartz? Or the targeting of journalists and whistleblowers who made the sacrifice for democracy?

    The corruption on display here did not just materialize with animosity toward Trump. As for Trump, there is backgound on him as a realestate developer with the Russian mafia. Why no one is talking about this makes me think this ‘kernel of truth’ exists only to hang an info-ops on the public and provide rationale for a power struggle amongst political factions. Such is the regard for our democracy in Washington.

  35. John k

    Trump seems to be mtg Putin right after nato mtg.
    And his polls near record high, deplorables seem to like peace with Nk… who knew?
    Confront Russia on way out? Dem, msm, state, Clinton’s, mic, deep etc heads exploding… as they should.
    Might lead to return to Iran deal after a couple face saving changes.
    Imagine Bolton making peace arrangements… keep friends close, enemies closer theory?
    If this goes on I’m not sure even Bernie could beat peace loving trump unless recession.

  36. DonCoyote

    This author obviously knows (some) of the history (at least brings up the DLC), but seems mostly oblivious to the context of who comprises Democratic leadership and what their actions have been, as opposed to Democratic voters and what they want.

    This “labor-liberal alliance committed to both economic and social liberalism remains the Party’s center of gravity and ideological anchor.” idea is intriguing, but unfortunately almost wholly mythical at this point. Democratic leadership has made sure that labor has no seat at the table, and that the concerns of labor are addressed by promises that no one, not even labor, thinks Team-D will keep (e.g. HRC opposing the TPP).

    The writer’s discussion of Jesse Jackson’s campaigns during the 80’s seems so beside the point, and reminded me of what Joan Didion (Political Fictions) had to say about politics in 1988, and Jesse Jackson specifically:

    “It was clear for example in 1988 that the political process had already become perilously remote from the electorate it was meant to represent. It was also clear in 1988 that the decision of the two major parties to obscure any possible perceived distinction between themselves and by so doing to narrow the contested ground to a handful of selected ‘target’ voters, had already imposed considerable strain on the basic principle of the democratic exercise, that of assuring the nation’s citizens a voice in its affairs.”

    “What made the 1988 Jackson candidacy a bomb that had to be defused was not that blacks were supporting a black candidate, but that significant numbers of whites were supporting — not only supporting but in many cases overcoming deep emotional and economic conflicts of their own in order to support — a candidate who was most attractive to them not because of but in spite of the fact that he was black, a candidate whose most potent attraction was that he ‘didn’t sound like a politician.’ ”

    it was of course the DNC and Democratic insiders that referred to the Jackson candidacy as “a bomb to be defused”, and defuse it they did, just as they defused the Sanders candidacy 28 years later (and the person who won the 2016 election is often described as someone who “doesn’t sound like a politician”). And of course the Democrats moved right, not left, after Jackson, and have been moving right through 2016 at least, despite the desires of the electorate.

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