Links 6/28/18

Germany pay the price for their complacency DW. For World Cup fans…

Weeds Are Winning the War against Herbicide Resistance Scientific American (guurst)

The Recycling Game Is Rigged Against You Bloomberg. See the underlying paper: The Chinese import ban and its impact on global plastic waste trade. Key section of Bloomberg story:

University of Georgia engineering professor Jenna Jambeck said that indeed, part of the reason China is now refusing to process American and European plastic is that so many people tossed waste into the wrong bin, resulting in a contaminated mix difficult or impossible to recycle.

What this glosses over is some plastic is effectively not recyclable. My understanding is that colored plastic (as opposed to plastic that is clear or white) falls into that category. If this is correct, all the eco-consumer-product vendors who use colored plastic need to be shamed into cutting it out.

Having said that, my building is a classic example of a management “fuck you” attitude to recycling. We have only 2 bins, one for paper and one for everything else. So tenants are encouraged to put glass and plastic in the same bin. And nobody gets any instruction as to what to do re the paper bin, so everyone but paper industry brat moi puts efnon-recylable coated paper like catalogues in the recycle bin (simple rule of thumb: if it isn’t newsprint or high value brown paper, like paper bags or corrugated cardboard, fuggeddaboudit).

Bill to save net neutrality is 46 votes short in US House ars technica

Feds ran a bitcoin-laundering sting for over a year The Verge. Confirming our “prosecution futures” thesis.

MIT scientists discover fundamental rule of brain plasticity MIT Big Think (David L)


China’s Port In Sri Lanka’s Is Good Business – The NYT’s Report On It Is Propaganda Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

China won’t give up ‘one inch’ of territory says President Xi to Mattis BBC

How Myanmar’s shock troops led the assault that expelled the Rohingya Reuters (furzy)

How Merkel broke the EU Politico. Her 2015 immigration decision was an unmitigated disaster. What was she smoking? How could Europe possibly handle so many immigrants, with no plans as to how to assimilate them (language training being a bare minimum requirement) and get them jobs? And with Europe not firing on all four cylinders economically, a jobs program aimed at immigrants without as least as much help being offered to natives would have been problematic too. And that’s before you get to the “kick the can down the road,” austerity-loving, bank-friendly response to the crisis, which institutionalized high unemployment and weak banking systems.


Berlin stands by while Brexit burns Politico

May warns Cabinet to prepare to compromise over Brexit as EU’s stance hardens after Italian elections The Sun

Theresa May’s government is imploding — here are Cabinet ministers who have been fighting this week Business Insider (JTM)

Brexit: bank contracts worth trillions at risk, says finance watchdog Guardian

Why Venezuela Reporting Is So Bad FAIR (UserFriendly)


Yemeni Suffering Made Easy Counterpunch

India may ignore US demand to halt Iran oil imports CNN

What is John Bolton’s role in Trump’s ME drama? Sic Semper Tyrannis. The idea that Trump has a grand strategy makes this seem like an awfully big stretch….


Greece ready to sign deal with Merkel to take back asylum seekers Financial Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook, Google, and Microsoft Use Design to Trick You Into Handing Over Your Data, New Report Warns Gizmodo

Facebook’s Latest Problem: It Can’t Track Where Much of the Data Went Wall Street Journal

Facebook Patent Imagines Triggering Your Phone’s Mic When a Hidden Signal Plays on TV Gizmodo. Man, am I glad I don’t watch TV.

Trump Transition

Did Sen. Warner and Comey ‘Collude’ on Russia-gate? ConsortiumNews. Imortant.

Supremes in Play

Kennedy announces retirement from Supreme Court The Hill. UserFriendly:

​We are now looking at a solid 5 conservative majority for at least 15 to 20 years. This is why I wanted Dems to fold on Gorsuch. This country is hell and will not be getting better in my lifetime, which is sad as I’m 33, at best we get a repeat of FDR vs the courts with less hope of a positive outcome.

‘He’s Not Really a Moderate’: CNN Legal Analyst Destroys the Myth of the ‘Centrist’ Justice Kennedy Alternet

Trump: “Democrats want judges who will destroy your freedoms” Axois. Like to have an abortion? Or form a union? Or not have to accept mandatory arbitration?

Supreme Court: Why a fight over US abortion law now looms BBC

Mitch McConnell’s politics of shamelessness have won Vox

Hey, Democrats: Pack The Court Huffington Post

A Second Trump Term Just Got Way More Likely Thanks to the Supreme Court Vice

Court ruling a blow, not a knockout, to public unions Christian Science Monitor. Per above, seems awfully optimistic.

Earthquake in the Bronx (and Elsewhere)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Upset Sends Sobering Message to Democrats Reliant on Big Money: It Won’t Save You Intercept

Cuomo: ‘Angry’ minority community is reason for Ocasio-Cortez’s win New York Post. UserFriendy: “Open mouth insert foot.​”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represents the future of the Democratic party Guardian (PlutoniumKun)

UserFriendly: “Read the 2nd tweet too. He is quite literally the best reporter at WaPo.​”

Trump’s Brutality Is Part of Obama’s Legacy Now Truthdig (John Z)

Rules and Bylaws Committee Gives Initial Greenlight to Revamp of Superdelegates System Frontloading HQ (UserFriendly)

The main reason why almost all econometric models are wrong Lars P. Syll (UserFriendly)

Little House on the Orwellian Prairie: PC brigade throws Laura Ingalls Wilder under the bus RT (Kevin W)

Foreign Buyers Made Me Do It: Canada Reflects Back on its Housing Bubble Wolf Street (EM)

US Healthcare: Beyond the Ability of Cosmetics To Hide Its Ugliness Jesse

COST DISEASE IN MEDICINE: THE PRACTICAL PERSPECTIVE Silver Star Codex. Even though people should think about new ways to provide services, why this particular idea won’t work as a business model:

1. Very hard to fill 15 minute slots on a consistent basis. Will have a lot of unsold time. This is particularly true because the conventional 45-50 session includes selling time and/or the therapist-serving requirement that the patient come every week at the same time, otherwise he is not committed to the process.

2. If despite 1, provider manages to fill lots of time slots, doing 15 minute sessions back to back with no niceties will take a ton of concentration and would become exhausting.

After the Fall London Review of Books. (bwill123): “Long commentary on the post GFC failure… too much goodness to quote.”

Class Warfare

Amazon Drives Deeper Into Package Delivery Wall Street Journal

Amazon claims it doesn’t want to take on UPS and FedEx. So why is it introducing tons of its own Amazon delivery vans? Recode

Double-Standards at the Washington Post Counterpunch

Antidote du jour. Crittermom: “a Ferruginous Hawk”:

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. larry

    I have been told that UK recyclers can’t recycle pizza boxes that have been ‘contaminated’ by grease from the pizza.

    1. Merf56

      I have lived all across the US in various places since recycling began – Pa, Az, SC TX NH. NO communities I have lived in have allowed any grease contaminated paper or unwashed plastics in their recycling. Of course many people never read the list of no nos or never are given a list and do not then request one…… it is not just the U.K.!

      1. Mel

        This is another reason America is hitting the skids. There is NO industrial process to remove grease from wood fiber, with huge economies of scale? There is NO WAY to wash plastic?

        Cotton used to come off the plants all tangled up. Impossible!!

      2. Stratos

        In the city of Seattle, greasy pizza boxes are allowed in the yard waste container. They are composted in an industrial composting facility. The cycle is completed by cities and individuals who purchase the resulting compost. Works pretty well.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Seattle could have used that money to build community kitchens and shelters for their homeless, and encouraged its residents to cook at home and bring their own cups to cafes.

          1. perpetualWAR

            Seattle could have also done something to stop the horrendous conditions caused by Amazon, but they would rather see 30-yr residents pack up.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Sorry to hear about that. Hope you are dong better now.

              And while they compost in Seattle, those parcels ordered through their giant online retailer, and being delivered by , apparently, a new parcel-delivery presence, are full of non-compostable bubble wrap inside).

              1. zer0

                Plastic will undoubtedly be up there with the main reasons for the downfall of humanity.

                Plastic is hard to recycle. Its a byproduct of petroleum production. It never breaks down, instead, it dissolves and lodges itself in living things at the cellular level.

                And people wonder why no one has found the cure for cancer. Well, it’s pretty hard to remove heavy metals, plastics, and industrial chemicals from decades of eating processed foods, breathing in plastic fibers, etc. on a cellular level. Some would say impossible.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I have been paying attention to various mundane things in life.

                  The plastic soles of modern shoes, for example.

                  They wear out by abrasion. Where do the little particles go?

                  Should we go barefoot? Only cork soles? Leather?

                  Do we have enough for the whole world?

                  Then, you look at those modern seats on cars, subways and airplanes – more plastic materials there.

          2. bones

            Are you against an urban yard waste composting system because you have some nonrelated pipe dream? I’m sure you understand that the pizza boxes in the yard waste bins do not require any additional labor or costs to compost. Or maybe the pizza business offends you? I can think of many businesses that exceed it as far as plunder, exploitation, etc. Using a commercial oven for mass production provides an efficiency of scale I lack when I bake pizza for my household at home, and the packaging is 100% biodegradable.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Pro tip: try to slide the pizza out cleanly onto a serving platter or pizza pan before eating. Box recyclable, pizza ? tastier without any cardboard odor.

      1. polecat

        We save any pizza boxes* if grease, sauce, and cheese bit free, thereby ready and waiting to be used to store our Own homemade pizzas ..

        *We rarely get take-out pizzas.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Maybe we go back to cooking at home.

          No need for take out containers.

          “Bring your own lunch.”

          We’re lucky there is a place nearby that gives $1.50 off per order if we bring our own lunch boxes (we have glass ones) that we clean ourselves afterwards.

          If you must eat out, in an eatery, bring your own stainless fork, spoon and handkerchief.

          At the end, I go back to what I have not always been able to get people to take without objecting:

          1. consume less
          2. cook at home
          3. ask the government to let you have more time off work, so you can do #2 above
          4. reproduce less

          This way, even if you have to run around all day working in a giant warehouse so your boss can be the first trillionaire, and you have no time to know all the different modern materials used, or the separation issue involved in recycling, you can still contribute. I don’t know if you have enough space in the world to compost, in light of the overpopulation problem.

          So, enjoy your homemade pizzas.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              In some molecular cooking, you can eat the printed menu.

              Perhaps one day, people can eat the table.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  It’s spongy with holes.

                  I had it once in a Kenyan place in Anaheim, back in those hopeful days circa 2009.

              1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                In Vergils Aeneid theres a prophecy about eating their table/plate…

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I once read a description of ‘satori’ (enlightenment) as the experience of having one’s worldview framework , or its foundatipn, removed from underneath where one stands (or where one sits).

                  That’s like eating one’s chair (table later…chair first) at the dining table.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Pizza boxes make excellent weed-suppressant mulch, grease and all (we do put them on metal pans to reheat them, but the box is often greasy nonetheless). But some of us live in apartments.

        Actually, most cardboard that comes to our house winds up as mulch. And WAXED cardboard, which isn’t recyclable, makes really excellent fire starter – I cut it in strips with a paper cutter. Again, that’s if you have a fireplace or woodstove.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I used to go to a pottery studio near Santa Monica, and we couldn’t use wood burning kilns, only electric ones.

          Green house gas thing.

          Otherwise, that would have been a great idea…and better looking pottery cups.

    3. Ur-Blintz

      What no one talks about is all the water we are supposed to waste (not to mention pay for) in order to clean contaminated recyclables. Isn’t water our most precious and fragile natural resource? Jus’ sayin’…

      1. PlutoniumKun

        There are plenty of life cycle assessments of recycling and materials production that look at the issue of cleaning the material and the resource/envionmental implications. In almost all cases that I’m aware of have found that its impact is negligible, compared to the overall use of water in producing virgin materials. The only exception I know of is with reusable milk bottles – because milk proteins are particularly hard to remove extremely high water temperatures are required, so that one form of reuse (not recycling) doesn’t really justify itself.

        1. Ur-Blintz

          Thanks PK! And yes, anyone who has washed a glass after drinking milk will know of what you pointed out. AS for y point I remember reading once that a paper cup of coffee was preferable to a ceramic because of the water needed to clean up the mug afterwards. Also I would want to know if those assessments are from within the recycling industry, because that industry was just as interested in profits as any and sold its book quite well, especially early on when selling recyclables was a big money maker.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Paper cup(s) vs. one ceramic coffee cup.

            Aside from the water advantage (maybe yes, maybe no…water used in the cycle from watering the tree, to making it into a paper cup at the mill*), one ceramic mug can replace 300 paper cups a year (or something like that…depending on the drinker).

            *And if you’re washing other things, there maybe a little more or no more water used.

            1. Ur-Blintz

              Indeed and just to be clear I was playing devil’s advocate here… there is no perfect solution to consuming without damaging the environment or wasting resources one way or the other. I won’t be around long enough to know which measures taken or statistics used to justify our imperfect choices would have made a difference to the desperate future I see engulfing mankind.

              1. zer0

                See Janism for how to live the most environmentally free.

                Basically, seclusion, no meat, and literally waiting for fruit to fall from the tree. Sounds ideal, and is one of the oldest religions in the world. But is completely antithetical to where the world is going.

                1. LifelongLib

                  Ethical concerns aside, would no meat include animals like goats, which consume plants that humans can’t eat? I thought a reason beef is bad is that cattle use resources that humans could use directly, so it’s less efficient.

    4. John Zelnicker

      Here in Mobile, the city has recently moved to “single-stream” recycling where all recyclables are compacted together and shipped to a facility that separates the paper, metal, glass, and plastic. Although paper or plastic covered with food or grease is not accepted, a couple of grease spots on a pizza box is okay.

      There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages versus separate recycling streams. However, I believe the convenience leads to more folks recycling.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        I am skeptical of single stream–whether the stuff actually gets sorted and recycled. Where I live I recently discovered that the municipality doesn’t recycle all those clear plastic containers labeled #1 that I had been dutifully rinsing and separating from the garbage–stuff like the clamshells berries come in.

        Then I go into a coffee shop that tells me they use a single stream recycler and it’s all good. Huh? Either the stuff can be recycled or it can’t be.

        Same thing back in Chicago–they used to have “blue bag” recycling but it turned out the stuff was NOT actually getting sorted and processed correctly.

        1. John Zelnicker

          @ChiGal in Carolina
          June 28, 2018 at 10:23 am
          You are right to be skeptical given your experience. And, I cannot say honestly whether or not the processing is done right, as I haven’t actually seen the facility that does the processing. (Local government is not known for it’s commitment to truth and transparency.) I do know that it’s about an hour away in Pensacola, and takes in recyclables from several municipalities.

        2. jonboinAR

          The job of separating recyclables sounds to me like a good possible candidate for a guaranteed job.

    5. bronco

      If a customer wants a slice for instance , they put out their hand , palm upraised , and you gently place the pizza slice on it.

      Take the unused pizza box and place it gently in the recycling bin. Actually , using my patented method , you only need one box , and you hang it on the wall like a painting , to like feng shui the place up a bit.

      1. Expat

        Mmm, 375 degree pizza in the palm of your hand.
        The great advantage of this system is that you can team up with an HMO providing skin grafts.
        Call the place “Slice and Splice”!

          1. Expat

            Well, sure, for the guy cooking and serving. And disposable (recyclable) asbestos gloves for the customers?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              A nice ceramic plate?

              (Food tastes better on ceramic plates one made oneself….looking and appreciating them enhances the appetite…something I learned from Chado.)

              1. zer0

                I always loved the mineral red & orange glazes. Too bad they are mostly lead based. The organic based ones just don’t do those colors justice.

                Always wanted to get more into pottery, but between woodworking, sculpting, and sewing, neither I or my wife have any space left lol. Did have plans for using an old tin can to make a small Raku/sawdust style kiln (clearly a good idea when you have lots of sawdust).

    6. Eclair

      Seattle has added a food and garden waste municipal composting collection barrel to its trash and recycling (mixed plastic, glass and paper … CLEAN!) program. Greasy pizza boxes as well as food-stained take-out containers and the compostable versions of those ubiquitous meat and fish trays (Seattle has banned non-compostable take out containers as well as plastic straws) go into the composting barrel.

      Here in Chautauqua County, NY, our town has no municipal trash collection service. We compost our non-meat food waste, including pizza boxes which, along with other corrugated boxes are put down over existing lawn in our drive to get rid of non-productive grass. Bones are dried, then pulverized and added to the compost pile (along with occasional transfusions of chicken and pig poop from our cousin’s farm). Disposal of trash and recyclables mean semi-weekly trips to the county ‘transfer center,’ where we separate our stuff into: trash, metal (like your old bar-b-que grill and propane tank), cans, clear glass, colored glass, paper, corrugated cardboard and electronics. We are charged by the bag for ‘trash.’ The recycled stuff is ‘free.’ Twice a year, we get to drop off hazardous waste, like drain cleaners and oil-based paint and pesticides. We don’t use this pernicious stuff, but we are still cleaning out my in-law’s house, workshop and barn, stuffed with 50 years of ‘better living through chemistry.’ We also have 50 years’ worth of auto and truck tires that my thrifty in-laws had saved, in case of Armageddon; tastefully arranged, they are now hosting tomato plants. My daughter calls them our ‘polka dot garden.’

    7. Expat

      Used to be the case in France. Now you can. I have never followed the garbage to the facility, but who knows what happens when it gets there…or wherever it goes. Here in France we put plastic, paper, and cans into the bin. Glass goes to the the large recycling container next door by the shops.

      Here is Europe we use a lot of Tetrapacks (juice, milk, tomato sauce, etc.). That stuff is a pain in the ass to recycle since it is multilayers of plastic, aluminum, and paper.

      Who has the most draconian recycling laws? Switzerland? Germany? I recall an article (here?) about how citizens (you know, those people Americans call “consumers”) will use up to four different bins but when it’s five they give up and start cheating. Number of bins might be different…anyone recall?

      1. Eclair

        Various Swedish hotels we have stayed in have their tiny (by American standards) waste baskets in the room further divided into three or four teeny, color-coded compartments for various recyclables. We spend a lot of time pondering what goes where and then folding and tearing so that things would fit into the compartments. I am in favor of any system that makes one think …. do I really really need to buy this? If yes, then is there a product that has less packaging or is more recyclable?

        1. Carey

          I’ve had a little bit of experience with Swedish recycling facilities and was
          impressed by what I saw.

        2. GF

          We recently stayed in Victoria BC at Huntingdon Manor on the inner harbor and had a room with a small kitchenette. They had a garbage container, recycle container with a list of appropriate items to place in it and a compost container that could be shut tight so no odors came forth. Never have seen a recycle container or compost container in US hotel/motels.

      2. False Solace

        Japan is pretty high on the list for garbage/recycling complexity and penalties. There are several different categories collected on different days and recyclables have to be rinsed and put in the correct collection bin. You use transparent trash bags with your name written on them and if you sort it wrong the collector will refuse your trash and slap a big red sticker on it that everybody in the neighborhood will see. For egregious cases supposedly the police will come speak to you or your landlord. But at least they take it seriously. Where I live it’s hard to tell if there’s any point to separating recyclables. For all I know everything goes the same dumpster.

        1. zer0

          ^ This. The Japanese, due to necessity and culture, have always been mindful of waste.

          And yes, in my previous “luxury” condo complex, people threw basically everything into the recycling. The worst are the ones that leave old electronics (like huge crt TVs) with stickers stating “still works!” as a way of getting out of taking it to an E-Recycling center and patting themselves on the back for giving charity to the ‘poors’.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            From Mono no aware (not aware, as in being aware of something, but the Japanese word a-wa-re), Wikipedia:

            The phrase is derived from the Japanese word mono (物), which means “thing”, and aware (哀れ), which was a Heian period expression of measured surprise (similar to “ah” or “oh”), translating roughly as “pathos”, “poignancy”, “deep feeling”, “sensitivity”, or “awareness“. Thus, mono no aware has frequently been translated as “the ‘ahh-ness’ of things”, life, and love. Awareness of the transience of all things heightens appreciation of their beauty, and evokes a gentle sadness at their passing. In his criticism of The Tale of Genji Motoori noted that mono no aware is the crucial emotion that moves readers. Its scope was not limited to Japanese literature, and became associated with Japanese cultural tradition (see also sakura).[1]

            That deep feeling comes from being with a ‘mono’ (a thing) for a long, long time.

            You keep that tea bowl for hundreds of years.

    8. Jeremy Grimm

      How did an ongoing discussion about recycling become so focused on greasy pizza boxes?

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Because in Uptown New Orleans, they wont even pick up the bin if they see a pizza box. Right now, our recycling bin is on the curb. Our new upstairs neighbors put it out yesterday not realizing it hasnt been picked up in months, undoubtedly due to the never ending stream of boxes that find their way on top. Every so often i trash the stuff on top so the lid closes.

    9. Ook

      1. People are dreaming if they seriously think they can get the entire population to memorize hundreds of ever-shifting rules on coated paper going in this box and uncoated going elsewhere, and get every household to dedicate space to several trash bins. It would be much cheaper and I daresay much more effective to hire someone to do the separation at a later stage, even allowing for liquid/other contamination of mixed garbage.
      2. All the recycling is for naught if it all gets dumped into the same pile at the processing plant, and you would be surprised how common this practice is in townships across the US.

  2. ChiGal in Carolina

    No time wasted by others taking me to task for “not voting for that liar, Hillary”. And I admit, Trump getting two judges on the SC so soon was a forseeable downside. I don’t feel remorse exactly, but I have to admit I am chagrined. On this one thing the stupid, corrupt Dems would have been better. Yet and still I think I would write in NONE OF THE ABOVE all over again if confronted with the same awful choices as in 2016.

    1. Christopher Fay

      Hillary, even if there was a slight democrat majority in the congress, would only be able to submit SC candidates acceptable to the republicans.

        1. Eureka Springs

          Indeed. Kennedy was the Demos answer to Bork. One item on the very long list of reasons I will likely never vote D again. Not even for dog-catcher. To think Hillary would have been better on this requires more than micro in your dose.

      1. JohnnyGL

        It was clear that Repubs were happy to dish out the Merritt Garland treatment to any/all candidates. Repubs were always going to have ~50ish seats +/- a couple either way.

        Supreme Court was the STRONGEST argument for sucking it up and voting for HRC, but it was far from bulletproof.

        1. False Solace

          The “strongest argument” was nullified by the fact Obama nominated a Republican for the Court. Maybe they should give us something to vote for instead of trying to shame us into voting for corporatist garbage.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            How dare you impugn the Great Saint O! He was just playing his 11-dimensional chess, nominating a Republican justice must have actually been good for us in reality because otherwise His Coolness would never have done it.
            (Until people acknowledge How We Got Where We Are there’ll be no chance we can Go Somewhere Very Different Now)

    2. Darius

      If I lived in a swing state, I would have voted for Hillary. Since I don’t and my vote didn’t matter, I voted for Jill Stein. I don’t even blame Trump on Hillary though. Trump happened because Obama embraced austerity early on and therefore things still sucked.

    3. roadrider

      And who would have Shrill-ary nominated? Some neo-liberal, corporatist hack who was moderately on the side of the social wedge issues favored by the Dumb-o-crats.

      Sorry, but the fecklessness, corruption, hypocrisy and spinelessness of the Dumb-o-crats is why we have the SCOTUS we have now and will have in the future, The voters who refused to support them are not the problem.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        See RBG for a really inspiring portrait of someone her husband, the original corporate New Democrat (carceral state, ending Glass Steagall, turning welfare into workfare) put on the court.

        And yes, my response to being sarcastically thanked for the SC was to acknowledge my chagrin but affirm my choice of NONE OF THE ABOVE and also to add thanks to the Dems for running a corrupt primary.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      Accepting that the entire legal framework of modern american life is determined by the philosophy of one, single UNELECTED man has always struck me as ridiculous in the extreme.

      Elections occur every two years in this country. Some would say we are in a state of perpetual elections. If the so-called representatives of the people would simply legislate according to their constituents’ needs and demands instead of remaining as inert as possible to keep their jobs and perks, this one, single UNELECTED man would not wield such wildly oversized, imperial influence.

      Relying on one, single UNELECTED man to run interference for you so you don’t have to do the job you were actually elected to do as a strategy to remain employed as a “legislator” fell apart yesterday. I’d like to see it as a wake-up call, but the reaction to the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez win suggests that more of the same old hand-wringing and blame game is the more likely response.

      And before everyone decides that anthony kennedy’s retirement is the end of the world, I’d remind them that Trump has two more years (at least) on the job. I’m not sure ruth bader ginsburg can say the same.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        That (Ocasio) is what gives me hope. The SC won’t matter so much if we can get a functioning legislature again.

        If you haven’t, see RBG–past time for all of us to wear dissent collars!

        1. polecat

          After 14+ years of “Yes, We Can’t” I’m all outta hope .. I fact, I’ve learned to really hate that word, as it’s become short-hand for doing essentially nothing but spewing lip-service !
          I want results .. or as is often referred to by Lambert and others .. ‘actual material benefits’ ! When do I want them ?? A Decade ago would have be good for starters !

      2. flora

        Imo, Kennedy was always a reliable conservative vote; he was coy about it, though, feigning left before voting right.

    5. todde

      its a pretty easy answer.

      I will not vote for democrat war-mongers or republicans.

      if people have to suffer because of that, so be it.

    6. bronco

      Trump will be in for 8 years so he will probably put 5 judges on.

      In spite of the relentless blue wave and all , there’s no guarantee that a democrat wins in 2024 but maybe the next bored millionaire to win will be a semi-democrat instead of a demi-republican

      1. neo-realist

        If the economy crashes next year, I would not guarantee another term for Trump. Voters may not think about things like the courts in their voting considerations, but they do factor in their pocketbooks.

        1. Lambert Strether

          “Events, my dear boy, events.”

          It would be nice to see liberal Democrats take a more active role, in anything, but they really do not seem able to display adaptability. Demographics will still come through for them, combined with mistakes by the Republicans, and those moderate Republicans will finally flip. Meanwhile, the Republicans will simply stay passive and let this all happen.

          If the next Trump isn’t a boor, the liberal Democrats are going to lose to them too. And then they’ll have some ‘splaining to do (lol no, that was irony).

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If Bernie is nominated, all the Clinties will vote against him one way or another. The Clinties will do their spite-driven best to make Bernie lose.

          That’s okay. Let the Clinties do it. Let the Clinties re-elect Trump in full open view.

    7. Vastydeep

      Zach Carter on Huffpost has the right idea (pack the court!) but is looking in the wrong direction. Mitch McConnell’s decision to withhold consent on any nominee (with Obama nominee Merrick Garland) opened the door — why not stride boldly though it?

      If you agree with Thom Hartmann (that Marbury v. Madison was a mistake, encouraging the reign of activist judges), then we might move in the other direction by Democrats simply withholding the consent on ALL nominees, now and going forward. There is nothing magical about having 9 Supreme Court justices — the original court had 6, and in the course of human affairs a generation of “withholding consent” will usher in an entirely new look at term limits and the power of the Judiciary.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Sounds good to me. The Supreme Court has been illegitimate as an institution at least since Bush v. Gore.

        1. Harold

          I think I may have found it, but not to go off on a tangent too much, but I don’t understand why everyone, including Thom Hartmann, accepts the premise of Justice Scalia’s very broad, “originalist” interpretation of Marbury. I am not a legal historian or any kind of expert but it seems to me that Hartmann is mistaken in suggesting that Marbury needs to be overturned. Marbury merely said that judges cannot issue writs. (Since I have been having a running argument with someone for several weeks about this issue I have been looking this up.) OK. They cannot issue writs, but they can, do, and always have made laws since Henry II’s institution of English common law in the 12th Century (some argue it goes back even further than that).

          The English common law, which we have always had running parallel to our system of statutory law, is also (and has always been) known as “judge-made law”. Oliver Wendell Holmes and Benjamin Cardozo were quite adamant in stressing that in our system judges do and should make law every time they interpret the law. In doing so the judges rely not only on the authority of stare decisis but also on facts drawn from science and sociology, etc. Sorry to quote wikipedia but it has some pretty enlightening nutshell paragraphs on this:

          Judge-made common law operated as the primary source of law for several hundred years, before Parliament acquired legislative powers to create statutory law. It is important to understand that common law is the older and more traditional source of law, and legislative power is simply a layer applied on top of the older common law foundation. Since the 12th century, courts have had parallel and co-equal authority to make law[77]—”legislating from the bench” is a traditional and essential function of courts, which was carried over into the U.S. system as an essential component of the “judicial power” specified by Article III of the U.S. constitution.[24] Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. summarized centuries of history in 1917, “judges do and must legislate.”[78] There are legitimate debates on how the powers of courts and legislatures should be balanced. However, the view that courts lack law-making power is historically inaccurate and constitutionally unsupportable.

        2. Sid_finster

          Judicial review is mentioned nowhere in the United States Constitution, nor (except for a brief period during the English Commonwealth) was it considered inherent to the judicial function. This is something different from judge-made law, which marbury doesn’t address.

          Rather, like in English courts, except (IIRC) in matters before the ECHR, the pre-Marbury courts simply assumed that the legislature had taken constitutionality into account when passing laws.

          1. Harold

            So Marbury limits the function of the Supreme Court to judicial review? I confess I am confused. My sense is that the problem we have now is not so much that our institutions are inadequate as much as that they have been thoroughly corrupted.

            1. Sid_finster

              Marbury mentions many things, but the only part that matters now is judicial review.

              The fact that our institutions are co-opted has nothing to do with that, unless you think that judges will save us.

    8. oh

      The DimRat party could put a hold on any nomination like the Repigs did before. But the Dims belong to the same club and feed at the same trough. Why would they not go for a right wing SC? It’s foolish for people to be misled by the moans of “But, the Supreme Court..”

  3. fresno dan

    So I am at the grocery store yesterday, and I get a small carton of eggs. For the first time EVER, I do not open the carton to check that the eggs are unbroken. 40 years of unbroken eggs…
    Check out woman opens the carton…and there is a broken egg. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE!???!!!!

    AND there are YELLOW raspberries in the produce section. NOW, I don’t want to be some kind of fruitist that discriminates against a fruit because of the color of its…?skin? but are yellow raspberries really progress?

    1. ambrit

      s/ Fresno Dan; Either you have triggered one of Finagles Corollaries to Murphys’ Law or it is distinctly possible that these aberrations in the ‘normal order of things’ are a result of heightened fault zone magnetic fields. The recent spikes in solar discharges have roiled up the Earths’ magnetosphere, with attendant maxima in earthquakes and vulcanism. Increased piezoelectric effects bought on by heightened Terrestrial internal magnetic fields inducing heightened fault face strains will enhance the effects. Said magnetic field deformations are conducive to thinning of bird eggs due to disruptions in the calcium ion utilization process, in the case of eggs, and suppression of internal iron containing compounds transport, the red colour, in the raspberries case. In periods of solar maxima, it is always preferrable to source agricultural products from regions close to the centre of cratons. /s
      Next Up: Non Moveable Cross Water Transportation Infrastructure Sales 103 (How to Price the Product, or, Sizing Up the Marks.)

        1. ambrit

          Ah! The Turbo Encabulator! Another ‘super science’ device that was ‘disappeared’ to maintain profits for the elites!
          I would dearly love to get a peek inside the Illuminatis’ “Hall of Suppressed Inventions.”

        1. ambrit

          You’re very welcome.
          The part about solar discharges affecting terrestrial geological processes is true. The parameters are being worked out over time.
          Piezoelectric forces leading to electrical discharges along fault lines is true also.
          Read, only an abstract, but:
          If you’re interested in our ‘Non Moveable Cross Water Transportation Infrastructure’ sale, contact B——- B—–, our ‘Infrastructure Sales Specialist.’ (Sorry BB, but sometimes, we really do have a bridge to sell.)

            1. ambrit

              Be sure to offer a “special deal” to customers who mention Naked Capitalism when they contact you to find out about our amazing finance plans.

              “NC sent me here!”
              “Oh boy! Do we have a deal for you!”
              “Can I charge a toll?”
              “Every public private deal we’ve seen so far has.”
              “It’ll really be mine?”
              “You’re a member of the Public, aren’t you? You can even live under it if you want.”
              “Gee willikers! Where do I sign?”

      1. fresno dan

        June 28, 2018 at 8:36 am
        That explains everything!!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!!!
        Obviously, the three layers of tinfoil I wear are not enough to deflect these pizzaelectric effects, causing me to forgo my usual prudent checking of the eggs in the carton.

        1. ambrit

          I run into the insufficient tinfoil thickness issue myself.
          I blame it on the ‘crapification'(TM) of tin foil over time. As manufacturers chased profits over time, they used the old trick of reducing the amount of product in the box without lowering the price. So, thinner and thinner ‘tin’ foil. (My theory is only that. Actual figures are hard to get.)
          Read, and do note that there is an actual discussion of using ‘tin’ foil for electromagnetic shielding! :
          As has ben suggested by ‘experts,’ since the pizzaelectrix properties of fault lines are from the ground up, tinfoil linings of the shoes, to protect the bottom of the feet from electromagnetic effects, (the Deep Dark Darpa Defense,) are encouraged in seismically active zones. That is why Comrade Jim, when he sent me my first Red Bunny Slippers and Clandestine Communications Device emphasized not to insert tinfoil foot protectors. It interferes with the reception.
          Keep the Red Foil flying!
          Thankfully, the electromagnetic shield effects of tinfoil are not degradable!

    2. DJG

      fresno dan: And I bought white eggplants yesterday, the first of the year here in Illinois. Scrumplicious. (And supposedly the white strain of eggplants is the original strain.)

      I don’t know how you went about not opening the carton. Even when I buy local eggs, I check the carton. The spirit of my mother hovers over me, encouraging safe grocery shopping.

      1. funemployed

        I always feel a bit like a rebellious teenager when I don’t check the carton, then I feel a bit guilty til I get home, and then vindicated when I fail to discover broken eggs. Mom’s are powerful.

        1. ambrit

          I have been known to err in this regard and have learned that Wives are just as powerful. (Which brings up questions of arrested development. But, let’s not go there.)

    3. polecat

      We polecats have yellow (golden ??) raspberries residing amongst their red and black cousins (diversity is the ‘golden rule’ here in our landscape) .. and Oh My ! Are They Are Tasty !
      They are, however, rather perishable .. and need to be consumed shortly after picking, least they spoil.
      So, overall, we are in berry, Berry good hands .. ‘;]
      … and none are, fortunately, named after Obama, thank HeyZeus !

      As for eggs .. we have our own to break, as we see fit .. or the hens, should one want to steal one !

  4. The Rev Kev

    “What is John Bolton’s role in Trump’s ME drama?”

    Saw him on TV in Moscow and having to talk to Putin. It must be very frustrating for the poor man. He can’t threaten Putin’s family nor can he do what he also normally does and bully someone Putin. Bolton must be aware that Putin has an 8th dan of the black belt as well as knowledge of karate so Putin could kick Bolton’s a**. It is with great pleasure that the phrase that I settle on to describe how Bolton looked in these encounters was “man giving birth to broken glass”. What’s life without a little schadenfreude from time to time?

    1. Carolinian

      There may be something to Pat Lang’s idea that taking Bolton on board gets the neocons off Trump’s back while Trump continues to do what he wants. Sites like M of A said Bolton would sabotage the NK meeting and yet he didn’t. For Bolton just being inside the tent may be more important than arguing with the mercurial Trump. And we haven’t heard much lately from Nikki “we’ll never be friends with Russia” Haley. She was never inside the tent….may have been told to stifle.

      1. Sid Finster

        If Bolton were not part of the Trump administration, what would he do in response to any peace overtures?

        Go on the Sunday talk show circuit and rage, write an oped or two, but that’s about all he could do. Maybe get published by the NYT, the Weekly Standard or some other reliable neocon organ.

        Bringing Bolton into the administration just means that those same talk shows would feature a different guest, the opeds would carry a different byline, but the content in any instance would be identical.

        1. Carolinian

          And yet there were those who said Bolton joining the Trump administration was an event of great significance. So far not so much?

          To be sure there was the Iran decision but that seems to have been baked in from the beginning.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I thought bringing in Bolton would eliminate incorrect guessing by the neocons.

            (Actually it was less ‘I thought,’ but more ‘I guessed.’)

    2. ChrisPacific

      From Twitter via the RT link in the comments:

      “Speaking about Vladimir Putin in 2013, John Bolton said: “We need to do things that cause him pain.” Today in the Kremlin he told Russia’s president: “We are most appreciative of your courtesy and graciousness.”

      To be fair, we don’t know what was going on in the accompanying photo. Maybe he was squeezing Putin’s hand really hard.

  5. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you to User Friendly for the link about the reporting on Venezuela.

    One reason not picked up by the article is that Venezuela, or the common perception of it, is weaponised for use against the Left, vide the regular references to what will happen to the UK if Jeremy Corbyn becomes PM. Either Venezuela or Zimbabwe.

    Early last year, Jean-Luc Melenchon was interviewed on the France 2 evening news. David Pujadas asked him about Venezuela, as if one can expect a Melenchon presidency to lead to such a situation. Melenchon got a bit upset, but that was the intention.

    Zimbabwe is often used against the Scottish National Party by the big landowners and their bootlickers.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks Colonel, I’ve often wondered why Venezuela is so consistently singled out and how ‘they’ manage to ensure that negative stories are so unanimously reported, even in the progressive media. Even Cuba gets the occasional favourable story in the mainstream press. I can only assume that it is a case of ‘pour encourager les autres’. What is so worrying is just how successful the strategy has been – it shows I think how the intelligence services have comprehensively co-opted so many members of the foreign correspondents corps.

      1. Lorenzo

        there’s also the problem that they have not managed to make much of their media outlet, teleSUR. It feels very much like a propaganda outlet to me. Hence even I as a Latin American and native Spanish speaker have failed to yet find a reliable go-to media source. That’s probably in part due to my not digging deep enough, but I can tell you there’s nothing of substance near the surface. Even the Venezuelans I’ve met have provided precious little depth to the power dynamics going on there. They have told me two things I don’t see mentioned in the press:

        1- Maduro seems to be a puppet, Chavez was apparently hoping against hope that he could carry on his legacy, but instead he’s been co-opted by a corrupt Party apparatus.

        2- The opposition is quite fragmented, but there’s a consensus of sorts to remain opposed to even a last-resort US intervention. Big names within the opposition like Lara state governor Henri Flacón were Chavez loyalists back in the day

    1. JTMcPhee

      We got plenty of “alienation,” DSM definition that is, and anomie too, right here in the land of the red, white and blue. All goes together with globalization and Elite-ization and crapification. And an apparent complete inability of the mopery to come to an agreement on what kind of political economy they want to live in, much less the organization it takes to make any such agreement (to the extent that it differs from “what exists on the ground and is coming down the pike. more of the same and worse”) to stick and rule…

  6. NotTimothyGeithner

    Regarding Greenwald’s tweet, the answer to the response to the 2016 election is dependent on the predictable weakness of Hillary as a candidate. Even a minimum of effort on the part of her primary supporters, enlightened libruls, would have led to a conclusion that the best case scenario is she wins but offers no coattails given the Clinton machine’s track record over the years. Putting five minutes of crititcal thinking into the selection of the President is moral minimum of the kind of behavior citizens of a nominal republic should put forth. The people who pushed that loser are to blame. Hillary is not Adlai, a known sacrificial lamb. She isn’t a random candidate. She had a horrid record, they chose not to share, and represented a political machine that destroyed the Democratic Party and ushered in the permanent Republican majority. If Trump is as bad as Republicans usually are, then the Democrats who pimped the Clinton candidacy are morally responsible, lazy, and stupid, characteristics they accuse the Republicans of having.

    They can make claims about polls, but they ignored state polls and a clear oversampling of Democrats when virtually every poll in existence showed a decline in party self identification.

    The Democratic Strategerist class obviously has to gripe because a rationale and compassionate society would simply pay them to paint and repaint the same fence in the middle of nowhere (so they feel like they contributed to society), and since the U.S. is not compassionate, they should wind up on the street after losing to Trump.

    1. Chromex

      How about we blame the electoral college? I am not a fan of either party or their candidates but it would have been easier to accept the result had Trump won the popular vote. Yet no one utters a peep. I realize that it is next to impossible to change but people once said that about slavery. Hillary was an absolutely miserable campaigner as well, the worst I have seen in modern times other than Dukakis and Dole perhaps. I would probably be just as much of a grouch had she won but as an observer I find it amusing that the Electoral College is never discussed in this blame game.
      What we need are candidates that understand that the problem is Empire and the resources being siphoned away to those unworthy departments ( Military, Homeland Security along with others) . except for a few “Sanders” dems who remain pariahs as far as Shurmer and Pelosi are concerned there are cricket from the Dems.

      1. Sid Finster

        Did eeevil Russians hide HRC’s only copy of the Constitution, so she couldn’t find out about the electoral college?

        Did Putin convince her to bother to campaign in Wisconsin with the icky flyover people? Far more pleasant to yukk it up with the donors in sunny CA and focus on divvying up the spoils, :”You got this in bag baybee…” (said in heavy Russian accent)

        HRC knew the rules of the election, and neither she nor her backers raised a peep about them, until she lost. Am I the only one who remembers the universal cries of outrage when Trump didn’t promise to abide by election results and HRC did?

        That said, it is comic to see HRC, whose entire schtick was based on her supposed competence and alleged insider knowledge, come undone by something that every C+ average remedial high school civics student ought to know about.

        1. nippersmom

          Thank you. i am tired beyond belief of the whining I have seen from Dems about the evil electoral college, as though it were some new, unknown phenomenon the Clinton campaign couldn’t possibly have anticipated and prepared for.. I don’t know how Chromex has managed to avoid the many “peeps” (i.e. outpouring of outrage) that I have encountered on various websites and in the media.

        2. ewmayer

          Yeah, the whole whinge-fest about the popular vote is like the loser of a chess game – 11-dimensional or otherwise – complaining ‘you mated my king but I captured more of your pieces, so I really won (*cough* except for the unfair rules we both agreed on going in)!’

      2. Pat

        For me, discussing the Electoral College when laying the blame for the election of 2016 is well, sour grapes. Largely for three reasons which I will list.

        1.) The Electoral College has been the means of electing the President for as long as anyone in America has been living. This was not some new invention or some shocking new system.
        2.) This was not the first time a President won the Electoral College while losing the popular vote. See 2000 for one.
        3.) This was not the first time that Hillary Clinton lost an election because she and her team didn’t bother to pay attention to the system. Her opponents did not make that mistake. (See Obama in 2008 and Trump in 2016.)
        4.) Clinton was not just a miserable campaigner, she and her campaign were cash rich and competence poor.

        But lets take your assessment at face value. What has been done since to change this? Why are we hearing about Russia! rather than any real effort on Democrats as a whole to address this? You really do have to answer that to understand that it is a distraction not a reason. See there is historical precedent as there was also evidence that voter suppression particularly in Florida probably lost Gore the election. Yet, we get told that Nader was the cause. Why not the Electoral College? Why not voter suppression? If this was such a problem why didn’t the Democrats seek to address it in the aftermath of 2000 especially for the period when they had the majorities in Congress or at all during the eight years of the Obama administration. Could it be they like the system the way it is? This is especially egregious for voter suppression as methods and ways that were just being tried in 2000 have become expanded and entrenched. So now the Electoral College gets mentioned whenever it is not Russia! just to show that Hillary Clinton was the rightful President but NOT in order to fix a broken system. IOW it is an excuse and fund raiser not a real problem as far as the powers are concerned.

        That her loss also eliminated what little power base the Democrats had left after Obama’s hand selected Party leadership let the party become afterthoughts is also troubling for the power brokers. They demolished what little ground game they had in order to feed the consultants feeding at the trough, and now that trough is dependent on smaller caches of billionaires means their focus is on the money.

        The truth is that Clinton and her team thought they gamed the election and they would finalize the transition for the Democratic Party as the party of the working class to the new home of Rockefeller and more socially liberal Republicans. I won’t bother to point out why this was delusional, but the real reason for her loss was that unfortunately they didn’t have enough of the base left to make up for the void produced when the those Republican and Republican leaning Independents didn’t rally to the New Democrats epitomized by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

        1. nippersdad

          It is also interesting to me that, now the New Dems have lost the EC twice, they think that eliminating the need for winning in flyover country is considered a winning rationale for those who would be disenfranchised by it. People that spend far too much time in LA and Martha’s Vineyard are prolly shocked that Corporate Dems are imperilled even in their own backyard (Ocasio-Cortez), but no one else should be.

          That is exactly the kind of rationale that has left them a regional Party.

        2. Harold

          The political consultant industry are the Elizabeth Holmes and Elon Musk of politics, it seems.

      3. Duke of Prunes

        “I would probably be just as much of a grouch had she won but as an observer I find it amusing that the Electoral College is never discussed in this blame game.”

        Huh? She did this in 2017, and then a few weeks ago.

        As someone not from California or NY, I prefer the EC.

      4. John k

        No reason to discuss the EC. It was part of the compromise that persuaded small states to join in the new union, no matter that some are now large.
        The main point is it will never change, there will always be too many small states to get 75% (38) to approve.
        Fuggaboudid and live with it… concentrate on nominating good, as opposed to awful, candidates.

  7. Colonel Smithers

    One hopes readers are still celebrating the Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ben Jealous and Emily Sirota victories – or recovering from the joyous night, joys that are resonating beyond the shores of America.

    Further to the list of Crowley donors published by Matt Stoller and Pavel, how about adapting for the AOC victory and trolling Crowley’s owners.

    1. ambrit

      I don’t know about there, but over here, the ‘important’ people have lost any semblance of a sense of humour that they might have possessed. Indeed, I have sometimes suspected that having a sense of humour about ones self automatically disqualifies one from entry into the Political Class.
      I was wondering the other day about UK EU payments at the more personal level and thought about specie. Perhaps a EUrorand? Ramp up the production of Sovereigns?
      Hard Money for Hard Times! (I can hear the ghost of Sir Isaac Newton laughing softly.)

      1. HotFlash

        Absolutely! We had a prime minister here in Canada who, after his retirement, published a book of humour. It came as a surprise to everyone, and I heard him admit sheepishly to the nice CBC lady interviewer, “Oh, yes, well, in politics if you have a sense of humour they think you’re a bit of a lightweight. Now I’m retired, of course, it doesn’t matter.” What a sacrifice this man made for his country, to hid his sense of humour under a bushel for all those years. I certainly couldn’t have done it.

        1. ambrit

          Agreed. On more than one occasion my “sense of humour” has put my employment in jeopardy.

    2. Pavel

      Thanks for the shout out, mon Colonel, but all I did was reformat Matt Stoller’s research a wee bit!

      I recalled that list whilst reading above re the SCOTUS nomination to come. If we look at Crowley’s horrid list of donors let’s recall that most Dem Supreme Court nominations are moderate at best, and none of them a real reformer. And let’s also remember Uncle Joe Biden’s chairing of the Judicial Committee which let Clarence Thomas in. (I just read BTW that Biden is at the top of some polls for 2020… WTF?)

      I’m reminded of those Venn diagrams of Democrats and Repubs — they intersect on most of the issues (notably supporting endless war and crony capitalism and acting against real campaign finance reform) and differ only on abortion/gay rights and gun control.

    3. Roger Smith

      I was glad to hear about Cortez and Sirota, but Ben Jealous is someone I wouldn’t want in power after an interview I saw with him and Stein a year or two ago. He was utterly pathetic and playing the same Dem blame games with her.

      1. funemployed

        I don’t fully trust him either, but I believe he’ll mostly vote for stuff I want. That said, the astroturfing is about to get ramped up something fierce, IMO, so we’ll all need to be wary.

      2. roadrider

        Yeah, I fear that he’ll be “for” Medicare-for-all until the party heavies lean on him to support some kind of neo-liberal, means-tested substitute that doesn’t upset Big Pharma or Big Insurance too much.

      3. perpetualWAR

        The NAACP “leader” in Seattle is also a Dem shill. When I asked why they had a black tie gala celebrating their 100-yr anniversary, while their community was being decimated by foreclosure, I got an angry PC-Dem reply. Still angry that the NAACP couldn’t rally to save those homes!

        1. funemployed

          The NAACP has always been the “respectable” racial justice organization. That is partly (mainly) why they have lasted 100 years in the first place.

          Though in it’s early years, it did include both W.E.B DuBois and John Dewey (IMO, hands down the two most important intellectuals in US history). I suspect today’s NAACP would not be so comfortable with either of their political philosophies or leanings.

  8. SimonGirty I’m wondering just how the states, Justice Department and media will use the cited studies to label, spy upon, subjugate and invent new infractions to rob, incarcerate, indenture, terrorize & kill folks protesting their relentless victimization…

  9. Kevin

    Odd Occurrence.

    My wife is a massage therapist. To renew her license, she is required to send relevant paperwork to the state each year (in our case Springfield, Il.). She sent and resent her package on 3 separate occasions – starting back in March. Each time the state claimed they had not received it. So, yesterday she drove 3 hours down to Springfield to hand them her paperwork in person. The rep she handed it to told my wife she should have waited until next week as July is when the “mail opening” occurs.They open mail once every 2-3 months.

    Once they do, they will find a total of 4 packages from wife.

    1. ambrit

      Not to be doubtful, but, didn’t you all send the paperwork Return Receipt? We do that with all important papers going through the mail. Also, is this the first time the State Regulators have done this, as in, is it a new ‘revenue saving’ scheme? Secondly, is any money included with the paperwork? Having a cheque held up for payment for months can play Holy H— with ones financial planning.
      Still, good luck to her in her field. There is so much stress floating about in the ‘body social’ that she should have more business than she can handle.

      1. Kevin

        Hello ambrit – good question;

        We did not do Return Receipt – that, in hindsight would have helped. At least we would have known they got it. But, would they have opened it and acknowledged receipt of the proper paperwork and renew her license? probably not until “mail opening season”..must be like Christmas then.

        1. ambrit

          Yes to your surmise about “Mail Opening Day.” All the Return Receipt does is show you that the mail was accepted by the addressee. That, in and of itself, is often sufficient proof to settle disputes concerning payments and attempts at payment.
          Good luck!

      2. JTMcPhee

        A big and worsening problem with her kind of work, I would guess, is getting compensated enough (in dollars, not “spiritual and job satisfaction”) to live on… As is the case with so much of all the caring profession, doctors, nurses, techs, and aides. And the people (including illegal immigrants) who try to keep up with cleaning hospitals for pathogen control “to the metrics,” to let the credentialed managers say they have satisfied AHCA and related bureaucracies’ “standards.” Even though nosocomial infections are bad and getting worse, as profligate and inappropriate antibiotic use, and Mother Nature’s constant work-arounds lead to “superbugs” (how many of us are trained by a lifetime of advertising to sort of think anything “super” is a GOOD thing?)

        1. ambrit

          Payment is a neverending hassle when one is ‘self employed.’ When I did side work in my field, I got to be a pretty good judge of ‘character.’ I could eventually figure out who was going to stiff me and who would play the delaying game. Any small business owner could probably show you a list, I had one, of people who were ‘cash only’ customers. I’d tell them, “No cash, no work.” Most of those customers would go off in a huff and look around for another sucker to victimize. A few did call back a year later and try to see if I had forgotten how crass they were.
          When he had a business, my Dad would adopt the practice of a famous Parisian art dealer. If someone took a bid and ‘shopped’ it around, and subsequently returned, the bid would be raised. (He would always put a time limit on his bids. Shopping a bid is the practice of taking a bid for a job and showing it to competitors and demanding that they undercut the bid. If one competitor would so do, then the ‘shopper’ would often return and try to play the same trick on the original bidder. It was at that point that Dad raised his bid.)
          If it was just someone shopping around to compare prices, things were okay.

    2. crittermom

      I suppose all you can do now is try to look at the bright side:
      You just supported the USPS three times over, before it’s privatized, if our current ‘leaders’ have their way.

      Yes, that ‘mail opening day’ sounds ridiculous. Three mths of ‘red tape’ (awaiting ‘opening day’), before actually opening it to process the applications & renewals to go thru more red tape to approve ’em?

    3. Arthur Dent

      Illinois relies on snail mail?

      I am a licensed Professional Engineer in multiple states. Other than the original application, not one requires or wants paperwork. It is all done over the internet although there is the option to do it by mail. Basically, they randomly ask people to send documentation in you get selected for a Continuing Ed audit, but that is about it. If they want paper, I have learned to send it by trackable mail or courier.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Facebook Patent Imagines Triggering Your Phone’s Mic When a Hidden Signal Plays on TV”

    The CIA and the NSA were going to sue Facebook for patent infringement but did not want to go through public trial disclosure proceedings.

  11. David

    John Lanchester’s excellent piece should be read in conjunction with another long but fascinating story by a LIBOR insider in today’s Guardian. What they have in common is a recognition that, in a society where personal trust has been replaced by the exploitation of rules and technicalities, fraud and financial disaster are effectively inevitable.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I just had time to skim that article, but it seems very meaty – I loved his book on the crash, he is always worth a read. I do find it amazing just how much the world has changed in the last 10 years. The only thing that seems to stay the same are economists theories and models.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, David and PK.

        I worked at the trade body responsible for over 4 years and the period in question, sitting next to the team involved. I worked on prudential and financial stability matters.

        There’s an interesting trial in NYC next year, involving traders from my current employer.

    2. boz

      Yes, a great read. I like what I have read of John Lanchester’s. As to quotable quotes:

      Germany is more likely to introduce compulsory public nudity than it is to let Deutsche Bank fail.

      Sprang to mind – a pithy summary of why we still have major problems.

      Could a hard Brexit which throws the $38b worth of OTC derivatives up in the air cause a confidence crisis among globally significant institutions (“G-SIB”) and thus replay 2008?

  12. PlutoniumKun

    The Recycling Game Is Rigged Against You Bloomberg. See the underlying paper: The Chinese import ban and its impact on global plastic waste trade.

    This is a difficult and (inevitably) depressing topic. And yes, the simple answer to the problem is our old friend neoliberalism.

    I worked in the 1990’s for a consultency which did a lot of work on recycling and composting. There was general optimism at the time that societies were slowly but steadily making our way to ‘closing the loop’ to some degree. A key element of course was separation at source of as many products as possible. A lot of money and effort went into recycling on the basis of a belief that raw materials prices were likely to go up over time, especially due to Asia demand, and that technology would allow better separation and processing. But this proved very difficult – even with something apparently straightforward like plastics, at the time most containers were PE or PVC, and both could not be sensibly recycled together. I recall that BP put a lot of money into a plastics cracking plant – the idea being that you could break down mixed plastics into the base chemicals – but for reasons I don’t know it was a technological failure.

    I’m not sure when it happened, but at some stage a concensus came about that people couldn’t be trusted to separate, so it was better to go for the 2 or 3 bin option (i.e. waste, mixed recycling, and maybe composting). Partly this was based on an overoptimistic belief that mechanical sorters could do adequate separation, and partly it was driven by the deregulation process. In particular, in Europe, there was a disastrous push to privatise and deregulate waste collection, which was completely at odds with previous Directives on waste reduction and recycling. The new private collection companies were only interested in simplifying the process. There was no incentive whatever for ‘at source’ separation.

    A parallel issue was that while there were some improvements in separation technologies, this was more than counterbalanced by a huge increase in the range and complexity of consumer containers. Where once you had paper, metal, cardboard, PE and PVC, now you had a huge range of different mixes and products, all almost impossible to separate at source or to process. This could have been avoided by regulation, but the industry won that battle.

    Another wild card was that raw materials prices didn’t keep going up – in fact, for some products, such as raw plastics, they went down. This alone drove many recyclers into bankrupcy, expecially in the immediate post-crash period.

    So the collection of mixed recyclables became a sort of fig leaf, where everyone could claim to be doing their green bit. But since nobody was really making any money from selling on the products, quality control collapsed. There are set levels of ‘acceptable’ contamination for bailed products, such as recycled paper or PE. But the Chinese have become increasingly disenchanted with the quality of material they recieve, so they just aren’t investing any more – most of the material they get probably gets burned as fuel. Hence their decision to stop accepting it.

    Another parallel process has been the growth in incineration. Incineration makes little financial sense for waste, except of course in a world where operators can lock local governments into very long term supply contracts, which is exactly what they do. Incinerators require a specific calorific level of waste to operate, and this means they want paper and plastic. So there is even less incentive to recycle.

    The only way this can be changed in my opinion is to start at the ‘other end’. Only regulations strictly controlling the design and materials of all packaging, with clear labelling, will allow recycling to be practical both technically and economically. But I’ve seen no evidence of will in any of the major countries to do this.

    1. grayslady

      Another wild card was that raw materials prices didn’t keep going up – in fact, for some products, such as raw plastics, they went down. This alone drove many recyclers into bankrupcy, expecially in the immediate post-crash period.

      Back in the 1980s, the company I worked for used to bale excess corrugate and chipboard to sell to a paper recycler. We didn’t receive much money, but it wasn’t much trouble and saved us some money on garbage collection costs. When the price of recycled paper crashed in the late 1980s, the recycler went out of business.

      At the same time, the community I lived in back then began recycling. (I should mention that the community had its own garbage collection–no private contractors.) An investment was made in a special compartmentalized truck: one area for aluminum, one area for glass, and one area for paper. Residents were provided with red plastic open storage bins about 2’x2’x3′, and all glass had to be cleaned out before being placed in the container. Paper needed to be separated (a paper grocery bag happened to fit neatly into the container, so it was easy to toss newspaper or whatever into the grocery bag). The garbage men typically took about five minutes per stop to segregate all three recyclables. The first pickup took three days instead of one day. The city had grossly underestimated the popularity of the program. Everyone wanted to do their part. To this day, I always thoroughly wash out any item put into my recycling basket, since it’s not a big deal.

      I agree that packaging materials need to be regulated, and I believe in federal price supports for recycling companies. If we can support agricultural products, we can support recycling, in my opinion. I also agree that it needs to be much easier to determine when looking at a package whether it can be recycled. Many manufacturers put no information on the container as to whether or not it can be recycled, and, on others, it is extremely difficult to read the number inside the triangle to determine if the plastic is one that is accepted for recycling by the community in which you live.

      Thanks for the insights into recycling in your comment.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Plastics recycling and plastics disposal seem like matters for some thoughtful legislation by our governments, something I think has become a very scarce resource. I appreciate the Bloomberg’s link to the Science Magazine article and the many sources that article points to, but I am troubled by the conclusion reached — a conclusion hardly remarkable given a certain bias against any government regulation constraining business practices: “And even if we all figure out whether our municipalities accept yogurt containers, plastic waste will still pollute the environment. Compliance won’t be a cure until innovations from the lab set us up for success.” Sounds a little like the faith and reliance that “innovations from the lab” will solve problems related to Climate Disruption and Peak Oil.

      Assuming the government might be able to craft some thoughtful legislation — does plastics recycling even make sense? What have the Chinese been doing with the stuff? I have a hard time visualizing small armies of poorly paid Chinese coolies wearing surgical masks, coveralls, and cotton work gloves sorting through mountains of plastics and clever Chinese recycling methods somehow finding a way to reuse the sorted plastics. If the Chinese can recycle plastic if it is sorted ‘nicely’ why can’t their methods be moved to a country with cheaper labor or transported here where the user becomes the coolie labor? We might ask the officials of Mumbai for help crafting penalty ordinances for people who fail in their sorting tasks or cheat by putting plastics into the trash.

      Or maybe ground up or crushed down plastic is more effectively disposed of as a fairly permanent carbon sink — not efficient as a carbon sink and possibly a problem as a constituent of soil [Have any studies been done?] but a better option than shipping plastic wastes all over the world where they are reportedly recycled, possibly burned, and possibly ground up and crushed and buried, or simply spread out and covered with more of the same. Consider all the heavy oil we frack and crack to get some gasoline, diesel and airplane fuel, and all the extra stuff left over. I guess we can burn some of this stuff in our furnaces for winter heat and dump some of this stuff on our highways along with some gravel, but is there anything left after that? I believe [don’t know] there is a cracking byproduct currently used to make plastics, although I’m not sure in what proportion. What would become of that product if plastics were banned and the petroleum industry allowed to figure out their own solution for disposing of the waste?

    3. ewmayer

      I’ve made a conscious effort in recent years to improve my ‘recyclability’ by eschewing stuff in plastic containers (such as pasta sauce) in favor of canned. The cans are also handy in that one can nest the empties of different diameters, and/or put a glass bottle needing recycling inside an empty can to compactify the bundle one has to lug to the recycling bin.

      As others have noted, the specific problem of grease-stained paper products can be addressed by using the stuff as firestarter for one’s fireplace or bbq.

      And of course avoud excess packaging to begin with, whenever possible.

  13. Summer

    Re: Facebook patent. “broadcast content view analysis based on ambient audio recording.”

    An analysis based on eavesdropping. Why have a hidden signal trigger the mic?
    Fall for that and you’ll have hidden signals triggering who knows what.

    Again, all these people talking about govt control are incorrect. Out of control, authoritatian corporatism is already here (not dystopian fiction) with the face govt and only the veneer of governing.

  14. Watt4Bob

    Thanks for the Venezuela link, the near absolute control of the story is something I’ve been wondering about.

    1. Jim Haygood

      The analysis in the FAIR article extends only through 2014. In the four years since then, Venezuela’s currency slide has accelerated, as has poverty-induced expatriation. Venezuela stopped publishing inflation statistics in 2015.

      Venezuela gets singled out because its hyperinflation is unique in the world. Economic histories still discuss Germany’s Weimar inflation, but another Weimar is happening now in Venezuela. This is monetary disorder on a pathological scale.

      From a Vice article:

      Venezuela’s government has blocked access to the anonymous Tor network — a move condemned as a “flagrant violation of human rights” that mirrors the repressive online censorship of China and Iran.

      Citizens used Tor to access this otherwise blocked content. But as of last week, the government in Caracas found a way of killing this route too, stripping access to the site from the country’s leading internet service provider, CANTV, which is state-owned.

      Is this biased reporting, or merely inconveniently factual? Would we in the rich West tolerate a state-owned, dominant ISP censoring content and access to anonymizing tools?

      1. Alejandro

        Predictably and on cue, “journalism” of omission, e.g., sanctions, black budget interloping, “democracy being killed in darkness” etc….

        In comparison there seems to be a blind spot about Colombia, e.g., [NA]TO encroachment far from the [N]orth [A]tlantic. Defying the spirit of a Good Neighbor and seemingly confusing the spirit of Monroe (US “backyard”) .
        AND….From a recent WC link :
        ” Washington money effectively subsidized the narco-right’s enormous land grab. According to the US government’s own figures, “in rural areas, less than 1% of the population owns more than half Colombia’s best land.” “Torture, massacres, ‘disappearances,’ and killing of non-combatants” became routinized, with trade unionists, peasants, and Afro-Colombians the main victims…

        >” Would we in the rich West tolerate a state-owned, dominant ISP censoring content and access to anonymizing tools?”

        It takes a heavy dose of dogmatic self-delusion to even ask this question…In addition to the daily links section under, ” Big Brother is Watching You Watch”, there’s this:

        1. Watt4Bob

          Predictably and on cue…


          All efforts of our southern neighbors to slip the leash of our empire are met with a simultaneous embargo on truthful reporting, and endless support for every sort of ‘opposition‘, up to and including death squads.

          Here in the Homeland we get saturated with propaganda.

          Rinse and repeat.

        2. Jim Haygood

          Chomsky (of whom I’m a fan) is talking about the mass media — not the same as ISP censorship, which is rare to nonexistent in the US.

          Venezuela’s monetary shambles has reached such a pitch that Bloomberg created a Cafe Con Leche index to document Maduro’s annihilation of the working class:

          Five million Venezuelan bolivars is the equivalent of $1.45. It’s also roughly a minimum-wage worker’s entire monthly salary in the South American country.

          Thanks to stunning inflation, it now takes 1 million bolivars to buy a cup of coffee in a Venezuelan cafe, Bloomberg reports. That’s one-fifth of Venezuela’s monthly minimum wage, and 10,000-bill stack of Venezuela’s most common bank note, the 100-bolivar bill.

          To illustrate Venezuela’s rampant inflation, Bloomberg has tracked the price of a cup of coffee since December 2016 on its Cafe Con Leche index. One dose of caffeine cost 450 bolivars when the index launched two years ago, but 43,378 percent inflation in the last year has led to today’s astronomical price.


          Nothing makes people angrier than runaway inflation. Iranians are protesting in the streets against harsh price increases caused by the rial’s devaluation, which was indeed provoked by US sanctions. Venezuela’s monetary misery, by contrast, is self-imposed.

          1. Alejandro

            If you’ve actually read it, you may have noticed that “manufacturing consent” was published in 1988(context). Way before ISP’s and the ‘internet’, as we know it. Much of the corporate media has been migrating to the internet since, and the filters that Chomsky and Herman identified, have certainly been migrating with them. Have you been following the “net neutrality” saga?

            It seems you mostly judge Venezuela through filter #5, through its neoliberal “free” market ideology variation. To paraphrase D. Rumsfeld—given the “known-knowns, the known-unknowns and unknown-unknowns”, it’s self-deluded to claim that ” Venezuela’s..misery…is self-imposed.”

            Is the ” Cafe Con Leche”, Colombian coffee?

            1. Gorgeous Borges

              @Alejandro– Haygood is quoting Bloomberg. I shudder to use the term elitism, but there you go!

          2. Gorges Borges

            Self imposed? Venezuela is operating under sanctions, imposed after years of covert monkey wrenching in their internal affairs ceased to accomplish the Yankee objective of destroying that country.

            The Chavez regime was the threat of a good example that could not be tolerated.

            Prepare for the backlash of Democratic Socialism in your own country, Comrade Haygood. It’s coming.

          3. Gorgeous Borges

            Self imposed? Venezuela is operating under sanctions, imposed after years of covert monkey wrenching in their internal affairs ceased to accomplish the Yankee objective of destroying that country.

            The Chavez regime was the threat of a good example that could not be tolerated.

            Prepare for the backlash of Democratic Socialism in your own country, Comrade Haygood. It’s coming.

      2. JTMcPhee

        To answer your last question, looks like we already do, for all intents and purposes. Which is why everyone, including posters here, lay down the same talking points and narrative, when any attention at all is paid to the “story.” Repetition is the soul of propaganda, after all, and silencing the real situation is the heart of it.

        And the beat goes on… “CIA chief hints agency is working to change Venezuelan government

        The US has a long and bloody history of meddling in Latin America’s affairs

        But nooo, it’s all about that evil socialista government, right? And is comparing the VZ situation to the public image of Weimar Wheelbarrows either apposite or accurate? Here’s a German view of the Weimar experience, for anyone wanting to dig a little deeper than the hair-on-fire rhetoric: . It’s worth noting the effect of external influences (post-WW I reparations, a really bad idea, and “French intransigiences,” but of course the slamming will continue until the Empire makes the latino mopes all say “Uncle, and here, take all our stuff.”

      3. Lorenzo


        you do tolerate ‘flagrant violations of human rights’ in the rich West. You carry them out against others, you carry them out against yourselves. There’s examples of this in the links section of this site every single day. The economic situation in Venezuela is for many dire indeed. The government has sharply repressive tendencies. I could have said something similar about Bulgaria, Bolivia, South Africa, I could go on. It’s not the biased reporting, is the singling out to score ideological points. Chavez openly defied the US and some of its deep flaws, that has moved some in the US to feel they should make it look as bad as possible, so as to make such claims invalid.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Venezuela’s monetary Weimar is unique on the planet, and is singled out for that reason. Venezuela’s mass expatriation is not unique — Syrians fled war, while Venezeulans are fleeing economic disaster — but it is equally unprecedented in South America.

          News articles, such as one today about the one-million-bolivar price of a cup of coffee (one-fifth of the monthly minimum wage) will provide a rich trove of anecdotal content for economic historians studying extreme monetary pathology.

          1. JTMcPhee

            And hopefully those future scholars will also study the history of the situation, and remark on all the external as well as internal forces that contributed so substantially to it. Keep beating the monetary drum, though. We would not want such a thing to happen in our own, our native land. Where people adept in playing in the Casino can do so well, financially, and because they are “successful,” others will lend their ears… to even your Dr. Hussman.

            1. georgieboy

              “And hopefully those future scholars will also study the history of the situation, and remark on all the external as well as internal forces that contributed so substantially to it. ”

              Just curious, to what external forces do you refer?

              Seems odd if one is fingering dark external forces when the implosion is happening in the light of day. When a guy shoots off a foot, or worse, the cops call it a selfie.

                1. georgieboy

                  And the impact of USAID versus the self-destruction of the economy by the government? USAID did not shut down the oil revenues. Venezuela runs on an extraction economy and those typically stink for most citizens. But somehow, not everywhere. Is the difference USAID — or perhaps much more deeply rooted?

                  Your link, by the way, references USAID vs the Cuban government. Sorry if this fact disturbs, but for 60 years the Cuban government holds its own citizens as prisoners. And the Cubans thugs guarding Maduro? Are they somehow miraculously sainted emissaries of the Cuban dictatorship?

                  The Venezuelan mess is a Chavez-inspired Maduro-selfie, like Communism has been the biggest killer and prison warden on the planet.

          2. ewmayer

            “Venezuela’s monetary Weimar is unique on the planet”

            Your invocation of Weimar is apt, but not for the ‘crazy money-printers’ reason you think. So let’s go back to the Weimar era – was that just those free-ride-loving, corrupt and unproductive German moneyprinters doing their usual thing, or were there external factors like, say, being saddled with a brutal regime of practically unpayable war reparations, in play?

            1. Grebo

              The recipe for hyperinflation is:

              1) large foreign denominated debts
              2) a drastic reduction in productive capacity
              3) print local money to try to pay the debts

              In Weimar 2 was due to the occupation of the Rhineland by France in 1923 when Germany was already struggling to pay.
              In Zimbabwe 2 was due to the forcible transfer of productive farms to townie cronies.
              In Venezuela 2 is due to a campaign by their capitalists to underproduce, US sanctions and (I suspect) US inspired sabotage of their oil industry. I don’t know when or why they ran up $60-140 billion in foreign debt.

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            We have written repeatedly that hyperinflation requires very specific circumstances, and one of them is a huge loss of productive capacity. Money printing alone, contrary to your misrepresentation, will never create it.

          4. bones

            Venezuela’s monetary Weimar is unique on the planet

            But, Jim, the media bias on Venezuela began long before the inflation was a problem. It was occurring when Venezuela made huge strides against poverty, illiteracy, etc. No reasonable person takes issue with the fact that there are economic problems in Venezuela. It is the complete lack of balance in the coverage.

  15. PlutoniumKun

    How Merkel broke the EU Politico.

    I wonder if this is the beginning of a serious reassessment of Chancellor Merkel. Even here in Ireland, victims of what was unquestionably a German organised mugging after the crash, she is often viewed with admiration and a sort of wierd affection. She does certainly have admirable qualities, but so many of her successes seem to have been down to a policy of not doing anything until she absolutely had to. But her really big decisions have nearly all been short term successes (on her terms) but long term disasters for Europe.

    Her rigid approach to the Eurozone might have made domestic political sense, but her failure to prevent any sort of dialogue on reform has made what looks an inevitable crunch at some time in the future inevitable. And her decision on migration might have been admirable in a humanitarian sense when she made it, but it was all too obvious that it was going to create long term chaos. I find that particular decision particularly perplexing, as a gesture like that seems so much out of character for it – was she perhaps influenced by German businesses desperate for cheap labour?

    I wonder if future historians will see her as being like a football manager who inherited a very strong squad and a good bit of luck, and so rode the success until things got rough and then got horribly exposed (no prizes for guessing which World Cup coach I’m thinking of). I suspect she will leave office just in time for the very hard times that will most likely arise from her failure to get to grips with the problems of Europe.

    1. larry

      PK, I have seen people who know about the history of Germany say that Merkel’s initial immigration decision was influenced by her having lived in East Germany and subsequently experiencing the wall coming down.

    2. larry

      No prize? Ahhh. :-( :-D

      I watched at least large parts of both G games. Winning in the last 5 seconds was a little surprising, given the level of play that preceded it, although their opponents made an unfortunate error and gave their great striker his chance, which he took.

      The SK goal against G where the goalie was nowhere near the net I have seen before but not in a WC match. What awful play. Not unlike the Tories re Brexit.

      1. rd

        Germany had to play for the win. A draw meant they went home anyway. So they pushed the goalie up to midfield to compress the field and allow a fullback to move up into an attacking midfield position. This is similar to pulling the goalie in hockey for an additional forward in the last minute when you are down by a goal.

        So I can’t fault Germany’s strategy in the last 5 minutes…..just the rest of the tournament.

    3. Lee

      And her decision on migration might have been admirable in a humanitarian sense

      It’s pretty easy to be a humanitarian when the costs are borne by others.

      1. andrea casalotti

        Very easy to criticise. What would you have done?
        The refugees were mostly from Syria fleeing a war orchestrated by the Anglos.
        We should all respect Merkel’s action and be inspired by her.
        The only thing wrong she did was not sending the bill to the bastards in Washington, London and Paris.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I think that a major part of accepting those refugees from Syria was to drain Syria of manpower needed to fight the Jihadists. A lot of those refugees were military age men remember.

    4. TheMog

      This re-assessment doesn’t come to me as much of a surprise. In my not so very humble opinion (I grew up in Germany, but then moved to the UK and subsequently to the US), both Merkel and her mentor Helmut Kohl are amongst the best arguments for introducing term limits in Germany.

      Having grown up during the chancellorship of Helmut Kohl – whose biggest legacy was essentially handed to him on a platter – I see a very similar approach of hers to politics, right down to Kohl’s approach to handling any crisis (“aussitzen”, literally sitting it out and ignoring it until it goes away, one way or the other). From the outside looking in, I see the same kind of political and societal stagnation I experienced towards the end of Kohl’s chancellorship and in both cases, it ended up given space to a increasingly popular right wing parties (Republikaner back then, now it’s AfD & friends).

      Like Kohl, she also likes grand gestures (especially if she doesn’t have to pay for them). One of my relatives is on the town council of a very small town in Northern Germany – something like 8000 inhabitants, but with an old unused military base/military housing complex next to the town. They had a whole bunch of refugees shipped to them (I can’t remember the exact number, but IIRC the ballpark was 100-300) and had to figure out how to support them because “someone” forgot to send over some money to pay for feeding and clothing them. From what I can tell they did a pretty good job as a town coming together, welcoming and taking care of the refugees and are rightly proud of the work they did. They did it with an already strained town budget, mostly by almost everybody in town coming together and helping where they could. That did create a bunch of resentment towards the government, and unsurprisingly the next elections did have fewer votes for mainstream parties.

      And that’s before we get to things like her well known Russophobia (yes, I get it – she grew up in East Germany) that didn’t do much good to the blossoming relationships that the previous governments (Schröder) had managed to build. I’m not a big fan of Schröder either (fancied himself as a German Tony Blair/Bill Clinton a little too much), but as a kid of the cold war how got stuck in a bunker 30m underground during his military service when Gorbachev came to Germany during his first state visit, I kinda appreciated the improved relations.

    5. VietnamVet

      Angela Merkel is the last of centrist Western leaders who sold out Western citizens so the they and their peers could prosper and the little people could suffer austerity. Cameron, Holland and Obama are the epitome of mob boss consiglieres. They act like they are clean but are responsible for the wars and exploitation of the poor that forced millions to leave their homes. Besides supporting the free movement of people, abruptly strengthening of borders would force them to admit their responsibility for the increasing chaos. Likewise, Corporate Democrats will never acknowledge that their loss of the majority is due to relying on donors’ billions and no longer being the party of the people.

  16. The Rev Kev

    Too late to suggest for links, have just learnt that William McBride just passed away. For those who do not recognize the name, he was the doctor who blew the whistle on the connection between Thalidomide and babies with physical abnormalities. His warning prevented the same happening to thousands or perhaps tens of thousands more babies. RIP.

    1. Wukchumni

      I was the exact right age to have gone to school with 2 Thalidomide kids in the late 60’s, they both had one ‘flipper arm’ and I wonder what became of them?

      1. crittermom

        I was fortunate that my mother refused to take the med prescribed when pregnant with me, but it couldn’t have been Thalidomide because that wasn’t developed until the late 50’s & I was born in ’51.
        Not sure what the drug was (it was prescribed because she had suffered a dozen miscarriages before my birth), but it had the same effect, with such deformities.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        My doctor was a thalidomide kid, he’s an excellent doc, has an outstanding reputation among his peers and patients – he mostly works with the most deprived people (he regularly jokes that I’m his only patient who pays for my visits) and he has represented his country in the paraolympics at sailing.

    2. Dandelion

      We’re going to have, in the next decade or so, a similar scandal regarding Lupron and children. Already reports are coming out that girls prescribed this for precocious puberty, taking it only for six months as pre-teens, are experiencing catastrophic bone loss in their twenties. Children are now being prescribed Lupron and analogs as puberty blockers to be taken for years, and despite assurances that they are fully reversible, clinicians are reporting that is not the case, and children are therefore sterilized.

      If I could buy futures in medical malpractice, I would.

      1. ambrit

        Bloody H—! This Lupron looks like it will be deployed for the purposes of eugenics. Those sick puppies who want to ‘perfect’ the species never stop.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Sure he did. So what? Personally I would not care if her served his internship under Dr Josef Mengele. There are thousands of people that are walking around without horrible deformities like flipper arms because of his work. That is what is really important. It’s know as having a sense of perspective.

      2. wilroncanada

        re thalidomide
        The US was saved from the predations of thalidomide by the efforts of a US researcher, born in Canada, named Frances Kelsey. She was born and brought up in Victoria, undergrad degree in pharmacology at U of Victoria and Masters at McGill, in Montreal. While at the U of Chicago, she declared dual citizenship in order to continue to practice medicine ( having earned an MD in addition to her PhD in pharmacology. In 1960 she was one of only seven people reviewing drug patent attempts. She refused thalidomide, even though it was approved in Canada. Canadians are still paying for this, despite successive governments attempts to curtail compensatory benefits for many now near or at retirement age, or unable to work.
        Her family remained in Victoria, where she frequently visited until her death. A high school just north of Victoria is named in her honour.

  17. Ford Prefect

    Re: Supreme Court

    It will take some time for the bottom 80% to realize they are on the table instead of at the table. Neither the mainstream Republican or Democratic party has focused on addressing many of the primary challenges and have made them worse over the past 25 years.

    This op-ed in the WSJ on Monday is a classic example of the strategy being used to get the bottom 60% – 80% to fight among themselves instead of figuring out how to get real democratic power.

    The “conservative” shift on the Supreme Court actually appears to be the most activist, non-“original intent” court in many decades with decisions like citizens United bestowing rights on corporations, an artificial government-created entity, that are barely even mentioned in the Constitution and certainly not the Bill of Rights.

    1. Louis Fyne

      -a classic example of the strategy being used to get the bottom 60% – 80% to fight among themselves instead of figuring out how to get real democratic power. –

      you mean like advocating open borders? just being honest that the US has a multi-ethnic, multi-racial near-permanent underclass.

      1. Ford Prefect

        “Open borders”? – I haven’t heard anybody advocating for open borders other than business owners bemoaning the lack of H1B and H2B visas and farmers looking for migrant workers.

        A primary reason that there are so many illegal immigrants in the country is because business owners hire them.

    2. Carolinian

      Perhaps the left should concentrate more on Bronx style victories and stop hoping the Supreme Court will somehow save their cause. For most of its existence the SC has been a force for conservatism with the Warren court of the sixties being the exception, not the rule. Conservatives of that time may have had a slight point in claiming that the liberals were using the referees to win what they could’t on the playing field.

      1. Lee

        Getting activism out of the shadowy, etiolating halls of justice and back in the streets, fields, shops and offices where it belongs. Good times ahead.

      2. JohnnyGL

        Yeah, more listening to Stoller and Zach Carter style ideas for neutering the Court and less NYT and WaPoo-style moaning about ‘norms’ and pining for ‘bipartisnaship’ and wishing republicans would be reasonable and compromise.

        Perhaps this is why libruls (yes, I’m using the fun derogatory term) are so allergic to MMT. Balanced budgets appeal to their love of compromise, nuanced tinkering. Moderation is baked in and broad-based, universal programs become nearly impossible because of the cost/benefit trade off to special interests involved.

        MMT is an unsubtle, blunt instrument of reality. So is direct confrontation with the Supreme Court.

        1. TSD

          I must be having a brain fart, but maybe one out ten times MMT is mentioned someone could actually let me know what the acronym stands for. Obviously something to do with budget financing….

            1. Grebo

              I was going to lament the pathetic state of the Wikipedia page for MMT but I just checked and it has improved enormously. Well done to those responsible!

      3. JTMcPhee

        The Left talks about power, even the “progressives.” Open to question if the will to power (a sine qua non for anyone who would want to run things) is, or can be, strong enough in people who might resonate to the frequencies of decency and comity and actual sustainability. Especially when they actually start having some power to wield, and the wealth that ineluctably comes along with that.

        On that bit about trying to use the Supremes to create Left power, some may recall the “snail darter case,” which pitted the massive infrastructure machinery of the Tennessee Valley Authority against a bit of language (since deleted) in the Endangered Species Act — itself an endangered species under all the administrations since tree-huggers got it enacted.

        The “winning strategy” in the attempt to stop the Tellico Dam, already 80% completed, and its massive impacts on existing economic and ecological conditions, was based on the biologists discovering a little 3 inch fish species that supposedly could only live in a very particular habitat that the dam impoundment would drown. The dam opponents could have done a much better job by concentrating on the fight about the negative net effects of the dam. But some East Coast enviro attorneys thought they had a knockout punch. Gets down to power and interests and political economy. As everything seems to.

        What kind of political economy do “we” want, and do “we” want it enough to do what’s needed to force the necessary changes to happen? Involves millions of people “doing the right thing,” but I don’t hear a concurrent definition of what “the Right Thing” is…

  18. bassmule

    Yes, many items made from plastic are either non-recyclable or require special handling. But most plastic items (rigid and flexible packaging, for the most part) are burnable. Properly operated, waste-to-energy plants are logical destinations for such resins as the various flavors of polyethylene (low, medium, and high density), polystyrene, PVC, and polypropylene. I haven’t looked at this in a long time, but decades ago, most U.S. waste-to-energy facilities were pretty bad: They didn’t sort waste–everything, including non-combustibles, went into the furnaces. I remember attending a conference on the topic, and the European attendees nearly fell out of their seats as their American counterparts droned on about putting ALL waste in their furnaces.

    On the other hand, there are all these super-polymers, like good ol’ poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide (Kevlar) that will be floating, intact, through the universe long after the death of the Sun…

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Even the waste to energy industry acknowledges (reluctantly) that the energy saved from recycling plastic and paper is greater than the net energy generated by burning it. There is also the problem that incinerators act as competition for recycling as it gives the waste a ‘value’ for energy – this is a crucial consideration for waste businesses considering investing in recycling facilities. While they argue that only ‘residual’ waste is burned, in reality most waste to energy facilities need waste of quite a high calorific value, meaning the waste that has high value for recycling and composting.

      There are alternatives – for example anaerobic digestion allows for energy to be generated by gas, while also producing a low grade compost, from which plastics, etc., can be filtered out. A lot depends on local circumstances and markets. You can also of course generate energy from landfill, by tapping the methane produced. There are numerous variations. But mass burn (i.e. burning unsorted waste) rarely measures up well in life cycle analysis compared to recycling and composting.

      1. rd

        Our county has robust recycling and a waste-to-energy incinerator. So our family puts things that are clearly recyclable into the recycling bin. From what I see walking around the block on garbage day, other households do the same. The rest gets put into the trash and gets burned.

  19. Louis Fyne

    I’m not pointing this out in a mean way…Ruth Ginsburg is 85. if it’s 2009 and your side has control of the Senate and white house, 76 would have been a nice age to retire.

    just being honest. shaking my head

    1. Sutter Cane

      I agree, and I think history will judge her harshly for not retiring when she could have, as she now faces having her judicial legacy completely undone. It’s not ageism or sexism, but just reality – we all gotta go sometime, and some humility and acceptanceof that fact would have helped.

      I also think her failure to retire is a reflection of the hubris and grasping nature of our political elites. She’s risen to the top of her profession and had a storied career. Like the Clintons, what does it take to make these people decide to exit stage left and give anyone else a chance???

    2. Massinissa

      They were all counting on Hillary being annointed for 8 more years. How were they supposed to know Trump and Russia would conspire against American interests and rig the election? /s

    3. rd

      Her husband died in 2010. Other than him, she has generally lived for the law. It is likely that his death made her less likely to retire until she believes she can’t do the job anymore.

  20. nechaev

    the mondoweiss take on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory
    very good news indeed

    Here is Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet from the May 14 massacre on the Gaza border, when Israel killed 62 Palestinian protesters even as the U.S. moved the embassy:

    This is a massacre. I hope my peers have the moral courage to call it such. No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else. Democrats can’t be silent about this anymore Asked later why she chose to post the tweet, Ocasio-Cortez compared the Gaza protesters to civil rights activists in the United States….
    “I think I was primarily compelled on moral grounds because I could only imagine if 60 people were shot and killed in Ferguson. Or if 60 people were shot and killed in the West Virginia teachers’ strikes. The idea that we are not supposed to talk about people dying when they are engaging in political expression just really moved me,” she said.

    She told interviewer Glenn Greenwald that the “silence” around the Palestinian cause “has been a little interesting to me,” adding that her Puerto Rican roots her to relate to the Palestinian protesters.
    “Puerto Rico is a colony that is granted no rights, that has no civic representation,” she said. “If 60 of us were shot in protest of the U.S. negligence in FEMA I couldn’t imagine if there were silence on that.”
    Increasingly, she said, “People are separating the actions and status of Palestinians from even the greater geopolitics of the area. People are looking at Palestinians through a humanitarian lens.”.

    1. David(1)

      Hasn’t Puerto Rico voted, several times, on statehood?

      From NY Times,

      Ana Velázquez, 50, a hospital secretary, said Puerto Rico’s economic problems were so great that they overshadowed other considerations, such as the language, culture and identity that could be lost if the island became a state.

      “I don’t want to lose my hymn, my coat of arms, my flag. My beauty queen would no longer be ‘Miss Puerto Rico,’” Ms. Velázquez said. “I don’t see myself ever singing the United States national anthem. I really don’t. But Puerto Rico is in really bad shape, and it needs help.”

      So she arrived at the same conclusion as many other Puerto Ricans: She did not vote.

      AOC is going to compare this to Palestine?

  21. Tom Stone

    Mexico, 130 political murders during the campaign in a Country that bans firearms ownership by law abiding citizens.
    Thank goodness that could never happen here…

  22. Scott

    Here’s an article about about Ayanna Pressley challenging Congressman Mike Capuano in Massachusetts.

    Pressley only as superficial similarities with Ocasio-Cortez, having a long career in politics and with few political difference with the man she is challenging. Pressley has started to change her tune after seeing her younger counterpart’s success, but is her change permanent or just to get primary votes (and outside support)?

    “Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and former organizer for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, ran on a Medicare-for-All health insurance system, paid family and sick leave, a federal jobs guarantee, tuition-free public universities, investment in renewable energy, and the abolishment of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, also known as ICE.

    Pressley, who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, has somewhat struggled to differentiate her policy platform from that of Capuano, who is substantially more liberal than Crowley. Particularly on pressing local issues like affordable housing and transportation, the two progressives have appeared to agree, though Pressley has argued she would bring a new “lens” to Washington, D.C.”

    1. ewmayer

      I liked the images of grateful Mexican fans waving Korean flags to thank their new best amigos for pulling off un milagro and rescuing the Mexican team from what would have been a WC exit after its 0-3 humiliation to Sweden. (Note that even a Germany/SK tie would have sufficed … Germany needed to win by a single goal to make it into das Achtelfinal.)

      Like Germany, S. Korea also goes home, but they can do so with heads held high.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      the South Koreans wanted the win more

      The already eliminated South Koreans wanted a moral victory more than the Germans wanted to get through to the next round?

      1. ewmayer

        Based on the way the respective squads played, yes. An article I read about the game in the German Welt online notes the curious fact that hearing about Mexico’s 0-3 debacle-loss to Sweden actually seemed to take what little metaphorical wind there was out of Germany’s sails. Here describing the action partway through the 2nd half:

        Löw reagierte und brachte in Mario Gomez einen klassischen Mittelstürmer für den erneut blass gebliebenen Khedira. Bereits beim glücklichen Sieg über Schweden hatte der Stuttgarter nach seiner Einwechslung für mehr Torgefahr gesorgt und auch am Mittwoch in Kasan war er ein belebendes Element. Kurz danach kam auch noch Thomas Müller für Goretzka. Alles auf Angriff – so lautete nun das Motto. Ein einziges Tor hätte den Deutschen gereicht, um die Mexikaner von Platz zu verdrängen. Die Mittelamerikaner verloren parallel gegen Schweden mit 0:3 (0:0).

        Deutschlands Spieler wussten um das Resultat, es schien sie aber zunächst zu lähmen. Gomez scheiterte mit einem Kopfball an Cho (68.), ansonsten blieb im Spiel vieles Stückwerk. Julian Brandt kam für Jonas Hector, Löws letzte Patrone.

        Doch diesmal blieb das Happy End aus. Es gab kein zweites Schweden, sondern ein Debakel. Hummels scheiterte aussichtsreich mit einem Kopfball, Kroos mit einem Flachschuss.


        Löw reacted and in the person of Mario Gomez brought in a classic middle attacker for the once-again disappointing Khedira. In the fortunate win over Sweden the Stuttgarter had provided more scoring chances after coming in, and on Wednesday in Kazan he was also an enlivening preence. Shortly thereafter Thomas Müller entered the game in place of Goretzka. All-out attack was now the motto. A single goal for the Germans would have sufficed to bump the Mexicans, who in the parallel game lost to Sweden 0:3 (0:0), down into third place.

        The German players knew about the result, but in the near term it seemed to paralyze them. Gomez failed with a header at Cho (68.), and elsewhere the squad’s play seemed full of piecework. Julian Brandt came for Jonas Hector, and Löw’s last bullet was spent.

        But this time there was no happy end. Instead of a second Sweden the result was a debacle. Hummels missed with a promising header, Kroos with a flat shot.

  23. Jim Haygood

    Today the good Dr Hussman has emerged briefly from his bunker … and boy, is he bearish:

    I’m inclined to view the January market high as the bull market peak for this cycle, which would suggest that stocks are already in a bear market.

    Extreme valuations and divergent market internals suggest that investors have shifted toward risk aversion and it opens up a trap door that has historically permitted very steep market losses, as we observed in 2000-2002 and 2007-2009.

    Our estimates of 10-12 year S&P 500 total returns are negative, creating the likelihood of an interim market loss on the order of -65%.

    Tuesday marked five months without a new high in the S&P 500 index. Stocks took pauses like this several times during Bubble III — 2010, 2011, 2015-2016. But as Bubble III becomes elderly, the likelihood increases that a long pause will degenerate into an unseemly stampede for the exit.

    With the Fed’s demented liquidationists dumping bonds at a steady pace, it’s only a matter of time till they successfully jab the pin into Bubble III that makes it go bang.

  24. Jim Haygood

    Ed Yardeni’s fundamental indicator continues tracing out a four-month flatline with today’s fractional rise from last week. Chart:

    Among its three components, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort rose to two-month high. But the four-week average of initial unemployment claims ticked up by a thousand, while industrial raw material prices eased again.

    With a day remaining before the 2nd quarter ends, the New York Fed’s GDP nowcast is at 2.87%. The first official 2Q GDP estimate will be released at the end of July.

  25. Livius Drusus

    I am not sure if it has been posted here yet but Michael Lind has a blistering article on the issue of class war.

    Lind has some very interesting and unconventional ideas about a new working-class movement and he is absolutely brutal on the managerial class.

    NC readers should also read his earlier article on the managerial class.

    Even if you don’t agree with everything he writes I almost always find Lind worth reading.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Lumber futures are small and illiquid. They hit a record high in mid-May, only to be smashed down 14% since then. Chart:

        End of the housing bubble? Beats me. But unlike some gung-ho neighbors, I’m not buying no VBRO rental cabins.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Time to check on that Strategic Petroleum Reserve yet?

      Wasn’t China also working on one?

  26. Mark Gisleson

    I’m stepping away from Twitter for a while because of Kennedy stepping down. Suddenly the friends who supported Hillary (the few I haven’t blocked) are filled with white hot rage at Bernie because Hillary wouldn’t have lost the Supreme Court.

    I’m not good at talking to crazy people, and these folks are in the dangerous stage of working out their issues stemming from immersion in a freaking cult of personality.

    How do we end this? Are we doomed to spend the rest of our lives with Hillary supporters clogging every meeting, melting down everytime we attempt to move forward? More than anything, they remind me of the diehard antiabortion folks who used to make every Democratic party platform committee duty a living hell.

    1. flora

      There was a Dan O’Neill “Odd Bodkins’ comic book in 1971; one cartoon’s storyline went like this:

      Our 2 heroes come upon a gallon sized glass bottle in the road that contains another person stuffed inside it. The bottled-up person is screaming “Get me out of here!”

      Our hereos break the bottle with a hammer, freeing the bottled-up person, who yells, “I’m free! I’m free! ouch! Who left all this broken glass lying around?! ouch! Who put broken glass here?!! (working himself up into another angry tirade.) Did *you* put this glass here?!!!”

      Our 2 heroes look at each other, sigh, and move on down the road.


      I think of that cartoon a lot these days.

      1. flora

        I’ve run into these reactions still – a year and a half after the election – too often to think it isn’t being deliberately stoked for political or financial gain. The still-white-hot-angry peoples’ coping mechanism is, imo, being hijacked by others. I say this not because they aren’t right to be angry that Trump is president, but because their outbursts become extreme, much more so than when W. became president and for much longer (a year and a half), and focus on the anger itself. To me, this has the hallmark of external manipulation of a group of people prone to anger addiction.

        From a 2015 issue of Psychology Today:

        Anger addicts cope with conflict by accusing, attacking, humiliating, or criticizing. Unchecked they can be dangerous and controlling.

        The common dynamic with anger addicts is that they use anger to cope with feeling inadequate, hurt, or threatened, whether the person acts out occasionally or not. Anger is one of the hardest emotions to control due to its evolutionary value of defending against danger. …

        Maddow Wept….

        1. Lambert Strether

          > The still-white-hot-angry peoples’ coping mechanism is, imo, being hijacked by others. I say this not because they aren’t right to be angry that Trump is president, but because their outbursts become extreme, much more so than when W. became president and for much longer (a year and a half), and focus on the anger itself. To me, this has the hallmark of external manipulation of a group of people prone to anger addiction.

          I’m dubious about using the addiction metaphor absent a showing of changes to brain chemistry, but I agree on the “deliberately stoked” part. After Kennedy’s resignation, there was an immediate and massive upsurge of voter shaming, Susan Sarandon blaming, etc. Thing is, it doesn’t take a mastermind to create this; just people in their own mental doom loops…

          1. flora

            I agree. Thanks for walking back the unproven attribution part of my comment. (Can’t get anything past NC’s moderators. ;) )

            1. newcatty

              Just from anecdotal observations and interaction with people showing anger in their personal relationships or in response to events, perhaps anger shown is a defense mechanism due to their feelings of helplessness in being heard or having any power in a situation when being treated unfairly.
              Also, have known narcissistic people who use anger as a way to intimidate or manipulate vulnerable people who they know have a sense of morality, such as kindness or responsibility for others. The intimidater most certainly may be masking their own feelings of inadequacy, or hurt or being threatened. The narcissist though also seems to lack any real empathy for others and always needs to be right.

    2. Carolinian

      I have a friend who thought the last election was all about the Supreme Court. It’s like they find one issue to be concerned about so they don’t have to engage with any others.

    3. Scott

      Do they realize that if Obama had pressed for more progressive policies (larger stimulus, Medicare-for-all, card check, etc.), Democrat losses would have been less severe and they would have been able to replace Scalia and maybe even have a majority to stop Trump’s appointee? They’d have a 5-4 majority now and 5-3 if they kept Kennedy’s seat unfilled, although I doubt they have the guts to keep it open. Hell, if they really wanted to, they might have been able to expand SCOTUS, giving Dems a 7-4 court.

      1. JohnnyGL

        They could have smashed the filibuster any time they wanted. They just didn’t want to do it.

        Just like the fake debt ceiling crisis. Obama could have buried the whole budget cutting drama showdown anytime he wanted, he just preferred to scare the crap out of everyone to get his budget-cutting agenda through and get the Repubs to share blame (they didn’t take the bait).

  27. The Rev Kev

    “India may ignore US demand to halt Iran oil imports”

    Doubtful this. India’s oil ministry has already asked refiners to prepare for a ‘drastic reduction or zero’ imports of Iranian oil from November – the deadline imposed by Trump. They might have replaced it with oil from Venezuela but you know the answer to that. I’m betting Modi will fold like a cheap lawn-deck chair and just accept the consequences for India’s economy.
    In return, Nikki Haley said the United States would work to allow India to use the Indian-backed Chabahar port complex in Iran as a corridor to Afghanistan. The US might even keep this promise as this port would apparently cut Afghanistan’s dependence on neighboring Pakistan. Still, India is a country that Trump has singled out and is threatening because of its high tariffs. They will just have to trust Trump to keep his word.
    The US is also demanding that India not buy Russia’s S-400 long range air defence system. Instead, they are offering to sell India the US Terminal High Altitude Air Defence (THAAD) system. True, it is more expensive, less capable against Chinese aircraft, lacks anti-aircraft capabilities, uses only a single missile type, will not work with the present S-300, Tor and Strela systems that India already employs, has half the range of the S-400 and only an effective altitude range of 40-160km but hey, we’re talking money here, right?

  28. Wukchumni

    We’re up @ our cabin in America’s Switzerland in the National Park, and have been away for a couple of weeks, and was just told that we’ve had a recalcitrant bruin in our community that broke into 8 cabins, including 5 @ the resort here that rents them out daily, with people inside while it was doing it’s thing!, including breaking a window to get into a cabin, which is very unusual behavior. The friend that told me, said said bear showed no fear of humans whatsoever, and sadly it’s behavior caused NPS to tranquilize & dispatch it to the nether regions, as in it’s never going to be an issue again. It’s really strange behavior for a black bear around these parts, I can’t remember the last time a cabin was broken into.

    It’s been an odd animal summer so far here, over Memorial Day weekend, 6-10 cabin owners saw a large mountain lion that strolled by them in the afternoon only 20-30 feet away, unafraid of us, which is not usually the case, and seldom do cougars show themselves in the day, not their style.

    1. crittermom

      Sadly, there was yet another story on the local news last night about 3 deer fawns that are at a wildlife rescue after ‘caring people’ found them ‘abandoned’ at only one day old, in the wild. *moan*
      A set of twins & the other was a separate incident. Why can’t people learn? (no need to answer, really, as stupidity still abounds).

      Perhaps the critters are rebelling?

  29. Enquiring Mind

    The Slate Star Codex article about medicine reminded me of one of my former GPs. He told me that he fired one of his insurers due to their objection to spending more than six minutes (Six Minutes!) per patient. He said that there was no way to practice medicine under such unrealistic conditions. Now I wonder how many other Docs may not have had the latitude to push back against similar policies, and who their patients were. Isn’t neo-liberalism just grand?

    1. hemeantwell

      I’ll point out that the article was written as though the object of psychiatric efforts, the patient, is a really, really malleable object.

      (also, seeing a patient every fifteen minutes is exhausting; one of the advantages of hour-long appointments is that most people don’t need an hour and so you can take the last twenty minutes to write notes or answer messages or work on blog posts)

      The patient hour, usually of 50 minutes, was established to allow patients time to decompress from their regular lives so that they could more fully take advantage of the relaxed constraints available in the therapeutic milieu. Now it might be that over the past few decades there’s been a truly wondrous evolutionary adaptation on the part of patients that allows them to step out of those lives as easily as taking off their jacket. What is more likely is that the theories grounding psychotherapy have adapted to a combo of, at least, financial urgencies and the ever-present push to think of therapy as a rational process that conveniently avoids having to talk about the past. Seeing a patient for 15 minutes is about long enough for a medication review. “You got symptoms, I got medication. Let’s see what combinations work!” Encouraging the patient to believe that in any way represents the gamut of therapeutic options is ,,, mistaken. The writer’s experience of “exhaustion” would be directly proportional to the patient’s experience of trivialization.

  30. Karen

    If you liked the Slate Star Codex article on creating cost-effective medicine (insightful, as always) you’ll find this one by Siderea deeply interesting. She wrote about the economics of providing psychotherapy, but the underlying message is far-reaching and deeply important.

    I recommend reading it on your mobile device; on the computer the purple background is really distracting.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      A long long read, I’ll have to get to later today. Just a quick comment to note there is a link now for selecting black and white for the content — getting rid of the purple background.

    2. BobW

      “Reader view” in Firefox shows it as black print on a white background.
      Excellent article. BTW, I was able to relate to a scheduling problem – the only therapy group session was 5 PM on a weeknight, and the last bus left the area at 6 PM. This meant I had to leave the session early or face a 15 mile walk during my homeless days. Sometimes got a ride, but could not count on it.

  31. Wukchumni

    We took a hike up to White Chief Canyon in Mineral King yesterday, and the floral scheme started out lackluster @ 7,800 feet at the trailhead and by the time we’d got there @ 9,300 feet, it had more the look of a wholesale flower distributor’s open air warehouse, with pink indian paintbrush being the dominant one, but mariposa lilies & loads of purple lupines also playing along nicely, among others.

    Pity about Kennedy leaving and future SC decisions-which will push our country even further to the right, maybe it’s time to just give up and glimpse the wildflowers instead, they’ll never fail you.

    1. JamesG

      Adding: It may not be your building’s f/u attitude. For all you and I know the sorting may be done in China.

    2. Grebo

      An electromagnet under a conveyor belt will fling tin (I presume they mean iron/steel) one way, aluminum the other way, and anything non-conducting will carry on unperturbed.

  32. Expat

    re: American Healthcare
    What do right wing Americans think about this? Do they believe the Time article? Do they have the vaguest clue what Medicare really is? Do they understand costs? Or is it just Cold War, Better Dead than Red ignorance?
    My father is a retired doctor living in a wealthy retirement community in Atlanta. I met with his friends who are all well-educated, wealthy, and alert. Some are even retired doctors themselves. He asked me to speak to them over dinner about European healthcare. I first asked what they thought and believed about “commie euro healthcare” and they said:
    “You have to wait six months to get treatment even if it is urgent”
    “You can’t choose your doctor and can get assigned one tens of miles from your home”
    “It is incredibly expensive and bankrupting Europe”
    “It is terrible and the results are horrible and I hope to God I never get sick when traveling abroad”
    “You pay 25-40% of your income for social taxes to cover all this”

    Since my father asked me to be polite and since they were all over 80, I refrained from slapping them repeatedly. I have lived in the UK and France, received treatment in a few other countries while traveling. Even the UK system is far better than anything in the US. Even prior to becoming a EU citizen, I visited the A+E in London for a broken toe (mae geri gone wrong), saw a charming doctor in her wood-paneled office, and limped out with a smile and ZERO bills. Once, I got a very, very bad sore throat in NYC. ER visit cost $750 for the wrong antibiotics (I refused to pay an additional $500 bill they later sent to me in England which they withdrew when I threatened to sue them).

    Seriously, America. WTF? Can someone please rationally explain why you are killing and bankrupting yourselves while singing the Star Spangled Banner and waving the flag?

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Propaganda. Well to do retirees in the south bathe in it daily. And they have the time to vote and money to donate to whomever scared them most, most recently.

      Also, your parent’s friends have been on Medicare for 10-15 years. They have no idea of what the rest of us face. They don’t converse with their wife’s/husband’s care-givers; when they talk to the help, they talk at them, not with them.

      Been there. In south Louisiana.

      1. Expat

        These beliefs precede their time on Medicare. I think the more important point is that these people were college educated at least; most has masters or doctorates (engineers, lawyers, doctors, etc.).

        I understand mullet-headed Trump supporters living in trailers parks being ignorant. But I don’t understand why there aren’t a few who turn to the Dark Side when they face illness and bankruptcy in the American healthcare system. Do they blame the usual suspects (Jews, blacks, Mexicans, Muslims and Liberals) for losing their pickup, trailer, and guns to the pawn shop in order to pay their hospital bills?

        Are ALL American politicians so deeply in the pockets of the Healthcare industry that none can campaign about this? If so, well then, America is getting what it deserves. Stop electing the same people. Organize grassroots. Tell your friends and neighbors to vote for anyone, absolutely ANYONE, other than someone who has ever been in Congress. Throw them all out. Democrats, Republicans, Independents. They are all bent. This is such a fundamental issue. Trillions of dollars being stolen and distributed to the people you vote for (I say “you” since I can’t vote for Congress).

    2. Sid_finster

      If government healthcare were so terrible, why do we insist on inflicting it upon the members of our armed services, not to mention the Very Flower of Our Great Nation™, by which I mean, of course, our Congressmen?

  33. JamesG

    Lots of people do not understand (and others do understand but pretend not to) that public unions are basically corrupt.

    Franklin Roosevelt and Fiorella LaGuardia understood it and both were opposed to them.

    If a private company CEO negotiates with union leaders the union leaders cannot say “Give us what we want or you may lose your job.”

    If an elected government official negotiates with a public union official the latter emphatically does have the ability to affect that official’s job tenure.

    One solution: government employees cannot vote in any election for the government that employs them.

    Another solution: it’s okay if they vote but they cannot have a union.

    No solution: government and union collude and taxpayers fund exorbitant settlements.

    Perfect example: NYC subway system. You don’t want to know that token seller’s annual income.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I believe, right now, it’s the government in charge of both creating money and spending it.

      That’s a similar situation.

      Imagine one branch of government in charge of creating laws, and also carrying them out.

    2. Matt

      Hierarchy and lack of democracy in the workplace is a feature not a bug!

      Do you ask what the cable company or insurance company’s CEO compensation is when your bill gets hiked? I can bet for sure you don’t want to know their income. Why pick on the token seller?

    3. False Solace

      You’re seriously arguing we should removing voting rights from government employees? Maybe there’s a less extreme option that doesn’t involve messing with a Constitutional right that multiple wars have been fought over.

      I don’t see anything exorbitant about a decent job that provides a pension and healthcare and 40 hours a week. I think that should be the baseline for everyone, not a sign of the Beast Slouching Toward Bethlehem. If the actual objection here is extreme pension packages pocketed by very senior managers, go ahead and cap them. Removing workers’ right to collectively bargain is only going to accelerate the downward slide for what remains of the middle class.

  34. nothing but the truth

    “Amazon claims it doesn’t want to take on UPS and FedEx”

    Amzn wants to eat everyone’s lunch by replacing all high paying labour jobs with min wage ones, and keep the difference.

    SO ya – amzn is looking at ur job, and deciding if u can be replaced by a min wage / robot.

    1. Synoia

      Good luck with your paying customers with that form of Cannibalism.

      It is only profitable when your business is small.

      1. False Solace

        Amazon illustrates the fallacy of composition: Works great if you’re the only company who does it. Somehow ends up destroying your customer base if every company follows suit.

  35. Oregoncharles

    “Did Sen. Warner and Comey ‘Collude’ on Russia-gate?” – I hope Ray McGovern watches his back.

  36. RMO

    RE:The Matt Stoller piece… can anyone explain to me how this idea could possibly be feasible? If a rider could be attached to legislation preventing it from coming under judicial review by a named member of the court couldn’t the legislation rider potentially be expanded to multiple members? Or ALL members?

    If it worked does anyone have any doubt that the GOP would routinely use this tactic to enact legislation that was illegal and/or unconstitutional? Or that even then the Democrats would studiously avoid using it, bringing up notions of “norms” and “tradition” so they still wouldn’t have to enact any of the many popular policies which would greatly benefit the nation as a whole?

  37. kareninca

    My next door neighbors don’t recycle at all. I mean, at all. they just throw everything into whatever bin randomly. And they toss loads of useful stuff, which I don’t feel I can retrieve, due to it being too weird a thing to do at my household income level. They are really into buying Blue Apron type meals and then dumping all the loads of packaging in the trash. And these are scientists with doctorates. I am stuck pulling out the cardboard boxes (which need to go to another region of our condo complex), because they fill up the garbage/recycle bins with them and there is no space for any of my small amount of garbage. They really are not unusual; I’ve lived here for decades and they are more the norm than not, and everyone involved has an advanced degree. It really does make it all seem even more pointless than the article says.

    1. Synoia

      I am stuck pulling out the cardboard boxes (which need to go to another region of our condo complex), because they fill up the garbage/recycle bins with them and there is no space for any of my small amount of garbage.

      The solution, I believe, is to return the gifts to their owners.

  38. Plenue

    >Little House on the Orwellian Prairie: PC brigade throws Laura Ingalls Wilder under the bus RT

    There’s a lot of quite stupid hyperbole in this article. While I don’t at all agree with the dropping of the literary award, or disappearing the author from bookshelves, should that happen, comparing Ingalls to Twain is completely dishonest. Ingalls wrote a series that was full of affectionate nostalgia for land-stealing colonists. Twain wrote books with racial slurs to make the point that black people were human beings, and not the dehumanizing slurs applied to them. There’s kind of a difference.

    And the article writer once wrote another article, which he helpfully references and links to near the beginning of this one, about how removing Confederate statues is one step away from purging history books. Because of course he did. Choosing not to celebrate slave-owning traitors isn’t at all similar to not acknowledging they existed, guy. In fact it’s an acknowledgement of actual history; remembering who these people really were and what they really fought for, and choosing to reject their legacy. As opposed to the post-war revisionist narrative that obscured the ‘lost cause’ and attempted to morph it into something noble. Confederate statues are the affront to the remembrance of real history, not the act of tearing them down.

  39. UserFriendly

    I broadly agree with b from MOA on his China/IMF comparison but I think it is also important to note that China requires that Chinese firms and Chinese workers are the ones hired to build the infrastructure which ends up doing very little for the local economy. IMO it’s a lose lose preposition, with the loans from the IMF being the much worse option. If any of these countries understood how banking really works they would never take out loans in any foreign currency and as long as they were able to minimize the amount of materials that they needed to import for projects like this they could do it entirely by printing money. Loans in foreign currency are just neocolonialism no matter who is doing the lending.

    But that is because b doesn’t get MMT.

  40. drumlin woodchuckles

    About “weeds winning the war against herbicide resistance” . . . I am just a lay amateur science buff who likes reading about these things and who has a little garden. So while I can mention interesting things I have read about intriguing and inspiring claims which are made, I don’t know enough to really know. So with that prior disclaimer . . .

    There is a body of agronomic theory and knowledge and practice which considers weeds to be closely revealing of particular deficiencies in soil-mineral nutrition or biological functionality or physical plant-rootgrowth-friendly physical structure or any two or any three at once. There is a literature of which weeds flourish under which particular conditions of nutrient defficiency or structural/biological damage. There is also a literature of how to alter the nutrient profile and physical structure/ biological functioning of soil to privilege and support the growth of certain desired plants over and against the growth of certain unwanted weeds among those plants. There are a number of farmers who claim to be using these methods based on this knowledge successfully to keep weed growth suppressed and contained without any herbicide applications.

    Much of this knowledge and information can be read about in books available through Acres USA among other places. One such is Weeds: Control Without Poisons by Charles Walters.

    Another book, more mainstream and about physical control and killing of weeds at crucial times through physical cultivation is called Steel In The Field. The website here linked to appears to allow for downloading the text itself of the book, though whether charts, diagrams and pictures would download as well I don’t know.

    IFF! . . . these approaches as described in these books are true and real, then the whole question of herbicides can be rendered moot and irrelevant. So how true and real are these approaches? The truth is out there. I want to believe.

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