Links 7/11/18

Thai cave rescue operation ends with all 12 boys safe Guardian

Les Bleus too strong for Diables Rouges Politico

Never, ever use soap in a lake Treehugger

Orcas of the Pacific Northwest Are Starving and Disappearing NYT

It’s Not Your Imagination, Airline Restrooms Are Getting Smaller Bloomberg. More Crapification.

91-year-old man beaten with brick, told ‘go back to Mexico’ CNN (Wat)

Sarah Palin: I was tricked into interview with Sacha Baron Cohen NY Post. Boo hoo. Some context: Will Sacha Baron Cohen’s undercover series be the TV event of the year? Guardian

The endless reign of Rupert Murdoch The Monthly

Class Warfare

If democratic socialism is so bad, why is Norway so great? The Week. UserFriendly: “Would have been nice if he didn’t throw Venezuela under the bus, but…. “

Uber executive resigns after race discrimination probe BBC

As restaurants go cashless, a backlash is building. Will D.C. intervene? WaPo

‘They’ve Been Doing This Massive, Anti-Democratic Model of Education Reform’ FAIR (UserFriendly)

‘No Poach’ Deals for Fast-Food Workers Face Scrutiny by States NYT

Here Are Six Reasons Why the Poor Are Much Better Off in Europe Than in the U.S. AlterNet

Ready for liftoff? Two flying taxi startups got Pentagon funding Guardian

Wine and Wimbledon: The personal touch in courting corporate mergers CBS News

How do kleptocrats spend the money? FCPA Blog

How do the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 compare? Plug In America (Glenn)

Clinton, Sanders to headline teachers convention in Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

NYT Sees ‘Dystopia’ in Chinese Surveillance—Which Looks a Lot Like US Surveillance FAIR (UserFriendly)



Nearly two decades on from Nato’s deadly bombing of civilians at Varvarin in Serbia, the wait for justice continues Independent. Robert Fisk.


Syria conflict: After series of calamitous defeats, is Isis about to lose its last town? Independent. Patrick Cockburn. Part 3 of a series.

German Parliament Report: U.S. Presence in Syria Is Illegal Moon of Alabama

North Korea

Media, Hardliners Play Up North Korean Nuclear “Deception” Claim TruthOut


Brexit: UK will lose some EU extradition powers next year even if transition deal is agreed, Theresa May is warned Independent

Brexit: the key to prosperity


In Maharashtra’s Vidarbha, the dry summer has sparked a rise in human-tiger conflicts

While Rupee at 70 Doesn’t Mean This Is 2013 All Over Again, India Should Still Be on Guard The Wire

Agrarian Crisis and Climate Catastrophe: Forged in India, Made in Washington Counterpunch

Past Continuous: How British Imperialism Influenced the Creation of Linguistic States The Wire


The ‘cloistered’ Harvard-Yale law monopoly on the Supreme Court WaPo

Five takeaways from Trump’s Supreme Court announcement Politico

Trump’s Supreme Court pick: ISPs have 1st Amendment right to block websites Ars Technica

Trump Transition

Donald Trump says Britain is in ‘turmoil’ ahead of his visit this week Will the Donald meet up with BoJo (as he suggests). Would love to be a fly on that wall.

Giuliani works for foreign clients while serving as Trump’s attorney WaPo

Pfizer will roll back drug prices after discussion with Trump Politico

Trump Nato: EU’s Tusk warns president to appreciate allies BBC

Defence Expenditure of NATO Countries (2011-2018) NATO Press Release. Front and center in NATO summit discussions.

Trump pardons Oregon ranchers whose arrest lead to standoff Jurist

Four Words Missing in the New Tax Law Give Restaurants Heartburn WSJ

Days after Scott Pruitt resigned, several top aides are also calling it quits at EPA WaPo. Given the aggressive deregulatory agenda Trump is committed to, turnover is good– because it prevents implementation of their goals.

British protesters want Green Day’s “American Idiot” to top the charts for Trump’s visit Vox

US puts fierce squeeze on breastfeeding policy, shocking health officials Ars Technica

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Les Bleus too strong for Diables Rouges”

    At this point I think that we should send our commiserations to Belgium. First they lose their chance at glory by not getting into the finals at the FIFA world cup when they lost to France – and then Trump flies into Brussels.

    1. curlydan

      I was really hoping for a Belgium-Croatia final. Darn. The French were too smart and decided not to run with the Belgians and hung back for the counterattacks. Despite losing and being a small country, Belgium has some ridiculous soccer talent this cycle.

      1. Which is worse - bankers or terrorists

        I think France and England should play for a soft Brexit. It’s only fair.

  2. Livius Drusus

    Re: NYT Sees ‘Dystopia’ in Chinese Surveillance—Which Looks a Lot Like US Surveillance.

    The sad thing is that millions of Americans volunteered a lot of their information to the surveillance state by joining social media platforms in droves. Social media is one of the biggest boons for the surveillance state. That is why I left Facebook years ago. I am still shocked by how much people share on social media. They must think only their friends and family are watching but I guarantee that the government and employers are as well.

    1. perpetualWAR

      My niece lost her job after posting something stupid on social media. When will the millenials learn privacy is golden?

        1. ambrit

          Remember Golden Rule #12: The best Justice that money can buy.
          I have encountered the hidden barrier to legal recourse in my varied escapades. Going to Law costs money. When a deeper pocket group is in the tilt, spinning out a case through delays and superfluous motions will often force the poorer side out of the game through simple resource depletion.
          That’s why Committees of Vigilance exist.

        2. perpetualWAR

          Perhaps you have never been a Plaintiff? Our courts only see $$$ signs rather than law.

          Keep your privacy.
          Stay out of corrupt courts!

        3. zer0

          Have you even tried suing your employer? Do you have any idea how hard it is to sue your employer?

          You need to either go after the FMLA or EEOC type lawsuits, which means that your employer either abused you in some way, or your rights were violated (say they fired you during medical leave or fired for your age which only applies to people above 60 – they can and do fire people for being ‘too young’). Everything else is basically a no go. So posting something on social media and getting fired is not something you can sue for.

          And please tell me what Millenial has the time or money to pay 2 years of legal fees, court appearances, etc? None. Most are barely scrapping by paying off their loans.

          1. GF

            Take them to Small Claims Court where lawyers are not allowed to be part of the court proceedings.

            1. False Solace

              Every US state except Montana has “At Will” employment. This means employers can fire you without notice for any reason, aside from belonging to a protected class (to do that they have to lie about it).

              You can be fired for posting on social media, or not posting on social media, because it’s a day that ends in a Y, because your boss thinks you did something you didn’t, or for any other reason. And every court in the nation will laugh in your face if you try to sue over it. In exchange, you have the “freedom” to quit and starve to death in the streets any time you choose.

              1. Procopius

                If you starve to death in the streets, won’t they track down relatives and charge them for the cost of burying you in the landfill?

          2. Freethinker

            The dividing age for a Title 7 charge under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is 40, not 60.

        4. LarryB

          Maybe because they want to work in the future? Most employers aren’t eager to hire people who have shown a tendency to sue employers.

      1. Pavel

        That privacy train left the station a long time ago.

        Now that we all know just how evil Facebook (especially) and other social media sites are, I suspect a whole generation is going to rue posting all those BF/GF photos, breakup news, political opinions etc on FB, instagram and elsewhere. Let’s remember some (a lot?) of employers check a candidate’s social media posts (or so I hear). And now US border control wants to check social media as well.

        And that generation of Uber users — every ride they take with location and time data are stored and potentially sold or given to law enforcement. Recall that Uber was tracking user locations even when the app was not in use!

        A woman in London a few years ago IIRC used her husband’s Oyster [tube pass] history to prove he had been visiting a mistress.

        I thank my lucky stars I’m not a 20 or 30 year old now!

        1. perpetualWAR

          Going through latest job search, one company actually demanded FB, Twitter urls. Thank God I didn’t want the job and exited social media long ago.

          1. Pavel

            So it is indeed happening… wasn’t sure how much of an urban legend that was. Thank god I’m out of the job market!

          2. JTFaraday

            So ridiculous. re: facebook, I never understood how you were supposed to throw all these people you knew from all walks of life together in one pot. Preposterous. Just absolutely out of the question.

            In addition, the user interface was crap, which I immediately interpreted as disrespect for users. Not long before users discovered that facilitated the exposure of personal data users wanted to be more private, and on and on it goes…

        2. Lord Koos

          I think that in 20 years (or less), having posted embarrassing personal stuff on social media when you were 18 years old won’t be a thing, because it will be so common.

        3. blennylips

          > Now that we all know just how evil Facebook

          Not so fast there, pilgrim.

          Why have I never read about* “Persuasion Technology”, “War on Kids”, “Dr. B.J. Fogg”, nor “Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab” here on NC?

          I’d say youwe have a lot yet to learn.

          The Tech Industry’s War on Kids

          How psychology is being used as a weapon against children

          * NC: No Criticism or Complaint meant whatsoever

          1. blennylips

            “Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab”

            real?, or memorex: Oct 2009

            Captology Notebook

            Machines Designed to Change Humans

            The Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab creates insight into how computing products — from websites to mobile phone software — can be designed to change what people believe and what they do.

            Yes, this can be a scary topic: machines designed to influence human beliefs and behaviors. But there’s good news. We believe that much like human persuaders, persuasive technologies can bring about positive changes in many domains, including health, business, safety, and education. We also believe that new advances in technology can help promote world peace in 30 years. With such positive ends in mind, we are creating a body of expertise in the design, theory, and analysis of persuasive technologies, an area called “captology.”

            By arriving at this page, you’ve reached the main website for our research lab, directed by Dr. BJ Fogg. On this site you’ll find an overview of captology, learn about examples, have access to captology resources, and be invited to receive our lab’s free newsletter. We also share some insights in our blog, Captology Notebook.

            1. blennylips


              Yeah, I guess I can see how a “Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab”, purveying “Persuasion Technology” led by a character with the unlikely name “Dr. BJ Fogg” (apparently the inventor of some kind of weaponized benays’ sauce) trying to cover his web tracks as to true intent would totally not be of interest…

              Just as well, our poor monkey brains are useless in this environment, let someone who claims to know what’s best get on with it. Not long til the clathrate gun shot becomes unignorable, so what we got to lose?

      2. jrs

        but remember to have an updated professional linked-in account with a good profile pic, employers look for that!

        (or so we are told)

        1. Yves Smith

          No pic needed! Plus you have to think the picture is a way to discriminate on age and gender.

          I should put my Twitter picture of my cat on LinkedIn too and see what the LinkedIn officialdom does.

          1. Oregoncharles

            I tried setting up a LinkedIn page years ago, discovered my occupation wasn’t on their list (they haven’t heard of landscaping?) and dropped the project.

            They posted it anyway, without my authorization, and for several years I had to explain to friend and colleagues that I wasn’t REALLY on LinkedIn.

            The experience did not impress me, but I’m not much for social media anyway.

                  1. polecat

                    Yeah, but if it’s a really grumpy cat pic … then ixnay on the cat-ion exchangeway !

              1. Richard Kline

                The main use of Linkedin is for recruiters and headhunters. You’re simply looking down the wrong end of the telescope here.

                Similarly, I suspect, though I cannot prove, that the importance of your personal network density there is to allow your prospective/current employer to scale their memes over your bandwidth. This is a large part of why you can’t delete a profile. ‘Other eyes’ don’t want to lose the nodal value you have collected but which they hope to or have co-opted.

                Social media isn’t about us: it’s about them. Just ask Mark and Jeff.

          2. perpetualWAR

            I put a distant pic of me and my pooch. Because, yes, age discrimination is real!

            1. Oregoncharles

              Yes, that’s about what I have on FB – me hiking, but too distant to identify. Otherwise I don’t post pictures on FB – I rarely post anything.

              It seems to be obligatory for organizing.

          3. Inode_buddha

            I actually *do* use pics of my cat. It puts employers etc. in the proper perspective.

    2. ambrit

      Even here in the “Bastion of Rationality” that is the NC comments section, self censorship is warranted. I have adopted the position that everything online is liable to review and retention. Now the IT Police don’t have to say it, but anyone with the legendary, “..two functioning neurons…” will assume that: “Anything you type can and will be used against you.”

        1. ambrit

          Thanks. I’ve been fascinated by the phenomenon of ‘euphemism’ in public speech for a long time. Some of it is manipulative, and some of it is self protective.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        I have been thinking as I get older that wearing a mask online is the best way to go. Look at all those people on Facebook who are always full of “positivity”, self marketing their lifestyle choices to others full of happiness and joy. Meanwhile you see them at work and their mask is off.

        Wear that mask people. Mess with the data collection whenever possible.

        1. Procopius

          I’ve read advice to put a piece of tape over your camera lens until you intend to take a picture (kind of like “never point a gun at someone unless you are ready to shoot them.”). My solution, I use a “grandpa box” (desktop PC) that does not have a camera. My phone either sits on the head of my bed looking at the ceiling, or is in my pocket.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Flake-o-nomics at large:

    President Donald Trump took aim at ally Germany in his first public comments at a group breakfast at NATO’s annual summit Wednesday.

    Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is [a] captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia …

    … said the president who has several tens of thousands of troops garrisoned on German soil.

    America has occupied Germany for so long — three generations — that it’s now invisible to both populations as the gross abnormality that it is.

    Where are the flowers and chocolates for our heroes, Trump no doubt wonders. Fortunately, America’s euro-poodles cower like good dogs when we rattle the leash at them.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not sure they are euro-poodles, but if the Europeans want to be poodles, we have to respect their choice.

      As for troops in Germany – they pay sales tax or some equivalent over there, when they buy chocolates and flowers for themselves. And they live there – they are, in fact, residents.

      Should they be allowed to vote in Germany, or Syria, for that matter?

      Similarly, American tourists – think of them as short term residents – they pay local and state hotel taxes, or other kind of taxes.

      Should they also be allowed to vote, in they are, for example, in Cancun?

      1. Jim Haygood

        NY Times — Friend of the Deep State, Enemy of the People — goes to bat for NATO with a cockeyed opinion piece by former NATO ambassador Nicholas Burns. Excerpts:

        “NATO’s formidable conventional and nuclear forces are the most effective way to protect North America and Europe — the heart of the democratic world — from attack.”

        Catch the giant logical leap there? Defending North America — three friendly countries, oceans on both sides — is not at all comparable to defending Europe. When have European troops ever defended North America? Never. Nor are they ever expected to. Their role is to be militarily occupied by our good selves.

        “The United States has relied on NATO allies to strike back against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and the Islamic State in the Middle East. European troops have replaced American soldiers in peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and contribute the large majority in Kosovo.”

        What these deployments have in common is that they’re all “out of area” operations — illegal under the purely defensive NATO treaty, until Bill Clinton defined deviancy downward in non-member Serbia and Kosovo. Our NATO poodles merely contributed an ersatz “coalition” legitimacy to disguise naked US aggression — a “service” which cost the US thousands of military lives and trillions of dollars.

        NATO is an obsolete front for US warmongery and should be abolished without delay.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          One way is to let American troops in Germany vote in German elections to relocate the bases outside that country.

        2. Byron the Light Bulb

          I recommend visiting the Motherland Monument in Kiev and taking time to reflect on the dead. Hostilities between Germany and Russia began on June 22, 1941 at 03:00 and officially ended May 8, 1945 at 23:01. 3 years, 10 months, 16 days, 20 hours and one minute. 20 million Soviet dead. 3 million Germans dead. 5.1 million Jews dead. On average 13.04 human beings per minute were killed on the Eastern Front. Now tell me why NATO is obsolete and the European nationalities, after taking their word that they won’t start the conflict all over again, should just roll the bones, and hope for the best. Despite Wohlstetter’s “Delicate Balance of Terror” being a misnomer [nothing delicate about it], it has proven effective. Until now where it appears, the Lavrov-Pompeo non-aggression pact is being beta-tested as a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact emulation.

          1. todde

            NATO is obsolete.

            American bases in Europe do make a good jumping off point for the garbage dump fire we keep pouring gasoline on in the Middle East

        3. pretzelattack

          you nailed the role of nato. the un seems to be playing the role of front for us warmongering with ever more enthusiasm.

        1. Procopius

          Yes. And they buy food at the Commissary, tax free (free from American taxes, too). When I was stationed there we used to have retirees touring Europe coming to our battalion headquarters complaining because they were not allowed to enter either the Commissary or the PX, because of a customs agreement that was part of our Status of Forces Agreement. The total amount of taxes on whatever they bought in Germany could not have been very much, but the Germans insisted on getting every pfennig of it, and did. So much for being America’s poodle.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Trump isn’t actually stupid, despite appearances; his observation is correct. (Whether it was smart to SAY it is another matter; he doesn’t seem to care, and really, so far his recklessness has served him pretty well.)

      And MLTPB is correct that American “occupiers” are also contributing to the German economy. Barring the occasional espionage, I doubt the Germans are actually worried about them, certainly not to the extent of killing the golden goose.

    3. ewmayer

      So Jim, summary of your 2 posts here:

      o Trump correctly pointing out Germany’s huge reliance on Russian natgas is ‘Flake-o-nomics’;

      o “NATO is an obsolete front for US warmongery and should be abolished without delay.” — ISTR Trump was the only western leader who said as much in public. So you would conclude that *Trump* saying it is ‘Flake-o foreign policy’, is that right?

  4. bronco

    what is the breast feeding bezzle here , help me connect the dots.

    That the US came out against it either means there is some protectionism for a USian conglomerate , something to do with Israel or some strange rider in the fine print thats not being publicized

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Of all the cartels – media cartel, online retail cartel, social media cartel, etc – why favor this particular one?

        In fact, there is hope that his administration is trying to improve the anti-trust team at the FTC to take on Amazon.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          It can’t be seen in isolation – its all part of the biofarm/big Ag complex and their use of international trade agreements to enforce intellectual rights. If they conceded the right of countries to regulate baby formula for health and equality reasons, then as they see it that would be a wedge issue for a whole range of other products.

      2. JTMcPhee

        And the language the US Cartel objected to was purely precatory (NOT “predatory”), to the effect that signing governments were going to consider encouraging breast-feeding as an alternative to crapified products from supranational corporate sources. Some context from the hippie side: And here’s the globalist cheerleading for how wonderful and convenient and profit-generating the unnatural product is:

        Progress is finding a rentable, sellable product that simulates reality and nature… now we have the World Computer Games contests, and plastic and ceramic “wood flooring,” etc. And mothers taught to feel guilty about not giving their infants the true benefits of scientifically formulated formulas. That goes back a long way — when my daughter was born, some of the nurses were pushing Mother to start the Similac right away, since the natural “product” was scientifically proven to lack necessary nutrients.

        Of course the aggressive zealots of La Leche League were guilt-tripping Mother, and all the other mothers in the ward, for even considering formula, or daring to be unable to lactate, or lactate sufficiently, for whatever reason.

        1. ArcadiaMommy

          It’s really hard to get started nursing but it ends up being much more convenient than formula IMO. There is so little information about what is going to happen to your body when you have a baby. I was lucky that my mother was able to stay with us full time through the first couple of months of baby time. She said people called her a California hippie when she nursed us. Um yes she was!

          It’s sad that it is a “luxury” to nurse your babies. Why do we subsidize cow breast milk production but not people breast milk production? Nursing pretty much killed my career trajectory but it’s my small protest against the prevailing “wisdom”.

          1. ambrit

            The ‘word’ out there is that your children will do better than their formula fed peers over time. Do watch your teeth and bones. Phyl had to take extra calcium and magnesium while she was nursing our children. Another generally unremarked positive effect on the pair arising from nursing is the psychological ‘bonding’ that goes on between mother and child during nursing. Fewer neurosis later on for the child.

            1. ArcadiaMommy

              Very good points. I have no doubt that kids who have parents that can manage to have mom nurse have many lifestyle advantages.

              My boys still make the suckling motion with their mouths when they sleep (although they are horrified that they nursed). It just about kills me with sweetness.

              1. ambrit

                “..can manage to have Mom nurse.”
                You made sacrifices for your children. So did we. It’s all a matter of priorities. I’ll not deny that there are a lot of negative effects arising from the decision to nurse, but, many of the items that demand priority over family are artificial and externally exploitative.
                When some of these ‘unnecessary’ impositions are mandated by law, it behooves the conscientious person to ignore or break that law.
                Corporations do exactly that with regularity today. Citizens have the same rights. Those rights include those sanctioned for corporations through the States’ unwillingness to prosecute the corporations transgressing said laws.
                Consider it the logical outcome of enforcing the 14th Amendment.

            2. FluffytheObeseCat

              When I was nursing heavily, I ate a pint of dulce de leche ice cream every day. For 5 months. Could stop myself, and only gained about 12 lbs.

                1. Oregoncharles

                  Hardly new. When our friends were reproductive age, my wife and I (more hippies) observed that it generally took around a year for the baby weight to fall off, if the mother nursed. Seems like a plan.

                  1. HotFlash

                    It’s almost as if there was some kind of organic, evolved process happening in all this!

            3. ShamanicFallout

              Is this true? Fewer ‘neuroses’ later on? What kind of neuroses? And how was/is this attributed to not being breast fed? And how is something like this measured?

              1. ambrit

                Yes. Here is what I could come up with on short notice. I don’t remember where I first read this.
                We looked into this subject when Claire (our first) came along.
                Phyllis also says that, once your nipples toughen up a bit, nursing gave her an almost erotic feeling. (Not that Daddy ever benefited from that. “Hands off! These are for the baby for now.”)
                Life goes on.

                1. JEHR

                  Yes, nursing is a most comforting feeling for both baby and mother. If I were a father and knew how that felt, I would be envious. Mother Nature is marvellous!

                  1. ambrit

                    I sometimes wonder if there is a correlation between not being breastfed and later neurotic breast fixations in men.

                    1. Wukchumni

                      Recollections of November 22, 1963:

                      1:23 am: left breast

                      3:47 am: left breast

                      6:49 am: right breast

                      11:27 am: left breast

                      The rest is unfortunately, all a blur.

                    2. ambrit

                      So, you ‘re a precog?
                      You remember exactly where you were the day before Kennedy was shot?

                    3. HotFlash

                      And do not omit neurotic breast fixations in women! This article in Cosmo is pretty well safe for work, but you are on your own for other references. You might need brain bleach handy.

                    1. Dunning Kroger

                      Those nipples are there as a placeholder for the gender fluid to be able to breastfeed once that festure is implemented by scientific breakthrough

                    2. Synapsid


                      Steven Jay Gould put it well:

                      Men have nipples because women need them.

                      Think of the female as the default body plan and the male as the modified version.

                2. ArcadiaMommy

                  I wouldn’t go that far. But good for Mrs. Ambrit! My husband was terrified of (people) breast milk. Cow breast milk is cool tho.

                  It’s getting weird here.

                  1. kgw

                    HaHa! My dear and I had Dr. Fleiss for pediatrician duty: he was very good. Breastfeeding is the way!

                  2. HotFlash

                    When my friend was in nursing school there was a story about a bunch of interns who took a carton of breast milk out of the nursing station fridge and drank it. When they found out what it was they threw up. My be apocryphal, but seems legit to me. My brother and I were raised on Carnation milk and Caro syrup and on a schedule — both best practices, in the ’50’s. Stay-at-home mom, by the way, they bound her breasts in the hospital so the milk wouldn’t form.

                    And what about colostrum, first milk a woman produces after birth of a child, rich in antibodies? Showed up in the search that it is apparently now considered a ‘miracle supplement’.

                    1. ArcadiaMommy

                      Ok. Steel yourselves people. Take a deep breath. People breast milk is delicious. I accidentally ate some mixed with rice cereal and avocado for the baby.
                      Cow breast milk is gross.

                    2. ambrit

                      Well of course it is delicious. It was evolved to fit the needs and desires of human babies after all. I’l shamefacedly admit that I’m really not much more than an overgrown baby.

              2. ArcadiaMommy

                Is it about measuring anything? Babies are loved and fed. Nursing your baby is a scarily good feeling. As hubby says happy wife happy life.

              3. Procopius

                I don’t know the answer to your question(s), but I know that the belief that the failure/refusal of the mother to breast feed was thought to cause neuroses as far back as my childhood (the ’40s) and I think went back to Sigmund Freud. Of course he wasn’t so bright — he couldn’t even bring himself to believe that his clients (rich people) had been sexually abused as children, so he invented the Oedipus/Electra Complexes to explain these “fantasies.” Anyway, the belief has been around for a long time. All I know is the Asian people I know about grew much bigger and taller on “artificial” infant formula that they had on the traditional diet.

            4. Lord Koos

              Back in the 1950s I was the only one of my three brothers to be fed partially on Nestle’s formula rather than all breast milk. I’m the only one in the family that has food allergies and hay fever, and I also got a lot of cavities in later childhood. My immune system is not as strong, I tend to get colds more often, etc. I attribute this at least partly to less breast milk as an infant. They were pushing all this “modern” crap post WWII and my mother fell for it, as did many other women. She was a stay-at-home housewife, so saving time by using formula wasn’t an issue.

              1. ArcadiaMommy

                My youngest sister has the same problems. She is the only one with dental issues, no one else has even had a cavity. My mother had to go back to work.

                I will say the few occasions my boys had formula they loved it. I am sure it is full of sugar. It smells terrible. Our part-time nanny (uh-oh another thread) loved to give it them rather than defrosting people milk. Which is what I am calling breast milk from now on.

                1. Oregoncharles

                  Actually, “breast” means at least a primate, since most other animals’ mammaries are on their belly, not their chest. Cows, for instance. (I think dogs have some of both.)

                  Sorry, can’t help the occasional outburst of pedantry.

          2. Oregoncharles

            ” Nursing pretty much killed my career trajectory but it’s my small protest against the prevailing “wisdom”.”

            That’s something we really need to work on – and frankly, I don’t have a golden formula handy.

            1. ambrit

              Really agreed here. It looks like the entire society loses from this work, work, work fixation.

              1. JTMcPhee

                Not the entire society. Bezos and Musk and their ilk are doing just fine, thank you.

                Mopes need to remember the Big Picture, all the time. You can bet yet britches the Bosses do.

              2. kgw

                Losing, like most dichotomies, is not a thing to be relied on…As Chuang Tzu puts it: Most think that losing a foot is bad. But when the Emperor’s cuvee managers come thru the village, they don’t pick those with only one foot.

            2. ArcadiaMommy

              Nursing killed my career but I guarantee it saved my marriage. We don’t have all the trappings but we are still together. 20 years coming up!

              1. ambrit

                God for you, and lucky kids. (We won’t even get near how lucky your partner is.)
                By the way, does anyone else here think, as does this curmudgeonly cynic, that not calling being a Mommy a ‘career’ is part of some fiendish plot? (The list of suspects is long and comprehensive.)

                1. ArcadiaMommy

                  Well it is the joke of my NC name. Many people tell me “oh I thought you were just one of the Arcadia moms”, which is our ritzy nabe of stay home moms.
                  I have been so lucky to be able to work part time and keep our family together.

      3. HotFlash

        And largely subsidezed by the US govt via the WIC program, which oddly enough, reports large increases in its cost of formula over the years (one at random here, sorry they seem to all be .pdf’s). Which wholesale price increases also give rise to retail price increases, for those not in the WIC program, which is not a lot since WIC is not means tested, although mothers do have to attend some pre- and postnatal class(es).

        Combine that with industry pressures on health professionals to recommend formula-feeding and on Congresscritters to extend the WIC program, (free samples! sales reps! maybe even golf!), no maternity leave, and what do you get? A license for the formula co’s to print money!! Talk about sucking at the government teat.

    1. JCC

      A not-so-new twist on American Exceptionalism, instead of “think of the children” it’s now “But think of the Corporations!”

      1. Darius

        Also fits with evangelical prudery and discomfort with public breastfeeding. Why can’t everyone use formula, just like they did in colonial times and the Bible?

        1. zer0

          Cause it hinders profits.

          US Corps are a criminality unto themselves. Ive seen ads in 3rd world countries for formula, stating its “better than breastmilk”. This has killed children, as the poor mothers often dilute the formula (since its insanely expensive) and end of starving their children to death.

          1. Chris

            Basic hygiene can also be problem in LDCs, with babies dying from gastro because of unsterilised bottles.

            Breast is best for four reasons:

            1. It doesn’t need to be warmed up in the middle of the night
            2. The cat can’t get it
            3. It’s free
            4. It comes in a very attractive container

            1. Oregoncharles

              Not actually free – Mom has to eat more (a pint of ice cream a day, according to one commenter above). Still much cheaper than formula and bottles, and vastly more convenient, as long as you can have the baby with you. Especially, as you say, in the middle of the night.

          2. HotFlash

            And if you live in Flint or many other cities, from fracking, CAFO or cola-mining areas, you are mixing it with contaminated water from your tap and boiling won’t help.

            1. blennylips

              Elon Musk Vows to Take on Flint Water Crisis
              Rhett Jones
              Today 6:30pm

              ZH: As Elon Musk Vows To Fix Flint’s Water System Next, One Investor Has Had Enough

    2. Shane Mage

      I’m sure Ms Maddow believes the whole thing was a Trump plot to make Putin look good.

    3. Eclair

      For the wealthy in the past, healthy peasant girls or slaves were available as ‘wet nurses.’ Soooo lower class to actually have to feed your own offspring. And nursing stretches ones breasts, resulting in sagging. Ruins the effect of implants.

      For the working class mother, maybe six weeks to be at home, breastfeeding. Then back to work and the baby is on a formula, guaranteed to put a big dent in the paycheck. That stuff is expensive! So much so, that I have been in supermarkets in working class neighborhoods that keep it behind lock and key; with the alcohol, cigarettes, and the Mark 3 Turbo and Fusion5 ProGlide disposable razor blades (and aren’t we fortunate to be living in a culture that makes such marvels of technology available to us!)

      Discouraging mothers, especially poor and indigenous and working class ones, from breastfeeding is just another means of reinforcing their positions as mere factors of production. Pop out another baby worker/consumer, then get back on the job. And, too acknowledge the undeniable benefits of a year or so of breastfeeding, would be to open the door to questions of why we don’t have a national parental leave policy.

      Moreover, for women with no access to decent water, mixing the less expensive powered formula either potentially causes harm to the infant, or you buy bottled water … again throwing money at big corporations.

      I swear, some days it seems that all I hear is a giant sucking sound as big pharma, big ag and big banks drain the life blood out of the workers.

      Breastfeeding for as long as possible is the best start for any infant, for its bonding as well as its nutritional and safety benefits. Women who find it difficult or impossible to breastfeed should not be censured and for them, a safe and affordable infant formula is indispensable.

      1. ArcadiaMommy

        I believe that the wet nurses were imposed upon women. My husband was initially grossed out by nursing but he came around. Believe me, it is a physical and mental relief to nurse your baby and it is physically painful to be away from a tiny baby. But it is very difficult to get the right care and advice to make it work out. My mother was with me for two months after my boys were born. I know that is because we are well off. And never mind the fact that you have to go back to work.

        1. Lord Koos

          Mannitol, I think. They cut cocaine with that stuff too, probably any white-powder drug.

      2. JBird

        …that keep it behind lock and key; with the alcohol, cigarettes, and the Mark 3 Turbo and Fusion5 ProGlide disposable razor blades (and aren’t we fortunate to be living in a culture that makes such marvels of technology available to us!)

        The crapification of razors reminds this beard grower of this baby formula con game. Most people need to do some shaving unless all natural is acceptable especially for work. However, the disposable blades have gotten insanely expensive and most drugstores are run by two chains now with identical choices.

        Since my beard eats razors and my skin gets eaten by them, I need to have as sharp a blade as I can. The fancy effective and expensive shavers only seems to last maybe two mornings, but I cannot afford over thirty dollars a month just to shave. So I use safety razors which are the old fashion (usually stainless steel) razors that take away individual disposable blades. Each razor blade is just pennies for each although the razor itself might cost thirty dollars to buy and the chain stores don’t seem to sell. They do sell the razors, but they are just awful as well as over priced.

        Since I’m middle aged with access to the internet I knew that safety razors were an option to the increasingly overpriced disposable razors, that the safety blades must be deliberately made badly(the store bought ones really are that bad) and that I can buy even in monthly batches blades and shaving soap/cream that is much better and cheaper online. Five dollars a month is much better than thirty.

        So like with feeding babies, you are steered away from better choices for you but greater profits for them. Have you ever seen those commercials with the Adonis using the Uber Blade with the Hot Babe saying how smooth and sexy he is? Get buried with advertisements and bad advice to not breastfeed, then if you are poor you buy overpriced, low quality formula at the local mega chain. If you have money and need to use formula, (I admit I am guessing here now.) you get higher quality formula that is less expensive.

        I use to have multiple choices in stores to buy different kinds of razors at relatively reasonable prices. Now I have no choice unless I go online and I bet that those few brick and mortar stores that still sell a wide variety at lower cost are located in upper middle class areas now.

        Monopolies and crapification used together to screw the poorest, most vulnerable people. The American Way.

        1. The Rev Kev

          The author John Michael Greer was talking about razors and how historically those old cut-throat razors gave a far better shave than disposables ever did. It was marketers than got people to switch because of “convenience” decades and decades ago. I sometimes wonder about making the switch myself due to the constant cost of buying disposable razors, some of whom have outrageous costs. But it would have to be a good quality cut-throat razor and not some cheap knock-off.

          1. JBird

            Straight razors are an idea but I am a bit afraid of butterfinger me using one. The ad campaign to switch from safety razors to disposable ones must have been fantastic as I do not see saving ten seconds as worth it. The multiple blades of a good disposable does help but not by that much.

        2. ArcadiaMommy

          ugh. Trying to figure this out for my husband. Using a shaving oil has helped. Also moisturizing. He hates the extra steps but he is less of a bloody mess in the mornings.

          1. JBird

            Some people are just blessed with difficult to shave skin. If he has something like ingrown hair he just might be out of luck. I have known some guys use a very closely trimmed and neat beard. Sometimes that’s fine for whatever. Especially if bleeding every morning is the alternative. There are forums of shaving fans that might help.

      3. ChrisPacific

        My wife was in the difficult/impossible camp. I’m not sure which one, and I’m not sure it really matters. It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying, and she followed all the advice that she feasibly and realistically could. Possibly it could have worked if she’d gone about it some other way, but you’re constantly on the clock (besides dealing with all the usual new parent stuff) and baby needs to be fed

        In our country the emphasis is very much on breastfeeding over formula, to the point where formula-shaming is extremely common even if not always expressed explicitly. I will say that our midwife and the various medical professionals were generally very good about it. Unfortunately the person who pressured her the most to continue was me (having unconsciously absorbed all the messaging about the importance of breastfeeding) which is probably my biggest regret from those days. She tried really hard, for a lot longer than she probably should have, and it took a massive emotional toll.

        1. ArcadiaMommy

          Baby, mommy and daddy have to eat and sleep. That’s the bottom line. I hate to hear that anyone feels badly about anything to do with having kids – it’s already so much work. The fact that you care so much is the most important thing.

        2. ShamanicFallout

          ChrisPacific- yes this is what I think I was getting at. My wife had a very difficult time breastfeeding. Took all the advice, used all the remedies and it was still very difficult. And of course being in Seattle, much formula shaming as we’re reading here in the comments. But what is one to do? Perhaps we’ll be seeing these ‘neuroses’ and emotional issues at some point. Though my daughter is five now and is about as normal as can be. And not one allergy, nor any food or immunity issues either

          1. ArcadiaMommy

            The fact that your care so much is the most important thing. I don’t intend to formula shame. I know I had a lot of support and am incredibly lucky that I could make it work. I guess I was trying to show how hard it is.

          2. ChrisPacific

            The opposite extreme is just as bad, of course (and my opinion on the original article is the same as most commenters have expressed).

            I ended up doing some research and while there is clear evidence that breastfeeding is better for some overall health outcomes, most of the additional risk associated with formula seems to be roughly equivalent to, for example, increasing your cancer risk by eating too much red meat – and nothing like as bad as smoking or drinking during pregnancy, for example. In other words, something you’d prefer to avoid if possible but not necessarily something you would move heaven and earth or incur any expense in order to achieve.

            Given that the various interventions tend to be quite costly in terms of time, money or both, and that the lack of either or both of those things can sometimes present major challenges for new parents, I think that there eventually comes a point where it makes sense to consider the pros and cons and decide whether it’s worth continuing. I wish that more breastfeeding advocates would recognize this, particularly the ones that treat it like a religious crusade. (Not pointing the finger at anyone as I have not yet seen any comments of that type here).

  5. Summer

    Re: Chevy Bolt / Tesla comparison

    Surprised the Tesla even has a seat for a driver.
    Seems one car is designed with a driver in mind, the other is designed with a driver in mind as a nuisance.

    1. Carolinian

      The author of the article seems to think his Model 3 is great and fun to drive. Given all the Tesla bashing around here it’s possible there’s more to the story than just “manufacturing hell.”

        1. Carolinian

          No doubt there is such a thing but that doesn’t prove it’s true in this case. If you doubt the linked article perhaps you could offer a link with a different opinion.

        2. John

          Hey, don’t knock the Pacer..;-) was a wonderfully ridiculous looking car that trolled the techdick sports car world. I got mine free, enjoyed it for years and gave it away to a friend who needed a car. It wasn’t a buy-in, but a gift in. Give it away and screw neoliberalism. But then I would trade all the cars in the work for a really good public transportation system.

          1. Wukchumni

            The selling point of the Pacer on tv commercials was that it was so wide, you could fit a 6 foot long hero sandwich in.

            Sales were rock solid for around 6 months when they first came out, and then plummeted like a rock.

            1. HotFlash

              I’m betting the sales dropped once sunny, warm weather arrived. They were little greenhouses on wheels, and A/C in cars wasn’t so common. Here in Ontario there was a $400 tax on each car w/A/C, in addition to the actual cost of the option.

            2. JTMcPhee

              Another commercial featured white-tuxedo’d male and leggy female “presenters” doing a Buzby Berkeley dance routine on a ramp the car was to drive down out of the backstage, and getting pushed off the ramp because “It’s too wide!” My friend’s Pacer was indeed a fun car — got lots of looks from all sorts of people. Crappy build typical of American Motors products, anemic power, wonky transmission, but I recall the seats being like overstuffed comfy chairs at home, and slippery so you slid around wildly on hard turns, accented by enormous amounts of body roll and humorous steering and braking responses…

              And just like the Tesla 3, there are folks who still think it’s the cat’s Miaow. There’s a very informative little 25 minute documentary I just found, all about the vehicle as it sets in its time:

    2. Kevin

      Seems one car is designed with a driver in mind, the other is designed with a driver in mind as a nuisance.

      ..a blueprint set by the airline industry

    3. John k

      consumer reports has been my car guru for decades. A glance at the 2018 buying guide…

      Model S. Highest rating of all cars regardless of type. Only perfect road test score of all cars. Above avg reliability (below avg un 2016, so rapid improvement.) recommended.

      Model X. Second poorest score in its class, above only Land Rover. and poor reliability… interestingly, top three of fifteen in owner satisfaction. Not recommended. IMO will improve.

      Model 3. Not reported, though I separately read that poor braking was suddenly improved with software patch, resulting in CR recommending the car, plus saying fun to drive, a Teasa hallmark. Probably needs more manual controls and mod to screen.

      Today’s report… Tesla signed agreement with shanghai may be important… first Corp to get 100% ownership in China could only happen with Xi support, stated desire is to be world leader in e cars. Report says needs permits… Xi can certainly open any door and make it happen overnight. Doubt funding an issue with his support, maybe separate Corp issues China stock, no dilution to us corp.

      1. Lord Koos

        Does anyone else feel uncomfortable with the idea of the brakes being controlled by software?

        Additionally, two years isn’t very long to be talking about reliability issues.

          1. Carolinian

            The software/brake thing probably has to do with the mix of regenerative and wheel braking. The linked article above talks about a “one pedal mode” where the car presumably decides how much of each type of braking to apply as you let up on the accelerator.

            In other words software is very much involved with controlling this car as it is with most modern cars.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Twitterbit kind of undermined, with Dobson’s er, uncritical comment about ‘the Russians doing an assassination’ as a Received Truth, and of course the sub-twits snidely praising Putin for a successful destabilization of EU, UK and the Great Western Allaince via his supposed catalyzing of the whole Brexit thing. But I guess it’s a good summary. One wonders who all the other power players are in all this, what supranational-corporate interests might have been playing in this cat litter box, but not much discussion of the corporate side except for “pity the poor City, having to relocate the Casino, and those so very British industries, car and airframe and engine manufacturing and marmalade and so forth, that will be taking it in the neck.” And all the cautionary screeds directed at anyone or any nation daring to oppose the completion of the Neoliberal Glolbalized Anschluss…

      1. JBird

        To underscore, May did not have to trigger Article 50 (which started the two year countdown to automatic ejection from the EU) when she did. She could have waited til there was an actual plan

        When May triggered Article 50, neither she, nor anyone else in cabinet or the Brexit campaign had the faintest, serious idea of what they wanted or their negotiating position

        I am correct on this?

        1) Public discontent on being crushed by neoliberal austerity, which is destroying much of the state’s functionality.

        2) Clueless Prime Minister calls a referendum to as a ploy to silence protests.

        3) Neoliberal narcissistic establishment does not campaign against Brexit because of course neoliberalism is teh greatest thing ever and who would go against that?

        4) They lose.

        5) Idiot Prime Minister puts Brexit into action before having a plan because reasons.

        6) More than a year is spent not actually creating the plan because reasons

        7) Plan now is burn baby burn?

        Do I understand this right and is this a secret conspiracy to crash an entire country because reasons?

        1. Anonymous2

          rather a lot of ‘neoliberals’ campaigned for Brexit because they considered the EU to be a constraint on their ambitions to screw the workers.

          1. witters

            Yes, indeed. Think how the EU “constrained… their ambitions to screw the [Greek] workers.” What if the EU wasn’t there!

  6. The Rev Kev

    “The ‘cloistered’ Harvard-Yale law monopoly on the Supreme Court”

    Personally I do not see what the problem is here. Think about it. There are about 200 accredited law schools in the United States with Supreme Court Judges only coming from either Harvard and Yale. My kitchen mathematics says that all these judges come from only 1% of all American law schools then. So in essence, the elite 1% have their own elite 1% judges. Sounds about right.
    What’s that Abraham Lincoln quote again? Oh yeah, I remember-

    ‘Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%, shall not perish from the Earth’

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      This ivy league, harvard / yale nexus is the equivalent of an elite puppy mill, with shameless inbreeding producing not only a “world-class” pedigree, but the hip dysplasia of “legal decisions” like citizens united.

      In the not too distant future I’d expect cloning to become the only acceptable method for producing those replacement “supreme” beings.

        1. Carolinian

          And transfer it to US “meritocracy” in general. As has been pointed out around here there were past times when SC justices didn’t have a law degree at all. Nowadays it’s presumed our legal technocrats have to know the manual.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            “……legal technocrats….”

            From yesterday’s SCOTUSblog link on kavanaugh’s judicial “profile”:

            In 2015, in Priests for Life v. HHS, Kavanaugh dissented from denial of rehearing en banc in a Religious Freedom Restoration Act challenge to the process for accommodating religious objections to the ACA’s contraceptive mandate, which permitted religious nonprofits to self-certify their eligibility for an exemption from the birth-control benefit by notifying either their insurance company or the federal government of their faith-based objection to contraceptive coverage.

            WTF kind of mental masturbation is this junk–“dissented from denial of rehearing en banc….”? That has to be read three times in order to wrap your brain around all the negatives and redos.

            Only a person perpetually cosseted in the rarefied environs of the ivies and d.c. could consider this mind-numbing minutiae worthy of a lifelong pursuit. This country needs judges, not preening hens and roosters pecking around for the tiniest, most insignificant of morsels.

            1. JBird

              Or lawyer Abraham Lincoln. He was supposed to be an excellent lawyer, and he was mostly self taught and read law. Today, he would find it difficult to get work because he didn’t have a high school degree.

              1. GF

                Am reading “Lincoln’s Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him To The Presidency” right now. Interesting that he was a jack-of-all-trades lawyer who would also prosecute on occasion as well as be the trial judge if needed – not all at the same time though.

      1. sleepy

        When Elizabeth Warren was a law professor at Harvard, she was the only professor who had received her law degree from a public university–Rutgers/Newark.

        1. Arizona Slim

          At Harvard, she was known as Socrates with a Machine Gun. Which is another way of saying that you did NOT want to be unprepared for her class.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The 1% symptom is seen not in wealth alone, but in information and intelligence, etc.

      The resistance or the struggle will have to be on all fronts….including the credentialed one percenters.

      1. freedomny

        I’m beginning to think that the most resistance to any sort of social/financial change comes from the 9.9% (or whatever the % is these days). They will hang on to their class status with a viscous intractability. Fortunately they (as well as the Dems) are so isolated/disconnected in their bubbles they can’t see what is right in front of them.

    3. Sutter Cane

      In addition to the Yale/Harvard thing – I rarely see it remarked upon that all of the justices are Jewish or Catholic, either. Hard to do without sounding like a Bircher, I suppose.

      Roman Catholics are only 22% of the US population but are a majority on the court.
      Shouldn’t there be a token atheist, or at least a protestant?

      1. Eclair

        Interesting observation. I was raised as a strict Catholic, that is, in a patriarchal, hierarchical, rule-driven, ask-no-questions, faith. The catholics I know now, fall into one of three categories: ‘fallen-away,’ who have washed their hands of the whole religion thing, like me (or have become Unitarians); radicals, including a lot of American nuns,who adhere to what they call Jesus’ original gospel of light and love, who are a thorn in the side of the hierarchy, but who are people who seem to need a faith; and, what might be termed ‘Inquisition Catholics.’ They like the whole patriarchy, hierarchy, rule for everything stuff. Of such beliefs are Conservative Supremes made.

        1. Arizona Slim

          One of my best childhood mentors was a religious Catholic lady who married a man who just happened to be an atheist. And they had one of the happiest marriages I’ve ever seen.

          They had a couple of kids. Last I heard, the daughter is still religious, but that certainly can’t be said for any of her three kids.

          As for the son, he isn’t religious. Nor is his wife, who was a Catholic school kid all the way through university. I don’t think that their two kids are religious.

          1. JEHR

            Going to church is important for higher education: if you don’t read the Bible or learn about Biblical images, literature at university becomes onerous. Then once you have received your literature degree, you are free to become atheist or agnostic or whatever.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              Not only that, but you could find yourself at a serious disadvantage should you ever become a contestant on Jeopardy! and the categories skew “biblical.” It happens.

              What is dueteronomy?

          2. Wukchumni

            My mom was raised Catholic and then married my dad, who like most Czechs, didn’t do dogma, and we were raised as if we didn’t need invisible means of support.

            Not an agnostic or atheist gig, dogma was the equivalent of mystical bowling league that you didn’t go to once a week, that seemed to have a large following of adherents.

      2. Carolinian

        Free the Southern Baptists! My local paper said one of our senators suggested Trey Gowdy to Trump for the nom. Gowdy is a member of the local Baptist church.

        Sadly the fix was already in and the strangely haired Gowdy denied.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Rumor had it that mike lee, senator from UTAH, was in the running. Now THAT would have been interesting. The womanizers were enthusiastic, but the starbucks lobby strenuously objected.

      3. zer0

        Biggest problem with the Supreme Court is the ‘for life’ appointment. Absolutely disastrous.

        Sorry, but the newer generations don’t want 70/80 year olds making life-altering decisions about modern science, which they literally know NOTHING of.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Maybe the problem is that when the Supreme Court was first designed, men didn’t live to be in their 70s and 80s much but had the decency to die off in their 60s. Hey, if us mopes are supposed to work longer because we live longer, then perhaps at the other end of the scale there should be age limits to jobs with executive powers.

    4. JamesG

      When I (night school accounting degree from Pace) was CFO of a major corporation the general counsel (Harvard Law) was puzzled when I told him Iranians were not Arabs. He then asked what makes one an Arab and I explained: their native language is Arabic.

      1. a different chris

        Don’t be surprised if you have to explain it again. The slowness is strong in the Ivy Leaguers.

    5. Lord Koos

      The gushing recent op-ed in the NY Times praising Trump’s nominee (in yesterday’s links) makes sense now, the author is a law professor at Yale.

  7. Wukchumni

    We in the Palinstinian Movement object to the doyen being objectified in such a manner as she was portrayed in a light not becoming of her.

  8. zagonostra

    Refer: Rupert Murdoch

    Interesting profile, but I would much rather have read an in-depth article on nexus between politics via the Deep State and the corporate media how they work together to perpetuate the relations of power, to use a good old Marxian term.

    I would venture most readers at NC are familiar with the works of Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky and have seen enough Y-tube videos to become suspicious of corporate media, to see it as an extension of the State which operates within an ever changing yet confined sphere.

    As I do my morning (mourning) news roundup, I can’t but notice an absence, an absence of news stories which have a sensibility of urgency. There is massive subterranean feelings of discontent, and yet so very little reporting on it…16 boys trapped in a came gets more attention than the desperation of 16 million (and more) living in abject poverty in the richest country in the history of mankind.

    1. ambrit

      Agree with you. I can see the “Identity Politics” and Trump Bashing as diversions away from the ‘serious’ subjects. I too see almost nothing but “Bread and Circuses” on my news feed sites. Nip slips and fashion alerts, what makes the world go round!
      I have been thrown off of some big sites for raising inconvenient questions, such as, who gives a D— about Mz So-and-sos’ latest boyfriend, or how big her sisters glutes are? This is why I view the fight over net neutrality as being so important. If commercial interests are allowed to curate the information stream with dictatorial powers, then we will all suffer the degradations of a reduction of everything of value to rational beings.
      As for Murdoch. I suspect that he models himself on the character of Charles Foster Kane from “Citizen Kane.”
      “Take a message to Newsie!”
      “Yes Mr ‘M’.”
      “Stop bitching! You supply the sound bites and I’ll supply the war! Got that?”
      “Yes Mr ‘M’.”

      1. Anonymous2

        A teacher who taught Murdoch in school described him as the most manipulative boy he ever encountered.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Thai cave rescue operation ends with all 12 boys safe”

    I understand that there is already a rush for Hollywood to bring out a film about the Thai cave rescue operation as it will be a guaranteed blockbuster. But no worries as Hollywood has promised to be completely faithful to the real story of this rescue and what happened. Well, maybe just a few minor artistic tweaks for artistic reasons.
    Such as, instead of Thailand, it will be in New Mexico so that they can hire out the Carlsbad Caverns for filming. And it will be a high school grid-iron football team instead of a soccer team. From an elite east coast high school. And the Coach will be an ex-Marine instead of a ex-Monk. And the rescue operation will be entirely run by the US military with soldiers standing guard with their rifles and body armour with Black Hawk helicopters flying overhead. And there will be no forces of any other country. And it will be US Navy Seals making the rescue. And the rescuer that dies will be Hispanic and named Martinez or something.
    Also, a Tony Stark kind of billionaire will rush in with a high-tech solution and a submarine and the command post will have high-tech displays of the cave and all the technology. And when the kids are found the Seals will point rifles at them shouting things like “Down of the ground now, m***** f******!” and the like until they establish dominance. Then they will help the kids. And the Coach and head of the rescue team will be old rivals because of something that happened in Iraq involving a woman or something. But there will be a Thai in it as one of the trapped kids. Maybe an exchange student who is the son of the Thai Ambassador or something. And when the team and the Coach are rescued, the Coach will salute the rescue team leader while F-35s fly overhead.
    I think that all that covers the sort of films that have been coming out of Hollywood the past twenty years.

    1. JTMcPhee

      So there will be lots of Virtual Reality computer-generated content in this production? I refer especially to the part of the script that calls for “F-35s flying overhead…” “Calling Pixar!”

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        I think the extent of the Thai angle will be a host of scantily clad Thai schoolgirls ‘back home’ cheering on the rescue by those Brave American SEALs.

        Since it’ll probably be rated ‘R’ to accommodate the F35 air strikes required to ‘prepare the battle space for our war fighters and operators’ before the rescue, (terrorists, trying to kidnap the trapped boys have their own parallel ‘rescue’ in motion…hence the need for explosions and all that rot) …that also allows several backstory flashbacks where the blonde adonis-like football hero trapped within the cave can dream of some romps w/aforementioned scantily clad Thai girls.

        I, for one, will just read the book.

          1. ambrit

            Oh, come on now. I like Dwayne Johnson. He’s a worthy successor to Rowdy Roddy Piper. He learned his acting craft in Wrestling and then moved on up to Movies. Both Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger were actors who became Governor of the State of California. Arnie was a muscleman too. (Probably still is.) Dwayne has heights yet to conquer!

    2. Roger Smith

      To be scored by Hans Zimmer. Maybe the Musk character can actually go down there himself, risking his life almost dying to manually fix his contraption as the Seals/kids are escaping. At the last minute the team leader dives back in to pull him out, rushing out as the cave collapses. Of course this has to appeal to as many demographics as humanly possible. Therefore there will be ongoing teen drama between the Football players and the cheer team, which is also trapped down there. Maybe the goth, outcast video club is there to documenting their trip. Then we can introduce found footage segments.

      1. ambrit

        Boil this down to an ‘Elevator Pitch’ and we can raise some pre-production money!
        (Don’t forget to loudly proclaim that: “A portion of the profits from this movie will be donated to Thai Youth Soccer Spelunker Clubs!”)

    3. Pavel

      Anyone else disgusted by the endless coverage of 12 boys lost in a cave compared with the virtual news blackout on the genocide/famine in Yemen killing hundreds of thousands?

      The world and its media sure like these small scale tragedies (remember the Peruvian mine workers a few years back) but are certainly capable of ignoring the big ones.

      Similarly: all the liberals (HRC, Eliz. Warren, Albright, Maddow) in hysterical outrage over the border separations, while the same people supported the destruction of Libya and in one case approved of the killing of 500,000 Iraqi kids. These people are on TV all the time and no interviewer asks them about the hypocrisy.

      Bah humbug!

    4. ChrisPacific

      You forgot the bit about how the Russians will be plotting to sabotage the rescue, culminating in a cyber-attack aiming to shut off the life support systems for the team during the final operation. Only a desperate heroic action by US counterintelligence is able to thwart them and avert disaster.

    5. ewmayer

      Maybe it’s a film-title issue: “Saving Student Engchawadechasilpwontiphontiphontipoom” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

    6. The Rev Kev

      Oh my. I forgot the most important US film tradition going back at least forty years. The Coach and rescue team leader are BROTHERS. And there is the bow.

  10. voteforno6

    Re: Flying Taxis

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this was being driven, at least in part, by the desire of a number of generals to not have to sit in traffic. What’s the point of having a staff car, if you’re stuck in the same boat as everyone else?

    1. JTMcPhee

      I recall a Playboy cartoon: the frame is the inside of a General’s car from the passenger seat, with the General driving (this was in the mid ‘60s). The view out the windshield was of lots of jammed-up cars at a merge point, with the Pentagram across the bridge, and a “Yield” sign just up ahead, and the general, frowning and glowering, saying “YIELD? NEVER!”

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The message hasn’t gotten through to everyone. A friend who lives close to a known rapidly eroding coastline (its all sand and gravel cliffs – its where Spielberg filmed the D-Day landing sequence for Saving Private Ryan) says a close neighbour recently applied to demolish their house about 150 yards from the cliff line – and rebuild it 100 yards closer! All for a better view apparently. Probably fortunately for that person, the local authority refused them the permits they needed.

        1. Arizona Slim

          My personal favorite:

          This happened in County Cornwall, which is one of my ancestral homes. (The Slim ancestors came from many places. Cornwall is but one.)

          When I visited Cornwall back in the 1970s, my relatives were, shall we say, a bit leery of getting too close to the edge of the cliff that was about 100 yards south of their house. Reason: That cliff, and others nearby, were highly unstable.

      1. JTMcPhee

        In the mid-1980s, a big-firm senior partner attorney in Seattle, head of said firm’s “Environmental and Land Use Department,” wanted to build a house right on Puget Sound, on the ‘desirable’ Perkins Lane. The terrain is alluvial till, which undermines and then slips away thanks to rain infiltration.

        He was denied a permit by Seattle, even though he paid an engineering firm to pound steel pilings into the stuff and certify that the improvements would never fail, come hell or high water. Said attorney successfully sued the city to force them to issue the permit, on a variety of grounds.

        Then, a couple of years later, nature did what it does, and said bespoke, high-falutin’ house, and its deep-driven pilings, slid off the beautiful-view cliffside and down into the bay. And therepon, to wit, e pluribus unum, said attorney successfully sued the city, on the ground that they wrongfully issued him that permit.

        Rule of Law? My effing patoot. Finance, economics, politics and power, all right.

        1. David Carl Grimes

          It’s a good thing he and his family didn’t slide along with the house into the bay. But given what a jerk he was, maybe he should have.

      2. Oregoncharles

        I lived on an eroding cliff face on the Oregon N. Coast for 10 years, before moving to the valley. The house is now gone. Must have been demolished, but you can still see the garage where it fell down the slope. When I lived there, knowing that the space between the house and the beach was slipping, I observed that the entire beachfront cliff in that cove was scalloped with old slides, plus one or two that were still active. And that was before sea-level rise got going.

        I think the whole cove is a very slow landslide, with the ocean carving off the toe.

  11. Louis Fyne

    –If democratic socialism is so bad, why is Norway so great? —

    Norway has a population less than the 5 boroughs of NYC, oil + no post-industrialization ruins+ strong sense of national/cultural identity + isn’t aspirationally obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses.

    Big fan of democratic socialism, but my opinion is that dem. socialism doesn’t scale up past a certain size, especially when American-style aspirational, nihilistic consumerism is thrown in

    just being real.

    1. Synoia

      American-style aspirational, advertisement driven, nihilistic consumerism is thrown in

      Please don’t forget the attitudes are created and manipulated with agitprop.

      1. jrs

        is that how Nordic pro-social attitudes are created?

        Really I think there is more to culture than that (and advertising is widespread) and it goes back further (all of the anglosphere is like that and countries that were originally colonized by Spain have their own issues etc.). But yes advertising is not helping anything.

    2. Synoia

      American-style aspirational, advertisement driven, nihilistic consumerism is thrown in

      Please don’t forget the agitprop manufacture of the consumerism, because “free speech.” Expensive free speech.

    3. Richard

      Hmm, well and depressingly put. Maybe we need to stop throwing Venezuela under the bus, as User Friendly mentioned, and consider socialist models besides the northern European. It is no big mystery why white leftists point to europe all the time: it seems like an easier sell and doesn’t challenge any of their prejudices. Time to grow up.

      Maybe Obrador will give us a closer model as well.

          1. ambrit

            Hey! Aren’t you supposed to be haunting the corridors of the Louisiana State Capitol Building?

          1. pretzelattack

            well, we could leave out jfk. vietnam expansion, bay of pigs, taking the world to the brink, lying about the nuclear threat in 1960, not to mention chasing maids in the white house. there’s a reason bill c was so enamored with him.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Thank you. I’ve always wondered, but didn’t bother to look it up.

          Apparently there’s another side, but he does sound a lot like Chavez, only possibly a better administrator.

      1. JohnnyGL

        I really don’t think scale or cultural/ethnic diversity is a real obstacle.

        Medicare and Social Security are popular, well-functioning public services that deliver excellent value for money, along with the Post Office and the many municipally owned electric utilities, one of the biggest being the Tennessee Valley Authority. TVA is also hugely popular with customers, cheap and effective.

        We’ve got plenty of public services being provided in our everyday lives, already. The government should/can offer more, and more extensive, services.

      2. John k

        Maybe point to Europe because some dem socialists there have avoided the massive corruption and two level exchange rate in Venezuela, which gas more resources than Norway.

    4. bronco

      who says Norway is great? Its cold and also dark , already a great recipe for depression ,then socialism FTW

      1. pretzelattack

        i’m sure socialism helps counteract the effects of the climate on mood. just think how bad it would be if economic conditions were as bad there as in the u.s.

  12. Jim Haygood

    Today, with trade war fears front and center as Robert “Death to China” Lighthizer releases 205 pages of Chinese goods targeted for fresh tariffs, the Treasury yield curve is reacting accordingly.

    With the 2yr Treasury quoted at a yield of 2.60% and the 10yr at 2.85%, the difference between them (the 2y10y yield curve) has shrunk to a new low of only 0.25%.

    This implies that the Fed’s next rate hike in September could invert the curve to a negative value, which nearly always signals recession.

    Investors’ thinking could not be more plain: trade war = Depression. Treasuries will be the last safe refuge after Hoover-Trump vanquishes Bubble III with a shiv to the stomach.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The world according to capitalists.

      Investors’ thinking…versus workers’ or wannabee-workers’ thinking.

      Will there be jobs for illegal or undocumented Americans in Shenzhen?

  13. Katniss Everdeen


    I’d argue that demanding an end to this scourge of illegal immigration IS “caring” about “undocumented immigrants.”

    Only in the twisted psyche of a population that accepts the idea that “you’ve got to destroy the village to save it” as legit, is feeding foreign humans into the meat grinder of the underground u.s. slave labor force to get cheap vegetables, poultry, milk and home improvements construed as “caring.” Mangling the concept of the “american dream” beyond all recognition doesn’t change the definition of the word “caring” one iota.

    And, by the way, “we” already produce too much dairy in this country, which is why “we” have all that cheese hangin’ around.

    1. KB

      Well said, Katniss…..
      Why do so few Americans get it though?….seems like common sense to me.

    2. Richard

      scourge? You’re mixing concern over the conditions of work, and compensation, with the language of a comic book villain.
      1) You realize the US is at net zero population growth? All this hinting about invasions is simply fear-mongering bunkum, we have just as many people leaving the country as coming in. I challenge you to check my facts here, and to incorporate them into your world view.
      2) A majority of those coming to the US, from central america especially, are fleeing conditions that the US bears a good deal of responsibility for: Narco wars, NAFTA, the Honduras coup. Those people have a legal right to be here. I hope they’re not part of the scourge?
      3) So called illegal immigrants “contribute” more financially than they get from US society, taxes but no benefits. How about we stop stealing from them if we’re not going to give them benefits?

      1. Lord Koos

        Yes, but the people coming in mostly aren’t white… stoking racial fears is a right-wing specialty.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          More like wealthy lords on the left and on the right have a patent on that specialty.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        1. As many Americans leaving as foreigners coming in?

        And readers are challenged to check that fact?

        2. Legal right to be here?

        I think a more solid case can be made that Mexico has a claim to a few US states, namely, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and California, which the US ‘forced’ Mexico to sell to end the Mexican-American War.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Actually, I think it’s as many undocumented immigrants leaving as coming in. Or was during the recession. Might be all immigrants.

          I think native-born citizens are actually below replacement rate. Immigration is sustaining the population. Immigrants tend to have more children, an effect that falls away rapidly over time.

        2. Richard

          I have checked myself, and the “fact” I was referring to had to do only with Mexican illegal immigration being at net zero or under, and not with immigration in general. Oops, and apologies for that sloppiness.
          Doesn’t change how I feel about the word “scourge”.

        3. Richard

          By legal right to be here, I’m referring to those immigrants either fleeing narco terror or death squad activity. My understanding is that they are legally entitled to sanctuary and are virtually always found so when they get representation. So that’s what I meant when I said “have a legal right”, and that’s who I meant it about. I wasn’t clear before, so thanks.
          Oops, I meant to place this as a reply to MLTPB.

  14. Richard

    The article on the corrupting and counterproductive influence of gates money in public schools is well worth a read. Short and meaty!
    I teach in Seattle. Haven’t had too much gates $ at our school; but my sense is they go after the poorest and brownest neighborhoods first, as the interviewee implies. “Predatory” and “colonizing” are the first 2 words that come to mind.
    Side note: The district did just assign a former MS executive to run our tech district wide. Well last fall. The result is an unwieldy extra layer of MS platforms to get through to access our data, and more business for MS. No value added for educators. Absolutely none. But it did manage to suck away millions of dollars that we didn’t need.
    I’d love to hear from educators or parents whose schools have been directly impacted by gates foundation money.

  15. Carolinian

    Wow. Kavanaugh–enemy of the Internet. From Ars Technica:

    Consumers generally expect ISPs to deliver Internet content in un-altered form. But Kavanaugh argued that ISPs are like cable TV operators—since cable TV companies can choose not to carry certain channels, Internet providers should be able to choose not to allow access to a certain website, he wrote.

    By this reasoning the owner of, say, Comcast could decide he has a moral objection to Naked Capitalism and exercise his “first amendment rights” to block the site. Kavanaugh claimed ISPs had such a Constitutional right even if Congress should explicitly designate them as Common Carriers.

    Yesterday in Water Cooler commenter Lee linked up this article whch explained why current Democrats are not New Deal Democrats.

    Underpinning the political transformation of the New Deal was an intellectual revolution, a new understanding of property rights. In a 1932 campaign speech known as the Commonwealth Club Address, FDR defined private property as the savings of a family, a Jeffersonian yeoman-farmer notion updated for the 20th century. By contrast, the corporation was not property. Concentrated private economic power was “a public trust,” with public obligations, and the continued “enjoyment of that power by any individual or group must depend upon the fulfillment of that trust.” The titans of the day were not businessmen but “princes of property,” and they had to accept responsibility for their power or be restrained by democratic forces. The corporation had to be fit into the constitutional order.

    The gist of Matt Stoller’s article is that that radical corporatism as represented by Kavanaugh gained prominence because the Democrats–who in previous times would have opposed–came to agree with the notion of corporations as beneficent market actors. The Brandeis idea that corporate and government power are rivals in opposition was rejected and FDR’s warning that corporate rule equals fascism was forgotten.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Best comment of the thread there:

      “This is like the paperboy ripping off the front page of the newspaper because he didn’t like it.”

      The delivery company now has first amendment rights.

      1. Angie Neer

        That is indeed an excellent analogy, at least for those of us who know what a paperboy was.

  16. allan

    “Pfizer will roll back drug prices after discussion with Trump Politico”

    Not unexpectedly, this happy news turns out to be a Pfotemkin Village. Marketwatch:

    After a presidential tweet directly targeted Pfizer Inc. for recent drug price hikes, the pharmaceutical company appeared to back down.

    “Pfizer is rolling back price hikes, so American patients don’t pay more,” President Donald Trump tweeted triumphantly.

    But always read the fine print.

    Pfizer is actually postponing its July 1 price increases until the end of the year or the president’s drug price blueprint goes into effect — “whichever is sooner,” as Pfizer’s press release puts it.

    In other words: the drugmaker gave the Trump administration a deadline. And the Trump drug price plan, which was introduced in mid-May, likely won’t be ready in time. …

    The “plan” of course is vaporware. Another massive win for the back row kids.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The end of the year…

      Interesting timing.

      Maybe the corporate Democrats will come to their rescue.

  17. James Graham

    ” Baron Cohen’s new series, Who is America?, feels like an ambush. ”

    This “comedian” once ridiculed an American family (while pretending to be an East European) by presenting his hostess with a transparent plastic bag full of his own excreta, pretending that it was what he did in his own country.

    He’s just another anti-American bully.

    1. Carolinian

      His so-called movie career seems to be kaput. But he’s the perfect comic for those who like to feel superior to the “deplorables” of any nationality.

    2. Lord Koos

      Possibly, be he has also shined a light some some uncomfortable truths. I don’t see him as a bully, he probably loves this place, doesn’t he live in LA?

  18. bookguy

    Jerri-Lynn, this is unrelated to the Links, but I didn’t where else to mail you:

    You mentioned in a post a few months back that you were reading an Aurelio Zen mystery. I read the series, which was excellent. Do you have any other mystery novel recommendations?

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Don’t want to hijack the thread, but do want to answer your question: Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series; Abir Mukherjee’s new Sam Wyndham series, set in Calcutta during the Raj; Colin Cotterill’s Dr. Siri Pauboun series, set in Laos; Sarah Caudwell’s four Hilary Tamar novels.

      1. Lord Koos

        “Bangkok 8” by John Burdett is a pretty good read, the sequels are a little over the top, but that first book in the series is great.

      2. blennylips

        Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö’s Martin Beck series (Sweden) belongs on that list.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          Yes! Certainly. Ten splendid books– the series is a must read. Enjoyed Bungalow 8 and Burdett’s Hong Kong book but wouldn’t recommend his more recent Bangkok books. Flabby and repetitive. Also should mention Leonardo Padura. Wonderful. Have wanted to visit Havana ever since.

    2. Synapsid


      Two series by Michael Pearce:

      Start with “The Mamur Zapt and the Return of the Carpet” (Egypt before WWI), and

      “A Dead Man in Trieste” set in Trieste (surprise!), again before WWI.

      Pearce was born in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan in, I think, 1933. His affection for the people in his novels and his understanding of their cultures are plain.

      1. Carolinian

        Billy Wilder already made it–Ace in the Hole, aka The Big Carnival with Kirk Douglas. That one ended tragically.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are a lot of Buddhists.

      I believe, and I have to check again, many men become monks for a short period.

      (Not sure about Thai women being briefly nuns).

      And not surprising to read the teacher was a monk.

      So, if the fortuitous timing was not science, then many there today would be grateful to the Buddha.

      1. rowlf

        Many males in Thailand become novices or monks for a while to honor their families. Technically there are no longer any nuns as the lineage was broken, but a rogue Australian monk ordained some recently to bring back the tradition.

        The Rains Retreats are starting soon:

        1. Lord Koos

          We saw Buddhist nuns in Thailand more than once. Men also often become monks in their retirement years.

          1. rowlf

            “From conservative perspectives, like those prevailing in Thailand and among many Tibetan lineages, none of the contemporary bhikkhuni ordinations are valid. For Theravadins, rule 6 of the garudhammas has created a sort of chicken-and-egg dilemma, demanding that nuns exist in order for new nuns to be made. The legalist view holds that a woman from one Buddhist tradition ordained by monks or nuns in another invalidates the very notion of lineage. ”


  19. Wukchumni

    Our predecessors to the area-the Wukchumni tribe, lived around these parts for a few thousand years, and they headed for the High Sierra in the summer to avoid les Cent-Jours of brutal heat where the mercury is constantly in triple digits from July until September.

    It’ll be 103 on the turn @ Hwy 198, and 637 significant curves later up one of the twistiest roads in the country, it’s 73.

    I enjoy delving into the past and who doesn’t like a riddle, and in this case said quandary is 4 foot wide-by 3-4 feet deep sunk basins in flatish large granite rocks.

    There are 6 such sites in Mineral King, one of them just half a mile away from our cabin, and said ‘tubs’ always come in multiple sets, in this case 3 or 4 of them @ each site, with one having 7 tubs.

    There are in excess of 1,000 of these strewn from Kings Canyon NP down to Lake Isabella, all more or less @ an altitude of 5,000 to 7,000 feet and none lower or higher in altitude, and all on a north-south axis, the most being 369 in one location, which an archaeologist thinks might be an Indian salt works, as it’s above a creek that’s slightly salty, with the idea being that the basins would fill with slightly salty water and then later in the summer evaporate out, leaving the salt.

    The riddle to them being, were they made by Indians who only had fire, water and other granite as tools?

    Or is there some other reason for their existence?

    A couple of USGS articles on them:

    An interesting report from 1929:

    1. Oregoncharles

      Are there oak trees at that elevation? My impression is that the natives in that area lived largely on acorn, which had to be crushed and soaked to remove the tannin.

      The “tubs” would serve that purpose nicely – which leaves the question of how they were made.

      Dugout canoes are done using fire; does fire weaken the granite? (We don’t have granite here, so I’ve no idea).

      1. Wukchumni

        The tubs are at or above black oaks, which were the favored acorn of all varieties of oak tree, and they’re a little stingy in abundance of acorns, so i’d imagine it would have been BYOA from locales farther down, where live oaks or other oaks ply.

        When the Wukchumni along with every other subtribe of the Yokut, and the Paiute on the east side of the Sierra all started dying en masse in 1868-69 from measles, the settlers in town burned all of the tribes sweatlodges by the river, as it was the only thing the Indians really did differently from them. Little did they know that it was their weak immunity systems that was doing the trick. 85-90% of the population was wiped out in a year.

        The tubs could have been dual purpose in that if you constructed a sweat lodge around the perimeter of them, and placed large rocks fresh from being in the fire with a couple of stout branches into the pools of water, and presto, instant sweat lodge.

        That would explain why they come in sets close together.

        Fire weakens granite, especially when you pour water on the fuego, but it also creates cracking of the surface, and that’s the funny part in that I never see any evidence of it around the edges of the tubs. How’d they do it?

  20. Jason Boxman

    Regarding airline seats, I wonder if this is also an effort to discourage larger people from flying? Even with smaller seats, you can still buy an additional seat for yourself. But the bathroom size is fixed.

    My last flight with JetBlue in January, the bathroom was already a coffin. I’m surprised it’s possible to make it any smaller.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Yours Truly is short of stature and slight of build. But even I am noticing the compression of space on planes.

    2. pretzelattack

      if each seat came with a port a potty below it, they could avoid wasting space on things like bathrooms and install more seats.

      1. sleepy

        Maybe they could just put diapers on the passengers, and gag and blindfold them like AirCIA does when flying terrorists around.

  21. Jim Haygood

    Today’s lesson in economic fallacy:

    President Donald Trump told NATO leaders that they should double their defense spending from the current target by 2024 of 2% of GDP to 4%, according to Bloomberg News.

    “President Trump, who spoke, raised the question not just to reach 2%, today, but set a new target — 4%. He just left after he announced that,” Bulgarian president Rumen Radev told reporters, according to BNR public radio via Bloomberg. Many countries, notably Germany, are struggling to reach 2%.

    A primary reason why Europe is able to offer benefits such as universal health care and excellent rail infrastructure is that it does NOT malinvest 5 percent of its GDP (as the US does) in a negative rate of return military empire.

    Trying to drag Europe down into America’s failed economic model is a nice try, as is the MSM’s fanciful characterization of Germany as “struggling” to spend 2 percent of GDP on armaments. But it won’t work.

    Parochial Trump still believes what he was taught as a lad — that the rest of world envies rich, militarized America and wants to grow up to be just like us. That’s so 1960s — before Vietnam exposed America’s macho posturing, cultural ignorance and hollow soul.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is it a case of the Europeans spending more with the US maintaining her current share level, or is he asking the Europeans to spend more, so America can spend less on NATO (and re-allocate that money to domestic rail infrastructure)?

      1. Jim Haygood

        US military spending is ramping up. It makes no difference how much or how little is spent on NATO; it will be spent.

        $88.9 billion is budgeted for “fighting the Islamic State” while another $18.7 billion is allocated to “helping the State Department and Homeland Security fight ISIS” — total: $107.6 billion. That’s more than the entire federal budget in 1962.

        If ISIS didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it … oh wait.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Overall military is indeed going up.

          As it relates to Europe or NATO, it is still a relevant question, if some Europeans will help the US to free up some money for domestic programs.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Preach it, Comrade Jim!

      I haven’t been in Europe in many years, but, during my last visit, I can recall quite a few examples of how the locals were convinced that their way of life was better than mine. And they weren’t shy about telling me so.

      1. Lord Koos

        My, how times change. American tourists once enjoyed visiting the lands of their European ancestors and would brag to the locals how everything was so much better and more modern back in the states. Perhaps at one time that was true, but it’s been quite awhile now.

  22. HotFlash

    Thank you, Jerri-Lynn, for another fine set of thought-provoking links, with obligatory shout-outs to Yves for the existence of NC and to the NC Commentariat for fine thoughts provoked. Good reads, indispensable site.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “As restaurants go cashless, a backlash is building. Will D.C. intervene?”

    Is that even legal? My understanding is that it’s “fiat” currency because the federal government requires merchants to take it – that is, once currency is presented, the bill is paid. It’s “credit” – plastic – that is optional.

    Was that understanding wrong, or might we see the Secret Service (actually the Treasury police) intervening with “cashless” places? Apparently customer preference isn’t going to stop them.

    1. Lord Koos

      Since it says right on the currency that it is legal tender for all debts, public and private, isn’t anyone who refuses cash breaking the law?

    2. Higgs Boson

      Customer preference could stop the practice, if you refuse to patronize that establishment and you tell them so (either in person, on social media, through their customer relations, etc.)

      But the practice is not illegal:

      Legal Tender Status

      Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Pennies aren’t legal tender, IIRC. Don’t know why stores keep dealing in them, with those silly $.99 prices.

        Thanks for the clarification.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        So, it sounds like they HAVE to accept it, but they can choose what form (no pennies, or no hundred dollar bills, for example).

        For example, to pay a bill of $160, a business can refuse to take one one-hundred dollar bill plus 3 twenties, but it will have to take 8 twenty dollar bills (if that complies with their policy).

        1. Higgs Boson

          Or plastic, apparently:

          “Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Also whether to serve that or that customer…or not to serve.

            That was the big question recently.

    3. HotFlash

      So, if they don’t take cash, what do they take?

      Haven’t seen cashless yet here in The Great White North, but we have a lot of places that take debit (ie, money out of your bank account electronically into theirs). Most prefer debit to cash or credit since cash is kinda risky and credit card cos charge beaucoup processing fees. Banks charge a bit for debit, but for most merchants the saw-off of not having to keep cash around is worth it. Benefits for the merchant include reduced risk of robbery, cash receipts bookkeeping done automatically, less opportunity of staff or customers to skive (whether $$ out of till, shortchanging or customer claims of such, bad cheques, counterfeit $$), indisputable proof of payment, and don’t have the sometimes dangerous hassle of getting cash to the bank after closing.

      Credit cards only? Now that is a horse of a very different colour.

  24. JimTan

    “How do kleptocrats spend the money?”

    This is pretty shocking reading especially when considering the former Malaysian Prime Minister siphoned $4.5 billion that his country borrowed from bond markets for the stated purpose of long-term economic development. The article mentions lots of homes, fine art, jewelry, yachts, and the like which can hopefully be recovered and sold to repay the Malaysian people. It fails to mention the wasted spending of Malaysia’s fraudsters that can never be recovered including NYC nightclubs, dating different celebrities, a Las Vegas birthday party, and a “double-countdown” party ( which apparently means flying to celebrate the New Year countdown in two different cities on the same day ).

  25. Jim Haygood

    Flake-o-nomics shifts into damage control mode:

    In the face of a trade war that intensified just four days ago, Vice President Pence is quietly setting up one-on-one meetings with major Midwestern donors where he is prepared to blunt concerns over an escalating situation that’s beginning to wreak havoc on markets, farmers and employers.

    The vice-president’s trip — announced Monday, just days after the United States leveled a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion of Chinese goods and China enacted equivalent retaliatory tariffs — will take him to Kansas City, Cedar Rapids and Chicago, where he’ll meet privately with big donors and attend fundraisers for three embattled Republican House incumbents.

    The timing of the visits, paired with the donor meetings, is the first sign of an administration effort to manage political blowback from a trade war the president started — a confrontation that could prove costly to the GOP’s efforts to hold its majorities in the House and the Senate.

    After a Kansas City fundraiser for Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder on Wednesday, Pence will appear with House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Rod Blum in northeastern Iowa, where pork producers and soybean farmers are seeing profits plummet.

    “We are projecting to lose $1 billion here, just on pork and soybeans alone,” said state Rep. Abby Finkenauer. “Iowa is very different than the rest of the country. If our ag economy and our farming economy are not doing well, neither is our manufacturing. We make combines and plows here. It affects us all across the board.”

    What does a white-shoe golfer from Queens, New York know about Iowa? His tweets expressing concern for the plight of farmers are strategically timed but devoid of substance.

    Hard times in Hooverville …

    1. Lord Koos

      Most of rural Washington state, where I live, voted for Trump. WA is the second hardest-hit by the trade war, after California, as the state is a leading agricultural exporter. I really hope they learn a lesson here, as many of these farmers and ranchers have been voting Republican in lockstep for generations.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Hard to work up too much pity for corporate farmers whose lobby diverts so much wealth from the federales and state governments and trashed the yeoman farmer residue, and who invented the game of hedging to assist their activities.

      I ran across a front page article from the Chicago Tribune, dated about 1875 IIRC, reporting the conviction of several fellows for the then crime of wagering on the future price of pigs and cattle and grain. Activities on the Board of Trade, of course, have since become de rigeur, and one of the swankier racing yachts in the snotty-ass Chicago Yacht Club fleet was named “Limit Up,” owned by a trader of course. Derivatives, of course, were a step beyond the next step, the Options Exchange, all nice and legal, and economist-approved ™. An appropriate sequel: the Chicago FIRE.

      And of course those Big Farming activities who have been playing the globalist game get subsidies, and get to overuse water resources and deplete the soils (and maybe get to depreciate the depletion?) and send the runoff into “oublic waters,” and how about the manifold nasty effects of “concentrated animal feeding operations,” all the pig poop and cow crap and methane we mopes end up having to deal with, and antibiotic overuse leading to Superbug pathogens, all those evaded externalities leading to “privatized profits” and “socialized costs and losses?”

      All gets down to what kind of political economy is wanted and emplaced, by people who actually have the power to make it so. Reporting the above news as if it’s a bad thing, without context, maybe just helps insure that traders continue to be able to work with “the holy market” to advance the “human race to the bottom.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I understand that, to trade-peaceniks, it’s trade-peace in our time at all costs.

        “You must cede, cede, cede.”

      2. Lord Koos

        I don’t know about where you live, but there are still a lot of relatively small farmers in these parts.

          1. HotFlash

            todde, could you please explain to a no-longer-US-ian, what the Republican small farmers are wanting to fight for? Honest question I am from a family of Republican small farmers, but that was decades ago, and I never figured out why. Maybe b/c the New Deal left farmers out a lot? Just a hold-over from Lincoln days? Both my maternal Republican (rural) and paternal Democratic (tradesmen in small village) families fought for the Union, btw, and lost several members, hence land-grants in Michigan. Sincerely don’t know the answer.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I’ve lived in Northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, Washington state, and with the Army in Alabama, Virginia, Arkansas and now Florida. No doubt there are some ‘small family farms’ left, but here’s a chart and article from the WaPo showing a very marked (“market?”) decline from 8 million to maybe 2 million, “Consolidation, my dear boy… efficiency, market-driven und so weiter…”

          And then you have the definitional issue of what constitutes a “small family farm:” The 2012 Census of Agriculture Farm Typology report classifies all farms into unique categories based on three criteria: who owns the operation, whether farming is the principal operator’s primary occupation, and gross cash farm cash income (GCFI). Small family farms have GCFI less than $350,000; midsize family farms have GCFI from $350,000 to $999,999; and large family farms have GCFI of $1 million or more. Small farms are further divided based on whether the principal operator works primarily on or off the farm.

          And then if you go and read the whole government piece, one kind of has to acknowledge that “bigger is winning.” Maybe some Californian here or Iowan who follows farm issues can chime in about the Huge Family Farms that grow pistachios and soybeans and other crops, and just have not been bought out by the Cargills and ADMs and Buffett’s and Kochs of this great country of ours.

        2. witters

          I believe “farming” is no longer an occuptational category in the US census because the number is less than 1%.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Weren’t there some comments recently about the environmental cost of growing and ship those soybeans?

  26. Zachary Smith

    I’ve already seen two shocking news stories today. First one told of a court declaring that the TSA was damned near immune to lawsuits.

    The second was the one here about the 91-year old being assaulted by a bunch of hyper-patriotic All-American goons. While following up, the discovery that the person wielding the brick was a 30-year-old black woman was even more surprising. Hadn’t expected the Trumpie influence to extend that far.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      My guess is that how blacks feel on this issue has been way under-reported.

      And how peacefully they have acted is unfortunately less visible due to one atrocious act.

  27. Jean

    Re Cornell “study”

    “The most recent IRS data, from 2015, shows that the agency received 4.4 million income tax returns from workers who don’t have Social Security numbers, which includes a large number of undocumented immigrants. That year, they paid $23.6 billion in income taxes.”

    So the undocumented are getting credited with taxes paid by Americans w/o a valid SS#?

    Not mentioned; the hundreds of billions of dollars “migrants” send home, and out of our local economies, thus depriving them of the circulation and re-circulation of these monies through the multiplier effect.

    $96 billion to Mexico alone–see the link–

    Wonder how many additional billions this costs the all governments in taxes not collected from the local spending and hiring? Bet it’s more than the $23.6 billion the undocumented pay in income taxes.

    1. a different chris

      Ah but remember our whole economic model depends on printing US dollars and sending them out of the country to die.

      Not arguing against your main point, just noting what odd directions the resistance can (will, probably disguised though) come from.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Makes one want to pick up a brick and smash the head of some oily wetback, doesn’t it? Or maybe some MIC or FIRE kleptocrats getting some of the hundreds of billions in unaccountable MMT wealth transfer, and who probably employed wetback yard workers and maybe a wetback nanny or two…

      Keep selling the Narrative, and pretty soon all we mopes have got left is the hope a modern Jay Gould will hire us to kill some of the rest of us.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Unfortunately, there will always be a few of those one-in-a-million accusers.

        Let those without migration-sin cast the first brick. (And no one steps forward).

        So, who paid those taxes?

        1. JTMcPhee

          Not the employers of wetback field hands, yard groomers, roofers and other construction corporations, or of course our 9.9+0.1% Betters who have nannies for their snowflakes (or chocolate drops, being as the Upper Crust includes the Misrulership Bunch)… is the Upper Class really becoming color-blind?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Reading yesterday’s comments, I believe not a few are not employees, but independent contractors or even entrepreneurs.

            So, it’s not always, ‘let’s get those employers.’

            Perhaps most of the time, but not always.

  28. Dunning Kroger

    Elon musk is now in some sort of feud with Thailand and wants the boys to be put back in the cave so he can test the minisub

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Will Musk show Beijing something China has not invented?

      Here, we are talking about his ingenious tent-factory (perhaps patent-pending tent factory).

  29. Lord Koos

    Trump pardons Oregon ranchers — they were all acquitted, so what is there to pardon?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder if it’s a diversion…to get us to talk about it, while he goes to do something else.

    2. allan

      Different ranchers. These are the arsonists whose imprisonment was used to justify the Cowliphate’s takeover of the Malheur Refuge. They burned more than 100 acres of public lands in an attempt to hide their illegal hunting. The pardon is a wink and a nudge to the militia movement (story at PBS Newhour).

    3. Angie Neer

      You’re mixing up two cases. The acquitted ones were protesting the jailing of the guys who have just been pardoned.

      1. Lord Koos

        Thanks to you both for the clarification. Yes, that would definitely be a signal to the militia types. Not good at all, those people are chomping at the bit to be the American brownshirts.

  30. Plenue

    >Syria conflict: After series of calamitous defeats, is Isis about to lose its last town? Independent. Patrick Cockburn

    This is all based on the assumption that the SDF/US have any intention of taking Hajin. I’ve been watching the battle maps of Syria on a daily basis, and the grey ISIS blobs in the east have been virtually unchanged for many months. I’m deeply cynical about there being any real US desire to eliminate these pockets. ISIS itself seems confident enough in the safety of the Hajin pocket that they regularly send troops across the Euphrates to attack the SAA.

    1. Oregoncharles

      For one thing, the Kurds of the SDF are way out of their territory and probably not very motivated, other than revenge. their survival move at this point is to make peace with Assad, something the US won’t like.

      The tipoff would be if they move against Hajin jointly with the Syrian Army, I suppose. I assume everyone in the area would be happier without a pocket of raging sociopaths in their midst.

    2. Andrew Watts

      The SDF/Coalition and the Iraqi Army isn’t focused on the Hajin pocket right now because they’re busy securing the Iraqi-Syrian border. The maps aren’t necessarily an accurate reflection of the situation of the ground anyway. The Islamic State sent a few suicide bombers into Al-Baaj a few days ago and have launched multiple hit-and-run attacks against Iraqi forces on the outskirts of that city despite the area being Iraqi-controlled.

      I’ve been watching the battle maps of Syria on a daily basis, and the grey ISIS blobs in the east have been virtually unchanged for many months.

      Maybe Turkey’s invasion of Afrin with their jihadist-rebel proxies had something to do with that? Afrin was still a part of the SDF in spite of whatever anybody says and their close ties with the Syrian government and Russia. Perhaps you should get yourself a new map. Between July 3rd and July 10th the SDF liberated several villages, hamlets, and towns in their operation to clear the border.

      July 3rd: Muayzilah, Abu Hadid, Al-Khabrah, Taraf, Nasib, Rujm al-Hajjanah, Rujm Dar, Hajj al-Hamad, al-Hamzah, Saqqar, Kulaywah, Mulayhan, Tall al-Jabir and Shatnah

      July 6th: Hawijah, Al-Saraj, Al-Ajrash, Al-Aziziyah and Tuwaymin

      July 7th: Ghadir Abdallah, Rayhaniyah, Bir Dhahab, Al-Siha, Kalka and Bir al-Abid

      July 10th: Mutlaq

      Maps don’t do any justice to the actual size of any given region. (ie: Alaska)

      1. JTMcPhee

        One wonders how the Syrian strategy of giving the fungible Gun Men of the jihadist sort the option of switching allegiances, this time to the SAA/Assad or SDF, something that happens almost daily for some of these “muj-i-Khalkists, or a free passage to one of the enclaves of other such folks, will play out. It clears some areas of active shooters, but the Gun Men maybe lack the temperament or skills to you know, establish or take useful part in a “civil society.” And then as mentioned there are revenges that must be taken, and all that. Not like these behaviors are anything new to that part of the world, but of course the “paramilitaries” and “field operatives” and “oh so very special forces” types have done such a great job of stoking the flames.

        I make pitches every so often for a couple of write-ups of how our sneaky Petes and Armed Forces have operated.

        The first is by a CIA paramilitary, Gary Schroen, titled “First In: An Insider’s Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan,” being the war after the augmented Taliban kicked the Russians out of the Graveyard of Empires. Here’s the link to the CIA’s brag piece on the book: It’s kind of a primer in destabilization and infiltration and making Whoopie with big piles of shrink-wrapped $100 bills and various warlords and political types.

        The second is “Where Men Win Glory,” by Jon Krakauer. Tells the story of Pat Tillman, from rough young man to football idol to Army Ranger to killed-by-friendly-fire corpse to basis for a great patriotic fraud by our general officer class, and of course the Imperial Hierarchy. A review of the book is here:

        We mopes know so little of the nitty-gritty of war, the enterprise and enormous racket that it is. …

      2. Plenue

        I use the LiveUA map (, which is updated far more frequently than the Civil War map.

        I’m well aware of the villages they’ve taken. They’re small fry that don’t meaningfully alter the lines on the map. The pace is pathetic, compared both to their own previous progress and that of the Russians and SAA. They’re securing the Syria-Iraq border? They sure have a funny way of doing it, since they aren’t pushing down along the border to shrink the pockets. They’re seizing token villages along the entire top of the bigger pocket, and doing even less in the much smaller Hajin pocket. I’ll reiterate that theres so little going on in that cauldron that ISIS sends forces across the river (under the inactive gaze of the USAF) to attack Syrian government forces.

        That the Kurds are panicked and distracted by the actions of the Turks is a somewhat plausible explanation for their lackluster performance, but it doesn’t at all explain why American airpower has dropped their number of sorties by at least an order of magnitude. ISIS is bottled up in what should be killzones. But the USAF ignores them, day after day after day, other than occasionally bombing a machine gun post or (likely empty) storehouse.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Unless you are Milo Minderbinder, or mis-set the GPS coordinates or fool around with the laser target designator out of boredom or stupidity, you don’t bomb your own assets. And whence cometh Daesh/ISIS and other takfiri/jihadi war bands?

  31. Plenue


    Good god, Wilson and the others profiled in this story come across as incredibly sad and pathetic people.

    1. kareninca

      I just reread the article and I didn’t see anything about the underlying views or psychological states of any of those involved other than Wilson. The reporter briefly chatted with Winkleman, the engineer, but he didn’t say anything other than that he wanted to make sure the specs were precise. Who are you thinking of when you say this??? Are you just going by the group photograph?? I feel as if I’m missing something. Are you referring to the encryption guys, whose free speech legal precedent was followed?? But are their temperaments relevant at all? The encryption guy they interviewed doesn’t like that the gun guys are uploading this data.

      I do think the big thing to take away here, in any case, is not what they are like as people; it is what they are doing, which is a big deal. Milling a gun at home has always been possible; this will make it easy to do a really good job fast.

      1. Plenue

        The obsession with guns is what is pathetic. These people have some vague idea that they’re striking a blow for freedom by making it easier to make homemade firearms, but the right to guns is basically the only right the government seems willing not to mess with these days. Because it doesn’t matter. These people are not a threat, and they aren’t actually accomplishing anything. Or at least nothing positive.

  32. The Rev Kev

    “If democratic socialism is so bad, why is Norway so great?”

    When I was a teenager there was an urban legend of sorts about high rates of suicides in Norway. Then I read a book by James A. Michener called “The Drifters” where he mentions this topic as one of the main characters was a Norwegian girl. He reckoned that the reason that this meme was widespread was that it was spread by the American government way back then. The direct link was that if you had a socialistic government then you would have a high number of suicides.
    Probably not such a reach that. I read the CIA World Fact book on Australia some twenty years ago and found it funny that Australia was presented as a county that was socialistic in nature. We NEVER think of ourselves in such terms but back then tended more for policies that actually worked. I now realize that the reason that the CIA called Australia as socialistic was such things as universal health care cover and compulsory voting and such. Damn! We are just about communists.

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