Links 7/12/18

Stone tools found in China could be oldest evidence of human life outside Africa Guardian

Lake surfers say polluted waves are making them sick—but they love it too much to stop Chicago Reader. Amazing photos.

High prices test private equity’s ability to close healthcare deals Modern Healthcare

US regulator to examine auditors’ ‘going concern’ reporting FT

The New Gold Rush for Green Bonds Governing

Novartis joins the Big Pharma exodus out of antibiotics, dumping research, cutting 140 and out-licensing programs Endpoints

Hidden conflicts? Science

Facebook and Google are arbitraging the data laws FT

Sex, Beer, and Coding: Inside Facebook’s Wild Early Days Wired. Well worth a read, and far more interesting than the clickbait headline, which is deceptive.

Brexit

EU and BoE clash over fate of financial contracts after Brexit Reuters

Brexit: debating the future EU Referendum

Customers hit out at Britain’s TSB bank after second IT outage Reuters

Slaughter And May Partner Nigel Boardman Hired By Government Despite Carillion Controversy HuffPo

Syraqistan

Trump, Iran, and oil: Lessons from Iran’s Oil History Anas Alhajji

As Erdogan Cements His Hold Over Turkey’s Economy, Global Investors Begin to Panic Wolf Street (EM).

North Korea

Trump’s Deal Is All Show, No Reality in Pyongyang Foreign Policy

App Traps: How Cheap Smartphones Siphon User Data in Developing Countries WSJ

China?

China’s silky charming of Arabia Asia Times

Trash piles up in US as China closes door to recycling Agence France Presse

How Rare Earths (What?) Could Be Crucial in a U.S.-China Trade War NYT

Tariff Tantrum

China, U.S. Hint at Chance for Talks After Trump’s Tariff Threat Bloomberg

Donald Trump creates chaos with his tariffs trade war Martin Wolf, FT

New Cold War

‘They Will Die in Tallinn’: Estonia Girds for War With Russia Politico

America’s president is Russia’s pawn Boston Globe

Trump says ‘Germany totally controlled by Russia’ through gas supplies TASS

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

NFL player accuses TSA of spilling his mother’s ashes inside his suitcase after checking his luggage Business Insider

TSA screeners win immunity from abuse claims: appeals court Reuters

My close encounter with an airport security robot FT. Unsettling, beyond LaGuardia’s “hellishly shabby facilities.”

Trump Transition

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh piled up credit card debt by purchasing Nationals tickets, White House says WaPo. If “… takes a bizarre turn….” isn’t in there, it should be.

The liberal freakout over Brett Kavanaugh is not helping The Week

Trump takes federal agency judges out of competitive status Federal Times

Why Killing Dodd-Frank Could Lead to the Next Crash Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

Some Thoughts on Trump Sic Semper Tyrannis

Democrats in Disarray

Former Obama Officials Are Riding Out The Trump Years By Cashing In HuffPo. Ka-ching.

Sanders-backed DNC plan sparks superdelegate revolt Politico. “‘If we don’t have a vote, then what good are we?’ said William Owen, a superdelegate and DNC member from Tennessee.”

Migration

200 Years of U.S. Immigration Looks Like the Rings of a Tree National Geographic

Save the Tigers Ask a Korean

A March For the Marchers The Baffler

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black farmers were intentionally sold fake seeds in Memphis, lawsuit says WMC Action News 5

Class Warfare

New game show ‘Paid Off’ offers chance to eliminate student loan debt NBC News. Better than selling a kidney, I suppose…

The cutthroat turf war behind the race to charge Bay Area electric scooters Seattle Times (DK).

SNAP work requirements could increase deep poverty for some McClatchy

A Judge Has Ruled Against Atheists Trying to Put Up the Least Offensive Ad Ever Patheos (CL).

Chile miners urge rescued Thai boys to be wary of new-found fame Reuters

Stateless and Poor, Some Boys in Thai Cave Had Already Beaten Long Odds NYT

The Thai Cave Rescue, Before Its Triumph, Teetered on the Brink of Disaster WSJ. A riveting example of what can happen when a society mobilizes. As far as the rescue itself goes, hat tip to alert reader vlade on July 4:

…I’d give them [1]full-face masks, tape those on, and [2]immobilise them, so that even if they do panic, they can’t do anything except hyperventilating (ideally, I’d get them some [3]relaxant drugs, but you never know what that + having oxygen under pressure will do.. And you don’t know when that will wear off either). Then [4]drag them the two miles with [5]a rescuer helping along + monitoring air supply.

Forget ‘dive training’.

I’ve helpfully numbered the points that correspond to what the rescuers actually did, as shown in the Wall Street Journal article. The NC commentariat is the best commentariat.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

233 comments

  1. Jim Haygood

    Bloomberg reports that NATO leaders held an unplanned emergency session on the last day of their two-day summit, following President Twitler’s incendiary remarks which he’s amplified through his social media megaphone. Excerpts:

    Europe’s borders are BAD! Pipeline dollars to Russia are not acceptable!
    The U.S. pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe, and loses Big on Trade!
    Not acceptable! All NATO Nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!
    Heil Twitler! [just kidding]

    Europeans are being shown in stark terms how US megalomania has veered into ranting, froth-at-the-mouth madness and threats. We control the reserve currency; we control the occupation troops; we control world trade — all your base are belong to us!

    Hopefully Trump’s unhinged performance will lead to the prompt dissolution of obsolete NATO, which comically has just invited mighty Macedonia North Macedonia to join its fold.

    Given its long-simmering disputes with neighbors over even such a basic question as its name, in Macedonia the US/NATO military-intelligence complex sees a shining opportunity to become enmeshed in yet another hopeless quagmire of squabbling nationalities in a dusty corner of Europe.

    Reply
    1. Jim Haygood

      From Bloomberg’s live blog:

      Trump called himself a “very stable genius” in the context of whether he would renege on what he agreed at NATO.

      Trump said he probably could withdraw from NATO without congressional approval, but it won’t be necessary.

      Trump said he is not bothered by the protesters in the U.K.: “I think it’s fine. They like me a lot.”

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-12/leaders-hold-unplanned-emergency-session-nato-update

      He’s having a manic episode. Amendment XXV can protect the public and the planet until his psychiatric condition is treated.

      Reply
      1. Bugs Bunny

        The truth is hard to listen to for Merkel et al. NATO should have either been dissolved in the 1990s or it should have brought in Russia. It only exists now as a procurement support mechanism for MIC spending and a potential spreader of chaos on the ground and death from above.

        Reply
        1. Jim Haygood

          Merkel seems out of touch with her electoral base, perhaps because her political instincts were shaped in East Germany during Cold War I:

          A YouGov poll for the dpa news agency found that more Germans would welcome the departure of the 35,000-strong American force than would oppose it.

          42 per cent said they supported withdrawal while just 37 per cent wanted the soldiers to stay, with 21 per cent undecided.

          Just 15 per cent of all Germans agree with Angela Merkel that the country should increase its military spending to 2 per cent of GDP by 2024, with 36 per cent saying the country’s already spends too much on its military.

          https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/us-troops-germany-public-opinion-pull-out-nato-summit-merkel-a8442021.html

          One is surprised not by the majority favoring US withdrawal, but rather that 37 per cent want foreign occupation troops to stay.

          Seems to be a case of Stockholm syndrome in Vichy Allemagne.

          Reply
          1. David

            At least as far as the German politico-military class is concerned, NATO was their ticket back to respectability. US troops in the country make other countries feel more relaxed about Germany. Whether this is still as true as it was, it’s hard to say.

            Reply
            1. PlutoniumKun

              With the status quo nearly 70 years old and lots of historic nervousness about German militarism in the neighbourhood, there is enormous momentum behind keeping things as they are. Nobody really wants to rock that boat. I think it would take more than a Trump twitterstorm to persuade the Germans to cut loose from the arrangement, and for their neighbours to be happy about it. Its very similar to the Japanese situation. Much as they resent it, it suits a lot of people for the US to do the military heavy lifting.

              Reply
              1. Loneprotester

                Fascinating thread.

                As a historian of empire, I have to say that this may be the first time that an imperial power NOT on the brink of collapse willingly toyed with the idea of ceding its territorial control.

                Leaving aside for now the question of why this is happening under Trump, the fact is that we are demanding that the colonies pay up for their defense. It reminds me of the spark that lit the Boston Tea Party…

                If so, this is all well and good. You cannot treat your economic equals as though they were 3rd World dependents. They cannot treat you as though they were surly teenagers, resenting your attempts to get them to take out the trash, then demanding the keys to the car.

                Reply
                1. The Rev Kev

                  ‘we are demanding that the colonies pay up for their defense’

                  Reminds me more of how the Delian League turned out.

                  Reply
            2. David

              Even in the Cold War, the US contributed relatively little to the military forces of NATO, except in airpower. The vast majority of the soldiers and equipment were European, so what in those days was called “burden-sharing” was really a comparison of defence budgets. Then, as now, the vast majority of the US budget went on things that benefited that country directly, and had only the most tenuous reference western security – its massive nuclear forces, bases in Asia etc. This whole argument has always been a bit silly.

              Reply
              1. PlutoniumKun

                Yes, and of course the US was able to lean on the Europeans to buy US equipment they didn’t really want, like the Starfighter.

                In reality, I suspect that if Nato dissolved, the sum total difference in Europe would be negligible. The French would probably be persuaded to extend their nuclear umbrella to cover the EU (they’d love that). The notion (as promoted in that Politico article) that the Russians would invade the Baltics is of course paranoid nonsense.

                Reply
                1. Ptolemy Philopater

                  Or Russia could extend its nuclear umbrella over Europe. It is this confluence of interests between Russia and Europe west of it, the vast natural resources on Russia’s part; technology and capital on the rest of Europe’s part, that must be sabotaged at all costs by the Anglo Saxon power. Europe and Russia must not be allowed to merge their interests,

                  For a long time the Soviet Union served that purpose. The US is now struggling to rationalize antagonism to Russia with the Propaganda pitch at full volume. Ultimately, it is “because we said so.” There is no longer pretending that Europe is not occupied territory.

                  That was the purpose of the Ukrainian putsch the “Putin” hysteria and all the other provocations since. I believe the hope was that Russia would overreact to the repeated provocations. The European leadership are all Anglo-Saxon quislings. They will do what they are told.

                  Reply
          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That 42 percent – how may of them are for more Lebensraum, thinking, when the US leaves, the German army will have to do more (and will need more money) to defend herself?

            Will that make the German conservatives more powerful?

            Reply
            1. Dr. Roberts

              Maybe 10% might entertain such nationalist fantasies and that’s a high number. At least half who want US troops gone are leftists who are sceptical of US power and/or NATO itself. My biggest disappointment is that Merkel and the German political establishment have refused to take any action in the face of Trump clearly demonstrating that the US can no longer be relied upon as a promoter of stability and democracy in Europe. Merkel’s response to Trump, and it would strengthen her political position substantially, should be to request the US to remove its troops. As for military spending, Germany probably spends enough as it is, but doesn’t spend it wisely enough. There is too much costly infrastructure to support small-scale foreign adventures, and not enough spending on assets that increase sovereign defensive capabilities. They should spend less on aircraft and buy a few more submarines and design long-range anti-aircraft missiles. The goal should be an army capable of being rapidly expanded should the strategic situation deteriorate, with anti-air and naval weaponry that can deter attacks from powers outside Europe.

              Reply
              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                I have a better idea. Let’s declare World Peace. Let America’s troops in the colonies come home. We can take their laser guided bombs and M-1 Abrams tanks, melt them down, and make them into useful things like shovels and hoes and hammers and backhoes. Keep these soldiers fully-employed fixing our bridges, highways, airports, and water systems. Instead of the military provisions supply chain they can stay at local hostels and eat at Mom and Pop sandwich shops. We’ll MAGA by bringing the nation’s infrastructure up to Third World status, ushering in an era of peace and prosperity and a booming local economy.

                They asked Ron Paul how soon he would bring overseas troops home. “As soon as the boats can get there” he replied. Sounds like a plan.

                Reply
                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  “That would be madness!” replied Dr. Kissinger Brzezinski Strangelove, “Europe would be undefended!”.

                  Um

                  The Europeans are not worried about Vlad crossing the Rhine, they’re worried about Mohammed crossing the Danube.

                  Reply
              2. JTMcPhee

                Love the notion that there is “democracy in Europe,” and that the US, which has interfered in the internal politics of every blinkin’ nation in Europe (and much of the rest of the world) is involved in any kind of “protection” of either democracy or security or sovereignty, anywhere. I would add that if one defines “democracy” as “whatever the plutokleptocrats want the mopes to do,” and “security” as buying US weapons and toeing the US party line, and “protection” as the kind that comes after “Nice country you have here, sure be a shame if something bad were to happen to it,” then maybe there is some small validity to the statement… Otherwise, a big NOT.

                Reply
          3. Felix_47

            Don’t be surprised. In Rheinland Pfalz the US military is a major component of the economy in an area that is not particularly prosperous. Wiesbaden enjoys a dramatic surge in real estate prices as the Army moved its headquarters there over the last five years. Nurnberg benefits from large bases in the area. The US military has been an economic engine for the German economy since WW2. In Bavaria and RP as well as BW (Baden Wurtemburg) there are few German families that do not have relatives that have married into the US military with all its benefits. As the older German population is replaced by a more Muslim and a younger population that has no recollection of the war and its aftermath we see more antipathy to the US Military.

            Reply
          4. Procopius

            You don’t seem to understand how much Germans profit off the U.S. troops stationed there. The Status of Forces Agreement is carefully written so that if any German claims damages (and battalion-sized convoys and troop exercises do cause damage to fields, fences, even buildings) he/she basically is paid immediately without argument. These are not occupation troops, we’re talking about, running amok with impunity as our Marines in Okinawa do. If troops are accused of breaking German law, they are arrested by German police and tried (if it goes that far) in a German court. There are additional American laws that troops must obey, primarily the Unified Code of Military Justice, which covers violations of military discipline. The Germans sell stuff to the Americans and the Germans collect taxes from those sales. It’s no surprise to me that quite a few Germans do not want to kill the golden goose.

            Reply
      2. Clive

        We’re doing you lot a big favour then by keeping him entertained here for a few days. There’s a soirée this evening at Blenheim Palace (he can pretend he’s the Duke of Wellington) although my invitation has seemingly been lost in the post yet again so I can’t do a first-hand report unfortunately. A meeting with The Queen (I hope they count the spoons afterwards) so maybe there’s an honorary knighthood to give him something to brag about for 5 minutes.

        Sometimes though, like a gibbering idiot, he does have brief moments of lucidity and then he does blurt out some much-needed home truths. Generally, strangely enough, I find him overall less objectionable than I did Obama during the Plutocracy Years of his presidency.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Ah Ha! You don’t realize it yet but the plan is to not let him back into the United States but to close the borders on him as an undesirable person. Tag! You’re it!

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Sir Alan. A Colonial no less!
            This is probably a reward for his policies of the 1980s through 2000s, generally referred to as the ‘Greenspan Putsch.’ (Who would have ever guessed that the government would be taken over by the Federal Reserve?)

            Reply
            1. Off The Street

              And to think that they drew the line at Keith Richards, with his extracurricular pharmaceutical habits!

              Reply
              1. roadrider

                Keith wouldn’t wear it even if it were offered. He threatened to pull out of a Stones tour when Mick accepted his title.

                Reply
          2. Synoia

            Sir Donald? NO! nothing so plebeian as a mere Knighthood.

            Donald, the Duke of the West

            Dukes are the highest non-royal Nobility in the UK.

            Reply
        2. Carolinian

          As reported by M of A a plurality of Germans in a new poll–42 percent–want the US out. Now if Trump can just convince you British to give us the heave ho. He’s the bull in a china shop that badly needs smashing.

          Unfortunately many UK elites seem more rabidly Russia-phobic and pro hegemon than the American. With their own empire lost they want to be junior partner (and behind the scenes string puller) in ours?

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Behind the scene stringer puller…

            On stage, publicly, debating foreign policy with a British accent makes the speaker at least 20% more intelligent, more credible, more prestigious, and more thus more persuasive, that’s my guess.

            So, behind the scene and upfront.

            Reply
            1. a different chris

              Haha maybe George Lucas is really trying to do something useful with his zillions! I finally saw The Last Jedi and Domhall Gleeson is an over-the-top British fop in it.
              Maybe the intention was that it will (subconsciously) start chipping away at the responses as listed by Beef.

              Reply
          2. Synoia

            Unfortunately many UK elites seem more rabidly Russia-phobic…

            That’s because it became unacceptable to slag off the Colonials, especially the non-with ones.

            Must have some “others” to blame. It could never be one of (the disgruntled) us!

            Reply
          3. JohnnyGL

            “Unfortunately many UK elites seem more rabidly Russia-phobic and pro hegemon than the American.” – Let’s not forget, the Brits have been playing the ‘Great Game’ by Mackinder’s geopolitical rules since, at least, the 1800s!!!

            They’ve even got institutional memory of fighting over Crimea in the 1850s!

            Reply
            1. Olga

              My suspicion is that the British elite never got over not being able to conquer imperial Russia. That grand navy of theirs was simply not enough to attempt a conquest. I remember a few years ago, some UK academicians finally admitted that the idea of a Great Game was mostly a British invention. The only real thing is exceedingly irrational russophobia on the part of the B. elites.

              Reply
          4. John k

            A poisonous relationship. Mi6 and cia have been snugly in bed together since forever.
            Actually I see Donald lending a helping hand post Brexit, knighthood guaranteed, maybe dukedom. Just needs to wave the National sec or emergency wand, brand new trade deal. He will offer a price they can’t refuse… Mbz and bmw swapped for us made cars for starters… no reason their import deficit can’t continue with a new direction.

            Reply
            1. Lee

              While I deplore the deindustrialization of the US, I gotta say that if I could afford a Harley, I’d use the money to buy a BMW 1200RT.

              Reply
                1. JTMcPhee

                  Can I provide nursing care after you wreck? I’m guessing you have good health insurance…”It’ll never happen to me!”

                  One of our last freedoms — cycles. And gunz. And cigarettes. All put the spice in life…

                  Reply
                  1. ambrit

                    Hah! In true Neoliberal Hero of the Economy fashion, I have no health insurance and I’m too young for Medicare yet. So, I have developed that essential adjunct to the Neoliberal Philosophy, Fatalism. As in, if I suffer an accident, I hope that it is fatal.
                    I hope that whoever mourns my passing holds an Irish Wake for me.
                    In true Fatalist fashion, the phrase “Live fast and die young” is not a threat, but a promise.
                    As moans the character in “The King in Yellow”: “Alas, but that I have lived long enough to see the full fruits of my good fortune!”

                    Reply
          1. ambrit

            This is a bit of advice that Mark Twain gives to the Tsar Alexander II in his travelogue “The Innocents Abroad.” It comes at the end of chapter 37 about when the tour group met and visited the Tsar back in 1867. The book is a recounting of Twains’ experiences on what is considered the first public Sightseeing Cruise.

            Reply
            1. ewmayer

              Aha, thx for the reference – only read the 2 linked Missisippi novels (TS & HF) and ACTYIKAC … shall have to add the above to my winter to-read list.

              “An NYC Blowhard Arkansas Hillbillary in Tsar Alexander’s Court” … rather a catchy title, methinks.

              Reply
    2. Lee

      Europeans are being shown in stark terms how US megalomania has veered into ranting, froth-at-the-mouth madness and threats.

      It has long been thus. It’s just now it’s out in the open. I for one am taking perverse delight in watching Trump monkey-wrench the status-quo.

      Reply
      1. Lee

        Don’t be too hard on JH. He’s our resident pro-market guy. He keeps those of us to the left of him honest and does so with humor and wit. ; )

        Reply
    3. a different chris

      As a coda to the above excellent, points, a simple look at Wikipedia (2016 it says):

      Russian budget: 66.3 billion
      French budget: 57.8 billion
      German budget: 44.3 billion

      …and the UK is in between France and Germany! So why again to they have to increase their budgets to stave off the Russian threat? Maybe we should increase our budget for teaching basic arithmetic (57.8 + 44.3 >> 66.3) to politicians? If you add the UK the expenditures are 2 and 1/4 times Russia’s.

      Actually, once again I think politicians aren’t actually that stupid, they are simply that evil.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Money spent on MIC hardware and the inevitable milbabble-spewing bureaucracy and supply chains and procurement and the rest is money NOT being spent on “security,” except in the most cramped self-referential definition of “security…” Most Euro countries have lowlands subject to flooding from changes in the climate, and other massive oncoming train wrecks. Too bad we mopes are still willing to go along with the tribal/nationalist etc. idiocy…

        Reply
  2. Jeff

    Re:Lake surfers say polluted waves are making them sick—but they love it too much to stop Chicago Reader. Correct link here.

    Reply
  3. HotFlash

    Sanders-backed DNC plan sparks superdelegate revolt Politico. “‘If we don’t have a vote, then what good are we?’ said William Owen, a superdelegate and DNC member from Tennessee.”

    Many have been wondering the same thing.

    Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      But the proposal has infuriated many superdelegates, who stand to lose significant influence over the party’s selection of a nominee and complain elected officials and longtime party operatives are being disenfranchised.

      next, pictures of bereft superdelegates will appear on milk cartons with the plaint “help i’ve lost my political influence”. will no one stop this oppression?

      Reply
      1. Pat

        Funny how I don’t see any of them embracing the need for grass root organizing and voter registration and seeking that means of influence influence. Nope, only an artificial undemocratic means of big footing candidate choice that can be rented to the highest bidder is acceptable -can you say back door quid pro quo.

        Reply
      2. Jean

        “We must get rid of the electoral college!

        It’s anti-democratic, doesn’t represent the majority of voters and prevented HER TURN.

        However we want to keep our influential superdelegates”

        Reply
      3. a different chris

        “Disenfranchised”???? They get to vote in the primaries like everybody else…oh, I see. It’s the “like everybody else” thing that frosts them.

        Reply
      4. Synoia

        who stand to lose significant money and influence

        I believe there is a word missing. I have supplied it…

        Reply
    2. JCC

      A classic example of The Iron Law of Institutions: the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself.

      Reply
    3. bob k

      Well, you’ve been good at doing your job, swinging the nomination to the the candidate deemed most worthy by the Donor Class

      Reply
    4. a different chris

      Are there any published “breakdowns” of the super-delegates? I would be interested in:
      1) Net worth
      2) Skin color
      3) Education (from where)
      4) Profession

      For 3 and 4, may be more efficient to just list who *isn’t* an Ivy League lawyer. In any case, I bet they don’t hew very closely to the rest of us in any of the above categories.

      Reply
      1. Odysseus

        Lots of elected Democrats are not Ivy League lawyers.

        Who are the Democratic superdelegates and where did they come from?

        There are three ways to become a superdelegate. The first is to be elected to public office as a Democratic governor, senator or congressman. The second is to become one of 438 members of the Democratic National Committee as a loyal party activist or powerbroker. The third and most difficult is to become a superdelegate for life by having served as president, vice-president, DNC chair or Democratic leader in either chamber of the US Congress.

        Reply
      1. JamesG

        Yesterday I had a snail on my garage door window.

        To get there it had to accomplish a five-foot vertical climb .

        I’ve alerted Guinness.

        Reply
        1. Off The Street

          In various regions, gardeners use a saucer or container of beer. The snails, slugs or other critters climb in and drown. Generic beer works well, and save the Guinness for domestic consumption. ;)

          Reply
    1. Am Expat in Mindanao

      Abdul El-Sayed is a terrific guy. In the same class as AOC. People who are not familiar should check him out on Wikipedia.

      Reply
    2. Romancing The Loan

      After reading this I immediately wanted to donate to Abdul El-Sayed’s campaign but the ActBlue logo scared me off – is it actually going to go to him and not get funneled up by the national party to pay for one of Hillary’s aides’s yoga classes?

      His nice and detailed single-payer proposal, though, sounds like it could be lifted, tweaked, and used for every state.

      Reply
      1. IanB

        I felt the same way when I went to donate to AOC, but I looked into it a bit and it seems to be the go-to processing platform for the Bernie crowd and others that want to make sure the money stays well away from the DNC. I’d go for it.

        Ian

        Reply
        1. beth

          Me too. I had my money redirected 3 times while voting for Bernie. I have decided not to ever give money via ActBlue. When I requested it sent to Bernie, it appeared to go to Bernie but in rechecking later it did not. Some one will have to reassure me more than a little to change my mind. Yes, when I wrote to complain they always agree to redirect it back. How do I know they did?

          If this software is still owned by the Democratic Party. I will not trust it.

          Reply
      2. Whoa Molly!

        I too was tempted to donate. I use the Act Blue site because it’s easy. All the donations appear to go directly to candidate. I usually add a buck or two for ActBlue as a tip. (There’s a separate box for this). Maybe someone who knows more about ActBlue than I do will chime in.

        El-Sayed took the time to answer all the objections for MitchCare, and make some simple charts. Extremely impressive! Apparently it took someone like El-Sayed to ask, “Why hasn’t anyone done this simple thing?” and then just do it.

        Hope the guy wins. Michigan deserves a break.

        Reply
        1. Kurt Sperry

          Maybe I’m naive (again) but I’ve used ActBlue to donate quite a few times—and left tips too on the basis of the claim that all of the funds donated go to the cause and there must be some overhead. I also assume they aren’t flogging the lists and metadata as they claim they aren’t. I don’t think Bernie would have a relationship with them if it were otherwise, his crew aren’t naive at all.

          Reply
      3. Tree-toes

        Act-Blue is the back-end fundraising machine that handles Bernie. Run by a real mensch, Howie Klein. Your money will be properly allocated.

        Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    “Black farmers were intentionally sold fake seeds in Memphis, lawsuit says”

    Reading over this scam, this sounds like (to my limited understanding) that the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) laws may apply here. So the Stine Seed Company is supplying dud seeds so that the black farmers will go broke and have to sell their land. You wonder if there is a connection between that company and the people seeking to buy the land. Personally I hope that they nail that company’s hide to the wall.

    Reply
    1. HotFlash

      This reminds me of the Tuskegee experiments. If this happened (and I would not be surprised), it is huge.

      Reply
  5. allan

    Big news from little particles: The US NSF will have a live-streamed news conference at 11 a.m. EDT today to announce a breakthrough in observational cosmology coming from the neutrino observatory at the South Pole.
    Science by press conference has had some very bad outcomes – NASA blew it with ancient life on Mars in the ’90s and with the CMB evidence for inflation a few years ago, both of which crumbled upon peer review.
    But is very unusual for NSF to make announcements this way, so I’m guessing that in fact
    whatever they’ll be talking about is big and has undergone peer review.

    Link: NSF press conference on breakthrough in multimessenger astrophysics

    Reply
      1. Jake Mudrosti

        “Multi-messenger” is an unfortunate buzzword, like “synergize.”

        Unfortunate, because the current work offers insight into a serious question that was stubbornly hanging out there since the era of Fermi.

        Of course, Vice botched their article, erasing from existence the 2015 physics Nobel Prize. Swell.

        I referenced the current work in NC comments, 6/16/18, with distrust of physicists in the reply there, so pretty much gave up.

        The reaction shot in the last half-second of this anime clip pretty much sums up science education on the internet, and the reason lots of good context is generally missing:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l_fOhTQ5jM

        Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I must agree that “multi-messenger” is a most unfortunate buzzword given your definition, although I’m not sure I could coin a better term for the concept.

          I looked up the comment you referenced but couldn’t relate cosmic rays and quark matter with results from the South Pole’s neutrino observatory. I believe the problems with high energy physics and cosmology go beyond a distrust of physicists. I believe the costs of high energy physics have been extremely high and the results have been disappointing at best. Even though I have special fondness for physics I think there is some truth to the notion that big expenditures for high energy physics have sucked the $$$ out of research in other areas of physics and other disciplines. I have no clue what your video clip means about science education on the Internet.

          Reply
          1. Jake Mudrosti

            A scan of neutrino observatory news from today would be all about cosmic rays and indirect references to physics that’s foundational: “Neutrino observation points to one source of high-energy cosmic rays” at this link:

            https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=295955

            “The era of multi-messenger astrophysics is here,” said NSF Director France Córdova.”

            “Since they were first detected in 1912, cosmic rays have posed an enduring mystery: What creates and propels them across vast distances before they rain down on Earth?”

            “Equipped with a relatively new alert system — triggered when neutrinos of very high energies crash into an atomic nucleus in or near NSF’s IceCube detector — the observatory sent coordinates to telescopes worldwide”

            For decades, there was no clear mechanism to account for the energies measured in the highest-energy cosmic rays.

            Getting beaned with baseballs countless times per day, for decades, and seeing a bunch of wiry little raccoons roaming around. Where’d the major-league pitches come from? At long last, you can use all your senses: “Hey, look over there!” and now it’s game on!

            I woulda thought that getting a jump on big news one month ago would be pretty cool, but apparently.not. I’ve never been good at predicting public reactions, and still get caught off guard..

            The video clip says there’s a breakdown in communication, which won’t be fixed in short-form replies, and which sometimes makes people gasp and give up. So… as a result, not as much useful context on the internet as you’d hope there’d be.

            Reply
      2. Mark Pontin

        What is multimessenger astrophysics and why is it important — or interesting?

        Well, it only tells us about trifles like how various bodies like stars, galaxies and such formed, and hence how the universe might have come into existence and developed. Like that.

        More seriously, forex, the four extrasolar messenger signal modes/sources are electromagnetic radiation, gravitational waves, neutrinos, and cosmic rays which, being created by different astrophysical processes, reveal different information about their originating sources.

        Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          From your explanation I would infer there must be some advance in the capabilities of the neutrino “telescope” on the South Pole or perhaps some new discovery about the universe based on analysis the data from that neutrino “telescope”? Is that a reasonable guess at what to watch for in the news tomorrow?

          Reply
          1. blennylips

            It seems that this is the first time neutrinos and photons have been observed from the same event:

            https://profmattstrassler.com/2018/07/12/seeing-double-neutrinos-and-photons-observed-from-the-same-cosmic-source/

            There has long been a question as to what types of events and processes are responsible for the highest-energy neutrinos coming from space and observed by scientists. Another question, probably related, is what creates the majority of high-energy cosmic rays — the particles, mostly protons, that are constantly raining down upon the Earth.

            As scientists’ ability to detect high-energy neutrinos (particles that are hugely abundant, electrically neutral, very light-weight, and very difficult to observe) and high-energy photons (particles of light, though not necessarily of visible light) have become more powerful and precise, there’s been considerable hope of getting an answer to these question. One of the things we’ve been awaiting(and been disappointed a couple of times) is a violent explosion out in the universe that produces both high-energy photons and neutrinos at the same time, at a high enough rate that both types of particles can be observed at the same time coming from the same direction.

            Reply
  6. disc_writes

    The Boston Globe opinion piece has a lot of good points that resonate with me: as a millennial European, I profited, as did my parents and grandparents, from the US-led system. It is scary to see it go so quickly.

    However, it has long become clear that the cost-benefit analysis for the US has shifted, and that it makes sense to dial back NATO, WHO, etc. or expect more from the allies. I remember my university professors talking about it 15 years ago, with worry in their eyes.

    So a different US president would have probably done the same, although with less theatrics, over a longer period of time and with less contempt of the (former?) allies.

    And it still surprises me how Americans believe that the aging, weak despot of a poor, overstretched, demographically crumbling, failing state can actually have any influence on the president of the world’s superpower.

    Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      the us benefits from using nato as a cover for expanding its influence, that cost benefit analysis hasn’t changed. not sure what despot you are referring to.

      Reply
      1. disc_writes

        Influence comes at a cost, and its marginal benefit, in world where the US have no real contender left, is small, probably negative. The US are less and less able to bear that cost.

        I think they are justified in wanting to extract more benefits from Europe who, until now, profited (geopolitically, economically) from them. The US pay for our defense, defend our international trade and buy up whatever we overproduce.

        Europeans insulting Trump for his brashness are just like teenagers criticizing their parents from. The real world is out there waiting and will teach us a lesson soon.

        But Americans insulting him for supposedly being a Putin puppet? I can’t wrap my head around it.

        Reply
      2. Scott

        Does the US benefit or the US MIC benefit? It’s clear the latter does, as for the former, that is still up for debate. We should be having a debate as to whether NATO is still in this country’s interest (we should have had it 25 years ago).

        Reply
        1. pretzelattack

          there are a couple of contenders in china and russia, and trump is not in any way like europe’s parent. the us became a superpower because the rest of the competition was devastated post ww2, and the bases in europe are not needed, and have not been for decades. this is not a unipolar world anymore; it was briefly, and now the us is in the process of joining other former empires.

          Reply
          1. disc_writes

            The end of the US empire is in sight, yes. But America can still mop the floor with a weak(ening) Russia and a China dependent on foreign markets and credit bubbles. Things will stay this way for a while longer.

            Europeans have grown accustomed to American military protection (from each other, not from Russia) and to free trade.

            This is not how things have been historically, and this is not how things will be once the US abdicates its role of unique superpower and goes back to tending its own. We should grow up before that happens. I think the parent-child metaphor holds up pretty well for Americans-Europeans.

            This is the message Mr. Trump is delivering in his, ehm, charming way: go find a job and a room to live in, or help pay the rent. Call it tough love if you wish.

            Reply
      3. Synoia

        I’d expected some push from the US MIC on Europe.

        There is a software lock-in if the new generation of weapons is procured by Europe.

        There is more to this that just defense speeding. There is also the guarantee of a future revenue stream, based on the software lock-in bt the US MIC.

        Reply
    2. PeterVE

      “aging, weak despot” – him I can identify. But whom do you mean when you refer to the president of the world’s superpower?

      Reply
    3. JohnnyGL

      “And it still surprises me how Americans believe that the aging, weak despot of a poor, overstretched, demographically crumbling, failing state can actually have any influence on the president of the world’s superpower.”

      You mean Netanyau’s Israel? Saudi monarchy? :)

      Reply
    4. Olga

      “And it still surprises me how Americans believe that the aging, weak despot of a poor, overstretched, demographically crumbling, failing state can actually have any influence on the president of the world’s superpower.”
      I take it you’ve never been to Russia and just readily consume all the disgraceful anti-Russian propaganda without ever thinking about why there is so much of it in the west.
      Sad…

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        No, no, it’s written “Sad!” The Twitterer-in-chief said so. :)

        Re. aging and weak – last Christmas, by way of mocking the Russophobia sweeping the US liberal class and the western media, I sent an Aussie friend a 2018 Putin wall calendar (shipped directly from the ebay seller in Russia) featuring VVP doing various manly outdoor activities, many in shirtless “Ziss iss for Rrrussian ladies!” poses. My friend was thoroughly amused, but described the calendar as a “a bit too gay” for his public-display taste. Prude.

        Reply
      2. disc_writes

        No, I have never been to Russia. Have you? Or do you mean to say that Trump is, indeed, Putin’s pawn?

        I think it is fair to say that Russia is only a shade of its former self: the economy has barely recovered since soviet times, the demographic crisis has been going on for decades, to the extent that Vladivostok feels threatened. “Dying nation”, “Bangladesh with nukes” and all that.

        Soviet tanks used to stroll all the way to Berlin 30 years ago, now NATO forces are on the doorstep of Saint Petersburg. Russia has a grand total of one, aging, aircraft carrier. The US have 20, with more in the pipeline, and not counting NATO allies.

        And oil will not save the day forever: production probably peaked 10 years ago.

        Now, I give Putin credit for having stabilized a bad situation. I commend the skills of Russian engineers, slew diplomats, military officers and world-class intellectuals. I look with some admiration at how Russia reinvented itself over the past years.

        But to persist in the irrational belief that Russia somehow controls the vastly more powerful USA, like the US democrats do, is blind insanity.

        Reply
    1. Synoia

      D’s win on a run FOR programs. Running against the R’s is not a winning strategy.

      Unfortunately running FOR anything popular appears to run counter to the DNC’s money-anchored position on anything.

      As was proven in the recent Bronx election.

      Reply
    2. Big River Bandido

      Haha. Donnelly, Heitkamp and Nelson are having a little trouble. Can’t say I’m surprised. Or concerned. Won’t make a damn bit of difference whether they win or lose — and it might actually be better if they got thrown out.

      Reply
  7. zagonostra

    Refer :Democracy in Disarray Huff-piece: “And yet for all the damage the Trump administration is doing to American democracy, several prominent Obama alums seem to have quietly made their peace with a subtler attack on the legitimacy of U.S. institutions. Today, many are lending the prestige of their White House resumes to scandal-fraught organizations in return for large sums of money.”

    Those former “prominent Obama alums” and Obama himself were working for the same owners of this country. The dichotomy between the two parties is real, but not material in light of their true ends and there gatekeeper function.

    They chose to serve their master over the people, case in point, they would rather respond to their financial supports than answering the majority of people’s needs and wants for a Medicare-for-all healthcare system – just to mention one instance where they have made their allegiance clear

    They both serve the same master, mammon and continuing to support either is a sign of intellectual, political and moral decay.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      So many words in that article, and, somehow, the word “corruption” decides not to make an appearance.

      Reply
    2. ShamanicFallout

      The HuffPo comments are priceless. All the tropes and tribal apologia are on display. “Why should they take a vow of poverty?”; “Obama had the highest ethical rules in history”; “if you don’t agree you are just supporting Trump”; and this doozy: “We should feel comforted that many of these organizations have included people we know to be ethical”! Just wow

      Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “‘They Will Die in Tallinn’: Estonia Girds for War With Russia”

    Reading this I thought that what a bunch of a*******. This is bordering on delusional and if I was Russia I would be building a wall to keep the Estonians out of Russia. Scrolling to the bottom of the page where there was information on the author told me all that I needed to know. Here is the text-

    ‘Molly K. McKew (@MollyMcKew) is an expert on information warfare and the narrative architect at New Media Frontier. She advised the Georgian president from 2009-2013 and former Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat in 2014-15.’

    Do you see what it means? She worked for Mikheil Saakashvili from just after the disastrous war that he led Georgia into until he did a runner from there. She then worked for Vlad Filat. That was after he had, as Prime Minister, been dismissed by motion of censure following charges of corruption, abuse of power and influence peddling. In fact, Filat was stripped of his immunity and handcuffed in parliament in 2015 and right now he is in the slammer in Moldova.
    There is a lot to be said for judging a person by the sort of people that they worked for.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yeah, that article went from laughable to pure propoganda. No mention, for example, of the very large ethnic Russian population in the Baltic States that have been systematically stripped of their rights (including EU citizenship).

      Someone with the writers background has no business being commissioned for a supposedly independent news media.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        So, if I was a Plutocrat wanting to push an agenda, say, Exceptionalism, I’d hire someone with the proper background to churn out my propaganda too. She is just doing her job.
        Besides, what do the Estonians want? The return of the Teutonic Knights?

        Reply
        1. Alex morfesis

          The Estonians want someone to remember there actually is an Estonia and it is not in fact the duchy of Fenwick…oops, sorry…grand fenwick…

          sadly for them, the Russians wouldn’t take them back if they paid them to…if they didn’t notice…Russia has so many time zones of land to cover, they eliminated a few to save money…

          Reply
      2. ArcadiaMommy

        Let’s consider why there are so many ethnic Russians in the Baltics – Russians invaded then executed citizens, deported many to the gulag or forced the Baltic citizens from their countries. Perhaps the Baltic people have a reason to be annoyed with the Russians.
        My FIL was expelled from the country as a little child with his mother. His brothers died of starvation because Russians forced them off their family farm.
        It’s like asking why native Americans get so irritated with white people.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          The history that you leave out is that the Baltic states were a part of czarist Russia for many centuries before 1918. The only reason they were “independent” between the two wars is because Lenin signed an absolutely disgraceful “peace” treaty with the Germans right after the revolution, forcing him to give up that territory. (I have no objections if someone wants to be independent, but let’s please keep the historical narrative honest.)
          In taking back the areas, USSR did nothing worse than when the frenchies took back Alsace-Lorraine after WWI (which they lost as a result of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870-71, and which was one of the reasons they were fairly gung-ho for WWI to start).
          Let’s also not forget that there was an active nazi contingent in some of the Baltic areas during WWII. They are celebrated to this day with parades (google it if you do not already know it).
          Collectivization of agricultural lands was carried out in the entire USSR, so singling out the Baltics for some special offense leaves out the larger context (we had kulaks in the family, too, although, luckily, they did not harbour irrational hatred of the USSR later on).
          Many Russians moved to the Baltic area to work on various development projects during the times of USSR – just like into other Soviet republics. Today, all three Baltic republics are furiously cutting ties with Russia (including electrical). What do they get for it? Greatly diminished economic activity (e.g., the ports are now pretty useless) and significant depopulation, as young people flee to the West (and some to Russia).
          Comparing all this to native Americans is strange – since they mostly died in a deliberate and long-term genocide.

          Reply
          1. ArcadiaMommy

            What kind of choice is Nazi or Russian invasion/occupation? Come on. The cultures and languages are very distinct. The so called nazi symbolism was prior to anything to do with what the Germans did. The German nazis bastardized the symbol – google it as you say. In fact Native American cultures use the symbol (I’m Native American). And why would they choose to be tiny little independent countries if it would be so great to be Russian?
            Maybe I am misunderstanding you but are you actually saying that people being run off their family farm and having children starve to death is no big deal because everyone was doing it in the Soviet collectives?
            Kulaks is a Russian word if I’m not mistaken. So I get where you are coming from.
            I will grant that you have far more detailed historical facts to pull up. I’m just dealing with family and the lingering effects of a war that happened 70 years ago.
            And if the countries are so insignificant why not let them have unqualified independence? If you are Russian, go back to Russia. If you stay learn the language and behave yourself.

            Reply
            1. Matt

              “If you are Russian, go back to Russia. If you stay learn the language and behave yourself.”

              Really?

              Reply
    2. pretzelattack

      “narrative architect”. i think words like “shill” are perfectly adequate but i’m old school.

      Reply
    3. PeterVE

      There were a lot of missing bits in that article. Such as: why would Russia want the Baltic states? Also, the actions of the US in overthrowing the elected ( though corrupt, as if that mattered to us ) government of Ukraine as a reason the Russians might act in Ukraine. I’m sure the arrival of the 82nd Airborne last March was very reassuring, so Colonel Uhtegi can get his family out quickly if he succeeds in fomenting a war.

      Reply
    4. Darthbobber

      Was looking for the part where they discuss all the signs and portents of a Russian desire to invade and annex the Baltic republics. Oddly, there are none. Russia really has no appetite for swallowing areas with hostile populations who would become a massive internal problem immediately. Also misassigns responsibility for starting the Russo-Georgia war. No surprise there.

      Avoids the obvious question of whether it is sane for the US (or France. Or Geermany,) to have a “mutual defense” pact with nations whose contribution to an actual war would consist entirely of being the cause.

      Reply
    5. HotFlash

      Looking for an Estonian for some perspective. My Latvian- and Lithuanian-Canadian neighbours are no Russia fans but tell me their rellies back in the old country are not ‘girding for war’. But these are old folks now, who have seen enough of that war bs. Anyone with Estonian connections know anything about this?

      Reply
  9. Jim Haygood

    Inflation gathers steam:

    [Headline CPI] rose 2.9 percent for the 12 months ending June; this was the largest 12-month increase since February 2012.

    The index for all items less food and energy [core CPI] rose 2.3 percent for the 12 months ending June. The food index increased 1.4 percent, and the energy index rose 12.0 percent, its largest 12-month increase since the period ending February 2017.

    https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm

    Since the Federal Reserve uses a different index [core PCE] to assess its 2.0 percent inflation speed limit, it can regally ignore the escalating prices being imposed on little people.

    But thanks to this hot CPI reading, the Fed’s rate hike beatings will continue until price behavior improves. Your results may vary. :-0

    Reply
  10. GlobalMisanthrope

    …a cost that along with the trade advantages given by the US since WW2 have financed welfare states in many countries. Yes, I know many have high taxes but they would have to spend more of the revenue on defense to achieve the current level of protection without the implied US subsidy.

    (Emphasis mine)

    My French wife thinks destroying public benefits is the objective of the NATO bashing. She sees Macron (French elites) working hand and glove with Trump (American as well as inter/trans-national elites) to dismantle all working examples of State benefits so that there’s nothing to point to when we in the US or others elsewhere demand benefits from our overlords.

    They take the wrecking ball to an infrastructure and then say, “Look! It doesn’t work. How can we justify continuing its support?”

    For 40 years they’ve been doing this. Many have been watching & warning the whole time. Seems nobody wants to hear it.

    Somebody please help me see how we don’t deserve what we get.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      You know, your wife may be right. I wondered the same as I listened to the news tonight. If Trump is demanding that all these countries spend 4% of their budget buying US weapon systems, that can only be at the expense of domestic programs like health and welfare that neoliberals want cut anyway. I guess that the sight of the people in Europe having a healthy government and lifestyle while ordinary Americans are consigned to impoverishment & crapification is too great a contrast to be tolerated.

      Reply
      1. GlobalMisanthrope

        Exactly.

        The fact that w the creation of the Eurozone member states ceded currency-issuer status to the EU which has no such power shows what a long and cynical game EU elites are playing. They are and have always been aware of the EU’s financial vulnerability vis á vis US subsidies. They knew that the US was providing monies for its own benefit rather than as any sort of largesse, as it’s described to US citizens by its gov’t/media. They understood fully that it would end when it no longer aligned w US/global financial interests.

        What has happened since, and what many of them may not have foreseen, is that the international elites have decided that peace and stability no longer align w their interests. War, unrest, refusal to grapple w climate change (which, of course, they all know is fact no matter what they say) is the only way to empty the planet of the redundant masses.

        Meanwhile, people are still thinking in nation-state terms and believe the lie that the “money” the US sends abroad means less for things here at home.

        Anyway, allez les bleus!

        Reply
        1. georgieboy

          You give Trump too much credit by suggesting a nefarious goal to disrupt European state social spending.

          His conduct thus far suggests he is likely not thinking beyond the headline fact — that few members of NATO have lived up to their commitments.

          Reply
          1. GlobalMisanthrope

            As I said, this is a long game. He didn’t come up w the “NATO members aren’t doing their part” narrative. He may not even understand Orc believe what he’s saying to any degree beyond the soundbite.

            He’s one of the useful idiots everyone keeps yammering on sbout.

            Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s 4% (or 2%) of their budget, and not 4% (or 2%) of their GDP???

        I think the reports are of each country’s GDP.

        From looking at the government budget surplus (or deficit),(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_government_budget), it appears, for some countries (like UK with a -3.6% budget deficit), they might have to cut spending in other areas, while others, like Germany with a budget surplus of 0.7% of GDP, can afford it without cutting back much.

        I’ve been told that EU countries are more like the states here and so their deficit spending doesn’t mean more money creation unless the ECB monetizes it. That’s my understanding. Perhaps they work it out that new money is injected into their economies by this additional 2% of GDP spending in each country.

        Reply
      3. Olga

        Tiny Slovakia agreed – the day after the NATO meet – to buy 16 F-16s at a cost of 1.6 bil. euros. Now what does a nation of 5.5 mil need 16 useless planes for? Beats me. On the other hand, it has no money for health care or teacher salaries. Sound familiar?

        Reply
    2. Carey

      I think you wife has it about right. Don’t agree with your last sentence, though: when
      the corporate media is continuously spouting the Few’s viewpoint, and the political
      parties’ candidates give us only the question “how badly would you like to get hosed,
      today?”, I don’t think blaming in on the People is either accurate, or helpful.

      Reply
  11. Livius Drusus

    Re: The liberal freakout over Brett Kavanaugh is not helping.

    I am not happy at the prospect of a right-wing Supreme Court but it is hard to get really mad at Republicans for being Republicans. It is like being mad at a rabid dog that bites you. You pretty much know what you are getting with both so the best thing to do is make sure they cannot harm you. In the case of the Republicans that would be by beating them in elections, something the Democrats have not been very good at lately mostly due to their own incompetence and inability to read the mood of the nation.

    For example instead of having everyone clear the way for Hillary Clinton, one of the most hated politicians in America who would guarantee high turnout among the Republican base, the Democrats could have let the primary select for the best candidate. This is what the Republicans did and they got Trump who turned out to be a winner.

    Not to constantly rehash 2016 but one of the things that bugs me is how so many partisan Democrats will simply not admit that Clinton was a weak candidate. If you go over to Democratic Underground, Daily Kos or Lawyers, Guns and Money and make the case that Clinton was a weak candidate who ran a bad campaign you will get dogpiled and called a misogynist Bernie Bro even if you are not a Bernie supporter and are a fellow partisan Dem. I’ve seen regular Dems, not Bernie supporters, make the case that Clinton was a bad candidate and subsequently get dogpiled in the comments.

    I have to say that in my experience partisan Republicans seem more willing to admit that their candidates stink when the evidence points that way. Most of my family members are Republicans and they almost all thought that McCain and Romney were weak candidates. They might think all kinds of wacky stuff about Obama but they were at least honest enough to admit that he beat their candidates who simply didn’t have enough to pull off victories.

    Reply
    1. DaveOTN

      Well said. I think that sometimes the anti-government attitude of the Republicans helps inoculate them against the kind of hero-worshipping the Dems tend to fall victim to. The Republican base thinks of government as, at best, a necessary evil, so if they’ve got some putz of a candidate who happens to support 85% of their issues, they go along with him while acknowledging his faults. What else can you expect out of politicians? Whereas the Democrats think of public service as a Great and Noble Calling, so they get tied up in a lot of cognitive dissonance when their selected candidates don’t quite live up to that standard.

      Reply
    2. Ed Miller

      Don’t forget that Democrats are trapped in the self-reenforcing media bubble (Maddow, Krugman, et. al.) and can’t see their way out.

      Reply
      1. Cat Afficionado

        To be fair, Team Red also has its own media bubble. Watching 5 minutes of Fox News costs me just as many IQ points as 5 minutes of MSNBC. It may be the case that Team Blue now has the more ridiculous set of moral purity tests, and ~4 years ago I thought that I never would see the day when the Evangelical bloc was outdone in this regard.

        Reply
    3. Whoa Molly!

      Dick Morris thinks that the Dems are shooting themselves in the foot with the Kavanaugh hysteria. I have to agree.

      Nor do I understand the Clinton Cult. About half my family are Clinton Cultists. The other half *knows* she’s Satan incarnate.

      We studiously avoid politics at family dinners. Of the two sides, I have to say the Republicans have a better grip on reality. As you say, the Repubs are like rabid dogs, doing what rabid dogs do.

      But the Democrat side… feels… unhinged. The emotional drive behind their visceral hatred of Trump seems to be more to his style (crude! insulting! disrespectful! dumb!) than to his bog-standard right wing Republican policies.

      Reply
      1. ArcadiaMommy

        Smart to avoid politics – is this an unspoken agreement or did you all openly agree to not discuss? My MIL always brings up how great trump is. And the whole party screeches to a halt.

        We were having a big family lunch recently and she kept asking why everyone clams up when she brings up trump and his “accomplishments”, which of course she can’t articulate. I finally told her that he is a horrible human being and we are just trying to keep the peace and enjoy family time. Probably shouldn’t have had that third glass of wine.

        Reply
        1. Whoa Molly!

          Re: how to avoid politics

          Started as unstated agreement, morphed to spoken (with a smile) agreement to avoid.

          We are fortunate not to have any screeching partisans in the crowd. If someone starts, someone else will say (with a smile) lets not do politics… Then change subject to something neutral.

          If that doesnt work everyone else gets up and wanders away.

          Reply
            1. witters

              Would that be this reasonable?

              “If you are Russian, go back to Russia. If you stay learn the language and behave yourself.”

              Reply
      2. Cat Afficionado

        But the Democrat side… feels… unhinged.

        If I had to put it down to a single thing, it would be the raw shock of the results on election night, after more than a year of steadfast assurances from the media that it was Her Turn™. The collective hysteria that swept over many people that I had otherwise considered rational was shocking. My personal opinion is that it would have subsided were it not for the incessant media bombardment of “today is the day that America dies” type reporting at every inane tweet the man makes about tacos, Hollywood and various other inconsequential stuff. Meanwhile, the military-industrial complex and Goldman Sachs continue their escapades with vastly fewer impediments than they would with a conventional, “boring” president who couldn’t whip the entire media into a frenzy merely by drawing breath. Everyone is far too busy to even remember that there is a man behind the curtain.

        As for the average Team Blue denizen, I think that Trump is, to a large degree, the perfect living caricature of what they imagine an “awful conservative” being. I mean, he sort of is, and it has created this perfect storm of stupidity. Granted, I do not think that Trump legitimately qualifies as a conservative, or a liberal, for that matter. Actually being either of those things requires one to have principles beyond, “me me me.”

        Frankly, I do not think that the corporate media can afford for Trump to NOT be reelected, and I think that there is some level of glee in the (liberal) corporate media with Trump being president. The WaPo, HuffPo and NYT will be having mass layoffs if Team Blue wins in 2020. I have no doubt that they will manage to give Trump another couple billion dollars worth of free advertising in the run-up to 2020. As of now I would wager that Trump has a 75% chance at reelection if he runs. The stats on various online betting sites also seem to heavily favor Trump, and while I do not gamble, I do find these things to be a reasonable indicator of outcomes.

        Reply
        1. Pat

          I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think it is largely the effect of living in a vacuum.
          See I’m the disenchanted democrat who was trying to convince my friends in 2009 that ACA was a boondoggle that was NOT going to become popular. Even though some of my friends have been reluctantly convinced by their growing lack of health care coupled with their increasingly large outlays on insurance, most still don’t get that people aren’t just being entitled and whiny when they indicate that they are hanging on by their fingernails. You see they have Bill Maher telling them that it is a whole lot of white guys who are upset because life isn’t what they expected, not desperation.
          The bubble is very real. They read the right papers and magazines, watch the right shows and know that Bill Clinton was not only not guilty but was the biggest martyr in America until poor Hillary. They can cite Clinton’s not so copious resume (with no wink or nod) and solemly declare ‘most qualified candidate ever’. They cheer when someone makes a joke about the Russian influence. And stick fingers in their ears even when something says something mild about it having been a ‘change election” and Clinton being the last candidate wanted in that because there has been a Clinton and/or a Bush in eight of the last ten Presidential elections which is clearly not a change.
          For all their reading the NY Times few, if any, have a clear history of the influence of corporate money on the Democratic Party. They really have no idea of Obama’s toxic legacy, and truly bought the excuses handed for inaction on any and all issues. They can hear that the Republicans are one state legislature away from calling a Constitutional Convention and still cheer Obama because it isn’t as if he dismantled the DNC’s state and local outreach. Nope it was all about his race.
          And they think the people who voted for Republicans and for Trump are ignorant…

          Although I do have my doubts how well they would handle the Times/Post/MSNBC/CNN/ etc actually pinning Obama era policy to Trump’s outrages regularly as they should. Or pointing out the disaster that was the Clinton State Department when tracing immigration.

          Reply
          1. Olga

            Yes, unfortunately, I know too many people just like that. Smart, intelligent, and generally good people. The cognitive dissonance is mind-boggling.

            Reply
  12. Summer

    Re: Snap work requirements.

    The vast majority of people using SNAP, food stamps are children. Not once is that mentioned.

    So the next horrors are already lined up for people. The work requirements will evolve into evisceration of child labor laws. Call it the “toxic puritan work ethic” (ala toxic masculinity, femininity memes). They won’t be able to afford school anyway and the ones available to the poor won’t teach them a damn thing except fear and blind obedience….not too much different from now, but I’m expecting it to have even a more degenenerate, Medieval flair.

    Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      oh dear, this seems very plausible. free the children from the shackles of ageism and let them work 60 hour weeks etc., complete with touching pictures of children unable to buy sugar snacks because oppressive government regulation won’t allow them to work.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        From the rhetoric used, it’s the logical next step. If I remember correctly, it was a fave idea from the ALEC agenda.
        You can see it coming a mile away, but people will act so shocked when it finally arrives then latch on to the Democrats to “fight for” child labor laws (after the Clinton contributions to welfare reform!).

        Reply
      2. Summer

        They’ll get plenty of sugar in the factories. To them the beauty and benefit of overseas factories is the benefit of child labor – in horrid conditions. They can wax poetic about giving children the opportunity to earn a living, but the working conditions are left out of the poetry.

        Fun fact: Many of the sharecropping plantations used to have plenty of the old Coke on hand at the plantation store for drinking.
        Made the field hands (many of them children) work longer and eat less.
        The headquarters of the company to this day is in Atlanta, GA.

        I guess child labor should be factored into the hypothetical “jobs guarantee” plans.

        Reply
        1. pretzelattack

          go far enough back, and that old coke was the real thing. get em psychologically hooked on coke or meth, they don’t eat as much, plus all the new little income streams to be extracted.

          Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “Trump says ‘Germany totally controlled by Russia’ through gas supplies”

    Good news everybody. Germany has gotten together with the rest of NATO and decided that Trump is absolutely right. Starting next week, the United States Armed Forces in Europe will be able to start packing up all their gear for the move back to the States. The US will save tens of billions of dollars each year in costs and the Europeans will put together their own EuroArmy to take care on themselves. Being able to go back to classic diplomacy again, Europe has agreed to lift all sanctions against Russia and Putin has already agreed to lift all counter-sanctions against Europe. So, no more paying billions to protect an ungrateful Germany and Europe. So…win-win?

    Reply
  14. Off The Street

    The Washington Post is obviously anti-baseball. If only those Nationals could live up to, or down to, the old motto: Washington, first in war, first in peace and last in the American (like the Senators, or National, choose your era and take your pick) League. Sabremetricians, to the ramparts.

    On the bright side, the interest in the prospective SCOTUS justice and his past ticket-buying habits may just yet spark some rally and lead to a fun World Series. ;p

    Reply
  15. Jim Haygood

    Ed Yardeni’s fundamental economic indicator continues its four-and-a-half-month flatline, rising fractionally from last week. Chart:

    https://ibb.co/g0kwbo

    On the plus side, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort rose from 57.6 to 58.0, while the four-week average of initial unemployment claims ticked down from 224,500 to 223,500 — also positive after inversion.

    Subtracting from the index were industrial raw material prices, which fell for the fourth week running from their 2018 high, making a 3.8% drop from the high.

    The New York Fed’s GDP nowcast for the just-completed second quarter remains at 2.8%. The first official GDP estimate will be issued on July 27th.

    Reply
  16. Carolinian

    Left out of the Iran oil history tick tock is a final intervention by Churchill. When, in 1952, the Royal Navy chose to physically blockade the now nationalized Iranian oil the UK prime minister was the man who started it all: good old Winston–wrong about everything (except Hitler). Hillary now seems to see him as a role model.

    Reply
    1. Whoa Molly!

      Hillary sees “out of power for years, then returns to save the world” as a model.

      No shortage of ego there. Wonder if shes considered writing a multi volume History of the American People?

      I believe she will run in 2020 and have the distinction of electing Donald Trump twice.

      Reply
        1. Whoa Molly!

          She’s a “brand”. I dont think Health matters that much.

          To paraphrase Grover Norquist, All the president needs is three fingers to hold a pen and the ability to respond when someone says ‘Sign here.’

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            You have a point. Reagan didn’t even have that for his second administration, and look at the reverence he is held in in some quarters.

            Reply
  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Abolish TSA?

    NFL player accuses TSA of spilling his mother’s ashes inside his suitcase after checking his luggage Business Insider

    TSA screeners win immunity from abuse claims: appeals court Reuters

    My close encounter with an airport security robot FT. Unsettling, beyond LaGuardia’s “hellishly shabby facilities.”

    Apparently, they have gone after seniors, children and voting and non-voting people of all identities. The idea to abolish it should have broad support.

    Reply
    1. JBird

      Yes.

      With a stake through its black heart, then decapitation, followed by fire, with the ashes launched into the Sun.

      Reply
  18. diptherio

    Spanish Amazon workers call strike:

    Douglas Harper, a representative of the Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) union told Reuters the union primarily objected to wage cuts, working conditions and restrictions on time off.

    It will be the second walk-out this year at the San Fernando warehouse where most of Amazon’s 1,600-strong Spanish workforce is based.
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-com-spain-strike/spanish-amazon-workers-call-three-day-strike-over-wages-rights-idUSKBN1K01XZ

    Reply
    1. Lord Koos

      If only American workers would realize they could do the same… about three weeks before Christmas would be a good time for an Amazon walkout.

      Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Your mileage may vary.

      “My intimate encounter with an airport security robot” could be the title of a best-selling romance novel.

      Reply
  19. PKMKII

    File this under Democrats in Disarray: Marc Elrich, a DSA-backed candidate, won the primary for Montgomery County Exec. over a centrist businessman candidate. Now Democrat Nancy Floreen is running as an independent in the race:

    “I am determined to give Montgomery County a third, independent choice come November,” Floreen said in a statement explaining her decision to drop her longtime Democratic affiliation to run as an independent.

    Which means this facebook post of hers has aged well.

    Reply
    1. roadrider

      Elrich endorsed by DSA? What a [family-blog]-ing joke! He’s just as corrupt and in the bag for landlords and big business as any of the worthless Dem-bot pukes on the Montco County Council.

      Reply
  20. The Rev Kev

    “A Judge Has Ruled Against Atheists Trying to Put Up the Least Offensive Ad Ever”

    No real surprise about this story. A Pew Research Center survey found that the average American would be much more comfortable if a family member married a gun owner than an atheist. US soldiers who are atheists also cop a hard time and I read of one who was told that he was hated more than a Jihadist fighter as at least a Jihadist believed in a religion.
    Try this one on for size. A Gallup poll revealed that Americans would sooner vote for a Muslim or a homosexual to be a President than an atheist. Go figure. Now what would happen if Trump ran against an atheist in 2020 for President – who would win? More on this subject at-

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/the-secular-life/201406/why-americans-hate-atheists

    Reply
    1. roadrider

      Why do Americans hate atheists? For the same reason that members of any cult hate anyone who isn’t a member. I actually object to being called an “atheist” because I see no need to be labeled for a non-belief in theism. There are lots of beliefs I don’t subscribe to (Santa Claus, unicorns, leprechauns, etc) and there are no labels for those non-beliefs so why do specifically need one for the Judeo-Christian god belief? The use of the term “atheist” supports the view that this one specific non-belief is somehow more special than any other. Americans don’t think of themselves as “atheists” because they don’t believe in Zeus, Shiva, Odin, Baal or any of the thousands of god beliefs that have existed throughout human history but they fail to see that their own god belief is no different than any of the ones they don’t subscribe to.

      Reply
      1. JBird

        When I was an agnostic/atheist, I was called a fool. Now that I am a deist, I have people thinking I am an idiot; if I ever change my mind, I will be called a fool again. What you believe in does not matter as what matters is that you believe in the Correct Dogma and think the Right Thoughts for the people around you to consider you as an Approved Person.

        Reply
        1. roadrider

          Well I couldn’t give a hair on the rear end of midget flea for being an “Approved Person”. I reject all forms of dogma and “Right Thoughts”.

          Reply
    2. HotFlash

      I label myself, if pressed, as ‘agnostic theist’. It usually confuses them to silence and it is true. I *like* to believe in (a) god(ess)s or whatever, knowing full well I can’t prove anything. It’s not ‘faith’ or even a hunch, I made it all up myself. I like having a bit of ritual in my life, and besides, swearing “Nothing dammit!” just isn’t satisfying.

      Reply
  21. Jim Haygood

    FBI agent Peter Strzok, in live Congressional testimony this morning:

    No bias on my part … Russia, Russia, Russia … today’s hearing is another victory notch in Putin’s belt

    One is surprised that the omnipotent Putin didn’t cut the TV feed.

    Guess Putin is feeling confident that his loyal valet Chairman Goodlatte can adequately defend Russia’s interests [/sarc] as the hearing collapses into competing partisan shouts of “point of order.”

    Now the Democrats are moving to adjourn.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The worry, for me anyway, is that buried among the 57 pages (or however lengthy they are) is a clause that states if you don’t pay, you agree to lose your first born.

      Reply
    2. Zachary Smith

      That’s awful!

      Last year I needed a small car repair so I went to a national brand-name repair shop. The guy handed me a form to sign, and since it was a short read I actually read it. By doing so I was agreeing that no matter what happened to my car during the time they held it, they had no responsibility whatever. Needless to say, the vehicle got the needed repair elsewhere. Upon hearing the story a relative told of a friend whose car had been severely vandalized in a repair shop’s parking lot, and they had no recourse whatever.

      On another note, read the fine print on your checking account. I was taught that writing “For Deposit Only” on the back guaranteed a safe transit to the desired destination. These days the ‘fine print’ specifically declares they don’t look for any such endorsements and bear no responsibility for losses. Ordering new checks? The same ‘fine print’ at my bank declares that if there is a screwup which is my fault, any losses are mine and mine alone. If the bank makes the mistake, we share any losses!

      Swine.

      Reply
      1. Lord Koos

        I bank by mail with a credit union and I have a stamp that says “for deposit only” that I use when depositing checks with larger sums. I worry less about the bank screwing up than I do someone trying to cash the check. I dunno, maybe it’s just a placebo.

        Reply
  22. Wukchumni

    Trash piles up in US as China closes door to recycling Agence France Presse
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I’ve been following this saga ever since Operation Green Fence was initiated by China in 2013…

    Recycling was the one thing we did that made us feel as if we were making a difference, but it was all a chimera ruse, a Bizarro World Cargo Cult (maybe if we build more harbors-the ships will come back and take our recyclables again!) and now it’s finished.

    Everything will go in landfills with the exception of aluminum, so why not mandate that all beverages be sold only in aluminum cans?

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      If you’re going to pass some laws, why not require that drinks be sold in glass bottles and deposits collected to assure that bottles are reused? You could pass laws to standardize wine bottles and require that labels use a water soluble, easily removed glue — indeed all label glues should be water soluble and easily removed. You could pass laws to limit the mixtures of paper and plastic or different varieties of plastic and glass on the same product that make recyling virtually impossible. You could pass laws to come up with a clearer more easily followed scheme for classifying products into categories for recycling and add ‘markers’ to support automated sorting processes. If recycling something in the present costs too much at present prices but the item could be recycled and might need to be recycled in some not so distant future when raw materials run out — the somethings should still be sorted out and accumulated in specific and documented areas of our landfills.

      These are just a few ideas off the top of my head. I doubt I’ve even scratched the surface as far as what could and should be done instead of building mountains of mixed garbage and trash.

      Reply
  23. Wukchumni

    Headed out shortly to Farewell Gap, a half dozen miles of up punctuated by a like amount of down. It’s one of the few walks i’m aware of where you can see where you started from, but luckily can’t see the Marmot Cong chewing on a hose or 2, down in the Disney Parking Lot. (in 1963-64 the Disney Corp using as many as 3 or 4 shadow buyers, managed to acquire almost 30 acres in Mineral King in anticipation of either they being awarded the contract to build a ski resort, or somebody else)

    Disney was awarded the contract to build a ski resort in 1965, but
    It never happened and none of the acreage can be developed as it’s part of Sequoia NP now, and truth be said, the DPL is simply the worst kept piece of their empire on public view, a nasty mix of broken asphalt, scattered gravel, dirt and protruding rocks.

    Why they don’t donate it to the National Park is a mystery to me, for if something happened in their parking lot on account of the awful condition of it, why the lawsuit would be against Disney, funny that.

    Reply
  24. Stratos

    Clicked on the China Closes Door To Recycling link that supposedly led to Agence France Press. Instead I was directed to Yahoo News (?) which then redirected me to some ad site.

    Please recheck that link.

    Reply
    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      Thanks a lot for letting us know (and for the information both in this comment and in your other post). The link should be okay now.

      Reply
  25. rd

    It appears that the Thai rescue immobilized the boys on stretchers and then moved them through the various cave sections using a conga line of divers and other staff to move them from section to section. https://www.vox.com/2018/7/11/17561932/thai-cave-rescue-boys-stretcher

    They practiced their techniques in a local pool with local kids before attempting the rescue: https://www.apnews.com/a6901820d8b24de494222e31928f8c89/AP-Interview:-US-rescuer-details-high-risk-Thai-cave-mission

    This is a very impressive example of “planning the work and working the plan” to solve a difficult challenge. They had a wide variety of experts from around the world to help work out solutions and it appears that egos were minimized in a “one for all and all for one” environment. No individuals appear to have showboated so that allows for substantial glory to be deservedly allocated to all team members for achieving an outstanding outcome.

    BTW – the 15% oxygen values would have been critical in their decision making. Minimum “normal” oxygen levels are considered to be in the 18-19.5% level in the industrial safety world. By 15%, you are in potential altitude sickness mode as that is equivalent to being at 8,000 feet of elevation. By the time you get to 14%, you are in serious mountain-climbing mode with equivalent elevations of 10,000 feet or more. The Thais would be used to sea level atmospheric conditions, not being Tibetan or Nepalese, so these oxygen levels would have been a serious problem for them.

    Meanwhile, Elon Musk was getting much US news coverage for his “help”.

    Reply
    1. Jeff W

      I liked this detail from the WSJ article:

      When it came time to decide who to take out first, the boys decided on their own, presenting Thai SEALs with a list of their names in order, Thai authorities said.

      It speaks to the social cohesion of the group that the boys did that and to the wisdom of the Thai authorities that they realized, I imagine, that that it would be better for the boys to make that decision than for the authorities to make it for them.

      Reply
      1. Lord Koos

        Thailand is not without problems, but there is something to be said for a county that has a Buddhist culture.

        Reply
        1. blennylips

          According to wikipedia:

          The independence of Bhutan has endured for centuries and it has never been colonized in its history. Situated on the ancient Silk Road between Tibet, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, the Bhutanese state developed a distinct national identity based on Buddhism

          and from the maybe last of the old time romantic pilots comes a tale of discovery in Bhutan:

          And for a poor nation in an isolated area, little Bhutan seems to have its act together in ways that few developing nations ever do. As Lonely Planet puts it: “Bhutan is one of the few places on earth where compassion is favored over capitalism. Issues of sustainable development, education and health care, and environmental and cultural preservation…are at the forefront of policy making.” The people of Bhutan are happy and comparatively well educated; healthcare is decent and universal. The roads are in good condition, mobile phone service is everywhere, and 98 percent of citizens, even in remote locations, have clean drinking water — an astonishing statistic, as anyone who has traveled in the developing world will acknowledge.

          In nearly a week in the country, I never saw a person smoking. Turns out the import or public use of tobacco products is against the law. As are western-style commercial billboards and advertising. There are, for now, no global consumer chains anywhere in Bhutan. No Starbucks, no KFC, no Ikea.

          http://www.askthepilot.com/bhutan/

          Reply
    1. Raul

      I dunno, their long history of not just killing wax other but dragging the whole planet into their feuds as well makes me rather keep them dependent and toothless

      Reply
  26. ArcadiaMommy

    Wow! Very inspiring.

    I wonder if the coach helping them meditate alleviated some of the effects of low oxygen. I don’t necessarily meditate at high altitude but I feel like once I calm down and focus on my breathing a little I am back to normal.
    Anecdotal but kids don’t seem as affected by the lower oxygen at high altitudes. My boys and their friends have skiied and hiked at 13k-14k foot altitude and they don’t appear to have any issues. I also have noticed that the dads struggled way more than moms. My husband has a hard time at even the 7k-8k level, so I get that it is a physical response.

    Reply
  27. Oregoncharles

    Yes, kids are much less affected. When my son was 3, we moved from zero altitude to Albuquerque, 5,000 feet, In August, to go back to college. I vividly remember taking him to the park; he wanted to run around and play, and all I wanted in the world was to sit down. 5,000 is nothing, of course, and we got used to it fairly quickly, but the difference made an impression.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I’m rather constantly @ different altitudes (10,587 today) and really need at least a night in the cabin @ 7,000 before heading into the higher climes, as while your body is a little different than that puffed up bag of tortilla chips that went from sea level to altitude, it’s along similar lines.

      Reply
  28. Oregoncharles

    From the Latvia article: ” He tells a particularly good anecdote about getting the last of the Russian tanks out of Estonia in 1994—a process that all Estonians would very much like to avoid repeating.”

    Note that date. A conversation with a local Green who is from Poland convinced me that the fears of the frontline states are very real, and justified by history if not by Russia’s present behavior. Like the US, Russia has been an aggressive empire, and for far longer. Not only the Baltics but all of Eastern Europe were Russian colonies until VERY recently. Yes, that’s what the Soviet republics were. It’s like being Cuba, only worse. And Russia was aggressive in Georgia, to say nothing of Chechnya, albeit they were provoked.

    So it does make sense that the Baltic states would want a NATO tripwire force (and that’s all it is) in their countries. The real problem, IMHO, is that that’s the worst way to go about it. Putin is a nationalist, but not actually all that aggressive. He has plenty on his plate at home and no reason to take on more (this was probably always true, say of the Soviet Union). So a mutual security pact, which used to exist and may still, makes far more sense than poking the bear with a stick. A sensible US government would be promoting that, but instead we have the Democrats going with their imperialist history. Remember, Viet Nam was the Democrats’ war.

    Reply
    1. JBird

      Like the US, Russia has been an aggressive empire, and for far longer.

      Russia has been extremely unpleasant with all its neighbors, but it also been invaded by the larger ones with WW 2 just being the last. It is a little unreasonable for the big, bad Russian Bear to be afraid of the current neighbors but they are not thinking about that.

      The United States, and I believe with the Europeans’ concurrence, promised the Russians that the NATO alliance, or at least outright membership would not be extended all the way to the Russian border in exchange for some Russia concessions. I believe that it was military pullback of the Russian army as well as the complete independence of all the countries between Russia and NATO’s then borders and maybe some nuclear arms reduction. It was done verbally and with a handshake, but both sides acknowledged it.

      A sensible US government would be promoting that, but instead we have the Democrats going with their imperialist history. Remember, Viet Nam was the Democrats’ war.

      Both parties are equally imperialist and any war we are in requires a majority vote in both Houses and the President’s leadership. The Congress could simply refuse to fund it and impeach the President. The legislative branch is the most powerful of the three branches of government, or it was and would still be if the petty, small minded, short sighted, gutless weasels that currently comprise it weren’t didn’t comprise it.

      Reply
  29. Plenue

    >America’s president is Russia’s pawn Boston Globe

    Are the people who write this kind of garbage completely unaware that we’re now in Cold war 2.0? Or do they just hope their readers are the unaware ones?

    Reply
    1. JBird

      They’re just doing a fine example of doublethink. They believe that Trump is Putin’s tool and that Cold War II is happening. Mr. Orwell would not be surprised.

      Reply
    2. Daryl

      Trump is at once an uncontrollable, unstable maniac, but also Putin somehow manages to control him from across the globe with snarky comments.

      Reply
  30. Lorenzo

    As Erdogan Cements His Hold Over Turkey’s Economy, Global Investors Begin to Panic

    oh my, oh my, what has gotten into Erdogan’s head! Does he think he can force something out of the banking sector, or is he deliberately crashing his own business sector? Maybe he’s planning a massive state takeover?

    I honestly don’t know what to make out of this, except that he clearly wants something, whether that’s realistic or not is I guess the first question to be answered. The second would be who is he trying to mess with exactly. And so on. Time to dust off the ole detective coat I guess.

    Reply
  31. Dale

    I have to laugh whenever I see headlines saying “Sex at Silicon Valley Companies”. Sure, if you put twenty-somethings together with each other for all hours, you will get eventually get sex. But you will most definitely see much more sex happening between members of the crew of a typical cruise ship, or among the staff at a ski resort, than at a Silicon Valley company.

    Reply
  32. Teejay

    The goal of “Paid Off” is to keep millions of viewers hoping they too will someday get out from under their student loan debt and thereby out of the streets. Insiders have been managing/modulating the mood of millions for decades. Whatever you do make sure they remain hopeful.

    Reply
  33. The Rev Kev

    “Trump’s Deal Is All Show, No Reality in Pyongyang”

    ‘U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo… is trying to pin the North down on deliverables that President Donald Trump is desperate to take credit for.’

    Meanwhile, in North Korea-

    ‘North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho… is trying to pin the US down on deliverables that President Kim Jong-un is desperate to take credit for.’

    Reply

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