Links 7/14/18

Happy Bastille Day!

Heat Records Falling Around the World in 2018 Weather Underground. Here in Maine, I had two record days. The following night, the heat went on.

The Strange And Curious Case of the Deadly Superbug Yeast Wired. Jackpot….

California ordered to restore $331 million to fund for homeowners San Francisco Chronicle

Build-A-Bear limits store promotion as crowds build a logjam Reuters (EM). EM: “The bear is the national symbol of Russia — I am agog that the western MSM, usually so diligent in sussing out such threats, have not cottoned on to the high likelihood that Build-A-Bear is a corporate front for an ongoing effort by Russian intelligence services to meddle with our children’s minds. A child growing up thusly conditioned will be unable to properly evaluate the Russia threat to our Democracy because when thinking about such things, said child will subconsciously think ‘my favorite childhood cuddly pal!’ The scheme is as evil as it is brilliant.”

New Cold War

The Surprising Promise of the Trump-Putin Summit Foreign Affairs

Why Trump Will Return Empty-Handed From Helsinki Russia Insider

Hardcore Hitler on Hitler in Helsinki Counterpunch. “Apparently it’s fine in Resistance circles to stigmatize your enemies as butt-humping queers in order to render them more repulsive in the eyes of your sophisticated, liberal audience.” So somebody else noticed that video in the Times….

Whatever their differences, Putin and Trump share an ideology Globe and Mail. Not oligarchy, oddly.

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Indictment ties Russian government to election hacking AP. An indictment need not include evidence. Nor is an indictment the same as a conviction.

Two Big “Russia! Russia!” Stories Released Days Before Trump-Putin Summit Caitlin Johnstone. See on timing.

Summitgate and the Campaign vs. ‘Peace’ The Nation

‘Warning Lights Are Blinking Red,’ Top Intelligence Officer Says of Russian Attacks NYT

How Bitcoin Fueled Russian Hacks WSJ

Florida Republicans play starring roles in Russia hacking indictment Politico

* * *

UK police find source of Novichok nerve agent in small bottle Reuters. Mirabile dictu!

* * *

Trump’s Criticism of NATO Ignores the Real Questions Consortium News

More thoughts on Trump and his thinking Sic Semper Tyrannis

Things will not be okay Robert Kagan, WaPo

Trump blows up Theresa May’s party in his honor Politico

Brexit

Brexit White Paper gives Germany what it wants Handelsblatt

Brexit: the Irish conundrum EUReferendum

Hard Brexit: Northern Ireland may need thousands of generator barges to keep the lights on Treehugger

Italy says it won’t ratify EU-Canada trade deal; Canada plays down threat Reuters

Syraqistan

What happens when Assad wins the war in Syria? Salon

Don’t Let Trump Go to War With Iran Defense One

The WSWS, Iran’s economy, the Basij & Revolutionary Shi’ism: an 11-part series Vineyard of the Saker. “Non-Iranians need to realize that any foreign invasion of in Iran implies the mass, grassroots involvement of the Basij.”

Trump Transition

The Trump administration has a new argument for dismantling the social safety net: It worked. WaPo. America is already great.

Science under siege: behind the scenes at Trump’s troubled environment agency Nature

HHS Plans to Delete 20 Years of Critical Medical Guidelines Next Week Daily Beast

Migration

Detaining immigrant kids is now a billion-dollar industry AP

Andrew Cuomo’s Biggest Donors Rake in Millions From ICE The Intercept

Former CIA Subcontractor Deports Immigrants for ICE Documented

‘Just a dumb move’: Democrats dismiss potential vote on abolishing ICE as bad politics McClatchy

Puerto Rico

Judge says Puerto Rico fiscal board is territorial entity and not subject to Appointments Clause Caribbean Business. Aurelius Investment’s case dismissed.

Failure of imagination hindered federal response to hurricanes that devastated Puerto Rico Chicago Tribune

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Don’t imagine you’re smarter LRB. “Nobody, I think, remains quite the same after reading their file.”

Democrats in Disarray

Coons: Democrats Need To Abandon ‘Wild-Eyed’ Race to Left US News

“Medicare-for-all” means something. Don’t let moderates water it down. Vox

Bernie Sanders on John Fetterman, Pittsburgh politics and the rising tide of Democratic Socialism Pittsburgh Gazette

The New Old Democrats Jake Sullivan, Democracy. Sullivan was the Clinton campaign’s senior policy advisor.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Second Zumwalt Destroyer Needs New Engine After Turbine Blades Damaged in Sea Trials USNI News. Also, there’s no ammo being manufactured for its Advanced Gun System. Three ships, $23 billion. Ka-ching.

Notice of boil-water order came too late, many D.C. residents say WaPo. Welcome to the Third World….

Class Warfare

Paychecks Lag as Profits Soar, and Prices Erode Wage Gains NYT. Film at 11.

Cause or effect? The link between gentrification and violent crime FT

Great News: Wearing A Tie Might Be Choking Your Brain Cracked. News you can use! If “your” office attire includes a tie…

Why It’s So Hard to Junk Bad Decisions—Edging Closer to Understanding “Sunk Cost” Scientific American

Antidote du jour:

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.

286 comments

  1. Jim Haygood

    As Bubble III toils and troubles, it’s enlightening to peer into what’s happening within its sectors. Eight major sectors (excluding the small Materials and Utilities sectors) are shown in this chart, in terms of their evolving 12-month changes:

    https://ibb.co/keUEGo

    Only three sectors (current percentage changes are shown in the right-hand margin) are beating the S&P 500: Info Tech, Consumer Discretionary, and Energy. It will come as no surprise that Info Tech includes Apple, Alphabet, Facebook and Microsoft, while Consumer Discretionary is headed by Amazon.

    Also of note is that after beating the S&P 500 through May 2018, the Finance sector plummeted below it last month, exchanging places with Energy which is now an outperformer. This is not unusual: rising oil prices benefit energy stocks, but are not favorable for inflation-sensitive financial stocks.

    Meanwhile, two classic defensive sectors — recession-resistant Consumer Staples and Health Care, the two best performers during the 2008 crisis — are lagging the S&P 500 index. These dogs will have their day again, but not while the bubble rages on.

    Five sectors underperforming and three beating present a picture of narrow leadership — not as narrow as in Bubble I (1995-early 2000), when Info Tech was the only game in town in the final months and ALL other sectors were underperforming. But nevertheless, there’s a certain resemblance between these two bookends, as the sunset splendour of Bubble III hints at approaching twilight.

    Reply
    1. apberusdisvet

      An informed populace should be aware that the coming “planned” financial crash will decimate all credit structures and quite rapidly all distribution of goods will cease; whether food at the grocery store or gas at the pump. ATMs will empty and stay empty. TBTF financial institutions will close and all deposits will be “bailed in”. Since FDIC funds are less than 2% of all outstanding bank deposits, only a few, if any, customers will be made whole. Some advice:
      1. Keep bank balances only for Bill Pay; keep cash readily available.
      2. Switch from a TBTF bank to a credit union. Credit Unions have cash on hand; good luck in trying to get $5000 in cash from a TBTF bank on a Friday.
      3. Have food and water and necessary medications for at least 6 months.
      4. Urban areas will be the hardest hit with massive civil unrest; plan to have an escape plan to a more rural area.
      5. know your neighbors; plan to band together to protect your families.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Sounds great and all, but why not have some plan B money on hand, as you seem convinced that ‘cash’ will still have value, when in light of the scenario you’ve laid out, it’ll be as worthless as everything else.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          bic lighters, black pepper, salt and sugar.
          I keep a pile of these and others around for currency purposes.
          the cautionary tale out here, that nobody wants to remember, is 2005, Hurricane Rita tearing down the east side of Houston(where the Port and all the warehouses live). 350 miles away, we had no trucks enter our county for a week. we ran out of gas and diesel, and the (1) grocery store’s shelves were quickly depleted. It was a striking lesson to me, about just how tenuous civilisation is.
          even more striking is the lengths folks will go to ignore that lesson.

          Reply
      2. JTMcPhee

        Don’t forget walkie-talkies, freeze-dried food, solar power, batteries, your own water well, a defensible perimeter, and of course appropriate selections of weapons and ammo, and training in their use, defensively and offensively so one can take from the unprepared what they were so weak as to not learn how to protect…

        Here’s a handy checklist: https://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/preppers-checklist/ The link closes with advice that might even apply to all of us, every day:

        Austere Living Techniques- Everything gets harder when modern conveniences, luxuries really, disappear. Avoid feeling overwhelmed and helpless by practicing self-reliance and making do with less, now. Learn how to build cooking and camp fires, maintain hygiene, dispose of waste, control your body temperature and create what you need. This is not just for “bush life,” and will prove valuable when the electricity and gas is cut off.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I always chuckle when I read of people that are going to hightail it to the Sierra Nevada when the shit hits the fan, and presumably hide out for months or years…

          The only problem being there is essentially nothing to eat, after hordes have fished out lakes, and the initial shock of deer being shot (saw a group of 4 of them the other day, 3x 6 pointers and a doe) would scare the rest of them away.

          There are thimbleberries all over the place, but they’re not that tasty to be honest, and very occasionally wild strawberries, a big one of which is about the size of your pinkie fingernail.

          Reply
        2. perpetualWAR

          So, I always like to ask the “Preppers,” are you prepared and willing to physically defend your stashes from the masses? Meaning, will you kill your neighbor should he/she come looking for a meal and/or water?

          If SHTF, I just hope I have enough prescription pills to “do the trick” when/if necessary!

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            “Real” preppers/doomers know that your neighbors are a resource to be cultivated…if they’re a threat, you’ve failed.
            it’s unfortunate, if not unexpected, that the most high profile “survivalists” seem to all be right wing crazy persons who hate society and figure they can go it alone in such a situation.

            Reply
      3. Lord Koos

        #2 – Anyone who is still banking with the biggies at this point is not paying attention. There has been enough bad news about the criminality of these banks, that it’s crazy people still bank with them. I have some lefty friends who still use Bank of America simply because they say it’s too much trouble for them to switch all their online accounts.

        Reply
      4. Carla

        @apberusdisvet — Some of your advice about credit unions does not hold true in Ohio, where banks have a stranglehold on financial services and have managed to keep credit unions limited in scope, weak, and with limited services. One credit union I have belonged to is only open to the members 4 days a week for about 6 hours a day. I’m sure they do not have any substantial amounts of cash on hand. The efficacy of credit unions depends to a very great degree on state law. In California, from the little experience I have, they are great — in Ohio, not so.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          Very sorry to hear that. My credit union, based in Virginia (the Pentagon, actually, but with a branch in Falls Church) is wonderful. Low cost, no hidden gotcha fees, great help the few times I’ve needed it. I used to have a small bank there too, but they got bought out by successively bigger banks until Bank of America took them over and destroyed their good will in the first week. I’ve hated them since I was in Vietnam and they had the “military banking” contract.

          Reply
      5. Whoa Molly!

        Develop a strong spiritual practice, before you need it.

        Examples…

        Join a church. My local Unitarian church is developing a crisis plan for emergencies like fire and earthquake.

        Join a zen group. They have thought through how to react to catastrophe.
        Good explanation here.

        Daily yoga practice.

        Reply
        1. Whoa Molly!

          Re yoga:
          Find a classically trained teacher. Most Iyengar teachers fit this bill. Try different teachers until one clicks for you.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I’d put my energy into walking instead, for if the proverbial shift hits the fan in a big way, that’s your transportation.

            Reply
            1. Whoa Molly!

              Walking is great. I love it.

              Before a foot injury i did 3 to 5 miles a day on average. but even an hour a day of peaceful walking in nature never gave me the same clarity of mind I now get from 35 minutes of traditional style yoga. The sheer usefulness of yoga was a revelation to me.

              (Yeah, way too much information, but cant think of a way to say it shorter : )

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                My moment of zen always seems to come while i’m doing my version of Sisyphus, although I always make it to my intended destination, and never have to roll a bowling ball up a steep hill, only to have it come crashing down.

                Reply
              2. Whoa Molly!

                Another Good thing about walking as a hobby is quickly finding out which shoes work best. Plus its simple, can be done most everywhere, and its cheap

                Reply
                1. Procopius

                  But wait! It’s also about the best exercise you can do when you get old. I suppose riding bicycles cross country is good, but I would recommend you find a group to do it with. I wouldn’t feel confident out riding a bike alone since I turned 80.

                  Reply
          2. Whoa Molly!

            Good catch on Credit Union. Will see about moving accounts on Monday.

            Survival staples, too. At very least 25 pounds beans, lentils, and couple cases of canned tomatoes and lots of water

            Reply
            1. Oregoncharles

              We started buying staples – 2 beans, 2 rice, oatmeal, toilet paper – by the bag to save money, but it means we have at least 6 months of basic food in plastic buckets. This requires a certain amount of space, and a significant investment. We buy flour in smaller quantities because it doesn’t keep all that well, but still have quite a bit of it, as well as other staples like lentils.

              Water would be the big issue if electricity were cut off, since we’re on a well. A generator big enough for the pump and the freezer might be good insurance. I don’t think we want to drink from the river if we can help it.

              Reply
      6. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Yeah, no thanks.

        Ill be outside organizing with my city.

        The Old Ways will be our guide.

        Reply
    2. John k

      Yes, sector differentiation is a warning sign. And accompanied by crashing loan growth.
      Market held up by record buybacks and massive margin debt. When that stops…
      Market and economy are the two legs of stool, worsened when leverage is high because the fall is further. When one goes the other will go quickly.
      Trade might be the trigger… exporters usually hurt most, tho today’s interconnected supply chains may make this time different. Apple profits look vulnerable… and amazon, too.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        Hard to guess. I expected to see signs by now from the tariffs. Now I’m not expecting those signs to show up until next year. Thanks to Lambert for his wonderful collection of statistics and his commentary, I’d say things are looking pretty stable at least until after the election, and probably until after next year’s soy bean and corn crops go to market.. When the crash comes I think it’s going to be a steep fall, but right now I don’t see any more sign of it than of rising wages.

        Reply
  2. Jim Haygood

    Now he tells us:

    MOSCOW – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel does not object to Syrian President Bashar Assad reexerting control over the country and stabilizing his regime’s power.

    “We haven’t had a problem with the Assad regime, for 40 years not a single bullet was fired on the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu told reporters before leaving Moscow to return to Israel, after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/netanyahu-israel-has-no-problem-with-assad-agreements-must-be-upheld-1.6268158

    So what was that CIA proxy war via ‘moderate rebels’ and the resultant flood of Syrian refugees into Europe all about, then? Just a regrettable misunderstanding, apparently, as Netanyahu declares surrender on behalf of the US-backed Syrian irregulars. Sorry for any inconvenience, folks. :-0

    Seems that Putin had an effective strategy to win friends and influence the regime in Syria, while the US backed losing terrorists who accomplished nothing except fomenting chaos and destruction. That’s what we do.

    As Israel confirms that it can work with Russia and Assad, the Lobby-dominated US hasn’t gotten the memo yet. ‘Russia Russia Russia‘ sings the faithful D-party chorus, as the Trump administration pursues a scorched-earth economic war on Iran that damages US interests more than anyone else’s.

    Clever that Netanyahu pipped Trump in meeting with Putin. Hope Benedict Donald isn’t there just to rubber stamp whatever the two principals agreed, while declaring that it was his idea (of course) all along.

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      So
      His Holiness Bibi has stated that it is now OK for another nation to operate as the people in that nation see fit?

      Maybe DJT can listen up, America has made an industry of smashing nations who have the unmitigated audacity to run the economic and political systems they themselves prefer.

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Probably Putin found a way to convince Bibi that Bibi really accepted that all along and just recently realized that he really always held that really always-long-held understanding
      all along after all.

      Putin can be very convincing that way.

      Reply
  3. Eclair

    RE: The Strange and Curious Case of the Deadly Superbug Yeast.
    “Where outbreaks have been stopped, it has been due to hard efforts in hospital cleanliness: not sharing equipment between sick people; not taking rolling computers into patients’ rooms; scrubbing the walls and floors and bedrails, and checking afterward to make sure that cleaning solutions actually kill the bug. (There is some early evidence that quarternary ammonium cleansers, the most commonly used hospital disinfectants, don’t kill C. auris; but everyday chlorine bleach can.)”

    My mother trained as a nurse in the 1930’s, before the advent of antibiotics. Emphasis was placed on sanitation and prevention of infection since there was little chance of killing off the bacteria after it had infected the patient. I remember her tales of training under the direction of the white winged sisters of charity. These included washing down the hospital rooms and all parts of the beds, using a solution of chlorine bleach, when a patient had departed. She never lost her reliance on good old bleach, regularly sanitizing all surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom. We might have cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and dust on the book shelves, but no virus, bacterium or yeast survived her Clorox Campaign.

    Reply
    1. Steve H.

      That ‘early evidence’ about quat cleansers is bs. It’s been two decades since I was a nurse tech, and it was known then.

      BTW, 50..70% ethanol murders bacteria well, too, without the toxic fumes.

      Reply
      1. Eclair

        Thanks, Steve H., for the ethyl alcohol reminder. NOT, isopropyl alcohol, BTW. However, it is flammable, so one should probably not use it for disinfection of large surfaces that might be exposed to flame. Like food prep counters near gas stoves. You can distill it at home, if you are handy, from potatoes, sugar, or various grains. I do believe that at the concentrations needed to kill bacteria, etc., it will also kill humans. It will keep indefinitely, so a bottle or two of 100 proof (50%) ethanol would be a good thing in an emergency stash (bug out bag).

        Sodium hypochlorite fumes are toxic, especially if mixed with other household cleaners. I know this from experience. But it is safer to use around flames, as long as the area is well-ventilated. It kills bacteria, viruses and fungi and is low cost to produce. It deteriorates fairly rapidly, so storing vast quantities for use in disasters is not a good option. Bombing chlorine production plants would be a nice way to make an entire population more vulnerable to disease. Not that any government would ever do such a thing.

        Reply
        1. ewmayer

          Another drawback of high-proof alcohol: It’s useless for sterilizing bedding and laundry.

          There’s a reason the folks who are the front lines of e.g. Ebola outbreaks always take plenty of bleach – it’s cheap, versatile and still effective after significant dilution, i.e. a little goes a long way.

          Reply
        2. Amfortas the Hippie

          water + salt + heat(like from the sun, even)= “bleach”.
          just FYI.
          for emergencies(since there’s lots of ways to screw up and poison oneself.)
          I’d hafta hunt for the link with the instructions. I have it printed and stashed in the box where all that sort of thing goes.

          Reply
    2. Stephen V.

      The seed was the cancer cell; the soil was the local ecosystem where it flourished, or failed to. Paget’s study concentrated on patterns of metastasis within a person’s body. The propensity of one organ to become colonized while another was spared seemed to depend on the nature or the location of the organ—on local ecologies. Yet the logic of the seed-and-soil model ultimately raises the question of global ecologies: why does one person’s body have susceptible niches and not another’s? ( unquote).
      https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/09/11/cancers-invasion-equation
      I think the Wired piece is scary because it’s so one- sided.

      Reply
      1. Eclair

        Well, Stephen V., it does have a bit of the ‘scary bug/animal/disease of the day’ about it. The resistant yeast strain seems to be a problem in hospital and care home settings, where vulnerable people are gathered. The article mentions the care homes as potential future problems, due to the difficulty in imposing stringent sanitizing protocols. The immune systems of people in hospitals and care facilities are already overburdened and compromised, just waiting for a predatory bug to invade.

        From the scanty information I can gather about the epidemics of killer lettuce, cantaloupe, and tacos, most of the people who become very ill or who die, are susceptible due to age (very old or very young) or to an existing disease.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          The only “difficulty” in imposing effective disinfection and sanitation controls in these facilities is good old PROFIT. They are pretty universally way understaffed, with sh!tty management, and it is hard to find people motivated by $7 or $8 an hour to do the kind of meticulous cleaning with effective (and not carcinogenic) disinfectants. Clostridium difficile is only one of the deadly resistant pathogens that have catchy monikers like “VRSA” (vancomycin-resistant strep aureus) and MRSA (methicillin-resistant strep aureus) that float around in ‘nursing homes” and hospitals. It is possible to do a much better job of sanitation and reduction in “nosocomial illnesses” and “bad outcomes,” and if you are a Rich Sh!t you can go to places where those rigors are practiced (often in foreign “sh!thole” countries.) But when the people at the top of the wealth pyramid (which is of course pointy-end-down, and actually looks more like a mushroom cloud) do not give a neoliberal toot about mopes dying, well guess what is going to happen?

          Those old-time starched-whites nurses and orderlies in the ward-based hospitals of yore, who achieved that rigorous cleansing, might actually have been paid a living wage (albeit not on the path to riches or a comfortably wealthy retirement, if they lived that long), along with the strength of character and sense of calling that brought many of them to their professions. That part of the “national character” has pretty much died, under the heavy radiation from Neoliberal uranium…

          Here’s a video primer on how to clean a hospital bed (just one of the “fomites,” or potential transporters and harbors for pathogens, in every hospital room): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PwOOjsf80M. Does anyone think that happens every time a patient is discharged or moved to a different service, before the next billable meatsack is hoisted onto the bed?

          It’s maybe small justice that some of the 10%ers who help manage the American Business Model (“more and more work, from fewer and fewer people, to lower and lower standards, for less and less pay, under more and more oppressive and metric/algo management)sicken and die from these unnecessary avoidable infections, since location or need forces them into Mopetown hospitals and care facilities…

          Reply
          1. Chris

            MRSA is staphylococcus aureus, not streptococcus, and I suspect you’re thinking of VRE (vancomycin resistant enterococcus) rather than VRSA.

            Reply
    3. DorothyT

      Re: (Wired) Deadly Superbug Yeast

      I’m unfortunately acquainted with an antibiotic resistant bacterial infection (pseudomonas aeruginosa) that entered my ‘space’ because someone I’m close to acquired it while vacationing at a most beautiful spring-fed river in the South. He swam there, and the well water that he drank, cooked with, bathed in came from that same spring. This bacteria found in the water in that region likely comes from agricultural and farm animal run off. Periodically an alert goes out to residents not to drink the water until it is ‘treated.’ (State water officials aren’t acknowledging if they are testing for pseudomonas or other drug resistant bacteria or fungi, nor would they reply to my inquiry about it.)

      High risk populations are the very young and old, and the immune compromised. Those who are healthy may have the infection and not experience any symptoms. My relative is middle aged, healthy, an athlete, yet he contracted pseudomonas. His symptoms were ‘mild’ compared to mine — his were a persistent sinus and then a bronchial infection, while my infection caused a collapsed lung. I was healthy all my life until this.

      You can read about it yourselves but I will say that I believe sanitation is no doubt important. The university hospital near me stresses it but makes no claims that it ‘kills’ antibiotic resistant bacteria. After becoming more sick when treated by my primary doctor with antibiotics, I sought the hospital’s infectious disease doctors out because of their experience in testing and treating it. Although we are getting NIH and CDC warnings, I found that Medicare didn’t cover the expensive testing.

      Also, if you do your own reading you will learn that when an antibiotic resistant bacterium (and now a fungus?) invades your bloodstream, this is sepsis and can be life threatening.

      NC posted a link yesterday, I believe, to an article about Novartis ending their antibiotic research, including that into antibiotic resistance. I subscribe to the FDA and USDA warning alerts and received one the other day for a baby wash found to contain pseudomonas, the first I’ve seen about a product. I believe that this is a world health problem and research should be shared among scientists. Certainly public health budgets in the US should reflect the seriousness of this threat.

      So take these articles seriously and know that you will need to take this into consideration if you face any procedure that might expose such resistant bacteria or fungi into your bloodstream (like elective surgery, dental work, even an accident), if sepsis ensues.

      Reply
  4. tomk

    As a young child in the sixties I was generally a good kid but would go into violent rages to fight having to wear a tie. Learning in second or third grade that women lived longer than men it was obvious to me that ties were the reason.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      There’s a restaurant called Pinnacle Peak, and they used to have quite a few locations, and the only one I know of now is in Tucson, and should you frequent their establishment whilst ‘tied’ up, they’ll take the scissors to it, and hang it from the rafters along with a bunch more of them…
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      For over 50 years, Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse has served the good people of Tucson. Locally owned and operated, Pinnacle Peak takes great pride in serving real Western food in an authentic Old West atmosphere.

      Opening in 1962, Pinnacle Peak became famous for good food and good fun. Guests were encouraged to relax and enjoy a hearty steak dinner. The “No Ties Allowed” policy has always been a part of the Pinnacle Peak mentality.

      http://www.pinnaclepeaktucson.com/history

      Reply
      1. ArcadiaMommy

        I can’t believe that place is still open! As far as the old west, it is down the street from where I grew up from ages 8-17. We went there a couple of times. The miniature golf place next door is where the locals went.

        I got my one and only speeding ticket near there when I had my license for about a month.

        Reply
  5. Eclair

    “Lezhnev said he and his wife give filtered tap water to their 9-month-old son, Leo, and could have given the baby contaminated water had they not already made baby formula.”

    As we pointed out the other day, a big problem with promoting the use of powered baby formula is the dependence in developing and ‘third world’ countries on compromised or nonexistent water supplies to mix the formula.

    Like Flint, Michigan, Washington, DC. Oops!

    Reply
  6. Steve H.

    > HHS Plans to Delete 20 Years of Critical Medical Guidelines Next Week

    I wonder if a bureaucrat started the fire in Alexandria?

    But then I think, doctors are 10%ers who did just fine, at least until the FIRE sector started winning. They did nothing collectively, acted like the insurance companies were their customer instead of their patients, and now they are hand-wringing when something they actually use comes under threat.

    Wikipedia did well without elite backing. Where’s the AMA lawsuit to stop this while a public version is made? I’m not saying their angst is not real. I’m saying if they hadn’t spent their energy suppressing the minority who were Hippocratic and not elitist (shoutout to Rob Stone), they’d have a skillset to not get sandbagged.

    Knowledge takes energy to maintain. Landauer’s principle says loss of information can be perfectly efficient.

    Reply
    1. Schnormal

      From the article:

      The vetting role played by the NGC is a critical one, says Roy Poses, with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

      “Many guidelines are actually written mainly for commercial purposes or public relations purposes,” said Poses, and can be subtly shaped to promote a given course of treatment. A guideline written for the treatment of depression, for example, may emphasize pharmaceuticals over talk therapy.

      “The organizations writing the guidelines may be getting millions of dollars from big drug companies that want to promote a product. The people writing them may have similar conflicts of interest,” Poses said. NGC’s process provided a resource comparatively free of that kind of influence.

      Underscoring how medical research like that maintained by the NGC can be politicized, AHRQ drew the ire of then-congressmember Tom Price in 2016 when it published a study critical of a drug manufactured by one of his campaign donors. According to ProPublica, one of Price’s aides emailed “at least half a dozen times” asking the agency to pull the critical research down. Price was the first director of HHS, AHRQ’s parent agency, under the Trump Administration, before resigning under pressure last year over his spending on chartered flights.

      The current director of AHRQ, Gopal Khanna — a Price appointee — is the first non-scientist to head the agency. His résumé includes mostly positions in information technology management, in state government in Minnesota and Illinois, and a brief stint in the George W. Bush White House.

      It’s a real shame to see an IT system that actually works in doctors’ favor to get trashed like this. They say they aren’t even going to keep an archived version available.

      Link to advocacy toolkit:
      http://www.academyhealth.org/saveahrqfy18toolkit

      Reply
  7. cnchal

    > Detaining immigrant kids is now a billion-dollar industry AP

    The word has lost all meaning, and is perverted beyond recognition.

    Reply
  8. PlutoniumKun

    Second Zumwalt Destroyer Needs New Engine After Turbine Blades Damaged in Sea Trials USNI News. Also, there’s no ammo being manufactured for its Advanced Gun System. Three ships, $23 billion. Ka-ching.

    With all the attention paid to the money pit that is the F-35, I’m always surprised the Zumwalt gets a free pass – its is an entirely useless conception (basically, an attempt by the Navy to get in on the game of bombing cities), badly executed.

    And speaking of the F-35, the USAF is reverting to straight up corruption to pretend that it can do its job of close air support.

    The US Air Forces Close Air Support Fly-off is a Farce.

    Reply
    1. voteforno6

      Yep, they’re juking the stats, as fans of The Wire would say.

      If the Army wanted to jerk their chains, they could offer to take over the A-10 program from the Air Force. If there’s one thing that the USAF hates more than the A-10, is the idea that the Army would have fixed-wing aircraft.

      Reply
      1. Jean

        Thanks to the Russians controlling our minds, our media, our elections and even our teddy bears, it is essential that we begin developing the F-45.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The supine American population richly gets what they deserve, in other words instead of basic health care, a living wage, daycare, and functioning bridges, highways, airports, and water systems they get multi-trillion dollar “mine is bigger than yours” military playthings that do not work.

          Meantime we get to see the so-called “left” tearing their hair out to try and torpedo any possibility of de-escalation and peace with Russia.

          A banquet of consequences indeed.

          Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Fully agree, PK, that the Zumwalt-class ships are getting a free pass. That link on the ammo for the Zumwalt was a bit misleading in that it forgot to mention that each and every round costs about US$1 million. As that class of ship can carry about 600 rounds that means that to give just one of those ships a full complement of rounds would cost US$600 million. This explains why the US Navy cancelled a order of 2,000 rounds as even the US cannot afford the costs of expending rounds just for training purposes.
      Another problem with that class of ship design is that it may be prone to capsizing in rough weather. I doubt that the US Navy would want to risk one of these ships going through a typhoon as they got badly burnt once (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoon_Cobra) and have probably not forgotten that incident since. The fact that there were supposed to have been 32 of these ships built and now they are going to only have the 3 tells you all that you need to know about that ship and how good it is.
      I see that you saw mention of that fly-off between the F-35 and the A-10. Gunna be good to see how they are going to spin that one.

      Reply
      1. Christopher Dale Rogers

        Rev Kev,

        Many thanks for your link in relation to Typhoon Cobra, which I had no knowledge of to be honest, so was happy to learn some facts about this episode and that of the Japanese one eight years earlier.

        As someone who resides in a region impacted by typhoons between the Philippines, Taiwan and Canton region of China, I can attest to the fact that a T10 Typhoon is not pleasant to experience on land, so certainly would not like to be at sea, or indeed flying.

        As for your other comments, absolutely stunning the waste within the US Military-Industrial Complex and little wonder Russia is able to defend itself with a small defence budget by avoiding waste that infects the US system presently.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I was in Hong Kong in 1984 when Typhoon Ike came calling after leaving a path of destruction in the Philippines.

          Ensconced in a hotel room on the 17th floor of the Holiday Inn in Kowloon, when the typhoon made landfall, for this Californian that had never experienced anything such as it’s fury, it was akin to a continual earthquake measuring say 4.1, for a couple hours as the hotel shook constantly. I was torn between watching the maelstrom from a picture window, or cowering in the bathtub with the restroom door locked as an added precaution, and the latter was what went down.

          The day after, bamboo scaffolding on buildings under construction more closely resembled large toothpicks scattered on the ground, and there must’ve been dozens of junks that were now hundreds of yards inland on dry ground.

          Nobody died on account of Ike in HK, but close to 1,500 elsewhere.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoon_Ike

          Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          Would you believe that I learnt about that typhoon from reading the “Caine Mutiny”? It is the crisis point of that novel which was written by a guy who had wartime experiences aboard minesweepers during World War II.
          From what I have read about typhoons I have no interest, curiosity or desire to be even along the same latitude if one of those things hit. You may have heard about the time that Australia was hit by Cyclone Tracy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone_Tracy). Left a whole city looking like Hiroshima. That cured me of any need to experience one myself.

          Reply
          1. Christopher Dale Rogers

            Rev Kev,

            When I visited Darwin in the mid-80s it was still recovering from the horror Cyclone Tracy inflicted – here in Hong Kong, our main danger from any Typhoon is a funnel effect leading to a tsunami due to the shape of the natural harbour – this actually happened less than 100 years ago with great loss of life. My wife, from Central Luzon Island, knows all about typhoon’s, the last massive one to hit her province resulted in massive flooding, of course, if on the coast, it was similar to the damage inflicted at Darwin – her two storey home had the first floor flooded, other, lower in the basin, were completely inundated under water – thankfully though, we don’t have major earthquakes where I live, but was rather unlucky to be in Tokyo one month after Japan suffered its last big one, we were hit by a Richter 8.1, the size of which did massive damage to Christchurch in New Zealand, not so in Tokyo, but the Imperial Hotel moved substantially – frightened the pants off me I can assure you.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              We were in Christchurch a few weeks before the 2011 earthquake happened, and it’ll sound crazy, but we were ‘disappointed’ with what the 7.1 had wrought in an earlier temblor in September of 2010. Perhaps we saw a few dozen red tagged buildings in ChCh. It hardly seemed like the kind of damage you’d expect, but it was centered about 20 miles out of town and rather deep.

              When the the big one came calling in February, we were on the road hundreds of miles away from the epicenter after having done an overnight trip on beautiful Doubtful Sound, and the quake was really close to ChCh and really shallow and only a 6.2, but like real estate, it’s all about location location location.

              When we arrived in Queenstown later that day, the desk clerk @ our motel told us it gave him quite the shaking, and again that hundreds of miles away.

              Such a pity, as ChCh was our favorite big city in NZ.

              Reply
        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          The primary defense of the “homeland” (barf) is two oceans and two wastelands, not a single employee of the U.S. government. These defenses are free. Plenty of locals were killed to make it happen. Everyone over the age of five knows the lower 48 is completely protected from a foreign based enemy intent on seizing land. They would never be able to develop supply lines. Even without satellites and information dominance, we would catch on before it was too late.

          Nothing needs to work. It just needs to work well enough to sell to electorates who are the primary threat with the occasional victory over a local war lord Americans didn’t know about until after the win was secured which is why I’m pretty certain Obama was never keen on advertising misadventures in Africa.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Europe has a nuclear shield and is probably too integrated to have an internal war at least for another generation. If we accept WW1 and 2 are the same conflict, then there is a century between major European wars. No new confederation will waste it’s time.

            If a country such as Australia was really worried about the Chinese, they would invest not in air superiority but mine laying tech, missiles to hit troop carriers, employees protected assets to rapidly react to troop landings, and just kind of stop there. Countries that are a bit more open to invasion need their products to work, but us the best imaginary U.S. wonder weapon capable of exerting the technological edge the fleets of the Colonial powers brought which allowed the swift movement and relocation of troops, who could be kept at minimal numbers? The answer is no. As long as the electorate or enough the electorate believes in magic and foreign devils, they can get away with the grift until their is a singular unmitigated disaster.

            Reply
            1. Synoia

              Please post you list of was separated by a Century.

              Napoleonic War 1795
              Franco-Prussian War 1870
              WW I 1914

              Not 100 years. My European hist is not good enough to list all “major wars.” For example the European 30 Years war was roughly coincident with the English Civil war, but appear to have different causes.

              It is unwise to predict patterns in systems of Chaos.

              Reply
              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                I don’t count the Franco-Prussian war as a major European conflict. The powers were big, but the wars scope was limited. The Russians weren’t part of the occupying force of Paris for example. The French colonial operation wasn’t disrupted. The organized German states renewed their rivalry with the French. So they had a Republic instead of Louis and a Kaiser instead of the HRE. Major wars are wars fought over multiple and clearly separate fronts. The English Civil War is out because of its limited scope. Crimea as well.

                -WWI and II
                -Napoleonic Wars
                -Both Seven Years Wars (French and Indian War; and the American Revolutionary War); which are similar and wide ranging conflicts and separated from the main show of the Napoleonic by a generation.
                -War of the Spanish Succession. Maybe, the Polish succession. There is a bit of a drive there. All of these wars are essentially caused by foreign claims to ownership.
                -The Thirty Years War.
                -The Second Northern War

                I suppose Europe is fairly united in the war for the maintenance of U.S. hegemony and Western Corporate Colonial control with better branding. They fussed a bit about a selected battlefield in Iraq, but they didn’t do anything but provide support whenever it was needed.

                Reply
                1. Wukchumni

                  I dunno about that…

                  The Franco-Prussian War sets up WW1 pretty nicely, with Alsace always being the object of French desire in terms of getting it back.

                  Reply
                  1. Yves Smith

                    Gotta disagree. I read a lot of French history in French. Even though the French were not happy re Alsace, it was not worth a huge expenditure of resources to them.

                    Reply
              2. Oregoncharles

                Weren’t the 30 yrs’ war and the English Civil War both religious wars that resulted from the Reformation? Of course, there were other factors that contributed to each, but they were part of the same process.

                Reply
        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          I wonder what our defense budget bottom line would look like if we took out the “air.” Two-thirds the size? Half?

          (Not that getting to a bottom line in the first place would be easy.)

          Reply
    3. Wukchumni

      The Zumwalt looks almost like a Civil War ironclad, but it’d probably lose, if it were pitted against a 150 year old ship, in dubious battle.

      Zumwalt Meadow in Kings Canyon NP is really where we should have blown the $23 Billion, not on the meadow itself, as Mother Nature does all of the heavy lifting, but on the $12 Billion backlog of maintenance in the entire National Park/Monument complex.

      I was in the main part of Sequoia NP a few weeks ago taking to a Frenchman, who asked why the toilets were so old?

      When was the last time you utilized a 1940’s era crapper?

      http://www.redwoodhikes.com/SequoiaNP/Zumwalt.html

      Reply
    4. JTMcPhee

      We forget all the past misdeeds because we need ‘defense,” right? Anyone recall the “Sgt.York Division Air Defense System (DIVAD)”? A multi-barrel Gatling cannon mounted on a used-tank chassis with accompanying radars and computers and stuff, supposedly able to track and destroy up to 48 “flying menaces” within a “division-sized” area. It was so bad a design, so corrupt, that it could not track mock targets in a dome built over it. It failed its field tests repeatedly, and when put to the test to try to shoot down a single target aircraft, in a performance for Congressional milwaste-lovers, it seems the target’s GI “pilot,” flying it from a console on the ground, pushed the self-destruct button before the gun even started firing — the self-destruct was meant to simulate (fraudulently) that the gun had hit the target in a totally rigged trial. All after the expenditure of billions, and much “soul-searching” by the “Defense Secretary.” (“How much more can we fork over to Ford and subcontractors before this turkey has to be killed?”) Back in the day there were occasional consequences for “our” defense fraudsters: https://www.nytimes.com/1985/12/03/us/top-nasa-official-indicted-in-fraud-on-weapons-costs.html Some in the “Procurement Chain” would actually argue for and occasionally win a “debarment” ruling, where a “defense scammer corporation” would be barred from any federal contracts. See GE getting that treatment as laid out in the article, though of course it didn’t last.

      And there’s this snippet from one retrospective, https://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/divad-wasnt-a-cure-all-after-all/, that ought to be good for a laugh:

      Tests against slow-flying drones were no more successful. Even against a helicopter drone hovering still in mid-air, the Sgt. York missed its target. Subsequently, during a demonstration for important visitors, an M247 swung its guns toward an audience that included Smith and other congressmen, causing several minor injuries as dignitaries scrambled for cover. Ever wonder where that scene in “Robocop” came from?

      And when I first when in the Army in 1966, the effing Air Force generals had just won the Battle of the Fixed Wing Ridge, forcing the Army brass to retreat from the battlefield in th dinner ring of the Pentagram and lick their wounds at only being left with non-aerobatic piddly helicopters. So some colonels were tasked with spending a couple of billions to develop “rigid rotor system” helicopters that could do loops and rolls and fly upside down and go faster than the piddly 100 or 120 knots that flexible-rotor systems were limited to by *physics of flight.* Lockheed had an on-spec design concept, that got bought by the War Department to develop further and became the XH-51 that could at least fly a whole 250 mph (hardly in the Starfighter 1,000 mph class). Here’s that program’s history:https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_XH-51 Led to the “rigid rotor” attack helicopters of today, which of course are way outperformed by the Mil series that the SovietsRooskies and many other national militaries fly around with today…https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mil_Mi-24 Whch are labeled “flying tanks” because they are so well armored.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Thought that you might be interested in the following links. There was the time one of these robot cannons went out of control in South Africa and killed 9 and wounded 14 (https://www.wired.com/2007/10/robot-cannon-ki/) troops so yeah, it has actually happened.
        The second link is about nuclear powered aircraft (http://mentalfloss.com/article/53184/brief-history-nuclear-airplanes) which was one of those Freddy Kruger programs – they just couldn’t kill it off – and it sucked up money and resources for a decade after it was obvious that it was a dud concept.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          I would like to see none of the above. It’s amazing to me how many people get into the Ford-vs-Chevy kind of thinking, rooting for one weapons system or another, one branch of the military or another, kind of a “Consumer Reports” mentality that does not ask the question (as to me it always should) “Why the hell are any of these ‘products’ even being marketed?”

          I keep coming back to Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” the first part, where generals and kings are warned very expressly that war, particularly prolonged war at a distance, bankrupts the nation and impoverishes the peasants. And that there are a bunch of pre-considerations (that I sort of think were in the minds of those rich slave owners that wrote the Constitution) by representatives of the people, which should precede the whole “let’s go straight to War, The Racket and Milo Minderbinder Enterprise.” For those who care to read the first couple of sections of “The Art of War,” just a few pages of condensed wisdom, up there in the parts before all the strategy and tactics that most folks find so much more engaging, here’s the whole thing: http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.html

          Of course, humans being what we are, Futilitarianism will continue to be the order of the day, and Popular Mechanics, http://www.coverbrowser.com/covers/popular-mechanics/25#i1228 and Combat Rifle magazine will still be so very popular

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            New Zealand’s air force had a decision to make around the turn of the century…

            Do they replace the aging fighter jets with bright and shiny debt laden ones, or just get rid of that part of their air force?

            …they went with the latter
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

            MOST of the Royal New Zealand Air Force is to be scrapped, the government said yesterday, curtailing its traditional role with Australia of helping to guarantee security in the Pacific.

            Wing Commander Nick Osborne walks past Skyhawks at Ohakea air base in New Zealand. The ageing jets will not be replaced, effectively grounding the air force.

            In the biggest defence shake-up since the Second World War, the Labour Prime Minister, Helen Clark, promised to scrap all 34 of the RNZAF’s combat and trainer jet aircraft. The navy’s only frigate, Canterbury, will not be replaced.

            https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/newzealand/1329673/New-Zealand-scraps-air-force-warplanes.html

            All over NZ in just about every town, there are what are called i-sites, which are buildings full of knowledgeable people that are part of the tourist industry. You can book anything you could imagine in one of them. To me it looks as if the country took their jet money, and did something useful with it.

            Reply
      2. Sherlock Poirot

        Here in Scottsdale there’s a surprising large number of Ferrari, Bentley, etc diving around with “veteran” plates.

        Do you think this could be related?

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          Here in the picturesque town north of Scottsdale and “the valley” of the sun, we are having another day of bliss. Cool temps with another daily thunderstorm. Rodeo days are over, but there are the resident trucks and occasional old well preserved classics( like many of the drivers) driving around with “veteran” plates. We do have subarus too. Along with our old well preseved one, you can always find a couple in the parking lot at the little ” natural foods” store in town. And, you might find bumper stickers that say something along the lines of “Bernie Bro and proud of it!” Or, ” Earth Day is every day, still”.

          Reply
          1. ArcadiaMommy

            Huh. A couple of AZ references today. I am assuming you are talking about Flag (can’t remember the name of the store but it’s off Milton as I recall).
            The ratio of red necks to normal people up there doesn’t impress me.

            Reply
            1. skippy

              I still am bemused that my once old stomping grounds Dobson Ranch is now a golf course after being a feed lot – cotton property w/ uncle ringing up Goldwater to get his immigration boys off his property….

              Reply
      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        It would be nice to have a Yelp-like ranking of the top 100 or so weapons systems. Order them by military importance (needs an expert for that*) and then put stars and price next to them.

        I bet very, very few would get a five-star quality rating. And fewer and fewer over time.

        * Who would have to assume a strategic posture because weapon systems are only fit-for-purpose in a given context.

        Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            During the Vietnam war, Colonel David Hackworth was out with his men when they found the buried body of an enemy soldier and his AK-47 who had been in a bog for about a year. Hackworth went down, grabbed the weapon and said to his men “Watch this guys and I’ll show you how a real infantry weapon works.” He then pulls the bolt back and fires off the thirty round clip. Try that with an M-16.

            Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          Around 12 years ago the Irish PM in a fit of enthusiasm volunteered an Irish battalion for UN peacekeeping duties in Chad. He was told in response by his military: ‘nice idea, but we don’t have any equipment for desert warfare’. This being pre-2007 crash, some senior officers were given a large credit card and told to go out to some defence shows and buy the right equipment – mostly armoured personnel carriers with all the bells and whistles to keep a battalion in the field in the Sahara in a very unstable area where everyone has a gun.

          Fast forward 12 months later and it was reported back by Irish officers that they were constantly been visited by various military liaison officers who told them that they were the best equipped desert military unit they’d ever seen. Quite simply, the Irish officers had mixed and matched equipment from the best sources they could find – mainly Swiss made Mowags with add-ons from half a dozen or so other sources. They were told by other openly envious national contingents that they were stuck with equipment purchased either for political reasons or simply because it was domestic, or because someone was getting a percentage.

          The core message seemed to be that if a non-corrupt army is given a budget and told ‘go buy what you really need’, you can get much better equipment for probably less money. The giant bureaucracies, along with parasitic suppliers, that attach themselves to militaries are nothing more than money sucking machines.

          Reply
        2. ambrit

          It would depend on how you define ‘weapon.’
          With a broad enough scope, I’d rank the Internet as the most effective ‘weapon system.’
          If it’s breaking stuff up you need, I’d say that Drill Instructors do the most to facilitate that objective.

          Reply
        3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Yeah, i was in ATC Equipment Repair in the Army (94D(!)) and would totally have reviewed the systems we used. I remember my AIT instructor saying something along the lines of ‘if it aint broke, then dont fix it.

          One of our main problems out in the desolate heat was keeping our little airport running. These huge portable ACs cooled the Equipment down until they didnt. Little shit like that shoulda been solved in our umpteenth year of ‘War.’

          Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            In my helicopter unit in Vietnam, there was another saying: “If it’s inop, break it really good and install a new one. Then do the paperwork to ‘excess’ the busted part.” Helicopter rotor blades cost about $80,000 (UH-1D and F). If they got bullet holes in them, either by enemy action or because the gunners trained their guns into the rotor disk, there were specs for patching them, if not too many and too close to the spar or edges – remove the damaged aluminum honeycomb core, replace with new, trim to fit, and cover with the appropriate grade of alloy skin. It was nasty work, the adhesives were pretty toxic, and so our bunkers and hooches had rotor blades for roofs, and the basketball hoop was bolted with mil-spec hardware to a blade cemented into the ground.

            And the supply chain delivered more blades, in their special shipping containers. Not understanding MMT back then, we referred to it as “inflation in action…”

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              Read a book by a US helicopter pilot how in Vietnam if there was ever a helicopter crash that it was put to use. In the supply chain there is always stuff missing off the books such as helmets, gun belts etc. The supply sergeants would then claim that it was all aboard the destroyed helicopter and one bemused officer noted to his supply sergeant that the total weight of all the gear that was supposedly aboard the helicopter was several times its carrying capacity.

              Reply
            2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              We had an Airplane Graveyard filled with old USSR planes. Plus the Air Force Top Brass (lol) commandeered the original ATC tower, while we ran evereything out of the back of 2 Humvees n a 7A ‘Tower’.

              Reply
      4. witters

        “Ever wonder where that scene in “Robocop” came from?”

        I think you need to go back earlier. To Chaplin and The Great Dictator, here:

        Reply
    5. hpschd

      One of my all time favorite sci-fi stories is “Superiority” (1951) by Arthur C. Clarke

      Two space fleets are at war. One has a slight advantage. They decide that more advanced weapon systems will guarantee victory. Their new weapons are vastly better than the enemy’s, but they don’t always work as planned. The enemy continues building their less advanced but reliable weapons and wins.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I’m picturing the Chinese brass figuring out that expensive as opposed to workable weapons systems are far more profitable for them personally, and following us down that route. The Russians, on the other hand….

        Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            Why are the Chinese building aircraft carriers? …are there Admirals in the People’s Liberation Army? Oh, there’s a separate branch on their Inevitable Military Corruption Tree: http://military.wikia.com/wiki/People%27s_Liberation_Army_Navy

            Might have something to do with it — all Admirals dearly want to do have a capital ship to flap their flag on and have really swank quarters and a bunch of used to be Filipino ratings in the People’s US Navy to cater to their every whim…

            At the same time, the Pentagon has added admirals and generals. There are now nearly a thousand. Many of those top officers are surrounded with entourages including chauffeurs, chefs and executive aids. Top flag officers have private jets always at the ready. They live in sometimes palatial homes and frequently travel in motorcades. Former Democratic Senator Jim Webb asked the Pentagon why the Air Force has more four-star generals than the Army, even though the Army has almost twice the manpower. Across all service branches, Warner said, the number of people at the bottom has shrunk while the number of generals and admirals has swelled.

            Investigations have shown some in power misuse these perks. General Wiliam “Kip” Ward was demoted for using his staff and military vehicles to take his wife shopping, to spas and on vacations in $700-a-night suites, all at taxpayer expense.

            “If you’re a four-star, and you’ve got a G-5 aircraft waiting for your private use, or governmental use, 24/7, that doesn’t make sense to me,” Warner said. “That all adds up, and it just sends the wrong signal, when we are cutting back on the number of troops, and soldiers, sailors and airmen, yet we are increasing the number of generals and flag officers.”

            Slate.com estimated that the perks and entourages afforded flag officers cost a million dollars for every admiral and general.” https://wtkr.com/2013/05/02/enlisted-forced-out-while-navy-has-more-admirals-than-ships/

            Reply
    6. Synoia

      The F35 may be a lemon, because it is a flying Swiss Army Knife. The F35 software is not a lemon. It is an operating system for aircraft.

      All new operating systems are difficult to create. When in Version 3 or so, they have such a grip on the market that they eliminate their competition.

      Reply
    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, David.

      I was at the Home for Scottish Bank Clerks, including the NYC office mid-town, from 1999 – 2006 and have heard similar and worse.

      That is right about the Mikes at HSBC, including then Group CEO Mike Geoghegan.

      The worst has to be former Group Chairman, the Reverend Stephen Green, later a Tory minister and an arch hypocrite.

      Reply
    2. blennylips

      HSBC is a cesspool that loves jetways.

      I believe google image search taps into the unconsciousness of the googlebots iBernaysBots…I scrolled a ways down, totally SFW so far…but weird…

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        HSBC’s penalty for laundering $881 million worth of ‘Meskin drug cartel money was $1.9 million, or about what one would earn on a really good CD in a year on that amount.

        Reply
          1. Synoia

            What reputational damage? It was better than the best advertising that money could buy.

            “If you have a dodgy source of money, we, HSBC, are here to help!!”

            Reply
  9. pretzelattack

    amazing how willing democratic politicians are to accept an indictment as evidence, even sanders apparently. still no solid evidence of a russian (as in state) attack on the election that i am aware of.

    Reply
    1. John Wright

      One might hope the Democratic politicians would launch a probe into why the NSA/CIA/FBI missed the “Russian meddling” as it was happening.

      As I remember, the combined budgets of these three organizations is 60-70 billion/year.

      Meanwhile, the thrifty Russians spend about that on their entire military (vs USA at 700 billion or 10x).

      The real story is the apparent unwillingness of the news media/Washington elite to determine how the Russians get so much “bang for their buck” for their military and “foreign election meddling” operations.

      How did the former inefficient/backward communists become so effective as they fought back from economic collapse?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        As I remember, the combined budgets of these three organizations is 60-70 billion/year.

        Meanwhile, the thrifty Russians spend about that on their entire military (vs USA at 700 billion or 10x).

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        That sounds eerily similar to law enforcement versus the drug cartels that grow ganja in the Sierra Nevada.

        A grow in the backcountry might encompass say 10,000 to 20,000 plants, and atypically the chancy gardeners are campesinos from the Michoacan, who are spirited across the border to the grow site where they will remain until harvest, and they are promised say $10k if the crop comes in, and there’ll be 5 campesinos and 1 jeffe @ the grow, and everything they need in way of food, liquor, comfort women, etc., is supplied by local talent, usually from Cutler/Orosi, or further afield from Earlimart.

        The cartel might spend $100k in bringing in a crop that our authorities claim is worth $60 million, but reality is more like $5 million, as it’s better than ditchweed, but not that much better, as outdoor grows are much more productive in getting quantity-not quality.

        To combat the threat, we spend many millions, and the cartel is slick, oftentimes they’ll have a dummy garden with say 300 plants that’s fairly obvious, while the real deal is carefully hidden away somewhere else.

        Reply
        1. John Wright

          Until recently, I lived in a county that bordered on the Northern California Emerald Triangle marijuana growing region.

          In the past the local paper would mention “police seize marijuana with a street value of $(big value)”

          This seemed like bogus accounting, so years ago I wrote a letter to the editor of the paper about the way seized local “crops” were accounted for by the police.

          The police always used the “estimated street value” rather than, in my view, the more correct and much lower, “market value as seized” or “estimated replacement cost”.

          If the cops spent 200K on a drug bust, it would have been bad PR for the authorities if the wholesale value of the crop was a much lower number.

          Sadly, no member of the accounting profession chimed in with support.

          And the paper continued with the “street value” reporting.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            A few years ago we had a bust pretty close to us, and the authorities called the night before and told us what was going down, and sure enough the next morning, there’s heavy vehicles-a bunch of law enforcement types, and a couple of blackhawk helicopters, and this goes on all day, as the LEO’s packed stakebed trucks to the rafters, full of not quite ripe produce.

            Well, for the next month or so, i’m diligently looking for details of the bust, and no dice, it’s as if it never happened.

            And then a couple months later, the story came out, but the grow here was combined with a bunch of other busts, to get the total ‘value’ up to a billion dollars.

            A crummy ‘$40 million’ bust wasn’t news worthy anymore, ha!

            Reply
          2. The Rev Kev

            Years ago I saw a film (maybe a Mel Gibson one?) with two drug dealers watching the news when they saw a drug bust and the newsie was talking of an estimated “street value” of big bucks. One guy turned to the other and said “I’d like to know where that street is.”

            Reply
      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/15/nsa-mind-keith-alexander-star-trek

        The corruption has been so public and known to the elites for so long that acknowledging the idea of government waste would open the flood doors. After all, this happened under the reign of wise father Obama who was “scandal free.”

        Instead of being ousted for his role in Iraq, Alexander was given a multi-million dollar playground. This isn’t a case of updating office furniture and making work places functional and conducive to morale. This is a gross waste.

        Reply
      3. Richard

        Yes, we should be emulating them! I want our next soft coup in at $100,000 or less! Have you seen our “budget”?
        (yes, in my mind, the nameless NSA guy ordering his next regime change, scare quotes “budget” because he’s ironically aware of MMT)

        Reply
      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        From Axios’s summary:

        [Mueller] has keystroke-by-keystroke reconstructions of online activities by the Russian “Conspirators,” as the indictment calls them — down to their web searches.

        How was this “reconstruction” accomplished, one might ask? And I suppose the answer is an enormous and effective counter-intelligence operation. The problem:

        “The CIA’s Remote Devices Branch’s UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques ‘stolen’ from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation,” WikiLeaks wrote in its release. “With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the “fingerprints” of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.”

        So the issue of provenance takes center stage. At this point I’m reminded of this passage from Teller of Penn and Teller:

        I think you’ll see what I mean if I teach you a few principles magicians employ when they want to alter your perceptions….

        2. Make the secret a lot more trouble than the trick seems worth. You will be fooled by a trick if it involves more time, money, and practice than you (or any other sane onlooker) would be willing to invest. My partner, Penn, and I once produced 500 live cockroaches from a top hat on the desk of talk-show host David Letterman. To prepare this took weeks. We hired an entomologist who provided slow-moving, camera-friendly cockroaches (the kind from under your stove don’t hang around for close-ups) and taught us to pick the bugs up without screaming…. Then we built a secret compartment out of foam-core (one of the few materials cockroaches can’t cling to) and worked out a devious routine for sneaking the compartment into the hat. More trouble than the trick was worth? To you, probably. But not to magicians.

        I can’t say whether the claims in Mueller’s brief are true or false because I haven’t seen the evidence for them. Of course, reverse engineering the digital evidence for an entire narrative of online actions by a foreign intelligence service would be a lot of “trouble”, even for agencies with “time, money, and practice” (which our agencies have). But again, “You will be fooled by a trick if it involves more time, money and practice than you … would be willing to invest.” So remember that not only does our intelligence community* have enormous resources, the enormous stakes — giving the intelligence community veto power over the selection of a President**, based on evidence the public is not allowed to see — would make an enormous investment worthwhile. I’d be very happy to be wrong, but I think the only way to approach the work product of not only our intelligence community but their assets in the press and the political class is with a hermeneutic of suspicion.

        * Really, powerful factions in the intelligence community. I don’t believe in “the Deep State” as a concept.

        ** Or a Presidential candidate. Say, one who travelled to Russia.

        Reply
        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Admitting that I don’t even know if this is a valid question, but if they did make the effort to “reverse engineer” the digital evidence, where could they then claim it was “reconstructed” from?

          Is there someplace other than the DNC servers that this evidence could have been located?

          Where would stuff like this be looked for in the first place?

          I guess that’s what I’m trying to ask.

          Reply
        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          ** Or a Presidential candidate. Say, one who travelled to Russia.

          https://www.theguardian.com/world/1992/oct/09/usa.martinwalker

          A Presidential candidate who traveled to Russia…was Bill Clinton a Russian mole with the mission to prevent HRC from becoming President? It makes so much sense. His terrible Presidency. His destruction of the Democratic Party. His buffoonish loyalists who infest the Democratic Party machinery.

          The vaunted political genius somehow managed to be involved in a campaign that lost to Donald Trump…right. And Mr. Clinton trip to Europe gave him an excuse to avoid the draft for Vietnam where we fighting the Communists…

          Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Why “anonymous”? “Spews more propaganda”? Compared to what standard? Sounds like someone working to just do damage to Sanders, as maybe a carrier of the kinds of messages and policies that might possibly undercut the Current Rulers.

        Forgive me if I am sadly mistaken and this is just the frustrated cry-out of a would-be citizen. But it scans like the stuff I read over at Dailykos and Vox, and that appears (when anything on Sanders appears) in that old Mainstream Media…

        Reply
        1. flora

          An aside, for any readers in the Wichita, KS area who are interested.

          Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders will be guest speakers at a Thompson, Unite For America rally in Wichita on July 20th.

          Starts at 1:00 p.m. Doors open at noon. It’s free and open to the public.

          Orpheum Theatre, 200 North Broadway, Wichita, KS

          Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            I hope they come to mid-Florida sometime soon. Would be interesting to see what the FlaDem Scum spew out to poison the soil in advance of the event.

            Reply
          2. katiebird

            And they will be in Kansas City, Kansas for Brent Welder, 3rd District Congress! Friday, July 20 at the Reardon Center. Doors open at 5pm, event begins 6pm.

            Brent is a pretty good candidate. When I asked if he would endorse HR 676, he said, Of Course. And he does often. This is pretty much my only issue.

            Reply
        2. anonymous

          FYI, we donated more than the max to Bernie. I got three refund checks from some place in Tennessee.

          Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        I get tired of this trope (a variant of “I used to respect Bernie until _____,” which is pretty shopworn by this point). When a better candidate on policy comes along, by all means support him. And then hope and pray that if Sanders runs in 2020 he doesn’t get whacked,* for all his impurities.

        Meanwhile, I take this as an indicator of how intensely madness has once again enveloped the political class; if Sanders has to emit some shibboleths, then so be it. “Paris is worth a mass.” If Sanders started saying, “Well now, an online marketplace for health insurance seems like a pretty good idea after all,” I’d be a lot more worried.

        * “Lone gunman, acting alone,” who helpfully leaves a diary explaining everything.

        Reply
        1. JBird

          (a variant of “I used to respect Bernie until _____,” which is pretty shopworn by this point)

          Just because he has only been fighting poverty, racism, and injustice generally, for fifty years and is the most leftist national politician with any real influence doesn’t mean one should listen to and respect him! (Sarcasm!)

          And then hope and pray that if Sanders runs in 2020 he doesn’t get whacked,* for all his impurities.

          Yeah it appears so, but just how many people would believe that it was “a lone gunman?”

          So lead poisoning might solve a problem for the TPTB, temporarily, by decapitating Sanders’ organization except nobody would believe it wasn’t done by them or a least allowed to happen. His supporters, heck, many of his peaceful opponents would be…unhappy.

          Seriously, I am getting worried that somebodies in the deep/police/security state will get “rid of this troublesome priest” and then a rhyming repeat of 1968 will happen, only this time most people are not doing so well economically, and start not believe in organized peaceful change, or believe, or do, anything they are told. Since American government at all levels are less competent, and more easily frighten, with a “news” media that is now a joke, the responses are likely to be over done.

          What I am worried about might seem overwrought, and I do tend to be excited, we never thought Donald Trump would be the President now (with Russia, Russia! as the response.), or that effectively an entire state (Puerto Rico) would be destroyed, then sorta, kinda, maybe slowly repaired, did we?

          Reply
        2. witters

          Sanders: “We must speak with one voice in making clear to Vladimir Putin: “We will not allow you to interfere in our democratic processes or those of our allies.” President Trump himself should be the one to bring this message to Putin.”

          OK, he’s in on the Russia, Russia thing. But no big deal…

          I think that a delusional thought. Still, Faith Endures.

          Reply
        3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Not sure I agree. De-escalating Ultra-Mega Global U.S. Permanent War, done right, solves most of what Bernie is working on anyway.

          What worked in the 60’s: focus on one single big hairy bad binary thing you could get a majority of people to understand. Stop The War. Or in today’s case STOP THE WARS.

          Reply
          1. JBird

            Just stopping the American Forever War would go very far. However, MLK was assassinated once he pivoted from civil rights to the war and the entire political economy, not just the hardening facade called “economics,” which actually was a serious threat to the political, and more importantly social and economic elites of the time. Actually reforming any one part means reforming the whole; this will threaten the rice bowls, that often are status giving sinecures, which will give an extremely strong incentive To Just Do Something, however stupid to keep them.

            Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      still no solid evidence of a russian (as in state) attack on the election that i am aware of.

      And there’s not likely to ever be any “evidence,” since it’s been gone for several years now.

      After CrowdStrike’s purge of the hostile code from the DNC server, [June, 2016] the evidence is likely now gone forever. Mueller cannot prosecute any hacker or conclude his investigation without making the embarrassing admission that the FBI never examined the server. No matter how many agents or lawyers Mueller hires, Humpty Dumpty will never be put back together again.
      ——-
      With the Mueller investigation paralyzed by the FBI’s early missteps, the Special Counsel is left to simulate progress by charging unrelated offenses of unregistered lobbying, tax evasion, [ed. various people with Russian names living in Russia and not likely to ever see the inside of a u.s. courtroom] and something to do with Russians setting up fake twitter accounts. Investigators have netted a few charges of lying to the FBI and still pray for an obstruction of justice charge against Trump. Is it possible to obstruct a stationary object?

      (Please don’t kill the messenger before you read this link.)

      http://thefederalist.com/2018/07/12/the-russia-investigation-is-a-puzzle-designed-never-to-be-solved/#.W0joB-_Nuko.twitter

      IMNSHO, the meuller “investigation” will continue to limp along in this manner–“blockbuster” revelations and indictments that signify absolutely nothing, preferably unveiled on Fridays–until Donald Trump is either removed through impeachment or denied reelection.

      Only then will the deep state be satisfied, these guardians of the galaxy can get back to their business and our “long national nightmare” will end with the triumph of truth, justice and the american way.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What happened after the traumatic reign of Akhenaten was that the ancient Egyptian Deep State took to smash everything that reminded them of his likeness.

        They wanted nothing less than what the Catholics call an annulment, not just a divorce.

        “Trump never happened.”

        Reply
  10. fresno dan

    https://www.oftwominds.com/blogjuly18/gangster-capitalism7-18.html

    Yes, you read that correctly: a medication that’s been in use for 68 years went from $40 a dose in 2001 to $38,892 today. Don’t you love the pricing? Not a round 38 grand, but $38,892. You gotta love these gangsters!
    ….
    Study highlights role of doctor conflicts of interest in Medicare spending on Mallinckrodt drug Acthar Study published in JAMA indicates nearly 90 percent of doctors prescribing HP Acthar Gel took payments from drug’s manufacturer.

    ===========================================
    and on and on and on….

    Reply
    1. perpetualWAR

      Gangster capitalism. That term explains so much about how capitalism has morphed to such dangerous levels because of Citizens United.

      The US has turned into one big rackeering operation on all fronts.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I’m starting to think that the best way to model the Democrats is as a crime syndicate that controls the ballot (as opposed to streetcorners). Third World stuff.

        Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      Prices such as $38,892, are always utilized in a fashion, where it appears that some sort of precise reckoning allowed it to arrive there. $39k sounds egregiously worse, no?

      Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I always keep a stock of cents in the car that i’ve clipped 10% off, when buying go-juice.

          One thing that’s surprised me, is the idea that gas stations didn’t go to liters or charge by the ounce, in trying to gouge consumers, as retailers have done all over the place in grocery stores with bright and shiny new packaging that now has less content, etc.

          The last honest gallon…

          Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              When I was a kid we went to Canada fairly often, and in the 60’s, they still sold imperial gallons of gas.

              Reply
              1. RMO

                Canada used Imperial gallons up until the switch to metric. We were lucky in my family business that the paint we made was forgiving with the tint formulas otherwise the switch from Imperial to metric and finally to U.S. measures after the FTA (when production of the cans at the suppliers changed over to U.S. sizes presumably due to market access and efficiencies) didn’t require us to painstakingly reformulate every one of the thousands of colours we had proportionally to fit the progressively smaller cans. One notable exception back in those days was that in light aviation we had to deal with U.S. gallons in flight manuals as almost everything with wings and an engine came from the U.S. so the approved flight manual would use U.S. gallons.

                Reply
            2. ewmayer

              You Euros – actually pretty much every non-USian – give us Yanks a hard time about “not going metric”, but it is an underappreciated fact that in form of the US gallon we actually went one step further, in not merely going to a regular-multiples-based system but in anticipating the digital revolution with its binary 0s and 1s arithmetic. Consider:

              A gallon is 128 = 2^7 fluid ounces, and is subdividable by successive halvings into half-gallons, quarts, pints (and a pint of water weighs a pound, analogously to a liter having a mass of 1 kg) and half-pints (a.k.a. cups). At that point we switch to ounces: a half-cup = 4 oz, then 2 oz, then 1 oz. A half-ounce is a tablespoon. The next step is admittedly a slight oddball: a third of a tablespoon (1/6 oz) is a teaspoon. Order is restored in the next step, as an eighth-ounce is a dram. A simple Act of Congress would suffice to mandate that a teaspoon be a quarter-ounce; this would also be economically stimulative in that all still-in-print recipe books would need to be re-issued to reflect the change.

              There is similar base-2-ness in other measures, e.g. a cord of cut wood is 128 cubic feet.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                I understand your recourse to logic to refute my point. However, we are dealing with ‘faith based’ measurement systems. It is named the Imperial Gallon for a reason.
                I really should go find my copy of “Hamlet’s Mill” for a quiet evenings re-perusal.

                Reply
                1. ewmayer

                  (I was actually joking about ‘anticipating the digital revolution’ via a ‘binary’ eights/measures system. But it is an interesting theme, nonetheless).

                  Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Why should doctors be allowed to take payments from those manufacturers?

      That’s one area that could use reform.

      Reply
    4. Kurtismayfield

      From the wiki:

      Mallinckrodt acquired the rights to the animal-derived form via its acquisition of Questcor Pharmaceuticals in 2014.[32] When Questcor acquired the drug in 2001 it sold for $40 a vial; within a year of the acquisition Questcor raised the price of the drug to $1,500 per vial and to $28,000 by 2013.[33][34] In 2013, Questcor acquired the US rights to a competing product, Synacthen Depot, from Novartis.[34] In 2014 Mallinckrodt raised the price of Acthar further to $34,000.[35][36]

      I want to know how a patent for isolating a hormone from a pig pituitary gland lasts for this long. I am sure any chemist today can easily extract and purify it.

      Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “UK police find source of Novichok nerve agent in small bottle”

    Who here can say that they also don’t have a bottle of Novichek stashed away under their kitchen sink or in their bathroom cabinet? I know I do. I keep mine on the back shelf – right between a test tube of bubonic plague and the vial of anthrax that Colin Powell displayed at the UN (you get all sorts of good stuff on eBay).

    Reply
    1. beachcomber

      @ The Rev Kev

      So, anything the police say is automatically to be disbelieved and ridiculed – for no better reason than that it’s the police who’re saying it? They haven’t found any bottle of just such a size and material as could have been ideal for secreting and transporting the small quantity of nerve agent necessary for assassinating a targeted person? They’ve made it up? Because of course everyone knows that the British police, down to the humblest bobby in a provincial force, are complicit in … What, exactly?

      And Dawn Sturgess didn’t die of Novichok poisoning (nor Alexander Litvinenko – like Skribal a former KGB officer – of polonium poisoning)? And neither – despite their shared past – could possibly have been of the slightest interest to certain clandestine agencies (or conceivably rogue elements therein) in Russia? That’s mere coincidence.

      I’m sorry but your attempt at humour seems to me under the circumstances not just unfunny and appallingly out-of-place, but incomprehensible. The least one can do, it seems to me, is suspend judgment until more evidence comes to light, meanwhile keeping one’s mouth shut.

      (And yes, I do know I’m breaching my own counsel but you were after all aiming to provoke, were you not? In my case you succeeded).

      Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          On the one side, we have Poirot, Sherlock, et al.

          And on the other side, we have Judge Dee, Maigret, Columbo, et al.

          I think the statement is more likely to reflect the former.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I don’t watch police tv shows much, but when I do, they always seem to have a gazillion dollars worth of the most up to date computer aided programs that enable them to bust the perp in 47 minutes flat, with commercial breaks, naturally.

            Reply
        1. beachcomber

          @ Lambert

          But no more work than “Who here can say that they also don’t have a bottle of Novichek stashed away under their kitchen sink or in their bathroom cabinet?” was doing. Once you start-out on that line of satire there are no limits to which you can’t go, if the fancy takes you and you’re heartless enough.

          So, yes – “anything” stands.

          The police are painstakingly doing what they’re supposed to do when a murder has been committed. So far as I can see they haven’t done anything to deserve this kind of mockery.

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            the problem is the high-level political conspiracy ruling the investigation. But you’re right – the bobbies looking for a dangerous object probably aren’t part of it.

            One does wonder jus thow the little bottle got there, so close to Porton Down.

            My personal suspicion is a serial killer with access to government stores of nerve agent. But the investigation will not be allowed to go there, unless somebody goes rogue, at great dange to themselves.

            Where is Sherlock when we need him?

            Reply
          2. lambert strether

            “Clues” that mysteriously appear just in time to signal boost important narratives deserve to be treated with suspicion, not credulity.

            If you think that applies to all clues, well, the best of luck to you.

            Reply
          3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Yes, I’m sure they will do just as “thorough” a job as they did with Skripal. Convict first, then withhold evidence from the accused, then lie about what your own chemwar people said, then bury what the German government experts said (“we have not seen any conclusive evidence”).

            Sure let’s trust what they say. Especially with the terrifying prospect of peaceful relations with Russia hanging in the balance. Can’t have that! We’ve got bombs to sell…

            Reply
          4. JTMcPhee

            Years ago I was a “student prosecutor” in a law school clinical program. Small exposure to police behavior and procedure in the municipal courts in Boston, but based just on that small sample, if you actually believe that on balance, what the police have to say deserves credibility or more than the benefit of the doubt, I hope your law-abiding self never gets into any kind of serious contact with the police in most jurisdictions. Cops lie, cops carry ‘drop guns’ and “drop knives” to cover their unlawful murders of citizens, cops even break into businesses in broad daylight and steal merchandise, engage in protection racketry, join up with major drug dealers when they aren’t ripping them off, on and on.

            Maybe, if you are not just puffing for the nominal “good guys,” you could look up the “Summerdale Scandal” in Chicago, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-per-flash-summerdale-0707-20130707-story.html, or the “black site” operated by Chicago’s Finest at the Homan Square warehouse, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/05/homan-square-chicago-thousands-detained, or the “Red Squad,” http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1049.htmll, and look up what happened to Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-rutberg/nothing-but-a-northern-ly_b_355670.html On two occasions I personally was hit up for bribes by Chicago cops, and witnessed an attempt to steal the nice Klepper Folboat of a couple of mopes who got blown offshore into Lake Michigan on a cold day, where the boat I was sailing on rescued them after they capsized and took them and their boat ashore — where a cop showed up in his family station wagon and started loading the boat onto its roof.

            And as to how the British MI5 and Met cops do their work, well, I’ll leave you to spend some time looking up proofs as to why they ought to be believed in the first instance, ever. Let me give you a head start: a nice official government report titled “Police Corruption in England and Wales: An assessment of current evidence,” http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140122181343/http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Exhibit-DOC4-to-ws-of-Denis-OConnor-November-2003.pdf. “Painstakingly doing what they are supposed to do when a murder has been committed.” Nice pre-judgment on your part — so far, the evidence is a lot more on the side that the government,” all parts of it, are lying in their teeth about the Skripals, and this latest magical bottle of novichok, deadly at parts per million, supposedly found in the house of what, people who were known drug abusers? Most of the Narrative around those incidents has already been debunked, but that likely won’t touch your apparent conviction that “cops do the right thing.”

            Blow the Narrative horn all you want, there is way too much actual history of cops doing murder and covering it up (remember Service?) and getting in bed with the Mob and railroading and in the case of the Homan Road facility, disappearing people like in some Argentine or Chilean fantasy.

            Back to the beach, or maybe more hours watching British police procedurals — see what you can find there. The one I just got done watching featured a cop who took a £30,000 bribe to falsify a confession, along with a long string of other corruptions on the way to becoming a candidate for Commissioner of Police.

            The whole “Russian” bit surrounding the Skripals and that spy city in Wiltshire reeks of the most toxic kind of BS. But believe, or say, what you will.

            Reply
          5. lyman alpha blob

            If the police are so trustworthy, why have the Skripals been whisked away to an undisclosed location so they can’t talk to anyone, even though they ought to be free to go now that they no longer need hospitalization? Perhaps they aren’t keen to corroborate the official narrative?

            Reply
      1. ambrit

        If this is ‘real’ Novichok, then everyone who came in contact with more than a whiff of it would have died pretty quickly. The Skripals and the policeman from the first ‘docudrama’ all recovered! What kind of shoddy secret agent poisoning is that? Boris and Natasha could have done better evil work.
        In cases like this, unless someone complains, nothing useful (for the public) sees the light of day. Secrecy is, after all, the Secret Policemans’ best friend.

        Reply
        1. beachcomber

          @ ambrit

          I’m impressed by your obvious expertise, which enables you to make ex cathedra pronouncements from a distance of – how many miles (or continents)? No doubt you’ve worked with Novichok and other nerve-agents, and are an acknowledged expert in their use?

          To dismiss the appalling ordeal which three human beings went through (the Skripals and the police officer) as “the first ‘docudrama'” might be considered just a mite callous, don’t you think?

          And “the first” means “first in a series of more than one”. So are you dismissing Dawn Sturgess’s murder as just “a second ‘docudrama'”?

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            I’m not too sure of just how cynical one need be with today’s “official” police pronouncements.
            But, yes, considering how callous the “official” State Purveyors of Coercive Violence have been recently, the poor womans’ death is being run like a ‘docudrama.’ Ie. played up to stoke fear and anger against a state chosen ‘enemy.’ The original Novichok being purported to have originated in Russia, this second try at ginning up some anti Russian public sentiment is now being played off of a real death. Someone killed this woman. By playing up the Novichok angle, the “official” sources implicate Russia. Guilt by association.
            For a more technical discussion of Novichok, look into the archives here and at Moon of Alabama, where real experts weigh in.

            Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        Just got back online to read your reply. No, I don’t think that that women’s death was funny. Saying that, the whole set of events centered around Salisbury is really stretching belief. When you have a bunch of guys wearing ‘noddy suits’ because a substances is supposed to be so deadly being helped by other guys wearing ordinary clothes, then I am calling it the same sort of security theater demonstrated in airport security.
        If I wanted to, I could right now draw up a list of 50 such ‘peculiarities’ with this whole series of events straight from the top of my head but I am sure that you can find the same both here on NC as well as Moon of Alabama who also covered it extensively. When the government of the UK is peeing down our collective legs, I for one will refuse to take their word for it that it is raining. As far as the police are concerned, I come from a family of policemen and I am more than willing to bet that they know how to follow orders but that what they talk among themselves you will not find published. That is why you have D notices for.

        Reply
      3. Yves Smith

        A friend was the DA in a large East Coast city.

        He said police plant evidence all the time, and even more so in high profile incidents.

        If you don’t regard what the police say as dodgy, you have not been paying attention. Look at how routine it is for their claims of what happened in a shooting to be contradicted by video evidence.

        Reply
  12. nippersdad

    Re: New Old Democrats.

    Looks like the New Dems believe they are the bankers necessary to fix the meltdown they created. What an appalling read.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      “She’s the one who really understands the system!” So, yes, the appeal is the same.

      Notice how gingerly Sullivan tiptoes away from the Jobs Guarantee, presumably because it would benefit and empower smelly proles, but possibly because he senses dimly, instinctively, that as an MMT project, it’s antithetical to the religion of austerity.

      Reply
      1. Jean

        Whereas a guaranteed income would allow proles to continue paying off their debt.

        Or, better yet, a guaranteed income that could be seized to pay off private debt without the nasty collection process.

        PlusGood better yet, a guaranteed income that is taxable, and is also seized to pay off the debt so the prole owes the IRS and pays of it’s debt more slowly.

        Reply
      2. nippersdad

        What really galled me the most, was that he sits there and claims that Hubert Humphrey is his hero, admits many of the problems of the past forty years but then cannot bring himself to state that most of the problems he cites are largely the creations of such as the Clintons’, or that tweaks to a rotten system are only a way of treating the symptoms not a cure for what ails us. IIRC, his “hero” would have had none of that. “Reagan made us do it” is not an acceptable excuse for spending forty years enriching yourself at the expense of the rest of the country. At a minimum he needed to fall on his sword a few dozen times. Fat chance of that ever happening with any of them.

        The whole thing was just devious, cynical and utterly dishonest. It pains me to think of how many people will fall for it. We have seen this play before, several times now, and it has never worked out well.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          The ancient Greeks would fill the Theatres to watch the same themes played out again and again. Did not keep the Peloponesian war from happening.

          Reply
            1. JTMcPhee

              Yep, because that theatre production usually propagates the imperialist exceptionalism shibboleths. Consciously, in many cases. E. g. stuff like NCIS and JAG and “24.”

              Reply
    2. djrichard

      On that theme, bankers to populace: “we’re here to help … something holding you back? We’re here to help. Not sure who the enemy is? We’re here to help.”

      Anyways, the theme is saving capitalism from itself. Until now I’ve thought of myself seeking the same outcome, through socialism. But after reading this article, I’m giving serious thought to the idea that: “capitalism can go [family blog] itself.”

      Reply
  13. Patera Silk

    ” A child growing up thusly conditioned will be unable to properly evaluate the Russia threat to our Democracy because when thinking about such things, said child will subconsciously think ‘my favorite childhood cuddly pal!’ The scheme is as evil as it is brilliant.””

    What even is this? Seems like the latest indictments have people rattled. This doesn’t make any sense.

    Reply
      1. ewmayer

        Are you sure? There is an added curious business angle here. Wikipedia notes:

        After Toys “R” Us announced plans to close all 735 of its U.S. stores in March 2018, Build-A-Bear Workshop remained as the only major toy retailer to survive the retail apocalypse.

        IMO there needs to be created a federal task force to investigate whether Russian intelligence was also behind the private-equity-caused collapse of Toys “R” Us. Just connect the dots, people! Given how effect PE has been at gutting large portions of the US economy, looting and ruining pretty much everything it touches, one must ask if these trends can really simply be explained as ‘klepto-capitalism’ and ‘looters gonna loot’ or whether we are in fact witnessing the operation of a highly effective, systeatically organize and deployed weapon of economic warfare. One prong of the campaign acts to via the US-mass-consumption channel to brainwash the impressionable, a second acts to undermine economic rivals to the first.

        Reply
  14. Livius Drusus

    Re: Paychecks Lag as Profits Soar, and Prices Erode Wage Gains.

    A lot of the happy talk about the economy misses the big point that many essentials like housing and health care are insanely expensive. Neoliberals often talk about how much cheaper things are today compared to decades ago but that only applies to certain goods and services. When you factor in the decline of well-paying jobs with benefits and some degree of security and the explosion in education, health care, child care and housing costs, those cheap avocados from Mexico no longer seem so important. Yes, I have seen neoliberals defend NAFTA by saying it was worth it for the cheap avocados. If that doesn’t scream “out-of-touch” I don’t know what does.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What about American workers at avocado importing businesses, when they become more expensive? They will be out of work.

      I can imagine and empathize a few links on that will be posted here.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I grew up not far from where the Haas avocado originated, and there were groves everywhere, and the primary use when I was a kid, was in prolonged ‘cado wars’, and ideally you’d want to use slightly squishy ones as armament, as an unripe missile could leave a welt or knock somebody’s eye out.

        If all went according to hoyle, said avocado would burst somewhere on the intended victim’s body, splattering light green all over them, with not a tortilla chip in sight in which to wipe it off.

        Reply
          1. newcatty

            This gives me a brilliant idea for a Hollywood remake of a beloved and successful Christmas Film! It’s even called A Christmas Story!

            Iconic scene in original story: Mom says, But Ralphie, you’ll shoot
            your eye out!

            This is her loving and over protecting mother
            response to Ralphie’s big dream.

            New version set a la California style:

            Ralphie’s name is now changed to more cool Ralph. His obsession is now to have his back yard turned into an avocado farmette. He will grow his own ammunition for ‘cado wars! Heck, he can even save some for the family for guac and tuna boats. He smiles as he visualizes how his mom and dad and friends will be amazed at his awesome dream for Christmas!

            New iconic scene: Mom says, But Ralph, one of the unripe ones will hit your face and knock your eye out!

            Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    Around these parts, ‘Bilk a Bear’ is the most popular pursuit when it comes to draining bruins of their life savings. Yeah, it’s hard to get the password to their ATM from them, as generally a half nelson move is required before they’ll give it up, and even if you do get it out of them, what if like most Americans, they don’t have diddily in their account?

    Reply
  16. Wukchumni

    What becomes of the world after the financial endgame?

    Does it retreat to stingy credit only given out when collateral allows for it? and a cash & carry regime, or will cash be just as useless, and things devolve into an odd barter society (generally the only things Americans have ever dickered on in their lives happened when buying cars or houses) and could there be be a reality tv show to come out of it?

    “American Hustlers” would be a catchy title, as we watch negotiations over a pair of his & hers jetskis, in exchange for a gross of canned food and a dozen boxes of saltines way past their use-by date.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      The main bank in Lake Wobegon, if I remember correctly, was “Bob’s Bank.” Bob’s Lutheran (or maybe it was the even tighter Brethren ne adhered to) motto was, wisely, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” “If you don’t have money now, I’d be dumb to expect repayment in the future.”

      Bring on George Bailey, or more likely, Mr. Potter…

      Reply
      1. Susan C.

        I just looked at the wikipedia entry about Irrawaddy dolphins that says under Taxonomy they are closely related to the Australian snubfin. Fascinating creatures with a long history of assisting fishermen by chasing fish into their nets. It appears they aren’t fond of speed boats, though. Me neither.

        Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    “Don’t imagine you’re smarter ”

    I read once of a famous women activist in East Germany that discovered after the wall went down and she read her file, that her husband was an informant on her. She must have been devastated. Only bright spot is for those into family history in decades to come. Imagine it is 2050 and by reading one of these files you start to get an idea about the personal lives of your grandparents and what they were up to. Of course if those grandparents were smart they would read those files and write up a sheet of explanations and mistake-corrections to be passed down.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Unless, of course, Government funded ‘scientific’ studies “discover” that Anti State tendencies are epigenetically heritable. So, in the interests of Public Health, the entire bloodlines of Dissidents will be retroactively ‘sanitized.’ I knew those obsolescent Bigg Boxx stores repurposed as FEMA camps would come in handy!

      Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            How come a 1972 book seems perfectly current now?

            Must be a keeper, as the cheapest copies are $10 on the ‘zon.

            Thanks for the tip!

            Reply
      1. David Carl Grimes

        Your phone/computer browser is informing on you 24/7. Sometimes the surveillance state knows more about you than your spouse. They know who you call, who you email, what pictures you take, what you browse. We don’t need the Stasi. The Stasi lives with us.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          To my adoring fan watching my every keystroke, let’s do lunch sometime. You know all about me, and i’d like to learn a little about you, as we’re breaking bread.

          Reply
        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Our phones do make the Staci look like a bunch of amateurs.

          That’s why the West won, against the USSR which had no modern art, nor the smart phone…capitalism, free market, creativity, innovation, etc.

          Reply
  18. Wukchumni

    New Zealand’s oldest and most sacred tree stands 60 metres from death, as a fungal disease known as kauri dieback spreads unabated across the country.

    Tāne Mahuta (Lord of the Forest) is a giant kauri tree located in the Waipoua forest in the north of the country, and is sacred to the Māori people, who regard it as a living ancestor.

    The tree is believed to be around 2,500 years old, and is 13.77m across and more than 50m tall.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/14/like-losing-family-time-may-be-running-out-for-new-zealands-most-sacred-tree
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    We saw this Kauri tree about a decade ago, and it was quite stunning with the white bark luminescent the day we were there, and it would certainly give a Giant Sequoia, a challenge in terms of width, but not height.

    Kauri trees make for great furniture, and similar to our coastal redwoods here, about 95% of them have been cut down.

    We have 45,000 year old Kauri furniture, none of that modern Louis XIV crap for me, please. It’s the oldest workable wood by a country mile, and has about 70% of the tensile strength of modern wood.

    In the north of the north island, entire Kauri forests were struck down in some sort of catastrophe and then buried underfoot, preserving them. Here’s how you go about extracting a 30 ton giant from it’s clutches:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS9_fzfIqn8

    When we bought our furniture about a decade ago, the thought was that there was enough ‘Swamp Kauri” to last hundreds of years underground, and then the Chinese started buying it all up, as they revere old things, and good luck finding wood of this age elsewhere.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The true extent of swamp kauri being sent overseas has been revealed – with exports jumping by more than 2500 per cent in five years.

    The Government moved to strengthen the oversight of swamp kauri extraction and export last month after heavy criticism by opposition parties and conservation groups.

    The true extent of swamp kauri being sent overseas has been revealed – with exports jumping by more than 2500 per cent in five years.

    The Government moved to strengthen the oversight of swamp kauri extraction and export last month after heavy criticism by opposition parties and conservation groups.

    Allegations included officials turning a blind eye to dubious export practices, and ecologically-sensitive wetlands being wrecked in the “black gold” rush.

    Now, newly-released figures show how rapidly the controversial industry has grown – and who is behind exports.

    In 2009, 173 cubic metres of swamp kauri was legally exported. That increased to 1150 cubic metres in 2013, before sky-rocketing to 4356 cubic metres last year.

    About 800 cubic metres have been sent offshore so far this year.

    One company, Silver Fern Resource Trading, sent 1810 cubic metres last year – all to China.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11499828

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Interesting.

      I know Zitan, Huanghuali and Nanmu have been traditionally valued in China, dating back to at least the Ming dynasty, if not earlier (difficult for anything made from them to survive that long…There are Song dynasty wooden Guanyin’s…not sure what kind of wood though).

      Reply
    2. juliania

      “…The union of the Sky (Rangi) and Earth (Papa) resulted in the birth of a number of children. They were confined between the bodies of their parents, the most roomy parts between the breasts and under the armpits of their mother. Irked by their cramped position in utter darkness, they consulted as to the best means of providing more accommodation and letting light into their world… Lastly Tanemahuta attempted to push their father upwards with his arms, but he…failed. He then inverted his position by standing on his head and pushing upwards with his feet. The change in technique proved successful, and the sky was pushed upwards into the position he now occupies. The falling rain and the rising mist symbolize the perpetual grief of the primary parents at their enforced separation…”
      [“The Coming of the Maori” by Te Rangi Hiroa, Sir Peter Buck]

      Reply
  19. anonymous

    Re: “Heat Records Falling”

    Here in southern California, it was 118 in Monrovia, California, on Friday July 6. Monrovia is 30 miles from the coast, as the crow flies.

    At home in the Hollywood Hills, my car thermometer said 111 in the shade.

    All over town, trees are burned, including native Coast Live Oak trees, whose leaves are singed and turning brown.

    During the height of that heat wave, LADWP lost power for 57,000 homes. Power didn’t get restored for over 24 hours for many.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      During the height of that heat wave, LADWP lost power for 57,000 homes. Power didn’t get restored for over 24 hours for many.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      About a decade ago, my mom’s friends in Altadena lost power for about a week, which might just be the new normal as we approach 3rd world status.

      A friend had a retail business in Manila years ago, and he told me you just got used to power outages there, it happened all the time.

      118 is on the verge of not survivable, if you are used to the 72 degree lifestyle.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How many of the homeless in LA did not survive that?

      Contrast it with this:

      Detaining immigrant kids is now a billion-dollar industry AP

      Would it have been better for the homeless to be detained for a few days?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I doubt many homeless were effected, as they’ve all got bitchin’ George Hamilton-like tans from being outside all the time. They’re used to the 98 degree lifestyle.

        Reply
      1. ambrit

        I had a reliable reading of 100 F on the front porch this afternoon.
        The only thing that has been saving us this year is lower than usual humidity. Phyl worries about this years hurricane season. Higher temperatures earlier in the year do correlate with stronger storms overall for that season.
        Welcome to the “New World Climate Order!”

        Reply
    1. Art Vandalay

      Am currently working on The Secret Knowledge of Water, and agree he reminds me of Edward Abbey, perhaps crossed with John McPhee . . . Not to be confused with JTMcPhee of the commentariat.

      Reply
  20. rps

    … I am agog that the western MSM, usually so diligent in sussing out such threats, have not cottoned on to the high likelihood that Build-A-Bear is a corporate front for an ongoing effort by Russian intelligence services to meddle with our children’s minds.

    According to the Reuters, “Teddy bears were priced from $6 to $75 on the store’s website on Thursday. The promotion included stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

    A teddy bear is a soft toy in the form of a bear. Developed (…) in the early years of the 20th century, and named after President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, the teddy bear became an iconic children’s toy, celebrated in story, song, and film”……

    I am agog that the origins of the western ‘teddy’ bear had not been researched prior to the tiresome hyperbolic russiaphobia boogeyman ‘meddle with the minds of our children’ scare tactics.

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Irony is still effective, if you make the story seem plausible enough as to register outrage, but it’s a slim victory of sorts.

        Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Build a Bear is head quartered in Vermont where Bernie Sanders is from.

      It was probably an operation designed to make Western capitalism just look stupid by suggesting people would do crazy things for a deal and a chance at a fairly expensive product.

      Reply
  21. Wukchumni

    WeWork is going meat-free and taking every one of its employees with it.

    The startup cited environmental concerns in announcing its immediate company-wide ban on meat. In an email sent Thursday, WeWork cofounder Miguel McKelvey told his 6,000 or so employees the company will no longer serve meat at employee events or reimburse them for meals that include red meat, poultry and pork.

    It’s a bold move for the real estate behemoth believed to be worth $20 billion — and the most assertive in a series of recent steps large companies have taken to promote sustainability.

    “These actions sharpen, or reaffirm, a company’s identity in the broader political culture,” said Forrest Briscoe, professor of management and organization at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business. “And as long as there are stakeholders who approve, then they can also make a plausible business case for such actions.”

    https://money.cnn.com/2018/07/13/technology/wework-meat-ban/index.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twmoney&utm_term=image&utm_content=2018-07-14T15%3A02%3A06
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Would enforced vegetarianism include somebody shoving carrots down your gullet?

    Reply
    1. voteforno6

      Life imitating art, or the other way around? Sounds like something out of Sorry to Bother You. Maybe WeWork should change its name to Worry Free.

      Reply
    2. ArcadiaMommy

      What if you ate a vegan meal at a regular restaurant?
      Meals including fish are reimbursable?
      I feel for whoever has to micromanage these expense reports.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        If you tried to pass off a fried chicken repast expense as okra & beans and they caught you red-handed, would that be grounds for dismissal?

        Reply
      2. ambrit

        First you have to find sufficiently diverse vegetative ingredients for a Vegan meal anywhere in the North American Restaurant Complex.
        Secondly, I’m guessing that the ‘compensated’ meals would be in the nature of wining and dining potential customers? So, a break down of Veganism correlated with net income cohorts? Having never heard of them; does anybody know the target price range of the real estate this company deals with?
        The Venn diagram chart of all the connections available in this set of sets will probably look like Op Art.

        Reply
  22. perpetualWAR

    The homophobic propaganda spewed by the NYT link in the “Hitler” article was simply horrifying.

    Reply
    1. flora

      Yes. It brought to mind Orwell’s 1984 – ‘The program of the Two Minutes Hate varied from day to day, but there was none in which Goldstein was not the principal figure. He was the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Party’s purity. …’

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        A few centuries ago, political discourse was rougher, on the surface, but somewhat restricted to the literate denizens of the polity. Partizan newspapers and journals flourished. Reinforcing the existing world views of ‘the faithful’ was a big task of the literati.
        These ‘new’ hyper partizan media organs we see today reflect a regression from the egalitarian impulses arising from the advent of near universal literacy, back to the more ‘tribal’ politics of ages past.
        This ‘modern’ argumentation reminds me of the Monty Python bit about how to recognize a witch.
        See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrzMhU_4m-g

        Reply
      2. David Carl Grimes

        It seems to be a thing in Comedian circles: SNL’s depiction of a shirtless Putin with Trump, Bill Maher photo of Trump fellating Putin, Colbert’s claim that Trump’ mouth was nothing but a “cock holster” for Putin’s you know what. So it seems very natural for liberal media to make fun of Trump this way.

        What if Fox News had released a “bromance” video of Obama and Biden. There would have been a huge outcry. But Trump Putin? Fair game.

        Reply
      3. Oregoncharles

        There is a list of credits at the end of video. Personally, I would not want my name on that drek.

        Reply
    2. Olga

      Yes, the “once great” country disintegrating into the agony of oblivion. Unfortunately, it still has a very long way to go.

      Reply
  23. flora

    re: Hardcore Hitler on Hitler in Helsinki – Counterpunch.

    Voltaire said it best:

    Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

    Reply
  24. Wukchumni

    Detectives in Florida were perplexed when they learned that a CSI episode may have possibly inspired a man to kill himself but make it appear like he had been murdered.

    Authorities closed the case for 71-year-old Alan Jay Abrahamson, who was found dead near his BallenIsles Country Club home on January 25.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5953883/Florida-man-71-staged-suicide-look-like-MURDER-copying-CSI-plot.html
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Death imitates art.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Wukchumni
      July 14, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      However, the balloon, gun, nor the tanks were ever recovered.
      ==============================================
      So, he may have committed suicide and made it look like a murder. OK
      So where is the speculation that the insurance company is making a murder look like suicide to avoid paying claims…..

      Reply
    1. flora

      Thanks. It is interesting. Wonder if WaPo will pickup on this? Probably not. (Then Kagan would have to write something about how Netanyahu is a danger to something something danger blafflegab…. /s)

      Reply
  25. Olga

    Whatever their differences, Putin and Trump share an ideology Globe and Mail. Not oligarchy, oddly.
    Sorry, but the piece lacks any visible sign of intelligent life.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      I immediately thought: yes, nationalism. But as you say, the article carefully avoided any real content.

      Reply
  26. Wukchumni

    1,000 people were evacuated from the Trump Tower in Vancouver last night as 16 police cars showed up en masse…

    Wonder what went down?

    Reply
  27. DJG

    Wearing a tie: Here’s a secret, boys. Stop trying to button that 14.5 inch collar now that your neck has acquired a couple of extra extra-manly chins (whether or not you have grown a manly beard to hide said manly chins). I see guys overflowing the collars all the time. The tie is not an issue. You tie a necktie only as close as you want to. There are plenty of ways to make it ride low on the neck.

    The article reminded me of all the guys wearing 33-inch-waist pants wayyyyy low in honor of the times when they may or may not have had a 33-inch waist. I often want to stop them and ask when the baby is due.

    Wearing a tie: Try thinking about how you fill your clothes. Wearing a tie: Still another non-issue.

    Reply
  28. DJG

    Hardcore Hitler on Hitler in Helsinki. I suppose that secret peeks by NYTimes writers at the legendary output of Tom of Finland have given them ideas.

    What C.J. Hopkins is talking about is how thin the veneer of civilization is. I have a feeling that our black fellow commenters have a few things to tell us about that.

    It also points out what happens when a group decides to de-fang an eptithet. Now everyone is “queer.” Yep, ask Franklin Graham about that. He knows.

    But we are also in a sex panic + sex crisis typical of the U.S. of A.: At this point in U.S. history, we change public personnel through sex scandals. Isn’t that grand? And the inability of Americans to get over their puritanism means that sex panic erupts in endless numbers of self-defeating ways. That’s why so many in the Resistance truly seem to believe that the potty-mouthed Trump tape was going to overthrow the election. Succession through sexual mistakes + sex panic as organizer of social movements.

    Here’s a quote from the article on Florida Republicans and Russia Russia Russia:
    “Even prostitutes are embarrassed by how dirty political consultants are. It’s become a business that’s 100 percent zero-sum. It’s all about the results,” said Jacob Perry, a former consultant for Mast who worked on local issues in Florida’s 18th Congressional District, which sits on the northern edge of Southeast Florida.

    “Even prostitutes”?

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I strongly deprecate this trope; in the aggregate, it’s insulting to prostitutes. (Also, the social/transactional relations of the one don’t map cleanly to the other, so it’s another “government is not like a household ill-fame”-type comparison

      Reply
  29. Oregoncharles

    From The Strange And Curious Case of the Deadly Superbug Yeast: ” It’s a yeast, a new variety of an organism so common that it’s used as one of the basic tools of lab science, transformed into an infection so disturbing that one lead researcher called it “more infectious than Ebola”

    “one of the basic tools of lab science, transformed,” huh? How much tinkering did they have to do, before something like this happened?

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Transformed, intentionally or unintentionally?

      It’s bad already with the MIC busying with the former. Concerning the latter, at least, for those of us Chicken Littles, let’s be very careful contemplating about monkeying around with our ‘provisional’ scientific knowledge.

      Reply
  30. Wukchumni

    There were a whole 7 inmates interned @ the Bastille, when push>met<shove, but we'd never have that problem @ one of our many fine prisons, should a mob try and storm it.

    p.s.

    Book tip: The Days of the French Revolution, by Christopher Hibbert.

    Reply
    1. Shane Mage

      But the Bastille was not stormed as a *prison*. It was a fortress, containing a substantial arsenal. The King was believed, with reason, to be about to garrison it and thereby strangle the Revolution (Churchillian-style) in its Parisian cradle. Which was why Camille Desmoulins, at the revolutionary command center Le Palais Royale (the domain of Philippe d’Orleans, the soon-to-be regicide Philippe ´Egalité), raised the immortal cry “Aux Armes, Citoyens!”

      Reply
      1. Olga

        Ever wonder why is it that US cheerfully commemorates the Bastille Day, but poops on the Russian revolution? After all, the principles were very similar – overthrow the old order, dispose of the monarch, and give a voice to the oppressed. Each had its reign of terror. Each was attacked by outside powers.
        Did the French redeem themselves via the imperialistic Napoleonic wars? Either way, seems hypocritical to me. Maybe we need another hundred years…

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          French is a romance language and Americans can relate to Paris et al, much more than they can anything from Russia and it’s Cyrillic language, that only you and perhaps a few others on here can comprehend, and just how did Russia help us out in our hour of need during our revolution?, not to mention they were our sworn enemy for most of my life.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            And they both have salad dressings named after them, all we have is orange-y cheese to show for our namesake.

            Reply
  31. Oregoncharles

    “Russiagate” in the Nation: I appreciate Mr. Cohen’s writing, but wish he hadn’t pulled his punch at the end: “We should also hope that the Democratic Party’s reaction to the summit, in its pursuit of Trump, does not make it the party of unrelenting Cold War, as it may be already becoming.”

    “May be” is just much too polite.

    Reply
  32. Oregoncharles

    “News you can use! If “your” office attire includes a tie…”
    Of course, Lambert always wears a tie in his office, which we’ve seen pictures of. Wouldn’t be caught without it.
    ;)

    Reply
  33. marym

    In South Dakota, patience wears thin as tariffs hit home

    “Our message is that farmers and ranchers are supportive, but patience is wearing thin,” [president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau Scott] VanderWal said. “Farmers and ranchers are the most patriotic people in the country, but if it comes to going broke, there’s a line.”

    Some farmers fret amid trade war, animating ND’s Senate race

    “I’ve been doing this for 46 years,” said Richards, the Steele County president for the North Dakota Farmers Union. “Right now, I am the most scared I’ve ever been as to where the future of farming is going.”

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Yes sir, we have the most patriotic produce you’ve ever seen, why our corn stalks are all fitted with miniature old glorys on the top of the tassels, stand tall America!

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There was a time when genetically engineered farming was the most scary as to where to the future of farming was going.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        After Benedict Donald reams the farmers that voted him in, combined with every other thing he’s done to wreck the country, I think it might not be a good idea to flaunt wealth, as in very dangerous.

        It’ll be fascinating to watch, as all my life we’ve heralded the rich as being all that, and then some.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Xi, being a Maoist, knows all about peasant revolution.

          But no international solidarity, it seems.

          “We are not buying your soy sauce anymore. We only care about Chinese peasants…maybe.”

          Reply
        2. newcatty

          Well, some of those reamed farmers, those in Big Ag business, are among the rich. Will be fascinating to watch if they will be changing their patriotic tunes to country western laments and rebel calls.

          GMO farming is still scary. The future of farming is in organic and sustainable agriculture. Soils are US. There are knowledgeable and “scientifically proven ” farming methods as to how to do this in place of mono culture, pesticide, herbicide and chemical “fertilizer ” farming.

          Reply
  34. Wukchumni

    The CANZ housing bubble is fading quick in all 3 countries, and what happens next?

    Are they so unimportant in the scheme of things, that prices plummet and nobody gives a rat’s patootie in other countries, or does it become yet another housing bubble crash that must be propped up in order to reach halcyonic heights again, such as what’s happened here in the states?

    Reply
  35. Expat2uruguay

    A question for my breast cancer sisters…can you recommend an online support community? I love my new country, but they speak a foreign language here. And I have made many friends, but none of them have breast cancer. I need to figure out how to understand this and I need people to talk to… TIA

    Reply
    1. Lunker Walleye

      Expat2u

      There are a lot of forums. breastcancer.org, susan komen, cancer.org and cancer.gov are just a few. Sorry I cannot provide links as my computer won’t let me. Build up your immune system with as much exercise as you can and eat well. Best wishes for re-gained health. Ojala que se mejore pronto!

      Reply
  36. Lorenzo

    I would’ve thought there would have been a link and/or discussion on the violent rioting that’s taken place in Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland by now, but I’ve checked and found none

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-44816025

    ‘On Tuesday, police said dissident republicans were responsible for automatic gunfire directed at officers.’

    ‘DUP leader and former first minister Arlene Foster said: “Really disturbing scenes last night in Londonderry. Someone will be killed if this continues.” ‘

    ‘Six people were arrested, at least one for attempted murder.

    Seventy-five petrol bombs and two improvised explosive devices were thrown at officers during the sixth consecutive night of violence. ‘

    Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion said “sinister elements” were spurring on and controlling the violence. “This has gone beyond recreational rioting, this is disgraceful and those involved in it and indeed those behind the scenes stirring up this type of activity, need to catch themselves on.”

    just at the start of the video that heads the article it can be seen a man hurling, at point-blank range, a petrol bomb at the windscreen of a van passing by. I hope I’m being irrational by using this event in my projection of what’s coming March 2019.

    Reply
  37. Wukchumni

    Antiques and collectables shops have been shutting down around the country.

    Internet trading, rising rents and a lack of new-generation dealers have all contributed to a “dramatic crunch” in the number of stores, says New Zealand Antique Dealers Association president Barry Holliday.

    From 50-60 members about 15-20 years ago and “people clambering” to join, the association is down to around 10 – and “a few of them are due to hand in their retirement notices in the next few months I imagine”.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12087809

    Today’s timely tip:

    If you have collectibles, get rid of them asap if the concept of them being worth something in the future is of interest. If you are merely collecting for collecting sake, no biggie.

    The Millennials have been taught to share everything, which will be the new normal, so they won’t be picking up Boomers’ slack, when the time comes for old geezers to sell, and there are more sellers than buyers in most collectible fields presently.

    As it is now, most collectibles of average to better quality have already fallen in price, some demonstrably.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Here’s an example from one field of collectibles:

      A circa 1900 $10.00 gold coin of the Liberty Head type in PCGS/NGC certified Mint State 64 is currently worth around $1100 on a retail basis.

      Said coin has just under 1/2 ounce of pure gold and has around $600 in content @ melt value.

      15 years ago the same coin was worth $3500, when it had $200 worth of gold in content @ the time.

      The gold value tripled-while the numismatic value was cut by 2/3rds.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I recently saw a set of Qing dynasty ceremonial armor suit at an auction that went for $60,000.

      Silk dragon robes regularly go for over $1,000. Retail prices are usually much higher.

      You can get better prices selling in Beijing or Shanghai, though you might have to fly over there to get your money, in case of dispute. Hopefully, you can avoid the typhoon season, and with cheap airfare and lodging, you don’t lose money, when all is said and done..

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        You’re only talking of Chinese collectibles, which few have here.

        Think more in terms of what Americans collect…

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Debts.
          The original ‘Blue Sky’ investment.
          I am really expecting for the Congress to try and re-institute some form of “Indentured Servitude” for debt sooner or later.

          Reply
    3. kareninca

      It’s not that the Millennials have been taught to share, it is that they don’t have stable housing. They would love to buy and accumulate junk just as much as their elders ever did, but they don’t own houses and they won’t anytime soon. So you are right, there will be no-one to buy the pencil collections and the pot hanger collections and even really nice antique furniture.

      Reply
  38. JBird

    What does that make the Republicans? A national political machine Texas style or an organization like the ‘Ndrangheta?

    Reply
  39. Jeff W

    “Medicare-for-all” means something. Don’t let moderates water it down. Vox

    Aneurin “Nye” Bevan, widely acknowledged as the architect of Britain’s NHS (which celebrated its 70th anniversary last week), who was mentioned in the article, said [PDF]

    Society becomes more wholesome, more serene, and spiritually healthier, if it knows that its citizens have at the back of their consciousness the knowledge that not only themselves, but all their fellows, have access, when ill, to the best that medical skill can provide.

    Reply
  40. Judith Weintraub

    Before citing Russia Insider as a source for articles taken from other sites, often without permission, as may well be the case with, “Will Trump Return Empty-Handed from Helsinki?” (first published on the blog, Reminiscence of the Future ), Lambert and other compilers would do well to consider Russia Insider’s openly, even proudly antisemitic series, “The Jewish Question,” beginning with the first blood-libel article in the series, “It’s Time to Drop the Jew Taboo” [against asking Hitler’s evil question for which The Final Solution was the only answer] by Russia Insider’s owner/publisher/editor, Charles Bausman, published on 1/15/18. It is chilling. Then read the others in this ongoing series. The direction is clear.

    Reply
  41. ElViejito

    This is a plug for my new favorite TV series, Continuum, a sci-fi series out of Vancouver, Canada by way of Netflix. Believable characters, imaginative plot twists and time travel all wrapped around a strong female lead who is working to stop vicious terrorists who oppose the Corporate Congress. Hints pile up as the series continues (4 seasons) that her allegiance may be beginning to shift as she finds out more about the Corporate Congress and the terrorists. Good fun as we await the end game of the Shock Doctrine and the accompanying corporatyclism.

    Reply

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