Links 7/18/18

Archaeologists find world’s oldest bread and new evidence of sophisticated cooking dating back 14,000 years Independent

Why the UK has so many words for bread BBC

George Soros Bet Big on Liberal Democracy. Now He Fears He Is Losing. NYT

An Ancient Mystery Henge Has Appeared in ‘Once in a Lifetime’ Discovery in Ireland Science Alert (David L)

Can Economists and Humanists Ever Be Friends? New Yorker. John Lanchester.

The ugly scandal that cancelled the Nobel prize Guardian

Las Vegas hotel seeks immunity from lawsuits by shooting victims Reuters

New Cold War

A walk on the wild side as Trump meets Putin at Finland station Asia Times. Pepe Escobar

The Helsinki Summit: Trying to Turn the Page on the New Cold War Zero Anthropology (UserFriendly)

Trump Today: President backtracks, now says he accepts Russia meddled in U.S. election MarketWatch

Ron and Rand Paul Call Out Foreign Policy Hysteria American Conservative

Helsinki Talks – How Trump Tries To Rebalance The Global Triangle Moon of Alabama

Stephen F. Cohen on Helsinki Summit: Media Held A “Kangaroo Court” And Found Trump Guilty Real Clear Politics. Posting this even though I know Lambert did so on yesterday’s Water Cooler.

US Media is Losing Its Mind Over Trump-Putin Press Conference Consortium News

Disgraceful, treasonous: US media, politicians pull no punches to slam Trump-Putin meet

France Shuts Trade Agency In Russia On Worsening Conditions International Business Times

Police State Watch


Imperial Collapse Watch

War Doesn’t Make Sense Anymore American Conservative


Why a private US military firm is of value to China’s belt and road mission SCMP


Government May Soon Infuse Rs 10,000 Crore In State-Owned Banks The Wire

In India, WhatsApp stirs up deadly rumours Al Jazeera

If WhatsApp Doesn’t Regulate Itself, Parliament May Have to Step In The Wire


Iraq protests: Demonstrators blame ‘bad government, bad roads, bad weather, bad people’ Independent. Patrick Cockburn: fifth in an ongoing series.


European Governments Explore Financial Channels for Iran WSJ


Brexit: the House of Stupid

The Rudderless State Tax Research UK (UserFriendly)

May sees off rebellion on customs union as amendment is defeated Guardian

Health Care

With latest defeat in South Dakota, drug pricing initiatives unlikely to see the ballot in 2018 Stat

Doctors fear urgent care centers are wildly overusing antibiotics—for profit Ars Technica

Legalizing Pot Sales Means…Higher Home Values? Forbes (Dr. Kevin)

Class Warfare

Britain’s railway arches are being sold off – and small businesses could be forced out The Conversation

This Bold Plan to Fight Opioid Overdoses Could Save Lives — But Some Conservatives Think It’s ‘Immoral’ AlterNet

California rent control ballot measure wins backing from Democratic Party San Francisco Chronicle

Treasury defends move to halt nonprofit disclosures, saying information available Politico. A problem, even if Rachel Maddow seems to think this, too, is about Russia?!? MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Calls Out the Trump Admin.’s Stunning Move to Let the NRA and Other Groups Conceal Donors AlterNet

Ajit Pai deals major setback to Sinclair/Tribune merger Ars Technica



Ocasio-Cortez on campaigning with Sanders: Progressive policies ‘can win across the country’ The Hill

Bernie Sanders: Bold Politics Is Good Politics Jacobin

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez prompts outrage in US for accurately referring to Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Palestinian territory Independent

Joe Lieberman Attacks Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Calls for Her Defeated Primary Opponent to Run Against Her AlterNet

Trade Tantrum

Japan-EU trade deal ‘light in darkness’ amid Trump’s protectionism Guardian (The Rev Kev)

Trump Transition

US Treasury Secretary: Washington to Consider Waivers on Iran Sanctions The Wire

Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse Counterpunch

In thinly veiled barbs at Trump, Obama laments ‘strongman politics’ and leaders who lie WaPo

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Jim Haygood

    Juggernaut Amazon:

    Amazon is set to clear $258 billion in US retail sales in 2018, according to eMarketer’s figures, which will work out to 49.1 percent of all online retail spending in the country, and 5 percent of all retail sales.

    It is fast approaching a tipping point where more people will be spending money online with Amazon than with all other retailers combined. Amazon’s next-closest competitor, eBay, is a distant second at 6.6 percent, and Apple is third at 3.9 percent. Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer when counting physical stores, comes in behind Apple with 3.7 percent of online sales in the US.

    Amazon’s third-party Marketplace currently accounts for 68 percent of its retail sales, working out to nearly $176 billion, versus 32 percent for Amazon’s direct sales.

    So far, people think it unlikely that Amazon would face an antitrust investigation because e-commerce is still a small part of all commerce, as evidenced by its five percent share of all retail sales.

    Amazon’s gross margin last year was a fat 37 percent. Earning commission income — by virtue of its dominant online platform — from third-party sellers who finance their own inventory doubtless helps. But at a price/earnings ratio of a modest 232 [/sarc], it ain’t cheap.

    For now — at least till Trump’s trade war spoils the party — it’s high times here in the Shoppers Paradise. One foresees Prime Day becoming a new national holiday, perhaps replacing Armistice Day whose import a hundred years on is but dimly remembered.

    1. cnchal

      Does that 37 percent gross margin come from ecommerce sales or a direct government subsidy by grossly overpaying for AWS cloud?

      How much of that gross profit comes from the state and municipal government extortion/ subsidy racket?

      Are crybabies welcome in an Amazon office or warehouse?

      1. Bill Smith

        How much of that gross profit comes from the state and municipal government extortion/ subsidy racket?

        How does that racket work?

        1. Boycott Amazon

          Is it not ironic that many Americans and many around the world will make a truly awful person, Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world?

          Is there nothing that can make the human animal not consume? Even if he/she/it/zhe/ (whatever) knows that the products are Chinese made junk and the employees treated like slaves?

          We often hear the question about Nazi Germany ‘but why didn’t they do anything to stop it’, and yet people continue to shop at Amazon.

          I’ve often said ‘the fatal flaw of humans is their low average IQ’, I fear this simple fact will have horrific consequences (as if it hasn’t already).

            1. False Solace

              Agreed. The “fatal flaw” of humans is their lack of empathy for each other. It’s the same failure of moral imagination that leads the rich to destroy the poor and the environment solely to benefit themselves.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The one relationship I can hypothesize is this:

              The bigger the IQ, the direr the consequence of the ethical breach.

              1. zer0

                IQ has no real relation to anything that matters. It is a test designed by EU/US to strictly rank strength and speed of someone’s logic, in the narrow field of spatial, number, and alphanumeric manipulation. The fascination people have with IQ astounds me honestly: to take something as complex and varied as the human mind, and assign a single value, is IMO completely nonsensical.

                So when they say that African tribesmen have “low IQ”, I say DUH! Did they even take an IQ test? Tell me, is someone who learns to hunt, survive in the jungle/savannah, make weapons, etc. from a young age to adult hood going to score high on a test involving manipulation of symbols on a piece of paper? This is where Charles Murray and others completely fall apart, they seem to think that correlation of data on something as subjective as ‘intelligence’ means something.

                The fatal flaw of humans is their ego, more related to EQ, and completely unrelated to IQ. We have the capacity for almost limitless size and scope of our own ego, made worse by the tendency to worship other humans/objects.

                Amazon is essentially the dream come true for every ego: everything you could possibly want a few clicks away, delivered to your door, no questions or human interaction needed. It actually brings into question if humans are really a social species – it seems we can easily substitute human interaction with virtual interaction, and in most cases, do away with almost all of it anyways.

                It also brings into question why in this modern world with all of this godlike technology, does everyone seem to have less and less free time? Of course, ease-of-use is perhaps the #1 reason for online retail. But the absence of free time, both by the government imposing severe amounts of paperwork for every individual, the work-life schedule (really, is the 2 day weekend going to stay forever?), the plethora of activities one is essentially forced into by society (some form of social media, emails, texting, blogging, etc), the driving and commuting (now made even worse by the realstate booms that drove all but company headquarters out of the city, overpopulation, degradation of infrastructure, etc), etc.

                So you have all of this in addition to a government perfectly willing to allow a single corporation (and by extension, single individuals) to dominate an entire massive landscape, which includes: shipping, online retail, and web services/server space.

                1. Shane Mage

                  “why in this modern world with all of this godlike technology, does everyone seem to have less and less free time?” I suggest that a Universal Basic Income, providing everyone the regular receipt of enough numismata for a healthy existence without means-testing for any other source of “money,” would solve this problem by enabling everyone to avoid excessive labor time, the real disutility of alienated labor being so much greater (given an established adequate income) than the “enjoyments” procurable with marginal income obtainable through extra hours and days of useless and distasteful labor.

                  1. Lord Koos

                    There was a study done some time ago that estimated that so-called “primitive” humans had much more free time than most modern workers. Consider that we lived for millennia without having clocks everywhere. Many scientific discoveries, astronomy, math, etc were possible simply because people had a lot of time to observe the natural world. The subject of our bias towards modernism would make a fascinating book I think. Many seem to think that just because humans lived without modern conveniences, that they were also stupid.

                    1. The Rev Kev

                      There was a “Pirates of the Caribbean” film that actually had this idea featured. Captain Captain Jack Sparrow was talking to some British big-wig and in the background, if I recall, a huge clock was being raised for installation – a sign of a changing world.

                    2. Procopius

                      E.F. Schumacker, author of Small is Beautiful, once stated that a Burmese rice farmer had more free time than he did. He did not attempt to trade places with a Burmese rice farmer. I’ve seen how Thai rice farmers live and they do not really have that much free time, and their lives are not all that good.

          1. Wukchumni

            {penalty flag thrown on the field} (that was probably made in China and sold on Amazon)

            When Godwins-comparisons lose

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The chutzpah here is, unless I miss the significant of those 36 hours (or whatever the time period), is one man dictating when people should shop.

            “When I say shop, you shop.”

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Also, the recyle-reuse-etc endeavor should start at ‘less consumption.’

            “Let the GDP contrast.”

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Yes, definitely…refuse when one can.

                But consume that hot dog when hungry. Just don’t over-eat.

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            More than just boycotting, was it Trump or Sanders who wanted to break up Amazon?

              1. perpetualWAR

                If Sawant really cared about the housing crisis in Seattle, she would have tried to quell the foreclosures. Something she campaigned about, but promptly and conveniently forgot once in office. Nothing like a hypocrite.

          5. ShamanicFallout

            re BoycottAmazon and IQ: I think it’s pretty clear that people do not think their way through life, no matter their so-called ‘IQ’. I think most of what we call ‘thinking’ is the servant to things much more hidden. I’ve seen some mentions in the thread saying ‘ego’ is the motive force. But it might be closer to say that we are mostly driven by ‘like and dis-like’ and the propensity to suggestibility. I mean, just look around right now at the mass hysteria. Maybe to a large extent the measure of a human being is not our IQ and all of the other usual measures, but our willingness to face what we, and the world, actually are. Not so easy though! Perhaps the word is ‘sincerity’ (in the truest sense of the word).

            1. Lord Koos

              The lizard brain (or the id as Freud called it) is powerful and little understood by the conscious mind in most folks.

        2. cnchal

          HQ 2 is a Prime example. Six or seven billion dollar subsidy so Bezos can get a free HQ. Pity the city that gets it.

          Every satanic mill Bezos puts up gets subsidized by state and local governments. Bezo’s crying minions roll into town and demand money, or else it goes next door. Will any politician ever have the guts to tell them to get lost?

          Amazon is the biggest tax suck this side of the military.

          1. Wukchumni

            He gets to pick distribution house
            He’s mighty, mighty, just lettin’ it all drag out
            He’s an online house
            Got his odds stacked and that’s a fact
            Ain’t holding nothing back
            He’s a slick house

            We order together everybody knows
            And this is how the story goes
            He knows he got everything
            A shopper needs to get demand, yeah, yeah
            How can he lose with those things we use?
            365/12/52/24/60/60, what a winning hand

            He’s a slick house
            He’s mighty, mighty, just lettin’ it all drag out
            He’s a slick house
            Likes his odds stacked and that’s a fact
            Ain’t holding nothing back
            He’s a slick house

            He’s the one, the only one built like Amazon
            The clothing wares, and texty ways
            Make an old man wish for younger days, yeah, yeah
            He knows what he wants built and cities how to please
            Sure ’nuff a strong man, can bring them to his knees

            He’s a slick house
            He’s mighty, mighty, just lettin’ it all drag out
            He’s a slick house
            Likes his odds stacked and that’s a fact
            Ain’t holding nothing back
            He’s a brick house

            Shake it down, shake it down now
            Shake it down, shake it down now
            Shake it down, shake it down now
            Shake it down, shake it down now
            Shake it down, shake it down now
            Shake it down, shake it down now
            Shake it down, shake it down now


                1. HotFlash

                  It’s not new. Tennessee Ernie, Paul Robeson, BB King, Merle (who wrote it), the Platters, Jeff Beck + ZZ Top, Eric Burdon, Willie Nelson, Lorne Greene (!?) and even the Red Army Choir sang about the company store. You can check youtube/hooktube for those, I’m gonna give you Johnny. Or, more globally, this one, also Johnny.

    2. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      July 18, 2018 at 7:03 am

      It brings to mind the frenzy that occurred during “Black Friday” when there were actual deaths as people would die for deals
      Don’t we lose something of our martial spirit and propensity to use violence to get what we want when we come together to rummage though stuff and know what to fight and die over because everybody else is fighting and dying over it, and instead sit anonymously (well, not to Amazon of course) in front of glowing screens and clinically deciding what to buy based on trending sales figures?

      “The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton”
      Without the blood lust inspired by Black Friday, how will we maintain our will for military dominance?

      1. Jim Haygood

        How will we maintain our will for military dominance?

        Easy … the market cap wars. In the arms race to the first trillion-dollar market cap, Apple is No. 1 at $941 billion. But Amazon is hot on its tail at $895 billion, and rising faster.

        Bezos could achieve his dream of full spectrum dominance as soon as this summer, leaving poor Tim Cook (a mere corporate drone by comparison) sprawled in an abandoned online shopping cart.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            For people who are always looking to challenge themselves, basically, they should quit after the first trillion and look for something else to do.

      2. HotFlash

        I am *so old* I remember getting bruised ribs in Filene’s basement. Shopping as a martial art bloodsport.

        1. skylark

          I worked in Filene’s Basement when I was in high school. I should have gotten combat pay for Saturday mornings!

      3. Shane Mage

        The playing fields of Eton would have been no help to Wellesley if days of downpour had not prevented Bonaparte from following up his victory at Quatre’ Bras.

        1. The Rev Kev

          It worked both ways. The downpour which caused all that mud slowed down Blucher from joining up with Wellesley until right at the end of the battle. Wellesley and his army were on their own that day.

    3. BoulderMike

      Are people so blind that they can’t see the danger of one person being made King of the world? In the old days it was bad when countries were ruled by kings. Now one man is literally becoming king of the world. I 100% boycott Amazon. I am a Vegan who used to shop at Whole Foods. Since he announced buying it I haven’t darkened the doors of Whole Foods. I will pay more to insure I never buy from Bezos. But, in the past year, and definitely the past few months his dominance has seemed to grow exponentially. No matter where I go to buy online it is either directly from Amazon, a site telling me to buy their product from Amazon, or something more devious. The other day, to avoid Amazon, I order something from the website of Anthony’s Goods. Today it arrived in an (right facing “dick” box), with Prime Day all over it. I am convinced that Bezos not only has, but a multitude of other smaller companies (on his Marketplace, and elsewhere) that appear not to be, but are owned by him or I am sad that I have lived long enough to no longer recognize the world I live in, and that people are so easily yielding control of the economy and the world to one horrible person whose intentions we are not at all aware of.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        I would suggest that as gentrification and its attendant expansion of landlord greed drives the cost of renting retail space in most urban and suburban areas, the likelihood more and more businesses will farm distribution out to Amazon is likely to increase rather than decrease.

        It’s all well and good to say nobody should buy from Amazon, but it’s arrogant and elitist to assume everyone has (a) sufficient income they can go somewhere more expensive to do so and (b) that running about patronizing X number of alternatives is an option.

        I buy online because I am physically incapable of shopping. I buy online because I can stretch what little money I have tracking down the best prices. Unfortunately, all too often that place happens to be Amazon, according to whom I saved $250 so far this year because I have prime. Granted, that’s actually only $150 after you deduct the cost, but the year’s only half over, and I get a whole lot of my music via Prime, too. Music all of which I couldn’t afford to buy even at Amazon’s MP3 prices.

        I detest Jeff Bezos as much as the next person, but the monolith that is Amazon is there because it works for a whole lot of people in an economy where too many of them can’t find a decent job but can keep body and soul together selling via Amazon.

        In other words, the situation is, as always, much more complex than just “Amazon is killing retail and you shouldn’t use them.”

        1. witters

          Right, Elizabeth. The measured wisdom is (wonder where I heard this before?) TINA.

          This is how we overcome neoliberalism? Never.

        2. Lord Koos

          I find ebay is often better than Amazon as far as prices, and if you buy from mom & pop sellers you’re helping people out.

  2. Carla

    “Las Vegas hotel seeks immunity from lawsuits by shooting victims” — talk about a headline that can be read two ways!

    1. apberusdisvet

      Discovery will be a bitch. Lots of anomalies, unanswered questions, and disinformation

      1. whine country

        Not to mention having to step over all the bodies of victims they shot. ?‍♂️

    2. fresno dan

      July 18, 2018 at 7:06 am

      I saw that. And at first, I thought it was outrageous (that the hotel was suing victims). But upon reflection, what exactly was the hotel suppose to do – go through everybody’s luggage?

      Oh Yeah….this:

      So, can a hotel confiscate your gun while your a guess? Should any tall building have the right to search you for sniper rifles? Hmmm….
      How about confiscating guns within a mile of a school – if its a “drug free zone” shouldn’t it also be a gun free zone.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m allergic to Pavlovegas, it’s not my bag.

        The last time we stayed at a casino hotel of size was in 2006 some 5 years after 9/11, @ the Rio.

        Management there i’d imagine had decided well before the turn of the century that it would be a good idea to have the front desk’s line to check in, snake through the perimeter of the casino floor, which on the day we were there, typically meant that 15-25 people were in line at any given time, with all of their luggage, and to me it seemed like there was a lot of potential for bad things to occur, as indeed, nobody ever checked what was in their bags when they came through the front door, and somebody with bad intentions and an arsenal in their samsonite, could have really laid waste to the place.

        1. pretzelattack

          i don’t think they can legally check your bags, but that may be where this is going. a tsa checkpoint in hotel lobbies. i’ve read they even have them in bus stations.

          1. Wukchumni

            The casino where the mass murderer preyed on the crowd below, most certainly neglected to check into his armory he was transporting into his hotel room, and now they’re trying to hide under the flimsiest skirt.

            1. pretzelattack

              they’re hiding behind this “federally certified contractor” language in the homeland security law. i haven’t followed this story closely, i’ve become numb to all the massacres by individuals with high powered weapons. did he openly carry guns to the room?

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Do they check bags at some schools or colleges already as well?

            I know, at some stores, they check my bags when I leave (and when I enter with a bag, I show the guards, so they don’t think the stuff in it is from the store when I leave).

            1. pretzelattack

              yes, but it’s done by people acting as agents of the state in the case of schools or colleges i think. it’s true, some stores check the bags of customers leaving, and most i think prohibit you bringing in bags of stuff, or make you leave it at a counter. i’m not sure what this “federally certified contractor” did to ensure security at the hotel; obviously not enough.

              1. pretzelattack

                i’ve never had my bags searched either entering or leaving a hotel, but the last hotel i stayed at had a brochure with prices for towels etc, which said it would add any missing ones to your bill.

              2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                If you bring your computer, for example, to a store for them to look at, you can’t leave it at a front counter. I think they give you a tag.

            2. ArcadiaMommy

              I have also had my purse inspected at sporting events and concerts. Here in PHX, there are stores that sell a little clear purse for the Phoenix Open as an example. I honestly don’t see how someone could transport that many guns without attracting attention. If nothing else they have a very weird smell (I think from the cleaning fluids).

            1. pretzelattack

              there could be evil smart luggage that informs its owner how to sneak in. in other news, a bunch of a.i. researchers have pledged not to develop killer robots. for some reason, i am not reassured.

            2. HotFlash

              Or smart gunz! Which inform, similar to RFID chips in pets. Seems to be consistent with a “well-regulated militia” to me.

          3. anonymous

            they check bags at the New York City ballet entrance (DK theater, formerly State St)

            (very cursorily)

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Are ballet dancers exempt?

              “What’s that you are hiding under your tutu, sir?”

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Suppose the manufacturers argue that taking them to court is akin to taking a dictionary publisher to court when writers use some words from their dictionaries to slander many victims.

        Are dictionary publishers responsible, knowing it very likely some bad, bad, bad people will always look up and use the most slanderous words?

        Meanwhile some of us use them to hunt for poetic words that will impress our lovers.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Also money creators can be taken court when money they manufacture is used to enslave debt-serfs.

            Such debt-slavery can be lethal, unfortunately.

        1. Cat Afficionado

          Along those lines, I am sure that car manufacturers are also watching this one closely…..

    3. remmer

      Just what I was thinking. Wouldn’t shooting the victims just result in more lawsuits against the hotel?

  3. Jim Haygood

    “Let’s be evil” Alphabet whacked by EU:

    (Bloomberg) — Google will be fined about 4.3 billion euros ($5 billion) by the European Union over apps for Android mobile devices, setting a record for antitrust penalties, according to a person familiar with the EU decision.

    The penalty — the same amount the Netherlands contributes to the EU budget every year — is due to be announced by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager at 1 p.m. in Brussels.

    The EU’s decision would bring the running total of Google fines to 6.7 billion euros after last year’s penalty over shopping-search services. It could soon be followed by more fines from a probe into online advertising contracts.

    EU officials have been investigating Google contracts that require manufacturers of Android phones to take Google’s search and browser apps and other Google services when they want to license the Play app store.

    The EU is also targeting Google’s payments to telecoms operators and manufacturers who exclusively install Google search on devices and contracts that prevent handset makers selling phones using other versions of Android.

    Unfortunately Google search had to be used to find a source for this article (cribbed by the Z site without proper attribution, as is its wont) since DuckDuckGo chokes on full paragraphs.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      Re: “…Google contracts that require manufacturers of Android phones to take Google’s search and browser apps and other Google services…

      Wasn’t there anybody to remind Google management how it played out for Microsoft when they required that IE come bundled with the operating system?

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Cost of Doing Business, my friend.

        Eventually MSFT got away with a measly consent order and with the advent of GW Bush, no more anti-trust nastiness on either side of the Atlantic.

      2. begob

        In the UK Windows 10 currently opens Bing automatically after the screen password is entered.

        1. Anon

          …and that is only the beginning!

          Unless you meticulously go through the “Settings” menu in Win10 and de-select the many tracking features, Microsoft becomes the equivalent of the spy agency NSA. (And even if you do disable many of the tracking features, Win10 still provides too much “feedback” to MSFT.)

    2. Adam

      If you have to look on Google for something, StartPage is a better alternative (runs off of Google, but at least claims it doesn’t store information).

    1. djrichard

      For anybody traveling on 95 through North Carolina, highly recommend: – Sylvan Heights Bird Park. Apparently it’s the world’s largest waterfowl park. It has other kinds of birds too. I just visited it for the first time this weekend with my family – it was great.

      It’s about 40 min drive off 95 dependent on your exit.

      1. Lunker Walleye

        Niece’s in-laws own SHBP. They are all passionate about their work and the park.

        1. djrichard

          Hey small world. Their passion definitely shows. The place is thriving and it looked like they’re expanding as well.

          I’m not as much the birder as my wife and daughter are. But even for me, it was pretty cool. Birds are more engaging than I thought they would be. I really got a kick out of one of their sandhill cranes. It would make this guttural purring sound, it sounded just like a dinosaur!

          1. Lunker Walleye

            Thank you for your comments, djrichard. I will pass them onto SHBP. This is sure to make their day!

  4. fresno dan

    In 2013, SUVs and trucks made up 50% of total car sales in the U.S. By 2016, that number was up to 63% of total sales and by the end of 2017 trucks and SUVs made up an astounding 67% of total car sales.
    I’m not necessarily in the market for buying a brand new SUV but I was curious to see what sort of vehicles were out there to help transport my growing family. With three little ones, there’s an inordinate amount of stuff to bring with you every time you leave the house.
    there was no car when I was a kid, and there was no inordinate amount of stuff brought along when we went anywhere – it was difficult enough walking yourself without carrying something somewhere in the 100 degree temperature.

    1. Bill Smith

      What exactly is an “SUV”?

      Did it once mean that a light truck chassis was used?

      The auto companies switched to using a car chassis for most of them (“crossovers”)?

      Aren’t a large number of what is are labeled an “SUV’s” just a car? Auto companies might use the term “SUV” but that’s just marketing?

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        I have a Subaru Crosstrek, their smallest “SUV” and yeah, it’s built on an Impreza base so a crossover. Why I wanted it was the extra clearance between the ground and the vehicle. A godsend in Chicago winters. Also, as I hit my late 50s, the greater ease of ingress and egress was a boon.

        It’s a hybrid too, not as good mileage as a Prius for sure but I get about 40 on the highway.

      2. Byron the Light Bulb

        SUV’s are a legal loophole in the US passenger car fuel efficiency laws [CAFE] passed in response to the 70’s fuel embargo. In the 90’s by classifying passenger car chassis as light truck chassis, car companies could again market big cars for big people burning big oil. Probably a response to the falling oil prices and Seattle grunge music. Since then I imagine there’s been a tightening of the loophole without being stitched closed.

      3. JeffC

        In the US, SUV is a legal category separate from cars. The reason manufacturers want vehicles to land in that category is – ymmv – that the safety and fuel-economy standards for SUVs are less expensive to meet.

    2. JohnnySacks

      I think the ‘crossover’ is lumped into the SUV numbers so things aren’t as bad as they may seem. Purchasing the likes of the Honda CRV, Subaru CrossTrek, Toyota Rav4, and others are not as irresponsible as it may seem. They do have the extra room desired and their mileage is very respectable, enough so as not to be available for peanuts on the used market when gas prices surpass the $4 a gallon mark (again, and soon). What really is the problem is that they are packed with features (who needs AWD with FWD? In New Jersey?) and options unrelated to their use-case as a long term reliable transportation appliance (as a toaster is a bread warming appliance) and with low interest rates and ability to go 6 years long on the extra costs of it all we collectively embrace our debt servitude with reckless abandon.

    3. Wukchumni

      3 adults, 5 kids & their stuff somehow fit in a 1966 Ford station wagon on a road trip from L.A. to Calgary in the summer of 1972.

      The cars back then weren’t the most reliable, and our ride seemed to break down about every 187 miles with some new malady, and by the time we were coming back from over the muskeg curtain, we’d eventually run out of things to go wrong.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        A crossover SUV is about that size. In other words, crossovers are actually just updated station wagons because “station wagon”, like “minivan”, isn’t a cool car description.

    4. Cat Afficionado

      Yet again, people have learned nothing in America. I await the next blip in gas prices, and the accompanying TV news interviews of people lamenting how they cannot afford to drive to work in their gigantic SUV anymore because of the cost of fuel. I still remember the weeping interviews conducted last time gas cracked $5 at the pump.

      I really need to figure out how to open a short position on subprime auto loans. It’s going to be one heck of a storm when it goes down.

  5. fresno dan

    America spends more on its military than all its enemies put together yet it still can’t win wars…..
    Here’s the weird bit: nobody seems to care. If any other government department spent as much and accomplished as little, the populace would be in arms, complaining about wasteful government spending.

    Maybe the extravagant expense of the Pentagon budget is a feature, not a bug. Maybe no one objects when we spend a quarter of a billion dollars ineffectually bombing Syria or several trillion ineffectually invading Iraq because these days war profiteers make their money not by looting their enemies’ cities, stealing their land, and selling their women into slavery, but from their own governments’ spending.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      My cynical side is almost hoping for a conventional war with Russia, just to demonstrate how ineffectual both side’s military really is.

      1. pretzelattack

        not sure russia’s military is ineffectual, but then it doesn’t get into anywhere close to as many military confrontations as the u.s., so it’s hard to judge.

    2. danpaco

      The military in the US should be seen for what it is, a giant social welfare program. Only thing is, to access benefits one must give themselves to the state for a period of time.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Technology, particularly software, seems to lend a strong hand to the asymmetrical side of modern human inter brutality. I would go along with the theory of “Waning Empire” (rampant corruption) as part reason for US impotence, but only to a point. It seems that all ‘near’ superpowers. including those on the rise, suffer to some degree from the disruptive power of technology in the hands of relatively small groups with small resources.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          This comment was in response to Kurtismayfield’s comment above. It got placed in the wrong bucket and skipped over the usual time limited “Edit” feature all together.

        2. Kurtismayfield

          I completely agree that tech is the US Armies Achilles heel. They would run into actual organized resistance to it in a Russian war.

          I also want to add with all of the outsourcing that has occurred the US Army probably doesn’t have the logistics ability to fight across a large front.

      2. SCM

        I’ve also thought this for a long time. Benefits and training, which I think is the key there.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Before MMT can be shown to the public for the good it can be used for, it has already been shown, by this, to be easily abused.

      And without the looting, land-stealing and selling women into slavery, the whole get-rich scheme via ineffective bombing is easier to overlook and for the public to be distracted elsewhere.

    4. whine country

      “If any other government department spent as much and accomplished as little, the populace would be in arms, complaining about wasteful government spending.” –

      In relative terms Robert Mueller may surpass the MIC any day now.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Calls Out the Trump Admin.’s Stunning Move to Let the NRA and Other Groups Conceal Donors”

    Soooo, Maddow is saying that the NRA will used by Russia to elect Trump 2020 because of this new ruling? And they seemed so American and all. To tell you the truth, I am starting to enjoy the hysteria about Trump in Helsinki. I mean look at some of what is coming out at to see how unhinged it all seems.
    Saw the same treatment here in Oz where on the news, it was all about how the Russians shot down MH-17 and family members are demanding that Putin admit it so that they can sue him then. And Trump had his big chance to demand answers from Putin and he refused too. I haven’t seen so many unhinged people’s reaction since the night they assassinated bin Laden. Remember?

      1. Brindle

        i admit to checking in on cable news shows in Maddow’s time slot. Maddow will start her show with a ten to fifteen minute monologue where she purposely does not get to the point—complete with smirks and eyebrow raising and chuckles. I usually change the channel after a couple of minutes as it becomes boring waiting and waiting for her to reveal what the f**k she is getting at.

        1. Cat Afficionado

          Careful, Brindle. Even tiny amounts of exposure to that stuff is well known to cause permanent brain damage!

    1. flora

      It’s almost like a ‘propaganda-4-u’ law was passed… oh wait… in 2013 it was… or rather, the Smith-Mundt act ban on domestic govt propaganda was rolled back.

      The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, which was contained within the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (section 1078 (a)) amended the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 and the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1987, allowing for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be available within the United States.[1][2]


      1. Buck Eschaton

        Carolinian posted this above.

        It’s harder and harder to believe that there isn’t massive/staggering coordination behind this whole Russiagate thing. Too many waves and waves of nonsense to not believe that this isn’t some kind of enormous psy-op. The end is not clear at this point, it can’t be war with Russia, unless Russia is a lot weaker than we think.

        1. cuibono

          i can think of several cui bono answers to that and i am sure there are many many more…
          1) distract whilst the looting and pillaging accelerates
          2) undermine any legit let wing agenda
          3) rehabilitate vile neocons in the eyes of the liberal dems

    2. ambrit

      Reading this thread reinforces our decision to have no cable TV in the house. (Cable Free Since 2005.)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        I have also been non-local-vacation free since around 2000. That is, I have been discovering beauty and relaxation in my backyard and local spots in the region since…learning to love where I am stuck at…sorry, where I am.

        “Beauty is not so some far-away bird in the sky or fashion model from some Eastern European countries. It’s the people you’re with.”

        Something like that.

        And corollarily, I have not contributed to jet pollution directly…no trips to London or some exotic islands. Indirectly, yes, but the alternative is asking the USP to ship mail and parcels via dirigibles.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’ve given up on e-mail when one considers the energy cost involved, and have really taken to semaphore flags in the summer and signal fires in the winter, when the fuego risk is low.

          Sure, some things have been lost in translation, when corresponding with others of like mind, but I feel better in regards to my consumption of one-time fuels, and that’s the main thing.


          1. ambrit

            Hmmm… Spent a semester at the James Joyce School of Communication have you? (A simple Yes will do.)
            As for your Paleo Communications methodology; in California that would be considered a form of Smogizdat, Nyet?

              1. ambrit

                The next time you transgress the Napa Valley, stop by the old Christain Brothers winery. I understand that the successors to the Order of Christian Brothers now have, in addition to their justly famous wine tastings, a Seminar in Virtuous Signalling for recovering Journos. (I know the term is not Politically Correct today, but, so family blogging what.)
                What would an escapee from Rancho Cucamonga be called, a Cuca Monger? (There I go again. A cheap shot Journo joke.)

    3. gordon

      I haven’t seen anything so weird since the “birthers” tried to prove Barack Obama was a Klingon. Nothing which might interfere with the enormous US military expenditure or US game-playing in other peoples’ countries can be tolerated. People in the US might figure out what a mess their own country is in if they weren’t constantly distracted by this garbage!

  7. Jim Haygood

    Citizen Comey barks furiously, baring his fangs:

    James Comey

    This Republican Congress has proven incapable of fulfilling the Founders’ design that “Ambition must … counteract ambition.” All who believe in this country’s values must vote for Democrats this fall. Policy differences don’t matter right now. History has its eyes on us.

    9:50 PM – Jul 17, 2018

    With his naked partisanship, Comey openly dispenses circumstantial evidence that Peter Strzok’s “insurance policy” against Trump came straight from Comey’s office. Evidently Comey believes the broad tent of the “Hillary free pass” from prosecution continues to shelter his good self as well, as attorney general Sessions’ stature has shrunk so severely that his pointy head is no longer visible above his desktop.

    Comey’s characterization of Putin in another tweet as “a murderous lying thug” [as if Airman Obama, with his Terror Tuesday drone assassinations, was not] demonstrates how Russia, Russia, Russia remains a narrative desperately in search of facts to support it.

    Comey’s accomplice colleague, poor Robert Mueller, grimly soldiers on with his indictment of “twelve ham sandwiches with Russian dressing” [h/t James Howard Kunstler]. It’s going to be a long hot summer in Foggy Bottom, as charges and countercharges of treason and contempt of Congress fly like flaming arrows.

    1. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      July 18, 2018 at 8:26 am

      “twelve ham sandwiches with Russian dressing” [h/t James Howard Kunstler]
      The Rachel Sandwich (aka Roast Turkey Reuben Sandwich)
      Since coleslaw is already in a dressing I saw no need for there to be two so I also tried a version where I replaced the coleslaws dressing with the Russian dressing for a turkey and Russian slaw Rachel.
      as I am on a diet, I eat low cal popcorn while watching Maddow with a nice chardonnay….but for those who are not calorically challenged, I just think that the Maddow episodes where Comey and Russians are discussed, it would be fitting to have a “Rachel”

        1. pretzelattack

          well it seems very familiar, having grown up ducking and covering in the school hallway–even then i wondered how that was going to do any good. but the process has accelerated so quickly this time, amplified by the internet, that the propaganda seems even shriller this time around; my “ears” haven’t had time to become accustomed to it.

          1. Brian

            I recall the institution of “duck and cover” from school in the 60’s. We ducked and we covered one time when the threat was thought to be enough to scare children. It was never repeated. Don’t know if someone asked why we would protect from something that can not be mitigated by getting under a pile of rocks that used to be a building, before or after.

            1. LifelongLib

              I remember doing that just once, in 1st grade (1962-63), so it was probably during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      “History has its eyes on us.” And “history” is not the only thing that does.

      SOSSS–Save our Security / Surveillance Services. Obviously more dire than just a plain vanilla SOS for our sacred “democracy.”

      Vote BLUE!! and preserve your right, as an american, to be watched, lied to, and fleeced. Our democracy will not survive world peace–don’t be “fooled”–choose nuclear holocaust or give up your “way of life” forever.

        1. polecat

          They’d all look pretty spiffy in their newly pressed, as in downward, hemp neckties.
          I hear though, that they only come in one color .. Blackhat Red !

    3. Expat

      Unless I am mistaken, Comey is a private citizen. Whether or not I disagree with his politics, I don’t see how he can be called partisan as if he were holding what should be a non-partisan office or job. He was fired by Trump in what many call an attempt at obstruction. He was slandered and insulted by Trump.
      So now he is a private citizen testifying. Do I think he is biased against Trump? Of course, and rightly so.
      I suppose that any Republican testifying against Clinton should that arise would be a great patriot blindly serving the ideals of justice with no hint of politics or partisanship?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Do I think he is biased against Trump? Of course, and rightly so.

        Unless you believe that Comey radically changed his politics in the past two years, then it’s reasonable to think he was equally biased during the run-up to the 2016 election, when a couple of important FBI investigations were underway,

        In the US executive branch, pros who want to make a career of it tend to be circumspect about their personal politics, observing the regular eight-year partisan alternation.

        Comey’s statement that you can’t uphold the country’s values except by voting Democratic is wildly hyperbolic and indicates, at the least, that he’s rashly burnt his bridges and doesn’t plan a return to public service.

        Wiser heads in Washington, whatever their personal views, would not go on the record with an intemperate statement like his. Comey is a small mind who evidently got promoted to positions far above his meager ability and myopic partisan perspective.

        1. whine country

          Comey should have been an accountant. To paraphrase an old joke: What party do you want me to be?

    4. Peter VE

      Col. Lang posted this yesterday. Lisa Page (Peter Strzok’s ex Email partner) testified in closed session of the House that:
      1) the Chinese had hacked into the backup server for the Clinton Emails;
      2) the FBI knew it;
      3) senior FBI officials concealed that knowledge.
      I guess Trump was asking the wrong people for the missing 30,000
      Only one leak so far, but Col. Lang is one of the more honorable ex IC officials.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Just imagine if all the transcripts were made public at the same time. Just… make them public. Why not?

        You can’t argue that one the one hand you have a President committing treason, but on the other hand the evidence has to be concealed because of sources and methods. At least not in a democracy. Oh, wait…

    5. Cat Afficionado

      I saw that tweet by Comey. Utterly unbelievable. Those who are With Her (TM) have utterly lost it.

  8. Katsue

    Re the Indian story, for reference, a lakh means 100,000, and a crore means 10,000,000. According to my web search, R1 crore is about €145,750 dollars. The article states:

    “Capital is required for these banks as they are saddled with non-performing assets or bad loans of about Rs 10 lakh crore”, or approximately $146 billion dollars.

    One of the banks that requires recapitalisation is the Central Bank of India.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Yes, but note that the Central Bank of India is NOT India’s central bank. That’s the Reserve Bank of India.

      The Central Bank of India is a government-owned bank, but I repeat it’s not India’s central bank–the name notwithstanding.

      1. Katsue

        That makes sense. The idea of India’s central bank issuing equity seemed rather eyebrow-raising.

      2. HotFlash

        Thank you, Dr. Scofield, and NC in general. I may not be wiser, but I am definitely better informed.

  9. Wukchumni

    A friend was up in Yosemite NP yesterday, and related that the smoke from the Ferguson Fire was so thick in the valley, @ times visibility was a few hundred feet. In theory there are waterfalls there-he claimed, yet had no visual evidence to back him up.

    Pea soup, or make that p(articulate) soup.

    Prometheus has been scarce around these parts, only a few nothingburger wildfires in the back of beyond of no consequence.

  10. Ed

    “War Doesn’t Make Sense Anymore” American Conservative

    War is just another one of those things ruined by global population. People are now net liabilities to countries, not assets, so conquering more territory and the people that go with it has been a losing strategy for several decades.

    1. JTMcPhee

      But of course the Milo Minderbinder business strategy of “bombing your own troops, for cost plus 15%,” using your troops’ own weapons to do it, is proving a winner. See the confrontations in Syria and other parts of the ME and Africa over time, where the sneaky Petes support one set of “insurgent terrorists’ while the ‘government” troops are supposedly training, assisting and guiding the troops of the “host nation.” And of course the weapons sales to pretty much anyone with the money to buy…

      By the way, here is the definition of “insurgency” from the current version of the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms:

      insurgency — The organized use of subversion and violence to seize, nullify, or challenge political control of a region. Insurgency can also refer to the group itself. (JP 3-24)

      How is what the Imperial Forces are doing across the planet no squarely within this definition? Syria, and so many other places?

      Oh, I know, “when they do it, it’s wrong — when WE do it, it’s different!”

    2. Summer

      I don’t know that people are considered net liabilities as much as people as paid labor are considered net liabilities. Hence, wars and foreign policy causing mass migrations, where the migrators become “the product”
      And conquered territory, through wars or supported coups, is still valuable (to those who benefit) for raw materials and slave labor – or as close to slave labor as one can get depending on location.

    3. Zachary Smith

      It has been a while since I’ve seen such an dreadful article. I wasn’t sure about that deduction till I got to this:

      America doesn’t need a huge army. With Canada to the north, Mexico to the south, and oceans east and west, the United States is more geographically secure than any nation in history. Britain defeated Hitler because it is an island. Russia defeated Hitler because it is a continent. America is both. Our enormous military is unnecessary to protect our homeland.

      Don’t know what the author was smoking, but it must have been mighty fine stuff.

  11. Lorenzo

    Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse

    the mention of the Helsinki summit shined for its absence in this piece. And I think it’s non-controversial to say that that summit was Trump’s doing more than that of any of the conflicting factions ‘supporting him’. Chomsky’s and others’ views also seem to be in stark contrast even with what’s appearing in the end of the blogosphere that includes our cherished Naked Capitalism itself: see today’s linked post by Moon of Alabama for an example.

    I haven’t at all decided which view a favor, which is pretty unnerving giving that as a regular here I get to deal with the issue of where Trump stands in the geopolitical scenario, and how grounded is he in his position, very often indeed. Any readers’ thoughts? I’d also love to read the insight of the bloggers themselves!

    Good day all

    1. Carolinian

      Daniel Falcone, the author of that article, seems to be using Chomsky “quotes” (no source or link is provided that I can find) to support the usual screed against Trump. The last Chomsky interview that I saw (perhaps that’s what he’s referring to) was considerably more nuanced. In fact the headline is deceptive since it’s really Falcone on Trump/NATO with Chomsky allegedly in support. The article’s assertion that Trump’s attacks on NATO are mere “nihilism” are not a position, I think, that Chomsky would hold. He is a consistent promoter of international law, something NATO regularly violates.

      Counterpunch publishes a range of views and doubtless would say each author’s opinions are his own. But pretty clearly St. Clair is in the Putin=thug camp as shown by his (somewhat dubious to my mind) Putin rafting in Utah piece from a few years ago. So perhaps the site would view Helsinki as simply more Trump “nihilism.”

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Agreed, I’d felt like I’d been given the old “bait and switch” with that piece. Chomsky had precious little to do with it and the author was even too lazy to link to or properly cite the quotes so they could be read in context.

      2. witters

        Counterpunch has been regressing to the MSM mean for quite awhile now. Andrew Levine is a perfect example.

  12. Expat

    re: Nobel Committee
    Despite my profound cynicism and pessimism over the human race, the words “Nobel committee” still conjure up visions of fair, kind, intelligent and honest Swedes struggling to choose works of literature that are outstanding in their writing, their relevance, their social values and their political significance.

    Instead, they are just a bunch of petty, squabbling, venal children like the rest of us.

    I suppose this ultimately makes me feel better about myself. Terrible, isn’t it?

    1. Eclair

      That piece had better been titled: Men in White Ties and Tails Behaving Badly. And, a few women. But, note that the really bad guy was ….. French. From my limited experience, the Swedish upper class can be just as convinced of it’s god-given privileges as the upper class of less enlightened nations.

      Sweden was not always a democratic socialist quasi-paradise. The reasons that 20% of the population emigrated in the 19th and early 20th centuries, ranged from religious repression (and the Swedes were’t into burning heretics) to horrible grinding poverty. Like whole families living in a one room, earthen ‘stuga,’ from which they could be evicted at will by the landlord. My spouse’s great-grand aunt’s husband, unemployed and penniless with 2 toddlers and new-born twins, threw himself in front of a train. Yet the aristocracy and the big land-owners did very well. Their descendants probably sit on the Nobel Committee.

      There’s a Norwegian TV series, available on Netflix, titled “Nobel.” It’s about the Norwegians serving in Afghanistan and the dirty goings on in the committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize. Great script, acting, etc. Another Norwegian series that I love is “Occupy.” It’s a wild ride about a Russian takeover of Norwegian oil platforms … but much much more.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The rest of us…

      Basically, the whole human race or species (which is it?) then.

      And the reason why humans are ill suited to practice the Scientific Method…petty, squabbling, venal and childish.

      Perhaps the method is best left to, say, Martians, or my best guess – Vulcans.

      But who is going to confront that inconvenient truth?

      1. HotFlash

        Could you please cite the evidence do you have for that? /s

        or perhaps I mean, /v (for Vulcan)

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I can’t quite square the fact that he is a ‘cultural entrepreneur’ with his marriage to a poet/academician.

      What is a cultural entrepreneur? Selling culture or selling soul?

  13. vidimi

    Las Vegas hotel seeks immunity from lawsuits by shooting victims

    what a terribly worded title. editors are an endangered species, it seems.

  14. ChiGal in Carolina

    Thanks for including the link on the use of what is known as harm reduction to prevent overdose deaths.

    These solutions have been advocated for decades now by those who are knowledgeable about evidence-based treatment of drug addiction. NIDA for example. In this country, we are just beginning to implement the least (but very important) of them, distributing the overdose antidote (Narcan) to users and their friends/family.

    I have said this before here and I will say it again: whether heroin or methadone, to object to its medically managed use as “addiction” makes as much sense as saying diabetics are addicted to insulin. The correct medical terminology is dependent.

    Even this well-meaning article adopts the language of the AA Nazis.

    My heart breaks.

  15. Off The Street

    Soros. The sheer cheek of the man, meddling in affairs around the globe as his own supra-national government. Some countries, starting with his birth country of Hungary, take a dimmer view of all that monetized speech.

    1. Adam Eran

      Soros 2016 politcal spending : $25 million.

      Koch’s 2016 political spending: $889 million.

      The race may not always go to the east window swiftest, but that’s the way to get it.

    2. Craig H.

      I read about two thirds of the article before I threw it in as it could have been written by Soros’ P. R. firm. I did learn something new to me before I gave up though.

      In addition to providing Orban with a scholarship at Oxford, Soros donated money to Fidesz (the Alliance of Young Democrats), a student organization that Orban helped found and that evolved into his political party.

      His biggest project was to make Hungary into a country he would not have to emigrate to escape and now he is persona non grata. If that is not irony I do not know what is. Alchemy of Finance remains one of my all-time favorite books. Also the part of the article I read had nothing on facebook et al which is really the reason I went through the rigamarole of opening up a private browsing window to scoop up a free times view.

  16. YankeeFrank

    “In thinly veiled barbs at Trump, Obama laments ‘strongman politics’ and leaders who lie WaPo”

    Oh-bama: constantly self-owned by his own narcissistic blindness.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is this connected to the article ‘Ugly scandal that cancelled the Nobel prize?’

      1. YankeeFrank

        Nah, that was about the corrupt swine in charge of the literature prize not the “peace” prize.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “US Treasury Secretary: Washington to Consider Waivers on Iran Sanctions”

    I think that they are really talking about India here who gets about a third of their oil from Iran. Maybe the Indians said that if they are hit with sanctions over Iranian oil, then the Indian economy would take a bad knock which means that they would no longer be able to afford to buy all those shiny new weapons systems that they have on order with the US. Your call sahib Trump.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Wehrmacht knew it too well – the Indians can’t run their American made tanks without Iranian oil.

  18. Craig H.


    Wasn’t she the only one in the government opposed to waging war on Iraq? She ought to be the president or the chief justice or at least have her own talk show. Never will happen. How in the world did she get elected?

  19. Jean

    “Our most important allies”

    “Our Democracy”

    “The Intelligence Community”

    “The International Liberal Order”

    Shouldn’t these phrases have a ™ symbol appended to them?
    Or, should it be a ® symbol?

      1. a different chris

        “The” intelligence community is doubly ironic as there are way more than one of them and they get along not well at all.

  20. Jean

    Sins of omission.

    On legalizing marijuana and raising house prices–no mention of the ability to grow the stuff in your backyard when legalized

    Re Ireland’s archeological finds, no mention of deeper soil where ancient construction excavations retain moisture and create greener plants above, thus outlining the sites.

    Oh, and the Joe “Eeyore” Lieberman article never mentions the word “Israel” once.

    Had the Democrats omitted him from the vice presidential ticket, Al Gore would have been president and “we”, another Democratic™, would have never invaded Syraquistan.

  21. RWood

    Any thoughts about Professor Cohen’s view,

    “Today, in my considered and scholarly long time judgment, relations between the U.S. and Russia are more dangerous than they have ever been. Let me repeat: Every been, including the Cuban missile crisis. “

    and the frenzied piranha? Just the heat’s got the prof?

    War is passe?

    Pass the rachael, please.

    1. Buck Eschaton

      I still think this was one of the most important interviews in the run-up to the 2016 election. Stephen Cohen seems to be a very sane and reasonable person, who is very concerned re where we’re heading.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When you hear that Russian meddling is an act of war, you sense relations between us and them are indeed very dangerous.

  22. meeps

    Legalizing Pot Sales Means…Higher Home Values?

    Author Carden gets this partly right.

    As a Colorado native I’m living through the population increase that spiked when pot became legal here. Certain of these new residents (and tourists) admit that legal pot is a factor. The story Carden misses is that weed is still illegal at the Federal level and those plying the trade are likely laundering money through real estate. Both factors are driving price increases which are creating pressure (even way out in ‘the nethers’ where I live) to move farther away from job centers. I’m on the cusp of being driven from my neighborhood to I don’t yet know where. Meanwhile, this hot-dog looking little toad of a speculator is scraping every last, cheap (for some definition of cheap) parcel in my neighborhood, including the one right next door to me.

    I’d like to see marijuana legalized at the Federal level in order to arrest both problems.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am hoping for home prices and home valuations (= home values*?) to go down.

      *a home’s value is to house a family, including children. And children shouldn’t smoke, first, second or third hand. And a home as a farm or factory is an investment, not a ‘home.’

      1. meeps


        I agree 100% that it’s a mistake to conflate price with value. I’m confident that when the hotdog hellion completes his speculative builds, it’ll raise the price of area housing, but the value of living here, for me anyway, is diminished.

    2. Arizona Slim

      True story from the Arizona Slim file:

      There’s a nearby house where certain interior lights are never turned off. Ever.

      I can’t say for sure if this place is a grow house, but I suspect so.

      Am I going to turn that place in? Nope.

      Why not? Because the people who currently live there don’t have barking dogs, they don’t throw wild parties, and they’ve never been curious about me or anything I’m up to.

      I’ll take quiet, keep-to-themselves neighbors any way I can get them.

      1. fresno dan

        Arizona Slim
        July 18, 2018 at 1:05 pm

        plants are ideal neighbors….as long as they don’t drink up all the water

      2. meeps

        AZ Slim and ambrit:

        There was a limitation to the number of plants one could grow in their home or yard initially (6? IIRC) and restrictions on how many could be producing at any given time. My beef was never with people quietly wanting to grow their own. It’s that people are losing affordable shelter so that retailers’ un-banked profit has a place to dwell that chaps my hide.

    3. pretzelattack

      i still have hopes of retiring to colorado, but denver house prices give me pause.

      1. meeps


        I live at least an hour (in light traffic, which is becoming rare) southwest of Denver, where housing is comparatively cheap. I’ll still have to consider farther options. I wish you the best in your endeavors.

        1. pretzelattack

          thanks and damn. maybe grand junction or durango. i wonder if the animas river has been cleaned up. i like the denver area, lived there a long time ago.

      2. Knifecatcher

        I live in an inner ring Denver suburb, about 6 miles from downtown. Bought 4 years ago for just over 500k, house is now worth closer to 800k. It’s completely nuts.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why the UK has so many words for bread.

    I think it’s in Russia that one finds there are many, many kinds of bread. Not being a Russian speaker, I can’t say if there are as many Russian words for bread. My guess is they have more words.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Actually, I know one Russian word for bread (and ArizonaSlim can correct me), Hlyeb, or something like that.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Being ungrateful?

    France Shuts Trade Agency In Russia On Worsening Conditions International Business Times

    This, after Putin pulled the strings to let the French win the World Cup, according to some Putin-is-behind-everything believers?

  25. dcblogger

    people are so busy with the political horse race of teh 2018 midterms they are missing all the signs that things are about to get much worse.
    former CIA case officer calls for Trump supporters to kill their opponents

    “Proud Boys” and DSA got into a bar fight


    1. Pat

      So let’s see, Midterms vs. signs that the Trump Derangement Syndrome is now inciting violence?

      Frankly when I clicked on the summary of your post I was expecting to see something about the various bipartisan public *family blog* legislation that seems to be so common these days as the Republicans keep their eye on the prize and the Democrats/Resistance/media keeps the outrage turned to 11 and most of the unlikely to really change things midterms (both sides) so that people fail to recognize how much the ALEC agenda is progressing. But no…

      We do agree, the horserace is a distraction (although I’m sure we disagree about the Trump outrage as I believe it is the same thing), but we disagree about what important things it is being used to downplay.

      1. Arizona Slim

        One of my Trump-supporting friends sent me an e-mail. Happened earlier this week.

        I’m going to give her a call this weekend and suggest that we get together. Knowing this friend the way I do, we’re probably going out for a lovely evening of drinking, dancing, and laughing.

        If her Trump-supporting hubby wishes to join us, he’s more than welcome.

        1. dcblogger

          62 million people voted for Trump, so obviously they go the range of ordinary people to would be Tim McVeighs.

          1. Lambert Strether

            So it would really be helpful if the Democrats shifted focus from Russia!Russia!Russia! for which the moderate solution is impeachment (as opposed to a military coup, advocated by a Democrat representative in today’s Water Cooler, or the intelligence community sending in a wet team, a la the time of troubles in the 60s).

            Unless the Democrats really do want to “bring it on,” and why not, since none of their children will die…

  26. Wukchumni

    Well now the donkey show is respected in society
    They don’t worry about the things that they used to be
    They’re talkin’ Nyet Nyet Nyet about the president
    Well it’s a problem, sir, but he can’t be bent
    Uh yes

    Well now you’re in a pillory thanks to Hillary
    You resemble the things that you used to be
    You’re the second dirtiest shirt, you’re a red queen’s whet dream
    You’re so unorganized, one hesitates to call you a team

    Get out of my life, don’t come back
    Get out of my life, don’t come back

    She’s so respectable
    She was so electable
    She’s so deflectable
    She’s so susceptible
    Get out of my life
    Don’t try again
    Don’t come back
    Get out of my life
    Don’t try again
    Don’t come back

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Japan-EU trade deal ‘light in darkness’ amid Trump’s protectionism Guardian (The Rev Kev)

    And there might have an ancient connection in Japan-European trade.

    Specifically, garum which is a Roman fermented dish (a famous ancient source was a town in Algarve, Spain, I seem to recall).

    The Romans, of course, traded extensively. Roman coins were found in Funan (in Vietnam, near Saigon). And according to the book, the Story of Sushi, that Japanese delicacy traces its origin to fermented fish in Vietnam, which lead to the invention of rice vinegar. Could that Vietnamese fermented fish be connected to the Roman garum?


      Fermenting fish guts is probably not a world-shaking process. But actually ingesting the result? That, I would say, would require a pioneer to lead the way. I man,I wouldn’t be the first one to try it. So, my vote is cultural contact.


    2. HotFlash

      Fermenting fish guts is probably not a world-shaking process. But actually ingesting the result? That, I would say, would require a pioneer to lead the way. I mean, I wouldn’t be the first one to try it, would you? So, my vote is cultural contact.


      Huge Fan of Anchovies and Fishsauce

  28. ambrit

    Something for the “How Bad?” File.

    A job listed on the State of Mississippi Employment website today.
    It titles as “Driver.” So far, so good. The job is for a local automobile dealership. All right there. The paragraph outlining job duties and responsibilities. The usual boilerplate. The pay and hours. Uh oh. $7.50 an hour and 40 hours the week. Well, it could be done I guess. The very last sentence is the ‘gotcha’ statement. “May wash vehicles.” As in, a lot full of cars.
    With tricks like this being perpetrated upon them, is it any wonder that the guys and gals of the ‘Deplorables’ class prefer Crime as a Career Path?
    For s—s and giggles:;jsessionid

      1. ambrit

        I find that the link just above is also non-functional.
        I find that the state of Mississippi prefers a captive audience for its’ mischievous malfeasances.
        If you can get there, it is Job #267824. (On further attempts to bring order out of this chaos, I find that whoever set this system up should be subject to a “Clawback Provision” for having defrauded the State of Mississippi. Either that or, the confusion and non-functionality of the system is a feature. Even though I’m a cynic, right now my money’s on plain old incompetence.

      2. ambrit

        Second try at a second reply. The second link is also broken. Apologies from the Deep South (North American Version.)

  29. HotFlash


    Thank you for introducing me to Kanahus Manuel. I cannot believe that I have not encountered this warrior woman before, but wow, just wow. For more of her work, see youtube or DDG. I will have to prepare, too, starting with finding out where do I sign up :). We need to do this together.

  30. HotFlash

    I’m sure the Progressive Party has more members in the Vermont state legislature than any other third party in America. That is because they have done a good job in focusing on the needs of working people.

    From Bernie’s interview with Jacobin, just flagging this for Lambert.

    From Lambert’s keyboard to Bernie’s ears?

  31. HotFlash

    Las Vegas hotel seeks immunity from lawsuits by shooting victims

    Oh jeez. Couldn’t they have phrased, or maybe punctuated, that better? Or maybe english is just hopeless.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Haven’t those victims suffered enough already?

      I know I shouldn’t be laughing at that poorly written headline, but I am.

  32. Xquacy

    Re: If WhatsApp Doesn’t Regulate Itself, Parliament May Have to Step In…

    This article is odd on so many counts. Its a defense of surveillance in a overtly left-wing news site.

    “Simply put, “WhatsApp doesn’t kill people, people do”. The only logical conclusion to this argument is that WhatsApp is not to blame for the misuse of its services by those responsible for the lynching of at least 25 people”

    Not sure which side of the Whatsapp stick needs to face the head for an effective fatal blow.

    The flip side of encryption is that it is a convenient device for companies, like WhatsApp, to evade any accountability while at the same time allowing them to reap profits.

    Trouble is, encrypted content makes profit making that much harder. If secure communications we so profitable, why hasn’t the market caught up yet?

    Hoisting such liability on WhatsApp will have consequences in that the service will be forced to either redesign its system in a manner that requires it to track messages, while protecting privacy or alternatively, cease to offer its services for Indian users.

    Notice the oxymoron, delivered without the slightest hint of irony: “track messages while protecting privacy.”

  33. The Rev Kev

    “Britain’s railway arches are being sold off – and small businesses could be forced out”

    This is the problem with neoliberalism. It cannot suffer the little people having any economic activity whatsoever without there being a commercial fee or cut for it. Neoliberalism is also quite happy destroying such businesses as they do not fit in its worldview of transnational mega-corporations everywhere (‘If you are not part of Walmart or Amazon, you don’t deserve to be in business!’).

  34. FortyYearsInThe UniversitySystem

    Title ambiguity sighted. One wonders how shooting victims can make one immune to lawsuits. Shooting lawyers perhaps. Sorry. Couldn’t help it. Disclosure: have lawyers in the family.. and fine upstanding folks they are too.

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