Links 7/23/18

In pictures: Fighting the Swedish wildfires BBC (DL).

Is It Safe to Eat Local Produce After a Wildfire? Pacific Standard. News you can use!

Backlash Against “War on Cash” Reaches Washington & China Wolf Street

Mark Zuckerberg is a horror show. But there’s a glimmer of truth hidden in his latest blunder. Margaret Sullivan, WaPo

Google is not an American company The Week


No-deal Brexit could spark civil unrest ‘within two weeks’ warns UK head of Amazon Independent. Holy moly.

There’s now a 50% chance of no deal from Brexit talks Irish Times

Brexit: playing with fire EU Referendum

Government gears up for showdown with WTO on future of soft Border Irish Independent

Theresa May Northern Ireland visit: Business chiefs still seek ‘clarity’ on the key issues Belfast Telegraph

Brussels rejects UK’s financial services Brexit plan FT


U.S. launches campaign to erode support for Iran’s leaders Reuters. Wait, what? That would be meddling!


China unexpectedly injects 502 bln yuan through 1-year MLF, rate unchanged Reuters. “” for “Central Bank.”

Collapse of Chinese peer-to-peer lenders sparks investor flight FT. “Sports stadiums taken over to process complaints as customers rush to withdraw cash.”

The mega-machines helping China link the world BBC

Wild About Tech, China Even Loves Robot Waiters That Can’t Serve NYT

As new vaccine scandal grips China, parents say they’ve lost faith in the system South China Morning Post

New Cold War

US releases $200 million in defensive aid to Ukraine as Moscow seeks better ties CNN. Ka-ching.

Is Trump The Toughest Ever On Russia? NPR

* * *

There do seem to be rather a lot of story threads just now; almost like a Gish Gallop.

Exclusive: Accused Russian agent Butina met with U.S. Treasury, Fed officials Reuters

Russian billionaire with U.S. investments backed alleged agent Maria Butina, according to a person familiar with her Senate testimony WaPo

Senate Intel Had Asked For Financial Documents On The Russian Gun Rights Activist Buzzfeed

America On It’s Way to Being Stalin’s Soviet Union by Publius Tacitus Sic Semper Tyrannis. “Let’s do a mind experiment. Imagine that the woman was name[d] Vicky Hershowitz. Let’s imag[ine] that she is a citizen of Israel. We’ve never had Israelis moving around Washington trying to buy influence and recruit powerful people to support Israel. Have we?”

* * *

Carter Page acknowledges working as informal adviser to Russia Politico

‘It’s really spin’: Carter Page denies being a Russian agent as lawmakers urge Trump to act tougher toward Kremlin WaPo

* * *

Let’s See Who’s Bluffing in the Criminal Case Against the Russians Scott Ritter, The American Conservative

Mueller Finally Solves Mysteries About Russia’s ‘Fancy Bear’ Hackers Daily Beast

* * *

Revealed: How ‘Putin’s spy agency’ hit-squad ‘including a woman’ carried out whirlwind 30-hour Novichok mission to poison the Skripals Daily Mail

* * *

The Burden Of Proof Is On The Russiagaters Caitlin Johnstone

Bulletin: The Expressive Function of the Russia Freakout Jacobin. Caution: That’s not the only function.

Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times) Counterpunch. Again, I’m not the only one.

Trump Transition

Scoop: World leaders turning Trump tricks against him Axios

Behind closed doors, Guantánamo secret court talks about the CIA, torture and rights Miami Herald

Democrats in Disarray

Dem leaders fend off calls to impeach Trump The Hill

Sanders’ wing of the party terrifies moderate Dems. Here’s how they plan to stop it. NBC. Trade samples:

Some of the key initiatives are a massive apprenticeship program to train workers, a privatized employer-funded universal pension that would supplement Social Security and an overhaul of unemployment insurance to include skills training. Other proposals included a “small business bill of rights” and the creation of a “BoomerCorps” — like the volunteer AmericaCorps for seniors.

Let me know how that works out.

New York, accused of neglect, to spend $2B on public housing AP

Imperial Collapse Watch

Faster, Transient, Endless: How America Must Adapt to Today’s Great-Power Competition Defense One. Worth a read. Also ka-ching, especially the “endless” part.

Realignment and Legitimacy

So, open season? Or more bubble-iciousness?

Why ‘Sorry to Bother You’ Is 2018’s Sharpest Political Satire Politico. Strange to see a Boots Riley film covered in Politico…

Judgment days WaPo. Via Jacob Bacharach, who comments: “WaPo paints these people as rural rubes, supporting a guy who flaunts immorality, when of course they’re all just as sophisticated as the reporters, probably more, and have made a very simple calculation about who will deliver their policy preferences.”

The Left’s Missing Foreign Policy n+1

Class Warfare

Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money Forbes

How Left Economics Understands Power Data for Progress (UserFriendly).

Karl Polanyi and the formation of this generation’s new Left IPPR Progressive Review

Can Economists and Humanists Ever Be Friends? The New Yorker. Since today’s economics is essentially narrative obfuscated by notation, and hence a branch of the humanities, why not?

“I saw things children shouldn’t see” – surviving a troubled childhood Mosaic (CL). From June, still germane.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

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.


  1. fresno dan

    America On It’s Way to Being Stalin’s Soviet Union by Publius Tacitus Sic Semper Tyrannis. “Let’s do a mind experiment. Imagine that the woman was name[d] Vicky Hershowitz. Let’s imag[ine] that she is a citizen of Israel. We’ve never had Israelis moving around Washington trying to buy influence and recruit powerful people to support Israel. Have we?”
    I long ago gave up the illusion of equal justice under law.
    There was a movie called The Village by M. Night Shyamalan, and the movie was almost comical for the long swaths of dialog “about that of which we do not speak”( which was pretty much all they talked about). So Americans can yammer ceaselessly about Russians “influencing” American elections, but speaking about Israelis doing the same thing is strictly verboten. And of course, ask Hillary how effective spending money on elections is, versus lobbyists spending money on congresspeople and congressional appropriations for Israel….

        1. Arizona Slim

          It could care less? Good. Let’s see it do that.

          Wake me up when the internet gets to the point where it couldn’t care less.

            1. Brian

              I wandered weak and weary trying to suss this one and it no longer matters which you use. It is like “decimate” which is based on one in ten, yet has become a synonym for massacre instead. No one spreaks engquish anyhow.

              1. Tom Bradford

                If a Roman Legion disgraced itself on a battlefield it was punished by ‘decimation’ – ie one in 10 of its members was put to the sword as an example to the others.

                Hence ‘to decimate’ as a synonym for massacre is perfectly appropriate.

      1. Big River Bandido

        I feel the same irritation as you. The worst thing is, the test is so family-blog simple: replace the pronoun with the phrase “it is”. Does that meaning make sense? Leave the apostrophe in. If the replacement phrase makes no sense, as in “America On It Is Way to Being Stalin’s Soviet Union”, it should take no apostrophe.

        It’s so simple…I’m led to believe that people just don’t care.

        1. ambrit

          This is a real conundrum. I was taught that an apostrophe after an ‘s’ indicated a possessive case. As with proper names, eg. “Caesars’ Palace.”

          1. Wukchumni

            Ever notice how all the cool kids are essentially doing a variant of Gregg shorthand now whilst texting, and apostrophes are a major downer when scrunching a word into what looks more like a 3-Letter-Monte, on Wall*Street.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The way art works for artists is this:

            1. First you learn the rules
            2. Then you break them.

            And if enough people like your rule-breaking, you’re in. People with money will pay so they too can progress to the next phase.

            1. ambrit

              Well, as I have learned from a time with an artist, there is “Art” and there is “Commercial Art.” Internal variations in quality are roughly equivalent. The base difference is in the audience. The so called “Fine Arts” are geared towards the artist producing the work and a small cadre of informed persons, often fellow artists. “Commercial Art” begins with a target audience and works towards engaging that audience. The “art” part involves methods of expression and their resultant measurable effects on the target audience. For example, in Advertising art, success can be quantified with sales figures of the product or in Political art, quantified in vote totals for Political products.
              We are in complete agreement that to master any art, or science for that matter, the “Rules” must first be learnt. Often, what is classified as “breaking the rules” is a reinterpretation of the original rule set. Most artists I have observed, work to test the boundaries of the “rules.” “Pushing the envelope” really describes a non-revolutionary methodology.
              Now, “if enough people like your rule breaking” does not imply any level of sophistication in the audience. Take contemporary humour as an example. There is funny, and there is s—. The two fields do not necessarily intersect.
              Indeed, I vaguely remember a passage from Dostoyevsky where he describes a “Modern” art exhibition where he remarks on someone displaying a painting of a pile of s— and calling it art. Everything that is old is new again. Hence, people will often mistake “different” for “better” and wander down a cultural blind alley way, and pay for the privilege.
              We often fall out of Heaven and back onto the Wheel.
              This is fun. Thanks.

                1. DonCoyote

                  How deep are we on replies/indenting, and how deep can we get?

                  Its incredible (apostrophe omitted on purpose to make it semi-relevant to the thread)

              1. Jeremy Grimm

                I believe art is something you make because something inside compels you to make an object or image. Whatever rules or breaking of rules or all lack of rules drive the act of creating I don’t know. I just feel what I must make, how it should appear, and imagine how I might craft it.

                1. ambrit

                  The hard part is learning the relevant techniques to enable the original imaginings to become realized works. “Talk is cheap. Presentations cost real money.”
                  To that extent, the apostrophe thread is a disquisition on written English language techniques.

                  1. Jeremy Grimm

                    The “hard part is learning the relevant techniques” — I’ll pass on a discussion of the distinctions between craft and art.

                    As for the discussion of the apostrophe — I completely ignored that. I’ll leave those kinds of question to college or corporate style manuals, depending on the context wherein it ‘matters’. When I write for myself I am constantly frustrated by the existing punctuation. I realize part of the trouble is my own laziness about hunting down and mastering the current rules and usages but I also believe the existing punctuation rules are wholly inadequate for capturing how I want my writing to ‘speak’ in terms of its phrasing, rhythm, and such music of the words as I might with fortune craft.

                    1. ambrit

                      I do ‘get’ the frustration connected with the desire to get the ‘punctuation’ “right” in anything we write. The problem behind that is that words can have multiple meanings, and punctuation is a tool for defining the meaning associated with particular words.
                      I refer we seekers after knowledge to the estimable Noah Webster Jr. and his theories about American English versus British English. It is now over two hundred years old, but still relevant.
                      As for the “craft versus art” subject, I will assert that to be appreciated as art in the first place, something must be understandable and accessible to the public, whatever that public is intended to be. To that end, common frames of reference must be employed, else all sense be vacant of meaning. I would thus interpret the aphorism employed by MLTPB, “the rules must be learned first before they are broken” as meaning that the craft underlying any art must be learned in order for the artist to be understood at all.

          3. JEHR

            “Caesars’ Palace” means there are many Caesars that own the Palace. “Caesar’s Palace” means there is only one Caesar that owns the Palace.

          4. nihil obstet

            “Its” is the possessive pronoun, like “his” or “her”, or “my” for that matter. You wouldn’t write “hi’s” or “he’r” or “m’y”, so don’t write “it’s”.

              1. ambrit

                I rather like that method of punctuation. It gives English an “exotic” flav’our. Somewhat like a Neo-Plantagenet Anglo American French court tongue.

              1. nihil obstet

                I think I meant “her”:
                When the table fell, its leg was scratched.
                When the man fell, his leg was scratched.
                When the the woman fell, her leg was scratched.

      2. Synoia

        English, as spoken and written is a living, flexible language.

        It’s spelling is, I believe, a 19th joke, or an elitist mechanism, by the UK upper class, on the lower classes, because one needs an extensive education to be able to write the language.

        For example: Plough – Cough.

        In the US plough is spelt plow, but the “ough” construction has multiple pronunciations.

        There really is no “correct” English, which does not accompany a class or race “put down.” An association with which I’m very uncomfortable.

        1. ambrit

          Compare this with the pre Pinyin Chinese written language.
          The basic test to become a Mandarin, or “Educated Person” was the mastery of the old ideographic Chinese written form. I have read that an ‘educated’ Chinese person was expected to know the meanings and variations of several thousand “picture words.”
          So, to take your comment one step further, every language, in common usage, is a living, flexible language.
          I’ll gladly accept the dubious honour of being awarded the “We Be Language Snobs” medal. It is not the most prestigious accolade, but, at least it’s a Credential to put in my ‘Curriculum Vitae.’

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            This is where the Vulcan mind meld needs, desperately, to be invented…like right now.

            And there should be one (neutral) world ‘reserve’ language.

        2. Lee

          So, may we look forward to the day when we become incomprehensible to one another? An American English speaker, I require subtitles for many UK, Irish, Australian, New Zealand or U.S. films set in the south and northeast. Who knows, maybe the world will be improved by our inability to understand one another. It would be nice if English were more like Spanish in its (not it’s) phonetic consistency.

          I would add, that written and spoken language are quite different and that consistency in written language, from a utilitarian point of view, is more important than in the more fluid mode of informal speech. In this way people of many dialects and accents can achieve mutual understanding.

          1. Big Tap

            I am an American (I know everyone from Yukon to Tierra Del Fuego is one also) but it’s easy to spot us if your a non-American English speaker reading this. We have own spelling system particularly dropping the letter u in ‘our’ to ‘or’. I was told as a child that Noah Webster was responsible for this. If I write “my favorite flavor of ice cream is vanilla” everyone knows what country I am from. Also ask us to say out loud what is is the last letter of the alphabet.

              1. nihil obstet

                The problem with a thread like this is that you can’t tell what’s a joke and what’s a gap in attention. Is this a multiple choice, like
                A, if your a Little Endian, or
                B, if my a Little Endian?

                1. ambrit

                  I think that we just passed through a logic gate. Unfortunately, I did not do well in Formal Logic during my abortive university career. It has been an uphill slog ever since.

            1. ObjectiveFunction

              Most English words ending in “-or” have roots in Latin words that are spelled the same.

              So I enjoy pointing out to my smug English friends that their insistence on an extra “u” merely advertises the sad fact that 1000 years ago, they lost a war. To the French.

          2. Jeremy Grimm

            Spoken language grows incomprehensible across regions and also across times. I think this results in the mysteries of spelling and reading as written language diverges from that spoken, although I think English is a bad example for this problem given the relatively unsystematic origins of English spellings. If we might somehow freeze the sounds of spoken language and preserve a clean phonetic mapping into our written language, how well would the meanings and context of our words and expressions transition through time? Might ideographic languages better preserve meaning across transitions in spoken language and external context? I think the extreme politeness and special words for different categories of person such as I believe characterize Japanese might run into trouble as social relations change.

        3. LifelongLib

          The story I got is that the use of the printing press “froze” English spelling during a time when the pronunciation was changing drastically (16th century?). So the spelling reflects how words were pronounced in pre-modern English, but not now.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            Yes, I believe it was called The Great Vowel shift, in the late middle ages and early modern period. German underwent a similar process, I believe.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Any explanation for the Great Vowel Shift?

              Changes to the larynx?

              Something to do with the position of the tongue to the roof of the mouth, perhaps?

              1. Solar Hero

                Purely cultural — these things just happen.

                In Shakespeare’s time the word “ask” was pronounced “ax,” like the current Black Vernacular.

              2. JBird

                The experts argue, but no one really exactly know why and where the change happened.

                I believe that they at least agree that it started, or at least spread, from London. Probably. As I understand it, the main change, but not the only change, is the shift in the mouth were vowels are produced and therefor pronunciation.

                That is a big reason elementary school English class is so much fun. The spellings matches the pronunciation of the words before the change in sounds. That exhaust my knowledge of the Great Vowel Shift.

              3. The Rev Kev

                I never thought about it till now but I once heard that as recently as a thousand years ago there was no overbite. By that, it means that if you are biting into an apple your top teeth dig in and your bottom teeth close in but do not meet up together. A thousand years ago both the upper and lower teeth would meet up together if taking a bite out of an apple. If true, you would reckon that would influence speech sounds.

                1. JBird

                  Soft foods ultimately causing change in pronunciation? That’s an idea. Maybe some anthropology major will use it as their thesis.

              4. witters

                I don’t want to be alarmist, but in “A Mouthful of Air” Anthony Burgess argues that the end of the line sound-wise for all language(s) is (wait for it) – Russian!

                1. ambrit

                  Deity help us! And I thought that Spanish with its’ obsolescent ‘vosotros’ tense was bad.

            2. marym

              Today in the US there’s the Northern Cities Vowel Shift

              In the final volume of his seminal book series Principles of Linguistic Change, [linguist William] Labov spends a great deal of time discussing a riveting linguistic change that’s occurring in the northern region of the U.S. clustering around the Great Lakes.

              This rearrangement, called the Northern Cities Vowel Shift, is the result of a chain reaction of vowel changes on an epic scale similar to the process that transformed vowels from Middle English to Modern English between 1400 and 1600.

              Link for quote:

              More on phonetic changes:

      3. oh

        Most people don’t know the usage and the worthless spelling aids they use don’t know it either. That’s been my pet peeve for a long time and it makes me shake my head every time I see it.

      4. BoyDownTheLane

        It’s not the Internet that has to learn. Not everyone gets the benefit of four years with Miss Dale in English grammar and Latin.

      5. Lambert Strether Post author

        The first thing we do, let’s kill all the greengrocers.

        Honestly, though, I’ve made that mistake so many times that I can’t get upset about it. Somehow my fingers type it in while my brain is short-circuited. The Oxford comma, on the other hand….

        1. HotFlash

          “Correctness is my vade mecum

          although I am pretty OK with US-ian usages and, especially if posting here, will type flavor rather than flavour, check rather than cheque, (so as to not be annoying), but not always.

          But I have to agree with Robertson Davies, if sorrowfully, who cites an English vicar, “who, when a young lady ventured to correct his pronunciation”, responded, “The dictionary was devised to record the pronunciations of educated persons, such as myself.”

          For more lovely thoughts about books, language, literature, and people, I recommend his ‘Voice from the Attic, Essays on the art of Reading‘.

          1. JBird

            Having had to work in a company with people who were taught, American or British English with the occasional Australian/Indian was interesting especially when people were relaxed enough to go colloquial.

            Still the written language was almost never a problem. It was the spoken English that confused me sometimes. Sometimes a lot. Then again I have had problems understanding my fellow Americans occasionally.

            I don’t what anyone says. There are class based accents and words as well as the recognized regional ones, but I do not think it is socially acceptable to notice them because the officially approved story, or charitably the phantasmic ideal, is that we don’t have social classes.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      America On It’s Way to Being Stalin’s Soviet Union by Publius Tacitus Sic Semper Tyrannis.

      Uncle Sam becoming Uncle Joe?


      1. Because Trump (Putin’s Puppet)


      2. Because Trump resistance (those opposing Putin’s Puppet)


      3. perhaps, all of the above

      I find #2 the most ironic – we become those whom we oppose.

      1. Darius

        I think it was the Dig podcast where someone joked that the Soviet Union would still be with us if, instead of having one party, it had two parties that agree on everything but abortion.

      2. JTMcPhee

        That inevitability (becoming your supposed opposite) is working pretty good for the Israel ites, now isn’t it? But then, those folks studied under another set of harsh-ists, the Afrikaner-dominated National Party’s regime. As well as coming to the stage with some good coaching in Europe.

        A couple of observations from a home-town newspaper: “Why Israel Supported South Africa’s Apartheid Regime,”, and more from the Old Guardian, Shimon Peres offered to sell some of the nukes “it doesn’t have” to the other apartheid government,, and it is so very interesting that a subsequent SA government actually gave up nuclear weapons and their development.

        Iran may have done the same, renouncing nuclear-weapons idiocy, that is, despite the idiocy of the schoolyard bullies of the world, and does that indicate that it’s (it is) possible for humans, to maybe step back from that side of the precipice?

        Of course SA has developed its (its) own toxic culture of government corruption. But that’s another whole story, just part of the giant circling of the drain that is human behavior these days.

        The Likudians followed the usual playbook of gradually working into positions of dominance in the place, just like the Afrikaners did, and of course our own home-grown Oligarchy Party. A bit of history on the growth of the impetus toward apartheid from the Old Guardian is here : Corruption is rampant in both the business and political spheres (which in Israel pretty much overlap, in a 3-dimensional Venn Diagram).

        And that’s (that is) the way it is (it is).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          There is a town in France called Saint-Affrique, which is named after Saint Africus, who (from Wikipedia):

          was a 7th-century French Roman Catholic saint about whom very little is known. He was the Confessor of Comminges and also the bishop of Comminges in southern France (Haute-Garonne).

          My guess is he did some selling in Africa.

          1. What’s in a name?

            Not necessary that he sold anything because wandering priests at the time were encouraged by the church to call themselves X of something even though they didn’t have a congregation backing it up.

            Check out A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years
            by Diarmaid MacCulloch. At times Hilarious and always an instructive book.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Interesting and slightly different from the way ancient, foreign Buddhist monks were named in China.

              All monks from Sindu (or Hindu or India), for example, would have the same first character in their names. (Forgot which book I got that from).

      3. Mel

        4. This is what wielding raw power is like. Dubya’s people making their own reality and imposing it on the world, and being able to mobilize the force to do that is part of the progression. Clinton chastising the Balkans might be a prior step.
        Pat Lang says the new story about all the DNC emails being in China is truth. To my frazzled mind the new twist only looks like the Stalinesque ability to make the party line turn on a dime to face the ennemi du jour.

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        The post is clear:

        This is like the bad old days when the Soviets would arrest and/or beat up anyone they suspected, fairly or not, of being a counter revolutionary. Such suspicions made one an enemy of the state and you would be thrown into prison with little in the way of due process. Well, guess what? We are doing the same disgraceful thing to Ms. Butina.

        Want to know something else? I will probably be put on a list for just suggesting such a thing.

        1. JBird

          You will be in excellent company. Is HUAC back in business? The headlines and the “evidence” looks just like during the “Red Scare.”

      5. AbateMagicThinking - but Not Money

        Stalin’s USA:

        The way I see the US becoming like Stalin’s Soviet Union, is when lies, and the deadly requirement to swallow and celebrate even the smallest lies is hard-wired into society.

        From the outside, the US seems to be well along in the boiling frog stakes but If you are going to blame johnny-foreigner make sure you’ve got the right one.

        Is the dirty-digger a sleeper-mole of the Bolsheviks – tasked to destroy the US polity from his fox-hole? If not there may not be much time for him to croak out an apologetic “oops!” before the Grim Reaper calls.


    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      aye. that Publius article gave me the chills…along with the linked Corey Robin tweet, which led me to the Horton bit.
      scary scary.
      Oi Cucuy!
      Enforced Orthodoxy(“right belief”) is one of my least favorite things that humans do to each other.
      it never, ever ends well…and that so called centrists…”moderates” …are currently pursuing it makes it even worse.
      This should be the last evidence needed to prove, once and for all, that the Democrats are not “progressive” or in any way “of the Left”.
      Of course, the last week(or 4 decades) doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence for that outcome.

      “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”-Jefferson

  2. fresno dan

    antidote: May the giant sky rabbit give us measly Tokyoites relief from this otherworldly heat!

    Am I the only one who longs for the leadership of Bugs Bunny?

      1. fresno dan

        Bugs Bunny
        July 23, 2018 at 10:27 am

        Well, that is not Shermanesque….”I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”
        and unless the rabbit corollary of “no number of carrots will induce me” it is difficult to believe you would not accept a draft…
        Rabbit, Run

          1. newcatty

            We have rabbits and roadrunners in our voting district. They even often show up in our front yard. Each has their strengths and appeals for a favored candidate. Heck, I can’t choose. Hope wise owl will run. Christopher Robin will be his campaign advisor. Winnie can be in charge of catering. Ahhhh….

  3. fresno dan

    Let’s See Who’s Bluffing in the Criminal Case Against the Russians Scott Ritter, The American Conservative

    The very zeitgeist of the question – the US gets to interrogate – but the very IDEA that other countries could interrogate the US and ask US officials about interference in those countries elections…..

    1. JP

      I thought Scoot Ritter was smart but his proposition to take up Putin’s offer is absurd.The indited individuals are not the common criminals the treaty was designed to investigate. They work for Russian intelligence. Let’s see, the gang has agreed to interview the accused gang members to report any information that might compromise the gang. Ritter has to be just trying to discredit the Mueller investigation.

      1. oh

        Mueller is just on a witch hunt aided by the Dims. He’a making good money doing it. In time he’s discredit himself.

        I don’t know how you’re privy to the information that the ham sandwiches indicted individuals work for Russian Intelligence.

      2. Brian

        JP; Should any evidence ever see the light of day about how the russians hacked a computer After the information was downloaded in person by the insider at the DNC, we can join hands as we watch pigs fly. But Mr. Ritter has no influence over Mr. Mueller. Mr. Ritter is a fine example of a servant of the people of the US. Mr. Mueller is fine example of someone that serves the people that privately own the idea that is America that are not public servants at all. Looking at his record should give you a good idea of who he lies for.

        1. JP

          Sorry I don’t spend the day at the computer so a little late responding:

          oh, don’t know how you are privy to your information ether but don’t see any attributes.

          Brian, I love to read NC for alternative conspiracy spins and re-spins. I have always had respect for Scott Ritter but he is spinning. You did not address the substance of the cited treaty provisions and how they would possibly be appropriate in this circumstance. I don’t read NC for the cheer leading. I don’t have to trust Mueller to question his opponent’s objectives.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    The Left’s Missing Foreign Policy n+1

    I think this article makes some very good points – it is not enough for the left to be just ‘against’ imperialism or militarism, it has to be ‘for’ something if it is to make a serious point. And I don’t think isolationism is a serious proposal for all sorts of reasons. The articles final list of questions are excellent ones.

    But, even before that, what is required in the immediate term is for activists to demand answers from social democratic politicians in the party. There are an array of issues that the security establishment has an approach to and the left, therefore, needs its own countervailing response: Can NATO in some revised form be repurposed to serve Havel’s and Gorbachev’s old hope, or does the US need new multilateral and regional arrangements? How should the US oppose EU austerity and in what ways can the US align with social democratic forces in Europe? If the US should not be the enforcer of Saudi and Israeli led dictates in the Middle East, what are alternative regional orderings? And how should China’s emergence as a dominant economic and political force be conceived? More pointedly, what would demobilizing significant elements of the national security state (alongside the demobilization of the carceral state) look like? If post-9/11 institutions like Homeland Security must go, what about their more established cold war predecessors like the CIA? As new centers of power develop within the party, whether Our Revolution or Reverend Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign, the resurgent DSA or the many offshoots of BLM, they must make clear that they cannot back national politicians without non-imperial and genuinely left answers to these kinds of questions. Otherwise, we will inevitably replay one of the critical outcomes of the Iraq War, where the antiwar Democratic candidate simply turned foreign policy over to the very people his victory was meant to repudiate.

    For me, the most succinct policy approach is Chomskys suggestion that the abiding principle for foreign interventions is ‘first, do no harm’. Its a pretty good starting point.

    1. Shane Mage

      What can it mean to say something like “The first is a global commitment to social democracy rather than free market capitalism” even accompanied by disavowing certain current capitalist practices? “Free market capitalism,” to the extent it has any content, restates propagandistically a fatuous 19th century utopia better described as “vulgar economics.” Even then capitalism was becoming monopolistic in all its main features. Today in its completely corporatized, financialized, and globalized form the capitalistic market has absolutely nothing in common with any form of a “free market.” But the parties of social democracy, for well over a century (since even before the treason of 1914), have in government and also in opposition consistently promoted a statified and regulated form of monopoly capitalism, justifying their reformism precisely as an alternative to the nonexistent “free market.”

      1. JTMcPhee

        Too bad we mopes don’t have any kind of organizing principle to coalesce around.

        Too bad so many of us just hope to get a crack at joining the Upper Crust.

        1. newcatty

          That is one explanation of why so many of us support, identify with parties that don’t care about or actually represent their constituents , is that they , too, can catch a ride on the American Dream ship to a bigger and better place in “our” society. That is pretty much a broken or unattainable dream for many Americans. More are living with that cold reality or face that it could be ( its not just those “others”, who they see as already beneath on the social ladder).

          An incident happened once when I was discussing this subject with a proponent and true believer of the American Dream, and in Exceptional America in the world. She was a staunch Republican. She was in lower class, economically. She also was unashamedly proud to be above all people of color. A funny thing was when she decried that “her” parish church started having a mass in Spanish! Bad enough with the hippy folk music. To sum up this anecdote, she pronouced what many people thought:

          Rich people make the world go around.

          Be grateful, be proper and be content with your seat on the merry-go-round.

    2. David

      Yes, I think the problem with the Left in general is that it’s stopped being “for” anything, really, and is just “against” things. Its favourite word is “anti”. This makes it hard to get support in any area, but is especially difficult with foreign policy, where there’s an enormous weight of inertia, and where actually changing anything substantially is very difficult. NATO is a good example: it’s easy to be “against” it (I am), but I’m not aware that there’s been any serious discussion on the Left of how to manage European security in its absence. A generation ago people on the Left were muttering about replacing NATO’s functions with those of the OSCE, but if asked, they really had no idea how that would work in practice, and weren’t really interested anyway.
      Chomsky’s formulation is OK as far as it goes, but ignores the fact that a lot of harm has been done already. The usual argument is whether action or inaction is more dangerous. Perhaps “don’t make things worse” would do.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the problem with the Left in general is that it’s stopped being “for” anything, really, and is just “against” things. Its favorite word is “anti”.

        That’s certainly not true in domestic policy. It is true in foreign policy (“anti-war”). Hopefully Sanders will have something to say on this in a Town Hall.

        Of course, “foreign policy” (assuming that to be distinct from domestic policy) is one way of reframing #RussiaRussiaRussia, calling out its Russian and McCarthyist elements….

  5. Steve H

    > “I saw things children shouldn’t see” – surviving a troubled childhood

    Really excellent article. Humble.

    So good, I’ll keep it to three things.

    > If we think of it as an adaptive process, how do our brains, our thought processes and our behaviours change to help us to cope with adverse early circumstances?

    That word ‘adverse’ is something to be wary of. When I was about 14, I walked into my mom’s apartment and there was a half-ton of weed in 2lb bricks in brown & some pink wrapping paper. Some had been sold when E told me to go get a brick to sample, I choose pink, he’s cutting through with a hacksaw when he stops and pulls the brick apart. White powder poured out. They thought the qp of coke hadn’t come through, but it had, just hidden. The look E gave me was like I was magic, it was huge emotionally.

    Recently I’ve met some extremely stable families, with a much lower washout rate from their kids, and I think of the reward system carved into my brain by those emotional experiences and how they were adaptive to within-condition but not necessarily the world at large. This article seems to get this ambivalence.

    Too, in practicum, “being happy is an emotional state and can’t be forced. Calm is something that can be practiced. To be kind, you can be happy, or you can be calm, or you can be both.” I urge you to watch “May 1, 1969: Fred Rogers testifies before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications”. The man is a tiger.

    Last line of the article: “A lot of the research supports this idea of relationships, and the need to have a sense of someone that believes in you or someone that supports you – even in a chaotic environment, just having that one person.”

  6. fresno dan

    Carter Page acknowledges working as informal adviser to Russia Politico
    There seems to be some confusion, because the following things are legal activities for Americans to do: Living in Russia, visiting Russia, talking to Russians, doing business in Russia and with Russians, consulting for Russia, advising Russia, having “ties” to Russia, lobbying for Russia, meeting with Russian leaders, “refusing to criticize Putin,” meeting with Russians connected to Putin, discussing politics with Russians, discussing U.S. policy and sanctions with Russians, consulting for the Russian government on political matters.
    I am very reluctant to put on my tinfoil hat Baloney! I put my tinfoil hat on with gusto.
    So, I do a search for “democrats ties with Russia” as well as “democrats working for Russians” and the first page and a half are Trump related.
    NOW, maybe this is just crappy search results – it sure seams to me that Goggle is getting worser and worser. But last I checked, all the Trump “collusionists” are republicans, so if I am searching for “democrats” why am I getting so many republicans FIRST in the results…..

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      My guess is because, for Google, those Republicans are collusionists, and thus they ‘work for’ and have ‘ties with’ Russia.

      More importantly, though, is this question: Is it legal to go out with attractive Russian ladies, given this latest news about a nefarious female Russian agent?

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Seriously though, wrt Maria Butina, how is it even possible that she’s considered a spy? From what I have read, everything she was doing was lobbying to advance either interests 1) of the head of the Russian Central Bank or 2) of Russian social conservatives. How on Earth is that considered spying?

        1. EoH

          It’s similar to honne and tatemae. You can look underneath the surface explanations, or take then at face value.

          A little background on the geography of power in Russia would help, if you wanted to look underneath. One might also inquire into a few other things, such as whether anyone outside of the military or law enforcement in Russia has “gun rights” (or even a gun), that one could seriously lobby for without promptly running afoul of the powers that be.

          Doing that might make it easier to assess whether a defendant’s cover story makes sense. Even then, a good legend would make sense, so that would only be a first step.

          Generally speaking, though, whether buying a used car, a used house, or a used politician, it’s a good idea to look under the hood, in the basement, or in the freezer.

          1. pretzelattack

            a little background on brennan, clapper, mueller and comey would also help, so you don’t take them at face value.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Don’t forget Page was an FBI informant previously, too! He helped them as a witness in a case around 2013, or so.

        1. fresno dan

          Lambert Strether
          July 23, 2018 at 8:12 pm
          I comment too late…..

          fresno dan
          July 22, 2018 at 8:40 am

          twitter summary of the FISA warrant.
          One other point, but Zero Hedge and Brietbart are saying that Page was an “informant” or “source” with regard to the prosecution of a Russian unregistered agent. As always, take with a ton of salt, but they are NOT always wrong.
          Of course, maybe Page is a double agent…
          OH, actually its old news

          “The agent said he and another agent had interviewed Page in June 2013 and Page told them he exchanged emails with Podobnyy and sometimes met in person. Page told the agents that he provided Podobnyy with his outlook on the “current and future of the energy industry” and “provided documents … about the energy business.”
          Wow…how intelligent is the FBI if it thinks Carter Page has anything to offer that is ….intelligent?
          Really, I would be curious to see if Page’s predictions offer any correct insight about anything AT ALL. Maybe the guy is a master mind….

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > So, I do a search for “democrats…

      Try searching for material that says Obama’s role in the Crash was the debacle we have shown it to be. All you get are pages and pages of pro-Obama propaganda.

      Granted, Obama was an excellent con artist, but unless he has the power to act on the algos pre facto, as it were, there’s some other factor at play…

  7. nippersmom

    Democrats, please, please don’t lose your minds and rush to the socialist left. This president and his Republican Party are counting on you to do exactly that. America’s great middle wants sensible, balanced, ethical leadership.

    — James Comey (@Comey) July 22, 2018

    When was the last time the Democrats gave us sensible, balanced, or ethical leadership. much less all three? Certainly not since the inception of the DLC. And I hate to break it to you, Mr. Comey, but polling consistently shows the majority of Americans (which surely includes at least some of the “great middle”) supports the policies you and your cronies denounce as socialist.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I will admit to feeling inadequate whenever I’m told that I just need to be educated more or educated.

      Here, I can already hear: “The voters need to be educated about sensible, balanced, ethical* leadership.”

      Now, who can refuse more education?

      *What is this about the socialist left’s lack of ethical leadership?

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      If there is one group of people invested in the success of Democratic politicians and by extension the Democratic base, it is life long Republicans or at least Bush era Republicans such as Mike Bloomberg. They know the keys to Democratic electoral success. Its right from the 90’s play book and pretty much every election except 2006 and 2008.

      For a long time, I believed non-partisan redistricting would be a boon for the Democratic Party, but given what passes for the Democratic leadership, I’m pretty certain the GOP would clean their clocks at least in the short term.

    3. Darius

      Paraphrasing Michael Brooks, an unemployed steelworker isn’t thinking, “I’m looking for a pro choice moderate who’s going to cut my Social Security.

      1. JohnnyGL

        That’s not fair! The DNC/DLC is perfectly happy to embrace and defend a pro-life moderate who wants to cut Social Security….because Dems are a big tent party!

    4. Big River Bandido

      These eruptions from Third Way bimbos are becoming rather common these days. Also taking on a tone of desperation. The comment from the IA state senator was particularly funny: “I’m tired of losing”.

      The left is tired of you losing, too.

    5. hamstak

      Some definitions may assist:

      Sensible: technocratic; supportive of the status quo; approved of by the intel-MSM nexus
      Balanced: private-public partnerships
      Ethical: has a law degree
      Great Middle: Centrist Democrat power-brokers; their tech and defense heavy 401k assets

    6. RUKidding

      James Comey can go slither back under some rock and STFU.

      As far as I’m concerned, if I never hear from this worthless [family blog] again, it’ll be too soon.

      1. Mike Mc

        ^x1000. What is it with the FBI and weird directors? Comey seems to be attracted to the media’s bright lights like a June bug in summer. He was on NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” news quiz/game show this weekend, FFS! I know he’s still pimping his book but I almost threw the radio out the nearest window when I heard him. Ack thhppt!

    7. FluffytheObeseCat

      Always keep in mind, what Comey is describing as a “rush to the left” entails little more than vocal support for basic New Deal policies. A genuine support for a federal minimum wage, for national single payer health care, for a tax regime that takes from the powerful and the powerless to an equal degree. Boy howdy! Isn’t that some leftist stuff!!

      It’s been entertaining in a sick way to monitor what gets called ‘the left’ in our media just now. Almost none of the ideas or actors described as ‘left’ are actually left wing. I get an especially thrilling kick out of the way status quo right wing outlets use the term ‘far left’ to describe Sanders, or Ocasio-Cortez, etc. The op-ed writers are usually quite well-versed in political history; they know they are crafting one word lies when they do this. It’s all quite ham-fisted, and the only fools still reading it (much less believing it) are increasingly secluded in the upper ~5%. I.e. dreary, smug dentists who bitch about ‘those people’ while in the salon on Saturday.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Comey, like most Dimocrats, tries to thread a ever-shrinking needle. Week One: “True American patriots must vote Democrat”. Week Two: “But only for centrist, status quo Democrats”. And then you keep applying filters: must believe in global warming (+/- 50% filter); must be pro-LGBT rights (maybe another 25% gone); must hate guns (maybe another solid 25% gone); can’t want single payer (70% filter); and of course, must live in mortal fear of Russian boogeymen under every bed (according to Gallup this week, this one is a 99% filter). Pretty soon it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye, you end up with a “party” with one supporter: Jewish, white male, works for Raytheon, earns >$200K per year, age 58, has a gay sister, grandparents were in a gulag, once met Anderson Cooper at a cocktail party.

        1. JBird

          That process has been happening in the Republican Party also for years. Funnily, the differences as too what makes a Real Democrat™️ or a Real Republican™️ has been shrinking in everything but civil rights while the differences in that hasn’t. Those differences are useful camouflage. The propagandistic mindf#%$&ing has truly been successful on far too many Americans.

    8. Garry

      Yep, and if you leave off the rhetoric of the Centrist/New Dems/Blue Dogs, and MEDIA who lament the Far Left and look at the ACTUAL policy proposals of Bernie or the Progressive Congressional Caucus you will see that they are actually what REAL Democrats used to stand for. Health care for all, SS, Medicare, and good jobs. Many of the social issues that exist today did not exist back in the day so some of those have evolved but frankly leave off the friggin labels like I mentioned and FAR Left and call us all Democrats and run on SS, Medicare for All, good jobs with higher wages, and even environmental stewardship and Dems win. They can’t fight for civil rights or other rights unless they get elected and the issues above win. They sure as hell are not socialist. Let me remind everyone the 2006 election (a wave election for Dems) elected record numbers of Blue Dogs/New Dems (59) and after 4 years of them voting with Republicans the base didn’t turn out and all but 12-14 of them got voted out.

  8. Jim A.

    Economists vs Humanists.
    There’s nothing wrong with studying economies and markets. There IS something wrong with worshiping at the altar of “free enterprise,” and simply shrugging helplessly when those markets give us unconscionable results.

    1. Massinissa

      The problem is, most of them don’t shrug helplessly when the market fails and people are hurt, they begin trying to explain to people why what just happened had to have been the best possible outcome and the people on the receiving end somehow deserve it because otherwise Mr. Market wouldn’t have done it, because Mr. Market is self-evidently benevolent.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Is It Safe to Eat Local Produce After a Wildfire? Pacific Standard. News you can use!

    The analysis looked at three chemical groups—polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and dioxins—and so far has not detected anything that would be considered a threat to public health (though they did find higher dioxin levels than the baseline level suggested by an earlier study by the Food and Drug Administration, and two of eight samples revealed nickel content above California’s recommended level).

    I recall that back in the 1980’s elevated dioxin levels were commonly found in crops after forest fires. At first it was thought that the dioxins were created by the fire, but further studies indicated that it was historical industrial dioxin contamination being released by the fire and distributed via dust and ash.

    The ‘good’ news is that dioxins are not particularly bioavailable when consumed with vegetables – they are water insoluble, but they are soluble in fat, so dioxins and other organochlorines are a bigger threat if the ash falls on grasslands and are taken up by dairy cattle.

    1. JTMcPhee

      The dioxin problem is with CHLORINATED dioxins and dibenzofurans. Non-chlorinated dioxins have been with us biosphere residents since fire became a thing, as products of incomplete combustion. There has to be some chlorine atoms floating around, from burning stuff like polyvinyl chloride plastics, to bind to the particular carbon sites that render the finished molecules so horrifically nasty as a persistent, biomagnifying and bioaccumulating toxin. Of course Dow, Monsanto, Bayer and the rest of the folks that manufacture the chlorinated plastics and pesticides that so plague us mopes also are responsible for “trace amounts” of unintended-product chlorinated dibenzodioxins and dibenzofurans.

      There’s a lot of literature on bioavailability and uptake of dioxins, particularly the chlorinated versions, of interest to us humans because we of course are all so very homocentric…

      1. newcatty

        Depressing to read another story about whether something as basic for human life sustenance as eating produce is “safe” for human consumption. Here, again, the toxic element in the food source has the root cause of contamination by corporation inductment: “chlorinated dioxins and dibenzofurans”. “Non-stop chlorinated dioxins have been with us …since FIRE became a thing, as products of incomplete combustion”. The oh so obvious point is that those corporations with impunity and unregulated greed and corruption create toxins and plague humans, and all life on this biosphere. It has to end. Is there an alliance to champion life?

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Government gears up for showdown with WTO on future of soft Border Irish Independent

    The Government is gearing up for a major confrontation with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over the commitment to retain a soft Border in Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

    I find this a bit puzzling – its pretty clear from the poor reporting that the journalists didn’t really know what this is about either (and I can’t find references to it in other, better news sources). I find it hard to believe that the EU would support Ireland trying to get around border controls by challenging WTO rules, and the Irish government certainly wouldn’t go it alone with that, as it could prove very damaging if it was taken to the ECJ over trade issues.

    Other reports from around the same time is that Ireland is beefing up its customs and other checks at all ports, so it seems to me pretty clear that the assumption is that it will be a hard border, and border checks will be necessary.

    1. jawbone

      Probably has been covered, but…what would happen if Britain just renounced its referendum? It was “advisory,” right?

      1. Clive

        It’d be fine, apart from the small niggle that is Article 50 having already been served on the EU. The exit clock started ticking from then on.

      2. EoH

        Then again, if the Brits demonstrated a change of heart, such as by holding another referendum or changing government, the EU has said it would consider an extension. This is all a one-off and much would be open to negotiation.

        I think that offer, though, would only get anywhere if the Brits asked pretty please, may we stay? That would require a change of government and a second referendum. May’s neoliberal Tories would tear themselves asunder before going that route.

        1. witters

          “May’s neoliberal Tories would tear themselves asunder before going that route.”

          That route being the neoliberal EU.

  11. The Rev Kev

    ‘Putin’s spy agency’ hit-squad ‘

    Sounds like a second rate spy drama and I am seeing a lot of qualifiers in that article such as ‘may have’, ‘believed to have’, ‘said to be’, ‘Britain believes’, ‘are claimed to have been’, ‘was probably’, ‘is understood to have’, ‘They also believe,’ an so on. It’s not like that there would ever be footnotes for this article. Another odd fact was that it was supposed to have been a team of four. When the Israelis murdered that guy in Dubai, they used an eleven-person team to handle all aspects of that mission. Does that mean that the Russians use only tiny teams for their hit squads?

    1. apberusdisvet

      You are just now recognizing propaganda? Just kidding. Everyone should be as astute.

    2. flora

      Or turn it around…

      But let’s turn the premise of the argument around. What if the British state were the ones conducting a campaign of assassination against Russian émigrés, with the cold-blooded objective of using those deaths as a propaganda campaign to blacken and criminalize Russia?

      In a recent British media interview Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was typically harangued over alleged Russian malign activity in Britain. Lavrov rightly turned the question around, and said that the Russian authorities are the ones who are entitled to demand an explanation from the British state on why so many of its nationals have met untimely deaths.

      The presumption of guilt against Russia is based on a premise of Russophobia, which prevents an open-minded inquiry. If an open mind is permitted, then surely a more pertinent position is to ask the British authorities to explain the high number of deaths in their jurisdiction.

      1. JTMcPhee

        The obvious explanation is that the Brits need a bigger security state apparatus. To keep the evil Rooskies from sneaking through the cracks.

        1. EoH

          I hear they’ve laid on an ample supply of small perfume spray bottles to boost that argument.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Faster, Transient, Endless: How America Must Adapt to Today’s Great-Power Competition Defense One. Worth a read. Also ka-ching, especially the “endless” part.

    This article could be summed up by saying ‘Its not fair! If only our opponents would fight the way we want them to fight we’d beat them!’

    1. The Rev Kev

      I like the bit about the ‘need to work harder and smarter’ with nothing about asking whether it should be doing certain things at all such as trying to garrison Africa.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Kev.

        Garrison Africa? I thought that’s what Boko Haram does for Marianne and Uncle Sam in Nigeria, Paul Kagame in the “cockpit of Africa”, Sambi’s opponents in Comoros, Emerson Mnangagwa in Zim etc.

        1. ambrit

          Aw H— Colonel;
          Let us go back to the Sultans of Zanzibar or Tippu Tip.
          I’ll go out on a limb and say that Africa is still trying to forge ahead on out of the Colonial Period.
          We won’t even broach the subject of Cecil Rhodes. A Proto-Neo-Liberal Forebear.

            1. JBird

              My favorite is the Belgian Congo Free State. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness can be considered a true life tour. I wonder if we have troops there. We already overthrew at least one government and murdered its president, the probable assassination of a UN Secretary General, and supported various dictators/warlords/bloodthirsty crazies there too. All to keep the country destabilized for easier resource extraction.

  13. perpetualWAR

    By far, the story that jumped out at me today: let Amazon take the place of public libraries!?!
    Helllllll no! In reading the article, this Columbia professor author suggests Starbucks has taken away the library’s usefulness as a community gathering place. Online resources like Netflix has taken the place of the library’s video-sharing usefulness. And finally, Amazon has made the printed book obsolete. One question I pose to this elite professor: Have you visited your local library lately?

    I have. I can tell you: libraries are used more now than ever! Children come after school and wait for their parents from work; people utilize the free wifi, which for many poor, makes job-searching impossible if they have no access. And finally, many people continue to check out both books and movies to provide home entertainment. This elite author believes everyone has internet open access? Except us “poors.”

    1. Carolinian

      From this moronic article.

      To be fair, library surveys do not seem to confirm the idea that public libraries don’t have the value they used to. A Pew Research Center survey finds that Millennials are the most likely generations to use public libraries.

      In other words the public, including young people, love libraries but lets get rid of them anyway. Doubtless Bezos’ check is in the mail to Forbes and the author.

    2. Lemmy Caution

      My local library is one of the anchors of my hometown’s tiny downtown district.

      In addition to its traditional functions, it also offers a venue for local or regional authors doing book tours; hosts bake sales, used book events and other fundraiser-type activities; it offers regular kids’ storytime hours as well as a place for clubs to gather such as yoga clubs, classic book discussion clubs and many more.

      The thought of Amazon taking over and undoubtedly crapifying and monetizing such a special place is depressing in the extreme.

      1. marym

        Our suburban library is also a great community asset with discussion groups, classes, activities for all ages, a large computer space that’s usually fully used, used book drop-off and sales, bookmobile, and more. Libraries expand their offerings by subscribing to inter-library lending programs and on-line databases for research. They often provide services like tax forms, voter registration, and ACA navigation. As an older person I’m sometimes disconcerted by an atmosphere that’s more open, varied, and lively than the quiet aisles of high bookshelves of yore, but the community is alive here, including, of course, adults and children reading, studying, and coming and going with armloads of books.

        Librarians are staunch guardian of our rights to information and to privacy.

        Predatory capitalism would destroy all that, as a feature, not a bug.

      2. Carolinian

        Same here. Our local main library is the beating heart of this small city and hosts lunchtime concerts, has two art galleries, a makerspace and still buys and circulates lots of paper books. They also have a broad collection of those video discs that the article author thinks are now useless but that are in fact still very much a thing–sold at stores and rented at Redbox and other video kiosks (which, not streaming, are what really killed off Blockbuster). Take away the library and I’m not sure I would still want to live here.

        Naturally Forbes wants to do away with the commons. After all its masthead motto has always been: “capitalist tool.”

      3. The Rev Kev

        Could this article have been for the purposes of being a trial balloon? You know, put some idea out there what you are thinking of doing and if it doesn’t get shot to pieces, start pushing the idea more. You see the same in politics where a ruling party will leak a paper to see what the reaction is. If the reaction is negative, then they claim it was just a study by some committee.

    3. voteforno6

      Outsourcing libraries to Amazon would be a terrible idea. I go to my local library regularly – it always seems to have a number of people to using it for various purposes. Contrary to what the author of that article thinks, a lot of people do still read books.

      It never ceases to amaze me how surprised people who don’t read act when they are confronted with someone who does.

    4. c_heale

      Libraries are free at point of use. Starbucks and Amazon aren’t. That’s an important difference for people with not much money. Perhaps he has too much money or is stuck in an ivory tower.

    5. Cliff

      Very grateful to Lambert for linking to the Forbes article about closing public libraries and letting Amazon take over their role. Yeah, right. It’s infuriating, but that article is a potential gold mine for library advocates. I love what the San Francisco Public Library did with it on Twitter (and I shamelessly stole their idea for my own library ; ))” rel=”nofollow”

    6. Eclair

      And don’t forget that libraries offer an air conditioned space for seniors during heat waves. Plus a safe and dignified space for our homeless residents: warm in winter, cool in summer.
      Maybe that article was meant for The Onion and got missent.

    7. RUKidding

      As a huge library user with many librarian/library worker friends, I really detest articles like this. What a CROCK!!

      Yeah, let’s outsource one of the last really OUTSTANDING community resources that makes excellent use of limited tax dollars to provide an amazing amount of services to the broader community in your home town.

      This reminds me of a brief period when I lived in an area of San Diego that went from being just an average middle class area that rapidly “gentrified” into a high end, very propserous community. There were neighbors who’d scrunch up their entitled WHITEY WHITE WHITE noses at the mere notion of lowering themselves to visit the local library (which was very nice). I was told that it wasn’t “clean,” and that they’d prefer to take their kids to the local Barnes & Noble (that was back in the hey day of big bookstores), instead.

      I was gobsmacked that they somehow believed that the B&N was both “cleaner” and had more resources than the local public library. The only thing B&N had going for it was longer hours, so you could go there later at night, if you so desired.

      I hope these things never come to pass, but sadly I do consistently hear people talking about how libraries are no longer needed because you can “get everything for FREE on the Interenet.” Er? Not so much, you foolish idiot. Plus you need a computer and internet access to get all of that purportedly “free” stuff. And many citizens don’t have computers or smartphones or internet access. It’s called the digital divide, which still exists.


    8. Di Modica's Dumb Steer

      The guy was apparently roasted online, including by several libraries, with one advising him to ‘delete his account’. And the impetus for his brain-dead article? Apparently, he’s a bit salty that ~$450+ a year of his property tax goes to the local library. I’m certain that he coughs up more than that every month in lease payments for some gaudy rolling box, likely a moderately equipped 7-series.

      An overview of the roasting.

      1. Carey

        Thanks for that link.

        As I think someone mentioned above, elimination of the Commons, or the notion
        of a Common Good, seems to be the goal. They just don’t let up, do they?

        (Former library worker and current Friend of the Library here)

        1. wilroncanada

          Maybe he was in a library ONCE, making passes at girls who wore glasses, and was shot down. The poor guy never recovered, and has been carrying the rejection for years. Until now. Too bad–shot down again.

    9. Angie Neer

      My wife has been a public and school librarian for a few decades, in various places. There are ALWAYS people saying, “Why do we need libraries, when I can just order a book from Amazon and get it delivered the next day?” This is a good marker for people who have no concept of public goods, or what makes a healthy society. Another favorite she used to get as a school librarian in a suburb of Microsoft was “My little Johnny can’t return this book because the maid lost it.” She was relieved of having to deal with that one when the school district decided kids don’t need librarians anyway, because they have Google.

      Now as a public librarian, from time to time she’ll hear complaints that presumed-homeless people are allowed to park shopping carts in front of the library. She’s too nice to say what she’s thinking, which is “yet you expect us to provide pavement for you to park your SUV which is the size of 10 shopping carts?” But for the most part, people who don’t “get” public libraries just stay away, which is fine because the libraries around here are packed, with the full spectrum of people.

    10. BoulderMike

      To me the scariest part is that it isn’t considered completely insane for someone like the author of the article to even suggest such a foolish and frankly, anti-democratic idea. That is what scares me, when the conversation shifts so much that these types of ideas are even open for discussion.

    11. Lee

      Two library systems in our area, Alameda County Libraries and Northern California Digital Library allow me to check out and read books without leaving home. Nice, because I am periodically housebound due to health issues. Also, the brick and mortar incarnations of these same library systems offer films and TV series titles on DVD both popular and more obscure that streaming services either do not provide at all or for which they charge too high a price. They also provide clean, well lighted spaces in the midst of the madding crowds.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I rather Trump break up Amazon, and let libraries have its book selling business.

        Instead of checking books out from Amazon, we can buy books from the local library.

    12. oh

      We need to find a way to get rid of Amazon and send Bezos on a one way trip to China where he gets all his products.

      1. BoulderMike

        I think Bezos should be the first customer of his rockets into space and he should be sent on a one way journey to Alpha Centuri.

    13. ChrisPacific

      It’s been deleted now and gives a 404. Articles are starting to appear elsewhere about the deletion.

      1. Musicismath

        Update (from Fast Company): A Forbes spokesperson has provided me with this statement:

        Forbes advocates spirited dialogue on a range of topics, including those that often take a contrarian view. Libraries play an important role in our society. This article was outside of this contributor’s specific area of expertise, and has since been removed.


    14. EoH

      Public libraries remain fundamental parts of every community that still has them. They are community resources that enable lifetime learning.

      Doing away with them in favor of a private, for-profit company would be one arm of the neoliberals’ privatize public education octopus. It’s about as community and human friendly a proposal as doing away with breast feeding in favor of mandatory purchases from a monopoly supplier of milk substitutes.

  14. Dean

    Amazon should open their own bookstores in all local communities. They can replace local libraries and save taxpayers lots of money, while enhancing the value of their stock.

    Is there anything Amazon can’t do?

    This is a bad idea. Keep public spaces public, including libraries. Save taxpayers money while improving amazon’s stock value? That seems like another giveaway to corporate America at the expense of taxpayers.

    At first a library book will be free. Then a quarter. Then fifty cents. Soon after checking it out keep it as long as you’d like but there’s a per second charge to hold onto the book until it’s returned.

    Rent extraction by a thousand 100ths of a penny. On demand library lending! Another brilliant innovation from a tech company.

    1. Mark Alexander

      I volunteer at our small town’s local library, and the Amazon idea is bad for another reason: lack of privacy. Amazon tracks every thing you do on its site, whether you’re buying books or borrowing them through Overdrive. This is contrary to our library’s policies: we don’t track what our patrons read, for reasons that should be obvious.

      The economic argument is pretty silly too. Our library gets all of its book-buying money from donations, including an investment account that was originally funded by a large donation. The town pays a pittance for one part-time librarian and the building costs (heat, electricity, maintenance). That money stays mostly local instead of enriching Jeff Bezos even more.

    2. RUKidding

      Why everyone still believes that privatizing public organiztions will somehow make it “better” plus cheaper is beyond me. But that’s the narrative that everyone wants to buy into.

      No, privatizing libraries does not make the cheaper, nor does it make them more efficient, nor does it mean you’ll get better service.


      1. newcatty

        One more heart felt embrace for public libraries. Here in our small town in Northern Arizona the library is wonderful. As far as who uses the library, when we visit we see people of all ages. It has to be one of the most egregious examples of elite arrogance to even suggest that public libraries should be closed. Just another ploy to privatize the public commons and erode the public good. Above commenters have delineated many of the important services provided by a public library. As older residents in our town we use our library a lot. We read so many books that we could not afford to buy on our budget. We enjoy many films and tv series on DVD that we would not have access to otherwise. Our library actually has a coffee cafe, lol, shush, don’t let Starbucks know. (Actually, sure they already do.) Our town has locally owned coffee cafes too! Our library hosts programs, children’s and teen’s activities, book clubs and is a venue for local groups and music performances. We say that if this town did not have its public library, we would not have moved here. It would be a dismal place.

    3. EoH

      So, the author wants to encourage Amazon to play a central role in government and community life. OK. Let’s consider that idea. But first, let’s have Amazon demonstrate its good citizenship and community focus.

      It could readily do that within a year. A few steps it would have to take: Make all workers employees. Unionize its global workforce. Pay union scale wages and benefits. Pay sales tax on all eligible transactions. Pay a minimum of 10% tax on global revenues. Refuse and give back all taxpayer-funded grants, subsidies and tax benefits.

      If that’s too much to ask from a private, for-profit company, then perhaps it should not be asked to become the monopoly supplier of an essential community service. Its business, after all, is making money, not providing government or community services.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Wild About Tech, China Even Loves Robot Waiters That Can’t Serve NYT

    I think that’s another way to be America’s equal – you have your robots that can’t flip burgers, and we, too, have robot waiters that cant serve.

    “Whatever you can do, we can as well!!!!”

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    As new vaccine scandal grips China, parents say they’ve lost faith in the system South China Morning Post

    The trains and new apartment buildings are impressive enough, but their domestic baby formula and vaccines still make parents there envious of America, and perhaps want to become Americans one day?

    1. Wukchumni

      Just got a wedding invitation from a friend who is a truck driver, and one of his primary drives is bringing milk powder from the mega dairies in the CVBB, right straight to the Port of L.A. en route to China.

      The proles don’t trust anything produced in the PRC…

  17. Brindle

    re: Sanders wing terrifies Moderate Dems…

    “Our ideas must be bold, but they must also fit the age we are in,” Cowan said. “Big isn’t enough. If it’s bold and old — it’s simply old.”

    It’s all a marketing issue for these people. Jon Cowan has ties to Pete Peterson foundation and NY Gov Andrew Cuomo.

    1. Carolinian

      From latest Moon of Alabama

      Tainting leftish candidates as Putin stooges is the ideal tool for Democratic centrist to defeat them. Tuition free colleges, single-payer health care and $15 minimum wage are obviously Russian conspiracies designed to destroy the United States. This scheme is effective and will therefore be widely used by the centrists during all primaries and the next federal elections.

      This could explain why Sanders is suddenly all in with Russiagate–innoculation. Which doesn’t excuse it in my mind. How long have we been hearing Dem candidates say they have to go along and not rock the boat so they can acquire the power to make change? Meanwhile Trump is standing up in the boat, waving his arms, splashing water over the gunwales. It says it all that he thinks he can do that (and may well get away with it) because he is a Republican. The Dems need to regain a power base other than rich people. The Repubs already have them.

      1. Brindle

        Trump can get away with, it in part, because of the cult of personality that envelopes his base. I work with a few Trump supporters and they don.t care about policies that much–just that Trump is kicking a** and is not PC.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s true with Trump, it seems to be always about his personality (though, he’s hiding some goals underneath, perhaps directed by Putin…so, substance is involved, and not just personality).

          That focus on his personality is likely voluntary due to obsession by #resistance, though.

          1. barefoot charley

            Let’s face it, Trump has 15 years of reality-tv stardom, making his post-reality presidential show nothing more or less than a smash sequel. We all know nothing succeeds like a sequel.

            What do we learn? That the left must recruit a reality-tv star restless for a new-concept show, duh. Is there a disaffected Kardashian, or has Mom made each of them too rich? A Duck Dynasty ex-wife? Or that Cincinnati mayor who turned to televised family brawls, maybe he’d like to broaden his plot base? We have to change with the times! And the times they aren’t quite achanging.

      2. Big River Bandido

        Sanders has only the voters behind him. The party? They’re out to slit his throat, and on this issue they sense the potential for blood.

        I don’t think anyone who wants the Democrat nomination in 2020 has little choice but to give lip service and stay out of the way of the Clintonites until the whole stupid meme collapses for lack of interest, as it will eventually.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        First, they came for the Deplorables, and I did not speak

        The, they came for Russia-connected people, and again, I was silent.

        Now, they come for Democratic Socialists, and there is no one left…

        1. Lobsterman

          The Deplorables would shank me for a beer, because I’m a race traitor. That’s why they’re deplorable.

      4. danpaco

        It’s certainly better than the anti semite accusations usually thrown at left candidates. I guess Sanders being Jewish threw a wrench in that tried and true tactic.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      One problem is the Democratic Party aggressively recruits candidates who are banal and largely interested in buying a title at the entry level of politics.

      Not to belittle AOC in anyway, she would have been recruited to run locally in a healthy Democratic Party. Money would have been steered towards her, and little articles about the future stars would be disseminated with the other AOCs of the world. Instead the party elites recruit candidates who might be “respected” locally but have questionable histories of giving to the GOP or have to be introduced to the local party membership.

      At the local level, everyone hates potholes except the fine citizens of South Carolina, but the result is a party of vapid people who don’t belong in politics because they can deal with potholes. They might make fine members of the staff or appointees with appropriate oversight, but they lack the moral interest to be effective politicians. When confronted by a moral politician, they are dreadfully frightened because the moral politician exposes the non-entity as a fraud just by showing up.

    3. djrichard

      It’s all a marketing issue for these people.

      That was my take away too. There’s no problem too big that can’t be solved with good marketing.

      A good way to wig them out would be to ask them what their position would be on free trade. Should we unwind what Trump is doing and has done so that we’re back on path to TPP and a glorious future of unfettered global capitalism? Let’s see them market their way through that.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “Big isn’t enough. If it’s bold and old — it’s simply old.”

      Classic Third Way-ism, vintage 1990s.

      It’s almost like an Oedipal thing. They are killing the father — FDR — over and over again.

      What’s wrong with old if it works?

  18. Colonel Smithers

    Further to Lambert’s Brexit links, one of the Big Four consultancies came to give us, Compliance for a German TBTF basket case, a talk about horizon risks and regulatory expectations this morning. Brexit featured. The consultants reckon that financial institutions (and their regulators) are the most advanced in their planning, although this is not saying much, but industrial clients, especially those in supply chains, are the least, if at all, prepared. The stance is very much that it will be all right on the night, the politicians will work something out etc, My colleagues seem to be nonplussed about Brexit, although a couple have begun to publicly wonder. It feels like a Kafka novel. I don’t know if I am crazy, worrying about such matters, or they are, for not worrying.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I thought June would mark the beginning of panic among companies, but maybe the good weather and World Cup has allowed everyone to go back to a long slumber. Lots of companies have certainly made provision, but I think even the more farsighted ones have underestimated the level of disruption. But for most, its far too late now.

      1. vlade

        I expected politicians to be complacent. That said, I expected the businesses to start to execute contingency plans en-masse in Q1 (with some impacts on the politics then), which did not materialise.

        As CS, I do wonder who’s the mad hatter here.

        There was an article in Guardian few days back which was basically “don’t worry, no deal Brexit won’t be allowed to happen”, which argued that even if it came to that people would “just ignore it and act sanely”.

        The problem with that is that if I, as an import export company act sanely post no-deal Brexit, chances are I’m breaking law and one of my competitors is going to ruin me by suing the pants off me…. So either EU (and, more importantly EU27 states, as a lot of the acquis is national) in effect stop applying some laws selectively, or …

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Vlade.

          Until the end of last week, the Commission and London based EU27 diplomats seem to think that a no deal Brexit / crash out was off the table, especially as May has managed to divide (and conquer?) the Ultras, and always had been as the UK has so much to lose. The Commission has about a dozen staff working on a crash out, but has more on stand by. None seems to acknowledge that events have a dynamic of their own and their top down view can be narrow.

          1. boz

            What is instructive is that the ranks are fracturing: more are daring to mention no-deal in the MSM.

            Note also blame shifting by our new Foreign Sec: “peeps will totes blame EU for no-deal and not us”

            Stock up and get those passport applications in.

        2. BobWhite

          Today in The Guardian:
          “Britons in EU must be protected in event of no-deal Brexit, say MPs”:

          Of course, that would require a… deal…?

          At the end of the article:
          ” …the European commission said last week that if the UK crashes out “there would be no specific arrangement in place for EU citizens in the United Kingdom, or for UK citizens in the European Union”.”

          It seems they want a Brexit, but keep all of the current deals in place… like not a Brexit…?

          The UK is not the “dumpster fire” we have here in the US, but sometimes it looks close.

    2. David

      I fear it may be as simple as a lack of imagination and understanding. The present generation of leaders in all areas are essentially faceless managers who have never had to confront a real crisis in their lives, and would not be intellectually or personally equipped to deal with one. It’s hard to plan intelligently for something that you can’t conceive of.

  19. flora

    Comey tweet: ‘Dem’s, don’t lose your mind and vote for people who won’t increase our intel agency budgets, who might even cut (horrors!) our budgets.’ /s

    Good to know US intel agency guys are trying to influence (meddle in?) US elections. ;)

    1. Brindle

      Comey is an upper .01 % –net worth in the $15 mil range.

      —Comey was the general counsel for Lockheed Martin Corp. from when he stopped serving as Deputy Attorney General in 2005 to 2010, and then he was counsel for Connecticut-based hedge fund Bridgewater Associates from 2010 to 2013, both lucrative positions with his last year at Lockheed Martin alone earning him more than $6 million. What’s more, he earned a $3 million profit-sharing payout from Bridgewater Associates upon leaving for the FBI, most likely boosting his net worth to closer to $15 million.—

        1. c_heale

          I wonder how much of Russiagate comes down to defence contractors’ money in the Democratic Party…

          1. oh

            It probably has something to do with it but The Orange Clown is not exactly staving the defense industry!

    2. RUKidding

      Comey certainly meddled in the last general election. Now he appears to have remorse. The bigger question is Why?

      I want Comey to go far away and STFU. He’s done more than enough damage already, but that’s par for the course for “our” “intelligence” agencies.

    1. BobW

      I’m back on Ubuntu after abandoning it for Mint (because of hating Unity… another story there). The latest version loads extremely fast on startup, does pretty much all I ever need to do, and really does “stay out of the way.” It has a fairly shallow learning curve, especially if most of what you do is internet or office related.

      I used Mac OS at work (laptop provided by employer, OS was an older version recommended by our IT guys), and could hear others being shut down by unwanted Microsoft updates.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I switched from Ubuntu to Mint to get away from the new Ubuntu screen environment. After blindly loading the many updates I’ve had trouble with it shutting-off the audio output in several upgrades and a recent upgrade of Cinnamon crashed so I’ve been reverting to earlier installs. I’m running with a relatively standard gamer’s motherboard, an older AMD processor, and a single older video card. I’m not sure whether the problem is poor or limited testing of the updates or the oddities of my computer setup.

        As for Windows … I have nothing nice to say about the Microsoft system after decades of being compelled to run Windows on my computers at work.

    2. oh

      Thanks for the link. Yes, it’s a good article. I used to run SUSE linux for 10 years and then I switched to Ubuntu 14.04 Now I’m trying out MInt (Cinnamon). CUPS for printing has come a long way and it have printer drivers for all of my old printers and install well. Windoze is so bad it has trouble with sharing files and printers between Win 7 and Win 10. Oh, and did I say I despise Cortana?

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Mueller Finally Solves Mysteries About Russia’s ‘Fancy Bear’ Hackers”

    Not sure what the value of the thesis of this article is worth when it is well known that the US has a whole program to enable hacking “attempts” to be attributed to any country that they want it to be such as China, Russia, Iran. Just slip in different time-stamps, odd words, phrases such as ‘Made in China’ or ‘Russian footballers are the best’ and there is your “proof”. Other countries probably do the same as well.

    1. John k

      And every win, such as AOC, gets us closer to tipping the scales… of she lost by two votes last time, perhaps she can win by two this time.

  21. JohnnyGL

    Re: Comey kicks the left

    Comey really is the perfect Dem Party icon, isn’t he?

    1) He’s a Repub who’s seen to have stabbed Dems in the back in previous years, but all’s forgiven and forgotten because he hates Trump. and Dems LOVE turncoat Repubs.

    2) He’s railing against socialism while collecting a very cushy pension from the federal government.

    No wonder they love him!

    1. RUKidding

      Most of the Democratic voters I know hate Comey, but I’m sure that the PTB inside Big D absolutely love Comey now. All is forgiven… especially if he knifes Sanders and AOC in the back repeatedly, which appears to be his main “job” right now.

  22. Wukchumni

    Here in Dana Point with the whole family on a biannual beach rendezvous…

    (Two Years Before The Mast*, by Richard Henry Dana Jr. is a heck of a read, and even moreso if you’re a Californian, as he details life as he saw it in 1834-35. He endures a tyrannical captain & the Cape Horn in getting there. *There’ll be a quiz on different makes of sails after you’ve read it)

    It’s a joy leaving 104 behind, and the small fire in Mineral King we watched as we were driving down the road, perhaps an hour after a lightning strike came down like a low level thor’s hammer @ 5,600 feet, and about 22 helicopter sling loads of buckets of water later, you would have thought a little 1/4 acre fire was extinguished, but has grown to 30 acres, and yeah that’s nothing, but it’s right smack in the keister of the newlydeads that all got stood up when the beetles were on tour a few years ago, and in the same sort of terrain as the Rough Fire that burned 150k acres in 2015, lotsa steep & deep canyons far from trails, so all fire personnel has to be choppered in, and we watched one helo being loaded with 3 chainsaws with 48 inch bars, for the hotshots being inserted are also lumberjacks, and they’re ok.

    They’re now going to see me-dig me colored fire retardant dropped from air tankers, to deny Prometheus nourishment.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The hottest recorded temperature in N. America was 134 C, in Death Valley, in 1913.

      That 104 is nothing.

    2. Old Jake

      Two Years Before The Mast*, by Richard Henry Dana Jr. is a heck of a read.

      I don’t know how that book got into my hands, it was a falling-apart paperback that I found myself reading one day and could not set aside. Very highly recommended. I understand it had a profound impact on maritime regulations and practices when it was published.

  23. Jim Haygood

    Dig deep for Tesla, comrades:

    Tesla is reportedly asking for refunds from suppliers in an aggressive tactic designed to help the perpetually money-losing company turn a profit.

    The Palo Alto, Calif.-based electric vehicle maker has requested an unknown amount of cash back from suppliers for work done since 2016, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

    The move reflects Tesla’s increasing urgency to become profitable after losing more than $4 billion over the last six years.

    Incredibly, with evidence of Tesla’s cash flow crisis staring them in the face, punters have bid Tesla shares back up to only a 3 percent loss at mid-morning, after it had fallen over 6 percent earlier.

    Cord, Duesenberg, Tucker, Tesla — spot the one that’s undead!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are shorts covering just in case China decides to buy it cheap, in order to acquire its ‘manufacturing tent’ know-how?

    2. Plenue

      Why doesn’t Musk just pitch in some of his personal billions? Unless he secretly knows Tesla is a doomed endeavor.

  24. Chris

    Any updates on Mr. Assange? I saw a few blurbs about his change in status referring to the Gen Greenwald article, but nothing besides that. Strange how everyone is so quiet about this…

    1. JTMcPhee

      I don’t see much current either. There’s this reminder of who rules us:

      “Mike Pence urged by Democrats to discuss Julian Assange’s asylum status during Ecuador trip
      Lawmakers pressed Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday to raise concerns while in Ecuador this week about the country’s decision to continue shielding WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, a resident of its London embassy for the past six years.

      A group of 10 senators, all Democrats, wrote Mr. Pence urging him to discuss Mr. Assange’s asylum status during his meeting with Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno.

      Led by Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the letter said that lawmakers “remain extremely concerned about Ecuador providing asylum to WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange since June 2012.”

      Bears remembering that Assange is now a citizen of Ecuador.

      1. newcatty

        A group of 10 senators, all Democrats, wrote Mr. Pence urging him to discuss Julian Assanges’ asylum status during his meeting with Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno.
        Lead by Sen. Melendez of New Jersey…

        Establishment Democrats showing who they are. An old admonishment: When people show you who they are, believe them.

  25. Wukchumni

    My brother-in-laws that helped usher in the house of ouster, have if anything dug in their heels in support of. I’m gingerly broaching the subject, as one has gone entirely off his rocker, a for instance:

    Last time I saw him was @ xmas, and we’re watching football and I ask “what do you think about the kneeling?”

    And he tells me that he and his wife have a flagpole with old glory & the Gadsden flag below it, and they both illuminated at all times, and they never lower it on account of said shedding of light, but inspect them every month or so, and if they are the least bit ragged, they have replacement flags, and burn the discarded ones in the fireplace of their cabin in the mountains.

    So off the deep end, did a fellow who was strictly apolitical not so long ago, before the propaganda @ Fox took hold, and formed his way of thinking for him.

    1. JBird

      Yeah, I’m extremely patriotic myself, maybe more than most Americans, but that’s a bit off the deeeep end there. Seeing someone going from patriotism to fanaticism is not a pretty sight especially as it tends to rot the mind and gives the true scoundrels places to hide.

    2. fresno dan

      July 23, 2018 at 11:39 am

      Where are the framed, in mahogany with silver inlay, the constitution, above the fireplace mantel and lit 24 hours a day, with a motion detector that plays the “Star Spangled Banner” when ever anyone gets within 15 feet of it?

      Alas, my only copy of the constitution that I have is a pamphlet (now going on…can it be so??? 40 years old) of the constitution and bill of rights that we were inundated with when I worked at the Internal Revenue Service, in the Criminal Investigation Division, Tax Protester Unit by…tax protesters. There was no need to store all of them, so I kept a copy destined for the trash bin. Of course, most of the mail we got in that unit was addressed to the: Infernal Revenue Service
      which I thought was pretty witty – but I am easily amused. I could go on about self amuse, but I digress….

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Sanders’ wing of the party terrifies moderate Dems. Here’s how they plan to stop it. NBC. Trade samples:

    Some of the key initiatives are a massive apprenticeship program to train workers, a privatized employer-funded universal pension that would supplement Social Security and an overhaul of unemployment insurance to include skills training. Other proposals included a “small business bill of rights” and the creation of a “BoomerCorps” — like the volunteer AmericaCorps for seniors.

    Let me know how that works out.

    I think it depends on if they can get another charismatic orator.

    As my last cat used to say (or do):

    Fool me once with that neat trick, I love the surprise.
    Fool again, please…because I want more!!!

      1. Pat

        Yeah, I’m of the opinion that ‘training’ and ‘privatized’ are rapidly becoming red flags for large numbers of people (Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc) everywhere outside the Bubble of the ten percent. They always promise more than they deliver.

        Training = new stable middle class jobs – NOT
        Privatization = better services with lower cost and tax cuts – NOT
        Since those new jobs never appear AND the services are worse, cost more and taxes never get lowered lots are plebs are realizing that they are merely means to funnel more money to people not them.

        Free trade was a winner until it wasn’t. I don’t think our political/oligarch brain trust has realized that the others aren’t either or soon won’t be.

        Unemployment has had training attached for awhile, more doesn’t increase the number of good living wage or better jobs. Real small businesses are dying out, and the faux ones (subsidiaries) don’t need the help. The only thing in there that might catch some interest is the supplemental pension, but considering how many have watched their pensions and retirement options be screwed over by the very same groups that are supposed to be doing this…it is a toss up.

      2. jrs

        unemployment ALREADY includes paying skills training, at least for those who wish to apply for it. Such programs ALREADY exist. These are baldfaced lies we are being told.

    1. wilroncanada

      And there you have it: the whole entire policy book for the MRLUSAP. the Monster Raving Loony USA Party. Even a name has to be borrowed.

  27. Wukchumni

    Notes on a scorecard:

    Doheny Beach has a car campground across the road from us, and I took a walk this antemeridian, taking account of how people camp:

    11x Tents
    57x RV’s, 5th wheels, trailers, etc.

    When did everybody decide they needed the closest thing to their house in size, when sojourning?

    1. Mike Mc

      Was at a small state park with lakes (reservoirs) set up for power boats and jet skis (aack) and 250… campsites? Parking spaces? Noticed the same thing – why on God’s green earth (what’s left of it) do you need a 40 foot 5th wheel for a weekend campout? Plus tents for the kids so Mom and Dad – or whatever variant thereof – can kick back in the A/C and stream the same stupid video stuff they watch at home. This ain’t a campground, it’s a freakin’ trailer park. Bleah.

      1. newcatty

        Mike Mc,

        Agree, more like a trailer park. But, you know, some people acually live in “freakin” trailer parks. Hmmm…

        Also, not to defend camp grounds into becoming parking lots for rec vehicles, but some of those vehicle campers may be disabled and/or past the age (for them) to sleep under the stars with just the open sky or a tent cover above them. I relate, now,and am even more of a baby and stay in a building.

  28. Lobsterman

    Re: Jacobin article:

    “On both sides there’s a sense of loss about a bygone America that no longer exists: for the Right, the white, middle-class utopia of the Eisenhower years. For liberals, the upright decency of the Jed Bartlet administration. The problem with these fantasies is neither of them ever existed.”

    Damn, that’s some good rhetoric. And explains a lot.

  29. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    In pictures: Fighting the Swedish wildfires BBC (DL).

    No mention in the article whether Putin has offered to help.

  30. winward

    The article on Polanyi’s ideas as applied to today’s socio-political context is an excellent find, thank you. I recommend The Great Transformation to anyone with an interest in the left, especially those who have fallen for the Marxian depiction of the progression of history from feudalism to capitalism.

    My question to anyone who read it is what they think of the equation of Polanyi’s “market society” idea with the forces that today we call “neoliberalism.” I follow people like Mirowski in thinking that “neoliberalism” is the radical and ascendant market-fundamentalist cult, which has not yet attained final victory. The authors of this article, however, seem to think that neoliberalism is completely ascendant and is our modern equivalent to the confluence of institutions and forces Polanyi called “market society” in his time. This could be quibbling, but, still an interesting question.

    1. Grebo

      Polanyi suggests that a key tenet of classical Liberalism is that everything must be subsumed in a market. A magical self-regulating market. Clearly, Neoliberalism has adopted the same notion, with the proviso that said market must first be imposed by the state which must then surrender its sovereignty to its offspring. Only then will the magic kick in.
      Neoliberalism is completely ascendant, but there will be no final victory as the closer it comes the harder the push-back. That can be in the direction of Socialism or Fascism. Victory for the market would be dissolution for civilisation as everything necessary to life would eventually be owned by one man and nobody else could afford to rent it from him.

  31. Wukchumni

    Everybody has an immigrant group they tend to shit on…

    New Zealand-Australia relations might never be the same again. The current “war of words” between senior politicians on both sides of the Tasman is so unprecedented that it all poses the bigger question of whether the trans-Tasman relationship is actually dying.

    Certainly, some very strong words have been spoken in the last week by the Australian and New Zealand governments – mostly about issues of deportation, human rights, and regional security. This rift was highlighted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) 30-minute programme: Don’t Call Australia Home!, which was hosted by ex-Wallaby, Peter FitzSimons.

    The programme said: “Australia is detaining, cuffing and deporting more New Zealanders than any other group.” FitzSimons also explained many of the issues in an accompanying article, New Zealand ministers criticise Australia’s deportation laws. This centred in on a former New Zealand soldier, Ko Haapu, who had previously been “assigned to the personal security detail of then New Zealand prime minister John Key”, but was locked up for five months, then deported from Australia after having apparently committed no crimes, but joining a motorcycle gang.

    This all relates to the Australian Government’s new deportation laws, introduced in 2014. Elaborating on this, the programme explained: “Australia tossed out more than 1300 Kiwis in the past three years – more than any other nationality. Meanwhile New Zealand ejected just nine Australians. Lawyers expect up to 15,000 New Zealanders could be deported in the next 10 years.” And FitzSimons wanted to know: “Is this how we treat an old mate?”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      My guess is they are not helping (enough) to bid up Australian real estate.

      “House speculators, sorry, buyers are welcome. Huanying!!!”

  32. Jim Haygood

    Trump to California: just breathe.

    The Trump administration will seek to revoke California’s authority to regulate automobile emissions — including its mandate for electric car sales — in a proposed revision of Obama-era standards, according to three people familiar with the plan.

    The proposed revamp would also put the brakes on federal rules to boost fuel efficiency. Instead it will cap federal fuel economy requirements at the 2020 level, which under federal law must be at least a 35-mile-per-gallon fleet average, rather than letting them rise to roughly 50 mpg by 2025.

    As part of the effort, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will propose revoking the Clean Air Act waiver granted to California that has allowed the state to regulate carbon emissions from vehicle tailpipes and force carmakers to sell electric vehicles in the state in higher numbers.

    The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will likewise assert that California is barred from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from autos under the 1975 law that established the first federal fuel-efficiency requirements, the people said.

    How do you spell relief? SECEDE.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Another problem for California – China export pollution to the US.

      China Exports Pollution to U.S., Study Finds – The New York Times…/…
      Jan 20, 2014 – Emissions from China’s export industries are carried across the Pacific and … A group of researchers found that trans-Pacific air pollution is a … “Dust, ozone and carbon can accumulate in valleys and basins in California and …

  33. whine country

    Google Is Not An American Company –
    Tried to make a similar point recently about our Corporate “persons”. Get out the pitchforks – Representation without taxation is tyranny!

    1. newcatty

      See it: Activist group: The Real New Tea Party has called for a new tea party at harbours across the nation. Boston is their headquarters and will be strategic lead and inspiration for the rallying cry” Representation without taxation is tryranny!” Allied with the Corporations are not “Persons”organization along with other left wing groups, including Center for Biolgical Diversity , a resurrection of Rader’s Naders and the anti-war movement , The Poor People’s Campaign ; The Real New Tea Party expects an epic turnout.

      Let’s see, my closest USA harbour is in CA. Luckily we have family to crash with for the duration.

  34. Jim Haygood

    Flake-o-nomics marches us toward a war economy:

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration has launched an offensive of speeches and online communications meant to foment unrest and help pressure Iran to end its nuclear program and its support of militant groups, U.S. officials familiar with the matter said.

    More than half a dozen current and former officials said the campaign, supported by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, is meant to work in concert with U.S. President Donald Trump’s push to economically throttle Iran by re-imposing tough sanctions. The drive has intensified since Trump withdrew on May 8 from a 2015 seven-nation deal to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

    The current and former officials said the campaign paints Iranian leaders in a harsh light, at times using information that is exaggerated or contradicts other official pronouncements, including comments by previous administrations.

    “Economically throttling” Iran is an existential threat to the country’s existence. Driven into a corner, it would have to take dramatic action, much as Japan did one day in 1941 after the US had laid siege to its oil imports for six months or so.

    Madman Bolton and the Israel Lobby may yet blow up the planet with their fanatical provocations.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I hope this is just puppet master Putin putting on a good smoke-and-mirrors show*.

      Because likely Vlad likes Iran.

      *a good show must have its narrative consistent.

  35. Jean

    Re Zuckerberg Horror Show

    Notice “Mark Zuckerberg threatens ‘The World Order’” slipped into there?

    Is there a ™ at the end of that?

  36. flora

    re: Gish gallop

    The purpose of gaslighting is less about convincing you that they are right, than about convincing you that you are wrong, imo. See movies: Gaslight, The Lady Vanishes.

  37. anon

    Odd, my comment posted, a corrected comment I attached to that comment, which cleaned up some html errors I made, posted, but now both have disappeared. Trying again:

    Re: Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money Forbes, and its author, Panos Mourdoukoutas, who outrageously made this horridly degrading comment to a woman who did not agree with him, at all:

    Panos Mourdoukoutas
    Replying to @gwenckatz @Forbes

    But you don’t have to pay taxes!

    2:10 PM – 21 Jul 2018

    oh my god, on so many levels – read the whole thread between Panos Mourdoukoutas and Gwen C. Katz (hopefully you’ll be seeing the same thread I currently see; but there’s no guarantee of that) – particularly for renters, who most certainly have those local library taxes included in their rents, and then some; and minorities and females, who still have a stunningly historic, and unrelenting wage/hiring gaps, despite centuries of Enlightenment™, yet still sometimes get lucky enough to mortgage a home.

    To add to that, it’s more than likely that he either blatantly lied about paying annual Library Taxes of $495, or he owns untold millions in real estate. Read this comment, and the surrounding ‘thread’, as to that $495:

    Gwen C. Katz
    Replying to @OregonBeast_GT @PMourdoukoutas

    The Altadena Library Special Parcel Tax, the library tax in my area, is a flat rate per single-family home. He would have to own 10 houses in order to pay that much.

    4:39 PM – 22 Jul 2018

    Lastly, looking at Panos Mourdoukoutas’ Long Island University Page, I’m guessing that the University of Salonica, is actually some odd ‘short form for the Greek: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki because that is all that came up in a search for the University of Salonica noted in that bio. Just goes to show, that many of the Legal™ UPPER CLASS immigrants to the US (I’m not at all referring to the hapless H-1B visa persons here), are not at all the angels of virtue they are made out to be, many, were State Department cherry picked for their Science™, wealth, and despotic natures (e.g. Operation Paperclip, Ayn Rand, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, John Yoo, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Sergey Brin, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

    Until the title LandLord ceases to exist, the US™, will never be enlightened.

    1. EoH

      This may have been said upthread, but Felix Sater comments that the Amazon article might have been, in effect, a paid advert.

      Forbes apparently charged the author $1400 to allow him to post 12 articles. I wonder if the average reader would know that, and whether the author wrote that out of the goodness of his heart or was paid, ultimately, by Amazon.

      1. anon

        Thanks much for that follow-up, EoH. If you haven’t seen it yet, Felix has deleted that tweet because he was incorrect. See his explanatory thread here. Whatever the arrangement though, there’s no denying that Forbes and Panos Mourdoukoutas have raw sewage on their faces; and I don’t doubt that Panos Mourdoukoutas benefits from his horrid bile spewing in some manner.

        That anyone, particularly at a so called institute of higher learning, could support the private, for profit, takeover of public services – particularly by someone of Bezos’ inhuman ilk – is mind boggling to me. It was great viewing all those Librarians nail him. I’ll bet LibrarianShipwreck – who’s written some wonderful pieces on their wordpress site: LibrarianShipwreck | “More than machinery, we need humanity” – about our current technocracy, will be miffed that they went into the wilderness just prior to the nailing of such a creep:

        @libshipwreck Jul 20

        This account will be silent next week as I am going to go sit in the woods. My pessimistic commentary will resume on the 30th – provided I’m not eaten by a bear or decide to become a hermit. If you miss me, just mutter “we’re doomed” and it’ll be like I’m there. Here are cats:

        The powers and pundits that be, and way too many well fed and sheltered of the citizenry in the US, have become horrifying in their willingness to utterly devastate entire public, and private, occupations which historically, over centuries – though generally well undercompensated – have been of the most intangible benefit to the well being of US citizens, and the world at large. In my opinion, Amazon needs to be utterly crushed, along with Google and Facebook; unfortunately, the US DOD (along with a revolving DC Technocracy doorway), is fully behind, and has fully commingled with, all three of them.

  38. Oregoncharles

    ” few have paid attention to just why so many Democrats were swept along by the drift to war.”

    Uhhh – because it’s an imperialist party, always was, responsible for most of our imperial wars – like Vietnam? It isn’t even an interesting question.

    I’m guessing the DSA has foreign policy positions; here’s another:; Preamble: “At the start of a new century, we stand poised between the geopolitical conflict of East versus West; a future marked by the aftermath of the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001; the dangers of global terrorism; the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan followed by the unprovoked invasion and occupation of Iraq; the escalation of conflict in the Middle East; and the continued research and development of nuclear weapons and the stockpiling of bio-chemical weapons.

    In the area of trade, third- and fourth-world economies and resources are being ravaged and our own economy and job security undermined by global corporatization, which concentrates greater power in the hands of fewer interests who are unaccountable to the vast majority of the world’s people.

    As we overcome continued conflicts and violence, we realize the difficulties inherent in encouraging democracy and of advancing the cause of peace. We face a more complex set of challenges in how our nation defines its national security. Greens support sustainable development and social and economic justice across the globe. Reducing militarism and reliance on arms policies is the key to progress toward collective security.” Details follow.

    Maybe it’s just the Democrats that don’t have a foreign policy – or rather, who have pretty much the SAME war profiteer policy as the Republicans, with different lipstick.

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