Links 7/3/18

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Heathrow border officers seize smuggled vulture chicks BBC

Horseshoe crabs Quartz

The 103-year-old pianist BBC. You must watch this.

VIDEO: Incredible moment rescue workers find boys trapped in cave Thai Visa (furzy). After ten days….But then this: Thailand cave rescue: Boys ‘could be in cave for months’ BBC

Scientists Capture First Birth Of A Planet NPR (David L)

Remembering the 155th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg – July 1 to 4, 1863 Jesse. Kevin W: “That first 17-minute film clip is not to be missed. A beautiful combination of animated maps, contemporary photos and battle recreations. Best combination that I have ever seen and the music makes it sound like an ancient Homeric battle.”

Three months on: Oxford Union refuses to tell truth about why whistleblowing panel debate is censored WSWS

Archbishop Philip Wilson sentenced for concealing child sex abuse BBC. Sentence is pathetic.

Biggest study of vaginas shows there’s no such thing as ‘normal’ New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

UCLA Professor Dies During BDSM “Mummification” Game Jonathan Turley. Forgive me, but no wonder Turley is popular. You can get a daily dose of prurient interests stories in the guise of legal reporting, as in upscale Daily Mail fare.

Behind the secret U.S. war in Africa Politico (UserFriendly)

As mob lynchings fueled by WhatsApp messages sweep India, authorities struggle to combat fake news – The Washington Post (furzy)

Stumbling and Mumbling: Deluded centrists Stumbling and Mumbling (UserFriendly)

Revolution in Mexico. The risk domestically is that AMLO will be perceived to be a dud because he won’t be effective against the gangs and won’t be able to deliver all that much on the economic justice front because he is fiscally orthodox. And if he does manage to succeed despite that, the CIA will be after him.

A change is coming to US-Mexico relations The Hill

Mexico election: Trump and López Obrador discuss ‘development deal’ BBC

Enter, stage left Economist


Ditching Theresa May will not change the political reality Financial Times (Kevin W)

HBOS – fraud, cover-up and consistent public exploitation Richard Murphy (UserFriendly)


Catastrophic drought threatens Iraq as major dams insurrounding countries cut off water to its great rivers Patrick Cockburn, Independent (Bill B)

Iranian general says Israel stealing Iran’s clouds Ynet. Furzy: “Wingnutz on both sides of the ME problem….”


Merkel and Seehofer make fragile peace Politico. Text of compromise below. And yes, that is it in its entirety.

Austria brings hard-line refugee policy to EU DW

Denmark’s new laws on immigrant ‘ghettos’ are a chilling look into what happens after the border Business Insider (David L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Trump Sends Disturbing Letters to Nine NATO Leaders Before Key Summit Atlantic Council

Tariff Tantrum

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross: It’s ‘premature’ to say whether Trump’s threatened EU auto tariffs will come to pass CNBC

Trump’s Tariffs: a Car Crash for Germany Bloomberg (Kevin W). Important.

Every US-made car is an import. That’s bad news for automakers CNN

Trump’s EU trade war costing manufacturers in US and eurozone Guardian (Kevin W)

The Trade War is Here: Some of the New “Facts of Life” Zero Anthropology. UserFriendly questions a parenthetical: “Canadian provinces don’t ​have free trade with each other?” Separately, a friend warned me I need to emigrate to Canada soon (as much as I’d like to, I don’t have the energy right now, and I don’t have a path in unless I am sponsored) because when Trudeau gets turfed out, immigration restrictions will tighten. Unless the Canadian real estate market tanks, of course, since they might copy Spain at the crisis low and give citizenship in return for a big enough real estate purchase (which was not all that high since the point was to prop up normal people’s home prices, but that still takes $ and a lot of fracas).

‘It stinks’: Trump’s Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act, or Fart Act Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Trump Transition

Will Cohen flip? New interview raises the question The Hill

How Trump Used Mar-a-Lago to Boost His Personal Business Shadowproof (UserFriendly). If you really want to tear your hair….Trump should have given up Mar-a-Lago in one of his bankruptcies, but persuaded the banks he needed to keep it as part of his brand image, which had value for the other Trump properties at issue.


Dem senator says Supreme Court vote could be ‘career ending’ for lawmakers The Hill

Schumer faces heavy pressure from left on Supreme Court The Hill

Health Care

What Millennials Want the Government to Do About Long-Term Care Next Avenue (UserFriendly)

Prescription Drug Costs – Standing Front and Center National Conference of State Legislatures

AAs Democrats Look Left, A Massachusetts Congressman Doubles Down On Biography Huffington Post. UserFriendly: “​He is in my top 10 worst Democrats list. You can thank him for all the intelligence Dems.​”

Ex co-worker no fan of Democrat darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Page Six. UserFriendly: “Wow, did she get in a fight in kindergarten we need to know about?​” Moi: Lambert warned the establishment Dems would go hunting for every bit of dirt they could find…so this is the sort of thing they are flogging? Help me. How would Nancy Pelosi look under a microscope?

Ben Jealous Is Ready to Make Maryland America’s Laboratory of Democracy The Nation (furzy)

Cities Are Saying ‘No’ to ICE by Canceling Their Contracts With the Agency The Nation

Tesla’s official number: It says it built 5,031 Model 3s in a week Autoblog. EM:

One wonders how many of those 5000-plus are junk … Yahoo Finance has a big ‘Tesla shares soar after reaching Model 3 production goal’ headline today, but TSLA shares slid relentlessly after the opening 5% pop and finished the session over 2% down. Looks like an appreciable number of shareholders decided to avoid the risk of becoming bagholders and sold into the pop.


How to Fight the Gun Lobby Rolling Stone (furzy)

American Democracy on the Brink Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate (David L)

Conviction of SAC’s Martoma upheld despite jury instructions Reuters

The Outer Line: Beer money or nest egg? Revamping prize money VeloNews. Alex V: “Some “economics” from a different field than that normally found on NC. An intriguing proposal, but assumes too much regarding trustworthiness of finance and performance of invested funds.”

Class Warfare

The fading American dream may be behind rise in US suicides New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

When a stagehand gets hurt, who pays? MPR (Brian D)

Trump Tax-Cut Bonuses are a Bust for Middle Class Workers, Wages Lie in a Wasteland of Failed Promises Great Recession Blog. Anyone who read the tax pros would have known the sales pitch for the tax cut was a crock. The 2004 tax holiday which allowed companies with earnings parked overseas for tax purposes to repatriate them tax free were used for stock buybacks and exec bonuses. And supply side economics has also been debunked. But as John C points out, this is still a great rant, with details on deliberately misleading PR.

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “French Bulldog’ comes to mind but I think the legs are too long, so either it’s a mix, or I’m completely wrong and it’s a breed I should know but apparently don’t. He’s cute whatever he is.”

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Jessica

    Correct link for “Dem senator says Supreme Court vote could be ‘career ending’ for lawmakers”:

      1. Jean

        The Democratic House of Wax is melting down.

        Pelosi Tussauds’ Democratic Wax Works is horrifying.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, I thought that too but didn’t say that. But Bostons are shorter legged too. One of my sisters in law always has Bostons, and maybe there are better representatives of the breed, but hers seem dumb and lacking in compensating great personality or cute quirky attributes.

    1. shirley ende-saxe

      Some Boston. Mine is a dead ringer for this and were told at the rescue that it was Boston/Pug. I think Boston/Chihuahua. Mine is smart, neurotic and a clown.

  2. Livius Drusus

    Re: The fading American dream may be behind rise in US suicides. I got stopped at a paywall but that is OK because I think most Americans today will agree that the decline of the American Dream is probably behind the recent suicide epidemic.

    In American culture your value is attached to your job and your bank account. Compared to Europeans we tend to downplay the role of luck and overestimate the role of effort so Americans generally believe that the poor deserve their sad fate. Even poor Americans think like this.

    As long as the economy worked to a certain degree for a large portion of the population the dark underbelly of the culture was held at bay but now that the mask is off and we no longer have nice, smiley face post-war capitalism but Terminator-cyborg-skull-face neoliberal capitalism people are losing all hope because their entire worldview has been destroyed and they have very little social support to help them in the bad times. The next step after losing hope is suicide. People with a greater sense of community and more social support will likely ride out bad times better than Americans.

    1. Expat

      Less social mobility in the US than in “commie” countries like Sweden, France, and Germany. Of course, many Americans won’t believe that; it’s Fake News because it offends them. Others will blame the Jews, Blacks, Muslims, SJW’s and Antifa for their failures.
      I personally believe that the internet and media age will destroy “America” more than any war or economic crisis. Americans are able to lift the veil, peek under the rocks, and learn the truth or at least alternative explanations. People struggling to make ends meet, often failing, used to at least believe their kids would do better. Today, they are being told they won’t. And while the most ardent supporters of any party or view will dismiss negative news or avoid it, it is still filtering through and making some part of their brains question things.
      If Deplorables and the Middle Class writ large really had a grasp of how American politics and the American economy worked, there would be a massive rise in suicide or an armed insurrection.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        Less social mobility in the US than in “commie” countries like Sweden, France, and Germany. Of course, many Americans won’t believe that;

        This is why the Millennials have little problems with the word socialism. They see the rest of the world practicing it and getting better results. Why should they be afraid of it?

        Our biggest trading partner is a self proclaimed “communist” country, the rest of the “first world” is Democratic socialist, and the elite thinks we are going to buy their propaganda against it. They must really think people are dumb.

        1. RUKidding

          They [the Elites] must really think people are dumb.

          No, they don’t “think” that people are really dumb. They KNOW that many US citizens are truly stupid… at least in this regard.

          Wait and watch all the fulminating about teh eevals of socialamism during the next election cycle. Coming soon to a tv near you. Guaranteed.

          1. Pat

            I’ll second that notion. They spent years training us to react to certain dog whistles. That training doesn’t disappear without a lot disruption. It is how we get “I don’t want the government messing in my health care,” and “Keep your hands off my Medicare” from the same people – denial that everything they have been taught and told and believed is so much bunkum.

            I will also say that supposedly bright and thinking people miss the obvious sometimes. Call it the forest for the trees syndrome. I know I’ve fallen for it. Truth is that some of the Trump Derangement syndrome and how much it masks how much is being done by both parties has reminded me of the Clinton years. Largely because I was so outraged by what I considered mostly a witch hunt which kept me supportive when I should have been outraged by how much he and Congress were doing contrary to my interests and the interests of the majority of the people of the US. Looking back it was obvious, at the time I was so busy looking at the poor supposedly endangered tree, I missed them clear cutting the forest.

            1. Jean

              Stop distracting us from really important things with this prattle.
              How about those Golden State Warriors?

            2. Expat

              The brainwashing is effective. Try to initiate a chat with a Trumpturd about socialism and how it applies to government and economies. Ask if the government should be involved in socializing services. The response will be a resounding “NO! Take your commie shit back to Europe, you libtard!”

              Ask instead if the military and police budgets should be increased, if money should be spent on the Border Wall or if highways should be free of tolls. The answer will be “Yes! Goddamit, yes! And you damn right I wanna be able to drive my pickup without paying some damn liberal money to drive on my own roads.”

              American people are, as far as I can tell, pretty stupid or at least ignorant. This is likely to be the result of right-wing propaganda and brainwashing. In Europe and the rest of the civilized world, discussions about socialism include such things as roads, police, military, fire departments, and health care.

              Americans would never give up their military or their police. Those are socialized services. “Buy they don’t count because we need and like them,” scream the conservatives. It’s like the old joke about offering a woman $1 million to sleep with you. She hesitatingly says she might. You offer $10 and she yells, “What do you think I am? A whore?”. “Yes,” you reply, “we have established that. Now we are just haggling over the price.” So conservatives and Trumpturds are socialists to a certain degree, but we just have to haggle over how pink they are.

              Of course, Trumpturds will argue that socialism means something different when they use it. Fair enough, I understand that. But then ask them to stop equating socialism and national socialism (i.e. Nazi’s, which is odd since so many seem to enjoy watching people march carrying swaztikas!).

              The biggest issue about socialism in America is health care. No one with any hope of ever holding office or effecting national policy is advocating nationalizing industry or collectivizing farming. So the debate should not even be about socialism or communism. It should be about whether or not American lives matter. And based on what Trumpturds and other conservatives say, they don’t matter whether they are black or white.

              One day when America is gone, historians will look back and try to explain it. I doubt they will succeed.

              1. Charles Leseau

                Try to initiate a chat with a Trumpturd about socialism and how it applies to government and economies. Ask if the government should be involved in socializing services. The response will be a resounding “NO! Take your commie shit back to Europe, you libtard!”

                Nah. Know your species. They will 90+% holler “Venezuela/Cambodia/Stalinist USSR” in this situation and ignore that Europe exists, with some fraction of those droning on and on about how communism* killed 100 million people. We really do have what might as well be bots out there.

                *N.B.: The “______ don’t kill people; people kill people” argument curiously vanishes with this common pitch about communism.

                1. Expat

                  I am not sure most Trumpturds could connect Stalin to the USSR or name Cambodia (never mind knowing a thing about it). Venezuela is on Fox so they know that one. Funny how Fox never reports on the amazing successes of communism in Japan, Korea, Sweden, Germany or Singapore.

                  Regarding guns not killing people, it is also to be noted that they need their guns to protect them against the government. But at the same time they want the army to be yuge and have amazing weapons that can easily overwhelm the civilian population. Because the army will only be used against the people by libtards who are oddly the same ones who want universal health care. I suppose healthy civilians are more fun to shoot or something?

                  1. kareninca

                    My father’s “photography club” companions in rural New England are in their 60s-80s, mostly lifelong Republicans, mostly have advanced degrees, and mostly voted for Trump. I think they are familiar with Stalin and Cambodia. Trump has a 90 percent approval rating among Republicans. There are a lot of well-off, well-educated Republicans. You can argue that they are wrong about what economic system is best, but claiming that they are ignorant of world history is just delusional.

                  2. Charles Leseau

                    @Expat: In the larger scheme of Trump supporters I don’t know. This is what I see again and again and again in online comments when I follow the links and dare to read the back and forth on anything related to funding programs that help poor & WC people or the dreaded word ‘socialism’.

                    But the larger point was that some unknown but large number of these people don’t seem to be interested in discussion at all.

              2. oh

                The banks should have been nationalized in 2008 before the great handout and wet kiss by Obama. But hell, that would have been socialism!

                1. Inode_buddha

                  That is why most conservatives that I know say that the banks should have been allowed to fail.

                  1. bob

                    In america, nationalizing = fail

                    What happens when a bank goes bust? The FDIC takes over. The F in FDIC stands for Federal. The feds are responsible for the shortfalls for insured depositors.

                    Can’t believe this argument is still happening.

                    The reason they weren’t allowed to “fail” was because of the uninsured depositors, aka “bondholders”, aka “conservatives”.

              3. kareninca

                Expat, you say that you live in France. Do you actually know any human beings – know them as people – who voted for Trump? Do you call them “Trumpturds” to their faces? Do you really think that is a great way to win people over to your preferred views? Don’t you think it is a bit dehumanizing? By writing that, it is almost as if you don’t want to find some common ground; you just want the “other side” to hate you. I have family friends who voted for Trump (BTW, they voted for Obama last time), and I find hearing them referred to as “Trumpturds” pretty repellant. I guess if you are in France then you don’t have a stake in people getting along with one another in the U.S..

                I suppose you’ll respond that it’s too late: you know that they are t****, and always will be. Again, you have no stake here, it seems, so you can be as unnecessarily divisive as you wish. But guess what – I have no problem talking with Trump voters about my political views, which generally differ from theirs. But then, I don’t insult them with vulgarities.

                By the way, vulgarity just makes the person who uses it seem – vulgar.

                1. Expat

                  I chose Trumpturds to provoke and because I am tired of reading “libtard.” I am also bored with this notion of staying above the fray, not stooping to their level, and staying civil. Yes, many people voted for Trump because they believed he would drain the swamp, that he was a competent, intelligent businessman and that Hillary was a terrible option.
                  So, much the same way that not all Democrats are called libtards, I don’t paint all Trump supporters as Trumpturds. I refer mostly to his core of ignorant, violent, racist, and xenophobic supporters who saw Trump’s election not as a repudiation of the establishment and Crooked Hillary but as a vindication of their narrow-minded beliefs.

                  By the way, I coined the term “Trumpturd” in response to charming ZeroHedge commenters who accused me of copyright infringement for calling them “Trumptards”. So I changed it to a much more appropriate form.
                  I certainly do have a stake in America and Americans. This is an attack I face repeatedly. “You don’t live here. You have no right to an opinion because you abandoned America.” Well, I pay taxes in the States. I have friends in the States, I have family in the States. And I have an American passport which entitles me to my Constitutional rights. Neener, neener!
                  As for being vulgar, it is more shocking to me that Americans get hung up on words like “fuck” or “moron” rather than the message. I would prefer to ten million Americans marching in the Street shouting “Fuck this shit!” than one American marching with a Nazi flag! Which is more vulgar in your opinion?
                  i will be as vulgar as is needed to get a point across.

                  1. kareninca

                    I like to be able to send people to Naked Capitalism because of the caliber of the discourse. “Trumpturds” doesn’t work for me. I think that people who voted for Trump, however reluctantly (including those who voted for Bernie in the primaries) will read it and decide that they are hated; it is a reasonable inference. Your fine distinctions don’t come through in your posts..

                    I did not say that you weren’t entitled to an opinion. I said that I didn’t think you had a stake, and that does seem to be the case. If you are living overseas you don’t have to be around other Americans on a daily basis. You did not answer my question re whether you actually knew someone who voted for Trump, so I assume you do not. That greatly reduces your stake in needing to get along with them.

                    If you have the luxury of being “bored” with staying above the fray, that puts you in a different position than I’m in and probably most posters here.

                    There is a difference between using vulgarity (“fuck this shit”) to make a point about a situation, and calling a person a vulgar thing. (Note that you are not calling Trump a vulgar thing – you are calling regular people a vulgar thing.) One creates a lot more ill will than the other; it doesn’t help at all. You say that you are using this language due to reading Zero Hedge. I read Zero Hedge, and make a point of not writing in that manner.

                    1. Expat

                      Fair enough. Henceforth I will refrain from vulgarities here to the best of my ability unless quoting, etc.
                      But can I still call Trump bad names?
                      And yes, I know people, including famliy members who voted for Trump, who support many of his policies, and who advocate racial profiling and barring immigration on a racial basis. Now mind you, this was said to my face and I am the father of two very non-white children, one of whom could be construed as Arabic by less informed people.
                      So, you may take a high tone with me and insinuate that I still don’t have a right to voice my opinion because I have nothing at stake. But you are obviously, but unintentionally, ill-informed.

                  2. flora

                    Thomas Frank has an essay in the April 2018 issue of Harper’s Magazine:

                    “Four More Years”

                    He fears Trump could be re-elected in 2020 because the Dem party refuses to examine how and why it lost the 2016 election; refuses to critique its weaknesses because that would mean critiquing both the Clinton and Obama admins, and the Dems won’t do that. So they wait for a deus ex machina to save them – a Muller investigation “smoking gun”, or impeachment, or the youth vote. And that passivity sets up Trump for re-election.

                    From Frank’s essay:

                    “I understand this reaction. I have felt it myself. But it has led the Democrats into a trap familiar to anyone with experience of left-wing politics: the party’s own high regard for itself has come to eclipse every other concern. Among the authorized opinion leaders of liberalism, for example, the task of deploring and denouncing the would-be dictator has crowded out the equally important task of assessing where the Democratic Party went wrong. ”

                    “That dilemma persists to this day. How do Democrats change course without sounding like they’re criticizing Obama or the Clintons — or, by extension, the neoliberal fantasy that has sustained the party since the Nineties? The answer is that they can’t, and so they don’t. They would rather sit back and expect Robert Mueller to rescue them. They would rather count on demographic change to give them a majority somewhere down the road. So they “do nothing and wait for the other side to implode,” observed Bill Curry, a former adviser to President Clinton who has emerged as one of the Democratic Party’s strongest internal critics. “That’s been their strategy for most of my adult life. Well, how’s that been working out?”

                    “Curry continued his critique. The party, he said, desperately needs to get over its infatuation with its glorious past: “The mistakes of the Democratic Party are the mistakes of Obama and Clinton. Taking responsibility for those mistakes means holding them accountable. And so many people have such deep, positive feelings for Obama and the Clintons that they can’t bear to have that conversation.” His conclusion was as blunt as what I heard from so many others: “Trump wins by the Democrats not changing.”

                    “This sounds dreadful to me, but I suspect that for a lot of prosperous liberals, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. For them, there’s an alternative to political victory: a utopia of scolding. Who needs to win elections when you can personally reestablish the rightful social order every day on Twitter and Facebook? When you can scold, and scold, and scold, and scold. That’s their future, and it’s a satisfying one: a finger wagging in some deplorable’s face, forever.”

                    I recommend the whole essay; it’s worth reading.

              4. berit

                Suicide and decreased life expectancy in the USA – in UK and Greece too.
                Wife and husband Anne Case and Angus Deaton found that white women in the US – middle aged, if I remember correctly – had so strikingly increased mortality that it influenced national life expectancy statistics, as posted on NC.

                “White women may be more likely than white men to feel the effects of low education and poverty.” according to : :

                I may have missed it in the tread, but it seems quite obvious to me that poverty resulting from cumulative discriminatory effects of gender, ethnicity, lack of health care for all, poor education for the poor, lack of good jobs, living wages, social cohesion all outweigh possible (speculative) effects of altitude and serotonin level on suicide. Poverty,desperation, loss of hope hugely influences drug use, criminal offences.harsh sentencing practices for petty crime – but not for rogue bankers, corrupt speculators, officials and politicians. As for “commie” European countries, there is huge uncertainty ahead of the September national election in Sweden. The current government is social democratic. What’s ahead is unpredictable and worrying. Much of same problems in Norway (and in Denmark.) Right-wing parties won here last year. Social democrats infighting and further loss of voter support to record lows. But we do have universal health care, college and university education tuition-free. And strong unions. Still. Much to fight for, though immigration is a hot and devisive topic.
                PS Suicide increase in UK and Greece too. A huge experiment in suffering unfolding due to politically imposed conservative politics of saving big banks, the euro and EU at the expense of tax payers, the laid off, the sick, the young, the old and the poor. Social democrats may have been slumbering too long, thinking everything was fine, I think.

        2. HotFlash

          I will have to disagree with this. I talk to my midwest US-ian relatives much more frequently now, and even the most-die-hard bigotted of them are beginning to see that their kids are dying from opioids and their parents, their kids and their spouses are dying from lack of medical care, nobody can get a job that isn’t Dollar Tree or worse, they all drink way too much Bud Light, they aren’t getting married or starting families (although kids are born), can’t find a place to live (word from the parents whose basements they are living in, at least from the ones who have basements), while the parents are working two/three jobs eg Wal-Mart and MickyDee’s — meanwhile retired old me in Canada? I have a govt pension, ‘free’ medical *care*, cradle to grave. They are getting, what do they call it, ‘woke”?

          Many voted Trump, but many tell me they voted Bernie in the primary, and woulda voted Bernie in the general. Hillary and the DNC have much to answer for.

          1. marieann

            I have family in Michigan. My niece was telling me how she broke her toe. I asked her about the doctor visit. There wasn’t one, she has a $3,000 deductible. I was astonished, her husband has a well paying job and is a boss in the company.

            I was telling her about the cortisone shots I got in my knees, I got the appointment within a week and the shots did not cost me anything, she was astonished.

            1. bronco

              she is smart to tough it out , our hospitals are dangerous , you could roll in with a broken toe and wind up with pneumonia

          2. Expat

            I dunno. A few rational people out of one third of the population doesn’t convince me that America is waking up. Take a poll of Trump supporters. They will continue to blame all their woes on liberals, commies and whatever minority or religion du jour springs to their minds. They might not be happy but they don’t blame Trump or the Republican party.

            For example, the opioid crisis is now blamed on Obama for having porous borders. Healthcare problems are all blamed on Obamacare. Good, high paying jobs were destroyed by Obama and Trump is bring back thousands of high paying, industrial jobs (er, no, he is not). House prices were jacked up under GW and Trump, who is in real estate, will never try to lower housing costs.

            America got what it deserved. Hillary should never have been considered both because she is fairly evil and because I think it is inherently wrong for a close family member of an elected official to hold any political office ever. GW should not have been president for that reason alone. Jeb should have never have been governor, etc. The US needs to maintain at least the facade of democracy. What next? Don Jr with Chelsea as Veep?

    2. Jim Haygood

      And another theory:

      “Growing evidence, based on large data sets, suggests that altitude of residence is specifically associated with increased risk of suicide and depression,” conclude a trio of University of Utah researchers.

      Experts suggest many factors play into the state’s high suicide rate, from widespread gun ownership, to a stoic cowboy mentality that is common in some rural Western communities, to the influence of religion.

      But it appears at least one leading driver behind Utah’s suicide rate — which ranked fifth in the nation in 2016 — is simply the mountainous geography.

      It turns out other mountainous states have similarly high suicide rates, with Montana, Wyoming and New Mexico also in the top five and Alaska ranked second, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Low atmospheric pressure at altitude causes declining blood oxygen levels. This affects the body’s levels of serotonin.

      One that examined nearly 9,000 suicide deaths in 2006 across 15 states found the suicide rate at high altitudes was three times higher than for those living near sea level. Another study noted a “threshold effect,” where suicide rates increased dramatically between 2,000 and 3,000 feet. Salt Lake City’s altitude is 4,265 feet.

      Depressing. But I still like living at 5,500 ft. :-)

      1. JTMcPhee

        But then, “Comrade,” you have more than a “genteel sufficiency” of that medication that is so effective at treating a lot of the reasons for depression and eventual suicide: MONEY. And the skills and attitude, to go along with your preferred altitude, to avoid the looting by the Blessed Elites, and not fall into the rented class, and to keep adding to your pile.

        Interesting that most of the higher elevation areas fall into the “flyover”-mope domain category, neh? With, of course, exceptions like Aspen and other little enclaves of great wealth…

        Of course, it is the personal fault of all those mopes who have neither been lucky with their array of synapses and education and family, nor sufficiently dedicated themselves to learning the intricacies of the casino games, so they have ended up in the dustbin of the “economy.” I guess. ;-)

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Lack of oxygen. That must be it.

        Because lack of money, lack of a job at a living wage, lack of affordable “healthcare,” lack of access to a decent education and lack of a vision for the future always seemed like such a contrived and implausible explanation for so many wanting to end it all.

        Finally, a reasonable explanation. I’m grateful someone kept looking instead of being seduced by the intuitively obvious.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In a smaller geographic area, say the LA county, I find rich people usually live in hills…Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills, etc.

          (And in Italy too…with their hill towns. But it’s more noticeable in smaller areas like Southern California.)

          But the relationship is not linear. That is, it’s up to only certain elevations. Too high up and to far way, you don’t find as many mansions.

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        That may be true but the piece conveniently ignores socioeconomic factors that are in play in many of these particular high altitude locations In other words, the correlation could just as well be due to another factor (this is a big problem with correlations anyhow, since they are also the weakest form of proof). And this piece engages in a further bad, which is treats a mere correlation as causal.

        These high altitude places also generally are:

        1. Poor

        2. Erratic incomes due to the local economy having significant income dependence on farming or ranching, where incomes are very much affected by weather

        3. Sparsely populated, which generally leads to weak social/community bonds. Sparse social networks are strongly correlated with high suicide risk.

        I did a brief tour of some costal communities in Alaska and even on the worst sort of tourist trek (cruise where we stopped in ports only a day and had little tours led by locals, where the locals were candid real salt of the earth people), they all told stories about how the people in the cities helped each other, like doors were unlocked and the grocery store would deliver orders and put them in the fridge and the how people would help each other out during storms or other emergencies. This was clearly fundamental, the locals all accepted they needed to help each other. Also a lot of vounteerism, like locals driving community busses for free (limited runs, but still important).

        Those communities were also pretty close together physically. Virtually all the houses were near the harbor.

        I’ve never been inland, so even though I am sure the mutual help impulse is as strong, due to the elements. it may be weaker in practice if the communities are less dense.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Social patterns can be very different according to physical geography. Years ago a friend of mine did a mapping study in rural areas where he went through marriage registers and drew a straight line on the map between the home addresses of the couples before marriage.

          The result was quite striking – in lowlands and coastal areas the lines were often very long and spread quite randomly (apart from dense clusters in villages), but in upland areas the lines were densely packed parallel up and down valleys, with remarkably few ‘cross’ valley lines. He joked that he decided not to submit the study for publication as it would only provide fuel for rumours about inbreeding in certain communities.

          But I could certainly believe that in some areas mountains create certain social patterns that may be unhelpful for people socially. Also, of course, upland areas tend to have very severe winters which can be very isolating.

      4. Wukchumni

        I’m suddenly terrified about my situation @ 6,984 presently-but luckily, depressions are merely valleys & canyons I walk through.

      5. Sid Finster

        By that logic, the Netherlands (and for that matter, Death Valley) ought to have the lowest suicide rates in the world.

        Someone want to check?

        1. Wukchumni

          Well, if one were to off themselves in the lower climes, the Dead Sea is a fitting locale.

        2. Expat

          Singapore, whose highest mountain is 164 meters, has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, if not the highest. We don’t really know since the government stopped publishing the numbers when Singapore kept winning the title. There is a lot to be said about the “American Dream” and suicide in Singapore.

          Uncle Lee promised bright futures and success to his people. He dangled images of luxury living, cars, jets, and modern appliances. For the most part, he delivered on his basic promises. He educated the country, got it working, got it modern housing, and gave many of the working class children a good chance to succeed (well, according to the mantra of the Five C’s: cash, credit card, cond, country club, and car).

          But the older generation was left behind. And many of the younger generation, more aware of income distribution and equality and with less loyalty to the old regime, see the rich getting richer, the ruling families staying in power, and their island being turned into a tax shelter for anyone with cash to burn.

        3. HotFlash

          Wondering about Switzerland, too, and of course, Tibet. Maybe that’s the origin of the Shangri-la “live forever” legend.

          1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

            Re Tibet and mortality:

            A few years ago I read/heard/saw on TV that the Chinese who go to Tibet as settlers die young. As I recall, genetically linked chronic altitude sickness was suspected. The only thing I could find after a short Goober search is about child birth in Han Chinese (Goober: pmc 2789738).

            It reminds me of those of us Brits who perished in tropical climes during the ‘best’ days* of Empire.

            Pip Pip!

            * heavy and unsubtle sarcasm!

      6. Wyoming

        Another slight problem with their hypothesis is that #2 Alaska is not a high altitude state at all. Every city/town of any population size at all but one is at sea level on the coast. The exception is Fairbanks at a towering 446 feet above sea level. Less than 1% of the people in the state live at altitudes over 2000 feet.

        Other possibilities are that the high suicide rates might be also be related to nasty winters, cold winds which never seem to stop (where I grew up in Wyoming the winds were vicious), darkness during winter, poor economies, ready access to too much booze, loneliness, and a host of other things.

        1. JTMcPhee

          And the Seattle area is pretty close to sea level, but it has at least a reputation as a suicide hot spot:

          While I lived there, dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder for most of the years, on top of unresolved PTSD and a bad marriage, I could understand also why it was called “The Prozac Capital of America.” All those Scandinavians settling there, forgetting, like the settlers of Garrison Keillor’s “Lake Wobegon,” because it reminded them of home, forgetting why they had left home in the first place… And now they got the Curse of Redmond, and Amazon City, and I-5, and “Who knows when the Big Subduction Quake or Mount Rainier’s next eruption-pyroclastic flow will occur. I remember the Big Snowtorm of 1990, where the city’s special people were abandoning and walking away from their Escalades and Mercedes and BMWs and low-slung Italian jobs, leaving the cars running — just walking away, while desperately trying to get in touch with their counselors and therapy groups…

          I moved to FL just in time. Actually just in time for a couple of pretty awesome hurricane seasons — “Surf’s up, dude!”

      7. crittermom

        I was never aware of that study before, but I agree with Yves that many other factors may contribute to that suicide rate.

        The lower levels of serotonin are something I’ve never heard, but scientifically it could make sense, I suppose.
        I still tend to believe other factors play a large role, as well. Especially the economy.

        It’s true that those at a higher altitude are both more isolated & economically it is more difficult. Many incomes, whether they are ranchers or in the tourist industry, are seasonal.

        But for me, I was happiest for twenty years @ 10,000′ & can’t wait to get back to high altitude living.
        I’m currently living @ just under 6,500′ & it’s still hotter than hell.
        I remain rattled by the frequent sound of sirens that are so foreign to me, or a flight-for-life helicopter flying low overhead to land at the nearby hospital, & I can hardly wait until I can leave.

        Yet I’m still happy to be alive.
        (Yesterday I drove the short distance to around 9,000′ among the tall pines. When I exited my vehicle the familiar smell of the forest made me feel refreshed. I felt right at home).

        Regarding the social aspects, at my former home I watched not only ranchers gather to help at brandings each Spring, but there was enormous support from entire communities, no matter the distance between, when tragedy struck.

        I’m sure there are those who feel isolated but don’t some folks feel that in the city, too, even tho’ there may be a million people around them?

        I can see lack of income & opportunity playing the largest part. Especially where I currently live.
        This state is among the worst in regards to schooling, with low graduation & college preparedness. It’s also very poor.

        Geographically, even tho’ I’m @ over 6,000′, it’s western NM & quite barren most places. Not the mtn cabins some may picture at this ‘high altitude’.
        Not at all.

        Many folks here work at one of 2 prisons or the detention center (which has to be pretty depressing in itself, & I’m told conditions are worse since they’ve been privatized), or Walmart (again, depressing?)

        Historic Route 66 goes thru town, but aside from the new motels, hotels & Walmart on it just off the freeway exit, a half mile further into town reveals empty, crumbling motels, gas stations & cafe’s of yesteryear lining both sides of the route.

        A passenger train zips thru on the heavily traveled RR tracks, but the depot was torn down years ago & it no longer stops. (I would’ve considered taking it to Albuquerque for my treatments, rather than driving the almost 100 miles each way if it did).
        This once historic town appears to have died at least a decade ago.

        Jobs are scarce & despite the fact there are some fabulous artists here, the ONLY gift shop left in all of this ‘city’ closed before tourist season even started this year. (I, myself, am sitting on over $3,000 worth of my own creations with no place to sell them).

        The Hallmark store is closing, after 37 yrs in business.

        But then, that’s just my personal experience.
        In the end, it must be low serotonin. After all, the economy is great. Just ask the govt (who can’t see beyond the skyscrapers or their walled communities). /sarc

      8. Lord Koos

        I suspect that this is a distinctly American problem, and that altitude is just one small factor. Is suicide higher than normal among the residents of countries such as Peru, Nepal, Bhutan, Switzerland, etc? I doubt it.

      9. Anon

        Umm, the highest suicide rates per capita are in the states in the West. These states are either in the Great Basin (average elevation over 3000′) or remote mountainous states (Wyoming/Alaska is #1), or both. Focusing on altitude as a factor is to miss the obvious: the highest suicide rates occur in rural areas (other than Las Vegas, Nevada #5, which can be considered an anomalous community).

        Statistics may “tell you where to look” for coincidence, but does not tell you about causation.

    3. Geo

      Bruno Bettelheim wrote an amazing analysis of the psychological impacts on various class groups he observed during his two years imprisoned in German concentration camps. The whole book should be mandatory reading but this excerpt touches on what you said in your comment:

      The non-political middle-class prisoners were a small minority among the prisoners. They were least able to withstand the initial shock. They found themselves utterly unable to comprehend what happened to them. In their behaviour became apparent the dilemma of the politically uneducated German middle classes when confronted with the phenomenon of National Socialism. They had no consistent philosophy which would protect their integrity as human beings. They had obeyed the law handed down by the ruling classes without questioning its wisdom. And now the law-enforcing agencies turned against them, who always had been their staunchest supporters. They could not question the wisdom of law and police. Therefore what was wrong was that they were made objects of a persecution which in itself must be right, since it was carried out by the authorities. Thus they were convinced that it must be a “mistake.”
      These prisoners resented most to he treated “like ordinary criminals.” After some time they could not help realising their actual situation. Then they disintegrated. Suicides were practically confined to this group. Later on, they were the ones who behaved in an antisocial way; they cheated their fellow prisoners; a few turned spies. They lost their middle-class sense of propriety and their self-respect; they became shiftless and disintegrated as autonomous persons.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Geo: You spotted it. “No consistent philosophy.” Exactly the state of being of most “Americans,” and why us mopes here and across the Globalized World are so ripe for the fplucking: We have no hint of what I think of when I pound the keyboard, wipe the deranged spittle off the screen, and shoot off another little pitch for developing an actually useful “organizing principle.” Looks like most of us mopes are stuck with the usual human behavior, that requires us to have a thought, word and deed Leader to follow, someone to direct us in the Way We Should Proceed.

        The Rich Fokkers,, who decimate and own us mopes, and most everything else in the world, by exercise of hard-nosed, constant attention to THEIR “organizing principle” of MOARism, have figured out how to go about doing what Warren Buffett so jovially and avuncularly and condescendingly announces: Winning the Class War they have started and prosecuted so successfully. And why they and their Forked Enablers and Minions in the 9.9% are so concerned about the small success of people like Bernie Sanders (snipping and sniping away at parts of the Beast from inside the Institutions of Great Power) and what we unhappy cognoscenti, encouraged by popular media, refer to as “AOC.” Because she more directly threatens them, as a person whose eyes appear to be truly open and who has the peeps and perspicacity to lay out the reality and serve as a potential “Liberty Leading The People At The Barricades,” Let’s recall what the 0.1% and their camp followers fear most: a rising of the Mopery,

        (That work of art is a very effective piece of encouragement and propaganda that I hesitate to reference because of #metooism, make of the reference what you all will.)

      2. Enquiring Mind

        One aspect of Bettelheim’s middle class folk may be a human condition or tendency. That is, people shielded from what were once normal or at least not unusual situations may not have developed some type of psychological armor or adaptability with which to comprehend or deal with a material change in circumstances. That shielding may be self-imposed through some voluntary physical and emotional separation, self-medication with drugs, alcohol, shopping, media consumption or variations on a theme as seen daily. There seems to be a component of anesthesia involved.

        One take-away is being unaware of how one may perform under stresses of whatever nature may lead to some unpleasant and potentially lethal experiences. That is not to suggest seeking out trouble, or volunteering someone for some unknown experiences, but more to have greater awareness (and how to do that?) of one’s humanity and the relationship to fellow humans in a variety of conditions.

        1. Geo

          I didn’t share the whole breakdown but it is interesting to see the difference in how the imprisonment impacted other groups. I recommend reading the link if you have time (and his book on the experience if you can find it).

          Your question seems like a “chicken or the egg” type of question. We’re they non-political middle class because they lacked an ability to handle challenges/stresses or vica versa?

    1. BoyDownTheLane

      You don’t even need a microscope. Four or five functional synapses and the ability to do some research in an online world that doesn’t censor or obstruct information will tell you what you need to know.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Ditto. A big leggy for the breed standard, but all the necessary parts are there.

  3. Richard

    I love the crow video. It reminds of one of my favorite read alouds: Tarantula In My Purse, by Jean Craighead George. Their family adopted and raised all sorts of wild animals through the years, including several crows. The perfect late spring read: amusing and touching and about animals! Even some good debate fodder in there about animal rights, baout what our relationship should be with wild animals, and distinctions between pets and wild animals being rescued.

    1. JCC

      We had an neighborhood urban “animal rescue” lady in our neighborhood growing up in Buffalo (Kenmore). If a baby bird or squirrel fell out of a nest or was obviously abandoned, we would hike it over to her house.

      Every summer her backyard ended up being our neighborhood private zoo, a few of the survivors, birds and squirrels, returning every summer and hanging out around her, starlings, sparrows, orioles, and a squirrel or two. It was a pretty cool thing to see for us kids. And she always seemed to be a very happy person (she put up with us after all :-)

    2. crittermom

      I, too, loved the crow video. Thank you, NC!
      The commentary cracked me up, as well, when telling of how they harassed a neighbor’s home.

      I love nature!

      1. JTMcPhee

        I do wish the crows around here, with whom I exchange chatter to my wife’s dismay, would stop leaving the dead, gutted carcasses of baby birds they seize out of distraught lesser birds’ nests in our front birdbath.

        Nature, red of beak and caw…

  4. Darius

    My cousin and her family love French Bulldogs. I suppose it’s their lovable orneriness. The spicy food of dogs. They’re piquant.

    One of them took a disliking to one of our uncles and didn’t want to let him in the house. He just laughed at her, which just made her more ornery.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Merkel and Seehofer make fragile peace”

    That text of compromise – the person who wrote that also does part-time work apparently writing strategic documents for CalPERS as well.

  6. jcmcdonal

    Yeah, there are weird limits on trade between provinces. Mostly we hear about alcohol related restrictions, where it’s impossible sometimes to even sell a wine made in one province in another (or prohibitively taxed). It’s related to this being in provincial jurisdiction, and the lack of anyone caring enough to fix it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I wondered about that as well. Removing those trade barriers sounds like a good thing but would you then replicate the experience of countries such as the US where a few cities capture most of the wealth leaving the people in most of the Provinces destitute as well as most of the Provinces themselves as well? If so, the price to pay may not be worth it.

    2. JEHR

      Poorer provinces, often with smaller populations, that need tax revenue to pay the bills need higher taxes on things like alcohol in order to keep deficits down. When a poor province is close to a large province (Quebec, for example) and where alcohol, for example, is usually much cheaper, then the tax revenue stays in the rich province when citizens go next door to buy things that are cheaper. You can understand why the poorer provinces would try to protect their source of revenue by disallowing selling of the cheaper goods from a larger and richer province.

      Canada tries to even out the expenses of health care by equalization payments so that health care across Canada is close to standard. I don’t know how this standardization could be carried out with commodities though.

      1. Sid Finster

        US states do something similar with property tax revenues, which are typically earmarked for public schools.

  7. zagonostra

    You can note that AOC has hit a national nerve, so yeah they’ll go after her in any trivial, insignificant , misleading way they can. Now you would expect this from the jackal and the hyena, Alex Jones and Shawn Hannity, but what is most revealing is that she is being attacked by the corporate Democrats.

    In an recent interview with Chris Hayes, he said that he was from Queens and that he had been following her campaign closely. Odd, I never heard him cover her campaign or even mention her on his program until she became a sensation…all the interviews reveal more about the interviewers than interviewee; they gloss over substantive issues like the popularity of Medicare-for-all and zoom right in on personality.

    1. Geo

      When the left critiqued Kamala Harris on her record we were accused of being sexist/racist Bernie-bros but when the establishment but when Doolar Dems go after AOC for this frivolous garbage they are what exactly?

      As if we needed proof that the use of Identity Politics over the past few years by Dem leadership is a farce and they care nothing about it in practice, this should clear up any doubts.

      Reminds me of the great scene in the movie Bulworth when Warren Beatty’s character is giving a campaign speech at a black inner city church and a woman asks him, “Are you saying the Democratic Party doesn’t care about black community?” To which he retorts, “Isn’t that obvious?”

    2. RUKidding

      Expect more of the same fluff character assassination of AOC, while glossing over her important campaign issues, going forward.

      AOC has, indeed, hit on a nerve, and she’ll be attacked from both the right and the so-called “left.”

      Count on it. I hope AOC has lots of stamina and a very thick skin. It appears that she does and is prepared.

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      Husband has taken to listening to Rachel Maddow, and I had the misfortune to be in the kitchen on Wednesday when she discussed AOC. After a totally meaningless ramble about what a surprise her winning was, she never once used the phrase “democratic socialist.” Then she went to an on-the-street reporter who totally screwed up and said the evil words, to be quickly shut off so Ms. Maddow could move on to a more important topic. I forget what.

      1. Synoia

        to be quickly shut off so Ms. Maddow could move on to a more important topic. I forget what.

        She moved on to Polishing her ego. Again and Again, because she is, by her own attribution, the sharpest tool in the shed.

        A tool nevertheless.

  8. Expat

    Re: US in Africa
    I travel quite a bit throughout Africa. It is absolutely amazing to see the size and complexity of US embassies in places like Gabon, Ghana and Senegal, places most Americans don’t even know exist (Quick quiz: How many of you could even point out either country on map? And NC readers appear to be pretty damn smart). I find it hard to believe that these massive structures house trade representatives and cultural exchange attachés.
    Africa is off American’s radar, poorly covered by the media, and dismissed when mentioned. Perfect setting for fun and games by the CIA. Ah, just like the old days.

    1. Bill Smith

      The fancy embassies & consulates make it easier to tell apart the fake ones that some scammers have set up to sell fake immigration documents?

      1. Expat

        Dear Sir or Madam,
        I work at the Imbassie of the American United States of America and have passports. These passeports are the extra passports fully approved 100% valid and can to be trusted for using to be American and go to America to live as an AMerican. These passports need only to type it’s name and put it’s picture in it to be valud and good for Americans.

        I have many thousands of these passports and can tell you , good honest sir or madame that you are, because I trust you now that I have known you for an entire paragraph plus some spacing, that I can sell these for many thousands of your US dollars and cents in cash. But for the seling and mking of the big money I am needing an original and real passport plus bank account and passwords. If you are agreeing to give me your real passport, I will share my many thousands of real passports with you so you can travel many times and not worrying about too many stamps and no pages left.

        Please keep this secret. If you like money and travel, plaeas to be responding with your most positive accordance and being agreeable to workign with me.
        OfficialPassport Person,
        US EMbassy Lago, Nigeria

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you and well said, Expat.

      I would add French missions, too. It’s interesting to see how Marianne and Uncle Sam are jumping into the African bed together. One wonders where and when the African Dien Bien Phu, Tet Offensive and evacuation from Saigon will be.

      In Mauritius, especially when the country defends Palestinian rights or asks for the Chagos archipelago / Diego Garcia back, the US ambassador starts organising an identity politics based campaign, the latest being LGBTabcxyz rights. The US embassy began this atomisation campaign under Obama, but it picks up from a tactic devised by the great grandfather of Mrs Samantha Cameron, Governor Bede Clifford.

      When working at Barclays in NYC and asked about my plans for Christmas, I was asked if I was driving to Mauritius. When explaining where the island is, I had to explain that Africa was not one country.

      1. Expat

        When I travel through Africa doing what I do, I ask people what the population of Africa is. Sub-Saharan Africans get it wrong because they forget to count the Maghreb! When I add back in those countries, they reply, “Oh, well, that is not REALLY Africa.” It’s a big place! Until I went there, I only knew Madagascar as a pesky stronghold in Risk.

        1. UserFriendly

          Yes, it really is a VERY big place and most people don’t realize it because of the stupid mercator projection, which leaves people thinking its the size of greenland. The more accurate Gall–Peters projection lets you know it’s closer to 2/3’rds the size of Asia.

          Percent total landmass
          Asia 29.50%
          Africa 20.40%
          North America 16.50%
          South America 12.00%
          Antarctica 9.20%
          Europe 6.80%
          Australia 5.90%

          1. Expat

            Well, I keep meaning to walk around Africa when I go there. I find it helps get a sense of the size and nature of the place. But I never seem to have time after a long day of work.

          2. ewmayer

            “Percent total landmass” — I never get over the sheer chutzpah and disingenuousness of treating Europe and Asia as separate continents. What is that, Euros trying to distance themselves from the deplorable rooskies and slanty-eyed mongol hordes?

      2. Carolinian

        I haven’t checked but the US embassy in Moscow must be huge

        The US defence secretary, General James Mattis, told Estonia’s minister of defence that “Russia is trying to change international borders by force” and at meetings in May with Lithuania’s president and Baltic defence ministers “reassured US allies in the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia of American solidarity with them and of US determination to defend Baltic and other NATO territory against any aggression.”[…]

        In the context of the impending US-Russia presidential talks, not a single Western media outlet mentioned that, as detailed in the 2018 World Report of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), “In 2017 the USA spent more on its military [$610 billion] than the next seven highest-spending countries combined… at $66.3 billion, Russia’s military spending in 2017 was 20 per cent lower than in 2016.”

        Clearly the upcoming Trump-Putin talks pose an even greater peace threat than the Trump-Kim meeting. Many of our NATO empire partners are in a panic.


        1. JTMcPhee

          Here’s the Google Earth imagery of the US embassy,, which sure looks a lot bigger than the pic given in the Wiki entry,,_Moscow. The Wiki article opens with a paragraph from the Cold War, on how a fire on the 8th floor let “KGB firemen” steal a lot of US Secrets. The kind of Secrets that go along with the mission statement from the official US embassy web site: “The mission of the United States Embassy is to advance the interests of the United States, and to serve and protect U.S. citizens in Russia.” Lots of very dense prose in that sentence, for the cynical mind to parse in light of “events, dear boy…” Here’s one take on some of what US Embassy personnel are up to, across the world:

          That official Moscow embassy site lists job openings, “good middle class jobs,” for people wanting to “advance US interests” at the Embassy. Edward Snowden need not apply…

    3. UserFriendly

      I could definitely find them on a map. I do this when I’m board. Admittedly Africa and North America (caribbean island nations) are my worst continents, but I never have more than 6 or 7 left.

    4. MRLost

      Well, don’t forget that a couple of US embassies in Africa got blown up back in the ’90s. Big car bombs. Lots of people killed. Previously, American embassies in Africa had been relatively open affairs but after the bombings State Dept began a building program aimed at protecting all embassies in part by making them fortresses.

      1. Wyoming

        This is by far the biggest reason. Security from bombs.

        A 2nd reason is that (I have been to a couple of dozen of these embassies in Africa) is that most of them are like self contained cities in a way. They often have lodging inside for the Marine Security contingent and that takes up a lot of space, they have gyms for the Marines and other employees, cafeterias, interior gardens/parks, swimming pools, sometimes other lodging, garages/shops for the vehicles, security barriers and facilities to process all the people wanting visas and such as they cannot be brought into the main compound any longer, the blast walls need to be a significant distance from the main buildings, and so on. It is the price which has to be paid in the world we live in today. One just cannot have an office building on the street like once was the case – it is asking to die.

        1. JTMcPhee

          And let us skip over the reasons why those “embassies” got bombed. Couldn’t have anything to do with the activities of the people who live and work in those “embassies?” All the plotting to arrange regime change, all the military equipment sales and other “business arrangements” including assisting in the looting of the resources of the “host country” by the “interests” of the parasitic Imperial “businesses,” stuff like that? And ordinary tourist-class US citizens applying for ‘help” in dealing with the Uppity Wogs, what kind of “help” do those embassies generally provide? Anecdotally, not so much.

          1. oh

            You’re right. They’re no help to US Citizens that are in the countries where the mega bomb shelters embassies are situated. When one sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong, one is liable to get burned.

        1. Expat

          I am never more scared and intimidated than when I have to go to a US embassy or consulate. I would rather stroll through the Bekka Valley with a yarmulke than have to go renew my passport or some other horrid thing.

      2. Expat

        True. Odd how that happens. Why on Earth would someone want to blow up an American Embassy?

        And now the Embassy in London is some sort of medieval fortress surrounded by a moat. This move and design date back to GW Bush. It was sparked by security concerns.

        And once again, Americans ask the same old question, “why do they hate us so much?” as they fire on the refugees from atop their armored embassies. But exaggeration aside, the American border starts not at JFK or Miami-Dade. It starts at the embassy gate. And the message across the world is “Go Away! or we will shoot!”

    5. Lord Koos

      “Fun and games by the CIA” — this is definitely one of the reasons these large, fortified embassies exist.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I read once that the United States is the only country in the world that will never have a revolution and the reason is that Washington does not have a US Embassy.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Ex co-worker no fan of Democrat darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Page Six

    Ocasio-Cortez should treat this as a compliment. If they are so desparate for dirt on her that they’d run something pathetic like this, then the establishment really is scared of her.

    The worry should be that of course nothing is private these days and so they’ll dig very deep. If they can’t find anything ‘real’, they’ll use things like disgruntled ex-bfs (real or imagined) telling stories designed to besmirch her. Remember when they tried to tar Sanders with some ancient essay he wrote in the 1970’s.

    1. hemeantwell

      Trumpism has alerted me to the potential of the sleaze vortex. On AOC I’ve take an oath of ignorance.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Well, that does it. I’m never going to run for office. Because, like AOC, I have ex-coworkers.

    2. Lord Koos

      Who reads “Page Six” anyway? I never heard of it before clicking on that link.

      1. liam

        But you did click the link and you’re talking about it right now, so … mission accomplished.

        When you’re digging through the muck to find some dirt, at some point, you have to throw it at the wall to see what sticks. And even if it’s all nonsense, it gets the word out in its own sickening way that there’s a market for any possible skeletons in her closet.

  10. hemeantwell

    The risk domestically is that AMLO will be perceived to be a dud

    The emphasis on the corruption issue in campaign coverage may be skewing my perspective, but it does seem like there’s quite a lot of low hanging fruit to be picked. Perp walks do not a revolution make, but they should give him some breathing room. There’s also plenty of money hidden offshore that he could try to dredge in, etc.

    1. johnnygl

      He’s talked a lot about the oil services contracts that pena nieto signed. If he digs in there, no doubt he’ll find a treasure trove of mischief.

      AMLO must hit the oligarchs ASAP and start the perp walks. It will boost his popularity, fracture the opposition, and buy him some goodwill.

      He should also hit the fiscal accelerator, but he’s already talking like he won’t. He should hit the monetary accelerator, too, but he’s already talking about respecting central bank independence. If he’s more subtle, he can probably just raise the inflation target. That might be enough.

  11. Jim A.

    Re tax cuts “According to GE’s CEO, however, decisions were “always made with the long-term interests of the company in mind.” Can you swallow that and not gag? ”

    To these guys, “long-term” means “NEXT quarter, perhaps the one after. No later than my next set of stock options mature”

  12. PlutoniumKun

    The Outer Line: Beer money or nest egg? Revamping prize money VeloNews. Alex V: “Some “economics” from a different field than that normally found on NC. An intriguing proposal, but assumes too much regarding trustworthiness of finance and performance of invested funds.”

    This is kinda interesting – I’ve read a few (auto) biographies of famous cyclists, and it has always been striking that prize money was so irrelevant to the top riders (in contrast, of course, to what a conventional economic model of rewards would assume). They would normally by tradition give it to their team mates in recognition that of all ‘individual’ sports, cycling is the most team oriented. Cycling has never been a big money sport – only a handful of elite riders would get rich, the vast majority would barely scrape a living. Most of their income (at all levels) would be their team salary and bonuses. The top riders would have an extra, very lucrative source of money in appearance fees (although I don’t think this is as important as it was in the glory days of pro-riding).

    Essentially, the reward for a major win would be that at the end of season they would cash in by doing the circuit of mid-range local races, almost all involving off-the-books cash incentives to the individual rider (not the team). They would then usually deliberately not win those races, in order to ensure the lower level riders had an opportunity of their own cash-in. Apparently, Lance Armstrong was notorious for insisting on big cash payments for all his appearances.

    Like a lot of ex-pro sportment, there is a long history of retirees living in poverty, unable to adjust to normal life. That proposal seems a pretty good way of addressing the problem.

  13. fresno dan

    Horseshoe crabs Quartz

    the article states that the blood of the beastie is used to test for sterility, but the LAL (limulus amoebocyte lysate) test is actually used to test for endotoxin. Endotoxin is a material associated with the cell walls of bacteria, causes fever and can cause death. It is not neutralized by sterilization and until the LAL test was licensed the only way to check for it was injecting rabbits with samples of whatever you wanted to check.

  14. fresno dan

    Biggest study of vaginas shows there’s no such thing as ‘normal’ New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

    Fortunately…or maybe not, the paywall did not prevent my viewing of the v*gina wall….
    and….for the first time ever, my comment will be “no comment”

    though I will relate that when I was in the air force a friend was assigned to a room that the previous occupant had wallpapered top to bottom and the ceiling with Hustler centerfolds (Hustler was infamous for its spread legged centerfolds) and his picture of his wife’s face next to his bed with the wall background was incongruous, to say the least…

    1. The Rev Kev

      In the end, it is just a matter of being either convex or concave – or sometimes even both.

    2. ewmayer

      As with navels, “Innie or Outie?” is really about as far as I go with discrimination in this regard.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Wasn’t there a big study back in the 1970s with a joint paper put out by Ron Jeremy, Harry Reems and John Holmes?

    1. NoOneInParticular

      Interesting that the 17-minute clip in Yves’ link used blue to represent Union positions and red for Confederate positions. Blue and gray used to be the standard colors of choice for Civil War matter. Mr. Subliminal at work?

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      I had heard in childhood that my paternal grandfather was with the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Battle of Gettysburg but I didn’t get around to reading much about the war until I was over 60. When I read Pale Horse at Plum Run and learned that the regiment suffered nearly 80% casualties during that hellish hour I wondered by what chance luck was I even here on the Earth?

      I emailed the author and asked what specific information he had on the man. I gave him the family’s variant spelling of a fairly common surname and he responded that there was no such soldier on the roster. A few years later I was doing some ancestor research at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul and found bound copy of the official regimental history. There I found that there was a private in Company C with another close variant of the common surname who had the correct first name. He was listed as age 18 at the time of enlistment, however, family lore is that he signed up shortly after arriving from Sweden as a 16 year old orphan. Since no one else in the regiment was listed at any age under 18, I assume that this man is my grand father. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that someone lied about his age to enlist.

      The other important fact I found out was that Company C was not present at the Plum Run action on the afternoon of July 2. They had been assigned to division headquarters for the day to provide security. I guess that explains why I’m here to write this.

      1. Heraclitus

        My great-grandfather was in the Charlottesville Artillery (CSA). He was perhaps twenty years old in 1863. Throught the magic of Google, I found a plaque at Gettysburg that showed where his unit was during the battle. They fired their four Napoleans on Day 1, to make sure they worked, and that sat tight for the remainder of the battle, i.e..they didn’t fire them again. I presume this was because Confederate forces were aligned in a fishhook pattern, which limited maneuverability. He named a daughter after his commander, Captain Carrington, and another daughter after a Confederate Captain who became his good friend after great-grandfather re-located from Virginia to SC after the war. He’s listed twice in the rolls of his unit, and was listed twice in the 1850 census, when he was seven years old. A strange coincidence.

        Longstreet’s idea was to pull up stakes and head to Washington, since the Federal Army was located north of Gettysburg, and the Army of Northern Virginia was south. Lee nixed the idea, I think because of the aforementioned fishhook. Longstreet became a Republican and US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire after the war. He was friends with Grant, and was possibly in Grant’s wedding.

  15. rd

    “That money would have served the company better if spent on creative development, rather than on making blood-sucking board members richer”

    The assumption is that the blood-sucking board members and corporate executives would know how to do creative development. There is little proof of this in many corporations.

  16. Alex morfesis

    Roe v Wade RE-legalized the issue…red shirt Hamburg Democrats and fake “originalist” Republicans love to bend and fake history…the founding fathers would laugh at the notion women were walking talking public incubators whose uterus once trespassed upon by some males swimmers could be forced to carry some man’s seed to term…

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      ……the notion women were walking talking public incubators whose uterus once trespassed upon by some males swimmers could be forced to carry some man’s seed to term…

      Perfectly said.

      As a former incubator whom Mother Nature has seen fit to relieve, forever, of her divinely decreed reproductive obligation, I can only hope that the supreme synod of males in their flowing robes will continue to permit “us” to drive. Not because we are worthy, of course, but for all the innocent, soccer-playing children requiring a ride to practice.

      1. Jim Haygood

        As Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale suggested, defiant women who can’t adjust to the coming post-Kennedy legal regime might be offered work at Jezebel’s brothel rather than be forced to toil in the Colonies, cleaning up radioactive waste. :-0

    1. crittermom

      Oh, I’m envious! I miss the wildlife terribly. My former residences were more similar to living in a zoo.

      I don’t appreciate the type of ‘zoo’ I now live in (an apt).

      Beautiful photo.

  17. Pavel

    Just to say the BBC video on the 103-year-old French pianist really brightened my morning. Thank you!

        1. Heraclitus

          My wife’s grandmother is ninety-nine, French, and very sharp. She still lives alone. The French have something going on.

    1. Mark Alexander

      Great video, very inspiring. I love that Debussy piece (it’s too hard for me, alas) and her playing is beautiful.

  18. Jim Haygood

    NYT swallows the Tesla Kool-Aid as it’s given a tour of the Tent:

    If [Musk’s] gamble pays off, it will be a big step toward Tesla’s audacious ambitions: not just to be a mass-market automaker, but also to reinvent the way autos are made.

    A recent daylong tour of the Fremont plant revealed how Tesla is trying to break with standard auto-industry practices all along the Model 3 assembly lines. The automaker set up multiple assembly lines and is changing production processes on the fly.

    In a very tangible sense, Tesla views its production line as a laboratory for untested techniques. The willingness to experiment with the production process even as cars are rolling off the line is perhaps the most significant way Tesla is defying the industry’s conventional wisdom.

    Front and center in the lead photo is a forklift laboriously toting a car body to the tent — the Stone Age of manufacturing. Tesla also is throwing hundreds of barely-trained new hires at its production shortfall.

    Viewing the production line as a “laboratory for untested techniques” provokes shudders of horror in anyone who’s ever worked in a plant. It’s a euphemism for “out of control,” just as “willingness to experiment” is code for “desperately trying anything.”

    “Musk said he did not expect the gross margin on the Model 3 to reach the 25 percent target until early next year, six to nine months later than previously forecast,” acknowledges the article.

    The real date to achieve 25 gross margin on the Model 3: NEVER.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Inside Tesla’s production miracle in Fremont:

      Elon Musk appears to have asked engineers at his Fremont, California factory to remove a standard brake test, called the brake and roll test, from the tasks Model 3 cars must complete in order to move through production, according to internal documents seen by Business Insider.

      The test was apparently shut down before 3 am on Tuesday, June 26, according to a person familiar with the matter. It’s unclear why this particular test was halted or for how long.

      According to an industry expert, the brake and roll test is a critical part of the car manufacturing process, taking place during its final stages. The test ensures that the car’s wheels are perfectly aligned, and it also checks the brakes and their function by taking the vehicle’s engine up to a certain RPM and observing how they react on diagnostic machines.

      No worries. Any braking or alignment issues can be fixed with an over-the-air software update. :-)

      1. bronco

        Maybe the cars they make in the tent aren’t real and don’t need brakes. Testing them would be kind of a waste of time.

    2. Lemmy Caution

      Under Elon’s Big Top:

      It’s what “Move Fast and Break Things” looks like in real life!

      Slogan: There’s a Tesla born every minute!

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “(L)aboratory for untested techniques”

      i know for some die-hard foodies, when it comes to a new eatery, that’s not a problem.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Heathrow border officers seize smuggled vulture chicks BBC

    If we are to abolish the ICE, we also need to have a replacement ready for something like this, no?

    Borders will still be there…until we’re all one…we’re the world.

    And border officers there to seize smuggled vulture chicks.

    1. Alex V

      Customs and Border Patrol already exist and fulfill this function. ICE is a separate entity with a different “mission”.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        From Wikipedia:

        U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a law enforcement agency of the Federal government of the United States under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). ICE has two primary components: Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). Headquartered in Washington, D.C., ICE is charged with the investigation and enforcement of over 400 federal statutes within the United States and maintains attachés at major U.S. diplomatic missions overseas

        U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was formed pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, following the events of September 11, 2001. With the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, the functions and jurisdictions of several border and revenue enforcement agencies were combined and consolidated into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Consequently, ICE is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, and the second largest contributor to the nation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

        Not sure if catching animal smugglers is included or not from the article.

        I assume with ‘Customs.’ it’s up to the ICE to catch them. If not, what agency is in charge of it? Not the TSA, I assume.

        1. Alex V

          Sorry, misremembered exact name… Customs and Border Protection still exists:

          If there ever was an appropriate use of Department of Redundancy Department…

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


            If the ICE is abolished, will all of its work (or some) be done by the CBP then?

            How does that change the current situation – same job, done by another agency in that case?

            One of the first questions most people might have is, if the ICE is abolished , will they stop catching human or child traffickers (the ICE’s job, from reading Wikipedia)?

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I gather that ICE’s basic function before the invention of ICE was performed by something called INS . . . the Immigration and Naturalization Service. So perhaps the people displeased with ICE could say Back To The Future: close ICE and bring back INS.

      Unless they really do support multimillion incoming illegal immigration. If that’s what they support, they will telegraph that fact by saying ” abolish ICE and don’t replace it with anything”. Then we will know what they stand for and where they are coming from.

  20. Matthew G. Saroff

    I disagree with the thesis about the Danish “Ghetto” rule.

    The problem is not that it is excessive, but that it is inadequate.

    All welfare payment recipients, regardless of religion or ethnicity, of welfare payments should have their young children in early intervention programs, not just Muslims, and in that context it is appropriate to use those payments as an way to do this.

    A lot of the bigotry on the other side comes from the poor as well, and by making sure that they are exposed to each other early in life would make for a better Danish society.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I agree. And I can look no further than my immediate neighbors, where I can find close to a dozen examples of young children who should be in early intervention programs, and, yes, they’re probably getting some sort of government payments.

      1. Arizona Slim

        In one instance, I tried to refer one of the children to a nearby Head Start program. It would have been a great help to her and her family.

        I called the Head Start and asked if they did neighborhood outreach. Answer: Yes. I was asked if I suspected neglect, and, boy, did I ever.

        As far as I know, that child never went into Head Start. She has since disappeared from our neighborhood, and I reported that to our state’s child safety department. No word on whatever happened to this little girl. I hope she’s okay.

        Methinks that early intervention COULD have done a world of good.

  21. freedomny

    The dog in the antidote looks like a boston terrier but the ears aren’t standing up – so probably some kind of mix in there.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Boston terriers’ ears are cropped if they don’t stand erect on their own. This one’s ears just haven’t been cropped. Like the bulldog and other similar breeds, Bostons were used for rat-baiting and other sports initially, and pendant ears were a liability.

  22. Kevin

    Back in the mid-eighties I worked for an architectural firm and I managed clients based in Mexico City (Suburbia and Salinas Y Rocha). While travelling down a major expressway with the client and several others, a motorcade started going by. Police on cycles and in cars and several black limousines – seemed like it went on forever, sirens blaring. I asked the client if this was the Mexican President passing by. He laughed, and said no, it is more than likely the police giving a local drug king an escort from the airport to his mountain residence.

    He was not joking – he looked me straight in the eye and told me if I ever got in trouble in Mexico – go to any Mexican – NEVER to the police.

  23. cojo

    David Brin, a polymaths latest take on our economy and state of affairs.

    “We have known – ever since Adam Smith gazed across the last 4000 years – that a feudal oligarchy does not invest in productive capacity. Nor does it spend much on goods or services that have large multiplier effects (that give middle class wage earners a chance to keep money moving). Instead, aristocrats have always tended to put their extra wealth into rentier (or passive rent-seeking) property, or else parasitic-crony-vampiric cheating through abuse of state power.”

    1. witters

      And then he writes this: “is it really part of the plan to wage open war on every single fact-using profession? Now including not just science and journalism and law, but the FBI, intelligence agencies and the military officer corps? “

  24. Ignacio

    Today I had a lesson on Gettysburg battle. Reviewing these events is a must, just for us not to forget how brutish can we be. Thanks for the link!

  25. Wukchumni

    After my 3rd trip to NZ in the early 80’s, I had a plan to be in GODZone on a permanent basis, as I was gonna find me a sheila and immigrate on a Mrs. degree, and back in those days it was perhaps the ultimate cradle to grave socialist country, with heavy import duties on damn near everything, and i’d noticed in the classifieds that Yank tanks such as a 1978 Trans Am with 50,000 miles on it was fetching NZ$50k, and the way the laws worked vis a vis marrying a Kiwi, I was allowed to import 1 vehicle free of duty, and said Trans Am was worth more like US$5k, so there was a wee bit of arbitrage potential.

    The only issue being that I never found her…

    My wife & I looked into it now and then over the years, and before we got all old and stuff, we had enough points to make it happen, but that was then and this is now.

  26. JohnnyGL

    “Awful scene on the orange line. A woman’s leg got stuck in the gap between the train and the platform. It was twisted and bloody. Skin came off. She’s in agony and weeping. Just as upsetting she begged no one call an ambulance. “It’s $3000,” she wailed. “I can’t afford that.”
    2:45 PM – 29 Jun 2018 “

    Welcome to healthcare in MA, Thomas Frank’s shining example of Democratic Party fantasy land….where the health insurance coverage is near universal, and often universally unaffordable.

    1. BondsOfSteel

      This is healthcare in America… not just MA.

      BTW, Taxis are much better then Uber/Lift. The rideshares are people’s private cars… they often refuse people if they think they might bleed or ruin the upholstery. The taxis are slower… but will almost always take you.

    2. Expat

      Once again, that is an issue of costs, not insurance.
      Americans get what they vote for. If you want socialized health care, vote for it. If you want unaffordable healthcare in any other form, vote against socialized health care.

      1. crittermom

        The biggest problem with that is in having someone to vote FOR who also believes in socialized health care.
        With Democrats like a Clinton being the only choice, it’s impossible. (How quickly many forget the ‘health care plan’ she was putting together for Bill when he was in ofc–that never materialized)

        And, of course, Trump & his Republican ilk would never go for such a ‘frivolity’ to help the ‘lower classes’.

        If Bernie once again runs, how far will they let him get this time?

        Would this be a good time to once again suggest a Kickstarter fund to send the Clintons, Trumps, Obama’s, & Congress to explore Mars?
        I can skip a meal & chip in the first buck…

        1. oh

          They need a swift KICK (starter) in the butt that carries them on a one way trip to Mars.

          1. crittermom

            My point precisely.
            Who was it that recently said a trip to Mars would take years & be a one-way trip, with those first ‘astronauts’ never returning? (Elon Musk?)
            That’s why I chose those I did to make that first trip. Send ’em off, never to return. (Tho’ I suspect those listening for space noises would still hear Hillary whining, “But it was MY turn!”)

            I’m still shaking my head over Trump wanting to form a ‘Space Farce Force’.
            Especially when he asked who wanted to become a “space cadet”!

            Such a phrase confirms he led a sheltered childhood.
            Still chuckling about it.
            But then, I was a teen in the hippie 60’s when I first heard that label.
            And I took a school bus instead of a limo to school.

        2. Expat

          It’s hopeless. You live in a country which takes medical advice on vaccinations from a former Playboy centerfold. And while I am not saying that just because a woman exhibits her body nude she cannot be intelligent and educated, I don’t think the person in question has any credentials beyond a 38 D.

          1. crittermom

            Not to mention we have a prez who was a reality TeeVee star with a huge ego.

            I still refuse to give up hope, however.
            Just hoping to see the changes in my lifetime–& ornery enough to stick around a while yet.

          2. Lambert Strether

            We also live in a country where “the best and the brightest” got us into Vietnam, and the same credentialed crew from Harvard and Yale gave us the Great Financial Crash, and then its aftermath.

            Something to be said for the 38D, I would say.

              1. Expat

                Rev Kev for the Win!
                Coming back to Vietnam, it wasn’t Kennedy’s best and brightest who got us into Vietnam. It was Truman and Eisenhower.
                Who first backed, trained and armed Ho Chi Minh? Well, who first backed, trained and armed Bin Laden and Saddamn Hussein? It was the OSS then the CIA then the War Department.

  27. Alex

    Re the Denmark’s migrants policy, it’s entirely expected that this would happen given the failure of the model used in all the other West European countries. It might also fail of course. There are few examples of successful integration of lots of immigrants in the past. In case of the US in 19-early 20 centuries, there was emphasis on assimilation, very little by way of welfare state and obviously they were pretty selective imposing various race/ethnicity-based quotas.

    One example of a modern relatively high-welfare state taking in a lot of immigrants I can think of is Israel, which experienced an influx of Middle Eastern Jews in 50s and then 1mln or so of the Jews from the former USSR. It’s been pretty successful in a sense that inter-group inequality is decreasing and the groups themselves are mixing. But it hasn’t been painless and it’s a very much exceptional place so it’s hard to generalise from this experience.

  28. Tomonthebeach

    As mob lynchings fueled by WhatsApp messages sweep India, authorities struggle to combat fake news.

    This is not an internet problem or a social media problem; it’s an overpopulation problem. Fratricide occurs whenever you fill a cage with too many conspecies. In college back in the 60’s, just for the weekend, we put the lab rats from 3 cages together (all ratus norvigicus) in order let paint dry on to overhauled ones. Monday morning, among the 45 rats, 6 were carcasses, and 2 more were being cannibalized. There were uneaten food pellets in the cage. I did some research and found that this was no isolated freak incident. Now we see it with people.

  29. BrianStegner

    I don’t do paywalls of sites I’m not a voluntary member of. Did anyone read the Stiglitz article? And was there any part of it that wasn’t a rehash of observations we’ve all already “observed?” Care to summarize? LOL

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe it’s those radio messages from London to the French resistance.

      “wound my heart with a monotonous languor…”

      We are supposed to go ‘huh?”

      It’s normal.

  30. Musicismath

    An American Facebook friend of mine just posted this surprisingly sane and clear-eyed piece of analysis from of all places Vox:

    Elevating the Trumpian threat … only serves … to reinforce his political strength. It reduces all of American politics to a symbolic culture war battle, in which Trump’s team has the largest and most cohesive demographic bloc while actively demoralizing some key progressive constituencies. To win, the much more demographically disparate liberal coalition needs to make politics be about concrete things — schools, health care, Social Security, taxes — and emphasize the enduring relevance of “ordinary” politics to American life.

    Matt Yglesias, Donald Trump, the resistance, and the limits of normcore politics, Vox (3 July 2018).

    Now, most of my American Facebook friends are liberal academics and (I’m sorry to say) deeply lost to TDS. So I was very surprised to come across this there. Of course, the poster is now getting mobbed by all his erstwhile “friends,” insisting that Yglesias is wrong for inchoate, poorly articulated reasons. I called bingo with the comment that (1) bragged about attending grad school with one of the authors cited; (2) used the hashtags #manchild and #resist (even though this is FB and hashtags don’t actually work); and (3) casually invoked the Almighty Putin, before (4) primly reproving Yglesias for misusing the word “normcore.”


    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Facebook uses hashtags. They have for several years now, as a way to trigger their algorithms for deciding what you get to read.

  31. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Trade War is Here: Some of the New “Facts of Life” Zero Anthropology. UserFriendly questions a parenthetical: “Canadian provinces don’t ​have free trade with each other?” Separately, a friend warned me I need to emigrate to Canada soon (as much as I’d like to, I don’t have the energy right now, and I don’t have a path in unless I am sponsored) because when Trudeau gets turfed out, immigration restrictions will tighten. Unless the Canadian real estate market tanks, of course, since they might copy Spain at the crisis low and give citizenship in return for a big enough real estate purchase (which was not all that high since the point was to prop up normal people’s home prices, but that still takes $ and a lot of fracas)

    This is like a corporation trying to kick older or existing workers so it can bring in younger and cheaper replacements.

    Here, we have thinking, intelligent Americans looking to move abroad, and younger and more willing to ‘assume the starting position in the upward-mobility-race’ replacements coming in from abroad.

  32. rd

    Re: Trump and NATO

    I don’t believe that Americans understand that NATO has only responded once to a member country being attacked…..this resulted in the NATO invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11.

    NATO is still in Afghanistan as part of Operation Resolute Support

    Canada was in Afghanistan from 2002-2014. 159 Canadians died in Afghanistan during this period – the first four that died were killed by an American F-16 in a friendly fire incident.

    I wonder if Trump will be aware of any of this when he meets with NATO in the upcoming days.

  33. The Rev Kev

    “Archbishop Philip Wilson sentenced for concealing child sex abuse”

    They should have put the sob in prison where he belonged. The fact that he is still being protected by mother church tells people all they need to know about who has what priorities.

  34. John Beech

    Does it bother you to learn the President sent a note to NATO leaders regarding their not meeting their 2% of GDP for defense-spending obligation? What bothers you about it? What if your building association, or HOA sent a note saying the brick wall surrounding the property needed repair. However, what if some of the tenants are in arrears, e.g. haven’t been paying their share of the dues? What if it were you that was in arrears and another of the tenants ponied up on your behalf? Maybe it’s because you were out of work but they like you. What if you had found work, and life was now actually going pretty good for you, but the other tenant had continued paying your share of the dues? Would that be right? And what if he learned of your success? Would he be in the wrong for telling you to step up? With respect to Germany, compared to us, or Japan, or Australia, or Canada, they’ve become so wealthy they don’t have a deficit. What I’m saying is while we run a deficit each year, they run a surplus! Meanwhile, they only pay 1.27% vs. 2% of their GDP toward defense. The point is; even if you hate President Trump, how can you be upset at his calling them out on it? Especially when they can’t cry poor! Put another way, we’re borrowing money to defend them against Russia – that’s your money, e.g. a debt we’ve undertaken on Germany’s behalf. All while they’ve got enough money to be saving each year. In your estimation, is this right?

    1. Lambert Strether

      > we’re borrowing money to defend them against Russia – that’s your money, e.g. a debt we’ve undertaken on Germany’s behalf

      We do not, in fact, have to borrow the money at all; see today’s MMT post. Now if you want to make the argument that our NATO commitment sucks up real resources that would be better used elsewhere, that’s fine, but a very different argument.

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