Links 7/4/18

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Bear. Hot Tub. Margarita NPR (David L)

The last honeybee refuge in the US is disappearing New York Post

These 11 Companies Control Everything About the Fourth of July Vice

85 Percent of the Asteroid Belt Is Composed of the Remnants of Ancient Planets Interesting Engineering (Kevin W)

‘Everybody needs to pray’: Boys soccer team trapped underground could be taught how to swim and scuba dive TODAY as British cave explorer says we will know if they will survive in the next 24 hours Daily Mail. Lots of photos. Jeff W:

I’m sending you this link because it’s the only article I’ve seen so far that includes am image with a cross-section of the cave network which shows clearly what these boys, their coach, and any of the rescuers are up against. (It’s surprising—usually the NYT and The Guardian have the best informational graphics.)

An adopted Wisconsin woman searched for the sister she never met — and found her literally next door Twin Cities (Chuck L)

Bullied schoolgirl arrives at her prom with a motorcade escort of more than 120 bikers in heart-warming show of support organised by her uncle Daily Mail (Kevin W)

California’s wine country fire has been brewing for years Mashable (David L)

This Power Plant Has Cracked Carbon Capture Bloomberg (David L)

Sweden May Hold the Secret to Reducing Traffic Deaths Wall Street Journal


China faces perfect storm as currency plunges and Trump opens fire Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph (David L)

China’s ‘political warfare’ aims at South China Sea Asia Times

State Department’s Request to Send Marines to Taiwan Irks China


What Theresa May will ask her Cabinet to agree on Friday Robert Peston, ITV

Court to hear Brexit challenge by 97-year-old WW2 veteran Guardian

U.K. Businesses at ‘Breaking Point’ Over Lack of Brexit Clarity Bloomberg (vlade)

UK’s latest Brexit proposal is unrealistic, say EU officials Guardian

Germany’s SPD makes Angela Merkel wait for approval on migrant deal DW

The great balance sheet shift of British universities, pt. I FT Alphaville (vlade)

Wiltshire: ‘unknown substance’ leaves pair critically ill in Salisbury hospital Guardian

New Cold War

Former US Envoy to Moscow Calls Intelligence Report on Alleged Russian Interference ‘Politically Motivated’ Consortium News

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Gmail messages ‘read by human third parties’ BBC (David L)

Europe is using smartphone data as a weapon to deport refugees Wired

Juggalos figured out how to beat facial recognition The Outline

Tariff Tantrum

Musical instrument manufacturer threatens to move overseas due to Trump tariffs The Hill (Michael Hudson)

EU weighs international talks on cutting car tariffs Financial Times

Trump goes to war with corporate America Politico

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

U.S. Allows ZTE to Resume Some Business Activity Temporarily Bloomberg

Trump Transition

Meet the Mueller pundits Politico

Alan Dershowitz Says Martha’s Vineyard Is ‘Shunning’ Him Over Trump New York Times

Trump Ends Obama Policies on Race in College Admissions Wall Street Journal

Ohio State sex scandal complicates Jordan’s possible Speaker bid The Hill


The buzzword at center of Supreme Court clash The Hill

Bronx Machine Gathers to Sort Through Post-Joe Crowley Wreckage Intercept. Too funny.

Glencore Drops After U.S. Orders Documents in Corruption Probe Bloomberg

New York and Virginia Become the First States to Require Mental Health Education in Schools Fortune (Kevin W)

Puerto Ricans Displaced By Hurricane Maria Can Stay In Hotels Through July 23 HuffPost

Barnes & Noble Fires Its CEO Without Severance Pay Bloomberg

Here’s Why Vacant Stores, Zombie Malls Are Much Bigger than Mall Vacancy Rates Indicate Wolf Street (EM)

Deutsche Bank fined $205M for ‘unsound’ conduct in Forex trading business Compliance Week (Adrien F)

Goodbye Regulations, Hello Impending Global Financial Crisis Truthout

Guillotine Watch

Testosterone causes men to desire luxury goods Science Blog (Dr. Kevin)

Class Warfare

Chinese AI beats 15 doctors in tumor diagnosis competition The Next Web. The accuracy rate of both approaches is still not so hot from a patient perspective.

US Tax Receipts By Category – God Bless the Child Jesse (Kevin W)

Cities need to stop selling out to big tech companies. There’s a better way Guardian

Antidote du jour (diptherio):

And a bonus video:

Plus a Fourth of July fireworks finale:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. fresno dan

    Bear. Hot Tub. Margarita NPR (David L)

    After that, Hough tells the AP, the ursine bather “popped out of the bushes, walked right over to the margarita, knocked it over and lapped it.”
    Aren’t you suppose to tie your margarita to the branch of a tree high enough up so bears can’t get them???
    AND…who leaves undrunk margaritas around?

  2. fresno dan

    Here’s Why Vacant Stores, Zombie Malls Are Much Bigger than Mall Vacancy Rates Indicate Wolf Street (EM)
    Stores that emptied out and became zombie stores in zombie malls, or the Toys ‘R’ Us stores in bad areas with zero hopes of finding another retail tenant, etc. – they’re not being counted as “vacant” retail space because they’re no longer being marketed as retail space, and the square footage of that retail space disappears from the vacant retail space stats.

    That space may remain shuttered and vacant for years, with a fence around that is catching tumbleweeds, as lenders tussle over who gets what, if anything, until the land can hopefully be sold to a developer who might bulldoze the walls and build an apartment complex on it.
    Seems like deja vu all over again….what is it that seems so similar??? Like another kind of rate where if the counting entity has every incentive in the world to make the rate look smaller than it really is, it does report the rate smaller than it really is by using arbitrary and capricious criteria. Like if you haven’t looked for a job in the last ten minutes, or worked for an hour in the last month, or sumthin’ ….what is that? Well, whatever it is, its just another example that figures lie, and liars figure.

    1. apberusdisvet

      And those marvelous GDP numbers that, in actuality when considering true inflation, have been negative for the last decade. When the next crash occurs, credit will dry up; the banks will close, and nothing will be delivered to grocery stores. Certainly will be a shock to those who haven’t prepared and have faith in the USG.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘When the next crash occurs, credit will dry up; the banks will close, and nothing will be delivered to grocery stores.’

        It’s happening already, say our valiant troops on the front lines of the #secondcivilwarletters —

        Dearest Xer,

        Conditions on the front are grim. Our soy rations are down to two lattes a day. Wifi is only one bar. We have but the writings of Senator Ta-Nehisi to comfort us during the frog barrages. Intel reports General McInnes’ forces are on the move

        My dearest Madison;

        Whilst engaging hostiles in Santa Clarita, we found ourselves pinned down between Starbucks, Peets, Seattle’s Best and an Einstein’s bagels. We are running low of seasonal blends and jalapeño cheddar.
        Send rations.


        I am safely in Vancouver.
        It is lovely. Everyone rides bicycles.
        Their prime minister seems delightful.
        I will attempt to send Coffee Crisp and Ketchup flavoured Lays to you and your battalion in the morn.

        My dearest mother;

        I’m all out of organic sunscreen and the microaggressions have really taken a toll.

        I’m shook; the worst part of battle was when someone addressed me without proper pronouns, and assumed I wanted to use the men’s restroom.

        Oh my … people don’t get satire no more. This barbed writing really will provoke violence. :-0

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I see where I had been wrong up to now…the sunscreen has to be organic.

          After that, I must pay more attention to even more mundane, everything objects…perhaps the toilet paper has to be organic too,,,it does come in contact with your body.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              It doesn’t matter if the trees had been sprayed with chemicals or if the pulping process was chemical?

              1. zapster

                I once did some work in a paper plant, running cat 5. It was disturbing. Many large open buildings, with an inch or 2 of paper dust all over them, and no spiders, no mice, no birds, no insects anywhere. It was scary.

        2. Ted

          Oh good, you can tell when a movement is thoroughly bourgeois mainstream when the satire works. Well, done.

    2. John Wright

      I went to the local Sears in Santa Rosa, CA a few days ago.

      There were a number of empty shelves in the tool department, few customers and even less help.

      I understand that Sears has sold the Craftsman brand to Stanley tools, so one sees Craftsman showing up at other stores such as Lowes and Orchard Supply (was owned by Sears, but now owned by Lowes).

      Maybe some zombie Sears stores should be counted as “vacant”.

      Richter can explain the lower than actual mall vacancy rate by taking a cue from those quoting “the record low unemployment rate” in the USA.

      We don’t have vacant mall buildings, we have discouraged landlords who are no longer looking for tenants.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Invisible unemployed/underemployed US.workers.

        Invisible (former) retail stores.

        Invisible children separated from their bread stealing American parents.

        And invisible home-grown homeless, unless they go south and get caught trying to re-enter the country without a passport.

      2. ambrit

        Our local Sears just announced it is closing down. The chain looks to be imploding.

  3. vlade

    Thai cave rescue:

    You can teach someone enough to be able to do shallow dives in a day, in good conditions (warm clear shallow water).
    In a cave, the only object why they may want to give the boys some diving “experience” is to reduce a chance of panic if they have to get them out underwater. I’d not call it training though.

    I did technical (i.e. not recreational, but not professional) diving, including deep diving (as in beyond the recreational limit of 30m), wreck penetration diving etc. Cave diving is also technical diving, and it takes months to be at a basic level, years to be any good. You’re basically all the time in restricted space, with visibility nil very often (pretty much guaranteed with inexperienced divers who can silt everything in no time, and after the rains it would be pretty much nil anyways), in an unknown and very hostile environment.

    Diving with an inexperienced person in these conditions is a threat to their and your life – I had experienced diver I was with me panic, in relatively benign conditions (at an entrance to a wreck, in about 30m only, no silt), and it wasn’t fun.

    Any attempt to try to get them out now underwater is pretty desperate, and very very dangerous (that is, unless the cave system is pretty wide at all times, which I read it’s not).

    1. Phacops

      Exactly. And, the boyancy control one needs to safely navigate passages is something that comes with lots of practice. The prospect of attempting cave diving with hyperventilating non-swimmers is a tragedy in the making.

      1. vlade

        TBH, it’s not so much buoyancy control or suchlike stuff – it can be dangerous, but unless they have some chimneys with significant depth difference which can induce decompression sickness (aka bends) by too fast ascent in one place, it’s relatively doable. For vis – well, with them, you have to assume zero vis all the way.

        The main problem is the loss of orientation, and the likely ensuing panic. In zero vis, in water, EVERYONE loses orientation. The difference is that experienced penetration diver knows how to deal with it, someone who doesn’t even know how to swim, well, doesn’t.

        In penetration diving (cave or wreck), you use a guiding line (or more) to orient yourself. But even that is not be-all-end-all, as you still can get really easily confused about direction. When I was doing my wreck training, I spent literally hours (it was in shallows, and I had large twin-tanks – easily two hours of air in 5m) underwater with my diving mask removed and eyes covered (not that I could see anything even w/o that) to simulate nil visibility and the unpleasantness of having lost your mask (never make things easy..) navigating between pylons on a guiding line, with my trainer throwing in an obstacle or five all the time so I could not rely on remembering the pylons configuration. It’s hard, and can be terrifying.

        Under water, you have a hard deadline to solve any problem. When air runs out and your problem is still unsolved, you die, it’s as simple as that.
        Panic multiplies your problems, and wastes your time, as humans hyperventilate when they panic. In technical diving, you panic, you likely die.

        In zero vis, you can’t see the person next to you to give you benefit of human company – best you can do is touch, which may not even be possible in narrow passages.

        Even for a recreational diver, used to a reasonable vis and the ability to always reach surface if everything else fails, this is a recipe for panic, unless you trust your rescuer absolutely. This actually may be the advantage of those teenage boys, who may be easier to put an absolute trust into those cave divers who are likely seen as heroes by them now, and likely have no idea of the possible problems they face – and if the rescuers are smart, they will keep it from them.

        If I was going to get them out underwater, which would be the last option I’d consider, I’d give them full-face masks, tape those on, and immobilise them, so that even if they do panic, they can’t do anything except hyperventilating (ideally, I’d get them some relaxant drugs, but you never know what that + having oxygen under pressure will do.. And you don’t know when that will wear off either). Then drag them the two miles with a rescuer helping along + monitoring air supply.

        Forget ‘dive training’.

        1. Lambert Strether

          5 Cave Rescues That Worked: Thailand Can Find Hope in Past Success New York Times

          Trapped boys get dive lessons as rescuers prepare for extraction Bangkok Post.

          It’s the monsoon season. If the waters in the cave cannot be pumped out fast enough, then there’s no option but leaving no matter what. And apparently their ledge is so deep there’s no way to sink a shaft to it, even if the equipment could be brought in.

          IIRC from somewhere on the Twitter, the coach had been teaching the boys how to meditate. If controlling panic is the central issue, I think Thais, culturally, are well-equipped to handle it (thinking back here to my experiences with Thai dentistry as opposed to American!)

          I’m picturing a SEAL to lead, a guideline for the boy to follow, and plenty of training in the waters round the ledge… And according to the map, the journey out could be made in stages. Too optimistic!

          1. vlade

            There’s a difference meditating when, at worst, you die of hunger in a month or so, and when you can die within a few minutes (torn off mask in panic, breath water, drown).

            I’m not saying they should not try that – but if they do, it’s a desperate, last hope measure, when nothing else can work, and it has large risks. Of the five rescues above, only one was underwater rescue, which was of a diver so different.

            It’s really hard to describe unless you experienced it, but as I say, even very experienced divers can panic in these situations as the loss of orientation is total – you may not be even able to tell which way’s up TBH.

            It’s pretty much similar to total sensory deprivation – you see nothing, you are weightless, all you hear is bubbles, you smell just the plastic of your mask, and taste the dry air from the tank (I doubt they put them on rebreathers.. ). You can’t see your rescuer, so have no idea whether they are still there or you’ve got lost. You cannot communicate when you get stuck somewhere (which in narrow passages is easy for someone not used to the fact that they are now wider and have their back ten inches higher than they were used their whole life).

            Chances are the boys will be, rather than one on one, sandwiched between two divers. If a diver leads, they cannot control the boy behind them, especially in narrow passages. Two divers is also better if a boy does get lost. You can tie the boy to one of the divers, but that is risky in itself – lines tend to snag, and I can easily see a situation where a boy turns around, snags the line in a piece of equipment, and for example it takes out their mask. Or it snags a rock, and the line would have to be cut so back to no-line (and potentially a massive loss of confidence for the boy, as their safety measure was just lost).

            The UK cave divers say there’s a strong current at places, which is bad even if the current is out-of-cave, as it can separate, if it’s into the cave, it means swimming against the current which is really exhausting – and expands air faster. Because most untrained divers try to use their hands when swimming underwater (which is really inefficient), in strong current it may lead to an inexperienced diver losing the guideline (you can’t hold it tight, unless it’s very well secured, which admittedly they may try to do, as losing the guideline would be deadly for all).

            Being able to make it in stages helps a lot, but it’s still going to be a very dangerous and a hard task. This is not just a cave rescue, this is an underwater cave rescue. The water is the deciding factor here, as that is what will kill (via lack of air).

            It might be I’m seeing problem because I know too much of what can go wrong there :), and the best blessing the boys have is that they are likely unaware of all of that.

            If the rescuers pull it off (and I hope they will), it will be massive feat, for them and the boys.

            1. Lambert Strether

              This is all very good; it’s good to have the views of somebody with experience. The “two divers” point is a very good one. Query: If the divers were strong enough, could they pull the boy, who remained passive, i.e. did not have to swim?

              If there is time, I wonder if the tunnels could be optimized, by removing snags, and so forth.

              1. vlade

                Indeed, towing would be best (that’s what I suggested by immobilising them :) “then drag them”), unless there are some too narrow passages.

                You could use DPV (Diver Propulsion Vehicle) to help. They are used in penetration diving for ferrying loads (like setting up staging areas), so if the circumstances admit, it could help a lot.

                If there’s time to clear those passages of snags, that would help too, but again, it depends how large the obstacles are etc. – working underwater breaking rock (even relatively soft lime) is hard, especially in confined spaces.

            2. ChrisPacific

              This confirms a lot of what I had been thinking (I hadn’t thought about the loss of orientation problem, but of course that would happen). In addition to the current, I read that some passages are quite narrow and must be negotiated one at a time. On the plus side it seems from the map that there isn’t much of a vertical component (I’ve also seen the comment that with a 3-4 foot drop in the water level they could be floated out with lifejackets).

              In my uninformed view the best option would seem to be to keep them where they are until it can be done more safely. Yes, it could be four months (which sounds horrible) and they might be cut off for periods of time, but there are a few days left before the rain that could be used to supply them with whatever they might need. It comes down to a risk assessment of that option versus evacuation. The main worry seems to be that they might lose their air pocket at some point during the monsoon season. That’s a hard risk to quantify, but possibly inspecting the cave where they are might offer clues as to whether it happens and how often.

              1. vlade

                Indeed, waiting would be best unless a catastrophe threatens otherwise. The ledge they are on is 2m above water, so not sure how much space/time (in terms of raising waters) they have. In theory, you could get them safety rafts/floating tents, so they could, in effect, even spend those 4 months floating assuming the cave they are in is high enough.

                I’d not worry too much about air per se – the lime (I’m assuming it’s lime) tends to be porous enough to let in air, and if water moves, that transports some air as well. CO2 could be more a problem (because it’s heavier than air), but you could get in scrubbers.

                If they can keep supplied, dry and with comms, and the cave they are in is large enough, I’d say wait till the water level subsides/is pumped out is the best solution.

              2. vlade

                and just for your amusement, I cut my wreck-diving/penetration teeth on Lermontov in Marlborough Sounds, and a large part of my training was done under Petone wharf :)

                1. ChrisPacific

                  Ha. Small world. I wouldn’t be surprised if we knew some people in common, although NC public comments would hardly be the place to figure that out.

                  I can remember when the Mikhail Lermontov sank. I had heard that it’s since become a diving destination.

              3. Procopius

                … there are a few days left before the rain …

                I’ve never lived in Chiang Rai, but I don’t think their rainy season is much different from ours in Central Thailand (Nakhon Sawan). The rainy season started a little early here, this year, early in May. I’ve seen it start as early as the Songkhran Festival in the middle of April. It has seemed to me that we’ve gotten a bit heavier rains than usual for the beginning of the season. I don’t think it’s very predictable, anyway, which is why they’re in this predicament to begin with. You should realize that by this time of year, it normally does not rain every day. It hardly ever rains all day. The usual pattern is heavy downpours for about twenty minutes once on the days when it does rain, sometimes twice. I’m sure they’re getting advice from the Thai Meteorological Department, and the Thai Navy Seals will have their own experience to draw on. Despite the difficulties I feel pretty optimistic, which is not my normal mode.

        2. Oregoncharles

          I was assuming they would have to tow them out; the “training” might be mostly in what NOT to do, and use of the breathing equipment. There were pictures of child-size masks. Quite a project. At least the younger kids will fit through the tight spots.

    2. Octopii

      For a nice terrifying introduction to cave diving, one could read “Blind Descent” or watch the movie “Sanctum.” Terrifying.

  4. Steve H.

    > This Power Plant Has Cracked Carbon Capture

    Hm, maybe. It relies on the Allam cycle, for which it has proprietary rights. There are hints of bezzle: Goldman-Sachs background (a strike but not damning), reliance on carbon tax credits to make the money go (again…). But while this may draw cash from other renewable projects, there is support of some interesting new technology, like the heat exchangers.

    The technical side has a Musky but not unsolvable odor. There are a lot of high-pressure processes which require exact tolerances, and previous failures have been deadly. But the offset could still be better than status-quo due to efficiencies.

    I’ve got a side-eye on the injection process. La Porte lists fracking as a growth industry, and if the CO2 is used to pressurize fracking fields, that is not the same as sequestering, which requires deep injection. Even with deep injection, leakage is up for debate and not proven. One graphic I saw had direct injection from the plant, and I have a concern it could be presented as a capture technology, and then switched to pushing gas from shale later, a bait-&-switch from capture to energy generation. Yet that’s still better than the toxic sludge used which is often used now.

    So, we’ll see. None of this solves the build-up of heat which comes with every step, which is the core flaw of every dream of the same (or more) energy usage per person.

    1. SimonGirty

      Remember fracking with propane, other natural gas liquids? Along with all the co-generation carbon capture/ recycling miracles that Bloomsburg pitched, even before Guardian, MoJo, HuffPo, etc. changed sides… magically, during the 2016 elections… when those of us harboring doubts about what we were being told by our energy/agriculture/transportation/pharmaceutical/FIRE Sector bosses, turned us into evil, jihadist Rooski agents? Fracking gas to send hundreds of miles (through mountains) to burn at a far higher profit, so climate deniers can crank up their old leaky, inefficient room air-conditioners 24/7 until they’re far enough behind on their rent their McMansion’s foreclosed or trailer’s towed… somehow, I’m thinking someone’s being paid to perpetually ask all the wrong questions?

    2. Expat

      Increasing fracking for nat gas by injecting CO2 swaps out one greenhouse gas for a worse one, methane. Methane is 30 to 70 times more effective as a greenhouse gas. Studies suggest that if methane leaks are more than 3.2% of production, then we are better off burning coal. Recent studies indicate that in the US we are at or over that threshold. I would guess that it’s worse elsewhere but that is just supposition.

        1. Synoia

          One cannot frack with a compressible fluid (steam). The Fluid compresses and the rick remain unchanged (unfracked).

        2. Chris

          You can use steam to heat tar sands and make it easier to pump up to the surface. It’s not a good fracking input.

    3. Synoia

      The need for a pure oxygen feed is disturbing. Pure oxygen and high pressures are not a good mixture, given managements’ predilection to skip maintenance to improve margins. I’d not want to work in or near a old Allam cycle generating plant.

      In addition, the overall system thermodynamic efficiencies coupled with the pure oxygen feed and high pressures are questionable. The Wikipedia article clams over 50% thermodynamic efficiency, which is complete nonsense. Heat engines have a maximum efficient of 50%, before any heat and friction losses.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Oh, goodie! A new bone for the “liberal” dogs to scrap and chew over! Who gets the “Most Oppressed” award? What does “identity politics,” that vast inclusive phrase, actually signify? I see doctoral dissertations, research and position papers galore, and of course the claims of this or that subgroup of Mopery that THEY deserve to be liberated FIRST!

      Gays, e.g., did a great job of organizing around their preferences and identies — recognizing that many gays, closeted or open, happen to be “conservatives” — and also in moving to gain power in the public forums. It helps that many gays have a lot of money, and position, like Barney “Friend of the Oppressed” Frank, and were, and are, good consumers.

      (I maintain that one reason legalizing pot use has legs now is that so many “conservatives” just love to toke up, and don’t like fearing that some overzealous SWAT unit will kick down their door and bust ‘em into the Gulag, after seizing all their stuff…)

      To really mix things up, how about some organizing advice from a writer in the Grauniad, of all places?

      One model for unions in the post-Janus era could be another modestly financed and increasingly unpopular membership organization: the National Rifle Association. Though a villain in the eyes of labor’s allies on the left, the gun lobby’s staying power in American politics should be an inspiration to activist groups across the spectrum.

      What could unions learn from the NRA? For one thing, you can have clout without money. To be sure, the NRA throws money around, but not as much as you think. Last year it spent $4m on lobbying – about the same amount as the dairy farmers’ lobby, and just over a tenth of what the National Association of Realtors spent. The Chamber of Commerce, the country’s main business lobby, spent $100m more than the NRA did. For presidential elections, the NRA spends more: $30m on Trump, more than twice what it spent on Romney in 2012, but less than the top Super Pacs and two individuals, the conservative casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and liberal hedge fund manager Tom Steyer. In 2017, the NRA spent just over $1m on federal races, compared to the $12.7m spent by Comcast.

      To even call the NRA a “gun lobby” obscures the real source of its power: its members. The respective opponents of unions and the NRA both focus disproportionately on their money. Gun control advocates organize boycotts to “defund the NRA”; unions still get called “big labor” with a straight face by business lobbies that outspend them 10 to 1. This kind of economic reductionism misses the real added value membership organizations offer to the parties they favor: boots on the ground for elections.

      NRA members are not legion, and their views on gun control are increasingly out of touch with that of the median US voter. But they are motivated, and form a loyal army the NRA can call out in general elections and, crucially for issue discipline, primaries. And while it is today an effectively Republican-only organization, its ratings of politicians on gun issues – and threats to take out anyone with less than an A rating – keeps Republicans firmly in line. This explains why lawmakers in Florida, where the Parkland high school massacre occurred, are still scared to cross the NRA, despite the fact that the group has not made a contribution to a single member of the state legislature in a decade.

      This degree of loyalty is only possible by creating buy-in among their members. As the Brooklyn College political scientist Anna On Ya Law notes, people join the NRA for the same reasons they join other organizations: they believe in the cause, they seek camaraderie, and “they get stuff they wouldn’t get without membership” – things like gun safety training, gun insurance and discounts for other businesses. Their opponents on the gun control side can rally around a common cause, but can’t offer the other two benefits, which is why they’re better at mobilizing donors than members…

      Of course there’s lots of ground to dispute over here, as to why (at a deeper socio-politico-psychological level) the NRA has such sustained and outsized clout. But still, the NRA leadership can call out the troops pretty consistently and efficiently. Just like AIPAC and related foreign entities.

      Why, it’s almost like reinforcing the crazy notion that the right kind of organizing principle and recognition of the common interests of Mopes might lead to a “redistribution of power and wealth,” and maybe even a less dire future for the planet. Of course the forces in opposition to that are legion and difficult to dislodge, and we mopes can so easily be distracted by “special issues” and “special pleading” and of course the vast difficulty of just getting a living, from our Oppressed Positions…

      On the other hand, what’s in it for me?

    2. Watt4Bob

      Why is identity such a powerful platform, and why—in its liberal form—does it so adamantly avoid economic analysis?

      The article explains a lot, but in a sort of dis-jointed manner that fails to properly emphasize its most important point.

      Identity politics understood as the natural evolution of the struggle for civil rights, that is, an individual, or a group fighting repression based on their identity, can, and should be seen as distinct from what the article describes as ‘liberal identity politics‘.

      The former being understandably necessitated by what could be seen as the relatively narrow focus of the civil rights struggle at a particular historical moment.


      “If you folks aren’t going to include our interests, and our perspectives in your organization and its planning, then we will have to create our own organization to focus on our liberation.”

      The ‘problem’ as correctly pointed out in the article, appears with the dawn of ‘liberal identity politics’ which I interpret as the result of the diverse groups fighting for their civil rights being co-opted by the democratic party, with the help of their corporate donor class.

      The democratic party and the class it represents co-opted the various groups struggling for the liberation of their constituents by ‘donating‘ badly needed, and empowering funds, but demanding loyalty in return.

      The way I see it, this is the mechanism that created the ‘mis-leadership class’.

      What I see is the credentialed/managerial class co-opting the ‘legitimate’ expression of political power by groups representing the diverse identity groups by purchasing/diverting the loyalty of their leadership, thus creating what the writers call ‘liberal indentity politics’.

      IMHO, ‘liberal identity politics’ was created, and nurtured as a way divide and conquer the people whose interests would otherwise naturally be discovered to coincide, and which would lead to the recognition of the need for solidarity, and to divert the discussion from economic justice, which is the ultimate point upon which they could, and would make common cause against the ruling class that holds them down.

      Economic justice is the ultimate prize, and so economic justice is the topic which must not be mentioned, and that prohibition is enforced, and violently if necessary, by both political parties.

      If you doubt that, remember it was the Obama administration that organized the coordinated, nation-wide, and violent put-down of the Occupy Movement.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > ‘liberal identity politics‘.

        I believe, at least plausibly, that liberal identity politics is organizationally siloed and classifies people in either/or terms (instead of both/and as they should) for two reasons: 1) That’s how the funding works, and so how the incentives work, and 2) liberals hate the working class and don’t want it to have the capacity to organize.

        Since securing funding is a zero sum game, we have the oppression Olympics.

        I don’t have any objection to looking at the most damaged and helping them first; that’s the humane thing to do. You just can’t get there from here as a liberal; “black people are oppressed!” (true); “there is a ‘white working class,’ but not a ‘working class of color’ (obviously false). This is why AOC saying “fierce advocacy for the working class” is so important; it blows all that nonsense away.

        1. Watt4Bob

          “fierce advocacy for the working class”….

          …leading to tangible material benefits.

      2. JTMcPhee

        My personal “identity” is “working class, mostly necessarily retired,” and the power centers that own most everything have been doing a bang-up job of bleeding and repressing me for most of my life (along with the same and worse for all the many warring subcategories and adjacent mini-silos in that big silo, “working class/mope”). Oh, and I also claim the identity of “service-connected disabled former Imperial Trooper.” For what any of that is worth, since there’s not much effective organization that is likely to make things better for at least the first category of my personal choice and legacy of identity.

        Of course the punch-sideways-kick-downers that buy into the “identity” handed them by the Bernaysians would identify me as a “Boomer,” and a “white male,” and several other silo and “repressive” categorizations.

        Hang together, or hang separately. We do have a choice, though it is so hard to overcome the programming…

        1. JBird

          Hang together, or hang separately. We do have a choice, though it is so hard to overcome the programming…

          God, ain’t that the truth. Wouldn’t it be great if the many who don’t see, or can’t see, would not also have those who refuse to see? It is like dealing with a drunk. “No the reason your knees ache isn’t because you’re getting old. It’s because you crawled three blocks from the bar again!”

        2. Watt4Bob

          Yes, and then you die.

          Life so short….

          … and so hard to overcome the programming.

          And of course if you live long enough, you get to the ‘ignore these folks with impunity’ silo.

      3. marym

        Thank you for articulating the difference between

        the ‘legitimate’ expression of political power by groups representing the diverse identity groups

        and co-opted liberal identity politics.

        I would add, with a similar framing, the coopting by the Republican branch of the donor class and its minions of legitimate working class grievances into the identify politics of white grievance.

        1. Watt4Bob

          Well, as I said, it seems like the obvious point of the article, but not as clearly stated as I would like.

          Of course maybe I expect too much.

          Or maybe I’m really sold on Lambert’s ‘tangible material benefits’ demand.

      1. hemeantwell

        That would be an entirely different motive.
        But as I think about it, for some reason, maybe just relative inundation, of all the great female groups of that period they are the ones I’ve gotten dulled to. Ideologieschmerz? I can’t recall exactly, but were they more often used than other groups to prove that white politicians were tolerant and fun loving?

  5. Carolinian

    Re the Politico story on Trump and trade–a recent Noam Chomsky interview had some interesting thoughts on Trump/North Korea, politics and trade.

    Like Britain before it, the US called for “free trade” when it recognized that the playing field was tilted properly in its direction. After World War II, when the US had incomparable power, it promoted the “liberal world order” that has been an enormous boon to the US corporate system, which now owns about half of the global economy, an astonishing policy success.

    Again, following the British model, the US hedged its commitment to “free trade” for the benefit of domestic private power. The British-dominated “free trade” system kept India as a largely closed protectorate. The US-dominated system imposes an extreme patent system (“intellectual property”) that provides virtual monopoly power to major US industries. The US government also provides huge subsidies to energy industries, agribusiness and financial institutions. While the US complains about Chinese industrial policy, the modern high-tech industry has relied crucially on research and development in the publicly subsidized sector of the economy, to such an extent that the economy might fairly be regarded as a system of public subsidy, private profit. And there are many other devices to subsidize industry. Procurement, for example, has been shown to be a significant device. In fact, the enormous military system alone, through procurement, provides a huge state subsidy to industry.[…]

    The corporate sector relies so extensively on the global economy it has designed that it is sure to use its enormous power to try to head off a major trade war. The Trump tariffs and the retaliation might escalate, but it’s likely that the threat will be contained. Trump is quite right, however, in proclaiming that the US would “win” a limited trade war, given the scale of the US economy, the huge domestic market and unique advantages in other respects. The “We are America, bitch” doctrine is a powerful weapon of intimidation.

    And while the Politico story accepts Harley’s trade war excuse for moving some production overseas, apparently many of the company’s workers say the plan was already in the works and Trump is right. It would be useful if reporters stopped viewing all gestures toward the working class as “pandering” to a political base (isn’t that what politicians are supposed to do?) rather than accepting the (of course) infallible technocratic consensus.

    1. cnchal

      And in other news: Cities need to stop selling out to big tech companies. There’s a better way

      . . . and Apple’s data centre in Iowa ($214m) are typical.

      The Apple centre, a cloud computing facility, will have only 50 permanent jobs, so the cost per job exceeds $4.2m. . . .

      A quarter trillion or so of repatriated profits beaten out of Chinese workers, a $100 billion share buyback with Uncle Warren cheering and gloating, yet demands and gets an absurd direct subsidy. Ain’t capitalism grand?

      Peasants be damned.

      1. paul

        You have it in a nutshell.

        Harder nuts to crack are the ideas that those 50 employees will distribute 4.2 large within the community that has so welcomed them.

        They might tip more generously, (+1 dollar per meal, 50 people * 3 eat outs a week is around 30,000 us dollars)

        There might be a hard core of 25 employees( trustees) but the rest will just drift elsewhere.

        Start looking at 6m per ‘job’ (which definition has left this planetary accounting) and think of it as astute financial planning

      2. djrichard

        And it’s worse than that. In repatriating their profits in yuan (from selling iphones to consumers in China) back to the US, Apple is buying US dollars in exchange for Yuan. It makes it so that when we send US dollars to China for goods and services, not all of them are flipped around for goods and services from the US. Rather, some of them are purchased by Apple to repatriate their profits back to the US. I.e. it drives an imbalance in trade in goods and services, and it makes the yuan comparatively cheaper than the US dollar which makes it more attractive for US corporations (including Apple) to outsource their supply chains to China for the goods they want to sell in the US.

      1. Chris

        I wonder if that is the central problem. Everyone wants to be the hero in their own story. And neoliberal Democrats belive they are just and right and smarter than their opponents. The people who vote for them share those sentiments.

        So accepting that the Democrats are at best an ineffective opposition which produces the same net results as the current Republicans, and at worst are equivalent bad actors, is too hard a truth to accept. There is the desire to treat political “norms” and donor class goals as good things too. But I honestly think if the Team Blue voters had to face reality, they’d crumble. That’s why such things can’t be be discussed in polite company.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The corporate sector relies so extensively on the global economy it has designed that it is sure to use its enormous power to try to head off a major trade war*. The Trump tariffs and the retaliation might escalate, but it’s likely that the threat will be contained. Trump is quite right, however, in proclaiming that the US would “win” a limited trade war*, given the scale of the US economy, the huge domestic market and unique advantages in other respects. The “We are America, bitch” doctrine is a powerful weapon of intimidation.

      How much will that ‘win’ set the corporate sector back? And how can the Deplorables exploit that weakened condition?

      *I notice he talks about a major war in one place, and a limited trade war in another…it seems some thoughts have been left out.

  6. JTMcPhee

    Will there be a published list of attendees at that grand MMT conference in Noo Yawk (the Second Coming?) sponsored by UKMC? My guess is that it would be “most clarifying.” Given that an understanding of the “morally neutral” sovereign-money functions described by MMT can be a very sharp two-edged sword… I would expect a significant bunch of K-streeters and Wall Streeters and “defence contractors” and maybe even Elon Musk to pay the fee and take the networking opportunity. But maybe I am just being too cynical.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Gotta keep up with the Zhangs and Lis with their fancy weapon toys.”

    2. paul

      Lighten up JT,
      MMT is how it works, it’s revelation is how things work.
      It’s challenge is what you want.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Got all that. I’m just curious if “decent people,” I.e. Mopes, will figure out how to seize control of the operating system from the Masters who have been running it for decades, maybe centuries if one thinks the stuff about the Fuggers and Rothschilds and so on is correct. Lockheed Martin and Boeing and Beasts in the Pentagram and the guys and gals of K and C Streets have it down pat. Will the Bernie-ists and AOC-ers figure out how to take and use the power of the MMT mechanism, or will it continue to belong to the Banksters, the MIC, Big Ag, Big Pharma, and the corrupt SOBs in Congress? The stuff that happens at that conference, who participates and who dominates, will be a big tell. Hardly time to lighten up right now.

    1. diptherio

      That article is just…ugh. I live in rural America and all anybody talks about is the economy…well, that and the NSA (we’re an odd little community). The whole “everybody should move to the city and if they don’t it’s their own d**n fault for falling behind” rhetoric is just insulting. How many cows are raised in cities? How much wheat is grown in cities? How much oil is drilled in cities? And yet, don’t people living in cities eat hamburgers and drive around in gas-powered vehicles? But the places where all that stuff comes from and the people who provide it? A bunch of self-pitying morons, according to this dude. Seriously, familyblog these guys.

      1. sleepy

        I live in small town Iowa where educated young people seem to go to Minneapolis, Chicago, or Des Moines once they get out of college, leaving behind a poorer community: young people who lack a degree, middle aged folks who once had a decent job and have now fallen behind, and retirees. Not all these people can pack up and leave. It takes money to do that and many people have deep roots and families which is the only form of support that still works for them. Staying is more a matter of necessity than choice.

        I read somewhere once that Iowa had the highest HS graduation rates, the 3rd highest ACT scores, highest literacy, etc., yet for people over 25 it had an extremely low level of college grads. That’s because they all left.

        1. diptherio

          Not all these people can pack up and leave. It takes money to do that and many people have deep roots and families which is the only form of support that still works for them.

          This, exactly.

        2. Lord Koos

          I live in a small rural college town, and there is definitely a “brain drain” factor. For local kids who stay, unless they are entrepreneurial and have a little backing, they are pretty much relegated to service jobs, and even much of that work is taken by transient college students. Otherwise, it’s working for the county, city or university in blue collar jobs. There is also truck driving and agricultural work, with the latter they compete with hispanic immigrants, but that’s about it. Rents have been increasing here. One result of the lack of opportunity is that we now have a heroin problem in this region, starting from the time of the ’08 crash. I’m sure this is mirrored in many rural towns. We are better off than many places simply because we are a few hours away from the city of Seattle, a huge economic engine that trickles east a bit.

        3. Geo

          If there were still local economies the educated wouldn’t feel the need to leave. But, when small town economies are primarily a Dollar Store, a WalMart, a check cashing place, and a gas station w/ convenience store, there’s no way for a young person with aspirations to build a local business that has much hope of survival.

          I personally enjoy small town life but I’ve lived in either NYC or LA the past 20 years. A good friend stayed there. He drives for UPS and it’s been a good job for the most part. He fishes on weekends and lives a simple life. I’m stressed, work 6-7 days a week, have had major ups and downs financially, but have been able to have my own small business for nearly 17 years now.

          Sometimes I ponder if it was the right choice, then I go to a small town and look at the glut of discount box stores, half empty office spaces, and out-of-business shells left behind by mom & pop
          shops and I am reminded why I left.

      2. Lord Koos

        Moving back to my small hometown from Seattle I too am struck by how much more reality there is in this place — people grow food and raise livestock here. We can live without software, food, not so much… yet financial rewards go more to coders than farmers.

        I was similarly struck by the class system in Thailand — rice farmers are looked down upon by the middle class in Bangkok as being ignorant peasants with very low status, and their daughters often end up coming to Bangkok to make a living as prostitutes… yet these are the people that feed the country.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Well, there’s this from the interview:

      “Sean Illing
      In the book, you argue that the anger we’re seeing in rural America is less about economic concerns and more about the perception that Washington is threatening the way of life in small towns. How, specifically, is Washington doing this?

      Robert Wuthnow
      I’m not sure that Washington is doing anything to harm these communities…. “

      Really? NAFTA? War on Poverty? War on Drugs? And so forth?

      Another Ivy Tower liberal self-confirmation, maybe?

      1. DanB

        Wuthnow is a member of the functionalist school of sociology. To get to the point: functionalists have a bias to see the status quo social world as the best of all possible worlds -otherwise this particular social world would not exist. I had a professor in sociology graduate school who defended the current health care system by saying “If it’s so bad as critics say it would not exist, therefore our market based system serves society’s needs.” This is a true story.

        1. Oregoncharles

          That’s a remarkably obtuse and self-serving interpretation of functionalism.

          In anthropology, it means (meant – I’m 50 years out of date) that structure and culture are driven by the way people make their living, not vice versa – function over ideology. Obviously, that’s compatible with some highly exploitative social systems, if they allow survival and expansion.

          Also, it’s a long-term concept; it really means that unsustainable systems won’t last, even though they can do some horrible damage in the meantime.

          Marxists call the same concept materialism.

        2. Massinissa

          Now I’m imagining someone saying, “If Nazi Germany was so bad, it wouldn’t have existed! Therefore, Nazi Germany served the needs of German Society!”

    3. Bugs Bunny

      The interviewing “journalist” Sean Illing seems to be saying that rural people should either convert to the hipster high tech multicultural urban way of life or…?

      “Which is why I’d argue that the divide between rural and urban America is becoming unbridgeable. We can talk all we like about the sanctity of these small communities and the traditional values that hold them together, but, as you say, many of the people who live in these places hold racist views and support racist candidates and we can’t accommodate that.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Either convert to high tech or what?

        A question for the inquisitive Americans…

        “We have ourselves here a Crypto-Luddite!!!”

        1. Synoia

          Personally, I have my cows mining Bitcoin. They do really well after stripping off the “s”.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > we can’t accommodate that

        Makes you wonder whether this dude’s nanny is an illegal immigrant or not. Of course, underpaying a desperate brown person to take care of your kids is totes not structurally racist and no liberal would ever do it. So that rules out these two characters and the Vox crowd generally.

        Nanny eruptions were big back in the 90s (see here; here; here; here). Now, however, we seem to have a complex layer of nanny brokers who handle the pesky details of making sure one’s nanny is legal, or at least colorably so. Of course, when I see a complex layer of intermediaries, I think fraud.

        Lots and lots of “I would never, but I have heard of other people who” on Nanny sites. Here’s a real howler, directly on point for this post:

        Over the last twenty years, I have been fortunate to harness the effects of upward mobility. My former working-class, rural upbringing has morphed gradually into an upper-class, urban existence. ….

        How to find a nanny
        I’m comfortable doing most of my own research before a large purchase. However, you can’t yet buy nannies on Amazon (at least not until Robonannies become a thing).

        “Purchase” is good. I like “purchase” very much. This is good too:

        Pay a Living Wage, on Time, and on the Books If You Can

        (Post title: “How to Ethically Hire a Nanny.”) “If you can” is good. I like to see the 9.9% issuing themselves a free pass.

        * * *

        This is not my world; have matters improved for nannies since the 90s? I’m guessing no. Some of the 9.9% are aspirational; faced with the choice of underpaying an illegal nanny and little Emma or Josh’s violin lessons, I don’t see a lot of hesitation.

        So the moral is, leave those primitive rural areas behind and become the sort of person who would hand your kids over to a robot to raise. Kidding! Only kidding!

        1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

          Lambert’s ‘complex layer of intermediaries’ – or to put it another way

          HTA* = Hidden Through Agency (oh, have it your own way: Hidden Thru Agency)


          * Yes, I realize that I complain about acronyms on NC ad nauseum.

    4. Bugs Bunny

      Just posted a reply but it apparently got lost in Skynet. Anyway this quote from the interviewer sent me over the edge:

      Which is why I’d argue that the divide between rural and urban America is becoming unbridgeable. We can talk all we like about the sanctity of these small communities and the traditional values that hold them together, but, as you say, many of the people who live in these places hold racist views and support racist candidates and we can’t accommodate that.

      1. Stephen V.

        Yeah yeah. In 2016 on Bill Maher a Texas comedian IIRC said *racism is just the icing on the f-u cake.*

      2. Lambert Strether

        See above….

        The “accommodate” language is interesting, given liberal views on dining in public accommodations. Just have that nice guard for your gated community turn away anybody with bad teeth….

      3. Elizabeth Burton

        If the pace of commenting is ongoing and swift, one’s post may drop below one or more others posted at about the same time. If it seems to disappear, scroll down to the end of the comment thread.

    5. Lambert Strether

      Yep. Throw Momma into a “home,” sell the house and the land, go into debt for a STEM degree, move to Silicon Valley and sleep in the trunk of your car because you can’t afford housing. Some “choice”! And why is it so wrong to be attached to one’s home place?

      Turn it around, and the Princeton Perfesser becomes the butt of the old joke (told here by Carol Channing) whose punchline is: “Just lucky, I guess.” Yes, we all have choices to make….

    6. Elizabeth Burton

      The word choice, like access, should be seen always as a signal one is about to be treated to a gaslighting lecture from one of the elite.

  7. JCC

    Here is an interesting article on End Citizens United posted at MoveToAmend explaining who and what End Citizens United actually supports… Corporations and the Dollar Dems.

    It looks like the End Citizens United group is for anything but ending the Citizens United decision. Based on this article, it is another a classic example of well-meaning citizens donating money to a group that, in the American Tradition, is supporting politicians that will vote against the donors’ interests.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I support MoveToAmend, but there’s a caveat: this is oppo research on a rival. I haven’t read the article yet, and I’d give money to MTA if I had any, but still, a grain of salt.

  8. fresno dan

    “He stood on the edge of a sharp drop to get his family to take a picture of him and fell,” a local police chief Hubert Meriaux said, according to Reuters news agency.
    There’s a reason I’m afraid of heights.

    I’ll never forget this sign at my first and only trip to the Grand Canyon. There is a sign at the main part of the Grand Canyon that answers the question of how many people fall in by saying, “Not as many as you would think” – which kind of shows what they really think of the tourists. It made me think what they really wanted to write was, “Not as many as we had hoped….”

    1. fresno dan

      You have to scroll down, but I found a link to a sign that answers the question of how often people fall over the edge of the Grand Canyon by saying, “Surprisingly, people rarely fall over the edge”

      Well, if you look at who we nominate to be president, I can’t say I really disagree with the conclusion….
      As a matter of fact, I would think there would be a bunch purposefully flinging themselves over the edge

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I can’t even stand in ice skates, so I can relate! I see photos of men standing on high floor beams of construction sites and I have to look away. The idea makes me nervous.

      1. ambrit

        There is an Iroquoian Indian tribe famous for having phenomenal balance, the Mohawks. They were heavily represented in high level steel working trades.
        I’ve been up about fifteen floors on unsided structures doing pipe installations. You are always aware of that edge. I was coming on shift at a job on the Gulf Coast and saw a very lucky man being extricated from a safety net about ten floors up. He slipped and fell on a wet concrete surface. Sometimes, you want to forget about such accidents. They can happen to you as well as by you.

        1. Yves Smith Post author


          But in my case, it’s the integrity of my ankles. I can’t roller skate either, not due to inability to stand in the skates, but when I try to move, all I do is wrench my ankles. I can’t keep my ankles stiff enough to propel myself forward.

          1. ambrit

            I cannot roller skate myself. I’ve only once tried ice skating. A real fiasco ensued. I often wonder at ballet dancers. Up ‘on point’ for extended periods of time.
            On job sites, I always wore boots that laced up tight above the ankles. Clump. Clump. Clump. At least I got where I wanted to go.

    3. Oregoncharles

      There’s a spot on the north Oregon coast called Neahkahnie Mountain, part of Oswald West State Park. It’s one of the more spectacular bits of coastline, involving a sheer drop of hundreds of feet into the ocean. I especially liked to go out to one headland, right past the sign that says not to (but there’s a beaten trail); there are natural standing stones, and an enormous view. I used to take pictures out there – very carefully. For me, it was a place to recharge my emotional batteries.

      But one year, I happened to read in the local paper that at least 3 people had vanished there in the previous year. One was taking a picture of the standing stones when he backed up too far; another had gone back for more beer. The place practices human sacrifice. No wonder the natives considered it sacred.

      Really busy cliff edges in parks usually have a fence, but nature cannot be made safe.

  9. Craig H.

    > Germany’s SPD makes Angela Merkel wait for approval on migrant deal

    From the Social Democratic point of view, one of the biggest problems is that the party already resoundingly rejected transit centers back in 2015 during Germany’s previous grand coalition government. In late 2015, SPD leaders including now-Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Ex-Foreign Minister and former Party Chairman Sigmar Gabriel and Secretary-General Lars Klingbeil took to social media to portray the zones as “gigantic prisons” and “mass camps in no man’s land.”

    The term is concentration camp, or maybe detention camp. Perhaps there is a translation error.

    The New York Times article seems to think Merkel is so powerful still that this is practically a done deal.

    Merkel, to Survive, Agrees to Border Camps for Migrants

    1. Sid_finster

      Merkel will survive, even if weakened.

      This is because the elites of Germany know full well that if Merkel goes, the doors will open to the populists of Left and especially the Right, and there is nobody besides Merkel of similar stature whom the elites can live with and keep the status quo afloat.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is Germany becoming fascist?

      Is Canada one too, for not opening the border to all fleeing Americans?

  10. Dean

    These 11 Companies Control Everything About the Fourth of July

    The illusion of choice extends from the ballot box to the television dial as well as to the supermarket shelf.

    At least as consumers we still have the illusion of the freedom of choice to select a politician, tv channel, or brand that has been carefully crafted to resonate with our base emotions.

    Happy 4th.

    1. fresno dan

      July 4, 2018 at 10:05 am

      As we have improved the presidential birthday holidays by tacking them onto weekends, I’m surprised we haven’t rejiggered calendars so that the forth of the July is always adjacent to a Sunday….

  11. a different chris

    >Americans will eat an estimated 150 million hot dogs on Wednesday,

    Actually, we won’t. We will buy that many, and then to express wealth however ephemeral we will jam them and everything else into every nook and cranny of our oversized grill. After everybody has already eaten more than they need too, we will offer the overage around disappointedly to few takers.

    If there is a pet it will be offered some, maybe.

    Since nobody (ok, except me) eats hot dogs from the refrigerator, they will be quietly discarded. Taken by the garbage collector to a hermetically sealed dump where they will still be edible (and still won’t be eaten) 20 years from now.

    And the hog farms at the bottom of all this – the pointless cycle of waste, figurative and literal. Clear land to grow mono crops, haul to and feed them to overcrowded piglets, haul and slaughter the pigs, haul to where they make a food-like product out of them, wrap in plastic, haul it to the supermarket and then the home, burn it with a fossil fuel, throw it in the garbage, and finally have the garbage hauled to a dump.

    Doesn’t it just make you so proud?

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Does it include artisanal confit duck breast and espellette pepper hot dogs? Gawd help us if we let those go to waste!

    2. Expat

      Americans waste enough food every day to feed about 200 million people. Now I don’t know if that means feeding 200 million more Americans. If so, then we could feed all of Africa.

  12. ex-PFC Chuck

    An article appeared in Reason yesterday noting that facebook’s hate speech detection algorithm blocked a link to one part of a series of the Declaration of Independence being published by an exurban Texas county news site. In view of the insights presented in Gerald Horne’s book The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America, published four years ago, the algorithm inadvertently may not have been very far off base. Horne builds the case that Britain was backing away from the support of slavery mainly for geopolitical reasons having to do with the conflicts over the Caribbean islands. France and especially Spain were increasingly arming Africans to fight in those wars and Britain was finding it increasingly difficult to sufficiently man its armed forces without doing likewise. The very idea of this freaked out the mainland colonists because the uniquely brutal form of slavery that had evolved in the mainland North American colonies had become so profitable for the colonists, both north and south at that time, that abolition was unthinkable. Thus Horne sees the preservation of slavery as a major underlying factor driving the revolution. By this understanding, the incited “domestic insurrections” referred to in the Declaration were likely those triggered by British moves toward abolition such as the Somerset court case and Lord Dunmore’s manumission decree.

    1. Ed

      True. What is called “the American Revolution” is more aptly “the American Counter-Revolution” for this reasons and others. If you study it deeply, it was a revolt of elites against a fitfully reformist government in London. Mexico got its independence by a similar process so this was not unique in the New World.

      Once you understand the events of 1765-87 as a counter-revolution, a lot about the history and political culture of the USA becomes much clearer.

    2. bradley fuller

      The Vast Southern Empire
      When the United States emerged as a world power in the years before the Civil War, the men who presided over the nation’s triumphant territorial and economic expansion were largely southern slaveholders. As presidents, cabinet officers, and diplomats, slaveholding leaders controlled the main levers of foreign policy inside an increasingly powerful American state. This Vast Southern Empire explores the international vision and strategic operations of these southerners at the commanding heights of American politics.

      For proslavery leaders like John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis, the nineteenth-century world was torn between two hostile forces: a rising movement against bondage, and an Atlantic plantation system that was larger and more productive than ever before. In this great struggle, southern statesmen saw the United States as slavery’s most powerful champion. Overcoming traditional qualms about a strong central government, slaveholding leaders harnessed the power of the state to defend slavery abroad. During the antebellum years, they worked energetically to modernize the U.S. military, while steering American diplomacy to protect slavery in Brazil, Cuba, and the Republic of Texas.

      As Matthew Karp demonstrates, these leaders were nationalists, not separatists. Their “vast southern empire” was not an independent South but the entire United States, and only the election of Abraham Lincoln broke their grip on national power. Fortified by years at the helm of U.S. foreign affairs, slaveholding elites formed their own Confederacy―not only as a desperate effort to preserve their property but as a confident bid to shape the future of the Atlantic world,204,203,200_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Compare that to any potential second civil war scenario, do we say the men (and women) presiding over the hegemony of the last few decades have been high-tech, debt-slave-holders (backed by, per Chomsky – hat tip to Carolinian – research and development in publicly subsidized sector of the economy*), bent on expanding into space even?

        *a case of MMT gone wild?

    3. Lambert Strether

      See Dunmore’s Proclamation:

      Lincoln (and Grant) did the same thing with the Emancipation Proclamation (contra McClellan). Since, to them after Shiloh, the Civil War was a total war, to destroy the Slave Power, destroy slavery by emancipating the slaves. Lincoln and Grant were more ruthless and self-aware strategists than Lord Dunmore; but the tactic is the same

  13. ACF

    Re the Bronx machine story, I wonder if that was an official Bronx County Democratic Committee Meeting. Note its informality; was there an agenda? Will there be minutes?

    I have been a member of the Suffolk County Democratic Committee by virtue of getting signatures on a petition in my election district and then running unopposed at the election. The Committee is made up of the committee members of the town committees; the same election gives me the right to represent my election district on the town level. I have yet to get a proper agenda for a meeting; apparently they only go out by mail, not email, and they don’t seem to have me in the system. Regardless, the meetings are infrequent–perhaps twice a year–and last for approximately half an hour. That’s a rubber stamp ratification process, not a meeting. I looked at the last agenda that went out when I dropped off my signatures, and here were its many flaws (I think it was the last agenda, but since it was May 2017, that seems a really long time ago):

    1) it was dated “May, 2017”, for a meeting on May 22; so, when was it made, and when did arrive in mail boxes? How much notice did people get?

    2) it said the committee would be choosing candidates for a short list of offices, but it didn’t name the candidates nor have their bios or any other justification for their being the candidates; every corporate slate of officers for the charade that is corporate elections is done with much more transparency.

    3) I didn’t see anything on it about a budget, and I don’t think it said anything about a treasurer’s report, but maybe I missed it

    4) I didn’t see anything about approving minutes from the last meeting


    Note: Our local committee meets monthly, has subcommittees, officers, agendas, minutes, etc.

    I will be elected again in September, and I’ll report back re whether or not the committee is actually a functioning committee…

    1. Richard

      Thanks for this; I find it very illuminating. I’ll watch for your September report on this committee that serves New Yorkers so well (sarc)

  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Tariff Tantrum

    Here’s a little thought experiment, and I know it’s crazy in that it assumes that Trump has a plan, but bear with me here.

    What if Trump (and by Trump, I mean others in his administration who have the capacity for forethought are really pulling the strings, which is how it is with most presidents anyway) is using the tariffs to deliberately provoke other nations into retaliating against the US? What if Mexico suddenly refused to take the subsidized corn the US has been dumping on them for the last few decades? Commodity prices in Mexico go up to the point where farmers can make a living again. The flow of immigration slows down. Labor arbitrage becomes more difficult for our neoliberal would-be overlords. Countries produce what they need on their own and only export things others can’t produce for themselves. (Do check out the article on bees above where it notes how in just the last decade a lot of bee habitat has been taken over to produce corn and soy, presumably to dump as cheap exprots on some developing country). We stop burning so much fossil fuel since raw materials, components and finished products no longer have to be shipped across the world several times before they wind up on a store shelf for purchase.

    That would definitely cause a few yachts to be pawned by the squillionaires (perhaps Trump has already taken out a short position in private jet manufacture) but it starts to sound like a pretty good deal for the rest of us, the planet, and the other species we share it with.

    So Trump – crazy like a fox? ;)

    1. Ed

      The administration is officially and vocally a climate change denialist, “when there is muck there is brass” administration, and this has practical effect. But the fact is that the single best thing that can be done to reduce global warming and carbon emissions is to reduce global trade and economic activity! And only the Trump administration has been willing to move in this direction!

      Environmentalists for Trump!

    2. Expat

      It is my understanding that US corn exports have dropped dramatically since ethanol was mandated. I will have to pull out my class prep notes and check the figures.

    3. Oregoncharles

      He’s attacking Globalization; that’s a left-wing position, and just what I hoped he would do. As I note below, he’s doing it very crudely, but you make a case that he may succeed nonetheless, albeit at some cost.

      We shall see.

  15. Livius Drusus

    I don’t know if this has been posted on NC yet but I happened upon this article about the link between poverty and despair in the United States. I wanted to post it in light of our recent discussion about depression, suicide and the collapse of the American Dream.

    I know it is kind of a bummer to post something like this on Independence Day but I didn’t want to forget about it.

      1. witters

        Regarding these Lockean rights – I find it interesting that when Locke introduces them first in the Second Treatise on government, there is a right no-one seems ever to talk about, or to think through its meaning for the whole rights package. Here is Locke, and the forgotten right highlighted:

        #6: “The state of nature is governed by a law that creates obligations for everyone. And reason, which is that law, teaches anyone who takes the trouble to consult it, that because we are all equal and independent, no-one ought to harm anyone else in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”

    1. Lord Koos

      A lot of people don’t understand what poverty is like. It’s not simply not having enough money to buy stuff… it’s an exhausting daily grind just to cover the basics.

  16. Jim Haygood

    The US-dominated system imposes an extreme patent system (“intellectual property”) that provides virtual monopoly power to major US industries.’

    On a related note:

    Data monopolies can actually be more dangerous than traditional monopolies. In early May Google banned bail-bond companies from advertising on its platforms.

    Media companies have long decided what content or ads to carry. [But] no media company enjoys a U.S. market share as dominant as Google’s in Internet search (close to 90%) or Facebook’s in social networking. Google’s bail-bond ad ban, which Facebook copied the next day, effectively kicked an entire industry out of a major advertising channel.

    ProPublica and Reveal, both nonprofit news publications, have had content dealing with hate groups and immigrant children, respectively, deleted or rejected by Instagram or Facebook. Video artists complain of viewership and ads being restricted because their content violated YouTube’s community standards.

    Unhappy users, advertisers and content providers wouldn’t have as much to complain about if Google (which bought YouTube in 2006) and Facebook (which acquired Instagram in 2012) had strong competitors to which they could switch.

    In late September, Google and Facebook are leaving the Info Tech sector for the new Communications Services sector, which besides them includes other companies we love to hate: telcos, Mainstream Media. This sector, represented in pending exchange-traded fund XLC, is the new Axis of Evil.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Google and Facebook are leaving the Info Tech sector for the new Communications Services sector

      “are leaving”? Where are these sectors defined and who does the defining?

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Why are there no publicly owned search engines and social media sites on the Internet? Any government with a decent research budget could conceivably fund such things.

      Seriously asking.

      1. blennylips

        That is an excellent question Bugs Bunny.

        The MIC (via In-Q-Tel, and/or otherwise) invested heavily in startup google, so public funds were involved, right?

        Web archive of

        CIA Sells Google Shares

        As is well known, the CIA funded satelite mapping company Keyhole before Google bought it, through its venture capital firm In-Q-Tel. Well, the CIA received stock in Google from Google’s aquisition of Keyhole, and it looks like they’ve decided to cash out. The CIA sold 5,636 shares worth over $2.2 million. I’m not entirely sure if this is the entire stake (if it is, they didn’t get enough).

        I say we demand the source code to the search behemoth as it existed on October 26, 2009 at 3:38 pm and go all Creative Commons on its @#s!

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Somebody here linked to an interview between her and Kelton the other day if I’m not mistaken. From what I can tell she gets it and is a proponent, but is also savvy enough not to start talking nuts and bolts or uttering the acronym ‘MMT’ so as not to turn off those potential supporters who may not be as well-versed economically as the NC crowd. Most people don’t want to vote for the wonk and she seems to get that.

    2. DJG

      diptherio: What’s interesting, errrrr, isn’t AOC’s degree. It is the swamp that is the comments. Most of them are from authoritarian bigots who find any kind of economic equality to be “unfeasible.”

      And appreciating the Gini Coefficient >

      I appreciate the Gini Coefficent. I’m not pleased at all with where the U.S. sits these days with regard to the Gini Coefficient: 0.48, with a shift up in recent years. Brazil is 0.49. Japan is 0.25.

    3. redleg

      She gets it. There’s an interview out there somewhere (not going to search for it in my phone- sorry) where she concisely explains it to the interviewer.

  17. DorothyT

    Re: Former US Envoy to Moscow Calls Intelligence Report on Alleged Russian Interference ‘Politically Motivated’ Consortium News

    Suggest reading this interim report in progress by the Select Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by Senator Burr, and not included in today’s NC links. It was issued late yesterday, July 3, 2018, the same day an all-Republican delegation of Senators paid a conciliatory visit to Russia in which no mention was made of the Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. The Senate’s interim report issued yesterday addresses the criticism that the 2017 report was “politically motivated,” made by Jack Matlock, a former Reagan political appointee, in today’s NC link to ConsortiumNews.

    Excerpt: The Select Senate Committee on Intelligence (Senator Burr). July 3, 2018.

    The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) is conducting a bipartisan investigation into a wide range of Russian activities relating to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. While elements of the investigation are ongoing, the Committee is releasing initial, unclassified findings on a rolling basis as distinct pieces of the investigation conclude.

    The Committee has concluded an in-depth review of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) produced by CIA, NSA, and FBI in January of 2017 on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election (Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections; declassified version released January 6, 2017) and have initial findings to share with the American people.

    1. JTMcPhee

      So is the conclusion we are supposed to satisfy ourselves with, that the Evuil Rooskies actually and dastardly interfered with our Sacred Electoral Processess, more effectively than even Diebold and the two-headed political party, so what’s her face really IS or SHOULD Be Our Actual President and Chief Grifter, if only but for said same Rooskies?

      Inquiring people want to know!

    2. Lambert Strether

      Is there any evidence we can actually see? Or are we relying on the good faith of the intelligence community?

      And if, as Matlock claims, the “17 agencies” report is a “shabby, politically motivated, report,” do we just erase that, and forget about asking why it happened, because the Senate issued a report reinforcing political wisdom?

      Adding, holy moly. Vox:

      The Senate Intelligence Committee released a seven-page summary that corroborates much of what the CIA, NSA, and FBI concluded back in January 2017, and praises their report as “a sound intelligence product” — despite President Donald Trump’s continued insistence that Russia didn’t interfere to help him and his criticism of the intelligence assessment as biased against him.

      The (seven page) report is included in the Vox article. I don’t have the time, but it would be useful to have a point-by-point comparison of Matlock’s indictment and the claims of the report.

      1. DorothyT

        Response to JTMcPhee and Lambert:

        The link to the Select Senate Intelligence Committee report as issued by Republican Senator Burr is included in my comment above. Also included in my comment is an excerpt from the report clearly declaring it to be an interim report of unclassified information released to the American people, to be followed by a full report in due course. Matlock, if one reads his bio, is as ‘political’ as he claims the original report authors to be.

        As to the question posed by Lambert, “Is there any evidence we can actually see?” I for one am amazed Mueller hasn’t used a quiet, expensive “public affairs” PR firm to dribble findings of this investigation to shape public opinion along the way. That may be a failing when history is written, but I admire his ethics and that of his team in letting their legal briefs and eventual report inform us. Certainly they are being mauled by the president in the bully pulpit et al who aren’t under such restraint.

        And to JTMcPhee, I sadly note that you link my comment to Hillary Clinton’s loss. I’m interested in the findings that may emerge re: Russian collusion in the 2016 election but mostly because I fear interference in our upcoming 2018 and 2020 elections and the President’s possible role. Truth be told, I’d like to see proof of the collusion by the Clinton campaign with voter fraud in the 2016 primary here in NYC where I live that affected thousands of potential Bernie Sanders votes.

        Finally, I’ve heard clearer analysis and warnings by Rev. William Barber as to our own home-grown voter suppression here in the United States. I believe Yves has included links to his courageous speeches and sermons. If only we could all come together about our own role in “collusion.”

        1. JTMcPhee

          Yaas— FEAR THE EVIL ROOSKIES AND THEIR INTERFERENCE IN OUR SACRED MOSTLY MEANINGLESS AND CORRUPTED IMPERIAL ELECTORAL PROCESS in 2018 and 2020. Pay no attention to those Party reptiles behind the screen of Freedom ™ and Democracy ™. Because we all know they are totally on our side and on the up and up and all in favor of “protecting, supporting and defending the Constitution…”

          1. The Rev Kev

            Yeah, the Russians have no right interfering in American elections. That’s what you have Republican and Democrat Committees for.

          2. skippy

            Its a well known factoid that unless your spreading freedom [market] and liberty [democracy of moeny] its a commie plot…..

            In Russia’s case the PR propaganda has been patented in perpetuity by others….

        2. integer

          I for one am amazed Mueller hasn’t used a quiet, expensive “public affairs” PR firm to dribble findings of this investigation to shape public opinion along the way.

          To date, the charges brought forward by Mueller’s investigation have been farcical, so the assumption that Mueller has significant findings that he could use to shape public opinion, if he were so inclined, seems misguided. With regard to the the interim report, it is void of any meaningful information, and the list of Senators that comprise the SSCI does not inspire confidence. I’m sure “little Marco” is still smarting from being humiliated by Trump in the 2016 R party primary, and his defense of Mark Warner when it was revealed that Warner had been communicating with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch in an effort to gain access to Christopher Steele is disconcerting. Also, Tom Cotton is a rabid neocon, for whom detente with Russia is the stuff of nightmares. Finally, I am highly skeptical of the SSCI’s plan to release findings on a rolling basis, as it is an unusual format in which to release intelligence to the public, and appears to be designed to ensure prolonged media coverage of Russiagate.

  18. Sid_finster

    For those keeping score at home, it appears that AOC has proclaimed her fealty to the russiagate conspiracy theory.

    I suspect that she’ll be functionally identical to any other Team D operative by the time she takes office.

    1. Ignacio

      “it appears” (no link)
      identical to any Team D operative

      It seems you are not giving her any chance

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Yes, links please.

        To be open minded to all…maybe there’s no link…or maybe no politician is infallible.

        Do we insist on perfection?

        Was ‘abolishing ICE’ the key, decisive factor in her victory? Any more recent information on exit-polling?

        Would that make her less than perfect?

      2. s.n.

        here’s more about what she actually said on the russia issue:

        Although some Democrats continue to insist that it was the Russians or James Comey or Jill Stein who gifted Trump the White House, Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t accept this narrative. “I do think the role of Russian interference was aggressive in the election,” she told Greenwald. “But that didn’t get Donald Trump to forty per cent. It didn’t get him to forty-five per cent in the polls.”

        1. Lambert Strether

          Not the smoothest wording, and “Russian interference” shouldn’t be used because it’s so vague. But although I’m in the “it’s all bullshit ’til I see evidence” camp, I can live with the “It’s pointless bullshit” position. As long as the talking point isn’t allowed to become a blame-avoidance strategy for Clinton’s faction, a big tent of that size is OK with me.

          1. Elizabeth Burton

            Exactly. When among those who choose to believe that $100K of Russian money spent on social media ads topped the effect of the $1.3 billion the Clintonites shelled out, any savvy politician is going to hedge their bets rather than tell them they’re all brainwashed idiots. What’s beautiful is that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez frames her response in exactly the way to appeal to those who may accept the Russiagate narrative but for whom it’s unimportant.

            This is a woman who reads. I’m as leery as the next person when it comes to politicians, but as a fellow card-carrying member of DSA I don’t see her being co-opted anytime soon. However, as has been noted both here and in the MSM, the turnout for the election was small, which means a well-funded Republican could terrify the more conservative Democrats in the district into switching sides. It behooves Ms. Ocasio-Cortez to ensure she addresses her policy in ways suitable to her entire audience, not just the ones who turned out for the primary.

            1. witters

              “What’s beautiful is that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez frames her response in exactly the way to appeal to those who may accept the Russiagate narrative but for whom it’s unimportant.”

              Umm, if it really is unimportant to these people why appeal to them? You guys are riding for a fall here. But enjoy the moment.

              1. Sid_finster

                Exactly. AOC hasn’t even taken office yet, and already people here have started to make excuses for her, just the way Obama, Bernie and Trump groupies have done (and been rightfully mocked on these pages for doing so).

                All that is needed now is for some amateur spinmeister to say that this is “eleven dimensional chess” and the cycle will be complete.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  That is an attack on readers, on Lambert, and on me. It’s an ad hominem and a violation of site rules.

                  You act as if you are some sort of expert when I am certain you’ve never run for office, much the less won.

                  She didn’t expect to win. She didn’t campaign on anything related to Russia. She effectively said she regards this as a nothingburger but made some noises so as not to get people riled up about her views. And why the hell should she take any interest on this topic? What relevance does it have to providing concrete material benefits to working class Americans? Her best play is to say as little as she can on this topic. It’s an energy suck to divert attention from real issues affecting real people, and that is exactly the box she stuck it in.

                  I’m an actual victim of the Russia nonsense. Are you? What basis do you have for making yourself a judge on this issue?

                  Frankly, I am beginning to suspect you are a Clinton operative hired to troll the left. All you seem to do is undermine support for people who are way better than corporate Dems.

  19. Jim Haygood

    Straight-up dictatorship in a NATO “ally”:

    Ankara (AFP) – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will on Monday be sworn in for a second mandate as Turkey’s head of state after his election triumph last month, assuming sweeping powers granted under a new constitution, a presidential source said.

    Under the new system, Erdogan will enjoy greater powers with the authority to appoint and sack ministers, judges and other state officials.

    The post of prime minister, currently held by Erdogan’s ally Binali Yildirim, is to be scrapped as of Monday, leaving the president in full and sole charge of the government.

    Also, the references in certain laws like “cabinet” and “prime ministry” have been changed to say “president” and the “presidency,” according to the decree.

    Incredibly, the US is on the hook by treaty to defend this medieval caudillo.

    End NATO now.

    1. RMO

      NATO should have disappeared when the USSR did so “End NATO now” doesn’t really go far enough… The idea that the U.S. will go to war against its will because of NATO obligations though is laughable. Regardless of what agreement, treaty, alliance etc. the U.S. is party to, those in power will always do whatever they want. We’ve already seen two NATO members at was with each other and they managed to make an exception of those circumstances. If some nation (lord knows who) were to attack Turkey NATO would have nothing to do with whether the U.S. would get involved. It would all depend on whether the attacking nation or Turkey were further down the “official bad guys scale” that seems to be kept in DC.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I can see

      1. Abolish NATO

      2. Exit from WTO.

      But, as for the ICE, many functions will still need to be performed by other agencies, like (from the Wikipedia entry) investigating:

      A. human rights violations
      B. drugs trafficking
      C. arms trafficking
      D. computer crimes
      E. money laundering

      and many more.

      1. Eureka Springs

        1. Capture Gina, head of CIA, and go from there.
        2. End the war on drugs
        3. Ha! We sell more weapons than anyone. What are they really, an escort service?
        4. Have they raided FB, Alphabet or the NSA even once?
        5. I’m on the floor laughing here.

        When ICE puts a major pork or chicken CEO in jail and takes their children from them for hiring ‘illegals’… I’ll take them seriously.

        So yeah, abolish ICE.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Sorry, not convinced.

          By that logic, we should abolish the government, and to bolster the argument, MMT as well.

    3. Oregoncharles

      IOW, Turkey now has a presidential system very much like…..


      That said, I agree that the Sultan is a problem.

      1. witters

        “That said, I agree that the Sultan is a problem.” For whom do you speak here?

        1. Oregoncharles


          “The Sultan” is derogatory slang for Erdogan, in case that wasn’t clear. He is not only practicing near-genocide against the Kurds, but moving steadily towards a dictatorship – apparently a fairly popular one.

  20. anonymous

    So ol’ Dershowitz has the sads up at the Vineyard. That is almost as bad as not getting the right table at that new bistro, innit? Some are of the opinion that his relative status has suffered due to a few other reasons. Here is one that seems to have escaped the wider news media attention, for whatever reasons one may ascribe.

    There is a school of thought maintaining that ol’ D and his legal chicanery maneuvers were a limited hangout. They limited the damage from truly horrendous crimes and allowed participants to go back underground and out of the limelight. All that legal detour and short-circuiting work helped bury some really ugly stories, perhaps at the cost of a unique, perverse blackmail tontine. The participants all have an interest in maintaining some secrets, all knowing that they could each destroy the others. Murder, and various other crimes, will out.

    1. Big River Bandido

      The only injustice about the Dershowitz story is that he wasn’t shunned for being an AIPAC acolyte.

  21. RMO

    U.S. instrument manufacturer says that tariffs may make them drop U.S. production… Thinks: I wonder why Peavey largely abandoned the U.S. for China before the possibility of tariffs was even on the horizon… maybe there’s more than just tariffs to take into consideration here…

    I’m pretty sure how Canada will respond to tariffs: the Bank of Canada will do all it can to get the exchange rate down. That’s what they did when the FTA came in – they targeted a low dollar in order to keep exports to the U.S. up. The biggest hit to our economy during the GFC was that the high dollar killed thousands and thousands of manufacturing jobs – vastly more than the small number of jobs arising with Alberta Oil Boom 2 during the same period.

  22. Dita

    Re Dershowitz – another Gatestone Institute connection here, Dersh is a fellow and frequent contributor. Methinks his defenses of Trump have more to do with Dersh ‘s fixation on protecting Israel than with freedom of speech.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How do we explain Chomsky here (from Carolinian’s quote above):

      The corporate sector relies so extensively on the global economy it has designed that it is sure to use its enormous power to try to head off a major trade war. The Trump tariffs and the retaliation might escalate, but it’s likely that the threat will be contained

      He’s saying Trump is, for whatever reason, is taking on the corporate sector (the entire corporate sector, presumably…he talks about the US corporate system owing about half of the global economy).

      That, if not an indirect defense, at least is not an attack on Trump.

  23. s.n.

    Thierry Meyssan is a Damascus-based commentator apparently of World-Systems-Theory persuasion who thinks Trump is playing 11-dimensional chess. An interesting read even if -probably- utterly delusional
    What Donald Trump is preparing
    The US President is not interested in taking a step back, but on the contrary, abandoning the interests of the transnational ruling class in order to develop the US national economy.

    equally provocative is his take on the Kushner “Peace Plan”
    Jared Kushner and the Palestinians’ « right to happiness »

    Donald Trump’s personal team for international negotiations – composed of his faithful lieutenants Jared Kushner (his son-in-law) and Jason Greenblatt (ex-vice-president of his conglomerate, the Trump Organization) – therefore approach the Palestinian question from a geopolitical angle . Since they have no diplomatic experience, their plan is not to find a solution which satisfies all the protagonists, but to reduce the pressure on this population in order that they might live a normal life according to the ideal of the right to happiness as it is set out in the US Constitution. This is a major objective for Donald Trump, who intends to dissolve US imperialism and replace it with the logic of commercial competition.

    1. integer

      Nice to see some links to articles written by Thierry Meyssan here. FWIW I regard Meyssan as a highly skilled and insightful geopolitical analyst.

  24. Oregoncharles

    “Wiltshire: ‘unknown substance’ leaves pair critically ill in Salisbury hospital”

    Someone at Porton Down has been very, very naughty – again.

    1. witters

      How did they get access to the door handle? And why hadn’t it been decontaminated…

  25. Oregoncharles

    Coming in late, as usual: ” the president’s tariffs added to the cost of raw materials and components” (from “Trump’s EU trade war costing manufacturers in US and eurozone”): well, duh. That’s how it’s supposed to work. The article is about transition costs; there always are some, no matter how desirable the policy change.

    I really hate defending Trump, but I’ve been a corporate globalization opponent since it started. It was the Battle In Seattle (late 90’s) that got me back into politics. There’s a parallel of sorts with Brexit: a potentially useful or justified policy change being family blogged by the administration carrying it out. I consider Brexit a harder call than globalization, but there are reasons for it. In the tariff case, we have a rude, crude, and above all, ignorant President approaching policy with a sledgehammer. (Judging by Korea, his results may be better than we expect.)

    Basically, you bring jobs home by making it expensive to keep them overseas. That will have repercussions, and it’s likely that the targeting could have been a lot better. But transitional costs are not entirely avoidable.

  26. Kris

    “Helping the economic case for NET Power’s technology are commercial uses for that captured CO2, like plastics, chemicals and building materials. One of the biggest uses for CO2, however, is enhanced oil recovery: injecting carbon dioxide into the earth to help extract greater quantities of fossil fuels.”

    Do these people seriously think the CO2 will stay underground? I’m so tired of reading about all these work-arounds that just kick the can down the road while the earth continues to burn.

  27. ChrisPacific

    Politico article on Brexit:

    It does a good job of presenting the EU’s position:

    The EU’s position means that if the U.K. wanted to break from EU rules and strike its own trade deals, a customs border must be erected within its own single market — between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

    Here’s the crux. Brussels insists that there is only one way to stop that — no cherry-picked third way options: The whole of the U.K. must remain in the single market and customs union.

    It’s split-up or “vassal state.”

    These are the only two options now on the table, EU officials say. (Assuming we put aside no deal or no Brexit.)

    However, it commits the same error as most of the UK media by presenting it as a political position, when it’s actually a technical one. It’s a logical consequence of the idea that there cannot be an open border between two countries where the regulatory regimes and authorities are different. The EU made this assertion early in the process and invited the UK to try and prove them wrong.

    The UK needs to either: show, in sufficient detail to be taken seriously and subjected to critical analysis, how an option other than the two above could achieve the goal of preserving the integrity of the two separate regulatory authorities in the case of an open border; or admit that they are asking for the EU to keep the border open in the absence of such a solution (which amounts to the EU giving up control of trade policy to a third party, and would be in breach of God knows how many agreements on the EU side, besides being counter to what the UK agreed in December). Until they have done that, they are not negotiating in good faith and have no grounds for complaining about any EU positions.

  28. Craig H.

    And in serious news ESPN has the results from the Nathan’s 4th July hot dog eating contest where Joey Chestnut has won his 11th trophy and set a new record with 74.


  29. ChrisPacific

    Trump displaying bad manners once again:

    Everyone knows that if you want to overthrow a Central or South American government you just pick a suitable opposition group, supply them with unlimited arms, finance and propaganda, and use your Security Council veto to block any investigation of subsequent human rights abuses. You don’t just march in and invade! Horrors! How uncivilized.

  30. The Rev Kev

    Just going off base here for a moment. From time to time when the original American elite at the time of the American Revolution is mentioned, there will usually be comments that they were slave holders and thus hypocrites or something. Just saw an article at on Sic Semper Tyrannis which gives a bit of perspective here. It states that “Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers and large plantation owners.” but what really grabbed my attention was the following-

    “”Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the revolutionary army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six fought and died from wounds or hardships resulting from the Revolutionary War.”

    And these were the elite for the American colonies. Can’t imagine the elite in most countries these days willing to risk it all like this.

    1. Oregoncharles

      1776 wasn’t that long after medieval times, when elites were specifically required to go into battle – that was actually their defining function, as through most of history.

      Sadly, there weren’t any fewer wars then.

  31. kareninca

    After being entertained by the bear/hot tub video, I looked at Altadena, CA real estate. It is very costly, of course. But what struck me was that there are as many pre foreclosures (47) as there are houses for sale by an agent (48). I’m not surprised to see that in rural New England, but in Southern CA near Pasadena? What is up with that?

  32. boz

    Slightly dull administrative question here.

    If there is a thread I am interested in (there are many) or a thread I have commented into (there are few), I find it quite challenging reloading the page later to find the thread I want.

    This is because threads get pushed down the page by expansion of earlier threads and can be discombobulating.

    Any readers with tips on how to “find” the threads again? (Is the system meant to email you when you get a reply to a comment?)


Comments are closed.