Links 7/9/18

How Koko the gorilla and a chimp named Washoe changed the way humans view their relationship with animals Los Angeles Times

Africa’s Hottest Reliably Measured Temperature on Record: 124.3°F on Thursday in Algeria Weather Underground

Extreme Heat Event in Northern Siberia and the coastal Arctic Ocean This Week Ocean’s Wrath (UserFriendly).

Heatwave unveils ancient settlements in Wales BBC

Yellowstone National Park Concerned About Competing ‘Yello-Stone Natural Park’ Built Right Across Street The Onion

Central Banks Are Ramping Up Their Risk Taking Bloomberg

No Savings? No Problem. These Companies Are Helping Home Buyers With Down Payments WSJ

US Supreme Court puts Amazon, Google in tax sights around the world Australian Financial Review

Google’s keyword voids (MC). Try this one at home.

Social media apps are ‘deliberately’ addictive to users BBC

Main Line’s ‘godfather of payday lending’ sentenced to 14 years, stripped of $64M, for preying on financially vulnerable Philadelphia Inquirer

Judge Orders Brazil to Release Ex-President Lula, Setting Off Legal Uproar NYT

Haiti protests carry on despite fuel hike U-turn; flights canceled Reuters. The last paragraph should be the first.

Thai cave rescue mission to resume with eight boys and coach still trapped – live Guardian. Not part of the story:


OPCW Issues Fact-Finding Mission Reports on Chemical Weapons Use Allegations in Douma, Syria in 2018 and in Al-Hamadaniya and Karm Al-Tarrab in 2016 Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. You’ll never guess….

Pakistan’s Financial Crisis Puts China’s Belt And Road On The Spot Lobe Log

How a Microsoft font brought down Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif The Globe and Mail


China seeks ally in Europe to face down US tariffs FT

Beijing orders state media to soften criticism of Donald Trump as the US and China tone down their trade war rhetoric SCMP

Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras NYT

North Korea

Pyongyang Talks – How Pompeo Put The Cart Before The Horse Moon of Alabama (CL).

Pompeo’s prospects: outlook from a 40-year Pyongyang watcher Asia TImes. Reaction from Sic Semper Tyrannis.

New Cold War

This Is What Modern War Propaganda Looks Like Caitlin Johnstone

Novichok: Murder inquiry after Dawn Sturgess dies BBC. Somebody tracked out residue from a vat spill at Porton Down?

MSNBC Does Not Merely Permit Fabrications Against Democratic Party Critics. It Encourages and Rewards Them. The Intercept (UserFriendly). Shocker.

Proof of Children’s Vaccinations? Italy Will Now Take Parents’ Word for It NYT

Trump Transition

Trump administration freezes risk adjustment payments Modern Healthcare

5 things to watch as Trump heads to NATO summit The Hill

U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials NYT

1 big thing: Payback: How Democrats will torment Trump Axios

Democrats in Disarray

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones says he could vote either way on Trump’s SCOTUS pick CNN. He’s a real Democrat.

‘They Think They Have a PhD in Whoreology:’ How Lobbying for Sex Worker Rights Helps Educate Us All VIce

Imperial Collapse Watch

Book Review – Losing Military Supremacy by Andrei Martyanov Vineyard of the Saker

America the Loser Brad DeLong, Project Syndicate. “[I]t is already clear that the American century ended on November 8, 2016.” Funny, I would have thought it ended the day Bush the Younger invaded Iraq. One for the judges, I suppose.

The Pilot Shortage Quandary Air Force Magazine

Pentagon to outsource all strategy to Booz Allen Hamilton Duffel Blog

Guillotine Watch

Survival of the Richest Douglas Rushkoff, Medium. Disturbing.

The Eugenicist Doctor and the Vast Fortune Behind Trump’s Immigration Regime Splinter News

Class Warfare

New Study Confirms That American Workers Are Getting Ripped Off New York Magazine

Exploited Amazon workers need a union. When will they get one? Guardian

High-skilled white-collar work? Machines can do that too CNBC and without irony on the same day Learning these in-demand skills could add thousands of dollars to your annual salary CNBC

The Con of Diversity Chris Hedges, Truthdig

Would basic incomes or basic jobs be better when robots take over? FT

What Is A Federal Jobs Guarantee? HuffPo

Ten Years after the Crash LRB

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Livius Drusus

    Re: The Con of Diversity,

    Good article. I would also add this Guardian piece about black unemployment. It discusses how some areas have not seen the benefits of our supposedly roaring economy. The article uses Kansas City as an example.

    Kansas City may boast an unemployment rate of 3.6%. But take the city’s Blue Hills neighbourhood. Blue Hills is 91% African American and the unemployment rate is 17%. Neighbouring Ivanhoe is 86% African American and the unemployment rate is even higher, at 26%.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And while America is a Third World nation, cities like Beverly Hills and Santa Clara are doing just fine.

      That’s diversity (the undesirable kind).

      1. Jean

        Beef, However, in third world America, “TWA”, the Democrats attack whites for their skin color and vilify all the achievements of their ancestors, thus the Democrats are driving people to the Republican Party and are destroying themselves through rhetoric.

        1. j84ustin

          Fault them for plenty, but I haven’t come across Democrats attacking whites for their skin color. Some Republicans, however, certainly attack (figuratively, usually) nonwhites for their skin color.

          1. Jean

            There are Democrats who mouth the following:
            “White privilege, your ancestors benefited from being white, (mine were indentured servants), the legacy of slavery” and the ultimate, “we must vote for her because she’s a person of color…”

            To be sure, most Republicans are just as venal, but for other reasons.
            Policy effects aside, far more white people are fleeing the Democratic party because of rhetoric than are fleeing the Republican.

            Got presidential elections?

            1. Elizabeth Burton

              The embrace of the “white privilege” label, engendered by a white academic who decided for all of us that the advantage of having a pale complexion was the equivalent of the advantage provided by being rich, by the virtue-signalers is doing major damage.

              I’ve stopped using it and instead using “racial advantage,” because that’s really what it is. Further, “advantage” has the advantage of not suggesting to people who are struggling not to starve or live on the street they are guilty of some awful crime just for having been born.

      2. Carolinian

        To steal a certain truism about voting, if having a black president would make any difference we wouldn’t be allowed to have one.

        I do think Obama benefited many black people in a social sense if not an economic one. Our society–at least where I live–is a little more colorblind.

  2. ambrit

    The caption of the antidote picture at the source is troubling. A young boar.
    “Such great animals to spend some time with.”
    Ye gads! Those are very dangerous wild animals. We had a sounder of wild and feral mixed boars and piggies roaming around the small town we lived in right after Katrina. If the mother porker comes along, run for a safe place! They are big and mean. We sat on the front porch one sweltering post hurricane afternoon and watched as a mother pig came up to the steps and snorted at us as her brood filed past. A two hundred pound defiant porcine mother is a sight to behold.
    If you want to spend some quality time with a wild boar, stay a good distance away and have an easily climbable tree handy.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Good advice. And select a substantial tree. They can and will bring a tree down because you are up in it. No shortage of determination or attention span. Hence the term “pig headed”. Last I checked in Arkansas, any hog which has been ‘free’ for more than 24 hours is considered feral. Don’t think a 22 or shotgun with bird-shot will help you.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’d be thinking more of a .243 rifle with a telescopic sight. While on a tall hill. While being in a tall tree. We’ve had wild pigs here since some escaped from the First Fleet back in 1788 and you treat them with respect.

        1. ambrit

          I’ve used my old Lee Enfield .303. A basic bolt action in a large enough calibre.
          When I used to work for a surveyor doing field work, as a low level employee, we all carried some sort of firearm when doing swamp or wild country work. I’ve seen lots of pigs and boars, some bear, a rarity in the American Deep South, bobcats and snakes galore. And that’s just the more dangerous varieties of ‘wildlife.’

          1. The Rev Kev

            Man, I haven’t heard about that rifle for a long time. What a journey that rifle must have taken to reach your hands. There used to be a lot of them floating around Australia when I was a kid and yeah, a .303 will do the job.
            For commentators not familiar with this rifle, it was the British Army rifle the first half of the 20th century until replaced by more modern rifles-


            1. Mike Mc

              If you’re a fan of the Enfield, find one of these:


              British Enfield factory in Bengal produced these for Indian National Guard from early 1960s to 1974-75. Chambered for NATO .308 round with better steel to handle a hotter cartridge than the .303. Military surplus and bolt action both make it much lower profile than the evil assault weapon, but if you need to reach out and touch Mr. or Mrs. Wild Boar it will do a fine job for not much $$.

          2. skippy

            Great bush round that can punch through thickets and not be deflected by small branches and yeah knock down power. Still remember the fold up rear sight on my grandfathers rifle.

            That and his diabolical Winchester 1897 shotgun.

            1. GF

              My grandfather passed down to me a 30-40 Krag used in the Spanish American War which he got by trading his bicycle for it. The pass down also included an outside hammer Winchester Model 1897 shotgun and an inside hammer Stevens Model 1907 shotgun – both 12 gauge. Recently passed all down to my nephew.

    2. Oregoncharles

      In medieval Europe (before guns), wild boar were considered the most dangerous game. Also among the most desirable, of course.

  3. fresno dan

    MSNBC Does Not Merely Permit Fabrications Against Democratic Party Critics. It Encourages and Rewards Them. The Intercept (UserFriendly). Shocker.

    Nance did none of that. What he did, instead, is exactly what he did on MSNBC to Jill Stein in August, 2016: in two tweets, he outright lied about me on purpose, telling his 420,000 Twitter followers that I am “an agent of Moscow” and am “deep in the Kremlin pocket.” He further lied by stating that I “helped Snowden defect” and that I “reports into [my] masters in Moscow.”
    Greenwald says that as if it were a bad thing. Being an actual hammer and sickle bunny slipper with rabbit ear antenna to transmit directly to Putin via my underground basement lair, I can tell the pay sucks, so being in pocket of Moscow is no fun. (see my comment yesterday about how I actually get paid….)

    Seriously, the repubs are for Russia (well, Trump) and the dems are all anti Russia hysterics.
    How many remember this:

    1. The Rev Kev

      Man, I had forgotten Obama making that statement. And he was a man that more than any other leader tried to push America and the west into a new Cold War with Russia. This article also reminds me of another film clip that I saw back in 2016. You had a panel of newsie hair-does and one guy was half-jokingly saying that the media, including himself, had done all they could to help Hillary win the 2016 election. At that point they were not even trying to hide it.
      Hey, whatever it takes, right?

      1. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        July 9, 2018 at 7:49 am

        The thing is, the 80’s, other than the initial “evil empire” rhetoric, were very productive as far as “detente” and if you were familiar with the far right, there was a lot of grousing that Reagan was going soft on the commies…..
        but I have to say, I never expected the dems to be the ones to want to rekindle the cold war – but that was stupid of me.

        Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others. Groucho Marx

      2. Procopius

        Considering how the media couldn’t get over “… but her emails …”, EVERY. DAMNED. DAY., I perceive him as lying through his teeth. That’s just what they do.

  4. Patrick Donnelly

    Survival of the Richest……..

    “The Event” is partly termed the Phoenix.

    It is external to the Earth. A description of Earthly consequences is contained in Exodus.

    Venus is also known as the evening and morning star. But it is a barrier to certain increases in Electro Magnetic radiation. Problem is, it releases the excess to Earth when conjunct the Sun.

    Ullah is worshipped on a Friday. Freya is Norse for Venus. The decoration atop a Mosque is a star and a crescent. The star is Sol. The crescent is what we will see of Venus at the Phoenix.

    It is called Phenus because of the bird with outstretched wings. They will reach out from the planet to hit Earth. The sky will then be ablaze, but afterwards the planet will be seen, the rebirth.

    NASA detected the remains of the trailing plamasphere of Venus years ago. With much more charge, it will reach Earth. Until the charge is equalized between the planets.

    Study Electric Universe Theory, some of which is way off base, for more.

    There is a long slow ramp up to the sudden discharge, as the Sun goes through one cycle every 23 years or so. Quite slow Alternating Current! But every c.500 years….

    Sometimes, the events are far worse: Velikovsky correctly showed that Venus was very hot. He said it was a new planet. Rather, it was an oldish planet, many thousands of years, that had recently been released.

    Do not say you were not warned….

    1. Wukchumni

      That’s it!

      I’m giving this planet 25 more years-say 35 tops, to get it’s act in order, or i’m leaving.

  5. fresno dan

    Survival of the Richest Douglas Rushkoff, Medium. Disturbing.

    The Event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, unstoppable virus, or Mr. Robot hack that takes everything down.

    This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless? What would stop the guards from choosing their own leader? The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers — if that technology could be developed in time.
    I don’t think we should dismiss the disciplinary collars out of hand. You know, lots of rambunctious commenters at NC – maybe in exchange for being in the commenting compound, commenters would have to were disciplinary collars – think of the time spent curating that would be saved if there would some teeth to violating the commenting rules…

    and of course, the most important question – how many programmers and technicians would be needed for the upkeep and updating of the robotic sex women….

    1. Isotope_C14

      Man, don’t give them any ideas…

      The programmers for the robotic sex women are also going to have to make robotic nuclear power plant workers, since the 450 or so of them aren’t going to cool themselves. (Reactors require constant supervision, and can take 50 years to decommission safely, so I hear)

      All the costal ones should Fukushima nicely while they are in their secret undisclosed location bunkers whilst the sea level rises.

      1. synoia

        and can take 50 years to decommission safely, so I hear

        The UK IEE states 1,000 tears for the low level radiation to decay to “safe” levels.

        1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

          I can do 1,000 tears, no problem, just laughing at the British Conservative Party*.

          Pip Pip!

          *Boris Johnson: “self-serving charlatan” – Ian Birrell – former speechwriter for David Cameron.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Puhleeeez!! Can anyone explain to me what a “billionaire” even IS when money is “worthless?”

      And the image of stevie cohen or michael bloomberg trying to put a “disciplinary collar” on Mad Max makes me laugh every time I think about it.

      These guys had better hope that artificial “intelligence” gets up to speed right quick, because the real stuff they’re using on this “problem” just ain’t cuttin’ it.

    3. djrichard

      So whatever this “event” is, somebody sees it as a risk.

      When it comes to risk management, the best governance I’ve encountered is from the Fed Gov in how they manage risk when it comes to acquisitions. They identify risks, then they identify not only contingencies, but ways to mitigate risk and buy down risk or share risk.

      In contrast to these hedge funders that don’t want to seem to take responsibility for risks so much as to plan for contingencies. Why does the Fed Gov pay fealty to these “masters of the universe” again?

      Anyways, I’d venture that the sustainability of private debt over all else is the root cause of the “events” that these masters-cum-survivalists are worried about. For private debt to be sustainable, amongst other things you need to avoid deflation, otherwise private debt becomes onerous. So therefore the need for perpetual growth – to feed the private debt machine. And therefore the need for perpetual creative destruction, in particular, creative destruction which depends on large amounts of debt. Are these hedge funders going to step in front of that? For that matter, is the Fed Gov? It would require a re-branding of what it means for the USA to be the USA. We’re leagues away from that happening.

  6. fresno dan

    ‘They Think They Have a PhD in Whoreology:’ How Lobbying for Sex Worker Rights Helps Educate Us All VIce

    so I read the article and than I went to her tweet site, and there were some great comments, but I really liked this one:

    jason lee
    Jul 4
    Jaws is the most American 4th of July movie because it’s the one in which an elected official acting on behalf of business interests allows several of his constituents to be literally eaten alive by a problem he was warned about

  7. fresno dan

    Book Review – Losing Military Supremacy by Andrei Martyanov Vineyard of the Saker

    But of all the aspects of the “American dream”, the single most resilient one has been the myth of the US military as “the finest fighting force in history”.
    Martyanov takes a systematic and step-by-step approach: first, he defines military power, then he explains where the myth of US military superiority came from and how the US rewriting of the history of WWII resulted in a complete misunderstanding, especially at the top political levels, of the nature of modern warfare. He then discusses the role ideology and the Cold War played in further exacerbating the detachment of US leaders from reality. Finally, he demonstrates how a combination of delusional narcissism and outright corruption resulted in a US military capable of wasting truly phenomenal sums of money on “defense” while at the same time resulting in an actual force unable to win a war against anything but a weak and defenseless enemy.
    Wonderful links today

    “…resulting in an actual force unable to win a war against anything but a weak and defenseless enemy.”
    I know I have beaten this horse not only to death, and flayed all the flesh off the corpse and probably all the calcium off the bones, but were Vietnam and Afghanistan strong powerful enemies??? Sure, they both had 500 ship navies, intercontinental nukes…..Wha!? The most advanced technology only one of them had was Toyota pickup trucks???
    But I will concede, we seemed to handle Grenada and Panama OK…..
    So much losing, but if you only shout “We’re number one” loudly and often enough…..

    1. fresno dan

      fresno dan
      July 9, 2018 at 7:57 am

      Surely when America fought against a third-rate adversary it was possible to rain death from the skies, and then roll over its forces, if any remained by that time, with very little difficulty and casualties. That will work in the future too against that type of adversary—similar in size and flimsiness of Iraqi Forces circa 2003. But Ledeen’s Doctrine had one major flaw—one adult cannot continue to go around the sandbox constantly fighting children and pretend to be good at fighting adults.

      I can’t resist

    2. David

      The US won battles in WW2 against the Germans and the Japanese, but they did so essentially through the use of vastly superior firepower, except in the early stages of the island war against the Japanese. Trevor Dupuy’s classic book shows how, whenever the US encountered the Germans on remotely equal terms, the Germans won. This was still the basic intention in the Cold War (for all the talk of manoeuvre warfare) but it’s not clear that firepower would have worked against a large and well-equipped enemy.
      The problem, of curse, is when the enemy plays by rules that make numbers and firepower much less significant.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I can’t recall the exact quote, but I recall one US general saying that the basis of US strategy was not to win fair fights, but to make sure the fight wasn’t fair. Which, when you are the richest and most powerful country on earth, is a pretty reasonable strategy. Up until it stops working.

        I’ve often wondered how it is that the US has managed to go decades while failing to win almost any of its conflicts against pretty determined foes. I suspect it comes down to the incentive system – in a huge bureaucracy like the US military, you don’t get ahead by winning wars, you get ahead by coming up with good reasons why you need more money and resources. In the past, most Empires were delicate enough that they couldn’t afford to lose too many battles (the Romans perhaps an exception), but the US can – it has an entirely secure homeland and a military designed (since Vietnam) to minimise casualties among the non-grunts (contrast this to the past, when the officer class invariably had much higher casualty rates than their men).

        That said, the linked article may well be overstating matters. Russia has its own issues with waste and corruption and incompetence which may well become apparent in a major conflict, and the Chinese military doesn’t have a particularly glorious history, as the Vietnamese will point out (even the Tibetans gave them a run for their money despite overwhelming odds). I’d still rather go to war in an F-22 than a Mig. Assuming, that is, I could get it out of the maintenance hanger.

        1. David

          I’ve often argued that military capability, let alone “superiority” is meaningless without context. Capability means that you can carry out a given mission satisfactorily, and superiority means that you will prevail in a certain kind of scenario under certain assumptions. If the US has the capability to enforce its will in a certain context, against a specific type of opposition, for specific objectives, then it has “superiority” in that limited sense. If it can’t, it doesn’t. On the other hand, if Russia or China can stop the US doing what wants in a specific context, or achieve their aims in spite of US opposition, then in this limited fashion they have “superiority”.
          Think of it that I have a Ferrari and you have a mountain bike. If we race on a motorway I have a crushing superiority. As soon as you go off-road, I lose it.

        2. The Rev Kev

          “the basis of US strategy was not to win fair fights, but to make sure the fight wasn’t fair.”

          Your right about that. I think that the term is “overmatch’ which I have heard used by US officers several times over the past few years. You pound an enemy with your air assets, then you clobber them with your artillery, and then the infantry goes in to mop up the remnants.
          Probably this was developed because of the horrific casualties of Vietnam suffered by the US military. Sure there were 4,500 US dead in Iraq but that was over several years whereas a number like that would ‘only’ take a few weeks during the Vietnam war. The trouble is that the rules have changed the past few years and counties have now learnt how to deal with the US military – or any western military for that matter.
          You may have heard of that British 19th century ditty “Whatever happens, We have the Gatling gun and they have not.” That worked until the other side got the Gatling gun too. Same thing happening in the 21st century now.

            1. RMO

              The U.S. contribution to WWII (and WWI really) was largely economic in nature. These wars were, more than anything a battle of resources and manufacturing capability. Given how hollowed out the U.S. manufacturing base is I doubt that even that kind of war could be won now. As for the sort of “regime change” wars that seem to be the fashion it’s hard not to notice that the U.S. has become steadily less successful at them over time. Take the coup in Iran. Bloody and awful but it did install the Shah on the throne and he occupied it for decades. Nowadays? the U.S. can barely set up a puppet government and keep it marginally in control of any territory at all while the process is years long and kills far more people.

              1. JTMcPhee

                And the cool part about the “US contribution” to those wars is that a lot of the Great and Wealthy Men, nominally on the America side (and amongst the British ruling class and capitalists) were either rooting for the authoritarians, or engaged in profitable business relations with the nominal propaganda-poster Enemy, or both. A few examples:

                We mopes have such a hard time getting past the tribal patriotic Stars and Stripes-Blue Angels Flyover crap (and the equivalent in other nation-spaces) to understand how the game is actually played, way up there above our pay grades. and how we are bought and sold along with the planet’s riches, to titillate the Few…

          1. JohnnyGL

            “Probably this was developed because of the horrific casualties of Vietnam suffered by the US military.”

            – To be fair, the ratio of Vietnamese dead vs. Americans dead was still astronomically crazy at like 50-100:1. Clearly, the idea has been to continue to push this strategy further over time and Iraq seems like it was 200-300:1 (all very ballpark figures, of course).

            I think this doctrine was developed out of WWII and still assumes conventional warfare rules instead of those of asymmetric warfare. What it did not anticipate was….

            1) the idea that you may create more opposition than you kill in the process through ham-fisted desctruction, massive civilian casualties and unwavering support for visibly corrupt puppet governments.

            2) an enemy that is willing to endure those skewed casualty ratios because they know very well that item 1) is true and see it with their own eyes and they know that’s what must be done to get you to leave.

            1. JP

              About 3.5 million Vietnamese dead from the war including south Vietnamese and about 55 thousand american as I recall. So 63:1

              1. The Rev Kev

                Not really 63:1 as those 58 thousand American dead were nearly all military. Only about a third of that 3.5 million dead were actually North Vietnamese military or Viet Cong. The rest were just civilians.

          2. ObjectiveFunction

            Whatever happens, we have got / the Maxim gun / and they have not

            Hillaire Belloc is essential reading for the NC commentariat. A distant mirror to an earlier peak of globalism…

            A sort of modern Buccaneer,
            Commercial and refined.
            Like all great men, his chief affairs
            Were buying stocks and selling shares.
            He occupied his mind
            In buying them by day from men
            Who needed ready cash, and then
            At evening selling them again
            To those with whom he dined


        3. Steve Smith

          Americans fight wars to run up debts and cull male members of the population to lower overall national IQ, our war strategy isn’t to win but promote human husbandry.

        4. Procopius

          I remember some newspaper story, back before we got out of Vietnam, about some two star general ranting in his air conditioned office, how the VC were shameless cowards for not coming out and standing up and fighting like men. At the time I decided that either the story was false, because no soldier could be such an idiot and survive, or the story was true and I was damned lucky not to serve under an idiot like that. I thought everybody knew about “the American way of war,” and about General Giap’s remark that Americans had lots of machines, so the NVA strategy was to try to kill as many of the people as possible.

    3. Andrew Watts

      “But I will concede, we seemed to handle Grenada and Panama OK…..”

      I’m afraid to say that isn’t the case.

      In 1983, American ground forces invaded the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada, with pitiful results. The services of our mighty military machine didn’t have the foggiest idea how to fight alongside one another, and if the Grenadans had offered any greater resistance than a few Cuban soldiers and the island’s constabulary force, we might have lost. This embarrassment triggered the progressive integration of the four services’ combat operations, or the concept now known as jointness.

      You’re also forgetting Somalia where the Rangers freaked out in the midst of the fight in Mogadishu and open fired on Delta according to Mark Bowden in Black Hawk Down, I don’t remember seeing that scene in the movie.

      1. ambrit

        I read that the unit that kept the US forces out of the Grenada airport for so long was a Cuban equivalent of the Corps of Engineers.

      1. roxy

        The boys trapped in the cave reminds me of the part in the movie “Radio Days” when a girl had fallen into a well and everyone was glued to their radio praying for her rescue.

        And, how did they wind up in the cave?

        1. Arizona Slim

          I keep thinking of those kids who were kidnapped and buried back in the 1970s. Link:

          Quoting from the Impact section of this page:

          “A study found that the kidnapped children suffered from panic attacks, nightmares involving kidnappings and death, and personality changes.”

          Likewise, the Chilean miners, who were rescued in 2010. Many of them still suffer from PTSD.

        2. Anon

          The Thai soccer coach led the youth team into the cave. Despite signage warning against entering in the monsoon season. He has written an apology for his part in the need for a rescue effort. Unlikely to coach again, I imagine.

          They are trapped many kilometers into the flooded cave. The rescue effort is truly gargantuan. The level of skill, coordination, and assessment of the best chances for survival is truly amazing.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        A couple of points:

        1) The locals go into the cave; and some (many?) of the boys had been into it before. (The cave also embodies the spirit of a mythical princess; or is the mythical princess, I’m not sure.) What I’m saying is that I don’t think this is a matter of the coach leading, and the boys blindly following. (Apparently three of the boys also had birthdays, too.)

        2) After the original sin of entering the cave — which I think was bad judgment about when the rains would begin, since they were trapped by a flash flood, as opposed to reckless foolhardiness — the coach seems to have been exemplary in every way: Being the last one to eat, teaching the boys to meditate, which surely helped them on the way out, making sure they drank water from the walls, not the muddy stream, and so on.

        Thais, I think, have what we would consider strange ideas about risk. Karma enters largely.

    1. ewmayer

      I suppose we should be glad the cave drama isn’t playing out in Britain since ISTR the UK leadership has boycotted the Deplorable Rooskies’ World Cup of Evil. Which makes me want the British squad to win the whole thing, just for the embarrassment of ‘inviting the heroic lads’ to shmooze with the same government officials who refused to Just Show Up.

  8. Infundibulum

    >What Thailand can teach the world about universal healthcare

    Kudos to Thailand for their rescue operation so far, and I hope that in the next day or so everyone is brought out of the cave safely. But the headline should read “What Thailand can teach the US about universal healthcare”, for just about anyone not living in the US (maybe the UK, the NHS has apparently been starved for quite awhile), this headline is disingenuous and fosters a false “we all have the same problem” narrative. Here in Europe, we don’t. Where I live, free healthcare teams and ambulances on the scene of natural disasters are a natural right, a given. And we pay our higher taxes.

    Ah, and now I see it, this Guardian article is a paid advertisement. I thought they were above this sort of crap. Probably the US edition.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Thailand doesn’t have a $800+ billion defense-intelligence-security budget.

      Thailand isn’t the disproportionate lead spender of NATO. (nothing personal and it’s really America’s fault, Europeans are free-riding off of the Pentagon. #where’s the Resistance?)

      Thailand doesn’t have an establishment that still wants a NATO, 30 years after its rationale for existence ended. see today’s NYT’s pro-NATO editorial

      1. Procopius

        These things are true, but what Thailand did have to overcome was a strongly hierarchical society with a tradition of half the population being slaves. Thaksin is overwhelmingly popular to this day because he stomped on the entrenched rich to impose social legislation that created an enormous improvement in the lives of common people. There are actually several universal health care programs. One is called “social security,” and is funded by a tax on wages and employers. Since most Thais do not work for established corporate entities, only a minority are eligible for this. By far most are covered by a program started by Thaksin. At first it was under the name of “the yellow card program.” I think there was a means test, but for those who were able to sign up it was, “Any disease, 30 baht.” At that time the exchange rate was around 45 baht to the dollar. After the military and monarchists rebelled against Thaksin, they found they needed to not only confirm the program as permanent, but extend it to every citizen with an ID card, and every citizen is required to have an ID card. The government hospitals which are fully covered by the program are, naturally, crowded and waiting times are long, but everybody is covered. There are also (many) private hospitals, which are more expensive, but still amazingly cheaper than American costs.

        1. RMO

          “Europeans are free-riding off of the Pentagon” Yep, because Putin’s tanks would be rolling through the Fulda Gap right now if it weren’t for NATO! :-) I’m also well aware that NATO is the only thing keeping Russian paratroopers off my lawn here in Canada.

          1. JBird

            Where are the obligatory “I hate America and Freedom!” and “the wondrous magic pixie dust of Free Market Capitalism” comments?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Interesting analysis as always. Also, your point about LNG being pre-sold is a crucial one, it hadn’t occurred to me that exports would take priority over domestic users, but of course that has to be the situation under this type of contract. I wonder if one of the calculations made by the LNG investors is that precisely this sort of situation will drive gas prices through the roof, finally making it profitable.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Refresh my memory. I seem to recall the US’s first Black president telling us all we needed to allow more and more fracking because that gas was what would make this country energy-independent. And then the pipelines and the processing centers started breeding…

  9. Kokuanani

    Isn’t there some irony in all the attention and hand-wringing over the cave-trapped boys & their rescue, at the same time that over 3,000 children are separated from their families, and only a Keystone Cops action is provided for them?

    I’m also surprised that “kidnapping” has not been used more in describing ICE’s actions.

    1. RUKidding

      I think the reason why the boys trapped in a cave story plays so well right now is, in part, because it is turning into a hopefully good news story.

      My friends and colleagues have discussed the kids in cages story since we first learned about, have written letters (fwiw), demonstrated and so forth. We still maintain the rage and keep harassing our “overlords.”

      It’s nice to take a break and read about something positive for a change. I can also walk and chew gum at the same time.

      1. Wukchumni

        Caves are by their very nature, a scary place. You wouldn’t believe the pushback I get sometimes when taking somebody that’s never been in a wild cave before.

        Have a banker’s dozen trapped in one anywhere, and you’ve got a story.

        1. ArcadiaMommy

          I once got talked into going through a lava tube in Northern AZ. It was very cold and creepy (and this was in July), and you had to squish through several areas. It was about a mile. I had to really hold it together, yoga breaths, etc. I had tears in my eyes when we got out. Kids and dads loved it tho. Can’t imagine adding water and scuba equipment to the mix. These kids and coach have been so brave, I guess a few hours of more weirdness can’t be that bad.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > a Keystone Cops action

      Just spitballing here, but perhaps both parties find it more useful to have a problem than a solution (assuming that there is a solution to be had, a typical American thought).

  10. Craig H.

    > Rushkoff survival of the richest

    Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?”

    Machiavelli’s books are not difficult to read and they are very interesting.

    In 1990 Malachi Martin wrote a book about Pope John Paul II and Gorbachev (Keys of this Blood) which was sort of out-of-date on the day it was published, but his section on Globalism and the Globalists was very perceptive. The term he uses to describe them is Sociopolitical Darwinists. A bunch of people are going to die and the fittest will survive and that is just the way the world is. (Malachi Martin’s world was vastly different and he thought it and they were horrible.)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If the rich are only thinking in terms of bunkers, there is no hope for humans.

      They should be thinking escaping vehicles to their homes on Mars…because the problems will be global in nature…(I guess) because Nature is global.

  11. Carla

    Re: Study Confirms American Workers Getting Ripped Off —

    Informative article until the end, when New York Magazine does the usual Democrat thing and just blames Trump:

    President Trump spends a great deal of time and energy arguing that American workers are getting a rotten deal. And he’s right to claim that Americans are getting the short end. But the primary cause of that fact isn’t bad trade agreements or “job killing” regulations — its the union-busting laws and court rulings that the president has done so much to abet.

    Trump is total shit, AND once again letting the Democrats off the hook is just as shitty. NY Mag — a rag in the bag for the corporate whores.

    1. ewmayer

      Well, when you consider the fraction of NY GDP which comes from financial services, i.e. which derives in one form or another from Ripping Off American Workers, the “corporate whores” bit becomes entirely predictable, doesn’t it? The whole article is just more shamelessly unironic virtue signaling by the official scribes of the Elite Looter class.

  12. abynormal

    +1K@ Kocuanani.. “Many abused children cling to the hope that growing up will bring escape and freedom. But the personality formed in the environment of coercive control is not well adapted to adult life. The survivor is left with fundamental problems in basic trust, autonomy, and initiative.”

  13. David Carl Grimes

    Pentagon Outsourcing: Is that for real? Or is that a satirical site? I can’t tell these days.

    1. geoff

      I THINK it’s a military version of The Onion, but I had to look at some of their other stories in order to reach that conclusion, e.g. “Captain America promoted to major, moved to staff position”.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Duffelblog is GI satire. Good satire just extends reality a little bit, and too often it’s also predictive. But Booz Allen and RAND and the corporate planning departments of all the Big MIC contractors do in fact set a wholes range of Imperial policy, both military and “political,” here and abroad.

        From Booz’s (spellcheck rendered that “bozos” for some reason) there’s this frontispiece:

        And RAND, on itself: Omitting RAND’s role in vastly inflating Soviet capabilities in order to drive the Cold War wealth-redirection activities that helped may the Pentagram and State Security apparatus what they are today…

        So is it satire, or is it Memorex?

  14. Carolinian

    Re Koko the gorilla

    Science doesn’t know if great apes can invent terms or if they tell lies. And the tension between whether we view and treat animals as personalities or as commodities lives on. The truth is, Koko, Washoe and many other animals who have had two-way conversations with the people around them shatter the moral justification for the latter.

    Perhaps this is asking the wrong question. What matters is not whether we share language and intelligence but whether we share the same instincts. Which is to say instead of studying whether they are like us we should be studying how we are like them. The use of intelligence to settle “moral” questions was of course the bread and butter of the crackpot social Darwinists. Ironically Christianity, not scientific at all, may have had a better understanding of human behavior and the universality of instinct. “All are sinners.”

  15. Henry Moon Pie

    The HuffPost article on JG is quite vague about one of the issues that concern me. We are told that it will be “locally” administered, and that:

    It would be for the community to determine the type of jobs they want and need.

    That sounds lovely, but these phrases sound more focus group tested than specific. In my “community,” I suppose there would be several options for who might actually decide what work will be done:

    1) the mayor and city council who are owned by the local bankers, developers and billionaire sports team owners;

    2) the county exec and legislature (see #1);

    3) various district and regional instances of state agencies who answer to a Teahadist state legislature;

    4) community development corporations, many of whom are very nice folks, but they’re not democratic institutions and their orientation is toward business development, not environmental preservation or caring for elderly or children;

    5) local foundations, some of whom do very good work, but none of whom are democratic institutions in any sense.

    An example of how these institutions work together was provided by my “community’s” submission of areas to be designated as opportunity zones for tax breaks. They all agreed upon picking downtown, two rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods and the area surrounding a city’s real economic engine–its hospitals–hardly areas burdened by poverty and under-investment.

    So JG advocates, please tell me what “local” or “community” institutions, available across the country, are going to be deciding what jobs get done? What makes you believe these institutions will focus on work that needs doing rather than the usual sort of business and real estate development?

    1. tegnost

      you think a JG administered by the usual suspects will be gamed, but those same gamers will give you a basic income just because you are a citizen of the country? A quick glance out the window will tell you that neither of these things will happen until after things get so bad it is unavoidable. And just to add an additional thought, sit around sometime with a small group of robot focused techies you will hear that no one will do anything anymore, but I don’t hear them talk about how all these robots can have the energy to move around, or how self driving cars driving around empty will be good for the natural environment. If there were a self driving semi on the horizon there wouldn’t have been strong semi sales this past year, they would have waited to buy. Better to do things yourself than wait for that perfect robot which, like level 5 self drive, is either not going to happen at all or at least in the course of this persons life. UBI is predicated on the robot program being successfully implemented. Right now there still has to be significant “meat” involved, and that is likely to continue to be the case. I prefer a heavily funded national endowment of the arts, as well as other endowments, to a UBI.. One more glance out the window? If they give you money for nothing it will only be as a pass through to someone else more important than you…you could always learn to play the guitar…..

      1. JTMcPhee

        The people who made the FDR programs work were very different from the people milling around and looking for 10-baggers today. Many were educated in schools that taught using the McGuffey Readers and Beards’ history, and inculcated with various kinds of civic virtue in institutions like “churches” that were not as corrupt as the prosperity-gospel and nativist Nativity-its of today, the ones who preach mostly out of the Old Testament and the PR releases of “Saint Paul,” that grand showman of Xtianity. Back then they didn’t have generations of Exceptionalism and constant learning of wedge “truthiness” to make the kind of cooperative effort of the New Deal a lot harder. and bureaucracy and well-organized lobbying and looting techniques and regulatory capture and the rest.

        And of course there were resources to exploit to make it all work, and the weather patterns were different (plant 3 billion trees exactly WHERE, these days? Where the wildfires bloom?). And as noted there are all these codes and overlapping regulatory structures, each of which was born out of some kind of corporate abuse or corruption, only to be gamed and corrupted in turn.

        And I would love for there to be some sudden change of heart that would let us mopes do the kind of internal empire-rebuilding that would provide concrete material benefits of general application once again. But the works of the CCC and WPA and the rest were fortuitous gifts to the future of the country, from a generation or two that suffered the slings, arrows, wars and privations brought on by the apparently inevitable construct of what we call “capitalism.”

        But let’s come up with an organizing principle or two, like the ones that motivated the men, mostly, who saw needs – like starving, restless masses of people, and “visions” of better public spaces and such, and filled it, adhering mostly to the principle of the “general welfare”? At the local level and on up, they had something to guide and test the manifold aspects of those many initiatives and projects against. Generally not “how can I get rich off this, or benefit my little bunch of rich friends?” All those improvements of access to wilderness and park areas are great, until they open up areas for “public-private partnerships” or straight privatization. So we have rationing of access to such places, thanks to what I recall is “the paradox of the aggregate:” “That restaurant is so popular, no one goes there any more.”

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          “But let’s come up with an organizing principle or two”

          This is really the crux of it, isn’t it? From what I read on NC and elsewhere, the institutions that make the decisions in our society are not only corrupt but also lacking in any kind of moral and ethical guidance beyond “what’s in it for me.” A lot has changed since 1933, and Frances Perkins has been dead more than 50 years.

          I don’t see any sort of reawakening taking place among the 10% that serve the billionaires. How can we expect that 10% and the institutions it controls to oversee a massive effort to do the jobs that truly need doing when they currently use their power to do just the opposite?

          If those organizing principles, a new ethic, can come into being and spread, it will have to be from the currently powerless. A UBI would keep us fed and housed while allowing us to use our time to self-organize for solving neighborhood problems with our increased, though still meager, resources.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Henry, your last sentence, “A UBI would keep us fed and housed while allowing us to use our time to self-organize for solving neighborhood problems with our increased, though still meager, resources,” contains all we mopes need to know about why “it’ll never happen.” Neither the UBI, except as a leash and collar and gag, (speak up and lose your benefits), nor the awakening that might undergird the stuff the NC people see is needed (even though we can’t altogether agree on what all those things are, it seems).

            Not that people of good will will not keep trying, and the ones who prevail by creating resilient decent communities of comity might have the last laugh. Albeit zero satisfaction that the architects of what’s coming got what ought to be coming to them, since they will be off to their sanctuaries, or dead of natural causes after getting the best and most loving care that money can buy… And so they can laugh as they pass, whipping off a last blast: “Apres nous le deluge.”

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Case 1: A worker getting $12/hr gets $15/hr under the new min. wage law. Is he getting $3/hr for doing nothing new?

        Case 2. A guy getting $0/hr gets $3/hr under a test basic income scheme, is he getting $3/hr for doing nothing new?

        Will the extra $3/hr be ‘as a pass through to someone else more important than you?

        And does the answer change if it’s $10/hr, instead of $3/hr more (i.e.the new min. wage is $22/hr, for a person making $12/hr)?

        1. HotFlash

          ‘as a pass through to someone else more important than you?’

          With either plan, the line of ‘more important people’ forms on the right. Let’s see, there are landlords, property developers, banks, payday loan outfits, and I almost forgot — insurance companies. Employers, who will be able to download more of medical insurance costs onto employees. So, it seems once again that the rich will get richer and the poor get poorer. This is just not going to work without some way to keep all the new $$ from ending up at the top. Maybe we could tax the rich, too?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That is, to be clear, the argument that ‘people getting UBI would just lose it to more important people than you, or us,’ is not an argument against UBI only.

            It’s an argument against higher min. wage, wage growth, UBI, etc. And to address that, the lesson, then, is not to abandon those ideas, but to find ‘some way to keep all the new $ from ending up at the top.’

            So, on this issue alone, UBI is on an equal footing with JG.

        2. JTMcPhee

          Select the cases that give you the answer you want.

          The local grocery chain starts the schlub worker at around $8.50 an hour, to unoad trucks, bend down or kneel or reach to stock shelves, unerringly be “retail polite and deferential” to all customers (in fear of being otherwise to the “secret shoppers” who prowl the aisles looking for people to “write up” for not adhering to Corporate Standards), bag groceries for often irascible customers, go out in cold and mostly heat and rain and lightning to retrieve grocery carts from the often large parking lots (in a task that I think as “Sisyphean” since it never ends — most “consumers” think it is their right, or their need if disabled, to leave the carts askew where they unloaded them, but hey, it’s part of the real-world very-limited kind of “job guarantee” we more fortunate can sneer at).

          And that wage is of course higher than in many similar operations.

          So is the guy or gal, or often older person who didn’t come up a winner in the stock market casino or had some life problem that made them have to keep working on weak legs and bad feet and knees and back until they get sick enough to be stuffed into a Medicaid-grade “nursing home,” or die standing where they are (this has happened in my local store) “getting a couple of bucks more for doing nothing new”? Lots of judgments being made about the “price” of an hour of labor, no? And who are the few that get to make and enforce those judgments?

          And “the guy getting $0,” who now gets $3: why, again, was he getting $0? Dis-employed, disabled, disenfranchised, living in some place where “industry/capital” has emptied out the community and moved its operations to Lower Slobovia to make the LSians sprint in the Great Race To The Bottom?

          Case 3: Set yourself the task of determining what a “fair living wage” is, and make the argument that supports whatever you come up with. In context. With footnotes.

          Yes, follow the money. Inward and upward. And the fix is…?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The cases (and more can be presented) are to make this point:

            If hourly workers can be given additional money, why can’t those, for example, staying at home taking care of their families? Must they toil more?

            And then, there is the other question raised by HotFlash – is it hopeless that people (working in the traditional sense, and not working but are in fact working as they take care of family members at home, for example) have extra money, from either wage growth, increasing the min. wage or UBI? Will it all go to the more important people (than you, or on top)?

        3. djrichard

          ‘as a pass through to someone else more important than you?’

          Keep in mind, this is the whole idea of why silicon valley is proposing a UBI. It’s to give people play money to buy goods – not necessarily goods from Silicon Valley itself, but goods overall, so that they’re part of the marketplace – a marketplace for which Silicon Valley provides the channels-to-market. Vice versa, if everybody is on the Indian Reservation and doesn’t have disposal income, then they’re not monetizable as far as Silicon Valley is concerned. They might as well not even be on the internet. “Boo. Nobody wants that outcome”.

          So yes, ultimately, the people who get the UBI are simply a passthrough: to the capitalists.

          And the same would be true for a JG. Even better since it gives them even more disposable income. Marketplaces love that.

          Anyways, thought the FT article on “Would basic incomes or basic jobs be better when robots take over?” was on the nose with this bit:

          What’s more, adds Prof Oswald, most of this unhappiness seems to be because of a loss of prestige, identity or self-worth. Money is only a small part of it. This suggests that the advocates of a jobs guarantee may be on to something.

          Identity in particular I think is key.

          Somebody get in now while the getting is good and trademark a site for JGharmony, matching JG providers and JG workforce, to help the workforce find the JG of their dreams. More to the point, something that helps them satisfy their identity. An identity that has been cultivated by Silicon Valley and the eco-system they cater to.

          A less serious riff, but just to make the point. I was talking to somebody about the opiate issue and she was kind inspired by the worldcup, thinking about how youth at least could be kept away from the path of opiates through participating in sports. So something to test our thinking, how about if the US gov paid people to be on intramural sports teams? What value does it provide to society? Does it matter, especially if people can have their identity satisfied through participation in their intramural sports team?

      3. shane mage

        A properly designed Universal Basic Income cannot be gamed, because its entire content is monthly cash payment (adjusted annually to compensate inflation as scored by a relevant price index) from a governmental account at the FED to every single family (including, of course, permanent residents and presently undocumented workers to be freely enrolled as permanent residents as part of the scheme). It’s administrative cost would be virtually zero (like Social Security but even more so). How much would it “cost” (i.e.., how much “money” would need to be created to pay every year)? The article supra cites the Levy Institute as stating that a wage of $15 per hour would allow a full-time worker to support a family of five. The UBI payments, of course, would go to everyone from Warren Buffet to the homeless veteran on your pavement, so the average cash per person needed would be more than for 60million 5-person families. Let’s say we have the equivalent then of 100million 3-person families making up the 300million US population. At
        the annual equivalent of full-time $15 per hour wages (~$31,000 p.a.) that comes to ~$3 trillion p.a. That sounds like a lot–but out of a GDP amounting to around $18trillion it amounts to merely ~17% of the total. If we talk about real resources, (and of course the meaning of “pay for” is how much of our real resources would be required) does anyone not realize that much more than 17% of accounted GDP is actually total waste (or worse) not even considering the huge waste represented by unemployment. The first comment is quite correct about the incredible complexity of the US’s “community” governance none of which is democratic in any real sense and all of which would seek to be involved in administering (and collecting rents from) the huge federal funds involved in any “job-guarantee” program. Moreover the UBI has a vast political superiority, in that a president with a simple majority in both houses of congress could enact it by a simple one-page law–and that it would be impossible to abolish as long as elections continue since this would deprive every last voter of a substantial income. Now try to imagine the legislative sausage-making involved in every aspect of designing a job guarantee.
        To realize the full benefit of UBI, of course, major radical social reforms and macroeconomic policy changes would have to be on the agenda. Which demonstrates how powerful a “transitional demand” UBI would be when promulgated by a powerful political movement aimed at democratic and socialist social change.

  16. voteforno6

    Not sure if this has been posted elsewhere, from the Washington Post:

    A journalist’s conscience leads her to reveal her source to the FBI. Here’s why.

    This is a rather odd story – Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel) burned one of her sources to the FBI, as part of the Mueller investigation. I found this part from the story to be interesting:

    As a writer working without a newsroom, she had no editor with whom to talk but did consult with a number of lawyers before making her initial decision.

    If she had an editor, that person would have probably told her not to go to the FBI (especially given the Bureau’s sketchy history towards journalists). If she had an editor, that person probably would’ve pulled her from this story. She can no longer credibly report on Russiagate, as she is now part of it (a decision she consciously made, by the way). Yet, she continues to post on this. That she views this as acceptable behavior for a journalist should disqualify her from being taken seriously on pretty much anything.

    1. Bittercup

      I don’t think an editor would necessarily have pulled her off the story or warned her away from the FBI. If anything, I think the editor would probably encourage her to do both, that’s what access journalism is all about. I mean, case in point: Ali Watkins.

      That said, I’m in complete agreement with you on this as a whole. There are a lot of little inconsistencies in her self-justification, and they’re kind of fascinating. For example, she’s trying to evoke concern for her safety, but, as far as I can tell, nothing has actually happened that would warrant it. Mostly, it just sounds like something went sour with whatever pattycakes she was playing with the FBI, so she’s now trying to get ahead of a possible scandal.

    2. Carolinian

      Wheeler, who has written blog posts about national security for almost 15 years, is clear that she wasn’t motivated to talk to the FBI because she is out to get Trump. She certainly doesn’t like him, but she is also not at all a Hillary Clinton fan.

      Not out to get Trump but out to get Russia? If Putin or his minions convinced Trump to end the US proxy war against the Syrian government wouldn’t that be a good thing? Not to Wheeler, obviously.

      This is why some of us are very unimpressed with her blog these days. She legal beagles the nitpicky details, doesn’t seem to have much of a grasp of the big picture. But certainly this does qualify her to call herself a “journalist” by current standards.

      1. shane mage

        If a journalist has been betrayed by a source her proper response is to denounce him publicly–never to call the cops.

        1. Carolinian

          But these days the reporters seem to see themselves as extensions of the cops and the “intelligence agencies.” Their beats are always sweetened.

          One does love it though when the WaPo pretends to go on about “journalistic standards.”

      2. integer

        Imo Marcy Wheeler has become an intelligence asset on a “long leash”. Here’s a brief description of what being on a “long leash” encompasses:

        Modern art was CIA ‘weapon’ The Independent

        Why did the CIA support them? Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US. Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete.

        The existence of this policy, rumoured and disputed for many years, has now been confirmed for the first time by former CIA officials. Unknown to the artists, the new American art was secretly promoted under a policy known as the “long leash” – arrangements similar in some ways to the indirect CIA backing of the journal Encounter, edited by Stephen Spender.

        In Marcy’s case, rather than being surreptitiously promoted by the intelligence community (although being given favorable exposure in WaPo is consistent with this desciption), I expect she was purposely given access to what she perceived to be classified information, possibly a preview of the so-called intelligence contained in the Steele dossier, via an intermediate source, and has since proceeded to dig herself into a Russiagate-themed hole that she can no longer climb out of.

    3. tomk

      I don’t agree that Marcy Wheeler shouldn’t be taken seriously. She knows far better than almost anyone the many problems with the FBI and still made her difficult choice. After following her work since the beginning with FDL my impression is that her integrity, work ethic, and journalistic skills are unmatched, especially by anyone in the mainstream media. And her disclosure, repeated in every post since, makes it perfectly acceptable for her to continue her coverage.

      And to the person who referred to Marcy as an access journalist, she strikes me as the opposite, someone who actually reads impenetrable court filings, transcripts of hearings, complex financial disclosures, and yes, the occasional leaked documents. Most importantly, she seems beholden to nothing but the truth, not her connections, nor ideology.

      That said, I don’t always agree with her opinions, but I’ve never had reason to doubt her stories, and she is always clear about the line between her opinions and the facts in her stories.

      1. voteforno6

        I’m sorry, but her behavior in this matter is rather bizarre, and is pretty much the opposite of what a good journalist should do. As the linked story mentioned, what seems to have set her off is the behavior of the House Republicans – that indicates that she has become too emotionally involved with a particular narrative. Instead of reporting the heck out of the story and publishing, she ran to the FBI. She made herself a part of this story now, which makes anything she has to say about this suspect. What kind of journalist is more willing to inform the FBI on something than her readers?

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Indeed. I’ve never been a regular reader of hers and lately only when she’s linked to here, but I’m a little tired of her “I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you” schtick with this whole RussiaRussiaRussia nonsense. There’s a note of self-importance to her recent writings on this subject with come off as very disingenuous to me.

      2. Bittercup

        Most importantly, she seems beholden to nothing but the truth, not her connections, nor ideology.

        The thing is, I’ve also been a long-time reader of her, and, quite opposite to being “beholden to nothing but the truth,” I’ve seen a definite drift in her writing towards ideologically charged interpretations and IC-friendly opinions. So this FBI informant reveal wasn’t even all that surprising. It’s basically just the natural endpoint of where she was heading anyway.

        1. tomk

          I know what you mean, but I also think the Intelligence community and the FBI have many factions, and I see no reason to doubt her knowledge and insight into them. She has never seemed other than fairly conservative in many ways. Her drift into Russia blaming doesn’t seem unfounded. One can disagree on the importance of Russia’s interference in the election, but it seems clear that it was real.

          Marcy has never been an enemy of the IC, she seems to want them to be smarter and more effective.

          1. witters

            “Her drift into Russia blaming doesn’t seem unfounded. One can disagree on the importance of Russia’s interference in the election, but it seems clear that it was real.”

            To you, my dear sir. To you.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      I thought this was interesting:

      Largely because this effort involved a number of last minute trips to other cities, I spent around $6K of my own money traveling to meet with lawyers and for the meeting with the FBI.

      Speculating freely, but the “big reveal” (plot twist) that was missing from the Plame Affair would be well worth that investment.

    1. Charles Leseau

      It’s a thing. I’ve taken a passive interest in it as a cultural phenomenon on something of an amateur anthropological level.

      There are inherent problems with pro gaming, the largest being that one has to be predictive about when a certain game will simply become too old and the general interest drops, and then which game is next in line as the new hit.

      All the normal games we think of as “legacy” type things where interest spans the decades, from baseball to chess, can go on and on with the same rules and gameplay, but video games are constantly moving forward to the latest greatest in graphics and ideas, and thus fads can be very, very short lived. A game can be hot, then dead cold, in the span of months. Mind you, games like Star Craft have been surviving quite a while (S. Korea calls it a national pastime and has TV channels devoted to it).

      Some games simply don’t broadcast well for anything but their player base. One could watch League of Legends (mentioned in the article) for years and still not understand all the information without researching or memorizing exactly what things do, even through the explanatory babble of the broadcasters. It requires something close to Gladwell’s 10K hours just to be competent. So it’s only questionably attractive for the non-player viewership. Even a non-fan can understand the basics of basketball, OTOH.

      Age: Kids are notoriously brutal about anyone being involved in the presentation or playing of games who is not a kid. One Dota player has been called “old man” for years and only just turned 30 this past February, and finally was dropped from his team about a month ago. But the player base itself – these same kids – grow older too. Past a certain age, many simply drop out. Again, baseball fans can be so from the age of like 4 until 104. Gaming fans? Hmmm…

      Some large percentage of the audience is also largely intolerant of ads, though of course you’ll always get the true market believers bullying them to shut up or leave in chat. Amazon’s Twitch, also mentioned in the article, makes it so that spending money to subscribe to a single channel means that you don’t get ads on that channel. If you don’t subscribe, you get periodic ads that blast at around 30% volume increase above the regular broadcast. It’s so weird, and exploits “positive reinforcement” in the form of removing a known annoyance from the viewing experience; almost like asking people to pay to keep a producer from the show from repeatedly farting in your face.

      Finally, there’s a widespread feeling that video games are becoming incredibly same-y, which they mostly are. It’s pure oversaturation. New games come out like weeds, tons of them copycats of the latest fad, and yet new things that you can actually *do* in games, and new environments to do them in, become for the most part more and more cliche. Then again, same with movies and they still get made.

      Great investment for the future? Ehhhh….Still not sure. Audience is too fickle for me. But the people at the top are certainly dumping money into it, and we should never discount manufactured phenomena. All things need is massive real coverage and investment and people will buy just about anything.

  17. marym

    Re: Splinter News – The Eugenicist Doctor and the Vast Fortune Behind Trump’s Immigration Regime Splinter News

    Long and discursive – better organization and maybe topic headings would have helped. General scope:

    1. personal history of the eugenicist and his Mellon-heir funder
    2. their white supremacist, anti-semitic, anti-Islam, anti-immigrant, misogynist
    3. organizations, publications, policies, and politicians they supported
    4. specific influence of all of the above on Trump and the people in his administration
    5. contributions by Democrats to the domestic and international legal framework enabling the current situation
    6. politics of race, capitalism, exploitation, the prison/detention system, imperialism
    7. [trigger warning] a bit of “open borders” toward the end, but it doesn’t color the essence of the research and analysis

    Scroll to “It was clear from the outset” for #4

    Scroll to “There is deep and horrible irony” for #’s 5-6.

    It’s unfortunate that so often so many of us anywhere to the left of virulent racism get caught up discussing whether there are arguable issues about jobs, resource priorities, crime, and security to consider in relation to immigration and domestic policing policies. From the perspective of the powerful and influential, it’s often not about that. The fight for better answers to those issues, imo, also needs to recognize and fight the white supremacist elephant in the room explicitly.

  18. edmondo

    Everything you need to know about Mitch Landrieu:

    “…with a 2020 field that could include a dozen or more serious Democrats, he wonders: Is running for president the only way to get anyone to pay attention?”

    “For now, Landrieu is more concerned about understanding why Trump happened, and figuring out what he is prepared to do about it. … For now, there’s no wink-wink travel or fundraising. He doesn’t have consultants, other than a rickety breakfast-nook cabinet of Donna Brazile, James Carville and Mary Matalin…

    1. ambrit

      That Kitchen Cabinet is not too surprising since two of the mentioned are from Louisiana, the third married to one of the others. Now, to really get somewhere, Mitch should bring in Edwin Edwards. Then all bets will be covered.

  19. David

    On the Douma attack, I haven’t read all the annexes of the OPCW report, but it does seem clear, from the statements about the absence of organophosphate traces that it wasn’t sarin. To be fair, such accusations were made much more by Syrian opposition groups than by western governments – so far as I can see, most western governments alleged that the agent that had been used was chlorine. Some chlorine residues were found, but as has been pointed out elsewhere, these could have come from household cleaning products or other sources. The issue remains the two cylinders that crashed through roofs of buildings, both of which, says the OPCW, tested positive for chlorine, as well as traces of explosive. So the report supports (or at least doesn’t disprove) the theory that chlorine canisters were dropped from the air, probably by helicopters, but doesn’t prove that happened, still less who did it and why.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Saw a video clip by Russians investigating that “attack” when they had access to Douma. Too many problems with that attack. The gas cylinders, even though they were supposed to have been dropped from a helicopter, were undamaged even though they were supposed to have smashed a hole in a roof. One was lying on a bed and the bed was undamaged which sounds suspect too. The second cylinder was not present when those Russian investigators were there but only appeared afterwards. Finally, there are images of those cylinders but there appears no way to make them work as weapons ( They are just cylinders and since Eliot Higgins are saying that they are proof of a gas attack, I am saying the opposite.

      1. David

        The OPCW report says that more work will be needed to analyse the cylinders and find out where they came from, as well as how the damage to the buildings resulted, so they are very much hedging their bets at this stage.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      As MoA has pointed out, this hasn’t stopped the media from saying chlorine was used. The BBC is still claiming it was a ‘possible chlorine’ attack. Same as Al Jazeera.

      I’ve noticed that the OPCW report seems to have had very little traction – unless the search function is missing the Guardian has run nothing on it.

    3. Harry

      I did read the annexes. There is a full set of test results. One table covers biomedical samples which appear to be from human plasma samples. All tested negative for ANY chems. The chlorine found was all in the form of chlorine compounds. Those compounds are natural bioproducts of water chlorination. Others are found in household cleaners. No concentration data was included.

      There was no discussion of the situation of the tanks, or the metallurgy. This is to follow.

      There was a discussion of a hostile crowd and shooting which delayed the on-site investigation. This included a report of a russian soldier being wounded.

      In my opinion there was no evidence of chem usage whatsoever.

      1. RMO

        Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence… at least when it helps gin up an excuse to kill official enemies.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Readers, I’ve noticed this twice now. With links, as with almost all HTML tags, the rule “If you open it, close it” applies. Hence your goal should be:

        <a href=”URL HERE”>TEXT HERE</a>

        You will see how the link button in the editor changes when it “wants” a close tag.

        You’ve got to put some “TEXT HERE” if you want the link to be visible to the reader, and you’ve got to add the close tag after that text if you want the link to work.

  20. fresno dan

    Donald J. Trump

    Verified account

    Follow Follow @realDonaldTrump
    I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake. We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!
    7:25 AM – 9 Jul 2018
    Considering how many times Trump has been sued for not honoring deals, the official policy must be IRONY…..

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To be fair, the accusation that the “US is not agreement capable” dates to before Trump.

      It is not ironic, though, to hope that the voters will in the future send to D.C. leaders who will be more agreement capable with the rest of the world.

    2. Wukchumni

      {one hand held aloft}

      “…this contract is proof there will be peace in our time”

  21. Ted

    Doug Rushkoff’s piece on the nihilist elite is good. One might also look to the history of complexity collapse (or elite replacement) in the archaeological record for a pretty good lesson on what the elite can hope for … erasure (I know … there is no algo for that … so … Boring!). It turns out that those who do the labor of feeding and producing real human needs continue to do so during and after the crisis, those who live of the surplus of their labor are in for a rude awakening when the system fails (they always fail … for a host of reasons). It’s either back to the land or your genetic line is an evolutionary dead end. The meek do inherit the earth afterall. So, Rushkoff’s line should not just be “more inclusivity” … how corporate. It should be … take up gardening with your neighbors.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      “‘It is said in the desert that possession of water in great amount can inflict a man with fatal carelessness.” ― Frank Herbert, Dune

      1. meeps

        –Little Dragon, After The Rain

        And after the rain the temperature dropped
        And covered in ice was my window top
        I say goodbye, I wave my hand
        As a thousand doves fly
        Across the blackened night

        After the rain we forget
        We make sure we gain, then we leave it
        ‘Cause we’re a nation of forgetters

        Oh, after the rain we pretend
        It’s easier to begin without looking back
        ‘Cause all at once air so thin
        And there’s nothing left to breathe in

        After the rain we forget
        After the rain we forget

        Behind the dream so rosy and red
        A pile of things to forget
        A voice of the past tiptoes in
        A cracking, a ghost whispering

        After the rain we forget
        We make sure we gain, then we leave it
        ‘Cause were a nation of forgetters

        After the rain we forget
        After the rain we forget

        People, where have you been?
        Have you been hiding in your big houses?
        And people, after the rain, will your life
        Will it ever be the same?

        Oh, people, what will you do
        When your luck, when it turns on you?
        People, after the rain, will your life
        Will it ever be the same?

        After the rain we forget

  22. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Haiti protests carry on despite fuel hike U-turn; flights canceled Reuters.

    On Friday, Haiti’s Commerce and Economic ministries announced that fuel price increases, including a 38 percent jump for gasoline and 47 percent for diesel, would take effect at midnight.

    The now-suspended decision by Moïse’s government to raise prices was part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, which requires the country to enact a range of austerity measures.

    “Austerity”…… HAITI. A most excellent “plan.”

    What happens when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, but you don’t notice that the nail is bent beyond all recognition. Looks like a “skills gap” to me.

    1. JBird

      A country founded by a successful slave revolt, which is the poorest country in the Americas because they had to cut all of their forests to get the money to pay the French for the loss of their “property,” and because the Southern dominated, controlled really, Federal government to block all foreign investment and economic development. Add the French naval blockade, the repeated invasions, and regime changes, including one done by America using hired goon squads in the past decade. Yeah, those lazy Haitians needs some austerity alright.

  23. HotFlash

    WRT North Korea, I keep feeling I came in at the third act or something. Can anyone explain to me why the US — or anyone in the world — thinks that North Korea must denuclearize but the subject of the US giving up their nukes never comes up?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The US giving up all our nukes worldwide or just in the Korean peninsula?

      In the latter case, there is an argument for it, in order to balance China having a land border, whereas the US would have to land more troops there.

  24. Wyoming

    Re: Africa’s hottest ever temperature.

    No quibble with the way meteorologists set their standards for measurement but it can be instructive for those going out into the hot places to realize that it is often much hotter there than the ‘official’ measurements say.

    The reason for this is that where us humans hang around it is often much hotter due to extra radiation from nearby walls and stone or reflections from buildings and such. Official measurements are taken where this does not happen.

    For instance in 1987 in the Sahara I saw temps of 131 F in the shade and my buddies who were up in Wadi Doum said they saw 140F the same day. A friend of the family who is a volunteer emergency medical technician at the Grand Canyon told us they saw 140F in the canyon just north of Phantom Ranch just a week ago.

    Not understanding that the temps you can run into are much higher and more dangerous than what the news folks provide is an important factor in many deaths in the desert.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Beijing orders state media to soften criticism of Donald Trump as the US and China tone down their trade war rhetoric SCMP

    1. First you order harsh criticism, then you order it softened. Let the world know you are offering a concession. Uncle Sam owes them one. Why does the US do that, on a larger scale, so the concession looks bigger?

    2. Did Beijing last night order its’ plunge protection team to buy stocks in Shanghai? It’d be so easy to do.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not to mention the trips from the native homes of those coffee beans to your cafe, via, of course, solar powered long-distance delivery drones.

      And that coffee is slightly diuretic and you have to drink a little more of that precious water to re-hydrate (a bit).

  26. georgieboy

    Re payday shyster Hallinan on the way to jail — sure hope Obama takes time to thank his good buddy Geithner for being so much more discreet. What bad taste!

    1. Jean

      As do all the other Wall Street parasites like Dimon, Summers, Sachs, Gensler etc, thanks to the inaction of Eric “Place” Holder.

  27. Jim Haygood

    How the mighty have fallen:

    Bill and Hillary Clinton were forced to fly with the unwashed masses recently, according to video posted on Twitter.

    The video shows the pair apparently sitting in the First Class section, captured across the aisle peons filed into coach.

    Another video shows Bill Clinton glad-handing with police officers and gate agents. Hillary, meanwhile, was seen doing the opposite, standing off to the side and not interacting with the little people.

    Hello, I loathe you
    Let me forget your name
    Hello, I loathe you
    Let me run from your game

    She holds her nose so hi-igh
    Like a sultan in a sty
    Her arms are puffy and her legs not strong
    When she swoons my brain screams out this song

    Biden’s crouching at her feet
    Like a dog that begs for something sweet
    Do you hope to help her win, you fool
    Do you hope to tout this tainted tool


    — The Doors, Hello, I Love You

    1. Carolinian


      Hillary can probably smell the Trump voters and is keeping her distance. That or she’s distracted while plotting her Churcillian comeback.

  28. Wukchumni

    Irony is so expected & cheapened from a surprise standpoint now, as to be more commonplace than reality.

  29. allan

    Trump’s Personal Driver for 25 Years Sues for Unpaid Overtime [Bloomberg]

    Donald Trump’s personal driver for more than 25 years says the billionaire real estate developer didn’t pay him overtime and raised his salary twice in 15 years, clawing back the second raise by cutting off his health benefits.

    Noel Cintron, who is listed in public records as a registered Republican, sued the Trump Organization for about 3,300 hours of overtime that he says he worked in the past six years. He’s not allowed to sue for overtime prior to that due to the statute of limitations. …

    He worked as long as 55 hours per week, but was paid a fixed salary of $62,700 in 2003, $68,000 in 2006, and $75,000 in 2010, according to the complaint.

    The wage bump in 2010 came with a catch, Cintron said. He was induced to surrender his health insurance, saving Trump approximately $17,866 per year in premiums, according to the lawsuit. …

    Surely the NYT Jarvanka whisperers will soon let us know that they were against
    taking away Mr. Cintron’s health insurance.

  30. zagonostra

    Refer: Intercept on MSNBC

    When someone like Greenwald decides to write a piece about the mendacity of the Media he must have an audience in mind that doesn’t include me and those who have looked at the murder of JFK/RFK/MLK and are conversant with the U.S.’s too numerous to list coups.

    The complicity of the CIA (viz. operation Mockingbird) and infiltration of all the organs of MSM is well known; as is their infiltration of Academia. That’s why I come here, to NC, in hopes of finding something I don’t know…

    It’s almost as if there are two realities out their in the public ether. That which is grounded in knowledge and that which is shaped by opinion, opinion carefully constructed by the ruling elites.

    A look at Plato’s “Divided Line,” which examines the difference between knowledge and opinion and doxa, or a look at Plato’s Gorgias on the functions of rhetoric and its relation to justice, would be more useful than revelations of how the Media is biased.

  31. Carey

    “How Democrats will Torment Trump” was good for a laugh. “If they win the House.”

  32. Oregoncharles

    ” Somebody tracked out residue from a vat spill at Porton Down?”

    I’m beginning to suspect there’s a serial killer working there – nothing political about it. Bit too much of a coincidence, two of these incidents right on the front doorstep of Britain’s chemical warfare facility, and the latest victims appear to be random.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      My other thought was that agents were going out into the community from Porton for trial runs, training, as they do in Langley, and that something went “horribly wrong.”

  33. KFritz

    Re: Survival of the Richest

    Mr. Rushkoff, being I assume a technologist and a scholar, couldn’t give the Uebermenschen who hired him much useful information.

    He could have recommended three works of American art, one fiction, one fiction-become-cinema, and one play-become-cinema.

    Dashiell Hammett’s “Red Harvest” is the story of strike-breaking thugs run riot in a Rocky Mountain mining city after WWI. If the thugs take over, the only “strategy” is to hope that someone analogous to the Continental Op shows up and plays the factions against each other. Alas, the Op needed the National Guard to finish the job, so “Red Harvest” is only a cautionary tale.

    In “The Godfather” book and movie, the Corleones make sure they have one extremely dangerous gangster/vassal who is so devoted to them that he’s inwardly afraid to betray them. But as the sequence of events around the attempted murder of Vito Corleone demonstrated, even a man like Luca Brasi can be taken out by someone clever and ruthless enough. And besides…it’s difficult to envision a contemporary hedge fund manager inspiring that kind of loyalty in any hands-on thug.

    Just before the famous motorcycle-gang-in-a-Mafia-bar scene of Chazz Palmenteri’s “Bronx Tale,” (less fictional than the previous examples) the local capo Mafioso Sonny explains to “C” how he controls his underlings–pay them well, but not so well that they can feel independent–while making them fear him. Does anyone think a 2018 hedgfundie could bring this off? If one or two of them could, I suggest borrowing the concept of “portion control” from the modern industrial scale restaurant trade: control the supply of weaponry carefully, and hand it out on “as needed, just in time” schedule.

    A last thought for the hedgies: “Rotsa ruck, you beauties!!”

    1. KFritz

      Afterthought: Palmenteri’s Sonny also advised potential leaders to be visible/physically present for underlings and the local population. While the cat’s away, the mice play.

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