Links 5/26/19

SpaceX just launched 60 satellites for its Starlink Constellation. Internet service providers should be very worried. Universe Today (a Starlink “satellite train”). So much for astronomy?

Why Silicon Valley Loved Uber More Than Everyone Else The Altantic

Sofar Sounds house concerts raises $25M, but bands get just $100 TechCrunch

Samsung deepfake AI could fabricate a video of you from a single profile pic CNET (Furzy Mouse). What could go wrong?

In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc NYT

Mississippi River’s Morganza Spillway Expected to Open For 3rd Time in History Weather Underground

Climate crisis more politically polarizing than abortion for U.S. voters, study finds Grist

Memorial Day

The replies. Thread (DK):


After Multiple Deployments, Coming Home to a Changed Country The American Conservative

Syraqistan

US To Send 900 Troops To Middle East To Counter Iran Defense One

Brexit

Battle to replace Theresa May gets under way FT and Theresa May’s departure will not break Brexit deadlock FT

May was the Daily Mail’s PM. The day after it told her to go, she went Open Democracy

Brexit: wrong person, wrong reasons EU Referendum

European Elections 2019: Tories and Labour brace for Brexit backlash as EU awaits parliamentary poll results Evening Standard

Europe taking the Green route as voters seek action RTE

The European Left in Disarray Jacobin

Modern monetary theory offers insights into the eurozone FT (Furzy Mouse). As long as they spell the name right…

China?

China Commits to Trade Talks Amid ‘Groundless’ Huawei Suspicions Bloomberg

Huawei’s Years-long Rise Is Littered With Accusations of Theft and Dubious Ethics WSJ

China says U.S. demand on its state-owned enterprises is ‘invasion’ on economic sovereignty Reuters

The conflict to come in the South China Sea Asia Times

‘If I disappear’: Chinese students make farewell messages amid crackdowns over labor activism WaPo

Exclusive: Behind Grindr’s doomed hookup in China, a data misstep and scramble to make up Reuters

Human Rights Watch Reverse-Engineers Mass Surveillance App Used by Police in Xinjiang EFF

Tech cold war: how Trump’s assault on Huawei is forcing the world to contemplate a digital iron curtain South China Morning Post

India

Modi’s Message Was Simple: Hindus First Foreign Policy

Why was Congress routed in 3 states it won 6 months ago? Here’s what party leaders are scared to say Scroll.in

How Modi’s schemes were shaped by examples from East Asia Economic Times

New Cold War

The West and Russian-Chinese Relations: Stages of Denial Valdai Discussion Club

Russia’s Dirty Oil Crisis Is Worse Than Almost Anyone Predicted Bloomberg. Hmm.

Assange

Some federal prosecutors disagreed with decision to charge Assange under Espionage Act WaPo

Marty Baron on Assange:

Depends on whose ox is gored, I guess…

RussiaGate

American Hustle Foreign Affairs. A reasonably balanced article (not paywalled), and note well the source. Well worth a read.

Five takeaways from Barr’s new powers in ‘spying’ probe The Hill

Trump Transition

Nancy Pelosi Plans To Go Easy On Big Pharma HuffPo. Ka-ching.

How secure is the intelligence community’s IT supply chain? FifthDomain

Democracy and Its Discontents Adam Tooze, NYRB

2020

“Everything Old Can Be New Again”: Inside the G.O.P. Operation to Take Down Joe Biden Vanity Fair

Sanders refuses to apologize for opposing war with Iran The Hill

Dems institute rule to prevent ‘undercard’ debate in June Politico

Health Care

As Suicides Rise, Insurers Find Ways to Deny Mental Health Coverage Bloomberg

‘Medicare for All’ backers find biggest foe in their own backyard Politico. Very important; insurance companies are not the only problem; hosptials are, too.

Gunz

My school’s lockdown drills, active shooter training are security theater. Yours are, too. USA Today

Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing 737 MAX Crash Reveals A Severe Problem With Older Boeing 737 NGs Moon of Alabama

Class Warfare

Millions of senior citizens can’t afford food — and they’re not all living in poverty MarketWatch

The richest 10% of households now represent 70% of all U.S. wealth MarketWatch

Slow Thought: a manifesto Aeon

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.

224 comments

  1. Henry Moon Pie

    The “satellite train”–

    Another example of why I’m exhorting pleading with our elites–economic, political, technical–to

    Quit f—in’ with s–t.

    We know our elites are incapable of solving our problems, but we would appreciate it if at least they didn’t speed up the onset of catastrophe.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      What would one expect from hubristic, slightly DNA-altered chimps knuckling at computer keyboards ??

      I saw, one night some months ago, a bright point of light pop into sight … from nothing ! It was just as described as above .. like a lazer beam, on end ……
      Humm .

      Reply
      1. ObjectiveFunction

        I saw two shooting stars last night / I wished on them, but they were only satellites / It’s wrong to wish on space hardware, I wish I wish I wish you cared….

        – Billy Bragg

        Reply
      2. Lepton1

        Maybe that was an Iridium flare. There are 77 of these satellites in low orbit. They have large surfaces that reflect sunlight. Just after sunset you can see this reflection, briefly. Their appearance is predictable. Heavensabove.com and other places provide predictions about when you can see them.

        Reply
  2. xformbykr

    “Huawei’s Years-long Rise Is Littered With Accusations of Theft and Dubious Ethics ”

    sounds like deliberate smear attempt, because the same considerations apply to US major tech’s. consider their appropriations of the GPL — lotta using Linux and selling it as your own, maybe with one tweak to be deemed proprietary.

    Reply
  3. ambrit

    Ye gads. Eight in the morning East Coast time and no comments?
    Anyway, my very recent experience with one of the local big hospitals, and they’re all big now, supports the message of the Politico article.
    Thursday, I was on the local bus, a strange hybrid beastie for here, given that it runs only weekdays from Six to Six thirty. I am waiting for parts for the automobile to come in from who knows where, so, I’m on foot and or bus for now. Trying to get some essential pick-ups done leads me to be sitting right behind the driver when some [family blogging] big SUV runs a red light right in front of the bus as it’s crossing a notorious intersection. This particular intersection is so notorious, our next door neighbour was T-boned by someone running the same light a year ago. One other person I have encountered has been involved in an accident at this same intersection. So, your humble interlocutor goes flying up out of the seat and down into the entrance way well to land facing the back of the bus and upside down with my legs straight up in the air. Another passenger bounced off of the seat in front of him and landed in the aisle, all 260 pounds of him.
    I’m thinking that since I can manage to get up, I’m all right. Well, all the blood on my shirt and pants puts paid to that idea. Abrasion cuts and bruises all over. (I’m feeling it all today.) So, the two of us are put on the ambulance, which was called out by the bus company, and trundled off to the local big hospital. (To reiterate, they are all big now.)
    I spend an afternoon in the ER. An x-ray to my shoulder and coccyx determine that nothing is broken.
    The doctor comes in and sends me home with a prescription for some Tylenol 3’s for the pain and some muscle relaxers. “You don’t think you’ll need them right now.” he says, “Tonight you’ll think differently, I assure you.”
    Before I can leave, I have to sign some papers. So, I make the mistake of reading them. One of the papers is a personal guarantee from me to the hospital to pay for the bill. “Uh, wait a minute. I was a passenger on the bus. I had nothing to do with the responsibility for the accident. Why should I guarantee the bill?”
    “Well sir,” the woman answers me, “we have to have someone to send the bill to.”
    “But,” I counter, “the insurance companies will be fighting that out.”
    Her, “We find it best to charge the person admitted and then let them work it out with the insurance companies.”
    Me, “You don’t mean…”
    She, “No. Usually, the insurance companies are right on this and do their deals before anyone else gets involved.”
    My parting shot, “But, in the end, I’m the one on the hook if it all gets nasty, right?”
    The lady replies, “Well, someone has to pay us.”
    So, I walk off to my local pharmacy, because the hospital pharmacy has closed early for the holiday weekend. I have to purchase my own pain meds. I wonder if I can charge the insurance company for the cost of the meds plus (legitimate) pain and suffering?
    So, I’ve had a short trip to Pain City this week, and I didn’t enjoy myself one bit. (Cue the world’s smallest violin.)
    Forget Medicare for All. Aim high for National Health and then “settle” for M4A.

    Reply
    1. Eureka Springs

      So sorry to hear all of this. I’m asking myself if I would have signed that piece of paper and my answer is a resounding no.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        I hear you loud and clear. I’m asking myself the same question.
        The bare bones of the situation is that the patient is not given a choice, not explicitly. The paperwork is shoved at you as if it was mandatory. If the patient is befuddled enough, and I, in hindsight plainly was, the act of signing papers is almost automatic. A combination of hurry, societal conformism, and a false sense of ‘normalcy’ urge compliance on the part of the patient.
        So, lesson number two from my daytrip to Pain City is that I’m nowhere as smart as I thought I was.
        Pride goeth before a great fall.
        I’ll post details when I get the bill.

        Reply
        1. Chris

          I had a similar experience a few years ago. I had no idea who I was talking to, or what was going on, and yet people were calling me with implications on financial and insurance matters. I couldn’t get to a doctor for a follow up appointment because there were no doctors who would take new patients on my insurance network at that time. By the time I fought through all that, discovered I needed to go back to a doctor to prove my pain and suffering, I could not go back to the original hospital doctor who saw me because they said too much time had elapsed. It is a scam. All of it. At all levels.

          Go to the doctor often. Don’t comply with the insurance companies requests to give them information. Lawyer up quick. Otherwise you’ll compromise your ability to get anything from anyone. What a sad state of affairs :(

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            A real shame that the modern medical mantra has reverted to the old Social Darwinian; “Fight! Fight! Fight!”
            That bold faced word, GUARANTOR, next to my signature should have cued me in.
            We tell ourselves all sorts of compensatory “internal stories,” but often times we’re like everyone else; deer in the headlights.

            Reply
        2. Stephen V.

          Thanks for this ambrit. I’m a neighbor of Eureka Springs actually so this might be an Arkocentric perspective : I know a lawyer who had some serious surgery and received the typical outrageous bill.
          No insurance in this situation. His response was to aggressively offer them the medical bill coding amount–which is the amount the Insurance Co. Would accept –and they took it. Not sure how he figured out what that amount was….but in a big small town maybe he’s had a client who does medical billing? Has anyone else employed this strategy?

          Reply
        3. tegnost

          Damn. I fell on he bus in nov. but it was mostly my own fault. Hit my head really hard, damn near broke my neck, I could hear the vertebre pipping as my head crunched into the wall of the bus, and broke two fingers trying to stop the fall. Bus driver calls paramedics, but in spite of the protestations of another passenger who pointed out the dent my admittedly hard head made in the sheet metal wall i refused to go to the hospital because of the unpayable cost, in hindsight a bad idea although I got through it ok, I’d never had a concussion before, but if it’s unpayable bill or die, for me I guess it’s die so I must be a true neo lib. I made the choice not to go to the hospital because I’d been in a major accident several years back and have a clear memory of the billing agent in your tale. If you don’t have $200 I’m not unlocking the door to the exam room. Our horrible medical system is about one thing. Money. And M4A will ruin that whole grift. Hope you get better.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            “I’ll live,” as the joke goes, but I suffered nothing nearly as bad as you did. You keep monitoring that concussion. I’ve read that their aftereffects can linger quite a while.
            As for that billing agent, that function is now called ‘Registration’ around here.
            When Phyl had our second child, the primary doctor put a “hold” on her going home. We hadn’t paid him off yet. Around midnight, a night duty nurse Phyl had become friendly with told us about the rule that most ‘patients’ can release themselves from the hospital, no questions asked. It was a real hour long fight, but we went home with our newborn middle girl at two in the morning. I made that greedy so and so wait a year for some of his money. He wrote off the rest and, since we didn’t use credit, we didn’t care about the credit history. That was back when the Social Credit system wasn’t in control of our lives. I feel sorry for today’s youth, having to worry about literally everything. The old joke was; “That’ll be going on your Permanent Record!” Now the Permanent Record is a real thing. As the album cover said; “What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits.”

            Reply
        4. Eureka Springs

          I hear you. It should be a crime the way we are expected to read and comprehend all this fine print in so much of our lives.

          In ’84 at the ripe old age of 19 I got my first clerical job at the local hospital as an E.R. clerk. The system was as bad back then as it is now. I didn’t keep that job for long because I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror while I behaved in such a manner. Amazes me to this day how so many people can. I did run for office with issues related to all of this as part of my platform. I still laugh at the fact I cast a vote for myself on the first ballot I ever saw. Actually won by default, but that is another story.

          Also: Learned very quickly that even in ’84 Medicare/caid was at least 80 plus percent of that hospitals revenue.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            That’s an astute observation. It sounds counter intuitive but the idea I get from this is that, by squeezing Medicare/Medicaid, the “usual suspects” are trying to raise the death rates?
            At least today you can wake up and look at yourself in the mirror. You’re doing better than a lot of us.

            Reply
        5. Susan the other`

          You could always be creative and sign Sori Ihavnomoni. I think that would actually hold up in court and you would’t even need a lawyer.

          Reply
          1. Olga

            Not to make light of the situation, but I also wondered whether signing ‘donald duck’ could make a difference.

            Reply
          2. ambrit

            I wish I had had the presence of mind to do something similar then.
            I feel stupid. (Perhaps, as tegnost mentions above, that was part and parcel of my ‘Neo-Liberal’ internalization programming at work.)

            Reply
          3. ambrit

            I must be feeling the aftereffects of the pain meds. I just noticed that ‘Sori Ihavnomoni’ is an obvious Russian agent! At best, he or she sounds like a Finnish ‘Fellow Traveler!’ No wonder the DNC hates M4A. It’s an obvious Russian Plot!

            Reply
        6. polecat

          Hey ambrit,
          I sincerely hope and pray to HeyZeus that you knock off a few gilded tiles off that monsterous TajMaHospital you had the misfortune of entering ..oh, and screw those Mothef#ckin insurance coccyx suckers !! – it’s THEY who could use a bruising. Get better soon, my friend.

          Admit Nothing – Ceed Nothing – Deny Everything .. I mean, if it works for Big Intelligence ….

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Ah ha! And our local “Temples of Asclepius” aren’t that big in the ‘Grand Scheme of Things.’
            True warning though. I’ll take nothing for granted from here on in.

            Reply
      2. anon

        Definitely. Do not make it easy for them. Make them prove their case. Not all civil disobedience need be against the state. Object in writing when they bill you and both in writing and in person when when summoned to court.

        Reply
        1. Off The Street

          Take photos, get names and dates, create paper trails. Those are much harder for the bureaucrats, and they all are, to resist. Question everything, demand proof, retain copies, build your file. Above all, get well and use the energy wisely to motivate yourself as you are now a private investigator, teacher and witness.
          Sad that so much of life has come to that but such is the typical experience for so many.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Good idea. Start a file while the ‘facts’ are still fresh in the memory. I’m on it. Thanks for the encouragement. Many of us relics of the Golden Age don’t really suspect just how daemonic the system has become.

            Reply
        2. flora

          I bookmarked this Kos link several years ago because it contains what seems like useful information on ER and hospital billing, especially items 7, 8, and 9.

          —-
          How to Fight Your Medical Bills.

          7. Request an ITEMIZED bill. Health care providers almost always bundle the bill. Some of them have caught on that patients want an itemized bill, so the bundled bill may be a mock itemized bill. For example, instead of crutches, it might say “supplies;” instead of Motrin, “pharmacy;” and so on. Do not be fooled. If the bill comes in the mail, call immediately and request an itemized bill. Do not have any other conversation yet. You cannot begin to evaluate the bill until you see the itemization.

          8. After you get the itemized bill, call immediately and request an audit of the bill. Again, it is not necessary to start a conversation. You want to see what the providers put forth as an accurate bill before you begin evaluating the individual charges. Hospital bills routinely double every physician order. An audit, which they must do if asked, compares the chart to the bill and eliminates any discrepancies, or at least eliminates discrepancies the hospital feels it cannot defend. Those doubled orders will be removed an the bill will go down. Naturally hospitals do not like to audit bills, but do not take no for an answer. At the same time you ask for the audit, ask that the “past due” clock be stopped.

          https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2008/6/16/536968/-

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Thanks a bunch. I’ve bookmarked the link you provided.
            This is from back when DailyKos didn’t suck so badly. There’s someone who should not be able to look at himself in the mirror any particular morning now.

            Reply
    2. InquiringMind

      ambrit,

      It is your sworn duty as an American to hire a lawyer (the one with the advertisement on the back panel of that bus you were riding would be a good choice!) and sue the city, the transit agency, the bus manufacturer, and the driver of the SUV!

      Since the doctor already gave you the roadmap (pardon the expression): you’ve been in constant pain ever since and need weeks and weeks of physical therapy which will require you to miss work, etc, etc.

      Should be worth $thousands to you!

      I had an employee who would do this whenever he or his wife had the (mis)fortune to have their car bumped by another car (even ever-so-lightly). I think they had the lawyer on speed dial. I wasn’t at all happy to be the collateral damage in their schemes, so eventually we found a reason to part ways with that guy.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        I see this idea commonly but I can tell you from experience that insurance companies are not just handing out thousands of dollars, to get “paid” (if that’s what you want to call it) you have to suffer massive, preferably life long (i don’t know who prefers that), injuries and be able to prove who’s at fault, and be willing/able to wait years before you get offered a pittance. Meanwhile those medical bills show up every day… I went from 189 lbs down to 153 lbs before I recovered a miniscule fraction of my lost wages.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          It’s a shame you had to go through what was plainly a factorial order worse than my experience.
          The behaviours of the insurance companies when they were adequately curbed should have warned us as to how badly they would act when made the ‘gatekeepers’ for the entire system.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Insurance companies: never forget that their very mission in life is not to pay claims but rather to deny them in any and every way possible.

            ALWAYS demand to speak to a supervisor when talking with them on the phone. ALWAYS use key phrases like “I am contacting my state attorney general’s office” and “I am contacting my state insurance commissioner” and “I am contacting my attorney”.

            The people in the call centers act based on lists of key phrases like these. They have manuals in front of them and automatic system prompts. Customer rolls over and accepts like good citizen cannon fodder, Action A. Customer says they are familiar with and intend to use the remaining instruments of justice and accountability, Action B.

            I once filed a redress lawsuit for $450,000 based on my own research in the county law library and a similar refusal to roll over. The front page of the claim is marked “Mr. and Mrs PodBayDoors versus The United States of America”. We won.

            Reply
      2. barefoot charley

        I fondly recall after bus and el accidents in Chicago, people climbed into the cars through the windows, even without lawyers on speed-dial.

        Reply
      3. Oh

        BTW, it would be a good idea not to agree to any paperwork where you agree to pay the shyster’s lawyers’ bill.

        Reply
    3. Carla

      So sorry this is the way you’re spending the holiday weekend, ambrit. With regard to your comment on hospitals “they’re all big now” — when I read the first sentence in the Politico article, I spat out my coffee:

      “Democrats who’ve made “Medicare for All” a top health care priority are running up against their toughest opponent yet: their own neighborhood hospitals.”

      There are NO “neighborhood” hospitals, at least in our county. We have a behemoth hospital system, a very large hospital system, and a perpetual “poor relation” dwarfed by the other two: — a public hospital system. Between them, they have acquired all the “neighborhood” hospitals.

      BTW, none of the above are “for-profit” but you’d never know it from how the giant “non-profits” behave. They are utterly cut-throat. The public hospital is somewhat better in that respect.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        There are two hospitals in our half horse metropolis. Both are parts of larger ‘networks.’
        I remember seeing an utterly Dark comedy set in a large public hospital starring George C Scott, named, appropriately enough, “The Hospital.” Then I watch the occasional nineteen thirties hospital “drama” and see that nothing has changed.
        “Dr. Kildare” must have been an early attempt at pro organizational propaganda.

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          No, ambrit.
          It started decades before that with children’s toy medical kits with names like Dr U B Well. Brainwashing starts at birth.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Ah. So, the Restoration Comedy stock character of the Bumbling Greedy Doctor is but one in a continuum.
            Everything that was old is new again.

            Reply
    4. Carolinian

      I had a bike accident and drove myself to the ER rather than accept the ambulance (which showed up but I did not call). An ambulance ride is usually about $1000. Since the accident was my fault the circumstances are different but perhaps you can’t expect the hospital to simply take your word about who was at fault.

      But the fact that you have to worry about the coming bill and financially negotiate your care is indeed horrible. Just be aware that “somebody has to pay” doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to pay what the hospital first asks. Nonprofit hospitals are required to negotiate if insurance isn’t involved, particularly given their imaginary pricing schemes.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Yes indeed, this sort of situation lays bare the Orwellian nature of the term “non-profit” as used today in the West.
        If the bus line drops the ball, I’ll try to take a course in “Industrial Negotiations” and write the cost off as a “necessary expense.” (Not fully in jest, either.)

        Reply
    5. Ignacio

      Sorry for that accident ambrit! And what to say about the paper to sign! I believe that in the US one has to have a personal emergency protocol that includes knowing exactly what are really your true rigths vs. hospital rigths, in all possible situations, to bill you or do their homework of finding the correct person/institution to send their bills.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Sadly, such a ‘protocol’ is generally not considered until after the primary need has passed.
        A Medical Ombudsman at the town or county level sounds rational.

        Reply
    6. Wukchumni

      So sorry for your travails…

      To give you an idea of costs, those Tylenol 3 pills with codeine can be bought over the counter in Canada (albeit 1/3rd the strength) for about $10 U.S. for a bottle of 200 of them.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        D—! The local Walgreens sold a dozen of them to me for a dollar each! I swear, (often and with feeling,) there is supposed to be a civilization somewhere about. I am still searching. (I’ll bet the present NeoLiberal order would charge Diogenes rent for his barrel.)

        Reply
      1. ambrit

        I don’t know. The legal aspects of this are obscure. At least I didn’t have to sign a GUARANTOR document for it.
        The cynic in me thinks that I will be tasked with this responsibility eventually.
        What is the “fun” aspect of all this is that I was a passenger on the bus involved in the accident. No one asked for the bus companies insurance carrier, just mine. Being a deplorable, I don’t have any insurance and so got some very skeptical looks from the clerical staff.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          A friend needed a 40 mile ambulance ride to the Big Smoke, and insurance picked up 95% of the basic cost, but she was on the hook for a grandido as far as miles went, and they started dunning her for the money, a week after the bill arrived.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            I wonder what Circle of H— Dante would throw bill collectors in. The job description fits several of the mortal sins.

            Reply
    7. John Zelnicker

      @ambrit
      May 26, 2019 at 8:18 am
      ——-

      So sorry to hear of your accident. Glad it wasn’t any worse.

      Best wishes for a quick recovery.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Thanks John. This is a case where the “cure” is potentially worse than the “illness.”
        It’s “early days” now. I’ll contact the bus service after the Holiday Monday. Then we’ll see.
        In this half horse town, almost everything shuts down for Holiday Mondays. It’s almost a corollary of “any excuse for a party!” Not only do the Mails stop, but also the Banks shutter, the public services stop or slow considerably, the automobile traffic slows too! The Friday Saturday and Sunday before Holiday Mondays are extra frantic though. Some weird sort of Finagles Law (which should give you a sense of my juvenile reading tastes,) must be at work.
        Thanks again and watch those “local drivers!”

        Reply
    8. shtove

      I developed slight headaches about 14 months ago. Went to my general practitioner to get checked out, and he noticed my blood pressure was 220/120. Same afternoon I was seen by a specialist in the local hospital – “but I feel fine” – and had all the tests done. Longest time I’ve spent in hospital for 50 years. Total cost to me: about £9 per month for blood pressure pills. The National Health Service, out of Dorset UK.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        OOOOOH!!!
        Broadcast this far and wide! There is a better way, and England, indeed, most ‘developed’ nations have it. It’s called ‘National Health!’
        I put out about forty USD a month for four hypertension meds plus a statin. (I’m in the small cadre where statins actually do some good.) This is through a regional cut rate “People’s Pharmacy” program, run as a charity operation by one of the local big hospital chains. At a ‘regular’ pharmacy, I was looking at triple the price.
        I understand the high blood pressure headaches. I had them for several years before I was, accidentally, like you, diagnosed with “Essential Uncontrolled Hypertension.” I too presented with blood pressure readings in the 200/120 range.
        The best “medicine” for this problem in my body has turned out to be two to three mile a day walks. That with the meds have me now back down to occasionally, readings in the 95/65 range. Sixty beats per minute.
        The older I get, the more I discover that I ‘know’ very little.

        Reply
      2. Olga

        That is impressive… which makes me wonder: why aren’t the British protesting more strenuously against the relentless (albeit slow) privatisation of NHS?

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Perhaps for the same reasons Americans put up with Reagan et. al. and their progeny. The ‘Boiling Frog’ effect?
          Your question also highlights the fact that wealth inequality fosters and strengthens inequality in political power. So, for America, the Citizens United decision formalized the concept of “Bought and Paid for Government.” Instead, Political Agency is presently defined by Economic Influence. Unlike Aristocracy, financial wealth is quite fungible, and thus much easier to hide it’s Influencers.

          Reply
      1. ambrit

        Thank you very much.
        The response to my earlier comment today is humbling. It also highlights just how widespread this problem is.
        I’ll repeat something I said in my original comment.
        Forget Medicare For All.
        Go for the Gold and fight for an American National Health Service.
        Bless you one and all.

        Reply
          1. ambrit

            Hold on tight to what you feel are the important things and make anyone who tries to change your mind about just what is important do a lot of hard work convincing you.

            Reply
          1. ambrit

            Thank you. With friends like you and the rest of the NC Commenteriat, I can’t but help get better, if only through some mystical sort of Placebo Effect.
            Enjoy your Holiday Monday!

            Reply
    9. Cal2

      Did you sign them or not? Can’t tell.
      My action would be to say to her,
      “No, I am not signing these, send them to the the bus company. They called the ambulance and have better coverage for what happened on their property than I do.” and walk out.

      After keeping a spread sheet on every single penny spent on medicine co-pays, and an image of every bill and check, I reached my out of pocket limit for health insurance. Emailed the spread sheet to a nice lady at the insurance company, called and got confirmation of her receiving it, recorded the call with her permission.

      A week later, got a call from a medical collection agent about a sum owed.
      Told them the above. “Oh, but our service was from before then, you owe us the payment…..”

      “Stop right there. Here’s my insurance company 800 number. Work it out with them. I’m not talking to you. Goodbye, have a good day.”

      Assume incompetence and a lack of communication between everyone you deal with in medicine. You must be your own advocate. Keep good records. Start a dedicated privacy enhanced email for medical only, you will be spammed. Record all phone calls to insurance company, warning them of recording, then send a follow up email.

      When signing lab paperwork, write “Bill will only be paid after hard copy of lab results received in U.S. Mail.” Get copies of every image on a disk before leaving the imaging center.

      Treat the medical and insurance system like your enemy.
      Treat their personnel like a potential ally.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I would just add: use Incognito mode when browsing for information on anything health related. You can believe your insurance/social/Deep State file includes your browsing history. I’m reminded of the penalties for copyright/trade secret/patent infringements: the penalties are tripled if they prove you sought information on “prior art”, in other words info on patents you might be infringing. I’m sure there’s a category called “Informed Citizen” and the forces arrayed against you would be multiplied accordingly

        Reply
        1. Cal2

          Excellent suggestion. You might want to take your laptop to the library or Starbucks and use their wifi if “incognito” is too difficult to figure out. Are you talking Tor?

          There are ways to take DNA tests anonymously BTW. Duck Duck Go the subject.
          DNA is the ultimate rate setter when your info gets to the insurance parasites’ hands.

          Reply
      1. ambrit

        There it was indeed. The expectation of the Hospital system in it’s entirety, that it was a pay to play entity, sets the ground rules.
        Nary a, “Feel better now” to be heard. Not even a, “Come back soon!”

        Reply
    10. boz

      The experience at the hospital sounds worse than than the bus :(

      Hope you mend soon and no one comes chasing you.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        If ‘they’ do come chasing me, it’ll be very like a comedy sketch where some geriatric bank robber tries to run away from the cops using a walker. Keystone Kops in slow motion.
        Actually, the accident took less than a half a minute to play out. The ambulance ride, five minutes. The subsequent hospital drama lasted for about six hours. An hour to walk to the Pharmacy, from the Hospital and then home.

        Reply
    11. ChristopherJ

      Always love your shares, Ambrit

      Who is going to pay us? I would’ve laughed at that and walked out. Can’t get blood out of a stone and I play a good stone…

      Here in Cairns, my partner was bitten by a large scrub python as she went to release the chooks for the day. She hollered so loud, I thought worse, before seeing her battling with this snake, its large fangs embedded in shoulder. I had a ‘practice swing’ with my stick, lucky it wasn’t a machete or a golf iron for that matter, and hit the hand that was holding the snake. I readjusted and the beast was toast a minute later.

      We took ourselves off to the hospital as it’s only 10 away and she spent an uneventful 10 hours under observation. At triage here in Cairns, it doesn’t matter if you have insurance, are the biggest dick in town or indigenous or homeless, everyone gets in the same queue and no on pays anything if they have a medicare card – citizen.

      The staff don’t care as they get paid a salary by the State and I am sure this is a cheaper form of health care than yours Ambrit. Sorry for your troubles.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        I’m just glad the ‘partner’ was all right. I guess that ‘scrub pythons’ aren’t poisonous. The observation then was for tetanus??? I’ll also expose my ignorance by mentioning that, Pythons have fangs?
        Good to hear from a civilized part of the world.

        Reply
        1. ChristopherJ

          thank you, Ambrit. No, they can kill by a strong mouth, but usually hang on and then wrap body and constrict to kill. Yes, tetanus.

          We’ve moved the chooks

          Reply
  4. Tom Doak

    What are the odds that the new DNC debate “draw” method “randomly” puts Sanders, Warren and Gabbard on the same night, and Biden on the other, protected by a bunch of other Establishment candidates who won’t challenge him?

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Oh, I’ll go out on a limb and agree with your implication that “The Luck of the Draw” will follow certain eerily predictable patterns, and not statistical ones either.
      The implied assumption here is that there is a severely limited amount of time for putting on these “debates.” There are over five hundred days left to go before Election Day. Surely, a series of debates, put on in different venues across the nation can be arranged. Anything less is insulting to the public’s intelligence.
      Oh, and give control of the debates back to the League of Women Voters.

      Reply
      1. rowlf

        Oh, and give control of the debates back to the League of Women Voters.

        When my wife became a US citizen recently there was a group from the League of Women Voters present at the downtown USCIS office to help the new citizens register to vote. A very nice bunch. I mentioned how much I wished they were still handling the election debates instead of the Ministry of Information, er, the news media. Since I was bringing up history I got a blank look in exchange.

        I swear someone must have given me the “They Live” contact lenses years ago…

        Wait a second… what is to stop the candidates from staging their own debates? Pirate, unsanctioned debates? Bypass the media gatekeepers?

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          The degree of public exposure counts. A ‘bad’ debate that reaches millions is much more effective than a ‘good’ debate that only reaches hundreds.
          Yes, I found a pair of those X-Ray Bans some years ago. Very useful in navigating the morass of modern society.
          I believe Lambert posted an image of one of those “They Live” door signs a few days ago.
          What you are suggesting is a form of parallel governance institution. For a brief shining moment, the Internet held that promise. Then it was sold off to Capitalists.

          Reply
    2. WheresOurTeddy

      I’ll take any odds you want that happens. Biden will be surrounded by nobody who will punch him, and be presented as the adult in the room.

      Bernie, Tulsi, and Liz will be lumped together and the “This was the ANGRY debate, not like Joe’s COMMAND PERFORMANCE” editorials are likely already written and the sycophantic scribes of power are just waiting to hit “send”.

      Reply
    3. Wombat

      The odds that this would happen given 20 primary candidates and three in the “trouble for biden” category… are equal to 1) all three imposters selected for one debate mulitiplied by 2) the probability of biden not being selected.

      1) Follows the hypergeometric distribution (using a template similar to the marbles example in this wiki)

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypergeometric_distribution

      Calculating the combinations (one way to choose 3 from 3 * 19,448 ways to choose 7 from 17 / 184,756 ways to choose 10 from 20), the odds of all three of them being assigned to the same debate is 10.5%.

      2) The odds of Biden not being one of the other 7 in this debate are 11/17.

      To get our final answer- we multiply 0.105 by 0.647 and arrive at 6.8%. So given the lack of an invisible hand we would expect this debate assignment to occur only one in fifteen times.

      My guess is that the “random draw” will assign Biden and the “capitalist” Warren to the same debate, leaving the other two imposters for the other stage. Their anti-war voices will not be separated!

      Reply
      1. Wombat

        Oops, provided Sanders, Warren, and Gabbard are selected for the same debate (10.5% chance using hypergeometric distribution), Biden would have a 10/17 chance of not being one of the remaining 7 candidates selected- bringing the probability of a Biden debate free from Sanders, Warren, and Gabbard interference to a paltry 6.2% or one in sixteen.

        Reply
        1. richard

          hypergeometric?
          I must stay back on sullen earth, but I respect your maths!
          I will pull back a little on my 100% prediction for a totally comfy debate for biden
          I could see warren
          but 100% no bernie

          Reply
    4. Cal2

      So who proctors, oversees or controls “the random selection?”
      How about a “Bingo Ball” with candidate’s names on each ball? Let gravity decide, in a public place with cameras watching the whole process.

      Otherwise, just assume it’s a match made in heaven for the status quo Joe.

      Reply
    1. foghorn longhorn

      Holy crap
      More than a stiff drink would be needed to make it very far into that horror story

      Reply
      1. Jackson

        After reading only 4 comments, I made myself a double Bloody Mary. I barely made it through the rest of the comments. The USA really sucks on the treatment of Veterans and Enlistees. I am really disgusted at this moment on the eve of Memorial Day…

        Reply
      2. Tom Stone

        Foghorn, keep in mind that these are the lucky ones.
        They survived.
        My Mother’s fiancee’ never reached the beach at Tarawa, my late Mother in Law’s first husband died in Manila and I’m named after a man who died on the first day of the Somme.
        I only know one man locally who took part in our forever wars, he gets dead drunk every memorial day.
        I have never said “Thanks for your service” to him or any other Vet, instead it’s “I’m glad you made it back.”

        Reply
    2. WheresOurTeddy

      well that escalated quickly
      Churchill said the best argument against democracy is a 5 minute conversation with a voter
      The best argument against joining the US Military is a 5 minute conversation with someone who did.

      Reply
      1. rowlf

        I lived on military bases during and after the Vietnam war, and then worked with and was mentored by Vietnam Veterans. When recruiters came sniffing around my father thought me enlisting was a bad idea.

        I wish I could remember which VV I worked with commented that “Thank You For Your Service” was what was said when some high ranked officer was pinning medals on fractional service people in hospital wards in the 1960s/70s.

        Reply
    3. Off The Street

      My buddy helps vets navigate the maze of VA and other DoD paperwork and lends them a sympathetic ear as they attempt to deal with the system that used to embrace them. Finding out which form to file where isn’t readily apparent especially to anyone suffering PTSD or other effects of being downrange.

      Reply
      1. Tom Doak

        The sickest part of that is that some people have said Medicare for All would be unfair to veterans who earned health care for their service. (or, seniors who paid into Medicare – divide and conquer tactics at work)

        Obviously the people who spout this bs have never dealt with the VA. M4A would allow veterans to no longer seek approval to be treated.

        Reply
    4. Craig H.

      On the one hand it is a United States Army horror show so it is as horrible as it gets. On the other hand it is the greatest pointy headed boss pile-on on the internet since microsoft’s chatbot was recruited to the nazi party by 4chan trolls in 24 hours.

      Apparently Memorial Day really got going after the Civil War which was another stupid war which needlessly destroyed millions of lives. Trivia question: who was the last English / British king to get on a horse and lead his troops out onto the battle field? After that there were no more good old days.

      Reply
      1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        Well, Guderian, Rommel, Patton, Zhukohov and Yamashita were liable to visit the very front line. Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, FDR..not so much.

        Reply
        1. dearieme

          Churchill and Hitler served on the “very front line ” in the Great War.

          In the Second War Churchill wanted to go to D-day on a battleship: it took the King to stop him. (It’s a good story, worth looking up.)

          Reply
        2. ambrit

          There seem to be “Fighting Generals” and “Political Generals.” If the conflict is large enough, both are needed.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Supposedly a statue of a general where all four of the horse’s legs are on the ground means he died of natural causes. One leg up means he died later from wounds received. Both front legs in the air means he died on the battlefield. Can anyone confirm this?

            Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        In 2003 the Bhutanese government was pressurised by the Indians to attack and expel various Maoist groups that had taken refuge in the forested lowlands of that country. The Bhutanese King said he’d never order his military to take action if he didn’t put himself at risk. Apparently he was as good as his word and led the attacks. He later abdicated in favour of a parliamentary government and retired to a small hut (with his three wives).

        I would guess that’s the last time in history we’ll see a national leader actually put themselves in the front line.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          I remember the last photographs of Salvador Allende in the La Moneda Palacio in Santiago, Chile. That fell deed was another 9/11 Production. The “Official Version” is that he committed suicide before being captured. The popular version, which I have heard from a Chilenyo, is that he died fighting in the Palace.
          There is a leader who gave the last measure.
          The Maoists seem to be a perpetual thorn in the side of the Indian Government. Am I wrong to assert that a “happy” country would not develop a Maoist movement? Am I being naive?
          My main quibble with movements like the Maoists, the Trots, and similar is that as far as I know, History does not have a direction.

          Reply
    5. Olga

      The cost of an empire.
      The best we can hope for is that this knowledge spreads and fewer and fewer will be willing to enlist. (And if a draft were instituted, maybe it could put a stake into the imperial war drive.) One can hope…
      And from “After Multiple Deployments, Coming Home to a Changed Country The American Conservative:”
      “After a career fighting them, I can attest that America’s wars are harmful to our people, politics, and liberty—a “form of prolonged ritual suicide.” With no unifying vision or principles, huge swaths of the people have turned tribal. This Sunni versus Shiite breakdown of the American electorate will release shards that leave permanent cultural wounds.”
      It was Chalmers Johnson, who stated in an interview that MIIC represents collective suicide. Why aren’t more Americans understanding this?

      Reply
    6. Wukchumni

      I’m trying to make hay of why the US Army® ever allowed that tweet out, it wasn’t as if all they were gonna get was Hooorah! responses, in fact there’s hardly any.

      …the worm is turning

      Reply
    7. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      I feel lucky that i still have the capability to feel emotions like Joy and Happiness. It hasnt happened much in the last 5 years thats for sure, but its getting better. Basic, AIT, RASP, Airborne, Garrison, Deployment…All pressure cookers. Like a bottleneck of life. The world, once full of infinite possibilities, becomes…real. The facade is ripped off and you come face to face with hard truths.

      Luckily i malingered myself out of being a Ranger. Thanks, Becnels anti authoritarian streak! Thanks, Cocaine!
      Luckily i hit the depths of despair and smoked weed to cope, leading to a General Discharge with one year left, which i spent Homeless in Denver and Rehab in New Orleans.
      Luckily i have the capacity to shake most of this shit off.

      HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY, NC :)

      Reply
    8. Jeremy Grimm

      I get an uncomfortable feeling after reading the link to Caitlin Johnstone’s “After Action” reports and then re-reading the NC link from a few years ago: “WHEN WARRIORS When Warriors Put on the Badge” [https://www.themarshallproject.org/2017/03/30/when-warriors-put-on-the-badge].

      Reply
    9. Synapsid

      Rev Kev and all,

      It isn’t just the Army or even the DOD.

      After service school at an Air Force base in Texas four of us had orders to some place called Bremerton, Washington, to join the USS Pueblo. For three of us the orders were changed (don’t know why) but the fourth guy was on the Pueblo eleven months later–he’d have had one month left on the ship–when the North Koreans captured it.

      North Korea said they’d give the crew back as soon as the US admitted the Pueblo had been in North Korean waters. The US wouldn’t do it. The crew spent eleven months in a North Korean prison until the US (President, Commander in Chief of the military, boss of the State Department: LBJ) came up with some combination of words they were willing to offer. Once the crew were back the US repudiated the admission.

      Reply
    10. ChristopherJ

      Thanks Rev, I would hope we treat our aussie vets, better.

      Just brutal, here’s two commenters

      “I didn’t serve but my dad did. In Vietnam. It eventually killed him, slowly, over a couple of decades. When the doctors were trying to put in a pacemaker to maybe extend his life a couple of years, his organs were so fucked from the Agent Orange, they disintegrated to the touch. He died when I was ten. He never saw me graduate high school. He never saw me get my first job or buy my first car. He wasn’t there. But hey! Y’all finally paid out 30k after another vet took the VA to the Supreme Court, so. You know. It was cool for him.”

      ~

      “Chronic pain with a 0% disability rating (despite medical discharge) so no benefits, and anger issues that I cope with by picking fistfights with strangers.”

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        @ChristopherJ
        I have no idea how our vets are treated, knowing none, but I know that our government and the army have not treated our vets the best. After the war the government/army claimed that only 50,000 Aussies served in ‘Nam but the vets said that that was crap and that many more thousands more served. Needless to say the vets were dumped on about this by the government no matter which party was in power. The 50,000 number was the official line.
        Then the American Vietnam vets, despite of resistance from Ronnie’s government, built the brilliant Vietnam Veterans Memorial with all those names inscribed. Feeling guilty, our own government decided to proceed with the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial and it became necessary to put together a Nominal Roll of all our Vietnam War vets. It was then “discovered” that in fact 60,000 Aussies served in ‘Nam. And this was all only admitted decade after the last Aussie had pulled out of ‘Nam. This incident spoke volumes to me about what the real deal was with our vets and their treatment when put together with stories about what happened during the war.

        Reply
  5. Samuel Conner

    Re: the SpaceX addition to light pollution. I suspect that, as these are point sources with known orbits (basically moving bright stars — would probably spoil most long integrations on faint objects), this information will be incorporated into observation scheduling to avoid wasting precious large telescope time. It will be an annoyance more than a real hindrance. Point sources, even moving ones, can be avoided.

    But, weighed in the scale of the problems confronting humanity in this century, this is small dust.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe Elon Musk knows what he is doing here. Maybe he worked out that SpaceX will never pay for itself and may financially bring his empire down. By eventually pumping up to 12,000 satellites into orbit, he might try to bring on a Kessler Syndrome which means that all of space will be closed off for good. Then he only has to collect the insurance that he has on SpaceX as it is no longer possible to carry on the business of space commercialization through an act-of-god.

      Reply
      1. Eureka Springs

        What I want to know is will Starlink satellites disrupt the view screen of my phone when I open the go sky watch app?

        And wouldn’t it be easier, faster, healthier, if we just ran fiber to everyone already on the electric grid, using existing poles?

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          Because Musk is a scam artist. He wants to perfect an inherently crappy way of doing internet because he needs his rocket contracting company to do something other than just run space freight for NASA.

          Reply
      2. Brian (another one they call)

        Musk/Bezos are similar in that they go to great lengths to create industries important to the MIC, (clouds, space freight, poor paying jobbbs) and are loved and supported by the government, shadow or otherwise. (campaign contributions) With friends like that, do they get immunity from the SEC? No one seems to question their business model is constant loss and promising to make it up on more volume.
        I wonder if our nation is run by robots now.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Just thinking about your “constant loss” phrase.

          Kind of like humanity’s trajectory…we think of it as linear progression upwards but maybe it’s just a downward path toward entropy.

          Certainly this business of owning and operating a collection of cells works that way. We’re born, the elements combine and conspire to a higher organization…then it peaks, declines, disorganizes, and ends up as the primary elements and nutrients dissolve into the earth and air. I’m OK with all that BTW (not that I have a choice in the “matter”).

          Reply
    2. IdahoSpud

      Does anyone remember Motorola’s late-1990’s “Iridium” 66 satellite cellphone network? Did it destroy astronomy as we know it? Pepperidge farm remembers!

      Reply
        1. IdahoSpud

          Sorry,
          Saw the number 60 in the headline link and thought that was the number. 12k is waaaay too many for anyone’s taste. Tragedy of the commons. Hard to stop a greedy industrialist. Cuyahoga river fire and whatnot…

          Reply
  6. Carolinian

    From NYT/NSA story

    EternalBlue was so valuable, former N.S.A. employees said, that the agency never seriously considered alerting Microsoft about the vulnerabilities, and held on to it for more than five years before the breach forced its hand.

    Our county library was hit by one of these attacks and all computer services were down for a couple of weeks before the problem was fixed (and without paying the demanded $30,000 bitcoin ransom). Atlanta has also had an attack.

    So add the NSA to that rogue agency list that also includes the CIA and FBI attempts to pin Putin on the Trump donkey (not to mention perpetual CIA meddling in governments around the world). Clearly this is the reason Assange had to be stopped. As they say in the crime thrillers, he “knew too much.”

    Reply
  7. lyman alpha blob

    RE: School lockdown drills

    I recently received an email from my kid’s principal who is not the sharpest tool in the box to begin with (evidently that’s what it takes to get promoted to administration in my area) regarding their recent lockdown drill. They are now evidently calling it a “shelter-in-place” drill, because changing the name must make it more effective. I familyblog you not, here is a direct quote from the email regarding the need for such drills –

    An example of needing a shelter-in-place would be a rabid fox on the playground

    I started typing a reply but decided this person was too far gone and my sarcasm would not bring them around. Luckily the kid only has another month to deal with this sorry excuse for an educator.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      You should make life even more difficult for that principal. Ask them what the drill is if a child is found to have been infected with measles! Do they have a “shelter-in-place” drill for that or would that be no good as that would risk any other kids in the vicinity catching measles as well thus making the school legally liable for any consequences? Let them wrap their mind around the axle of that little conundrum. Then, whatever they say, start with “Whatabout…”

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        The principal? Maybe – but there’s no need to insult the intelligence of the entire community.

        I’m not happy that they do these drills, or that people feel the need to in the first place due to the refusal of congress to implement any reasonable gun control. But if you’re going to do them, at least be honest with grown adults about it.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Maybe Little Timmy wasn’t receiving his dose of fear for the day, you know, so he’s fully prepared for Mommy Nanny State to Be-All and End-All for him

          Reply
      2. JBird4049

        I do not have all the answers, but I do know that the unending increase in security to ostensibly protect us is actually more dangerous than the dangers that are suppose to be against. We just do not see the much greater, slow, and steady destruction of the “protection” because the very rare quick violently bloody attacks are so attention getting and obvious.

        These “drills” are like the TSA security theater where more people are going to die from the scanners and everyone is having countless hours of humiliation because reasons. There have bombings and hijacking for almost a long as there have been passenger planes, but for whatever reason it went from a security guard and single metal detector to this lie.

        It is the same with school shootings. I am more concerned with the school to prison pipeline than I am with shootings. The greatest lost ever to a terrorist attack on school was a bombing by some crazy ticked off American (But of course an American) about a century ago. Statistically the odds of student getting caught in a school shooting is rather like being hit with lightening. The odds of student’s life being destroyed by the “school safety officer” (a police officer actually) is much more common.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The spate of IRA bombings in England in the 1980s killed more than 1000 but they didn’t take them as permission to unravel every last one of our freedoms

          Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      An example of needing a shelter-in-place would be a rabid fox on the playground

      Is that the new nom de doom for mass murderers on campus?

      Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        That clarifies the matter. I thought the shelter in place was for a rabid Fox on the radio.

        Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Schools could save a lot of effort by dipping into their files and pulling out some of the duck-under-your-desk stuff from the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. A little editing and they should be good-to-go.

      Reply
    4. ewmayer

      “An example of needing a shelter-in-place would be a rabid fox on the playground”

      Would “a raving moron in the principal’s chair” similarly suffice for a lockdown?

      Reply
    5. anon in so cal

      Something sort of like that already happened at my neighborhood public elementary school. One day as I approached on foot, several police SUVs were there and a helicopter was circling overhead (helicopter accompaniment occurs routinely in my city so it doesn’t necessarily signal anything drastic). Police were scurrying around and someone was shouting orders with a bullhorn. I asked one officer what was going on and he said there were reports that a mountain lion and two cubs had been spotted behind the school. I told him there were no mountain lions in the neighborhood and it was probably a bob cat with her bob kittens (we have bobcats in my neighborhood, along with coyotes and raccoons).

      Reply
  8. Steve H.

    > Human Rights Watch Reverse-Engineers Mass Surveillance App Used by Police in Xinjiang

    The other day I took a semi-serious crack at reverse-engineering the US Social Credit Score, and MyLessThanPrimeBeef pointed out there is nothing which directly denies a person boarding a train in the US.

    The list provided in this article is illuminating:
    : 5/36 are specifically Muslim related.
    : 3/36 involve electricity.
    : 4/36 involve incarceration and classification, with 2 more noting travel restrictions that would apply to felons.
    : 5/36 are ‘secondary valency’ = “connected to” or “relative of”, with an additional 2 including “and family.”
    : 7/36 involve travel or moving.
    : 3/36 would be normal police redflags.

    That’s 3/4 that are normal to police investigation in the US. ‘Normal’ doesn’t mean ‘explicit’; the last time I flew, I was ‘randomly’ assigned to the puffer machine both ways, which I’m estimating at least two orders of magnitude off ‘random’. Over half of US’ns have never lived out of state, and a third out of town; these can be considered ‘blue-flagged’. While ‘pre-crime’ data sifting is not yet SOP in the US, this sort of info is (1) explicitly applied to felons, and (2) implicitly used by gvt and business (Social Security using Equifax, for example).

    So we know that everything is sifted by the NSA, but the question seems to be, does it matter if it doesn’t impact daily life? I was born in Chicago, where politics is never more local than a back alley with a couple of cops, so it is a serious question. The Social Credit Score invisibly snips opportunities, but forced interaction with authorities is usually considered a negative externality, at least. The percentage of population involved in the penal system in the US is no less than the percent Muslim or Uyghur in China. I submit there is an equivalency in the likelihood of being targeted.

    Point being, there’s a lot of pearl-clutching over what China is doing explicitly with social networking data, when the US does the same thing with a layer of frosting on top (‘So Tasty!’). And there’s the conundrum of within-group attitudes; as Beef said, “And Beijing probably believes that their civilization is far more superior because of that.” We know by their actions that those in the US with access to that power feel the same way about their own.

    Reply
    1. Monty

      So Tasty!

      I am sure they could instigate a much more draconian system in the US and many citizens, especially “suburban republican women”, would give it a standing ovation. Just as long is it was primarily focused on ‘the others’ and not them.

      Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc”

    It’s a pity that among all those hacking tools that the N.S.A. had stolen, that they did not have a folder full of privacy tools with them as well for N.S.A. use. Now wouldn’t it have been interesting if some genuine NSA privacy tools had gotten out into the wild for ordinary people to download and use. Then again, maybe that is what the Shadow Brokers also stole and are using to protect themselves with.

    Reply
      1. polecat

        tiger ??

        ‘cough’ … more likely a ‘Tehranisaur’ … ‘cough’…

        “must move FASTER !!”

        Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Tehrangeles is one of the many nicknames for the Persian-Americans living there that came in the late 70’s, and most were/are quite pro Shah, but if we went to war with Iran, that’d be an interesting turn of events, how would that go down?

            Reply
            1. BobW

              When I was in school the Iranian in the dorm would not talk to anyone, he was afraid it would get back to SAVAK, the Shah’s secret police.

              Reply
    1. WheresOurTeddy

      that and a couple obsolete floating coffins waiting to happen that we call Aircraft Carriers should really show them the peak of 1980s warfare technology

      Hypersonic missiles that can take out a ship with one shot are widely known to exist…let’s send a floating nuclear reactor with a city of 5500 people on it into the strait of Hormuz!

      Unfortunately, if things go sideways, you can’t just reset the board and change the rules like in your military exercises

      BLUE TEAM MUST ALWAYS WIN

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      Half a dozen companies, half a dozen,
      Half a dozen onward,
      All in the name of oil
      Rode the nine hundred.
      “Forward, the Light Brigade!
      Charge it to the MIC!” he said.
      Into the valley of petroleum
      Rode the nine hundred.

      “Forward, the Light Brigade!”
      Was there a man dismayed?
      Not though the soldier knew
      Someone had blundered.
      Theirs not to make reply,
      Theirs not to reason why,
      Theirs but to do and die.
      Into the valley of distillates
      Rode the nine hundred.

      Persians to right of them,
      Persians to left of them,
      Persians in front of them
      Volleyed and thundered;
      Stormed at with shot and shell,
      Boldly they rode and well,
      Into the jaws of death,
      Into the mouth of hell
      Rode the nine hundred.

      Reply
  10. dearieme

    The Mueller link:

    Clinton ran the only possible Democratic campaign that could have lost, and Trump ran the only possible Republican campaign that could have won. That seems to be about the size of it.

    “As soon as news broke that Trump had been elected President, Russian government officials and prominent Russian businessmen began trying to make inroads into the new Administration,” the report states. “They appeared not to have preexisting contacts and struggled to connect with senior officials around the President-Elect.”

    So the whole schemozzle was just an attempted coup by the Dems. As was obvious from the start. But the question is, what price has Trump paid to the FBI/CIA/Etc for the report’s not calling for his prosecution? War with Iran?

    Reply
    1. Off The Street

      The Foreign Affairs article is incomplete as it ignores the predicate(s). Here is a quote with emphasis added to demonstrate that.

      The report is incomplete in another way: its primary focus is the criminal investigation into Russia’s interference, rather than the FBI’s parallel counterintelligence investigation—which is where the whole story began.

      Ctrl-F Rogers reveals no indication of the visit of Admiral Rogers to Trump Tower and the immediate move out of that compromised facility. Many would conclude, or at least infer, that the Mueller Report did not go far enough to look at why the Russia card got played and by whom.

      I do like your highlighted Mueller link and would add that the Clinton campaign appeared to gave its operatives carte blanche to win, ethics be damned. You could practically see the banner on the wall, It’s the Win, Stupid. Someday there will be a more thorough look at how that campaign failed and the repercussions, if anyone could stand more detail.

      Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “The European Left in Disarray”

    You would think that with 751 Parliamentarians who have very little say in how EU politics is negotiated and carried out, that the EU elite would be happy with whoever is voted in. But no. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker came out and said “These populist, nationalists, stupid nationalists, they are in love with their own countries”. Imagine that. He also urged that the EU show “solidarity” with migrants as well. He doesn’t want them living anywhere near the exclusive neighbourhood that he lives in. He just wants the EU to act in solidarity with them – at everybody else’s expense.

    https://www.rt.com/news/460097-stupid-nationalists-hate-migrants/

    Reply
    1. Anonymous2

      To give the fuller version, Juncker said ‘are in love with their own countries and dislike the others’ which gives a different sense to his statement.

      Not that I am a fan of Juncker’s. The sooner he retires the better.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        Brexit managed to elevate Juncker from looking like a bad version of the court fool (as in not often enough offering needed zingers of truth with buffoonery) to a decent percentage of the time credibly faking statesman-like behavior (at least when one read transcripts, it may still have come off like the same old Juncker live). I am sure Junker hasn’t changed substantively since his bumbling efforts during the Greek bailouts to make the EC a player (when as not a check-writer, it was largely on the sidelines) but perhaps because he had Barnier doing the heavy lifting, he got markedly better at the optics of his role.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous2

          I agree with you, Yves. He has raised his game but from an appallingly low level and IMO it is still not good enough. One of his problems. I think, is that he engages too readily in discussions in English without having sufficient mastery of the language and therefore uses wording which often jars badly. A level of fluency which is adequate for conversations with friends is not sufficient for making political statements which will be endlessly critiqued by unfriendly commentators. He has done considerable harm,

          Reply
  12. Ignim Brites

    “American Hustle”. Very establismentarian. Fails to see or diagnose American Derangement Syndrome, which has at its root a loss of even the possibly reasonably inferred democratic legitimacy for the U.S. “indispensable nation” purpose in the world. To put it another way, why shouldn’t Obrador or Putin be able to run for US President, to take two among many nations substantively impacted by US policies. (Please do not quote the US Constitution). ADS is the reason why the absolutely, unequivocally best explanation for the Russiagate phenomenon is an attempted “deep state” coup.

    Reply
  13. pjay

    Re: ‘American Hustle’ – Foreign Affairs

    This is another example of an article that *appears* to be “balanced” and contains many accurate observations: e.g. on Trump’s disorganized huckster sliminess, on the weaknesses of the U.S. social and political system, on the ineptitude of the Clinton campaign. The author even says this: “The phantasm of an all-powerful, all-controlling, irredeemably evil Kremlin has diverted too much attention from Americans’ own failings, and their duties to rectify them.”

    Sounds reasonable, right?

    Here’s what else the author does:

    1. Asserts, once again, Russian hacking and cyber-manipulation to influence the 2016 election as absolute Truth. Asserts this was directed by Putin himself. Oh, and Wikileaks is a cutout of Russian intelligence.

    2. Discusses surveillance of the Trump campaign — by the *Russians*! — but nothing on surveillance by the FBI/CIA/GCHQ/NSA “counterintelligence” operation (or coup attempt, depending on one’s “perspective”). Here is how the latter operation is whitewashed:

    “Russia conducted a cyber-assault on U.S. democracy, demonstrating for other potential adversaries, not to mention potential American copycats, that it could be done. This is a clear and present danger. But when investigators discovered the Trump campaign personnel’s eagerness to interact with Russian operatives, the counterintelligence probe was complicated by the need for a criminal investigation.”

    The poor patriotic intelligence services were *forced* to open a criminal investigation because of the Trumpians “eagerness to interact with Russian operatives.” To believe something more nefarious was going on is to fall for the “conspiracy theory alleging that the investigation of Trump’s campaign was a sinister plot hatched within the FBI” that has been “spun” by Trump supporters.

    3. Holds Mueller and the Mueller probe up as absolute paragons of virtue:

    “Mueller’s chronicle of prevarication, moral turpitude, and incompetence is dispiriting, but his presentation of rigorous legal reasoning and strict adherence to statutes, case law, and procedural rules is inspiring… it embodies many of the values that make the United States great: integrity, meticulousness, professionalism, public service, and the rule of law.”

    “The Mueller report models the civic virtues that could enable American leaders to renew the country. The tools they would need are readily at hand, in the form of the country’s formidable democratic institutions and sound underlying mores of moderation, fairness, and common sense. That will not happen, of course, certainly not in the near term. For now, politics trumps technocracy. Mueller acted as a restrained professional awash in a foam of partisan blather…”

    There are many more examples of bias (the description of the Trump Tower meeting is very distorted), but enough. I have to respectfully disagree that this article is really “balanced.” Nor do I find the source of the article much comfort.

    Reply
    1. Roger Boyd

      Have to completely agree with you, once I got into the article the lack of any “balance” was blindingly obvious. A complete whitewashing of Mueller’s extremely shady past in the FBI (e.g. framing innocent people in Boston), and the Goebbels-esque continuous repeating of the Russia interference mantra (when it has been technically shown that the DNC emails were not hacked but downloaded to a memory device by an insider), then the ridiculous statement that the media’s hysteria was backed up by the report ……..

      Propaganda at its smoothest.

      Reply
      1. Keith Newman

        The American Hustle article is filled with the usual Russia/Putin derangement syndrome drivel. On the Mueller report I suggest reading Aaron Maté, also Craig Murray. On Putin Derangement Syndrome, try reading Patrick Armstrong.

        Reply
    2. David Mills

      I stopped reading the article when it asserted that Wikileaks was a Russian “cut out”. Another attempt at balance while taking falsehoods as given. Almost as absurd as the article with 4 possibilities for Venezuela that fails to mention US sanctions.

      Reply
  14. Tomonthebeach

    Modi’s Message Was Simple: Hindus First

    Mentioned to my posse (Catholic Prep School classmates all) just yesterday that is seems like the top 2 causes of war were OIL and RELIGION. Stand by India. Also looks like India struck oil Oh-oh.

    Also noticed an LA Times story about an anti-abortion Evangelical Trump voter who saw his wife of 16 years deported. He is now having second thoughts about his vote? [And he thought Trump would just deport other children’s mothers.]

    Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    Our winter of no lack of missed content continues through today, where it’s snowing in Mineral King presently and there’s nearly a foot of white stuff on the ground @ 7,000 feet.

    It’s an odd Memorial Day weekend here, as the road is closed to the public, and the 2 campgrounds won’t be open until late June, there’s just too much snow and tons of deadfalls and other danger trees that have to be removed.

    Summer starts asserting itself later in the week when the ray 90’s heats up the CVBB and melts off accumulations higher up somewhat, but not that much.

    Reply
  16. Jen

    Another item to file under Memorial Day. Jim Wright’s twitter thread “Thanks, but it was never about that” was featured in the links recently. He expands on it in this post: https://www.stonekettle.com/2019/05/it-was-never-about-thanks.html

    “One night, a few days into the war, you stood on the deck of a Navy cruiser and you watched as other ships of the fleet launched salvo after salvo of missiles. It’s been a long time since that night, but you can still hear the roar of boosters flinging those terrible weapons into the sky, still smell the acrid sting of the propellent, still see the rocket’s red glare, still hear the womp! as each booster burned out and the missile’s sustainer engine lit off and that weird whistling sound it made as it disappeared into the night, bound for some target in enemy territory hundreds of miles away. Those under its fall were already dead – they just didn’t know it yet….

    hose who led us, they told us we were doing right.

    Just as I told the men I led that we were doing right.

    But…

    Yes. But.

    That’s the rub. Isn’t it? That but.

    We weren’t the good guys after all.

    We weren’t doing right.

    It was all a lie.

    Those missiles, when they fell, they killed thousands of people who had never done America any harm. When it was done, when the war was finally over for us, more than a decade had passed. I don’t how many died. No one does. Hundreds of thousands. More.

    I was part of that. ”

    I’m going to celebrate memorial day by giving my congressional delegation a very large piece of my mind about any more wars of adventure in Iran.

    Reply
  17. Susan the other`

    Russia’s Dirty Oil Crisis. Does anybody else find this a tad suspicious? As far as they can trace the contamination it comes from a place just south of Moscow. That’s getting fairly comfy with Ukraine, isn’t it? And it’s also coincidental that this contamination is having its biggest impact on northern Europe – the farthest point from the problem. No doubt this impedes plans for Nordstream. Russian oil has been reduced to a trickle into eastern Europe. So, in the meantime, is Germany arranging to use alternative fuel? Say LNG from the USA?

    Reply
    1. polecat

      U.S. LNG is Too cost prohibitive any way you look at it .. the German public would be incensed, knowing how the Game-of-‘ersatz-hegemonic’-Cajones is being played .. in it’s current iteration .. at their expense !

      Reply
    2. Olga

      Yes, this is very suspicious. Belorussians were first to complain – and they’ve had issues with Moscow unrelated to oil. Sounded like a way to get some leverage.

      Reply
    3. PlutoniumKun

      It does seem mysterious. From the little I know, this type of contamination usually occurs where there has either been an accident with cleaning solvents, or when there has been some corruption – basically, someone getting rid of oily ‘slops’ by emptying it into a crude oil stream. Organic chlorides are usually only naturally present in very small amounts.

      Reply
  18. TJ

    Ford is coming out with Digit, an all new autonomous robot to make deliveries. How’s your anti-automation stuff working out for ya? Robots are the future

    Reply
    1. foghorn longhorn

      Really
      Why don’t you perfect running a locomotive down the tracks with no humans, before you put an autonomous vehicle out amongst the public on wide open roads
      Is that too much to ask
      If operating them on rails is too difficult, how about mastering the ocean going vehicles operating berween here and China

      Reply
      1. TJ

        Dude, google Ford Digit. It’s not a car. It’s a delivery robot that walks on its two legs. It’s going to replace all delivery people in the next few years. Kiss those jobs goodbye, and good riddance!

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Yeah, and unless we figure out how to supply basics to those newly out of work, kiss them goodbye too?
          It’s not the total of the resources we’re arguing about. It is the distribution of those resources.

          Reply
        2. tegnost

          ok I googled it…

          https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/22/ford-wants-this-creepy-robot-to-bring-its-autonomous-deliveries/

          FTA… Digit can lift packages that weigh up to 40 pounds, walk up and down stairs and across uneven terrain, and can maintain its balance in the event of a bump. It makes the journey from the car to the door by tapping into data obtained by the self-driving vehicle. The car builds a detailed map of its surroundings, then wirelessly shares that with Digit. Through this data exchange, Digit and the vehicle can even work collaboratively to identify the most efficient delivery pathway.

          wow! 40 lbs! And no really this is what it does, (well, what it doesn’t do as the guiding vehicle doesn’t exist) it’s car makes a map for it! In a test situation one can program the terrain as I’m certain was done in this case. Get back to me when the car that guides the robot has actually started driving around, not in mountain view (seriously, imagine the digital map of mountain view with all the google cars) but in winthrop washington or some other remote place. I bet the starlink will make it easier, but not in my lifetime…
          Oh and just a by the way, those who you say good riddance to might just turn around and say good riddance to you instead…

          Reply
  19. Brindle

    Biden….Vanity Fair

    For the MSM the GOP suburban soccer mom is the key to all elections. No need to expand the base—just win a few more percentage points of basically Republican voters and all elections can be won.
    Rinse–lather–repeat:

    “It’s not just the Rust Belt. Republicans fret Biden would build on the Democratic Party’s midterm-election success in traditionally conservative suburbia, where women voters are inclined to switch off the television to shield their children from #MAGA rallies. Hillary Clinton showed some appeal in the suburbs three years ago, but was too radioactive to close the deal. Biden, however, could succeed with affluent, college-educated whites where Clinton failed. “The one thing Biden apparently gets is that he needs to motivate the white-collar suburban people who think politics should all be like the TV show The West Wing. He speaks that pablum fluently,” —

    Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    The Trump administration announced it will cut 1,100 federal jobs by eliminating a Forest Service program which trains disadvantaged young people in rural communities jobs including fire fighting, reports the Washington Post.

    Why it matters: This is believed to be the largest layoff of civil servants in nearly 10 years, expected to effect Arkansas, Montana, Virginia, Washington state and Wisconsin. Members of both political parties were opposed to the plan, per the Post. Nine locations are expected to shut down while 16 are to be taken over by private operators and state governments.

    https://www.axios.com/trump-plans-cut-1100-rural-jobs-80a66869-3121-47b0-a0fb-dc88344206cf.html

    Reply
    1. Off The Street

      Wait for the next step: private prison convict labor, with a nominal service charge, of course. Like that lady at the hospital said, “Well, somebody has to pay.”

      Reply
    2. Wombat

      The attack on any good thing that emenates from our national lands has been appalling. Now the Forest Service has become another facilitator for extraction on public lands (traditionally was mainly Bureau of Land Management that catered to extractors). Anything that doesn’t make money has no worth. If only today’s republicans would be more like Teddy Roosevelt.

      Well, when there’s no public lands left for the public to enjoy, we can all make our way to gaudy beachside resorts… No thank you.

      Reply
  21. Tomonthebeach

    Millions of senior citizens can’t afford food — and they’re not all living in poverty

    A common cause of elder poverty [not mentioned in this article] is living beyond one’s means – even among professionals. Upon retiring, instead of retiring to a less costly domicile, many stay put ignoring the fact that their income has dropped but not their cost of living. Over the years, an HOA president I had to evict 3 elder couples from my DC condo because they were over $10K in arrears for monthly fees. Each could barely grasp their dilemma. “But we have always lived here.” And “here” was a luxury condo in one of the highest-cost cities in the USA. It was not a happy event, but it did wake up their families and got them resettled to lower-cost apartments, and in 2 cases, the family bought life annuities with the sale profits sufficient to pay their rent.

    Reply
    1. The S

      A common cause of elder poverty is that housing is treated a commodity instead of a needed utility, and that HOAs are flat out greedy and evil like most everything in the real estate sphere. Why are the elderly being charged monthly fees to exist? Why would you announce to the world that you took part in such abhorrent behavior?

      Reply
    2. JBird4049

      Housing costs nationwide seem to be growing faster than income. The difference between the elderly, and for that matter many of the homeless, and everyone else is the inability to work even more and spend even less to make up the difference.

      Also there are large areas that have no affordable housing of any kind like almost the entire state of California with its forty million people. Just how does anyone deal with their personal financial problems? Move to a trailer home in Siskiyou?

      Also the ownership of retirement homes and apartments are both becoming concentrated into smaller groups of rapacious companies. I would put almost the entire cause of the suffering onto the current political economy creating the hunger. It is no different than the many people who are homeless or living in vehicles despite working full time.

      Reply
        1. Adam Eran

          The Bee is part of McClatchy. It’s called “liberal,” but has a long history of labor troubles and a multimillionaire CEO. The paper is actually assembled in North Carolina.

          It also publishes such “lefties” as Cal Thomas, Victor David Hansen and George Will. Krugman is about as far left as it goes. Its regular local columnist, Dan Walters, never saw a government program he liked, nor admitted any problem had a systemic solution. He was a columnist at the now defunct “rightie” paper in town, the Union.

          I wish I could agree that it’s the best newspaper in CA, but the San Jose Mercury has that honor, IMHO. I’ve cancelled my Bee subscription because they publish so much neo-fascist baloney

          Reply
  22. Ignim Brites

    Is this a Chuck Todd rule or DNC rule? I am guessing the former since by all appearances the legacy corporate media rules the Democratic Party. This doesn’t mean though that short term ratings implications will drive the decision. The long term interests of the legacy corporate media lies in Democratic Party victory. The DP implements the strategy of the legacy corporate media to lower the cost of “news” by centralizing power and decisions in DC. Since all the candidates toe the corporate line on centralization, the preferment decision will likely turn on an estimation of whether or not foreign interventionism will in the future result in an increase in viewership suffcient to justify the increased cost of reporting. I am guessing that the estimate will be that it will not, so the lineup will be structured antipathetically to Biden as a “hawk”.

    Reply
  23. jsn

    “The Left kept telling us about social problems… they kept talking but did nothing. We are the ones who have delivered,”

    economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/6949938Modi election

    All the Republicans need to say to win once Trump takes on Medicare For All.

    Reply
    1. foghorn longhorn

      The M4A sledgehammer is just laying in the middle of the road, see Ambrits post above about the horrors of the current system, and the dems veer into the bar ditch to avoid it.
      The Trumpster fire will pick it up and beat them about the head with it.
      If nothing else, he is an opportunistic SOB.

      Reply
  24. Oregoncharles

    “US To Send 900 Troops To Middle East To Counter Iran”
    You sure that isn’t Duffel Blog? Because it’s a little, umm, disproportionate.

    Reply
  25. Olga

    Democracy and Its Discontents Adam Tooze, NYRB
    This is well worth a read (more perceptive and accurate than Kotkin @ Foreign affairs). While Tooze still dances a bit gingerly around some of the topics (e.g., when describing the 2014 western-led coup d’etat in Kiev), his review of four books and democracy and its troubles creates a comprehensive and honest look at what’s unsettling the west. And he concludes with a reference to an Op-Ed, in which “Larry Summers recently asked, ‘Can the US imagine a global system in 2050 in which its economy is half the size of the world’s largest? Even if we can imagine it, could a political leader acknowledge that reality in a way that permits negotiation over what such a world would look like?'”
    As Singaporean diplomat Kishore Mahbubani keeps repeating in his many appearances (e.g., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXSZyxcrWas), the issue of the US not being No. 1 is taboo in the US. But there’s no surer way to lose than to keep sticking one’s head in the sand.

    Reply
    1. jsn

      It’s fun watching Tooze dance around the fences of all the NeoCon/NeoLiberal gate keepers!

      Watching some of his lectures on-line, he appears to have a better grasp of what’s going on than he knows he can get away with in print.

      Sort of like Patrick Cockburn writing for the Independent: there are things that just can’t be written in the check signers company, or for that matter, in the UK, their liable lawyers, however true such things may be! And this is no attack on either, actually the contrary, I have to get my checks signed too and I’m shy of many lesser risks!

      Reply
  26. Massinissa

    So I was looking through that Twitter thread, and every single post is another horror story. I kept looking for a ‘positive’ reply and there just… Were not any.

    Anyway, one of the replies dovetails well with yesterdays article about ‘mindfulness’, so I’m going to paste it here.

    “When I went to see behavioral health due to alcoholism, insomnia and suicidal ideations, the psychiatrist told me to download a mindfulness meditation app and to limit my screen time before bed! great health care you guys give out! think twice before enlisting, future soldiers!”

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      As of the exit polls, they’re bigger than the SPD, the “Socialists.” And both “major” parties took major losses.

      Caveat: since the European Parliament has little power, voters there often treat these elections as a chance for a protest vote. The local and national elections matter far more.

      And thanks for the update, dcb.

      Reply
  27. Oregoncharles

    From “American Hustle,” the FP report on Mueller’s investigation:
    “Only a genuinely formidable personality could withstand such intense, unremitting investigative pressure and hostility, even if he has brought no small degree of it on himself.”

    Bill Clinton, all over again. Only flashier.

    Reply
  28. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    Why would the COP need to expend any effort to ‘take down’ Joe Biden. That guy has shot himself in the feet so often, it’s astonishing he’s ambulatory.

    Reply
  29. cripes

    “Millions of senior citizens can’t afford food — and they’re not all living in poverty ”

    Because housing, energy, healthcare and drug costs are so high and poverty guidelines are so ridiculously low?

    2019 poverty guidelines

    1 person – $12,490
    2 person – $16,910

    The average Social Security benefit currently being paid out to a retired worker is about $1,372 per month–top-weighted by all the ten-percenters receiving maximum benefits in addition to their other retirement wealth. Pretty sure the median is less, but oddly, difficult to find.

    Reply
      1. Cal2

        And Medicare fees are subtracted from them

        ——-

        “Syraqistan” is obsolete.

        How about updating it to:

        “Syraniraqlibyastan”

        Reply
        1. boz

          “Syraniraqlibyastan”

          I’ve thought the title needs updating as well. I quite like your suggestion.

          It actually rolls off the tongue quite well – better than “B team” or “Mustache Doctrine”

          Reply
      2. cripes

        Not even in a flophouse.

        The national average rent was $1,430 in March 2019, 3.2% according to Yardi Matrix’s Apartment Market Report.

        According to Zumper, the national one bedroom median rent grew 0.4% to $1,217 in January 2019.

        YMMV

        Reply
    1. BobW

      TMI? Squeaking by in NW Arkansas on SS of just under $1k/mo. after Medicare deductions. Applied for SNAP (food stamps), seem to barely be eligible for the benefit, will find out next month if approved or not.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        We got some SNAP for a while with similar income figures. 27 USD a month. The definition of “poverty” keeps getting smaller.

        Reply
    2. Wombat

      Re Median v. Average… And they use the median for household incomes so that we arent alarmed when the 1% incomes truly get averaged in.

      Reply
  30. boz

    I can’t remember the category – Trump Transition? Syraqistan? Skripals?

    New Craig Murray

    The World: What Is Really Happening

    A fake chemical attack incident was used to justify military aggression against Syria by the USA, UK and France.

    The entire western mainstream media promoted the anti-Syrian and anti-Russian narrative to justify that attack.

    The supposedly neutral international watchdog, the OPCW, was manipulated by the NATO powers to produce a highly biased report that omits the findings of its own engineers.

    Which can only call into doubt the neutrality and reliability of the OPCW in its findings on the Skripals too.

    More:

    I have noted before the news management technique of the security services, leaking out key facts in a managed way over long periods so as not to shock what public belief there is in the official Skripal story.

    Thus nine months passed before it was admitted that the first person who “coincidentally” came across the ill Skripals on the park bench, just happened to be the Chief Nurse of the British Army.

    The inquest into the unfortunate Dawn Sturgess has now been postponed four times.

    The security services have now admitted – once again through the Guardian – that even if “Boshirov and Petrov” poisoned the Skripals, they cannot have been also responsible for the poisoning of Dawn Sturgess.

    This because the charity bin in which the perfume bottle was allegedly found is emptied regularly so the bottle could not have lain there for 16 weeks undiscovered, and because the package was sealed so could not have been used on the Skripals’ doorknob.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      My theory is that there’s a serial killer working at the chemical weapons lab right next door, with access to all the nasties. In that case, the Scripals may have been just a random as Dawn Sturgess. That second one was targeted specifically at some random woman.

      Is there any good evidence that the Skripals got the same poison she did?

      There hasn’t been a 3rd poisoning; maybe the lab figured out who it was and neutralized them. Any recent deaths on staff over there?

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        No theoretical ‘serial killers’ needed. Real ‘serial killers’ work up the “political food chain” from the crime scenes. They hide in plain sight at places like Langley and Whitehall.

        Reply
  31. boz

    Some may already have seen the developments in California regarding the Catholic practice of confession.

    MB 360 (which removes the “penitential exemption” – information received during Confession – from legal responsibility for reporting abuse), was passed 30-2 on May 23.

    More here from Crux (I found it hard to find a secular news story about it, apologies)

    The bill as passed by the Senate now protects the seal of the confessional — except in cases where a priest is hearing another priest’s confession or in cases where a priest is hearing the confession of a co-worker.

    First off – it’s not like we’ve brought it on ourselves, of course. We couldn’t have better demonstrated our unfitness to adequately police and uncover sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults than if we had tried.

    I know there are lot of lapsed (and maybe not so lapsed) Catholics among the NC readership, so I won’t go into detail about the practice itself. But briefly, criticism from the Church follows a few lines:

    1. Confession offers a powerful opportunity for an abuser to be convinced to surrender (eg. By withholding absolution) – though cynicism about whether collegiality prevents this from happening is not unexpected, given current and past events. It also remains to be seen how many unrepentant abusers would confess their sin.

    2. Victims will be disincentivised to bring abuse up in Confession (they will go to the police if at all) – thereby precluding a situation where they can be encouraged / supported to make a formal complaint themselves. Though it seems to me the bill as amended appears to satisfy this criticism.

    3. The law will be ineffective as no priest will break the seal of confessional. Anyone who knows a priest can ask them. The penalty is automatic excommunication, meaning your life as a priest and even a full participant in Catholic liturgy (receiving communion, for example) is over. Years of study, travel, service, joy, privilege – over. Reputation trashed.

    So it is a big deal to be excommunicated.

    There is a good article here at National Catholic Register that goes into more detail, including similar legislation in Ireland and Australia.

    What I wanted to ask (not being sufficiently versed in constitutional law), is this:

    Isn’t any kind of bill regulating a religious practice clearly proscribed by the First Amendment?

    Wikipedia (not the greatest source, I know) suggests the situation is more complex than I imagine: Freedom of religion in the United States:

    1878: Reynolds vs United States

    the Court said: “Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious beliefs and opinions, they may with practices.”

    1963 Sherbert vs Verner

    “to condition the availability of benefits upon this appellant’s willingness to violate a cardinal principle of her religious faith effectively penalizes the free exercise of her constitutional liberties.”

    Benefits bring unemployment benefits, and cardinal principle being the 7th Day Adventist being required to work on a Saturday.

    Development of the “compelling interest” threshold – see later.

    1990 Employment Tribunal vs Smith

    Examining a state prohibition on the use of peyote, the Supreme Court upheld the law despite the drug’s use as part of a religious ritual, and without employing the strict scrutiny test. Instead, the Court again held that a “neutral law of general applicability” generally does not implicate the Free Exercise Clause.

    “Strict scrutiny test” being the highest level of judicial review, according to Wikipedia.

    There’s more in there but I’d basically just be regurgitating Wikipedia.

    I guess it could be interesting test case, given:

    – lower threshold needed at state level to justify, than at federal level
    – concerns practice, rather than belief
    – “general applicability” (a positive test) could probably be proven, or it doesn’t just target Catholics
    – compelling interest – undeniable in this area

    Readers?

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      That’s a big far reaching post. Here’s a related item:

      “Many of the still-alive monsignors, bishops and cardinals involved in California’s part of the pedophile priest problem have never faced appropriate consequences for their inaction. In New Jersey and New York, the attorneys general have launched new investigations. Senator Kamala Harris, trumpets her prosecution of Backpage.com as evidence that she’s tough on sex crimes. In 2005, while she was San Francisco’s district attorney, Harris rebuffed a public-records request by SF Weekly to release personnel files from the Archdiocese of San Francisco. (Her predecessor had planned to make them public after prosecuting criminal priests, but the California Supreme Court stopped those cases when it declared unconstitutional a 2002 law that lifted the criminal statute of limitations.)

      https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-arellano-catholic-church-sex-abuse-california-20180912-story.html

      Reply
  32. grizziz

    re:Huawei
    I find it odd that big tech companies are readily announcing that they are cutting off Huawei. Cutting off markets seems so un-Silicon Valley like. It is easily imagined that they are showing a patriot bent and hoping that their intellectual property will be recognized in a future deal. Maybe their legal departments got out ahead of their PR departments. Obviously, I am in the nose bleed section watching this match up, but it is just weird watching all this improvisation in the security/technology arena.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-19/google-to-end-some-huawei-business-ties-after-trump-crackdown?srnd=premium-europe

    Reply
  33. Synoia

    Sansung Deepfakes: Here’s the downside: These kinds of techniques and their rapid development also create risks of misinformation, election tampering and fraud…

    This cynic asks, so we can be “auto-lied to” by politicians. What’s changed?

    All that will happen is that we will believe less of what they are reported to say.

    Note: Believing less than nothing is mathematically impossible, however there may be no limit to dislike and disbelief…

    Reply

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