Links 6/20/19

Your Cat’s Attitude Actually Is Closely Linked to Its Breed, Survey Shows Smithsonian

Facebook’s Libra:

The Real Story of How Virginia Won Amazon’s HQ2 Washingtonian. Not location, location, location. Ideology, ideology, ideology.

With More Storms and Rising Seas, Which U.S. Cities Should Be Saved First? NYT

General Insurance Stress Test 2019 Scenario Specification, Guidelines and Instructions (PDF) Bank of England. Page 27: “Firms are requested to consider the expected impact under three different climatic states on their assets, liabilities and business models, assuming that their current insurance exposures and their investment profile remain constant.”


Is Boris Johnson softening on a no-deal Brexit? FT

The many facets of UK’s Boris Johnson The Business Times. Singapore. Fun!

UK Labour’s Corbyn backs second referendum on any Brexit deal Reuters


House votes to repeal Authorization for Use of Military Force, while Trump reportedly urges representatives to tone down rhetoric on Iran The Week

Is the White House Plotting an End-Run Around Congress Into Iran? The American Conservative

Report: US Planning “Massive” Airstrike On An Iranian Facility Caitlin Johnstone

White House Claims Iran Behind Attack On Nancy Kerrigan The Onion (RH).

The Madcap Caution of Donald Trump Politico

How John Bolton Controls The Administration And Donald Trump Moon of Alabama

How Trump may get manipulated into war with Iran WaPo

What you need to know about CIA’s Iran Mission Center Asia Times

Trade war drags down Asian factory employment Nikkei Asian Review

Splintering Global Supply Chains: Asia’s Worst Nightmare? Asia Sentinel

Trump Has Already Won the ‘Trade War’ The National Interest


Trump’s Trade War Is Pushing China Even Deeper Into Debt Council on Foreign Relations

Xi’s North Korea trip revives stalled US-China trade talks Nikkei Asian Review

Liu Cixin’s War of the Worlds The New Yorker. Chinese science fiction.

* * *


Hong Kong officials bid to ease tensions in city as students and activist groups vow to escalate action with another protest if demands are not met South China Morning Post

Fears of capital flight as Beijing tightens grip on Hong Kong FT

Simon Lau: Say Hello To China’s New Model For Controlling Hong Kong Taiwan Gazette

The People of Poso New Narratif

Himalayan glaciers melting far faster this century: study Reuters


Chennai water crisis: City’s reservoirs run dry BBC

Behind the Congress Rout: A Data Debacle Economic Times

Cricket’s increasing sizzle owes much to India The Economist


Guaidó’s Star Fades as His Envoys to Colombia Allegedly Commit Fraud With Humanitarian Funds for Venezuela Counterpunch

With Maduro entrenched in Venezuela, Trump loses patience and interest in issue, officials say WaPo

Boeing 737 MAX

British Airways parent company delivers a massive vote of confidence in the Boeing 737 MAX but hours later Airbus racks up more orders over stricken Boeing at Paris Air Show Seattle Times

Boeing’s Latest 737 MAX Concern: Pilots’ Physical Strength Barron’s (mirrored from WSJ). “The analysis has been further complicated because the same emergency procedure applies to the generation of the jetliner that preceded the MAX, known as the 737 NG. About 6,300 of these planes are used by more than 150 airlines globally and they are the backbone of short- and medium-range fleets for many carriers.” Hoo boy.

What Really Happened to Malaysia’s Missing Airplane The Atlantic

Five years later, 4 suspects named in attack on passenger plane in Ukraine Vox

Trump Transition

Chaos is a ladder:

Pelosi shoots down censure for Trump: ‘If the goods are there you must impeach’ The Hill

Budget Talks Stall as Democrats Seek More Government Spending Bloomberg

Ta-Nehisi Coates and Danny Glover join renewed debate over reparations on Capitol Hill ABC


What Is Juneteenth, How Is It Celebrated, and Why Does It Matter? Teen Vogue

June 19 Should Be a National Holiday Jacobin


Imperial Collapse Watch

GI Suicide: Maybe It’s The Job? Lobelog (original).

Class Warfare

The Irvings, Canada’s robber barons Le Monde Diplomatique (MF). “The group now has its eye on the gold and copper deposits of Bald Mountain, in Aroostook county, and Maine looks set to become ‘Irving’s new colony’.” On Bald Mountain, see NC here (from 2014).

The Case Against Quantum Computing IEEE Spectrum. Maybe the quantum computing people, the fusion people, and the string theory people should all get together and raise some start-up money.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Bill Smith

    Report: US Planning “Massive” Airstrike On An Iranian Facility

    I’m sure the US has lots of plans to attack everyone. I can remember as a kid the stories about plans to invade Canada. True, they hadn’t been updated in a while…. :)

    But the story looks dated given the news that a very expensive non-stealthy drone was shot down by Iran and the claim that they tried to down a second one at about the same time but missed.

    1. Summer

      At the same time, the USA hasn’t tken the military positions it has in the Mid-East without Iran being a target.
      The part of the plan isn’t off the table. There is only disagreement among the establishment about what type of administration should take the lead into the war.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      Maybe because the 2 times the USA tried to invade Canada they got their asses kicked

  2. Steve H.

    > Five years later, 4 suspects named in attack on passenger plane in Ukraine

    Conclusion not implausible. Chain of command for a weapon system into a war zone.

    ” although experts have said it’s likely the rebels were aiming for a Ukrainian military jet, and not a passenger plane.”

    I still have no sense of who is responsible for sending a passenger jet over a war zone.

    1. Jeff

      If you read John Helmer’s take, there is not much proof being brought forward. They ‘could have done it’ is just not the same as ‘here is how they did it’.
      Also, there is not a single radar image of the flight prior to the accident. All Ukrainian radars (civil AND military) were in maintenance. So the question is not only why there was a passenger jet over a war zone, but why that passenger jet was ordered even more eastward (into the war zone ad Ukraine) as usual. And that raises the question why that question is never raised, let alone answered.

      1. JeffC

        Smell-test failure: Taking all of the country’s air-search radars down for maintenance at the same time is not credible. Let me get out my can-of-worms opener and ask, who would be that irresponsible?

        1. vlade

          ‘all air search radards down’ I assume you mean primary radar, not secondary responder radar. Air traffic relies mostly on secondary radars, and can happily live w/o any primary radar. That means it’s not impossible for primary radars to be taken down. It’s not common, but it’s not a massive deal either (especially since that specific area was also covered by Rostock Russia’s primary radar).

          To my knowledge the Dnepropetrovsks primary radars were off (basically, they were in the war zone), and the other primary radar was under scheduled maintenance.

          I’m sure Ukrainian army had military radars in the area, but most of them don’t do recording, and some of them are used in more directional way. That said, UA army should have released what it had here.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I read that after the shoot-down, Ukrainian intelligence went to air traffic control and seized all records and recorded conversations and they have not seen the light of day since then. I’m not even sure that the cockpit conversations of the pilots were ever released. The whole thing is so stupid. Even the Malaysian Prime Minister has come out and said that he was not happy with the investigations saying that there was more politics than fact-finding.
            They can name any Ukrainian or Russian that they want as suspects but the constitutions of both countries forbid the extradition of its citizens so is pointless on purpose. None could expect a fair trial in any case as the whole investigation has been a shambles since day one. It is on par with the Salisbury poisoning investigations. Tough on the families that had relatives and friends aboard that plane as they may never learn the whole truth.

            1. Olga

              The Us has relevant radar data – but is refusing to release them. The Russians have released their data – but the west scoffed. The guys in Don./Lugansk had no motive to shoot down a plane and no benefit. The video showing BUK being transported to the D/L area was debunked as a forgery. While we’ll probably never know the exact story, asking cui bono brings one very close to the answer.

            2. pjay

              “… pointless on purpose.”

              Exactly. Just another propaganda effort (thank you for your service, Vox). These “charges” seem to depend on the legitimacy of the earlier official findings, which are full of holes and have been challenged by many critics. Consortium News published numerous articles on various aspects of the MH17 case, many of them by the late Robert Parry himself:


              It seems like the MSM can’t even be bothered to come up with new propaganda these days; it just periodically recycles the old stuff.

        2. DonCoyote

          Smell-test failure #2: Ukraine is one of the four original members of the JIT (after having a leader installed, not elected, by the US earlier in 2014) {Malaysia was added as a fifth JIT member later} investigating the crash, despite being a suspect in causing the crash. Are we surprised then that Russia is blamed and the Ukraine is exonerated?

          US/EU officials used the chaos to drive the democratically elected president out of the country. Then, without an election, new oligarchs — a billionaire and an IMF guy — were handpicked by the West to become the president and the prime minister of Ukraine! Democracy!!

          Election interference is for amateurs…professionals do regime change.

          And they are probably worried that the new (actually elected, by a landslide) president of the Ukraine may actually release some of the missing evidence, assuming it still exists.

    2. vlade

      re your last bit – because ordinarily there’s little danger to passenger planes in small regional hot conflicts.

      There were planes flying over most of middle east during its various conflicts, same in Africa. Basically, a civilian plane at a cruising altitude would have to be targeted (intentionally or by mistake) by a very serious AA to be brought down. An interceptor would have to use mutiple missiles and/or significant cannon fire.

      Say the Korean KAL7 flight that Soviets brought down in 1983 didn’t disintegrate in air like MH17 did, despite being hit by TWO missiles. It took slightly over five minutes for the crew to lose control, and the plane to start dropping dramatically. It’s likely that it would survive just one missile, unless it was really unlucky.

      Most of MANPADs (of which there are more ‘available’ than most people would like know) have no chance to take on cruising airliner.

      The problem is if you have some serious military HW operated by someone who has little idea what they are doing. Which IMO is the most likely case here.

      1. Wukchumni

        I was on the very same flight as KAL 007 going to Seoul via Anchorage the day after it was blasted out of the sky, and needless to say everybody was well aware of what went down. I’ve never seen as many help yourself booze carts on an international flight, please get likker’d up, was the order of the day.

      2. Steve H.

        Two cases relevant here (tho I can’t find the sources):

        : Israeli warjets tracking in the radar shadow of a passenger airliner, within the last couple of years. Unclear whether just hiding, or looking to incite an incident.

        : I remember a single source saying there were strewn beer cans around the likely launch site of the missile that downed MH17. It now occurs to me that dna tests on those cans might’ve proved interesting.

        Though to the last point, we now have a few instances where we know material attacks were induced, as opposed to straight-up false flag operations. Syria was clarifying. I’ve been told that average infantry IQ is 80. Finding a soldier who will make a bad decision under pressure shouldn’t be hard, if you’re trying to provoke a reaction. An average intellect might think they were clever to do so.

    3. Rusty Cuss

      There is possibly credible evidence that is was either a Ukraine-Nazi attempt to shoot at a plane that Putin would have been on, and/or a shoot down by two fighter jets, of the Ukraine-Nazi air force. The physical evidence leads to the fighter jet shoot down as most plausible. The Dutch investigators are compromised by NATO. It’s a cover-up. Izzy Stone said “The official story is ALWAYS a lie.”

      1. LifelongLib

        IIRC Stone also said that you could always find the truth in an American newspaper, but it was usually buried in a paragraph on page 17. I suppose today’s equivalent would be page 549 of some obscure government report…

    4. Cal2

      I’ll raise you one Airbus, full of civilians, shot down over the Persian Gulf. I don’t know why those Iranians are so paranoid.

      “The July 3, 1988, downing of Iran Air flight 655 by the U.S. Navy remains one of the moments the Iranian government points to in its decades-long distrust of America. They rank it alongside the 1953 CIA-backed coup that toppled its elected prime minister and secured Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s absolute power until he abdicated the throne before the 1979 Islamic Revolution…”

    5. skippy

      Had a convo this afternoon with 60+ year old clients and said the same, they had friends aboard, hence regardless of all other factors – why was a civilian airliner anywhere near a hot zone with modern ground to air missiles.

      Like going to the worst part of some city at night and complaining about getting mugged or worse.

    6. James Graham

      “I still have no sense of who is responsible for sending a passenger jet over a war zone.”

      I survived a flight across Vietnam during that war.

      1. skippy

        I seem to remember a few ships with civilians aboard going down in both WW1 and WW2, seems a time and place issue more than one of “I” made it.

        Hay what happened with the Iranian passenger jet again, ship to air missile awhile back.

  3. Bill Smith

    “The Case Against Quantum Computing”

    Not quite the same but the article reminds me of this:

    “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”

    Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943

    1. urdsama

      Perhaps, but the article struck me as more of “we can’t even make a useful prototype because of real world complications”.

      I never got a sense from the author that these wouldn’t be useful in a myriad of ways; which is very much the message from the IBM president in 1943.

      The article was about the possibility of such computers ever existing, not that they wouldn’t be transformative.

  4. b

    WSJ: Boeing’s Latest 737 MAX Concern: Pilots’ Physical Strength

    Moon of Alabama reported that issue on March 25 with many of the historic and technical details:
    Boeing 737 MAX Crash Reveals Severe Problem With Older Boeing 737 NGs

    The manual trim wheel is the backup for the single electrical stab trim system. The regulations demand that backup for several potential failure modes. In certain flight situations the NG and MAX manual trim wheel can no longer be handled by an average human. This was not (widely) known. If the regulators were serious they would demand the immediate grounding of all 737 NG and a new engineering solution.

    As it is they will probably demand an additional simulator session in which the pilots learn that they may not be able to turn that wheel when needed.

    1. JDM

      This aspect of the Boeing trim system has been present since the days of the 707. Managing the manual trim system used to be a basic part of the training in these aircraft. Quite ironically, until the introduction of MCAS, the normal electrical trim system on the 737 had become so reliable, and failures so rare, that airlines eventually stopped teaching the use of manual trim in the simulator and merely relied on information printed in the manuals.

      That being said, there really isn’t cause to have the 737NG fleet grounded. It has one of the safest accident records of any commercial aircraft ever built.

      1. Carolinian

        Indeed. The “runaway stabilizer’ event that would trigger this need to struggle with the trim wheel has almost never happened and in the 1960s accident where it did happen it was because of a bad trim switch on the yoke.

        Clearly what Boeing needs is not so much new airplanes as new management as their handling of the recent accidents (that were clearly their fault) has been horrible. Overall air travel in this day and age is extraordinarily safe.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      “If the regulators were serious they would demand the immediate grounding of all 737 NG and a new engineering solution.”

      That would be choosing human lives over profits. One would think that this would be a core moral precept in any supposedly advanced society, but it’s not in ours. There was a discussion in the comments yesterday about the ever-lengthening tractor-trailers on our highways. That’s another example of choosing profits over human lives.

      What’s interesting about both dangerous airplanes and hazardous tractor-trailers is that 10%-ers are as vulnerable, in some cases more vulnerable, to death by these “acceptable” hazards as us plebes. Most “acceptable” hazards, like working in an Amazon warehouse or drinking lead-laden or fracking-contaminated water, fall disproportionately on the lower half of the income and wealth distributions, but non-discriminating risks like Boeing’s airplanes or transport trucks half a block long demonstrate that our society doesn’t just devalue the lives of poor people but of human beings in general.

      None of these are hard cases where allowing the deaths of a few will save the lives of many. Keeping poorly engineered airplanes flying or allowing too-large vehicles to zoom down highways save the lives of no one. It’s purely about profit.

      Little wonder then that there is a rising toll of deaths of despair. While this society pretends that human life is precious when it serves the purposes of political manipulators, the truth is that human life, even lives of the affluent, are expendable sacrifices to the God of Profit, the Almighty of Progress.

      And deep down, we all know that’s our society’s moral code. It’s a rather pitiful morality when understood this way. While I think it’s wrong to view loss of life as acceptable in furtherance of religious or patriotic goals (like Grace Slick, I’d rather have my country die for me), to sacrifice lives for the sake of something so trivial as making a buck is especially sick.

      1. JDM

        That would be choosing human lives over profits.

        While this makes for a nice sound bite, but more lives would actually be saved by not grounding the 737NG fleet.


        Commercial aircraft are already being operated at near full capacity, so there is no slack in the system to absorb significantly more air travelers. While some people might opt to not travel, a grounding of thousands of aircraft would forced many toward other, much less safe forms of transportation. I suspect some actuarial type could do a rough calculation of how many additional deaths would occur on the roads (all spread out in relatively unnoticed dribs and drabs) as a result.

        Despite this latest cock-up by Boeing, commercial air travel is still magnitudes safer than just about any form of transportation.

  5. FreeMarketApologist

    Re the Washingtonian article: The Real Story of How Virginia Won Amazon’s HQ2

    Excellent article, and worth a read. Moretti’s ideas are interesting, even if they predict doom for areas that are principally rural.

    1. toshiro_mifune

      Moretti’s ideas are interesting

      I can clearly remember this topic; the “hollowing” of the country as the educated young fled to the coasts, being a topic for discussion multiple times on NPR during the mid-90’s. In particular I remember it being on either Talk of the Nation or Evening Edition. If Google hadn’t become so crapified I’d try to find links to the broadcasts.

      What’s annoying is that so many of these issues be they income disparity, the opioid crisis, the brain drain to the coasts, even the repercussions of the Boomers losing demographic prominence used to get regular play on NPR in the 90’s and then it just kind of stopped.

      1. tegnost

        that’s because the narrative of “hollowing” the nation has been replaced with the narrative of “filling” the brain hubs.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Those brain hubs. Are you sure that they are not just zombie infestation points as in “Brains! Must have brains!”

      2. Jesper

        I suspect that part of the reason for the unexpected success of large hubs in continuing to attract people might be related to the common desire to be in a couple.
        Single people moving to a smaller city might have bigger difficulties of finding a mate in a small city compared to in the big city.
        A job-offer to one person in a stable relationship with both people in the relationship gainfully employed might be declined as the spouse might not be able to find a job/career in a smaller city.
        The brain drain might be more about the difficulty of moving back – similar to why dustbunnies are found under the bed, once there then there is little energy moving them around and they settle. My suspicion is based on plurality of anecdotes, take it for what it is worth

    2. tegnost

      Morretti basically describes the process of inequality. Featured in this article a wonky bespectacled representative to the virginia labor force who, if you’ve ever been in a tech company town, will now have to move or simply shoulder more burden (just rent alone…Is it possible that reits have been positioning themselves for massive profits…no need to answer that because duh). I’d say they predict doom for the tone deaf moron elite, people who are smart in a small frame of life, but clueless about everything else. And of course, they buried the lede…
      “The bitterness directed at Washington may feel ugly now, but it’s likely only to intensify.”, but it’s the para preceding that which tells the true story…
      “This divergence has clear economic implications: Workers in America’s most highly educated cities earn two to three times more than people working identical jobs in the least educated cities. But the regional inequality touches everything from personal relationships to public health. Moretti found that divorce rates in fading industrial capitals are higher than they are in brain hubs, and the average life expectancy of a man in Fairfax is a decade and a half longer than one in Baltimore. According to the economist, the “balkanization” of America is exacerbating the bitter polarization that has gripped our democracy. “Geographic segregation raises the number of people who live surrounded by others like them,” he writes, “and this is likely to reinforce extreme political attitudes.””
      The vast majority of the country is being shafted by these people (see new nafta same as the old nafta) but if they can just connect at backyard bbq’s with the like minded few they’ll never know how much we hate them, and they don’t care, they no doubt think the boston dynamics dogs will be deployed before the revolution starts.
      A totally one sided and breathless puff piece, nothing more, and enlightening only in the way that it obfuscates the reality that the story is not the concentration of “brain hubs” (do you think he got a virtual hug from friedman for that elite mumbo jumbo?), it’s everyone else, and we’re sick of it. Moretti’s ideas predict doom for the tech elite, but they are too blindered to see it.

      1. Olga

        Hmmm, and here I thought Bezos picked Virginia because it is sooo close to the seat of power, revealing his much larger ambitions. Maybe Moretti’s strategy helped, but I think the real reason lies elsewhere.

      2. Oh

        Well written book about the elites by Anand Giridhardas “Winners Take All – The Elite Charade of Changing the World”. A must read.

  6. Ignacio

    Himalayan glaciers melting far faster this century: study Reuters

    The IPCC in its fourth report presented a prediction that by 2035 Himalayan glaciers would have melted completely. This was follow by an acid controversy that included “studies” showing that glaciers are instead growing in the Himalayas. Some called it a new “climategate scandal”.

    Not surprisingly, this article avoids making any prediction in this sense. This, the melting of Himalayan glaciers, is a good example of having everyone’s head in the sand just because the problem of glacier melting will almost certainly result in an overwhelming problem for hundreds of millions.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Those glaciers are absolutely crucial for the water security of India, Bangladesh and China. The consequences of their loss doesn’t bear thinking about too much – although it must be said the Chinese in particular have done plenty of thinking and planning about it.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe that article “Chennai water crisis: City’s reservoirs run dry” is a preview of things to come. You could live the rest of you life without electricity but you can only live for a few days without water. When that happens in those countries that you mentioned, that is when we will see refugee columns in the millions.

        1. Wukchumni

          Water is my most important investment by far with a river and a couple of spring fed creeks nearby our residences.

      2. Larry Kummer


        “Those glaciers are absolutely crucial for the water security of India, Bangladesh and China. ”

        Glaciers are just stored water. If those areas are dependent on water from glaciers, that means the water runoff from them exceeds precipitation. That is, they’re melting – and will eventually be gone. Then these regions will have to live on their precipitation.

        Not a surprise, since global surface ice has been shrinking since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 19th century. Anthropogenic warming is just accelerating this.

        So if those areas depend on water stored in glaciers, eventually they need to learn to do without it. Lean sustainability. Anthropogenic warming just changes the due date.

        1. John k

          Rain is stored as ice from one season to another. If An area becomes too warm to store the rain it all flows down in the rainy season in a flood, leaving less water available the rest of the year.
          This was all stable, the amount of ice fairly constant from year to year.

        2. pretzelattack

          from what i’ve read, it should be cooling slightly, not warming. therefore, global warming is more than responsible for all the melting, because they should be growing.

    2. pretzelattack

      iirc, it was not in the scientific section of the report, was a typo, and was corrected when pointed out. it was just another fake “gotcha” by the propaganda campaign.

  7. zagonostra


    Looks like his cupidity has no bounds, but a black colleague just said to me as I mentioned below, “why shouldn’t he be cashing in?, nobody was bothered by Bill Clinton’s speaking fees.”

    Obama was reported to have been paid nearly $600,000 to speak at the EXMA conference in Bogotá, Colombia. According to the Bogotá Post, EXMA is Colombia’s largest marketing and business event of the year and one of the largest in Latin America. Simply titled, “A conversation with President Barack Obama,” his talk purportedly addressed “influential growth strategies” in marketing and other aspects of the marketing economy.

    1. Watt4Bob

      Seems to me the title of Obama’s talk should have been, “A conversation with President Barack Obama,” – “Strategies for Growing Influence”

      IOW, if you want more influence, paying to have a friend like me is a good strategy.

      As to your friend’s observation on Obama cashing in, reminds me of the reaction to the O.J. Simpson trial, “Rich white guys get off all the time, so isn’t about time a rich black man gets the same result?”

      And it’s hard to argue against that perspective.

    2. Oh

      We have to understand that the Columbians are so much for a Democratic Government that they need Obama to educate them!
      The title should be changed to “How to help yuuge Corporations and Banksters and end up with a yuuge payoff”.

  8. Colonel Smithers

    Further to the Brexit links, readers may be interested in how the UK got there as per One hopes former civil servants Anonymous 2, David and Harry chime in as they observed the transition of the Tory Party in government.

    Not mentioned in the article, but from what I hear from my parents, civil servant mum and RAF officer dad who served at the time, the passing of the WW2 generation, and their notions of solidarity / paternalism, had a major part to play.

    1. David

      It’s true that there’s been a massive decline in the quality of the Tory Party – more personal and moral, I think, than intellectual. Tory ministers were not always that bright to begin with, but they tended to be decent chaps and to take sensible advice when it was offered to them. The unacknowledged background to the decline is the progressive movement of power from the party grandees, in whose hands leaders just “appeared”, to the constituency parties. In the 70s these started to attract a new breed of member, the petty bourgeois estate agents and second hand car salesmen. Such people were not necessarily ideological, but they were often bigoted and largely ignorant of wider issues. As the time has passed, Tory MPs have had to play more and more to them to get selected and elected. I don’t know that MPs are more ideological than they were, but they know who has the power, and like all politicians they know when to cringe.
      I increasingly think that Thatcher’s real heritage will be the destruction of the British system of politics.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          I agree with David about Thatcher.

          My parents echo that with regard to local government and the armed forces. For example, true blue Buckinghamshire is no longer run by aristocracy and gentry estate owners, but by estate agents and second hand car dealers. The officer corps is increasingly of the same ilk.

          Growing up in Buckinghamshire, we had MPs like Timothy Raison and Ian Gilmour. We have David Lidington, Domini Grieve and Steve Baker now. Dominic Raab grew up as a constituent of Gilmour in Amrsham.

          1. Olga

            This from one my recent favourite links posted at NC
            “To me, Smail’s words suggest a second historical direction too. Consider all those brilliant youngsters who loved school, studied hard and went off in the highest spirits to college or university, thinking there was a world out there that would welcome them, encourage and support them in their learning, give them jobs as scholars and teachers. That world started snapping shut in the 1980s and has gone on getting smaller and smaller, meaner and meaner, closer and closer to shutting down completely. Fisher seems to be describing a feeling of superfluousness; these young people, like the superfluous men of Russia in the 19th century, were being educated for jobs that no longer existed. Superfluous: ‘the experience of modern masses’ as described by Hannah Arendt.”
            I wonder about this “Thatcher effect,” including of the shutting out of UK’s best and brightest. Forty yrs later, what do we have?

          2. Anonymous2

            I am flattered, Colonel, that you think my comments worth reading. I am not sure that I deserve it. I always look to David and others for more intelligent, better thought-out contributions than I could ever offer. As always I agree with what he says above and with most of the other comments.

            I think the subject could be covered at great length if one was so inclined but I will not presume to try the patience of others. I can offer a few thoughts, though, to flesh out what others have said and draw attention to a number of developments in the Thatcher years which left an enduring mark.

            I know I can be a bit of a Murdoch obsessive at times but I do think the events of 1981 were very important – when Thatcher and Murdoch conspired to circumvent the barriers designed to prevent an excessive concentration of press ownership by arranging for him to be allowed to own the Times and Sunday Times as well as the Sun and News of the World. This gave Murdoch a degree of power which I think has been unrivalled for a UK press baron since the days of Northcliffe and is still in place 38 years on . Murdoch’s hostility to the EU is well known and stems from its ability to resist his influence. It is not insignificant that Murdoch was pressing Major to hold a referendum on EU membership as early as the 1990s. The current position is the realisation of a long-cherished dream for the media mogul.

            The fall of the Berlin wall and Thatcher’s reaction to this momentous event cast a long shadow IMO. Instead of wholeheartedly welcoming this development she became paranoid about the possible implications of German reunification. She was outmanoeuvred by Kohl and Mitterand who cut her out of the loop as Kohl got the reunification he wanted in return for giving Mitterand monetary union. Thatcher’s implied threat to veto monetary union (‘!’) was very important in bringing about her fall from power. France and Germany were determined she would not be allowed to stand in their way and let that be known in senior Tory circles. Her fall from power embittered her against the EU and she became a toxic influence among the Tory right, making trouble for Major, in her retirement.

            My last thought is that one should not underestimate the impact of Thatcher’s policies in Scotland. These did a lot to increase nationalist sentiment in Scotland which encouraged Blair to promote devolution. These things feed on themselves, however, and the development of Scottish nationalism was an important factor in inspiring English nationalism which, together with hostility to the arrival of migrants from Eastern Europe, IMO provided the emotional fuel behind Brexit.

      1. Watt4Bob

        Tory ministers were not always that bright to begin with, but they tended to be decent chaps and to take sensible advice when it was offered to them.

        And they used to believe at least a little in “noblesse oblige”

    2. Colonel Smithers

      I should have added that in addition to the series on Thatcher cited in the article, readers in the UK can access a dramatization, starring John Hurt and Jenny Agutter, of the Alan Clark diaries on BBC 4 and catch up TV. Both series are good.

      1. shtove

        Nothing like reading Clark’s original diary – “I might have been done for what nanny used to call a little bit of the other”.

    1. vlade

      The presidency, as the last time, is Democrat’s to lose. So they will go, and lose it again. Talleyrand’s ‘forgot nothing, learned nothing’ now seems to hold for most anglophone major parties. Small surprise then they will end up like (and with) Bourbons.

      1. DJG

        Colonel Smithers and vlade: Thanks for the link and the insights. I disagree with writer Cas Mudde’s idea that Trump’s base is these semi-mythical angry working-class voters. His base is suburban middles and upper middles–as well as the rapacious upper middles like Mnuchin, Pompeo, Manafort, and the rest of his appointees. Throw in Kavanaugh and Gorsuch. Otherwise, the article is on the mark.

        Meanwhile, the Democrats are infested with an influential contingent of upper-middle-class white ladies who want revenge on Bernie Sanders and will do anything to get it. As well as infestations by candidates who think that losing well and a thin résumé qualify them for higher office, such as Robert O’Rourke and Stacey Abrams. But they have skateboards.

        1. MK

          Don’t discount the RBG health issue either. A great number of Trump voters dislike the man, but hate a liberal SC appointment more.

        2. Lowen T.

          Please, let’s not deflect the actual power of middle to upper middle class white males (and a few male power designees) onto “white ladies.” It reeks of 1960s misogyny, where white women were held responsible for everything the actual people in power did.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Those white males are usually just Republicans. This is a case of potential Democratic voters. Much of Democratic gate keeping is done by local committees which are dominated by upper class white women.

        3. Summer

          “His base is suburban middles and upper middles–as well as the rapacious upper middles like Mnuchin, Pompeo, Manafort, and the rest of his appointees. Throw in Kavanaugh and Gorsuch. Otherwise, the article is on the mark.”

          Agreed. It was always very similiar to the base Biden is courting.

      2. a different chris

        >The presidency, as the last time, is Democrat’s to lose.

        No. It is always a referendum on the incumbent, when there is an incumbent running again.

        1. jrs

          good economy (still bad for the 99s but better than it was), incumbent. The only thing one can do is run their best opponent (although this is Dems we are talking about ….) but it’s no walk in the park regardless. That Trump governance is horrible, yes it is, but not sure that is that big a factor.

      3. flora

        The Dems since the 1970s have either ignored or helped the return of monopoly power and concentrated financial power. They’ve forgotten the essence of the New Deal was breaking up concentrated power. Neolibs believe in concentrated private power.

    2. Summer

      “Democrats will dismiss the speech as lacking ideas and just fearmongering, while reveling in recent polls that have virtually every major primary candidate defeat Trump in 2020, sometimes by a significant margin. They believe the president is weakened by a broad range of issues, including the Mueller report, the treatment of immigrants at the southern border and the various scandals surrounding key cabinet members.”

      1) I get the impression even Mueller is over the Mueller report
      2) Treatment of immigrants at the southern border – as if the Trump Admin closed down a five star hotel that used to serve immigrants and refugees at the southern border.
      3) Various scandals surrounding key cabinet members – because DC was so scandal free before Trump?

    3. neo-realist

      If there is a war with Iran, and the Iranians hit the Saudi oil fields, drive the price at the pump up to $20 per gallon, drive the western economies into the ditch, and American troops are killed in the ME and American citizens are killed within the borders of the U.S. by Iranian sleeper terrorists, Trump will be cruising toward massive defeat irrespective of who is nominated on the democratic side, with the possible exception of Harris who comes off as a Hillary with dark skin.

      Trump broke it, and if he can’t be a diplomat and make a deal, then here comes chaos.

  9. vlade

    Brexit: So it’s Johnson and Gove/Hunt. In other words, Johnson.

    Spectator sport indeed.

    1. Craig H.

      > The many facets of UK’s Boris Johnson

      They missed the best example. In particular the running shoes and the wooden racket are stellar. This is downright vaudeville. Lyndon LaRouche was a more serious candidate for president U.S. than this fellow is for British PM.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Ta-Nehisi Coates and Danny Glover join renewed debate over reparations on Capitol Hill”

    And just in time for the 2020 Presidential elections, a whole new wedge issue promoted to divide up Americans and getting them fighting each other over impossible sparkly ponies so as to distract them from their true enemies – the wealthy elites.
    Look, the last former slave died back in 1971 so for better or worse, all debts are now null and void. If you want a way to honour their suffering, then have reparations for the fact that wages deadlined back in the 70s. Wouldn’t that be more worthwhile and more just? Do wonders for the economy as well.
    For those wondering about that last slave, his name was Sylvester Magee and he was also a combat vet of the Civil War-

    1. spro

      How could all debts be null and void when the impacts of those debts have been a significant contributor to extreme and persistent inequality that exists today, and which will continue to exist for generations? This isn’t about honoring the suffering of slaves, it is about partially restoring the wealth that was stolen from black people. It is strange, although falls quite in line with the white supremacy way of thinking in this country, to suggest that a better alternative to reparations is to completely ignore race and history and give everybody reparations.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Because nothing says just society like crossing the lottery with social services bingo. “Just give us your genealogy going back 7 generations and a DNA sample and you could be lucky!!” Of course then you’ll be means tested for payout. And no Felons LOL.

        Will we go back to the old nomenclature for labeling “‘racial’ mixture” or just rate everyone GGP1 through GGP16 for how many qualifying great-great grandparents they have? Will there be wildcard slots for rich people who ‘heard they had a black ancestor’? Will it be a one-time payout, or will there be new tranches proposed every 4 years? Will people be penalized for including freemen ancestors? Do they get pro-rated for manumissions?

        Our country has family-blogged any ethnicity that wasn’t politically strong enough to fight back, Native American, African American, Irish American, Italian American. I suggest we stop running the country like a plantation instead.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Thanks Mo’s Bike Shop. That is exactly what I was thinking. You would end up with apartheid South Africa’s system where you had varieties of a people’s colour officially recognized on papers. Puts a nasty twist on Cui bono indeed.

      2. Cal2

        Just more divisional distracting B.S. to keep the elite in power by sabotaging efforts to achieve what is really important; National Health Care, peace and debt relief.

        500,000 Union war dead,
        70+ years of inter-generational public housing,
        fifty years of affirmative action in public and private hiring,
        special scholarships and school admission policies,
        busing to better schools,
        “need based welfare”,
        job creation programs,
        The Community Reinvestment Act,

        Jeesh, how much more do you want? Could you please, for argument’s sake, come up with a number of dollars per person given to black people? Would it be means tested to exclude African immigrants and wealthy black people? What about mixed race people? Do they get a proportional fraction?

        Bernie or bust. Everything else is irrelevant.

        1. spro

          Are you seriously suggesting that public housing and affirmative action have been sufficient to offset the insane economic inequality that resulted from hundreds of years of slavery and racism? Are you intentionally ignoring red lining and racist federal housing policies that prevented black people from accumulating wealth? Are you intentionally ignoring the deep rooted racism in policing and the drug wars that have contributed to the deterioration of black communities? What exactly is it, do you think, that causes median white households to have > 10x more wealth than black households? Not enough busing to better schools?

          1. Cal2


            Are you saying that the “hundreds of years of XYZ” have somehow genetically affected black people?

            The last generation of black people have had more social and economic opportunities than whites in the working world, I contend. You are belittling the achievements of poor blacks, and whites, and all people, who have taken advantage of education etc and bettered themselves by tarring blacks only, with the same brush, making them a nation apart.

            Thus, your philosophy is fomenting cultural segregation, alienation and hatred, from within the black community and toward it.

            Have a nice First Amendment day.

            1. spro

              The last generation of black people have had more social and economic opportunities than whites in the working world, I contend.

              That is quite a contention without any data!

              Thanks for revealing that you are going with your racial “gut” here, it’s all I need to know about your ability to engage in a meaningful discussion grounded in facts.

              1. Cal2

                Facts: Affirmative action in public hiring. Actually two generations old. “Women and minorities encouraged to apply.” Usually in male dominated trades that pay the most with benefits.

                A poor white man or woman from Appalachia cannot take advantage of that.

                I only know what I grew up with, read about, past and present tense and have inferred. You and I have different backgrounds obviously.

                Question: Why do African immigrants do well in the U.S. compared to multi-generation American blacks?

                The best thing that the black community can do, IMHWO, is thwart, censure and control black juvenile, and adult crime, the glorification of violence against women and ghetto culture. That is what creates more antipathy against blacks than anything. Yes, it’s unfair, but it’s there.

                Have you worked out what you think would be good dollar amounts and details on reparations?

                Agree with you, the police are out of control in some places.

                1. spro

                  Again, you provide no data for your assertions. I’m not accepting your feelings about affirmative action as evidence that things are unfair for white people and that historic racism and the racial wealth gap are now irrelevant.

                  It’s amazing that in a discussion about reparations, you make white men out to be the victims. The white fragility complex is truly astounding.

        2. mpalomar

          “how much more do you want?”
          Surely you jest. No easy answers of course unless they are glib and, pardon the expression, neither will they be black and white.

          Beyond the antebellum horrors of the history of slavery in North America you are surely aware of some of the salient moments of the post war reckoning, Johnson’s sabotage of reconstruction, Jim Crow and the Black Codes, disenfranchisement, penal labour systems in the south.

          Beyond that and to your point beneficial public policy meant to be universally applied like New Deal policy, the GI Bill, agricultural support, disproportionately benefited whites and often left blacks out either partially or completely.

          On paper your point is quite good but historically the result has usually been less so.

      3. marym

        Addressing the on-going legacy of slavery and racial injustice seems to be the perspective of Coates’ testimony as well (Link to transcript).

        If we were a country and a culture courageous and capable enough for a national reckoning of the 400-year legacy of racial oppression and inequality, the logistics of reparations and justice would possibly not seem so insurmountable.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Slavery ended over 100 years ago in the US. And the US is not alone here. In the UK, it ended years before that.

          Wikipedia’s Reparations for Slavery mentions the two countries, alone with this:

          In 1999, the African World Reparations and Repatriation Truth Commission called for the West to pay $777 trillion to Africa within five years.[30]

          That [30] footnote links to the BBC.

          So, the question is, should they be consolidated and handled globally?

          And, another reparations issue can be asked of colonialism and its victims – Chinese, Siberians, Crimean Tatars, Pakistanis, etc., over the centuries.

          1. marym

            Whether you agree with it in terms of either justice or feasibility the scope of the US bill to study reparations is:

            reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans

            Yes, there are many other historical and current day injustices.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              One of the questions is if it should be handled globally?

              There are parties in many countries today, say, Brazil for example, and also those who had sinced moved, to, say, Liberia.

      4. martell

        Near as I can tell, the legal case for reparations compares rather unfavorably with similar cases made by Native Americans. When Native Americans seek redress for wrongs committed by the United States, they do so as members of sovereign nations. The US has treaties with these sovereign nations. The legal cases rest on terms of the treaties. By contrast, black slaves were never a sovereign nation, they made no treaties, and wrongs committed by ordinary US citizens or government agents could not have been violations of the terms of such treaties.

        I suspect, then, that the case for reparations is ethical rather than simply legal. As an ethical argument, it strikes me as quite weak. Our concepts of responsibility, guilt, debt, and retribution are complex but generally work well enough in the context of contemporary, interacting individuals. The game we play with those concepts starts to break down when the agents change over time, so that the purported debtor didn’t actually do whatever it was that supposedly created the debt but was merely born to someone who did. Things get muddier still when the person to whom the supposed debt is allegedly owed is no longer alive.

        Given that extra-legal, ethical considerations are indeterminate in this case, the reparations proposal seems to me to be less about doing the right thing and more about deciding what we’re going to call right in cases like these.Implications of deciding one way or another should be carefully thought through. For instance, if we did decide to enact a reparations program, would that imply that persons of some racial identity are as such responsible for wrongs committed by others of the same identity (even wrongs committed several generations in the past)? Wouldn’t this make race even more important for our way of life than it already is? Is that the direction in which we want to go? Could we instead both face up to the facts where race in our society is concerned and take steps to make it less important? And would that even be desirable?

    2. Chris Cosmos

      Absolutely. Any POTUS candidate that endorses reoarations and is nomonated will lose in a landslide.

    3. Olga

      The wiki info would make him 130 at the time of death – kinda hard to believe. I don’t completely disagree about the divisive effect (perhaps intended) of the reparation proposal… on the other hand, something ought to be done, given the horrors of slavery. If the US were a sane country, it would have been done a long time ago. But I see no hope for anything now.

  11. dearieme

    The Boris article is by Denis MacShane, the jailbird ex-MP. He was MP for Rotherham where he didn’t do much, you might think, to protect the girls and young women of his constituency.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      I often come across him and his partner, Vicky Price, at City events. It’s as if nothing happened.

      You are right about his lack of interest in the welfare of his constituents. As with many Blairites, they seem to hate the working class, especially white members.

      It’s not just MacShane. The “honourable” members for Aylesbury, Amersham and High Wycombe, all in true blue Buckinghamshire and my home county, Blackburn and Birmingham did nothing either.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “With More Storms and Rising Seas, Which U.S. Cities Should Be Saved First?”

    Oh, I think that people will know straight away which two cities will have absolute priority over resources and both happen to be in the north-east. Tough luck if you own property in the Hamptons though, especially beachfront property.

  13. Jessica

    About “Liu Cixin’s War of the Worlds The New Yorker”,
    if you like sci-fi, I cannot recommend this trilogy too highly. It is brilliant. In terms of the science of sci-fi, it has more original ideas than anything else I have read in years.
    (But skip the first two paragraphs of the New Yorker article. They have spoilers. Better yet, put the article aside and read it after the trilogy.)
    If you are interested in China and recent Chinese history, it is all the more fascinating for what it reveals about the Chinese mindset and what history such as the Cultural Revolution felt like from the inside.
    I listened to the last two books as audiobooks and they are quite well done.

    1. voteforno6

      Agreed. The trilogy is some of the finest science fiction that I’ve read of the past several years – it’s even more expansive than the best of Alastair Reynolds.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I’ll add one more recommendation for Liu Cixin – that trilogy was tremendous. And it’s still great despite the fact that Obama and Zuckerberg like it. Glad I read it before learning they were fans or I might have skipped it.

        It probably is the best scifi I’ve read since Iain Banks “Culture” novels and Reynolds “Revelation Space” series, all of which were brilliant. I think the huge book deal Reynolds signed after those novels didn’t help his writing though as much of his recent stuff hasn’t been nearly as good.

        And Netflix recently picked up “The Wandering Earth” which is a Chinese blockbuster based on one Liu’s novellas. I watched it the other day and it’s pretty bad – mainly just lots of CGI explosions and what little plot there was is so scientifically unrealistic as to be laughable. I’m guessing the novella is a lot better.

        1. Jeotsu

          I recently read “The three body problem”. I loved the first 80%, loathed the last bit of the book where the “reveals” happened.

          My primary problem (while avoiding spoilers) is that the book felt like some fo the “hard science” of the 70s-80s-90s where the author had a strong math-physics-engineering background, but little or no knowledge of biology/sociology/anything-not-defined-by-differential-equations. And it showed.

          The Trisolarians are neat. But they don’t work/don’t make sense. Just with their baseline biology has big holes, an example: reproductive rate is woefully inadequate to compensate for environmental and socio-political casualties. And despite the huge differences of environment/biology/etc the Trisolarians (in the first book at least) act just. like. humans. It broke my suspension of disbelief.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            My question is if there are fictions currently that are about a post-science future, where the Scientific Method has been replaced with something else that is even more useful but is not scientific…something beyond scientific.

            Those fictions would not be called science fictions.

          2. lyman alpha blob

            I don’t disagree with your interpretation as it’s the case with a lot of hard scifi. I did think Liu created a good character with the detective Shi Qiang though. But I will definitely not recommend Greg Egan to you! ;) His scifi novels read like a math/physics lecture with a (sometimes very) little story to dress it up.

            As to the Trisolarians being too much like people, despite Liu claiming in the New Yorker article that this was just a story and not meant to be political, I think that was sort of the point. It’s an allusion to the Chinese (humans) holding out against the technologically advanced West (Trisolarians). I also liked the history lesson of the Cultural Revolution in the first part of the book, or at least it was a lesson for me – the world history taught in US high schools often stops at about WWII.

            If you can stomach the hard scifi though, you may want to give the other two a try. There are some really cool ideas in there regarding non-3D space and the story is pretty good too.

    2. Jessica

      There is a big spoiler near the end of the article too.
      I would agree with the article that the characters in Liu’s books are not so fleshed out.
      For sci-fi with characters that engage, I highly recommend Becky Chambers. In particular, her Closed and Common Orbit is Blade Runner from the perspective of the replicants and written by someone like Sarah Smarsh.

  14. Brindle

    Biden’s African American support likely to suffer—how much remains to be seen. He won’t call James Eastland a racist, which he truly was but uses “segregationist” a less charged word. I see Booker and Harris as the main beneficiaries of Biden’s tone deafness. Booker does well in this CNN piece from last night:

    1. JohnnyGL

      Good comment, my only bone to pick is that I don’t think Booker/Harris will necessarily get much upside. But, still, at least they’re showing the courage to hit Biden on this. So, full credit to them. It will probably knock Biden down a bit over time. Eventually, Biden’s going to hit a tipping point where he starts falling harder.

      Biden’s a complete dumpster fire….it’s becoming hilarious to see how bad he is.

    2. Dita

      It’s reflective of the Democrats’ condescension to a significant part of its base that the party would float a clown like Biden. From what I gather within my own social orbit, the dems may be in for yet another surprise from the base — in this case African Americans — they take for granted. Yet I don’t see much advantage for either Booker or Harris – they’re looking to Sanders.

      1. voteforno6

        I have to wonder…what would be the reaction from the Democratic Party gatekeepers if Bernie had said any of the things that Biden has…I’m sure Nancy Pelosi and Jim Clyburn would be defending him, just like they’re defending Joe Biden, right?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Uh…the Bernie Bros…we know exactly what they would do, but the old Clinton attack strategy is to accuse your opponent of what you are already doing.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Onion Joe Biden and his status as adjacent but not part of major media markets gave Biden an opportunity to simply be a named but simultaneously “generic Democrat.” Between being Obama’s BFF and this status, Biden just seemed like an innocuous “tax and spend” Democrat. The revelation Biden is vile supporter of segregationist politicians and for every terrible policy of the last 50 years is startling.

        Also, I suspect one of his campaign team is the one who is claiming they have been trying to educate Biden after his “gaffes.” I have no doubt no one cared prior to back lash.

        Hillary and even Joe sought to create a narrative that Sanders wasn’t that different from the Centrists except “centrist got things done” (an additional lie, but then again, can you really be a centrist without being intellectually dishonest at all times?) because they know the biggest threat to their electoral prospects is Democratic voters (not necessarily the committee types; they are rulers of molehills) recognizing they are NOT opponents of the GOP agenda.

    1. Watt4Bob

      It’s a matter of audience.

      The links you provide are for service members.

      Wilkerson’s article is for the rest of us.

      1. anonymous

        great point!

        and to general american and world audiences, christianity is nothing but a patsy for the mic and the blob

  15. Wukchumni

    Marine Colonel Dom D. Ford, writing in the Marine Times, is grasping at straws to explain the rising rates, from claiming there is too little Christian religion in the ranks to the Marines not being willing to accept counsel and advice. As for the too little Christianity in the ranks, as an advisory board member of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, I know the opposite is true: there is too much Dominionist Christianity in the ranks.

    That dogma won’t hunt.

    Our military is so full of righteous evangs, convinced their cause is just, when in reality, morale is breaking down from within, not without religion.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Always looks weird when you see film clips of American soldiers huddled together into a prayer circle just before going out on a mission. If you were an atheist, could you count on them to have your back? I heard of one atheist soldier that was verbally attacked by his NCO in Iraq during the occupation who told him that he was worse than the terrorists that they were fighting as at least they believed in a religion.

      1. Wukchumni

        There are no atheists in Fox holes on tv.

        The gist of what’s what, is we needed a bulwark against the godless commies, and almost out of central casting, Billy Graham shows up in the late 40’s, and the die was cast, the embracing of ultra right religious types.

        It used to be courting an opinion that religion is so much hogwash was not something you uttered in these United States, but it’s changing, as evidenced by so many not having any interest in organized mythology as of late.

        1. Jessica

          “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power” claims that Graham was part of a deliberate project.
          Although less of the educated population in the US is religious, it is not to difficult to picture the sense in the heartland of being a different country from the coasts coalescing around an ethnic-like Christian identity.

        2. dearieme

          It’s pretty easy to believe both that religion is hogwash and that the commies were evil, murderous swine who needed stopping

          1. pretzelattack

            it’s pretty easy to believe the u.s. government are now the evil murderous swine that needs stopping, not to mention various poodles trailing along after in its path of devastation.

  16. diptherio

    Maybe the quantum computing people, the fusion people, and the string theory people should all get together and raise some start-up money.

    Great idea! And they could do the whole thing “on the blockchain”!

  17. JohnnyGL

    For those who need a laugh….but with a serious underlying point. Warning, she gets raunchy.

    Ms. Pat is giving a genuine lens on what it takes for well-meaning, motivated black Americans to make it out of the ghetto to navigate and survive in a white, wealthy suburban environment.

    Look at what it takes to keep the kids away from drugs….recreational, and from school administrators/counselors. — full interview here.

    Also note, she has a rental property with black people who struggle to make rent. So, note how the black middle class gets built on black poverty.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Just finished full podcast….wow…what a story….both painful and hilarious….at the same time!!!

      I’m calling it a must-watch!

  18. Stromcrow

    Inching Toward War, again

    Joe Cirincione believes a new war in the Middle East is imminent.

    Not much of an antiwar movement on the horizon. But at least there’s this: People’s Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine

    (Apologies if these have already been posted.)

  19. JEHR

    Re: The Irvings, Canada’s robber barons

    The story of New Brunswick’s entire existence; and now, maybe, Maine’s existence. A place never gets rid of its “royal blood”–they just keep going on and going on and going on . . . .

  20. Susan the other`

    Spectrum. The Case Against Quantum Computing. Interesting and almost a relief to know it is so mind boggling even for the physicists. They caution with various disclaimers against thinking that a quantum computer is possible. Because of the unimaginably huge numbers of variables. It was Feynman who wanted computers to operate in the quantum mode (continuous variables, no precision) because nature “isn’t classical.” But to create a quantum computer is an infinite project because the quantum world is infinite – containing a “set of continuous parameters… larger than all the subatomic particles in the universe.” OK then. Assume a can opener.

    1. Synoia

      because nature “isn’t classical.

      Our perception of nature is classical.
      Accounting is precise and exacting, our computers do much accounting.
      As is engineering (It does or does not fail).

      Bit like the Norwegian Blue sketch: He’s not dead he’s sleeping. In the quantum world is it both?

    2. polecat

      So they would operate just fine, within the Multiverse … just not of this particular Earth .. am I right ??

      1. Susan the other`

        Well not sure I understand anything. My husband (the old EE) says we humans are actually quantum computers. I like that insight. We cannot get outside to observe although observing quantum phenomena seems to confuse us because we want classical/digital information. So maybe Feynman was not quite right when he requested a quantum computer to analyze the quantum world. We are the quantum world. As Freeman Dyson says – we shouldn’t get too worried over the apparent disconnect between quantum and classical. One day we will find a satisfactory connection. Because the universe is us. ;-)

  21. Tomonthebeach

    British Airways parent company delivers a massive vote of confidence in the Boeing 737 MAX but hours later Airbus racks up more orders over stricken Boeing at Paris Air Show Seattle Times

    Maybe this is payback for Brexiting?

  22. djrichard

    Budget Talks Stall as Democrats Seek More Government Spending Bloomberg

    Republicans are demanding more money for defense, and Democrats want to match that with other government spending. Such a deal would raise budget caps, which under current law would trigger a $126 billion automatic budget cut at the end of 2019.

    Seems Trump would want to use this opportunity to increase infrastructure spending. To build up some political capital before the 2020 election. But last I remember, any movement in getting agreement on that was stalemated by Trump and Pelosi’s lack of love for each other.

    Separately have to laugh at where the divergence is coming from

    Democrats adjusted their request because of internal calculations about resources needed for programs that were already authorized, according to a person familiar with the meeting. A Democratic aide attributed the discrepancy to funds for the census and tax enforcement.

    Once again, Democratic Party is fastidious in keeping themselves inside a box.

  23. thump

    I doubt Mr. Chester’s cartoon for the celebration of Juneteenth would be appreciated at Google, with its exultation in freedom resulting from the breaking chain of Google.

  24. anarcheopteryx

    “The Irvings, Canada’s robber barons”

    I can only laugh at this crossing my screen. I went to high school with the Irving kids (third generation). Even other Canadians don’t really *believe* me when I tell them what things are like in our little province-come-kingdom. It is not even a remotely paranoid or extreme statement to say they run *everything* and everyone knows it. I could go on and on, but I won’t, the article covers all the important points. Just know that it’s all true and New Brunswick is still nominally a democratic part of Canada.

    I really just try to hope that everywhere in the world won’t end up like that in my lifetime. :) That reminds me, I should throw some cash in the nc tip jar later…

    1. djrichard

      Thanks to your comment, I was motivated to read the article. And boy was that an eye opener.

      But I have to wonder, how are the serfs treated up there? Are they treated worse than the serfs in the US? Maybe that’s not a fair question to ask if standard of living guaranteed by the Fed Gov of Canada is better than the standard of living guaranteed by the Fed Gov of the US. But then, who’s making sure the Fed Gov of the US is less responsive that way …

      1. anarcheopteryx

        I assume it is comparable to what the Americans call “fly-over states” but with mediocre to poor publicly funded health care. For example, abortions are neither legal or illegal in Canada, it’s considered a private health matter. But *access* to abortion services as funded by the province is another thing entirely. I assume our social programs are still better than most states (as in USA, health care, education, and EI are largely local operations rather than federal), but New Brunswick is still one of the “have-not” provinces relying on federal financial transfers from the “haves” (who are increasingly resentful of it) to maintain those programs. With a very rural, aging population, some of the worst unemployment rates in the country, deteriorating social services, AND a neutered political structure it’s a pretty bleak place to live.

        Having a depressed population makes it all the easier to set yourself up as ruling Lord when you have control over all natural resources and most people’s jobs, but it’s also nice to be able to say “Consider yourself lucky you don’t have it as bad as those Americans!”.

  25. James

    Woman to universe: Boy, a hot dog on a stick would really hit the spot right about now!

    Universe to woman: Your wish is my command, my lady.

  26. Susan the other`

    Just a quick comment on “Your Cat’s Attitude” may be inherited – Smithsonian. This is as interesting as the recent info on the quick adaptation of the Tasmanian Devils to their face cancers. All they need to adapt is two litters a year. If the cancer takes the mother before she can breed a second litter she cannot pass on her adaptations. And they have survived. Amazingly rapid recovery. One for the research labs. And this info on cat behavior is much the same thing. Behavior is adaptive and is governed by the survival instinct. Duh. The urge to breed is something that the church lady should never tsk tsk at. Religion stopped telling us to go out and multiply with abandon – but hey, We know better. We have come to think sex is all just… well sex. But it is a far deeper instinct. And for a good reason. But back to cat behavior: their traits are epi-genetic. They are passed on and they become breeds with different characteristics. One of the domestic varieties studied by this research was the Maine Coon Cat, a Nordic variety. A big, beautiful cat that looks too big to be domestic but is quite congenial and gets along with us well. DNA analysis could tell what genetics are involved. All of the domestic cats were at some time in the past “wild”. So behavior is survival is genetics, somewhat in that order. Just last night I heard a blurb on the BBC about a new species of cat found on the Island of Corsica. They are calling it the Fox Cat. (implying it is a dog-cat??). It has a ring tail, like a raccoon, probably. I’m thinking it is another variety of raccoon/cat like the Coon Cat. After all, raccoons are pretty friendly, smart, adaptable creatures. I’m sure they have an open sexual culture. ;-).

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