Links 6/9/19

Toxic PFAS Chemicals Found in Maine Farms Fertilized with Sewage Sludge The Intercept. I was saying just the other day that stuff was nasty.

Turns out there’s more plastic pollution in the deep ocean than the Great Pacific Garbage Patch USA Today

Quiet U.S. Fire Season May Get Active Later This Year Weather Underground

California Reckons With the Cost of Wildfires to Come NYT

A Strange Blight LRB

U.S. Economy Celebrates 10 Years of Growth, But No One’s Partying Bloomberg


U.S. Ambassador to Israel: Israel has right to annex part of West Bank Jerusalem Post

Under Trump arms deal, high-tech U.S. bombs to be built in Saudi Arabia NBC

The seasons after the Arab Spring Le Monde Diplomatique


UK’s Boris Johnson says would withhold Brexit bill as PM France24

Everything you think you know about Leavers and Remainers is wrong New Statesman

Michael Gove admits to taking cocaine on ‘several occasions’ Guardian


Is It Too Late to Stop a New Cold War With China? NYT

China and the US are too intertwined to keep up the trade war FT

U.S. 7th Fleet Cruiser Ignores Rules At Sea – Nearly Collides With Russian Destroyer Moon of Alabama

Years of Warnings, Then Death and Disaster: How the Navy Failed Its Sailors Pro Publica. On the Seventh Fleet; re-upping this from Links, February 10, 2019.


India Readies for Delicate Trade Talks with US, as Shadow of Section 301 Probe Looms The Wire

India heatwave kills ‘dozens’ of people as temperatures hit 50C Independent

The Burning Sun scandal that torched South Korea’s elites The Interpreter

Why We Rushed to Believe Kim Executed His Own Officials The American Conservative

Korea’s Nine Years of Darkness: Part VI – The Candlelight Ask a Korean


U.S. failed in its policy against Venezuela: senior gov’t official Xinhua

Venezuela: Pompeo Exposes Frustration Over Opposition Divisions as China, Russia Call for Non-Interference Venezuelanalysis

Venezuela crisis: Border with Colombia reopens after four months BBC

New Cold War

Global Peace: Why a Major War Is Impossible in Modern International Relations Valdai Discussion Club

Is Russia Waking Up? The Nation

Trump Transition

Mexico crisis shows the limits of Trump’s brinksmanship Politico

Mexico Agreed to Take Border Actions Months Before Trump Announced Tariff Deal NYT

Ex-WTO chief Pascal Lamy calls Donald Trump’s migration deal with Mexico a win for ‘hostage taking’ South China Morning Post

FTC went to Silicon Valley to solicit antitrust complaints Politico

Three ways that Big Tech could be broken up FT

YouTube is deleting videos on Nazi history as part of its hate speech crackdown MIT Technology Review

Many Turn to YouTube for Children’s Content, News, How-To Lessons Pew Research Center. From 2018, still germane.


Joe Biden Had A Very Bad Week HuffPo. Biden not doing so well in the invisible primary.

Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing turns to high-powered defense attorneys in 737 MAX investigation Seattle Times

FAA’s Boeing-Biased Officials: Recuse Yourselves or Resign Ralph Nader, Common Dreams

Vanguard raises ‘concerns’ with Boeing leaders over 737 FT. Boeing’s largest shareholder.

Some airlines want Boeing’s new ‘797′ to fly with just one pilot on board CNBC. What could go wrong?

The Corporate Debt Stories Show People Still Don’t Understand the Great Recession Dean Baker, CEPR

Class Warfare

Reining in CEO compensation and curbing the rise of inequality Economic Policy Institute

College admissions scandal shows ‘sacrifice matters less than money,’ prosecutors say Los Angeles Times

What 10,000 Steps Will Really Get You The Atlantic

‘Cultural Marxism’: The Mainstreaming of a Nazi Trope FAIR

The Underground Art of Prison Tattoos The Marshall Project

Arnaud Dubus – death of a foreign correspondent MediaPart (DK).

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by .

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. Quentin

    I remember once, maybe some time ago as my aged memory telescopes its content into oblivion, the BBC would chatter on and on about ‘the billions sloshing around in the world with nowhere to go!’ Remember the BBC is the state subsidised broadcaster of the United Kingdom. Everyday we’re repeatedly treated to this howling about the suffering rich and their unattained aspirations of endlessly more wealth from the Bezos/Musk crowd down to the Obamas, Clintons, Pelosi and the rest of the deceitful Democratic heavily moneyed top echelons. The account of Arnaud Dubus’s decline and suicide is more about what is going on today around the world where anyone without ‘independent means’ finds it harder and harder to get by financially and, by extension, emotionally. Where has he been mentioned in the media? Instead we get wall-to-wall blathering about the Queen (whatever kind of being that might be) and the Trump spawn putting their grubby, greasy hands on whatever they can touch. In fact the Trump kids crashed the party, exemplified by Ivanka and Jared’s cheekily tentative exposure of themselves at an open front window in the Queen’s house. Who is this so-called Queen anyway, what has she ever done to get what she has taken for granted her whole life?

    1. Oh

      A major part of America is obscessed with the Queen because they are in awe of the symbol of the super rich and powerful. No wonder they fall for these phony politician elites who keep rubbing elbows with the rich And they worship Obama, the Clintons, Bezos, Musk et al. They buy into the American Dream as a consequence never realizing that there is no pathway for them to realize riches. Any Teevee program that portrays any royalty is lapped up by these people.

      1. vlade

        The Queen’s not powerful, and not even that rich anymore (there’s a few hundred people in the UK alone richer than her).

        What she is though is a symbol in more than one way, and this is not something a celebrity status or money can buy you.

        As to what she did to have “what she has taken for granted”. She actually does have a job. Which is to represent the UK. And, over her life, that meant talking to whichever nasty person the PM of the day wanted to impress and look and behave nicely. All the while dumpster press is watching her and her family’s every move.

        You think FB is bad for privacy? She and her family has almost none, not by her choice, unlike some – so it’s not just when you’re X, it’s from birth to death. And, while you can say a lot of things of her, few people dispute she had got a deep sense of duty towards the UK, unlike a lot of the pols we see around.

        There are celebrities that make more money for less (Kardashians, anyone?).

  2. dearieme

    U.S. Ambassador to Israel: Israel has right to annex part of West Bank

    I try not to read anything about Israel/Palestine. I can’t tell what, if anything, is true. Anyway it might encourage me to take sides, which would be futile.

    1. shtove

      Isn’t that a tiny bit antisemitic? I can’t tell anymore.

      I’m going to regret this, aren’t I?

    2. Plenue

      Um…what? Palestine isn’t a complicated issue, nor is truth about it hard to find. Israel is a colonly, the Palestinians the colonized. End of story.

    3. Ander Pierce

      That’s like not reading anything about the colonization of North America because it “might encourage you to take sides, which is futile”. The struggle for justice and dignity for Palestinians is not over, there are numerous enthralling Palestinian (and Israeli) authors who provide historical context on the conflict, as well as numerous documentaries.

      I highly recommend:

      anything by Edward Said
      Tom Segev’s The First Israelis
      the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish

      5 Broken Cameras
      After the Last Sky, the video documentary of Operation Cast Lead, posted on youtube

      and any coverage of the March of Return, and the massive casualties suffered by Palestinian civilians at the hands of Israeli snipers using live fire.


  3. dearieme

    U.S. 7th Fleet Cruiser Ignores Rules At Sea – Nearly Collides With Russian Destroyer

    Was it deliberate provocation or the now customary lousy seamanship from the US vessel?

    1. Svante

      Thank goodness our forces aren’t on a hair trigger, like back during the Cold War; none of our allies have any conflicting agendas & our military’s run by Congress

  4. larry

    Tory leadership contest: A scathing inquisition of some of the contenders for PM is provided by North in his blog post today — Brexit: on the brink of madness. He quotes Matthew Parris’s column from yesterday, Johnson premiership will fall apart in a year. According to Parris about Johnson,

    “That he’s a habitual liar, a cheat, a conspirator with a criminal pal to have an offending journalist’s ribs broken, a cruel betrayer of the women he seduces, a politician who connived in a bid for a court order to suppress mention of a daughter he fathered, a do-nothing mayor of London and the worst foreign secretary in living memory… such truths are apparently already “priced in” to Mr Johnson. One just hopes the actual electorate are informed that his rascality is already “priced in” and they’re not to bother their little heads with such horrors.”

    North does not disagree with this assessment. And he thinks similarly of most of the other contenders.

    1. Clive

      All true. But Theresa May was tried out on the basis that a May premiership would go for the compromise option, try to find a middle ground and generally behave nicely to everyone as far as possible while attempting to not really alienate anyone.

      We know how that movie ended. May was a useless politician but it is hard to see how any middle-way’er would have fared any better. Go for any softer Brexit (as May attempted to tack towards at the end) and the hard Brexit’ers maul you. And no softer Brexit will ever satisfy Remain’ers who will settle for nothing less than Remain.

      Labour, the Liberal Democrats and/or the SNP could have backed May’s Deal (which, let’s not forget, is also an EU-approved Deal). Instead, they played double-or-quits and turned it into a high-stakes game of No Deal or No Brexit (which even May, bless her cotton socks, spotted were the only available options once you sufficiently toxify the Deal so as to render it impossible to pass).

      As it is, few Conservatives see any downside than to try a bit of brinksmanship with the EU. If you’re minded to do that, you want the EU to wonder if they’re dealing with someone who might just be crazy enough to go through with it. Another in the May school of thought leader like Hunt or Gove isn’t going to cut it.

      It’s no use metropolitan access journalism liberals like Matthew Parris complaining about how wretched the politics — and thereby politicians — have become when they’ve played their part in the wretchedisation of it. Carping on about the lack of compromises and compromise candidates is pretty hollow when one’s ideas of compromise are “why won’t people stop what they’re doing and do what I think they should do”.

      1. larry

        Clive, I know Parris is whinging. I don’t care, if what he is whinging about is true and he presents his complaints in a palatable way. I am neither a fan of Parris nor the Times, but a lot of people read the paper and they should be made aware of the circumstances surrounding Johnson if they are not so already. Johnson is the worst of a bad lot, although I would make an exception of Rory Stewart, though as John Crace has pointed out, Stewart is the favorite of those who won’t be voting Tory.

      2. Synoia

        There is no solution to Brexit, with the exception of Bremain.

        I do notice that the instigator-in-chief, Ferage and the looters behind him, are nowhere to be see when it comes to the difficult details.

        May could have tried a Coalition Government, but I expect the hard right of the whipping and punishing party would have thrown a spanner in the works.

        The conservatives did try the US approach of throwing a wench is the works, but as expected it failed due to the lack of a male guiding hand (in evrybody else’s pocket) /s

        1. Clive

          “There is no solution to Brexit, with the exception of Bremain.”

          It’s obviously not just the likes of Farage who are nowhere to be seen when it comes to the difficult details. Sadly, it’s not likely to be a case of the Leave voting electorate donning the ruby slippers, clicking its heels together three times, then we all end up safely back in Kansas, sorry, Remain-land again. If Remain is indeed an inescapable conclusion, the country has exhibited a Houdini-like ability to escape it and continue to be escaping it.

          You have to explain how you will persuade people. Given that three years have passed already since the referendum, if you’re suggesting there is going to be some sea-change in popular opinion, what, exactly, are you going to throw at that task which hasn’t already been thrown at it up until now?

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Why cant Britains Working Class unite, Nationalize those Industries most a(?)ffected by Brexit, and renegotiate with the EU on behalf of aforementioned Working Class?

      3. flora

        an aside: Politicians are followers, not leaders of whatever is going in the country at the moment.
        Watching the big bankers (in US and UK) nearly destroy the world economy 10 years ago and suffer no personal loss – in fact they kept their jobs and got bonuses! – politicians might think: ‘Going double-or-nothing on a failed policy is a great idea. I won’t suffer any bad consequences.’
        My 2 cents.

      4. vlade

        Well, but she didn’t really evey try, did she? Lancaster House speach was even before the disastrous GE, and the A50 invocation fight before that showed what she thought about building consensus (and how bad politician she was). So she closed pretty much all options except for what was then known as hard-brexit (how perceptions change..) very early on.

        There’s no way LD or SNP would ever back her deal (SNP especially. They win either way, as long as they don’t back the deal).

        Labour could have, but again, they were playing games (SNP ones’ I can at least understand, Labour can’t). I suspect they believed the Tories will pass the Brexit and Labour will get the benefits of the disruptions. Didn’t entirely play that way, did it?

  5. Lupemax

    Arnaud Dubus. I was overwhelmed with sadness at reading this. Another very important corner of the massive oppression (and ultimately the destruction) of real journalism that is galloping right along. Even France Is now taking away social security and health care benefits from foreign correspondents. Because scholarship and truth don’t matter anymore – it doesn’t bring in the money.

    1. Jesper

      At a guess then I believe that the taking away of benefits is related to ridiculously high standards of purity. One abuse and the benefits are reduced for all. If similar standards were to be applied to the ones deciding on the cuts then members of parliament and senior officials would be without benefits since decades. Collective punishment, punishing the collective for the misdeeds of individuals, is somehow allowed when it comes to cuts in the social security.

      It is rare that creativity, individuality and office-politics works well together. People like Arnaud Dubus might be able to create something unique, the people who are in position where creativity and unique perspective are needed are often masters of office-politics and at best they might be mediocre at the rest. At least that is my impression of what I read by them – safe and middle of the road, publish or die and often a waste of time.

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link. I enjoyed the article. The first image of a preserved tatt showed the grim reaper and set off a train of slightly incoherent musings thus:

      Before WWII, children were aware of death as a constant possibility, not morbidly but as an inevitable part of life. No magic thinking. The ancient nursery rhyme ‘ring around the rosie’ is about the plague, after all. This childhood awareness was true at least until the 1920’s and 30’s, before antibiotics and vaccinations made so many childhood diseases avoidable or curable. Grade school children’s schoolmates ‘autograph books’ (FB isn’t new, it’s old school made digital) contained, in addition to humorous or silly or mocking rhymes written by little classmates several bits like this:

      Remember me,
      When this you see,
      Though in the world I may not be.
      But if the grave shall be my bed
      Remember me when I am dead.

      This or something like it is what 8 and 10-year-olds might write in each others autograph books along with silly rhymes.

      But after penicillin and the salk vaccine, the imagery of death vanished from children’s lives as a constant presence. Well, this is a very good thing, with one exception, imo.

      Removing the awareness of death as an unavoidable limit removed the childhood awareness of the most basic personal limit, imo. (Some Silicon Valley billionaires really believe they can outwit death forever. Good luck with that.) This next bit is hard to explain without sounding like I wish the old days back – I do not.

      Removing the awareness of inevitable final limits for each may have led to the idea that ‘right living’ would mean infinite personal time, physical permanence, and always time for a do-over. (How else explain the Clintons’ or Blair’s refusal to leave the scene when their time is clearly over? ) If one has infinite time there’s no need to think about what sort of world one will leave behind. One will never leave! Much folly ensues.

  6. Off The Street

    Cultural Marxism isn’t a term that the average person hears or likely cares much about, and seems like a concept more at home on the university campus and in occasional Op-Ed columns. The all-politics-is-local aspect comes in when parents are told that their daughter will have to share a bathroom with someone of what used to be thought of as the other sex. That sort of thing leads to home-schooling and is a different type of long march through institutions.

    1. diptherio

      Jordan Peterson uses the phrase all the time. He also has some…uh…unfortunate opinions about IQ and race. A lot of young men are being drawn in by his “stand up straight and take responsibility for yourself” message of self-empowerment and end up imbibing all the crypto-fascist BS along with it. It’s not something to ignore, and it’s sadly not-at-all fringe.

      1. nothing but the truth

        “we” cannot silence every opinion we find unfortunate. That is seen as intellectual bullying, and comes back to haunt.

        The elections in india (the largest free electorate in the world) are a warning to the SJW fringe.

      2. Plenue

        Peterson is a complete charlatan. During the debate with Zizek, after being directly challenged to name even a single ‘post-modern neo-Marxist’ (he couldn’t, by the way), Peterson then actually spelled put a primary criticism of the incoherence of the whole idea: that post-modernism rejects metanarratives. He then breezes past this key point, to claim ‘cultural Marxists’ are pushing a metanarrative. The man is an effing moron.

        1. Geof

          You are jumping to conclusions. The term I’ve seen Peterson use is “postmodern neo-Marxism.” I thought this was extraordinarily ignorant of him. The term itself is inherently idiotic: Marx is all about a universal grand narrative; if postmodernism is about anything at all, it’s against grand narratives. Then I encountered a video of Peterson say exactly that: the reason he uses the term is to highlight what he sees as incoherence among those he disagrees with.

          It’s the height of arrogance and foolishness to assume the stupidity of one’s opponents. I think that applies to both Peterson (with his aggressive ignorance about Marxism) and his critics (for assuming he’s a fool). Just because he disagrees with you doesn’t mean he’s a moron. If you think it does, there’s a good chance you do not understand what he’s saying. (And, again, vice versa.)

          As to postmodernism, there’s no consistent, widely-accepted defintition: there isn’t even agreement whether post-modernism is a kind of moderinism, or something that comes after it. Studying with Marxist professors, I was asked on a number of occasions what postmodernism was. I always said I didn’t know; it didn’t seem to be a coherent doctrine. My professors always nodded and said, “good answer.” Some people on opposite sides in this debate probably have more in common than they think.

          1. Plenue

            He can’t even name the people he supposedly disagrees with. Because they don’t exist; he’s made them up.

      3. Jonathan Holland Becnel


        Theres a Reddit Civil War between The Jordan Peterson Side Vs The Slavoj Zizek Side.

        Our Tech elites are good at coralling the young sheep awakening online.

        The sooner we break up Centralized Control of Social Media, the better. A good first idea would be to ban Ads.

    2. Cal2

      “a failure by communists to topple capitalism through worker revolt has led to a “Plan B” to destroy Western society from the inside. By tearing down the gender binary, de-centering Christianity values, championing the weak over the privileged and creating a multicultural society, revolutionaries have unanchored traditional Western order. Everything from gay rights to Muslim immigration is, in the language of the far right, part of a plot to finish the job that radical worker organizing could not.”

      Is the author a crypto-Nazi? He has done more to promote the concept of cultural Marxism in this article among an audience, who probably never has heard of it distilled so succinctly, than any right wing ideologue.

      I’m sure after reading this, David Brook’s son, who serves(d) in the Israeli Defense Forces is busy repudiating his Nazi father, and, the Israeli government is reconsidering their praise of Neo-Nazi Trump by naming a town for him in the Occupied Golan Heights. :-)

      A vivid example that demonstrates the success of the institutions the author defends from slander is San Francisco. For over 40 years it’s city government, civil service, public schools and the exuberant and diverse street life have demonstrated the values he espouses, through political policy, promoting tolerance and changing demographics, attracting the best and the brightest of the nation and the world.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. 7th Fleet Cruiser Ignores Rules At Sea – Nearly Collides With Russian Destroyer”

    From: Chief of Russian Naval Staff
    To: All Ship Commanders in the Pacific Region.
    Date: 5 June 2019
    CC: Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong, Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy

    Estimate of the Situation: In light of the collisions of the USS John S. McCain and the USS Fitzgerald along with the grounding of the USS Antietam, it is now obvious that this is no longer the 7th Fleet of the 20th century. You are therefore directed to obey the following Standard Orders-

    1- Upon detection, any US Navy ship within one hour’s sail to be closely watched on radar.
    2- If the US Navy ship approaches, watch-keepers are to be doubled in number.
    3- If any US Navy ship approaches even closer, launch a helicopter/drone to closely observe the movements of that ship.
    4- If there are any civilian container ships or oil tankers in the area, make preparations to render assistance.
    5- Look, we aren’t kidding. Just keep clear of them. Run if you have to. Don’t make their problems even harder. We don’t need the bad publicity.

    1. Oregoncharles

      LOL – really. Perfect buildup.

      Makes me suspect something like this really went out.

    2. ChrisPacific

      The picture in the MoA article and the original CNN story is pretty unambiguous. Everyone who has spent any time on the water, either professionally or for recreation, knows the port/starboard rule.

    1. ewmayer

      I’m picturing dotard creepy uncle Joe going to Iowa and holding a campaign rally where he panders to the locals about “the miracle of ethanol from corn”. After giving his speech Joe presses the flesh and kisses the babies, then sidles up to a tall leggy blonde and says “heya, toots, you look beautiful, can I smell your hair?”, only for his horrified advisors to pull him away from that stalk of corn he’d been groping. “But her tresses were so wonderfully silky!” bawls Joe as he is dragged away to the campaign bus.

      1. Oregoncharles

        OK, I get it. Corn really does smell good when it blooms, you know. But the tassels don’t look much like hair.

    2. flora

      Joe Biden will probably lose Iowa,

      So… the Wall St. financial/ insurance center in DesMoines/Polk County isn’t the whole of Iowa? Who knew? …

  8. Craig H.

    > FAA’s Boeing-Biased Officials: Recuse Yourselves or Resign Ralph Nader

    This story is strangely presented; you have to read all the way to the very last sentence to get to the most important claim.

    The Boeing 737 MAX must never be allowed to fly again, given the structural design defects built deeply into its system.

    That would be one of the biggest cash money penalties of any corporation screw-up ever. Man am I glad I won’t work for Boeing.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Some airlines want Boeing’s new ’797′ to fly with just one pilot on board”

    What could go wrong? Well, it’s not like the pilot is going to have a heart attack and die on you mid-flight. Well, except for that American Airlines pilot that died during a flight back in 2015. And that Saudi Arabian Airlines Airbus A321 pilot that died back in 2016. And that American Airlines 737-800 first officer who died back in 2017. So it only averages once a year – tops. Another possibility is that a pilot might get incapacitated through food poisoning, such as in eating fish that was off. But I’m sure that they have an Automatic Pilot for such occasions- (a bit risqué)

    1. Cal2

      If it’s a federal rule for the rest of us, then Air Force One can only have one pilot on board.

  10. Todde

    Prison tatoo guns: they are also made by young artist starting their careers.

    Only difference is the ink. Prison ink uses cigarette ashes and isnt good quality.

    Baddest tatoo i ever saw with a homemade gun was an angel descending from heaven with a shotgun and golden glowing eyes on the mans back on his shoulder blade. The detail in the wings was awesome, which is hard to do with a homemade, lines can be less fine and shading is harder to do.

  11. ex-PFC Chuck

    re: “Years of Warnings, Then Death and Disaster: How the Navy Failed Its Sailors” Pro Publica. On the Seventh Fleet
    I chalk this up to the inherent dysfunction of the Military Industrial Congressional Complex (MICC). There is no significant donor constituency for maintenance, training, etc., at least in comparison to the bells and whistles of new weapons contracts and add-ons to lucrative past “successful” ones. Success being measured by the flow of funds to defense contractors and thence a cut to Congress critters’ campaign committees, not by the performance of the actual weapons. (See F-35, Ford class aircraft carrier, etc.).

    1. Jesper

      Office politics at its worst, from the article:

      Mabus said the issues Davidson brought to him were motivated by careerism. Her priority was becoming the next secretary of the Navy, he said, and to make herself stand out, she purposely staked out positions that differed from his. Davidson denied this was her motivation.

      “I’m not sure she, regardless of what my agenda had been, she would have agreed with it,” he said.

      To be fair there might have been some careerism at play, however, once the issue has been raised then the options are:
      1. If you believe the issue is a bluff, call it
      2. If you believe the issue is real, then deal with the issue

      Also, I am amazed by the belief that the only thing expected to take time would be to build ships. Ignoring the time it takes to have a fully operational crew is something beyond the ignorance and arrogance of someone considering himself to be a mere mortal. Was it believed that navy ships are filled by impressment?

      1. crittermom

        I had missed this powerful article the first time around, so am glad it was linked to again.

        I found the truths exposed infuriating!
        If there was any careerism going on (and there was), Mabus, Moran, Swift, and others at the top were the ones guilty of that.
        THEY should be the ones held culpable in the deaths of those sailors. Not the crews nor officers of those ships who had been sounding alarms for years.

        Regarding #2 in your comment, over those years many tried to have the serious issues resolved.
        They were then ignored, silenced, or ‘retired’. They did their best to ‘deal with the issue’ but were thwarted at every turn by (family blog) self-serving idiots above them.

        The report from Balisle (someone they had brought out of retirement to assess the situation) about the dire conditions continued to be ignored. (my emphasis):
        “In an interview, Mabus, in fact, said he didn’t recall the Balisle report that had so worried his deputy.”
        “I’m sure I knew about it when it came out,” he said.”

        Unfreakinbelievable. These are the people in charge?!

        I had no idea our Navy was in such a sorry state, proving I had apparently completely overestimated any competence I thought those in charge of it possessed. (Not that I had total confidence in them prior)

        Absolutely infuriating…

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      From my own experience in the Army during AIT – ‘Job Training’ – private contractors knew more than me. Wed have these MORON SGTS (LOOKIN AT YOU, SSG WHITE) who failed us as instructors. For 5 weeks i got taught by a fn computer powerpoint! Barely touched a Soldering Gun eventheaux im Electrical Maintenance!


      Its time to empower ENLISTED troops by giving them control. If that means getting rid of Raytheon and General Dynamics, ALL THE BETTER.

      Time to seize the means the production again…

  12. Mark Gisleson

    Ilhan Omar is proving to be as interesting as I expected. If it wasn’t clear before, it’s painfully clear now that she wasn’t properly vetted. She signals virtue well, but any google image search will show a remarkable variety of designer hijabs and I’m almost certain her office is not keeping track of these “donations.” NC readers know the cost of fashion, and Omar (despite being a near-broke refugee) is very well dressed.

    Minneapolis activists used Omar to stick their thumb in the party’s eye. Not a bad idea, but a very liberal city is being underrepresented in Congress as a result. Or is it unfair to criticize a Muslim for not bringing home the bacon?

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        when the GOP attempted to but-i-thought-you-were-poor AOC it was gross, and it’s gross when Mark did it above.

        I too like her voting record and her willingness to speak truth to power/

    1. Tom Doak

      Those who do the vetting are determined to preserve the status quo all the way to the bottom. They are at least as dangerous to democracy as anyone who slips through their safety nets.

    2. JohnnyGL

      The campaign did commit violations, the report concludes, and Omar is ordered to reimburse her former campaign committee nearly $3,500, mostly for personal travel, and is fined $500. Omar says she will comply.

      The article doesn’t say what kind of monetary benefits, if any, she received from filing jointly with Hirsi when still married to Elmi. I presume if there were clear benefits, the writers would have stated the amounts.

      The above looks like pretty small-ball stuff. If I’m in MN, I’d yawn and move on.

  13. tegnost

    gold crowned kinglets…we have those on the island and when I’m walking around they’ll be doing their little birdy thing in the road and you can barely see them, and apparently they can’t see me because I walk right up to them, they have quite a social circle, travelling in bunches, and are tiny. Always been a favorite for me, tiny streaks of yellow jabbering away in birdese

    1. The Rev Kev

      Man, they are so tiny. I have seen similar tiny birds where we live and because of their size, you have to stop adn look at them to appreciate what you are seeing.

  14. Wombat

    Re: Sludge in Maine.
    Has anyone read Science for Sale by David Lewis (2014)?

    He spends two chapters on the bought-and-paid for science behind sludge application.

    One key word of the sludge proponents was “biological sequestration”- that all the lead and harmful materiel resident in sludge was somehow biologically trapped and couldn’t make it out of the mixture and become “biologically available”, thus couldn’t harm living organisms. These sludge companies went so far as to disperse this stuff in urban parks- especcially in poor areas. In a little bit of time- these poor kids in Baltimore developed all sorts of supersite-like, lead fueled illnesses. Horrible. The “Biological Sequestration” turned out to be complete Orwellian tripe, and the poor suffered.

    He also discusses how all the drugs we westerners routinely take (antidepressants, pain killers) remain in the sludge. The only reason this “black gold” keeps being applied is that like the other black gold, it is “gold” for the corporations buying the science and forcing this stuff down our throats.

    1. tegnost

      Back in my landscaping days in Seattle we once in a while were using a product called groco, which may still be available. I didn’t like it, smelled bad and I found foreign material including condoms in it. So who knows what else is in there.

      1. Wombat

        I looked it up – 95% sawdust, 5% “biosolids” (sludge). Then it says “Not recommended for vegetable gardens”. Also has the misleading… the high compost temperatures “essentially pasteurize” the mixture – hoh boy. You can’t make this stuff up.

        Interesting. Why not use 90% sawdust and 10% cow manure, or 80% sawdust and 20% compost- whatever it takes to get the right nitrogen-carbon ratio? Sorry you had to work with that stuff.

        They claim the product is “virtually” free from imported weeds, but I guess not from other items you encountered. I’m sure no weeds grew from the mixture, but did you ever witness little people sprout?

    2. Cal2

      Smart gardeners also avoid municipal compost from all the green cans put out on garbage day.

      One load of grass contaminated with weedkiller can wipe out the garden of everyone who uses this stuff, made from yard clippings, sprayed flowers, dog shit with drugs in it, etc.

      If municipalities expect gardeners to buy their compost to save on landfill costs, they will ban the local sale, and use of persistent weedkillers as part of the contract with garbage companies and residential customers. IOW,
      “If you want to use our green cans to dispose of your yard waste to save money on your garbage bill, you agree to not use, and to be financially liable for any damages caused by your use of said banned products.”

      “June 2012, employees at Green Mountain Compost in Williston, Vt., began fielding reports from gardeners about suspected herbicide damage following application of compost purchased at the facility. Initial tests of the compost revealed the presence of two herbicides — picloram and clopyralid — known to be persistent in compost. Green Mountain, which is now under the management of the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD), immediately suspended sale of its bagged and bulk compost and began seeking the source of the contamination. It also started making reparation arrangements with customers who had reported damage. Picloram and clopyralid are produced by Dow AgroSciences to control broadleaf weeds on turf grass, pastures and rangelands.”

    3. Mike Allen

      I work as an operator at a 14 mgd activated sludge plant in the NW. The main emphasis of our permit is the reduction of ammonia and dissolved oxygen into the recieving waters of the Columbia river. As with most things, the cleaner the water, the more $$$$. As of today, we haul 60,000 pounds a day of Class B sludge for field application. They are looking at ten years and several million dollars before we have a dryer in place to produce class A solids. The technology exists to pour wastewater in one end, and have drinking water come out the other. Perhaps another candidate for the GND.

      1. Wombat

        The book I cited, talks specifically about lead and industrial wastes that persist in these biosolids, despite paid science’s obfuscation. The Intercept article at the top of today’s links discusses “Forever” PFAS chemicals that are rampant as evidenced in Maine. Then of course you have all the persistent compounds found in medications. While your company’s efforts to remove ammonia and oxygen are laudable and may reduce harm to the watershed, the whole point is that despite “dryers”, “compost pasteurization”, the “biologically sequestered” hand wave, or “Class A” variants, the sludge will still have persistent chemicals and hard metals that must not be near our food, dwellings, or play areas. I don’t know where a “safe” place is to applicate this stuff. Maybe Amazon’s Seattle HQ?

  15. Oregoncharles

    “U.S. Economy Celebrates 10 Years of Growth, But No One’s Partying”

    I’ll wager some are, and they read Bloomberg, too. “No one’s partying” because it was ten years of looting.

    1. L-City Layabout

      If the people aren’t partying, then the economy must be celebrating itself. Automated self-lick, humans not required.

  16. marym

    ICE deported veterans while ‘unaware’ it was required to carefully screen them, report says

    Although U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is required to especially consider a veteran’s health, deployment record and other circumstances and must elevate decisions of veteran removal to senior officials, the agency often did not because it was “unaware of the policies,” the Government Accountability Office said in a Thursday report.

    ICE does not know precisely how many veterans it has deported, the report found…

  17. shinola

    I think the LA Times article about the college admissions scandal has a typo in the 1st sentence.

    “The college admissions scandal has shaken the country’s trust in higher education and corroborated a “national fear” that the process can be rigged to favor the rich…”

    I believe rather than “national fear” it should be “rational fear”.

  18. crittermom

    ~Sad news~
    Those hummingbird eggs, in photos I took that NC posted a few days ago, will now never hatch. :-(

    Something seems to have bumped the nest & flung the eggs out.
    I’m quite certain it was another tenants dog, which she allows to run loose in the narrow ‘green space’ between the two wings of this apt complex. (Amid the “No Pets” signs) *heavy sigh*

    Of course, she insists she never saw her dog near them.

    But of course not.
    She never saw her dog jump onto my window screen to startle my cats sitting in the window the week before (I informed her that had the screen been damaged, it would be coming out of HER deposit).

    Nor did she see her dog take a dump by my LR window the week before that.

    I found the two eggs.
    One was broken, the other about a foot away but still intact.
    I gently put it back into the nest, but I suspect the incident occurred the day before when her visiting grandson was throwing a ball for the dog. I very much doubted the egg would still be viable, and of course the mother has never returned, but nothing more I could do.

    I cussed before coming inside and having a good cry.

    I’m heartbroken and pi**ed beyond belief.
    My heart breaks for the mother hummingbird at the loss, and I remain livid at losing the opportunity to photograph them as they hatched and grew.

    Thankfully, I’m moving the end of the month back to Colorado. Welcome solitude.
    My actual shelter will be smaller and barren of even a kitchen or bath to start, but it will be a huge improvement for my sanity and emotional well being. I look forward to it.

    Back to packing…

      1. crittermom

        Thanks. I am.

        A recent infestation of bed bugs in an apt in the other wing (“worst the exterminators had ever seen”) is another indication that I need to leave! The first application didn’t seem to faze ’em, so another company is coming on Tuesday.
        I’m packing as fast as I can!

        The almost constant sirens (hospital one block away, police dept 2 blocks the other direction, fire dept a few blocks yet another direction), with Flight for Life frequently flying low overhead before landing at the nearby hospital, are sounds I’ve never been subjected to and will never grow accustomed to.

        Not liking neighbors so close, either.

        Yup. I’m outta here the end of the month. *big smile*

  19. ewmayer

    “Global Peace: Why a Major War Is Impossible in Modern International Relations | Valdai Discussion Club”

    “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau … I expect to see the stock market a good deal higher within a few months.” — Irving Fisher, 16 October 1929.

  20. rd

    Re: Class Warfare

    These studies are beyond annoying to me:

    I don’t think I have ever seen one where they analyzed the populations by high school grades and exam results, or even by SAT/ACT score. So where is the proof that college pays off instead of the social background, intelligence, and habits that allow someone one to get to college? If somebody scraped through HS and got their high school diploma they are the control group to compare to the college grads who were in the top 25% of their high school class. That top 25% would likely have done much better than that control group, even if they never went to college. Saying that the top 25% of a high school class did better economically than the middle half of that class because they graduated from a four-year university program is not proof that college pays off.

    There are a lot of people who have gone to college unnecessarily racking up significant debt in the process who are finding out that they don’t make much more money than their friend with similar grades in high school who did not go to college.

    I did see one study about 20 years ago that compared college students that were accepted to top tier universities (e.g. Harvard) and then looked at their lives a few years after graduation. It turned out that the ones that turned down the acceptance and went to Podunk State U did just as well as the students attended the elite school. Basically, the success was more inherent in the students’ characteristics than the universities. I don’t think they looked at the ones that didn’t go to university at all (which would probably have been a very small sample set).

  21. newcatty

    Crittermom, sorry about the fate of the hummingbird eggs. Glad for you that you are moving back to a haven in your former home state. Happy packing as you keep your eyes on the vision of welcomed peace.

    1. crittermom

      I not only welcome the peace, but outlets to sell my art, as well. That’s a biggie, and something lacking here.
      My goal remains that I make enough money to publish that first children’s book I’ve written.

      I’m seizing the opportunity to escape while I can, feeling excited and very positive about it.
      I won’t be in the mountains but they’ll be very close. That will work for now. :-)

  22. ambrit

    Something for the “Bus Accident” files. (Really, anybody’s accident files, since I suspect that what I am experiencing is the “New Normal” of American social living.)
    Yesterday, Saturday, I received my first medical bill related to the bus accident of two weeks ago. It was from some sort of ‘Doctors Collective Management Service’ and covered the Emergency Room doctor. This is separate from the hospital. The amount is $730.00. The due date is 6/28/2019. Non payment or partial payment under $50.00 sends the bill to “a collection agency.” The bill states that “..this is the only itemized statement of services you will receive.”
    A second page in the letter was a form letter indicating that the billing company knows that I was a non responsible person involved in an accident that was someone else’s fault. In a cunning bit of ‘forcing’ the letter states that I must write down the information about the insurance company of the other party involved in the accident and mail it to the billing company “..within five days of receipt..” of the bill. The very next sentence of the letter states that; “If we do not receive this information, we will be unable to seek payment from the person or company that caused the injuries, and you may be held responsible for payment.” A very neat bit of ‘hidden threat’ there. The only connection between the two sentences, the first setting a deadline for information transmission, and the second, threatening dire financial consequences for not getting such information, is purely and simply, associational. One sentence is physically next to the other. They are in no wise otherwise linked, as far as this letter goes. Lower down in this letter is a form for writing in, “The name of the person who caused the injury”, “The insurance company of the person who caused the injury,” and “The phone number of the Insurance Company.” All to be done within five days of receipt of the bill!
    My question here is, does anyone “out there” know if this is now standard practice in America? I had assumed, always a bad practice, I admit, that the billing company was responsible for gathering this information. Am I suffering some aftereffects of the Trauma of Modern Transport?
    Tomorrow I’m off to the Police Station to get a copy of the accident report. Then over to the bus company to find out how they are handling this. A massive exercise in ‘Information Asymmetry’ at work.

    1. human

      A similar anecdote: A son-in-law recently had a fender-bender where the local police became involved. Upon notifying his insurance company and receiving the paperwork to put this to rest, he was told that it was his responsibility to notify DMV directly of the accident. A form was supplied. I always thought that the police and DMV had a real-time relationship. I’ve asked to see a copy of the form.

      1. ambrit

        Yes, I too am wondering how much of this ‘outscourcing’ of the clerical function is legitimate, and how much is “disruptive innovation.” I suspect the latter, but cannot prove anything. If so, those “entrepreneurs” who have “built” our Brave New World have a lot to answer for. It almost makes me want to believe in an afterlife with a Judgement Day.

    2. crittermom

      “I had assumed… that the billing company was responsible for gathering this information.”

      Maybe in days gone by, but haven’t you noticed in more recent times the customer or victim is responsible for now doing the job of those who formerly got paid to do it? I suspect this is to increase profits. Gotta get the millions for the CEO’s somehow, right? Cut staff. Make those whom you don’t have to pay do the work. (Think self-checkouts)

      Thankfully, I’ve not been in an accident in many years, but you certainly have my sympathy for the pain you’ve suffered and the work now put upon you by the insurance industry.

      Payment under $50 sends you to a collection agency?
      They must have gotten wise to the fact in the past sending them a mere $5 was sufficient as proof you were making an attempt to pay, and keep collections off your back. Wow.

      I assume you’ll be providing that info with proof of delivery, so they can’t say you didn’t deliver in time?
      What a crock of sh*t!

      1. ambrit

        Yes, a nice hand thrown Niloak crock at that. (I felt soooooo dumb when someone pointed out that Niloak was ‘kaolin’ spelled backwards. I do like the striations in the body of the pieces though.)
        One of my neighbors, who had a similar accident at the exact same intersection a year ago, had the ‘discovery’ that $50.00 seems to be the new ‘handwave’ amount now. His long time girlfriend had an accident in her vehicle with an uninsured motorist. She had managed somehow to have “Uninsured Motorist” on her policy, and her insurance company fought her for two years about paying out to the terms of their own contract.
        So, the lesson for today is: “Always expect the worst, and be prepared for even more s–t.”
        Good, good, luck in the move.

        1. crittermom

          Having pondered it some more, I think threatening to turn you over to collections is standard practice and has been for a long time.
          I suspect that the collection agency is also ‘in house’.

          However, I don’t see why any collection agency would take the case since they could not make any money off it.
          They work on commission of what they collect. It’s already known (the attached letter you mentioned) that you were not at fault and if you comply with their absurd conditions of returning the information requested in 5 days there should be no further case to try to collect from you, the victim.

          I’m now thinking that once you’ve supplied them with the information requested, you will not hear from them again.
          This may just be the ‘new, slick’ way to get the victim to do the work for them.
          What a business plan!

    3. petal

      Ambrit, I’m really sorry. What a mess and cause of anxiety which is the last thing you need. Sending good thoughts your way.

      1. ambrit

        Thanks for proving again that this is the ‘Best Commenteriat!’
        At least with this, I am faced with conditions that appear to be common with the bulk of America’s “deplorables.” I’ll be psychologically ready for when the SHTF.
        You stay safe, hear?

    4. Cal2

      “Standard practice” is to bullsh*t, intimidate and lie to the mark they are collecting from. Don’t assume it’s legal.

      The private bus company has to have liability insurance. That should be listed in their contract with the city.

      If it’s a city bus, contact the City Attorney and get the information. Pass their phone number on to the collection agency and let them hash it out. If you learn which insurance company it is, send the collection agency their new business 800 number, let them figure out who to talk to.

      Record any collection calls you get, with the foreknowledge of whomever is calling you.
      Keep contemporaneous notes, i.e. Today June 9th at 4 P.M. I talked to Joe Blow about x. Get Joe Blow’s email and send him a copy of your notes. “If this is not accurate, please respond within one business day and state why.”
      If they don’t reply, they’ve admitted it’s accurate.

      Ask for written responses to everything.

      CC your state’s Department of Consumer Affairs and their Insurance regulator. Get names of their gatekeepers and include them and their email in all email correspondence.

      Make a ‘federal case’ out of it and make yourself such a pain in the ass that they walk away from you.
      Good Luck Brother.

      Go one step further: Register for Yelp, with a throwaway email of course, give a review for the hospital and enumerate your complaint, discouraging voluntary business with them.

    5. flora

      and again:

      My take away from all this, and I am not a lawyer, is that the hospitals will try to make you do work that is their work to do. And they will try to deny your claims if you don’t do their work. And if enough individual people do the work the hospitals are legally required to do then it becomes ‘common use’ or ‘common law’ and the hospitals are then off the hook. But consult a lawyer to know for sure. Best of luck.

      1. flora

        adding: a lot of states have medical/insurance commissioners or ombudsman offices. Your state might have one. (No guarantees about political independence.) If your state has a med ombudsman that might be a good place to file a question or a complaint. Best of luck.

    6. The Rev Kev

      Maybe with the information that you send back, you should attach a bill for services rendered. A quote for total number of hours spent doing their research and any costs for use of your telephone and internet usage. Include a penalty with your first and final demand of payment. Base that last one on Trump’s idea with Mexico and say it will be a 5% penalty rate the first week payment is late, 10% the second week, etc. Probably find that they have no sense of humour though. If I had to work for one of these companies, I would probably lose my sense of humour as well. Hope things work out quickly for you.

    7. Joe Well

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us, ambrit. I wish you all the best.

      It is important for everyone’s mental health to put the blame on the system where it belongs and know that it is not our fault as the patient-victim. It’s easier to do that knowing another intelligent person has been trapped in the same way.

  23. polecat

    Man o man ambrit ! I sympathize .. sounds like you have an acute case DCMS, of which I’m sure there are multiple derivatives. Maybe you can contact your Congressperson and b!tch big time ! .. seeing as how these intermediary billing freaks are trying to put the big squeeze on an innocent bystandard .. namely you. Good luck !

    1. ambrit

      I hear you polecat! I’m learning yet again, how low the culture can get.
      My Congresscritter is a real, dyed in the wool Neo-Republican. A cross between the Tea Baggers and the Wall Streeters.
      I’m beginning to suspect that “lawyering up” might be a basic aspect of all ‘confrontational’ events now.
      Keep those bees happy, and brew some Mead from the honey. I gather that your neighbours aren’t averse to some “Berserk” time once in a while.
      Stay safe.

      1. polecat

        Hi ambrit .. Ha! “Berserk” time .. tis the ‘season’ ‘;]

        I try to keep a look out for the tell-tale signs : a sudden change in buzzing pitch to beyond 11 on the swarming dial, the massive extrusion of bees exiting the hive entrance, the impending open, chaotic cloud of honeybee democracy in action ( mind you, this can all happen within the span of just a few mintues !!). I just love walking into a swarm .. seriously, gauging where they might coalesce .. with a capture box at my ready, should they bivouac within easy reach – not always a solid beemass guarantee ! The neighbors know the score ..

        Re. “Lawyering up” … yeah right .. who has the decretionary ‘funds’ for such ‘occasions’ except the wealthy ??
        Is there a State insurance commish you could give an earfull ? Might that help your cause ?

        1. ambrit

          Thanks to one and all for the good advice. This is the sort of situation that the ‘average’ person does not expect to encounter. So, quick ‘catch up’ learning curve time for the Geezer.
          Oh, and polecat, you wouldn’t be contemplating doing a documentary on apian “pon farr” rituals, would you?
          Live long and keep the ‘Buzz’ alive.

  24. psv

    Thanks for today’s Korea links on Burning Sun and the Candlelight protests, which I’d recommend. I had known of Park’s dismissal but the details in the Candlelight article were new to me.

Comments are closed.