Links 8/6/19

Give A Dam About This Beaver Spotted Swimming In The Hudson River Gothamist

Cashless Stores Alienate Customers in the Name of Efficiency WIRED

The Fed is getting into the real-time payments business CNN

Robots Are Solving Banks’ Very Expensive Research Problem Bloomberg. The deck: “Banks can’t always afford to put analysts on the ground in developing nations—about the only places where investors can get yield right now.” But we can afford to hire expensive tech people to pull a few algos out of their digital assets? Or maybe the MBAs figure Bangalore is close enough to Jakarta for learning by osmosis to take place. Oy.

A Decline in Capital Investment Reveals the False Promise of Trump’s Tax Bill The New Yorker. The entire country is awash in capital (“over-production crisis”) and has been for some time. That’s why frivolous albeit malevolent projects like Uber exist. Trump ain’t it.

Five eyes of tax cases in global probe Australian Financial Review

With big questions remaining, Alaska Legislature’s second special session set to quietly end Tuesday Anchorage Daily News

Brexit

Boris Johnson has no intention of renegotiating Brexit deal, EU told Guardian (VE).

Germany Pins Hopes on Parliament to Thwart Johnson’s Brexit Plan Bloomberg. Let me know how that works out. Then again

Leaving on October 31 won’t be the end of this. Brexit will never be over Evening Standard

Brexit: unintended consequences EU Referendum

The ‘man of the people’: what would Plato think of Boris Johnson? British Politics and Policy, London School of Economics

Syraqistan

US Afghan envoy praises ‘excellent progress’ in Taliban talks Agence France Presse

It Doesn’t Matter At All That Oil is Priced in Dollars #43,656 Dean Baker, CEPR

What Happens When Saudi Arabia Turns Off the Cash Spigot? Medium

Rivers of Dust: Water and the Middle East Counterpunch

Venezuela

Washington hits Venezuela with full economic embargo Miami Herald

Venezuela hyperinflation hits 10 million percent. ‘Shock therapy’ may be only chance to undo the economic damage CNBC [licks chops].

Bolton warns China, Russia not to double down on support of Maduro Reuters

India

Correcting a historic blunder Indian Express. “Abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A is a much-needed step for the complete emotional integration of people of Jammu and Kashmir with the Indian Union.”

Kashmir turmoil: Internet, broadband, landline services snapped, unprecedented developments taking place India Today. Probably the Internet blackout is meant to protect the privacy of Kashmiris completing their emotional integration at this difficult time.

This Photo Tells Us More About Amit Shah’s Kashmir Plans Than The Govt Has So Far HuffPo

The Asian strategic order is dying FT. Important.

Nutrient deficiencies in rice grown under higher carbon dioxide could elevate health risks for tens of millions Phys.org

The Koreas

North Korea fires more weapons, denounces US military drills Associated Press

The Japan-South Korea Trade Dispute: What to Know Council on Foreign Relations

Who lost South Korea? Japan Times

China

Live Now: China Holds Briefing on Hong Kong’s Social Unrest Bloomberg. Many other stories key off this.

Masked Hong Kong protesters hold rare press conference Channel News Asia

Hong Kong shares extend drop as US-China conflict escalates Nikkei Asian Review

Protest Innovation:

“Spontaneously”:

I don’t deny there’s support for the Mainland in HK, but holy moley, can’t we get an upgrade to the style guide?

How Tear Gas Works: A Rundown of the Chemicals Used on Crowds Scientific American

* * *

China warns of countermeasures if U.S. puts missiles on its ‘doorstep’ Reuters

Trump Transition

Trump explores executive action on guns Politico

Unqualified UN Ambassador is the Perfect Weak Link The American Conservative

The Metadata Trap: The Trump Administration Is Using the Full Power of the U.S. Surveillance State Against Whistleblowers The Intercept

El Paso Shootings

Walmart shooter allegedly penned white supremacist rant in ‘bible of evil’ El Paso Times. If you want real cray cray, read a neoliberal economist. I say this not to diminish the seriousness of the shooter’s manifesto, but to point out that we as a society have an odd baseline for words like “rant.”

Beto O’Rourke Just Produced an Emotional, Scything Critique of the Media Esquire (Re Silc). Are there no copy editors?

For Latinos, El Paso is a devastating new low in a Trump era Los Angeles Times

Right‐to‐Carry Laws and Violent Crime: A Comprehensive Assessment Using Panel Data and a State‐Level Synthetic Control Analysis Journal of Empirical Legal Studies

Health Care

Column: Health insurance companies are useless. Get rid of them Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

CMS wants to force hospitals to reveal negotiated rates. Can it do that? Health Care Dive

The vaccine whisperers: Counselors gently engage new parents before their doubts harden into certainty STAT

L’affaire Joffrey Epstein

The mysterious case of Jeffrey Epstein Chicago Reader. A clear summary.

There is no evil like reCAPTCHA (v3) Stoicism and Me. Amen.

Antidote du jour (via). Leveling up my cat game:

Bonus antidote. The original video:

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.

250 comments

  1. Steve H.

    > There is no evil like reCAPTCHA (v3)

    “Google realised there was no punishment to forcing people to solve more of these ‘human verification puzzles’ and only more to gain by forcing (yes it IS forcing) people to train their AI for free.”

    Similar to suggestions that Uber was using human drivers to train the robots en route. An autoauto may not be able to figure a left turn by itself, but if it can predict when a human would make the turn, it’s wreck rate will be plausibly average.

    Capitalism and rope…

    Reply
    1. Ptb

      The punishment is naughty people clicking the wrong things on ‘where is the truck’ or ‘where is the stop sign’

      Reply
        1. pretzelattack

          well i’ve never been able to get through to the article when i do that. but it’s probably worth doing in its own right.

          Reply
        2. Procopius

          How do you get the damned thing to finally let you through? Just click on all squares? I would love to do the same, but generally I just want to get to the content or get my comment sent. The damned thing obviously knows when I miss a square, so it already knows which ones need to be clicked to “pass,” or am I wrong? Does it just know how many squares need to be clicked? Guess I’ll just have to experiment.

          Reply
    2. polecat

      CAPTCHA a CLOUD BRo, or ten, and hoist em onto their own collective petard after first lassoing the scoundrels with that rope !

      Reply
  2. Pavel

    I was just in the hotel lounge in a SE Asian city and the TV was (as usual) annoyingly playing CNN, where they were of course all about the latest “mass shootings”. As many others have pointed out, there is the equivalent of a mass shooting every week in Chicago/Detroit/Baltimore/etc inner cities but apparently because the victims are 90%+ black they don’t count, or something?

    And speaking of African-Americans, I saw via Twitter that Peace Prize Prez™ @BarackObama had a long-ish post about the need for an end to hate, white supremacy, gun violence etc. The irony of this from the man who deployed countless drones against innocent civilians in the Mideast and — egged on by HRC, Sarko, and Cameron — turned Libya into a failed state, and also shipped weapons to ISIS-style groups in an effort to achieve regime change in Syria… what can one say? Perhaps “Jesus wept”?

    Reply
    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “there is the equivalent of a mass shooting every week in Chicago/Detroit/Baltimore/etc inner cities but apparently because the victims are 90%+ black they don’t count, or something?”

      We are a society drowning in violence. There’s no doubt about that, and given our history of violence here against indigenous people and abroad against anybody who doesn’t genuflect before the glorious flag, it’s hardly surprising.

      There is a fundamental difference between those mass killings and the kind of violence that is commonplace in my poor, urban neighborhood in a Rust Belt city. Many of our killings are business related, just Capitalism carried on by other means. The rest are like the one that almost took place outside my window night before last. A group of five people, three men and two girls, decided to party in the street outside my bedroom about 2 AM. The three men began to have a loud discussion (about the women?), and I thought to myself that I hoped it didn’t escalate to gunfire as I ambled off to the bathroom. About that time, five shots went off, and by the time I returned to look out the window (very carefully), everyone had run down the street 50 yards to continue the party. No blood on the sidewalk outside the house, but a couple of shell casings. Just kidding around, I suppose, but given how drunk they all were, it could have ended up with somebody dead.

      Killing to gain a business advantage in the drug business or casual murders because someone has stepped on someone else’s “honor” are horrible reasons to take a life, but killing complete strangers is a difference in kind, not just degree. It also is terrifying to those middle class folks who resolutely avoid neighborhoods like mine. If you can be killed by a stranger in a movie theater, an entertainment district or a Walmart, it adds to stress and fear in a way that the “routine” killings in our part of town do not.

      Reply
      1. blanckdentist

        Context often helps:

        History of Violent Crime in the USA can be seen on wikipedia, taking stats from US govt. Of note is the rapid rise in the mid-1970s and then the decline in the late 1990s, such that on a per capita basis US citizens now experience — rather than observe — violent crime at about the same rate now as in 1960, the last of the Eisenhower years.

        What makes it feel so much worse? One person’s guess: population has nearly doubled since 1960 so absolute amount of crime has too, the internet, social friction as country’s demographics change (minor impact), and culture of finger-pointing crowds out former culture of assimilation.

        Year Violent Murder Rape Rob Assault (per 100,000)

        1960 160.9 5.1 9.6 60.1 86.1
        1961 158.1 4.8 9.4 58.3 85.7
        1962 162.3 4.6 9.4 59.7 88.6
        1963 168.2 4.6 9.4 61.8 92.4
        1964 190.6 4.9 11.2 68.2 106.2
        1965 200.2 5.1 12.1 71.7 111.3
        1966 220.0 5.6 13.2 80.8 120.3
        1967 253.2 6.2 14.0 102.8 130.2
        1968 298.4 6.9 15.9 131.8 143.8
        1969 328.7 7.3 18.5 148.4 154.5
        1970 363.5 7.9 18.7 172.1 164.8
        1971 396.0 8.6 20.5 188.0 178.8
        1972 401.0 9.0 22.5 180.7 188.8
        1973 417.4 9.4 24.5 183.1 200.5
        1974 461.1 9.8 26.2 209.3 215.8
        1975 487.8 9.6 26.3 220.8 231.1
        1976 467.8 8.7 26.6 199.3 233.2
        1977 475.9 8.8 29.4 190.7 247.0
        1978 497.8 9.0 31.0 195.8 262.1
        1979 548.9 9.8 34.7 218.4 286.0
        1980 596.6 10.2 36.8 251.1 298.5
        1981 594.3 9.8 36.0 258.4 289.3
        1982 570.8 9.1 34.0 238.8 289.0
        1983 537.7 8.3 33.8 216.7 279.4
        1984 539.9 7.9 35.7 205.7 290.6
        1985 556.6 8.0 36.8 209.3 304.0
        1986 620.1 8.6 38.1 226.0 347.4
        1987 612.5 8.3 37.6 213.7 352.9
        1988 640.6 8.5 37.8 222.1 372.2
        1989 666.9 8.7 38.3 234.3 385.6
        1990 729.6 9.4 41.1 256.3 422.9
        1991 758.2 9.8 42.3 272.7 433.4
        1992 757.7 9.3 42.8 263.7 441.9
        1993 747.1 9.5 41.1 256.0 440.5
        1994 713.6 9.0 39.3 237.8 427.6
        1995 684.5 8.2 37.1 220.9 418.3
        1996 636.6 7.4 36.3 201.9 391.0
        1997 611.0 6.8 35.9 186.2 382.1
        1998 567.6 6.3 34.5 165.5 361.4
        1999 523.0 5.7 32.8 150.1 334.3
        2000 506.5 5.5 32.0 145.0 324.0
        2001 504.5 5.6 31.8 148.5 318.6
        2002 494.4 5.6 33.1 146.1 309.5
        2003 475.8 5.7 32.3 142.5 295.4
        2004 463.2 5.5 32.4 136.7 288.6
        2005 469.0 5.6 31.8 140.8 290.8
        2006 473.6 5.8 31.6 150.0 292.0
        2007 471.8 5.7 30.6 148.3 287.2
        2008 458.6 5.4 29.8 145.9 277.5
        2009 431.9 5.0 29.1 133.1 264.7
        2010 404.5 4.8 27.7 119.3 252.8
        2011 387.1 4.7 27.0 113.9 241.5
        2012 386.9 4.7 26.9 112.9 242.3
        2013 369.1 4.5 25.9 109.0 229.6
        2014 361.1 4.4 26.6 101.3 229.2
        2015 373.7 4.9 28.4 102.2 238.1
        2016 386.3 5.3 29.6 102.8 248.5

        Reply
        1. Duck1

          It looks to me that total violent per capita more than doubled from 1960, 160 vs 386. Or are you only looking at the murder column? Have heard the lead pollution hypothesis and looked at freakonomics, along with noting increased rates of incarceration. Don’t know myself, a curious time series peaking at 758 in ’91, the Reagan Bush I era.

          Reply
        2. Lee

          Read or heard somewhere recently that the invention of the printing press was a major contributing factor to the 30 years war. Or was it the 100 years war? In any event, all this connectedness and reaching out and touching someone is not in all cases a good idea. In other news, my little street corner sunflower patch is doing really well and beginning to draw the attention of passersby. Groups of school children passing this way smile up at them and the sunflowers smile back.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            From a printed broadsheet that was pasted on a wall in Germany in 1622, 4 years after the start of the Thirty Years’ War:

            Through this beast all vanishes one-two-three
            Like a fire, it burns all things away
            There’s naught that can its hunger sate,
            In short, it is ill-gotten gain,
            Born straight from out of the brood of greed.
            For it has this special quality,
            It gobbles gold, wealth, strength gradually.
            Where ill-gotten gain has taken root,
            Good fortune there cannot remain.

            Sounds frightfully familiar to our era, don’t it?

            Reply
            1. Procopius

              From C.W. Wedgewood’s The Thirty Years War, I gather that the devastation was from the armies just sitting there waiting for the next campaign to start. Large numbers of men in a small area for any length of time always causes disease. In our military now, basic training causes an increase in respiratory disease among recruits. In the early 17th Century it caused things like typhus and even smallpox to spread. Then, too, the armies were expected to maintain themselves to a large extent. Even if they were paid the soldiers were as likely to take whatever they wanted rather than buy it, and even if they had been willing to pay, the large number of people in the army would soon eat all the food a given area could produce, long before the next harvest.

              Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              Another 1622 German broadsheet:

              Who will indeed this hunger still?
              Who can this wolfish belly fill?
              What would suffice for a people and town,
              This beast, by itself, can swallow it down,
              Forever crying out for fodder,
              Whatever it gets, it still wants more.
              It’s like the great mouth of the sea,
              A gluttonous snake, a devouring dragon.
              Whoever wants riches without disgrace,
              Let him drive ill-gotten gain away from the land.

              Reply
                1. Wukchumni

                  The Kipper und Wipper Inflation, 1619-23 An Economic History with Contemporary German Broadsheets

                  This book is an economic analysis of the Kipper und Wipper inflation of 1619–23, the most serious German inflation before the hyperinflation following World War I, with a particular focus on how it affected people’s lives and behavior. The volume features full-page reproductions of rare contemporary broadsheets—early forerunners of the modern newspaper—with striking illustrations and engaging texts. Published here in their entirety and for the first time in superb English translation, they are a unique window on society at the time and give a voice to the people who were actually devastated by the inflation.

                  https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300146776/kipper-und-wipper-inflation-1619-23

                  Reply
        3. ewmayer

          What makes it feel so much worse? Well, sure, the peddlers of violence p0rn in the MSM and on the internet play a role, but there is also the undeniable rise in the phenomenon of mass shootings. To invoke another common analogy used in this context, it’s as if overall auto-accident deaths were down, but flaming-inferno 50-car pileups had become a weekly occurrence.

          Reply
    2. Chris Cosmos

      Thank you. This is why I recommend to all except those who study media to IGNORE/BOYCOTT all mainstream media outlets. Most people I know do not know how to parse what is published/said in the mainstream. I know and I’m sure other readers here know people who are genuinely traumatized by what they hear/read/see and I always urge them to stop. Social media also has to be avoided for mental sanity unless you are into the freak show, which I kind of am.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        Chris,

        Thank you–squared.

        More than that, BOYCOTT all local advertisers on whatever MSM media you see. National advertisers don’t give a damn. Some local car dealer does care about sales.

        “Is this the sales manager at XYZ Ford? Why are you advertising on a TV outlet that does not represent your potential customer’s interests and backed losing wars? Might I suggest adverting on some alternate media that does?…”

        Reply
      2. Inode_buddha

        I would posit that many people do not know how to parse, period. Full stop. These are often the same ones who lack critical thinking skills. Hence the current mess.

        Reply
    3. prodigalson

      How about we work to solve both problems?

      I’m going to be honest with you, it sounds like your deploying right wing deflection talking points to change the subject from angry young men shooting up large numbers of people for no reason to any other possible topic so we don’t get around to ever bannings America’s precious precious AR15 supplies.

      The reason this is getting coverage is because two young men just killed and wounded a LOT of people on their own. Which you know, is kind of odd, and leads to obvious questions like why and perhaps they shouldn’t have had access to weapons capable of killing quite so many people. (the same reason prolific serial killers get coverage) (So by your logic when this happens we should just eyeroll and move on or something?)

      How about we quit deflecting from these issues to other issue and just start banning guns in America, which might address both at the same time?

      Reply
      1. Doug SJ

        Banning won’t work. You’ll need to confiscate. I would prefer the occasional nutjob shooting to a civil war. Not being sarcastic.

        Reply
        1. prodigalson

          OK, lets ban AND confiscate.

          Honest question, how would a civil war differentiate in body count per day at this point vs the status quo? The mass killings are essentially daily occurences.

          It seems we’re willing to give every possible excuse and reason other than giving up the guns.

          Reply
          1. Cal2

            Prodigal, Suggest you join the CCC, Civilian Confiscation Corpse.

            “Seeking volunteers to go door to door and confiscate weapons from everyone. Local police won’t do it. Highway patrol won’t do it.
            Some irritating thing to do with swearing allegiance to some outdated rag written by white males a long time ago, abused by the NRA but wisely used by the ACLU.”

            “Free bullet proof vests, I.D. and hardhats provided. Must provide 2 forms of photo i.d., show proof of medical insurance and sign strict liability waivers.”

            Lots of luck with your plan.

            Reply
            1. Prodigalson

              Yeah you’re right, we can pluck saddam out of a spider hole in Iraq, spend a trillion dollars on rhe DoD, and trigger happy cops can kill black people at traffic stops with near impunity but confiscating guns from your local soccer mom is a bridge too far. Best not to try right? What your snidely advocating is a mix of fatalism and morale cowardice.

              Like the onion article title says “no way to prevent this” says only nation were this regularly happens.

              Reply
              1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                I knew the Rangers who found Saddam. Hard Pass.

                I dont believe in guns personally but theres more than one way to stop gun violence besides confiscation.

                Reply
          2. Baby Gerald

            Thank you, prodigalson. For 3% of our population to lord their so-called second amendment rights over the rest of us undemocratic in the extreme. To think your gunz are going to protect you from a totalitarian state or in some civil insurrection means one hasn’t been paying attention to the news over the past, like, two decades. To those who use examples like Ruby Ridge or Waco as reasons to keep your gunz, my retort would have to be ‘what defense do you have against a drone strike?’

            Banning guns won’t work, but buybacks do. Restrictions on magazine capacity and conversion kits would be another useful method, without getting into the ridiculous “what defines an ‘assault weapon’?” debate. Keep your AR-15- it’s not as cool looking with a 3-shot magazine, but just as effective a deterrent.

            Universal federal background checks and waiting periods would be another. Need that gun right away? How about discussing that urgency and your insecurity with your local law enforcement professionals first?

            But hell, if neither of these options is acceptable, I’m all for the banning and confiscation. Melt them all down into plowshares.

            Reply
            1. Inode_buddha

              I have to disagree. I think it is *you* who is ignoring history, and reality. The US has never won anything against an armed native population. (VietNam, Afghanistan)

              The military has studied scenarios like you describe: it doesn’t end well for anyone. All the drones etc. require humans to operate them, if you can convince them to strike their own people. Those humans can be shot.

              Cops? don’t make me laugh. They will show up if you’re lucky and then draw a line around your body and take lots of pics.

              Finally and perhaps most of all: I don’t feel safe in an unarmed society, and I reserve the right to self-defense if the need should arise. As far as I’m concerned an unarmed society might as well be a totalitarian dictatorship because what are you gonna do about it? Write papers? LOL. You think you’re gonna have some pure uncorruptible utopia with progressive leadership? BS. they will be corrupted and abuse the hell out of their power just as fast as the Republicans, in one generation. Human Nature is what needs to change.

              Reply
              1. False Solace

                We already live in a totalitarian state. Where were you freedom-lovin’ gun nuts when the feds decided to spy on us, lock us up indefinitely without charges, execute us without due process, and on and on?

                Oh that’s right, you cheered them every step of the way.

                You’ve destroyed your own credibility. If you ever had a moral right to guns, you lost it years ago.

                Reply
                1. Inode_buddha

                  We’ll just have to disagree then. You are painting with a very broad brush here and I strongly resent that. I certainly wasn’t cheering for anyone, and I certainly didn’t vote for them.

                  Where were you?

                  (context — I live in NY which has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Always been law abiding, and its a ton of paperwork and hassle… meanwhile the gang bangers 3 blocks away shoot each other up with impunity. Cities are stupid, you’ll never pay me enough to live in one ever again. And I *majored* in art.)

                  Reply
              2. Old Jake

                Those “armed natives” did not exist in a vacuum. Someone armed them. Indeed, they obtained armaments, munitions and training from well-financed organizations. Is that the case here?

                Who would do such a thing? s/

                Reply
                1. Inode_buddha

                  I hope and pray that such a thing never happens here again, but I can say this: I’ve had a few US Commanders among my acquaintances, and every one has told me that it is a nightmare scenario for them. They have also said that they will stand and fight for you even if they completely disagree with you.

                  Reply
            2. Yves Smith

              I hate to tell you, but one of my plugged-in buddies was told over a decade ago that assault weapons would never be banned because too many former soldiers liked to have or even sleep with the weapon they used in their combat tours of duty.

              Reply
          3. carycat

            Confiscation will not work. Try mandatory liability insurance sufficient to cover the median payout for a wrongful death law suit for each bullet that the weapon can hold, with each weapon and magazine needing their own insurance. Yearly license fees per weapon with periodic skill testing at the firing ranch (with a couple of bullet samples retained to make it easier to track any shooting back to the weapon). We already do this for automobiles, and according to CDC statistics firearms deaths are higher than vehicle deaths. So if somebody want to exercise their right to bear arms, let them bear the risk of the misuse of those weapons even if it enriches the ghouls in the insurance companies.

            Reply
            1. Anon

              Have you ever fired a gun? Have you ever been in a situation like mine, where 3 men drove in by my barn and partied. When I asked them to leave, well, let’s just say their reactions were [family blog]. Including the threats of what they could do to me, noting that the nearest cop was 20 miles away. They didn’t leave until one of them noticed the gun at my waist. But hey, you are fine with three men practicing violence on a single woman, huh. Guess I should not be able to live in peace because you love insurance companies more than you care about a single woman’s safety. Thanks a lot.

              Reply
              1. Yves Smith

                Did you bother reading the comment? You can have your gun but you need to pay the cost of the risk it poses to third parties, just as you do with a car.

                And push comes to shove, the government could provide the insurance, just as it does with Medicare and conforming mortgages.

                Reply
                1. anon

                  Yes, I did. And I nderstand that the purpose is to make it so difficult and expensive that only the ultra rich will be able to own a gun legally. So those of us in the bottom 99% will have open season declared on us. BTW, one of the three I described contacted me later and threatened what he would do to me when he caught me when I didn’t have a gun. But hey, I’m in the bottom 50% so my life doesn’t count, right? Far more important to make me pay out to the third party trying to rape me. /s

                  Reply
                  1. Yves Smith

                    The ultra rich do not want or need to have guns. I don’t know a single person in the top 1% or 0.1% who wants one. The only use in that crowd is trophy hunting, skeet shooting, and game bird hunting. These are all social activities or bragging rights sports. They live in very safe communities and if they are really worried about personal safety, rely on panic rooms, not guns.

                    And what if the other person was armed too? Your faith in your gun is based on one incident when you were armed and the other guys weren’t. If any of them had been, you might have wound up dead. Even cops who are trained to shoot in threat situations hit their target only 10% to 15% of the time. And your gun as you admit was holstered on your hip. Police studies have found if the assailant is within 50 feet, and it sounds like those jerks were way closer than that, even with a trained cop, the perp can run to and tackle the cop before he can draw and aim his pistol.

                    Shorter: you just got lucky. If those guys had wanted to mess with you, your gun was no protection.

                    For fun (I have weird ideas of what is fun, because I have physical limitations but am strong, I like accumulating skills) I took a course developed and taught by the guy who developed the hand-to-hand combat training program for the Navy Seals. He has very smart guys helping teach (a PhD and an attorney) and he’s refined his methods since leaving the armed services (they study prison fights and other films of violence to see what people do when attacking and what works and doesn’t work).

                    Their big idea is that “self defense” is wrong-headed. If someone really wants to hurt you (and this is more obvious for women than men, they must have given one speech an hour to the guy about not escalating a social fight, just get out of there), you need to disable them first. The human body has `170 vulnerable points (think of kicking a guy in his balls) and if you hit any two in reasonably close time proximity, you shut down the assailant’s central nervous system. They train people based on the assumption that you are smaller, weaker, and slower. No one who has taken the course has ever been hurt by an assailant in a violent encounter. They disinhibit you about doing things like breaking ankles and gouging out eyes.

                    They train you against assailants with guns, knives, and bludgeons, in “multi-man” (2 or 3 v. you), and also train you re what to do if grabbed.

                    The sparring we did proved that a bludgeon is far and away the best weapon in close range encounters, way better than a gun. Not hard as you’d think, to disable an opponent with a gun once you are conditioned to focus on hurting the assailant as opposed to fixating on the gun, even if they have a gun at your back.

                    Reply
                    1. Anon

                      We will have to agree to disagree. But I will say this: they were armed with shotguns (parties have been known to involve shooting up some place, and in some cases spotlighting and running game to death, so really not nice guys); my gun was not holstered, it was at my waist pointed to the side; they were not going to get the drop on me, given that I had timed my contact with them; and yes, I am well aware I could end up shot to death. Of course, so could they. I could also have ended up worse than dead and, given medical reports of victims that I have seen, that might not be the worst outcome.

                      Also, I have faith in my guns based on more than one incident, and not all of them involved human predators. But I don’t want to bore everyone any more than I already have.

                      I do wish I had access to the class you describe, though.

                1. anon

                  Thank you so much for trying to shame me into not defending myself and the defenseless creatures in my care. You’re a peach.

                  Reply
            2. witters

              “Confiscation won’t work … like it did in Australia” because TINA and the US is Exceptional! (And, my God, the BS efforts from the US to insist “Australia’s gun laws didn’t work!” (Think climate denialism here. Think “the best heath system in the world.” Think “We are a Force For Good”… ).)

              Reply
  3. The Rage

    What a mess Trump has made for himself with China. Part of the Obama doctrine was currency hikes for tabling the TPP. Little surprise after the surprise actual devaluation in 2015 Obama ratcheted up TPP and made very unpopular concessions to try and get it passed in 2016…..I regress.

    Not only does China want to lift its currency, but told Obama as he was leaving office they were prepared to enforceable rise it higher than the 2014 peak, all Trump had to do was just claim victory…..it was just too simple.

    Reply
  4. John

    The Asian strategic order is dying FT. Important. Important and behind FT’s paywall.

    How many readers of Naked Capitalism have subscriptions to FT?

    Perhaps I am just a cheapskate, but I feel as if I am being extorted in order to read the news.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Just put the title of that article into Google search bar and one of the first results that come back will be for FT which you will be able to read in full.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          I don’t know if such a program exists. [That which cannot be named] has ‘sweetheart’ deals with some major sites I’ve read.
          However, the entire subject is a sore spot with site owners and managers. Their salary sort of depends on the ad revenue. Catch 22 writ large.
          I counsel ‘circumspection’ regarding this subject.

          Reply
          1. Cal2

            Use Firefox. Then see this:
            https://restoreprivacy.com/firefox-privacy/

            Messes up some features on some sites, especially Google, but that’s the whole point isn’t it?

            Beware of fontsgoogleapis.com ,that is the most insidious tracker out there.

            It is everywhere. You can selectively block it.

            Send N.C. a check to put your money where your beliefs are.

            Reply
        2. Di Modica's Dumb Steer

          Basically, anything by Raymond Hill (aka user gorhill) is gold (and generally considered the standard by which others are judged, as far as the nerd community goes). uBlock Origin is the more-or-less set and forget option, and the blocker blocker you want is (for now) on Chrome, called uBlock Origin Extra.

          If you’re slightly more technically able, you can forgo those and use uMatrix (same author) to manually approve or deny requests to the browser by type/class. It’s far more fiddly, but it’s highly educative.

          The creator is quite surly, so I would go about looking through the documentation/tutorials if necessary.

          Reply
    2. Bandit

      You can ignore the FT link. Other news outlets also feature the same article. I just copy and paste the title into my search bar and zippo! I have numerous sources to choose from. This generally works for most any article behind a paywall.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        I would also say one can ignore it – but for a different reason. It’s a bit of pearl-clutching about the fact that the US seems to be losing ground in Asia. Well, surprise, surprise! The so-called order was enforced in blood (anyone remember Indonesia in 1965 or Vietnam?) – which the writer gets around by only referring to the last 40 yrs. But the last 40yrs of Asian bliss were built on the 40 yrs before 1979. It was inevitable that sooner or later most would get sick of their bloody over-lord, who only served his benefit.
        It has been clear for quite some time that the world power structure is shifting – and is moving in the direction of Asia, as a younger, more vibrant and hungry continent. It is also the continent, where the majority of world’s population lives – so the shift should not come as such a huge surprise. For more, this is fun:
        https://thesaker.is/the-last-western-empire/

        Reply
  5. David Hinrichs

    There have been two recent tragedies, El Paso and Dayton. El Paso is being covered extensively and virtually nothing mentioned about Dayton, including here. Why is that?

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The Dayton shooter was, reportedly, a “leftist.” Antifa supporter. No way to neatly indict Trump in the court of public opinion for “mainstreaming hate and division”. Does not strictly support the preferred “white terrorism” narrative.

      Same reason most americans are not even aware that an antifa member was shot dead trying to burn down an ICE detention center in Oregon last month.

      Same reason I can’t find a MSM, moderation-proof link to support the claim I just made. So I’ll try this:

      https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/bill-dagostino/2019/07/14/nbc-cbs-ignore-antifa-attempting-burn-down-migrant-detention

      Reply
      1. JacobiteInTraining

        That was in Tacoma, WA, actually.

        In a semi-ironic way, the back of my mind thinks that we only need to find the modern names to replace these historical placeholder names…and then we can finally level up our game of violence:

        Anastasio de los Reyes, Lt Jose Castillo, & José Calvo Sotelo.

        Something, something…Those who forget the past…something, something…but it often rhymes. Or whatever. :)

        Reply
      2. Oregoncharles

        Also, the Dayton guy shot the two people he arrived at the place with, including killing his own sister. That’s hard to scope. It may be another one, like Las Vegas, where we’ll never know the motive.

        Sometimes, people just break; I’m not convinced the stated pretext matters a whole lot.

        Reply
    2. prodigalson

      I work about 20 minutes away from where the Dayton shooting happened and the lack of coverage is frustrating. What i’ve noticed is that in general right-leaning sites want to focus on the Dayton shooter since it fits their narrative, left-leaning sites the El Paso shooter for the same reason.

      NC is typically well balanced so i view it more as an oversight here based on MSM coverage overwhelmingly focusing on El Paso since it’s an easier stick to beat orange marmalade with.

      The common elements in both shootings are there with both youngish men, with mental health issues, whose political affiliations are distractions compared to the core issue of them A) wanting to kill large numbers of people for no real reason and B) having access to the types of weapons needing to do so.

      Reply
    3. Wyoming

      Perhaps because one shooter is a clear white supremacist racist who was targeting minorities, and the other finally left the reservation after a long history of mental illness.

      Crazy people are less threatening to the social order as they are a random threat while folks who want to violently overthrow the social order are understandably something more serious.

      The political leanings of the troubled guy in Dayton are not relevant as if he was acting on them, and not just being crazy, he would have targeted white supremacists or perhaps Fox news. Instead he killed his neighbors and this sister.

      The political leanings of the El Paso shooter are relevant as he posted why he was doing it and searched out his victims to specifically satisfy them.

      A world of difference.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “The political leanings of the troubled guy in Dayton are not relevant as if he was acting on them, and not just being crazy, he would have targeted white supremacists or perhaps Fox news. Instead he killed his neighbors and this sister.”

        i’ve often marveled that none of these well armed nutters seems to have identified various well known wealthy enclaves and bastions of the machine that actually does the oppression.
        when’s the last time wall street was targeted? the 70’s?
        abortion clinics, holocaust museums, the grocery store on the corner, the damned street corner itself?…yep.
        not advocating, of course….i long for a clear electoral path to reining in the bad guys, top to bottom, and abhor violence except in defense of the defenseless…but still.
        it’s not like those likely to have such weapons, and the inclination to use them thusly, are unaware of who lives in the hamptons, river oaks, or whatever. nor are they unaware—based on my virtual jane goodallism(lurking in righty forums as a lay anthropologist)—of those institutions of oppression and dysfunction.
        righty forums are filled with awareness of these things.
        but the targets are all “soft”…and have nothing really to do with whatever problems the particular nutter is having with the world.

        Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            In the era of damn near every tv show in the late 50’s-early 60’s being a western with oodles of corpses per episode, why were there no mass murders in our country using a hand cannon back then…

            …what changed?

            Reply
            1. Oregoncharles

              The Texas Tower shooter – who had a brain tumor. A lot like the Las Vegas shooting, actually, only they found nothing in that guy’s autopsy.

              The mythic quality of westerns, and even a lot of cop shows, then, might have something to do with it, too.

              Reply
            2. JBird4049

              Back when my poor/working class family could buy(!) or rent a whole house with front, side, and backyards and everything? If really hard up, maybe a duplex. Now not so much. It would be an RV although after reading about those hooligans burning some RVs…

              So we’ve gone from buying while working class to the RV life while working and being attacked because I guess they must be lazy, or stupid, or something. The vitriol from some on the street people is just demented hatred.

              Reply
        1. Inode_buddha

          You have a very valid point. I noticed that too, why don’t they target Wall St? IMHO our Freedom of Speech began to die when John Hinckley failed. (abolishing the Fairness Doctrine)

          Reply
        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Because theyre Politically Young enough to not be able to see outside their bubble. Starting from the Age of 20 and initially reading DrudgeReport, It took 12 years to find Nakedcapitalism.com. From Republican to Democrat to Marxist (Jeffersonian-Hudonite??). Peace and Love has been my guiding Ethos so over time ive been able to weed out the media fakers. These young men, who i deeply sympathize with, get pissed off and let their emotions take over, engaging in the most heinous, unmoral acts they can to achieve some sort of recognition/glory. Like Islamic extremists turned Martyrs, they perceive they will be remembered.

          Words are ALWAYS mightier than Swords. We must stand up to our worst fears and let them flow through us to see that We are Still Here.

          And educate our Comrades too angry to see straight! Electoral Politics is the Way. But we gotta start getting Workers to run for Office first and foremost in my mind!

          Violence only Begets more Violence as I see Facebook posts of friends being converted to Antifa to ‘geaux fight White Nationalism.’ Trying to get them to see the problem of Neoliberalism backfires usually with replies of ‘Oh look a White guy saying Racisms not the problem.’

          I think demonizing Identity Politics might be a good first step?

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            “We must stand up to our worst fears and let them flow through us to see that We are Still Here. “–+100, fellow Jedi.

            IDK. The part about ennui, alienation, and lack of meaning gels, i think…that age cohort(and everyone after) has an even more difficult row to hoe than my GenX did.
            and they know it.
            but apparently this guy is an ecowarrior…with a few white nationalist tropes larded on. He cites the Lorax!
            and calls for a whole lot of the Bernie/DSA platform.
            I haven’t been able to find this manifesto(sic).
            ( I always try to read them, because i feel compelled to try to understand, and part of that is walking a mile in their shoes, and wearing their lenses. they are often filled with madness and poorly written, but i reckon if i can handle William Blake, i can handle the Unabomber.)
            …so all i know is what’s filtered through various media.
            it bothers me that the Mainstream was so quick to jump to “white nationalist”…including corey booker speaking at the site of another massacre, etc.
            the eco-stuff and the new deal stuff doesn’t sit well with the white nationalist stuff….and in all my ongoing surveillance of the rightyweb, I’ve seen very little evidence of a nascent “ecofascism” afoot….and in fact, this is the first i’ve heard about it.
            I still say that if you want to fix this problem, fix the despair.
            happy and content people don’t join cults or go on killing sprees.
            instead, the despair is denied, or pushed off into deplorableness, which is just kicking folks when they’re down.
            my foily side thinks this alleged nexus of new new deal and sheetwearing nutjobs is not by accident, and is a (so far) subtle way to further link “extremists” of the Left with those of the Right….in service of that One Big Centrist Party I’ve been warning about.

            Reply
            1. Amfortas the hippie

              and…as far as my gun policy…i find that i agree with these folks:https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/08/04/mass-shooting-gun-culture-227502

              just about everyone i know has guns…and probably 70% of the people i have ever known….because i’ve lived in rural texas all my life.
              you really are “on your own” at the end of a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. like the ammosexuals say, “cops are for cleaning up afterwards”
              i regularly ride the dirt road after dark with a sixgun(ratshot) looking for rattlers entering our place….and i ran out of the house with a rifle in my bathrobe at dawn today because there was a coyote in mom’s front yard(prolly rabid to be that close, but got away anyway)
              I’ve known a few in my time who fetishised these bits of machinery, but that behaviour has gotten worse in the last 20 years. i reckon that has little to do with the guns, and a lot to do with something missing in those folks’ lives.
              I still think of them as dangerous tools, akin to chainsaws and welders and oxy/acetylene rigs….one doesn’t use them when drunk, or otherwise impaired or distracted.
              that appears to be the general consensus where i live…where every other vehicle is a truck with a rifle rack.
              there’s been 3 shootings in the 25 years i’ve been out here…one drug related and 2 mysterious local PTB coverups(!—never solved, lots of speculation). there have been in that same time, a number of gun suicides…mostly white men past their prime who were failing at farming(because of policy, again–more despair)

              Reply
              1. Inode_buddha

                Sounds like we could have been neighbors, I grew up the same way. Guns were just another tool, we never dreamed that we would aim at another human. It all changed for the worse when I moved to the city.

                Reply
                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  “don’t point that at anybody” is pretty much embedded in my dna….but i had a dad, and a stepdad, and grandads and uncles and great uncles and cousins and 2nd,3rd and 4th cousins and aunts and grandmas to pound that in deep.
                  …and(this is really hillbilly,lol) when you find a 4 foot rattlesnake in the house, ratshot is your best friend(and those grabber things).

                  Reply
            2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              Can we be Fremen Jedi? Is that a thing?

              Appreciate the kind words!!! Im still young so i look up to you Old NCats for yalls wisdom :-D

              Love and Peace and Understanding. Consequences be Damned!

              Reply
        3. Oregoncharles

          Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, is another example. He definitely had a point, but his actions didn’t make that point; instead, they were directed at people rather like himself – soft targets.

          It was interesting, in that case, that the prosecutors went to great lengths to avoid a trial and likely execution; instead, they forced an insanity plea on him – I think in order to shut him up. His manifesto proved popular, anyway – and no, I didn’t read it. Just second hand accounts. Too sad.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i have it. he’s definitely a nut, but he also makes a lot of sense about our relationship to tech and media, etc(prolly read a lot of mumford).
            but ted isn’t nearly as unhinged as some of the other manifestos i’ve taken the time to read(like Mein Kompf, for instance…that was a hard slog)
            the guy who flew a plane into the irs building in austin some years ago…he made a lot of good points, too…in between some pretty incomprehensible utterances.
            and…yes, i’ll go there!…bin laden had a definite case against uSA.
            none of it justifies the random and overthetop violence…but nearly all of them contain some kernel of a real grievance….almost always unaddressed and ignored.
            “America is already great” is a giant stick in the eye…as is “why don’t you just move?”…and “well, you didn’t try hard enough”
            as for the racist ideology….it’s an easily available lens to explain an often chaotic and confusing world. (ergo, perhaps we should endeavor to provide a different lens to explain all that)
            I grew up in Klan country, and can attest that overt, unapologetic racism(outside socmed) has become much rarer in the last 30 years. in fact, the only people i’ve known in the last 20 or so years to be overt have come out of prison, where they “had to” join the aryans or whatever for protection, and were therefore immersed in that view of the world(that prison angle is never mentioned in these discussions)

            Reply
            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              Agreed.

              Random story but my Uncle moved to Tennessee to become a Truck Driver for Frito Lay. To hear him tell it tho it was because of racism so whatever. He had already married this woman, my Auint in law. Fast forward to 2007 and i start partying with this group of younger guys while going to LSU. Lo n Behold one of em is related to my Aunt in law. Also tells me he has KKK tat and that most of that side of the family is KKK!!! My Uncle spouts all kinds of crap but it all revolves around Identity Politics!!! Dude agreed with me about most of the Economics tho. Thats a fn sign right there. Uniting Against Identity Politics and Moving Forward Based on Class. The hard part is getting everybody to the table. Once there, Easy Peasy Lemon Squeasy!

              Imagine it. Black Panthers, MS 13, and the fn KKK all hashin it out in Solidarity!

              These people are family and i dont want them to be killed in some bullsh-t Race War.

              Reply
          2. JBird4049

            IIRC, Ted Kaczynski’s brother somehow realized that was the Unabomber (probably recognize the writing) and wanted Kaczynski to get treated not tried. I am guessing that browbeating Ted into a guilty plea and a life sentence was a backdoor quid pro quo for the other brother’s tip. Not to mention being white, college educated, and obvious a bit strange living in a single room cabin far, far away from another human being so that helped.

            Reply
      2. Summer

        The Dayton shooter killed his sister…hints of domestic violence.
        Killings that involve 3 or more and are family related are much more common than stranger danger.
        MSM and authorities really hate non family friendly narratives.

        I’m also thinking of this as they report Mexican-Americans in El Paso are packing the gun shops in El Paso….

        Reply
      1. drexciya

        Which, in my opinion, is why the media should stop generating so much publicity for these shootings. They’re making it a way to make a “mark”. In a way, they’re promoting other unstable people to become famous this way.

        Reply
        1. Cal2

          Search “Gilroy gangs” for more of an insight into that.
          Dozens of articles about Sureño vs Norteño violence.

          Reply
    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > El Paso is being covered extensively and virtually nothing mentioned about Dayton, including here. Why is that?

      Ohio mass shooter kept ‘hit list’ and ‘rape list,’ high school classmates say Journal-Star

      So far as I can tell, the Ohio shooter is a whackjob. (I don’t care what Conway says). So the Ohio shootings don’t have political economy implications that the El Paso shootings do, where the shooter left a manifesto.

      I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the news flow now is very crowded and choppy and dynamic. We have limited space and time. Stories get cut. Dayton is one such.

      Reply
      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        One of my Valedictorian friends in High School made a ‘hit list’ cuz he got bullied so bad. Another classmate made copies of it and spread fliers all around. My friend was deeply humiliated. The hitlist had a title too, ‘Kiss the Blarney Stone.’ He later went on to Rice on a full scholarship and am sure hes doing fine now. The amount of bullying that went on during my years at a Jesuit High School was not insignificant. Luckily i had a great family support system to fall back on. AndMovies let me dream of a better future.

        Reply
        1. polecat

          I think the way contemporary public schooling is set up, with 3 distinct age groupings, helps to promote bullying behavior. I think it would be more condusive to student social harmony, if all the grades were within proximity of each other, as it once was (with older kids helping to manage and mentor the younger ones), before the D.C. bureaucracy got involved in the manufactured element towards educational ‘consistancy’, by churning out pliant, and bored, automatons. Of course, education policy would have to change as well … not an easy feat considering how Washington Dictated Education Policies flip back and forth every couple of election seasons, trying to re-invent a square wheel, which only adds to the disfunctional character of our schools.
          We should create smaller, more intimate school facilities (with an emphasis on holistic and eco-centric curricula), and many more of them, instead of pushing the current failing ‘factories’ we have now.
          jmho.

          Reply
    5. Aumua

      The far right narrative, and in a lesser sense the right wing narrative in general is that “liberals, leftists and democrats” are all mentally/emotionally unstable and are in fact the ones who are really prone to violence and terrorist attacks. They would claim that Dayton was just as much a political/ideological attack as El Paso, and they’re quite upset that the MSM is not picking up on that.

      Reply
  6. paul

    The populist leader reflects the vices of society.

    While he has many faults I deplore, the current reality president has been far more reluctant to wage war than either than the last two presidents

    Small mercies I would agree,and little to nothing for their victms

    Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      the venezuela situation seems like the prelude to war, his administration is trying to provoke a casus belli from iran, and he is constantly ramping up tensions with russia and china. obama had support from various european nations and the u.n. for the libyan invasion, trump doesn’t so far.

      Reply
      1. Spring Texan

        Yeah, I hope not but fear he will start a war before the election. Keeps ramping up aggression and still has john Bolton.

        Reply
        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          But isnt that Trumpism though? I remember Scott Adams the Dilbert guy who said Trump always negotiates from the most extreme positions. i see Iran, Venezuela, N Korea, China, Qatar, Russia et al as no diff. I highly doubt Trump starts a real war, although Economic Warfare is murdering many innocents as i type this…

          Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      Yeah that one cracked me up –

      …John Bolton on Monday warned China and Russia not to double down in support of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, saying Venezuela might not repay its debt to them after Maduro falls.

      I believe that should read –

      Bolton has already ordered his pawn Guy-Doe not to repay Russia and China if he ever manages to get him installed as the leader of Venezuela before being canned by the Donald.

      But the thing I don’t find funny at all about this is the near complete lack of “resistance” to this coup by those ostensibly vehemently opposed to Trump. This is what presidents should be impeached for – trying to overthrow democratically elected leaders of sovereign nations, not for politically incorrect tweets.

      But Bush and Obama set the middle east on fire knocking off leader after leader with no repercussions, so evidently nothing to see here either.

      Reply
  7. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Brexit

    Brexit: unintended consequences EU Referendum

    This, unfortunately, is a very credible theory. So many of us have assumed that Boris has been playing games with Brexit that the most obvious explanation for his behaviour is that he really means what he says. He will push for a no-deal simultaneously with an election in early November. His entire focus for the next few months will be on electioneering and ensuring that the initial couple of weeks of the exit is not too catastrophic.

    While some may have thought that they could frustrate Brexit by blocking the Withdrawal Agreement, they will now find that the alternative to Mrs May’s deal was not to remain in the EU but to leave without a deal at all. And, not only that, they risk being saddled with Johnson as prime minister for the next five years – or until he crashes and burns, whichever comes first.

    This is the law of unintended consequences, writ large.

    I’m not sure a significant chunk of the electorate will forgive Corbyn for his AWOL games during this period, in particular not insisting on Parliament sitting through the summer. The Tory radicals have so far shown themselves to be well ahead of everyone else in strategy. If they pull this off, they will have their Brexit and five clear years of governing as they wish with nothing whatever to stop them, not Corbyn, the DUP or the SNP or anyone else for that matter.

    Their only miscalculation is that they seem quite sure that a no-deal is manageable and that the UK will be growing again after a year or two. Only time will tell if they are right.

    Reply
    1. paul

      is looks like a game of chiecken
      A johnson has packed hi cabinet with feeble romantic morons, comapany he can feel happy with.
      These are people that genuinely identify as thatcher’s chilcren but ignore how galtieri’s inopportune sperm nourished them.
      The ridley plan is all used up.

      Reply
    2. Paul O

      I am ready to buy this. Will be interested what others say.

      My prepper tendencies are coming to the fore. I did not think I had such but I have been cleaning out some cupboard space.

      Reply
    3. vlade

      I have been screaming my head off for a long time that in a situation where Tories should be scared silly of any elections, Corbyn is, on some polls, third!

      I’m not going to write much more on that, because it’s water under the bridge, really. But what is not water under the bridge is if Labour gets 20% (even if it gets way more seats it’d entitle it to, which will only increase the anger). Because that will not only depose Corbyn, but will depose a number of ideas Labour was pushing (because they were his main points). And that will turn the clock back another decade or so.

      And thus I’d not be surprised if come 2024 LD, not Labour (or its splinters) would be the major opposition.

      “revolutionary Labour”? More like coffee shop (or allotment) revolutionaries, all talk and no action. Unable to even see a revolution when they live through one.

      Reply
      1. Monty

        It certainly seems like some prognosticators are going to wind up looking “a bit silly”. I have my suspicions which ones, but anything could happen.

        Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        Corbyns people are acting as if the Tories would just drop power into their laps. In the meanwhile, the Tories are, true to form, ruthlessly pursuing power with a vengeance.

        I can see the LD’s and SNP being big winners in a snap election, but if people aren’t saying they’ll vote Labour now to pollsters, its difficult to see what will change their minds over the next few months. The worst case scenario I think is the LD’s getting a higher vote percentage than Labour, but much fewer seats thanks to FPTP. This will mean no legitimate focused opposition to five years of Johnson.

        Reply
    4. Oregoncharles

      They’d be governing without Scotland, or, good chance, Northern Ireland either. Quite a humiliation, breaking up the nation.

      Reply
      1. fajensen

        Boris Johnson’s ultimate ambition is to beat Churchill. To become not only universally mentioned in the history books but also that “his section” (and his scribblings and personal trivia) shall be well studied by scholars and students for a longer time than Churchill.

        Being the PM breaking up the UK will help Boris achieving lasting fame – or infamy which is probably more enduring. Like Emperor Nero, an asshole by all accounts and yet talked about for thousands of years!

        Reply
  8. PlutoniumKun

    The Asian strategic order is dying FT. Important.

    I think it is important – this is one of a few similar type essays by people ‘in the know’ I’ve read this summer. Some of the other Asian links today confirm it. Whatever you want to say about American imperialism in the Pacific, it has held things together for decades. The result of this is not to solve old problems, but to lock them away in an attic until they can re-emerge. And they are re-emerging with a vengeance.

    The South Korea-Japan issue is I think a key one. I think most people assumed this was just the usual spat between friends, but it really seems to be escalating into something serious and long term. The fact that the US has been unable to bash heads together and make everyone make up shows just how much the US has lost influence under Trump and his predecessors. China is clearly flexing its muscles in a way it hasn’t previously and the Vietnamese in particular are taking notice – the new Chinese base in Cambodia will make them very nervous – the last time the Chinese made friends with the Cambodians it ended up in an invasion of Vietnam (in 1979). Taiwan is looking very isolated, but they will not go down without a fight.

    We are entering, as they say ‘interesting times’. Lets hope it doesn’t get too interesting for weapons manufacturers.

    Reply
    1. Olga

      “…has held things together for decades” – yeah, I suppose if one considers bombing countries into the stone age as “holding together.” But I do get your point…. kinda (though, what exactly is it holding together – not quite clear).
      As you point out, the problem with that kind of strategy, of course, is that when it quits working, it quits with a vengeance – a giant dose of vengeance that could potentially far exceed any benefits from ‘being held together.” And the price is paid by many – including those who did the holding.
      Two important, recent pieces if interested in the subject:
      https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/08/03/citadels-america-elites-fractured-and-at-odds-with-each-other/
      and
      https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/08/article/attack-on-iran-would-be-an-attack-on-russia/

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thanks Olga, they are both very good articles, the first one in particular.

        It does seem that the US might be about to break one of the primary rules of geopolitics – never initiate a two-front conflict. It shows astonishing arrogance to think they can provoke both Russia and China into conflict (not or not) and not come off worse. Even Nixon knew you could only have one cold war at a time. To do it at a time when alliances are splintering all over the world makes it even worse.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Two-front war, or two-front instability.

          As David mentions below about stability or relative stabilty, China could potentially face instability in her north-west with the current Japan-S. Korea situation.

          And on her southern flank, Beijing might be looking at Cambodia and Vietnam not happy with each other.

          Then, there is the Tibet in the west. It could become unstable.

          On the north west, there are the uhappy Uighurs.

          And not to be forgotten, the Taiwan Strait could be unstable as well.

          I think, one of the top priority for Xi is not to let Moscow whisper into his ear that Beijing can and should take on America alone or mostly alone.

          “Yes, you can do it. Your’re good. You’re so powerful. No one ever dared to speak up to the Advernturer like you. You can take down the big, bad dude.”

          I hope Xi takes a longer view, of which, justified or not, Asians are said to be practitioners.

          Reply
    2. David

      I think the key point is your comment that the US presence hasn’t solved any problems. It has merely kept them frozen. I’d go further and say that the US has never shown any particular understanding of the regional situation, or any real ability to manage it effectively, at least in the countries I’m familiar with. The relative stability in the region is thus an accidental byproduct of the US presence, rather than a willed objective. This suits elites in these countries, though not necessarily ordinary people, but of course it means that those same elites have insufficient experience of acting autonomously on security issues.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think your final point is key – Japan and South Korea have used the US presence as a skirt to hide under while building up their economies. They could focus on being the ‘good guys’ and exude soft power while relying on the US to do the dirty work. But we can only guess how well they will handle themselves in a world where the US is either unwilling or unable to intervene. The pretty childish argument they are having right now doesn’t bode well. And lets not forget that both countries have the capacity to go nuclear very quickly.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          How much of the earlier ‘getting-along’ between, say, S. Korea and Japan can be attributed to 1) the US presence, and/or 2) to their growing eoncomies over the past few decades, by exporting to the US, and earning lots of dollars?

          Reply
          1. PlutoniumKun

            I would say both.

            The Yoshida Doctrine in Japan was always key – Japan saw economic power under the US umbrella as the means to return to strength. You could call Abe farsighted for seeing that it has passed its use-by date, but unfortunately he seems to be a 1930’s nostalgist. Both countries have establishments that are deeply reactionary.

            As for South Korea, I think they realised they had little real option but to act as a US protectorate, but made the most of it economically. If you’ve long been caught between two larger, historically dangerous neighbours, having the US as your hegemon probably never seemed that bad a deal (similar to Poland). And economically, they did very well out of it. It shouldn’t be forgotten that the South Koreans were very enthusiastic allies of the US in the Vietnam War – their soldiers were particularly brutal and feared by Vietnamese civilians.

            Their relationship has always been curious. Both are fascinated by each others cultures (although the Japanese always struggled I think to see South Korean culture as an equal) , but the ghosts of the Japanese occupation would take generations to get over. I think the Japanese struggle to come to terms with the South Koreans as having become their equals economically. The recent Korean film ‘The Handmaiden’ (Park Chan-Wook) I think is a great examination of those ghosts.

            Reply
            1. paul

              ‘The host’ from its title onwards, is a strong examination of these things.
              Shin godzilla is one of the most extraordinary things I have ever seen.
              Finding something worth watching, rather than just watcheable on on amazon, ‘the boys’ is shaping up to be the best allegorical takedown of our tech lords yet.

              Reply
              1. PlutoniumKun

                Yes, The Host is an amazing film, and like so many Korean films, a thinly disguised allegory of recent Korean history. The original Godzilla (Gojira) is a surprisingly touching film. As with modern Korean films, 1950’s Japanese cinema was full of thinly veiled allegories, it can be fascinating to see the hidden messages. Ozu’s films from the period are full of sly little digs at the US occupation of the time.

                Reply
                1. paul

                  train to buzan‘ hit far more people than I expected…
                  It takes the delight in kinesthetics you expect into something rather wonderful.
                  The indonesian based raid/1 /2 are well worth a look, but that’s the Welsh for you

                  Reply
                  1. PlutoniumKun

                    Raid 1 and 2 are most definitely my secret little pleasure. As the guy in front of me in the cinema said very loudly at the end of Raid 1 ‘That was not a chick flick!’

                    Reply
                    1. David

                      Indeed not, it was like being hit repeatedly on the head with a metal bar or something. What’s the second one like?

                    2. paul

                      Indeed not, it was like being hit repeatedly on the head with a metal bar or something. What’s the second one like?

                      More of the same,all at once,but with a different texture.

                      But then I have always argued that Die Hard 2 is the exemplary manifestation of that franchise.

                  1. PlutoniumKun

                    I’ve watched it several times, its a great Kurosawa, although as a thriller High and Low is even better.

                    Reply
            2. David

              We shouldn’t forget that Park Chun-hee, the architect of modern Korea, had been a Lieutenant in the Japanese Army, and his mixture of fascination, jealously and envy of his neighbour pretty much set the pattern. There was in fact a lot of pragmatic cooperation, especially on the industrial side : at least until this century lots of Korean cars had Japanese engines, for example. And my experience was that people in the two governments generally got on quite well, so long as politics didn’t intrude.

              Reply
              1. PlutoniumKun

                I don’t know if its generally agreed, but I’ve read it suggested by at least one historian that it was actually Japans role as the main supply base for the Korean war that kick started its recovery – this provided the initial capital in the absence of Marshall Aid (Japan of course lost all its reserves and foreign capital in reparations).

                I don’t think the Japanese really took South Korea very seriously until the 1990’s or later, and so were happy to help out. They obviously feel a little different now that South Korea threatens to eclipse them.

                Reply
                1. David

                  The rear supply base role did have an effect I think, but I honestly don’t know how important it’s currently thought to be compared to, for example the high levels of education and social capital and the advanced level of technology. Again, the cities of Japan were flattened, but there was no actual fighting in the country itself, unlike in Europe. If I remember rightly it was the need to protect these US facilities which led the US to pressure Japan to revive its military, initially in the form of the Police Reserve. When the Japanese pointed out that the brand new constitution the Americans had just written for them forbade them to have armed forces, the clever name ´Self Defence Forces’ was thought up. Some of the consequences of that hasty decision are still being felt today.

                  Reply
              2. Olga

                I agree that Japan-Korea relationship is a mess – a historical mess. First visiting SK in 1990, one quickly learnt that (a) people deeply resented US military presence (more than one reason); (b) there were deep, unresolved grievances about the Japanese occupation; and (c) the Japanese sense of superiority over the SK folk made little sense, since SK believed that the first Japanese actually came to the island from Korea. The US was, of course, not interested in any of it – it needed to be there to check China and USSR/Russia. Talk about a festering wound! Or two…
                Without the far-away over-lord, it may actually be possible to start addressing the old wounds – providing there is some will and not until able Abe exits the scene (and is not replaced by another pining-for-the-1930s apologist). China could play the role of wiser, older brother to the squabbling siblings – but that may require common sense not found anywhere close by. Who knows… interesting times, for sure.

                Reply
                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  From Korean Dispora, Wikipedia:

                  China 2,548,030[1]
                  United States 2,492,252[1]
                  Japan 818,626[1]
                  .
                  .
                  .Russia 169,638[1]

                  The [1] reference: 재외동포현황(2017)/Total number of overseas Koreans (2017). South Korea: Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2018.

                  Koreans have been migrating and living in China and Japan for a long time. And to the US since the 1950s.

                  Is the relationship between Korea and US more a love-hate relationship?

                  The US, in about 70 years, has taken in many Koreans, overtaking Japan, and has almost the same as China, which is very close by, geographically, and had a head start (probably since before the Ming dynasty vs. 1950’s ).

                  Was it all due to baby adoptions?

                  Curiously, not too many Koreans in Russia, which is close by geographically.

                  Is it a case of Koreans not wanting to go to Russia, or Russia not wanting Koreans?

                  Reply
                  1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                    My moms friends adopted two Korean boys. Sam is twelve and me n my lil bro play Squads on Fortnite sometimes! Deep in the heart of Duke Country i might add.

                    Reply
            3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              The Wailing is a must watch too.

              Reddit.com/r/movies shows alotta love for S Korean films to those interested.

              The Raid kicked all sorts of ass and seen in conjunction with the American made Dredd is even more fascinating.

              Reply
    3. Wyoming

      I think some British guy some time ago said the same thing about them keeping things together. Imperial appologism abounds? But who knows.

      One might be able to stretch the idea of friendship to cover Republicans and Democrats here in the US but I am pretty sure that word could never have been applied to Koreans and Japanese who literally despise each other. But you may have been being sarcastic and I missed it.

      It was a good article though, but not something at all new as there have been others along the same lines for many years now. It would seem the shortest straw currently is Hong Kong not Vietnam or Taiwan. Events there are close to a breaking point and if they do break there will be troops in the streets and their special status will disappear. There is no chance China will let them have more independence or autonomy. They can’t allow that as the authorities have to send a meaningful message to the Taiwanese about what they will tolerate from the Hong Kong situation. They are 100% serious that they consider Taiwan part of China and they ultimately will insist on control or integration.

      Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      key sentence embedded way down in a bunch of rather technical language(i need a nap):
      “There is not even the slightest hint in the data that RTC(“Right to Carry”) laws reduce violent crime.Indeed,the weight of the evidence from the panel data estimates as well as the synthetic controls analysis best supports the view that the adoption of RTC laws substantially raises overall violent crime in the ten years after adoption. ”

      wife(Mexican American, and a lovely brown) saw on MSM that the el paso guy was targeting Mexicans…at walmart…out school shopping.
      now she doesn’t want to go school shopping.
      so i’ll hafta do it…or at the very least, tag along and Keep Watch.
      thanks NRA.
      and thanks, GOP.
      and thanks Demparty for doing nothing about either the guns, the mental health system or the overall depressing dysfunction of the country as a whole.
      “thoughts and prayers”
      hmmpf.

      Reply
      1. Baby Gerald

        If the NRA was so confident in the Right To Carry, they would lead by example at their national convention.

        Reply
  9. Redlife2017

    Re: Brexit: unintended consequences; The post is absolutely the must read of the day from a Brexit / UK point of view.

    Amazingly what I suggested a week or so ago looks set to be the reality. An election after a no deal Brexit. It makes perfect sense – Boris will crush the Brexit Party (he’s not one for sharing). He will also take aim at Labour and LibDems. This is where it will get interesting. If, during the election period, the no-deal happens, what will actually happen to the LibDems? We’re not remaining, so it’s a meaningless statement. This is going to be an very volatile election with everything to play for up through election day.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I wrote a post on it and its disappeared into moderation (I’m used to it these days).

      I think North hits the nail on the head with this, it makes sense from the Tory ultra point of view. At first I thought it was crazy to have an election in November, but they are clearly gambling that the disruption won’t be too bad, so they can sail to a clear victory. And to be honest, I think they’ll succeed. Possibly the only thing that could foil them is a sterling crisis in the autumn.

      Unless I’m missing something, I think this will catch Labour entirely on the hop. The Tories will annihilate the Brexit Party, but the ‘anyone else’ vote will split half a dozen ways. Its too late I think for any type of formal or informal voting deal, which will mean the Tories winning lots of seats where they are a minority.

      Reply
      1. Redlife2017

        This is where it gets all unpredictable. For instance, most LibDem second place constituencies are in Tory held constituencies. First Past the Post is going to make this a wild ride. This is an election that is completely up in the air if Boris does this right after a no deal Brexit.

        I have no idea if this is good or bad for Labour. Right now we are in deselection mode, so if CLPs are very left and they have Blairite MPs, those Blairites will be thrown out and a new person will be put up. This is scheduled to occur within the time period of the election as per North. Labour have been in election mode for the past 6 weeks, getting everything ready. I do find it weird how this hasn’t gotten out into the wider media…

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think it hasn’t gotten into the wider media because PM Johnson is such a black hole for attention, he sucks up everything. And that bodes ill for Labour, they simply will not be able to grab the agenda back from him. Johnson may be a buffoon, but like Trump, he knows how to monopolise attention, and he knows how to turn that into votes, he proved that as London mayor.

          You are right that the mysteries of FPTP makes the election very hard to call – but I do think its highly unlikely that the LD’s would win more than a few dozen new seats, no matter what their overall vote. I think a nightmare scenario is the LD’s getting a higher percentage of the vote than Labour, with far fewer seats.

          The problem is I think that while the LD’s or Greens won’t win many seats from Labour, if any, they will act as spoilers and will gift Tories quite a few. This is why I think a non-aggression pact against the Tories is absolutely vital, but I don’t see Corbyn agreeing to it.

          Reply
          1. vlade

            I think that your LD scenario is entirely possible.

            I believe that LD will team with Greens and PC at the very least (not sure about SNP), but am not sure whether they are willing to do a goodwill gesture of not standing in some Labour constituencies and saying “please vote Labour, it’s better than Tories” – which would be really statesman-like while costing very little (and, more importantly, extremely strategic long term. As if Labour would not reciprocate – unlikely IMO – if the Tories won, they could say “5 years of extreme right Tory govt at a time of national crisis? Send a thank you memo to your local Labour party”).

            So it’s basically a question of Farage vs Johnson and LD (+Green + PC) vs Labour. IMO whoever is willing to horsetrade and get rid of the split vote would win. I’m not sure whether anyone would though.

            Reply
        2. paul

          I do find it weird how this hasn’t gotten out into the wider media

          Because they are working so hard trying to unearth Corbyn’s true plans to revitalise the UK cremation sector.

          Reply
          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Yuuuuuup.

            If i see another Guardian headline smearing Corbyn with AntiSemitism…

            Why IM GONNA SCROLL RIGHT PAST IT!

            Reply
    2. David

      Yes, I’ve assumed all along that Johnson’s aim is to win an election and to stay PM: Brexit in a sense is only a device. What North describes is plausible as a strategy, and probably the only one he can employ, but it’s going to be difficult to pull off for psychological reasons. The pressure on Johnson is going to be absolutely enormous, and it’s not clear he will be able to stand the strain. For weeks he will have to say, yes there’s a Withdrawal Agreement but who cares, yes Brussels has been doing its best to be helpful but so what, yes Northern Ireland could explode again but I don’t give a toss …. and so on. The essence of politics is firm and decisive action. Doing nothing is actually the hardest thing for any politician to do. And complete passiveness makes it hard to pin the blame anywhere else. So yes, this seems plausible, but no I don’t think it’s guaranteed to work as envisaged.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        In todays news, it seems that Gove is already playing the ‘nasty EU won’t negotiate with us’ line. While its hard to ‘do nothing’, Johnson is a master of distraction. He only needs to create confusion if it is his strategy to go for a November election.

        But as you say, its a massively high risk strategy. But from the point of view of a group who don’t really believe Brexit will do any permanent damage to the economy, it must look like quite a reasonable one.

        Reply
        1. David

          If I were the EU I would have seen this coming and start making reasonable noises without actually promising anything (our door is always open …. ) I’m not sure how well the ´EU is being unreasonable’ line is going to play beyond Johnson’s core vote, and that’s not going to be enough. It’s also the case that Johnson isn’t fighting an election on his own. His party is going to be divided (some MPs will be in open rebellion) and the usual Tory media can’t be uniformly relied upon to support no-deal. The media love nothing more than a political split and voters punish parties who are evidently divided. Johnson has the ambition and the ruthlessness all right: I wonder about his judgement, leadership and strategic thinking.

          Reply
      2. vlade

        You’re assuming Johnson cares. And also, he put around him team that will give him the (im)moral support to withstand any pressure like that.

        I disagree on doing nothing – politicians can always talk. Johnson is a star as far as talking goes, and he’ll be very happy to just keep talking (and doing nothing else) another 90+ days. That’s what he did all his life, anything else would be break with the tradition.

        Oh, and you can always blame the other party for not agreeing. It’s a tried and tested poltical strategy for at least a few millenia, no reason for Johnson to drop it now.

        Reply
    3. Biologist

      I agree this post makes sense from Johnson / Ultra point of view, and I had not thought of it like this until now.

      There were two Guardian opinion pieces* in the last day or so suggesting all kinds of ways by which Parliament might prevent Johnson from crashing the UK out; for instance, legislation revoking A50, or forming a government of national unity after the no-confidence vote against Johnson. While I cannot comment on the legality or constitutional aspects of those roadmaps, I think they are hopelessly naive and mostly wishful thinking. They rely not only on Parliament unifying against Johnson, but also coordinating this brilliantly with perfect timing, in the face of a government determined to carry out no-deal. I don’t see any of that happening, especially given the sorry state of reporting on these issues.
      * If you’re interested, see here and here.

      Instead, we face the more likely prospect of not only a no-deal Brexit, but five years of Johnson at the wheel. Impossible to predict what will happen politically with him once the economic consequences start to hit, but propaganda goes a long way in blaming anyone but the Tories / Johnson for the mess (immigrants, EU, the so-called left). Meanwhile, Johnson et al. get to reshape the UK into a dystopian neoliberal nightmare.

      Depressing stuff.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’m not even sure they want to create a neoliberal nightmare – if you can ascribe an ideology to those people (Johnson, Raab, Gove, Patel, etc) they are old style Social Darwinist Liberals with a strong libertarian streak, allied to a chickenhawk fetish for military action (all they lack is a functioning military).

        Reply
      2. Yves Smith

        Yes, I agree. Four of the five options in the piece Lambert linked to depended on legislation. Aside from the divisions in the House, you have the even bigger obstacles of the Government controlling Parliamentary time, any MP being able to “object” to a private bill and kill it, and the comparatively few sitting days between now and October 31.

        Reply
        1. vlade

          The division is really the worst thing. Any of the other items are standing orders, and can be suspended or modified. But if you start doing that, it gets REALLY nasty, as basically the Parliament will turn itself into a government.

          The easiest (and that’s a very relative word here) solution is a national unity govt. Except there’s no national unity, so the UK will have to live with a national dis-unity govt.

          Reply
          1. ChrisPacific

            I could see a government of national unity working if it was clear that Boris intended to go for the “no government equals no deal” strategy, and if it was limited in scope to countering that strategy. For example:

            1. Government to be time limited (probably a couple of months) with an agreement to call an election immediately afterward
            2. The aim of the government, and its one firm policy, is to ask the EU for an extension in order to allow time for an election to happen, keep options open and prevent No Deal by accident
            3. All other government activities to be limited to essential functions, defer any partisan questions until after the election where possible, or rely on Parliamentary votes if not

            If I was Corbyn I would probably be looking at putting a proposal together along these lines and appealing to anybody who was against No Deal. If he could get enough confidence votes from across the aisle to offset any No Deal advocates in Labour or the other non-governing parties (are there any?) then it could work. If nothing else he would get to look like the adult in the room and demonstrate some practical ability to govern.

            Would that work or is there something I’m missing? It seems like the obvious way forward to me, but I’m not familiar enough with UK parliamentary procedures to know whether it would be viable.

            Reply
            1. ChrisPacific

              On review I see this is pretty much what the second of the two links is suggesting. The main difference from my scenario is that she suggests removing Corbyn from the mix and appointing a less polarizing leader for the interim government. What I’m missing in her version is by what agency this might be accomplished, especially if she is talking about sidelining party leaders for the duration (which would require Corbyn to be on board if it wasn’t to be seen as a coup). At least my version has an actor and a motive (deferred political gain) although it’s likely that the chance of everyone setting partisan politics aside for a temporary period is reduced if Corbyn is the one in the driver’s seat.

              Reply
    4. vlade

      LD will still attract a lot of dissafected remainers, who would not forgive Corbyn.

      They can run on “deny Boris his victory”.

      For think what would happen if in a GE Tories were NOT able to create a govt (even with BP and DUP)?

      The no-deal would last as short period as possible, as any non-Tory/BP UK govt (which in case of Tories losing would have to involve LD) pretty much immediately “suing for peace”, to try to get as close terms as possible, up to and including declaring Brexit illegal (now this would be fun..). I do wonder what is the definition of Treason then..

      In a way, Johnson may overplay his hand here. A lot of Brexit types may not come to the polls if they see Brexit as “delivered”, where the remain voters may be mobilised to kill a no-deal (and poke Johnson in the eye). The history shows that voters do not reward politicians for deliveries, but for promises. Of course, the other may happen, where remainers lose the will to fight, and the brexiters do indeed reward Johnson with a massive majority. In which case, God save the UK.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        As you say, its very hard to say what would happen. Some off the top of my head predictions:

        1. Johnson’s personal popularity and profile (certainly compared to May) would ensure a strong Tory turnout. Whatever you say about him, he knows how to get his supporters excited.
        2. There is little or nothing Labour can do in the next few months to convert people who are not already active supporters. This means it is unlikely they can pull more than their vote in the last election.
        3. The Lib Dems will not go gentle on Labour – they will go all out campaigning as the only real opposition to the Tories. This will cost Labour vital seats, especially in suburban areas. I believe many Blairite voters (and they are a significant block) will defect to them.
        4. The Greens will win enough votes to be another spoiler for Labour.
        5. There will be no reason for anyone to vote Brexit Party or UKIP after 31 October.
        6. Perversely, an economic crisis might actually help Johnson – he can make voting Corbyn seem too high a risk. Better the devil you know….
        7. The SNP will win a clean sweep in Scotland, but as Johnson will never call another Indyref, that might actually benefit him (no soft Scottish Tories to worry about, and he can blame the Scots for everything)

        Reply
        1. paul

          7 rings as true as a bell.

          The trouble with the SNP is that they,institutionally, are terrified of change. They seem to have forgotten that starting at 28% they nearly got over the line in 2014.

          Ashcroft’s latest poll should be a great comfort.

          One thing different the SNP should do this time is to demand exit polling and refuse peter lilley’s company’s expertise in counting the actual votes.

          If the electoral commission declined to share the results of the postal vote with the tories next time, I can’t see that causing any harm.

          Reply
        2. vlade

          I’m not too dissimilar, but have a few comment still :)

          1. True – but Farage is a great campaigner too, and he won’t go lightly. Johnson will have to do a very good deal with him, or he can still spoil. BP is not only about no-deal (in fact, there’s a scary number of BP voters who do not want no-deal – but still vote for Farage).

          2 “they can pull more than… “. They can’t as a a non-trivial part of that exited stage right to LD already. Their share will be way lower than 2017.

          3. Depends. They will not be gentle on Labour where they smell blood in the water. But in other consituencies, it could be strategic (as I wrote above) to actually stand by “in the interest of the country”, as to avoid splitting anti-Tory vote. No matter what Labour does. There’s little real cost to them (swallowing some pride), and potential massive strategic upside, if it does help beat Tories.

          5. UKIP is dead, was dead, and still polls around 1%. BP has Farage as I wrote above. You’re assuming rational voters. Monster Loony Party polled 1% in the recent by-election.

          7. SNP clean sweep of Scotland means -12 Tory MPs (I assume they would keep the one they kept in 2015), which they have to get from somewhere. If they lose another 10-20 MPs to LD, then it’s quite possible that Tories will be the largest party, but still unable to do even a coalition (any seats BP is likely to win will come straight from Tory seats IMO. With a possible exception of Kate Hoey, as I’d not be surprised if she defected to BP before elections).

          That said, I’m not sure how viable would Labour/LD/SNP/Green/PC coalition be. It could do little IMO except be a caretaker government for a referendum (assuming it got an extension from the EU in the first place). And it could be entirely possible that it would fall before the referendum anyways, as it would not be far-fetched if the Labour splintered on another defeat.

          Reply
  10. bassmule

    No, there are no copy editors. When the magazine publisher I worked for was acquired by Reed-Elsevier back in the ’90s, guys in expensive suits came around asking why we still had them, when all we needed was SpellCheck.

    Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      no, for real, he mowed ’em down, no mistake. not that I’m a fan, but about time too:

      it’s the MSM, stupid

      Reply
  11. THe Rev Kev

    “Bolton warns China, Russia not to double down on support of Maduro”: ‘U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton on Monday warned China and Russia not to double down in support of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, saying Venezuela might not repay its debt to them after Maduro falls.’

    And now the cat is out of the bag. This would be precisely what John Bolton’s plan would be and is a repeat of what happened with the oil assets that the Russians had in Iraq before the invasion. They were seized and handed over to some of Bush’s buddies. If China and Russia want those debts repaid, they are going to have to double down on support for Maduro.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That sounds like it’s all about money, and rich and powerful nations fighting over money.

      If so, why should small, poorer nations, or little people without much money care which rich and powerful nation comes out ahead?

      Reply
  12. Amfortas the hippie

    regarding trump admin mandating transparency in hospital pricing arrangements:
    “In public statements, the American Hospital Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans have said the disclosure is a bad idea and would harm consumers. AHA has said the proposal exceeds the government’s legal authority.”

    I’d be interested to see these parasites make a fleshed out case for opacity. should be enlightening.
    when i was trying to get a hip replacement(6.5 years, 4 times through the Disability mill, until i was no longer “eligible”, because 6.5 years of not working, because i was disabled,lol)…I called the bidness office of the nearest hospital to get a cash price for a hip replacement. it’s a “market”, after all.
    woman there had difficulty understanding my question….”insurance does that”.
    I pressed, and pressed, called her several times, and pressed some more:”how much cash do i need to bring to get a new hip, with no frills, no private room, just the bare necessities?”
    she finally got back to me and, with much obfuscation and a$$covering and “you can’t hold me to this”,gave me a ballpark of $300K.
    at the same time, i was pursuing the option of “medical tourism” to Cuba. a hip replacement there, with a bungalow on the beach and a private nurse for recovery, was around $15K…the Canadian “medical tourism” company had this figure in front of them when i called.
    all of this went into a letter to my congressman, senator, Obama, and anyone else i could CC…before Michael Moore’s Sicko, I threatened to run off to Cuba for an affordable hip, and put the whole experience up on youtube,lol.
    soon after, after Disability informed me of my ineligibility, I was caught in the tattered net of SSI, and got my hip(with numerous strings attached, regarding my solid gold trailerhouse and the default assumption of fraud).
    if there’s no price discovery, it ain’t a frelling market.

    wife is mad at me for giving credit where due…but if trump follows through on this, it’s a Good Thing. I just wish that the “party of the little guy”(tm) would have thought of it instead.

    Reply
    1. nippersmom

      Nippersdad had to make a trip to the emergency room for a back problem last month. Initially, our insurance processed this as an in-network claim. Our “Explanation of Benefits” read:
      Hospital Charges: $967
      Your discounts: $838.07
      Due to your hospital: $128.93
      Anthem paid: $128.93
      Your total cost: $0

      Anthem later decided that this was out-of-network, and we received the following “Explanation of Benefits”:
      Hospital Charges: $1737.85
      Your discounts: $0.00
      Due to your hospital: $797
      Anthem paid: $497
      Copay: $300
      Services not covered: $940.85
      Your total cost: $1240.85

      We found this enlightening, to say the least. Yesterday we received a bill from the hospital, which correlates with the second Explanation of Benefits. Providers don’t want transparency because they don’t want those who are un- or underinsured to know how much we are being ripped off.

      We are appealing the decision of the insurance company. Should we lose our appeal, we will next be pressing the hospital for an explanation of pricing practices.

      Reply
  13. Clark

    > Are there no copy editors?

    Lol. No. I hypothesize that this must be happening at every publication. For example, I started noticing a lot more bloopers in the NYT after they fired half of theirs. … But you’d think that Esquire would have retained at least one to look at the headlines. Or, given that the non-copy editors (if that’s the right term) supposedly write the headlines, the headline-writing editor could have easily copy-edited all by his lonesome. “Scything”?

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      When I saw the word “scything”–in a headline, no less–my first thought was it must be some sort of social media “meme” bastardization of the English language that those of us who avoid social media like the plague have to find out about after the fact.

      Reply
      1. barefoot charley

        When I was a callow young proofreader we learned the hard way that our greatest threat wasn’t bloopers in the text, it was in the headlines improvised for final page layout at 3 in the morning. Can it be that some things don’t change?

        Reply
        1. prooferlad

          Yes, and it’s why proofing online materials was so teeth-gnashing for me–no understanding of the necessity of linear process.

          Reply
      2. Cal2

        Ever hear of the Grim Reaper? That thing he carries is a scythe, used for cutting grain, it gets swept back and forth. Requires constant sharpening.

        Reply
      3. Synapsid

        Katniss Everdeen, Cal2,

        Change y to a and you get scathing. Both work. I prefer scything and plan to remember it.

        Reply
    2. ewmayer

      Actually, rumor has it that Dan Brown, having blown his windfall $millions from the shlock-hit that was The Da Vinci Code on hookers and blow, has fallen on hard times and is now a lowly copy editor with the publication in question.

      Coming from the author of immortal mixed metaphors like “learning the ropes in the trenches,” a deliciously in-apt usage like “scything” is par for the course.

      Reply
  14. Wukchumni

    Going cold turkey as far as outside streams of information for 10 days was quite therapeutic, and I made sure not to listen to any news upon returning to the world from the back of beyond, but was intrigued by all the half masted flags on display along Hwy 395, apparently the only sure fire method to assuage our guilt over another series of mass murders.

    I needed something @ Wal*Mart and stopped at one in Bakersfield, and their solution to the news there was to have a security guard @ the exit hanging out with the employee that checks your receipt to make sure you paid for everything in your cart. You wouldn’t want to have said security guard @ the entrance instead, that would make sense, but scare the customers.

    The ammo selection in the locked glass cases was chock-a-block full, and I wondered why they still plied that trade, given the circumstances.

    Oh well, perhaps the best we can hope for is the El Paso store will be razed to the ground and a memorial and much larger store than the previous one, will rise from the wreckage wrought

    Reply
  15. dk

    Column: Health insurance companies are useless. Get rid of them Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

    The larger insurance industry seems pretty well entrenched, beyond being a payment model for health care, where the term “insurance” is stretched to cover normal recurring and expected costs.

    There’s insurance for everything, travel, houses and their construction, various aspects of business from inventory to professional liability, financial liability, income coverage for education loans is a thing, “The chances of being disabled are higher than most expect” (“one in every four”): https://static1.squarespace.com/static/585adf01bebafba6992fa31b/t/58a4aa5aff7c504b7204c622/1487186523767/Student+Loan+Rider-+Infographic.pdf

    In most other vertical sectors, afaik, the insurers haven’t completely overtaken payment processing/collections and record-keeping the way they have in the medical markets, but they could, they have a lot of infrastructure to do so. What if car insurance vendors got more involved in “outsourcing”/privatizing the state vehicle registration and licensing processes (which also adjoins voter registration processing in several states)?

    Not saying insurance is a bad thing for catastrophic risks, but I wonder of we have clarity about where the lines between prudence and reflexively mandated (and/or heavily marketed) payment (rentier?) schemes are. I think requiring car/driver accident insurance makes sense generally, and requiring an insurance plan for gun ownership has been proposed as part of a more restrictive and responsible framework. But vehicle/driver insurance vendors are going high-tech with driver-monitoring software and hardware, offering discounts (to markups) while collecting behavioral data. Or what if Mark Zuckerberg gets frustrated with Libra and decides to go into the insurance biz? The insurance market seems more permeable to lobbyist-blitzing than the currency markets, although the financial risk is more obvious (not really Mark’s thing).

    So cutting off the health insurance market isn’t going to kill an entire industry, is it? It’s not a field I know or understand well, I just see it everywhere. Thoughts, NC?

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i like insurance companies even less than i like banks.
      I get the idea of hedging against unforeseen catastrophe…but healthcare doesn’t really fit that bill, does it?
      everyone will need it at some point, to some degree.
      and like you point out, including under insurance’s purview the routine interactions with the healthcare system is just silly.
      that health insurance is specifically excluded from antitrust laws(for whatever that’s worth at this point) also makes me itch….i’ve never seen a good explanation for that…and, indeed, most people seem to know nothing about it.(of course, most people don’t know what “antitrust” is, anyway)
      the long train of abuses that bunch has perpetrated on their customers for decades is plenty justification to hit them with the nationalisation hammer, in my considered opinion…the links in that article regarding aetna’s skullduggery is just the tippy top of the iceberg.
      and all of this is to leave aside the immorality of monetising human suffering, and preying on the weak and defenseless as a business model(the unconscious person in the ER is in no position to make informed choices, even if such choices were possible, given the lack of menus or price tags)

      in the last year of hanging around the hospital and various doctors’ offices and clinics and whatnot, I’ve chewed the fat with hundreds of folks. not a one of them spontaneously expressed love for their insurance(out of the maybe 7-9 who had any, at all;—the greater number who are covered under medicare and/or the VA, however, do regularly express—if not Love—appreciation for those services.(medicaid, not so much))
      dig up Teddy Roosevelt and set him upon these parasites.
      nationalise them all, and give a frelling dividend check to every american from their dark pools of capital.
      I consider anyone who defends the health insurance “industry” to be Hostis humani generis.
      Fie.

      Reply
      1. Baby Gerald

        If insurance companies are worried about the advent of MfA, let me suggest they replace that revenue stream with gunowners insurance.

        Reply
    2. Watt4Bob

      I received an unsolicited call last week from a group telling me that I was ‘qualified‘ for Social Security Disability.

      I asked why they were calling me?

      I told the caller I was had no problems, he said; “So you’re working, …you’re qualified for SSD…

      I told him I wasn’t interested in this conversation and hung up.

      WTF!

      Sounded to me like an invitation to an insurance fraud scheme?

      Reply
      1. BobW

        Two decades ago in California there were people outside of temp employment agencies who steered you to doctors that would file disability claims en mass. No scams going on there. /s

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          My late brother had brain cancer and the combo of chemo & radio saved him from dying, but only left him barely living. It was very difficult to get him on full SSD, they aren’t handing out payments willy nilly like bon bons for everyone!

          Reply
    1. Off The Street

      Social media platforms are enablers of more persistent and pernicious problems. There are many negative influences that young people face growing up, typically delivered via a screen of large television size or small phone size. When cynical game manufacturers develop the optimum dopamine delivery dosages and amygdala assaults, is it any wonder that self-medication via whatever is handy has become so widespread.

      Encourage your kids to play outdoors with other kids so that they develop some socialization skills along with a healthy bit of physical exercise. Then engage them around the kitchen table and during bedtime. You may be surprised at what they observe and how they adapt.

      Reply
    2. Wyoming

      There seems to be some issues with this study.

      It compares ‘friendship’ and ‘loneliness’ across generations. This seems to be an apple and oranges comparison. Different generations are in different stages of life and should have different results. There is no quantification of what the different generations felt when they were the same age which would have more of a real comparison to it. Perhaps all of the generations were about the same when they were the same age?

      Another item I wondered about is what the definition of friend and acquaintance is for the millennial’s. I know mine is different than what my children’s is. Facebook ‘friends’ are not friends to me. I don’t confide to my ‘friends’ about important personal things where I might to my best friend. Acquaintances are not friends they are other humans you have met and know. Things like that.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        I remember being the age of present millennials, and I certainly had friends; seemed like everybody did. n=1, of course, but not a hard study to do. That was 50 years ago.

        Reply
  16. Brooklin Bridge

    The Metadata Trap: The Trump Administration Is Using the Full Power of the U.S. Surveillance State Against Whistle blowers -The Intercept

    Chilling. Trump admin. is going after whistle blowers who’s leaks occurred during the Obama admin.

    Some interesting info about extents and technical means US “homeland” such as the FBI agencies use to track and catch whistle blowers, the moral of which which might be summed up much like Snowden’s objective; namely, he used measures to obscure his tracks as a means of giving him time to get the information out, not to avoid getting caught which he knew was inevitable “in the fullness of time.”

    Part of the problem is that the process of learning to cover your tracks -quite difficult and technical- in and of itself leaves very clear tracks that can be used at a later date as cookie crumbs. I wonder how many people have actually managed to blow whistles on significant government crime and remain anonymous.

    Reply
  17. Craig H.

    > The ‘man of the people’: what would Plato think of Boris Johnson?

    Johnson is the 20th of 76 British prime ministers to have attended Eton, and the fourth alumni of Balliol College, Oxford, to hold the position.

    Apparently he may be called a populist because he didn’t get good grades. That sounds pretty dumb to me. (The writer not the PM.)

    Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Since the sentence has two subjects – ‘Johnson’ and ‘British Prime Ministers’, then both the singular and plural version of alumnus/alumna/alumni is correct. Strictly speaking, in American English the singular version is most commonly used in those situations, while in British English the plural. So the writer is correct, or at least not definitively incorrect.

        Or you could just opt for alum/alums.

        Reply
        1. David

          Putting on my structural analysis hat, I would argue that this is not one sentence but two : the first says that J is the 20th PM to have attended Eton, whilst the second says he’s the 4th alumnus of Balliol to have got the job. All the members of the second set are contained in the first but not vice versa. J is the subject of both sentences so I’m sticking with the singular.

          Reply
        2. dearieme

          both the singular and plural version of alumnus/alumna/alumni is correct.

          Rubbish. He can’t be “the fourth alumni”. If you were discussing a pasture you couldn’t identify one beast as “the fourth cows”.

          Reply
  18. prodigalson

    What strikes me most about the Venezuela embargo is how indefensible it is. For the other nations named there’s a fig leaf of lame reasons for why they’re an imminent threat to the US but at least there’s a fig leaf. In Venezuela’s case the argument and blatant reasoning is “we want their oil and resources and we’ll do whatever it takes to steal them.”

    It’s just total naked aggression on a smaller nation, who are not involved in the typical terrorism issues, are not on our border, are not a military threat in any way, whose human rights issues are far less than say Saudi Arabia, whose economy isn’t that different than the Nordic socialist nations, and don’t really have a “history” with the US like Cuba, Iran, and North Korea. (though we’ve been diligently working to make that history over the last 15 years or so)

    Venezuela really typifies what’s at the heart of US culture and history from its very beginning. Killing other people and taking their stuff, with whatever justification is needed to still feel like a “good” person while doing it.

    Reply
    1. Brooklin Bridge

      What strikes me most about the Venezuela embargo is how indefensible it is.

      What strikes me is how few people have any inkling of just how indefensible it is. Granted, my observation is anecdotal and my circle of acquaintances small, but still). It’s surprising how many self described “progressive” Democrats (the kind who say they are progressive but realist), for instance, think Trump is bat **** insane, yet absolutely right in his crushing sanctions on Venezuela or that Gabbard is great but beyond serious consideration by having gone to Syria. Trump may be nuts but anything the USA does is divinely ordained nonetheless.

      Reply
        1. Brooklin Bridge

          A sobering thought for me, but if your in Cambridge Ma, I might have been the one who painted them last.

          Reply
  19. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Column: Health insurance companies are useless. Get rid of them Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

    There’s no doubt that it will take years to wean the American healthcare system off the private insurance model; Kamala Harris’s proposal may be merely a recognition of the necessary time frame.

    How in the world could this possibly be true? As has been noted here many times, the implementation of Medicare originally took one year, without computers.

    Medical insurance is a PAYMENT system, nothing more. Medicare is the same thing with different forms to fill out and different patient ID numbers. Virtually every “provider” in this country is already connected to the Medicare system and is familiar with its requirements and procedures. Switching to Medicare for All is literally a matter of switching to a single claim form for every patient, sending all of them to the same address and getting a check from the same place.

    Taking “years to wean the american healthcare system off the private insurance model” should be taken to mean only one thing–finding the time to fubar the process so completely that it never sees the light of day and the “healthcare” rationing and profiteering continue unabated.

    Reply
    1. Summer

      In short, the health insurance industry is part of the financial sector whose main innovations are getting into your purse or wallet faster…

      Reply
    2. Olga

      Well, we forget that part about the “entrenched money interests!” Close to impossible to dislodge. In the energy field, EMI squawked no end about “stranded costs” and demanded (successfully) a ransom. But revolutions tend to do a good job of disposing of EMIs.

      Reply
    3. VietnamVet

      Three things that changed healthcare into nightmare it is today was Dick Nixon legalizing for profit HMOs, deinstitutionalization and closure of county hospitals, plus Wall Street’s financialization (Credit Cards) that allowed Americans to die with an average of $61,000 of debt.

      Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    A litte ditty about Little Boy and Fat Man
    Two American bombs thought up in the heartland
    Little Boy’s gonna be a uranium scar
    Fat Man loses it’s virginity in the backseat of Bock’s Car

    Suckin’ on fire-seared cogs that used to be human beings
    Fat Man’s sittin on Japan’s lap
    He’s got his hands between Nagasaki’s knees
    Little Boy say, hey Fat Man lets run off
    Behind Hiroshima and see
    Dribble off those babbling brooks
    Let me do what I please
    And Little Boy say a

    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone
    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone they wok on

    Little Boy sits back reflects his thoughts for a moment
    Scratches his head and does his best clean sweep
    Well you know Fat Man we oughta blow up the city
    Fat Man says, baby you aint missing no-thing
    Little Boy say a

    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone
    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone

    Gonna let it rock
    Let it roll
    Let the A Bomb come down
    And save my soul
    Hold on to U 235 as long as you can
    Changes comin’ round real soon
    Make us half-life women and men

    A historical ditty about Little Boy and Fat Man
    Two American bombs that went off according to plan

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h04CH9YZcpI

    Reply
  21. dearieme

    Banks can’t always afford to put analysts on the ground in developing nations

    When the US invaded Afghanistan someone wrote that they were bound to be defeated because no CIA agents would agree to spend much time in any country where they could expect to suffer diarrhoea.

    Reply
  22. Stormcrow

    TODAY IS AUGUST 6
    Lest we forget

    Don’t Whitewash the Hiroshima Bombing
    Peter Van Buren

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/dont-whitewash-the-hiroshima-bombing/?fbclid=IwAR0cHrfqTwuQEnfKJDmc81In7s_5Kint4mkcA3Boq-RMCbX8sXOKBiLRCKo

    American Conservatives Are the Forgotten Critics of the Atomic Bombing of Japan
    Barton J. Bernstein

    http://www.independent.org/news/article.asp?id=5056&fbclid=IwAR2OxKhoB6MpHAITe1WoPNidmuLs4gMiz0rVae9uoFYl3-CVkTjRqqMmjjY

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      Do you really think that American troops that had fought in Europe would put up with being sent across the country from east coast ports, put on ships and sent to invade Japan?

      They would have refused to get on those ships and this country would have had an armed rebellion. Local police with revolvers versus combat veterans, who looked like them or were their sons? No way.

      That, and to impress the Russians were why the bombs were dropped.
      ————–

      Katniss,

      The meme I’ve seen is it should be called
      “Demographic Socialism”

      – – – – – – –
      Primebeef,

      How about open borders for Israel?

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        In fact, my father was shipped across the country and put on a naval ship for Japan. I believe I was conceived along the way. He didn’t think he would survive the invasion of Japan. In reality, Japan was desperately trying to surrender at that point, but he didn’t know that.

        My wife is involved in planning a Hiroshima memorial tomorrow night. Big turnout last year. Not entirely forgotten.

        Reply
    2. Olga

      And talk about a blowback! From a comment at the second link:

      “2. Japan had been suing the U.S. to surrender for months with only one condition: the Emperor would not be arrested and tried. Truman refused all such requests because he wanted “unconditional surrender.” Instead, the records from the Truman Library show that Truman chose to drop the atomic bombs NOT to end the war (for which the Japanese had already agreed to do), but to scare Stalin. Ironically enough he accomplished this by triggering a relentless campaign by Stalin to get the bomb, launching the nuclear arms race and the Cold War. And as the U.S. did NOT then arrest or try the Emperor, the entire insistence on “unconditional surrender” was another scam.”

      Reply
  23. Katniss Everdeen

    I will admit that everything I know about DSA–brake light repair clinics (good, in my opinion) and unequivocal support for open borders (bad, also in my opinion)–I learned here at NC.

    So I’m curious what those with more DSA knowledge than I think about this segment from last night’s Tucker Carlson show on the DSA convention in Sacramento.

    Batshit crazy is my first impression.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eq6B0rwhIFs

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Open borders.

      Is it soley about the US?

      What does, for example, the Mexican government (or Norwegian government, etc) say about illegal Americans there?

      I hope to read some links about such reports.

      Reply
      1. Monty

        They get no government aid and they get kicked out if they are caught without the correct papers. Just like everywhere else.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not just everywhere else.

          I think it is worse for an (innocent or not) American to be caught in North Korer, or maybe even some parts of Syria.

          But most Americans (and most people of the world) would likely ask, what is he/she doing there? Spying?

          So, in that case, it’s open borders except spies.

          Reply
    2. Mike Mc

      Fairly awful, but then every state Democratic assembly over 30 plus years I attended was almost as bad, and that’s without all the virtue signaling and political correctness displayed here. I do prefer Robert’s Rules of Order to this conglomeration of Occupy Wall Street communication methods.

      DSA is very amorphous and scattered right now and will be for some time to come due to their very newness AND youth and inexperience of many members.

      Bear with – frankly the last few GOP gatherings I’ve seen news coverage of (or CPAC for that matter) seem every bit as batshit crazy but in the other direction.

      Try attending a Green Party meeting anywhere in the USA then compare them to DSA.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        DSA uses many methods of communication depending on the circumstance. Including Robert’s Rules of Order and progressive stack.

        I don’t disagree with any of this comment, a Green Party meeting ah yes lol.

        But what some rightwinger says about the DSA, eh lying liars and the lying lies they tell, of course they will spew garbage, consider the source.

        I mean in reality the DSA are pragmatic (but not sell out) and get things done, but the ideology is idealistic.

        Reply
    3. lordkoos

      Beyond the valley of the politically correct! I support democratic socialism, but I sure wouldn’t want these people to be running the show. It’s like a little club for precious types.

      Reply
    4. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      DSA convention was in Atlanta, Georgia.

      We hav a DSANOLA general meeting on the 22nd and ill try to find out more about it then. I abhor all the Identity Politics mumbo jumbo but hav come to accept this episode as growing pains. Pelosis did a great job of infecting normal discourse with red herrings that distract from class based Solidarity. I say all the agoraphobic members (which is weird cuz like why would they wanna represent their chapters at a CONVENTION) should participate via skype in a quiet room attached to the ballroom.

      Went canvassing the other day in the Freret neighborhood and everyone we talked to said theyd support the DSA affiliated Dem, Marguerite Green, for Louisiana Agricultural Commissioner. Even the Free Markets gentleman who thought Weed in fact should be legal.

      And Open Borders is electoral suicide.

      Reply
  24. kgw

    prodigalson, I take issue with your stating, ” Killing other people and taking their stuff, with whatever justification is needed to still feel like a “good” person while doing it.”

    They don’t feel the need, they are just ignorant , unfeeling , failed two-leggeds.

    Reply
  25. Wukchumni

    Give A Dam About This Beaver Spotted Swimming In The Hudson River Gothamist
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The frontiersman Jedediah Smith was probably the first American to see the Kaweah River here in the late 1820’s, and pronounced it one of the best rivers he’d seen as far as trapping beaver potential was concerned. There hasn’t been a beaver in any of the 4 branches of the Kaweah River in a mighty long time…

    Jedediah Strong Smith was probably the first American to visit the Four Creeks area. Searching for a mythical river that supposedly flowed from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, he went south from Great Salt Lake, picked up the old Spanish Trail to the Colorado River, and, after crossing the Mojave Desert, eventually reached Mission San Gabriel late in 1826.

    Smith and his party were well treated by the Spanish but were regarded with suspicion and, in January 1827, were ordered to leave California by the same route by which they arrived. However, the party turned north from San Bernardino, crossed Cajón Pass into the desert, then over the Tehachapis into the San Joaquin Valley, probably by way of the old Garcés route. They traveled up the east side of the valley, trapping beaver on the Kern, Tule, Kaweah, and Kings Rivers as they went. Smith later reported this to be the best beaver country he had ever seen.

    https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/smithsonian/terminus-reservoir/sec6.htm

    Reply
  26. Wukchumni

    US Afghan envoy praises ‘excellent progress’ in Taliban talks Agence France Presse
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sounds very similar to our ‘Vietnamization’ efforts circa 1969, can’t wait for the righty-tighty-gawdalmighties to blame liberals for ‘losing’ in the ‘stanbox.

    But more importantly, what does KBR & Halliburton think of the USA taking away their rice bowl in the graveyard of empires, or does it even matter after nearly 18 years of profiting hugely off the conflict there?

    Reply
  27. Oregoncharles

    “what would Plato think of Boris Johnson?”
    Why would anyone care what Plato would think? Plato thought people just like him should be running things; he was fairly crude about it.

    I’ve never gotten over the shock of reading “The Republic.” It’s the original model for fascism. This was one of the founders of philosophy? And even the earlier Dialogues, which are less crudely self-glorifying, are full of false logic. The famous “Parable of the Cave” promotes a religious, reality-denying version of philosophy: more fake logic. There were better philosophers around then, so Plato knew he was faking it.

    Plato is what’s wrong with philosophy.

    Reply
    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      What about his thoughts on Debt Cancellation? Didnt Hudson say this part isnt really taught anymore?

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Had similar thoughts too when I read it. With all the enlightenment going on, this was the best model that Plato could come up with? Philosopher kings? Seriously? Even in ancient Greece there was endless strife as people refused to be rued by a self-elected elite but this is the model that Plato went for? You are right. It is a model for fascism and Plato should have known that it would never work. Unless of course as a philosopher that he was hoping to be made one of these philosopher kings.

      Reply
    3. juliania

      I have one – no, two – words for you dear folk: Bernard Suzanne. You obviously didn’t get what Plato was about. But I agree with you, rather a silly question. We live in silly, fearsome times. And maybe we need to go back and attempt to discover what Plato thought about – anything, really.

      But it’s late. We’d better sleep first.

      Reply
  28. Inode_buddha

    FINALLY something I can agree with in all this!
    Latest Sanders Ad: “BAN all assault weapons”.

    I agree. I hope such a ban would extend to police forces too. I draw the line at sporting arms, etc., there should be no problem with those.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      but they are already banned in California for instance. I suspect California doesn’t have a high MASS shooting rate per capita, but there was just one in Gilroy.

      Reply
  29. David Mills

    Esper seems to have let the cat out of the bag. If the US was in compliance with the INF, how can it field intermediate range nuclear dapable missiles in the comihg months?

    China’s missile capacity renders the INF moot, bit it shows the US was cheating as much as the Russians.

    I’ve stopped worrying and love the bomb…

    Reply

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