Links 9/20/15

Phys.org (CL).

Inside Climate News. “Top executives were warned of possible catastrophe from greenhouse effect, then led efforts to block solutions.”

Science Blogs

Deadspin. Something is rotten in Sacramento.

WSJ

Francine McKenna, MarketWatch

Reuters

WaPo

FT

Reuters

WSJ

Telegraph. “Once all money exists only in bank accounts – monitored, or even directly controlled by the government – the authorities will be able to encourage us to spend more when the economy slows, or spend less when it is overheating.” What could go wrong?

FT. Interesting!

Reuters. Apparently, AARP has a vice president of “thought leadership.”

WSJ

2016

The New Yorker

Yahoo News. On the trail in NH.

WSJ

CNN

Politico. Candidate’s handwriting.

National Journal. Headline is a bit deceptive, since I didn’t notice hipsters of any sort, but a nice atmospheric piece on the Sanders speech at Liberty U.

WaPo

New York Post

Corbynsteria

Times of Israel. For something a bit more chilling, see (bullets one and two) and ; neither of which I can verify from original sourcing, or else I’d link to them. Readers?

The Independent

Centre for European Reform. “Rise”? Totally unlike forty years of “because markets.” So interesting to watch publication after publication disqualifying themselves with Corbynsteria.

Lenin’s Tomb.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The Atlantic

Bond Buyer. So, nix law enforcement for profit targeting black people and the bond market hates you.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic

AP

Grexit?

Daily Mail

FT

Mirror (Isabel).

Foriegn Policy. Gotta say, I’m  leery of any headline of “Spirit of” in it. Readers, is this credible?

Syraqistan

Defense One

McClatchy. The self-licking ice cream cone…

The Economist. Capital flight from China.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Motherboard

The Economist. “Max Beauvoir, biochemist and high priest of Haitian voodoo, died on September 12th, aged 79.”

The Atlantic. Author seeks bird in the woods, fails to find it. But an answer to the question “Was Hume influenced by Buddhism?” would have been a beautiful bird indeed…

Understanding Society

LRB

NYT

The Persuaders, PBS. “I don’t care what you’re going to tell me intellectually. I don’t care. Give me the reptilian. Why? Because the reptilian always wins.”

Antidote du jour:

walruses

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.

115 comments

  1. Ditto

    I am the care taker of an elderly parent, who has dementia. We elected to let the parent stay in the home. It was actually cheaper than the $11,000 per month for a nursing home. Also, elder abuse in nursing homes seerms rampant. The main cost is for the parent’s attendants, which is 9,000. I mention all this to say elder care can be complicated. Tech certainly can’t hurt bc the system seems to be broken.

    1. mad as hell.

      I hear a lot of these scenarios and have experienced the effects in the last few years with family and relatives. Yes the system is broken and there is NOBODY in the political arena that is attempting to fix it that I know of! The irony in it is all Americans the older they get will experience something they wished they would have addressed earlier. Much like climate change!

      1. three eyed goddess

        ‘the irony in it is all Americans the older they get will experience something they wished they would have addressed earlier.’ So many of us can’t deal with our own aging and death. As a nurse I’ve seen countless adults fall apart when faced with the reality of their parents’, and by extension, their own demise. How ironic to think we humans could deal with global issues like ecological collapse.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s true (about the reality of their/our own demise) – when we care for ageing parents, we see ourselves in the future (if we live that long).

          And it compels one to educate oneself about living a healthy life as much as one can (because schools don’t teach it enough), instead of letting oneself be educated into a productive (more productivity, more better) corporate cog in order to make the corporations eve more powerful.

        2. tongorad

          Growing old is one of the worst things that can happen to a person in our, um, “society.” There’s the realization that years of work doesn’t buy security – in fact almost everyone is looking at you with cash register eyes.

          Thomas Hardy to the rescue, ala Channel Firings

          “So down we lay again. “I wonder,
          Will the world ever saner be,”
          Said one, “than when He sent us under
          In our indifferent century!”

          And many a skeleton shook his head.
          “Instead of preaching forty year,”
          My neighbour Parson Thirdly said,
          “I wish I had stuck to pipes and beer.”

    2. diptherio

      For anyone interested in alternatives to corporate aging options (which we all should be), check out these guys:

      I’m working on a couple of projects right now that could evolve into multi-generational mini-communities, where some give care and some receive it and the corporate middlemen (and middlewomen) are cut right out of the picture.

      Imagine a small housing development with wheelchair accessible units for seniors and units for families/young people. Imagine some of the younger people are paid to take care of their senior neighbors. Now imagine that the buildings are owned by the people who live there, young and old alike. That’s what we’re shooting for.

      1. Pepsi

        That’s a very interesting link, thank you.

        The pricing of nursing homes and assisted living facilities seems perfectly calibrated to drain the assets of the aged, once they’re gone, they die. It’s very nasty business.

        1. diptherio

          The pricing of nursing homes and the fact that very little of the cash is getting down to actual practitioners, mean that there is a business opportunity here. Unfortunately, the industry has been pretty successful in getting lots of competition-preventing regulations put in place. Where I’m at, for instance, nursing home beds are regulated much like liquor licenses–and one company holds almost all the available bed-permits.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’ s good to incorporate neighbors, because some are childless not by choice, others, many others, are for a reason – because there are too many humans.

        They may not have children to care for them, except other (younger) relatives.

      3. jgordon

        I think it says something about the degeneracy of our culture that we have to work so hard to return to something that is fundamentally human. I believe that among the survivors, three generation households will be standard again in the future. It seems impossible now because of our sick legal, cultural, and social norms–but rapidly receding access to fossil exothermic energy will have a way of paring our profligate and unhealthy living arrangements down quite a bit. I look forward to it.

        1. participant-observer-observed

          Oh, the good ole days of unpaid women live-in servants to change grandpa’s diapers, who could never escape the household because of being pregnant all of the time?

          The fight to bring those days back is alive and well. Women best train themselves in medicine, for DIY doctor work. You want to kill that off too, you say? Well then we’ll have to go back to the days of the witch burning, when some 9000 women across Europe were burned alive for their indigenous herbal medicine knowledge, only a few hundred years ago, c/o Catholic church.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Did you think you were responding to jgordon’s post?

            Or as Lambert would say, “Match for that straw?”

  2. financial matters

    In part 1 of a climate change platform series Michael Hoexter addresses the ability of current government to deal with the problem.

    “The US system of governance, particularly fragmented by geographical subdivisions and dependent on rich patrons, is unable to respond to overwhelmingly popular demands for reform and risks full delegitimation.”

    “we must unite, in some form, around the critical climate emergency in order to survive in any organized form as a civilization. Human-caused warming and acidifying emissions must cease rapidly”

  3. Ditto

    Congressional Bkack Caucus

    I’m over the CBC. Only six of them met with Sanders. I’m not saying they should endorse him or anything (in fact, I say don’t endorse anyone), but six? Come on. It’s just so typical. We continue to be in a depression and yet they can’t be bothered to entertain a pathway other than the same one they have used to fail Black people since Bill Clinton was President.

    They provide nothing but heartache for Black folk and cover for the DLC/neo-liberals, but, there they are fawning over the bro-liberals like a bunch of house slaves.

    1. Carla

      Thanks for this. The six who attended the meeting with Sanders were:

      1. Rep. G.K. Butterfield
      2. Rep. John Conyers
      3. Rep. Charlie Rangel
      4. Rep. Yvette Clarke
      5. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
      6. Rep. Karen Bass

    2. wbgonne

      Traitors to their people. Supporting politicians and policies that leave black people behind. If the CBC wasn’t a bunch of neoliberal greedheads before Obama they sure are now. And this appears to be the DLC bulwark against Sanders: they will use African Americans to destroy the candidate most likely to help themselves. Just like the GOP did with white working people in the Southern Strategy. If Hillary sinks it will be Biden to the rescue (I’ve already seen the pitch: Obama’s third term! like a dog whistle to black Obots). Yet another element of Obama’s long-term toxic legacy.

      1. hidflect

        I wonder how many Black people can figure that Biden was calling them Negroes for the first 30 years of his life. I’m sure the terminology has changed with the times but how about the sentiment?

      2. different clue

        Haven’t the great majority of black-identified people in this country freely chosen to support Obama for entirely voluntary black-racist-loyalty reasons? Wouldn’t these same people reject and de-elect their currently-sitting black officeholders if those officeholders dared to say something negative about Obama?

    3. cwaltz

      That was my first thought too. It looks like the party elite are looking to create another coronation rather than sitting back and listening to what each of the candidates have to say and letting the voting base have a say.

  4. gonzomarx

    Corbyn latest

    Correct me if I’m wrong here, but is a British general threatening a military coup in the Sunday Times?!

    and in other news

    Labour could back Syria strikes despite Corbyn opposition, says Hilary Benn (and stay in Nato, keep Trident)

    I guess the General’s threat has been heard loud and clear by Labour. Is it just a coincidence that John Kerry has been in town.

    1. gonzomarx

      re: Corbyn and General

      Its all over UK and journalist are tweeting about it but have yet to see it picked up

      1. ambrit

        The comments below the lead are interesting as well. Why was the blanket denial the first response highlighted? Interesting at many levels. I too caught the ’emasculate’ meme.

        1. gonzomarx

          seems MSM columnists and reporters have noticed but some are ‘no story here move along just a crazy general’ but I think it was more a shot across the bows, you can only adjust TINA a little but don’t fuck with the source of money/power (or a general’s erection).

          As I tweeted I think Corbyn is seen as a risk to the business as usual to the bribes, easy retirement on boards, internships for their kids & most important the psychic Viagra of weapons.
          These guys are the professional ammosexuals. The IRA thing would also be a factor for military.
          But yet to hear a rebuke from MoD or any comment from government about a serving general making these kind of threats to the leader of the main opposition. The guy should be sacked but the silence is deafening

          saying all that the Independent has it on the front of its website
          British Army ‘could stage mutiny under Corbyn’, says senior serving general

          “The unnamed general said members of the armed forces would begin directly and publicly challenging the labour leader if he tried to scrap Trident, pull out of Nato or announce “any plans to emasculate and shrink the size of the armed forces.””

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Generals like nothing better than a doting regime that can spend and buy as many baby rattles as they want.

          1. ambrit

            Until the generals discover that the ‘rattles’ are made from babies. [Insert dead baby joke here.] In the interests of fair play, [insert dead baby general joke here.]

        2. Jagger

          —-Oh, dear. Threaten to take the baby’s rattle away and he does begin to fuss.—

          Never underestimate the military. Their job is to kill people and they are usually pretty good at it. And they don’t have a lot of qualms about doing it if you cross one of their redlines. It is sort of like pissing off a cop. You really don’t want to do it if at all possible.

          1. Tom Denman

            To see the threatened coup against a future Corbyn government in historical context, see the BBC’s 2006 story about a plot against the Labour Government of Harold Wilson in 1975.

            I doubt that Auntie Beeb would be so courageous today.

    1. low_integer

      I am at a loss for words and feel sorry for the children who are exposed to this nonsense. Unbelievable.

      1. optimader

        Never heard of it before, how absurd! Meant to cultivate innumerate masses that can’t make change and aren’t intellectually intimidated pressing the hamburger and fries icons so the register can count out change. It will all be so much more simple when the peeps have embedded RFID debit chips. Currency is so 20th century.


        Carl’s Jr. Computer: Welcome to Carl’s Jr. Would you like to try our EXTRA BIG ASS TACO? Now with more MOLECULES!
        Costco Greeter: Welcome to Costco, I love you… Welcome to Costco, I love you…

        When I was in GRADE school(!) we were taught how to use the abacus and sliderule/log tables! Apparently that was a long time ago on a planet far far away. :(

        btw real men do subtraction left to right, more fun that way and quicker one you get used to it.

        1. cwaltz

          I couldn’t really understand what the equation was since I didn’t see “jack’s solution.”. It looked like “jack” missed the 10s place based on the number line though.

          While it does seem like it is more complex than basic subtraction the way we learned it I wonder if it might make it easier for a kid to understand why they get a particular number.

          Then again, I definitely think we’ve had more problems with our school systems for longer than no child left behind if I base my commentary on people in the comments section of the internet. For some reason, some of them seem to think a court system makes law(Kim Davis) rather than interprets it and determines precedence.

          1. hunkerdown

            For real?!?! It’s like Fisher-Price reinvented Roman numerography, because of those heathen Ay-rabic numerals giving kids Ideas. I mean, we can’t have the kiddies actually learning relationships among abstract symbols, can we.

            At this rate the local fast food joints will sell intimate services well before 500 years have passed.

  5. jgordon

    How to end boom and bust: make cash illegal

    It should be noted that when a government is intent on destroying the purchasing power of its currency, all escape hatches must be sealed off (except for the rich and well-connected I suppose–see Cyprus). I view this piece as an admission that the only way current ideas about economic and finance are sustainable at all is with totalitarian controls in place to enforce them.

    Sadly for the powers that be though, there does seem to be a growing market for non-fiat currencies (the darknet, silkroad). My feeling is that if they really make a push for the sort of ultimate totalitarian control that they want, they’ll discover that people do have an out. Non-fiat crypto currencies are already widely used for black-market economic transactions (that’s not supposition; they are in, and they work), so it’s not like banning and going on a crusade against them will be anymore effective than the war on drugs has been. In fact, the Draconian policies against them might make them cheaper, more attractive, and more widely available than they’ve ever been–since making things illegal tends to have that effect.

    1. say_what?

      Nor will eliminating fiat-cash (not a bad idea in itself) abolish the boom-bust cycle since government-subsidized private credit/debt creation is the root cause of that.

      Legally stealing purchasing power from workers and the general population might have seemed like a good idea when the result was a net increase in well paying jobs but now that implicit social contract is broken via automation and outsourcing. So what now? Neo-Ludditism, Smoot Hawley II, more perpetual war to keep the population occupied, other anything-but-justice “solutions”?

      1. jgordon

        The best strategy I’ve seen is to invest in local resources that decrease future consumption and future reliance on the overall industrial economy. Examples: solar passive water heating, a heavy duty hand-operated (or mechanical wind/water powered) home mill, and a crop of moringa trees in the front yard.

        But since these sorts of things will automatically have a contractionary effect on the industrial economy if widely implemented, I wouldn’t be surprised if economists started trying to ban those too. Sort of like how many utility companies are actively working against personal solar energy adoption (with local codes that prohibit off-grid living in cities and making it prohibitively difficult/expense to connect to the grid, etc).

      2. skippy

        Ummm…. how does one steal PP in a fiat system when a more accurate depiction is measured in productivity.

        Skippy… seems the problem has always been political e.g. bargaining power regardless of monetary system i.e. more Foucault than object fetishes.

        1. say_what?

          “how does one steal PP in a fiat system when a more accurate depiction is measured in productivity. “ skippy

          By, for example, financing automation not with workers’ savings but with government-subsidized private credit instead thereby bypassing the need for the savings of workers and the general population thereby reserving (legally stealing) productivity gains for the government subsidized banking cartel and their so-called creditworthy borrowers.

          “seems the problem has always been political e.g. bargaining power “ skippy

          Even if the power of labor unions were boosted with restrictions on the import of foreign labor and goods, what shall be done about the elimination of jobs via automation? Neo-Luditism?

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I have been saying that.

                A robot for each (usage may be individual, ownership doesn’t have to be).

                Then, we can all afford to be Neo-Luddites, if we choose to be so.

            1. craazyboy

              “Robots” are overhyped. They are mainly a cover story to explain away the effects offshoreing.

              We’ve been losing part or all of entire industries due to offshoring.

              Automated welding machines have been used in the auto industry since the ’70s. The problem today is we are putting the factories in Mexico and China. Also, automation improvements in industry are at least as much about higher and more consistent quality as they are about cost. Safety too, if you think about steel plants.

              Then, do we really want to do away with computer systems and go back to file storage and retrieval by sneaker net? The typing pool?

              Do we really want to eliminate the entire miniaturized electronics industry and products and go back to huge vacuum tube TVs so it’s possible to assemble them, using the women folks fingers?

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I see great potential for ‘robots for workers,’ instead of ‘robots against workers.’

                We don’t’, for example, do away with computer systems, but share the benefits beyond just among elites.

              2. say_what?

                You raise excellent points and the answer is that we should all share in those productivity gains since we all financed them.

                The thing about openly acknowledging the injustice of the current money system is that it opens the door to restitution and to the sharing of the great wealth produced thereby.

                1. craazyboy

                  Ya, also too, maybe large corporate effective tax rates should be going up, rather than the steady decline to zero trajectory they have been enjoying the last 20 years.

                  1. say_what?

                    As long as those taxes are redistributed to the population, why not? Our purchasing power built those corporations, after all.

                    Better, redistribute the common stock of all large corporations equally to the population?

                    But let’s at least solidly identify the problem – unjust wealth inequality caused at least partly by an unjust money system, apart from the problems inherent in usury (any positive interest rate).

                    1. craazyboy

                      We could have maybe something like people…or no…social security. Then maybe something to do with when you get sick or injured???

                    2. say_what?

                      Of course but when large scale mercy is required it often means large scale injustice is at work. Let’s eliminate the injustice as a “mercy saving device”, I suggest.

                      Those who want to eliminate Social Security in favor of private charity, for example, would not like the results of having to deal with innumerable beggars – especially when they feared becoming a beggar themselves if too generous.

          1. cnchal

            Officially, the aim is to ease “administrative and financial burdens”, such as the cost of hiring a security service to send cash to the bank, and is part of a programme of reforms aimed at boosting growth – there is evidence that high cash usage in an economy acts as a drag.

            What a load of horse shit. Unofficially here is the real reason.

            Having everyone’s account at a single, central institution allows the authorities to either encourage or discourage people to spend. To boost spending, the bank imposes a negative interest rate on the money in everyone’s account – in effect, a tax on saving.

            Faced with seeing their money slowly confiscated, people are more likely to spend it on goods and services. When this change in behaviour takes place across the country, the economy gets a significant fillip.

            The recipient of cash responds in the same way, and also spends. Money circulates more quickly – or, as economists say, the “velocity of money” increases.

            What about the opposite situation – when the economy is overheating? The central bank or government will certainly drop any negative interest on credit balances, but it could go further and impose a tax on transactions.

            So whenever you use the money in your account to buy something, you pay a small penalty. That makes people less inclined to spend and more inclined to save, so reducing economic activity.

            Right out of the gate, the “official” reason is a lie. Any government that wants this level of social control, is managed by criminals.

            At the moment it’s easy for individuals to avoid seeing their money eroded this way – they can simply hold banknotes, stored either in a safe or under the proverbial mattress.

            But if notes and coins were abolished and the only way to hold money was through a government-controlled bank, there would be no escape.

            Financial prisons are in our future if these psychopaths get what they want.

        1. craazyboy

          Worse. They want to order us when to spend it and when not…because economy.

          Can you imagine having to check with JYell everyday to find out how the rest of the day is gonna go? Mind you, no one said anything about giving you some electronic credits to spend.

          So don’t think this is a fun idea, or anything.

        2. Antifa

          The Central Bank mentioned in the cashless society article — it never mentions who owns it. A consortium of private banks, as it works today? This just guarantees a small clique of rich folks get to skim free profits right off the top of the economy, as it works today. The only fair Central Bank in a cashless society is a gigantic computer with no loyalties to anyone or anything except maximum prosperity and productivity to the maximum number of humans. Nobody special, no bankers doing God’s work.

          And then there’s the hilarious sentence, “. . . the “black economy” will be hugely diminished, and tax evasion made all but impossible.”

          As if! There’s no upper limit on the number of ways I can exchange things or services or favors with others. The black economy will become a vital and daily part of everyone’s life. I help you get your small business going or running in good order with solid advice, and you help me put up a fence in my yard. Neighbors helping neighbors. To the government, it isn’t worth the cost of pursuing such a value exchange. It won’t be taxed.

          Networks of favors will result, mafia style — “I’ll do this thing for you now, but remember — some day I’m going to ask a favor of you, and you cannot refuse me.”

          I help you with your fence, you drive my friend Al to Sacramento, he stays with another friend in exchange for renovating their bathroom, and he also meets with some hacker friends who put together a way to change the numbers in people’s bank accounts. Call it malware. Lots of that going around.

          The following week, the Central Bank announces that several billion dollars is missing, and I happen to know it all started with my new fence out back. Most of the money shows up in accounts in Prague and Damascus, where dozens of containers full of heavy caliber weapons have gone missing because the computer crashed at the Central Bank and when it came back online the location of these things was no longer recorded. Now we can’t find ’em.

          “Good neighbors build good fences.”

          1. craazyboy

            Well, I get it. Telegraph. London is like a great big bank. There are some newspapers in the area. The politically correct absolute pile of rubbish can get published!

  6. low_integer

    Re: The WWII-Era Plane Giving the F-35 a Run for Its Money.

    An interesting read, and then you watch the video posted in the second comment…

    1. craazyboy

      Ya.

      “One former Imminent Fury pilot jokes about how the Air Force didn’t want the Super T because “it couldn’t carry AMRAAM [missiles] or nukes, and the Navy didn’t want it because it didn’t have folding wings or a tailhook.” ”

      Also too, no VTOL capability. We need something that works like an Apache helicopter. But maybe has more forward speed, say like the Osprey.

      Certainly sounds like we need a military coup to overthrow the military.

      The vid was interesting. I guess if all the friendlies don’t use their radio communications to say who’s who, then one may expect problems – friendly fire and such. Maybe they’ll get that one figured. Social networking. Give everyone an iPhone and a Facebook page and they can all tell their friends what they are doing and post their GPS coordinates. If they spot an enemy – “dislike” and estimate the position. After all, we are the high tech military.

      1. OIFVet

        Military comm gear is nowhere near as reliable as Old Faithful. And there is a fledgling military “social network”, the Blue Force Tracker. About as buggy as the Obamacare website, but far more expensive. As always, the Duffel Blog has the best take on it: “The unit refuses to operate as ordered and has been contemplating its very existence, according to members of its assigned unit, 1-38th Infantry.” Trust me, whatever you can come up with they thought of long before, and managed to wring a pile of money out of it while never making it fully functional. War is a racket.

        1. craazyboy

          Tap your heels together and say C Cubed!

          Command, Communication and Control!

          I heard that a big problem in NATO is every country has their own favorite (domestic) military com gear industry. The result being all the stuff has incompatible frequencies and security, and NATO forces can’t really do C Cubed..oopsie.

          1. OIFVet

            The Muslim wave and the encroachment of Evil Putin will force the Euro lemmings to buy the US commo wares, never fear. Then NATO will be unable to communicate on the same frequencies and equipment. And there will be other sales too: . So all these phantom Russian subs were a sales push for Boeing wares. I just hope the Brits don’t sink themselves next time one of its own subs is presented as Vlad’s underwater yacht.

            1. craazyboy

              I heard about 90% of the former Soviet navy is rusting away on a very long beach in Siberia. Someone told me you can find the pics on web, if you search around enough.

              But they probably did keep their fanciest subs, at all costs. A few nuke subs and you can still be a MAD player,

    2. optimader

      Click bait title that depreciates credibility.

      The F-35 program is an easy target for criticism, but the article is a bit of a ramble. The core issue not really addressed is that “modest budget” programs are orphans at the Pentagon. Those Military cubicle rats want to attach and ascend w/ the budget largess of well embedded Congressional District MIC weapon system welfare programs designed to keep on giving over their career horizon.
      There are a quite number of similar example of simple cost effective programs killed for lack of budget and complexity.

      1. JTMcPhee

        “Cost-effective,” in the name of what cause, again? Aargh, screed time again…

        Re the “Tucano” and A-10 “Warthog” and all the other weapons-fetishist claptrap: Persistence obviously pays – the idiocracy keeps telling us mopes that “if only the Brass and Congress and the rest of the MIC had given us the RIGHT weapons, and none of that silliness about limited rules of engagement, we would have beat the crap out of (name the Wogs in your favorite asymmetric Empire-versus-tribal-or-nationalist-‘enemy’ conflict.”)

        Bull-effing-sh-t.

        Dare one ever ask, “But what is the Mission”? Think what those Troops We Support are mostly doing: “Putting Warheads on Foreheads Since 1966,” going to a foreign place, where they have near zero understanding of the culture or the tensions and motions and interests that drive the armed people they are sent there to “dominate and defeat”– often of course armed by “US” – and then kicking in doors, terrifying and killing and yes, raping and other outrages. Often in a culture where pride and revenge are significant drivers of behavior. Or setting up little outposts or huge bases – the former to “forward operate” the Doctrine du Jour, basically to get in the faces of people whose behaviors they have no means of controlling or directing short of threats of force or plain old killing. Or bribery, including lots of cash and weapons (more fuel for the world-burning firestorm of combustocombatoextractoconsumption and in some cases, good old Viagra. Both the former and the latter as bazaars for every kind of corruption and abuse. (The supply sergeant in my unit in Vietnam was supplementing his pay by selling captured “trophy weapons” back to the “gooks,” any number of Troops were doing felony games with currency exchange, black market what a surprise was everywhere, on and on.)

        To what end? To what goal? What is with the cheerleading for men, and now Proud Women who have “won the RIGHT(?) to take part in combat with Wogs everywhere,” kicking in doors, going out on patrol to provoke attacks and trigger ambushes and Detect IEDs by walking or driving over them? Jump straight from whatever the corporate “War is nothing but a racket” impulse is for the latest conflict where patently “we” do not have a clue how to do what “we” pretend the Mission is, or what “victory” or “success” might be defined as , to crying out for The Poor Troops Under Totally Unwarranted Unfair Cowardly Sneaky Terrorist Insurgent Attack and Neeeeeding Immediate Close Support. With the mythology that “if only the Tucano/A-10/Reaper/Cheyenne/Apache/AC-130, etc. were deployed overhead, “we” would “win.” (Note, for the record, that in the compendious DoD Dictionary of Military Terms, neither “war” nor “success” nor “victory” nor “triumph” nor “winning,” nor “defeat” nor “retreat” for that matter, are defined terms, but there’s a Noah’s flood of terms and synonyms and linkages to guide and “manage” and supposedly describe the whole patently corrupt “Battlespace management,” procurement, supply chain, deployment, logistics idiocy. Wonder why?)

        Maybe that link to the WW II –style (though turboprop-powered) Tucano was just included to provoke a response like the above. I’m aware enough of the powers and interests at work to know that this little screed is futile, in the face of a death wish that the whole effing species seems to have, especially since the relatively few who control the motions and pacing and “policies” that drive it all have built an incentive structure for their own personal profit and advancement and supremacy. These folks pretend to “patriotism,” but it’s all about private advantage, in the knowledge that unlike the mopes who the militarization and “serve” in “combat” (that supposedly noble enterprise), they face no hardships other than not qualifying for the most comfortable Device, Seating, Ergonomic, and the nicest personal military-provided personal jet or at least prop-driven transport. And knowing that they will live out their lives in comfort, paid for by (MMT or tax revenues or “government funding/borrowing,” take your pick of explanations of How It Really Works.) Just like the rest of the plutokleptocracy (who we mopes can take small comfort in reading that they live in the State of High Anxiety about their personal security and the fear of losing any of the sh_t they have taken from the rest of us.)

        So the Troops are under fire and need close air support. We just assume that the “technology” that works supposedly so well or so we are told via the proselytes for all the other Weapons Systems that just have to be built and paid for, will, if just degraded back to a slightly more primitive level (albeit with a spew of depleted uranium 30mm cannon shells, smaller bombs, white phosphorus, cluster munitions in smaller “dispensers” and “dispensed” by a brave pilot and gunner daring to dive right down into Hostile Fire including the ever more ubiquitous MANPAD anti-aircraft missiles), result in “VICTORY!”

        That failing, there’s always the WW II-era nuclear weapons to deploy – or some of the really exotic and lethality-enhanced stuff that our Really Smart Advanced Degree Holding or entrepreneurial types are selling into the procurement pipeline, and I hear Obama (and this is the case apparently with other heads of state and do-ers and shakers too) might ought to have the Secret Service vacuum up all his cast-off dead skin cells and hairs and anything else that might allow an Evil Scientist to reverse-engineer his DNA and come up with a very personal fatal virus or fungus to infect him with… See, e.g., , and
        See? Technology and Scientists (if they are paid enough and don’t give a sh_t about consequences) have a tool for every purpose, so many of which are so easily (consistent with our human impulses) weaonized…

        How much horsesh_t can a horsesh_tter sh_t? I guess it depends, for a lot of reasons, how much and what flavor of fodder goes into the alimentary canal of said horse…

        1. craazyboy

          An ounce of prevention is worth million megaton of cure.

          But yeah, that’s the one oversight in the article I noticed immediately. Whatever you fly close and slow, MANPADs are now a problem. Maybe the article writers are too young to remember we gave Bin Laden Stinger missiles in Afgania and he blew away Soviet Hind helicopters with them until Soviet pilots finally refused to fly.

          Same goes for cruise missiles and our Navy. Great bang for the buck.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Wogs shoot down helps with unguided RPGs and some get pretty adept at leading faster flers with 12.7mm and 20mm heavy machine gun and “small cannon” fire. All that begs the question: WTF are The Troops doing Over There in the first place? Defending Freedom ™? Promoting Democracy (sic) ™? aANYTHING remotely related to even actually Protecting The Homeland, other than in the economic “sense” of bolstering wealth transfers by turning over inventory and justifying 13,000 mile supply lines and fostering the corruption (NC definition, converting public goods to private profit) that floods the whole enterprise?

            We should care that “supposedly more effective weapons” are not being fielded to do insane, destabilizing, nation-killing idiocies? Really?

            1. optimader

              We should care that “supposedly more effective weapons” are not being fielded
              We should very much care about the composition, cost and effectiveness (purpose) of weapon programs that suck human and material resources away from the private sector. It is systemic.
              The perception of the legitimate function of why the armed forces exist is reflected how the aforementioned composition, cost and effectiveness are justified and acquired.

        2. Optimader

          Several topics conflated. Yes there is a big issue with the lack of meaningful reflection and aknowledgement of what constitutes Just War. As well Pentagon weapon programs have have evolved to be giganormous scale that are converted into Congressional District appropriations –more about politically distributed fodder and less to do with fidelity to national defense in the true sense of the term.

      2. optimader





        to just name a few.

        The A-10 was the exception that wiggled in under the radar and has been a Pentagon target of derision and budget deprivation since it was first fielded.
        IIRC in nighttime flight operations in Afghanistan, to navigate A-10 pilots were reduced to using cobbled together IR imaging from AGM-65D Maverick missiles their ground crews secured on the aircraft.

          1. Optimader

            They eventually were embarassed into providing IR headsets but the systems built into that plane have been kept rudimentary.

    3. Engelvard Hinglefling

      I’m also disturbed by the plane having its own glossy website. Why do multi-million dollar weapons need to be advertised to the public?

    4. low_integer

      Thanks for the very interesting discussion!
      To expand on my initial post, when taken out of the context for which it is built, I think the A-29 is a beautiful piece of engineering, with just the right blend of aesthetics, craftsmanship, and technology for my tastes. As far as the bigger picture goes though, I agree with JTMcPhee.

  7. Steve H.

    Clotaire Rapaille – so tasty, but it smells like bullshit.

    But as he says: “Some people hate it; we don’t care.”

  8. efschumacher

    The Tree of Life data file is at:
    It’s 545MB! From the README file:

    The full Open Tree of Life datastore is available at . All of the inputs trees used for construction of the synthetic tree are a subset of the trees in that repository. We cannot make all of the input trees available under a CC0 waiver so the files are not included in this data package. We do provide processed tree files from various points in the synthesis pipeline.

  9. OIFVet

    Re: “The Spirit of Lviv Foriegn Policy. Gotta say, I’m leery of any headline of “Spirit of” in it. Readers, is this credible?” Semi credible. Many of Samopomoch’s activists are no doubt sincere, but the question is whether the top leaderships is, or is simply trying to get its “fair share” of the pie. It’s a rather common occurrence in the Eastern parts for a “successful businessman” to found a movement for “change” that morphs into a party that then makes “compromises” as part of the ruling coalition while its top people get rich. “Sadovyi was, by this point, already a well-known local figure. During the 1990s he became one of Lviv’s most successful businessmen, active the construction industry and the local media market (which was useful in promoting Samopomich’s message).” Translated into English: construction in most post-Soviet spaces is a racket dominated by thick-necked gentlemen under the aegis of the political elites, a way to siphon public resources by way of government contracts, or selling off public property well bellow market price, or launder ill-gotten cash. Sadovyi though hits a second home run: media properties. Wanna bet this “reformer’s” media gets a cash boost by Open Society and US government NGOs? The bottom line, one did not become “successful” in business in the 1990’s without being involved with the corrupt political elites (which in turn were and are the same old apparatchik elites, simply re-branded by their new American neolibcon friends and masters into “democrats”). And those elites and their chosen “businessmen” have proved remarkably adept at changing their appearances to stay current with the shifting public moods, rather like chameleons.

    In that re-branding these business and political elites are helped by US and European media outlets. In the early 2000’s it was another thick-necked bumpkin that came on the political scene following a “successful” business career in the 90’s that was promoted as an “organized crime fighter” in Bulgaria, and rose up to become the current PM. Now, all countries have mafias but only the Bulgarian mafia has a country. Anyway, to the surprise of no one in BG, Wikileaks revealed that the US was perfectly aware that this “successful businessman” made his money in the protection racket, illicit methamphetamine production, and tobacco smuggling. Which of course made him the perfect “democratic” figurehead for the US, he is so easily controllable… So when I read this glowing FP profile all I get is a flashback to something that has happened many times over already, form of change where the more things change the more they stay the same.

    It’s fitting that this was published in FP, the dog-whistles of neolibcon ideology are everywhere: “IT professionals”, “outsourcing,” “young activists,” “self-help”, “Russian-occupied East”. The neolibcons just need a success story, so Orwellian language gets heavy use:

    “This city makes a certain kind of people,” he says. “More than other cities do. And it has to do with its history. When you live here, you’re going to discover that you live in the apartment of a Jewish family that was killed. So this isn’t something you can actively try not to notice.”

    Lambert keeps stressing the lack of agency thing, and its use in this passage is bad enough to make one lose his breakfast. Heaven forbid that FP points out that it was these spirited Lvovians’ grandfathers who killed that Jewish family. It’s something FP is “actively trying not to notice.” Then there is that little contradiction where the thieving Kiev wrings the cities and regions dry, but decentralization for the East is somehow a bad thing over which these noble, spirited Lvovians of Samopomoch resigned. Good an indication as any what the agenda is, but then again “The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!”

    1. sid_finster

      As someone who lived in Ukraine for years, speaks Russian, Polish and Ukrainian, and who has lots of s in that country, including Lvov, I would summarize the article in two words: wishful thinking.

  10. rijkswaanvijand

    “How former junkie capital of Europe Portugal halved number of addicts by ending prosecution of users Mirror (Isabel).”

    Isn’t it a little strange how this town’s ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs only differ by being taken from a slightly different angle (at what appears to be about the exact same year and season)?

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Federal Reserve has got it (all) wrong.

    1. Asset inflation is very bad for those without few or no assets…i.e.the poor or the young.

    2. War on wage inflation only means wage stagnation.

  12. diptherio

    I’ll be heading back to Nepal in about two weeks. I’ll be documenting the goings on over there and blogging them:

    Wish me luck!

    1. low_integer

      Good luck!

      Also, thanks for the links to GEO. I especially enjoyed reading about the world’s first prisoner co-op, and passed the article along to someone I am close to. Great stuff.

      Take care!

  13. tegnost

    Regarding the mayor of sacto and his spouse, in seattle charter schools have been ruled unconstitutional so i’m guessing the charter school supporters will be gearing up… probably will be lots more “don’t close our school!” rallies. Yeah, close the public schools instead, that’ll work. The teachers vote today on the contract we’ll see how that goes kids are back at school, overheard at the coffee shop it’s up in the air, not necessarily a good deal. Regarding 30 billion for IT, yeesh, really? Don’t go to the hospital. The first thing they’ll do is find out how much you’re worth the keep you there til you’re broke, then “it is what it is… beat it punk you don’t expect us to just take care of you, do you?”

    1. neo-realist

      Reading the Seattle Times, I get the sense that the teachers will vote to barely push this contract over the line. They appear to have gotten enough in cost of living increases to make the deal palatable to a slight if not significant majority of the teachers. Also, with school underway, I don’t believe the teachers want to push against that boulder of anger and frustration from parents and risk losing some of what they’ve already gotten from the deal that they would go back to the barricades again. Then again, I’m not a teacher and haven’t seen all the fine details of the proposed contract.

  14. docg

    RE: Investigate Deniers Under RICO:

    My comment at their blog site:

    As the author of a “denialist” book exposing the weaknesses of the standard “Climate Change” argument, I hereby offer myself up to the thought police for imprisonment and, if necessary, torture. Here’s the link to my dangerous book, written under a pseudonym to protect me from bigots such as you:

    Given your expertise in all matters scientific I doubt you’ll have much trouble tracking me down. By all means, go to it, capture me, put me on trial — and watch my sales soar.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Both ‘good science’ and ‘bad science’ involve organized groups of people.

      Is it a conspiracy for groups to apply something that is only the best explanation today, knowing there will be a better one (at least in theory) tomorrow?

      Was it a conspiracy to organize and impose the Ptolemaic world view?

      1. Vatch

        “Was it a conspiracy to organize and impose the Ptolemaic world view?”

        Probably not, but the activities became conspiratorial when better explanations were available, based on the work of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo, yet people were prosecuted and books were banned for expressing those superior theories.

        Then again, Aristarchus of Samos, who put forward a heliocentric theory, lived 300 years before Ptolemy. So maybe there was something conspiratorial about the imposition of the Ptolemaic world view.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Huh? Seems like if we imagine a line with zeitgeist as zero, everything positive is a conspiracy? Not buying it. Seems like an impoverished view of social relations, to say the least.

          1. Vatch

            I was just ruminating about what MyLessThanPrimeBeef said. I didn’t mean to leave the impression that I think either Ptolemaicism or Copernicanism is conspiratorial. Either may seem that way to the other side, but that doesn’t make the conspiracy real.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Do consider reading the link, which includes the following:

      One additional tool – recently proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – is a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change. The actions of these organizations have been extensively documented in peerreviewed academic research (Brulle, 2013) and in recent books including: Doubt is their Product (Michaels, 2008), Climate Cover-Up (Hoggan & Littlemore, 2009), Merchants of Doubt (Oreskes & Conway, 2010), The Climate War (Pooley, 2010), and in The Climate Deception Dossiers (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2015). We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouse’s call for a RICO investigation.

      Are you part of such an organization? Like, say, the Exxon executives were?

  15. Daryl

    > Who’s Funding Kevin Johnson’s Secret Government? Deadspin. Something is rotten in Sacramento.

    Wow — it’s like he saw Hillary’s email fiasco and thought “I can do this even worse!” People claiming to work for the city but really being employed by charter school scumbags.

      1. bob

        Yeah, BTW….huh?

        That should be the story.

        Educashun power couple both go both ways, and it keeps paying, and paying, and paying

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    A divided Fed — world’s woes vs. domestic growth.

    It seems, whether or not one can issue global reserve currency – all monetary sovereigns exist within an interconnected web. There are always external considerations.

  17. Daryl

    > The WWII-Era Plane Giving the F-35 a Run for Its Money Motherboard

    John Dolan wrote a piece back in December on this. Worth reading for the righteous indignation against the Air Force.

  18. Oregoncharles

    “Treasury to Delay Enforcing Part of Tax Law That Curbs Offshore Tax Evasion WSJ”

    Who’s Treasury Sec., again? This is another example of really blatant peculation.

    And then one about the SEC, too. This administration is on the level of Teapot Dome (19th-century big scandal involving oil), but no one outside of this site is making a fuss about it or tying the threads together.

  19. PeonInChief

    Re Mayor Johnson: His latest scheme is to be the first city in California to exempt restaurant workers from the proposed minimum wage increase, following the federal government in allowing tipped employees to make subminimum wages. His chief of staff used to work for the California Restaurant Association. As my husband noted, “the hits just keep on coming.”

  20. ProNewerDeal

    anybody know of English-language newsstation internet stream focused on the Greek election?

    I’ve been streaming the legal & free France24 English stream on youtube. They have a few words on Greece interspersed with other topics.

    Per theguardian site, 34% of the votes are in currently, the new coalition maybe the exact same of Syriza with Independent Greeks.

    “Popular” Unity sadly at 2.81% looks to be short of the 3% minimum to get a few (9?) seats in parliament, unless the remaining unreported 66% of the vote has a sufficiently larger Popular Unity share, than the reported 34%.

  21. Oregoncharles

    Following the “Spirit of Lviv” link (not sure there’s much actual content, besides the yuppification of the city), I found this, which made my hair stand on end:

    Even granted that they prepare plans for EVERYTHING, this is pretty horrifying. Have they actually forgotten the long years of nuclear terror?

    Get ready to hide under your desk at very short notice.

  22. Oregoncharles

    “U.S. training helped mold top Islamic State military commander”

    That’s hardly the only one; IS literally started in a US prison in Iraq. Makes you wonder; is it actually a CIA cats-paw? Or blowback, a monster that escaped, like Al Qaeda? Its actions, and especially its exuberant publicity for evil we thought we were done with, are extremely convenient for the interventionists, who had been losing ground. And there are persistent reports of Saudi sponsorship.

    This implies a level of psychopathy we don’t like to think about, but would anyone actually be surprised?

  23. Oregoncharles

    From the Owen Jones linked above – newsflash?:

    Paul Mason ‏@paulmasonnews 2h2 hours ago Attica, Greece

    Syriza wins by big margin – despite u-turn and significant split + abstentions. Tsipras as political strategist will be in textbooks now

    What I was reading about was the threat of a coup (Corbynsteria) by a top British general. If he isn’t sacked outright, that’s an extremely sinister development.

  24. Massinissa

    According to several news sites, that coup thing is sort of a real statement.

    It was an anonymous general though. He should have just put his name out there.

  25. ewmayer

    o Re. “Letter To President Obama: Investigate Deniers Under RICO | Science Blogs”, one can similarly replace ‘deniers’ with ‘TBTF bankers’. Despite multi-trillions of documented frauds, not a single C-suite exec in jail. All such ‘calls to action’ are futile – absent a truly dramatic national political shift, na ga happen. It is useless to expect entrenched government/corporate interests to change their ways; we must change the government, root and branch, to excise the cancerous influence of the corporate shadow state. (Even then we run headlong into the most entrenched interest of all, the NatSec Deep State, but one front at a time.)

    o Re. “The adroit international diplomacy of Janet Yellen | WaPo”: So doing nothing more than what a FedHead is tasked to do, i.e. carry water for the banksters and Wall Street, now counts as ‘adroit international diplomacy’? That is a sick joke.

    o Re. “Alexis Tsipras is set to return to power as part of a coalition as a tense Greece prepares to vote for second time in a year | Daily Mail” – shoot me now. I simply can’t stomach any more of this perverse, nilpotent soap opera.

    1. craazyboy

      The unedited “adroit Fed”

      Back in 2011 when the Fed was in full swing with ZIRP & QE, the stronger economies around the world (Korea, Brazil…) were furiously complaining their currencies were strengthening too much vs the dollar due to massive dollar inflows.

      Ben flippantly advised them they can do capital controls, and that the Fed manages the US economy!!!!!

      So really, Janet could dazzle us with that capital control stuff on wherever the flight to the dollar is coming from (hahahaha. I was making a joke. We can guess where. Everywhere.) and then, ya know, get back to managing the US economy.

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