Links 7/31/18

KSAT

National Geographic

ThoughtCo

Handelsblatt

Nature

Scientific American

Medium. On a forthcoming NYT piece on global warming by Nathaniel Rich.

Freedom to Tinker

ComputerWorld

FT

Money and Banking

Brexit

FT

Business Insider

(PDF) Thiemo Fetzer, Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy, University of Warwick

Craig Murray

Syraqistan

USA Today. That should be “” but regardless: “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war” ().

North Korea

WaPo

AP

38 North

FlightGlobal

Bloomberg and Scalawag

China?

Council on Foreign Relations

FT

Reuters

Asia Sentinel

Channel News Asia

Nikkei Asian Review

New Cold War

The National Interest

Lawfare

Buzz

Trump Transition

The Atlantic

NYT

The Hill

Our Famously Free Press

Nieman Labs. No wonder the, er, explosion in gaslighting. No reporting needed.

Independent. The story is by accident, but just in case, this is the Google cache version…

Health Care

Common Dreams

Charlotte Observer

Guillotine Watch

Billboard. Free stuff!

NYT and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

The American Conservative

Class Warfare

Jacobin

The Incidental Economist

Pacific Standard (). “Well-intentioned efforts to portray the value of differences may reinforce the belief that fixed, biological characteristics underpin them.”

KCTV

BBC

Antidote du Jour:

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.

176 comments

  1. Olga

    Two more links:
    Maybe this was already posted here: An excellent review of what seems to be an even better book on neoliberalism (a must-read):

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      The second of your links is very interesting. Of course it’s hardly novel to say that globalism was always a plan to screw the workers and reduce democratic oversight under the excuse of “comparative advantage.” But the notion that it was all a carefully thought out scheme is a bit different and perhaps even a little deep state-y. Alternately it could this was simply the natural next step in the evolution of a predatory idea–baked in the dna as it were.

      But in any case thanks for the link.

      Reply
  2. PlutoniumKun

    Legendary journalist Seymour Hersh on the truth behind novichok, the Russian hacking and 9/11 Independent.

    What a great interview. Lots of juicy little quotes.

    Hersh is also on the record as stating that the official version of the Skripal poisoning does not stand up to scrutiny. He tells me: “The story of novichok poisoning has not held up very well. He [Skripal] was most likely talking to British intelligence services about Russian organised crime.” Certainly the unfortunate turn of events with the contamination of other victims suggests a sloppiness more in keeping with organised crime elements rather than state-sponsored actions.

    Hersh modestly points out that these are just his opinions. Opinions or not, he is scathing on Obama – “a trimmer … articulate [but] … far from a radical … a middleman”. During his Goldsmiths talk, he remarks that liberal critics underestimate Trump at their peril.

    He ends the Goldsmiths talk with an anecdote about having lunch with his sources in the wake of 9/11. He vents his anger at the agencies for not sharing information. One of his CIA sources fires back: “Sy you still don’t get it after all these years – the FBI catches bank robbers, the CIA robs banks.” It is a delicious, if cryptic aphorism.

    I’m reading his Memoir ‘Reporter’ right now – its a fascinating read – sometimes jawdropping – I’d strongly recommend it. I’m glad he’s still going strong at 81, and with luck he still has a few big stories left in him.

    Reply
    1. voteforno6

      It would be interesting to see if he actually produces a story on that or the DNC emails…if it ran contrary to the official narrative, it would be amusing as Rachel Maddow blathered on in a 20-minute long, spittle-flecked harangue on how Hersh has actually been a deep Russian operative over the past fifty years.

      Reply
      1. Donald

        More likely he would simply be ignored or dismissed as a guy who uncovered a few stories back in the day, but is mostly wrong nowadays. I have seen people be condescending or dusmissive towards him.

        Though with Maddow anything is possible.

        Reply
        1. NoOneInParticular

          I wonder if the apparent temporary withdrawal of the story is due to editing needs, such as the odd usage in the lead sentence of the word doyenne to describe him.

          Reply
          1. vidimi

            yeah, that was my thinking. the article, while full of interesting information, is a bit all over the place with weird segués and strange phrasing. doyenne was especially jarring. he could have just used doyen but even then it’s a curious metaphor.

            Reply
        2. barefoot charley

          Right-thinking ‘liberals’ keep a constantly updated mental list of untrustworthy journalists, ie those who cause cognitive dissonance. Won’t read ’em, won’t hear about ’em. It’s hard for me to keep current without Faceborging, but here’s a partial list of unthinkables:

          Glen Greenwald
          Thomas Frank
          Matt Taibbi
          Seymour Hersch
          Greg Palast
          Robert Fiske (for the intellectuals)
          any Counterpuncher
          any Consortium News
          and I won’t even mention MMT, since they don’t
          da bloggers and podcasters

          Still true to TINA after all these years . . .

          Reply
            1. Kurt Sperry

              Being in a left-wing bubble is pretty difficult to maintain, the duopoly bubbles are enormous, pervasive and bottomlessly funded whereas the left bubble, such as it may be, is small, perennially underfunded, peripheral at best and under constant attack from both the D and R sides.

              Bottom line: not much danger of getting caught in a left-wing bubble.

              Reply
      2. JohnnyGL

        There was that segment where he got caught on tape with Rod Wheeler giving a rant about Wikileaks, DNC, John Brennan, and the whole Syria mess.

        Caitlin Johnstone had a link to it on an article she wrote awhile back.

        Reply
        1. JohnnyGL

          Hersh’s take was that Seth Rich was the leaker, and says the FBI office in DC got the details from his computer that he was in touch with Wikileaks, but that Rich was genuinely was killed in a botched robbery.

          Reply
          1. voteforno6

            That’s actually kind of what I guessed, as far as the botched robbery. If the FBI has those details, though, you would think that Mueller would as well. Imagine how discovery would go, if one of those indicted Russians actually showed up in court.

            Reply
            1. JTMcPhee

              Discovery? Ask all you want, but between executive privilege and classified and protected information, good luck extracting anything more than page after page of thick black lines and boxes…

              Rules (as in the federal rules of criminal and civil procedure) are for the little people. on the criminal side, note the wonderful asymmetry of obligations and scope as between the defendant and the government: , especially subsections (a)(2) and (a)(3), and also the rules on either side of Rule 16. And good luck finding out what was presented to the grand jury, check out Rules 6, 12, 16 and 26.2.

              Reply
    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Awesome Sauce.

      I recently gave a copy to my little sister for her 15th Birthday.

      Time to start countering whatever bullshit shes being taught at her private catholic high school.

      Reply
    3. Carolinian

      In Reporter, he warmly relates his dealings with Hollywood director Oliver Stone in the late Eighties. However, when Stone begins to expand on his thesis that Kennedy was assassinated by a CIA conspiracy in what would eventually become his tour de force magnum opus JFK, Hersh is completely dismissive, telling Stone that the idea is preposterous – to which Stone replies that he always knew Hersh was a CIA agent and walks off.

      Given Hersh’s extensive s within the CIA one would have to give him greater credibility than Oliver Stone (Stone also thought JFK would have gotten out of Vietnam). Still it’s worth remembering that an earlier generation of paranoid Americans was obsessed with the grassy knoll. Brian de Palma even made a satirical movie about it.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        You clearly have not read JFK and the Unspeakable – may want to pick it up to brush up on some well documented facts about those events.

        Reply
      2. JohnnyGL

        Ray McGovern, 40+ years of being a CIA analyst who gave Reagan his daily briefings, has stated in interviews that he believes the CIA was involved in JFK’s assassination. So there’s that.

        I’ve seen interviews/segments with Oliver Stone where he says cringe worthy things that make me think he’s ignorant on certain subjects, or getting a bit old and fuzzy. That said, he’s done some good work.

        Hersh sounds like he’s very much still on top of his game, even as old as he is. He only gets accused of being old and fuzzy when other reporters/journalists/hacks don’t like what he has to say. There’s been too many episodes of media reacting with horror, initially, to Hersh’s stories, only to gradually have it revealed that Hersh got it mostly right.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          I thought Stone’s Untold History of the United States series for Showtime was very good. And I’m not claiming that Hersh’s opinion on the Kennedy assassination settles the matter, just that he probably has a better read on the CIA than Stone.

          Stone of course served in Vietnam and thought if Kennedy had not been killed then Stone’s own history might have been different.

          Reply
          1. vidimi

            the CIA itself is a very compartmentalised agency so any knowledge of the JFK assassination would have had to have been on a need-to-know basis. while it’s impossible to opine on the CIA’s guilt in the assassination, it is just as impossible to dispute their role in the cover up and obfuscation of the evidence, which is why conspiracy theories have proliferated.

            Reply
      3. jsn

        Hersh no doubt has good reasons for saying what he says, but the closer one looks at the Kennedy assassination the murkier it looks.

        Anyone who’s ever fired a rifle and looks at the “single bullet theory” that is necessary to believe Oswald did all the damage done that day won’t believe the official story.

        That even the President was “fair game” has a certain quieting effect. That Allan Dulles, the CIA director fired by the dead President was put in charge of the Warren Commission investigation into the assassination speaks redacted volumes.

        Reply
        1. Charlie

          Being not old enough to recall the actual events (born in 1967) and the Kennedy assassination story being problematic as the 9/11 story, I don’t see Kennedy’s death being the watershed moment many boomers make it out to be.

          The real watershed event to me is how so many important people of the economically liberal were assassinated in the 1960s. Not just JFK, but also RFK, MLK, Malcolm X, etc. (Later on it was JFK Jr and Paul Wellstone, but that was akin to shooting a dead horse rhetorically.) Which I believe was the death of the “left” well before Reagan. Everyone who wanted influence learned to avoid talking about class distinctions and the need for economic rights and less warfare.

          The flip side of those events would say a similar series of events that happens to neo-liberal, neo-con icons would precipitate a reversal of fortunes. But they seem to be excoriating themselves, though the damage they cause in the meantime is undeniable.

          Reply
          1. RUKidding

            You make an excellent point about all of the assassinations in the 1960s. I can’t speak for all of my boomer age cohort, but believe me, most/all would agree with you wholeheartedly that the combined number of murders was stunning and shocking. It didn’t escape MY notice, for sure.

            I think the “big deal” vis JFK’s assassination is that it WAS such a huge deal back in those days. Everything was so different back then. We had no Internet, social media, cell phones. Everything was much slower, and the “news” dribbled out slowly over days as to what happened. Given that the POTUS had been murdered, it kept us on the edge of our seats. It was frightening (speaking at least for myself) bc we simply didn’t know if it was Act of War – recall this happened right around the time of the Bay of Pigs and the threat of nuclear war with the USSR. Scary stuff.

            The fact that many of us witnessed Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswold “live” on TV left an indelible impression on many of us, myself included. I certainly felt “woke” (if I can use that dubious terminology in retrospect) in that MOMENT when Ruby shot Oswald. It was stunning. Hard to imagine it if you weren’t there watching it.

            The nation was in mourning for a long time. The next “batch” of assassinations hit hard but, sadly like anything else, one becomes a bit more inured to it. Not that those weren’t taken very seriously and with quite a lot of cynicism.

            Speaking only for myself, but I believe for a lot of others, JKF’s assassination was a watershed moment that led inexorably to where we are now. As Just my take. Thanks for your insights.

            Reply
        2. voteforno6

          I’ve fired a rifle. I’ve also looked quite a bit at the assassination. I believe that Oswald did it, acting alone. I base that judgment on the strong evidence pointing at Oswald, as well as the lack of credible evidence pointing at anyone else.

          Reply
          1. SoldierSvejk

            I suppose you simply have not looked at all evidence. Some prefer delusions to knowing the truth, as it may be a bit painful.

            Reply
            1. voteforno6

              What do you consider to be credible evidence? I started out all-in on the JFK conspiracy “theories” – I’ve read a lot of the well-known, and several lesser known books pushing various conspiracy theories. But then, I did some additional reading. The most convincing debunking can be found in Vincent Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History – it’s quite comprehensive. Frankly, the conspiracy “theories” that are floating around just don’t pass the sniff test – it’s interesting how people keep spinning these really elaborate stories, when a much simpler and plausible explanation is a combination of luck and incompetence. Some people do not want to admit just how much in life is governed by luck, I guess.

              In that regard, JFK conspiracy “theorists” are what the Russiagate people will be like in ten years. It’s really hard for people to give up on something in which they have such a strong emotional investment. Rather than see what is staring them right in the face, in a Ptolemaic fashion, they spin more complex and wildly implausible stories.

              So yeah, if you want to look at all of the evidence, that also includes the evidence pointing at Oswald. Guess what? There’s a lot more of that, than there is pointing at anyone else.

              Reply
              1. Shane Mage

                “All the evidence” has to include Oswald’s firm denial that he shot anyone, his unequivocal description of himself as the “patsy” (designated fallguy) for the operation, and his police-enabled murder by a mafia gunsel. What “all the evidence” emphatically does *not* include is any evidence for a *motive*, nor the “classified” and cleansed remains of the various spook Oswald dossiers, nor the obvious reality of the Dulles/Warren coverup.

                Reply
                1. JBird

                  I have very little problem believing that the CIA was capable of murdering Kennedy and can believe that they did so.

                  That said:

                  His assassination happened 49 years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Serbian nationalists whose organization was supported by Serbian intelligence (although there is no direct evidence of their support of the assassination)

                  Can we say World War One?

                  Lee Harvey Oswald had tried his best to get work from the KGB and they did had some communication with him.

                  Everyone’s collective senior leadership probably had a collective Oh Holy S$&@! moment and spent much panicked effort to not have any serious connections of the KGB made which made the whole investigation difficult. The investigation’s goal wasn’t covering up who, what, and why or even to find out who, what, and why. It was to prevent a nuclear war.

                  Of all the possible fall guys, why goofy Oswald given his connections? Any serious assassination attempt would probably not include trying to start a world war. Although stupidity is possible.

                  If he actually did shot Kennedy, then that means anyone, even the most powerful man on Earth, can be killed by a (possible) lone nut job.

                  His presumed success was unlikely but so is winning the lottery.

                  Reply
              2. neo-realist

                The doctors at Parkland Hospital saw, as witnesses behind JFK’s motorcade saw, a large gaping exit wound in the back of Kennedy’s head and a smaller entrance wound in the right temple. Hard to do shooting from the front.

                A lot of people in the vicinity of the grassy knoll and motorcycle cops accompanying the motorcade heard gunfire and saw smoke arise up in to the trees behind the picket fence at the knoll. Chain smoking secret service agents? Agents who weren’t assigned to the knoll, but “agents” who approached people running to the knoll with secret service credentials telling them there was nothing to see and to go away.

                And what was that individual with the umbrella doing protesting Kennedy’s father connection to Chamberlain on a bright sunny day?

                Reply
                1. Matt

                  You can only come to this conclusion by excluding witnesses who heard shots come from the Texas School Book Depository, and those that only heard three shots. The autopsy photos and x-rays do not show a massive wound to the back of the head, forcing conspiracy theories to turn to every more absurd theories about fakery of photos and x-rays. Although it was decades later, some of the Parkland doctors saw no discrepancy between what they saw on the day of the assassination and what is in the autopsy photos.

                  Reply
          2. SoldierSvejk

            The best FBI sharp shooters could not recreate what Oswald was presumed to have done, so one’d knowledge of rifles could be meaningless in this case.

            Reply
          3. Jean

            I cooked spaghetti last night. That does not make me an incredible chef. Oswald’s shooting was near miraculous–yeah, maybe he just got really, really lucky with the cooperation of some magic bullets.

            Arnon Milchan produced JFK.
            Gee, what a coincidence. I’ll bet that’s why that movie reveals “the truth”.


            and-his-ties-to-the-secret-services-1.5822493

            Reply
          4. John Merryman.

            I’ve wondered if The Day of the Jackal wasn’t a bit of a hint, given the plot device of an exploding bullet and how the head shot essentially blew away half his skull, while the others were fairly clean entry/exit wounds. As well as that the original brain x-ray showed lots of fragments, then the brain itself vanished.

            Reply
        3. JohnnyGL

          “Hersh no doubt has good reasons for saying what he says” – no doubt. I watched him clam up very purposefully and very quickly on the Woodworm series on Netflix. That was a very good show and worth watching. It ended up digging into CIA experiments with anthrax and biological weapons used in the Korean War.

          Hersh is VERY protective of sources, he sees this as the reason he’s been so successful (and perhaps the reason that he’s still alive) he’s probably right. He’ll shut up the minute he thinks he’s potentially exposing a source.

          Reply
      4. Shane Mage

        “Carolinian” snarks: “Stone also thought JFK would have gotten out of Vietnam…generation of paranoid Americans was obsessed with the grassy knoll.” Of course he knows just why JFK had Diem overthrown, why JFK replaced Diem with the peace advocate Gen. Duong Van Minh (who a decade later was to welcome the NLF into Saigon), why Minh was then overthrown by LBJ so shortly after the disposal of JFK, and naturally he can name all the “five tramps” on that “grassy knoll” who were photographed but neither arrested nor even interrogated. He can surely tell us, can’t he, having been told the whole story by Brian de Palma? And while he’s at it, let him tell us what he learned (assuming he saw Stone’s film) from seeing Jack Ruby correcting the Dallas DA on the difference between the “Free Cuba ” and “Fair Play For Cuba” organizations.

        Reply
    4. ChiGal in Carolina

      A much better interview without the breathless narration and allowing the man to speak for himself on these points can be found on the Intercepted podcast of 6/27 titled Live from Brooklyn. I would link it but I listen to podcasts on my tablet and am now on my phone.

      A do not miss.

      Reply
    5. Craig H.

      Sy you still don’t get it after all these years – the FBI catches bank robbers, the CIA robs banks

      I do not dispute the truth of this. My question is why the guys at the FBI do not do their job and get the guys at the CIA locked up in prisons? If they can’t do it fire them and hire somebody who can.

      This is not rocket science.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Maybe something about “assimilation,” in the StarTrekian sense? In some parts of the Imperial behavior, everyone manages to pull on the same end of the rope (the one around the neck of John Q. Public…)

        Reply
        1. precariat

          Exactly. A version of this blantant denialism is still going on, just now on matters slightly more covert and derived from IC and technological tactics.

          And the arrogance know no bounds: it’s being used on diplomatic covers in Cuba and China.

          Reply
    6. Whoa Molly!

      I got a copy of Reporter by accident, soon after it came out. The library accidentally moved my name to the top of the reserved list.

      Amazing read. Solid insights on historical events in my lifetime, puts things into perspective. Also, a deep insight into what goes into real investigative reporting.

      Hersch says he has “the gift of gab”. Again and again he will have a have a half hour conversation with someone, and they will remain genuine friends for the next 30 years. He has a unique ability to make lasting friendships, and an equally unique ability to get fired for telling the truth.

      Reply
    7. Lambert Strether Post author

      On Hersh, I thought this was the, er, money quote:

      During the Goldsmiths event, Hersh vaguely alludes to a funding programme that he has come across but does not divulge further. Most well informed people are aware of the origins of this story. Very few realise that this has been a wide-scale secretive programme, which extended into the former Soviet states as well as across the Middle East and Africa up until the present day. It has been designed to facilitate geopolitical aims presumably on the basis that the ends justify the means. I mention 1950s British intelligence documents with the stated aim of neutralising Arab socialism and nationalism. “Imperialism is imperialism,” Hersh retorts.

      Reply
  3. blennylips

    Climate Change: We’re Not Literally Doomed, but…
    …there’s space for action between “everything is fine” and “the apocalypse is upon us”

    Into that space a most remarkable paper has appeared by a The same prof mentioned by diptherio, on March 5, 2018 about a community currency systems online course.

    Over to damnthematrix for details:

    This is an extraordinary piece of reporting that needs to go viral in my opinion…. written by Jem Bendell, a Professor of Sustainability Leadership and Founder of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) at the University of Cumbria (UK). The Institute runs the world’s largest MBA in sustainability, with over 1000 students from over 100 countries. A graduate of the University of Cambridge, he has twenty years of experience in sustainable business and finance, as a researcher, educator, facilitator, advisor, & entrepreneur, having lived & worked in six countries.

    I never expected to see such from deep within the blob. I call blob due to the word cloud on his personal site:

    Academia and Research ALN Corporations Counter-Globalization Movement Lifeworth Media My Life NGOs Reports Spirit? Sustainable Development Talks Uncategorized United Nations WWF

    Reply
    1. Steve H.

      Thank you, blennylips.

      Primary source article: lifeworth.com/deepadaptation

      Good questions:
      “Resilience asks us “how do we keep what we really want to keep?” Relinquishment asks us
      “what do we need to let go of in order to not make matters worse?” Restoration asks us “what
      can we bring back to help us with the coming difficulties and tragedies?””

      I haven’t looked at his work with local currencies, but I suss it indicates an understanding that local niches are usually the ecological key to survival and developmental changes. He notes that the World Values Survey is showing increased Traditional leanings. These are exclusive hubs of 𒈨 that worked in the past. They resist change. Rational governance can respond much more rapidly to successes from the branches, for example cannabis legislation spreading through the states. But at this point that does not seem to be able to penetrate the multinational elite hubs chewing at each other like Sabi Sands lions.

      Again, thanks for the link.

      Reply
      1. blennylips

        You are very welcome, Steve H.

        > local niches are usually the ecological key to survival and developmental changes.

        Yes. Once the top down system collapses, thousands of bottom up experiments may begin in earnest. Who knows? The horse .

        When I accepted collapse, I am so glad I took to heart James Kunstler’s prepping advice ~ “Be of use to your neighbors”. Tamping down the ego, ala Tolle, is near miraculous in effect too.

        just my 2¢, could well be wrong.

        Reply
        1. polecat

          But what if your neigh-boors are too self-centered to care .. ?? What then ?
          .. or, what if they’re just takers, but choose not to reciprocate in kind ?
          I have some that fit that description — more then happy to receive the gifts of MY labors, but snub me otherwise !
          As things get progressively hinky, who receives the command .. and who gets the wish ?

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Even after all this time
            The Sun never says to the Earth
            “You owe me.’
            Look at what happens to a love like that.
            It brightens up the world

            — Hafiz

            Reply
          2. blennylips

            You describe the central problem of apehood!

            Why do you care so much about things over which you have absolutely no control?

            Or is this just a burp of whataboutism?

            Reply
            1. polecat

              People talk about getting in tight with others within their vicinity, e.i. the folks next door .. or the people down the street .. well, from MY experiance(s), it ain’t that easy. I think many people don’t feel the need to spend even a teensy-weensy speck of time to consider each other as potential allies should unsettling events come calling, to warren such interactions. Out of 7 residences on my block, only 1 spends any time involved in ANY extended conversation, or reciprocal action ( we’re both gardeners ..) everyone else seems to carry an attitude of either ambivalence, or condescension. Contemporary social atomization is a hard thing to counter.
              As for apehood .. we all just fling poo of a different color !

              Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Beyond ‘everything is fine’ and ‘apocalypse is upon us’ is this link from above:

      Black-Footed Ferret: The Species That Recovered from Extinction ThoughtCo

      Note this: this ferret species has recovered from extinction while we are experiencing Global Warming at this moment.

      Can we go extinct from Climate Change and, well, recover, like the black-footed ferret, when the world is still undergoing Global Warming thousands of years from now?

      Reply
      1. perpetualWAR

        Archeologists will be digging up that monumental surveillance site in Utah one day and shaking their heads.

        Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Do we get a false sense of security, with this scientific news, that we can ‘come back,’ even from the worse that we can inflict upon ourselves?

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          Yep. I have been dithering about buying a new Ford Big Pickup, the old white guy’s proof of retained manhood. This ought to seal the deal, righto… And no more guilt about firing up the barbecue! Or the yard blower! /s

          Note the /s tag, please, for those who jump to the conclusion (correct as to age set, in this instance, but not as to all the crap attributed to Boomers who probably display the same range of behaviors toward the home planet that young whippersnappers do) that I am a Boomer (born early 1946) and therefore one of “them” worthy only of being stuck on an ice floe and pushed out to sea…

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Arnold did a film in the 1990’s about clones.

            All the clones were fearless about dying; the film goer was assumed to think that they were fearless because there would another clone coming.

            But, for me at least, it wouldn’t matter to one of the clones that if he died, there was another like him coming – he, that clone, still became extinct, dead.

            Here, maybe the human race (or the human species…which one, race or species) recovers but that’s not the same as any one of us resurrecting.

            Reply
            1. JTMcPhee

              “Conservatives” take it way further. John Silber, noted reactionary and head of the university where I atended law school, verbally peed on environmentalists in the 80s, referred to them as “apocalypticists” and other big words, and told them to chill. Because why? Because a deep submersible had discovered 10 foot long tube worms living in the boiling, toxic space around mid-ocean volcanic vents. He was comforted by the notion that since some life can survive such conditions, the mass death of humanity was no big deal. Wiki:

              But he had psych issues, I believe. He was only about 5 feet high, and was born with a shriveled right arm. I’m 6-2 and made it a point to stand close and look down on him when I encountered him at a BU shindig. Palpable distress…

              He looked a little like Hugh Hefner.

              Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I wonder what a true Vulcan would say to that – the mass death of Vulcans is no big deal, it that’s the logical sequences of events.

                “Mr. Spock, you’re the science officer, though only half Vulcan. What do you think?”

                Reply
              2. Swamp Yankee

                I remember Silber! He lost the 1990 Governor’s race (MA) by being a genuinely mean bastard to Natalie Jacobson (beloved local anchorwoman).

                Add in the affable, Yankee Republican Bill Weld, and it was all over for mean Johnny Silber!

                Reply
          2. polecat

            Convince the youngins to banish your feeble old self ALONG with that truck you’d hypothetically cherish .. a pair of long ramps, in case you come across any ‘islands-of-refugia’ in close passing .. just remember to dump the ATVs and the beer cooler before the jump ! Definately have stowed a hot babe though .. for abiding the population protocals .. ‘;]

            Reply
      3. Lord Koos

        I posted this the other day but it’s worth revisiting for this thread – Anthropologists have theorized that at one time in pre-historic Africa, the entire population of homo sapiens was down to less than 1400 individuals. We came back with a vengeance, but I have to wonder what might have been genetically missing from that small group.

        Reply
    3. diptherio

      Thanks for the link. Prof. Bendell does seem pretty radical…nay, very radical…with a good understanding of the necessity of local organizing and action. I do recommend the Money and Society MOOC. It’s free!

      (and don’t be fooled by the date in the url. That post is actually announcing the course that starts on 8/26/18…don’t ask me why)

      Reply
    4. T. W.

      As Steve H. below pointed out, this is the direct link: lifeworth.com/deepadaptation

      This is a refreshing but quite raw article that would benefit from revisions, even after considering his response to the peer reviewers. The chief issue is analytic. Bendell is very confident that widespread social collapse is inevitable, as opposed to, say, massive social disruption and restructuring. But this is as specific as Bendell is willing to get to support this belief (from pg. 7):

      The models today suggest an increase in storm number and strength (Herring et al, 2018). They predict a decline of normal agriculture, including the compromising of mass production of grains in the northern hemisphere and intermittent disruption to rice production in the tropics. That includes predicted declines in the yields of rice, wheat, and corn in China by 36.25%, 18.26%, and 45.10%, respectively, by the end of this century (Zhang et al, 2016). Naresh Kumar et al. (2014) project a 6–23 and 15–25% reduction in the wheat yield in India during the 2050s and 2080s, respectively, under the mainstream projected climate change scenarios. The loss of coral and the acidification of the seas is predicted to reduce fisheries productivity by over half (Rogers et al, 2017). The rates of sea level rise suggest they may be soon become exponential (Malmquist, 2018), which will pose significant problems for billions of people living in coastal zones (Neumann et al, 2015). Environmental scientists are now describing our current era as the sixth mass extinction event in the history of planet Earth, with this one caused by us. About half of all plants and animal species in the world’s most biodiverse places are at risk of extinction due to climate change (WWF, 2018). The World Bank reported in 2018 that countries needed to prepare for over 100 million internally displaced people due to the effects of climate change (Rigaud et al, 2018), in addition to millions of international refugees.

      He should explain how he envisions these circumstances pointing to “inevitable collapse, probable catastrophe and possible extinction”? (pg. 31) It may be obvious to him, but he believes that it may not be obvious to most of his readers. So, he should explain the basic, concrete events that will lead from point A, the above paragraph, to Point B, collapse. What we get instead is somewhat opaque. For instance, Bendell briefly states that current adaptation efforts will be insufficient to prevent these circumstances from causing global societies to fall apart. Is it not a significant possibility that, as the impacts listed above begin to manifest more and more severely, world government will significantly step up their adaptation efforts? What policies exist in the realm of extreme adaptation measures that have not been implemented, but that governments would begin to consider? How likely might those policies be to work? Might governments trade in existing and pathetic attempts at sustainability in exchange for major exercises of police power in order to achieve mass rationing, bans on various materials/process, nationalization of industries, mandates on peoples’ lifestyles, etc?

      The point is that there seems to be a lot of uncertain grey area between where we are now and collapse or even extinction, and to me just seeing where we are now doesn’t automatically lift the fog. Bendell even acknowledges the extreme uncertainty of making predictions in this paper.

      Because Bendell fails to justify his prediction, we are also left with a commensurate lack of detail about what exactly societal collapse means, and how it is different from extreme societal disruption. There is a mention of the power running for a long time, but little more. The ‘deep adaptation’ agenda itself is also vague. The three prongs of the agenda are “resilience, relinquishment, and restoration”:

      Resilience asks us “how do we keep what we really want to keep?” Relinquishment asks us “what do we need to let go of in order to not make matters worse?” Restoration asks us “what can we bring back to help us with the coming difficulties and tragedies?”

      To me, all three of these could be used to describe an adaptation or even sustainability framework. For instance, ‘how do we keep what we really want to keep’ might be answered, ‘we keep what we really want to keep by building sea walls around our prized coastal cities’. ‘What do we need to let go of’ could be answered, ‘we need to let go of all meat eating so that everybody can eat, and as a government that’s now law’. And ‘what can we bring back’ could be ‘more biodiverse crops so that we don’t all starve from monoculture failures’.

      All of the examples he gives of these prongs could occur within a framework of global society responding to massive climate change impacts without collapsing: “withdrawing from coastlines, shutting down vulnerable industrial facilities, or giving up expectations for certain types of consumption . re-wilding landscapes, so they provide more ecological benefits and require less management, changing diets back to match the seasons, rediscovering non-electronically powered forms of play, and increased community-level productivity and support.

      So, to make this article better, perhaps Bendell could more explicitly detail what differentiates between society surviving but radically changed, and societal collapse, and how his deep adaptation agenda is more tailored to total collapse.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I felt the link “Climate Change: We’re Not Literally Doomed, but…” put a strange smiley face on climate change. I don’t see that “there are reasons to be optimistic.” I believe there is truth in the suggestion that “we have the tools—science, policy, technology—and the creativity to imagine a better world”. But that’s been true for a very long time in many areas besides Climate Change.

        I was also disappointed by the content of “Deep Adaptation” referred to in this thread. I thought it spent more effort bemoaning the lack serious work in analysis of the impending climate tragedy than it spent on characterizing that tragedy and describing “deep” adaptations to it. I concluded the paper was a less than concise opinion piece rather than a research paper. I thought the author’s shift toward:
        “… work on systems to enable re-localisation of economies and support for community development, particular those systems using local currencies.”
        as described near the end of the paper was particularly odd. Even the simplest of our technologies — short of returning to a stone-age — depend on a complex web of materials and processes. I like glass so I was fascinated by the conjecture I read about suggesting much of Enlightenment Science depended on the new views of the world made possible by glass lenses. I am beginning to review James Burke’s series “Connections”. Our economies are spread geographically over long fragile supply lines and also spread over a fragile web — also spread geographically — of specialized knowledge, skills, and materials. I think such concerns might task Resilience, Relinquishment, and Restoration far more than localizing economies through currencies — local or otherwise.

        I recall the saying that it’s a recession when your neighbor is unemployed, but a depression when you become unemployed. In a similar vein it’s a crop failure when a neighboring country’s food crops fail and there is starvation, but it is an Apocalypse when the food crops fail in your country and you face starvation. Our ‘news’, such as it is, has grown localized. I believe the climate tragedy will play out in spreading waves of local Apocalypse affecting different regions at near but different times, and when the Apocalypse comes for us it will arrive locally on local time and it will be the only Apocalypse we will know much about or recall for future history — I doubt our extinction. Humans are more adaptable than cockroaches.

        I believe this localization of societal collapse addresses the objection one reviewer raised to the paper’s claim that “climate-induced societal collapse is now inevitable”. It’s not just inevitable it has happened and it’s happening now, but just not ‘here’ yet. Human societies, including our world spread Empire, have their “tipping points” with Climate Disruption but one of many drivers approaching inflection. I think the Apocalypse will come as a proliferation of little events like that described in the link: “How the heat is affecting German agriculture, business” Handelsblatt. It will have a face we already know and will range beyond all the bounds that held the “Apocalypse” within a locale in earlier times.

        Reply
        1. georgieboy

          “That includes predicted declines in the yields of rice, wheat, and corn in China by 36.25%, 18.26%, and 45.10%, respectively, by the end of this century (Zhang et al, 2016).”

          False precision like 18.26% is bad enough in realtime and history (outside of a laboratory), sublimely ridiculous in forecasting.

          Reply
        2. Lord Koos

          I would argue your point about humans and cockroaches… the latter have been around a whole lot longer than the former.

          Reply
          1. Jeremy Grimm

            I’ll agree if you mean woodland cockroaches. I’ve read that the cockroaches we usually think of — our sometimes house guests would probably die off with us. If I were picking the most probable winner from the insect world I suspect some beetle would most likely survive. I do believe no other single species of animal other than humans has lived with a wider range in space or environment. So in that respect we are a cockroach among mammals. [I’m not sure how to deal with dolphins and whales — maybe rats too — so I’ll ignore them for the sake of my argument — assume a can-opener for sake of argument.]

            Reply
    5. blennylips

      So, that was the “the apocalypse is upon us” side.

      In fairness, here is the “everything is fine” side:

      when bernays sauce falls???:

      “…make volcano a destination…”
      “…volcano village…”

      This is a local community really really trying hard, in other times, I’d be going in a heartbeat.

      How’d they get that past the liability liars lawyers?

      Reply
  4. PlutoniumKun

    The Sinicization of Cambodia Asia Sentinel

    On even the most casual visit to SE Asia or the islands of Asia, this process is highly visible and often deeply resented by locals.

    China bought up a huge portion of Botum Sakor National Park in coastal Koh Kong province a big resort is under construction. When local residents and reporters tried entering the area in 2012 they were stopped by security personnel who warned them “This is China.”

    Chinese investors are aiming to turn the capital’s Riverside area into a Manhattan-style skyline, and rumors abound that Chinese investors are scouring Kampot province in an effort to turn the sleepy riverside town into another Sihanoukville bursting with Chinese casinos, massage parlors, hotels, restaurants, and citizens.

    Any visitor to Phnom Penh can see how Chinese apartment buildings and other construction projects have already transformed the skyline and the feel of different areas of the city in recent years, and the trend continues. Perhaps tellingly, Chinese ambassador Xiong Bo was in attendance at a recent political rally for the CPP in the capital, while the American ambassador and their European counterparts were absent, considering the event far too political. Interestingly, China regularly proclaims that it doesn’t get involved in the politics of other countries, yet this couldn’t be further from the truth. Chinese investment is almost always political, as Asia Sentinel reported on July 9.

    You can see it in Laos, Thailand, the Philippines and many other countries besides. It should be remembered of course that this isn’t a new process – there have long been periods when China – or just individual Chinese – expanded outwards, often provoking great resentment. During the Killing Fields years in Cambodia ‘light skinned’ people (i.e. those with Chinese or Vietnamese ethnicity) were the particular focus of the slaughter. The same thing happened in Malaysia in the 1950’s and Indonesia in the 1960’s. The Thais in particular regularly complain bitterly about the crassness and arrogance of the new wave of Chinese tourists and investors (while gladly taking their money).

    Its one of the lesser discussed aspects of China’s expansion that its not always done very subtly or with much empathy for locals. Historically, this has often ended very badly, usually with Chinese immigrants on the spearhead getting the worst of it.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In Bangkok, at one time, it was over 3/4 Chinese (in 1828) and still around 1/2 as late as the 1950’s (See Bangkok, Wikipedia).

      In more than a few places in Southeast Asia, the Chinese have been there over 600 years or more (when Adm Zheng He visited in the early 1400’s, he ran into Chinese already there). This is not surprising, given that in one of the many uprisings through out Chinese history – in this case, the Huang Chao rebellion (874-884) during the Tang dynasty – over 120,000 to 200,000 were massacred in Guangzhou, including many Arabs, Persians, and Jews (see Huang Chao, Wikipedia).

      It would not be unexpected to, one day, find out, that the Chinese to have been in Thailand or other nations in the region around 800 AD, or earlier.

      Reply
      1. Lord Koos

        At this point, the Chinese are so staggeringly numerous that the expatriate trend can only continue to intensify.

        Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Also consider this above link as well

      Thailand mends US military ties after post-coup tilt to China Nikkei Asian Review

      Googling, one finds the Chinese population at Thailand at around 14%.

      That should either

      1. Make Thailand a natural ally of China
      or
      2. Make Thailand wary of China.

      This latest move (per the link) is but one move in a delicate balancing act.

      Reply
    3. RUKidding

      Having been to Viet Nam, Laos & Cambodia two years ago, I agree re the Chinese “moving in” – again – on these three nations (and probably others). It is complicated, however, as many of those of Chinese ethnic origins throughout SE Asian nations have been there for generations. There’s always been a sort of uneasy “peace” amongst the local/indigeneous people and those of Chinese origins. This is my anecdotal observation, knowing/having friends who are from countries like Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.

      When I was in Cambodia 2 years ago I had a long talk with the hotel owner where I stayed; he happened to be of ethnic Chinese origin. He complained bitterly about how corrupt the government is, so the idea that every seat in Parliament was “won” by the ruling party made me think of him. I’m sure I know what he’d say. His claim is that the Khmer Rouge is still running the show, and while perhaps not quite a ruthless as during the days of the Killing Fields, nonetheless no one you want to get entangled with.

      The other anecdotal observation from my travels then was that there was a heckuva lot of Chinese tourists visiting these countries on vacation. The locals all complained bitterly to me about rude the Chinese tourists are to the locals. I can only go on what the locals told me, but it was a commentary I heard throughout all three countries. The only thing that made me feel “better” was that finally someone else supplanted the typical Ugly American as the worst tourist.

      Reply
      1. bwilli123

        Also noticed lots of Chinese in Cambodia and was told by a local that many of the Chinese were Buddhists visiting local Temples etc. They represent 18% of Chinese population, some 244 million according to Wikipedia.

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > how the Chinese tourists are to the locals

        I agree. They make Americans — even backpackers — look good. I need say no more. America — indeed, the Five Eyes generally, with the possible exception of the self-effacing Canadians — have extraordinary cultural power in Southeast Asia. Something to be converted to soft power, if we weren’t so [family blogging] stupid.

        Reply
      3. Lord Koos

        While in Thailand I heard complaints about Chinese tourists, but not so much about Thai-born ethnic Chinese.

        However, it was just 20 years ago that ethnic Chinese were targeted and killed in riots in Jakarta.

        Reply
  5. Colonel Smithers

    Further to the link about austerity causing Brexit, the publication did the rounds at UK regulators last week. None were surprised at by the conclusions.

    is also good. Charles Dumas launched his book in the City a fortnight ago. It was well received. It was a pleasant surprise to see the common ground between some City types, or the more thinking ones who attend these events, and Corbyn.

    David Goodhart, founder and former editor of Prospect and nephew of a former Bank of England chief economist, spoke at the launch and echoed what the above publications observed. His perspective was more cultural than economic.

    Reply
  6. kimyo

    Uber has said it will stop developing self-driving trucks to focus its autonomous technology solely on cars.

    Reply
    1. Edward E

      Just thought of something. A couple weeks ago I went through my first heavy duty diesel derated to 55mph and then with lights flashing down to 5mph just as it gets closer to the Beckley WV Freightliner shop managing to avoid the tow truck just barely. ACM went bad and had to be replaced. They put a brand new After-treatment Control Module in and a week later it did the 55mph derate again. But it got over it before I could get to the shop in Nashville. Fangers crossed

      So I wonder how do you STOP a self-driving twuck in derate mode? Just somebody jump on it and get inside to pull it over and shut it down? This is just totally insane, this stuff is junk, pure junk and it just keeps getting worse!!! If someone had told me say ten years ago that they’ll arrest you for having an old twuck in Californee (maybe 16 states soon) or that marijuana would be legal and soda straws illegal I’d have been wondering and asking what they were smoking?

      There were a dozen trucks with the same problems there.

      Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Bank of America questions customer’s citizenship, freezes accounts”

    This sounds like a part of a plane to de-bank and financially isolate all illegal emigrants in America. Would it be possible for them to work at a job and not have a bank to get paid into? Maybe that would not be much of a problem for cash-in-hand jobs but what about regular work positions? Also, how are they to clear cheques for example? Maybe pay rent to a land-lord?
    That is what I love about modern society. In the past someone or even the state could accuse you of something but that they would have to prove it, especially in a court of law. Now, like in this banking story article, an accusation is made and it is up to the accused to prove their innocence. I could almost hear the question ‘Are you now or have you ever been a member of a foreign country?’.
    I wonder if that question about citizenship talked about for the US 2020 census is also part of a general plan.

    Reply
    1. Jean

      Except that the banks would be giving up huge wads of cash that they can leverage out as profitable loans.

      Our local bank accepts Mexican Consular I.D. cards to open accounts, i.e. illegals can use the bank to lose interest on their money or borrow money at extortionist rates back from the bank.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Except that the banks would be giving up huge wads of cash that they can leverage out as profitable loans.

        Perhaps the banks will buy up the payday lenders and checkcashing places. Good margins at arm’s length…

        Reply
        1. JBird

          What makes you think that they have not? I remember reading that some banks already have. They don’t say much about that. I need to find those articles again.

          Even if I was wrong, I would bet my last dollar that they would have plans to do just that.

          Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      Dare one offer to question the citizenship of the corporate person named “Bank of America?) Or demand that said person sign and swear to a loyalty oath of the kind that is no doubt in the minds of the RussiaRussianuts at this very moment? Given that BoA has demonstrably helped drug lords and war lords and dictators move money from and to places that are, er, “enemies of the US?” And a host of other crimes, and a vast presence in foreign lands where BoA minions bribe, defraud and steal while collecting big paydays?

      Reply
  8. Colonel Smithers

    Further to MH370, one wonders if the investigation ed the French authorities in Reunion and Meteo France. They reckon that, due to the rate of decomposition of the debris, what was growing on the debris and the currents that took the debris to the south west of the Indian Ocean and east coast of Africa, the plane came down around the Maldive and Chagos archipelagoes. No one in the Indian Ocean believes the official story.

    Reply
      1. Shane Mage

        The report does say that that the airplane’s “diversion” could have been externally caused. shades of 9/11!

        Reply
    1. diptherio

      Yeah, no.

      Even after adjusting for inflation, Canadian families of four are paying 68.5 per cent more for health care than they did in 1997. The average single Canadian is paying 119.4 per cent more, the analysis estimates.

      That’s because the costs of health care in Canada continue to rise.

      Unless you’re claiming that the rising costs of Canadian healthcare are due to Canadian gov’t having “printed” too much money to spend on healthcare, your “MMT Fail” makes no sense.

      Now, can you explain to me some reason why we might expect the cost of healthcare for individuals in Canada to decrease, if the system were privatized like the US? Because, if the system were privatized and the costs stayed the same or continued going up, there would be no improvement, everybody would just be getting more bills.

      And that 12K per year is rather cheap, compared to what medical coverage for a family of four costs in the US:

      The Milliman Medical Index (MMI) was released earlier today, and like every year since 2001, the index was up. This year’s MMI–which calculates the total cost of employer-sponsored PPO coverage for an average American family of four–is $25,826.

      …and that number is two years old.

      Reply
      1. Doug Hillman

        The link perfectly illustrates Mark Twain’s comparison of “lies, damned lies, and staistics”. A 68% increase above the rate of inflation over 21 years is exactly a 2.5% annual rate above the rate of the general econonomy. This is astonishingly low, actually, considering the adoption of new tech and the absorption of pharma/narco cartel pricing. Wonder what rate healthcare racketeering has brought US, 5x, 10x? And they still needed waterboy Obama’s bailout!

        Reply
    2. Olga

      The source of the study – Fraser Institute – is notorious for its “free” market ideology. I’d not trust it too much. Maybe someone is trying to undo Canada’s health care system (which, by the way, works quite well).

      Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        Olga et al
        Further to the note about the Fraser Insitiute.
        CTV is a right wing private television network quoting from an extreme right wing Think? Tank?
        CTV would call itself liberal probably, but I would put it in the neoliberal camp, sort of like Democrat officialdom in the US, fuzzifying its news and public affairs to claim centrism, but working assiduously to prevent anything progressive from gaining large-scale dissemination to the public.

        Reply
    3. vidimi

      to the extent that canadian healthcare is costing more and more it is because more and more of it is being outsourced to private insurers.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Say it isn’t so! I’d hoped Canada’s provinces would have been protected somehow against the neoliberal Anschluss!

        Reply
      2. Olga

        Pretty much possible only for dental services, optometrists, and/or prescription medication – if at all. Otherwise, not so much. (And medicine is cheap anyway.)

        Reply
    4. skippy

      Just keeping it simple here – once you privatize a non profit costs go up by dint of profit extraction and admin costs 10% – 15%, won’t even go into the shift in perspective wrt providing a service vs. extraction vs a service.

      Now in Government programs the funnie’ thing is you get a one time balance sheet buff for lowing costs, due to removing labour costs, only to be hit with an increase in Government costs after all the previous management et al charge back at a higher rate w/ increased overheads [see above].

      Did Greenspan write or lend a hand with that paper?

      Reply
    5. Unna

      ….$4,640 going to health care per person in Canada….

      OK kids. That’s less than half of what the Americans pay per capita for their glorious for-profit free enterprise health care system that doesn’t cover everybody and that makes the medical big Pharma industrial complex rich.

      So come on, how many times do people have to say it: Canadian Health Care costs LESS THAN HALF per capita as in America?

      The question should not be “How are you going to pay for Medicare For All?” The question really should be “How long can America pay twice as much for a worse product before either blowing up it’s economy and/or disinvesting in the health of it’s people to the point it’s at third world levels?”

      Reply
      1. Doug Hillman

        Hooray for free enterprise, the most efficient economic system ever devised … for oligarchs. You can buy your own legislators and president, cheap, and write you own racketeers bailout bill that covers your gambling debts, captures the market for your junk products, shields you from legal liability, and forces customers to pay for junk products. Old-fashioned bloodletting doesn’t look so bad. The invisible hand is literally killing us.

        No wonder the WHO no longer publishes comparative rankings in health outcomes. Too embarrasing for the rich and shameless. In their last report many years ago the US ranked behind Saudi Arabia and Slovenia, despite spending twice as much as civilized countries.

        Free market capitalism has succumbed to it’s fatal genetic flaw; it has naturally and inevitably devolved into rigged market cannibalism. And instead of a new FDR tI save it from itself, it got Obama, the compliant manservant, playing his own con within the con.

        Reply
    6. Unna

      $4,640 going to health care

      That’s less than one half of what Americans pay per capita. Less than one half.

      Reply
    1. ambrit

      The long term plan takes shape, out of the obfuscatorially nebulous mists of the ‘Status Quo Aeternae’ it sleazes forth.
      First, pass extortionate tax cuts favouring the wealthy and ‘connected’ members of the population. Get Trump to be figurehead for this action. Then, have Trump bumped off by ostensible “Leftists.” Finally, declare a “State of Emergency” to ‘protect’ nation from ‘vast leftwing conspiracy.’ If Hilz complains, have her have an ‘accidental’ overdose of Coumadin. ‘Government of National Salvation’ is bipartisan and promises to return to popular voting once the “Emergency” is ‘officially’ over.
      Panopticon is Enshrined in Law to “Keep US Safe.”
      Government of ‘Corporate Mars’ pledges cooperation. (Government of ‘Corporate Mars’ claims extraterritoriality for its citizens, establishes ‘Concessions’ in places like Silicon Valley, Davos, the Channel Islands, etc.)
      New Motto for today: “Life is Sweet. Buy as much as you can.”

      Reply
  9. marym

    Re: Sessions announces ‘religious liberty task force’ The Hill

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new “religious liberty task force” at the Department of Justice. Sessions made the announcement at a Religious Liberty Summit, which was backed by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

    Founded in 1994 as the Alliance Defense Fund, the ADF is a legal advocacy and organizing coalition for Christian nationalists that has been aggressive in pushing for a decidedly unequal definition of religious liberty. The ADF believes not only that America was founded as a Christian nation, but also that religious conservatives like themselves must save America from moral decline. Sessions and the Trump administration’s ties to the ADF are well-known — in 2017, Sessions consulted the ADF while drafting new DOJ guidance on how to interpret federal religious liberty protections.

    “We’ve seen nuns ordered to buy contraceptives,” Sessions said on Monday. “We’ve seen U.S. senators ask judicial and executive branch nominees about dogma—even though the Constitution explicitly forbids a religious test for public office. We’ve all seen the ordeal faced so bravely by Jack Phillips [re Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission].”

    …In his critique of senators’ questions for judicial and executive branch nominees, Sessions may be referring to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) questioning then HUD Secretary nominee Ben Carson about whether he supported LGBTQ rights or senators asking judicial nominee Wendy Vitter about her past anti-reproductive rights actions.

    Reply
    1. JacobiteInTraining

      Although I am a dedicated agnostic, part of me really wishes for the Second Coming of Jesus…because I believe the arrival of the man himself would provide a shocking wakeup call to so many supposed Christians as to their true priorities and ‘good deeds’ – or lack thereof….and I do not think he would be very subtle about it all.

      No focus groups….no committees…just some much needed b**** slapping all around. Busy, Jesus would be…smashing the money lenders tables and giving the weak and weary a little hope.

      “Who Would Jesus Investigate/Incarcerate/Bribe/Bomb/Make Homeless”

      Reply
      1. Joe Renter

        There will be a second coming and it has been in the works for the last 2 thousand years.
        He comes (The Christ) for all humanity just not the followers of of Jesus. All major religions expect a return of a teacher. Keep in mind that to be objective in this area is an exercise in detachment.

        Reply
        1. marym

          White supremacy and Christianist dominionism are political beliefs about the exercise of power and domination.

          Reply
        2. Shane Mage

          But the dogma (Paul) is that this event was guaranteed to take place during the lifetime of those then living. Aside from Mel Brooks, how many of you were alive then?

          Reply
        3. Plenue

          Always fascinated by the New Age-y idea that somehow all religions reflect some core truth and can be merged. Every one of them is mutually exclusive (yes, Buddhism as a philosophy can be merged with pretty much anything, but as religions all three of its major branches have elaborate metaphysics and mythology). You’d have to purge 90% of the texts of religions in order to kitbash them together.

          Reply
            1. Plenue

              Yes, actually, I have. There’s a bit of a difference between what the Greeks and Romans did and claiming something like Christianity and Islam can be convincingly combined.

              Reply
              1. Unna

                Old Roman saying: The ignorant believe that all religions are equally true, the wise believe that all religions are equally false, and the magistrates believe that all religions are equally useful.

                Reply
                1. Plenue

                  “The full Druze canon or Druze scripture includes the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Quran and philosophical works by Plato and those influenced by Socrates among works from other religions and philosophers.[3] The Druze claim that an understanding of these is necessary, but that their al-ʻUqqāl (عقال), (“the Knowledgeable Initiates”) have access to writings of their own that supersede these.[4][5] The Epistles of Wisdom are also referred to as the Kitab al-Hikma (Book of Wisdom) and Al-Hikma al-Sharifa. Other ancient Druze writings include the Rasa’il al-Hind (Epistles of India) and the previously lost (or hidden) manuscripts such as al-Munfarid bi-Dhatihi and al-Sharia al-Ruhaniyya as well as others including didactic and polemic treatises.[6]”

                  So, exactly what I was saying. They pick and choose, keep the bits they want, discard (‘our own Scripture supersedes the others’) the rest.

                  Reply
  10. Stephen V.

    ONE ANSWER TO SESSIONS’ Task Force:: The Temple understands the Satanic figure as a symbol of man’s inherent nature, representative of the eternal rebel, enlightened inquiry and personal freedom rather than a supernatural deity or being. The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.

    Reply
    1. Bugs Bunny

      Satanism looking like an attractive choice tells me the End Times are nigh.

      I do love that statue – so utterly subversive. The link you posted doesn’t have the full view with the adoring children.

      Reply
      1. Stephen V.

        Appreciate this Bugs! I also thought their self-description was er, alluring. The End Times part is another feature. I also like the fact that the ARk Ledge’s entire argument seems to be that *this is sarcasm, not religion.” Ah, but for some of us sarcasm IS a religion./s

        Reply
  11. Ignim Brites

    “How Dangerous Is Putin’s Russia? ” There is very little evidence that Russia / Putin wants a war with the US. There is more evidence that the “Russia is our enemy” crowd here in the US would like a second order war with Russia in the Baltics or Syria or Iran. The panic about the Putin / Trump summit seems to be a reaction to the threat of reducing the heat of those conflicts of interest. This undermines the Russia is our enemy narrative and also the other cherished dream of regime change in Moscow.

    Reply
    1. Edward E

      The head of the Russian Lower House Committee for Eurasian Integration says the recent proposal to split Russia into several parts, voiced by a Latvian MP, is proof of NATO’s hostile plans…

      Missed in the article, Latvian MP Aleksandrs Kirsteins also serves as a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly

      Reply
    1. Iguanabowtie

      Probably happens about a week into Trump’s second term. He’ll go off the neoliberal reservation trying to get his face added to Mt Rushmore or otherwise rebelling against his RNC handlers, meanwhile Berniecrats go to congress in droves. Koches already said they’d work with Dems if policies were right, and I’m sure the third way funding network is already salivating at the thought of doubling their billionaire backers.

      Reply
    2. polecat

      If I cup my ears, I think I can just start to hear it now .. “It’s time to finally Embrace the Suck !”

      Reply
    3. RUKidding

      I think the Dems have already begun to rehab the Kochs. If they’re “against Trump,” isn’t that the ONE and ONLY thing that’s needed?? The fact the Charles Koch will continue to do his best to screw over the 99% in any way possible whilst attempting to enrich himself even further is just icing on the cake for Big D.

      Once again, much as I loath, detest and despise Trump, there are things that he says and does that I agree with. However, I’m totally sure that Trump’s willing to work hand in glove with any billionaire who supports his weird aims and goals and shoves some money in Trump’s pockets.

      So not giving Trump much props for this. Just saying…

      Reply
  12. Alex morfesis

    Sesseions task force: These were the last days of Jim Crow…try as they might…the wrinkly old white men…desperate for little blue pills to help reprove what little manhood they ever had…having spent a lifetime paying for or begging for (family blog)…watching the progeny of white citizen councils doing their best whiggering…listening to dance hall music and rapping on YouTube videos…tattoos to help hide the needle marks…

    Like PeP cereal…and Woolworths… The world had passed them by…

    Onward Christian soldiers…

    Reply
    1. marym

      6:31 PM – 26 Jul 2018

      Last week, I spoke to a grandmother (in a cage) who the government had deemed “ineligible” to stay with her grandchild because she was not his mother.

      The boy was shipped off to foster care and in 6 months, can be put up for adoption in Texas.

      That’s what “ineligible” means.

      At least 81 children separated from their families at the border recently are now in foster care homes and group placements throughout Michigan, according to Dona Abbott, Bethany Christian Services’ director of refugee and foster care programs.

      …Abbot [said] we believe that these children will be separated. That’s a decision that has been made. Iit’s [sic] been announced the zero tolerance policy, and we believe children should be in family.

      Meanwhile, the amended Michigan Child Care Licensing Act allows Bethany to deny services if a family conflicts with Bethany’s religious beliefs. For example, past Michigan cases show Bethany has worked against reunification or adoption to parents who were non-Christian, LGBTQ, or legal medical marijuana patients.

      Abbott says Bethany is fostering children from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and few children from Mexico. According to the U.S. Department of State, these countries either do not currently allow adoptions with the U.S. or adoptions with the U.S. are rarely achieved. Will these children remain in foster care until they are 18 years old? That question has yet to be answered.

      Not mentioned in the article: Bethany is a Betsy DeVos enterprise. DeVos is Eric Prince’s sister.

      Christian soldiers?

      Reply
  13. Carolinian

    From NC’s lips to the ZH site’s ears. They even swipe the NC headline.

    Given the high traffic of that site it’s safe to say that the Cohen interview will be obscure no longer.

    And re Trump asking for talks with Iran–apparently he’s asked several times previously and they refused to meet with him. This does go against the notion that war is the goal unless one thinks the request is intended to be refused and serve as some sort of war excuse. A recent poll said only 23 percent of the public favor attacking Iran and the military has always been against it. Even George Bush refused to do it when urged by Cheney.

    Reply
  14. Roger Smith

    RE: Research Suggests Exposure to Multiculturalism Prompts People to Inflate the Importance of Race

    And water is wet. Not trying to sound rude here but come on. This perversion of irrelevant biological traits as inherent to consciousness and the obsession that these differences should be celebrated was always going to do this. Did anyone really need a scientific study to document what can be easily observed? The more you tell people they are fatally different, the less unity you are going to get (“You can never understand, but you can stand with!”–uh, well no thanks). As much as people don’t want to hear it, we are all attracted to homogeneity, to familiarity; we want to feel connected and apart of something. That doesn’t mean deviations are bad, deviations are how we get new ideas etc… but that means the entire “official” premise of Identity Politics is, brace yourselves, flawed (again, basic laymen observations can demonstrate this–of course, IP’s real purpose is to divide and pit against). People need to see that these things don’t matter and that we are all the same, human. The framing is entirely backwards and it is really frustrating how much it has spread into the general public’s discourse thanks to the many failings of contemporary society (For a horrifying example, check out Kinja’s The ROOT).

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Martin Luther King said the goal should be a “colorblind” society and that of course was the point of integration–to throw everybody in the melting pot rather than to accentuate differences. Of course those who originally devised the melting pot idea intended for immigrants to “melt” into WASP-y Americans rather than have cultural influence go in the other direction.

      But the melting pot was right and the current identity politics craze is not. The link yesterday about the Andrew Jackson era made the interesting observation that the Jackson-ites of antebellum US wanted to change our society from a class conflict to a “caste” conflict, to put the poor whites on the side of the rich whites against the untouchables–the blacks. The irony is that the supposed leftists of the Dem party these days are also trying to pretend that everything is about caste rather than social class. Any rapacious plutocrat can redeem him/her self by coming out against racism.

      Reply
      1. Bugs Bunny

        Your humble rabbit is visiting the USA (USA!). Observation: total overkill on the Identity Politics.

        Example: I was listening to NPR for a few minutes when a segment came on discussing lists of the best music of the 2000s and how women and LGBTQ people were underrepresented. Conclusion: a new list needs to be made to address this disparity. Music critics were mostly hetero males until the recent past so I guess the point could be made that there was some skewing but the songs they played as ‘left behind’ were all highly popular so perhaps they sold well but just weren’t list-worthy?

        A more inclusive society is desirable of course but constantly hammering into people’s heads that the recent past that they lived and participated in was utterly wrong and hurtful place for minorities (some that they barely knew existed and had no intention to harm) seems like a recipe for reactionary revanchism. Most of my old friends have all accepted this new model as a sort of given, “it’s about time”. There are others who are confused or just sort of cynical about it, and then the rest who are fed up hearing what horrible people they are but mostly grudgingly accept that things have changed. Oh and it’s rare to find anyone who doesn’t think Putin is listening to their phone calls. The country lacks a goal.

        Reply
        1. Roger Smith

          “Visiting” the USA? Listening to NPR!? BB, knock twice if you need help.

          The country lacks a goal.

          I think I wrote about this here once (who knows when or where) but I was staring at this Sanders infographic about the US systems versus Germany and their social programs, etc… and the same ‘realization’ occurred to me. More broadly than the info intended, I saw one country with a government that had clear goals serving its intended purpose and one that was completely aimless, not doing its job to serve the public at all. The latter was the United States. That graphic asked, “what are we doing here?”. (I checked hackbook for my original thoughts but am coming up dry).

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Ask not what your country can do for you.

            Ask what you can do for your country.

            That’s us.

            In Berlin, it would seem, it’s “Ask what your country can do for you.”

            Reply
        2. Shane Mage

          “…a segment came on discussing lists of the best music of the 2000s…” If, in 1818, there had been a list of the “best music of the 1800’s” every item on that list would be played frequently today, two centuries on. does anyone think that even one item on that “2000s” list will be played by anyone a generation hence?

          Reply
        3. JTMcPhee

          US Empire has many goals. Also gaols. It’s just that the goa(s) is/are all about looting and transferring wealth and power upward and inward, in service to corporate goals.

          Don’t like it? Answer the question what kind of political economy is wanted by most people, and the subsequent question, how do “we” (whoever that is) go about getting to it…?

          Reply
        4. Inode_buddha

          “But pray tell me, my brethren, if the goal of humanity be still lacking, is there not also still lacking—humanity itself?—

          Thus spake Zarathustra.”

          Also Sprach Zarathustra “The Thousand and One Goals”
          by Friedrich Nietzsche.

          Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          This is something else I have to write up. Class doesn’t really give a good account of intergenerational effects, especially those dependent on geography and/or epigenetics, not to mention ascriptive identity. Putting the M-C-M’ cycle into a re-conceived caste structure would do that.

          Reply
      2. witters

        Long ago I had a friend in Tasmania. He was a “Cape Barren Islander.” That is, he was a Tasmanian Aboriginal descended from those forcibly induced to leave the island for a tiny island in Bass Strait. Then, as everyone knows, the Tasmanian Aboriginals “went extinct” with the death of Truganini in 1876.

        Now Shane was a very dark boy, and one day we are sitting there, Grade 3, and Sister Margaret Mary (a really lovely nun) is giving us our history lesson. Shane and I are sitting in the front row. She says, looking seriously at us, “And as you know, there are not any Tasmanian Aboriginals left. They are now extinct.” Shane looked at me, I looked at Shane. And the history lesson went on.

        Reply
    2. Lobsterman

      The Root is pretty fun; it’s a window into a world I don’t get to experience much.

      My favorite columnist is Very Smart Brotha. Yours?

      Reply
      1. Roger Smith

        I can’t find him now, but there is one guy who seems to write a lot of the articles I punish myself with.

        Reply
  15. JohnnyGL

    What does it look like when you graduate college as a bitter person who hates student loans and finds them as a mechanism for oppression, but then you figure out how to prey on others in a similar manner and sell your predation business for $60M?

    Suddenly, your mind changes and you don’t think student loans are so bad anymore

    Click below to find out!!!

    Reply
  16. Susan the other

    Our national economic analysis, are we growing, are we stalled, where are we? The Journal of Money and Banking now says that re the GDP “one size doesn’t fit all.” What a lot of vacuous nonsense. Of course it doesn’t – it doesn’t even take into account all the money we give to the military. It doesn’ take into account how a lack of medicare for all costs this country trillions every year. It doesn’t acknowledge the true devastation of American Labor. The GDP is nonsense. It doesn’t predict a damn thing because it doesn’t analyze anything even resembling reality. “Timeliness” – “Seasonality” – “Seasonally Adjusted” – ok – whatever. Does the GDP ever look at the external costs to the economy of externalizing costs?? These guys are idiots. They could take some time off if we started implementing MMT to keep the economy stable. And they’d have a lot less pointless bean counting obfuscations to rationalize. Yuck. One size doesn’t fit all… unless you want it to. But if you really want it to, you have to be honest.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Obviously, neither ‘these guys” nor their rulers “have to be honest.” That’s part of the fun of it all!

      Reply
  17. Bugs Bunny

    Just FYI, the sharknappers have been caught and Miss Helen the horned shark is back home at the aquarium. I hope she recovers and rejoins her tankmates soon.

    Reply
  18. fresno dan

    the spider was released unharmed….
    I hope they had an orchestra to play this when they released it (the spider, not Nicole Kidman….)

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This reminds me of a haiku poem by Issa (One Tea):

      Don’t worry
      Spdiers
      I keep house…casually.

      He was said to be sleeping with one leg out of his mosquito net (so they don’t go hungry).

      “What, not both legs?”

      Reply
  19. precariat

    “Looking for the Enemy..”

    This Nathaniel Rich is, according to the writer, psy-opping the NYT readership and anyone gullible or too young to remember the Eighties. Without being able to read the Magazine piece, it would seem Rich is another neoliberal tool trying to get the citizens to buy-in to almost all the responsibility for failure to act on climate change. We live in a country where venal Congress will not protect citizens from predatory, corporate driven opiod epidemic in a supposed War on Drugs (!); so how are the citizens to alter the choices of the corporate totalitarians — who are acting with the YBGIBG ethos. Climate change and declining resources I would argue are the reason for the you’ll-be-gone-I’ll-be-gone ethos in the first place.

    Reply
  20. Patrick Donnelly

    Mars is in line, conjunct, with Earth and Sol. It has storms as a result. It is also “retrograde” meaning it appears to be moving backwards when viewed from Earth.

    This means it is stuck in that stream of plasma, from the Earth, amplified by that of the Sun, causing the storms.

    It will continue in orbit and will remain in that stream for weeks more.

    Imagine what that means for Earth when it faces that situation with Venus?

    Last week in October!!!!

    Reply
  21. Doug Hillman

    MS Windows polling may understate user disaffection. The 10% who find the upgrade to Win 10 useful could well be the same 10% who approve of Congress. Granted that 10% may have found one step forward in the ‘up’date, I wonder if it measures those unfortunate users whose legacy software was disabled because Win10 isn’t backward-compatible with 7 (only 1 gen, since the what-were-they-thinking 8.1 bombed and 9 never existed). A $10k license for Autodesk’s Civil3D won’t run on Win10, so the MS tech suggested upgrading to the latest release ($270 a month for an annual lease ($3k), or roughly $7k upfront for a three year lease). I exclaimed “J.F.C! Why didn’t I think of that?”

    Monopolies don’t care; they don’t have to. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that Autodesk and Microsoft colluded to parasitize their captive “clients”. Free market capitalism has reached its natural nadir of rigged market cannibalism

    Reply
      1. Doug Hillman

        One of MS’s partners is undoubtedly the NSA/CIA. Planned obsolscence is old school. The new protection racket smashes your WindowsX and threatens your mother(board) by preloading your OS with bugs, worms, and viruses, then embraces you with an offer you can’t refuse. The neolib racketeer’s business model.

        Reply
  22. gordon

    “Misreading the Liberal Order” is a good read and has some good links. There is a lot of rewriting of history going on nowadays, and I guess we’ll live to see a lot more. Two of my favourite sources on what has been going on:
    Nicholas Guyatt’s “Another American Century?” (Pluto Press / Zed Books, 2000) and Philippe Sands’ “Lawless World” (Penguin, 2005).

    In conversation the other day (partly playing Devil’s Advocate) I adopted the thesis that there is no such thing as American foreign policy. What there is, is American politicians playing to domestic audiences with poses and attitudes to “foreign” places. Because there are no consequences to the US from bad foreign policy, foreign policy becomes just a politician’s pose, like having a happy family or pretending to like sports.

    As a consequence of redefining US “foreign policy” as non-existent, I suggested that Hollywood (or whatever) should be recruited to portray politically attractive “foreign” events. That would allow meetings (with fake people), alliances (with fake countries), tensions (with other fake countries), even wars (with fake countries or between fake countries), peace settlements, and all the appurtenances of foreign policy without any of the reality – which is missing anyhow.

    The US would save a Dictator’s ransom every year, because even though computer animation is expensive it’s a whole lot cheaper than real armies. And far fewer people would be killed by imaginary wars in imaginary places. Gee, you could even stage alien invasions and wonderfully victorious wars of liberation against the evil Little Green Men!

    Reply
  23. integer

    Re: Misreading the “Liberal Order”: Why We Need New Thinking in American Foreign Policy

    Thanks for that link. It is surprising to see critical analysis of the liberal international order being entertained at the Brookings-funded Lawfare blog, although I note there is what could be described as a “soft disclaimer” in the “Editor’s note”.

    Reply
  24. integer

    RT

    “I’ve been studying Russia for 45 years,” Cohen said, only to be interrupted by Boot, who claimed Cohen has been “consistently an apologist for Russia those 45 years.” The scholar apparently couldn’t believe the debate sank to personal attacks, because he asked Boot to repeat what he just said.

    “I don’t do defamation of people, I do serious analysis of serious national security problems,” the professor said. “When people like you call people like me, and not only me, but people more eminent than me, apologists for Russia because we don’t agree with your analysis, you are criminalizing diplomacy and detente and you are the threat to American national security, end of story.”

    Reply
  25. Doug Hillman

    Perfect! Surely Max had to seek immediate medical attention to have his boot surgically removed from his mouth. Thanks.

    Reply
  26. Scott1

    Far as the story of the assassination of JFK, watch “7 Days In May”, but change the ending
    so the President is assassinated.

    Reply
  27. Scott1

    I recommend Caspian Report on YouTube.
    Their video about geopolitics of Indochina points to the Mekong River
    and seaports as source of their independence.

    Reply
  28. Edward E

    China manufacturing growth 14 month low. They don’t know how to interpret PMI’s Comment from my man in China: Timothy Tan @Wolf_InTheWilds
    “Soft data DOES NOT GIVE SCALE. A 0.3 move is meaningless. How many times must this pile of BS be repeated?”

    Now putting the chopping block to Russia might do something.

    Reply

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