Links 7/6/18

Poetry Foundation

Truthdig. Maj. Danny Sjursen,

Al Jazeera

The Baffler

Guardian.

vlad: “thought this might happen – this type of diving is in effect committing a suicide by statistics. It’s inherently massively risky – you can reduce, but not eliminate the risks, so more dives = more deaths. In this situation, there’s also a risk that people get complacent (about the dives) and fail to concentrate, which is deadly.

The lack of air in the cave can have nothing with the death, as the tank would have to be filled outside the cave, so in a way the article is a big red herring (implicitly tying the death with the air in the cave).

That said, it’s possible that CO2 levels in the cave are raising too. If they weren’t thinking about increased O2 consumption by all that activity (which it looke like they weren’t), I hope they do think now about CO2 before someone else dies of that (CO2 scrubbing is an extremely simple and known technology).”

The Wire. Good luck with that project.

NBC News (furzy)

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

NYT

Only in America

SCMP

Brexit

EUReferendum.com

FT

The Times

India

Scroll.in

The Wire

Mexico

Jacobin

FCPA blog

Truthout

National Law Journal

Gothamist. So very, very sorry to miss this! Note the ticket prices.

North Korea

Foreign Policy in Focus

Puerto Rico

Vox

Supremes

FiveThirtyEight

City Watch

Health Care

Ars Technica

Syraqistan

Moon of Alabama

Independent. Patrick Cockburn. Second in a series, Iraq After Isis.

WSJ

Iran

Counterpunch

s American Conservative

NHS at 70

The Conversation

Guardian

Independent. Robert Fisk.

Class Warfare

Social Europe

BBC (The Rev Kev)

New Statesman

Goldman Sachs

LA Times (The Rev Kev)

Consortium News

Bloomberg (JP)

Daily Yonder

Motherboard

FCPA blog. More mere costs of doing business.

Columbia Journalism Review

Trade Tantrum

FT (David L)

Fake News

Pajamas Media (JAM)

Antidote du jour.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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187 comments

  1. PlutoniumKun

    Why private alternatives to the NHS are so much more expensive The Conversation

    Thanks for this – the table in that article should be forcefed to every politician in the planet. Even progressives sometimes make the mistake of arguing for universal healthcare on the basis of equity and fairness, forgetting the single most salient point – its cheaper! by far! The NHS (and other similar systems) are vastly more cost effective than the known alternatives.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I quite agree, PK. The NHS is the cheapest option but we are not taking about practicality here. We are dealing with ideologues but of a mercenary nature. What I mean by that is the people that push for the NHS to be privatized are convinced that they are doing it for ‘moral reasons’ because of their belief in ‘free market’ ideology. Of course it does not stop them or their mates cashing in on any privatization deals with their own company’s bidding on what were formally public services. Hey, they’re not a charity you know.

      Reply
    2. Kurtismayfield

      Even progressives sometimes make the mistake of arguing for universal healthcare on the basis of equity and fairness, forgetting the single most salient point – its cheaper! by far!

      I agree that the goal should be to deliver health care for the minimum of cost, however it doesn’t pass the “Is anyone making money off it?” test. The one thing that you can say about the US Healthcare “system” Is that there are many people making a killing off it. This is what the oligarchy wants for the rest of the world, without an option to go anywhere else.

      Reply
    3. larry

      I agree PK, but it must not be forgotten that in the final analysis the cost can be met by any sovereign state running a fiat currency system, which are many. Their only constraints will be whether they can obtain the requisite staff, pharmacreuticals, medical equipment, &c.

      Reply
      1. Bugs Bunny

        If Cuba could do it under an embargo by its largest natural trading partner, anyone can do it.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          while i was waiting around in agony for six and ahalf years, attempting to access our “best healthcare system” to get a hip(SSI finally caught me in it’s tattered net), I thought a lot about Cuba.
          I considered robbing a bank for the $15K it would take for a hip replacement and a private nurse in a bungalo on the beach for recovery(!), and stealing a boat in Galveston or somewhere.
          I figgered I could repay all that crime by filming the whole thing and making a movie(“Sicko” beat me to the punch,lol)
          Cuba’s number one export for a long time has been doctors and nurses.
          I reckon that makes up for a lot of whatever bad things Fidel and company did.

          Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        The ‘cost’ isn’t just the direct financial cost. Private and insurance based systems involve a massive misallocation of resources and opportunity costs on a society. In other words, they create huge numbers of bullshit jobs.

        Reply
    4. HotFlash

      forgetting the single most salient point – its cheaper! by far!

      Cheaper is fine, but the clincher is ‘better outcomes’. And I would suggest that the reason for that is because the best possible outcome is the goal, not profit. You are most likey to hit the target you are aiming at.

      Reply
    5. False Solace

      Meanwhile, in America:

      Awful scene on the orange line. A woman’s leg got stuck in the gap between the train and the platform. It was twisted and bloody. Skin came off. She’s in agony and weeping. Just as upsetting she begged no one call an ambulance. “It’s $3000,” she wailed. “I can’t afford that.”

      — Maria Cramer (@GlobeMCramer)

      Lambert covered the tweet in the July 2 Water Cooler.

      Reply
  2. PlutoniumKun

    The Ghost of Wuhan Will Haunt India for Years The Wire

    Poor Bhutan. Doklam (the source of conflict that the Wuhan meeting was supposed to address) is in Bhutan, not China or India. But the entire article never even mentions the country once. The Bhutanese have wisely chosen not to allow any roads or railways to be built connecting it to China.

    But the overall context of the article seems correct – China is rapidly tightening its grip on the entire Himalayan Plateau, and there is little India or anyone else can do about it. And given that most of the great rivers of the region arise on Chinese controlled lands, thats a very big deal indeed for everyone from Pakistan to Vietnam, and especially India.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Just a minor quibble about that Obama video at the end of this article. That video was only really meant for American consumption. Why do I say that? Because you never see troops in Oz being used as wallpaper behind a political leader and I mean NEVER. Maybe an officer or two off to the side or in a crowd but nothing like this. You see that all the time in the US though and it seems to be obligatory when you want to make a statement and wrap yourself up in troops to make yourself seem all patriotic like. Still, some political leaders in the US don’t really trust their troops even here as when Dick Cheney gave a speech once and had troops surrounding him, he insisted that they be all unarmed.

      Reply
          1. Expat

            I would feel sorry for Whittington if:
            -he weren’t a lawyer*
            -he weren’t politically connected
            – he hadn’t been appointed by Bush and Perry
            -and he if had fired back in self-defense

            Seriously. What sane person hangs around with Dick Cheney in the first place? But an armed Dick Cheney?

            *apologies to the six or seven decent lawyers in the US, a few of whom possibly read or participate in NC

            Reply
      1. Dale

        That was Dick Nixon. He is the reason that troops on domestic military bases do not carry weapons anymore.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Ever hear of Tricky Dick’s would-be Praetorian Guard?

          January 1970: The White House guard (secret service uniformed division) publicly revealed their new uniforms which featured a white, double-breasted tunic with gold shoulder trim and a stiff shako hat with peaked front. They replaced the black uniforms the guards had previously worn on ceremonial occasions.

          President Nixon had ordered that a new uniform be designed after he had seen what palace guards wore in other countries and had decided that the White House needed something as fancy.

          Reply
        2. VietnamVet

          After I returned to the States, I had to pull guard duty at the motor pool at 3 AM carrying an empty M-16 twice. The longest, most boring, tiring thing I ever did in my whole life. Then, hippy radicals from Seattle drove down and stole a couple M-16s. Guard duty was “professionalized”. I never pulled guard duty again.

          If the history isn’t known, did it really happen? The Silent Mutiny in the Vietnam War is one reason why the little people were thrown under the bus by the Elite in the Reagan/Thatcher counter revolt. This ignited the rising income inequality and decline of the Middle Class. We are seeing secondary effects of the resulting populist new-revolt with the start of the Tariff War with China today.

          Reply
        3. Procopius

          I don’t understant your statement. I guess you’ve never served in the military. Troops on military bases carry weapons when they are going to use them, usually in marksmanship training. They carry weapons (unloaded) when they perform guard duty (I never understood the reason for that). The point I’m trying to get to, I guess, is that they do not carry weapons when they are not going to use them, which is why I do not understand the reasoning behind “open carry.” By “using” I also mean “displaying during a parade.”

          Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      No kidding. My favorite thread:

      oh cool, it’s the “Actually, *Nothing* is Wrong with Neoliberalism” Festival.

      ——–America is Already Great Fest

      ——–A rising tide lifts all boats and fuck you if you can’t afford a boat.

      ——–No, We Totally Won In 2016, And Socialism Isn’t A Thing
      Seriously, how many wine moms are there that this can sell tickets?

      Being an unwoke, flyover deplorable, I was curious to find out what an “ozy” was. I found this:

      Essentially yet ANOTHER “unique” internet content startup to create “wealth” selling advertising to people whose target market is clicking and swiping addicts, and “premium” subscriptions to the aforementioned addicts.

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        And there’s more from the Gothamist/OZY commentariat:

        The Russians, media, etc. made Hillary run the worst campaign in who knows how long! Not her fault!

        She wanted to campaign in Michigan and Wisconsin but the Russians and the media wouldn’t let her!

        She wanted to give help to the people on the ground telling her they needed support, begging for support, in numerous states but she couldn’t…the Russians and the media wouldn’t let her!

        Ugh. The Russians and the media also made her call people “deplorables”, which totally didn’t get used as easy fodder for the other side.

        The Russians and the media made her do everything she could to ensure she got the Democratic nomination despite the fact that she was well known as one of the most hated people in politics. Which is a fact whether people agree with the reasons or not. And that totally didn’t drive people to either a) vote for Trump out of hate for her and b) not vote at all.

        Poor Hillary, her losing was not her fault at all :(.

        Reply
      2. ChrisPacific

        Just announced: Hillary Clinton will be attending! File that under least surprising news ever.

        The Ozy profile made me chuckle. It’s young and hip! Aimed at millennials! It’s the cool new face of neoliberalism! It’s inexplicably well connected and well funded despite having almost no market penetration!

        Reply
  3. nothing but the truth

    “Why Don’t We Have Free Public Transit?”

    have you seen the MTA’s personnel costs?

    The bridges and tunnels, and the subway tickets are not enough for their payroll and pension costs.

    Why do you think there is underinvestment?

    The problem with govt projects is waste, that we have to pay for.

    Reply
    1. Darius

      Property taxes of properties within walking distance of transit should pay for transit. Denser zoning dhould be encouraged around transit to maximize property tax revenue. It’s called value capture.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        This is normal in most countries. In Asia they encourage massive developments around subway stations to off-set the costs (which is why you almost invariably exit into a shopping mall every time you leave a subway in most of the region). In China, they often extend suburban lines deep into the countryside from the city specifically so that opening up new land for development can help pay for the line (it helps of course that Chinese municipalities have unchallengable rights to take over land). This was quite common in Europe in the 19th Century – the earliest suburbs were often created by railway and tram companies.

        In my city, Dublin, there has been a massive increase in property values alone the newly extended light rail system in the north side of the city – unfortunately, the only ‘clawback’ is from new developments – its effectively a huge gift from the taxpayer to existing property owners.

        Reply
        1. SerenityNow

          Perhaps taxes on land, rather than property, would be the best way of capturing the appreciation that results from public investment in infrastructure systems.

          I think conversations on this topic often get muddled between people wanting to see more transit for transit’s sake versus more transit as a way of reducing driving in private vehicles. If we want to focus on less driving, then perhaps the transit costs issue could work themselves out more independently. As the article states:

          Instead, he continued, increasing the cost of using a car is what makes people abandon their cars and opt for alternative transit in higher numbers. He pointed to anti-car measures such as higher parking fees, congestion pricing, and fuel taxes as primary ways to accomplish that.

          If driving is expensive/less convenient, people will take transit or walk. People accept transportation costs in their daily lives, but they seem to aim for the cheapest options they can find.

          Reply
          1. PlutoniumKun

            Yes, only land taxes can really take in the extra value provided by public investment.

            But yes, the broad thrust of the article is correct. Investing endlessly in public transport is a waste of money if there is sufficient road space for most people to drive – everyone prefers sitting in their car (even in a traffic jam) to public transit, no matter how good. There has to be active dissuasion of car use through restrictions on parking, access, or taxes/charges. This is the experience worldwide.

            Reply
            1. Lord Koos

              “everyone prefers sitting in their car (even in a traffic jam) to public transit, no matter how good”

              I don’t think that is the case in NYC, or Bangkok, or anywhere that has really terrible traffic along side decent public transport.

              Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Would that still be the case if we redesign public transit where every passenger gets a personal pod?

                “This is my personal, inviolable space.”

                Reply
                1. SerenityNow

                  Because there is no congestion pricing–the convenience of one’s personal car costs for vehicle operation is still cheaper than the inconvenience and costs of transit. Places like Singapore have done quite well in managing traffic congestion.

                  If you offer something cheaply (or free), in this case road space, people are likely to overuse it.

                  Reply
                2. Amfortas the Hippie

                  to get to my dad’s(Clear Lake, southeast of Houston) from here(west central texas), the easiest way is I10 right through downtown Houston. I did this, going and coming last week, and have a thing or two to say about traffic and stupidity and “free market solutions”.
                  The damned toll roads no longer take cash!…one must sign up for an “ez pass”…some rfid tracking sticker for your windshield.I don’t “go to town” often enough to justify putting a tracker on my vehicle.
                  so there’s effectively a first class highway system, and the old fashioned taxpayer funded second class system.
                  The way these two systems interact, in Texas at least, is idiotic and makes both worse. the signage is horrible, and I’ve found myself accidentally on a toll road “in violation”(got the big ticket in the mail a month later)…and the congestion at the interchanges where these two systems meet is worse than the old timey congestion i remember from pre-1990 Houston.
                  abrupt lane changes and the guy who jets ahead when he knows the lane is ending…both contributing features of the old timey congestion…are now compounded by these new additions.
                  if there was a train, I’d take it, so long as the smoke nazis allowed me on the little platform between cars once an hour or so.
                  I allege that traffic in Houston is worse with these special highways than they would have been without.

                  Reply
                  1. Fraibert

                    Just to clarify, the “E-ZPass” system is an interstate governmental arrangement, not a private one. Meaning, the “first class highway system” is most likely also taxpayer funded–i.e., it’s mostly a reflecting a crapification of government services, and not a public-private partnership.

                    Reply
                    1. Amfortas the Hippie

                      I think i knew that, maybe, at some level. nevertheless, they should still accept cash/change. my dad and my brother have eztags as a matter of course, since they live in exurb-houston. Brother, on more precarious footing, complains about the variability…apparently it’s use-based…and limits his time on toll roads accordingly.
                      looks a lot like a rickperry boondoggle from where I’m sitting.

                3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Perhaps a little of Jevon”s Paradox at work…if you build it, they will come.

                  The high point was when they had to employ workers to shove passengers in, so the doors would close.

                  I’m envisioning the crowded subway stations in Tokyo. They must have made a lot of money.

                  Not sure if it is still like that now.

                  Reply
                4. bones

                  Most dense cities have both bad traffic and public transportation.Both are a product of density. Unless there is planning, in which case you might have decent public transportation alongside lighter traffic — though this might be considered “waste” depending on your view of public transportation.

                  I live in a pretty sparsely populated area and would prefer the option of riding a train or bus.

                  Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If there is money for free public college, there is money for free public transit (which I personally prioritize before the former, but that’s just me…at least both should be free at the same time).

        Reply
    2. Wyoming

      The actual truth is that any time you take what should – ethically – be a public utility or service such as trains, airports, roads/bridges, power, water, the military, health care, etc and put them in private hands you are going to pay far more than you would if they were run as a public good by the govt.

      Having costs related to paying reasonable wages/pensions in the govt sphere is more than offset when in the private sphere as the savings in personnel costs (because the {family blog}ing Capitalists won’t pay a living wage) is all taken up and then some by the obscene profits the private sector demands for getting to screw the public. Not to mention that a private concern focused only on profits will always cut safety corners and do the cheapest work possible as their only loyalty is to their shareholders. The public never wins following your lead.

      Reply
    3. Alejandro

      “…the entire FIRE sector is constructed on the extraction of land rental value by private individuals and companies…”– see Michael Hudson. None of these ” private individuals and companies” seem to pony up “investments” to build roads, bridges, highways, electrical power systems, etc., but mostly seem to show up after-the-fact, to occupy the toll-gates.

      Ponder a taxation system, in a context of users of a currency, that would be considered fair by 99% of citizens, and would be virtually impossible to avoid and evade by the 1%.

      Reply
      1. nothing but the truth

        the problem in NYC/NYS is not lack of tax revenue.

        They have more than what they can figure to do with.

        The issue how to avoid ahem, overheads when spending these taxes.

        The corruption in NYC/NYS etc legendary. A tunnel budgeted for some 2 billion is more than a decade late, at 14 billion and asking for a lot more.

        Reply
        1. HotFlash

          So, it appears that the $$ leaks, so to speak, occur when public money is passed to private enterprise to get a given job done. I assume that the extra 12 billion “cost overrun’ (ah, those pesky, colt-like costs!) is going to the construction companies, engineering and consulting firms, and materials suppliers, and not to city employees? Another way to think of it is a jobs guarantee, for all the construction workers and, of course, their overpaid CEO’s. I suggest it all be part of a jobs guarantee, ‘crumbling infrastructure’ and all that, but as public-sector jobs, eliminating (tada!) the CEO and Big Shareholder class.

          Reply
        2. Alejandro

          Please help me understand. If “[t]hey have more than what they can figure to do with”, why is it “not enough for their payroll and pension costs”? Especially given the inflated cost of renting in NYC.

          I’m not suggesting that there is no corruption. But the quantity of land is fixed by nature and its value is a function of community, and this value should benefit the community. In a context of users of a currency, it makes sense to tax this value for the benefit of the community

          Reply
    4. Jeremy Grimm

      What is the breakdown of the MTA’s personnel costs. I was under the impression that the MTA was very heavy at the top with chiefs and relatively light on the much less magnificently paid Indians running and maintaining the trains — and where are all those personnel? I have yet to see anyone to ask for help other than at the INFO booths scattered around Penn Station which are often unmanned. Coming from out of town I had to do a lot of web searching before I felt confident I could find the right track for the A-Train in Penn Station when I wanted to get to JFK Airport for a flight — and I didn’t see anyone but other passengers to ask for help as INFO was on break or something.

      The task of bidding on government programs is very complex in general but it seemed the MTA had created new levels of complexity. What ever happened to the plans to upgrade the switching and signaling systems? The MTA has right-aways through the heart of Manhattan. Have those been exploited by fiber optic and phone service? I remember that was proposed at one time. [I don’t believe contracting to do work with private firms is any simpler since I tend to believe much of the real negotiating and contracting is done under-the-table.]

      I’ve traveled on subways around the world and using the subway to get around in NYC as a total newbie is more difficult than any place I’ve visited. Even Shinjunku Station in Tokyo in the mid-1980s was easier to navigate than Penn Station, NYC in 2018. [At that time English signs were around but they were sparse — most signs were in kanji.] I should confess I avoid the subways in NYC and walk surface streets instead because the subways are so dirty, noisy, and downright eiry. I keep feeling like I’m a real-life scene from “Jacob’s Ladder”.

      Reply
      1. oh

        I agree with you about the top heavy MTA but I must tell you that the tokyo stations are replete with english signs and they have been there since 1964 when they had the first Olympics there. I’m surprised by people like you who say there are no signs in english.

        Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          In the mid 1980’s there were English signs in Shinjunku Station, but they were sparse as I already said. Was Shinjunku a common destination for tourists to the 1964 Olympics? I stayed there at a cheap student hostel but got a definite idea that though foreigners were blamed for the traffic in Shinjunku most of the clients were Japanese and in fact I saw very very few non-Japanese in that quarter. The English signs took me only so far and then they were gone and I had to look to the kanji to find the right platform to catch the train I needed.

          Reply
    5. HotFlash

      “Why Don’t We Have Free Public Transit?” … have you seen the MTA’s personnel costs?

      Can’t … stop … laughing. How come nobody seems to think that free roads are fine, but free public transit, which is a *much* better use of resources in every possible way, is a real head-scratcher? Look, I ride a bike, fer crying out loud, not a huge burden on public roads, you know, in a biggish city. Road maintenance here is the city’s problem, and that mostly financed by property taxes, with some provincial and feder $$ help. A while back we had an extravaganza of ‘downloading’, whereby the costs of roads and many other public infrastructure projects were passed off from Federal responsibility to provincial, then the provincial responded by downloading to municipalities. See? Currency issuer and income taxer, to only income taxer, to municipal which, in Canada means property taxes. Does this make sense? Would 99% of the population consider this fair? I think not.

      But I digress. So, I ride my bike around on roads that have, or instance, horrendous potholes which I did not create with me and my bike coming in at less than 100kg, even with a full load of groceries. Cars and trucks get elevated highways, whoop-de-doo underpasses/overpasses and corkscrews, park on approx 1/3 of our paved highways, while we cyclists are overjoyed when we get some paint and a few bollards. Height of ecstasy, some potted plants lining the bikelane! (I am avoiding links so Skynet doesn’t eat my post, if anyone wants I can give links later). And we still get killed. But the kicker is, the roads are free to anyone, from anywhere, and a large proportion of the cars that take up the roads are commuters who don’t pay property taxes in this city, and trucks that almost never pay property taxes here. Doh! Local commuters take public transit because the cost of parking downtown can be higher than a month transit pass.

      tl:dr The question should be, why do we have free car travel in cities, but free public transit is close to unthinkable? Answer: Because the better classes drive cars, it’s those lazy poors who take the bus.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        You are very fortunate to live close enough to all the places you want to go and have safe bicycle paths (?) for getting where you want to go. In the U.S. riding a bicycle is a relatively dangerous endeavor. For that matter so is walking — unless you’re lucky enough to enjoy sidewalks or wide margins on the road and perhaps flat ground to walk on if not. There are some buses here and there but you can wait a while trying to make connections and don’t try to travel outside normal business hours or on a weekend or holiday. You’ll stlll need to walk or bicycle if you can to and from the bus stops. And yes the poor, and those who’ve lost their driver’s license do ride the buses and other mass transit in the U.S. They have few if any other options.

        Reply
        1. HotFlash

          Hi Jeremy, thanks for the response, and I am happy to respond to you.

          A. Yes, I am probably ‘lucky’ to live where I have bike paths and all that, but that is result of several well-thought-out choices in my life as well as luck.

          1.) I GTH out of the US of A in 1969. Gave it a lot of thought then, have never regretted it.

          2.) took some accounting courses in the 70’s learned about mortgages and interest and other basic financial literacy. Result: I had the tools to analyze and decided to buy rather than rent.

          3

          .) Bought for long-term. I figured that there probably wouldn’t be a pension waiting for me when I wanted to retire, that I wanted to work until I didn’t want to anymore, that a *car* was a money-eater, so I designed my life for carless — walking and biking distance to jobs, shopping, culture, bought a house w/o driveway or garage, kept track of and used the $$ saved to pay off my mortgage early.

          4

          .) I trusted neither the economy nor the govt to provide for me in my old age, or anytime (not that I don’t think they *should*, just that I doubt that they will), so I became self-employed. Far from perfect, but I joke that I have created more jobs than all the govt employment programs, which is exactly one, my own.

          Not everything has gone as planned by a long chalk, but so far the overall is working, and maybe that’s the lucky part. And I can see lots of times that this could have been a disaster. But if you don’t pay attention, you *will* get shafted. I have many relatives still in the US, they didn’t/don’t pay attention, they don’t plan and when given an opportunity, they make the worst possible choices. Kinda like Hillary’s presidential campaign. Perhaps it’s something in the water? Or, in Ms Clinton’s case, the Chablis?

          The choices I made were based on the situation at the time and my best guess as to the future. The circs now are different, so the choices will be different. Lobby politicians? Take over local govt? Be your own Bernie or Alexandria? Form a local housing coop? Buy out a predator landlord? Build more ? Dunno, we all have to fight on the battleground we find ourselves on and the terrain varies. But ya gotta, *gotta* pay attention.

          My momma used to say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” When I hear “no way”, I always have to wonder, where is the will? For instance, a simple youtube search on public transit, brings up this , and first off is As usual, the ‘richest country in the world’ loses out to places that paid attention.

          B. Our bike paths here in Toronto are . That’s a link to a Duck-Duck-Go search that will give you lots of links to bicycle deaths here. I belong to four cycling advocacy groups, it’s a lot of work but hey, I’m just trying to pay attention.

          Reply
    6. Jeremy Grimm

      The link seemed to focus all its attention on free mass-transit and suggested toward the end that many studies indicated it would take more than free mass-transit to bring about the desired reduction in the use of cars. “Free public transit feels like a good idea, but it’s not a silver bullet. To have environmental benefits, it would need to be paired with aggressive anti-car measures.”

      I’m no great fan of cars and driving when better alternatives are available. I don’t understand how making cars more expensive would have the desired affect. Driving into a large city in the U.S. is already a very expensive proposition between the congestion, the high costs and difficulty parking, and the road damage all the potholes inflict on a car and its tires, and don’t forget insurance. Step back a little further and ask how it is that monetary cost is treated as the sole determinant for directing people’s behavior?

      I believe the heart of the problem lies in something entirely different. Unless your point of origin and destination are near a transit stop a traveler needs a way to get to and from the transit points. Too little attention has been given to how all the various transit systems tie together and the delays and uncertainties at each connection. Of course people drive their cars if they can afford a car because there isn’t a real alternative to the car for getting to and from many origins and destinations. The move to suburbia was designed to make that so. I also ignore the problems of snow or rain or heat or gloom of night and how to carry a load or move a family along without losing small wandering stragglers.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        when I lived in Austin, 20+ years ago, I tried to take the bus to work downtown, because the parking was terrible(I got towed often, because there were like 3 long term meters within a mile of my cafe job. I wonder how much parking tickets/towing fees line the pockets of Those Who Matter. I’ve still got warrants out for me for unpaid parking tickets, 20+ years ago)…but the buses stopped running before the kitchen closed…or close enough that one couldn’t get to the last bus. I walked home at midnight on many occasions, hassled by cops and gangsters.
        Since then, I’ve noticed attempts at lightrail in Austin, Houston and Dallas…and all of them seem to be purposefully dysfunctional/useless to workers. They don’t really go anywhere, clog regular traffic, and you hafta drive any way,lol.
        I suspect that this is the Texas Elite’s underhanded way of “proving” that public transit can’t work…never mind the existence of Europe or China. Croatia has a functioning public transit system that puts Texas to shame, I’ve heard

        Reply
    7. Procopius

      It looks to me as if underinvesting is the waste. Failing to maintain the equipment and property properly just means you’re going to have catastrophic failure one day. I look forward to the cries of agony from Wall Street when one (or more) of the tunnels collapse and worker ants cannot get into the city, and food can’t get in to the people who live there. TPTB know it’s going to happen, but they can’t find somebody else to pay for the project. Rich people never spend their own money. Just look at Scott Pruitt.

      Reply
  4. derechos

    For those interested, here’s a chart showing the effects of decreased oxygen on humans. At 15%, there would be some early effects, but those levels wouldn’t be expected to be lethal under ordinary conditions. Instead, I suspect he had an underlying cardiac condition, perhaps coronary artery disease. He was performing at a level far more strenuous than he was accustomed to at age 48, under decreased oxygen conditions, likely causing a cardiac arrhythmia secondary to cardiac ischemia.

    Reply
    1. derechos

      Here’s a chart stating that the oxygen level at 15% is about what is experienced living in Aspen

      Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      The Guardian says he was 38 and a regular at triathlons. So he was certainly very fit, although he may not have been experienced at cave diving. Given the vagueness of some of the reporting I suspect we haven’t heard the full story of what happened.

      Reply
    3. Wukchumni

      Most every trail out of Mineral King in Sequoia NP gains about 2,500 feet in 4-6 miles from the trailhead altitude of 7,800, and prime destinations are glacially carved lakes generally @ 10,000 feet or more, and it can be a breeding ground for altitude sickness for those not acclimated, because you gain so much in a hurry.

      It’s car burrito time in Mineral King Valley now, about 3/4’s of the vehicles in the parking lots are wrapped in tarps from tires to top, lest the Marmot Cong do their worst, and disable your ride by chewing through various hoses on the soft underbelly.

      Here’s a visual of what most every car looks like:

      Reply
      1. s.n.

        great link, learnt something new today. some rather dry humor there: “There are reports that marmots (unlike dogs) do not die from drinking radiator fluid but they do get wobbly”

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          We were on the road listening to SF news radio a few years back, when the lead was somebody had driven a marm in their engine compartment from Mineral King to the Bay Area, and they were trying to gin up funds to get it back from whence it came, and we were thinking it’d make a fine POW in Petaluma, please keep it.

          Reply
    4. vlade

      The 15% is red herring.

      The cave the kids are in may have 15% O2 content. Nothing to do with the diver.

      He was underwater, breathing from his tank which was certainly filled outisde of the cave (even outside te entrace, as you have to fill the tank with dry and unpoluted air – doing it next to the compressor in closed space is a recipe for trouble).

      If anything, for this shallow dives with a lot of dive time, he could have had nitrox (increased oxygen levels in the tank say 30/70), although I sort of doubt it.

      Moreover, it’s not the low 02 % that kills (or doesn’t), it’s so called partial pressure.

      That is, what is the pressure of the gas in the mixture that goes to the lungs. At higher altitudes it’s not really the percentage of O2 in air that changes, it’s the partial pressure as the overall pressure drops. Again, below ground it increases.

      For example, for really deep diving the trimix (helium, oxygen, nitrogen) mixture can have as little as 10% of oxygen and be happily used – at depth. Going shallower the mixture must be switched to more oxygen rich to maintain the PO2. There are safe bands of O2 pressure – below (0.1bar, which is 10% at sea level pressure), and you suffer hypoxia and asphyxiate, above (2 bar, or pure oxygen at 10m depth) you suffer hyperoxia, aka oxygen poisoning, which can be just as lethal (although in controled environment, like a recompression chamber, up to 2.8 bar can be used temporarily).

      Reports I have seen were that he simply run out of air, which to me would mean either equipment failure he failed to notice, or complacency/lack of attention.

      Reply
    5. Wyoming

      It appears that he ran his tank out of air. Nothing fancy or requiring some medical explanation. A simple mistake in leaving the location where the kids are without enough air in the tank. This is very dangerous stuff and any slight mistake can result in death.

      Reply
  5. David Carl Grimes

    Re: $18K hospital bill for a bottle of milk. I wonder if our healthcare system can drive away tourists from the US: at least the very old and the very young. I wonder what the bill would be like for a senior who got a heart attack while visiting the US.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Anecdotally, I’ve heard several stories of people opting against holidays in the US because of the fear of insurance not covering a medical bill. It wasn’t always this way, in 1971 my father had a massive heart attack while visiting relatives in NY, his life was saved by his good fortune in being close to what was at that time one of the worlds best cardiology centres. His travel insurance covered it.

      In contrast, a friend has a terrible accident on holiday in Thailand 6 months ago – both his legs were badly broken up. He was airlifted to a Bangkok hospital, and then again airlifted to a Malaysian hospital on the advice of the surgeon. They managed to save his legs. It was all covered by his regular holiday insurance, no questions asked.

      Reply
    2. allan

      “if our healthcare system can drive away tourists from the US”

      Indeed, gotcha healthcare costs were cited as one of the reasons in the travel advisory that China published last week:

      [CBS]

      China is warning its citizens about traveling to the U.S. this summer, citing damage to the pocketbook from America’s high medical costs as well as personal safety.

      The warning, issued by the Chinese Embassy in Washington last week, says Chinese citizens should be aware that medical treatment is expensive in the U.S. The embassy also highlighted the “frequent” occurrences of robbery, theft and gun violence, as well as importance of guarding against the powers wielded by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. …

      To keep their powder dry, autonomous vehicles, obscenely large portion sizes and expensive data plans
      were all left unmentioned.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Unfortunate Cookie saying:

        “Be on the lookout for coming events; They cast their shadows beforehand.”

        Lucky numbers: 4, 14, 23, 31, 37, 42

        Reply
      1. ambrit

        Oh, you can be sure, someone skimmed it!
        Really, this is a new class of milk: Scam Milk. (The new .01% variety.)

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          What if new cars had the random pricing of a hospital stay?

          A Corvette in California might have an MSRP of $211k, while you could procure one in Pennsylvania @ $384k, or in Alabama for $318k, with the kicker being that you had no negotiating power after you took a test drive and were committed to whatever gouge said dealerships felt prudent to charge you.

          If you wanted to buy said car for cash, a $85k counter would probably work in California.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Yep. I remember a good film with George C Scott from 1971, “The Hospital.” Written by Paddy Chayefsky. It was almost prophetic about dysfunction.

            Reply
    3. Bugs Bunny

      I always, always buy additional accident coverage and repatriation insurance when I visit the US. You don’t want to court disaster there. One accident and you’re stuck in that blackhole of a system.

      Reply
    4. Zagonostra

      It’s not just tourist, that are afraid to go to a hospital. Millions of citizens fear for their financial life and only submit when their physical life is at risk.

      Wonderful nation we live in.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is that a journalism problem or a readership problem?

        Is it because it’s old news that Americans are afraid of going to a hospital that we get this tourist news now (hey, something new here), or is it because readers don’t pay to read the same news over and over again (that would be ‘not new’)?

        First American to be scared of going to a hospital was big news. The second too. Then, after a million incidents of the same, it’s boring?

        Is the problem bigger here – that is, is it because all of us are chasing newness…conditioned to expect new things, new TV shows, new games, new jokes, new phones, new celebrities, new politicians, etc?

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          You could add to that, those chasing ‘new’ body shapes. Fad diets, questionable exercise regimes and plastic surgery are basically a mis-allocation of resources.
          “Momma momma please, no more facelifts.”
          Nazareth- ‘Holiday’ :

          Reply
    5. oliverks

      “We are the trauma centre for a very large, very densely populated area. We deal with so many traumas in this city – car accidents, mass shootings, multiple vehicle collisions,” said Andrew. “It’s expensive to prepare for that.”

      Why don’t journalist call BS on this stuff. The very fact that you have a large area with many things going on mean it should be much easier and cheaper to provide services. It is just incredible that someone doesn’t stand up and tell these PR flacks BS.

      Reply
  6. PlutoniumKun

    Einstein’s theory of relativity passes its toughest test yet NBC News (furzy)

    ‘Like all scientific theories, general relativity makes testable predictions’.

    Obviously, the writer has never read any standard economics textbooks.

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Economics is Dismal Scientology, highly subject to whim.

        Here’s a favorite Feynman quote that pertains to the field, perfectly:

        “Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order to maintain that what they said was true”.

        When we were up in Oregon visiting friends last month, one of them went to Caltech in the late 60’s, and related many tales in regards to Feynman. He said that he’d always go to every lecture given and sit front row center, and when said talk was concluded, he would ask the most concise pertinent questions afterwards, no matter the subject matter.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          All too often, scientific results are dismally applied*.

          And that’s a feature, not a bug.

          Scientific conclusions are tentative…always.

          *Unless they are locked up in ivory towers.

          Reply
                  1. Wukchumni

                    I’ve watched 6 male friends in their 60’s to 70’s go far right with an emphasis on getting all their news from Fox over the past decades, and you can see how it all played, the hawties in frocks (pants were and are verboten) slinging mothers milk of amnesia @ em’, they were putty in Rupert’s hands.

                    These are all of above average mentality men, mind you. None of them were all that political in say 1995 when I knew them then.

                    A few would have the tv on 24/7, for if they missed a missive, that would not stand.

                    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Don’t make the cardinal mistake of using the words “scientific” and “economics” in the same sentence. However, I may be getting too far afield on this. Many ‘economics’ theories have gone through rigourous testing, in the ‘real’ world no less. Unfortunately, when field data did not match the desired theoretical outcome, the data was judged to be materially corrupt by the Priests of the Temple (of Mammon,) and thrown out.
      Conformation Bias becomes Conformation Policy.
      I’m assured by ‘insiders’ that brokerages and banks have a niche in a wall, surrounded by a Gold stripe, that points the way to Zurich. Acolytes bow in that direction and pray twice a day. Once at the opening bell of the Stock Exchange, and once at the closing bell.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “…. toughest test yet.”

      1. All this time, we had been applying the theory (see Wikipedia on the Theory of Relativity, for example), without knowing if it would pass this test or not???

      2. The word ‘yet’ seems to suggest this is not the final test. The theory still has to pass more tests. That is to be expected, as a scientific theory is only the best current explanation. How should we applying the theory then, if we are only partially sure it’s correct (and can never be sure – as there will be better explanations in the future)?

      Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I’m suggesting that we apply scientific results most carefully.

          The more powerful the result, the more potentially damaging any application of it. What had been OK up to now may not be so, as we go forward and make significantly fundamental discoveries.

          I am also suggesting that we don’t leave ‘this is only today’s best explanation’ in an ivory tower, but as a constant reminder, everywhere, all the times.

          Reply
        2. ambrit

          If I remember correctly, the ‘best practice’ is to try and determine if a theory is falsifiable. So, one major “oops” event should relegate an economic theory to the ‘Dustbin of History.’ At the very least, a major rethink would be in order. Anyone here seen signs of such a ‘major reconsideration of prevailing theory’ yet?

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            Well…Gravity is still pretty much a mystery…and to my knowledge, Quantum and Relativity(little and big, respectively) have yet to be reconciled to anyone’s satisfaction.
            The various string theories(including M Theory(better with acid)) often must invent next door universes and exotic dimensions to make the math work.
            so, no…as much as we think we know about the very substance of reality, we really don’t. But such persistence of Mystery keeps the predawn naked joint walks interesting, so I’ll not complain.
            “all knowledge is provisional”-Karl Popper

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              As someone smarter than me (a large set, that,) once remarked; “You think Gravity is hard to understand? Try understanding Profundity!”

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                Here @ the Malus Palace, one of the varieties trying to make a living-is a Flower of Kent, the very apple that Newton figured out the gravity of the situation upon.

                Reply
                1. ambrit

                  Ye gods! Tradition and taste! Do you also have the Leibniz variety? Then we’d have to figure the worth of such out on a sliding scale.
                  Dodgson was probably riffing on ‘fluxions’ when he had the White queen say in “Through the Looking Glass:” “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday, but never jam today.” Some say that it is a pun cycle on Latin. I credit Dodgson, writing as Carroll, with more inventiveness than that. He was a mathematician.

                  Reply
            2. Mark Pontin

              Amfortas the Hippie wrote: Gravity is still pretty much a mystery…and to my knowledge, Quantum and Relativity(little and big, respectively) have yet to be reconciled to anyone’s satisfaction.

              No. Gravity is not a mystery. General Relativity is centrally a theory of gravity and spacetime. Here are the very top lines of the wiki —

              ‘General relativity (GR, also known as the general theory of relativity or GTR) is the geometric theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1915 and the current description of gravitation in modern physics. General relativity generalizes special relativity and Newton’s law of universal gravitation, providing a unified description of gravity as a geometric property of space and time, or spacetime. In particular, the curvature of spacetime is directly related to the energy and momentum of whatever matter and radiation are present.’

              Conversely, we have no quantum theory of gravity and that is the central point where quantum and macro-level relativity theory have not been reconciled.

              Reply
              1. Amfortas the Hippie

                that’s what i was referring to.
                that it can’t be made pretty between the two, means that something’s off, somewhere.
                Ligo and now, is it Lisa? Interferometry.
                In space.
                (and Louisiana)
                I am unaware of any big effort into the quantum side of things.
                I think it’s cool that we’re even looking at such things.

                Reply
                1. blennylips

                  I think Leonard Susskind’s whole “ER=EPR” thing is ambitious (and way cool) from the quantum side, but not getting much traction with colleagues.

                  ER = Einstein–Rosen bridge
                  EPR = Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen: authors of the first papers on wormholes and entanglement

                  This is an attempt to explain gravity in terms of elementary particle entanglement:

                  I still favor a combination of

                  Reply
          2. Expat

            Therein lies the difference between belief and science. Science is falsifiable. And if it is proven false, it is put aside. Of course, anti-scientists misuse this notion to cast down the entire edifice. They claim that Galileo was wrong as shown by Newton and Newton was wrong as shown by Einstein and Einstein is wrong as shown by Gell-Mann, Feynman, et al. therefore science is wrong.

            Of course, you have to accept the initial premise that being falsifiable somehow bestows some higher level upon a theory. Believers would say that their belief structure is more perfect because it is not falsifiable.

            Disclaimer: I don’t believe.

            Reply
          3. Chris

            Well, until Einstein shook things up, Newtonian mechanics was the best available explanation of how the physical world worked. It was a pretty good explanation, but fell apart at velocities approaching the speed of light. I guess you could say Einstein provided an extension, rather than a replacement.

            In medicine it happens quite a bit. Pasteur’s germ theory demolished spontaneous generation, for example. Watson and Crick cracked the double helix, although the link between DNA and genetic disease took a while to sort out (and epigenetics is still a developing field).
            but you’re probably right. It’s rare to see a ‘eureka’ moment where a brilliant insight by one person instantly blows away established and accepted dogma. The march of science proceeds one funeral at a time.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Yes. As Bohr famously said; “Einstein, stop telling God what to do.”
              The funereal statement by Max Planck is more about the Institution of Science than actual Scientific Inquiry.
              It’s the Narrative.

              Reply
        3. witters

          “No theory in the natural sciences can be proved” – well, not if you mean “strict logical proof” (as in, entirely a priori) – but so what? Logic is logic, science is science. That an orange is not an apple is not a problem with oranges (or apples).

          Reply
          1. Synapsid

            witters,

            I meant proof like the proof of a theorem in math. We can do that because we know the rules that apply–we make them–but in the natural sciences we’re trying to find out what the rules are. I’d say that there’s not likely to be an end to that endeavor.

            A weird thing is that so much of what we have learned about this Universe of ours we’ve learned by use of math. I don’t think there’s any a priori reason to expect that would be the case. (Cue theme from The Twilight Zone)

            Reply
      1. Procopius

        I don’t bother reading stories whose headlines suggest the author believes his readers are all first graders. It seems to me I see more of this since 9/11, but maybe it’s just the tendency of old people to remember things as being better when they were younger.

        Reply
  7. Jim Haygood

    Ed Yardeni’s fundamental indicator continues its four-month flatline, ticking down slightly from last week’s reading. Chart:

    Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, one of its three components, rose to 57.6 from 57.3 last week. But the four-week average of initial unemployment claims rose from 222,000 last week to a still-low 224,500 this week, while industrial raw materials prices gave up 0.35%.

    Tending to confirm the Yardeni indicator’s message of steady but modest growth, the New York Fed’s GDP nowcast for the second quarter eased for the fourth week running to a solid but unspectacular 2.8%. The first official estimate of second quarter growth will be released on July 27th.

    Reply
  8. PlutoniumKun

    When America Downed an Iranian Airliner and Celebrated It! Counterpunch

    It remained for Bill Clinton’s administration almost a decade later to only express mild regret and to offer a monetary compensation to the Iranian government. However, to add insult to the injury of the Iranian nation, the Vincennes crew were all awarded combat-action ribbons and Captain William Rogers, the Vincennes’ commander, was conferred the Legion of Merit “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service from April 1987 to May 1989”.

    They got combat ribbons. For shooting down an airliner full of civilians. Sickening.

    Reply
    1. Jim Haygood

      One is surprised only that AIPAC didn’t sponsor a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue for them.

      The only good Iranian …” etc

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      I was on the same flight to Seoul as KAL 007, as the one that got shot down by the Soviets a day prior.

      I’m happy to report that nothing of incident happened, aside from more ‘help yourself’ beverage carts on a plane than i’ve ever seen before or since. The gist was, please get drunk.

      And then 5 years later, we did the same damn thing to the Iranians.

      A couple of peas in the pod we were, the USSR & US.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        Isn’t that a weird feeling? I had to get on, not the same flight but the same airline, a flight out of Pittsburgh the day after 427 went down.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          It was back in the day of 21 day advance purchase, and just dumb luck our numbers didn’t come up…

          Everybody was on tenterhooks in terms of tension en route. The stopover in Anchorage being your only out from going all the way.

          I seem to be second fiddle to events, and I was hiking in the French Alps out of Pralognon when 9/11 hit, and didn’t learn about until days later. As it turned out there was quite a 6 degrees of separation between family and friends, in terms of victims on the doomed flights. One sister in Colorado lived 4 doors down from one of the pilots and another sister in Arizona knew a number of Raytheon people on a course to nowhere as well. The topper being whilst on a high speed train leaving the Iceman behind in Bolzano, a friend along on the sojourn is reading the IHT and looks aghast me and points to a name of one of the deceased, and fished a business card out of his wallet, and related that he had interviewed the late person for a job just a week prior.

          We flew out of Paris around the 28th or so, and there was a similar amount of tension on the flight home, and security was ridiculously tight, in that not only were our bags gone over with a fine tooth comb in Paris upon departure, but also on a stopover in Dallas that had nothing to do with going through US Customs, they just wanted to go through every bag again, and on the next flight to LAX, we went through customs, proper.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            aye. it’s weird to brush up against events like that.
            I was in the Federal Building in Austin one morning in 95, looking for the Small Business Admin. and was wondering why all the offices were closed, but the building was not.Totally empty building with all the lights on. as soon as I stepped out of the parking lot and onto the sidewalk, all the cops and fire trucks in austin roared up and surrounded the building.
            Turns out that, while I was wandering the empty Federal floors, Tim McVeigh was blowing up the OKC Fedbuilding.
            I was a little shaken, both at the prospect of blowing up, as well as being nabbed for being a weirdo at the wrong place and time.
            The question: “why were all the offices closed on that morning?”, remains.
            My conclusion: false flag, indeterminate target.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              A company I worked for 1988 had 4 season seats for the Dodgers, that came with a parking pass, and they didn’t get used that much, and I probably went to 30 games that season with a buddy/buddies, and to put it in perspective, i’ve gone to perhaps a dozen MLB games since.

              We were able to procure a couple of Ueker seats in east slovobia in the high risers above right field for the 2nd game of the World Series, after Gibson’s heroic homer the game prior, and I remember walking to the turnstiles and so many grown men wanted my ticket, thinking the same lightning in a bottle would happen again perhaps?

              I could have gotten $1000 for a really bad $50 face value ducat, and you know what?

              It was a pretty boring game, I think the Dodgers won 6-1, ho hum in a good way for the home team.

              Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      It was worse than that in terms of discipline for the US Navy. The ship’s commander, hearing about a firefight on the other side of the Gulf, abandoned his duty station. He then disobeyed a direct order to return to his station by his superior officer to chase after a minor incident.
      Convinced that he could get a cheap kill on an Iranian Air Force F-14, he actually sailed inside Iranian territorial waters to lock on and fire at that plane. Then they gave the sob a medal instead of a court martial. Such was life in Ronnie’s Navy.
      It is not generally know that nine months after this shoot-down, that commander’s wife was nearly killed when a pipe bomb exploded in the family minivan when she was stopped at a red light in San Diego. She was uninjured but the minivan went up in flames. The perpetrators were never caught or even identified but I think that a message was passed.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        And don’t forget that the Lockerbie bombing was supposedly in retaliation for the Iran shoot down.

        Our military is all too often a menace–to us!

        Same for NATO

        Reply
        1. Wyoming

          And don’t forget that the Lockerbie bombing was supposedly in retaliation for the Iran shoot down.

          Nope. Do forget that as it is simply incorrect.

          Libya admitted in 2003 to having blown up Pan Am 103.

          Over a period of several years in the 1980’s there were back and forth military/intelligence/terrorist actions which took place between the US and the Libyans. These actions resulted in a number of deaths on both sides and eventually a direct air strike on Gaddafi’s residence in a attempt by the US to kill him. It was not successful but apparently did kill one of his children. Events further escalated to the hijacking of Pan Am Flt 73 in Pakistan in Sept 86. This was followed by the US assisting the the Chadians in their war against Libya resulting in a major defeat for the Libyans. The Libyans then blew up Pan Am 103 in Dec 1988 and then blew up UTA Flt 772 in Sept 1989.

          I was intimately involved in four of the actions/reactions in this conflict and draw from first hand information. I had friends die on both Pan Am 103 and UTA 772 (I was scheduled to be on the UTA flt but had to change my reservation at the last minute or I would have been on the plane).

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            Gaddafi admitted that LIbyan nationals did it but denied that he ordered it. Meanwhile many parties–including some Iranians–claimed to have been at the bottom of the consipracy. I don’t think it’s quite as cut and dried as you say.

            But say you are correct. It’s still blowback from US meddling in countries that we have little reason to be involved with. Lately there are claims that American special forces have been deployed all over Africa on the flimsiest of pretexts. While Reagan wanted to take on Gaddafi to puff himself up, these days the Pentagon seems to have its own agenda with little civilian control.

            Reply
    4. Bill Smith

      Don’t you get combat ribbons for being “there”? “There” for doing a tour in a place declared a combat area? Nothing to do with a specific act. Which in this case, the airline shoot down, was about a serious f**k up as possible.

      Reply
  9. Jim Haygood

    In this morning’s labor report, 213,000 jobs were added in June, while the unemployment rate rose from 3.8% to 4.0%.

    Fluctuations in the U-rate are normal, since it is based on a household survey. However, with Herbert Hoover Trump’s tariffs on China going into effect today, as well as China’s retaliatory tariffs, the foundations are being laid for making more Americans jobless in coming months.

    One-Term Trump poses with his economic mentor:

    Reply
    1. Jim Haygood

      Newspapers feel the pain:

      Jacked-up tariffs on Canadian newsprint have caused newsprint prices to spike 30 percent this year. Paper is the second-biggest cost to publishers — after employees.

      “The situation for newspapers is dire,” said Paul Boyle, senior vice president of public policy at the News Media Alliance.

      “If these price increases stick, there will be another round of [payroll] cuts,” warns Michael Klingensmith, publisher of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and past chairman of the NMA.

      The hikes were instituted by President Trump after one of the few US paper mills, NORPAC, owned by New York City venture capital firm One Rock Capital Partners, last year filed a complaint with the ITC claiming that Canadian papermakers were dumping newsprint in the US at 23 percent to 55 percent below market value.

      Boyle claims that is a misreading of what is truly taking place. “They are raising the price for an industry that employs 600,000 for the benefit of a single paper mill in Washington State that employs 300 people.”

      This is the essence of flake-o-nomics: protect sunset primary industries, while crippling value-added users of primary materials that employ many times more workers.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is it the reporting newspaper*, or you, Jim, for not missing some quote perhaps, that we don’t get this question in the quote –

        Are they or are they not dumping newsprint in the US at 23 percent to 55 percent below market value?

        That would seem to be an important factor…as well.

        *Do papers have any conflict of interest in reporting this? Should they, er, recuse themselves?

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Aren’t newspapers heavily reliant on baby boomers and their betters, reading physical codexes in coffee shops?

          Reply
        2. Jim Haygood

          This was a finding by Robert Lighthizer of the ITC, subsequently endorsed by Secty of Commerce Wilbur Ross — both hard-core trade warriors.

          The claimed dumping margins happen to be about the same percentage by which the Canadian dollar has depreciated against the US dollar in recent years. Chart:

          The ITC’s 112-page analysis is here if you care to read it. Life is too short to spent on this turgid gibberish, in my view. Some trade secret data (volumes, prices, profit margins) are censored, as is customary.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thanks you, Jim.

            You have no time and I have no time. Perhaps the reporter should or could have read it and summarized it in his or her article.

            Is it or is it not dumping, taking into currency movements?

            Reply
            1. Jim Haygood

              Both ITC and Commerce Dept have issued preliminary affirmative determinations of dumping. This is the one from Commerce Dept:

              Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I’m thinking the reporter should have included something from that, as that is relevant to his reporting.

                Reply
            2. Procopius

              Reporters no longer perform the service of actually reading source material and including information in their stories. Or maybe it’s that their editors remove all useful background information because they thing their real customers (the advertisers) think it detracts from their sales pitch.

              Reply
      2. cnchal

        Perhaps Trump is wilier than we thought, and this is just another way of cutting down on fake newspapers. Or perhaps not.

        Thanks for the links. It is interesting that two Canadian companies, Resolute FP Canada Inc/Donohue Malbaie Inc. and White Birch Paper Canada Company/Papier Masson WB LP/FF
        Soucy WB LP/Stadacona WB LP, ad (anti dumping) duties are assessed at zero percent and one company Catalyst Pulp and Paper Sales, Inc./Catalyst Paper General Partnership is singled out at 22.16% ad duties along with “all other” Canadian uncoated paper producers, of which there are likely nearly none.

        Very selective.

        Reply
        1. Jim Haygood

          It is selective, but the company-by-company approach is standard in anti-dumping and subsidy cases.

          Reply
          1. cnchal

            From the link you thankfully provided above, on page 17

            As a result, the domestic industry’s overall capacity declined from *** metric tons in 2014 to *** metric tons in 2016. The industry’s capacity was also lower in interim 2017 (*** metric tons) than in interim 2016 (***metric tons). Petitioner contends that the questionnaire data understate actual capacity reductions during the POI because the Commission lacks data for six additional domestic producers that closed or converted UGW paper making capacity during the POI. Further, domestic producer Bear Island shut down operations in June 2017 citing quality problems and high costs relative to White Birch’s other facilities; the impact of the closure is not reflected in capacity data because it occurred late in the POI.

            Resolute reported shutting down its Augusta, Maine paper machine in May 2016, and it ***.
            NORPAC was forced to reduce production in the second quarter of 2017 due to problems at an effluent treatment plant it uses.

            Also during the POI, NORPAC was acquired by One Rock Capital Partners LLC.

            Now we see who is actually behind this trade complaint, Pirate Equity, using the power of the US government’s bureaucracy for self enrichment.

            Trump has zero to do with it. Public sector pension funds hand money to the pirates so they can plunder the newsprint business on it’s way down. Do the pension funds really know what they are funding? Do newspaper reporters ever put two and two together?

            How does one get a 30% increase in newsprint prices (essentially their retail price) from taxing one company’s imports 22.16% of the “commercial invoice” value? Now we know. Pirate Equity greed.

            Reply
          2. cnchal

            Hmmm. It seems I didn’t re read your original comment about the vultures or venture or Pirates, or whatever we call these creeps, so my apologies for that.

            However, I still don’t see how Trump has anything to do with this.

            Reading through this trade investigation is enlightening, so thank you for the link.

            As an aside, I was watching bubble vision a couple of weeks ago and the EU tariffs on Harley Davidson were the subject of a short report, and the 31% tariffs would increase the cost of a bike by an average of $2,200 which puts the “commercial value” somewhere around $6,500 for a Harley. That would be the raw production cost if my understanding is correct, so one can see how much markup is involved when they get to retail prices.

            Reply
  10. Carolinian

    Re the EU copyright law–We should certainly give up our internet freedom so “Sir Paul McCartney” can make still more millions off songs he wrote decades ago. I’m sure we’ll lose sleep at night worrying about how he will get by. His somewhat more intelligent contemporary, Mick Jagger, is more philosophical about the passing of the vinyl golden age and says that it was always going to be but a moment in time–a period when rock stars became pashas. We appreciate their creativity, but will keep our freedom, thank you very much.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Mr. Jagger didn’t hesitate to extract plenty of money from The Verve for using a bit more of some (then) forgettable background part of a surprisingly – given their ability to play “hey look at me” game – obscure Stones than he felt he had permitted.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Oh sure. But as far as I know he hasn’t done like McCartney and ABBA and lobbied to roll back the clock to a controlled distribution age. Hollywood has dreamt of curbing the internet for ages now but haven’t been able to pull it off in Congress–yet.

        Supposedly among of the causes of the French Revolution were the rules and tolls created by the aristocracy so that a simple cross country journey became a chaotic shakedown. Out of control rent seeking can be highly antisocial.

        Reply
        1. Arizona Slim

          McCartney’s body of work after the Beatles? Meh.

          OTOH, if Lennon had lived longer, I think he would have had quite the late-stage career.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I’ve been trying to overdose on the Beatles channel on XM radio, and there was a good reason i’d never heard of so much of the single parts of the Beatles post breakup, as the music is largely unmemorable and can’t compare to the parts in whole.

            Reply
          2. Wukchumni

            p.s.

            I was on a redeye flight from LAX to JFK the night the music died, and arrived in NYC and awoke the next day oblivious to the news, and only learned about it when it was on the bottom fold of the NYT I picked up (shame on them for the placement!) and I was griefstruck, as my fervent hope was they would get back together, and now all these years later, i’m glad the Fab Four is stuck in time, the 60’s in a nutshell.

            I ventured over to the Dakota and hung out for about half an hour and just couldn’t take it anymore, with hundreds mourning the loss singing songs off-key in between bouts of sobbing.

            Reply
  11. Lunker Walleye

    Antidote du jour
    Gray Crowned Crane? What a fabulous color scheme and overall “design”!

    Reply
      1. Lunker Walleye

        Thanks, If so, here is a quote from wikipedia:

        The grey crowned crane is the national bird of Uganda and features in the country’s flag and coat of arms.[5]

        Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “How Smart TVs in Millions of U.S. Homes Track More Than What’s On Tonight”

    This article goes on and on about Samba but they are not alone with this. A coupla years ago I read about a new smart TV, from Sony I think, that had a few interesting features. Once you hooked it up to the net, the fun really started.
    It had both a camera and a mike so while you were watching the TV, the TV was watching and recording you. You wouldn’t be wanting to be doing something on your sofa with your partner that might lead you to finding yourself featured on Porn Hub. Oops!
    But wait, there’s more. It also had facial recognition software built into the damn thing. For what godly purpose I have no idea. And of course all this was hooked up to the company servers for whatever purpose. Hook up a TV to the net? Like hell I will!

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      >It also had facial recognition software built into the damn thing. For what godly purpose I have no idea.

      I suspect because facial recog software doesn’t work that well and thus the more data the better.* As usual, they were monetizing you without sharing the moola.

      *in theory any way, aka what passes for intelligent thought among our Silicone Valley overlords. Of course, the rest of us know that the more data you get on any specific subject will quite often leads to becoming more, not less, confused. There was an article just recently about how they are finding more and more completely unrelated visual “twins” now that the global village has become a reality.

      Reply
    2. Off The Street

      Find all cameras, on a PC, in a TV, wherever. Put a physical barrier in front of the lens, and adjust any necessary software settings to turn off the function, except when you choose to use it.
      You may apply a variation on the above for audio, where the barrier may be some dongle or plug with wires cut. Research what may work for your particular case.
      Caveat emptor, etc.

      Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When all smart TVs are made by a hostile nation, it is possible for the nation to listen in and watch all the homes with such TVs, including the homes (and offices, even at the White House) of all our secret agents.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        I’ll go all the way and assume that anybody or anything that tries to surveil me without my consent is hostile.

        Reply
    4. Procopius

      I still have old cathode ray tube TVs that my late wife bought many years ago, and I need to look up and save an article I saw last year, about how to cut the internet connection in the new TVs. I’m not expecting to buy a new TV, but who knows when some part they don’t make anymore will blow? Anyway, there are white hat hackers who I trust will keep the information available. Or maybe it’s black hat hackers.

      Reply
  13. ChrisAtRU

    #AMLO

    Sorry to go all #PurityBro on #AMLO, but at this stage of the neoliberal evolution/onslaught, no erstwhile leftist can seriously believe that implementing a true socialist agenda is going to work while promising to adhere to the dictates of sound finance and financial markets.

    #PuntoFinal

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      In the midst of the Mexican Revolution a century ago, there were many ad hoc leaders, not dissimilar to the various drug cartels currently.

      The story was, that if Heurta’s forces caught you with this on your person, a summary end to your saga was forthcoming, as the coin clearly stated:

      “Death to General Huerta”

      Said coins were struck and circulated by none other than Pancho Villa..

      Reply
      1. ChrisAtRU

        Ha! Well, if “Death to Neoliberalism” coins do exist, I hope #AMLO has his stash well hidden …

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          What AMLO seems to be doing here is equivalent to someone proposing to focus, for us Americans, on managing how money is spent (too much military spendiing and not enough domestic), i.e. corrupted priorities, and not immediately on ideas or theories like the MMT (‘we need more money).

          Reply
        2. Wukchumni

          Mexico was the last country in the world to have circulating coins made out silver, circa 1993. The previous last issuer of silver coins was Germany in 1974.

          As of late it’s strictly been a fiat accompli.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Faulty memory circuitry, my bad.

            It was actually Mexico again with the previous last circulating silver coins, in 1978, nipping the Germans @ the wire.

            A 1978 100 peso coin had about 2/3rds of an ounce of pure silver in content, and after hyperinflation hit in the early 80’s and lasted until 1992, when it took over 10,000 pesos to equal one American dollar, this coin had an exchange rate of 1 cent U.S.

            Not only were all of these melted down, but all of the base metal coins as well, as the scrap value greatly exceeded the face value.

            All of this corresponds perfectly with the Mexican diaspora here, as even if you earned an income it wasn’t worth anything, and via remittances from the USA, a whole family could survive on one Yankee salary in el norte.

            Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Though, like they can use anti-corruption, we here on the north can do without corporate personhood money in politics.

      One thing to look for, as events unfold, is whether it’s a Xi type of anti-corruption to remove political opponents, or anti-corruption to solely remove corruption.

      Reply
      1. ChrisAtRU

        Good insight … would hope it’s the latter, although to be blunt, executing the latter might invariably result in the former … because kleptocracy. Early days yet.

        Reply
    3. norm de plume

      ‘at this stage of the neoliberal evolution/onslaught, no erstwhile leftist can seriously believe that implementing a true socialist agenda is going to work while promising to adhere to the dictates of sound finance and financial markets’

      Here is a fledgling leftist candidate, openly using the N-word as a hot-button. This ‘naming the enemy’ mini-trend is becoming de rigeur, a very encouraging development. He also quotes Marx (‘to each according, etc..) He has stacks of lefty cred, with stints in public housing and charity on his resume. And there is no sign here that he is a standard issue good-cop foot soldier for markets, but this statement, with its MMT-free assumptions, is a bit of a worry: ‘Massive tax cuts at one end will mean cuts to social services and social supports’

      Reply
  14. Wukchumni

    All of my heroes have always played the guitar, but nobody ever plied it picking as perfect as Tommy Emmanuel, here performing Mona Lisa:

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      It is people like this who raise the chances of Trump getting re-elected in 2020. Pray he gets doxed and the doxing goes viral too.

      Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “Doubts Grow Aramco IPO Will Ever Happen”

    I have my doubts too. To have an IPO, the Saudis may have to come clean on just exactly how much oil they have left and just which fields face depletion. Investors may have serious reservations about putting their money into Saudi Arabia too. When they were rounding up their billionaires to put into that hotel to extort money out of them, one foreign businessman noted that half his Rolodex was sitting in that hotel. Not exactly a confidence boosting thing that.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I haven’t read that article, but hardly need to – it was always a near certainty that the IPO would hit the rocks. Aramco may be well run, but its a private concern for the Al Saud family, and there was no way they would let outsiders have a say in its operation, or access to truthful information on reserves. As such, any price would be pure guesswork.

      Reply
    2. Expat

      I was in Saudi working with Aramco (consultant) over the past few years and could tell that it was not going to happen. Most of the management admitted that perhaps they might list their non-reserves assets such as refineries, but that the oil itself was too political and too dangerous to open up.

      Reply
  16. crittermom

    RE: Healthcare–Pfizer

    “President Donald Trump suggested on May 30 that the industry was poised to make “massive” voluntary price cuts in the coming weeks.”

    Oh, my. It seems drug companies once again failed to listen to the Trumpet Master when he made that statement. (Or did he just quickly swallow the BS fed to him before spitting it out to the public?)

    The man is very good at blowing his own horn.
    Too bad he’s always ‘out of key’.

    And lest anyone forgot, this was just a few short months ago.

    From that article:
    “The main drivers of higher prices, researchers found, were high administrative costs and devices and pricy medicines.”

    Duh,,. Ya think?

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If Trump is all about himself, that would suggest he will not make an exception for the pharma industry, as he takes on the corporate sector (a comment mentioning that claim – by Chomsky – in yesterday’s links).

      Reply
    2. Procopius

      I have read that the same is true of education, as well. K-12 or university/college/vocational school, all have had large increases in the number of “administrative” positions and even larger increases in the salaries and perquisites paid them. That and “prestige” buildings — sports arenas, “student” unions, office buildings — which have huge costs. Oh, and I almost overlooked the sports segments, which do not actually bring in any revenue but have huge costs.

      Reply
  17. Jean

    American Jekyll, American Hyde

    Can we agree that blowing crackling sheets of snot into a rag where people eat is nauseating?

    Blowing one’s nose in public is disgusting, especially in a restaurant, it’s akin to reaching into your pants and scratching your genitals or wiping one’s ass after pulling their pants down.

    Infectious bodily fluids are expelled with great force into a napkin left for a worker to pick up and sometimes the air stream containing them goes sideways. Uggh!

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One issue of mine is being seated in a restaurant closest to the restroom.

      I’m there eating, but can’t help but wonder about the smell, the sound nearby, and visualize that world a few feet away.

      Reply
  18. Wukchumni

    I’d be lion to you if I wasn’t jealous of all the cougar sightings our neighbors have had, the latest episode about 10 days ago being a group of 6 of them around the fire, with said kitty across the road behind a woodpile, watching their every move.

    To be honest, i’d be good with an on the road without a Kerouracian fleeting glimpse, and especially so now that our ride is equipped with a dash cam that can either take photos, or 20 second videos, by merely pushing a button.

    Call me a Roadarazzi

    Maybe I ought to leave a pan of kitty litter outside the cabin?

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      damned depressing, fer sure.
      the top picture, of the garbage filled newspaper box, says it all.
      the ease of screen addiction is why I specifically engineered our rube goldberg wifi connection to include a kill switch that I can access without anyone being the wiser. “internet’s down…but look at all these books! and 50 years worth of NatGeo(pre-Rupert)!…and 30 years of Discover and SciAm and PopSci and Rodale’s!”
      Wife’s is the only Iphone with a 4G connection(for trips and such), everybody else is slaved to the wifi bubble, which I can eradicate at will.
      desperate measures and all…

      Reply
      1. Carey

        Good that you engineered a wifi killswitch! I try to impose that on myself, with
        varying degrees of success. Dinh’s article doesn’t say so much that’s new, but
        it hit home more this time. Time for some nature now. Lots of birds around lately..

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          it was too expensive to get our own internet out here, and mom’s got a huge pipe(DSL) 160 feet next door that she hardly uses. So 130′ ethernet cable to a router in a birdhouse on a fence post. something called “ground potential” made me think i needed to use her power for the router(i understand this stuff only at the hold-yer-breath-and-hope-level), so there’s a homemade heavy extension cord buried with the ethernet. I’ve got a Wok-Fi set up to extend the wifi bubble to my end of the house.
          birdhouse houses red wasps along with the router, so nobody has the stones to go in there,lol.
          I go out hunting rattlers of an evening down the dirt road, and if i want to play spades or chess or something, I might amble by the router and switch it off. Howls from inside,lol.
          to be fair, the intertubes out here is sometimes spotty, depending on weather.
          and our electricity is notoriously iffy in summertime.
          I just play on that…and i don’t think they’re harmed by playing chess with their old man.

          Reply
  19. Oregoncharles

    What is “Social Europe,” again? “The Globalization Backlash…” is corporate, neoliberal propaganda.

    I was looking for the essential lie, and this might be it: “Opposition to globalization is gaining such a foothold in the political and public domain in advanced industrial democracies, precisely because processes of economic interdependence have coincided with increasing migration flows.”

    No, the opposition was very strong long before that, and primarily from the left, because globalization is little more than corporate imperialism. Calling it “co-operation” is, at best, euphemizing it. It’s the elites co-operating (is that what she meant?) to exploit everyone else.

    The cultural clash with huge numbers of refugees/immigrant has been the cherry on top that make it a political rallying cry, but it’s secondary to the intended economic impact.

    The author has a Dutch name, but I don’t know her nationality. The Netherlands are among the few, northern EU countries that, so far, have benefited from neoliberal economic policies. They’ve also had a particularly severe cultural clash, including murders. So that might be her point of view. Still, this article is either extremely naive or intentionally deceptive.

    Reply
  20. Leroy R.


    “Maybe worth trying: insert a 1m diameter nylon tube (or shorter set of tubes for most difficult sections) through cave network & inflate with air like a bouncy castle. Should create an air tunnel underwater against cave roof & auto-conform to odd shapes like the 70cm hole.”
    — Elon Musk (@elonmusk)

    Reply
  21. JEHR

    I am in mourning as I watch the death of the great democracy to the south. Slowly and surely it goes through its death throes and when death comes, we do not know what will be left. The death may take all other democracies with it and then who will remain to remake the world into a place that loves all people no matter what colour, religion or political beliefs there be?

    I will mourn the long, long time it takes for for the oxygen to no longer the brain; for livor mortis and rigor motis to arise; for putrefaction to begin; for decomposition and mummification to ensue and where only the hard and sturdy teeth remain to show the former body politic.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I wouldn’t worry about us, the Mayans living where their ancestors did is indicative that great cultures never go away, but they most certainly fade into obscurity from what they were.

      There’s nothing to bond us as a country aside from forced patriotism and glory of our military, of which 99% of us have nothing @ stake.

      If I returned to these United States in 2936, i’d expect to see a patchwork of city states, more resembling a map of Europe in 1800.

      Reply
  22. kareninca

    From the Central Park OZY/Hillary fest comment section, comments by someone posting as Jamie McDonald:

    “oh cool, it’s the “Actually, *Nothing* is Wrong with Neoliberalism” festival”

    and

    “every single person that would ever go to this festival asks to speak to the manager at least once a week”

    LOL

    Reply
  23. The Rev Kev

    “How Facebook Is Fact-Checking Conservative Sites into Oblivion”

    And this is how people like Paul Joseph Watson and Lauren Southern get so successful. They make outrageous claims like this – and are proven right! Facebook doing stuff like this, apart from it being unethical and wrong, are simply throwing tanker loads of gasoline onto conservative fires. You debate ideas on their merit or lack thereof, not try to tamper it down out of sight. And who made Facebook the one to decide what people can and cannot see?I bet people who sign up to it won’t find that in their terms and conditions.

    Reply
  24. jackiebass

    BBC NA has some good coverage of the people trapped in the cave. According to them the oxygen level in the cave has dropped a lot. The officials have brought a long plastic pipe to be used to pump oxygen into the cave. I think the diver died while dropping spare air tanks along the route into the cave. Apparently it requires several tanks for each diver to reach the stranded. I hope for the best but I’m not optimistic about them being rescued.

    Reply

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