Links 6/11/19

Yves apologizes for the lack of original posts: She’s not only swamped by moving and travel preparations, she’s working on a CalPERS story. –lambert

Some Ohio farmers won’t plant crops at all because of rain AgPro

NYT

NOAA

Little Village (Late Introvert),

KTVU

Science

Eileen Applebaum, Economic Policy Institute. Coping with corporate bonds.

Brexit

FT

Bloomberg

Vox

FT

China?

South China Morning Post

FT

Bloomberg

USA Today

Reuters

North Korea

The Interpreter

OZY

Syraqistan

Consortium News

The American Conservative

Impeachment

WaPo

Politico

RussiaGate

The Hill

AP

Trump Transition

Medium. Sounds like election meddling.

AP. “Shortly after the nomination, Chua penned a Wall Street Journal essay extolling Kavanaugh ‘as a mentor for young lawyers, particularly women.'” You scratch my back….

NYT

Democrats in Disarray

Open Secrets

BradBlog. Holy moley!

Slate. North Carolina is a busy state.

Health Care

Modern Healthcare

Axios

Reuters

NYT. Which ObamaCare subsidizes.

Our Famously Free Press

Chappatte

Nieman Labs

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The New Yorker. Where’s the legislation?

Boston Review

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Seattle Times. A “convenience trap.”

Guillotine Watch

CBS

Detroit Free Press. Somebody give those kids free tuition to a good school!

Class Warfare

WaPo. Workers training their replacements, as usual.

Truthout

The Hill. We train kids early on going into debt, don’t we?

Washington’s Blog. Of course, if Google hasn’t indexed a site, these tricks won’t help.

Quanta

Antidote du Jour ():

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

135 comments

  1. The Rev Kev

    Working link for “Some Ohio farmers won’t plant crops at all because of rain” article at-

    Not looking good for Ohio. I wonder if this will have spill-on effects for next year’s elections in that State.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      re: truthdig about the end of usa hegemony

      neoliberal utopians surprised that there turns out to be an alternative:
      “But these two traditions don’t see through the same lens, through the same ideas. And that makes it more difficult. The United States officials that you referred to thought China would fall into the global trading system and evolve into a–what you might call a Western-like commercial entity. They thought that the financial systems would become integrated and open to the West. They thought they would eventually privatize and stop using state credit allocation to subsidize state-owned enterprises that compete with private enterprise. Places like the World Trade Organization, so-called WTO, would bridge the differences and bring things to a healing point. And that doesn’t appear to be where we’re going.”

      I’m reminded of joseph campbell’s Occidental Mythology(the extended quote of which i somehow found without much trouble):

      “Much of the complexity and vitality of the Occidental heritage must be attributed to the conflicting claims—both of which are accepted—on the one hand, of the advocates of what is offered as the Word of God, and, on the other, of the rational individual [Editors note: Campbell is echoing here Nietzsche’s statements in his Geneology that the ongoing conflict between ‘Rome and Israel’, the schizophrenia of their union in the Roman-Synagogue of the Church, explained the depth and complexities of European psychology]. Nothing quite of the kind has ever seriously troubled the mentality of the Orient east of Iran, where the old hieratic Bronze Age cosmology of the ever-circling eons– static yet turning ever, in a round of mathematical impersonality, from everlasting to everlasting– endures to this day as the last word on the universe and the place of man within it. […] Like a jewel, ever turning facets to the light, apparently in change but actually unchanging, this Bronze Age image of the cosmos, still intact in the Orient, renders a fixed world of fixed duties, roles, and possibilities: not a [temporal] process, but a [eternal] state; and the individual, whether man or god, is but a flash among the facets. There is no concept, or even sense, of either will or mind as a creative force. And when the Westerner exhibits these, the sage Oriental simply gazes, baffled, yet with the consoling sense of watching only a devil at work whose time will surely be short, and of himself, mean-while, as securely rooted in all that is eternally true… . All of which he knows, or at least believes he knows, out of the old, old store of wisdom that both he and we inherit from the Age of Bronze.”

      our masters of the universe are used to athens vs jerusalem…but now here comes confucius, lao tsu and the gang, with totally different lenses–fundamentally different ways of seeing the world.
      the Occidental MoU thought they could send all our Plant over there and the East would get in line and stay in line, and be grateful, as it were, for our garbage(lol).
      we forget that china represents the oldest extant civilisation on the planet.
      the West is like a teenager.

      1. Lee

        All well and good but aren’t we ascribing deep wisdom to a culture where many believe that consigning charismatic megavertebrates and other species to extinction for the sake of phony cures for erectile dysfunction and status consumption is quite alright? East and West do in fact meet in the form of human greed and folly and it is hoped that before it is too late in shared wisdom.

      2. juliania

        How then to explain the harmony between Russia and China? I don’t see a fundamentally different set of lenses when it comes to governance and trade between them; their different spiritual heritages would not seem to be problematic.

    2. Lee

      Turns out that not being able to trade away our crops to China might end up being a good thing. Is Trump some sort of idiot savant that makes an unwitting yet prescient move to counteract the effects of climate change, a phenomenon he denies exists? Paging Rod Serling.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “Is Trump some sort of idiot savant…”
        lol
        i suppose that’s the best we can hope for.

        when “farmer” means “indentured servant of Big Ag, forcing corn to grow in the desert, using too much chem and water”…well…while i feel for the “farmers” who will hurt…maybe in the long run, disrupting industrial ag can be a good thing.
        if we can’t find the spine to regulate them, screw up their business model sufficiently to allow something to grow in the cracks, while Mother Nature does her own disruption.
        we’ll feel it, too…beef is way up in my neck of the woods…and nobody has catfood(!?), whether due to tariffs or floods remains unclear.(store guy only knew his supplier couldn’t get any…but he did say they were worried about and seed and fertiliser)

  2. dearieme

    Micropayments-for-news pioneer Blendle is pivoting from micropayments

    The verb “to pivot” has become fashionable lately. Is that because it can disguise so much?

    1. Darius

      Obama really liked pivot. I put it in the same category as smart innovative disruptive synergy tech and other neoliberal buzz words. They make you sound smarter than you are and they’re usually putting lipstick on a pig.

      1. Geo

        It does sanitize things nicely too. Saying my the Middle Class made a pivot into poverty sounds much nicer than saying they fell into poverty. /s

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          My free and open Internet made a pivot into the dungeon of Stasi gulagification.

          Hmmm…not sure about that one. I think I don’t understand how to use ‘pivot’ properly as-yet…

    2. John

      Hmm. I thought pivot was a term to describe what a politician does when they respond to a direct question with BS or a lie that only marginally references the question.

    3. ewmayer

      Some of us just wish theyd “pivot away” from that inane and (probably app-generated) disrupto-tech-startup name, “Blendle”.

  3. Svante

    Americans for Prosperity bankrolling Kleptocrats is news? I’d thought lots of readers had posted numerous instances where both DNC & DCCC threatened to punish opposition to Koch hegemony? Free speech, is anti-Democratic again, this year?

    1. RopeADope

      Americans for Prosperity should fund the defense of Elissa Slotkin and Abigail Spanberger in 2020. Given the voting history of those two they will probably be primaried by real Democrats so the Koch cash would be much appreciated.

      1. Procopius

        If they’re primaried, I’m sure the DCCC will find plenty of money for them. Of course the two are not mutually exclusive.

  4. Carla

    From the Modern Healthcare article on consolidation in the industry:

    “three of the largest medical patient financing companies, Synchrony, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, make up 77% of that market, which draws $4.1 billion in revenue.”

    What the HELL is a medical patient financing company? Are they talking about the market for driving patients into bankruptcy? Well, that’s a thriving business!

    Or could it be a typo and they meant medical patent financing?

    1. TheMog

      I don’t think it’s a typo – there are a whole bunch of businesses out there only too happy to extend credit for medical procedures that aren’t covered by insurance (assuming the people in question have insurance in the first place).

      A classic case are the companies that finance dental procedures.

      I’m also a tad less than surprised to see that amongst others, WF is involved.

      1. Svante

        I’m pretty sure, we’ll hear ALL about the various candidate’s astute, savvy and comprehensive plans, to protect vulnerable constituents from criminal parasites who off of misery, they’ve caused?

        Oh, Democrats aren’t ALLOWED to discuss anything about how their job’s forking us to the ing sharks circling far below? Oh, the Democrats are RUN by the rapacious parasites, their superdelegates ARE the slumlords, CRIMINAL lawyers, money launderers, K Street shills and Wall Street thugs? Never MIND!

      2. Arizona Slim

        Care Credit is a biggie in this field. If you ever balk at the cost of a dental procedure, watch the conversation turn into a Care Credit sales pitch.

        1. sinbad66

          1000+

          And, to top it off, you can use your account to finance any procedure you need done on your pets

        2. paul w

          If that ever happens to me i’ll pivot the conversation to the price of the procedure in Mexico.

      3. polecat

        Maybe ambrit should look into this .. uh .. ‘alternative’ to releave an unintended (??) pressure point. /s
        ‘:|

        1. ambrit

          All right you, I’m ‘on’ it. However, we have been beaten to the punch here.
          As a matter of fact, I did receive a letter with a sales pitch for a company, called “Change Healthcare,” out of Atlanta, Georgia.
          I’m not sure if this is, strictly speaking, a ‘loan agency,’ but it comes close, from my perspective.
          The letter starts out:
          “Change Healthcare has contracted with CC “XXXXX General Hospital” to assist patients who were involved in an accident. Your auto, worker’s compensation, or homeowner’s insurance plan may have medical benefits available that will help to reduce/eliminate your out of pocket expense to the hospital that is normally associated with health insurance deductibles and co-pays.
          Please call our Patient Support Centre…..”
          I suspect that this ‘advocacy’ is a cover for something more sinister.
          If the above doesn’t raise the hackles upon the back of your neck, than I don’t know….
          Also of note, the text of the letter repeats in Spanish.

    2. jefemt

      That’s not a typo. Payment plans… who will the creditor be? Who buys and carries the ‘paper’? Big Business. Workout a payment with your doc? The doc is part of a clinic, absorbed by the hospital, part of a conglomerate. They MIGHT carry the debt, or, they may sell for cents on the dollar to a Big Bank (Citi, Wells, ad nauseum).
      Remember— 45 million of us have no cost-shifting ‘insurance’, or the ‘insurance’ is inadequate… so there is a LOT of implied debt/ borrowing to pay for the over-priced under-funded care over time.
      (This cross-references to the school lunch debt… but I digress…)

      Death panels– a bullet to the temple. Long-term care solutions… how could that steely-eyed Alaska bush-mama bear Sarah Palin be on-target?

      1. TheMog

        The doc doesn’t have to be part of a clinic. I happen to know a few doctors who still own their private practice and they tend to feel like they have to offer payment plans via a third party after getting burned once too often by people who are not able to stick to the payment plan. As one of them put it – “I can hardly repossess their teeth”.

        Seems to be more common in the dental and vision fields as the “insurance” in those fields only covers pitiful amounts of the actual cost.

        1. ambrit

          The ‘costs’ of dental procedures have inflated to extremes over the last several decades. Does anyone know of a ‘reader friendly’ chart looking at costs of, say dental or vision versus standards of, say, median income, over time?
          This is a case where anecdotes are not data, and the data will drive the policy debate.
          Anecdotally, our last ‘regular’ dentist was eventually bought out by a regional dental services chain. He took the buy out money and retired to Mexico, the last I heard. After that, no more ‘structured payment plans’ for us. We were faced with either complete payment at time of service or “go to a loan company.” Phyllis had her denture work finished, and, except for my extraction last year, I haven’t had any work done. This was ten years ago.
          Gee, thanks Neo-Liberal ‘Masters of the Universe!’

  5. PlutoniumKun

    Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to be the UK’s next prime minister, explained Vox

    This article is very kind to Johnson. The man is unsuitable for any high office, his response to every issue is to try to bulls**t his way out of it. Thanks to his stint in the Foreign Office he is considered a complete joke in Europe and probably wider – there is no way any initiative of his would be taken seriously over Brexit.

    Probably the only thing he is doing right is managing his campaign, but that’s probably due to good advice. He is keeping his mouth shut in public and focusing on a charm offensive on MP’s. It looks like it will work.

    And amazingly, he might not even be the worse candidate. There have been a few articles recently in the Irish press based on what seem to be briefings from senior diplomats/politicians about Dominic Raab and his dealings with Ireland when he was Brexit Secretary – the clear implication is that he is considered by those who have dealt with him to be a straight up liar, and not a particularly good one. Nobody in Europe would trust anything he says. The likes of Leadsom, etc., could well be worse as they don’t even have the brains of Raab or the charm of Johnson.

    The only hope for the UK is that the Conservatives vote in someone that the EU will at least think needs to be given a chance. Some of the articles coming out indicate that the French at least are completely fed up and will not agree to an extension – they may well be joined by others.

    It almost makes one nostalgic for Cameron or even Thatcher.

    1. a different chris

      >The man is unsuitable for any high office, his response to every issue is to try to bulls**t his way out of it.

      Huh? Unsuitable? But I thought that was the primary qualification for higher office in most Western countries at this ebbing of the empire point? :)

    2. larry

      You are so right, PK. Leadsom doesn’t have the sense to get out of the rain. I had a fleeting thought that Raab was a fascist in sheep’s clothing, sort of. BJ, unfortunately, may well be one of the final two. Some commentators have speculated that were Johnson to win, there would be a general election, which Corbyn would win, at the very least in a coalition. However, Corbyn has had the worst Labour meeting ever the other day. Apparently, he was awful. Marie Rimmer gave a speech critical of Corbyn which was applauded, loudly. And there was vocal support for Thornberry. There was also criticism of Murphy. Corbyn has to get rid of those Stalinists he has surrounded himself with. But it doesn’t look like he will. He seems to be developing a bunker mentality.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’d agree – while it may be easy to blame ‘his advisors’, Corbyn seems determined to let the Tories off the hook at every turn, he simply doesn’t seem to see that Labour is in danger of being dragged down with them by the Brexit millstone. From the whispers around, it does seem that his inner circle are giving him terrible political advice. I thought the shock of the LibDem revival would have made him take notice, but from what I’ve seen the recent by election victory has convinced him and others around him that the Brexit Party will take the Tories down without doing Labour any harm. I think things are shaping up for another challenge to his leadership at the next Party conference. But the timing is terrible, with the Tories likely having a new leader bump and a no-deal arriving in weeks.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, PK and Larry.

          It is true that Corbyn could be better advised. He should also be far more combative and take the gloves off against charlatans like Rimmer, Hodge and Streeting who were gunning for him yesterday evening. Labour members, some of whom frequent this blog, should also stop messing about and vote for mandatory reselection at the conference in the autumn. The members surely can’t allow the Blairites and Brownites to disrupt a Labour government.

          I would caution against citing the reports by the Mirror’s Kevin Maguire. The northerner is desperate to ingratiate himself with the London, not just Blairite, establishment. For example, Maguire reports Rimmer to be a Corbynite. She isn’t. She voted for Cooper and Smith in leadership contests and is on the payroll of a meddlesome embassy, not the Russian one if you are wondering.

          1. larry

            Thank you PK and Col. PK, who do you think could effectively challenge Corbyn at the conference, admitting it would be bad timing?

            I think I know which embassy you are talking about, Col. Awful, isn’t it.

            Re the Tory condidates, I have seen reports that contend that Raab is viewed as an out and out liar and Johnson as a buffoon by EU diplomats. They don’t apparently think well of any of the contenders. And they effectively dismantled their core negotiating team. And Johnson so far has been an absentee candidate, though that is supposed to change tomorrow. What strikes me is how aggressive the stupider Tories are in a discussion.

            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you, Larry.

              I think the only credible candidate from the right is Starmer, but the younger Corbynites should send a deputation to Corbyn and have it out before the neo liberals and neo cons organise and peel off enough soft left members.

              Please see my reply about Raab below.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            Thanks Col., you are right of course that the situation is quite complex, I don’t really have any insights into internal Labour arguments except to say that a few friends of mine, long time left wing Labour activists, are absolutely furious about some of the things they’ve seen happen on the ground, in particular factionalising from particular ‘wings’ of the old Labour left.

            The problem is I think that a lot of the younger activists inspired by Corbyn are no match for the old school political maneuvering by both the old style hard left and the Blairite/Brownite wings. I could see a lot of younger activists move to the Greens or SDP/PC as time goes on.

    3. The Rev Kev

      ‘This article is very kind to Johnson.’ Yeah, I thought so to. Vox was making real nice to Boris and was almost making him sound like a lovable doofus. A good reason to avoid Vox in general. And to think that someone was complaining just yesterday how NC was linking to stories from The Daily Beast!
      Saw another story on this page called “Ten Tories Vie to Be the Next U.K. Leader Bloomberg” but my mind at first read it as “Ten Tories too Vile Be the Next U.K. Leader Bloomberg”. Funny how the mind plays tricks.

      1. Procopius

        … making him sound like a lovable doofus.

        That seems to be the view American MSM want to project of him. Maybe “eccentric,” which is viewed as the English term for “maverick.” My opinion, of course. I have a hard time trying to figure out what the hell the MSM are talking about. Guess that’s part of growing old.

    4. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, PK.

      One should not be surprised by Raab or what people who have come across him think of him.

      Like his rival Javid, he seems like one of those children of immigrants desperate to fit in, to the extent of going full fat Thatcherite. As the child of immigrants myself, I have come across the full range of such characters.

      Also, Raab comes from Buckinghamshire, which has selection for secondary / high school. In the early 1980s, early 1990s and mid-teens studies showed a higher than average number of children educated at Buckinghamshire grammar schools, including Doctor Challoner’s in Amersham where Raab was educated, who dropped out of Oxford and Cambridge, especially Oxford where Raab went (Lady Margaret Hall), and even some “red brick” universities. Some found the public (private outside the UK) school atmosphere at Oxbridge difficult to come to terms with. One wonders if that influenced how Raab turned out.

      Growing up in Amersham, down the road from where I live, Raab had Sir Ian Gilmour, Baronet and later Lord, as MP. Gilmour was a Tory Wet, Millikan or Rockefeller Republican in the US, and a proper Gentleman with a capital G far removed from the likes of (johhny come latelys like) Raab. One could argue that the author of “Dancing With Dogma” was to the left of Corbyn. The Gilmour family, to this day, defend Palestinian rights and volunteer for a charity that alleviates Palestinian suffering.

      One hopes older UK readers who recall the likes of Gilmour and how Thatcherite jihadists supplanted them chime in.

      1. Mirdif

        Very informative as always Colonel. There’s a joke about beef burgers and cannibalism waiting to be made should La Gummer be not a particularly nice character.

        Also, I saw your note about Saj’s uncle yesterday. Not a relative at all. Almost certainly he connected with his future spouse from his work at the British Consulate in the backend of nowhere-istan; Bradford, Luton and a number of other cities/towns are chocka full of the descendants of this particular backend of nowhere place.

        I do wonder how many ex-employees of British Consultates in Pakistan eventually end up in Blighty after snaggling a spouse. Maybe I shouldn’t extrapolate from a sample size of 1.

        I think the business of studentry is now at an end. I’ve not come across these “student” types for maybe 5 years or so. It was a big thing in the early part of this decade but most of those “colleges” were shut down. It was Saj’s paternal uncle’s who were running that scam, and it was a scam, because they were taking money and then not making any arrangements to send the people to Blighty. All his father’s brothers have now passed with the exception of the one now living in Brizzle.

        On the Johnson effect, if I were Brexit inclined and unhappy with the WA I’d be terrified. He’ll either get the WA passed in a scammy referendum by making people choose between it and no deal or he’ll find a way to engineer remain. I’d not be shocked at all if on examination of his ballot from 2016 if he’d voted remain.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Thankfully, Irelands PM, also a child of immigrants, largely seems not to share those characteristics, apart from an annoying apparent desire to please everyone.

        According to rumour, despite having been labeled a ‘Tory Boy’ in his younger days, his attempts to charm May, Raab and Boris during negotiations failed entirely and he ended up barely able to speak to them, leaving most face to face talks to his no.2. I think he and others in his party were genuinely shocked at the contempt and condescension shown to them by the real Tory boys and girls. The older style of Tory would at least have had the breeding not to show their contempt too obviously.

    5. David

      I am beginning to wonder if there is another game going on here that we can’t see.
      If what is said about Johnson is even half true, and he has no hidden depths, then he is likely to be a disaster from day one. He may be unable to put a Cabinet together, much less a majority government. At that point, and as we’ve discussed, the nuance that the PM doesn’t actually have to be the leader of the largest party comes into play. Among the chaos, a group of Tory MPs approach the Queen to suggest another candidate as PM. The same group of course will have done everything they can to make sure that Johnson can’t form a government. Because there are no elections for PM as such, this kind of soft coup would be easy to manage. I wonder further, speculating madly, if Stewart isn’t readying himself for some such happy conjunction of circumstances.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        That really is an interesting idea, although its hard not to see it leading to complete chaos.

        However, the hard core Tory opposition to Johnson seems to be shrinking by the day – it seems Tory survival instincts always come out on top. Whatever you say about Johnson, he is a fantastic campaigner and genuinely popular with a big segment of the public.

        1. Anonymous2

          One idea going around is that the Palace may refuse to allow Johnson (assuming it is he) to call on HM to be appointed PM until there is no doubt that he is able to command a majority in the House.

          I am not sure that this can be true – we have after all had minority governments in the past – but I guess they might want reassurance that the newly appointed PM will not be brought down by a motion of no confidence the day after he has been appointed.

          There is also a story that the Palace is wary after having been duped by May. Supposedly she lied to the Palace that she had a deal with the DUP before that was really the case. She was allowed to ‘kiss hands’ , so the story goes, on the basis of this falsehood.

          I am not sure how popular Johnson is with the public as a whole. The figures I have seen show 55% hostile, with fewer than 30% positive, One assumes most of the 30% will be normal Tory voters.

        2. vlade

          The last bit of your sentence (“genuinely popular with a big segment of the public”) may be a bit of a myth. I saw some numbers which imply that most people believe he’d be a horrendous PM – they had seen him as London’s Mayor and a Foreign Sec, and he was pretty disastrous in both (say as FS he pretty much guaranteed harsher treatment to that Iranian-British saying very dumb things).

          So it may be a case of wishful/bubble thinking.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            That’s a fair point – although I was thinking in terms of him being able to rouse up the core vote in addition to appealing to those who don’t follow politics too much but find him amusing (this number is of course likely to shrink dramatically once they found out how unamusing his policies are). Or as puts it:

            Boris Johnson is the frontrunner because he is a master of misdirection – the conjuring technique for steering an audience’s eyes away from sleight of hand, deception passed off as magic. The whole “Boris” persona – carefully careless hair and linguistic prestidigitation – is a vaudevillian trick that Johnson plays on British politics, manipulating debate away from his lying incompetence, idleness, philandering self-obsession and intellectual vacuity.

            I suspect that within the bubble of people reading the right wing UK press (i.e., most of it), there is likely not to be a great awareness of his international reputation as a destructive clown.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Daughter of ‘tiger mom’ Chua picked as Kavanaugh law clerk AP. “Shortly after the nomination, Chua penned a Wall Street Journal essay extolling Kavanaugh ‘as a mentor for young lawyers, particularly women.’” You scratch my back….

    I think the one great contribution Amy Chua has made to society is laying bare to everyone just how the upper-middle classes work and how the elites (including so called ‘intellectual elites’) self perpetuate.

    1. Prufrock

      It’s even worse than that. A year ago, when a blogger wrote an article that the daughter was now guaranteed a supreme court clerkship, the daughter responded to say that she wasn’t even going to apply for a SCOTUS clerkship due to her commitment to join the military.

      This is just embarrassing for our legal system.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, PK and Prufrock.

        This sort of thing happens in Europe, too.

        A couple of live examples for readers, but I know lots more:

        Tory leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt inherited his seat from his cousin Virginia Bottomley. When he was elected, their cousins Harriet Harman and Kitty Usher sat on the government benches. Hunt’s assistant is the daughter of former Tory minister John Gummer and sister of former Tory MP Ben Gummer. Older readers may recall John Gummer force ing his daughter a burger during the mad cow disease crisis.

        The top bureaucrat at the Elysee Palace, Alexis Kohler, is scion of a shipping family that contributed to Macron’s campaign.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Indeed, its an issue everywhere I think. Growing up in Ireland, I used to think that it was only in a small country where everyone who is anyone knows each other that the sons and daughters of wealthy connected people always seemed to rise effortlessly to the top, it always surprised me when I found out its the same everywhere.

          I was really taken aback when I lived in London in the 1990’s and via a well connected friend I briefly socialised with a few of the types you are familiar with – I was amazed at how they all seemed to know each other, even in supposedly different professions.

          1. larry

            Thank you PK and Col. PK, who do you think could effectively challenge Corbyn at the conference, admitting it would be bad timing?

            I think I know which embassy you are talking about, Col. Awful, isn’t it.

            Re the Tory condidates, I have seen reports that contend that Raab is viewed as an out and out liar and Johnson as a buffoon by EU diplomats. They don’t apparently think well of any of the contenders. And they effectively dismantled their core negotiating team. And Johnson so far has been an absentee candidate, though that is supposed to change tomorrow. What strikes me is how aggressive the stupider Tories are in a discussion.

            1. larry

              A reply of mine was disappeared, presumably destroyed by the system. Something should be done about it.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                A lot of mine have gone directly into moderation, unfortunately I think this situation is out of our hosts hands.

              2. Christy

                >”Something should be done about it.”

                Larry, please read the site Policies (top toolbar) under “comments”.
                Sometimes things are beyond our control.

                It also states it may take up to 24 hours for your comment to appear, depending on our workload.

                Believe me, we’re doing the best we can while trying to maintain the high standards of this site, so please don’t throw a drink in the host’s face.

                Complaining about moderation is not advised (nor appreciated).

                ~Christy (moderator)

      2. Craig H.

        The alchemical principle of the Revelation of the Method has as its chief component, a clown-like, grinning mockery of the victim(s) as a show of power and macabre arrogance.

        Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare, Michael A. Hoffman, p.78

    2. JohnnyGL

      That’s the level of subtlety that our more traditional elites bring.

      The Trump crew would have given the daughter a job IMMEDIATELY. Because they’re shameless and don’t care.

      The Chua’s of the world, on the other hand, are more comfortable playing a long game (by long, I mean a year, apparently :) ).

      The funny thing is, I read a book by Chua years ago, “World on Fire”, which talked about problems in developing countries and how ethnic conflicts were bound up in economic roots with fights over how the spoils of capitalism are divvied up. She didn’t really offer solutions much, as I recall, but she was at least correct to point to problems with how neo-liberal capitalism was playing out in the developing world.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’d forgotten about Chuas earlier book. I never read it, but I heard its quite thoughtful. But she wouldn’t be the first example of someone who is well aware of economic unfairness, and rails against it ‘politically’, while behaving in entirely the opposite matter when it comes to themselves and their family.

      2. David

        Her first book wasn’t bad, but I thought it was naive and overly schematic. Sh had found a thesis and was determined to make everything fit it, including cases she clearly knew little about. More generally I remember thinking, skimming the last few chapters, that if her thesis was as original as she obviously thought, then the level of ignorance on these issues, in the US at least, was even higher than I had feared.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          She is certainly an experienced self-promoter and it kind of fits the bill that she would try to make an intellectual reputation by pushing a sort of grand narrative theory to explain disparate and complex phenomena – she’d hardly be the first to do that. Its depressing how often you find people like that often doing quite well in academia.

          A common thread seems to be to go outside your own area of expertise so you can’t be challenged by your direct peers. Stephen Pinker and Matt Ridley come to mind as examples.

      3. zer0

        2nd rate book at best. She chose a cheap topic that aligned with her race for further promotion, all the while talking about how neo-liberalism is destroying the world, why she sits in her tower in Harvard, perhaps the institution most guilty of promoting economic geopolitics.
        The irony is hard with this one.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    For Central Americans, Fleeing to Europe May Beat Trying to Reach U.S. NYT

    The article focuses on those applying for asylum, but in reality I think these numbers are dwarfed by those staying on in a variety of legal and semi-legal ways (for example, endless ‘study’ visas). It can be a lot easier for South Americans in Europe because they can pick and choose different countries to take advantage of local loopholes (for visas, refugee status, etc), and most Europeans just assume that they are Spanish or Portuguese and so they don’t face the same sort of assumptions or discrimination. There are huge numbers of Brazilians in Europe at the moment, I assume because its easier to come here to study and work than to the US.

  8. John Beech

    Lived in NC. The smell of pig shit is staggering. And we were 10 miles form the nearest commercial operation but sometimes, when the wind was ‘right’ it would bring tears to your eyes. Friend of mine, commercial pig farmer just smiled and said, “John, that’s the smell of money, get used to it.” Never did. Moved instead. Doesn’t stop my enjoying a rasher of bacon in the mornings, either. China is dealing with African swine fever. Like mad cow disease. They’re destroying millions of pigs trying to get a handle on the problem. Price of pork is going up. Gonna get worse. IA and NC will respond with more pigs to supply the world. Smell of money, remember that.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      There is no good reason for a well run piggery to smell too bad – I’ve visited well run ones at the edge of villages and towns which had little or no impact beyond their boundaries – but then again, so far as I’m aware the regulations are far stricter in Europe. But there is a strict biological limit as to how much pig swill a local environment can take, at least without treatment. It boggles my mind that the US allows this type of operation – it really isn’t necessary, the extra cost for bacon for proper controls is not all that excessive (bacon is still pretty cheap in Europe by most standards).

      1. pretzelattack

        the alternative is regulations, our corporation people won’t stand for that. the unregulated states of america.

    2. William Hunter Duncan

      Yeah, already a lot of those hogs are owned by Smithfields, which is owned by WH Group, which is a Chinese conglomerate.

      Neoliberal globalists and the MAGA crowd unite, you are both pathological/ecocidal in your treatment of the earth, and your treatment of America. The smell of money makes you stink.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The African Swine Fever is unfortunate for pigs in China.

      Looking up Wikipedia, I see that cases have been reported in Europe, Africa, and Russia. Cuba is the only one North American country listed, and that was in 1971. Have we in the US been fortunate? Another question concerns about how the disease was transmitted into China?

      From American pigs owned by Chinese corporations, or from China’s neighbors, like, maybe, Russia?

  9. Carolinian

    Interesting story about Walmart and robots. I don’t spend a lot of time there and haven’t encountered a robot. But I have noticed that the local store now has a shiny floors you could eat off of and more effort is being put into making the store visually appealing. At the same time customers are clearly being pushed to use self checkouts and security measures to ensure they don’t misbehave at those checkouts are more visible. One could say that the entire store has become a machine with which the customer is expected to interact and it is a lot less “human.”

    Whether all this is a big mistake remains to be seen and not all Walmarts have received the “upgrade.” But for those who say that workers themselves are being treated like machines one should point out that this has been true since the start of the industrial revolution. The workers in my region who once stood in front of looms and spinning machines can now work at a factory for selling merchandise. At least the floors are shiny.

    1. polecat

      I don’t know about wallworld robots, but whenever I’m in a store .. no matter the location .. I immediately start to feel groggy and discomfort ! … like I just removed my custom lensed ‘sunglasses’ … with the result ensuing in cranial pain at the reality of it all ! I then look around, and this is what comes to mind :

      CONSUME • STAY ASLEEP • SUBMIT TO AUTHORITY • NO INDEPENDENT THOUGHT • MARRY AND REPRODUCE • $$$ THIS IS YOUR GOD $$$

      Oh, and next time you see your representative on the green screen, spouting nonsense, take a closer look !

    2. Lemmy Caution

      Interesting thought about how at Walmart “the entire store has become a machine.” Gives a nice neoliberal twist to Le Corbusier’s observation that “A house is a machine for living in.” Also kind of echoes a thought I’ve had lately about how humans have been transformed into platforms designed for maximum receptivity to a never-ending flow of shoddy products and services.

      1. Carolinian

        I don’t particularly have a problem with the store as a machine because I like machines–enjoy them even. But this is a minority view so it will be interesting to see how the public responds to the new Jetson’s Walmart.

        As for the impact on the employees, they are probably a lot better off than in those low paying, brown lung inducing cotton mills. And Walmart wasn’t exactly a fun place to work before. Plus it isn’t just Walmart of course. High end retail employment is being killed by Amazon, whose robots may eventually replace even the warehouse workers.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        humans as platforms.
        cattle is what comes to mind, for me…or sheep being sheared.
        when the boys were little, we took them to seaworld, and they had some glitch in the machinery at the gate, so a large crowd of hot sweaty people with their hot sweaty kids, bunched up together, milling around.
        boys at the time prided themselves on their animal noises.
        2 perfect steer imitations really made the point…although everyone but me seemed to either miss it, or let it go.
        we’re sheep with money/debt instead of wool, standing in line to be harvested.
        walmart was already a perfect example of applied psychology, even before the more obvious machinery.

  10. AC

    Detroit Charter School Graduation: Also, see Yves post today about Charter Schools Are a Major Dividing Line for 2020.

    Palm Beach County increased its property tax for “public” schools recently. The charters have made a big play on getting their “share” of this money. My understanding is that property taxes were used to fund public schools in the early 20th century so that poor Catholic neighborhoods would be underfunded.

    For a deep dive on the subject see “Democracy in Chains” by Nancy MacLean a history prof (I think at Duke). It is a brief documented history of neo-liberal capture of public education especially as it relates to Brown v. Bd. of Education.

  11. a different chris

    Amazing how a million Hong Kong’ers (I don’t know what they actually call themselves, being the usual stupid American) take to the streets to protect the rights of a very small number of people that they probably aren’t even 5 “degrees of freedom” from in their own life.

    Meanwhile we just sit here and take it.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Yes this is what confounds me. They estimated the number of Americans who had experienced “financial medical stress” and said it was +/- 130 million. So my question is: When? When will it be considered “bad enough” so 130 million will arise from their supine position?

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      Americans, by and large, are the most fearful and cowardly people in the world. We’re afraid of our own shadows, and willingly (eagerly?) prostrate ourselves before “authority”.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “House Democrats make deal to see Mueller files on Trump”

    Actually, I could see Trump letting any House democrats see the Meuller files. Using a procedure done during the George Bush, they would be led to a top-secret facility where they would be escorted to a secured room. They would be allowed no cameras, mobiles, pens, paper, etc. and there would be a time limit on how long they could get to read those papers. And in one final twist, they would have to undergo one final procedure before going into the outside world again-

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is full proof. All Trump has to do is have a staffer put up a sign on a broom closet with “Mueller Report inside” written on it to make sure no one from Team Blue will go inside. It worked for the Iraq War. It will work for this.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Ha! Clicked the link and after seeing the implement in Will Smith’s hand but before hitting ‘play’, I thought you had in mind something a little more intimate before they’d be allowed to leave.

  13. Darius

    Obama really liked pivot. I put it in the same category as smart innovative disruptive synergy tech and other neoliberal buzz words. They make you sound smarter than you are and they’re usually putting lipstick on a pig.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Some more neoliberal buzz words:

      1. Smart. Translation: In practice, the opposite is true.
      2. Collaboration. Translation: One of the parties makes all the money from the efforts of the others who are involved in the collaboration.
      3. Sharing. Translation: Nothing is being shared. Someone is purchasing something.
      4. Community. Translation: You’re actually dealing with a business with quite the talent for using buzzwords. While we’re at it, here’s another.
      5. Member. Translation: This word is often used to disguise the fact that you’re nothing more than a customer. Or a tenant. Or a user.

      1. next guest

        “Next guest, please.”
        “Sir/Madam, I am a Customerbot. If I were a guest, I’d be in your home.”

  14. anon in so cal

    First Democratic Debate moderators include the leading advocate of the Russiagate psy ops (Rachel Maddow):

    “Michael Tracey Retweeted Michael Calderone

    “So a flaming Russia conspiracist is going to moderate the first Democratic presidential debates. What a joke”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Might not be so bad that. If you and some friends watch it, you could turn it into a game. Every time she says the word ‘Russia’ you have to take a shot from a glass. Every time she says ‘Putin’ you have to take two shots. Actually, you had better make that shots of orange juice. Otherwise you might find yourself in the emergency ward having your stomach pumped due to alcohol poisoning.

      1. anon in so cal

        LOL! “Otherwise you might find yourself in the emergency ward having your stomach pumped due to alcohol poisoning.”

        That might happen by the first 15 minutes.

    2. polecat

      Satire ?? .. an Onion caption ?? Real-Genuine Stupidity ???

      Just how many sharks are there left for the Democratered to jump ?!!

    3. Svante

      Well, if we can’t mention climate change, fracking, Iran, pharmaceutical prices, police murders of blacks, ursury in short term loans, regime change, 1099 & minimum wages, reproductive rights and equal pay for women…

      Maybe she could tell us all about RussiaRussiaRussia?

      Hasn’t Rachel Maddow followed Donna to FOX, yet?

  15. rd

    It is going to be interesting to see how the Supreme Court regards late-breaking news of potential lying to the courts in the gerrymandering cases. Will this be regarded as something bad enough to revisit things or just business as usual? I suspect this is not what John Roberts wanted to pop up as it could be a major credibility issue for the courts.

  16. rd

    It sounds like the charter school students got an excellent education. They are getting real-life workplace training while still just in high school!

    1. JCC

      My favorite line was the school’s rebuttal:

      “We are so sad to see that some of our students were misled and used to serve agendas that have nothing to do with what really serves their interests.”

      Either these Class Salutatorians learned some critical think skills, so the school is wrong on the manipulation claim, or the Class Salutatorians did NOT learn how to NOT be manipulated, so the school did not teach them anything that serves their best interest.

      Either way, this statement shows how ignorant the leadership of the school actually is and that these Salutatorians were accurate in their statements.

  17. PlutoniumKun

    Smash the Wellness Industry NYT. Which ObamaCare subsidizes.

    I find it curious that the article rightly attacks dieting fads while then promoting ‘intuitive eating’, which is an idea that so far as I’m aware is not backed by sound science. I don’t know much about the intuitive eating movement, but its advice sounds suspiciously similar to the health message promoted by the processed food industry – i.e. ‘don’t eat too much and take lots of exercise!’ (i.e. you are only fat ‘cos you can’t control yourself and you are too lazy, its nothing to do with our sugar laden products).

    I’m sure the more laid back advice of intuitive eating does help those people who have become eating disordered from following the latest fads, but it ignores a whole set of issues, such as way food as comfort is pushed on us by industry and the use of excess sugar and salt actually encourages over eating (quite deliberately of course).

    For what its worth, I think

    1. David

      I thought the article was incoherent and potentially dangerous. It confuses diets to lose weight with eating healthily, and completely misunderstands wellness which is essentially about living and eating in such a way that you get ill as little as possible in the first place. Half an hour’s research would have turned up what is now the dietary consensus : cut out sugars and refined carbohydrates, eat plenty of green vegetables, fats, nuts and seeds, oily fish and grass-fed meat. Most people who try to eat naturally (it’s not a diet in the traditional sense) will lose quite a lot of weight anyway, largely by reducing inflammation, but that’s only one of the benefits. Sorry, but ´the patriarchy made me fat’ is not a good diagnosis. It’s just another way of avoiding responsibility for your own health.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, exactly, there is plenty of good advice in the ‘wellness industry’, its just that its drowned out by the charlatans and marketeers.

        But as you say, there is a pretty good scientific consensus on what works for most people, and its not that complicated.

  18. RopeADope

    The stuff re: North Carolina elections is fairly relevant to the Biden team’s idea that they can pick up NC in the general.

    I seem to recall Col. Larry Wilkerson observing that the Carolinas are notorious for how the GOP rigs everything to stay in power in that region. We saw an example of that in the 2018 House midterms where the Republican Mark Harris cheated. Instead of having the Democrat win in the manner of how Carl Lewis won out over Ben Johnson in the ’88 Olympics, the GOP just rescheduled the race.

    The point is that given the voting patterns in the 2018 midterms there should have been 1 or 2 US House flips in NC, but there ended up being zero. So the Biden’s team’s idea that they can pick up NC is an extremely high risk strategy.

    1. pretzelattack

      it doesn’t detract from your point, but fwiw lewis probably cheated in that race, too.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Just why is the North Korean status quo so persistent?”

    Because there have been too many broken deals and in any case – just how much is a Trump deal worth? He just stiffed Mexico by threatening accumulating tariffs to get a sweeter deal for himself by playing the national security card. And there is no guarantee that he might not do the same next week. If North Korea gives up its nukes what guarantee will they have that Trump would not straight away put back the sanctions again but under a different name. It is what Obama did to Iran after the nuclear deal was signed. Any more broken US-NK deals and the North Koreans will set up a memorial hall with all of them on display. As Stephen Covey observed, you can’t talk your way out of a situation that you behaved your way into. Opening up North Korea to trade, cultural exchanges, free movement of people will sooner or later change that country’s culture but I can’t see this happening first. It would be seen as rewarding North Korea for its behaviour. So, stalemate.

  20. Susan the other`

    Do Brains Operate at a Tipping Point? Quanta. Those cascades of brain activity happen even during sleep. So it’s another dimension of “consciousness” perhaps. Critical to learning and probably, imo, the same mechanism that fuels evolution, which itself goes in fits and starts. The research pointed out it was hard to establish how the conscious brain balances between order and diversity. And that it is very expensive to do “live” research on brains. So I guess dead brains can’t guide you in and out of the maze of neuron reactions – they just give you static snapshots. Of brainstorms. Followed by quiet. Enough to understand that the brain does a balancing act as it works its way through reality. It does make sense that conscious brain activity isn’t necessarily conscious in the sense of being awake. And it reminds me of the old research on the optic nerve, that it functions 24/7 through sleep and what we consider conscious thought and response. That maze of neuron reaction is how we learn and adapt – basically through confusion; and it is probably one of the connections involved in epic-genetics. Would make sense. Research on brain slices is gross. But they could all be put together in a little flip-book and go like a movie!

        1. Briny

          Emergent behavior isn’t anything new to an engineer. I’ve seen it arise in a dozen fields of engineering in all too many surprising ways. Which is why I’ve always believed is where we’ll find the “explanation” of consciousness. Additionally, my last project in machine learning, years back, featured a neural net with 1.25 million neurons wired autonomously. Now that puppy had some definite emergent behaviors!

  21. Joe Well

    The most unbelievable thing I’ve read this week:

    A completely preventable and foreseeable warehouse fire in 2008 destroyed much of Universal Music’s back catalog, which, due to mergers, included many other record labels’ catalogs. A lot of midcentury jazz like Billie Holiday and Bennie Goodman and also a lot of other things. The Universal execs lied through their teeth about the extent of the damage, claiming nothing had been lost and there were backups of everything etc. etc. Neoliberalism to the extreme.

    Also, I learned that Universal Studios Hollywood had a lot called “New England” which is used for East Coast small-town settings. That is where the fire started.

    This article was just posted by the New York Times a few hours ago. Apparently you can read it free on Microsoft’s site.

    1. Dita

      Dear god. The scale of the loss is stupefying – as someone who loves music it’s the equivalent of the burning of the library of Alexandria.

      1. Joe Well

        Last year Brazil let its national museum burn down, a preventable and widely foreseen crime of neglect (old wooden building with old wiring and no sprinklers). That museum’s collection rivaled the major collections in the US. I thought it was yet another sign that Brazil’s elites are basket cases who can’t collectively be trusted with anything. And yet, here we are in the US, with a small scale version of that.

  22. RopeADope

    The story around bears watching. If the justice system in Russia starts taking its role in society seriously it should have a positive effect on the strength of the ruble.

    If the perpetrators of the farce charges against this journalist (both within the police and the target of his investigation) are not brought to account it will just reinforce the message that legal rights within Russia are a total crapshoot and consequently, holding the ruble remains a gamble.

    China or Russia will never replace the USD as reserve currency if their justice system is seen as more corrupt than that of the US.

    1. Olga

      Linking a justice system to the value of a currency is quite a stretch. Not at all clear how one could arrive at such linkage – just look at the ‘very fair’ way UK’s ‘justice’ system is treating Assange. On the bright side, the case was just dropped;

  23. sd

    Why do we charge children for lunch at school? At minimum, breakfast and lunch should be provided for free to all children.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      How would those children learn about financial literacy?

      Also, because we are a sick society ruled by Republicans and people who want to be liked by Republicans.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I’m old enough to remember how free milk was handed out to school kids each morning to encourage them to grow and have healthy bones. Of course the down side was when the milk bottles were delivered in a place in the sun in the morning so you were drinking warmish milk.

  24. NotTimothyGeithner

    Biden: “I do not share the certainty of some who are voting against Judge Thomas that he will be as extreme as some of his statements could lead one to believe he might be. As a matter of fact, my heart tells me he won’t. My heart tells me he’ll be a solid justice.”

    Vote for Joe. He has experience. Don’t bring his experience into this. He’s Barack Obama’s BFF.

  25. anon in so cal

    The Nature Conservancy conservation organization is experiencing some alleged employee harassment issues:

    “Nature Conservancy President Brian McPeek resigned from the organization May 31, two days after POLITICO reported on a sexual harassment and misconduct investigation that led to the departures of two other senior officials from the group. CEO Mark Tercek’s announced departure came one week later on Friday. But Espinoza said “a lot more is needed to really protect the staff.”

    The internal investigation by the law firm McDermott Will & Emery described a culture in which women feel it is difficult to advance and management is prone to side with the accused when employees report misconduct. The fallout has riled the organization, a long-respected group whose mission of protecting forests, oceans and other natural systems and wildlife across 72 countries has drawn support from Republicans, Democrats and corporations.”

    We stopped supporting them after they sent us an unsolicited blanket manufactured in China.

  26. Plenue

    >Ta-Nehisi Coates Revisits the Case for Reparations The New Yorker.

    “It’s not often that an article comes along that changes the world, but that’s exactly what happened with Ta-Nehisi Coates, five years ago, when he wrote “The Case for Reparations,” in The Atlantic.”

    Very funny definition of ‘changes the world’. From where I’m sitting reparations talk is designed to change exactly nothing, instead just being a spoiler tactic.

  27. RopeADope

    A reminder of why Ro Khanna is correct to come out against the UTX-RTN merger.

    Quick back of napkin totals from 2005-2018

    UTX has bought back 29.2B of its stock
    RTN has bought back 15B of its stock

    UTX has issued 29.5B of long term debt to finance that idiotic stock buyback.

    that this type of private-equity type financing structure is a threat to R&D. In the UTX/RTN case the financing occurred pre-merger as opposed to post-merger with Broadcom and Qualcom.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Here in Tucson, one of our biggest local employers is Raytheon Missile Systems. And, predictably, our daily fishwrap is all agog about the possibilities raised by this merger:

      Well, I hate to rain on the local fishwrap’s parade, but I think this merger is going to lead to one of those things that almost always happens after a merger: Massive layoffs.

      Mark my words. I think we’ll be reading very different Arizona Daily Star stories within a year.

      1. newcatty

        Sorry about Tucson. More evidence that Baja AZ movement lost. Between Raytheon Mtems, Davis Monthan AFB, the selling out of University of AZ college researchers to Big AG, corporation whoring, Government and MIC missions, the worship of the fallen in grace of the men’s basketball team, the growing inequality between the Foothills and the rest of the city, the increasing heat and air pollution, the lack of support for public schools vs charter schools, the Californification of housing costs, the fading role as the “progressive” city in the southern region of the state, the toxic quality of much of the water for potable usage, the so called downtown development with high rise “dorms” built to house the kids, the increasingly tangled traffic everywhere, the lack of any real leadership by city and county officials ( with a few exceptions), the lack of real public transportation ( the street car is cute, and admittedly, used by some people). O K , I will stop now. Know friends who like it just fine.

  28. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Full text: Watergate’s John Dean gives statement on potential Trump obstruction

    Sounds like John Dean would like a little company for his own past misery. I stopped reading after this:

    MUELLER REPORT VOLUME I: The underlying crimes were a Russian “active measures” social media campaign and hacking/dumping operations, which Mueller describes as a “sweeping and systematic” effort to influence our 2016 presidential election. The targets of the hacking were the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, from which information was stolen and released to harm the Clinton campaign and in turn would help the Trump campaign.

    WATERGATE: In 1972, the underlying crime was a bungled break-in, illicit photographing of private documents and an attempt to bug the telephones and offices of the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, with plans to do likewise that same night with Nixon’s most likely Democratic opponent Senator George McGovern, which because of the arrests of five men at the Watergate, did not happen.

    Is that really a similarity Johnny boy? It sure sounds like an apples to oranges comparison to me. In the latter, the underlying crime was perpetrated by Nixon and it actually happened. In the former, the alleged underlying crime was perpetrated by some “Russians”, not Trump, and there isn’t any actual evidence that anyone in the Russian government was involved, or that any crimes were committed at all. Last I checked, clickbait websites weren’t criminal (although they ought to be). And as we’re well aware, Mueller explicitly said there was no collusion on Trump’s part at all. And since when is it illegal for anyone to try to influence an election? Is no one who is not a US citizen allowed to express an opinion? I believe another term for “influencing an election” is called “campaigning”. And if it is illegal to do so, then why did Obama publicly endorse Macron and more recently, why did Pompeo weigh in on keeping Corbin out in the UK?

    Still trying to figure out how one can obstruct justice when the entire investigation allegedly being obstructed had no basis in fact to begin with.

    You want to impeach the {family blog}er? How about for fomenting a coup in a sovereign nation, not some trumped up BS?

  29. Tomonthebeach

    STARVING ADJUNCT PROFS

    Why does the press continue to waste time allowing people with PhDs who have nothing on the ball whine to the public about low pay because all they can do it what they were doing as grad students – teach intro courses to freshmen – i.e., gig work that many non-PhDs do?

    Put bluntly and brutally, these are naive people who think their academic credentials entitle them to good-paying jobs without being able to make a credible case that they belong in tenure-track teaching jobs – and often any well-paid position.

    1. martell

      Okay, I’ll bite. First, a better term for such faculty members is ‘contingent faculty,’ since ‘adjunct’ suggests that an extra, strictly-speaking unnecessary service is being provided. Most courses are taught by contingent faculty at this point, and those courses are typically of the bread and butter variety.

      Contingent faculty are treated unfairly. Many work full time, by cobbling together part time positions at several different institutions. Such full time work is not compensated by benefits such as retirement funding or, more importantly, health insurance. Also, at $3000-$4000 per course, full-time means making between $18,000 and $32,000 a year. Tenured or tenure-track faculty at the same institutions will typically make somewhere between two to four times that (depending on location, of course), with benefits, with a guarantee of future employment, with protections against arbitrary dismissal, with rewards for seniority, with offices of their own, with power over course scheduling and curriculum content, and with a share (albeit limited) in so-called shared governance. So, there are massive disparities in compensation and power. It is true that some tenured or tenure-track faculty do more for their institutions than some contingent faculty. There’s service and scholarship to consider. That said, contingent faculty sometimes do the latter too but are not compensated for doing so. Also, a lot of the committee work is a joke (it involves sitting in a room for an hour here and there) and much of the scholarship consists of dead letters (never read by anyone besides journal reviewers). At many if not most institutions, most of the work of a faculty member, tenured or tenure-track, is teaching.

      Higher ed, as presently constituted, is plainly unjust and exploitative. See the student loan debt crisis, regularly covered on NC. I believe NC has also at least linked to articles about price gouging and kickback schemes of the academic publishing industry. Exploitation of contingent faculty is part of the same package.

  30. Tim

    “For Central Americans, Fleeing to Europe May Beat Trying to Reach U.S.”
    Talk about coming full circle. Welcome back to Spain! It’s been a while (like 500 years).

  31. zer0

    On

    100% true and then some. This is the current reality: as the left made colleges their little fiefdoms, so did the neo-liberal mindset alter the administrations. Conservatism was nixed completely, and thus, we have the current state of affairs. Where, I might add, athletic coaches get paid millions, and professors have to find their own funding AND THAT of their students.

    My wife went through this as a JD/PhD. It was atrocious. Utterly atrocious. Its gotten so bad, when I hear “Im getting a PhD at MIT” I dont even think its much as an achievement of that individual as it is their economic situation, and whether or not they have a wife/husband or parents that can basically cover room and board for 6-7 years.

    Without my help, my wife wouldn’t have been able to survive. And she was part of a prestigious program that paid you. But of course, what they paid you was less than the livable wage in IL. You would think that would be illegal – but somehow, America’s disdain for academia (just watch any Hollywood movie) has somehow bled into the court system, the tax laws, etc.
    If you can believe it, my wife had to secure her own funding for research AND that of her tuition (billed at $80,000 per year). She got no benefits, had to pay for her healthcare. She wasnt allowed to pursue her own research, but had to piggy back off of her professor…who ALSO had to find grants to fund his STUDENTS. That’s right: the universities, while taking $250,000 from families for undergrad, dont pay their professors. They rely on government grants/subsidies to do that. So reality is that the money is put into insane building projects.

    This was Northwestern, a private $billion endowed university that every year on the dot asks for a 6% raise to cover “increase costs of services” while they spend, willy nilly, $100 million+ on a lake front 100% glass welcoming center for prospective students. Oh, and another $100 million on an indoor football field. Then they took $250 million from the Pritzker family (what a surprise Pritzker is the current governor) and are rebuilding a law school….the land of which they got FOR FREE, and is probably worth an estimated $4-5 billion as it sits on the lake in downtown Chicago.

    I have so many areas I could go after if I had the will power. So many potential class action lawsuits. Lets see:
    1) Forcing students to pay for egregiously priced housing about 2-3x above market price
    2) Forcing students on meal plans that dont even cover 2 meals a day and cost LESS if you paid for it in cash (which of course, was not allowed if your a student)
    3) Taking substantial amounts of government grant money to pay professor wages while using “increased costs” “research” as tools to advertise
    4) Forcing top students, paid less than livable wages, to submit bios for magazine editorials and brochures to lure unsuspecting students
    5) Taking foreign born students in as slave labor (not paid, working well beyond 40+ hours, no visa, etc)
    6) Using tactics similar to spam mail/calls to get alumni to donate (literally, the day after graduation. no joke. after I spent $236,789 on my education, and another $118,654 on my wifes masters degree)

  32. crittermom

    >”The end of political cartoons at the NYT”

    When I first read the header, I suspected it was going to be an Onion article about how the artists had to retire due to carpal tunnel, the result of such busy recent years.

    Sadly, no.

    I’ve always admired political cartoonists, who so aptly get a message across within just one drawing.
    What a shame that this form of ‘free speech’ is now going away, as well, along with the humor so badly needed.

  33. Chauncey Gardiner

    Regarding China, an analyst on Bloomberg today estimated that bad debts in China’s financial system are approaching 20-25 percent of total credit, or around $8-$10 trillion. The analyst said much of the nonperforming loans are hidden in off-balance sheet and shadow bank entities, a familiar ring to Americans regarding the 2008 financial crisis.

    Even assuming her numbers are overstated, what are the risks of contagion into the global financial system, potential transmission vectors, and possible knock-on effects? And what would be the nature of and remedies for a Chinese balance sheet recession? (Paging Richard Koo… Please pick up the nearest white courtesy telephone.)

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