Links 12/22/16

Winter Haven man’s obituary lists cause of death ‘uppercut from Batman’ WFTS (Chuck L)

How cooking vegetables changed humanity 10,000 years ago ars technica (Chuck L)

Pakistani Airline Responds To Deadly Crash By Sacrificing Goat on Airport Tarmac Jonathan Turley (Chuck L). Cheaper than investigating…

Canada’s Trudeau Plans to Work with Trump Admin to Approve Keystone XL, Pump Exxon-owned Tar Sands into U.S. Steve Horn

South Sudan on brink of genocide – one more victim of western policies in Africa Defend Democracy


Why taking the UK government to court was necessary and democratic Politico

Brexit poll: Six months on, Brits stand by EU referendum decision CNN

Don’t mention this around the Christmas table: Brexit, inequality and the demographic divide London School of Economics

Germany’s far right rises again Politico

German Media Aids Merkel in “Culture of Denial” Michael Shedlock (EM)

Spanish Banks Ordered to Repay Customers Over Unfair Mortgages New York Times. This is a big deal.

ECB’s silent coups – Next victim: Cyprus failed evolution

World’s Oldest Bank Will Probably Need a Huge State Rescue Bloomberg


Aleppo Before the War Atlantic (furzy)

How The Military Excluded The White House From International Syria Negotiations Moon of Alabama (Chuck L). Wowsers.

Havresc: A David & Goliath Story In Iraq Armenian Weekly

Aleppo tweeter Bana al-Abed meets Turkish president Erdogan – video Guardian. YY: “Say one is a total sucker buying into Bana, would that poorly informed reader also think that Erdogan is a nice guy in comparison to say an Assad or Putin? The BS is going to reach critical mass soon (one can only hope).”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Yahoo email scan shows U.S. spy push to recast constitutional privacy Reuters (Chuck L)

Europe’s top court guts key parts of UK spy law Politico. Final paragraph: “The ruling could still be binding on the U.K. after it leaves the European Union, depending on its data agreements with the bloc.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

The U.S. is no stranger to interfering in the elections of other countries Los Angeles Times (JMP)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Norman Bates 2.0: Starwood and Wynn are excited to hide a camera and microphone in your hotel room Pando (Chuck L)

Trump Transition

Trump to Name Carl Icahn as Adviser on Regulatory Overhaul Wall Street Journal. You cannot make this stuff up.

Trump Organization Moves to Avoid Possible Conflicts of Interest New York Times. As the story notes, Trump is trying to clear up conflicts with outside parties (lawsuits, labor disputes) that would otherwise come to a head after he takes his oath of office. But he’s got no good answers for the conflicts of interest regarding his empire. Not than this would lead to any sort of action against him. But it could subject him to a drip drip drip of negative stories.

Donald Trump Learns to Love the Swamp Atlantic (resilc)

China critic to head US trade body BBC

DC Trip Report: Sanctions Policy Risks Transatlantic Standoff and Oil Market Volatility Roubini Global Economics

Flynn Met With Leader Of Austrian Party Founded By Ex-Nazis At Trump Tower Talking Points Memo

Threats to Abortion Clinics Are on the Rise Following the Election Alternet

Top 5 Reasons Senate Dems Should Block All Trump Supreme Court Nominees, Forever Juan Cole (furzy). This is the sort of fight the Dems should be focusing on.

Democrats “Stop having a pity party” Nina Turner discusses YouTube


Mothers Incarcerated With Their Children in Obama’s Disgraceful Family Prisons Want Freedom for the Holidays Alternet

Obama Says His Daughters Won’t Work on Wall Street Bloomberg. Aren’t parents supposed to let their kids make their own career choices? But the only reason to go to Wall Street is the money and (right now) Silicon Valley looks like the hotter ticket, as witness a recent exodus of what passes for talent.

Man accused of murder believed he shot Trump Ithica Journal (Mark L).

The Minnesotans on the ‘Professor Watchlist’ are disappointingly unthreatening City Pages (Chuck L)

New McCarthyism

N.Y. Times’ Fake News That Electoral College Was Created to Protect Slavery New American (furzy)

EXCLUSIVE: Facebook ‘fact checker’ who will arbitrate on ‘fake news’ is accused of defrauding website to pay for prostitutes – and its staff includes an escort-porn star and ‘Vice Vixen domme’ Daily Mail (Chuck L). I don’t see why being a porn star would conflict with being a fact checker. In fact, a good knowledge of the seamier side of life is probably a plus. But then there’s this:

Its main ‘fact checker’ is Kimberly LaCapria, whose blog ‘ViceVixen’ says she is in touch with her ‘domme side’ and has posted on while smoking pot

We Have a Bad News Problem, Not a Fake News Problem Snopes. So in fairness to Snopes, it is not on board with the “fake news” assignment.

Calpers Scales Back Private-Equity Ambitions Wall Street Journal (DO)

SEC Charges Former New York Pension Official and Two Brokers in Pay-to-Play Scheme SEC. “Approximately $50,000 spent at restaurants, bars, lounges, and on bottle service.” There have to be prostitutes in the mix, and I’d hazard they are buried in this line item.

Trump rally could be like Coolidge’s Roaring ’20s before Depression, Nobel-winning economist warns CNBC. Lordie. Shiller should know better. The 20s stock market boom was the result of: 1. Bona fide growth in all sorts of businesses due to more and more homes being electrified as well as the sales of all sorts of new consumer durables. In other words, there was serious real economy new tech that led to higher consumer spending. 2. A lot of that consumer spending was debt financed. 3. The reason the stock market crash was so destructive is that the speculation was heavily debt fueled, with leverage of 70% to 90% not uncommon (and that’s before you get to trusts and trusts of trusts). That meant when it collapsed it blew back to the banking system.

Now 1. The Trump stock market rally may well be overdone and get even more frenzied before it goes into reverse. But 2. We don’t do serious leverage in the stock market any more, so any real economy harm due to a stock market bust would not be all that bad. 3. Trump may very well blow other bubbles that will impair the banking/credit system, and Shiller would do better to worry about that.

Class Warfare

Uber self-driving car registrations revoked in San Francisco Financial Times. Google the headline to get access.

California DMV Public Affairs (1 SK). E-mail on the DMV revoking the licenses of all 16 Uber self-driving cars. Weirdly there is nothing on the site about this in the DMV press room as of this hour. The text of e-mail message:

Consistent with the department’s position that Uber’s vehicles are autonomous vehicles, the DMV has taken action to revoke the registration of 16 vehicles owned by Uber. It was determined that the registrations were improperly issued for these vehicles because they were not properly marked as test vehicles. Concurrently, the department invited Uber to seek a permit so their vehicles can operate legally in California.

California’s testing regulations for autonomous vehicles strikes a balance between protecting public safety and embracing innovation. These regulations were adopted two years ago, and they are working for the 20 manufacturers now testing more than 130 autonomous vehicles on California’s streets and roads. Uber is welcome to test its autonomous technology in California like everybody else, through the issuance of a testing permit that can take less than 72 hours to issue after a completed application is submitted. The department stands ready to assist Uber in obtaining a permit as expeditiously as possible.

Attached is the letter that DMV Director Shiomoto sent to Uber earlier today.

Teachers in Wealthy Districts Get Bulk of Indiana’s Performance Payouts EdWeek (Dan K)

In Sentencing Radical Pacifists, Judge Miles Lord Assailed “Worship of the Bomb” Counterpunch (Robert H). A reminder of how much jurisprudence in the US has changed.

Antidote du jour. Margarita: “A hummingbird flew onto the balcony at the beginning of Dec., so I bought a feeder right away. At least two h-birds have been coming to feed – even though it has been snowing in Vancouver for the last two weeks. How do they keep warm at night?”


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. integer

      Seems likely that “genetically modified” was simply a reference to the “rebel” fighters non-Syrian nationalities btw.

    2. YY

      Generically modified was a bit of a clunker, open to all kinds of interpretation most probably not meant by the speaker. But then this press event is getting no coverage at all by the media.

      As is the most glaring aspects of the Aleppo “drama”. The media (practically all western media) were talking about 300,000 under siege in undefined parts of Aleppo until at some point they all started to talk about 250,000 under siege. It would appear at the time of 250,000, this number was probably double or more of actual trapped population. Then the liberation (not referred to as such) of most of the – now referred to as- “rebel” held part occurs and the fleeing of about 100,000 civilians (actually hostages) gets no media coverage. Instead we are now seeing the drama of the last remaining “rebels and civilians” (34,000 or less??) and buses. What really should be reported is that the hostage takers and their families are being allowed to exit. The ex-hostages who are still in Aleppo should be covered by the media. Instead we get absolutely fantastic coverage that suggests that those boarding the buses with their light weapons are victims. This is not just confined to the mainstream, outlets such as Democracy Now and Intercept have been just as poor in objective information as to Syria. Much of the media also make the mistake of relying on Syrians that can speak English, which should not be a criteria for authenticity, especially if they have a satellite phone out of East Aleppo.

      1. integer

        Gene[t]ically modified was a bit of a clunker

        He mentions it again towards the end of of the clip, when he is answering (shamelessly loaded) questions from the press (he handles their bs very well imo). Some of his answers contain less than subtle digs at the corporate media, and I think the “genetically modified” phrase should be viewed in this context. Of course I could be incorrect.

        As is the most glaring aspects of the Aleppo “drama”.

        Yes, the corporate media has a lot to answer for. They have purposely been obscuring the distinction between East and West Aleppo.

        Neocons (and their corporate media minions) to the Hague!

  1. Cry Shop

    RE: Obama Says His Daughters Won’t Work on Wall Street Bloomberg.

    If Obama had said K-street, then I’d be more impressed. I agree with the comment, and he really misspoke: He should have said I won’t open doors for them. But that would be a lie already, ala Harvard.

    Empty speculation follows: My guess is they either will run far away from him for quite a long time (ala Amy Carter) or will eventually join their mother working legal corruption for the Daly Machine. Either way, I don’t care what they do so much as that the US has a system where Obama scores points saying so many vapid, useless things.

      1. Cry Shop

        “¯\_(ツ)_/¯” Better read it again, if you think she hung out with her father and joined the Democratic Party machine as a young adult.

        1. Katharine

          I think you need to read a little less superficially. Her father has been a highly atypical ex-President, concerned with peace and justice, and the path she took as a young adult, involving her with issues of peace and justice, seems to me entirely consistent with staying in touch with him, much more so, indeed, than getting involved with the party establishment would have been.

          1. Cry Shop

            Katharine, if memory serves me, this is about the third time you’ve jumped in with a semi-off topic comment (I should have ignored Pretzelattack too, that’s my shame). You do no homework, you assume too much, and your always convinced you are right. I’ll just leave the note that Amy Carter was arrested with Abby Hoffman for opposing operations in South American that go back to her own father’s administration. Please resist your gut feeling, it seems to be wrong more often than it is right.


            Like many ex-radicals she’s back home in the economic nest. C’est la vie

            1. pretzelattack

              uh what operations? carter tried to fight for human rights in central america. and i did read the wiki article again, and it can be interpreted different ways. i also read your link, that had nothing to do with amy carter or abbie hoffman, but seems to be from a chomsky article in 1976; later published in 1981. so again, what operations? if you’ve got a link feel free to provide support for you apparently superficial reading of the wiki article.

              and what the hell does the price of fast food have to do with amy carter’s relationship with her father? a poster disagreed with you about value menus and you use that as “evidence” that their opinion should be ignored.

            2. pretzelattack

              oh i just looked at some more of your “supporting evidence”. the arrest was for protesting cia recruitment at the university of massachusetts amherst. what is the relevance of south america, and which policies did jimmy carter originate that she was protesting? here’s a relevant quote from one of her other arrests for activism

              “WASHINGTON — Amy Carter was arrested with two other protesters Monday in an antiapartheid demonstration at the South African Embassy. She said she acted with the permission of her father, former President Jimmy Carter.

              “I`m proud to be my father`s daughter,“ Amy, 17, said before she was arrested.”

              this was in 1985, during the period you suggest she was distancing herself from her father. if you think amy carter is off topic, why did you bring her up?

              1. Cry Shop

                “I`m proud to be my father`s daughter,“ Amy, 17, said before she was arrested.”

                does not equal being in close orbit. Dig some more, if you don’t know what Carter did in Nicaragua for example, then you are poorly informed.

          2. pretzelattack

            indeed, the wiki article says nothing about a rift with her father, or suggests there is a reason for it. long distance psychoanalysis is a tricky business. neither have been involved much with the party establishment since 1980, and carter had well known disputes with it. i didn’t look at the footnotes, perhaps that’s where the alleged evidence of the rift is; oddly, cryshop didn’t indicate that.

    1. Quanka

      +1. Who gives a shit what Obummer’s daughters do and why is this news? Has this properly been fact checked? How do we know it wasn’t a rooskie news plant to head-fake the U.S. and start a financial crisis?

    2. Skip Intro

      Work is so passé anyway, maybe they can just give $quarter million speeches and have chats with heir-apparent Michelle. There is a difference between working on Wall St. and working Wall St.

      1. polecat

        It’s the pelosi spawn, and their ilk, that one has to worry about …..

        Frackin shape-shifters .. each proudly donning a unicorn rainbow patch !!!

        ‘Ugh’ ….

        1. Dave

          We stopped donating to Democracy Now after Amy Goodman allowed Missy Pelosi to ramble on for over twenty minutes about how the Russians had stolen the election.

    3. Pavel

      How about one of those cushy NBC (or was it MSNBC) jobs like the one Chelsea Clinton got at $600K per year or whatever it was?

  2. skippy

    Ref… Trump rally could be like Coolidge’s Roaring ’20s before Depression, Nobel-winning economist warns CNBC.

    With a heavy heart I disagree… some medium and especially long term evaluations of value are complete fictions and that’s not accounting for the new dynamics e.g. old risk tools are bronze age and can’t even begin to describe let alone evaluate risk in market and geopolitical head winds….

    Disheveled… reminiscent of an old Sci Fi book where self aware species eventually found out their reality was the byproduct of an engine from an inter-dimensional ship… god was the engineer on that ship…

    1. John k

      The problem was and is massive private sector debt that prevents consumers from borrowing to spend more. Current debt nearly as high as 2007, now massive corp debt used for stock buybacks plus subprime autos plus student loans all replace 2007 subprime housing.
      Easy to think new mix not as bad as former because fewer jobs lost, but hard to calculate. Already cutting auto jobs 1-3 weeks… if days of supply 120 days instead of 60, need to close 8 weeks… and maybe buying slowing…

      Current rally thinking big deficit spending coming, IMO very doubtful. Lots of potential triggers, eu and China are obvious, but unknowns, too.

      When was world growth lower?

  3. PlutoniumKun


    How The Military Excluded The White House From International Syria Negotiations Moon of Alabama (Chuck L). Wowsers.

    Wowsers indeed. I’m not always a fan of MoA, the articles IMO sometimes stray into conspiracy theory territory – but this sounds consistent with the known facts and is, if true, quite amazing. Leaving aside how cynical and dangerous that attack was with its consequences for leaving thousands of civilians at the mercy of Isis, it was open insubordination against the Commander in Chief. If anything lays bare the weakness of Obama, this is it.

    I can only assume that the reason Kerry was so open about his deal being undermined by Carter (or at least as open as an acting Sec of State can be) is that he feels let down by Obama. I’ve often thought Kerry is one of the few at that level with a streak of basic decency. I hope at some stage he spills the beans about this, but no doubt it will be too late and of historical interest only.

    1. YY

      I’d agree that there is a basic decency with Kerry, that’s probably why Lavrov still has some patience with him. Kerry can’t deliver because the rest of the crew in the administration are working against him and Obama is too weak to discipline his own subordinates. It is just sad.

      1. Steve C

        But as Cry Shop says, he’s really really good at getting all kinds of credit for saying vapid useless things.

        1. Cry Shop

          Actually I’m more pissed at the systems and people who give him credit, than for his cultivating himself into a pathetic self-absorbed jerk that somehow appeals to other self-absorbed jerks.

          I’m not eve sure he’s all that good at it, my grandchild could see through him, spotted Obama’s insincerity right away, though perhaps not having an American education helped (2nd generation adopted, so I can’t claim credit for the genetics).

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I believe the term is “disinterested.” By virtue of being President*, Obama can’t be weak. He can’t be bothered. This is the same as Obama not checking in in ACA rollout progress. He doesn’t need to do much to clean house, his employees (the executive branch and the Pentagon all work for him) do the real work, but he has to provide directives and check in on progress.

        *Ford didn’t run for President or VP and succeed.

        1. Procopius

          Not “disinterested.” “Uninterested.” Disinterested means not having a preference or “interest” in the outcome.

    2. jgordon

      Having been in the military myself I find this story to be utterly despicable. Indeed, if I were commander in chief regardless of the cost I would have had both the CIA and Pentagon shut down until every single person in the tiniest bit connected to this mess was removed from office and prosecuted under the UCMJ to the fullest extent possible. That Obama tolerates this kind of insubordination shows exactly why he is such a pathetic leader.

      Yes I’m sure there are plenty of “political considerations” that Obama was concerned about, but allowing his authority to be trampled on and being half-assed about things is precisely what led to his failure as a president. He didn’t have the ability to be a leader from the beginning; he could only be passively led around by the nose, genetically incapable of confronting anyone about anything. And the worst thing is I’m sure that he thinks he did a great job. Sad!

      1. timbers

        Per accounts, the Russian’s seemed dumbfounded when this happened, and later also couldn’t believe how lackadaisical Obama was regarding blatant military insubordination. The account MOA gave back than as he does now accounts how the Russian earnestly contacted the U.S. military through prescribed channels as the US attack was happening, as if it MUST be some kind of mistake. They couldn’t believe the horror of the truth at first. When they realized it was deliberate, they kept asking at the U.N. (paraphrasing and yes it’s from a movie too): “Who’s in control of your military, Mr. President?”

        IMO this gives an insight of what Trump will face in implementing non-war with Russia, he is going to have to push very very hard to get these warmongering maniacs under control and on board with terminating their belligerence and constantly treating Russians as the world’s n#gger doormats to be stomped on at every opportunity.

        1. Steve C

          The important thing is the liberals love him because he projects the right image. Nobody ever heard of this Syria thing.

          1. ProNewerDeal

            “Nobody ever heard of this Syria thing”

            True. It must be a small fraction of USians that have a basic understanding of the Syrian Civil War. Many USians aren’t interested in current events in general, & geopolitics in particular. Furthermore, a portion of USians interested “in the news” obtain it via crap CorpMedia like C”N”N or Faux or msDNC.

            In real life, at a bar, dude1 ordered Mallort, a spirit which I’ve been told most people despise the taste of (I’ve never tried it”.

            Random dude 2 joked “Mallort is so gross, I wouldn’t even give it to 1SIS”

            I jokingly replied “well, yeah, but would you offer it to the Al Nu3ra Front?”

            Nobody got the joke. I’ve retold this story IRL a few times, I’d guesstimate at least 90% of USians have never heard of Al Nu3ra Front.

            Props to NC & its informed community.

            1. lyman alpha blob


              Back in the day another vile greenish liqueur manufactured by European monks was the shot of choice for some of my friends. When someone balked at drinking it, they would scream a la Nicholson in a Few Good Men, “You can’t handle Charteuse!”

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Trump won’t have to push hard. All he has to do is order General X to the weather station in Alaska. I dont know what he will do, but those officers serve at the President’s pleasure. Obama has these problems because Obama was largely concerned with the image of an all knowing Obama who can’t be wrong. Back in late 2008, Obama made decisions about letting financial fraud become a virtue, rehired the ilk of Bernanke and Petreus, and promoted the Ilk of Nuland. He announced it was open season on poor behavior then demonstrated he wasn’t actually interested in being President just a TV President wise end human comprehension. Obama will work to protect his image as our all known President which means not acknowledging these mistakes.

          Everyone knows Obama won’t come down hard.

          This guy kept on DWS after 2010 even promoting her.

        3. jgordon

          That’s why the UCMJ was invented in the first place: an entirely separate judicial system for the whole military chain of command to expeditiously solve exactly this sort of problem.

          Obama should have immediately thrown Ashton Carter and the whole rest of the lot into the brig for this treasonous conduct, with court marshals imminent–capital punishment not being in anyway unwarranted for this level of transgression.

          Obama was either pleased that things went down this way, or he is way more ignorant and incompetent than anyone was thinking before now. It’s frickin unbelievable that America managed to survive through the Obama presidency now knowing just how feckless and inept he was all along. Failing to run a tight ship is exactly how this kind of crap proliferates and eventually sinks a state.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Or fired Carter or Canadian weather station assignments. Call it a promotion if you want to be a nice guy. Half the crummy bases exist as potential locations to quietly dispatch embarrassments.

            “Wow, you are in charge of the Weather Dominator project in Idaho. That sounds really important. ” They have a rain gauge that needs to be checked everyday. Only a general can do it.

          2. neo-realist

            Obama should have immediately thrown Ashton Carter and the whole rest of the lot into the brig for this treasonous conduct, with court marshals imminent–capital punishment not being in anyway unwarranted for this level of transgression.

            Maybe he wanted to look the other way not just because he wanted to appear that he was capably handling things with the brass but due to not wanting to be a “Dealey Plaza” casualty?

        4. Plenue

          Pretty much the worst country to attempt to treat as a doormat. They’re rapidly rearming themselves in response to NATO aggression; reactivating the old Guards formations, a complete overhaul and modernization of land and air units, as well as nukes. They even plan to build full sized fleet carriers, taking into account recent experience with the Kuznetsov.

        5. Oregoncharles

          Supposedly Trump is good at firing people, so there’s some hope on that score. Of course, at some point he learns that this isn’t TV.

        6. Procopius

          … he is going to have to push very very hard to get these warmongering maniacs under control …

          Hmmm. Maybe that’s why he’s insisting on keeping his own security force. Ever hear about an event called “The Night of the Long Knives?”

      2. Hana M

        I somehow can’t picture either Mattis or Tillerson putting up with this sort of thing. Mattis is apparently known for firing field commanders–an encouraging sign.

      3. ex-PFC Chuck

        That Obama tolerates this kind of insubordination shows exactly why he is such a pathetic leader.

        Right on. Several other comments on this seem to infer that the blame is on uniformed commanders, but IMHO it belongs in the lap of SecDef Carter. The chain of command into the uniformed goes through him and thence to the proconsuls region commands, in this case Centcom.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I actually would take some comfort in the military taking control of negotiations, the Chanel-suited war criminal viragos at State with their “justifies everything” RTP, and Her Fabulousness screeching about a Syrian no-fly zone are much more frightening. Meanwhile someone can tell our feckless Golfer-In-Chief what to say, maybe he can just declare victory in Aleppo and think about where to bomb next.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Similarly, he didn’t read Hillary the riot act when the Clinton Foundation kept taking $ from foreign donors even though her deal in becoming SoS was to not do that. I would have fired her.

    3. Carolinian

      M of A misses the mark from time to time–and who doesn’t?–but often leads the way in debunking conventional wisdom about conflict zones such as Syria and Ukraine. It’s sad that we Americans have to turn to someone in Germany to find out what our government is doing.

      As for Obie’s wayward generals, this is hardly a new problem. Truman/MacArthur, Kennedy’s dealings with the nutty Curtis LeMay come to mind. Perhaps Trump, by hiring all those ex-generals, is “keeping his enemies closer.”

      1. LifelongLib

        OK, but Truman relieved MacArthur. Per Wikipedia:

        “I [Truman] fired him because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the President. I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that’s not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail.”

    4. olga

      I’ve been reading MoA for some years now (found him through NC) and am actually amazed at how often he does get things right. His articles always contain many links to document his points. The viewpoint is different – particularly given the brainwashing that goes on in the US – but he ends up being proven right more often than not. And I think in the US we’ve almost lost the right to complain about conspiracies – isn’t this the place, in which elements of the government organized a president’s murder in a giant conspiracy and then shut down critical investigations by claiming they were conspiracy theories? Not even Orwell could invent such narrative…

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I agree he gets most things right, but he’s written a few articles on the military side of things in Syria and Yemen which have been factually dubious. Nothing too serious, but he does have a strong bias towards the Russian military being more omnipotent and competent than the US, which may be true, but not to the extent he writes.

        1. Procopius

          That’s why I was so reluctant to vote for Hillary (although I did because of Comey’s obvious October Surprise). That’s why I am so nervous about all these dead-enders trying to blame it on the Russians. I do not want to find out whether or not the American Army is superior to the Russian or not.

    5. Isolato

      Not by any means the first time! Do you remember the two navy patrol boats that wandered into Iranian waters on the eve of the nuclear agreement Iran? Everybody’s GPS failed…sure! That was clearly an attempt to sandbag the Pres. And, of course, who can forget the Bay of Pigs, an obvious attempt to snare JFK into an invasion of Cuba.I’m sure there are many other times. MacArthur and Truman…

    6. susan the other

      Ash Carter was hired by Obama. Probably to do this very insubordinate stuff. And not a word from Obama. How very convenient. I think Kerry is definitely conflicted bec. he wants to do this the right way and he hasn’t been able to – for several years he has been treating w. Russia in bad faith – and this stuff now is almost incomprehensible. Obama’s legacy will be our shame. btw I noticed that Banger comments on Moon of A and his comment was interesting, about the civil war going on in the NSA and making the case that Trump understands what a mess it is and will not be a useless pontificating O-hole. Uneasy times.

    7. Tigerlily

      I’m not always a fan of MoA, the articles IMO sometimes stray into conspiracy theory territory – but this sounds consistent with the known facts and is, if true, quite amazing.

      Trust your gut.

      Let me give you one example of Bernhard’s disengenuity: he quotes CENTCOM’s Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian as expressing ambivalence about whether the US would follow through with join military operations with Russia in Syria, and interprets this to mean “The CentCom general threatened to not follow the decision his Commander of Chief had taken”.

      Yet the very next paragraph from the article he links to -which he does not quote- says:

      White House officials were also dubious. “I think we’d have some reasons to be skeptical that the Russians are able or are willing to implement the arrangement consistent with the way it’s been described,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said Monday at a briefing. He added, darkly, “But we’ll see.”

      The article clearly says that at the time of writing BOTH the Pentagon and the White House were unwilling to openly commit to military cooperation, but Bernhard twists this into the Pentagon subverting the White House’s will.

      I do this as a public service. Don’t believe everything you read.

      1. Carolinian

        Thanx for the public service and the advice but you are describing two different things. The military according to M of A was unwilling to cooperate with the Russians because they see them as a potential enemy and don’t like the idea of intelligence sharing. He has written about this before.

        Whereas the White House spokesman was expressing doubts that the Russians would be the ones to cooperate–a completely different thing. As for the “White House will,” who even knows what that is? The point is simply that the military are taking foreign policy into their own hands and that’s not their job. Serving generals are not supposed to make pronouncements of any kind on policy. The civilians decide; the military executes.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Especially if it is words from the mouth of Josh Earnest. Speaking of Bernaysian emesis…

        And one example, and a weak one at that, hardly stands as any kind of substantive impeachment.

        But then “everybody lies, all the time,” and so many policy and security types are so very busy 24/7 making sure that absolutely nothing is ever what it seems. Quantum uncertainty bleeding over into the human-scale macro world…

    8. gepay

      Plutonium Kun you must not be aware that “conspiracy theory” is actually one of the most successful of the CIA’s molding of opinion in the USA. First started when there was massive disbelief of the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone nut rather than what he proclaimed, “I am just a patsy, No sir, I didn’t kill anyone.” The Commission was run by Allen Dulles who JFK fired, Gerald Ford also on the commission became the first unelected President of the US. Inventing the “magic bullet ” helped make Specter a Senator. of course if you were on the commission and you had dissenting views, your plane might fall out of the sky. As time went on there were so many more conspiracy theories that needed put out of public discussion – 2 more assassinations – false flags in Vietnam – weapons of mass destruction – do you really believe rich and/or powerful people don’t conspire in private to keep the system rigged for their benefit? Or do you only believe conspiracy theories that the government puts out: Andreas Von Bulow served as secretary of state in the German Federal Ministry of Defense and Minister for Research and Technology, both during the Chancellor Helmut Schmidt administration. He served for 25 years as an SPD member of the German parliament (1969-1994). In the late eighties and early nineties, he served on the parliamentary committee on intelligence services. This committee supervises German intelligence agencies and has access to classified information.
      “The official story (of 911) is so farfetched and inadequate…there must be a different one.” Many reputable reporters such as Robert Parry believe the “October Surprise” conspiracy as well as that the CIA did let cocaine into the US so as to supply the Contras with arms, Iran Contra is a well documented conspiracy. At the time Senator Inouye from Hawaii said,”There exists a shadowy government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, its own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself.” Just another of those wacky conspiracy theorists.

    9. different clue

      SecDef Carter was not/ is not “the military”. He is the Civilian Leadership OVER the military, put there by Obama himself.

    10. Procopius

      Kerry has been in the role of Sisyphus since he took the job. As soon as he gets one deal done to reduce tensions with the Russians, along comes Victoria Nuland to blow it up. He gets an agreement between the Pentagon, State Department, CIA, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Syria and ISIL into place and Ashton Carter blows it up. The fscking neoconservatives are just too deeply embedded in the State Department, Pentagon, and CIA.

  4. Carla

    Re: “Fake News” about the creation of the Electoral College.

    Not being a historian, I don’t know, but I was interested to read Jill Lepore’s assessment in her New Yorker piece, “How to Steal an Election” (7/4/2016):

    “How to elect a President was vexed from the start…Some delegates believed that Congress should elect the President. This allowed for popular participation in government while avoiding what Hamilton called the ‘excess of democracy.’ But having Congress elect the President violated the principle of the separation of powers. [Pennsylvania delegate James] Wilson proposed that the people elect the President directly, but Madison pointed out that the Southern states ‘could have no influence on the election on the score of the Negroes.’ That is, the South had a lot of people, but a third of them were slaves; in a direct election, the North, which had a lot of people but very few slaves, would have had more votes. Wilson therefore suggested the Electoral College, a proposal that built upon a mathematical compromise that had taken the delegates most of the summer to devise. Under the terms of the three-fifths compromise, each state was granted one representative to Congress for every thirty thousand people, except that slaves, who could not vote, counted as three-fifths of a person. Wilson’s proposal applied this formula to the election of the President: the number of each state’s electors in the Electoral College is the sum of its congressional delegation, its two senators plus its number of representatives. Substituting electors for voters conferred on the slave states a huge electoral advantage, once the first census was taken, in 1790. Virginia and Pennsylvania had roughly equivalent free populations, for instance, but Virginia, because of its slave population, had six more seats in the House than did Pennsylvania, and therefore six more electors in the Electoral College. This bargain helps to explain why the office of the President of the United States was, for thirty-two of the first thirty-six years of its existence, occupied by a slave-owning Virginian.”

    1. John

      Look at how the states voted in those elections and you premise stands on wobbly legs. The only close elections in that span of years were 1796 and 1800 and they were conducted under the original arrangement of the winner becoming president and the runner up vice president. Adams won in 1796 and Jefferson was elected by the House of Representatives in 1800 and his opponent in the house, Aaron Burr, was a member of his party. From 1804 through 1820 the elections were not close. Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe had support in all regions of the country. By 1820 the numbers in the House of Representatives had turned against the states where slavery was significant and the uproar over the admission of Missouri to the union resulted in the Missouri Compromise which preserved equality between slave and free states in the Senate. That precarious balance was again threatened in the 1850s and contributed to eventual secession and civil war.

    2. DJG

      Carla: Thanks. I will take Jill Lepore over the column in New American, with its bubbling swamp of comments.

    3. Carolinian

      Your point is valid, but the article in links seems to be saying that the notion that the Electoral College was all about slavery is a gross simplification and that also appears to be true.

      Under the Constitution, no national elections were contemplated — not for Congress, and not for the president. Because the government created by the Constitution was to be a federal republic, the states were expected to elect both the Congress and the president. The selection of the president by electors followed the pattern of the people in the states electing members of the House of Representatives and the state legislatures of each state choosing the members of the Senate. Each state would be entitled to two U.S. senators, regardless of its population, and each state would be allowed to choose a number of representatives, according to its population determined after each decennial federal census.

      The Virginians who played such a large role in the early days were undoubtedly throwing their weight around, but distrust of direct popular election was widespread among the founding aristocrats including current hero Hamilton.

      1. a different chris

        Yeah I kind of hate this stuff. What the Founders had in mind was a quite weak president when all was said and done. So what they thought was (OMG I’m going to say something awful!) basically irrelevant – yes, I said it, so let me say it better: I don’t give an f what the Founders thought.

        Now we do have what we have, thanks to these long-dead white guys, but I strongly believe it wouldn’t have been too hard for the D-party to actually keep the Electoral College fairly lined up with the popular vote. Then we’d just have a cute anachronism, like those London barristers and their hairpieces. So the question is, why doesn’t the House and Presidency much more closely resemble the electorate?

        You still want history? OK: A *lot* of us have become 3/5’s of a person, methinks. Stew on that.

        1. Phil

          Funny thing, the Founders did not give much of a damn what people like you thought, either: the ignorant and foolish could have a voice, but should have no real influence on government, which was conducted by their betters.

          But you, resplendent in your pride at your fund of knowledge gained only from people who are alive and not white, probably haven’t learned to read the Latin alphabet.

          Dead white guys, indeed. Have mercy on the poor summer child.

                1. Cry Shop


                  We can add rapist, What would be the term for someone who enslaves a child of their own blood, who was a product of rape?

                  Genocidal (ugh, Washington, chilling what he wanted done to the aboriginals)

                  and how the list goes on…

          1. hunkerdown

            You still have failed to explain why dead oligarchs would matter if you and the rest of people who believe in authoritarianism didn’t keep asserting that they do.

    4. Waldenpond

      hmm.. It seems it was/is always about about wealth and elite control of society. It was set up to limit the input of the peasants and labor. If it wasn’t slaves it would have been some other wealth metric… who had control of forests, land, waterways, minerals etc. It was a gentlemen’s agreement of the wealthy, by the wealthy and for the wealthy. They agreed and still do that the input of workers must be minimal. Currently they are doing better than they could have ever imagined.

      I wonder if the oligarchs have disappeared the guillotines from the museums yet.

  5. fresno dan

    Winter Haven man’s obituary lists cause of death ‘uppercut from Batman’ WFTS (Chuck L)

    When I die, I want my obituary to say f*cked to death by the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders….
    Actually, I think I like the Miami Dolphin cheerleaders better…..Oh, what the heck – just say both groups banged me.

    1. jgordon

      It’s still risky, but I guess if you’re not planning to live through the experience such interactions with women should be “safe”.

      Look at the dark side though: you might live and then get reamed by the courts right before the end. Not worth it!

  6. fresno dan

    Not even Matt Damon, the film’s top star, could save the day. One online ticketing portal ranks actors by the number of tickets their self-identified fans have bought, and Damon so far ranks sixth, selling just one-fifth the tickets that Lu Han, a supporting actor in the film, is credited with.

    Yet even this obscures how big a disappointment “The Great Wall” is. Its producers, and those hoping to emulate them in future projects, had much bigger ambitions. They wanted the film to serve as a model for how cross-cultural collaboration could lead to box office glory in China, the world’s second-biggest movie market. As Wang Jianlin, whose company owns one of the production studios behind “The Great Wall,” baldly put it: “More Chinese elements means more profits.”
    There were some links and discussions yesterday here at NC about how manufacturing is necessary not only for employment, but innovation. This reminds me very much of that.
    And who would have thunk it – Chinese prefer to view Chinese stars instead of white men….

    1. polecat

      Has Matt been cast yet for ‘The Bourne Despondency’ ??

      Still waiting to see who’ll be ‘directing’ that one !

      T. Erdogan perhaps ? ….

      1. fresno dan

        December 22, 2016 at 12:41 pm

        Depends….he hasn’t quite gotten to the age where he depends on “Depends”….
        I’m waiting for Rocky 65 – Rocky takes on the Social Security Administration in the toughest fight of his life….

  7. Wyoming

    Re: cameras and audio in the hotel rooms of “…Sofitel, St Regis, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, W, Intercontinental, Marriott, Holiday Inn, and Le Meridien….”.

    I imagine by the end of today there will be a new set of hackers hot on the trail of this info. Imagine the free porn staring the beautiful rich and famous, the blackmail of illicit romances, the business deals gone bad, and so on…

    A gold mine just handed out like candy. Wasn’t it Zuckerberg who said that privacy is an outmoded concept? Leonard Cohen “Everybody Knows”? The smell of capitalism in the morning?

    1. crittermom

      While sometimes struggling to find a bright spot in my days since losing everything to the banksters, I suppose I should be grateful I can no longer afford to stay in such hotels.
      I would think it will be some time before a Motel 6 and the like have such ‘amenities’.

      I hope many are made aware of these devices and promptly put them in a drawer, as well.
      Horrifying story of where this world has headed.

    2. crittermom

      As a sidenote to the banking article, I thought you readers may be interested in the fact the largest class action settlement ever regarding Chase Bank violating the FCRA for 5 years has finally been settled following appeals.
      $8.75 MILLION.
      We victims are now anxiously awaiting our whopping $8.93 checks. /sarc

      The lady who filed the claim received $10,000.
      The lawyers representing us received a third of the $8.75 million.
      So where did the other millions go?

      The ‘settlement’ the lawyers worked out for us was that all the costs of Chase notifying us they screwed us, setting up an 800# regarding such, a website and all mailings came out of OUR end. The money that was supposed to go to those of us harmed. That ate it all up, apparently.

      And I’ve no doubt that Chase now gets to use it as a tax write-off, as well.

      I’d have no problem with the lawyers being well paid if I thought they’d earned it.
      In this case, where we victims have been victimized once again, I don’t feel they did.

    3. TomOfTheNorth

      Privacy concerns notwithstanding, what were they thinking when creating the brand? “Hello front desk? I need a Handy. Could you send one up please?”

  8. crittermom

    RE: “Spanish Banks Ordered to Repay Customers Over Unfair Mortgages”
    Wow. Iceland throws their banksters in prison, Spanish banks now ordered to pay restitution to its customers, and the US…
    Yeah. Still waiting.

  9. integer

    Snopes on Eva Bartlett.

    Personally I think Eva Bartlett is telling the truth and that Snopes is politically motivated.

    Of course this doesn’t mean that 99.9% of Snopes’ material isn’t correct. In fact, the general tendency of Snopes to be correct, and the associated credibility it has earned by being correct, is precisely why it is a valuable tool with which to spread propaganda.

  10. Susan

    We lived in Portland, OR for many years where we made a garden especially for hummingbirds.

    It is thought that Anna’s Hummingbirds are able to winter so far north because their diets contain a larger proportion of insects and arachnids than most hummingbirds. Not only do these bugs provide nutrients during the winter when there are few flowers blooming, but they also provide a slower metabolizing source of food which may help them survive the long nights. Anna’s Hummingbirds also have a fairly large body weight for a hummingbird which may also help them. But they do live a precarious existence in the winter and the presence of hummingbird feeders has probably also helped to encourage their northward expansion.

    Info from The Wild Bird Shop.

    1. susan the other

      that’s interesting. we have lotsa h-birds here in northern Utah at 7500 ft. It’s a cold climate with rarified air. They do pretty well eating all the little flying bugs and spiders, BUT I have noticed in the last 6/7 years that they have disappeared for most of the year. I also know that in the Uintah Mountains, not far from here and reaching 14,000 ft, they thrive in the summer – like big bugs! I think I read that birds (maybe including h-birds) have the biological equivalent of antifreeze – but is it enough to survive week-long bouts of sub-freezing temps? I love ’em, so I hope so. And we could house them variously over the winter if we had some direction.

  11. Hutch

    That’s an Anna’s Hummingbird! They enter torpor in cold weather (their body temp can drop below 50). On the West Coast, I used to feed them all year. Very cool!

    1. bob

      You got it, was going to answer the post above.


      Hummingbirds are amazing. Smarter than I am. They fly from here to mexico in the winter. All we see in NY are ruby throated hummingbirds.

      Hummingbirds Jewelled Messengers

      The online version isn’t quite as good. It’s all shot in very high speed, high quality video that they slow down so you can see what they are up to. Worth trying to find on TV or dvd. The narration isn’t that good either, but the video is amazing.

  12. fresno dan

    The financial crisis cast both dimensions of this problem of economic governance into sharp relief. The build up to the crash itself resulted from a toxic combination of increasing concentrated economic influence and dominance of key financial firms, alongside a regulatory apparatus that had spent years dismantling prior regulatory safeguards, and remained relatively lax and slow to respond to the emergence of the problem of “too-big-to-fail” (TBTF) firms, systemic risk, and increased financialization of the larger economy.
    Markets are not forces of nature, nor are they simply ‘free’ by default. Rather, they are products of law and policy, and can be constructed—and distorted—in different ways. The problem of too-big-to-fail (TBTF) financial firms, for example, is more than simply a market failure; it represents the rise of dominant private actors who carry enormous influence on the rest of the economy, and can extract rents and high profits on the basis of their control over the financial lifeblood of the economy.
    Regulatory capture, as a number of scholars have documented, involves more than mere quid pro quo corruption. It can often arise from more subtle forms, such as the dependency of regulators on industry for data and information needed to develop and enforce rules (“epistemic capture”); the inability of regulators to keep pace with the sheer complexity of the modern market, resulting in policies that are outdated, in effect serving the interests of newer, more sophisticated industry players (“complexity capture” or “bureaucratic drift”); the shared cultural and social background between regulators and industry actors, which results in more industry-friendly oversight (“cultural capture”).

    It took a while for society to understand the pernicious affect of monopoly and do something effective about it. Slowly it seems people are beginning to see that we are in this situation not because of some natural imperative, but because of the laws we choose to have and NOT have.

    1. craazyman

      very good essay. if it was a full post it would be a suitably apt provocation for highly erudite and thoughtful contemplation and, perhaps, if people weren’t too drunk or lazy, discussion that soared in grandeur into the deep blue skies of elegiacal thought and out of the splattering mud of political invective that seems to occupy the minds and souls of the peanut gallery in its daily feast on the rotting flesh of debauched necrotic and stultifying rhetorical zombies (I hated using the word “zombies” but was too lazy to think of a better one)_..

      I like the historical perspective & the framing of technical vs. structuralist, however the “ghost in the machine” otherwise called “the economy” remains a nearly unavoidablely nameless zen-like incorporeal and transcendental diety. That is a vexing problem for political philosophers — maybe there’s one in the peanut gallery who can explain it all for us. Even “Big Al” Camus had a hard time with that. If it’s hard for him, then it’s gonna be an ordeal for us.

      Very good though! That sort of stuff really makes people step up their game. No more flaky yada yada when you’re face to face with serious ideas.

      P.S. If anybody wants a trenchcoat that’s nearly an exact replica of the one Big Al wore, you can buy it on the internet or in New York if you live there at The Armoury men’s store. I’m thinking about it. Or maybe a classic Burberry. Not sure.

      1. Skip Intro

        I’ll have what you’re having!
        You’d look awesome in a Camus Coat, even with other clothes on too.

      2. integer

        I have never read anything by Albert Camus (I think I will soon though), but I have seen a portrait of him taken by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Thinking about this portrait, I went and had a look at some images of him and saw one where he had substituted a wooden pipe for his trademak cigarette! Anyway, I think if you get the “Camus” trenchcoat, you should seriously consider getting a wooden pipe. Of course you don’t need to use it to smoke anything, it could just be a fashion statement. Also, if you were to get your long anticipated Edward Green shoes as well, I imagine the trio of a “Camus” trenchcoat, a wooden pipe, and Edward Green shoes will prove irresistable to the ladies, so much so that on some days you will have to purposely reduce your stylishness just so you can get stuff done.

  13. diptherio

    Re: Turley on airline safety

    Pakistan International Airlines however had an additional safety measure: the sacrifice of a goat to ward off bad luck. The pictures on social media show smiling airline officials as they practice the barbaric superstition.

    “Barbaric”? Having witnessed more than my share of South East Asian goat sacrifices, I have to say they are pretty humane — especially compared to the industrial abattoirs of our own country. Turley has some cultural bias, and it’s showing. But, of course, it’s not really bias since Turley is educated and those silly Pakistanis are just a bunch of superstitious loonies, as all right-thinking people know…

    Speaking of superstition, why is it that I have to remove my shoes to get through American airport security? Is that making us any safer, or is security-theater just our version of goat sacrifice? Or rather, could it be that their goat sacrifice is just their version of security theater (i.e. useless actions performed for the sake of making people feel like something is being done to protect them)? All things considered, I’d rather have a goat sacrifice than the indignity of our modern American security rigmarole…in fact, I think I’m going to make a formal proposal that we ditch the shoe check and naked-body-scanners and replace them with a yearly goat sacrifice to the gawds (or gawdesess) of airline safety. It’d save us all a lot of time and inconvenience, whether its superstitious or not.

    1. fresno dan

      December 22, 2016 at 9:30 am

      I always thought the sacrifice was making us fly in coach. If that isn’t barbaric, the word has lost all meaning….

      1. RUKidding

        Snort!! You both made me laugh… just as I’m about to endure both the Security Theater indignity of taking off my shoes prior to boarding the plane, as well as enduring flying coach. Coach flights are the worst unless they’re short, then they can be endured.

        Nowadays for longer flights you might get a choice of what’s called Premium Economy, which basically translates into: fork over more ca$h to sit in seats that are marginally larger and with marginal more leg room than what’s in steerage. Then you get to pay $50 if you check a bag.

        It’s pretty awful out there in the unfriendly skies. I’d be happy if some of the airlines started goat sacrifies (provided they donate the meat to feed the homeless) and did away with all that useless TSA nonsense.

        1. polecat

          “Goat’s BACK on the menu folks ! … the chef will roll out the spit as soon as we reach cruising altitude Oh .. and have a have nice tighty flighty ……

  14. Gaylord

    KXL Pipeline: The RUSH TO OBLIVION of industrial civilization is now going full bore with the ecosystem in a terminal state. So, gaze at the pretty Xmas lights and hurry up, go out to shop for last-minute gifts, and hug your little ones… because soon they will all be ground to dust and burned to ash. (Bill McKibben should be tarred and feathered for being a fraud.)

    1. craazyman

      the asteroid will hit any moment now and our only hope is gasoline powered laser beam artillery.

      if we can see it coming.

      it makes you wonder that’s for sure. what if the earth had to warm up a few degrees for reasons involving other dimensions and higher forms of intelligence in the universe. and somehow all of humanity was an inconsequential speck of dust on the floor upon which such contestants tread as casually as a boulevardier upon a sidewalk? whoa! that’s a deep thought!

      It makes you wonder what’s fake and what’s real. People don’t realize how much trouble they have with that. They really don’t. It’s quite amazing.

      Ready for the asteroid with one finger on the trigger and another pointed at the sky.

      The WaPo should send the hottest female reporter they have to New Yoarke to see what’s real news and what’s fake news. hahahahah. It may be, after considerable research involving red wine, scotch, dinner, chocloates and after dinner liquers — that the philosophical conclusion reached is ALL news is fake! Facts aren’t fake. But “news” about the facts, that’s fake. It may be a demoralizing experience, but as Wm Blake himself said “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”. Either that or you eventually find it hard to function.

      1. HopeLB

        I am again putting forth my highly reasonable theory for our global political/economic structures and their overly obvious climate impact ;namely, the aliens are using us to geoengineer the planet for their eventual colonization. They are making use of our greed and avarice to easily achieve their heavily methanated atmospheric goal. Hell, they might even have gotten the idea from us!

        Maybe, Podesta and Hillary were merely trying to convince the aliens of their allegiance to greed/power/war in order for the aliens to allow them to further this geoengineering but in actuality, Podesta and Hillary were going to exterminate them and enact a whole new socialist/environmental policy that out-Bernied Bernie and Stein.
        (After of course, Podesta identified them. I have noticed a strange sibilance in both Obama and Geitner’s speech but perhaps that is just Harry Potter’s influence?)

    2. Synapsid

      Trudeau also just put a five-year moratorium on exploration for oil and natural gas in the Beaufort Sea (Canadian Arctic.) It’s to be reviewed after five years.

      No new permits will be issued.

  15. DarkMatters

    “How do they keep warm at night?” They hibernate:

    “During night-time torpor, body temperature falls from 40 to 18 °C,[46] with heart and breathing rates both slowed dramatically (heart rate to roughly 50 to 180 beats per minute from its daytime rate of higher than 1000).[47]
    During torpor, to prevent dehydration, the GFR ceases, preserving needed compounds such as glucose, water, and nutrients.[37] Further, body mass declines throughout nocturnal torpor at a rate of 0.04 g per hour, amounting to about 10% of weight loss each night.[37] The circulating hormone, corticosterone, is one signal that arouses a hummingbird from torpor.”

    Time for breakfast.

    1. Leigh

      I decided to read up on Hummingbirds this past summer and wondered who their predators were – shocked to learn Praying Mantis will catch and eat Hummingbirds!

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Self-driving cars. The DMV in California.

    How does a vigilant citizen tell whether a car is driving itself, or is being driven by an invisible prison-escapee?

    In the good ol’ Fifties, that invisible man, that invisible criminal would have been caught easily.

    1. polecat

      it’s the one that has a pedestrian, or a cyclist , or parts thereof, ‘attached to’, and ‘spinning with’, the tires …

  17. tongorad

    From the Google overlords dept: In my neck of the woods (San Antonio, TX) Google decided to build “utility huts” to facilitate google fiber – within or on city park land – apparently without asking citizens, or even considering how people might react. Nice to see that people are pushing back.

    People opposing Google Fiber huts in parks to speak up at meeting
    6 out of 17 recommended huts in San Antonio parks

    …neighbors like John Whitsett were upset to find a Google Fiber telecommunications hut being installed in the middle of the park.

    “Normally in this process the developers are required to notify neighborhoods,” Whitsett said.

    Whitsett said the hut has affected his community in many ways.

    “T-ball, soccer. The neighbors over here, they’re homeowners that their view is now of an industrial building and a fence. The commercial air-conditioning units are going to run 24 hours a day mostly,” Whitsett said.

    Private industrial buildings on public land, wtf?

    1. Waldenpond

      In our community, the company usually goes to churches for the use of their land. Some ugly repeaters and fake bell towers were complained about and the council responded that they would just use county property from then on….. a chunk of a sport area (ball park, bocce, walking trails, dog area) was given up and now an ugly box with fence and wire are plopped down. It blocks the walking trail so now you do a u instead of a loop.

  18. Pat

    One would think with all the obvious ins the Democrats obviously had in the media (Podesta/DNC emails, campaign coverage) this wouldn’t be necessary. But I’m guessing the Leader has to spread some of his grift around. We’ll soon see if this includes some of the marketing geniuses from the Brooklyn headquarters of Hillary Rodham Clinton, their social media campaign was memorable.

  19. shinola


    If you skipped over the last link (“In Sentencing Radical Pacifists…) go back & give a read.

    One of the best screeds against the MIC I’ve ever read.

    RIP Judge Miles Lord – we need more like you.

  20. alex morfesis

    The death of the 2 party system…the dems and repubz both died in 2016…it took criminal efforts by $hillary & co. to prevent an independent from taking the nomination and despite the best efforts of the elmer fudd platoon, the waskily wabbit is peotus…

    The only question is Will the world sit in the dessert waiting for godot or will the citizenry fill in the void with the hard work of building a 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th party ??

    By the way, couldn’t trump at least have popped open a bottle of champagne before popping the front snap on the bra and being his cad self…

    draining the swamp…just kidding…

    Well…there is always the net (lucky)…

      1. alex morfesis

        How sweet it is…old copywriter trock…forces the mind to absorb the message against the background noise of life

    1. Oregoncharles

      That isn’t the Left,that’s Democrats.
      They just had a severe shock; some of them haven’t gotten over it.

    2. Oregoncharles

      The REALLY interesting thing about that report was that she was flying coach on a Jetblue flight, like any commoner.

      Not sure what to make of that.

  21. Jim Haygood

    ‘CNBC. Lordie. Shiller should know better.’ — Yves Smith

    Shiller’s full interview with CNBC is well balanced. He doesn’t urge anyone to pile in at this valuation, more than “a little bit.” He points out that it took the Dow ten years after first reaching 1,000 in 1973 to finally break out higher.

    It’s Shiller’s comparison to Coolidge’s Roaring Twenties that seems to have disturbed our host. Shiller fully admits that sentiment — that is, crowd psychology — cannot be treated with scientific rigor.

    But in the past six weeks, sentiment surveys such as Gallup and UMich have rocketed skyward on a palpable change in psychology. This is an absolutely classic example of Keynesian animal spirits, unfolding right under our noses.

    The streets, subways and buses of New York City — along with restaurants, bars and holiday parties — are the world’s best laboratory for gauging market sentiment, if you’ve got your ears open. Are folks gaga over tech stocks, like they were in Dec 1999? Not yet, as best I can see.

    Maybe it was just a stroke of luck that Shiller’s book Irrational Exuberance hit the shelves in Jan 2000, the same month as the Dow’s Internet Bubble peak. But his comparison of today to the Roaring Twenties is a reasonable hypothesis.

    Dow 22,942 is a projection I made a few weeks ago. As well, Nov 2016 reminds me of Nov 1954, another blast-off through a psychological barrier (the Sep 1929 high of 381) that occurred right after a watershed political event (Dems retaking the House).

    Ultimately I can’t envision that Bubble III ends without an eye-popping finale. You’ll know it when you see it. And this isn’t it.

    1. polecat

      ‘You’ll know it when you see it’ …..

      Kinda like that Mexican fireworks .. uh .. ‘market’ that blew up a few days ago ….

    2. susan the other

      It’s true that we are always fighting the last war. This war (which is so sub chronic it’s hard to identify as a war) is a collection of past wars. We are living in a virtual museum. It’s time to open the windows and let some fresh air in.

  22. Oregoncharles

    Here’s a twist, from the Harry Shearer/Pando article:
    “How do we know Jeff Bezos’ new BFFship with Donald Trump, not to mention Amazon’s multi-million dollar contract with the CIA, won’t one day expand”

    So is Bezos going to call off his WaPo dogs on the “Rooski Agent” front? Looks like he might have gotten what he wanted from Trump.

  23. optimader

    How cooking vegetables changed humanity 10,000 years ago ars technica (Chuck L)

    My irish genetic pool have been overcooking them, then cooking them some more for 10,000 years

    1. PlutoniumKun

      As the old saying goes ‘Irish food is the best in the world, up to the moment Irish mammies start cooking it’.

  24. Fool

    A. Yves — re: your shock at the Icahn pick — is it really that bad? (Relatively speaking, of course.) Icahn has a number of impressive qualifications (in my very humble view):

    1. Unlike any of Obama’s close economic or regulatory advisers — or Hillary’s for that matter — Icahn reached out to working with Elizabeth Warren (about breaking up AIG).
    2. He has a strong contempt for deficit hawkery — for which he’s been especially critical of Republican congressmen. In contrast, Clinton’s economic geniuses were taking their cues from the likes of the Peterson/Brookings crowd; Tony James had been coordinating with Podesta on his plan to privatize social security — which, after all, is always the ultimate solution promoted by deficit hawks (My dumb conspiracy theory is that it’s the plan to privatize social security for which the solution is promoting deficit hawkery — in that order — but I digress.)
    3. He’s reviled by the neoliberal/corporate establishment.

  25. ewmayer

    o Re. Uber in SF — The immediate remedy here was simple: Just impound the vehicles until the owner gets the proper licensing. But that kind of upholding-the-law is a no-no when one’s politicians are in bed with the Sillycon Valley “disruptive innovators”.

    o “Pakistani Airline Responds To Deadly Crash By Sacrificing Goat on Airport Tarmac | Jonathan Turley (Chuck L). Cheaper than investigating” — And tastier, too, if one chooses to not waste the meat.

    o “Obama Says His Daughters Won’t Work on Wall Street | Bloomberg” — chelsea Clinton doesn’t “work on Wall Street”, either, she is just married to it. There are many ways to grift one-step-removed.

    o “Flynn Met With Leader Of Austrian Party Founded By Ex-Nazis At Trump Tower | Talking Points Memo” — Note that if one desires, one can also spin the U.S. space program as being in large part “founded by Nazis.” Just sayin’.

    o “We Have a Bad News Problem, Not a Fake News Problem | Snopes” — No, what we have is a desperate, coordinated campaign by the leading purveyors of fake news – the corporate MSM – to preserve their quasi-monopoly.

    o “Trump rally could be like Coolidge’s Roaring ’20s before Depression, Nobel-winning economist warns CNBS” — Haters gotta hate, and Shillers gotta shill.

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