Links 7/17/2017

What tally sticks tell us about how money works BBC

Judge sentences San Jose cat killer to the max The Mercury News

Doctor Who: Jodie Whittaker announced as 13th Doctor Guardian

Worried about the planet? Avoid that extra kid Treehugger

Animal emotions stare us in the face — are our pets happy? The Conversation

New limits to functional portion of human genome reported Science Daily

How Dams Deprive the World’s Rivers of Sediment The Wire

Why I’m bringing centuries-old ‘ghost ponds’ back to life The Conversation

Catholic nuns in Pa. build a chapel to block the path of a gas pipeline planned for their property WaPo

Imperial Collapse Watch

‘Anything is better than the status quo’: Guam eyes end to American colonial rule SCMP

Britain spends billions on flawed fighter jets The Times. So, US allies get caught up in the F-35 swindle.

Is Hollywood too close to the military? Al Jazeera. Sorry, no transcript.

Refugee Watch

Climate Change Is Creating an Entirely New Kind of Refugee Motherboard

Countries with coral reefs must do more on climate change – Unesco Guardian

Brexit

POLITICO Sunday Crunch: Phil ‘the gaffe’ Hammond — Tories smell blood — Mr. Centrist returns Politico

UK ‘sleepwalking’ into food insecurity after Brexit, academics say Guardian

David Davis has spy-proof Brexit briefcase: report Politico. Linking to this rather than the original Telegraph exclusive– which is paywalled.

Jeremy Corbyn should be involved in the Brexit talks, says Guy Verhofstadt Independent

Exclusive: Philip Hammond is deliberately trying to ‘frustrate’ Brexit, Cabinet colleague says The Telegraph. Alas, couldn’t find a non-paywalled version.

EU clarifies stance on Britain’s exit tab Politico

China

HIGH NOON IN THE HIMALAYAS: BEHIND THE CHINA-INDIA STANDOFF AT DOKA LA War on the Rocks

The Political Geography of the India-China Crisis at Doklam The Diplomat

Winnie the Pooh blacklisted by China’s online censors FT

In Urban China, Cash Is Rapidly Becoming Obsolete NYT

Class Warfare

The secret history of the banking crisis Prospect

Study will explore Franklin County’s high eviction rate Columbus Dispatch

Pension system perks cost taxpayers $23 million a year Las Vegas Review-Journal

Revolution and Counterrevolution, 1917–2017 Monthly Review (JH). Hoisted from comments.

The Chemicals in Your Mac and Cheese (martha r)

A vote on California’s landmark climate legislation is coming down to the wire Vox

Syraqistan

The Death of Saudi Arabia Ian Welsh (martha r)

Saudi Arabia Is Under Threat of a Cholera Outbreak as Hajj Nears Vice

UAE orchestrated hacking of Qatari government sites, sparking regional upheaval, according to U.S. intelligence officials WaPo

Qatar Opens Its Doors to All, to the Dismay of Some NYT

The ‘Worst Deal Ever’ That Actually Wasn’t The Atlantic

Secretary Tillerson, It’s Time to Phone Iran American Conservative

Fiat Luxembourg: How a Tiny European Nation Is Leading the Evolution of Space Law The Wire

New research reveals how little we can trust eyewitnesses The Conversation

Health Care

Paul: I don’t think McConnell has votes to pass healthcare bill now The Hill

At a four-star veterans’ hospital: Care gets ‘worse and worse’ Boston Globe (martha r)

New Cold War

As Anti-Trump / Anti-Russia Campaign Fails – Yascha Mounk Feeds New Lies Moon of Alabama

What the Election-Law Camp Is Saying About Donald Trump Jr.’s Emails Legal Times. Even though from last week, I’ve included this because it touches on some of the relevant election las issues (albeit in a way it’s obvious which attorney shills for which side).

What Robert Mueller Learned From Enron ProPublica. Posting this not for the Mueller angle, but b/c of the section on why the Enron prosecution worked.

The Idiot’s Tale: Signifying What, Exactly? Counterpunch

Did Ukraine try to interfere in the 2016 election on Clinton’s behalf? CBS

India

Fears Around Misuse of Aadhaar by the State Start Coming True The Wire

Trump Transition

Trump’s Iran policies are in a cul-de-sac Asia Times

Donald Trump refuses to make state visit to UK until Theresa May ‘fixes warm UK welcome’ Independent

States Keep Saying Yes to Marijuana Use. Now Comes the Federal No. NYT

The Fed Is About To Get Trumpier FiveThirtyEight

‘The Left Has Been Far Too Timid’ Der Spiegel. Interview with Naomi Klein.

What not to do in a disaster BBC

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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185 comments

  1. Anonymous2

    Brexit: war seems to have broken out in the Tory party. Presumably contenders to replace May jockeying for position. Just what the UK needs now as Brexit negotiations are supposed to be getting under way. Davis has said both sides must get down to work. That assumes there are only two sides. The UK seems to have at least two on its side of the table alone though frankly I doubt the UK is sufficiently united to be divided into just two camps.

    Frankly it is embarrassing to be British nowadays. Thank God I am Scottish so I can blame the English for this mess.

    1. Anonymous2

      Having said both sides must get down to work, Davis has reportedly left the negotiations early after just three hours to return to London. Plotting against May I assume. What a farce.

  2. Benjamin Fitzkee

    The nuns are headed to the courthouse today for their eminent domain hearing. The courthouse is located at US District Court, 400 Washington St, Reading PA. The nuns also filed an injunction on Friday the 14th.

    Adorers of the Blood of Christ, U.S. Region, Allege Violation of Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)

    The Adorers of the Blood of Christ, U.S. Region, an order of Catholic sisters with regional offices in St. Louis, filed a complaint today, July 14, 2017, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, seeking an injunction to stop a pipeline from running through their property in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

    The Adorers, whose religious practice includes protecting and preserving creation, which they believe is a revelation of God, allege that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and its Commissioner, Cheryl La Fleur, have violated a federal law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, by forcing the Adorers to use their land to accommodate a fossil fuel pipeline. Such use is antithetical to the Adorers’ deeply held religious beliefs.

    The Adorers allege that FERC’s action places a substantial burden on their exercise of religion by taking their land, which they want to protect and preserve as part of their faith, and forces the Adorers to use their land in a manner and for a purpose they believe is harmful to the earth.

    Today’s filing asks the court to issue an injunction stopping the pipeline from running through the Adorers’ property.

    The RFRA is the same double edged sword used in the Hobby Lobby, and Conestoga Woods Supreme Court cases. I’m not religious, so I’m not sure how I feel about the lawsuit, but I do support their commitment to their faith, especially their beautiful land ethic, adopted in 2005.

    If the judge grants Williams possession of the land today then we will begin permanently occupying the space, and hold a vigil for as long as possible. Any person revering the land who wishes to nonviolently protect it is welcome to join us. Today at 10AM people will be gathering, both at the courthouse, and the chapel. The chapel address is 3939 Laurel Run, Columbia, PA.

    In case you haven’t heard about the Atlantic Sunrise Project before, the Sierra Club has a lot of info about it. http://www.sierraclub.org/pennsylvania/atlantic-sunrise-pipeline

    Also, I put together a thread on Twitter yesterday so that followers of the court case and proposed project could see that there really is not a strong argument for eminent domain in this case. The companies own website shows clearly that this is intended for export.

    Here’s the thread.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “Adorers of the Blood of Christ”

      Am I the only one who finds that moniker somewhat less than inspirational?

      Do unto other adorers of the blood of christ……….

      1. DJG

        K E: Read the entry in English about them at Wikipedia. If you can read Italian, go to the Italian Wiki entry. It will all become clearer.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I am chastened.

          But I still think a less violent, more peaceful reference would be more helpful and…..inspiring.

          Just sayin’.

          1. juliania

            It helped me to think of the Spanish version of the sisters’ adherence:

            “Sangre de Christo”

            The Sangres are the mountains located east of Santa Fe, New Mexico. So named because sunset turns the snows blood red, a beautiful sight. To adore these mountains is to adore nature.

      2. Benjamin Fitzkee

        I’ll throw my lot in with a bunch of blood adorers who protect Mother Earth, over a Democrat corporate lackey (looking at you Gov. Wolf) who offers nothing but platitudes, any day of the week!

      3. McWoot

        “Adorers of the Blood of Christ”

        I just assumed that was a religious euphemism for “Wine Enthusiasts”

        1. uncle tungsten

          Grapes are adorable especially when made into wine. So I guess the circle is closed with the water into wine emergency solution back then.

    2. DJG

      Benjamin Fitzkee: Yes, the land ethic is beautiful. I am reminded of the Franciscan movement and its commitment to creation. And as a bad Catholic and a bad Buddhist, about all I can say is never to rule out or to minimize the power of nuns and of the many saintly women mystics in Catholicism.

      1. Benjamin Fitzkee

        I wouldn’t dare discount them. We had a dedication ceremony for the chapel last Sunday and a group of Sisters who stopped a pipeline by the same company joined us from Kentucky.

    3. Vatch

      I’m not religious; in fact, I’m actively hostile to various doctrines of numerous religions. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest: I support the nuns 100% in this case! Just because I disagree with some people about some issues doesn’t mean that I must oppose them about everything. The nuns are completely correct about the harm that the pipeline will cause, and they deserve to win. There’s no need for the U.S. to export natural gas.

      1. newcatty

        It is inspirational to hear of the nuns’ efforts to protect their land. Indeed, their land ethic is beautiful. Whether one agrees with their religious beliefs, or not, imnsho one can support and be grateful for their dedication to protecting the environment from exploitation and harm. It goes hand in hand with the Dakota pipeline water protectors dedication to preserve their natural resources. Many others are working to stop so many other pipelines throughout the country…and around the planet. Catholic spirituality or native peoples’…a love of nature and respect for the earth have common roots.

      2. Benjamin Fitzkee

        We’re in the same camp, my friend! Humanity’s survival depends upon our relationship with the living Earth. That should be obvious no matter which religion, if any, one practices. One shouldn’t have to rely on the justification of faith to stop projects like this when the facts are so damning in and of themselves.

        For some reason the argument “a bearded white guy created this Earth so we need to protect his creation” is more powerful than “if we mess this Earth up humanity and many other creatures will suffer immensely and unnecessarily”.

        That being said, allies working to stop fossil fuel projects are few and far between in PA, so you make alliances where you can. No two people or organizations align 100%.

        1. Vatch

          “a bearded white guy created this Earth so we need to protect his creation”

          Such beliefs must be very frustrating for Gaia, the Greek goddess of the Earth, Tiamat, the Mesopotamian goddess of the ocean, and various other Earth goddesses!

  3. craazyboy

    What tally sticks tell us about how money works BBC
    ————-

    Well, this article fails miserably, as usual. People still just don’t get it. They always fail to make the distinction between debt and credit, and money used for an immediate transaction. Then they lose all sense of what role various maturity dates play in lending terms, and the applied market interest.

    The clever thing about tally sticks is the willow used had a unique grain, so two halves of the credit-debt transaction are unique, and not necessarily tied to the original parties in the transaction, and therefore unsettled debt is transferrable, leading to a safe market for secondary debt transactions.

    This made them different than bonds, then in use for a long time already around Europe by bankers. No signature (or middleman) was necessary. Unfortunately, this allowed paupers to game the system, as even tho they had no job, no income, (NINJA) most likely because they didn’t have a college education and officially signed Document Of Completion (Signed by one of the fop Queens at Oxford or Cambridge) , and therefore are denied access to the labor pool, they have no taxable income to destroy on bank ledgers, before the re-couped money is then resurrected by the banking system and wisely re-invested in the economy.

    Obviously, wide spread abuse like this, culminating over 600 years, resulted in a large number of non-paying tally sticks, which acted as deadwood on the financial system and economy.

    The British Government had no choice but to declare a Tally Stick Jubilee and destroy all the Tally Sticks, freeing up the Banks to create brand new money!

    Long live The Queen, and The Merry Olde Bank of England!

    1. Steve H.

      “A century later, the sticks were still in use, but the tally stick system was eventually abolished in 1826, when the sticks were removed from circulation and stored in the Houses of Parliament. In 1834, Parliament ordered all sticks destroyed, and two cartloads of the tallies were scheduled to be burned. Rather than give the sticks away to be used as firewood, or burning them in an outdoor fire, a decision was made to burn them in two furnaces in the House of Lords. The resulting conflagration set fire to the wood paneling and both Houses of Parliament were destroyed.”

    2. norm de plume

      Whereas in the States they had the Tally Stick Modernisation Act, replacing the venerable Wood-Steagall arrangement. Now all of a sudden, instead of that dreary, restrictive, one tally stick = one debt anachronism, we had a dynamic environment where each stick could be infinitely re-hypothecated, a fee attaching to each one. Some greybeards preached doom but they were drowned out by the cheers of the madding crowd.

  4. Livius Drusus

    Re: urban China going cashless, China is really the model for where the West’s leaders want to take us. An authoritarian state that most people seem to acquiesce to because it offers them a consumer paradise and more distractions and gee-whiz technology than they can ever dream of. There goes the “end of history” theory that liberal democracy and affluence go hand in hand.

    The best thing for the elites is that this system can eventually become self-policing, so a county may not even need direct authoritarian structures like in China. Scandinavia seems to be an example of the soft-touch approach with their war on cash. Anybody who doesn’t get with the program can be ostracized as an obsolete dinosaur or a weirdo. I try to pay with cash and shop at brick-and-mortar stores as much as possible because I like the personal interaction, directness and privacy accorded to my transactions but I notice that many people see this as backwards, Luddite behavior. Young people especially will look at you as a curiosity and a weirdo. That is how self-policing works and it is why I don’t have any hope in any kind of significant counter-movement much less a revolution.

    Most people will accept the end of cash because it will be sold as convenient, hip (people who use cash are dinosaurs), sexy, fun and safe. Part of the war on cash is telling people that you will be robbed if you carry any large amount of cash on you, as if people are never robbed for their phones, other gadgets, shoes, jewelry, etc. Another strategy is to sell a cashless society as an anti-crime, anti-terrorism initiative. I suspect that most people will buy into these arguments after enough propaganda by governments and corporations and the media. Maybe we will start seeing Hollywood movies where the villains use cash and shop at brick-and-mortar stores!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Luddites might not have been entirely right in their reasoning to oppose the internal combustion engine (Man not evolved to travel so fast…alone in a convertible, they meant that I think, for you could go pretty fast in a train already), but they were right to oppose it, that is, the opposition itself was right with respect to consequences, and might have saved, or delayed, the world from Man-Made Global Warming.

        And as in the case where we are still grateful for anyone accidentally saving our cat (the result is what matters when one is expressing gratefulness), even with faulty reasoning (partially) – suspecting a new technology is very scientific in fact, for you are, because you doubt – today, we look to Luddites to inspire us…should similarly ridiculed.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Might I lift a section from the article, and ask where the internal combustion engine enters in (as opposed to external combustion, your steam railroad engine that already went ‘so fast’)?

          Things did not end well for the Luddites. The group of weavers and textile artisans in early 1800s were crushed by the British government after resisting the destruction of their livelihoods by industrialization. History, in one of its callous twists, recast their story from a workers’ revolt for fair treatment to a short-sighted war against technology and progress.
          The truth is that the Luddites were the skilled, middle-class workers of their time. After centuries on more-or-less good terms with merchants who sold their goods, their lives were upended by machines replacing them with low-skilled, low-wage laborers in dismal factories. To ease the transition, the Luddites sought to negotiate conditions similar to those underlying capitalist democracies today: taxes to fund workers’ pensions, a minimum wage, and adherence to minimum labor standards.
          Those bargaining attempts were rebuffed by most factory owners. The Luddites then began months of “machine breaking” in 1811-1812, smashing the weaving frames, in a last ditch effort to bring their new bosses to the table. At the behest of factory owners, the British Parliament declared machine breaking a capital offense and sent 14,000 troops to the English countryside to put down the uprising. Dozens of Luddites were executed or exiled to Australia. The crushed rebellion cleared the way for horrific working conditions of the Industrial Revolution yet to come….

          Clive Thompson, an author and journalist at the New York Times Magazine and Wired, revisited Luddite’s history in an article for The Smithsonian to see what it could teach us. As machine learning and robotics consume manufacturing and white-collar jobs alike, the 200-year-old rebellion’s implications for automation are more relevant than ever, says Thompson:
          “The lesson you get from the end of the Luddites is: Do the people that are profiting off automation today want to participate in distributing their profits more widely around the population, or are they going to fight just as hard as they did back then?”
          That economic and political question is hanging over western democracies coping with a wave of populism seemingly tracking a widening gap between stagnant wages and ballooning wealth at the top. While automation eventually tends to create new jobs even after it destroys old ones, that’s little consolation for millions of workers whose skills and experience are obsolete.
          Ibid.

          And the conversation recorded in the rest of the article sure has a lot more “granularity” to it than “opposed to the internal combustion engine…” To my eye, there’s lots of stuff about achieving some kind of fairness in profit sharing, and preservation of meaningful work, and wait! There’s More!

          Is Elon Musk a Luddite? Bill Gates? Hawking? http://observer.com/2015/08/stephen-hawking-elon-musk-and-bill-gates-warn-about-artificial-intelligence/

          Another caution from Frank Herbert in “Dune:” from Butler, progenitor of the Butlerian Jihad — “Thou shalt not make a machine in the image of the human mind.” Of course there are not too many ten-baggers in a world that eschews untrammeled “tech…” because markets, my dear…

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Luddites, as they are generally used and abused, are obstructing technological progress.

            As the quoted above, they were actually skilled workers. And of course, the key point for them was that robots should be owned by the people, for the people (maybe it was just me babbling that a few times here over the years) or more specifically in their case, profits shared

            If their case for spreading the profits around has finally found believers, so should we also look at their other case, perhaps indirectly inspired, that is, be skeptical…of Man’s technological hubris.

          2. clinical wasteman

            ‘These Engines of mischief were sentenced to die
            By unanimous vote of the trade
            And Ludd who can all opposition defy
            Was grand executioner made.

            He may censure great Ludd’s disrespect for the Laws
            Who ne’er for a moment reflects
            That foul imposition alone was the cause
            Which produced these unhappy effects’

            ‘General Ludd’s Triumph’, quoted in E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class, pp. 583-4 in 1979 Penguin edition.

            Thanks JT, this is no more than an appendix to what you said.
            It was the “foul imposition alone” part that struck me when I first read that Luddite song. That one line spells out that the Luddites were not so foolish as to detest “labour-saving” technology as such: rather, they saw that it would be systematically imposed in such a way as to impose more work for less money. And they knew exactly where the “foulness” originated, but in contrast to their “social betters” who openly slavered to punish as many workers as they could with the utmost violence, for the time being at least they would sentence only the “engines” — not their proprietors — to die. Given the terrible fate of the Luddites shortly afterwards (and the unstoppable ruin of the French revolution post-Thermidor) it doesn’t seem quite clear whether such high-minded forbearance was really so wise after all.

            1. JTMcPhee

              “too soon old, too late smart,” applies in so many situations… Another commenter complained that there’s no good label for the “foul imposers.” Orcs, maybe? Nah, they were lower level. Given the relatively few who manage the “imposition,” who rule over it, maybe Nazgûl, eh?

      2. John

        They might have been “right” but their message couldn’t compete with the optimistic bullshit created by their competitors (who weren’t, btw, neo-liberals – because there no such thing as a neo-liberal).

        Looks like we’re still waiting for a word to describe who the enemy is (and no it’s not capitalism; that doesn’t exist either).

        Oh, AND a word that actually can be used for the enemy of the Luddites and the enemy of the Deplorables.

  5. craazyboy

    Today’s Darwin Award Goes To:

    Ann Coulter was forced to change her pre-assigned airline seat – after sitting down!

    Ann Coulter, (Internationally Certified NINJA Warrior Princess) was asked to change her airline seat, according to anonymous airline personnel.

    This is like asking a trained Doberman Attack Dog to change seats after being served his doggy dish of airline food!

    Egads, the nerve!

    1. ambrit

      This, if nothing else should teach the NINJAs of the world that the system they support has absolutely no ‘honour’ or ‘loyalty’ to anyone, even its’ own functionaries! A yearly viewing of the 1963 version (or any version, really,) of the Japanese film “Chushingura,” or “The 47 Ronin” should be required of all NINJAs for the annual reaffirmation of their status. It will make their eventual fate clear to them.

  6. Quentin

    The SECURITY con written big: to keep safe you need first to kill yourself. But before you do don’t forget to fork over the cash.

  7. Expat

    Re: Nuns vs Pipeline
    I find it disturbing that atheists would apparently have no choice but to let Williams plow up their field and lay a gas line across it. There is no need for eminent domain expropriation (of the rights of the landowner) except to enhance Williams’s profits. The long way around would simply cost more.

    Natural gas is not much better than oil (at least in terms of greenhouse effects). Fracking is a horror and a Ponzi scheme.

    So, for the first time in a long time, I side with the nuns. Now, if they could get around to protesting the systematic rape, societal destruction, and mental abuse perpetrated by their own church, I might be tempted to drop a dollar in the collection plate and sustain their ongoing delusions.

    1. Benjamin Fitzkee

      Eminent Domain is especially disturbing in this case. We have discovered in our 3 years of organizing, there’s no legal mechanism available to an individual or community to say NO. FERC approves everything. The PADEP approves every permit eventually. If your town passes an ordinance it gets sued b/c corporations are persons.

      The only method of stopping these project, until laws are changed, is civil disobedience.

        1. clinical wasteman

          Yes, and not even figuratively or metaphorically, that’s just what it is. But it’s also only one of many such enclosure movements, or one part of a global wave of enclosure, depending how you look at it. See also: “Special Economic/Export Processing Zones, and also: “Urban Regneration”.
          At some point (post-2010) during one of the countless British government assaults on “social housing” tenancy since 1979, a Tory peer forgot his table manners and crowed excitedly: “it’s the Highland Clearances!“, which was perfectly true but a bit belated. Our Duchess of Sutherland was the one burned in effigy at Brixton and Glasgow in 2013, and our Patrick Sellar was the Grinning Gargoyle of Sedgefield, or rather his Communitarian Think Tank Command.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The nuns’ argument is described in the article:

      The Adorers allege that FERC’s action places a substantial burden on their exercise of religion by taking their land, which they want to protect and preserve as part of their faith, and forces the Adorers to use their land in a manner and for a purpose they believe is harmful to the earth

      Often, we say, focus on the message, not the messenger.

      Here, it seems to be a case of going with the messengers, not necessarily the message (for devout atheists, that is)…the message of faith (that leads to this – religious practice includes protecting and preserving creation, which they believe is a revelation of God).

      For such message would include protecting, they believe, fetuses.

      1. Vatch

        For such message would include protecting, they believe, fetuses.

        Also zygotes and blastocysts. I am adamantly opposed to the zygote and blastocyst rights movement. Zygotes and blastocysts are not people. Animals in factory farms deserve more far protection than zygotes and blastocysts do.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The nuns are not here (yet, as of this moment I am writing this), but perhaps their argument could be this:

          (From the same quote):

          land, which they want to protect and preserve as part of their faith

          Not just protect, but to preserve as well.

          Preserve for that?

          Presumably for the future.

          And they, the nuns, might speak of the future of a zygote, as a child.

          And, a few years later, if a bad person should harm that child, we speak of the present damage to the kid, and, the relevant point here, damage to his/her future (what he/she is not, but is capable of becoming).

          I imagine the nuns could present a case like that.

      2. Carla

        “For such message would include protecting, they believe, fetuses.”

        And undoubtedly, if they could manage it, outlawing birth control — among the many criminal actions perpetrated and positions held by the Catholic Church, this is one of the worst.

        1. ambrit

          To the men running the Abrahamic religions, anything having to do with the ‘mons pubis’ is a, er, slippery slope, leading into the Pit.
          As Robert Graves has Jesus say in his “King Jesus;” “I have come to destroy the things of the feminine.” (From memory, so a bit fanciful.)

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          This is the problem with churches in general, and the catholic church in particular. When you give them a “religious freedom restoration act” inch, they expect to take a mile.

          We have, or are supposed to have, secular laws to address these encroachments on the rights of all citizens. The religious approach is a betrayal of the foundational principle of separation of church and state. IMNSHO.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Are we still waiting for the first publicly professed atheist president?

            Every single president and could-have-been president has claimed to believe in God.

            Why would that even be a question, much less worthy of being answered, if not for the fact that a government, or an administration, is not an abstract concept, but manifestations of the men running it.

            And the coded message is that the state will be, in different degrees depending on the candidates, align with one particular church and other similar churches, but not other ones.

            1. Expat

              According to polls, Americans will vote for a black (done), a Jew (almost), a Catholic (done), a woman (close), or a mass murderer before they vote for an atheist. Okay, I made up that last one, but you get the idea.
              Americans are, on the whole, ignorant morons, a greater percentage of whom believe in real-life, in your daily life angels than believe in evolution.
              Many leading American politicians were and probably are atheists. Donald Trump is probably not an atheist since he worships no one but himself. Pence, on the other hand, seems to be a true believer which should be the first reason to exclude anyone from public office.
              Name one atheist who has killed in the name of atheism! (LOL…waits for Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and Mao to be trotted out by the ignorant believers).

              1. oh

                We had Lord O who was not religious at all (almost an atheist) and he had some of the qualifications that you state above that the Americas would vote for.

                I don’t think these labels matter at all. If he/she is a humanist first and always that’s what matters.

            2. Ptolemy Philopater

              Belief in God is a prerequisite for political life because it states that you are willing to believe in doctrines on faith and not on the basis of fact. It is the capacity to believe in myths and lies that underlies our political system, because if you believe in God, then it is but a short step to believe in the “invisible hand of the market”, for instance, or more lately that the Vladimir Putin stole Hillary Clinton’s election victory, because he “hated her”, or that we live in a democracy instead of corrupt plutocracy.

              1. expat

                I agree, but I also think that many of our politicians do believe which I think is scarier than your cynical, yet accurate, view.

          2. newcatty

            Could not agree more with you about needing secular laws to address these encroachments on the rights of allcitizens.

            If , in this case, the nuns are using the religious angle in their crafty box of tools its OK with me. I am willing to be open minded to not having to agree with the Catholic church on most of their dogma and would never defend their predatory practices and abuses. I can still accept the nuns’ actions in this situation. I do not use a litmus test of peoples’ beliefs or politics to support what I think is a good cause. I would not care if they were atheist or wiccans. Now, if they were in a protest to support banning, let’s say, birth control… I am outta there.

          3. Benjamin Fitzkee

            I am also concerned by the use of the RFRA. As I mentioned in my original comments, it’s the same argument advanced in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Supreme Court cases, and I’m no fan of the argument.

            The problem is, corporations have been given constitutional rights, and their rights supersede the rights of individuals and municipalities. You can see that in Grant Township, PA, where they’ve passed a Bill of Rights ordinance to block fracking wastewater injection wells. Municipalities have been sued by the DEP itself because the State law supersedes the municipal ordinance. In other cases corporations have sued municipalities for violating their constitutional right due to lost profits, or a failure to issue a permit. Both permits and profits are considered to be the corporations property.

            I mention all that to say that, I don’t like the RFRA, but our community has been left with nothing else to defend itself. Our local officials, State and Federal elected offials, PADEP, FERC, are either unable, or unwilling to stop this project.

            Our only remaining option is putting our bodies in the way.

            1. aletheia33

              benjamin fitzkee, thank you for reporting in and your clarifications of this terrible legal situation, which will affect many movements to come. i hope you will continue to keep us posted on the progress of your struggle at the front lines.

  8. RenoDino

    Donald Trump refuses to make state visit to UK until Theresa May ‘fixes warm UK welcome’ Independent

    Got to hand it to Macron. He knows what it takes to welcome the Emperor of a Unipolar World.
    A good old fashion Roman Triumph. Merci.

    1. DH

      I can only assume he expects the Queen to curtsy to him or at least engage in hand grappling (can’t really call what he does hand shaking).

  9. IHateBanks

    Re: Avoid an extra child

    Fantastic! I now have actual numbers to toss at anyone who lectures me about my carbon footprint from driving a V8 gasoline engine car!

    “Hey, Those three curtain climbers strapped into your Prius are contributing over 150 tons of pollution annually, my V8 only 5-10. Now, hush up and drink your kale smoothie.”

    I never had any kids at all, so my carbon footprint (and family dysfunction) dies with me. Take THAT, you smug Tesla drivers!

    1. Arizona Slim

      Count me as another one whose dysfunctional family background inspired the decision to go child-free.

      And I am not the only one. I have three cousins. Collectively, they had five kids, all of whom are now in their thirties. None has reproduced.

      1. marieann

        I have 2 sons and no grandchildren.

        I realise now that this is a blessing…..I think our children will have a heavy burden to bear.

        1. JEHR

          I have three children (in their 40s and 50s) and no grandchildren. I guess that is my small contribution to a reduced carbon footprint.

      2. jrs

        It was my reason really, parents resented even having me. Plus there was no adult help growing up and so I couldn’t offer kids a parent with a normal life as I never had one. I could only offer some weirdo who any normal person would have a hard time relating to and vice versa. Too much for a kid to bear really, but people socialized to have kids don’t think that anything is too much for a kid to bear or wonder if they are really suited enough for the parenting role to make it make sense. They don’t think about it. And so people who really probably shouldn’t still have kids.

        1. ambrit

          The old fashioned way to help kids cope with stressed out and dysfunctional parents was the extended family. Grandmas and Grandpas, plus various uncles and aunts all contributed to the childs’ growth and, for want of a better term, balance. The atomization of the family, as displayed in the sub-nuclear family units of today, is one of the industrial revolutions biggest faults.

    2. HBE

      Most resistance to population control usually tends to come from those who have already made the decision to have more than one child, and are often adamant that, that choice has absolutely no negative consequences.

      Unnecessarily bringing child reduction control into the argument is …well, i have to say it- it’s utterly revolting

      The above (top comment on the article) is the type of angry denouncement, the subject most often engenders.

      If you have to have children, have one. If you want more, adopt. If those options aren’t acceptable, you better be prepared to live at the caloric and economic level of rural Nigeria, because that’s the only sustainable way to live a current and growing population levels.

      1. HotFlash

        Fascinating list. I note that Vatican City is a role model, at either 0 % (CIA) or 0.03 (UN).

        Japan’s birth rate is negative, wonder why/how? Last I knew, birth control was illegal there, although abortion was not. China with their one-child policy comes up around 0.5, not surprisingly. Well, I do see lots of Caucasian-looking parents with little Chines daughters, so maybe not actually 0.5.

        A bunch of countries you’d expect, due to austerity — Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Belarus, as well as Greece, by some counts. My guess is more due to austerity than education and family planning.

        Also negative, again probably not by choice – – Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and US Virgin Islands. What is the value of being a US possession?

        1. McWoot

          Japan’s birth rate is negative, wonder why/how? Last I knew, birth control was illegal there, although abortion was not.

          It’s hard to impregnate a doll/pillow

      2. Vatch

        The population of the United States continues to grow, and that’s only partially due to immigration. I’ve pointed this out on other occasions, so I’m not going to look up links to the CDC or Census Bureau right now — the truth is out there (sorry). Each year, births exceed deaths by about 1 million people in the United States. Similarly, despite decades of the one child policy, the population in China continues to grow. For a very brief description of this phenomenon, see:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_momentum

    1. allan

      This seems like pretty weak tea. From the article:

      To put that another way: The top seven hospitals’ combined revenue went up by $4.5 billion per year after the ACA’s coverage expansions kicked in, a 15 percent jump in two years. Meanwhile, their charity care — already less than 2 percent of revenue — fell by almost $150 million per year, a 35 percent plunge over the same period.

      How much of the decrease in charity care was due to Medicaid expansion?
      All seven hospitals are in Medicaid expansion states.

      I’m not defending these institutions, especially their obscene salaries and perks for top administrators,
      but this does seem like a drive-by by Politico.

  10. timbers

    Health Care

    At a four-star veterans’ hospital: Care gets ‘worse and worse’ Boston Globe (martha r)

    Meanwhile, just want to note as this is going on, healthcare hater John McCain is getting his Cadillac Deluxe tax payer funded socialized healthcare for a blood clot in his eye.

    As a sign posted on a Vermont road near Woodstock read “Give us the same healthcare plan Congress has.” It’s puzzling at times how so few American’s get riled up about healthcare and why they invent reasons we cannot have, for example, a Canadian type system. Maybe it’s all the fake news from the corporate media.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I’m certainly relieved that mccain was treated at the Mayo Clinic and not one of those lousy VA hospitals that most other Vietnam vets have the “benefit” of using, and is “recovering” at his home in AZ.

      Wouldn’t want anything interfering with this american icon doing his job voting on “healthcare” for the most “vulnerable.” Only the best for the guys and gals who are running this country……into the ground.

      1. a

        Even though McCain sang like a canary at the Hanoi Hilton, all POWs were essentially granted a form of amnesty after the Vietnam war. But McCain was still guilty of treason. Then, as a Senator, he was involved in the Keating Five scandal and should have been impeached. Lots of cognitive dissonance among Arizona voters methinks.

        1. oh

          ..”Then, as a Senator, he was involved in the Keating Five scandal and should have been impeached sent ot jail after a court marshial.” . There, fixed for ya.

      2. oh

        I understand that there was a special room waiting for him at the Hanoi Healthcare Clinic but he crashed his plane on the way there from Iraq. /s

    2. JTMcPhee

      Maybe it’s the long immersion in all the many “sinter-related,” interlocking strands of the Great American Exceptional Miasma. Rugged individualists, all “temporarily embarrassed millionaires,” dosed with the essential oils of TULIP (http://www.calvinistcorner.com/tulip.htm, the long established habits of kicking down and sideways, of course the Clinton/Reagan notions about “welfare” — leading to a vast cognitive dissonance that has mopes in tricorn hats with tea bags hanging off the peaks waving placards that read “Kep your stinking goverment hands off my Medicare!”

      Envy, anger, concupiscence, disingenuousness, and a heavy infusion of Seven Deadly Sins — that’s what little Americans are made of… http://americablog.com/2011/11/stan-frebergs-thanksgiving-classic-pilgrims-progress-take-an-indian-to-lunch.html

    3. Arizona Slim

      McCain married into a wealthy family, the Hensleys. They own Hensley Distribution, which is in the booze biz. I see their vans all over town, and let me tell you, no other distributor company vehicles are anywhere near as nice.

      1. GF

        The blood clot was located behind the left eye – the brain maybe??. Remember a couple weeks ago his slurred speech during one of those senate hearings? This could be more serious that is being let on, I’m just speculating. The senate will pass a McCain Law to allow him to vote from his sick bed at home I’m sure. Again, speculation only.

        1. craazyboy

          Bingo, methinks. Also had trouble making a whole, cohesive, simple thought, but that may have been a long term thing, cascading.

          He’ll be ready to run for Prez, now. Fer sure.

  11. Darius

    Regarding Sessions on marijuana: If Scott Chipman is so horrified about mind-altering substances, he also must be horrified by all the six-packs of beer and bottles of Chivas on grocery and drug store shelves all over California. No? Huh. That’s odd.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      First they came for (tobacco) smokers (I get a headache when I’m around one of them).

      Then, they recalled their Prohibition.

      So, they come for marijuana people now.

      The only thing necessary for the triumph of the other side is for people on this to say nothing.

      Now, in some apartments in San Francisco, you can’t even smoke tobacco in your own unit…central air and connecting air ducts.

      1. marieann

        On the legalization of Marijuana, the Ontario government wants to hear from the people. I filled out the survey and told them to legalize all the drugs…or criminalize alcohol use.
        I told them to start treating addicts instead of jailing them.

        I will have to write to them and reiterate my comments so the can’t just dismiss an anonymous survey taker.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          This is a chance to spread the resistance, and widen the coalition by including the overly stigmatized tobacco-people

          Can’t smoke tobacco in your A/C apartment? Doesn’t second-hand marijuana smoking also get to other kids in the apartment complex?

      2. voteforno6

        I only wish that more multitenant dwellings banned smoking. Smoke can bleed over into other units. It’s a bit unfair to ask those residents to put their health at risk, just because someone else wants to smoke cancer sticks.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The question becomes, what do we propose to do with marijuana smoking in multitenant with central A/C?

          1. voteforno6

            Just the same as cigarette smoking. Ban it. Just because one person in that (hypothetical) building decides to smoke, doesn’t mean that everyone else should be required to put up with it.

            1. perpetualWAR

              Ban everything because I will sue if I smell garlic, curry, farts, body odor, peanuts, anything else I may be allergic to such as intolerance.

              We all don’t get out of here alive.

              1. polecat

                Lets start a new ‘gamed’ TV/cable show : we’ll call it ‘Dick-tator for a political Day’ !!

              2. jrs

                no these are reasonable restrictions on rights to absolute control over one’s rented unit so that life is made bearable to others who are also renting a place to live. Call it “playing well with others”.

                How does “we don’t get out of here alive” even relate to what these are, which are QUALITY OF LIFE issues, it can be hard to breathe with smoke etc. and saying we’re “all going to die someday” really doesn’t address the issues of how life is lived now.

            2. Eureka Springs

              A man/woman’s home is their castle. If you live in a sardine can, things will be fishy.

              1. polecat

                Fortunately not like those mongering fishtroughs …er… stenographic domiciles, otherwise known as the NASTY YUCKY TIMES, AND the BEZOS POSTIT …. rotting heads and all that !

    1. voteforno6

      My favorite part of that story:

      A Democratic insider said, ­“Kamala is the big Democratic star right now, at a time when they badly need a star. She’s coming to the Hamptons to meet key people as she takes a national stage, and expands her influence and ambitions.”

      There is one person, who generally aligns himself with the Democratic party, who is the most popular politician in America right now. Funny how these types can’t bring themselves to mention his name.

      1. ambrit

        True Believers never mention the Heresiarch. It would be an invocation of the Dark Lords, the People.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Harris isn’t a star. The Dems are desperate. Imperial rot and over reliance on both the Obama and Hillary personality has led them to a place where they didn’t bother to note if any of the candidates in safe seats could actually win contested elections. This is the same party that considered getting Evan Bayh to run again a real coup and runs Charlie Crist every three months for whatever office is available in Florida.

        Trump after all held his own reality show on network television. Whether you like him or not, he is a star. Hillary has the same star quality, probably more than Bill. The co-Presidency was a bold move in 1992 that could be pulled off by the right person. I don’t see Harris as a star.

        In a way, stars are disruptive. They make you take notice. If Harris was a star, the donors would go to her. Obama liked the celebrity life, but the mountain went to Mohammed.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I never thought I’d say this, but Trump plays a pretty good lead in “The Apprentice.” The guy does have some acting skills. And he’s much better at reading and working an audience than Hillary Clinton or, gasp, I can’t believe I said this, Bernie Sanders.

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            Watched a few minutes of the source video where he shaved the head of the wrestling mogul. Because it was entertaining. And then I thought about who on the Dems has the talents to pull that off. Maybe Bill, but if he could, we’d have seen more than Arsenio. Then I smiled at the thought of AlGore. And then I thought about the impossibility of Hils even taking part in something as plebian as that.

            So basic Dunning/Kruger? 70 years of highly qualified media consultants honing the party towards skills that just aren’t what’s really effective on the TV? Hollywood for the ugly and untalented.

        2. oh

          Talking about stars, all the stars lined up for Obama:
          -Bush Disaster
          -“Black” President
          -Community Organizer
          -Boston Convention Speech
          -His so called opposition to the Iraq War
          -Hillary in the primaries
          -Well Written and Rehearsed Speeches
          Most of all, he threw his principles in the trash and those that were honest (e.g. the Reverend Jeremiah) under the bus, got the FIRE industry to back him for promises and voila, he fooled a lot of people (me, at least the first election).

          I would say that the financial mountains came to Mohammed Barack AKA Barry.

          Kamala is Black, mixed race and a woman. it’s her turn!
          If this repeats with Kamala, we’re really sunk.

          1. different clue

            I had heard that she is “black”. But from the picture, she looks like a “whiter shade of black” than what I was expecting.

            At that level, what even is black, anyway?

      3. andyb

        As a lifelong independent (but leaning Republican), I would vole for Tulsi Gabbard rather than any Rhino or Neolib for trying to expose the CIA/Mossad/Saudi created and nurtured (and required Boogeyman of the day) called ISIA or Nusra, or whatever. Of course now it has changed to Russia. Must keep those funds flowing from the MIC to our corruptocrats.

    2. Anonymous

      Great. Now I get to be sexist and racist if I refuse to vote for her for POTUS in 2020/24.

      I’m sure the Dem computer models are going gaga over her demographics. She is the epitome of the problem with identity politics.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t vote for women.

        Except for Marine Le Pen.

        1. Pat

          don’t stop there add on Tulsi Gabbard, Zephyr Teachout, Sarah Palin, Nikki Haley, Elizabeth Dole.

          I still haven’t figured out which statement from the Neoliberal misleadership class annoyed me more. Was it that one or the utterly ridiculous statement that Clinton was the most qualified person ever to run for President? Choices, choices…

  12. Reader

    This is from last week but I don’t recall seeing it posted here.

    DHS is moving quickly towards requiring face scans for US citizens traveling abroad. They claim they’ll delete the data within 14 days.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170713/07133237778/dhs-goes-biometric-says-travelers-can-opt-out-face-scans-not-traveling.shtml

    The tech dirt article is taken from this Washington Post article.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/face-scans-for-americans-flying-abroad-stir-privacy-issues/2017/07/12/b155c580-6712-11e7-94ab-5b1f0ff459df_story.html?utm_term=.dca0f6de6355

    1. dontknowitall

      I just arrived from a trip abroad and was quite surprised to find I was being scanned even though I am a US citizen. This was at an automated device setup to speedup admissions at JFK.

      1. oh

        I noticed that on my trip back from Europe last year. It’s already in place. What a (fascist) country!

  13. JTMcPhee

    Re: “the worst deal ever–” All this sturm und drang about the Iran pact, the horrid fear that “they” might “cheat” and get a nuke or two put together, making it harder for the Empire to make them “Say Uncle”… And yet, just a few hundred miles west, there is this amorphous amoebic “state” of the Israel ites, whose leaders, to “protect themselves,” and their own massive corruption, have mirabile dictu assembled (outside of the International Norms on who gets to be nukkular) something between 200 to 600 nuclear warheads. Ready to “deliver” at the drop of a yarmulke. Via ballistic missile, cruise missiles launched from U-boats they “bought” from Germany, of all places, using US dollars gifted by Our American Congress, and via F-16s that come from Guess Where (hint: they refer to the source as Uncle Sucker)… http://www.timesofisrael.com/new-submarines-will-have-second-strike-nuclear-capability/

    Delay hypocrisy. But then how many of our rulers either don’t care about the future, or actively are aiming at bringing about the Armageddon Revelation thing?

  14. MoiAussie

    Animal emotions stare us in the face — are our pets happy?

    One day, pet owners, farmhands or veterinarians could hold up a smart phone to a dog, sheep or cat and have an app tell them the specific emotion the animal is showing.

    Yeah, right. Rather than develop some sensitivity to and familiarity with your pet, just use some inaccurate app instead. I can just see the headline: Man shoots dog because app said it was angry at him.

    And why stop there? Why not an app that tells you the emotions your partner or the person sitting opposite in the subway is feeling. Let’s all develop emotional agnosia. Then an app that tells you when it’s time to divorce.

    This is symptomatic of the era of the orchestrated destruction of human ability that is upon us. Like people who have no idea what their heart rate is unless they use a fitness monitor, and no idea how to get somewhere without GPS. Replacing basic human skills with unreliable, externally controlled crutches. Cui bono?

    1. barefoot charley

      Youngsters leaning on our car door smile at our maps on the seat, and at us old chuckleheads who still use them. At least we’re cute. One day maybe I’ll show them how to use a quarter.

      Appsh!t indeed!

    2. jrs

      they’ll use it for parents to recognize their kids emotions, and it might improve parenting overall, as while some parents have no problem recognizing their kids emotions, some of them are bad at this.

  15. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: ‘Anything is better than the status quo’: Guam eyes end to American colonial rule SCMP

    Michael Bevacqua, a Chamorro culture expert at the University of Guam, said indigenous people should have a vote on their future after being denied basic rights under generations of colonial rule.

    “A process of decolonisation that must follow the rules of the coloniser is not decolonisation, it is an extension of colonisation,” he said.

    What a strange comment. This expert does not seem to realize that if Guam’s indigenous people had been capable of governing themselves, the americans would not have had to step in and “help” them in the first place. Such ingratitude is really disconcerting. It seems they know nothing of the benefits colonization has provided to the Native Americans.

    PS. The google “map” of Guam is hilarious.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think for him,

      A process of decolonization = an extension of colonization.

      I wonder if he means to colonize California or something…

      He can do this by copying the Italians who give visas to migrants and send them north. Here, Guam, the New Guam, can issue visas to Chinese and whomever, and forward them to the Golden State.

    2. WeakenedSquire

      Guam is never going to become a state unless its voters all covert to Mormonism or something. And “independence” would hardly remove the yoke of colonialization. All remote islands are sad-sack economic basketcases full of unhealthy poor people because they can’t sustain modern lifestyles or compete in a global economy without outside subsidy.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Always the BS about having to “compete in a global economy.” As if there is such a thing, in the way so many think of it… As if “being able to compete in it,” “it” being a pre-loaded looting machine that benefits the pleasure centers and egos of a tiny few humans…

        I guess by definition that “the global economy” is a category. Given the latitude we mopes allow in the framing and terminology that keeps us “insecure” and looking down the drain we are circling…

        This, http://www.thetahititraveler.com/general-information/histoire/how-did-polynesian-live/, versus this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_French_Polynesia…And what happens when a modern “economist” sticks his nose into the Hale Ali’i — reducing everything to “inferior to Adam Smith –“? https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/primitive-polynesian-economy-raymond-firth/1116828517

        Let us compete, globally, by God… See who can be the first, in the race to the bottom…

        1. reslez

          To put it in simpler terms, small islands can’t afford to buy weapons to defend themselves and they don’t have the population base to sustain weapons research, so they’re just gonna lose to any outsiders who want to take their stuff. Other than that, it’s a great way to live.

  16. Carolinian

    “Revolution and Couterrevolution” is long but definitely worth a read. As the article points out, American foreign policy based on premises hatched in the first half of the 20th century and is increasingly irrational in the 21st. We are fighting to maintain a unipolar world even as other regions rival or even surpass us economically. The only question is whether the elites who cling to their Game of Thrones fantasies are going to take the rest of us down with them. Nuclear war is no joke.

    1. RenoDino

      There is no backing down from the Imperial Project. Best course of action is beef up the military, at the expense of everything else, and start demanding tribute from vassal states. Trump’s demand for stepped up military spending from Europe, S. Korea, Taiwan, and Japan using U.S. defense suppliers is the Empire demanding payment.

      We will be torn apart if we show any sign of weakness. Our allies fear us and our enemies hate us. We are sitting on the Iron Throne. It’s not very comfortable, but the alternatives are much worse.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There are the aggressive adventurists at the top for sure.

        To lend legitimacy to their causes, they need some semblance of public support, which, I wonder, if is not driven, in part, by the fear, by many nice and banal people, that ‘we will be torn apart if we show any sign of weakness.’

        To that end, any resistance, any solution, must include the topic of reparation, if not restoring their destroyed cultures and ways of life.

        “Let all get along nicely…peacefully, now.”

      2. Carolinian

        I assume you are being sarc but this is the standard bit of sophistry that power always uses to justify itself. In the antebellum south they said they couldn’t free the slaves because the whites would then all be killed a la Nat Turner. When the slaves finally were freed it was the whites who did most of the killing and lynching (but in pursuit of the same fear).

        But even if this view made sense during George Kennan time it doesn’t now. 320 million can’t rule 7 billion forever. Our elites simply aren’t rational, as we see with the new McCarthyism and hysterical press. Of course our highly educated elites think their irrationality is perfectly rational. They flunk that essential philosophical dictum: know thyself.

        1. Richard Musser

          Exactly. It is the language of fear and inflexibility, and will get us about as far as it did slave owners.

        2. RenoDino

          “They flunk that essential philosophical dictum: know thyself.”

          I’m being very sincere. This who we are and we have the military to prove it. For now, we rule the goddamn world. We will kill whoever we have to who says otherwise.

          We are told this being done for our protection. It makes us feel so innocent even though we elect the leaders and pay the taxes that direct the resources to dominate the world.

          This project is so far along it can only end one way.

  17. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The Chemicals in Your Mac and Cheese (martha r)

    Imagine my surprise when the referenced “chemicals” were not the orange powdered concoction that, when mixed with water (+ / – some lead), begets “cheese,” or the glutinous, gelatinous, GMO-wheat-laden cylinders pretending to be pasta, but something called phthalates, introduced into this “food” through processing equipment and packaging ink.

    The forest really needs to make an effort to become acquainted with the trees.

  18. Alex

    The piece about huge carbon footprint of kids is junk science. Whereas an SUV emits all the greenhouse gases now (in a few-years time) the carbon emissions related to your children and grandchildren will be only emitted conditional on him/her surviving into adulthood (sorry) and also will depend on the economy 30, 50 and 100 years from now. So if we switch to solar, wind and veganism (if you’re an optimist) or to subsistence farming after a major climate catastrophe their footprint would be very low.

    1. John

      Re: So if we switch to solar, wind and veganism (if you’re an optimist) or to subsistence farming after a major climate catastrophe their footprint would be very low

      The operative word there is “IF”. We won’t, which means: the NetPresentValue of YOUR carbon-footprint, including YOUR kids, is much lower if “YOUR_KIDS=0”.

      It’s ok tho, I drive a Prius so personally I’ve done my part.

      1. Alex

        Not sure if anyone is gonna see this but still. Mathematically you’re right (even though one could argue that it’s possible to rear kids in a way that they contribute to decreasing carbon footprint). But my main point is that it’s wrong to just sum up your descendants’ footprint – if we continue on our present course it’s likely that the number of people will be decreased due to violence, diseases or famine, so the calculation becomes wrong. And if we move to carbon-neutral economy again the calculation is wrong

  19. perpetualWAR

    Legal Cannabis Use in States v. Federal

    I am awaiting the first lawsuit of a potential employee new-hire whereby employment is denied due to a drug screening exposing marijuana use in a state where marijuana is legal.

    1. divadab

      And the plaintiff will lose. They are in the same non-protected class as tobacco smokers, who can be refused employment if they are tobacco smokers, or even fired for smoking if non-smoking is a term of employment.

      It’s amazing to me how many people do not understand the nature of the employment relationship.

    1. John

      I think it’s only an alternative if there’s a chance of it becoming reality. Otherwise, that’s call “science fiction”.

      (It would help if “da-people” had some chance to understand what a neo-liberal was too. When they don’t even understand the title of the story how can they be expected to read the book?)

  20. Kilgore Trout

    Re: The Der Spiegel interview with Naomi Klein was superb–concise analysis of our present situation.

    1. tongorad

      I don’t know how one could pretend to analyze our current situation with regard to the environment, TINA, etc, and not mention our perma-wars and military. I don’t have much hope for anything until we tackle that head-on. War is not even mentioned in the interview.

      1. John

        Exactly, but it seems those war-jobs programs and money-created-from-nothing is just too enticing for “Progressives” to want to eliminate it. When THEY are running things, all that will be used for goodness.

        We just gotta hang-on until then…

    1. JTMcPhee

      He likes to see Muslims killing Muslims? Likes to make Uncle Sucker jump through hoops? Is just a worthless waste of cytoplasm?

      And of course the talking classes have a gazillion reasons why and wherefore. Looking under the rock labeled “Israeli strategy for Syria” there was this creepy-crawlie: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Behind-the-lines-US-strategy-and-Israels-stake-in-eastern-Syria-497689

      Looking under that other larger rock labeled “Israeli strategy versus Iran,” you get stuff more like this: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/08/thinking_about_the_unthinkable_an_israeliran_nuclear_war_.html And this advice from the Saban Center at Brookings: “The Path To Persia,” https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_iran_strategy.pdf, constraining the “options” within these heads:

      Introduction
      The Trouble with Tehran: U.S. Policy Options toward Iran . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.
      Part I
      Dissuading Tehran: The Diplomatic Options .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
      Chapter 1: An Offer Iran Shouldn’t Refuse: Persuasion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
      Chapter 2: Tempting Tehran: The Engagement Option . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
      Part II
      Disarming Tehran: The Military Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
      Chapter 3: Going All the Way: Invasion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
      Chapter 4: The Osiraq Option: Airstrikes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
      Chapter 5: Leave it to Bibi: Allowing or Encouraging an
      Israeli Military Strike . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
      Part III
      Toppling Tehran: Regime Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
      Chapter 6: The Velvet Revolution: Supporting a Popular Uprising . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
      Chapter 7: Inspiring an Insurgency: Supporting Iranian Minority
      And Opposition Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .113
      Chapter 8: The Coup: Supporting a Military Move Against the Regime . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . 122
      Part IV
      Deterring Tehran: Containment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . .129
      Chapter 9: Accepting the Unacceptable: Containment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
      Conclusion
      Crafting an Integrated Iran Policy: Connecting the Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145

      Sleep well, my pretties…

  21. CanCyn

    “What not to do in a disaster” … the headline doesn’t exactly match the story. Interesting info about why we behave the way we behave but not a lot of concrete advice. As someone who works in large public building, I ensure that my staff know the emergency exits and our procedures. We don’t drill as often as I would like but I do know that it is familiarity with the exits and emergency procedures that will save our lives. An inspiration is Rick Rescorla – the security officer who got 2700 Morgan Stanley employees out of the south tower on 9/11. He started evactuation before the tower had been struck, only the first tower had been hit and they were being told to stay put! He knew exactly what was happening and his people had been drilled many times. Rick was a big believer in the 7Ps ….”Proper Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance” Google Rick for more on his story or read here about the 7 Ps
    https://omnipresentsecuritygroup.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/why-the-7-ps-matter/

    1. Jess

      Rick Rescorla was a natural born hero. His role was left out of the movie WE WERE SOLDIERS but read the book. Quite a guy.

      (When his unit arrived to reinforce those already on the ground at Landing Zone X-Ray the first words he heard from the officer greeting him were, “Watch where you walk. There are dead everywhere. And they’re all ours.”

      1. vidimi

        he seemed valiant. shame about his colonial actions in cyprus, zimbabwe, and vietnam, though.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Years ago, I read the book, the Story of Sushi. In it, sushi rice was said to be invented in Vietnam, with fermentation, accidentally at first perhaps.

      1. optimader

        the first one to successfully eat it wrote down the recipe?
        Funny how subjectively awful tasting stuff when embedded in the generational taste-bud becomes delicacies. Reminds me of the Icelandic fermented Greenland shark which taste like a piece of soap soaked in ammonia

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It is said that you have to be really tough to be able to survive on Lutefisk or Durian.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      lowtech and notech magazine are great. Single author doing very readable articles about obscure useful tech. Cable drives, viaducts and anthropology. Hasn’t been treehuggered yet.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    New research reveals how little we can trust eyewitnesses The Conversation

    Eyewitnesses to any crime?

    How will future serfs know about economic crimes today? With stats, like inflation, unemployment, money supply, the GDP? Or stories from those who suffered through them?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Make that ‘first hand eyewitness accounts from those who suffered, remembered under duress, through them?’

  23. JB

    Apparently, it was video games all along that were the cause of men leaving good jobs for unemployment…”A new study from academics at Princeton University, the University of Chicago and the University of Rochester found ample evidence that since 2000 men who would otherwise be working are instead giving up their paychecks to play video games.”

    http://www.talenteconomy.io/2017/07/13/video-games-men-workforce/

    WSJ ran an article on this too…
    https://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2017/07/13/videogames-might-be-keeping-young-men-out-of-the-workforce/

  24. Arizona Slim

    About that cat killer story: I may not make myself very popular for saying this, but the cats that were killed shouldn’t have been allowed outside.

    In addition to the problems that cats cause in nature (predation of wild birds being among the most notable), there’s the burden that’s placed on people.

    For example, my back yard. This morning, I wanted to air my house out. But the stench of cat urine was so strong that I had to close the bedroom window after just a minute or two. The smell is a result of roaming cats using my back yard as a toilet.

    At great personal expense, I’m having a corrugated metal fence installed around the back yard. I have heard that this style of fence is not one that cats can climb. I hope that it will allow me to once again enjoy that part of my property.

    The roaming cats have also used my garden basins and yard as a toilet, which places me at risk for toxoplasmosis. And then there are my two security doors. Both ruined by cat urine. I’ll have to plunk down more money to get those replaced.

    Link for more information: https://abcbirds.org/program/cats-indoors/

    1. John

      I’d suggest picking of the cats and bringing them to the SPCA. Most cats are pretty friendly if you give them some food.

      Better than killing them, anyway…

      1. Arizona Slim

        Sorry, John, but that just isn’t going to work for me. I already said that roaming cats have turned my place into a giant outdoor toilet. Which puts me at risk for toxoplasmosis.

        And, if I were to trap the cats and take them to animal control, I’ll be asked where they came from. Why? Because animal control will neuter the cats and deliver them right back into my neighborhood. Where they can continue to make a mess of things.

        Bottom line: Keep cats indoors. It’s better for cats, wildlife, and people.

      2. Harold

        Feral cats are not friendly. I have them in the alley behind my yard, which they think was created just for them.. Trapping them would not be easy and animal control will not get involved with cats on “private property” or so they say. I have called for years and gotten no response.

    2. Pat

      Well, it is sort of blaming the victims. I get your point and believe in keeping pet cats indoor or in enclosed outdoor spaces. , but frankly reading that article makes it clear that it was probably only laziness that led the sick family blog to pick pet cats, who don’t automatically fear humans like the more feral cats do. I’m pretty sure if every cat was kept inside, he would probably have started on small dogs or even ‘adopted’ cats from craig’s list and events. That is one sick to the bone psychopath.

      1. witters

        If there are too many people, are there not too many of these too many peoples cats? Or are cats special here?

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Donald Trump refuses to make state visit to UK until Theresa May ‘fixes warm UK welcome’ Independent

    I am thinking there is a typo here..’Until May fixes warm British beer…”

    Probably something was lost in translation.

  26. Altandmain

    Pre-emption laws:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/06/upshot/blue-cities-want-to-make-their-own-rules-red-states-wont-let-them.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fupshot

    A bigger problem IMO is that the Kochs, ALEC, and wealthy special interests control these.

    For those who haven’t read it – share buybacks and big pharma
    https://www.ineteconomics.org/research/research-papers/us-pharmas-financialized-business-model

    This was featured earlier, but still a very good read.

    Where Chinese millionaires want to move
    http://money.cnn.com/2017/07/17/investing/chinese-rich-immigration-hurun-report/index.html?sr=twCNN071717chinese-rich-immigration-hurun-report1238PMStory

    Apparently still hot on the US and increasingly Canada over the UK.

    Superdelegates in the Democratic Party
    http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/democrats-changing-superdelegate-rules-a-sanders-win/

    Clinton Donors Have Picked Their 2020 Democratic Presidential Nominee
    http://observer.com/2017/07/donors-george-soros-steve-mnuchin-kamala-harris/

    IF true, as NCers would say … Help Me.

    Poll: Americans’ Massive Disapproval of Both Parties
    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/07/17/poll-americans-massive-disapproval-both-parties.html

    Gee … I wonder why?

  27. craazyboy

    “Walmart Attempts To Monetize Toilet Paper!” WaPo co-reporting with The NYT *

    The news has been frighteningly boring still. Nothing ever changes.

    Was at Walmart yesterday, and noticed an annoying new development. In the Toilet Paper Aisle, (yes, an entire aisle!) I saw plain old TP packaging emblazoned with large, bold, colorful lettering, screaming out that the contents of this package contained “Super Strong Toilet Paper”!!

    This was true for nearly all offerings from the TP Oligarchy, and also Walmart’s in house generic brand!

    The shit costs twice as much!

    And WTF do we need extra strong TP for. Like we are gonna blow it out our ass?

    Why can’t they let our Safe Spaces alone?

    I didn’t buy any. I searched around the entire aisle and finally found my good old true generic brand, on the lowest shelf, a few packages left and pushed to the back. Like some shopper wanted to buy all of them, ran out of Tally Sticks, and had to run home to saw off some more.

    But I bought ’em all, at 68 cents a 4 roll pack.

    This is a Public Service Announcement.

    * Krugman says he’s not bothering to write a whole paper on it. Calls it a bunch of crap! Promises he will write a paper, 2% deflated, next year.

    Thomas L. Freidman, states, unequivocally, “If trees were meant to be money, the Federal Reserve would run a Tree Chipper.”

  28. John k

    Regarding kids and co2…
    Linus, in Peanuts today, worries about the beautiful and highly intelligent child not born because parents stop at two… presumably worrying less about the not born but less gifted.
    Unless I missed it, bill gates has similar worries, so he funds disease control rather than free pills and condoms in countries with rapidly increasing populations.

    In the olden days man had to have lots of kids because so many died young… we’ve fixed that, but religions mostly urge their faith to breed like rabbits, presumably so there will be more faithful future contributors. So Christ saying ‘waste not your seed’, made some sense in a world with relatively small and stagnant populations… or was He worrying about me going blind?

    Back to co2… we are not destroying the world, that future awaits the time when the sun becomes a red giant, only halfway there. What we are reducing every day is the max number of people and species the eaRth can support. My guess is we have already far overshot both our existing numbers as well as that of all the major animals. Evidence is the exodus out of Africa into Europe as well as the ongoing resource wars. At any rate, if my guess is right, population will at some point fall… when yeast does it, it’s all at once.

    Full disclosure… I did have two children, and certainly have no regrets. Those that have fewer, or none at all, are our modern heroes. My daughters each have one son, might settle for that… we’ll see.

  29. Anon

    RE: Dams and Beaches

    This article, while good, gives a wrong impression. The negative environmental effects of dams (large and small) is not a recent recognition. It wasn’t twenty years ago that fluvial geomorphologists warned of the drastic consequence of sequestering fluvial (river) sediment behind dams; it’s been noted in textbooks since the 1950’s (see: Luna Leopold and others.)

    While selected release of sediment from a dam (China) is helpful, it rarely mimmics natural fluvial processes (most sediment is moved along by large (disaster-type) flood events and not small functional water/sediment releases). The large flood event is how the sediment gets to the sea (ocean) and replenishes beach via a natural littoral drift.

    The article is right-on in explaining it all is likely moot, since a 3 foot ocean rise is likely to submerge most, if not all, current wetlands.

  30. gepay

    How Dams Deprive the World’s Rivers of Sediment – Another example of how man can change the environment for the worse. -Now one doesn’t have to be a very bright bulb to predict that sediment will back up behind a dam and have bad consequences for the river downstream. Yet most all of them are built without thought of mitigating this obvious outcome. Then at the end – “In the long run though, sediment replenishment projects can only do so much. Sea levels are projected to rise this century by three to six feet, and possibly more. Under such a scenario, vast areas of wetlands and coastlines are likely to be inundated, regardless of efforts to restore sediments to these ecosystems.

    “When we are talking about 2100 or 2150 it’s quite possible that no marsh will be able to keep up with a natural sediment supply by that time,” says Ambrose. “A lot of wetlands are probably going to disappear.”
    As if to say – why bother? Computer models predicting man made CO2 causing catastrophic climate change change are a good reason not to do feasible projects where man’s activities damage the environment or change local climate for the worse. It has already caused the air quality in London and Paris to be damaged by the emphasis on using lower greenhouse gas producing diesels that actually cause harm now rather than possible computer model predicted harm later.
    Why should coal generating plants bother to make expensive alterations to decrease the documented harm that burning coal causes when future mandated CO2 sequestration will make them uneconomic?
    “Climate Change Is Creating an Entirely New Kind of Refugee ” another climate doom article with no relevant ideas – the San Blas islands are literally millimeters above sea level. Sea level rise is measured in millimeters (3 per year). High tide storm surges are measured in meters. The islands are lucky that they have not been hit by a large hurricane for long time. Much of their problem is: .” For years, they mined nearby reefs and used the coral to expand the size of their islands, removing a natural barrier that protects them from the waves.” – NPR. Most of the damage to coral reefs in the Caribbean are caused by prosaic man made activities like poor agricultural practices or seaside development – not global warming. These can be fixed but – why bother? when Man Made CO2 will cause catastrophic climate change.

  31. George Phillies

    Returning to last fall, I see that this site is still listed by pr*p*rn*t.c*m as tending to publish Russian propaganda. Amusingly, their current list also includes a significant number of Libertarian sites of different sorts.

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