Links 7/5/17

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Is this the friendliest creature on the planet? Meet the giant rodent who gets on with EVERYONE in the animal kingdom (even caimans) DailyMail (Li)

An Inquisitive Manatee Repeatedly Attempts to Connect With a Human In a Transparent Canoe Laughing Squid (David L)

Serious cat-titude! Owners snap their ungrateful pets shunning their expensive toys and beds in favour of discarded paper bags and leftover cardboard boxes Daily Mail (Li). Trust me, these are funny.

U.S. Flag Recalled After Causing 143 Million Deaths Onion (UserFriendly)

America’s violent birth: Why we shouldn’t be surprised that U.S. politics is a blood sport now Salon

Happy Independence Day Ian Welsh (martha r)

Your Human Right to Revolt: When is it OK to Overthrow Your Government? 4th of July Edition, 2017 John Laurtis (martha r)

Tying loose ends? Gravitational waves could solve string theory, study claims Guardian (UserFriendly)

“Explosive methane will create two million jobs!” Hypergeometric (Philip P)

Texting on the move makes you walk weird, study finds CNET

U.S. government seeks to intervene in Apple’s EU tax appeal: source Reuters. Wowsers. Apple’s tax structure is egregious and also unique. See here for details. Key point: “So most of the EU sales income was taxed nowhere.”

North Korea

The North Korean Missile Crisis Wall Street Journal. UserFriendly: “It would be great if we had even 1 MSM outlet that wasn’t desperately trying to get us all killed.”

U.S. Says North Korea Rocket Was ICBM, Warns of UN Action Bloomberg

North Korea missile test ‘new threat to world’, says US amid show of military force Guardian

Why America Shouldn’t Buy North Korea’s Empty Threats National Interest

South Korea’s facing another debt bubble Asia Times

Europeans Are Drinking Themselves to Death Bloomberg (UserFriendly)

Refugee Crisis

For Europe and migrants, it looks like 2015 all over again Politico

Bill Gates warns that Germany’s open door policy to migrants will overwhelm Europe and urges leaders to ‘make it more difficult for Africans to reach the continent via current routes’ DailyMail (Li). US MSM protecting Gates by not reporting on these remarks.

Greece: Revolt Betrayed Defend Democracy


Labour party calls on May to drop ECJ ‘red line’ Financial Times

Severing ties with the EU starts in DAYS as transferring of laws to begin NEXT WEEK Express

A Corbyn-led government should start by scrapping the Prevent Strategy Open Democracy (Sid S)

Parent fights to omit gender on B.C. child’s birth certificate CBC. Baby did get a gender-blind health card.

​Khadr to get apology, compensation over $10M as lawsuit settled Toronto Star (Sid S)

New Cold War

The Memo: Trump faces high stakes meeting with Putin The Hill

Playing Chicken with Nuclear Annihilation Consortium News (Sid S)


Tillerson Ready to Let Russia Decide Assad’s Fate Foreign Policy (UserFriendly)

Russia may deploy military in Syrian buffer zones within weeks Reuters

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Price of America’s Endless Wars Consortium News

US still has no path to peace in Afghanistan, bipartisan senators say Guardian

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How to See What the Internet Knows About You (And How to Stop It) New York Times

Google Could Soon Have Access Sensitive Genetic Patient Data— We Should All Be Worried Newsweek. I am at a loss to understand why anyone would voluntarily allow their genetic data to be collected, save cases like a family history which points to having the BRCA gene, and even then I am not so sure. Given the way the world operates, you are certain not to be able to keep that information private.

WikiLeaks Exposes CIA Targeting Linux Users With OutlawCountry Network Traffic Re-Routing Tool HotHardware (resilc)

Trump Transition

Is Steve Bannon Trying to Get Trump Impeached? Vanity Fair (resilc)

Media errors give Trump fresh ammunition The Hill


Five changes GOP might make to healthcare bill The Hill

‘Don’t take away our healthcare’ says Trump country BBC

Higher Health Costs Challenge Republican Senators Wall Street Journal

Finally Everyone Agrees, Health Care Is a Human Right Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

The Chickenshit Club by Jesse Eisinger — what happened to the DoJ? Financial Times (Adrien)

The Democrats Are Eisenhower Republicans Jacobin (UserFriendly). Unfair to Eisenhower. The top Federal income tax bracket in his day was 91% and he called those who wanted to abolish Social Security “stupid”.

Did Endless War Cost Hillary Clinton the Presidency? Reason. UserFriendly: “Evidence for something you’ve long been saying. Full paper.”

Illinois Senate Overrides Rauner’s Veto of Spending, Tax Bills Bloomberg

Puerto Rico faces off with bondholders over statehood The Hill

Ill-Funded Police Pensions Put Cities in a Bind Wall Street Journal

Federal Reserve Says Not to Worry About a Financial Crisis AntiMedia (UserFriendly)

Has U.S. Shale Wrecked Its Own Recovery? OilPrice

Class Warfare

Better Ways to Measure Your Boss’s Pay Wall Street Journal. Important:

In 2015—the last year for which full data is available—the average pay of the 500 highest-paid U.S. executives was $17.1 million according to fair-value estimates, but $32.6 million according to realized pay. Fair-value pay has been lower than realized pay in every year since at least 2006

And this is astonishing to see in the pro-capitalist Journal:

The sheer size of realized-pay numbers is one concern. For most of corporate history such riches were associated with risk-taking entrepreneurs, not managers. It is doubtful investors need to fork out so much for managerial talent, and the practice encourages anti-business sentiment, populist politics and eventually regulations like the U.S. pay ratio, part of the Dodd-Frank reforms.

How Middle-Class America Got Fleeced Bloomberg. UserFriendly: “Holy cow and from April Bloomberg nails neoliberalism to the wall.”

EU court adviser sides with France in battle with Uber Politico

When feminism’s wonders aren’t for all women Toronto Star (Sid S). From last month, still germane.

Antidote du jour. Lambert: “Feral or at least collarless cat having cleaned hamburg bits and condiments off my plate.” Moi: That cat is not feral. It is either a current or recent pet. It’s way too skilled at imploring. Lambert said it looked worn, so perhaps it got lost or its former humans moved away (his town has a pretty high level of transients for Maine). So I think it’s working on getting Lambert to adopt him/her. Lambert isn’t sure about a house cat, but he could use a barn cat for his basement and Maine winters are cold so there may be a commonality of interest.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. voteforno6

    Re: Tying loose ends? Gravitational waves could solve string theory, study claims

    More hype from string theorists. My prediction: none of the referenced detectors will find anything to back these claims, and string theorists will move on to claim something else, just over the horizon, will undoubtedly prove their “theory.” After all, that’s been the pattern. You see, the problem isn’t with string theory itself, it’s with the scientific method.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Like 99.99% of people, I lack the mathematical skills to understand the details of the arguments, but I find the slow collapse of string theory to be fascinating and a powerful example of how even the most rigorous and ‘pure’ of the sciences can be subject to deep epistemological biases and flaws. It seems that if some physicists spent less time making fun of the humanities and more time listening to genuine critiques science wouldn’t have lost so many years on chasing the probably chimeras of vibrating strings in the universe.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Physicist Marcelo Gleiser worked on String Theory before abandoning it & you might be interested in his reasoning within this fascinating documentary series passed onto me last week which explores Scientism, God, morality. the universe & much more. There are some good clips on the site & the full show can be viewed by signing up for a free month, which you can then of course cancel if required.

      2. optimader

        I’m guessing their attitudes regarding the humanities have very little to do with physicists scraping about in their efforts to protect positions in the physics version of the breakfast/lunch/dinner club membership ranks?

      3. Aumua

        I suppose the new national mood is anti-science, so when in Rome eh? I got the torches, who’s got the pitchforks?

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Speaking of anti-science, my wife and I walked in the local “March for Science” and just this morning I received an email asking me to take yet another survey. At the bottom of the email was this:

          *This research has been approved by the George Mason University Institution Research Board, IRB # 1055011-1.

          Any idea if this whole thing is just another Koch-funded malignancy?

          1. Vatch

            I don’t know the answer to your question; sorry.

            Paradoxically, Janine Wedel, the author of The Shadow Elite, is on the faculty of George Mason University. Apparently, there are still a few people at that institution who aren’t tools of the Kochs.


            Maybe she got tenure before the Kochs realized who she was.

          2. John Zelnicker

            @WobblyTelemores – You might try finding out which part of the university is running the survey. The IRB might be willing to tell you. With this info, you may be able to determine if it’s a Koch-funded institute or department.

      1. CD

        I agree. A great book about quantum gravity theory. I plan to read it again.

        Rovelli makes a better and more easily understandable case for quantum gravity than Brian Greene does for string theory.

        Overall, the book has a humanities feel, beginning with a discussion of the ancient Greeks’ view of physical reality. I found the book very stimulating.

    2. justanotherprogressive

      If gravitation waves could have string theory’s problems, they would have done it by now. But scientists aren’t going to give up their old ideas easily. They will continue to build those epicycles trying to make it all work.
      But, maybe, just maybe, some cleverer dude will see through all the epicycles and see what is happening and come up with a radical new theory. Of course, he/she will be shunned, unable to publish in the more well known journals, etc. But someday, maybe a grad student doing research will come upon his/her article and realize that the new theory solves his “unsolvable problem” and then he will show his professor, and that professor will show another professor….and that clever dude will become an overnight sensation, just like Einstein……

      1. justanotherprogressive

        Errr…If gravitational waves could have solved string theory’s problems…….

        1. JoeK

          Thanks I was puzzling over that first sentence. +1 to the rest.
          A la Fritjof Capra, this is one way in which Daoism is valuable, in that it proffers a radical (in the original sense, to the root) questioning of one’s deepest and dearest assumptions. I sometimes wonder if our scientific inquiry isn’t still hampered by the structures, if not content, of our ideologies and religions.

          1. John Merryman

            Such as western monism, versus eastern dichotomies. Even politics is a dichotomy. Shouldn’t be hard to figure out, but….

    3. Vatch

      the problem isn’t with string theory itself, it’s with the scientific method.

      Could you please elaborate? What are the problems with the scientific method?

      1. Brian

        nothing is wrong with the scientific method, but some don’t want to wait. Somewhen people figured they can find an answer imeeeediately and forget that we are a nascent culture that has put all of 400 or so years into physics. Why didn’t we solve the equation of the universe sooner? After all, Albert only really started cooking the new stew about 1900.
        Folks, give science a chance. Don’t rush it like the atomic bomb.

        1. Procpoius

          We’ve been doing physics a lot longer than 400 years, or did you think that Demosthenes and Aristotle and Euclid weren’t doing physics as well as mathematics? True, we accepted a new method a couple hundred years ago that has been more successful, but I find it extraordinary how many papers are published now that turn out not to be replicable. And it seems to me string theory is an attempt to build a picture of the real world from assumptions and axioms, just like Aristotle’s physics.

      2. voteforno6

        Sorry, I forgot the sarcasm tag. One of the problems with string theory (as much as I understand it – I’m not a physicist) is that, so far, they really haven’t been able to develop any experiments to test it. In other words, it’s not falsifiable. Or, as one critic puts it (Peter Woit), it’s not even wrong.

        1. Vatch

          Thanks. If only we could figure out how to hear a person’s tone of voice from text only comments!

    4. klaas

      Not so much with ‘the scientific method’ (i.e. null hypothesis testing), but with the scientific standards of some fields of inquiry (i.e. with the intention of proving a research hypothesis or theory)

    5. Duncan Hare

      Failures of a theory in experiment is the whole point of Science.

      String Theory – It is a Theory. It’s predictions can be tested – That’s science.

      If the predictions turn out to be disproven, then revise the theory or find another theory.

      That’s science. There is no “like” or “dislike” a theory. There is predictions observed, or not observed.

      Science is not dogma, an unflinching belief with no predictions, and thus no substance. It is a process.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Science is a process, like a journey.

        Most people apply it like a destination.

        Who says it like this: “For every action, there is a reaction…as far as it is the best explanation today we have today. It might be outdated tomorrow?”

        Instead, it’s ‘For every action, there is a reaction. Period. If you don’t agree, you’re an uneducated deplorable!”

        The behavior is quite dogmatic.

    6. GG

      You have a fundamental misunderstanding of how science works. If string theory is found to be falsifiable, that will be the result of the scientific method working as intended. No scientist worth his chops would admit to a dogmatic belief in the existence of string theory. It’s a possibility that could exist given our current understanding of general relativity and quantum mechanics. It could also not exist. The process to falsify a hypothesis can take many years (or decades) to play out. And if the theory is falsified through empiricism and peer review, then we move on to other possibilities. Over time we keep the theories that work, discard the ones that don’t, and build from there. This is the essence of science. Scientists are people too with flaws and biases, and nobody wants to spend their career chasing a dead end; but the brilliance of the scientific method is that eventually the weight of evidence wins out.

      1. lyman alpha bloba

        I think the point was that string theorists often overlook the scientific method as their current claims are largely not falsifiable and thus not particularly scientific.

        String theory is fascinating but there are a lot of big brains spending a lot of time on a theory that may never be falsifiable, and the string theorists themselves will admit this.

        Lee Smolin has a good book on the topic – The Trouble with Physics.

        Someone above mentioned Peter Woit. Hadn’t checked his website in a while but he’s still going strong. Here’s one from last month – The Dangerous Irrelevance of String Theory.

        1. craazyman

          I think maybe the Enterprise went through the 6 other dimensions in Warp drive. That could be the proof right there. You can’t deny the Enterprise went all over the galaxy somehow. How could it have done that without other dimensions?

          Why do they have to argue about something so obvious? Just change the name, since there was no string anywhere the Enterprise went and it confuses people. But all the dimensions are there and the Enterprise is proof.

          There was no string where the Apollo rockets went either. No string on the moon. And no string on Mars. Not one satellite has seen any string. Even the ones that went to Jupiter. I don’t know, it seems like if you call it string theory you’re just buying trouble.

          I thought I saw some string once looking at the moon with a telescope but it was only a tree branch.

    7. different clue

      ‘String Theory’ isn’t even a hypothesis until experiments can be devised to test it, or at least particular aspects of it.

      Or am I wrong?

      1. craazyman

        What did the string theorist say when asked if there was empricial evidence for his clains?

        “I’m a frayed knot.”


        Why was the string theorist late leaving the office?
        He had to tie up a few loose ends.


        What did the no-foo-foo physicist say to the string theorist?
        “Cut it out already.”

        Whoa that is reaaly really bad. Really bad.

        Why couldn’t the string theorist meet his wife and friends for dinner?
        “He got tied up.”

        Whoa! That’s not a new one, that’s just a copy of the 2nd one. Sorry.

        If you want to scare a string theorist, just hold up some scissors. Ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    8. Blennylips

      the problem isn’t with string theory itself, it’s with the scientific method

      Yes, and that’s bothers the Popperist. The gauntlet was thrown down in a Nature comment:

      Scientific method: Defend the integrity of physics
      George Ellis& Joe Silk
      16 December 2014
      Attempts to exempt speculative theories of the Universe from experimental verification undermine science, argue George Ellis and Joe Silk.

      Quanta Magazine picks the story

      A Fight for the Soul of Science
      16 December 2015

      String theory, the multiverse and other ideas of modern physics are potentially untestable. At a historic meeting in Munich, scientists and philosophers asked: should we trust them anyway?

      That’s history.

      Quantum Field Theory is not *a* theory, but a recipe for making field theories. ST fails as a QFT of the experimentally deduced world, in my falsifiable opinion;).

      String theory will be remembered for its contributions to pure (ha!) math.

      o String Theory and Math: Why This Marriage May Last

      Mina Aganagic
      (Submitted on 26 Aug 2015)
      String theory is changing the relationship between mathematics and physics. The central role is played by the phenomenon of duality, which is intrinsic to quantum physics and abundant in string theory.

      o Mathematical applications of Quantum Field Theory MathOverflow

      o The Strange Second Life of String Theory Quanta Magazine

      String theory has so far failed to live up to its promise as a way to unite gravity and quantum mechanics. At the same time, it has blossomed into one of the most useful sets of tools in science.

      This physics backwashing into math is not unknown.

      Random matrices and Riemann hypothesis > math > arXiv:1109.5586
      Christian Pierre
      (Submitted on 22 Sep 2011)
      The curious connection between the spacings of the eigenvalues of random matrices and the corresponding spacings of the non trivial zeros of the Riemann zeta function is analyzed on the basis of the geometric dynamical global program …(Bafflegab elided)

      Random matricies were introduced by Eugene Wigner, trying model the nuclei of heavy atoms

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I know I shouldn’t insult physicists by comparing them with mainstream economists, but every time I read about String Theory I can’t help thinking about how mainstream economists ‘prove’ things with maths, without bothering to check if the real world matches up. String Theorists are undoubtedly vastly better mathematicians than economists, but they seem to have fallen into the same epistemological hole in space-time.

        1. Blennylips

          That comparison is a bit unfair.

          For one, name any economist who has changed their mind because of a theory of another economist (really, I would like to know). Economists’ jobs depend on not checking the real world or putting any speed bump in the looting.

          But really, how can one resist such temptation to ridicule;). Such ripe targets.

      2. Blennylips

        String theory will be remembered for its contributions to pure math.

        I added the “ha!” as many a mathematician has proudly boasted how “useless” their particular field is only to be proven wrong.

        I’ve just learned that Aristophanes’ play Nephelai (Clouds) made fun of the trends in Greek education, including astronomy and geometry, as being of little use in making the young compliant workers, soldiers, breeders of workers and soldiers, and other contributors to the expansion of the state.

        A contemporary named Zeno was deliriously happy for number theory and other unadulterated mathematics to be of no use to anyone. He offered an argument meant to illustrate why this would inevitably be so, which he cleverly couched in terms of a fable involving a rabbit and a tortoise.

        [cribbed from]

        G. H. Hardy (mentor to Ramanujan) may have said “Pure mathematics, may it never be of any use to anyone”.

  2. Eudora Welty

    Re Bill Gates. I immediately thought about US health care & higher ed. Does he approve of making it harder for US citizens to pay for those things? What would be the long-term benefit?

    I remember hearing Tim Wirth, affiliated with the UN, in about 1994, at a Seattle conference on Voluntary Simplicity, say: either the US lowers its standard of living voluntarily, or it will be done involuntarily. I think I’m seeing it play out.

    1. Democrita

      Yes, I’m afraid so. Wirth suffers, I think, from a common American problem, which is that he can’t envision less stuff as anything other than a lowering of QOL.

      I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and how getting off capitalism’s hamster wheel could be such a raising of living standards instead. Less stuff, more time with family. Fewer hours of office work, more on the garden. Fewer laptops but more human teachers. We could reclaim some of the civic work that used to be done by housewives.

      Much like single payer, it seems, that will never ever happen.

      (PS. Nice handle, Eudora!)

      1. CD

        Demi — You may have coined a new sociological concept — CHW.

        Capitalist hamster wheel.

        Very relevant to our lives, given B Gates and T Wirth.

          1. Democrita

            Lambert: AKA “treadmill of earthly delights”?

            r.turner: Yes, except rat race implies a rat can win. the hamster wheel has no end, no beginnning, and definitely no winners!

      2. johnnygl

        Good comment, too many assume less money MUST be a bad thing. One factor that i think gets underestimated is how little control the upper-middle class really has over many aspects of life. Obviously, they’ve got a much larger range of options than middle or working class people, however, they’re still quite limited.

        If you are a big time lawyer earning in the mid six figures, you still have trouble controlling your working hours because of client demands. You’re still expected to put in some hard time. Less time=more consumption out of convenience. That’s less cooking your own meals and cleaning your own house.

        1. Procpoius

          I noticed that when I was working for one of the (then) Big Eight international accounting/auditing firms. The managers were making great money, but they worked twelve hour days, and fourteen-fifteen hour days during tax season. They didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy the big houses and boats they were able to buy. I suppose their wives and children did, but that didn’t seem very motivating to me.

      3. lyman alpha blob

        Less stuff would have meant greatly increasing my QOL yesterday. Rather than spending a few hours at the beach , we spent hours hauling crap out of the kid’s bedroom. I have begged and pleaded with our relatives, explaining that we have a small house with next to no closet space and cannot fit much stuff into it, but it always falls on deaf ears. The kid will ask for a lego set and wind up with 6 of them on one birthday.

        And whoever started the practice of giving out goodie baskets for the guests at kids’ birthday parties filled with cheap little plastic pieces of crap deserves a nice spot in the 9th circle of hell. I cannot remember a birthday party my kid went to where she didn’t come back with more junk than she gave to the kid who’s actually having the birthday.

        When my wife doesn’t catch me, I like to leave the car and house unlocked hoping someone will come and steal all the junk we don’t really need.

      4. bdy

        Seems like workarounds for planned obsolescence and crapification would go a long way. I’d be overjoyed to have my first laptop/car/washing machine up and running, with a robust maintenance economy to support them. Design: pshaw.

    2. justanotherprogressive

      Bill Gates, the great humanitarian……because he gives a tiny bit of his fortune to helping a few people?

      Do you realize that if every multi-billionaire gave up just $1 Billion each, they could solve many of the world’s problems? But of course they won’t, because their placement on the Fortune 500 is more important to them than humans……

      Loved this comment: “But the more generous you are, the more word gets around about this — which in turn motivates more people to leave Africa.”

      Yep, gotta stamp out that “generosity thing”… could be catching……

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Instead, the 61-year-old suggested spending more on foreign aid to treat the root causes of migration, while making it more difficult for people to reach the continent.

        He’s got it at least half right.

        Aid to people where they are, before they risk their lives, break up their families, trekking thousands of miles to a strange new land to work like slaves.

        Go to any American rural town and see what happens after people there migrate to big cities. Look at New Orleans after Katrina….for many former residents, it’s good bye to a way of life, a culture, a unique world.

        1. Ignacio

          Half rigth is totally wrong. Gates is asking to sacrifice current migrants while somebody (not him I guess) treats the root causes. Are they to be killed in North Africa? Get back and killed on their way or as they return?

          Fascist Gates!

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            In 2015, no one wanted to look at the root causes, so today, 2017, they are being killed in N. Africa.

            If the world doesn’t address the root causes, in 2019, we will be seeing the same thing.

            It has to start somewhere, some point in time.

            The part about ‘more foreign aid to treat the root causes’ is right, if not wholly right, in the truth-the-whole-truth sense that we also need to stop colonizing and exploiting the region (among other ways, by emptying the area of people).

            The statement itself is not fascist.

            Sometimes, we look at the person, and sometimes we look at his/her deeds/ideas/statements.

            1. Procpoius

              Unless, unlike me, you have the power to read men’s minds, you can only infer what they think from what you see them doing or writing, or hearing what they say. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Bwahahahahaha. I love “lurks.” It’s woody. Anyway, Gates is a very destructive force. I once read an interview with Paul Allen, the guy who partnered with Gates to write their magnificent BASIC interpreter, which fit into only 4K bytes of memory. Allen described how he and Gates were partners in Micro-Soft and how their relation was somewhat prickly. Gates insisted on hiring Steve Ballmer for reasons that Allen didn’t describe, saying Gates just said they absolutely needed him. He explained that while his father was an engineer, Gates’s father was a lawyer, and that Gates had picked up knowledge of all kinds of slippery business practices from dinner table conversations. Finally, when Gates and Ballmer tried to cheat him out of part of his share of the company he retired. People don’t remember any more, but back in the ’80s Gates was regarded with mixed feelings. He was undoubtedly a demo god — he could do a demo with bug filled software that would have crashed for anybody else, but he was also a ruthless cheat. Microsoft was declared by a court to be a predatory monopoly.

      2. neo-realist

        It’s interesting that he pointed out Africa in particular. Not Eastern Europe, not Southeast Asia? Granted, people from those parts of the world are not arriving in massive numbers, but Gates had nothing to say about immigration until it started to get much darker……..

        From the plutocrat that opposes income tax and supports de facto private charter schools, how grand.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          He suggests more foreign aid to the dark continent.

          If he fails to mention southeast Asia (as far as foreign aid is concerned), he’s slighting those lighter SE Asians and Eastern Europeans.

      3. Anonymous

        In Germany it’s not just the migrants who lose their way of life, it’s Germany too. Talk candidly to a German they will admit it, but will not do it publicly out of fear of being called out.

  3. BoycottAmazon

    “Explosive methane will create two million jobs!” Hypergeometric (Philip P)

    Any new energy resource exploitation industry can only grow (beyond organic economic expansion) by cannibalizing another energy source industry. Since labour and capital are the major costs in these industries, that head line should read ” Explosive methane industry will potentially create two million new jobs by eliminating x million jobs in older energy industries.”

  4. Juneau

    Regarding you comment on giving not genetic data to companies related to Google.

    I did testing several years ago. I got invaluable data on my health history which has led to significant lifestyle changes for purposes of preventing against certain problems.

    My biggest regret is that I got so excited I talked another couple of people into doing it. I wish I had not done the testing at all but millions I have done it. And anyone arrested for trivial misdemeanors like fare beating can get swabbed now in our great city so many others who cannot afford testing get catalogued too.

    1. jrs

      It seems to me in any country with universal healthcare coverage, the risks might be for some people worth taking to get information on their DNA. It’s way more risky in the U.S. as any day preexisting conditions might be deemed a reason to deny insurance, charge more etc.. And what is more preexisting than one’s DNA? But in countries with real protections for people it’s kind of different.

  5. msmolly

    Is this supposed to be a link?
    >Better Ways to Measure Your Boss’s Pay Wall Street Journal.

    WSJ is paywalled so completely that I can’t see it to check.

  6. tony

    The average European puts away between one and four drinks a day, enough to classify them as “moderate” drinkers and increase the risk of colorectal and esophageal cancers, according to a report issued Monday by United European Gastroenterology, a nonprofit coalition of specialists.

    This is some puritan crap. While these cancers might be increased by drinking, studies have repeatedly show that drinker live longer than non-drinkers, and only alcoholics have a shorter lifespan than the abstinent.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, thats a classic example of overstretching evidence to reach unwarranted conclusions. There seems little doubt that there is a solid link between some gastrointenstinal cancers and even quite moderate drinking, but thats not the question most people are interested in.

      The real question is whether all the impacts of moderate drinking are cumulatively positive or negative on health. There is plenty of evidence (although nothing conclusive) that there are health benefits to drinking moderately and very little evidence of any overall higher mortality rate among moderate drinkers. There is even a recent study linked (seemingly broken) to in the Slate Star Codex blog that alcohol prolongs the life of fruit flies and chickens

    2. Ignacio

      Then why don’t they explain that the incidence of, for instance, esophageal cancer has been halved in France in the last 20 years.
      If you are interested you can search the incidence of cancer worlwide and time trends in these links:

      Incidence worlwide
      Time trends

  7. UserFriendly

    This is an interesting blog post… it mentions this absolutely amazing piece of nazi propaganda that is so spot on it is just … wow.


    Between the world wars, the intensity and scope of anti-Americanism increases dramatically, eventually finding its way into Nazi propaganda. In the SS poster above, aimed at a Dutch audience, you can find almost every cliché about the USA still in vogue today: a hypocritical giant, blood-soaked bombs for legs, poses as the “liberator”, displaying various depraved beauty pageants (including an award for the “World’s Most Beautiful Leg”); a money bag; the arm of a gang member with a gun in hand; another hand holding a phonograph, playing shitty American pop music to gullible and attentive European ears. In addition to the obvious anti-Semitic and racist themes of the picture, it also draws attention — rather bizarrely — to the hypocrisy in American ideals of equality and democracy, with a Ku Klux Klan hood hovering above caged black people.

    1. David

      Adam Tooze (The Wages of Destruction) argues that Hitler always saw the US as the main enemy, given its size and its potential to control the world economy. This threat could only be countered if Europe was unified under German leadership, and the resources of the East pressed into service. Paradoxically, the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was designed to acquire the assets and the political dynamic to knock Britain out of the war (a point accepted by most historians I think), before the US, already effectively an ally of Britain, could bring its military forces to bear.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Soviets were always the target, even before Hitler, a crass and vile man to be sure but one who carried out the wishes of a more polite class. A vaguely prosperous and reasonbly technologically advanced Eurasian power is a threat to UK, French, German, or American European dominance. Soft power empires are the goal.

        Russia is too foreign to outright rule on its own (Churchill offered Eastern Europe), but it’s too close to be ignored and presents competition to would be monopoly powers. The U.S. was too foreign to ever be a threat outside of colonial interests in the New World.

        1. David

          Russia was the target insofar as the asiatic communist hordes lived there, and its resources and its lands were needed for the herrenvolk. It was therefore necessary to deal with Russia first, which most people thought would not take too long. But whilst the US was not seen as a major military threat, it was seen as the upcoming dominant economic power that would eventually swallow Europe up. Even dictators get things partly right sometimes.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            This U.S. stuff was the secret target of Hitler’s long game is designed to peddle books to Americans who hate we were a second tier player who mopped up in Europe and weren’t the center piece of the war.

            This is really important. The Nazis were a symptom the center right party thought they could control. The German military made plans for wiping out the USSR because the elites saw Communism as a threat, and they saw a prosperous USSR as a threat to German plans to become the industrial supplier to Europe while the UK and France engaged with a more local colonial power in the case of Japan and colonial uprisings as in the case in India (Nehru put his plans on hold because he didn’t like the Nazis, but India was active in the 1930’s).

    2. duck1

      That SS propaganda poster is well worth a look, can’t recall seeing anything like it from the war. (Expressing no sympathies for SS.)

        1. Procpoius

          I wonder if this was part of their drive to recruit Waffen-SS soldiers. They were more successful in Eastern Europe. I met a Ukrainian Green Beret at language school, where he was studying Spanish for an assignment in Chile. He was quite proud that he had been a Waffen-SS anti-tank platoon leader (he didn’t say, but I presume SS-Sturmscharführer). Americans forget where the original Green Berets came from. We were very fond of recruiting and cooperating with “ex”-Nazis. There was a Scandinavian Division and I know they recruited units from Holland and France. Spain, too, of course.

    3. Alex Morfesis

      Gonna call “questionable” on this…harald damsleth, the purported Norwegian black booter apparently did no other works with English language and lettering that my eyes could find…and this was purportedly done for the propaganda publication of das ss…the first giveaway was the folds and creases…it appears to be a modern recreation of something that was never actually produced…sorry to disagree…also…the gnatzees did not see it as “bad” for there to be jim crow…or the klan in america…it’s a modern day fake…

      Not to suggest the germans were not working against america…

      it is quite amazing all this talk of russian interference in the 2016 election with none of the acela vanity press describing the antics of hans thomsen and george sylvester viereck in the 1940 election…

      and the john mccain and his bunkee lindsey of that time…senator nye of n dakota and senator rush holt of west virginia…

      along with senator burton k wheeler and senator david walsh…

      Now that was treason…

  8. ambrit

    Agree about the felicitous feline in the image. It has a “hey buddy” look to it. A real feral would have a “back off Jack” look in its’ eyes. I’ve met both kinds. The difference in posturing and projected personality between the two classes of cat is stark. I’ve also met up with wild bobcats when we lived in rural Louisiana. Now those are feral felines!

    1. Merf56

      I work with a cat rescue and we also trap, spay and neuter feral cats. This cat is absolutely NOT feral. A feral cat will not sit still long enough for you to take this type of photo. It would have been off the second it heard you. And they never ever will look you in the eye. Please please Lambert either adopt this cat or get it to a rescue. Someone clearly dumped their house cat. It will likely die in a Maine winter if you do not. At least get it to a vet and have it looked at and immunized. A barn cat with plenty of food and fresh water AND a consistently warm dry place to eat and sleep is fine but trapping a cat in a dark basement for life is not…. let’s hope you were joking about that….

      1. justanotherprogressive

        I agree – that cat isn’t feral – it wouldn’t know how to give humans the “look” that well. That cat is just the type of cat that will “grow on you” and pretty soon it will be sharing its bed and its house with you…..and you will both be better for it……

        My son just adopted what he thought was a feral cat….it kept hanging around, and then he started feeding it, and then it started following him around like a puppy, and then when it got too cold, he let it into the house…..and now it is his best friend and owner!!

        1. Pat

          Also agree on the not feral. I have known a few feral cats who watch humans from a distance, but that distance thing is the key. That cat is too close and that look is not wary.

          I also agree that the cat needs a home and a human to own. Lucky human, that cat is sweetheart, mark my words.

      2. nycTerrierist

        Agreed on all points.
        I used to tend a colony of neighborhood cats, both feral and dumped housecats.
        Found homes for the adoptable ones and TNR for rest.
        This is not a feral cat.
        What Merf56 said!

      3. Alex Morfesis

        Defining “ferel” cats…in this little-ish town of tarpon springs there are cats everywhere..indoor…outdoor…
        abandoned…alleycats…this notion there is one image of “ferel” doesn’t resonate here…to me ferel is trapped in either a sterile urban environment diving from garbage to garbage can and avoiding traffic…or born in the wild never having been around humans…

        in this town the cats (& racoons) go from spot to spot in a fairly communitarian manner…plenty of krazy cat ladies using their monthly govt checks to layout food for a dozen wandering minstrels…

        Have been adopted by a few tom cats and forced in one a born outdoors in brooklyn kitten whose mom just burped them in the basement walkway and very soon after walked away…still have the image of that kitty meowing for his sister who was on the otherside of the entrance glass door…paws up…we tried to bring her in…but she wouldn’t have any of it and sadly…the road runner joeyeez driving while not looking ended our chance to bring her in…

        Maybe it’s different in other parts of the country, but bringing a stray dog or cat into a shelter will not usually end up getting them into a home down here…

        My experience is animals are resilient…much more than they let on(cats training humans)…

        And trying to do the right thing can be expensive…found myself with a white haired very large american bulldog who had hearing problems, seeing problems, speaking problems(she would yelp and scream instead of bark) who had been badly trained by someone I had on again off again dated along the way…and the apartment management had told her she and her sons go if the dog doesn’t…

        The dog “tilly” refused to come up the stairs so she ended up being an outdoor dog…but since this was a neighborhood where people spend more money on their pets than their grandkids…that did not sit well with my nosey neighbors…the fake self created “homeowners” association…even though my home was isolated and had nothing but mangroves on three sides…

        Eventually had some woman trespass and release my dog so that she could then claim it was a stray…and in her “good intentions” then called animal care…on the day before they were going to “send her to the other side” I found her and brought her home…only to have the same neighbor then call the police a few times…

        the last time was fun since “tilly” is a big aggressive dog and she had finally taken to being calm and not responding or being distracted and learned to sit and just let life happen…krazykop was screaming at me about how a pet should be handled and the dog had not responded to him and therefore must be sick or in distress…been a long time since I was crazy enough to lose it with a clown with a badge and a gun…ordered him to follow me towards the dog…at which point tilly responded as a properly trained dog should and would and we frolicked and wrestled for a few minutes…and then I told him to get his (family blog) off my property..and he handed me municipal fine…not cheap either…

        So I called in a favor from someone in sarasota who had raised large dogs in a past life and had a bigger property than mine and foolishly thought his neighbors might be nicer…but tilly did not take to him and seemed not too pleased…so she ran off…and again…found her…this time at the sarasota shelter…more fines…oh joy…but finally convinced some german born biker chick(friend with benneez) to watch her for a weekend while I went off on some biz trip…and she refused to give tilly back, even though they were both about the same size…love at first bite…

        So…my vote is take the semi-ferel/street urchin in…let it be that basement mouser…my father in law had a basement mouser…when it was time to move to florida sat down there for a few days getting to get the cat to feel comfortable and caught it by the back of the neck…brought it upstairs for about a month…by the time we had moved to florida me and that cat got along just fine…he got real good at throwing/sliding his food tray across the tile floor from the living room into the kitchen at my feet by where the cat food was kept…a good 20 feet…that cat trained me well…

  9. ambrit

    Just a leitmotif question here; has anyone else noticed the almost continuous highlighting of a “Trump Impeachment Panel” story on the Yahoo “News” feed? This has been top and centre for three or four days now on my browser screen. Even with the “Silly Season” approaching, this looks excessive, even, “consent managerial” in nature. I’m starting to automatically look for the propaganda “sub-text” to the “news” feeds I see on the Internet now.
    Paranoia has become a basic survival instinct.
    Interesting times!

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      Yahoo News hates them some Trump. Compared to Yahoo, CNN is a veritable Trumpian lovefest.

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The Memo: Trump faces high stakes meeting with Putin The Hill

    But it is far from certain that Trump will even bring up the issue of Russian interference.

    So, I’m confused. Having spent the better part of a year hysterically joining Trump and Putin at the hip in a plot to destroy the american republic, what does “bring it up” even mean?

    What’s Trump supposed to say– “Good job, buddy, thanks for the assist. I owe you one?”

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      Trump’s entire administration has been marked by a spasmodic montage of conflicting signals coming from the various functionaries: Sec of State, UN ambassador, Sec of Defense, veep, prez, etc.

      Ambiguity rules.

    2. Stormcrow

      File under Trump Transition


      New study argues that anti-interventionist voters elected Trump.
      The “deplorables” have had enough.

      From the report:

      “It is surprising that no one has pointed to the possibility that inequalities in wartime sacrifice might have tipped the election. Put simply: perhaps the small slice of America that is fighting and dying for the nation’s security is tired of its political leaders ignoring this disproportionate burden.”


      In an election that gave Trump a razor-thin victory in three key states, this is what gave him the margin of victory. … His cluelessness will prove his ultimate downfall. Surrounded by warhawks in the foreign policy realm, and reveling in the accolades his outbursts of aggression have won him in the media, he doesn’t understand the key role his anti-interventionist rhetoric played in propelling him to victory.

      Trump won by a very narrow margin, triumphing in the Electoral College but losing the popular vote: Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania made the difference. The Shen-Kriner analysis shows that “if there had been a lower casualty rate in each state – Trump would have lost all three.”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        My dad’s longtime secretary and then paralegal should have been a Hillary voter for a variety of reasons, but her son shot himself after his second deployment to Iraq. I know she canvassed for Obama, and I know she voted for Trump. I wonder what the reason was…it was probably because Obama was a good lookin’ man!

        1. Pat

          During the campaign, Obama was still the closest to an antiwar candidate that was being fielded despite his support of Afghanistan. OTOH you had McCain running around supporting more war in the Middle East, including the “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” play on Barbara Ann chant. Clinton was clearly the more blood thirsty of the two major candidates this time around.

          Not saying that was what determined her actions, especially if she continued to work for Obama in 2012 (not much of a choice there). Just pointing out that along with hope and change, comfortable shoes and public option bait and switch, Obama actually spoke about less intervention in the Middle East in 2008.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Hillary was a giant eff you to the Obama coalition of voters for all intents and purposes, the winning coaliton.

            John Kerry also lost. Interestingly enough, he also voted for the Iraq War. I don’t believe a single Democrat who voted for the Iraq War from the House went on to win state wide office except for one*, and none of the Iraq voters have made it to the White House interestingly enough. One would think “serious” politicos would have made the connection, but as my dad always said, “thinking is hard. Most people don’t do it ever.”

            Without fear of Trump and the GOP, imagine how well Hillary might have done? Against a Huntsman type person, could Hillary have done worse than Bill in 1992?

            *Is Blago still in prison? He was elected governor in 2002, a mere three weeks after his vote. He’s the Democratic Iraq War supporter who went on to bigger and better things!

    1. justanotherprogressive

      Look at our media – from TV shows to our “news”, to our ads, to just about everything that is beamed at us. A lot of it is subliminal, but it is still there……It is all to reinforce that same old message…….mostly that the rich “deserve” what they have and the “poor” don’t deserve what they have – they should have less…..

      1. Tvc15

        Agree, and they seem to be adding a new talking point to the meritocracy lie. From a related Economist article linked to the Guardian piece.

        “Why the 20%, and not the 1% are the real problem…
        It’s the upper middle class who are the main beneficiaries—and the principal cause—of inequality in America” Wow, really?!

        The Economist is owned by the Cadbury, Rothschild, Schroder, Agnelli and other family interests. I’m sure these families don’t have anything to gain by pointing their fingers at the top 20% instead of themselves. Good thing they own the media to control the propaganda.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          This is not a new idea. There have been many links and much discussion on this site about the top 10% (think Congress critters, TV talking heads, etc) having no incentive to act in the interest of we the people since it is the 1% that pays for their campaigns and they themselves are sitting pretty.

  11. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Puerto Rico faces off with bondholders over statehood The Hill

    Because a country can never have too many basket cases called “states.”

    The territory has been losing economic ground — and borrowing beyond its means — since former President Bill Clinton signed a tax reform law in 1996. That law closed a loophole that gave tax incentives for U.S. corporations to set up subsidiaries in Puerto Rico.

    The clintons. Again.

    Rosselló said previous administrations allowed the debt to grow through two practices: Using debt to fund government operations rather than investment projects, and “special assignments.”

    “Special assignments and multi-year special assignments were essentially funds where the government had low visibility,” Rosselló said. “[They] would be allocated for certain services, but what typically happened was that there was severe overspending from what was budgeted.”

    And they think “statehood” will fix this? Have they ever even heard of Illinois?

    1. The Onions

      HL: Illinois seeks to be turned into a territory like Puerto Rico and Guam to lose all control of its destiny, instead of just its financial destiny

  12. optimader

    Texting on the move makes you walk weird, study finds
    yes, like the F=MA shuffle right after bouncing off my shoulder when walking in the opposite direction on the wrong side of RR ramps and sidewalks. I am long past changing my line to avoid them. The one that gets me is the indignance when some idiot walking on the left side of a busy RR ramp actually doubles down by expecting someone should move over and walk on the yellow caution stripe!

  13. allan

    Groups see climate science review as chance to undercut regulation [Reuters]

    The Trump administration will soon begin a review that will question the veracity of the climate change science used by President Barack Obama’s administration as the basis for environmental regulations.

    The move by the Environmental Protection Agency to launch public debates between scientists on climate research, known as red-team, blue-team exercises, would be the first major effort by the Republican administration to challenge the long-standing scientific consensus on human-caused climate change. …

    Red-team is the new Team B. How did the old Team B, formed to refute the CIA’s dovish view
    of the Soviet threat, and stacked with foam at the mouth neocons, work out?

    … the specific conclusions of the report “were wildly off the mark. Describing the Soviet Union, in 1976, as having ‘a large and expanding Gross National Product,’ it predicted that it would modernize and expand its military at an awesome pace. For example, it predicted that the Backfire bomber ‘probably will be produced in substantial numbers, with perhaps 500 aircraft off the line by early 1984.’ In fact, the Soviets had 235 in 1984.”[34]

    According to Anne Hessing Cahn (Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1977–1980), Team B’s analysis of weapons systems was later proven to be false. “I would say that all of it was fantasy. … if you go through most of Team B’s specific allegations about weapons systems, and you just examine them one by one, they were all wrong.”[9] The CIA director at the time, George H. W. Bush, concluded that the Team B approach set “in motion a process that lends itself to manipulation for purposes other than estimative accuracy.”[8][14] Brookings Institution Scholar Raymond Garthoff concurred, writing that in “retrospect, and with the Team B report and records now largely declassified, it is possible to see that virtually all of Team B’s criticisms… proved to be wrong. On several important specific points it wrongly criticized and ‘corrected’ the official estimates, always in the direction of enlarging the impression of danger and threat.”[10] A top CIA analyst called Team B “a kangaroo court of outside critics all picked from one point of view.”[20] …

    1. Aumua

      Sophistry: The clever use of arguments, reason and debate with the intention of not only deceiving, but also distracting passionate people from their work, and tying their energy up in addressing fallacious point after point after point.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    America’s violent birth: Why we shouldn’t be surprised that U.S. politics is a blood sport now Salon

    So was, say, China’s birth violent.

    And that of Cuba, Japan, Germany, the Vatican, Vietnam, Turkey, and many other countries.

    Perhaps 1. we’re not so exceptional, 2. it’s human thing.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Not to mention Palestine. That, presumably, is what a “late term” abortion looks like.

  15. optimader

    The Microsoft founder said countries such as Germany will not be able to handle the ‘huge’ numbers of migrants waiting to leave Africa and find a better life overseas.

    Instead, the 61-year-old suggested spending more on foreign aid to treat the root causes of migration, while making it more difficult for people to reach the continent.

    I agree w/ Gate in principle on this. Otherwise why have any immigration policy at all? Why not work towards making African countries less untenable to live in?

    File under: Sweden

    1. divadab

      Yes he is right but this is not exactly a politically-correct view. Why should countries like Hungary or the Czech Republic or Japan not be able to have zero-immigration policies? It’s their country.

      I spoke with a German journeyman painter on this topic and he told me that it is very organized in Germany, 2 million plus migrants have been distributed to every neighborhood, town, and principality in the country (everybody has to do their share!), where they are housed, clothed and fed on Germans’ dime AND NOT ALLOWED TO WORK. Not sure about schooling for the kids but the whole thing seems to me to be a complete shitshow, hard to see a preponderence of positive outcomes from what appears to me to be a complete abdication of common sense let alone wisdom.

      Selective immigration yes by all means, if it makes sense for the country.

      Perhaps the Germans are atoning for past sins.

      But let’s call out cultural and demographic suicide for what it is.

    2. Vatch

      Africa has a lot of problems, and one of the worst is their population growth. Overpopulation is a major cause of poverty, and Africa has the highest population growth rate of any continent. Where poverty already exists, population growth worsens the poverty — a poor family with five children has a lot more trouble making ends meet than a poor family with two children.

      I’m not saying that overpopulation is the only problem in Africa: exploitation by multinational corporations and tyrannical governments are also huge problems.

      1. Optimader

        The situation in many countries in Africa are a consequence of past colonialism and present colonialism under other guise.

        The solution is indiginous agriculture driving adaquate nutrition, educational support, and developing indiginous economies that go beyond resource extraction –which perpetuates the case study exploitation.
        Easier said than done unfortunatly, it requires a patient multigenerational timeline to pull off, which is not consistent with the avarice and greed that is part of human nature.

        So instead of criticizing Gates, which is easy, people should cough up a better strategy for Africans that doesn’t include showing up at the borders of European countries with their modest possessions in a plastic bag as displaced people with little or no possibility of getting work permits and integrating into the various European societies in a nanner that is not purely exploitive.
        Ineffectual immigration policy is chaos.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          I suspect AfriCom exists to ensure that the US has control over the future of the next “World’s Manufacturer” as the population explosion in Lagos/Nigeria continues.

          But, I’m a bit paranoid as well.

      2. Alex Morfesis

        Africa has ten times the land of india with the same population size…there are disfunctionally overstretched and overcrowded urban areas…but as a whole…

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Natural resources (metal, oil, water) in relatively close proximity to a vast population (cheap labor) with ocean water access. Sounds a lot like Shanghai/Beijing/Guangzhou/Shenzhen/Tianjin.

        2. optimader

          well , Africa is a continent afterall, and comparably somewhat smaller, like ~75% IIRC of the area of continent of Asia. But yeah, most people I suspect don’t have a minds eye of the geographic size of Africa.

          So, Africa is composed of a bunch of countries that need to coordinate and cooperate, and it does have a large basically uninhabitable or at best subsistence living arid area as well.
          So many challenges..

      3. johnnygl

        Population growth is often a symptom, rather than a cause of poverty. For example, japan and s. Korea once had very high birth rates which dropped off as their economies grew and the countries urbanized and modernized.

        Getting away from envionmentally destructive, export-oriented, cash-crop agriculture would be a positive as far as getting self-sufficient in food.

        1. Vatch

          High population growth is a symptom of ignorance, and ignorance can be caused by poverty (inadequate schools, superstition, etc.). But in our complex world, some types of events can be both a cause and an effect. Large families are definitely one of the causes of poverty.

          People in Africa can’t wait for a generation or two for a Japan style economic miracle. They need to take charge of their lives now, if their religious and political leaders will allow it.

          1. witters

            “High population growth is a symptom of ignorance, and ignorance can be caused by poverty (inadequate schools, superstition, etc.).”


            Have a look at the history of human population growth, note the hockey-stick at our end, and then think about history (oil, for instance). Then try for some systems thinking.


            1. Vatch

              Since the development of effective contraceptives, a high population growth rate is most definitely a sign of ignorance (or superstition or fanaticism).

              1. Paul O'Sullivan

                Those words are too strong to apply to people who lack information or live out cultural tradition.

    1. jo6pac

      I just read that and that’s to bad then again I’m sure the powers to be in dnc can stop him again and make him help whom ever.

      I also wonder if he is doing this on purpose to stop any young progressive from running if there are any?

      1. neo-realist

        I also wonder if he is doing this on purpose to stop any young progressive from running if there are any?

        He may be running because there aren’t any young progressives with plans of running. Thanks to the DNC not growing a bench of any kind. We may end up with either Biden or Hillary rising from their sarcophagus to run in 2020.

        1. Vatch

          He may be running because there aren’t any young progressives with plans of running.

          I really hope some new progressive stars will emerge during the 2018 elections.

          1. johnnygl

            Lol, if there are…you can be sure their campaigns will be starved of cash by the dnc/dccc!!!!

            On the other hand, any winners that emerge that can self-fund will be able to tell the party apparatus to take a hike at will!!!

            1. Vatch

              you can be sure their campaigns will be starved of cash by the dnc/dccc

              Yes, what happened to James Thompson in Kansas will be repeated elsewhere. Democrats who have some spare money for donations should donate directly to good candidates, and never to the DNC, DCCC, or to establishment Democrats, who often send some of their money on to one of those committees.

    2. DH

      Isn’t there any politician with ideas in this country that is under the age of 70?

      Sanders is cool, but electing somebody in their mid to late 70s would be nuts. We tried it with Reagan’s second term and by then it was clear he was fading.

      The Democrats must have somebody in their 40s or 50s with an idea somewhere.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        They won’t be supported by the Democratic Party at any level. Sanders ran against the Democratic Party in Vermont.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Democratic Party is the party of Obama and Clinton, vapid, shallow people who desperately want to be part of the elites more than anything.

          Ossoff ran on appealing to Country Club Republicans who liked Mittens because he reminded them of a local news anchor as portrayed in movies.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          “Wanting to be President” doesn’t count as an “idea” in this situation. He’s had chances to push for greater regulation, higher taxes, single payer, and so forth, but gosh…he’s passed up every opportunity so far.

          The best description of his “listening tour” was “he looks like a robot learning to feel.”

      2. johnnygl

        I’ll take sanders even if he has a good chance of dying in his first term. As long as he has a chance to build out his cabinet and get control of the party apparatus. If he can jam through medicare for all in his 1st 100 days and maybe shut down a war or two, he’s already mt. Rushmore material compared to what we’ve had of late.

        1. John k

          And what if he’s only cognitive 80%?
          Wouldn’t that be better than neolib dem/rep party would do?
          And maybe VP is decent.

      3. Phil in Kansas City

        Jason Kander from Missouri. Like Ossoff, a loser, but came real close to winning a Senate seat from incumbent Roy Blunt. Iraq war veteran, former sec of state. Somewhere between HRC and Bernie on the progressive/liberal scale, I think.

    3. sid_finster

      The DNC will not allow their agenda to be hijacked!

      Look for someone like HRC or Corey Booker, corporate hooker to resurrect the Obama coalition, bringing together identity politics liberals with some vague promises of symbolic gestures that they will desperately try to spin into the Second Coming.

      At the same time, a true Democrat will do nothing to upset the existing economic power structure, as that’s where the money comes from. In fact, they will do everything they can to cement it further.

    4. UserFriendly

      That kind of pissed me off.

      Sanders is quietly moderating

      That whole paragraph had me going grrrrrr
      The rest of the piece is actually spot on, it noticed that the left has no love for Warren now despite the inside the beltway view that they are interchangeable and that there is more support for Nina Turner.

      Also not a fan of the new FP advisor.
      He could be worse but he is firmly in the Iran = bad, Assad = monster camp.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        As to Warren, there were stories about her standing during the primary. She largely polled well with professional women and held an out sized media presence as a result of that class’s clout.

        Her support with the Democratic rank and file was far less considerable and greeted with a fair amount of skepticism. Her failure to endorse Sanders when she might have helped in Massachusetts by swinging Hillary voters to Sanders ended any ambitions she might have entertained.

        She was also silent during the Boston School Walkout at the same time. The politically active youth there seemed to have taken notice.

        1. johnnygl

          She offered far too little and far too late for DAPL protests, too. In fact, you can very quickly make a sizable list of opportunites to bolster her leftie bona fides that she has passed up.

      2. Ian

        I suspect that that might be the cut off point with regardless of how much the dnc needs him, they will cut ties. I cannot see him as anything but the best outcome that maybe (i stress maybe) allowed. One of the things that is being woken upto (yet still fought tooth and nail) was that for a significant portion of the populace was that Bernie was the compromise.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Only until Russia is reported to be interfering on Sanders behalf can he be considered a ‘real’ front runner for ‘real’ change.

    1. Jen

      “But without continued bank regulation, and heightened vigilance of derivatives in particular, the good fortune of bank investors and bank executives is all too likely to come at the expense of most Americans, who do not share in bank profits but suffer severe and often irreversible setbacks when deregulation leads to a bust.”

      Huh. Perhaps the editorial staff at the Times begin to contemplate the prospects for elite survival should most Americans, having, by the Times own admission, never recovered from the last bust, suffer another severe and irreversible setback.

  16. DJG

    Appropriate theme in the links today: Endless war and its affect on the U S of A. There’s Kathy Kelley at Counterpunch, from the Dorothy Day line of Catholic activism. There’s the Reason article about the study of how war casualties affected voting in the presidential.

    So: The two big issues that keep looming are income maldistribution and one of the main sources of that maldistribution, endless war and the privatization of the endless war. Yet the so-called Resistance is absolutely clueless about foreign policy and endless war. Indeed, many of the Resistance believe that Hillary Clinton is a foreign-policy genius.

    So: Here’s a question: Is Trump endless war come home? Does the violence of endless war give us Trump? (As opposed to celebrity or vulgarity or a lack of a good field among the Republicans?) Wouldn’t that mean that to defeat Trump, a political movement (certainly not the Democrats) has to take down endless war as well as address economic issues? And which first? It may be that we have to address war first–in a sense, de-Empire our country to gain control of the political process.

    1. vidimi

      i think, in a roundabout way, that’s correct. much of america’s adventurism abroad makes its way back home.

      for example, america always was always referred to as the world’s policeman, something i just couldn’t understand. america was much more like the lynchpin of a powerful crime syndicate than a policeman. but then, the ubiquity of cell phones finally brought to light the thousands of police executions annually and the shakedowns of poor communities by police forces all over the country. then i understood: america is the ferguson policeman of the world, killing and plundering the global poor.

      1. Vatch

        She must be very jealous of Chris Christie, who got to spend the Fourth at the beach, even though the New Jersey government shutdown prevented thousands of other people from visiting the public beaches.

        1. Vatch

          Correction: it appears that Christie had the beach all to himself on the Third, not on the Fourth.

          Either way, Nikki is still jealous of him.

    1. jrs

      or … they think this county is a corrupt plutocratic warmaking sick joke with not much about it to celebrate … but that may be things they have little power to change.

      However they get a day off a life of wage slavery and it’s a real nice day for the beach in some parts of the country.

  17. Jesse Waldorf

    Puerto Rico – why would bondholders want to delay statehood? I would think it would be the opposite since a state would be more able to meet obligations because of access to federal money.

  18. Altandmain

    From Vox no less:

    Bernie Sanders is the Democrats’ real 2020 frontrunner

    Class warfare: Trump wants to end heating aid for low income Americans

    Salon on why the Democrats wont fight back:

    1. Vatch

      Trump wants to end heating aid for low income Americans

      Hey, maybe low income people can all learn to practice Tibetan heat yoga! Whether such yogic practitioners actually generate heat is a question that I can’t answer. . . .

      1. Arizona Slim

        I’ve heard that the White House is a difficult building to heat. Let’s cut Trump’s home heating aid!

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sanders is not even a Democrat at this time, I believe.

      What keeps him from not staying with the party?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Is that a third party, People’s Party, and not just a new name for the D party?

      1. Big River Bandido

        What keeps him from not staying with the party?

        Maybe the fact that the entire Democrat establishment screwed him over last year?

  19. rwv

    “I am at a loss to understand why anyone would voluntarily allow their genetic data to be collected..”

    Common smallprint at most healthservices when having ones blood sampled often specifically states the hospital reserves the right to use your blood for other purposes, which could include genetic screening.

  20. Archangel

    Unfair to Eisenhower. The top Federal income tax bracket in his day was 91% and he called those who wanted to abolish Social Security “stupid”.

    Plus, Eisenhower bemoaned the military industrial complex and its undue influence on government, and feared that our excessive warmongering was going to get the American people nailed to a Cross of Iron.

    1. Oregoncharles

      It doesn’t do justice to the contemporary Dems, either, who at this point are closer to Bush II than Eisenhower or even Nixon (except, of course, for a handful of identity issues – which the plutocrats don’t care about.)

  21. DH

    I think Congressman Higgins missed the key message from Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Nazi concentration camps were the outcome of a Western democracy with a so-called “civilized” society choosing to hand the reins of power over to an authoritarian-totalitarian dictatorship which used divisive hate speech to consolidate its power. This was an entirely internal coup within one of the great European civilizations, not the result of external interference by foreign powers or terrorists. The real message from these concentration camps is how fast an established civilization can collapse into “Lord of the Flies” horrors when the economy collapses and bigotry and hatred bubbles to the surface, so it can be used by evil people to gain control. Using the gas chamber to focus rhetoric on external forces to the United States, instead of the importance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights in maintaining societal stability, follows the same playbook as the people who conceived of the concentration camps.–abc-news-topstories.html

    1. ewmayer

      “This was an entirely internal coup within one of the great European civilizations, not the result of external interference by foreign powers or terrorists.”

      So, you do not consider the execrable, punitive Versailles treaty that ended WW1 a form of “foreign interference”? Had there been a Marshall-plan-style postwar initiative to help even ‘the losers’ get back on their feet economically, do you think a demagogue like Hitler could have ever come to power? In reality, WW2 was simply the second act of WW1.

      1. vidimi

        i think the fact that the german elite stayed in power after the armistice allowed them to control the post-war narrative and scapegoat the jews. marshall foch thought the peace treaty was actually too lenient on the germans and that it was tantamount to a 20-year ceasefire. he was right on that account. the versailles treaty was too punitive on the wrong people and nowhere near punitive enough on the real culprits..

  22. k.m.

    About the cat… I agree with Yves. I have helped rescue 2 cats and both of them knew every trick of friendliness in effort to sell themselves to someone. After placed in a new home they were entirely cautious of strangers and would have nothing to do with them.

    To Lambert, one of the above adopters said to me and took the cat for this reason: “Your pet finds you. You don’t find your pet.”

  23. optimader

    A State Department official declined to comment on Tillerson’s private discussion with Guterres, but insisted that the U.S. remains “committed to the Geneva process” and supports a “credible political process that can resolve the question of Syria’s future. Ultimately, this process, in our view, will lead to a resolution of Assad’s status.”

    “The Syrian people should determine their country’s political future through a political process,” the official added.

    The decision to cede ground to Russia on the question of Assad’s future comes on the eve of President Donald Trump’s first face-to-face meeting next week with President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. It also comes at a time when the Trump administration is seeking to repair relations with the Kremlin despite a series of scandals that have plagued the White House since Trump’s election.

    The article can be reduced to leaving the Syrians to define their own social/political future.

    I puzzle on what “relation repair” need to be conducted “despite a series of scandals”.

    Which scandals exactly, the fake news ones? It seems the series of scandals that need to be repaired are the US MSMs fabrication?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      No one in the U.S. foreign policy establishment wants to admit governments rule by the consent of the governed as it would undermine much of our foreign policy misadventures. Its preferable for Assad to be nominally a Russian puppet and allowed to stay as Moscow’s man in Damascus to Assad being a legitimate leader by historical/current standards as governments of long standing should not be changed for light and transient reasons.

      1. optimader

        yes I believe that is philosophically spot on.

        In the Trump-Tillersons calculus, maybe they recognize the overall lack of strategic importance to the US of the Syrian/Assad situation. It was Obama-Clintons proxy fight with Putin afterall.

        Let it be Putin’s hairball to retain a naval base to service broken ships/subs and save the geopolitical angst for something that more strategically serves us?

    2. vidimi

      the last time the US said that it would leave Syria for others to fix was quickly followed up by a false flag chemical attack and the US quickly reversed course. call me cynical, but i don’t expect the americans to back out of this.

  24. Jeremy Smith

    RE: Noah Smith’s link “Middle Class Fleeced” — Although remarkable for a Bloomberg piece several things troubled me about this link. Noah Smith seems to believe neoliberalism is in decline or something to that effect “decades from 1980 through 2008 were the age of neoliberalism”. I don’t think neoliberalism is any deader than the Corporate push for “free trade” as a means to assert control over nation states. [We’ve had couple of recent cross-posts shaking a finger at “bad” trade and tacitly assuming the “goodness” of a qualified “free trade” and the overall goodness of trade while reshaping the meaning of words like “globalization”.]

    I feel that Smith is attacking the victim when he suggests where did all the prosperity go? It went to high real estate commissions and mutual fund management fees and — this one really bothered me — rejecting the “Clintons’ health-care plan in 1993” so we “ended up paying double” what other countries pay for comparable health-care. And we weren’t really robbed because we only thought we were rich. And people shouldn’t treat their homes as ATMs? [Is this the middle class version of the Reagan’s Welfare Queens?]

    The solution Smith offers “selling a more realistic vision of progress” to the younger generations. [What new vision is that for our younger generations facing ever steeper rents, less real pay, higher costs for medical care and carrying heavy student debt?] Since us old farts may remain disappointed for the rest of our lives … we’re just hopeless. Is Smith mincing words to suggest our younger generations just need to accept a new normal for employment, growth, distribution of wealth and income. And in closing the U.S. government should pull the country up by its bootstraps and restore growth in good jobs and productivity [good idea — how?] and sell us on accepting a new age of “good enough”.

    Sounds to me like we are watching the slow evolution of a new vocabulary of “NewSpeak” crafted to dress our being plundered and exploited under the garb of new words and rationales.

  25. Jeremy Grimm

    [entered wrong moniker for the original comment — please delete it]
    RE: Noah Smith’s link “Middle Class Fleeced” — Although remarkable for a Bloomberg piece several things troubled me about this link. Noah Smith seems to believe neoliberalism is in decline or something to that effect “decades from 1980 through 2008 were the age of neoliberalism”. I don’t think neoliberalism is any deader than the Corporate push for “free trade” as a means to assert control over nation states. [We’ve had couple of recent cross-posts shaking a finger at “bad” trade and tacitly assuming the “goodness” of a qualified “free trade” and the overall goodness of trade while reshaping the meaning of words like “globalization”.]

    I feel that Smith is attacking the victim when he suggests where did all the prosperity go? It went to high real estate commissions and mutual fund management fees and — this one really bothered me — rejecting the “Clintons’ health-care plan in 1993” so we “ended up paying double” what other countries pay for comparable health-care. And we weren’t really robbed because we only thought we were rich. And people shouldn’t treat their homes as ATMs? [Is this the middle class version of the Reagan’s Welfare Queens?]

    The solution Smith offers “selling a more realistic vision of progress” to the younger generations. [What new vision is that for our younger generations facing ever steeper rents, less real pay, higher costs for medical care and carrying heavy student debt?] Since us old farts may remain disappointed for the rest of our lives … we’re just hopeless. Is Smith mincing words to suggest our younger generations just need to accept a new normal for employment, growth, distribution of wealth and income. And in closing the U.S. government should pull the country up by its bootstraps and restore growth in good jobs and productivity [good idea — how?] and sell us on accepting a new age of “good enough”.

    Sounds to me like we are watching the slow evolution of a new vocabulary of “NewSpeak” crafted to dress our being plundered and exploited under the garb of new words and rationales.

    1. skippy

      I find Noah Smith to be a younger replacement for the ageing Paul Krugman…. and the argument a PR campaign to obfuscate the concerns, from some quarters, about the recycling of assets from the now aging unproductive dying off age cohorts.

      disheveled…. it is fortuitous that pensions are facing dire consequences….

    2. UserFriendly

      Yeah, I’d say that is about the reaction I had too. But I was busy picking my jaw up off the floor after seeing bloomberg even attempt to shred neoliberalism.

    3. nihil obstet

      Yes, the article started well enough, but then claimed that prosperity was an illusion rather than noticing that wages did not keep pace with productivity and that participation in the society required services where monopoly and rent-seeking are rampant (internet, medicine, et al.)

  26. kareninca

    I wonder if some of the cats reject the cat beds and towers because they smell like toxic chemicals. Most of those products are made out of plastics. The cardboard boxes, on the other hand, are made of wood and animal glues, which may not smell so bad. We’ve never bought dog beds for our dogs; we just use ancient bedding that we can put through the washing machine; our hope is that it has already off-gassed as much as it is going to.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Children do the same thing – play with the box instead of the toy.

      Of course, they have sensitive noses, too.

  27. Oregoncharles

    “Google Could Soon Have Access Sensitive Genetic Patient Data— We Should All Be Worried ”
    My clinic really, really wanted me to set up an account so I could view my information online. I assume it was supposed to be “secure” (snicker), but that would mean my information, so far not including genetic analysis, would be, ahem, online – ultimately, for anyone who really wanted to to see.

    I refused, partly because I didn’t want to bother with setting up the account, but mostly because I didn’t want my medical info online. On top of that, it proved very inconvenient to stop the nagging emails, which came “do not reply” (rude, under the circumstances). I had to call the clinic,more than once; finally I looked up the administrative staff online and called the top administrator’s office. The poor assistant got an earful, as by then I had more than one complaint! The place has poor communication skills, probably because it’s too big (but not as bad as the competition’s). This, mind you, is in a very well-doctored town.

    Basically, it’s the latest fashion, plus they’re hoping it’ll save them some money on notifying people. It means you get the test results (mostly) without talking with anybody – which means you can’t ask questions without climbing one of their f’ing phone trees. In short, crapification.

  28. Oregoncharles

    Gee,that plate is clean and ready to use again! The cat has already proved its usefulness.

    Just make sure it’s fixed. I don’t think it’s a tom.

  29. ewmayer

    o “Media errors give Trump fresh ammunition The Hill” — Ah, ‘errors’. Mistakes were made! No deliberate propaganda campaign to see here!

    o “The Democrats Are Eisenhower Republicans Jacobin (UserFriendly). Unfair to Eisenhower. The top Federal income tax bracket in his day was 91% and he called those who wanted to abolish Social Security “stupid”.” — LOL …in most meaningful ways Ike was way to the left of today’s corporo-Dims. Even Nixon was well left of today’s Overton window in most regards.

    o “Your Human Right to Revolt: When is it OK to Overthrow Your Government? 4th of July Edition, 2017 John Laurtis (martha r)” — ISTR an old piece of paper that laid it out rather nicely:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

    Note especially the recapitulation of “it is their right”, at the end, strengthened with the ensuing “it is their duty”.

    o “Tying loose ends? Gravitational waves could solve string theory, study claims Guardian (UserFriendly)” — String weenies desperately seeking funding for their 50-years-and-going-strong failure to make even a single nontrivial testable physical prediction which actually panned out. I sometimes think ST is second only to Big Finance in representing a massive waste of human ingenuity and effort. “B-b-but, that well-spoken STer Bryan Greene had a whole multipart series on PBS where he said this is actually physics and not religion”, you protest. Fine, shame me into silence, all it takes is a single nontrivial testable physical prediction which actually pans out and is not just a masturbatory mathification of a known physical theory.

  30. Plenue

    >U.S. Flag Recalled After Causing 143 Million Deaths Onion

    This is brutal, especially considering The Onion is now owned by a top donor for Hillary “Bomb Libya and Syria” Clinton. Although this line: “In addition, the company found that U.S. flag exports to Vietnam during the late 1960s and early 1970s resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, a clear sign that there was something seriously wrong with its product.”, sticks in my craw. The actual death-toll for the thirty years of French and then American war-mongering against Vietnam tops out at something like four million, and I don’t think even the most generous analysis can say the bulk of those were caused by the French.

  31. Plenue

    >When feminism’s wonders aren’t for all women Toronto Star

    Oh wow. I knew Gadot was a crappy actress, and assumed that since she was Israeli chances were high that her views of Palestinians weren’t likely to be very pretty. But I didn’t realize she was an active cheerleader for mass murder.

    Anyway, the article as a whole is really pointing to the eternal contradiction of trying to use something that glorifies violence as a vehicle for an anti-violence message. So you have stories with messages about how violence is bad, but still insists on having cool action scenes of, well, violence. But I guess it’s okay if they’re just nameless goons, because in movie world there actually are people who are just inherently bad and it’s okay to punch them. By definition only they do the bad things; so beating the shit out of and even killing them can never itself be bad.

  32. Roland

    People here seem to be unaware that the phenomenon of demographic transition, in both Africa and in the Middle East, has been proceeding more swiftly than was historically the case in most of West Europe or East Asia.

    Fertility rates (children born per woman over the course of a reproductive lifetime) have been plummeting. Crude birth rates have remained high, only because there are large cohorts of women of reproductive age–i.e. the crude rates are a legacy of previous high fertility.

    But the future trend of the demographics of Africa is one of greying and shrinking, just like everywhere else in the world.

    The fertility data of the last 20-30 years invalidate many of the mid-late 20th cent. demographic hypotheses.

    The world demographic outlook is favorable for sustainability. The world is considerably undershooting even the lowest population growth forecasts of the 1970’s and 80’s.

    All we need to do is get over a 20 to 30 year “hump,” and then, at least in terms of resource depletion, everything starts to get easier.

    I say all this as a Malthusian. To my mind, there is no question whether carrying capacity is limited. However, it seems to me quite possible that, globally speaking, we can get humanity in under that limit.

    The world demographic scenario is permissive–there need be no severe humanitarian crisis necessitated purely by human population growth. Power-politics and class struggles, of course, are different matters..

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