Links 10/17/17

Yves here. Lambert and I for the last week or so have both noticed how odd the news flow is. At least in the US, the grist for commentary has gotten very thin. It’s as if this were late August, not October.

Big and brilliant: complex whale behaviour tied to brain size Reuters (David L)

Burrowing Owl Surfaces After the Fire Medium (dcblogger)

Man saves disabled roommate from fire KTVU. EM” “Very smart in his unusual choice of safe place … He saved the disabled woman from whom he was caregiver and her cat, but lost his dog. :(“. Moi: I hope the media coverage leads them to get some donations.

ESO Telescopes Observe First Light from Gravitational Wave Source ESO. UserFriendly: “More than just a press release.”

Ophelia became a major hurricane where no storm had before ars technica

This is what America’s eco city of the future looks like Guardian (resilc)

Long-Term Marijuana Use Changes Brain at the Cellular Level, Say Scientists Inverse News (David L)

Malta car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist Guardian (Adrien)

Car bomb kills journalist behind Panama Papers offshore tax evasion investigation ‘days after she received threats to her safety’ Mirror Online (Brian C)

Daphne Caruana Galizia Politico (Richard Smith)

Caruana Galizia son hits out strongly after his mother’s murder, describes the scene Times of Malta (Richard Smith)

Her last tweet:

Experts at US hearing warn N. Korea EMP attack could kill 90% of Americans in year Asia Times. Resilc: “And I could win Powerball.”

Rajoy gives Catalonia last chance to come clean on independence Politico

Why Austria’s Election Should Worry Liberals New York Magazine. Reslic:

1. Do not create more refugees
2. See number 1

One in three Greeks live in poverty or social exclusion, Eurostat shows Defend Democracy


Brussels trip by PM fails to unblock stalemate as both sides harden stance Guardian. Here we see yet another repeat of Greece, which I think can be generalized into a Rule of Negotiations: If two sides do not have an overlap in their bargaining position, more interaction makes their interpersonal relations worse.

Brexiteers fear ‘Swiss Trap’ trade deal Politico. Lambert ran this link yesterday, but I wanted to make an observation or two. The fact that the Brexit boosters are even having this conversation reflects their continuing refusal to accept basics. I’m simplifying but not by much: he EU has said over and over and over again that if the UK is going to have to have access to the Single Market, it has to accept all sorts of things it does not like, which EU leaders have enumerated. If you are going to have seamless trade with the EU, you have to accept EU rules. Harmonization does not happen on a real-time basis. So you have to accept EU law, and that includes the jurisdiction of EU courts on relevant matters. This is not hard to understand, save the UK wants not just a pony but a herd of ponies, a stable, and staff too.

Read the entire tweetstorn:

‘Accelerate’ – the word the Tories need BBC. Ouch!

It’s a folly to dismiss City warnings over Brexit transition deal delay Guardian. Note that “transition deal delay” assumes there is a transition deal to be had.

Corbyn: Hammond right to say Labour threatens whole economic system Guardian (Charlie)


US military rushes to defuse looming crisis in Kirkuk after Iraqi army advances Guardian (resilc)

Fighting Erupts in Kirkuk American Conservative. Resilc: “Armed tribes in a fake country, what could go wrong?”

Kurdistan – yet another long term British and US policy triumph Sic Semper Tyrannis. Resilc: “The USA USA refugee generation machine.”

‘We have no need for you,’ Erdogan tells Europe Asia Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook Is Looking for Employees With National Security Clearances Bloomberg (JTM)

Supreme Court to consider major digital privacy case on Microsoft email storage – The Washington Post

Philips’ latest IoT proposition: Manage your city and office lights, from India LEDs Magazine (Glenn F)

Imperial Collapse Watch

108 U.S F-35s Won’t Be Combat-Capable War Is Boring. JTM:

A giant F— YOU to us mopes. How stupid do they think we are? “Concurrency orphans,” indeed. Well, the canopy on the 30-year-old F-16 up on the pedestal at a local park is yellowing from the Florida sun– an “unconcurrent F-35 would shore look swell up thar, give us peasants a view of what America stands for…

Trump Transition

The Memo: Trump keeps beating 2016 drum The Hill. So does Hillary. Quite the pair.

Trump White House fed up with the Senate Politico. No doubt the feeling is mutual.

EPA Says Higher Radiation Levels Pose ‘No Harmful Health Effect’ Bloomberg

Trump won’t have to disclose tax returns to get on California’s ballot, as Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes bill Los Angeles Times

‘Everyone is upset’: John Kelly’s push to fill vacant administration jobs rankles White House staff Raw Story (furzy)

Trump regularly mocks Pence’s religion — and even joked he wanted to ‘hang’ all LGBT people: report Raw Story (furzy)

Judge refuses to dismiss corruption charges against Dem senator The Hill

GOP candidate claims her lifelong conversations with UFO aliens have revealed ancient secrets Raw Story (furzy). Let us not forget that John Podesta is also big on UFOs….

Hillary Channels Nora Desmond

Assange hits back at ABC, Clinton’s claims 9News. Mark Ames (who remember had to leave Russia after Putin came to power and is a regular critic) says the reason Wikileaks doesn’t as much material from Russia as it does in English (see Caitlin Johnstone on Wikileaks dumps from Russia) is that Wikileaks has competitors in Russia, where the material can be vetted by Russian language speakers who also know the terrain (something Assange lacks). Assange can’t publish what he isn’t given.

Hillary Clinton Just Told Five Blatant Lies About WikiLeaks Caitlin Johnstone (nippersdad)

Newsweek: Every Excuse Hillary Clinton Has Given for Her 2016 Election Loss. Bill C: “Nobody cares…..except for HRC.” Moi: And her paid retainers. BTW Johnstone above shows this list is not complete…

Every Excuse Hillary Clinton Has Given for Her 2016 Election Loss Newsweek (Oregoncharles)

California Burning

Should We Rebuild Homes in Wildfire Zones? New Republic

California inmates paid $1 an hour to battle wildfires Statesman (Martine)

Il Diablo in Wine Country London Review of Books (guurst)

Disclosure Framework – Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Income Taxes (File Reference No. 2016-270) FASB. Letter to the Senate. Quite the shot across the bow. But it may be intended to help lobbying against the Big Bad Eu, which in fact is na ga be moved by things like this.

When It Comes to Trade, the NYT is Far More Confused Than Iowa Voters Dean Baker (Livuis Dursus)

SoftBank’s giant investment in Uber will be finalized ‘very likely in the next week’ Business Insider. I don’t discount the possibility that a deal might get done, but I’ve never seen a remark like this apropos an investment under negotiation this long: “’We are waiting at the moment on what is going to transpire with the price,’ Huffington said Monday. ‘It’s all about the price.'” HUH? This is letter of intent stage stuff. They’ve been at this for four months and still don’t know if they are on the same page as regards the most important term?

Taylor Impresses Trump for Fed Chairman, Warsh Slips Bloomberg. The Taylor rule has been discredited but that won’t stop him from pushing him model on the Fed…

Class Warfare

Out of Control: A Brief History of Neoliberal Deregulation in the USA TruthOut (Richard R)

49 percent of the income Republicans claim as “small business” already goes to the top 1 percent Economic Policy Institute

Could 85% of America Unite Against Corporatocracy? Lee Camp, YouTube

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “Say Don, when did you get those cool Halloween costumes for the cats?”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.


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  1. Jim Haygood

    The swan song of Johnny McShame:

    “To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ … is unpatriotic,” McCain said in the speech.

    “We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did,” McCain said.

    “We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent.”

    Lies … all lies. Peruse the links under Syraqistan and Imperial Collapse Watch and try to find them shimmering ‘ideals.’ McCain’s ‘we’ means the one-percenters who became ‘incomparably powerful and wealthy.’

    You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.” — The Matrix

    1. jefemt

      There are moments and glimmers of candor… I remember nearly falling over when failed oilman George Bush 2 flatly stated, “We are addicted to oil”. No leadership followed, but still to hear these snippets..

      Thank you for sharing the McShame quote. I missed it…

    2. Olga

      Yes, I think “wealthy” is the operative word here… (as in “making sure that we get to exploit whoever we want unimpeded”). Initially, distribution of the spoils was less of a problem, as crumbs trickled down little more generously and predictably. But that has not been the case for some time now – and that is a problem without a palatable solution (well, solutions do exist, but not the will to implement them). But the empire will twist itself into a pretzel before it ever admits there is a problem (or, many problems – take your pick). What is kinda funny about all this (if it weren’t tragic and potentially very dangerous) is how predictable it all is. A country headed into a disastrously wrong directions and absolutely unable to right the course (the history of Roman empire anyone?). And one wonders why revolutions happen…

      1. Jim Haygood

        As the evening shadows of Bubble III lengthen and darken, Downtown Josh Brown dons his toga, enters the Forum Romanum, and delivers this impassioned declamation:

        We could be in the midst of the first fear-based investment bubble in American history, with the masses buying in not out of avarice, but from a mentality of abject terror.

        Robots, software and automation, owned by Capital, are notching new victories over Labor at an ever accelerating rate. It’s gone parabolic in recent years – every industry, every region of the country, and all over the world. It’s thrilling to be a part of if you’re an owner of the robots, the software and the automation — that is, if you’re part of the Capital side of that equation.

        If you’re on the other side, however – the losing side – it’s a horror movie in slow motion.

        The only way out? Invest in your own destruction. In this context, the FANG stocks [Facebook Apple Amazon Netflix Google] are not a gimmick or a fad, they’re a f***ing life raft.

        For the last fifty years, we’ve invested for retirement. For the last two or three years, we might be investing for a whole other reason. What price is too high to pay for a company’s stock if the company spends every waking minute trying to replace you?

        So what else is left to do? Just own the damn robots.

        Oh my, oh my.

        The hour is getting late.” — Bob Dylan, All Along the Watchtower

        1. Wukchumni

          I find myself attracted to activities where robots fear to tread: hiking, orcharding, satire, etc. I’m not sure if it was a conscious decision on my part, but there it is.

        2. Jim Haygood

          It’s the ‘N’ in FAANG:

          So far this year, Netflix is up 63.7%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up almost 16%.

          Those gains belie the fact that Netflix’s spending on original content comes at a large price. Producing its own original content means Netflix has to pay more upfront, as opposed to licensing deals that it can spread out over time.

          That has hurt Netflix’s free cash flow, which the company projects will be negative $2 billion to $2.5 billion for the full year, a deficit funded by trips to the debt markets.

          No need to stew over old-school metrics like price to earnings — there aren’t any! :-)

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            LOL, everybody talks about how the numerator is “up” when the right answer is that the denominator is “down”.
            Houses per/, stocks per/, loaves of bread per/, doctor visits per/, insurance premiums per/
            Just sayin’

        3. cnchal

          . . . Just own the damn robots.

          Google has an “ant farm” left over. That is the result of having such a huge bag of money that it smothered the robotics companies they slurped up a few years ago. Looks like some of the FANG’s are getting feet of clay.

          On a different note it was interesting to read a link the other day about North Korea having 15,000 CNC machines, many developed on their own from reverse engineering smuggled in machines. The beaming Kim is a motorhead, and has his own kart track where he races around by himself (my guess – anybody that beats him is executed?). I bet he has a special plate made up for his fastest kart, machined on one of his CNC machines with the words Rocket Man and a logo of a rocket.

          Kim seems to understand practical MMT better than most, and when North Korea finally joins the world community, will have a ready export business in CNC machine tools

          1. MichaelSF

            There’s no shortage of cheap/commodity CNC manufacturers in the world, North Korea would face a lot of competition for not very much money.

            Too many journalists seem to not be aware that CNC is not a new thing or super high-tech. Hobbyists build CNC routers/digital printers at home, and people might be surprised at how many home hobby shops in the USA have older but still quite capable CNC (as well as manual) lathes/mills/EDM etc equipment in them “just for fun”.

            Sure, 5+ axis very high precision machines that can run 24/7 in unattended “lights out” mode are not inexpensive, but there’s lots of stuff that can be made without that level of machine tool.

              1. Procopius

                They can’t afford to sell rice. That’s the heart of the original problem. The Russians got the half of Korea where all the (slave labor) industry was and the Americans got the half where all the agricultural land was. One of the reasons the North wants unification is that they don’t have good agricultural land and the South has lots.

        4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Unlike the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF, and other international organizations, where it should be one person, one vote, but it’s not at the present time, corporations should do better and allow one investor, one vote (and not one voting share, one vote).

          Then, it makes a little more sense to invest in those robot companies.

        5. skippy


          Have you considered its a variant of a Veblen good e.g. people buy it because the price is high, which then creates a feed back loop[s.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did,” McCain said.

      Ask not what the wealthy country can do for you.

      Ask what you can do to make it wealthier.

      “Be proud that you’re out of work, that you’re in the reserve labor pool. Like tax paying taxpayers, you’re a solider in the Inflation-Fighting Army. You’re making the economy stronger and the country wealthier.”

    4. Charlie

      “We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did,” McCain said.”

      So wealthy he forgets how many houses he owns.

  2. Bill Smith

    “Experts at US hearing warn N. Korea EMP attack could kill 90% of Americans in year”

    Unfortunately aren’t we ‘sort of’ seeing the same result of an EMP attack in Puerto Rico?

    1. Mark P.

      Unfortunately aren’t we ‘sort of’ seeing the same result of an EMP attack in Puerto Rico?

      No, not at all (based on the limited accounts of symptoms via the media).

      Might be somebody’s deployment of infrasound or ultrasound generator(s) of some kind.

    2. Edward E

      “N. Korea EMP attack could kill 90% of Americans in year”
      How? EMP disables electronics. No direct impact on humans.

      1. blennylips

        Seemingly Newt Gringrich’s buddy Bill, was inspired to write a fictional account of an EMP aftermath.

        One Second After by William R. Forstchen

        No direct impact? Oy vey…

        I’ll get you started, from the novel:

        Matherson’s immediate concern is his twelve-year-old daughter, who has Type 1 diabetes. Without a constant supply of insulin, which requires refrigeration, she will die.

        I’m sure you can take it from there.

      2. Procopius

        I presume they figure knocking out the electric power and wiping every computer in America would essentially put us in the stone age. I think they’re mistaken, but I don’t know enough physics to run the numbers. EMP sounds to me like Heinlein’s fictional discovery of a new electromagnetic spectrum that could differentiate human races (he was writing during or shortly after World War II, novel about the U.S. invaded and conquered by Japan, actually one of his lousiest stories).

  3. jsn

    SST had a recent post about the US becoming what Solzhenitsyn called “a muffled zone.” Putin derangement syndrome, new Cold War hysteria and the Syrian counter narrative to the AIPAC official line has made it easier for MSN to just completely ignore reality than continuing to try to “frame” it.

    It feels like cognitive dissonance is approaching a breaking point in DC.

    1. ambrit

      I don’t know if the break will happen in “The Beltway,” so much as in the country at large. The denizens of “The Swamp on the Potomac” have a long and storied history of blithely going about their business as the nation and the world burns around them. (I’ll take a leap and say that the District of Colombia always was a variety of ‘Potemkin Village.’ “The Potomac Village.” Now I understand the title of that old screed by HRH HRC.)

      1. Wukchumni

        The duopoly of Columbian cartels that run the show in Humordor are akin to a separated couple constantly bickering with one another-but refuse to get a divorce, on the grounds that their progeny will suffer ill effects if they finalize the split, and meanwhile, we the offspring can only watch from afar, as both sides tactics seem more aimed at ramping up the enmity they hold towards each other, than getting on with the business of life.

        1. ambrit

          The Left Coast Village Voice. Now, HRH HRC would hire Al Goldstein and call it “Screw Village Magazine.”
          But, how will it play in Bakersfield?
          Time to sleaze on off to work and pay for my sins.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Those who read history with a jaundiced eye will recognize the iron law of Empire in play — wealth and power flows to an increasingly perverse and “sophisticated” and self-pleasing coterie who operate the machinery of “legitimacy,” to the tune of variations on what us mopes might call the Narrative. Only one way it ends, of course. Different features of the decline and fall for different empires, but the main story elements are all the same.

        The trick for the sneaky few “successful” predators is to figure out how to get close enough to fill their capacious jaws and bellies with as big and fat and bloody a gobbet of the carcass as possible, and slink off to digest and await another opportunity to “sidle up to power…”

        1. audrey jr

          Thanks for that, JT. Just wake me up when we get to the part where an actual horse is made a U.S. Senator. Surely we are not too far off from that scenario at this point.

    2. Jeff W

      …has made it easier for MSN to just completely ignore reality than continuing to try to “frame” it.

      I had a similar thought. Between a “chaotic” White House, a nihilistic GOP (“Let’s make our crappy health care system even worse because…well, just because”) and Democrats in denial (“Russia!”, “We lead with our values”) it’s difficult to maintain the cherished MSN frame, absurd as it always was, that all everyone has to do is “meet in the center.” Cognitive dissonance might indeed be reaching a breaking point. (I’d like to say also fatigue at the sheer pointlessness of it all but I think I might be projecting my own feelings there.)

      1. jsn

        Right, all the stuff that broke between 2000 (Bush v Gore) and 2008, which when you think about it is almost everything, is still broken and the Obama messaging machine structured a narrative that broken is in fact fixed so this is the best of all possible worlds which is the message HRC ran to defeat on.

        This upside down Blob-world is finding it increasingly difficult to keep the pliant and panting to help corporate messaging machine aligned because too much obvious reality now falls outside any of the frames available.

        Hysteria is the only device adequate to bridging the dissonance and hysteria fatigue is setting in. Is the Blob so delusional it will ignite a nuclear extinction event rather than admit the world has changed out from under it? I don’t know, but its clear that there is no courage anywhere behind the Blobs lack of convictions. Its a dim hope that cowardice is the Blobs saving grace.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        One consequence of “OMG Russia” is Democrats can’t form an effective opposition or present a counter narrative on other issues.

      3. Sid Finster

        The Iron Law of Oligarchy and the Iron Law of Institutions (which is, IMHO, a corollary of the Iron Law of Oligarchy). Keep these two principles in mind at all times.

        All will be made clear, all will be revealed.

        1. RWood

          I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It’s a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, ‘the American people’, as in the sentence, ‘I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.’

          It’s a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words ‘the American people’ provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don’t need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it’s very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.

          Harold Pinter Nobel acceptance speech


          This is another way to state what I said before: as long as people move along the rising side of the Seneca curve, they enjoy the ride [and] won’t care about what’s in store for them on the other side, the collapsing one. And that explains why all our efforts to alert people in advance failed, from the times of “The Limits to Growth” to peak oil and climate change. Those people who engaged into the attempt were marginalized as (to use Cochet’s definition) “Totemic Circles”. And this is the way the human mind works and it seems we have to accept it and enjoy life.
          Ugo Bardi

    3. kukuzel

      What is SST, could you provide a link to the site? Curious to read the post about the “muffled zone”.
      Excuse me if it’s something often mentioned here that is obvious to most.


  4. ambrit

    Agreed that the last few weeks have been, “quiet, too quiet.” Is the world holding its’ breath in fear that something big and bad is about to happen?
    An alternative idea is that the Masters of the MSM are fomenting ‘peace for our time.’ This might be the new face of “official” news under the “suppressing ‘fake news'” scheme.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think it’s a mix of there not being workable majorities between “OMG Russia” (a guy like Warner would be leading the tax cut charge if not for this) and the movement conservatives who tolerate nothing short of concentration camps for the poor paid for by the poor and the easy targets for the MIC already having been hit. I’m convinced Trump is listening to thugs like Kissinger who see China as a threat to U.S. hegemony but know a direct conflict would be a disaster. They want to force the Chinese into a costly occupation. After all, China doesn’t want the U.S. launching a second war in its neighborhood. Similarly any Tehran alliance with Moscow or Beijing would be a clear announcement the old post-91 order has ended.

      I received a response from Tim Kaine’s office about his vote to give Don Trump more money to launch wars after only a few days. I suspect the Senator didn’t receive applause for bipartisanship the way he expected because Kaine’s office is usually terrible at responding. The Democrats, not Sanders, are waiting on the anti-virus and “emerging Democratic Majority” to tell them how good they any time now and won’t make hay of any sort.

  5. HopeLB


    The other, obvious reason for a drop in commentary is the forced absence of that one, unparalleled word weaver and magnificient muse.

  6. Wukchumni

    Il Diablo in Wine Country London Review of Books (guurst)

    There was one hell of a conflagration named the Aspen Fire in 2003 @ Mt Lemmon-a sky island in the mountains south of Tucson, that took out probably 2/3rds of the mostly pedestrian looking older 1 story cabins that were in it’s path around Summerhaven, a clean sweep not dissimilar to what went down recently in Santa Rosa. 85,000 acres were burned.

    So, fast forward to today, and they’ve all been replaced by see me-dig me structures that are 2-5x the size of the modest cabins that burned to the ground.

    These sky islands are only going to get progressively drier as climate change kicks in, and there was another episode this summer with the Burro Fire charring 27,000 acres, with no loss of structures though.

    I live in a couple of different climate zones @ 1,000 feet and 7,000 feet, both of which are surrounded by oak savannas and pine forest respectively, and am cognizant of the danger and have done all I can to reduce risk, but fire will do what it wants and is capricious as all get up.

    We had a blaze named the Rough Fire about 30 air miles away from us a couple years ago that burned through 151,000 acres in the Kings Canyon area of Sequoia NP, and every day in the distance from our vantage point, a giant mushroom cloud would raise to around 12,000 feet, and as the sun went down it would collapse upon itself, only to rise again from it’s slumber the next day, in a fashion that would’ve pleased Prometheus no doubt.

    Both of our properties are insured for fire, and the structures can be replicated easily enough, but not so for 200 year old blue oaks & 100 year old incense cedars and a host of other upright members of the community dotting the land on the many splendored acres we call home.

  7. rusti

    From the Corbyn article:

    “No deal is the worst possible deal,” he will say. “It would leave us with World Trade Organisation tariffs and restrictions instead of the full access to European markets we need.

    Sorry if this has been addressed, but I’ve seen this repeatedly mentioned everywhere, including the Wikipedia on Brexit, but it seems at-odds with WTO director-general Roberto Azevêdo’s comments from last year where he said that the UK’s situation would be a real noodle-scratcher. Isn’t this still an unresolved question?

    1. Terry Flynn

      I believe Yves has pointed out that the UK would need to apply to the WTO as a member in its own right since the current membership is for the *EU*

  8. timbers

    Hillary Clinton Just Told Five Blatant Lies About WikiLeaks

    Priceless sarcasm, and regarding Hillary’s “Thank God You Didn’t Elect Me Tour” and public behavior in general…she really is so awful in public and manages to insult or so many. How did she ever get so far in public life?

    1. Enrique Bermudez

      Quote: “How did she ever get so far in public life?”

      Rhetorical question, right? Clearly answered as : the same way almost everyone gets anywhere in our neoliberal patronage/kleptocracy state.

      One imagines young Hillary looking at young Bill and thinking ‘Everyone loves him and hates me. He’s going places.’ Such a standard-bearer for women, this.

        1. Enquiring Mind

          When that Most Qualified Person Ever line appeared, I felt compelled to apologize to the ghosts of Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison for what some people were trying to do to rewrite history.

          1. Pat

            Hell, I felt the need to apologize to George Herbert Walker Bush, yet another reason I felt angry at Clinton’s incompetent campaign.

            Although I do have to admit that watching a bunch of supporters struggle to try to make ‘First Lady’ into a reasonable qualification after I asked if I should just contact the wife of the surgeon if the surgeon wasn’t available was fun.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Bill Clinton besides overseeing the collapse of the Democratic Party in 1994 also was in the White House when the Kennedy generation, Kennedy became President when a host of World War II vets were entering public life and dominated American life, retired or died leaving a leadership void occupied by the Clintons. It’s not a one to one comparison, but a trend. Then the Republicans went crazier than usual. Hillary was First Lady and was able to simultaneously exist as an important part of the Administration and exist as a victim of both her husband a day the GOP who shouldn’t attack the President’s family. There was vile stuff about Chelsea.

      I believe Yves had a write up on a Hillary speech from circa 1993 and “It takes a Village,” and Hill demonstrated she can make reason a key remarks on occasion. The key to Hillary’s success was people became attached to her and Bill during this time, believing a narrative that they represented the last line of defense from Newt Gingrich and Danny Hastert. The other Democrats included the ilk of Daschle and Gephardt, so next to them, Bill seems fantastic. It was 1992, but Jerry Brown ran on a flat tax and cutting the Department of Education, the Rick Perry 2012 platform. Moynihan wanted to privatize Social Security. Compared to the other post-Watergate Democrats, the Clintons look great and held the only power after 1994. Throw in the shallow nature of the electorate and this is the basics of how Hillary rose.

      As for her own political career, she selected a safe seat without a natural Democratic successor who could rally the party against her. She won by 10 points in a state Gore won by 25 despite an opponent Peter King wouldn’t endorse. She then lost to Barack Obama, was challenged by Sanders, and then lost to Trump.

  9. AnnieB

    The article on long term marijuana use at Inverse News has two sentences that are each repeated three times. The poor proofreading at Inverse News, which didn’t catch the mistake, is pathetic. I’ve noticed the sloppiness becoming more and more prevalent, even on mainstream news sites.

    FYI: the Newsweek article is posted twice above.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      And the study was from BYU. Maybe Liberty and Oral Roberts have weighed also on the evils of Demon MJ..

      1. Romancing The Loan

        Also the long-term effects they seemed to be claiming (entirely unrelated for the reasons celebrities gave for giving it up) were gradual raising of the constant levels of dopamine in the brain. So… a cure for chronic depression?

    2. Wukchumni

      I’ve never seen a word I couldn’t twist around in some fashion, but they’re all rooted in the proper name, and one thing i’ve noticed in regards to the X & Y chronozones-with the latter in particular, is what awful spellers they are, and in particular when writing something with pen & paper, sans spellcheck. I too have noticed a lack of proofreading in the media all too often lately, and not just spelling, but often in context where linear timelines are mixed up where an F-86 fighter jet ends up in a WW2 story, or some other historical malady along those lines, that never happened heretofore.

    3. Bugs Bunny

      The explanation of the study was unconvincing. There was no analysis of rat behavior between the groups and where was the control group? Not even worth the read.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Agreed – it was bunk. They article basically assumes that marijuana is addictive and it simply is not. There is absolutely no evidence that it is. As to the harmful long term effects, the article is extremely unclear on what those might be, as are most articles I’ve seen on the subject.

        And as has been pointed out here in the past, everything you do rewires your brain.

        Does marijuana use make one a little foggy? – sure it does. But it doesn’t turn people into drooling idiots. Nor does it kill them like pretty much every other drug can and does.

  10. Paul

    Odds you could claim a Powerball prize if you play = 100%
    Odds you will claim a Powerball if you play – Remote
    May a mighty fine day be yours
    :-) & Hat Tip Yves

  11. The Rev Kev

    Re: EPA Says Higher Radiation Levels Pose ‘No Harmful Health Effect’
    Anybody here remember the attempted naming of strontium units as the “sunshine unit”, a term promoted by the Department of Defense until public ridicule brought about its disuse? Good times!

    1. justanotherprogressive

      I’m wondering when the EPA will “update” its allowable levels for lead in water. Then what happened in Flint won’t be a problem any more, right?

      1. Vatch

        That’s just the sort of thing that I would expect Scott Pruitt to try.

        In case anyone is uncertain, there is no safe level of ionizing radiation. It’s impossible to avoid all ionizing radiation, because we need potassium to live, and a very small percentage of potassium is radioactive potassium 40. But that doesn’t mean we should pretend that higher levels are safe. Scott Pruitt should be impeached.

    2. blennylips

      “Sunshine unit” Brilliant!

      Who remembers “Backyard Atomic Gardens of the 1960s“?

      “Atomic Garden Exhibit”, photographed by Frank Scherschel in 1961, and opened a whole new can of worms for myself. The exhibition appears to be encouraging ordinary citizens and green-fingered housewives to buy irradiated, “atomic-energised” seeds and essentially experiment in the field of radiation-induced mutagenesis in their very own backyards.

      1. Wukchumni

        Brother, can you spare an irradiated dime?

        “One of the most popular exhibits in the American Museum of Atomic Energy is a “dime irradiator.” To date, more than 250,000 dimes have been irradiated, encased in plastic and returned to their owners as souvenirs. The irradiator works as follows: A mixture of radioactive antimony and beryllium is enclosed in a lead container. Gamma rays from the antimony are absorbed by the beryllium atoms and a neutron is expelled by the beryllium atom in the process.”

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Ophelia became a major hurricane where no storm had before ars technica

    Ophelia ran through my neighbourhood yesterday and in truth it wasn’t all that bad. As a friend said ‘this is just weather, we should be used to it’. The south-west of Ireland got the worst of it, lots of torn off roofs and thousands of trees down, but it will recover. Three dead is bad, but it could have been much worse.

    But what was much more serious was the impact to the south. The huge draw of air from the south (skies went pink over much of Britain due to dust and sand drawn from the south) set off yet more wildfires in Portugal. The Iberian peninsula looks set to be one big loser from climate change, its the California of Eurasia if you want to look at it that way.

    But for a hurricane to develop over the Atlantic – an genuinely unique occurance – if that doesn’t make any sensible person deeply terrified about what climate change has in store for us, nothing will.

  13. ex-PFC Chuck

    With regard to the War Is Boring link about the latest F-35 debacle, you gotta admit that no one beats the Pentagon when it comes to inventing Orwellian euphemisms: Concurrent Orphans. Unasked was the question of whether any F-35 can ever be ‘combat ready.’ For your viewing pleasure here are the views of Pierre Sprey on the issue. He’s one of the guys who 40 years ago shoved the A-10 ground combat support aircraft down the throats of the kicking and screaming Air Force brass. This is one of the missions the F-35 is supposed to handle. And as for why the DoD can’t help itself from falling into these sorts of clusterf***s, here’s Chuck Spinney’s classic blog post on the matter. Both Sprey and Spinney were career civilian employees of the DoD and were active members of the military reform movement led by Col. John Boyd.

    1. voteforno6

      The USAF’s senior leadership does not see ground support as one of the service’s primary missions…they have this attitude that the Air Force can win wars on its own (they like to hold up the first Gulf War as this shining example). I think some of that attitude was inherited from the battles their predecessors fought to establish the Air Force as a separate branch of the military. They do not like the A-10, because they do not like the ground support mission. I think that one of the main reasons they’re still flying the A-10 is that every time they try to junk it, the Army offers to take over the program…they seem to find the idea of the Army flying fixed-wing aircraft to be even more offensive.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Your comment is right on. The USAF has been in the thrall of the air-power-can-win-wars-without-help doctrines of Giulio Douhet, Billy Mitchell, et al, ever since the latter began agitating for an air force independent of the U. S. Army shortly after The First World War. Thus they never saw ground combat support as a mission worth investing much in. This fantasy was debunked on the USAF’s own terms by John Boyd, which a major reason his name is still radioactive within his the Air Force 40+ years after his retirement from uniformed service and 20 after his death. Of course the varieties of blood left on the Pentagon floor as he applied his strategic and tactical thinking to bureaucratic combat didn’t help his legacy among the perfumed princes either.

        1. Wukchumni

          The one thing i’ve not heard much about in our sweet 16 years of being in war, is the use of fighter planes. Of course they’ve been utilized quite a bit i’m sure, but seeing as the other side has none, there can be no romancing of pilots becoming aces, and drones make much more sense, as you don’t need all of the systems that a human being requires to stay aloft, and they can spend much more time in the air, as an added bonus.

          When Mubarak sent a squadron of them overhead in an attempt to subjugate supporters of the revolution down under on Tahrir Square, they had no effect whatsoever.

          Maybe they were a 20th century thing that lasted a good while, air dreadnoughts whose time is past.

        2. Huey Long

          +1 on Boyd & co.

          I came to learn about the mad colonel through HBO believe it or not. I was watching one of their in-house movies called the “Pentagon Wars” which is based on the book of the same name.

          I remember thinking “this can’t possibly be true, I gotta read this book,” so I did and although HBO did take some liberties for dramatic effect, the book blew me away. I couldn’t believe the shenanigans that DoD was getting away with!

          It got me into reading about Boyd, Spinney, Frey, etc. and really removed the mask from the MIC for me.

          For those of you interested, POGO has a great series of essays entitled The Pentagon Labyrinth that serves as a nice primer on DoD dysfunction.

    2. JTMcPhee

      And on and on go the threads of thinking and comment about the relative tactical and strategic merits of this or that weapon system. With hardly anyone reminding the rest of us that “the mission” itself is vastly corrupt and very possibly world-ending.

      We are supposed to get all hopped up about the virtues of the A-10 (versus other weapon$$$) for “close support” of Troops. Troops who are invading other nations in violation of the “international norms and law” our Rulers invoke and interpret when and how they feel like it, and doing all kinds of corruption and rapine and murder, and shooting up Wog people, most of whom are daring to oppose Imperial storm troopers invading their terrain and killing and maiming them. Troops who get placed on little outposts in hostile terrain, tasked to go out on “patrol” to actually get shot at and ambushed and to detect IEDs and mines by driving or walking over them, to take casualties that become the casus belli for doing more patrolling and calling in artillery and air strikes on the Wogs whose gates and doors they kick in, the Troops we are supposed to “support.”

      And we mopes at home hiss the plasticized white robotty-looking baddies in the Star Wars movies, who are just doing that same “mission” of making everyone in the galaxy say “Uncle” to the Emperor, and dump all the extractable wealth into the Imperial coffers.

      I and others futilely repeat the stuff about Sun Tzu’s wisdoms, the ones about having Heaven on your side and not bankrupting the peasants and nation and don’t fight hugely expensive idiotic meaningless wars at the ends of elongated and vulnerable supply lines. Most of us just jump to the tactical and strategic counsel on how to do it once the Ruler had committed to “War.” It’s futile, probably, to even talk about that prefatory set of considerations, because the mass of the political economy is either unaware, indifferent, actively in rah-rah tribal support, and/or gets its rice bowl filled by taking part in the Game.

      I used to get all partisan about various weapon systems, like which was better, the P-51 Mustang or the FW-19,0 or the Hellcat versus the Zero, or M-14 vs take your pick. Finally it occurred to me that all this stuff is about the kind of unjustified wars of aggression that “we” are nominally not supposed to be doing, and nattering about how to fight asymmetric unjustified idiotic wars of aggression and what’s best for close support and whether the current lobbying around a ‘new” sidearm for the Troops is “the best choice” and how cool the new came pattern for the Troops’ ‘battle dress’ is, is just b$llsh!t that leads only to more of the effing same. With all the costs that get discussed here and a few other places as just “misallocations of important resources that could be more effectively dedicated to weapon systems that better ‘support the idiotic murderous Racketeering mission‘.” That “mission” thing is ever obscured and largely undefined since that would require laying out what constitutes the subsumed yet carefully undefined “goals” and “national interests” and “success” and “victory.” Which of course is none of what the entire Global Networkcentric Interoperable Battlespace and its Operators and “Warfighters” in their ergonomic chairs is all about… Which is obviously careers and wealth transfer and body counts of “greased” Wogs and making the planet “say Uncle.”

      Is the A-10 “better” than the SU-25? Clearly “better” at flying and “delivering 30-mm depleted uranium and HE ordnance on target at over 3,000 rounds per minute, yahoo! That’s what you get for f___ing with America!” than the F-35, but who effing cares, at least anyone who still gives a rip for any kind of survivable, sustainable human presence on the planet? It’s just a G– D— downward spiral into that Gahan Wilson cartoon I often link to, the one where the brutish solitary “Troop,” loaded down with weapons, holding a “combat knife” dripping blood, looks around from under his dented helmet at the blasted landscape of dun-colored death and says, eyes opening in surprise, “I think we won!”

      “War,” that huge, undefined thing (not even a defined term in the Pentagram’s Dictionary of Military Terms) is, as Smedley Butler observed after “doing it” for over 30 years, just a racket. I have not gone far enough into futilitarianism to buy into the notion that it’s all that us humans can do, go down this path that has nuclear weapons and some “incident” that detonates a few or many of them at the end of the cul-de-sac. Not yet.

      So let us go on about the details of the vileness and corruption of the Pentagram’s procurement bureaucracy and its appendages and parasites and enablers. Let us not ask, “what is the mission, again?” And how does that fit with our self-image, let alone our shibboleths and nominal ethos? Or dare to ask “why the he77 are ‘we’ doing this sh!t?”

      I don’t buy into the meme, at all, at all.

      1. cnchal

        Me neither. Instead of making war stuff, society would better off if we paid them to sit on the beach and do nothing, except enjoy their day.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Unfortunately, “The greatest pleasure a man can have is to be shot at without effect,” from Winston Churchill. And I think yesterday someone surfaced that Hemingway quote about how hunting another man displaces all other interests. I’ve shot and been shot at. Did not care for either, but knew others who did. Quite.

          How ya gonna keep em down on the beach, After they’ve tasted blood?

          1. Ian

            That reminds me of a documentary I caught a bit of where they were interviewing an old man who had been part of the some militia in Africa. He was saying that he drank the blood of the people he killed and that was to remain sane, and the people who didn’t drink often lost it.

  14. Olga

    Hillary Clinton Just Told Five Blatant Lies About WikiLeaks Caitlin Johnstone (nippersdad) contains a 46-min interview with HRC on Australian TV. Watching it feels like an exercise in masochism … One lie: WIkileaks is a fully-owned subsidiary of Russian intelligence… OMG!

  15. nycTerrierist

    from Newsweek’s roundup of HRC’s favorite excuses, check out this gem:

    “Self-Hating Women

    In perhaps one of her most controversial explanations for her election loss, Clinton said not enough white women supported her because they let men tell them how to vote.

    “All of a sudden, the husband turns to the wife, ‘I told you, she’s going to be in jail. You don’t wanna waste your vote.’ The boyfriend turns to the girlfriend and says, ‘She’s going to get locked up, don’t you hear? She’s going to get locked up,’” Clinton told Vox in September. “Instead of saying, ‘I’m taking a chance, I’m going to vote,’ it didn’t work.”

    This from a self-annointed ‘feminist’? Gobsmacked she doesn’t get called out on this insulting rot by her supposedly feminist supporters. Q.e.d she is completely out of touch, has no respect for women’s autonomy.

    1. petal

      Yesterday on one of the British shows she said she was a leader of the feminist movement:
      ‘I was part of a revolution for women’s rights that’s began in the Sixties with real intensity. I became a leader of that movement.’

      1. RUKidding


        Thanks for now making it impossible for people of good will to self-identify as a feminist, HRC.

        Will this tiresome woman never STFU and just go away and count her filthy lucre and “enjoy” her retirement?? Please!!

        1. Annotherone

          “Will this tiresome woman never STFU and just go away…?” It feels like it used to feel when the needle got stuck in a groove on one of those old 78rpm records (for any old enough to recall that experience). :(
          Same old, same old…over and over and over….and….

          1. JohnnyGL

            You people have it all wrong….nothing is more feminist than riding your husband’s political coattails all the way to the top!!! HA!

            As awful as she is, part of me wants her to run again in 2020, so that the scorned wing of Sandernistas can stomp her and her vile family out of the public sphere. I want Clinton to raise another $1bn from her donors and flush it. I want the Clintons humiliated like Jebbie got humiliated. Plus, if Clinton can take a few votes away from Biden and Kamala Harris, all the better. I’m thrilled to have such an awful person acting as the face of the establishment.

            The media’s refusal to ask her any hard follow up questions only reflects badly on the media, themselves, and to remind the American public that the media are NOT to be trusted. The worst thing now would be to allow the political establishment to ‘move on’ and reset themselves and coalesce around a new narrative and candidate for 2020.

            1. RUKidding

              I wouldn’t have minded HRC riding her husband’s coattails into higher offices, including POTUS, IF she had been a decent person/politician.

              There’s something of a tradition of some wives taking over their husband’s seats at the State and Fed level. IF the wife/son/daughter is a good person and a decent poltician, fine. Use your family’s name recognition for the good of the country.

              In the case of HRC: forget it. She is a pathetic excuse for a human being and lousy politician who clearly could a stuff about what’s for the good of her putative constituents.

              I don’t think feminism comes into it, except that HRC and her henchwomen forced that into the conversation… to the detriment of true US feminists.


    2. RUKidding


      Clinton really went there?

      Color me unsurprised but revolted. I still recall Madeline (500,000 Iraqi’s dying is “worth it”) Albright & Gloria (I’m the AlphaDog Feminist so obey me) Steinem ranting that women HAD to vote for Clinton because vaginas… or something. I was just disgusted, and I think those 2 cackling ___________ possibly had something to do with turning off a lot of women, in particular, those who had the temerity to vote for Sanders in the Primary.

      “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other” cackled Madeline Albright (who hopefully will learn a great deal about Hell one of these days)

      As someone said somewhere, it’s like Clinton and Trump are just bookends of each other. Both out of touch. Both unhinged. Both behaving like ____________.

      Clinton and her fans are doing So. Much. Damage. to what’s known as “feminism” in this country. It’s just deplorable (not kidding; no snark intended).


    3. Enquiring Mind

      My late Mother and my sisters would tell Hillary that her message included the following: if women are susceptible to manipulation over voting, why would anyone trust them in any elected role whatsoever?
      You can imagine how that went over with those lifelong Dem voters chez moi. ROFL!

    4. Elizabeth Burton

      Gobsmacked she doesn’t get called out on this insulting rot by her supposedly feminist supporters

      They agree with her. Those poor Republican women who voted for Trump are clearly incapable of thinking for themselves, having embraced the theocratic misogyny of the Christian religion as practiced by Republicans.

      The fact is there is a Clinton Cult, and HRC is their Anointed One. She can do no wrong, every word from her mouth is the Voice of Goddess, and the rest of the civilized world is determined to destroy her by telling egregious lies.

      How else explain the number of alleged feminists screaming Bernie shouldn’t speak at the Women’s Convention “BECAUSE HE LOST THE PRIMARY!!!!!”? And yes, children, I did see someone post that exact phrase with that exact number of exclamation points.

  16. Wukchumni

    Malta car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist Guardian (Adrien)

    Man, it sucks to be a whistleblower nowadays. Not only is not so effective (I thought the Panama Papers would be a bombshell-but it played like a bad movie that spent a week in the theaters and was gone) but it’s also dangerous for the leaker. This murder was a dish best served cold, revenge plain and simple. Like a page out of the Putin assassination bureau, but messier.

    1. witters

      “Like a page out of the Putin assassination bureau”

      Is there no escape from this? PTSD is right.

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      She was an investigative journalist. Her cold-blooded murder is chilling for those who value freedom of the press and her courage. I hope her EU supporters are able to engineer a thorough investigation of this crime that leads to restoration of the rule of law and justice being served.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Lose your media license?

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

    The above comes to mind when one reads:

    When It Comes to Trade, the NYT is Far More Confused Than Iowa Voters Dean Baker (Livuis Dursus)

    Intentional malpractice or accidental?

  18. justanotherprogressive

    Re: Facebook Is Looking for Employees With National Security Clearances

    Soooo….Facebook wants to “contract” with the government to get access to secure information…….
    To paraphrase Ben Rickett in “The Big Short”: “If Facebook has access to what the NSA has – you think they are not going to use it?”

  19. The Rev Kev

    Re: US military rushes to defuse looming crisis in Kirkuk after Iraqi army advances
    This story is getting interesting. Down here in Oz the TV reportage made it sound like the Iraqis were taking the Kurds lands from them. What was actually happening was that they were taking back their own country again from the Kurds who took the place over two year ago and they are not finished yet. There is more land that the Kurds occupy. I see the same spin on the Syrians taking back their own country in the east against competition from the Kurds. It was made to sound like it was just unoccupied territory instead of part of Syria.
    I see too that John McCain is threatening the Iraqis for using US equipment against the Kurds. Maybe the Iraqis might want to get more Russian gear so that will not be a problem for him. They’ve already signed a few contracts with the Russians. What is the point of buying military gear if you have to ask the seller if you can please use it?

    Also, “when did you get those cool Halloween costumes for the cats?” Hilarious!

    1. Plenue

      “Down here in Oz the TV reportage made it sound like the Iraqis were taking the Kurds lands from them. What was actually happening was that they were taking back their own country again from the Kurds who took the place over two year ago and they are not finished yet. There is more land that the Kurds occupy.”

      This is a super-important distinction; media across the board has been essentially lying about this story. As of yet no moves have been against the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. The Iraqi government is simply reasserting control over areas outside Kurdistan that the Kurds opportunistically seized after the Iraqi forces fled ISIS (Kurds and ISIS had a kind of mutual non-aggression agreement in the early days, something conveniently forgotten). The Kirkuk region has a lot of oil; so what’s actually being threated here is the long term economic viability of a fully independent Kurdistan.

      Similarly, in Syria there’s a race going on between Syrian Army and the Kurds for control of the most profitable oil fields along the Euphrates. Neither in these areas of Syria nor in Kirkuk do the Kurds have any kind of reasonable claim to ownership based on historical or ethnic makeup of the inhabitants. The Kurds are simply the villains in these particular scenarios, full stop.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I totally agree with your analysis. Trouble is you would never suspect that this was all happening if you happened to just watch TV news. The Iraqis are taking back Iraqi proper and soon the Syrians will, after toasting ISIS, will want their land and oil back again. Both Iraq and Syria will accept Kurdish semi-autonomy but not the land and oil grab that the Kurds has practiced. The Barzani Clan got too greedy. Take a look at today’s Moon of Alabama main article for a great analysis of what is going on here.

  20. David

    California inmates paid $1 an hour to battle wildfires Statesman (Martine)

    At least it makes escape easier.

    Inmate firefighter walks away from Canyon Fire 2 fire line

    Armando Castillo, 31, was discovered missing during a routine inmate count. The low-security inmate was serving five years for evading a peace officer and for the use of a firearm…

    “When they’re out in the field working with Cal Fire, they’re generally only there with the fire captain, and generally that’s all that’s necessary. This is the first time I can ever remember an inmate walked away from an actual fire line,” Sessa said.[Bill Sessa with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation]

    Who needs a cake with a file in it anymore?

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Big and brilliant: complex whale behaviour tied to brain size Reuters (David L)

    What does a whale use its big brain for?


    11 dimensional hunting strategies?

    Or does it use its big brain to meditate, to have no thought at all, but what is in front of it (walking or, in this case, swimming meditate…swimming mindfulness)?

    Is most of its large brain used to experience positive emotions, and not on, say, quantum physics?

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