Links 10/28/17

Police shocked by 100mph joyrider’s age BBC. Future Darwin Award recipient.

Mysterious object seen speeding past sun could be ‘visitor from another star system’ Guardian

Robert Blakeley, Whose Fallout Shelter Sign Symbolized the Cold War, Dies at 95 New York Times

Why superintelligence is a threat that should be taken seriously Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (JTM). Humans are not nice and destroying the planet too, so it would be entirely rational to want to put an end to us.

YouTube is fighting the ‘adpocalypse’ with a less trigger-happy flagging system The Verge. Translation: YouTube says it will be less aggressive about demonetization. We’ll see how many leftie sites get to run ads again.

New York Times launches Tor Onion Service to overcome censorship and ensure privacy BetaNews. Am I missing something? Doesn’t this mean you can use Tor to evade the paywall?


As Trump turns his back on the world, the stage is set for President Xi Guardian (furzy)

Why Trump’s Lionizing of China’s Xi Jinping Probably Won’t Work New Yorker (furzy)

On North Korea, ‘We’re Fools If We Don’t Start Taking the President at His Word’ Atlantic (resilc)

What Trump’s Iran action means for Japan’s energy interests Asia Times

Drug Traffickers For Jesus Financial Times (Jeff S)


Catalonia’s parliament declares independence; Spain imposes direct rule Economist

Madrid dismisses Catalan government after independence vote Financial Times

What comes next in Catalonia could make or break Rajoy – and Spain Guardian

Catalonia independence: Spain strips police chiefs of powers BBC. Notice this part:

Barcelona’s mayor Ada Colau condemned the move by Madrid, but also criticised Catalan pro-independence parties for “advancing at a kamikaze pace…after their mistaken reading of the results of the Catalan elections”

Cold Reality Dawns for Catalonia After Spain Quashes Independence Bloomberg. Take with a fistful of salt. However, independence has never polled as a majority position in Catalonia. And I have not seen any post-referendum polls, so it’s not clear if the pre-existing split has changed. However, an aggressive intervention by Rajoy could turn more Catalans against Madrid.


Why does Israel keep attacking Syria? Al Jazeera (UserFriendly)

Sara Netanyahu in fresh lawsuit for allegedly treating staff like ‘slaves‘ Guardian (JTM)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Were Wars Bloodier and Longer When We Had Conscription? American Conservative. Resilc: “See last sentence. No sane voices on the opportunity costs.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Germany’s far-right AfD wants data on journalists’ political views DW

Trump Transition

A federal grand jury has approved the first charges, and someone could be in custody by Monday, sources say CNN. I’m told sealed indictments, at least at the Federal level, are very unusual. Lawyers, please pipe up.

Robert Mueller Russia inquiry: first charges have been filed – reports Guardian

Conservative site funded project that lead to Trump dossier The Hill

General Kelly Should Just Shut Up Counterpunch

5 things Trump did this week while you weren’t looking Politico

This Is What the Trump Abyss Looks Like New York Magazine. Resilc: “The sun is still shining outside today tho.”

Trump gets boost from strong economy The Hill

State Department Scraps Sanctions Office Foreign Policy (furzy)


Soaring Premiums Mean Soaring Risks for Obamacare Bloomberg (furzy)

Pharmaceutical Founder Arrested In Alleged Nationwide Opioid Scheme NPR. Abigail F: “An actual rich guy, not just the company.”

Mark Zuckerberg Is Testing Ways to Reassure Republicans Vanity Fair (resilc)

The GOP Is No Longer Trying to Hide Its Inhuman Priorities New York Magazine (resilc)

Defense wants ‘domestic terrorism’ out of Bundy case High Country News (resilc)

John Podesta and Debbie Wasserman Schultz under scrutiny after making possible false statements to Congress Revere Press

John Podesta says he didn’t know the Clinton campaign was paying Fusion GPS. Why not? CNN (UserFriendly)

Why Roy Moore’s Law-School Professor Nicknamed Him Fruit Salad New Yorker (furzy)

Law Enforcement Descended On Standing Rock A Year Ago And Changed the DAPL Fight Forever Intercept (UserFriendly)

PG&E seeks way to punt liability cost MarinIJ. Bill C: “Another case of socialize losses & privatize profits.”

FAC Lawsuit Prompts Disclosure of Records Alleging Misconduct by Milpitas City Official First Amendment Coalition

What The Hell Was This Rachel Maddow Segment? Huffington Post (UserFriendly)

Puerto Rico

FEMA Had a Plan for Responding to a Hurricane in Puerto… ProPublica (UserFriendly)

Treasury Dept: Stop saying “shadow bank” Axios. No one who counts will comply. I wouldn’t even bet on the research staff at the Fed, since they’ve done some meaningful work on this topic. In fact, one could go further and treat any reporter who did comply with this request as having proven that they are captured.

More women accuse Halperin of harassment CNN

Guillotine Watch

Jeff Bezos’s Path to Becoming the Richest Person on Earth Bloomberg

The Rich in the U.S. Just Keep On Getting Richer: Time to Party!? Counterpunch

Class Warfare

DOL overtime appeal is welcome news; department should make no attempts to weaken the rule Economic Policy Institute

Wall Street’s research jobs are the most likely to be upended by artificial intelligence Quartz

Why Is a Dump for Hurricane Harvey Debris Next to an African American Community? Truthout

Alphabet’s Waymo Will Test Self-Driving Cars in Snowy Detroit Bloomberg. You can be sure these are not fully autonomous. The failure to do adequate reporting is annoying.

Fear, Not Debt, Limits Our Spending on Education and Infrastructure FAIR (furzy)

Antidote du jour. Jamie J: “Our grape vine eating varmint that is way too cute to (hmm…) dispose of. Local possum, very territorial.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.


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  1. Octopii

    Regarding the Mueller charges filed story, this is not in the WaPo this morning at 8am, not on the front page and not available by searching. It is also not on the front page of the NYT but is available by searching — even then it only comes up as the second item with a “Europe” section heading (search term “Mueller”). It’s a Reuters story, so it should be available to everyone on the wire. Am I the only one who thinks this is huge news? This is the first confirmation I’m aware of that charges will actually be filed.

    1. Linda

      I’ve seen a few tweets on it beginning last night, all linking to CNN. Yes, it’s a big deal. Wonder if it stays sealed or if we will hear who it is.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            My bet is Flynn. Which if true is means they have nada of significance on Trump. Flynn was barely on board, did his own work with Russia without using a cutout (dumb!) and Trump got rid of him pretty pronto when the scandal broke (a mere 10 days and remember this was around the time of the inauguration so tons of competing duties). Flynn is an enemy of the Blob for being openly pro-Russia, so he’s a target of special interest to them.

            I agree Manafort is a scum but I’d bet on money laundering over tax evasion with him. And this still would not get you to Trump despite the hysteria you will hear if it is indeed Manafort. Manafort worked for Trump for all of four months and had a generally poor relationship with him.

    2. Linda

      WSJ has a blurb and link to it on the top left of home page. Brief article. Went up at midnight. Does seem to be slow at getting picked up. Not much to say about it since the person and charge(s) are unknown.

      1. Wukchumni


        Driving down from the mountains this morning, listening to Mattis talk about NK, it really had that “this is the last straw” feel to it, and if fearless leader is indeed going to be in deep kimchi come Monday, I wouldn’t put it past him to start WW3 this weekend to save his sorry arse.

    3. David

      IMO, this is a move to bury the JFK files reporting. The Blob doesn’t want the public to know the Blob’s incompetence. Unfortunately, Mueller actions will remind everyone of that incompetence.

    4. timbers

      Just pure speculation of course, but…

      If lower level people are indicted on corruption stuff, bet it will be spun as Russian meddling (in contrast to if Team Hillary’s uranium deal produced indictments it would be spun as just plain breaking the law corruption NOT conspiring with Russia) but no biggy as far as Trump is concerned.

      On the other hand if Trump’s family members are indicted, I wonder if Trump will regret changing his mind on prosecuting Hillary. Sometime offense is the best defense and Trump does not seem to understand a lot of how Washington works and how Washington is working to derail him on his few randomly common sense ideas like good relations with Russia and changing NAFTA.

    5. Heliopause

      It may be a big, medium, or small deal. If it’s Manafort, who seems to be the favorite given what’s known publicly, he may be indicted for stuff unrelated to Trump; he’s been a known skeezball for a long time. So while everybody is getting excited it’s possible this will be an event that doesn’t advance the narrative very far.

      Dem partisans are hoping for something a little more spectacular, like Kushner or Trump Jr. That seems like far too much for them to hope for so early in the process.

      There are some very entertaining hypotheses being floated around amongst some sections of right-wing social media. One is that it’s Comey. This one hypothesizes that Mueller’s having been compromised by the Uranium One deal has led to Trump “flipping” him and that Mueller is in fact going after the likes of Comey, the Podestas, the Clintons, etc. Another comes from 4chan which I find it difficult to describe. Seems one of their commenters, who purportedly has insider knowledge, predicted last Wednesday that Hillary Clinton would be arrested this coming Monday. This prediction coincided with some sort of numerological event that got the rest of the board very excited about its significance. 4chan culture is not something I much comprehend, so if anybody here thinks they can better explain it go right ahead.

      1. kareninca

        How do you find things on 4Chan? Every once in a while I try to find out what they are saying about political issues, but I can’t find the right section. I just went to their “current news” board to try to find what you are describing, but no luck; there is just so much there. Do you just have to keep scrolling and scrolling?

          1. kareninca

            Thank you! Oh, I don’t need to be warned about 4chan. But good that you warn; someone else might not know what awaits them there.

      2. marym

        This was written by someone who was part of the Bush43 administration and is now part of the security-industrial complex. Highly likely that Clinton isn’t going to get arrested Monday.

        1. Heliopause

          Just to be clear, I don’t subscribe to any of these byzantine scenarios, just find them an entertaining read.

  2. Howard

    On the Youtube demonetization: I would like to ask if anyone knows about something else I see going on and check the accuracy of rumors and possible misperceptions floating around in my head about this: a) is it true that users have to watch an ad all the way true without clicking through for the youtuber to get credit for it? b) if so, I’ve been noticing with Jimmy Dore in particular and possibly some others on his end of the spectrum, that they have multiple loooong ads before their content starts that no human being would ever willingly sit all the way through — 5 minute+ interminable infomercial-type jobs. Might this be a more subtle way of taking revenue away? Or have I honed my lefty paranoia for 50+ years of adult life just to fall victim to my own invented conspiracy theory?

    1. Louis Fyne

      —that no human being would ever willingly sit all the way through — 5 minute+ interminable infomercial-type jobs. —

      i’ve seen those too. It’s a feature, not a bug. —theoretically, the advertiser is guaranteed an impression if a person is willing to sit through 30/60/300 seconds of the advert and youtube can charge more.

      Youtube’s algorithms are so, so good it can directly place a 5 minute info-mercial! (versus I let those burn out, muted in the background cuz I want to support the channel and willing to wait while i do other stuff)

      1. Arizona Slim

        When I am not skipping the ads, I’m talking back to them. It’s a skill I learned from teevee.

  3. taunger

    From the shut up Kelly article:

    The starting teacher, meanwhile, living in one of the most expensive rental markets in the country, will be spending probably $18,000 on rent alone

    That is just ridiculous. NYC is stupid expensive, but new grads don’t go spending $3000/month on rent. Little things like this (and the beginning anecdote about the ritzy inn) show how difficult TPTB are having communicating. No wonder we got 45. At least he can ride up the base right.

    1. taunger

      Ugh. And drug riven inner cities are as dangerous as combat zones. Why even write this crap if you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      1. Eustache De Saint Pierre

        London I believe is similar – i recently saw a good position advertised in Acton which is pretty close to the centre so i looked up the cost of accommodation for anything other than a rabbit hutch & then the cost of commuting from distance to compensate for the high rents. The salary was £45,000 pa, but after taking everything into account it might as well have been almost half of that.

        1. clinical wasteman

          Thanks Eustache for emphasising the factors ignored by the “living in London is not a right — go where you can afford” jackals. (Apologies to actual jackals.) That you should see Acton — accurately — as relatively central rent-wise is in itself a sign of how ruthlessly “inner London” land has been monetized since the effective abolition of public housing and the niche-marketing of private rental space to the uppermost subset of the working rich.
          By way of clarification for non-Londoners, Acton is about halfway between, say, London Bridge and Heathrow Airport to the far west. Someone working there and living in eg. Newham (similar distance, opposite direction) or Tottenham or Lewishman (in both cases, similar distance around a 90-degree corner, from north/south respectively) — or vice-versa (i.e. living west/south/north & working eg. in Docklands complex) might spend £8+ (or much more a little further ‘out’) a day on public transportation & about 2+hrs each way, depending what kind of crowding & chaos you could endure, or even more time & money trying to travel by car, or risk early emphysema & sudden death on a bicycle lane dominated by the world’s most aggressive vehicle users of any kind, i.e. high-speed London bicycle commuters.

      1. Ellery O'Farrell

        You probably consider Inwood (northern tip of Manhattan) way way way out. (Most people who live in what’s considered NYC do.) But it’s roughly 30 mins. from Columbus Circle by subway and has apartments for $2K and even less; here’s Streeteasy’s complete list of apartments available for rent:

        It’s the last refuge of artists in Manhattan. But it does have a lot of noisy bars.

  4. Fred1

    Sealed indictments are common in run of the mill cases, if there is a fear of flight by a defendant, intimidation of witnesses, or destruction of evidence. They remain sealed until all defendants are in custody. Counsel for the first defendants arrested will be provided indictments with the names of defendants that have not been arrested redacted.
    The existence of a sealed indictment is a closely guarded secret until the first defendant has been arrested. So I am surprised about these news reports, because it means there is a leaker in Mueller’s team.

    1. Linda

      Thanks, Fred1. Very interesting. I wondered why it would be sealed, but then possibly unsealed so quickly.

    2. Linda

      re leak. I had to see who CNN gave as a source:

      “…according to sources briefed on the matter.” heh.

      The special counsel’s office declined to comment.

    3. ArkansasAngie

      Indict whomever … they are all a bunch of rats … the label they wear is not relevant.

      Now … I am interested in the leaker. What was their motivation and are they a lone wolf or are they known for whom they associate with.

      If Mueller goes after somebody because of “political activity” … well … there be a bunch of rats that find themselves on that slippery slope. But … and … you can’t just stop at one. Standards … precedence … has to be applied to all.

      If you’re going to go after a rat colony … you gotta go after them all. A rat in a trap means nothing.

      1. ArkansasAngie

        As a note — I am a rat colony combat veteran. The war was regionally restricted to my back yard. I won. Now when I see a rat in a trap … it does mean something. It means that there are rats. There are no lone rats.

    4. Linda

      Maybe not Mueller’s team.


      Under the regulations governing special counsel investigations, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has oversight over the Russia investigation, would have been made aware of any charges before they were taken before the grand jury for approval, according to people familiar with the matter.

      I suppose he would have been updated when charges were approved. Leak could have started here. Not necessarily Rosenstein, but he would have mentioned it around the office and Trump Admin, no?

      1. Fred1

        Upon further reflection, another possible source of the leak would be law enforcement participating in the round-up team. In a run of the mill case, the number of officers and the jurisdictions from which they are drawn would depend on the number of defendants and their known where abouts. The goal is to arrest everyone simultaneously. But in this case, most defendants travel regularly and some certainly travel internationally. The problems with the round-up that occurred in the FIFA fraud case recently are a good example.
        Since Mueller’s staff was handpicked, possibly including the administrative support, their discipline should be pretty high. Also someone in Main Justice would approve any indictment, which is standard operating procedure. Some USA out in the provinces can’t indict who ever they want for whatever they want, unlike state court prosecutors who are accountable only to the voters and occasionally to the bar disciplinary committee.

        1. Linda

          Thank you, Fred1. I really don’t think it was Mueller’s team either. I find myself having an opinion on this even though this is not my area and I know nothing about it. I could be a professional pundit! Ha!

      2. epynonymous

        Glad you knew the name, because I had already forgotten it.

        My made-up-on-the-spot theory is they don’t want the accused to put out a statement or make contacts before they’re in custody?

      3. allan

        The leak might have come from the White House. Emptywheel:
        Is Donald Trump Installing a Mole in the Mueller Probe? [TNR]

        On September 28, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved on a party line vote the nomination of Brian Benczkowski to be the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division. The vote put President Donald Trump one step closer to installing a potential mole at the department, with the ability to inform him of any wiretaps or significant developments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury investigation into the possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. …

        A July 22, 2002, memo from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, written by Jay Bybee, the author of the infamous torture memos, held that, under the statute, the president could get grand jury information without the usual notice to the district court. It also found that the president could delegate such sharing without requiring a written order that would memorialize the delegation. …

        Drafted during the presidency of new #Resistance hero GWB.
        Also too Bybee is now a federal judge with lifetime tenure.

  5. Bugs Bunny

    Re “New York Times launches Tor Onion Service to overcome censorship and ensure privacy”

    No, this in all likelihood won’t make it free to read. You can set up accounts and password access on Tor same as any other browser. It could actually make them more money by getting past national firewalls in places like China. As Lambert says: Kaching!

    1. Enquiring Mind

      NYT via Tor Onion makes me think that they are going to tailor their news offerings, and perhaps even curate them, to select new audiences. If that new service is the only one available, or one of only a few, which readers would notice, and how many would question the veracity of The Grey Lady? ;p

      1. Procopius

        I think a lot more people would question the veracity of “the grey lady” than used to. But maybe not. I’m pretty idiosyncratic, and I’ve recognized they’re pure neoconservative stenographers since before Judith Miller was outed. Apparently lots of people haven’t, but, hey!, there’s an audience that pays for the Enquirer.

  6. Altandmain

    I can’t stop thinking about what Michal Kalecki wrote:

    We have considered the political reasons for the opposition to the policy of creating employment by government spending. But even if this opposition were overcome — as it may well be under the pressure of the masses — the maintenance of full employment would cause social and political changes which would give a new impetus to the opposition of the business leaders. Indeed, under a regime of permanent full employment, the ‘sack’ would cease to play its role as a ‘disciplinary measure. The social position of the boss would be undermined, and the self-assurance and class-consciousness of the working class would grow. Strikes for wage increases and improvements in conditions of work would create political tension. It is true that profits would be higher under a regime of full employment than they are on the average under laissez-faire, and even the rise in wage rates resulting from the stronger bargaining power of the workers is less likely to reduce profits than to increase prices, and thus adversely affects only the rentier interests. But ‘discipline in the factories’ and ‘political stability’ are more appreciated than profits by business leaders. Their class instinct tells them that lasting full employment is unsound from their point of view, and that unemployment is an integral part of the ‘normal’ capitalist system.

    The reasons for the Powell Memo and the destruction of the middle class since the 1970s by the rich are apparent. They are not after maximizing revenues or profits. The pie would surely be that much bigger if:

    1. Wages had stayed in line with productivity increases
    2. More public money had been used for R&D (imagine what innovations would be present)
    3. Education spending rose dramatically
    4. Full employment meant that there was little to no unemployment, underemployment, nor discouraged searchers, including many scientists and engineers (I have met quite a few who cannot find jobs that pay more than the minimum wage)

    They are after maximizing their wealth relative to the rest of us. In other words, even though they would get more profits (workers after all do spend most of their earnings back into the economy), it is their desire to dominate us that keeps them unwilling to restore the middle class.

    This is the real barrier to getting the middle class back. It may take nothing short of a revolution I’m afraid. The rich may very well cling on, preferring to risk the utter ruin of society than real action.

    Global warming may be an example:


    Research has shown that greater inequality leads to shorter spells of economic expansion and more frequent and severe boom-and-bust cycles that make economies more vulnerable to crisis. The International Monetary Fund suggests that reducing inequality and bolstering longer-term economic growth may be “two sides of the same coin”. And development experts point out how inequality compromises poverty reduction.

    Consider the Tech Bubble, the 2008 Financial Crisis, etc. Boom bust cycles are endemic to the neoliberal economy. They may very well be as feature to wage class warfare on the poor.

    1. Lee

      So you, and Kalecki, are saying, just as rape is more about power than it is about sex, so under capitalism. profit is a necessary but secondary element in the more primal drive for social domination. I’m going to have to give this proposition some thought. It does make sense and is a good basis for a critique of authoritarian socialism from the perspective of democratic socialism. That is, the drive for power is left largely unchecked, producing destructive results in the former and is better addressed by the latter.

      1. Altandmain

        Essentially, the the rich want several things:

        1. TO be relatively more wealthy than we are, even if they are absolutely less wealthy than they could be
        2. To use fear as a discipline measure. In a system with full employment, it would be easy to find a job upon layoff. This could be used to get higher wages.
        3. To create a system where the rich stay on top.

        This is completely incompatible with prosperity, but that is their plan. All the neoliberal pseudoscience I think is just PR to get to this goal.

        1. Wukchumni

          I think the main allure of being filthy rich is exclusivity, but is it all that?

          I drive a $20,000 Ford, they drive a $500,000 Ferrari

          I go on a cruise on a 900 foot liner, they go on a 320 foot long yacht

          I fly on a 787, they fly on a Gulfstream G650

          All conveyances get there around the same time…

            1. Alex Morfesis

              The filthy rich do not drive Ferrareeze…those trying to raise funds to climb up the ladder and avoid answering difficult questions as to capacity, drive ferrareeze as props…a person with real money worries about liability deflection and attracting varmints…

              1. Wukchumni

                You’re probably right…

                The Ferrari bubble of the late 80’s was something to behold, watching from the sidelines. The gist of it was Enzo Ferrari died in 1988, setting off the ride…

                A well used car similar to the one Magnum PI drove was worth $100-125k in the heat of the moment. I think they sold new for $50k.

                Just looked up the price for a 1980 308, and they’re $50-60k now, and that’s after the more recent bubble in old cars.

          1. Marco

            The bottom 80% in America are quickly becoming unable to afford even the down-market scenario you outline above.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think, to be filthy rich is to be able to be filthy rich, without having to say or explain why.

          If it means having access to medicine that will let you live for 500 years, that too.

          If it means making less money, but making all of us kowtow to him (or her), that’s good too.

          If that will buy him propaganda that says he’s humble, not dominant, but Nobel Peace worthy, sure, now problem…here’s a blank check.

          “I am ungodly rich. Do I have to explain anything?”

      2. artiste-de-decrottage

        Absolutely. Thanks for saying it so well, it is about the “primal drive for social domination”(and “like rape” is a strong but I think apt comparison). I don’t know why this isn’t obvious to everyone. It should. I would say that profit isn’t even a necessary element. You think Travis Kalanick cares about profit? You think Buffet cares about profit, if it wasn’t something on the balance sheet but a socially useful outcome?

        Perhaps today in the West we are too conditioned to justify greed as a necessary inconvenience (not even evil) that leads to productive outcomes. Total gaslighting. The profit motive is really just one expression of the drive for dominance, that has found a convenient explanation in economics.

        Look at who our business leaders and political leaders really are, in the vast majority. Ask yourself, in your own experience, the executive level people or CEO’s that you have met or observed via your employment or business, have then been anything but absolutely about dominance? I’ve seen super talented friends start promising cash positive businesses and run them into the ground over ego conflicts – repeatedly. From the lowest to the most celebrated “business leaders”, their first instinct is first to dominate. Anything else that comes as a benefit to society is an afterthought and society is lucky if those people have good afterthoughts.

        I had not read anything by Kalecki and was amazed at his rarest of skill to bring together insight and simple precise language to illuminate the real motives driving the system of our political economy. He has illuminated the intuitive understanding that you will inevitably get if you strip away all you’ve been conditioned to believe about the goodness of pursuing self-interest.

        And thanks to the others who commented on this topic – very satisfying to see this core truth laid out.

        1. cnchal

          Not everyone in business is in it for a killing. Most are in it for a living. Especially small fry.

          Look at who our business leaders and political leaders really are, in the vast majority . . .

          Psychopaths and narcissists. They love being boss.

    2. knowbuddhau

      Thanks for this, Altandmain (and your many other excellent comments). That’s what I’m saying: it’s all about the dominance.

      ISTM that’s why so much of economics is incoherent. It’s a lot of ex post facto attempts to explain away blatant and brutal assertions of dominance. And even in accounts with which I’m sympathetic, it’s often treated as a creature of academia. As if there were no revolving door. As if economic ideas compete in an other-worldly space, dare I say “market,” just like other philosophical debates. Except we know they don’t.

      Were Milton Friedman’s “Chicago Boys” merely economists? Were their high gov’t positions the natural result of unadulterated meritocracy? Did their ideas win out in an open and honest public debate? Or were these “winners” chosen a priori by the US gov’t, perhaps the State Department or maybe the CIA with input from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations, and then stationed like soldiers deployed in a war?

      [NAOMI KLEIN:] Well, in Chile, on September 11, 1973, while the tanks were rolling in the streets of Santiago, while the presidential palace was burning and Salvador Allende lay dead, there was a group of so-called “Chicago Boys,” who were Chilean economists who had been brought to the University of Chicago to study on full scholarship by the U.S. government as part of a deliberate strategy to try to move Latin America to the right, after it had moved so far to the left. So this was a very ideological government-funded program, part of what Chile’s former foreign minister calls “a project of deliberate ideological transfer,” i.e. bringing these students to this very extreme school at the University of Chicago and indoctrinating them in a brand of economics that was marginal in the United States at the time and then sending them home as ideological warriors.

      So this group of economists, who had failed to sway Chileans to their point of view when it was just part of, you know, an open debate, stayed up all night that night, on September 11, 1973, and they were photocopying a document called “the brick.” It’s known as “the brick.” And what it was was the economic program for Pinochet’s government. And it has these striking similarities, Amy, with George Bush’s 2000 election strategy — election platform. It talks about an ownership society, privatizing Social Security, charter schools, a flat tax. This is all straight out of Milton Friedman’s playbook. This document was on the desk of the generals on September the 12th, when they reported for work the day after the coup, and it was the program for Pinochet’s government.

      So what I’m doing in the book is saying, you know, these two things are not coincidental. You know, when Pinochet died — he died the same — shortly before Milton Friedman — we heard — or, actually, he died shortly after Milton Friedman — we heard this narrative, you know, in places like The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, of, “Of course, we disapprove of his human rights violations,” and this sort of, you know, shaking of fingers at the atrocities that we know about in Chile, “but on the economy he was terrific,” as if there was no connection between the free-market revolution that he was able to push through and the extraordinary human rights violations that took place at the same time. And what I’m doing in the book and what many Latin Americans do in their work is obviously connect the two and say it would have been impossible to push through this economic program without the extraordinary repression and the demolition of democracy.

      In a different context, it reminds me of the way US ambassadors to the UN often go on and on about how much we agree with the most excellent principles in this or that proposal, and that’s why we’re voting against it/vetoing. The insistence on dominance comes first. Then words are deployed like so many projectiles in any other kinetic action.

      Conversely, that’s why I’m so thankful for NC.

    3. Huey Long


      Thanks for giving me something interesting to ponder today as I knock out some mindless chores and errands!

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Michal Kalecki wrote in a different time, 1943, in a different America. Keynesian economic policies had proven their effectiveness. President Roosevelt represented a more benign faction of the Power Elite — that crafted such programs as Unemployment Insurance and Social Security. We were in the middle of World War II. We still had domestic industry. The professions and trades, retained more of their independence and power. Mainstreet still had more shops and independent small businesses than empty storefronts and franchise outlets. Unions had broader membership and more power. [The Taft-Hartley Act wasn’t passed until 1947.] We had a progressive income tax. The impacts of the Great Depression were deeply carved into the living memories. “… the slogan ‘Unemployment never again’ is now deeply rooted in the consciousness of the masses.” Chestnuts like ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’ still held some truth.

      I read a great darkness in the Kalecki paragraph you cited — reading it in our present times. Kalecki’s essay ended on a note of optimism but the arguments bolstering that optimism crumble in the context of today’s America.

      For some reason thinking about this I recalled the scene in the movie “Conan the Barbarian”
      where the Khan figure asks: What is best in life? And a character who looks like he might be the Khan’s son answers: “The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.” That’s an answer like the myths we’re fed about economics. I think Conan’s answer better captures the true ethic of our Elites: ” To crush your enemies. See them driven before you. And to hear the lamentations of their women.”

      1. Altandmain

        The issue is that they are using high unemployment as a disciplining measure. In other words, the reason why they oppose such measures is because they want to instill a level of fear in workers to ensure conformity, so that workers are constantly worried about what they do have.

        I read a great darkness in the Kalecki paragraph you cited — reading it in our present times. Kalecki’s essay ended on a note of optimism but the arguments bolstering that optimism crumble in the context of today’s America.

        Yes I’m afraid so.

        Corporations control retail, and there aren’t the array of small to medium sized manufacturing companies either. The tech industry is dominated by a few companies, and government is more corrupt than ever.

        What remains of unions are under siege and there is heavy propaganda against them. At my current job, I noticed that most of my colleagues and managers at work are very heavily anti-union.

        1. Wukchumni

          The only union job I regularly come into contact with, seems like an odd survivor, after so many union jobs went the way of the Dodo…

          …is a supermarket checker’s job description any different from the checker @ Wal*Mart?

          1. MichaelSF

            American Postal Workers Union? Hopefully you don’t have much contact with members of your local police union.

            1. Wukchumni

              We have one sheriff here for about 50 square miles. We have lunch every couple of months, nice guy.

              It’s pretty Mayberry around these parts, and he’s a bit of a chunkier Barney Fife, in looks.

      2. WobblyTelomeres

        ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’

        Slight correction: A rising tide lifts those with boats.

        1. wilroncanada

          I thought the take on that old chestnut was, in the 80’s, “A rising tide lifts all yachts.”

          In previous discussions of lack of employment, Yves has talked about how the length of life of middle-age white men has been most seriously affected by despair, and the resulting drift into alcoholism and drug addiction. (The addiction may have been initiated by prescription pain medication.)

          Last night in a bedroom suburb about 30 or so kilometers outside Vancouver, BC, there were five overdose deaths in a 9 hour span, three men and two women, all between the ages of 45 and 67. Five in one night, most likely from fentanyl.

          1. xMidway

            “A rising tide lifts those with boats”.

            The rest of us drown or tread water which keeps us too busy to be much of a threat to “those with boats”.

    5. todde

      I was once told that 12 people lined outside the door wanting a job does wonders for employee productivity

  7. M Raymond Torres

    Ok. This is really weird. The story about Halperin masturbating behind his desk is a segment in Tig Notaro’s “One Mississippi” on Amazon.

    Did she know about the Halperin incident & write it to out him? Or is that something that is actually prevalent?

    So appalling.

    1. Jomo

      I wondered about that episode on “One Mississippi” as well. Failed screenwriter that I am, I found it oddly scripted, as if wanting to accurately portray a real event in a sitcom. A 1,000 other scenarios could have been used to portray sexual harassment.

  8. Meher Baba Fan

    using an ad-on like U Block or U Block Origin will remove the youtube advertisments as well as advertisments in general.
    Given they can easily contain tracking and other malware its a very good idea.

  9. Wukchumni

    Wall Street’s research jobs are the most likely to be upended by artificial intelligence Quartz

    …can AI dart tourneys be that far off?

  10. Juliania

    The New Yorker must be wishing there had been a Chinagate instead of the one I won’t name that has more lives than a pussycat.

    Bravo, Trump; I agree with you. The President of China is a good man.

  11. a different chris

    “And then Roy [Moore] would ask all of these questions to put himself in the middle of debating with an intelligent professor, and he was always cut to shreds.”

    Wasn’t there a study which indicated that really stupid people are not aware of their own stupidity?

    OTOH, somebody keeps graduating these people.

  12. Wukchumni

    All of the banks in NZ are mostly Aussie banks, and I keep reading about the housing bubble bursting in the Lucky Country, and the NZ housing bubble was financed by said banks, so the knock on effect combined with the new NZ PM kind of saying “give me that good old cradle to grave NZ socialism of the 70’s & 80’s” might make for a hell of a dive.

    Here’s the 1st set of marks:

    5.8, 5.9, 5.8, 6.0, 5.7, 5.9

      1. Wukchumni

        Real estate platform diving competition…

        That one was for a 3/2 SFH in Auckland, with a pool and a leaky* roof

        * an odd issue that plagues NZ homes a lot, for some reason?

        1. Oregoncharles

          Certain architects, like Frank Lloyd Wright and Harry Weese (another Chicago architect, less well know, but very familiar to my family).

          Earthquakes are plausible, too. And it’s a wet climate, is it not?

      2. carycat

        The old scoring systen (till 2005) for competitive figure skating. 6.0 is the max. Still used for local beginners competitions.

  13. Wukchumni

    My wife and I hadn’t seen a black bear* all year long, and a couple days ago she driving here in town & sees a mom and 2 cubs-all jet black in color, and this a.m. driving down from the higher climes, I see a mom and a cub-both cinnamon blonde.

    All 5 were probably noshing on acorns in preparation for denning-kruger**. (like hibernation-but you get up a number of times during winter)

    As bears don’t defecate or urinate during denning, once in awhile in the spring you’ll see bear scat that looks like a can of soup, as that’s the first effort after weeks to a month of sleeping.

    * #blackbearlivesmatter

    ** I just made that up, disregard the kruger part

    1. ambrit

      I dunno pard. Denning Kruger sounds like Freddie Krugers’ Insane Evil Twin. Who knows what lurks in the ‘Shadow Realm.’ The ‘Shadow Realm’ does have banks, so it must be legit!

  14. epynonymous

    Many videogame streamers (content producers) have left the youtube platorm almost entirely.

    They now rely on Twitch (a specialized streaming service) and patreon for their business model after Youtube lowered their payments last year.

    Twitch is attempting a similar thing by creating a digital currency called ‘bits’ (the exchange rate is a penny) and made their acceptance mandatory this month, but most established channels have already worked around the mandatory pop ups by customizing them into non-existence.

    They use something called Discord as an auxilliary chat system and tip through some other system I haven’t quite figured out.

    The end result is Youtube gets less content and less viewership.


  15. HotFlash From their website: Share YouTube videos without giving them views. Bypass country blocks and age restrictions. Download YouTube videos and music. View quarantined videos as they appeared before YouTube Heroes got to them. Keep your data private from the G.

    HOW: Just replace the domain in any YT link with and you get a light-weight page that loads YouTube’s media files (mp4, webm, etc) directly into your browser’s native media player.

    If you want to support the originator, use hooktube to watch then buy the mug or send $$ on Patreon. Cut out the rentier.

  16. Wukchumni

    Liked the 10 year old driving the getaway car, ha!

    When I lived in L.A. it was all about the freeway chase, hell, Jesus Christ could’ve showed up and he’d be trumped by a Toyota on the 405 with a bevy of law enforcement on his tail, on the tv news.

    It was like they dropped everything, and went straight to the helicopter cam footage, and might spend the next few hours diagnosing the driver from on high.

    The only time I ever thought I saw UFO’s was when I was on the 101 one night going north somewhere in the vicinity of Sherman Oaks, and up in the sky was 8 or 9 bright lights in an odd pattern a few miles away coming in my direction, and it intensified as the vehicle in the lead of a car chase going south on the 101 went by me, and all those bright lights were tv helicopters, ha!

  17. Synoia

    Police shocked by 100mph joyrider’s age BBC. Future Darwin Award recipient.

    Not at all. The Darwin Award is for removing your genes from the gene pool before passing on too many of them.

    The 100 years old is, presumably, past the time of passing on genes (having children). At this point he or she is indulging in a form of cost avoidance – an extended period of dying.

    1. Massinissa

      Sorry, but youre the one making a mistake. It was a 10 year old child going at 100 MPH, not a hundred year old going at 100 MPH. Not sure where you got the 100 year old from. You must have gotten the MPH and the age confused, or maybe you added an extra 0 to the childs age.

      1. clinical wasteman

        Confusion on all sides: it’s obviously a 100-year old child at 10 M*PH**.
        *what’s a “mile”***?
        **I know what an “hour is, because one of the will be deleted from Gr**nwich Mean Time — taking functional daylight with it for the next 6 months and pushing the measure over the edge from ‘mean’ to outright cruel — in three minutes’ time.
        ***American miles aren’t really confusing at all. Only the holdout feudal usage in the holdout feudal uK (clue in name) bothers me.

    2. Wukchumni

      After 100 daze of the reign of error, I asked a NZ friend what he thought of fearless leader, and I think his description was dead on…

      He said:

      Imagine giving a 1 of a kind vintage Ferrari with a full tank of gas to a 9 year old boy to drive in mid-town Manhattan?

      …you know he’s going to run into something and wreck the vehicle, but what about the other collateral damage?

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Do people removing themselves from reproduction voluntarily, thinking about over-population (for example), qualify as Darwinian Award recipients?

      1. HotFlash

        Nope, people like that/us get a Malthus Award. Darwins are only for those who *stupid* themselves out the the gene pool. My fave Darwin Award winner was the guy who stole a live lobster by putting it down his pants.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Even if he did knowingly put it there?

          “For a better world, I must suffer gladly to atone for (fill in the blank)!”

  18. Wukchumni

    So, what are the odds on getting a complimentary ‘uber’ ride to the police station on Monday?

    Manafort: 1-1

    Flynn: 2-1

    Stone: 9-2

    Donald Jr.: 50-1

  19. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Superintelligence is a threat…”
    I’m not entirely convinced by the arguments made in this link disputing Michael Shermer’s article in the “Skeptic.” I’m still stuck trying to understand what intelligence is followed by my lack of full understanding and appreciation of the present state of AI. I have trouble regarding neural networks and their products as intelligent. Bayesian nets seemed promising but then so did expert systems. Anyway — I’ll just accept on faith that we are progressing in AI toward possible super intelligence.

    It’s quite easy to regard even just AI as a threat to humankind. Whether the AI has super intelligence or just intelligence all you need to do is put the AI into the control of sociopathic or psychopathic humans who have power and control over some of the levers of power in our society.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have to believe that Super Heart from Artificial Love will not be threatening.

      We need Super Heart, Super Soul and Super Love.

          1. ambrit

            We are never ‘done’ with love. At least if we are sentient beings. I don’t know if I would consider any sort of AI as sentient.
            Would “Super” be a definition of quality or quantity, or both?

                  1. ambrit

                    “Marmite on toast with some Cheesy Algos please!”
                    “Would you like fries with that?”
                    “I’m sorry Dave. That was not the correct answer.”

              1. ambrit

                Since AI, or its’ precursors, are a reflection of the programmers, such AI love would be more properly self love, bordering on narcissism perhaps.
                There’s something I never thought about before. Would a real God be the ultimate narcissist?

                1. xMidway

                  Don’t narcissists think they are God?

                  Such conclusions must be hard to resist if one is always right and the most important thing in the universe. Just ask Trump (well, you probably needn’t ask … he’ll tell you so, presently).

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        “Super Heart from Artificial Love” sounds like an Aztec concept or at least appealing to Aztec sensibilities. But does not the Super Heart bleed and will its sacrifice help maintain the sun?

    2. subgenius

      I’m still stuck trying to understand what intelligence is followed by my lack of full understanding and appreciation of the present state of AI

      Then you are in very good company…you have just described the entire field…

      1. knowbuddhau

        I thought the BAS article wasn’t skeptical enough. To wit:

        Indeed, the difference between natural intelligence and artificial intelligence is one of the primary reasons that many experts are worried: A superintelligent AI with a completely different cognitive architecture than that of humans could behave in ways that we are fundamentally unable to predict or understand.

        Could? Even an orrery can produce unpredictable results, since initial conditions can never be known with perfect precision. If the alleged superintelligence is operating faster than we are and picking its own inputs, I’d make that a definite “will.”

        What, exactly, is AI supposed to offer? Why is it worth the risk? To unravel the problems we’ve created with our other inventions? What are we going to use to unravel AI’s problems? And in the meantime, climate change looms ever larger.

        I followed the links and found another AI article. Anybody read Reboot for the AI revolution at Nature? It’s a hoot.

        The author goes through a litany of things that could go wrong and urgent exhortations to do something, quick! so that this time, we’ll get it right.

        First off, don’t worry about job loss. That’s just going to “open up” new jobs. Doctors who are now GPs will be replaced with robots, so that frees money up (somehow) to pay other people to come up with “innovative surgical techniques.” Just not the GPs who’ve been displaced by robots. They’re SOL.

        So if your job gets taken by a robot, it’s all good, bc someone else, somewhen else, is going to get paid to think up a better way of doing it. Just not you. You’re SOL.

        He uses self-driving cars as an example. No, really.

        Transport leverages one of the core advantages of AI: connectivity. Even if a single computer-driven car is less competent than a good human driver, a network of computer-driven cars is still likely to be much safer and more efficient than the chaos of fallible human drivers that currently dominates the roads.

        Of course, he must not mean real-world, present-day connectivity, the kind you dare not move a muscle for fear of losing once you dance around and find that sweet spot. AI connectivity will be as perfect as prayer.

        And I just love the reasoning. Sure, each car is worse than a human driver, but we’re making it up on volume!

        And why is it likely? Because computers, I suppose. He never says.

        It gets worse.

        Creating new jobs might prove easier than retraining people to fill them. A huge useless class might appear, owing to both an absolute lack of jobs and a lack of relevant education and mental flexibility.

        It’s not that we’re here already. Just like the sturdy beggars of the Enclosure era, we’re just going to appear. Mostly because we’re too stupid and thickheaded to be retrained for jobs that don’t exist anywhere, not just where we already live. And note that by “retraining,” he doesn’t mean the SOL. He means other people, for other, as yet nonexistent, jobs.

        But wait, there’s hope. There are already lots of jobs being created.

        The most advanced armies now increasingly rely on relatively small numbers of experts coupled with sophisticated and autonomous technologies, such as drones, robots, smart bombs, cyberworms and algorithms that sift through a mass of data8, 9.

        This shift has produced new classes of military jobs in maintenance, remote control, programming and cybersecurity. The US armed forces need 30 people to operate every Predator or Reaper drone flying over Syria, and analysing the harvest of information occupies at least 80 more. A careful study of the military job market might tell us a lot about potential future developments in the civilian economy.

        I just can’t wait for Homeland Security to create all those jobs, surveilling and droning us. You know, a full-scale military occupation, a soldier on every street corner, would create a lot of jobs, too.

        If the prospective technology we’re talking about is so “disruptive” that we basically need to reinvent society whole cloth to deal with it, why are we doing it?

        Not for any good reason. Not because the better of humanity in general demands it, like we demand clean water and clean air and wholesome food. We could do all that, you know, give the world clean water and sanitation (as suggested by Jeff Berg recently here for half a trillion dollars.

        If not for the betterment of the majority of humanity, then why are we about to risk it all? Because it can make the inventors and those who “get in on the ground floor” into modern day royalty. And that’s always been the name of the game.

  20. Wukchumni

    This Whitefish thing stinks from the head on down, but it’s an indication of how little the administration cares whether anybody is paying attention or not. You can just see the brain trust going at it as they were ignoring everything else related to Puerto Rico, with Zinke telling the Don that he knows somebody back in his hometown they can use.

    Finally, a little transparency in this administration!

    1. Bill Smith

      Why does it stink? It looks like only 2 companies bid for the contract with the bankrupt electric utility in Puerto Rico. Whitefish didn’t want any money up front. The other company wanted $25 million before work started.

      1. Wukchumni

        I wasn’t aware of another bidder, please tell us about it?

        This is what the NYT said earlier in the week:

        “We just answered the call,” Mr. Techmanski said in an interview from Puerto Rico. “We got on a plane and came over here right after.”

        “Absolutely outrageous,” said Eduardo Bhatia, a Puerto Rican opposition senator who wrote an energy law in 2014. “A two-employee company from Whitefish, Mont., gets a $300 million contract out of nowhere? Based on what?”

        “Mr. Bhatia said the authority did not appear to have made any open requests for proposals, to have performed any regular background checks or to have followed normal safeguards and checks before awarding the contract.”

        1. David

          According to Ricardo Ramos, Executive Director at PREPA

          …he said that, out of the five companies that responded to a call made by PREPA following Hurricane Irma, Whitefish proposed the lowest costs. The other four companies were Power Secure -the USACE {US Army Corps of Engineers] contractor-, General Foreman, Southern Electric and B & B Electric.
          However, Ramos could not say when the call was issued and why he used this mechanism and not a bidding. He said that the regulation of the public corporation allows a direct solicitation in times of emergency…Of the five companies responding to the solicitation, only Whitefish and Power Secure remained, requiring a payment in advance of $ 25 million. Whitefish was selected for a cap of $ 300 million, of which $ 8 million have been disbursed.

          And a preview of things to come.

          …on average, a PREPA electric worker would have to work almost 11 hours to earn what Whitefish would bill for an hour work from his employee.
          “Someone is going to have to pay for that contract with his head,” Reyes [Héctor Reyes, president of the Union of Industrial and Electrical Construction Workers] said, noting that promises to reconnect the electrical system by the end of the year are unrealistic. To a large extent, that is because materials are still scarce…
          “At the distribution level, we have material for the next 15 days or more. At the sub transmission level, we have no material. At the transmission level, we have material for the next 15 days onwards,” explained Ramos.
          According to Reyes, Puerto Rico now pays the price of dismantling maintenance and construction operations inside PREPA.

          If Zinke helped arrange this contract for a hometown buddy, I’d hate to see how he treats his enemies.

      2. Wukchumni


        I’m not much of a fan of Zinke, and to give you an idea of the antipathy towards him, a friend runs a sightseeing business in the National Park here, and his trip adviser reviews are stellar, does a great job, frankly.

        He just told me that the entrance fees for his 2 vans a day will go up from $75 a van to $325, and his only alternative will be to raise his prices in a similar draconian fashion, or call it quits.

        I thought the white elephants were the party of businessmen?

  21. Kim Kaufman

    Trump’s IRS Chief Snuck Through With a Unanimous Vote in a Private Room Just off the Senate Floor

    Kautter managed to escape charges or a prison sentence, but he would not seem like an obvious choice to run the agency his company defrauded. Yet Democrats will have little ability to make that case publicly, because when he was nominated to be assistant treasury secretary for tax policy, the party rolled over. In a bizarre Finance Committee hearing that took place in a small, private room just off the Senate floor, Democrats joined Republicans to approve him by a 26-0 vote.

    Diane Feinstein on the committee.

    M&M Mars Candy, Trump and The Estate Tax Giveaway

    I’m a little behind in my reading so I hope these aren’t repeats.

  22. Plenue

    >Why does Israel keep attacking Syria? Al Jazeera

    Fire support for proxy assets, with the goal of slicing off more territory that Israel believes belong to it by blood and divine right.

      1. Plenue

        Lebensraum was based on the claim the Germans simply needed more land out of practicality. Whereas Zionism explicitly thinks certain places should belong to it simply because ancient Jews once ruled there. Basically, if it was part of ancient Israel, it should be part of modern Israel.

        It’s amazing (or not) how often this basic, core idea is ignored in discussions about the current conflict(s) and how the Palestinians are supposedly the unreasonable ones.

  23. nihil obstet

    On the antidote — don’t get rid of possums. They eat ticks and very rarely carry any diseases. In general, they bring more benefits than annoyances.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I think that’s an Aussie, not American possum. I’ve gotten a good look at a lot of possums.

  24. ewmayer

    High cholesterol levels among U.S. adults declining: CDC report | Reuters

    A triumph for Big Pharma’s relentless pushing of ‘lifestyle drugs’ – why try to improve your eating and exercise habits when you can go on a typically-expensive pill regimen for the rest of your life? I especially enjoy how the author of the Reuters piece takes a quote from a well-known expert unaffiliated with the study in question, a quote which may well have been given in a skeptical, head-shaking manner – we’ll never know, alas – and first paints the cholesterol-level trend as an unmitigated ‘positive’, then adds a lovely bit of brand-specific product placement:
    While the report does not explain the positive trend, one answer seemed obvious to Dr. Steven Nissen, chief of cardiology at Cleveland Clinic who was not involved with the CDC report:

    “The use of statins has skyrocketed,” said Nissen, referring to widely used cholesterol-lowering medicines such as Pfizer Inc’s Lipitor, AstraZeneca’s Crestor and their generic counterparts that also significantly reduce heart attacks. “My guess is the vast majority of this difference is due to the use of statins.”

    In other bogus-marketing-claims news, happened to catch one of those cable-TV ads for the beer-can-sized HandyHeater (mini space heater that plugs directly into a wall socket) last night, and during the bit where the ad shows the wunnerful effect of the heating via the rising temperature indicated on the HH’s digital display, guffawed at this bit of text off to the side: “Actual simulation.” Sometimes I feel like I’m living in one of those.

  25. kareninca

    Re You Tube’s censorship system: here’s a funny anecdote. I have a friend who is in his late 70s; a retired engineer; a very smart guy, who reads the WSJ and is interested in politics. He told me about something he saw on TV. It sounded pretty weird; it was a really extreme 9/11 paranoid theory video. I finally figured out that he had actually watched a You Tube video that he had streamed onto his TV.

    But here’s the thing. The fact that it was on his TV made it seem far more credible to him. It made it “real” in a way that a clip on his desktop computer would not be. This may just be his generation, but who knows; even younger people often think of TV as having some small extra bit of credibility beyond that of a random video.

    1. ambrit

      That’s sort of funny because the PC monitor I’m using is almost as big as I remember the first black and white television my family had. (Way back in the early sixties. When massive quadrapeds roamed the vasty plains of Mid America.)
      In defense of we oldsters, everything, or near enough to, that we saw on television was “fake news” too. It just had the “Good Homeland Keeping” seal attached.

      1. Wukchumni

        When I was a yout growing up in the 60’s, the status symbol was whether you had color tv, or just black & white.

        1. MichaelSF

          Or driving around in the summer with the windows rolled up so people would think you had air conditioning in the car?

          1. Wukchumni

            The vinyl seats on our 1966 Ford station wagon would be almost unbearable in the 100 degree heat of SoCal in the summer, you’d suffer for a few minutes upon getting in the car, so rolling up the windows was a non starter for us, but we had color tv, and that’s all that mattered. The first show I remembered in ‘living color’ was Batman, which appealed to 5 year olds and 55 year olds, somehow.

          2. ambrit

            Oh do I miss those little triangular wind scoop windows in the front door. The real meaning of “doing sixty with the top down,” was that you were literally cool while driving.
            Now we have tiny colour televisions for the backseat denizens of SUVs.

  26. skippy

    Antidote du jour. Jamie J: “Our grape vine eating varmint that is way too cute to (hmm…) dispose of. Local possum, very territorial.”

    Here in Queensland the drama is like this, possums like getting into roof spaces or cavity’s, this means carpet snakes come along to hunt them. So as many now days have back yard chickens the thought of carpet snakes [non venomous constrictors] is disliked, because if they don’t kill them, they might stop laying eggs out of anxiety.

    At the end of the day one can remove one or the other, but, if not taken across a river or far far away they just return. Then even if the original critter does make it back it will only be replaced by a new one taking opportunity to fill the vacancy by the old one.

    Oh and just whilst were at it, green tree snakes are sometimes confused with T.V. or Comp cables at 3:00AM, after small dog barking and insistence that one investigates. Nope nothing here little dog, hay one moved, am I awake or what – ????

    disheveled… tales of the neighborhood critter wangler…

    1. Wukchumni

      Aussie possums were introduced in NZ in the 19th century, and proved to be quite the pest…

      Most every Kiwi I ever knew, sped up to hit em’ on the road.

      …sometimes you’ll see dead possums on the road with a majestic New Zealand Falcon having lunch al fresco, and then as you get near, it takes off by flapping it’s big wings a few times and is gone

      1. clinical wasteman

        This also came up here a few months ago, in I forget what context. It seemed important then to explain that no antipathy towards the (Aus.) possum as species (or individual possums) is meant in deploring a disastrous species/ecosystem encounter. Possums are impressively ornery considering their size; they’re also operatic throat-singers rivalled only by the London urban fox, and much more graceful than is generally credited, with weirdly photogenic sci-fi eyes. But still an unfortunate piece of late-colonial baggage where birds & even trees had no defense against a built-in scorched-earth impulse*.
        (*Birds/possums contrast also illustrates difference between imperial social dumping & migration.)

        1. Wukchumni

          NZ was a bird world country for almost 20 million years, and introduced possums, stoats and rabbits had their way with them, and even still, bird encounters are always pleasant, i’ve been within 20 feet of a NZ falcon many times, and the only alpine parrot in the world-Keas have walked right in front of me more times than I can mention. Stewart Island is the place to go to see the birds in a more numerous way, as it’s 20 miles south of the South Island and secluded from 4 legs bad. On some of the trail we walked, it had the feel of being on the Kokoda Trail-except nobody was shooting at us, and as it was muddy as all get up, the trail was a raised wood sidewalk for many miles.

          It’s a bit weird being in NZ, as you hunger for other wildlife, which really isn’t there. I saw a Tahr once, a definite highlight.

          One time we were crossing on the ferry from Wellington to Picton, and got talking to some Kiwis on board, and conversation came around to animals, and they asked me what a skunk smells like?, never having seen or smelled one…

          We all know of course, but how to describe it in words?

            1. ambrit

              I was going to say, very used gym socks dipped in burnt brake fluid.
              The best part is that odour de skunk is completely organic!
              A friend of mine from High School had a de-scented skunk. He went out of town for work and talked my Mom into taking care of the beastie. When he came back, Mom didn’t want to give the skunk back. “It was the best pet I ever took care of,” she remarked later.

    2. MichaelSF

      My uncle in Seattle would trap squirrels at his house and take them over to the local Microsoft campus and release them there. He was sure they often beat him home. Moral of the story: even squirrels don’t like Microsoft.

      1. skippy

        He should have got a Brittany spaniel, never seen anything that could terrorize squirrels more than my mates spaniel.

    3. JCC

      If one of those cute little possums die underneath your house, it will take months to get the stink out. They can smell worse than skunks even when they’re alive.

      1. Wukchumni

        Anything dead reeks…

        About 10 years ago a black bear probably slipped on ice and landed rigor mortis spread eagle on the branches of an oak tree about 30 feet below the trail on a very steep-nearly vertical wall, and this was about 15 miles in the backcountry and I passed by it 3 or 4 times that summer, and the smell got so bad, i’d have to plug my nostrils with my fingers for 1/2 a mile in either direction, coming & going.

  27. Wukchumni

    20-30 years ago, white sports announcers that called black players something vaguely racist lost their jobs, toot suite.

    Why the kid gloves approach with Yuli Gurriel?

    Oh yeah, he’s gonna be suspended for 5 games next year, big whoop!

  28. MikeW_CA

    Please don’t link to video-only posts like the BBC story about the 100mph driver. Readers need to be able to get the necessary info by reading. If I wanted video, I would have turned on my TV.

    1. ambrit

      That’s up there with “Krystal Meth Nacht,” and “Die Hillary Klinton Lied.”
      Indeed though, the Sir Knight you refer to would probably be my Lord Greenspan. A man who has been much ‘put’ upon of late.
      This tangled mess will be ‘unwound’ eventually.
      Who, I would ask, will emulate Alexander and cut through the Greenspan Knot, and thus gain Asia?

  29. Propertius

    Re: “General Kelly Should Just Shut Up” ,

    I think the following is incorrect:

    But how about a recruit just out of college and ROTC, which is more comparable? That person starts out in the Army at an E-4 rank earning $25,000, but again, will be posted on a base with no cost of living expenses.

    I was under the impression that graduates of four-year ROTC programs who are selected for active duty enter the service as O-1s (the lowest officer rank, e.g. a Second Lieutenant in the Army), not as E-4s (the lowest NCO rank, e.g. an Army Corporal). An O-1 starts at $3035/mo or $36420/yr, not $25000. Am I mistaken about this?

    1. xMidway

      You are not.

      I have often promoted the idea that they should do their first year (at least) as enlisted, as I think it would make them better officers.
      As with most elites, they thought the idea of giving up their privilege, even briefly, ludicrous.

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