Links 12/15/17

Holy Cow! Bovine Escapes Live Nativity in Philly Twice in One Morning; Makes Way Onto I-95, Parking Garage NBC Philadelphia

TD Canada Trust backs down, releases family’s $846K inheritance CBC

The Simpsons predicted Disney would buy Fox nearly 20 years ago and this is getting ridiculous Metro UK

New underwater discoveries in Greece reveal ancient Roman engineering Guardian

How an Iraqi translation project is helping to rebuild science in the Arab world The Conversation

WINE GLASSES ARE ALMOST SEVEN TIMES BIGGER THAN THEY WERE 300 YEARS AGO Quartz

After backlash, animal shelter fires security robot, “effective immediately” Ars Technica. And not a moment too soon!

Friluftsliv: The Nordic concept of getting outdoors BBC

Net Neutrality

THE BIGGEST WHOPPERS FROM THE FCC’S NET NEUTRALITY MEETING Wired

Motherboard & VICE Are Building a Community Internet Network Motherboard

State attorneys general line up to sue FCC over net neutrality repeal Ars Technica

How The Net Neutrality Vote May Block Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency Trading International Business Times

Dell, GM and others plan to incorporate ocean plastics into supply chains Treehugger. Individuals can reduce, reuse, and recycle, but it’s going to take serious government and business action to clean up the mess we’ve made of the world. This is only one small initiative,  but at the moment, I’m so depressed when I think about this problem, I’m happy to see what looks to be any attempt to address it. Readers?

Disney acquiring Fox means big, scary things for film and TV Vox

US regulators vow to be on guard for bitcoin risks FT

Grenfell Tower memorial: Survivors and victim’s families still struggle to come to terms with fatal tragedy Independent

Vatican can reconsider celibacy, says Melbourne Archbishop Sydney Morning Herald. Wowsers.

Russia

Alexei Ulyukayev: Putin’s ex-economy minister sentenced to eight years in prison colony for accepting bribe Independent

How Deutsche Bank Enabled A Dirty Offshore Bank To Move Dark Money Buzzfeed (Richard Smith) Part of a three-parter.

North Korea

A War of Choice With North Korea is an Immensely Dumb Idea American Conservative

Tax “Reform”

Here’s Where the GOP Tax Plan Stands Right Now Bloomberg

Paul Ryan And Top Republican Lawmakers Could Reap Personal Windfall From New Real Estate Tax Breaks International Business Times. David Sirota.

Senate Republicans try to placate Rubio after he threatens to oppose tax bill over child credit WaPo

Japan to raise income tax for high earners FT

New Cold War

“Russian Influence” – $0.97 That Changed The Fate Of Britain Moon of Alabama

Trump, Putin Speak After Russian Leader Praises U.S. Economy Bloomberg

Brexit

Brexit: transitional delusions EUReferendum.com Richard North

EU leaders agree Brexit talks can move on to phase two Guardian

UK keeps top financial sector global ranking, Brexit seen as risk Reuters

Hong Kong overhauls city’s stock listing rules to attract biotech, tech companies to raise funds SCMP

India

India’s Strategic Embrace of the US Has Failed to Extend to the WTO The Wire

Secret Chinese tunnel or natural phenomenon: What explains the Brahmaputra waters turning black? Scroll.in

Exclusive: Philip Morris Funded Anti-Smoking Foundation Targeting Public Health Leaders With Grants The Wire

Jones v. Moore

What’s Not Happening With Mr. Jones Counterpunch

Alabama Teaches America a Lesson WSJ. Nooners.

Trump Transition

US tipped to take direct aim at China as Trump team loses patience on trade SCMP

Ryan denies retirement reports The Hill

Thank Goodness for Donald Trump Bloomberg

It’s the end of the WTO as we know it — and Trump feels fine Politico

DHS Plans to End Work Eligibility for Spouses of H-1B Holders WSJ

White House tamps down expectations of additional opioid funding this year Stat

A Border Wall’s Uncompensated Victims ProPublica

Sex in Politics… Not

9th Circuit Launches Inquiry Into Alex Kozinski Above the Law

House office silently helps members resolve harassment claims Politico

Class Warfare

Will Women In Low-Wage Jobs Get Their #MeToo Moment? FiveThirtyEight

Ed Lee (1952–2017) Jacobin

Families with stable jobs at risk of homelessness in Britain, report finds Guardian

We’re still building the wrong kind of homes for renters MarketWatch

Ryanair to recognise pilot unions for first time in bid to avoid strikes FT

You are Working Harder and Getting Paid Less Counterpunch

Stanley Druckenmiller And Jim Chanos Occupy Opposite Ends Of The Tesla Derangement Spectrum DealBreaker

The Volunteers Helping Women Get Abortions Against All Odds Vice

Health program for 9 million kids falls victim to partisan squabbling Politico

Who Pays for Judicial Races? The Politics of Judicial Elections 2015-16 Brennan Center (allan). Hoisted from yesterday’s comments

Chicago Police Win Big When Appealing Discipline ProPublica

Unable to Celebrate “RonnieMan” Johnson’s 29th Birthday, His Family Remembers the Life Taken by Chicago Police TruthOut

Syraqistan

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is no longer a force on the world stage Independent. Robert Fisk

US calls for global ‘coalition’ to counter Iran Al Jazeera

David Rockefeller and the Largest Art Auction of All Time Vanity Fair

UN expert urges US accountability for torture Jurist

MEMO TO CBS ON GEORGE W. BUSH: DAN RATHER GOT IT (MOSTLY) RIGHT WhoWhatWhy.org

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Tweet about this on TwitterDigg thisShare on Reddit0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Facebook0Share on LinkedIn1Share on Google+0Buffer this pageEmail this to someone

162 comments

  1. Wombat

    The Extractor land heist on public lands in Utah continues- just a few days ago President Trump announced executive order to dismantle Escalante and Bears Ears monuments in Utah leaving fractional portions and removing monument protections from a million plus acres. The public was promised by Sec of Interior Zinke that the lands would remain Federal controlled. Only a few days later a bill has been introduced to the house to sell off these public lands to the State of Utah. HR 4558:
    https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/4558

    The “Grand Staircase Escalante Enhancement Act”- I don’t know how one “enhances” pristine, protected lands open to all Americans! Perhaps it involves denying access, derricks, and mountain toppling.

    These quickly orchestrated actions against public lands indicate a well concerted effort to hand over public lands, and quickly. This is a quick way to set a precedent to roll back monument protections and sell fossil resource rich plots. Lands in California, Colorado, Idaho, etc. may follow.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      We were on a 10 day roadtrip with friends this summer, and all thought the drive on SR 95 from Blanding Utah to Capital Reef NP was the most beautiful stretch of road any of us had ever been on, and camped @ Bears Ears one night, which was quite primitive as far as creature comforts were concerned, adding to the allure. You feel the presence of the past there, as far as indigenous people are concerned.

      I can’t see how California would allow itself to be a victim in a similar way, as it doesn’t have rapacious politicians in the style of Utah, nor the mono-dogma that comes with the errortory.

      Reply
      1. Knifecatcher

        Alas, you just missed the road that, for my money, is the most beautiful in the world – SR12 from Capitol Reef to Bryce Canyon National Park. Simply indescribable. Be sure to leave enough time for the easy hike to Calf Creek Falls.

        As a point of reference, I own a small plot of land just off the Peak to Peak highway in Colorado, often included in many lists of the most scenic drives in the country. It’s nice enough, but doesn’t hold a candle to SR12.

        Reply
        1. JohnM

          In 1979 my gf and I gambled on SR12 as a short cut to capitol reef even though it was shown in my Rand McNally as an unimproved road at that time. Near the top of Boulder Mtn the road had turned to dirt and I drove the car through a Chevy Vega-sized pothole and ripped a six inch tear in the oil pan. We hammered a disposal pie pan into the gaping hole, attempted to seal it with some gasket-in-a-tube and put in 5 quarts of fresh oil (luckily it was an oil-burning Vega and we kept spare oil on board). We slept that night in the desert ‘with a billion stars all around’ and the next day we drove 200 miles to Moab and got a new oil pan in a junkyard. That girl married me 2 weeks later and we went back in 1997 with our 2 boys and camped the night in the same spot. Still makes me smile.

          Reply
          1. Chris

            Thanks John, nice story, and Wombat for opening thread

            My mate’s accelerator cable broke recently and he called for help.

            Meanwhile, I got under the bonnet and gave it a temporary fix with two cable ties. My mate was impressed

            Sometimes you just have to improvise, but breaking your oil pan. Hat’s off to you

            Reply
      2. jrs

        California also has a lot of states parks as well, so I would just see them becoming state parks at least with enough citizen advocacy to preserve them provided the Feds didn’t prohibit such a path altogether. I mean Jerry Brown isn’t all that for the environment given his fracking advocacy, but California is not Utah, the politics in Utah are much worse. Still the whole U.S. they are stealing the commons.

        Reply
    2. andyb

      Except that many prominent geologists say that there’s no evidence of oil and/or natural gas formations anywhere near the Utah monuments. The claim that these lands will be sold for fossil fuel resource extraction seems to be a canard, although it is safe to say that mineral resources may be abundant.

      Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          We were on a 6 day raft trip on the Green River around the turn of the century, and when we put in the hills alongside the river were 10 feet tall, and by the 3rd day the walls on either side extended as high as the eye could see thousands of feet, and one only had a narrow glimpse of the sky overhead, and occasionally we’d stop and explore delicate slot canyons. It was the kind of place where if you got stranded, you were well and truly {family blog}.

          When we got to the put out point on the 6th day, there was a large rusting dredge left over from the 1950’s uranium boom days not far from the river-about the size of a garbage truck, that was so woefully out of place in it’s surroundings, and it was never going anywhere.

          Is that what we want to be remembered for in 2,638 when somebody chances upon it and wonders why it’s there?

          Reply
        2. tegnost

          Mokee (or moki) dugway is a great road. Back in my mtn biking days I would spend three weeks or a month each year in Moab and surrounding areas. we used to fill our water bottles at a spring that came out of a cliff just outside of town. One day a guy showed up with a gieger counter and we found out that our “fresh spring water” was also pretty heavily radiated. Very likely thats wat the extractors are after as every drop of the colorado river has been claimed by someone downstream. Do need to get back there, so much more to see…

          Reply
    3. cm

      At the least, this allows the state to enjoy the use of its land. There is a Consitutional case against the Federal govt holding state land.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        An alleged case which has been tried and settled in the courts in favor of the USG. If the public land opponents could win in the courts they wouldn’t be turning to Trump and the Repubs. The idea of taking Federal lands isn’t popular with the country at large.

        The truth is that Western states are huge beneficiaries of USG largesse and these complaints are examples of biting the hand that feeds them. The economic benefit that Utah gets from all those National Parks probably far outweighs the benefit from mining interests, many of which are not even American companies. But the mining interests have lobbyists. The public interest has far too few champions.

        Reply
      2. Pat

        At the least, this allows the state to enjoy the use of its Select Corporations to destroy Public land for private profit with little or no consideration of the citizens of Utah or America’s enjoyment of the land.

        Corrected that for you. Because unless every citizen of Utah is going to get a cut of any corporate profits reaped from this their access to “enjoy” this land in any form will be even more restricted with nothing in return.

        Reply
        1. Wombat

          Indeed Utah is an ideal testbed to try the transfer of remaining public riches to the few. In the first few minutes of the hearing for HR 4558 the other day, the congressional committee chair argued that the federal gov’t had deprived Utah of more than 300 billion in unrealized revenue! I dont know of any cattle grazing or fishing that can make that sort of money!

          Reply
      3. Wombat

        “This allows the state to enjoy the land”.

        I have been blessed to enjoy much hiking, fishing, and off-roading on federal (and some state) lands. Cm- Sorry to report that not once have I thought, “Gee i would enjoy these open access lands more if the state controlled them. I just can’t have fun on federal lands.”

        Not to mention even if the states had pure motives – it is easier for the federal gov’t to hold land for all of us with no real responsibility to balance the budget.

        Reply
      4. Daryl

        States absolutely don’t want to manage the land; this was made clear when HR 621 was floating around. It will be sold off.

        Reply
    4. allan

      Ryan Zinke’s office takes control of national monuments’ FOIA requests [WaPo]

      … In early November, as Zinke was finalizing his official monuments recommendations to the White House, Clarice Julka, a FOIA officer in Zinke’s office, emailed other FOIA officers in 11 different Interior offices, including the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to inform them she and FOIA officers in the secretary’s office would handle requests pertaining to the monument review going forward.

      Julka told the staffers to collect records that responded to FOIA requests about the monuments, and forward them to the secretary’s office rather than send them directly to the news outlets, corporations, nonprofits and other groups making the requests. …

      As they say in the Senate, regular order.

      Reply
  2. Kevin

    Once I got past its uncanny resemblance to Teflon Don, I was able to appreciate today’s antidote – beautiful bird!

    Reply
      1. Edward E

        Much less expensive, the Chinese golden pheasant. I was all for putting some clothes on one of the statues the anarchists had made and using it at the swearing in ceremony.

        Reply
  3. allan


    Zinke fires four senior officials over harassment
    [The Hill]

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has fired four senior officials in his department over inappropriate conduct, including sexual harassment, he announced in a video Thursday night.

    Zinke said in a video posted to the Department of the Interior’s website that he had let them go over “inappropriate behavior.”

    “It’s time to acknowledge that we have a problem,” he said in the video.

    Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift told ABC News that the officials who were fired “abused their authority to intimidate or harass fellow employees. This includes but is not limited to sexual harassment.” …

    Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt placed blame on the Obama administration for not addressing the issue beforehand. …

    Not knowing any of the particulars you still have to ask,
    given Zinke’s past untruthfulness and my way or the highway approach,
    whether we’re seeing suppression of dissenting opinion using the #MeToo movement as a smokescreen.
    On what is surely a totally unrelated note,

    Zinke reprimanded park head after climate tweets

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke brought the leader of a California park to his office last month to reprimand him for climate change-related tweets the park had sent via Twitter, two sources close to the situation said.

    Zinke did not take any formal disciplinary action against David Smith, superintendent of Joshua Tree National Park. And the tweets at issue weren’t deleted, because they didn’t violate National Park Service or Interior Department policies.

    But Zinke made it clear to Smith that the Trump administration doesn’t want national parks to put out official communications on climate change.

    And by bringing Smith from California to Washington, D.C., to deliver the tongue-lashing, he also sent a message to the park service at large. …

    Happy Bill of Rights Day.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Zinke makes one long for the tranquil era of James Watt in comparison, he’s so devious and duplicitous for his masters calling, with the guise that he’s an avid outdoorsman that cares about the interior, when all he’s after is what’s underfoot and potential riches to exploit.

      Reply
  4. Jim Haygood

    ‘Nikki Haley … said the US has found evidence that Iranian ballistic missiles were transferred to, and used by, the Houthi rebel group in Yemen, a violation of Tehran’s international obligations.’

    Last month the US House of Representatives resolved 366-30 that U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen is not authorized under legislation passed by Congress to fight terrorism or invade Iraq.

    https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/13/house-yemen-civil-war-authorization-244868

    Nikki Haley — “Voice of the Lobby” to her devotees — blasts Iran for violating international obligations while the US is violating not only international obligations but also its own domestic law (the obsolete AUMF).

    It would be nice to get our country back from people like her.

    Reply
    1. allan

      Shorter Haley: General Powell, hold my beer.

      …At an elaborately staged presentation at a Washington military base, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, showcased weaponry that she said constituted “undeniable” proof that Iran had expanded its support for Houthi rebels in Yemen as it continues to back armed groups in Lebanon, Syria and other countries. …

      The rare decision to publicly present materiel exploited by intelligence analysts underscores the Trump administration’s determination to galvanize new international action against Iran even as President Trump threatens to abandon the 2015 nuclear agreement negotiated by his predecessor and other world powers. …

      “The weapons might as well have had ‘Made in Iran’ stickers all over” them, Haley said …

      One piece of computer equipment had been mined to extract photos that officials said were taken at a facility of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

      The officials said the materiel was handed over by the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and that there was no doubt about its provenance, even though in some cases U.S. officials did not have specific information on where the materiel was recovered. …

      Slam dunk [raises his hands to indicate a touchdown].

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        Even if Haley’s got a 100%-true iron-clad case that Iran has supplied weapons to the Houthis….why am I, or why is any other American supposed to be upset by this?

        If Iran wants to help the Houthis fight the Saudis, I suspect it will be greeted by a giant yawn among the American public. Some might even like the idea.

        Reply
        1. Sid Finster

          I will do you one better.

          As an American, I would be glad to see my tax dollars used to buy the weapons used to drive a wooden stake into the heart of the House of Saud.

          I’d even chip in for a SuperSoaker(tm) of holy water, too.

          Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Haley made a big song and dance about how the Houthis launched a Qaher-M2 Ballistic Missile (http://www.janes.com/images/assets/330/72330/Yemeni_rebels_enhance_ballistic_missile_campaign.pdf) which the Yemeni Houthis had unveiled back in March. Russian sources say that this is basically a modified Scud using Soviet 1970s technology – the same sort that caused a panic in the First Gulf war. And those Patriot missiles failed miserably to intercept it. No word on how the Iranians could have snuck it in through the blockade. Maybe they parachuted it in.
      The point is that Haley was saying how evil the Houthies were for attacking a civilian airport but not one reporter asked why they would have done this for. Nothing about what amounts to genocide of the Yemeni people and the constant aerial attacks. And excuse me for dropping one here but that airport is also the location of Riyadh Air Base which IS a military target. Certainly the diplomats were very much unimpressed with Haley’s presentation. I think that it seriously put the wind up the Saudi’s Khyber though to realize that the Houthis have the capability of hitting the Saudi Arabian capital. They could have also lobbed it at the Saudi oilfields for that matter.
      Equally, the Houthis could have put on display remnants of American missiles that the Suadis are dropping on Yemen but who would let them? Who would care? This is just a cheap stunt by a two-bit neocon to try and drum up support for an anti-Iranian coalition but do we really need a new war in the middle east? And would Arab Street stand still to see a coalition of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel attack an independent Iran? Would any other country want to sign up and send troops to take part in it? If a Coalition of the Willing could not properly subdue Iraq who had a population of some 30 million people, then what will they do with Iran that has a population of over 80 million people and is a much bigger country with a more capable military? I sometimes think that Guantanamo Bay detention camp should be kept open but contain a very different sort of inmate there.

      Reply
  5. Quanka

    Re: trash in the oceans.

    I reiterate my point (and Yves’) about a national composting program, despite some of the follow up comments the last time i made this point. There is plastic everywhere in the world. Composting teaches me to avoid plastic like all things that cannot be reused.

    I highly recommend a book by Raj Patel called The Value of Nothing. The story he uses is that water is “free” (mostly, allow some wiggle room) as in it costs nothing, but its truly the most valuable thing in the world to humans. You cant live more than a couple or few days without it. Diamonds are extremely expensive but outside of cutting hard objects, have no value outside of the glamour effect.

    We mistake price and value to our own detriment.

    This directly applies to trash and composting. We live in a throw away culture because we dont pay the full cost of putting waste into an air tight hole for a million years.

    I second Yves — the more I think about Trash the more depressed I get. At the trash and Poison-producing rate we are currently living, I am not sure the planet will continue to be home for humans (at least all 7-8 B of them) in 50 or 100 years. Once we ruin resources like water and arable land, they are essentially ruined for good. Manufacturing and Consumption processes must be radically reconfigured in the first world to avoid this outcome (if thats even possible at this stage). We then must help the developing world countries transform their ways of living as well (we can’t leave them behind/we’re all in this together/ there is only one planet and we all share it).

    Reply
    1. hreik

      Could not agree more but HOW do we accomplish this? It’s horribly depressing in so many ways but all my composting and recycling isn’t going to do much. won’t stop me from doing it but it has to be widespread and there must be some motivation.

      Reply
      1. Quanka

        I don’t know, but a national composting mandate seems like as good a place to start as any. I am a millennial and perhaps I am so naïve as to think that you can make earth-shattering changes in the world by accident.

        A national composting mandate will — at the very least — force people to look at all things they are throwing away. I am a very environmentally minded person, but until I really took into composting I didn’t realize how much of value we bury in the ground.

        I like to reframe “composting” as “diverting things of value out of the landfill” — it has to be about diversion, capture and re-use of resources. If you think about it … mother nature already is better at this than we are (diverting carbon dioxide from escaping the atmosphere, allowing trees to capture and convert/re-use into something else of value).

        Reply
      2. Chris

        I was in Switzerland in the late 80s. The supermarket I went to had a long bench by the checkout where customers could unwrap what they’d just bought, and leave the surplus packaging for the supermarket to deal with.
        In London last year, I saw individual pieces of fruit being sold on a black polystyrene tray, wrapped in clingfilm. No option to leave the packaging with the supermarket.
        If we continue to treat unnecessary waste as an externality, nothing will change. There is no ‘away’ to which stuff can be thrown.
        Composting is a fine skill (and I do it myself), but until and unless wood pulp trays and (proper) cellophane wrap becomes the norm, it won’t help the problem of plastic waste.

        Reply
        1. jrs

          unless we treat it as a collective problem nothing will change. It’s too overwhelming to ask already over stressed time-crunched individuals to do ever more without any social supports for this in place (around here the city doesn’t even collect recycling from renters and the local recycling place just shut down – to say there is no social support is to put it mildly and that is only the most extreme example).

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            There’s 129 million newlydeads in the Sierra (I’m looking up @ a ridge approx 5,000 feet in altitude where they’re all expired, and we call it Cemetery Ridge now) and the one place they could be ‘recycled’ was bio-mass plants that converted useless trees (no good for lumbering) into electricity, has seen a bunch of those plants go out of business, so there’s scant place for them to go, that is if we could go about culling them out in the first place.

            http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article189641729.html

            Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Doesn’t Germany have some sort of law mandating that everything made in Germany must be recyclable and/or re-usable and that the manufacturer is by law required to take it back for post-use handling once the consumer is done with it?

        Or is my memory wrong?

        If my memory is correct, is the price of everything made in Germany and also sold in Germany high enough to cover the cost of taking it back and treating it for recycling/re-use?

        If all that is true, is the answer for America to force such legislation into existence here in America?

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          Drumlin
          A couple of comments on your comment. I have heard the same in the past about Europe (not necessarily Germany) but I don’t know how accurate it is. “Because markets”, Germany likely gets a lot of stuff from China or South and Southeast Asia also; a good way to avoid the issue of recycling. “It isn’t made here;it’s just passing through to the consumer.” Crapification since the 1950s, if not earlier, has led to the manufacture of things that fail or break easily, and are made in such a way as to prevent the consumer, or anyone else for that matter, from repair. Make it to break easily, and you can sell more.

          I’m old enough to remember not only milk and delivered in glass bottles which were returned to the milkman (the same with soft drinks, soda in the US), but also STAFF in hardware, department and five & dime stores who waited on customers. The owners decided that, instead, they could pass on the cost of packaging which was only wrapped around products to prevent theft and get rid of all that staff whose duty it was to actually help customers. And theft which does occur can be covered by insurance, for a price, but that is a cost of doing business the modern way.

          If products were made of more durable materials, they would last longer (anathema to business owners). In addition, they could be repaired. Once again, products made durable, when no longer needed by the original purchaser, could be repaired, if needed, and resold. See? All those jobs, repairers, and sellers of good quality second-hand products. Manufacturers and importers should be made to take responsibility for packaging, but also for recycling or repurposing end of life products. More jobs, jobs, jobs, no PhDs required.

          Reply
    2. cnchal

      . . . Once we ruin resources like water and arable land, they are essentially ruined for good. Manufacturing and Consumption processes must be radically reconfigured in the first world to avoid this outcome (if thats even possible at this stage).

      We are backsliding biggly. Consider the Foxconn plant in Wisconsin where the land and water is deliberately poisoned as part of the production process by diluting the waste with water. Instead of doing research and development on process improvement to eliminate the use of vast quantities of water. Now we can see why China is an ecological disaster, first hand.

      Reply
      1. witters

        Recently in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, and the whole place is thick with trees. Apparently they have been planting millions and millions, and making the desert shrink and radically reducing dust storms. Sorry if that 1st hand is actually 1st hand, cnchal.

        Reply
        1. cnchal

          No need to be sorry. Glimmer of hope or false hope? Is the decision to plant millions and millions of trees because they want to shrink the desert and thereby reduce dust storms, or to grow a crop of trees?

          The point is that in China anything went with regards to industrial pollution, and in many places it’s still anything goes. The damage is done, and becomes worse with time. Coming to a corner of Wisconsin.

          Reply
    3. Steve H.

      Sorry, Jerri-Lynn:

      Brain damage in fish from plastic nanoparticles in water

      Iirc, most plastic by mass in the ocean is micro, not mechanically harvestable. The initiative is looking at diverting before it gets to the ocean, but at max aims to divert less than 2/10000’s of the inflow. Pretty much all the expected diversions are within the companies themselves. Thus, rebranded normal plastics recycling.

      There are also a couple yellow flags for me. Nextwave specifically mentions a similar organization and then proclaims cooperation rather than competition, but its funding is less transparent. It is directly misleading in terms of where it’s getting its effects, putting up pictures of water, but the definition it uses includes factories within 50km of a waterway. And it dangles future ocean harvesting as an ultimate outcome despite the terrible energetics of the process.

      The smell test leaves me suspicious the main gains are in finance, but lack of transparency means I can’t test the hypothesis. And how something is done offers more insight into the ends than the image projected.

      Reply
    4. knowbuddhau

      Well said, Quanka. Reconnecting, no, more like reintegrating ourselves with the flows and cycles of nature, is exactly what we need. It ties right, no it flows right into my new favorite concept, embodiment (thanks again, Lambert, much obliged). I’m getting into gardening myself. Thanks for the tips. Keep ’em coming.

      And yes, a thousand times, we completely confuse price and value. Look at what’s happening in Utah. The private individuals who are benefiting from the decimation (X100K, the loss of a million acres) of these particular National Parks, are not paying the price for the costs they externalize from their holy spreadsheets. Some of the outrage is due to this rapine practice happening to lands where there are still people who’ve been there for thousands of years.

      How is it that we come to confuse price and value? A lot of time here is spent on where price comes from. Whence come values? How is it that we’ve come to value land in terms of quite artificial prices? Are there other ways to relate to land?

      IMNSHO, the question of the hour is, valuing land in what terms has produced a society of people who not only price land, they do it in terms exclusively of the products of holy spreadsheets deliberately designed not to account for all the known effects? I like Michael Hudson’s metaphor. This values system, this world view, this mythology embodies as a parasite as lethal as it is stupid. It thinks it’s absolutely other than the very source of its own life.

      To get an idea of the true value of land, consider how long you’d live without water. Now consider how long you’d live without having been born in the first place because they was no earth to birth you. Land is not a commodity. Land is us. It’s the precondition for even being here.

      I’m looking for answers in comparing and contrasting the ways mythologies generate relationships with nature. Ours is so obviously broken it’s painfully self-evident. Even to the likes of Alan gd Greenspan.

      In the Newtonian world, actions don’t affect the stage of reality. In the quantum world, actions are the stage. Lots and lots of peoples knew this long, long ago. (Sometimes I can’t tell whether a given audiobook/lecture/video is supposed to be on quantum physics or Hindu or Buddhist cosmology. Plenty of indigenous cultures knew/know this). Takes a while for us all, as babies and societies, I suppose, to grow up and learn that our actions aren’t in isolation, we’re in fact a larger world.

      Valuing land in terms of kinship produced a society of people who never thought of putting a price on land. That wouldn’t be merely like whoring your own mother, it would actually be whoring your own Mother. They managed to live in the same places for thousands of years. We know this empirically. And look, they’re still not dead yet, despite an ongoing genocidal project centuries old now (if you think the Indian Wars are over, the widespread Anti-Indian Movement has news for you).

      How’s the other value system doing? It’s too depressing to look sometimes.

      For the really adventurous, try referring to nature in terms of kinship. I am not only from my Mother Earth, I am Mother Earth, just as a baby and its mother aren’t absolutely two. It’s scientifically valid, so what’s the problem? What’s wrong with having a direct relationship with the cycles of material and energy that birth us? What’s so great about lionizing ever more aloofness from nature as the sine qua non of The Good Life, every man living like a king in his castle? Where did we get that metaphor, what’s on deck, and can we get another up and running in time? (Dear cosmic PTB, please don’t let it be that abomination arising out of Silicon Valley.)

      IMNSHO, the problem is, we modern, industrialized, self-styled as civilized earthlings don’t recognize ourselves as such. And we’re f^cking it all up for the rest. Ours is not the one and only way of being human, you know, so can we please stop with the “humans deserve to die” crap vis-a-vis climate change?

      Did people really give you flak, Quanka, for suggesting composting? I’ll have to look that up. I think it’s brilliant.

      Reply
    5. Oregoncharles

      There are widespread municipal programs to compost yard- and food-waste. There’s a big one in my area, and I use the product constantly in landscaping. It’s black gold. The chief danger is contamination from pesticides, but there turns out to be relatively little.

      Wood waste is chipped and used for paper, too.

      That doesn’t take care of the trash. Landfills do actually compost, if there’s enough moisture (in dry areas, you can dig up readable newspapers decades later), as there usually is here. If sealed, they produce natural gas, which here is burned to produce electricity (and some is flared off, which always offends me). That leaves all the other residue, and contamination is a very real problem there. Even inks and adhesives can be a big problem.

      Ultimately, of course, the landfills will be mines, and our descendants will wonder what was wrong with us, if there are any descendants. At a presentation on plastics in the ocean, one scientist said we might as well put them in the landfill, where they tie up carbon and will eventually be mined. Recycling is that difficult.

      Personally, I compost everything that will rot (including some wastes they say not to – which is how I met the neighborhood skunk. I wondered who was digging those big holes.), and recycle everything I can. We fill five cans a couple times of year. Saves a lot on garbage pickup, which we don’t have. I am quite familiar with the dump, though.

      Reply
  6. Dita

    This question may have been answered and I missed it but…doesn’t repeal of net neutrality and divvying up access present a direct threat to the banking/brokerage/government system? My bank closed the location nearest me and so I now rely on the net for most activites. Not to mention paying bills. Will access to these necessities be bundled? Bungled?

    Reply
    1. Mark P.

      doesn’t repeal of net neutrality and divvying up access present a direct threat to the banking/brokerage/government system?

      Yes. Also to cloud computing and all sorts of things. The FCC bill is a money grab, but also — as written — technologically illiterate — deeply stupid about how the Internet works and what the Internet is.

      I don’t know whether Ajit Pai and co. actually are that stupid technologically or just acting that way to make a money-grab for the ISPs.

      If the latter, their strategy is, so to speak, to pretend that the consumer Web is the Internet — counting on most journalists, politicians and the average person being too ignorant to understand the difference. However, the FCC bill as proposed incites pretty much every other corporate sector to become an enemy of the ISPs. In 2017, it’s not even clear that the U.S. economy can continue to function if the ISPs were allowed to eff around with network infrastructure as it proposes. And, not incidentally, the ISPs don’t own most of the Internet fiber and backbone, the DNS companies, etc. — they effectively own the last mile to many consumers and that’s it.

      So my money is on Ajit Pai and the present FCC being merely shyster, technologically illiterate lawyers who don’t realize that they’re technological morons.

      Reply
  7. Jim Haygood

    Our RuSI (Russian Saudi Iran) index of eurasian oil producers had a good week ending Thursday, rising 1.42% versus a 0.62% gain for SPY, an S&P 500 index tracker. Chart:

    http://ibb.co/bKM4pm

    Both Russia and Iran rose as Brent crude hovered near its high of the year, while Saudi Arabia (represented by the ETF with symbol KSA) remained flat.

    Like West Texas Intermediate, Brent crude futures are backwardated out to 2022, implying near-term supply tightness. Secure your 2022 fuel needs now, while supplies last:

    http://www.cmegroup.com/trading/energy/crude-oil/brent-crude-oil.html

    Reply
  8. Wukchumni

    Friluftsliv: The Nordic concept of getting outdoors BBC
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I used to live in 2 worlds, one where I profited from business acumen and money meant everything, and the other place where money meant nothing. It was an odd contradiction and the latter kept pulling me away from the former, as the strenuous life outdoors was so rewarding in payoff, and largely unchanged from the way it looked when I first feasted my eyes upon it at a tender age. I finally gave way to contemplation, left one world behind, and never looked back.

    And all this talk of trashing the planet isn’t apparent in the back of beyond, in perhaps 5,000 miles of walking the Sierra Nevada, i’ve brought back enough carelessly left human debris to fill a full-sized backpack, in total.

    “I have learned that In quiet places, reason abounds, that in quiet people there is vision and purpose, that many things are revealed to the humble that are hidden from the great.”~ Adlai Stevenson

    Reply
    1. Wyoming

      When I was hiking the PCT in 2016 I ran into a trio of hikers who were well known at the time for making a point of hauling out all the trash they could find. They had done the same on the Appalachian Trail the previous year. When I met them about 400 miles north of Mexico they told me that they had already passed 1 ton of trash they had hauled out. Their totals on the AT were well above that.

      I hike thousands of miles a year (maybe 25,000 total to date) and do volunteer trail maintenance in the AZ national forests and wilderness areas a couple of times a week when I am not out hiking. I haul lots of trash out of the wilderness.

      My most impressive find was a boat trailer in a wilderness in AZ – still had air in the tires. I’m not kidding. It was in the bushes alongside a river. Must have washed downstream in a flood or something as there were no roads in the area. I have also found huge amounts of heavy machinery in wilderness areas in AZ left over from the mining days. Also the remains of vehicles. Four tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, a snowmobile, weather balloons, kayak paddles. It is endless.

      So my experiences are exactly the opposite of yours.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        That’s interesting, and most of my miles walked are in the National Park here (Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP is the ultimate backpacking park as far as i’m concerned) and perhaps that makes a difference, as there was never any industry allowed, and few structures. Sometimes way off trail i’ll come across old campfire rings where you’ll occasionally see aged rusted tin cans that literally fall apart with the slightest pressure applied.

        I’ve never encountered any trash too large to fit in my backpack, and the commonest article I come across is those helium mylar balloons (Happy Birthday!) that drift into the higher climes, where they stand out like so many sore thumbs.

        Reply
        1. Wyoming

          That’s a point. There are some places that are ‘real’ wildernesses in that they were never used for anything due to their remoteness. But the vast majority of our designated ‘wildernesses’ were reclaimed from human use due to their specialness and we are returning them to their once natural state.

          All most all of the wilderness areas were once the locations of ranching, logging and mining operations and, thus they are covered in old roads and train tracks left over from that time. Big scars and huge erosion problems. I’ve seen gully’s 15 feet deep caused by the poor location of an old mining or ranch road here in AZ. Another perfect example are the sand mountains on the PCT just south of Tehachapi where the dirt bikers of the 60’s and 70’s used to do hill climbing. There is some of the ugliest erosion problems I have ever seen. In another 500 years all of those mountains (really giant hills) will be a maze of very deep gully’s and half washed away. In AZ alone there are 100,000 abandoned mining sites.

          If we could see the world pre-man and compare it to today it would be the greatest condemnation of civilization possible.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Yeah, there’s a lot of wilderness that isn’t so wild.

            We like to go to Willett & Sespe hot springs in the Los Padres NF, and it’s strictly a hiking/horse trail now, but you could drive there until the early 1970’s, and when the Day Fire laid waste to the area in 2006, it burned savagely and took out the understory in entirety. Fast forward a year later and we’re walking the trail, and were confronted with so much glass & metal trash from way back when that was tossed from moving vehicles, that we couldn’t take it all out, just too much.

            Reply
      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        my experience is similar.
        before my legs and back gave out, I used to frequent a 12 mile stretch of the Llano River(the Mason County leg), from long habit in the woods, I always brought trash bags in the tackle box, and never left the river with less than one big leaf bag full of beer cans and diapers and whatnot.It was always concentrated at those few places where vehicles had easy access…debris fields…but it would inevitably wash downstream. Humans are disgusting.
        Once, I was in the canoe fishing under the high bridge where 87 crosses the Llano, and someone passing by overhead tossed out a diaper, and it landed in the bow of the canoe…scared the hell out of me.
        there are a few old cars and even a tractor along my stretch of river…circa 1930-1950 vintage…but in that limited experience, the fish have made a home in them. That said, there’s only so much debris such places(or the world at large) can absorb, and it sure looks like we’ve fouled the nest…maybe beyond repair.
        I’d like to be a bug on the wall of some alien archeological mission 10,000 years hence.

        Reply
    2. jrs

      Now there is a place that isn’t going to sell off their national parks for some fast profit maybe. Too bad the U.S. sucks.

      But what can one say, mostly in the U.S. we live in a world where business acumen and money means everything, life itself nothing, and why would anyone bother to go spend time outside unless there is a profit in it or something.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        When I lived in L.A., on the tv news, the only indication that anybody ever ventured into the wilderness, was the ‘lost hiker’ story, and if said sad sack perished, the news readers would glimpse at each other with a look that spoke volumes without saying a word, but the implication was, what was he or she doing out there?

        Reply
  9. Bandit

    In reference to the article, MEMO TO CBS ON GEORGE W. BUSH: DAN RATHER GOT IT (MOSTLY) RIGHT, the movie sited “Truth” which has been out on DVD for over a year. That it is just now showing up on American screens seems a bit strange to me. Can anyone explain?

    Reply
  10. toshiro_mifune

    With regards to the Disney acquisition of Fox; Is this just going to be a replay of the ClearChannel buyouts of terrestrial radio in the late 90’s through early 00’s? I remember at the time how controversial they were but I also remember thinking that ClearChannel was busy buying stations in a media landscape with a much diminished future. Anyone looking at the future of either broadcast TV or cable can see the impact cord cutting is going to have, and is currently having. Is Disney just buying assets that have past their peak value?
    I suppose the production houses and their intellectual property do have value. Honestly though, how much? They have Star Wars but is anyone doubting their ability to drive that franchise in to the ground in about another 4 years?

    Reply
    1. Scott

      I think there is good chance that Disney destroys the Fox network, but the real motivation behind it looks to be to take on Netflix, as well as the IP associated with the assets. Disney will probably take full control of Hulu, which in combination with their investment with MLBAM, will make them a serious competition (that may actually have better streaming technology than Netflix or Amazon). Their existing assets alone probably aren’t enough, soadding Fox’s library to streaming likely benefits them as well. They will get full control over Star Wars and X-Men, as well as Fox’s most valuable properties (e.g. The Simpsons), and Disney has done a very good job managing their IP over the years.

      They also acquired the regional sports networks. Given the difficulties with ESPN over the past few years, could they be trying to cut costs and then spinoff the combined sports entity?

      But in general, there are two big threats – the damage to the quality of local production will likely be diminished and the further integration of entertainment, which has already hurt the quality (and ratings of TV) as the networks favor shows that they own despite lower ratings, pushing them to the magic number for syndication (100).

      The Vox article itself reads like the paranoia of a coastal neo-liberal more than actual reasons to oppose the merger. Giving Murdoch money isn’t a reason to oppose the merger. As for the quality of movies and television, I’m much more ambivalent about the ones actually listed in the article – I didn’t like many of them and I don’t exactly like big blockbusters either.

      Reply
  11. Jim Haygood

    LatAm’s refugee crisis intensifies:

    From Mexico to Argentina, immigration agencies are reporting skyrocketing numbers of Venezuelan arrivals, doubling and even tripling the total for previous years. The Venezuelan diaspora is estimated to be about 1.1 million — more than 4% of the population — although the country long ago stopped publishing official numbers.

    Peru introduced a special temporary visa in February to address the growing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. Nearly 30,000 Venezuelans have applied so far for the visa, which includes a temporary work permit.

    Garrinzon González runs the Venezuelan Union in Peru, a self-help group for immigrants in Lima that has nearly 20,000 Facebook followers. “There’s nothing to buy in the shops in Venezuela now anyway,” he said. “Here you can have a roof over your head and stable work very quickly after you arrive.”

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/12/14/flood-venezuelans-fleeing-their-depressed-country/941463001/

    A surprising fact about LatAm is its relatively liberal policies toward allowing economic migrants from neighboring countries to work legally — a tolerance which is nonexistent in North America, despite NAFTA.

    Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Even among siblings or family members, it is often so.

          “I don’t care we used to share everything as kids. I felt I was forced to.”

          Reply
          1. diptherio

            Which is why using negative and positive reinforcement to manipulate people into doing the “right” thing is counter-productive, even with children. They may do what you want, but they won’t do it for the reason that you want, and who knows what hidden effects your manipulation may cause.

            Reply
            1. knowbuddhau

              You know it, my wise elder brother. Been making that same point to a manager at work. Despite having a much more detailed knowledge of quantum mechanics than I’ll ever have, whose modernity extends to claiming atheism, his management style isn’t just old school carrot-and-stick, it’s good ol’ boy school sin-and-damnation.

              He even facetiously longed for bringing back stockades and public humiliation. “Yahweh or the highway, eh?”

              Shame and humiliation don’t beget cooperation. They beget sullen compliance, and passions for vengeance, however petty or slight. How is hurting people supposed to get them to want to help you?

              It’s much more effective to identify with people, see the world from their perspective, etc. I was having a problem with closers who always neglected to wipe down the doors of a big stainless cooler. All that gleaming stainless should be a feature, a testament to our most excellent methods and standards, not a gd eyesore.

              And then I stood where they stand on the way out the door. That vast expanse of glorious stainless steel is edge on from there. Can’t see it at all. After I mentioned that in a kind reminder in the pub log, they started getting it.

              Reply
  12. fresno dan

    Holy Cow! Bovine Escapes Live Nativity in Philly Twice in One Morning; Makes Way Onto I-95, Parking Garage NBC Philadelphia

    The Rev. Michael Caine says it looks as if someone tampered with the enclosure before the initial escape. But it was unclear how Stormy escaped the second time.
    ==========
    Duh…miracle.

    Reply
  13. fresno dan

    WINE GLASSES ARE ALMOST SEVEN TIMES BIGGER THAN THEY WERE 300 YEARS AGO Quartz

    Although your “one glass of wine with dinner” probably isn’t filled to the rim, even a mildly generous pour today dwarfs those of previous generations. Wine glasses made in the past 20 years or so hold around 459 milliliters of liquid—more than 16 oz.

    They weren’t always this big. In the 1700s, you’d have likely poured an exceedingly modest 66 ml (2.2 oz) of wine—not much bigger than a 21st-century shot glass—according to a study published on Dec. 13 in the Christmas edition of the BMJ, an annual home for more lighthearted scientific papers.
    ================================================
    They say that like its a bad thing….
    WE NEED BIGGER WINE GLASSES. In the 1700’s they had the king of England. I predict by the end of the Trump administration that wine glasses will dwarf a seven eleven slurpee

    Reply
    1. Romancing The Loan

      They might have used tiny glasses but in the 1700s, people who could afford it routinely drank 1-2 bottles of wine a day…and the bottles were still the same size. Alexandre Dumas’s books have a number of rather mouthwatering passages where the hero orders himself up a chicken, a wedge of cheese, a few apples, and just goes to town on three bottles of wine.

      Reply
      1. paul

        I think the size of the wine bottle was limited by the lung capacity of the average glass blower (the superstars could make magnums etc).
        Plus the alcohol content was closer to a lite beer in those days. The antiseptic/bacterial qualities of the ferments were their chief attraction.
        I recall stewart granger as beau brumell responding to his latest setback in the tale by ordering a pint of oysters and a magnum of champagne

        Reply
        1. paul

          If anyone has enough disposable hours to watch that film without experiencing a tear forming, I suggest forwarding their resum&eacute to m zuckerberg.

          Reply
        2. Romancing The Loan

          The drink called “small beer” was miller-lite-ish and a healthy substitute for the impure water, but I don’t know that the alcohol content of wine was all that different a few centuries ago. Wines under 8% alcohol don’t keep well in any case. They didn’t let children drink wine (just small beer) and it was considered more of a “man’s drink” whereas (regular) beer was for ladies with their “weaker heads for drink.”

          Maybe for New Years I’ll try to match beau brumell’s feat.

          Reply
      2. tegnost

        After reading the three musketeers many years ago I had a brief problem having flagons of wine because it really sounded fun but geez you you get really wasted on a flagon of wine, even if you drink it alongside a whole chicken and a baguette. That kind of living will catch up with you, and the sooner the better I’d guess

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Gérard Dépardieu claimed to have drunk 14 bottles of wine a day, and I don’t know how that’s possible, as you’d have to train hard to attain the ability to retain that much alcohol.

          We were @ Oktoberfest in Munich one time, and the building we were in was full of young Antipodeans and they all had matching t-shirts designed for the event, and when they popped the first keg (this was opening day) we quaffed down our first liter, and by the 4th we were plastered, and stumbled out of the beer hall, and avoided the temptation to go on the carnival rides just outside the building, and got onto the subway and made it back to our hotel and slept it off, returning to the same beer hall @ 8 pm, and said Aussies & Kiwis who had been there all day had written hash marks on their t-shirts, signifying how many liters each had drank.

          The most I counted was 18.

          Reply
          1. Tooearly

            Bottle of wine is what ,roughly 6 shots?
            A friend of mine drank a fifth of vodka a day for a year. So about 4 bottles of wine equivalent?
            He was pretty much done in by it. 14 seems hard to fathom.

            Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I collect (mostly stoneware) tea bowls….some appraised to be from the song dynasty (around 1,000 years ago).

      The ancient tea bowls (many as big as a rice bowl) are bigger than today’s tea cups. These are not necessarily imperial bowls, but likely families of scholar-gentlemen and government officials.

      Most likely the size was due the way tea was drink – it was not fermented tea leaves to be steeped, but powdered tea to be whisked (the fashion when it was introduced into Japan and preserved in Chado even today). Under one particularly famous Northern Song emperor, Huizong, whisking competitions were held often due to its popularity…so popular, they forgot the Jurchens to the north, and the capital was soon captured, both the emperor (by then retired) and his son (who was reigning) taken prisoners, their wives, concubines and daughters reduced to earning a living as ‘working girls.’

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The link above was in reference to an even early drinking vessel, in particular, Shang dynasty (around 3,500 years ago), a ‘Gu’ bronze wine vessel.

        The few that I have seen are around 15, 16 or so inches tall. I don’t know if it was filled almost to the brim or not.

        We can compare that to ancient Greek or Roman goblets.

        Reply
  14. Marco

    Rescinded work eligibility for spouses of H1-B holders.

    As a sometimes unemployed software dev am I an ogre for being happy about this? I recently interviewed at what can only be decribed as a software “boiler room” with devs shoulder to shoulder where I would probably be the only non-south Asian employed.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The law is the law; justice is justice.

      We have to make room for compassion when applying any reasonably just law. We can’t just ignore it.

      If a law is unjust, we change it.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Sometimes, the only way to change a law is to repeatedly break it. The FIRE sectors’ shenanigans of the last few decades comes to mind.
        “As above, so below.”

        Reply
      2. John k

        What unjust laws have been changed recently?
        If none, should I conclude all of our laws are just?
        If all are just, does it follow we live in a just society?

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          it’s a mixed bag.

          Life is a journey as well…in the process of changing something, this or that.

          And if it has not been changed, it should not imply it will not be.

          Reply
  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    After backlash, animal shelter fires security robot, “effective immediately” Ars Technica. And not a moment too soon!

    That’s step 1.

    Step 2: What about those homeless (human) animals – all of us humans are in the animal kingdom, scientifically speaking – outside the animal shelter? Do they not deserve shelter as well?

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      There ought to be a rescue group set up to help those homeless humans. Perhaps it could sell bumper stickers with a human paw print and the slogan “I love my rescue.”

      Reply
  16. Marco

    Silly Thought Experiment

    Is it against the law to openly bribe a lawmaker to vote one way or the other? We talk about the routine subservience of lawmakers to their corporate (and oligarch) doners. Could someone offer $25 million to a senator to vote NAY on the tax bill? Would they go to jail? Or just sanctioned? What if you paid them to just stay home and pretend to be sick? What is the average senator’s price?

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Marco
      December 15, 2017 at 9:33 am

      Marco, you just have to put it into correct Washington speak lingo and phrase it correctly:
      I am starting a foundation with an initial grant of 250 million dollars to fund, support, and study alternative legislation to the current tax law. We will also be setting up a NUMBER of PACS to support various permutations of alternative tax legislation.

      What you get depends on what you say.
      You can say to a potential lover: I wanna f*ck your eyes out….and get slapped
      You can say to a potential lover: I love you with all my heart and soul and you make my life worth living…and you might get lucky.
      Only the inarticulate go to jail…..

      Reply
    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      Ha!
      I’ve long contemplated such an experiment, if I’d only had the spare couple of thousand dollars.
      I used to write a lot of emails to my congress critters(and other peoples’, too). The only time I got a call-back was when I threatened to steal a boat and go to Cuba for my hip replacement(it took 6.5 years to get a hip, so dysfunctional is our disability system).
      I’ve often wondered how long it would take the actual Congress Critter(as opposed to their minions) to call me if I first sent a large check.
      That would be a hellova story for some enterprising journalist.

      Reply
  17. fresno dan

    The Simpsons predicted Disney would buy Fox nearly 20 years ago and this is getting ridiculous Metro UK

    In episode When You Dish Upon A Star from season 10 in 1998, a scene shows the outside of the Fox studio where ‘A Division Of Walt Disney Co’ is written on a sign placed in front of the building. Even more bizarrely, the scene continues to go inside the studio where a poster of Star Wars appears on the wall while Ron Howard pitches film ideas.

    In case you aren’t aware, Disney purchased the rights to Star Wars and Lucasfilm 14 years later in 2012, while Howard is also set to direct upcoming spin-off Solo: A Star Wars Story. It joins the worryingly long-list of events The Simpsons has predicted, including Lady Gaga performances, John Lewis Christmas adverts and Trump becoming President.
    ================================================
    This just shows the lack of political acumen in our punditocracy and main stream media – not one major publication or network came to the conclusion that Trump would win based on an analysis of The Simpsons
    If Naked Capitalism really wants to up its political analysis game, it should get NotTimotheyGeithner to comment on each Simpsons episode….

    Reply
    1. voteforno6

      Between The Simpsons, Mike Judge and his movies, and Seth McFarlane calling out people for sexual assault years before that broke, maybe we need to totally rethink how we approach the punditocracy.

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        paul
        December 15, 2017 at 11:14 am

        Thanks for that
        but it would have been more impressive if it had told the truth in number 4 – its not horse meat, its rat meat….
        alas, even the Simpsons succumb to the influence of BIG cafeteria

        Reply
    2. Mark P.

      If Naked Capitalism really wants to up its political analysis game…

      … it would point out that the really significant part of a Disney-Fox merger would be that Marvel gets back the rights to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, which means they get all the really good Marvel villains, Doctor Doom and Galactus and Magneto.

      Reply
  18. DonCoyote

    “After backlash, animal shelter fires security robot, “effective immediately” Ars Technica. And not a moment too soon!”

    The next day, the robot applies for unemployment benefits. “I have only been programmed to hassle homeless people around pet shelters, and there are no current openings. I will not vacuum your floor!” he transmits to bemused UI case worker.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      DonCoyote
      December 15, 2017 at 9:37 am

      undocumented roombas, flooding in from the Canadian border, and reprogrammed to hassle homeless people around pet shelters, reduce robot wages to 0.0000000000001 cent per century…..

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      If I didn’t want homeless people to hang around animals, i’d play a constant diet of You Light Up My Life by Debbie Boone & Afternoon Delight by the Starland Vocal Band, with Heartbeat It’s a Lovebeat by the De Franco Family as a chaser.

      Reply
  19. Jim Haygood

    Oh my my deja vu — yesterday Senator Ron Johnson issued a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, turning the volume up to 11. Excerpts:

    The FBI’s [document] production included early drafts of FBI Director Comey’s July 5th statement clearing Hillary Clinton of criminal wrongdoing.

    On May 2, 2016 Comey emailed a draft statement to Deputy Director McCabe a full two months before the FBI had completed over a dozen interviews, including Secretary Clinton …

    On May 6, McCabe forwarded the statement to Peter Strzok, E. W. Priestap, Jonathan Moffa, and an employee in the Office of General Counsel whose name has been redacted. The [subsequent] edits appear to change the substance and tone of Comey’s statement in at least three respects:

    1. Repeated edits to reduce Secretary Clinton’s culpability in mishandling classified information [examples follow]

    2. Edits to remove reference to the Intelligence Community’s role in identifying vulnerabilities related to Secretary Clinton’s private email server [example follows]

    3. Edits to downgrade the likelihood that hostile actors had penetrated Secretary Clinton’s private server [examples follow]

    This effort … raises profound questions about the FBI’s role and [its] possible interference in the 2016 election

    https://www.scribd.com/document/367205031/2017-12-14-RHJ-to-FBI-Re-Comey-July-5-Statement

    Sure, there’s a partisan angle underlying this letter. But its public revelation of the squalid details of the FBI’s internal sausage making — all tending in one pro-Hillary direction — is enhanced by Strzok’s unseemly partisanship in his leaked emails.

    Bill Clinton had his notorious tarmac meeting with then-AG Loretta Lynch on June 27th, just over a week before Comey’s dramatic July 5th statement which (we now know) had been massaged internally for over two months before all the evidence was even collected.

    Means, motive, opportunity …

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “The [subsequent] edits appear to change the substance and tone of Comey’s statement in at least three respects:…”

      Knowing Bill is a great lawyer, do we anticipate him (or their team) to say, subsequently edits = as more evidence came to light in the course of investigation, without revealing what more evidence they ran across during that?

      “So, of course, we had to put in those edits. Fair is fair…depending on what the meaning of is is, and what you mean by ‘more evidence’…”

      Reply
      1. Jim Haygood

        Great lawyers think alike:

        First draft: “There is evidence to support a claim that Secretary Clinton … used the private server in a manner that was grossly negligent …”

        Final draft: “We did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws … they were extremely careless …”

        Johnson’s letter demands, “What evidence supported these changes?

        Reply
    2. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      December 15, 2017 at 9:48 am

      You know, the NYT has a list of lies of Obama and Trump. And I want to focus on one NYT Trump lie: Trump saying Obama had Trump wiretapped.

      Now, months ago I was ranting and raving about the FISA courts and warrants. Yeah, its an in the weeds kind of thing – but its the kind of thing that knowledgeable and sophisticated political bureaucrats can manipulate to their own partisan advantage. (NOTE: I think Trump and Flynn are guilty of corruption for a buck – not anything political).

      NOW, I am not too sympathetic to the repubs – what with Trump’s oft expressed rhetoric that due process is for sissies. And the repubs (OF COURSE, as well as Obama and the dems * – HEY, I’m talking about OBAMA circumventing the 4th amendment!!!) sponsor ship of the Patriot Act, and the amendment of the Patriot Act to diminish the constitution even more.

      We live in such a world of public relations and bullsh*t – where dems pretend they are for civil liberties and repubs pretend they are for limited government. Will the repubs now see how important the 4th amendment is….NAH. The ONLY error that police power can ever make is investigating rich republicans….

      fresno dan’s corollary to Mencken’s rule: Law and order is the theory that the common republicans know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
      ===========================

      *Patriot Act
      http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/05/27/congress.patriot.act/index.html

      Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    US regulators vow to be on guard for bitcoin risks FT
    ~~~~~~~~

    One funny aspect of numismatricks in a cyber vein, is the genuine article-numismatics, is a dying hobby. Prices have been falling on collectible coins for some time now, and the aspect of young adults picking up the slack in terms of becoming collectors?

    They’re busy playing video games or goofing off on the internet.

    Reply
  21. JacobiteInTraining

    Few here will likely agree with their politics…I am not a big fan either…but I hope most can understand and agree that with every lack of discretion by law enforcement, every unnecessary transgression, every descent into thuggish behavior – the odds of that same conduct (and worse) gets likelier to be applied against those you *do* agree with…so when the eye of sauron gets around to deciding that what you and yours think is no longer acceptable – be very aware of what will be used against YOU:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2017/12/blm_investigator_alleges_misco.html

    They don’t call them Fedcoats for no reason at all.

    Reply
  22. allan

    Harvard Econ cage match:

    Robert Barro’s Tax-Reform Advocacy: A Response [Project Syndicate]

    Robert Barro is a serious and careful economist, but he makes errors in modeling the actual provisions of the Republican tax plan, and he chooses parameters that distort his conclusions substantially upward. Instead of using his insights to defend and promote the GOP tax legislation, Barro should have helped to shape a much better bill.

    Mostly behind a paywall, but bottom line is that Barro predicted a 7% annual growth rate over the decade,
    while Furman and Summers say that using the same model on the actual bill gives 1.3%.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s always about choosing parameters and assumptions with any model.

      When the future is here, there will be so many other unexpected factors the prediction is forgotten or irrelevant…maybe (for the seer).

      Reply
      1. allan

        Well, using the correct number of C corporations in the US economy,
        and applying the provisions of the bill consistently (rather than picking and choosing),
        which together contribute 2% to the correction claimed by F-S,
        is more basic than “choosing parameters and assumptions”.
        One might even describe not doing it as bad faith.

        Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I can’t find 2% in either of the 2 links you provided (up to the point before giving one’s email address).

            Is that 2% from 1.3% or from 7%? Is that 2% of 7%?

            Are there other parameters or assumptions that contribute to the difference between 1.3% and 7%?

            Reply
            1. allan

              The second link is to a tweet from Furman with a screenshot of a graph from the post behind the paywall …

              Barro not using the right proportion of C corporations was worth a -1.1% decrease in the estimated growth over the decade. Inconsistent modeling of the expiring provisions was worth -0.9%. And (two things I should have mentioned) using overly broad application (whatever that means) of the bill’s provisions is worth another -0.5%,
              while using a figure for “elasticity of capital” from a Council of Economic Advisors report that Barro himself cites is another -0.6%.

              So, right off the bat, 3.1% of the Barro’s claimed 7% growth is based on what F-S are basically describing as sloppy (or mis-) interpretations of the bill.

              The other corrections sound more subjective (IANAE), but for someone at Barro’s pay grade this seems like bad faith argument.

              Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Thanks.

                It seems he was called out for some obvious fudging (3.1%), in addition to all the usual subjective latitude about picking parameters and assumptions (3.9%).

                Maybe he should have left it at 3.9% vs. 1.3%. The former would have still made it look pretty good, as far as predictions (they are very hard) go.

                Reply
    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Poor Nooners will be quite distraught if Sanders makes a comeback. All that Democrat identitarian white male hatin’ is good for her brand; it’s defeat would negatively impact her.

      Reply
  23. diptherio

    Here’s my favorite story of local action to address garbage collection, sorting, recycling. As an added bonus for NC readers, it includes an alternative currency used in conjunction with public transit…call it local-level MMT:

    http://www.lietaer.com/2010/09/the-story-of-curitiba-in-brazil/

    Garbage was a major problem in Curitiba, the capital of the southeastern state of Paraná, Brazil. Its urban population had mushroomed from 120,000 in 1942 to 2.3 million in 1997. Many of the inhabitants lived in favelas, shantytowns made of cardboard and corrugated metal. Garbage collection trucks could not enter these favelas as the streets were not wide enough. The garbage piled up and disease broke out.

    Jaime Lerner, who became mayor of Curitiba in 1971, did not have funds to apply customary solutions, such as bulldozing the area or building new streets. Bond measures, further taxation, or federal assistance were simply not options. Another way had to be found.

    What Curitiba did have was an abundance of food supplies owing to the fertile lands and tropical climate of southeastern Brazil. It also had a municipal bus system that was underutilized, with many favela residents unable to afford public transportation. Mayor Lerner made use of these local resources to help resolve Curitiba’s urban issues.

    Large metallic bins were placed at the edge of the favelas. Anyone who deposited a bag full of pre-sorted garbage received a bus token. Those who collected paper and cartons were given plastic chits, exchangeable for parcels of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, a school-based garbage collection program supplied poorer students with notebooks.

    Tens of thousands of children responded by picking the neighborhoods clean. Parents made use of the tokens to travel downtown, oftentimes to find jobs. The bus tokens were soon accepted at local markets in exchange for food. In one three-year period, more than 100 schools traded 200 tons of garbage for 1.9 million notebooks. The paper-recycling component alone saved the equivalent of 1,200 trees—each day!

    Eventually, more than 70% of Curitiban households became involved in the programs. The 62 poorer neighborhoods alone exchanged 11,000 tons of garbage for nearly a million bus tokens and 1,200 tons of food. Other programs were created to finance the restoration of historical buildings, create green areas, and provide housing—all by methods that placed little or no financial burden on the municipality.

    Reply
    1. Eclair

      Creative solutions! Seattle has once more emptied out most of the encampments formed by people who have no homes (except those they make from tents and cardboard), although this time with more sensitivity.

      One of the ‘problems’ citied was ‘uncollected garbage.’

      Reply
      1. jrs

        I’m almost of the opinion we should build refugee camps for the homeless that of course they are free to leave anytime, but just have set aside areas that they can camp with adequate toilets, showers etc. as most homeless encampments don’t meet refugee standards. And though this might sound very modest proposal, short of some way to getting more long term affordable housing there really isn’t any solution and anyone who pretends there is without talking about housing affordability long term is lying. Some will be helped by drug treatment, some by mental health treatment, but there are sane homeless, even some with jobs even, who just can’t afford housing.

        Reply
  24. edmondo

    Alexei Ulyukayev: Putin’s ex-economy minister sentenced to eight years in prison colony for accepting bribe

    I bet that Bob Menendez is happy he’s from Hoboken and not Vladivostok.

    Reply
  25. fresno dan

    I don’t know if the Trump will cut social security reporting has officially reached the kerfuffle stage yet…..

    https://www.snopes.com/trump-social-security/

    There’s often a considerable disconnect between the promises candidates make on the campaign trail and the positions they take in office — especially when those promises differ from the stands taken by other powerful members of their own party — so we can’t predict whether or not Donald Trump will hold the line against any and all Social Security cuts.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Social Security cuts will impact all, including one’s own supporters.

      What political math will prompt politicians to commit such an act of seppuku,, except perhaps as a testimony (or test) of the greatness of our propaganda ministry?

      “Give them more and better circuses!”

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        “Better circuses…”
        Disney is on that one Chief!
        In an unusual inversion of the traditional “order of things,” the Mouse has been set to guard the Foxhouse.

        Reply
  26. JohnnyGL

    https://twitter.com/KanielaIng/status/941470865748738049

    Repubs better tread carefully with their agenda, the backlash may yet bring in some congressional reps with CRAZY ideas like publicly owned utilities, you know, like the ones that exist all over the country and deliver perfectly good value for money (unlike the private ones that gauge all the time).

    The guy above is a candidate for Hawaii’s 1st district. Seems like he’s got a good shot. I just saw him interviewed on TYT.

    Reply
  27. Lord Koos

    I predict that Paul Ryan’s political retirement will be when he is tossed out by Wisconsin voters next year.

    However, I’m sure he will be well rewarded for his years of service.

    Reply
  28. Lord Koos

    “How The Net Neutrality Vote May Block Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency Trading”

    Perhaps this is a feature, not a bug?

    Reply
  29. Summer

    The Simpsons predicted Disney would buy Fox nearly 20 years ago and this is getting ridiculous Metro UK

    Bartstradamus!

    Reply
  30. Jean

    “The first thing (San Francisco mayor) Ed Lee did when he took office in 2011 was provide a massive tax break to tech companies in exchange for their setting up shop in the city’s downtown area.” Lee grew up in Seattle and had nothing to do with San Francisco.

    The In-Crowd of real estate speculators bought the old Merchandise Mart on Market Street, that Twitter was to be headquartered in for a song because of the homeless that had ruined the surrounding area. After the sale closed, suddenly the police began clearing the homeless out of that special area and they spilled into surrounding neighborhoods. Twitter’s stock options, worth billions?, are now tax free at the local level, gee what a coincidence.

    In San Francisco the “homeless” are quite valuable when their presence, or absence, is used for real estate speculation. The city is absolutely corrupt at the local government level and only sustained by tech money for the time being. After the bubble pops, the city will be left high and dry of funds to pay for the massive social programs that they have funded to over one billion dollars for homelessness alone.

    Prediction: San Francisco will eventually elect a Giuliani like mayor who will sweep the streets clean and turn the city around as far as crime and homelessness.

    Reply
  31. Oregoncharles

    “Dell, GM and others plan to incorporate ocean plastics into supply chains ”

    Nothing to report, just some obvious thoughts. There’s a heck of a lot of oil in the water out there. It’s easy to imagine a giant sweeper going through the vortexes, then melting the stuff and bringing it back in blocks. Biggest problem is that it’s mixed with natural marine biologicals; composting it first might help.

    Hard to refine, but the raw material could probably be made into a composite material like Trex (sawdust bound with recycled plastic, much used for decking.)

    That doesn’t take care of the micro particles that sometimes float deep in the water column, though. That will take something metabolizing them.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

  • Keep it constructive and courteous
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Flag bad behavior
  • Follow the rules

Please read our Comments Policies here.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *