Links 1/10/18

Why dolphins are deep thinkers Guardians. Not news if you follow research. A Columbia philosophy professor was asked to consider the question of what it would take for another species to be a “non human person”. He was encouraged to study dolphins as his test case. He concluded that dolphins met the criteria he established (sadly Google is so crapified it is hard to find his book, whose title unhelpfully isn’t the most transparent). Other scientists support this view. India not long ago similarly declared cetecans to be non-human persons.

Waist-deep California mudslides kill 13 BBC :-(

AT&T and Comcast finalize court victory over Nashville and Google Fiber ars technica

A letter about Google AMP AMP Letter. Important. Google being evil, as usual.

NATO’s Fraudulent War on Behalf of Women Counterpunch

How New York City is tackling a mental health crisis spurred by Hurricane Sandy Grist. From late last year, but germane because we are only going to see more of this sort of thing.

India knocked its new, $3 billion nuclear-missile sub out of commission — by leaving a hatch open Business Insider (David L)

Brexit

Brussels warns UK companies of shut-out in event of no-deal Brexit Financial Times. The ire from the Government is priceless. Many acid comments at the FT. One I particularly liked:

Lafcadio
It’s amazing how these EU negotiators never seem to understand that they’re supposed to be negotiating on the UK’s behalf.

Philip Hammond and David Davis warn of a global crash if financial services are excluded from final Brexit trade deal The Sun. Services deals take longer than trade deals. Only way UK banks will get access to EU is by submitting to EU regs. Plus this threat is way exaggerated. It is London that is threatened, not the banks. They are perfectly capable of moving people and operations and getting licenses.

Speech by Michel Barnier at the Trends Manager of the Year 2017 event European Commission. On Phase 2 expectations.

Catalonia

Catalonia won’t be silenced Politico

Syraqistan

Russia presses EU to pay up for rebuilding Syria Financial Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

U.S. spy satellite believed destroyed after failing to reach orbit: officials Reuters (EM)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook may be ready to invade your physical world with an outrageously priced video device Quartz (margarita). This is enough to make me consider using a voice masking device and donning a fake nose and mustache every time I leave the house.

When Intelligence Agencies Make Backroom Deals With the Media, Democracy Loses TruthOut (TF). Important, particularly if you aren’t familiar with or have forgotten the details about the Church Commission.

Trump Transition

Trump Administration Waives Punishment For Convicted Banks, Including Deutsche — Which Trump Owes Millions International Business Insider

Trump says he’ll take heat for immigration deal The Hill. IMHO, our Elizabeth Burton had the right take in comments a few days ago. The idea that Trump has Alzheimers is oversold. He’s an at best someone of average smarts who never applied himself intellectually and is an off-the-charts narcissist. He is presumably not bad at doing developments but has a world class case of Dunning Kruger effect pretty much everywhere else, due among other things to having surrounded himself with toadies. Most narcissists make an attempt to cover for it because their fragile egos demand constant reinforcement, and showing how thin-skinned they are produces negative feedback, the thing they are most eager to avoid. Shorter: Trump has always had terrible impulse control. Having it be fully on view, and aggravated by pressure and not being able to control his environment as much as he could in the past, is not proof of cognitive decline.

Judge blocks Trump admin from ending DACA program The Hill. This story broke later in the day than the one above. Trump’s lawyers may have seen this coming, hence the willingness to deal with Dems.

Trump Administration Says Drilling Won’t Be Allowed Off Florida Coast Wall Street Journal

Bannon Leaves Breitbart After Trump Feud Bloomberg

Don’t believe Michael Wolff’s book about Trump if you want the truth The Hill

Trump health pick wary of government drug price negotiations Associated Press (allan)

Trump’s Policies Offer Plutocracy on Steroids, Not Economic Populism The Nation (resilc). In the off chance you hadn’t noticed….

Fusion GPS Founder’s Senate Judiciary Testimony Released NPR (furzy)

The Decline of Anti-Trumpism New York Times (resilc)

Health Care

Health-Care Reform’s Disability Blind Spot American Prospect

Ill-Informed, Incompetent* Health Care Leadership: the Case of President Trump’s Interview in the New York Times Health Care Renewal

The Healthy Way To Hold A Conspiracy Theory Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

Report: 60+ Immigrants Killed After Being Deported, Despite Warnings to U.S. Officials Daily Beast

Senate bill to block net neutrality repeal now has 40 cosponsors The Hill (allan)

Judge: Drive to recover Colin Powell’s emails could be fruitful Politico (furzy)

Oprah Boomlet. Could also be classified under “Kill Me Now”

Oprah Winfrey’s Shameful Comparison of Black Women’s Jim Crow Era Rape to that of Rich White Women’s #MeToo… Medium

Message to Oprah and the Democrats: One terrific speech doesn’t make anyone presidential material Independent. Resilc: “Wake me up 3 years after Trump beats Joe Biden.”

And the Golden Globe award goes to … Witch hunting! WSWS (Judy B)

Oprah Winfrey ‘hires $15K water tankers to hose the garden at her 40-acre California estate to avoid drought restrictions’ Daily Mail (EM)

North Carolina Congressional Map Ruled Unconstitutionally Gerrymandered New York Times (Kevin W)

New McCarthyism

Resisting Internet Censorship: Online discussion with Chris Hedges and David North WSWS. A webinar for next Tuesday, January 16, at 7:00 pm EST. It will be live streamed on YouTube and Faceborg. They were kind enough to ask me to provide a statement, but I am not sure what would be useful and different from what others would say. By virtue of how the site has evolved, NC is much less vulnerable to being stomped on by Google and FB than most “alternative” news and commentary sites, but the cost of being less vulnerable is less reach, which translates into lower traffic and most important, probably lower acquisition of new readers.

Fake News

Google’s New Fact-Check Feature Almost Exclusively Targets Conservative Sites Daily Caller (Jim M)

Daily Mail accuses Virgin of censorship after trains stop selling its papers Guardian (John L)

Weinstein activists are just puritans, say Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Millet The Times

Catherine Deneuve and Others Denounce the #MeToo Movement New York Times. I’ve seen only a few reaction, but the denunciations seem big on straw manning and/or seem to view sex as so inherently a matter of male domination so as to pretty much prove the point about Puritanism, that sex is so fraught for women that they have to approach it with extreme caution.

Only in America

Joerg Sprave Hacks a Robot Vacuum So That It Can Carry and Fire a Glock Core77. Under “only in America” because even though Sprave is German, his subscribers are overwhelmingly American. Plus who would want to modify a Roomba so it could no longer be a cat toy?

Police State Watch

WATCH: Cops Slam 9mo Pregnant Woman Down, Kneel On Her—Dept Says ‘Justified’ Free Thought Project (Deontos)

Gundlach Says S&P 500 Will Have Negative Return for 2018 Bloomberg

SEC Halts Trading in my Biggest “Blockchain Stock” Hero Wolf Street (EM)

Guillotine Watch

US billionaire busted with stolen Greek antiquities Archaeology News (Sam Adams)

Let them eat cake that they have cooked from scratch FT Alphaviller

Class Warfare

In Defense of Economic Populism Project Syndicate

Antidote du jour (Tracie H). Meet Jeremiah:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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173 comments

  1. Jim Haygood

    Bond king Jeffrey Gundlach has a rather mixed record on markets outside of his fixed income kingdom, though he is very innovative in proposing new indicators. Each month on Jobs Friday, I update his unemployment rate economic indicator.

    Yesterday Gundlach identified the only cheap asset class remaining on the third rock from the sun. Curious what it is? Here’s the chart:

    https://tinyurl.com/yd7elusm

    Reply
    1. Jim Haygood

      Crude oil, which carries a 15 percent weight in the Bloomberg Commodity Index pictured in Gundlach’s chart, has reached a 2-1/2 year high of $63.35 today. Chart:

      http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/quickchart/quickchart.asp?symb=clg8&insttype=&freq=&show=

      Iran’s TEDPIX index is up about 30% year-on-year in local currency terms … of which about one-third of the gain is simply due to inflation. Chart (click ‘1y’ button):

      http://tse.ir/en/indices.html

      Reply
  2. Alex

    Report: 60+ Immigrants Killed After Being Deported, Despite Warnings to U.S. Officials

    It’s terrible to read about things like these but this is still a sloppy reporting. 60 out of how many? How many would have been killed if they stayed in the US?

    Reply
    1. marym

      There,s no number in answer to your questions which would make what our government is doing to people in our name acceptable in any system that was just, moral, or compassionate.

      Adding:
      The Daily Beast link is an excerpt. The full New Yorker article is here. Please read this or other stories of the actual people being deported, the circumstances of their lives, the situations to which they are being sent, and the lack of adherence to even the minimal standards of mitigation that are supposed to apply.

      The number isn’t an official statistic – our government does not care enough about the results of policies to attempt to track these results. It’s a citizen compilation begun in 2016 in consultation with immigrant legal aid, human rights, and other groups.

      Reply
    2. dcblogger

      If 60+ immigrants were killed as a direct result of being deported, that is news. So well done journalists. That is the sort of thing I want to know.

      Reply
      1. Alex

        How would you react to the article about the 10 murders by undocumented migrants? The context is needed in both cases

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Nelson, one of them, cited in the New Yorker article, was deported due to a bureaucratic error by government workers.

          In some other as tragic cases, it seems that sending anyone back to Mexico would be inhumane, especially back to border areas, where innocent people, whether they have even been to America or not, are murdered, beheaded or sent to incineration camps.

          In fact, a simple question we perhaps want to avoid or have avoided confronting is this: Should we take the initiative to bring all south of Rio Grande into this country?

          Reply
  3. PlutoniumKun

    Re:

    U.S. spy satellite believed destroyed after failing to reach orbit: officials Reuters (EM)

    Launched using a SpaceX Falcon 9.

    I do love Musks spokesman’s statement:

    SpaceX spokesman James Gleeson said: “We do not comment on missions of this nature; but as of right now reviews of the data indicate Falcon 9 performed nominally.”

    In other words ‘we got it up there, its not our fault it came back down again’.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I understand that the Belfast shipyards, where the Titanic was built, say about that ship: “There was nothing wrong with it when it left here!”.

      By the way, what is wrong with cats? The other day we saw a cat use a high-tech laptop as a bed warmer and now we see cats use a Roomba as their personal transport. Must they always mock our technology?

      Reply
      1. Kevin

        “In other words ‘we got it up there, its not our fault it came back down again.”

        my spokesman explained that to my wife last week…

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          A titanic discovery by a friend in the late 90’s, was a “Titanic Museum” down under on Mexico’s Baja coast, where the film was made, and some of the things they sold were the prop dishes with Titanic insignia, etc. made for the film. He was selling stuff on eBay and thought these might work, so he purchased a place setting for around $100 or so for the ensemble, stuck them on eBay as official Titanic prop dishes, plates, etc and got around $600 for the effort, which caused another trip with me in tow, and spent $1000 on more china, and there came a point when the returns eventually became diminishing, as seemingly nobody knew where they came from originally-and then the lode ran out, from a profit potential as others made a pilgrimage to where the saucers were flying off the shelves, but I think he spent around $7k, and did just fine.

          Odd arbitrage, it was.

          Reply
      2. McWoot

        “There was nothing wrong with it when it left here!”

        IIRC there was evidence of an uncontrolled coal fire in progress as it was launched, leading to weakness in the hull

        Reply
      3. Old Jake

        Wouldn’t the Belfast shipyard have been correct to say so? It’s not their fault the captain ran it full tilt into a rock (ice is, after all, solid matter and thus a rock).

        Reply
    2. Bill Smith

      There is a picture of the upper stage venting fuel while in orbit over Africa taken by a 747 freighter pilot over the Sudan. Someone else took one from the ground in the Sudan. That would been after the first orbit. The venting of fuel at this point is normal.

      In an unusual circumstance it looks like the device that separates the satellite from the 2nd stage was made by Northrup Grumman not Space X. So Space X’s argument is that if the satellite didn’t separate from the upper stage it’s not Space X’s fault.

      If it is up there, in about 2 weeks it should be able to be seen.

      Reply
      1. WobblyTelomeres

        On NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, there is a collection of buildings named the “Werner von Braun Complex”. Strange looks when I comment, “I thought it a diagnosis.”

        Reply
      2. ambrit

        I remember “Laugh In” do a joke around the time of Von Brauns memoirs. The joke centered around the title of Von Brauns’ book.
        ‘News’ announcer: “Von Braun published his memoirs. “We Aimed At The Stars, And Hit London.”
        A very chilling description of the Meritocrat ethos.

        Reply
    3. bob

      This was one of, if not the first flight, that type of rocket.

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

      Sort of funny not seeing any of the fawning press that the Cleft Asshole usually attracts, and cultivates.

      I’m also very suspicious of the claim that, all of the sudden, part of his rocket, is not in fact his rocket. If he’s not responsible for the 2nd stage, then how is it his rocket? He’s got a rocket that won’t reach space?

      What about the part of rocket that he built? Did it return to base and parallel park in the lot?

      Not a lot of this story makes sense, both technically, and spin wise. Even before the spooks.

      Reply
    4. bob

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

      “Due partly to the failure of SpaceX CRS-7 that June, in September SpaceX rescheduled the maiden Falcon Heavy flight for April/May 2016,[26] but by February 2016 had postponed it again to late 2016. The flight was to be launched from the refurbished Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A.[27][28] In August 2016, the demonstration flight was moved to early 2017,[29] then to summer 2017,[30] to late 2017[31] and to January 2018.[3] Future missions were rescheduled accordingly.”

      He’s already into the version creep and obfuscation. Is it falcon 9, or falcon heavy?

      If it’s either, it’s a big failure. Either it was an old rocket that didn’t preform as it has in the past, or it’s a new one, which is several years past self imposed deadlines.

      It’s very surprising that the wiki hasn’t been updated. On every one one of his other projects he seems to have teams of people working on the wikis.

      Reply
      1. bob

        Not falcon heavy?

        “Since the data reviewed so far indicates that no design, operational or other changes are needed, we do not anticipate any impact on the upcoming launch schedule,” Shotwell added in her statement. “Falcon Heavy has been rolled out to launchpad LC-39A for a static fire later this week, to be followed shortly thereafter by its maiden flight.”

        Version creepy

        Reply
    5. giantsquid

      “nominally” seems a strange word for the spokesman to use. Doesn’t it mean something like officially, but not really?

      Reply
  4. Bandit

    “U.S. spy satellite believed destroyed after failing to reach orbit: officials”

    I have a sneaking suspicion that the state of the art, “secret” surveillance satellite has successfully been launched, contrary to the assertion that it failed to to reach orbit. I can imagine that many people and foreign nations, who are concerned about the increasing violation of privacy, would breathe a collective sigh of relief to hear that such and invasive technology got burned up in the atmosphere. And that is exactly what the surveillance state would like everyone to believe, so they can go about their dirty business in secret, of course. It is still taking them some time to create a plausible “official” narrative because there are yet conflicting stories as to the exact cause and consequence.

    Reply
    1. Huey Long

      We shall see, however it wouldn’t be very hard at all even for an amateur astronomer with a backyard telescope to detect the subterfuge.

      Reply
      1. Bill Smith

        Within two weeks, the expected orbit will to move it to where there is a good chance it can be observed at night (if it is there).

        Reply
  5. Jim Haygood

    From Platts, an oil industry journal now owned by S&P Global:

    Not counting strike-affected months, Venezuela’s crude oil production was last this low [1.7 million b/d] in August 1989, more than 28 years ago.

    The 955,000 b/d Paraguana Refining Center in northwest Venezuela was operating at 336,000 b/d, or 35.2% of capacity, last week, according to a technical report seen by S&P Global Platts. Several units have been offline due to damage that PDVSA has been unable to repair.

    The 140,000 b/d El Palito refinery remains shut for lack of crude to process, according to an operator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and the 187,000 b/d Puerto La Cruz refinery is operating at low levels, also due to lack of crude.

    A rig pullback and accelerating field decline rates will cause Venezuelan oil production to fall by another 300,000 to 400,000 b/d in 2018, analysts with Washington-based Rapidan Energy forecast.

    https://www.platts.com/latest-news/oil/london/analysis-venezuelas-oil-production-plummets-amid-26867944

    If Maduro were in charge of the Sahara desert, it would be crippled by a sand shortage.

    Reply
    1. Endure to be saved?

      How much and what of the chaos is self-inflicted and how much and what is the is the effect of the local oligarchs activities, e.g., refusing to import stuff in order to create shortages and political discontent and how much and what is the effect of external pressures, economic sanctions etc?

      Reply
      1. Alex

        Well, even if it’s not self-inflicted in the narrow sense, it’s a government’s job to foresee and mitigate such factors. This kind of thing doesn’t happen with the oil production in Iran and Russia, which are also under sanctions. And these two are also not the epitomes of efficiency and incorruptibility

        Reply
        1. Welfare not for all

          Neither Iran nor Russia are trying to create a welfare state so the local oligarchs are not fomenting any social unrest for anti-socialist reasons as icing on the political cake.

          Reply
    2. olga

      I guess it does not occur to anyone that this may be dis-information? JM has it in for Venezuela – as his frequent comments demonstrate…

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Venezuela is a case study in long term hyperinflation, continuous going on 35 years now. We’re nearing the end game, Simon (Bolivar) Says: ‘get a new currency’.

        Reply
  6. Wombat

    Encouraging to see the Dept of Interior caved to Florida’s Republican leadership to backtrack on drilling off the coast. I wonder if the same courtesy will apply to Blue states on the West Coast or poorer states such as South Carolina not lined with resorts and elite Playgrounds.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      or poorer states such as South Carolina not lined with resorts and elite Playgrounds

      Ever heard of Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head? The former is a resort, the latter an elite playground. SC is also quite Republican

      Reply
    2. rd

      The Outer Banks, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, etc.

      The Florida West Coast was the best potential location for expanding O&G offshore because the on-shore infrastructure is already in place from Texas-Alabama. Anything on the East Coast will require new on-shore infrastructure for all manner of support. That will require state and local permitting. Good luck with that.

      Reply
    3. izziets

      Caving to Florida’s Republican leadership? Yeah right. More like caving to Trump’s self-interest. I expect the same wherever Trump has oceanfront property, whether its a red state or a blue state.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Trump has an ocean front golf course in Rancho Palos Verdes, so maybe California is safe Fore! the time being?

        Reply
  7. Jim Haygood

    A NATO-empowered woman, the polymathic Nikki Haley, tries her hand at international diplomacy:

    Informing Iran, “The U.S. is watching what you do,” Amb. Nikki Haley called an emergency meeting Friday of the Security Council regarding the riots in Iran. The session left her and us looking ridiculous.

    France’s ambassador tutored Haley that how nations deal with internal disorders is not the council’s concern. Russia’s ambassador suggested the United Nations should have looked into our Occupy Wall Street clashes and how the Missouri cops handled Ferguson.

    Friday’s session fizzled out after Iran’s ambassador suggested the Security Council might take up the Israeli-Palestinian question or the humanitarian crisis produced by the U.S.-backed Saudi war on Yemen.

    The episode exposes a malady of American foreign policy. It lacks consistency, coherence and moral clarity, treats friends and adversaries by separate standards, and is reflexively interventionist.

    Thus has America lost much of the near-universal admiration and respect she enjoyed at the close of the Cold War. This hubristic generation has kicked it all away.

    https://tinyurl.com/ya6u25vj

    Angelina Jolie coulda fixed that. /sarc

    Reply
      1. bwilli123

        Ms. Jolie was a high profile supporter of the Libyan “Spring”

        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-jolie/angelina-jolie-praises-libyas-revolutionaries-idUSTRE79A3S820111012

        “Jolie arrived in Libya on Tuesday and toured destruction in Misrata, the city captured by rebels over several weeks of heavy fighting as they pushed to depose Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi earlier this year.

        Speaking in the lobby of a hotel in the city, she praised the “extraordinary” participation of ordinary Libyans both in the rebel army and transitional authorities, as they sought to forge a new nation.

        “What’s extraordinary … is that a lot of the people who are part of the solution and are working in positions of even military, and you find that just before the revolution they had retired, or were running restaurants or were selling baby clothes and they’ve all quit their jobs and they are all working here now on behalf of their country,” Jolie told Reuters.
        “They have all lost family members … they’ve suffered casualties themselves, they’ve lost limbs themselves and yet they’re all really fighting for something they believe in, and for the future of the country for their children, so it’s quite moving,” she added.

        Jolie set off in a sport utility vehicle, accompanied by armed bodyguards, to drive to Tripoli.

        Reply
    1. Carolinian

      In defense of the ridiculous Nikki in this case she was probably just following orders. Both Trump and Haley have an Adelson fueled obsession with Iran.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        I, for one, will be perfectly happy to have President Sanders, along with his ADD (Adelson Deficit Disorder) running things American. What’s the worst he could say? “I wash my hands of it.” [Please, no invidious comparisons to the Executive Bureaucrat Pontius Pilate, from a few news cycles ago.]

        Reply
      2. mpalomar

        No doubt following orders but clueless about how to make the administration’s admittedly dubious case without setting herself up to be the punch line for others on the council.

        Reply
  8. allan

    “Trump Administration Waives Punishment For Convicted Banks, Including Deutsche — Which Trump Owes Millions”

    Deutsche is on a roll – former Deutsche general counsel, SEC Director of light touchEnforcement and member of
    the Revolving Door All Star team Robert Khuzami comes in from the cold to take the number 2 position
    in the office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Meanwhile, in a different Casa Blanca…

      Ugarte: Heh, you know, watching you just now with the Deutsche Bank, one would think you’ve been doing this all your life.

      Rick Blaine: Oh, what makes you think I haven’t?

      Reply
  9. Kevin

    “Trump Administration Waives Punishment For Convicted Banks”

    Makes me wonder what a bank must do to get punished.
    Launder money for dug dealers?
    Manipulate LIBOR rates?

    We are heading toward a social stratification system in this country not too dissimilar to India’s:
    The bankers and politicians are the Brahmins and the rest of us are all Dalits.

    Reply
    1. perpetualWAR

      Just ask Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, former Western District Attorney, what crimes need be committed before she would prosecute bankers. She allowed WaMu to skate on massive fraud (hey, Killinger has lots of campaign money!) yet prosecuted Pierce Commercial Bank for the same kinda thing (apparently, they had no campaign money, the schmucks!)

      Reply
  10. Wukchumni

    What a pretty kitty, looks similar to the mother of our kindle-especially with the ‘dirty face’. She was a homeless Abyssinian that showed up and decided we needed help running the place.

    Reply
    1. Tracie Hall

      Wow, I’m surprised you could see it in this particular picture, but yes, Jeremiah does share the “ticked” coat with Abyssinian cats. I’m told by his wonderful proud parents that he is known as a “ticked tabby”. Does the term “dirty face” refer to the orange tone?
      Thanks for the comment!

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Yes, that orange tone around the face, ha!

        Does Jeremiah have black on the back of it’s legs, another tell tail sign of an Aby, along with the beautiful ticked coat

        Abyssinians are social climbers, no tree too high around here to thwart them from staking out bird whereabouts, etc.

        Reply
        1. Tracie Hall

          I sent an e-mail to his mom to check, but then went through my other pictures of him looking for black feet.
          One of my own cats has beautiful black-bottomed feet that make her look so chic, but I never thought of her as “ticked” before–just tabby with particularly dark markings.
          But, back to Jeremiah; yes, it looks like he does–https://www.flickr.com/photos/twobears2/36383625630/in/album-72157685214915201/

          Reply
        1. Tracie Hall

          Thank you! I’ll share that with Jeremiah’s people-parents who have found all this very interesting. Most of my tabbies have the “dirty face” Wukchumni mentioned–and that rust coloring on their stomachs. Did that tinting begin with tabbies-on the way to establishing Abys, you think?

          Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    India knocked its new, $3 billion nuclear-missile sub out of commission — by leaving a hatch open

    I wouldn’t be too hard on the Indians here. The military is like any other human endeavour – prone to screw ups, stuff ups and just sheer dumb luck. Just put in the search term ‘fail military’ at YouTube to be inundated with film clips on this subject and the one at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShH7QzPiq-4 may be a fair example. One time, a US nuclear submarine left port but was making an awful racket which would let every ship within hundreds of kilometers know that there was a sub present. The problem turned out to be a spanner that a worker had left in the hull by accident. Sometimes stuff just happens.

    Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Perfect time for That Most Evil Man Vladimir Putin to execute his secret plan to invade Germany. Oh? You think that is a joke? Then why have we assembled the world’s most awesome killing machine surrounding his borders?
          At some point the joke is revealed. Note the testimony yesterday where we learned that the FBI, on the orders of the President and on behalf of his party’s presidential candidate, falsified information before the FISA court so they could spy on and discredit one presidential candidate from the opposing party. Next time I say we just cancel the elections, can’t have the American people choosing their leaders now can we?

          Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      It’s been a bad couple of months stretch for submarines and navies in general. From what i’ve read, our navy swings the lash in that many do long shifts, and as a result the crew are always tired, and that’s when mistakes see their opening and cause mayhem.

      Being in the navy now, must be akin to being in the cavalry as mechanized vehicles took over, those expensive ships down in the sea whose movements can be seen from above-with pinpoint accuracy, sitting ducks.

      Reply
    2. oolga

      You’re right… don’t be too hard. They do some stuff right: at a recent Delhi airport screening, a couple of staff spent close to 20 min to fish out of my bag a toy screwdriver (all-in-all about an inch long) and detained it as contraband (because it was classified as a “tool”). Good job! I wonder what bigger fish thy missed in those 20 mins.

      Reply
    3. Oregoncharles

      There’s another Youtube category called, I think, “lost anchors.” Naval anchors are very large indeed, as is the chain, and the machinery to control both. When it fails, everybody gets out of the way and it usually catches fire.

      Reply
  12. Meher Baba Fan

    Shout out to the directors cut of the classic Das Boot.
    There are three versions. The original focuses on action, at under two hours length. The directors cut is about three hours and is so fantastic because instead of being like a blockbuster aimed at US audiences, the longer version takes the time to personalise the crew and really give a sense of the isolation and claustrophobia in a sub. It also allows more space so that, when a depth charge is dropped for instance it becomes truely terrifying. Its a sublime film experience. I am fairly sure the original shorter cinema version is overdubbed too. Germans with US accents alright!! The directors cut is subtitled.
    ( the third version is the original serial for german TV at about 9hrs.)

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      By far the best submarine film ever, watched it last week and it holds up well…

      A film along the same lines, but set inside an Israeli tank, is “Lebanon” from 2009.
      .
      What an interesting perspective on war, an insider’s view.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      “The film depicts warfare as witnessed exclusively from the inside of a tank. The crew’s window to the outside world is a gunsight. As a way of adding realism to the effect, every change in the horizontal and vertical viewing directions is accompanied by the hydraulic whine of the traversing gun turret. The film is set during the 1982 Lebanon War.” (Wiki)

      Reply
      1. Meher Baba Fan

        Wow you just saw it. Directors cut? RE lebanon film. You remind me vif that doco about the former leaders of Shin Bet. Apparently its great but I cant bring myself to see it. .Theres the Brad Pitt vehicle ‘Fury’ all about a vehicle named Fury. Which is, you see, a tank. I am led to believe it sucks hard. ( The Assasination of Jesse James on the other hand, is magnificent)

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          The Brad Pitt movie is a slogging gorefest that shouldn’t have been made, a rotten film’s rotten film.

          Watched the director’s cut (in english) and I prefer the German language variant which keeps you on your toes reading subtitles, and it plays better, as that’s what they were.

          One time in Europe I was watching Saving Private Ryan, and it was a German dubbed version, and there was something way out of kilter with Tom Hanks barking out orders mitt umlaut.

          Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      Its one of my all time favourites, I think the ‘Directors Cut’ is the best version, but the TV cut was great too. I remember watching the Directors Cut in a cinema in London and in the scene where after surviving intense depth charging the officers treat themselves to a shared bottle of warm beer. The entire cinema audience just gasped with released tension when the beer flowed.

      Reply
    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Yesssss DAS BOOT

      Wolfgang Peterson at his finest!

      I still remember watching the 3 1/2 Hour cut when i was like 13.

      Subtitles FTW

      Reply
  13. Wukchumni

    Poor Montecito and environs really got the 1-2 punch, with no brush left to hold hillsides together so soon after the Thomas Fire, followed by a wallop of a rainstorm that at times here was falling so quick, it wouldn’t have helped to use your windshield wipers when driving-that much. And we were 4th string, in terms of who got the lions share. 16 dead from the mudslides, a tragedy.

    Reply
    1. Anon

      The deadly mudflow came out of the Hot Springs Rd. area (San Ysidro Creek). An area only mildly touched by the Thomas Fire, The intensity of the rain was easily 1″ per hour at times and 5″ over the whole night in the local mountains. This type of mudflow (including car sized boulders) can be expected with this much rain. (The erodability of the California coastal mountains is renowned to most geologists and hydrologists.)

      The death toll is likely to increase. I’m near a local evacuation center and have overheard harrowing tales of escape that are chilling. (Rescue helicopters are flying overhead as I type this.) I thank my lucky stars, as I look out over the blue Pacific. Getting consumed by a natural disaster is not a good way to begin the New Year. (Hurricanes, Fires, Flood & Mud, and soon Earthquake? Yikes! FEMA will be swamped.)

      Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      There’s a French version, “Balancetonporc.” Something your pig. Expose? Not the English meaning.

      I wager they all read English.

      Reply
  14. Craig H.

    > This is enough to make me consider using a voice masking device and donning a fake nose and mustache every time I leave the house.

    Some of these clowns tell me that your gait is unique and trackable. If so the voice masking device and fake nose will be quite useless.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Due to injuries, my gait changes all the time. And you can wear a lift in one shoe and not the other to change your gait. Women in heels walk differently than women in flats.

      Plus those videos are mainly going to be capturing voice and second, faces. You aren’t going to have many clips of people walking.

      Reply
  15. el_tel

    re: Catalonia

    I find myself very much in two minds about Catalonia. On the one hand the evidence of corruption by both the traditional main parties of government in the post-Franco-era is indisputable – they have swept under the rug agitation for more regional autonomy whilst the times were good – when they probably could have defused the whole situation by amending a post-Franco constitution that (IIRC) was set up at the outset as a somewhat “work in progress”. Kudos that it worked pretty well for so long – but tensions were bound to arise, given special status for the Basque region (but not Catalan/Galician etc regions), the fact that for EU purposes the “regional development areas” actually don’t correspond to existing Spanish regions – thus north-western Spain (Galicia) is for certain EU purposes part of a regional fund that (logically) classes it along with the northern part of Portugal (with which it has lots in common – when visiting there I learnt a lot, including the similarities between the Galician language and Portuguese etc).

    My gut tells me “go for it” regarding independence whilst my head tells me that better behaviour all round in the 1980s and 1990s could have devolved more powers to defuse the whole situation and avoided this fiasco. To play devil’s advocate I can’t help but think that some of the pro-independence votes are in fact people who wouldn’t be unhappy to remain part of Spain but who are just utterly fed up with a status quo that has been allowed to solidify (with patronage by banks etc) and a refusal by national “real powers” (government) and “notional players” (the King and his father) to allow for more devolution. Of course there will be people here more knowledgeable than I who probably can weigh in with points regarding the instability and problems of the Spanish banking/financial system…..and I defer to them…but I can’t help thinking that we didn’t need to get to this point. Reminds me of the old Irish joke about the tourist asking for directions, only to be told “Well sir, if I were you, I wouldn’t start from here.”

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      There was a time when I would have been very enthusiastically pro-Catalan independence, but I’m much less so now. Yes, the Madrid establishment is a parasite on the rest of the country (especially the north) and has been entirely unreasonable in its refusal to share any power. But its pretty clear a strong element of the pro-independence movement is motivated more by a desire not to share their wealth with the rest of the country (not just Madrid) than by any more noble sentiments. Plus, the ‘real’ boundaries of a Catalonia are not clear – there isn’t a distinct area that is culturally Catalan with a neat border between other related language groups and the Spanish. Catalan independence would open up many cans of worms.

      The mainstream Catalan independence movement has always emphasised an independent Catalonia within Europe – much like the Scots nationalists. It isn’t a big jump to go from there to seeing it as part of much more federalist structure within Spain. One (now largely lost) vision for the EU would have seen more power going to regions while national governments becoming less important. The problem has always been that every country has its own ideas of what constitutes a ‘region’.

      A more far sighted Spanish government would reform its constitution to recognise the unique nature of the major regions of Spain, while emphasising the need for a ‘pot’ to share with the poorest areas. But inevitably, this means that money (along with scarse water), would flow north to south, and this is always going to provoke the ire of the prosperous belt from Galicia to Valencia.

      Reply
  16. rd

    re: California Mudslides

    John McPhee wrote a good pair of articles in the New Yorker in 1988 on the infrastructure required to keep LA from being buried in mud. This is another disconnect between people and nature. Everybody assumes that the lights will turn on when they flick a switch, water will come out of the tap, natural disasters will not impact them (even if they live in a floodplain which is formed through natural disasters), and chicken breast come from supermarket freezers. They don’t understand that civilization is actually hard work, costs money to maintain, is poorly understood, and can be precarious.

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1988/09/26/los-angeles-against-the-mountains-i

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1988/10/03/ii-los-angeles-against-the-mountains

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Back when the New Yorker was a great magazine. McPhee was a wonderful author. His series, I forget the overall name, introduced plate tectonics to the public.

      Reply
  17. petal

    According to the DM, Oprah’s estate mentioned in links above that was receiving truckloads of water to keep it green-the grounds have been inundated with knee-deep mud due to the mud slides.

    Reply
    1. Waking Up

      I hope a journalist follows up on the mudslide story in the future. It would be the perfect time for Oprah to set an example and do drought tolerant landscaping. Stay tuned…

      Reply
  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why dolphins are deep thinkers Guardians

    I understand that while our brain has been at its current size only fairly recently (geological time scale), the dolphin’s brain, which is as brainy as ours, has been at that size for millions of years.

    And given the head start, they have much for us to learn from them.

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      Watching dolphin swim and play in the surf has always led me to believe how very smart they are.

      I went swimming with the dolphins once in Hawaii. A breath-taking experience. Recommended. Went with a crew of local Hawaiians who are very respectful of the dolphins, the ocean and the environment.

      Reply
    2. Pavel

      I recommend “The Voice of the Dolphins” by the Hungarian genius Leo Szilard. He worked on the atomic bomb and then after its use on the Japanese became a fervent pacifist. TVOTD is about a fictional “Vienna Institute” where humans consult with dolphins on nuclear disarmament and other issues. The dolphins ostensibly developed a food substance which they named “Amruss” and the profits funded the institute.

      Szilard published another book “My Version of the Truth” about the bomb and disarmament efforts which I recommend. He was an incredible polymath, going into molecular biology after his work in physics.

      Reply
      1. Mark P

        Tzilard did more than work on the bomb.

        He conceived of the whole notion of a nuclear chain reaction in 1933 — while recalling H.G. Wells’s prediction of atomic bombs in Wells’s 1913 novel, ‘The World Set Free’ — and patented the concept of a nuclear reactor with Enrico Fermi in 1934, and then in late 1939 wrote the letter for Albert Einstein’s signature that resulted in the Manhattan Project that built the atomic bomb.

        No individual deserves — for better or worse — the title of one and only begetter of the nuclear bomb. But Szilard comes closest.

        Reply
    3. Anon

      I travel past an ancient Chumash (California native american) burial site. These coastal tribes had an oral myth they told to each new generation.

      It was called the Story of the Rainbow Bridge: it’s a tale of how the Chumash reached the Channel Islands before they created their paddle boats. In essence, it’s a story of reaching the islands by walking the Rainbow Bridge. The story includes a cautionary a tale of watching where you step when crossing the bridge. Children who fell from the bridge into the Pacific become the dolphins in the ocean. (Humans with different body form that deserve the Chumash respect.)

      Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    Russia presses EU to pay up for rebuilding Syria

    Seems only fair as the EU countries spent billions trying to destroy the joint and breaking all sorts of their own laws in the process. The EU has been saying that they will pay some money but only if Assad and his regime steps aside to make way for those favoured by the EU. These are the people that we know as Jihadists. So the EU still wants to win the war even after they have lost. I think that the message passed back to the EU was something along the lines of: “Tell ’em they’re dreaming”.
    If they were smart, payment could be conditional on taking back swathes of Syrian refugees to their homes and thus release pressure on the countries of the EU, especially Germany, but I doubt that this will happen. Too common sense. If Syria was going to get nasty about it, they could tell the EU: ‘You know, we are really trying to stop and round up all those ISIS terrorists and it would be a shame if some slipped out only to end up in Europe.’

    Reply
  20. el_tel

    re: Daily Mail and Virgin

    Whilst I agree with the policy, why draw attention to it except to improve Branson’s image? Either explicitly draw attention to the Mail’s historical political record (Nazi sympathisers) or simply stop carrying it. Can’t help but think this is infighting within the 1%….which might be a good thing, but I’ll bet it’s more likely to simply increase the BTL traffic to the Mail.

    Reply
  21. JohnnyGL

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilDnpCiMKyE

    Re: Oprah’s linking of Jim Crow era rape and murder with #metoo.

    Yvette Carnell savages Oprah and points out there’s no historical precedent of white liberal elite feminists standing up for black women. However, there IS a history of white women who were happy to advocate for lynching and abuse of blacks in order to advance their own agenda.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, the other thing Oprah seems to have forgotten is the history of white women lying about sexual assaults by black men in order to justify lynching. Every African American knows the story of Emmet Till.

      Reply
    2. Heraclitus

      I don’t believe that’s true. There was a dentist’s wife in Gaffney, SC, whose house was bombed because of her advocacy for civil rights. One of my friends was a child at the time, and remembered being amused by seeing the woman’s toilet sitting in her back yard, where the bomb had blown it.

      Reply
  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Oprah Winfrey ‘hires $15K water tankers to hose the garden at her 40-acre California estate to avoid drought restrictions’ Daily Mail (EM)

    I think she can try to be our separatist leader first.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      That article was from 2014 and the worst year of the drought in that we got less than 10% of an average year’s snowfall, and it was fascinating watching a true supply and demand situation, where mighty computers couldn’t conjure up oodles of water on demand, like we do money.

      An acre foot’s worth was $200 when we were flush in the past, and at highest demand by someone such as Oprah, closer to $3k an acre foot, and orchards with iffy wells that normally relied upon their allotment from the state, were paying $1500-2000 an acre foot, their choice being either pay up, or lose your orchard. There were rice growers up by Sacramento that decided to sell their water allotment from the state, as it was worth more than the rice they would’ve grown, without having to do anything.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Too much of a “Chinatown” feel to all this.
        I’m in the middle of Jared Diamonds’ “Collapse,” which deals with the reasons for societal collapse in past civilizations. Climate shifts, resource degradation, overpopulation and some other factors are central to his thesis. California, indeed the nation as a whole, are exhibiting most of the stressors Mr Diamond mentions as precipitating factors in civilizational collapse.
        The word for today: Fragility.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          If we didn’t have the incredibly lush wet year in 2016-17 breaking the drought, we’d be in deep kimchee with this clunker of a winter so far. Looking above in the purple mountain majesties, there’s light snow from 8k on up, with the forecast of another 10 days of sun to melt it off. I woke to the distant river sounding like it was a mid April spring rush, and it looks like one, a raging muddy maelstrom with a foot or so of white foam flotsam on top, think lemon meringue in looks.

          We’re supposed to be skiing for the next 4 days in Mammoth, which is the best snow catcher in the state, and they’ve gotten a whole whopping 11 inches from the storm, boy howdy. Still feeling too sick to make the trip, and to be honest, not all that excited about mingling with large crowds, a 2 week cold is bad enough, the flu raging around is pushing hospitals limits in terms of capacity.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Take care of yourself first. At our age, any non trivial illness can become ‘terminal.’
            I believe that one of the ideas expounded in the similar book, “Catastrophe” was that short term climatic changes arising out of the ejecta from a volcanic mega eruption in the Sunda region caused a population explosion among the rodents in central Africa which were a resivoir for plague germs. Said rodents, with disease, were transported from Africa to the Mediterranean via shipping and started the major plagues of the 535 AD period and after. Said plagues bought about the collapse of the later Western Roman Empire.
            A preferred prophylaxis for plague outbreaks was removal from urban areas into the countryside. So, yes, do indeed avoid crowds, especially crowds sourced from all over the world. A plague vector like no other is an international meeting place.

            Reply
            1. Anon

              Yes, after 24 hrs. of intense rainfall the weather here in Santa Barbara, is sunny and a breeezy 71 degrees. (No rain forecast for a week.)

              Reply
        2. PlutoniumKun

          Its a bit out of date now (2001), but Tim Flannery’s book ‘The Eternal Frontier’ is an excellent overview of the ecological history of the Americas and its peoples – he has argued that the shape of the US has tended historically to amplify climate changes – it is one reason he suggests that native american civilizations tended to be more short lived and have more dramatic collapses than Eurasian ones. California has long been identified as potentially one of the big losers of climate change.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            About 250,000 native Californians called a place they had never heard of heretofore our arrival, home.

            There weren’t many indians in what would become SD/OC/LA/SF, as resources were scant, in particular water.

            Now here in the Sierra foothills, it’s reckoned that the various Yokut subtribes and other tribes population density was if not the highest in these United States, not far from it. And why not?

            Our rivers seldom run dry, there’s food on the trees for the asking, wildlife abounded and war was largely unknown.

            Reply
            1. Anon

              And as hunter / gatherers, relocated down into the lowlands for the winter.

              The reason there is little evidence of ancient California coastal native americans is sea level rise. Much artifact is likely submerged.

              There is archeological evidence (bones and middens) on the Channel Islands that indicate that there were natives inhabiting the islands 12,500 years ago. (Time for plenty (300′) of sea level rise.)

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                The Chumash being where they were made sense, with all of the rivers nearby inland, a feature you don’t get much, south of their locale.

                Reply
          2. JohnnyGL

            Thanks for the book recommendation, looks interesting. I couldn’t help but read the book review below it and spot this quote….

            “is simple fact seems to have been lost on the Bush administration, whose lamentable decision to reject the disciplines of the Kyoto Treaty on global warming reflects a disturbing mixture of arrogance and ignorance.”

            What’s that quote about history not repeating, but rhyming?!?!?!?!! :)

            LOL!!! No, but seriously, Trump’s SOOOOOO different than previous presidents. :)

            Reply
        3. Jeremy Grimm

          I feel as though we are living in the most immense house of cards ever constructed. There are so many vulnerabilities to a collapse and that collapse will be broad and deep. As bad as things are much of human activity seems devoted to making things worse. The word ‘collapse’ may not be adequate to describe what may come.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Gonna be epic, and who knows what sets it off, and by virtue of being an American, we have a sense of entitlement that’s thousands of miles wide and an 1/8th of an inch deep. That’s where it gets weird, when there isn’t a safety net anymore.

            It’s amazing what we’re doing to future generations that will be incredibly backwards technologically compared to us if history is a good baedeker, in going to such lengths now as to drill miles down, and then abruptly sideways for miles, in search of the holy grail that makes everything tick, oil.

            They’ll be lucky to find some coal seams near the surface, and that leaves wood as their other energy source along with whale oil. How 1858 of them!

            Reply
        4. jawbone

          I read Collapse years ago, and what sticks in my mind is Diamond noting that whether a people survive serious climate or other societally dangerous disruptions depends on the elites recognizing there are serious problems and taking steps to help every one survive. Not just the elites.

          Most of our elites for the most part give lip service to any possible remedies, while serving the needs of other elites, effectively doing nothing to help all the populace.

          We are probably well and truly screwed.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            I think that’ll play a starring role, along with the complexity of most everything in our lives being beyond our ken as it is now, not helping.

            Reply
  23. JohnnyGL

    I read Moon of Alabama the other day who made a case that Trump’s really making an attempt to cut the US loose from our many foreign ‘entanglements’. I’m intrigued, but unsure.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42636101

    Maybe this idea has legs? S. Korean President is throwing Trump some credit. Maybe just buttering him up to get him to stay out of the talks? Curious for comment from those who know better than I.

    Reply
    1. voteforno6

      I’m not sure if there is any deliberate intent on Trump’s part for this or, well, anything. If the net effect is the same, then what does it matter? We may be stumbling our way to some sanity in our foreign policy.

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        It occurred to me after reading that the world was already starting to move on from US mis-leadership of world affairs even during the Obama administration, with Russia doing a heckuva job in organizing all of the relevant players involved in the Syrian war.

        Arguably, Obama’s greatest foreign policy achievements, the Cuba opening and the Iran deal, were more about the USG coming to grips with reality and realizing it had to compromise to remain relevant, than it was a kind of bold, pioneering masterstroke of breaking with the past.

        If Obama’s 2nd term of foreign policy was about the US showing some adaptability to maintain primacy, then Trump is merely a resumption of the long, slow decline of that primacy. Perhaps an acceleration of it?

        Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        I very much doubt that Trump (or his people) have a real strategy. But I do think that he believes that by stirring things up he can take advantage of the fallout. I think under his calculation that in any given situation the US can win in either two ways: 1. Gain more from the chaos, or 2. Use the chaos as cover to exit from responsibilities and leave the problems with someone else.

        The only way (from his point of view) things can go wrong is if a conflict goes hot and the US has to spend billions getting involved in the fighting. But of course from the point of view of the security establishment, this is a ‘win’. So I think Trump is stirring things up he thinks he can control, while a lot of the people he is using to do the stirring have no intention of letting go the spoon.

        The big problem for everyone of course is, quite simply, Trump is a completely ignorant man who has no conception of the compexity of the situations hes meddling with. And so many of his close advisors are little better. Its entirely possible that he could accidentally make things a lot better, simply by forcing other countries and agents to make better decisions and take more responsibilities and retreating from some of the more stupid foreign entanglements. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

        Reply
    2. mpalomar

      Loathe to give Trump credit for all the years of carefully crafted American policy, the decades of ongoing US-S.Korea practice war games on N Korea’s border, rehearsing invasion, war and decapitation of the N Korean leadership have no doubt had a salutary effect too.

      Can a reasonable calculation be made about all this and what it has led to exactly? The Ulchi Freedom games will give way to the Pyeongchang games and the participation of N Korean athletes and cheerleaders? Another win for nuclear brinkmanship over rational diplomacy?

      Meanwhile back home on the weapons range, where seldom is heard a discouraging word, billions made and more expected by one of the last industries the US maintains dominance, weapons for all purpose. While out yonder in left field North Korean famines occur and recur.

      Reply
  24. fresno dan

    Cats on Roombas

    ts one of those things – it just seems like the natural order of things. And of course, one doesn’t see any videos of all the cats running away from roombas.
    But before it became common knowledge, the idea that a cat would ride on a roomba – I never would have believed that. I could see the cats I had going up to it and swatting it with a paw – but to hop on it, and than ride on top for a good long while? What are they thinking?

    Reply
      1. McWoot

        I used to have two cats and one was terrified of the Roomba. The other cat didn’t ride it but learned to turn it on just and would do so frequently specifically to scare the other cat.

        Reply
  25. giantsquid

    Re: Why dolphins are deep thinkers

    “sadly Google is so crapified it is hard to find his book, whose title unhelpfully isn’t the most transparent”

    Are you referring to In Defense of Dolphins: The New Moral Frontier by Thomas White?

    White has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University but is a professor at Loyola Marymount. (He’s mentioned in the BBC article you linked).

    Reply
  26. Theo

    I noticed, true to form, NK failed to link to this:
    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jan/10/catherine-deneuve-claim-metoo-witch-hunt-backlash
    and to any other more thoughtful pieces about MeToo throughout this whole process.
    I think Deneuve and her friends are sexist and that she personally is an idiot.
    It’s the classic misogynist trope to be calling women puritans who speak out.
    Yes, we must have a sense of proportion and the accused must be treated fairly, but:
    This whole thing its degenerating into the usual nasty misogynist bite back from both the right and the left.
    Plus ca change…

    But, no, Oprah should not be president.

    Reply
    1. djrichard

      There’s different ways to interpret the #metoo movement:

      – as a doubling down on the tactic of throwing deplorables under the bus in the worthy cause of winning elections. The #metoo movement can simply be viewed as an expansion in scope: now we’re throwing rapists under the bus, fair enough. Who else to include? The line crossers: sexual harassers, misogynists, those who ineptly cross lines when they should know better.

      – or similarly, for the worthy cause of “winning elections” in the corporate management hierarchy. And really, in this quest, shouldn’t all men be thrown under the bus? Or at least white men? [Nothing personal, it’s just bidness.]

      – or it’s an opportunity for truth and reconciliation which has nothing to do with winning elections in the hierarchy. Though admittedly the “winning elections” part is hard to separate out, but let’s try to separate that out for the moment. If the true focus is on a truth and reconciliation, then how do we do that? Would it be the way the #metoo movement is approaching it nowadays?

      – or it’s simply the the latest skirmish in the overall campaign by the global capitalists to eliminate resistance to their hegemony. Or as Baudrillard would say, yet another deterrence. More about this below. The campaign leaders of the #metoo movement may not think of themselves this way, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

      —-

      Dave Chappelle brought up the truth-and-reconciliation dimension up in his recent Neftlix special, “the bird revelation”. It’s interesting to see his transformation from a comedian to somebody who is using his art to say something serious about what he sees going on in society. And he’s well positioned, because his craft is all about being politically incorrect. So it’s been interesting to see the pushback from the media on his art. It’s as if they’re saying can’t he be funny and politically correct? “Bro, you’re undermining our campaign for … righteousness”.

      In that special Dave also speaks about why we haven’t really seen black women throwing black men under the bus for sexual harassment.

      There’s also a brilliant piece by Dave on capitalism (and our own prostitution) at the end of that special. So anyways, highly recommend. Just like his other special that just came out, “equanimity”. Anyways, whatever your opinion, that man deserves props in my book for trying to navigate these waters.

      Lastly, with respect to the political value of throwing various parties under the bus, I think CJ Hopkins still has the best treatment on how that eliminates resistance to mercantilism. At the end of the day, we should all be just like corporate professionals, right? And then the world would be better? Anyways see, https://consentfactory.org/2017/10/20/tomorrow-belongs-to-the-corporatocracy/

      I actually do think Dave has been clued into CJ Hopkins, because Dave does talk about capitalism, which is front and center to CJ Hopkins as well. As well as COINTELPRO, another topic that CJ Hopkins speaks to.

      Anyways, once you see the spectrum of disorder that capitalism asks us to perceive and throw under the bus, you see it everywhere. Who’s going to stand up for those losers? That’s the challenge Dave Chappelle has in his show. Indeed it’s the challenge we all have.

      For instance, who’s going to stand up for the “evil doers” in the middle east? Isn’t it much easier to use them as fodder for regime change there? More critically, once those losers have been marginalized and eliminated, who stands to win? CJ Hopkins would argue that it’s always the global capitalists. If the #metoo movement is simply being used by the global capitalists, I hope they get some flowers out of the deal.

      Reply
    1. bob

      “The ideological influence of religious institutions has been supplanted by modern media structures, and the era is one in which entertainment celebrity conflated with political authority has provoked dangerously unstable realities.”

      As opposed to those of the aforementioned religious institutions? Isn’t this then a reactionary false equivalency of “dangerous unstable reality”?

      “Only within the structural narcissism encouraged in Hollywood’s predator-barons and those like them could being held to account for one’s own behaviour provoke complaints of victimisation. No less than accused child molester Woody Allen has claimed that the denunciation of Weinstein is fostering “a witch hunt atmosphere” in a film industry that, even yet, sustains him.”

      Isn’t that word accused sort of important in the context of witch hunts?

      “They’re standing with those making excuses to torch powerless women, not anyone defending their liberty.”

      A powerless woman being torched by a child molester, while other sit back and cheer.

      “dangerously unstable realities”

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith Post author

      #MeToo is a witch hunt. Men’s careers are being ruined for what in many cases are minor offenses, like an inept pass for which they apologized or looked embarrassed over, or even discussing sex at work. There is no due process whatsoever. There is a big difference between a Harry Weinstein and a lot of frankly harmless conduct (as in it is annoying or eyerolling but hardly traumatizing) that is now being treated as if it were the same when it isn’t.

      And some women make stuff up. Remember Emmett Till? Ten percent of rape allegations are false.

      I personally know three cases of sexual harassment charges that were phony and in two cases, did great damage to the men falsely accused (the third was so obviously made up that the cops hauled the accuser off to the drunk tank. And I’d seen her try to depict bruises she could only have gotten from falling when drunk as the result of being hit). But you and #MeToo operate on the premise that any woman who makes an accusation is always being truthful. That is an appalling premise. And that makes it a witch hunt.

      And I was sexually harassed at work. So don’t act as if you occupy some moral high ground and can sit in judgment. There is a difference between guys who are clumsy at flirting and making advances versus predators. #MeToo refuses to make any distinction.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Women’s Liberation condemned the “woman as angel” meme as oppressive 40-odd years ago, but it seems to be immortal.

        Reply
      2. JBird

        You are right. As a society we careen from ignoring, excusing, or even enabling the abusers’ actions to believing that all the accused, and their actions, are guilty and equally awful.

        This reminds me of the daycare child abuse scandals in the 1980s-90s. Somehow we cannot seem to balance protecting the weak/innocent, seeking justice, and punishing the abusers fairly with prudence, compassion, or diligence and not irrationality, fear mongering, or hysteria.

        Reply
  27. curlydan

    Like WSWS, I definitely felt weird watching the Golden Globes–for all of the about 10-15 minutes I watched or Oprah’s speech that I heard on the radio. And I didn’t even realize at the time there was a dress code.

    I have little lenience for the accused, especially compared to the WSWS writer, but the single-minded, tunnel-vision nature of the ceremony was baffling and a bit disturbing.

    Even one of the presenters (Selma Hayek) seemed weary of the whole thing while mentioning Time’s Up anyway.

    Reply
    1. jawbone

      I have little lenience for the accused

      How about the innocent accused? Or highly exaggerated claims against someone?

      I realize anyone without a contract can be let go or fired by a company, but when it comes to people’s livelihood, their reputations, shouldn’t “due process” be honored?

      Scary times. Which is why mention of “witch hunts” comes to mind, thoughts of Salem….

      Reply
  28. tongorad

    Re Oprah and her lot, the most terrifying words in the English Language:
    “I’m a billionaire and I’m here to help.”

    Reply
  29. Craig H.

    Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer–John C. Lilly

    is not at all bad although a little dated. Lilly was trained as a psychiatrist when Freud was considered factual like Isaac Newton’s physics. It has a chapter on his dolphin experiments. The thing which he may have originated is that first to relate to an alien consciousness you must alter your consciousness. He used psychedelic drugs but there are other methods–hypnosis, method acting, &c–which are without risky side effects. The genre in the line of Nagel “What is it like to be a bat?” where they use philosophy of mind is a terrible tool for this job.

    (Your dogs and cats may understand you but they do not understand English.)

    Reply
  30. Oregoncharles

    ” This is enough to make me consider using a voice masking device and donning a fake nose and mustache every time I leave the house.”

    Please post a picture?

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      ” By virtue of how the site has evolved, NC is much less vulnerable to being stomped on by Google and FB than most “alternative” news and commentary sites, but the cost of being less vulnerable is less reach, which translates into lower traffic and most important, probably lower acquisition of new readers.”

      That would be a useful contribution, especially if you specify “how the site has evolved.” On the other hand, NC having more reach would be a very good thing.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        We got hit by a Google algo change in 2014 and the traffic fall was so large that we almost didn’t survive. We added Water Cooler and took other measures then to get traffic back.

        Unlike other sites, we’ve refused to promote or be dependent on other platforms, save auto-tweeting our posts on Twitter. For instance, we get only about 1% of our traffic from Facebook.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          That hit was 3 years ago? Yes, I remember it, can’t believe it was that long ago. I don’t use Google, found you through links, so I didn’t really grasp the impact.

          As I’ve said before, the big “platforms” worry me; too much organizing depends on them, and we’re just now finding out how hostile they can be.
          .

          Reply
  31. D

    Re: U.S. spy satellite believed destroyed after failing to reach orbit: officials

    The Verge had an interesting piece on that Satellite yesterday:

    Did SpaceX’s secret Zuma mission actually fail? – Conflicting reports say the satellite fell out of the sky

    ************************
    And, re:

    This is enough to make me consider using a voice masking device and donning a fake nose and mustache every time I leave the house.

    I feel you, I’m worn out telling people who are likely on Facebook, not to take any pictures of me or comment about me on their Facebook page, along with telling people I don’t do email, I have a phone, envelopes, and stamps.

    Clever, and not surprising, of Facebook to choose the name Portal for that device, it will make it much harder for anyone to search for commentary on it. Reminds me of someone using an AKA of Smith while doing dirty work.

    I’ll never understand how so many who were adults at a time when they would have never considered sharing their address book or photo album with massive amounts of strangers and a Company whose revenues derive from their privacy being violated. The worse thing is that they’ve not only allowed their own privacy to be violated, but they’ve subjected those they’re related to and acquainted with to it without their consent.

    I can’t imagine what fear anyone who is being stalked by someone is undergoing in these times.

    Reply
  32. Oregoncharles

    WSWS on the French women’s statement on #MeToo: “French artists rebuff #MeToo witch-hunt”; https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/01/10/lemo-j10.html

    I don’t see any links in the article; does someone have a translation of the actual statement? I used to read French, but that was 50 years ago.

    And: “seem to view sex as so inherently a matter of male domination so as to pretty much prove the point about Puritanism, that sex is so fraught for women that they have to approach it with extreme caution.” Yes, this is not a constructive or very feminist attitude; but it’s prevalence is a sign of something badly awry. That’s a lot of damage. I wish the moral panic looked more like an effective approach.

    Reply
  33. ewmayer

    o “US billionaire busted with stolen Greek antiquities Archaeology News (Sam Adams)” — Now just replace “US billionaire” with “British Museum”. Lord Elgin to the white courtesy phone, please…

    o “A letter about Google AMP” — Hmmm, something seems to be off with the AMP logo at top of that article. Here is the correct version, in which the double-prongs connote the electrical-outlet imagery of “Amp”, as well as the walled-garden fascism Google is trying to force, erm I mean ‘incentivize’, web users to knuckle under to.

    Reply
  34. JBird

    BTW, it is interesting to see that the two police officers who tossed the nine months pregnant woman on the ground were cleared for that but reprimanded because their personal mics and cams were off.

    Reply
  35. Meher Baba Fan

    I really prefer – and prefer others whom follow my reccommendations – to see a film’blind’ knowing nothing of the plot. It adds SO much more.
    So, if you can be bold, without knowing further detail, take a chance on the film The Hunt starring Mads Mikkelsen. It is exactly about one of the topics discussed in detail here. It happened to win a lot at Cannes and I think best Foreign Film at Oscars also ( not that the latter means anything much)
    I LOVE this film.

    Reply

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