Links 1/12/18

Butcher breaks out of own freezer using black pudding The Register (Chuck L)

Californian man dies hiking Australia’s sweltering outback Reuters (EM)

American ex-diplomat refuses to leave Norway Nordic Page (resilc)

Bitcoin Set for Worst Weekly Slide Since 2015 as Scrutiny Rises Bloomberg

A Wall Street consultancy eviscerated crypto in a massive report — and it should strike fear into the heart of every bitcoin bull Business Insider (David L)

Bitcoin tumbles as South Korea plans trading ban Financial Times

How the robocall industry outwitted the government and wrecked the Do Not Call list The Washington Post (Chuck L)

Meltdown and Spectre

Intel’s telling some customers to avoid its fix for the Spectre and Meltdown attacks — because of a big bug Business Insider (David L)

Here’s how, and why, the Spectre and Meltdown patches will hurt performance ars technica

Keeping Spectre secret The Verge

170 Million in U.S. Drink Radioactive Tap Water. Trump Nominee Faked Data to Hide Cancer Risk EWG (WM)


China Sets New Records for Gobbling Up the World’s Commodities Bloomberg

North Korea

North Korea Is Walking Back War – And Pundits Are Strangely Disappointed Defend Democracy

India’s jobless growth haunts BJP’s 2019 poll ambitions Asia Times

A ‘breakthrough’ has been reached at Germany’s exploratory coalition talks DW

EXCLUSIVE: How the UK’s Cop Became a Committed Drug Legalization Activist Sputnik. Chuck L: “Of course, since it’s at Sputnik people will dismiss it. But the MSM probably wouldn’t take it since too many institutions and people have vested interests in continuing the unwinnable drug war.”

All Your Memories Are Stored by One Weird, Ancient Molecule Inverse

HMRC ‘struggling to deal with fallout of Paradise Papers leak’ Guardian (JTM)

Scots firms with business model tied to $1bn fraud probed STV. Original story broken by our Richard Smith and Ian Fraser, see here and here.


How the US failed to rebuild Afghanistan Vox (Kevin W)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Everything running smoothly at the plant? *Whips out mobile phone* Wait. Nooo… The Register. Chuck L:

Having been closely involved with SCADA systems my entire career, mainly with regard to their application to electric utilities, this is scary. There were some of us who strongly urged that grid SCADA and energy management systems (EMS*) be kept entirely disconnected from the internet as the latter was gaining traction in the late 80s and 90s. However with the deregulation movement being driven by the finance industry as it was, we were ignored.

* The same phrase and acronym are used in the HVAC industry but the underlying software and much of the hardware is entirely different.

Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook is changing its news feed so it’s actually ‘good for people’ Business Insider (JTM). The only way FB could change what it does to be better for people is to do things that would make users spend less time on it. Na ga happen.

Trump Transition

Trump Unpopular Worldwide, American Image Suffers Pew Research Center (resilc)

Immigration Talks Muddled Amid Vulgar Trump Comments Wall Street Journal

Christ, Trump Is an Asshole Vice. Resilc: “We’re in Baltimore. The bar is rolling in the aisles over Trump tonight.” Folks, this is the real problem. It’s not Alzheimers. People want to attribute his vulgarness and anger to senility, when you see his sort of crudeness often a lot in the RE industry 9at least in NYC), as well as from rich men among peers. Trump has always been surrounded by retainers, aka toadies, and appears never to have had to develop impulse control, indeed, he seem to have persuaded himself that it gives him advantage in negotiations.

Trump Losing Ground With Women, Especially in the White Working Class New York Magazine

A Year Later, Trump Is Less Popular Across Voting Blocs. See by How Much. New York Times

More layoffs at Indiana factory Trump made deal to keep open Reuters (resilc)

Donald Trump says an FBI agent once involved in Russia probe committed “treason.” Wall Street Journal (furzy)

Are Americans Going to Vote Their Hopes, or Vote Their Fears? Esquire. Resilc: “They have Bernie policies and …….?”

‘I have dad moves’: Barack Obama discusses dancing on David Letterman’s new Netflix show – video Guardian (JTM). OMG this is cringe-making. Why should I want to know this?

DFJ has apologized for the reported ‘sex party’ event at Steve Jurvetson’s home Recode

Of course Uber allegedly had a tool to remotely destroy evidence The Register (Chuck L)

Report: Issa considering running in district next door Los Angeles Times (UserFriendly)

Study finds salty cocktail changing pH of freshwater rivers Minnesota Public Radio News (UserFriendly)

Fed’s Dudley says tax cuts lift prospect of rate rise Financial Times

Twitter ‘shadow bans’ undesirable voices, censors free speech – Project Veritas exec to RT RT (UserFriendly)

Uber developed secret system to lock down staff computers in a police raid Guardian (JTM)

James Damore is wrong. It’s fine to discriminate against bigots and bullies Guardian (Chuck L). Not very well argued. Author exhibits considerable prejudice versus conservatives. But there is a case to be made that Damore behaved badly and that was why he was canned. But as I’ve said, Google fired him in such an inept manner that he may have a case. Top execs made incredibly dumb public statements.

Puerto Rico’s power outage keeps getting weirder and more infuriating. Grist

Class Warfare

Wal-Mart Raises Its Minimum Wage, Plans Bonuses After Tax Overhaul Wall Street Journal

Walmart clouds pay rise by closing Sam Club’s stores BBC

Walmart Suddenly Shutters Numerous Sam’s Club Stores without Notice, Chaos Breaks out on Twitter Wolf Street

Amazon Is Thriving Thanks to Taxpayer Dollars New Republic

Antidote du jour. Jeff N:

This my parents’ new adopted cat. His name is Bailey.

Funny story – the shelter she got it from set up a social-media-esque entry for the cat, so that the adopter can update information like “His vet is ______”, he got his immunizations on _________”…

Anyway, this website shows that the cat is a Chinese Li Hua breed, which my mom didn’t know about while adopting. And my whitebread/Republican mom is all aghast. “That’s not a CHINESE cat!!! It’s a tabby!”

She wants me to edit his information to show “tabby” instead, but it’s a field that the adopter doesn’t have access to change. As if anyone else is going to surf to this random cat’s page on that website, anyway!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. rd

    I went to see “Molly’s Game” last night. About two-thirds of the way through, I asked the person I was with “Why do we think giving big tax cuts to these people will improve the economy?”

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      I personally find Andrew Ross Sorkin to be revolting.

      Hes the epitome of Insider\Establishment\DNC mush in Hollywood.

      All Style And No Substance.

      One of Franks 10%

  2. Jim Haygood

    Bloomberg’s weekly Consumer Comfort index blew out to a 17-year high this week, as rising stocks lifted consumer confidence, or vice versa. Aided by a 3.8 percent gain in industrial materials prices over the past four weeks, these two components of Ed Yardeni’s fundamental indicator lifted it to a slight gain, despite a steady increase in unemployment claims over the past four weeks which subtracts from the indicator after inversion. Chart:

    The four-week average of new unemployment claims stands at 250,750, up from 234,750 four weeks ago. Nevertheless, this is well below the 300,000 threshold which typically induces recession worries.

  3. rjs

    yesterday’s Natural Gas Storage Report…

    Working gas in storage was 2,767 Bcf as of Friday, January 5, 2018, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decrease of 359 Bcf from the previous week.

    8 more weeks like that and US natural gas storage is totally empty.…

      1. rjs

        we should hope not…when it gets down to the bottom of the natural gas pit, contracts to export gas to Europe, Japan and China have first dibs, followed by contracts for electrical generation…homeowners who want gas for heat have to fight over what’s left…

        1. JB

          and the lifting of the natural gas export ban barely made news. Per usual, it will require a catastrophe for that decision to be reconsidered.

    1. Ed Miller

      “8 more weeks like that …” We will not get 8 more weeks of subzero temperatures. Look at the draw patterns for the last 5 years. Here is one link, which also has a graph which I find more intuitive than spreadsheet numbers.

      Click on Gas Storage. You can toggle back and forth between the weekly numbers and the graph.

      Years ago when prices were wild I followed gas numbers closely. Now that the industry uses fracking the gas supply seems more easily juiced if we might run low, so we haven’t seen big price spikes in years. That’s just my observation.

  4. Mikerw

    The more I reflect on the major PC-chip defects the more it screams how far neoliberalism has permeated society.

    Where are the product recalls?

    Where are the Congressional hearings?

    Why hasn’t Intel’s CEO been called to account for how they will pay, yes pay, to remedy this?

    Where are consumer protection agencies?

    Where are major corporations speaking out and demanding action?

    If this was any other product, a drug, a car, etc. would it still be allowed to be sold? Yet, literally tens, if not hundreds of millions, of devices of all kinds with a known major defect will continue to be sold every year.

    If you buy a PC, tablet, smartphone, or any other chip containing device you are buying something that is known to be seriously defective.

    1. visitor

      You can have it cheap, fast and secure. Pick two.

      Consumers and manufacturers picked cheap and fast (because the economy is geared towards a minimization of cost/performance ratios). Governments never enacted regulations to ensure security (because markets must be left to self-regulate towards optimal outcomes). Insurance companies do not care, as long as the balance proven (not actual, but proven) damages vs. risk does not affect their bottom line. NSA, GCHQ, DGSE, the whole menagerie of spy organizations, enjoy those backdoors resulting from overly complex systems not designed with security in mind.

      Some time ago, there was an article referred to in NC whose author stated that a number of people will have to die before a proper regulation of IoT and other robotic stuff is put in place. As long as it is cheaper to optimize for performance over safety and security, problems like Meltdown and Spectre will continue to pop up. Once people start dying — or perhaps some major firms (like Facebook or Amazon) lose mountains of money, then things will change. Thus far, costs incurred to mitigate those issues are too diffuse and scattered throughout society to matter.

      1. Bill

        this also goes for the SCADA link–quote from comments:

        Anonymous Coward
        Reply Icon
        Re: No surprise really

        Did someone pay us to add security? Anyone require that our products have it? Want passwords on the HTML UI? No? Then it’s surplus to requirements.

        Seriously, as long as nobody sets any legally binding standards (and enforcement, with substantial punishment for non-compliance), then no manufacturer can AFFORD to make their product secure. Security will cost development time (read: money), which raises the minimum sales price, which in turn prevents the sales from happening, since the product is too expensive. Market rules, so lowest bidder wins the contract.

        And yes, my company delivers to powerplants. Hence anonymous.

    2. blennylips

      Just to emphasis what a flustered cluck this is, from a few days ago:

      CPU bug patch saga: Antivirus tools caught with their hands in the Windows cookie jar
      You’re fondling our kernel wrong, grumbles Microsoft

    3. Croatoan

      On that note, I am looking for a new device, can be anything from a tablet to a laptop, with a chip that is vuln free. So far I do not see anything available. Luckily my smartphone is not effected (no Google, running a custom ROM, so don’t jump all over me).

      It boggles my mind that all of these products can still be sold, not even with a warning. Profit over people, always.

      1. JCC

        Raspberry Pi 3. Easy to setup if you are comfortable with Linux. Not super fast, but relatively secure and not affected by Spectre/Meltdown.

        1. Synoia

          ASUS Tinkerboard is faster. It has an All-winner chip, so it might be susceptible.

          The Raspberry PI 3 has been out so long, its an ancient in the hi tech world. There are some rumors of a raspberry pi 4 in the Linux source world.

        2. Croatoan

          If I did not need something mobile I would get the Pi. I might get one since I will not be traveling till the spring and wait till all this gets sorted out.

      2. Anon

        At this point, you’re probably better off finding an AMD machine, which also has an exploit, but one that is AFAIK easily patched. Of course, with a laptop, you’d have to make sure you’re not getting a single core unit, but any decent retailer will be able to help you with that.

        1. Croatoan

          Yeah, that is what I was thinking as well. Still trying to work out exactly how they are affected and what kind of performance hit I might be subject to but AMD is not being that open with all this.

    4. VietnamVet

      Yes. This is crapification. After couple frustrating hours, I determined today that the Spectre update from Microsoft reboots my 7 and 8.1 computers if I start an old TMT4 program to watch DVDs. I deleted the update to keep using the familiar program. At some point I will have to buy an up-to-date player program or use a less capable free one to get the security updates. I won’t be surprised that Microsoft will force the issue by stopping updates because I didn’t install this update for an exploit that is not yet out in the wild.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Scenes from hell:

    (Reuters) Zuley Urdaneta, a 50 year-old vet in Merida, Venezuela, witnessed the looting of a truck carrying corn along the highway around 2 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. About two hours later, he said some 800 people converged on a food collection center and proceeded to plunder it.

    “They knocked down the gates and looted flour, rice, cooking oil, cooking gas,” said Urdaneta. “The police and the National Guard tried to control the situation by giving out what was left.”

    A video on social media also showed around a dozen men running into a lush pasture, chasing a cow, and then apparently beating it to death.

    “They’re hunting. The people are hungry!” says the narrator of the video, who filmed the incident from his car. Lawmaker Carlos Paparoni said some 300 animals were believed to have been killed. Reuters could not verify the information.

    Venezuela is on the brink of a phenomenon not witnessed in the 21st century — a famine.

    Today it takes 168,000 bolivars to buy a dollar, up from 100,000 a few weeks ago.

    1. allan

      “a phenomenon not witnessed in the 21st century — a famine”

      Twenty million people in northern Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen would beg to differ,
      if they had the strength.

    2. George Lane

      If only they had allowed Venezuela to simply exist without constant sanctions and constant sabotage by certain corporations. The crisis in Venezuela cannot ever simply be chalked up to Chávez or Maduro’s “incompetance”, to buy this narrative is to tacitly support US imperialist regime-change, something I will always reject 100%, no matter if it is in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Venezuela, or DPRK. You may differ, of course, and I have my criticisms of Venezuela, but no discussion is complete without talking about the role of the US-led global financial and corporate system in Venezuela’s suffering.

      One example:

      And some op-eds:

      1. Rhondda

        “…but no discussion is complete without talking about the role of the US-led global financial and corporate system in Venezuela’s suffering.”

        And US govt foreign policy and covert interference of various flavors.

        1. George Lane

          Yes most definitely, such as Gladio, the innumerable regime change operations, paid provacateurs meant to kill indiscriminitely both sides of a protest (such as Venezuela 2002 and Ukraine 2014), wars and military interventions sold through blatant lies (Edward S Herman here in his last publication described this in detail), supporting terrorism around the globe and blaming it on Iran, and on and on. Really absolutely nothing will change in the US as long as Empire exists.

          Link to Herman piece:

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      It’s a shame that, in this era in which we so joyously celebrate globalization, the 40% of our food that we waste is not as “mobile” as our “capital” is.

      1. George Lane

        I’d say that’s a pretty large quibble, to ignore the US and UK-backed genocide in Yemen. I remember speaking to a family member over Christmas, and beung told that MbS seemed like a good guy because women were driving in Saudi now, my reply was: “yes, women are driving, and there’s a genocide in Yemen”. It’s enough to drive one crazy what is completely ignored even by the very educated here in the West.

          1. George Lane

            Absolutely, no question. Any government that attemots to operate outside the dictates of the dominant financial system must be crushed. See Williem Blum’s Killing Hope for many such examples.

        1. Donald

          I don’t find that anyone ever brings up Yemen unless I do. In some cases people know about it, but in one of those cases this well educated man had no idea we were involved.

          But the worst case was with a friend who grew very angry when I said Yemen was much more important than Russiagate. He was outraged that I made light of possible felonies. I was talking about genocide. He was talking about possible dirty politics using Russian supplied emails.

          You aren’t crazy. Liberals in the US, or at least many of them, are crazy.

          1. Joel

            True-believer partisans in the US are like the diehard Penn State fans who thought Joe Paterno should always be honored for all the football games he helped win.

    4. Skip Intro

      mmm Schadenfreude!
      I hope the survivors learn their lesson, and install a more obedient government!

      Who said economic hitmen don’t leave corpses?

  6. The Rev Kev

    Californian man dies hiking Australia’s sweltering outback

    Please don’t get me wrong here and I do feel sorry for this young man’s family but hiking that area this time of year was a terrible idea. Online I can see a lot of mobs flogging the Larapinta Trail (, including organizations like Amnesty but the Outback will kill you if you do not respect it. For American commentators I can only say that it would be like hiking California’s Death Valley in high summer. Not the first idea that would come to mind. In growing up here, you would read stories of English tourist having their car break down so someone would go look for the nearest homestead and walking for days without finding anything until they died. Like any wilderness region, proper research is needed to know what you are getting yourself in for but this region is beautiful. Just don’t take it for granted.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Same thing happens here in southern AZ. Out of state tourist comes here. Goes for midday hike in June. Dies.

      There’s a reason why desert animals hide during the heat of the day.

      1. Wukchumni

        We lose around 10 hikers/backpackers every summer when it’s quite pleasant temperature-wise in Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP’s.

        The usual way to perish is either a fall or trying to cross a swollen river, but there’s a multitude of other death not defying efforts.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          Who was it that said “…Wilderness should offer outstanding opportunities for solitude…but it should also offer outstanding opportunities for death…”

          …Aldo Leopold, maybe?

          Always liked that quote. Encapsulates what true wilderness should be about….NO, you don’t get to feel always 100% ‘safe’, NO you don’t get a cell phone signal…nor get to call 911…nor any of that rot. You plan, you prepare, you do things the correct way….and you *still* need to keep your primeval wits about you.

          No guarantees.

          1. visitor

            I read — a long time ago — that the definition of wilderness is a place with creatures that can hunt and kill you.

            1. Kevin

              that’s one of the aspects I find fascinating about being in the wilderness. Not being top dog is a humbling experience – everyone should be humbled on a regular basis.

    2. Kevin

      I felt the same when “Into the Wild” debuted. My sympathy for him was countered by his seeming lack of respect for the very thing he wanted to “escape to”.

      1. Wukchumni

        The key to being in the wilderness is self-reliance, an unheard thing largely in a city setting. Damn near every book or article will tell you not to venture out alone, but that’s the only time when you’re truly self-reliant, and free to do whatever you’d like with no constraints.

        It’s quite liberating~

          1. Wukchumni

            “The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence. Nature never wears a mean appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection. Nature never became a toy to a wise spirit. The flowers, the animals, the mountains, reflected the wisdom of his best hour, as much as they had delighted the simplicity of his childhood.”~ RWE

        1. Synoia

          What he forgot, was people who actually survive long term in the wild, for generations, form groups or tribes.

          Us humans are not solitary hunters.

      2. Joel

        Kevin, the book says that he did everything right except for trusting a field guide that said that certain tubers were edible when for part of the year they’re in fact poisonous.

        But then there was a whole lot of pushback from locals who said he still could have made it out even as sick as he was, so…

        I agree, humans did not evolve to live in solitude.

    3. wyoming

      Like Slim I live in AZ.

      I am a big time hiker backpacker and have 10,000 plus miles of desert hiking under my feet. I would guess that just in the Phoenix metro area 5-10 hikers a year die due to not understanding the heat and how quickly it can get to you. Another 5 or so die in the Grand Canyon for similar reasons. More in the south around Tuscon. Most of those deaths are not actually in the middle of summer either but during seasons where folks just do not expect any problems. And yes tourists are the most commonly hit by this, but locals get in trouble all the time as well.

      Backpacking at 100F in direct sun requires at least 1 liter per hour and you must replace your electrolytes lost in sweating as well. I’ve had days where I went through 10 liters of water and was still dehydrated. Hiking in such country is only for the adventurous. When the heat is really high the backpackers like myself hike during the night with headlamps and lay up during the day.

      Re: the Outback heat in the story. This is not anywhere near Death Valley heat but more like just short of or just past the high mid-summer heat of areas like Phoenix. Roughly 105-110F. This is the big danger zone as it is really hot (but not so hot that it just destroys you in minutes) – thus lulling folks into bad decisions. When the heat hits peak like 115 in the shade or about 125-130 in direct sun it is so uncomfortable so quickly that even those with no experience just go back inside. Death Valley at peak will be 120-125 in the shade and another 10-15 higher in direct sun. Utterly lethal.

      1. Chris

        Thank you, Wyoming and others.

        Water, yes. I’ll also add don’t wait until you are thirsty before you hydrate. At least two cupfuls an hour if you are fit, more than that and you need to get out of the heat.

        I sometimes work outdoors, painting houses, and can easily drink 5 liters in a day. That’s 5kg of my water leaving my body in the heat.

        See my comment below on dangers or hiking up hills when it’s warm. Once you get cramps in your legs, you’re toast unless someone comes along, or your phone works…

        1. The Rev Kev

          I was thirsty once in my life – real thirsty. That was when I was walking in kwaZulu land and through inadequate research ran out of water so my fault. Had to drink out of a dodgy river. I had not taken into account the high elevation of land and its effect on water usage.
          It was only after that I found that the early Boers called British soldiers “roineks” – rednecks – as they too were caught unaware by the same thing and burnt their necks red. Whole battalions could be immobilized for days such as when new formations landed during the Zulu War of 1879 and marched upcountry.

          1. Wukchumni

            You’re never far away from water in the High Sierra, every mile or so, there’s usually a river, creek, lake, tarn or spring.

  7. Darius

    We voted our hopes and got Obama, who wasn’t that much different from when we voted our fears and got Bush. That’s why we now have the real estate mogul.

    BTW, I want one of those Chinese cats.

    1. George Lane

      But you’re a rascist and a Russian-stooge Trump supporter if you point that out. Probably brainwashed by that evil propaganda outlet RT.

    2. Louis Fyne

      If it’s any better there is an alternate universe where HRC got elected in 08, an it’s the 6th year of Syria occupation. And another where it was McCain and the US lost the Iran War of 2010.

      This is the best of all possible worlds?

      1. Altandmain

        The best possible of them would be a Nader upset in 2008.

        The rest of his presidency would involve fighting both parties in Congress for an agenda not run by plutocrats.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          For what it’s worth I would have preferred the following presidents:
          Eugene McCarthy
          George McGovern
          Bill Bradley
          Ralph Nader
          Ron Paul
          Bernie Sanders

  8. Steve H.

    Re Trump & impulse control: coming from an academic background, citations are a key metric of success. Everywhere I go, the word he used is being repeated, multiple times on cnn, my fcbk feed… This guy may be pushing FDR on citations, and FDR was president for over twelve years.

    He distracts like none other, give him his due. His policies may be horrible, but there are points where he is still much better than that other billionaire would have been. Thinking trade deals and shooting at Russians here.

    btw, can we please stop floating more billionaires as presidential candidates? Please?

    1. jefemt

      Nationalist pride— look at the German Wirehair pointer, the Czesky Fousek, and the French Griffon…
      Winning dogs all, victims of nationalist pride.
      I have a German Wirehair/French Brittany cross— terrific bird dog, adorable, and surprisingly well-balanced despite her inherent and fundamental French-German conflict. Oh, and did I mention adorable?

            1. Wukchumni

              I don’t remember what Italian cats muttered under their breath, but I once snoozed for about an hour on top of a wide wall just outside of the Forum in Rome, with 3 or 4 of them in close proximity.

  9. Hana M

    To me, the most startling item in the WaPo story on robocalls was that the FTC’s budget is a pitiful $300 million. Never mind the robocalls and phone scams–it’s no wonder we have a massive problem with monopolies. I doubt the FTC can attract America’s Best and Brightest legal minds with a budget that less than the combined compensation packages for the top paid CEO. Deliberate starvation, no doubt.

    1. Synoia

      Make it crime, or a fraud, to forge a calling party number, and make the Carriers accomplices to the fraud or crime.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And just who is going to “make illegal” these behaviors, civilly or criminally? And much more to the point, in our brave new world of ever vaster asymmetric anonymity and vulnerability, just who is going to “enforce” an such laws? There is existing “law” on a lot of this, but no way to enforce. Sorry, everybody — turns out “ rule of law” is just another scam notion. A few of us mopes might have the ability to track down the barstids and do some self-help deterrence and retribution and maybe get some restitution or counter-extortion. But for most of us, “there’s NOT an app for that.” And if there were, or if there is, it would be turned to its own evil purposes…

        The Djinns have escaped, en masses and all at once, from the ol’ Klein Bottle, for fun and profit on all fronts…

        What a brave new world,
        That hath such creatures in it!

        Live with it..or don’t.

  10. Wombat

    I’ve read much discussion on past posts about Trump’s alleged amnesia- regardless of the claim’s merits, I cannot help but think it’s another double-dipping ploy by the Centrists/Democrats to derail Trump and (in the future) kick left.

    Paired with Howard Dean’s recent comments about how he will support younger candidates in 2020, I can see the case being constructed for “Bernie is too old, America doesn’t need another ‘old’ president [like Trump]”. Bernie may be victim to the tales o’ amnesia tales being constucted now. (While the Pelosis, Feinsteins, and Lewis of the world continue to fill their seats).

    1. apberusdisvet

      Mandatory retirement at 65 would cure a host of ills, not the least of which is progressive senility.

    2. wyoming

      I am getting to be an old guy (60+) and thus familiar with many of the downsides of aging.

      I am totally opposed to old people of any stripe being president. Period. I don’t care how fit they think they are or how smart and stable of genius’s they might be.

      If you are older than 60 (maybe 65 in a very special case) you are just absolutely past your prime (either that or you were a slacker when you were young) and a job as demanding as the Presidency is no longer one of your options. I firmly believe that all most all of the politicians past the age of 65 are performing well under what should be considered a minimum level to hold office.

      So this old guy will not vote for any of the geezers. They can come hang out with me and crab about all the dumb things going on without adding to them themselves.

      1. Wombat

        Although I appreciate that perspective wyoming, i’ll respectfully save my purity constraints or go/no-go criteria for things less arbitrary such as failing to prosecute billionaire bankers after receiving donations (harris-indicating future blind eye to be turned to the elites), or not depleting dwindling water supplies to keep your grass green for a day more (winfrey-indicating passiveness towards depletion of our lands). If someone, regardless their age, has the whits to appoint a decent cabinet and stand for “universal concrete benefits” they have my vote.

        1. Wyoming

          An academic discussion to be sure. We are talking of ideal persons here.

          It is not really possible to appoint a ‘decent’ cabinet really. You can find some folks who agree with you somewhat and occasionally a lot, but in general you have no idea what these folks really think and want to do. Because when you appoint a cabinet and underlings literally all of the people who have risen to the point where they can be considered for such positions have their own agendas (they will not follow orders, unless you make them, if what they want to do does not agree with what you want them to do), they are all compromised in some way by their rise to prominence, they are rich and will naturally, even subconsciously, focus priority on what made them rich, they will never willingly adversely impact the lines of business which will employ them post their high end govt job, etc, etc. We see the evidence of this in 100% of all administrations. This behavior is independent of party or philosophy.

          You may elect someone who has a great visions and admirable goals and be lucky enough to actually have him believe in them and try to execute them (this is of course is only theoretical as we have never seen anyone actually do this I don’t believe). But, given that, this President has to have the wherewithal to actually be able to manage this undertaking. This is a job which is more than a full time job it is a good 16 hrs a day 7 per week. This person has to not only have a deep depth of knowledge about a wide variety of subjects they have to be able to learn fast and be nimble in adapting to new circumstances. They have to be expert in the weaknesses of human nature and of the almost limitless ways in which people try and manipulate each other. And a host of other similar concerns. This level of energy and capability just is not found in 70+ yr olds. Humans have natural peaks in capability and while some peak early and some late there is no one peaking much past the age of 60.

          Now one can make an argument that Trump’s cabinet is quickly deconstructing the administrative state as Bannon wished, but they are not doing this due to following Trump’s vision in any way. He never articulated such before he was elected and does not appear to have a vision at all, nor is it likely he even knows what they are doing. He simply does not care what they are doing and appointed whomever Bannon and others put in front of him.

          I was a Bernie supporter as he was the least worst choice for me and as a result I did not vote for anyone for President. But I had no illusions that he would have been successful due to my views above.

          1. Wombat

            Thanks for this,I enjoyed reading, and I share your skepticism for actual change. It is quite a shame how our lands and years of protections are being destroyed by the cabinet machine that was perhaps given to trump by the Kochs and murrays of the world, a la Obama’s citibank cabinet.

            I am not illusioned yet I still see the age badgering to come on what may be again a “decent” candidate. Of course anyone can be deceived by their appointees, but at least purportedly noble intentions are better than those going straight in with no pretense of caring about the majority of our population.

      1. Pat

        In this scenario sheepherding for the candidate of choice, for instance Kamala Harris. He starts the process, drops out for health reasons and hands any delegates and campaign funds to selected candidate while announcing them his only possible succesor. All while pointing out his chief opponent is an old geezer just like him

        Just a thought.

        1. John D.

          Is it even that complicated, really? I would fully expect the Democratic Party “leadership” to screech non-stop that Sanders is too old while at the same time shamelessly hyping whichever one of their own elderly neolib ghouls who ends up with the nomination. And all without so much of a hint of acknowledging the obvious double standard.

          We just witnessed them vote to give massive surveillance powers to the same man they’ve been relentlessly demonizing as uniquely evil and unstable (and traitorous!) for the past year. Hypocrisy is far too mild a term for what’s become the new normal, wouldn’t y’all say?

  11. DorothyT

    Re: “Christ, Trump is an asshole” (Vice)

    “Insane or Just Evil?”

    In (his book), Dr. Fritz Redlich, a neurologist and psychiatrist, concludes that though Hitler exhibited many psychiatric symptoms, including extreme paranoia and defenses that ”could fill a psychiatry textbook,” he most likely was not truly mentally ill. Hitler’s paranoid delusions, Dr. Redlich writes, ”could be viewed as a symptom of mental disorder, but most of the personality functioned more than adequately.” Hitler, he added, ”knew what he was doing and he chose to do it with pride and enthusiasm.”

    I choose to believe of Trump as Dr. Redlich says of Hitler. Caveat: With Trump, his language function can be measurably seen as diminished over the past couple of years that we’ve been observing him.

    1. hreik

      Small quibble, not w you but with NY Times author who should’ve vetted her sources better. I knew Redlich. He was a psychiatrist but definitely not a neurologist. Agree with most everything else…. the repetitive stuff though seems more worrisome neurologically. Apparently he repeats the same stories 3 times in 30 minutes….

      1. DorothyT

        From an obituary in “Yale News”

        He completed a Residency in Neurology at the Boston City Hospital in 1942 and finished training in psychoanalysis at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute in 1948.

    2. Kevin

      I’ve found a simple Trump Translator:
      Take whatever he says, consider the EXACT opposite and there you have his intended meaning.

      (hat tip George Costanza)

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When we’re talking about just the past couple of years, we have to consider these as possible causes:

      1. Age
      2. work stress (due to job change)

      The first is probably irreversible (sans some medical cures). The latter? We will have to wait till 2020 or after he’s impeached (though the process could make it even worse, so bad, he will never be the un-diminished again).

  12. Jim Haygood

    Another economic indicator worth monitoring is real retail sales. In today’s report, nominal retail sales rose 5.4% year-on-year, while the CPI showed a 2.1% y-o-y gain. Subtracting the latter from the former means real retail sales rose a healthy 3.3% … where less than zero would be a recession warning.

    FRED publishes the series, titled RRFSS. As the chart shows, it has accelerated smartly since last summer:

    A noted expert opines:

    1. Jim Haygood

      In a reaction possibly related to the strong economic data, the 2-year Treasury yield rocketed over 2.0% today for the first time since 2008. Chart:

      In the darkest days of ZIRP [Zero Interest Rate Policy] in 2011, the 2-year yield fell to 0.16% during a deflation panic.

      Car dealers are still advertising zero interest rate financing on the radio, though, to flog those snowbound chariots off the lot.

    2. Chris

      Thanks Jim, I always read your insightful posts about the economy and the markets.

      Real question though, how much trust do you place in official indicators published by your government? The unemployment figures (here as well) are ripe to be gamed so as to suit the narrative that we doing okay

    1. WJ

      If I recall correctly, the Baldwin scene is not in the original play script but was added for the movie; not sure if Mamet authored it or not but, yes, it’s a great scene.

  13. jefemt

    Bitcoin valuation article: seems no different in terms of bubblicious Gold and Silver, in terms of cost of production, utility, ‘true costs’, etc. Gold and silver are valued too high by the marketplace as well— there is too much dispassionate cash chasing too few assets, at the speed of light, around the world.
    Add a 10x multiplier of fractional reserve banking- well- I wouldn’t bet against the Dow just yet.

    1. Wukchumni

      What do you think the average cost versus the spot price is to pull pm’s out of the ground, versus say Bitcoin’s valuation vis a vis the cost of ‘mining’?

  14. The Rev Kev

    Uber developed secret system to lock down staff computers in a police raid

    Maybe the next time a raid is organized, they can cut the power, mobile, telephone and all internet services to that building just as they go in.

  15. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Immigration Talks Muddled Amid Vulgar Trump Comments Wall Street Journal

    Pulverize them with bombs and drones, destabilize their governments, exploit them financially, instigate then ignore humanitarian crises, but don’t evah call them “shitholes.” That’s just vulgar, and if there’s one thing americans will not tolerate, it’s vulgarity.

    He should’ve just called them “deplorable.” At least the msm wouldn’t have to look like fools pretending they couldn’t say the word on tv.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Every time there is a discussion on which countries to retire to (or just to escape to), Norway (or Thailand, Spain, Ireland, etc) is among those mentioned from time to time.

        And yesterday, there was a linked article about well-run countries…Japan, Denmark, Botswana, etc.

        I don’t recall Haiti, El Salvador or Guatemala as retirement destinations. Maybe some had mentioned Mexico.

        In that sense, Trump is likely right (here, I believe the quote is Haiti, El Salvador and certain African countries…which is bit ambiguous) that those countries are not…er, desirable.

        But maybe we remember this: we have to help (as much as we can – does anyone suggest taking all of them in? Here we struggle with the ideal vs. the practical) precisely because those countries are, well, what they are.

        1. Wukchumni

          Just as you would never tell a mother that her children were hideously ugly, to stereotype entire countries in the manner the reign of error did yesterday is also hideously ugly, and we’re better than that.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            He shouldn’t have said that.

            That they are not desirable is a fact and, to turn a negative positive, and to not waste an opportunity, people can move beyond Trump and talk about helping these countries (for what we are responsible, and also for what we’re not, because it’s just basic human decency).

            I think JohnnyGL’s comment at 10:21am is quite apt.

            1. Wukchumni

              “Every man has a right to be heard; but no man has the right to strangle democracy with a single set of vocal cords.”~ Adlai Stevenson

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                One hundred flowers.

                From Wikipedia:

                The Hundred Flowers Campaign, also termed the Hundred Flowers Movement (simplified Chinese: 百花运动; traditional Chinese: 百花運動; pinyin: Bǎihuā yùndòng), was a period in 1956 in the People’s Republic of China[1] during which the Communist Party of China (CPC) encouraged its citizens to openly express their opinions of the communist regime. Differing views and solutions to national policy were encouraged based on the famous expression by Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong: “The policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend is designed to promote the flourishing of the arts and the progress of science.”[2][3] The movement was in part a response to the demoralization of intellectuals, who felt estranged from The Communist Party.[citation needed] After this brief period of liberalization, Mao used this to oppress those who challenged the communist regime by using force. The crackdown continued through 1957 as an Anti-Rightist Campaign against those who were critical of the regime and its ideology. Those targeted were publicly criticized and condemned to prison labor camps.[4]

                First, let the flowers bloom.


    1. Jane

      Pretty obvious now why he did it, he had to sign an MLK Jr proclamation today which would probably really annoy his base. He made em happy ahead of time.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think he said he would let his kids play football.

      But they have to change their rules.

      The same with Rugby, boxing and soccer (headers).

  16. JohnnyGL

    The “$hithole” country controversy presents a lovely opportunity for more grandstanding about ‘diversity’ and ‘immigrants’ for the media, politicians, celebs, etc.

    What NO ONE seems to want to say is that, if there’s any truth to the remarks, it’s because western countries have spent 200+ years looting and wrecking the countries in question.

    With the record of the Clinton Foundation in Haiti, it should be clear that the looting may ebb and flow, but it’s sure as heck not stopping at all.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      And I’m absolutely certain that those ensnared in the opioid epidemic, those formerly known as the “middle class,” those contemplating suicide due to unpayable student loan debt, those living permanently in RVs or tent cities, those that can’t afford medical care, those being exploited in american workplaces and those veterans who are living under bridges, to name a few groups, are grateful that their elected “representatives” in government have dropped everything to fight for the american “dream” on behalf of non-citizens.

      Would-be americans beware. The american government only pretends to care about you if there’s no concrete way they can actually make your life better.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Non-citizens are new customers.

        If you can’t take care of existing customers, the only way left is to run a Ponzi scheme to lure in new customers.

      2. Kevin

        “The american government only pretends to care about you if there’s no concrete way they can actually make your life better.”

        “The american government only pretends to care about you if there’s a buck to made off you.”


      3. JTMcPhee

        Student loan debtors, DO NOT BE DOING SUICIDE! A much better movement is #JUSTSTOPPAYING, #JUSTSAYNO, and do it en masse, and soon!

    2. Bill

      regarding the $hithole comment, the late William Donald Schaefer of Maryland famously called the Eastern Shore the shithouse side of the state in 1991. I was living on the Eastern shore at the time, and it prompted deliveries of outhouses and caca to the State House. He only got worse as time went on, and got personal.
      Remind you of someone? this is what we have to look forward to…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am not thinking of someone in particular, but a system, a neoliberal system, and the looting and wrecking will get worse, beyond ebbing and flowing, to many more countries, even exceptional ones.

        1. Bill

          I think it’s already been worse other places, and it’s coming here in full force now. there’s no more “over there”.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            For sure the surveillance here, in the name of protecting us, is broader and most comprehensive.

            1. Bill

              looting and wrecking in full force here in financial sector, health industry, private sector jobs, pipelines, fracking, etc. now

    3. Summer

      “What NO ONE seems to want to say is that, if there’s any truth to the remarks, it’s because western countries have spent 200+ years looting and wrecking the countries in question.”


      What no one else seems to want to say is that Trump isn’t the first President to say those things about immigrants.
      He dutifully said them to establish a bargaining position and other officials dutifully leaked his comments, the kinds we don’t hear Presidents said until the books are written about them after their time in office.
      The repeating of the comments is also a message. The officials and pundits immediately ran to television and the internet to make sure the message was conveyed – “be afraid, it’s an election year.”
      Democrats and Republicans go to weapon to ensure compliance among the sheeple: “fear”.

      It’s like the theories about torture. The revelations of torture is psyops to instill fear in the audience it is shown to. They haven’t stopped torturing or enforced reforms. So I’d have to agree the revelations are more about instilling fear.

      So the Dems and the Repubs both left a sick meeting with the type of red meat for each base that they throw out daily.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      It’s probably already occurring to some in the msm that putting a spotlight on Haiti could prove to be trouble for the virtuous ones. The 2018 election and all. I predict this live grenade won’t last long. I’m also hearing words like “Honduras,” “El Salvador” and “Guatemala.” Honduras. OK.

      If they want to talk Haiti, let’s talk Haiti.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        There are a few piles of merde that are so large that the stink will in my view have to be dealt with, they won’t just be able to spray some Lysol over the top and be done with them:

        #1 Clinton Foundation: not just Haiti but Rwanda, Saudi, and Malaysia MDB. Rwanda’s probably the smelliest with a payday in the hundreds of millions for Bubba’s pal

        #2 Obama’s FBI illegally conspiring with the Hilary campaign to spy on and discredit an opposing candidate

        #3 High-security strictly confidential government documents that found their way into the hands of Hilary’s maid and onto the Weiner/Huma laptops. Throw in a little Awan, and a sprinkle of Wasserman-Schultz. Who killed Seth Rich?

  17. giantsquid

    Re: Study finds salty cocktail changing pH of freshwater rivers

    A couple of things:

    1) Road salt (sodium chloride) won’t cause any change in the pH of water; and
    2) In the study linked at the end of the article, the authors did not even measure pH in the freshwater they looked at, let alone find any change in the water’s pH

    1. Randy

      Regardless of the pH, I am sure we will be seeing sharks swimming up the Wisconsin River heading to their new breeding grounds with the amount of salt we are using on the roads.

      It is also cheaper to use salt to clear the roads rather than doing it the old fashioned way with plows. The other side of the coin is when it gets cold after the storm the standing water on the road (caused by salt) turns to black ice.

      Another driver of salt use is cops. If they cut back on salt the cops have to get out of their warm cars and donut shops to investigate, issue tickets and supervise the wrecking operations towing the cars out of the ditch. When cars start going in the ditch cops call the highway departments and order them to start dumping massive quantities of salt. The cops are only screwing themselves because when it gets cold black ice forms and they have to get out of their warm cars in frigid weather when cars go in the ditch because of the black ice.

      Poor cops just can’t win.

  18. Meher Baba Fan

    Knowing that you clever attentive readers have written down The Hunt starring Mads Mikkelsen and just can’t wait to tell us about it – I can share another highly relevant film. Now, not having been to the US the concept of the racism there and BLM is something I can’t get my head around. Outside of my experience. Knowing the content of the following film does not diminsh it in any way. And when I say the title is Fruitvale Station most of you will know what that means. Highly, highly critically acclaimed- its such a touching, haunting and profound film. The lead actor Michael Jordan is outstanding. If you have any interest in BLM at all you simply must see it. Wow what a movie.

  19. Paul Cardan

    Regarding “All Your Memories Are Stored by One Weird, Ancient Molecule,” the content is itself interesting, dealing with possible viral origins of a biological condition for memory. But the headline is sloppy, in much the same way that many neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, and far too many philosophers are sloppy. Dry goods can be stored. They’re entities, so they’re fit for storage, at least in principle. Events, processes, actions, and happenings are not of the kind to be stored. Nor are abilities. If I say that I have a memory and I’m right about this, then I am remembering something or I can remember something. Saying “I have memories” is perfectly acceptable English, but it does not imply that the memories are personal possessions that I’ve squirreled away somewhere, in some kind of file cabinet. Also, when human beings remember something, they’re very often reliant on signs, as with to-do lists, calendar entries, knots deliberately tied in strings, and so forth. Mantras help some people, or so I’m told. All but the last of these are typically located at some distance from one’s head. So, to nonsense question “Where are memories stored?” there’s a nonsense answer: “That depends. They might be stuck to the refrigerator, or on your desk. Maybe in a book? There’s that thing marking the place you left off. ‘Bookmark’ we call it. Have a look around, You’ll probably find memories all over the place.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When one closes one’s eyes, and sits quietly in a room, and when one remembers many things, there are no external signs.

      Where do those memories come from?

      1. Paul Cardan

        When we remember, we very often rely on signs, many of them “external.” I didn’t mean to suggest that memory is always dependent on sign use.

        The question “Where do those memories come from?” makes sense, if it’s a question about causal conditions of memory, and I don’t deny that some story about Arc protein and viruses might tell us a lot about those conditions and how they came to be. But if the question “Where do those memories come from?” is a question about a location at which memory-things are stored, a location that could be specified by stating its distance from some arbitrarily chosen reference point, then it’s a nonsense question for which there is no good answer.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In a computer, we can point to places where information is stored.

          Is the human brain like that? That is the question we’re discussing.

          The other question is, can some biological brain have evolved to store information like a computer does, if not the human brain?

          1. Paul Cardan

            I don’t know much about computers. I’ve been told that I have a brain, and, as with many things I’ve been told, I believe it. Beyond that, I wouldn’t claim to know much about such things. But I do have a command of the English language and the various practices with which its meaningful use is bound up, and so I have a fairly good grasp of the conditions on which words like ‘remember’ and ‘memory’ are sensibly spoken, even though this grasp is difficult to articulate (as with most cases of knowing how to do something). And so I don’t think computers remember anything, at least not yet. Perhaps at some point in the future, if they interacted with their environs, especially us people, in roughly the way that people do, then maybe. But not now. To see what I’m getting at (assuming, as I am, that I’m actually getting at something), consider the criteria on which we say that someone remembers something. The criteria have nothing to do with CAT scans. They have to do with behavior and setting. Consider too the manner in which children are taught to use words like ‘remember’ or ‘memory.’ Very rarely, I think, does the teaching involve anatomy textbooks. Nor does it ever involve mind-melds together with ostensive definition via mental finger pointing. Rather, successful teaching depends upon what both teacher and student can observe about their actions and circumstances, together with what the child already knows how to do with words.

            I’m leery, then, of the claim that computers store information. ‘Information’ in this context strongly suggests that computers are informed about something, and so think, believe, etc. This doesn’t seem to me to be true, at least not at this time, for much the same reason that I don’t believe computers have memories. So, if you’re using ‘information’ in such a way as to imply that computers think, I can’t answer your question, because I don’t accept its premise. If, on the other hand, you mean to say that computers store information in much the same way that libraries store books, that’s fine by me. And in that case, I would guess that the human brain isn’t very much like that.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Sorry, I don’t mean to say computers think.

              It’s more along the line of, say, if one writes the combination if a lock on a piece of paper and puts that in a box, and says that that information is stored in a box.

              1. Paul Cardan

                I suppose you’re suggesting that brains are like libraries, the kind with drop boxes. Like I said, I can’t speak to the merits of this analogy, but let’s suppose that’s how things are. Would this imply that memories have some location inside of the brain? I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure that we don’t say that someone has memories of something unless that person can remember or is remembering. And we when we talk about remembering, we talk about people remembering (or non-human animals), not parts of people or parts of non-human animals. This is because criteria for correct attributions of memory to others have to do with the behavior of persons or non-human animals in some setting, as opposed to changes in the state of some inner part of an animal, like its brain. For instance, if I ask someone whether they have memories of their first car and they say “Certainly,” then they’d better be able to answer follow up questions about make, model, and color. If they can’t, then I should like some plausible explanation before accepting their claim to remember. If they reply “it was a black 1996 Saab 900,” then I might reply with expressions of deep felt sympathy for their former plight, thereby accepting that they do indeed remember. Perhaps they’d go on to show me pictures of the car, even selfies with the car in the background, on a lift at the shop. Even better. If I ask their significant other about that car, and he or she breaks into tears, then the case is pretty much closed: they do indeed remember having owned a Saab 900. This, in any case, provides some rough sense of behavioral/setting criteria for attributions of memory. It helps show, I hope, that memories are attributed to people, not parts of people, and that attributions of memory imply that the person is doing or can do something (or have something happen to them, as when memories are said to “come flooding back”). It makes no sense, then, to talk as if there were some thing that is a memory that’s located somewhere inside some hidden part of a person. At best, its possible to specify the locations of anatomical parts serving as causal factors in the behavior that qualifies as remembering (in certain settings). Inquiring about those factors is legitimate and possibly quite fruitful. Poking around in the brain with the goal of finding the memory depository isn’t. Its a snipe hunt.

  20. Jason Boxman

    I think people need to more directly point out the obvious: Companies like Walmart and Amazon are modern day slavers. They don’t need the whip anymore; economic coercion is enough.

  21. Chris

    Re Californian man dies in Australian outback. That is a tragic story for the man and his family.

    It gets seriously hot here in summer, and some parts are hot all year round – routinely 28c here, Cairns, in winter.

    A week ago, we had a chap climb up a local landmark, Walsh’s Pyramid, only to suffer leg cramps when he got to the top. Lucky he had a phone, or he could have died…

    Moral of story – don’t attempt anything strenuous in the heat and, always, always, take enough water to keep yourself hydrated.

  22. Chris

    Re 170 Million in U.S. Drink Radioactive Tap Water. Trump Nominee Faked Data to Hide Cancer Risk.

    Are you (family blogging) serious? Or is this humor?

    When visiting Asia, we are told to avoid the water and only buy the bottled stuff.

    Given this and other stories, I am not even sure American bottled water is safe.

    Your government is truly trying to kill you all, one way or another, or to keep you so meek and defenseless, that you pose not threat to the monied interests which own your political space.

  23. JBird

    Puerto Rico’s power outage keeps getting weirder and more infuriating.

    I read about the Feds raid on warehouse five, where all the supplies were being kept, and I was, and am still, baffled on why PREPA ( Puerto Rico’s electric company) would hid a gigantic warehouse full of much(most, all?) of the supplies needed to repair the grid. The fact that FEMA and Army Corps of Engineers had an armed standoff (and I have to assume an informant’s tip) before getting access is just insane. So hide the supplies needed to repair a grid to supply the needed electricity because why? Lawsuits from everybody, bad publicity, and federal/territorial/municipal governments really pissed off are nothing to ignore even now.

  24. djrichard

    Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook is changing its news feed so it’s actually ‘good for people’

    Zuck and our media needs to reach out to China. China has this whole “harmony” thing nailed down. Come on media, do it for the children. I mean voters.

    Kind of reminds me of the 1st sentence to William R. Leach’s book, _Land_of_Desire_, “Whoever has the power to project a vision of the good life and make it prevail has the most decisive power of all”. Just remove the word life.

    By the way, by definition that which is not good is … ‘bad’. What should we do with the ‘bad’? Reminds me of GWB’s “we don’t negotiate with terrorists”. In his world, we put the ‘terrorists’ into purgatory (Guantanamo). If only we could send the ‘bad’ in general to Guantanamo: sexual harassers, white supremacists, deplorables, other “evil doers”. Until they’re ready to be redeemed of course.

  25. Fastball

    Military people who are in Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East are not serving America. They are serving the global empire in which America is the first, most passive, base.

    Who could be blamed for breaking away from false patriotism?

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