Links 1/17/18

My cat Blake died two years ago today. I still miss him.

Grazing dangerously: The Romanian sheep nibbling away at US security Daily Times (Kevin W)

Bayeux Tapestry to be displayed in UK for the first time BBC

This Guy Put on Ten Layers of Clothes When He Was Unable to Pay a Bag Fee Vice (resilc)

Brussels goes to war against plastic garbage Politico. Way way WAY overdue in the US.

New NASA Study Solves Climate Mystery, Confirms Methane Spike Tied to Oil and Gas EcoWatch (David L)

Did Bitcoin Just Burst? How It Compares to History’s Big Bubbles Bloomberg

Meltdown and Spectre: very few enterprise mobile devices are patched, and many will never be BetaNews

Lawsuit filed by 22 state attorneys general seeks to block net neutrality repeal TechCrunch

Vestager wants second term as competition commissioner Politico. Google would not be happy.

Magic mushrooms: Treating depression without dulling emotions Medical News Heart

North Korea

Trump’s surprise turnaround on North Korea Asia Times

Japan warns over N Korea ‘charm offensive’

Korean War allies consider further sanctions against North Korea DW


ECB official warns of abrupt Brexit ‘shock’ Financial Times

Labour OUTRAGE as member signals party WILL push for second Brexit referendum Express UK (Kevin W). Hahaha. Press barons having trouble keeping the peons in control.


Carillion held just £29m in cash when it collapsed Financial Times. OMG:

Keith Cochrane, the company’s interim chief executive, has stated in a document for the company’s insolvency process that there was so little funding available that the consultants PwC and EY both rejected requests that they be taken on as administrators amid concerns they would not be paid.

Renationalisation – when self-promoted genius becomes plain lame Bill Mitchell

Deutschland erzielt weltgrößten Bilanz-Überschuss Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten See Google Translate: Germany achieves world’s largest balance sheet surplus (AFXH). Not good, as any student of Keynes would tell you, and worse, Germany thinks this is great.


The Balfour Declaration at 100: Remembering Its Prophetic Jewish Critics Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs (Judy B). From last year, still germane.

Syria Kurds vow to cleanse enclave from Turkish ‘scourges’ Middle East Online (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

‘We’re Killing These Kids, We’re Breaking the Army!’ American Conservative (Chuck L)

U.S. Navy Filing Homicide Charges Against 5 Officers After Ship Collisions Bloomberg

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Your Chromecast Or Google Home Might Be Screwing Up Your Wi-Fi Gizmodo (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

Donald Trump Will Soil You. Ask Lindsey Graham New York Times

Steve Bannon refuses lawmakers’ questions, following ‘White House instructions‘Guardian

Consumer Watchdog to Reconsider Obama-Era Payday-Lending Rule Wall Street Journal

The Media Never Questioned Reagan’s Sanity Like It’s Questioning Trump’s Vice (resilc)

Trump Might Finally Get His Shutdown Atlantic (resilc)

Disputes Threaten Deal on ‘Dreamers’ as Shutdown Looms Wall Street Journal

GOP leaders pitch children’s health funding in plan to avert shutdown The Hill

Democrats in Disarray

DNC overhaul struggles as Sanders-Clinton rivalries persist Politico. UserFriendly: “​How about ‘failed horribly’.​”

Audacity Of Chelsea Manning’s Senate Campaign Rankles Democrats ShadowProof (UserFriendly). Yes, how dare just anyone run?

Dems search for winning playbook The Hill. UserFriendly; “Kill me.”

Los Angeles schemes to sue major oil companies over climate change. Grist

When sexual assault victims speak out, their institutions often betray them The Conversation (Nikki)

Fake News

YouTube Subjecting All ‘Preferred’ Content to Human Review Wall Street Journal

BP To Take Final Hit On 2010 Disaster OilPrice

This is What Happened to Sales & Prices of Manhattan Office Buildings as Chinese Buyers are Suddenly “Absent” Wolf Street (EM)

Brown goes to court to finish pension reforms Calpensions

Further notes on visiting Herbalife clubs in Queens John Hempton

Larry Fink’s Warning to CEOs Rings Hollow Matt Levine, Bloomberg

That time when American banks basically existed to fund the government FT Alphaville

Class Warfare

Economists of the World, Unite! Democracy Journal. UserFriendly: “​Interesting VERY long history.​”

How America’s ‘childcare deserts’ are driving women out of the workforce Guardian. And per our weekend post, the cause is not enough cheap workers.

The Real Reason Your Downtown Died Strong Towns (Darius)

Higher Education Is Drowning in BS The Chronicle of Higher Education (Alison). An excellent rant.

Antidote du jour. Boy, this bird is intense! Also handsome. MGL:

This is a white-capped mollymawk albatross. One of many we saw when doing a 2.5 hour wildlife tour (no 3 hour tours there!) just off Stewart Island, NZ in December 2017. I’d never seen so many albatross in one place; probably up to 20 at one point. They were attracted to nearby fishermen in a skiff not far away. They seemed to think our boat might also offer similar goodies.

I mentioned how Abyssians (which have ticked fur but tabby markings only on their faces) were bred from tabbies. My first Aby could never have been a show cat because he had tabby rings on the end of his tail and his back legs.

This picture is a perfect example of tabbies with almost-all-the-way-to-Aby-typed ticked fur. From Tracie H:

The “ticked tabbies”, Jeremiah (AKA Je-reeen or Je-chan) and Salty (AKA Sea Salt or Cho-chiri or Cho-chan), love sitting at the “Bamboo window”.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. ebbflows

    Yves you and Blake had the full spectrum life experience together, revel in it, embrace it, for not all are afforded such opportunity or open too it.

    1. Steve H.

      Our Oreo was gone this morning. She’d mostly quit eating a couple of months ago, and spent yesterday snuggled with Janet. Didn’t have the strength to fully turn around. She’d also gotten in-your-face sweet during the time, a bit of a shift from before. An inspiration, I hope I go as well and die as warm.

      1. ebbflows

        Sorry to hear your loss, tho I think on the whole you both came out ahead. The departure does not out weigh the whole, even tho its painful.

        Our little four legged girl is in the back yard with an engraved head stone I did, I say hi everyday. Funnily enough she was sold to the wife and kids as a male, kids voted on buddy as a name, later inspection reveled it was a she, necessitating a change to biddie. There is a substantial amount of memory’s that will travel with me until my demise, the way she playfully tugged at my wife’s shoe laces outside, the middle of the night alerts to a snake in one of the kids bedrooms, the exuberant greetings upon returning home after work, the way she burrowed into crook of my wife’s arms like a baby, the unreserved love she had for everyone she knew.

        These are the thing she gave us all, I will never let go of them, even tho she is not with us anymore in the physical sense.

      2. Steve H.

        Thank you for your condolences. Janet worked hospice for years, perhaps our perspective is different, in that I don’t have sorrow, I’m not sad. She went well, she was comfortable, she was old and became ancient.

        Where are my sorrows? I lost my infant goddaughter this year, my sorrow isn’t for her, it’s for her mother, but tempered by frustration at her distractions from her sorrow. For my mother, still alive but demented and angry, and I never want to be cursed at by my parents again, there’s a loss for one still alive. For my godson and his family, who have worked to become better through the generations, but grampa saw his own mom kill his own dad, so better doesn’t yet mean good. For lost relationships where the threads still dangle.

        Oreo came full term, became better in my mind, went without trauma, and the whole arc of her life lives beyond it in my memory. To have an impact, in a positive way, beyond her own existence. A well completed life. May I hope to have the same?

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      Yves, I read your post and emailed my fiancee the following:

      “So I am not happy.

      You have turned me into the kind of person who sees a link at the top of a blog that says “my cat died 2 years ago today” and HAS TO click on it and then spend 20 minutes reading a beautiful eulogy to this person’s 18-year old cat that died 2 years ago while I am SOBBING and petting the cat on my lap and the 2 that are suddenly very concerned and rubbing against my legs at my feet because SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH DADDY and I’m telling them all “you’re not allowed to die, I die first, you hear me you little bastards?!?”

      5 years ago I skip that link and go to the rest of the post and think nothing of it.

      You did this to me.”

      Animals make our lives better, even if you’re like me and take a few decades to figure that out. RIP Blake, and my dear sweet boy Rufus. Gone too soon but not forgotten. 2014-12/8/2016.

  2. Wukchumni

    Young male & female Abyssinians showed up on our back patio one day about 6 years ago, as our 15 & 16 year old Calico & Tabby females were sadly nearing the end in the usual cat fashion (dramatic weight loss & lethargy) and we named them George & Gracie, and enticed them with a cushy bed outside, with hot water bottles laden under a blanket during our winter where sometimes it drops below freezing @ night, and fed them, and it took many months to be able to even get close to them (as Yves mentions, fughetabout holding an Aby-a no-go zone) and eventually Gracie embraced us, and George went over to the neighbors to become their cat, and then Gracie got knocked up by the only other male cat for probably 1/2 a mile-a grey & white tom, had 6 kittens, 4 of which we gave away, and here we are today, with her son Einstein (truly the brains of the outfit) and her sitting on my lap as I type away.

    Sorry for your loss, Yves.

    1. Kevin

      The subject matter, at least what was shown, seems at odds with what I would imagine a prisoner at Gitmo would produce. I would expect more works along the lines of Charles Mansons artwork.

      1. DJG

        marym: Thanks for the reminder. I have read that book. Slahi tells his remarkable story, and he somehow keeps a sense of humor throughout. Also, the book was printed with pages “redacted,” which is the cool-kids’ word for censored. Bracing.

    1. Jef

      The important line…”In the meantime, even while fires declined worldwide, methane emissions overall have continued to rise sharply…”

      No mention in the article of Arctic methane spiking.

      “Unfolding Arctic Catastrophe
      On January 1, 2018, methane levels as high as 2764 ppb (parts per billion) were recorded.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Media Never Questioned Reagan’s Sanity Like It’s Questioning Trump’s Vice (resilc)

      It so happens that often, people say, ‘you drive me crazy.’

      And then, the question is, in questioning Trump’s sanity, do they drive themselves insane?

    2. Bob

      The White House physician is a member of the military. Navy Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, MD, is under the command of the President who is, of course, Commander-in-chief. And should the Commander-in-chief tell his subordinate to publicly state that he is in great health, to state otherwise would be insubordination and would be subject to punishment, including removal from his position. Of course, Trump would never threaten to remove anyone who dared to lack sufficient loyalty or contradict him. Would the man who became famous for his phrase “You’re fired” threaten to remove a physician due to insubordination? (You bet he would.)

        1. Procopius

          In the military medical system a man does not achieve flag rank by being a good doctor, but by being a good administrator. I’ll bet it’s been ten years since the last time this jamoke examined a patient. Actually, it’s well to remember that this is true in all branches of all services. You get to flag rank first of all by being a good ass-kisser, then by being a “team-player” (i.e., covering up your superior’s incompetence and corruption), by being a good manager, by staying out of trouble, and lastly, of very low priority, having a talent for warfare. I think that’s why we haven’t won a war since Korea (we achieved our initial strategic goals, despite taking a stupid detour to try to provoke a land war with China).

      1. Ancient1

        Bob/january 17 at 12:35 pm

        No. But General Kelly would, would he not,being who he is and his attitudes.

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      If Trump received a standard-issue old person cognition test, then it is not surprising he passed (and it would have been serious business if he had not). The tests are not designed to determined if an older doofus bullsh1tter has the brains to be president; they are designed to indicate to old (and some not so old) people whether there is serious cognitive decline in addition to natural aging/decline.

      The standard 30-point Montreal test is available on line, I think. You have to draw a clock face showing 10:50; remember a series of one-syllable words; do some very basic math, etc. It is not designed to determine whether one is qualified to be President. Even when my dad was really, really out of it, he would score 18-20.

    4. Lambert Strether

      I may have become counter-suggestible on this, but I just think this gets more and more convoluted. All of these arguments apply to Bush and Obama, who used the same doctor. (“Why didn’t he run a test on Obama to prove Obama was a narcissistic sociopath?”) A small cottage industry of armchair diagnosticians has emerged, and nothing will satisfy them, for obvious reasons (“Upton Sinclair, courtesy phone!”). Now we are at the stage of “Sure, He passed these (standard) tests, but not these others!”

      When I look at this, I see nothing more than an intensification of the already weaponized “Republicans are stupid and crazy!” talking point that liberal Democrats have been running for years. They tried it with Bush, and Bush won two terms. Now they are trying the same tactic, and doubling down on it.

      NOTE Not to deny that there are plenty of Republicans who are stupid and crazy, but there’s rather a lot of that going around. For example, the Democrats who voted to give Senile Hitler, the Russian Puppet, warrantlesss surveillance powers. Why don’t their heads explode? Why doesn’t everybody’s head explode?

      1. JTMcPhee

        Heads explode? At the rate things are going, our heads will IMPLODE, not explode. Along with the rest of our lusting fearful violent bodies. After being irradiated, scorched, incinerated, boiled, etc., by “our” collective failure to thrive, on a totally formerly supportive planet…

        Blast front overpressure from nuclear detonation: It’s a B!TCH. “This is not a drill.”

  3. Wukchumni

    NZ is a bird world country, but Stewart Island takes it to another level far beyond what you’d encounter on the North & South Islands…

    We were tramping on the Rakiura track for 4 days, and all along the course, choruses serenaded us with their singsong above in the dense forest canopy and amongst the lush bush that was so impenetrable that if you strayed 25 feet from the trail and got turned around, you might be hopelessly lost in the foliage within. Quite a muddy island, and if it wasn’t for wooden sidewalks along the way on some stretches, you’d wreck a pair of hiking boots toot suite.

    Unlike the Sierra Nevada trails which are built to enable horses or mules to plod on, NZ trails are built only for humans to trod on, and that makes the bridges really interesting in that most of them are what are termed ‘swing bridges’ as they sway to and fro as you are walking across them, and one of our favorites was on this walk, a V-shaped wire example that was entirely no frills and oh so much fun to cross.

  4. Alex

    From The Balfour Declaration at 100: Remembering Its Prophetic Jewish Critics

    the most stupendous fallacy in Jewish history. It is wrong in principle and impossible of realization, it is unsound in its economics, fantastical in its politics and sterile in its spiritual ideals. I speak as a Jew.”

    What’s prophetic about it? It’s been realised, its economics is sound, its politics is as real as it gets and as to spirituality… well things like these are hard to measure

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Realised? Its indeed fantastical existence has cost the world so much blood and treasure and will continue to do so until its precarious tenure is over.

      It is precisely unrealizable. And apartheid goes a long way to measuring spirituality.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s amusing how a country construed on the basis of escape from fascism turned into ersatz fascists, 3 score and a decade later.

        1. visitor

          Throwing the accusation of fascism has been overused to the point of becoming meaningless — and in the case of Israel, fascism is off the mark.

          To make it brief, Israel exhibits all the characteristics of a colonial state.

          Dispossessing natives from their land and natural resources (water, fishing rights, gas fields), parking them in overpopulated, squalid reserved quarters, subjecting them to different laws, imposing exorbitant security controls, carrying out disproportionate, scorched-earth punitive expeditions when natives rebel, etc: the hallmark of a colonial endeavour. Unsurprising, as the founders of Zionism were all Europeans educated in the heyday of colonialism, and explicitly referred to the French, German, etc, examples of colonial enterprises to structure their objectives. Many Jews, like some mentioned in the aforementioned article, were quite aware that this was an endeavour fraught with dangers.

          If there is a similarity between the situation in the occupied territories and Apartheid South Africa, it is not because Zionists were fans of the Boers, but because Apartheid was another colonial regime (like Israel, in a post-colonial world). And by the way: all the racist regulations in South Africa, such as classification of the population in different races, separate schools, living quarters, infrastructure, etc for natives and whites, and the prohibition of miscegenation, were all typical colonial practices.

          Genocide is also typical of colonialism, but Israel has not yet dared to go that far. Hence, colonialism is barbarous in its own right and corresponds accurately to the situation in Palestine; no need to swing “fascism” mindlessly.

              1. CraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazyChris

                I’m woefully late in keeping up with the news, so I suspect everyone has moved on, but just wanted to try my best at a serious response: ‘colonialism’ implies further distances. ‘manifest destiny’ seems like a better fit.

          1. Alex

            Hehe quite a lively reaction. My point though was that whatever you think of Israel, the supposedly prophetic predictions mentioned in the article mostly just didn’t realise.

    2. kgw

      Who ever thinks the Land of Canaan is simply dirt blasphemes the Talmud, such have I heard…

      Only God can release a man from exile, not other men, such have I heard.

    3. Sid Finster

      Israel is “realistic” only to the extent that the United States props up Israel using every means at its disposal (and one might say, such means include genocide) and uses every effort to force other countries to do likewise.

      1. Alex

        So every county that depends on a larger power is unrealistic? I could easily name a few that depend on Russia, China or US

        1. witters

          “So every county that depends on a larger power is unrealistic?”

          This was not the claim. However “easily” you made out it was.

          1. Alex

            Maybe I’ve misunderstood your point then. What I was trying to say is that a lot of countries depend some great or regional power in the same or greater extent than Israel, so whatever argument you want to make about Israel it could be make about those other countries

  5. JCC

    When my housemate (a very affectionate but very independent tortoiseshell) died last November, a co-worker said to me, “It hurts because she brought a lot of joy into your life, be grateful for that.”

    I am, and it still hurts.

  6. The Rev Kev

    Sad to reread about Blake. Sometimes you own a cat and sometimes that cat owns you. We lost a great cat not that long ago named Spooky. He was black, had no tail and a liking for laying on black surfaces and rugs. We called him Spooky as you would be sitting in a room with the feeling of being watched. Suddenly, you would have two cats eyes open up in the darkness of a cabinet space staring out at you. Friendly as and was good with kids. He was getting old and was losing weight but we think that it was a snake that got him. I found him in the hay shed in his last minutes and he went down hard. Always sad to lose a good cat, much less a great one.

    1. subgenius

      I would argue that to have shared a trans-species relationship like that its an honor worth the cost, sad though it may be at the end. One of “my” cats is maybe on the cusp – and an friend’s sweet old dog is currently into his last day (owner sees the pain and suffering, although maybe not the quiet stubborn will to continue, so the determination has been made)

      Hreik’s comment below
      is apropos…

  7. allan

    Senate, Rebuffing Privacy Concerns, Clears Path to Extend Surveillance Law [NYT]

    The Senate cleared the path on Tuesday for Congress to extend the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program for six years with minimal changes, rejecting bipartisan calls to first vote on amendments that would have imposed significant new privacy protections when the program sweeps up Americans’ emails.

    The vote, 60 to 38, narrowly overcame a procedural obstacle to an up-or-down vote on the surveillance extension bill, showing that there is probably sufficient support in the Senate to give it final approval and send it to President Trump’s desk this week. …

    While Senate approval of the bill has been widely expected, the outcome of Tuesday’s vote was not certain because several lawmakers — including Senators Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, and Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky — had vowed to filibuster the legislation, meaning the approval of 60 of the 100 senators was necessary to overcome that procedural delay tactic.

    The vote was close, and was held open longer than expected at a 58-to-38 split while the holdouts fell under heavy lobbying by their colleagues. Ultimately, two more senators — John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, and Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri — voted for the legislation, getting to the 60-vote threshold. …

    Democrats who supported Mr. McConnell’s move included Tom Carper of Delaware, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Dianne Feinstein of California, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Doug Jones of Alabama, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Ms. McCaskill, Bill Nelson of Florida, Gary Peters of Michigan, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Warner of Virginia and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. Angus King, independent of Maine, also voted to move forward on the bill. …

    So, 18 out of 49 Dems voted for cloture, presumably because gutting the Fourth Amendment
    does well with those elusive suburban GOP voters in focus groups.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I guess it’s only later we’ll need to learn that DiFi’s husband or something is on track to earn billions from spy contracts. Pff it’s only the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, it’s only “general warrants” which were the actual tipping point cause of that little uprising known as The American Revolution.

      We had Arab Spring, when is American Spring scheduled?

      1. The Rev Kev

        You already had it! It was called Occupy Wall Street but Obama crushed that movement before it could get off the ground.

  8. Darius

    Shadowproof left out how Cardin pulled a Pelosi on Fast Track, shepherding it to passage while in the end casting a symbolic vote against it when it would do no good. Cardin thinks the voters are stupid. He epitomizes the problem with the Democrats. He’s got to go. Up with Manning.

  9. freedeomny

    It is always hard to lose a beloved pet – but some touch us more then others. I still mourn a dog I lost 6 years ago…..

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Here is a recap of some of Manning’s “traitorous” revelations. Note the reference to the shithole, Haiti. (Also note that in 2009, the apostle obama was our beloved leader, and hillary clinton our secretary of state.)

      Manning strikes me as the type of candidate that many claim to want–genuine, unfailingly committed to principle, selfless and absolutely unblackmailable–that many claim to want but are afraid to actually elect, since looking into that mirror would be brutal.

      I wish she was running in Florida.

      The State Department backed corporate opposition to a Haitian minimum wage law.

      Leaked diplomatic cables show that in 2009, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince pushed then-Haitian President Rene Preval to come out in support of powerful textile manufacturers who sought to block a popular minimum wage increase. These factory owners, who produce apparel for large brands like Nike and Nautica, had benefitted from recent free trade agreements that had severely lowered wages and working conditions in Haiti. A series of cables show that the US Embassy closely monitored the movements and activities of student protestors supporting the $5/day minimum wage bill. The bill’s supporters had argued that the increase was justified in light of rising inflation and food costs that had led to widespread starvation. According to the leaked cables, the U.S. delegation dismissed the proposed minimum wage increase as nothing more than a populist measure aimed at appeasing “the unemployed and underpaid masses.” Ultimately, the U.S. delegation succeeded in their efforts when President Preval agreed to block the increase (6).

      1. a different chris

        Why would a minimum wage hike “appease the unemployed“???. I generally think that our betters aren’t stupid, they just don’t care what they say anymore. But this was in a diplomatic cable so “stupid” is the only explanation.

    2. DJG

      Yep, I recognize this:
      –It was not until Manning came out as transgender that large sections of the establishment, which campaigned on LGBT issues, showed Manning any support. In fact, the San Francisco Pride Parade Board of Directors rejected an effort by supporters to make her grand marshal in order to appease military groups. Then-president Lisa Williams, who was involved in political consultant work for Democratic Party politicians, said honoring Manning would be an “insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military.”–

      I marched in the Chicago Pride Parade for a few years with Gay Liberation Network, which is the leftist-est LGBT organization in Chicago. We had a large yellow banner supporting Bradley (and the next year, Chelsea). People would shout “traitor” at us. It was a good lesson that one can be either a leftist or a liberal. Not both. It reinforced my thinking as a leftist that people would be shouting “traitor” at supporters of an anti-war whistleblower who was then being tortured–something well known–and was about to go into the fantasia that is the military “justice” system. As a wise neighbor has said to me more than once, Many liberals don’t want change.

    3. voteforno6

      Yikes…I think this is my favorite comment:

      Or city council, or staffer for a Congressperson, or something that constitutes actual experience.

      US Senate is not — should not be — an entry-level position.

      It certainly was for Hillary Clinton, though, but I guess she gets a pass on that.

      1. RUKidding

        I visit Kos infrequently but happened to catch that comment yesterday… and I thought the same thing you did re Empress Hillary, who is all things fabulous to the Kossacks.

        I guess being married to Bill gave her all the prepartory experience needed. For Manning, being in jail after whistleblowing counts for bupkiss apparently.

      2. Ed

        Hillary’s entry-level positions included Wellesley, studying Saul Alinsky, being married to a Rhodes Scholar, her work on Nixon’s impeachment, certain shenanigans in Arkansas, and being First Lady (i.e., in the White House) for eight years. This was followed by further tutelage by Obama and his enoturage.

      3. Massinissa

        “US Senate is not — should not be — an entry-level position.”

        I bet that person wasn’t saying the same thing about Al Franken. Also it wouldn’t surprise me if that person supports Oprah for President.

      4. Ranger Rick

        Anyone who tells you “there are additional qualifications for being an elected representative beyond those laid out in the Constitution” is really saying “there is an aristocracy that runs this country, and you are not part of it.”

        Additional experience in government or government-adjacent issues is a feature of dubious value you can use to appeal to voters with — not keep candidates from running. Of course, since we’re operating on the mind share model, any additional options on the ballot are a distraction.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Sometimes, some people simply just value passion and commitment.

          Age or inexperience is secondary for them.

          The job could be senator or deputy chief of staff.

    4. Lemmy Caution

      Re Daily Kos reaction:
      At one point during Manning’s first campaign video, she says, “we don’t need more or better leaders … we need someone willing to fight.”

      I took that “more or better” line as a direct slap at Daily Kos, which has long used that phrase to define the site’s mission.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        A more accurate and honest mission statement for those clowns would be “to elect more and better Democrats, but willing to settle for fewer and worse as long as we still get paid”.

    5. Katy

      Case in point: John Aravosis is a modestly influential gay writer with a sizable following who enjoys posing for pictures in “Trump-Putin 2016” t-shirts. He rejects the notion that Democrats should support Manning simply because she is a woman and transgender and her opponent is a white male.

      Aravosis almost appears to argue that Sanders was a tool of the Russians and other agitators, who simply wanted Democrats to “hate each other.” Then, he adds, “The notion that we shouldn’t support Cardin simply because he’s white, a man, and ‘old’ is racist, sexist, and ageist. None of those are valid reasons, for someone on the left in particular, to oppose a candidate.”

      This is a complete straw man. Manning isn’t running against Cardin because he’s a white male. She’s not asking anyone to vote for her because of her gender. She’s running because Cardin is an establishment tool.

      From her campaign video:

      We need to stop expecting that our systems will somehow fix themselves.
      We need to actually take the reins of power from them.

      That’s why she’s running.

    6. a different chris

      “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you….”

      Honest to God I just realized that Chelsea has way more than a puncher’s chance at this. Awesome.

    7. integer

      One wonders how the DKos tribe would be reacting if it were Reality Winner running instead of Chelsea.

      Go Chelsea!

    8. Lambert Strether

      I like Manning, at least as a person (I haven’t looked for a platform). From her Twitter feed, I’d say: Smart, funny, went to jail for a good cause and emerged not having lost her humanity….

      Can’t understand why Democrat loyalists hate her so much….

      1. John k

        Threaten one, you threaten them all.
        They know they have to hang together or risk being hung separately…

  10. integer

    Former CIA officer arrested on Espionage Act charge Politico

    A former Central Intelligence Agency officer long suspected of helping China neutralize U.S. spying operations on its soil has been arrested on a charge that he kept and traveled with notebooks containing classified information, including the real names of covert CIA employees.

    Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, who has been living in Hong Kong in recent years, was taken into custody Monday night as he arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, the Justice Department said in a statement.

    Lee’s arrest came after more than six years of investigation led by the FBI that also involved his former employer and other U.S. agencies. The top-secret mole-hunting probe was launched in 2012 or earlier, after U.S. intelligence officials concluded that China had somehow figured out the identities of many of their prized assets in country and detained them.

    Not sure what to make of this getting MSM coverage. It’s unsurprising that China has spies in high places, but it will definitely be interesting to see how Trump reacts.

  11. Wukchumni

    Our first cat together was a male tabby with bullseye markings on his side, named Master Cylinder (the evil MIC robot from Felix the Cat) and he was adorable, but strangely not a lap cat, not his gig. He’d turned into an outdoor enthusiast, and one night he showed up at the sliding glass door, wanting in, so we opened the portal and in he rushed onto each of our laps for a few minutes each-something he’d never done before, and then sauntered over to the door, motioning to let him out.

    The next morning our neighbors brought his lifeless body over in a cardboard box with flowers festooned around him-as they found him on their property, the victim of coyotes.

    …it was as if he knew the end was near

  12. XXYY

    DNC overhaul struggles as Sanders-Clinton rivalries persist Politico.

    The astonishing thing to me in the dozens or hundreds of similar articles like this that I’ve read is the complete absence of any discussion of policy. Sanders, and his much sought-after list, didn’t just appear out of thin air. It was the result of thousands of speeches by Sanders all across the country outlining an exciting vision for a new and much better society.

    The DNC still seems to be trapped in its own self-imposed vision of a fundraising organization. Somehow, if we raise enough money and throw it at the problem, we will attract voters and win! The hapless and uninspiring Perez seems like the perfect person to carry out this idiotic role.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      And he just keeps on ticking, the only damn one talking policy! Will be in my hood having a convo with William Barber on Friday, plus there’s the national town hall on Medicare For All on the 23rd.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I believe for much of the vapid Team Blue types they see Sanders as merely possessing a magical incantation. They spoke highly of his ability to energize crowds and young people but never addressed issues. The idea of policy differences is too complicated.

      The clip of Stephanopoulos and Tulsi Gabbard brings back to the point. George in 2018 was astonished a sitting Congress person would consider regime change in Iraq and Libya to have been bad ideas. It’s an astonishing exchange. Does he not know Hillary is only NOT the FORMER President because she voted for that disaster in Iraq? These people are evil, but they are astonishingly stupid. Trump went to South Carolina and trashed 43 and McCain on the matter and beat their candidates brains in. Kasich and Ted Cruz, the last Republicans standing, didn’t hold Federal office in 2002. In a way, Iraq could not be thrown at them. Mittens too.

      1. Mike Mc

        Fortunate enough to see Prof. Gabbard teaching history to George S, a Shiite Clintonite (as James Carville has frequently described himself).

        Trump got a lot of traction with his willingness to point out that various Emperors – the Bushes, Clinton, Obama – had no clothes when it came to Iraq and Afghanistan.

        I have been posting Gillibrand/Gabbard on FB for some time… may need to reconsider that order. (I’m assuming a polished white woman – blonde no less – with her credentials would woo the coveted white suburban female voter pretty well, but we’ll see…)

        Chelsea Manning could be sitting in the Senate in 2019. Ponder that, then send her some money. Often.

        1. Procopius

          I think coveting the suburban female voter is delusional. A statistic which I never hear any more is: the median income of Trump voters was $70,000. That means half of them make more than that. Those are not economically insecure rural voters, those are people living in the suburbs. Trump did not do badly with (white) women voters, either, so a good-sized portion of that half of Trump voters are the coveted suburban women and the Democrats do not have a message to attract them. I think the five highly paid consultants who hold the DNC hostage just expect those suburban women to get disenchanted with Trump and switch to whoever the non-Trump is. Sad.

  13. Wukchumni

    “The new NASA study is not the first to call attention to the connection between oil and gas and methane leaks. A study in March last year found that natural gas power plants put out between 20 and 120 times more methane pollution than previously believed, due in part to accidental leaks and in part to deliberate “venting” by companies. And as far back as 2011, researchers from Cornell University warned that switching over from coal to gas could be a grave mistake where climate change is concerned.”

    That’s it, i’m giving this planet 25 more years, say 35 tops to get it’s act in order, or i’m leaving for good.

    1. Chris

      Your notional 25 – 35 year event horizon is when the s*#t will hit the fan.

      The second best time to start getting our act in order is today.

      The best time is yesterday (or last year, or last decade)…

  14. laura

    Our creatures leave an indelible mark.
    My little indoor feral Timmy was the gentle king of tipped aby tabbies. He loved flowers and I have s many photos of Timmy buried up to the neck in blossoms.
    He ghosts us to this day, the lingering, loved little spirit.

  15. Tracie Hall

    Oh Yves, how beautiful and special Blake was! Of course you still miss him. I’ll bet his Spirit is still with you.

  16. FortyYearsInThe UniversitySystem

    Mark Twain said that all cats have three names. One day I noticed it was true. All our cats had a formal name, a public name, and an intimate name. It wasn’t that we wanted to prove Mr Twain right. It just happened of itself. Dogs, however, seem only to have the one name. At least the many dogs I’ve had always had but one name. Fancy dogshow dogs perhaps have multiple names but none of the working class dogs we’ve had over the years did. I wonder why.

    1. perpetualWAR

      Oh gosh no! My pup has multiple names.

      Many times his private name is “Stinker” because he is a little stinker and he knows it. He provides endless humor with his stinkiness, however!!!

    2. Bazarov

      This is true of dogs as well. My dog’s formal name is “Bowser Dog,” his public name is “Bowser,” and his intimate names are: Chris Grimbly (when he growls at us in disapproval), Count Crables (when he’s acting ‘crazy,’ we say it is a result of his full blown ‘crabies’ [derived from “rabies”]–this has been further developed into “Crables”), and Kiko-chan Bowser-san (when he’s being generally cute).

  17. Wukchumni

    “They are sending out emergency calls for shoes, underwear, sleeping garments, household equipment, mattresses, springs and bedding,” a Los Angeles Times story reported from Southern California. Do-gooders were doing what they could to help the destitute. “They have no sanitation,” a volunteer said. “No running water. Before the storms this week, we had set into motion a campaign in their behalf.”

    The above reads like an article about the homeless from this month’s California section. But the dispatch actually dates from 1938, and the needy were the most mythologized of Golden State refugees: the Okies. Some 16,000 had settled in Montebello and Bell Gardens, the Times wrote, and the “distress … [was] terribly acute.”

    We had the very popular and well received CCC camps here, which were heralded in the press and widely thought of as the best thing FDR had come up with and weren’t so much catered to the homeless-but more along the lines of young men trying to better themselves vis a vis physical labor, but up over in the Gulag Hockeypelago, their ‘relief camps’ were mainly to get homeless people out of sight of polite society, and were nightmarish in comparison to ours. I think that’s what will become of our homeless population, some variant of what went down in Canada.
    “Grievances about the camp system were numerous, from the poor quality food, the lack of leisure facilities (bathrooms and showers), and that the men were only paid twenty cents per day.”

    In contrast, men in the CCC camps were paid $30 a month, and here’s typical daily fare from one of the camps near here:

    “In 1936, a typical camp’s menu on one day was the following. Breakfast: bran flakes, fried ham and gravy, fried eggs, fried potatoes, hot cakes, butter toast, syrup, jam, coffee, milk, sugar. Lunch: vegetable soup, roast beef, brown gravy, assorted cold meats, mashed potatoes, cabbage slaw, creamed peas, lettuce salad, tomatoes, mince pie, doughnuts, coffee, milk, iced tea, buttermilk. Dinner: vegetable beef soup, roast pork and jelly, baked beef heart and dressing, German fried potatoes, steamed carrots, celery, cottage cheese, sliced beets, mince pie, cupcakes, coffee, milk, ice tea, buttermilk.”

  18. Olga

    We miss those little creatures who join our lives for a time and give us insight into dimensions beyond ourselves. We enjoy their warmth and goofiness; they make us better people. They connect us with what is most important – love and tolerance, patience and forgiveness … and the lightness of being. To all who’ve had the privilege of sharing their life with a wise member of the animal spirit world …

  19. Synoia

    Germany achieves world’s largest balance sheet surplus (AFXH). Not good, as any student of Keynes would tell you, and worse, Germany thinks this is great.

    Both the US and Canada move the surplus or defect around the states and provinces through the Federal budget.

    The EU has no such mechanism, and the Germans demand “internal deflation” for member states, which works well. As the Greets can attest.

    Breixt is one solution, and when the first demand is 100 Bullion Euros, or so, with accompanying continuing payment for the EU budget, and must be agreed before other items will be discussed, leaves little for negotiation.

    Of course the Germans will willingly step up with their surplus and fill the gaps in the EU budget after Brexit — with wonderful loans from Deutsche Bank, which must be repaid by the EU members selling all their commons and bargain prices. Coupled with gentle austerity driven by the benevolent European Commission.

    I’d suggest the Germans rebuild their military more quickly. One can foresee when it might be necessary to us it as a “collections army.”

    1. djrichard

      Wanted to see how Germany was repatriating the US currency back to the US, for the part that wasn’t being repatriated into US goods and services. Looking at (change country in the upper left hand corner to Germany) gives Germany’s holdings of foreign assets (equities and debt). If you scroll down to US, you can see the breakdown of US equities and debt owned by Germany, which currently values to $365B dollars. Compare to the trade deficit between US and Germany of $65B per year (more or less), and you can see where they’ve been parking that accumulated surplus.

      Another thing that jumps out is that the German holdings of US equities and debt are not by their central bank. Rather, the holdings are by financial institutions and government, the biggest of which are money market funds, holding $223B.

      One could almost argue that Germany acts just like NY. Sure, they’re on a different currency, but withstanding that, they both hoover up a lot of surplus from the rest of the US and park it in financial instruments. So congratulations, free trade allowed the US to add another voracious US state: Germany (or at least the part of Germany which is financially tied to the US). Except that Germany is outside of US jurisdiction from a tax perspective. So the Fed Gov has to make do with selling them bonds instead of taxing them. Have to wonder though, if the part of Germany that is financially tied to the US was taxed by the US, would the Fed Gov spending on other states be correspondingly higher. Thereby better offsetting the impact of Germany’s trade surplus. Vice versa, if the US Fed Gov spending is the same regardless of the trade deficit with Germany, does this mean some states are effectively losing their “monetary base” to those states which German institutions decide to buy debt and stock from? To answer this last point, we need a way to find out how the monetary base of the US is divided between the states and whether some states are losing their monetary base over time.

      1. djrichard

        BTW, according to those IMF tables, foreign ownership of US assets has gone from $2.4T in 2002 to $13T in 2016. See:

        That’s what is balancing our trade on a cumulative basis. Obviously, the message is clear: if people in the US want a job, they need to be in the financial asset production business. The US economy is pumping assets out like hot cakes. Which by the way is why nobody (in power) wants balanced trade on goods and services. It has nothing to do with the disruption that would happen to corporations that actually produce goods and services.

        Disclaimer: the IMF numbers are based on self-reporting by the holders/countries. From what I can tell, it doesn’t look China has done a good job of self-reporting. And separately, I’m not sure how well these numbers align with US treasury reporting of foreign ownership of US treasuries. Even so, the IMF data does give some eye opening results.

        For instance, here’s the top so many holders of US debt and equity. This is US$Trillions. Look at how high up Cayman Islands are. And look at Ireland – presumably that’s the benefit of all those US corporations hosted there. China is too low on this list – again their self reporting doesn’t seem to be very good. Because while they only list $130B below, the US treasury lists them as having over $1T in treasuries.

        $1.60 Japan
        $1.20 Cayman Islands
        $1.08 United Kingdom
        $0.95 Luxembourg
        $0.79 Canada
        $0.72 Ireland
        $0.47 Netherlands
        $0.36 Germany
        $0.34 Norway
        $0.31 Bermuda
        $0.31 Singapore
        $0.29 Switzerland
        $0.27 Australia
        $0.26 France
        $0.15 Sweden
        $0.14 Korea, Republic of
        $0.13 China, P.R.: Hong Kong
        $0.13 Denmark
        $0.13 China, P.R.: Mainland

  20. Oregoncharles

    On the Romanian sheep:

    “Good fences make good neighbors.” The US base needs a better fence.

    It also needs not to be there.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Yesterday, there was a link about military bases in Djibouti.

      An extra responsibility will be to make sure China or Japan doesn’t take them over when we vacate them..

      1. JTMcPhee

        The Vietnamese and the Soviets/Russians inherited the massive “installations” and “bases” that a generous open-wallet Uncle Stupid built to provide the “infrastructure” for the Vietnam Conflict. In places like Tan Son Nhut and Cam Ranh Bay and Da Nang. And then walked away from, having blown billions (trillions by one) of dollars, and blown away millions of Asians. And made KBR execs and related entities very very wealthy.

        When my unit left Phan Thiet for more fun in I Corps during the run up to the Tet festivities in 1968, I, like a few others in my unit, set off a CS riot gas grenade in the “hooch” I built for myself out of pallets, ammo crate pieces, sandbags of course, and bits of this and that, with a roof made of sheets of aircraft-grade 6062 aluminum that were “just lying around.” Did not feature leaving a nice comfy space for some other “troop” to just move into. Maybe our great military minds can find something like that to do to US “installations,” maybe set off a couple of those “little nukes” that some of the Brass are so anxious to deploy to show how tough they are. Salt the earth stuff.

  21. Oregoncharles

    “Brussels goes to war against plastic garbage Politico. Way way WAY overdue in the US.”

    Definitely not a priority. I just came across an example of anti-environmental regulation. The state health department put an end to the local co-op’s long-standing program of sterilizing and providing used containers, for the bulk department, which is large. While small in the scheme of things, this kept a considerable number of containers, mostly plastic, out of the landfill and ultimately the oceans. And it’s a good example. Just to rub it in, the health inspector has been very unresponsive – pointedly so, in fact. I posed two very specific questions, and he didn’t answer either of them.

    So I need to be even more political about it, write to the head of the department (in Oregon, most of them are elected) as well as my representative.

    Piecemeal like that is not a good way to do things. Wears people out, which is probably the idea. There needs to be an overall policy. Hmmm – good topic for an initiative. Deposits, maybe?

  22. marym

    In a rare break of the usual tradition of House incumbents either backing each other or staying neutral in a primary, Illinois Democratic Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Luis Gutierrez on Wednesday are endorsing challenger Marie Newman over Rep. Dan Lipinski.

    Lipinski is one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress. Newman’s views are allied with Schakowsky and Gutierrez, prominent members of the Democratic progressive wing.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “Audacity Of Chelsea Manning’s Senate Campaign Rankles Democrats ”

    Pass the popcorn. The schadenfreude (in watching the DP self-destruct) is delightful.

    1. Oregoncharles

      If she wishes, there might be a way to get Manning into the general election. Maryland has a ballot-qualified Green Party, and there’s a loophole in the state’s “sore loser” law:

      She would have to withdraw from the Democratic Party immediately after the primary – assuming she loses it.

  24. cocomaan

    It’s bizarre that the Democrats will pick Dreamers to shut down the government. Out of all things.

    I can’t gauge public opinion on this. I have no idea what people’s attitudes are to non-citizens in a special program for immigration. It appears to be sympathetic, but how sympathetic will it be when the government is languishing in shutdown?

    1. Altandmain

      I think that it is a foolish move. Identity politics is largely a dead end.

      Instead they should have picked Trump’s tax plan being repealed as a shutdown plan. It’s very unpopular. Of course the Democrats answer to the same donors so maybe that’s why …

    2. VietnamVet

      Threatening a shutdown of the federal government is strange. Democrats once were for good government. Now they are no different than Republicans. Restarting the Cold War and being pro-immigration at the same time hardly seem to be winning strategies for getting votes from working families. Most likely these positions poll well with the donors who transferred $700,000,000 to six Democrat consultants in 2016.

  25. Wukchumni

    Ever think of the slick maneuvering our feline accoutrements have to go through living with us?

    It’d be as if our owners were 35 feet tall and outweighed us by a factor of a dozen times…

    1. Oregoncharles

      That would be why they sometimes use us for a climbing structure. I had one cat that liked to drape himself around the back of your neck; made a great muffler. He liked it so much that he’d take a flying leap, then scramble the rest of the way. Had to train him to only do that when invited, so we could abort the scrambling part. But the training only applied to residents…

  26. diptherio

    When sexual assault victims speak out, their institutions often betray them The Conversation (Nikki)

    Not to be overly nit-picky, but technically speaking, institutions are incapable of betrayal, being but a series of legal relationships. It’s the people in those institutions who are doing the betraying. Just sayin’…credit where it’s due and all that.

    1. Massinissa

      I don’t know if I agree. Institutions are usually built in such a way that they can either incentivize or altar behaviors of those who work inside them. That’s why they are called institutions.

      1. witters

        So institutions are not manned/personned? Was the “altar” reference meant to indicate the Absolute Divine Authority of the Institution?

    2. Lambert Strether

      > institutions are incapable of betrayal

      I’m of two minds on this. On the one hand, I agree with you about the category error involved. On the other, I really really like the “Slow AI” conceptualization for corporations (and, by extension, any large institution). And Slow AI could be said to have agency of a sort, I would think…

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    This is What Happened to Sales & Prices of Manhattan Office Buildings as Chinese Buyers are Suddenly “Absent” Wolf Street (EM)

    Something for Australians to keep in mind,

  28. Adam Eran

    The financial advantages of the suburbs boomerang long-term. Central cities are easier and cheaper to maintain (shorter sewer runs, etc.). We’re finally beginning to figure this out in some east coast studies, but believe me sprawl remains king in the West.

    And no, the market had nothing to do with this. People still pay premiums for nice, pedestrian-friendly mixed use traditional neighborhoods and newer neighborhoods built to emulate them. One nicer aspect of gentrifying downtowns: homelessness gets some serious attention (OK, largely weak tea, but still better than nothing.)

    One solution I never hear mentioned: If FNMA revised its underwriting standards to require pedestrian-friendly mixed use in all new subdivisions, builders would make not another ounce of sprawl.

    It’s not “Form follows function” a la Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s “Form follows finance.”

    1. Oregoncharles

      Oregon’s land use law is specifically designed to maintain density and, reciprocally, farmland. It tends to discourage sprawl, and a few cities have laws that really discourage it: they require a vote of the people for annexations. Starting new towns is difficult.

      Consequently, the more prosperous towns are seeing a tremendous amount of infill. It isn’t always popular with the neighbors – I’ve been asked to plant screens, usually bamboo, when a neighbor builds a second story and can peer into backyards. Not that my clients are wandering around naked out there, but still.

      Point being, Oregon is an exception to your rule. One result is that land use is a rather busy aspect of law.

  29. MidAtlanticExPat-To New England

    This is What Happened to Sales & Prices of Manhattan Office Buildings as Chinese Buyers are Suddenly “Absent”

    Can anyone enlighten me re: the difference from this ‘bubble’ and the one in 80s resulting from Japanese purchases of ‘everything’. What are the implications when it goes south?
    I’m thinking I am seeing a similar trajectory; but don’t have the sophisticated, detailed knowledge to analyze with any confidence.


    1. Wukchumni

      The Japanese were mostly interested in trophy properties in the USA, not so much with individual homes, such as what’s happened in the San Gabriel Valley in L.A. with Chinese buyers, and other locales.

  30. ewmayer

    Re. Aby cats and tabby cats, we have the Arab world to thank for the word ‘tabby’:

    ORIGIN late 16th cent. (denoting a kind of silk taffeta, originally striped, later with a watered finish: see sense 2): from French tabis, based on Arabic al-‛Attābiyya, the name of the quarter of Baghdad where tabby was manufactured.

    Which prompts a bit of, um, doggerel:

    Aby cat, Aby cat, what’s your name?
    Are you really a tabby cat, or are those not the same?

  31. The Rev Kev

    Korean War allies consider further sanctions against North Korea

    Idjuts. The only two countries that share an actual border with North Korea are told to stay away until the end when they will receive their marching orders from this self-appointed group of twenty. It seems that the whole point of the exercise is to bypass the United Nations and to organize crushing restrictions on North Korea’s economy and force them to basically surrender. Not going to happen. North Korea already has an example of what happens when a country gives up its nuclear program and has seen the double-crossing of Iran with its nuclear deal so they won’t be crazy enough to comply with these demands.
    What Washington wants but can’t get through the UN is the right to board and possibly seize North Korean ships at sea. That may sound like a good idea in the Beltway but what if North Korea stations a platoon of die-hards on each ship with the announced intent of treating any boarding party as ‘pirates’? That’s how shooting wars start and how people start dying.
    Sun Tzu thought it a good principle to never back someone into a corner that they did not have at least one exit from and this new ‘coalition of the willing’ seems to be trying to block all exits for North Korea. Not a good idea.

  32. audrey jr

    Great links today. I am sorry about your sad anniversary today, Yves. I remember when you were tending to Blake and, as one cat person to another, I know how much you miss him. One of my two cats is turning 18 this year, a beautiful Burmese named Chester. We were able to save that little feral kitten who was stuck in the undercarriage of a car, which I wrote about late last year, and she is now Queen of the Castle. Her name is Anya. Yes, I am a Russian stooge who likes Russian names.
    On the neoliberalization of everything and just about everyone here in the USofA I found a little ditty over at CounterPunch which I thought might be of some interest to NC’ers.

  33. 3.14e-9

    Yves, your post about Blake a year ago has been on my mind almost daily. My good boy isn’t even 4 years old, but a vet once told me he showed symptoms of congenital heart disease and could “drop dead any time without warning” (bedside manner wasn’t her strong point). That possibility and your post about Blake have been constant reminders of the impermanence of this world.

    I’ve often said that he isn’t a cat, but a higher being who borrowed a cat’s body to travel with me – figuratively, and maybe literally. We recently moved across country, driving nearly 3,000 miles together, both of us terrified. When I hold him in my arms, he stares deeply into my eyes, like he’s trying to hypnotize me into remembering who he is and where we met before.

    In a comment above, subgenius calls it a “trans-species relationship” worth the cost of pain of loss. In my more fearful moments, I try to remind myself that a special relationship of this kind crosses the time-space barrier. Whoever, whatever these beings are, they were with us all along, so how could they not still be here after their three-dimensional bodies have reached the end of their shelf life?

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