I know Jerri-Lynn wished you Happy New Year yesterday, but let me add my wishes today!
NZ revelers build sand island to defy alcohol ban, authorities admire their ingenuity RT (Kevin W)
Six dogs rescued from Liverpool multistorey car park gutted by fire Guardian
How Migrating Birds Use Weather Conditions to Calculate the Best Route With the Least Resistance LaughingSquid (resilc)
Horrifying moment a horse collapses in the street during London’s spectacular New Year’s Day parade Daily Mail. FWIW, one of my nieces was marching in this parade. Frustrating that the article doesn’t say whether the horse was ultimately OK or not.
Airports Across U.S. Were Hit With Hours-Long Customs Glitch Time. Lambert: “And JFK is a hell-hole even when the computers are working.”
New Year’s Message and Warning from a War Correspondent OffGuardian (JTM)
Flood and severe weather alerts as Storms Eleanor and Fionn sweep across the Atlantic threatening 70mph winds and heavy rain in the first week of 2018 Daily Mail. Warning to eastern US and Canadian readers: you aren’t the only ones suffering from the wrath of the Weather Gods.
“As much death as you want”: UC Berkeley’s Stuart Russell on “Slaughterbots” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (guurst). From last month, still germane.
Nepal bans solo climbers from Mount Everest under new rules BBC (Chuck L)
Bitcoin tensions rise as investors claim banks freezing their accounts Sydney Morning Herald (Kevin W)
Bitcoin Starts New Year by Declining, First Time Since 2015 Bloomberg
Want to Be Happy? Think Like an Old Person New York Times
China’s Ambitious New ‘Port’: Landlocked Kazakhstan New York Times (resilc)
China’s Feminist Five Dissent (Chuck L)
The Oil and Gas Sector Is Changing — and So Is Geopolitics New York Times. Resilc: “China smoking USA USA into distant 2nd”
China Bans Imported Plastic Waste BBC (resilc)
South Korea welcomes Kim Jong-un’s call for Olympic talks BBC
Brussels prepares for battle over EU budget contributions Financial Times. Admittedly, the EU is not the Eurozone, but this is one of many cases where not understanding MMT makes problems more difficult than they need be.
2018: the year that Brexit gets real and the year for getting real about Brexit Chris Grey (guurst)
Brexit: a belief in success Richard North. From the very first quote I read from him, I have always taken David Davis to be stupid. But the depth of stupidity on display here takes a special talent.
Lord Adonis quits government role in stinging letter BBC (guurst). A must read for those in the UK.
Rail fare rises: Season ticket prices have soared by up to 50% since Tories took power in 2010, Labour reveals Independent
Guindos cifra en 1.000 millones el coste de la crisis soberanista en Cataluña El Pais. Yes, El Pais….
Why did protests erupt in Iran? Al Jazeera (resilc)
Iran protests have violent night; at least 13 dead overall Associated Press
Iran – Early U.S. Support For Rioters Hints At A Larger Plan Moon of Alabama. Lambert: “Starts organic, then hijacked. Neatly parallel strategies between the handling of foreign and domestic insurgencies, if indeed for elites such a distinction can be said to exist.”
Trump Calls for Change in ‘Failing’ Iran as Protests Turn Fatal Bloomberg Resilc: “And I call for change in USA USA.”
Pakistan Has Given ‘Nothing but Lies and Deceit’ in Exchange for US Assistance, Says Trump The Wire (J-LS)
The Man Who Jumped Counterpunch. Chuck L: “The compelling clarity of Uri Avnery as applied to the Israel-Palestine future.”
Palestinians are watching Saudi Arabia closely Al Jazeera (UserFriendly)
Unsurprisingly news of the #IranProtests dominated newspaper headlines this morning. Here are a few from across the political spectrum. I'll translate headlines in the thread below. pic.twitter.com/w3xWVrqBCN
— Nilo Tabrizy (@ntabrizy) December 31, 2017
Imperial Collapse Watch
The Future the US Military is Constructing: a Giant, Armed Nervous System Defense One. Martha r: “From 9/26, still germane.” Lambert: “Oooh, a ginormous single point of failure!”
From LeMay to McMaster: The Pentagon’s Difficult Relationship with Deterrence War on the Rocks (resilc)
NYT Writes Epic Cover For Comey’s FBI – Its Sole Source: “Officials Said” Moon of Alabama
White House aides already anxious about 2018 Politico
Trump Administration to Roll Back Fines for Nursing Home Abuse Truthdig (Judy B)
Cuomo spending economic development funds for property tax ad New York Post (UserFriendly)
Democrats in Disarray
Just When You Thought Democrats Couldn’t Get Any More Oblivious… Current Affairs (martha r)
From Martha r: “Not a good look for the Greens”:
Im not leaving out anything. I just don't have any photos or video from that time period. If you want to share i would love so receive and amplify. Ita about remembering Erica. Not any party or candidates. I was with her for Bernie. She didn't do much with the greens. https://t.co/IgEHfji58Y
— Blackstar Flower (@BlackstarFlower) January 1, 2018
Lambert took great interest in Black Lives Matter (he was following it long before it got national attention), Erica Garner, and of course the elections. This is not definitive, but from Lambert via e-mail:
Garner did attend a GP rally in the Bronx in October 2016:
Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner— an unarmed black man killed by police in 2014 and whose name has become tantamount to the Black Lives Matter Movement —made an impassioned plea to the audience to vote with their “conscience” and touched on Baraka’s theme of fear in this election.
Garner another Bernie-turned-Stein supporter expressed concerns about both major party candidates. Stating that if Clinton become president it will be “more of the same”, while also claiming that the previous Clinton administration did little for black lives. She very simply condemned Trump as a “racist and a fraud”.
“I’m not scared to reject the politics of fear,” Garner said. “This November we have a choice to make and I’m not telling you who to choose but I’m telling you to reject any choice that is bad for you and your people.”
I don’t recall Garner on the trail with Stein, or making advertisements with her, or formally endorsing here. There is no endorsement here, if that’s what Baraka is implying.
North Carolina no longer a democracy News & Observer (martha r)
South Florida’s Real Estate Reckoning Could Be Closer Than You Think Bloomberg
Historic Secwepemc Declaration Against Kinder Morgan Women’s Declaration. Martha r: “Undated. Worth signing, also reading for the info.”
Time’s Up: Hollywood women launch campaign to fight sexual harassment Guardian
Major Hacker Conference Organizers Accused of Ignoring Harassment, Enabling Abusers Gizmodo (Chuck L). Wowsers. The allegations go way beyond grey areas and include assault.
KRS pensioners sue hedge fund giants, financial advisers and former leadership for crippling Kentucky’s pension system InsiderLouisville (Chris Tobe). More on this soon…
The Absurdity of Saying “White Privilege” The Ghion Journal (UserFriendly)
A.I. and Big Data Could Power a New War on Poverty New York Times (David L)
Minimum wage hikes in 18 states set for new year The Hill
In Cities With Low Unemployment, Wages Finally Start to Get Bigger Wall Street Journal
Dumb and Dumber: Donald Trump on Amazon and the Postal Service Dean Baker
Armed with new data, officials target ‘drug-dealing’ doctors WCVB (BC)
Antidote du jour (resilc). A New Year’s leap near Arlington, VA:
And from Johan L: “Attaching a Joel Meyerowitz photo, taken in 1965 at JFK airport, that a family member sent me. I found it quite stunning.”
See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.
Workers in long term care (LTC) are overworked, underpaid and understaffed, especially at for profit facilities. How much Medicaid $ is used to house elderly than pay for health care for poor. If Ryan is able to gut entitlements, conditions at LTC will worsen & they are bad already.
Won’t matter for Poodle Ryan, the Zombie Eyed Granny-Starver, nor does it matter for the Oligarchs who run the country.
Why should they care if elderly peons are left to rot in horrid conditions? No doubt, we deserve our fates and should just STFU.
No thin gruel for you tonight, granny.
Neoliberal Rule #2, my friend. Can’t live without it.
First off, happy New Year to Yves, Lambert, Jerri-Lynn and everyone here at the NC comments field! Thanks for providing an outlet of sanity during the holiday season. With relatives on both extremes of the mainstream political spectrum, it’s nice to find articles here to help center my focus.
Thanks for today’s Moon of Alabama article- it’s essential reading, IMHO. Between that and Lee Camp’s correction of the Swatting story posted here on this site, we could build an appendix amending all the misleading headlines perpetrated by the Grey Lady and never run out of work.
It might also prove useful to link authors of these misleading stories and cross-reference their biographies. For this Russia-gate nonsense, we have the trio of SHARON LaFRANIERE, MARK MAZZETTI and MATT APUZZO. For the Lee Camp story, we have MITCH SMITH. That’s four hacks in two articles alone! With a 2:1 ratio of hacks to headline, we’ll eventually have an index that could rank these so-called journalists according to a truthiness scale.
I look forward to the NYC meet-up. It will be nice to kick off the year with fellow travelers!
+1 on a Happy New Year to everyone who puts so much work into making this site great.
Re: the Moon of Alabama article – its good, but I think should be read along the Al J article linked above too. There seems a lot of deep discontent in Iran, focused on a very conservative authoritarian structure which repeatedly sabotages any hint of reform (I won’t offer the obvious comparisons elsewhere). Countries like that can seem stable up until they fall apart. But obviously it is made much more flammable by outside agents determined to undermine the country. Its not just the US/Israel who is interested in fomenting discontent, no doubt the Saudi’s are keen on throwing cash at it too – it would not be surprising if they are behind some of the Sunni separatist terrorism in the Baluchistan region.
But 2018 looks like it will be a good year for Iran. They will reap the benefits from victory over Isis/Al-Q in Syria and Iraq (lets face it, Iraq is now largely an Iranian puppet), with Hizbollah now able to focus again on Lebanon. Qatar has been forced to depend more and more on Iran, yet another unintended outcome of Saudi geopolitical incompetence. And rising oil prices can only help, especially as Abe in Japan seems more likely to resist US pressure on a more independent foreign policy (Japan is a major importer of Iranian oil and is very interested in Iranian LNG).
Just as a correction to the above, I’ve just realised you were referring to the second MoA article linked above, I was writing about the one on Iran (also essential reading).
PK, you have touched upon some hopeful trends that, if left to their own development, would have promise. However, it always struck me as odd that, if Hizbollah were preoccupied with Syria, that Israel did not cause more disturbance in Lebanon than they did, to divert H. from actions in Syria. Of course, Israel was also preoccupied with Syria and the US elections, so their are only so many fingers one could put in pies.
Further, your point about LNG going to Japan could be shortcut by US and its connected African sources. We do subsidize our petroleum and gas extraction industry, and could do so to a greater degree if competition from our sworn enemy Iran were to come to table. Japanese unrest with the US can always be assuaged by financial considerations, and that could be said about any of our allies.
Given international power balances, and given DC’s unlimited ability to pour money into keeping allies docile, if a little unhappy (thanks, US professional politicians who know little beyond the border), I would expect the mid-point between the optimistic and dark pessimistic to occur. Nothing is ever as bad as the worst, since nations and societies do rebound often enough, but we play with fire every time we give the powers-that-be more space to construct a foreign policy that kills the domestic economy of every nation.
Totally my bad. I should have linked the story or quoted the title in my post instead of presuming it was the only MoA article posted today.
Alas, my take on the current situation in Iran is completely worthless. I really can’t offer any educated response with the little bit I’ve looked into it. I have it on my short list now, though. ;)
According to an article I read yesterday, it’s important with regard to Iran to understand that “conservative” doesn’t mean the same there as here. The current “moderate” president there, according to the author, is in fact a neoliberal who has eliminated the subsidies for the poor and otherwise imposed the standard neoliberal austerity measures; and those are what the people are protesting.
Those subsidies and other support for the poor were the work of the previous president, who was of course the poster boy for Despicable Tyrant in the US media. The protests, therefore, are likely justifiable, and ripe for the same kind of takeover we saw happen in Syria.
Regime change in Iran will likely be another “dog catches car” moment, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, etc. It is unlikely it would suddenly create a constitution based on the US, turn into a secular democracy, and then everybody just goes shopping, like in all of the neo-con wet dreams about the Middle East.
Iran may be more stable than most of these countries as it doesn’t appear to have as many ancient internal tribes and factions that hate each other like many of the other post-European and Ottoman empire artificial boundary states (Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria, etc.). But it is likely that some other strongman would just show up and pick up the pieces, all in the name of “providing safety and order.”
I completely agree. I can’t believe how many commentators, especially centrists and conservatives seems to genuinely believe that, if the protestors got what they wanted, Iran would become a liberal pro-Isreal free-market democracy with a bill of rights. Even if you think the current Iranian government is awful, I don’t see how a revolutionary government could be any better. If recent history in the Mid-East shows anything, its that revolutions and chaos rarely even provide a slight improvement to the situation for the average citizen. Most of the time, it seems that death, destruction, and radicalism are the result. Of course, a more cynical (and possibly more accurate) interpretation of the neo-con support for the protesters is precisely that they hope for a chaotic, self-destructive Iran.
I suspect this is the case for some, but when I read comment sections on sites like Bloomberg there seem to be legions of ostensibly well-educated liberals (in the Lambert sense of the term) who think that we’ll just give things a happy shove in the right direction using our limitless military might and then Tehran will start hosting annual Pride parades, presumably using the wildly successful Libyan intervention as a template.
Not a whiff of irony about the idea of intervening in the political matters of a foreign country from the same demographic who is in a non-stop panic about the idea that their president is a Russian stooge. Or that their champion, Obama, was completely silent about the brutal militarized crackdown of nonviolent American protestors in OWS. I don’t think that most people are all that cynical, I think they’re just willfully ignorant because that’s the path of least resistance and there aren’t many feedback loops in place to divorce them from the absurd fantasies.
An incident involving a stolen gun caused a commotion at Walmart on Skibo Road on Thursday afternoon.
About 3 p.m., Fayetteville police spokeswoman Asia Cannon said, inaccurate information based on radio scanner traffic began circulating about a shooting at the Walmart. Officers arrived and discovered that a man had grabbed a gun off another man who was open-carrying the weapon. The man who grabbed the gun then ran off.
Of course, this illustrates one of the main problems with open carry. Besides freaking out the uninitiated citizen, it also makes yourself a target for crap like this.
But if you’re serious about protecting yourself and others with a firearm, carry it concealed. Doing so means that not only will you minimize your chances of being murder target number one in the event of a robbery, but you’ll also help make sure that you actually have your gun at that key moment, rather than having lost it to some schmuck in a local Walmart who snatched it and ran off.
I really don’t know what to make of the article…other than firearms don’t deter pickpockets….or maybe more accurately, pickholsters….
freaking out the uninitiated
if people are freaked out at open carry, how freaked out will they be when they catch an inadvertent flash of a weapon under a coat – don’t most criminals hide their weapons?
freaking out the uninitiated
Is there an agenda circulating for the initiation ceremony? And, more importantly, will punch and cookies be served afterwards? These communication breakdowns really stress out the elderly and shut-ins in particular.
I do love the opening paragraph: “There’s a lot of debate that takes place around the idea of open carry. Many argue that open carry is tactically stupid as it makes it clear to any potential bad guy who to take out first during a robbery. Others counter with arguments about how open carry initiates conversations about the Second Amendment and our right to keep and bear arms.”
Yeah, seeing someone trotting around the supermarket sporting a gun on their hip totally makes me want to initiate a conversation.
This is one of the reasons why I carry a long bow and a quiver. It keeps the “ammo” separate from the weapon. And yet there have been times when I have had to shoot an arrow into a pork roast to subdue it, so you should not pooh-pooh the perils of a supermarket.
I creep through the aislederness, often in serpentine towards my prey behind glass, and once the perimeter has been cleared of others in the queue seeking their quarry, i’ll softly announce:
“a pound of pastrami please, sliced wafer thin”
Wukchumni, I just had a flash of filmThe Wrestler whereby a scene with a massive roided-up Mickey Rourke working behind the deli counter. Later to go on a rampage through the aisles
January 2, 2018 at 10:00 am
deli slicers can be dangerous…especially when wounded and bleeding
January 2, 2018 at 10:06 am
speaking softly, saying please, to a large man welding a meat slicer is what a wise man does….
Meher Baba Fan
January 2, 2018 at 12:12 pm
Yup – Mickey Rouke in a great movie
Just to note, and not to brag, that my youtube post addressed 3 commenters in one shot
And this is why our nation has put you in charge of Medicare enrollment.
That is not a banana in my pocket nor am I glad to see you.
I live in Texas, and we’ve had concealed carry for years, then we got open carry. The only person I’ve seen openly carrying had a pistol stuck into the waistband of his athletic shorts. As you may imagine, this dragged the shorts down considerably. The whole arrangement looked awkward and poorly thought out. This was at a standard chain hair salon in a fairly good part of town. My overall impression is that this was a very foolish and stupid person, and not one I wanted to be anywhere near in a criminal emergency.
There’s a flu epidemic coursing through our veins, a particularly vile one that comes with 103-104 temps and is hesitant to depart the scene.
A friend works @ the pharmacy in town, and she told me based upon her observations, most everybody has it or a cold that also lingers and won’t go away (my wife & I are headed into the 2nd week of ours) and it isn’t just a local thing, when I went shopping in Visalia the other day, I hit up the cashiers for info-as they kibitz with most everybody, and the tales were along the same lines, it’s taking people down.
Reading the news, I come across tidbits such as “Hospitalizations tied to flu jump 28% in past week stateside” in Oklahoma, or “The spike in flu activity has forced some hospitals in California to enforce new restrictions for sick visitors and children under 12”, or “Maury County Schools to remain closed to avoid spread of flu” in Tennessee, or “Nearly 2,227 new flu cases were reported last week, raising this season’s total to 3,873, nearly 3,300 more cases than the 599 that had been reported at the same time last year.” in San Diego.
They are calling this bad boy the “Aussie Flu” in the UK (where it’s also doing it’s worst) and the timing is interesting in that it’s exactly a century since the Spanish Flu killed many multiples of those that perished on the battlefield in WW1.
There are two viruses, both nasty, working their way around the world. The ‘Australian’ flu is a H3 flu virus and seems to have caused a lot of problems (I suspect I had it myself before Christmas). There is also another virus that mainly affects younger people which apparently is only partially covered by this years vaccine.
The Spanish Flu tended to take out healthy people in their 20’s & 30’s, not the usual infants and ancients angle.
Killed by their own immune systems. If only our systems could all just get along.
I was reading that a flu had passed through the population about two decades earlier which was similar enough to the 1919 flu so that it gave that generation a lot of resistance. That is one reason, not the main, why not so many older people did not die in 1919.
And can we junk the name Spanish Flu, please? That was only a propaganda misnomer at the time and the origins of the flu appear to be in Kansas. The more you read about this Flu pandemic, the weirder it gets. In spite of killing probably hundreds of millions of people the whole thing dropped down into a memory hole.
People who were on the forefront of this outbreak barely covered it in their memoirs, the outbreak was ignored in teaching schools, history books hardly mentioned it – it was almost like it never happened. But children in the streets would skip rope to a frightening new nursery rhyme. They knew-
“I had a little bird … Its name was Enza … I opened up the window … And in-flu-enza!”
I also heard that the flu vaccine was particularly ineffective this year. This comes after the 2016-2017 season ,which was essentially useless for 65 and older:
Looked up 2015 and saw that it was 23% effective: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/flu-years-vaccine-worse-thought/story?id=28249130
Imagine being 23% effective at anything. Amazing.
I read that this year it is only 10% effective!
and the titanic floated wonderfully ….until it didn’t
Past floating is no guarantee of future floating
“The STLFSI measures the degree of financial stress in the markets…”
“The Markets” = the place where the rich play with their money. Their “stress” is not real stress.
from the article:
Like many conservatives, I had grave concerns about curtailing the New York City police department’s controversial tactic of stopping and frisking potential suspects for weapons. I was inclined to defer to the police when they protested that they needed the option to stop, question, and frisk New Yorkers on a mere reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing instead of probable cause that the targeted person had committed a crime.
Today in New York City, use of stop-and-frisk, which the department justified via the 1968 Terry v. Ohio Supreme Court ruling, has crashed. Yet the statistics are clear: Crime is lower than ever. It’s possible that crime would be even lower had stop-and-frisk been retained, but that’s moving the goalposts. I and others argued that crime would rise. Instead, it fell. We were wrong.
Sorry for over posting – this is my last one…unless there is a documented Martian invasion. WELCOME Martians!
Some would question that people who claim to be “conservative” (i.e., great admirers of the original intent of the constitution) who think that the 4th amendment can be “interpreted” to mean what it clearly does not, are in fact “conservative.”
But I don’t want to be churlish – credit where credit is due. One of the most difficult things for people to do is do admit being wrong. As they say, stop and frisk was a whole lot of shucking for precious little corn….
Re The Future the US Military is Constructing: a Giant, Armed Nervous System
Oh that is great. What could possibly go wrong. Looks like the US military is tired of the Michael Ledeen doctrine (“Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business”) and wants to play with the big boys for a change. The US military only wants to play by overmatch, that is, they will only tackle an enemy when they have a total overwhelming series of advantages over it but this approach seems to promise “overmatch” against countries like Russia and China. So, what could happen?
The US military decides to put one of the big boys in their place and goes after them. The defending country launches a series of missiles in a pre-emptive attack before the US can launch their pe-emptive attack. The US military readies their ballistic defense system but the enemy missiles do not head towards continental America. Too late, the US military realizes that the missiles are actually headed towards space. At different heights, these missiles explode and releases millions of ball-bearings in pre-arranged directions.
An artificial Kessler syndrome proceeds to knock out every single satellite, space station and anything else man-made in orbit so that space flight becomes impossible for the next coupla centuries. There is no more GPS, satellite communication, glonass, satellite global communication and sections of the internet disappear. All that networked military gear now links to nothing, nada, zip, diddly-squat. A scientist explains humanity’s position at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyUIDwlFcuA
If a person like myself with no military experience could come up with this scenario, imagine what a professional could come up with.
I like this idea quite a lot…
Big fan of the “scorched space” strategy, force Musk and his ilk to preserve this planet rather than colonize Mars, and leave the unworthy, unwashed masses (including scientists) here to rot on the toxic planet Monsanto has contrived to create all for “markets”.
Hopefully too, the Columbians realize that if they di-methyl-Mercury the cocaine, the 1% won’t care so much about latin-american imperialism since their cash crop will be neutralized. Venezuela still would have something to worry about sadly though, since they are unfortunately sitting on top of oil…
Imagine knocking out the ability for the MIC to make endless war, as GPS is required for nearly all their Actions, and knocking out the sociopath drug that makes the 1% so vile in the first place, wow, we could really have a Chance to prevent the in-Progress climate catastrophy.
Imagine all the People…
Was trying to figure out who the “Columbians” are. It’s a name I’ve seen applied to USians, so maybe the DEA and various police departments? Somewhat more probable is “Colombians,” but why would they destroy their main cash crop to prevent the US from invading? Their operations wouldn’t be as much under threat from the US military as from their own military, which at least knows the ground.
There’s a couple of Columbian cartels in DC that are utterly Krupp’d.
Doesn’t have to go that far.
So a real war against a powerful state means they gain access to one US asset, and then have perfect intelligence on the US military. That means closing down the system at least partially which means they have to rely in less trained older methods.
The nervous system is not suited to fight against Russia. It is suited to fighting against Iran, Afgan resistance fighters and Americans wanting to cut military expenditure.
The Chinese already demonstrated to the U.S. back in 2007 that they had the capability and the will to induce Kessler syndrome —
‘China’s Antisatellite Missile Test: Why?’
Rev Kev wrote: ‘… space flight becomes impossible for the next coupla centuries.’
‘Beyond Gravity: the complex quest to take out our orbital trash’
If DoD can build a “Giant, Armed Nervous System” does that mean we can expect DoD to build an accounting and logistics system to make DoD expenditures auditable?
This idea of a “Giant, Armed Nervous System” reminds me of a story — probably apocryphal — I heard about a sailor who very badly wanted to be present when his first baby was born. The carrier he was assigned to was scheduled to participate in a major exercise that would keep the ship and sailor away from port for more than 6 months — well past the time his child would be born. In spite of all the pleading and begging he could manage the sailor’s officer would not allow his reassignment to duties in port.
The sailor happened to work in the conning tower of the carrier and often pulled night duty. One night he reported to his station with a hat pin. Just before the end of shift he found an opportunity to shove the hat pin into the biggest, fattest cable in the conning tower. He broke the end off and carefully smoothed all sign of the pin’s penetration into the cable.
The carrier had to cancel its participation in the exercise and remained in port. The sailor was there when his child was born and after extensive testing the many problems in the conning tower electronics were isolated to a fat cable which had to be replaced along with several interface circuits tied to the cable feeds. The root cause of the failures remained a mystery.
Asymmetric warfare. A few missiles to knock out navigation and communication systems and that advantage disappears. Similarly, long-range anti-ship missiles able to take out aircraft carriers wipes out that advantage.
The US military was largely brought to a halt in Afghanistan and Iraq by people installing static bombs next to road ways and blowing them up using cell phones when a convoy drove by them. More asymmetric warfare.
Similarly, North Korea blows up an EMP on the West Coast and another one on the East Coast and the US/Canada economy is paralyzed for months. I don;t think he will do that because I think his nukes are really meant to prevent China/Russia from engaging in regime change and the US is just a useful foil to make threats against without causing China/Russia to lose face.
Re North Carolina: Are the state’s Democrats actively registering new voters? That’s the obvious solution, but I doubt they’re doing anything in organized way, let alone going all hands on deck. I mean, come on. We’re talking Democrats here.
“registering new voters? That’s the obvious solution”
That’s necessary but not sufficient.
Gerrymandered districts are designed to either
pack (funnel many of the targeted groups’ voters into a small number of districts,
where their votes will be wasted)
or crack (break pieces of the targeted groups off into such a small minority,
so that they have no chance of winning those districts).
Increased registration in packed districts will have no effect on representation in the legislature,
and increased registration in cracked districts would have to be enormous
to overcome the gerrymandered disadvantage.
So yes, registration is important, but is only part of a solution.
And if John “Balls and Strikes” Roberts et al decide as many fear they will in the Wisconsin redistricting case,
it’s game over.
Here is my crazy proposal. The US has a much larger population than when the number House Representatives was fixed at 435. This means that there will be circumstances where, due to gerrymandering, corruption, etc. members of one party will always dominate, and the citizens from another party will lack any sort of realistic representation. What if we greatly increased the number of House seats to something like 2500 or 5000? This might have two beneficial effects: make each district more local and responsive, and secondly, make each one matter a lot less, so that the power of money influence on each would be lessened. Aside from mere logistics, what would be the drawbacks?
Maybe the twin parties of money and corruption would have to fundraise more to afford gerrymandering the new districts? Also, this would not stop corruption, as it has developed far along the path where elections might just be suspended in an emergency/crisis/communications grid meltdown. Districts to be controlled by the “giant, armed nervous system”!
Maybe. But it might not be worth it for outsiders to spend money and effort to influence someone who represents only a tiny fraction of the total. Of course some sort of campaign finance reform is really needed as well.
aye! I’ve been an evangelist for reapportionment for a long time…to no avail.
Article the First(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_Apportionment_Amendment) is still a pending Amendment(since 1790), all it would take would be 20+ states to ratify it.
too bad we don’t have a party that could use this tactic to rally their base and actually do something for the People…
I envision a 2000-3000 seat House…they could meet in a stadium or one of those great big shearing barns like they have in Montana.
I’ve long noted, when I get to preaching about this issue, that we have no trouble with either of our local banks largely due to the fact that we all know the 2 bank presidents, and all the employees, as well as where they live(!). The same check on “our representatives” would be a nice change.
as it stands, every member of the House “represents” around 700,000-800,000 folks…impossible for even the most honorable and worthy Critter….and a good excuse for the Actually Existing Critters to continue to ignore us.
It actually already got ratified by CT in 1790 which would have put it over the top. The Connecticut archivist certified that they did in 2011. For it to go into effect apparently the Archivist of the United States or a CT senator would need to take the next step but haven’t.
It was routine for Congress to increase the number of Representatives after each Census, but about a century ago some argument stopped it for that session and they got back to it. So our population has more than doubled so I’d guess a thousand instead of the current 435 Representatives. I believe the number of Senators is fixed by the Constitution.
Unfortunately, the Repubs can honestly defend themselves by noting that all of this type thing went on when the Democrats were in charge. Amazingly, the Repubs offered to let a bipartisan committee decide districting issues and the (Brilliant!) Dem Gov o the day, Beverly Purdue turned them down.
To my mind, the biggest issue with Gerrymandering is that it tends to strengthen the hardcore wings of each party.
I think its long past time that climbing Everest was banned. Its become nothing more than an ego trip, one that kills more and more people. I don’t really care about those dying who chose to do so, but the Sherpa porters have little choice, there is no other source of income for them, and often extended families are dependent on one man’s income as a guide.
The solution is to follow the successful Bhutan model. They have banned high mountain climbing without any exceptions. They replaced it with policy aimed at developing high value trekking tourism. Trekking tourism both attracts more people (far more people want to hike than climb), and ensures the economic benefit is spread more equitably across indigenous mountain communities.
I loved trekking around Mt. Ranier, and would still love to do it again. I enjoyed looking at the peak…. had no inclination whatsoever to actually climb it. Looked cold! :)
I agree, but both Nepal and China (you can climb Everest from both sides, so both countries would need to make changes simultaneously to make the ban effective) make too much money mostly from dumb rich idiots who want to add a notch on their belts.
I’m getting past the stage of doing super strenuous mountain climbs, but I’ve bagged a lot of fairly high peaks in my day. Everest has held ZERO appeal for me, although I’ve seen it somewhat close up with my naked eye (glorious). And I understand it’s simply a garbage dump anymore. I have no interest in even climbing to the Base Camp, which a TON of tourists all want to do… all dumping all kinds of waste on the way there or back.
But it makes too much money for the Nepalese, both the guides, porters, etc, as well the govt. I won’t hold my breath awaiting any changes. Not gonna happen.
I have also been to Bhutan and admire what they’ve done. It’s clearly the way to do it. There’s wonderful treks in Bhutan but no climbing of high mountain peaks. And they’re making money that way, which is good for them. Less negative impact on their environment. The King and govt are very environmentally concerned and want to keep their nation clean.
I’ve passed Everest (on a bike) on the China side – it is indeed awesome, although I never had an urge to climb it, or any other very high mountain. And Bhutan is indeed very beautiful, a wonderful country to visit. The tourism business there is very well run for the benefit of the populace, although I suspect that even there a certain amount of neoliberal investation is undermining things (I’m in regular contact with a guide there, and I’ve heard some pretty unpleasant stories).
But I do think that Nepal and Bhutan are interesting contrasts in how to run tourism. The much stricter Bhutan system seems far better at ensuring an equitable and sustainable share of tourism money, while minimising environmental damage. Nepal’s cheapness works against it, it attracts many tourists who simply don’t have much money to spend.
Article published yesterday in my local paper related to Kentucky Pension woes:
Meet the teacher who keeps suing the state of Kentucky to get pensions fully funded
His problem is that state and local pensions are exempt from the Federal Erisa law, which would force them to address chronic underfunding.
There are some potential constitutional issues with imposing Erisa on the states, so it isn’t likely to happen soon. An alternate route would be tightening up GASB accounting standards, which still give ridiculous liberties to public pensions that aren’t available to privately-sponsored pensions — such as the ability to assume absurd 7.5% annual returns.
For now, states have both the incentive and the legal discretion to loot the future to pay for current spending. Illinois is the poster child for this destructive, fraudulent process. Census figures released last week show that Illinois residents are fleeing their
sinkinglooted ship as fast as they can run.
Can states create their own currencies; issue credits for food, clothing etc.? Except for way overpriced, often cruel and unnecessary medical care, seniors tend to consume and acquire less than when they were younger. Alas, we are running out of ice floes.
States & cities created their own money in the 1930’s, mostly in the guise of ‘tax anticipation warrants’, so there is precedence.
It is commonly known now as ‘depression script’.
Here’s a few examples:
Here is a great history of script.
It seems that the Phase 1 agreement has at least temporarily allowed the UK to avoid a quick reckoning on Brexit. Amazingly, despite essentially capitulating on every single point the EU wanted, the UK media seems to have swallowed the PR line that it was ‘success’ for the government and that it will lead to a softer Brexit. Although Goldman Sachs announced(ish) quietly over Christmas that it was moving its Asset Management branch to Dublin, other banks and industries have gone quiet, which I suspect means they are willing to give things a few months before making a final decision on future investments or relocations.
I think that essentially, the British government is hoping that the media will lose interest and it can become a technocratic negotiation, and they can quietly declare a few ‘victories’ (like changing the passport from Burgundy to blue) while keeping concessions low key. A lot depends on whether the hardliners can be kept quiet. In which case, Brexit may become a sort of slow motion disaster like climate change rather than a big bang one.
The one thing though I think we can be sure of is that there is no evidence yet that the London government has become to recognise its own incompetence. Letters like that one from Adonis are one day wonders – The Tories keep getting away with it. For as long as the UK media remains either uninformed or active Brexit cheerleaders, and Labour keeps trying to fudge its stance, this won’t kill them politically.
Over the holidays I was anticipating a good conversation with a head-of-desk bond trader from a European bank in London, but I got a definite end-of vibe when his wife said she thought Mrs May was doing a good job. The only thing i got out of him was that their EU biz is only 15% of the aggregate, so it’ll be a hit but not a big hit. This from a guy who is anti-Brexit and considered moving to the US.
Seems there are no plans for decanting into foreign bottles, and the Tories are the preferred wine waiters.
Davis is a mediocre politician with an impossible brief. As Richard North must realize, people like Davis don’t write these articles themselves, and they are not negotiating documents or signals to Europe, but are entirely for domestic consumption, to keep the Tory party quiet(ish) and preserve as much of Davis’s political career as can be saved. It’s unlikely that either he or the authors of this little squib actually take it seriously in policy terms. The problem is that Britain used to have a civil service machine that was capable of supporting mediocre and even downright bad Ministers, and making them sound coherent and realistic. It no longer does.
If what Adonis said is correct, then it would seem that the civil service machine is utterly demoralised by the idiocy of Brexit and that none of the footsoldiers believe in what they are doing (I’m assuming his reference to ‘Whitehall’ is to the civil service).
What I wonder is if, Sir Humphrey style, they are trying to undermine it (or at least mitigate the worst stupidities of Davis and Johnson), or if they are so weak now they have no choice but to just do what their political masters tell them.
I don’t think there are any Sir Humphreys left now. The rot originally set in under Thatcher, of course, but especially over the last 15 years the basic qualification for promotion to senior rank in the civil service has been to “know what the Prime Minister wants” and to provide it. It’s now run by a bunch of faceless managers who are probably in a deep state of panic.
For what it’s worth I don’t think the comparisons made by Adonis are very helpful or accurate. Suez was indeed a disaster but one from which the system recovered quickly, whereas the strife of the 1970s didn’t threaten the state as such. But anyway, the machine was infinitely more capable then than it is now.
Agreed. I have been told by two former Cabinet Secretaries that the machine is nowhere near what it was forty years back. So sad. Was Ivan Rogers the last of the Old Guard?
Lord Adonis transfixed Teresa May with his steely gaze, his shoulder muscles rippling as he impatiently rent asunder… [family blog]
Yves… re: Horrifying moment a horse collapses in the street during London’s spectacular New Year’s Day parade
Update here: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/proud-stallion-marty-in-a-stable-condition-and-chomping-on-carrots-after-falling-over-at-new-years-a3730071.html
For no particular reason–it was just up next in my Netflix DVD queue–I watched Dr. Strangelove last night. It was just as chilling as I remembered from seeing it in the 1970s. I had trouble sleeping afterwards thinking of how we seem to be sleepwalking into another nuclear-armed confrontation with Russia. And this morning I got to read about the next incarnation of a Doomsday device: swarms of Slaughterbots.
I think I’ll wait a few days before I watch this latest all-too-potentially real horror film.
Check out the latest series of Black Mirror – a robot dog that never stops hunting.
Not to diminish the grave threat posed by Slaughterbot-style drones, but I do expect laser defenses will be developed. A large drone has metal wings that take a while for a laser to damage enough to disrupt flight, while Slaughterbots have tiny, flimsy propellers, and likely minimal shielding of other delicate components in order to save weight and increase maneuverability and range. They’d require much, much less time and power to take down, though of course there would be far more of them. As fast as they would be, a small, nimble laser turret’s AI shouldn’t have a problem staying locked on.
But then there’s the possibility of the laser turrets being hacked and misused, or fried by EMP ahead of a big swarm invasion.
Maybe just a powerful fan.
I’m thinking something lie a tennis racket, or maybe the kinds of anti-antitank developments like you see on Israeli and US and Russian tanks and vehicles– lattices and screens of steel slats, and “reactive armor.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactive_armour Imagine all the “high value targets” rolling and walking around in bespoke suits with such protective devices built in… and never daring to take them off because slaughterbots and “data” would know it, and…
I recall a scifi story based on “tech” developed in asteroid mining — extremely fine and high-strength fibers used to make massively strong cables to let space tugs tow yuuuge metallic asteroids around, to whip back into orbit around insatiable old Mother Earth from halfway to Mars. Corporate looters wanted the secret of making the stuff, irrespective of its potential use as a random killing device — so strong that one fiber is only a molecule or two thick, and if mounted across any opening that humans pass through, will be imperceptible and will slice through them like a razor’s edge. Anomic teens and even older folks would love to have some — murder with impunity, hardly a chance that CSI would have a clue…The corporate types in the story killed one miner in trying to extract the secret. His friend then returned to earth with some spools of the fibers, which were ‘ethically” used to kill the goons sent to capture him, and eventually to force the CEO to commit suicide — says the miner, “For the rest of your life, don’t walk between any door posts or through any archways, or put your legs under any tables, or sit down in a car or chair…”
Of course that is not how it would play out “in real life…”
Yeah, it will be like Luke Skywalker and the Resistance attacking the Death Star…
If you have Netflix you can watch a work that explicitly explores that ‘next incarnation of a Doomsday device: swarms of Slaughterbots’. I found it more chilling than Strangelove, and far less amusing.
Regarding the New York Times article on Artificial Intelligence and BIg Data’s implications for poverty, many of the article’s claims are questionable.
When one considers the current systems in place to apply for jobs electronically, especially the atrocious applicant tracking systems or worthless personality tests, the idea that AI and Big Data can match displaced workers with better (or at least comparable) jobs may be the most questionable claim of all.
just like the new episode of black mirror
NJ has enacted an amazing 16 cent minimum wage increase. Goes from $8.44 per hour to a wondrous $8.60!
I’m not sure whether Chris “We dasn’t tax the rich!” Christie is the one responsible for making the increase so…Scroogian (pre-ghostly visits) or what, but, dang, it’s almost, well, insulting.
Then again, with 40 hours worked, it comes to an additional $6.40 a week….
16 cents and what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Lawsuit: Duke, UNC agreed to not hire each other’s doctors [AP]
Rather than complaining, shouldn’t we be celebrating the spread of Silicon Valley style
disruptive innovation of labor markets to other areas of the economy?
Really sorry to be off topic but want to respond to Yves posting before Xmas on the sugar scandal. Though long I hope some will read this to the bottom because I`ve got a tip with vital info on a health topic concerns all of us.
Yves, I`m really pleased you`ve posted on the theme of sugar, and the burying of Yudkin`s work, my tutor at Uni (microbial biochemistry told me about Yudkin). Because of the rigor of my scientific training, in subsequent years, while busy trying to understand more difficult stuff re society/power politics/econ etc, I have largely assumed that when we were told ‘studies have shown……” re diet and disease etc, such studies would have been the result of similar rigor and per giunta peer reviewed.
Since then I`ve been tracking down other outrageously poor scientific underpinnings to what can only be called medical dogma. It starts with poor science accepted then promulgated by rote-learning, unquestioning specialists and blocked by institutional sclerosis. The process becomes irreversible, as in the case especially of the cholesterol hypothesis, when big Pharma starts to produce their favourite type of drug viz those to be taken for a life-time (as opposed to looking for vital antibiotics that people take for only about 6 days!!!); enter statins.
Sorry to be so long-winded, but I think this community that is so fantastic and so spot on over power politics/economics/ etc and now also on AGW etc, would really benefit from knowing what other truths of importance have been hidden from us. I`m really relieved to see that you are on to a part of this huge scandal of ignorance and vested interests keeping our chronic diseases chronic and millions of us on drugs for ever. Yudkin was of the old school (as was Otto Warburg see below), of the era of publicly funded research– he wasn`t a charlatan like Keys and his promoters.
Yves, fortunately there is a mass of data, studies and now decent books written for the lay public debunking most of the theoretical underpinning and treatment of our major chronic diseases. Immense suffering has been promoted for over half a century.
To be precise, after hypothyroidism (my personal battle against false dogma, won only after 3 decades of research and struggle), I found similarly fundamental problems in the following conditions/disciplines: 1) the saturated fat diet/CHD hypothesis 2) the lipid (cholesterol) hypothesis and statins 3) the anti-salt, salt/hypertention story 4) the cause and treatment of diabetes and metabolic syndrome 5) and arguably worst of all, the likely blind ally genetic mutation theory of the genesis of cancer
A lot of books for the layman to cite but one of the best because concise, shows clearly and quickly how the science in 1) and 2) was perverted; the author uses two pivotal papers relating to the cholesterol scandal to show clearly how trials and data are manipulated – “The cholesterol Delusion” by E N Curtis.. Dr Malcolm Kendrick writes with Scottish humour – an excellent debunker. Uffe Ravnskov etc The list is long but if people start researching these the rest pop up
4) A good compendium on the diabetes problem is “Diabetes Unpacked” 2017 The Noakes foundation
5) The side-lining of Otto Warburg may turn out to be the most scandalous of all as it may have set cancer research back by over 50 years – his 1956 paper on the metabolic origin (by the damaging of cellular respiration) of cancer is a must read in itself: On the Origin of Cancer Cells (24 February 1956, Science Volume 123, Number 3191).
An absolute MUST-READ for all at NC who can afford I,t is a book that explains how the genetic theory supplanted Warburg`s metabolic hypothesis and potentially wasted half a century of research is “Tripping over the Truth” by Travis Christofferson. You will be collectively shocked but then immensely empowered – for yourselves and all you care for
It is very striking that it seems the science on our major modern diseases (cancer and heart disease and by extension diabetes/obesity etc) was on track in the 50s and 60s. Yudkin got the sugar/fat debate right in the 60s and Warburg`s paper was published in 1956!!!!!!
I personally am still reeling from these discoveries – I can`t believe how badly science and humanity has been served…….
Thanks for your amazing work on all the rest!
You can be right or you can get funding……..
Thankyou SKM, sugar and processed foods are the worst things you can put in your body as ‘food’. When you learn this and change, your life can be so much better. All sugars, including the fructose in fruit juices need to be metabolized by the liver before they can be used by cells to produce energy. Only glucose can go straight to cells. Cut all sugars out and you will feel better.
Also, cancer is very profitable for the medical industry, very profitable. A theorem that a lack of B17 in the modern diet has weight (doctors cannot talk about this, I’ve tried and we cannot buy it in tablet form in Australia, the US and other countries), but more than that, we are told not to do this or that, or that we are genetically predisposed to cancer. I don’t think this is true.
See – https://www.yahoo.com/news/nearly-two-thirds-cancers-due-163400415.html
Exercise, maintain a healthy weight and eat stuff that you have cooked yourself – just sayin’
>the DPRK has a vast buildup of heavy conventional weaponry positioned along the border, including “an estimated 12,000 pieces of tube artillery and another 2,300 multiple launch rocket systems.” Even worse, North Korea may possess significant quantities of biological and chemical weapons.
Isn’t the DPRK starting to look like a “poor cousin” version of the US? With Trump taking the helm, the differences are now just of degree, not kind. We have a ton of money, they have very little, but otherwise…
1) Hardly any Americans bother to travel, vs. North Koreans not being allowed. But the end result – ignorance of the outer world – is pretty much the same
2) Poor health care
3) Much of the output of the country gone to the military
4) A cultish leadership. I did point to Trump, but really from Reagan on the overrun of US Presidential power is maybe not full-on Kim Jong-Il’ish but it’s working along that axis.
5) An obsession with the belief in external enemies. That kind of intensity of obsession which eventually creates a reality.
And I’m tempted to add “a dependency on China”!
You always fight hardest with the ones most like you.
Jong-Un’ish, not Jong-Ill’ish. Ah well.
Well, Americans are not explicitly forbidden to travel outside the country, but the changes in the past two decades have made foreign travel more and more uncomfortable. On the outward journey, long security lines, cramped steerage seating and terrible food are off-putting (although much superior to six weeks in a packed and leaking sailing vessel). But, coming back ‘home’ becomes a series of guilt-inducing questions, focusing mostly on why were you even going to a foreign country. A few years ago, returning from a solo trip to France to visit a college friend whose mother had recently passed away, I was quizzed; why did I go to France? Who did I visit there? How long had I known this so-called ‘friend?” For heaven’s sake, I am a small woman in her seventies!
You could also add declining real living standards.
Large segments of the US are basically a third world nation. Even some of the wealthy areas are seeing the decline. Note the state of infrastructure in places like New York City, which are in disrepair and see huge amounts of money lost to corruption that is endemic to the city like a third world nation.
“Just When You Thought Democrats Couldn’t Get Any More Oblivious-”
Kamala Harris, sure to win the votes of rainbow girls with a bonus, Steve Mnuchin likes her economic policy so much, she’s the only democrat that he donated too. That alone should tell you which party she really belongs to.
His cash tip to her was nothing compared to what he saved by her not prosecuting his bank when she allegedly was the attorney general of California.
Also, the scandal of the prosecutors in Orange County, which she refused to investigate. I think (the MSM stopped reporting on it) it has never been resolved, and I would put everything I own and could borrow on betting that no prosecutor there has been punished. No way I could vote for her. Those failures of duty were not necessary for her to attain or stay in office.
This one is interesting – why Glenn Greenwald deserves a prize:
Very simply, unlike a good chunk of the media which has become a neoliberal Pravda like mouthpiece, Glenn is one a few journalists who actually does good journalism.
Re: The Absurdity of Saying “White Privilege”
Point of order: Scipio Africanus was named after Africa, not vice versa.
From MoA on the NYT article:
“Are we really to believe that the FBI opens highly political investigations based on mere drunken rumors? That sounds implausible to me.”
It does? Really?
[Re whether Erica Garner endorsed Jill Stein:]
I hesitate to enter this discussion, because I also think Baraka’s comment was tacky, given the timing; he isn’t known for stepping lightly. (Of course, “Blackstar flower” brought it up.) However, I disagree with Lambert’s characterization. She doesn’t use the word “endorse”, and is “not telling you who to choose”, but she was at a Jill Stein rally and using the language 3rd-party people use to justify voting outside the duopoly. That’s what ” reject any choice that is bad for you and your people” means. In context, that amounts to active support (she was not the only one to switch). Evidently it wasn’t a central concern for her, but she was there. If she didn’t travel with Stein or Baraka, that might have been because the money wasn’t available; for that matter, her health was fragile. The campaign trail is not a healthful place.
This one maybe big: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article192336839.html
Up to 75K H1B workers may be forced to leave early.
“I don’t recall Garner on the trail with Stein, or making advertisements with her, or formally endorsing here. There is no endorsement here, if that’s what Baraka is implying.”
I don’t recall Stein or Baraka talking about Garner or her issues either.