Links 2/11/18

The Body Trade Reuters

How Americans preserved British English BBC

Here’s how much it costs to dress like Team USA NBC (The Rev Kev)

You Can’t Call Them ‘Russia,’ but You Can Call Them Stylish WSJ

THE WHITE DARKNESS The New Yorker (MH)

SCIENCE’S PIRATE QUEEN The Verge

Huge food company to eliminate food waste, halve plastic use TreeHugger

The 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water – like Cape Town BBC (The Rev Kev)

Coyote carcasses strung up from roadside tree in Virginia AP

Aristotle vs. the Troika Jacobin

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

The house that spied on me Gizmodo

BOSTON POLICE WASTE TAXPAYER MONEY VIOLATING LAW THROUGH ILLEGAL SURVEILLANCE OF CITIZENRY The Daily Steeple (Judy B)

Surveillance Valley The Baffler. The deck: “Why are internet companies like Google in bed with cops and spies?” Why indeed?

Big tech’s bid to control FOIA Columbia Journalism Review

How a Low-Level Apple Employee Leaked Some of the iPhone’s Most Sensitive Code Motherboard

China?

China’s latest move in the graveyard of empires Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

Why China’s first stealth fighter was rushed into service with inferior engines SCMP

North Korea

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has invited South Korea’s president to Pyongyang WaPo

Can South Korea’s Leader End Trump’s North Korea Crisis? Truthdig

India

In India, Stakeholders Drive Down Drug Prices for the Benefit of All The Wire

More Indians prefer US EB-5 visa route with assured migration, Green Card Economic Times

Health Care

What is this Obamacare defender doing, exactly? CNN

Class Warfare

Ending the Amazon Hunger Games Jacobin

Private water payouts are a public scandal, says Labour Guardian (The Rev Kev)

Overseas buyers snap up majority of exclusive London homes FT

This is the $21 billion reason Amazon wants to build its own UPS MarketWatch

SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM IS DEAD WhoWhatWhy.org

One-Man Ministry LRB

Is tech dividing America? Politico

Syraqistan

Turkey accused of recruiting ex-Isis fighters in their thousands to attack Kurds in Syria Independent. Patrick Cockburn. From last week, but still germane.

US Ambassador Confirms Billions Spent On Regime Change in Syria, Debunking ‘Obama Did Nothing’ Myth Real News Network. Some good details, if one can see past the embedded assumption that the US needed to “do something” about Syria. US meddling certainly predates Trump.

A Game Changer Sic Semper Tyrannis. Chuck L: “This is not good. Might the F-16 shoot down have been payback for the US attack earlier this week in eastern Syria that allegedly took the lives of several Russian contractors?

“I’m about half way through reading Daniel Ellsberg’s recent memoir The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Having paid attention as it unfolded as a supposedly sentient young adult and having read a lot about it since, I thought I knew how close things came to going over the edge. It seems I didn’t.”

Moi: Readers might want to look at the debate in the comments on this piece.

Saudi Arabia Receives Lockheed Arms Deal As Podesta Group Lobbies For Both Parties International Business Times

Syria – Is War With Israel Imminent (Updated)? Moon of Alabama

Trump Transition

U.S. SECRETLY NEGOTIATED WITH RUSSIANS TO BUY STOLEN NSA DOCUMENTS — AND THE RUSSIANS OFFERED TRUMP-RELATED MATERIAL, TOO The Intercept

Why Democrats And Republicans Did A Sudden 180 On The FBI FiveThirtyEight

Trump Calls Democratic Memo `Political’ After Blocking Release  Bloomberg

It Was All a Giant Farce Esquire (Re Silc)

Rachel Brand, Third In Line At Justice, Is Stepping Down — And NOW I’m Worried Trump Is About To Fire Rosenstein Above the Law

Parade of Defeat: Trump Prefers Spectacle Over Strategy American Conservative

Has Anyone Seen the President? Bloomberg. Michael Lewis.

Pressure grows on John Kelly amid reports he offered to resign Guardian

Military hawks win big in budget deal — for now Politico

Master of the circus Times Literary Supplement

War doesn’t have to be nuclear to kill indiscriminately Al Jazeera

Antidote du Jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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185 comments

      1. The Rev Kev

        I never knew that doves were also yellow coloured. But then again, it should not be surprising to see them on a site that actively considers black swans.

        Reply
      1. JacobiteInTraining

        I believe that shot was taken after the filing of multiple paternity suits in Manhattan district court….and if reports accurate – I’m afraid the abuse/philandering rumors previously only whispered about in dark corners of sesame street regarding Big Bird…are potentially true, and this story is about to break with a vengeance.

        Attempts by Big Bird’s lawyers and sycophants to eliminate dozens of eggs through bribery, non-disclosure agreements, and even rumored ‘security’ contracts through ex Israeli intelligence operatives smearing their destitute dove mothers were apparently less effective then once thought.

        Reply
    1. AbateMagicThining but Not Money

      Re Parade of Defeat

      I have not visited americanconservative.com before and after reading the article above, I had a shufti around the site. It seems to be a lot like The Guardian, but with a fundamentalist Christian tinge. It is encouraging to see a self-styled conservative site where ‘thou shalt not kill’ is seemingly more about the living than the unborn, or am I just reading through rose-coloured spectacles?

      As non-believer who has a lowly British school qualification* in religious knowledge I gained the impression that the New Testament is a revolutionary tract; ‘eye of the needle’, not killing etc – a refreshing departure from ‘eye for an eye’ of the preceeding text. Isn’t it fascinating how revolutionaries become conservatives?

      Pip-Pip

      *Luke’s gospel was the set text

      Reply
      1. Sid_finster

        The Graun has taken a consistently slavish neocon line, especially since the infamous mi5 raid.

        Not so The American Conservative, which has proven willing to stand up to the Deep State. In addition, TAC has shown itself willing to challenge conservative orthodoxy, and skewer the sacred cows of the right as well as the left.

        Axtually, I would say that TAC is more genuinely progressive than many a kneejerk “liberal” goodthink publication.

        Reply
        1. Christopher Dale Rogers

          Sid_Finster,

          Given Kunstler has appeared in the pages of The American Conservative, it would appear that the publication is actually underscoring the fact it actually is Conservative, with a big ‘C’, rather than a faux-Conservative organ, namely one that adopts both a neoliberal socioeconomic outlook and a neoconservative, interventionist outlook.

          Indeed, as a Socialist, its a delight to read material with a philosophical grounding, which I trust is Edmund Burke, who would not take too kindly to the idiots in either the UK’s Conservative Party or the Republican Party at this juncture in time. God knows what he’d make of Trump. Alas, Trump is but an infotainment distraction in my book.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            TAC is proving to be a good one.
            I also like First Things,on occasion(they all have their rabid streak, to one degree or another)
            and something called Front Porch Republic, too…which may now be defunct, since the main dude died.
            I like thoughtful conservatives….the Russel Kirk variety.
            Refreshing when stood up next to the hateful hysterics one usually encounters.
            of course you know it’s all gone off the rails when Pat Buchanan starts sounding like the voice of reason on the Right.

            Reply
          2. JBird

            Let me add my appreciation of the American Conservative. It is a joy to read a magazine that is Conservative and not some Pravda like publication, like the NRO, effectively working for the Republican Party and its patrons. I have been reading it for several years and it has consistently been good.

            Because its criticisms of both parties are almost the same, I am more aware of how much the two parties have merged in their policies.

            Reply
      2. Micky9finger

        My sentiments about christianity exactly.
        What these people do in the name of christianity.
        Think president carter; good works with no expectations of payback.

        Reply
    2. John k

      I thought the same thing, didn’t know there was such a bird. Very pretty… not to say white ones aren’t beautiful.

      Reply
    3. Anon

      There is nothing in the photo to indicate scale to determine size of the bird, but a guess would be: Ptilinopus luteovirens. The common name is Golden fruit dove, or Lemon dove.

      Reply
  1. Bill Smith

    U.S. SECRETLY NEGOTIATED WITH RUSSIANS TO BUY STOLEN NSA DOCUMENTS — AND THE RUSSIANS OFFERED TRUMP-RELATED MATERIAL, TOO]

    Ignoring the Trump part for a minute, how does this make any sense? “interested in recovering stolen U.S. data”. All the US would get is a copy. Buying the documents would not ‘erase’ them from the Russians.

    This seems very strange.

    Reply
      1. Rhondda

        I don’t think that makes sense either. Why would the IC assume that they’d be given accurate information of any kind by hackers or “shadowy Russian operators” in some “buy back”? Whatever you “buy back” would be cherry-picked to give you a specific view of what they want you to think they have.

        I would certainly hope that intelligence professionals wouldn’t be quite so gullible.

        Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            That’s why I always put “intelligence” in scare quotes when referring to them.

            The CIA have had a reputation as blundering fools for a long, long time; now it’s perfectly clear that the National “Security” Agency has no internal security at all. Revealing that was Snowden’s real sin.

            Reply
    1. Barmitt O'Bamney

      The CIA has denied this story, and for once I believe them. Not that I doubt that they are eager to buy dirt on Pres. Trump. Yes, the idea of ransoming top secret info from foreign hands is absurd on its face. The only explanation I can think of for it possibly being true is “our guys” wanting to know what the alleged seller has and is also going to sell to other interested parties. You might be willing to pay some fraction of the asking price just to know that, while knowing that paying full retail or even over the asking price would not get you your secret documents or hacking toolkit back. Once it’s in foreign hands you could never be assured of regaining exclusive ownership of your secret stuff no matter what price you paid, and it would be in the seller’s interest and other buyers’ interests to keep you in the dark.

      Reply
    2. Rhondda

      Looks like CYA to me. “Those dastardly Rooskies were forcing us to buy dirt on Trump!”

      Risen’s article is risible and the commenters at The Intercept really rip his face off. (I recognize many of those criticizing as names from “the olden days” when Greenwald was at Salon.) I found it especially bizarre that so much detail was ladled on over the NSA’s tweets. The NYT article is a bit better, but still transparent in many ways– a fig leaf that’s been munched by leaf miners.

      For a real good time, compare the timeline and assertions in the stories with the recently (leaked?) Warner/Waldman text messages.

      https://www.scribd.com/document/371101285/TEXTS-Mark-Warner-texted-with-Russian-oligarch-lobbyist-in-effort-to-contact-Christopher-Steele

      Link to The Intercept “version” of the story (NYT’s is slighly better, imho):
      https://theintercept.com/2018/02/09/donald-trump-russia-election-nsa/

      Something stinky going on here. Waldman fronting for Deripaska, who FusionGPS also worked for, via law firm. Waldman performing some function, what he calls his “pro bono role” to cut some deal re Assange/Wikileaks around the release — or perhaps prevention thereof — of the spying tools. Waldman offering Warner access to Steele…My spidey sense is prickling.

      Reply
    3. lyman alpha blob

      Seems strange and stupid. Evidently the NSA was communicating to the Russians through its public twitter account –

      Officials gave the Russians advance knowledge that on June 20, 2017, at 12:30 p.m., the official NSA Twitter account would tweet: “Samuel Morse patented the telegraph 177 years ago. Did you know you can still send telegrams? Faster than post & pay only if it’s delivered.”

      That tweet, in exactly those words, was issued at that time.

      The NSA used that messaging technique repeatedly over the following months, each time officials wanted to communicate with the Russians or reassure them that the U.S. was still supporting the channel. Each time, the Russians were told the text of the tweets in advance and the exact time they would be released. Each tweet looked completely benign but was in fact a message to the Russians.

      And do note the author of the piece. In general I’m guessing the spooks aren’t big fans of James Risen, as he helped expose their illegal spying, although he clearly has a few sources among them. How reliable those sources are is another question – I’d forgotten until just looking it up that Risen was one of the reporters who wrongly fingered Wen Ho Lee.

      Curiouser and curiouser…

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        I would think the NSA’s Twitter feed is a serious assert. If they’re using it as a channel (and why would they ever use it for any other purpose, come to think of it) it must be for a reason they regard as important. The whole story is super-weird, and the Times piece even comments that it’s lie a LeCarré novel.

        This image from the Risen piece screams “Hall of Mirrors”–

        A little editorializing by the Intercept, perhaps….

        Reply
    4. JCC

      Particularly considering that when the “data” was stolen, it probably still resided on computers in the US. The whole thing continues to be ridiculous.

      Reply
  2. ebbflows

    Ref Game Changer.

    I’ve heard they use the old s200 system due to escalation concerns, although if the s400 was deployed it would render all but one option moot.

    Reply
    1. Bill Smith

      The pictures of the missiles that landed in Jordan and Israel where identified as S-125 / SA-3. That doesn’t mean they didn’t use other systems in addition.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      So the Israelis lost an F-16 and perhaps had several F-15 Eagles damaged. I am wondering if this may have been a trap (as Russia Insider also wonders). Send a drone out and let it be shot down. When the Israelis launch an attack on the drone base, have it ringed by air defenses. If it came out later that along with S-200 missiles being fired at the Israelis the Russians had slipped in a few Pantsir missiles as well, I would not be surprised. I have my own speculation here why but it would probably get this post bounced.
      What is really funny is that here in Oz the TV news is repeating the Israeli line that they have the right to “defend themselves”. Considering that they were in Syrian airspace attacking Syrian targets, this strikes me as specious at best. Then they talked to US soldiers that killed 100 pro-Assad soldiers “defending themselves. The exact same way that police shoot an unarmed person and say that they “feared for their lives”. Not mentioned is the fact that they are in Syria where they filmed. Yeah, our news is really that bad and this is a channel that specializes in overseas news.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          If that is so, it is a major game changer for the Middle East. No more Israeli exceptionalism. No more impunity. With the recent Russian overtures towards Lebanon, a united and coordinated defensive system running from the shores of the Mediterranean on over to the Iraki border is on the offing.
          I just hope that the old men and women in Tel Aviv don’t start thinking; “Now or never.”

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            “now or never” what?

            M of A says the Israelis are pulling back from the confrontation. I believe he has also said–or perhaps it was the Saker–that the Russians have not provided the Syrians with their most advanced air defense system…using that only for their own bases.

            Reply
            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Israel screeched “we won’t tolerate Iran in Syria!”. They see how Iran now dominates Iraq and don’t want a repeat.

              But, silly Israelis, they didn’t stop to think, um, exactly how and why did Iran come to dominate Iraq, and how exactly did Iran get a foothold in Syria?

              Oh, look, Big Brother America precipitated both, our “mortal enemy” Iran sashayed in to Iraq after we pointed the GAC (Giant American Cannon) at our own faces there and pulled the cord. Ditto Syria.

              (This of course presumes that “America” and “Israel” can be considered to be two separate countries, which I know is a pretty thin distinction).

              Reply
              1. integer

                According to Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s chief of staff during his term as Secretary of State, AIPAC was “highly influential in the Bush Administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq”.

                Furthermore:

                [Wilkerson] stated in [a] 2006 interview that neither CIA Director George Tenet nor the CIA analysts that gave Powell information on mobile biological laboratories explained that there were disputes about the reliability of the informants who had supplied the information—information which was used in the speech.

                Reply
            2. anonymous

              comment on MOA

              “From 2017

              “KUBINKA /Moscow region/, August 25. /TASS/. A unified air defense system has been set up in Syria thanks to efforts of Russian and Syrian military experts, Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces Major-General Sergey Meshcheryakov told a round table dedicated to the Syrian experience at the Army-2017 International Military-Technical Forum.

              “Today, a unified integrated air defense system has been set up in Syria. We have ensured the information and technical interlinkage of the Russian and Syrian air reconnaissance systems. All information on the situation in the air comes from Syrian radar stations to the control points of the Russian force grouping,” he said.”

              And from April 2017

              The efficiency of the Syrian air defense systems will be beefed up, Konashenkov told reporters several hours after the US conducted a missile strike on a Syrian airfield.

              “To provide cover for the most sensitive targets of the Syrian infrastructure a set of measures to bolster” the defense systems would be “shortly implemented,” he said.
              …………..

              At the time Russia announced the completed upgrade and integration of the Syrian air defenses with Russian air defense, there was a video of Russian military announcing the completed project, which I think had a little more information.
              It makes me think Syria would not act independently of, and against Russia’s wishes with the air defense system.

              Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 10, 2018 9:40:44 AM | 34

              Reply
          2. JTMcPhee

            Let us remember that the Israelis have something between 200 and 600 nuclear warheads, on cruise missiles aboard US-funded and German-built U-boats, on ballistic missiles, on air-launched or -dropped munitions of several types, and have been “coy” about all of it, including the (to me very likely) existence of a doctrine of first, or last, use, referred to as the “Samson option.” http://www.carolmoore.net/nuclearwar/israelithreats.html

            Lots of ways for individual humans, and the species itself, to die — in this world of ever-geometrically-expanding vulnerability, mischance, stupidity and error…

            From Dune: And as his planet killed him, Kynes reflected that the most persistent principles in the univers are accident and error…

            Reply
            1. integer

              It’s highly unlikely that the Samson option was ever anything more than gamesmanship, which is not to say that Israel does not have a significant nuclear arsenal.

              Reply
              1. JTMcPhee

                We believe what we want to believe, and speak for our positions and interests. A country ruling group that would attack and try to sink a US ship on the high seas, (the USS Liberty), that is deemed by US spymasters to be the most significant espionage threat to the US, that has as its nominal eleventh commandment that “thou shalt not be a freier (sucker),” that venerates the endgame of Masada; not hard to believe that as with our own rulers, who still embrace “mutual assured destruction” as policy, that the Israelitee with all their quaint views and current behaviors don’t have a clear plan to use those nukes in a final spasm of destruction. I believe the US policy establishment takes the threat seriously and that adds to the tiptoeing our rulers do around things Israeli. And of course the Xtians in the US military and in fundy churches at home see this likely part of the Armageddon they are working on, to fulfill their sick reading of Revelation, that accidental inclusion in the Holly Bibble…

                Reply
                1. integer

                  I know about the USS liberty. I also know what the School of Advanced Military Studies thinks about the Mossad. I expect we have read many of the same documents. Wrt the US tiptoeing around Israel, many US politicians are dual US-Israeli citizens and AIPAC has serious political influence, not to mention the high levels of Jewish ownership in the corporate media and financial sector. All of this is a far cry from providing any evidence of the Samson option being a credible threat though, and Iran certainly doesn’t seem worried.

                  Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          Confirmed via gnews this morning – Reuters:

          “The downing of the F-16 over northern Israel – as the air force struck back for what it said was an incursion by an Iranian drone launched from Syria – was a rare setback for a country that relies on regional military supremacy.

          Security cabinet minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio the Iranian drone was modeled on the U.S. RQ-170 drone that was downed in Iran in 2011. The U.S. Embassy did not immediately comment.” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-israel/netanyahu-says-israel-undeterred-after-syria-shoots-down-f-16-idUSKBN1FV0LR?

          The 2nd para is especially interesting. Per a report I can’t find quickly, the Israelis were using standoff weapons and weren’t in Syrian airspace when the F-16 was hit.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            That last would not be surprising. Israel regularly flies over Lebanon to fire off missiles into Syria as it is closer to their chosen targets (http://syria.liveuamap.com/)and Lebanon does not have either the aircraft or AA to stop them. Less risky for them that way. Well, maybe not anymore.

            Reply
              1. The Rev Kev

                Check that map that I linked to and you will see that logistically it makes more sense for the Israelis to use Lebanon to launch missiles from. This is nothing new. An Israeli official recently boasted that they had conducted a hundred aerial strikes on Syria during this war and it would be naive to believe that it was just Iranian or Hezbollah targets. I read a rumour that this time the Lebanese sent up some AA fire. Way out of range of course but they were making a statement of intent.

                Reply
          2. carycat

            If you launch a weapon in country A but hit a target in country B, then country B launches a weapon back and hit a target in country A, why does country A gets a pass for being in A but B is a villian because it also launched from their own country?
            The silver lining is that this may portent (slightly) less blood shed as the playing field is slightly less tilted. Although this may also be an opportunity for the MIC to sell even more arms to the Isrealis on the US taxpayer’s dime because OMG they are using up their airplanes and bombs.

            Reply
    3. Ignim Brites

      The game changer was when Russia determined that it was in its national interest to defeat the rebellion against Assad. Recent developments with the US egaged in a tactical alliance with ISIS/Al-Queda against the Syrian Army and Turkey similarly aligned against the Kurds will be counteracted. Russia’s acceptance of the Turkish offensive indicates its number on priority is to get the US to leave ( or support Assad ). The downing of the Israeli fighter is a shot across the bow of the US that Russia will defend Syrian airspace.

      Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    Why China’s first stealth fighter was rushed into service with inferior engines

    Could it be something to do with this?
    https://www.rt.com/news/418405-marines-deployment-east-asia/

    Those Chengdu J-20s may be under-powered at the moment but it may come down to how good the missiles they carry are. To be fair, the US is also deploying a fighter – the F-35 – that is also in development. Hopefully, nobody has to use them.

    Reply
    1. George Phillies

      Amusingly, the article ends by discussing strengths and weaknesses of command economies, and rattles off key weaknesses that appear to be straight out of Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. For a newspaper in China, this presentation is a bit surprising.

      Reply
      1. Charlie

        No comments at the link though. Just has reviews of the book. Unless I’m wrong in that the area directed is there.

        Reply
  4. Doug Hillman

    Parade of Defeat, from the American Conservative, is a refreshing critique of militarism. Celebrating a US record of eternal quagmires, Trump orders a military parade spectacle to show Kim and the world how big his red button is … making the tin pot caudillos of Chiquita Bananas look like principled statesmen. This is the “bread and circuses” stage of a declining empire … only, without the bread.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Trump may want to be careful organizing a parade. I was in Paris once during Bastille Day and saw the parade that Trump wants to hold. All went well until the parade got congested and it ended up being a traffic jam of tanks. The officer standing up in his tank looked very embarrassed as he and his vehicle were stuck for a few minutes and you had this martial music blaring in the background. If this happened in Trump’s parade, guess who would get the blame for it? Hint, they won’t be saying: “Thanks Obama”.

      Reply
      1. voteforno6

        From the story in the Post, it sounds like they’re pushing for a holiday like Veteran’s Day for the parade. That would be the least bad day to have that parade in D.C. It’s a federal holiday, so a lot of people will be off that day. Also, unlike another holiday like Memorial Day or July 4th, there aren’t a whole lot of other events that would have to be planned around the parade. Of course, who knows how long street repairs would take after the parade – the roads there aren’t really designed to have tanks driven on them.

        Also, I don’t know any member of the military, current or former, who actually likes marching in parades.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Rubber pads for tracked vehicle treads are a long standing thing. It’s the weight of the larger armoured vehicles that is the worry. Aren’t DC streets basically resting on two hundred year old substrates? Around here, a town barely a hundred years old, we still have some brick streets ‘preserved’ for quaintness and ‘touristy goodness.’ Plus, DC is, after all, a well known “Shining City in a Swamp.” So, those two hundred year old streets are floating on a primeval ooze to begin with.
          On another note; I do hope that none of the soldiery in the parade is issued live ammo. /$

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            so…a crack in the pavement at just the right place, and the whole shebang could be swallowed up.
            by the “primordial ooze”.
            I’d pay a dollar to see that.

            Reply
        2. George Phillies

          Furthermore, the weather on Veteran’s day is apt to be cool. Victory Day–the Surrender of Cornwallis, now generally forgotten–also comes to mind.

          Reply
        3. Darthbobber

          But a suckful day to do it if you’re a soldier, since absent a damned parade you’d be off on Veteran’s Day. God, how we used to hate parades. The tedious preparation and then a day of alternately standing and marching about like popinjays while people gawked at you and the speechmakers droned on and on about nothing.

          Reply
      2. ambrit

        Speaking of things Gallic; when I first read about the parade, I did have a clear mental flash of the image of Trump as a character in Genets’ “The Balcony.”

        Reply
          1. ambrit

            If there were a new film version made, I’d hire Harvey Keitel, to do the Trump character. Let’s call it; “Bad President: Parade Day.” Hertzog might be interested in directing. Or maybe Cavani.
            We’d definitely have to open it on the “Art House” circuit.

            Reply
  5. ambrit

    That last line of the coyote ‘menace’ piece had me laughing.
    “…the large majority of coyotes don’t pose any threat to people.”
    This is in the same category as saying that “…the large majority of rattlesnakes don’t pose a threat to people.”
    Coyotes are a menace. They will hunt any small animal, and human children fit that description. They hunt the young of any species. I’ve seen what coyotes can do to calves. It isn’t pretty.
    Sometimes, Mother Nature is a B—h Goddess.

    Reply
    1. Ignim Brites

      That’s a lot of coyotes. Have to wonder if that wasn’t the point of stringing them up. Curious fact that coyotes are an invasive species in the East US.

      Reply
      1. jefemt

        I was in a remote part of Montana and came across a retiree who was camped out for 6 months shooting and trapping coyotes. His permanent address was PA. Stunning what he had done on an individual basis in terms of numbers. I wouldn’t assume that those were all locally sourced. Big winter activity in SD, ND, WY, MT is entry-fee weekend competitive coyote hunts.
        A friend who is a crane expert did a grad school thesis on coyotes. Best thing to curtail their population growth is to leave them alone and let them take care of their own population and carrying capacity. Take one out, two come in.
        Now watching the ‘yotes and the wolves interact in Yellowstone- that has been fascinating!

        Reply
        1. foghorn longhorn

          “It’s as rare as you can get. Normally coyotes avoid close contact with humans. They usually turn tail and run.” While the United States averages over 20 fatal dog attacks a year, there has only been one fatal coyote attack ever recorded in the U.S.: in 1981 a coyote killed a three-year old girl in California.”

          This is from a Field and Stream article, having trouble with link.

          Reply
            1. Amfortas the Hippie

              by the sound of the nightly chorus, I think a couple of feral dogs may have joined our 4-6 local coyote packs.
              People often drive way out here to drop off unwanted dogs and cats(cats especially are a serious problem).
              Our Coyotes are still averse to lights, and are might near impossible to hunt(red lights is the go-to among the ranchers, and there’s a bounty)
              we’ve made a habit, the boys and i, of “watering” the fencelines wherever the Geese are bivouacked, as a deterrent.
              seems effective so far.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                A good friend of ours once did some “Gentleman Farming” of a certain cash crop. To deter the herbiverous critters he obtained some five gallon buckets of tiger scat from the local zoo and spread this around the perimeter of his crop circle. It worked. Nothing wanted anything to do with whatever was inside that circle. I guess that big cats all smell alike to their potential prey animals.

                Reply
                1. Amfortas the Hippie

                  I’ve done that, works wonders…and BTW, elephant crap makes for excellent tomatoes.
                  both varieties are difficult to come by, however, and carry the moral burden of captivity/exploitation.
                  I got lion and pachyderm leavings from a sort of circus that came through a town to the south, some years ago.

                  Reply
            2. anonymous

              Trapping coyotes is incredibly cruel.

              Here in Los Angeles, there are plenty of coyotes, and they typically run from humans.

              Some people in the neighborhood have lost cats to coyotes but free-roaming house cats kill billions of songbirds in the US each year so if people let their cats run loose, the cats are fair prey.

              By the way, the reason there are ever increasing numbers of coyotes is because we have nearly totally extirpated wolves, which are natural predators of coyotes.

              Reply
              1. Yves Smith

                Not necessarily. My father took up trapping in his retirement because a friend was losing too many lambs to coyotes.

                If you use a humane trap, the animal doesn’t suffer. The trapper shoots it with a pistol, which frankly is better than the way most wild animals die. My father once caught a Rottweiler in one of his traps and it seemed none the worse for wear from the experience. No injuries, ran well and tried going home with my father.

                And it’s not just cats. I’ve been hearing since the 1980s in LA that people who live near canyons keep small dogs indoors because they get eaten by coyotes otherwise.

                And coyotes have become so numerous that they have also greatly reduced the fox population. The only exception is the grey fox which can climb trees to get away from them.

                Reply
                1. anonymous

                  Good to learn that some trapping is done humanely.

                  And, yes, coyotes will prey on small dogs.

                  Anecdotally, we have a former neighbor here in our Canyon who lost her small dog to a coyote. But the thing is, she allowed the small dog to run loose, often in an Open Space area. That was asking for trouble.

                  WAZE traffic is another huge threat to dogs roaming freely.

                  Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            This seems to a topic of real interest to some. At https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coyote_attacks_on_humans someone went to a real lot of trouble to list EVERY attack on children and even Wikipedia said that it contained an excessive amount of intricate detail. Sort of like the argument about wolves in North America in that it gets very emotional fast. Or is of keen interest to some groups. Hunters and ranchers perhaps?
            Sorting through this I do note two things though. One, this is mostly over a quarter of a century period in a country that has some 330 million people in it. Therefore there must be many more contacts where precisely nothing happened. The second is that looking through other links you find that you are just as likely to get killed by a beaver. Uhhh, OK.
            Seems too that coyotes are now interbreeding with wolves (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coywolf) to create a breed called Coywolves. Fascinating.

            Reply
      2. Craig H.

        > He said the rural practice is possibly a holdover from the days when ranchers were paid bounties for each carcass.

        In other words nobody knows why the rancher hung these coyote corpses in his tree. So anybody can speculate. I will offer three.

        Rancher lost a couple lambs and he is venting anger at the coyote kingdom.

        Rancher is posting a warning to all the other wily coyotes to be elsewhere.

        Rancher wants his neighbors to know what a badass he is.

        If I am the tree I do not like this one bit.

        Reply
    2. polecat

      “Coyotes are a menace.”

      Really ambrit .. I can think of a much crueler, more menacing animal, that walks above, and talks over … mother’s nature !

      Here’s hoping Nature will cull a few, or a few billion, and soon !

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Yes polecat, we are crueler and more menacing. That’s what makes us the apex predator on this planet. If what I read lately about the incredible radiation levels being measured outside of the Fukushima reactor buildings is true, no one, or thing will have to worry about us for much longer.
        Philosophically meta, but, we are but a part of Nature. As I’ve said before; no one can assume that History is a one way street. It often ‘runs backward’ and loops. Considering how harsh the phenomenal world is, what with volcanoes, earthquakes, asteroids and other assorted ‘nasties,’ it’s a wonder that we have survived this long.

        Reply
        1. polecat

          Yes, ambrit … we tool-flinging apes have been lucky so far, resting on our seeming invincibility as the current top successor on the biological pyramid, but for how much longer ?
          I envision a galactic Minnesota Fats, out there in the nether reaches of space, aiming the cosmic cue stick at some bit of rock with the name E•A•R•T•H stencled on it’s lumpy surface, waiting to be guided to the local hood, allowing astrophysics to will out.
          But, as you inferred, there are many paths to extinction.

          Reply
        2. UserFriendly

          If what I read lately about the incredible radiation levels being measured outside of the Fukushima reactor buildings is true, no one, or thing will have to worry about us for much longer.

          There is absolutely no way anyone who doesn’t live in Japan will experience even the slightest increase in radiation. If you don’t believe me watch this video and then explain why we aren’t all dead already.
          https://youtu.be/LLCF7vPanrY

          Reply
      2. BlueMoose

        polecat, I had the same immediate thought. I was thinking a good start would be most of the C-level staff involved with FIRE. Ok. maybe big-pharm, MIC – never mind, probably not enough trees. For sure, I would not feel the same level of revulsion.

        Reply
    3. southern appalachian

      I’ve seen the tree. Not too too far away. They take out the groundhogs. Cattle sometimes lose a foot in the burrows so it’s a back and forth thing, good and bad. Sorry to see the foxes go, but they tended to get rabid.

      Lovely to watch run, saw an adolescent cross a field at dusk. Heartbreaking thing, really, everything considered.

      Reply
    4. southern appalachian

      Other thing there ambrit is the coyotes have been hanging there for a time. There is a big energy company trying to run a new pipeline through the area despite the karst formations and I suppose spirited opposition of the locals. Wouldn’t surprise me if this wasn’t a ‘well they are all hicks’ sort of story. It’s a well connected group in the commonwealth.

      Anyway, I was visiting kin up that way and took back roads so saw the coyotes hanging and then saw a young black bear running across the field in terror and honestly it’s something when every other species on this earth treats your presence with horror .

      Reply
      1. southern appalachian

        Right, so Tim Kaine wanted FERC to re-review the environmental impact of the proposed pipeline In January, I think. Those coyotes have been hanging for a few years.

        Reply
    1. Edward E

      The beak on a dove (and most pigeons) longer and skinny with a slight curve downwards at the end. Most yellow birds don’t have an orange beak, finches do but they’re small, I’m stumped again!

      Reply
  6. Summer

    Re: Surveillance Valley
    I’ve been calling it “Surveillicon Valley” for years.
    It’s time to do some “rebranding” as a constant reminder about what is really at stake.
    It’s calling them by their real purpose.

    This part of ths article is a good highlight:
    “In the course of my investigation, I was genuinely shocked to discover that as early as 1969, the first year that the ARPANET came online, a group of students at MIT and Harvard attempted to shut down research taking place at their universities under the ARPANET umbrella. They saw this computer network as the start of a hybrid private-public system of surveillance and control—“computerized people-manipulation” they called it—and warned that it would be used to spy on Americans and wage war on progressive political movements. They understood this technology better than we do today. More importantly, they were right. In 1972, almost as soon as the ARPANET was rolled out on a national level, the network was used to help the CIA, the NSA, and the U.S. Army spy on tens of thousands of antiwar and civil rights activists. It was a big scandal at the time, and the ARPANET’s role in it was discussed at length on American television, including NBC Evening News..”

    Reply
      1. subgenius

        Always worth a mention, the inestimable Adam Curtis, many multihour documentaries available free online…3 titles to get started:

        Hypernormalisation

        All watched over by machines of loving grace

        The power of nightmares

        Reply
  7. allan

    Consumer choice in retail electricity and gas as a long con:

    NYS reviews electric, gas free-choice program; consumers ended up paying more
    [Press Connects]

    Twenty years after New York allowed residential customers to begin shopping for electricity and natural gas, the groundbreaking program appears on the verge of being scrapped or broadly overhauled.

    Rather than save consumers money, those who signed up under the state Public Service Commission’s program paid nearly $820 million more for electricity and gas than if they had stayed with their local company, according to a PSC analysis of the 30 months ended in June 2016.

    Since the deregulation program began, the consumer loss could be in the billions …

    The accompanying chart is hilarious infuriating – the actual, nonvirtual, regulated utilities for upstate
    (NYSEG and RGE) are all the way at the bottom, far cheaper than the market disruptors.

    Reply
    1. foghorn longhorn

      Nothing has ever been cheaper, long term, after deregulation.
      Saw this up close and personal with telecom dereg in the 80s.
      Has one thing improved in trucking, airline, telecom, banking, medicine, gas, electric, you name it?
      They were regulated for a reason.

      Reply
      1. John k

        CAB used to regulate minimum prices, designed to keep the least efficient airline profitable. Now they just regulate safety, and do a good job at that, airlines have a sterling safety record, while consumers enjoy very low prices… compare with inflation adjusted prices from 70’s.
        There are still regs prohibiting new farmers from growing peanuts, still benefitting people like carter, who inherited the right.
        Regs then limit new entries or mandate min prices, bad.
        Regs for safety, good.

        Reply
          1. allan

            “a sterling safety record”

            With notably rare exceptions involving regional affiliates of the majors,
            which led, as they should have, to regulations on the training and working conditions
            of pilots at the regionals.

            And a lot of the maintenance has been off-shored to countries where
            many of the workers don’t read English
            and FAA inspectors need visas for entry (no more surprise inspections).

            “while consumers enjoy very low prices”

            I’ve been looking at tickets for a number of trips for work this summer and prices
            are 30%-50% higher than they were for similar itineraries two years ago.
            The 3+1 airline oligopoly is running on all cylinders.

            Reply
    2. bob

      The power market in NY is a deliberate mess. There are several publicly owned parts that feed the monopolies. The details of how the ISO ‘auctions’ energy are maddening.

      The public parts, dating back to the days when public works still happened, are required to give HUGE benefits to the for profit monopolies.

      All you really need to know about the NYS PSC is that part of the PSC is the utilities themselves. Not the public, as the name implies. Self regulation. And wine relocation for execs.

      http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2010/09/your_national_grid_check_helpe.html

      “Your National Grid check helped pay $35,700 for employee’s private school expenses, $2,462 to ship cat and wine to U.S.”

      Reply
      1. foghorn longhorn

        As bad as dereg is, the worst part is all of the real estate that went from public ownership to private hands.
        6 to 10 feet of right of way along EVERY road, big or small, in the US.
        Same with the railway corridors.
        Literally millions of acres.

        Reply
        1. bob

          Not even counting the HUGE areas of hydro power development in Northern NY. It all ended up with Brookfield, a PE type group who sells their power as “green”, for all of those ethical investors.

          The hydro plants don’t even produce electricity until the price is high enough. So much for the base load.

          A lot of that development was done in the 1930’s. HUGE projects. Now appropriated by private, green capital, in order to not have any cheap competition.

          Reply
    3. Baby Gerald

      Here in New York City, particularly in the poorer neighborhoods like in Brooklyn where I live, these independent energy sources send minions door-to-door to sign up unsuspecting tenants with the promise of cheaper, cleaner energy sources.

      By signing them up and offering a short-term discount (save 40% on your energy bill!!), people think they’re getting some savings while making an environmental stand for cleaner energy. Closer inspection reveals that the bulk of an electricity bill is in delivery and line service charges which, surprise surprise, remain unchanged after the switch. Once the temporary discount disappears, the customer is now being charged twice or more per KWH than what they were getting from ConEd before signing up.

      Reply
      1. bob

        The PSC has spent MILLIONS on trying to come up with a “calculator” that would show how much these agreements might cost the ratepayer.

        They’ve never been able to get it working. It seems that the costs are completely arbitrary. They cannot be known.

        There has never been one person that ‘saved’ money with any of those groups.

        Even the PSC did try to stop them from ‘selling’ power, but they used freedom of speech to claim they were being discriminated against.

        They still have to list them as alternatives, for some reason-

        http://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/All/0DF760D32E6D9BC085257687006F39D4

        Reply
  8. Summer

    Re: Why Surveillance Capitalism is Dead

    This part caught my eye;
    “He argues that this business model cannot continue to work: we need to stop thinking of the digital world as free, and start paying for everything from the internet itself — just as we pay for food, clothing and cars. We need to take responsibility for our digital future and not leave it to others. Finally, we’re left with the reminder that, as far as technology goes, the really important stuff is yet to come…”

    This is not the first rumblings that have been written about getting away from heavy reliance on the ad model. I wondered how long it would last, because no commercials or advertising was the initial appeal of the internet.

    The internet could disrupt the ad industry by creating an advertising bubble that it now has to pop.

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      I just don’t see how requiring consumers to pay more would work when wages continue to not rise and other costs are not going down. It would just require consumers to shoulder even more of the economy’s costs.

      Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      Yaas, the Internet needs toll stations and rent collections. Just like those other former public utilities, like highways and water and sewer and such. The internet and Data make it easy to identify users and deduct directly from their pittances, so let us go proudly forth into that brave new world.

      Sheesh.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        All the ways that tie jobs to the platforms are ways of mandating your payment of the rents and tolls.
        If you don’t have a choice in the ways, for instance, that you apply for a job, you still become a slave to surveillance capitalism.

        Reply
    3. shinola

      Great idea! Instead of letting google, FB et al spy on us for free, we should pay for the “privilege” of them collecting our personal data…

      Reply
      1. Rhondda

        Nay! They should pay us for the “privilege” of collecting our personal data.
        Lots. And I’m not being flippant.

        Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            Green Stamps, redeemable for a limited set of crappy “gifts” at one of their “Redemption Centers.” (For some definition of “redemption,” of course…)

            One of the early forms of brand tying, and also what my father called “white man’s welfare.” Like “points,” and cash back on your credit card use…

            Reply
    1. HopeLB

      I made the suggestion right after the plunge that this was algo driven as a rebuke to Trump. Infact, Trump was bragging about the stock market to a group in Ohio as it fell AND this was immediately covered in the MSM. Then the humans took over in a panic.

      Reply
  9. rd

    After watching some of the Winter Olympics, I think NBC should set up an interview of Mike Pence by Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir. He obviously can’t do it with Tara Lipinski alone as she is a woman, so Johnny Weir would need to participate to chaperone.

    BTW – I like the little “Under Review” boxes in the figure skating graphics. I think that should be used in all TV interviews with politicians where each response is reviewed and scored by a technical team with green, yellow red little boxes showing up.

    Reply
  10. Amfortas the Hippie

    elsevier has been on my sh*tl*st for a while, now.
    flies right into the face of what Science is, and should be.
    I understand needing fees for server maintenance or whatever, but the way they do it increasingly looks like profiteering(i initially had “privateering”,lol) or even monopoly.
    That the Humanities are even harder to gain access to(something I can confirm) just makes it worse, and colors it with Pinky and the Brain style control issues.

    Reply
    1. Paleobotanist

      Yes – the for profit journal publishers have been parasiting on science for a while.
      Their costs are breaking first world university libraries (forget about the developing world university libraries or the public or cancer patients wanting to read about the latest treatment for their illness, etc. sarc off).
      Speaking as a journal author, reviewer and editor, we do all this work for free and then get hit by several thousand dollars in page charges.
      The article is written in a misleading fashion. For the public’s information:
      scientists write the content (the articles) for free, we review them for free, we edit them for free. The big 5 publishing companies then charge us several thousand dollars for each article that we get published. Then they charge around $30-$50 per article from the public for publicly funded research. The publishers add very little value. Typesetting and copyediting has now been outsourced usually to India where they pay pennies. Articles are then mangled beyond belief by Indian workers who do not know standard written English well. We then struggle to get our papers fixed long-distance by email, fighting with people who don’t know English well.
      This is why scientists are pissed off beyond belief and the pirate Queen Elbakyan is a hero.

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        I recently declined a request to review a manuscript when I found out that the journal in question was owned by Wiley & Sons, one of the rent-extracting for-profit academic-publishing behemoths. They had an automated online accept/decline setup which allowed for no comment explaining why-I-decline, but I made sure to let the corresponding editor know the reason. Starve the beast!

        Reply
    2. petal

      I believe we’ve been paying about $2500-2900 for each paper published(a biomedical science field). It’s a hit. And they are mercenary about chasing down every single penny. For smaller papers, we have gone to lower ranked journals that are open source(articles are free to readers), but it’s still expensive on our end. The whole thing is a scam. With less and less publishing of paper journals(can get everything online) and reviewing being done by volunteers, there’s no reason for the cost to be so high.

      Reply
    3. ambrit

      I see the opportunity for a “Go Fund Science Publications” online crowdsourced funding platform here.
      Also, some enterprising undergrad can get a Sociology or Economics Dissertation paper out of “Scientific Publication Gatekeeping and Rent Extraction.” Naturally, this paper would be done in pursuit of a degree in Criminology as well. A double major! Prof. Black might agree to be your faculty advisor on this project. It wouldn’t hurt to ask.

      Reply
  11. Louis Fyne

    Amazon delivery = pure race to the bottom labor arbitrage. …using contract labor all up and down the chain.

    you thought amazon was bad beforehand….this is the neutron bomb for good non white collar jobs. can’t believe ‘progressives’ can support bezos with a clean conscience

    Reply
    1. Rhondda

      Well, I abhor the term progressive and don’t consider myself one — so perhaps I shouldn’t say anything…but I will.

      I try hard to support local business as much as I can…but like having grass in my ‘lawn’ and eating meat (also things that will get you pilloried for impurity) …I buy things from Amazon.

      This is largely due to the crapification of shopping where I live in midtown Kansas City. Retailers made the decision to move to far burbs. What retailers are left — Sunfresh, Costco, CVS, Walgreens — don’t carry some things, many things, in fact.

      For example, I am trying to reduce my blood pressure with diet and exercise. To that end I am reducing salt and caffeine intake. To do this, I use a lot of Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle and slurp up a lot of Teeccino. To my palate, they are the acceptable substitutes. Neither of these products are available in my area any longer. So I order them in bulk from Amazon.

      There are many products I can no longer get. I don’t think Amazon created that “needs gap” — local retailers did. But Amazon has effectively responded to it…and filled it.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        You’re buying from Amazon,huh? I go to the Amazon page for BOS and see ” Ships from and sold by Nutrition Depot.”

        So I google Nutrition Depot and there they are! As easy to get to as Amazon…

        *However* — they don’t list Bragg’s. So I’m guessing (actually pretty darn sure) that Amazon ensures that ND doesn’t compete with the Amazon listing. So now you’re paying two (family blog)ing companies – three if you include poor Bragg’s down at the bottom of the totem pole – when one would do.

        Amazon did squat for you, they just got between you and somebody who could have filled that “needs gap” directly.

        Reply
  12. dcblogger

    Atrios hits it out of the park:

    Maybe It Was All… A Lie?
    Only crazy liberal bloggers have been stupid enough to claim, for years, that Republicans didn’t care about “fiscal responsibility” (however you want to define that), but that they just wanted tax cuts for rich people, drastic cuts to social programs, and regulation friendly to big businesses (which does not, of course, mean “less regulation” or “deregulation” usually, so stop saying that too). Base Republican voters mostly care about racism and pissing off the libs. Also, too, the Tea Party wasn’t about “Teh Deficit” and wasn’t some nonpartisan transpartisan coalition. It was racist Republicans. How did we miss the Trump phenomenon? wonder political journalists on their 87th visit to a Pennsyltucky diner. Because you have been willingly peddling misinformation about your supposed field of expertise for decades

    Reply
  13. jjmacjohnson

    Team USA Gloves are actually made in Gloversville New York! Happy to see that that town has something to be proud of. Been rough up state in the last few decades.

    Reply
  14. Eclair

    Reading “11 Cities Most Likely to Run Out of Drinking Water ….,” revealed, to me at least, an interesting factoid: Russia has 25% of the planet’s fresh water.

    A little more digging, produced the top 5 countries with the most fresh water: 1. Brazil. Almost double that of number 2. Russia. 3. United States. 4. Canada. 5. China (with a lot bigger population than Canada!)

    Let the water wars begin! Or maybe they already have.

    Reply
  15. Altandmain

    The Koch brothers are at it again:
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/11/paid-sick-leave-koch-brothers-nfib

    They want to get rid of sick leave – and right now this year’s flue season has been bad. If there’s a flu pandemic, maybe the Koch brothers ought to be arrested.

    Oh and look at what has happened with Oklahoma in the field of education:
    https://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21736102-low-teacher-pay-and-severe-budget-cuts-are-driving-schools-brink-whats-matter

    No doubt class warfare taken to its max. Keep in mind, rich people will continue to send their kids to private schools, which no doubt have access to Ivy League and other elite schools.

    Reply
    1. JB

      Even though my contract says that I’m entitled to sick leave, my employer never provides sick leave unless all vacation has been used. Since vacation rolls over and my employer rarely approves vacation for longer than one week, I never have a zero balance. In case you’re wondering, I work for a national lab. I may have a .gov email, but almost every other aspect of my job is equivalent to working as a consultant…with exception to salary.

      Reply
  16. Summer

    Re: Parade of Defeat

    The military parade is culture wedge issue to take into the election season. It’s all about the reaction it will provoke. And there’s the word I’m looking for. It’s to be a provocation.
    How am I coming to this conclusion?Politicians want it more than the military brass.

    Reply
    1. Altandmain

      I think there is one thing that is alarming. It is the paleoconservatives who are most critical of the military industrial complex. I think that the Clinton liberals really have no problems with her voting for Iraq, her actions behind the Libya invasion, the Afghanistan surge, the Honduras coup in 2009, or frankly, cozying up with the neoconservatives.

      Much like inequality and being owned by Wall Street, war is an issue that the left has an issue with Clinton neoconservatives with.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        Provocation to neuter anyone outside the estabilshment.
        A palelconservative is not outside the establisment anymore than a neoliberal.
        There is plenty of room in the media for any criticism coming from what has been defined as the “right.”

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether

        > the Clinton liberals really have no problems with her voting for Iraq, her actions behind the Libya invasion, the Afghanistan surge, the Honduras coup in 2009

        Or the war with Russia they are trying to foment.

        Reply
  17. Paul Cardan

    “Aristotle vs. the Troika” has been posted twice now. It’s good, but doesn’t raise the question of what Aristotle might have said about all this. He did write about economics, in both the Nicomachean Ethics and the Politics. Polanyi offers what to my knowledge is one of the best sketches of the great philosopher’s views on the subject in “Aristotle Discovers the Economy,” a key passage of which reads as follows:

    Trade is “natural” when it serves the survival of the community by maintaining its self-sufficiency. The need for this arises as soon as the extended family grows over-populous, and its members are forced to settle apart. Their autarchy would now be impaired all round, but for the operation of giving a share (metadosis), from one’s surplus. The rate at which the shared services (or, eventually, the goods) are exchanged follows from the requirement of philia, i.e., that the good-will among the members persist. For without it, the community itself would cease. The just price, then, derives from the demands of philia as expressed in the reciprocity which is of the essence of all human community (79-80).

    Economic processes were instituted quite differently in the society with which Aristotle was familiar than in our own. From his vantage point, it seemed obvious that if trade figures among those processes, it must be limited by considerations of self-sufficiency, community, and justice.

    Reply
    1. Eustache De Saint Pierre

      I wonder if his thinking was influenced by the collapse of Mycenaean civilisation & that miniature globalised system within the Eastern Mediterranean that it was a part of, resulting in a roughly 400 year Dark Age. Perhaps there was an oral tradition which as with Homer, told lurid tales of those times.

      Apparently there are still people in what was once Persia, who to this day, pass on oral tales of Alexander the Great in which he features as the devil.

      Thank you for that nugget.

      Reply
      1. Louis Fyne

        oldies but goodies.
        ‘in the footsteps of alexander’ by michael wood (1999?)
        ‘in search of the trojan war’ by michael wood (1989?) though much of the archaeological blanks have been filled in.

        Reply
        1. Eustache De Saint Pierre

          Thank you Louise, you have uncovered my source & yes Woods was on the right track with Troy – as with Carl Sagan’s ” Cosmos “, ” In Search of the Trojan War ” added extra dimension to my life.

          Reply
    2. witters

      Just as important when it comes to Aristotle and “economics” is this fact (here not an interpersonal relationship fact): the pursuit of profit is an endless iterative process. Now some such processes are good, even great – e.g. the pursuit of beauty in art – but not so profit. This is because the former fulfill themselves in each iteration, and so each iteration is a completed act, but the iteration of profit seeking is never fulfilled in the moment, and is not there a completed act. On a better day I would connect the former to Hegel’s “good infinity” and the latter to his “bad infinity.”

      Reply
      1. Paul Cardan

        Yes. I’d interpreted Aristotle’s objections to usury along these lines, believing that his case against charging interest was based in part on his opposition to money-making. I’d read him as being opposed to the latter due to its boundlessness. Respect for limits, it seemed to me, was a recurring theme of Hellenistic philosophy. There’s no limit to money-making, and so we can’t have that.

        I still think you’re right and Aristotle is opposed to profit-taking, but in light of that Polanyi article, I might have to revise my account of his reasoning. If Polanyi is correct, ‘making-money’ isn’t really a good translation of ‘chrematistike.’ Rather, the latter has to do with skill in the acquisition of those necessities which can be measured by money. Aristotle, Polanyi claims (I think) has nothing against this. Rather, he’s against trade of the kind in which each party tries to get the better of the other, trade of the kind that typically takes place in markets, among hucksters. If such trade is, as a matter of fact, the best way of supplying a few desirable goods, fine, let foreigners do it. But the idea that citizens regularly supply one another with necessities in this fashion would have struck him as insane, because corrosive, destructive of the community that trade was meant to serve.

        Oh, and thanks again for the link to Hacker’s work. Coincidentally, I’ve been reading his commentaries on the Investigations. Wish I’d read them years ago. Could have avoided so many mistakes.

        Reply
      1. Rhondda

        Pshaw. In my experience they become the Vice-President of Newspaper Reading — roll in around 10am and duck out around 3p ;-)

        Reply
    1. fresno dan

      none
      February 11, 2018 at 2:10 pm

      Yeah, I saw that. I think the commercial is being politically correct by using a meteor instead of dealing with the far more obvious zeitgeist of a North Korean nuke as the impetus for the panic…..

      I commented a few days ago about that mattress ad of the impossibly beautiful couple in the impossibly beautiful bedroom laying in bed and how that commercial had subtly changed, with the commercial starting with a pan of the couple’s hands clasping and the husband’s hand displaying a wedding band.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        That VW commercial is also a very subtle dig at materialism. And a master class in subconscious manipulation. The ‘target’ couple stay longer and get more goodies in their auto, and still, supposedly, get away. If that doesn’t say; “You can take it with you,” I don’t know what it does say.
        This was a young couple also. No children, notice that? Many of the items packed into the vehicle were leisure time toys; a beach ball, golf clubs, etc. I also noticed an easter egg in the commercial. Near the end, when the male starts the car, the dashboard flashes the message “Welcome Jason Clark.” I wonder who this Jason Clark is, or is supposed to be? The actor, director, scriptwriter, an AI front personality? That town was entering the Twilight Zone during that commercial, literally so as the meteor passed overhead. Now the Zone is extending outward, into our reality. Horselover Fats would be proud.

        Reply
        1. fresno dan

          ambrit
          February 11, 2018 at 4:41 pm

          Very good analysis ambrit….I would even say…”great” – but you know where that leads….

          Reply
  18. Roady

    The FBI issues a gentle reminder about the level of oversight and accountability that they’re willing to accept:

    FBI might keep more secrets from Congress after Nunes memo release – USA Today:

    The result is that Congress will have less information as they attempt to oversee the intelligence agencies and help keep the country safe, said former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, who chaired the 9/11 Commission.

    The potential damage, said former Obama administration attorney general Eric Holder, threatens to extend far beyond Washington and the interactions between agencies and lawmakers.

    I Spy For The F.B.I – The Untouchables

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Roady
      February 11, 2018 at 3:30 pm

      Who else gets to have a job where you publicly proclaim that you are going to keep EVEN MORE secrets from your supervisors???

      So, SO, SOOOOO important to keep your method of using a source hired by the opposition party to develop your cases…..

      Reply
    2. integer

      That excerpt is brilliant. Thanks. The chair of the 9/11 commission and Eric Holder, of all people, are worried about transparency. Ha!

      Reply
  19. Alex Morfesis

    Can’t wait for 2030 to arrive…Koch brothers, Kissinger, both clintons, buffett, munger, soros, at least one bush, raul castro, schauble, jack welsh, putin, biden and another assortment of doctor evils…all dead and buried…

    Reply
  20. fresno dan

    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/02/principal-goes-to-prison-after-stealing-and-uploading-students-nude-photos/

    A former high school principal in Kentucky was sentenced yesterday to nine years in federal prison on child pornography charges after taking nude photos from phones confiscated from students and sharing the photos online.
    …..
    Five female former students have also filed a civil lawsuit against the school district and Goodlett. The school district’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit said that it “had no legal duty” to implement policies that would have prevented Goodlett’s crimes. That lawsuit is still pending.
    ===========================================================
    So much for trust in government “authorities.” I can sure see this helping Apple in their battle to keep cell phones password protected.

    Was this foreseeable that giving unfettered and unsupervised access to young people’s phones might lead to this? Call me cynical, but I think it was perfectly foreseeable.
    I foresee a rash of discoveries that phones that have been “confiscated” by school “authorities” have been rifled though….

    Reply
    1. polecat

      It’s just a lower-order microcosm of what the three-letters do, except for the punishment … which those up the stratosphere of agency hierarchy seem to, so far, escape from ..
      Same with social media minders viewing d!ck picks, no ?

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      Fresno;
      What I find particularly disturbing here, besides the violation of trust issue is that these young ‘girls’ had nude photos of themselves, (and who else?) on their phone memory files to begin with. Did these young women send these photos to each other, or, horrors, male acquaintances?
      Secondly, didn’t the young women even consider that no electronic device is secure anymore? Naive or depraved? You make the decision.
      Thirdly, is such behaviour normal among young women? Like the “mine is bigger” contests some boys have? Maybe I’m just too d— old.
      There has always been a Puritanical streak in the American psyche. Thus, the attendant ‘underground’ scene becomes more outrageous in response. Human nature, Gods’ gift to the Devil.
      ambrit the mummy

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        I don’t find it disturbing at all? Kids are f(amily blog)ed in the head. They do all sorts of stupid things, thank god they sleep so much to minimize the time they have to be at it. Most people grow out of it.

        People were gay in the 19th century, plenty of kids were born “out of wedlock” as the prim phrase had it, etc etc & etc. If you pry too much you get the shock you deserve. Humans are messy creatures.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Maybe so, but a hundred years ago or so, kids were often tried as adults and hanged for “minor” crimes. I’m coming at this from the point of view that human kinds’ greatest achievement has been to extend childhood, and thus the safe learning environment needed for the young to apprehend and master the increasingly complex world around them. This can lead to superior mastery of their environment, which results in better survival rates and increasing levels of general competence. Too early an introduction of sexuality will often short circuit the ‘extended childhood’ phase, for both females and males, since any competent society will put incredible pressure on the fathers to support the children of the union. Look at how child support is handled in America, and, for all I know, the rest of the world also.
          The second objection I have to this technologizing of sexuality is that humans do not have to be messy in such extremes. Making such messups so easy, and seductive, is a real disservice to human culture. There is a real underlying meaning to the phrase “base behaviour.” Perhaps I’m just an old Romantic, but I do see the possibilities of human evolution, much of which is social in nature. To see such possibilities cavalierly thrown away for some third parties profit makes me appreciate what Frank Herbert meant by his ‘Butlerian Jihad.’
          Oh well. Back to the mastaba with me.

          Reply
          1. JBird

            Oh well. Back to the mastaba with me.

            You don’t have to be from the New Kingdom to be a fellow Luddite!

            Kids have been interested in sex since forever and I don’t think that makes an adult, that just makes them human. And there no magical chronological age that makes one an adult. Biologically humans are able to have children early and it is impossible for them not to have… ideas.

            We’ve all known people who were “adult” at 15 and some who were effectively a “child” at 50.

            Reply
  21. The Rev Kev

    Turkey accused of recruiting ex-Isis fighters in their thousands to attack Kurds in Syria

    Say what? A few days ago 100 soldiers from the ISIS Hunters and SAA were killed by US forces. These formations were engaged with a joint ISIS/SDF formation who are nominally allied with the American forces. So yeah, everybody is using them. Right now the Syrian Kurds have extended their border right down to the Iraq border (http://syria.liveuamap.com/) and seizing Syrian oil fields in the process. I saw a plan from a think tank that envisioned this but as they are bordered by hostile powers, how they plan to export it is another matter.
    The way that they did this was they and US forces were bribing tribes that were ISIS allies to flip to them and giving the Kurds nominal control and more manpower. Several Russian contractors were also rumoured killed by the way. The mauling of the Israeli air force may be a subtle Russian message that two can play these sorts of games – a “bloody nose” operation if you will. Trump said that America should just have taken Iraq’s oil for what was “owed” America so perhaps Trump has now decided that he wants to take Syria’s oil for the $12 billion dollars and more that has been spent in Syria. Sounds fair.

    Reply
  22. allan

    Progressives storm Democratic primaries [Politico]

    … In New York, where 34-year-old entrepreneur Suraj Patel is taking on Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Patel reported raising nearly $550,000 over the past quarter, outraising Maloney by a factor of 4 to 1.

    Maloney last faced a significant primary challenge a decade ago. But her district is home to scores of young Democratic voters who threw their support to Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. …

    Patel said he disagreed with Maloney’s vote in favor of going to war in Iraq and with her resistance to the Iran nuclear deal brokered under President Barack Obama. He said he’s running to pump some energy into a political system that has grown complacent and caters to the needs of the people who regularly vote, rather than the entire electorate.

    “I’m not running against Carolyn Maloney,“ he said. “I’m running against apathy.”

    Maloney’s campaign has called Patel’s decision to run against the incumbent congressperson in his first bid at elected office “the height of egotism.” …

    “the height of egotism.” According to Google Translate, that’s l’etat, c’est moi in a Long Island accent.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      Maloney is my rep and she is such a disgrace. She also goes to my salon and the stories I hear from the staff when they challenge her on what is going on in DC would curl your hair (pun intended). She doesn’t make a pretense of being willing to answer reasonable questions from constituents.

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether

      That’s a very interesting article. I’d need to sort out the individual candidates (especially the self-funders) but it looks like the DNC/DSCC/DCCC haven’t been able to run Blue Dogs everywhere….

      Reply
  23. The Rev Kev

    The White Darkness

    That is quite a read that story. Very poignant too. I suppose that the Arctic is equally hostile to humans as well. If they ever decide to build a city in Antarctica, it is going to take a unique breed of humans to make and call that home. But find them they will.

    Reply
  24. fresno dan

    ambrit
    February 11, 2018 at 4:27 pm
    from the article:
    The complainant “told police she was 15 when she created the nude photos with her cell phone for her boyfriend.”
    …..
    The affidavit describes three of the images, saying all three were of fully nude girls who appeared to be between the ages of 10 and 14.
    ===============================
    I think the “10 year old” might be prosecution hyperbole (who appeared) to gild the lily.
    But I think the young are more involved in sex than we acknowledge. I remember distinctly that I wanted my 2nd grade teacher naked – I didn’t know what I would actually do but I sure know I wanted to do it. But even as a second grader I knew not to express my desires to adults – but the size of our 3rd grade teachers “bazooms” was a daily topic of conversation among 2nd and 3rd grade boys.
    And from what I have read on the subject of women and nude selfies, I wouldn’t be surprised if 50% of high school females have shared pictures of themselves in undress.
    We just have the electronic means now a days to document it.

    Did these young women send these photos to each other, or, horrors, male acquaintances?
    I suspect mostly males, but I imagine both….
    Secondly, didn’t the young women even consider that no electronic device is secure anymore? Naive or depraved? You make the decision.
    Every single porn site allows me entrance by simply stating that I am over 18. How many 9 year old boys haven’t figured out to click that they are an adult? The “market” for porn is more important than protecting children from it…..
    Oh, something I just discovered. Snuff movies are back in a BIG way and it is very disturbing.

    Thirdly, is such behaviour normal among young women?
    I suspect it has been ever thus…..I understand that at the time of Shakesspear Romeo and Juliet were understood to be 13 year olds….

    Reply
  25. HopeLB

    http://jonathan-tepper.com/why-american-workers-arent-getting-a-raise-an-economic-detective-story/

    By Jonathan Tepper

    For the past few months, I’ve been trying to solve an economic puzzle: why are wages growing so slowly despite a growing economy and a booming stock market?

    Workers are productive and helping the economy grow, yet unlike previous economic expansions, we are hardly seeing big increases in wages. Instead, companies are sitting on their cash or giving it back to their shareholders through dividends and share buybacks.

    The answer of why wages are not growing mattered a lot to me. A few years ago, some friends and I started Variant Perception a company that predicts the ups and downs of the economy using leading indicators. Before growth or inflation turn up and down, there are generally clues that tell you what is coming. For example, building permits provide a good warning sign that growth will turn up or down. When the US stopped building as many houses in 2005-06, it predicted the recession of 2007-08.

    Our leading indicator for wages normally provides a 15 month advanced warning of changes in wages. It is pretty good and all the ingredients are the same ones that have accurately worked for decades, yet the relationship has broken down. It was annoying me: why are wages not following growth? I should know the answer to why this is happening. I should have all the tools, yet something appeared broken in the economy.

    Reply
    1. JBird

      Good article. I would also add that people are accustomed to looking at the U-1 unemployment rate which counts only people actively looking for work and I believe for a very limited time. Of all the standard measures the U-6 is best as it counts all the people who are unemployed, underemployed, or who would like work but stopped looking. The newspaper always reports the U-1. The most favorable rate. The more accurate U-6 is usually twice as high. So if the media is saying it is 4% it’s actually closer to 8%. Also the labor participation rate is ~63% and it hasn’t been that low since 1977. Everyone saying unemployment is low, low, low is using smoke and mirrors.

      Reply

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