Links 2/15/18

Ants nurse wounded warriors back to health: study PhysOrg (Robert M)

Cryptocurrency craze is hampering search for extraterrestrial life RT (Kevin W)

Resilc: “The brilliance of the private sector”:

Quantum computers ‘one step closer’ BBC (David L)

Why Broadband Competition at Faster Speeds is Virtually Nonexistent Motherboard (resilc)

Lambert featured this tweet earlier this week but it appears some readers missed it. Please click through and read the entire tweetstorm:

Sony now has a Koov robotics learning kit for US classrooms TechCrunch (David L)


This Is the Link Between Processed Foods and Cancer Time (David L)

Consumption of ultra-processed foods and cancer risk: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort British Journal of Medicine (UserFriendly)

In televised address, Jacob Zuma resigns as South Africa’s president PBS (Kevin C)

Currency War: Trump’s Games Pose Threat to European Economy Der Spiegel (resilc)

European officials: Virtual currencies are no way to pay Associated Press. Bundesbank and ECB say “nein”.


Ad hoc Working Party on Article 50 European Council. Summary per Politico’s daily e-mail:

The European Council’s Brexit working party met Wednesday and will meet again today. The key result so far: watering down footnote number 4 on the mechanism to sanction London if it breaks EU rules during the Brexit transition. The new text, according to POLITICO’s source, would say that if the U.K. were to breach EU law during the transitional period, the Commission would be obliged to start an infringement procedure against it under Article 258 of the EU treaty. That is standard EU operating procedure. Only if the U.K refuses to comply (against a judgment on the matter) would unilateral measures of suspension may be considered.


“Phew, I Thought This Was About The War Crimes” Says Relieved Netanyahu Waterford Whisper News (PlutoniumKun)

US keen on Russia distancing itself from Iran’s Syrian ambitions Asia Times

Mission Accomplished? What’s Next for Iran’s Afghan Fighters in Syria War on the Rocks (resilc)

Syria flare-ups expose tangled mess of rivalries and tensions Axios

Syria’s War Is Fueling Three More Conflicts Defense One (resilc)

Taliban appeals to American people to ‘rationally’ rethink war effort Washington Post (Kevin W). The problem is that our nation-breaking efforts are entirely rational if the objective is to increase the size and profits of defense contractors.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Surveillance Valley Yasha Levine, Baffler. From last week. Important.

Don’t use Huawei phones, say heads of FBI, CIA, and NSA The Verge (Kevin W). So we consumers are told to prefer the backdoors installed by the FBI, CIA and NSA to the ones installed by the Chinese?

Rise of the data protection officer, the hottest tech ticket in town Reuters (resilc)


Florida shooting: At least 17 dead in high school attack BBC. 18th school shooting this year.

Gorilla Sales Skyrocket After Latest Gorilla Attack The Onion

Here’s a morbid exercise: Can you keep track of which school shooting was the last before Parkland? Los Angeles Times. Editorial.

Florida Shooter’s JROTC Took NRA Money, Excelled at Marksmanship David Swanson

Elections Still Matter: Virginia Democrats Stun State Energy Monopoly in Late-Night Rejection Intercept (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

Trump: ‘I Am Totally Opposed to Domestic Violence’ Daily Beast. Resilc: “…although there are good people on both sides of domestic violence….”

The Precedent for Trump Isn’t Nxon—It’s Clinton Atlantic (resilc)

U.S. to Block Tax-Law Loophole on ‘Carried Interest’ Wall Street Journal

Trump’s Massive Giveaway to the Pentagon American Conservative (resilc)

EPA head Scott Pruitt says he flies first class due to security concerns NBC (JTM). Pruitt not only flew first class, he flew first class in the most expensive possible way. I just checked the Delta shuttle. If you buy the tickets a week out or more, round trip first class is ~$660 and a fully refundable first class seat is ~$1088. A “main cabin” seat is $492.

Fake News

How Establishment Propaganda Gaslights Us Into Submission Caitlin Johnstone, Consortium News

This Anonymous Instagram Account is Outing Sexual Harassers in Advertising MEL. Oregoncharles: “Not that we feel too bad for advertising executives, but it’s still a dangerous precedent.”

California cities’ pension bills may rise with CalPERS move Bloomberg

Wells Fargo Fumbles Efforts to Repay Aggrieved Customers and Wells Fargo Customer-Repayment Efforts Questioned Wall Street Journal. Managed to miss the first story yesterday…

Hedge Funds Are Dumping Facebook and Google Bloomberg

Guillotine Watch

The discreet terror of the American bourgeoisie Ed Luce, Financial Times (Li). From last week, still germane.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon: Why ‘Charity’ Is Wrong Solution Rolling Stone. Resilc: “Says the man who built amazon on tax free sales and subsidized shipping.”

Class Warfare

Did Flint’s Water Crisis Damage Kids’ Brains? New Republic

Green Science’s White People Problem Grist

Study: Even Apple and Google engineers can’t really afford to live near their offices Fast Company

Fat cat university bosses who decide their OWN pay: 95% of vice chancellors sit on salary panels or go to meetings Daily Mail

Seeing Like a Neoliberal, Part 1: Blinded by the Data Medium (UserFreindly). Important.

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus from Richard Smith. Dunno what this kitten’s name really is, but I did know someone with a tiny dog called Kali. And if you are a Terry Pratchett fan, Death is a sympathetic character. From Sourcery:

“I meant,” said Ipslore bitterly, “what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?”

Death thought about it.

“CATS,” he said eventually. “CATS ARE NICE.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. fresno dan

    Florida shooting: At least 17 dead in high school attack BBC. 18th school shooting this year.

    Where were all the good men with guns?

    1. Andrew

      Florida shooting: At least 17 dead in high school attack BBC. 18th school shooting this year.

      Thoughts and prayers. Again and again and again….

        1. Stephen V.

          Wow. THAT sums it up. I ran into a European couple yesterday who told me gun sales are down under Trump and that when the British husband wanted to bring his *target rifle* (I assume small calibre) into the U.S. ….fugeddaboutit.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        First, thoughts and prayers, again and again, until all violence is gone.

        A thought – is violence quantum, such that all violent acts are interconnected…such that we can’t eradicate one without also removing others, even in countries and galaxies far, far away?

        Another thought – about all those good men with guns, are individuals like nations? Two nations, both with guns, have resorted to violence repeatedly in history. Two nations, both with more powerful guns, that is, nuclear bombs, have so far not used them.

        What does that say?

        That this phenomenon is not nonlinear and it reverses direction at some point (as we go from guns to mass weapons)? Or does it say, or imply, that nations are not individuals? Or does it say that nations are not persons, unlike corporations (which are indeed persons), that they don’t kill, but only humans do?

        1. Wukchumni

          In a fashion guns are nuclear weapons, as they destroy families all too often, not just by the deceased departing but also by emotional ricochets that leave lasting injuries to the living.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Two rational nations would not use weapons that would also kill themselves.

            And two rational individuals would not deploy weapons that will wipe themselves out either. Yet, we have seen that with individuals, killing others and then, themselves.

            That points to irrationality, insanity or mental instability.

            We should not overlook human mental problems.

            1. Wukchumni

              I’ve probably watched 10,000 or so people get murdered on film and tv, and heard of 10,000 or so that happened in real life, maybe it all evens out as life emulates art?

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Probably more than that number of victims for anyone who ever watched the self-immolation of Little Boy or Fat Man.

          2. Mike Mc

            What happens to all the survivors of these massacres? 19 years ago, you were a kid at Columbine who didn’t get killed, wounded or maybe even know any student who did? What are the ‘knock on’ effects to these people? Hope somebody somewhere is researching this – we have a generation of students who’ve experienced this.

        1. Andrew Watts

          I’m cynical enough to believe that the only reason why this shooting is receiving widespread coverage is due to the fact it has a higher body count then Sandy Hook in 2012. The morning edition of the Wall Street Journal I saw mentioned that fact.

          Wait… was I not suppose to share my thoughts? I’m confused.

          1. Procopius

            Sharing your thoughts is fine. Just claiming to have them when you probably don’t is not. Prayers, the same.

    2. Wukchumni

      I read an article early last year by a expat Venezuelan fellow living in the USA that warned us in regards to the reign of error, that we’d grow weary of being outraged after a year or so, as that’s what happened with Chavez, and behold the basket case that is the country he wrecked…

      We ran out of outrage about a year after Columbine, and it’s official now, guns have more rights than humans in our country.

      1. JohnnyGL

        That’s an unfair characterization of Venezuela as I understand it.

        The pre-Chavez bunch were thoroughly discredited, corrupt and thuggish. They ran the place into the ground when oil cratered in the late 90s and basically paved the way for Chavez.

        Obviously, Chavez made plenty of mistakes and crime, corruption, and the idiotic exchange rate are obvious open sores, but Chavistas did a lot of good for the poor and improved people’s lives (look at the change in life expectancy and other health stats) and they did develop and deepen a culture of democratic involvement, which is why they’re still in control in spite of all their bone-headedness.

        Plus, the opposition is still dominated, or at least heavily influenced, by US-sponsored jackals who want to launch a blood bath.

        1. Wukchumni

          I was merely quoting the author’s words…

          “The first time I felt my mouth go dry with impotence I was standing in the Caracas newsroom of El Mundo, a Venezuelan newspaper that was highly successful under legendary editor Teodoro Petkoff, a respected former guerrilla and politician who had taken to journalism like a teenager to rock-and-roll.

          That afternoon in mid-1999, Petkoff was in his office, watching the same broadcast that I, along with other reports, was watching on a tiny TV set in the politics section of the newsroom.

          President Hugo Chávez, bloated with power and anger, was attacking our front page. He was taking potshots at a headline and attacking us. Yes, “us,” because he was attacking each of us.

          Reporters like me had already felt the swift consequences of his pronouncements when we left our newsrooms. For his faithful followers, that was just the bait they needed to punish us for the lack of loyalty to the “revolutionary process” that was starting to paint Chavez Red every single institutional corner of the country.

          We had started to remove from our cars the company logos that had once gained us entry to difficult places. We hid our press cards. Chávez’s speeches were usually followed by rocks, insults and even urine, thrown at video cameramen, photographers, reporters and even drivers.”

          From January 13, 2017:

        2. John k

          Why they’re still in control…
          At one time they did enough for the poor to win elections. As this is no longer true they simply take them.
          Power comes from guns… so long as those with the guns remain in their corner they will remain in control.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            There are countries where police carry no guns, and yet are in control.

            From Wikipedia, Police Firearms by Country:

            In some countries including the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland), Norway, Iceland, and New Zealand police do not carry firearms unless the situation is expected to involve gunfire from the opposing force. A survey conducted in the United Kingdom in 2004 found that 47% of citizens supported arming all police while 48% were opposed to the idea.[1]

    3. Sam Adams

      What I am horrified by is that I no longer feel anything about these school shootings. It’s happening too frequently. I’m numbed to the sensation.
      I guess the NRA won this game of gun regulation.

      1. Lee

        I’m glad my kids are out of high school. But then there are the grand kids. We had a school shooter a few years back apprehended in our local shopping center. I’ve witnessed two gang gun fights in a town adjacent to ours. In one the wackos were shooting at each other over a gaggle of grade school kids who knew enough to flatten themselves against the pavement. In the other, two fools in their cars, vainly trying to shoot each other while cowering behind their respective door panels, and thus unable to see their intended targets, randomly sprayed a busy intersection with lead. I was in the crossfire and one of bastards gave me a flat tire. More recently a guy was with his car trying to run down a young woman, who I would subsequently learn was his estranged ex, in front of my house. I stopped him by credibly threatening to shoot him on the spot. It worked. I am immensely conflicted on the issue of firearms. I don’t particularly like the damned things and I’d gladly give up mine if every asshole in this benighted country gave up theirs.

        1. Wukchumni

          It’s different in this corner of rural California where i’ll hear 10-20 whiz-bangs go off a week in my earshot, and it’s just somebody aiming @ a target on their many splendored acres, here where there are no gangs, no graffiti, no crime, and no jobs.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Everyone giving up theirs?

          I have none myself, but like with hard drugs which are illegal and banned, yet, still available, can we be sure after everyone giving up theirs, that the drug lords, gang members and others will not have guns of various lethality?

          1. cocomaan

            Our intelligence agencies will get into the illegal gun running business, just like they got into the illegal drug running business.

            Oh wait, they already got caught in the illegal gun running business. Oh well.

          2. John k

            But Oz tried it, banned assault weapons, and the number of gun deaths fell sharply. The longest journey begins with a single step.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I read that in Mexico, they have the right to own guns, but few do.

              And they have strict gun laws.

              Their violence is less in schools, though I believe I read many children were victims, and more to do with drugs.

              What can we learn from them? They are said to be considering new gun laws.

    4. JTMcPhee

      There were two armed police officers stationed at the school. But if only the teachers and coaches and students had their own pieces on them, why all would have been well…

      1. cyclist

        Exactly how many times do we hear about the various armed cops actually stopping something like this mass shooting? After one of these events occur, we get to witness militarized thugs swarming around with all their black gear and armored vehicles, ordering people around. Let’s hear about what they have done proactively.

        1. Montanamaven

          Yes, there is video of the SWAT team coming into a classroom in that Florida high school and telling everybody to put their hands up and put down their cell phones.

      2. kevin

        perhaps in this situation. but how many butterfly effect additional shootings would that policy implement? I can’t imagine every teacher in the country responsibly locking a gun up which just makes it all the easier for students to shoot one another, accident or not

      3. cnchal

        . . . But if only the teachers and coaches and students had their own pieces on them, why all would have been well

        I am surprised the above commenters didn’t get your drift.

        It has become an outrageous game of who can kill the most and claim the greatest infamy. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to point the blame at all the reasons for this descent into insanity.

        1. Kevin

          It all boils down to a small handful wanting to play sport with their guns – and their right to do so outweighs the masses. Their hobby is somehow more important than actual lives. They need bigger and bigger guns to get their “high”.

          What’s to stop them from upping the anty and deciding they want to play with ICBM missiles and target practice across the country. Will we all be banned to underground bunkers so they can play?.

          I’m surprised we have not allowed smoking back in planes and offices…I mean why not?
          Why should the wishes of the masses hold sway over the few?

          This is a sick society we have created.

          1. Procopius

            I remember an issue of Doonesbury several years ago, where Duke was explaining to some government official why he needed an 80 mm mortar for deer hunting, or something like that.

      4. John k

        Right. Not nearly enough guns. You’d think with all the guns we sell and give away around the world we could fully arm our own population.
        America first!

        1. Procopius

          Well, you see, the problem is that, first, only 23% of families own even one gun, and by far most of those who do own only one. That means that three or four percent of the families in the U.S. own large numbers of guns. I’m talking on the order of thirty to one hundred guns in each of those “families.”

    5. cocomaan

      I always try to put out into the ether that news coverage of these schools shootings tends to be irresponsible glorification of the shooter. In a society that prizes fifteen minutes of fame, it’s an extremely dangerous thing to do. It creates “social contagion”, a well-documented phenomenon.

      The best thing we could do to prevent these shootings isn’t going through the motions of banning firearms, something that we could spend years trying to figure out, it’s to demand an ethical code by media outlets to not put up pictures or otherwise endlessly cover the persona of the shooter.

      Media outlets, when presented with evidence of their role in social contagion with suicide, made a similar ethical move with regard to suicidal contagion a few decades ago:

      This needs to happen.

      1. hunkerdown

        The purpose of the MSM is social contagion. I think we’re just negotiating terms.

        Is this why we’re not hearing about the political protests by way of suicide anymore? There were Indian farmers and South American peoples who elected to kill themselves rather than submit to the white man. It might be wise to clarify whether that’s “irresponsible”, and more to the point, to whom.

      2. nippersdad

        Why should we continue to go through the motions of banning weapons when we could get the NRA to do it for us? As with any corporation, they should be liable for their product; in this case lobbying to prevent commonsense gun laws. Fine them for every puncture on an innocent victim with the proceeds going to a medical and funerary fund for victims of gun violence and see just how fast they come to the table. Mandatory gun insurance would also go a long way toward responsible gun ownership and lower the socialized costs as well. I’d be willing to bet that insurance companies would be happy to do the background checks that so vex our pols. Seems like it is well past time that they managed to regulate their militia, initiatives like these might do it.

    6. Montanamaven

      Most of these 18 school shootings are not “mass”(which the LA Times defines as over 4 people), but still are awful and sick . One was guys driving by shooting at kids in a playground. One was a guy shooting a bee bee gun at a school bus. What is this all about? I find that as a nation we the people and our government look at other peoples in other nations like these shooters look at children or animals. Just something it’s OK to kill.
      The big picture is our violent nature with easy access to guns and bombs.
      11 school shootings as of January 25

    7. Doug Hillman

      Cue gun-control wedgie. Military assault gun-rights for minors shall not be abridged (part of a well-regulated militia?). Thus the absurd, perennially polarizing conflict successfully distracts us from examining the glaring role of increasing poverty and despair in cultural degeneration.

    8. Procopius

      Saw another analysis, can’t provide a link, that 18 includes all instances where a gun was fired on a campus or in a parking lot, whether anyone was harmed or not and whatever the circumstances. Still, there have been five where persons were injured. Getting so you have to check out every damned report. Without checking further, I’d go with the five, although I can understand why many people would believe the larger number was more relevant.

  2. ArkansasAngie

    Why is “Trump’s Massive Giveaway to the Pentagon” true?

    Tin foil hat … because it was the military (AKA Kelly) that stopped the coup?

  3. scott 2

    I just replaced a Huawei Honor 5x with the new 7x. Both of these phones will run over 10 days on standby (I got 14 days once). Previous Moto and Samsung phones I’ve owned would mysteriously wake up and burn through half the charge in the middle of the night. If Huawei has some secret spyware program on its phones, it doesn’t use much battery or data.

    Of course, location is off, all the Google apps disabled, etc.

  4. allan

    Charlie Munger urges regulators to ease off Wells Fargo [Reuters]

    Charlie Munger, the longtime business partner of fellow billionaire Warren Buffett, said on Wednesday it is time for regulators to “let up” on Wells Fargo & Co, which will end up “better off” as it corrects a series of mistakes in how it treated banking customers. …

    He spoke less than two weeks after the Federal Reserve took the unprecedented step of curbing the San Francisco-based bank’s asset growth until it fixes its shortcomings. …

    “Of course, Wells Fargo had incentive systems that were too strong in the wrong direction, and of course they were too slow in reacting properly to bad news,” but “practically everyone” makes those kinds of mistakes, Munger said.

    “Wells Fargo will end up better off for having made those mistakes,” he added. “I think it’s time for regulators to let up on Wells Fargo. They’ve learned.” …

    Clayton Homes customers will not be surprised by Munger’s comments.

      1. RMO

        “Wells Fargo & Co, which will end up “better off” as it corrects a series of mistakes in how it treated banking customers”

        The future course seems obvious: they should endeavor to stretch the limits of their collective imagination devising and implementing the most appalling and abusive treatment of their customers. Imagine just how much better they will become when they correct those “mistakes” in the future!

  5. Jesper

    About the Clinton/Trump article in the Atlantic. Every time I see network maps with nodes where the line keeps crossing I think of an old game, planarity:

    Would be nice (to me, maybe others feel the same?) if those node maps of interaction were untangled so it would be easier to see what is going on. People play the game of planarity for free so maybe a untangled node map can be had?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I see no mention in this Atlantic article on all those nodes and lines how many degrees of separation there are between Clinton, Trump and Kevin Bacon.

      1. Pat

        (Although I can tell you there is only one degree between all parties. And that wouldn’t even consider possible fund raisers before Bacon and Sedgwick lost a bundle to Bernie Madoff.)

  6. paul

    The guardian’s long read on new zealand and it’s most highly valued citizen is well worth a look, as is bill mitchell’s precis of mark curtis’s examination of the UK’s miserable involvement in the Chillean Coup od 9/11/73 and its aftermath (there’s a nice comment highlighting the relative importance of arrest warrants when it comes to dictators and dissidents).

    1. Wukchumni

      “The guardian’s long read on new zealand and it’s most highly valued citizen is well worth a look”

      We’d thought of buying a bach somewhere in the vicinity of Lake Wanaka on the South Island, not so much as a bolthole from here, as we wouldn’t be able to qualify for citizenship, but more to have a perpetual summer hanging out in 2 of the most amazing mountain ranges we’ve been privy to-the Southern Alps & High Sierra. Not being a billionaire type from Silicon Valley, we ran into a burgeoning housing bubble buoyed beyond our range as a second home-not just in price, but also the tyranny of distance which amounted to a full day of traveling by car-plane-plane-car, in getting from point A to point B, versus a little over an hour’s drive to our cabin in the National Park, which is what we went with in lieu of a place in NZ.

      1. Kiwi

        I cannot blame Peter Thiel as I did the same in 1990, except that I was fleeing the UK and pending end of civilisation under Margaret Thatcher, and at least had skills New Zealand needed rather than just buckets of money.

        Since then I have watched my home country suffer under Blair and now choose to shoot itself in the foot, head and heart with Brexit. Many times during the last 28 years I have drunk a toast to myself for my Thiel-like decision in a fine Marlborough savvy but never before has my heart so bled for family and friends left behind as it does now.

    2. David

      Except that if you actually look at the documents there is no evidence at all of UK government involvement in the coup. They seem to have been as surprised as anyone else, even though the (right-wing) government of the day was happy to see Allende go.

      1. paul

        Complicity might be a better term than involvement, how would they know those Hawker hunters would be used to blow up Allende?
        According to the government of the time, the US wasn’t involved either:

        FCO 7/2415
        Attaches supplementaries to oral PQs for 7 November
        On US involvement:
        : “This is not a matter for this House. Perhaps the hon member would be good enough to tell us what evidence he has. HMG accept unreservedly the
        denial by the American government that they were in any way involved in the violent
        overthrow of the Chilean government

        One wwonders what our foreign diplomatic and secret service folk were doing to be caught on the hop like that.

        Not that the admittedly violent overthrow encouraged them to consider relations with the junta as any different from the preceeding administration.

        The one that the US had not hesitated to sanction for its poor democratic choices.

        Peter Fullerton, LAD to Secondé, 2 November 1973

        “The existing aid programme will continue… Our credit policies will continue to be
        based on the creditworthiness (or otherwise) of Chile, and not on political factors. No
        quick change can therefore be expected, but we shall want in due course to make the
        most of the opportunities which will be presented by the change of government, and
        the expected improvement in the economy… Existing defence contracts will be met
        (ships and aircraft).

        New enquiries will also be expected, but we shall wish to play these as quietly as possible for some time to come…

        We shall not try to get landed with any large number of refugees from Chile, but we shall support UNHCR efforts to resettle them wherever else they want to go…

        In discussing the coup with those who are prepared to take a reasoned view, we are taking the line that it was a coup against revolutionary socialism, not against democratic socialism

        These are just a few quick points to illustrate our thoughts.. You may be glad to know that the views of the Secretary of State and Mr Amery are extremely robust on Chile, and they fully understand the background to the coup”.

        The 75 Labour government cut ties with Chile, lasting until the reign of one margaret thatcher

  7. Lee

    Don’t use Huawei phones, say heads of FBI, CIA, and NSA The Verge (Kevin W). So we consumers are told to prefer the backdoors installed by the FBI, CIA and NSA to the ones installed by the Chinese?

    Of course! It’s the patriotic thing to do. OTOH, at least the Chinese won’t be able to arrest you.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Unless the Chinese sell your information to the Nigerians.

      Our guys can sell that as well, of course. But the priority now is to put Americans to work.

  8. rd

    Re: Scott Pruitt flying First Class due to security concerns

    Reading the various pieces I have seen on this, it is clear that the “security concerns” are the heckling he gets from the riff-raff who sit in the main cabin. The people on the airplane have had to go through TSA’s checkpoint and are less likely to be carrying a weapon than the person sitting in a car next to him at a traffic light.

    So, it appears that the primary security concern is the exercise of a citizen’s right to free speech. Please note that if a passenger were to get actually unruly, then the captain and flight crew have great authority to address that issue, similar to any flight.

    He always has the option to change his policies so that the people in the main cabin like him, instead of just the people who sit in first class liking him. I find it interesting that he is much more comfortable in first class because they don’t heckle him about his policies. The symbolism is superb.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Hey, the main cabin people could heckle him by chanting! Get enough of them involved and the flight could be FUN!

  9. Croatoan

    On “How Establishment Propaganda Gaslights Us Into Submission”

    It presents a very dangerous conclusion:

    Never, ever let anyone bully and cajole you for being skeptical of mainstream narratives instead of believing the say-so of malignant deceivers. Trust yourself. You are not being crazy, you are behaving logically. Don’t let them gaslight you.

    Because people can also create information that plays off this tendency. Take climate change deniers for example. They spew doubt to inject skepticism in an effort to control the narrative.

    Once you understand why the movie Snowpiercer is a perfect expression of 21st century humanity, you will not fall for either of these tricks.

    1. Montanamaven

      Dimitry Orlov has a piece on Patreon called “Competitive Lying”. In this new age of putting reasoning behind us, we have dueling lies. Facts don’t matter anymore. He too urges us to be skeptical. He uses three examples of lies the US is intent on spreading. The first is that Russia colluded with Trump instead of the facts of where the Steele Dossier came from. Second one is the Russian doping scandals. He says there is no proof. Mostly the word of a Russian who came to the US and was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. And the third is that we have the greatest military in the world. He says all we know how to do is bomb countries. So Russia has developed defenses primarily against bombings from the air. I pay $1 a month to read his essays. It’s worth it.

  10. DJG

    Interesting article about the matabele ants and how they rescue injured warrior ants. I wonder how many other species engage in the same behavior and if scientists have just been too busy looking at other things. This behavior is too valuable to show up in one species of ant.

    I am reminded of the Myrmidons, led by Achilles. Their name means “ants.” The Greeks, always so vigilant, must have noticed something.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Well sometimes. Once while in Greece excavating some Bronze Age ruins from Achilles’ time period, we accidentally uncovered two ants’ nests during our digging. Once they were face to face with each other, thousands of ants from the opposing nests began tearing into each other. We watched while they fought and this lasted for about half an hour, give or take a little. By the end there were dead ants all over the place almost no detectable movement from the piles of corpses – they basically slaughtered each other down to the last ant.

        Reminded me of nothing so much as humanity…

  11. rd

    Re: Cryptocurrencies

    I have a friend who is a clinical psychologist. All of a sudden a month or two ago, she said that there has been a wave of couples (or individual spouses) coming in for counseling where the husband has sold out of most or all of their accumulated wealth and started trading crypto-currencies. Some have been turning their garages etc. into computer banks to mine bitcoin spending $100k+ on computer equipment. It sounds like some have even quit jobs. The spouses are panicking as they watch all of their financial security circling the drain.

    My friend is sitting there saying “What the hell is Bitcoin? I have never even heard of it until this fall.”

    Dot.coms, house flips, and now cryptocurrencies. Recurring waves of people who will go from comfortable middle-class lifestyles to poverty.

    1. Arizona Slim

      And don’t forget day trading. I know at least one person who lost a bundle of money during that fad.

  12. Wukchumni

    I was trepidacious about tripping the light snow fantastic before our sojourn to the last resort that has any-as there is no doubt drought has returned in California, and the first couple days were akin to being on a 45 degree ice rink with 30 mph winds as an added bonus @ times, not really any fun although you keep trying to convince yourself otherwise.

    But the last 2 days were perfect in every way, as 8 inches of new powder came to our rescue-covering up the frozen underbelly of 8 inches of man-made ice.

        1. Jim Haygood

          It’s shocking how fast the badlands in Marana turn into lakes after a couple of hours rain.

          Got mud tires?

        2. Doug Hillman

          A nice, slow soaker for spring wildflowers. Of course, temps have now plummeted to well below freezing, which is precisely 62F in Crematoria (aka Phoenix).

      1. Wukchumni

        The aforementioned 8 inches of powder probably amounted to a foot in the higher climes, and the drive back down Hwy 395 was heavenly as the range aligned along the right was laden in what looked like cool-whip, under bomber blue skies.

    1. John k

      As a kid I remember bowls of mini packs of cigarettes put out for the taking at an NCO club in the 50’s…
      Maybe remington should put out bowls of bullets…

  13. The Rev Kev

    Scientists Know How You’ll Respond to Nuclear War—and They Have a Plan

    I thought that this might be a second Onion story in tonight’s roster but no, they are serious in their work. I love some of the assumptions that they make in it about how the people will be reacting. Questions like “Will they riot? Flee? Panic?” How about burn? Die screaming? I love another assumption that they have in that “Inside the model, each artificial citizen can track family members’ health states”. I have played strategic video games and in that scenario it is a valid observation. In the real world of the immediate aftermath of a nuclear attack, how exactly will they know? Use their mobile or phones? Anybody really think that this is likely? The only thing that this reminds me of, so help me, is the idea of the perfect market where each participant has perfect knowledge.
    They even come out in one of their testing modes and say “If phones can work…Survivors can provide first-hand accounts of conditions on the ground”. How? By updating their Facebook Status to incinerated? Using Snapchat to show what they are seeing? I think that I can help them with one assumption and that is the behaviour of DCs people in their model – whether they will flee or go looking for loved ones. Just to be snarky, I would remind the scientists that this is the town that came up with the saying that if you want a friend in that town, get a dog.
    They will be lucky if only 90,000 will die. Then again, perhaps that is why they limit the test runs to 36 hours. Because after that people start to die in the hundreds of thousands. Maybe someone should show them that film “The Day After”. It was this film that made President Ronald Reagan change his mind on nuclear war and basically say not on my watch. Here is a (censored) clip of the attack-

    1. Wukchumni

      As per real life test in Hawaii, the new proviso for what to do upon pending nuclear tipped missiles coming your way, is to:

      {Family blog} & Cover

    2. Louis Fyne

      I’m genuinely disturbed by this academia-Establishment meme that a nuclear exchange can be survivable and winnable.

      a few weapons weapons between india-pakistan sure. But a US-Russia exchange or a US – China exchange? give me a break

      I hope that a nike air bursts right above me so that I leave this mortal coil in two seconds.

      All you survivors in academia can have fun playing ‘Mad Max’ in the ruins. first suggestion. find a gun and ammo

      1. Pat

        Hell this idea is even more surprising considering the number of people with this stupid idea that probably grew up watching “War Games”. Perhaps it needs to be played, dated tech and all, along with The Day After.

        Although we should probably publish over and over the number of nukes necessary to destroy America – the grid, farm land, financial base and all major cities and how many nukes Russia still has, how many China has, etc It is past time to destroy the delusion that people who think the break up of the USSR ended with them getting rid of enough nukes that America won’t be demolished. Followed by being pounded that just like America would panic and take out the country that started a nuclear war, you can’t know that another country won’t look at a US nuclear war and go take out the rabid animal the country will obviously have become.

        There is no way to win.

        1. visitor

          A much earlier, chilling, no big-special-effects depiction of the consequences of an atomic war was “The War Game” by Peter Watkins.

    3. Brian

      Sounds like a revisionsist version of “A Taste of Armageddon” from Star Trek in 1967. “Kindly step in to the deatomizer Captain Kirk”, extolled the prime ministers scantily clad daughter” “But the machine says..”

      1. Louis Fyne

        magnetic pulse from nuclear detonations will fry all civilian electronics.

        given how literally every modern system uses a microchip, even in an area untouched by a blast, an electro magnetic pulse = no electricity, no cars, no generators, no municipal water, no farm equipment, no sewage processing.

        yup 100% survivable. especially if you live in manhattan or so cal.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’d say fear of being in metropolitan SoCal when the inevitable EMP event comes along, is in the back of my mind everytime i’m in it’s clutches, and i’m so relieved to be out until it pulls me back in again.

          It would evolve into ugly urgently.

        2. Massinissa


          If nuclear detonations fry all civilian electronics…

          Why are those supposedly intelligent nincompoops talking about people using cell phones?

          Gosh, these smart people are so stupid.

    4. Donna

      I find this article further indication that the MIC actually considers nuclear war winnable. This article softens us up to believe that we could survive such an attack. Reminds me of “duck and cover” and the 60 Minutes stories on the protection that personal bunkers could provide. Is there anyone sane enough now running the country to slow this train down? I am not a doomsdayer. We are in North Carolina this week looking for a retirement home. Life goes on and this kind of talk just runs in the background. I do respect the activists and should be involved myself with the anti-war movement.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Back in the early 80s Reagan had a whole group of ‘laptop bombardiers’ employed who thought the the world could survive a limited exchange of nuclear weapons, especially if it was kept to Europe. Since I was in Europe in the early 80s I was singularly unimpressed with this logic. I guess that the idea nowadays is that a nuclear exchange could now be kept to the Korean peninsular.
        Funny thing was that before too long, people realized that not one of the ‘laptop bombardiers’ had ever spent a day in the military but had all gotten deferments in the 60s. How about that! If you consider people like Cheney typical of this generation of political hustlers, when asked why, he stated; ”I had other priorities in the 60’s than military service”.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      Adding a nuclear attack on any city to the list of possible disasters we might survive and respond to adds a possibility I’d rather not add to the lists of the possible. I doubt any nation state would make a first nuclear strike on a U.S. city, which leads me to wonder just how ready the U.S. MIC is to make the initial preemptive nuclear attack which might trigger a nuclear response. The post strike scenario described in the link is as fanciful as in Dr. Strangelove while offering up a relaxing not-so-bad soma to put the public mind at ease as the MIC rattles its sabers.

      The estimates of the number of dead from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 along with the estimates of the population in the city at that time range widely but there were less than 500,000 people in Hiroshima when the bomb was dropped, probably somewhere around 300,000. The number of deaths attributable to the attack is probably somewhere around 90,000 — perhaps more. Washington D.C. proper has just under 700,000 inhabitants and I would suspect there are more there during working hours. These numbers — fudgy as they are — make the estimated 90,000 deaths from an attack on Washington, D.C. seem questionable at best. But it also hides the question whether the 90,000 deaths — if there be so few — measures the full damage and impact of the postulated attack and as you indicate the 36 hours timeframe further hides the damage and impacts.

      I take cold comfort from the pronouncements of researchers studying big-data-derived models of human agents running on their new 8,600-core cluster at the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech. Where were the postulated government agencies “dropping in temporary cell phone communication networks” and other help for the Hurricane victims of Katrina, Sandy, Harvey and Maria in Puerto Rico? Will the Defense Threat Reduction Agency provide help in the future for these more mundane catastrophes? What good are any of these studies of a hypothetical nuclear war if we can’t respond to the catastrophes we already have.

    6. jonboinAR

      Good thing they were able to explain it to him via a movie. He (Reagan) understood movies, it seems.

  14. Jim Haygood

    Bloomberg’s Consumer Comfort index went off with a mighty bang, reaching its best level since Feb 2001. Its value popped to 57.0 from 54.4 last week. In turn Ed Yardeni’s fundamental indicator, using Consumer Comfort as one of its three inputs, rocketed to a new high as well. Chart:

    Though the four-week average of unemployment claims drifted up to 228,500 this morning while industrial materials prices were flat from last week, Yardeni’s indicator easily reached its best level of the year.

    Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model forecasts 3.2 percent GDP growth in the first quarter, despite getting dinged by a soft retail sales report yesterday. For now, demon recession remains safely caged.

  15. Jim Haygood

    Ol’ Ku Klux Jeff’s reinvigorated War on Drugs triggers an all-new kind of blowback from Berzerkley:

    Cannabis users and providers in Berkeley got an added layer of protection on Tuesday as the city declared itself a sanctuary city for marijuana, likely the first of its kind.

    The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to become a sanctuary city for legal adult-use marijuana, prohibiting city agencies and employees from turning over information on legal cannabis activities or assisting in enforcing federal marijuana laws.

    “I believe we can balance public safety and resisting the Trump administration,” Mayor Jesse Arreguin said at Tuesday’s council meeting. “We’re keeping with the strong position [that] Berkeley is a sanctuary for people in our community.”

    Cannabis sanctuary is a de facto nullification of anachronistic federal law and it’s gonna spread like wildfire.

    California libre!

  16. petal

    More RussiaRussiaRussia! by the Dems: The previously cancelled talk by NH Sen. Jeanne Shaheen(D) at Dartmouth has been rescheduled for Feb 20th at 11am (great way to cut down on non-students attending and asking hard questions). It is to be held in Alumni Hall and is free and open to the public.

    “A visit to campus by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) originally scheduled for earlier this month, will take place on Feb. 20, when she will speak at 11 a.m. in Alumni Hall.

    New Hampshire’s senior senator will talk and take questions about Russian interference in U.S. politics and the threat of foreign intrusion into American cybersecurity networks.

    Shaheen called for congressional hearings on Russian meddling in the 2016 elections and sounded the alarm on the dangers of Kaspersky Lab, a Kremlin-linked software company used by federal agency computer systems and networks. Shaheen’s legislation banning the Moscow-based company from government computers was signed into law last year.

    Her talk will focus on her efforts to defend against cyberattacks from U.S. adversaries, including raising public awareness about what she says is the threat that Kaspersky still poses, and the ongoing danger of Russian interference in the 2018 elections.”

    And I’m sorry but I could not attend the Charlie Wheelen talk (about the effort to elect centrist independents) yesterday afternoon-something came up at the last minute and there was no way I could make it. Hopefully it was videoed and I will keep an eye out for it.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      They can have my Kaspersky when they pry it from my cold, dead hands. I am firmly of the opinion that the whole propaganda campaign against them is driven by their ability to find all the back doors and nasties, including the ones the “intelligence” community has installed.

      1. petal

        I will try to slip out on the 20th for this, but not sure if I can. If I do, I’ll post notes. Combined with the article posted this morning in links, looks like this Russia/security thing will be a major Dem push for the coming future and they’re not going to let go of it.

  17. Jim Haygood

    More trouble in DXY — the US dollar index has broken down to 88.65, even with its Feb 1st 12-month low. Chart:

    At first blush, high and rising US interest rates ought to be dollar-friendly vs Europe and Japan. But currency traders may be looking beyond the R party’s crackpot fiscal stim to the inflation it could produce.

    Moreover, Mnuchin’s comment at Davos which initially tanked the dollar suggested that the Trump admin would be pleased to depress the dollar to improve US terms of trade.

    Somehow this feels like the late 1970s, when the dollar was discredited and the search was on for hard-currency refuges such as gold, D-marks and Swissies (or BTC today). Never thought we’d see them days again, but the wheel in the sky keeps on turning.

    1. Brian

      Any and all ridiculous solutions will be attempted prior to study, committee, debate…. right after they are implemented. “The money has to be spent or we can’t vote for more to spend” announced Sen. Artemus Phlegm (X-Cess)

  18. diptherio

    This Anonymous Instagram Account is Outing Sexual Harassers in Advertising MEL. Oregoncharles: “Not that we feel too bad for advertising executives, but it’s still a dangerous precedent.”

    Yes, let’s talk about dangerous precedents. How about the dangerous precedent of willfully ignoring sexual harassment that has been the norm in, apparently, every area of our society? How about the dangerous precedent of failing to actually process rape test kits? How about the dangerous precedent of allowing sexual predators to have veto rights over our pop culture?

    So many dangerous precedents… If we, as a people, were less cowardly — if we had not allowed things to get to where they have, if more of us acted like adults around people in positions of authority, instead of like scared children — we wouldn’t have this “dangerous precedent” happening now. It’s called what goes around comes around. What do we expect? When the status quo is so obviously broken, don’t complain that people are taking matters of justice into their own hands. So what if they get it wrong sometimes? How is that any different, or any worse, than what our court system doles out? If someone gets wrongfully accused and has their life destroyed, that will be exactly the same outcome that so many poor people face today, only from the court system. Which is just to say, our society is hella sick, so what do you expect?

    1. The Beeman

      Disagree strongly for many many reasons. We don’t abandon our principles when bad sh*t happens – even if the bad stuff is systemic, as you say.

      1. John k

        Pendulums swing both ways and have a sharp edge. many pendulums seem to be changing directions.
        Hope and change… revolutions are usually not pretty.

      2. Stephanie

        Diet Madison Avenue and, for that matter, the Man Media List bith struck me as high-tech versions of the activism described here on NC in Six things Urban Feminists (Make That Anyone) Should Never Say To Rural People:

        “We looked out for each other. Girls and women tagged the names of known perpetrators and abusers onto restroom walls all over town so we knew who to watch out for, whose tires to slash, and who to never leave our loved ones alone with (…unarmed).”

        Whisper networks have been around forever, but now that everyone can read so-and-so is a family-blogging family-blogger on a spreadsheet or Instgram rather than just on the third stall in the women’s toilets at Cheapskate, it has been interesting to observe the reaction to them. I mean, would the righteous indignation be this extreme if it were revealed that someone was circulating a list naming dirty cops to avoid if at all possible, or would leftists acknowledge it as a survival tool for people likely to be oppressed by said cops?

    2. JTMcPhee

      So some bad actors who use power to get their jollies have been taken down a peg. Seems to me the reality of how humans behave, what we are when one honestly surveys the wide world, is getting revealed. Too bad it seems in large part mostly getting torqued into simplisticated advantage seeking, some obscuring labeling in an effort to avoid consquences, and #metoo-ism. One hopes for better. Maybe it will come about.

      Humans are wired to find pleasure (including the part of the wiring that rewards them for causing pain.) Especially pleasure in sexual activity, in all its many forms. So many of which forms, many opinion makers tell us, for some purposes at least, are “all right” and “normal.” Especially if labeled “consenting.”

      There’s a rationale and/or excuse for pretty much any kind of diddling and grappling. And all of a sudden, thanks to “news,” people at large are having it brought to their attention that they and their fellow humans are participating in a vast soup of hormone-driven and endorphin-powered sex, which in its actual details does not comport with what “norms” have educated them to think of as “norm-al.” Some of it denominated, and mostly agreed, to be “healthy,” and some of it only “okay” with small segments of the population, and subject to opprobrium and penalties if exposed to wider view in some contexts. And especially the parts that are not subject to protection and cover-up, like priestly pedophilia and “sex tourism” and “cuddle puddles” and sex-for-favors of all kinds, like that provided to Secret Servicemen and to encourage banksters to approve pre-defaulted “loans” to little countries’ elites, “loans” that are guaranteed by Uncle Sucker and get paid off (rather than haircutted) by MMT or taxpayer monies. It’s always and everywhere.

      Maybe in all our little collective minds, we humans are starting to wake up to what we really are, to the reality of all the aspects of our station at the self-claimed acme of natural selection. Though too often that awareness, like the current global to-do about asymmetric sexual activity, gets sidetracked into strange ways of processing it. We are creatures for whom the principal facets of our world political economy could be described as sex, on the one hand, and killing and death on the other. Those two related elements sure make up a huge amount of the subtext of popular fiction in all media, from “Fast and Furious” to “Jerry Springer” to online games to name your personal favorite genre. Maybe there is some large and growing awareness hat our daily lives, for those not totally involved in naked needful activities of the barest kinds of subsistence (and even there, adult and child prostitution, porn, and so forth) are one long grab, are mostly a great taking, based in pleasure and destruction, even of the planet we ought to be so lovingly caring for. Burning carbon, wasting water, destroying soil, filling land and water with plastics, polluting everything, killing, killing, killing. But no. Gotta have global forever war. The weaponization of everything, in search of more complete and efficient death-dealing, for fun and profit. And porn and now this sudden spotlight on sexual abuse and asymmetric power games, which sure seem to have always been ther, behind the myths an shibboleths and what we tend to tell ourselves is the innate goodness of what we have persuaded ourselves that we are. Those of us not openly like a Dick Cheney or “Turns out I’m pretty good at killing people” Obama or “Hehehe” Clinton or any number of others

      Why the sudden and, mirabile dictu, politically potent realization that sex, particularly asymmetries of power in sexual relations, like asymmetries in killing including the categories of neoliberalism an neoconservatism and exceptionalism, is going on everywhere, all the time, with varying degrees of abuse and exercises of asymmetric power and what some, or many, depending on their preferences, call perversity. And how interesting, that a few of the powerful and important humans are actually being brought down (a notch or two, for the moment, with little inclination in our new world of minute attention spans and vast drownings of conscience and awareness in bathtubs of Bernays Sauce) by revelations that they are doing “what everybody else is doing (or maybe many wish they were, in their secret hearts.”

      Did Ronnie Reagan wear cowboy boots to bed, spurs and all? Did Nancy have any particular fetishes? Who among us (I bet there are some) cares to imagine Henry “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac” Kissinger fornicating with Jill St. John or any of the many apparent others? Wilt Chamberlain with how many “partners,” maybe of varying degrees of willingness, a la “allegedly Bill Cosby”? Idi Amin, who knows what went on in his seraglio? Lots of evidence about the activities of lots of humans, not so much cognitive awareness of the nature of the actual beast, day to day, century to century.

      So one dares to write anything about sex, as complicated and dark as that is, particularly in the present context, with trepidation. What I am speculating about is that there is a sudden rush of awareness of who we really are, and about stuff we don’t want to think about out loud, “in front of the children.” The realities of all those “intimate” relationships and abuses and moments, as contrasted to how it appears most of us prefer to think (or at least speak out loud) about them.The realities we read about here in NC about the real nature of “the world economy” and the political systems that populate it, like “democracy,” that are based mostly on fraud and misdirection and coverup and obfuscation. What looks like a murderous death wish at the heart of so much of our behavior and the activities of the people who operate and own our institutions. And the unfortunate willingness of so many, to suspend disbelief in the face of cognitive dissonance and continue to act as if everything was A-OK, and still mostly in accord with the images and forms we have been indoctrinated with. And to grab what should be large and important object lessons about reality, and use them principally to puncture only a few of the balloons of hypocrisy that float only those bits of the overlordery that impact and impede our own efforts to rise above, too…

      Maybe this set of events and forces will be heralding a greater change in both the awareness we collectively have of what we are and how we actually behave and what’s demonstrably, and on the evidence, important to us, and maybe this will lead to significant improvements in how we treat each other and the world we all get to live in.

      “Maybe” is a word that has to do a very heavy bit of lifting, in this context…

    3. Oregoncharles

      If you establish a precedent that an accusation alone is enough to ruin someone’s life, and that precedent has been established, it WILL come back to bite you, or someone like you.

      There’ve already been two women taken down by it, nobody knows how justly; both Democratic politicians, as it happens. Turns out power has much the same effect on women as on men.

      Yes, it’s shocking that things got so bad; in most occupation, there’s actual law on the subject. It mostly doesn’t apply in show business, which also has its own issues, because all the performers and a lot of the crews are contractors. Starting in show business may have given a false picture. We’ll see, when the shrapnel stops falling.

  19. whine country

    The Seeing Like a Liberal article brought back a distant memory. In college in the late ’60s one of my professors remarked, “People use statistics like a drunkard uses a lamp post: For support instead of illumination”. I don’t have any data to back it up, but my own observations make me confident that nothing has changed with respect to my his observation.

    1. diptherio

      The prof had a point. As Robert Anton Wilson points out in Prometheus Rising, the human psyche contains two elements: the thinker and the prover. The thinker thinks things, and the prover proves whatever the thinker thinks. Personally, I think of this part of the human mind as “the internal lawyer.”

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Does anyone else feel like the faith that so many are coming to have in big data analytics is nothing more than modern day kaballah?

    3. Paul Cardan

      It’s a good article. It’s as though these people have never seen The Wire. That’s how I first heard the phrase “juking the stats.” Of course, I was already familiar with the practice.

      Had me wondering, too, about the implications of measuring. Isn’t the measured, by implication, homogeneous? But is what we’re measuring actually like that, at least insofar as we’re interested in it? Take income. Measured in monetary units and compared over time, we can say that it’s risen or fallen by some percentage relative to some starting point. But aren’t we actually interested in what this means for the lives of the people whose income it is? And in that case, aren’t we actually interested in real income, in what can be purchased for that price? But this varies, sometimes wildly, from place to place and from time to time, since commodities vary in both quality and kind. In that case, long-term comparisons of income in monetary terms might often be practically meaningless (i.e., irrelevant to our purpose).

      As for whether the stats discussed in the article could possibly show that the world is getting better all the time, I can’t help thinking of Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. By the end of the story, it looks as though the lives of these people will dramatically improve, relative to the indicators on which Pinker, et al. like to focus. They’ll have a school (run by missionaries), so they’ll be literate. The British Empire will “provide” hitherto unknown opportunities for trade. Some people will make out like bandits, accumulating locally unprecedented wealth. Certain types of violence (tribal warfare) will be a thing of the past. And yet, their world is in ruins, and the best that one of the best among them can think to do is hang himself. Progress?

  20. JTMcPhee

    It will for the dead and wounded (NOT “injured,” as some media outlets are soft-pedaling it), their loved ones and the people around them. But then those folks are all mopes, so who cares? Sales of “America’s favorite weapon” are up once again…

    Maybe when it happens at Groton School and Exeter and the other places the filthy rich send their darlings to prepare for their places in the oligarchy… Naw, not even then. Just paper it over, hush it up, give it the “Chappaquiddick” treatment…

    1. ambrit

      My dear Mother lives five miles away from that school. She lives with my youngest sister and her family. Thank the Deities my niece and nephew go to the high school in the other direction, only two miles away. Mom remarked today, over the phone, that the afflicted school was the “rich kids school” for the area, since it was situated in the most ‘upscale’ neighbourhood in that region. It is a big place, four stories high in the main block, and serves about three thousand students. Add in teaching staff and the almost numerically equal ‘support’ services staff, and you have a big place.
      Mom made a chilling statement. “I’m afraid that society around here is breaking down.” This from an old Londoner who lives with her daughter and Barcelenyo son in law in a semi gated suburb containing families from almost everywhere on the globe who are by and large purchasing their homes. In other words, a functioning neighbourhood. When I twitted her about the boa constrictors and alligators roaming the wilds nearby where she lives, she replied: “I can handle the wildlife. It’s the politicians I’m afraid of.”

  21. Jef

    About war – I designed a bumpersticker (back when there was such a thing) years ago;

    War IS the answer! Its the question thats wrong.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    This Is the Link Between Processed Foods and Cancer Time (David L)

    Universal healthcare should include universal organic, fresh foods for all.

    They are inseparable.

  23. Wukchumni

    I propose a War Olympics, lasting a fortnight somewhere in the world that doesn’t matter all that much, such as a good chunk of Nevada.

    Armies would be limited in size to the current Olympic teams, and of course medals would be awarded for daring do and dying on screen, all of which would be televised around the world.

    And then 3 years and 50 weeks later we have another one.

    1. ambrit

      You obviously read Mack Reynolds’ book, “Mercenary From Tomorrow.” Do notice the social order Reynolds posits. Strict castes with a feudal tinge.

        1. ambrit

          I think that you’d like Mack Reynolds. One of the ‘Golden Age’ scifi wordsmiths.
          As for “Thunder” in general, that’s John Varley, a much underappreciated scifi writer. He did a short story called “Air Raid” which later became the film, “Millenium.”

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Study: Even Apple and Google engineers can’t really afford to live near their offices Fast Company

    How near?

    The last time I asked, about busing workers from the city (San Francisco), whether it was cheaper to live further south on the peninsula, I was told it was because of the restaurants or bars (or cafes), not because rents were cheaper around the Barbary Coast.

    It would seem, some can’t afford to live near work, and even less able to afford living far away.

  25. Dan

    Yasha Levine’s Surveillance Valley interview with Mark Ames and John Dolan on the War Nerd podcast last week was really terrific: a long meditation on the ways that the Internet functions as a weapon, and a demonstration that surveillance is baked into the system. The part about how TOR is a US government project frankly shocked even cynical me!

    Free preview is here.

  26. a different chris

    I hate to break it to the Taliban:

    >it used statistics and logical arguments — not just ideological harangues — to convince Americans

    American’s are only tuned to comprehend ideological harangues, not “statistics and logical arguments”. Sheesh you would think that was obvious right across the entire planet by now.

    1. RWood

      No problem:

      However, it’s overall accepted that it was the Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich who coined post-truth. In his article for The Nation “A Government of Lies” (1992), Tesich argues that after the Watergate scandal, followed closely by the Vietnam War and the revelation of its crimes, Americans started to turn away from the truth, a word that became synonym with bad news. This trend, argues Tesich, continued through the 80s and 90s with Iran–Contra and the Gulf War until it hit a breaking point: “A free people” decided freely “to live in some post-truth world” ( Now, Trump has done what Nixon couldn’t: make post-truth more than an extravagant term used by writers and turn it into the buzzword of his presidency.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think it was helped, along the way, with stuff like “I did not inhale,’ and ‘I did not have…”

        And looking at the history of regime changes, maybe our fuzziness with truth went back further than the 70’s, to the late ’40s or early ’50, and earlier.

  27. Petter

    Want to give a shout out to Yasha Levine’s Surveillance Valley. I received my ebook copy a couple of days ago (I contributed to his Kickstarter campaign). Levine has really done his research. I’ve only read 20% of the book but so far it’s not just illuminating but absolutely chilling.
    Cicero is quoted as saying: The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.
    I would add not only do we not learn anything, we can’t even remember our own history.

    Surveillance: Norway’s Tollvesenet (Customs) has signed a contact with Palantir to help fight smuggling. It’s been covered in the one or two articles in the major newspapers, including concerns about privacy – don’t know about TV news or discussion programs since I don’t watch TV but no real follow up and no public uproar whatsoever as far as I can tell. What is interesting is that Tollvesenet and Datatilsynet ( Norway’s Data Protection Agency) in one article I read, admit that they’re not even sure if contracting out to Palantir is legal. But Tollvesenet is going ahead anyway. Correct me if I’m wrong fellow Norwegians.

  28. Alex

    Re Seeing Like a Neoliberal, Part 1: Blinded by the Data

    I agree with a lot of technical points and with the general message as far as understood it, that it’s usually easy to fudge the data and that therefore it’s a good idea to be skeptical of statistical findings.
    However this argument could also be applied to any statistical data (think rising inequality, warming planet etc)

    Also, trends are more robust than point estimates. Playing with the definition of poverty can easily change the number of poor several times. On the other hand, if a definition is fixed and it’s much harder to demonstrate a trend when in fact there is none

    1. witters

      It, as he says, merely the first part of a series of posts. That it has general applicability to stats is, I would think, a good thing at this early stage.

  29. The Rev Kev

    US keen on Russia distancing itself from Iran’s Syrian ambitions

    Not gunna happen. Russia provided the airpower but it was Iran that provided ground troops to make up for the heavy losses incurred by the Syrian Army over the past coupla years. Russia is digging in in Syria so that they will always be dealing with the Iranians, one way or another and thus cannot distance itself from them. After the actions of the US against Russian forces and the deaths of Russians incurred I seriously doubt that Russia is ready to do the US or EU any favours in Syria anyway. In fact, it is provable that without the US or the EU, there would be several hundred thousand Syrians still alive today and there would have never been any Russian involvement at all.
    The following is liable to get this comment bounced but here goes. If I come across an article by, say, Glenn Greenwald or perhaps Vanessa Beeley then I sit up and pay attention to what they are saying because they have a reputation of speaking truth to power and are not to be ignored. There are others like Eliot Higgins or Paul Joseph Watson I take with a large degree of salt as they usually have an axe of their own to grind. I have been following Asia Times for many years now but when I see an article by Spengler (aka David P. Goldman) to do with Israel or the Palestinians I have learned to put him in the latter group. I am sure that other news hounds here can think of other examples but everybody has to make their own mind up about this.

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