Links 2/24/18

Mystery wallaby found in apple orchard in Latvia LSM (Richard Smith)

Devastating but Essential: The Many Uses of Venom UnDark (Dr. Kevin)

Venezuela says its cryptocurrency raised $735 million—but it’s a farce ars technica


Algorithmic Impact Assessments: Toward Accountable Automation in Public Agencies Medium (David L)

The Misguided Drive to Measure ‘Learning Outcomes New York Times (David L)

Horsepox synthesis: A case of the unilateralist’s curse? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (JTM)

A Biohacker Regrets Publicly Injecting Himself With CRISPR Atlantic. I said at the time these people were mad.


China’s frosty reaction to alternative Belt and Road project Asia Times

Environment over economy key to China’s containerised trade outlook Splash 247. Lambert: “Interesting methodologically on trying to dope out Chinese industrial production.”

North Korea

White House slaps fresh sanctions on North Korea Asia Times

REVEALED: The long-suppressed official report on US biowarfare in North Korea Medium

Trudeau’s India trip is a total disaster, and he has himself to blame Sydney Morning Herald (Kevin W)


UK’s hopes for post-Brexit trade deal an illusion – Donald Tusk Guardian

New Cold War

A So-Called Expert’s Uneasy Dive Into the Trump-Russia Frenzy New Yorker. Important

Former CIA Director Admits to US Foreign Meddling, Laughs About It Real News Network

Where’s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate Counterpunch


Syria – The Two East-Ghouta Campaigns – One Is For Liberation, The Other To Save Terrorists Moon of Alabama

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Intel did not tell U.S. cyber officials about chip flaws until made public Reuters. Bill B: “Intel didn’t need to inform them. Spy masters had operatives on the processor design teams!”

Private browsing gets more private MIT News (David L)

Feds have spent 13 years failing to verify whether passport data is legit ars technica

Imperial Collapse Watch

Top 10 Signs the U.S. Is the Most Corrupt Nation in the World Juan Cole (RR)

Trump Transition

Former Trump adviser pleads guilty in Mueller probe The Hill

Manafort allegedly paid €2m to European politicians Financial Times

Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure Eileen Appelbaum, Counterpunch

The Democrats Keep Capitulating on Defense Spending Atlantic (UserFriendly)

GOP Power Play Would Move This State Backward On Gerrymandering Talking Points Memo

Oprah Winfrey ‘definitely’ rules out 2020 run for US president Guardian

New McCarthyism

‘Mother Jones’ Senior Reporter Asks Medium To Silence Antiwar Leftists Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly, Oregoncharles)

5 reasons why introducing charter schools in Puerto Rico is a bad idea In the Public Interest


A movement to boycott the NRA is growing — here are the companies that haven’t cut ties with the gun rights group Business Insider (David L)

I’ve covered gun violence for years. The solutions aren’t a big mystery. Vox (Carla R)

I Appreciate Assault Weapons. And I Support a Ban. New York Times (David L)

Meet the British CEO of the firm behind the gun that brought tragedy to Florida Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

How the Florida School Shooting Turned Into a Gun-Control Movement Wall Street Journal

Condoleezza Rice, Meg Whitman, Drew Houston, and everybody else who’s poised to get richer from the Dropbox IPO Business Insider (Kevin W)

KFC’s UK chicken run caused by too many eggs in one basket Financial Times (Kevin W)

GE warns it could face DoJ action in subprime lending probe Financial Times

Why we have Concerns about Universal Basic Income Disabled People Against Cuts (Clive)

What Americans think about the Economy AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research (UserFriendly). Very different take than the consumer confidence readings.

There’s Still No Good Way to Let a Big Bank Fail Bloomberg (JTM). Editorial.

Guillotine Watch

Silicon Valley Billionaire Wants You Off His Stretch of the California Coastline Gizmodo (Kevin W)

To Get Into the 1%, You Need Adjusted Gross Income of $480,930 Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Prime-Age Men May Never Return to U.S. Workforce, Fed Paper Says Bloomberg

Amazon Doesn’t Just Want to Dominate the Market—It Wants to Become the Market Nation

Why Workers Are Losing to Capitalists Bloomberg

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Wukchumni

    “Today, I am announcing that we are launching the largest-ever set of new sanctions on the North Korean regime,” Mr. Trump was set to say to the Conservative Political Action Conference, according to comments released by the White House.

    The latest sanctions target 27 shipping companies and 28 vessels, registered in North Korea and six other nations, including China. The Treasury Department says the shippers are participating in a complex scheme to help North Korea dodge UN restrictions against imports of refined fuel and exports of coal.

    White House slaps fresh sanctions on North Korea Asia Times

    First of all, what is Treasury Sec Mnuchin doing giving a presser on NK, I thought his beat was beating down the dollar?

    Secondly, wouldn’t another Gulf of Tonkin, er gulf of tanking incident that is, combined with a Cuban Missile Crisis-like haval blockade of NK, finally get us the war with the Norks the reign of error has been hankering for?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I thought the Army of Beauties might be perceived (wrongly by decision-makers*) as North Korea having a weak hand.

      Thinking it to be so leads to the next logical step (from that perspective) – more sanctions. It’s all non-violence (your usual, commonly accepted definition).

      Never mind violence in the heart….spiritual or emotional violence.

      * Some times, the stronger side would yield and bow…I am thinking of the beginning of the second part of the Samurai Trilogy about Miyamoto Musashi, played by Toshiro Mifune, where he yielded to a monk who thought he was a great fighter.

  2. The Rev Kev

    Mystery wallaby found in apple orchard in Latvia

    I was wondering about this story. During both WW1 and WW2 Australian troops ( smuggled kangaroos and wallabies with them to places like England, France and Egypt. You often hear stories of wild wallabies in the UK and Europe, in particular the highlands of France, and when you think about it Latvia is only a hop, skip and a jump from France.

  3. Jim Haygood

    The Democrats Keep Capitulating on Defense Spending — The Atlantic headline

    “Capitulating,” hell: the ink-stained headline scribbler never made it down to ‘graf no. 2:

    Nancy Pelosi’s office fired off an email to House Democrats proclaiming that, “In our negotiations, Congressional Democrats have been fighting for increases in funding for defense.”

    Chuck Schumer’s office announced that, “We fully support President Trump’s Defense Department’s request.”

    National ruin via global military domination, a la the late Roman Empire, is an entirely bipartisan project.

    But peeps still project their obsolete stereotypes from childhood — Democrats as antiwar; Repubs as fiscally responsible — when both parties have morphed into dark-side caricatures of their former selves under the lash of post-2001 martial law.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Romans were never under attack by Russia.

      (Except when the Byzantine Romans sent off one of their princesses to Mockba. But they asked nicely for imperial genes. Hence the Third Rome).

      Almost all potential 2020 presidential candidates believe our sovereignty is under attack, via their interfering and meddling.

      So, naturally, we have to spend more on defense.

      1. Carolinian

        See today’s Caitlin Johnstone for evidence that the totalitarian impulse more alive and well under our so-called left than under the right. At the same time Nancy and Chuck are calling for more military spending Mother Jones is advocating censorship of wrong thinking anti imperialists. Indeed the whole Russiagate hysteria is right out of Goebbels’ playbook. If you make then lie big enough….

        1. Bill

          plus, Shane Bauer better bone up on his homophones. It’s rein in, not “reign in”, Shane. yeah, it speaks to credibility, sure.

          1. Bill

            unless of course Shane means the Medium should be king of the garbage…

            actually I am not surprised, I have always had an icky feeling about MJ, ever since they sent me a subscription renewal that warned me not to disobey my Mother, and to resubscribe.

          2. lyman alpha blob

            This Bauer guy would also do well to look up the history of the actual Mother Jones. Pretty sure if she were alive today, she’d kick Shane Bauer’s ass.

              1. Bill

                apparently not–it is owned by the Foundation for National Progress, a 501(c)(3). Other than reader funding, GroupSnoop says:


                According to Discover the Networks, Mother Jones (through the Foundation for National Progress) has received funding from “the Bill Moyers-run Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, the Arca Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Streisand Foundation, the Irving Harris Foundation, Kansas City Community Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Park Foundation.”[37]

                I am not sure how recent the quote is

            1. Elizabeth Burton

              “Let me tell you this, you will never get anything from the capitalist that you don’t make them give you. Capital not only assumes the power of the government, but it exercises it and turns you out unless you assume that power yourselves and exercise it. You have to do more than have the power, you have to know that you have it. If you use that power they won’t call out the militia.” — Mary Harris “Mother” Jones

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                “Who would be free themselves must strike the blow” – Frederick Douglas

                And no, we don’t mean a “blow” of extra billions for DiFi’s hubby’s spy company or a new death machine factory in safe blue territory outside Boston.

                I’ll say it again: the person/party that runs on this single, solitary issue to the exclusion of all else wins for a generation: Stop The War. Fix that and you can fix everything else.

                1. HopeLB

                  See this by Robert Koehler;

                  “But as David Grossman, a psychologist and former military man, pointed out some years ago in his book On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, most people have a natural aversion to killing other human beings, which is a problem for those in charge of waging war. Grossman points out that researchers in World War II discovered, based on a large number of interviews with soldiers who had been in combat, that no more than 15 or 20 percent of them would actually point their guns at the enemy and fire.

                  This led to changes in the training process meant to “disengage” recruits from their troublesome aversion to killing, such as replacing bull’s-eye targets with human figures during marksmanship training. The process of “disengagement” became a standard part of basic training, and its success was seen during the Vietnam War, when soldiers’ willingness to fire at the enemy soared to over 90 percent, according to Grossman.

                  As I wrote in my 2006 column, “Blowback from a Bad War”: “The romanticization of war and militarism within the general culture — the proliferation of ‘point and shoot’ video games, for instance, along with formula revenge-motivated movie and TV violence — expand the ‘disengagement training’ to non-vets, contributing, along with plentiful handgun availability, to a state of domestic insecurity far more serious than the threat of outside terror that Bush has turned into his political meal ticket.”

                  In that column, I also happened to quote the words of a certain lieutenant general who was gaining a reputation for his homicidal candor. Addressing soldiers during a panel discussion, he said: “It’s fun to shoot some people. . . . You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”

                  The guy’s name was Mad Dog Mattis. He’s now, of course, America’s secretary of defense. “

                2. Oregoncharles

                  The Green Party’s been running on that issue, among others, for about 30 years now. No luck.

                  Either it doesn’t really sell, or the system is completely rigged. Or both.

                  1. drumlin woodchuckles

                    Or more likely, the Green Party ( disfunctional non-profit that it is) has zero credibility and will never be the one to sell these concepts.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Not in a million years. Not having our content on someone else’s servers.

              More generally, we don’t do platforms. Why should I give up my brand name and subordinate it to Steemit? That’s the worst thing I could do to myself and the other NC writers after having built up a following.

              With all due respect to Caitlin, anyone who is serious about writing who does not have their own site under their controls is nuts. And that “no censorship” promise is empty. Wait till the first spurious defamation lawsuit shows up. People like that fold.

    2. Indrid Cold

      Well… When Mother Jones is advocating for purging anti war people, I guess the Dems are now the war party the republic used to pride themselves on being.
      Maybe if Nuland can “ride a tank/ in the generals rank” in Trumps military parade, they’ll shut their yaps about #McResistance.

    3. Sid_finster

      I am not a leftist, but if the shoe were on the other foot, the right wing equivalent of Mother Jones would be just as quick to call for censorship.

    4. audrey jr

      Thanks for saying what has needed to be said – straight out – for us to really grasp just how bad living here in the States has become for many of us.
      There has indeed been martial law in this country since 9/11.
      From Ari Fleischer’s prescient statement that “…Americans had better watch what they say…” to the selling of all arms of the media to the oligarchs who own all in this “democratic” nation which then proceed to sling hash passing for news as slop to all of us hogs the public ear has been co-opted to whatever bad idea ideologues can come up with today. For profit – to them and them only.
      Thank goodness for NC and all who read and comment here.

  4. Tom Stone

    It seems that “Liberals” have decided to focus on GUNZ! as the most pressing issue facing America today.
    At a time when violent crime has been declining for decades.
    Not mass surveillance, not environmental degradation and the gutting of the EPA, not the end of Net Neutrality, not “Citizens’s United”, Not the corruption and militarization of the police caused by asset forfeiture and the 1033 program, not fixing a broken electoral system…Not healthcare for all.
    GUNZ! are responsible for violence, not people!
    As soon as we confiscate 300-400 million guns from American Citizens peace and prosperity will be guaranteed for all.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Putting aside guns for a moment, does the latest tragedy not prove mass-surveillance ineffective?

      1. JohnnyGL

        Not at all… :) It’s more that it’s a truth-revealer.

        It just shows what the purpose of mass surveillance really is.

        “National Security” is code for preservation and extension of imperial power, both internal to our borders and external to them.

        When officials tell you how useful and effective these programs are, they’re not lying. They just don’t do what we’re led to believe they do.

        1. jsn

          The FBI treatment of the Florida shooter was a success from a certain perspective. This is the perspective of a kleptocratic, sociopathic ruling class compelled to grasp for more at every opportunity without any concern for anyone who can’t threaten them personally: in a private school context we would have seen profoundly different institutional responses all around.

            1. Duck1

              If the shooter had been flummoxed a bit by the FBI for his threats on Youtube, he probably couldn’t have acquired the weapons and carried through the plan. Maybe instead spending the money hiring a lawyer. They had a perfectly good reason to identify and investigate the fellow for suspected violations. Didn’t though.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Yes, CONFISCATE THE GUNS: the 22 million assault rifles. Bush let the ban lapse in 2004 and Saint Obama of course did NOTHING, didn’t want to rumple his suit over something trivial like 26 kids getting their heads blown off in Sandy Hook.

                (Sorry, Saint O did do something…he squeezed out a crocodile tear at a press conference. Then back to the golf course)

                1. Jean

                  Any statisticians out there?
                  What is the number, nationwide deaths per 100,000 school children from school shootings?
                  This is what media focuses on.

                  In Baltimore the number of homocides is 57 per 100,000. Chicago and St. Louis are next in line.

                  Wouldn’t it be more productive to conduct random searches of housing projects and stop and frisk on the sidewalks of these cities than to focus on hardware legally bought in mostly rural areas?

              2. drumlin woodchuckles

                Perhaps various agencies warned about Cruz are staffed by secret gun-control supporters who think that letting these problematic people remain in the wild so they can plan and carry out mass shootings . . . is the way to build up public consensus for gun control.

                In other words, perhaps the FBI and other recipients-of-warnings about Cruz decided to LIHOP the shooting in order to further build the case for gun control.

    2. Ted

      It is the job of Oligarch owned media and the duopoly to keep the people (1) focused on heart wrenching our outrageous spectacle and (2) motivated to fix things that don’t address many if not most of the other issues that degrade their quality of life (the cult of gun ownership is an issue that degrades our quality if life, but there are others that cannot be discussed in national conversations … like the cult of violent militarism for example). As Paul Street reminds us in the article linked above at Counterpunch, we don’t live in a democracy but an oligarchy. Until we truly come to terms with that fact, the list of issues you give will never be addressed.

    3. Mark Gisleson

      Not a popular opinion, but much as I personally dislike guns, they are inanimate objects and do require a human being to be used.

      Gun violence is a symptom of a greater disease. Fix income inequality, and despite our having a sociopathic excess of guns, we wouldn’t have a fraction of this gun violence.

      You could give every citizen of Norway a gallon of poison to do with as they liked. They wouldn’t go around poisoning each other.

      It really isn’t the guns: it’s our insane society pushing people off an economic cliff and then overreacting when they scream as they fall. You can’t fix the screams but you could put up a barrier to keep people from falling.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The gun we see is usually the last straw of many enabling, making-it-easier straws.

          Perhaps talking to one’s neighbor, or kids can counteract that.

          There is one idea I am mulling over – gun-free sanctuaries, or more DC-defying gun-free sanctuaries, in the mean time.

          To make it work, I think we need

          1. A strong sheriff to make sure all gunslingers hand over their guns upon entering a sanctuary.

          2. The sanctuaries are border-patrolled better than our national borders, so that the bad guys might succeed in bringing illegal guns into the country, but they can’t sneaking them into the sanctuaries.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Of all the nasty, mean ways of committing atrocities, I think denying health care is the easiest to sneak past the victims.

          “Well, that’s the way it is…the way the world works.”

        2. LifelongLib

          As the stats in the linked article point out, it’s not the amount of violent crime that makes the U.S an outlier in the homicide rate. It’s that crime’s lethality, which is primarily a result of guns. Reducing the number of guns (or banning) would reduce the number of deaths (although not violence) enormously.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Making stuff up is against our written site Policies. You are accumulating troll points.

            Ireland has some of the least permissive firearm legislation in Europe. In order to possess a limited range of hunting and sport-shooting firearms,1 gun owners must renew their firearm certificates every three years.2 3 Although small arms-related death, injury and crime remain relatively low, rising rates of gun violence and firearm ownership in the Republic ― in particular the possession and misuse of handguns ― have become sources of national concern.4 In 2009, the private possession of handguns was curtailed. Licensing of all pistols and revolvers using centrefire ammunition was capped through ‘grandfathering,’ with new licences restricted to a limited range of small-calibre .22 rimfire handguns and .177 air pistols.3 5 The possession and use of realistic imitation firearms in a public place is prohibited.6 7 Ireland is an active supporter of the United Nations process to reduce gun injury (UNPoA).8

            Civilian Possession
            In the year to 31 July 2008, the number of firearm certificates on issue in Ireland was 233,120. Each certificate qualifies its holder to possess a single, specified firearm, along with a maximum quantity and described type of ammunition.10 The number of certificates has risen slowly since 2000, when 207,000 were on issue.

            Almost all registered civilian firearms in Ireland are sporting shotguns (177,000) and hunting rifles (54,000). In 2004 a successful private challenge to Irish gun law allowed handguns to be registered during what became a four year ‘window.’ The number of lawfully held private pistols and revolvers in Ireland shot up from a single legal handgun in July 2004, to 1,842 in July 2008 ― at which point prohibition on further centrefire handgun licensing was reinstated, and the licensing of other short firearms limited (see Handgun Licensing).

            With a confirmed firearm possession rate of 5.6 private guns per 100 population,civilian gun ownership in Ireland has yet to reach one-third the rate of 17.4 firearms per 100 people calculated across 15 countries of the European Union.


  5. Amfortas the Hippie

    I get a “Corrupted Content Error” on the Wired story about the Poor.
    Don’t know if it’s just me(noscript doesn’t appear to have anything to do with it).

  6. The Rev Kev

    China’s frosty reaction to alternative Belt and Road project

    Seeing both Trump and Turnbull together got a bit weird in how they were sucking up to each other. I mean, Trump announced that a new US warship will be named the USS Canberra (??). Reading about this alternative belt-road project I immediately wondered just where the money was going to come from to pay for all this. And then the penny dropped.
    Back in the early 80s Australia decided to set up a permanent superannuation fund so that employees kick in about 10% of their salary with matching funds from employers to a superfund which, through investments and after retirement, the same employees can access these funds when they need it most.
    To date there is about $2.53 trillion in this superannuation pool and word was that when the Australian Prime Minister (one time chair and managing director of Goldman Sachs in Australia) went to the US, a major reason was to provide a chunk of it for Trump’s infrastructure push (see
    This superfund is actually made of of employees and employers contributions but both local political parties have made it clear that they regard all that money as theirs to invest in whatever they want. China will be wary as the US has been trying to get together a joint Australia, United States, India and Japan military force for years and this may be the start of it. Geographically such a second route would seem to be mostly a maritime one whereas the Chines one would be a mostly a land-based one supplemented by sea routes.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A couple of quick thoughts in general:

      1. Generally speaking, competition is good, especially among oligarchs (thought they don’t see much). Two routes, three routes, four routes, etc.

      2. Sea routes are more mobile.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        But it would be bad for Australian workers to have all their superannuation money legally stolen for geo-strategic chessboard projects like this.

      2. Olga

        While competition is sometimes good, redundant infrastructure not so much. Plus, sea routes are not ‘built.” Ports are… and how many ports does one need?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          One can take a train from LA to say, SF.

          Or one can fly.

          Or sail a boat.

          Or drive.

          These are all redundant.

          And a cargo container can go all the way from China to New York directly via the Panama canal, or offloaded in Long Beach and shipped overland, by rail or by truck, to New York. These are various modes, routes.

          1. Olga

            Maybe we have a different understanding of “redundant.” Each mode of transport you name is completely different… Train may be taken by anyone, as can the plane (all it takes is a bit of money, a proper ID, and a way to get to the gate – and which one is chosen depends on the time available). Sailing a boat – how many joe6packs can really do that? Driving again is different, plus roads are used for other purposes than just personal travel. Not clear what the point is…

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I was referring the comment above that the first route is mostly a land based one,supplemented by sea routes, and the second route is mostly a maritime one, in response to your redundant infrastructure, which I took it to mean the underlying base of a system, or routes (part of the base) being redundant.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                So, in any case, my apologies, I was thinking route 1, route 2…redundant routes…route 2 being redundant. Obviously not was intended.

                Though, here in LA, we have LAX, and other airports.

                And we also have the Port of Los Angeles, and the Port of Long Beach.

    2. Wukchumni

      You’re now on the down side of the housing bubble in Aussie, how is it affecting the populace? And will the government/big banks step in and keep values up, as they did here?

      1. The Rev Kev

        I am speaking from the viewpoint of a person with no background in finance, mind you, but the housing scene is freaking nuts. Last I heard, house prices were triple what they should be in a rational economy. I have the firm impression that all government policies are subjugated to keeping house prices high – the main economy be damned. No politician wants to be there when house prices return to more sane levels as that will cost them big time at the voting booths.
        Too many suburbanites choke at the thought that their million-dollar house is realistically only worth say 300,00 dollars. If it is making it incredibly hard for their own kids to get the money together to have their own home, well, that is what Spending the Kids Inheritance clubs are all about. My thought is that the government steps in constantly too keep house prices up to keep the status quo going. Even local governments love it because high house prices mean that they can charge high council rates.
        In short, its going to get ugly here.

      1. Edward E

        US-Jap–Aust-India can just go ahead a plan to counter Chinese influence but their past exploitative policies have created such distrust from BRI nations. Even India has its own infrastructure problems. Anyway, how can they solve others’ problems when they can’t even solve their own?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Depends on which game the players are playing.

          If it’s to minimize Chinese influence, and not solving problems, that is a different game than exerting Chinese influence, and helping to solve some problems a little bit (China has own problems waiting to be solved as well).

          1. Edward E

            Very good. If BR2 aims at promoting economic cooperation to strengthen, not weaken BRI then China will have no qualms with the proposal. Getting away from this global financial situation of using the system as a weapon would solve a number of problems for many countries?

            Now if they’ll all play the good game together the S China Sea won’t have to be super militarized and us folks like Rev could lighten up.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Just read this morning that President Donald Trump said he would “love” the Australian Navy to join the US Navy in freedom of navigation patrols in the South China Sea. Yeah, thumping our biggest trading partner sounds like a real good idea here. What could possibly go wrong?
          Next step is getting the Australian Navy help do a starvation blockade on North Korea. Now what happens when a boarding party goes over to a North Korean ship to find a heavily armed North Korean Army platoon aboard? Do they shoot their way aboard? Call in an air strike because “they felt threatened”? Ram it? What if the NK troops have RPGs for that eventuality? Call it another Gulf of Tonkin incident?
          The lesson is not to start something that you may not be able to stop.

    3. ObjectiveFunction

      HMAS Canberra was sunk with all hands in 1942 while fighting with US Navy forces to protect the still tenuous US foothold on Guadalcanal. A US cruiser was renamed in its memory, and in honor of the ANZUS alliance, hence the tradition.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, thing is, I am an old fashioned sort of bloke. For example, I don’t think that your carriers should be named after Presidents but should be named after famous ships in your history such as “Enterprise”, “Yorktown”, “Saratoga”, “Lexington”, etc.
        Thus your Cruisers should be named after American cities and not used for gaining political points in alliances. You’ll see what I mean at and after all, it is the United States Navy

    4. kosh4kt

      Just a clarification. I believe that in Australian super system. majority if not all the super funds that employer contribute to are private entities and Australian government has no control over their investment decisions. Am I wrong? If this is true, how can Mr Turnbull provide super money to US?

  7. knowbuddhau

    Completely Different Research report on experiments with embodiment.

    Being here, doing this. For the second time (first was 18y3w ago). Another experimenter achieved first, working on replicating in snowboarding mode rn.

    Went so far as to claim a new name.

    Hi, I’m Davish, I’m the new guy. I’m not the man I used to be. And so can you.

    Singing blades
    Wringing mops
    Dave’s not here!
    (Water drops)


  8. Romancing The Loan

    Re: Sacreligious reflections on Russiagate – I’m starting to believe that Russiagate is and was intended to be absurd and unbelievable in order to function as a loyalty test (see Bernie Sanders.) I can’t remember where I’ve heard about that tactic used before. Anyone know?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can we administer a loyalty test on the commander in chief, the person who decides what intelligence is classified or not?

      Or is it ‘thought to be’ an impeachment tool?

      As for Sanders, if he feels he needs to fake a loyalty test, what would he do when that loyalty test is universal health care? Deny it now, so he can get into the White House to reverse course and implement it? That would very 11 dimensional. But he also has to appease the MIC, whose presence is constant and who is asking to be appeased by the current president, so whatever he’s acting to appease them now will have to be continued all the way to when he retires.

      The keep-it-simple rule is to ask politicians not to private and public positions.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      There are different motivations. I would say the Democratic Party aligned factions who unanimously backed Hillary need to explain “Hillary the Qualified’s” failure to win and Obama Presidency. Hiding behind the “cool” factor” and promises that HRC would set the world right aren’t deflections.

      Noted Kremlinologist, Mark Warner, who has a reputation for being a bank owned Senator by Senate standards was through Sandy Hook a prominent supporter of the NRA’s positions. He had a come to Jesus moment after Sandy Hook, but why didn’t he have a conversion after Virginia Tech? As governor of Virginia, he interceded to get VT an invite into the ACC. He knows where Blacksburg is. That massacre wasn’t a unique event. People weren’t watching expecting Democrats to do the right thing on expected wins in 2008. When his vote mattered, he consistently does the wrong thing. He and other Democrats need something to talk about with voters as they’ve spent much of the last two years suggesting Trump is a unique evil unlike the respectable Republicans such as George W. and the legions of Billy Graham admirers.

      “Petal” recounted the events of a Shaheen town hall in New Hampshire. The Senator discussed Russia and cyber attacks.

      The on the ground partisans who were too lazy to actually look at Clinton as a candidate love “OMG Russia” because it removes the moral responsibility for not making an assessment of the candidate’s ability to win an election and the potential of Clinton to win over “moderate suburban Republicans.”

      1. Summer

        That she couldn’t beat a guy with a Muslim name (at a time of hysteria over Muslims) and that most had never heard of until 2007 was not clue to them.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Nope. They latched on to absurd stories about Obama’s political brilliance (register voters and make sure your identified supporters caucus? No one has ever tried that) to cover up for HRC’s inability to run an even vaguely competent campaign. Given the Shrub years and McCain’s actual abilities,even Hillary could have won the general in 2008.

          HRC spent so much time trying to rig the primary calendar instead of winning. When the compromise around Bill Clinton was Democrats needed to run to the right to win, the Clinton mafia’s inability to win an election since 1992 and 1996 has demonstrated the arrangement isn’t worth it. Like bad investments, so much emotion has been expended on behalf of the family people can’t let go.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Actually , she was on track to beat the guy with the Muslim name in the 2008 primaries which is why the DemParty officials rigged the convention and the process so hard against her.

          The lesson which she and the Party learned from that rigged Convention and the subsequent Obama election is that rigging a Nomination process works. That is why she and the Party worked so hard to rig it against Sanders in 2016. Only this time it didn’t work for them in the general election.

    3. Rob P

      I don’t think the Dems pushing Russiagate actually intend for it to be absurd, they seem to really believe it. Trump just has a knack for being so outrageous that he drives his opponents crazy–and not just Democrats, look at how his Republican opponents embarrassed themselves in the primary.

      To the extent Russiagate functions as a loyalty test, it’s really about loyalty to the national security state. They’re the ones who created Russiagate in the first place with their leaks of classified info. If that’s what they intended, it’s succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

      1. John k

        Good friend wants trump impeached, and he knows pence is worse.
        People of good breeding are nauseous at the thought of trump being their president, no matter bush lied to get us into the Iraq disaster, big o and herself destroyed Libya, to say nothing of the half dozen other wars started or continued. And now dems think fondly of The torturous bush era… now, that’s nauseous.
        I wouldn’t mind if they were upset about what trumps appointees are doing on policy… but Russia? Course, it’s a twofer, deflects attention from dem failures while supposedly justifying more mil spending.
        Is Oz better?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Trump just isn’t their kind, dear. Its about the grace and style.

          Pence IS their kind, dear. Which tells you all you need to know about their kind, dear.

      2. willf

        “I don’t think the Dems pushing Russiagate actually intend for it to be absurd, they seem to really believe it.”

        Apologies, but it is necessary to point out that Democratic Party Leaders don’t actually believe that Trump is a Russian puppet who will abuse the surveillance state to spy on his enemies.

        If they did, they wouldn’t have voted to reauthorize Section 702 of FISA.

        1. Rob P

          I don’t think Trump could get away with abusing the surveillance state to spy on his enemies. They would just immediately leak it, like they have with any other negative information they have about him. Realistically, I think they would only allow him to spy on the national security state’s enemies, which doesn’t include Democratic Party leadership.

    4. jsn

      The tactic you describe is SOP for all cults, more or less, what makes it a cult is the willingness to kill their own for making concessions to reality.

    5. Richard

      I think you’re really on to something there. I don’t think it’s anything special, or qualitatively different I should say, from all the other public tests US political figures are put through. They are all designed to showcase a politician betraying the public trust, which if you do it enough is how they know you are “safe”.
      This works twice as well for betraying the public interest in favor of insane russophobia or whatever. If you’ve already agreed that Clock Cuckoo Land is our number one threat, that our elections are influenced not by the 1% but by shadowy Russian state figures, you have seriously compromised yourself as a reformer. Mission accomplished.

    6. djrichard

      The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an “official narrative” that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point. The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between “the truth” as defined by the ruling classes and any other “truth” that contradicts their narrative.

      Imagine this Maginot line as a circular wall surrounded by inhospitable territory. Inside the wall is “normal” society, gainful employment, career advancement, and all the other considerable benefits of cooperating with the ruling classes. Outside the wall is poverty, anxiety, social and professional stigmatization, and various other forms of suffering. Which side of the wall do you want to be on? Every day, in countless ways, each of us are asked and have to answer this question. Conform, and there’s a place for you inside. Refuse, and … well, good luck out there.

      … official propaganda is not designed to deceive the public (no more than the speeches in an actor’s script are intended to deceive the actor who speaks them). It is designed to be absorbed and repeated, no matter how implausible or preposterous it might be. Actually, it is often most effective when those who are forced to robotically repeat it know that it is utter nonsense, as the humiliation of having to do so cements their allegiance to the ruling classes …

  9. Pavel

    I was among those who dropped Dropbox when they hired Condi Rice — if she isn’t a war criminal and torturer herself, she enabled them. Of course since Michelle Obama goes around hugging George W. Bush and her husband refused to investigate the torture, I guess she isn’t alone.

    1. Lord Koos

      I have heard rumors about poor security with dropbox. As a musician I use it often to share audio files, but I would NEVER put anything that needs to be kept private on dropbox, such as personal info, finances, or whatever. I would also never use their desktop app, I don’t want DB on my PC, I access it only from a browser. It is super convenient and free, but I should probably look into some alternatives.

    2. Liberal Mole

      Hah! Me too. There are a lot of cloud storage companies out there now, why anyone would think Dropbox is worth putting money into is beyond me. In a better world Rice and Kissinger and the rest of the war criminals would be in prison where they belong.

    3. The Rev Kev

      I have Dropbox pre-installed on a Samsung tablet and you just can’t delete it. There may be a way but they do not make it easy by any stretch of the imagination. Then again, this tablet is constantly whinging that my Kaspersky Internet Security can damage my device so I have no trust in it whatsoever and only use it for general browsing.

    4. Anand Shah

      Setup servers across … hell they even run on raspberry pies

      And access them with a s3 browser (windows explorer) equivalent…

  10. funemployed

    “No good way to let a big bank fail,” eh. So, nationalizing it, making consumers whole, letting investors and executives absorb well-deserved losses, then breaking it up in pieces and selling those pieces off to ostensibly responsible actors wouldn’t work?

    Am I missing something? This doesn’t seem too complicated, but my finance/economics knowledge pales in comparison to many readers here.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      That article operates under the assumption that current banking operations have always been that way and ignores the massive deregulation of the Clinton era as if it never happened.

      Reinstate the Glass Steagall firewalls, make exotic derivatives that encourage fraud like CDS illegal, void the current contracts involving them (yes sacrilege I know) to unwind all the complicated multinational multi bank deals that make them TBTF in the first place, and make sure all the bankers are back to working bankers’ hours and hitting the golf course by 3 PM.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Doesn’t it really mean “no way under PRESENT law and regulation”?

      I suspect that your perfectly sensible suggestion isn’t provided for.

      Truth is, if our policy made any sense, they would never have been allowed to get dangerously large in the first place (or any other corporation).

  11. Bill

    there’s nothing like a hug from a tiny kitten to warm the heart of the most feral. wonderful video, thank you.

  12. Carolinian

    Excellent Nation takedown of Bezos and Amazon. It also makes clear why he has shown so much interest lately in a DC presence–buying a large mansion and the newspaper and perhaps even building his new hq there. Working the refs is the Amazon mode.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      In Walmart versus Amazon’s race to the bottom, it looks like Walmart is merely awful while Amazon is truly evil. Between them, they hope to exterminate every other bussiness in America. If I get left with a binary choice between Walmart or Amazon, I will buy from Walmart instead of Amazon for as long as possible, until Amazon takes over Walmart and calls the company Walmazon.

      In the meantime, spreading articles like this as far and wide as possible might at least spur people to buy from legitimate bussinesses in hopes of keeping those legitimate bussinesses alive a little longer.

      And doesn’t Trump hate Mister Bezos personally and politically? Perhaps the Department of Trump Justice could find personal political reasons to break up Amazon if Mister Trump begins to see this as a way to attack Mister Bezos and beat Bezos down.

      Or maybe Amazon can be left free to take over everything else, and then take over Walmart too. And then the desperate masses can have a proletarian revolution or something, and turn Walmazon into WalmaGUM.

      1. Ed Miller

        Not Walmazon. Bezos needs to be in the name.

        BezMart. Mispronounced as “Be Smart” = advertising gimmick.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Bezos hasn’t demanded his name be in Amazon. He might not feel the need to have his name in Walmazon. He is not one of these strutting look-at-me bad guys. For him, evil is its own reward, as well as the money and the power, of course.

  13. Jim Haygood

    Gentlemen who prefer bonds are getting their clocks cleaned, at least in the investment-grade ones preferred by silver-haired coupon clippers. An ETF that mirrors the Bloomberg Agg — a gov-heavy index of bonds rated AAA, AA, A and BBB — has returned a pitiful 0.52% in the past 12 months. Though its yield is 2.65%, it has suffered capital losses owing to rising yields on bonds.

    By comparison, a mutual fund that invests in junk bonds (BB rated and below) has delivered a 5.42% return. On the short end of the maturity spectrum, an ETF that holds Treasury bills — virtually impervious to damage from rising rates — returned a feeble but positive 0.84%. Chart:

    Bloomberg Agg is perilously close to a bear market, defined in bond land as zero percent return or lower in 12 months. In only 49 months during the past 50 years has the Agg been mired in a bear market, according to my dusty old archives.

    If my bankster uncle Tom were still around — motoring leisurely down to the golf links in his capacious Buick Roadmaster after a grueling 9-3 day in the president’s chair at the building and loan — he would not be bloody amused.

    *dons Lone Ranger mask to ride with the bond vigilantes*

    1. JohnnyGL

      This is what I love most about bonds….”getting your clock cleaned” involves 0 to minus 5% returns at worst.

      And those situations are almost immediately followed by good returns the following year!

      The kind of circumstances needed to make treasuries do worse would bring the world economy to its knees in a short time frame.

      1. Jim Haygood

        those situations are almost immediately followed by good returns the following year

        Quite right. Never have two consecutive calendar years seen losses in the Agg. Closest scrape was 1967 (-1.35%) and 1969 (-0.63%), with a positive 1968 (+5.01%) intervening.

        We’re speaking of course of nominal returns. A five-year string of single-digit positive returns from 1977 to 1981 produced losses of purchasing power every year after inflation.

      2. John k

        I just converted what had been long Walmart bonds in 2010 with nice gains to new issue 30 yr treasuries. Let’s see what markets and allegedly strong economy think of the 3-4 fed rate boosts they’ve promised for this year. IMO next recession we see 1-handle.
        Granted I missed the fab equity bull, thinking like hussman we were entering depression.

  14. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Silicon Valley Billionaire Wants You Off His Stretch of the California Coastline Gizmodo (Kevin W)

    Khosla’s appeal with the Supreme Court argues that he shouldn’t have to get a permit to lock the public access gates, claiming the California Coastal Act is a violation of his constitutional rights. The California Coastal Act was enacted in 1976 to ensure the public had access to the California shoreline.

    More “highly skilled,” “job-creating,” “entrepreneurial” immigrants like these please. Their financial success and acculturation is inspiring, their embrace of the Constitution demands and deserves respect, and, without the diversity they represent, americans might never get to experience the glory of the caste system.

  15. Craig H.

    Top 10 Signs the U.S. Is the Most Corrupt Nation in the World

    This is absurd. Has Juan Cole ever travelled overseas? Has he ever asked an immigrant what they like about their immigrant experience?

    The unanimous (N>100) opinion of immigrants I have queried report what they most like about the United States is the low level of corruption (compared to Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia–you name the country from where we have a significant number of immigrants.) If you doubt this I challenge you to perform the survey yourself. It is easy. Phooey on Juan Cole.

    (I don’t know any French or Finnish or Iceland immigrants so my survey ain’t comprehensive.)

    1. Sid_finster

      Immigrants create a self-selecting sample.

      That said, I have lived in third world and developing countries; the corruption in the US takes place in a legalized form.

      1. Jim Haygood

        corruption in the US takes place in a legalized form

        Exempli gratia — the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, retroactively “legalizing” bulk warrantless wiretapping by AT&T and other telecoms after some forty lawsuits were filed against them for their flagrantly illegal conduct.

        Corruption in the US is cosmic in scale, but well-masked behind a wall of classification and secrecy. If you can’t see it, goes the thinking, then it’s not there.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Can we make a case that it’s either corrupt or not corrupt, and that there is no such a thing as more corrupt or less corrupt?

        In a similar sort of way, is one life as precious as 10 or 100 lives? That no group may say one person “you alone is worth less than us together?’

        Is a death of one just tragic as 100, even though to the media, more attention is given to the latter?

    2. Wukchumni

      We have a retreat here, and once in awhile we go there for dinner, and one time we were eating with a couple of visiting missionary church priests from a trio of churches down under-down Mexico way, south of Big Bend and the Rio Grande, in that it was 6 hours down a dirt road to the 1st, another 7 hours on a dirt road to the 2nd, and just 5 more hours drive farther down the same dirt road, to the final jewel in the crown.

      One of them told me it’s pretty common to have a Mexican-American adult that’s never been to Mexico, who drives down in an SUV laden with consumer goods, to give to relatives they’ve never seen in person, and by the 2nd or 3rd military checkpoint after crossing the border, the consumer goods have been ‘re-gifted’ to members of the Mexican army, as they make for perfect bribe goods. (“did you declare this @ the border?”)

      We’re nothing like that, but with a bit more effort we could get there.

    3. Lord Koos

      At least in the USA (so far) you don’t have to bribe someone to get your utilities or telephone hooked up, or to get a green light from an official inspection. The corruption in the USA is at a much higher political level, while in many other countries the corruption is both big-time and small-time. Certainly for smaller entrepreneurs (many immigrants fit this category), life the USA is much easier because of this.

      1. Bridget

        You are so right. There are countries in this world where it is literally impossible to get anything done in any sphere of life without paying bribes.

          1. Aileen

            @hunkerdown, exactly… the hubby & I have been building a house–the fees and fee fees really add up, and yes they sure feel like legalized extortion. $150 fee to the County for providing us with an address, fer gosh sakes! It’s endless, and makes it even more impossible to build something even remotely affordable.

      2. John k

        I guess things are worse now, maybe with the drug wars. My experience from a few years in the early 90s…
        When I lived in San Diego we -3 families – loaded up a couple pickups and a wagon with groceries and used clothing and went down to some poor San Felipe neighborhoods on the sea of Cortez in the week after Xmas. One year we were stopped at the border in Tijuana, I think they were looking for guns. Had to explain what we were doing, and some bags of used clothes disappeared, but not much else. Probably the cops don’t make much, they probably knew people who could use clothes.

    4. JohnnyGL

      The USA doesn’t have a lot of crude, low-level corruption that you’d encounter on a day-to-day basis. The clear exception is, of course, civil asset forfeiture, which is day-light robbery.

      Drug reps wandering around your doctor’s office should count. As should courts that have been re-purposed as debt-collectors. There’s the entire campaign finance system, paid speech-bribes, lobbying jobs. Most corruption in USA gets laundered through an officially sanctioned, legally obscure set of rules. Like, say, federally guaranteed loans for attending for-profit colleges.

      All of these mechanisms are corrupt on their face, but have an apparatus built around them which employs people to tell you that, “Yes, there’s some problems, but this institutional architecture is definitely NOT corrupt!!!”

    5. Oregoncharles

      All of Cole’s examples are high-level corruption, purchased (as opposed to democratic) policy. Reference the Princeton study on whether we have a democracy (not).

      3rd world countries tend to have retail corruption, where you have to bribe people to do their jobs. Much more annoying, but maybe not as destructive.

      1. John k

        That’s cuz in the 3rd world the low level officials aren’t paid a living wage, depend on the public to make up the diff. we’re not there yet, but on our way.
        But I would say 3rd world has plenty of high level corruption, too.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Silicon Valley Billionaire Wants You Off His Stretch of the California Coastline Gizmodo (Kevin W)

    How, though, if the pitchfork people have guns?

    The tech billionaire’s choice, to defend his land, could be robot guards.

    1. polecat

      Setting loose a pack of botdogs would seem efficacious ..*

      *as they tear apart mr. polecat limb from limb, who was ….. just prior, dreamily admiring the pretty sand dollars …

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For the technophiles, and math whiz kids, a Ph.D. dissertation worthy question (probably already published somewhere) is this:

      How many robot dogs take it take to subdue a human gun shooter?

      One each for each ankle, and then two more for the two hands? To winner must show it can be done with fewer.

  17. evodevo

    A Biohacker Regrets Publicly Injecting Himself With CRISPR

    Jeebus!! These people are idiots! They appear to have a shallow understanding of genetics, combined with a deathwish.. the epigenetics of this stuff alone are complicated as hell, and relatively unexplored. Genetic tradeoffs and unintended consequences abound …

      1. oliverks

        I have met Josiah Zayner before, and he is very smart. He really wants to move the world forward and genuinely shares knowledge.

        Some of the other people do sound like they may not understand the risks they are taking.

        With regards to CRISPR kits, you can buy all the stuff pretty easily, so having a simple and reasonable safe version available may actually be better, than having people assembling there “own” kit.

  18. drumlin woodchuckles

    About the biohackers and their do-it-yourself basement CRISPR kits. . .

    How long before bunches of CRISPR kiddies begin CRISPRing botulinum toxin producing genes into human-intestinal-ready E. coli and stealth-spraying their E. botucoli
    bugs on restaurant salad bars all over the country . . . . in a huge-scale version of what the rajneeshis did in a town in Oregon . . . just to see what will happen?

    1. Oregoncharles

      Has anyone else read Frank Herbert’s “The White Plague”? Garage genetic manipulation, foreseen 50 years ago. Not a pretty picture.

  19. Jason Boxman

    The post on biological weapons in the Korean War is mind blowing, but demonstrates that however morally depraved our leadership appears, it can be and probably is always worse than it appears.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure Eileen Appelbaum, Counterpunch

    A side question.

    What is the state-of-the-art regarding self-healing infrastructure?

    Can infrastructure be never crumbling, but self-healing?

    1. visitor

      Somehow the idea of a “self-healing infrastructure” sounds as if it inherently violates the laws of thermodynamics.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        From Wikipedia, Self-Healing Material:

        Self-healing materials are artificial or synthetically-created substances that have the built-in ability to automatically repair damage to themselves without any external diagnosis of the problem or human intervention.

        An example, further down the Wikipedia article:

        The ancient Romans used a form of lime mortar that has been found to have self-healing properties.[3]

        1. visitor

          Wait. Are you talking about materials — single masses of substances — or infrastructure — which are different materials assembled according to complex specific relationships that must be maintained?

          While antique mortar might have self-healing “properties”, it is another thing for a bridge as such to be self-healing. Self-healing the abrasion induced by road traffic? Or the impact on the structure caused by shocks from trucks or ships colliding with the bridge piers (or by earthquakes)? I do not see how this can be achieved without external intervention.

          The wikipedia article suggests that applications of self-healing materials are mostly experimental (the only widespread one I know of are self-sealing fuel tanks — which is only a subset of self-healing). From there to a self-healing infrastructure, it looks like science-fiction to me.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It is sci fi…to me, and i was asking for an update, or if people know more and can comment.

    2. .juliania

      Thanks to Yves for bringing that article. What struck me was the glaring statistic that Trump in his infrastructure plan reverses the ratio between federal spending and state input from 80%-20% to 20%-80%.

      Also, that the emphasis is on private benefit, not public.

      No doubt the Russians have had a hand in this, but which Russians? I thought Yeltsin was in his grave.

  21. drumlin woodchuckles

    About Vinod Khosla padlocking his pathway fence-gates to the peoples’s own coastline . . . would it be legal for protest groups to arrange very-short-hop lateral boat trips from launch points north and south of Vinod Khosla to take huge and growing numbers of people to that stretch of beach which sits between Khosla’s property and the ocean? For that matter, would it be legal for thousands of people to march along the public beach from access points north and south of Khosla . . . . and all gathering right along the edge of Khosla’s property without actually stepping off the Public Peoples’ strip of beachland?

    If it would be legal, then perhaps thousands and then tens of thousands of people could begin doing that very thing. If they are in a symbolic mood, they could bring some solar-reflectors and heaters and scoop up some seawater and make salt. If they are in a combative mood, they can hold up big signs saying things like ” Whose beach? Our beach!” and “Screw you, Khosla. We’re not going home.” Perhaps there could be pictures of Cartman on those signs.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is the sea level rising faster in that part of the world, due to global warming?

        That would imply a bigger federal government.

      2. Lead Bow

        In New Zealand it’s known as the Queen’s Chain –
        “When Governor Hobson was surveying New Zealand he had strict instructions from Queen Victoria to set aside strips of land to provide particular sites for “roads, quays, recreation and amusement and for promoting health”. This led to early surveyors reserving land (but not all land) for these purposes alongside waterways, including rivers, lakes and sea boundaries.”

        When a beach not covered by the Queen’s Chain recently became part of a property sale more than NZ$2,000,000 was raised by public appeal, plus a NZ$350,000 donation from the Govt., to purchase it for the public.

    1. LifelongLib

      Here in Hawaii all beaches are public, and landowners have to provide public access. Still some conflicts but at least the principle is established.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Oregon, too. They’re “public highways.” There is one exception, a little cove that’s difficult to get into and apparently was fully privatized before the beach access law was passed.

        1. The Rev Kev

          People seem to think of beaches differently to land. There was the time about two years ago the Saudi royal family visited the south of France so the French authorities closed a section of the French Riviera to the public. It caused outrage and 50,000 people signed a petition to stop it which was of course duly ignored.
          Beaches are probably one of the few commons to ordinary people left so of course billionaires will want to eventually privatize it and maybe monetize it – at which point these billionaires will find themselves buried to the neck in sand at the low tide level on those same beaches. Remember when Churchill made his famous we-will-fight-them speech? Not for nothing is it called his “We shall fight on the beaches” speech.

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      “If they are in a symbolic mood, they could bring some solar-reflectors and heaters and scoop up some seawater and make salt.”

      ROFLMAO! This is why I love the NC commentariat!!!

      1. HopeLB

        Yes,very good! The only thing not mentioned was Clinton’s kicking off the R2P wars and eastward expansion of NATO.

  22. ambrit

    Ah ha! The bhagwan and his acolytes. I met one of his ‘followers’ years ago and spoke at length with her about the experience.
    When they said; “We’re all well and truly f—ed!” they meant it in a good way.
    Basically though, the lessons arising out of various cult group experiences is that we must assume the worst will be attempted by such groups. The reason for that being that “faith based” groups and individuals have lost their connections to phenomenal reality and inhabit personal fantasy worlds. Thus, they expect the world around them to conform to their personal versions of reality. As the want to be superhero said just before he splattered all over the sidewalk next to the building he had leapt from; “I may have been mistaken.” As the film “Amalie” posited in the initial set up scenario, sometimes the actions of demented people adversely effect the lives of others.

      1. Summer

        Good stuff, because he’s examining the issue thoroughly from a socio-economic point of view and not only through formulatic economics.

        “Since capital is a process not a thing, then the continuity of the process (along with its speed and geographical adaptability and mobility) becomes a crucial feature to sustaining growth. Any slow-down or blockage in capital flow will produce a crisis…”

        “When the rentier is the state (as it often is in the case of oil), then geopolitical struggles can also produce barriers and limits to the release of so-called “natural” resources into the circulation of capital. I write “so-called” because resources are always technological, cultural and economic appraisals and in the form of the built environment – sometimes referred to as “second nature” – are actively produced as a new landscape for accumulation. Scarcities that threaten compound growth are largely socially produced.”

        “Capital here uses differences of gender, ethnicity, race and even religion to great effect to divide and rule in the workplace if it possibly can.”
        And when one looks at the process as socio-economic, not only though the lens of formulatic economics, the contiuity of the process depends privileging certain types of lifestyles.

        1. Summer

          The privileging of certain lifestyles more so than certain people is an important distinction to make, because diversity in the workplace (according to protected categories) can then still provide continuity to the process.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          If we broaden our view of “capital” from beyond just strictly being the surplus money which can be used to buy and build means of production . . . . and broaden it to include unmonetized means of production themselves . . . then perhaps we can imagine and envision ways in which tens of millions of suburban homedwellers in America can build up their own means of some production . . . their “capital”, if you will.

          If you have some means of growing your own food, that means you have some means of food-production. And the more means-of-food-production you have, the more food you can produce. And the more food you can produce, the less food you have to buy. So if you have a yard and you turn some of it into reliably food-producing means of food-production, you have just created yourself some capital.

          Biophysical real capital in the biophysical real economy. Which is just as real as if it were money in the bank earning you interest which you then bought your food with.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Amazon Doesn’t Just Want to Dominate the Market—It Wants to Become the Market Nation

    It has long been suggested that, concentration of anything is never desirable, and we are way past (but still time, talk about Zen paradoxes) the event-horizon on breaking up some giant corporations.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Former CIA Director Admits to US Foreign Meddling, Laughs About It Real News Network

    Not just the CIA, but many of us as well.

    If I understand Mueller correctly, an ex-pat, living in, say, Paris, who gives an interview on French television, opining on what would be good or bad in politics for the French, that’s meddling.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why Workers Are Losing to Capitalists Bloomberg

    College education is key.

    Capitalists use college education and college graduates to make their corporations stronger.

    College graduates, with college education, use it to make their employers, i.e. corporations, stronger.

    Ask a young person why he/she wants a college degree – to get a job (working for a corporation) or for self-enlightenment?

    Most likely the answer is ‘for my career, so I can eat and pass on my genes.’

    “Which major gets more pay? I would be interested in knowing more about that field…see if I like it.”

    And then there are others who care not about that, but wisdom.

    1. Octopii

      With cost of higher education in this country it is very hard to just go to college for personal enlightenment. I say that as a one-time music major and liberal arts student who got sane and switched to engineering.

  26. Synoia

    China’s frosty reaction to alternative Belt and Road project

    The US is proposing infrastructure for Asia!

    Nice! Will it include infrastructure in the US too?

  27. Synoia


    These efforts elicited vociferous dissent from then-commissioner, now FCC chair Ajit Pai, who has portrayed the Lifeline program and the people who benefit from it as hopelessly corrupt.

    Ah, Mr Pay is an expert on corruption. I wonder where he learned it?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And let me add that we are as capable of creating a caste system on our own as anyone in the world, maybe even more capable, lest I hurt our own pride.

      2. David Carl Grimes

        I was surprised to learn that Ajit Pai was appointed by Obama. So the destroyer of Net Neutrality was originally an Obama man. Knowing what I now know of Obama, I’m not surprised at all. Obama set the car and Trump is now driving it.

  28. Down2Long

    I live in Los Angeles, the most corrupt city in the United States by some estimates. The difference here is that the baksheesh, the Mordida, the, um — bribes — are much larger. Ask any developer — Rick Caruso comes to mind. Donations to City Council elections are limited to $1,000 per person, per candidate. He gave 100 of his closest friends $1,000 each to give to the candidate of his choice.The ruse was discovered, he apologized, City Council approved his project, no money was returned. City Council gets to vote on all permits if it so chooses, and can override anyone. That’s how you do it.

    My bankruptcy began when a plan check guy “didn’t like”my licensed engineer and architect’s plans for a restoration. He asked me why I hired the firm: “Because they had a license and a friend used them,” I said. He said to me “I am not supposed to tell you this, but we don’t like them. We will never approve their plans.”

    So the building sat vacant, until my my usual engineer — whose plans always got approved — was finally able to do my plans. I showed up in the office of this disgraceful plan check guy with my new plans. It was, unfortunately, pro-forma, since I had gone broke carrying the vacant building, which went into foreclosure. I thought maybe I could sell the plans to the new buyer since they resolved another tactic the city uses to screw people – the City had the place recorded as a duplex, and the County had it as a triplex. It took years to resolve that dispute.

    The disgraceful man asks why I have gotten new plans – I reminded him he told me he would not approve the old ones.

    He grew furious with me and just started stamping my plans without looking at them. I was like “You are not even going to look at them?”. Then the light dawned on me – he had wanted a bribe.

    I was heartsick. I said to him “If you wanted a bribe why didn’t you just say so. I would’ve gladly give you $5,000 and not lost this building.”

    Around that time the FBI had conducted a sting and found several building inspectors demanding bribes. $110K a year. 4 day weeks, and obscenely lavish retirement benefits were not enough.

    I asked a Russian friend which was corrupt when. It came to banks and real estate — Russia or the U.S. Without hesitation he said “The U.S.” As Yves would say, “Ugh.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think it was news recently that LA criminalized (criminalized?) poverty – illegal to sleep in cars.

      No more Okies from the Dust Bowl.

    2. Lord Koos

      Wow. I know New Orleans is corrupt (my friend there had to bribe electrical inspectors $50 to get them to sign off on wiring if he didn’t want it to drag on for months) but LA sounds much worse.

      1. Jean

        Don’t forget the “bribes” of their long term pension guarantees and ongoing salaries through the stretching out of little projects into forever as new rules are applied to already started projects.

        Rules are constantly updated, that is criminal IMHO.

        The creation of small businesses, the only job creators, are thwarted and discouraged by the onerous costs of retrofitting buildings to constantly ongoing ADA standards.

    3. Octopii

      That is a sad tale. Around here (DC area) a project of significant size, complexity, or controversy tends to hire a third-party permit reviewer. They can be tougher than the county staff, but less of an irrational pain in the arse. Within the District we also have third-party inspectors who are generally way slacker than the city inspectors.

    4. The Rev Kev

      I heard of a story once, perhaps not true, that at the end of the Roman empire it had grown both so corrupt and the taxes so onerous on the peasantry, that when the final wave of barbarians invaded the little people were helpfully pointing the road to Rome to the barbarian armies.

  29. hemeantwell

    Re “A So-Called Expert’s Uneasy Dive Into the Trump-Russia Frenzy New Yorker,” I did my bit in forwarding Chen’s view and appreciate it. I don’t understand his hesitation, however. He gave his assessment and then other people used it in different ways. Kinda the way things usually work. Maybe he needs to be more specific about the problem he faces: when you prick a propaganda bubble, the response of the bubble blowers cannot be reasonable.

  30. Lord Koos

    Regarding the passport with the chip — some argue that these passports are actually less secure because the chip can be easily read by an RFID chip reader, obtainable on ebay. The $200 model works from as far as 3 meters away. Anyone with this type passport can have their data hacked unless they have it in a sleeve that prevents RF detection, (or wrap a piece of tinfoil around your passport). The whole thing is a farce IMO, and some contractor no doubt made a fortune putting them in the passports. They are more of a tracking device that anything else, although nothing that a sharp hammer blow or a 5 second spin in the microwave couldn’t fix, I’m guessing.

    1. Octopii

      I’m not sure this is a surprise at this point. The RF shielded passport sleeve and wallet are standard procedure for Americans today. The chip lets you through Global Entry so you don’t have to stand in the cattle line at border control, so it comes in handy.

  31. allan

    Obama center’s roadwork costs will total $175 million, city says [Chicago Tribune]

    Proposed roadwork and underpass construction for the planned Obama Presidential Center will cost about $175 million, Chicago officials said Friday. It’s the first time the city has given an estimate of the public cost of the privately funded center.

    The proposed changes include widening portions of South Lake Shore Drive and Stony Island Avenue to accommodate a key feature of the center, the closing of a portion of Cornell Drive. A report prepared for city and state transportation officials said Cornell would need to be closed by the end of 2019 for the center to open as planned in 2021. …

    Officials did not specify how they would fund roadwork, saying that they are pursuing “all potential options,” including funding from the state of Illinois. …

    The Plan Commission is expected to consider the proposal this spring. Foundation officials have said they want to break ground before the end of this year so the center can open in 2021. The center’s projected cost of construction is more than $300 million, with its overall cost estimated at $500 million. …

    $175 million, $300 million there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.
    Wouldn’t the tighten-your-belt-just-like-a-family-sitting-around-the-kitchen-table-fiscal-austerity,
    with which Obama was so enthralled in the Spring of Green Shoots and the Summer of Recovery,
    dictate something a little more modest?
    Like a space in the monument to Jamie Dimon’s greatness new JPMC HQ that the shareholders
    are about to erect in NYC? Which would only be fair, given all that Dimon and JPMC owe to Obama.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Presidential libraries didn’t even exist until 1955, when Congress passed the Presidential Libraries Act establishing a system of privately erected, federally maintained libraries.

      Now they have become monumental palaces, as is fitting for the imperial presidency in our opulent post-constitutional era.

      Let us hope that the one in Chicago features a multi-story statue of Obamamandias raking the skyline:–121955.jpg

      Look on my works, ye mighty powerless, and despair.

      1. polecat

        It’s the retired Potu$ version of a publicly funded $ports $tadium. Why would anyone be surpised by the exorbitant cost ?

  32. Oregoncharles

    From “Private Browsing Gets More Private:” ” Rather than typing a URL into the browser’s address bar, the Veil user goes to the Veil website and enters the URL there. ”

    Everything people are trying to hide goes through the Veil server. IOW, it’s spyware, at least potentially, regardless of what they say about it. You’d be safer with odd bits scattered aroundyour own computer. it’s the Cloud, only pretending to be more secure.

  33. Oregoncharles

    “Top 10 Signs the U.S. Is the Most Corrupt Nation in the World ”
    This reminds me of something my father once told me. He was a rather small-time investment manager, and also helped deal with the family’s inherited farm, which was run by a manager who worked on shares. He would be 100 now.

    Based on his experience, he commented that a culture of honesty in business was worth a great deal of money. Guarding against corruption is very expensive; you have to hire people to watch the watchers. This was a major consideration in their direct investment activities: any hint of something shady and they shied away. (He was a bit spoiled, since the people he worked for were very goody-two-shoes.)

    In the past, even when he told me that, the big difference between the US and, say, Mexico, was in the nature of the corruption. In Mexico, you had to pay people bribes to do their job – retail corruption, so to speak. In the US, even then, we had purchased POLICY. The more the corruption works its way down, the more 3rd-world.

  34. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From ‘Concerns about Universal Basic Income:’

    The cost of UBI in the UK at Guaranteed Minimum Income levels would significantly exceed current spending on cash benefits and tax-free allowances. A budget-neutral UBI would therefore require either a UBI below GMI levels, or additional tax increases.

    In several other places, money or funding for UBI is discussed as a cause for concern.

    Budget neutrality…additional tax increases…levels to exceed current spending…

    These are money concerns that MMT can address.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Need I point out that all of the MMT luminaries oppose a UBI and recommend a Jobs Guarantee because a UBI would be massively inflationary? In addition, jobs confer legitimacy in society, social relations, and skills.

  35. Pookah Harvey

    “To Get Into the 1%, You Need Adjusted Gross Income of $480,930 ”
    To put this in context the IRS reports the income of the top 400 earners. The latest data is for 2014 when the average income for the “Fortunate Four Hundred” was $317,818,000.(over $1.2 million per workday.
    To get into the top 1% you only need to make 0.15% of the average income that the top 400 “earn”. Remember this is just what they report. When you make over a million a day I can’t help but believe there are numerous ways to hide income.

    1. VietnamVet

      David Brooks has joined Paul Krugman, Juan Cole, Josh Marshall and Kevin Drum. I click on them now and then and give up. They live in a world that vanished somewhere in the last 17 years of war. They can’t, don’t see reality. Broward County police and security guards stood outside. All the local social service checks missed the shooter and he walked away from the scene. Why? The establishment doesn’t care about the little people. They exist to be exploited and die. Mercenaries don’t run towards firefights in school buildings. They aren’t paid enough.

      Greed is tearing American society apart.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Very much agreed on the list of commentators who have declined in recent years, VietnamVet. I know Cole and like him as a person, but he has not gotten out of Ann Arbor in a long time, and as a kid raised mostly abroad, often has very little feel for the USA. I gave up on the other ones (Krugman, Marshall, people like Charlie Pierce and Digby) during the 2016 election, when they revealed where precisely their bread is buttered.

  36. Jim Haygood

    Former apartheid state to cut ties with current apartheid state:

    “The majority party has agreed, that [the South African] government must cut diplomatic ties with Israel, given the absence of genuine initiatives by Israel to secure lasting peace and a viable two-state solution that includes full freedom and democracy for the Palestinian people,” Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor announced yesterday.

    Last year, the government also resolved to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a liaison office, and cautioned Tel Aviv for blacklisting supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which included prominent figures of the ANC.

    The BDS South Africa campaign has witnessed significant support from the nation’s public, with universities and churches backing a cultural and economic boycott of Israel affiliated organisations.

    Rich with irony is a South African minister babbling about a “two-state solution” for Palestine and Israel. South Africa had a go at an “eleven-state solution” with its failed bantustans which rejoined South Africa in 1994.

    Nevertheless a former apartheid country is well qualified to judge what contemporary apartheid looks like in a middle eastern context.

  37. The Rev Kev

    Look, I am just as welcoming as the next bloke – however. It’s bad enough that Hillary Clinton is coming to Australia but now you are sending Barack Obama as well? Whatever have we done to you to deserve this treatment?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, although in all fairness Australia is not in a real great position population wise. Think of continental America from the east to west coast. Now imagine if that America only had the population of Texas. And that most of the population was concentrated in a few cities on both coastlines. Now imagine that this America had neighbours whose population was numbered in the hundreds of millions not far away.
        Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to defend it with what you have but without nukes. This comment will self-destruct in five seconds..

        1. integer

          :) I’m an Aussie. In hindsight, I should have edited the quoted passage to:

          Whatever have we done… to deserve this treatment?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, the NRA pissiness over what amounted to perks they never should have gotten in the first place (price breaks on flights to their conventions??) is priceless.

  38. integer

    Bernie Sanders promoted false story on reporting Russian trolls Politico

    Bernie Sanders is taking credit for action to combat the Russian incursion into the 2016 election that he didn’t have anything to do with — and didn’t actually happen.

    Twice this week, in response to questions about whether he benefited from the Russian effort, as prosecutors allege, or did enough to stop it, Sanders said a staffer passed information to Hillary Clinton’s aides about a suspected Russian troll operation.

    It turns out that the purported Sanders’ staffer who said he tried to sound the alarm was a campaign volunteer who acted on his own, without any contact or direction from the Vermont senator or his staff. When the volunteer, John Mattes of San Diego, said he communicated with the Clinton campaign in local press accounts, he was confusing it for a super PAC supportive of Clinton…

    His former campaign manager and confidant, Jeff Weaver, said in an interview the senator did not verify what he’d read.

    “He does not know. All he knows is what was reported,” Weaver said on Wednesday.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Sanders should have stayed out of this one imo. No one knows what will happen between now and 2020, however Sanders has managed to open himself up to attacks from both parties on this matter. I still maintain that laughing about Buff Bernie would have been the best strategy, maybe throwing in a joke or two about that being the way he has always seen himself. This approach may have even prevented any further focus on him in relation to Russiagate, as the corporate media wouldn’t want to draw any unnecessary attention to the flimsiness of the premises on which Russiagate is based.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      As long as Bernie is the best or only spokesman for New Deal Restoration, I will continue supporting Bernie in politics including the next round of primaries . . . . until another just-as-good or better spokesman for New Deal Restoration comes along.

      Because while Bernie accepting the Putin-Diddit narrative whether by choice or from fear or under duress is disappointing, if I suffer my dose of Putin Diddit from Bernie, at least I get some New Deal Restorationism. Since every single other officeseeker in politics today and tomorrow also supports Putin Diddit, but precisely zero of them support New Deal Restorationism ( aside from dilettantes like the Green Party and watch-and-see hopefuls like the DSA), there is not one single other officeseeker in America today who offers any reason to support them.

      So if Bernie runs through the 2020 primaries, I will vote for Bernie to at least get a chance to vote for New Deal Restoration.

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