Links 2/3/18

Finally, Facial Recognition for Cows Is Here Gizmodo (Dr. Kevin)

Udderly ridiculous or bold mooove? Irish company rolls out cow facial recognition RT (Kevin W)

After 70 Countries, Why I Moved to Portugal Never Ending Footsteps (resilc). A lovely idea. I’ve been to Lisbon twice and spent a little time in some other Portuguese cities, and thought it was a great country. But you need an EU visa :-(

An Ancient Virus May Be Responsible for Human Consciousness LiveScience (David L). No wonder it’s so confused.

Cape’s spring water wasted Cape Times. Gavin P:

A friend of mine has been working for years to prevent/solve the Cape Town water catastrophe. There is a solution, and corrupt and incompetent gov’t has been getting in the way for over a decade. This article is from 2013, and seems to have been entirely overlooked by the msm

Oklahoma is seeing hundreds of earthquakes every year — and a new study found a scarily direct link to fracking Business Insider (David L). Not the first study to do that…

A new type of solar cell is coming to market Economist (David L)

How to Be a Responsible Music Fan in the Age of Streaming Pitchfork (Randy K)


A bit late to post on the Pope-China controversy. From David R: “Talk about a country that knows how to manage the “gate” to its market. Anyways, two different views of this particular trade negotiation. I put the WSJ one first as having the more positive spin.”

Pope Francis to Bow to China With Concession on Bishops Wall Street Journal:

Pope Francis has decided to accept the legitimacy of seven Catholic bishops appointed by the Chinese government, a concession that the Holy See hopes will lead Beijing to recognize his authority as head of the Catholic Church in China, according to a person familiar with the plan.

For years, the Vatican didn’t recognize the bishops’ ordinations, which were carried out in defiance of the pope and considered illicit, part of a long-running standoff between the Catholic Church and China’s officially atheist Communist Party.

Cardinal Zen: Vatican is now backing a ‘new…schismatic Church’ in China LifeSiteNews

The Breakneck Rise of China’s Colossus of Electric-Car Batteries Bloomberg

Tales from the new Silk Road BBC

China’s Surveillance State Should Scare Everyone Atlantic (resilc)

Venezuela Skirts U.S. Sanctions With Chinese Oil-For-Cash Loans OilPrice (resilc)

How Kenyans are coping with a TV shutdown BBC


Boris Johnson and Michael Gove to warn against post-Brexit Customs Union in ‘explosive’ Cabinet confrontation… Telegraph

Cabinet explodes in a fresh row days before key meetings on Brexit trade deal The Sun

Tories are lying to the voters and themselves over Brexit The Times

May and the ERG Ultras are manacled together Chris Grey (Richard Smith)

Theresa May starts another fight she will not finish

Russians in Britain told to reveal their riches The Times

‘No one seemed likely to hit me but I am a weed’: Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg tells of moment he split up fight when protesters calling him a ‘nazi’,’fascist’ and ‘racist’ stormed his speech to students in Bristol Daily Mail. Includes a video clip.

Scottish Limited Partnerships and the Odebrecht scandal Herald Scotland. Richard Smith has a mini-rant and look at the dashing photo!


Clashes between Saudi forces, armed gangs in Yemen Juan Cole (resilc)

Defence minister: Saudi, UAE intended to invade Qatar Aljazeera (resilc)

In Afghanistan’s Unwinnable War, What’s the Best Loss to Hope For? New York Times. Resilc: “China buys off the Taliban in joint ventures for the Silk Road 2.0.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Retreat, America The Week

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Europe’s new data protection rules export privacy standards worldwide Politico. Hooray! Now if they can succeed in doing that with monopoly policy too…

Trump Transition


I confess I find myself liking this guy the more I read about him. I realize that this is within the context of an incredibly odious and duplicitous administration, but he strikes me as being far more transparent than any of the other figures out there. I especially love his characterizations of Bannon and Priebus.

Rich Globalists Love Trump LobeLog (resilc)

Nunes Memo

The Biggest Nunes Memo Revelations Have Little To Do With Its Content Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

The Big Flaw in the Memo National Review

Max Blumenthal and Ex-FBI Agent Coleen Rowley on the Nunes Memo Real News Network

When Two Tribes Go to War Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine (resilc)

Here’s the Nunes Memo On the FBI and Russia Investigation … Read It For Yourself George Washington

Experts warn: Dangerous politicizing of U.S. intelligence NBC. Oh come on. The intel agencies have become a dangerous force in what passes for our democracy and if you don’t know that, you haven’t been paying attention. They need to be leashed and collared. That was last done in a weak manner with the Church Committee and was pretty quickly made irrelevant.

Five takeaways from the Nunes surveillance memo The Hill

Tom Cotton Doesn’t Oppose Immigration for Economic Reasons New York Magazine

Florida’s ban on felons voting ruled unconstitutional by judge Reuters (EM). Hooray!

Fake News

A film critic was suspended for allegedly buying fake Twitter followers. Justified or overreaction? Washington Post. Bill B: “Deception isn’t the sole domain of corporate outlets. “

Fed’s QE Unwind Accelerates Sharply Wolf Street (EM)

Dow Plunges More Than 650 Points in Worst Week in Two Years Wall Street Journal (EM). Dow 26,000, we hardly knew ye.

Despite bad day for the Dow, Yellen sees long-term growth as she leaves the Federal Reserve PBS. Kevin C points out Yellen very rarely does interviews like this.

Wells Fargo Hit With Unusual Ban on Growth in Yellen’s Final Act Bloomberg

Opioids. Note we have had to make this a topic…

New York accuses Insys of deceptively marketing opioid Reuters. EM: “Given that prosecutors allege a clear conspiracy to bribe doctors and other malfeasance, can we expect criminal charges against top execs anytime soon? (Yes, that was sarcasm.)”

New York accuses Insys of deceptively marketing opioid Reuters (EM)

This is how not to do healthcare Medical Economics

Class Warfare

She has no home, car or job after bankruptcy, but still owes for student loans Dallas News. Appalling and worse, not uncommon.

The Proof Is in the Jobs Report: Minimum-Wage Hikes Work American Prospect

Ryan renews welfare reform push Politico (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

A bonus video antidote (Gavin P):

And a second bonus antidote because it’s that kind of day (AFXH). I dunno, but the cat seems to be on board with this. I leash-trained a couple of cats and they seemed to enjoy the considerable attention they got when I took them out, so maybe this feline like being a YouTube star:

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  1. The Rev Kev

    China’s Surveillance State Should Scare Everyone

    This is some creepy stuff here. Could you imagine if Silicon Valley thought that this was actually a template for what they should be help doing here? Visit sites like NC and watch your “Social Score” drop. Post a comment and it will drop some more. Buy a book not on the approved list, have a friend that does not share mainstream views, rent the wrong film or doco, be noted with attending the wrong event, not have a Facebook or Twitter account and you will find your life made immeasurably harder. Yeah, in other words, most of the people here would be done like a dinner. I suspect that living off the grid would not be an option either.

    P.S. To those who cannot see that Cuties Overload clip like myself, it is at Hilarious!

    1. cnchal

      Globalization is a disaster, wherever one cares to look.

      The Chinese way is perfecting a surveillance state, whereby this totalitarian police state is being perfected, for export to any customer that wants to buy it.

      How long before our politicians / narcissists splurge for the system to be implemented here, to keep us “safe” being the excuse?

      1. Mark P.

        this totalitarian police state is being perfected, for export to any customer that wants to buy it.


        And there are technologies — like facial expression recognition tech — that have already emerged or are are emerging, which will have further profound impacts on our conceptions of identity and privacy in the context of this surveillance onslaught.

        1. epynonymous

          “Manufacturing of the Kinect sensor and adapter has been discontinued, but the Kinect technology continues to live on in products like the HoloLens, Cortana voice assistant, the Windows Hello biometric facial ID system, and a context-aware user interface.

          Microsoft is working with Intel to provide an option for developers looking to transition from the Kinect for Windows platform. Microsoft will continue to provide support for the Kinect for Windows SDK via our online forums, premiere and paid technical support. As developers transition from Kinect hardware, Microsoft encourages developers to look into Intel’s RealSense depth cameras.”

          Seems legit

          Check the IR imaging…

          35 million units sold

    2. foghorn longhorn

      Almost positive all that info is being logged and added to your dreaded “permanent record” that we were duly warned about in our adolescence.

    3. JCC

      I may not have made the cut on my earlier posting regarding the Atlantic article (not sure why but it’s still early hours, so no complaints), but it seems to me – from a “big picture” perspective – that with the recent approval of Section 702 regarding FISA and its abuses combined with the consumer Surveillance Capitalism we all experience, we’re already as close or closer than China. We just call it a “consumer credit” score instead of a “citizen” score.

    4. Summer

      I’ve always suspected the US gov’t envied the Chinese social engineering and the Chinese may sah the same thing about the USA.

    5. WheresOurTeddy

      My computer would start smoking out the side and giant capital red letters across the screen spelling “DISSIDENT” would appear.

      As it stands now, it likely just says “DISSIDENT – antisocial – unlikely to engage others in concerted group efforts – economic and human rights concerns paramount – still votes for some reason – threat level LOW” on the dossier file in the giant Utah NSA building.

    6. Sid_finster

      Guaranteed that our Deep State alphabet agencies are doing something quite similar, even if they haven’t gotten around to telling us about it yet.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        There was an article here recently that mentioned companies like Facebook have a pretty detailed profile on you already, even if you don’t have an account with them. They use details of what others have said to recreate your persona. We also know that these private companies work in cooperation with alphabet agencies and often have extremely large contracts to provide services for them. So yeah, sounds like China isn’t an outlier here.

        1. Darthbobber

          They also track your visits to the non-facebook sites that have chosen to have fbook like or share buttons on them.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          There are some of us who are allergic to being photographed and whose immediate family does not do FB either….although we are a small but proud minority.

      1. Baby Gerald

        Such a great reference, Matt. This film blew my mind when I saw it at the tender age of 12. Three decades later it’s still one of my favorite movies ever. Its criticisms of surveillance and bureaucratic totalitarianism are as stinging today as ever. Highly recommended.

        1. Pavel

          Another classic line, by the De Niro character: “Have you ever actually SEEN a terrorist?”

          I saw the butchered “happy ending” version when it first came out, then the longer, original, dark version later on DVD. An absolute must-see, and as noted very prophetic.

    7. Alex Morfesis

      Rev kev…what makes you think the chinese communist red army is the krewe that created the algoze…if one had access to the credit score process or reversed engineered the algoze…one might notice the chinese probably hacked in and stole it from silly kone valley…

      at least I hope and want to imagine they stole it instead of it being handed to them by the (family family blog blog) geniuses on the west coast…

      Have seen American credit scores across different social strata and different psychographixxx…

      the chinese communist red army might have ramped it up somewhat, but we were there already in the late 90’s…

    8. Rageon

      Check out Black Mirror Season 3 Episode 1 “Nosedive” for a look at what a society that uses a social score might look like…

      1. Pavel

        Just what I was thinking when I read this item. That was the 2nd Black Mirror episode I saw… extremely well done and terrifying.

        I have just been in two SE Asian cities (SG and BKK) and am horrified by the addiction to smartphones — it’s bad enough in the States and UK/EU but seems entirely another level here. All these devices tracking every movement and increasingly thoughts, moods, plans… I shudder to think how people will behave in another 5 years. And the postures!

        The governments love it of course, and are now trying to push cashless payments, even in the famed “hawker centres” in Singapore. Track every single payment, eliminate the freedom & privacy of cash, and let the banks take another fee, what’s not to like for .gov?

    9. ewmayer

      Coming soon to a “free western-style democracy” near you, in the dual names of security and convenience. The various major western governments are busily hoovering up all the needed data already, and the social media platforms are busily building out their various “fake-news-spotting” and “[insert name of alleged-to-be-hostile nation here]-influenced” AIs, wouldn’t surprise me one bit if there weren’t already various forms of “good citizen social scoring” being done behind the scenes, it’s really no different than e.g. using people’s online-profile data to determine if someone is black and thus automatically flagged as a poorer credit risk than an Approved Color. And burgeoning usage of biometrics and facial-recognition systems is gonna make live-tracking the deemed-less-than-good-citizenry oh such much more fun. By the time the inevitable switch of such tech from “optional, for your security and convenience” to “mandatory” occurs, all this stuff will have been so normalized that few people will even notice the transition.

    10. Wukchumni

      In a fashion, we’re now capable of doing what Saint Nick or your choice of deity claimed to be accomplishing for a few millennium, keeping score on individuals as to whether they’re naughty or nice.

    11. ObjectiveFunction

      As I occasionally tell my kids and coworkers (in jest) : “Right thinking will be rewarded! Wrong thinking will be punished!”

  2. fresno dan

    Fed’s QE Unwind Accelerates Sharply Wolf Street (EM)

    Dow Plunges More Than 650 Points in Worst Week in Two Years Wall Street Journal (EM). Dow 26,000, we hardly knew ye.
    coincidence or causation?

    1. cnchal

      Neither. The stawk market participants freaked out due to muttering that the peasants might be getting a tiny pay raise, thereby destroying corporate earnings, raising inflation through the roof and causing the FED to raise interest rates, lest the peasants get too uppity and comfortable with an extra $15 bucks a week.

      At least that’s my interpretation, after getting the news from the MSM.

      1. Ignim Brites

        Interest rates going up increase margin costs. Moreover, QE unwind might inhibit a stampede into Treasuries, although only up to a point. Let the DOW drop another 1000 or 2 and we will have QE 5.0 or whatever next QE version is.

          1. cnchal

            . . . 0% on their fixed income fund.

            The truth is, it should be called a zero income fund, there just isn’t any sales cred in truth.

            Bernie Sanders: The business of Wall Street is fraud and greed.

    2. ewmayer

      The WSJ link is not in fact from me (perhaps another EM-initial-owner?), but yes, in fwding the Wolf Street one to Yves I added “Interesting in conjunction with today’s Sad for Mr. Market.”

      Wolf has another piece since about the Fed’s near-panic at signs of that Unholy Terror, wage inflation, maybe the casino gamblers were similarly spooked at those numbers in recent economic reports and their implications for corporate bezzle-profits, more than any QE unwind. But several interesting things happening simultaneously, for sure.

  3. fresno dan

    A bonus video antidote (Gavin P):

    So the baby elephant falls down, and mom strolls over and the baby elephant goes running to Mama…..
    where have I seen that before…..

    1. hreik

      Elephants are incredibly sentient beings. Excruciatingly so. They mourn their dead, they recognize humans after absences of > 35 years. They mourn humans as well. Just amazing.

      1. scoff

        Watched an awesome documentary last night, part of a series called Spy in the Wild.

        Animatronic animals with cameras embedded in them are used to film animal interactions up close, and many showed the kind of emotional intelligence humans are supposed to show but often don’t.

        Fascinating stuff. I don’t like hearing people call them ‘dumb” animals. They’re not.

  4. Wukchumni

    Finally, Facial Recognition for Cows Is Here Gizmodo (Dr. Kevin)

    You occasionally run into bovine intervention around these parts, and although they seem docile enough, I like to pepper my conversation with ‘salisbury steak’, ‘t-bone’, ‘hamburger’, ‘filet mignon’, ‘ground chuck’, ‘sirloin’ & ‘rib-eye’, just to ensure tranquility between species, not that anything ever happens, as the cows just look at me with a vacant gaze i’m sure transforms into one of intensity and concentration after our encounter, working on a Pythagorean Theorem perhaps, when not contemplating world domination.

      1. fresno dan

        Katniss Everdeen
        February 3, 2018 at 10:19 am
        I find this hilarious. What are the cows thinking?
        Cows: hey, what is that little thing – lets go see. Be careful now…..Holy Cow! it turned around and is coming at us! It might have teeth! Even though we outweigh it a thousand to one and out number it a hundred to one, its best to flee!!!

      1. Lee

        In Daniel Quinn’s novel, Ishmael, there’s an allegory in which species A eats species B, which eats species C, and they in turn eat species A. This is all done consciously, consensually and without rancor. Then there is the declaration: “I am this world and I eat this world”, from the Upanishads. But Hindus don’t eat cows. Lot to think about.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s not so much ‘go forth and multiply,’ but ‘thank you for your life, so I may live.’

          In that sense, gluttony is very bad.

          And single use is not always bad. For example, in pregnancy prevention, you use it and then you throw that away. Do not use it again. So, it’s not all bad with plastics, like eating the world.

    1. Oregoncharles

      The deer run away when i shout “Venison” at them.

      Of course, I’m walking toward them at the same time, but still, it seems to inspire a bit of respect.

  5. JCC

    “China’s Surveillance State Should Scare Everyone”

    So The Atlantic comes out with an effective way to keep our eyes off the ball. How is China’s potential “citizen score” any different than our own “credit score”.

    Substitute the word “U.S.” for “China” and “consumer” for “citizen” and, as usual, our technology is a few years ahead of theirs.

    Want to rent an apartment?… Gotta check your credit score.
    Want to buy a used beat up car?… Gotta check your credit score.
    Want a job?… Gotta check your credit score.
    Want a decent upper level education?… Gotta check your parents’ credit score.

    And combine that with Section 702 of the FISA Bill extension and what have you got?

    A U.S. “citizen score”.

    And thanks to The Atlantic, American can go on in the tradition of Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Newman, “What, Me Worry?”

  6. allan

    Another antidote: Check out the beautiful hawk and eagle saved at Cornell University [Press Connects]

    A bald eagle and a hawk are expected to make a full recovery in upstate New York after being poisoned with lead and rodenticide in December.

    A bald eagle and a northern harrier were rescued and were being treated at Cornell University in Ithaca after ingesting different man-made poisons that nearly killed them. … [with nice pics]

    Anti-antidote: Zinke shoots down ban on lead ammo [Great Falls Tribune (March, 2017)]

    Ryan Zinke’s first act on his first day as interior secretary was shooting down an order signed two months ago that banned use of lead ammunition on federal land managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. …

    1. Wombat

      Zinke is the antitode to open spaces everywhere. The former navy seal has secured a beach-head and is currently raiding U.S. land and water.

      Out West. (Bears Ears and Escalante):

      The Good: Tom Udall of NM introduced the 2018 Antiquities Act, saying that only Congress can reduce Federal monuments.

      The Bad: HR 4558 has made it through subcommittees in the House, and allows for the transfer of federal lands in Utah to the State. It allows for the “enhancement” of these lands through mining/drilling.

      The Ugly: , “public” comment is open for a limited time for Resource Management plans of both Bears Ears and Escalante gutted monuments:

      The public comment period calls for extracting interests to submit plans to expedite the clearance process. These plans being pushed through despite ongoing legal dispute of Monument Clawbacks.

    2. JBird

      Lead is just about the best thing for shot. This is true. It’s also true that it’s toxic to everything, tends to accumulate especially in favorite hunting areas, and there are non-poisonous substitutes that do fine. Maybe Secretary Zinke thinks lead poisoning is unproven science?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Compared to the couple of million needed to buy residency in Canada or NZ — which typically must be invested in a business, not property — Portugal offers one of the more expat-friendly entry tickets to a european (or equivalent) economy.

        For norte-americanos and brits, the question ten years down the caminho is what will be the exchange rate between their inflato-dollars and the escudo or CME (club med euro). Having to convert a lifeline of home country income into a foreign currency introduces a big standard of living risk factor for middle class retirees.

        *wipes away a tear of nostalgia for his Bretton Woods youf*

        1. ambrit

          D–n! It makes one wax nostalgic for the halcyon days of pre income tax economics. [Gazes pensively at faded photograph of great great grandmother serving drinks to guests at Jeckyll Island ‘Resort.’]
          Perhaps the deplorables should invest in Anarcho Syndicalist Super Pacs.
          Also, to be pseudo snarky here, what does define ‘middle class’ in various venues? I used to think that I was in such a comfortable, socially inclusive category. Now I discover that I have really always been a deplorable, and that there are multiple, competing social groups.
          Is the Greenspan Put being unwound at long last?
          Perhaps the main lesson to be learned from all of these financial impediments to retiring abroad for Americans is that foreign countries have their own politics, cultures, and interests. They will never be “Little Americas.”

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            None of the natives buying any second-hand American dreams…

            Late at night you will find them
            In the cheap hotels and bars,
            Singing: Give me some words I can dance to or a melody that rhymes.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Investing a couple of million in a, say, gold coin dealership would seem to lessen that currency risk.

    1. Yan

      Eric, it is actually 500.000 euro now. You need to reside over 6 months there out of every year. Also, bonus feature is no income tax for 10 years on any revenues made outside of Portugal. I know many Brazilians who have given up Brazilian citizenship and moved to Portugal: all invested capital by foreigners in Brazil in securities is also tax free for a period (not sure how long, but I think 10 years also) and they live in Lisbon, tax free too.
      Interestingly, the Turks have become avid investors.

      1. todde

        America’s tax code also allows for foreign investment that many times is tax free or at a flat 10% rate.

        No residency required

      2. Lee

        Last time I checked, the price of admission for permanent residency in Canada for U.S. retirees was $2 million invested in an enterprise that employs Canadians.

        What does Portugal consider a “property investment”, one’s own personal residence, a REIT or what?

        1. Wukchumni

          All throughout the 1930’s, German Jewish diarist Victor Klemperer relates news of other German-Jewish friends leaving for Uruguay, or Palestine or the USA or what have you, and he’s not really jealous of them, in fact he holds them more in contempt for leaving the Fatherland, little does he know what’s coming.

          “I Will Bear Witness” is one hellova read.

          1. JBird

            Terrible is more like it. There had been plenty of progroms in the past, and even some real ethnic cleansing in Europe, but before 1933 just about the best place to be a Jew in Europe was in Germany. Possibly the most advanced country in Europe and Jews had been integrated into society for generations. Makes me realize just how fast and completely things can change.

            1. Heraclitus

              Germany’s population in the 1930s was less than 1% Jewish. They had about the same percentage of Jews as the US does Hindus today.

              1. JBird

                That is still 500,000 people. Enough to be a part of the society, to be a target of hatred, to have their rights stripped away, and to be extirpated in barely a decade’s time.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m thinking of issuing my own currency here and claiming to be Emperor of my own domain…

        “Joshua Abraham Norton (February 4, 1818 – January 8, 1880), known as Emperor Norton, was a citizen of San Francisco, California, who in 1859 proclaimed himself “Norton I, Emperor of the United States”. He later assumed the secondary title of “Protector of Mexico”

        At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of S. F., Cal., declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U. S.; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of Feb. next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.

        — NORTON I, Emperor of the United States.

    2. DJG

      I wasn’t skeptical of the “search” so much as the dismal qualifications of the two searchers. They seem unqualified to live in Portugal. Near the end of the article, she admits to not knowing Portuguese at all but will take lessons. (I’m reminded of an anecdote by a Greek friend about an Englishwoman who has lived in Athens for some forty years and has succeeded in not learning any Greek at all.)

      Portuguese isn’t the easiest language: It is about the same level of difficulty as Italian. (So both languages are more complicated than Spanish and less complicated than Modern Greek, and Portuguese is thus more complicated than English.) I wondered if she even knew that the dominant language of Barcelona, another of their candidates, isn’t Castilian.

      And then she admits that she and her husband are ordering things on-line and complaining about customs. In Lisbon? You order a backpack on-line? What about those fabu open-air markets? Sheesh.

      So if you want someone who is “consuming” Lisbon, she’s a fine specimen of the eternal British colonialist mentality. But if she’s going to make a contribution, the jury’s out on that.

      1. Bruce F

        Turns out, that as of Jan 8, 2018, she (they?) left Lisbon. From her comment at the story –

        I’ve actually left Lisbon now. I found that the bureaucracy drove me crazy (I couldn’t even find out how to get healthcare), the mail situation negatively impacted my business (it takes six months to receive any package sent from outside the EU!), and I didn’t feel as though I fitted in with a culture that was different to my own. It was exhausting to have to deal with a baseline cognitive load that comes from living in a place where you don’t speak the language. And also, the rents are surprisingly high in Lisbon. I also missed my family after six years away from them, so decided to move closer to them.

        1. Whoa Molly!

          Re: 70 countries article

          Good catch. ‘They moved back…’ Its buried in comments on article about choosing Lisbon.

          So to the list of qualifications for an ideal destination she should have added:
          – my own culture
          – my own language
          – close to family

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            My own culture, accepted by the natives.

            “You can get Japanese food in Costa Rica? That’s one adjustment problem fewer.”

            “But I’m not sure about moving to America. It’s hard to get Berliner Weisse.”

            “I would love to immigrate to California. You can get Chinese food at every corner.”

            The longing for one’s own culture should not be under-estimated.

            1. Whoa Molly!

              The longing for one’s own culture should not be under-estimated.

              Yes, indeed. I am a longtime Californian. I was fortunate recently to be able to spend six months in British Columbia. The Canadian BC culture–to me–felt like a saner, kinder, more human US. Nothing really alien about it. People accepted me. They generally thought I was “probably from Alberta”.

              Even with all that–and leaving a lovely, civilized country where everyone spoke English–I felt a sense of relief when I crossed the border into the US.

          2. Synoia

            – my own culture

            Really? i was feeling that US Culture was the problem, and not worthy of nostalgia.

            But, I’m a serial immigrant. What do I know.

  7. JCC

    Regarding “Experts warn: Dangerous politicizing of U.S. intelligence”, since when has it not been politicized?

    Sometimes a little history doesn’t hurt. Reading either “The Brothers” or “The Devil’s Chessboard” (or both) should be required by all our politicians as well as High School Seniors… as well as any history of J. Edgar Hoover. These Agencies were politicized long before most of us were born.

    The Church Hearing was OK, but I think it legitimized these bureaucracies as much as it warned of the dangers.

    1. ambrit

      On a tangential plane of reference, Norman Mailers’ “Harlot’s Ghost” gives a zeitgeist for the Alphabet Agencies. I would say give Conrad’s “The Secret Agent” a read, but as literature nowadays, not so much as sociology.
      I’m halfway through “To the Finland Station” by Wilson. Does anyone here know of a history of the American Counter Revolution with as much of an emphasis on the underlying philosophy?

        1. ambrit

          Well, I’m not thinking about the Whigs or Know Nothings.
          I’m thinking here about all the anti FDR and New Deal agitation. (Which is still going on today.)

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Two authors come to my mind as sources to consider in looking for “a history of the American Counter Revolution — emphasis on the underlying philosophy”. The first author who came to mind is G. William Domhoff. Several postings and videos at his website “Who Rules America” [] cover topics germane to the power structure and mechanisms for pursuing the “American Counter Revolution” you expressed an interest in. For example take a look at: How Corporate Moderates Created the Social Security Act (…And Then Tried to Undermine It Later) []. You might take a look at Domhoff’s book “Who Rules America” — but “underlying philosophy and theory” is peripheral to the analysis of power structure and mechanisms. However Domhoff recently expressed the following sentiment guiding his current efforts: “My main focus is now on writing on the 1930s through early 2000s based on historical archive.” You might find it beneficial to express your interest in an email to: G. William Domhoff at

        [Domhoff makes a strong argument on the futility of third party politics at “Third Parties Don’t Work: Why and How Egalitarians Should Transform the Democratic Party” []

        Phillip Mirowski is the second author who came to mind. Much of Phillip Mirowski’s writings on Neoliberalism and his video lectures speak to the underlying philosophy and theory of the “American Counter Revolution” you expressed an interest in. I thought of Mirowski second because I regard much ot the underlying philosophy and theory of Neoliberalism as one of the tools for building effective mechanisms of power. But I am not convinced that the philosophical tenets of Neoliberalism — a very ‘squishy’ and flexible philosophical structure — represent the philosophy guiding the psychopaths and sociopaths who rule and who implemented the “American Counter Revolution” you refer to. [Considering the Neoconservative efforts to cook up a war and the Neoliberal responses to Climate Disruption I sometimes wonder whether P.K. Dick’s short story “Null-O” might best portray the underlying philosophy guiding those who rule us.]

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Continuing my Null-O theme — the second book of Hugh Howey’s Silo Series, “Shift” portrays some of the philosophy which might guide those who rule us.

          1. ambrit

            Thank you very much J.G. This is why NC is such a valuable source of information. The Commenteriat has so many facets, and well polished ones at that.
            It literally boggles the mind to consider that Phillip K Dick is a Prophet. Time to reread both “Valis” and “In Pursuit of Valis.”
            Personally, I wouldn’t want to bother Mr. Domhof with my half baked intellect. I’m sure that he has much better things to do with his time. I’m content to learn as much as I can while still here in the phenomenal world.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              I doubt it would bother Mr. Domhoff to receive a short email indicating you heard he might be “writing on the 1930s through early 2000s based on historical archives” and expressing your strong interest in what he might write together with your intention of watching for the products of his efforts. I believe people like Mr. Domhoff appreciate that they reach and find appreciation from a broad audience. [As for your self-deprecation — I regard and watch for your comments.]

              1. ambrit

                Thank you. The old saying, “We are our own worst critics,” is all too true.
                I keep my eyes open for extended threads with, say, a pair of commenters going back and forth. You show up there quite a bit. It indicates a strength of commitment, and thus, a worthwhile read. Keep doing what you’re doing. I learn a lot that way.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps it’s like this:

      1. Smoking marijuana or tobacco is not healthy for the lung.
      2. Smoking a lot every day, many packs, is dangerously unhealthy for the lung.

      So, it has always been politicized, but this is dangerous politicizing.

      Then, the focus would be whether it is dangerous or not dangerous.

  8. flora

    From the Guardian: local residents save north London neighborhood from destruction by Big Finance.

    In Haringey the people have taken over, not the hard left.

    …It would be easy to treat the exit of one of Labour’s most powerful women as being about party infighting. Certainly, Kober’s sexism and bullying allegations should be investigated. But, please, ditch the cliches about Corbynistas and suburban revolutionaries. The death of the HDV is a victory for local people over multinational business, for democracy over machine politics. Most of all, it is an inflection point in one of the great battles of our times: Big Finance versus the rest of us.

    1. Lee

      Meanwhile, our municipal government is rolling over for developers and under pressure from state and regional entities to build, build, build. Evidently, failure to comply will end badly for the city in terms of a cut-off of state funds and court ordered sanctions. We’re in the San Francisco east bay, an island off the coast of Oakland. I’m assuming a ripple effect emanating from Silicon Valley, itself built on the L.A. sprawl model. There are only four two-lane roads on and off the island and the traffic jams are already bad and getting worse. Actually, I hope they don’t widen these roads that run across three bridges and a tunnel. The locals have managed to stop some but not all of these developments. There’s a lot of blah, blah, blah about affordable housing but it’s mostly b.s.

      1. John Wright

        One has to be in awe of the glorious inconsistency of the California housing market.

        It has to be both affordable (low relative cost) AND a good investment (increasing price YOY).

        About the only way these could both be satisfied is to have working class wages increasing at a much faster rate than housing price increases.

        But where is this occurring in CA?

        In the SF North Bay, the city fathers approved an additional 250 homes to be added to an area that burned down last October. The local Mayor voted against this, as he worried about 250 more piles of ash in the future.

        Is the human cost of traffic jams/long commutes ever subtracted from the alleged gain in general welfare from new development in the USA?

        If new development strains existing infrastructure, I argue the existing infrastructure should be improved FIRST before new development is allowed to proceed.

        But that is unlikely to ever occur.

  9. jfleni

    RE: Wells Fargo Hit With Unusual Ban on Growth in Yellen’s Final Act

    Miraculously, Wells-f***off has finally been tamed; why did it take so long, and why so many victims?

    1. Timmy

      I’d love this to be true but the penalty is probation for systemic crimes.

      An interesting and unexplored topic is how emerging and vaunted “ESG” investment standards view Wells Fargo. When I look at various organizations who advocate the use of environmental, social and governance standards to select investments, I can’t actually find the outcome of their screening process. So is Wells screened out as it would seem it should? Who knows: I can’t find any transparency as to how the screens are applied in reality. One senses that if and when ESG standards are applied with teeth, there will be a big effort to discredit the screens.

      Another way to approach this is to ask Larry Fink if BlackRock buys Wells stock in its active equity funds and, if so, why?

  10. Jim Haygood

    Clear-air turbulence such as yesterday’s makes a fascinating real world laboratory to test how the different asset classes in Craazymon Fund and its benchmark hold up under pressure.

    Stocks — les enfants terribles of Bubble III — tumbled the most. Riskier merging market stocks took a 2.56% header compared to a 2.15% drop in the blue-chip S&P 500.

    Over in bond land, both riskier junk bonds and the investment grade Bloomberg Agg dipped a mild 0.3%, serving their intended purpose as a diversifier and shock absorber. Unlike for most of the post decade, when high quality bonds would actually rise on bad days for stocks, the Agg’s sag points to a sea change in which inflation rather than deflation is the predominant fear.

    A 1.3% loss in the old yellow dog was exacerbated by a 0.6% pop in the US dollar, which menaces gold the way silver crosses vex vampires. Chart of all five assets for the past 12 months:

    On its 23rd month anniversary since announcement, Craazymon Fund retains a healthy lead over its 50/50 benchmark, having gained a cumulative 32.87% versus a 23.31% rise in its benchmark. Chart:

    1. Wukchumni

      Reinvested in more apple stock, cost-averaging on previous losses incurred by the underground & hoping this batch will pay dividends when things come a cropper, a 5 year plan. UPS tells me to expect a package Monday.

    1. polecat

      Maybe she could write a pen letter to a one Hunter Bidenhistime …
      After all, what more does she have to lose ?

      … Oh, wait ! ..

  11. Wukchumni

    We were for a fortnight in Portugal, my better half was going through a spiritual reawakening that didn’t take, and one of the locales we went to was Fatima, where miracles happened a century ago or so is the claim.

    There’s a big church there and she was hanging out inside, and an even more imposing plaza that goes on for the length of a couple football fields, and a little covered outdoor shrine with astroturf runners around the 50 foot long length of it off to the side. I was bored silly, and it was pissing down rain as if the very heavens themselves had opened up on a particular heathen, me.

    I found a dry spot under the shrine and watched as 4 or 5 grown women crawled on all 4’s around it over and over and over again, and I thought the stout German woman with a case of gout was going to win it all @ the Fatima 500, but no, a chatty cathy from Cincinnati with the heartbreak of psoriasis, nipped her @ the wire.

    We weren’t all that enthralled with Portugal, it seemed to us to be Iowa with shoreline, compared to Spain being California.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Funny analogy. Uruguay — which is mostly flat with plenty of cows — has been called “Iowa by the Sea.”

    2. Synoia

      I’d recommend Seville, the old town. Or Burgos. I’d stay away from the Med coast, ther’s to much floating refuse in July, August and September, speaking German.

      Or any reasonable sized town in France from the Loire Valley south. There are some beautiful villages close to the Massif Central.

      Or one of the Apennine villages in Italy.

  12. Craig H.


    “Do I think I’m being recorded?” he continued. “I do not. That’s my mistake. Do I think the conversation was off the record? A hundred percent I do. Do I say that it’s off the record? I don’t, but I feel that I have a personal rapport with a human being. . .”

    This is pretty funny. I wonder if he is one of those guys that the very first thing he does when he moves is unpack all his boxes. Because that would really be a massive pain if you got fired after two days and had to go through all that with the boxes all over again so soon.

    Also if you haven’t watched the Stewart Granger movie and you like 50’s Hollywood pirates it’s great.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      With the underrated co-star, Eleanor Parker.

      Newer movies, with all that computer generated special effect, can’t compare with films from the 50’s.

    2. paul

      andif you can’t watch beau brummell without welling up, you probably think there’s much to admire about jeff bezos.
      “Full length pantaloons,I call them ‘trousers’!”

    3. ChrisPacific

      Yes, that was funny. Even I know enough about politics to never assume a conversation with a reporter is off the record unless they explicitly confirm, and then only if you trust said reporter implicitly. (And no, “his dad and my dad go way back” doesn’t count). New appointees from outside politics might be excused a little naivety in this area, but not if the appointment is Director of Communications to the White House.

      Not saying he didn’t get shafted (his account does sound quite plausible in most regards) but that one was all his own work.

  13. Jim Haygood

    From “Retreat, America” —

    Soon enough, young Americans enlisting to fight in Afghanistan will have been born after the war there started. The country is worse off today than it was in 2001.

    Much worse off indeed.

    Oh wait … he was talkin’ about Afghanistan! :-0

    1. Wukchumni

      I saw Texas go in with a smile,
      But I tell you what it is, they made quite the pile;
      Oh! it don’t make a nif-a-stifference to neither you nor I,
      Texas is the devil, boys; Kellogg Brown & Root, hog, or die.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Alexander of Macedon used a different strategy.

      He had his soldiers marry local women and settle down there…and the world has the Gandharan Buddhist art heritage.

      In 2,000 years, perhaps future archaeologists hope to find treasures like fossilized burgers.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        He had his soldiers marry local women and settle down there…and the world has the Gandharan Buddhist art heritage.

        And killing off the local men first made that a lot easier.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Apparently the Mongols did something similar; the Hazara, who occupy the central mountains, are their descendants.

  14. knowbuddhau

    Argh, clever headlines do vex me! “Cardinal Zen” is a total misnomer. It’s chan, in China, Zen in Japan. More like “Cardinal Confucius.”

    1. DJG

      The irony is that Zen is a Venetian surname. So I had to read the article to figure out how China had a Venetian cardinal. It doesn’t.

      1. Off The Street

        Rufus Sewell was in a fun little show set just down the autostrada in Rome. His character name was Aurelio Zen.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And then, there is another to vex. It’s an old issue.

      Pope Francis to Bow to China With Concession on Bishops Wall Street Journal:

      It’s a deep bow, and the correct Chinese term is ‘koutou.’ In Imperial China, prostration was required.

      From Kowtow, Wikipedia:

      Kowtow came into English in the early 19th century to describe the bow itself, but its meaning soon shifted to describe any abject submission or groveling. The kowtow was a significant issue for diplomats, since it was required to come into the presence of the Emperor of China, but it meant submission before him. The British embassies of George Macartney, 1st Earl Macartney (1793) and William Pitt Amherst, 1st Earl Amherst (1816) were allegedly unsuccessful, partly because kowtowing would mean acknowledging their King as a subject of the Emperor.

  15. Jim Haygood

    The FISA memo has electrified my dentist congressional rep, who all but calls for a duel in Prescott square with freedom’s nemesis, Flake Jeff Flake:

    The memo on the FBI abuse of FISA warrants … is third world politics where government agencies are used as campaign attack dogs.

    Full throated adoption of this illegal misconduct and abuse of FISA by James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein is not just criminal but constitutes treason.

    I will be leading a letter to the Attorney General seeking criminal prosecution against these traitors to our nation.

    To those members of Congress who fought so hard to keep the truth from the American public, your efforts to protect a corrupt organization are duly noted.

    I am not surprised Sen. Flake has again cast his lot with the Democrats [hissss! — JH] and those that attack true patriots. Good riddance.

    Red meat … YEEHAW.

    Now if the warring partisans can just shut down the gov next Thursday, that will be monster raving bullish. :-)

    1. Stormcrow

      The FISA Memo

      Perhaps the commentariat here is not greatly interested in the memo. For those who are, however, there is lots of good stuff over at Sic Semper Tyrannis, including in the threads.

      Also Paul Craig Roberts (with his usual overstatement):

      “That the plan to undermine Trump has catastrophically backfired turning the most reactionary, right wing president in our history into a populist hero fighting against an evil and corrupt political establishment. (Way to go, Dems. Time for a victory lap.) That the corrupt media is joined at the hip with elements in the deep state that work overtime to deceive and mislead the American people. (Nothing new, but bears repeating). … Whitney points out that by lining up with the Deep State, the liberal/progressive/left has destroyed itself.

      “This raises the question whether Russiagate was the Deep State’s conspiracy against Trump or the Deep State’s plan to destroy those opposed to war and wasting another trillion dollars on nuclear weapons.”

      1. Paul Cardan

        I’ve limited interest, because it’s contents come as no surprise. Much as I wasn’t shocked to learn that there were no WMDs in Iraq, I’m not shocked to find that the Democrats’ case for treason rests on their own opposition research (and I say ‘own’ because it seems they paid for it). I do think that Caitlin Johnstone’s take on the memo is quite insightful, though. She has me thinking that I don’t know what to call what the Democrats are after. ‘Fascism’ isn’t the right word for it, though there are some similarities. Readers here like to use terms such as ‘Orwellian,’ and I think I get that. It fits . . . somewhat. But I think this is something new. Maybe there isn’t a good name for it yet.

        I have to disagree with the linked article’s notion that the Democrats are clearly losers for having pushed Russiagate. The assumption seems to be that Russiagate was and is all about Trump. There are lots of signs that it’s more complex than that. Alleged Russian ties are being used by Democrats (through media assets such as the WaPo) to attack leftist politicians abroad. Such alleged ties have also been used to attack alternative media, much of it of a left persuasion.

        1. Mark P.

          Yeah. Russiagate is also about setting up Cold War 2.0 and was a program all set to run for the benefit of the MIC as soon as Hillary got to the White House anyway.

          She took large sums of money from them. So it was the least she and hers could do to run with the Russkigate theme to propitiate the MIC when she lost.

    2. Lynne

      Meanwhile, over at angrybear, they seem to argue that releasing the memo in support of transparency is actually obstruction of justice:


      In spy vs spy intelligence and counter-intelligence hiding all sorts of information from the other side is key. Who is being wiretapped is a closely held secret for obvious reasons. My point is that there are similar reasons to hide who has been wiretapped (including Page as was known before the memo was released) and when they were wiretapped, If one is under investigation, it very important to know what the investigators know. If one is not supposed to obstruct justice, one should not make that information public in the name of transparency.

    3. newcatty

      Well Jim,
      Hmmm…We live in the lovely, historical town with is pleasant square around which a lot of local culture and tourists from the (“hissss!”) LA without an ocean come to play in a cool, green “small town” a mile high. For some, it is for the “YEEHAW”… each, sometimes, to their own. I will not reveal more of the positive reasons we chose to live in Arizona’s Christmas City. We do like Christmas lights. And, they are LED on the trees in the square. We did have to make it crystal clear on our first moving here that we are not escapees from (“hissss!”) CA, but refugees from a southern AZ city. I miss Sonoran Mexican food. Time to sit on deck and look at peaks and commune with the sacred ones.

  16. El Gordo

    I’ll note one possible link between Woodruff and Janet Yellen that might have been a factor in the Newshour getting the Yellen interview on her last day: they are both Radcliffe Medalists, one year apart (an award given yearly by the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard).

  17. JTMcPhee

    I wonder whether student debtors are ever going to use their social networks to organize a broad-based cessation of payments into that black hole our rulers have called up out of the darkness?

  18. DJG

    Caitlin Johnstone article on how to pick apart the info in the Nunes menu and how to interpret the sound and fury of the bipartisan-stoked scandals: A great explainer. Highly recommended.

    And continuing to channel Cato:

    FISA delenda est

    And in homage to fellow groundling commenter, Conrad:

    CIA delenda est

    1. Conrad

      Now you’re talking.

      Looking at his wikiquote page it seems Cato has some good advice for personal finance as well:

      Emas non quod opus est, sed quod necesse est. Quod non opus est, asse carum est.
      Buy not what you want, but what you have need of; what you do not want is dear at a farthing.

      And banking:

      The pursuits of commerce would be as admirable as they are profitable if they were not subject to so great risks: and so, likewise, of banking, if it was always honestly conducted. For our ancestors considered, and so ordained in their laws, that, while the thief should be cast in double damages, the usurer should make four-fold restitution.

  19. heresy101

    “And a second bonus antidote because it’s that kind of day (AFXH).”

    OK, I’ll bite. AFXH doesn’t show up in any acronym dictionary, slang or otherwise.

    1. MichaelSF

      I look forward to seeing them working the poppies and other flowers. Here are a few photos I took in GG Park of bumbles and flowers, I hope you enjoy them:

      1. Oregoncharles

        Oops – missed that this was in Links. Contains a good review of what “deep state” really means, too.

    1. VietnamVet

      Catalin Johnstone has written a good article in a swamp of misinformation. A registered Democrat I accepted that the GOP was crazy with the run up to the invasion of Iraq. Nothing has changed my mind since. But, the support of neo-Nazis in Ukraine, the restart of the Cold War, and blaming Russia for losing the 2016 election are way too much. I am once again living with the rhetoric and threat of a nuclear war. Democrats are just as insane as Republicans. The forever wars are so contrary to the best interests of Americans that the only possible conclusion is that both are Parties of the Empire. Nowadays, an unaccountable corporate super state overlays the western pretend democracies below.

  20. allan

    In drug crisis hotbed, hoping for action on Trump’s words

    President Donald Trump heads to Ohio on Monday to make Cincinnati-area stops focusing on the new tax overhaul — though some in a state with one of the nation’s highest overdose rates would rather hear more about his plans for the drug crisis.

    In Newtown, outside Cincinnati, Police Chief Tom Synan said he found Trump’s comments on opioids in his State of the Union address to be “much of the same. There are very convincing words and there’s yet to be very convincing actions.”

    Synan, a law enforcement representative on the Cincinnati-based Hamilton County Heroin Coalition, wrote a column recently for The Cincinnati Enquirer calling for more urgency in the national response.

    Trump’s declaration of a public health emergency in October, he wrote, hasn’t been backed by more federal funding. …

    At what point does the complete inaction (other than photo-ops) on opioids, infrastructure and jobs
    begin to sink in and start to erode the base?

    1. Charlie

      “At what point does the complete inaction (other than photo-ops) on opioids, infrastructure and jobs
      begin to sink in and start to erode the base?”

      If the past is prologue, I’d say in about, oh, seven years. We tend to be a bit slow with these things, us Americans.

  21. oliverks

    The new solar cells could be a big break through for countries like Italy. When I was there I was shocked at how little solar power you see on buildings. When you did see panels, they were in productive fields instead of crops.

    As far as I could tell, this is is because people think they look ugly on houses. If you could integrate them discreetly on to walls or in Windows, I think people would start to adopt them.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Credit where it’s due: this is the reason Tesla designed solar cells that function as tile-like roofing. It bothers me to see solar arrays perched over roofing (which promotes moss, incidentally). They’re impervious to water, therefore they ARE roofing, if mounted properly. Our co-op has a sizeable area covered by them; handy dry porch.

      1. Conrad

        Are solar roofs actually available? The website asks for $US 1,000 deposit and then airily promises installations will ramp up in 2018.

        1. bob

          He’s a visionary!

          Details like manufacturing, sales and distribution are below him. It’s very rude of you to ask, honestly.

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      In any area subject to high winds, even rarely, you need to fix the panels firmly to the roof. As any roofer will tell you, roof penetrations are an entry point for water unless sealed properly. That’s money and hassle, especially on old school slate or tiled roofs. Not unsolvable, but a bigger obstacle to adoption than aesthetics alone.

  22. UserFriendly

    Some choice quotes from the Mooch interview:

    I want you to imagine the worst person that you’ve met on Wall Street, the most ruthless and the most diabolical,” he told me. “That’s the best person in Washington. That’s the Eagle Scout of Washington.

    He’s the creature from the Black Lagoon, Bannon. He acts more swamp-like than any person that’s ever become a Washingtonian. So for all of his railing on the swamp, he is literally the pig in George Orwell’s Animal Farm that stands on his two legs the minute he gets power. He is the creature from the Black Lagoon.

    Also he was apparently on Bill Maher last night and gave Bernie a shout out and implied he was the only one that could be Trump in 2020. The rest of the interview is Maher incorrectly siting the 17 intelligence agencies BS, David Frum being a general ahole to the Mooch, and Donna Brazile being the only other semi sane person.

  23. redleg

    Re. Streaming:
    Overall a good article. Platforms like Spotify see themselves as the product, not the music. That’s a problem. Performing Rights Organizations are slowly dealing with this significant problem but who knows if this will make headway. It is the same content ownership problem that other social media platforms have adopted- they currently own your content.
    But the article brings up the “fake artist” controversy, which has been at least partially debunked. Many of these “fake” artists are just obscure, self released their songs, and found a receptive audience whether by luck or skill. If there’s any interest here I will provide links. It is still an issue, but music is music, listeners are listeners, and (so far) Spotify bans artists trying to juice plays by using bots as that affects royalties.

    But the gigantic benefit of streaming is that it keeps the back catalog of an artist in play. Physical media sales generally happen within a short time of a release, but streams are timeless and portable. Another benefit is that a sale does not mean that song/record will ever get played. You know that someone listened to that song when it was streamed, and the artist has access to the data to see what songs are playing where and to what demographic. All of this is valuable information.
    Streaming has pros and cons (all meanings of both apply), but so did the traditional record labels. Personally I see more benefits than costs for streaming with the same to slightly lower “artists are getting screwed” levels as the label model.
    I could write a book on this subject, but I suspect I’d be the only one here interested in it.

    1. Subgenius

      A lot of the self released artist product is built around a gaming of the search algorithms.

      A different way is possible. Whether we can bootstrap it to a noticeable success…who knows..

      1. redleg

        Of course it is. Music is released to be heard or at least acknowledged, and search engine optimization (SEO) is one way to get there. All the top-tier SEO in the world doesn’t mean a song will be heard at all. Soundcloud, Spotify, etc. stats show an artist how the listener arrived at the song. Random search hits are logged, which could be related to SEO, or not.

        Based on my experience, Spotify and similar platforms do a very good job at identifying “related artists” based on plays (of 30+ seconds), not SEO. Spotify search is good at finding songs and artists, but not as good at keywords or band members. Other platforms are better at tags.

  24. Eustache De Saint Pierre

    Rees-Mogg being jostled & heckled by the lower orders, will hopefully dissuade him from any further political ambition to become the Prime Minister – although in the present chaotic situation, it might well be his only chance.

    He somehow reminds me the PG Wodehouse early 20th century upper class twit creation unfortunately christened Augustus Fink-Nottle. Perhaps after recovering from an attack of the Vapours, Rees-Mogg might be persuaded to follow Gussie’s useful example by retiring to some ancestral pile in order to study newts.

    He most likely believes that the insults thrown at him are a list of his best features.

    1. Mark P.

      He somehow reminds me the PG Wodehouse early 20th century upper class twit creation unfortunately christened Augustus Fink-Nottle.

      I understand the temptation to believe that, but all that is better thought of — as with BoJo — as protective coloration or mimicry for a predator that’s potentially deadly given its toxic combination of total arrogance, incompetence and self-serving cupidity.

      1. Eustache De Saint Pierre

        I agree totally & I perhaps clumsily missed my main point, that he appears to model himself on what he likely perceives as the right chap to suit the glory days of around a century ago – perhaps his plan for Britain is an updated version of Downton Abbey, but with an extremely large dose of added realism.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Big Fault in the Memo, National Review.

    Let’s look at the timeline. First, the memo notes that on October 21, 2016, the “DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order . . . authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC.” The dossier allegedly “formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application.” The memo then claims that the FISA warrant was renewed three times.


    The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok.

    1. in July 2016, an FBI counterintelligence investigation was opened by agent Strzok.

    2. Presumably that involved no electronic surveillance.

    3. On Oct 21, 2016 (3 to 4 months later), DOJ and FBI sought from FISC approval for electronic surveillance on Carter Page, but there is no evidence of cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos..

    Are the two related or not?

    Was the investigation into Papadopoulos about to end at the person alone, on or about Oct 21, 2016? Was it going to lead to no other person, not even Carter Page?

    How does that jump over to justify electronic surveillance, needing to be approved by FISC, on Carter Page?

    1. fresno dan

      February 3, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      All great questions. But I was reading Vox just because I like to get the other side. AND I often find out things that escape people who are on the “pro” Trump side since they are not intellectually honest and won’t say that FISA itself is a flawed system, after the repubs just reauthorized 702.
      There isn’t a lot of support for such a firing in the memo. Typically, FISA warrants only get renewed if they uncover new evidence that justifies continuing the surveillance. It seems plausible that this could have happened with Page, given his Russian connections. In 2013, for example, Russian agents approached him with the intent of turning him into an asset (a point the Nunes memo never notes).

      UH…..I ASSUME Carter Page was under some kind of surveillance for ?someone? to say Russian agents approached Carter Page. About what….
      Carter Page has been surveilled for 5 years???? Is this the Afghanistan of surveillance or is it par for the course? Of course, with a SECRET court system, who knows…..
      How long can someone be surveilled before it is time to fish or cut bait?
      AND with the amount of leaking there is, why havn’t we heard about all the valuable US state secrets lost or in peril because of Carter Page?
      A cynical person (moi??? what a calumny to accuse MOI of cynicism!) might ask if certain people are kept under surveillance for years just to have a gateway should the need ever arise to surveill certain other individuals or organizations…..

      1. JTMcPhee

        Time to go re-watch “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” Which unfortunately has a “happy” ending.

    2. Darthbobber

      The big flaw in the memo is that it’s a frigging MEMO fchrissake. If the documents it purports to refer to cannot or will not be made available, there is literally no basis other than “Trust me pal” for judging any claims it makes directly or implies.

  26. allan

    The Harm Releasing the Nunes Memo Caused [Emptywheel]

    • Tells Carter Page and any co-conspirators precisely when FISA surveillance started

    • Tells subjects of the investigation the status of the investigation and FBI’s ability to validate the Steele memo

    • Tells Australians and every other foreign partner shared intelligence may be officially declassified

    But on the plus side:

    • Makes it more likely defendants will get FISA review

    1. curlydan

      Of those 3, none of them seem terrible or earth-shattering. I think any foreign intel knows it could be abused in a relationship with the U.S.

      It’s been 18 months…and Mueller and his predecessors still have what seems like nothing. Wheeler makes it seems like a host of Russians are breathing a collective sigh of relief now and are unplugging the shredders or something like that. My gut tells me they’re continuing to say “look at those dumb squirrels scramble”…

      I think the true abuse is that one party has released an intelligence memo, and the minority party can’t release their version unless the majority party lets them. Nunes purports to be searching for the truth. Doubt it. I agree with the TRN video with Crowley and Blumenthal…release the Dem memo for (I can’t believe I’m saying this) balance and release the relevant parts of McCabe’s testimony. And if one party releases an intel related memo, let the other party at least respond.

      Johnstone also made an excellent point via Assange’s longstanding contention….national security usually is less about protecting secrets and more about political security

      1. Darthbobber

        Well, not exactly nothing, given the indictments and pleas. Just nothing that bears any resemblance to the OMG Trump/Putin conspiracy of some democrats’ wet dreams.

        And 18 months isn’t long really for this sort of thing. The Chaka Fattah probe, a fairly straightforward investigation of garden variety corruption by a single congressman and his subordinates, was more than three years old before the first indictment was returned.

        Mueller’s people seem really more interested in financial crimes and money laundering than in Russiarussiarussia. Most Russiarussiarussia related crimes would probably involve not disclosing or lying about various Russiarussiarussia related things.

        So charges by the end will/would probably be peripheral to Russiarussiarussia but less peripheral than the stained dress of a white house intern is to a real estate transaction in Arkansas.

    2. witters

      I used to read emptywheel, but the “I have special knowledge of Russia meddling, but I can’t tell you, so believe me!” is deeply depressing.

  27. Darthbobber

    Pope “bowing” to the Chinese on Bishops. Aah…a return to the old days. There was a time when any European Prince who wanted to be major league insisted on some degree of control over the appointment of Bishops in his domains.

    The series of monarchs all hight Louis got this at a fairly early stage. Given that the papacy was still a secular and military power which was often at odds with various Catholic princes, and that said princes often drew political advisors from the upper clergy this was seen as important. The 2 famous Cardinals of French politics, Richeliu and Mazarin, never doubted that their loyalty was owed to Louis XIII and the Sun King, respectively, though their ambitions, particularly in Italy, put them always politically and often militarily at odds with the papacy.

    Piece of trivia: For all the orange order hagiography of William of Orange, and for all the glorious revolution’s protestantism, it was King Billy, not King Jamie, who was accompanied to the Boyne river by the Papal banners and a Papal Nuncio. Because the fact that Billy backed the proddy cause and Jamie the Catholic one was vastly less important to the pope than the fact that Jamie was a client and pensioner of Louis and Billy was Louis’ leading military opponent.

  28. Wukchumni

    I went to learn how to graft today, and a 86 year old gent showed me the ropes in a class locally. He must have 200-300 fruit trees @ his place, all mature and full of ripe citrus now, and summer fruit later.

    Grafted a royal apricot scion onto a plum root, and in the ground it goes tomorrow…

    1. ambrit

      Oh my. I would have thought that you had learned how to graft long ago when you worked in finance. :=}

  29. The Rev Kev

    Nunes Memo

    Whatever the ins and outs of this memo, I think that the fascinating part of this saga is the media reaction to its release. It has forced publications to take a stand on how they regard it and some of it is going on borderline hysteria such as NYT’s headline “Trump’s Unparalleled War on a Pillar of Society: Law Enforcement”. From both sides of the aisles, it is a sort of are-you-are with-us-or are-you-against-us moment. Sigh! Seems that so many people are worried by their rice bowls breaking. I sometimes wonder if US publications could be sorted out in the same way British newspapers were once sorted by Jim Hacker in the old TV series “Yes Minister”-

    Hacker: “Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers. The ‘Daily Mirror’ is read by people who think they run the country; ‘The Guardian’ is read by people who think they ought to run the country; ‘The Times’ is read by the people who actually do run the country; the ‘Daily Mail’ is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the ‘Financial Times’ is read by people who own the country; the ‘Morning Star’ is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country, and the ‘Daily Telegraph’ is read by people who think it is.
    Sir Humphrey: “Prime Minister, what about the people who read ‘The Sun’?”
    Bernard: ” ‘Sun’ readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big xxxx.”

  30. Patrick Donnelly

    Earthquakes are best lubricated by whatever means…..

    More of them, smaller in size and no damage to persons or property.

    Hype to decry these measures?

      1. Oregoncharles

        The problem is that Oklahoma doesn’t normally have earthquakes. Except for the Madrid Fault, hundreds of miles away, it’s a stable part of the continent. So fracking appears to be causing quakes that wouldn’t happen otherwise. Not too surprising: the name refers to “fracturing” rock. As in, causing faults.

        OTOH, when it comes to pre-existing faults, it’s a truism that multiple small quakes, or better yet smooth movement, is better than a stuck fault that leads to a great quake. Apparently the San Andreas, for instance, has stretches of both kinds. Subduction zones appear to normally be stuck, leading to very large quakes (and tsunamis) when they let go. The forces involved are especially huge, like a whole continent bearing down on you.

      2. ambrit

        Hmmm… I’d say that the last few years of geological history of Oklahoma had put the lie to that idea.

  31. Jessica

    I heartily second the recommendation of The Devil’s Chessboard for anyone who wants to understand what the intelligence agencies really are.

  32. Procopius

    She has no home, car or job after bankruptcy, but still owes for student loans

    If Good Old Uncle Joe Biden runs in 2020, his opponene is going to hammer on the fact that he had a lot to do with bringing this about. Because college students would certainly “strategically” go bankrupt if he didn’t impose this restriction. It was obvious, wasn’t it? I mean we saw so much of that before 2005.

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