Links 3/18/18

We spent a year photographing the animal crop raiders of the Amazon – here are the results The Conversation. Some great pics.

Part of the Great Barrier Reef exposed to more CO₂; results are grim Ars Technica

Tom and Jerry: Why They’re a Cat and Mouse Double Act for the Ages The Wire.

How Did Private Property Start? Jacobin (Chuck L)

How Hollywood actors are writing wills to control their CGI selves from beyond the grave Telegraph

United flight had to be diverted because it accidentally had a dog onboard WaPo

Most of America’s Fruit Is Now Imported. Is That a Bad Thing? NYT

Health Care

Hospitals are confronting a new opioid crisis: an alarming shortage of pain meds Stat

A startup is pitching a mind-uploading service that is “100 percent fatal” MIT Technology Review

This Study May Find That Moderate Drinking Is Healthy. The Alcohol Industry Was Asked to Pay for It. NYT

Lead is even deadlier than we feared as the full extent of its toxic effects are revealed Guardian

Is Coal Waste Leaching Into America’s Drinking Water? New Republic

Drugs, plastics and flea killer: the unseen threats to UK’s rivers Guardian

The FBI — ‘Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity’ — Still Working on Diversity ProPublica

Class Warfare

Tesla boss in line for mega-pay deal BBC

Big Tech needs to face a Theodore Roosevelt-style trust busting Seattle Times

Most Americans Still Don’t Fear Big Tech’s Power Slate

Saudi Crown Prince Plans Meetings With Apple, Google Bloomberg

In German courts, the tide is turning against VW Handelsblatt

Electric Black Cabs Are Taking Over in London Bloomberg

The fate of the steering wheel hangs in the balance The Verge

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

The Cambridge Analytica Files ‘I created Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower Guardian

How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions NYT

Senate Judiciary Dem calls on Zuckerberg to testify before committee The Hill


The Syrian war could still be raging in four years’ time unless the US and Russia agree to end it Independent. Patrick Cockburn.


Al Jazeera did a hard-hitting investigation into US and Israeli lobbying – so why won’t they air it? Independent. Robert Fisk.

New Cold War

Hold my beer and watch this! Vineyard of the Saker (Chuck L)

Russia claims foreign hackers are trying to interfere with its election Business Insider

Meet the voters in Russia’s heartland who are about to give Vladimir Putin another six years in office LA Times (JT McPhee)

2016 Post Mortem

Democrats, it’s time for you to dump Hillary Clinton USA Today


Farmers’ long march to Mumbai reflects India’s agrarian crisis Asia Times

The amazing public relations of the farmer protests in Maharashtra Business Insider

Nobel-winner Paul Krugman warns India story could end with mass unemployment Economic Times


Arkansas students punished with paddles for walking out: reports The Hill

Trump Transition

Exclusive – European powers propose new Iran sanctions to meet Trump ultimatum Reuters

Controversial Trump hunting group meets for first time The Hill

McCabe kept memos on Trump conversations Politico

McCabe firing isn’t likely to end Trump’s war with the Justice Department and FBI LA Times

After McCabe firing, Trump attacks FBI, and his lawyer says Russia probe must end WaPo

Is There Another Bear in the Woods? How Not to Celebrate a 10th Anniversary INET. On the tenth anniversary of the Bear Stearns collapse and bailout, INET pulls together useful analysis and links explaining what was and remains at stake– including info on regulation.

Towers with Grenfell-style cladding ‘at risk of arson and terrorism’ Guardian

Offshore Drilling Companies Want Less Regulation. But Safety Problems Persist. NYT


Brexit: a gap too great to bridge

Can history help? London Review of Books

Antidote du Jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. UserFriendly

    Urgh, an actual opioid shortage for hospitals? Trust me 0% of IV opiates for hospitals are available on the black market. Now people like me who have insanely high opiate tolerance will be forced to be screaming in pain should we need surgery for anything. When I broke my elbow there was a 2 day wait before I could get in the OR and that entire time I was asking the nurse for stronger drugs every hour on the hour. Sitting there with my elbow in lots of little pieces (after surgery x-ray) they kept treating me like some off the street junkie who just did that for drugs. That was back in 2010ish too, before the stigma got really bad. Now with the stigma and shortage I’d be lucky if I got meds at all.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Cmon, man! You know the rules! JUST DIE, already, and stop being so inconvenient! /s, of course. Empathy is so last century… likewise decency and comity…

      1. UserFriendly

        Sadly that is the message I get from almost every aspect of my life over and over again…. I just got rejected from a 1 year temp job that I agreed to get underpaid for despite being overqualified for. Tell me again how hot the economy is?

            1. ChiGal in Carolina

              Third. As I’ve said before, this 30-something gives me hope for the future.

              Keep on keeping on, we need you!

          1. Jean

            A tender hug for you. Your body will heal eventually. Keep loving yourself and have faith.

            I’ve had to shorten my CV and dumb down my resume to get jobs. It’s guerrilla warfare, nothing to be ashamed of.

            A German general said that the first step in war is to identify who, or what, the enemy is/are.

            Educating others about what’s happening economically is the finest form of sabotage against the enemy. I find this website to be the finest tool available for that. Channel your anger into outreach.

            When does this country get a Pitchfork Party?

        1. ambrit

          I hear you loud and clear.
          It’s “Saint Elmos’ Economy.” It burns cold and blue with a ‘Will-o’-the-wisp’ consistency. It dazzles and beguiles.Try to grasp hold of it and it disappears.

        2. marym

          The links and comments you provide here are valuable. Hope you find some relief in your employment situation till we can all get it together to make the world better.

        3. Westcoastdeplorable

          My best advice is to find something you geniunely can do, and do well, then just figure out a way to get people to pay for it.
          I did that about 26 years ago and don’t regret a minute of the experience. I’m not rich in dollars, but feel I am in wisdom obtained along the ride.
          Timing is also important, but I started a successful business in the middle of a recession.

        4. ChristopherJ

          Sorry to hear UF – I am former CFO and now drive school buses – a lot less stress, but had to dumb down CV to get role. Happening everywhere

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      From the article:
      But manufacturers say the issue is difficult to solve from a financial standpoint. Most operate with lean capacity because of tight profit margins on generic medications. Injectable opioids, while used in large volumes, cost only a few dollars a vial, so maintaining extra manufacturing capability doesn’t pencil out.

      Also amazing that it doesn’t mention the infrastructure damage and lack of federal support to rebuild in PR, which is I believe a factor in this.

      For all its talk of supply chain this and that, this is remarkably short on context.

      It’s the system, man.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Also, too, such a coincidence that a class of drugs that has come under such scrutiny for insufficient pre-approval research, dishonest advertising, overprescription, wanton distribution abuses and dangerous addictive potential, suddenly experiences “technical and process” issues as “explained” by a charter member of the big pharma oligopolist club:

        Pfizer, which controls about 60 percent of the U.S. market for injectable opioids, said a supplier responsible for making a component of its Carpuject and iSecure pre-filled syringes has experienced a “technical and process issue.”
        Although the shortage was not directly caused by the opioid addiction crisis, the response to it is being impaired by some of the legal controls surrounding these drugs. In order to increase the supply of injectable opioids, the Drug Enforcement Administration, which regulates the distribution of controlled substances, must lift quotas on smaller manufacturers to allow them to make more.

        Maybe it’s not just the “intelligence community” that, when “taken on,” has “six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.” Maybe someone doesn’t like their products being disrespected, and has decided to give the customers a taste of life without it.

        1. Jean

          Isn’t there an Eighth Amendment issue there?

          Patients in hospitals with insufficient pain medication are subject to cruel and unusual punishment caused by legislative action or
          induced by tax policy that rewards for-profit corporations for withholding medication.

      2. Camembert

        Yeah, that part’s not physically possible. Later on, the article cites the DEA as the source of the bottleneck, which is much more likely.

      3. The Heretic

        There is a simple solutions if margins are too tight for Pfizer… let the US government create a national corporation, fund it with cheap public debt and buy the patents, some management and research expertise and the manufacturing faciltise and its supply chains… pfizer gets out of tight margin business, and hospital get supplied with what ever needed high quality pain medication at cost… and government get direct insight into the ‘difficulty’ required to produce pain drugs.

    3. Norb

      Like everything in the current economy, fraud and greed drive out the good. While your case is tragic, the number of drug seeking individuals visiting emergency rooms, or individuals taking the view that they are the customer of medical services, so are entitled to satisfy their personal needs by demanding drugs is a real problem. Because addressing the root cause of the problem would put into question the larger whole, it is only addressed in a half-a*ss manner. Lost in the drive for profit is the notion that personal medical care and well- being should be the primary force- not secondary.

      I can see the thinking clearly. Opioid abuse is starting to become a noticeable problem, so gain political cover by changing hospital policy limiting the use and distribution. The owners can use the shortage to increase prices, so profits are unaffected, while a rise in illegal activity only feeds into the Prison Industrial Complex. Win Win for the plutocracy. Who cares about actual need.

      All the while, compassionate physicians, who are the ideal care givers, are driven out of the hospital setting as they no longer “fit” the desired model. Individuals primarily concerned with career and profit generation excel.

      I know these are just isolated anecdotal stories, but at a local hospital, a young, recently homeless man, jumped from the hospital parking garage in attempted suicide after being released from treatment. The hospital had no means to deal with his state of despair. All social services were inadequate to deal with his situation. What was truly distressing was that one faction of doctors had no problem washing their hands of him, while another went out of the way to accommodate the individual for compassion reasons- and lost.
      Not only must this doctor deal with the inadequacy of his ability to provide needed care, but contend with colleagues who couldn’t care less. Very difficult place to be.

      Another incident centered around a disagreement in giving a severely burned individual, as in your case, extra pain medication. My reaction upon hearing the story, was WTF, this person is burned over their entire body, give them what they need to relieve the pain. The doctor in question brought out the limited narcotics policy to justify his actions. It took the nurses emphatic demands to override his decision. Could this totally un-empathetic doctor be a sick individual thriving in a system that gives misguided rewards? I would say, yes. I guess this doctor is know in the nursing business as a “Jerk”.

      1. ChristopherJ

        How sad, mate. But then again, empathy is in short supply, particularly at the top of the food chain. S’why many of them rise to the top in the first place

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Brexit: a gap too great to bridge

    The last few paragraphs sum it all up very well.

    Dominating the Whitehall tree of ignorance, is an overwhelming arrogance, imbued with an untouchable confidence that “we know best”. They will not know they have been taken apart until it’s too late, putting us in a bad state, politically and bureaucratically. We need some serious people. But they are in perilously short supply.

    As for the media, we have a more complex dynamic. Because they’ve all started out on the wrong foot, they don’t want to admit their errors or the paucity of their earlier reports. And if they start now flagging up BIPs as a major issue, that opens them up to questions as to why others haven’t been flagging up the problem (as in the trade or select committees). No one wants to be first.

    I’ve spoken myself to a lot of the trade people and their knowledge is distressingly limited. They have never experienced the regime pre-EEC/Single Market and have no conception of it. And they don’t know the law. Everybody glibly talks about EU rules, but nobody actually reads them. Asked by journalists to describe the system, they convey not information but ignorance, And if they have sufficient prestige, the journalists lap it up uncritically.

    Another problem is conceptual. The journalists (as well as the rest) equate border controls with customs controls. They simply don’t get it that customs are only a tiny part of the system. But knowledge of the rest of the system is minuscule, Their ignorance is profound and the knowledge gap is too great to bridge. They will have to find out the hard way.

    And for another big problem area for the UK, it seems that there is a wave of TV media companies leaving because they suddenly realised that they need EU licenses to operate across Europe (I confess this is an area I know nothing about, so it would be good if someone with knowledge of this chips in). This seems to effect both UK companies and branches of US companies in the UK who serve the EU market – they will be unable to broadcast in Europe without a licence from an EU member.

    Ireland up against Germany and Netherlands to win over UK based TV channels after Brexit.

    Speaking to this week, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland chief executive Michael O’Keeffe said there are about 1,000 European licences which will be lost after Brexit and this will force these firms – Ofcom and Sony, for example – to open new bases in the European Union.
    “They are feeds of different services that are going out. The likes of a Discovery Channel, the will have ten or 12 different countries on the feed and all the licences are in Ofcom, so they’ll have to move them somewhere else,” he said.

    Its kind of odd that the UK media don’t even seem to understand the legislative context for their own business, as I’ve seen little written on this topic. OffCom (the UK regulator), is quite vague on the subject.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Heard tonight that the UK is thinking about asking for an extension beyond October as they have worked out that they may not have enough time to get it all done – after flushing the last two years vigorously down the toilet. Idjuts!

      1. JTMcPhee

        Also flushing the mopery of the UK down the toilet, but then toffs sticking the heads of lesser people down the loo seems to be part of Tradition, the stuff that holds Merry Olde England together… Not idjuts, just following form, and per Tradition, personal-consequence-free — even when they cock up, visibly and “offensively,” as in this,, all that’s required is for some of their PR “people” to craft a Strategic NonPology to obtain a nice “there, there, it’s all right” global indulgence (in the Olde Catholic sense,,8599,1881152,00.html) …

        In line with some current “news,” here’s advice on how the Empire could “reduce tensions” (that wonderful euphemism) with the rationally fearful and defensive rulers of North Korea, by offering a Strategic Nopology for engaging in germ warfare (along with “‘not one brick atop another” bombing and napalming) against North Korea during the Korean Non-Conflict 1950-53, But then, that’s hardly what the Game is all about, now is it?

        1. Doug Hillman

          Can you recommend an updated British-American dictionary for those of us across the pond still learning English? For instance, I get the gist of toffs sticking their lessers’ heads in the loo as a time-honored Anglo-American tradition, but when these same toffs “cock up visibly and ‘offensively'”, am I way off picturing trench-coat pervs like Aqualung eyeing little boys with bad intent?

          1. Jessica

            Cock up seems to mean what we call screw up in the US.
            I am enjoying learning British slang. Interesting that an a**hole in the US seems to be a c*nt in the UK.

            1. Irrational

              No, a**hole would be a***hole in UK spelling, c*nt is quite a bit more (c)rude – think building site swearing words as opposed to mainstream swearing.

              1. Grebo

                C*nt is pretty much the strongest swearword in British slang.
                Monty Python’s Life of Brian, in the original cinema release, had John Cleese shout it at Brian with great venom. The versions available now have been clumsily overdubbed with ‘klutz’. I expect this gets it a lower certification.

            1. witters

              It is from Shaw And/or Wilde: and in either version there is (the 2 authors wit aside) no greatness.

          2. Janie

            We stopped about 2 pm at a small inn near Hadrian’s Wall. The owner, with a four year old and a baby on her hip, offered a room with a great view but an older bed. I checked the bed, said it seemed fine. She said, “now, now. No nookie in the afternoon” to us, in our seventies. I must have looked shocked, because she said, oh, that was quite naughty of me, wasn’t it.”

      2. Ignacio

        …and hard-brexiters within the UK brexit commision did not endorse asking such extension…

    2. David

      I think there are plenty of people in Whitehall who understand very well how the EU operates, have served in Brussels or sit on the endless EU committees on all sorts of subjects. The problem is a bit more subtle.
      Partly, yes, it’s a severe falling-off in the quality of top officials over the last generation, but also selection by the system of a different kind of person for the top jobs. Today’s top mandarins got where they are by “knowing what Ministers want”, by “having a safe pair of hands” and by mastery of management-speak. Quite a few of them I think, whilst far from stupid, are just out of their depth.
      In addition, don’t forget that you join government to solve problems. If you just want to write about how problems can’t be solved, you become a journalist or join a think tank. But I think enough remains of the problem-solving spirit that people in Whitehall, though dazed and overwhelmed, are clinging to the belief that it must be possible to find some kind of solution at some point. Even if they don’t think so, they are not going to admit that to outsiders.

      1. Camembert

        Tories, like American conservatives, don’t join government to solve problems. They join government to fleece the rubes.

    3. BillK

      Re: understanding complex EU bureaucracy – Didn’t Brexit vote to get rid of subservience to all that? How well does the UK need to understand all the minuscule details when they are scrapping it? If the Germans want to continue selling their cars in the UK (one of their biggest markets) then a fix will quickly be negotiated.

      Re: companies leaving London and moving to the EU – Is this a trend? If the Remainers are actually leaving the UK and moving to the EU, then they will be cheered on by Brexit supporters who received little benefit from their EU deals.
      The Brexit vote was partly a result of perceived inequality in the UK. If you benefited from the EU then the benefits should have been spread around the whole of the UK.

      1. jsn

        Didn’t Brexit vote to get rid of subservience to all that?

        Yes, and in so doing, in allowing the deed to be done by twits who don’t understand what it means, Brits are quarantining themselves from foreign trade almost as effectively as sanctions have done Russia.

        A fantastic own goal for an overpopulated
        island that can’t even feed itself, much less provide health services without foreign workers.

        Distribution of benefits may have been the proximate cause of the Brexit vote, but less than nothing is being done about that distributional problem in what’s being actually done.

        1. Oregoncharles

          ” almost as effectively as sanctions have done Russia.”
          That would be good news; Russian has survived the sanctions very handily, and indeed used them to improve its economy.

          Of course, that was with competent leadership. Plus, Russia is selling oil, a highly fungible commodity, while Britain has a declining supply and probably needs most of it. And Russia is a vastly larger country with a history of relative autarky.

  3. UserFriendly

    I always suspected that if anyone on the internet tipped the election to Trump it would be something more like Cambridge Analytica than Russian troll farms. Illegally getting additional info beyond FB profiles allows them to do a much better job of personalizing adds to find just the right one that could be effective and then having the $$$ to spend deploying those ads only to the intended targets. This still seems like at best it would only marginally affect turnout though. Like convincing a marginal Hillary supporter in PA that she was already gonna win so don’t vote.

    1. Sid_finster

      So now Trump is accused of having better data analytics than the designated winner? The goalposts keep on moving closer.

      Note that none of this has anything to do with Russia, except for a “six degrees of separation” type conspiracy theory.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        No kidding.

        The obama “data analytics” operation was universally lauded as a technological marvel of micro-targeting that brought “democracy” into the digital age. It became the holy grail. It garnered fame and fortune for its “innovative” and brilliant young architects, and, of course, the right guy won.

        Trump’s “crime” is, was and always will be that he beat the machine at its own game, using tools the machine developed along with something they thought they no longer needed–a real, non-algorithmic message.

      2. Alex morfesis

        Well…there is the little detail that all this was actually for that KGB agent Ted Cruz…whose dad did actually work with Fidel and Raul in Cuba…but let us not worry about details when there is a Trump to fry…

        And the other detail to be forgotten… All this noise and psycho babble neographics didn’t exactly get Cruz the nomination…

      3. UserFriendly

        She sunk all her money into the black hole that is the democratic strategist class. Like I said I doubt it was consequential, but I have a much easier time believing it was one of our home grown oligarchs that would break the law and steel data and spend a few billion to get billions more in tax cuts while screwing over the rest of us. Nowhere creates sociopathic billionaires like the good old USA.

      4. ChrisPacific

        It’s actually a pretty good article and relatively free from the OMG Trump Russia stuff, although it comes through a bit at second hand from some of the interviewees. Here’s a sample:

        In the history of bad ideas, this turned out to be one of the worst. The job was research director across the SCL group, a private contractor that has both defence and elections operations. Its defence arm was a contractor to the UK’s Ministry of Defence and the US’s Department of Defense, among others. Its expertise was in “psychological operations” – or psyops – changing people’s minds not through persuasion but through “informational dominance”, a set of techniques that includes rumour, disinformation and fake news.

        SCL Elections had used a similar suite of tools in more than 200 elections around the world, mostly in undeveloped democracies that Wylie would come to realise were unequipped to defend themselves.

        I agree that CA have a vested interest in overhyping their capability and it hasn’t always worked (Cruz being one example). But you have only to look at the current hysteria and media blitz about Russia to see that this kind of thing can be very effective.

    2. edmondo

      Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan.

      The real reason Trump won is because Hillary kicked the election to the curb. She thought she was owed it and she acted that way. And technically she won (if you only count raw votes) but apparently the Russians got James Madison to come up with the Electoral College in 1787 because they were misogynists. The Dems ran an inept campaign. Clinton was Tom Dewey without the charisma. Or the experience. Or the foresight to just go away.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      I remember an article stating that Fleecebook had offered to show both the Trump and Clinton campaigns how they could use the platform to target the voters they wanted to reach. Trump agreed, Clinton declined. Now the story is changing yet again to claim dastardly deeds by this analytics company. You’re probably correct in your assessment about which is more effective (the ads allegedly placed by the Russians read as clickbait and a complete joke to me) but I still don’t think it was internet ads that swung the election at all.

      And I remain extremely skeptical regarding the efficacy of any internet ads, on FB, microtargeted or otherwise. What proof is there that any of this changes anybody’s mind about anything?

      We’ve all heard the old quote from some ad exec back in the day saying 50% of all advertising money is wasted, they just wish they knew which half. The point of advertising is to let people know your product exists in the first place. The MSM gave Trump billions of dollars of free publicity to make sure those last few people living in a cave somewhere knew all about the guy, even though he had been in the public eye for decades already and the vast majority of people had already formed an opinion of him. Just like they had for Clinton. I’d wager that the 2016 general election had by far the two most known quantities running of any election in recent history, maybe ever. And also the most reviled, once again proving Twain’s adage that familiarity breeds contempt.

      I don’t think one need go too much farther than that to understand the results of the 2016 election.

    4. ChrisPacific

      The stupid little quizzes on Facebook that require you to share profile access in order to complete are ubiquitous. Presumably everyone who shares them has done so and they are shared constantly. Facebook offers a little CYA prompt telling you what you’re about to do, but context matters (“your friend did this already and they had a great time – won’t you do it too?”) They have no incentive to police this anyway as their entire business model is predicated on getting everyone to share with everyone. I try to use it like an old-fashioned bulletin board that is accessible only to people I’ve directly granted access, but I find myself constantly fighting the UI and having to re-check privacy settings in order to achieve this. Even so I am under no illusion that my data is private – for example, friends can grant apps permission to see private information about me as long as it’s visible to them. It turns out there is an option to disallow this, which I’ve just done, but none of the privacy checkups ever picked this up and it was enabled for all apps by default (surprise!) My rule of thumb is that if I would be anything more than mildly annoyed or inconvenienced if something was to be made public, then I won’t post it on Facebook.

  4. allan

    Towers with Grenfell-style cladding: It turns out that, at least in the U.S., tracking down which buildings were constructed with this stuff is not an easy task. Here is an investigation in Rochester, NY (N=9) that found that
    many of the records have been destroyed:

    … Not long after the London fire, the Democrat and Chronicle began looking into the aluminum cladding of one Rochester high-rise. In the fall, the newspaper expanded its inquiry through an open-records request to the city for information on the construction of nine prominent downtown buildings.

    Those records weren’t provided until last month — and they failed to explain the makeup of the building facades. Inquiries with building owners, architects, suppliers and construction managers also failed to yield definitive answers.

    City building-department and fire officials say they believe all Rochester skyscrapers are safe, and they think no high-rises here have flammable panels — but they don’t know for sure. …

    Sounds reassuring.

    1. a different chris

      Well Rochester could certainly pass an ordinance that you have to prove your building doesn’t have flammable panels. It’s not like you can’t remove a facade panel and test it, it’s just…. money… oh, never mind.

    2. Jean

      A circular saw bit on an electric drill at ground level to take a sample and a cigarette lighter to test flammability is all that’s required.

      When I worked in theater, the fire inspector would cut off a small piece of the stage curtain and sic a lighter on it outside. If it burned, the curtain was replaced/retreated with fireproofing.

  5. Wukchumni

    We spent a year photographing the animal crop raiders of the Amazon – here are the results The Conversation.

    A fellow cabin owner has a motion activated game camera mounted on the back of his place to catch wildlife in it’s tracks, and he’s got some great shots of all the denizens of the forest, including another cabin owner in full Yeti outfit walking by-a little hunched over, which he borrowed from a Hollywood studio prop room.

    The only fruit trees on the all cats and no cattle ranch here so far safe from animal raiders, are all citrus, the Satsuma plum and loquat.

    The Satsuma is a late ripening plum and is a rich purple inside, while the skin is a blotchy melange of colors, so the birds aren’t hep to it being ripe, while nobody has molested the loquat yet, as maybe they aren’t sure what it’s all about?

    The Dorsett Golden apple tree had an ant infestation, and the diminutive ones tore a quarter-dollar sized lid off of the skin with their teeth on 4 or 5 apples, and on one orb, they ate everything and left the eaten core hanging for me to find.

    Everything is hungry, and appreciative of the smorgasbord i’ve laid out.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From the first paragraph:

      Rural communities in the Amazon rainforest live alongside an incredibly diverse set of animals. When some of those animals damage and eat farmers’ crops (“crop-raiding”), it creates a challenge for conservationists, who need to understand the lives of the people who coexist with that wildlife.

      That’s our perspective – those animals damage and raid.

      What is their perspective? Humans encroach?

    2. Oregoncharles

      Your Satsumas fruit reliably? They’re very irregular here, I think depending on the weather when they bloom (now). We have a couple of Elephant Hearts, which are a larger clone of Satsumas. Heavenly, but we rarely get very many. It helped when I planted a Japanese pollinator, Shiro (yellow, good but not as scrumptious as the Elephant Hearts – but much more reliable.)

      Our main critter problems are deer and raccoons – besides jays and squirrels getting most of the nuts. As you say, set out a banquet…

  6. allan

    Kushner Cos. filed false documents with NYC [AP]

    When the Kushner Cos. bought three apartment buildings in a gentrifying neighborhood of Queens in 2015, most of the tenants were protected by special rules that prevent developers from pushing them out, raising rents and turning a tidy profit.

    But that’s exactly what the company then run by Jared Kushner did, and with remarkable speed. Two years later, it sold all three buildings for $60 million, nearly 50 percent more than it paid.

    Now a clue has emerged as to how President Donald Trump’s son-in-law’s firm was able to move so fast: The Kushner Cos. routinely filed false paperwork with the city declaring it had zero rent-regulated tenants in dozens of buildings it owned across the city when, in fact, it had hundreds.

    While none of the documents during a three-year period when Kushner was CEO bore his personal signature, …

    Of course they didn’t. There is always a designated fall guy to sign on the dotted line in case things go south.
    See Roper in The Night Manager for a fictional treatment, although le Carré never quite imagined where we are now.

    1. NDP

      If New York City relies on real estate developers to disclose that their apartments are rent regulated, then New York City deserves what it gets.

  7. Wukchumni

    Most of America’s Fruit Is Now Imported. Is That a Bad Thing? NYT
    Around America’s food forest here, a good amount of new trees in the ground are for primarily exports, is that a bad thing?

    Crops do vary widely here, and the new hires go into the ground with the proviso that it’ll take a decade or so to get up to speed in terms of producing commercial quantities, and the glamour trees to plant now are almonds & pistachios, the bulk of which is destined to end up eaten in Asia.

    Both nuts are fetching around $3 a pound, versus say a 35 pound box of navel/valencia oranges I usually purchase, worth 30 cents a pound.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The energy consumption in importing and exporting (of anything) is one consideration.

      Shop local (and from independents).

      For example, if possible, source steel or aluminum locally.

    2. Jean

      At what cost to the environment? And the taxpayer?

      Stewart and Lynda Resnick, Beverly Hills billionaire farmers who own up to 300 square miles of land in Oligarch Valley. The Resnicks sit on the board of directors at the Aspen Institute, hobnob with Michael Milken, are close to Arianna Huffington and keep the powerful California Senator Diane Feinstein on a very short leash. The Resnicks also own one of the largest agribusinesses in the nation and enjoy a near monopoly on almonds, pistachios and pomegranates in United States.

      The Resnicks helped engineer a covert scheme that subverted the state’s constitution by partially privatizing California’s water supply, creating the concept of “paper water” and opening up an unregulated water market for the first time in California.

      Yasha Levine; Oligarch Valley

    3. adrena

      Most of America’s Fruit Is Now Imported. Is That a Bad Thing? NYT

      Well, that’s funny. Most of Canada’s fruit is imported from America (and Mexico).

      1. Oregoncharles

        That’s for good reason; it’s too cold in most of Canada for most fruits.

        The US has no such excuse, aside from a few tropicals.

      2. Water, water, from here to there water

        Being an export country of fruits and vegetables is a punishment. You empty you aquifiers and export the water. In this case (LATAM to US) to a hostile country that wants you to suffer as much as possible.

  8. David

    I may have been hallucinating (unlikely early on a Sunday morning) but I’m sure that the version of the Grauniad article on lead poisoning I read earlier had a reference to Brexit in its title, and an implication that, for some reason, lead would be reintroduced into petrol after Brexit (although the UK was the first country in Europe to ban it). I seem to remember skimming through the comments and finding that even staunch Remainers were scathing about the suggestion. Was I dreaming, or has the original version of the story been dropped into the memory hole?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think you are right, there was an article with that headline on the website yesterday, I assume its the same one.

          1. a different chris

            Yeah and I don’t have the stomach to find, in order to share with you, the people on the internets that will earnestly tell you lead in gas wasn’t a problem. Haha maybe that’s one upside of the crapification of Google, (some) stuff like that has disappeared from the front page.

          1. RMO

            Yep. Fortunately it’s a tiny market – the vast majority of aviation is run on kerosene. Quite a few light aircraft owners have Supplemental Type Certificates so they can operate on 87 octane unleaded automotive fuel and there is an unleaded replacement for 100LL Avgas which is close to being ready for prime time.

        1. The Rev Kev

          At this point I would like to honour the memory of Thomas Midgley Jr. who. after playing a major role in developing gasoline with Tetraethyllead added and decided that he had not caused humanity enough damage nor killed enough millions of people, then went on to develop some of the first chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) for use in refrigerators which would go on to severely damage the ozone layer..
          In 1940, at the age of 51, Midgley contracted poliomyelitis, which left him severely disabled. This led him to devise an elaborate system of strings and pulleys to help others lift him from bed. This was the eventual cause of his own death when he was entangled in the ropes of this device and died of strangulation.
          It should be noted that this was decades before the first “Final Destination” film came out.

          1. Janie

            My mother preferred well-researched biographies to fiction. As she used to say, “you can’t make this stuff up.”

    2. flora

      I wonder how many current leading US and UK politicians and party bigwigs and economists were lead poisoned as children. They’re the right age – 50 years and older.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s just a personal gut feeling, but I believe lead both damages the brain and blackens the heart.

        Never so many heartless people caring less.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        I never thunk of that…

        But, but, Mr. Primbottom, my essay would have been a lot better, and on time, but for that lead dust on the window sill.

        Would have been worth a try.

        Bad humor aside, I do wonder why many people above 50 (above 30 really) seem to have had little negative reaction when it is certain they were exposed to lead. They would have all been Einsteins but for the lead? (I like that idea). It’s possible that a combination of things such as certain foods, frequent cleaning, good overall paint condition, would have considerably lessened and/or avoided damage. Houses in the wealthier or middle class neighborhoods would have been more frequently painted and kept up meaning less paint chips that get turned to dust (the most frequent and damaging vector). Foods rich in vitamin C, calcium and iron, among other things, would probably also have been more abundant. And finally, we might indeed have had a considerably brighter or kinder – who knows – generation, though frankly they seem to have had plenty of intelligence, just a bit of confusion here and there about what to do with it.

    3. JTMcPhee

      That Grauniad article on the dangers and damages of lead included, way down at the bottom, a bit about the “precautionary principle.” That’s the notion that the burden of proof regarding safety and lack of dangers in the introduction of stuff like tetraethyl lead and glyphosate into the “stream of commerce” falls directly and heavily on the corporate interests that plan to profit from the introduction and sale. And that “regulatory authorities” are mandated to act to protect the general welfare and public interest, rather than advance the “anticipated profits” of corporate-dom (that pernicious notion written into the presumptions and burdens portions of various “trade agreements” under the ISDS formulations.)

      One of the many charming facets of neoliberalism is the long-standing decimation and near-extinction of the notion of the precautionary principle (except interestingly, in the laws of the EU). That principle is related to that ancient notion from the Greeks that physicians should “first do no harm,” which on closer inspection is of course wide open to the blandishments of those who discourse on “ethics,” starting with the reality that new doctors are no more universally required to swear the Hippocratic Oath than new attorneys are required to promise to be “ethical” (whatever that means, in the legal world…)

      1. HopeLB

        Great comment! Thank You!Funny how today even old conservatives ignore this principle and advocate for fracking. Possibly an indication that they are more afraid of “Saudi Arabia/ME” controlling our energy supplies than of long term harm (they are all quite old) to the the environment and drinking water?

  9. Wukchumni

    Arkansas students punished with paddles for walking out: reports The Hill

    Ye gads, how will the National Paddle Association respond to this show of force by good guys with paddles?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s not the paddles.

      Nor should we blame drones or missiles.

      Ban those who would use them.

      Banning for mere possession would be much harder (many countries and their citizens would be banned, in that case).

  10. a different chris

    Well, the title is “fruit” and I guess I can agree with that. But here’s a case of accepting the other’s terms from the start, my italics:

    >More than half of the fresh fruit and almost a third of the fresh vegetables Americans buy now come from other countries.

    How can something be picked, packed, loaded, go from Argentina to Cleveland, unloaded, unpacked, and set out and be considered “fresh” at the end? I don’t accept the term.

  11. eD

    “The fate of the steering wheel hangs in the balance The Verge”

    Having no steering wheel in these things is sort of a bad idea. Having no brakes is really a bad idea.

    1. JTMcPhee

      When I did “drivers ed” in high school (early ‘60s,) the cars thoughtfully provided by a local Chrysler dealer had the one steering wheel, for the driver, but a brake pedal for the driver and another for the instructors (mostly our sports coaches.)

      I recall several accidents, where inappropriate and panicked braking by said instructors produced the “unplanned contact with terrain or other vehicles.” One was a challenge a wresting coach placed neophyte drivers in — ours was a rectilinear Midwest town, streets mostly at right angles, freeway entrances and exits all gentle, but there was Dehne Road, where a recalcitrant farmer had resisted the state in condemnation of his land, so the 55-mph 2-lane rural road was laid out to make a sweeping, decreasing-radius turn, banked slightly to the outside, with a minimal shoulder and a ditch and fence beyond. Seeing and responding to the need for strong braking as you entered the turn was the test, and several students failed it. No amount of braking or reaching across by th coach to wrestle the wheel from the student was sufficient to keep the car on the paved road and out of the ditch… But I am sure the autonomous code will have no trouble negotiating such difficulties — or “new law” will obviate them by crushing private-property-owners’ objections to roads laid out to serve the New Automotive Freedoms cabals…

  12. The Rev Kev

    Tom and Jerry: Why They’re a Cat and Mouse Double Act for the Ages

    Forgive me for not getting all sentimental about this article. I remember well the cartoons that I grew up with as a kid such as Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, etc. but even as a kid I knew that something was off about the Tom & Jerry cartoons. Yeah it was slapstick but it was mostly gratuitous violence which got old real fast even for a kid. Cartoons such as Bugs Bunny were well developed and mostly relied on straight humour and they even managed to slip in the occasional adult joke into the mix as well. Tom & Jerry had none of that and I ended up giving them a miss when they came on TV. This streak of violence for its own sake I always found strange and still do so now. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that you can draw a straight line between the cartoons of Tom & Jerry right through to the films of Quentin Tarantino. In a word, B-o-r-r-ring!

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Would you believe that I have a (younger) brother named Tom? So the Tom and Jerr(i) thing is a bit of a joke between us. Which is really not germane to your main point but has in the past been a source of amusement when the two of us have been introduced to others at the same time.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Itchy and Scratchy cartoons on “The Simpsons” were always meant as indictments of “Tom and Jerry.” In the Merry Melody cartoons, the violence usually was a “well crafted” plan exploding in one’s own face. The Road Runner never hit the Coyote. Bugs was easily the most violent of the “good” protagonists.

      I have to disagree with you on Tarantino. They might be violent, but compare his flicks to “similar” movies which do revel in violence for the sake of violence.

    3. Brian

      Being a 1950’s beginner into cartoons, often in a car, I always found Tom and Jerry being different from Warner offerings. Unstable perhaps. I don’t think anyone surpassed Chuck Jones and his crew until John Kricfalusi came at us with Ren and Stimpy and took their place at the table with the King.
      I also thought Tom and Jerry was the progenitor of Itchy and Scratchy, but others may have a different view?
      I still prefer a rerun of a Warner Bros and early Ren and Stimpy to anything made since. Although what MTV did to John K was awful, and what they did to Ren and Stimpy much worse.

    4. Laughingsong

      I’m with you on this, I always thought T&J were over the top and not funny. Couldn’t watch it. I’ve always felt they were what Itchy and Scratchy were based on, couldn’t watch that either, would literally have to look away or leave the room.

    5. Mo's Bike Shop

      Same here. I don’t think T&J were broadcast much, so they were a thing I associate with cable. I definitely remember them being underwhelming. My biggest takeaway was ‘look at that, I have a sense of aesthetics.” Now I was probably a Jay Ward snob by my early teens, so, grain of salt.

    6. Synapsid

      Rev Kev,

      Tom and Jerry were on TV? Good heavens, we had them in comic books.

      Beanie and Cecil were hand puppets.

    7. ewmayer

      Looney Tunes was great for the multiple levels of humor the writers worked into the cartoons – couple of my favorite examples:

      o An episode in which Daffy Duck is pitching a story idea (the Scarlet Pumpernickel, maybe?) to a Hollywood agent, and the agent’s ‘slipperiness’ is conveyed by having him wear a plaid suit, rendered as a transparent cutout moving against a fixed plaid background, so when the agent moved, the stripes on his suit stayed fixed relative to the room. Genius.

      o Another Daffy Duck episode in which DD and Elmer Fudd are high-speed chasing each other through the canals of Venice in motorized gondolas. At one point the chase approaches a low bridge, next to which is a warning sign with a hilarious stereotypical-italianate-english multiple pun making reference to Daffy and a famous Italian sex kitten of the era:

      Ducka you head – Lowlabridgeda

      And of course there’s the immortal Bugs-Bunny/Elmer-Fudd send-up of Wagnerian heroic opera, What’s Opera, Doc?

    8. paul

      …and there was their common nemesis, the broom sweeper who cursed the chaos and work their pointless antagonism produced.
      While never in plain view, it seemed to be a black woman.

  13. crittermom

    RE: Self-driving cars–no steering wheel

    I find it horrible that car makers are now intent on pushing fully automated cars onto the roads at the mercy of all drivers.

    As stated in a link within the article, even a sticker put on a stop sign can be misinterpreted by one of these cars, resulting in a crash as it barrels through the stop sign, and…
    “Others note that a glaring loophole in the bill would protect self-driving car companies from lawsuits, even if the vehicles crash and injure those on board.”

    What about those in the car it crashes into?
    It seems those would be settled by arbitration controlled by the car makers if I understand it correctly.
    Or is it that those victims would have no recourse?

    Since “The Trump administration has vowed to take an extreme laissez-faire approach, holding listening sessions with the private sector and state regulators about relaxing rules to speed the adoption of self-driving technology” and, “The Obama-era 15-point safety assessment has been reduced to 12 points and made entirely voluntary”, perhaps these driverless cars should first be tested in the presidential motorcade for a number of years?

    Scary times, indeed.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I envision it should go like this

      1. Self-driving tricycles
      2. Self-driving bicycles
      3. Self-driving motorcycles
      4. Self-driving rickshaws
      5. Self-driving cars
      6. Self-driving trucks
      7. Self-driving flying cars

    2. Eureka Springs

      bill would protect self-driving car companies from lawsuits

      First corporate person hood, now robot person hood.

      1. begob

        I wonder when we’ll get robot shareholders with limited liability. Or is that what the corporation is already?

      2. Oregoncharles

        No, “persons” can be sued. This actually give them sovereign immunity, recognizing that they are now governments.

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      Every time I read ‘Self Driving Car’ I wonder, “How’s the Hydrogen Economy coming along?’

      I’ve been assuming that the malregulation of ‘Murder’ and “At Fault” is one of the bright shiny objects that keeps this dream rolling. When the National Guard’s autonomous ‘Suppliah Maria’ rolls over your chicken shed, it’ll be your fault.

    4. Brooklin Bridge

      5 years ago, I was telling anyone who would listen about at least some of the myriad legal and ethical problems with driverless vehicles and they all thought I had gone off the deep end.

      Now they look glazed when i bring up the same issues and tell me what a huge convenience it will be and how, “they’ll work all those things out.” Right, like they worked out the problems with the use of fossil fuels.

    1. edmondo

      I was thinking about going to the Tucson Meet-Up on April 6th but am concerned that Arizona Slim might not be around by then.

      Today is Election Day in Russia — Slim is taking Russian language lessons AND he has a Facebook account. Slim has been known to hang out at questionable internet sights like Naked Capitalism which the WP has identified as “Russian propaganda”.

      It can only be a matter of time before Slim is indicted by Russian Special Counsel Robert Muellerovich for colluding to interfere in the Russian Election.

      Dos Vidanya, Slim. I can’t afford to be called before a Congressional Committee in a ten years and be asked by Senator Joseph Kennedy III, “Do you now know, or have you ever known, a Russian agent who goes by the name ‘Arizona Slim?'”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      She hates losing.

      The day the man who cost her the 2016 election gets into White House is the day an investigation into communist sympathizers is many years overdue.

      I imagine the Swamp has that playbook ready, next to Russia meddling.

    1. Oregoncharles

      From the article: ” “Chinese government authorities clearly hope to create a reality in which bureaucratic pettiness could significantly limit people’s rights,” ”
      You mean like the “no-fly” list?

    2. Altandmain

      This is looking like the no fly list or the credit checks that the US does.

      Low credit people score of course face very heavy sanctions.

      1. ambrit

        And, of course, people like Phyl and me who do not use credit much, if at all.
        I do get the subtle point you and Oregoncharles make that, essentially, the Chinese are copying us. Too true since a lot of the design work for the ‘Great Firewall of China’ is supposed to have been done in Seattle.

  14. The Rev Kev

    McCabe kept memos on Trump conversations Politic

    What is in those memos is only what McCabe decided to put in them – or not. What if in one memo McCabe states that Trump ordered payment for the replacement costs of a mattress and a set of sheets for the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow? Are we supposed to take his word for it that it actually happened? A man with an obvious grudge that spent half his time in office building up a paper trail for a future indictment?

    1. Rob P

      And then President Trump said, “And I did collude with Putin! And there’s nothing you can do about it! Muahahahahahaha.”

      -secret FBI memo

    2. Jim Haygood

      Trump posted a Sunday morning tweetstorm blasting McCabe, “lying James Comey,” and “witch hunt” Mueller. McCabe’s parting statement asserting that he had the authority to leak some info to a reporter noted that “others, including the Director [Comey], were aware of the interaction with the reporter.”

      Possibly McCabe’s statement contradicts Comey’s testimony in a Congressional hearing that “I never leaked information, and never approved a leak.”

      Comey is racing the Justice Department’s inspector general to get his narrative out first, on April 17th. Meanwhile Massachusetts D party Rep. Seth Moulton says he might hire McCabe so that McCabe can preserve his “free health care for life” benefits by working for the federal government at least a day past his 50th birthday.

      Overall, it’s some of the wildest constitutional drama in the capital since the outcome of the Nov 2000 presidential election remained unclear for nearly five weeks. Stocks had been falling since late March 2000, and the economy slipped into recession in March 2001 as the slide deepened.

      So far, consumer confidence remains near record highs. But how long can high-stakes political drama, with potentially explosive fallout, continue before peeps get nervous and hunker down for safety?

      1. polecat

        Well, “CONsumer CONfidence” may be at recorg highs, but as for citizen assurances …. ??

    3. Montanamaven

      Can you tell when a “memo” is written? Can you test the ink if it’s handwritten? Or if you made notes on your I Pad, can you back date it and get away with it? I don’t see how McCabe’s “memos” can be taken seriously either.

      1. lambert strether

        Anybody remember Nicole Hollander’s Sylvia? She a series called “The Woman Who Lies in Her Personal Journal”….

        1. HopeLB

          This is what are society has come too?
          Maybe (?), it is The Saker’s premise in his latest and might just be the root of all our troubles/afflictions. What is ironic is that a return to truth would fix all of it (!!), but that would require big changes, like re-teaching history and embarking upon on a new way of life paradigm when the populace is just too damn tired to sleep without ambian and too damn confused by the anxiety/hysteria inculcation of the MSM;

          Anyway, I love you Lambert. And I don’t say that enough. Eternally grateful,

  15. Doug Hillman

    Saker’s article is funny and sobering “hold my beer and watch this” being the last words of a drunk provoking an Eastern diamondback rattlesnake. It reminds me of a trail sign in bear country advising hikers to wear bells and how to differentiate the stool of other bears from more aggressive grizzlies. Common bear stool is smaller, usually with lots of berry seeds; grizzly stool is much larger, foul-smelling, and usually has bells in it.

    On the heels of the latest Strangelove strategery to turn a Cold War white hot, Russia Times reports that the organized crime syndicate known as the USG is now training its moderate terrorists to launch false-flag chemical attacks again in Syria. And Lavrov says that the US is no longer hiding behind its incompetent proxies, but taking a more active role in combat operations (as is IDF).

    If at first you don’t succeed, fail, fail again. Dumber and Dumbest: “here, hold my beer while I poke this sleeping bear with a sharp stick.” What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Craig H.

      I would like to see another shot of the rattlesnake stage at the end of Saker’s article. In my mind’s eye there is a guy in a body armor getup that looks like an astronaut’s space suit with approximately 3/4″ of kevlar covering everything but his eyes where the fang proof glass in the goggles is 1/2″ thick. Because that rattlesnake looks wild, alive, unmedicated, and pissed.

      On the 15th the Saker on Unz (is this the same person? is it one person? clicking around there was not obvious) said the Russian spy hit story is fake news–the purported weapon is not a useful tool in any universe where reality constrains action.

      Link to Saker article on Unz: When Dealing with a Bear, Hubris Is Suicidal

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Dead people have rights?

    How Hollywood actors are writing wills to control their CGI selves from beyond the grave Telegraph

    Does a will become void with the death?

    Can the unborn, from the great beyond (just like the dead…we return to where we came from), also have rights like the dead?

    1. edmondo

      Dead people have rights?

      Only if they are corporations. Then you get a president who stands between you and the pitchforks, who revives you with trillions of dollars of no-interest loans and makes sure he’s around to collect his portion of the grift after his term expires.

    2. todde

      A will is written to control assets after death.

      Of.course it doesn’t become invalid at death

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Whose assets though?

        Can a dead man own assets? Who owns those between the time the person is dead and the time when those are transferred to the new owners? And how should they are transferred? How can a dead person enforce it?

        1. Bugs Bunny

          A will is enforced by the state. Put very simply, after your death, you can control assets in the future so long as the terms of such control do not violate the law or public policy. California has some moral rights in its state code so this makes sense to preserve those in the future.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Put very simply, after your death, you can control assets in the future so long as the terms of such control do not violate the law or public policy.

            You can control assets, after your death, or your authorized agent, following your instructions, even after you’re dead?

            What if they breach their contract with you, now that you’re dead?

            1. Fraibert

              The beneficiaries of the estate can enforce the terms of the will against the executor. Alternatively, if there’s a trust involved (very common), trust beneficiaries can do the same with the trustee.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                And if the executor won’t produce the will and won’t say who the beneficiaries are, the dead person can’t do anything.

                Or if the state won’t enforce it, again, the dead person can’t do a thing. Here, we assume the state will do something for a dead person, when, often, the state doesn’t do much for living persons.

                Can someone assault a dead person?

                Can, this is gruesome, but can someone mutilate a dead person’s body, without being punished by law, or desecrate that dead person’s tomb?

                It seems a dead person has certain rights.

          2. Summer

            “A will is enforced by the state.”

            Makes an assumption about what will constitute a state in the future.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    McCabe kept memos on Trump conversations Politico

    McCabe firing isn’t likely to end Trump’s war with the Justice Department and FBI LA Times

    After McCabe firing, Trump attacks FBI, and his lawyer says Russia probe must end WaPo

    According to Turley, the latest development impacted Comey the most. Something about Comey testified that he didn’t talk to anyone, and McCabe said he did.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    A startup is pitching a mind-uploading service that is “100 percent fatal” MIT Technology Review

    That’s more dangerous than a trip to Mars? It would seem so, with the ‘100 percent fatal’ disclaimer.

  19. Rob P

    re: McCabe’s memos

    We know what at least one of those memos is about–McCabe already leaked it a few months ago, if this report is accurate: Trump’s gripes against McCabe included wife’s politics, Comey’s ride home

    WASHINGTON — The day after he fired James Comey as director of the FBI, a furious President Donald Trump called the bureau’s acting director, Andrew McCabe, demanding to know why Comey had been allowed to fly on an FBI plane from Los Angeles back to Washington after he was dismissed, according to multiple people familiar with the phone call.

    McCabe told the president he hadn’t been asked to authorize Comey’s flight, but if anyone had asked, he would have approved it, three people familiar with the call recounted to NBC News.

    The president was silent for a moment and then turned on McCabe, suggesting he ask his wife how it feels to be a loser — an apparent reference to a failed campaign for state office in Virginia that McCabe’s wife made in 2015.

    McCabe replied, “OK, sir.” Trump then hung up the phone.

    Incredibly rude and petty, sure, but it’s hard to see how this is any sort of crime. But my god, what an asshole. No wonder the Deep State hates him.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Trump posted a Sunday morning tweetstorm blasting McCabe, “lying James Comey,” and “witch hunt” Mueller. McCabe’s parting statement asserting that he had the authority to leak some info to a reporter noted that “others, including the Director [Comey], were aware of the interaction with the reporter.”

      Possibly McCabe’s statement contradicts Comey’s testimony in a Congressional hearing that “I never leaked information, and never approved a leak.”

      Comey is racing the Justice Department’s inspector general to get his narrative out first, on April 17th. Meanwhile Massachusetts D party Rep. Seth Moulton says he might hire McCabe so that McCabe can preserve his “free health care for life” benefits by working for the federal government at least a day past his 50th birthday.

      Overall, it’s some of the wildest constitutional drama in the capital since the outcome of the Nov 2000 presidential election remained unclear for nearly five weeks. Stocks had been falling since late March 2000, and the economy fell into recession in March 2001 as the slide deepened.

      So far, consumer confidence remains near record highs. But how long can high-stakes political drama, with potentially explosive fallout, continue before peeps get nervous and hunker down for safety?

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      Trump would fight as hard to keep documentation of this kind of stunt quiet as he would over a possibly illegal act. It’s too illustrative of how he operates, has operated for decades, and of how he gets his way.

      He stays in positions of relative power by bullying upper level, but second tier personnel. Who are accustomed to more deference than they can actually command due to their expertise, track records, and proximity to the genuinely powerful. Trump has a very accurate sense of exactly who he can screw with, and he ignores unwritten rules about it. In fact he uses people’s complacency to overset them. The farcical public fawning of his spokespeople, and even cabinet members, reflects this and is only funny when viewed from the outside. He demands their self-abasement. It keeps them stuck with him, and only him, as the source of all their power. Since they are the agents of his abuses, there will be fewer permanent berths at think tanks, banks and K Street for these guys than there were for their predecessors. They are very dependent on keeping Emperor POTUS as happy as possible at every moment.

      There are, admittedly, a lot of men in Trump’s entourage who get off on this kind of crap as much as he does. Guys like that are scum, irrespective of who their enemies are. The fact that supercilious Clinton Democrats hate Trump for grinding their noses in their defeat does not magically make him or his lieutenants somehow OK. Their haughteur does not magically make his bullying Good.

      It’s sick, gross to watch, and I don’t care who he is doing it to. It’s the poisonous tactic of a garbage human.

  20. Norb

    Re: How the NYT is making war with Iran…”

    This whole notion of Cognitive Empathy is finally gaining some traction with the professional elite class because it is finally dawning on a few of them that the dangers of an uninformed or misinformed citizenry is a recipe for disaster. Going on 40 years of fomenting cognitive dissonance does not make a healthy citizenry and the effects are becoming alarmingly apparent. Enter Trump. Didn’t Hitler once boast that his fascist army could not be beaten by freedom loving, weak disciplined, Allied soldiers? Well, maybe he was right, and in that case it was the Russian juggernaut that really brought Hitler to defeat. Another secret to be kept out of the public mind, but doesn’t help one bit when trying to deal with contemporary Russia. Same with China and North Korea, let alone anything that is happening in the larger Middle East.

    It takes men and material to occupy ground that makes the difference, not carpet bombing the place. Is it any wonder that America cannot “Win” an armed conflict. We are not making the world safe for Democracy, only Plutocracy- and everyone know this fact but the American citizenry.

    Technological advancements in defensive matters make wars of attrition waged against like situated nations no longer feasible or productive- except for war profiteers. How long can the lifeblood of the economy be drained into useless war profiteering before something gives? That is the real elite fear behind the China and Russia scares. The game is up. You can only bring allies to your side through lies, bribes, and violent coercion. Not a stable force. How long will the rest of the world allow the US government to blow things up?

    Our contemporary blindness is similar to the delusional thinking that brought on WWI. Narrow minded rulers failing to comprehend the devastating effects of their intransigence concerning their worldview and purpose. Now, in a nuclear age, we have intransigent leaders insisting on “limited” nuclear exchange as a means to further their goals. The road to madness.

    It seems in America today only opinions matter. This leads to an impotence both for the ruling elite and the common citizen. The elite become delusional in that they believe only their views really matter-ie Clinton’s private and public position BS- and citizens feel empowered by defending their personal opinions regardless of any real defensible validity. American Empire is founded on the notion that the, “business of America is business,” Not proving very long lasting if the measuring scale is centuries not decades. All this brainpower searching for the “next best thing.” What if the next best thing is realizing that humanity is on the wrong path?

    Cognitive empathy is the starting point, but once again, what cognition is to follow? Learning and understanding to build what? There must be a clearly stated goal and purpose. The western goal of letting the invisible hand of the market determine human outcomes only allows unscrupulous characters to flourish.

    Once again, FDR showed great insight. He distrusted rule by plutocracy, as well as that by the mob. He was know as a traitor to his class for good reason. He distrusted moneyed men as having ideals of ” glorified pawnbrokers.”

    An elite deserves to rule based on their ideals and how those ideals are propagated through the society at large. The current ideals that are being propagated are cancerous to personal liberty and need to be isolated at the very least. Cut out at best The current elite crave social admiration, but do not deserve such treatment.

    Admiration belongs to those who can wield the scalpel- regardless of class or nationality.

    1. Altandmain

      This whole notion of Cognitive Empathy is finally gaining some traction with the professional elite class because it is finally dawning on a few of them that the dangers of an uninformed or misinformed citizenry is a recipe for disaster.

      I’m thinking that the elite want to brainwash the rest of us.

      Their suppression of news that they don’t agree with, the use of “fake news” (ex: Russia is what decided the 2016 election or the declaration that Saddam had WMDs, etc).

      I think that what is really happening is that the elite are desperately trying to cling onto power. Deep inside, I am certain they know that they are looting the common citizen and have pretty much turned society into a plutocracy, if not an outright kleptocracy. They are trying to hold onto power as much as possible.

      That leaves the top 10%, which has also benefited to a lesser extent. They are the ones trying to understand why anyone would vote against the current system. Largely shielded from the consequences, they are incapable of understanding themselves, which makes the “out of touch” accusations by right wing types all the more disturbing for them.

      Societies, I think live or fall based on their elites – do they choose to use their power to serve the people as a whole or enrich themselves at the expense of the people?

      1. NDP

        Exactly. And Isabelle Kirschner (the NYT reporter cited in the Intercept article) is a master propagandist. It’s a very subtle use of precise words to affect cognitive empathy. She does it in service of Israel (her usual beat).

    2. Summer

      “That is the real elite fear behind the China and Russia scares. The game is up. You can only bring allies to your side through lies, bribes, and violent coercion. Not a stable force. How long will the rest of the world allow the US government to blow things up?”

      I can’t help but notice how those fears sep into so much. Exceptionalism is walking through the world with blinders on.
      Note the other post today:

      Re: Can history help us?

      “In the Second World War, its reputation suffered from the Nazi sympathies of sectors of its population. Yet look at Sweden now, in the early 21st century: a place of ultra-modernity in the arts, technology and design, affluent, comfortably in the top ten, year after year, in tables of the happiest countries in the world, a place that is adroit and effective in its exercise of soft power, as can be seen in its use of the Nobel Prizes, and its championing of neutrality and ecological good causes.

      Of course, as the Scandi-noir thrillers remind us, Sweden is not perfect; and it’s possible that Russian armies may challenge it in the future as they have in the past…”

      Interesting. It’s Russia they still have to worry about, not fascism.
      You’d think Russia started two world wars within the last 100 years.

      1. visitor

        it’s possible that Russian armies may challenge it in the future as they have in the past

        For an article entitled “Can history help us?” this shows a one-sided view of past events. Of all conflicts between Russia and Sweden listed in Wikipedia, about as many were initiated by the Swedes as by the Russians.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Yeah, I had a lot of problems with the facts that were mentioned in that articles as well. As an example, it talks about Sweden’s Nazi sympathies but ignores the fact that Nazi-occupied Norway lay on its western borers, Nazi-occupied Denmark to its south and Nazi-orientated Finland on its eastern borders so it was blocked in. It was supply Germany with raw materials or be occupied.
          And the way this author talks about “levels of welfarism” in the UK and the US after WW2 shows a distinct bias. I would have labelled it as governments actually living up to its responsibilities to its peoples which is, when you think about it, kinda why we have governments in the first place. Lots of other historical holes and dubious assessments of the facts presented in this article and though her idea that history has much to teach us about the way forward is still valid, I would be lurky about some of the sources used and its interpretation.

  21. erichwwk

    Re “How Did Property Rights Start”? Bruening seems unaware of the literature on this topic. See eg The California Gold Rush: A Study of Emerging
    Property Rights by JOHN UMBECK

    The California gold rush is one example of MANY claimants to exclusivity (the essence of private property) in an environment where there was essentially no Nation State involved in that original allocation. Exclusivity IS what determines “the probability of realizing an intended action”, a definition of “property rights” that is based on observation rather than intent.

  22. Summer

    Re: Mind uploading service..
    “It has also won a $960,000 federal grant from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health..”

    (Face palm)

  23. Altandmain

    File this one for CEO compensation out of control:

    A couple of years ago, I met a gentleman from the Southern US who came up to Canada. He joked that “Northerners” (presumably people in the Northern US states and I think he was referring to the Northeastern US along with the West Coast) had abandoned Christianity and replaced it with the cult of the CEO.

    He also noted that there were CEOs like Steve Jobs who had become all but defied with a cult of worship.

    Employees of at least five other US firms would have to work even longer – more than a millennium – to catch up with their top bosses. These companies include the auto parts maker Aptiv (CEO-worker pay ratio: 2,526 to 1), the temp agency Manpower (2,483 to 1), amusement park owner Six Flags (1,920 to 1), Del Monte Produce (1,465 to 1), and apparel maker VF (1,353 to 1).

    It should noted that Manpower is one of the top. The decline of stable permanent jobs in favor of temporary jobs with no job security, limited (if any benefits), typically lower pay, and no rights, has been a substantial factor in worsening inequality. They are called temporary jobs, “zero hour” in the UK, and a bunch of other names. Bottom line is that they are a sign that workers have lost bargaining power.

    As far as Aptiv, Six Flags, and Del Monte, I would not be surprised if these jobs are mostly minimum wage or near it. If you think about it, assuming a 50 weeks of work a year and 40 years of compensation, the top paid CEOs make more in one hour than their workers make in one year. Even worse, many companies deliberately reduce the hours that their workers work.

  24. Olga

    New Cold War – hmmm, I just learned about “the Vilnius speech” – not surprisingly by D. Cheney, in May 2006. It has been called the opening of the new cold war –
    “In shocked reaction to the harshest U.S. criticism of Moscow for years, [Russian] commentators said Washington had created an anti-Russian cordon of Western-aligned states stretching from the Baltic almost to the Caspian Sea.”
    This was almost a year before VV Putin’s speech at the Munich security conference, in which he asserted Russia’s independence. Good to know we can blame it all on the self-selected Mr. VP.

    “‘What can Russia do? It would appear it will have to strengthen ties with Belarus and Central Asia. And get close to China, to balance this Western might.’ Commentators said Russia was being expected to knuckle under and follow the U.S. lead. ‘We are being asked to deny ourselves and take orders from those who know better and will decide everything for us,’ said official daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta in a lengthy commentary.”

    When will someone start asking “who lost Russia?”

    1. Whoa Molly!

      A few other things to ponder:
      – Mr McCabe did not lose his generous pension. He lost an extra-generous pension ‘boost’
      – As a connected beltway insider, Mr McCabe is likely to walk into a private sector job paying three times his government salary within days of leaving the FBI.
      – His pension boost (which it looks like he will get, courtesy some D congressman) includes gold plated lifetime free medical for him and his family.
      – He is only FIFTY years old. How many people can retire for life at that age, with a guaranteed high income pension and lifetime free medical care?
      Donating to a GoFundMe for this guy is insane. Maybe a good FU to Mr. Trump, but not much else.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Donating to a GoFundMe for this guy is insane. Maybe a good FU to Mr. Trump, but not much else.

        Why do they just give it to the homeless?

      2. LifelongLib

        Well, as a state government employee, I’ll get free medical insurance and a pension after I retire (although not as much as Mr. McCabe gets). If we lived in a civilized country EVERYBODY would have lifetime free medical care, and ALL retirees would have a pension they could live on (and so would everybody else if you believe in a Basic Income Guarantee). Granted Mr. McCabe (and me) have a better deal than most, but the bar for that isn’t very high…

        1. polecat

          Well now, this kind of scenario is not in my future, but seems to be the case for the majority of civil-servants in this great land of ours …. and I have to take issue with said “freebies”, because, when it gets down to to it, I and many citizens deplorable, who receive NONE of those perks, never-the-less have to pay out, through property taxes, fees, and the like … impounded, under threat of forfeiture by essentially the very same unionized governmental groups who at times talk a good line ….. but still leave the rest us to wallow in the dirt !
          I am all for unions in the private sector, but I’ve always felt public sector unions, once they were allowed to form, via. legal mandate, to basically be extortionate towards the public they are supposed to serve.
          I will close by stating, that I will have little sympathy for public pension funds, should they collapse, but will be beyond livid should I and others, who benefited nothing from these up to the point of failure, to be forced to make public pension obligations whole, through ever higher taxation ….. while being ground down further, from dirt … into anoxic mud, to die pennyless, witnout a home !

          1. LifelongLib

            When I started as a government employee 30+ years ago, salaries were lower and benefits (including health and retirement) were at best comparable to what were offered for equivalent jobs in private industry. Since then government salaries remain lower but private industry employees have had other benefits continually reduced, until today most have no guaranteed pensions or post-retirement health care. Public sector unions had nothing to do with that. In fact government employees are undergoing the same process at a slower pace — newer employees don’t get the same benefits that I have. As for your issues with other members of the working class, well, it looks like the divide-and-conquer strategy is working just fine, doesn’t it?

  25. Jim Haygood

    Does anyone else find it a bit odd that Treasury Secretary Mnuchin met with Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday?

    Here is Mnuchin’s official blurb: “Glad to visit @Apple HQ with @tim_cook. Thank you for your commitment to invest 350B in USA! #TaxCutsJobsAct.”

    Rah rah! But Mnuchin surely had something on his mind besides bestowing a public attaboy on Tim Cook, which normally would be the province of the Commerce Secretary.

    As a guess, perhaps Mnuchin’s private agenda with Cook was the repatriation of Apple’s $160 billion offshore cash hoard, incentivized by the recent tax act.

    Libor — a measure of banks’ US dollar borrowing cost in London — has risen to an unusual premium over the Fed-managed domestic Fed funds rate. It’s not hard to imagine that shift in corporate cash from offshore to onshore, by Apple and others, is creating a dollar shortage overseas.

    The Federal Reserve has dollar swap lines in pace with other major central banks. But they tend to drawn down in crises, such as in 2008. In normal times, a stigma could apply to banks using such official aid.

    If Mnuchin actually did ask Tim Cook to ease up on reeling in Apple’s offshore stash, quick-thinking Tim doubtless countered, “But Steve … what have you done for Apple lately?”

    1. Jean

      The only “democrat” that Mnuchin ever donated money to is Kamala Harris,
      the Democrat’s Great Brown Hope for a presidential candidate.

      I wonder what kind of tax excusing executive orders she would pass?
      Don’t cry for me Apple, Alphabet and Amazon.

        1. Ancient1

          Willy Brown told her not to prosecute. Look up her relationship with Willy in the past. Interesting history about her advancement in politics.

  26. susan the other

    Jacobin: How Did Private Property Start? Hunger. Hunger was the first landowner and fascist castle walls and luxurious villas occurred much later – entropically. Why did Jacobin ask such a silly question? All critters are territorial, even migratory ones. I’ll settle for farmers, they were the first landowners; squatters. And we’re all squatters now :-).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Even among many primates*, there is such a thing as ‘this is our territory.’

      *Not sure about Bonobos.

      1. JBird

        I’m fairly sure that a bonobo group has a territory that they would claim for themselves. They are capable of violence, but that is the last thing that they would do in trying to defend it. If they can, it’s meh, let’s go elsewhere and ignore those jerks. Chimpanzees can and do go violently homicidal on others including strange humans if their territory is encroached.

    2. newcatty

      Re: “and we’re all squatters now.” Yes, feudalism has never left us since those castle walls were first built and serfs and peasants were kept OUT. A serf could avoid outright starvation by farming the estates’ holdings… for awhile. The landed “gentry” took control with the sword. A cleavor man made gold out of hay and spices. The minstrels and storytellers entertrained at the faire. The ruling thrones played the games. Applied science and more sophisticated technology has brought us to current version of feudalism. Ha! The emperor never has on any clothes and when the people are waking up and starting to see it, besides the innocent child, will we have a saving of the planet’s realm?

    3. JP

      I think it was more like our tribe has occupied this ground since before anyone can remember and we hunt and gather communally. Then some other tribe came out of nowhere and wants to farm instead of hunt. We think this is our land but those farmers are making progeny like crazy and they are screwing up the hunting. One of them even built a fence.

      Should ownership depend on stewardship, conservatorship, ancestry? Life feeds on life. Maybe it’s all about carrying capacity.

    4. Xihuitl

      Seems like the Jacobin question was not how did private property start but how is it justified morally and intellectually.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    This Study May Find That Moderate Drinking Is Healthy. The Alcohol Industry Was Asked to Pay for It. NYT

    And we simply assume reading the NYT will give one a clear picture of the world. No studies necessary.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Big Tech needs to face a Theodore Roosevelt-style trust busting Seattle Times

    That would be a great issue to run on this fall, and in 2020.

  29. John_Dee

    That USA Today editorial hits the nail on the head, doesn’t it? Somebody really ought to take Hillary aside and tell her she’s doing nothing but harm to the Democratic side of things with her seemingly endless self-pity tour.

    I’ve been wondering if she would have the sheer nerve to try for the White House a 3rd time, and tone-deaf antics like this would appear to suggest otherwise. And yet: I can see her being arrogant and delusional enough to continue pulling this crap even if she’s going to declare another presidential candidacy. One thing’s for certain: She’s surely not helping whoever does end up opposing Trump next time. Doesn’t she realize that? Or does she simply not care?

    1. petal

      I think she doesn’t care. Here’s her non-apology apology:
      ‘I understand how some of what I said upset people and can be misinterpreted. I meant no disrespect to any individual or group,’ she said in a Facebook post. ‘And I want to look to the future as much as anybody.’

      Have a feeling she’s going to try for a 3rd time, but seeing as she fell at least twice in India(there’s a pic of her being helped down some stairs while being held up by a person on each side ), and on one of those falls hurt her wrist to the point she’s hiding it under clothing, it will be a tough row to hoe convincing people she can handle it. My guess is she’d end up campaigning just the same as last time-very controlled events, few in number, flying home all the time, etc, not to mention she obviously still doesn’t get it and is doubling down. Not a good way to change an outcome.

      1. JBird

        Clinton is a bad campaigner, a worse politician, and refuses to honestly look at what happened. She’s certainly no Adlai Stevenson or William Jennings Bryan.

        If a good candidate loses because the other candidate was better one is that is one thing. If the losing candidate keeps losing because they are a bad candidate, that is something else. And if the losing candidate refuses to learn from their mistakes and flaws to became a better person, that is another reason to not vote for them.

        It is as if she is the Anointed One destined to lead the Democratic Party into The Technocratic Neoliberal Promised Land, and not voting for her, let alone actively sing her praises, is not only heretical but vile blasphemy too.

      2. ObjectiveFunction

        As Yves has noted many times, grifters gonna grift. If you retire, you’re out of the game and the payola doesn’t roll in from the influence buyers overseas. What will poor hollow eyed Bill do?

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Given the knifing of the Bernie wing, installation of Perez, the re-confirmation of the supremacy of super-delegates, and the joyous 24/7 propaganda of the MSM, Silicon Valley and Hollywood, I’m sure she thinks she could wrap up the nomination. And she probably could.

    3. Whoa Molly!

      I thought she would run 3rd time since the night Trump won. Everything shes done since then reinforces this belief.

      – 1M annual Internet anti-troll squad
      – Lobbying for preferred changes in Dem nomination process
      – PAC started (name escapes me)
      – Trump/Russia campaign started by her staff
      – Occasional high profile jaunts like India
      – Maintaining media presence
      – Annointing chosen VP K Harris?

      If you have $140M wealth, there are all kinds of people eager to help sustain your delusions.

      Strangely I think theres a Good chance Dem establishment would annoint her, too.

      Almost certain she would lose against Trump.

      1. Whoa Molly!

        Correction personal net worth H Clinton: Estimates on web all over the place. Couldnt find original figure I read a while ago.

        Guesstimate around 40 Million — not 140 M — for HRC.

  30. Carey

    Norb at 12:05 pm, I value your posts, and would like to believe that the gist of your post is right, but so far, I think you are wrong. What I see all around me is that if one is not of direct or indirect use to those who rule us, they are fair game, after any and all assets they might have have been extracted, of course. Evidence to the contrary would be most welcome, but I am just not seeing it. Disclosure: I tend toward pessimism.

  31. Skip

    Regarding: Al Jazeera did a hard-hitting investigation into US and Israeli lobbying – so why won’t they air it?

    To get the full breadth of influence AIPAC and related affiliates have on US media and US policy, spend some time reviewing the offerings at the recent annual conference on The Israel Lobby & American Policy 2018, held March 2nd. Videos, audio and transcripts are available and easy to find including at the site of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy.

    Themes include the suppression of free speech. Among offerings tangential to the suppression of the Al Jazeera program is a presentation by Ali Abunimah on Israeli versus Russian Media Influence.

    The conference is always held just prior to AIPAC’s annual conference, which gets plenty of coverage, and plenty of genuflecting politicians. In keeping with tradition, mainstream media wouldn’t touch The Israel Lobby and American Policy conference with an eleven-foot pole, even though it included well-respected academics and journalists, and was held in the National Press Club.

    I found all the offerings thought-provoking, but particularly make time for Gideon Levy of Haaretz, who gave the key note, and the offering by Col. Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, on whether the US is ramping up in Syria and preparing to attack Iran for Israel.

    One relevant topic that got conference attention is one editorial pages across the country ought to be screaming about but, weirdly for a Fourth Estate presumably interested in free speech, aren’t. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin’s Israel Anti-boycott Act, S. 720, is nothing less than the use of draconian penalties to shred America’s First Amendment on behalf of a foreign power. A number of shameful copycat measures have been adopted by state and local governments. I can’t think of anything more alarming for America’s democracy than the diverse range of Congressmen and Senators who’ve signed on to this travesty from Cardin. If you’re looking for a litmus test to judge venality in politicians, this is a contender.

  32. marym

    Video of students given detention for walking out in protest against gun violence.

    Pennridge225 @NeverAgainPenn

    46 of the #Pennridge225 served the first Saturday morning detention today. Pennridge students wore Parkland victims’ names and sat, arms linked, for the whole dentention. A modern sit in.

    1. Louis Fyne

      what if high school students nationwide walked out for an anti-abortion rally?

      would the media be fawning then? the school day shouldn’t be politicized by any side. a whole can of worms has been opened.

      don’t shoot the messenger

      1. ambrit

        In the ‘modern’ age, students have been a traditional locus of dissent and agitation. The also traditional response is usually to beat them up or shoot them down. In Chile on that other 9/11, student activists were killed by the hundreds, maybe thousands. All with Washingtons’ implied consent. Something similar happened in Mexico city in 1968.
        My favourite pro abortion poster was of “W” looking goofy with the banner declaring; “If only abortion had been legal and easy back then.”
        My favourite anti-abortion argument has been a Phillip K Dick story where the supreme court rules that a fetus doesn’t gain any rights until it learns algebra. Before then, it can be aborted at will. A chilling story.
        The Pre Persons :

  33. Griyg

    The Guardian article on Cambridge Analytica just seems like bullsh*t to me. Wylie looks the part a little too well.

  34. bob

    Concrete cracking. It’s like the ever present second shooter. You can safely dismiss it until it’s proven without any reasonable doubt. Concrete cracks. It just does.

    They do get into some details that are important-

    “Such adjustments, which engineers call “post-tensioning,” are common in concrete designs to fine-tune the structure once it is in place. In this case, however, it was not clear whether the cable-tightening was routine or an urgent undertaking in response to the discovery of the crack in the bridge.”

    Tension. That’s the key phrase here. A cable being “loose” is a pretty big deal. But, what if that cable is actually in compression, instead of tension? VERY BIG DEAL.

    It would look like the cable needed to be tightened. It should send up huge red flags.

    Very near the center of that picture there is a yellow thermos/cooler sitting on a block on concrete. Protruding out of that concrete is a cable with a blue end on it The cable is running horizontally. That cable pushed it’s way though that concrete block. The blue thing a a tension fitting- blue rubber stop and washer on top, with a nut above that. It’s meant to prevent the rod from being pulled though the top of the bridge.

    A cable that is in tension is being pulled. A cable that PUSHED though a big block of concrete is in compression. A lot of compression.

    The way this bridge was designed and constructed is beyond belief. Yes, when the bridge is complete, all of the cables should be in tension. Keeping the cables in tension is a very big part of assembling the bridge correctly. Assembling part of the bridge, so that some members that were supposed to be in tension are now in compression is a very big problem.

    They completely changed the loading of the members by assembling it wrong. Without the tower, there would be no way to keep that member in tension.

    This seems to be exactly what happened. The NYT story describes someone tightening a cable on the north end of the bridge. That’s the north end of the bridge.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      America used to put people on the moon, now we struggle to build a simple overpass that the Chinese would have done flawlessly in about 3 hours. We can precisely blow the head off a young girl in the Yemeni desert from a trailer in Henderson, Nevada but can’t keep the country’s basic roads and infrastructure operating. If somebody cared, it wouldn’t be like this. But they don’t.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Don’t entirely disagree, but I wouldn’t get too warm and gooey over superior Chinese equipment and workmanship just yet.

        An EPC project manager (on a job with 10,000 punchlist items) once explained to me (in Mandarin) that owing to the mad backlog on contractors that out of the 3 pillars of project management: cost, scope and schedule, Chinese shops will make schedule every time and sort out the LDs and defects later. Otoh sometimes they totally blow schedule too….

        The Chinese are a ways away yet from owning the world or even pacing the Japanese. In *theory* they know how to build top quality, but won’t just to save a few days or dimes, or because they won’t admit things are going off track and take corrective action until it’s already FUBAR.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t know how to tell how whether that cable was pulled or pushed.

      And as far as I know, a rod can be in compression, but no a cable…maybe a little, if that cable is confined in a tight fitting tube.

      1. bob

        If it were pulled, it would be under the bridge.

        Cables and rods can be pushed, but they are not designed to be. The golden gate is supported by massive cables. You could push on them, but they’re much better at handling tension.

        Look at how the fitting decreases in diameter moving down the rod/cable. That would be to resist being PULLED though the bridge, it wouldn’t do anything to prevent it from being pushed up, and through the concrete block.

        Ditto with the nut on top, above the square washer. If it were designed to resist “pushing” the nut would be below the washer, not on top of the washer.

      2. bob

        Also adding that it was confined to a concrete channel. The diagonal ‘supports’ between the bridge deck and the upper part of the bridge. They would have all had cables/rods running through the center of them, with access at the top to tighten them, if it were needed.

      3. bob

        Those “blocks”, all the way across the top, were to be attached to the cables running up to the tower. This would have resulted in tension.

        Without the tower, and the cables to the tower, you change all of the loading.

        1. Jean

          Saw a dashcam of the bridge collapse last night in a compendium of car crashes.

          Bridge buckled right at the point where it was suspended by a crane off to the side of the road.

          1. bob

            The crane was not suspending the bridge. It could not suspend the bridge.

            It was probably being used to lift the worker and/or equipment to use the jack. He was working on the top of the bridge.

            He’s probably the 37yo who died.

    3. Gaianne

      That the tension rod was found protruding from the concrete beam is an indicator that the rod was over-tightened and snapped. When a tense rod or cable snaps the ends fly apart with great force. Thus, the end protrudes. This occurs first, then the concrete beam crumples and fails after.

      If the beam failed first the rod would be caught within and would not protrude.

      We are told that the workers thought the rod was not tight enough. Why did they think that? If they were right, the rod failed when it should not have–it was weak. But if they misjudged and are wrong, they overtightened a rod beyond its expected tensile strength, breaking it.


  35. audrey jr

    Thanks for some great links today, Jerri-Lynn.
    I have come up with a radical idea that may be of some use to someone out there: If the “American People” were to found an “American People, LLC” then we could gain legal designation as real ‘people’ and we could hire “lobbyists” to represent our interests in CONgress. It seems the only way to get some real representation and attention to the most pressing needs of the “American People, LLC”
    Anyone else on board?

  36. integer

    ‘Dictator’ Putin wins ‘fraud-tainted’ vote: Western media sticks to narrative on Russian election RT

    From Soviet comparisons to accusations of authoritarianism, mainstream coverage of Russia’s presidential election has barely changed since 2004, though mentions of the UK spy poisoning scandal did add a fresh layer of insinuation.

    As Putin was thanking his supporters for a landslide victory from the stage in Red Square, Western outlets rolled out long, pre-written news stories, liberally mixing reporting and opinion.

    1. hunkerdown

      If the WaPoo were an actual newsgathering service, they would have:

      called Tuesday’s vote an “elaborate presidential-election-day spectacle” that sought “to legitimize the election,” which “critics described as a charade,” by boosting the turnout as “a lack of suspense or popular opposition candidates threatened to keep people home.”

  37. The Rev Kev

    Would you believe – surprise, surprise – that the west sought to deliberately taint the vote? Deutsche Welle, which is sort of like the German-equivalent BBC, put out instructions on their Russian-language website ( on how to screw around with voting such as: “The article advised Russian voters to spoil their ballots, to take them home instead of casting them, or to shun the polls altogether. The authors also suggested that voters should apply to vote remotely and then not avail of the option, as well as voting for a candidate “that causes less negative emotions” in order to decrease the eventual winner’s margin of victory.”
    Can anybody here imagine what would happen if Deutsche Welle did exactly the same for an American election or a British election? There would be hell to pay and the German ambassador for either country would find himself raked over the coals for what is after all a German government-financed media organization. But because it is Russia here it is all about freedom. Yeah, as in would you like some “freedom fries” with that order?

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