Links 3/30/18

Frog skin secretions offer the first ray of hope in a deadly fungal epidemic PopSci (David L)

Alarmed conservationists call for urgent action to fix ‘America’s wildlife crisis’: One-third of species are vulnerable to extinction, a crisis ravaging swaths of creatures, conservationists say in call to fund recovery plans Guardian

Video games may help ageing pooches stay mentally nimble PhysOrg

We Talked to the Flat Earther Who Took to the Sky in a DIY Rocket Vice. Failed Darwin Award candidate.

California will now require coffee to be sold with a cancer warning — here’s what the science says Business Insider (David L)

How network theory predicts the value of Bitcoin MIT Technology Review

AI touch myself: Scientists create self-replicating neural network The Next Web (David L)


Orwellian Debt Collection in China Credit Slips

Marcel Fratzscher on the dark side of the German economy — now with transcript!! FT Alphaville. A real eye-opener.


Disaster road: The Brexit Irish border plan and why it won’t work (AFXH). This is an absolutely devastating must read post if you have any interest in Brexit. It’s been obvious from afar that the all the UK has in the way of Irish border solutions are magic sparkle ponies. But this kneecaps in gory detail the wooly-headed ideas the Government has been serving up. I would normally write it up but the beauty of this article is its granularity. Thus it’s better to read the original than any attempt to simplify it.

Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin The Register (Chuck L)

London’s Struggling Property Market Only Has One Hotspot Left Bloomberg

How Slovakia Stood up to a Journalist Murder and Kicked out its PM Washington Post. Margarita:

How WAPO distorts reality: Although some of the article is correct, the young journalist was not investigating Fico’s finances, but mis-use of Euro funds in eastern Slovakia. But WAPO’s writers state that he was investigating PM’s finances – implying the cause of the subsequent murder.

New Cold War

British establishment goes mad. Do they understand what will be a World War? Defend Democracy

“She Is Risen!” – Last Act Of ‘Novichok’ Drama Revealed: “The Skripals’ Resurrection” Moon of Alabama

Russia to expel more than 150 western diplomats Financial Times


MBS feted in the US despite war atrocities in Yemen Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

None of This Month’s Craziest Nuclear Stories Involved North Korea ConsortiumNews (Chuck L)

Saudi Prince Denies Kushner Is in his Pocket Washington Post. Margarita flags this part, emphasis hers:

Asked about the Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism, the austere faith that is dominant in the kingdom and that some have accused of being a source of global terrorism, Mohammed said that investments in mosques and madrassas overseas were rooted in the Cold War, when allies asked Saudi Arabia to use its resources to prevent inroads in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.

Successive Saudi governments lost track of the effort, he said, and now “we have to get it all back.” Funding now comes largely from Saudi-based “foundations,” he said, rather than from the government.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Check Your Mute List On Twitter For Possible New Censorship Shenanigans Caitlin Johnstone (Randy K)

What the @#$%&!? Microsoft bans nudity, swearing in Skype, emails, Office 365 docs The Register (Kevin W)

Under Armour is urging 150 million customers to take action after its wildly popular fitness app was hacked Business Insider (David L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Geo-Political Poker Game: Where’s the ‘Off-Ramp’? by Alastair Crooke Sic Semper Tyrannis

Trump Transition

Sessions declines to appoint second special counsel The Hill

FBI questions Ted Malloch, Trump campaign figure and Farage ally Guardian

President Donald Trump Slams Amazon Over Taxes It Pays and Impact on Other Businesses Wall Street Journal

“We Know Where Your Kids Live”: How John Bolton Once Threatened an International Official The Intercept (Kevin W)

GOP, vet groups react with caution to Trump VA pick The Hill

E.P.A. Prepares to Roll Back Rules Requiring Cars to Be Cleaner and More Efficient New York Times.

EPA accused of urging staff to downplay climate change after memo leaks Guardian

The Resistance to Trump Mostly Entails A Lot of Waiting Around for Someone Else to Actually Do Something Ted Rall (David D)

The King Assassination Case and the Mueller Probe Consortiumnews. Chuck L:

Bob Natz should have done more homework before writing about this subject. The sentence,

The HSCA report, therefore, stands as the single most authoritative interpretation of the case, and the closest thing we have to a definitive last word.

is just laughable. In the late 1990s the King family won a wrongful death civil suit against Lloyd Jowers (a former Memphis cop and in 1968 a restaurant owner) and various unnamed federal, state and local government entities. It was a jury trial. The plaintiff’s attorney was William Pepper who is a lawyer in the vein of the late William Kunstler, but less well known . That is, he takes on controversial, politically charged cases no one else will touch. Prior to James Earl Ray’s death in 1998 Pepper had been working for years to get him a new trial, and had compiled compelling evidence of government involvement in the assassination and setting Ray up as the patsy. After Ray died that case became moot, but somehow Pepper got connected to the King family and they agreed to bring the suit. Pepper wrote several books on the assassination, each of the latter including findings that had not emerged in the earlier ones. The latest, and perhaps final one is The Plot to Kill King: The Truth Behind the Assassination of Martin Luther King.

Walmart Is in Early-Stage Acquisition Talks With Humana Wall Street Journal


Never Again: Is gun control movement too white? BBC

One No-Brainer Way to Bring Gun Deaths Down Other Worlds

The amount of fan mail the Parkland shooter is receiving is unreal CNN

Evidence of Violent Extremism of Little Interest When Killer Is White FAIR (UserFriendly)

Facebook Fracas

Facebook is defending itself again after an internal memo suggested growth was more important than user safety Recode (Kevin W)

Want to Purge Your Social Media Timelines? Can You Spare a Few Hours? New York Times

Uber’s Killer Car

Uber avoids legal battle with family of autonomous vehicle victim Reuters (EM)

Tesla Recalls 123,000 Model S Cars Over Bolt Issue Wall Street Journal (Kevin w). 44% of the vehicles Tesla ever sold.

Tesla Asks for Model 3 Factory Volunteers to Prove ‘Haters’ Wrong Bloomberg. I seem to have missed where Tesla offered the employees bonuses for doing what sure sounds like extra work.

Court Dismisses Exxon’s Effort to Block Climate Investigation New York Times (David L)

Too Many Experts Can Hurt Your Innovation Projects Harvard Business Review (David L). Looks like overgeneralizing from a skewed sample. While I hate resorting to stereotypes, the reputation of doctors, even among doctors, is that they are generally risk averse and not very good managers (this may be partly a function of the intense academic demands resulting in them being less able to participate in organizations where you can observe how people behave in groups and develop some skill in navigating them). The pattern I have observed with “experts” in “innovation projects” is that they are most often geeks of some sort and are not able to identify with typical users, be they individuals or staffers in particular corporate roles. They are temperamentally willing to fool around with things that are novel precisely because they think novelty is fun, and so they perceive the behavioral cost of learning new things and having to change behavior as not even a cost but a benefit. By contrast, most mere mortals want things that work and are reliable and don’t want to change things unless there is a very compelling reason to do so.

Class Warfare

AFR Report: Private Equity’s Failing Grade in the For-Profit College Industry Americans for Financial Reform

Harvard Admits 4.6% of Applicants; Other Ivy League Schools Get Tougher, Too Wall Street Journal

Britain’s social ills cannot be blamed on rising inequality Financial Times. Better than the headline. Here is the thesis: “Discontent is better explained by regional disparities and non-existent wage growth.” However, I beg to differ. High levels of inequality are correlated strongly with poor social outcomes, like crime levels, suicides, teen out-of-wedlock births, and health. Poor but equal societies fare better in many if mot most important respects than rich and highly unequal ones.

Oklahoma Teachers Win Pay Raise, But Say Strike Will Proceed to Challenge ‘Decade of Neglect’ Common Dreams

Globalization’s Backlash Is Here, at Just the Wrong Time New York Times (David L)

The problem of hyper-liberalism John Gray, Times Literary Supplement

Antidote du jour. Despite the over the top cuteness, I hope none of you are thinking of getting live Easter bunnies and chickies for kids. Bad bad idea. They are cat food futures.

Chocolate will do just fine. You can always take children to a petting or adult zoo if you think they need a bigger dose of animal viewing.

Gray rabbit bunny baby and yellow chick links

And a bonus antidote, from Richard Smith:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No one needed to tell a man who lost an election to shut up. Clinton’s whinging and public wallowing in self-pity is without precedent.

      1. UserFriendly

        Seriously, An Inconvenient Truth came out in 2006. 6 years after losing is enough time.
        Romney weighted 4 years.
        McCain and Kerry were still in the senate and had every reason to still comment.
        This is the biggest reason she lost. Her and absolutely every single one of her supporters blamed EVERYTHING on sexism. I think it was around the 2nd or 3rd time I got called sexist for favoring Bernie I realised I would vote for anyone just to make sure she lost.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          And if anyone had a right to complain it was Gore. They stopped the recount in FL after the phony ‘Brooks Brothers riot’ and then the Supremes decided against him and IIRC explicitly said the Bush v Gore decision was NOT meant to set precedent but was only done specially for W. I believe there was also something Gore could have done in the Senate but he declined to do so .

          I was begging for him to do something, say something, because although I didn’t vote for him or Bush, this was pretty clearly a coup by the Supreme Court to install their preferred candidate.

          Instead he kept quiet, supposedly for the good of the country, and look where that got us.

          1. Jean

            User, there is only one Most Recent Election.

            Gore committed political suicide by running with Lieberman.

          2. HotFlash

            I heard Donna Brazile, who was his campaign manager, interviewed years and years ago, probably NPR. Interviewer asked why Gore didn’t challenge, she replied, “Orders from above.” Truth? Limited hangout? Blowin’ smoke? But somehow it just sounds so DNC.

            1. Lambert Strether

              > asked why Gore didn’t challenge, she replied, “Orders from above.”

              I wish we could track that down, but now that Google only indexes what it thinks people want right now

        2. Procopius

          Errr… you seem to be overlooking when they blame BernieBros for being wild-eyed bomb-throwing bolsheviks who all voted for Stein or even Trump because of pure poisonous jealousy. I suppose misogyny figures in there, too, but is less dominant.

        1. Jim Haygood

          There was a lot of bodice-rippin’ goin’ on in Flippin (where Whitewater was located) when Bubba finally got his pudgy hands on the leggy Susan McDougal.

          “These days, Ken Starr seems as distant a figure as Nero,” snickers the NYT in a 2007 tourism-related follow-up. But Broom Hilda endures forever.

          1. Octopii

            I have been told that “I can’t say that” about Chelsea, but based on obvious similar features I do not think it’s a secret that Webb Hubbell did some of his own bodice-ripping.

      2. johnnygl

        Run, Clinton, Run!!!!!

        Soak the donor base one more time and put up Jebbie-style numbers!!!

        That’s the only way to truly bury the clintons for good. They need to get thoroughly crushed in the primaries.

        1. Lemmy Caution

          Perhaps one of the reasons behind the Walking Dead’s plummeting ratings is that we now have the option to watch a real-life shambling shell of a human in Hillary.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I agree, I hope Broom Hilda does run a la Jebbie, it would be a chance for a very public wooden stake in the heart of the entire Clinton Wing. Suck in the Wall St, Big Pharma, Big Prison, Big Surveillance, Big Death (military) money and spray it around where it can soak into the ground and vanish like the snows of yesteryear. She’ll hack her way through set piece speeches, fall down the steps, and I’m sure will come with some brand new phrases to express her disgust and hatred of the electorate that we can all enjoy. Kill it with fire.

    2. voteforno6

      Here I was hoping that she finally admitted that she lost the election, but no. Her actual statement was “They never said that to any man who was not elected.” Always with the lawerly, Clintonesque parsing, that one.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Saintly James Comey hits the Hillary circuit:

        Getting fired by President Trump was the best thing that ever happened to James Comey — at least financially.

        The former FBI director already has a best seller through preorders with his book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.” Last summer, Comey signed a book deal with Flatiron, a Macmillan imprint, worth $2 million.

        Comey, who is also taping an audio version, will make promotional appearances on ABC and CBS and launch a 10-city tour. In five of those cities, Comey is giving lectures and commanding Broadway-like prices.

        Tickets for Comey’s appearance at Town Hall on April 19 (two days after the book’s publication) are going for as much as $850 on StubHub — $95 is the top face value.

        Funny how D party royalty seem to have this thing about cashing in big time after leaving public service [sic].

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s a good thing Hillary doesn’t have a book out at this moment; otherwise, they would undercut each other’s royalties.

        2. ewmayer

          The former FBI director already has a best seller through preorders with his book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.” Last summer, Comey signed a book deal with Flatiron, a Macmillan imprint, worth $2 million. — Comey’s “higher loyalty” would seem to be to Mammon. Of course, he’s in good company there.

    3. temporal

      In nearly every human endeavor there are a few winners and a lot of runner-ups.
      Sports, jobs, relationships and who goes next at a four-way stop being just a few. I doubt that she is so protected that some other past losses haven’t already taught her the poor-loser rules.

      HRC is using the sexism victim card as a grift, plain and simple. So long as people keep paying her to whine she’s going to keep at it. But then, what else has she got to offer besides talking about her favorite subject?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Blake said, hundreds of years ago, and the quote reads sexist today, but she doesn’t have to re-act it though.

        “No fury like Hillary scorned by voters…”

          1. Sid Finster

            What it tells us is that HRC is unlikely to be elected and therefore there is no longer any reason to pay her big bucks to give one of her anodyne speeches. As one Y. Smith put it: “Goldman did not pay her to talk. Goldman paid her to listen.”

            If you think of these types of speaking fees as a sort of lobbying that takes place before the politicians is actually elected, something like an election future, then HRC’s chances do not look good.

            1. Procopius

              I never did figure out why people were clamoring to “find out what was in those speeches.” I thought it was obvious the speeches were only an excuse to give her obscene amounts of money without having it called bribery or campaign contributions. The content of the speeches was irrelevant. She was not enunciating policy or explaining her outlook, she could have been reading from a calculus textbook or the Peoria telephone book. I’ll bet the people who were there didn’t even make a pretence of listening.

              1. ObjectiveFunction

                The Clintons’ sole focus is on their foreign benefactors. The moment they aren’t seen to be DC playas, the influence money tap shuts off and they’re done. They just want to keep the grift mill grinding for one more cycle, then Hils can go back to making astute trades in cattle futures…

    4. Montanamaven

      Democratic Political operative, Jennifer Palmieri is making the rounds with her new book “Dear Madame President: An Open Letter to the Women Who will Run the World”. I heard her theories on “Morning Joe” yesterday with raised eyebrow. Fortunately she agreed to be on “Tucker Carlson Tonight”. So there was a little pushback.
      After a rough patch on Wednesday night’s show, Tucker agreed to just let her hawk her new book and then air that part on Thursday. It was almost unbearable to watch as Palmieri tried to make the argument that the US is sexist. And so women who run for office or work in a man’s world have to act like men instead of being themselves. “Illogical, says Mr. Spock, “And not all that bright.” Because it sounds like what she is basically saying is that she and Hillary are phoneys. They have to pretend to be hard asses but really they are caring feeling people. According to Palmieri, people dislike Hillary because she is a tough woman and doesn’t know her place. If she could have only run as herself, a big old softy, then people would have liked her. Okay, so then, if you buy that logic, Jen is actually admitting that Hilary is a phoney. . And that’s one of the reasons people actually dislike her, Jen. Listen to the whole thing and then click on the clip where Mark Steyn critiques Palmieri’s thesis. He makes excellent points which includes pointing out that there are many other women who are actually running things now like Merkel and May. Tucker Carlson v. Palmieri.
      Tucker’s argument is that Hilary acts tough and when you call her out on a statement or policy, she then plays the sexist victim card. He feels that’s dirty pool.
      Steyn says the problem for the Clintons is that they are behaving like the Perons in Argentina. Running a racket called a foundation so that they can act like heads of state and jet around the world. So left leaning Democrats don’t want to have anything to do with the smarminess of that and abandoned them for other candidates. Ouch!

  1. Bill Smith

    “She Is Risen!” – Last Act Of ‘Novichok’ Drama Revealed: “The Skripals’ Resurrection”

    While i don’t know who did what in regard to the Skripals Moon of Alabama outdoes himself here with the hype about 1 chance in 99 and now it’s a miracle. A relative from out of the country? What information did they actually have? That relative hadn’t been to the hospital and would have likely heard only 2nd hand. There has been almost no information from the health care authorities likely due to privacy laws.

    Who is the next of kin there?

    1. Olga

      Not clear on what your point is here re MoA. The news about YS’ condition came from The Guardian – – given that they were supposed to be near death, this is indeed a “miracle.” I rather like the “risen” headline. MoA compiled quite an extensive list of reporting on the matter… so far, it all seems to be far more accurate than anything in the MSM. And the fact that UK won’t allow Russian diplomats and/or the relatives to visit (as would be normal) is that much more telling…

      1. Carolinian

        The Moon of Alabama article is amazing and suggests that the hospital authorities may not be onboard with the UK government propaganda and are actually trying to save the lives of the two victims. Those of us who have seen too many movies suggest the doctors post private guards around their hospital rooms lest some secret agent tries to smother the Skripals with a pillow.

        1. Clive

          This is my local NHS hospital and while I usually select a London centre for anything significant (it is perversely easier to travel into Central London if you’re in commuterville than somewhere only 10-15 miles away if you don’t have a car here) I’ve been to Salisbury hospital several times.

          It is fairly well equipped, has an A&E (“ER” to you guys) and a reasonable range of specialties. These are of a standard, routine level of sophistication. They certainly are not the U.K. Centres of Excellence. If the Skripals were to be allocated the very best and most appropriate care to their highly unusual conditions, I would’ve expected them to be transferred to The Royal Free Hospital in London. This houses the main world-class facilities here in the U.K. for pathology.

          Put it this way, when British nurse Pauline Cafferkey contracted the Ebola virus, this is where she was sent for treatment. Her transfer presented a much higher risk to her and to others in terms of communicability. London to Salisbury is about an hour and a half away by road, probably less with a police escort and lights and sirens. You join the freeway about 5 miles outside Salisbury city centre and it does not involve poor roads.

          Keeping the Skripals in the nothing-special Salisbury hospital does not exactly resonate of being overly concerned about their best chances for pulling through. It is remarkable given the supposed profile of their so-called attack by nerve agent they are being kept in what is by any standards a bit of a backwater. It’s like if it’d happen in Springfield and it was decided to keep you there rather than to move you to one of the NY facilities.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Thanks for that Clive. I have never, ever heard that point brought up in the MSM. In fact, it was a big mystery just where this pair had been kept and I just assumed that they were at Porton Down as you would expect some specialist medical facility there for any accidents. Maybe the calculation was that they did not really have to survive and live for some people’s purposes which is why they never were transferred onto the Royal Free Hospital.

            1. Procopius

              Another possible explanation, of course, is that they were never poisoned by a nerve agent and Salisbury is probably as good a place to treat ordinary food poisoning as any place. There are still multiple alternatives, but the attribution of the supposed chemical to Russian manufacture is obviously false.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Pretty sure that at least some of the initial reports a few weeks ago regarding their condition said they were stable at that time (although it’s possible the reporter wasn’t using the strict medical terminology) which made me wonder why nobody at all was suggesting that maybe we wait and ask the Skripals what happened.

        Then later we hear they are near death and tissue and/or blood samples needed to be taken right away, which was just before the authorities really started ratcheting up the propaganda and expelling diplomats.

        The worst thing that could happen for the West would be that the Skripals survive. If I were one of those treating them, I’d be watching my back.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      MoA doesn’t do himself any favours with that article – there are certainly many questions to ask, speculating that they just had food poisoning seems as unlikely as the ‘Putin done it’ brigade. It seems pretty clear, from the letter written by the emergency surgeon to the Times that the notion that this was an attack with a military grade nerve agent sounds dubious – but it does seem quite likely that they were attacked with some sort of toxin – maybe just a crudely re-engineered organochlorine insecticide. The accounts of the extreme and rapid physical breakdown they both suffered seem way beyond food poisoning or fentanyl (which MoA also suggested).

      If I was to make a guess, simply on the basis of whats ‘least unlikely’, I would suggest they were poisoned by Russian criminal associates using some sort of home-brew toxins designed to make it look like it was a State act. But right now, I don’t think we can say anything beyond that the UK authorities have a story and are determined to stick with it, whatever the evidence says.

      1. SpringTexan

        Color me distinctly unimpressed with Moon of Alabama in general despite the play he frequently gets here . . . I’ve stopped following any of those links.

        1. witters

          We differ SpringTexan over MoA – for me the line of being impressed runs the other way.

      2. Oregoncharles

        I gather ordinary organophosphate insecticides are essentially “nerve agents” and would do the job nicely. On the other hand, they would be a familiar problem for medical staff. Has anyone asked the doctors what they’re treating the Skripals FOR? Evidently they’re doing it successfully.

        And addressing Clive’s point, above, about the level of the facility: I’d bet they were kept there because it’s close to Porton Downs chemical warfare base. Next question: who ARE their doctors? Regular staff, or someone from Porton Downs – which might make their miraculous recovery even more miraculous?

      3. Procopius

        … but it does seem quite likely that they were attacked with some sort of toxin …

        Why? I mean, why is ordinary food poisoning impossible and it must have been an attack?

    3. JTMcPhee

      I’m guessing the lack of information from “health care authorities” (actually, there have been “leaks” including the ones MoA has pointed out in various articles) has dang-all little to do with “Privacy laws,” except maybe the Official Secrets Act that protects the sorry behinds of the skulks and squeegees that are playing up whole “Putin did it” thing to obscure their own idiocies.

      But of course the Narrative Supporters have to make sure to take every opportunity to try to impeach those like Bernard at Moon of Alabama who have been diligent and persistent enough to look for the holes in said “Narrative.” And dare to report them.

      “O Lord please hasten the day
      When all pretence of freedom
      Is swept away
      And Orwell’s Corollaries
      Are here to stay
      And the Truth is just
      Whatever we say.”

      And we in the security state can get on in the dark with the stuff we really want to do without the need to deal with criticism or fear of sunlight…

      1. windsock

        I used to work on a local newspaper in UK. After incidents in which someone was hospitalised, if you contacted the hospital to ask for information, all you would get is a condition update in simple terms…. They were “critical”, “serious”, “stable” etc. Going to the bedside to talk to the hospitalised person was not an option. The Official Secrets Act was never a consideration.

        1. pretzelattack

          normally, yes. this isn’t a normal case, though. i mean, there have already been leaks at variance with the official story, suggesting pressure is being applied, and resisted–when does that happen?

          1. windsock

            I am not sure anyone subject to pressure would send a letter to the Times with their name on it.

            A correction to numbers reported in the press could just be to point out the facts, as opposed to previous speculation of the numbers by any of the government, police or media.

            I am as skeptical as anyone about the UK government’s claims but one should not counter its arguments but putting undue weight on certain facts.

    1. Wukchumni

      I heard California is considering a warning label for those born under the sign of cancer, on account of an astrologist contracting it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        After my first cup of coffee this morning, I have awoken to this thought: many of us Californians have been spoiled by all the QE’s, for all the cheap money mainly has flown through New York (Wall Street), California (venture capital and tech bubble), and maybe Seattle, first, before trickling down to other states, to their detriment in fact (as tech products replace human workers there and everywhere).

            1. ambrit

              Hmmm…. and how long after the ‘bubble’ pops will it take the local authorities to lower said homeowners property taxes?
              (I’ve tried to get a house tax appraisal lowered. The definition of the “Job for Life.”)

                1. Procopius

                  I often wonder about that. Who are they, anyway? I can’t imagine any person with an income of less than $200,000 a year being able to accumulate enough cash in the bank to get a livable income from the interest. Say we were back at 7% interest, how much cash would you have to have in your savings account to live on, if you were used to that level of income? The idea that there are people suffering from that just does not move me.

        1. polecat

          The place where cancer labels are most needed .. whould be at the California Capitol Building.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I rather believe it makes a beautiful sanctuary for their local homeless -they shouldn’t need to avoid or stay away from that, but embrace its solidity and working HVAC.

    2. Oregoncharles

      The co-op sells something called “Viking blonde” coffee – unroasted, or virtually. Tastes terrible, but it’s the roasting that produces the carcinogen.

      But as the article says, there’s no evidence coffee is carcinogenic, and considerable evidence it’s preventative.

    3. Stephen Gardner

      There is the same pseudo-problem with any cooked food. The European Commission almost made it illegal to prepare french fries in the Belgian way (a second dip in the oil at a hotter temperature is part of the recipe) because of “carcinogens” in the brown crust. Fortunately they were made to see reason.

      Here is a video for those of you who know French.

  2. Wukchumni

    Alarmed conservationists call for urgent action to fix ‘America’s wildlife crisis’: One-third of species are vulnerable to extinction, a crisis ravaging swaths of creatures, conservationists say in call to fund recovery plans Guardian

    There’s been a program going on for almost 20 years now to bring up the numbers of endangered mountain yellow-legged frogs in Sequoia-Kings NP, by killing off entire fish populations in laddered chains of off-trail backcountry lakes. When you consider there are many thousands of fish bearing lakes/ponds in the Sierra Nevada, and in no way shape or form is there any budget for the removal of fish from every one of them though, it’s more of an endangered jobs program.

    “In 2001, park staff began using large nets and electrofishers (a device that temporarily stuns fish) to physically remove trout from selected waters. The goal was to restore the balance of nature to the pre-trout environment, with a focus on improving the health of mountain yellow-legged frogs. By 2011, nearly 44,000 fish were removed from 19 lakes, including complete removal from 9 lakes.”

  3. Steve H.

    > Orwellian Debt Collection in China

    The underlying paper is the best analysis I have seen of this issue. John Robb has been writing about it, but not at the depth discussed here.

    There are (at least) two reflections to note with regard to the rest of the world, one direct to China and one the look in the mirror.

    Direct to China, please recall the OPM breach was ascribed to Chinese hackers, most likely state-based. Which means that >20 million Americans are likely already bagged and tagged within the evaluation system underlying the more public credit-effecting system. The NSA database is international, it would be derelict of China to not do the same. Of a lesser status is the Equifax breach, and etc etc, which even if they couldn’t do it themselves, may well be available on the black market.

    Within the U.S., given security institution backing of Google, Fcbk, and TOR (amongst others), it would be derelict of ourselves as citizens to think we aren’t targeted in the same way. That’s the business model, beyond security applications. Of course the credit ratings of your friends network has been mapped on a social network. My hope is that the scumbags buying from Fcbk & Cambridge Analytica are wasting their money on a sales pitch.

    Some conclusions, which may be challenged but sure seem likely to me:

    : You already have a security rating and a credit rating. If you don’t know the level, it’s probably poor.
    : No online poll has ever been valid. They are case studies in sample bias.
    : I know of no social media campaign which altered the outcome on legislation or an election at the national or state level.

    I’ll expand that last point to include most public concrete material demonstrations as well, at least in the 21st century. The anti-war demonstrations against the Gulf War were the largest in history, and had no tangible effect. So the media campaigns serve at least two functions which are not the intent of the users. One is to distract, which despite the linked articles title, is not Orwellian but rather Huxley’s method. The other is to map the social networks for non-consented-to activities. Zuck in particular can disrupt groups antagonistic to his presidential aspirations by introducing noise and trolls, in addition to the algorithmic blinders already noted.

    The note of hope for the locus of control of active agents out there: demonstrations and social gatherings, which can be organized on social media, are real people gathering together, with all their nuance and depth. They don’t have reduced channel capacity on communications, and people can form real bonds which go far deeper than a particular issue which has brought them together. There’s your concrete material benefit.

  4. allan

    Dems face difficult choices on resources in battle for Senate [The Hill]

    When you see “Dems” and “difficult choices” in the same sentence, you know that someone is about to be
    thrown under the bus. Modern Dems love “difficult choices”. In a Third Way, CFRB kind of way.
    It’s what makes them sensible centrists.

    Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) is facing pressure from vulnerable incumbents and hopeful challengers about where to spend the party’s limited resources in this fall’s midterms.

    Senate Democrats are defending 26 seats, including 10 in states that voted for Trump, and many of those candidates are going to need help from the national party.

    But Democrats also have an outside shot of taking back the Senate majority if 2018 turns into a wave election. [Dream on.] …

    “When push comes to shove, if you have some incumbents in Pennsylvania or Ohio or Michigan in tighter races than might be expected right now and a binary choice between spending money there or going on offense elsewhere, I’m pretty sure you’re going to see the money go to the incumbent,” said a Democratic strategist allied with an incumbent Democratic senator. …

    Odds are that this incumbent senator voted to gut Dodd-Frank.
    And will vote to confirm Mike Pompeo at State and Gina Haspel at CIA.
    And won’t have had to make difficult choices in doing so.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      This is precisely why the DCCC and the DSCC recruit “converted” Republican millionaires who can self-fund. Not only are they wholeheartedly on the side of the Blue Dogs but they also free up those limited funds so the DCCC/DSCC can knock the progressive challengers out of the race.

      Ever notice how none of those pearl-clutching articles earlier this year about how the DNC fundraising was in the gutter suggested it was partly because most of the “deplorables” in the party its been screwing over for decades are sending their money to Our Revolution and Blue America et al.?

  5. Carla

    For those who, like me, refuse to feed the maw of Amazon and Bezos, here’s a link to the publisher of “The Plot to Kill King”.

    If you go there, you will see an “INDIES” button that will take you to a list of local, independent bookstores in your area from whom you can order the book. This makes it easy and pleasant for me to patronize my local bookseller by ordering online, and picking up the item(s) in the store (of course, home delivery is another option).

    I decided a long time ago that paying more to support local, independent retailers is a worthwhile investment. And if what I think I want is only available on Amazon, I can live without it.

        1. Oregoncharles

          And local to Oregon. Thanks for the reminder. We go in there every once in a while; it’s a bit overwhelming, an entire city block of books, 4 stories high. Last time was for a Ralph Nader talk in 2016.

          We once met Mr. Powell, when we were in the store at closing. (Parental boasting alert) That was when our son was a cute toddler. Mr. Powell jokingly offered us serious money for him – a little unnerving, since he was counting the till and had the money in his hand.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “I can live without it.”

      To me, that is not virtue signalling.

      With people deleting their social media accounts, and shopping local, we can see that together, little people like us are more powerful than those billionaires.

      That’s important to remember.

      However rich they are, they and their Wall Street enablers are at your mercy.

      1. apberusdisvet

        “at your mercy”

        You are referring of course to those of us who are still alive after all the tyrannical psychopathy. The end game for these elites and all other Agenda 21 and depopulation addicts seems to contain an inherent contradiction. When the Georgia Guidestone wish of only 3 billion left on the planet is achieved, who’s going to be left to buy all that is produced by the current mega corps? Or will there be only one giant corporation left called AmaZion?

  6. zagonostra

    On the “The King Assassination Case and the Mueller Probe” I was surprised and disappointed when I read it and not a mention of William Pepper was made. Bob Natz clearly should not be using MLK in his article with such a display of ignorance, he should have limited himself to Mueller.

    You would expect DemocracyNow! to have a piece on MLK and glaringly omit Pepper’s case in which a trial was adjudicated demonstrating that the government was implicated in King’s assassination, but from constortiumnews, which NC often references, is a real eye opener.

    I would venture that 90% of the people, if you ask them, would still refer to James Earl Ray as the gunman. Even a wiki search refers Pepper’s case (although not mentioning him by name), it states: “Based on the evidence, the jury concluded Jowers and others were ‘part of a conspiracy to kill King’ and awarded the family $100”.

    Wiki is careful not to flesh out who those “others” were, but William Pepper does and it’s time the citizens of this country understand to what extent their government will go to tamp down on “dissidents.”

    1. Alex morfesis

      Nobody cares… Sadly…MLK 50 years later…are there magazine covers with articles anywhere…he did sorta kinda win some international acclaim along the way…

      Will the church bells ring at 7:05 pm Eastern time on Wednesday…

      Are there any large photos or posters with his image making the rounds…

      Are any networks going to play his “to the mountaintop” speech or video of his talk in its entirety…

      It is what it is…

      Four knuckleheads on a balcony pointing to their right…none bothering to carry him quickly to a car and to a hospital… Didn’t want to get their suits dirty as they contemplated taking his mantle and not having to be pushed so hard…(back to being patient people…nothing to see here…keep moving…he dead)

      While mlk was still breathing at their feet…

      no hatebacks as have met two of those four along the way…they are who and what they are…

      MLK dragged the misleadership class kicking and screaming to freedom…and not too many have sweat one drop since that fateful day…

      1. zagonostra

        Is it “Nobody Cares” or “Nobody knows?” Viewed through the lens of Jean Baudrillard’s notion of simulacra, i.e, it’s not real until the corporate courtiers on the nightly news tell you it is so. It doesn’t register on an intellectual or visceral level and so it isn’t real….like you say “nothing to see here…keep moving.”

        So who the F&%k cares about Mueller’s investigation of Trump, the FBI was proven in the court of law of killing MLK, can you drive that home to the 90% who are ignorant or won’t acknowledge this…

      2. neo-realist

        From anecdotes of middle aged black people, I find that if you mention the King Assassination, many will say that the government or the power structure knocked off King. Not that their outlook would matter all that much to the broader white establishment narrative on King which prefers to focus on the I have a dream speech.

        1. perpetualWAR

          When I asked a very highly-educated middle-aged black leader why no one in the African American community marched for the blacks losing their homes in the “greatest recession” the answer I received was, “They shot MLK for the same thing.” So, they know.

          1. Polar Donkey

            Here in Memphis, there many people who believe they know the actual person that shot mlk. I know two older black men who were trained how to shoot pistols by the suspected assassin. When the suspected assasin passed away, his son came to those black men and apologized for what his father had done.

    2. perpetualWAR

      When you become a ‘dissident’ you understand perfectly the lengths your corrupt government will go. Believe me.

      Snowden knows and has responded appropriately.

  7. Larry

    Re: Marcel Fratzscher interview: I listened to this before the transcript came out and I did find it quite eye opening. I haven’t traveled to Germany since 2012, but the last time I was there it would be hard to find signs of underinvestment in infrastructure from my ground level experience. I was in Hanover for a meeting and relied on public transit to get everywhere. I found the streetcar/subway system to be in far better shape than the ancient and ailing T system in Boston (it reminded me of the green line, for readers that know this, but in much better shape). Plus it ran faster than my T because there was no ticket/fare collection. Just randomized heavy fines for riders trying to ride for free. Streets and sidewalks were in great shape. The medical school where we met seemed a little drab, but this was evidence to me that German higher ed puts their dollars in what counts and not fancy dining halls and overpriced gyms to attract students. So yes, this podcast was against all my held pre-conceived notions about the situation in Germany and even my own personal observations from travelling to Germany for a week at a time.

  8. jhallc

    We Talked to the Flat Earther Who Took to the Sky in a DIY Rocket -Vice.

    “Furthermore, most people are afraid to follow their dreams. People want the security, the insurance, the 401K, and all that stuff and it’s all crap, OK. There is no such thing as security. What you’ve got is right now—you don’t have tomorrow; you don’t have next week. You have right now. Do the most with what you’ve got today.

    But, in the end, just be nice to people.”

    Gotta say I like this guy. While I don’t agree with him on a lot of his crazy ideas, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk could learn a lot from him.

    1. a different chris

      I would say Bezos and Musk are very much “Do the most with what you’ve got today” people. For better or worse.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Russia to expel more than 150 western diplomats”

    The Russian expulsion of US diplomats hurts the US more than the US expulsion of Russian diplomats in this case. The reason is that when the US booted out 60 Russian diplomats, 12 of them were not with the Russian Embassy but were on duty with the Russian delegation to the United Nations. Kicked them out was against international norms but these have been thrown out the window lately. So strictly speaking, the Russians could have just kicked out 48 diplomats and be done with it but it appears that Russian attitudes are hardening so they went with the full 60.
    Actually, the Russian Embassy in Washington decided to screw with the Washington establishment here as well. Washington had ordered that the Russians close their Seattle consulate so the Russian Embassy organized a twitter poll to decide which of the three American consulates to close. Turned out the St. Petersburg US consulate “won” with 47% of 57,000 votes cast. Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner.
    That idea that cropped up of confiscating Russian passenger jets is nothing short of lunacy. Can you imagine if that was actually done? That could set of a fire-cracker effect of confiscated jetliners around the world on political grounds. There are about 23,000 airliners in the world. Could you imagine the chaos that would be triggered if this became an accepted practice? Even more is the talk of Russian investments in London being confiscated. If there is one thing that the City of London does not need it is a financial panic as foreign investments in the UK are confiscated – not with Brexit barrelling down on them like a Mac Truck.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      But can or will Russia send over 1,000 new, presumably different, diplomats to replace those 48 expelled?

      On the other hand, China got into the show by expelling US dollars. Mucho American money, when they started trading oil in Yuan.

      “Get those dollars out of here!!!”

    2. JTMcPhee

      Maybe that jetliner “confiscation” would be a Godsend of sorts? Get all those CO2 generators and their “climate-modifying water emissions” (contrails) out of the upper reaches of the atmosphere:

      Of course the Combustion Lovers and Jet Travel Enthusiasts (many of whom are “climate deniers,” of course) will jump on the bit of “science” that indicates (from a data collection immediately after the 9/11 event when all jet flights were halted over the US) that contrails LOWER local temperatures (in the bands of the atmosphere where they mostly form, so aren’t they a Good Thing? Hey, a way to geo-engineer a counter to Global Warming! All righty then! Now, how to monetize and rent that…

      I suspect many of us mopes could not care less if jet travelers get grounded (yes, some are decent ordinary people going on vacation to Disney World or a Costa Rican environmental reserve, or to see sick and dying relatives, but a lot more are “business travelers,” and lobbyists, and lawyers flying off to conduct depositions in commercial litigation to move money from one rich pocket to another while carving off a chink in transaction costs, and politicians who don’t rate Air Force or corporate private jet travel). Or that ‘just in time’ trade goods don’t get delivered, you know, “just in time.” A recalibration of the world’s human political economy is by all accounts baked in and immanent. The vulnerabilities are piling up, one atop and adjacent to and depending on complex multi-body supports from the other — and like those rotating sand piles used to try to develop theories of order in chaotic systems, “something” that likely can’t be identified in advance, or averted because the act of acting to avert the avalanche at one point just moves the interacting granularities a bit so the collapse occurs from a different spot: (I picked that link for anyone needing a thesis or term paper topic — not too much work is needed to change the wording to evade the Plagiarism Checkers at one’s institution, and there’s more recent studies and speculations that can easily be added to a stairstep research paper on one’s long climb to “credentialization.”) If it’s not Bear Stearns (and all the interacting bits that led to that Black Swan), it’s some unrecognized or possibly (given what I think is a telomere come Death Wish in our species) intentional bit of Code or some Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper or pimply adolescent with a CRSP-R Set to play with, some trigger-happy border guard or overly officious official to set it all tumbling down…

      But hey, after all, that post-collapse formation is just the New Meta-Equilibrium, right? So what, me worry? And if it all really goes sideways, hey, there are tube worms and sightless anglerfish,, that live and breed in the toxic witches’ brew and deadly heat around the mid-ocean thermal vents, all ready to repeat the climb to “Civilization…”

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Your last point is a key one – Russia has a lot of economic weapons at its disposal if the West tries to play hardball – and Russia has shown it can withstand economic hardship in a way other countries likely can’t. What would happen, if say he insisted that any Russian citizens in the UK must sell up their property or investments or lose their passports and Russian property? That would be an instant crash of the London property market. And lets not mention the European dependence on Russian gas….

  10. semiconscious

    re: globalization’s backlash is here, at just the wrong time:

    ‘In other words, globalization shouldn’t be viewed as a perpetual onslaught in which American workers are facing waves of more and more people willing to do the same job for lower wages — even though it may have seemed that way during the 1990s and early 2000s when trade was soaring faster than the global economy…’

    wow… just, wow :) …

    1. DWD

      One of the strongest words in our language is a very simple one: pathetic.

      To me this is the ultimate insult. If someone says you are pathetic, it hurts. Well normal people anyway.

      The New York Times is truly pathetic.

      Talk about not perceiving the problem! It is not that trade is bad or that the exchange of goods and services are bad things for they are not. Trade can be used to make the world a better place for people and to enhance people everywhere.

      But the exploitation of trade to decimate working people, bust unions, and enrich a few truly is pathetic.

      There are ways to foster greater trade and understanding but these things are not usually focused on the investment community and those who benefit from their largess.

      So the Times proves once again to not only not be the paper of record, but the proponent of the most pathetic pandering of all.

      1. JTMcPhee

        “Trade” can be used to make the world a better place? Really? And how would that happen, given how “trade” has developed? “Trade” is pretty much all about extraction and looting, profiting from the shedding of externalities, aided and abetted by financial structures, fostered as in the case of holy America and others by force of arms (“war is nothing but a racket,” remember?)

        Yah, it’s an ill (trade) wind indeed that blows no man good, but while “trade” brought antibiotics to India,it now appears that “trade” has led mirabile dictu to overuse, both for unnecessary and inappropriate treatment in part driven by marketing and financial ‘incentives’ to health care providers, and also in the industrial context of force-feeding of slaughter animals (to avert the commercial impacts of pathogens, until they develop resistance and share their bacterial learning with other pathogenic and even benign organisms, and because antibiotics hasten the fattening up of the doomed critters).

        And it seems pretty clear that the predators among us, the “successful” ones, have lots of interest in “fostering trade,” which enriches them (ask Monsanto and Exxon and VW how that works) and teeny to no interest or incentive to “foster understanding” (see the World Armaments Establishment, and the State Security Apparatus.)

        But yes, the Times is one sick and destructive organization, but “pathetic?” I feel no arousing of pity for the thing, through vulnerability or sadness. Mostly only anger and frustration…

        1. kevin

          Sounds like you disagree on the definition of trade. “extraction and looting, profiting from the shedding of externalities” sounds more like colonialism, which yes can’t really be used to make the world a better place.

          Trade, the action of buying and selling goods and services, on the other hand can if the gains are distributed appropriately. ie. government subsidizes those who lost jobs to world-wide trade.

          Negative externalities like unnecessary antibiotics in farm feed has nothing to do with trade. Capitalism, sure, but not trade

          1. Old Jake

            Or the western liberal economic paradigm (grab all you can) can be tossed in the hopper where it belongs and a less sophisticated gift economic paradigm revived. But that might take a different species of animal. Bonobo maybe?

        2. Jean

          (ask Monsanto and Exxon and VW how that works)

          Eat organic food, boycott rebranded Exxon stations, now called Valero and drive a Japanese car, that’s how consumer boycotts work.

          1. a different chris

            I actually pick “local” over “organic” foods if that’s the choice. My farmer friend can explain (in mind-numbing detail) why he doesn’t go for the organic label. He will also explain every step (in even more mind-numbing detail) of what he does to produce what you are buying but I do the old “well look at the time!” trick and dash off…

    2. Summer

      And this part:
      “Homi Kharas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, studies the rise of the global middle class — which in his calculations includes people with income of at least $10 per person per day in 2005 dollars. For a family of four, adjusted to 2018 dollars, that works out to around $19,000 a year.

      In 1990, only 23 percent of the world’s population fit that category. Today 45 percent do, meaning an additional 2.3 billion humans are now able to afford the luxuries that the global economy provides: abundant food, motorized transportation, mobile phones and the like.”

      Healthcare, education, and housing cost comparisons among countries across the globe are not included.
      The global effect of only certain city centers reaping all the benefits: not included.

      1. Summer

        You know what, I should say PRICE comparisons of healthcare, education, and housing are not included.
        Talking about “costs” is a trap. The “costs” can be shifted by institutions: governments and corporations. The price increases are largely the burden on the people in countries.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A ‘Thank you for your sacrifice’ would be nice.

        In Deplorables Country, a memorial with this inscription. “It was not Win-Win. But many great fortunes as the world had never seen before came into existence.”

      3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Yes, but who?
        If global GDP growth is around 3%.
        Great that a lot of people in mud huts now have a TV
        But not so great that the developed world, formerly with a very robust and stabilizing middle class, got gutted in the process.
        Then there’s the “median versus average” problem, Bill Gates walks into a room and the average net worth goes up off the charts. Not sure how that plays into the figures, but 5,000 people with a net worth in the hundreds of millions does *no-thing* for a nation of 320 million.

  11. Bugs Bunny

    Re “Too Many Experts Can Hurt Your Innovation Projects” – this can apply to nearly every ‘upgrade’ Microsoft has released to its major products in the past 10 years. Every single program and the OS is harder to use, has buried and/or duplicate functionalities, useless cloud gadgetry and built in spyware.

  12. Clive

    Re: Ireland Brexit Border

    When I read this (from the link provided):

    For those familiar with the British government’s track record on IT projects, this is alarming. As Joe Owen of the Institute for Government think tank told the FT: “The specification changed and the timeline changed, and, as anyone can tell you, that is one of the most dangerous things that can happen with IT projects.” It currently has an amber warning from Whitehall’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority, which means that ‘significant’ issues exist.

    … I’m reminded by the works of fiction that are my own IT project reports. “Green” might be green on occasions but will have definite tinges of Amber here and there. “Amber” means “Red”. “Red”, on the rare times I will actually use it, is “dead in the water, probably listing badly and might well be holed below the waterline”.

    I’m not given to providing misinformation as a rule and I never like knowingly doing it. But the people who pay my princely salary prefer comforting fairy tales than gruesome realism, most of the time. My scant and skimpy value-add is in knowing when to dish out the whole unvarnished truth at maximum volume and undeniable supporting proofs. This, I do rarely — like Tabasco sauce, too much of it too often gives the corporate big shots indigestion. You have to use it sparingly with the right ingredients.

    So the U.K. Border IT program sure ain’t amber.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      A point that article also brushed over is that unlike the Norway-Sweden border the Irish border isn’t neat and tidy. Apart from the fact that there are more road crossings across that border than the entire eastern frontier of the EU between Finland and Greece, the border is used for a lot of ‘internal’ traffic, especially in the Republic. For example, the main road between the towns of Monaghan and Belturbet in the Republic actually crosses the border no less than 4 times. Almost all trade between County Donegal (in the Republic) and Dublin goes through NI. This means that dozens of small businesses would need the electronic tagging system just to do their regular day by day business.

      And of course it didn’t even touch on the food/phytosanitary issue.

      1. Oregoncharles

        “What can’t be done, will not be done.”

        makedoanmend, I think it was, claimed his family made a lot of money off that border. Illegally, of course.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Too Many Experts Can Hurt Your Innovation Projects: While I hate resorting to stereotypes, the reputation of doctors, even among doctors, is that they are generally risk averse and not very good managers.”

    I am wondering if there might be more to this mention of doctors than at first sight (not disagreeing though). I have an old book called “The Making of a Surgeon” and in it the author mentions the temperments of doctors depending on their specialty. Surgeons would be more gamblers than the medical men. Just by watching the house staff at a hospital play poker he could tell the specialty of a resident or intern by the way they played poker. The surgeons would play and bet the maximum on a low pair while the medical men wouldn’t risk a nickel unless they had the pot cold. Thus I am wondering whether the manager-doctors that were generally risk averse and not very good managers may have been mostly recruited from medical men.

  14. Olga

    Glad to see the Chinese finally speak out about the Skripal affair: from … It looks like this may produce yet another blowback, as the rest of the world re-affirms the view of the Perfidious Albion (and in fact, the entire so-called West)
    Global Times: (emphasis added,

    “The accusations that Western countries have hurled at Russia are based on ulterior motives, similar to how the Chinese use the expression “perhaps it’s true” to seize upon the desired opportunity. From a third-person perspective, the principles and diplomatic logic behind such drastic efforts are flawed, not to mention that expelling Russian diplomats almost simultaneously is a crude form of behavior. Such actions make little impact other than increasing hostility and hatred between Russia and their Western counterparts (…) The fact that major Western powers can gang up and “sentence” a foreign country without following the same procedures other countries abide by and according to the basic tenets of international law is chilling. During the Cold War, not one Western nation would have dared to make such a provocation and yet today it is carried out with unrestrained ease. Such actions are nothing more than a form of Western bullying that threatens global peace and justice. (…) It is beyond outrageous how the US and Europe have treated Russia. Their actions represent a frivolity and recklessness that has grown to characterize Western hegemony that only knows how to contaminate international relations. Right now is the perfect time for non-Western nations to strengthen unity and collaborative efforts among one another. These nations need to establish a level of independence outside the reach of Western influence while breaking the chains of monopolization declarations, predetermined adjudications and come to value their own judgment abilities. (…) The West is only a small fraction of the world and is nowhere near the global representative it once thought it was. The silenced minorities within the international community need to realize this and prove just how deep their understanding is of such a realization by proving it to the world through action.”

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Harvard Admits 4.6% of Applicants; Other Ivy League Schools Get Tougher, Too Wall Street Journal

    There are things that are good by virtue of its universal accessibility.

    And then, there are things claim to be good by its narrowness.

    “You too, like everyone else, can become enlightened.”


    “Congratulations, you are leaving the unqualified and unworthy behind.”

    1. ambrit

      That second statement is an unqualified declaration of unworthiness.
      Plus, for added fun, the punctuation of the “headline” is quite ironic.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Wisdom is available to all whose hearts are open to receive.

        Money-making knowledge is more profitable when jealously guarded, and so, it’s our loss to not understand the worth, the value of the second statement.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Our loss is we are not ‘too Wall Street.’

            And yet, we should remind ourselves that sometimes, or often (that is, many times), we win by losing.

            For a definition of many, this time is an example of one of those many times.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Tesla Asks for Model 3 Factory Volunteers to Prove ‘Haters’ Wrong Bloomberg. I seem to have missed where Tesla offered the employees bonuses for doing what sure sounds like extra work.

    It all sounds very much like a religion and the leader feeling he is being persecuted by ‘haters.’

    1. Arizona Slim

      The final graf is a doozy:

      “We set high goals at Tesla, but I know we can do this,” Field wrote. “If we keep climbing from 300 through the end of the week, it will be an incredible victory. Your friends and family will hear about it in the news.”

    1. crittermom

      Cute pic of chick & bunny.
      Thanks, Yves, for getting the very important message out there that live ones DO NOT make cute pets for Easter.

      1. Brian

        I like the little salesperson for human hand shaped couches. Seems quite evocative. I’d problably purchase one for the budgy and the small lizards. They like a good tuck in at night.

  17. Craig H.

    Re: the Bolton foofawraw

    1. the Brazilian diplomat whose children were threatened is very disappointing. In 1960 any South American minister worth his hot sauce would have demanded satisfaction, pistols at dawn. I am surprised he would tell this story.

    2. the kiss-up-kick-down-sort-of guy remark does not seem remarkable to me. My experience is that is 80% of the managerial class. My military friends tell me we have it good and their number is closer to 98%.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Is gun control too white?

    From the link:

    “Where were y’all when black people were getting shot though? If gun control don’t include police and your protesting doesn’t include innocent black people, I do not want it!” tweeted @frankpuddles

    That is the question. Do they have to be this heavily armed?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It can be less white, or more non-white, I would put it that way, or I believe, if we include police violence and police gun control.

      2. marym

        Yesterday’s Water Cooler included a tweet reporting a press conference called by Black students from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High to say they have concerns that may not mirror those of their white peers.

        Randomly looking at a few accounts for the MSD organizers of March for Our Lives they’re retweeting this, and also commenting further on issues of police violence and police in schools (here, here)

        Also today from one of the most well-known of the organizers

        Emma González Verified account @Emma4Change

        If all you’re a reporter and all you want is to report on the MFOL Parkland kids-you’re a fool. BRANCH OUT ! There are so many stories that Need to Be Heard, everyone already knows ours LISTEN TO THE OTHERS WHO HAVE POWERFUL STORIES TO TELL !!!

        1. Lambert Strether

          That’s an issue, but I don’t think it’s the issue, which is:

          If the policy proposals by March for Our Lives include further militarization of the police and the schools, black students perceive this as being personally dangerous for them (in that they’ll get whacked. And I don’t think their perception is wrong).

    1. a different chris

      >If gun control don’t include police and your protesting doesn’t include innocent black people, I do not want it!”

      Awesome. The right wing never has to do anything but give one leftist a bit of visiblity and the rest will attack.

  19. Jesper

    About the article: “The problem of hyper-liberalism”
    I am not so sure if I agree with the portrayal of the people working at universities. They are probably no more or no less concerned with career than others. They are exposed to the worst of the modern ‘liberalism’ – insecure employments (insecure income), heavy individual debt-load and job-prospects can (depending on their area of expertise) be limited to the academic world. The academic world seems to be ruled by PR-minded heads of universities who might prefer employees who support the ‘liberal’ view. The result might be that people who want to keep a roof over their heads and food on their table are simply doing what they must to ensure just that. Or it might be that they do believe in ‘hyper-liberalism’.
    But I am not aware of studies coming to that conclusion, so it might be that the cost of speaking out against or even being neutral at universities on ‘hyper-liberal’ issues is prohibititive and that might (partly?) explain the expression of ‘hyper-liberalism’ at universities.
    Maybe I got the wrong impression from the article and am being over-sensitive?

    1. Grebo

      John Gray is overrated. He has written whole books on liberalism but in this article just seems to adopt American usage of the term, which is confused and contradictory. I couldn’t extract much point from it, except that—as with most things—he doesn’t like it.
      Things he does like include Friedrich Hayek and Henry Kissinger. But he may have changed his mind by the time you read this.

  20. Jim Haygood

    Gazans revolt in their open-air prison:

    Seven Palestinians were killed and some 1,100 were wounded by Israeli tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire in the Gaza Strip on Friday, Palestinian sources said, as a series of massive protests along the security fence around the Hamas-controlled enclave intensified and turned violent.

    Six Gazans were reported killed in escalating violence by the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, hours after a Gaza man was killed at the border in disputed circumstances. Some 1,100 were injured as of 5 p.m., with most of the injuries being caused by rubber bullets and tear gas. A smaller number were hit by live fire.

    These folks are not bloody amused by Trump’s order to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. They aren’t even allowed to travel there without special permits, in a system that echoes apartheid South Africa’s pass laws for “bantus.”

  21. integer

    Virginity auctions: Brit teens sell sex online as one offer fetches $1.5mn RT

    A website which is used as a platform to broker deals between virgins and those seeking sex with them has bragged of the huge sum collected by the 26-year-old. The woman, “Jasmine”, fetched a staggering €1.2 million ($1.5 million) for the sale of her first time. A Hollywood actor purchased it, according to the agency.

    Jasmin says she got to audition three men via dates, before their final bids were placed. In a statement, the student wrote that she had no regrets.

    “This was an amazing expirience! (sic). After I got public attention it took some months but finally I sold my virginity! Last week I dated three guys for Dinner here in London. A football player from Manchester United, who really want (sic) super nice to me. Also I’ve had a date with a business-man from Munich. He was a real Gentleman and we really liked each other. But to be honest he was finally to (sic) old for me.

    “The Highlight was dating one of my favourite actors from Hollywood. Cinderella Escorts told me that he already bid for Giselle before but was outbid by another man. Therefore it was my pleasure to meet him. I would never have dreamed to get that high price for my auction. But as more I am amazed who bought my auction. It is so amazing! I love my decision to sell my virginity through and I think every girl would do the same in my position rather than giving it to a man she later on nevertheless break up with.”

      1. ambrit

        “Pretty Baby” anyone?
        Bellocq would understand.
        I prefer to view it as trough neoliberalism.
        If history does indeed proceed through cycles, let us hope that this is a trough.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Thanks for that. I’ll be forwarding that to our local school board who think spending money on a ‘resource officer’ is a better idea than spending it on teachers and getting rid of assault rifles.

  22. TiredNurse

    Hi, I’m a long time lurker on NK. I always come here first when I look at the news and often note how none of the main stream news sites don’t cover the important things discussed here on a daily basis. The commentariate is the most knowlegable I’ve ever read. One of the last mainstream sites I look at posted this:

    It looks to me like water carrying and mitigation as I’ve noticed for awhile on NPR as well. I’m not very knowledgeable but the transfers and I suspect non declared income make it smell bad to me. What do you guys think? Thank you for reading.

    Thank you Ives and Lambert for this awesome site.
    As a nurse, me and some of my work fellows know we are all getting dumped on by the powers that be even if we can’t point to it.

    1. allan

      The academic paper which the PBS report is based on lost me at the first footnote.
      Talk about looking at the world from an ivory tower:

      [1] Information reporting to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the potential for audit mean that reporting rates are high for most income. Of course, some income is underreported due to non-compliance, especially for selfemployment and small business income not subject to information reporting.
      Using IRS data, Auten and Gee (2009) found that underreported income as a fraction of reported income was highest in the bottom quintile by reported income and lowest in the top one percent.
      Atkinson, Piketty and Saez (2011) discuss concerns with using survey data to measure top incomes.(emphasis added)

      Eric Garner sold loose cigarettes, but please pay no attention to those offshore accounts behind the curtain.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Regarding that bolded part, well no [family blog] Sherlock!

        Does anyone expect the waitress at Denny’s making $3/hr + tips to report all those tips when doing so might mean the difference between making rent and not?

        People really don’t understand how it works. Back in the day when I waited tables, if a customer paid by credit card and left a tip on it, all of the tip money could be tracked and was recorded as income for that waiter. The waiter would then take cash for all the tips accrued at the end of their shift and since what you made in tips was generally quite a bit more than the hourly wage, the result would often be that your paycheck was a big fat $0. But the waiter is also responsible for distributing those tips to buspeople, bartenders, hostesses, etc at the end of every shift – in our restaurant the waiter only kept about 65% of the total tips for themselves – so you could be taxed on income you never actually made if everyone left a credit card tip, which the majority of customers do.

        Oh, and you don’t get any health care, paid vacation or any other benefits at most restaurants either.

        So if you’re eating out, pay the tab by credit card if you want, but be sure to tip your waiter in cash.

        And if you’re one of those people who takes illegal cabs (aka Uber), yes it is customary to tip the driver (do you really think the driver is making any money just off your cheap $3 fare that they have to split with the company?). Do your fellow human a solid and leave them a few bills for the effort.

        1. TiredNurse

          Thank you and Allan for the replying. The article smelled bad but I couldn’t detect how.
          It’s time to remove public broadcasting from my favorite list.

  23. Jim Haygood

    Despite Sessions deciding not to appoint a second independent counsel, the Inspector General’s announcement that he will investigate “the FBI’s compliance with legal requirements … in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person” could snowball into a very big deal.

    In broad outline, the suspicion is that opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign was used to mislead the FISC into authorizing the (possibly illegal) wiretapping of the Trump campaign.

    Likewise, Sessions’ announcement yesterday that Utah federal prosecutor John W. Huber will work alongside the Inspector General would seem to fast-track the way to filing charges if any violations are found.

    In an odd twist of fate, the thousands of intimate texts exchanged between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page provide an intricately detailed window into their daily activities and associations that never could have been pieced together otherwise. It’s Watergate with a romantic subplot. Expect the movie version to be released around 2038.

    1. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      March 30, 2018 at 11:41 am

      I agree. I assume it is talking about Carter Page. The fact that Page is not one of the beautiful people, or particularly interesting or intelligent, doesn’t mean….or didn’t use to mean, that he doesn’t have constitutional rights. Justice for Page will be the tell – if the constitution is just an advertising slogan, or it means something. The fact that this serious misuse of surveillance was undertaken under the administration of a Harvard constitutional scholar seems to make a whole cohort of people uninterested in abuses of constitutional safeguards…..
      In the case of Carter Page, his private life was monitored, for almost a year, without his knowledge, and then placed on display for strangers at the FBI to peruse, all based on a suspicion that he was colluding with Russia. On the basis of hearsay, business associations, and possibly Page’s political opinions, the FBI received a classified surveillance warrant and then renewed it three times. And yet, Page was never officially charged — suggesting that, even given the ability to surveil him in ways that might make the general public cringe, the FBI was never able to find enough evidence for a single crime.**

      **and I tend to think they really, really wanted to ….but charging Page with something might have blown the game.

    2. cnchal

      . . . the thousands of intimate texts exchanged between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page . . .

      What were they thinking? It’s a mystery to me why so many people at the top are so effing dumb. Don’t they read NC to get the scoop on how ubiquitous state surveillance is?

      1. polecat

        They were thinking that they were Above It All, and thus, could do no wrong whatsoever !
        Typical of the security state mindset, with the full false-faith and negative credits … of the Federal Gov., at your back !
        But hey ! .. no harm, no foul .. right ? ……….. and that post retirement CNN or Fox gig looks prettt sweet, don’t it ….

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I think they read the zeitgeist perfectly, they understand that America has transitioned out of the “Constitutional Age” and is now in the “The Law is for Little People” age, and so they knew there was no risk.

        I think Dr. Haygood and others expecting a result based on the way the nation used to operate will be sorely disappointed.

        Free Jon Corzine!

  24. begob

    Just spoke to SIL, who works in IT recruitment in London. All the talent is leaving for New York/Frankfurt. Salaries bound to rise in UK.

  25. JohnnyGL

    Trump might yet pull out of Syria? Wow…many grains of salt, of course…but what if he also does this…

    If he fires Sessions and appoints an AG who’ll launch a massive anti-trust suit against Amazon….
    If he keeps pushing on tariffs and gives the appearance of making progress on jobs…
    If media and dems keep flopping around like idiots on Stormy and Russia…
    Throw in a possible peace deal with N. Korea…

    Re-election suddenly looks VERY possible. I don’t think ALL, or even any, of these things will happen, but it’s not all that far-fetched.

    Against a Biden or Kamala Harris? Might be a tricky decision in the general election…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That would be great, along with ending our involvement in Yemen.

      If the latter doesn’t happen right away, it still helps…a lot (with us so close to the Russians in Syria).

      This, if it happens, would also signal some sort of victory over the MIC. That’s my opinion.

      1. johnnygl

        You’d be correct about it being a victory over MIC.

        Getting them to accept defeat and to leave a place, any place…is a big deal.

    2. beth

      JohnnyGL, I agree and have been saying since the election, that if he were to get tired of the Rs faking healthcare reform, and go with Medicare for All, he wouldn’t even need to campaign outside D.C.

    3. Plenue

      Well, we’ve supposedly already cut all funding and support to the ‘rebels’. They’ve collapsed wholesale in Ghouta, with two of the three pockets evacuated (the third is filled with stubborn AQ fighters who keep dragging out negotiations. But they’ll either agree to leave, or they’ll die). Then the SAA will be able to bring yet greater pressure onto the remaining four pockets (probably starting with the one divided between ISIS and ‘rebels’ in Southern Damascus).

      There was some whining recently from the US about wanting Russia and Syria to help with securing the al-Tanf border crossing, which is last remaining non-Kurdish US backed holding in Syria. I think we may finally be giving up on that (it’s basically empty desert).

      The pivot now seems to be Turkey. What’s left of jihadi held Idlib seems to be mainly a Turkish gig. Its fate will be decided between Syria, Russian, and Turkey; the US has no say in it anymore.

      And then what happens to the northern areas of Syria currently held by the YPG depends on how far the US is willing to risk confrontation with NATO member Turkey to defend the Kurds. If the US abandons them (which it probably will), then the Kurds choice is between being run out and submitting to Turkey, or agreeing to submit to Damascus central control (with the potential promise of federalization some time in the future). The SAA has been offering for weeks to station government forces in Kurdish held areas to dissuade the Turks. If the stubborn Kurds had agreed they would still be in Afrin in north eastern Syria. As is the only reason the tiny sliver of territory in Tal Rifaat, north of Aleppo, i8s currently still Kurdish yellow on the map is because they led Syrian government militia set up there.

      The point is the ball is firmly outside the US court now.

  26. petrel

    The Ted Rall post reminds me of what somebody said about leadership. “Some people think that leadership is locating a determined crowd on their way to some objective, then sprinting to the front and crying, “Follow me!

    That is definitely #Resistance type leadership. “You do the fighting, and we’ll step up to the front and take the credit afterwards.”

  27. flora

    re:President Donald Trump Slams Amazon Over Taxes It Pays and Impact on Other Businesses

    Or, as David Stockman puts it: The Donald’s Blind Squirrel Nails An Acorn

    It is said that even a blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn, and so it goes with the Donald. Banging on his Twitter keyboard in the morning darkness, he drilled Jeff Bezos a new one—or at least that’s what most people would call having their net worth lightened by about $2 billion:

    I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!

    You can’t get more accurate than that. Amazon (AMZN) is a monstrous predator enabled by the state, but Amazon’s outrageous postal subsidy—-a $1.46 gift card from the USPS stabled on each box—-isn’t the half of it.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Wise sharp-eyed squirrel-serfs have learned to seized on rare acorns like that quickly.

      ‘They’ (don’t ask me to expose or define them) will ridicule it as ‘the blind leading the blind,’ but I am leaning towards rallying behind our commander-in-chief on this battle.

    2. cnchal

      The other, greater half? Might as well put it here.

      The real crime here is that Amazon has been exempted from making a profit, and the culprit is the Federal Reserve’s malignant regime of Bubble Finance. The latter has destroyed financial discipline entirely and turned the stock market into the greatest den of speculation in human history.

      That’s why Bezos can kill established businesses with impunity. The casino allows him to run a pernicious business model based on “price to destroy”, rather than price for profit and a return on capital.

      Let’s not forget the billions in state and municipal subsidies to build modern satanic mills, the government spooks paying through the nose for AWS services, and the billions committed to building a free HQ2.

      All those government subsidies allow “price to destroy” too. Ironic eh. For profit tax paying companies are forced to hand money over to their government subsidized executioner. Who will pay the salaries and pensions of teachers, firemen and police officers now?

      Lots of real crime to go around.

  28. Elizabeth Burton

    Something very weird has been going on with Safari the last several days. Words like “terror” and “sex” and “assassination” and the “rac” in “racism” and “racist” have been replaced with double asterisks: **ism. I didn’t make any connection when I read yesterday about Microsoft planning to censor its products, but given I don’t have the same experience in Opera am I to assume Apple has silently decided to do the same thing?

  29. fresno dan

    Salman also said in the statement* that she had accompanied Mateen while casing Pulse and other potential targets. But during the course of the trial, it was revealed that GPS and cellphone data showed that neither Mateen nor Salman had been near the nightclub before the attack.

    In one of multiple failed attempts at a mistrial, Salman’s attorneys argued the government never told them that part of the statement had been proved false. The defense lawyers argued that the disproved statement was a key piece of evidence that kept her behind bars since her arrest in January 2017.

    While that piece of the statement has been disproved, prosecutors stressed they used electronic evidence to prove other points were correct, including Mateen’s obsession with ISIS.
    Sometimes, even I have to admit the system works. I might even concede that Trump’s disparagement of the FBI and prosecutors may make people consider that the FBI is not staffed exclusively by angels that can only tell the truth, with absolutely no thought of politics, conveniently leave facts unspoken, ignore career advancement, or…..dare I say it….disregard their government pensions.

    * dare I mention the word “candor” – if the prosecutors and FBI display a lack of “candor” about the “reality” of their evidence….is that noteworthy? I think the jury thought YES.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I wonder if the judge figured an acquittal was better than a dismissal – which could allow the prosecutors to try again.

      His instructions to the jury would have been important, but aren’t discussed.

      Anyway, a huge sigh of relief for Salman and her family. And a useful precedent – as Greenwald pointed out, this hardly ever happens.

  30. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Orwellian Debt Collection in China

    …for the past few years, the Supreme People’s Court has run a “judgment defaulter’s list” of individuals who have failed (been unable?) to satisfy judgments against them. More than 3 million names were on this list already by the end of 2015, and getting on this list means more than just public shaming; it’s also a “no-fly” list, preventing defaulters from buying airplane tickets, in addition to a “no-high-speed-train” and “no-hotel-stay” list, and also a “no-sending-your-kids-to-paid-schools” list. By mid-2016, about 5 million people had been preventing from buying these services in China as a result of being on the list. This initiative is just the start of a planned “Social Credit System,” which will aggregate electronic data (including not only payment history, but also buying habits, treatment of one’s parents, and who one’s associates are) to produce a “social credit score” for all individuals. This score will affect all manner of life events, such as access not only to loans, but also to housing access, work promotions, honors, and other social benefits.

    Does this remind anyone else of the situation outlined in David Graeber’s “Debt: the First 5000 Years”? I’m thinking of how he describes the situation a few thousand years ago which prompted the debt jubilees – people who were in debt would be forced to put their children into slavery to work it off or some other awful situation, and many, rather than submitting, would just leave the city and live stateless in the outskirts. At some point the number of those living outside the city would reach a critical mass and it would occur to them that rather than continuing to live as refugees, they could just get together and sack the city. The wise rulers would then declare a jubliee and welcome everyone back.

    Have we learned anything in the last few millennia or are we just going to make the same mistakes over and over again?

    1. visitor

      That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.

      Aldous Huxley

  31. meeps

    I had one named Fred just like him! Thanks, Richard Smith. Your bonus antidotes, even the twisted ones, always delight.

  32. Oregoncharles

    From ,Globalization’s Backlash Is Here, at Just the Wrong Time New York Times – @ (warning: constant redirects):
    ” Cross-border financial flows peaked in 2007 at 22 percent of world GDP, but were down to 6 percent in 2016, about the same as the 1996 level.” 2007? What else happened then? Odd coincidence, that. So now we have a very qualified recovery, and financial flows are back to normal? But workforce participation, according to a graph in yesterday’s Water Cooler, has leveled off at a whole new low.

    The article appears to depend on the usual assumptions about how wonderful “Trade!!!!” is.

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