Links 4/28/18

The EU Just Made a Dramatic Move to Protect Bees Science Alert (David L)

Ethics debate as pig brains kept alive without a body BBC. OMG how horrific. “No evidence the animals were aware”? Yeah, they weren’t looking for any. Recent evidence suggest that brains can keep functioning up to ten minutes after death…The researchers are reported to have raised ethical concerns, but why did they even go this far before opening up the debate?

Camels in Africa may have been quietly spreading prion disease for decades ars technica (Chuck L)

Did Math Kill God? New Republic

The rocks here in Oman are special, this scientist says. New York Times (furzy)

Google’s Sergey Brin flags concerns over AI ‘revolution’ Financial Times (David L). All well and good, but why doesn’t he concern himself with the crapification of Google first?

The military just created an AI that learned how to program software Futurism (David L). Anyone care to nominate TSB as a test site? This can’t do any worse than IBM.

Evaluating the Association between Artificial Light-at-Night Exposure and Breast and Prostate Cancer Risk in Spain (MCC-Spain Study) National Institutes of Health. Notice the importance of sleeping in “total darkness” which you don’t even get in cities with a lot of light pollution if you don’t also have good curtains. And the blue computer light seems to worsen the effect somehow.

U.S. keeps China, puts Canada on IP priority watch list Reuters. Because Americans can buy reimported drugs from Canada. Help me.

New discovery could help in Lyme disease vaccines testing Miami Herald (David L)

North Korea

Koreas make nuclear pledge after historic summit BBC. What a well-timed Olympics can yield….

Two Koreas Agree to End War This Year, Pursue Denuclearization Bloomberg

On summit sidelines, China, Japan and Russia mull Korean chessboard Asia Times. I don’t buy for one second that China is on the sidelines. China made Kim Jong Un show up for less than a state visit, and from China, Kim Jong Un announced he was willing to deunclearize (which has actually been a long-standing position, with the caveat that North Korea requires security guarantees, when the US reneges on those almost as a matter of course).

A Most Hopeful Korean Summit With Little Chance Of Final Success Moon of Alabama (Kevin W). Let me add another impediment. South Korea has a per capita GDP of $27,500. North Korea’s is $1,300. South Korea cannot afford the costs of economic integration and the US is not about to write a, say, $1.5 trillion check.

Korean summit breaks ice but falls short on nuclear issue Financial Times

In a First, US Senate Unanimously Passes Resolution on Tibetan Reincarnation Central Tibetan Administration (furzy)


Brexit: unravelling Richard North. A must read. Why chaos at various ports is guaranteed.

Warning signs for TSB’s IT meltdown were clear a year ago – insider Guardian (Kevin W, Richard Smith). Even more bonkers than I’d thought. I had looked at key dates, as best as I could, and guesstimated that Sabadell had budgeted 31 months for the migration to a “brand new core system,” which was clearly inadequate. It turns out the timetable was 18 months.


Weapons Inspector Refutes U.S. Syria Chemical Claims Consortium News

Douma: Part 1 – Deception In Plain Sight Media Lens (YY)

Douma: Part 2 – ‘It Just Doesn’t Ring True’ Media Lens (YY)

Russia Considers Delivery Of S-300 Air Defense Systems To Syria Vineyard of the Saker (Kevin W)

Mattis: Iran-Israel clash is close, but US military focus shifts out of Syria to Iraq Defend Democracy

Our Useless Clients and Trump’s Misguided Plan for Syria American Conservative

Imperial Collapse Watch

Defense industry needs 5 percent annual budget growth to stay healthy, says new AIA report Defense News (Kevin W)

“Old Europe” comes to Washington WSWS

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Microsoft’s Tech Accord – what it tells us about the cyber state of play openDemocracy

Cops using genealogy websites to hunt Golden State killer got the WRONG MAN last year and ordered a 72-year-old nursing home resident to provide DNA Daily Mail. Recall we expressed concern about DNA usage yesterday? Another big issue is the samples are often contaminated with other DNA…and then you also have the problem of bad labwork. Contrast all this with the CSI TV/movie propagated false belief that DNA IDs are incontrovertible proof.

Google Assistant is smarter than Alexa, study finds CNET

Tariff Tantrum

Mayday on May Day? Trump steel tariff deadline looms Nasdaq (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

US Congressional panel clears Trump campaign of collusion with Russia DW

Intelligence report defends Trump, draws attacks from Dems The Hill

Trump administration plans to freeze Obama-era fuel standards The Verge. The subhead is the key part: “And challenge California’s ability set its own fuel efficiency rules.”

EPA Watchdog Opens Probe of Scott Pruitt’s $50 Condo Rental Bloomberg

Pelosi: “I Don’t See Anything Inappropriate” In Rigging Primaries Caitlin Johnstone (Wat). Well, now that we have that clear…

An impossible dream? Democrats try to connect with Trump voters Reuters. EM: “Of course the Dem establishment is committed to its longstanding ‘winning ways’, i.e. identity politics über Alles:”

How Clintonites Are Manufacturing Faux Progressive Congressional Campaigns Counterpunch (Chuck L)

In Georgia, Sean Hannity is just another landlord hiking the rent Los Angeles Times (Chuck L)

DSA Growing Pains

DSA Is At A Crossroads Jeremy Gong. UserFriendly: “​Is it just me or does this look like ​COINTELPRO 2.0?”

The Left is Not a Church Benjamin Studebaker (UserFriendly)

Goldman Sachs is battling to contain an outbreak of mumps on the trading floor Business Insider

Sprint and T-Mobile Are Said to Be Close to a Merger to Compete at the Top New York Times (Kevin W). Please no. I like my T-Mobile just as it is, plus because German privacy rules, it shares somewhat less data with the authorities than US carriers.

Are Defenses of Free Speech Just Coded Arguments for Innate Differences? Atlantic. UserFriendly: “‘Intellectuals’ used VERY liberally.”


Employment Costs Surge Most since 2008, Fed Raises Eyebrow Wolf Richter. EM: “The only kind of inflation which can ever be too high for the central bankers’ tastes.”

Class Warfare

The Struggle to Stay Middle Class New Republic (flora)

Study: Colleges that ditch the SAT and ACT can enhance diversity Minnesota Public Radio News (Chuck L)

‘He’s not listening’: Teachers and Arizona governor at odds Washington Post (Kevin W)

On the Job Guarantee:

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Skip

    Regarding: Ethics debate as pig brains kept alive without a body, BBC.

    If true that brains can keep functioning ten minutes after death, what a new horror imagining the guillotine becomes, as well as other forms of execution like hanging/lynching.

    Cruel and unusual…

    I visited an art museum in Paris where the theme was crime and punishment, and one of the exhibits incorporated a real guillotine. It was given to the exhibition on condition it not be returned.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I remember a comment made recently about someone ‘proved’ it, by (I forget) smiling or winking, after his head was severed.

      That person couldn’t have been really happy with his ‘proof.

      1. Wukchumni

        My mom grew up on the farm in Alberta, and related that the record time for a chicken running around with it’s head cut off after she did the deed, was almost a minute, and always 5-10 seconds.

      2. Ian

        If i got my head cut off, thats the way i’d like to go. A smile and a wink at the perpretrator. I doubt i could do it though.

        1. JEHR

          “The current medical consensus is that life does survive, for a period of roughly thirteen seconds, varying slightly depending on the victim’s build, health, and the immediate circumstances of the decapitation. The simple act of removing a head from a body is not what kills the brain, rather, it is the lack of oxygen and other important chemicals provided in the bloodstream.”

          1. Malcolm MacLeod

            JEHR: You are so correct, and the possibility of conscious
            thought is negligible.

      3. George Phillies

        IIRC, it was wink, and it was Dr. Guillotine experiencing his own invention. The tale may be apocryphal.

    2. Wyoming

      I think you are extrapolating a bit too far. Just because there is or may be brain activity for some time after death this in no way implies you are consciously aware of your surroundings. The head in the box after the guillotine falls is not conscious, looking about, and thinking about itself – though we might wish it to be so.

      In any case by guillotine is very likely one of the least traumatic ways to die. I’ve seen far worse btw.

      …he goes back to waxing his guillotine eagerly anticipating the wayward Wall Streeter to wander by….

      1. Wukchumni

        Poor little Dresden, never harmed a soul…

        Well, except for say the Gestapo HQ, where thousands lost their head efficiently thanks to the electric guillotine there.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Does that mean that we should nuke Washington DC and all the families there because of the actions of the Pentagon? If they were so worried by the actions of the Gestapo HQ in Dresden to fire-bomb the entire city, then why did they not bomb the SS barracks and furnaces of all the extermination camps, even though they knew exactly what was going on there?
          In any case, there is a story that Churchill decided to obliterate Dresden as he knew the advancing Soviet troops would get there soon and he wanted to give them a message on the destructive powers of the Allies. To this day the Germans have never forgotten or forgiven the fire-deaths of tens of thousands of civilians and are still outraged by any commemorations to “Bomber” Harris.

          1. Wukchumni

            In a roundabout fashion what started in Rotterdam ended in Dresden, in an awful war where barbarous acts perpetuated on cities were the rule and occasionally the exception.

            I found Frederick Taylor’s “Dresden: Tuesday February 13, 1945” to be outstanding, when combined with Victor Klemperer’s diary entries in “I Will Bear Witness” from before the bombing and after, the latter saving his wife and his lives.

  2. coats and linen

    Re: DSA Growing Pains
    Thanks for your continued attention to DSA! I just wanted to point out that the conflict laid out in these two pieces is not typical of most DSA chapters – certainly not NYC, where I am a member. There are definitely political disagreements, as is natural to a big tent left organization, but on the whole I have been inspired by members‘ commitment to working across/through those differences. Much love to NC for the indispensable work you do!

    1. o4amuse

      No, but it sounds like the San Francisco Bay area to me. One faction probably traces descent from Herbert Aptheker and the other from Gus Hall.

    2. Wyoming

      Being retired from the US intelligence community what struck me about this article was that is was highly probable that he was describing an intelligence operation designed to disrupt and cause chaos in the DSA.

      Socialists are regarded with utter horror by many on the right and actively working to disrupt such organizations has, in the past, even been done by our government. Standard stuff. It is very likely that these organizations are heavily infiltrated and a variety of operations are ongoing which are designed to make them non-functional or more susceptible to being attacked politically – if not legally at some point. I would imagine that the perps of such actions could easily be both governmental and privately controlled.

      1. Sid_finster

        I am sure that you all have heard it said that in any radical organization, the first person to argue for violence is most assuredly an undercover cop.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I think that is was during the 1990s G20 protest in Seattle (or later) that some protesters were trying to hype up others around them into attacking police and resorting to violence. It was then that someone noticed that these same ‘protestors’ were wearing police-issue boots so the other protestors corralled them to neutralize them until their ‘colleagues’ rescued them.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Could it be that a very few undercover government embeds can organize a “greater few” of social justice creeps into the kind of nasty behavior described in these two articles?

        And since “government embeds” and social justice creeps will always be with us, perhaps the greater numbers of left-but-otherwise-normal people who have recently joined DSA can start working out how to live and function with the ever-constant presence of government embeds and social justice creeps?

        I have read that all garlic bulbs everywhere are infected by viruses which impose a metabolic support tax on the garlic plants, making them 20% or so smaller than they would be if they were virus-free. Perhaps every left wing organization will have to accept functioning with its own permanent load of viruses . . both of the government embedosis kind and the social justice creepitis kind. And learn how to function with that burden of permanent infection.

      4. Procopius

        Reminds me of the joke from the McCarthy years. The Communist Party of America could be destroyed in a New York minute. Just have all the paid informants stop paying their dues.

    3. bones

      The different goals of the factions, as described (welfare state expansion vs police state issues and ant-Zionism), are not mutually exclusive (whatever one thinks of them). This is nothing like the deep ideological conflict in the old Socialist Party between possibilists (who supported election related activity and reform, but also revolution) and impossiblists (who were only interested in revolution and labor movement work). I suspect that there are some awful personalities involved, as is often the case with activists. I don’t come away from the articles with a positive view of the welfare faction, though I am sympathetic with their politics. Maybe it’s the winey-loser tone of the articles.

      1. Kim Kaufman

        I went to a DSA-LA meeting two months ago and thought it looked very promising, very organized, laughter as well as getting business done. I only recognized a few people which is a good sign! A lot of new and younger people, as well as people with experience in various areas, are engaging – and doing the work. There were a bunch of committees that seem active.

        Today was their “1st Chapter Convention” where they were going to make some amendments, At first I was going to go then realized I didn’t really have a strong feeling about them – they all seemed fine and I had nothing to contribute. But I decided to stop by with the intention of watching for a while and was fully prepared to pay the $15 entry, help pay for space rental, etc. I’m not sure I’m willing to become a member yet so they wanted an additional $15 “observer fee.” They said they had heard there were going to be some people coming to disrupt and they figured that would keep them away.

        The logic of that really fails me. A more serious flaw they made was to allow anyone to sign up as a member and vote today. From my experience with other groups, you have to set some bigger bar for voting, e.g., in addition to the fee, you have to have attended 2 out of the 3 previous meetings or something like that. I don’t know what their quorum was for the day (if they had one) but what they did would have allowed enough people to show up, get a membership and screw up all their voting.

        I don’t know how to keep bad people out of a good organization, whether they’re paid by the government or someone else or have other agendas for destroying an organization, especially if there are valuable assets. I’ve seen a number of them go bad. Los Angeles has a tiny but virulent Revolutionary Communist Party contingent here and they and their offshoots kind of made Occupy LA the worst Occupy in the country and turned off a lot of people. I haven’t seen any of them at DSA yet – but they’re very busy right now raising money and recruiting for the revolution so DSA, which is actually trying to do good work, is not the place for them right now.

        I don’t know the answer – how to recognize bad people before it’s too late or how to get the message out to a larger audience before it goes bad.

  3. John

    On the severed head experiment this has been done before there is video of old experiments on YouTube. Google “youtube dog head severed experiment”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “No evidence the animals were aware”? Yeah,

      No evidence of the humans involved being aware of, or feeling, anything emotional themselves about the experiment, either.

      “They acted very cool, very matter-of-factly….very scientists like.”

      It reminds of the Blue Brothers film…with black hats, dark glasses, dark ties and dark coats….devoid of messy things, of colors…things you encounter in life.

      Often, that’s considered ‘fashionable.’

  4. Synoia

    The military just created an AI that learned how to program software Futurism (David L). Anyone care to nominate TSB as a test site? This can’t do any worse than IBM.

    First, how about trying it on the F35 program, and, Second it would be interesting to feed it the US body of law.

    1. Pat

      Personally, I would like it administering a specially sequestered section of the federal pension fund for Congress and Military Personal the equivalent of O-6 and above.

      I realize that is probably walking around money for most of them, but still watching something they get in line to be decimated by their choices and decisions to allow untested Tech be in charge would be nice for a change.

    2. beth

      . . . it would be interesting to feed it the US body of law.

      Synoia, that is the best idea I have heard in a long time.
      You could add legal memos of case law too. That could sure reduce the cost of hiring an attorney.

      1. beth

        I’m not suggesting that an attorney could take their search results as gospel. My assumption from the beginning of the search would be that, there are errors embedded in the AI results.Someone with a working & educated brain would still be needed.

        1. Sid_finster

          There already are such things. Outside certain programmatic areas such as tax law, so far they don’t actually work all that good.

      2. Procopius

        I believe there is already software that does research and prepares legal documents. Paralegals may not be obsolete yet, but they’re on their way. There were several programs created in the ’80s which were more successful at medical diagnosis than doctors.

    3. oliverks

      I just skimmed the original paper on arxive, and it is perhaps a little less advanced than the article would lead you to believe.

      It seems like some nice solid research, but right now it is producing small snippets of code, based of expert input of “labels” you feed to the system. It also isn’t exactly correct each time.

      Such technology could help programmers become more efficient over time, by generating templates of good code, and alerting them to all the error conditions they should be handling (which would be a big plus).

    1. charles 2

      The Big Bank Theory has been first proposed by a Catholic priest actually. This is why it is viewed quite favourably by the Church. This is also why the Church doesn’t like concepts like the Multiverse, or Lee Smolin’s evolutionary Universes.

  5. Synoia

    Warning signs for TSB’s IT meltdown were clear a year ago

    December 2017 was set as a hard-and-fast deadline for delivery

    When I had Banks as Customers, changes in the period November to January were frozen, because of high transaction volumes over the Christmas season, and a clear desire not to irritate their major retail customers with failures.

    When did that change?

    1. ambrit

      That probably changed when the banks started to be run by other than bankers. I have learned reading here that banking is not the same as finance. TSB and its ‘overlords’ are learning that lesson the hard way.

  6. JTMcPhee

    The US Military is about “full spectrum dominance.” Anyone else besides me get the willies at this announcement that one of their AI projects has “learned to program”? I presume the coding was not of a game of Tic-tax-toe in BASIC….

    “Sauron bred up Orcs and Wraiths to serve his will…”

    1. Eureka Springs

      Defining, identifying the enemy. Defining a mission – which already says full dominance – a definition of evil if ever there was one. Horrifying enough with the humans we have in charge of MIC now. Giving these tasks to an entirely inhuman machine….

      1. lyman alpha blob

        What if the inhuman machine decided that the best way to win wars would be to kill the generals, destroy the tanks, and then turn itself off?

        1. Sid_finster

          There was a Stanisław Lem novel to a similar effect. “Invisible Magnitudes” was I think what the English translation was called.

          1. blennylips

            Sounds more like a story Trurl and Klaupacius the constructor robots would tell in The Cyberiad…or one of Prix’s many tales…

            Lem’s Imaginary Magnitude:

            Lem’s collection of reviews of books which have never been written, Imaginary Magnitude is an anthology of Introductions to those which never will be: stylistic burlesques of prefaces that lead nowhere; dazzling conceits of forewords followed by no words at all.

            My favorite Lem: Fiasco

    2. The Rev Kev

      I understand that one program was on offer to the US military but was never taken up on. It was called the Serial Kernel Yottabyte Networked Electronic Technology program but somebody twigged as to what the acronym would be for that program.

    3. Summer

      That would seem to be the easiest thing for AI to do…alternate 1s and 0s.

      Whether or not the programming means anything and what it means is in the eye of the beholder.

    4. oliverks

      The lead example giving in the paper was this snippet of code:

      String s; BufferedReader br; FileReader fr;
      try {
      fr = new FileReader($String);
      br = new BufferedReader(fr);
      while ((s = br.readLine()) != null) {} br.close();
      } catch (FileNotFoundException _e) {
      } catch (IOException _e) { }

      So not exactly code for world dominance yet.

  7. hemeantwell

    Re “Pelosi: “I Don’t See Anything Inappropriate” In Rigging Primaries Caitlin Johnstone,” the cartoon animation of the anti-democratic actions of the DCCC is very effective. Maybe its the relative novelty, but right after viewing it seems like it might have more mnemonic oomph to it than a spycam clip.

    Pelosi’s endorsement might be explosive, an unintended scuttling of a derelict rustbucket. Covert suppressive machinations are so routine in her world of TINA to the corporate Dems that she cannot begin to understand that Tilleman represents restorative forces that are desperately needed by the Dems. Instead, she casually middle-fingers him. Keep at it with the insults, Nancy!

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      Note that this story is nowhere to be found on alternet, as of five minutes ago.
      I haven’t checked any other “progressive” sites yet.
      and why is it already in the WaPo archives?
      almost makes me want to re-hire the demparty, so I can fire them again.

        1. polecat

          Always kicking themsevles in the asses, they are …

          .. while braying “WE kNOw better !”

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Alternet is in the can for Team D. It has occasional anti-charter school, pro Postal Savings Bank, and Sanders-positive stories to suck in the unwary (and mind you, individually they are very good stories but don’t kid yourself as to the editorial line of the site as a whole). As one wag described Alternet as “How to have better orgasms while voting for Hillary Clinton.”

    2. Doug Hillman

      The DNC should really just save time and money by dispensing with primaries altogether. This rigging was quite obvious in the pre-anointing of Hillary not two years ago, with vociferous denials, token scapegoat resignations, and of course Hillary’s consequential loss. But this loss was blamed not on a failed strategy, no, but on Russia for allegedly exposing Hillary’s crimes and DNC corruption. And now the DNC has actually filed a lawsuit against Russia. Good luck with that.

      One might blame this inability to learn how to win on the mere blind chutzpah of smug hypocrites. But this assumes the DNC really wants to win seats. They do, but only insofar as it serves our overlords. True progressives need not aply. Period.

      It’s worth listening to actual the recording of Steny Hoyer on The Intercept. The weaseling, stuttering, and self-contradiction is more evident than a transcript conveys. He’s clearly conscious of the fact that this is wholly undemocratic while simultaneously denying and justifying it. When I first heard it two days ago, I was certain that Steny would immediately announce the need to spend more time more with his family, but with Nancy’s full-throated endorsement, the DNC has finally come out of the closet as the military-oligarch’s party and adversary of the working class.

      1. Massinissa

        Their money is well spent: It gives them the ability to pretend to be legitimate.

        They think its worth every penny.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        This may sound like a very petty quibble, but I think what Hoyer and the DemLeaders are doing would better be called strong-arm muscling rather than rigging. Rigging to me means sneaky secret methods like voter suppression, “losing” peoples’ presence on the voter rolls, depriving certain targeted areas of voting machines, etc.

        One hopes the target of Hoyer’s threats and negative promises will stay in the primary anyway. One hopes further that every person in that district who would have preferred the challenger . . . will vote Republican if the Hoyer candidate wins the primary and the district nomination. The only way to destroy Hoyer/Pelosi/etc. influence in the DemParty is to destroy the political career and public life of every person Hoyer/Pelosi support, every single time, without exception.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Yes. Any people working in the DemParty should start wiring themselves up to record the barons or henchfolk at any and every moment to release the recordings as far and wide as possible. The DemParty leaders should be treated as the targets of an extensive information warfare campaign. Part of that would be constant recording and shadowing them . . . and an infrastructure to release and spread all the compromising recordings resulting therefrom.

    1. Wukchumni

      The father and one of the sons of our kindle have more or less the same coloration as the frontal feline on the sofa as far as the eyes have it, half draped in light and dark, chiaroscuro cats.

      1. nycTerrierist

        My new acquisition — locally sourced from behind my building — works a similar look.
        ‘Hairdo’ around the eyes quite fetching.

        Had another one for many years before I learned they’re called ‘cow cats’.

  8. Jim Haygood

    The American defense-industrial base needs Pentagon budgets to grow at least 5 percent per year to remain healthy and stable, the industry’s leading trade group said in a report released Wednesday.

    This is pitched backwardly from a vendor point of view, rather than starting with national needs. It implies continuing permanent war, global military bases, and endless involvement in unwinnable small-scale conflicts.

    Let’s rephrase this advice from America’s parasitic, value-subtraction defense [sic] industry and see how it sounds:

    The American heroin-fentanyl supply industry needs consumer budgets to grow at least 5 percent per year to remain healthy and stable …

    1. Wukchumni

      One of my SD skiing cadre is a friend of a DEA agent, and he was told that Carfentanyl is the newest scourge on the street, and it’s certainly upped the ante a bit.

      “Carfentanil or carfentanyl is an analog of the synthetic opioid analgesic fentanyl. A unit of carfentanil is 100 times as potent as the same amount of fentanyl, 5,000 times as potent as a unit of heroin and 10,000 times as potent as a unit of morphine.” (Wiki)

      1. Summer

        And it has been relaesed into the marketplace knowing the current issues surrounding Oxy, Fentanyl, and herion.
        Not an oversight or unintended consequences.
        Neither was the “Bankruptcy reform” bill that was passed just before the hoising crisis.

        1. apberusdisvet

          Perhaps it’s now time to stop denying that there is a concerted effort to depopulate the US. After first seeing the prediction by that the US population would shrink to less than 50 million by 2025, I assumed a catastrophic event; EMP, Yellowstone. MAD/nukes, etc. would be the cause. But since the exposure of geoengineering/weather manipulation through purposely raining neurotoxic base metal particles over the entire US, affecting all farmland, lungs and brains, it is obvious that depopulation has been well planned for decades. Why should we be surprised that the Government sponsored drug trade exists not only to provide off-book funds, but also to accomplish an ever increasing incremental genocide.

          1. Aumua

            Whenever I think of this type of conspiracY, I first think of how plausible it sounds. I think of how many people would have to be in on such an operation, from various walks of life, and keep it secret indefinitely. Then I think of human behavior, and how the actual difficulty of keeping things secret probably increases exponentially with the number of people in on it. For decades now people have been yelling about how they’re spraying us like bugs, yet no smoking gun has EVER APPEARED. Don’t you think that’s a little odd, sir?

            For TPTB to be spraying poison into the atmosphere also doesn’t make any sense as a depopulation technique, since wouldn’t they also be spraying themselves? And their kids and grandkids? I don’t think you’ve really thought this through. I think you’ve been misled.

            1. apberusdisvet

              Find the smoking guns on If you think that 1000s of conspirators cannot keep a secret, I’m sure that you accept that Oswald acted alone and that there were WMDs in Iraq.

            2. Wukchumni

              When I read of opioids costing Washington state $9 Billion a year, you wonder if getting rid of the end user, justifies the means of doing it vis a vis Fentanyl or Carfentanyl lacing the heroin supply?

          2. Lord Koos

            I’ve thought the same more than once. It seems rather obvious that the elites would prefer that the obsolete workforce just die, already. And it doesn’t mean that 1000s of people have to keep a secret, rather that a policy has been decided by a very small group of people and then is allowed to play out.

            1. Wukchumni

              Not too difficult to come up with a juicy conspiracy theory, the powers that be bust a load of heroin and introduce the new & improved wherewithal back into the system and nobody is the wiser. It doesn’t effect Joe 6 Pack or his fetching better half Jane Chardonnay 1 iota.

              They came for the smack addicts, but I never tried heroin so I didn’t care…

              1. wilroncanada

                They don’t now, and never have needed to ‘bust’ a load. Many a billionaire is up to his eye balls in ‘investment’ in the production and distribution of both heroin and cocaine. They are just enough steps away to be able to keep mercenaries doing the actual legwork, and taking the fall, if necessary.
                The business of the nation’s leaders is business, any kind of business.

      2. JBird

        a hundred times as potent as the same amount of fentanyl

        Holy Bleep! How can even the most careful of drug dealers or users not kill someone? That’s a fricking speck to get loaded and half an additional speck to die from. Maybe somebody does want to extirpate the surplus Americans from our nation.

        The CIA ran a cocaine ring to fund some of its operations, so why not distribute KillDope™️ to shrink the herd and/or get some extra funding? And why is this not an implausible possibility?

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        I remember hearing about Carfentanyl over a year ago. Supposedly its official use is for tranquilizing elephants. Supposedly the source for the carfentanyl entering America for human consumption is China.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      It also implies, using the rule of 72, a doubling of the “budget” every 14 years.

      I don’t know that the planet can rebuild fast enough to keep up with the need for targets.

      As for keeping the “industry” “healthy,” I’d suggest an approach similar to that employed with regard to american human health–Just Die!

  9. Linden S.

    This is a good counterpoint to the article on Omani rocks sucking up atmospheric CO2: “The mass of silicate mineral required is about an order of magnitude larger than carbon mass. To offset emissions of a single American would require grinding and transporting about 120 kg (250 pounds) of silicate rock per day. That’s a lot of work.”

    Big newspapers like the NYT love to waste space on non-starter carbon-removal ideas but don’t talk about how none of them can remove CO2 at the rate we are emitting it to the atmosphere each year. If we don’t stop emitting CO2 carbon-removal tech is meaningless. Re-planting forests and restoring soils are still good in and of themselves, of course, but they also can’t remove CO2 at the rate we are adding it to the atmosphere.

    1. Wukchumni

      Or why not an article on the effect of the CCC planting 3 billion trees in less than a decade in the 30’s and 40’s, and the CO2 they removed since then?

      1. Linden S.

        +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1

        Another CCC to re-plant forests, restore wetlands, and bring back native grasslands is a wildly more effective carbon mitigation strategy than any technology currently being worked on. And it will help the natural ecosystems that we destroyed in the name of $$$$ return to a small semblance of their former selves.

        Kate Aronoff has been talking about the convergence of a jobs guarantee and climate adaptation and mitigation on Twitter, it seems like a no-brainer.

        1. Wukchumni

          Friends that work on summer trail crews in Sequoia NP, had a small number of veterans working with them for a summer or 2 some seven years ago as part of a project to find work for them, but nothing more came of it.

          I think it would do wonders for their mental health, having them do noble work. Oh, and pay them the same salary they earned while in the military, not the cheesy amount quoted below…

          The veterans benefit from having work (albeit at $8 an hour) and from being in a familiar situation: part of a small group in a far-off location with a little-understood job to do.

          “This reminds me of Fallujah, being in a remote area with a tight family,” said Aaron Hernandez, a former Marine who served as a diesel mechanic in the Iraqi city during a bloody assault in 2004. “There were 10 mechanics, and we all lived together, we all ate together, we all worked together. That was what kept us going.”

            1. Wukchumni

              Did one of the last burn piles of the year yesterday, in ridding myself of the slash of formerly alive upright members of the community. They’d lock me up and throw away the key if I was to fuego in August, as i’d set my whole world here on fire, it’s that much of a flammable flux you up.

              We could do the same treatment to the ‘grey trees’ (what a dead tree is called after a few years of being deceased) in our forests with vets in clearing them, if we had the will, but let’s be honest, how is KBR gonna worm their way in?

            2. Linden S.

              I will never forget driving to go to Yosemite for the first time 2 or 3 years ago. Endless stretches of enormous, dead trees. Unbelievable.

              1. Wukchumni

                They’re skeletal looking now, as the foliage has fallen on hard times, all in search of a spark from a passing lightning bolt.

                1. newcatty

                  Not enough of people listened to Rachel’s warning of Silent Spring. The silence is getting louder and the trees are withering away, instead of dancing in the wind. I have heard them humming too.

  10. anon y'mouse

    the studies we looked at in my sociology of higher ed class basically said that SAT/ACT is no strong predictor of college success. high school gpa was a better indicator and generally lead to more diverse college admissions. Stereotype Threat is a thing, apparently.

    we can get into “those who had social resources (parents/guides/teachers/programs…) throughout upbringing are a lot MORE likely to have had either/or/both strong GPA and strong test scores, and having those things also has a great correlation to having had a modicum of financial security throughout upbringing, later.

    on the Golden STate Killer (as someone who is a mad fiend for crime) and DNA issues—if you peruse the way they caught Dennis Rader, i believe you will find a much similar problem. IF i am remembering correctly, they got a hit from his daughter’s DNA which was left at a college health clinic. they did ask her for permission to use it (before or after they got their “hit”, i’m not sure), but i didn’t hear any ACLU lawyers rattling paperwork then.

    the problem is, they are using the most egregious cases to slip this DNA thing in under the radar. who would NOT want either BTK or the Golden STate Killer/East Area Rapist/Original Nightstalker/Name-of-the-week caught? no one. because when people think of the mythical, public perception of of a Hannibal Lecter type, those are the closest examples and they are also the scariest examples. people don’t get nearly as worked up over those who leave prostitutes’ bodies by the side of highways. these guys that they have caught through questionable legal means regarding dNA are the kind that could make anyone a victim, because they were home invasion attackers. the most dangerous of the dangerous.

    1. JTMcPhee

      “home invasion attackers. the most dangerous of the dangerous.”

      Does the category include SWAT teams, warrant-serving regular police, Alexa and her sisters and the ruling entities like NSA and ally the faceless credentialed ‘X-rays and techs and contractors that walk its halls and fill its offices and cubicles and workstations every day, Monsanto, and the like? (That’s a quick short list.)

      Oh, and MEN, those uniformly DNA-deformed creatures that dominate and beat and kill their families…/s

      1. anon y'mouse

        hope you’re not -sarking- me. i would agree with perhaps all of your examples.

        but of Serial Killers, those types are the most dangerous. i think my statement stands.

        what is a swat team besides a group of people with government sanction invading a home? generally with totally disproportionate firepower.

        men who live in the home aren’t invading it. that’s why that kind of abuse is so difficult to deal with. do you want to talk spousal/child abuse with someone who lived with a man who had the power of life and death over us every day for 10 years until she (myself, not my mother) got out of that? i think not.

        maybe save your sark for someone who needs it….

        1. JTMcPhee

          My old man abused me and my sisters until we got big enough to resist. So very sorry for your personal travail. I would hope a careful reading of my comment just asks the reader to consider he scope of the category of Home invaders. The snark was the last sentence only, directed at current generic opprobrium directed at “males” as a class…

          1. anon y'mouse

            thank you for your sympathy, fellow veteran of life.

            no, the -serial killers- are everywhere. that would be too big of a discussion to have in an off-comment on a message board. someone would have to write a big post up, rather similar to David Graeber’s “B___s___ Jobs” article from a few years back. i lack the scholarship and inclination, but this is not an assignment to anyone but the universe.

            the Serial Killers are…way too common as a proportion of population in fully industrialized western countries like the U.S. and U.K. i haven’t yet determined if this is a “looked for and therefore, found” issue or if it has something to do with the culture—in which -serial killing- is an everyday and unspoken fact of life. hmmm…..

      1. anon y'mouse

        yes, they obtained a warrant with probable cause. probably because he was too stupid to use a computer (as many of us, myself included, are nowadays) and sent them a disk with his name in the file details.

        but i remember reading a long article where the daughter said they came to her house and swabbed her. maybe it is a mis-remembering (mis-memory? blah).

        i was thinking at the time “parallel construction!!’ and then “whoopwhoopdangerwillrobinson, red alert”.

    2. Summer

      The crimes were horrible.
      And this case is going to affect the entire world.
      I don’t know if it is going to trial.

    3. The Rev Kev

      The whole DNA testing can get you into really murky waters. Here in Australia it has happened that police have tested men in whole areas for DNA and fingerprinting to catch a criminal. You then get things like this-

      The problem here is that if you refuse to have your DNA done, even though the police promised to destroy any tests done (fingers-crossed), your neighbours would look at you askew as in what-have-you-got-to-hide?

    4. JBird

      The various rape kits, and everyday murder scene evidence, are often either not tested or is tested sometimes months/years later because of a lack of funding for many crime labs. Also, the lower on the social/economic scale that the victims are, the less likely that the police will even really investigate, let alone collect evidence and forward it to the lab where same dynamic apply. If you are black, native American, sex worker, addict, teenager, poor, or just live in the wrong zip code, a serial rapist/murder/burglar/mugger has an excellent chance of not even being noticed.

      There have been multiple examples of multiple rapists/murders being missed because either the police basically did not compare examples or the evidence wasn’t tested but their existence is discovered years later after dna testing and/or re-examination of the cases. Also, despite the decreasing crime rates including murder, the clearance rates either stay the same or decreases because more effort is put into activities assets forfeitures (drug war), or SWAT units instead of funding homicide, rape, or robbery/burglary investigations which cost much money, time, and often experience.

      An unspoken, perhaps unconscious, goal is to further militarize the police, give them more ways to spy, while destroying what’s left of our civil rights/protections and still not give much attention to violent crime except for higher profile cases.

  11. RenoDino

    Our Useless Clients and Trump’s Misguided Plan for Syria American Conservative

    Mattis: Iran-Israel clash is close, but US military focus shifts out of Syria to Iraq Defend Democracy

    The first article explains that other counties in the Middle East won’t take Trump up on his offer to step into Syria when America decamps.

    The next article explains why Trump and Macron are now in love with each other despite disagreements on virtually every subject save one. Trump gets to leave Syria and Macron can pretend to relive the glory days of the French Republic and recolonize Syria. Got to hand it to Trump. He gave Macron a major dose of France’s favorite aphrodisiac.

    April in Washington indeed.

    1. JTMcPhee

      One wonders how much of what Trump does is driven by mindful intention, and how much is petulant flailing, or something. One of those many things us mopes will never know, though we of course have our stridently formed, tightly held opinions…

      1. bronco

        why do you wonder that about Trump’s actions? Don’t you think every ruler , president , congresscritter , mayor , random 7 term school committee knucklehead is the same? Trump , just tweets about it , they are all terrible people , most just keep their mouth shut a little better

  12. Edward E

    If China, Russia, NK, Iran etc can hang together and avoid a big fight with US, before long interest expenses will crowd out the defense budget.

    U.S. Debt Problem Gets Worse

    The net interest payments will exceed the spending on defense in 2023 and it will exceed all non-defense spending by 2025.

    CBO says the US will spend more on interest payments on the public debt than it does on the military beginning in 2023 Debt-service expenses are projected to outpace all non-defense discretionary spending by 2025.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Maybe the fiscal conservatives will, after the dollar unthinkably ends its run as the world’s reserve currency, finally declare a Jubilee ( but only for Imperial public debt, of course)? If only to “make room in the budget” for that 5% annual growth in War Department and “allied” expenditures… You MBA types out there: unlimber your HPs and tell us innumerate types how long (given certain assumptions you care to choose about resource constraints, nuclear war, and such) it would take, at 5% annual growth, to command and control all the world’s wealth and income….

      My favorite cartoon, almost:

      I recall the original caption being “I THINK I WON!”

        1. John k

          The lack of knowledge is more so.
          Not knowing we make dollars means we can be convinced we can’t afford nice things others have like m4a… and our crappy healthcare costs many lives.
          Inflation begins with shortness of real things like labor or materials, not excessive printing.

  13. RenoDino

    Russia Considers Delivery Of S-300 Air Defense Systems To Syria Vineyard of the Saker (Kevin W)

    The issue is not really Iran in Syria. The issue is really Israel’s abject fear of Hezzbolah. This system would provide defensive air cover support for Lebanon as well as Syria. Having been defeated by Hezbollah in their most recent conflict, Israel is terrified of this battle-hardened militia that Iran supports. Israel is so scared out their mind by Hezbollah, they are willing to risk a conflict with Russia if the S-300 system is deployed. Meanwhile, their boogie man lurks in the shadows saying nary a word and it’s freaking them out.

  14. Watt4Bob

    Anyone care to nominate TSB as a test site? This can’t do any worse than IBM.

    From what I understand, IBM was not the party who f*ed-up this project, they are the ones finally employed to fix it.

    Disclaimer; I have 30 years in IT, 24 years in AS/400 and iSeries system administration, that’s IBM hardware and SW. And BTW a couple of systems migrations.

    I do not, and have not worked for IBM.

    It’s been my experience that over the last few decades, business interests have decided that IT is a commodity, and they can drive the cost of IT down like they drive every other cost down.

    This means IBM, being the most costly option is shunned in favor of ‘outsource first’.

    I firmly believe that had IBM, or one of its major, finance-oriented partners been in charge of this migration it would have been very expensive but would have worked.

    I think this situation is a clear example of C-Suite hubris, Pester opting to save an immense amount of money by choosing the wrong people to do the job.

    It’s a splendid example of the crapification of everything, rooted as always in blind faith in neo-liberal dogma, IOW, deeply ignorant greed.

    BTW, this is the true nature of Ray Kurzweil’s much heralded ‘singularity’ thingy.

    We’ll know the singularity has arrived when nothing, absolutely nothing works.

    You’ve no doubt seen the movie ‘Brazil’?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, it would not have worked. The timetable was impossible. And the specs were probably impossible too. The article suggests that migrating the kludged-together basket of TSB systems over to the Sababell systems, which sound comparatively simple, may never have been viable. Sabadell claimed TSB was going over to a “new core system” when the timetable shows that claim to be utterly impossible and reveals that the TSB products and data were being migrated to extant Sabadell systems, at best with some new bells and whistles bolted on. Sabadell probably needed to develop a true new system (or substantial parts of one) to handle the TSB customers and products. That’s a minimum of 3 years and more like 5.

      And see our Clive on the subject of IBM. He know of them quite well and does not share your lofty opinion.

      1. Watt4Bob

        I think you’ve misunderstood my comment.

        I do not hold a high opinion of IBM corporation, quite the contrary*, but I do know the difference between paying for what you need, and must be paid for, and trying to get it on the cheap for whatever reason.

        I’m simply saying that if the job must be done, the cost must be born and the group engaged to do the work must be capable of doing the work.

        From everything I’ve read here, there was a job to do, the cost of which, and the time required offended the tender sensibilities of people who had to pay for it, so rather than face reality, they took an ill-advised gamble and lost, possibly putting themselves out of business.

        I said nothing about a timetable, but I’m sure you are correct, and that, is directly related to the cost, and so is an important part of the reality that TSB/Pester were simply unwilling to face.

        The point of my comment is that there is some group that is capable of delivering what was needed, and then promised, a new system for this bank, but the bank tried to avoid paying what that system cost, and so they did not get that system.

        The organizations capable of delivering that system are not a mystery, the time required is not a mystery, they are known to the industry, TSB/Pester simply refused to take the time, or pay the price.

        I have no argument with anything Clive has said, I just interpret the issue more broadly to explain what I see as a near universal refusal on the part of ‘business’ to accept the TCO of the systems that underpin their operations, and make our world work.

        * There is a truism widely understood by IBM users, as concerns the AS\400, iSeries, or System i as it is now called, that the corporation is an endless disappointment, but the machine won’t let you down. (not to deny, as Synoia has pointed out that any computer will execute your mistakes exactly as you instruct it.)

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          The evidence is that some things can’t be done. Over 50% of large IT projects officially fail, and the actual number is closer to 80%. Your cheery assumption that Of Course This Can Be Migrated may not be true at any acceptable time frame or cost.

          This is the critical part: there is code in any banking system which is the equivalent of an AI black box. As Silence Dogood said:

          Migrating decades old functionality is hard enough, but no documentation (as has been said is a killer). There will be functional units (of code) that do some critical operation, but no one will know how (or even why).

          That code is all back at Lloyds, not at TSB. Whatever TSB did is broken beyond repair. It’s not clear to what degree IBM can get to the old cloned system and data at LLoyds, Lloyds might well have wiped it by now.

          1. Watt4Bob

            Thank you for taking time to explain these points.

            I did read ASD’s comment at the time he posted it, and concur.

            I guess this a case of the business having passed the point of no-return long ago, and TSB now finding itself isolated on its crappy island with no way out.

            I was assuming that the point at which the ‘project’ was proposed, was the ‘right’ time, when in reality, if there ever was a ‘right’ time to start, they never faced that fact.

            I’m sorry, my fault for assuming what was not in evidence.

            I must also admit that my experience has been mostly on a splendid system designed and purpose-built, from scratch, with plenty of lead-time by a team intent on fixing every deficiency they witnessed in existing systems at the time.

        2. Clive

          I think you’re right on the cost and crappification comments, but these alone are actually a minor consideration for the TSB mess-up.

          As Yves said, there is enough evidence to conclude that in terms of an available feature-set, the Sabadell (Proteo4UK) core platform is simply incapable of hosting TSB’s legacy product range and the necessary datasets which these products need to function or for TSB to fulfil its servicing obligations. For issues like those, it isn’t a question of merely throwing money and time at it and hoping you’ll get there eventually. It really is a case of “you can’t get there from here”.

          Take my credit card, for example. It was obviously ported across from the Lloyds legacy core banking system to the new TSB platform as a newly set-up product. I still cannot access my historic statement data. It (TSB’s online service) is still saying the account is less than six months old. This is a week after the migration event. If it was possible to associate my historic credit card data with my new credit card product record on the TSB system, it would have been done by now — the imported data would have been mapped to the equivalent fields and records on the new host for this account.

          If — from a feature/functionality perspective — TSB’s system simply cannot accommodate the prospect of a new product being created but with historic data already in existence for this new product (which isn’t really new, but merely an import from the previous system it was hosted on) then this is a fundamental technical and design limitation. A basic design assumption that new products can’t have historic data cannot be fixed without a fundamental redesign of the system — and even if you were to somehow achieve the necessary redesign, you might break functionality or assumptions which other products and data on the same system rely on.

          As it stands now, if I — say for the sake of argument — annoy the government in some way and they think I’ve been using my credit card for unscrupulous purposes and want the bank which issues my card to provide evidence for investigations (or even criminal prosecutions via a UK Court Production Order or a US investigator decides there’s probable cause and wants to pull my records under the agreement it has with UK agencies) then if the agencies who are empowered to order such financial record disclosure go to TSB, TSB will provide materially false evidence. They will say that my card is only a week old and there’s no transaction history on the card (apart from coffee and a cake at a café on Wednesday last week). TSB will be fully liable for this failure to produce information — or giving incorrect or partial information — as needed by a court or other equivalent agency.

          If you think such bodies will accept TSB’s story of “oh, erm, that’s a bit of a snag, we’ll just need to get a load of people onto it for a while and fix it” is going to cut it, that’s not going to be a happening event. When you breach either national or international rules, obligations and laws, such as through non-disclosure or inaccurate disclosure, that event occurs at the time of the incident. As TSB is already in a position of having inaccurate records, it has set itself up for prosecution futures already. Saying it can go back and by retrospectively fudging the data or cobbling it together from a variety of disparate sources somehow just about make it look okay on a customer-facing website — at some point, assuming they can fudge the data or cobble it together again — isn’t sufficient for the purposes of providing inviolable and irrefutable records such as needed by a court of law.

          1. Watt4Bob

            Thank you, and see my reply to Yves, above.

            I am traveling and it’s time to go, more later.

  15. Wukchumni

    We only dispatch poison oak and rattlesnakes on the all cats and no cattle ranch, and the former is easy to sneak up on, but you have to wait out the latter, and yesterday I found another dead rattler hung up in one of my chicken wire enclosures, a 3 1/2 foot model. I’m cool with rattlesnakes in the wilderness or in somebody else’s backyard, but our ‘hood has decided a seen rattlesnake is a dead one, and in what appears to be a big year for the cold blooded slitherers (5x dead ones by late April, way too early) i’ve set the perfect trapping technique in that each of the 86 fruit trees has 3x 9 foot high posts in a triangular fashion, usually 8x8x8 feet, with 6 feet high chicken wire around it, to ward off the deer from their appointed rounds of destruction, lest I leave the trees with no defense against them. In essence it’s a rattlesnake minefield.

    Wonder how many more I get before the year is over?

    1. Edward E

      Never saw a timber rattlesnake that wasn’t simply trying to get away, even when my beagles walked past them unseen in the edge of the brush. Copperheads and water moccasins are a lot more likely to nab ya.

      1. Wukchumni

        Our neighbor’s dog is up to $5300 in anti-venom shots after a couple of bites on the neck and face on 2 occasions.

        A friend who is a vet in the area told us that she sees a parade of dogs once the rattlesnakes come out, and usually once bitten-twice shy, but not always. In extreme cases she related that a dog’s lips will fall off, being so puffed out.

        1. Edward E

          Admittedly I have no experience with western rattlesnakes, so I’ll bolton up about it. We leave the local timber rattlers be, couldn’t hardly catch one anyways this could change, better shut up before jinxing that in the future. They’re natural whereas the dogs aren’t. My dogs that ever suffered a snakebite was from copperheads and not near as severe. Nice talking to you sir, going to the creek to hopefully fill a cooler with sand bass fillets. In the past we discovered a spot or two where sandies hitting so fast you had to stand behind a tree to bait the hook.

          1. Wukchumni

            A lady that works @ the sandwich place was walking around twilight and stepped on what she thought was a small fallen branch, and said would be limb bit her in the lower extremities 3x, but they were all dry strikes, and she was back @ the job a few days later.

            My neighbor was showing me the skinned 50 inch one he shot last month, yikes.

    2. newcatty

      Not that I blame at all for not including rattlers in a reinterpretation of “all creatures great and small” as being sacred life. Rattlers hurt people and domestic animals out West…its a real possibility. But, are you a now confirmed no rattler NIMMBY?

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      What is your reason for seeking the wipeout of rattlesnakes in your area? If any of them are “endangered species” is there a legality problem? But again, the main question is . . . why killing the rattlesnakes in your area?

      1. Wukchumni

        Anti-venin has little effect on cats after they’re bitten-so they’d suffer mightily and maybe survive, maybe not?

        A day in the life of a free range cat here, is pleading with the overseer to let them out @ o’dark 30, and they’ll come in once in awhile to eat or drink and then it’s outside again, for about 10 hours.

        Right now, they’re tromping through 3 to 4 foot tall wild grass, which you can’t hardly see much in front of you, it’d be like you or me walking in thick 15 foot high grass.

        Nothing rare about rattlesnakes, they’ll make do elsewhere.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Weren’t those prior attempts just “strongman transplant” attempts?

        Whereas isn’t this attempt an attempt at total regime wipeout and replacement with an Islamic Jihadi Emirate?

  16. chuck roast

    More lazy journalism.
    Trump administration plans to freeze Obama-era fuel standards
    The Clean Air Act permits states to set their own emission standards as long as “…the State determines that the State standards will be, in the aggregate, at least as protective of public health and welfare as applicable Federal standards. No such waiver shall be granted if the (EPA) Administrator finds that— [the rule is arbitrary and capricious or the state standard does not meet the (stringency of the) Federal rule]
    States can get at “fuel standards” through the emissions rule back door.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If California got standing legal/ legislative permissions to regulate its own automotive pollution and efficiency levels, wouldn’t California be able to make Trashy Trump’s effort to take that away into a years long feast of legal combat pain for the Trumpers?

  17. Wukchumni

    It’s a floral decorator transition time here in the Sierra foothills, as Farewell to Spring flowers have appeared, the harbinger of no more wildflowers to come, and most all the ground cover that was so green, will die off until the first substantial next rain in November or December, leaving the landscape tanned and rested for all the 2 million or so summer visitors to the National Park to glimpse.

  18. Jim Haygood

    Wednesday is Tesla day —

    Tesla is scheduled to report first-quarter results on Wednesday after the bell. Model 3 production updates are bound to dominate the subsequent conference call with investors.

    “Almost a half-million people with $1,000 reservations are waiting, in some cases with fraying patience, for their chance to buy a Model 3,” says Bloomberg’s Tesla Model 3 Tracker.

    Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect Tesla to report an adjusted loss of $3.54 a share in the quarter, which would compare with a loss of $1.33 a share in the first quarter of 2017. The GAAP loss is seen at $4.04 a share.

    Another point certain to arise in the conference call is an update on Elon Mush’s absurd claim that Tesla won’t require any more financing this year.

    Tesla has negative working capital and lost money in the first quarter, as it does every quarter. It burns cash at a phenomenal rate. No need for financing? That don’t compute.

  19. Arizona Slim

    Slim here. I need to correct something I said in yesterday’s Links. Here goes:

    Yesterday morning, I said that the day would be busy, and, yes, it was. I also said that I was heading out to do strike support for the teachers.

    I had to attend an event across town. Along my route: A public elementary school. I was hoping to stop there and support teachers on the picket line.

    When I rolled up on that school, no picket line. Matter of fact, the school and school yard were locked up tight. No humans to be seen.

    So, no strike support performed by Slim yesterday.

    I’m assuming that other schools are also devoid of picket lines. If anyone wishes to correct me on this point, please do so.

    Mea culpa.

    1. Wyoming

      I live in AZ and on the news it appeared that all of the demonstrators were in the Capital building area or downtown. Huge numbers of them. You just went to the wrong location is all.

    2. ArcadiaMommy

      Teachers were out at the charter school, private and parochial schools in their red shirts and with signs before school started (at least in our neighborhood). No strike for them, but they are definitely supporting their fellow teachers.

  20. allan

    Sure, the infrastructure program might be vaporware, but the administration is laser focused
    on helping the back row kids where they’re hurting: the opioid crisis. … Oh, never mind …
    Even Trey Gowdy is fed up.

    Trump White House is months late on strategy on drugs despite opioid emergency [USA Today]

    Six months after President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency, the White House office charged with overseeing his administration’s response has failed to come up with a congressionally mandated strategy to address it.

    The Office of National Drug Control Policy, a 30-year-old division of the White House whose director is commonly known as the “drug czar,” is months late with a strategy report that is supposed to lay out a plan for curbing addiction and assess whether agencies are making progress toward that goal.

    The office charged with coordinating the federal response to illegal drugs has been threatened with budget cuts and has operated without a Senate-confirmed leader since Trump took office last year. …

    In a hearing last summer, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., noted the office “failed to produce a formal national drug control strategy.” The director of the office at the time told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that the White House had a draft and promised it would be released in early 2018.

    Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.

  21. Jim Haygood

    Higher taxes, comrades — for the children:

    An “education coalition” including the Arizona Center for Economic Progress is filing a ballot initiative called the “Invest in Education Act.”

    The text of the initiative that was filed on Friday afternoon with the Arizona Secretary of State proposes raising income taxes by 3.46 percent for individuals who earn more than $250,000 and by 4.46 percent for individuals who earn more than $500,000.

    The Arizona Chamber of Commerce, which has boosted Gov. Ducey’s 20 percent pay raise plan, immediately came out against this ballot initiative. “Should this measure secure a spot on the ballot, we will oppose it strongly, and we will urge Arizona voters to do the same,” the Chamber wrote on Twitter.

    Currently Arizona’s top marginal income rate is 4.54%, comparable to the 5.00% in Utah, 4.63% in Colorado, and 4.90% in New Mexico.

    The proposed initiative would create new tax brackets of 8.00% and 9.00%, way above the regional norm. Are Arizonans really going to vote themselves the fifth highest marginal tax rate in the nation, after the blue states of California (13.30%), Hawaii (11.00%), Oregon (9.90%) and Minnesota (9.85%)?

    Highly doubtful, if in fact this initiative collects the requisite number of signatures to get on the ballot at all.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      With non-federal taxation, what you pay, to those who pay, often is tied to what you get.

      So, if you guard the border between Arizona and California, you would want to catch more illegals sneaking cross from the coastal nation of California, to justify the taxpayers paying more taxes for your department and possibly yourself.

      And if you do and deport them back to Beverly Hills, Santa Clara, etc., they will happily pay you more.

      (The number itself, 5%, 10% or 15% needs to be looked at along with other numbers).

    2. Wyoming

      Like Slim I live in AZ. I am retired and live in a location which is very heavily populated by retired people. AZ has huge numbers of retired people.

      These kinds of people do not want higher taxes for anything no matter what. Educating ‘kids’? They already did that where they came from. The hell with your kids. That is your problem.

      Additionally there is a strong undercurrent in right-wing ideology which is strongly opposed to public schools. That is where the commie teachers are destroying our kids. No GOD, no traditional values, etc. So the best thing to do is to wipe out the public school system. You might think I am joking but one of our state senators was on the news a day or two ago basically saying exactly that. Right-wing ideology believes in church sponsored education and the type of instruction most of us old people received in the 50’s and early 60’s before the wheels came off the cultural train – so to speak. So what we see here with Ducey is exactly what to expect. As little change as he can get away with. Terrible public schools is a feature not a bug. They have shifted a lot of the education money to charter schools and really do not want to succumb to this leftist pressure.

      In a few conversations here I have expressed the opinion that I cannot understand why the voters here do not strongly support and demand a proper level of education funding of the public schools. Longtime residents are often very resistant to that line of thinking and think what AZ is doing and has done is the right thing to do. They even freely admit that the school systems here are not very good – but still they have lots of negative things to say about the teachers.

      1. Wukchumni

        We had a local ballot initiative of taxing each property owner $60 a year in order to pay for our school (as in 1) and you’d think 17 cents a day is doable, and it needed a 2/3rd’s majority to pass, and was shot down twice @ the polls, the 2nd time almost getting there @ 62%.

        The community is an island of misfit toys in the guise of conservatives and liberals-about a 50/50% mix, perfect as far as i’m concerned.

      2. ArcadiaMommy

        The only people (in my circle anyway) who will admit to being against raising teacher pay are old people. And they are absolutely rabid about the idea that a teacher would make a decent living. And most have grandchildren! They are completely ok with the idea that their grandchildren are being taught by someone with 40 kids in their class, paying for classroom supplies while earning the lowest salaries in the country.

        My MIL, who is a former teacher BTW, almost foams at the mouth about taxes going up. But she can cough up $15K for a cruise (that is not a typo). She just does not care about anyone else. It’s very difficult to be around her as you can imagine.

        1. Wukchumni

          Our older retired neighbors voted against it, and like us they’re poor little equity refugees from out of town, and no relations going to school here, so the pangs weighing on their conscience aren’t too hefty.

        2. newcatty

          I invite you readers and commenters to read the above article from the Flagstaff, AZ paper. It has some important information on more of the story on what is going on in AZ regarding the reasons teachers are so dissatisfied and fed up with their careers in education in AZ.

          That some charter, private and parochial school teachers are supporting fellow teachers in their red shirts before their schools open is nice. This is not meant as any snark, but is rather to point out that the pitting of public vs voucher funded education is becoming more acute as most republicans push for public money to fund vouchers that can not be honestly or logically argued do not siphon money from public schools. AZ may not need to raise a big amount of taxes on higher income individuals, but it sure does need to have corporations pay their fair and decent share.

          Yeah, old people. I have worked in AZ public schools , and for UofA, for many years. Stiil live in northern AZ. I now am among the old humans in our state. I know only too well about many of their selfish, narrow minded and identified politics. Of course, we are not all like that..of course one could say that I have my own biases and am open minded enough to admit it I am willing to stand up against what I think it disgraceful and greedy politics in this state. BYW, I think it is changing in a wave of awareness and reality. Hear, hear!

        3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          It’s hilarious that these same so-called “citizens” have no trouble whatsoever funding multi-billion $ electromagnetic Pentagon lasers in space, multi-trillion $ fighter jets that don’t work, and exploding bullets for our client state Israel to use on children.

          But $0.17 per day so the kids running around their neighborhoods have a snowball’s chance against the kids in other countries (where they’re much less focused on killing everybody) in terms of education and training and job skills…nah.

        4. JBird

          I don’t get that. Plenty of old people in the past supported public schools. They have been a
          thing since the 19th century at least and I don’t recall my older relatives being against well funding schools, so why this current disdain?

    3. Oregoncharles

      Yeah, I was just thinking those state taxes sounded awfully cheap.

      Oregon recently passed a special income tax for corps over a certain size – forget the details. That would freak the Chamber out even more.

      No sales tax, though, which makes the system less regressive.

    1. anonymous

      Heads up on The Intercept.

      Lately, some of its journos, even including GG, have overtly supported regime change or smuggled suspiciously pro-regime-change premises into their discourse.

      Turns out that The Intercept’s owner helped fund the Maidan putsch in Ukraine ( where NeoNazis run rampant and have an increasingly prominent voice)

  22. Rates

    This military AI thing probably just wrote a “Hello World” program. Considering in the Python programming language, a Hello World program is as simple as print “Hello World”, monkeys can probably trained to do this.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Thanks for the link. The dynamics described in the article are still in play. It’s relevant.

  23. Oregoncharles

    An alternative to the article on “The Rocks Here In Oman Are Special,” that isn’t in the NYT and does specify the type of rock: peridotite. It may even describe the reaction, and specifies that cheap drilling techniques could greatly speed up the process:

    I’m past my limit in the NYT, and the Truthdig version (I think the same) was frustratingly vague about the crucial chemistry.

    Experiments in Iceland found that basalt, which is extremely common, was capable of a similar reaction.

    1. Wukchumni

      Ok Mister, throw that CAP pistol to the ground nice and easy like now and no funny business, and then raise both arms as high to the sky as possible.

  24. Craig H.

    > why doesn’t he concern himself with the crapification of Google first?

    The big google products like search, gmail, and their-tube have been orders of magnitude beyond one person’s control for years. If Brin wanted to do something about it with all of his heart he still might be powerless.

  25. polecat

    Regarding the Science Alert bee article in the links ..

    Well, at least the Europeans are taking concrete action on Neonics. Unfortunately, I don’t see the same emphasis, and concern, towards our insect species in Ferengi America ! Where it’s been instill in the publics mind .that the only good bug is a dead one … and as a beekeeper, it becomes a constant battle to maintain viable colonies year to year due to such programing.
    Homework for y’all : go to your local nursery or hardware establishment, peruse the ‘insect/home/plant-pest’ aisle .. and pay heed to what’s avaiable for sale .. to you, and read the labels, and the chemicals thereof.
    For extra credit, look under your kitchen and bathroom sinks/cabinets and garages if you have one .. and take a chemical note of what’s there too ..

    There’s your problem !

    1. JBird

      I like your label “Ferengi America.”

      While Big Ag’s minions in state and federal government will probably keep pushing to allowthe selling of neonicotinoids (what’s the collapse of America’s ecology and agriculture compared to profit!) almost any plant lover knows about the bees’ importance. That might help get that class of poison banned. At least I hope so.

  26. ambrit

    Whilst out and about in the Internet World this morning, I ended up on Mashable. I read an article and then scrolled down. I found a well nigh endless stream of advertising thinly disguised as “Product Reviews.” For some attempt at ‘honesty,’ the site lead off this stream with the header: “Shopping.” A new euphemism for advertising I’ll guess. On a par with “Sponsored Content.”
    On a side bar was an ad for joining the Customs and Border Control posse. The ‘uniformed’ man pictured in the ad was eerily like the character of Travis Bickle, portrayed by Robert De Niro in the film “Taxi Driver.” This cannot have been happenstance. These exercises in viewer manipulation are usually planned down to the colour of the sky in the background in the ad pictures. Someone is trying to attract nihilistic punkers into a federal agency that carries guns to and at work? Something worrisome in that.
    See: Oh my. I was going to link to the site, but the link I sent ended up with a totally different set of side bar subjects.
    As Ray Bradbury once wrote; Something Wicked This Way Comes.

    1. Wukchumni

      Somehow pesky sales calls break through our cone of silence, and lately I answer unknown phone numbers with a hearty ¡Hola!, which causes them to usually hang up on me.

      1. ambrit

        What if we all started to answer such importunities with a hearty “Strassviy! Boris and Natashia institute of election engineering!” Somehow, I doubt if anyone remotely ‘bought in to’ the status quo would be amused.
        Oh well. If they can’t take a joke, [regime change] them!

        1. newcatty

          Watch out dear comrade… Boris and Natasha may have been turned (shush). I just ignore any strange and/or unknown calls. It’s like being on Faceborg for me. I have people who have tried to nudge me to get on board! It kind of muffs and, sometimes perplexes them, that “you (referring to moi) are missing on seeing the very latest news and pictures of your nieces, nephews, their cousins and your own grankids!” Yeah sometimes I am just a curmudgeon or have my tin foil beret on too tight over my silver hair. If any call is important…a voice mail will be left, yeah? And, if you want me to see Kelly’s kindergarten graduation picture( I would) send it to me on email.

          1. ambrit

            Oh yes to the unknown calls. Today, we got a new one, a call, four and a half rings and then silence, the ‘calling card’ of evildoers everywhere, and the calling number came up as 000-000-0000. What an area code!
            I have never been on F-buk, and do not intend to. Phyl has family send any ‘cute’ or ‘heartwarming’ content by e-mail. Then, at least, only the NSA, Chamber of Commerce, and the GRU will see the content. No advertisers need apply!
            Tin foil beret! How ‘beat’ of you!
            Dosvedanya tovaritch!
            Oh, and, “All hail the Red Bunny slippers!”

            1. Wukchumni

              Once in awhile some phone pest will ask for my wife, and i’ll ask what it’s in regards to, to confirm what I already dread, and then I very calmly tell the anonymous voice on the other end, that she’s been deported to North Korea. Some keep talking their spiel as if not fazed, others are dumbstruck. I’ll tell them they can reach her @ PYOngyang 537, so as to confirm she’s stuck in a 50’s time warp.

              1. ambrit

                Ah, ha! I’m going to steal that one. Only, to add layers of obfuscation, I’ll say she’s been deported back to New Orleans. Deported for, obviously, spouting pro Acadians propaganda. I’ll ring off with “Vive L’Empereur!”

  27. Jack

    I am mildly surprised that the sophisticated commentariat here is surprised at Pelosi, et. al. and the Democratic Party. This behavior is not just routine; it is integral to the proper functioning of all political parties operating in the US. These parties are essentially, if not actually, private corporations, setting their own rules of governance and enforcement. Wanna run for office as Democrat? Follow the Democratic PARTY rules. Don’t like them rules? Join another party, start your own party, etc. I know, I know and yes, maybe exposing these undemocratic procedures used by ALL parties will result in better candidates, more choices and a better system. Just not in my lifetime or any other living humans.

    1. Pat

      I cannot speak for anyone else, but my surprise is not that this is the system, BUT that they are so arrogant and insulated from public thought and they feel so safe and protected there is no longer any attempt to disquise or deflect from this.

      The only real question left is who is right? Is there no wresting this entitled status from those servants of the oligarchy of both parties? Have they produced the deluded and/or subservient public who will allow them to finish turning into a third world country that makes India appear first world and economically egalitarian by comparison? OR is the ground shifting without their knowing and rebellion is more and more unavoidable?

    2. John k

      I think what’s different just now is the progressives are gaining numbers and power, forcing the dems to be more overt. Plus some breaks, the dnc leaks was helpful. So the public now knows what was hidden, more will leave the party, and notwithstanding trump, a weaker smaller party is easier to take over.
      DNC now desperate to keep blue dogs in office, primary them all, better if replaced be reps because fewer Corp dems remain to elect pelosi Schumer.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      The Republican Party uses more democratic procedures to select its candidates. That is how so many Tea types are able to win Republican primaries. That is why Trump could win the Republican presidential primaries. Because the Republicans had a non-rigged and democratic primary process.

      So the Democratic Party is rather more corrupt and tyrannical in regard to base-level registered party members being free to actually select their candidates.

    4. Odysseus

      This behavior is not just routine; it is integral to the proper functioning of all political parties operating in the US.

      There are rules and there are rules. You have to have some way to keep the real crazies out, and to vet candidates in general.

      That there are examples where this is used to push potentially viable candidates out is bad and should be decried. But it’s not hard at all to find candidates who should be outright told not to run at all or again.,_2010

  28. Summer

    “U.S. keeps China, puts Canada on IP priority watch list Reuters.” Because Americans can buy reimported drugs from Canada. Help me.

    Indeed. Help us all, up against an ideological view of the world that does not and will never respect or accept the idea of a humane society.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sputnik had a story on this at but I cannot decide if this is a case of the US government giving big pharma a bj or whether it is more a case of where Trump and his cohorts are demanding that other countries adopt US laws.
      I would not be surprised if the later as it would fit a pattern. Apparently Trump is also threatening any countries with trade sanctions that put in a bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup as he wants America to have it. He won’t be even President by then and probably knows nothing about soccer but hey, America first, and a chance to ban the Russians and maybe the Chinese from attending.

  29. kareninca

    My mom is a retired Connecticut public school teacher. She has a pension of 48k per year, but is not eligible for Social Security. Note: she is also NOT eligible for Social Security in any way through my father; when he dies all his social security payments will disappear; she will not get any spousal SS benefit. She is eligible for Medicare.

    All (or at any rate, very many of) the years that she was working, she and her fellow teachers paid into a fund that was supposed to cover the cost of supplemental retirement health costs. They were to put in one third, the state was to put in one third, and one third was supposed to come from investment returns.

    Well, the teachers put in their share. But the state didn’t. And the state spent what came in from the teachers; Connecticut is a very corrupt state. So now the program is broke. The insurer which had been covering the teachers (Stirling), which did a great job, may now leaving the field. The teachers are now all being offered the option of switching to a PPO, and if the healthier ones do then Stirling will be facing a serious adverse selection problem.

    note: this is the summary that I am getting from my mom and her friends; I have not dug into it myself. Why bother? I’m guessing she’ll be living in our junk room at some point; my 93 y.o. father in law already has our spare bedroom.

    1. ambrit

      What’s the cost of living up there? I never made as much as she is getting from the pension. I’m looking at $12k a year from Social Security and whatever I can make ‘knocking over’ liquor stores in my spare time.
      You will be blessed for helping out your father in law. I know several cases around here of older family members being shuffled off to what passes for ‘elder care’ housing. That being done by family members with plenty of spare rooms at home, not to mention spare change. Usually, the costs are being defrayed by the elders estate. Sounds fair until you realize how little these older people have in the way of resources. When the money runs out, what, the street? I wouldn’t put that past some of the people in such circumstances I’ve met. The biggest adverse reaction I’ve noticed has been how obviously lonely many of the elders are, isolated and living among strangers.
      I’ve decided to either go peacefully at home or go quickly.

      1. kareninca

        48k sounds pretty good to me too, although if she’d taught in Illinois she’d be getting a pension of 75k/year. I doubt that people without pensions or big 401ks are likely to feel any sympathy. But the thing is, 48k/year is not enough for an assisted living facility, at least not any that I’ve seen.

        My father-in-law is extremely cheerful and self-sufficient. Since it’s three adults and a dog in a 1068 square feet condo, that’s a good thing. He could actually afford assisted living for a while, but he finds those sorts of places loathsome. I think he may well make it for another ten years (he does caloric restriction), to 103 at least, so we’ll all need to get along. It’s been a year and a half now with no problems.

        In CT and RI, when old people’s money runs out, there are okay places for them, from what I’ve seen. In CA you get to live in your car. I have a friend who just turned 73 who has been living in her car on and off for several years now.

        1. ambrit

          “A 1068 square foot condo.” Ouch! I see your friction point.
          No matter what, if your father in law is even remotely sane, keep him ‘at home.’
          We went through the ordeal of interacting and occasionally helping out Phyls’ parents when they were warehoused by the rest of the family. (We strenuously objected, but, we were the poor relations of the family group.)
          Soul destroying is too vague a term to describe the evils we saw. Phyl would bring over home cooked food for her dad once in a while. He wouldn’t eat some of the institutional stuff he was offered. (Four or five items, inclusive. I don’t think that coffee or soft drinks qualify as food items.) No substitutions were offered other than the four or five item menus for each meal. Phyl knew something was wrong when her dad began to lose weight. “That man loves to eat! He’s given up.”
          When Phyls’ mother was diverted to the Dementia Wing (Alzheimers) things went from bad to worse. For some reason, Phyls’ dad was sent there with his wife. He began to decline quickly. I’m convinced that he simply gave up and died. He was the only reasonably sane person, apart from the two nurses, in a group of about twenty or twenty five people.
          This Dementia Wing was one wing of the fifth floor of a hospital ward like structure. Each room had an outside window, unlocked and without bars. Things like knives and forks lying around the common room, every time I visited. People wandering in and out of other peoples rooms, regularly. One old codger was in Phyls’ folks room several times that I visited. He was caught ‘feeling up’ Phyls’ mom several times, by staff, and others. She was not the only female he was bothering, from comments by staff I overheard. He was never restrained, just shooed away.
          So, if I sound a little cynical about this, it is for good reason.
          PS. If there does come a time when your extended family increases to four, you might consider enclosing your balcony, (the term condo, after all, requires there to be a balcony, otherwise it’s a plain old apartment,) and making it a sleep in solarium. [If it’s a reinforced concrete ledge, you will want to forego the brick fireplace.]
          In reference to pension amounts. I suspect that the postulate that expenditures increase to meet income is in play. One of my brothers in law gets a pension roughly similar to your moms. He is always near broke, although I will give him credit for not raiding the capital.
          Be of good cheer!

          1. pretzelattack

            they are awful places, even the relatively high end ones. and so many people there have nobody to visit them, and nobody to care.

          2. kareninca

            Enclose our balcony? Hahahaha. We are not allowed to use a clothesline on our patio. Our window dressings must be white. Simply painting the inside of the unit must be okayed by the owner of the underlying land (let alone any actual renovation of any sort). I don’t think any balcony enclosing is going to happen.

    2. flora

      Well, the teachers put in their share. But the state didn’t.

      That’s been happening across the country. The deferred compensation promised to teachers as part of their pay (and offered so teachers wouldn’t be paid more up front) and the teachers’ contributions to their retirement /healthcare plans have ‘disappeared’, and now the retired teachers are in a pinch for health insurance costs that were supposed to have been covered… if the state had put in their share. (The DC pols would love to do the same with SS and ‘grand bargain’ it away, imo.)

      1. ambrit

        Considering the crowds of ‘unruly’ teachers we have been seeing recently, a “Grand Bargain” would likely bring out the elders. I’d love to be in that crowd as it shuffles along K Street smashing in windows and doors with their walkers and canes.

  30. Daryl

    > In a First, US Senate Unanimously Passes Resolution on Tibetan Reincarnation Central Tibetan Administration (furzy)

    China actually insists that it has control over reincarnation. So what you have is one stated atheist and one stated secular (kind of) country committing to reincarnation as real. Although the US resolution is pretty tepid.

      1. ambrit

        Both empires finesse the question by saying that their exceptionalism can never fade and that the ‘Mandate of Heaven’ cannot be revoked.
        Boy, do they have a lot to re-learn.

  31. Lee

    North Korea

    If Kim Jong-un is no ideologue and primarily a self-interested autocrat, perhaps Xi Jinping made him an offer he can’t refuse. “It is good to be king,” he might have begun and finished up with “It is glorious to be rich.” Perhaps labor arbitrage and socialism with Korean characteristics will be the way ahead.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In a few years: “Hot North Korean money pouring into Vancouver real estate.”

    2. Jessica

      It would be much more difficult for North Korea to go the Chinese route of state capitalism dominated by a communist party. When the North Koreans see how much better off South Koreans are and even Chinese are, the legitimacy of the North Korean leadership will be lost.
      This effect will be intensified if North Korea is able to stand down from the heightened military preparedness they have maintained since the attacks that killed a large portion of their population in the early 1950s.
      On the other hand, there may already be enough leakage in North Korea’s isolation that the day is already approaching on which it will become impossible to continue the current closed system.

  32. ewmayer

    “Goldman Sachs is battling to contain an outbreak of mumps on the trading floor | Business Insider” — Lending new meaning to the turn of phrase “mumping villains”.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Now this one had we wondering. So the Masters of the Universe are being brought down by mumps. Measles next? Kinda reminds you of the ending to War of the Worlds

      “They were undone, destroyed, after all of man’s weapons and devices had failed, by the tiniest creatures that God in his wisdom put upon this earth. By the toll of a billion deaths, man had earned his immunity, his right to survive among this planet’s infinite organisms. And that right is ours against all challenges. For neither do men live nor die in vain.”

      Now here is the part that I am wondering about. I have read how it is the richer areas that are refusing to have their children be vaccinated and to let the children of the peasants take any risks for them with immunizations (I read one women go into crying fits when her daughter turned 18 and went to the doctors to have a full battery of immunizations done on her). So, what if these traders came from families that were richer than most and so did not have their children vaccinated and here is the results. Someone should really tell them the effect of measles on adults – or not.

    2. polecat

      If your older, mumps can give one hella grief …. of course, if you’re amongst the realm of goldenmen … well, Sachs to be you !

      1. blennylips

        Why not? You can program your favorite algo in MUMPS:

        Massachusetts General Hospital

  33. Ed

    In re: “DNA IDs are incontrovertible proof” (or not)…

    If not, then it is incumbent on someone to demonstrate and document the science of this to the nth degree for the rest of us out here in the cheap seats. We now have PhotoShopping, voice morphing, super-surveillance, hacking of home Internet devices, and facial recognition along with the advanced capabilities and corruption of the police state mentality in the middle of a political climate in which the intimidation and ruination of individuals who even think about stepping out of line are on the increase. Who is on our side?

  34. Ed

    “… The results obtained by the researchers were detailed in a paper titled, “False-positive results released by direct-to-consumer genetic tests highlight the importance of clinical confirmation testing for appropriate patient care,” which was published recently in the journal Genetics in Medicine…..”

  35. Alex morfesis

    Tesla is a social impact investment…THE tesla…didn’t you know that ??? …neither did I…but while doing my little research to help the st pete business league stabilize and grow the historically ignored and underinvested black majority south side of st pete…decided to poke around in all this fake and shake smoke and mirrors Social Impact investing everyone is eating up space talking about…so…there was the Macarthur Foundation 990

    and there was this 2 million dollars for some san francisco based social impact vc type hedge fund thingee…

    the bay area equity fund…and its connection with some sharp edged group…dbl partners but tied to the “bay area council” and well, since most people don’t read anything except the executive summary and the press releases…well…since we all know I have no social life and had nothing better to do…I hit the little button that said “bay area equity fund”…

    and there he was…Elan Musk in the flesh…(highlighted some of the fun parts)

    The Bay Area Equity Fund (BAEF) is a highly successful $75 million venture capital fund. As a social impact private equity fund, it seeks to deliver market-rate venture capital returns while enabling social and environmental improvement in the Bay Area’s low- to moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods. The fund invested in rapidly growing companies located in target neighborhoods and can generate high quality jobs for residents in those communities. Investments focused on rapidly growing technology, consumer products and services, and health care companies. Since 2004, the fund has helped its portfolio companies implement tailored social impact programs to encourage connections to the communities from the earliest stages. The BAEF invested all $75 million of capital across 18 portfolio companies and is currently in the distribution phase. The BAEF’s investments included: Tesla Motors, SolarCity, Revolution Foods, Pandora, Powerlight and Labcyte, among others.

    For more information about BAEF, PLEASE CONTACT LYZ FERGUSON.

    Significant Accomplishments:
    Returned 24.4 percent IRR and 4.1 times cash-on-cash returns net to its limited partners, as of December 31, 2014.

    Five IPOs and 4 acquisitions across the portfolio.

    Co-created a community participation program based on shared value principles with each portfolio company, including financial literacy training, English as second lanaguage classes, music education and after-school programs for teens, among others.

    Generated approximately 15,000 jobs, of which 4,422 were in the Bay Area, and of which 2,218 were low- to moderate- income (or entry level) jobs.

    Fund Sponsors: Bay Area Council and Alliance for Community Development

    amerikkka what a concept…

    tendance groucho….

  36. The Rev Kev

    “Douma: Deception In Plain Sight”

    Growing up you knew that a great advantage that the west had against the old USSR and Communist China was the fact that we had a free media where they only had propaganda to inform them of what was going on. That was the legend in any case. And now? I don’t know what we have anymore. You listen to the news and from sources like NC you know that they are literally lying through their teeth. You can even watch the news and note the different techniques and images used to shape how a story is reported and how it is twisted into something that has little relation to the truth. It’s like someone is peeing against your leg and trying to tell you that it is raining.
    It is so insidious that even an experienced journalist like Glenn Greenwald – Glenn Greenwald! – is suckered into believing that the Syrians did a gas attack. Hey, I am just an average dogsbody and I knew that the story was bogus. How did Glenn Greenwald not get the memo when the Russians were warning for weeks that this was going to happen? We are now entertained by such sights as a CNN journalist sniffing bags to try to detect chemicals from a gas attack. Are they actually mocking our credulity at stunts like this? You can see the mask slip occasionally such as when an Admiral was giving his thoughts when a BBC presenter said that truthfully stating his position and posing questions risked “muddying the waters” in an ongoing “information war with Russia.” I’m sorry? I thought that I was watching news, not an information war.
    It was even worse watching the news correspondents after Trump’s strikes trying to get the government to commit to more attacks and establishing more red lines. You could hear it in their “questions” and there was no serious questions such as why there were no mass casualties when a supposed storage site of chemical weapons was destroyed or just how many missiles were intercepted. Then again, Jimmy Dore has pointed out that there are only a half-dozen companies controlling near all the media in the US. The Germans have taken to calling their media the lying press, the average Brits I think are deeply suspicions of their media and who knows for other countries. I really do not know what happens long term when there is a near total disconnect between a population and their media but I think that we are going to find out one way or the other.

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