Links 4/29/18

This Fungus Borrowed From Ancient Bacteria to Defy Gravity NYT (original).

Art gallery discovers more than half of its paintings are fake Independent. Yves: “Bezzle!!!”

Markets struggling to believe evidence on US earnings John Authers, FT

Study: Investors may avoid companies audited by same partners of troubled companies Francine McKenna, MarketWatch

Another ‘meh’ restructuring plan for Deutsche Bank Handelsblatt

TSB bosses are snapped schmoozing and boozing at Barcelona tennis match as customers still can’t access their accounts a week after IT meltdown Daily Mail

TSB was an innovative pioneer of modern finance and its spirit should be remembered Independent


Pompeo briefs Saudi, Israel on Trump plans for Iran deal SBS (KW).

Pompeo’s Message to Saudis? Enough Is Enough: Stop Qatar Blockade NYT. Er, Yemen?


Northern Ireland pushes Brexit talks toward fresh crisis Politico

Britain must leave the customs union — and not look back FT

Parliamentary progress of legislation introduced to implement Brexit Institute for Government

The Silence Of The Skripals – Government Blocks Press Reports – Media Change The Record Moon of Alabama (KW).

North Korea

The Memo: Korean thaw gives Trump a big boost The Hill

How to Understand What’s Happening in North Korea Nicholos Kristof, NYT

Korean Peninsula in Historic Peace Talks – Thanks to Activists, Not Trump TRNN. We do tend to forget that the South Koreans have real agency in this process.


Made in China 2025: Beijing’s manufacturing blueprint and why the world is concerned ABC

Revealed: number of suspicious financial transactions in Hong Kong more than quadruples in six years South China Morning Post

Making time for Marx, not just the market People’s World

Trump Transition

Mattis: Criminal charges likely amid probe into intelligence contract Federal News Radio

Trump takes a hard line on tribal health care High Country News (GF).

Comey Confirms: In Clinton Emails Caper, the Fix Was In Andrew McCarthy, The National Review

America is preparing for another attack on its democracy FT. There’s a very simple way to assess the tendentiousness of such stories: Ask whether they present hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, as a solution. Or even mention them.

Chance the Rapper Is Right to Criticize the Two-Party System Rolling Stone

Democrats in Disarray

Jonathan Alter: Democrats Need Less Democracy To Win In 2018 Shadowproof (JB).

The Democratic Party’s War History and the AUMF of 2018 Consortium News

Why MSNBC host Joy Reid’s hacking claims don’t add up CNN

The Very Specific 2006-ishness of Those Alleged Joy Reid Posts The Nation. My bottom line is the same as the author’s: “There’s nothing I find in the posts from 2006 to 2009 that can’t be understood or forgiven [given repentance]. It’s dissembling about them in 2018, as a journalist, that would be disqualifying.” Not to mention Reid’s smear of the Internet Archive (increasingly important now that Google has crapified itself). Just for the record:


“They were careless people…”

Federal jobs guarantee gains steam with Democrats Philadelphia Tribune

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

You sent spit for private DNA analysis. How long before the police get it? McClatchy

Software Legend Ray Ozzie Thinks He Can Safely Backdoor Encryption; He’s Very Wrong TechDirt

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Monument Remembers 4,400 U.S. Lynching Victims (video) Bloomberg. Voiceover at odds with the visuals, which are as chilling as slavery itself.

The return of The Negro Motorist Green Book Think Progress

Neoliberal epidemics

Flint Is Finally Moving to Help Kids Recover from Lead Poisoning’s Toxic Legacy The Nation. Not the best headline, but the picture of the man lugging free water jugs home through the show is where we are…

Crumbling Britain: thousands like my elderly aunt suffer as the public realm decays New Statements. The public realm is not in “decay.” It’s being deliberately destroyed, as a matter of policy, by neoliberals.

Class Warfare

The Teacher Uprising Spreads Far and Wide Labor Notes

How Arizona’s $5 Billion in Corporate Tax Handouts Decimated Public Education GritPost

The bizarre right-wing campaign to discredit striking Arizona teachers Vox

Building Prisons in Appalachia Boston Review

No, Janus Is Not a Trojan Horse Jacobin

Toiling Over a “Puddle of Blood”: Why These Warehouse Workers Are Standing Up to Abuses In These Times

Data Workers of the World, Unite! Pro-Markets

Why we should bulldoze the business school Guardian

Neandertals, Stone Age people may have voyaged the Mediterranean Science (PM).

Core Memory Upgrade for Arduino Hackaday. Yes, magnetic core memory.

A High Schooler Has Upended a Fundamental Chemistry Theory Inverse

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. The Rev Kev

    “TSB bosses are snapped schmoozing and boozing at Barcelona tennis match”

    You can’t really fault them here. They must know the absolute s**** storm headed their way so they may as well have one more pleasant day before it all begins. No, change that. Make that an enormous s*** hurricane. Being the fifth largest banking group in Spain probably means that the Spanish government will be dragged in as well with probably intense question-answer sessions to follow.

    Is that a fox cub in tonight’s Antidote du Jour? I would have thought them more red in colour.

    1. Olga

      On Apr. 25, the Guardian ran a full-page ad by TSB, stating, in part: “Whilst everything is running smoothly for the vast majority of our five million customers, I am aware that you may have had difficulties accessing our website and our mobile app. The TSB team and I continue to work around the clock to fix this as soon as possible.” [Signed, CEO Peter Pester]
      So presumably they were celebrating before embarking on that round-the-clock fix…?

  2. Tomonthebeach

    “One of the intentional goals of the federal jobs guarantee is to eliminate bad jobs.”

    Aside from this being a hugely naive assertion, it should re-animate the right in the 2018 elections. First, how does one define a bad job? One that is repetitious and boring? Well, that eliminates 60% of all current US jobs – not counting the new ones Dems must invent. Second, the government cannot implement this policy with the workforce it already has. People are leaving government in increasing numbers. Third, given the global market, there are many jobs that are simply not worth $15/hour; but need to be done. Grass does not mow itself, hotel rooms do not clean themselves. Thus, such a program creates imbalances as workers compare pay with job characteristics. One unintended outcome will be an increased incentive to robotize putting more people out of work. A second outcome will be wage inflation.

    I live part of each year in Bulgaria. They have make-work jobs here – some tied to welfare programs. It is normal to see people with makeshift brooms sweeping sidewalks and gutters even though there have long been machines for that. My two favorite jobs are what I call “Pinkers and Tearers.” In many large stores, after you get your receipt at checkout, before you may leave the checkout line, a person stops you, examines your receipt (looking for what, I cannot speculate), then runs a pink (sometimes yellow) magic marker down the length of the receipt. Dobur Den! If you visit a museum, attend a concert, or take in a movie, odds are that you will pay a person for your ticket, then often you go to another person who hands you your ticket, then you walk two paces, hand the ticket to somebody else, who makes a tear in the corner – and you are admitted.

    Such jobs do not pay a lot, but it would seem that tying income to work in an era of AI and robots, any Guaranteed Federal Employment program espousing the lofty goals of eliminating bad jobs will eventually need to invent bad jobs like Pinkers and Tearers because the tax code might make it cheaper than automating.

    1. skippy

      Your assumption about “make work jobs” is not what a FJG proposes, recent post on it should clarify the matter. There are more than enough jobs that the private sector does not feel inclined to do, including some that its making a complete mess of, not to mention it can be a path way to learning new skills in an OJ type learning enviroment. Something that was once quite common and successful until everything devolved into for profit credentialism… cough on demand education.

      “Aside from this being a hugely naive assertion”

      Back at you as they say.

      1. marku52

        Since most of the west now regularly catches fire every summer, we could use a lot of tree thinning. Fine productive work, and hard, too.

    2. Darius

      Are national parks and park rangers make-work? In the surface, at least they don’t fit into the the neoliberal market framework.

      1. Wukchumni

        The holiest of holy jobs in the National Park is a permanent position, for most positions are seasonal, and that would include most park ranger positions. It’s make-work in a way, but it also means for instance here @ Sequoia NP you have to find employment somewhere else from October to April, a juggling act. Some regularly go on unemployment, and live on the down low until spring rolls around again.

      2. Craig H.

        Every hiking trail that I can get to in a thirty minute drive was built in the 1930’s by government make-work programs; I wonder how many of the users know it. It was not easy. They had to hack through ground that is at least five percent covered with poison oak just to plant the survey markers for the bulldozers.

      3. Lord Koos

        US National parks and the US forest service have been understaffed and underfunded for some time now. Here in WA state they scramble to maintain trails and police the parks as federal funding has been cut many times.

        “The park service’s deferred maintenance backlog has steadily been growing, now at $11.5 billion. Projects are continually added to the backlog in part due to insufficient operations funding to ensure needed day-to-day maintenance. The backlog has also grown because of a steady decline in the ‘construction’ account. Over the last decade, there has been a 62% or $227 million decline in that account in today’s dollars.”

        Even if it is just seasonal work, there are thousands of worthy jobs that could be created in our parks, which remain hugely popular with both foreign and domestic visitors, and I’m sure there are thousands of unemployed or under-employed people that would enjoy working outdoors in these beautiful places, especially if there was a decent wage. The parks bring a lot of economic benefits to the communities surrounding them as well.

    3. johnnygl

      There are ‘receipt checker’ jobs here in kapitalist america, too. Employed by the private sector at large retail establishments and it’s not because it’s seen as charity work.

      1. Wukchumni

        Say 20 years ago, each Wal*Mart had an older gent usually outside the store that welcomed you into the establishment-a greeter.

        Now every Wal*Mart has in lieu of a greeter, an exiter (or 2) who are store employees that perform strip searches on receipts.

        1. ambrit

          That plus an array of surveillance cameras that would make Homeland Security proud. Indeed, I would not be surprised if those cameras were tied into some centralized monitoring system.
          Some of WALL-Es’ siblings:
          Strangely enough, no Wal-AI.

      2. Charger01

        No less than the gigantic retailer Costco employs such people. I see s fair amount of employees in wheelchairs, or apparently healing from injury in those “pinking” jobs.

        1. whine country

          Marking the receipt eliminates the possibility that a customer can unload his purchase and return to re-fill his shopping cart with the same goods without payment. Looking at the items in the cart is merely an effort to convince shoppers that if they put any additional items in the cart that were not paid for, there is a chance (albeit not great) that it will be spotted. If all customers were honest, this would not be necessary. Unfortunately all customers are not honest.

          1. Down2long

            Wow. I never thought of that. For some reason the Home Depot here in Los Angeles suddenly no longer have receipt checkers. Gives me pause to think what nefarious thing HD is doing now to track theft. The cost benefit “metric” must have proved it’s not worth have a minium wage person at the door, so they’ve cooked something up, to be sure.

            Everything at Home Depots has a metric. There was a time when if you had four of one item, the cashier could scan one, and enter “4.” Now they must scan every item up to 14. If they don’t, they get a red mark on their “metric.” No matter how long the line.

              1. whine country

                Retailers now use analytics to determine whether too much is being stolen from their stores. Clerks at HD and other retailers have told me that they are told not do do anything if they see someone try to walk out without paying for something since the retailer cannot do anything until they have actually left the store (which is beyond where the clerks are working at the checkout stand) and if they confront a customer once they have walked out it adds a layer of complication that the stores don’t want to deal with. Retailers have adopted the banking system approach of approving liar loans in the hope that analytics will keep theft to an acceptable level. Only time will tell how that works out.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      …there are many jobs that are simply not worth $15/hour…

      Says who? You sound as if ‘global markets’ are some naturally occurring phenomenon and not a human construct developed so that some humans can take advantage of other humans by not paying them what their labor is worth.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        And, according to the comment, the “jobs that are simply not worth $15/hour” are jobs that “NEED to be done.” Huh? So, what gets you a living wage if not a job that “needs to be done,” one that does the fantastically valuable “work” of connecting a refrigerator to the internet?

        And I’m starting to believe that this threat to automate away jobs if workers get too uppity and demand a living wage is more manipulative intimidation intended to shut them up than reality. When every senior citizen has a personal robot that cares for him/her in the same way a human caregiver can, those caregivers will have to find something else to do. Until then, pay them as if they held a job that “needs to be done,” because they do.

        1. ambrit

          Those personal care robots are incredibly resource intensive and expensive. I don’t see a Von Neumann machine to build robots to order in the near future.
          See: Von Nueman Machine:
          Human neo-cyborgs are self replicating and cheaper to use. Once the much vaunted direct machine to brain interface is perfected, expect to see ‘criminals,’ (for some definition of criminal,) made somehow controllable, and thus a resource for the state, (for some definition of state.)

        2. whine country

          When PROFIT is the only motive and have NO REGULATION, you get exactly what we are seeing. Get a clue!

    5. jrs

      i agree that eliminating all bad jobs is hugely naive. What makes jobs bad is sometimes human nature, and so no it’s never going to be eliminated, some people will always use their relative power to mistreat others. There will always be jerks and if they have any power (and anywhere with an official or even worse unofficial hierarchy they will) then they will cause their fair share of human misery.

      “Grass does not mow itself, hotel rooms do not clean themselves.”

      noone is hiring U.S. citizens for this work anyway, so they probably aren’t paying minimum wage anyway, so why should this enter into minimum wage discussions absent enforcement of citizenship in employment?

      1. davidgmills

        They sure hire US citizens to mow the grass here in Memphis. I don’t know about hotels, but I would bet that is the case as well. They sure hire them at Fed Ex.

    6. Olga

      Is that where Costco got the idea for a pink (or orange or green) marker swipe on all of its receipts?

    7. tegnost

      you totally crack me up….bezos has a hundred billion dollars, that’s a thousand million times 100. he can pay more, and if there were a JG he would have to, would that make america less great, that bezos now only had 90 billion? Gov policies, or the lack thereof, led directly to this state of affairs. Hillary C was on the walmart board, did she clamor for a living wage? There are untold numbers of tasks to complete, and your concern that some of the workers may not find a fit is entirely self serving on your part. Use your imagination, there’s not a machine for that, but it’s useful nonetheless, and by the way AI and robots despite claims of inevitable dominance still have several real hurdles to overcome before they are as adaptable and clear thinking as even the lowest denizen of your “make work” scenario. You should consider getting some money into the hands of the people who without it pose a considerable risk to your own well being. Since 2008 those who have “succeeded” financially have done so with considerable government intervention on their part (qe to infinity, mark to model among a wide range of other effective socialisms for the rich). If you don’t want a jg then what do you propose to stop the runaway inequality that will bring you down eventually..

      1. tegnost

        think of the poor billionaires …
        It took tech executives like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos two years to make the jump and Microsoft’s Bill Gates five years. In contrast, the study puts famed investor Warren Buffett’s road to becoming a billionaire at 26 years.

        it took bezos 2 years to go from 1 million to 1 billion, now he has 100 billion…………

      2. HotFlash

        think of the poor billionaires …

        Maybe it’s just me, but I think of them all the tine.

    8. TimmyB

      You seem to confuse anti-thief measures with make work jobs. Receipts are marked so people can’t reload their carts and leave the store using the same receipt.

      The ticket selling and ticket taking functions are separate so that ticket sellers will get caught if they pocket the ticket money and let people into the event. These supposed make work jobs are actually well thought out accounting controls to prevent fraud and theft.

    9. Procopius

      …there are many jobs that are simply not worth $15/hour; but need to be done.

      I don’t know how you think “value” is determined, but if a job needs to be done then it is “worth” whatever it costs to do it.

  3. allan

    Re: “You sent spit for private DNA analysis …”

    As two relatives were doing this last year, I tried to get them to stop and think about the possible consequences.
    It was hopeless.

    In the future, everyone will be frameable for 15 minutes their entire lives.

    1. Jamesg

      Think a minute or two about the crimes where DNA is useless: income tax fraud and all other white collar crime.

      Where is it useful?

      Homicide and rape.

      It identifies the guilty … and it exonerates the innocent, even those previously convicted by “eye” witnesses.

      I’m in favor of convicting rapists and murders.

      Apparently, some people are not.

        1. beth

          If in court, the other side says your dna says that you are guilty, then how much is it going to cost you to verify that you dna does not say that?

          In practice, it is almost impossible to go to court, if you are middle class.

      1. pretzelattack

        re “it identifies the guilty”.

        There’s also the potential for law enforcement to make a false match, turning innocent people into suspects.

        In 2014, police in Idaho Falls, Idaho, were trying to solve a cold case from 1996, in which a young woman was murdered in her apartment. Police obtained DNA from the scene, but could not match it in criminal databases. So they went to a then-public database started by the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, which held results for roughly 100,000 DNA tests and had recently been purchased by Ancestry.

        That analysis and other matches led police to question a man named Michael Usry Jr., a New Orleans filmmaker. But after police took a sample of his DNA, they found — many weeks later — it did not match the sample found at the crime scene.

        Murphy cites the false match as a cautionary tale. On the one hand, she said, DNA absolved Usry of murder. But before that, it put him under a cloud of suspicion for weeks. “Imagine what that would be like,” she said. “Imagine what that would mean if an employer, or a girlfriend, found out.”

        1. allan

          And that was a case where the police and prosecutors were well-intentioned.
          Which, hard as it is to believe, might not always be the case:

          Special prosecutors in Jon Burge case seek to oust judge for attacks on their integrity [Chicago Tribune]

          Special prosecutors in an infamous cop-killing case connected to disgraced former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge want a Cook County judge removed from overseeing the case, saying he has unfairly attacked their integrity.

          Judge William Hooks has been openly skeptical about the methods used by special prosecutor Michael O’Rourke’s office in opposing a new trial for Jackie Wilson, who alleges the now-retired Burge and detectives under his command tortured him into confessing to the 1982 killing of two Chicago police officers.

          More than once in recent weeks, Hooks has accused the special prosecutors of acting more like defense lawyers for police than prosecutors. He also appeared troubled to learn last month that a former member of the special prosecution team, Brian Stefanich, now represents Burge in a civil case brought by another alleged torture victim. …

        2. John k

          And imagine what it’s like for rape victims to know the guy is still out there.
          A not perfect tool that helps is better than no tool.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            If it is used to convict innocent people, then it is not better than no tool at all.

      2. Summer

        I’m in favor of convicting rapists and murderers, too. And it’s likely the culprits of those crimes are family members. Even the police always start close to home.

        Also, most convictions end with a plea deal. How often is DNA evidence really put to trial, with its debates and disclosures?
        DNA plays a role, but there are many cases where prosecutors require addtional evidence or a confession for a slam dunk because of how, where, or when DNA was collected. The DNA portion is played up in the conviction where other police work may not get its due in the media.

      3. Kurtismayfield

        It will get someone convicted of insurance fraud in the future. Someone will claim that they don’t have any preexisting conditions and the insurance company will get their 23andMe report. I will bet my DNA on it.

        Plus your argument just opens us up for all kinds of surveillance. How much privacy are you willing to give up to stop homocides and rape. Do I have to quote Benjamin Franklin?

        1. allan

          There is a law on the books,
          the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)
          that would in theory prevent that, but in the age of disruption, who knows?

          In 2017, HR 1313[8] was introduced which would let employers demand workers’ genetic test results.[9]

          You’ll be as shocked as I was to learn the party affiliation of HR 1313’s co-sponsors.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Unfortunately, eyewitness IDs are not at all reliable – I would say especially in such emotional situations.

          In that case, DNA identification acts as a check on the eyewitness.

          Besides which, the smarter rapists wear masks or act in the dark – as I think the Golden State killer did, unless he intended to kill his victims.

          1. Summer

            Most rape victims actually know the perpetrator.

            DNA is used, more than anything, to find out if there was sex with others within a period and use that for character assault.

      4. Lost in OR

        If prosecuting rape crimes was a priority of our justice system we wouldn’t have such a backlog of unprocessed rape kits.

        It puzzles me that this is a non-issue.

        1. JBird

          Poor and mentally ill people are non-issues.

          Serial rapists, and serial murderers, usually pick on the defenseless, the weak, the most vulnerable people who are also usually the most low caste people we have. The poor, the homeless, minorities, prostitutes, addicts, mentally ill, gang members. For some really awful examples seen the examples of Native Americans and First Nations victims, or of blacks in some North Eastern United States.

          In those cases, the police often label them NHI, or “No Human Involved”, which means that they will not try very hard to investigate, and any evidence gathered is put on the end of the test list in the usually underfunded crime labs. Even when show statistical evidence basically proving the existence of multiple perpetrators, the various police departments blow off the private/academic researchers, and I think even some of the more diligent police departments’ prodding.

          If the tens of thousands of often white, and, or college educated, American homeless in the Bay Area are often ignored, both by the state and municipal governments and the news media, or the homeless situation in San Diego which was so bad that a hepatitis epidemic occurred, killing people, rape kits being ignored are not very surprising.

          1. Jean

            There is a difference.
            Crimes are committed in a given location. Homeless can and often travel voluntarily to a given location like say San Francisco. The police have more of an obligation to solve local crimes than does the city to assist voluntary travelers from elsewhere.

            1. JBird

              I have a problem with reducing the problem with the fact that some of the people whose beatings/robberies/rapes/murders are homeless out-of-towners that are okay to ignore because of that fact. It is equating desperation and destitution with a lack of intrinsic worth that all human beings have because they are humans. Also most of “those people” are usually local, and almost all are were they are easy prey for human predators because of the political economy of our society. Most of them did not choose and certainly do not want to be so poor or sick that they are considered human waste by many.

              The amount of poverty and homelessness… Did. Not. Exist. Here. In the San Francisco Bay Area fifty years ago. It was almost impossible to be homeless if you were at all put together. Hey, my family is proof. Yes, there was poverty. Yes, there was homelessness. People are people. However, the cost of living compared to the wages and the variety of jobs made it easier to live.

              Today, it is hard not to find people living in their vehicles or on the street. People whose economic position makes them less than human and not deserving of police protection. To Hades with that.

      5. OldLion

        ADN as a proof is dangerous. A french rapist ( Jean Luc Cayes) inserted sperm he found in a used condom in the vagina of his victim.(inspired by NCIS)
        Luckily he was arrested and convicted before the DNA became the only ressort…

        You can imagine how This could have ended…

    2. Webstir

      Well, I’ll just plop this little anecdotal piece down right here:
      I have a 5 mo. old. My wife wanted to know if our son had any MTHFR mutations which can be problematic. We were told to do a 23andMe and then upload our raw data to genetic genie. It all went as planned.

      So recently, due to all the hubbub about the police using Ancestry, I emailed 23andMe and requested that they destroy/expunge all physical and electronic information in their stores and databases, as well as sign an indemnification agreement that they actually did destroy the info (given the facebook/cambridge fiasco).

      Now, personally, I’m not too worried about the negative consequences of going along with what my wife wanted in order to allay her fears. But I am concerned about the principle of the matter.
      I’m a plaintiff’s lawyer. It’s going to get fun if they refuse my request.

        1. Webstir

          I think it’s probably best if I contact Yves and see if she’ll allow me a guest post once I’ve gone around with them once or twice. I received a reply email this morning, as follows:
          Ticket #1846772: Destroy Everything

          Your request (#1846772) has been updated. You can view the update below.

          Katrina, Apr 30, 9:35 AM PDT:

          Thank you for contacting the 23andMe Team. I understand you had some concerns about privacy due to the recent police investigation involving a genetic case. 23andMe was not involved in this case. Broadly speaking, it’s our policy to resist law enforcement inquiries to protect customer privacy. 23andMe has never given customer information to law enforcement officials. Our platform is only available to our customers, and does not support the comparison of genetic data processed by any third party to genetic profiles within our database.

          If you are still interested in closing your account, please contact us directly from your 23andMe account email address.

          Please let me know if you have further questions.

          Best regards,

          The 23andMe Team

          Apr 29, 9:05 AM PDT:
          To whom it may concern:
          My name is ABC XYZ, an attorney licensed to practice in Idaho. Recently, my wife purchased your services for both myself and my newborn son, largely to determine MTHFR mutations. We were able to accomplish our goals and I thank you for your services.

          That said, given recent reports in the news that police have been allowed to access genealogy website data, I’m requesting that you delete, destroy, and expunge both my son’s and my physical and electronic information from your stores and databases.
          You can update your support request by replying to this email with additional comments or by following this link:

          1. Webstir

            Doh! Sorry Lambert. I just assumed Yves did this links edition. Would you like periodic updates on future links threads?

    1. epynonymous

      Oh, and citibank payments were out friday… pay day… here in the NE.

      Our payroll master said the response from the phone bank was an instant “Look, I haven’t been paid yet either.”

      I said, I don’t think that’s on their script, and we both admired the phone worker’s response.

  4. Altandmain

    Re: a federal jobs guarantee:

    That is easier said than done. Employers want a banana republic type of job market where people are desperate to find a job. That gives them artificial power that they do not have. Lack of a new jobs program, policies like tax cuts for the rich and high immigration along with jon offshoring are all about making the rich richer.

    The New Deal arguably played the dominant role in creating a new middle class. So too did the world wars in eliminating a large portion of the wealth of the elite. We would need something to replicate that or a massive redistribution of wealth.

    Whatever the way, we can expect a very bitter fight from the rich. Yet there is no choice for the rest of us, but to fight it or else they will surely destroy the legacy of the New Deal.

    Wages have to be a living wage and keep up with rising living costs. It should be a function of productivity I think, which has been decoupled since the 1970s with wages.

    1. Scott

      I find the contrast between the article on the jobs guarantee and the one on constructing the new federal prison to be illuminating. The prison appears to primarily serve as the jobs programs for these largely rural areas, both during construction and operation. From that perspective, they are incredibly inefficient. It would be far better for all parties if instead of spending the $510 million on cleaning up the coal fields or constructing trails and parkways.

      1. jrs

        yes in terms of social good, if the job guarantee jobs are jobs cleaning up coal fields how many of us would ever want to sign up for them though? Well you have a choice to clean up coal fields never mind the cancer …

      2. Lord Koos

        I was reading an article about West Virginia where someone being interviewed said that “…you either work in the mines, at the prison, or you are incarcerated in the prison.”

      3. HotFlash

        The prison appears to primarily serve as the jobs programs for these largely rural areas, both during construction and operation.

        No, actually, the prisons are only *sold* as jobs programs. They ‘primarily serve’ as ways to extract money from federal, state and local governments and to funnel it to prison owners such as CCA (now CoreCivic) and other leading lights of the private prison industry.

  5. The Rev Kev


    The Brexit Referendum was taken on 23rd June 2016. By my calendar, that was 675 days ago. 675 days! By now all the basic questions should have been sorted out and negotiations well underway even though there would be all sorts of sticking points and disagreements. They haven’t even sorted out the question of the Irish border yet (hint – it should be at the Irish Sea). The history books are going to look on this period extremely harshly and especially the people whose job it was to enact Brexit. From my perch, the majority of those 675 have been blow like there was no tomorrow – or final Brexit date. If I am looking at it from a historical perspective, it is because there are no other good ways to look at it.
    I believe that hard Brexit will take place on Friday, 29th March 2019. That is only 334 days from now and the clock is ticking.

    1. begob

      I believe that hard Brexit will take place on Friday, 29th March 2019.

      Hard Brexit doesn’t appear possible at this point. The risk is of chaotic Brexit.

    2. Altandmain

      The David Cameron government in the UK never thought it was possible that Brexit would actually pass so they were totally not prepared to face the consequences of Brexit.

      It may see ridiculous in retrospect, but that is the brutal truth. They never considered that the leave vote might win, despite the fact that polls had been close for months.

      Cameron had originally intended for it to be a political stunt to shore up support. The issue is that they spent years gutting the UK’s capacity for diplomacy and statecraft because of their disdain for such ideas.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I suppose that Cameron and his colleagues thought that it would never pass because they knew no-one that supported it, well, nobody important that is. Remember that London was a bastion for the Remain campaign and I bet that the areas that they lived in were also enclaves for Remainers. It came down to the fact that they were judging that campaign only by the people that they knew who, as it turned out, were all Remainers.

    3. marku52

      Politico seems to be still under the misapprehension that is driving EUreferendem nuts. A customs union doesn’t’ mean no border checks. It just means no tariffs.

      Even it the UK stays in the customs union, it doesn’t resolve the Irish problem.

      Happy to be corrected on this if I am wrong…..

      1. begob

        Could be the Labour Party is proposing customs union in order to concede it as they secure single market.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Monument Remembers 4,400 U.S. Lynching Victims”

    Have mixed feelings about this one. Yes, those murdered over the centuries should be remembered and not forgotten but not if it ends just there. That can be the way to encourage a victim mentality. The hands up pose of many of those statues may have been a bit too contemporary which clouds what happened in the past which is what that place is supposed to commemorate . I think that the best thing would be if their deaths were seen as a price that was paid to ensure future equal treatment in the same way that war dead are seen as the price to pay to fight a war. Personally, I would suggest that the following promise be put on that museum building as a reminder as to what has to be achieved-

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    1. allan

      “should be remembered and not forgotten but not if it ends just there.”

      It’s not going to just end there. The very act of remembering is treated as an act of defiance
      and a threat to the established order:

      Lynching memorial leaves some quietly seething: ‘Let sleeping dogs lie’ [Guardian]

      … “It’s going to cause an uproar and open old wounds,” said Mikki Keenan, a 58-year-old longtime Montgomery resident, who was eating lunch at a southern country-style restaurant a mile from the memorial. Local residents, she said, feel “it’s a waste of money, a waste of space and it’s bringing up bullshit”.

      “It keeps putting the emphasis on discrimination and cruelty,” chimed in her friend, who asked not to be named for fear that her child would disapprove of her remarks. The memorial, she added, could spark violence. …

      Alabama’s Republican governor, Kay Ivey, wasn’t present at the memorial launch, but did release a video promoting her efforts to preserve Confederate monuments a week prior. …

      Mary Massey, a 58-year-old nurse on her way to lunch in Montgomery, expressed disdain at the project: “We didn’t have nothing to do with that. I think they just need to leave it alone. It’s just stirring up something.” …

      1. marym

        who asked not to be named for fear that her child would disapprove of her remarks

        To the children: Thank you for the disapproval. Stay strong and brave.

    2. Matt

      Except these people were not combatants in a war. They were unarmed victims of a campaign of racist terrorism committed by white supremacists. There is a “victim mentality” because these people were victims.

    3. marym

      The site is about more than lynching, as powerfully designed and rightly recognized as that aspect is right now.

      The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.

      There’s also a museum on the site.

      The Legacy Museum employs unique technology to dramatize the enslavement of African Americans, the evolution of racial terror lynchings, legalized racial segregation and racial hierarchy in America. Relying on rarely seen first-person accounts of the domestic slave trade, EJI’s critically acclaimed research materials, videography, exhibits on lynching and recently composed content on segregation, this museum will explore the history of racial inequality and its relationship to a range of contemporary issues from mass incarceration to police violence.

  7. Wukchumni

    Trump takes a hard line on tribal health care High Country News (GF).

    Just when you thought we’d run out of treaties to break…

    Around the CVBB, Casino tribes predominate the action. There’s 4 or 5 within 3 hours drive. You’ll see billboards along Hwy 99 from the Tachi Palace Casino where some old lady is looking animated, with the wording…

    “Where Shouting Is Fun!”

    And odder yet, are billboards on Hwy 99 heading south, advertising a casino 6 hours drive away.

    It’s all about a broken widows economy. W/o the casinos advertising presence on tv, etc. i’d imagine there’d be quite a gap to fill.

  8. Wyoming


    Yesterday you wrote the following about DNA usage.

    ” 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.”

    Having a serious expert in DNA in my immediate family I decided to send that person your above statement and asked for a description of what is going on with a DNA analysis, their accuracy, news reports like were linked yesterday, contamination issues and so on. I asked for this because what is implied in your statement and in the link flies in the face of what my understanding is. But rather than put forward my view I asked for a professional explanation. This is based off of a long email response as well as a fairly lengthy conversation on the phone.

    By way of bona fides I am allowed to say the following (I cannot provide actual identification of my relative). This person is a Magna cumme Laude graduate (straight A’s) from the masters program at the most prestigious university program in the US for training DNA analysts. Has more than 10 years of work experience and has performed 10’s of thousands of analysis’s, is the Technical Lead for all the labs in the state they work in, as well as the CODIS administrator for the state (this is the FBI database).

    I am not allowed to paste what the response is so I am rewriting it and writing it in words that I understand. Any errors introduced are mine not the experts. As my relative said this stuff is really complicated and it is not easily possible to explain everything in less than a couple of years of education. What I am forwarding is just a sketch.

    Regarding the idea that DNA analysis is not accurate. People who say this do not have a clear understanding of how accurate the data is and how it is reported. Defense attorneys go out of their way to try and make people think the process is flawed and imprecise as it is always to their advantage to try and make juries think this is true. It is not. It is sort of like what the tobacco company attorney’s did in the long legal battle over whether smoking was dangerous. So here is how accurate DNA analysis actually is. When a sample is analyzed they are trying to get data on all 23 STR loci (this is basically 23 specific locations on the DNA map). If the test actually gets all 23 locations then the answer to the quote above is actually “Yes we do have incontrovertible proof.” as the statistics which are generated as part of the analysis and its results would indicate the following: if the John Doe is a Caucasian then we have him down to 1 in 80 undcillion’s (this is 80 followed by 36 zeros – or a billion followed by 27 zeros), if he is a African American then it is 1 in 10 decillion (this is 10 followed by 33 zeros), if he is a Hispanic then it is 1 in 6 duodecillion (this is 6 followed by 39 zeros). If you assumed that the Earth had 10 billion people then you would need something on the order of 1 followed by 27 zero Earths to have a statistically even chance there were two people with this DNA for a caucasian. This is as certain as anything known to man basically. Now when analysis is done it is very common for the analyst not to get all 23 locations. Sometimes is is 22 and all the way down to single digits. Whatever the number obtained is what the answer is and that answer comes with a corresponding statistical number like the ones above. It is a sliding scale if you will. If you get a number like 1 in 10,000 then my relative does not consider that a match. If you get 1 in 10 million then it gets more interesting. But whatever the answer the analysis delivers goes to both sets of attorney’s. Low numbers do not prove guilt and sometimes a certain match does not either as there can be legitimate reasons for someones DNA to be at the scene of a crime. This is where the detective work comes in and is essential. So saying the results are not reliable obscures the actual situation.

    A result which delivers a number like 1 in 5 billion may not be perfect but compared to almost any other kind of information it is the best one could ever hope for with the exception perhaps of the police catching the person in the act. Eyewitness testimony? Nope and one could actually make a good argument that eyewitness testimony is the most ‘unreliable’ evidence there is when one looks at how often it turns out to be wrong.

    Mixed samples are extremely common and require extra work. This does not in any way change the validity of the statistic provided with the analysis. Because they are mixed it is more difficult to get to the 23 loci than with a pure sample but it still happens a lot. It is more common with them to get lower numbers. For example if a sample contains the DNA from 3 persons in a ratio of 80%-10%-10% you are going to get a high number for the 80% person and lower numbers for the other 2. The more persons in the sample the harder it gets – especially if the ratios are more even – but they usually are not. You may get a great answer and you may get a frustrating one if you are the detectives. But all of the answers come with the above statistical numbers which have to be taken into account. DNA analysis will sometimes do most of the police work for them and sometimes it is little help at all.

    Familial data. This bit relates to the link in which the reporters indicated that law enforcement got THE WRONG GUY the first time before they caught the actual serial killer. This is junk reporting and completely wrong. When the detectives went to the genealogy database and got them to run the comparison of the killers DNA profile against their database the answer they received was that there was someone in their database who was “related” to the killer. This gets complicated as if the person in the database was a women then it makes it much harder to figure out which male in her family is the killer. If the person in the database is a male relative then it is much easier. But in any case this information could easily have pointed to as many as 5 separate family trees. So what the detectives had to do was go from the identity of the person in the database and draw a family tree of all that persons male relatives and then sort them down to ones the right age. Then investigate everyone of them to see if they could possibly be the killer. When the numbers got small then you would start collecting DNA from them to see if they were the actual killer. We don’t know at this time but the one test they ran which was negative may not have been their first at all – it could have been the 10th for all we know. Or they may have gotten lucky and got him on the second try. This was very good work and very professional by the looks of it. There was no screw up here.

    The familial hit in the DNA databases is actually fairly common whether it is the States database or the CODIS (FBI) one.

    The issue of privacy is outside the scope of the technical details and my relative would provide no opinion (not surprising for a law enforcement person) and claimed a lack of expertise to comment. There is however no doubt that if everyone in America’s DNA was instantly popped into the CODIS database tens of thousands of violent crimes would be solved as fast as the detectives around the country could process the information and the analysts could crunch the new DNA samples collected – like in our killer case.

    Bad labwork. My relative basically said there is no such thing as bad labwork in any properly run lab operation. No positive result is ever accepted just from 1 analyst. In their labs at least 3 separate people check the results and have to sign off on them. It is not possible for one person to read them wrong and implicate someone by accident. What they assumed was meant by the phrase bad labwork was what is found in an occasional incompetent analyst or someone who is no longer doing their work. But the only way this really happens will never end up with a false positive as the only way to avoid doing the work is to discard samples or report them as negatives – there are huge numbers of samples to run work on and there is no time to go back and double check all the negatives to find out if someone had done such a thing. Since positives are triple checked there is no way for a bad worker to cause a false positive – just false negatives. My relative has seen a couple of analysts who were not competent or were avoiding work and said they stick out like sore thumbs and everyone knows who they are. They get dealt with pretty quickly.

    I hope this helps explain things a bit. What I was told by my relative was far more comprehensive (and a lot of it went over my head too) but this seems to cover the issues from yesterday. If anyone has in depth questions still I can go back for more details I think.

    1. Yves Smith

      With all due respect, you have one person’s opinion, and on top of that, someone defending their personal meal ticket. This falls in the category of “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it.”

      More generally, I have learned over many years of reporting that the view of one source cannot be relied upon unless they can support it with records.

      The very end is already telling: he sets as standard for “no such thing as bad labwork in any properly run lab operation.” Help me. He has no way of knowing how often his standards for a “properly run lab operation” are met in the wild.

      This Atlantic article from 2016 throw a lot of cold water on your relative’s defenses, such as his claim about the infalliblity of matches when the sample has DNA from several people:

      These advances have greatly expanded the universe of forensic evidence. But they’ve also made the forensic analyst’s job more difficult. To understand how complex mixtures are analyzed—and how easily those analyses can go wrong—it may be helpful to recall a little bit of high-school biology: We share 99.9 percent of our genes with every other human on the planet. However, in specific locations along each strand of our DNA, the genetic code repeats itself in ways that vary from one individual to the next. Each of those variations, or alleles, is shared with a relatively small portion of the global population. The best way to determine whether a drop of blood belongs to a serial killer or to the president of the United States is to compare alleles at as many locations as possible.

      Think of it this way: There are many thousands of paintings with blue backgrounds, but fewer with blue backgrounds and yellow flowers, and fewer still with blue backgrounds, yellow flowers, and a mounted knight in the foreground. When a forensic analyst compares alleles at 13 locations—the standard for most labs—the odds of two unrelated people matching at all of them are less than one in 1 billion.

      With mixtures, the math gets a lot more complicated: The number of alleles in a sample doubles in the case of two contributors, and triples in the case of three. Now, rather than a painting, the DNA profile is like a stack of transparency films. The analyst must determine how many contributors are involved, and which alleles belong to whom. If the sample is very small or degraded—the two often go hand in hand—alleles might drop out in some locations, or appear to exist where they do not. Suddenly, we are dealing not so much with an objective science as an interpretive art.

  9. crittermom

    RE: Trump/Tribal health care
    Yet another treaty broken. No surprise there. Just shameful.

    Now would be the time for Bernie to speak far & wide to the Native Nations to inform them of what is about to happen (once again) to them, while encouraging them to vote (& enlisting members of the tribes to help organize to make sure they do, like helping with transportation?).

    Where I currently live a large section (majority?) of the population is Native. There are no jobs. Many buildings sit vacant. There are certainly no employment opportunities on the reservations, either. This plan will become yet another tool to eradicate them.

    This article has made me proactive to get the votes out.
    I will now be informing my neighbor, who ministers to local Natives, & others about this & continue to follow-up regarding their efforts.

    Thanks, NC, for providing your continuing education.

    1. GF

      This quote from the article stood out to me as Trump has been depicted as someone who holds a grudge. He was met with a lot of push back when he was first opening his casinos from many tribes. It’s payback time.

      “In 1993, Donald Trump testified before a House subcommittee and noted that certain tribal casino operators “Don’t look like Indians to me,” indicating he views tribal membership on outward appearances, such as skin color or dress.”

        1. Jean

          i.e. Rachel Dolezal.

          Is there some reason that a non-minority student cannot self-identify through the “one drop rule” as a minority to get scholarships etc? If one can self declare their gender, then race, a “social construct” is a mere sideshow.

          1. Sid_finster

            IIRC, most Native American tribes have a “blood quantum” for establishing membership.

            In other words, unlike the “one drop” rule, you have to have a minimum documented fraction of ancestry to be born into the tribe.

      1. marym

        All the proposals put forward by Trump and his appointees on any issue call for doing great harm to people directly, or to services and resources that people need to live. He may have just found out that repealing or undermining Obamacare won’t stop Native Americans from getting care, and he doesn’t support any public programs for health care. Vengeance for the casino case may have been part of it, but it seems likely it would have happened anyway.

        Eventually the “economically anxious” people who support him will realize that no matter how much is taken from people not-like-them, their own lives won’t get better, and the services and resources they need to live aren’t there for them either.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Most of Trump’s supporters are the economically comfortable traditional Republican voters anyway. They will have no incentive to change.

          The economically anxious Trump voters in the Brexit States who held the balance of power will look at something different if something different emerges. As long as the Mainstream Democrat Liberal Party remains unexterminated, it will conspire to suppress the emergence of anything offering something better to the economically anxious Trump supporters. And economically anxious Trump supporters will keep supporting Trump until the Democrat Liberal Party can be crushed and broken and comprehensively exterminated down to the point where it is no longer able to nominate Hoyerists and Pelosians to run in elections.

    2. Sid_finster

      At least when he campaigned in North Dakota, Sanders did feature Native American issues prominently.

  10. third time lucky

    America is preparing for another attack on its democracy FT. There’s a very simple way to assess the tendentiousness of such stories: Ask whether they present hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, (ending the 2 party / one oligarchy lock on getting on mass media (and ballots often enough)) as a solution. Or even mention them.

    There, made a few critical additions. Everyone pile in with valid, critical issues to democracy, like repealing corporations are human…. This list is so long it is disheartening.

    1. Sid_finster

      “Democracy is under attack ZOMG!” = “Establishment candidates didn’t win enough.”

      When establishment candidates are sufficiently successful, then The People Have Spoken.

  11. lyman alpha blob

    RE: TSB was an innovative pioneer of modern finance and its spirit should be remembered

    I guess all the Independent wants to do is remember it. From the conclusion of the article:

    We cannot recreate the old model of savings banks…

    And why not exactly? Last I checked there where still plenty around – they do just fine as long as the TBTFs don’t get them in their clutches. I have my mortgage at one.

  12. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The bizarre right-wing campaign to discredit striking Arizona teachers

    Meanwhile, right-wing blogs and talk radio shows have focused their efforts on digging up every shred of evidence they can to prove that the teachers organizing the strike are part of a socialist plot to take over the state.

    Projection much? Maybe they should concentrate on their own plot to have right wingers take over a state. Sounds like it could use a little help.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe the teachers should launch a full scale attack on the sponsors of those right-wing blogs and talk radio show hosts, the way David Hogg did with Laura Ingraham, if possible. The right’s idea seems to be that if you cannot argue your opponent’s facts, you go for the smear. In earlier days it was known as playing the man rather than the ball.

      1. Jean


        Downvote the sponsors on Yelp and other customer reviews.
        Works for both right wing blogs and hate whitey blogs which are just as offensive.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      I would love to read the email for these right leaning radio stations and see the collusion going on. Most of them sound exactly the same and cover things the same exact way. It’s almost like they are getting their marching orders from the same place.

    3. flora

      It’s an article of faith in neoliberal-land that public schools are bad and should be replace by charters and other private k-12 schools, costs being only part of the reason. (One of Milton Friedman’s trademark proposals was replacing public schools with vouchers.)

      At the same time that the neoliberal project is trying to destroy public education it continues to assume its continued global financial predominance.

      While at the very same time, it starts to worry about China’s investments in public education and manufacturing, said investments being a drive for China’s future global dominance.

      1. Neoliberals say public schools bad. Destroy public schools. 2. Neoliberals say ‘the world is ours both now and in the future, we don’t need manufacturing or a broadly well-educated populace.’ 3. Neoliberals freak out because China is now seriously challenging the neoliberal West’s future global dominance by supporting their own Chinese public schools, education, and manufacturing.

      Have I got this right?

      1. flora

        shorter: I’m trying to imagine a Western world that in 1957 saw sputnik launched and responded with, “Public education? Who needs it?” If that had been the response then we’d have a very different world today. ( understatement )

        1. flora

          adding adding:

          Blue states for education.
          Purple states for education.
          Red states for education. (Red for Ed)
          Americans for education.

    4. Arizona Slim

      And, guess what, during the 2008 election cycle, when our state’s D party was all over the Obama campaign, our legislature flipped and went Republican.

      Combine that with our then-governor Janet Napolitano campaigning for Obama like she wanted outta this state as soon as she could get a DC job offer. Well, after Obama’s election, Napolitano left us for DC and the Department of Homeland Security, and we got stuck with Jan Brewer as governor. That was a whole ‘nother pile of mess.

      So, let’s just say that the Republicans aren’t the only guilty party.

      Would you like some good news? The Arizona teacher walkout has HUGE public support. Hand-painted slogans on cars, signs in yards, people wearing “Red for Ed” tee shirts, and on and on it goes.

      1. Procopius

        The Arizona teacher walkout has HUGE public support.

        That’s the best news I’ve heard today. Unfortunately, there’s a very low bar to clear for that. Still, it is very good news.

  13. DorothyT

    Mattis: Criminal charges likely amid probe into intelligence contract (Federal News Radio)

    This criminal fraud was exposed at least by 2015 in the Independent.

    From the 2015 Independent news report:

    Last week it emerged that US Department of Defence was unable to provide financial data on $890m spent on emergency reconstruction and humanitarian projects over the past decade.

    1. Procopius

      Oh, heck, SIGAR has been exposing this since at least 2003. One of my heroes, Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who retired just before the 2002 invasion of Iraq, said that he had seen incompetence and corruption amounting to criminality. Unfortunately, he didn’t elaborate, and he hasn’t written a tell-all book. One of the reasons I admire him so much, but I wish he would at least get a lengthy interview and name names.
      ETA: This is peanuts. Do you remember the story about the $250 million gas station built in an area with no roads?

  14. Wukchumni

    RIP Larry Harvey

    Although I haven’t been to Burning Man in almost a decade now, i’d gone for a number of years prior and was always amazed how cleanly the event went off, back in the day when there was no internet or smartphone connectivity on the dry lake bed I called home for a week, with 30,000 others. Saw lots of groovy expressions of every persuasion, rode in art cars a plenty and endured the inevitable dust storms that often caused me to request permission to board somebody’s rental RV land yacht in order to drink gin & tonics to ward off scurvy & alkali.

    As far as fire goes, this was the ultimate treat, and we were about 400 feet away when this went off…

    But how could I forget Dance Dance Immolation?

  15. Chauncey Gardiner

    Since the primacy of “Milton’s Markets” is the mantra of our time, I cannot help but be concerned by what has occurred historically after prior inter-Korean summits. And this time they’ve cranked it up a notch. Coupled with the Year of the Dog, let’s hope that clever regime isn’t engineering the Mother of All Shorts:

  16. Jim Haygood

    The Negro Motorist Green Book had a real utility in the Deep South of my childhood — not just for finding motels and restaurants open to black motorists, but also, in those pre-911 days, locating the ‘colored ambulance’ service in case of emergency.

    My dad once saw the colored ambulance on the shoulder of the road, with the hood up and the driver attempting to troubleshoot the engine. There was no backup vehicle and the white folks’ ambulance wasn’t going to show up to help.

    These days a Palestinian Motorist Green Book might be useful in apartheid Israel, where ethnic discrimination is enshrined in law just as it was in Jim Crow days here.

  17. Jean

    Puddle of blood?

    Warehouse workers should walk out en masse just before Christmas, that’s when you hit them hardest.
    How many people here who support and lament the treatment of warehouse workers are going to order something through Amazon, or go shopping at Whole Foods today?

    Put your money where you mouth is and boycott them.

  18. JEHR

    The Antidote is the sweetest little critter ever! Those Arctic foxes have a hard life as food is scarce in the winter. Foxes sometimes den in the same place for years–hundreds of years. These dens also create gardens.

  19. Geo

    After nearly two years of nonstop talk about the “Russia hacks” my guess is Joy Reid figured accusing “hackers” could work as an excuse for anything. And, among her fans it seems to have worked.

    Personally, I liked the Nation article that put it all in context of the time. For gay rights and acceptance the past decade has been a huge time of change and the posts would not have seemed out of place in that time period on a liberal blog. Heck, I’ve been the victim of anti-gay violence and homophobia my whole life and still used the f-word as a joke back then. Times change. She should have just owned it from the start.

    That said, I’d be more interested to see her respond to her writings from 2007 when she called Hillary “insane” and railed against her hostile campaign which refused to give up against Obama. Would love to know when she “evolved” on that issue too.

    1. ChrisPacific

      We really have come a long way in not much more than 10 years. Bush made opposition to gay marriage a centerpiece of his campaign against Kerry, and used it successfully to mobilize a record number of voters. In hindsight it was the beginning of a broader societal change, but that was far from apparent at the time. The faction in the Democratic party that believes that winning is what’s important and policy is a secondary consideration (the same one that is currently demonizing Sanders) was very unhappy about it, and many of them blamed the ‘gay lobby’ for losing the election.

      1. RMO

        Maybe she should have blamed it on “Russian Hackers” instead of the generic ones. Might have worked for her as the pundits and big media outlets seem to love screaming about them.

  20. Oregoncharles

    “The Silence Of The Skripals – Government Blocks Press Reports – Media Change The Record Moon of Alabama (KW).”
    The key is the hospital personnel. They successfully treated the Skripals for SOMETHING; what was it?

    An overlooked disadvantage of the NHS is that doctors work for the national government, so they can be silenced by it.

    Presumably the Skripals themselves have now been convinced they were poisoned by the Russian government and so are willing to go into hiding – damned inconvenient for a 34 year old, though. What kind of life is that? Even if they don’t believe it was Russia, they have good reason to be afraid.

    1. Carolinian

      The premise of the M of A post is that they may have been drugged by Brit govt actors both to warn and silence the father who may have been involved with the Steele dossier. And more to the point Moon is saying that a sudden silence has fallen on the British press and this may have been ordered by the government.

      Of course the media can easily disprove such wild speculation by doing their job and getting to the bottom of this supposed scandal that they once couldn’t stop talking about.

    2. HotFlash

      Nah. The writing was on the wall when the word came out that Ms Yulia had been ‘offered’ safe haven and a new identity, possibly in the US, and I said so them.. Hello, they are being disappeared, probably killed. My dear Ms Yulia, goodbye, I am so sorry, and for your father too. This is happening in plain sight — how dense are we? How complicit?

  21. NotTimothyGeithner

    This is kind of why Joy Reid is back tracking. Her act is to be the arbiter of acceptable liberals and punch left. She jumped into Melissa Harris Perry’s old time slot who left under less than stellar circumstances amid emails bringing up the less than stellar treatment she felt she received by largely white executives. Since then, Joy Reid has attacked Sanders supporters and white washed his younger supporters throughout the 2016 primary process.

    There is nothing bizarre about her claims except to note the linked article is from November of 2017 well after the primary. A skeleton in her closet was exposed which might be fine for most people, but she has consistently ignored bad actors while setting herself up as an arbiter of good. She really has no good excuses. Its most likely she is simply cynical and self serving, but can she be the arbiter of who is good and bad if she was at best being politically cowardly in 2006? News presenters are actors who have convinced some people they aren’t acting, but this was her jump the shark moment because she didn’t have any ideas of how to address the issue.

    How did it come up anyway?

  22. drumlin woodchuckles

    Trump terrified the South Korean government into seeking warmup with the North. Trump deserves credit for that. Without the Trump threat of Korean War 2.0, the South Koreans would never have gotten off the dime. Activists can appropriate all the credit they want to, of course.

    If Trump can keep the South Koreans terrified enough, they may even give up their stupid irredentist dreams of a “re-unified” Korea. They may accept a Two State Solution for the Korean Peninsula. The North Korean Juche Regime would find that an acceptable guarantee of its Eternal Sovereignty and Survival.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I will read your link. It is sure to tell me things I did not know. I will be interested to see what it says about Syngman Rhee of early South Korea. I remember reading somewhere about how the US and UN were ready to conclude a Two State Peace including and recognizing North Korea just like with Germany but Syngman Rhee objected to and obstructed any such peace which left Korea un-re-unified on South Korean terms. It was the Rhee government which created the Office of Korean Reunification.

        So often is the United States a hostage to its clients.

        So , no, I was not being ironic.

        And if the two Korea governments achieve a peace with eachother, let South Korea invite US forces off the Peninsula. If South Korea does not want to do that, let the record show that it will be South Korea which does not want to do that.

        And if the South Korean people all wish to become Greater North Koreans under a unified Greater Peoples Republic of Juche Korea, let them do that too. And invite US forces off the Peninsula.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “Why we should bulldoze the business school ”
    As it happens, Oregon State actually is. Not Economics, though.

  24. Darthbobber

    Joy Reid: I find myself at a loss as to why anybody would go to all the trouble of faking this handful of old posts that she disputes when there is no shortage of unquestionably authentic ones in the same vein. More of them than the ones she admitted to and apologized for, andd a number of them (relating to Ann Coulter and Chelsea Manning), of considerably more recent vintage. One usually doesn’t trouble to fake evidence unless they lack the real thing.

    I amuse myself by reading the comments threads over at Josh Marshal’s echo chamber to see their reaction, which turns out to generally circle the wagons and assume without evidence that she is the victim of either a Roger Stone or a Putin conspiracy, on account of her being such a heroically exposer of their nefarious plots.

    Of course, where the Putin theory is concerned, such evidence as exists indicates that the sinister Russkiebot network likes Joy Reid just fine the way she is, which is far and away the pundit most retweeted and reposted by the evil Russkie Twitter and fbook accounts, beating out second place Hannity by nearly 10 to 1.

    Her tale seems even less persuasive to me because before making the allegation she took measures like the deletion of the archive which make doing forensic analysis more difficult.

  25. JBird

    Jonathan Alter: Democrats Need Less Democracy To Win In 2018

    Is this like Leona Helmsley quote of “only the little people pay taxes”? as in only the right people have democracy?

    Maybe I am just being silly as I thought this democracy thing was for all American citizens. The Founding Fathers are justly criticized for their elitism and to wanting to overly restrict the voting rights of, and blocking too much of the power of those who could vote, but they did not favor some small clique in service to the Oligarchy of the Right People blocking the influence of the people for the enrichment of the comfortable using the further immiseration of the poor using illegal, and, or dishonest methods.

    1. Ford Prefect

      The Democrats just need to be able to convince some of the 45% of the people who don’t vote, to vote for them and they will crush the mid-terms. But those people need a reason to vote and to vote for Democrats……

      1. JBird

        Yeah, but the Democratic leadership doesn’t think that they should offer, let alone, do anything for voters except give a better sales pitch.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Neandertals, Stone Age people may have voyaged the Mediterranean”

    This should not really be a surprise. We think of the seas and oceans as huge barriers and hostile environments but the explorer Thor Heyerdahl pointed out in one of his earlier books that once you can even put together a simple raft, then those very same seas and oceans actually become highways to far distant places. On the way there, you can even feed yourself by doing a bit of fishing as well.
    Maybe they developed the techniques in lakes and then realized that they could be used in the seas as well. Living with the land, I am willing to bet that there was not much that escaped their notice as far as weather, tides and winds either.

    1. rd

      I think we greatly over-estimate the importance of modern technology in accomplishing things. Many of our grandest structures were designed before the slide rule was even invented.

      Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki and Ra expeditions simply looked at the face value of stone, bronze, and iron age technologies to see what could be possible, and it was pretty amazing. If you give those people hundreds or thousands of years to try things out, they could have done things that we would be at a loss on how to do today given our disconnects from nature and how things really work.

    2. Oregoncharles

      I thought the tone of surprise was rather silly. For one thing, ancient people were just as smart as we are – and as you say, much closer to nature. Imagining that they couldn’t make water craft is a bit strange.

      For another, it involves forgetting that preservation is very hit or miss, mostly miss (except for stone tools, of course), and some things are hardly preserved at all – like wood. The only boats we’ve found happened to be buried in anoxic environments.

      There is a good place to look: the bottom of the Black Sea. Apparently its geography conspires to make the lower depths completely anoxic, and the bottom is lined with extremely well-preserved boats and ships. Neanderthal ones would have been quite small and may well be buried under a couple hundred thousand years of crud falling from above, but they might still be there – the unlucky ones.

      The likelihood of early watercraft also means that Europe and Africa would not have been isolated from each other. Especially during glacial periods when the water levels were much lower, movement between them would have been quite easy. It’s no wonder the populations did mix.

  27. ChrisPacific

    From the Politico link on Brexit:

    In private, there is growing frustration in Whitehall at what U.K. officials see as an attempt by the EU to ignore the elements of the December “joint report,” which confirmed that both sides believed the Irish border could be kept open through a comprehensive free-trade agreement or, failing that, unspecified technical solutions, and only in the event of these two options failing would the backstop come into force.

    U.K. officials are now pushing Brussels to make progress on the first two options before agreeing the backstop, one senior government aide said.

    This is ludicrous. The UK is pushing Brussels to make progress? If the UK believes that one of those two options is possible (Brussels have made it very clear so far that they don’t) then isn’t the burden of proof on them to come up with a realistic proposal? They have now had several months to do that and apparently accomplished nothing, which just serves to confirm the EU assessment. Didn’t the reporter think to ask that question?

    The question I would like someone to ask David Davis is: on what date does “we’ll figure it out later” stop being an acceptable answer?

  28. Oregoncharles

    Deal made in Arizona:

    “Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced a deal with state legislative leaders Friday to raise teachers’ pay 20 percent by 2020, as educators stayed away from classrooms a second straight day in a spreading revolt over salaries and school funding.

    In a joint statement with Arizona Senate President Steve Yarbrough and House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, Ducey said the deal would also restore funding for schools that were cut in the last recession.

    Related Searches
    Teacher Walkout ArizonaArizona Teachers Walk OutArizona School Walk OutArizona Teachers Pay
    The funds would be “flexible dollars for superintendents to use for support staff pay increases, update antiquated curriculum and improve school infrastructure – without raising taxes,” the statement said.

    The legislature would work through the weekend “to introduce a budget early next week and pass it shortly thereafter,” the statement said.

    Teachers in Colorado also walked out of classroom for a second day over the same issues, but little progress was made there on Friday….(clip)”


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