Links 5/21/18

Saving Africa’s wildlife WaPo

UN, EU call for global action to protect bees AFP

Maduro Wins Venezuela Election Amid Widespread Disillusionment NYT

Rise of the ticks The Week

Kill Me Now

‘If you can’t beat them, join them’: Hillary trolls Trump with RUSSIAN hat during Yale commencement speech as she admits she is still not over her 2016 election defeat Daily Mail (roxy). Hoisted from comments.

Hillary Clinton to receive prestigious Harvard medal AP

The square President TLS

Ripping the Mask Off Wilson’s World Stage Play American Conservative

Summer sojourns under the Raj Mint

Meme in India The Hindu

That was the year that was London Review of Books. Tariq Ali.

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

A Double Murder From 1987 Was Just Solved Thanks To The Genealogy Website Used For The Golden State Killer Buzzfeed

Hundreds of Apps Can Empower Stalkers to Track Their Victims NYT

FCC investigates site that let most US mobile phones’ location be exposed Ars Technica

What Is GDPR and What Can America Learn From it? Motherboard

Subcutaneous Fitbits? These cows are modeling the tracking technology of the future MIT Technology Review

How the Enlightenment Ends The Atlantic. Henry Kissinger !?!.

India

With Surging Oil and a Nervous Rupee, Is India’s Macro Magic Starting to Fade? The Wire

The ‘river people’ under threat BBC

Huge setback for Modi as BJP fails floor test in Karnataka Asia Times

Grenfell Tower Inferno Aftermath

Emotions run high as Grenfell Tower inquiry is about to open Guardian

Syraqistan

The other art of the deal, Tehran-style Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

Iran’s top envoy to China calls on Beijing to help safeguard nuclear deal SCMP

THE CROWN PRINCE OF RIYADH VS. THE CROWN PRINCE OF JIHAD: AL-QAEDA RESPONDS TO MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN’S REFORMS War on the Rocks

A healthy economy should be designed to thrive, not grow Ted.com (Chuck L)

Brexit

Thought Brexit couldn’t get any more farcical? The story of the European patent court proves you wrong Prospect

Britain looks to Australia for help on Galileo rival FT (The Rev Kev). Wowsers.

Brexit: Britons at risk of languishing for years in foreign jails when a key protection is lost, ministers warned Independent

Brexit: up the creek EUReferendum.com

Class Warfare

In parts of Leicester, workers are paid as little as £3.50 an hour. Why is no one being held responsible?FT

CEO pay shrinks by $350,000 a year once activist hedge funds move in, study finds MarketWatch

Electric Scooter Charger Culture Is Out of Control Atlantic (The Rev Kev)

Behind New York’s Housing Crisis: Weakened Laws and Fragmented Regulation NYT

Vatican Assails Wall Street for Creating an “Amoral Culture” Wall Street on Parade

Sick of Shady Banks? Get a Loan from the Post Office! Counterpunch. This idea isn’t new for regular readers– worth continuing to hammer the point, however.

Maryland Leads as Prison Populations Continue to Decline Marshall Project

Cotton jolts prison reform negotiations Politico

Starbucks Restrooms Open for All Visitors WSJ

Trump Transition

Trump demands DOJ look into whether FBI ‘infiltrated or surveilled’ his campaign Politico

The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper, Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election Intercept. Glenn Greenwald.

Crooked Trump? NYRB

Stopping Robert Mueller to protect us all The Hill. Mark Penn.

Mueller v. Trump Weekly Standard. Ted Olson.

It’s Time To Place Your Bets On Sports Gambling Dealbreaker

This is exactly the wrong time to roll back financial reform FT

How Trump changed everything for The Onion Politico

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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180 comments

  1. Brooklin Bridge

    The antidote is one of the most beautiful photographs I’ve ever seen.

    Musing on detail, and apart from the beauty, I wonder what that thing trailing from the bird’s feet is? Is this a trained hawk? It’s hard to get a sense of size, but the bird looks enormous to me – way too big to have on my arm unless I wanted to be a bird snack.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Glad you enjoyed the photo. I won’t weigh in yet on what type of bird it is– but I will mention the first time I saw it was an amazing birding day for me: I saw five life birds.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        You mean you saw five of these birds? (I suspect LaRuse is correct: Golden Eagles.) If so, …wow… It must have been breath taking. I saw an eagle from our back yard this winter. I saw it’s shadow first and thought it was a small plane. Then looked up and just about fell over (partly because it was just overhead and it simply overwhelmed trivia such as keeping my balance).

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          No, one of these, and four other species I’d never seen before.

          And, incidentally, it’s not a golden eagle. That I saw for the first time in Texas. Huge bird. Breathtaking.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Yikes! It would have fooled me (but that’s not difficult). :-) I’m pretty sure about the bald headed eagle I saw because it’s head was white and others more knowledgeable in the vicinity have seen probably the same bird.

          2. Brooklin Bridge

            Anyway, the photograph is simply stunning. I imagine it wouldn’t be possible to take in all that detail, the composition, the colors, etc., with the naked eye since it would happen too quickly, but If I had glimpsed this in real life, I think I would have had to sit down for a few minutes. And I don’t often gush like this.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Agree. It may be obvious to serious “birders”, but to me, that was a good call.

        Oh well, I spoke too soon – see above – but still a good call in my utterly amateur worthless opinion. :-)

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          I can see the reason for the call. That’s what makes bird identification so much fun– especially with more than 9,000 options to choose from.

          1. The Rev Kev

            When you look at the distinctive band of yellow on that bird’s beak, the ratio of the body length as compared to the wing-length where it bends back, the flatness on top of the bird’s head as well as the thickness of the feathers at the wing tip, the only possible bird that fits this description is the ‘Aquila nipalensis’ or the Steppe Eagle as it is known.
            Oh, and the name of the image gave the game away as well.

            1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

              Bingo! A stunning bird. Although I usually try not to weigh in quite so early– I enjoy watching readers work out what the bird is. But the name really does give the game away.

              1. berit

                Thanks! I enjoyed the beautiful photo and the comments. It reminds me of the magnificent bird of prey I watched from the window of a train ascending the slopes towards Saltfjellet in Nordland, Norway, traintracks running along a white, icy river on which the eagle sat and then flew alongside, then beneath the train for some time. I watched it from the side, then from above. Unforgettable. Birdwatching by train from Trondheim to Bodø in springtime has been most pleasurable – only time I’ve seen an eagle that close and cranes in the wild, hundreds of them, resting in a clearing, jumping around, flapping, stretching necks and wings on their yearly trek up north. Thanks again – for the photo, and for the many insights offered by NC and excellent comments.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I was going to venture that guess, only because I saw two films recently about them – Eagle Huntress and Kiran – plus the yellow area in the head, but nothing detailed or concrete like Rev Kev’s breakdown.

    2. Lee

      The straps on the hawks feet are jesses, used by falconers to hold the bird on the fist or secure it to a perch. Some very large birds are used by falconers. For example golden eagles can be trained to hunt wolves or other large game. If, like me, are a fan of wolves you might find the linked video of trained eagles taking wolves disturbing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re644qgnCtw

    3. JTMcPhee

      Those “trailing things” appear to be “jesses,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jess_(falconry). Which maybe takes away just a little from the ooh wow of the bird, since the presence of a jess (singular) indicates the bird is sort of under human subjugation, not captured flying wild… Falconers would say it’s not a master and beast kind of relationship, I’m sure, rather more of a respectful and occasionally grudging or antagonistic one, and an ancient one too.

    4. ewmayer

      Re. what-kind-of-bird-is-that, I was easily able to find out even though my browser, due to my default-setting-overrides, didn’t load the image – just right-click the image (or inside the image frame, in my case), select ‘view image info” from the resulting menu. (Or whatever your browser calls that option).

      I’ll give it in semi-cryptic Hermann Hesse form: “Steppenadler”.

  2. Steve H

    Escobar:

    “Once again Tehran proved to be unrivaled all across Asia as a theater to debate all crosscurrents involving post or counter-Enlightenment, or both.

    I was constantly reminded of Jalal Al-e Ahmad, the son of a mullah born in poor south Tehran who later translated Sartre and Camus and wrote the seminal Westoxification (1962).

    He spent the summer of 1965 at a seminar in Harvard organized by Henry Kissinger and “supported” by the CIA, and pivoted to Shi’ism only by the end of his life. But it was his analysis that paved the way for sociologist Ali Shariati to cross-pollinate anti-colonialism with the Shi’ite concept of resistance against injustice into a revolutionary ideology capable of politicizing the Iranian middle classes, leading to the Islamic Revolution.”

    Hmm, two articles with ‘Kissinger * enlightenment’ in today’s posts. But Kissinger was squeaking about AI, a little late to the game. I looked up Westoxification and found Gharbzadegi, a term coined in the ’40’s, and this quote by Al-e Ahmad: “The soul of this devil ‘the machine’ [must be] bottled up and brought out at our disposal … [The Iranian people] must not be at the service of machines, trapped by them, since the machine is a means not an end.”

    Which reminded me of Tolkien: “and so to the Machine (or Magic). By the last I intend all use of external plans or devices (apparatus) instead of development of the inherent inner powers or talents — or even the use of these talents with the corrupted motive of dominating: bulldozing the real world, or coercing other wills. The Machine is our more obvious modern form though more closely related to Magic than is usually recognised.” And this: “A man who wishes to exert power must have subjects, who are not himself. But he then depends on them.”

    I’m on a deep dive into King Lear, where the King becomes a subject, and the subject becomes an object. When Who becomes Whom, it does not take it well. It’s seems but is not ironic, that a man like Kissinger, so concerned with domination, not only provided the soil of hypocrisy which fed the most important revolution of the last century, but then turns his baloric eye to the ultimate object, the machine, and decries its enlightenment. Such are the achieved ends of an unreflective ape.

    1. Kristiina

      Thank you for your insightful comment. Such an interesting view to look at magic/machine side by side. Machine is will as force/coercion. To me magic would be the creative use of will. Expanding the known. The freedom to choose how to use our will is how we end up revealing what we are made of. On the inside. Meanness magnified. Or something else.

      1. Quentin

        Read The Machine Ends, E.M. Forster, 1928, many aspects of our present-day world described in frightening simplicity. Read it, from way back then.

      1. Steve H.

        Balor of the Mighty Blows, the Fomor giant whose baleful eye could turn men to stone, a possible inspiration for the Tower of Sauron.

        Seems appropriate for one who turns people into objects.

      2. Dug Fur

        It’s a riff on the Tolkien quote, I believe. Comparing Kissinger to the balor brightened my morning.

  3. Raven

    Rise of the ticks The Week

    I’ve had alpha-gal since 1995. A quarter pound or more of mammal flesh brought on life threatening anaphylaxis before I knew the cause. It’s very easy to avoid now. I don’t miss it, unlike some who comment on alpha-gal support web sites, desperate for a cure so they can again enjoy thick juicy steaks and ribs.

    As for deer ticks, my southern New England yard is loaded with them and I get bitten between 25 and 100 a year. But I am so sensitive to their bite that they’re rarely attached for more than a few minutes. Totally disgusting creatures. I once helped a friend lift a deer he shot into his truck. It was literally crawling with thousands of ticks not knowing what to do once the deer’s blood turned cold. I’m not exaggerating.

    Radiolab has an excellent audio piece on alpha-gal:

    https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/alpha-gal/

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      Where I live, we don’t really have a tick problem(NW Texas Hill Country)…likely due to the lack of dense forest, and the historical aridity of the area(which is changing).FYI, I’ve read that the presence of Possums keeps the tick population in check.
      But in the last 15 years or so, a new kind of mosquito(aedes albopictus) has made it out here. Historically, we’ve had the regular Culex “house mosquito”…which is sort of effectively controlled by the spray trucks cruising around just after dusk.
      A. Albopictus has different behaviors that make this tactic ineffective: they are hiding in dense foliage when the trucks come by, and are out and about in the afternoon, when the suns still out.(and they prefer the ankle, which is an identifying trait, it turns out). the Truck Tactic is wholly ineffective.
      When I lived in town, I tried to get the city to at least acknowledge this…and they did buy a big box of mosquito dunks, but just left it on the counter at the city office with no explanation or anything.
      Prolly the biggest problem with this species, here, is old tires…one cannot legally get rid of them without paying through the nose(save for one day per year when the city/county have a day for that), so they pile up in people’s back yards.
      Out here in the country, I’m johnny on the spot with the dunks(bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) in the water troughs and goose pools and the graywater lines, and seem to have knocked down the population.
      Albopictus doesn’t range as far as Culex, so new wanderers from somewhere else are unlikely. I’m careful when importing anything that might have them hiding inside, mainly things I liberate from the dump.
      the Aedes genus is the carrier of all sorts of nasty diseases…from malaria to dengue to zika to “Chick”.
      (if the geese would tolerate goldfish in their pools, that would be great…but they are adamant and intractable on this issue, no matter how I try to explain it)

      1. Wukchumni

        The silver lining to the long drought here in the higher climes of the Sierra Nevada during the summer, was hardly no standing water around, thus greatly reduced amounts of mossies. It couldn’t last though, and on a backpack trip last year in the aftermath of a bountiful snow year, I remember watching a friend’s tan hat seemingly moving, and not as tan as I remembered, as hundreds of mosquitoes circled the periphery of his noggin.

      2. tongorad

        Consider yourself lucky, fellow Texan. I grew up in San Antonio, and I spent a lot of summers outdoors, camping, etc, and ticks were always a problem. I’ve had ’em in my ears and …other places.

        1. Wukchumni

          Ticks aren’t nearly as numerous in California as back east, but that said, a friend found one crawling on his pant leg @ 7,000 feet a couple days ago, when we were in search of big timber.

          That’s pretty high altitude for the beasties…

          1. wilroncanada

            A friend of ours, a retired GP-MD, was bitten by a tick while visiting southern CA some years ago. He within a day recognized the bullseye rash emblematic of Lyme disease, so visited a local physician to get an antibiotic prescription. My wife has been through the same routine her on Vancouver Island. Her physician asked no questions once she self-diagnosed it to him, but immediately prescribed a two-week course of an antibiotic.

            The grandson of a friend (retired minister) was bitten in Alberta, but unfortunately was not treated immediately. Many doctors pooh-poohed the danger, and even the idea, of tick bites as generators of Lyme and other ailments, both in the US and in Canada. His health deteriorated to such a degree that he was unable to feed himself, or to walk. He eventually was admitted to a clinic specializing in Lyme disease, and is finally doing better.

            Another local friend has a sister in Ontario who is permanently disabled by the after (or enduring) effects of Lyme disease.

            Not something to laugh at, as much of the medical establishment did for many years, especially in western North America.

      3. Oregoncharles

        Glad to hear the dunks work; my problem with them has been that raccoons think they’re food and pull them out of the water – and the area is thick with raccoons. The bits don’t have that problem, but have to be renewed more often.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Might be an idea to try rubbing on some lemon eucalyptus oil as it is supposed to repel both ticks and mosquitoes. It has a pretty strong smell which screws with mosquito’s senses and perhaps ticks as well. It is also a bit of an antiseptic as a bonus. Might be worth while you trying it out.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        and those dryer sheets(wife loves them, for some reason) tucked in one’s socks.

        1. Pat

          It amuses me no end that they are useful for so many things not one of which is their intended use. In fact they should never be out in a dryer.

          1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

            Rub sunscreen onto oily hands then wash as usual.
            Ideal when cycling and the chain comes off.

            Pip pip!

      2. Lord Koos

        If you rub a cut clove of garlic on your ankles,
        they won’t bite you there. Also works for fleas. I much prefer it to DEET which is toxic.

      3. Oregoncharles

        Catnip is supposed to repel mosquitos, too – maybe even scientific evidence. I planted some on that basis. Cats can kill in in their enthusiasm, though.

    3. Edward E

      Made a bucket of popcorn about 7pm while watching for this bad news hog in my backyard. Well, long story short I’ve dealt with this hawgzilla nonsense but he ran down the hill and crash landed in the darkening woods. I don’t know how with a hole in his heart, but these things are tougher than dirt. So I went back to the house to get some surveyor ribbons to mark the trail with because it’s dark and maybe go ahead and trail him up. Took a pistol and a spotlight. See another totally different boar hog almost as big off in the distance. Go back to the house and get the rifle. Come back and this hog runs down the hill into the woods and I can hear it coming around to closing in on possibly charging me. So I ran into the barn and then eventually back into the house. This morning I’m getting everything straightened out, drug hogzilla to the nearest road and came back to eat a little something for energy. Going to load him up now, y’all have fun. Just wanted to feed the birds and everything is stealing their seed, planted some food plots for rabbits and deer. Didn’t mean to attract the hawgs, they’re bullying everything and trying a take over.

      Oh, yeah, there are a bunch of ticks taking the exit ramp off of him…

      1. Wukchumni

        About a decade ago, there used to be an overly protective deer that hung out near Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia NP, and one time friends were up there with their golden retriever, and deerzilla and a few other deer formed a skirmish line about 100 feet away that my friends told me was out of this world, never seen anything like it…

        …and then it dawned on them that said deer probably thought the pooch was a cougar

        1. Edward E

          That frickin hogzilla weighed 358 pounds. I am sore, everything that doesn’t hurt doesn’t want to work.
          Haven’t seen the other hog. At least the deer can hopefully drop their fawns without that brutal sob around. The does are still nervous as heck. I’ve got a nightvision thing, need to get a battery for it and see what the heck is going on after dark.

          But I’m going to start dealing with some trucking companies, that’s about worse than tugging a pig.

  4. Wukchumni

    Our friends who are big tree hunters came up to go on safari with us in the Sierra in search of, and mission accomplished.

    The main object of desire was the Dean tree, and we done found it, and what a beauty. It stands silently on quite a slope in a stand of oversized brobdingnagians, giving it the appearance of being even larger than it is.

    The tale of the tape is taking a measure by circling the Sequoia @ eye level, and then dividing by Pi, and the Dean measured up @ 68 feet 4 inches in circumference, or a bit over 21 feet wide for those of you scoring @ home.

    Girth is just one measure of a tree, and height is also obviously also a factor, and the Dean got hit by lightning on high eons ago, retarding further growth upward, allowing it only to be the 31st largest living thing in the world.

    Another Sequoia we visited just off the Paradise trail was the Tunnel tree, a massive hunk o’ wood that burned a hole large enough through it @ the base naturally as a result of a wildfire hundreds of years ago, so that a car could drive through, that is if you could somehow get a jalopy 3 miles up a hiking trail and good luck with that.

    We all decided that if said sentinel were too close to the road, why they’d make a tourist attraction out of it, and that’d be a downright tragedy of sorts.

  5. UserFriendly

    So thanks to Twitters stupid new policy I’m probably going to be shadowbanned for critising an author in forbs who was calling for a balenced budget.

    https://twitter.com/UserFrIENDlyyy/status/998540677867851776

    It really is sad that this valid criticism of an author for @Forbes was enough for him to block me. He can advocate for policies that will kill poor people but can’t handle hearing about it. Looks like Trump isn’t the only thin skinned person around. #MMT

    Original tweet.
    https://twitter.com/UserFrIENDlyyy/status/998531033460019200

    The national debt is entirely irrelevant. The government can print as many dollars or bonds as it wants and the only limit is real resources (oil, labor, ect.). But thanks for trying to make Mr. Thin skin balance the budget. I’m sure he’ll only kill a few thousand poor people.

    1. johnnygl

      Twitter was being used to hold powerful people accountable for saying idiotic things. It was always going to get curtailed at some point, too much pushback.

      I suspect if it gets too restrictive and turns into an echo chamber, then people will get bored and it’ll die off slowly.

    2. perpetualWAR

      I have been bounced from Twitter nine times. The most recent was when I pushed back on Mayor Durkan’s election. Apparantly, people who could have prosecuted crooked WaMu, and didn’t, don’t like to be reminded of their corporate hooks. Who knew?

      1. polecat

        The only ‘twitter’ I engage in is with the neodinos that fly or hop into the polecat oasis, looking for eats, or perhaps an invigorating avian bath from the fountain or fish pond …. and the only shadow bans I receive are from the crows and/or the jays. I know I’ll be accused of mixing apps here, but generally, the neodines really, Really likes me !
        As for engaging in that digital conveyance of opines on a certain wave of electronic ether … Blah !

    3. Arizona Slim

      That “change your password” e-mail is inspiring me to do something. And what might it be? Well, it’s closing my Twitter account, that’s what!

      1. Arizona Slim

        Done!

        In Twitter parlance, I have deactivated my account. Not that I was a heavy user of Twitter, but it’s another social media annoyance that I’m now free of.

        Ahhhhhh …

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How does it work over at Twitter? I don’t get any and know very little about it.

      He bl*cked you. Because you criticized him. Do many people do that, bl*cking other users?

      And how dose it lead to shadowb*nning?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I was being cautious.

          From time to time, the word ‘b*n’ could put you in moderation (my suspicion).

          I figured maybe ‘bl*ck’ or ‘shadowb*n’ might trigger that as well.

      1. UserFriendly

        Well, what I like abut twitter is that there is a significant chance that if you tweet at an author of an article or someone ‘important’ that they see and possibly respond to you, sometimes constructively. At the very least people that like that person are likely to see your response. Most people don’t go and block you right away, but the fact that this guy did shows at least he saw what I said. And it’s only twitter’s new stupid policy that might shadow ban me for getting blocked by someone important because that is the equivalent of accumulating troll points. Which is why I was trying to bring attention to this in the first place, its a stupid policy that negates one of the only useful features of twitter; being able to speak back to people in power.

        I’ve had dozens of conversations with writers, a few politicians, and Neera Tanden. So IMO it’s the least bad social network, especially since I don’t have to put my real name on it and I can get my opinions heard. It also works well for finding good news sources as long as you start following the right people. Half of the links I submit are things I’ve found on twitter.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thanks, I didn’t know you could tweet specifically at one person (that author, for example).

      2. UserFriendly

        Another good thing about twitter is you can make really funny fake accounts.
        https://twitter.com/HillarySuperPAC/status/998626489376571392

        Third Way Politics
        ‏@TWPolitical
        5h5 hours ago
        “A founding board member resigned last month, saying Our Revolution wasn’t paying adequate attention to Latino candidates and issues of importance to Latinos.”

        —-

        Fourth Way Politics
        @HillarySuperPAC
        Replying to @TWPolitical

        Over here at Fourth Way, our primary mission is to have the appropriate number of every identity group as CEO’s and Board Members on ALL the corporations that are keeping you and your loved ones in poverty. That’s how committed to diversity we are! 👢💰

    5. Elizabeth Burton

      I recently signed on with Diaspora, a new attempt to replace Twitter using crowd-based hosting. It operates as MeWe on most servers, only some of which are open for registration. The rest are set up for development and other necessary activities. I haven’t had time to explore it much, but if anyone on Twitter wants to try it out, we can link up.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Subcutaneous Fitbits? These cows are modeling the tracking technology of the future”

    And this is how it started for the Borg.

    1. Wukchumni

      All the smart money i’m aware of are building cow gyms, complete with concierge & cud chewing quadrant. The stare-master is the most popular piece of equipment amongst the bovine set.

      1. Patrick

        Seriously? Smart money has moved on. Bio-engineered meat and non-dairy milks are essentially pushing cows out of the supply chain. Soon the number of unemployed cows will be high enough that cow gyms and spas will sit vacant for lack of paying clientele.

        We should be getting prepared for a serious homeless cow problem.

        1. Wukchumni

          They seriously mess with the CAFO’d milk cows minds here in the CVBB, by squeezing many thousands onto a fenced in dirt feed lot, and often there’ll be a lawn border just 20 feet beyond the wire, as if to entice them that indeed, the grass is greener on the other side.

          1. Patrick

            In India, the cows roam freely because they are revered.

            Here, they will roam because it’ll become uneconomical to keep them. But this in and of itself is a huge opportunity. Someone will realize that all these cows can become part of a new BS supply chain, and will no doubt build a BS Futures trading platform (because by all indications the market for BS in the US is expanding, with no limits in sight.)

  7. Carolinian

    Henry Kissinger writes about the Internet–something he admits he knows little about–and the result can only be described as hooey. Kissinger’s main point seems to be that personalized, algorithmically selected information is somehow sinister and new. But the reality is that most people have always preferred sources of information that conform to their “cognitive bias.” Those buying the NY Post or watching Fox News are getting a different slant than those watching MSNBC or reading the NYT (neither slant–these days at least–being all that objective). In earlier eras there were openly Democratic and Republican newspapers. Meanwhile traditional sources of scholarly information such as books have not gone away just because we have search engines. And while it’s true that the printing press brought an age of enlightenment to the elites of the time, many ordinary people of that time couldn’t even read.

    The rest of the piece is about the supposed dangers of AI as represented by game playing robots. But it’s hardly surprising that computers excel at games since both are artificial, rules based human constructs. While the potential dangers of AI are the stuff of science fiction and do receive attention from serious computer scientists, it isn’t clear what this has to do with the Age of Enlightenment except insofar that the rise of science gave us computers.

    When Kissinger himself was in a position of power and “interrogating history” it was pretty clear that Machiavelli was his man. You have to wonder whether the people of Chile or Vietnam would agree that machines are the big danger rather than those dastardly humans.

    1. Wyoming

      I would not have expected such a reaction here on NC.

      My take is just the opposite of yours. This is the best piece I think I have ever read on the real ‘issues’ of the development of AI and I think one of the main reasons for that is that we have had almost no one with a first class mind (as Kissinger surely has regardless of how he may have put it to use in the past) actually look into this and comment on it.

      Kissinger’s main point is very clearly spelled out in the 4th paragraph and is the crux of the issue of AI.

      What would be the impact on history of self-learning machines—machines that acquired knowledge by processes particular to themselves, and applied that knowledge to ends for which there may be no category of human understanding? Would these machines learn to communicate with one another? How would choices be made among emerging options? Was it possible that human history might go the way of the Incas, faced with a Spanish culture incomprehensible and even awe-inspiring to them? Were we at the edge of a new phase of human history?

      I am deeply concerned about AI and Kissinger’s description of the possible outcomes is spot on as to why. Our ability to think and reason and even read for comprehension is clearly being degraded by the internet – as is pointed out in the link in the article which discusses that very problem. I see that issue myself in that it is much harder to read deeply and think about issues if one is spending a lot of time on the net. We are being changed by this technology and we are on the cusp of making a version of this technology which may change history to something we will not recognize or maybe even have a place in. There is danger here and we need to understand what it is – and this is what the article is about.

      When I say that first class minds have not been looking into this much I mean it. This bit

      While the potential dangers of AI are the stuff of science fiction and do receive attention from serious computer scientists

      is just what I am talking about. I have spent time at Xerox PARC in the 80’s and have many relatives and acquaintances who have advanced science degrees from MIT, Stanford and the like. Such high skills in math and science absolutely do not mean you have a first class mind. In fact it makes it less likely you have such a mind then more likely. My son once responded to me, when I told him that he was just as smart in math and science as his uncle, who has a Phd in math from Berkeley and multiple degrees from MIT, and he should consider a career in those fields, that he did not want to work on the easy stuff but the hard stuff that really made you think and your head hurt. What do you mean I asked and he said math and science are easy as there is only one right answer. History, politics, religion, philosophy, morals and ethics are much harder as there is no one right answer to anything. This is where the best minds spend their time.

      For someone like Kissinger to have his attention caught by AI and then turn his mind to it and then become alarmed should make all of us pause for a few minutes and think to ourselves that just maybe this stuff is really dangerous and should not be left in the hands of a bunch of tech nurds.

      (I note that seeing a 94 year old can think and write at this depth still should be somewhat inspiring to those of us getting fairly long of tooth.)

      1. voteforno6

        I’m not so sure…I have doubts that AI has even come close to the level of development that it could properly be called intelligence, in the human sense. I think people have the tendency to anthropomorphize AI, when that’s not really the case.

        1. Wyoming

          Yes, but the point is not that AI is already at max potential (if there is a max). It is clearly not there at this time.

          The point is that it is very possible that a fully developed AI capability is extremely dangerous and once created may be uncontrollable. The Precautionary Principle is in order.

          1. tegnost

            While I agree with voteforno6 that AI has been oversold and every time I’m on the highway in a dynamic situation (curvy, construction, erratic drivers, things in the road, etc…) I wind up arguing with the other people in the car, usually my tech friends, that I wouldn’t and don’t want any of those other vehicles, whether a smart car sized tin can or 80,000 lb semi, driven by an algo. The tech folks always always always skip over the parts of driving (and anything else) that are filled with uncertainty and need drivers who are processing/releasing, kind of like breathing, the situation (situational awareness) like when I’m driving the boat and I see a log and steer away from it I have to release the log I see and look for the log I haven’t yet seen. There is auto pilot on boats which works good but there are no lanes to stay in, and it would probably hit the log, so you’d still better be paying attention, but worlds less complicated than roadways. There’s a cognitive function there, I might for instance just not like the way a particular car is operating and slow down change lanes, there’s a number of choices and who says the AI will choose what we think it should, so Wyoming is right on this in seeing the problem. No one knows what drives the decisions of AI, indeed the designers plan to train ai to learn as it goes. No Thanks. One runaway semi that kills a not poor important person will be the end of it. It’s the bezzle writ large, the gov needs to spend money into the self driving industry for them to have an economy, and they want the dough as it is status in our screwy world., and in order to get the dough they do as they always have and overpromise and underdeliver, but somehow all the nefarious underbelly (locate every cell phone at all times for instance) seems to rise to the surface and show the true face of the tech world and it’s not a beast that I have ever wanted to submit to, dystopian evil incarnate, but hey look at how much money they “make” and admit that they’re better, right? Woz says it won’t happen (level 5 self driving) I can only hope he’s right. And I haven’t even started on how do you get everyone to switch from their personal car to a self driver, is the gov going to buy everyones car then give them another one, how does that transition happen, but as with all things tech the difficult questions get put off for the next version, which will of course be like soooo much better than the one that got released and will be like totally perfect except for a few more “issues”.

            1. HotFlash

              One runaway semi that kills a not poor important person will be the end of it.

              They won’t even have to be not-poor important, they only will have to sue hugely, and then the insurance companies will shut driving AI’s down. I do not understand why they haven’t done so until now — probably b/c the Playah-playahs are paying big bucks and the number of possible payouts is small. At scale, I can’t see the ins co’s insuring.

          2. Carolinian

            Yes if only that Precautionary Principle were applied to so much else that goes on in our world. I’d say the Earth is in far more danger of being destroyed by nuclear weapons (Kissinger’s boss Nixon once put them on full alert) than by the Terminator.

            There’s no question that science has conveyed vastly increased power to the bad actors of the planet but those bad actors continue to be human.

            In one of the first and best Sci Fi films–The Day the Earth Stood Still–a visitor from another planet threatens to encircle the Earth with robots who will zap any human malefactor unless a war mad world comes to its senses. The precautionary principle in this early 1950s movie–memories of WW2 still fresh–was that humans are the problem.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I agree – humans are the problem.

              And humans’ toys, plus the delusion that we should population the world with imperfect versions of ourselves, when we don’t know everything about ourselves (see the link from last week, Ten Things We Don’t Know About Ourselves.)

              Given these, the best thing we humans can do is to do less, in everything we do.

              And instead of the “Can Do” attitude, we might think more about its counterpart – a “Can’t Do” attitude.

        2. Carolinian

          Yes that’s my view. And with all respect to the above commenter’s expertise (not claiming any myself) my understanding is that AI researchers are having a lot of trouble taking it to the next level.

          More generally it’s my belief that humanities specialists such as former history professor Kissinger have an exaggerated fear of our all too mechanical world. To me it seems the real dangers continue to come from humans and not from machines and computers are just another form of mechanical device.

          1. Lee

            Me three.

            Maybe the following is more academic than practical but I am more moral philosopher than techno-geek and that is the lens through which I view this issue.

            Machines don’t have agency; an in-itself or for-itself, as Sartre might posit. More viscerally expressed: they lack appetite and that is their great limitation.

            They can be made to perform a series of tasks that give the appearance of complex choice making and even appear to learn from their mistakes. But they are tools. The problem is the one wielding them. There is hardly a tool one can think of that cannot also be used ignorantly or as a weapon. So yes, we can build machines over which we lose control or that produce counterfinalities and that have tremendously destructive capabilities. But it is human motivation that is determinative. They are poor craftsmen who blame their tools.

          2. Oregoncharles

            I don’t know how genuinely dangerous AI is, above my pay grade, but computers are not “mechanical” devices. Electronics allow them to be highly feedback-controlled, which makes them more like living systems than your average car engine.

          3. cnchal

            > . . . To me it seems the real dangers continue to come from humans and not from machines and computers are just another form of mechanical device.

            Humans make mistakes, those mistakes will be embedded into Ayeye and it isn’t just another mechanical device. These chips have a hidden layer or layers between the input layer and output layer.

            That is another world compared to electro-mechanical devices. Take for example a computerized milling machine with a CAM generated toolpath. Every circuit within the computer and every line of code that generates the positioning points is known, the toolpath can be checked at each control point and next vector determined, When the toolpath is transferred to the machine control, every circuit and line of code used to run that toolpath is known and each piece of equipment and software in the whole chain from concept to metal chip removed is the same for identical machines and software.

            There is no way of knowing if individual Ayeye chips that are tasked with the same thing and trained the same way are internally identical, no way to determine what the differences are and as these things are put into action by absorbing new data, change individually.

            It’s only a matter of time till human characteristics like greed and lust for power are either deliberately or accidentally made part of the training of Ayeye. Can you imagine two competing Ayeye systems battling for supremacy?

      2. Andrew Watts

        Our ability to think and reason and even read for comprehension is clearly being degraded by the internet – as is pointed out in the link in the article which discusses that very problem.

        It isn’t the internet which is pumping out functionally illiterate people incapable of critical thought. That’d be our public and private school system. The internet wasn’t even that prevalent until I reached high school and my classmates didn’t seem to get any smarter or dumber with their exposure to it.

      3. Oregoncharles

        ” go the way of the Incas, faced with a Spanish culture incomprehensible and even awe-inspiring to them?”

        I think it was really Spanish guns, horses, and, especially, diseases that did the trick.

        I think most of us are reluctant to grant the evil old toad any credit, but, as you say, it’s just possible that’s a self-defeating attitude. (Yeah, I know, that’s a personal attack, but really, he has a long history.)

        1. Lee

          I think it was really Spanish guns, horses, and, especially, diseases that did the trick.

          Yes! Old World germs, not their genetic, technological or cultural superiority that conquered New World immune systems and therefore their peoples. Jared Diamond, Alfred Crosby et al have pretty much put the QED to this question. But Kissinger still holds to the old, widely shared but now discredited views such as he expressed back in 1969:

          The meeting was unpleasant. As Valdes describes it, Kissinger began by declaring, “Mr. Minister, you made a strange speech. You come here speaking of Latin America, but this is not important. Nothing important can come from the South. History has never been produced in the South. The axis of history starts in Moscow, goes to Bonn, crosses over to Washington, and then goes to Tokyo. What happens in the South is of no importance. You’re wasting your time.”

          “I said,” Valdes recalls, “Mr. Kissinger, you know nothing of the South.” “No,” Kissinger answered, “and I don’t care.” At that point, Valdes, astonished and insulted, told Kissinger: “You are a German Wagnerian. You are a very arrogant man.”
          https://www.google.com/search?q=et+al&rlz=1C1GGRV_enUS751US751&oq=et+al&aqs=chrome..69i57j0j69i60j0l3.1983j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

          1. Carolinian

            !!! Thanks for this. I vaguely remember reading it from a long time ago. HK was full of theories and, it seems, still is.

    2. Odysseus

      most people have always preferred sources of information that conform to their “cognitive bias.”

      I prefer sources of information that actually inform me. I don’t need to hear debunked nonsense, I don’t need to hear the same story repeated every five minutes, and I don’t need to hear the same drivel on every possible channel.

  8. Brooklin Bridge

    This isn’t in any of the links, and it’s the second time I bring it up, but I’m puzzled at Aaron Mate’s apparent (and sudden) absence from The Real News Network. For instance, he is not listed under their list of employees. https://therealnews.com/about/staff And I have not seen any interviews by him in the last few days. Granted that’s a short time to question that something may be wrong, but in conjunction with his absence from the employee list, I mention it anyway.

    Hopefully, my concern is pointless and I’m just wasting comment space. While I always enjoyed Mr. Mate’s interviews, his interview with Luke Harding where he politely but without let-up questioned Harding’s assumptions about Russia-gate, got me hooked.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Missed the Harding interview– I’ll now go seek it out. I met Harding in 2017 at a reception and was underwhelmed.

    2. Lunker Walleye

      @ Brooklin Bridge.
      Aaron Mate’s twitter account is current. I did not read what he posted but his photo shows therealnews logo behind him.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Thanks, he is not on the employee list but perhaps he’s a “contractor” or “consultant.” Hopefully, I’m looking too deep into the tea leaves (or seeing them where there are none)..

    3. Roger Smith

      I just watched his recent interview with Norman Finkelstein and he became, seemingly, personally invested and irritated halfway through, shaking his head etc… It looked and sounding very unprofessional and not impartial. It did not last the entire interview. Perhaps this had something to do with it, perhaps not.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Interesting, you may be on to something. I’ll watch it this evening when I get a moment. Thanks.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        FWIW, I did go through the interviews, particularly the third, and was unable to find the section where Mate was irritated, but found reference to it on other sites.

    4. Elizabeth Burton

      I stopped paying attention at TRNN because they went full-scale anti-Russia/Russia elected Trump. So, it wouldn’t surprise me that a reporter with the temerity to knock down that house of Popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners (nod to Louise Penny) would be politely removed from the personnel list.

      I also suspect we can expect to see more and more ham-handed anti-Russia propaganda on the major TV networks henceforth. I don’t watch all that much of it anymore, but the final season episode of the Hawaii Five-O remake had the intrepid 5-Oers going after a Russian spy ring in Hawaii, complete with Russian sub off the coast. Needless to say, I skipped it. However, given this is the second time CBS has thrown anti-Russian scare tactics into a series, I will be alert to see how far they’ll push it.

    1. Wukchumni

      There was a crooked man with a crooked style
      All of his cronies were crooked, bent down the aisle
      He bought a crooked lawyer, who got caught like a crooked mouse
      And they all conjured up crooked schemes in a crooked White House

    2. Pat

      Only if you include the last few Presidencies as well. Our foreign policy has been for sale to the highest bidder for decades. It is the only thing that can truly explain our actions in South America long before the Middle East became the obvious cash cow for our political class. Not noticing the corruption doesn’t mean the Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations were clean and only driven by conflicting beliefs of what was best for America and its people.

      Bwahahahaha. Sorry just writing the concept that any of the administrations of the last half century were interested in what was best for the American PEOPLE broke me up. It is too clearly not the case.

      1. JBird

        Our foreign policy has been for sale to the highest bidder for decades. It is the only thing that can truly explain our actions in South America long before the Middle East became the obvious cash cow for our political class.

        It’s been going much longer than that. The sale has been going since the early 19th century and covers the Caribbean and Latin America. Thinking on it, most, maybe all wars in the Americas involving the United States, or the American Colonies, from at least the Seven Years War onward, have involved American business interests.

          1. JBird

            This blatant? Often.

            The invasions of various Central American and Caribbean countries in the early 20th century by the marines were obviously for business interests to people at the time, as was the conquest of the Kingdom of Hawaii by American businesses. Then there is the theft of province of Panama from Columbia, and later the creation and taking of the Panama Canal Zone from Panama itself, by President Roosevelt because he did not want to pay Columbia asking price. However, they were usually more discreet, or better able to massage appearances. The Trump Cavalcade is kinda unique though.

            1. Wukchumni

              There was a lot of conjecture over the best place to put the canal, and Nicaragua was thought of as good as Panama (actually part of Colombia-pre 1900) and then this happened:

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              “Both within the philatelic hobby and outside it, a set of Nicaraguan stamps from 1900 often has been credited with influencing the United States Congress to choose Panama over Nicaragua for the route of the new canal. The power that the stamps wielded in shaping congressional opinion is debatable, but it is clear that Nicaragua’s postal display of one of its natural wonders backfired.

              Mount Momotombo is a towering (4,255 feet) stratovolcano near the city of Leon in northwestern Nicaragua.

              A stratovolcano is a conical volcano built up by layers of hardened lava, ash and other detritus from multiple eruptions, and Momotombo has had plenty.

              On May 2, 1900, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly (225-35) approved a bill sponsored by William Peters Hepburn of Iowa, authorizing construction on a Nicaraguan route, but it stalled in the Senate. Sen. John Coit Spooner of Wisconsin introduced a Senate bill for construction of a canal, and debate opened in June 1902.

              Sen. Mark Hanna of Ohio spoke at length against a Nicaraguan route, using a display of huge maps of Central America with black dots for extinct volcanoes and red ones for active ones. Nicaragua had a band of red and black dots while Panama had none. (One senator reportedly said afterward that he had been converted to the idea of a “Hannama canal.”)

              Between the timing of the House (1900) and Senate (1902) bills, on May 8, 1902, the stratovolcano Mount Pelee on Martinique in the Caribbean erupted, wiping out St. Pierre in a matter of minutes and killing more than 30,000 people.

              It is safe to say that not a single legislator in Washington, D.C., was unaware of this disastrous act of nature, and the very word “volcano” in the spring of 1902 would have had awful connotations.

              Meanwhile, on March 24, Momotombo (which actually was more than 100 miles away from the proposed canal route) erupted, though word of it took a while to reach Washington. When it did, the president of Nicaragua unwisely declared by cablegram that word of the volcanic activity was false, and a French trick to deceive the Americans.

              In the face of the Nicaraguan denial, Bunau-Varilla (whose only chance of future solvency was to push through a Panama route) paused in scurrying from legislator to legislator and got his great notion (possibly with the help of William Nelson Cromwell, a New York City attorney who had been hired to help with the lobbying) of letting Nicaragua condemn itself with its own postage stamps.

              According to his memoirs, Bunau-Varilla quickly made the rounds of stamp dealers in Washington or New York City, or both, and bought every Momotombo stamp of the 1900 set that he could find. He affixed each one to a piece of paper and added a typewritten caption, “An official witness of the volcanic activity on the Isthmus of Nicaragua.”

              Text followed saying that the wharf and locomotive seen in the foreground of the stamp “were thrown into the lake with a large quantity of sacks of coffee on the 24th of March, 1902, at 1:55 p.m.”

              These stamped circulars were sent to each member of the Senate June 16, and a similar version went to all members of the House June 24.

              The Senate passed the Spooner bill June 19, 1902, by a narrow majority. The House also approved, and Roosevelt signed the bill June 29, authorizing the purchase of the assets of the French syndicate for $40 million (deeply discounted from the original asking price of $110 million).

              https://www.linns.com/news/world-stamps-postal-history/2014/july/stamps-that-may-or-may-not-have-led-to-the-panama-.html

      1. Wukchumni

        Wouldn’t you have to have an actual administration, in order to be the most corrupt Presidential administration?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Great story from Caitlin Johnstone as usual but I did have a wicked thought. Wouldn’t it be funny if ‘Philip Cross’ and Jimmy Wales were in fact the same person.

      1. Harold

        If so, he is violating wikipedia’s cardinal rule: assume good faith

        Seriously, though, I can’t imagine that John Pilger et al are so important as to be worth all that time and effort. Good heavens!

        1. Carolinian

          Agreed that one shouldn’t shun Wikipedia since they have a vast array of topics and this is only a small percentage. But Wales’ combative stance does not speak well for the future of the site even though there are many other people involved. Johnstone’s larger point that the current establishment desires a kind of information monopoly hits home. If our US founders were around today they would surely agree that the Internet falls under their desired freedom of the press even though there’s no physical “press.” The “fake news” meme being pushed by the MSM is profoundly un-American.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Did the Founders actually want a “free press,” or once again only a “press” that sold their version of the Narrative? Speaking now about the Founders that actually counted for something in the development of the actual power structure, like Hamilton…

            1. Carolinian

              Fair enough….some did and some didn’t.

              But it did end up in the Constitution so the ones that did prevailed.

    2. Massinissa

      Wow. I always knew George Galloway was a threat to the UK establishment, but I didn’t realize it was this much.

      1,800 edits on one persons page by ONE CONTRIBUTOR? That’s insane.

  9. diptherio

    CalPERS comes under fire…for the wrong thing:

    The American Council for Capital Formation, a think tank that takes money from the Koch brothers and the energy industry, launched a website and published a report entitled “Point of No Returns” on Dec. 5, lambasting the performance of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPERS, the largest U.S. pension fund that boasts close to $300 billion in assets.

    “CalPERS is horribly mismanaged from top to bottom. They’re not necessarily following the wisest investment decisions by focusing on ESG investments because there does not seem to be strong literature to show its always going to be the best way,” writes Tim Doyle, ‎vice president of policy and the author of the ACCF’s report. ESG refers to environmental, social and governance criteria used by socially-conscious investors to screen investments.

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/think-tank-funded-by-koch-brothers-challenges-calpers-esg-strategy-2017-12-12

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Hundreds of Apps Can Empower Stalkers to Track Their Victims NYT

    FCC investigates site that let most US mobile phones’ location be exposed Ars Technica

    In 500 years, have humans become more peaceful or kinder?

    In the same time, humans have come up with ever more lethal and destructive (to ourselves and to others) toys, through science and technology.

    Do we double down?

  11. Wukchumni

    Auckland’s housing market is “a casino” with the banks acting as “the house”, says leading property academic Michael Rehm.

    And it’s not just Auckland: “I strongly believe that housing markets globally are casinos – and the banks are at the heart of it,” says Rehm, senior lecturer in the Department of Property at the University of Auckland Business School. “Housing markets are really just a place to make a bet and the banks are central to it – they equate to the casino’s house, in my opinion.”

    Rehm’s remarks come on the back of his recently completed research looking at US housing data across 20 US housing markets. It became apparent that US debt to income (DTI) ratios are much lower than Auckland’s. In the most unaffordable US market, San Jose DTIs peaked at 6, he says (meaning borrowers can receive loans of up to 6 times their income).

    “The US gets a lot of criticism for being a crazy housing market,” says Rehm, “and then you realise that, here in Auckland, we are seeing DTIs of 9-12. Compared to New Zealand and Australia, the US is tame.”

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/university-of-auckland/news/article.cfm?c_id=1504296&objectid=12051158

    Meanwhile, the other Auckland is a few towns over from us, and there is essentially no there, there. Lots of opportunity for a new housing bubble, from the ground up.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auckland,_California

  12. Pat

    So I see where Arne Duncan has proposed a boycott of public schools until the problem of school shootings have been addressed.

    My cynicism is running rampant, but I would take any idea that this man has concerning the school children of this country with a boulder of salt. Not only did he do nothing to make them safer, he actually worked hard to make sure that most American children would NOT get a quality education much less be safe while getting it. Schools boycotted possibly leading to schools closed would NOT be a disaster as far as Duncan is concerned – mark my words.

    1. Massinissa

      On a related note, about Arne Duncan…

      So before I went to do early voting a few days ago, I was doing research on whether to vote for Sid Chapman or Otha Thornton for the Democratic party candidate for Georgia school superintendent.

      And when I found out Arne Duncan had endorsed Otha Thornton, I knew immediately to vote for Chapman instead.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Hillary Clinton to receive prestigious Harvard medal”

    No big surprise here. Once you are on that level that sort of thing comes up with the rations. We’ve all seen this sort of things in movies – picture of that person with the President or a famous world leader, prestigious medals, awards and certificates, being given the right to give speeches to graduating classes, directorships of companies (even these you actually have to turn up for), scholarships and stipends, speech circuits, coupla books, membership of think tanks, etc. It is a bottomless bag of goodies that can be awarded and it reminds me of the prestigious titles that the British use to give out to favoured subjects such as Order of the Thistle, Order of the Garter, Knighthoods, etc. It is all a way of signalling to your fellows your standing in that group by the awards and the like that you pick up along the way.

    1. Wukchumni

      The ultimate designer of medals was a German fellow named Karl Goetz…

      “Karl Goetz was a German sculptor and medalist whose 633 works span Germany History from just before the advent of WWI to just after the German defeat in WWII. In the first war his talents and enthusiasm were definitely in the service of German patriotism, but more importantly his sensibility was honed to an especially sharp satirical edge. His World War I and post War Satirical series represent some of his most brilliant as well as some of his most base and controversial works. This genius for parody in time succumbed to the weight of German National Socialist Neoclassical heroism and fatalism. By the time of the Third Reich and then the Second World War the piercing quality of his satire had dulled, but the brilliance of his aesthetic sensibilities and skill as an artist matured. His final work, produced post WWII, was a medal which begged for the forgiveness of German transgressions and the arrogance of the Nazi era. His final opus has been deemed the best of all of his work and, most appropriately, was issued only upon his death as a commemoration to the artist himself.”

      https://www.blackmountaincoins.com/medals-and-tokens/world-exonumia/karl-goetz-medals.html?limit=90

  14. Jim Haygood

    True tales of Tesla:

    Elon Musk
    @elonmusk

    With production, 1st you need achieve target rate & then smooth out flow to achieve target cost. Shipping min cost Model 3 right away wd cause Tesla to lose money & die. Need 3 to 6 months after 5k/wk to ship $35k Tesla & live.

    11:08 PM – May 20, 2018

    Whereas the AWD dual-motor hot rod Model 3 costs $78K. Open your checkbooks to keep Tesla alive, comrades!

    1. edmondo

      He could be a bigger bullshi66er than the Donald himself. Too bad he was born in South Africa or the Democratic Party nomination would have been his for the asking in 2020.

    2. Wukchumni

      Elon, you’re gonna drive me to drinking if you don’t stop making those hot iRod linked in’s

    3. John k

      Any other car that can do what 3 does costs a lot more, explaining long waiting lines and advance deposits. Those waiting perceive tha price as cheap, not dear.
      And Chevy would kill for the waiting lines or buyer satisfaction. More than this, EU companies, esp vw, are jumping on the bandwagon… they’re hoping to copy Tesla, not volt.
      Course he might fail, but we’re far further on the difficult path towards e vehicles because of what he’s done so far. Peculiar to me why progressives aren’t cheering, no matter the serious mistakes, including too much automation in both mfg and behind the wheel.
      Disclosure… I have never owned Tesla stock, all tech has always seemed too scary.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        The reason we aren’t cheering is, first, there’s not sufficient infrastructure to support a massive flip to e-vehicles. You can’t own one unless you have somewhere to plug it in, which means you also have to own a home. Even if every multi-unit housing from today on had outlets for e-vehicles required, they would still be out of reach for poor people because they’re all being built for the upper 25%.

        Second, the reliance on fossil fuels for power generation is such that a major increase in demand by an influx of e-vehicles would not help the advance of climate change and would more likely exacerbate it. What is needed right now are more hybrids to bridge the gap while we transition to major-renewables from fossil fuels. Instead, all the focus is on e-vehicles.

        Finally, the e-vehicles shown to date are all too small for anyone who has a family or, as I do, requires a vehicle that can transport cargo for conventions and conferences. They lack the capability to carry that cargo far enough to be of any use other than inner-city transport or the occasional trip to the ‘burbs. Which takes us back to my first point about infrastructure.

        As far as I can see, the entire e-vehicle thing is more tech-nerd toys for those whose vision is limited to what they need or want, with not one instant of attention being paid to the needs of the majority of people or the long-term consequences.

        1. Odysseus

          You can’t own one unless you have somewhere to plug it in, which means you also have to own a home.

          Kohl’s and the hospital which are about 1 mile from my house in different directions both have charger stations. There’s a station within four blocks of work.

          Second, the reliance on fossil fuels for power generation is such that a major increase in demand by an influx of e-vehicles would not help the advance of climate change and would more likely exacerbate it.

          Show your math. That doesn’t fit with anything I’ve seen.

          1. LifelongLib

            If you’re burning fossil fuels to generate electricity for the e cars to use, the overall efficiency is probably less than if those cars had burned the fossil fuel directly. For e cars to have an overall benefit, their use needs to be accompanied by a shift to renewable/non-polluting sources of electricity. Another poster here has pointed out that e cars are helping to drive (npi) that shift.

        2. Grebo

          You could have said the same about computers in 1980. I predict the same sort of trajectory for electric vehicles. Double or treble battery capacity (already done in the lab) and put a solar roof on every house and you will wake up one day and wonder where all the gas burners went.

  15. marym

    Today:

    Haspel swearing in

    WH press release with 8 repeated references to MS-13 as “animals” (Link)

    Surely of great benefit to the “economically anxious.”

    1. Pat

      I weep for my country, or at least my imaginary one. That this woman is now in charge of the CIA refutes everything I grew up believing about America.

      That her selection was considered possible and approval ended up bipartisan was, as Lambert might put it, enlightening.

      1. John k

        The word bipartisan implies we have two parties with different perspectives that occasionally Bridge the gap. Every one of trumps nominees, save only the supreme, is bipartisan.
        Better to think of the parties as two wings of the same neolib, neocon, warmonger beast that always votes for more war and yearns to either cut benefits or turn the programs over to Wall Street.
        It can’t be any other way. They share the same donors.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          “There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say.” — W. E. B. DuBois

        2. Pat

          For sure, I’m just amazed at how blatant it is anymore. Admittedly I have had the scales removed from my eyes, but I don’t remember this being so obvious. Where was the public insistence that gave votes for AUMF or most of the other betrayals cover from my first half century?

      2. bwilli123

        Haspel is the price Trump has to pay for eventually being allowed to take down Brennan.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That is an interesting take/assumption.

          I was guessing that she was someone an outsider commander in chief was offered as a choice

      1. skippy

        I thought MS-13 was a result of CIA et al past deeds. Central American wars create refugees which are plonked in to a different type of economic war zone, in the land of the free, up skill for survival, Conservative doo gooders take umbrage at their charities results and ship ungrateful back. Mad new CIA gifted skillz are used back home and then exported for profit.

        In addition why does this seem repetitious considering other regions.

    1. Oregoncharles

      ICE doesn’t have jurisdiction over citizens. So how did he detain them for half an hour?

    1. sd

      I wondered if this is actually just a pass through for Malia who has a history of being interested in filmmaking.

      1. Pat

        Maybe, but even Netflix keeps track of viewership. IF Malia Barack and Michelle DON’T deliver eyes and subscribers to the service they will be quietly dropped. Even if a large portion of the American public hasn’t yet realized how despicable B&M are, there is little or no advantage to watching their programs if they are boring/unappealing/uninteresting etc etc even if you are a fan for Malia that applies even more. Basing it on the Chelsea talent free favor currying job history, Malia will have maybe one more chance to bring some talent and hard work to her hand out job, before she will be working for the parents foundation.

  16. Wukchumni

    All of the people killed by cougars in California the past few decades had turned themselves into prey by either running or riding a mountain bike, and so it goes in Washington state.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5751831/PICTURED-32-year-old-biker-killed-starving-cougar.html

    In our cabin community in the National Park, we had about a dozen mountain lion sightings last summer all pretty much in the afternoon, and one incident was with a father and his 12 & 13 year old daughters not far from our cabin, and I talked to him about a week after the incident, and asked how it went down, and he told me that they saw what they thought was a deer a few hundred feet away, and approached it closer and were about 150 feet away when they realized it wasn’t a deer, and he said he told his daughters to RUN!

    He and his family are from Florida, with not much experience of what to do in the case of an encounter, and when I told him he gave the worst imaginable advice to his daughters, he was mortified.

    No harm-no foul, though.

  17. Expat

    So, now justice is not only blind, but it’s on the clock?
    Congress spent about $80 million investigating Bill Clinton’s Whitehouse.
    Benghazi was $22 million and took years.
    But suddenly it is undemocratic, immoral and unconstitutional to investigate Russian meddling in our election process because $7 million and one year are too much and too long.
    I know that most people here are rational whatever their political and economic bent, but one-third of Americans apparently think Mueller is an agent of Hillary Clinton, possibly her lover and is bent on destroying America because he hates it.
    Frankly, I would give up on the USA if the USA would please give up on the rest of the world. But given America’s inclination to invade, harass, blackmail, and otherwise give the rest of the world a bad time, I guess I have to keep an eye on things.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Benghazi investigation started in 2014 could have been $80 million, had it been stretched to look into the Clinton Foundation.

      1. John k

        Who were the big bucks donors that thought they would get to make a killing with Libyan oil once they got rid of Gaddafi? The same ones that thought, as Cheney said, Iraq floats on a sea of oil, they’ll pay for our invasion?
        Worth 80 mil to find out these answers. Especially if trump willing to look back.

    2. Plenue

      There was no ‘Russian meddling’. This whole thing has been a farce from the start, an excuse cooked up by the Clinton campaign for losing to the most hated candidate in US history.

      1. Expat

        And this is based on your extensive examination of Mueller’s notes? Meddling has been proven and accepted by everyone except Trump. The issue is now to determine whether or not Jared and Don Jr’s attempts to get the Russians to help them amounted to a big “nothing burger” as they claim or whether or not they got help.
        There is also the question of whether or not it is legal to do what they did in the first place. Your insinuation is that it is legal to rob a bank as long as you don’t take any money; merely running in with a gun and asking for all the cash is harmless fun?
        Clinton lost. Get over it. Don’t you think it’s time to stop blaming Hillary for the failures of Trump? If your life is so incomplete without her around, perhaps you should have voted for her and then you could spend joyful days complaining about how she is screwing up the economy, screwing up all our international relations, and getting involved in more wars instead of withdrawing from the old ones.

        1. o

          And you probably extensively examined reports on the matter by those 17 intelligence agencies… right? Oh, wait…

        2. Plenue

          The two central claims of Russiagate are that 1. Trump is a Russian agent, or at least being blackmailed to work for the Kremlin, and 2. that the Russian government in some way interfered with the election to get Trump elected. Please, enlighten us as to the evidence for either of these bold claims.

          The utter inability of many people to distinguish between Russian citizens and the Russian government is staggering. Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer promising dirt (nothing came of it; she was lying and just wanted a meeting to lobby for her clients). There is little evidence she was working for the government (and if Trump had been a Kremlin asset for fivbe years, as the Steele Dossier claimed, they would surely have much more direct means of getting him information).

          As for ‘interference’, some St. Petersburg company ran what our spies claim was a campaign to spread confusion and disorder in the 2016 election (notice how even here the goalposts have been moved. No longer is the claim that they were just supporting Trump), but which to my eyes looks suspiciously like a clickbait ad revenue scam.

          These claims are incredibly weaksauce, and a far cry from the bold initial claims of Russiagate.

  18. Expat

    Re: The lack of proof or firm accusation of collusion

    I am curious to know if all the Trump supporters (and Trump) follow criminal trials and scream out, “He’s innocent. No proof! Fake Arrest!” from the moment it starts until the final verdict. Then what do they say? “Rigged outcome! Fake verdict! Crooked jury!”

      1. Expat

        Are you totally stupid or pretending to be? It’s hard to tell, but I am leaning toward the former. Try rereading what I posted, get out a dictionary or find a friend to help with the hard bits, and come back and try again.
        Yves, I apologize for this…but Honestly!

    1. Plenue

      You’re really barking up the wrong tree on this. NC is not a site you want to be misrepresenting when it comes to opposition to this farce of an investigation. I don’t like Trump anymore than you do. But the pathological drive to bring him down at any cost, if successful, is likely to at worst fracture the country outright, and at best bring about a permanent change to our already severely battered constitutional order.

      It’s an inability to see the forest for the trees. First in not being able to understand the wider context that allowed a clown like Trump to become president, instead essentially manufacturing and then blaming Doctor Evil. And second not being able to understand the ripple effects removing him come hell or high water would cause.

  19. Andrew Watts

    RE: The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, (redacted for the lulz), Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election

    The more the media screamed “RUSSIA!” the more I thought this was similar to the covert activities of the British Security Coordination during WW2 and the British plot to smear Adolf Beale and targeting of Vice President Wallace and his presidential campaign. Here we have another individual with connections to British intelligence being uncovered to have spied or otherwise meddled in the presidential campaign.

    His status as a “former” CIA officer is irrelevant. The OSS was filled with Americans who spied on behalf of the British, among others, before and after it’s creation. J. Edgar Hoover was so worried about a similar thing happening to the CIA they he infiltrated his agents into the agency. The fact that the FBI treated the CIA as a potential source of foreign subversion brings a smile to my face.

    Just another willing handmaiden. ‘hic

    So as it turns out, the informant used by the FBI in 2016 to gather information on the Trump campaign was not some previously unknown, top-secret asset whose exposure as an operative could jeopardize lives. Quite the contrary: his decades of work for the CIA – including his role in an obviously unethical if not criminal spying operation during the 1980 presidential campaign – is quite publicly known.

    Yeah, but it’s entirely possible he was working as a talent scout at Cambridge. The public disclosure of his identity couldn’t possibly help those prospects. The NYT article said it “could endanger him or his contacts.”.

    It kinda seems like Greenwald didn’t think that one through. Whoops!

    1. Harold

      I wonder if you could recommend further reading on these British operations in WW2 and after. I have read Jennet Conant’s biography of Roald Dahl, The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington, when Dahl was sent as to spy on Wallace for the British Empire, and it was very suggestive.

      1. Andrew Watts

        The Irregulars would be at the top my list for a book solely concerning BSC operations. I would also suggest Roosevelt’s Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage by Joseph E. Persico for more information. This book covers American and British intelligence operations and possibly British-run American operations. The author helpfully names some OSS officers who openly served the British during WWII only to later join OSS when the US entered the war.

        Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage by Douglas Waller covers the OSS. I believe this particular biography on Donovan reveals that Stephenson and Irving Fleming were influential supporters of Donovan’s rise as a spy chief and behind the brainstorming that would create the OSS and it’s initial organization. I can’t remember exactly which book that I read where President Kennedy met with Fleming and then the CIA instituted Operation Mockingbird immediately after. Given Fleming’s background with the BSC and the Kennedy brothers’ Bond fanboyism I have no doubt Mockingbird was inspired and suggested by him. That story might’ve come from Legacy of Ashes but it also could’ve been the Rise and Fall of the CIA by John Ranelagh. Perhaps it came from both,

        Finally, any book by Ben Macintyre is an informative read. Highly recommend his book on Operation Mincemeat and/or Double-Cross during the war. Beyond those recommendations I can’t think of any off the top of my head and I don’t have access to my complete library.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          I’m a big fan of Ben Macintyre and second the recommendation of his books– I’ve read most of them and enjoyed them all. Not only Mincemeat and Double-Cross, but also the Agent Zigzag book, the one about Kim Philby, and the latest on SAS. Highly informative and well-written.

  20. Wukchumni

    USPS is going to issue ‘scratch & sniff’ popsicle stamps this summer, and we probably can expect more forever stamps along those lines.

    What other content should the post office be thinking about, in terms of fragrant commemorative issues?

    1. sd

      Flowers and trees. Could go a little cray cray at Xmas: fir trees, peppermint candy canes, nutmeg, eggnog, mulled cider, roasting fire….

  21. Oregoncharles

    Is that a golden eagle? There are a lot of raptors that winter over here in the Willamette Valley; lots of bald eagles, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a golden.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Saving Africa’s wildlife WaPo

    Will Africa one day be as densely populated, as industrialized as Germany or Japan?

    Is that possible as we save Africa’s wildlife?

    The first step is to envision a, say, Shenzhen or a Bavaria, as they are today, co-existing with all previous indigenous wildlife, with enough room for them to roam and enough room for their sources of food to exist.

    Is that possible?

    1. John k

      They’ve got zoos in places you mention.
      Pop growth in Africa implies they’ll get there soon, unless the step up the wars, disease and pestilence several notches.
      Extinction in the seas well underway, Europe, Asia and n America pretty much cleansed of predators. As human pop rises towards the heroic 10b mark all other predators, most non domesticated mammals, and the various sea creatures inexorably decline, approaching zero as a limit.
      IMO we don’t reach the 10 level, and once our rise reaches the eventual high point we see a rapid decline… maybe following everybody else into the 7th worldwide extinction. Let’s blame it on a meteor… or aliens… wait, that’s us!

  23. Oregoncharles

    “A healthy economy should be designed to thrive, not grow Ted.com”
    Good to see this on something as pubic as Ted talks. The original is the economist Herman Daly; his legacy: http://www.steadystate.org. Subtitle: “Perpetual economic growth is neither possible nor desirable. Growth, especially in wealthy nations, is already causing more problems than it solves.
    Recession isn’t sustainable or healthy either. The positive, sustainable alternative is a steady state economy. Learn More >>”

    Daly on “Free Trade” – important basic point: http://legacy.earlham.edu/~jond/econ101fall2004/daly.pdf (the gist: it’s a scam.)

    1. Oregoncharles

      Sheesh: “public”, not “pubic.” My subconscious has a sense of humor.

  24. Oregoncharles

    “CEO pay shrinks by $350,000 a year once activist hedge funds move in, study finds”

    Probably not enough, but figures. My father, an investment manager who retired in the 80s and a lifelong (liberal) Republican, was infuriated by CEO pay scales even then; he thought they were looting their companies.

    Apparently, so do the hedge funds, which would rather do the looting themselves.

    1. Oregoncharles

      The “scans” are too small to read, and I couldn’t figure out how to enlarge them – not that that means much. Maybe this is useful to Yves’ lawyer, but the format, deluged with ads, doesn’t inspire tremendous confidence.

  25. Plenue

    >THE CROWN PRINCE OF RIYADH VS. THE CROWN PRINCE OF JIHAD: AL-QAEDA RESPONDS TO MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN’S REFORMS War on the Rocks

    I’m extremely dubious of any assertion that Salman is engaged in any genuine attempts at ‘reform’, or that AQ isn’t firmly a tool of Saudi foreign policy.

  26. ChrisPacific

    Hillary… admits she is still not over her 2016 election defeat

    In related news, water is still wet and the Pope is still Catholic.

  27. Olivier

    The Prospect article on the European Patent Court asserts that patents in the EU are a mess because “you have to get them for different markets in bundles”. I don’t understand that. Wasn’t that problem solved long ago with the creation of the EPO?

  28. Savita

    I found an article about Steve Wozniak: at a conference in Stockholm he was outspoken about the fraud and manipulation of Musk and Tesla, and how he doesn’t trust them. There was a link to the full article. I wondered if it affected the share price. I also wished Wozniak took better care of his health! And I’m not referring to his weight. Look at his eyes!
    Anyway, I followed the link but didn’t find the full article. The site is Business Insider Nordic edition. I did find the following. I’m not a doctor – but enzymes don’t get poisoned, do they?

    18 May 2018 11:53 AM by Alexandra Ma
    The Former Russian Spy Who Was Poisoned Has Been Released from Hospital

    https://nordic.businessinsider.com/sergei-skripal-ex-spy-out-of-hospital-after-nerve-agent-poisoning-2018-5/

    Yulia was released a month ago, it says.
    Sergeant Nick Bailey, a local police officer, was also in critical condition after responding to the Skripals and has since been released.

    The NHS described all three patients as being “acutely unwell” when they were first taken to hospital, and said medical staff had been “keeping them alive until their bodies could produce more enzymes to replace those that had been poisoned.”

    1. Plenue

      Gee, they just don’t make absurdly lethal bioweapons like they used to, I guess.

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