Links 6/1/18

Michael McKaskle: “I have an hour long talk show on Redwood Community Radio this Friday at 7pm PST with CalPERS board member Margret Brown as my guest. Phone calls will be accepted after 7:30. It will be live streamed then archived at”

‘Coffee Cultivation Merely Extends The System Of Colonial Oppression,’ Recite Nation’s 180,000 Radicalized Starbucks Employees After 3-Hour Anti-Bias Training The Onion (David L)


The psychological tricks TfL uses to make London’s tube feel faster Wired

Researchers determine exercise dose linked to improved cognition in older adults Medical Express (Chuck L)

‘Holy grail of cancer research’: doctors positive about early detection blood test Guardian

How Justin Trudeau and Jerry Brown Can Help Save the Great Barrier Reef The New Yorker Bill McKibben

Netherlands Works to Overturn Landmark Urgenda Climate Ruling Climate Liability News

Are Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaigns Working? A Conversation With Economist Robert Pollin TruthOut

Rajoy out: Spain’s government collapses after no confidence vote Independent

Police State Watch

Georgia Kidnapped This Boy Because His Parents Used Marijuana to Stop His Seizures Reason (UserFriendly)

Florida court awards $0.04 to family of man killed by cop inside his own garage RT. Shane: “This would be unbelievable if it wasn’t so commonplace…”

A 64-year-old put his life savings in his carry-on. U.S. Customs took it without charging him with a crime. WaPo (UserFriendly)

Ecuador’s president says Julian Assange can stay in embassy ‘with conditions’ Guardian

Europe is building more wind and solar — without any subsidies Vox

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico grid ‘teetering’ despite $3.8 billion repair job AP


Brexit: the onset of madness

World’s oldest lizard fossil forces rethink of reptile family tree Guardian (The Rev Kev)

Baby teeth give clues to autism’s origins, detection Medical Express. Chuck L: “Intriguing, but doesn’t appear ready for prime time yet.”

Would Rachel Carson eat organic The Conversation. Posting this to spur discussion– over to you, readers.

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch


Trade Tantrum

Trump imposes tariffs on closest allies, Mexico and Europe announce retaliation WaPo

Class Warfare

The record-low birthrate offers yet another sign that millennials are economically screwed Vox (UserFriendly)

Tech’s Titans Tiptoe Toward Monopoly WSJ

The shareholder-first corporate model erodes public support FT

How an arcane, new accounting standard is helping reporters follow the money Columbia Journalism Review

San Francisco to Uber, Lyft: If your drivers aren’t employees, prove it Ars Technica

The Week in Public Finance: Governments Haven’t Had Rules for Revealing Their Private Debt — Until Now

Facebook, Amazon, and hundreds of companies post targeted job ads that screen out older workers Vox (Chuck L)

Lottery Wins on Christmas Were a Glitch, So South Carolina Won’t Pay NYT

‘People just give up’: Low-income hurricane victims slam federal relief programs Politico


US will push China to let its firms hold majority stakes in companies, says Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow  SCMP

Quick Tip for China’s Video Makers — Keep It Short Bloomberg


Oil and gas geopolitics: no shelter from the storm Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

Indonesian Islam – “Eat What Even Saudis Would Not Touch Anymore” NEO (Chuck L)

You’ll Never Believe Which Country Just Enacted Massive, Meaningful Drug Reform AlterNet


Change in Shipping Policy Promises Large Benefits to Adani Group and Foreign Shipping Firms – Could Ring Death-Knell for JNPT NewsClick

India Rejects Trump’s Economic War on Iran American Conservative

Four Years On, the BJP Hasn’t Kept Its Promise to Urban India The Wire

India Stands With Iran Against Trump’s Sanctions TruthDig (Oregoncharles)

Trump Transition

Democrats conflicted over how hard to hit Trump on Iran The Hill

Yes, the FBI Was Investigating the Trump Campaign When It Spied National Review

Washington’s Assault On Disclosure Of Foreign Government Payments Will Promote FCPA Violations Forbes

Seymour Hersh’s Memoir Is Full of Useful Reporting Secrets Rolling Stone. Matt Taibbi. And an excerpt:  Don’t tell Congress TLS. Seymour Hersh. Today’s must reads.

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Livius Drusus

    Re: Facebook, Amazon, and hundreds of companies post targeted job ads that screen out older workers.

    It is really bad out there for older people looking for work. My older relatives are counting the days until retirement hoping that they can hang on until then. They are fortunate that they made enough money during their working years that they will be able to retire in relative comfort. But what about people who can’t afford to retire or who are older but still far from retirement age? How many of the hidden unemployed are older workers who have just dropped out of the labor force entirely?

    This is why I don’t buy the alarms about a labor shortage and the greying of society. How about utilizing some of these older workers, most of whom obviously still want to work? Instead we get pieces arguing for more immigration to prevent labor shortages. Often these articles are written by the same people and are featured in the same news outlets that say we also have a massive job shortage due to automation yet we still need more immigrant workers. I am not blaming immigrants, just the elites and their paid scribblers in the media.

    1. Julia Versau

      I’ve tried to tell my kids about this, but they have a hard time believing me.

      My adult children don’t believe me when I talk about discrimination against older workers, especially women. They see me as smart, clever, energetic … as good as I ever was. Well, sure … but that doesn’t mean shit to many employers (for some reasons I understand*, but many which are flat out bogus).

      Frankly, I feel fortunate that my work is in writing and project coordination, which I accomplish online, without the need for people to judge me by either my age or my gender. On the occasions when I have had to appear in person, I can tell you point blank that many people are shocked — they try to hide their surprise, but I can see that they thought I was 30 or 35 from my work, my enthusiasm, my talent — and the reality is they now saw me as “an older lady.”

      * One reason companies don’t want older workers is that they think people past 50 or so are not as energetic, are not up-to-date tech-wise, and have established patterns of personal space and home life that preclude oppressive work schedules and who rebel against uncompensated/unreasonable demands. Older people are seen as “set in their ways.”

      * Another reason is that companies don’t want to hire people just entering the most med-heavy time of their lives; other than younger women who can get pregnant, older people are more likely to have lived long enough to potentially develop heart problems, diabetes, cancer, etc. (Which is another reason we need universal health care).

      1. Off The Street

        Companies watch those benefit expense line items and prune the oldsters to shave off a few bucks. Just as employees see their premia rise with age, employers must also face that increased expense in those less popular age cohorts. After all, think of the shareholders!

        1. Susan C

          Yes but you can have your own health insurance at 65. And not take the employer’s. I mentioned that to a few potential employers who then went into such shock they fast exited the interview phone call.

      2. perpetualWAR

        Just dyed my grey hair to hopefully get a good-paying job. Repeatedly, I have been their. “top candidate” (revealed by the corporate recruiters) until I get in front of them. I am trying to land a sales position, so visuals are everything. Damn it, the grey hair had to go.

        1. ambrit

          Yes. The ‘Cult of Youth.’
          I see it all the time now. One HR woman told me, after the ‘interview’ was over that “..we can go for younger and less experienced because … we can.” (I had promised to remain off the record.)

        2. neo-realist

          A bunch of years ago, my early 50 something self interviewed for a particular position with an employer I was presently working for: The interviewer told me that the last person who held this job was here for 25 years and we want somebody who is going to be here for a long time. I knew I was dead:(

      3. Jason Boxman

        I hadn’t really considered that aspect of my accidental career doing technical writing. Many of my coworkers over the years have been remote, and as a cohort technical writers seem to be older. I’m one of the younger ones I know. I suppose staying in the field may be worthwhile because remote work is possible, although an overwhelming amount is contract work.

      4. cnchal

        >. . . that preclude oppressive work schedules and who rebel against uncompensated/unreasonable demands

        Wouldn’t want oldsters stirring up a shop floor revolt.

      5. Summer

        And think about the overall insanity of it.
        The great majority of people don’t necessarily get started in a career until they are in their 30s, but are expected to take on a lifetime worth of big debt (mortgage, education, etc) for a work life where everybody has come to the bizarre belief that nothing is worth doing unless you do it at 25.
        In effect, if lucky, the insanity is saying you have about 15 to 20 years to fund your life of debt creation.

        It’s not good for any workers of any age.

        Younger workers have to believe they’ll strike the lotto promotion or wealthy spouse and having older workers around reminds them that the great majority are in for a life a grind (unless they come from great privilege).

    2. JTMcPhee

      Need one repeat the admonition given to people my age?

      “JUST DIE! And do it quietly, all right? Where we don’t have to look at you.”

      And of course the PE guys are getting into the “death with dignity” movement, to make it easier for the despairing to off themselves, with profit and organ harvesting for the neoliberal vampire too…

      1. ambrit

        Hah! ‘Death with Dignity!’ How about those dreaded ‘Grey Panthers’ and all their pyrotechnic instrumentalities? (Ellipses becomes a necessary survival art on the Surveilled Agora.)

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Worse than ‘JUST DIE!”

        It’s ‘We didn’t even know you existed.”

        Anyone who has ever been told that by his/her obscure object of desire knows that hurts the most.

        1. ambrit

          Oh indeed! I much rather would endure scorn and calumny from such an ‘object of desire’ than indifference..
          That floating, detached feeling. No anchor for to cling to. The rest of the world ‘goes away.’ The ego is not crushed, but denied traction upon the fields of being. For a split second, and that is all it takes, you’re faced with complete clarity of vision. Do you like what you see?
          Tune in next time for more thrilling adventures!

        2. The Rev Kev

          As an older male, I have heard the adage that for young pretty girls, older men are for all intents and purposes invisible. I didn’t know that the same would be true for employers as well.

    3. Ed

      There is a labor glut and collapsing profit margins and employers don’t want to hire anyone, period.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        but I heard on the radio news today that we’re at “full employment”… how can this be…

        I agree that age discrimination is real, and I’m lucky that I haven’t run into it yet – I know many who have. I actually work for a relatively enlightened Silicon Valley software company that employs a fair number of “grey hairs”. I’m still paranoid that some young MBA will decide that two youngsters are more cost effective than this one oldster, but that’s one of the many things that keeps me motivated.

    4. Summer

      Surprise, not.
      And they get you by asking the year you graduated high school/college on applications.
      Resumes can be structured without years. But those online applications probably have a default reject before a certain year for high school or college applications or if you leave it blank. Same if you have a gap in work history.
      They’ll deny that and say it was for other reasons, but who is auditing alogorithms?

      The tech excuse (older people not computer proficient) is getting “old.” You have to think social media is “tech” to fall for that one.

      1. Susan C

        Microsoft and Apple ask you point blank your birth date on one of their first application screens. You must answer or it cuts you off. Agree about the graduation dates and really the best thing to do is lie so the robot doesn’t throw your application out. Not one company ever contacted me when I answered honestly. Now noticed that HR has a new catch: when you must give a salary range for your requirements. If you do not give their salary range, they will kick you out of consideration. This just happened twice to me as I guessed too low and could make less. Be careful older job hunters! Lots of traps out there.

        1. Summer

          Never understood the “salary range requrements” as if they give a rats what you require. If you live in a city, you probably “require” a minimum $100,000 per year.
          What is needed is that question to be removed and the company state the salary range they are willing to pay. Then anyvody applying knows what they are working with and can spend their job search time wisely.

          1. ambrit

            Fine as far as that goes, but, the underlying basic assumption is that the employers can force employee expectations down. The main result of encountering such a demand on an application is a classic ‘Brain Buster’ situation, as perfected by the happy folks who set up the ‘Final Solution.’ Either part of the usually dyadic choice is toxic. The mind then begins to weigh likely outcomes from either choice. Then a rough cost benefit analysis of each choice is done. At the end of it all, the choice is still there and still has unpredictable outcomes from either answer. A classic lose lose situation. The ultimate psychological effect is despair, which saps the will, and brings on a low level depression which is afterwards associated with the subject, wages.
            The very lack of guidance on wages from the employer tends to lower employee expectations, and thus, outcomes.
            In the race to the bottom, there is always a yet lower level to be accessed.
            As for the ‘required’ amount needed to live in any locality, well, let’s just say that that is not a factor in the managements deliberations.
            “Thank you for applying! If you meet our requirements, we will be in contact with you.”
            Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

    5. Wukchumni

      It’s gotten so bad, i’ve heard reports of Baby Boomers X-dressing in an attempt to pass themselves off as the younger generation, when applying for jobs.

      1. Lord Koos

        I’m getting tattoos and growing a beard…

        But hey, Amazon hires older workers. For $11 an hour…

    6. perpetually lurking

      How many of the hidden unemployed are older workers who have just dropped out of the labor force entirely?

      raises hand

    7. Procopius

      I am not an economist, but it seems to me this goes along with the lack of wage increases. I suspect that there really is not enough demand, but the owners have not finished looting their corporations yet, so they are claiming the future is wonderful and they desperately need more workers to keep up with the enormous demand they are facing. If there was demand there would be opportunities for profit that would require investment and hiring, which would require spending. It’s not happening. The stories conflict. It’s very frustrating.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Would Rachel Carson eat organic The Conversation. Posting this to spur discussion– over to you, readers.

    Its a bit of an irrelevant point, as Carson did not know about climate change (and its synthetic fertilisers, not pesticides that are the greatest agricultural contributor to emissions). Also, science has moved on – Carson believed that ‘the dose equals the poison’, which is not now accepted, in particular regard to endocrinal toxins, which covers many organochlorines.

    There is also the issue of clear labelling. Consumers have a fairly good idea what ‘organic’ food is, if you confuse the issue with a series of ‘sort of, not really’ organic labels (which is the obvious aim of industry), then you end up back to square one. At least organic labelling gives people a clear idea of what they are buying.

    It would of course be foolish to think that all agriculture can turn organic, at least in the short term, but the simple reality is that industrial farming as a whole has been a disaster for humanity, and needs to be reversed rapidly. For now, organic farming has shown a real alternative – its success can be seen in the increasing hostility shown by Big Ag interests. It is something people can support in their purchasing decisions, and for that matter, their own choices in what to do with their gardens/balconies. Its come a long way from when it was only supported by mystics and eccentrics, its now a huge and rapidly growing business, providing a real alternative to farmers.

    1. DJG

      PlutoniumKun: Do you mean that Carson believed that there were tolerable sublethal doses of certain toxins that could be left in food production? What we have since discovered is how even tiny amounts of toxins have enormous repercussions.

      The article didn’t define “organic.” Should I assume FDA certified organic? A few years back, I was on the committee to help bring a farmers market to my neighborhood. Most of our advisors, who were a bunch of interesting college / graduate students, pointed out that many farmers here in the Great Lakes States use “best practices” but have trouble with the expense of organic certification. Also, they occasionally have problems with contamination from their neighbors.

      The map shows that organic relies on nearness and on demand. It is not an accident that the densely populated Northeast and Upper Great Lakes States have many organic farms. A farmer from southern Wisconsin or western Michigan can bring in food to Chicago in a matter of a couple of hours. The supply chain is much longer in many other states.

      And I was leery of the conclusion that fertilizers are so much more efficient that we’d have to expand land under cultivation: If anything is a problem in the U S of A, it is that too few people live on the land and engage in agriculture. Many small towns continue to lose population. We would be better off with more people living on the land. This has been the policy of the French government for some time. I’m assuming that it is a policy of the government of Eire, too.

    2. Wyoming

      My second career was as an owner/operator of an organic vegetable farming operation. So I guess my comments can be taken as a view from the inside of the ‘industry’ .

      It would be fair to say that the general public, who are interested in consuming organic produce, are not very knowledgeable about what organic means and even less informed about how farming is done. The rest of the public is even less informed. I would say that the content of the article leaves out so many factors and issues that it makes me wonder about the motivations for writing the article and if they are trying to push an agenda or perhaps they really don’t know the industry all that well. The motto of the publisher is academic rigor and journalistic flair – maybe a little too much of the later and little of the former I guess.

      A few of the inaccuracies with the article:

      1. It implies that ‘nitrogen’ fertilizer is all synthetic and to obtain high yields you must then use synthetic. This is not true. There are plenty of high nitrogen fertilizers which are organic as well. There are a lot of other components of fertilizer which are essential to plants besides nitrogen also and that this was not mentioned shows that lack of rigor.

      2. The personality conflicts between the various proponents of organic methods or critics of artificial methods of growing are not really relevant to whether organic or artificial methods are better. Nor whether organic is better all the time, some of the time or never.

      3. There have been innumerable scientifically managed growing operations which compared organic methods and artificial methods to each other in essentially side by side tests using the same types of production equipment. Depending on soil, climate and type of produce being grown it has been shown that in a great many cases organic methods are equal to or greater than the artificial methods in terms of yield. Not always though. But there are other very important factors to take into account.
      a. The impact of the various methods on the surrounding ecosystem is a critical one. Is your artificial pesticide killing all the bees and insects and thus reducing the carrying capacity of the ecosystem?
      b. Are you slowly poisoning your customers.
      c. Are you slowly poisoning yourself and your family.
      d. Some soils/climates are less suitable to organic methods as they mimic natural processes while artifical methods can be equivalent to completely changing the local environment to one more suitable to the given crop.
      e. It is just much harder with some crops to achieve high yields using more natural yields.
      f. Many of the modern varieties of crops have been selected to be very suitable to artificial methods. The downside of this is that the very high yields they produce are offset by them having lower nutrient levels than heirloom varieties and also the they often do not have much flavor (let us not forget that one reason most people do not like vegetables is that they don’t often taste all that good).

      4. Perhaps the biggest failing of the article is that it really misses the big difference between how most organic farmers farm and how most of the produce in your grocery store is grown. And this is the primary reason that organic costs much more than artificially grown produce. Mechanization. The article is not comparing apples to apples here. If you compare the yields of organic and artificially grown crops grown under the exact same level of mechanization you will find that there is little difference. In farming mechanization is king – not whether you are using artificial fertilizers. The bulk of the organic farming operations are no where near as mechanized as the typical farming operation using non-organic methods. The reasons for this are several fold: one the organic farming operations tend to still be owned by their founders who were often young folks excited by the organic ideal – but they are financially constrained and cannot afford to go high end mechanical or they are philosophically opposed to mechanization as well as artificial means; second they are working small plots of land which are not suitable for the most efficient mechanical systems; third their markets are very often the weekly farmers markets in their areas and their level of production is geared towards that kind of market and not 18-wheeler loads of produce every day.

      5. If you compare the yields of industrial organic operations in the Central Valley of CA you will see that they produce gigantic quantities just as efficiently as non-organic large scale operations. But the common argument from organic advocates is that heavy industrial mechanization is counter to the philosophy of organic so it does not count. But it works just fine. In fact some of the most sophisticated mechanical advances were invented originally for the giant organic farming operations.

      I could go on for some time but I don’t want to offend the hosts. But to me the artificial was of little value other than I learned a bit about Carson.

      1. makedoanmend

        Thanks Wyoming for an insider’s view of the situation. Very informative.

        The labour situation you touch upon in #4 is the one that interests me quite a bit. I know a sole organic operator has to compete with the large operations, and mechanization is essential right now. On another level (maybe in the future) I wonder how labour inputs might stack up against the fossil fuel advantages with regard to efficiency/yields conferred by current mechanization. If fossil fuels become very expensive, does labour inputs represent a better investment? Or do we just expect lower yields and higher costs because of labour inputs? Or (most probably) I’m not thinking about the situation correctly.


        1. Wyoming

          Well it is just a prediction about where technology is going so this is a guess on my part.

          I expect that on the large scale industrial farming model – which is becoming more dominant all the time – that labor is the low hanging fruit for cutting costs. The goal will be to eliminate all farm labor jobs which can be automated. And huge strides have been made along these lines.

          One prime example first appeared on one of the largest organic operations in the US in the Central Valley. This grower primarily only does cut organic greens. They worked with a custom farm equipment design and manufacturing firm to invent a suite of equipment which eliminated huge numbers of jobs. They built custom tractor platforms which had very large wheel widths. They designed new bed formers which laid out a bed about 10-12 feet wide (I forget which) – needless to say at this point you have eliminated human labor as people cannot hand work or harvest a bed that wide. Then they had planting attachments made to this spec which could plant a 10 foot bed in one pass – many rows of crops. Then cultivating machines which took care of the weeding. Attachments which sprayed and fertilize. And then a very cool harvesting machine which cuts the greens with a water jet and has vacuum heads above the cutters which suck the greens up and deposit them in a refridgerated container. The rows are exactly the length for one pass to fill the refrigerated container. At the end of the row there is a forklift which takes off the full container and places it on a flatbed and then puts an empty container on the harvester and the tractor takes off down the next row. If you are large enough you have a series of these tractor/harvester setups and can load a full 18-wheeler in a matter of minutes. This semi loaded with the refrigerated containers then drives to the processing facility and drives right inside the building which is fully refrigerated also. The containers are unloaded and the contents dumped into a washing and drying mechanism. After drying they are packed or mixed and packaged as the case may be by another set of automated machines. The packaged plastic containers – the ones you are buying at your Safeway and such – then get boxed and pallatized and are loaded onto other refrigerated trucks for the drive across the US to your store. At the store they are taken from a refrigerated room and put out for sale. At no time in this entire process are the greens EVER touched by human hands and they are refrigerated from harvest until you put them into your grocery cart. Needless to say they are also very close to having the tractor fully automated as well as the 18-wheeler which drives around the farming operation.

          Just think for a second how many farm labor jobs this eliminated. And the process can run quite effectively during the night when harvesting is best performed also.

          A new machine is just hitting the market which can harvest strawberries. Each machine can eliminate the need for 30 human workers. Similar machines abound for other specific crops and lots more are coming. It will not be that long in the future that very large high capital operations will need a very small fraction of the number of workers once required. This has huge implications for not only farming but also immigration, low end employment, needed population and so on.

          1. Olga

            Thanks for your comments – I guess I’ll never look at organic produce the same way again!

          2. makedoanmend

            Thanks for taking the time to reply about developments in organic farming. I hadn’t realised just how much organic farming had become so mechanised. It makes sense in one respect given the drive for margins, and you have to admire the thought and effort that has gone into devising a system that is so comprehensive. Yet, I can’t help seeing glimpses of dystopia in the entire situation. I don’t know why exactly. Maybe I’ve watched too many dystopian films.

            There is an analogous situation that has developed in Ireland with regard to mass chicken production, though it probably has its antecedents in the USA or Far East. Except for ‘sexing’ of the chick, human hands never touch the chicken until it is butchered. The animals spend their entire lives in cages from rearing through to maturity and finally delivery to slaughter houses. Computers feed and water the birds and the only time a human is involved is to remove carcasses or detect for diseases. Even the old job of chicken catcher has been eliminated.

            Cheap chicken comes at cost to the birds’ welfare.

            As societies, taken in aggregate, and given that so many jobs are disappearing, I suppose we come to rely on mass agricultural production in order to afford food.

            One seems needs to be pretty well off in order to be humane to our fellow creatures.

            1. Lord Koos

              Cheap chicken also comes at a cost to the end consumer. The cheapest stuff is often contaminated with e. coli and other bacteria. Aside from that, cheap supermarket chicken tastes terrible in my opinion.

          3. c_heale

            Although I completely agree with the first paragraph, if energy becomes more expensive, there may be a return to manual labor. Mechanization is dependent on cheap energy.

            1. Wyoming

              I would not disagree with that as a possibility given climate change and such. Some think that farm equipment being powered via renewables is possible. Though there are certainly issues with being able to produce viable very large battery powered tractors as the energy consumption of them is huge and battery life would be a real problem. If this turns out to be possible it will of course significantly worsen the situation we are approaching already where there are inadequate supplies of critical minerals needed for battery manufacture. If cars, houses, trucks, farm equipment and mining equipment are going to be run off batteries and renewable power we have a really tough issue of such supplies to solve. I hear Afghanistan has lots of untapped sources…….

              As to converting back to manual labor that is certainly possible. However you will have to eliminate a substantial percentage of the worlds population as there is no way manual farm workers could ever grow a quantity of food to feed our current global population. And if you don’t have large ocean going ships to move the vast quantities of grain also then starvation is guaranteed.

              We are drifting off subject now but this touches on perhaps the biggest issue of climate change. We must stop using fossil fuels. But we currently do not have and are no where near having technology which can grow enough food to feed the global population without the use of those fossil fuels. And the demographers all seem to say we are going to add a couple of billion more to the horde. This is a nut which is very likely to crack us down the road a bit.

          4. Amfortas the Hippie

            Ja. I was one of those Mystic Organic People, long before Organic was cool. (Malcolm Beck calls me a “pioneer”,lol.)
            after mom moved the farm way out here(Houston was getting too close), and I followed, I started from scratch…but ran into exactly what you’re talking about: the big California “growers” dominating the markets, and the “industry standards”.
            then the feds took over “Organic” certification(I fought against this with all my might), and it all went to hell.
            One simply can’t make a living like that any more, without a robust and emotionally/morally invested consumer base-ie: farmers’ markets…which still doesn’t exist within driving range of me.
            and since the peanut program went away, circa 1998, the remaining farmers out here grow mainly hay…or wheat(doubles as hay), which they sell on contract to Pioneer.
            I’m told that that agricorp is better than the 2-3 others who would buy wheat, but that it still feels like tenant farming.
            Like the robot checkouts, just because we can automate and offshore and dumb down and make superfluous, doesn’t mean that we should.
            I foresee darker days ahead for farm country.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Thanks for that – what you say matches my knowledge of the situation (although I would add that European customers tend to be much more knowledgeable about the nature of organic farming than in the US for some reason), but I didn’t have time to go through the article in detail. It actually reminded me of a lecture I was at decades ago by an agronomist – the notion that ‘yeah, organic farmers may have a point about pesticides and herbicides, but artificial fertilisers are too amazing to abandon’, so this seems to be something of standard view among many agriculture scientists. As you say, its only true in certain situations, and it ignores the long term damage to soil from reliance on constant application of single-chemical inputs such as nitrogen.

        The article is also dubious about the historical background of organic farming – Steiner was an important figure, but organic farming arose independently in many parts of the world over the 20th Century as a reaction to over reliance on Big Ag – there are as many different views on organic farming as there are organic farmers.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Wouldn’t it be closer to correct to say that non-organic farming arose over 20th century? My assumption being that pre-20th C, essentially all farming— even if the term ‘organic’ didn’t exist yet— was done that way. When did chemical fertilizers and pesticides cmoe into common use?

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            …after world war 2, when the big chem corps had all those organophosphates and other nefarious warchems laying around with nothing to do.
            They called it the “Green Revolution”, and it led directly to both Rachel Carson’s lament as well as to the Organic/Sustainable backlash(which has been fought tooth and claw by Bigag)
            I use manure and leguminous cover cropping exclusively.
            I grow the veggies in raised beds, and my pastures are full of flowers and weeds and a bunch of native grasses(all picked up by me by hand on the side of various dirt roads and highways–kids laugh at me for stopping on the side of the road after seeing a vigorous patch of sideoats grama,lol)
            The contrast with my neighbor’s dirt is stark. he was a peanut farmer forever, until 1998, when the subsidy stopped, and now he grows hay—for his cows, as well as for sale.
            chemical ag, all the way.
            His dirt is mostly sand, with abundant superweeds(pigweed/amaranth, “sticker burrs” and some kind of bermuda like thing–all indicators of poor soil health)
            There’s no life at all in the top 10 inches, and he readily admits that even for hay(usually a sorghum like “High Gear”(tm), wheat and oats in winter), he applies more fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide and water every year, for diminishing returns.
            He feels like he can’t afford to spread tons of manure, because he would need to let it be cover cropped or go fallow for a year or two…which would mean no income.
            I’ve got a gentleman’s agreement with him if he ever sells the parts of his spread next to mine that I get first dibs…and the first thing I’d do is spread as much manure as I could get, plant native grasses, and lots of drip irrigated trees(see: permaculture, and )

            If my neighbor is representative of the average american farmer, and his spread representative of the average american farm, then Calgagus comes immediately to mind:
            “..solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant”

            One day, we won’t be able to feed ourselves.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        I would be surprised to discover that our hosts were offended by a high-information-density comment like this. If they don’t reply here to say that they are offended, dare one presume that they are not offended?

        As a fellow reader, I know that if you have more to say of information-density equal to this; I would be happy to read it. I venture to suggest that the periodic appearance of highly info-dense comments helps more occasional readers to read here more consistently.

    3. David

      More generally, anthropologists are clear that large-scale agriculture has been something of a curse for humanity ever since it was invented. James C. Scott, whom I’ve mentioned before, has written a lot about this, but he’s also covered the unsuccessful attempts of western agricultural experts (as I suppose we must call them) to export the cultivation of monoculture cash crops to societies which previously practised much more complex patterns of cultivation of different crops, often side by side, without the use of any pesticides. This substitution turned out to be a disastrous failure, even as regards yields: it turned out that traditional farmers actually knew more than the experts. The problem is that that kind of knowledge is generally transmitted orally, and is dependent on location and culture. When it’s lost, it’s desperately hard to recover.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Unfortunately large scale agriculture becomes a sort of self reinforcing process as farmers lose their old skills. I can remember as a child when my farming relatives grew cabbages, potatoes and raised pigs and hens, in addition to raising beef and dairy. Now they are all dairy-only farmers, following rules set out by dairies. I honestly don’t think they would have any more idea than a city slicker like me if they had to go back to growing vegetables if they had to. This is deeply worrying as monocultures are by definition less ecologically (and economically) robust than more diverse agriculture systems. The last time Ireland had an agriculture system as monocultural as now it was in the mid 19th Century. Instead of dairy, it was potatoes. We all know how that ended.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          In Iceland, people regularly eat puffin. And minke whale. And hákarl (fermented shark). Condiments optional.

  3. Hana M

    This is a more understandable description of the exercise/cognition study results:

    Walking, running, weight training, yoga or tai chi … it’s all good, provided you do it a few times a week for at least 52 hours over the course of six months or so. A key finding in the study was that the exercise doesn’t need to take place within a set number of hours per day or week. [7 Ways the Mind and Body Change With Age]

    “The real-world impact is that you can break that [52 hours] up” into an hour here or there, said lead study author Joyce Gomes-Osman, a clinical neuroscientist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “This is encouraging, because it tells you that you may not necessarily need an hour a day. If you exercise a few days a week and start racking up those ‘points,’ and you do this over several months and you get to that 52-hour mark, this is when you can expect that your mind is going to become sharper.”

    1. PlutoniumKun

      That is interesting – most studies I’ve seen indicate that its not clear as to whether there is a good ‘pattern’ for exercise (in other words, if there is a difference between doing lots one day a week, or doing it ever day). There is evidence though that lots of inactivity (several hours or more of just sitting) is bad for you, even if you are otherwise very active. There is copious evidence of the physical benefits of being at least ‘active’ 2 or more times a day.

    2. Whoa Molly!

      Re: exercise over 6 months

      The problem for most people is the difficulty of conciously forming a new habit of regular exercise.

      Fortunately researchers at Stanford have learned how humans form new habits. You can learn the technique here Tiny Habits technique.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Would Rachel Carson eat organic”

    Ooh! Ooh! I know the answer to this one. She would be too busy writing a sequel to her book “Silent Spring” to worry about this question. Her new book would have the title of “Spaltless Windscreens”.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Whatever she would do, she would do it for science-based data-driven reasons.

  5. Biologist

    For “Police State Watch”:

    Police bodycam footage of a woman who was punched in the head by an officer on a beach in the US shows she was told “you’re about to get dropped” and slammed to the ground after refusing to tell him her surname.

    Weinman [the victim] is facing several charges including aggravated assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Two of the officers involved have been reassigned to administrative duty while the incident is investigated.


    1. Roger Smith

      Surprise, surprise. Contrary to the press release I saw before, the body cam footage DOES NOT justify the actions previously recorded. Why were so many people standing around doing nothing?

      1. Biologist

        Why were so many people standing around doing nothing?

        Well, for one, the police have guns. This lady wasn’t even resisting and see how they treated her. Imagine their response to something actually forceful…

        1. ambrit

          In some places, beloved of rugged individualists everywhere, you’d have ended up with two defunct organs of the State. Of course, such places tend to be in or next to war zones. A sign of things to come.

      2. Lord Koos

        People did record the incident — what else were they supposed to do, fight the cops?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Refusing to give surname…

      Was she slowing in giving her name, or outright refusing?

      Should one give one’s name when asked by a police officer?

      I would, though if it’s a legal option, I might consider not giving it.

      The same question with being asked to produce an I.D.

      Separately, if one’s required to do so (in either case), failure should not result in such violence by the police quoted above.

      1. RUKidding

        I’m not sure if you’re required to provide your name, but clearly, these days, you run some real risks by refusing to do so.

        I agree that the outrageously violent reaction by the PD is a sympton of how badly our society is declining.

        Talk about a Police State. We are not “heading” there. We are one. Ugh.

      2. Duke of Prunes

        If you read the full story, the woman was drinking underage and failed a breathalyzer test. It was after this that she refused to give her name. Clearly, the police over-reacted, but the woman is not without fault. Looking at the miserable statistics about law enforcement killing, I suspect that many have suffered far worse for doing far less.

        1. ambrit

          Any beating by trained police forces is unacceptable. It defies the very definition of civilized behaviour.
          By normalizing the initiation of physical violence by the security services, we cheapen our own lives. This will only get worse over time as violence becomes more and more accepted.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Consider the list of charges against this woman … aggravated assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. In New Jersey she could be looking at 20 – 30+ years in state prison if she goes to trial and loses. The actions of the police officers are … there are no words … but what of the prosecutors who could file such charges and the court system which might uphold them? What of the NJ State legislature that passed these laws and penalties? New Jersey criminal laws are harsh and the burden of proof weighs heavy for the prosecution. A private criminal attorney would ask a retainer of around $25K to represent this woman’s case in pretrial plea bargaining negotiations and around $40K to defend her in a court trial. So unless this case attracts a pro buono legal defense this woman will probably have a public defender. For grins go check the office and work conditions at your local public defenders’ office and ask yourself whether even the most ardent public defender might be easily beaten down by the prosecution to push a very unsatisfactory plea bargain at a women whose crimes are … what exactly? This is what getting “tough-on-crime” looks like in a Democratic Party leaning Northern state. Imagine its counterpart in a Republican Party leaning Southern state. And I haven’t mentioned anything about the conditions in the jails and prison system, again … there are no words.

      This is justice in 21st Century America.

      1. Biologist

        Thanks for your thoughts on her legal predicament, hadn’t even thought through that side.

        When I linked this I wrote some “witty” remark regarding these poor cops having to do admin duty but deleted it. Because it’s not really about these individual officers is it–the marching orders they get, indeed the “tough-on-crime” policy and propaganda, and of course, the virtual guarantee of impunity.

        Meanwhile as you say this lady’s life may have taken a catastrophic turn for the worse, I guess for not showing enough humility to uniformed authority.

        Perhaps the silver lining is the increasing transparency that mobile phone cameras bring…

        1. Oregoncharles

          Pounding on her head, when she was already on the ground an in their control, was a clear case of an individual losing his temper.

          The rest was probably pretty typical and according to their instructions.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            Steroids are rampant in the police force. Uncontrolled rage is the inevitable result.

            1. Wukchumni

              Also consider that the majority of law enforcement officers are conservative politically.

  6. Sam Adams

    Re: 64-year-old put his life savings in his carry-on. U.S. Customs took it without charging him with a crime.
    Not surprising. USAians are discouraged at every turn from leaving the Homeland. Between the tax treaties, the worldwide tax filing requirements, the numerous financial reporting requirements it’s made more difficult to leave. But the final straw are banks refusing to open or simply closing accounts in fear of running into failure to report their American customers properly to the US authorities.

    1. JeffC

      And in the “Big Brother IS Watching You Watch” category for use USians, note this…

      Yesterday I reentered the US in Orlando after a bit of travel, and the officer at passport control had me remove my glasses and look into his camera. Seconds later he spoke my name to ask me to confirm it. Then he looked at my passport. Note the order.

      1. Ford Prefect

        Biometrics and facial recognition. That is why there are photo standards for passports and similar documents. Canada actually enforces photo standards more tightly than the US. Canada will often reject passport photos and ask for new ones meeting stringent standards before they issue a passport.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Same in Australia about passport photo standards. They have a chart of examples of what is and is not acceptable for people at post offices where people usually go for these photos. I have seen people from time to time having to have their photo redone at the post office because something was off for the photo and having to do with biometric purposes.

    2. RUKidding

      I believe that you’re not supposed to take more than US$10,000 out of the country, unless you get some sort of dispensation. There is information out there about this.

      But this guy was flying from Cleveland to Newark, I believe, so the fact that they just siezed is him money can’t be attributed to breaking the law on taking too much out of the country.

      These property siezures without any criminal charges are way out of hand anymore, which is yet another sign of the a country/society in decline.

      When I go overseas anymore and people say: “Aren’t you scared”? I’m like: sheesh, I’m more afraid of the US Police State, thankyouverymuch.

      And yet, the protests against this crimes against us by our “own government” go largely unprotested.

      Talk about: wake up sheeples.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Oregon passed an initiative that ended seizures short of conviction of a crime. It was very popular with conservatives; property rights, you know. Doesn’t apply to the Feds, of course, but they seem to respect it anyway.

        I don’t understand why more states don’t have such initiatives. About half of states have the power.

  7. DorothyT

    Re: ‘Holy grail of cancer research’: doctors positive about early detection blood test (Guardian)

    Prof Nicholas Turner from the Institute of Cancer Research in London described the findings as really exciting and as a possible universal screening tool. “Far too many cancers are picked up too late, when it is no longer possible to operate and the chances of survival are slim,” he said. “The goal is to develop a blood test, such as this one, that can accurately identify cancers in their earliest stages.”

    “… cancers picked up too late, when it is no longer possible to operate …” I look forward to hearing from researchers apart from surgeons as to what they could do now and in the near future if cancers are identified by this test. And what research is needed if this test becomes available. I would hope that a program is instituted to collect information to a singular database system from everywhere that treatments are undertaken to curb or cure cancers identified early through this blood test..

    Data collection is one of the unappreciated benefits of a single payer health system. All the data can be collected at one point and can be evaluated before each specialty and cancer center begins competing with each other with profits in mind.

    1. JTMcPhee

      My guess is that the Panopticon (aided by UNsurance companies and creatures like CVS and Walgreens, , and drug manufacturers and “hospital corporations’ and large physician groups, and NGOs like Faceborg and Google) already have been collecting all those data.

      Maybe at some point the Rulers will reveal that, and the clamor for “tests and cures” will drown the squawks of “civil liberties fans.”

      Siri/Alexa: How many “personal assistant devices” and other IoT spy “convenices” have been sold into the homes and businesses of the “advanced nations?”

      “It is our Destiny.”

      Stupid effing humans…

  8. thussprach

    RE: 64-year-old and life savings, never ever travel anywhere in the U.S. with large amounts of cash. Don’t drive around with large amounts of cash, don’t get on a plane with large amounts of cash and never go near a U.S. border with large amounts of cash. The chances that your money will be seized for no good reason under civil forfeiture laws are just too high.

    1. JBird

      The chances that your money will be seized for no good reason under civil forfeiture laws are just too high.

      Not so as they have very good reasons for seizing your money.

      Civil asset forfeitures are used by many police, and some municipalities, as a replacement for taxes like tickets and fines often are. Forfeitures are usually even better for the police as they get to keep most, if not all, of the money for their often personal use or as a slush fund unlike with tickets. They do take more from people with this legal robbery than illegal robbery.

      1. Expat2uruguay

        In Uruguay they use the confiscated funds from drug, trafficking and money laundering for drug treatment programs. Pretty cool.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps by “no good reason” the commenter meant “no morally or ethically supportable reason”.

    2. ewmayer

      The article details that the robbery victim had very good reasons to need to take large sums of US$ to his home country, Albania, one of which was financial/bank corruption there. So, a practical question – would it have made sense for him to leave the US sans cash, and instead stop in the EU to withdraw the needed monies (in either Euros of US$)?

      1. Wukchumni

        A financial pyramid scheme in Albania in the late 90’s tore the country up, after the downfall.

        The pyramid scheme phenomenon in Albania is important because its scale relative to the size of the economy was unprecedented, and because the political and social consequences of the collapse of the pyramid schemes were profound. At their peak, the nominal value of the pyramid schemes’ liabilities amounted to almost half of the country’s GDP. Many Albanians—about two-thirds of the population—invested in them. When the schemes collapsed, there was uncontained rioting, the government fell, and the country descended into anarchy and a near civil war in which some 2,000 people were killed. Albania’s experience has significant implications for other countries in which conditions are similar to those that led to the schemes’ rise in Albania, and others can learn from the way the Albanian authorities handled—and mishandled—the crisis.

  9. Bugs Bunny

    Thanks for the link to the Habermas interview. Very interesting to read his opinion of Macron. I can see how from outside France he may appear to be enlightened, especially compared to the stale politics on offer in the FRG. However from here it appears that he is a Thatcher in pantoufles. This week is pension “reform” via crowdsourcing and a new lottery (poverty tax) to restore monuments in disrepair.

    This is the best Europe has to offer?

    1. David

      I doubt that many NC readers would be impressed with Habermass’s enthusiasm for Macron, but calling him a “philosopher” just because he was taught (expensively) speak in a fluent and connected style is a bit rich. And anyone who thinks that religious fundamentalism is a recent, post-colonial development, or that a stronger and more centralised Europe can control capitalism is, as I’m sure Macron would put it, historiquement dépassé. But Habermass represent the post-Marxist social democrat idea (for all that he still likes to think of himself as a Marxist) and that’s been on the wane for a generation or more now.

      1. ultrapope

        “…that a stronger and more centralised Europe can control capitalism is, as I’m sure Macron would put it, historiquement dépassé”

        Yeah, that’s one of the main reasons why I’ve never really been able to engage with Habermas’s work. It comes off as, I hate to say this, naively optimistic. His writings on communication, pragmatics, intersubjectivity, etc. are quite thought provoking, but he doesn’t, as far as I am aware, seem to address the fact that some actors just don’t want to communicate.

        Maybe we’re just products of different times and places…

            1. Wukchumni

              You may not be interested in the dialectic, but the dialectic is interested in you.


  10. Jim Haygood

    With today’s drop in the unemployment rate to 3.8% — the lowest since April 2000 — the current rate is almost 7 percent below its 12-month moving average (MA12).

    In the last two recessions, the unemployment rate moved above its MA12 several months before recession began, and was more than 5 percent above it in the month recession started. This indicator was originated by bond king Jeffrey Gundlach. Chart:

    Given the mechanics of the indicator, it’s highly unlikely that it will signal a recession this year, even if the U-rate were to turn on a dime and begin climbing next month. Despite the slings and arrows of Federal Reserve rate hikes and QT, and the self-inflicted hoof wounds of gratuitous trade wars, America’s aging woolly mammoth economy continues improbably lumbering along. Poachers begone!

    1. Jim Haygood

      Excerpts from today’s ISM purchasing managers index report:

      “We are currently overselling our forecast and don’t see an end to the upswing in business. We are very concerned, however, about the tariffs proposed in Section 301 and are focusing on alternatives to Chinese sourcing.” (Transportation Equipment)

      “Very difficult to hire skilled and unskilled labor.” (Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products)

      “Sales remain strong. Lead times and direct material costs are soaring.” (Machinery)

      “Suppliers are seeing price increases and trying to pass them on.” (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)

      “Severe allocation, long lead times and upward price pressure, particularly in the electronic components market, continue to hamper our ability to meet customer demand and our shipping schedule.” (Computer & Electronic Products)

      Industry keeps a-truckin’ as Fed heads keep a-cluckin’ — about rate hikes: three or four of them this year.

      As usual, something in the financial markets will break before the economy does.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You see the case of lumbering along.

      Is it a case of not getting better, only worsening just a bit, or a case of getting slightly better (‘the current rate is almost 7 percent below its 12-month moving average)?

      But how is it explained? In spite, or because, of trade wars?

    3. curlydan

      Jesse at his Café Americain showed a chart that said Q1 corporate profits would have been down 6% YOY if not for the tax cuts. I agree that I see no big recession risk unless there’s really something nasty hiding in Deutsche Bank’s attic. The Repubs have juiced the economy enough to keep it going, and the Democrats can move back in 2020 or (more likely) 2024 after the mess has been made and juice has run out. Rinse and repeat.

      1. Brian

        Under examination you may find the swamp goosed the results rather than reality. And, it is something both aisles of the whorehouse are wont to do, every day, week month and year in history.
        People in labor force declined by the most in history, again, this month, like it did last month, last year, the year before that, the decade before that……..
        If that is the case, how could the remaining workers make up for it. Short answer, they can’t.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “US will push China to let its firms hold majority stakes in companies”

    All this is about forcing China to accept 100% American-owned corporations to operate in China itself. The point here is that they would keep secret the technologies used for manufacture while the Chinese would be reduced to clue-less serfs who only know how to do the actual work.
    If I was China, I would be telling the US delegation: “You know, there is no law forcing foreign companies to come here to China. You could just stay home and operate your business there. If you want to work here, then TANSTAAFL!”

    1. a different chris

      Or mebbie the Chinese will sign it. Then if somebody is doing something interesting, they can trump up some heavy criminal charges against the plant head, come in unannounced, and shut the place down. Then go in and snoop to their heart’s content. Pretty much everything our western overlords do is borderline criminal, even here (they just don’t get prosecuted), so I think it won’t be hard.

      Well, that’s me pretending that we still have “technologies” that matter. Never mind, I’m sure we just want to open “financial firms”.

      1. JTMcPhee

        We mopes are told that ChinaChinaChina is cybersnooping all of what we are dumb enough to think of as “our high tech” anyway, so what’s to worry about? “Our high tech” being the work product of H1bs and DARPA and other “government funded development,” like Goggle’s Big Data, all hoovered up by supranational corporations with ZERO “loyalty” to “us” or “US” either, and a Bernays-smeared goal of what we foolishly think of as ‘shareholder value maximization” which is actually just a misleading wrap on the reality of mass, gigantic looting and concentration of wealth and power.

        1. flora

          Ah, not so far-fetched as it sounds.

          File this under ‘IT supply chain attacks.’ (And, if it’s always been difficult to create whole new banking IT systems using mostly in-house staff or a single source all-in-one shop, things have gotten even harder now with the use of lots of external suppliers who themselves use external suppliers. )

          In this episode the supply chain attacks looks like it traces back the the Middle Kingdom.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I was thinking of another situation, where an American corporation is buying an existing Chinese corporation, and currently, it can only buy so many shares.

      But because we create money out of nothing, it’s easy to want to buy 100%.

      And theoretically, backed by Washington, our corporations can buy up and own outright many nice businesses in all the kingdoms in over the world.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      MFN for China was engineered to fit together with WTO membership and other Free Trade agreements to irresistably incentivise American companies to relocate to China. It is as close to forcing those companies to do so as is possible without quite being actual force. And it is a structure of not-quite-brute-force which all those companies and their owners wanted.

      However, if we wanted to keep our bussinesses here at home and have them operate here, we would have to withdraw from all the Free Trade Agreements we are currently trapped in, probably going all the way back to the very first GATT Round; in order to be able to keep Chinese and other exports out of America as American companies tried producing in America for Americans . . . . which is what I believe you are suggesting here.

  12. Darius

    Exotic dancers were Uber drivers before there was an Uber. About 25 years ago, a cousin was telling me how he was going to open a “gentlemen’s club.” The dancers pay the club for the privilege of performing for tips. I said it’s a monstrous business model and that someone should organize the dancers.

    I see an exotic dancers cooperative run by the dancers and open to all tastes.

    1. diptherio

      There used to be on of those, actually, in SF. It was called the Lusty Lady:

      The Seattle Lusty Lady, known originally as the Amusement Center, was opened in the 1970s by two business associates, who soon after opened the other location in San Francisco. Originally, both Lusty Ladys showed 16mm peep show films only, but in 1983 live nude dancers were added and became the main focus of the businesses.[1] Until 2003 they were both owned by the same company; in that year the San Francisco franchise was bought by the strippers working there and began to be managed as a worker cooperative. The San Francisco branch had already entered the news in 1997 when it became the first (and as of 2008 only) successfully unionized sex business in the U.S.[1][2] (The San Diego strip club Pacer’s had seen a unionization effort in the early 1990s, but it was short-lived.[3])

      1. Synapsid


        For some years long ago I taught at North Seattle CC. Four of the young women in my classes, that I know of, worked as strippers at the Lusty Lady, and three of those were 4.0 students with strong self images. The fourth was something of a loose cannon but had a good time.

        All agreed that it was a good place to work, owned and run by women and with heavy emphasis on safety for the girls. I believe the place was viewed as a good neighbor.

        1. diptherio

          I think they closed down when their building got sold by the landlord and they couldn’t find a new location, iirc.

  13. Wukchumni

    I’ve slapped a 25% tariff on all imports into the litter box, in emulating the reign of error’s trade policy.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Crazy cat peekin’ through a lace bandanna
        Like a one-eyed cheshire, like a diamond-eye jack
        A leaf of all colors plays a golden-string fiddle
        To a double-e waterfall over my back

        — Grateful Dead, China Cat Sunflower

          1. ambrit

            At an extreme, beware the counter tariff imposed by the Kzinti! In fact, now that I think on it, Trumps style does emulate the Kzinti ‘interpersonal conflict’ methodology: “Scream and leap.”

            1. skippy

              Didn’t dear old dad leave the kids back at the training warehouse whilst attending business only to be killed for food on return…. dying thoughts were pride at how they had finally learned to work together in defeating a stronger and bigger foe…..

              Hows the tooth… old claw…

              1. ambrit

                Tooth is out, claws sheathed as upper jaw slowly stops throbbing. Biggest unexpected result is slight change in bite for chewing. Slow but steady rebound.
                Bloody medicos did not supply any pain meds for after extraction either. They think I’m Mussolini for heavens sake! When I quipped, “What were pain meds developed for if they are not used?” I got the stony stare. So, back to CBD oil for a few days. Some relief afforded by that substance. [Even if it was the dreaded Placebo Effect, I’ll take it!]
                Be you of good cheer! You and all there in the balmy Antipodes.

  14. RabidGandhi

    Re: Assange.

    While Lenín Moreno is certainly pulling Ecuador to the right, the Guardian article (link to original DW interview) does not report a change in Ecuador’s Assange policy. Since Moreno assumed office a year ago, Ecuadorian policy has been that Assange meets the conditions for asylum (because he might be subject to the death penalty), but he must remain silent (or be kept incommunicado). The only minor tidbit is that Moreno denies any outside influence on their Assange policy, but if you believe that, then I have some oceanfront property in Quito that might interest you.

    Predictably, less in the news are Moreno’s actual right wing policy changes, such as his plan for 0 deficit by 2021.

    1. JohnnyGL

      “Predictably, less in the news are Moreno’s actual right wing policy changes, such as his plan for 0 deficit by 2021.”

      – As a currency user, this isn’t an idiotic thing to do. USA can squeeze Ecuador’s access to USD funding and bond payments quite easily. They’ve demonstrated this quite clearly with Venezuela (whom they’ve got in a kind of vice-grip of sanctions).

      Correa demonstrated (surprisingly so, to me) how much policy latitude really exists even to a nation that doesn’t control its own currency, but as all the MMT mavens on this site know….there are limits….

      1. Alejandro

        Please consider, that early in Correa’s tenure, he was able to negotiate write-downs of their ‘sovereign’ debt, which opened a lot of policy leeway. Unsurprisingly and with mathematical certainty, their debt has built up again, which is where they are now. “Debts that can’t be paid, won’t be paid”, but with ‘austerity’. “Balanced Budgets” ( 0 deficit) seems the default pretext for ‘austerity’. And ‘austerity’ is a euphemism for solidifying and codifying relative ‘wealth’ transfers. Of course, constraints(limits) on users are not the same constraints on the issuer, and debt, in the context of users, should not be ignored.

    2. Alejandro

      Misleadership class (modernity’s Dathan’s) , edicion América Latina “.

      Interesting link, thanks. Typical lofty language of nothingness, in typical contradictory weasel phraseology. From the interview Moreno said : “Yo soy amante de la verdad, pero no creo que la tenga de manera absoluta.”(” I’m a lover of truth, but don’t believe I own it in an absolute way.”) Yet in a barrage of logorrheic meandering, doesn’t seem to recognize his complicity in keeping a journalist, as a political prisoner for sharing the very same belief.

      Reminds me of Dathan, played by Edward G. Robinson.

      He also ‘vehemently’ denies any pressure from the US or any other governments to remove the protection of Assange. Seemingly unaware that his neighbor AND…
      “A Nobel Peace [Laureate] put his country in NATO”, as a “global partner”, “the only Latin American country with this ‘privilege'”, and announces it as “good news” to boot…
      apparently the “good news” never found its way to Ecuador’s ‘free’ press.

  15. Carolinian

    Interesting Taibbi on Hersh. The takeaway is that journalism should be about not so much objectivity as independence. Which is to say one problem with “speaking truth to power” is that it is often done by our current journos at the behest of some other power. Hersh’s conflicted response to carrying the CIA’s water over Pollard shows someone refusing to be captured by a source even while doing their bidding and the right thing. Perhaps the rather grandiose truth to power phrase should be dropped as what matters is speaking truth, period. Of course not taking sides and pursuing the truth wherever it leads can have consequences for the reporter and even get you expelled from The New Yorker. Hersh seems to have had the thing that so many of our current journalists, in a much more uncertain employment climate to be sure, conspicuously lack–that thing being character.

    1. HotFlash

      Perhaps the rather grandiose truth to power phrase should be dropped as what matters is speaking truth, period.

      I’m pretty sure it was Noam Chomsky who said, “Power knows the truth already, and is busy concealing it”. It is the oppressed who need to hear the truth, not the oppressors.

      1. JBird

        And of course, it is the poorest parts of the state, whereas the wealthy parts get cheaper clean water.

    1. RUKidding

      Third World countrty conditions.

      We’re not headed there. We are there now.

      And yet CA sells our water to criminal outfits like Nestle for pennies on the dollar, so that Nestle can bottle it and sell it back to us hapless rubes at a giant mark-up. CHA CHING!

      And then CA Citizens are duly adjured to be water wise. I agree with that, but why are we cheaply selling this precious commodity to a foreign corporation, while nearby communities don’t even have potable tap water??

      Rhetorical Q of course. Money talks…

  16. Wukchumni

    Taking in the whole tableau, it’s really money as we know it that’s in big trouble.

    Sooner or later somebody is going to notice that the emperor dollar has not a stitch on, nor does the emperor euro, nor a bunch of other emperors.

    Heretofore, nobody’s really cared as long as the system gave out enough spoils to avoid looking any further @ naked capitalism.

    1. whine country

      “emperor dollar has not a stitch on” discussed “@ naked capitalism” –

      Did you forget to add “no pun intended”?

    2. WobblyTelomeres

      I think of money in the way some think of God.

      That is, I meet people who, if faced with the prospect of a world without a paternalistic creator, would find it impossible to get out of bed in the morning. Similarly, there are those who feel that if money has no intrinsic value, then the grand efforts of their lives would be stripped (naked capitalism, right?) of meaning. They find this unacceptable in the extreme.

      I suspect this is why MMT is considered profoundly wrong by many (including at least one distinguished member of the NC commentariat).

      1. Wukchumni

        The one sure-fire way to bring the .01% to their knees, is to make their money worthless, along with everybody else’s.

        A Bizarro World Jubilee, if you will.

      2. skippy

        “I suspect this is why MMT is considered profoundly wrong”

        Moralizing a – thing – actually gives the miscreants a pass IMO on human agency or keeps the unwashed fixated on it.

      3. JBird

        Similarly, there are those who feel that if money has no intrinsic value, then the grand efforts of their lives would be stripped (naked capitalism, right?) of meaning. They find this unacceptable in the extreme.

        It is the effective stealing of money from everyone else, which cast many into a wasted existence, not even life, of suffering, and calling this a good thing that is the problem; if they are not doing good then they have done worse than waste their own life, they are monsters.

  17. allan

    Trump administration to use emergency authority to boost coal plants [The Hill]

    President Trump is reportedly considering a plan to prolong the use of struggling coal and nuclear plants through an emergency use of federal power.

    According to a draft memo obtained by Bloomberg News, the Department of Energy, through an act of emergency authority, may order grid operators to buy electricity from coal and nuclear plants that are at risk of retiring due to increased us of cheaper natural gas and renewable electricity. …

    Sure, crony capitalism appears a lot like centralized planning, but they’re totally different.

    1. Wukchumni

      Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite.

      John Kenneth Galbraith

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Cat: “I’m always exploited.”

        Bak Choy: “They humans are nice to me. But soon, I will be stir-fried alive.”

      2. Olga

        In a socialist country, at least we had free education, free healthcare, and subsidized holidays, rents, and transportation. The food was not expensive and was wholesome. What we did not have – is a lot of stuff. Of course, we envied our western bros… Today, surrounded by lots of stuff and constant worries about how to pay for it all, I honestly wonder whether we were not better off. Particularly, since this idea of freedom in the west turned out to be just a chimera…

    2. RUKidding

      Just letting the Free Market be, uh, unfettered and all free-like, except not.

      Crony capitalism at its finest.

      Trump’s fans will clap and cheer that the Commie Socialist Obama isn’t in charge and “ruining” Capitalism.

      (disclaimer: not an Obama fan, but…)

  18. Anonymized

    I know you people aren’t following the Ontario elections but this column has a pretty sick burn: Referring to Doug Ford (brother of the late Rob and candidate for Premier) “There hasn’t been a candidate this wretched since Hillary Clinton, and she came with advance warning, going back to her 2008 disaster.”

    Also a mention of Naked Capitalism.

    1. Jim Haygood

      The queen’s turned odd but she’s not forgotten
      This is the story of Hillary Rotten
      It’s better to flake out than to fade away
      My my, hey hey

      — Neil Young

    2. Carolinian

      There’s a debate in the U.S. right now over whether Trump voters are essentially racist, or something more complex. You can find it in the pages of Daily Kos, the Atlantic, Naked Capitalism or Ta-Nehisi Coates. The best way to resolve it would’ve been running Bernie against Trump.

      As I recall some of us in that NC debate thought the election was far more about Hillary–as in Anyone But Hillary–rather than Trump. Bernie versus Trump may have been an Anyone But Trump election and resolved little re ideology. At the end of the day elections, particularly in the US, seem to boil down to personalities and the state of the economy.

      1. a different chris

        I strongly believe that there are a lot of black politiicians that could have beaten Trump. But it was Her Turn so that was that.

        So now he’s the incumbent, and that changes the game bigly.

      2. JTMcPhee

        They boil down to whatever the people who own most everything want for an outcome?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well, the people who own most everything didn’t want Trump. But they got Trump anyway. And they are using every lever of power they have to try driving Trump out of office.

          So sometimes they don’t always get what they want. Such an outcome reveals a breach in their well-armored systems. Perhaps we can widen that breach and surge some Sanderistas through it even as the Storm Trumpers try surging more Trumps through it.

  19. Ignacio

    RE: Rajoy out: Spain’s government collapses after no confidence vote Independent

    Thanks to Putin of course

    1. ambrit

      “Thanks to Putin of course.”
      Que lastima! Poor Barcelenyos! Don’t they remember what happened to the local socialistas the last time Russia got involved in Spanish politics?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Question 1: Are all Starbucks shops in predominantly white neighborhoods?

      Question 2: Is all one has to be polite and Asian, in a Starbucks in a predominantly Asian neighborhood, and African American, in a predominantly African American neighborhood?

      1. Lee

        The ones around here are mostly mixed, like the area as a whole. There’s one I go to in a predominantly black neighborhood and both the staff and customers reflect the neighborhood. Same is true of Peet’s, which btw has better, stronger coffee.

  20. Jim Haygood

    For the first time since its inception 27 months ago, Craazymon Fund is changing one component in its portfolio — emerging market stocks, which had a 30 percent weighting. The US dollar’s five percent pop since mid-April undermines the performance of emerging market stocks in two related ways.

    First, the dollar value of foreign currency denominated markets declines when the dollar rises, even if there’s no change in local currency terms. Second, a stronger dollar coupled with rising US interest rates increases financial stress on emerging market countries which have US dollar debt to service.

    This chart of Craazymon Fund components shows that the performance of emerging market stocks (red line) has fallen below that of the domestic S&P 500 index (gray line) over the past 12 months, while the Nasdaq 100 index (sky blue line) has beaten both of them:

    Consequently, Craazymon Fund now switches its 30 percent equity weighting to US domestic stocks — specifically, the Nasdaq 100 index which is mirrored by a number of ETFs and mutual funds. Our Five Horsemen of the Techpocalypse — every one of which has outperformed the S&P 500 index since tracking began in April 2017 — comprise almost 46 percent of the Nasdaq 100 index by weight.

    Since inception on March 2, 2016 though May 31, 2018, Craazymon Fund has returned a cumulative 29.1 percent, versus a 22.4 percent cumulative gain in its benchmark, a 50/50 mix of the S&P 500 stock index and the Bloomberg Aggregate bond index. The other two components of Craazymon Fund — a 50 percent weighting in junk bonds and a 20 percent weighting in gold bullion — remain unchanged.

      1. ambrit

        What’s your beef? Chickened out?
        Down here, bouillon is being given a run for its’ money by a new Southern taste craze: Roadkill Jerky.

  21. Ignacio


    Nice interview. Thank you Jerry-Lynn!

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        Thanks for posting this– I had forgotten how funny it is!

  22. Sid Finster

    Someone from National Review (go figure) put it best – if the FBI had three informants in the Obama campaign looking for dirt, the outrage would be so overwhelming that restrictions would be forthcoming and heads rolling left, center and right, regardless whether the FBI’s antics were labeled an “investigation” or as “spying”.

    1. JohnnyGL

      I feel like the obvious question no one’s asking is this:

      Did the FBI/CIA have a mole/spy/informant/harmless-fly-on-the-wall buried in the Clinton campaign?

      If yes……so, we’re talking about surveillance of our leaders being standard stuff? That’s a problem….

      If no…..well that’s awfully selective, now isn’t it??? Since the drunken confession story is now dissolving under scrutiny, and the Steele Dossier is already known to be steaming hot horse manure, there’s gotta be some OTHER explanation, right????

      1. Synoia

        Our deep state Overlords where scared shitless of an Outsider, on whom the only dirt was hookers.

    2. RUKidding

      I respectfully disagree with you. I think we’d be in a similar place to where we are now with the Trump investagation.

      JHMO, of course.

      1. Sid Finster

        Why so? I said what I said, because by and large, the Establishment, that is, people of influence and authority, were perfectly fine with the idea of a President Obama.

        The same cannot be said for a President Trump.

        Don’t believe me? Look at the institutional and financial advantages his opponent had, with the endorsement of about every newspaper of note in the country and every living ex-president (other than Carter, who said “a pox on both your houses” so to speak), a vast advantage in fundraising, especially in fundraising from the 1%, and a passel of bankers and celebrities following her around.

  23. Timmy

    I subscribe to the SEC’s emails on enforcement actions. I received such an email today at my Yahoo address. Reading to the bottom, I found an ad embedded in the email (by Yahoo/Verizon, I assume); the ad trumpeted an intital coin offering with a countdown clock for a 15% discount.

    1. ambrit

      Similar importunings going on here.
      I try to click the “What’s wrong with this ad” icon on these ads and link to ‘Other.’ When prompted to type in a reason for being ad averse, I usually put; “Ads are the tools of the Devil.” So far, absolutely no feedback. I, being prone to cynical musings, have begun to think that the as rejection algo merely counts the relative weights of the classes of objections. No one actually reads the comments, just lists them as: Other 3.7%.
      I’m half expecting an advertising campaign pushing the: “New Political Messiah! (TM)” If the picture of the ‘product’ happens to be of a much reviled politica of recent and apparently undying fame, I’ll go right out and sign up, on paper in ink, with the ‘Electronic Luddite Confraternity.’

  24. Synoia

    The psychological tricks TfL uses to make London’s tube feel faster

    Flexi time?

    We had this a one workplace. One could start from 7:am to 9:am, and leave after 8 hours, between 3pm to 5:pm. Core time, when you must be at work, was 9:am to 3:pm.

    In the UK flexi time from 8 am to 10 am, core time 10 am to 4pm, go home between 4:pm to 6:pm. Include an emphasis to work from home some day a week, and the carrying demand on public transit is reduced.

    The issue is “peak demand.” Flatten the peaks.

  25. JBird

    Florida court awards $0.04 to family of man killed by cop inside his own garage

    Why would the jury find the police guilty and award the family 0.04¢? It’s an insult.

  26. allan

    Oh that liberal Ninth Circuit …

    Activists’ suit against cops over Cal Occupy rally dismissed in federal court

    Saying UC Berkeley police were entitled to act against “organized lawlessness,” a federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit Thursday by students and activists who accused officers of using excessive force when they struck and jabbed them with their clubs during an Occupy Cal rally in 2011.

    Thousands of demonstrators gathered at Sproul Plaza on Nov. 9, 2011, to protest rising tuition and University of California policies, and linked arms when police in riot gear moved in to dismantle tents they had set up. Videos that drew national attention showed officers jabbing protesters with clubs and yanking them by the hair. Several said they were clubbed on the arms and body. A few demonstrators were treated for bruises, and one for a cracked rib. At least 36 were arrested. …

    But the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said none of the allegations in the suit, even if true, would show that police had used excessive force or violated any protesters’ rights.

    In most of the incidents, police used only “minimal force,” Judge J. Clifford Wallace said in the majority opinion, noting that officers had not struck anyone in the head. He said one demonstrator engaged in “acts of provocation” by shaking his fist at officers and throwing leaves in their faces and that school officials had “a legitimate interest in applying minimal force to maintain order and enforce university policy.” …

    And he said an officer who clubs a demonstrator’s body or limbs “for the purpose of moving a crowd actively obstructing the officer from carrying out lawful orders in a challenging environment” does not violate any “clearly established rights,” the legal standard for a suit against police.

    W. Louis Sands, a federal judge from Georgia[!] temporarily assigned to the appeals court
    [How convenient.], joined Wallace’s opinion. …

    Not so slowly warmeth the frog bath …

  27. derechos

    Drug access law Trump just signed will cripple FDA—senator is making sure of it
    “Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) isn’t mincing words about his so-called “right to try” bill, signed into law by President Trump on Wednesday. In a feisty letter to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb Thursday, Johnson put things bluntly: “this law intends to diminish the FDA’s power.”

    “Prior to the new law, such patients in all states could (work directly with a doctor and a drug company to gain access—outside of a clinical trial—to an experimental therapy that has only made it through early clinical trials and not obtained FDA approval), but—if their state doesn’t have its own “right to try” law—they had an added step of getting the FDA’s approval. That said, through the agency’s “expanded access” pathway, the FDA granted 99 percent of those requests and usually processed them in mere days. In emergency situations, the FDA granted them “immediately over the phone.”

    “…opponents fear that the law would leave patients vulnerable to less-than-scrupulous doctors or predatory drug developers, such as the hundreds of shady stem cell clinics that have popped up around the country.”

  28. Anonymized

    All the revelations about sexual abuse in all facets of public and private life has me thinking of how it must’ve also happened in previous eras. Did Calvin Coolidge bang out a bunch of 18 year olds fed him by his party? Did Truman grab the asses of White House cleaners? Maybe Kennedy ordered his aides to whip his testicles. It’s best not to think about it, I guess.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Kennedy was a notorious billy goat, like Clinton. Marilyn Monroe!

      And Grover Cleveland, IIRC, had a very young ,as in barely legal, mistress and an illegitimate child while in the White House.

      The congruence of sex and power isn’t universal, but it sure is normal. I believe several Congresswomen, and a Cali state senator, have also been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. So to speak.

    2. JBird

      LBJ’s romps through the White House secretary pool. He was never accused of rape, not even a hint as far as I know; however, when the POTUS wants to have a “meeting” with you in the 1960s, it probably would be hard to say no.

      Oh, he was fond of showing off “Jumbo” during small meetings or one on one meetings.

  29. diptherio

    This is not good. Not good at all.

    An interim contingency plan released Thursday for the Smurfit-Stone site provides a road map for actions to prevent a catastrophic failure of the berms that divide the site’s industrial waste from the Clark Fork River.

    The plan’s release came on the heels of an often tense meeting Thursday morning among top state and regional Environmental Protection Agency officials. The meeting also included Missoula County officials, representatives from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the Clark Fork Coalition, and the Community Advisory Group. Many of those representatives said they feel the EPA is dragging its feet, and wasn’t listening to their concerns before this.

    “I’m cautiously optimistic that they heard our concerns and understand the level of our frustration,” Commissioner Dave Strohmaier said after the meeting. “Looking forward, we’ll see how that translates to actions on the ground.”

    That picture is frightening.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The site your link points to wants me to allow ads or sign up for the newspaper. However I was able to get an idea of the close proximity between waste pool and river. How much water seeps through the walls of the berms? How much does the river need to rise to overtop the berms whether they hold or not? Seems like the time to worry about this waste pool was before it was constructed.

      1. ambrit

        New Orleans learned all about that problem back during Hurricane Katrina.
        Shoddy construction on the levees from back in the 1950’s led to the flooding of the Lower Ninth Ward.
        There are so many downstream poisoning effects from industrial sites in America, some problems going back over a century, that the Cult of Elons’ Mars Rapture Project is beginning to look like a rational response to the cumulative problems.

        1. Wukchumni

          The reservoir to the south of us on the Tule river has a most unfortunate moniker, as it’s named the Success Dam.

          The repair bill for this pipsqueak of a dam is about the same as the monster sized Oroville Dam up north, thus it’ll never happen.
          The USACE found in 1999 that the alluvial deposits that form the foundations of the dam were unstable and that the dam would be at a high risk of failure in the event of an earthquake. In 2006, new regulations were passed that limited long-term water storage in the reservoir to 28,800 acre feet (0.0355 km3), 35% of capacity. A proposed $500 million project would increase the thickness of the dam by 350 feet (110 m) so that it could better withstand a quake in the region.

  30. Livius Drusus

    Here comes more bad news for poor Americans.

    UN: US inequality reaching a dangerous level due to Trump’s ‘cruel’ measures

    Here is an excerpt from the article that I found interesting.

    He [UN monitor Philip Alston] cautioned middle-class Americans from thinking they were immune from the lash of such policies, as Trump’s assault “bodes ill for society as a whole. The proposed slashing of social protection benefits will affect the middle classes every bit as much as the poor.”

    Now what are the chances that middle-class Americans will wake up and decide to show solidarity with poor Americans? My guess is that it is close to zero. If there is anything that Americans love it is punching down and throwing the poor and weak under the bus in order to maybe get a little bit of a tax cut or simply out of cruelty and spite.

    Maybe I am being too negative but I encounter so many Americans with vicious opinions about the poor that it makes me skeptical about the ability of Americans to care about these policies, at least until they are directly damaged by them. Even in that case many Americans would rather look for scapegoats among the weak than focus their anger on the people who really run things.

    1. rd

      I have been wondering when the middle class figures out it is on the table instead of at the table.

  31. Oregoncharles

    “‘Coffee Cultivation Merely Extends The System Of Colonial Oppression,’” is not actually a joke.

    There are a few areas in the US where coffee can be grown, but not enough. There are at least two caffeine sources that are hardy in much of the US: Tea (Camellia sinensis) and Black Drink (Ilex vomitorius). Both are hardy through Zone 7 – down to about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Zero severely damages tea plants; don’t know about the ilex (Yaupon holly). Both make decent ornamentals. Tea is well suited to the Pac. NW, Black Drink is native to the southeast. (Black Drink doesn’t actually make you throw up any more than tea does – that was propaganda.)

    Further incidental: Yerba mate, widely grown and consumed in Argentina, is also an Ilex, so related to Yaupon, but is about as hardy as coffee. Outdoors only if it doesn’t freeze.

    The real barrier is that tea cultivation (either plant) is quite labor intensive, mainly for harvesting and processing. Which reminds me; I need to go pick mine again.

    1. ambrit

      I didn’t know that about Yaupon. It grows all over our yard and the surrounding neighborhood. Those red berries are distinctive.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I would love to get some seed. Surprisingly hard to order, probably because it’s a bit of a weed. Make sur e you have the right plant – most hollies have red berries; but you’re in the heart of its range.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Update: it just took me a little over an hour to pick almost a pound of tea, mostly from one large bush, but the other two are starting to produce, too.

      However, one bush nowhere near provides enough for my tea habit. It would take 4 or 5. I’m working on it, but the seeds I started last year failed. Live and learn.

  32. susan the other

    On baby teeth, zinc, copper and autism. I scanned the article for some mention of calcium and saw none so here’s my story. I zealously overdosed myself once on zinc, thinking I was beefing up my immune system. Instead I swelled up like a water balloon after about a month and finally read up. Zinc is easier to absorb than calcium and can displace it, leading to all sorts of metabolic problems. Wondering if there is a calcium connection for autism. Maybe displaced calcium just floating around in the bloodstream.

    1. ambrit

      I know that zinc heavily uses copper in its’ assimilation in the body. We take Chelated Copper along with Zinc Orotate in the morning.
      One thing I’ve sort of learned in my travels through the vitamin and ‘supplements’ world; the human body is one bloody H— of a lot more complicated than anyone can imagine.

  33. Elizabeth Burton

    “There but for the grace of God and hard work go I” syndrome is pandemic in the US. Why not, given every tot since forever has been fed the capitalist BS that anyone can get rich by making the right choices and working hard? Mention SNAP and immediately you’ll have half a dozen people griping about that woman in the checkout line in front of them with her cart full of steaks and lobsters and candy and soda, or the one who pulled out her iPhone or [fill in anti-poor people anecdote here].

    And that lesson that hard work will bring inevitable success is hammered home 24/7/365 by the media, where poor people are inevitably either criminals or victims and rich people who do wrong are subject to the same justice as poor people. And now we’re about to be treated to yet another network series about the FBI because the serfs are starting to ask too many questions about our favorite national LEOs, and we can’t have that.

    1. JBird

      Extrapolating a few’s behavior to cover the many, especially if they are poor, seems to be popular. I can tell you that one has to be really f****** poor to qualify for the program. If someone is not using their fifty dollars a week very wisely, so what?

      Also, there supposedly seems to be a lot of poor people buying lobster of all the things to. Something that I have never seen.

  34. Bean Counter

    Re: Facebook, Amazon, and hundreds of companies post targeted job ads that screen out older workers

    I had an Immediate flashback to Zuckerberg’s horrid, March 2007 commentary regarding anyone over30 (which should have horrified any true Editorialist/Journalist who read it, yet obviously didn’t, particularly in Silicon Valley where Facebook is domiciled, and has done vast damage to the quality and affordability of life to those amorally stigmatized as undesirables as a consequence of their race, gender , class and age. I am still horrified and outraged to this day at the lack of Political and Local Media outrage in Silicon Valley as to his words in early 2007.):

    “I want to stress the importance of being young and technical,” he stated. If you want to found a successful company, you should only hire young people with technical expertise.

    “Young people are just smarter,” he said with a straight face. “Why are most chess masters under 30?” he asked. “I don’t know,” he answered. “Young people just have simpler lives. We may not own a car. We may not have family.” In the absence of those distractions, he says, you can focus on big ideologies. He added, “I only own a mattress.” Later: “Simplicity in life allows you to focus on what’s important.”

    Alas, Mark F_rface – along with the obvious omission of those who felt social and familial obligations (versus relying on their parents wealth in a Frat Boy Dorm) as being hirable – neglected to offer that the retirement age benefits should then be extended to those over thirty if companies refused to hire those over thirty. He also neglected to mention that he was only referring to Frat Boys and far lower paid, ineligible to vote, unaffordable apartment renting male H-1B Visa holders.

    Though the rampant and sickening increasing of twenty some, CIA/DOD, etc. and older elite mentored, stunningly antisocial and arrogant Frat Boys as CEOS of Multinational Corporations, seems to be only about two decades old and centered in Silicon Valley; the age discrimination news is ancient. As a matter of fact, age discrimination – mostly by elite olders (e.g. Billy Gates, and Mark F_rface mentor, Peter Thiel, for two fairly recent examples) – against those experienced in life has likely been going on since time began.

    For example, the largest (now Big Four, versus Big Eight in the eighties) Accounting Firms, and no doubt the Largest Law Firms – which both safeguard the vast properties of the elite – love nothing more than a green, twenty some newbie with no knowledge of the vast predations attributable to those two elite “keystone” industries.

    (On a side note, it would be interesting to see a study of ads luring H-B Workers (and precluding young US workers), who are predominantly under 30,and predominantly male apartment renters – unable to vote against the minority of residential property holders in the communities they rent in. I think San Jose may be the only Santa Clara County Silicon Valley community where non investor homeowners who reside in their home are still a majority. Ditto for a study of ads luring Ivy Frat Boys versus local, smarter and wiser, Silicon Valley youth.)

  35. Lorenzo

    RE Oil and gas geopolitics: no shelter from the storm Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

    for those of you who’ve been reading Pepe Escobar for longer than I have: do you also notice a marked tendency in his pieces to over-predict his ‘endgame scenarios’? What I mean is that I feel he arrives to some conclusions with a high degree of certainty, but instead of exploring the many possibilities that branch from them, he just follows through with one -surely the one that he finds more likely- as if it were supported by the exact same basis that his previous conclusions were, when actually a whole new set of factors come in to play.

  36. Bean Counter


    A side note to your comment:

    for those of you who’ve been reading Pepe Escobar for longer than I have: do you also notice a marked tendency in his pieces to over-predict his ‘endgame scenarios’?

    Something I noticed (don’t know when you started reading his pieces, but as I recollect it was around 2011 +- when I became aware of his writings) about Asia Times [On Line], which I never recollect Pepe noting, was that it was utterly littered with CIA recruitment ads.

    1. Lord Koos

      Interesting. I think the The Agency really needs Asian people who can speak Chinese. My stepdaughter, who is Chinese and is fluent in both Mandarin and English, was hit up by the CIA at the age of when she was in college. She declined.

      1. JBird

        Considering that they treated some of their employees who natively spoke Arabic or Pashtun as possible spies merely because they were, I am not surprised.

  37. drumlin woodchuckles

    Wyoming up above offered some thoughts on the Rachel Carson Organic Agriculture Etc. article. He or she is clearly a working farmer outstanding in his or her field who has specific knowledge of a lot of these things.

    I am a smallest-scale amateur gardener who has a hobby knowledge of some of these things plus some of what has been written about these things. So what this comment will offer is amateur hobby knowledge.

    First, the article is wrong to attribute the invention of Organic Agriculture to Rudolf Steiner.
    Rudolf Steiner did NOT found Organic Agriculture in Austria. What Rudolf Steiner DID found was Biodynamic Agriculture, a whole separate movement of its own. Biodynamic Agriculture has its own Founding Prophet, its own Sacred Texts, its own Chain of Apostolic Succession . . . all largely different than the Founding Prophets, Sacred Texts and Chains of Apostolic Succession of the Organic Agriculture Movement. These things can be found as easily as wiki-searching ” Organic Farming” and then wiki-searching ” Biodynamic Agriculture”. Steiner’s name is mentioned in both wiki-articles, but the differences between “organic” and “biodynamic” are made fairly clear in the articles.

    The article rightly notes how J.I. Rodale twisted and superstitionized Organic Agriculture in America into a deeply anti-scientific system of Religious Ritual Observance. One could think of Rodale Organic as being “Kosherganic” or “Halalganic” to get the Ritual Religious core-essence of the movement. J.I. Rodale rejected Professor William Albrecht’s scientifically-gained knowledge of soil-based mineral-fertility-ratio balancing as soon as he heard about it.
    It offended his religious sensibilities, so he pronounced Albrecht to be Haram or Psul or whatever other word for Religously Forbidden that one cares to use. And since Rodale owned Organic Farming Magazine and owned Rodale Press, Albrecht became Haram and Psul within the Organic Movement and remained that way for many decades.

    For an example of the ritualism of Organic Thought, consider Organic Thought’s sacralization of Compost as ” Black Gold”. Keep applying compost to the target soil and you will keep the soil “fed” and hence the plants “fed”. It does not occur to the Ritualganic practitioner that the plants cannot take what the soil cannot give, and the soil cannot give what the soil does not have, and the soil will not have what the soil-owner does not supply to the soil. So the Kosherganic ritualist will grow mineral-defficient plants on mineral-defficient soil and make the plants into mineral-deficient compost to feed back to the mineral-deficient soil in order to grow more mineral-defficient plants in order to keep the circle of deficiency rolling and rolling and rolling . . . a true wheel of futility.

    I have had batches of Certified Organic tomatoes explode into gray-fuzzy moldy fruit-fly rot within 3 days of getting them home. Clearly the Certified Organic grower did not have any knowledge of balanced multi-mineral plant nutrition, and therefor could not apply the knowledge he/she did not have. By itself , “Organic” is not enough. I suspect Rachel Carson would have seen and studied the problem.

    (Over the last few decades, Organic Agriculture has been forced to accept some of the knowledge and information which Professor William Albrecht and his students worked out at the University of Missouri, and which his own Chains of Apostolic Succession carried forward into the pages of Acres USA. Many other streams of knowledge are welcomed in the pages of Acres USA and some of that knowledge has been edging over into the Organic Community.
    There is no compelling NAME for this branch of Knowledge Movement Agriculture. Perhaps if there were, it would be better known. The Acres USA people call it Eco-Agriculture, and you can hear how flat THAT falls. I might suggest words like “scientifiganic” or “technorganic” to inspire people to try inventing better words than “eco-agriculture”).

    Back to the article. If Vaclav Smil is correct, that 40 percent of the yield increase from “then” to “now” was achieved with natural gas powered Haber Bosch nitrogen, then that means that 60 per cent of that yield growth would STILL have been achieved ANYway, even withOUT ANy Haber Bosch nitrogen AT ALL. And when you consider that way more than 40 per cent of that yield increase is thrown away on feedlot livestock in feedlots, you can see that every bit of the Haber Bosch nitrogen ever used has been totally unecessary.

    ( By the way , Steiner was NOT the first advocate of abolishing Haber-Bosch nitrogen from agriculture. Sir William Howard advocated such abolition years before Steiner ever did. The article gets that very wrong).

    At the end, the article claims that Organic Farming is only 80 per cent as productive as Petro-NatGas Chemical Farming. Which leads the author to say if all agriculture went Organic, we would need to farm 20 per cent more land than we now farm. I say: we could keep the land size the same as now, and reduce grain to feedlot animals in feedlots by enough to make up for that missing 20 per cent of production. It would mean eating less meat, but so what? We wouldn’t have any of the more-wildlife-habitat-destruction the article tries scaring us with and we wouldn’t have that “different kind of silent spring”. Just accept 20 per cent less grain, 20 percent less feedlots, 20 per cent less meat as the tradeoff for Total Organification of Agriculture combined with Total Current Wildlands retention and protection.

    And anyway, the best, most advanced and most Elite of the Scientifiganic producers are getting the same or more production per acre than what the petro-chemical mainstream farmers are getting. Gabe Brown in North Dakota is a case in point, and there will be others.

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