Links 8/12/18

Police in Germany rescue man being chased by baby squirrel Guardian

Crows trained to pick up litter at French theme park Independent

Notes Nearing Ninety: Learning to Write Less Paris Review

VS Naipaul, Nobel prize-winning British author, dies aged 85 Guardian. And see ‘Two worlds’: VS Naipaul’s 2001 Nobel lecture

My ancestry test revealed a genetic bombshell NY Post (The Rev Kev)

How smallpox claimed its final victim BBC (The Rev Kev)

US invaded by savage tick that sucks animals dry, spawns without mating Ars Technica

A Songwriting Mystery Solved: Math Proves John Lennon Wrote ‘In My Life’ NPR (David L)

Two types of tectonic plate activity create earthquake and tsunami risk on Lombok The Conversation

Burn, Baby, Burn

Plum gig or slave labor? California inmates fight wildfires for $1 an hour San Francisco Chronicle

All-out aerial assault helps firefighters save homes in Holy fire as containment grows LA Times

More than 100 large wildfires in U.S. as new blazes erupt Reuters

Wildfires rage in the Algarve – in pictures Guardian

An 11-Year-Old Changed The Results Of Florida’s Presidential Vote At A Hacker Convention. Discuss. BuzzFeed (dan k)

Clinton Foundation Tax Return Shows It’s A Scam Information Clearing House (Charles)

Republican Chris Collins, fighting securities fraud charge, suspends House reelection campaign MarketWatch

Conservatives call for constitutional intervention last seen 230 years ago Guardian (TH)

Saudi Arabia’s PIF and SoftBank Not Interested in Tesla Buyout Wolf Street (e mayer)

Silicon Valley and its fatal attraction to Saudi Arabia FT


Erdogan: Alliance with US at risk, Turkey target of ‘trade war’ Al Jazeera

Turkey’s perfect storm Politico

Class Warfare

Getting the Common Goods Jacobin


Rural America Faces A Crisis In ‘Adequate Housing’ NPR (The Rev Kev)

Koch Advances Its Wall Street Playbook, Gutting the Office of Financial Research Wall Street on Parade

Which Side Are They On? Jacobin

Imperial Collapse Watch

A Decalogue of American Empire-Building: A Dialogue Unz Review. Chuck L: “Only ten theses, not ninety five, but they should provoke some interesting discussion.”

Health Care

On Health Matters, Cities Increasingly Go to Court Governing


Brexit: a matter of respect

Home Office refuses visas for authors invited to Edinburgh book festival Guardian


Burying ‘One Child’ Limits, China Pushes Women to Have More Babies NYT

Pakistan dynasties unite against triumphant Imran Khan FT


If India Produces More Foodgrains Than It Needs, Why Are People Still Starving? The Wire

Tariff Tantrum

China says US farmers may never regain market share lost in trade war SCMP

Energy Executives Lament Trump Tariffs As Costs Rise On Pipeline Projects International Business Times

Trump Transition

Trump heightens attacks on Sessions: He’s ‘scared stiff and missing in action’ The Hill

Conservative Websites Are on the Fashion Beat They Say Mainstream Media Ignores Racked

NFL Players Protest During Anthem, Drawing Rebuke From Trump Truthdig

Twitter Trolls Trump’s Space Force With Hilarious Logo Designs Sputnik (The Rev Kev)

Newly released official documents show CIA head Gina Haspel directly supervised waterboarding at “Black Site” in Thailand. Sen. Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr and Vice Chair Mark Warner hid that, demonstrating once again that today’s Senate “oversight” means “overlook.” Hold your nose and read: Ray McGovern (Chuck L)

What Happens When a Pipeline Runs Afoul of Government Rules? Authorities Change the Rules. Pro Publica

Secret DMV office near California Capitol serves lawmakers and their staff Sacramento Bee. No need for them to queue like the peasants.

Our Famously Free Press

More than 100 newspapers will publish editorials decrying Trump’s anti-press rhetoric CNN


2 dead, 18 wounded in Chicago shootings: ‘Even I’m scared to walk to the corner store’ Chicago Tribune

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. fresno dan

    Plum gig or slave labor? California inmates fight wildfires for $1 an hour San Francisco Chronicle

    Along the lines of inmates:

    As wildfires sweep through California, a team of over 2,000 volunteers has taken to the the flames with firefighting equipment to keep the damage at bay. The team, which consists of prisoners, has been successfully fighting fires in the state for years, and has proved up to the task. (They would not still be charged with it, otherwise.) Many such inmates, then, leave prison with years of firefighting experience– yet the job, in the civilian world, is off-limits to them.

    Because prospective firemen are generally required to have EMT licenses, and because licensing boards are disinclined to issue those to people with criminal histories, there is little prospect of the prisoners continuing their work when they leave prison. Or, to put it another way, in the midst of a national firefighter shortage, regulations are locking out from the profession a set of experienced firefighters from doing a job that they are qualified for.
    So how many inmates who want to be firemen don’t apply or are not approved because of regulation? “General” and “disinclined” make it difficult to know. But it would seem that diminishing potential avenues of employment for ex inmates is a poor policy choice.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Good observation on policy, fd.

      But I guess I react, as an ex-GI who got to go in harm’s way “to protect the nation” (HAWHAWHAW), to the notion that several people have expressed here, that it is a good and joyful thing to “allow” inmates of the carceral state that we progressives decry, to “get out of jail for a bit” and put their lives on the line to protect the property of the privileged (and of course the mopes) who live in the paths of wildfires.

      And to do it for zero pay or $1 an hour or day, and given how prisons are run, how much of that goes to pay mordidas to guards and “trustys,” and how far does it go to pay the many fees and penalties that prison operators load inmates up with? To “breathe the free air,” for a “useful” time, in the fire zone, an atmosphere loaded with tiny particulates that lodge not only in their lungs but migrate into their hearts, circulatory system, brains and other organs, to do all kinds of damage. And then go back to their cells and the wonderful culture inside the privatized and wasted publicly operated prisons.

      So yes, as with all the tens of thousands “employed’ in the carceral industrial complex, it’s slave labor — how many of us would view that “opportuinty’ as a “plum gig?”

      No knock on you, fd, I’m well aware of the limited options our wonderful political economy allows to former inmates. And that a lot of people who get jailed are particularly vicious sociopaths, who as one writer on prisons and prisoners pointed out many years ago, never were “habilitated,” so talking about “rehabilitating” them is nonsense.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The British, on the other hand, sent their convicts, and later ex-convicts, to Australia.

        Today, their descendants do not form the majority, but they were there in the beginning.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Not alot of people know the Brits sent convicts to Australia
          1. Because their go-to place for undesirables (America) was closed by the Revolution; and
          2. They tried New Zealand before Australia but the first ten men ashore were eaten. So they continued on to the more chill Australia

        2. The Rev Kev

          Before the Bicentenary in 1988, it was an embarrassment to admit to convict ancestors in your family history in Australia. In one State, Tasmania, the local ‘elite’ caused local convict records to go missing as they revealed that some of their ancestors were convicted thieves and hookers (The behaviour of their descendants never changed though). Since then it is a matter of some pride to have convict ancestry in your family history and some joke about ‘Australian Royalty’. Personal disclaimer – I have three in mine.

      2. Carl

        As a former prosecutor and defense attorney, I’ve only rarely encountered accused people in the criminal justice system who were “viscous sociopaths.” Most are imprisoned for drug offenses, or the property crimes resulting from drug addictions. A lot of violent crimes are one time only offenses, committed while drunk, by people with no previous history of violence. Even those with histories of violent behavior have heart-rending upbringings which would curl your hair. As to rehabilitation, most prison systems are constructed around isolation or deterrence; “age is the only antidote to recidivism.”

      3. anon

        I’m reminded of this November 2014 piece by Harry Waksberg, starring The California Prison $ystem and Kamala Harris:

        California’s Prison Labor Problem

        California Attorney General Kamala Harris said that she was “shocked” by the Los Angeles Times report that lawyers from her office had argued in court that if forced to expand prison releases per the order of federal judges, prisons would lose an important labor pool. But almost-free labor is practically the only argument the state has left for continuing to lock up as many people as California does. And as more and more of California understands this practice’s obvious immorality, the state may have no choice but to actually comply with judicial orders.

        Since 2011, California prison overcrowding has been ruled in violation of the Constitution. California now has until 2016 to become compliant with the Supreme Court’s ruling, but the overcrowding issue is not the only problem in California’s criminal prosecution system that needs to be drastically changed.

        Bureau of Justice statistics indicate that as recently as 2011, nearly half of the incarcerated population in federal prisons were serving time for drug offenses. As more and more states legalize marijuana possession, use, and sale, and we see that the overall effects are positive, it makes less and less sense to continue prosecuting people for drug offenses. California has taken a step in the right direction with the passage of Prop 47 this year, which reclassified some drug possession crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.

        There are no sound arguments for incarcerating people at the rate that California does it. The only argument left is that California prisoners are a source of obscenely cheap labor. According to Buzzfeed, “California has had over 5,300 wildfires [this year], which is about 700 more than had occurred by this time in 2013, and a thousand more than the five-year average. Now, as the West is coming to the end of one of the driest, hottest years in recorded history, the work of inmate firefighters has become essential to California’s financial and environmental health.”

        Over four thousand inmates make up about half of the force fighting these fires for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, saving the state about $1 billion annually. We do not pay incarcerated people even close to what trained firefighters would make for the same work. Prison labor is frequently and aptly compared to slavery (and of course it’s worth noting that the constitution only prohibits slavery for people outside of prison).

        The fact that prison labor can take over public jobs that the state would ordinarily be required to pay at least minimum wage for is a strong incentive for the state to continue the unconstitutional abuses of California’s prison overcrowding. The state can hardly argue that nonviolent drug offenders are violent, nor that California voters want to keep them in prison.

        Kamala Harris may have been surprised that lawyers spoke openly about the state’s need for slave labor, but she can’t be surprised by that logic; it’s all prison proponents have left.

        In one of her later essays, Where I Was From, California native, Joan Didion, spoke to California’s historic love of Incarceration.

        1. David Carl Grimes

          Isn’t it cheaper to pay someone minimum wage? A prisoner still costs the state $50K a year at least, plus all the expenses of being sent through the court system.

          1. ambrit

            It’s not about the money. It is about Power and Control. All the “this should stop because it is too expensive” arguments are Trojan Horse arguments. These arguments divert the attention from the real basis for the struggle.

            1. Doug Hillman

              Good point, but it is always about the money, and money of course is power. Most important is whose pockets are lined and whose are fleeced. Privatize the profits, socialize the costs.

              Prison racketeers follow the proven formula of health insurance racketeers and.military industrialists — force a captive market to buy dangerously defective product at enormous taxpayer cost. US pays twice the cost of civilzed countries for deadly results.

              But that’s the elegance of an efficient free market. Buying congress reps and presidents is the fastest route to.enormous profits. Ain’t neocapitalism grand?

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Isn’t the California Prison Guards Union supposed to be pretty powerful? Didn’t that union lobby and press heavily for Three Strikes and You’re Out laws to begin with? Aren’t they a powerful force for keeping those laws in existence in California today?

                They do it for more prisoners and prisoners-for-longer, which means hiring more prison guards, which means more money and power for the union. While it is rude to be against organized labor, perhaps this is one union which should be crushed and broken and abolished to remove it from existence as a force against legal-enforcement re-humanization in California.

          2. anon

            A few off the top considerations in any cost comparison:

            1. Fixed costs have to be taken into consideration in the comparison. The fixed cost (infrastructure demands, prison facilities and personnel, vehicles and other fixed assets, etcetera) per prisoner is likely to rise the more prisoners you release (with the large assumption that the prisoner was actually let go because no cost savings could be made off of them, see number 2. and ambrit’s reply also)

            2. Weigh in the fact that just because someone was paid minimum wage to do a job that a prisoner was doing, doesn’t mean that prisoner was released as a consequence; so which is cheaper when the prisoner hasn’t been released: minimum wage; or maximum $1 an hour to a prisoner.

            3. Outside of the above considerations, the California Private Prison Contributions to any particular Dear Governor, etceteras,’ California political campaigns have likely far outweighed any logical cost accounting of the public’s dime, let alone any humanity.

              1. anon

                You’re quite welcome, fresno dan. So much that’s been obscured, so little ability — and particularly time — to read about it; until well after the damage is done. A plutocratic feature, plutocrats literally steal time from their multitudes of victims.

                1. JBird

                  One might almost think that our Famously Free Press™️ is too busy to cover all the shenanigans. What they are so assiduously covering must be really important.

      4. Lord Koos

        I may be one of the people you referred to as commenting about prisoners being able to get out of jail for a time by fighting fires… however my point was that it explained why prisoners would volunteer for such work, not whether that work was fairly paid or whether it was “joyful” service. I don’t know if you’ve ever been locked up (I have), but I can assure you that if you are incarcerated, just being able to be outdoors for a few days is a real blessing and I fully understand why many inmates would want to do it. From that point of view, hanging around Mt Shasta fighting fires is far better than sitting in a cell in San Quentin, no matter if you’re paid or not. In addition, your comment about “vicious sociopaths” demonstrates that you have little understanding of the type of people who are locked up.

          1. anon

            yep, and they destroy far, far, far more victims per each, white gloved — never punished — vicious sociopath. The ratios are usually at least one white gloved sociopath to thousands of victims who will never recover from the politically sanctified™ abuse.

            Jeff Bezos’ name comes to mind —speaking of slavery.(in a comment above). And then, of course, those endearing Banks, some of whose victims, per Corporate Personhood, neared a million or more?

        1. Oregoncharles

          I have it directly from a current prisoner that fighting wildfire would be regarded as an opportunity – to do some good, as well as to get outside for while.

          He’s a good example of a “vicious criminal:” an alcoholic who drove drunk once too often, and caused an accident that hurt people. He has some making up to do with society, and sees it just that way.

        2. JTMcPhee

          I have spent a day in a mean jail in Pearsall, Texas on a trumped-up traffic charge (Pearsall lives on traffic cop income, I was a GI on leave, driving from Ft. Hood, TX, hoping to go to Monterey, Mexico to explore). Small experience, indeed, a different kind of being locked up than being assigned to Vietnam. I also worked as a student prosecutor, both in municipal court and in the disciplinary proceedings at Walpole Prison. Again, small experience. Also was a member of the Washington Bar Association’s Corrections Commitee. I do have a title experience (not current, so far) with prisoners of various types. Walpole is maximum security, the muni court cases were mostly petty drug offenses, small drug-related property crimes, and drunk-driving and battery and the catchalls of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

          I do know, all too well, that the large majority of inmates are there for quite petty offenses. Though maybe you might give on the point that there’s more than a few pretty nasty incorrigible people locked up. I’ll stick with my sense that it’s a defect in our culture, that puts people locked up by the defectives in the position of putting their lives in jeopardy as firefighters. Not even paid. So “the government” that stacks the decks in favor of the rich and transfers all kinds of wealth to them while destroying public goods and service,
          can save a billion or so. In service to the drive to preserve property endangered by the idiocies of other property owners not only moving into areas that are so very “scenic” and “natural,’ but then doing and requiring all kinds of stupid and careless stuff that massively increases the dangers to their property.

          Slave labor?

    2. RopeADope

      Inmates get to stay at fire camps in the outdoors rather than locked in a tiny box at a high security facility. Fire duty is considered a plum gig by prisoners.

  2. Jesper

    Which Side Are They On?

    It seems that the first by the post system can either evolve to the choice being between the two good candidates or devolve into being a choice between the least bad.
    If oligarchs are on the opposite side of the common people and one of the two candidates is already biased in favour oligarchs position what will then happen? Will the other candidate move closer towards the oligarchs position as well (are there benefits for that politician to do so)? And if that does happen, what will the candidate supporting the oligarchs do? Support the oligarchs even more?
    There is a talk of ‘normalising’ radicalised views and it is said to be a danger when it comes to racist views.
    It seems that the same can be said about the radical position of the oligarchs. The drift towards their position has happened. In the US it seems that the Democrats are drifting towards the oligarchs position and the Republican response has been to move even further towards the oligarchs view. The normalisation of the position/view of the oligarchs position has now gone so far that it looks like what is now is what should be. Third way centrist…..

    I’ve not yet seen a place where first by the post system does not devolve into voting for the least bad candidate. I suppose that countrywide coordinated effort can be made – independents can do nothing to change – but doing that is practically impossible :(

  3. fresno dan

    Secret DMV office near California Capitol serves lawmakers and their staff Sacramento Bee. No need for them to queue like the peasants.

    I’m embarrassed to say that when I moved back to CA from Maryland after retiring, I was shocked at how poorly my home state CA DMV (department of motor vehicles) handled issuance of driver’s licenses compared to Maryland. Obviously, if the elected officials exempt themselves from a slow cumbersome process, there isn’t going to be much incentive to reform it…
    Maybe this will light a fire….uh, start the ball rolling to begin streamlining the DMV.

    1. timbers

      Also, while we’re are at it, let’s abolish all healthcare and pensions currently provided and compel all elected officials including Congress to receive ONLY Obamacare on the exchanges and Social Security and Medicare.

      Make the elected live under the laws they make us live by.

      Will that improve the laws we live under that they pass? I would like to think so.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        You do realize that you are asking that a pack of liars, thieves, and psychopaths behave responsibly, right?

    2. Lobsterman

      I went to the Cali DMV in my town a few months ago. It was fine. I made an appointment, took my renewal test, got my picture taken, changed my address, and was out the door in an hour and a half. I’ll probably do pretty much the same thing ten years from now.

    3. wilroncanada

      And all being above average, they get at least 48 out of 50 on the road test, missing only one or two pylons each.

  4. fresno dan

    Which Side Are They On? Jacobin

    Two aspects of this fight make it especially interesting to watch. First, California is a deeply blue state. Its governor is a Democrat, and its legislature’s upper and lower chambers are, respectively, 64 percent and 69 percent Democratic. The Golden State is now “the de facto leader of left-leaning America,” as veteran political analyst Ronald Brownstein recently wrote. So, unlike their counterparts at the national level, California’s Democrats can’t blame pro-business policy outcomes on Republicans. And we’re in a political moment in which Democrats are under unusually strong pressure to present themselves to their base as progressive champions.
    CA has the most billionaires….because billionaires are sweet, altruistic givers who are interested in advancing governance that promotes fraternity, liberty, and equality….and are totally like unconcerned with such crass things such as getting even more billionairy…..

    1. Lee

      CA also has a very high rate of poverty as do other true blue states and localities such as those touted by Hillary Clinton as high GDP areas that voted for her.

      1. Lord Koos

        Percentage-wise, blue states have nowhere near the levels of poverty seen in red states such as Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, etc. Not even close.

        1. JBird

          Still here and growing in all the blue states.

          California is so wealthy that the legislature could end homelessness, implement single payer healthcare for all, and re-institute free higher education this year. Won’t happen.

          Screaming about gun control, or racism, or some BS identity issue without address the underlying causes, and in ways that will not help most Californians? Oh yes. Must get those donations or better said, those bribes. Actually governing for the the general welfare would reduced them.

          This state is not run by a leftist government. It is not a “blue” or “red” state. It is a state controlled by a corrupt neoliberal regime more concerned about its financial gravy train than the welfare of Californians.

          1. fresno dan

            August 12, 2018 at 7:25 pm

            eye opening!!!
            Just goes to show that what is advertised is 180 degrees from reality. But if we were in acknowledged reality, we might have to do something about it….

        2. anon

          Not at all trying to disrespect you, but huh?.

          See my comment here and if you desire links, just conduct this search: California has the highest poverty rate in the US.

          If you want to further verify regarding CA Blue Metro Areas™, conduct searches for: 2017 PIT Homelessness Report CA Blue Metro area [1], entering in your CA Blue Metro Area of interest (Los Angeles County, San Francisco County, Santa Clara County). I’m pretty sure Blue™ San Mateo County, now considered a part of Silicon Valley, has had their cops force out all those who became homeless while living and working there for decades, or their entire life (just like some of the cities in Santa Clara County, such as the very large, never discussed in mainstream news — though smaller cities such as Mountain View and Palo Alto are — cities of Santa Clara and Sunnyvale have forced their homeless into San Jose, or points beyond that), so don’t bother with that San Mateo County PIT count for any of the truly stark evidence .

          [1] PIT (which stands for Point In Time) Homelessness Reports are generally conducted biannually in late January, during odd numbered years (though some areas such as Blue™ Seattle Metro Area/King County Washington, and Red™ San Diego County, California, which also have horrid homelessness problems, may conduct them annually).

      2. anon

        Yep, as measured by the US Census Bureau, California has the highest rate of poverty in the United States, while having the highest GDP in the United States, and the 5th highest GDP in the world.

        California also has the most unsheltered homeless (New York’s homeless are far, far more sheltered), and contrary to popular myth, it can get quite (as in hypothermia) cold in California at night; even in the summer, particularly in San Francisco, for someone with a worn out immune system especially.

        Those California unsheltered homeless are predominantly in historically Blue™ Metro Areas, such as the Los Angeles Metro Area, the San Francisco Metro Area, and Silicon Valley. Increasingly though, California’s rural areas are places where those (even despite degrees and vast Skill Sets™) in those Blue Metro™ areas — who became homeless in their own Silicon Valley communities, for example, and were forced out by cops, etcetera — escape to with: cars, tents, etcetera, and then drive up the homeless rates in those areas.

        During the early 2000’s and beyond I noticed in more than one Almanac, including the New York Times Almanac, the inverse and horrid inequality/poverty rates in cities within the five, majority Blue,™ highest GDP States: California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois (Blue State™ Pennsylvania being the 6th highest, last I checked), and I believe there is most definitely a correlation between Poverty and a high State GDP.

        Never have never will, voted Republican, but the Blue State/City™ Mythology is venal.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Uber and Lyft gave permission for their “independent contractors” to refuse gigs during the alt-right rally in DC. Since when does an “independent contractor” have to ask their client’s permission not to work on a project?

      A question, we note, that is not asked whenever this sort of topic arises in the news. It’s simply taken for granted that the “independent contractors” working for gig companies should need such permission.

      This seems to me a companion to the piece about the trade unions getting behind McCulloch. The fact is, as World Socialist Web Site notes repeatedly, that those running the unions aren’t interested in what their rank-and-file wants; like the GOP and the Third Way Dems, they rely on apathy to maintain themselves in the catbird seat while they throw their membership under the steamroller.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Thank you for this. A perfect example is one of the unions I belong to, the AFT, and its corrupt national misleadership.

  5. gordon

    The “decalogue” of imperial empire building has some interesting stuff and may provoke discussion, but I would like to take issue with (Thesis 5): “…There is no question that President Trump suffers a serious mental disorder…”.

    I don’t think so.

    I think Donald Trump is a pretty ordinary American, at bottom. He isn’t sophisticated, he isn’t very knowledgeable, but that’s typical, not exceptional. It isn’t a symptom of “disorder”. In particular his ideas about the world outside America are childish – but that applies to the great majority of Americans, so he is representative as far as that is concerned. I think the idea that non-Americans are inferior and should do what Americans tell them to do is very widespread in the US, quite likely a majority view, so when Pres. Trump treats foreigners like inferiors he is representing general American opinion. In fact it seems to me that Donald Trump is the most widely representative US President there has been for some time, and that his speeches, tweets, tantrums, backslidings, bullyings, shortsightedness, vanity, ignorance, paranoia and rages are a very genuine reflection of general US opinion.

    1. Quentin

      Right Gordon, Donald Trump is nothing more or less than a true red-blooded American in all his glory. Maybe it useful to see him as a slightly twisted version of Dick Cheney or even a sainted John McCain, not to mention the woman candidates who I will not name out of fear of reprisals.

    2. Carolinian

      Your assessment is probably correct but one could point out that those supposedly more sophisticated folk at the Council on Foreign Relations seem to have the same patronizing attitude toward the rest of the world. American arrogance is fed by American power, top to bottom. In the case of the CFR the ignorance seems to be willful and they are infecting the rest of the country with their hysteria.

      Here’s an interesting tale of invincible American ignorance.

      1. bassmule

        Did any of us believe that month after month of “Russia!Russia!Russia!” was not going to have consequences with the general public? I thought Mrs. Clinton’s red-baiting was stupid. I thought the NY Times and WaPo were venal for running with it. But damn, look what they’ve done.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Since there is nothing red about Russia, calling the campaign red-baiting is obsolete though easy to say.

          Truer though harder-to-say would be calling it the anti-russianitic racist anti-russianism it really is. And someone should study the history of who-all was paper-clipped into this country to see if there is a real-and-genuine rescued-nazi link between the paper-clip nazis from that time to the pro-nazi policies of today.

          Supporting the genuine neo-nazi parties in Ukraine is genuine support for the real-thing naziism. The historical links and ties between today’s CIA/CFR/Clinton/etc. and the paper-clipped nazis from right after WWII really should be really studied.

      2. Richard

        Almost 3 decades after the fall of communism and we’re again being taught to hate and fear russians reflexively. It turns out Marx was a red herring.
        My response to the sauna guy would have been (I hope):
        “You think Russia is a dictatorship? Okay, but why does that even matter to you? Neither one of us lives there, or has our hopes and dreams caught up in that system. We both live here in the US . What do you think about our political system”
        I say this in full knowledge that I avoid political discussions in most situations, and would probably just try to deflect.

    3. FluffytheObeseCat

      Donald Trump’s lack of sophistication may be typical of the average American. His spoilt character is not. The vast majority of Americans have not spent the past 40 years in a billionaire bubble, surrounded by yes-men and obsequious family members whose lives revolve around currying favor with the ‘great man’.

      Most people across this country are not even as petty and sneer-prone as the coastal professional classes (who despise Trump), much less the Snarler-in-Chief himself. However, normal people aren’t the ones who get interviewed, and cited as heartland natives, when our opinion makers foray into the savage hinterlands of Walla Walla, Waco, or Witchita. Instead, when in red states they tend to quote loud mouthed braggarts drawn from local elites. I’m not claiming there is a shortage of loud mouthed braggarts out here, it’s just that they are not in the majority. However, you would never know it from reading the Times or the WaPo.

      1. Wukchumni

        All of my life the oh so very rich have been heralded as the ne plus ultra of our society, something to aspire to, as in yes, you could own a 14,535 sq foot house with 28 bedrooms and a total of 2,457 windows, if you only tried harder.

        I expect an amazing backlash against any opulent displays in such a fashion, for one of the key things when the reign of error was running for office, was how often he told his adoring audience just how wealthy he is…

        When the worm turns, there’ll be a pauper-ization in terms of looks, like you wouldn’t believe~

      2. Lord Koos

        Most Americans do not have a fortune handed to them at birth, and most small businesses do not stiff contractors and employees ala Trump.

    4. Roger Boyd

      I think Donald Trump is a pretty ordinary American PLUTOCRAT , at bottom.

      There, fixed it for you.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In the article, it seems like it’s more relevant (to the author) that Trump suffers a serious mental disorder.

        Not he or she is not alone, in prioritizing that way.

        1. ambrit

          Yet Ronald Reagan’s administration zombie walked through a second term with the head man suffering from Alzheimers. Let’s have a show of hands. Who called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked then?
          I thought so.

          1. ArcadiaMommy

            I’m not old enough to recall anything specifically from the Reagan presidency that I haven’t read or watched on TV, but maybe if Reagan had a twitter account and an iPhone citizens would have figured out his dementia sooner. Not sure if there was the cable news cycle then. He also seemed to have a loving relationship with Mrs. Reagan and she seemed to want to protect him from anything too weird getting public. The current Mrs. Trump clearly has no sway over her husband (who does?) and his goofy twitter rants make him sound like your old uncle who is getting tired and needs to be put to bed.

            1. ambrit

              The entire Iran Contra fiasco reeked of Caudillismo.
              As for Nancy’s Regency; I’ve read that the Court Astrologer was dragooned into being Minister without Portfolio.
              Agreed about the Twitterverse being a degree different from the old style ‘Official’ MSM domination of the Eighties.
              About poor old Uncle and his reactionary rants; today he would be dropped off at the edge of the homeless encampment behind the WalMart down in the Deplorableville.

              1. HotFlash

                I remember when the news about First Lady Nancy’s astrologer came out. I was greatly relieved, I had been afraid that President Ron had been running things on his own.

    1. Roger Boyd

      So, he will cut down a bit on corruption and reduce the role of the US in the area, what is there not to like? AND he was a great cricketer!

  6. Chris

    Not to overlook the continued documentation of empire collapse and poisonous wall street shenanigans on display, but my family enjoyed something this weekend that others in the commentariat might appreciate too…

    We got to camp at Cherry Springs, near Galeton, PA. Cherry Springs is a small “dark sky” park in the Susquahannock forest and it’s known for being an excellent observatory site. The local community and students put on astronomy programs for children and adults around sunset and when the sun goes down you’re treated to a spectacular view of the night sky. We were there to see the Perseid meteor shower with friends. The camp site is clean, the people are friendly, and the Rangers keep everyone in line. Reservations for important sky watching dates typically need to be made 1 year in advance. Cost was $40 for the permit for our site.

    It was wonderful to see the meteor shower last night with friends, and a community of people filled with young, old, students, professors, carpenters, etc. We were all there to see the night sky. We all “oohed” and “ahhed” as the shooting stars trailed blue, purple, and green across the heavens. The wonder we all felt erased a lot of differences for a little while. I couldn’t remember the last time I had enjoyed natural beauty like that with a crowd. It’s good to be reminded that we all do still have things in common and that there are still beautfiul things in the world.

    1. Wukchumni

      We always stay up for the Perseids and you never know what you’re gonna get…

      About 8 years ago we were backpacking to Ansel Lake and got tired and stopped @ a no-name lake that was about 100 yards long with a small island @ the 25 yard line, and it was a shallow lake, maybe 10 feet deep, perfect for swimming.

      We set up our hammocks on the north side of the lake on a 20 foot high outcrop of granite, and glimpsed a spectacular show overhead, and then it dawned on us to look down @ the lake, where we watched the reflection of shooting stars upon the surface of the water.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      The Northern Tier of PA has a lot of gorgeous places to visit—or did until the eastern part of it became Frackers’ Wonderland. I cringe every time I hear what’s happening there.

  7. Bugs Bunny

    Re “How smallpox claimed its final victim”. There are more than a few topics for discussion (Skripals?) But just one point: Jenner would spend years getting his smallpox vaccine approved today and moreover would likely be fought at every step in the process by pharma companies with a vested interest in established “treatments”. After Tuskegee and Thalidomide, I do understand the need for IRBs and close supervision of research on human subjects but it seems that sometimes only blind audaciousness moves us forward.

    1. JBird

      True, but don’t forget just how lethal and omnipresent smallpox was. Jenner’s vaccine might have gotten very special attention and rapid approval.

      The disease was everywhere, anyone of any social class, could get it, most did, many died, or were scarred for life. Something like half a million died each year from it just in Europe. Then there were all the other deaths around the Earth. For over a thousand years. With something that lethal, the rule of money ends for a while.

  8. DorothyT

    Re: Death of V.S. Naipaul

    I’ve never forgotten this New Yorker piece about Naipaul written by James Wood in 2008. How to think of him as both “Wounder and Wounded” as Wood titles his piece? I was younger when I read it, and internalized a distaste for Naipaul the person and subsequently avoided his writings. Older now and rereading Wood this morning, I will read Naipaul in context of his life experiences, while not needing to feel that my distaste of his person must change.

    1. Olga

      His early books were quite good. We all read him in the 80s. Then as if something happened, he changed – and not for the better. It may have started with “Among the Believers.” At some point, he became very anti-Islamic, in a kind of visceral way. Who knows, maybe living among the high society in London affected him.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Not sure of the dates, but could it have been the fatwa against Rushdie? Someone like Naipaul might have taken that personally. It certainly didn’t reflect well on the religion.

      2. Mark Pontin

        Olga wrote: he became very anti-Islamic … Who knows, maybe living among the high society in London affected him.

        Who knows, huh?

        Well, Naipaul was a frightful snob, but his second wife was a muslim. So please forgive my thoughtcrime, but here’s a radical theory: could it just possibly be that Naipaul’s attitude had something to do not only with his actual experiences while visiting Iran and other Islamic states, but also the realities of Indian history, his having Hindu ancestors and so on.

        For instance, here’s the (sanitized) Wikipedia account of the Muslim invasions and conquests in the sub-continent from the 7th century through to the 19th, and note the section on Timur/Tamburlaine and the Timurid Empire, which featured the regular construction of towers of human heads that mounted horsemen couldn’t see over —
        Here’s the Wiki focusing on Timur —

        Other Muslim rulers were only somewhat less brutal and this sort of thing went on for almost thirteen-hundred years. There’s really nothing else like it in human history, since Hitler and Stalin had the benefit of 20th century industrial technologies and bureaucracies to assist their genocides.

        1. J Sterling

          Nobody would be surprised by Anglophobia in a former British possession not colonized to replacement by Anglos. Why should anyone be surprised by Islamophobia in a former Islamic possession not colonized to replacement by Muslims?

    2. Craig H.

      Google is failing at locating the Theroux writeup on Naipaul that I read so long ago I forgot the best parts. When I read it I thought, this is so great it’s unforgettable. I was wrong. There really isn’t anything to compare with reading one good writer trashing another writer and it’s personal. They really put their all into it. Who cares if it’s credible?

      1. DorothyT

        Re: Craig H. response re V.S. Naipaul

        Perhaps this is the Theroux letter to the editor in the 2009 NY Review of Books that may or may not be the one you haven’t been able to find. “On V.S. Naipaul: An Exchange; Paul Theroux, Margaret Murray; reply by Ian Buruma”

        This also includes a letter to the editor of NYRB from Margaret Murray in which she writes a stunning rebuke regarding Patrick French’s biography of Naipaul, “Vidia says I didn’t mind the abuse. I certainly did mind.”

      2. Mark Pontin

        Craig H. wrote: Google is failing at locating the Theroux writeup on Naipaul that I read so long ago I forgot the best parts.

        There’s a whole Theroux book of 368 pages, Sir Vidia’s Shadow, that was published in early 2001 and is an account of Theroux’s thirty-years-plus relationship with Naipaul. The New Yorker excerpted some of it the year before, IIRC. That may be what you’re thinking of.

        There really isn’t anything to compare with reading one good writer trashing another writer and it’s personal.


        Also, Theroux has never had one really big, indisputably good novel. But he’s a solid B+ talent — kind of like a contemporary Somerset Maugham who’s never written his Ashenden. And the times when I do pick up a book or an article by him I’m struck by how he’s often better than a lot of folks who we are currently supposed to rate as modern masters — like Franzen, Auster, Lethem — in the wake of all these long-standing, significant talents who have died — Denis Johnson, Roth, Updike, Bellow, and now Naipaul — over the last decade or so.

        Who’s left, in fact? Only Cormac McCarthy and — arguably, debatably — Don DeLillo and Thomas Pynchon.

    3. kareninca

      Please consider reading “A Bend in the River.” It is the best novel I have ever read. Okay, maybe top three, so I don’t have to make a wild claim. It is short. You won’t regret it.

      1. Mark Pontin

        kareninca wrote: “A Bend in the River.” It is the best novel I have ever read … Okay, maybe top three,

        The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.

        It’s a great novel.

  9. Karen

    We’d love to have an update on Yves’s laptop situation and resolution. Sounds like many NC readers rode to the rescue!

    1. Yves Smith

      Sorry if I seemed remiss. I was planning to have Jerri-Lynn put a note at the top of Links tomorrow.

      Short version is many readers generously provided donations as well as sending supportive e-mails and I spent a chuck of last evening thanking them (but oddly one has an e-mail address w/ Paypal that bounced back). I did get a truly psychopathic e-mail from a reader who is furious about our Brexit coverage. Odd how people seem determined to silence views they don’t like rather than simply frequenting outlets that conform to their prejudices.

      I’ve been calling the 2 police stations where cab drivers drop off lost items and it hasn’t turned up :-(

      1. Carla

        Thanks for the update, Yves. We’ll keep hoping for the best: that even belatedly, your laptop is turned in. Very sorry that anyone would use this as an occasion to send you a nasty-gram re: Brexit or anything else. What is wrong with people???

      2. JBird

        Odd how people seem determined to silence views they don’t like rather than simply frequenting outlets that conform to their prejudices.

        Fearful people. They have to seek out and try to silence the unbelievers, or the more awful apostates. If other beliefs are allowed to exist, they might eventually have to think about their own beliefs. For many that’s more terrifying than dying.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “More than 100 newspapers will publish editorials decrying Trump’s anti-press rhetoric”

    One wonders what the results would be if Trump decreed a poll taken during the next election asking each voter if they have trust in the media or not. God – can you imagine? The newspapers, TV networks, etc. would all go ballistic. It would be hilarious.

    1. nippersdad

      Something I have been finding particularly ironic is Bernie Sanders’ repeated jabs at Trump for calling most of the media “fake news”, and its attendant effect of reducing the public’s trust in our media. Seems like it was only a couple of years ago that, when they weren’t actively disparaging both it and his supporters, the media blacked out his campaign altogether. His outspoken support seems strangely unfounded.

      I wonder what has suddenly made him so trusting. The same might be said for his newfound faith in the intelligence services. He has dined out on his vote against the invasion of Iraq for years now, so when the exact same people are calling for sanctions against Russia for everything from their support for Crimean separatists (Why does Bernie hate democracy? Why the sudden affection for Nazi’s?) to the Skirpal fraud (Why not have the OPCW finish investigating it before sanctioning them?), he is all in.

      Is this clarifying, does he have a bad memory or is he bought?

      1. JTMcPhee

        Maybe Sanders is still hoping that the 4th Estate will revert to an earlier incarnation, where there was a modicum of actual investigative reporting, reporters were rewarded and not silenced for telling the rest of us about the sins and horrors that the rulers and owners committed, and even hinting at pathways to a political economy aligned with the general welfare, rather than the other thing…

        1. polecat

          So, your maybe suggesting that he has aquired T. F. Syndrome* .. 4th estate derivative .. Do I have that right ??

          *a certain Thomas Frank ..

      2. cm

        Might have something to do with this:

        Federal authorities are investigating a 2010 land deal for a Vermont college that was run at the time by Jane Sanders, the wife of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The deal ultimately contributed to her ouster as president of the college.

        1. nippersdad

          It is very interesting that Brady Toensing (stepson) works for diGenova and Toensing, of Victoria Toensing fame. It is also interesting that he is licensed in Maryland, Washington and Vermont(?). It looks like the court case was brought by a conservative Catholic, someone who might have an axe to grind against someone that is not beholden to either conservative Catholic or evangelical protestant pressure groups.


          You are right, this looks like a hit job; all the major conservative players, including Trump, look to be, at the least, associated. Far from bending to their will, though, seems like he could use this to discredit his opposition.

          1. Carolinian

            Even if there’s no illegality the episode doesn’t make Jane Sanders look good. Those who think Bernie should run again may not be factoring in the kitchen sink that a Trump re-election bid would throw at him.

            1. nippersdad

              However it might turn out, I would love to see that debate, to see Sanders bring up Trump University and his failed casinos were they to try it. I would like to think that, given the times just after the crash, Jane Sanders would get a benefit of the doubt that would be utterly beyond Trump. It would be a pretty unequal fight.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              Small but growing numbers of people are no longer swayed or impressed by the “kitchen sink” attack. They know that every person either has a real kitchen sink in their background which can be thrown, or otherwise can be measured for a tailor-made cardboard-replica kitchen fake-sink which will be thrown anyway to impress the easily-impressed.

              A lot of people nowadays expect a kitchen sink to be thrown and judge the target by how he responds after being hit with the kitchen sink. Does he throw a firebomb through the kitchen-sink-thrower’s front window and then shoot everyone who comes running out of the burning house? Good! He or she may have what it takes to deal with America’s foreign and domestic enemies if he/she gets elected to office. Does he/she fall to his/her knees and beg for mercy? Does he/she point herm’s nose in the air and declaim about how “we are better than that” and “when they go low, we go high”? Very bad. He/she is either a worthless little worm or even worse . . . could be a secret kitchen-sink collaborator.

              John Kerry demoralized a lot of would-have-been supporters when he failed to call in Napalm Air Strikes on the swiftboat-attackers. If Sanders runs through the primaries and maybe even the election, i want to see him direct Napalm Raids against whatever subhuman scum thinks to kitchen-sink him with ” Jane Sanders! Vermont College!”

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I would disagree with him then, our captured press forms opinions, with no press at least people would be forming their own opinions.
          So the formed opinion is we’re all supposed to pretend that US/Saudi incinerating of 43 children in a Yemeni school bus is no big deal. Or that $50K in Facebook ad buys, half of it after the election, justifies the overturning of the people’s choice for president.

      3. Roger Boyd

        Perhaps he has Stockholm Syndrome, falling in love with your abuser/kidnapper – and his need not to completely burn the bridge with the backers of the party that he wants to support his run for President?

        I do worry that it would be a bit too easy for Bernie to die suddenly and it be blamed on his age, let’s remember the beheading of the left (MLK, Bobby Kennedy, Fred Hampton, Malcolm X) in the late 1960’s when they got a bit too successful while looking for more fundamental change.

        Histories of the rise of the right/neoliberalism always seem to leave out the assassinations of the alternative leaders a few years prior to the Trilateral Commission report etc.

  11. Urblintz

    I found the Buzzfeed article on the 11 year old hacker troubling. It doubles down on the “Russia hacked the 2016 election” despite widespread contrary opinions within the hacking community while offering no proof, serving instead as stenography for the unverified hysterics of our mendacious and murderous intelligence services and promoting the new and seriously dangerous new McCarthyism emitting from our corporate media and political class.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Ironically, several States found that there was someone trying to get into their electoral systems and when they followed up found that the source was – the Department of Homeland Security. That story got dropped down the memory hole real quick.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Can’t find it using Google now but it definitely did happen. The results are probably buried on page 465 in their returned results. I was struck at the time about why Homeland Security would be doing it and I guess that the excuse is that they were ‘just testing’. Personally I am more concerned about the story that came out of the 2012 election-

          The video of Karl Rove on YouTube having a meltdown was classic. That page I made sure to save on my computer so that it would never be ‘lost’.

        2. cm

          One example:

          Indiana is the newest state to accuse the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of trying to hack its state electoral system.

          The state’s IT team claimed that a DHS IP address repeatedly scanned Indiana’s system. The attempted hacks occurred tens of thousands of times over a period of 46 days, beginning while Vice President Mike Pence was still the governor of Indiana.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I found the Buzzfeed article on the 11 year old hacker troubling.

      I think that was the point.

      Lack of “proof” has clearly been overcome as a problem. Just the idea that it can be done, and by an 11-year-old GIRL (females have inferior “technical skills”, or so we’ve been told by silicon valley geniuses) no less, is all that’s necessary should any election outcome be undesired.

      I’d go so far as to say that this country has seen it’s last universally accepted “legitimate” election, and only god knows what that means for our “democracy.”

      But what I find so peculiar about the current iteration of the vote hacking saga is the emphasis on Florida, the state in which I reside. From the george w. shindig in 2000 to the nail biter in 2016, election “issues” seem to plague Florida. This year there is an unknown number of displaced Puerto Ricans remaining in the state who can now vote–an interesting wild card. Many, if not most, still live in temporary housing (motels and hotels) at government expense.

      Florida senator bill nelson–up for reelection and facing the “formidable” term-limited governor rick scott– has raised the issue of Florida election hacking as does this article. My sense is that nelson’s reelection is not assured. I get the feeling that emphasis on Florida’s voting machines is preemptive, to be used on an “as needed” basis

      1. Lambert Strether

        It certainly is curious that hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, never figure in the discussion. It’s almost like both parties like matters just as they are.

      2. Jason Boxman

        I can’t in good conscience vote for Nelson ever again. I’ll probably write in Alan Grayson. There’s little hope for a state that elected an actual criminal, twice.

      3. Urblintz

        I too live in Florida and indeed the voting issues here have been around forever and do not result from Russian “hacking.” I think the mummy Nelson loses to the shrieking skull, Rick Scott, and Bill’s desperate to create a reason, beyond his own spinelessness, before the fact.

      4. Carla

        I propose that “vote” “voting” and “voter” be put in scare quotes from now on, and will endeavor to remember to do so. Same for “election” unless it is consistently spelled (s)election.

        1. Carey

          Are you suggesting that Emma Goldman was right when she said that if
          voting could change anything it would be illegal?

          As events continue to unfold, I am leaning toward that opinion.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well, the Republican party must think having the wrong people voting could change something, because they keep trying to outlaw the wrong people from voting.

            And the Democratic party must think having the wrong people voting could change something, because they keep sniffily refusing to mass-register the wrong people to vote.

    3. Peter Pan

      The BuzzFeed News article is puzzling.

      First, the headline includes “Discuss”. If there’s a comment section on that website I sure as heck couldn’t find it. Why “Discuss”?

      Second, the subhead jumps into “…, they have to wrestle with scaring people away from voting.” Wow, how did they come to this conclusion? Does the (weekend?) editor have an agenda?

      Third, the defense of “physical security” is laughable in light of the recent theft of a turboprop airliner in a physically secure area of SeaTac airport. I’m fairly certain that physical security and vetting is better at airports than any place where electronic voting machines are stored.

    4. Elizabeth Burton

      Don’t forget the basic rules of propaganda:

      “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” — Josef Goebbels

      1. knowbuddhau

        Thanks, I hadn’t read that particular Goebbels quote. That’s it exactly.

        “…For the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

        That ain’t clever, it just sounds that way. What was he on? The Truth is the balance of the Whathavuverse that isn’t your little lie, smart guy. So you’ve defined yourself into rather a tiny little corner, where it’s just a matter of time before the inevitable takes place. And the Whathavuverse has all of that there is.

        And all the FiveEyes go, “Brilliant! That Goebbels, he sure was smart,” somehow overlooking the smoking ruins of most of Europe and much of the world. And Rove goes, “Hold my beer….” And the Clinton Gang goes, “Yeah! Me too!”

  12. Carolinian

    Re A Decalogue of American Empire-Building–this one hits home IMHO

    Leftists frequently reverse course: they are radicals out of office and reactionaries in government, eventually falling between both chairs. We witness the phenomenal collapse of the German Social Democratic Party, the Greek Socialist Party (PASOK), (and its new version Syriza) and the Workers Party in Brazil. Each attracted mass support, won elections, formed alliances with bankers and the business elite – and in the face of their first crises, are abandoned by the populace and the elite.

    Shrewd but discredited elites frequently recognize the opportunism of the Left, and in time of distress, have no problem in temporarily putting up with Left rhetoric and reforms as long as their economic interests are not jeopardized. The elite know that the Left signal left and turn right.

    Of course he’s talking more about overseas politics. You would have to put on your thinking cap to identify a “leftist” American president. However there’s no such problem recognizing opportunism in people like Obama who, like Bill Clinton, was more than happy to have voters think of him as a leftist.

    It could be that when it comes to politics character is more important than ideology. And it could also be that it is in short supply–a consequence of the successful pol’s need to be all things to all people.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      and in the face of their first crises, are abandoned by the populace and the elite.


      It seems like there are two factors involved in this one sentence.

      1. Abandoned by the populace — is it a character problem for the leftists, with their opportunism?

      2. Abandoned by the elite – are the sincere leftists being taken advantage of here, by the elites?

    1. Yves Smith

      I’m not sure what you mean. We’ve been linking regularly to pieces on the mistreatment of and even greater threats against Assange. We also only provide 45 links a day so at to prevent Links from becoming overwhelming to us and to readers. We can’t cover everything and encourage readers to provide links in Comments to any news stories they deem worthy that were not included.

      If you mean having us write about Assange, that would be counter-productive since this site has been deemed to be an official Russian stooge by the Washington Post.

      1. nippersdad

        “…since this site has been deemed to be an official Russian stooge by the Washington post.”

        I’m glad to see that you have gotten your sense of humor back! There aren’t enough gulags on the planet to hold all of the people that the WaPo deems to be Russian stooges these days.

        1. ambrit

          Don’t worry about “enough Gulags on the planet to hold all of the people.” If more are needed, there is a glut of un-utilized commercial retail space in America. All it will take is some political will, and a ‘centrist’ consensus to effect. Plus, as an added bonus, the transformation of Bigg Boxx stores into FEMA Reeducation Centres will be a source of infrastructure jobs and an investor backdoor bail out.

            1. ambrit

              Agreed. We know that the American Circuses of “professional” sports are too valuable as population mind control systems to stop. Thus, the stadiums remain sports venues.
              I hope you have already mapped out your ‘backdoor’ route north to Canada for when you need to flee from the Purge. Keep your ‘Bug out Bag’ ready! (When sites like yours are suddenly ‘suspended’ by the Powers, it would be a good idea to go and visit your “Uncle” in Fredericton.)
              I’m aware that I often come across as a paranoid nutter. All well and good. But, I have read my history. Present times are following pretty much an ‘End of Empire’ path. One of the primary events of such a process is a violent suppression of dissent. That suppression process tends to become more ‘robust’ over time. When the Elites begin their infighting for primacy in earnest, we had better all be ready. The winner of that contest will have been ‘educated’ in a rough school indeed. Said adopted ‘rough’ ways will then be internalized and normalized. Then everyone will feel the pain. Hopefully, processes in our ‘modern’ times being sped up from in the days of yore, that part of the ‘Plutocratdammerung’ will go by quickly so that the survivors can get on with the rebuilding.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Reeducation Centres…


            Every time I see the singing and dancing by the Red Guards from the Cultural Revolution days, I am always impressed.

            So, I would add good entertainment to those centres (and a work guarantee program for starving artisans).

      2. HotFlash

        I thought Sara meant the 100 editorials that the Globe is organizing to support our Famously Free Press, since that was my first thought: “Will you guys be sayin’ anything nice about Mr. Assange?”

    2. Butch In Waukegan

      I believe Sara is referring to the linked story More than 100 newspapers will publish editorials decrying Trump’s anti-press rhetoric.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I think you’re right. This kind of misunderstanding is the reason I usually preface comments with the link title, as do others.

  13. Bill Smith

    What’s the deal with the Clinton Foundation tax return? Is it really at bad? Was the Foundation doing something unusual in the way they spent their money?

    1. Yves Smith

      Yes. Go read the post. The expenses v. the net spending on “the cause” are utterly out of line. See here for an example of what proper charity spending looks like, specifically”

      Spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.

      Formula for Standard 8:

      Total Program Service Expenses

      Total Expenses

      should be at least 65%

      You can see that the Clinton Foundation is way out of line on other standards, like hoarding cash. The Clintons claim that Bill and Chelsea, who sit on the board, receive no income from the Foundation. But query what expenses it pays on their behalf, given, for instance, that the Foundation paid for Chelsea’s wedding per Wikileaks (see

      1. tegnost

        FTL…”In an email from Jan. 4, 2012, Doug Band, a former top adviser to Bill Clinton, complained about Chelsea’s spending to John Podesta, now Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, citing “the investigation into her getting paid for campaigning, using foundation resources for her wedding and life for a decade, taxes on money from her parents. I hope that you will speak to her and end this. Once we go down this road …,” Band wrote.

      2. Pat

        I was shocked that they could find so little to spend their resources on. Although considering the arrogance of the Clintons and their continued incompetence in other things I probably shouldn’t be. I’m pretty sure the Zuckerberg and Gates faux charity money laundering organizations aren’t so blatant.

        3%, really? Couldn’t one of those well paid administrators start a group researching and administrating micro loans to sudebeckistan in the Caribbean? Couldn’t there be another small company formed to supposedly do something in their brief who could hire the drivers and maids rather than put them on the expense account? I mean have they learned nothing from their time in the government about faux small business and sub contractors?

        1. David Carl Grimes

          Shouldn’t they lose their tax status as a foundation. International NGOs are blacklisted if their expenses are more than 15% of revenue.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Everyone is positing that somehow the activities of the 1% are subject to the rule of law. Clearly they have not been paying attention.

              The Foundation is a scam. Pat above asks why they couldn’t find projects to invest in. Hate to tell you Pat, but the purpose of the Foundation is not charity. The purpose is to grift and scam. Of course they could have found projects to invest in had it been a real charity.

              In parallel we have the saga of the world’s richest man, who has declared he is giving nothing, zero, zip, nada, to philanthropy. Supposedly because philanthropic enterprises cannot accommodate all of his griftings. He declared instead that he intends to shoot his winnings into space.

              And let’s recall the origin of the word “philanthropy”. The Greeks used it to describe superior human beings. Samuel Johnson modified the usage to mean “love of humanity”. But Clinton, Bezos, et al are not superior human beings. And they certainly do not love humanity.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          “I mean have they learned nothing from their time in the government about faux small business and sub contractors?”

          Isn’t that the knock on HRC over her healthcare reform efforts in the 90’s? She couldn’t bother to design a plan around how small businesses actually operate and her efforts fell apart from there.

        3. John Wright

          >I was shocked that they could find so little to spend their resources on.

          Yes, given that HRC was the “most qualified, ever” Presidential candidate, one would have expected she would have an extremely long laundry list of worthy destinations for the cash.

          The spending behavior of the Foundation could be viewed as a statement to the effect “Everything’s fine, no need for any changes that HRC + Bill + Chelsea are aware of”

          Maybe her plan as President was to have a fireside chat to encourage every American family to set up their own foundation.

          After all it worked very well for Clintons.

          Foundations for all and everyone will be fine..

          1. Mel

            Off topic. I tried to work up something zingy on “most qualified candidate”, but never got it right. Nevertheless, “qualified” is one of those flexible words like “oversight”. This Wondermark comic gave an illustration of the usage I mean.

        4. marym

          The explanation for how the money is spent that I’ve read, but am not qualified to evaluate, is that the CF conducts charitable activities, rather than awarding grants. (Politifact link, which has additional links). Charity Watch and Charity Navigator give the CF good ratings.

          1. Bill Smith

            A lot of the charitable activities look like events (parties) where the Clinton’s, on Foundation expense accounts, hobnobbed with people to raise money for the next years round of events.

    2. Lunker Walleye

      Charles Ortel has been on Crowdsource the Truth youtube channel talking about the Clinton Foundation. Has anyone else seen any of his episodes? What is your opinion?

    3. sd

      Clinton Foundation 2014, they gave only 3% of their income to charities. $5 million dollars is not that much when an organization takes in just under $178 million. They spent more on staff than charities.

      Total revenue (line 12) ……………..$177,804,612.00
      Total grants to charity (line 13) ………..$5,160,385.00 (that’s less than 3%)
      Salaries (line 15)………………………..….$34,838,106.00
      Other expenses (line 17) ………………..$50,431,851.00
      Total expenses of………………………$91,281,145.00

      1. The Rev Kev

        You should punch in the search term Clinton Foundation Haiti into Google and see what comes back. I wonder if the hundreds of millions that they raised to build a hospital in Haiti ever got spent?

  14. Wukchumni

    I saw my first black swans in Perth in the early 80’s, and nothing untoward occurred, but seeing them now in the anecdote is just a little creepy, in terms of timing, no?

    1. ambrit

      Yes. Two of them at once?
      What are their names? Turkey and China? Pakistan and Bitcoin? The list goes on and on.

    2. Chris

      A while ago we had a Belgian exchange student stay with us for a year. When she saw her first black swan she was very concerned. Thought it was covered in pollution…

    3. The Rev Kev

      Funny story how based on what a Roman writer, Juvenal, once wrote, it was once assumed that all swans were white as a matter of a basic truth. In the 16th century a black swan was by definition something that was impossible. And then some Dutch explorers came back from Australia in 1697 saying: “Dude! You’ll never guess what we saw!” More on this at-

    4. Olga

      Hard to look at black swans and not immediately think about Swan Lake (ballet). They are very beautiful!

  15. SimonGirty

    If a given $5B 42″pipeline is welded out of spectacular Korean plate by clueless newbies; with turbulence from utilization of mixed AC & DC wires and capricious revision of parameters and consumables, causing scary clusters of comma shaped pores and transverse cracks. Fluoroscope operators told to let them be cut by certified NDE techs following expansion (ignoring their deplorable tracking system & abhorrent level of communications) it STILL was comforting to NOT use some of the US mills; now mostly owned by Russian or Indian oligarchs, most staffed by untrained indentured & scared transients. Use Turkish, Greek & German spiral mills? Or scary mills in Little Rock, Pearlington or Portland? Mills, Gas Companies, 3rd Party agencies & PHMSA all dumped their best, empirically knowageable, less craven, gullible and obsequious folks two decades ago. The slabs are mostly recycled Stalinist era tenements from Pripiat & Chernobyl any old way?

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Do you have something against periods ‘.’ ? Other than that … HUH? What are you commenting about and what is your comment intended to mean?

      1. ambrit

        I think he was commenting on the absolute s–t now being produced by foreign owned American industry. All the good people who knew their jobs and made decent wages were kicked to the curb. Less well trained and ‘psychologically marginal’ as in scared witless at the prospect of being sent home in disgrace by the ‘bosses’ if they speak up against excessive corner cutting by management, workers now produce the products. Short form is that all this neoliberal racing to the bottom gets innocent people needlessly killed when the resultant inferior ‘product’ fails.

        1. SimonGirty

          It’s academic, anyway? When they fail and poor-ass folks are vaporized, or die three decades later from obscure liver, kidney or pulminary issues… PHMSA will claim the foreign steel failed, due to subsidence, as opposed to earn-while-you-burn girth welds, who’s procedures changed daily, out of desperation over failing impacts or tensile tests. Thank you.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Thanks I didn’t notice this link: “Energy Executives Lament Trump Tariffs As Costs Rise On Pipeline Projects”. I agree with the assertion that ‘US’ made pipe is probably not all that well-made and the welding of new pipelines and the maintenance of all our pipelines is a disaster waiting to happen. I suppose the other assertion is that US labor is ‘badly used’ in too many ways, poorly trained, and anyone who might know what they were doing was long ago nudged to seek new opportunities … somewhere else. After all, management can’t have too many smart asses pointing out the obvious defects in the products or dangers in the work. I agree with that too.

            I don’t know what the slabs are that are “mostly recycled Stalinist era tenements from Pripiat & Chernobyl”. Is this a reference to slabs the pipelines will rest upon? If so, although they might not be entirely safe for those welding the pipeline together, they might be better made than new slabs made in one of the remaining US factories producing prestressed reinforced(?) slabs. In terms of total safety some actuary might be able to reasonably claim the total safety is maximized by using the Stalinist slabs. It’s a trade-off between some US workers getting sliced and diced when a cable snaps at a US factory, producing pre-stressed reinforced concrete, and the risks and costs of slab failures contributing to pipeline failures weighed against the long-term risks of obscure liver, kidney or pulmonary issues from the possible radioactivity in the slabs. [Besides: “The Zone of Alienation is considered relatively safe to visit, and several Ukrainian companies offer guided tours around the area.” ( Who knows, maybe if enough slabs come from Pripyat and its surrounds then some of their magic will attend to a US pipeline. We could have our own “Stalker” to lead special tours to the special Room sited near a special pipeline.]

            Bottom line is that Trump’s Tariffs accomplish little for US industry and for US labor other than news headlines? I assume the Tariffs are what’s “… academic, anyway?”

      2. kareninca

        I’ve entirely given up trying to read SimonGirty’s posts. It’s a shame, since they do seem to contain interesting content, but it really doesn’t matter how many times I try to read them, I just don’t get anything out of them due to the style of writing.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I too have trouble understanding SimonGirty’s posts. I think(?) I might have deciphered this one based on the further comments made and some websearches. Today is a slow day anyway.

  16. Wukchumni

    Was backpacking with a friend from SD who does volunteer work for an outfit called “Sierra Service Project”, and he related that on a recent project in Tijuana they were working on, that the US Government is deporting about 200 people a day through a gate in the border fence, and on the other side of the fence down under, deportees are only allowed a 4 hour period once a week in which to meet family or friends on the American side, and in addition to stalwart fences, there is a heavy mesh screen, and my friend told me, that it only allows for what he termed ‘pinkie kisses’ as the mesh is too small to allow any human contact.

    He told me there is a growing group of people that got citizenship via enlisting in our armed forces and were honorably discharged, but then committed some offense in the states, and got the heave ho, as in deported. He thought there were many hundreds of vets in that scenario in Tijuana, if not a thousand.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Plum gig or slave labor? California inmates fight wildfires for $1 an hour San Francisco Chronicle

    Interesting exercise to challenge our views of the world.

    Are conscripted solders slaves? Do they provide slave labor, working under even more dangerous conditions?

    1. cnchal

      > Are conscripted solders slaves? Do they provide slave labor, working under even more dangerous conditions?

      Yes and yes.

    2. Iguanabowtie

      Well, they’re certainly unfree labor. Past that point it’s all semantics in my opinion.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Conscription is “involuntary servitude;” the amendment that ended slavery was written that way precisely to rule out conscription, which caused serious riots during the Civil War.

  18. Summer

    Re: Inmates fighting fighters

    Services for the commons (the people) performed by inmates. (Can’t you hear the snickering politicos: Take rhat unionized workers!) Remember, inmates were also usee for the clean up of the big, toxic BP Gulf oil spill.

    Meanwhile, the govt is being controlled by people that should switch places with them.

    Now I’m thinking about “Shawshank Redemption.” The Tim Robbins character plays a former banker, wrongly jailed for murder. While in prison he gets protection by offering financial advice and work for the guards and the warden.
    When are elites going to say, “Hey, there is a model for saving money. Just think what not having to pay financial advisors will do for “growth.”


    1. SimonGirty

      An awful lot of the convict labor used during shock doctrine type ‘catastrophes,’ are simply those most vulnerable to a kleptocracy predating US chain-gangs. 1099 workers, some undocumented, all indentured by a system meant to end-run the 13th Amendment. Hardly notable, that these are frequently foreign owned multinationals; al Jazeera, DW & RT did features on the Dickenson nature of debt penury & incarceration, so it must be Rooski agitprop to take notice?

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Wildfires rage in the Algarve – in pictures Guardian


    The British form the largest expatriate community in Algarve.

    And the trend of owning a holiday home has been around for a long time.

    Here, we have

    1. second homes when many can’t even afford a first
    2. long distance vacations, usually by flying (jet fuel emissions)
    3. the fashion of going to hot places from colder places (necessitating air conditioning*)

    *especially egregious in the summer where northern Europeans are concerned. Their home countries are usually (but not this year) quite pleasant in the months of June, July and August, without the need for air conditioning (again, not this year, but usually).

        1. JBird

          TheSaker is saying that the restriction was manually done and the last reason given was because of inappropriate content but not because of too much violence.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Silicon Valley and its fatal attraction to Saudi Arabia FT

    It’s not ‘The world and its fatal attraction to the Silicon Valley?’

  21. Carla

    Re: My ancestry test…

    80%: Have privacy concerns about DNA testing
    17%: Said privacy concerns were their main reason for not trying it

    In the age of Facebook, this shouldn’t surprise anyone, but Geez ‘o man, the stupidity!

  22. Roger Boyd

    A decologue of American Empire Building:

    “Thesis 3
    Leftists frequently reverse course: they are radicals out of office and reactionaries in government, eventually falling between both chairs … The elite know that the Left signal left and turn right.”

    So true …

  23. Carey

    Is it possible that once in office anyone from the Left gets a certain talk, and shortly after that, an offer that they can’t refuse?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The memory of Trump, immediately upon taking office, visiting the CIA building will always be with me (unless we are all brainwashed by the Pavlov Institute from the Manchurian Candidate).

    2. RopeADope

      The talk happens before the election. If you look at the MILSEC cohort had uncovered there are 26 candidates they listed that have completed their primary. The progressives led by Our Revolution and Justice Democrats cost the Stasicrats 4 seats in the House. The loss of just 4 seats has unleashed a flood of vitriol from the media borg on those groups. It is noteworthy that the primary win rate of those Stasicrats would have been over 84% without the progressives. There may have been more DCCC Stasicrats added after that March article but I imagine the results are similar. There was also very little competition by progressives in the Stasicrat districts, this suggest a conversation was previously held.

    3. Lord Koos

      If that were true, why would the establishment media fight against lefty politicians? Or maybe they just hate progressive ideas being in the news?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Um, uh, take a quick glance at the owners of said news organs, mucho grifto coming their way from the sellers of Flying Robot Incinerators. No need to line up the undesirables and send them to the ovens, we bring the ovens to them! Worked a treat for 43 Yemeni children riding in a schoolbus, can’t have people complaining about charred corpses of 9-year olds when there’s so much grifto to be made, they all just got to see Allah a little ahead of schedule, that’s all. But take a look at that Lockheed stock, Hey I gotta get me some o dat grifto!

    4. JA139

      Is it possible that once in office anyone from the Left gets a certain talk, and shortly after that, an offer that they can’t refuse?
      Such as, if you play nice, you’ll get a 50 million dollar advance on your book about your presidency.
      Not remotely suggesting Obama was removely ‘left’ to begin with, but one can wonder. Tony Blair is worth I dont know how many millions now. Bill Clinton, on leaving office, wondered how they could afford to buy a house….

  24. Brian

    “its hard for the human ear to tell things apart”; spoken by people that at least acknowledge their own inability to hear fundamental differences in musical style. But to assume everyone shares that inability is wrong.
    “A Day in the Life” is not solely a John Lennon song musically. I think this was obvious from listening to it from the first go , but I am a musician and a songwriter. This song has elements of Lennon, McCartney and George Martin. John and Paul wrote together and separately. In the early days the writer often sang the song and the other duplicated the same line or did harmony. When one sings lead vocal, it is typically their song. Then we have this rare song where two different songs are brought together, John and Paul doing their own lead vocal. A Day in the Life is the first example of this. (that I can recall) But this is about the music in the song, which has very distinctive differences. John sings the verses and Paul the interlude. Why don’t the authors believe that each wrote their portion and combined them to make one song? Who believes George Martin wasn’t assisting on the blend?
    statistical analysis indeed. A bag of rocks to explain flowers.

    1. Lord Koos

      I have read in interview with either John or Paul (can’t recall which) that John wrote most of the tune but that Paul came up with the middle eight bar interlude (commonly referred to as “the bridge” by musicians). It certainly sounds that way to me, and from what I’ve read they worked together that way on quite a few tunes, although it is also true that in the Beatles days, even songs that were written solely by one of them (such as “Yesterday” which is all Paul) were still credited to Lennon & McCartney. George Martin wouldn’t have had much to do with the actual writing part, he was only involved in the recording process, not the songwriting.

    2. Eduardo

      “Math Proves John Lennon Wrote ‘In My Life'”
      I don’t think that math is capable of making such a conclusion from the available input data. It can show that the music was not in Paul McCartney’s “normal” known style. But that is not proof that Paul McCartney did not write some of it (deliberately in a style consistent with the existing music).

      1. Troglin

        The same class of model “mathematically proved” that Hillary would win the 2016 election, and you can see how well that worked out. Models are only as accurate as the assumptions that go into them, and can be manipulated to get desired outcomes. Like for instance, there is an analysis going around by a climate-change denier claiming that global temperatures are actually decreasing. But their analysis is deeply flawed, by selectively choosing data and facts to include/exclude from the model to get their desired result.

    1. jrs

      geez just when you thought the Dems couldn’t get any worse … They get more Trump like by the day as if they literally want to be Trump (trash the planet) on the environment.

      1. RopeADope

        It looks like the Dems gave up on winning in 2018 and are back to grifting. The turning point seems to be when Schumer came out and said Senate Dems would not hold the line on Kavanaugh. Ever since then the Dems poll numbers have been in free fall.

        1. Big River Bandido

          It has never been about winning for the Democrats. It’s only about those who hold the key positions within the “party” maintaining their power. Whether the “party” itself gains seats, loses seats, holds the majority or not…is irrelevant. The people who control the organization now will still control it after the election. This is the point. Willing elections? Mere sideshow.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Burying ‘One Child’ Limits, China Pushes Women to Have More Babies NYT

    That was another time, another world, when One Child was the policy in China.

    Will any country impose that, today?

    1. ambrit

      Nature will soon be imposing something similar, now that the arrogance and hubris engendered by Man’s ‘Faith in Technology’ is running it’s course.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        How does it work though?

        If a man and a woman, having already one kid, and want a second one, does the husband asks his wife to go to a child-less man, after paying him for the use of his quota?

        1. ambrit

          Well, as the ‘Green Revolution’ fades to brown, as fertilizer dependent higher than ‘normal’ crop yields fall off, starvation and civil unrest will cull the herd. Really, not so much ‘cull’ as ‘decimate,’ several times in a row.
          The other aspect of this is the fact that low infant mortality rates are a very recent occurrence. Prior to the medical revolution of the last century, most babies died before reaching adolescence. Thus, a rough, live versus die ratio was maintained. Women had more babies, many of which simply died young. The women too died at higher rates because of birth related problems. More babies ‘carried’ equals statistically higher rates of attendant complications.
          So, the people will be reverting to prior rates of childbirth per capita. Alongside this will be a reversion to prior rates of child and maternal mortality. That putative Man of the ‘Man and Woman’ dyad will be searching for a replacement Woman much more often than in the last century.
          Whoever said that ‘The old ways are the best’ was obviously not a woman.

        2. ambrit

          S–net ate my reply. Roughly, older patterns of human mortality will reassert and force population down. That man and woman will have as many children as they want. Nature will kill most of those children off young.

  26. fresno dan

    The show was called Dinosaurs, and it was essentially an inverse of The Flintstones. A sitcom set in prehistoric times, it followed a family of dinosaurs that used technology, got married, had kids, and went to work, all while humans lingered around as stupid creatures worthy of ridicule.
    The series finale, “Changing Nature,” opens with the Sinclair family gathering to watch the annual migration of the Bunch Beetles, a species of bug that eats local vines. The beetles never show up, though, because their swamp breeding ground was paved over by WESAYSO, an all-powerful corporation that constantly does things that are good for business, but terrible for the planet.
    With the beetles gone, the vines grow out of control and obstruct WESAYSO factories. Earl’s boss, B.P. Richfield, puts him in charge of a project to spray the planet with a defoliant meant to kill the vines, but the defoliant quickly kills all plant life entirely.
    “After all, dinosaurs have been on this earth for 150 million years. It’s not like we’re going to just … disappear!”
    I saw an episode or two of the show, it wasn’t very good – this was part of the dinosaur fad prior to Jurassic Park. I had no idea that the final show drew an analogy with the end of the dinosaurs and how humans behave. I don’t believe there were any other TV series finales that had as a plot point the extinction of multiple species…

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    NFL Players Protest During Anthem, Drawing Rebuke From Trump Truthdig

    Its been over a year. Will NBA or MLB players kneel too?

    Do non-American NFL/NBA/MLB players (or fans) have to stand?

    Can a, say, Russian fan sit or kneel during America’s National Anthem?

    1. ambrit

      (Snark alert.)
      When will the duplicitous Ras Putin have his vassal, Donald “Empress” Trump invite the Red Army Choir to sing the (Russian) National Anthem at the first game of the MLB season? Nothing yet from the Red Bunny Slipper Network. (RBSN, one of the legs of the World Dominance Weapons Systems of the East. Some of the others are IRBMs, ICBMs, etc.)

      1. Carolinian

        They can just play the Sochi version which was awesome. It’s also an always favorite moment from The Hunt for Red October.

        Clearly this new cold war has an “anthem gap” since ours isn’t nearly as stirring.

        1. ambrit

          I’ll have to ‘hunt’ the Sochi version up, unless Youtube has already purged it as ‘fake song.’
          I’m anticipating an eventual “Hunt for Red November.” I just really hope that Sanders isn’t a modern day version of Karensky.

          1. Carolinian

            The entire opening ceremony (also awesome) was downloadable for awhile without the annoying Matt Lauer commentary claiming that it wasn’t awesome. Non Russians produced the show but not that great anthem.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Constitutional intervention last seen 230 years ago (Guardian)


    From it:

    Convention of States, with Alec’s support, is one of three prominent conservative groups pushing for a new constitutional convention. Under article V, if two-thirds of state legislatures so choose, they can force congress to convene such a meeting. On the agenda for Convention of States: an amendment to require a balanced budget, term limits for congress, repealing the federal income tax and giving states the power to veto any federal law, supreme court decision or executive order with a three-fifths vote from the states.

    Calling for a Constitutional Convention is constitutional ‘intervention?’

    More importantly, let’s not forget that ‘the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

    1. Oregoncharles

      for instance, they could vote for a Convention, then lose control of the state legislatures that would name the delegates – and this also lose control of their Convention.

      However, I’m with those who say a Convention cannot be controlled: once formed, it’s a potential revolution, with everything on the table. However, as the one guy says, it then has to pass three fourths of state legislatures – a high bar.

  29. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China says US farmers may never regain market share lost in trade war SCMP


    I think, in China, the belief* is ‘never say never.’

    Or maybe that’s just another 007 movie.

    *Some sinologists posit that Classic China ended some time during the period of the Southern-Northern dynasties (around 200 to 500 AD, or so). Before, it was ‘never say never,’ especially during the Warring States period.

  30. DJG

    Gina Haspel, torture bureaucrat, serial liar (as if this is somehow unexpected), mighty smasher of glass ceilings for the female torturer set, and untalented pornagrapher. Refer to article by Ray McGovern. The purple paragraph:

    The interrogators “strode, catlike, into the well-lit confines of the cell at 0902 hrs [redacted], deftly removed the subject’s black hood with a swipe, paused, and in a deep, measured voice said that subject – having ‘calmed down’ after his (staged) run-in with his hulking, heavily muscled guards the previous day – should reveal what subject had done to vex his guards to the point of rage.”

    Wowsers. I can assure you that Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantanamo Diary does not include the Vin Diesel fantasies. So much of the current lawlessness is enrobed in pure vulgarity–although commenting on the vulgarity doesn’t mean much. And Slahi’s book most definitely lacks this stenchy whiff of high-minded vulgarity.

    What’s worse in my mind is that this article made me think for a moment that we are getting what we deserve. Like Lambert, and in memory of my father who also didn’t believe that people should “get what they deserve,” I try to keep this thought in check.

    I will settle for trials and long prison sentences, with no chance to engage in free firefighting, though.

  31. Oregoncharles

    “My ancestry test revealed a genetic bombshell NY Post” – NPE (Not Parent Expected). That possibility has been around a long time; 30 years ago, a transplant team told us their genetic typing, much more primitive then, occasionally revealed nonpaternity. (As it happened, I was a match for our son, also rather rare.) They said it was very awkward.

    Biologists recently went through the same thing, when genetic tests on pair-bonding animals, like a lot of birds, revealed a startlingly high rate of cheating. Humans are not unique.

  32. Oregoncharles

    “An 11-Year-Old Changed The Results Of Florida’s Presidential Vote At A Hacker Convention. Discuss.” – complete with state officials claiming there’s no problem.

    I’m not worried about RUSSIAN hackers, who don’t have the physical access provided in the Defcon event; I’m worried about AMERICANS, especially the very elections officials poo-pooing the issue, who DO have physical access. Election hacking goes back to the beginning; for instance, the famous big city machines, almost all Democrats, relied on it. And Palast has shown that Democrats can still steal elections – mostly primaries.

    Oregon DOES use paper ballots, counted in public, but nonetheless encountered an interesting example of cheating: a low-level election official who was filling in unvoted lines herself – for Republicans, as it happened. Apparently the counting wasn’t public enough. There should really be a “not voting this office” slot to fill in, preventing that particular cheat.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I hadn’t thought of that. Instead of leaving the vote blank I’ll write in ‘no’. I think that would still show up as an undercount and circumvent the problem of someone else selecting their favorite candidates.

  33. Oregoncharles

    “China says US farmers may never regain market share lost in trade war”

    Part of the bargaining process, but raises another issue: apparently grain and food markets are not as fluid and fungible as I thought. In principal, it shouldn’t make much difference who is buying which soybeans, unless there are major quality issues. If one buyer switches sources, then whoever was buying those beans would pick up the now-available first source (I hope that isn’t too obscure). Either it doesn’t work that way, or it involves bigger price differences than it “should.”

    Just a personal note: my grandfather was a factor in promoting the growing of soybeans in the US (yes, quite a while ago – early 20th.) I have the lantern slides he used in his lectures; they show things like teams of 6 to 8 horses. He was promoting them because soybeans made a good match with the corn crops being grown in Illinois.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I am curious. What makes soybeans a particularly good match with corn crops? Are they a better match than other legumes?

      1. Oregoncharles

        It’s because they’re nitrogen fixers; I don’t know whether they’re better at it than other legumes, like clover. However, it has a particularly wide array of uses; so the match is as much commercial as it is agricultural.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Could it be that soybeans have similar climate requirements to what corn has? So they can grow in the same belt that corn can grow in when the corn isn’t growing there? So if they are an especially effective legume at leaving soil re-nitrogenized after their presence, and corn is a heavily nitrogen-using crop; that would make soybeans an especially suitable legume for switching off with corn. Just a guess, to be sure.

  34. Wukchumni

    A vicious species of tick originating from Eastern Asia has invaded the US and is rapidly sweeping the Eastern Seaboard, state and federal officials warn.

    The tick, the Asian longhorned tick (or Haemaphysalis longicornis), has the potential to transmit an assortment of nasty diseases to humans, including an emerging virus that kills up to 30 percent of victims. So far, the tick hasn’t been found carrying any diseases in the US. It currently poses the largest threat to livestock, pets, and wild animals; the ticks can attack en masse and drain young animals of blood so quickly that they die—an execution method called exsanguination.

    Key to the tick’s explosive spread and bloody blitzes is that its invasive populations tend to reproduce asexually—that is, without mating. Females drop up to 2,000 eggs over the course of two or three weeks, quickly giving rise to a ravenous army of clones. In one US population studied so far, experts encountered a massive swarm of the ticks in a single paddock, totaling well into the thousands. They speculated that the population might have a ratio of about one male to 400 females.

    Those figures read like a whet dream from Dr. Strangelove

    A friend who’s 70 has had Lyme disease for a few decades now, dealing with the myriad of miseries in more of a coping way, as there is no cure.

    She related that those afflicted with it, have a high rate of suicide, so as to go painless.

  35. crittermom

    Some great links today, Jerri-Lynn.

    I especially enjoyed the first two, regarding the baby squirrel, & then the crows.

    Using crows to pick up litter seems like a great idea. Much like using sheep to graze in places along highways & such to keep foliage under control.
    I’ve no doubt the crows enjoy their ‘job’, as well.

    I also enjoyed the third link with the excerpt by Donald Hall.

    The article about the savage ticks was quite alarming, however.
    It makes me wonder why, when they were first discovered on that lone sheep in a paddock, didn’t they MAKE SURE they had eradicated them, rather than hoping any survivors died off that first winter? (which they didn’t)

    Of course, I also wonder why folks in a wealthy neighborhood are keeping a lone sheep? Are they the latest craze, like pot-bellied pigs were?
    That’s cruel. They’re herd animals. It needs a companion with it, at least. (Yet another example of ‘more money than sense’)

    The ticks could be especially devastating to ranchers out west (as there’s no way to keep them from migrating across the country), as well as to humans.
    I see a huge red flag warning regarding those ticks, but it sounds like the ‘cat has already been let out of the bag’, so to speak, as they’ve already spread in the east.

    Not good. REALLY not good.

    Stories like this, that most will never hear of (until it’s too late?), are what continue to amaze me about NC… in addition to all of the other news/truths, you alert us to.

    Thank you, NC!

    1. Yves Smith

      Please see our Policies regarding assignments.

      More specifically, this is a US finance and economics website, and a thinly resourced one at that. We only very selectively cover foreign politics, and then almost always because it has a strong economic nexus.

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