Links 8/15/18

Dear patient readers,

I am again sorry for giving you short rations in terms of original posts. I am slogging along on what will hopefully be some titillating original reporting, and am also contending with laptop loss fallout and resulting time sinks. There is still a possibility the TLC can locate the cab (they said they’d get back to me with the results of a detailed search by end of day yesterday but didn’t). In the meantime, I am checking out replacement options and consultants. In another proof of the severity of Apple crapification, I was shocked to learn that even on laptops, you can’t upgrade the RAM! WTF?!?

Baby squirrel who captivated Germany is safe — and female DW (furzy)

Parrot tells firefighter to ‘f*ck off’ during rescue attempt Mashable

You can adopt dogs that failed government training for being too ‘nice’ — here’s how This Insider. Dan K: “Certified underdogs.”

Elephants rarely get cancer. Here’s why this matters to humans CNN (David L)

The science behind rooting for the home team MedicalXpress (Chuck L)

An army of deer ticks carrying Lyme disease is advancing. It will only get worse. Grist

Mystery as Notre Dame holy water POISONS dozens at world famous Paris’ cathedral leaving believers suffering severe headaches and ‘tingling faces’ Sun. Oh, it’s just a sin Herxheimer’s reaction.

Robot manipulates humans in creepy new experiment. Should we be worried? NBC (furzy)

Ancient natural fission reactor offers clues on how to store modern nuclear waste PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Salting the earth: North Dakota farmers struggle with a toxic byproduct of the oil boom NBC (Chuck L)

‘Millennia of human activity’: heatwave reveals lost UK archaeological sites Guardian

Natural Cycles just became the first FDA-approved “birth control” app Vox (UserFriendly)

Humans Are the Unwitting Test Subjects in a Worldwide Experiment on Microplastics The Conversation

We’re in a new age of obesity. How did it happen? You’d be surprised George Monbiot, Guardian


Brexit has reached a dead end DW

British expats in EU launch Brexit legal challenge Guardian. This is silly. Clive by e-mail:

The referendum was, constitutionally-speaking, advisory. It had, legally, as much weight as a Daily Mail headline. Parliament voted to trigger Article 50. It could have voted to trigger Article 50 even without a referendum. If it’d wanted to decide based on the result of a game of Happy Families with Leave and Remain teams competing, it could have done that, too.

From guurst. If you click on the tweet proper, there is a tiny “translate tweet” link at the bottom of the text:

Brussels advances fight against Poland over Supreme Court law Politico

Integrity of official statistics under threat Bruegel. On a perverse prosecution.


Turkey Shifts Toward Russia as Sanctions Sour U.S. Relations Wall Street Journal

Turkey slaps tariffs on American booze, cars as business groups urge diplomacy CNBC

Turkish Lira Jumps as Regulator Curbs Bank Swap Transactions Bloomberg

New Cold War

US ‘shoots itself in the foot’ suspending Open Skies Treaty with Russia – retired general RT (Daniel K)

Cuban ‘acoustic attack’ report on US diplomats flawed, say neurologists Guardian


Trump scores an own-goal in the game against Iran Asia Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Los Angeles is first in US to install subway body scanners Associated Press. Great. I see a future with no public transportation for me. I opt out of scanners at the airport. As a reader who has worked on military-related projects has pointed out, if you go through and airport scanner, after as few as two trips, they can match your scan to you, effectively creating a biometric ID

Sacramento welfare investigators track drivers to find fraud. Privacy group raises red flags.

Google tracks users who turn off location history BBC. I’ve assumed this to be the case, that if your device has GPS location, the only way to disable that is to put it in a Faraday bag or remove the chip.

Imperial Collapse Watch

(Why US Leadership Stinks & Drones Don’t Work) Leadership in organizations people believe in Ian Welsh

Trump Tranistion

A Clampdown Slowing Legal, Not Just Illegal, Immigration Wall Street Journal

Paul Manafort Defense Rests Without Calling Any Witnesses Bloomberg. A lawyer buddy says that means Manafort’s team is confident that they can win the argument that the government didn’t meet its burden of proof. We’ll see soon enough if they are right.

America’s debt has exploded. Why does no one care? Washington Post. UserFriendly: “Why isn’t he behind bars?”

Elizabeth Warren Demands in Letter That U.S. Military Explain Its Role in Yemen Bombings Intercept

We Looked At Hundreds Of Endorsements. Here’s Who Democrats Are Listening To. FiveThirtyEight. Dan K:

Gah. There was clearly enough analysis done (mentioned in several detail discussions) to post a second chart aggregating by contest rather than by candidate to eliminate multiple endorsement effects, as discussed here:

In races that have been called so far, 192 candidates were granted that [“gun sense” candidate] label and 79 of them won, for a win rate of 41 percent. But in many cases, gun sense candidates were running against each other in the same districts, which brought their overall win rate down. It might be fairer [ya think?!?!] to look at the how often any gun sense candidate was nominated in races where at least one person received that designation; when we do that, we find that a gun sense candidate won the Democratic nomination in 79 percent of races where Moms Demand Action had awarded the designation to at least one candidate.

Four “Yutes” And Counting: Controversy Grows Over The Judge’s Comments In The Manafort Trial Jonathan Turley

Pelosi seizes on anti-corruption message against GOP The Hill

Alexandria on the Daily Show: the Moral Economy and Modern Money New Economic Perspectives

New McCarthyism

“Duhhh, Stop Defending Alex Jones! This Will Never Hurt The Left, Derp Duh!” Caitlin Johnstone

Wells Fargo was hit with more scandal. But does anyone care? American Banker

Bitcoin price – latest updates as cryptocurrency crash towards $6,000 Independent

Bitcoin is ‘useless as a payment mechanism and ridiculous as a store of value,’ ex-PayPal CEO says CNBC

Nationalists, Technocrats, and Urbanists: A Theory of Today’s Politics Medium. IowanX: “I think this is a really interesting take on stuff. A long cup of coffee, but likely evergreen. I like this Andrew Dobbs guy from Austin. Housing IS health care! Who knew!”

Cash Wildfire Spreads Among Young Tech Companies Bloomberg (Li)

Class Warfare

Overpaying CEOs is a terrible way to motivate them Quartz (Chuck L)

The Children of the Opioid Crisis Wall Street Journal (UserFriendly)

A conservative Republican looks at socialism and likes what he sees MinnPost (UserFriendly)

Demand for automated driving technology VoxEU

The End of Employees Wall Street Journal

Antidote du jour. From MGL:

Here are series of photos of jellyfish (sorry, can’t say what kind) we came upon on shore of Tutka Bay, AK. This one was snagged on barnacles as tide had receded. Have no idea if once cast ashore jellyfish are goners, but we watched as the tide came in to see what would happen. It did indeed break free of barnacles as bottom photo shows, but didn’t clearly drift away. We were rooting for it to have a safe return to the bay.

And a sort of anti-antidote from Igancio: “Find attached pictures of ‘Plastozilla’. I found this “monster” created to educate people about the risks of plastic waste in Oslo in mid July.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. fresno dan

    We’re in a new age of obesity. How did it happen? You’d be surprised George Monbiot, Guardian

    The shift has not happened by accident. As Jacques Peretti argued in his film The Men Who Made Us Fat, food companies have invested heavily in designing products that use sugar to bypass our natural appetite control mechanisms, and in packaging and promoting these products to break down what remains of our defences, including through the use of subliminal scents. They employ an army of food scientists and psychologists to trick us into eating more than we need, while their advertisers use the latest findings in neuroscience to overcome our resistance.

    The thrill of disapproval chimes disastrously with industry propaganda. We delight in blaming the victims
    They hire biddable scientists and thinktanks to confuse us about the causes of obesity. Above all, just as the tobacco companies did with smoking, they promote the idea that weight is a question of “personal responsibility”. After spending billions on overriding our willpower, they blame us for failing to exercise it.
    It just seems when neoliberalism and personal responsibility became the watch words, everything went to h*ll in a hand basket.
    When was the last time you saw a commercial to eat an apple, or exercise?

    1. Expat

      We are dealing with millions of years of evolutionary biology. See sugar, eat sugar. See fat, eat fat. Back on the plains of Africa it was a great day when you found a beehive with honey or killed a nice fat antelope; you stuffed your face and walked ten kilometers back to your cave. You then ate grubs and leaves for a month.
      McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Hershey all know this. I used to blame fat people for being fat. Now I am middle-aged and blame advertising, retail food and myself….but still can’t help being a few kilos overweight. I guess I should blame Lucy.

      1. In The Land of Farmers

        Genetically, we are metabolically closer to our grandparents that people on “the plains of Africa”.

        It might be that the problems with obesity stem from the starvation during the Great Depression and out epileptics changing to favor more metabolically thifity genes.

        1. Expat

          I disagree. First of all, there was no mass starvation during the Great Depression. Second, I don’t understand how epilepsy affects genetics.
          It seems more likely that most American immigrants would have affected by starvation or malnutrition, which was the case of African slaves, Irish, and other various waves of immigrants fleeing deprivation, war and famine from all corners of the globe. But mankind has faced deprivation and malnutrition since the dawn of…well…mankind. Why weren’t Americans obese in the 19th century, or why are Somalis morbidly obese today.
          I cannot discount the possibility that there was some incredible genetic shift in the American gene pool since the 1930’s but based on the reading I have done (I am a lay geneticist at best) it seems unlikely that gene selection would have occurred on any scale necessary to explain the phenomenon. It is possible that deprivation during the great depression (something which is unproven and disputed…do you intend to cite the Pravda story?) triggered specific metabolic changes in people at that time, but there is no scientific evidence to show that any genetic change was passed down.
          I don’t wish to seem condescending, but I recommend a few primers on genetics which will help you understand why your suggestion is scientifically unreasonable.

            1. Expat

              My quick and dirty research has not found anything that suggests that epigenetic behavior can be passed to a third generation. So a malnourished mother can pass epigenetic traits to the fetus (though obesity was not mentioned in anything I read) and a malnourished child can become an obese adult, but nothing indicates that a malnourished grandparent creates an obese grandchild. There are equally plausible psychological explanations for this as well. A deprived, famished child might very well simply eat more when food is available, a behavior that might have nothing to do with his genes.

              1. Lambert Strether

                > My quick and dirty research has not found anything that suggests that epigenetic behavior can be passed to a third generation.

                But surely if the environmental conditions are constant, the behavior will be passed on indefinitely?

                1. In The Land of Farmers

                  Yes, Lambert you are right. Epigentic changes are turned into permanent changes if the environment is the same in the offspring.

                  I want to add that the rationing during WWII could have been a factor contributing to this change.

              2. Gordon

                IIRC there is Swedish research showing that boys who experienced an episode of starvation pre-puberty have longer-lived grandchildren. 100+ years ago, episodic starvation was not uncommon in northern Sweden as crops would fail in a bad year so close to the northern limit of agriculture.

                Source?? Perhaps Hans Rosling.

                1. blennylips

                  Reminiscent of the Dutch Hunger winter, as WWII wound down:

                  Holland 1944 and the Dutch Hunger Winter. The Nazis divert all the food in Holland to Germany. The Dutch diet thus goes from normal to starvation level. 3rd trimester fetuses develop super thrifty metabolisms due to nutrient deficiency and thus become much more likely (19 fold increase in risk) to develop metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, etc. because their bodies keep a greater than normal percentage of nutrients – sugar, sodium, fat – all stored. They in turn have offspring who are at a greater risk because the mothers’ thrifty metabolisms don’t share as freely with their offspring.

                  6. Behavioral Genetics I
                  Video’ed lecture and text,
                  on the appropriately named,
                  Robert Sapolsky Rocks

                2. In The Land of Farmers

                  Yes, that is an example of epigentics affecting offspring.

                  On an anecdotal note, both my grandparents were dirt poor (NYC Italian Barber and Pennsylvania Coal Miner) and had children during the Depression. It was a hungry time for them both. They had no metabolic health issues. My mother had heart disease and diabetes, my whole family is overweight but me. But I need to stay on a low calorie low fat high carbohydrate diet to keep my cholesterol and weight low. In this vegetable oil soaked world we have today it is not easy.

                  1. Expat

                    Sure, I read those studies as well. But starvation and malnutrition is a common feature of human history so we should see episodic obesity throughout history.
                    While there was rationing during WWII, I don’t remember ever hearing about or reading about malnutrition.
                    Epigenetics leads to phenotype expression and seems to be multi-transgenerational for certain phenotypes, but this has not been demonstrated for adiposity.
                    Again, why aren’t Somalis or Ethiopians all obese? Or Cambodians, etc.
                    While I cannot deny epigenetics, there is no compelling evidence to suggest it is entirely or principally responsible for obesity. There are cultural and economic factors which appear to be far more important.

                    1. drumlin woodchuckles

                      There has only been food sufficiency or food shortage throughout most of history. Wildly excessive food surplus is a very modern thing.

                      Also, industrially remanufactured food-input product is only about 150 years old or less. Obesogenic de-fiberized starch and sugar and mass quantities of fats and oils are pretty recent, I think. And so is the fat-forming response.

                    2. In The Land of Farmers

                      I did not say epigentics was the only responsible factor. What I am saying is that it might not be as simple as “there is too much food”. This is important because treatment for obesity and it’s effects will be different for each genetically diffent group of people. So for some people eating less is not an answer, a better answer needs to focus on eating less of what?

                      I suspect the rise in obesity is caused in a lager part by caloric supply, but the rate of obesity changes in the US since the 80’s has been historically unusual. One odd change is that while the percent of obese Americans has increased, the percent of over weight (but not obese) Americans has stayed the same. This might be a signal of bifurcation because of genetics.

                      By the way, obesity rates are rising in Somalia as well and they rise faster when the move to European countries, even ones with lower obesity rates like France. This is why there is discussion that gene changes may also play a role in obesity. It might also just be stress that causes the weight gain. Or all of these issues.

                      (“Epigentics leads to phenotype expression” is not a sentence that makes sense. Phenotype is a combination of the expression of the combination of both genetics and epigentics. Epigenetic changes can change phenotype expression and I assume that is what you meant.)

            1. Expat

              Death rates dropped overall during the depression. Suicide rates increased but there were fewer accidents The starvation story was put out by the Soviets!

              1. In The Land of Farmers

                Humans can live in states of starvation for a long time. Starvation is not death. But even malnutrition can lead to epigentic changes.

                Anecdotally, my Grandfather was born in 1905 and lived in Manhattan. What he saw was extreme malnutrition,if not starvation, in himself and quite a number of other people. Maybe the denial of severe malnutrition in the US is propaganda as well.

          1. In The Land of Farmers

            Ha sorry, spell check changed epigentics to epileptics! That must have been confusing.

            You’ll have to trust me when I say I know genetics and epigentics.

            Epigentic changes are happening in you right now because of what you are exposed to in the environment and can be transferred to your offspring. These epigentic changes may become permanent genetic changes if the new offspring are subjected to the same environment. By the way, even just worrying about food will change your epigentics.

            I am not saying it is only genetic. I am saying it might just be the perfect storm. It’s just an idea that is being tossed around by researchers.

          2. Jon Cloke

            There’s evidence in the opposite direction of the passed-on genetic effects of improved diet, though, isn’t there? I wouldn’t ordinarily quote the Telegraph but this article is based on just one of a bunch of studies suggesting that the restricted diets of world war 2 in the UK passed on a whol host of benefits to the baby boom generations…

        2. evodevo

          You are forgetting that the environment works at the population genetics level – populations respond to selection. An example would be the studies of Pima-Papago Indians and levels of diabetes 2 & obesity –
          As their diet changed, and levels of activity fell, their genetic backgrounds (from 2000 years of a low fat, highly active lifestyle) became a handicap, rather than an advantageous adaptation. Because of modern medicine, selection hasn’t actually acted on their genotypes to alter the genomics of their particular population. Yes, fast food and sodas don’t help. But no one forces people to eat badly – cultural norms hopefully can be changed via a massive education effort …

      2. gordon

        Look on the bright side – think how much carbon those obese people are fixing! Unless, of course, they are cremated after death…

    2. JohnM

      chicken? egg?

      Many would argue that the food companies created sugary processed foods *in response* to government guidelines advising a switch to a low fat diet. To make the low fat foods more palatable, they increased sweeteners. And if you believe in the carbohydrate-insulin theory of obesity, this change created the obesity epidemic.

      But if you’re someone of a certain political persuasion like George, you’ll naturally put the blame on the people who reacted to government advice.

      1. cnchal

        > And if you believe in the carbohydrate-insulin theory of obesity . . .

        I suppose you have never heard of “The Schwarzbein Principle”.

        Personally, I am way past believe, and know. Put bluntly, grocery stores are gigantic crime scenes, where most of the stuff on sale is a disguised poison. Look around. Children with type two diabetes. Does that add or subtract from GDP?

        1. zer0

          Yeah I recently got into the Paleo diet, and trying to cook everything from unprocessed foods.
          Its virtually impossible unless you go visit the local farmers market with $200 in cash every week and even then it is very hard for me to stay true to the diet all the time.

          I keep finding corn syrup & other corn products in the damdest of places. And bleach. I dont know what America’s obsession with bleach is, but it is everywhere: bleached flour, bleached meat, bleached grains, etc.

          And the companies actively trick you. They plaster “organic” on everything, which I find dubious. Non-GMO too.

          So you buy something as harmless as ground walnuts, thinking its just walnuts. False! There’s corn starch in it. And the corn starch was bleached.

          Juice today is what syrup was 50 years ago. I never understood how during the last 2 decades of health consciousness, drinks have gotten more and more sugar added with no FDA limit or DV. Now the average must be 30g of sugar per drink, which is like your ancient ancestor eating 250 blueberries in one sitting minus all the fiber and vitamins.

          I can never trust the meat. 1st, EU doesn’t even accept US chicken because of the whole bleach/chemical things (which is pathetic). Beef is equally dubious. I know a few farmers and they say that “grass fed” is a whole load of bullshit. Basically, you can feed a cow skittles (which they do BTW) and it can still be called “grass fed”.

          Organic is another misnomer. If you feed your cattle ‘organics’ but those organics are in turn covered with glyphosate, then your meat is contaminated by an industrial chemical.

          Eggs are insane. If everyone in America had to visit an egg packing facility, they would probably never touch another egg in their life: poultry so infected, they pop when removed from cages. I even saw poultry that mustve been born in the same cage it sat its whole life, that its skin had grown around the wire. Permanently grown around the wire.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            Corn, sugar beets, soya and rapeseed(canola, an industrial lubricant). all are heavily subsidized by our tax money, dominated by supranational behemoths and grow much, much more of the stuff than is needed for actual foodstuffs.
            ergo—corn products(sic) are in literally everything, as are the rest.(and remember, that cheap parmesan contains a lot of sawdust in it, so it’s not like “health”(tm) is really a concern)
            These “commodity crops” can also be deployed as a weapon…a la Mexico after Nafta…creating follow on problems.
            all this is hopelessly entangled with the rest of the rentier parasitium, so I don’t really know how to fix it from here.

        2. fresno dan

          August 15, 2018 at 12:23 pm

          I am similar to the doctor in your link. I’ll never forget my physiology professor saying you could eat butter – to make the point that weight WAS ONLY calories in, calories out.
          Years later and health concerns, I needed to lose weight. Nothing worked until I went low carb. And it worked because I wasn’t hungry.
          I hate it when scientists (being a scientist and being smart are two different things) do “experiments” of different diets (low carb or low fat) of caloric equivalence (which weighs more – a pound of feathers or a pound of lead?) and when they get the same results (no weight loss) conclude that there is no difference in the types of food one eats.
          Eating french fries (excuse me, freedom fries….we’re not saying that anymore???) potato chips, candy, cookies, etcetera just made me wanna eat, eat, eat MOAR!
          Turning off the carbs, at least for me, turned off the insatiable need to continually eat.
          I believe modern foods play havoc with normal satiety. BUT OF COURSE if you make money by selling high priced snacks, wouldn’t your foods BE DESIGNED to make you want to eat?
          How long did it take to figure out tobacco companies manipulated nicotine….

          1. Lambert Strether

            Anecdotal evidence:

            When I first visited Bangkok, six or seven years ago now, I can’t remember seeing a single obese person. Coming from America, that seemed quite remarkable!

            Now, obesity is common (although still not ubiquitous). The obvious reason would be the penetration of Western food chains: Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, Swansons, and KFC are everywhere, as are convenience stores with sugary snacks. Six or seven years ago, I also never saw a child having a temper tantrum. Now that too is not unusual, especially for the middle class children (who can afford more of the more expensive Western food).

            “Don’t go in the haunted house!”

            Too late…

        3. In The Land of Farmers

          I despise all the researchers who do not think genetics plays a role in different diets causing diabetes in different people in different ways. There are many people with changes in the TCF7L2 gene who are more likely to get diabetes on a high fat/low carb diet.

          Most of the diabetes you see today is not a direct result of sugar or fats, but the oxidative stress from malnutrition that kill the pancreatic beta cells.

        4. J Sterling

          Sugar is a drug. It comes in bags of white crystals, makes you feel good, but damages your health. It’s a hundred billion dollar industry, and the early sugar drug barons built vast estates on kidnapping people and forcing them to work as slaves in the fields.

      2. jrs

        Well the problem is probably that processed food is not palatable without a lot of doctoring. The population as a whole never really adopted a low fat diet, fat consumption as a whole only dipped slightly. It’s a difficult diet so no wonder. But yes companies did use it as an excuse to market processed garbage (which they maybe would have done anyway, they make processed food afterall – but with dietary trends they could slap on a “low fat” label). And people would be better off eating real food of any fat content.

      3. Expat

        Fat is an awesome taste enhancer. When the American government and the American consumer demanded low-fat or lower fat foods, the food industry responded by replacing fat with the next best things, salt and sugar. Salt is already bad enough, but sugar is particularly heinous. Just look at Coke; a can of coke has ten teaspoons of sugar. Coca Cola Corp adds acids to mask the sugar allowing them to put that much without making us gag. The sugar nonetheless acts as a “drug” provoking various reactions including cravings for more sugar!

        As a further comment, blame the movie theater industry for a large part of our obesity problem. Super-sizing was not invented by McDonald’s; it was invented by movie theaters to sell more popcorn. Now you can buy “individual” sodas at 7-11 that hold 50 ounces of tasty beverage and contain about 40 teaspoons of sugar!

        1. False Solace

          Unless you already have hypertension, salt isn’t that bad for most people. I suspect salt gets a bad name in large part because sugar producers want to blame something else. If one removes both sugar and salt from one’s diet, what’s left is intolerably unpalatable… at which point we abandon the whole thing.

    3. Robert Valiant

      Exercise commercials are fairly common, “Just by this giant new piece of equipment for only thousands of dollars and you’ll have the body of Adonis in just 8 short weeks!” Fat people should be in a constant state of fear and desire – big potential market. Personally, my house isn’t big enough for that stuff, so I just walk the dog.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Eat an apple? The fresh fruit that comes to market these days is intended for seasonal displays — not eating! Apples especially are best for an Autumn harvest motif combined with a pumpkin and some ears of dried corn. Eat an apple? Might as well eat a piece of wax fruit. Real apples look more realistic, they’re already coated with wax and they’re usually enough less expensive than the 100% wax apples that you can just throw them away when they’re served their purpose. Besides, I thought they were covered with highly toxic nerve poisons that only come off after two cycles in the dishwasher. So, eat an apple? Just grab a can of applesauce.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Reminds me of those people that have MacDonalds burgers many years old on display that never rot when you think that the bacteria would go to work on it. I guess that the reason is that bacteria do not recognize it as ‘food’ at all.

  2. NV

    Regarding another reader’s comment on housing as health care, to the best of my knowledge this began with Charles King and Eric Sawyer, who, decades ago at ACTUP, promoted this idea. In the farthest section of the East Village of New York City, there is AIDS housing where medical appointments can also be had on the premises. This is part of the model.

    (King also started Housing Works charity shops in New York. I once saw him on a panel at the New York Academy of Medicine. He said that to pay former addicts weekly in order that they stay clean worked; other methods did not. Of course, the rest of the panel ignored his claim.)

    1. nycTerrierist

      Obscenely wealthy CEOs need to be ‘incentivized’ by pay — but not addicts!/

      Surely, recovery is facilitated when basic needs like housing, healthcare can’t be met./

      American truisms

      1. LifelongLib

        I’ve said it before, but you can tell where you stand in the scheme of things by whether people think you should be ‘incentivised’ with more money or less money.

  3. JTMcPhee

    I have a general question: Have there ever been any “good” chief executives of any of the “great corporate empires?” Hewlett or Packard, maybe, or maybe not? Good in the sense of pro-social, massively less self-rewarding, concerned about and active in avoiding or minimizing externalities, people who were carriers and proponents of “vision” as the mopes tend to understand the term (seeing trends and doing stuff that will have broad benefits, minimal negatives, and move in healthy directions for the planet)? Stuff like that? Or is it all the other kind?

    And a second question: Do Zuckerberg and Cook and Bezos, etc., “have the tiger by the tail,”, or are they directing their minions to drive the political economy in the ugly (for huge numbers of individuals) directions they are doing? I’d think, based on the public image he displays, Zuck is more likely to be mostly the former, at least partially a prisoner of the platform and the evil drives it has the summoned. Maybe the others are more like the Kochs, doing active and intentional antisocial stuff just for moneypower and to suit the world to their parched selves and souls.

    On the tangent, I was drawn to think about summoning demons, in the cogitation that led to the second question. So I queried the web, and Lo! There’s this whole gigantic bunch of material on how to summon, evoke, and/or conjure demons, including “summoning demons to make a deal.” Look it up yourselves, I don’t care to make it easy, since it sure seems like something of the sort I’d facilitating a lot of the bad stuff (my definition, of course) that’s happening.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      More people in high places use psychics than you want to think, and therefore it is not a stretch to think that some also try to use the dark arts.

      I hardly got around in New Age circles, yet by virtue of going to Santa Fe a fair bit, I met a woman who was Disney’s psychic (they’d present her as a consultant, and she also had a background in marketing, so she could carry it off) and one at Morgan Stanley. The Morgan Stanley guy was an ex Marine who sat next to CEO John Mack on a long flight, the psychic had had a near death experience, apparently had all sorts of paranormal insights after that. Mack was persuaded, hired the guy to be in the HR department as his cover for having him at lots of senior meetings. His role for Mack was to tell him who was lying and scheming against him. His role was well enough known in the company that the guy and his wife held New Agey courses that had some Morgan Stanley attendance; a Morgan Stanley person encouraged me to attend one. I did and it struck me as very cultish even by the general cultish tendencies of this realm.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        New Agers and their styles come and go. My dad is from Salem, Mass, so he always knew a New Ager. I suspect they gravitated to him in hopes that “Salem” was a source of meaning. It wasn’t the dippy hippie type you might expect. Dad was a corporate attorney.

        My mom knew a bunch of New Agers over the years and coordinated my Catholic Church’s adult conversion process for a bit, and for the most part, she felt they were both simply people who felt isolated and needed access to a community but didn’t want their original community. The only “converts” she thought were on the level were the spouses of Catholics who had been attending Mass for years or young adults who missed Confirmation and were checking off boxes. Where I lived, Catholics were probably 2 to 4% of the population, but had the second and third largest regular parish memberships. There were so many sketchy churches.

        The New Age types always seem to have a missing community aspect of their life.

      2. Loneprotester

        I guess, given how Morgan Stanley fared in the crash, he wasn’t the real deal. But Bear Stearns’ psychic? That guy needs to go to jail.

        1. Wukchumni

          I think the issue with Bear Stearns, is they used the Psychic Fiends Network for prognostications, unfortunately.

      3. georgieboy

        Yves, Was it McMoneagle at Morgan Stanley by any chance?

        His batting average was about like that of an average baseball hitter, but he sure did hit big from time to time. Sort of ‘accidentally’ called 9/11 five years early by getting the year and month and major, major bond market rally correct, without describing the event itself.

      4. JTMcPhee

        Psychics and astrologers are one thing. Nancy Reagan and erm, Hitler and all those Roman emperors had recourse to those types. From the comments here, I now am curious about what anyone knows about the other kind of occult stuff I mentioned — the invocation and summoning of demons and other kinds of “dark assistance” by our owners and financiers and rulers.

        Of course none of the special people would seek an edge from the underworld…

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to learn(definitively) that there’s an underground at the highest levels where dark arts are dabbled with.
          for the record, I’m a mystic agnostic, but I’ve studied religion all my life.
          part of that study was what we might term “the occult”..which I’m using broadly.
          There’s documented history of various such endeavors: michael aquino, Luce, for that matter, skull and bones and that private lodge outside of San Fran with the giant Owl statue.
          people with power are entrained to try to keep and increase that power, by any means necessary.
          Do they really believe that doing sigil magic will boost profits? Hell if I know…maybe it contains that element, but also elements of blackmail…or even merely the thrill of transgression.
          I think of peter thiel and the blood of virgins or whatever.
          us’n’s out here will probably never know the truth of the matter, but I’ve bumped into enough upper echelon weirdness in my life to know that there’s a lot of crazy people out there, in some surprising positions.
          the rich are different than other people.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          “Dark Arts” and “New Age” groups aren’t really connected from year to year, but its the same thing. They find a book and decide to try. It does pop up periodically.

          “Druid” (not an organized or remotely single religion) mimicry is a pretty common “worship” that pops up through out the centuries at different times and places with people copying half remembered stories and things they read. It happens. Indulgences after all…its probably not a majority or a strong minority but people are still the same. Pretending to be “druids” will happen again as long as mankind exists.

          Its not specific to your question, but Foucaults Pendulum by Umberto Eco covers this phenomenon. Dark Arts, Lucifer, Gnostic (how many places did Mary Magdeline really settle down in after the Crucifixtion? 50, 100?), New Age, Wiccan and so forth, they aren’t all the same, but how they come into being are similar or even what they represent. The appeal of possessing secret knowledge even if there is nothing there (especially when there is nothing) is a thrill.

      5. Oregoncharles

        In Classical times, oracles and soothsayers were part of the official decision making system. Augurs were officials who “read” various signs.

        If you look closely at the stories, in practice they were used mostly where the decision didn’t matter much (eg, the exact time to sail on an expedition) or there was just no way to know. Today, we roll dice or flip a coin. People like to have some authority for arbitrary decisions.

    2. human

      I seem to remember that some years ago the CEO of Shaw Flooring had an epiphany understanding the ecological damage his company was doing and comitted to sustainability. I’m no corporate environmental analyst, but, the companys’ comittment still seems strong.

    3. Craig H.

      > I don’t care to make it easy

      Perhaps you overlooked the parts where you are required to do things like not sleep for two days, not eat for three days, not have sex for a month, or not drink alcohol for six months.

      Rich people simply do not do this type stuff. Like ever. Magic is a weapon of the weak.

    4. Adam Eran

      Maybe not the best reference but Robert Townsend’s Up The Organization:How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits self-reports him turning down a pay raise offered by his (American Express) board….long, long, long (35 years) ago.

    5. anon


      Zuck is more likely to be mostly the former [Good in the sense of pro-social, massively less self-rewarding, concerned about and active in avoiding or minimizing externalities, people who were carriers and proponents of “vision”], at least partially a prisoner of the platform and the evil drives it has the summoned.

      Having previously lived and worked, for 25 years (Grave Shift, Swing Shift and Day Shift), within 5 or less minutes drive of Facebook’s current Corporate Domicile™, where an entire: black, hispanic, asian american, neighborhood has been decimated by Facebook — under Mark Zuckerberg’s watch —I’m curious and (to be honest) dumbfounded, as to how you came to that conclusion; particularly given the comments (The dumb f—ks) and associations (e.g. Peter Thiel) Mark Zuckerberg is infamous for, since Facebook’s inception.

      Can you explain further how you came to that conclusion that Mark Zuckerberg is Pro Social? (and do read this, in case you haven’t already Mark Zuckerberg sues hundreds of Hawaii families to force them to sell their land -Suit an attempt to make his 700-acre beachfront estate more private, according to reports).

      Yes, I’m very’ late in the day;’ actually, well into the evening, for many, in making this comment — which I read, much to my dismay, at the ‘top of the morning,’ — I tried all day to ignore it, but I just can’t ignore it.

  4. johnt

    You should be able to do a special order through an Apple dealer to upgrade RAM. I think the cost is $190. 10-14 business days. This was true at least until the recent release of laptops; I believe it still is correct.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, the memory chips are soldered to the motherboard (now called the logic board, I refuse to adopt the new nomenclature). I have this confirmed from two vendors. This is the detail:

      It is physically impossible to upgrade the RAM on any MacBook Pro’s with a Retina screen, as the RAM is soldiered onto the logic board. Upgrading RAM can only be done on the non Retina models, which are 2012 and older. Technically a new logic board could be purchased and swapped, but that is an extremely expensive part, a fair bit of labor, and then it would not have AppleCare+, so I would not recommend it.

      1. johnf

        I thought it was called a motherboard because you plugged things into it, but how can you if everything is soldered in?

        Unfortunately, a discrete GPU is soldered in on the Macbook Pro’s that have one (pre-2015), a part that will eventually fail and likely brick the machine after enough thermal cycles. Been there, done that and now have a top-of-the-line, 15″ Apple-refurbished doorstop.

        1. Plenue

          It’s called a motherboard because it’s the component everything else communicates through. The other components, called daughterboards, slot into the motherboard. It’s the central hub that all the other parts that do the majority of the work connect to each other through.

      2. Mk

        I still love my 2011 MacBook (non-retina). I’ve maxed out the RAM, and the magsafe plug has saved many a drop over the years. It still runs nicely and I can’t see replacing it until it turns to dust.

      3. Roger Smith

        Given Apple’s continually growing propensity to sell people hardware they don’t actually get to own, can I ask why you (and others) still look to their products? While they might be more generally stable than PCs, I don’t see how the increased cost and lack of customization can be justified.

        1. jonhoops

          Uhh …what hardware does Apple sell that falls into this category? Looking on their site I can find none.

          Just because they sell you products that are hard or impossible to upgrade doesn’t mean you don’t own them.

          People buy Apple’s products because they like them better than the crappy alternatives.

          1. Roger Smith

            We’ve moved from having to have a designated “tech guy” (Apple certified) or schedule appointments at the Mac store just to have basic upgrades applied to your computer to not even being able to apply those upgrades at all. Apple machinations go beyond what it wants to provide users to how it wants users to use what is provided. If that fails the user… hey just buy the new model!

            What is worse is that, since Apple is so successful, overall products are negatively affect as competitors race to mimic apple. Look at how smart phone designs have changed. Samsung for instance has adopted the large screen, hard to open and manipulate model that Iphone uses. Or in another, further removed case look at MP3 players. The Ipod was so successful that it destroyed all the competitors… then apple crapified the product leaving a wasteland of no alternatives. Luckily PC has a large enough user base that the consumer utility can’t be sacrificed like that (knock on silicon).

        1. JTMcPhee

          Maybe Apple is shooting for the TI 99/4a market? Anyone remember that? Where all the accessories plugged in side by side to the keyboard/CPU, so you needed an 8 foot long work space with the seating at the left end, to fit the thing together? And where the slightest jiggle of any of the parts would unseat the cheap connectors and reboot or fail the whole assemblage?

          At least you could add memory to it. I just recently sent mine off to recycle/land.

          It was a good game machine for its day, and God bless ‘em, it still has loyalists at…

      4. Plenue

        Logicboard seems to date back to at least the Apple II. It seems to just be an Apple-ism for motherboard, but Apple itself doesn’t consistently use it.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I was converted to Linux years ago by Microsoft. I suspect the worshipers of the Apple may be a cult.

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        I’ve used Apple for 20 years. I know what software works for my purposes, and there are no equivalents available for either Windows or Linux. So, switching to Linux would require I stop everything and learn to use whatever comes closest to my Mac apps and hope I can achieve the same results.

        In other words, my business runs on Mac, and it’s the kind of business that’s software-dependent. And for all their stupid “upgrades,” my Macs are still the best thing for what I need to do. I suspect were you to talk to other people who run business in the creative arts, you’ll get the same response. It’s why we are increasingly outraged that Apple is choosing to put style and “innovation” above functionality.

      3. Epistrophy

        I started using Linux in 1996. Steep learning curve in those days. Haven’t used Windows or Apple at all since about 2004.

        I once forayed into Apple world from 2002 to 2004 with a Powerbook. Concluded it was a rip off. Won’t do that again.

        We keep one Windows machine in the office and a couple of dual boot laptops for those occasions where we have to interface with a client’s MSOffice files. But this is becoming rarer and rarer.

      4. Mark Alexander

        Don’t give up hope. Since 1995 I’ve had a Linux ministry that is very slowly gaining converts. A couple of years ago I installed Linux Mint in the office of a small local business; it’s been working fine and I taught the office manager how to use the software update tool. Then just yesterday she asked me to install Linux on a used Thinkpad she bought, saying, “I’m familiar with Linux now, and want to use the same software from home.” Yay!

  5. Zerozero

    Thank you for the Andrew Dobbs piece–interesting reading. I think the point still unaddressed is that labor is becoming less important to corporations, so it has less power. The working class is becoming ever smaller; the people who make it up remain. Most of the 100M “not in workforce” in this country lack economic power, and thus lack political power as well. Add to that the myriad low-wage workers who don’t vote, and here we are. Dreams of the workers or renters rising again are not going to manifest unless something else changes.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Most of the 100M “not in workforce” in this country lack economic power, and thus lack political power as well.

      #1. Imagine if those 100M stopped buying anything corporate, or stopped paying rent.

      #2. If those 100M voted for democratic socialist candidates, or candidates that actually wanted to make government work for them, you would be sure they would be listened to. 100M voting in lockstep would shake the political foundations of this country. You just have to get them all to stop being atomized by modern politics.

      The marginalized don’t have political power until they realize that they do.

      1. pretzelattack

        people on the margins face immediate consequences if they stop paying the rent, and if the only choice is buying food from walmart or dollar general, or driving to the next town, there are limited options for refusing to buy corporate products. if it were all done at once, yeah, 100 million could disrupt the family blog out of the system. general strike!

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      IowanX: “I think this is a really interesting take on stuff. A long cup of coffee, but likely evergreen. I like this Andrew Dobbs guy from Austin. Housing IS health care! Who knew!”


      I was just thinking Free Housing the other day. If we are also waking up the Free Universal Healthcare, and benefiting not as many people, Free College, we should look into housing as well.

      1. LifelongLib

        Free College also includes community colleges, many of which have skilled trade programs, so the benefits would be more widely distributed than is usually recognized.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          True, but not universal, like free universal health care, or free universal housing (if housing is health care now).

  6. carycat

    How can you force people to buy new machines more frequently if they are allowed to do field upgrades? Adding extra RAM as a mid-life kicker is usually very cost effective. I’ve written off Apple when I had to buy a long handle torx screwdriver to crack the case of the original Mac to upgrade the RAM and put in a larger disk later (and void the warantee in the process). The screwdriver, case spreader, and RAM was less than half the cost of letting Apple do it. That was in the late 80’s and things have only gone down hill since then.

    1. Whoa Molly!

      Is there any compelling reason to fight a giant corporation that is dedicated to crapifying its product?

      I think its reached the point where “power” useds are going to start doing side by side tests: MacBook pro vs MS surface vs a cheap used high-end Dell.

      I too dumped macs several years ago because of the corporate arrogance
      toward their “power” users.

      Still dont like windows, but W10 is getting close to as useful as mac for my needs. I also like being able to quickly replace a lost, dropped or worn out machine for $700. My needs these days are few, however.

  7. Livius Drusus

    Re: Los Angeles is first in US to install subway body scanners. From the article:

    “We’re dealing with persistent threats to our transportation systems in our country,” said Transportation Security Administration Administrator David Pekoske. “Our job is to ensure security in the transportation systems so that a terrorist incident does not happen on our watch.”

    This is the great thing about the War on Terror, it never ends and by definition it cannot be won. You cannot defeat a tactic. But terrorism does give the government excuses to slowly but surely eliminate civil liberties and create a panopticon state. The public helps to drive this process by vastly overestimating the likelihood of being killed by a terrorist.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I have been following the SeaTac airplane theft story. That airport has heavy security, but look what happened.

      On another note, is anyone else getting intrusive popups while browsing this site? I just squashed one that said my phone was damaged. I didn’t install the fix. It was probably a malware vector.

      1. perpetualWAR

        Look at how fast NORAD scrambled 2 fighter jets for that plane, yet none for the three planes commandeered over a decade ago.

        1. Bill Smith

          Well, maybe they learned something?

          On 9/11 they did scramble fighter jets from both Otis ANG and Langley. They were too far way and too late – and there was not much of a plan even if the fighters had been in time.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Otis is out on Cape Cod, Langley is near DC. And there were fighter jets a lot closer at multiple installations much nearer to the crash sites, and people have been questioning why no Top Gun intercept on 9/11 for a long time. Of course the Narrative has lots of FUD answers, and all such questions have been pretty much moved over into the conspiracy-theory category. Here’s an early piece, post-attack, raising the questions and offering a few answers:

            1. Wyoming

              Uhh no. Langley AFB is in Hampton VA and not near DC. You are confusing it with Langley VA (McLean VA) where the CIA lives. There were no alert fighters near DC on 9/11.

              This idea is conspiracy stuff. It always happens when something goes wrong that people get these kinds of ideas. Crap just happens because people make mistakes. Sometimes the effect is big and tragic.

        2. oh

          I often wonder what the purpose of scrambling fighter jets in a suspected hijacking. Is it to kill all passengers to presumably save people in a skyscraper that the plane MAY crash into. Sounds so stupid but wait .. don’t answer that. We’re dealing with the Dept of Homeland Security.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I read that Cheney was running around giving orders for that airliner over Pennsylvania to be shot down on 9/11. He was probably afraid that that airliner might crash where he was. If that sounds like a bit if a stretch, consider this. After Bush and Cheney were defeated by Obama in ’08, one of the first things to happen was that the Google satellite images of the vice-President’s house was stopped being blurred. Apparently macho-Cheney was so afraid for his life that he had all images of his residence blurred so that terrorist couldn’t use them to plan an attack on him. True story that.

            1. Copeland

              “After Bush and Cheney were defeated by Obama in ’08”

              Um, wasn’t it John McCain and Sarah Palin that Obama defeated?

              Now I’m sorry I mentioned Palin…

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          On 9/11 Norad was down. Literally. Some sort of exercise scheduled so warnings were to be ignored.

          If even a small private plane goes off route for more than 20 minutes and the pilot does not answer, jets will be dispatched.

      2. Carolinian

        But he worked there for some time. Perhaps airliners are going to start needing ignition keys like cars.

        1. crittermom


          “Perhaps airliners are going to start needing ignition keys like cars.”

          That could probably work (I often prefer the KISS method), but is far too simple to be implemented.
          Much better to spend billions (“kaching”) on something far more complicated. /sarc

        2. Aumua

          I can see it now:

          “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking uh… looks like we’re going to be delayed today getting off the ground because uh… I forgot my keys. They’re sitting on the counter at my house, so sit tight while I uh… just run back and grab them.”

      3. Kurtismayfield

        I had to calm a family member about this.. they kept saying “What if it was a terrorist?”. I told her that she has no problems entering a vehicle that kills 30,000 people a year, yet you are worried about terrorists that have killed less that 4,000 people in this country. The terrorist Boogeyman is everywhere and yet we ignore the daily violence we shrug off in our own lives.

    2. tegnost

      “We’re dealing with persistent threats to our transportation systems in our country,”
      yeah, it’s called underfunding, but scanners spend money into the private sector and of course we need a healthy scanner business sector. Our country is hopelessly effed.

  8. David

    Further to Clive’s comments on the absurd Brexit legal challenge, Art 50 gives a member state the right to withdraw from the Treaty “in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.” In the UK, the Crown (in practice the government) negotiates and ratifies treaties, and has the right to withdraw from them. Not only is there no need (or provision) for a referendum, but there was no need for a parliamentary vote on the principle (though because Brexit would have a lot of legal implications, there’s a role for Parliament there). In recent years, but in a very small number of cases, there has been a tendency for governments to secure their political position by having a parliamentary vote, and, in this disastrous case, a referendum in advance. But that’s essentially theatre.

    1. vlade

      The referendum was a theatre, that badly backfired. As I wrote few days back here, no referendum in the UK can have any but advisory role, so technically there’s no need to run a second referendum – if the Parliament decides that it tries to retract A50, it can do it anytime it wants to.

      I’d disagree on the A50 notification tough, as the problem there is that it deprives UK citizens of certain rights (FoM for example), and the UK government/The Crown does not have right to strip UK citizens of rights enshrined in domestic law except temporarily (like in an emergency), only the Parliament can do that. Technically, IF the parliament passed the revocation of ECA 1972, THEN the government would not have needed the Parliament to ok the A50 invocation (as the right would have been stripped already) – but the Parliament can’t easily revoke ECA 1972 w/o crashing out of EU at the same time.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, this was an argument back in 2015, when people were debating Grexit, that if Greece tried to leave the EU, that Greek citizens would be able to sue the government for the loss of EU citizen rights.

        1. Clive

          Still (groan) being chewed over in the UKSC via-a-vis Scotland. Here is the U.K. Government’s take:

          EU law provides for the withdrawal of a Member State from the European Union, and the disapplication of EU law as regards that Member State upon withdrawal. Article 50(1) TEU provides that “[a]ny Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”. Article 50(3) TEU provides for the date on which, in the event of such a decision, “[t]he Treaties shall cease to apply”.

          Although it operates on the international plane, Article 50 TEU is part of “EU law” […]

          Securing legal certainty, in the context of withdrawal from the EU necessarily involves enabling the statute book to be made ready, in advance, so that on and following withdrawal, it can continue to operate effectively. A Member State which has given notification under Article 50 TEU is not required by EU law to wait until it has withdrawn from the EU before it may lawfully take steps to address the consequences of withdrawal for its statute book— indeed, to fail to take such steps could arguably be in breach of the EU law principle of legal certainty—provided that this is done in a manner which respects the supremacy of EU law up until withdrawal.

          Or, in plainer English than that rather dense legalese, if the EU permits a Member State to leave, then there has to be a mechanism which facilitates that happening. The TFEU can’t have Article 50 which prima facie permits leaving the EU, but then opens the door for such constitutional gumming up of the works to block that from ever happening.

          That’s the Lord Advocate’s written submission and pretty convincing it looks to me. Other Member States would be able to put forward similar legal arguments under their constitutional courts.

          But it is always going to be a big fat constitutional mess. If (shudder) any other Member State is ever dumb enough to try this.

  9. Carolinian

    A quibble about Caitlin Johnstone’s column on Facebook censorship: while some are now saying “Aha, we told you Silicon Valley was run by the government” it may be more that people like Zuckerberg and the Googlers are trying to keep their sites within the zone of acceptable opinion by their fellow ten percenters and one percenters–in other words less conspiracy theory and more mass psychosis spurred by “thought leaders.” Whether these thought leaders at the press and think tanks are themselves pawns of the government–and there’s a history–is another question. But there’s no need for a CT explanation. As Gore Vidal once said, the elites don’t need to conspire because they are already on the same team anyway.

    Those not on the team may need to give Facebook and Google a pass. A hit to the bottom line will get their attention.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      There were, briefly, articles a while back, which I verified, that stated Mark Warner and his Senate committee had flat-out ordered Zuckerberg et al. to “clean up” their services. Don’t forget, there were two reviews of Facebook archives that showed no evidence of “Russian interference.” Warner flies out to visit Zuckerberg, a third review occurs, and suddenly there’s $400K-worth of “Russia-paid ads”.

      The narratives that are being silenced aren’t the ones that disturb the 1%. They’re the ones that counter the official government narratives coming from sources actually where the action is. Both Venezuela Analysis and TeleSUR have posted that the turmoil in both Venezuela and Nicaragua are supported by the US; the official narrative, of course, is that both governments there are leftist dictatorships. And then there comes an attempted assassination of Maduro with roots in Columbia barely weeks after Columbia becomes the first non-North Atlantic member of NATO. Within a week, both those news agencies are shut down on Facebook, although VA was restored after 24 hours.

      Coincidence? Maybe. Combined with all the other things I’ve observed, including the fact both NC’s and Consortioum News’s comment sections developed the same issue of delayed posts in the same week, I’m going to keep my foil hat right here handy.

        1. The Rev Kev

          If it was going to be any South American country, it was going to be Columbia. Partners in crime so to say.

      1. Carolinian

        Good point and outfits like Facebook and Google are certainly creatures of the government to the extent that they fear regulation and antitrust. But at this point the government is headed by Trump, not Warner.

        The Atlantic Council is NATO’s mouthpiece and so Zuckerberg’s choice of them to “fact check” and ride herd on so called fake news probably accounts for the recent bootings. Atlantic Council spokepeople appear on the Newshour and other such programs all the time and so my point about the media driving this may also be valid. In fact there’s probably a much fuzzier line these days between the media and the government than SV and the government.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Turkey Shifts Toward Russia as Sanctions Sour U.S. Relations”

    It wasn’t enough that US foreign policy pushed together two mutually antagonistic powers such as Russia and China into a mutual survival pact. They are now pushing other countries like Iran and Turkey to also take shelter in this pact while getting these and other countries to reduce their US dollar dependency. And I am not even sure why the attack on Turkey unless for Trump they represent an easy target to get to roll over. Maybe because they balked at US demands to let a Kurdish state be formed on their borders which they would have been nuts to agree with. The US would sooner agree to letting a Marxist nation be formed on the Mexican border. I can only imagine what a book on the history of American Diplomacy will read like in thirty years time.

    1. Mel

      Was it Wolf Street? or Automatic Earth? where it was mentioned that Emerging Markets account for 50% of global economic growth? Turkey is part of that.
      It’s important for the people who own things to own that growth; so politics be damned. They need market swings to shake things loose and buy them up.

    2. HotFlash

      Well, if this strategy doesn’t work out for the US, they can always declare bankruptcy and start over, no?

      1. JTMcPhee

        Oh no, that would be like a Jubilee, with untold consequences for the rest of us! We would once again (see bank bailout/GFC) have to start rebuilding the edifice and our personal wealth from SCRATCH! /s

    3. Olga

      It may just be that we’ve reached a point in the empire’s life-cycle that when anything it does to enforce its hegemony simply backfires. A point at which it has run out of ammunition (no pun intended) successfully to enforce obedience by others. Trump is actually a pretty good embodiment of the empire’s loss of power – he (or whoever is behind him) strikes out in every direction, only to achieve the exact opposite of what he says he wants. It’s like the boy who cried wolf too many times – a moment comes when no one believes him anymore. The empire has been de-fanged. Although I have no doubt that it still has some devious plan up its sleeve. So, we’re nowhere near being off the roller-coaster yet.

  11. fresno dan

    Dollar General thought Haven’s council should give the company a $72,000 break on its utility bills, equivalent to the cost of running the town’s library and swimming pool for a year, on the promise of jobs and tax revenues. The council blanched but ended up offering half of that amount to bring the low-price outlet to a town that already had a grocery store.
    Buhler’s council called two public meetings in March to gauge the mood of residents and invited Doug Nech, owner of neighbouring Haven’s only grocery store, the Foodliner, to speak. Dollar General had driven his shop out of business days earlier.*
    Nech calls Dollar General “a cancer” but reserves his anger for Haven’s council for subsidising a hugely profitable corporation to compete against him. He asked the council to cut his shop’s utility bill to $100 a month until the Foodliner received a matching benefit. It refused, saying that Dollar General had taken advantage of a programme to bring in new business while Nech’s was long established.
    * Whenever jobs are being “created” do they subtract the jobs lost? And “new” jobs better than existing jobs???

    1. ambrit

      WalMart is also famous for the ‘jobs gained’ versus ‘jobs lost’ metric.
      I have been known to joke about the ‘jobs sacrificed per rivet on the Walton families yachts ratio.’ I can tell the degree of oppression in a stores management labour dynamic by the reactions I get from cashiers when I trot that “joke” out.

      1. crittermom

        What amazes me about Walmart is that I’ve spoken with a few employees at our local one, & those that have been there for decades have long been ‘capped out’ & will never get another raise, yet they are always the nicest & most helpful, from my experience. (I try to shop there as little as possible, but must for some things).

        Therefore, those who have just started will far surpass them in wages.

        Yet again, from my own experience, most new hires seem to have the attitude, “Hey, I showed up for work. What more do ya want?” & are often flat-out lazy & unwilling to stop texting on their phones to help anyone. Much easier to say, “We no longer carry that”, or, “We must be out”– without ever looking.

        So much for loyalty, eh? (It also doesn’t bode well for the lack of work ethic shown by the younger generation being hired, either).

        That shows Walmart’s total disrespect for their long-time employees, but when it’s the only job in town…

        May the rivets all pop at once in their yachts as their lifeboats float away.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          If the employer has no respect for either customers or employees, why should the customers or employees do any more than the minimum necessary. Maybe if those younger workers had a decent work environment, where they were treated with respect, they’d have better attitudes.

          1. ambrit

            I find the workers disdain for the ‘quality’ of the work they produce to be a mirror for the middle managements attitude towards the hourly workers. To cut the middle management some slack; they are treated as badly by upper management as the floor workers are by all of the above. Indeed, a case could be made for the establishment of a Middle Managers Union. Such a dynamic is fertile ground for union organizing activity. No wonder the WalMart upper management is so afraid of unions. There is Power lying in the aisles. “Class Cleanup aisle Thirteen!”

    2. ambrit

      sKYnet is lunching out on my comment.
      I must be the poster child for “Most Likely to Byte It.”

      1. ambrit

        I must be jumping too fast yet again. There must be a delay between posting a comment and the algo’s putting it up for all to laugh at. The ‘original’ comment was not up for a few minutes while I typed the plaint about the “Monsters From the IT.” (“Will Dr. Morbius please engage with the Ultraviolet Courtesy Comm?”)

          1. crittermom

            Please be advised that I’m stealing “Most Likely to Byte It”! *still chuckling*

            1. ambrit

              Yes, well, that is in my High School Yearbook, the version that came in the plain brown wrappers.

          2. ambrit

            Feel free. Have fun!
            As for those ‘Monsters’: “There are some things Humans were not meant to know!”

            1. ambrit

              Thanks Rev. One of the more creative movies made in Hollywood. Basic plot by Shakespeare, unnaturally pollinated by Lovecraft. (The shape of the Krell doorways matches Lovecraft’s description of the ‘rugose beings’ awakened in Antarctica. Awakened until their ‘Monsters from the Id’ in the formlessness of the Shoggoths sends them back to the nameless aeons from which they had originally escaped.)
              ‘Everything is stuck together. No one gets out of here sane.’

    3. crittermom

      fresno dan:
      I’ve never seen more than two– & usually only one, employee in a Dollar General, or any dollar store, at a time.

      In a grocery store? Many, many more.

      I don’t think a new business that will employ so FEW people should be given such a break.
      Most likely, if they cut into the grocers’ business, they’ll have to lay off more than that.

      More proof that those in power lack total common sense.

      If I were the grocer, I’d be angry, too.

  12. tegnost

    Re: Rubin
    Vitally needed public investment — everything from infrastructure to education and lifelong learning — might be deficit-funded
    Mebbe you should have done this scolding to your buddy BHO. Most of the tower cranes I see are in two places, metro areas building condo towers (i.e. lots of building for rubins buddies to finance and fleece, not infrastructure), and university campus’ building industry favorable employee training centers in the engineering, computers, and the healthcare racket.
    Also education funding supporter robert rubin headed the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (wait,what?) in 1999, , and their view on charter schools from the wiki state somewhat disingenuously
    “Improving access to quality education[edit]
    LISC is a major financier of charter schools nationwide.[22] According to the LA Times, at least a dozen schools in California would run out of money without financing from LISC designed to cover shortfalls in state funding.[23]” (Goebbels would beam with pride)
    You would think as treasury secretary he might have been able to ease the shortfall that he seems to have been aware of in 1999, instead it’s vouchers from the gov taking public school money and giving it to private partiers. Maybe it could have been spent on “vitally needed infrastructure”? And life long learning?. I’m wondering where is the money in that scam, but since rubin said it, the grift has to be there somewhere…Dr. Frankenstein seems appalled at the monster he created.
    I think I’ll fix it for him…
    Vitally needed public investment — everything from infrastructure to education and lifelong learning — might be deficit-funded by having the plebes borrow the money from banksters in the form of mortgages and student loans otherwise the social institutions the banksters rely on (us military, as one good example) will have to look for private funding. Oh No’s echo through the halls of the reverent goldman sachs.

    1. Enquiring Mind

      But CNN just reported that Vitaly needed public investment, thereby proving conclusively the RussiaRussiaRussia connection! No word on any Vitalis pop-up ads though. ;/

  13. The Rev Kev

    “We’re in a new age of obesity. How did it happen? You’d be surprised”

    Wasn’t there a story here last year which talked about the same subject? The reason that I remember it was the fact that it showed pictures from an American campus and the casually-dressed students were all relatively trim in it and I mean all of them. There were a lot of comments about this story at the time. I may have even mentioned back then a story of a baseball stadium that was renovated but the owners found themselves about 6,000 seats down. The reason was that the newer seats were much wider than the original one from the forties and installing the newer ones meant less seats overall.

    1. Wukchumni

      A good many CCC enrolees were dangerously underweight in the 1930’s, and along with learning skills, the camps served to nourish them into health with a varied menu. Here’s atypical fare from the CCC Camp @ Cain’s Flat, 20 miles down the road from where i’m typing:

      In 1936, a typical camp’s menu on one day was the following. Breakfast: bran flakes, fried ham and gravy, fried eggs, fried potatoes, hot cakes, butter toast, syrup, jam, coffee, milk, sugar. Lunch: vegetable soup, roast beef, brown gravy, assorted cold meats, mashed potatoes, cabbage slaw, creamed peas, lettuce salad, tomatoes, mince pie, doughnuts, coffee, milk, iced tea, buttermilk. Dinner: vegetable beef soup, roast pork and jelly, baked beef heart and dressing, German fried potatoes, steamed carrots, celery, cottage cheese, sliced beets, mince pie, cupcakes, coffee, milk, ice tea, buttermilk.

      We have the same issues now, albeit in reverse. Our overweight populace is incapable of doing physical labor, largely.

      1. LifelongLib

        When in the 1930s my grandfather lost his job and my grandmother went to apply for “relief”, instead of giving her money the government gave her a job, running what was basically a daycare center. Its main function was to make sure every child got at least one good meal a day. There was hunger in ranching country…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Bigger is better.

      It’s a misconception that your genes limit how high you can go, but horizontally, you are in MMT terriotry (but not quite).

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      […] a baseball stadium that was renovated but the owners found themselves about 6,000 seats down.[due to expanding fans]

      Well, we now know one thing for certain. They will never make passenger air craft out of modern base ball stadiums.

      1. HotFlash

        I recall reading about this problem when Japan hosted the Olympics. Their stadium seating shrunk considerably when the lines were redrawn to accommodate Western bums.

        So, expanding fans’ bases.

  14. Carolinian

    Re Google tracks. The GPS radio uses more than a bit of battery so it seems unlikely that it is on all the time. If that were true then turning it off would show no difference and there is an off setting.

    However Google can track you quite precisely if you are on the web via an ISP. They don’t need GPS.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      I wish I had an alternative to the Android/Apple ecosystem. After CyanogenMod died Lineage has not kept up with more recent hardware. Is there a phone out there with a true open source OS already installed?

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      I am pleased to say that I have both location and background web and app activity turned off so apparently I have minimized tracking.

      But I thought no matter what there is a kind of tracking you can’t turn off, and the phones ping off of cell towers even when shut down.

      So who makes Faraday cages for cell phones?

      1. ambrit

        Check out a Sports Supply Behemoth, like Academy Sports. They have Faraday Pouches in their Travel and Camping section.

          1. Kurtismayfield

            Use chicken wire, something with metals that criss cross should do plenty of EM shielding.

              1. ambrit

                If the tin foil layer protects our wetware from the depredations of Valis, it should help shield the electronica mobile.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      That is not correct and I wish you would not present info that makes people insensitive to being GPS located.

      GPS will locate you to +/- 5 feet and they are working on getting it to +/- one foot.

      Triangulation gets you only to +/- 100 feet. And recall you need two towers. You can have signal with only one tower. You’d be amazed in Manhattan how many dead zones I hit, which means coming out of them you might have only one tower.

      Triangulation has been found in court to be too imprecise to locate individuals for the purpose of prosecution.

      And on top of that, GPS is in your phone. DHS seizes devices with no legal grounds. Cops often do too. So if someone has your device, they can get it to rat you out. It takes more doing to get your records fro the phone co.

      1. Expat

        GPS is inaccurate by design. There is a flaw built into civilian GPS systems. The US government was worried that the Soviets would be able to hit targets directly so they built in a flaw. Gosh! When you are launching 20 megaton bombs, I guess five feet matters!

      2. Carolinian

        I deliberately did not say hooked to the web via cell tower but instead to the web via wifi and a conventional ISP. I have an Android tablet with no GPS but with a mapping app that can show your location on it’s map. If I am within range of my neighbor’s wifi–just the beacon, not logged on–the map app will show my location exactly. Of course this same zeroing in applies to conventional computers using browsers.

        The stated accuracy for GPS is 5 meters, not feet.

        Claimed accuracy for the upcoming European nav system will be 1 meter in special mode. This probably reflects improvements in the satellites’ clock accuracy. The US GPS system goes back to the 1970s and is slated for upgrade.

        And finally it is my contention that if the GPS that is in all smartphones was turned on all the time regardless of user settings then the lack of change in battery use when you seemingly turn GPS off on those phones would be a telltale that these phones are doing some funny business.

        Happy to be contradicted in any of this if I’ve got it wrong but I’ve been using GPS practically since it became commercially available and do have some personal experience using it.

        1. Carolinian

          More on how Google does this.

          Also Google was once sued for using their Streetview cars to record wifi locations and identifiers in Germany. They claimed it was due to a rogue employee but quite likely there are databases of all US wifi signals and their locations.

  15. Edward

    “Parrot tells firefighter to ‘f*ck off’ during rescue attempt ”

    Why would a bird want to return to a cage?

    1. Wukchumni

      Our neighbors had a parrot that mimicked the sound a commercial truck makes when in reverse, and the 1st time I heard it, I asked them “what’s that?!”

      …and they told me: “it was only Reggie backing up…”

    2. HotFlash

      As the mother of a toddler said in the restaurant, “I don’t know where he could have picked that up!”

  16. Wukchumni

    When I first glimpsed Alex Jones, the thought was, geez it’d be great to watch somebody wound tighter than a 2 bit watch, implode on camera, as I felt sure he’d spontaneously combust into flames, rhetorically or temperature-wise, with an emphasis on the latter happening.

    Now sadly, it’ll happen when nobody’s watching, the horror!

    1. ambrit

      Don’t forget that a lot of stuff that was derided as ‘conspiracy theory’ a decade or two ago has now turned out to have been true. Alex Jones might be all the rotten things he’s accused of, but that doesn’t make all the stuff he brings into the public sphere rotten as well. there’s a lot of ‘guilt by association’ going on in the MSM “Official” Zone today. After all, the ‘RussiaRussiaRussia’ meme is pure and bald faced propaganda, without very much if any substantive evidence backing it up.
      Also, the tiny Cynic Devil sitting on my Left shoulder is whispering in my ear, (the Faithful Angel sometimes perched on my Right shoulder having evidently taken an extended vacation,) Alex can be made to have an ‘unfortunate accident’ much more easily while out of the public eye.

      1. Carey

        The Official Propaganda has been effective enough that the words “Russia-linked”
        are considered by many to prove the case.

        1. ambrit

          Indeed, an ‘Evil Russia Mythos’ has been resummoned from the Pit of Oblivion to spread the ‘Badspel’ of the ‘Revelations of the MSM-IC.’ The Sign whereat one may recognize the Fruits of the Dispensation is a Mockingbird.

  17. EoH

    Manafort’s lawyers closed without calling defense witnesses is more likely an indication that they had none to call whose testimony would improve the image of Paul Manafort. Calling them could have backfired, if they were unlikely to hold up well under cross examination. Calling Manafort himself was never gonna happen. His lawyers closed because they were in the best position they were ever going to be in.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This opinion is as good (I assume) as that quoted by Yves’ legal buddy source.

      As she said, we will soon see.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      The reports on the defense and prosecution arguments were awful.

      However, I could have easily seen Manafort’s side calling expert witnesses to point out that companies report for tax differently than for accounting purposes all the time, to defuse the bit about Manafort having taken $ out of his co’s and calling it a loan for IRS purposes, then trying to depict it as income with the bank.

  18. Wukchumni

    Could little NZ be the house that roared, in starting the rout of the housing bubble worldwide?

    The CANZ bubble was already wobbly and in danger of being knocked out, as the steam enabling it was gone, but now with NZ banning foreign buyers, that might be the last straw, man.

    1. Carey

      My first and possibly foily thought upon reading your comment on the NZ housing market is that some entities might prefer to see Ardern’s administration do badly.

      BTW Wukchumni, wondering if you ever stayed at the Georgia Hostel in
      Auckland in the 80s? Good memories of that place, among others.

  19. cojo

    RE why “Elephants rarely get cancer. Here’s why this matters to humans”, the simplest explanation seems to have been ignored. Elephants are plant eaters as opposed to omnivore (or the carnivores that follow the Atkin’s diet) humans. Processed meats are a Class I known carcinogen and all meats in general are a probable carcinogen by the IARC. Not only do meat products cause cancer through free radicals and oxidative stress, but there are also complex epigenetic and hormonal effects.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps another factor is life style.

      Elephants don’t live their lives being ruled by alarm clocks.

      “Time to get up. It’s 4 o’clock and the alarming is going off.”

        1. Synoia

          Elephant in the wild are quite stressed, as are all herbivores.

          There is always a predator looking for a free lunch.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            If by, free lunch, you mean ivory tusks, then yes, there is indeed always a predator looking for a free lunch, otherwise, I thought adult elephants had no predators, other than humans, save in exceptional situations.

            They are definitely stressed, however, by diminishing roaming territory in which to find ever more scarce food and water resources adequate to their large needs. And the number killed by humans every year and the resulting collateral harm to individual herds is simply staggering.

            1. RubyDog

              There are a lot of possible explanations for different cancer rates in humans and any other species, without concluding anything about lifestyle or genetics. I would suspect the major causes of elephant deaths are infectious disease and predation (by humans or animal predators). Infectious diseases and violent death were much higher as causes of death in our ancestors than in the modern world. It stands to reason that since the overall death rate equals 100%, the things that are left to kill us, like heart disease and cancer, are going to statistically increase in relative incidence. If we reduce the incidence of dying from any particular cause, all the other causes will then relatively increase to add up to 100%. I’d be curious if there is any knowledge of cancer rates in traditional hunter-gatherer societies. I would be surprised if it was not much lower, because they are much more likely to die of other causes and have high infant mortality rates. This may be analogous to elephants in the natural environment. This is not to say our lifestyle choices don’t influence our longevity, but something will get you in the end, regardless.

    2. vlade


      ‘known carcinogens’.

      They are known risk factors for _some_ cancers. Like bowel/colorectal. Where they increase incidence from about 37 in 1000 to about 45 in 1000 (lifetime) . Which is trivial compared to smoking risk for example – and you can happily get a lung/throat/etc. cancer as a vegan smoker – much more so that an Atkins diet non-smoker.

      The point is that elephants and naked mole rats do not get ANY cancer. Full stop. Never, ever, any (well, that’s not entirely true, see below).
      They tried to forcibly induce cancers in naked mole rats, and it just didn’t work – that is, as long as they were kept in their normal environment.

      The two only known cases of naked mole rats having malignant tumors were described in 2016, in naked mole rats born and kept in captivity, with significantly higher O2 content than their natural habitat (i.e. 21% normal air vs. their usual 2-9%).

      So yes, for them, oxygen is a known carcinogen.

    3. Wyoming

      This idea that meats is dangerous and that vegetative mater is not is kind of strange. One who eats a vegetarian diet based upon non-organic items is going to be eating a lot more chemicals than someone who eats mostly meat because there are a lot more different chemicals used on the wide variety of vegetative matter we choose to eat.

      And having owned and operated an organic vegetable farm I can say with certainty that you are not avoiding chemicals be eating only organic either. Trust evolution. You can eat anything with about the same amount of risk.

  20. Wukchumni

    I could see the reign of error pulling a Jack D. Ripper gig in defending his position after a simulated red attack on the base, but who’s gonna be his Mandrake?

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      I haven’t a clue, but I was taken by the mental image of Dick Cheney duct taped to a bit of ordnance and dropping through the skies. Wonder if he is screaming like Slim Pickens, there?

  21. Carey

    From the Caitlin Johnstone article:

    This always ends up hurting the left (the actual left, not the McResistance rainbow-flag-on-a Reaper-drone “left” that is permitted a platform in mainstream America), because leftists are the political faction that stands in the most stark opposition to the status quo which holds existing power structures in place.

    Yes! and I love her McResistance description, except for calling it “left”, which it is not.

    1. Judith

      I have become increasingly confused by what anyone means by the term “left”. Center left, old left, new left…And none of it seems to mean what left used to mean.

      1. anon y'mouse

        your basic problem is that almost zero people who consider themselves “left” want to say anything nice, ever, about communism in any pastpresentfutureshapeformortheory.

        hence all the hedging around.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Wells Fargo was hit with more scandal. But does anyone care? American Banker


    First we have scandals.

    Then, we get scandal fatigue.

    The next stage is scandal fatigue fatigue.

    “They are tired of being tired all the time. Thus, no energy to care.”

  23. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Robot manipulates humans in creepy new experiment. Should we be worried? NBC (furzy)


    I guess it’s just a coincidence that apple and google give their “personal assistants,” i.e. robots, exotic names like siri and alexa by which these “devices” are “addressed” to activate. Oh, and are given female–mommy–voices with which to “respond.”

    Yeah. You should be “worried.” A rare Betteridge’s Law fail.

    1. HotFlash

      Well, maybe part mommy, but full-time subservient ‘maidservant’, therefore nonthreatening. Ideal for infiltration.

    2. ChrisPacific

      The official line is that customers like (i.e., are more likely to buy products with) female voiced personal assistants. Which is probably true, but apparently none of them have thought to ask themselves why that might be (then again it’s Silicon Valley – should we be surprised at that?) I am waiting for the first one with a male voice to come out, but I suspect it might be a while.

      I agree we should be concerned, although not to sky-is-falling level. Like all new technologies it will have plenty of potential for abuse. For example, a hijacked elder care robot would probably be remarkably effective at the Nigerian scam.

    3. The Rev Kev

      There is another reason for using female voices and that is you can hear them better over background noise. I seem to recall that the US Air Force started using female voices for ground communications with aircraft on the tarmac decades ago because female voices penetrated better against the noise levels on the ground of aircraft getting ready to take off. Also, pilots being pilots, they listened to female voices better than male voices.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Baby squirrel who captivated Germany is safe — and female DW (furzy)


    In today’s divided world, it could be relevant to ask, which Germany? Progressive Germany or conservative Germany?

    If both, then, perhaps there is hope for Germans, and other humans as well.

  25. earlofhuntingdon

    On George Monbiot’s article on obesity in the Guardian, the answer from Gary Taubes and others is sugar. Not calories, not lack of exercise, not sitting on the couch, not lack of moral fiber – or even the vegetable kind. Exercise makes us healthier and hungrier, not leaner.

    Taubes and Robert Lustig go into the details of metabolic syndrome, the way the body regulates sugar and fat uptake and use, and what leads to retaining fat when we want to lose it. They also deal with the food “environment,” which has changed dramatically since 1940.

    In brief, the story evolves around the ubiquity of highly-refined sugars in the American and now international diet. Lustig also notes that the medical establishment typically treats symptoms – diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other symptoms of metabolic syndrome – rather than the underlying disease.

    Highly-refined sugars are present in every processed food – the middle 2/3 of a typical grocery store. (More nutritious foods are on the perimeter.) Sugars are cheap, make the inedible edible, and may be addictive.

    As Monbiot observes, the percentage of calories in our diet made up of sugars – listed under scores of names – has increased dramatically since his reference year of 1976. Billions of dollars of annual marketing sell us on eating it.

    Real food is expensive, seasonal and spoils quickly. Added sugars, highly subsidized, make cheap foods edible and preserve it longer. It turns other foods into a snack. Yogurt, for example, would be nutritious were it not for the added sugar, which makes eating it as healthy as drinking a sugared cola.

    The same with fruit juices, all natural or not. “No sugar added,” as a description of apple or orange juice, avoids that they are already highly sugared, but devoid of the fiber that makes eating an apple or orange a healthier alternative. Ubiquitous fat substitutes replace fat with sugars and gums, less nutritious than the lost fat.

    Michael Pollan
    has it right. The gist of his advice is to eat real, not processed, food that your grandmother would recognize as food. If it has a food label with more than five ingredients, try something else. Eat mostly plants – vegetables and whole fruits. Food nutrients are best when jumbled together with their fiber, not taken in refined form from a bottle. Limit meats, top predator fishes, and cured foods. Eat together.

    His advice, though, illustrates a problem with income inequality. Real food is expensive, and in poor neighborhoods, hard to find. Packaged, bottled, and canned processed foods are easy and cheap, as is fast food. There’s an obvious racial component to that, too. Public health will not be improved as much as it could be until we address those problems.

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The science behind rooting for the home team MedicalXpress (Chuck L)


    I am particularly interested in how the ‘home team’ work can be applied in politics.

    “My country, right or wrong.”

    “My party, right or wrong.”

    “My political savior, right or wrong.”

  27. George Phillies

    US Losership, umh leadership

    In addition, the Taliban have launched a new set of offensives that may or may not have captured much of the city of Ghazni. The ANA also surrendered what appears to have been the neighboring airport.

    Of more importance, though you have to search the obscure news sources, it appears that platoon-level Afghani force bases are being allowed by the Taliban to surrender and are doing so on a regular basis, i.e. several per day. That’s 10% a year losses or more, not counting combat losses, explaining why the ANA cannot keep its numbers up, Also, when smaller towns are overrun, the local National Government bureaucracy suffers negative consequences.

  28. crittermom

    Today’s jellyfish antidote is very cool.

    I’m sure most of us have only seen them floating in the ocean.
    This one resembles a clear but warped frisbee at first glance. I’ll now remember that should I ever visit the ocean again!

    1. anon y'mouse

      actually, i count myself even more stupid than usual today. i saw it and thought “yep, medical waste on the beach (breast implant). humans are garbage!~”

  29. Felix_47

    Paul Schreyer
    Die Deutsche Welle, mit 300 Mio. Euro pro Jahr staatlich finanziert, und unter Rechtsaufsicht der Bundesregierung, schließt die Leserforen. Offizielle Begründung: unbequeme Leserkommentare “strapazierten das Nervenkostüm der Redakteure erheblich”. Na dann.

    Deutsche Welle that receives 300 million Euro from the State each year and is supervised by the federal government closes the reader forum. The official reason is uncomfortable comments by the readers that significantly stress the patience of the editors. Well.

  30. The Rev Kev

    “(Why US Leadership Stinks & Drones Don’t Work) Leadership in organizations people believe in”

    Excellent article this and yes, this whole leadership is almost a fetish. I have seen time and again in US military doctrine how leadership is at the core of how the military goes about its business. It even has its own doctrine manual ( but in the higher echelons it does not work out in practice as shown by a recent article in Links on the fight in Afghanistan.
    I was reading an account by a military writer of exercises at the National Training Center and even though he is a solid critic of the leadership practice of the US army, when the troops come up with a tactic that proves a winner in exercises, still credits that success to leadership because they trained their soldiers that way. So, no credit for the troops.
    A small anecdote to how leadership is overdone. When the British Army was stationed in India in the 19th century, there was a British Regiment who found that all their officers, and I mean all of them, were required to be away from their Regiment for about a week or two. There was a lot of anguish among the officers about the Regiment not having any officers present. Remember, this was an era when if a soldier had to go to a train station, an NCO was assigned with the duty of taking him there. Eventually the Colonel came out and said that it could not be much of a Regiment if it could not take care of itself for a fortnight. The officers left and that Regiment did just fine.
    The only real reason that I can see in the emphasis on leadership is that that justifies all sort of perks and privileges as well as huge pay-packets because they are ‘doing it all’, especially in the corporate sector. When you start getting CEO pay-packets in the range of $50-100 million you do wonder what you are getting for all that money. And was Jack Welch, for example, really worth his severance payment of $417 million when he retired from General Electric?

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