Links 8/16/18

Children’s Writer Eduard Uspensky Dies at Age 80 Moscow Times (Dan K)

How Millennials Killed Mayonnaise Philadelphia Magazine. Userfriendly: “This is the best Millenials Killed XXXX article. For the record I love mayo.”

New Horizons Just Found Hints of a Huge Structure at The Edge of Our Solar System Science Alert (Kevin W)

Climate change has doubled the frequency of ocean heatwaves Nature

Water use for fracking has risen by up to 770 percent since 2011 PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Scientists investigating ‘unprecedented’ algae bloom in Lake Superior MPR News. Chuck L:

My boyhood home was on the north shore of a lake that was roughly circular and a half mile in diameter, in a town of about 10K. At that time the city water was drawn from that lake and “purified” in a treatment plant on its ENE side. That site is now a park with a swimming or fishing pier. Algae blooms were chronic and were controlled by a barge driven by water plant personnel that went back and forth dumping tons of copper sulfate into the water. Only after I grew up and moved away did I realize how shitty the water tasted.

Here’s How to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions Without Taxing Them New York Times (UserFriendly). Prohibition is the better approach than taxes when societal cost are higher than private costs.

The case for going to bed at 2:30 am Vox (UserFriendly)

Following sex, some men have unexpected feelings – study Big Think. Erm, the reported level of “leave me alone” behavior seem a lot lower than one would expect, given the prevalence of female grousing about that.

New Zealand rolls out ban on foreign national property purchases Aljazeera (Kevin W)

5 problems about to hit Italy’s populist government Politico


EU rebuffs idea of escalating Brexit talks to leaders’ summit Guardian

Chris Grayling has no credible plan for ‘no-deal’ Brexit, road hauliers warn Telegraph. As foretold by the Three Blokes.

Two thirds of UK shoppers expect high street prices to surge because of Brexit Independent

EU fears its Brexit talks are being bugged by British secret agents Telegraph

From Politico’s daily Europe newsletter:

BREXIT TALKS RESTART TODAY: Today’s main topic is the Northern Irish border, with future relations to be discussed Friday. The EU’s strategy for the border is “de-dramatizing” the issue, pitching its backstop plan as merely a beefed-up version of what happens now. The U.K.’s strategy remains urging pragmatism about the border issue, though in the absence of details it’s hard to know what that entails. A new YouGov poll shows the politics behind the pragmatism: Avoiding a hard Irish border is the lowest Brexit priority among the Britons surveyed.

RBS must put up posters revealing it ranks worst for customer service The Times


US-Turkish alliance reaches the point of no return Asia Times (Kevin W). Important.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The Unlikely Activists Who Took On Silicon Valley — and Won New York Times (David L)

St. Louis University Is Installing Amazon Alexa-Enabled Echo Dots Campus-Wide Fortune (Brian C)

The eminently hackable police bodycam BoingBoing

A Group of Engineers Say They’ve Created a Way to Detect Bombs and Guns Using Basic Wifi Gizmodo

Imperial Collapse Watch

Botched CIA Communications System Helped Blow Cover of Chinese Agents Foreign Policy

Trump Transition

Trump ends ex-CIA head John Brennan’s security access BBC. A shot at the Borg….

Trump Strikes Back at ‘Ringleader’ Brennan Consortiumnews

Donald Trump Isn’t Just Slashing the Refugee Quota, He’s Dismantling the Entire Resettlement System Intercept

‘America was never THAT great… and won’t be until everyone is equal’: New York governor Andrew Cuomo shocks audience as he blasts Trump and his infamous slogan – but President insists he must be having a TOTAL MELTDOWN Daily Mail. That was fast: Cuomo walks back claim that America “was never that great” Axios

QAnon is just the latest in a long line of right-wing conspiracy theories Washington Post. UserFriendly: “Wowzers how did this make it in to WaPo?”

Bannon attempts his political comeback Politico

Why did Trump tweet ‘Happy Birthday’ to Maxine Waters? He does this to his enemies a lot. Washington Post. UserFriendly: “The author of this is clearly infected with TDS. I think it’s playful and shows his sense of humor.”

Democrats Must Reclaim the Center … by Moving Hard Left Politico (UserFriendly). Also featured by Lambert in Water Cooler with some caveats re the author, but worth not missing.

How Medicare Promotes Wasteful Innovation RealClearPolicy. UserFriendly: “The latest half baked Koch bro funded anti-M4A skeet.”

New McCarthyism


The Hill Interview: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey explains what got Alex Jones suspended The Hill

The time may be right for land-value taxes – On firmer ground Economist (UserFriendly). Michael Hudson’s long-standing recommendation finally goes mainstream.

The Reason to Worry When Public Companies Disappear Bloomberg

Conventional measures pose the wrong productivity question Financial Times (David L)

Alibaba’s 20-F Annual Report… Financial Comedy Gold!! Wolf Street

Tesla Receives Subpoena Over Musk’s Take-Private Tweet Bloomberg

Tesla whistleblower tweets photos of allegedly damaged batteries Techcrunch (Kevin W). This is getting to be FUN! See example:

Class Warfare

How economic anxiety could help reshape America for the better Guardian. UserFriendly: ”

The Zero-Sum Economy Project Syndicate (David L). Important.

Replacement Hiring and the Productivity-Wage Gap New York Fed. UserFriendly:

Every time I think I’ve come to terms with the evil of modern capitalism I find some little tidbit that makes it worse. Companies now leave positions as vacant so the can keep interviewing even if they have the position filled. Just eliminate any sense of job security.

Socialism Is An Attempt To Address A Spiritual Problem With Politics The Federalist. UserFriendly: “World’s worst diagnosis of socialism’s resurgence.”

Protectionism for Liberals by Robert Skidelsky Project Syndicate (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour. From guurst:

And a bonus video. Note these birds aren’t mainly crows but they are all corvids.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    Re today’s Antidote du jour.

    “Where do bears sleep?”

    “Any damn place they want to!”

    1. Wukchumni

      A friend was the wildlife biologist @ Sequoia NP (she’s now in the same position @ Yosemite NP) and her specialty is bears, and about 10 years ago here in the National Park, around 15 black bears were tranquilized in the spring and GPS collars were placed around their necks, programmed to fall off on October 31st…

      Teams of about 10 of us in total went looking for the collars with a direction finder that got us to within 100 feet, and it took us most of the day to find all of them, often they were where the bear had slept the night before, and we found them in the hollows of trees, and here and there, one bruin had scooped out a bed that almost looked like a sunken bathtub, pretty fancy!

      The bears typically had a range of 10-15 miles, while one had close to a 50 mile range.

      She has written many books on bears, and this one I really enjoyed:

      “Speaking of Bears: The Bear Crisis and a Tale of Rewilding from Yosemite, Sequoia, and Other National Parks”, by Rachel Mazur.

      Bears have crummy vision, but they make up for it by having a sense of smell 7x as strong as that of a dog!

  2. JJ139

    Re the killing of mayonnaise.
    In Britain the egg problem of the late 1980s when Junior Minister in the Thatcher government Edwina Currie announced that most British eggs had salmonella put people off eggs for decades, and especially mayonnaise that should be made with raw egg yolks. Even today, there remains a lingering fear and not many people make it themselves, even though the salmonella scare is long past. Which is a real pity. Most of the commercial stuff uses powdered eggs.

            1. Kurt Sperry

              Of course! Just add fresh pressed garlic. Homemade mayo can be sublime. Go easy on the lemon juice though, some recipes want too much.

          1. EoH

            Absolutely. And you can flavor it to taste, if desired: fresh herbs, fish sauce, dried fruit, sausage or bacon bits, pureed veggies, the options are endless. Very limited shelf life, so make small batches.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I wonder if the American public feel the same way about their eggs. I read that at least one major egg corporation took back unsold eggs and mixed them in with boxes of new eggs to send out again. It might happen that some of these aged eggs repeated the process again and got sent out a third time. And this explained why when some people cracked an egg out of a new carton the egg had gone all sorts of bad.

      1. crow

        I have chickens, organically feed. I don’t want to eat Monsanto’s garbage. One way to tell how fresh an egg is to see how clear the egg whites are when you crack them open. If it’s clear, it’s probably pretty fresh. If it’s cloudy to some degree it’s probably at least a month old, but still fine to eat, unless it’s very cloudy. I know this because I write the date on the eggshell as they’re laid so I always eat the oldest eggs first. The very oldest ones, two to three months old are still good for baking or making pasta. As they say, waste not, want not.

        1. tegnost

          …somewhat reluctant to give household advice, as some of my suggestions over the years have turned out badly (such as lemon juice on counter tops, bad idea…) but I think that bad eggs float, can anyone confirm or deny this?

        2. Spring Texan

          Yes, years ago I had chickens and a broken refrigerator. Even without refrigeration, it was astonishing how long eggs actually do stay good.

          You can test them by floating them in water . . . floating eggs are bad, but hardly ever happens.

          Older eggs may be a little higher in the water.

            1. EoH

              Indeed. Many US FDA rules are built around the needs and limitations of big Ag. Gives them a competitive advantage over smaller artisanal producers.

              Washing mass-produced and butchered chickens in bleach is A-OK. (The bleach does not kill all the bacteria, it does prevent it from showing up on routine cultures.) Air-drying and hanging uncured small-batch sausage and ham is verboten.

              Taste, variety, and uniqueness are driven out of the market in favor of bland, uniform, long-shelf life products. “Choice” is in the eye of the beholder.

              1. Kurt Sperry

                US eggs though have a short shelf-life compared to EU eggs. Most stores in the EU don’t even refrigerate them—it’s unnecessary. Much like standard EU UHT milk/cream.

              2. polecat

                And alas, the French Government not long ago deemed it verboten to process/age cheese on wooden slabs, as it was considered ‘unhygenic’ by the idiot officials….. thereby eradicating the distinctive cheese cultures that thrived on those very same wooden slabs. So it’s not just the US that promotes .. uh .. ‘misguided’ policies under the premise of better health-n-hygene.

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Long-distance sailors seal eggs with candle wax and consume them for several months, no problem

            3. ChrisPacific

              Well, that explains a few things. They are sold unrefrigerated here as well and clearly minimally processed (you’ll often find one with a stray feather or two, streaks of dried chicken poo on the shell, etc.) They sell with a best before date a few weeks out, but there is rarely any problem with consuming them even for some time afterward.

      2. Tangled up in Texas

        Years ago, my organic farmer told me that commercial egg producers keep eggs in huge vats of water for up to one year. They scoop off the eggs that float to the top as they apparently float when they are spoiled.

        I don’t know if that’s a true story or not, but she had no reason to lie about it. She was not an egg producer. At that point in my life I was not buying commercial eggs anyway, but that certainly put me off them for good.

        1. Amber Waves

          No. Take some eggs bought at the store and put them in water. They will not float until several weeks past date on package

          1. anon y'mouse

            no, this is supposedly an old, pre refrigeration storage technique.

            the water has an additive in it (slaked lime), i would guess to prevent oxidization.

            1. GF

              Arizona has taken notice of longer lasting eggs by passing a new law that recently went into effect:

              Extending expiration date on eggs

              House Bill 2464 extends the expiration date that can be listed on the eggs you buy at the grocery store.

              Current Arizona law requires eggs to have a “sell by” date of 24 days after they were inspected by egg dealers. The bill extends that by three weeks for eggs labeled Grade A, the second-highest grade.

              Grade A eggs could have a “best by” date that’s 45 days after inspection.

              Bill sponsor Rep. Jill Norgaard, R- Phoenix, said Arizona’s sell-by date for eggs is among the strictest in the nation and forces grocers to waste food.

              Norgaard originally sought to change the expiration date for all eggs. But she agreed to a compromise that keeps the 24-day “sell by” date on eggs marked Grade AA, the highest grade.

      3. HotFlash

        Don’t know about the US, but the Canadian public is pretty comfortable with their eggs. We have marketing boards which organize production and marketing (the socialist horror!) and prevent the boom-bust cycle that has killed so many small farmers and herded egg (or dairy, or wheat, or whatever) production into the hands of big corporations.

        Despite serious erosion from the Harper (Conservative) government, which killed our wheat marketing board, and the Liberals, which have not restored any lost institutions (whaddya know, a ratchet situation — remind you of any other two parties?), egg, milk and some other agricultural sectors have stayed organized and are able to manage their production to sustain the producers, keep prices stable, and as a side benefit, keep quality.

          1. Wukchumni

            On surface the Gulag Hockeypelago seems like paradise, but once the Great Slave Lake melts out on account of global warming and they can no longer extract Neanderthals such as Dave Semenko from ancient blocks of ice and then make NHL enforcers out of them, next thing you know the sport looks like MLB, where the worst thing that could happen in a melee is a little muffed up hair and perhaps a few light noogies on the forehead.

            1. JEHR

              Well, I always thought hockey was pretty well played until it was used as a profit-making experience performed even in the desert where there will never be any natural ice!

              1. Wukchumni

                It was a tough game to watch during the “I went to a boxing match and a hockey game broke out” era of the mid 70’s.

                The old game was way too slow with lots of game stoppages (they’d freeze the pucks along the boards 10-20 times a game, it rarely happens in a contest now) and it didn’t have the double line pass or the instant icing call.

      4. Lord Koos

        We are so glad to have a reliable source for farm-fresh organic eggs locally. $5.50 a dozen and worth it. It’s very hard to go back to store-bought now, there is no comparison.

      1. Wukchumni

        The beauty of Underwood deviled ham in the can aside from it being pre-masticated for easy chewing, is that the metal cylinder comes wrapped in paper in the potted meats dept. of your supermarket, and just add a festive bow, as it makes for that extra special touch when giving them out as gifts.

  3. tokyodamage

    re: “trump strikes back at ringleader brennan”. . . one sentence caught my eye:

    ” documents now in the hands of congressional investigators showing Brennan’s ringleader role in the so-far unsuccessful attempts to derail Trump both before and after the 2016 election.”


    the article supplies no links to back up this bombshell. And a search for “nunes investigates brennan” results in either MSM sources which make no mention of these documents, or tinfoil-hat sites who I don’t trust.

    (although this one is funny! )

    Can anyone link to a credible source for this claim?

    Man, now I’m vexed. ‘Conspiratus interruptus’, i guess.

    1. Carolinian

      Check out the above Consortium News link from non tinfoil hat, ex CIA Ray McGovern.

      After eight years of enjoying President Barack Obama’s solid support and defense to do pretty much anything he chose — including hacking into the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee — Brennan now lacks what, here in Washington, we refer to as a “Rabbi” with strong incentive to advance and protect you. He expected Hillary Clinton to play that role (were it ever to be needed), and that seemed to be solidly in the cards. But, oops, she lost.

      What needs to be borne in mind in all this is, as former FBI Director James Comey himself has admitted: “I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president.” Comey, Brennan, and co-conspirators, who decided — in that “environment” — to play fast and loose with the Constitution and the law, were supremely confident they would not only keep their jobs, but also receive plaudits, not indictments.

      Unless one understands and remembers this, it is understandably difficult to believe that the very top U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials did what documentary evidence has now demonstrated they did.

      While Trump may be a boob the whole Russiagate saga illustrates why some of us saw HRC as the bigger danger. It appears this cabal really did think they could get away with anything with her as Obama’s successor.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        You’re fired!
        It’s taken a while, but better late than never

      2. JTMcPhee

        Not sure if the lexicon has changed, but in Chicago, back in the day, that “Rabbi” character was known as the “Chinaman.”

        All this sturm und drang about one use of the “n” word, and no outcry that the System uses those politically incorrect, maybe even if you squint, “antisemitic” and Orientalist terms?

        The hypocrisy, it burns, but for some reason never consumes itself…

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Consider the meaning and context of the three politically incorrect words. You might go to your “Rabbi” or “Chinaman” for what, versus you might call your “n”-word for what. “Rabbi” and “Chinaman” ate at one far end of the status and respect spectrum and “n” word at the lowest end of the other.

          1. Wukchumni

            A friend had some “Oriental” flavored ramen on a recent backpack trip, and we were speculating if it tasted like Caucasian ramen, or was it was a bit spicier?

            1. Procopius

              I absolutely love Thai instant noodles. My Big C supermarket has been stocking a bigger selection of imported Japanese Ramen Noodles and I tried a package. I didn’t much care for it, but can’t really explain why. Maybe not enough red pepper.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Yet amongst themselves, blacks use that word as a term of bonding and solidarity, and it actually seems to confer status. But white boys like me dare not say it.

            So political incorrectness appears to be context-related. And among the political elites, and right down the sociopolitical spectrum in Chicago and where the other word is used in the sense of “power mentor” and “in”, those other two words are freely used, with complete understanding of their meaning. In context. If I got a Chinaman or Rabbi in the power game, I got an in. And the fix to go with it.

            1. polecat

              So, on the flipside … I guess honky, and cracker are uncontext-related, an thusly, without repercussion .

              1. JTMcPhee

                Hear, bro.

                Too bad all us pink/tan/cream skins, and olive/khaki skins, and cafe-au-lait/rose/obsidian skins, can’t get it through our heads that the moneyskins are the common opponent. So easy to split us into warring factions, and they don’t even have to pay half of us to kill the other half.

                “Of course there is class warfare, and my class, the rich class, is waging it. And we have largely won.” Warren “Third-wealthiest Man In The World” Buffett said this. With a snicker.

      3. Brooklin Bridge

        It appears this cabal really did think they could get away with anything with her as Obama’s successor

        Agree, but in a broader sense (beyond the election) I think the present tense would be more appropriate. There seems to be almost no let up on the anti Russia narrative that crystallized during the US engineered coup in Ukraine in 2014 and even Trump has been made to bow albeit while whining loudly.

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        I was thinking about other Clinton features at the time, not this Clinton feature . . . but yes, I too thought a President Clinton was such a deadly danger to the country that I voted for Trump to do my part to stop the Clinton.

        I hated to do it, but it had to be done.

        1. HotFlash

          Agree. Chaotic neutral, or even if he is chaotic evil, it’s a better bet than lawful evil.

      1. tokyodamage

        Thanks! These guys say Ukraine instead of Estonia, which, hey, why not? But I couldn’t find any mention of this ‘report’ which Consortiumnews insisted that Nunes is supposedly compiling on Brennan in revenge for Brennan’s dossier.

        Where will it all end? Does a report outrank a dossier? What about a memo? It stands to reason a dossier can beat up both a report or a memo, but then you got . . . the files about the report? Or the report about the memo about the files? Who’s got the high card then? Wheels within wheels.

        The whole thing seems like a bizzarro game of rock, paper, scissors where no one knows what beats what.

    2. marym

      It seems like mostly 2 perspectives on the same situation. The anti-Trump position is that the Obama administration tried to warn the Trump campaign and Congressional leaders about Russian attempted interference. The pro-Trump position is that this makes them ringleaders in a witch hunt.

      1. Carolinian

        Actually my above comment doesn’t answer Tokyodamage’s question–need coffee–and it is true that trying to get down into the weeds of Russiagate means you may become lost in there and never be seen again. But the main point is really very simple and doesn’t require documentary proof. We are not at war with Russia and therefore even if there were contacts and collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia it wouldn’t come close to “high crimes and misdemeanors” or anything that would justify the extraordinary act of a CIA chief and FBI investigating a presidential candidate’s campaign. If what Brennan did is justified then any future incumbent president can open the CIA floodgates and press smear machine on a re-election opponent. It’s dubious whether Brennan will ever be charged with any crime. But it is high time the public started seeing these shady IC characters for what they are.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If what Brennan did was justified at the time, he would likely have involved Obama to approve it, no… unless he couldn’t trust him either?

              1. Wukchumni

                Order from Kroger to be delivered to:

                Ned Ludd
                427 Thunderbird Lane
                Phoenix, Az.

                2x bags of tortilla chips
                1x pico de gallo
                1x guacamole
                4x ball peen hammers
                2x 6-packs of Sierra Nevada in cans

                  1. polecat

                    I can envision that robot delivering your order sans chips … which it would procede to crush, and slather thusly, all over it’s various joints and servos, (as you watch helplessly) due to the immense amount of grease contained in those 2 bags alone .. a twofer, as 1.) Management is able to cut back on robotic maintainence inventory, saving $$ and insuring bigger bonuses .. and 2.) The robot gets to steal your stuff !

              2. Carolinian

                That comment supposed to be at the bottom of the page. Still more coffee needed.

                And you give Fry’s 6 extra bucks for the delivery privilege and the impress your neigbors privilege. Note that Scottsdale is where the Phoenix millionaires live.

        2. Procopius

          I have never yet seen anyone besides me point out that when Brennan announced that he had evidence that Putin was personally involved in directing the “interference” in the election he was openly announcing that the CIA had an asset in Putin’s inner office, and this compromised an intelligence asset more valuable than the knowledge that the State Department had broken the Japanese diplomatic code, Purple, before Pearl Harbor. That was considered to be so important that the Roosevelt and Hull decided not to notify the Commander In Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC) when they intercepted a cable that seemed to indicate an imminent Japanese military attack. The fact that Brennan is not yet in Leavenworth making small rocks from larger ones probably means he was lying, or it may mean the source was dead before he made the announcement or that they hoped failure to prosecute would convince Russian counter-intelligence that it was a lie.

      2. Beniaminio

        Why yes, the anti-Trump position makes perfect sense. I can only speak for myself, but when I want to warn someone about something, I always seek a FISA warrant on the basis of unsubstantiated political opposition research and undertake a lengthy, secret wiretapping process. I find it to be a much more efficient way of warning someone than simply tapping them on the shoulder and telling them what’s up.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Until Dems admit they lost and figure out why they will continue to serve up sh*t sandwiches. But that’s assuming they want to win and govern, which they don’t. Much simpler to grab the cash and just yell about RussiaRussiaRussia, no need to pore over complex policy issues and build support for actual new legislation that helps people

  4. PlutoniumKun

    US-Turkish alliance reaches the point of no return Asia Times (Kevin W). Important.

    Just as with Iran, the US (Trump in particular) is underestimating how stoking up nationalist ire can strengthen rather than weaken opponents. The Turks are a proud people, even those who don’t like Erdogan will get behind him if the country is seen to be under economic attack.

    Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey is considering other markets and political alternatives to its “strategic partnership” with Washington. No doubt, China will be the big winner. China prioritizes Turkey as a key partner in its Belt and Road Initiative.

    Trump is seriously underestimating the potency of Turkish nationalism, which is rising to a crescendo. In his Art of the Deal, nationalism has no place – business goes to the highest bidder. The Turkish opinion is hardening that the US was behind the 2016 July failed coup attempt in a concerted strategy to take control of Turkish policies, and the “economic war” is its latest manifestation.

    China and Russia are the big winners of this of course. I think we are seeing a big realignment within the Middle East, with Turkey, Qatar, Syria and Iran increasingly co-operating against the Israeli/RSA/UAE axis. The former will increasingly have Russia and China providing tacit support. The good news about this is that it will make an attack on Iran almost impossible, so reducing the chance of an immediate war.

    1. Loneprotester

      The counterargument is that Turkey has been veering off course for years and that it is long past time to reign in Erdogan, who is quaffing his own kool aid and undermining his allies’ efforts to stabilize the Middle East. He has destroyed Turkey’s proud secularist tradition and put it on the path to an Islamist fascist state. Goodbye Ataturk, hello Sultan Suleiman I !!

      1. pretzelattack

        off what course, though? how do turks feel about him? and who is supposed to rein him in?

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        What allies of Turkey are trying to stabilize the Middle East? I’m assuming you are referring to Russia not a NATO power for obvious reasons.

        Then of course, Turkey prior to Erdogan invested heavily in EU accession while ignoring much of its non-cosmopolitan population. Gee, what happened next?

        1. JTMcPhee

          More likely that just a different band of thugs from within the thuggery, maybe wearing a slightly different color of Ghutra and differently knotted Igal, will end up running the “republic.” Oil wealth does not translate well to public benefit.

    2. Unna

      If Nietzsche was correct when he said something to the effect that power makes peoples and nations stupid, then US foreign policy under both Obama and Trump proves Nietzsche’s point. So Obama tries to overthrow Erdogan, and I’m willing to bet on that. Both Obama and Trump join with the Kurds while using Turkey to destabilize Syria which only causes Turkey to destabilize itself. Sitting at the regime change poker table, Erdogan suddenly realizes that after Assad, he’s the mark. So he seeks to buy S400’s to protect himself, reopens the pipeline projects etc, and learns to love Putin. In response Trump tries to strangle Turkey with sanctions, tariffs etc and people are shocked when Turkey seems to be in the process of reorienting itself to the East. Well, Turkey only controls the seaways into the Black Sea, has the second largest army in NATO etc.

      Some really smart guy must have given complex and learned reasons to Obama and Trump about why Russia and China could never get together, why Russia and Turkey could never get together, and that Turkey and Iran could never ever get together. This smart guy must be a direct descendent of the very smart German guy who told the Kaiser that regicide republican France could never get together with autocratic Tsarist Russia. But who cares about stupidity in the past. It’s only history.

      The only logic I can see behind any of this is that the US feels strong enough to take down Russia China Turkey Iran plus publicly slap down most its the vassal states all at the same time. One big throw of the dice. And if it doesn’t work, then watch out.

      1. JTMcPhee

        “One big throw of the dice.” Because these people who run things, they all have their long history of playing that idiotic Game of Risk! ™, where like Monopoly ™ the goal of the game is to HAVE IT ALL!!! BWAHAAHAAAAHAAAA!!!

        The objective of the game is to conquer the world by controlling all of the countries on the board. You do this by attacking other players and taking over new territories on the board. All the while, you need to make sure that your own territories are well-defended.

        Put the two together and you got the Blobalized Game of Hazard,, with ever more vulnerability and ever more fragile “supply chains” and ever-declining quantum of the stuff needed for human life to continue, and ever more apparent willingness of the few to kill the rest of us and maybe even their own lily-white and other-colored butts too…

      2. The Rev Kev

        Would you believe that an idea is being floated that when an Arab (actually a Sunni Arab) NATO is formed, that Israel will be a member of it? The thinking is that counties like Egypt and Jordan have some sort of ties with Israel already so they will totally be cool with the idea. No word on how that idea will float on Arab Street.

    3. Susan the other

      It’s pretty strange. Is Trump really this stupid? I don’t think so. But he is creating huge problems for Israel and SA. Apparently he’s ok with that. Pepe Escobar pointed out the dangers of making Iran react because all the Iranians have to do to demolish the petrodollar is block the Strait of Hormuz. Hence the bitter fighting in Yemen. The anger against Qatar. I don’t think it looks to bright for SA. I kept suspecting they had a plan to turn their desert oil mecca into a big chemical refinery and move their entire extended family off to an island in Indonesia which they bought about a year ago for close to a trillion dollars. Big silence on that purchase.

      1. Wukchumni

        The reign of error greatly reminds me of telemarketers in the pre-internet age (Newport Beach, Ca. & Long Island, NY were the Bigs in the game, where larceny was a license) that really believed there were ‘oil leases’, ‘metric tons of gold’ or other tomfoolery that they were peddling on their end of the phone line, did in fact exist, and the really good ones could defeat any pullback by the person on the receiving end of malarkey, by promising anything to get the order.

    4. Unna

      I don’t think Trump is personally stupid, quite the opposite. Maybe it’s me, but I just can’t understand the policy. Going after everybody at the same time. The people advising presidents are obviously very smart. So how is it that they fall into “stupid” policies, maybe counterproductive is a better word. Psychology, bubble thinking, face? Once, after the end of the Cold War, the US claimed a position of full spectrum dominance over all the world, how does it back away from that? Maybe the better way to understand all these reconfigurations is that there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests. Historians sometimes speak of diplomatic “revolutions”. Maybe all this is one of those.

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      Given the Erdogan support for the Jihadi rebellion in Syria, and Erdogan’s effort to conquer certain little parts of northern Syria for Turkey, I think that genuine co-operation between Erdogan and the Syrian Arab Republic will be difficult.

    6. Synapsid


      Qatar announced yesterday that it will invest 15 billion dollars in Turkey. Things are rolling.

  5. Darius

    A carbon tax coupled with restricting a steeply graduated income tax mostly to the top 10 percent would have mass appeal, but since both parties serve the top 10 percent, not likely. It would require a hostile takeover of the Democrats, crushing the Republicans, and people having a vision for it.

    Nevertheless, that’s my preferred response to climate change. A renewable energy mandate sends too many mixed signals if fossil fuels remain cheap. So it won’t work.

    1. Shane Mage

      The NYT article talks of taxing “emissions,” which is a total straw man. A carbon tax has to be levied against *the carbon content* of fossil fuel production and imports, or, for manufactured imports, the pro-rata by value share of the exporting economy’s carbon production plus imports.

      But “Prohibition is the better approach than taxes when societal cost[s] are higher than private costs.???” Prohibitionism? Do you imagine that the societal costs of alcohol consumption are not enormously greater than the private costs (even though those costs, private and “societal” together, are far less than the “hedonic” benefits that humanity has always derived from its brewers)?

      1. anon y'mouse

        context, any?

        we outright prohibited chemicals destroying the ozone layer. the potential cost to society was too great, and we had alternatives although industry grumbled and tried to drag their feet.

        the problem with the energy issue is that the alternative, at rate of energy use today and projected to expand in future, is likely nuclear.

        we aren’t talking about snatching away anyone’s fun-juice.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well, unless we can make so much electricity that we can charge up as many electric cars as the number of internal combustion cars we have today . . . and unless we can charge them up as much as we “gas” up cars or “diesel” up cars today . . . so that people can get in their car any old time and just drive drive drive; then yes – we are talking about snatching away anyone’s fun-juice.

          That’s part of what will make Deep De-Carbonization of the Energy Portfolio so difficult.

  6. /lasse

    Don’t really knows the accuracy of this but think its interesting stuff about the Genova bridge collapse.

    The Beneton family control the company (Atlantia’s Autostrade per l’Italia) that have the concession of 3000km roads including the Genova bridge. In 2017 it had €3.9 billions in revenue and a gross margin of €2.4 billion. A profitability of 61%.
    Although traffic and tolls are on the rise (well above inflation), are employment in the sector declining and investments are falling. Italy’s private “road keepers” have recovered well from the GFC and do good profits but investments are on record low.

    2 of 3 Riccardo Morandis large bridges of the same type with his patented concrete construction is claimed to have collapsed, the 3:e in Libya was closed 2017 due to safety reasons. Italy a industrial nation in EU, Libya a failed state in North Africa close unsafe bridges.

    What are going on in EU? Not long ago we could read about how Germany (economic engine of EU) are closing bridge for trucks on important infrastructure routes. Not because of environment concerns, due to safety reason so the bridges wont collapse.

    1. Louis Fyne

      …..What are going on in EU?

      out of touch, remote, pro-top 0.5%, centralized, regulatory-captured bureaucracy. more concerned with virtue-signalling (migration) than keeping the trains running on time for the natives.

      sorry to sound like Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan, but it’s true. your mileage may vary

      1. vlade

        Except that 5stars, the current in-government party, was saying no money should be spent on that bridge maintenance even a few years back. It was a fairly popular policy.

        This particular bridge seems to have been extremely badly designed and needed repairs every few years from what I read.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          According to the quoted passage above, the Beneton family controls the corporation that has the concession over the bridge.

          Shouldn’t the corporation be the one to spend on maintenance, and not the government?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              You’re right…per the Art of War: You have to study your enemy so you can figure out how to defeat him, or it.

      1. /lars

        Well probably they just abide to EU:s neoliberal directives, there are among others the Postal-directive and railroad-directive that mandate “competition” aka privatization.

        1. Julia Versau

          Which is why eBay and Etsy sellers are loathe to buy from Italy or sell to Italian customers. Packages simply disappear. That’s privatization!

        2. Kurt Sperry

          I recently had a simple letter that would take a week from France or the UK take months to arrive from Italy. It’s always been bad, but it seems to be getting worse. The privatization of the Italian Autostrade (which I never understood) is straight from the most dog-eared pages of the neoliberal playbook.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Back in the early 80s I was in Italy and the postal service had a pretty bad reputation even back then. There was an enormous backlog of mail that had accumulated in the system so one new bright boy figured out a way of solving this problem. He had all the excess mail taken out and burned the whole lot. Problem solved! Unfortunately that is a true story that.

            1. Harold

              I’m sorry to say it goes back much further than the 80s, if my memory serves me right. Back to the days of “la miseria‘, when people were starving.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Simple answer is austerity, especially in Germany. They’ve been cutting government spending since the late 1990’s by cutting deeply into the capital side. They’ve created an enormous problem for themselves in Germany in particular, less so in other countries.

      Its hard to say much so soon about the Italian collapse, but it seems it was well known that the bridge design was structurally poor and it needed replacement sooner than expected. But it seems that there was something more fundamental going on that wasn’t understood.

    3. BillS

      Italians are familiar with the corruption that sits behind every major public works project. Money flows from the taxpayer into the pockets of corrupt construction companies and their political backers, who then proceed to use inferior materials in construction, build in inappropriate ways/locations and proceed to ignore engineers’ warnings of impending disaster. When the disaster happens, there is a round of blame-spreading, promises to fix the problem and in the end, nothing really changes.

      Perhaps the most (in)famous of these is the Vajont Disaster of Oct. 9, 1963 where 50 million cubic meters of water overtopped the Vajont Dam in under a minute, erasing several towns below and killing 2000 people ( The warnings were there, but were ignored in the name of economic progress. The tradition lives on.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        From Corruption Perceptions Index, Wikipedia, in 2016 (the last year ranked), only these countries are more corrupt (in Europe):

        Sao Tome
        Bosnia and Herzegovina

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


            They have been so stable since 1975 I have not heard of them that often before (we are supposed to hear only bad news).

      2. Kurt Sperry

        The ‘Ndràngheta have long had an outpost in Genova and “il sistema” have been into the concrete biz even longer. There may be an angle there. I was under that very bridge in April on the train to Milan.

  7. zagonostra

    Refer: Socialism is an attempt to Address a spiritual Problem with Politics: “This is why socialism, at least in name, is having a recrudescence in the United States. We have no crisis in our political economy that makes socialism qua socialism seem necessary ”

    Is this guy for real? What planet does he live on?. Can’t he understand that half the population lives in fear of going to the doctor or their children getting hurt and falling into bankruptcy, or paying for a college education, or saving for retirement, or taking a vacation, etc…the problem is “Systemic” not “Spiritual”!!

    We have no crisis? Maybe he, personally doesn’t but a sizable portion/majority of the population lives on the economic edge, fearing for their own economic future and the ecology of this planet (not the one the author lives in)..

    Maybe Socialism is not the answer, but surely, surely, this corrupt (add adjective here) Capitalism that we live under is certainly not.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      The author was so overwhelmed by the pleasure of a plane ride in coach (who’s he kidding?) that he fails to notice he lives in a country with a declining life expectancy. If we pointed it out to him, he would no doubt blame that on the early departeds’ lack of self-control and moral fiber.

      I still think that exploring the question of societal spiritual and moral well-being is worthwhile, perhaps essential. While this myopic guy doesn’t have much to offer, we do need to consider what will be required beyond political or economic changes in order to escape this tailspin. After all, we’ve all been living from birth under a relentless effort to shape us into being docile toward authority, ruthless toward our fellow workers and the natural world and insatiable in our material desires. This manipulation has only become more pervasive and effective over the last six or seven decades. It has affected both the .01% and the bottom 50%, and the impact exacerbates the pernicious effects of Capitalism right down to the family and individual level.

      Jackson Browne wrote about the Pretender’s life being nothing more than filling in the “missing colors” in a “paint-by-number dream” provided by those same manipulating Capitalists. The pursuit of that “American dream” overwhelms moral and ethical concerns both at the top and the bottom of society. It now produces a nihilism that infects a Martin Shkreli all the way down to the 15 year-old who indiscriminately fires an automatic weapon into a crowd because he has a “beef” with someone in the middle of it. It has broken down trust in our communities and crippled our inborn empathetic impulses.

      There is no policy or program that can heal this moral disintegration. In fact, the low moral and ethical state of our society will undermine if not sabotage any effort to provide material benefits to anyone without power, and those deleterious effects will come from the .01%, the 10% and from the bottom 50%. We’ve been made into a society of hustlers, con artists and bullies whose concern for our fellow human beings does not extend beyond immediate family, if that far.

      I’m not arguing that no attempt should be made to improve people’s lives but rather that purely political/economic changes cannot succeed by themselves in reversing our decline. And I’m not arguing that what America needs is a good dose of “old-time religion.” The current followers of that hustle are among the most deluded “dreamers.” The first step is to throw off the shackles of that sick and destructive “dream” so that we can remember/re-imagine what it is to be a human being. That will take more than talk. It will require living in a way that rejects Madison Avenue’s definition of who we are and what the good life is.

        1. zagonostra

          I like this Morris Berman, he makes a lot of sense…his concluding paragraph certainly resonates…unfortunately I’m not so young and not old enough to retire…

          “When young people ask me, What should I do?, I tell them: Hit the road, Jack! Emigrate now; don’t put it off. What do you think is waiting for you, when you are ready to retire? It’s not going to be pretty. Most of them will undoubtedly dismiss me as a lunatic (all of which raises the question of who is truly insane, of course).”

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Hit the road to where, though? And how many road-hitters will such destinations-of-choice allow into their countries before those borders close?

        2. zagonostra

          One key emendation I would make to MB that I forgot to include is that he should have said in the below quote “It’s not JUST the economy stupid.”

          “So, what have you got? You’ve got a deep systemic emptiness. This comes from the fact–in the case of consumerism, capitalism and so on–that you’ve embraced an ideology without knowing it’s an ideology, whose basic philosophy is “more.” What is it you want? More. Well, more is not a spiritual path. It has no content at all. And then you wonder why you’re depressed. (I recall a column David Brooks did about his material wealth and simultaneous mental depression. It’s not the economy, stupid!)”

      1. Eclair

        ‘There is no policy or program that can heal this moral disintegration.’ Yes. Nice post, Henry. Capitalism can be viewed as a moral and spiritual illness.

    2. Ed Miller

      The author is very typical of what I see around me. If I don’t see a problem impacting me then all is good. What is with other people?

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Those are the ones I now refer to as The Comfortable ™. They are not only comfortable financially and socially but comfortable in criticizing anyone who suggests their opinions and beliefs are not 100% factual. And will disparage anyone who dares challenge them as–well, I’m sure others here can add to the list that includes “Trump supporter.” If you happen to be a woman, and they a man, your efforts will be attacked as “conspiracy” and/or “delusion”.

        1. gordon

          I guess those are the same people JK Galbraith was referring to in his 1992 book “The Culture of Contentment”.

    3. Plenue

      Right at the beginning of the article:

      “This direct flight from Portland to St. Louis takes less than four hours to travel 2,000 miles, for a price of just under $200.”

      I know he thinks this is real ‘gee whiz, it’s so affordable!’, but 200 bucks is the better part of half of the savings that 60% of Americans can’t even muster. And when he was in Portland, did he deign to take notice of all the homeless tents and dirty bearded men with ragged cardboard signs hanging around highway on and off ramps?

      The article title though perfectly encapsulates something I’ve noticed over and over again with conservatives: everything is the result of moral failing to them. To them society wide material deprivations (not that this particular author seems to think any really exist) are the result of widespread individual failing, not the other way around. People aren’t miserable because they can’t pay the bills, they can’t pay the bills because they’re too lazy, stupid, don’t force themselves to be positive enough, etc. Conservatives seem completely unwilling to engage with the concept of structural aspects that transcend the individual (I guess this is the whole “there is no such thing as society” claim).

      Oh, unless of course we’re talking about the supposed central importance of one man, one woman marriage, and why we can’t let gay people tie the knot. Then suddenly conservatives can comprehend the concept of institutions. Funny, that.

    4. gordon

      This is an old issue. In his 1942 essay “The Yogi and the Commissar” Arthur Koestler referred to it as “…the fundamental conceptions of Change from Without and Change from Within.” He thought he saw a pendulum-swing between the two extremes through history. I’m not so sure about the pendulum, but I do think anybody embarking on this particular old chestnut should read his essay.

      I also think of a remark of GB Shaw’s in his Preface to Androcles and the Lion: “We must therefore bear in mind that whereas, in the time of Jesus…it was believed that you could not make men good by Act of Parliament, we now know that you cannot make them good in any other way…”

  8. Kurtismayfield

    RE: Replacement Hiring and the Productivity-Wage Gap

    So does this mean the JOLTS data, which has traditionally been a good metric for job openings, has become completely crapified? If job openings aren’t really about filling a need then they are imaginary no?

  9. Loneprotester

    Re. Mayo, I agree that this piece is tragi-comedic gold. For what it’s worth (and I’m a solid Gen Xer), I loathed Mayo throughout my 20s and only began to appreciate its culinary potential in my 40s, after years of making my own aioli. F that, says my wised up self to my foolish, wheel-reinventing self. Now mayo has a proud place in my fridge alongside many, many kinds of mustard and exotic sauces. It is not first among equals, but it is now a friend of the house.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve noticed that while the west coast puts mayo on damn near everything, east coasters tend to look askance @ our barbarianism in application, particularly on hamburgers.

      1. Lord Koos

        In my experience east coast sandwiches are amazing, but the hamburgers suck. I don’t know if it’s still this way but back in the 70s I ordered a burger in upstate NY and got a burger on a bun, no veggies, no relish, no ketchup, no mustard, nothing. This happened a few times until I just stopped ordered them.

    2. HotFlash

      Putting mayo on a burger is the *ultimate* barbarism. Way worse than bombing civilians in countries that have never bothered us and couldn’t if they tried. Unless, of course, it is kimchi mayo, that would be OK.

      PS My spell checker doesn’t know what kimchi is — it is missing so much!!

      1. Wukchumni

        One time I ordered a 5 Guys burger with extra mayo in Hackensack, and was heckled all the way to mid-town Manhattan by the locals…

        …tough crowd

        1. fresno dan

          August 16, 2018 at 11:21 am

          40 some years ago, in the Air Force and due to the vagaries of geographic mixing, I was in a group of trainees with a large number of men from around Boston. They dipped their freedom fries (have we gone back to calling them French fries???) into mayonnaise. I was almost as appalled as if they were eating land mollusks…
          Anyway, I tried it and I still use mayonnaise on freedom (?French?) fries 50% of the time, except I call the mayonnaise aioli .

          1. MichaelSF

            I put mayo on my fries after learning how much tastier it is than ketchup, and I like a good slathering of it on sandwiches too.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Mayo on fried chips is standard fare in Belgium and the Netherlands. My wife looks askance at me when I do that but she also does the same when I sometimes put vinegar on chips.

              1. HotFlash

                Oh lordy! I once asked for vinegar for my chips (french fries) in New Jersey. The waitress was nonplussed, but after some negotiating finally brought me some vinegar. In a mug. And the kitchen staff peeked out to see what I was going to do with it.

                1. ambrit

                  Once, when berift of funds, I resorted to some leftover Tartar sauce on a plate of pommesfrites we whipped up in the kitchen. I do it whenever I can get a decent Tartar sauce now.
                  (Basic English cuisine meets New Orleans cooking.)

    3. begob

      Hellmans killed mayo – as it’s sold in the UK, the main ingredient is some awful vegetable oil. Soybean I think. Even when they claim to use olive oil, that’s only 5% or so.

      1. Rojo

        I love mayo, but avoid industrial seed oils. Big Food companies now like to olive up their products, which means, as you mention, a touch of olive oil and a new drab green label.

        For a few more bucks, I recommend 100% avocado oil based mayo. Deeeee-vine.

    4. Burritonomics

      You beat me to it! I’m Gen-X also, and I was going to say that I couldn’t STAND mayo until my late 30’s. Also echoing your comment, I was going to kinda sarcastically say all you have to do for the millennial crowd is call it aioli, and then it’s no problem.

    5. Eclair

      In the NYC area delis, asking for mayo on a sub will get you escorted out the door. It is Known that subs are dressed with only oil and vinegar. I concur.

      However, the joys of mayonnaise, especially home-made and with various spicy additions, are wondrous. On cold salmon. With any type of hard-boiled egg; from a dollop on a half, to spoonsful in egg salad. On a chicken or turkey sandwich.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Mayo can only go on chicken, turkey, roast beef or roast pork sandwiches.
        Never on hamburgers, hot dogs, or ham and swiss on rye. That is mustard only territory.
        Never tried it on fries, but ketchup mixed with cream gravy from your chicken fried steak is muy tasty on fries.
        Carry on.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Good god, man. You should try a bit of everything while you can. Where is your adventurous spirit? Think of the first man ever to try blood sausage!

          1. foghorn longhorn

            It hardly seems like an aversion to mayo affects my adventurous spirit.
            But my food routine is certainly not in the realm of say, an Andrew Zimmerman or Anthony Bourdain.
            Having had a bad raw oyster while working in New Orleans, so sick I really thought I’d bought the farm, has helped to make me less than curious about new culinary adventures.
            And I don’t eat bait, sushi, either.
            Now deep fry it in tempura and it’s game on.

    6. ChrisPacific

      I agree it was pretty funny (I don’t think the millennial bashing was all that serious, so I’ll give it a pass on that). It also suffered a bit from Vocab Word of the Day syndrome (‘omphalos,’ ‘esculent’) which was at odds with the overall writing style.

      Overall it read like a love letter to a 50s and 60s version of America that no longer exists. I can’t say I am a fan of mayonnaise in salads. I like potato salad but usually prefer it without. Mac salad with mayonnaise is definitely not my thing (with apologies to my Hawaiian friends). I don’t see the shunning of Applebee’s and TGI Fridays as a generational tragedy.

      This quote captures the essence:

      You may have noticed youth’s similar circumvention of gelled salads. (My mom made a dynamite one with black cherry Jell-O, walnuts, olives, canned cherries and small balls of cream cheese.)

      Yes, things are different now. This is the kind of thing that we make fun of when we see it in the pages of old food magazines (complete with poorly-aged ink that changes the colours and makes it look like congealed brains – not that the above example needs any help). I’m not a millennial, but I still believe that getting gelatin out of salads is one of the significant culinary advances of the last 50 years, and you’ll have a hard time convincing me otherwise.

      1. HotFlash

        (My mom made a dynamite one with black cherry Jell-O, walnuts, olives, canned cherries and small balls of cream cheese.)

        My great-aunt’s family reunion Jell-O beats your mom’s. Black cherry Jell-O, canned sour cherries, hot tea, cold red wine. Worth getting adopted for.

    7. drumlin woodchuckles

      I in general don’t like mayo “on” things, but I like it “in” some things.

      Though one day I might try the Basic American delicacy . . . Miracle Whip ( “must be Miracle Whip”) and beefsteak tomato slab on Sunbeam Bread ( “must be Sunbeam”).

      1. jawbone

        My mother made a tasty Jello mold with small pineapple chunks and grated fresh carrots, served with a side sauce made from Miracle Whip and some milk, I think, and a touch of apple cider vinegar. Not sure about the last….

        Haven’t made it in decades; my brother loved it but his wife never had it as part of her family dinners, so eventually it stopped being made.

  10. DJG

    New research? It helps to read the classics:

    post coitum omne animal triste est sive gallus et mulier

    After sexual intercourse every animal is sad, except the cock (rooster) and the woman

    This is attributed to Galen, the famous medical doctor, who lived from about 60 to 120 A.D. He also believed that there is no mind-body problem: The two are inseparable. So Galen may have known a few things about human behavior.

    1. HotFlash

      Galen also thought that a good way to seduce a woman was by warming her liver (on the outside, not the inside). Seems legit.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I try to imagine a conversation between Galen and Huizi.

      Galen: The rooster is happy. But that fish is sad, after procreating.

      Huizi: You’re not a fish, how do you know?

  11. The Rev Kev

    “The Hill Interview: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey explains what got Alex Jones suspended”

    So Dorsey says its enforcement actions are intended to promote better behavior from its users. Is this the Nudge theory ( at work here? It is suppose to be subtle, not this sledge hammer approach in coordination with several other social media companies. Seems kinda ironic too that he got banned because he made a call to arms against censorship – for which he immediately got censored.

    1. Carolinian

      It’s the CTRL-LEFT theory that says we are taking away your freedom for your own good. CTRL-LEFT is what John Michael Greer calls that branch of progressives who see their mission as shaping society. When things go wrong they can still protest that their motives were pure (see Libya). Doubtless it also has to do with a meritocratic mindset that infantilizes the general public and says they must be kept from bad thoughts or words. This also saves the elites the trouble of coming up with counter arguments.

      Those of us who used to sometimes question our schoolteachers can only say to the targets of the “for your own good” controllers: been there done that.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The watchers watch the watcher-watchers. But they do it very quietly and stealthily. And if they feel they are being overzealously watched by the watcher-watchers, they install new watcher-watchers who won’t watch the watchers quite so hard.

  12. JohnnyGL

    I understand that this is the counter-narrative that Republicans are selling, but they’ve got a LOT more evidence with which to make their case than do the Trump-Russia conspiracy theorists.

    My biggest bone to pick is the brief portrayal of hedgie-and-likely-criminal, Bill Browder, being peddled as some kind of hero/whistleblower. He’s not. He just hates the Russian Government because he robbed them and they had the nerve to investigate and prosecute him for doing so (the audacity!). It seems Browder, who’s gotta be awfully well-connected, somehow got wind of Simpson/Fusion GPS’s work with the FBI and complained to DOJ.

  13. tim

    the Tesla whistleblower whose tweets are mentioned above was suspended by Twitter for 12 hours yesterday

    interesting huh ?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It would mean there is something between Tesla (or Musk) and Twitter.

      If something did exist, what or why would that be?

      1. Marlin

        Musk has 22 million followers on Twitter and all his tweets are discussed a lot by others, probably more than the ones from many rock stars. Apart from the Donald, who else is more useful for Twitter’s top line?

  14. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

    Is the CIA one long amateur hour?

    The Chinese agents debacle reminds me of the battle of Qala-i-Janghi video on youtube in which a journalist describes the CIA operative’s questioning of an english speaking prisoner prior to the battle as “amateur hour”.

    The whole episode did not end well, to say the least! …and the show is still running!

    I can’t persuade my old android tablet to copy the link but if you search on youtube with the following you can see it:

    battle jangi 4

    (for the time constrained go to around 6 minutes 15 seconds.)
    I recommend watching all four videos.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Botched CIA Communications System Helped Blow Cover of Chinese Agents”

    Just goes to show you. If you are going to betray your country and commit treason, don’t do it with the CIA. Several years ago, the CIA also had a spy network in Iran gathering intelligence. Then one day they sent an email to all their informants. In doing so, the officer who was sending the message forgot to use the BC and thus ALL the email addresses showed up on each and every email. The Iranians had one email which gave them the identities of all the informants and that whole network went dark to the CIA – oops!
    Another time informants working for the US in Lebanon & Iran are said to have been outed after their handlers used trackable mobile phones and used the code-word “pizza” when agreeing to meet at a Pizza Hut. The Lebanese were said to have simply staked out the local Pizza Hut never thinking that agents would be stupid enough to use such an obvious code name. How wrong they were. You can never replace good tradecraft with electronics and here it shows. As for this latest Chinese example, as I say – just because they are Chinese doesn’t make them stupid.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I must admit it shocked me when I read the article that any intelligence network would have a single communications channel. It stands to reason that no matter how secure it is, the catastrophic results of it getting hacked (or more likely, someone simply selling the information) is too risky. After all, most sensible insurgent organisations use loose cell structures to prevent any one leak endangering everyone.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        There is simply no oversight of these organizations. After all, the guy in charge of the failed operation isn’t going to get picked up by the Iranians. Foreign spy agencies probably keep a running list of dumbest Americans in the intelligence agencies.

        As bad as they were in the past, the idiot offspring of yesterday’s monsters are running these places now with a Versailles dependent on the DHS to keep housing prices high and steady. Nothing has happened to make these places better. A Republican and then Joe Lieberman led Homeland Security Committee won’t be doing it. Mark Warner is on the intelligence committee. He should be on the granite preservation committee or where ever they historically stick lazy, morons.

        Harry Truman has been knocked, but its reasonable to expect he could have been President on his own merits. He was throwing war profiteers in prison all through World War II, yes, the Greatest Generation where we had Senate committees to deal with this kind of problem which existed and definitely DOES NOT EXIST TODAY because freedom.

        A individual teacher in the U.S. has oversight from a principal, a superintendent, a local government, a state government, and a Department of Education, even a union in a way. Its kids who have to protect teachers half the time like in Boston two years ago. Who is doing the oversight for the 17 Intelligence agencies from a slideshow presentation?

      2. Andrew Watts

        I think you missed the most important and hilarious part of this article.

        “These digital links would have made it relatively easy for China to deduce that the covert communications system was being used by the CIA. In fact, some of these links pointed back to parts of the CIA’s own website, according to the former official.“

        Gahaha! Do ya think the Chinese already knew they were dealing with somebody spying for the CIA before or after they found the connection to the website?

        One of the unnamed sources said this communication system was only supposed to be used in unsophisticated technical environments, like the Middle East, but that somehow didn’t stop it from being used in Russia/China. If I didn’t already know they abysmally suck at their jobs I’d say they scored multiple goals for the other team.

    2. Andrew Watts

      The CIA needs to stick to what they’re good at; writing/producing fictional accounts of their so-called tradecraft to entertain the masses and lying to the American people. It’s kinda the same thing when you think about it.

      I hope Snowden actually sues the members of the intelligence community who publicly accused him of being a traitor that had blood on his hands. It’s beyond obvious what they were talking about.

  16. FriarTuck

    RE: Democrats Must Reclaim the Center … by Moving Hard Left Politico

    Nick Hanauer has long been sounding the clarion call that the ultra-wealthy capitalists are creating a situation where they are cannibalizing their own future interests in the pursuit of short-term mega profits. He was the first one that I saw speechifying to that effect on a relatively major platform, TED (yes I know, but worth a listen).

    Also RE: Trump ends ex-CIA head John Brennan’s security access BBC. A shot at the Borg….

    If you will permit me a short geek-out; an apt analogy.

    The Borg is a regenerative collective, where striking out at one of their number brings out innumerably more techno-zombies to attack you, adapting to your attack patterns. The only thing that seems effective is Trump’s technique of varying the resonance frequency of his phasers, if you will, by varying his attack topics and keeping ahead of the news cycle, keeping his opponents off-guard and unable to adapt.

    (I personally don’t like Trump and cringe at casting him in an analogy as the Federation as he is as opposite to its ideals as a character as could be.)

    There is plenty of other shady behavior other than RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA to disqualify him from being an appointed leader to a Steak and Shake as much as the United States – but the fact is our electoral system was not built to disqualify a person based on facts, rather than opinions. Trump remains a master manipulator of opinions, a grifter, a confidence man in the classic sense, and the Russia narrative strikes me as much as the establishment upset that the game’s rules have been redefined rather than any specific behavior pattern. Patrician expectations of behavior have been defenestrated in favor of a reality TV buffoon who plays the game they gave him the opportunity to define.

    Plus a logic problem: how do you cast someone as a traitor, defined as “someone who gives aid and comfort to a state’s enemies,” when that person has been granted the power via the imperial presidency to define who “the enemy” is?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “Plus a logic problem”

      Republicans are Republicans. For the most part, they are loyal to Trump. The ones who have seen their rice bowls broken are upset. The Clintonistas and their supporters in the Democratic Party are effectively Republicans who don’t want to see dead bodies in the street and would prefer the poor to die out of sight unlike regular Republicans. This is the primary difference.

      Logic and critical thinking have never been characteristics of the Conservative mind.This is why Susan Sarandon can be public enemy number for voting Green in California when “OMG Russia” happened*. It doesn’t make sense, but we are dealing with Republicans and pretending they aren’t.

      I made jokes about Republicans for years, but the Democrats who love Joe Scarborough and Bill Kristol are basically the same as the Republicans who loved Shrub. Logic has no place in their world.

    2. Pat

      Oddly enough I think there is plenty of evidence out there that indicates that Hillary Clinton should be disqualified to be the local dog catcher much less President of the United States. (The means of monetizing that job are almost terrifying.)

      Shady immoral behavior is not limited to our currently legally elected President. And that is something that everyone whose carts were upset is not getting – he was legally elected. As I’ve often said if you are not investigating Israel, you aren’t interested in foreign countries influencing our elections, and that is before examining the weak evidence the public has been given for this investigation.

      The saddest thing for me in all this is that removal of security clearance upon termination of employment regardless of reason for that termination should be SOP. But that also means accepting the very logical premise that persons who retire from trusted areas of government should not be selling the knowledge and access they have developed because that would no longer be in the best interests of the People.

      As for your logic problem, there are plenty of logical disconnects in the actions of our political leaders for decades. Trump is just making them absurd. Here is another one for you. Forget the original logical disconnect, after declaring someone as traitor and a fascist, figuratively and/or literally, how do you grant him more formidable powers and provide him with money for greater tools by voting for bills that do this?

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        The saddest thing for me in all this is that removal of security clearance upon termination of employment regardless of reason for that termination should be SOP.

        Among the expected criticisms of Trump’s revocation of brennan’s security clearance offered this morning on msnbs–“abuse” of power, obstruction of “justice”–was one which I found interesting–it was a “threat” to all spooks, who need to retain that security clearance when they become ex-spooks so that they can “provide for their families.” I took that to mean get a job in the “private” sector.

        I guess getting top dollar at the atlantic council requires continuing access to government surveillance. How else are you supposed to know who to ban from facebook?

      2. Mel

        “removal of security clearance upon termination of employment regardless of reason for that termination should be SOP”

        In a world where everything worked right, you might bring your retired Wise People back from time to time to consult. The later Smiley books dreamt this dream, didn’t they?

        1. a different chris

          Well then, pretending this really is and the people really are like the spy fiction pretends, instead of the warped insufficient personalities they actually seem to be – they could re-instate the clearance, no?

      3. FriarTuck

        Oddly enough I think there is plenty of evidence out there that indicates that Hillary Clinton should be disqualified to be the local dog catcher much less President of the United States. (The means of monetizing that job are almost terrifying.)

        I don’t think it is odd at all. Hillary has enough skeletons in her closet (or rather, behaviors that are out in the open-but please allow the analogy) that she could supply the every high school biology class on the east coast with one.

        Again, elections are about opinions, and there is an entire cottage industry built to try to manipulate those of voters and potential voters regardless of the facts. Discouragement works when changing opinions doesn’t. Lying is as effective as telling the truth, in the short term. Tell a big enough lie and it takes on a life of its own.

        My opinion was that Bernie was a better choice on the Democratic ticket, but again, at the time not enough people had the same opinion for him to win in the primary.

        1. Adam

          I wouldn’t necessarily say that not enough people had the same opinion considering there’s plenty of statistical evidence showing widespread election fraud in Hillary’s favor.

          1. HotFlash

            And superdelegates are supposed to ‘correct’ the actual primary voters’ choice. Yeah, worked a treat, dinnit?

      4. Jeremy Grimm

        For ordinary people it is SOP to put their clearance “on ice” for a while, two years is what I recall. A clearance “on ice” still has to be reactivated through some stream-lined clearance process. And ordinary people, even those who have clearance at a certain level must be specifically cleared to most top-secret programs because they are “compartmentalized”. Even after all this, people cleared to a program are not supposed to have clearance to see all information related to the program, only that information which they have a “need to know”.

        I don’t know what sort of clearance a non-ordinary person like ex-CIA head John Brennan had but I don’t think it was an “ordinary” clearance. SOPs are for grunts, not the generals.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “St. Louis University Is Installing Amazon Alexa-Enabled Echo Dots Campus-Wide”: ‘…the school notes that students with privacy concerns about intelligent assistants like Alexa can unplug the device and store it during the school year if they feel uncomfortable having it in their rooms.’

    Damn right I would be pulling the plug on a listening device if I was in that dorm. It would creep me out no end. Can they be ever hacked down the track? Put to malicious purposes? And if they are free, then what or who is the product then? The University may promise it won’t retain personal information but I would demand a statement from them that the University would waive all rights and legal defenses if they were ever caught doing so first. There should be no problem having the university signing off of that statement.

    1. anon

      Horrid. A captive audience, and hostile environment for a student.

      Yeah, a student can unplug it (but what if their roommate wants it?) but always be ill at ease visiting in other students rooms. To my mind, that’s how Permissionless Innovation is spread so quickly — via captive students, captive teachers, and captive employees. I remember a Silicon Valley acquaintance in 2009 who was enraged that her young daughter was forced to get on facebook for assignments.

      The sickening thing is that the elite schools some of the best paid techies’ — who create these technologies — children go to, don’t subject their students to permissionless innovation. The schools highly restrict technology; such as the Peninsula Waldorf School in Silicon Valley, which was established in 1984:

      A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute.

      LOS ALTOS, Calif. — The chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to a nine-classroom school here. So do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard.

      But the school’s chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud. Not a computer to be found. No screens at all. They are not allowed in the classroom, and the school even frowns on their use at home.

      Schools nationwide have rushed to supply their classrooms with computers, and many policy makers say it is foolish to do otherwise. But the contrarian point of view can be found at the epicenter of the tech economy, where some parents and educators have a message: computers and schools don’t mix.

      This is the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, one of around 160 Waldorf schools in the country that subscribe to a teaching philosophy focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks. Those who endorse this approach say computers inhibit creative thinking, movement, human interaction and attention spans.

      Per the linked 2011 article, tuition is formidable for most:

      The Waldorf experience does not come cheap: annual tuition at the Silicon Valley schools is $17,750 for kindergarten through eighth grade and $24,400 for high school, though Ms. Wurtz said financial assistance was available. She says the typical Waldorf parent, who has a range of elite private and public schools to choose from, tends to be liberal and highly educated, with strong views about education; they also have a knowledge that when they are ready to teach their children about technology they have ample access and expertise at home.

      1. Harold

        Waldorf schools were designed for children of factory workers and are supposed to be comprehensive (not admission criteria) and affordable. (Until at least 20 years ago they were relatively affordable.)

        1. anon

          That’s very interesting, thanks.

          It look’s like it’s taken a very sad turn then. Here’s the current tuition page for Waldorf’s Silicon Valley schools in Mountain View and LosAltos. The minimum tuition is $13,000 plus a $300 activity fee for Nursery School students attending two four hour days a week. For Kindergarteners, the tuition is a flat $25,000 plus a $300 activity fee for 5 days a week. High School students have the highest tuition, up to $40,000 plus a $2,650 activity fee, for International Students.

          They do have a Tuition Adjustment for those of less means, but starting at that first tuition adjustment page, then clicking on through to their Process page, and then a FAQs pdf [1], it looks deliberately forboding for any non techie family struggling in Silicon Valley. That’s not to even mention somehow finangling the drop off and pick up of their kids to the exclusive Los Altos community . There’s an early morning drop off, and mid afternoon (3:15 Job Disruptor) high schooler pickup. Last, but not least, there’s the brutal emotional pressure their parents would be under when their kid comes home wanting the same lifestyle that the children of those millionaire parents have.

          [1] Ya just know there’s something ugly being obscured when the FAQs, but none of the other details, are on a pdf file — which many with outdated or other limitied access issues—have problems with. This was priceless, don’t get layed off, stuck with an abusive spouse, etcetera:

          12.How is a TA application handled if one parent is not contributing to the family’s income?
          Both parents are expected to contribute to the family’s income. Income will be imputed to an
          unemployed or under-employed parent unless they are caring for infants or pre-school aged
          children, homeschooling children at home, or caring for other family members.

          1. Harold

            This is a really sad reflection of our current moral climate. And really it is reflective of the extreme degradation and spiritual poverty (I say that as an atheist-agnostic) of the wealthy — though they must have some dim inkling of better things if they aspire to send their children there.

            My daughter, a ‘millennial’ is very sad that she will never be able to give her kids the kind of education she had.

      2. Harold

        Another mother and myself hired a Waldorf teacher from Finland and had a Waldorf nursery school of eight children in my house. To me, compared to non-Waldorf kids, the Waldorf children are remarkably calmer, more open, and more cooperative and also know how to amuse themselves. They take the lead in play when with non-Waldorf kids.

    2. a different chris

      If the students are smart they would crack open the boxes and rewire the microphone inputs to an AM radio output set to some idiotic talk-radio station. Just unplugging it isn’t enough of a statement, you need to crash the system with useless input.

  18. Louis Fyne

    Glyphosate in oats-based cereals and bars.

    Glyphosate, an herbicide linked to cancer by California state scientists and the World Health Organization, was found in all but two of 45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats.

    Almost three-fourths of those samples had glyphosate levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety.

    About one-third of 16 samples made with organically grown oats also had glyphosate, all at levels well below EWG’s health benchmark.

    1. Wukchumni

      Could a western-themed cereal named “Round-Up” be next?

      Pictures of cowboys on horse on the box, all festooned with weed sprayers in one hand, reins in the other?

      1. Lord Koos

        This is pretty close to describing the typical anti-environmental behavior in the rural area where I live. Lots of roundup and who knows what else sprayed around this valley, and we have plenty of cowboys too, although I haven’t seen one mounted with a sprayer so far.

    2. Kevin

      Round Up was initially marketed to farmers as a pre-planting spray. Since then, since it is a desiccant, it has been marketed as a pre-harvest spray, since it makes gathering the drier grains easier.
      So, now it is being sprayed directly on our foods. Probably less harmful to eat the cereal box.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Such an innovative arranger. Almost all her singing parts have a floating melodic line that refocuses the rhythm to the vocal part and the band follows like (may he Rip) James Brown.

      Queen of Soul is an understatement.


  19. Kurt Sperry

    “A Group of Engineers Say They’ve Created a Way to Detect Bombs and Guns Using Basic Wifi” has an “a” added to the front of the URL killing the link.

  20. Bugs Bunny

    A Group of Engineers Say They’ve Created a Way to Detect Bombs and Guns Using Basic Wifi

    Link has an “a” in front of https

  21. Roger Smith

    From the Hill Article on Jack and Jones:

    “We’re always trying to cultivate more of a learning mindset and help guide people back towards healthier behaviors and healthier public conversation,” the 41-year-old co-founder of Twitter said.

    Seriously? How can this be stated and come off without any fanfare? I thought Twitter was about provided a space for people to have custom news ticker/information feeds relevant to them (until the dropped naturally available chronology and purchased algorithms that obfuscate everything). Jack openly admits one of Twitter’s goals is social conditioning to… ‘someone’s’ standards, likely big money IC and special interest money/outsourcing. Delete your twitters now if you haven’t already.

        1. Roger Smith

          Maybe he was the one that swung the election.

          I wouldn’t put it past these bureaucratic clowns to start the “God Hacked the Election!” side show investigations, committees, and news appearances.

    1. curlydan

      I’m not sure if there’s an unhealthier social media forum than Twitter–or maybe I just lead a protected/non-Twitter life. That place is made for rants, blow-ups, and “screw you, I’m out” dramatic goodbyes. Healthy conversation my a$$

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        It’s still possible. I had one last week with regard to the phrase “white privilege” being inflammatory–IMO deliberately–and almost certain to turn off any further rational conversation except among The Comfortable. When I suggested a less annoying word would be “advantage,” there was a nice discussion. It was interesting how many people tried to pretend the two words weren’t essentially synonymous, and that we must continue to hammer people about their “privilege”.

        Like much of social media, the “news” likely to be reported is going to focus on the negative. Yes, there’s far too much of that, but it’s just another form of conversation, really. If things get nasty, I just leave–and as soon after I spot a deteriorating thread as possible. No problem so far.

  22. JohnnyGL

    Jimmy Dore is a voice on the left who’s been killing it with interviews for a couple of years now. If Real Clear Politics is picking him up (this is the 2nd time I’ve seen it), then that seems like some kind of milestone to expose the RCP audience to someone like him.

    I’m mostly posting here because of WHO is saying it, but the interview itself is very good.

    1. UserFriendly

      That is great that RCP has noticed him. They will put him on there a bunch more and they direct a lot of web traffic.

  23. Wukchumni

    Took a hike up to Timber Gap yesterday, with a commanding view of the Middle Fork of the Kaweah on one side, and Mineral King Valley looking the other way. I encountered about 20 backpackers along the way, the average age being around 25-30.

    There’s a rather quiet explosion of interest in hiking/backpacking going on, and it’s not really marketable aside from producers of outdoor gear, as once you take your first step on the trail, money won’t buy you a thing, such an odd circumstance in these United States where we frequently are told how our GDP is faring, or how we are doing as far as our xmas shopping expeditions are panning out on an en masse perspective.

    The internet is helping out, and to give you an idea of it’s reach, one of the NPS rangers, whose family has had a cabin in MK for 75 years, related that when getting a wilderness permit, many say “they are doing the Mineral King Loop” of which nobody has ever heard of around these parts heretofore, so she had to learn the new lingo, to keep up with the times.

    It’s a sweet backpack trip by the way-a movable feast for the eyes, about 40 miles worth.

    Take an armchair trip and check out the photos:

    1. Carolinian

      At my local state park mtn bikers have been making their own trails. The minimal park staff has no real way of stopping them.

      And honestly more trails were needed. We foot travelers also enjoy them as long as not being run down by two wheelers.

      Backpacking was a big thing back in the 1970s. Like bicycling the public’s enthusiasm seems to go in cycles.

      1. Wukchumni

        Mountain bikes aren’t allowed on trails in the NP’s, so one never runs into them, fortunately.

        We have an excellent mountain bike single track course on BLM land here in the foothills. My biker friends hurt themselves so much in assorted crashes flying downhill, that somebody ought to consider putting in a medical clinic by the parking lot.

        I could see backpacking peaking @ late 60’s-early 70’s participation levels, and from what i’ve heard of the era, it was utterly ridiculous (imagine 1,500 people going up to Mt Whitney on a busy weekend day, as happened in the early 70’s? the number is closer to 150 now, and you need a permit) with way too many people out and about.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Here’s How to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions Without Taxing Them New York Times (UserFriendly). Prohibition is the better approach than taxes when societal cost are higher than private costs.

    Some say we tax wealth…say, over $20 million (or some other thresholds).

    Is prohibition better?

    Do we ban wealth over (using the same example) $20 million – basically confiscate anything over that amount?

  25. Wukchumni

    Welcome to the 21st Censurey…

    Does it drop down to the level of Joe 6 Pack & his fetching better half, Jane Chardonnay?

  26. a different chris

    >the reported level of “leave me alone” behavior seem a lot lower than one would expect,

    That may be because we realize that we will want sex again in the near (“near” being a definition we keep relaxing, sigh) future. Thus as women fake enjoying sex a lot more than men would hope they did, men fake enjoying the “afterglow” a lot more than women would hope.

    Actually I think this says good things about us all. Faking things is too often given a bad rap.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The physical act of love ends for the man with a profound sense of fatigue, followed by a feeling of emptiness. Clearly the result of a a loss of essence. And after sharing this power and their very life essence — women smugly complain about dead batteries in their teddy bear. Regrettably this is the sacrifice men are required to make for the future of the human race. [Apologies to Dr. Strangelove]

      1. HotFlash

        women smugly complain about dead batteries in their teddy bear.

        Jeremy, I, for one, have never once in my life complained about dead batteries in my teddy bear. Gimme stats on this.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Conventional measures pose the wrong productivity question Financial Times (David L)

    The same can be said about inflation, GDP, unemployment, etc.

  28. Pnw_warriorwoman

    It works until it doesn’t work. Nationwide editorial on tRump not flying in Cleveland Ohio – the ❤️ of it all. Nothing in Trumbull County’s Warren Tribune Chronicle. Zip, nada, nothing. They just *ignored* it all together. Well now, there’s a story right there. The Youngstown Vindicator joined the other outlets protesting tRump. Ditto Erie, PA. I wonder what the nationwide Boston Globe editorial campaign means in terms of the newspapers that ignored or disagreed and their readers are in flip counties?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump got, more or less, 50% of the popular vote (those who votes, not eligible voters).

      Do we see roughly 50-50 supporting and disagreeing?

      Or are they opinion-makers? They have to manufacture opinions.

  29. Eclair

    RE: “The Zero Sum Economy’ and ‘Socialism is an Attempt to Address a Spiritual Problem with Politics.’
    Plus: ‘Rethinking Social Progress in the 21st Century.’ from 8/15 links.

    Being a newcomer to my spouse’s childhood home of Chautauqua County, NY and neighboring Pennsylvania, the foothills of the Appalachians, I am interested in learning local history.

    Here’s the usual narrative: Our revered founder, Colonel (Major, Captain) Smith came to OurTown in 1840 (or thereabouts). He had purchased an enormous tract of land, settled and began selling lots to other newcomers. He started a sawmill and hired northern european immigrant men (aka: our hard-working ancestors) to cut the virgin timber; pine, oak, maple, and raft them down-river to Pittsburg. Later he built a factory using water power on the local river, to make furniture, or weave cloth, and hired lots of cheap immigrant labor, including children. He became rich and revered and had streets named after him. His son discovered oil and gas on a piece of his land and became even richer. And ran for Congress.

    All these towns are now decrepit and jobless with declining populations of humans and exploding populations of deer, turkeys and bears. Because the wolves (four-footed variety), alas, have been exterminated.

    On one tour, I asked who Colonel X had ‘purchased’ the land from. (As in, how does one purchase the land from the indigenous inhabitants who had no concept of ‘ownership’ of land. ) There was silence, then a jumble of explanations: it came from a ‘treaty.’ With the local Natives. Who really didn’t ‘live’ there, but just used the area as their ‘hunting and fishing’ grounds. There was no mention of force. And guns.

    But, they assured me, immense amounts of ‘capital’ were generated from the felling of the virgin forests (by immigrants) and the sale of lumber, and that enabled the Colonel to build the factories that generated even more wealth from the labor of immigrants weaving cloth, making shoes and furniture.

    Lots of hand-waving when I asked what ’caused’ the economic decline of the town. What or whose actions resulted in the polluted rivers, the abandoned factories with broken windows, the prevalence of ‘We Support President Trump’ signs.

    But, to return, this was not a ‘zero-sum economy.’ It was an ‘extractive’ economy. The input ( land, trees, water power, oil, desperate immigrant labor) was incredibly cheap. And real objects were produced (including real carbon spewed into the atmosphere and real poisons dumped into the rivers and lakes). Fortunes were made from the forced ‘privatization’ of the land by a few ruthless operators.

    But, no ‘unprivatized’ land remains (other than the swaths held by government entities, which are being nibbled away.) So, fortunes have to be made by other means; moving money around, bringing lawsuits, convincing citizens that they must buy ‘x’ to be happy or that they must vote for ‘y’ to be secure. Becoming a congress person. More and more of us are engaged in ‘bullshit’ jobs, trying to lure our neighbors into buying goods that are actually made by robots, and are shipped over vast oceans using up vanishing stocks of fossil fuels. Not life-work that provides one with a sense of fulfillment or well-being.

    Now we have a ‘spiritual’ problem. We’re on a hamster wheel and long to escape. Our jobs are crap (if we have one); we are forced to work long hours that take us away from our families, friends and communities. (And, in the end, what else really matters? Certainly not that plaque you got for luring 100 people into buying time-shares.)

    Is it the fault of ‘capitalism?’ Will ‘socialism’ be the cure? Nathanial Blake nixes the allure of socialism, alleging that “it attempts a political and economic solution to a cultural and spiritual problem.” As if politics and economics are not intertwined with culture and spirit.

    Into the breach step 300 social scientists, who have labored for four years (on hamster wheels?) and produced their conclusions (available as a Kindle e-book) on “Rethinking Society for the 21st Century.” (I have NOT read this, so apologies in advance.) The study looks at “six policy domains: economics, education, environmental protection, health care, development and science and technology.”

    Six policy domains, not one of which is ‘religion.’ Of course, they are social scientists, not theologians. But they are not economists or scientists or health care professionals or environmentalists. And, religion, specifically Christianity, shapes our culture and all its systems. Christianity, with its Old Testament holdovers promulgating patriarchy and hierarchy, dominance of man over nature, existence of life after death (explaining why suffering in this life is so inconsequential). And, in its rejection of other religions; Muslim, Judaism, those ‘weird’ Asian mixes of ancestor worship and Buddhism. And the uncivilized pagans who worship rocks and mountains and water goddesses and think trees are alive? Fit only for instant conversion or extermination. Because you can’t make any money if you have to pray and ask forgiveness of the resident Spirit before cutting down a Redwood.

    Christianity (and I’m not referring to the teachings of the radical socialist, Jesus, here) with all its holdovers from the Old Testament, is the water in which we US fish swim. We seldom question whether this ‘water’ is killing our planet. And, if we do, we are instantly silenced because: freedom of religion.

    Is this the ‘bargaining stage’ as we face the coming tragedy of an overloaded and resource-stripped Planet that will no longer provide nurture and shelter for the majority of humans? If we just tweak our economic system? Institute Medicare for All? Improve our education? Give more incentives to our scientists to innovate us out of our carbon/methane nightmare? Pass more stringent laws to guard our remaining forests and waters? Then maybe we can avoid death. Or the flooding, the wild-fire, the hurricane, the drought, the 90 degree nights.

    We humans must choose. Now. Is it our ‘business as usual’ model; every man for himself? He who dies with the most toys wins? Watch the brown and black and poor masses die, and be thankful it’s not you or your family. Until next week, when it’s your turn.

    Or do we undergo a ‘spiritual’ awakening? A truth and reconciliation moment. When we realize that we humans co-exist with our relatives; the trees, the waters, the air, the earth, all the animals and birds and insects. That they deserve our respect. As do our millions of human relatives; Black, Muslim, poor, Indigenous. Even white male predatory venture capitalists deserve our … um, well, let me think about that.

    The door on the right? Slow motion catastrophe, with decades of suffering by millions of humans and animals and the rapid deterioration of our environment, our home.

    The door on the left? Big question. What do we have to do to avoid epidemic catastrophe?

    (If you have read this far, thanks and apologies for the length. Blame Yves. And Lambert and Jerri-Lynn. They post all this thought-provoking articles and links).

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Nice post eclair.
      Seems like the die has been cast and there is no right or left door to take.
      It dates back to the 70s for me, Carter said put on a sweater, Raygun said put it on the credit card.
      We’ve been wearing the numbers off that card ever since.

  30. Wukchumni

    So we’ve found a culprit for the myriad of lightning caused wildfires in California, in that Zinke has labeled ‘environmental terrorist groups’ as the leading charge.

      1. Wukchumni

        Speaking as an environmental terra’ist, i’ve intentionally not started campfires in zones where so prohibited in the National Park, thus an enabler in terms of growth of the understory in the forest for the trees.

  31. JTee

    Beloved Russian children’s author Eduard Uspensky has died.

    I only discovered Soviet era animation in the past couple of years, but for a lover of good animation (especially stop-motion) what a discovery! The characters he created, which were brought to life on the screen, are totally unique and charming. All are available on YT. His best loved works include the assorted adventures of Crocodile Gena and Cheburashka, and the Trio from Prostokvashino. The former also contain a couple of of great tunes including “The Birthday Song”, “The old Hat Lady’s song” and “The Blue Wagon”. Highly recommended.

  32. Oregoncharles

    From “After Sex, Some Men have Unexpected Feelings…”:

    “analyzed the data from an international survey of mostly heterosexual 1,208 men “. IOW, self-reporting; not exactly reliable, especially about sex.

    Not really in my experience, but I did discover that it’s uncomfortable to wake up next to someone you wish you hadn’t gone to bed with, and became considerably fussier. Some of the quotes sound like that experience, so maybe second thoughts set in sooner for some.

    The implication is that there’s something physiological going on, and that has a certain plausibility. Sexual arousal amps up everything (except pain sensitivity), so there’s a crash of sorts afterward. Usually that just makes you want to relax, but I can imagine it being dysphoric. Not a normal reaction, I’d say.

  33. crittermom

    I must once again thank NC for giving me my morning laugh.

    After wasting more of my time (once again) dealing with govt crap over the phone, I thought my head would explode.

    Then I watched the cat video & the laughter it brought forth released the pressure.

    Head still intact, appts set, & ready to face the more mundane tasks of the day..

    As much as I relish the education & truthful news NC affords me, I often find the antidotes, whether photos or videos, are just as important to keep me in balance, so they definitely do their job. Thanks!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The antidotes are essential to The Way (Dao).

      “The Dao that can be worded is not the eternal Dao.”

      Of course, I can’t say that, or more precisely, I shouldn’t use words to write that out. That very act voids it…not Dao any more.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      Then I watched the cat video & the laughter it brought forth released the pressure.

      Now that it’s afternoon, watch the Segway one. True laugh out loud. But I’m a mean person anyway.

  34. Susan the other

    The edge of the solar system. New Horizon has discovered a huge structure at the edge of the solar system just beyond the Kuiper Belt. Where the envelope of the solar wind meets the rest of the galaxy. They think it is a wall of hydrogen gas reflecting back into the solar system… but there is a mysterious background source in the signal much farther away than the heliopause. So it could be the hydrogen wall, or it could be something else. Voyager 1 and 2 have not sent back any information as they passed this area. Interesting.

    1. liam

      Unless I’m misunderstanding what was written, this is wrong. New Horizon didn’t actually discover anything. It’s confirming what Voyager 1 found years ago and was believed to be the hydrogen wall. Yes, I know “shoulders of giants” and all that.

      And, Voyager 1 & 2 are both still talking though they’ve lost some instruments over the years. Each are expected to be silenced in the next decade or so. Voyager 2 breached the heliopause already and Voyager 1 is expected to do the same hopefully before power runs out.

      1. liam

        Swapped the 1&2 on which probes passed the heliopause already. Oops.

        And so this post isn’t totally devoid of new content: as someone most definitely not of that generation, it amazes me this was accomplished at all. Failures in the early space program were the norm. The Pioneer program had one successful mission in the first dozen launches. If current attitudes were prevalent back then, it’s hard to be believe it would have been allowed to continue.

  35. dcblogger

    Ned Lamont won the nomination for governor, so it looks like the progressive rebellion in CT that started in 2006 has come to fruition.

  36. Kurt Sperry

    The current attempts by Corbyn Destruction Brigade that is the British press to smear him as an anti-semite—which he absolutely isn’t — have spawned a parody item in an Onion-like UK site which made me chuckle.

    DAMNING photos which show Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn talking to a notorious international terrorist have been found online, reinforcing calls in Westminster for the traitor to step down.

    The photos, which span over the last 20 years, show Corbyn discussing matters of state with former Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose decision to commit British troops to a war in Iraq in 2003 based on false information has catapulted him to the top of the international terrorist list.

  37. ewmayer

    “Scientists investigating ‘unprecedented’ algae bloom in Lake Superior | MPR News. Chuck L: My boyhood home was on the north shore of a lake that was roughly circular and a half mile in diameter…”

    That sounds like a classic kettle lake left behind by a retreating glacier – my hometown in Ohio had as its centerpiece a lake just like that. Thank you, Laurentide ice sheet.

    1. Synapsid

      It’s unclear whether they’re dealing with an algal bloom, or a bacterial one. Blue-green “algae” are bacteria.

      This usage is what Isaac Asimov long ago called a fossil in print.

  38. redleg

    Based on my firsthand experience, the Bakken is underreporting water use for oil well construction and development. Probably vastly underreporting. The chart is probably (based on my experience, need to read article fully) showing reported water use, which is different than actual use. Unreported use in the Bakken is multiples of reported use.

  39. The Rev Kev

    “The case for going to bed at 2:30 am”

    Man, I miss that. It was a good time of night and you actually had time to think for yourself. Looking out a window at a city is also something as at that time of night and there was a distinctive rhythm and feel about it. I was working a few graveyard shits in Sydney a very long time ago and could get about the CBD and the city itself was simply transformed into something different.
    There is no advantage in getting up early. It is like cutting a piece of string, tying it to the other end and then being proud at the extra length that you have created. That is something that those tech companies have gotten right. Having flexible working hours so that those who work early can do so while those night owls can come in later so they can work later. It’s not the hours you put in that count but what you get done in them that counts.

  40. knowbuddhau

    >>>New Horizons Just Found Hints of a Huge Structure at The Edge of Our Solar System Science Alert (Kevin W)

    Pretty cool that there’s a device that far away, still feeling the touch of the sun.

    I like the term “bow shock.” It’s the wake in front of us as we swim through the intergalactic medium. I had an artist’s conception of it from Hubble/ESA as my wallpaper for the longest time. More down to earth these days.

    It was inferred from data from Hubble and Voyager 15 years ago.

    The image is actually titled, The Heliosphere is Tilted and the Bow Shock Really Exists. Kinda pointed, doncha think? Bit of inside baseball going on there, methinks.

    The yellow dot in the center isn’t just the sun. It also contains all the inner rockies. That’s us. (Well, it’s all us, of course, that’s just where we’re extremely highly localized.) It’s a self-portrait, in a way.

    And I must say, gotdam, we’re gorgeous.

  41. integer

    The goal of propaganda is a population that polices itself… Off Guardian

    Propaganda has reached its zenith when each member of the target population thinks the same; when they are afraid to think differently. At this point ‘leadership’ may commit whatever atrocities it sees fit…in the certainty that the population will either not ‘see’ it, or will view the expression of criticism as a more heinous crime than the act being observed. This is achieved through cementing a ‘false equivalence’ in the mind of the group. Such a false equivalence is being cemented in the UK right now – the idea that criticism of Israel’s persecution of Palestinians is an act of anti-Semitism.

    The propagandist seeks to bend the ‘group mind’. Thoughts and actions consistent with the ‘narrative’ are deemed to be socially acceptable & politically correct…ones that challenge it are regarded as socially UN-acceptable & politically IN-correct. Overtime this is reinforced through a dynamic that exists within every human grouping, and many species of mammal – fear of disapproval. Ergo, the propagandist is employing a form of ‘crowd control’.

    When the fear of disapproval becomes so strong that one’s sense of belonging, or even physical survival, depend on adherence to the narrative…when failure to comply with it attracts immediate rebuke from other members of the group…then the population can be said to be policing itself. That is how ‘cults’ function, and more frequently than you might imagine…it’s how intelligence agencies and other governmental figures attempt to work through the media…

    This process is happening now. The false equivalence of ‘criticism of Israel’ with ‘anti-Semitism’ is being inculcated into society in general, into the Labour Party in particular, and in its sharpest manifestation, into the smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn.

  42. Jack Parsons

    The corvids are Russian, I think. The 2-color and 3-color gray/dark gray/black head ones are all over Moscow.

    And the biting a cat in the butt- ravens teach their fledglings to do this with pumas! The idea is the cat has some food, you distract the cat by biting and jumping back, and another raven steals the food.

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