Links 8/19/18

Bizarre Newts Live Their Whole Lives, and Reproduce, As Babies National Geographic

Gulf Of Alaska Cod Are Disappearing. Blame ‘The Blob’ NPR (DL).

“Hothouse Earth” Co-Author: The Problem Is Neoliberal Economics The Intercept

Toxic Mix in Canada: Spiking Inflation, Variable-Rate Mortgages, and a Housing Bubble Wolf Street (EM).

How does recycling work? Mashable (DL).

The Problem With Cannabis Packaging Modern Farmer

Lawns Are an Ecological Disaster Earther (DK).

The intensification of the water footprint of hydraulic fracturing Science

Why is San Francisco … covered in human feces? Guardian

US regulators target Facebook on discriminatory housing ads ABC. Regulatory arbitrage, thy name is Silicon Valley….

How social media took us from Tahrir Square to Donald Trump Zeynep Tufekci, MIT Technology Review

What Went Wrong With IBM’s Watson Felix Salmon, Slate (DL).

Just say no: Wi-Fi-enabled appliance botnet could bring power grid to its knees Ars Technica

To Get Ready for Robot Driving, Some Want to Reprogram Pedestrians Bloomberg. If your algo’s broken, fix the inputs…


End U.S. support for this misbegotten and unwinnable war Editorial Board, WaPo. Yemen.

Who Is Winning the War in Afghanistan? Depends on Which One NYT

I Was Detained At Ben Gurion Airport Because Of My Beliefs Forward

How Many Settlers Need to Be Evacuated to Make Way for a Palestinian State Peter Beinart, Haaretz

How Washington and Soft Power NGOs Manipulated Nicaragua’s Death Toll to Drive Regime Change and Sanctions Grayzone Project

Lira’s Downfall is a Symptom: the Political Economy of Turkey’s Crisis Critical Macro Finance (UserFriendly).

Genoa bridge collapse exposes a scourge that is not just in Italy FT


Chinese nuclear forces, 2018 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

China restarts coal plant construction after two-year freeze Climate Home News

The Shopping App That Unveiled China’s Social Divisions Sixth Tone

How Delhi’s rising heat and a love of concrete caused a deadly water crisis Guardian

New Cold War

Merkel and Putin to discuss Syria and Ukraine at landmark meeting FT

* * *

12 former top intelligence officials criticize Trump for pulling security clearance Politico and Scores of ex-spies join in rebuking Trump over security clearances Politico

What if Russiagate is the New WMDs? The American Conservative

Things got ugly when a Republican strategist accused a former CIA analyst of earning ‘more money’ with his security clearance Business Insider. “Struck a nerve,” as we say.

McGahn, White House Counsel, Has Cooperated Extensively in Mueller Inquiry NYT

Preet Bharara: ‘God bless the Deep State’ if it’s people who care about the law The Hill

The Deep State (audio) BBC. Very good.

Democrats in Disarray

Vernon Jordan: ‘It’s not a crime to be close to Wall St’ FT

Meet the Billings democratic socialists working to win over the working class Missoula Independent

Police State Watch

Chatsworth Police Chief Josh Etheridge defends use of Taser on 87-year-old woman Daily Citizen-News

U. of Akron Will Phase Out 80 Degree Programs and Open New Esports Facilities Chronicle of Higher Education

Guillotine Watch

This $60,000 ice cream is the most expensive in the world — here’s what you get CNBC

New Zealand bans foreign property ownership France24

Class Warfare

Detroit real estate game creates chaos in neighborhoods Free Press. “Blight is an active process caused by people, policies and economic interests, rather than the passive phenomenon it’s often made out to be.”

They’re Falsely Accused of Shoplifting, but Retailers Demand Penalties NYT

Meet the Militant Taxi Drivers Union That Just Defeated Uber and Lyft In These Times

Sex Workers Are Rallying Behind a Democratic Socialist Running for New York Senate The Intercept

For Centuries, Alewives Dominated the Brewing Industry Atlas Obscura

Stephanie Kelton Wants You to Ask: ‘What Does a Good Economy Look Like?‘ Make Change (UserFriendly). UserFriendly: “Good news, she’s been getting calls from legislators.”

Antidote du jour:

Winter is coming.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. The Rev Kev

    “Chatsworth Police Chief Josh Etheridge defends use of Taser on 87-year-old woman”

    In all fairness, those three police officers were probably in fear of their lives. It must have been terrifying for them. She might have chased after them and run them down. If she had a knife she might have a hidden AR-15 on her as well. It’s not like they could have grabbed an armoured vest from their car trunk and advanced on the woman to swat the knife out of her hand. That would have been too reckless.

    1. perpetualWAR

      Hey, the Seattle PD pepper-sprayed an 84-year old, 4’11” woman because they were so afraid. I mean, those elderly women cause all kinds of fear when they wield their walkers down the street!

        1. JBird

          Even if everything the police said about their encounter with the 91 year old Otha Thurmond was actually true, and we all know how that is unlikely, there is no there there. What could they have actually charged with aside from being annoying? Walking while Black?

    2. JBird

      This is almost comedic, but I don’t know if it is becoming more common or just better recorded, as these types of incidences seem to be increasing.

      Going to read, or see, the explanation of who, what, and why by the department feels unreal. Going to read, or see, the explanation of who, what, and why by the department feels unreal. The silly, pathetic, even just whacked, excuses stated seriously, with a straight face, are also becoming steadily more common. Everyone elses’ safety, the very people they are supposed to serve and protect as public servants, is less important than not only the physical safety, but the very feeling of safety, of the cops. Even the loss of a sense of control, of absolute command, is used to justify violence, even murder.

      If the American police, as a whole, routinely gave honest, sane, and open explanations, with promises kept to improve and do better, even something like this would merely make me go meh, okay. People are human and life is imperfect. But they don’t. They double down on the crazy and sometimes even retaliate against all those involved, excepting their faultless selves, of course. I know that most cops are not insanely fearful control freaks, and actually want to do a decent job, but how can one tell the difference between the dangerously crazy and the sanely competent? Or make things better if most police will not accept the problem and actively resist, sometimes even retaliate by often illegal means, against the victims, witnesses, and reformers, even follow cops?

    3. Oregoncharles

      I searched “Chatsworth PD” and sent them hate mail. It’s a small town, not an ingrown pimple like Chicago or NY, so mail might actually have an effect. Note: no email for just the PD, so your message goes through city government, who might be able to do something about it.

    4. Lord Koos

      A major problem here is the person who called the police in the first place, with no real reason to do so, since she was threatening no one.

    5. Jonathan Holland Becnel


      Like the two hunters in South Park- “THEYRE COMING RIGHT FOR US! BANG!

  2. Darius

    Israel has a large Arab minority. Why can’t the Palestinian State have a Jewish settler minority. Let them stay. Make them subject to the Palestinian authority.

    1. sleepy

      Years back Abbas proposed something along those lines, even including the large settlement areas snaking eastward from Jerusalem with a guarantee of full civil and political rights for the Jewish minority.

    2. Alex

      Yeah, that’s an another option. With the current government it’s just as unrealistic as the land swap, unfortunately.
      What is not clear in this scenario is how willing and able the future Palestinian state be to protect this minority from their neighbours who believe (rightly in many cases) that settlers occupy their land

    3. JBird

      The Israeli government’s goal, especially under the extremely corrupt current regime under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not to have a peace existence with the Palestinians; it is to take all the resources that are ostensibly under Palestinian control with the emphasis being the water, natural gas, and farm land. Ultimately, the unstated goal is the displacement of the Palestinians from the Israel/Palestine. There are plenty of Israelis who don’t want this, bur they are no longer in control and the supposed threat of the awful, bad, no good, terroristic Palestinians is to justify the ongoing atrocity.

      The American and Israeli regimes are much alike in that fear is used to justify the very profitable war(s) that they both have. Both regimes also support each other, reinforcing the other’s efforts. It is a mutually beneficial parasitism.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Chinese nuclear forces, 2018 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

    We estimate that China has a stockpile of approximately 280 nuclear warheads for delivery by 120 to 130 land-based ballistic missiles, 48 sea-based ballistic missiles, and bombers

    What stands out for me here is how small China’s nuclear forces are, and yet nobody seriously questions that China is capable of destroying anyone who attacks them with nuclear weapons. It just shows how much gross overkill there is in US and Russian (and UK and French and Israeli) nuclear stockpiles.

    There was a link here a few weeks ago to an interesting article that hypothesised that for even a major power, 100 warheads should be enough to be an entirely credible deterrent against any form of attack. It shows that detente with an intention of reducing the number of warheads down to the hundreds in stead of thousands can greatly reduce the risk of nuclear war, not to mention save countless billions in expenditure. Even Reagan saw that. What a waste the past couple of decades have been in allowing for the START and other treaties to wither on the vine.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Israel has between 100 and 400 nuclear weapons, probably thermonuclear, mounted on ballistic missiles and cruise missiles that can be launched from the U-boats the US funded them to purchase from the Germans. And air-launched missiles and gravity bombs too. But who’s counting?

    2. JTMcPhee

      And the Israel ites have between 100 and 400 nuclear weapons, apparently most of the H-bomb thermonuclear type. And operate German-built, US-funded U-boats carrying some of those warheads, on sub-launched cruise missiles. To go with ballistic missiles, and aircraft launched and dropped bombs. Which I guess makes the Likud crazies a peer, in the insane calculus of nuclear warfighting idiocy, of Uncle Sucker and Putin and even Xi.

      No wonder the Empire sends them tens of billions of MMT dollars in tribute every year.

      1. Carolinian

        Think of the nuclear club as a kind of NRA with hydrogen bombs instead of assault rifles. You’ll only pry the nukes out of their cold dead hands.

        Of course there have been treaties to get rid of the things but then another generation of warmongers comes along. It is depressing to think about.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Re: The intensification of the water footprint of hydraulic fracturing Science

    The water-use intensity (that is, normalized to the energy production) increased ubiquitously in all U.S. shale basins during this transition period. The steady increase of the water footprint of hydraulic fracturing with time implies that future unconventional oil and gas operations will require larger volumes of water for hydraulic fracturing, which will result in larger produced oil and gas wastewater volumes.

    Its been known for a time that the use of frac sand has been increasing in intensity (i.e. more sand used per unit of gas produced), its significant now I think that the same applies to water. The reason for the increased use in sand was usually given to be that the greater the volume of sand used, the greater the success rate of any individual well, and that techniques had improved to allow the volume of sand to be increased. But this indicates that they are simply pushing in more frac fluid and sand, and that there are diminishing returns setting in. This is pretty much as some of the more sceptical analysts were suspecting would happen all along.

    It also indicates why China has lost interest in fracking – it has a lot of geology with potential. It may be that they simply don’t have the water for it. Fracked gas now generally is a bigger user of water per unit of energy extracted than coal, and coal extraction in inner China is already responsible for exacerbating water stresses.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      Doomers were right, again…just premature.
      more water and sand means more inputs per BOE, which indicates that they’re on the last dregs of the last dregs.
      Nevertheless,sand is booming where I live…even down towards Kingsland, where there’s a push to forbid a new sand mine on the Sandy Creek/Honey Creek Watershed. Signs on all the fences on 71 coming through there.
      Chamber of Commerce wants it(“Jobs!”), but the big landowners….like me and my neighbors a few years ago…decidedly do not.
      to my knowledge, the production curve of these frack wells is not the bell curve of the old Permian Basin Boom Times…it’s more like a regular gas well…steep upwards trend, then sudden drop off.
      It will be interesting to see what happens when it goes bust, and all these truckers they’ve imported from who knows where suddenly have nothing to do.

    2. Oregoncharles

      The earthquakes seem to be caused primarily by the reinjection “disposal” wells. What puzzles me is why they don’t just reuse the “waste” water; the effect is primarily mechanical, witness the sand (which holds the cracks open), so the water should work just as well the second time around.

      1. ewmayer

        If the wastewater is sludgy that would make it nigh-impossible to pump properly – clogged-up pumps and much higher viscosity than clean H2O.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        The reasons are fairly complex, but the simple answer is ‘cost’. Fracking is a relatively short term land use, so there is little incentive for frackers to build wastewater treatment systems, which tend to be designed to last for decades (and are very expensive). In the first generation of fracking operations, it was generally considered cheaper to truck waste water to municipal treatment systems. This largely stopped when it was realised that these are wholly inadequate for frack water. The use of injection disposal was a quick and cheap alternative.

        There was also a suspicion that frack water was unsuitable for reuse, so even the use of relatively clean water in settlement ponds wasn’t used. But the latest research indicates that this water is fine, so many frackers using it now.

        Another issue is that even if the settled water is re-used, this still leaves the sludge behind, and this has to be disposed of some way.

        Another point is that something like a quarter of frack water is ‘lost’ underground, so even with 100% recycling, lots of new freshwater is required for each fracking operation.

    3. MaxFinger

      Take a look at this study from an aerial view. Horrific!
      Documenting Fracking Impacts: A Yearlong Tour from a Bird’s-Eye-View

      I always tell people that you can’t really understand or appreciate the enormity, heterogeneity, and complexity of the unconventional oil and gas industry’s impact unless you look at the landscape from the cockpit of a Cessna 172. This bird’s-eye-view allows you to see the grandeur and nuance of all things beautiful and humbling. Conversely, and unfortunately more to the point of what I’ve seen in the last year, a Cessna allows one to really absorb the extent, degree, and intensity of all things destructive.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    Re: What if Russiagate is the New WMDs? The American Conservative

    We don’t know what evidence of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia might yet come forth, but it’s easy to see how, even if this narrative eventually falls flat, 15 years from now some liberals will still be clinging to Russiagate not as a matter of fact, but political identity. Russia-obsessed liberals, too, could end up on the wrong side of history.

    Unfortunately, once political groups wrap themselves around a particular petard, they can rapidly get hoisted by said petard. And yet, as the article suggests, rather than untangle themselves, they can grip it ever more tightly. The ‘Resistance’ are doing just that, and may critically damage themselves for many years. The problem is that they may pull Progressives down with them.

      1. Carolinian

        It could be about both. But if one assumes that it started with Brennan and the CIA then it’s likely that Trump’s campaign criticisms of NATO and expressed desire to get along with Russia were major motivators

        In many ways the media/establishment campaign against Trump is congruent with CIA led regime change operations overseas. In attacking, say, Putin’s government heavy emphasis is placed on charges of corruption and identitarian concerns such as gay rights. NGOs can thereby wear a cloak of virtue while doing the US foreign policy establishment’s bidding. Of course not all NGOs are compromised in this way but it’s no secret that many get their money from the USG.

        Russiagate is a power play domestically and a way to keep fear of the foreign enemy ahead of domestic economic concerns (doesn’t seem to be working among the general public according to polls). But there seems little doubt that getting rid of Trump is also a goal.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          If a guy like Trump can become President, it means the individual courtiers who dominate the pundit and “strategist” class were largely frauds living off of largess.

          Mark Zuckerberg hired a bunch of Clinton pollsters around a year ago, but if it’s realized they are selling access to also rans not actual expertise, they have a problem. They need an excuse.

        2. cnchal

          > In many ways the media/establishment campaign against Trump is congruent with CIA led regime change operations overseas.

          I had not really looked at it like that but that is the most clarifying sentence I have read about what is happening.

              1. flora

                From the WSJ:
                What was Bruce Ohr Doing?

                The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department have continued to insist they did nothing wrong in their Trump-Russia investigation. This week should finally bring an end to that claim, given the clear evidence of malfeasance via the use of Bruce Ohr.
                Mr. Ohr was until last year associate deputy attorney general.

                He began feeding information to the FBI from dossier author Christopher Steele in late 2016 – after the FBI had terminated Mr. Steele as a confidential informant for violating the bureau’s rules. He also collected dirt from Glenn Simpson, cofounder of Fusion GPS, the opposition-research firm that worked for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and employed Mr. Steele. Altogether, the FBI pumped Mr. Ohr for information at least a dozen times, debriefs that remain in classified 302 forms.

                All the while, Mr. Ohr failed to disclose on financial forms that his wife, Nellie, worked alongside Mr. Steele in 2016, getting paid by Mr. Simpson for anti-Trump research. The Justice Department has now turned over Ohr documents to Congress that show how deeply tied up he was with the Clinton crew – with dozens of emails, calls, meetings and notes that describe his interactions and what he collected.

                Mr. Ohr’s conduct is itself deeply troubling. He was acting as a witness (via FBI interviews) in a case being overseen by a Justice Department in which he held a very senior position. He appears to have concealed this role from at least some superiors, since Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified that he’d been unaware of Mr. Ohr’s intermediary status.

                It looks like there was a plan afoot before the 2016 election, in case Trump won. Is this the intel agencies’ “insurance policy”?

            1. JohnnyGL

              Re: CIA led regime change template. Yes, it’s worth pointing out that Brennan was pushing Comey to launch the Russian collusion investigation and Comey was dragging his feet for a long time. Brennan is suspected of talking to the press to increase the pressure on Comey. There’s been a few articles on here in the links that discuss this. I want to say National Review and American Conservative have had lengthy pieces.

              The newish playbook for regime change isn’t overt coups, but parliamentary-style soft-coups. I think the parliamentary coup in Brazil has ended up providing a template.

              In Brazil, corruption was the lightning rod to rally the entirety of the political class. In the US, it’s fear of Russia.

              Making all legislators sing the praises of the intel community, with media carrying the message shows the success they’ve had.

              And also, yes, the public isn’t on board, but all they need the public to do is to acquiesce. So, when you see never-Trump repubs getting thrown out in primaries, along with the usual crop of dollar-dems, take heart, because that’s the public fighting back!

              1. Procopius

                National Review has exactly zero credibility. It’s been a white supremacist rag since Bill Buckley founded it. The American Conservative is usually sane, though.

          1. Indrid Cold

            Both very good points. The Pundit class and the CIA are largely drawn from the sam narrow demographic of young people from the right families who went to the right schools (Yale, OXbridge, &c.) and hold correct beliefs. “Rule of Law” is not one of them.

          2. Oregoncharles

            Yes, this is a typical pattern: first they try out these techniques overseas, then they bring them home. First Chile, then Watergate. Usually it’s less severe at home, but how long will that last?

            One thing I worry about is what would happen if a radical – like the Greens – actually won, say, the Presidency. I don’t think they’d take office. At the very least, the President is in a position to find out where the bodies are buried. Consequently, it takes a certain amount of guts to actually run; you’re in real trouble if you win.

        3. ChrisAtRU

          s/could be/is/

          I can’t recall the exact article, but there was at least one that talked about the fact that even before that fateful election night – when the “Blame Russia” plan went fully into effect – #HRC had already been planting the seeds of #Russian interference in the anti-fracking movement.

          Found one!

          Leaked emails show Hillary Clinton blaming Russians for funding ‘phony’ anti-fracking groups

          Long before the election, Russia was already the “bogeyman” for left issues. There is no doubt. #RussiaRussia serves both purposes:
          – It’s the primary thrust by which to delegitimize the Trump presidency
          – Its secondary function is to discredit anyone who rejects the current impotent, inept and corrupt Dem establishment.

      2. Big Tap

        Urblintz: You’re exactly right. Russiagate is not about getting rid of Trump nor has it ever been. The Democrats don’t want President Mike Pence. So what’s it about but to destroy the Left permanently who they STILL blame for the election loss. It took awhile for the Republicans to realize this but when they did they joined in the Russiagate investigation for that purpose. Otherwise why would they sign up for a plan to eliminate their own President. Republicans hate the Left also so they’re working along with the Democrats to achieve their goals. The Left better be prepared for more attacks from both parties since they are both fundamentally conservative, ultra-capitalist in nature. The Left is a common enemy to both.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Trump represents a threat to Bush family loyalists too. Access is a commodity. The Clinton Foundation eked out a pitiful existence until Kerry lost clearing a path for HRC to the Presidency. Wealthy Republicans aren’t necessarily the same as the courtier class of Republicans, and people hate blood traitors more than anything else. Many of those Republicans who attacked Trump with their own ambitions will never be forgiven by the rank and file Republicans. Trump’s inexperience and lack of organizational capacity has prevented an outright purge, but the ones expecting Bush family largess to be promoted or to make it big are in trouble.

          Even if Trump was so motivated to reward Republican districts and red states with defense spending, moving it out of the DC metro area, he was a potential threat to real incomes. The scars of the end of the Cold War are still there, and outside of a few areas like Old Town Alexandria, its not a nice area.

      3. Richard

        I agree. Using Occam’s Razor, rather than postulating reasons why Russiagate may be occuring, look for the simplest explanation that meets all the facts: The dem establishment cheated the progressives openly, and everyone saw it happening in real time. Obvious, no big secret. Then they take a devastating loss to an orange clown. Everyone saw why it happened. Kaine, suburban Republican moms, no campaigning in the Rust Belt, no populism, nothing for the Sanders supporters but smearing and scorn. Their effing triangulation blew up in their face and too many Obama voters stayed home.
        So, these psychpaths being who they are, of course they had a backup plan to project all their own crimes on a fictitious entity, to control “their” party in the wake of such a delegitimizing loss. Of course, biggest loss imaginable would be losing control of the party to insurgents. That could never be allowed.
        I think the whole affair could be described as an effort to control the party, and it is at least possible we don’t have to go any further than that.

        1. Hameloose Cannon

          I was thinking, “Trump conspired with foreign nationals to defraud the US of a fair election by way of coordinating criminal actions,” was the simplest explanation given the facts, but, you are right, the Trump campaign’s 87 known contacts with Russian emissaries is really the result of an internal power struggle within the Dem party. Gate Rossiya is actually a palimpsest that is somehow both phony and revelatory, and that is in no way a [Sad!] contradiction. Also, winning the popular vote is not a sign of popular support. [Duh, right?] And of course, democratic sociopaths project their own transgressions onto a thoughtful president because sociopaths spend all of their time coping with the emotions of inadequacy that they don’t feel, being the defining trait of sociopathy.
          –Well, at least the WMD lie allowed young people the utilitarian illusion of dying for a worthy cause and perhaps comfort for the bereaved. But whom will we tuck into Arlington’s embrace for protecting the benevolent reign of President Poshlost instead of defending the integrity of the Whitehouse Office regardless of who happens to be its current occupant?

          1. Unna

            So I want to know one thing: Why wasn’t Hillary fifty points ahead! Like against the Orange Ghoul?


            Most truthful thing she ever said-asked during the campaign. Forget Russia. Hillary supporters need to answer that question. Why wasn’t she 50 points ahead? But they won’t. Think about it. The oppo research against Trump started during the primaries with the Bush Republicans. They had as much money as they wanted to spend. Then Hillary took over and she was backed again by virtually unlimited money – Wall Street, MIC, the Media, Hollywood, all putting up as much as she needed to find Russia something on the Orange Ghoul. And now we know that on top of that, other people were working to find something on Trump. That included the FBI, the CIA, NSA, Private oppo agencies, and what now looks like the British MI6 and the British equivalent of the NSA. And last but not least, we now have Mueller, not Gestapo Mueller, the other one, who again has as many people as he wants and as much money as he wants, and if you ask the “Resistance” (what a desecration of an otherwise honourable movement in France during the War) as much time as he wants, until the very end of time, or at least until the end of the Republic, to come up with Trump Collusion with the Russian Federation. Not some Russian kids posting click bait crap on Facebook to make their boss some money. I mean real hard evidence. In the form of a criminal indictment against The Ghoul, or a fact based and publicly verifiable referral to the House for Impeachment.

            But so far no indictment of Trump or fact based referral. If there ever is one, I’ll look at it and maybe change my mind. But not until then.

          2. Richard

            “I was thinking ‘Trump conspired with foreign nationals to defraud the US of a fair election by way of coordinating criminal actions’ was the simplest explanation given the facts”
            You realize Mueller is not trying to prove this anymore, and there simply is no public evidence for this.
            Your last paragraph is confusing. You compare a WMD lie (which from your tone I take that you agree was a lie), told by the government for corrupt benefit, to … what exactly? The refusal of most of the country to take your story seriously? Less than 1%, according to a recent poll, listed Russia as a major concern. I mean as compared to actual, real life.
            So a propaganda campaign, dripping with the blood of 200,000 Iraqis, is comparable to the public reaction to a propaganda campaign?
            You’ve got chutzpah, I’ll give you that.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Maybe we all know this, but a petard is a small bomb or charge used to blast a hole in a gate or wall, and in earlier usage, to be “hoist” in Shakespearean context was to be blown up by one’s own bomb… So very apt? Or maybe the Privileged Liberal Dorks, cocooned in the niches provided by the dying Imperial Bubble, get to go on like so many of the Impunity Class, to live out their comfy lives with the best of everything and pass into death in cosseted comfort, free of any significant consequence (except maybe a reduction, as per ISDS super-rights, in their anticipated profits/ill-gotten gains/bleeding-of-the-mopery…)

    2. fresno dan

      August 19, 2018 at 8:39 am

      This kind of partisan religiosity is not new. In the wake of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, conservative pundit Ann Coulter accused war opponents of “treason”* and insisted of Saddam Hussein, “We know he had weapons of mass destruction.
      * I would submit that the word partisans should be replaced with “believers” or perhaps “faithful” and the word treason replaced by “sacrilege” or “blasphemy.” Beliefs determine facts (or more accurately worldview) instead of reality determining facts.
      I watched Rachel Maddow “interview” Brennan Friday. Pointless. But at the very end, Maddow tries to keep some infinitesimally small shred of her dignity, principles, and integrity by pointing out that she disagreed with Brennan on a number of issues. The enemy of my enemy is my friend is more important than the truth.

      MADDOW: Director Brennan, I have disagreed with you publicly and privately on a number of serious policies –
      BRENNAN: And look forward to talking about those issues in the future.
      MADDOW: I look forward to talking about this, too. But I want to tell you, for all my disagreements with you on a number of different policy matters, I have profound and earnest respect for your service. So, thanks.
      BRENNAN: Thank you. Thanks, Rachel.

      Compared to the tribal groups of today, the Catholic church of the 1300’s was awash with freethinkers, skeptics, and unbelievers….

      1. The Rev Kev

        Did Maddow just say: “Thank you for your service?” And yes, I know the American context.

        1. Anon

          Even more important. Did Brennan just accuse McCain, Clinton, the DNC of treason? Steele allegedly received info from Kremlin sources, who I suspect were Russian.

          ranscript – @15:14 Maddow: What would amount, in your mind, in intelligence terms, to an American being a part of that conspiracy; the one that’s been defined by Robert Mueller already?

          Brennan: “I will leave it to the lawyers and to the courts to decide if something is criminal or not. In my mind, it requires someone to knowingly support the efforts of a foreign government to interfere in U.S. domestic politics and especially an election.” – “And so, any American who was working with the Russians, or working with an intermediaries who were working with Russians; and those Americans who knowingly tried to collude, conspire, and to work with them in order to advance their political objectives here in the states, I think that rises to the level of conspiracy.”

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      “Putin diddit” is a major arrow in the quiver of the Pink Pussy Hat #Resistance Clintonites and Clintonite fellow-travelers. Any progressive who decides to share Trump-hatred with the Clintonites and chooses to associate with Clintonite tropes deserves to go down with the Clintonites.

      It makes me feel bad to think that Sanders may not detach himself from this scum fast enough and hard enough to avoid going down with it, and taking a number of SanderBackers down with him. He and they deserve better than to flush themselves down the Clintonite toilet.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Re: China restarts coal plant construction after two-year freeze Climate Home News

    Recently published economic data for the first half of 2018, along with the latest policy adjustments, indicate that China’s power demand is rebounding.

    Li Fulong, head of the department of development and planning at the National Energy Administration, said at a press conference on July 30 that coal consumption in China increased about 3.1% in the first half of 2018 compared with the same period last year. The main driver of that was coal-fired power generation. Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics show a leap of 9.4% in electricity use across the same period.

    Meanwhile, the arrival of summer has led to temporary electricity shortages in many regions, with reports of power demand outstripping supply in Shandong, Henan, Hunan, Hubei and Zhejiang provinces. In Shandong the shortfall was estimated at three gigawatts.

    This has resulted in a loosening of policy-level restrictions on the coal power sector. In May 2018 the National Energy Administration permitted Shaanxi, Hubei, Jiangxi and Anhui to restart construction of coal-fired power stations. Restrictions were also relaxed to some degree in four other provinces.

    “A rebound in industrial demand for electricity seems to have shifted attitudes among policy-makers, who are now more accepting of overcapacity,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, energy analyst with Greenpeace.

    This is pretty ominous for the climate, although interestingly it suggests that China’s economy is doing better than some have suggested, despite Trumps best efforts. There is little question but that there is a lot of overcapacity in Chinese generating system, so the government is either engaged in yet more infrastructural pump priming, or on a local and regional level, there is reason for genuine economic optimism. Interesting also that a response to an exceptionally hot year is to… burn more coal to cool down malls and offices.

    It does show however that its not just neoliberalism that is the enemy of the climate. China is making genuine strides to reduce CO2 emissions, but it does show that whenever there is any political pressure put on, ‘green’ policies are the first to go into the bin.

      1. JTMcPhee

        How does the Chinese power grid work? As silly and vulnerable as ours?

        Maybe I am not framing the right inquiries, but this was the only article DDG came up with that addresses structure and operation of the Chinese electric power grid system, and it only appears way down a whole bunch of pages of results:

        “Vulnerability Study of Electric Power Grid in Different Intensity Area in Wenchuan Earthquake,”

        The article does get into at least some of the structural issues, which sound like what we have here in the US of Imperial A. And some description of how the Chinese think (back to Sovietologist parsing of entrails now?) about their infrastructure:

        The electric power system, one of the critical components of lifeline systems, is playing vital functions in the national economic and people’s daily activities. Previous earthquake disasters show that once the system is damaged or disrupted due to the quake, not only huge direct/indirect economic losses are caused, but also people’s normal life and social production are significantly affected. More important, it would put the post-earthquake actions, such as the emergency rescue, into great difficulties. Therefore, it is of great significance for improving the system performance to sum up the system damages, to analyze its causes, and to explore its failure characteristics.

        And all but this link in the searches I did were all about how the US grid is so terribly vulnerable to them rotten Chinese commie hackers, who have already infiltrated deep into the crap code that is the operating system… As if it’s not vulnerable to the sh!tt-poor design, construction, maintenance and repair. Committed, as it is, to the “regulated monopolies” that get guaranteed returns of what, 10%, on whatever the scumbags that lawyers and accountants and CEOs can cram into the “rate base.” And who reward themselves with billions of dollars of ratepayer and government subsidy money, and don’t spend more than a farthing or two on the essential system. See, e.g., not branches and trees away from distribution lines to enhance wildfire generation —

        Okay, I was being too acute in trying to suss out info on the “Chinese power grid.” Using that a search term brings up a bunch of stuff on the topic, along with the articles on Chinese evil threat to the US grid. Wiki to the rescue, with some good description and history — looks like the Central Government has taken actual steps to improve their system, even within the corruption of their system:

        And of course the Chinese are into nuclear power, as well as new coal plants, and Westinghouse has been happy to supply a nice defective-design AP1000 reactor, lilke the ones used at that Fukushima place,, for the Evil Commie Menace to use, for a few billion dollars:

        Effing stupid humans. Or at least enough of us to ensure the demolition of most of us.

    1. Lord Koos

      It may not be that the economy is doing better, it could be simply China continuing to be over-populated.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    Re: How Delhi’s rising heat and a love of concrete caused a deadly water crisis Guardian

    Population growth, climate change, disputes between states, urbanisation and poor management of resources have made water – especially fresh, clean water – a commodity that is not readily available to all. A recent government thinktank report revealed that several major cities in India, including Delhi, could run out of groundwater as soon as 2020.

    It seems Delhi and Jakarta, as well as a few other great cities are in competition to be the first abandoned city of the global warming era. From Mexico to Cambodia and many places between archaeology has exposed once mighty cities now just forest or desert – usually abandoned due to water or crop crises. The 20th Century may be pretty unusual in human history in not having seen a major city abandoned. The 21st Century is unlikely to continue that run.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Fully agree with your comment. Nothing more sad to see than an abandoned city but today that seems like an unnatural idea to most people as if it could never happen to where they live. Here is a clip of a city of 50,000 people that has been abandoned for only thirty odd years-

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        To get a feeling for the ambiance of a recently lost city I like watching Tarkovsky’s “Stalker”. The Criterion Collection just came out with a re-mastered blu-ray of the “Stalker”.

      2. Copeland

        I find that an an area formerly occupied by a thriving biome and now occupied by part of a thriving city, to be equally sad to see, if not more so.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      We seem to be warming up to the idea of abandoned cities in the US. The American Way of abandoning a city seems to be business-by-business which though slow compared with a large scale disaster still achieves the same end. The two small cities nearest where I live are about a third or more abandoned along their main street and abandoned houses accumulate around the area.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Metaphorically speaking, many American cities which are still “living” are being abandoned to acres and acres of parking lots, which sit empty most of the time. This, too, is a slow death process, and it’s been going on for years.

  8. Alex

    Re Haaretz article, something that they don’t mention but should probably accompany such solution is compensatory transfer of some land on this side of the Green line to the Palestinian state. There are both sparsely inhabited territories in the South and Arab-majority areas close to the border in the North (if this is what they will want).

    Really hope that some time it will happen but not holding my breath. Not until the current government is in power anyway with Trump in White House.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Netanyahu and Likud ( and others) , using their implausibly-deniable thowaway-Oswald Yigal Amir; assassinated Prime Minister Rabin to make sure it would not happen. Never. Ever.

      The lingering minority of legacy Rabinists will never be numerous or powerful enough to retake control of government by democratic methods. They may not even have enough power to overthrow the Likudiform Majority in a coup. If they did, they would have to move fast and hard . . . faster and harder than Erdogan moved against his real and potential enemies. They might also have to kill a hundred thousand or so illegal squattlers within a week or ten days to show they were serious about killing the other hundreds of thousands if they did not immediately submit to an immediate relocation to within the borders of ’67. If a Rabinist Coup could do that, the Palestinians might interpret it as a “confidence building measure” in terms of viewing the Rabinist Coup-makers as being seriously intentioned.

      1. JTMcPhee

        The Israel-ites (see, the first 10 or 12 books of the Old Testament as to why that epithet is a tight fit) don’t call them “squatters,” and of course the analogous category in the history of the Truly Exceptional Nation is variously called, historically and pompously, “frontiersmen,” “pioneers,” “settlers.”

        Oh, wait, that last one is what the Israel-ites call the same bunch — westward and southward and eastward emigrating Ruffians, and Russians, Oh My! and Eastern European thugs, Oh My! They’re just “settling the frontier of Eretz Israel,” that ever-expanding blob… As foretold in the Torah and all that, it sez so right here:

  9. The Rev Kev

    “To Get Ready for Robot Driving, Some Want to Reprogram Pedestrians”

    Well, back in the 1920s they created laws that stopped pedestrians using the roads and restricting them to automobiles – except for pathways that could only be used provisionally according to markings and coloured lights. I saw an old film clip from the 1920s where they had a jaywalking clown being continuously being bumped by a car in a parade to ‘nudge’ people to this idea. And now? They could pass new laws where autonomous cars always have the right of way until they get the algos actually working. Someday. They could call it the Elaine Herzberg Laws.

    1. Carolinian

      By jaywalking she was already in violation of the old laws. Not that that justifies Uber.

      Perhaps one solution would be to paint all robot cars orange so the public would know what they are dealing with. Although in my neighborhood one would always be able to id the robot cars because they would be the ones actually stopping at stop signs.

        1. Carolinian

          Jump off a building, sentence of death. We all have some responsibility for our own safety. It could be that jaywalking laws exist to protect pedestrians, not just for the convenience of motorists.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Funny you should mention that. There is actually an app that will get other people to pick up your dog’s dump. It is called Pooper ( and their motto is “Your Dog’s Poop in Someone Else’s Hands”. And you know that I am not making it up. Story at-

      That page has a very helpful video too by the way. Maybe the City could get San Francisco’s tech companies to build an app for human dumps and using all the people that the tech companies have made homeless be their workforce. If they only get paid to pick up their own dumps, then you have what is called a virtuous circle in effect.

      1. Felix_47

        I help run a shelter for the mentally disabled. They could stay in an air conditioned room with a roomate, maid service, all meals and snacks and 100 per month medical transporation and clothing. We collect the SSI check and there is not much profit, if any, depending on how full you are.. Most of the homeless do get SSI although I grant some do not. Some get VA which pays a lot better. Bottom line is that the overwhelming majority want the cash and they want the cash and they don’t want to spend their money on housing especially since most places do not allow drugs or alcohol and have curfews and do not allow them to smoke except in designated areas… not in bed. They have other priorities. Obviously, there are exceptions but in CA not too many. San Francisco should not be spending money on this because it will never solve anything and it is not fair to those who work. Reopening the mental hospitals would make a big difference but that option was lost with Reagan.

    2. JBird

      Could it be do to upwards of 1% of San Francisco being homeless (although honestly the numbers are very hard to get), and the decades and decades of a shortage of public toilets? That couldn’t be it.

      Plenty of overpriced coffee and trendy eateries though.

      1. JTMcPhee

        But don’t even think about going into one of those places to take a leak or a dump. If you are not one of the Elect, that is.

  10. funemployed

    This doesn’t really apply directly to any of the links, but it’s Sunday, so guidelines be darned.

    I started reading Countdown: Our Last Best Hope for a Future on Earth? very early this morning, and it is very good if you’re into Paul Erlich type things, or watching trains wreck in slow motion….

  11. The Rev Kev

    “U. of Akron Will Phase Out 80 Degree Programs and Open New Esports Facilities”

    Well there is an example in modern progress at work. In the old days Universities would cut back on Degree programs and Professors in order to fund sports like the football program or maybe basketball. Now in this modern era they are doing the same but for eSports or virtual games. No civil lawsuits for their players getting brain injuries down the road here so win-win?

    1. Carla

      The Rev Kev: you just implied that video games don’t injure brains. Do you want to re-think that?

      1. The Rev Kev

        I would, but I have been know to play video games myself in the recent past (ahem) so I am not going there.

  12. olga

    65 years since
    “Operation Ajax was planned, organized and unleashed by the CIA in conjunction with MI6 in response to the decision that was taken by Mossadegh – acting with the support of the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) – to nationalize Iran’s oil and husband the resulting revenue for the benefit the Iranian people.”
    Oil back then, the pursuit of hegemony today – nothing much changes for the people of Iran.

  13. Daniel F.

    Oh good, more revelatory articles on the IoT, warning the public to things which should be common sense.

    The fact they (as in Wi-Fi enabled appliances, possibly requiring constant connection to the Information Superhighway) pose several inherent threats should not be surprising, yet, for some reason, tech firms still push them every year.

    To what end? Chasing even more growth and profit, perhaps? Creating an Apple-esque walled garden by expanding on those DRM-enabled coffee pods and printer cartridges, further crapifying everything?
    I can almost see the commercial: “New and improved EetMoar grated cheese with NFC tags integrated into the packaging in order to track consumption and expiry date. Sold only by Amazon, compatible with Samsung and Siemens fridges, for your convenience. Eetmore – for the conscious consumer.”

    Hopefully we’ll get more researchers screaming so that this brave new tech revolution can be stopped before my paranoid vision becomes reality.

    1. Synoia

      IOT misses a few letters. IdiOT.

      Good luck with the longevity and security of the devices. Unlike the devices they replace, some of which last 100 years (locks for example), I can foresee “planned obsolescence” raise its ugly profitable head.

      Only an Idiot would install 10s to 100s of little not-so-smart plastic devices which by definition are obsolescent the day they are bought.

      1. Daniel F.

        Obsolescence, planned or otherwise, is an old and well-known enemy, so it’s the least of these problems – at least in my opinion -, assuming it’s only hardware obsolescence. Knowing tech companies however, there will be a severe lack of software/firmware updates, meaning easy pickings for those hackers on steroids.

        Your mechanical device of example, the lock, brings up another set of issues: power and/or internet outage. While a smart lock could be pretty convenient, its likely vulnerabilities make it dangerous: NFC hacks similar to contactless payment spoofs, or the aforementioned outages physically preventing entry – imagine a tech-savvy burglar copying your digital signature, entering your home, tripping the circuit breaker, then taking your valuables while you’re on the phone, waiting for tech support to come up with an answer. I can imagine a couple more scenarios like this.

        Again, I think this sounds a tad bit paranoid – or rather, pessimistic -, but as we know, there have been several break-ins in the past, where criminals took advantage of vacation posts on Facebook. “Hey pple look im havin’ a blast on teh Riviera” followed up by “sum s-hole broke in while i was away so sad”.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Eventually there will be very little money in this monitoring.. companies will have all of their data on consumption and spending patterns are realize that atomizing it to the individual will not be worth the cost of monitoring. Unless they are being subsidized by someone else to do it.

  14. a different chris

    This is the guy who thinks he is arguing for keeping security clearances. O. M. G. We are ruled by idiots, it’s just a choice of which group.

    Mudd countered Dennard by referencing former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who campaigned for Trump and called for the imprisoning former secretary of state and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Mudd noted that even after Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with a Russian ambassador, his security clearance was suspended and not revoked.

  15. Synoia

    Gulf Of Alaska Cod Are Disappearing. Blame ‘The Blob’

    Really? The North Sea used to have plenty of Cod.
    The Cod, and the Herring got fished out.

    Fish, historically, was poor man’s food. Not any more.

    1. apberusdisvet

      I call BS on the claim that the cod disappearance is totally due to climate change. There is too much evidence that the unstoppable Fukushima radiation has decimated all Pacific Ocean marine life, including but not limited to starfish, turtles, whales, salmon. Even Californians have noted the current lack of seagulls whose food chain has disappeared or greatly diminished. Sailors of the North Pacific have repeatedly commented on the lack of marine life in their travels from west coast ports to Asia.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Will there be any consequences for the TEPCO and government critters who built the mess and now are failing to stop it, covering their a&$es with both polite hands and making the slightest of bows? Consequences other than career advancements and pay raises, that is?

      2. blennylips

        > There is too much evidence that the unstoppable Fukushima radiation has decimated all Pacific Ocean marine life, including but not limited to starfish, turtles, whales, salmon

        If you want to follow along from home, I highly recommend William Laughing-Bear (, who has been literally on top of this since the start.

        Latest radiation count from Alaskan waters shows halibut and all salmon measure higher levels of radiation than previous years
        Tuesday, 17 July 2018

        “I asked a commercial fisherman whom I respect what he had heard about radiation levels and salmon.”
        ” He told me they have been told there is no radiation problem in salmon and they are healthy.”
        “I told him that I was finding constant radiation and I would come over and scan his salmon in his freezer if he wanted me to.”
        “He was visually shaken.”
        “Many of us have chosen to no longer consume for ourselves or our dogs any seafood off the Pacific Coast.”
        “From what I understand, radiation can build up in one’s system.”

  16. Lupemax

    I’m looking at the snow in the beautiful antidote pix. I ‘m so tired of this heat, humidity, and unhealthy air up here in Massachusetts. And I don’t even live in the south where it must be much worse.

  17. Edward E

    Sharing the latest… Kudzu Bug Coming Soon to a Field/Garden Near You
    (home invader, emits an irritating, foul smelling chemical) Kudzu bugs feed voraciously on new kudzu growth by sucking out the sap like aphids. You will not see foliar damage as they do not chew holes in the leaves. Kudzu bugs may reduce kudzu growth, but to date, we have not seen elimination of kudzu patches by the bugs.
    In the United States, the primary host of the kudzu bug is the kudzu plant, and it is believed the bug may spread to areas where the plant is already established. The kudzu bug is also known to feed on other legume crops (including pigeon pea, black eye pea, lima bean, pinto bean, white sweet clover, white clover, red clover, alfalfa), wisteria, and some vetches.3

    Kudzu Bugs in Soybean

    Figure 1. Map of confirmed reports of Megacopta cribraria(kudzu bug) distribution in Southeastern United States from 2009—2017. EDD MapS. 2017. Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System. The University of Georgia – Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. Available online at; last accessed May 15, 2017. (spreading out the buggers spilling up north and westbound crossed the Mississippi)

    Troublesome kudzu bugs going away and researchers wonder why (in Georgia, for awhile at least)

    From FAITH AND VALUES: Celebrating the positive qualities of kudzu | aikenstandard

    “A family in Abbeville was quoted not long ago about the kudzu problem they were experiencing around their home. They have kept some exact figures on just how fast a six-acre field of kudzu will grow. They say you start with one acre, 4840 square yards of area. In an old kudzu patch each square yard contains about six kudzu crowns or plants. Each plant has about 20 runners. That’s 120 runners per square yard. Each runner will grow about 18 inches in 24 hours. That comes out to 2,160 inches per square yard. For an acre of kudzu that would be 871,200 feet.

    You divide 871,200 by 5,280 (feet in a mile) and the answer is 165 miles per day per acre. If you multiply that by six, then you get 990 miles per day. Divide 990 by 24 hours and it shows a runner growth total of 41.25 miles per hour, 24 hours a day.”
    Thanks, I’m battling a miserable kudzu patch often until sick, heat exhausted.

    1. Edward E

      Oh, great Scott, so now they’ve found that this nightmare contributes to greenhouse gasses that cause global warming…
      Invasive kudzu drives carbon out of the soil and into the atmosphere

      Tharayil has estimated that kudzu invasion might cause the release of 4.8 million tons of carbon per year. This is the equivalent of the amount of carbon stored in roughly 5 million hectares (12.3 million acres) of forest, or the amount released by burning 2.3 million tons of coal. It’s also the annual carbon footprint for a city of 1 million.

      The release of this amount of carbon into the atmosphere could itself contribute to global warming. This could create a feedback effect, as elevated temperature would enable kudzu to extend its range to more northern latitudes.

      1. blennylips

        > Invasive kudzu drives carbon out of the soil and into the atmosphere

        Add it to the list of 69 Self-Reinforcing Feedback Loops already known:

        69. As jet planes burn fuel and release carbon dioxide, the atmosphere warms and causes head winds to build up (Nature Climate Change, published online 13 July 2015).

        I think the author has given up keeping the list up to date.

  18. kgw

    I hear you…Here in SoCal, we’ve had 2 months of above normal temps and no clear end to it in the forecast. The killer for me the sea temp is also above normal, which keeps the nights warm and humid. I douse my head in cold water several times a day…

  19. HotFlash

    Chatsworth Georgia seems like an interesting place. In other news, The Daily Citizen reports that the Democratic candidate for GA-14 is totally embarrassing to pretty well all of humanity, and a local Forestry company is looking for 170 degree FT tree planters. Probably one of those jobs that Americans just won’t do.

    1. Lord Koos

      When I was 20 years old (a very long time ago) I planted trees under a contract with the Dept of Natural Resources (DNR). It was hard work but I’d done worse, and it’s nothing most young men couldn’t handle. Our contract with the DNR was held by a friend who ran it as a co-op and we made pretty good money. That job doesn’t sound too bad, assuming you could get to the $15-20 an hour pay scale, and I bet a lot of locals will apply for it. I doubt the hills in Georgia are as steep as the Cascade mountains.

  20. Carolinian

    There was a discussion here the other day about how Android tracks your location. I’ve since found these links which seem interesting.

    The gist is that a primary current tracking method is via the wifi signals that we are all now perpetually surrounded by–not only in neighborhoods but also in stores and restaurants and, if you live in NYC, re-purposed wifi broadcasting phone booths. The Android device only needs the wifi SSID so this works even if the wifi on the phone or tablet is ostensibly turned off. On my device it does not work if “use location” is turned off, but the story the other day said that Google Maps and search are using location regardless of setting.

    Tinfoil hat stuff for sure. In fact you might want to keep your phone inside your tinfoil hat.

  21. SerenityNow

    Regarding the article about Detroit Neighborhoods–

    Le Corbusier famously stated that “A house is a machine for living in”, and the American version of this seems to be “A house is an asset for living in.” As long as we treat what should be a tool first as a commodity first we are never going to see “affordable” housing anywhere. And even as a commodity, housing property is sort of bizarre: can you imagine being comfortable with the value of the contents a safe deposit box rising or falling dependending on the content of the safe deposit boxes located on either side of it!?

  22. Daryl

    > What Went Wrong With IBM’s Watson Felix Salmon, Slate (DL).

    Watson is one of those bigcorp offerings that is so intentionally vague and generalistic that it is billed as capable of everything and exists primarily to bill a bunch of consulting hours to set this up until the client gets tired of pouring money into a pit. In this sense it’s probably doing exactly what it was intended to do.

  23. Oregoncharles

    For antidotes to destructive lawns, try searching “flowering lawn mix.” Here’s the original: Full disclosure: I used to work for them. Which means I’ve maintained their lawn mixes (there are tailored versions for different climate areas.) We actually mowed it, but left unmowed it will grow about a foot high – the height of yarrow flowers.

    However, this is not native flowers. For that, you’d have to search mixtures specific to your area. Those should be the hardiest and the most supportive of local wildlife.

  24. Oregoncharles

    From Beinart’s article about being detained and questioned at the airport: “My detention is one more, not particularly significant, example of how Trump has emboldened Netanyahu.
    Read more:

    Handy excuse to beat up on Trump, but misses the real message, which is that Israel is increasingly concerned about the attitudes of American Jews. That’s an existential threat for them. That’s why they gave Beinart a hard time; they may actually have been looking for hints about what’s going on back in the States, though they didn’t exactly ask that.

    Amusingly, in the article there’s a link to Netanyahu saying the detention was an “administrative mistake.” IOW, “oopsie.” It certainly was a PR mistake, which made the alienation of American Jews that much worse. And Beinart is the mildest of the mild.

  25. anon

    Re: They’re Falsely Accused of Shoplifting, but Retailers Demand Penalties

    I very much beg to differ with this generalization quoted:

    “This is an unpopular constituency,” said Christian Schreiber, a lawyer who filed a lawsuit in California state court against Home Depot over the practice. The suit resulted in a settlement for about 3,500 people who received demand letters from Palmer Reifler. “These are people accused of theft, so there is not a big interest in their rights.”

    There’s actually a very large popular constituency of wealthy people in power, accused of theft (rightfully so, I would add). Let it be: a Bank; other Too Big To Fail Entity; a Powerful Politician; or just Someone Very Wealthy, and there will be plenty of interest in Protecting Their Rights™. And, not mentioned in the piece (unshockingly), are how many of the innocent victims were/are utterly unable to afford, or find, an attorney willing to even get their stolen money back. The lack of qualified legal representation available to the populace at large, in the US, is a venal crime.

    It horrifies me to think how many have been abused in such a manner and: lost employment and potential professions and housing; were legally robbed of fines they didn’t owe; were psychologically abused and humiliated (and if the cops were involved, very likely physically abused).

    A Local, County, State, or Federal Government which allows its most vulnerable residents to be preyed on: economically destroyed; psychologically and physically abused; extorted and stolen from in such a manner without affordable legal recourse, is despicable and Fascist.

    At any rate, thanks much for the heads up. The piece further validates my longstanding policies of: never shopping at a Walmart or Home Depot; never going to the bot scanner checkout counter; using cash so a retail outlet can’t trace me and try to extort me; along with never using store Discount Cards unless they are under a totally bogus identity. I’ll be adding to those policies: never park my car facing one of the increasingly horrid and ubiquitous cameras which predominantly track little people who commit the least crimes in society, as the wealthy, have their own shoppers and chauffeurs.

  26. Plenue

    >How social media took us from Tahrir Square to Donald Trump Zeynep Tufekci, MIT Technology Review

    “You know the meme that ads or fake groups on Facebook ‘influenced’ the election is completely baseless, right?”

    “I’m not listening, gotta publish this article.”

  27. MikeW_CA

    Thanks for the link to “They’re Falsely Accused of Shoplifting, but Retailers Demand Penalties”. I hate self checkout to begin with, this gives me another solid reason not to use it.

    1. Carolinian

      From my experience of checking out at Walmart the notion that employees would run outside and take down a license number is astonishing. Most of the time the self-checkout minders barely seem to be interested. The story says the woman’s daughters spent 17 minutes at the self-checkout which may have provoked attention.

      Obviously it’s wrong for any company to send bill collectors after people who have never had a day in court or that the company doesn’t bother to prosecute. Those state laws are wrong. But anecdotally I’ve heard that customers steal like crazy from Walmart. There may not be any moral heroes here.

      1. anon

        There may not be any moral heroes here.

        On the other hand the odds are stacked that there are.

        Just for one, regarding your making a point of highlighting this:

        The story says the woman’s daughters spent 17 minutes at the self-checkout which may have provoked attention.

        right before jumping to your conclusion of lapsed morals: having to scan then rescan items for 17 minutes [1], while being filmed doing so – with no film evidence (and presumably, Walmart has likely numerous cameras throughout its stores) of trying to alter price tags, is in no way indicative of a theft, and seems more likely to result in being overcharged, than thievery:

        Mr. McDonald said that if Ms. Thompson’s daughter took the groceries without scanning them properly, it was by mistake. Video surveillance, reviewed by The New York Times, shows her daughter trying to scan and rescan groceries at the checkout machine for about 17 minutes.

        I hope you’re never one of those insinuated as having likely lapsed morals when you did nothing wrong but had your wellbeing permanently shattered as a consequence of being scapegoated or preyed on, because you were considered a ‘nobody.’

        My thoughts on this nightmare of STATE legalized abuse, are further encompassed in a comment 2 comments above this comment ‘thread’ (thanks human!, for pulling it out of the bot moderation).

        [1] I heard from a grocery store manager that the sans human, scanner bot checkout counters were notorious for malfunctioning and breaking down (not to even mention decimating: much needed human contact and a means to make a living).

        1. Carolinian

          My comment didn’t offer a judgment about whether shoplifting took place in that case because the NYT story is so poorly written that the facts are never fully explained. Therefore it isn’t clear that at least two of the examples provided “did nothing wrong”–however mangled the response by Walmart. Obviously if a store believes shoplifting has taken place then it’s up to them to confront the perpetrator right away. Trying to implement some sort of stoplight camera solution that will robotically find and fine lawbreakers is indeed wrong and hard to believe it is allowed by a private business.

          The point I was making was that hyper vigilance by store employees seems quite contrary to what you see in an actual Walmart where employees don’t seem into their jobs and are also increasingly scarce both on the floor and at the checkouts where the company is adding more self-checkouts. Without a doubt the company does have a big shoplifting problem and some of us are old fashioned enough to think that shoplifting is also wrong, regardless of whether one believes that Walmart is evil.

  28. The Rev Kev

    “Preet Bharara: ‘God bless the Deep State’ if it’s people who care about the law”

    Yeah, yeah, I know that that is moronic. Saw another example of this sort of stuff the other day when the actor Ashton Kutcher sent out a tweet saying: “Just sending out a morning shout to the men and woman of the intelligence community that keep us safe and protect our country. #gratitude #ty” while drinking out of a coffee mug with the CIA logo on it. He should really get together with Rob Reiner sometime.

  29. Lord Koos

    Regarding the $60,000 ice cream – I will say that the Three Twins brand is exceptionally good ice cream, especially when I can buy it half price at my local Grocery Outlet. Wouldn’t pay retail for it though…

  30. KFritz

    Re: Lawns

    As unnatural as suburban lawns are, the numbers quoted seem dubiously high. Golf courses use up vast quantities of herbicide, fertilizer, and water. Since the article didn’t mention them, isn’t it likely they were included in the category “lawns?”

  31. ChrisPacific

    The NZ property ban headline is overstated. Foreigners who are NZ residents can still buy property. Non-residents (i.e., visitors or offshore) are the ones who are covered. I doubt it will end property speculation but it should at least help to restrict it to people who actually live here.

    It’s an interesting development in the sense that it’s a partial repudiation of the neoliberal idea that investment is always and everywhere good. The government is essentially saying: if it’s done by land banking foreigners and ends up driving local residents out of the market, then it’s bad. As self-evident as that sounds, it would be a fairly controversial position in most Western countries today.

  32. gordon

    The war in Yemen : “Like the Obama administration before it, the Trump administration has tried to keep its distance from the Saudi campaign while simultaneously supporting it through the sales of bombs, targeting intelligence and refueling for planes.”

    And when after all these years and all these deaths the Washington Post comes out against the war, not one supporting comment – except this one, from a non-American. The author of the article described the US Adminisrtation’s response to the most recent slaughter of unarmed civilians as “a shrug”. Looks like that fairly reflects Americans’ reactions generally.

    1. dcrane

      I was surprised to see this from the WaPo. While I support any call to end American support for this war, I couldn’t help but get the feeling that the WaPo editors think that things will be OK as long as the blood does not get directly on our hands. It’s not like they called for the US to apply real pressure on the Saudis.

  33. knowbuddhau

    >>> “Hothouse Earth” Co-Author: The Problem Is Neoliberal Economics The Intercept

    Thanks, very interesting. I’ve been thinking this is the likely outcome for a few years now. Might explain my chronic grumpiness.

    The title is inaccurate, the problem runs deeper. And there’s a bit of wishful thinking.

    Keep in mind that we have only 20-50 years to act. From what I’ve been reading, it’s now or never. But look at the time scales of the solutions.

    The paper itself put it in fairly direct terms. “The present dominant socioeconomic system,” the authors wrote, “is based on high-carbon economic growth and exploitative resource use. Attempts to modify this system have met with some success locally but little success globally in reducing greenhouse gas emissions or building more effective stewardship of the biosphere. Incremental linear changes to the present socioeconomic system are not enough to stabilize the Earth system; these include changes in behavior, technology and innovation, governance, and values.”

    ‘The end isn’t quite so nigh. On top of rapidly phasing-out greenhouse gas emissions, “Trajectories” notes that humans have to create their own negative feedback mechanisms so the Earth can maintain a stable level of carbon in the atmosphere. That means expanding and repairing the Earth’s natural “carbon sinks,” like big forests that can effectively suck emissions out of the atmosphere and store them naturally.

    “We need to immediately stop deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and other tropical forests, and start reforesting them. That means a U-turn in terms of how we operate the world’s economic systems,” Steffen told me via Skype. “The only way you’re going to change that is if you actually change value systems, perhaps even changing the way political systems operate and so on. The social scientists in our group have said this really is a fundamental change in human societies we need to have if we’re going to solve this problem.

    Mind, none of this is terribly unique for scientific papers on climate change. Peters notes that upon first read, he skimmed over the section in the paper describing what humans can do to prevent climate change. “I’ve read that a billion times. I don’t need to read it a billion and one,” he joked. That reining in emissions will require massive transformations in the Earth’s productive systems isn’t controversial within the scientific community, which has long argued that world economies need to decarbonize by midcentury at the absolute latest — and that’s a assuming a best-case scenario in which so-called negative emissions technologies can by that point be deployed at scale.

    The paper itself put it in fairly direct terms. “The present dominant socioeconomic system,” the authors wrote, “is based on high-carbon economic growth and exploitative resource use. Attempts to modify this system have met with some success locally but little success globally in reducing greenhouse gas emissions or building more effective stewardship of the biosphere. Incremental linear changes to the present socioeconomic system are not enough to stabilize the Earth system; these include changes in behavior, technology and innovation, governance, and values.

    So to prevent Hothouse Earth, in only 32 short years at the most, we need to: A) Do away with the existing political economy and replace it with one that harmonizes with the earth’s many self-regulatory climate systems; B) Completely change the energy source we all rely on all the time, while we’re relying on it, without starving us all; C) Stop deforesting the Amazon and start reforesting (ain’t gonna help for even a thousand years); D) Reinvent the carbon-cycle regulating systems we’ve disabled, and get them online at scale in time; except that E) None of this is possible in the socioeconomic system that obtains, and is likely to obtain, over the next 3 short decades and counting down, so we need to reinvent society at the same time, too.

    Shorter Peters: ‘Oh, stupid media, don’t be alarmists. There are lots of ways hothouse earth could be prevented. Just none of them are at all likely in this reality.’

    There’s Only 5 Percent Chance Earth Can Stay Below ‘Tipping Point’ by 2100, Researchers Say

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