Links 8/31/18

New Zealand Council Proposes Banning All Domestic Cats Huffington Post (Kevin W)

First Yellowstone-area grizzly hunt in 40 years blocked by federal judge Reuters

Lego built a drivable Bugatti Chiron with over 1 million pieces The Verge (David L)

The New Science of Seeing Around Corners Quanta Magazine. Robert M:

Einstein had his “spooky action at a distance.” Being able to read the first few pages of a closed book and hear what’s being said by the motion of plant leaves and empty chip bags is just plain spooky. I’d say keep the shades down, but they might vibrate in such a way that the words can be decoded. Perhaps the answer is to get exterior shutters.

In 1973, an MIT computer predicted the end of civilization. So far, it’s on target. Big Think

Coffee Does Not Merit Cancer Warning Label Ordered In California, FDA Says NPR (David L)

Why rising temperatures are bad for our mental health Financial Times (J-LS)

Cavemen did not have cavities Delancey Place (Chuck L)


The UN is calling on China to ‘immediately release’ one million Muslim Uighurs who may be held in detention centers Business Insider (David L)

China’s AI push raises fears over widespread job cuts Financial Times (David L)

Mob Protests in Germany Show New Strength of the Far Right New York Times (Kevin C)


Hooligan Brexiters now offer a mad, dystopian future nobody voted for Guardian

Panasonic to move Europe headquarters from UK to Amsterdam BBC

Nigel Farage weighs bid for London mayor Politico

New Cold War

Whistleblower Exposes Key Player in FBI Russia Probe: “It was all a Set-up” Sara A. Carter (Chuck L)


In Syria’s Idlib, a battle without Iran or chemicals Asia Times (Kevin W)

Trump’s Handling of Turkey’s Economic Crisis Should Scare Us All Slate (Kevin W)

US pastor held in Turkey prepared to go to European court: lawyer AlJazeera (J-LS)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Steve Bannon Wants to Nationalize Facebook and Google’s Data Vanity Fair

Google and Mastercard Cut a Secret Ad Deal to Track Retail Sales Bloomberg

Tariff Tantrum

Rebalancing NAFTA to Support Manufacturing Office of the US Trade Representative (j3)

US, Canada to resume urgent trade talks Friday Associated Press

Donald Trump threatens to withdraw from World Trade Organisation (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

Here Are All the Highlights From Trump’s Oval Office Interview Bloomberg

Trump, Corporate Media Are Both Enemies of the People Truthdig (RR)

Former NATO leaders call for new HQ to be named after McCain Politico

WaPo Uses Photo of John McCain Next to Nazi to Praise His ‘Human Rights’ Work Fair (YY)

Justice Department Warns It Might Not Be Able to Prosecute Voting Machine Hackers Motherboard

As classes begin, Detroit schools shut off drinking water due to high levels of lead and copper WSWS

He’s been studying in the U.S. legally for 7 years. Bank of America froze his account anyway Miami Herald (J-LS)

Bank Of America Faces Backlash After Freezing Accounts Over Citizenship Questions Huffington Post

Colin Kaepernick’s collusion grievance gives NFL players leverage over anthem-protest policy. Slate (Chuck L)

The Collapse of Lehman Bros.: a Reassessment Counterpunch (Chuck L)

Looking Back on the Prosecution Failures after the 2008 Wall Street Crash Wall Street on Parade (UserFriendly)

BlackRock’s Decade: How the Crash Forged a $6.3 Trillion Giant Bloomberg

Former Enron CEO released from prison to halfway house Reuters

The time has come to nationalise auditing Richard Murphy (UserFriendly)

Class Warfare

The Nationwide Prison Strike: Why It’s Happening and What It Means for Ending Mass Incarceration American Civil Liberties Union (Randy K)

What’s behind the rising US profit share? Stumbling and Mumbling (UserFriendly). Um, I first wrote about it over 20 years ago.

Sparking More Calls for His Ouster, Chuck Schumer Cuts Deal With Mitch McConnell to Fast-Track Seven Trump Judges Common Dreams (RR)

Oregon Construction Worker Fired For Refusing To Attend Mandatory Bible Study Michael Stone (Chuck L)

40% of Americans struggle to pay for at least one basic need like food or rent MarketWatch (UserFriendly)

The Incredible, Rage-Inducing Inside Story of America’s Student Debt Machine Mother Jones (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour. Another 2015 submission I missed, this from Robert G of a turkey vulture in his back yard:

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. skippy

    The New Science of Seeing Around Corners Quanta Magazine. Robert M:

    “Einstein had his “spooky action at a distance.” Being able to read the first few pages of a closed book and hear what’s being said by the motion of plant leaves and empty chip bags is just plain spooky. I’d say keep the shades down, but they might vibrate in such a way that the words can be decoded. Perhaps the answer is to get exterior shutters.”

    Oh [!!!!!!] – I know this action… so well… you see an old mate in Calif used to steal the last few pages of a book you were reading, undercover of a social gathering, and then when you were up late at night to finish the damn thing you would have to call him… so he could read it too you… ahahhaha…

    Yet this same person owned a huge old station wagon that in traffic on the beach in Manhattan Calif we used to stick our arms out and as we moved forwarded rowed… ohh…. and the blokes in the back flutter kicked out the back window…

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      For decades now high security buildings have been designed with all offices and conferences in the interiors where there are no windows. Only corridors are on the perimeters. This is because conversations can be eavesdropped upon at a distance by bouncing out-of-vision band laser beams off of them. The reflected beam, which is modulated by the subtle vibrations of the glass caused by sounds within, can then be picked up and demodulated to reconstruct those sounds.

      1. skippy

        Yeah I know all about resonance snooping for a long time as well as IR- RF interface hacking et al… yet this does not reconcile the human state of mind in a multivariate time and space paradigm e.g. all mechanical [Nash, Von Newman, McNamara] are far to simplistic and demand driven to incorporate the actual complexity which could provide input to computational expectations of reality which are always in flux.

        1. ambrit

          Well, that would depend on the degree of ‘certainty’ expected from the framework. As politics shows, low orders of ‘certainty’ are adequate to ensure ‘control’ over groups.
          Ascending to the ‘higher orders’ does not necessarily imply a paradigm shift. It could all be a matter of ‘degree.’

            1. ambrit

              Now I really understand why there are laws against driving while spun.
              (Oh, and, was that a moose?)

            1. ambrit

              Hmmm… Schroedinger’s Cat’s revenge, Part 2?
              Interesting thought experiment this “Reality.”

                1. ambrit

                  The old split timelines idea? But if ‘existence’ is phenomenal, is measurement at all possible? It’s not that the idea lacks falsifiability, but that it embraces too much falsifiability.
                  Now, if it were Schroedinger’s Tiger….

        2. Summer

          Wouldn’t music with heavy bass provide masking frequencies?
          (Among other things that could be used)

          1. briny

            Essentially what your proposing would be, in effect, steganography: Hiding a message in a media or other file where having a hidden message within doesn’t destroy the original file’s apparent usability. The problem with that is this depends on *not* having the original to compare against and thus recover the hidden message. Today it is far to easy to record the encrypted content, use nothing more than an App or web site to identify the piece, and off-the-rack software to remove the original’s content. I, along with others, have even done such to overlay (scramble) perfectly valid encrypted content over a given signal to great effect (resulted in simulated sinking of a capital ship). Good fun both ways.

      2. human

        Analyzing the interuption of emissions from electronic devices in a room can also detect conversations.

        Too many secrets.

      3. a different chris

        Once upon a time I worked at a frenetic startup, and we decided the best thing we could do in our industry (which we were leading) was “leak” all our code – it was such a mess we figured it would stall out everybody behind us, like airplane chaff.

        “Security” is something that always bites you in the end, one way or another. Look at the Enigma machine from both sides – the obvious one is that it broke the German’s code, the less obvious is that if you don’t have any expectation of privacy you are unlikely to start a war in the first place.

    2. TheScream

      Old sc-fi short story about time-viewing. Basically analyzing photons and sound waves that have been kicking around for a few years. Scientifically feasible but practically “impossible”. But this new research is a bit scary. Quite a leap from laser eavesdropping on vibrating windows.

      1. skippy

        Everything is data dependent and then it has to be processed by humans [various nodes of interpretation] all whilst the background might be determinate, but humans are radicals e.g. I might intrinsically believe something but under circumstances do just the opposite for emotional reasons.

        I am not a mathematical proof and will endeavor to thwart such at all costs…s

            1. ambrit

              In vino veritas, or “Avaunt fell world, and let the shades of my desires attend me!”
              All is well with the World. It’s what’s happening to me and mine that rankles.
              Welcome to the North American Deep South. We used to be proud the be the cloaca of America. Now we have serious competition.
              Be of good cheer! You’re living in Paradise!

              1. skippy

                All Good ambrit, just a bit of hefeweizen and yes things are good for me and mine around here. Probably just a bit of spill over after talking to some guy with advanced maths about DSGE models.

                They saw opportunity, even after getting them to read Bill Blacks unpacking stuck to their view. Completely oblivious [seemingly] to the ideology [cough… natural] buried in its founding axioms. This coming from someone that proclaims to have issues with currant political handmaiden machinations and rents extracted in markets…. sigh….

                1. ambrit

                  Ah yes. Even when most painful, self-reflection is necessary, especially for sods like me who have an inflated sense of self-worth. The True Believers are the worst of the lot. The sort that think that Abraham should have bumped the kid off, just to show the Deity who’s boss.
                  Happy Trails from the North American Deep South Crew.
                  Yoiks and away!
                  Sir Duck demonstrates:

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Many radicals are irrational. But at least they are all algebraic. I think that is by definition so no proof is needed. The Prisoner asserted: “I am not a Number!”

          1. skippy

            Once was put into a protracted stress position in the military where the person in charge thought I had been softened up enough to demand I call myself a cockroach. That did not workout as they intended, complete and utter refusal on my part extenuated the experience until they actually became the one emotionally unbalanced.

            They had to be ordered to back down by a higher up.

            This was not basic stuff, much more advanced.

    1. pjay

      Right. I posted this link yesterday in responding to the Iran propaganda story. Max Blumenthal’s Gray Zone site is doing some good investigative work on hybrid warfare these days. Early on he fell for the “humanitarian” line on Syria, from which he repented. Perhaps that is a motivating factor.

        1. wilroncanada

          to witters et al
          More fake news, complements of the US. Reliably stenographed into “reality” by corporate media. so little real news gathering, just copy-catting.
          Congrats to the few who are questioning “news” and trying to find truth.
          Where is another Wilfred Burchett when we need him?
          Sy Hersch can’t be everywhere at once. Only the US propaganda machine can. Beware the machine!

      1. Eureka Springs

        It would have taken one Dem Senator (or Sanders) to say NO to this process. They all said yes. Even Sanders.

        An entirely normal, entirely predictable occurrence by them all, not just Schumer. Had I known this was coming and I could have taken out a payday loan to bet the farm this would happen, I would have without hesitation (given correct odds by a foolish bookie).

        The activist outrage should be directed at their own selves for constantly falling for this. The problem is systemic. This is who Democrats are and what they do.

        Shumer is just another Harry Reid. Wasn’t Trump a Dem most of his life?

  2. Olga

    Italy and the fate of euro:
    “In a democracy it is a ruling class (or to be more precise its factions) that makes political choices and these are later presented to the people to vote for. An alternative policy to Matteo Renzi migration policy was introduced by Lega Nord and the Five-Star Movement. The Italian Minister of the Interior, Mateo Salvini, has challenged the European elites by stopping the endless flood of people from Africa and became incredibly popular. It is easier to halt the influx of people than to pull Italy out of the euro. A break-up of the euro would cause a significant crisis, and nobody knows how it would end, or whether it is manageable. However, the break up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were also examples of a “currency-union” break up.”
    Not sure the last sentence makes sense, but the piece is still interesting.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Did all the now-independent components of the Soviet Union set up their own currencies? If they didn’t, they’re still colonies. And the same goes for the former Yugoslavia.

      Of course, the USSR and Yugoslavia may not have had such sophisticated suppression techniques as the EU does.

      Italy is now in Sampson’s place: big enough to pull the whole thing down around their ears.

      1. jsn

        I don’t know about the former Soviet Republics, but the constituent parts of the former Yugoslavia have their own currencies with the exception of Slovenia which has been grafted into the Schengen area and now uses the Euro.

        Even with their own currencies they’re still more or less colonies, the market power of the major sovereigns, the US, EU and China, is such that even with control of the currency and the border smaller countries can’t escape the power of the big three. Ian Welsh has this up today on the current dynamics among the big three which is interesting.

      2. Olga

        Yes, they did – for the record. Every single one. (The comment really was not about currency, though.) And Yugoslavia opposed USSR – it was not even in its sphere. Tito thought he’d be clever and cozy up to the west. Did not help him much.

  3. Livius Drusus

    Re: 40% of Americans struggle to pay for at least one basic need like food or rent, I thought this was an interesting piece of information.

    Last December, the same month the Urban Institute conducted its survey, the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C., released its own study of nearly 43,000 people in 38 countries around the globe that question this past spring. Residents in 20 countries said people like them were better off than they were 50 years ago, but the U.S. was not among them. The U.S was one of 18 countries in which people said they were actually worse off than half a century ago.

    I hear this a lot. There is a sense that things are much worse now. You see a lot of people talking about the United States being on the decline, that we are past our best days. There is a lot of hopelessness out there. The impact is visible in the statistics on drug abuse, alcohol abuse, suicide, depression, anxiety and other signs of despair. Even the entertainment industry reflects this sense of malaise with the constant remakes of past movies and TV shows that people eat up in order to try to relive happier times. Nostalgia is big business. It reminds me of a quote by Thomas Frank:

    I grew up in an era of rampant nostalgia–the 1970s, pining for the 1950s–and one of my beliefs is that nostalgia is really no worse or even all that different than a faith in “progress.” Sometimes progress doesn’t happen. Sometimes nostalgia makes sense. Sometimes the past really is an improvement on the present. At a time when inequality is growing, and most people find that unpleasant, they naturally get sentimental about a time when things were less bad–or when they believe things were less bad.

    1. Andrew Watts

      The failure of our dominant minority is beyond obvious to the average American due to their circumstances. Arnold Toynbee thought that resorting to nostalgia and archaism (eg: “Make America Great Again!”) would be among the many responses to the collapse of a civilization. Other common responses would include the belief in progress and idealization of the future that the privileged classes are so enamored with. I believe the massive increase in substance abuse and suicide rates falls under Toynbee’s criteria of detachment as people attempt to escape from their decaying reality through those specific means.

      There doesn’t seem to be very many people who would fall under Toynbee’s final classification of people and their attitudes. Those that transcend the death of their civilization, and generate new insights in the process, which births a new civilization. These people are the proverbial prophets of our age.

      1. Carolinian

        So is it “don’t panic” or “thanks for all the fish”?

        I’ll go with the former until Trump or somebody else really does drop the big one. Here in the US we’ve had these hysteria periods before not to mention nostalgia periods. Too early to say this is The End.

      2. The Rev Kev

        In those terms, it is kinda depressing that. I am thinking of Toynbee’s concept of “Challenge and Response” here. The Challenge arose in the 1970s to the realization of a changing world, mass pollution and ever-diminishing oil supplies. The Response was to collectively stick our fingers in our ears, go out and buy SUVs, and send Asian manufacturing of ever more junk into overdrive.
        Epic Fail here.

    2. jrs

      how much less bad were things really? I think that’s a narrative spin of sorts. But is it a truth, I don’t know. Things were better for some subsets of people, for instance a college education got you more than it does these days, and some subsets of people were unionized (more than are now) which does help.

      However poverty statistics do now show any great change:

      Infant mortality was also higher in those days although this chart does not go to the present.

      Maybe not for nothing was Robert F Kennedy on his poverty tour in 1967 seeing children hungry to the point of starvation.

      Maybe the reality is one people do not want to face. U.S. capitalism has *NEVER* worked for the majority. What does work isn’t comparisons over time which aren’t clear cut, but comparison of the U.S. to countries with a decent social safety net! (plus often more worker empowerment). Those countries have less poverty and material hardship.

      1. Jean


        And recent immigrants, legal and otherwise, skew all poverty statistics.

        Let’s look at third generation+Americans for a real insight into the poverty affecting our society, especially when we compare current statistics to 50 years ago when that third generation were children more or less.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        Me! Me! ME! I have my hand up!!!!! Read the essay at:
        “Did inequality really surge in the US from the 1970s? Did earnings for the majority really flatline from the bicentennial?” The answer in 3-dimensions is a big yes! yes! yes!

        But if you were living here then and you live here now can you seriously ask “How much less bad were things really?” really????? Weren’t you on the mailing list for the message that “Things are getting better all the time?” I don’t hear that tune so much any more. These times are all about making things Great … again.

    3. jrs

      I don’t think things were really better. Poverty rates have not changed much (except to drop dramatically since 1960 and then stable out). Infant mortality was higher in that past. Not for nothing did RFK go on his poverty tour in 1967 and see children starving.

      I think the truth is one people don’t want to face: U.S. capitalism has Never worked for the majority! The comparisons over time are not clear cut on things getting worse, however comparisons with the U.S. and the rest of the developed world are clear cut: a safety net and greater worker protections do help. Now why do they keep getting us to focus on time (“make America great again”) and not on countries and what policies work for other countries. Hmm … curious isn’t it?

      1. JBird

        Poverty rates have not changed much (except to drop dramatically since 1960 and then stable out).

        Or I could notice that up until 1973ish, almost everyone was improving economically and could at least find a stable job that paid enough for a halfway decent life. This included the working, and even the then slowly shrinking poor class (As defined by not having great want in food, clothing, and shelter.) Even the traditionally stubborn poor groups of blacks and whites were s-l-o-w-l-y getting better economically.

        All the work, the conflicts, the deaths (murders really), illegal imprisonments, beatings, strikes, protests, unrest, even near (civil) war, police abuse, unions, KKK, NAACP, Reconstruction, Struggle for Civil Rights, lawsuits, legislation, governmental programs in the New Deal and the Great Society among others, unions, even social and religious organizations, from the end of the Civil War to the 1970s, all of the struggle for over a century went into improving the lives of everyone.

        Now? All of what was gained is being lost, all the efforts look to be for nothing as the improvements did not even last a full lifetime. Well, there are the still extant, but now tattered, improvements in civil rights, but they only still exist because they make an excellently effective club in Neoliberialism’s Identity Politics Beatdown strategy in its class war on the 90% Twistedly using the good to serve the evil.

    4. Phil in KC

      Age 62 here. Middle class lifestyle for my parents meant:

      1. One parent’s income (dad’s) was enough to support a family.
      2. Regular medical, dental, and vision care.
      3. A modest annual vacation. Nothing fancy, mind you.
      4. Life insurance.
      5. A pension after decades of work at one place.
      6. An affordable NEW home in a new subdivision.
      7. New furniture and furnishings for the aforementioned new home.
      8. New clothes from a retailer like Macy’s every once and a while.
      9. With a bit of scrimping, parents could pay all college expenses for each child at a state-run institution.
      10. A NEW car every four or five years!

      Yes, those were the days!

      We were middle-middle class. Now, such a lifestyle could only belong to the upper 20 percent.

      Productivity is up, corporate profits ballooning, but stagnant wages. Result: disaffected young men, lower marriage rate, lower birth rate, and 40 per cent of the population who would have trouble scraping together enough money for a new set of tires or repair for the furnace.

      The young and disaffected are examining socialism because capitalism as practiced today is creating far more losers than winners. The winners have not fully understood this and wonder why people feel hopeless.

      Me, I’ve hit only five of the 10 items listed above.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        depending on your locale, having all 10 things you listed are accessible to less than 20% of the population.

        I’m 35 and I don’t know anyone under 40 with life insurance. I don’t know anyone under 50 who has had a vacation within the last 10 years. Most people I know don’t have health insurance and pay the penalty instead.

        What’s a “pension”?

      2. ambrit

        I’m the same age and I have hit only one of the ten items. (I guess I’m an underachiever.)

      3. Inode_buddha

        Age 50 here. I grew up in a family like you describe. As for myself, I have achieved zero out of 10 things you list, working my butt off in the trades. I finally achieved a living wage last year. Not a “skilled” wage. *that* is why this country is going down the crapper.

      4. tongorad

        Age 54. Except for the Life Insurance & new cars, my parents were able to achieve all those things. Both parents worked, however. Both without 4-year college degrees.

  4. John Beech

    So the guy quits because he’s being paid to attend Bible study? I don’t get it. My job once included picking up bits of trash I noticed while walking to and from parking my car because the owner of the business wanted everybody to help ‘police’ the area and keep it looking nice. I’m an engineer. Janitorial duty wasn’t why I was hired. Me? I cheerfully complied. Guess, what? It stuck because now I’m the boss of my own company and everybody chips in and helps police the area. It’s my opinion the guy making an issue of Bible study needs to find another job and quit bellyaching.

    1. liam

      Wow. Did you read the article? And are you really comparing religious practice to “janitorial duty”. There’s probably a bunch of human rights issues in there, let alone the legalities of it. Impressive!

      1. Darius

        Speaking as a church-goer, I can assure all that religious study can feel like you’re dealing with a load of crap, depending on who’s leading it.

        1. JTMcPhee

          A lot of people seem to have a taste, even a hunger for, Sh!t sandwiches handed out by Church Ladies and false prophets…

          “The Holly Bible is the exact inerrant word of God Himself Almighty, and the Lord Himself has laid it on my heart to tell you what it really means…”

      1. Wukchumni

        Litter is real and a menace, whereas bible study is history majors focusing on the narrowest vein of time, and often acting as if nothing happened before and after it.

        1. Lee

          That would be the largely fictional narrowest vein of time. I was recently listening to an interview with author Reza Aslan and among the many interesting points raised on the history of religions was that before the Babylonian conquest, Jews were not monotheists. Yahweh was back then just one among many even among Jews.

        2. Lee

          Hmmm, my reply posted some time ago seems to have been lost in the ether, so here goes again.

          history majors focusing on the narrowest vein of time

          That should be “history majors focusing on the narrowest fictional vein of time.” Why should one people’s mythology be given credence over another’s? As literature, I am a big fan of myths. As real estate contracts, governing documents, and fact based historical narrative, not so much.

          I was interested to hear from Reza Aslan in a recent interview that the concept of monotheism didn’t develop among Jews until during the Babylonian exile. Prior to that, even for Jews, there were many gods, each held chief among all gods by the respective populations that worshiped them. So, it was Marduk bad, Yahweh good, if you were a Jew and vice versa if you were a Babylonian.

          1. Plenue

            I have problems with Reza Aslan, but on this he’s essentially correct. Jews and Judaism arose from within the Levant, never coming from outside (the Exodus never happened; if you talk about it with an Egyptologist you’ll be lucky if they don’t laugh in your face). They were a Caananite tribe or tribes that gradually transitioned from Polytheism through Henotheism (and maybe Monolatry) before arriving at Monotheism.

            Yahweh started as Elohim, the leader of the Canaanite pantheon. Along the way to becoming the Jewish One God he absorbed aspects of his consort Asherah and the storm god Ba’al (yes, that Ba’al). The Tanakh/Old Testament has its origin in the 7th century BC reign of Josiah, who had his palace bureaucrats start redacting existing oral traditions into a unified national myth, sold to the public in the guise of a conveniently ‘rediscovered’ ‘Book of the Law’ ‘found’ during a Temple renovation. Not long after that the Babylonian captivity happened, after which the vilification of Semitic religions went into overdrive, as well as vilification of Babylonians themselves (the story of the Tower of Babel, itself a ripoff of a Sumerian myth).

            The bureaucrats did a pretty poor job; the remnants of the earlier non-monotheistic belief systems are everywhere. All the weird stuff with the Hebrews back-sliding into worshiping golden calves, or priests of Ba’al and Yahweh having a competition about whose god can light a fire make much more sense in the context of other deities actually existing.

            1. Unna

              And these new Yahweh, a male god, monotheists had him create everything without benefit of, nor cooperation with, a Mother goddess. From the POV of traditional religions, an impossibility, metaphysically unthinkable, a distortion of the settled balance of power between the sexes. As if the believers in a male only creation story insisted on disregarding the, ah, facts of life.

              1. Olga

                I read somewhere that it was actually a group of priests from the area of Iran that introduced monotheism to Jewish tribe(s). They used it as a way of controlling people. I’ll try to find the link one day (kinda puts Israel’s hatred of Iran in perspective).

                1. Plenue

                  That would be the religion of Zoroastrianism, which was one of many casualties of the coming of Islam (and also basically copy-pasted into Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire as the Lord of Light cult).

                  Modern Israel’s hatred of Iran has to do with it not towing the US-Israeli-Saudi line and daring to be an independent regional power. From a historical perspective (and I recall Iranians themselves have pointed this out), Persia was friendly to the Jews, ending the Babylonian exile and allowing a rump Judah to function as a Persian province with a large degree of autonomy. They also patronized the rebuilding of the Temple. Perhaps their goal was to reshape Hebrew religion more in their own image.

                  1. Unna

                    A long time ago there was something called the Jesus Seminar which attempted to understand who Jesus was and what he thought from the religious and cultural environment of his times. In what way was early Christianity a product of its times. I remember the Pope wasn’t happy about it.

                2. Unna

                  I’ve read, or maybe heard, that Zoroastrianism, Iranian religion, greatly influenced the Judaism that emerged during and after the Babylonian captivity. But like they say here, that’s way beyond my pay grade. I wish I knew more.

          2. Elizabeth Burton

            No need to repost, I’ve learned. Sometimes, a manual page refresh will make it appear. Sometimes there’s a time lapse. Everything seems to turn up eventually.

        3. Plenue

          Bible study only approaches being history when it’s in the context of a broader study of religion in the Ancient Near East. Within that framework Judaism is a redaction of disparate Canaanite oral traditions with stolen Mesopotamian mythology grafted on top, and Christianity is a virtually unrecognizable Greek speaking hijacking of Judaism with weird Platonic values shoved in.

          As someone who suffered through too many wasted Sundays of sermons and Bible ‘study’, it’s mostly a lot of looking at the Four Gospels and never analyzing that a. they’re mutually contradictory (and get more batshit crazy as they go along), and b. are completely unsupported by any extra-biblical source outside of a couple of fraudulent pages of Josephus. Sometimes you’ll be treated to some of Paul’s letters, which in hindsight are downright hilarious because they largely consist of a man who never met Jesus berating everyone else for not being proper Christians because they won’t accept his (Paul’s) insane mysticism.

          1. Plenue

            I think Mark is the best one, because it’s the oldest one and the one with the least mythologizing (no virgin birth at the beginning, no zombie uprising (and I’m not talking about Jesus. I’m talking about the other dead people who supposedly rose from their tombs, never to be mentioned again Matthew 27:52) at the end). If you just want a straightforward story of a Jewish radical wanting justice and reform, Mark will provide it.

    2. Roger Smith

      Ah yes… the good old “don’t like it? Well get another job!” gag. Why are people so quick to dismiss the general rights we should all have, regardless of whether or not you care about this specific example? Further, your example is not analogous to this story. Your boss was asking all employees to contribute to the benefit of the business’ cleanliness. It was a personally trivial action that benefits everyone equally. Telling someone what god to pray to is entirely different. Also the report says this man was fired, not that he quit.

      “Guess, what? It stuck…”

      So religious subversion and indoctrination should be legal? Can the boss waterboard them too?

    3. RUKidding

      Picking up litter to assist in keeping your workplace clean is not at all analogous to forcing people – many of whom may follow a different religious philosophy or are atheists – to attend Bible study.

      The employee was fired for not attending Bible study. That’s just plain wrong and possibly against the law.

      1. Seth A Miller

        Possibly? How can this be reconciled with anyone’s understanding of the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of religion? Even if people don’t get legal training before leaving elementary school, there’s a basic level of knowledge of civics that ought to be expected: after all, people are expected to comply with the law.

        The real problem is that the employer even thought, for longer than an instant, that its practice was okay. Nobody thinks that robbing banks is okay. Why would anyone think that on-the-job religious discrimination is okay? It’s because that the “rights” of employers in capitalism are assumed to be natural, and the rights of employees are assumed to be artifice, and a burden imposed by gummint.

        1. Lobsterman

          Only the government is prohibited Constitutionally from discriminating on the basis of religion.

          There are relevant Civil Rights laws, under which the ex-employee is suing, and obviously I support them and him.

          1. False Solace

            Employers are barred from discriminating on the basis of religion unless they are religious organizations. The guy in the article built homes, it is totally illegal for him to force his employees to practice his religion.

            1. Plenue

              >Employers are barred from discriminating on the basis of religion unless they are religious organizations.

              Ah, once again religion is allowed special legal treatment.

        2. RUKidding

          I work in the legal arena (IANAL). Local laws may sometimes vary, so I don’t like to assume the legality or illegality of anything. Hence, the caution in my comment about the possible illegality of the employer firing someone on his staff for not attending Bible Study.

          At the very very least, I think this person has a good wrongful termination case, but again: IANAL and am not familiar with that jurisdiction. YMMV.

          Personally, I think it’s outrageous that anyone would consider forcing staff to attend Bible study. Make it available at your choice: sure (albeit even that’s a bit dicey). But basing continuing employment on forced attendance? No. Just no.

    4. jrs

      culturally insensitive much. Maybe for some atheists going to church might work as a compromise to keep their job, maybe. What if one already has another religion, one is Jewish or Muslim or Hindu etc.. That’s why I say: culturally clueless much? Don’t grok multiculturalism at all, do ya?

    5. Greg Taylor

      The NPR story on the terminated construction worker unwilling to attend bible study includes the employer’s motivation for compulsory attendance: the employees were ex-convicts, many, like the employer, with addiction issues, and the afternoon bible study was designed to address these issues.

      1. Lee

        Faith based approach to addiction has a low success rate. It does stand to reason that those for whom it has worked will then become true believers and then apply it to all and sundry. But as Oscar Wilde observed, the golden rule should not be universally applied. Tastes differ.

        1. Plenue

          It has something like a 95% failure rate. AA is quite possibly the biggest failure in all of medicine. Various placebos and do nothing ‘alternative medicines’ have better success rates.

      2. Ape

        Turn it around. The owner could pull this shit because he has a captive work force. Charity is a cover for abuse – finding victims and keeping them dependant rather than making the fundamental political changes to end their victimhood.

    6. WheresOurTeddy

      John Beech probably thinks that government surveillance is no big deal either “because if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about”

  5. emorej a hong kong

    Nigel Farage weighs bid for London mayor Politico

    Shorter: Farage doesn’t want Biden to win the Guinness Book of Records for “Not Quitting When You Were Ahead”.

  6. Amfortas the Hippie

    Bannon’s appropriation of Teddy Roosevelt’s trust buster rhetoric is sort of ominous.
    That sort of bird’s nest continues to lay upon the ground where the erstwhile left left it.
    Similarly,I ran across this, wherein a “Patriot Group” is doing DSA-like hurricane relief in a Cambodian community south west of Houston:

    …and making everyone uncomfortable in the process….
    But the fact that such people are behaving this way is remarkable in itself.
    The article about Trump and the WTO is another example…as far as the headline.
    ( the link gets me to a blank page beginning with HTTP8, or something)

    1. JTMcPhee

      Maybe it’s just a sales and marketing trick? Nah, just honest decency poking up through the ruins, am I right?

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        lol. I’m far too cynical at this point for that.
        I’ve been yelling at democrats for years about this exact thing.
        Leave a good thing on the prairie, and somebody’s bound to pick it up.
        As far as the trump wing of the goptea(if that’s even a coherent thing, yet), it’s just been rhetoric…and isolated, at that. Lost in all the Ur-Boorishness.
        But, given the continuing intransigence of the Corpdems, my mind starts to wander…what a terrible position many would find themselves in if Caught-the-Car ended up giving us some form of workable healthcare, tuition relief, etc etc.
        All of that is still laying there in the trail, abandoned…aside from all these disparate lefties(AOC) who can hardly get any airtime or support from the DNC.
        The upper levels of the demparty are not only uninterested, but actively against such things….at least so far.
        It will be a crying shame if trump…or whatever rough beast that comes after…manages to do a New New Deal, because the party of FDR has ossified into a gaslighting money harvesting machine, and can’t be troubled with what’s happening out here, beyond the beltway.
        I’d much prefer a New New Deal sans all the hateful crazy.

    2. knowbuddhau

      Crossing social boundaries is against type, yes. I used to go to far-right militia meetings as a researcher. They’re the folks I grew up with. Fine, friendly, family-oriented, God-fearing, Other-hating people. Might be prudent to wait a while for lambs to lie down with lions.

      IMNSHO, eliminationism follows exclusive claims like dark follows light.

      The whole antiquated notion, that was ancient when the Bible was cobbled together by committee, that one group, and they alone in all there is, is of any concern to the one *god, among all possible ways of understanding cyclical and other cosmic phenomena, the grave and constant of human existence so reliable they’ve written themselves into our beings down to our DNA, and it’s adoption by peoples far removed in space and time from where it once applied, for those people then and there, has about as much place in the modern world as the idea that the earth is flat.

      OTOH, in the gnostic Thomas gospel, it says Jesus said, “Split the stick, and there I am.” Now we’re talking!

      And there’s quite a bit hinging on whether JC is said to have said, “I am *a son of God,” or “I am *the son of God.” I favor the former. We’re all It. I don’t rightly know what It is, but I do know that, It being all there Is, absolutely no one can box It up and sell It back to It, now can they? That’d be stupid. (h/t Pelagius)

      In fact, in all the mythologies of the Levant that this amateur is aware of, there’s an inside, mystic way. Orthodoxies obviously have the Power so you don’t hear much of the internal opposition. Per ce val, I say.

      Also, given what’s currently known to quantum physics, ie there aren’t any special subatomic particles, esp. not those awful Mitechlorions or whatever from Star Wars (a blood-based caste of elites, how nice), either we all agree we’re all special (and reality is a social construct here on the human level) or no one is.

      No one is any more special than anyone else. Either we all have human earthling rights, or no one does.

      About time we all got over our selves and get on with the decarbonizing already.

  7. bronco

    I tried to read the New Zealand cat story and huff po wants me to swear an oath of some sort. Is this something new?

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Welcome to the world of American websites not sure about how to deal with the GDPR. I think they all used the same law firm. Probably one in the Valley instead of Brussels, as is their wont. I love reading memos from American lawyers who style themselves subject matter experts in EU law. Laff riot.

    2. tokyodamage

      It’s just the NZ Huffpo that does that. Maybe NZ has stronger privacy protection/cookies laws than USA?

      i googled “new zealand cat ban” and there’s a lot of stories about it.

      i only read two stories, which didn’t explain who is behind the cat ban proposal – is it some rich people? Some vegan-ass hippies? Or just some random facebook jerk who doesn’t like their cat-owning neighbor? Is there some class/racial aspect to it? Who knows, man. I look forward to NC’s continued coverage of the story as it develops.

      The article also says NZ is in the middle of a ‘get rid of all alien predators’ campaign: opossums, stoats, and rats are also targeted.

      Sounds like the real problem is that Kiwis’ cats aren’t quite BIG ENOUGH to eat all the damn stoats. Mandatory lynx ownership, that’s my counter-offer.

        1. Chris

          Not just allegedly. New Zealand’s native fauna evolved in the absence of decent-sized carnivores, and their flightless and ground-nesting birds (kiwi, kakapo) are at risk of extinction from introduced predators.

          Domestic moggies who are allowed to roam can have a devastating effect on wildlife, and those which abandon ship and become feral can grow to a frightening size, and be much worse.

          1. Elizabeth Burton

            Then one would think the correct law would be banning anything but indoor cats, which is better for the cats, too.

            1. ChrisPacific

              That’s the direction in which most councils are heading (although even that is meeting with a lot of resistance in some quarters). It sounds from the article like Omaui is an exception. It is a small community in a remote area with high conservation value, so there may be special circumstances involved (even so, it’s clear from a cursory news search that the proposal is controversial).

  8. The Rev Kev

    “California set to impose female quota for boards”

    If given a choice, would Californian companies bring in a Margaret Brown or a Marcie Frost onto their boards?

    1. TheScream

      My eyes read that as “female quota for beards”. I thought, “Well, this is taking equality of the sexes a tad too far!”

      1. tokyodamage

        I read it as “Female Quota For Broads”, and I was like, “Is this some anti-trans thing?”

        It’s 5:30AM here, that’s my excuse.

        1. a different chris

          My first sleepy impression was that they had a problem with too many females!… and I thought well that’s California. Been reading too much about immigrant and steel and soy and whatever quotas I guess.

    2. Dale

      I read a study of how this has worked in Norway. Basically it created a class of women who are professional board members. This is a small group of women who serve on many boards, and make very good money doing so. It didn’t really do squat for the women working in the companies, though.

      1. J Sterling

        Yes. The way our civilization works, most privileged positions belong to some men, their sons and brothers. If there are any positions left over, some other men may get a look in. The way this quota works is, most privileged positions will belong to some men and women, and their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. Twice as many opportunites for the family, fewer positions left over, and the system more locked in to a class minority than ever.

    3. IdahoSpud

      Are there any plans for California to enforce quotas placing women into less glamorous majority-male positions?

      Examples that come to mind: Tire repair shops, Roofing, Concrete work, Lumber, Trash collector, plumber, mining…etc.

      Maybe the goal is to send a handful of ambitious women straight up to the top. Do they even care about women having decent jobs at the peon-level?

      1. bronco

        No only forward and upward. Nothing that would get anyones clothes dirty or cause any discomfort

        1. wilroncanada

          British Columbia is training a lot of women, willingly, for all the construction trades. There’s a huge shortage here.

          1. IdahoSpud

            @wilroncanada: That is awesome! It sounds like the provincial government is being proactive by helping untrained individuals to be stronger participants in the labor market. BC thus is helping meet needs of both workers and employers – there is nothing wrong with that. Gov’t working as it ought to, for a change.

            That stands in sharp contrast with California, which seems to intend to force women into only the highest white collar positions, while disregarding the more “lowly” career paths for a millions more women. I’d be curious whom the state is catering to with this sort of posturing. It would seem to be a feminist 1%er issue, but what do I know?

      2. jrs

        well the construction work would be done by immigrants, it’s California, that’s the reality.

        And do they care about the rest of us who aren’t the top 10%? No. They are often afraid to enforce wage theft laws because they don’t want California to lose business, and yet they pass silly laws just to annoy businesses like this women at the top law. I’m not saying California is uniquely bad on not enforcing wage theft, just it’s rampant.

        1. JBird

          well the construction work would be done by immigrants, it’s California, that’s the reality.

          Ah, wondrous magic of unregulated markets, unenforced laws, and plain neoliberal corruption!

          The work used to be done by unionized natives, until they were undercut and busted by the contractors using illegally hired undocumented immigrants. That’s also the reality.

          The costs of building anything in California seems to be…exorbitantly high, but the wages paid to the people actually doing building seems to be poor for the trades especially considering the high cost of living here is.

          So high construction costs ensures high housing costs, which helps keep the supply of housing low, and the cost of it high, but the wages of the people needing, and building housing has not gone up nearly as much, and in the past actually went down. Somebody(s) is making bank and it isn’t the average Californian.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      The fantasies that female rulers are kinder and gentler than their male counterparts is the height of sexism. A law mandating the number of women above the glass ceilings completely ignores the reality of under valuing any work that attracts the interests of women or the kinder and gentler among their male counter parts. And it does absolutely nothing to alter the sexism that makes a man the de facto breadwinner, and women the de facto source of nuture. How many men get custody of their children or even decent rights of visitation in a divorce and how many are burdened with unreasonable and inflexible child support arrangements? How many women choose their mate based on his nurturing qualities … and when they do … how much do they weigh those qualities against earnings and earning potential?

      1. jrs

        there are women who do weight those qualities and more than earning power. However they have a higher chance of both living in a car one day or if really lucky in a trailer parked illegally on the city streets (not the slightest bit uncommon in California), but no more so than single women. Because one good income is really not *safe* enough for anyone these days, you need two. But it’s ultimately the neoliberalism.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “First Yellowstone-area grizzly hunt in 40 years blocked by federal judge”

    I totally agree with the hunting of grizzly bears. Providing the hunters are restricted to using Bowie knives at best. Make it a fair fight. If they want those trophies so bad for their mansions, then I reckon that the least they could do is to earn them. But they should remember that old adage first: “Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you”.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      You don’t think traveling to the woods to shoot animal for recreational purposes with a firearm is sporting? When I put it like that, it makes modern hunters seem like cowards.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Put a telescopic sight on a rifle and your hunter now becomes a sniper. Historically, this was always a derogatory term.

        1. Webstir

          That’s funny.
          Living in N. Idaho, I’m daily surrounded by men who measure their masculinity by the number of points on their “trophy.” Note — big bucks eat like shoe leather.
          I’ll have to incorporate sniper into my daily jargon with these guys — and yes, with few exceptions, it’s all guys.

      2. Edward E

        I’m opposed to using any primative hunting weapons. If you’re going to go hunting, out of respect for the animals taken, the most efficient modern firearms should be used to dispatch them humanely. Primative weapons in the hands of hunters not proficient with them wound a lot of game and cause suffering even if they might heal.

        An example of unnecessary wounds are turkey hunting regulations requiring the use of shotguns when a rifle should be used.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The problem isn’t the idea its a sport. Shooting animals for purposes other than hunger and them being pests is just rank thuggery and something to be ridiculed.

          1. Edward E

            Agree, I’m opposed to any bear hunting except in cases of defense of life or farm. Whereas wild pigs are far too destructive to land and wildlife.

            1. Jonathan T McPhee

              And a .308 round or other caliber of one’s choice (the gun people will argue this choice until the cows come home) is the only solution to the Pig Problem? Granted, it’s fun for the shooter. I liked shooting rats at the dump when I was a kid. Then I shot a wren in the eye with a BB gun, and it took a couple of hours to die. No more for me, thanks, though I occasionally got to shoot at actual people in that Vietnam place. That game was made a little fairer by their being able to shoot back or shoot first.

              But of course humans have always been hunters. And I guess it’s nicer to “humanely” kill your prey with a high velocity larger=caliber round, though how many stories there are in the gun and sporting magazines about having to trail the animal not killed outright, through miles of bush country.

              And modern hunting arrows are nothing like the flaked-stone points used heretofore. Not primitive at all.

              1. Edward E

                Hey if you have any other solutions to the pig problem that aren’t massively time consuming and expensive I’m all ears. Night hunting equipment is efficient but probably not enough to solve the problem. Hiring a professional with a helicopter is expensive. Using hounds is expensive, slow and dangerous but very effective. Trapping can be a phenomenal waste of time and trap shy hogs are extremely hard to ever remove. I’ve always preferred fishing but hunting is something we grew up doing. Honestly don’t enjoy anything about killing but some types of hunting, such as predator, is unavoidable in the deep woods. Over time I learned to always carry adjustable bipod shooting sticks (Primos) and prefer extremely fast smaller caliber cartridges. An accurate .257 Weatherby has never lost anything, no trailing farther than 100 yards, .257 Roberts improved light fast handloads, .204 Ruger. If I’m not comfortable with the shot placement I will pass it up.

                Several old friends are proficient bowhunters, they share many success stories and some that make me totally cringe. Never took it up and I’m content to never do it in the future.

                After trailing a buckshot buck for miles lost in rain when in my teens I quit hunting for ten years.

              2. The Rev Kev

                Your story of that wounded wren reminds me of my late father. He was a keen shooter and even loaded his own ammunition at home. Then on one trip a bullet dropped too far and took the jaw off a kangaroo instead of it being a clean head shot. It was after that he took cameras instead of rifles on his trips and only shot pictures.

    2. Wukchumni

      About a decade ago I held the rifle that killed the last Grizzly in California in 1926.

      It had been raiding an orchard in Three Rivers, and was dispatched somewhere in the vicinity of Hospital Rock inside Sequoia NP. The gentleman giving the talk related that his grandfather had done the deed, with the clincher being a Visalia Times-Delta newspaper article from 1930 saying that yes, this was the last Grizzly.

      A friend that worked on trail crew in Sequoia NP from the early 70’s until about 5 years ago related that he saw what he felt were hybrid Black Bear/Grizzly Bears in Little Bearpaw Meadow in the mid 70’s, as they had the hump associated with Grizz, which was unusual. He never saw another bear like that in maybe 5,000 sightings.

      1. Lee

        The first recorded encounters of California grizzly bears by the Europeans are in the diaries kept by several members of the 1769 Portola expedition, first exploration by land of what is now the state of California. Several place names that include the Spanish word for bear (oso) trace their origins back to that first expedition (e.g. Los Osos).

        I was told by a naturalist guide that an early sighting of grizzlies was from a Spanish ship. The crew were fascinated by the undulating carcass of a beached whale. After a time, a grizzly bear emerged from within the whale upon whose innards it had been feeding. He also told me that because of the year-round abundance of food, that CA coastal bears did not hibernate. I would dig up the documentation for these claims but I am being lazy so that I will live longer. ; )

        BTW, if one Googles “When were grizzly bears first discovered?” You get this damned lie.

        Bears on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It was the largest bear they’d ever seen, a great grizzly bear that weighed an estimated 600 pounds. A “most tremendous looking animal, and extreemly hard to kill,” wrote Lewis in his journal on May 5, 1805.

        Anglo-east coast-centrism even from a putatively west coast company.

      1. ambrit

        I see that you’ve ‘coined’ a new phrase.
        It’ll be a good replacement for the present ‘debased’ ones.

  10. RUKidding

    Some of us in California are still in mourning the untimely demise of Huell Howser (1945 – 2013). Howser created a long-running series about all kinds of interesting info about our state called California’s Gold.

    One episode featured how the trout are stocked in high Sierra lakes via airplanes:

    I had no idea, and since I hike and backpack a lot in the high Sierras, I found this very interesting. CA’s Department of Fish and Game also stated that it was easier on the fish this way, rather the prior practice (Howser provided photos of that) of bringing them up in barrels on horseback. The episode shows some footage of the fish being dropped into some lakes.

    The things you learn….

    1. JBird

      Great program. I would occasionally stumble on it, think it’s just some dude talking about some boring something in nowheresville, and stay on the channel; his enthusiastic interest on whatever he was covering just pulled me in. No kitsch. Just honest curiosity. It also give me some looks into parts of my state that I had no clue about.

  11. Wukchumni

    New Zealand Council Proposes Banning All Domestic Cats Huffington Post (Kevin W)
    Ok for starters, it’s a nothingburger town in the deep south of the South Island, so relax Francis.

    But that said, NZ is a bird world country, and they’re pretty diligent about strays not getting into a family way, producing more strays, with the docile birds thinking, hey, what’s that furry thing creeping up on me?

    One time we’re there watching NZ news and the lead story was of the problem with ferals in Christchurch, and Kiwis don’t beat around the bush with their vernacular and a Kiwi ‘e’ sounds more like an “I” so when the talking heads mentioned that a “De-Sexing-Van” was combing the neighborhoods, it sounded like “Di-Sixing-Van” and with both the words used and the accent, we were almost on the floor laughing.

    if we used that sort of language in lieu of the much more comfortable “spay & neuter” why we’d go apeshit over it here.

  12. Wukchumni

    A fellow that goes by the name of Chuck Yeager, used to stock his favorite lakes using 3 pound coffee cans full of fingerlings & water in the High Sierra, by helicopter. Or so the story goes. Things didn’t go so well on one such foray in 1964, whoops.

    In about 1964 (I was 16) my dad, a neighbor and his son (the neighbor was a United Airlines captain) flew into Tunnel Meadows with Bob (it was the first time I had ever been in an airplane) and backpacked from there to a few high elevation lakes to fish for Golden Trout. At one of the lakes we found the shell of a USMC helicopter on the bank. When we returned to TM for Bob to fly us out we asked about the helicopter and he informed us a couple of USAF officers had flow in to fish and crashed into the lake oh take off.

    Twenty-two years later my dad called me one day and told me to go to the book store and read the chapter titled “Operation Golden Trout” in Chuck Yeager’s autobiography. Sure enough, Chuck and a USAF general had been drinking in the officer’s club at Edwards AF base and after getting pretty smashed decided to go on a fishing trip for a few days. They got dropped off with all their camping and fishing equipment at the lake where we found the helicopter, but when the pilot returned to pick them up a few days later the altitude along with four passengers instead of two, plus all the equipment, was more weight than the chopper could lift. It crashed into the lake but Chuck, the general, pilot and co-pilot got out before it sunk. They hiked out and the general sent a recovery team back to salvage what they could – rank has it’s privileges.

    Each July Chuck Yeager undertakes a backpacking/fishing trip that would cripple many a younger man. “Years ago, when I was flying over the Mount Whitney area,” he says, “I spotted this lake way up in the High Sierra—gin-clear and teeming with trout, up there above the timberline. Lake at 13,000 feet and the golden trout spawn in there. We pack in on foot 25 miles each way.

    Fondly, he produces a well-thumbed pack of color prints: The fish, some up to four and a half pounds, are the color of old gold. Looking at them, his blue eyes sparkle under the curly gray hair much as they must have many years ago.

    1. a different chris

      >Each July Chuck Yeager undertakes a backpacking/fishing trip that would cripple many a younger man.

      But when he was much younger he flew in? Ok whatever.

  13. RUKidding

    I’ve seen comments on other blogs vis Schmuck Chumer’s reach-around to the GOP re the Judicial Nominations – which, as noted, includes all of Big D Senators and vaunted Bernie Sanders (who, in general, I like). The comments typically say something like “When, oh when, will Chumer and others in Big D ‘grow a spine’???”

    To be old fashioned: OMG. These [Family Blog]s have spine aplenty!! It’s just that their “spine” is demonstrated for their Rich Sugar Daddy Oligarchs, who, I’m sure are very very pleased with this latest “action” by Big D to agree to another metric f*** ton of rightwing judges. That’s real spine for you there. What ARE you missing in this picture??


    Color me utterly unsurprised and completely cynical.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Those people will be so sad when they realize they were Charlie Brown trying to kick the football and the Democrats were the Lucy who chucked a baseball at him instead then demanded a nickel.

      But Schumer is a big tough New York guy….why does he do this now…isn’t he do for a change?

      1. Pat

        As I keep saying leaders like Schumer keep doing things that make it clear that the Dems are not interested in either leading or representing the people who are voting for them. This might haunt Bernie in a couple of years, but where it is really going to hurt is when these idiots campaign for themselves and others over the next 60 some odd days from now. Why you might almost think that the Democrats didn’t want a majority. Maybe.

        If things keep going like they are, Schumer might actually have to defend his seat in a primary. Unfortunately anger and momentum will have to last for almost four years for that to happen. 2016 was not a good year for our DLC Dems, but Schumer wasn’t hit directly – unfortunately.

        1. EricT

          No, it’s not going to hurt, Bernie and most of the viable candidates did not support Schumer’s move:
          Again, from the common dreams article for those whose reading comprehension is a little less than desirable:
          “Only senators to vote NO six times: Booker, Brown, Durbin, Gillibrand, Markey, Menendez, Merkley, Sanders, Schatz, Udall, Warren”

          Funny how Mark Warner, VP candidate from 2016, isn’t on that ‘NO’ list.

          1. Pat

            I don’t see the actual Democratic VP nominee Tim Kaine on it either. Or did you mix up Warner and Kaine? Either way, neither of Virginia’s Senators made it.

            And as I understand it there were more Democrats around than Republicans, which means that the Republican didn’t feel the need to stay around when McConnell cancelled the recess, why should the Dems? But that is just the cherry on top of stupid Democratic choices.

  14. Wukchumni

    Newton thought the world would end in 2060, IBM’s computer thought 2040, so just don’t plan anything after say 2050, ok?

  15. Wukchumni

    Former Enron CEO released from prison to halfway house Reuters

    Poor fellow, if he’d only chosen Wall*Street or banking as a career instead…

    1. RUKidding

      Oddly enough, I have met a relative of Jeff Skilling via friends of mine. Every time I’ve been I’ve been at a party that the relative attends, my friends adjure me not to say anything “bad” about Jeff. The relative claims Jeff is innocent and should not have done the time.

      I say, don’t do the crime, if you don’t want to do the time.

      Relative claims Jeff Skilling had the Sgt Schultz defense: “I knew nothing!”

      Yeah, right. My heart bleeds…. not.

      Agree that it’s a travesty that only someone like Skilling has, recently, been convicted of crimes of this nature. More, please.

      1. Wukchumni

        When Enron ripped off Californians to the tune of $30 billion in gouging fees, it seemed like all the money in the world, but now it has more the feel of a Wall*Street CEO’s bonus pay for a year.

        1. RUKidding

          No kidding.

          I duly recall, however, how Ahhhnold Schwartzenegger ran for the Governator right around the time of the great Enron rip off. Ahhhnold ran on the “platform” of “I’m so RICH, no one can buy me off, so I’ll really be able to represent YOUR needs as CA citizens.”

          As soon, as Schwartenegger got elected, his heiny was hauled to Wash DC where he had some kind of confab with WBushCO – most of whom benefited handsomely from the great Enron rip off. When Ahhhnold returned, he basically said: Eh? Enron? No big deal. Not going after them. Done and done.

          Thanks for nothing Ahhhnold, you sell out (no surprise there, of course).

          I had elderly friends who experienced some very bad financial impacts from the great Enron rip off, which affected me as well, but not quite as deleteriously.

          So I had to really bite my tongue the couple of times I was in the same room as Skilling’s relative.

        2. JBird

          Don’t forget the Bleeping Enron caused rolling blackouts. It so fun to hear the morning blackout reports on the radio during my commute to work. Not knowing for sure if I was going to be working the whole day any day was also interesting.

          The shortages got so continuous that they divided areas into predetermined blackout areas. Usually, they if you knew your billing number and listened to the news you would know when it was your turn to go dark.

          Ah, the wonders of the Free Market! When I heard President Bush the Younger refused to see the California governor, let alone intervene, over the over thirty million California enjoying an undeveloped, or collapsing, state style of electric service, an aha moment punched me. That’s when I started to pay attention. 10% of all Americans were regularly sitting in, or at least threatened with, the dark and POTUS along with Congress wouldn’t interfere with the Free Market.

    2. Olga

      No, he just suffered from a case of bad timing. If Enron happened 10 yrs later, he’d be just fine.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I would say there were two issues at play:

        -one, the GOP is a natural Southern rump party and has been one for a long time. As a result, they need to make symbolic overtures. After all, 43 didn’t exactly win the election, but I guess that’s been forgotten by the #resistance.
        -two, the 41/Mittens wing of the party doesn’t particularly like anyone too outlandish. The cheering episode probably didn’t sit well. They needed to set an example because Enron execs drew attention to themselves.

        The Democrats by 2009 recognized the GOP was a rump party and could afford to become a smaller party and maintain relevancy, knowing nostalgia and party loyalty would protect Team Blue elites as too many Democratic partisans would simply blame the GOP for every sin and only the GOP at that.

        1. Olga

          Dunno… quite a few companies fell in trouble around that time (remember WorldCom?). And several CEOs faced prosecutions. What the banks have done since 2008 (well, and leading up to) may have been worse, but untangling financial shenanigans requires some real work. No one was up to it. It seems to me that the type of business also mattered. (Ken Lay was a big buddy of w-shrub, remember?).

  16. Wukchumni

    It’s hunting season in the Golden Trout Wilderness now, and to approach, one must go though neutral Animal Switzerland here in the National Park for about a 7 mile walk up to Farewell Gap, gaining almost 3,000 feet, and then descend a few thousand feet on the other side about 3 miles down, to where the deer are.

    I came across a bow hunter en route, some years ago. He related that his pack weighed 35 pounds and if he was successful, he’d have to process his kill on sight and the meat would weigh around 65 pounds, so he’d have to walk 10 miles with 5,000 feet of elevation gain/loss with a 100 pound pack.

    Me, I like to sneak up on my prey vis a vis the aislerderness, going serpentine through the bottled water section, slowly creeping up on NY strip steaks.

  17. bruce wilder

    Reassessing whether the Fed shoulda, coulda bailed out Lehman is becoming its own cottage industry as Dean Baker comments on Robert Samuelson’s effort to vindicate Bernanke and Paulson.

    Ordinarily, Dean Baker on a Robert Samuelson column is some slight variation on growling, “idiot!” and rightly so, as Robert Samuelson is pretty reliably wrong about everything. But, we are down the rabbit hole of counterfactual speculation anyway, so it is all remarkably confused in this case.

    Baker ends his brief essay with the observation, ” A loss of 4 percentage points of GDP in annual demand ($800 billion) is going to lead to a bad recession even if the financial system is operating perfectly. ” emphasis added.

    I think Samuelson may have won this encounter with Baker. Certainly, Baker at the end seems to be lost in counterfactual Wonderland.

    1. John k

      You mean the way the bankers played big O for so much more?
      Or the way he was played to invade Libya or confront Assad?
      Justin’s just a beginner at this play of which you speak.

  18. Jason Boxman

    The student loan article mentions several of the companies I had loans with. So many loans. (As an aside, I’d been reading NC for several years when I started my masters, so I knew better, but I thought I was a special snowflake; the masters was both expensive and useless. Surprise, eh?) Anyway.

    When I refinanced some of my loans in 2014, it took 3 phone calls and a letter with specific instructions, scribbled markup, and highlights, to get FedLoan Servicing to properly apply the payment. Rather than applying it to the highest interest rate loans, they applied it to the oldest. I was fortunate enough to realize this, and have the time and ability to fight to have it resolved. (The whole point of the refinance was to pay off these higher interest loans.)

    (Oh, and liberal Democrat hero Barack Obama signed the law that nuked subsidized graduate loans, which I can quantity cost me at least $4,000 in additional interest. Thanks Barack! The Democrat Party establishment is a blight upon our world.)

    So I’m familiar with the fun of dealing with student loan servicing companies. In a few weeks, I’ll finally have bought my freedom. And that’s honestly what it feels like. If people understood that the interest payments don’t “fund” anything at the federal level, I feel like there’d be a revolt in the streets. Evil is the only thing that describes it. Pure evil.

    1. Jason Boxman

      And I didn’t even mention that bizarre requirement that you cannot put your loans in repayment until 6 months elapse from graduation; I asked FedLoan Servicing and was told it simply wasn’t possible, that I can make payments manually. Meanwhile, interest accrues that will capitalize. I made sure to pay it, but how many people do this?

      This whole system is designed to destroy people.

      It’s like if Medicare was designed to simply murder people, this is how it would be devised. Liberals love their complex programs.

      1. TheScream

        Why do you blame liberals for Medicare and the student loan program? If you let real liberals have their way, there would be universal healthcare (socialized medicine) and free universities. If Medicare and student loan programs are twisted and extractive, you can blame capitalists and the right much more than you should blame the left.

        1. barefoot charley

          Jason’s implication may be that corporate liberals aren’t leftists at all. They’re rentiers sometimes camping themselves out as comrades. I agree that actual leftists wouldn’t do what either the Democrats or Republicans do.

        2. ambrit

          The definition of Liberal is much more granular on this site.
          Some even go back to the original definition from the 1700’s. (Modern rentier capitalists would feel comfortable in that original category.)

        3. Jason Boxman

          You can’t conflate liberals and the left. Liberal Democrats are more pernicious than Republicans, who at least are up front that they want to dismantle even our limited public programs and eviscerate any government oversight. The former have nothing but brand fumes and are always ready to drive in the knife when you aren’t looking. I loath Republicans, but I have a begrudging respect.

          1. TheScream

            I interpreted the statement as implying that liberals were left-wing. There are obviously differences in usage of the term “liberal” but I generally hear it used to describe Democrats and those not supporting the Republican party, the Tea Party, the Moral Majority or waterboarding. The economic definition is different, of course, but I suspect that it was not the intent.

            1. Ape

              Most Democratic pols are not left. Liberalism is a center right position. And they are on fact responsible for these policies. The far right would be worse but in a completely different way.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        The term “liberal” has lost so much context and meaning I’m not sure it has any meaning. Get with the program! The correct term is Neoliberal. Your closing “Liberals love their complex programs.” sounds like some kind of dated troll speak.

        Good for you that you read the fine print. Where do you stand on a “system designed to destroy people” — especially the fools who didn’t read the fine print?

        1. Musicismath

          I don’t know. I think there’s something essentially “liberal” (in the sense leftists apply the term) in a system where well over 90% of people fail to get anywhere and are then blamed for their failures. (Should have read the fine print; should have done more research on the choice of major; etc, etc). That seems to me like classic meritocratic ideology at work.

          A left programme by contrast would be free and universal. But we already know what a liberal-individualist-meritocratic one looks like—make everything into a complex test; apply the rules unpredictably to gas light everyone; benefit only a tiny fraction of those who signed up for the programme while castigating the others for the supposed moral and intellectual faults that “caused” their failures.

          In other news, I shared that MoJo article on Facebook. Many of my FB friends at this point are American humanities professors, people I’ve met over the years at conferences and seminars and summer schools. They fill my feed with a constant stream of #resistance nonsense, complaints about the Orange Cheeto (or whatever they’re calling him this week), Kamala Harris mashnotes (seriously), and the latest Mueller/treason speculations and conspiracy theories. Never seen them post anything on Medicare for all, or teachers’ strikes, or labour issues, or college affordability, or the student loan bubble, or deaths of despair or anything like that.

          No interactions with the article from any of them so far.

          1. jrs

            and even people who would post on college affordability, do they post on college access? Because it’s a major issue that isn’t getting reported. Public colleges are relatively affordable comparatively in California, but you just wait in line years and roll the dice to get into them in any major urban area. In theory you can go to a public college, in reality, good luck with that plan …

  19. WheresOurTeddy

    Oregon Construction Worker Fired For Refusing To Attend Mandatory Bible Study

    Chris Hedges, one of my favorite writers, said in his book “American Fascists” that “when fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

    Hope the contractor goes out of business and goes bankrupt.This is illegal, immoral, and un-American. The fact that Coleman is Native is just the cherry on top. Then again, what should I really expect from the state of Oregon, which was explicitly founded by and for white people?

    1. Plenue

      I kind of wonder what kind of traction this will have in court. Despite the constant whining of some Christians, they are culturally dominate in the US. Their influence is ubiquitous. Many people, even those who aren’t regular church attenders, are just going to roll their eyes at this guy and think he’s just being difficult.

      At least he has the advantage of having religious beliefs of some kind. That puts him in a better position than atheists, who I gather are the single most distrusted group in the country.

  20. ChristopherJ

    in breaking news, and to my shame, the Australian Liberal National government has denied Chelsea Manning a visa. She’d been invited to give some talks here. Dubious character, it would seem. Funny that, Hillary had no problems.

    in other news, NZ are going to let her in.

    We are laughing stock on so many issues here, the current stock of politicians never daring to cross the US. Just pathetic.

    More here

    1. The Rev Kev

      Agreed. Utterly pathetic this lot. Note that they still haven’t sorted who in the Senate and Parliament is actually a dual citizen or not. I heard that Peter Dutton may actually have another citizenship as well.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Thought that you might get a kick out of the following story “Bishop conquered the world – but couldn’t face her own party” as it is so bad that it is almost good. Her encounters with the “evil” Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov and his disdain for “rules-based order” are some of the highlights. And they wanted her for Prime Minister? Australia’s own Hillary? Story at-

  21. Oregoncharles

    So who is Sara A. Carter? Because her report on Lovinger, the Pentagon whistleblower, is a potential bombshell. At the very least, Stefan Halper is hanging out to dry.

    1. Whoa Molly!

      And why is “Sara A. Carter” the only outlet reporting this? If true it seems to me to be a huge story.

      And… What or who is Sara A. Carter?

  22. Olga

    Mob Protests in Germany Show New Strength of the Far Right New York Times (Kevin C)
    NYT won’t let me read it, and am too lazy to look for it elsewhere. But probably no big loss… I’ve been to Chemnitz and surrounding small towns. This is former GDR area, not much improved in the aftermath of the reunification. A lot of industry closed or went west, people departed, and now there are unsettled immigrants who have no way of blending in. Many people survive on social benefits. There is a lot of frustration and many people who say things were better under GDR. A relative was laid off at 59, when Bosch bought out his employer (a tool company, where he worked for close to 40 yrs), and promptly closed it, laying off all. Trying to “retool” his skills at close to 60, he suffered a stroke, and is an invalid. Neoliberalism and competition at its finest. NYT may call them “mob,” but my guess is that these are people who simply have had enough – enough of being discarded, overlooked, and marginalized. And yes, there may be some real right wingers among them – but when despair is all you have left…?

    1. ambrit

      The ‘Shape of Things to Come’ in America. I see similar rage and frustration on the streets here.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I saw that protest on the TV last night. You could see that they were being very “selective” about the camera shots that they were using. The report said that they were also shouting slogans from an, ahem, former era but that was bs. What those dudes were actually shouting was “Lügenpresse” which you can translate as the lying press. If you think that the official reporting in the US and the West is pretty bad, the media of that of Germany has gotten much worse and follows the government line.
      That is what caused those mob protests. Their main political parties don’t listen to most voters and so they got hammered in the last election which led to the rise of a right-wing party because they at least were actually voicing many people’s concerns. The media will not take the concerns of the voters seriously but attacks them for their beliefs so all this back-pressure keeps building up. The city that had these attacks, Chemnitz, is in former East Germany and has yet to get the full benefits of German integration. I am not saying I agree with this mob (I don’t) but shutting most people out of the media and government and silencing their voices creates far too many problems and you see the same thing in other countries as well.

      1. Skip Intro

        Lügenpresse is a term from that previous era…
        Interesting, if not surprising, is the recent revelation that Frauke Petry, the head of the German rightwing party AfD, was advised by the interior police how to avoid being classified as the sort of right-wing movement that would require surveillance, and also to avoid contact with certain party members who were presumably govt. moles. The idea that right-wing populist movements are not arms-length tools of the ruling elite is as naive and misinformed as ever.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Many of Trumps supporters are characterized as “Far Right” but how many of these “are people who simply have had enough”? And stealing a sentence from The Rev Kev “Their main political parties don’t listen to most voters and so they got hammered in the last election which led to the rise of a right-wing party because they at least were actually voicing many people’s concerns.” That with much of the rest of the Rev’s comment echoes with the situation here too.

      I am especially fearful of ambrit’s “… rage and frustration on the streets…”. We live under an increasingly violent regime which seems all too willing and capable at bathing the streets in our blood.

      The Gray Lady was thoroughly disposed of in the comments to Lambert’s recent post.

    4. The Rev Kev

      Now here is a story that I guarantee you will never make the TV news, no matter how many times it happens-

      No surprise this considering how their leader was quoted as saying recently: “The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive. The strong are respected, and alliances are made with the strong, and in the end peace is made with the strong.’

    1. The Rev Kev

      Saw that. Just like ‘Motorola’ and ‘Givi’. I’ve read that the US has been training assassination and sabotage squads for the past coupla years now. Of course that can be a two-way street that and I have read a few rumours.

  23. dog lover

    I’m enjoying streaming the SPARCS Initiative 2018 canine science conference from the free online video library.
    So far, I’ve watched Jessica Heckman, DVM, PhD, talk about intrauterine effects on the stress axis, epigenetics, and socialization and fear; and Kelly Ballantyne, DVM, DACVB , Elinor Karlsson, PhD, and Claire Wade, PhD, each talk about genetics and behavior. All excellent.
    Don’t mean to hijack an economics blog, but the cute dog breed map in the Aug. 31 links and Lambert’s Sept. 1 doggie antidotes gave me the opening to share this.

    1. RMO

      Thank you! Interesting link.

      P.S. I love the Vulture antidote by the way. The airfield I fly gliders out of is on the shore of the Fraser river and there are a large number of Turkey Vultures around – they fly beautifully and are fascinating to watch. They also stay low so you don’t need to be up in a glider to watch them soar.

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