Link 9/26/18

Why Did the Ancients Bury Their Dogs like Family Members? Nautius (David L)

Paradise Wildlife Park’s snow leopard surprised at new camera BBC

Via Truck And Helicopter, Mountain Goats Find New Home NPR (David L)

How some animals use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate Economist (David L)

‘We’re moving to higher ground’: America’s era of climate mass migration is here Guardian (David L)

AP Explains: The US push to boost ‘quantum computing’ Associated Press

Walmart to salad growers: If you want to sell, you have to blockchain Los Angeles Times (David L)

Mosquitoes Genetically Modified To Crash Species That Spreads Malaria NPR (David L)

The Cat Who Could Predict Death Vice (David L). About more than the cat.

Saving liberal democracy from the extremes Martin Wolf, Financial Times


Thucydides’s fallacy, not a trap Japan Times (furzy). Drives me nuts that the Thucydides’s trap thesis is based on a complete misreading of who was the established v. insurgent power.

China Blocks U.S. Warship From Port Call in Hong Kong Bloomberg

How China is losing the world Japan Times (furzy)

British cave divers also rescued four trapped Thai rescuers in Tham Luang Cave Darkness Below

Merkel loses key ally in conservative rebellion Politico

Opinion: German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s time coming to an end DW


Theresa May rejects calls for a general election over Brexit Sky. Not a surprise if you have been paying attention. The last thing the Tories and DUP want to do is lose control of the Government.

UK Brexit proposal would spell ‘end of Europe’, says Bruno Le Maire Financial Times. Pretty unfortunate that the Government cannot grasp the meaning of simple words like “no”.

New Cold War

How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump New Yorker. UserFriendly: “God, just shoot me. Even taking the premise russia did hack; It’s all Russia’s fault for leaking, not Hillary’s for saying them in the first place.”

Putin’s Quest for Growth Spells Doom for Russia’s Iconic Railcars Wall Street Journal :-(

President-Elect of Mexico’s Bombshell: Economy in “Situation of Bankruptcy” Wolf Richter. EM “Ha, imagine the hue and cry that would have a arisen had a certain recent US president insisted on similar total-compensation restrictions on execs at bailed-out US banks. (To say nothing of actually prosecuting the leaders of the TBTF fraud cartels.)”


Drought Plagues Afghanistan Washington Post (Bill B)

US warns Iran of ‘hell to pay’ if crossed BBC. Someone should tell Bolton this is not how a powerful country behaves.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Honeywell’s ‘smart’ thermostats had a big server outage and a key feature stopped working entirely — and customers were furious Business Insider (David L)

Why I’m done with Chrome A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering. EM: “Calls attention to classic dark-pattern UI design by Team Google, one of Lambert’s favorite (if that’s the appropriate term) web-related topics.”

Revamp of Google Chrome web browser risks new EU scrutiny Telegraph. One can only hope.

Tariff Tantrum

The Tough Negotiator Turning Trump’s Trade Bluster Into Reality Bloomberg (furzy)

US-China trade war intensifies WSWS

Trump Transition

Rejecting globalism, Trump lays out vision for UN based on ‘patriotism’ Asia Times

Trump Gets 100 Countries to Sign On to His U.N. Drug War Plan, Ignoring Changing Thinking on Human Rights and Legalization Intercept (UserFriendly)

William Hartung, “Trump’s Space Force, Smoke and Mirrors or a Step Towards War in Space? TomDispatch


Senate eyes Kavanaugh floor vote next week The Hill

Trump Unleashes on Kavanaugh Accuser as Key Republican Wavers New York Times

How to humiliate a woman: the ugly lesson of Brett Kavanaugh’s yearbook Guardian (furzy)

Anita Hill Says Kavanaugh Accuser Hearing ‘Cannot Be Fair’ NPR (David L)

Campaign Snapshot: Maine Race Is a Test of Democrats’ Rural Appeal Bloomberg

Where Did the Children Go? Intercept. GlennF:

From the article: “Carlisle, and hundreds of federally funded boarding schools like it, were key to the U.S. government’s project of destroying Indigenous nations and indoctrinating children with military discipline and U.S. patriotism.”

Fake News

Facebook’s New Propaganda Partners FAIR (UserFriendly)

No News Is Good NewsJacob Silverman, The Baffler. UserFriendly: “Facebook is hiring the most awful people.”


American nuns win victory holding Smith & Wesson accountable Guardian (furzy)

Domino’s offered Russians a lifetime of pizzas if they got tattoos of the company logo – and then they had to shut down the offer because too many people got inked Business Insider. UserFriendly: “ROFL I would totally have done this. Free food for a not totally ugly tattoo?”

Top Uber Deal Maker Disciplined After Probe Into Office Conduct Wall Street Journal. Including this because Hubert Horan had said that all the elements of Uber’s culture that were the cause of bad press and calls for reform are the very same ones that were critical to its success, such as it is (losing money hand over fist). So failing to change behavior is entirely expected.

Exploring the effectiveness of social media – Part 3 Bill Mitchell (UserFriendly). On Modern Monetary Theory . I was invited to speak at this weekend’s conference but can’t even attend due to a host of reasons.

To try to keep up with orders, Tesla is building its own car carriers Autoblog (EM)

Class Warfare. Notice how Kavanaugh has crowded out class warfare stories? That is not an accident.

Time to Wake Up: the Neoliberal Order is Dying Counterpunch

Trump’s Tariffs on Chinese Imports Are Actually a Tax on the US Middle Class Truthout

Antidote du jour. A 2016 submission I missed! Hope Phil H has not given up on us.

Visiting 17 year old cicada. Taken a few days ago at our place in NE Ohio.

We live at the edge of a woods & wake each morning to the raspy thrum of thousands of cicadas calling to each other. I expect the brood is passing its peak as the volume seems to be a bit less these days, & we’re now finding the scattered carcases of expired insects on the deck. Those are presumably the ones that have finished with their reproductive duties.

Perhaps next year I can send you some raccoon photos. As I recall, 17 years ago the cicada year was followed by a raccoon population explosion year. Lots of hungry raccoons found our deck’s potted plants a possible source of grubs … after removing those pesky plants!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. SoldierSvejk

    Has this been linked to here? A film about the power that is City of London; features Michael Hudson:
    “At the demise of empire, City of London financial interests created a web of secrecy jurisdictions that captured wealth from across the globe and hid it in a web of offshore islands. Today, up to half of global offshore wealth is hidden in British jurisdictions and Britain and its dependencies are the largest global players in the world of international finance.”
    Hair-raising: bankers, lawyers, and accountancy firms engaged in a conspiracy against public interest.
    (Credit: a commenter at MoA.)

    1. Darius

      DC metro area. Synchronize watches for 2021, when the next brood of 17-year cicadas is set to emerge. First experienced them in 1970. Probably two more broods left for me.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Years ago, we arrived in New Mexico to a massive cicada eruption. I grew up with them in Indiana, but my wife had never heard them before (Washington girl) and thought the transformer was about to explode.

      We saved some of the shed shells for years, may still have them. They make quite a different sound when in a bird’s beak – very odd to hear one going by overhead. Must be quite a feast for the birds, etc.

      West Coast cicadas are paltry in comparison. Some things are bigger here, like gophers and slugs, and others much smaller, like the cicadas.

  2. Livius Drusus

    Re: How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump.

    Anti-Clinton feeling in this country is not new and the article even admits this.

    Benenson admitted that many Americans had long disliked the Clintons, and had for years spread exaggerated rumors of their alleged misdeeds and deceptions. But he wonders if some of those conspiracy-minded voters hadn’t been unknowingly influenced by Russian propagandists who were marshalling the Clinton campaign’s own analytics.

    The Clintons have been controversial and disliked by many for decades and there were always many rumors and conspiracy theories about them most of which predate any recent Russian interference. You didn’t need Russia to develop and propagate anti-Clinton material even if the Russians had some role in doing so in 2016. This seems like a big “nothing” to me.

    The real problem is that the Democratic Party basically rolled out the red carpet for Clinton in the primary despite the fact that she was sure to rile up the Republican base and had all kinds of baggage. Some of the baggage was real (NAFTA, taking Wall Street money) and some of it was conspiracy theory and rumor but all the same, Clinton was not a good candidate.

    1. timbers

      Ya, I live in a middle class Haitian neighborhood. I was talking to a Haitian guy and asked who they would be voting for. He was non political person, and replied something like “Oh no, you won’t see us voting for the Clintons. We know what they did.”

      So you see, Russia spent decades sabotaging Hillary – decades before she ran for President. Putin’s smart, that one…thinking so far ahead.

      1. Skip Intro

        I heard that Putin personally used his considerable pull on Wall St. to entrap poor naive Hillary into taking outlandish speaking fees which everyone else in the world recognised as bribes…

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Who do you think made the Clinton campaign hire Mark Penn?

          If you think about it, Howard Dean stopped HRC from helping Michigan move their primary up in 2007/8allowing Obama, and his soft on Russia stance, an opportunity to prevent HRC from snowballing and allowing Obama to compete on a more equal level in smaller states.

          Is Howard Dean a Putin plant? He certainly took steps to deny Hillary delegates.

          1. Wukchumni


            If we go down this route where all blues are reds in drag, our political system could be in jeopardy, not that there’s anything wrong with that happening.

          2. DonCoyote

            Putin Brags About Controlling U.S. Media

            JD: Wow, so you did infiltrate the Florida county election system?
            VP: Worse. Much worse. I made Senator Bill Nelson *say* we did. What an idiot.
            JD: How did you manage that?
            VP: Easy. I told him there wasn’t a speck of evidence we did such a thing, so he went the opposite. Just your basic counter-psychology ops. You say the opposite of what you want, and they do the opposite of what you don’t want. It’s like having kids.

        2. johnonymous

          Yes, and don’t forget what Yves once pointed out: she wasn’t paid to speak, she was paid to listen!

        1. tegnost

          this article has a fair amount of detail.

          and lots of other sryff, such as

          In one thread Clinton and her cabal talk about a colonial project to remake earthquake stricken Haiti’s education system using disaster capitalism, much in the way author Naomi Klein describes what happened in New Orleans:

          In sharp contrast to the glacial pace with which the levees were repaired and the electricity grid brought back online, the auctioning-off of New Orleans’ school system took place with military speed and precision. Within 19 months, with most of the city’s poor residents still in exile, New Orleans’ public school system had been almost completely replaced by privately run charter schools.

            1. JBird4049

              Finding those links must have taken some work. The American government’s overthrow of Haiti’s government, the diverting of relief money, the sheer feckless corruption was mostly ignored by the media, or worse, the reporters’ stories were altered to mislead. Heck, the New York Times did that to at least one of their own reporters.

              1. Monty

                I remember John Oliver did a big Haiti “expose” when his show was new on HBO. It went into the how the relief funds were squandered.

                Strangely enough, he forgot to mention how deeply entangled in it HRC and her family were.

        2. timbers

          My understanding is, Bill Clinton was put in charge of relief funds/donations of some $10 billion or so, and Bill spent it on “studies” and “consulting” and other things that benefited his rich connected and consulting class friends. Eventually Haitians started asking “where’s the money?” and sued him. Courts ruled Clinton could not be sued as an agent of the govt/U.N.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            They needed rice for relief efforts, but instead of buying from farmers locally they bought from…wait for it…Bubba’s cronies in Arkansas.

            I think they built a total of 18 houses with the $10B. The “Foundation” staff of 384 was handsomely paid, with some extra funds left over for Chelsea’s wedding. Fully 3% of “Foundation” monies went to actual charity.

            Instead we get to hear all about what did or didn’t happen at a frat party 35 years ago.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          The first bribe we know the Clintons took was in 1978, when they were in Arkansas. That was when Hillary impossibly turned $1000 into $100,000 via commodities trading, with her trade almost always being the best price of the day.

          $100,000 was worth a hell of a lot more in 1978 than now.

          And what is the most incredible thing about this story is that we are not only supposed to believe that she made this much money legitimately, but having been such a remarkable natural, that she stopped trading.

          This story came out many years later, IIRC in 1992. Anyone who knows even the slightest thing about commodities trading (retail traders are road kill), knows this was a not-very-well-disguesed bribe.

          My hatred of the Clintons starts from reading about that. They were grifters from way way back.

          1. Lambert Strether

            I am almost certain that her famous riposte “I could have stayed home and baked cookies” was how she framed her response to criticism of this episode; the last time I searched, I couldn’t confirm my memory.

          2. ObjectiveFunction

            And then there was that mysterious box of Whitewater related papers that was ‘accidentally’ left on a table in the White House.

            Together with some oily rags (like with a cloth or something?)

      2. Roger Smith

        Russia was there at the point of conception. Didn’t you hear about her father’s secret assignment and the experiments?

        Rumor has it that the specimen was manipulated at the genetic level.

      3. todde

        I remember the Left hating the Clintons when Russia was still the USSR.

        It’s amazing how many 30 something liberals and Europeans were ignorant of that fact.

        They believed the Clintons were the democrat party.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Attention is barely paid, and archetypes tend to dominate. HRC made a huge deal out of how many votes she had. More than anyone else besides Obama. Take that George Washington!

          If the Democrats ran an actual corpse of Reagan and slapped a DNC sticker on it, would it get 60 million votes? The answer is yes.

          1. Donald

            Hell, I voted for Clinton and I despise her. I just despised Trump more. Her vote total reflects a lot of people like me, not just people who actually liked her.

            Even if all of Russiagate were true in the sense that the Russians hacked and did this or that, it is overhyped. The russiagaters talk about the US as though we were a united country free of political bile until Boris and Natasha came along. They really do talk that way and it’s insane. It’s as if we didn’t have think tanks and ralk radio and the corporate media and countless lobby groups of various types filling our heads with nonsense on almost every conceivable topic for decades.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              If the Russians hacked…

              What the Russiagaters are doing with the little money the Russians spent on Facebook is akin to crying wolf, so that when they do give us the full Monty, no one will pay attention anymore…desensitized.

            2. knowbuddhau

              Exactly. None of the many I know, who voted for HRC, did so with enthusiasm.

              The way the results are presented betrays the data. Hell, there isn’t even an honest effort to get the polling of the People right. Quite the opposite.

              But look how much is made of a misbegotten binary. Our village drama queen thinks we all love her. Sad. Srsly, look how much is made of mostly BS.

              Has any Silicon Valley zealot yet suggested just having our new god, AI, predict the People’s preference and skip the whole inconvenience of having to vote in person? Maybe we’ll get a GI avatar, so we’ll be sure to vote right.

              The whole affair is bad kabuki, done badly. We’ll never decarbonise in time like this.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Slick Willy Clinton is the reason I left the Democratic Party and became a Green – I should be more grateful. I voted for him, the first time, then watched him prove he was a Republican. “Free trade” was a major factor.

          I was not the only one. So yes, there are some major grudges that go right back to his presidency. And she was a co-president of sorts. Her sabotaging of public health care is a vivid memory. He’d promised to fix health care, so it was her job to pretend to do it while making sure it didn’t happen. She proved very competent at that.

          1. UserFriendly

            Speaking of Slick Willy the republican I recently came across this gem.

            Bob Dole labeled President Clinton’s tough recent welfare talk as more “petty theft” of Republican ideas Monday and got a chorus of support from GOP governors.

            1. Oregoncharles

              He did a lot worse than that: he stole their funders. That’s the real reason for the Repubs’ passionate resentment.

              That was the EXPLICIT purpose of the Democratic Leadership Conference.

          2. Arizona Slim

            Clinton’s promise to fix health care is THE reason why I voted for him in 1992. Fat lotta good that did!

    2. UserFriendly

      I am entirely willing to entertain the article’s premise that the 2nd and 3rd debates ended up hurting Clinton because of what wikileaks put up. I’m not willing to blame anyone but Hillary for it though. Literally nothing in wikileaks surprised anyone who had the time to follow what the Clintons were like. All they did was make obvious what so many already knew.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think the horse race aspect of the politics is less important than tending to the base. HRC didn’t lose votes due to her tone deaf nature and stupid stuff, but she did more or less leave votes on the table because she was focused on a horse race aspect because she and the Democratic elites weren’t interested in earning those votes. Debates are excuses for not taking a public stand when asked or give a person an excuse to confirm their previous choice by saying, “I was really impressed with the debate performance.” A televised debte is harder to nail down than a written position. Abe Lincoln lost the Lincoln-Douglas debates, but his written positions from those debates made him a star.

        Its like going to a Major League baseball game and hearing complaints about the runner on first not taking a bigger lead. Often times, the runner isn’t taking a lead because the pitcher has a great move to first and demonstrated that in the minors.

        Liz Warren has a new solution to the housing crisis. Its nice she dropped it this late in September. The largest bloc of voters is non-voters. Those registration dead lines are coming. Playing that game of policy this late is a waste. Yeah, it hits a lot of boxes which would be great if we had a uniform population making decisions on the same day with the same access to voting, but this is simply not the case.

        I see all these excuses for the Clintons who at the same time are fairly good on the stump or have been in the past. “Co-President” was really cool, but a generic Democrat was polling at 55% for quite a bit in 1992. In the end, the Clintons and the horse race enthusiasts are just the people at the MLB game fussing over the runner on first not playing like they did in Little League (which can be good baseball), but scouting reports matter.

        Short of more than allegations against Kavanaugh, the failure to tie Kavanaugh to Trump and the GOP as a campaign focus of the Democrats instead of hoping for a misstep (poor choice of word) or scandal is doomed to failure.

    3. JerryDenim

      “…the Democratic Party basically rolled out the red carpet for Clinton in the primary…”

      No, the Clinton campaign WAS the Democratic Party during the 2016 Primary. The funding arrangements and the unmasked emails among surrogates proved it. They didn’t even try to deny this in court when sued for rigging the primaries. The DNC’s defense consisted of a big “Yeah, so what? We’re a private club with no obligation to be impartial or democratic. We can be as biased as we want.”

      I remember Noam Chomsky answering a question a long time ago related to an “elite” conspiracy to control General Motors. Chomsky’s answer: ‘They don’t need a conspiracy, they already own it.’

      Clintons = DNC

      Flashing red lights were everywhere in 2016, but of course they could not be heeded because the Democratic primaries weren’t a real contest with an aim of selecting the strongest candidate to run in a (small ‘d’ ) democratic election, they were meant to be a sham, a prolonged beauty pageant and campaign commercial intended to buoy an unpopular queen’s support ahead of a long- planned coronation. Bernie and Trump didn’t get the memo. Russia got the blame.

      Lambert called it during the 2016 primaries when he said: “Sometimes the dogs just won’t eat the dog food.”

        1. The Rev Kev

          Attorney General Loretta Lynch just by coincidence happened to meet Bill Clinton on a airport tarmac in the middle of nowhere while Lynch was investigating his wife and who was cleared a few days later. There is your answer right there.

    4. cyclist

      I found the New Yorker article somewhat tedious and stopped reading after awhile. What never seems to be taken seriously: there may be Russians behind some of those Facebook pages trying to generate hits for some sort of troll farm operation, not for the GRU. Couldn’t Russian intelligence think of more definite ways of swaying an election, if they were so inclined?

      1. Procopius

        That’s been my feeling. Having looked at some of the ads Facebook said they had identified as Russian, most of which were bought after the election, lots of them were clickbait, some of them were for puppy farms, and some of them (from before the election) were advertising rallies for both sides. The Russiagaters completely lose me when they say, “Well, the Russian goal is to destroy faith in our elections (hahahahaha) and divide us.” Jesus H. Christ on a Carribean cruise ship, “divide us?” And they still, including in this article, have never presented any evidence.

    5. pjay

      Add Jane Mayer to the rapidly growing list of “liberal” media hacks (Risen, Weiner, etc., etc.). But this one is especially painful; I was a big fan of Mayer’s investigative journalism. I devoured her articles and books as soon as they came out. Once again, when such shocking disillusionment occurs our first impulse is to doubt ourselves. Surely such esteemed journalists with all their experience and contacts must know something we don’t. But slowly it dawns on us: this is such obvious obfuscation, *they* are the ones full of crap. It is their “experience and contacts” that is a huge part of the problem – wittingly or unwittingly. Now, unfortunately, I have to question everything else I’ve read by Mayer. Maybe the Kochs aren’t such bad guys after all! (sarcasm on the last point, but deadly serious about the rest.)

  3. Wukchumni

    Goooooooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

    We were on a loan range patrol in the Hao Mutz Indet province, when we were surprised by an ambush from the VC (venture capitalists) who were renowned experts @ throwing money at a problem in such quantities that they simply overwhelmed their poorversaries with manna, backed up by seemingly endless firepower, they were a force to be reckoned with as long as the check cleared.

    We had purposely stuck a FNG (financial non grata) on point, in order to raise rates of interest to lure out the VC, but they weren’t having it, as they’d locked & loaded on no load mutual funds just a few days prior to our encounter.

    Needless to say, we took cashulaties-mostly used bills, nothing bigger than a 20.

      1. Edward E

        Moar amp or monster energy? Maybe he lives high up like us, they give you three utilities, gas, electricity and oxygen

        1. Wukchumni

          My source is of course, de-riskium crystals, of which i’m running low on, and might have to drop down to the level of beating HRC with a stick in a fashion that might’ve done with Walter Mondale in 1986, should I fall short.

          1. Edward E

            When her and Bubba were in college she changed her name to ‘Share. When she’d return from class Floozies exited. Nice warm cicada, think the barbed wire fence fell down between here and the Arctic… the bees aren’t even stirring today without their yellow jackets, no brrr foot’n today
            time to plant Austrian winter peas

  4. Olga

    Delta Air Lines had to ground all flights in the U.S. due to a technology issue last night. The company’s IT teams were able to restore the systems and the airline is working to help customers affected by the groundstop. It’s not a surprise that Delta (NYSE:DAL) was a trending topic on Twitter for quite a while last night.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Oof, they had a system-wide outage in Jan 2017. I was a victim of that. The backup system didn’t work either. What is wrong with this airline? I am stuck flying it to the South.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Walmart to salad growers: If you want to sell, you have to blockchain”

    Next headline coming to a newspaper near you-

    “Walmart to salad growers: If you want to be paid, you have to accept bitcoin”

    1. ocop

      Or perhaps, “Wal-Coin”. Next thing you know there are discounts to customers for its use, and you’re a hop skip and a jump away from corporate currency if you can buy the right politicians.

      I’m surprised Amazon didn’t think of it first.

      1. Procopius

        If I understand the term “legal tender” correctly, they could do that without anybody’s permission, just they also have to accept dollars. Many stores issued scrip in 1930-33 that became acceptable as money in the local area. There were even town that issued their own local currencies. Who knows? Maybe there are people who would prefer to use the corporate currencies. All it takes is for the corporations to figure out how to make a profit off it.

  6. Steve H.

    > Why I’m done with Chrome

    So last spring the components of my desktop tower started collapsing and it was decision time. It’s been a decade+ since Bill Gates started investing in satellites, and my older son makes his living switching large organizations over to cloud computing, so that’s broken news. I watched my godson’s daughter on her Chromebook, which was provided to her by her gradeschool.

    Being frugal/impoverished, I went all-in and got a Chromebook, not because I trust Googwhatever, but because I don’t trust hardly nobody. The Equifax breach, the OPM breach for BlackmailsRUs, etc, means online security without significant time investment has been over for awhile. (See ‘Rational Ignorance.’) I’ve writ before how NC was one of only two sites which came up correct most of the time, so I only go to less than a dozen sites on a regular basis. Reading the pension futures tea leaves (thank you NC) we cashed out our retirement and put a new roof on the house which should last the rest of our lives (good Murcan steel). We froze the credit agencies (getting out of debt better than going deeper). Completely quit doing online financial stuff, now using phone and USPS only.

    But part of frugal is keeping needs low, limiting feedback loops. Can’t get away from Fcbk, but treat all political and religious posts as cootified and do-not-touch. I’ll go to sites linked to by NC & friends but don’t click nothing once I’m there. And I don’t need higher processing speeds, I haven’t done large-scale number crunching in years and don’t do online gaming.

    By committing to restricting action, as much as I can, to areas within my locus of control, it makes it far easier to think before responding. I’m anti-violence, and I do my organizing and influencing face-to-face, which keeps people from becoming numbers. I rely on NC as I do, to adapt to what I cannot control/change. And I have become happier and more effective in the areas that are important to me because of it.

    It’s not for everybody, Yves Lambert et al can’t do this, I know. I do five-day fasts, and that’s not for everybody either. But any and all can benefit from cutting down sugars and having a daily window of not-doing, whether eating or being linked-up-&-hooked in. Thank you, NC, for being committed to true.

    1. The Beeman

      I like what you wrote and how you live.

      By committing to restricting action, as much as I can, to areas within my locus of control, it makes it far easier to think before responding. I’m anti-violence, and I do my organizing and influencing face-to-face, which keeps people from becoming numbers

  7. el_tel

    re: Cat predicting death and algorithms etc: This is analogous to a long-standing problem in academic marketing/economics/etc but which originated in mathematical psychology: using the right experimental designs (and we’re not talking the half-baked stuff brought into economics to try to salvage their awful micro models of human behaviour) we can actually predict people’s choices very well. But prediction doesn’t equal understanding and humans are notoriously bad at explaining the reasoning behind their behaviour/choices (like the kid’s bicycle example mentioned). I myself tested out an old trope taught to me by a senior marketing professor in a study involving well-educated policy-makers which sought to understand the trade-offs they’d make in deciding on the “quality of research evidence” for making policy decisions in state health policy recommendations (Australia). One guy expressed exasperation at doing the study and in the free-text final question said something like “you didn’t need to force me to do all those trade-offs, my decision rule is x>y>z” – or something to that effect. My professor was right – when we analysed his actual behaviour in realistic hypothetical scenarios it was clear his actual process was nothing like this – it was nuanced and to a health professional looked like a perfectly reasonable process, with caveats, ifs and buts in there galore.

    Same thing happens when I run a segmentation analysis – my postdoc used to get exasperated when I’d look at two competing segmentation models of personality data which statistically were virtually indistinguishable and I’d say “there are 5 personality types, not 4”. She’d say “WHY?” and I’d have to respond “20 years of looking at data means I just know”. Incidentally the same happened to me in my early days when quizzing MY boss as to why he chose one of my solutions over another. Now, no doubt, if clever people at google had access to enough of my datasets and decisions they could use neural networks to explain back to me WHY I actually chose solution A over solution B….but we’re still a long way from that (using the kind of data I deal with anyway). The article seems to tap into similar themes – we are making a lot of progress in prediction but barely beginning to understand the WHYs: the answers are not there just yet and maybe a furry friend “story” is more attractive to a patient as an explanation than a one page full of “if, then…” statements which only really interest geeks in the field like me.

    1. Unna

      Death Cat Article: My source for things medical tells me that nurses experienced in working with various conditions, eg, cancer, renal, many times can tell if a patient may have developed a condition or that the condition may have worsened just by sight and smell of the patient since various conditions have their own peculiar smells that a nurse, or other medical care worker experienced with them, can notice. Usually happens with medical care workers working in nursing homes/ long term care facilities / hospital units. These are suspicions and not diagnoses. Some doctors are receptive to these suspicions and may order tests, and some doctors are not.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Rejecting globalism, Trump lays out vision for UN based on ‘patriotism’ ”

    Patriotism? Is that what he calls it? It’s one of those irregular verbs, isn’t it? I am patriotic, you are a nationalist, he is a flag-waving jingoist. Trump before the General assembly was just the appetizer. The main course is when he chairs the United Nations Security Council shortly-

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I understand there are a lot of them in New England.

          Not sure if all those football fans are scoundrels…though being Not-So-Sapiens humans, we can never be sure, of them…or of ourselves.

  9. JTMcPhee

    One of the many reasons bad things are happening in the Mideast:

    American ‘Lone Soldiers’ reflect on fighting for Israel: they seek escape, devotion, or ‘just want to shoot’

    Lots of young men (and women, give credit where due) “find meaning” in joining warbands, a brother-sisterhood and jawb (the pay can be pretty good, plus whatever one can loot) and you get to shoot other humans and call down artillery fire and air strikes on them. And there’s always a more patently mercenary gig available when you get tired of the inevitable “chickensh!t” that goes with uniforms and NCOs and idiot commanders and opaque “politics” and clear and immanent corruption and futility of “the mission…”

    1. Wukchumni

      A ‘Lone Soldier’ friend was in the IDF in the early 90’s, and he has an entire chapter devoted to him in a most hilarious book:

      “The 188th Crybaby Brigade: a skinny Jewish kid from Chicago fights Hezbollah: a memoir”, by Joel Chasnoff.

    2. Lord Koos

      Some kinds of people find military life comforting, especially in uncertain times. You don’t have to think for yourself too much (just follow orders), you’re guaranteed meals and a place to sleep, you get paid, and you are allowed to violently act out your aggression without penalty.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Reading ‘One Shot’ in my tent outside Herat, Afghanistan, I found what Jack Reacher says to be mostly true. That we join up for one of five reasons. Its Tradition in the family (me), Patriotism, you need a job (also me), those actually wanting to kill, and another one ive forgotten.

        I like to think of myself as a Warrior-Poet. Except i abhor violence and war. Fighting shadows i suppose.

      2. James

        You don’t have to think for yourself too much (just follow orders), you’re guaranteed meals and a place to sleep, you get paid, and you are allowed to violently act out your aggression without penalty.

        Except none of that is actually true anymore, in garrison at least. Unless you’re actually deployed into a war zone, much of the military is just like a civilian j-o-b these days, albeit a bit less well compensated in most cases.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I’d argue that claim that being a GI “in garrison” is “a bit less well compensated” than civilian jobs. You don’t get this kind of pay and benefits package working at Walmart (2.5 million of us) or McDonalds (another large number) or of course Uber and Lyft “drivers:” And the article does not mention free health care, access to facilities of many sorts like those provided by “Special Services” in my day and now the “Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation” programs.

          And from using facilities like the PX recently, sitting in the food courts and eating, it sure looks like the Army I knew in the late ‘60s — different “battle dress,” but the same stuff, the same complaints about “chickensh!t” from the NCOs and Brass. And one can keep one’s edge in the acting out of violence via training opportunities, and of course in the endless and prolonged “deployments” (in violation of “international law,” haw haw haw) where you can shoot up the wogs and Hajjis and other indigens with a lot of impunity.

  10. allan

    A Supreme Court Case Could Liberate Trump to Pardon His Associates [The Atlantic]

    I posted about this case yesterday. Here’s more.

    A key Republican senator has quietly weighed in on an upcoming Supreme Court case that could have important consequences for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

    The Utah lawmaker Orrin Hatch, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, filed a 44-page amicus brief earlier this month in Gamble v. United States, a case that will consider whether the dual-sovereignty doctrine should be put to rest. The 150-year-old exception to the Fifth Amendment’s double-jeopardy clause allows state and federal courts to prosecute the same person for the same criminal offense. According to the brief he filed on September 11, Hatch believes the doctrine should be overturned. “The extensive federalization of criminal law has rendered ineffective the federalist underpinnings of the dual sovereignty doctrine,” his brief reads. “And its persistence impairs full realization of the Double Jeopardy Clause’s liberty protections.” …

    Oddly, or not, in the absence of a new Associate Justice, a 4-4 tie would allow the lower court ruling to stand,
    allowing the dual-sovereignty doctrine to continue.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Dual-sovereignty – sounds like a state is a sovereign and we are back to the Civil War question.

      On the surface, there should not be exceptions to the double jeopardy clause.

      1. allan

        Weirdly, Sen. Hatch never took any interest in the plight of former Goldman employee Sergey Aleynikov,
        who was subjected to and convicted in what was essentially a double jeopardy persecution prosecution brought by liberal lion Cy Vance.

        … He was convicted in Manhattan federal court in 2010. In 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York reversed the conviction. Aleynikov was rearrested in August 2012 on state charges. In 2015, he was convicted of one count of unlawfully using secret scientific material, but the judge threw out the verdict and acquitted him. Vance’s office appealed and the conviction was reinstated by an intermediate appellate court. Now, the top [NYS] court upheld that decision. …

        1. JTMcPhee

          Result because he has a Russian/Slavic name? Anyone thinks “the law is blind” is blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other.

          And it’s horrible, when you’ve been trained up through public schools that taught US history and civics like we are supposed to believe it all worked, “separation and balance of powers between three independent branches,” “manifest destiny,” “purity of vision,” and this stuff,

          O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
          whose stern, impassioned stress
          a thoroughfare for freedom beat
          across the wilderness!
          America! America!
          God mend thine every flaw,
          confirm thy soul in self-control,
          thy liberty in law!

          to wake up in a neoliberal world. Where corporations not only have escaped the bounds that used to require them to regularly prove their virtue or lose their charter and “franchise” (in many states, the filing fee for corporations to ‘renew” their paper existence is called a “franchise fee,” like what black folks had to pay in hard currency in Jim Crow days), but clearly own all the “legitimizing” (making all nice and legal) mechanisms of those three “independent branches,” and most everything else that’s not owned in common name by the Filthy Rich.

          It’s particularly horrible if you went through a big national law school and were foolish enough to bring that credulous baggage with you, and look for confirmatory nuggets in the various “rules” you learned by rote from your Hornbooks and Gilbert’s and lectures. Big disappointment to figure out that there are, for example, over 50 pairs of absolutely inconsistent “rules of statutory construction” (“statues in derogation of common law rights are to be strictly construed,” but “statutes with a remedial purpose are to be broadly construed,” and so on down the list.) Pick whichever one suits the interests of the people who are paying your hourly rate…

          No soft landing place in sight, from where I view things. No “Sully” to bring us safely down to a water landing.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If the doctrine is overturned, presumably he can appeal and be set free (not necessary to write to Hatch though)?

  11. Jomo

    On the Kavanaugh confirmation process, we seem to be getting a lot of testimony about what a drinker he was in college and high school. And that he could be a belligerent drunk. I went to private college and boarded and lived with these “kids”. My recollection is that the “kids” who repeatedly indulged in this behavior had serious emotional problems and/or home life issues. So what was wrong with young Brett that he turned to alcohol abuse as early as high school? Has he confronted these personal issues? Being a problem drinker is a lifetime battle. This behavior is very harmful and would be part of the sexual aggressiveness, but it does not seem to be addressed in any way.

    1. Wukchumni

      Neither is addressed, the crime of underage drinking, and just how did the wanna-be justice score* those keggers, if it was against the law for him or his frat buds to buy them?

      * no angel here, but i’m not even running for dogcatcher

    2. L

      Perhaps he did address it and just does not want to discuss it, or to even think about it. Kids who struggled with this, like is friend Mike Judge, do deserve some sympathy for that.

      To my mind however the problem is not that he was less than ideal in high school or college. Few of us were at our best when we were young. My problem is whether or not he is lying about it. However you feel about ideology judges must adhere to facts and they must uphold the duty of truth in the courtroom first, or else noone will.

      Kavanaugh has already been caught lying, or to be charitable, selectively editing things as a politician would, and there are other parts of his record that they have taken great pains to hide. When I consider the totality of evidence I do not trust his character or his truthfulness and I do not see him as a fit judge.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Remember, he and his potential posse up there in the Nine Black Robes are actually POLICY-MAKERS, despite all the noise about judicial apartness and “just applying the law” [or the tiny parts of it that we Justices and our smart-as-a-whip law clerks say fit the view of the “case or controversy” that we have framed for ourselves by careful selection among all the ones that get sent to us for “review,” and by informally chatting up the other members of the Aristocracy of Great Wealth to ensure that their “issues” are “adequately and correctly addressed.”] Who did Scalia, and who does Alito and the rest, hang around with, again?

        And the other thing they do is “legitimize” stuff. Make it “all nice and legal-like,” because the process was what they say was due. And “liberals” and even “progressives” look to “the courts” to fix things for them? To get their “policies” forced on the rest of the Blob by “judicial fiat,” and then get all whiny when that judicial fiat gets turned against them?

        Kind of fun, knowing a Bush League torture supporter will be up there soon, most likely. Oh, and yes, we mopes should extend some “sympathy” to the fellow, and the presumption that he as “addressed his problems that so many other young people have.” After all, that proves what mopes we are — you can darn well bet that he and Pence and the rest of the Blob will not extend the same squishy courtesy to you or me.

      2. rd

        He has a lot to lose. Not just the Supreme Court, but a wife who he met years after his high school and college years and two young daughters.

        To me the big question is if he actually did the binge drinking attributed to him. If he did, then he may not remember much of the actions that led to the accusations, so he may not be lying on that. The allegations are that he did these things while drunk, not sober. However, if he lies about the drinking and a lot of eyewitnesses are willing to testify under oath contradicting that, then everything is in play as the allegations become much more likely to be true, even if he doesn’t remember the events.

        “Boys will be boys” and alcohol are not valid excuses for sexual assault and harassment. In my experience, the alleged actions are abnormal and many people get drunk without doing that.

    3. Dogstar

      “..”kids” who repeatedly indulged in this behavior had serious emotional problems and/or home life issues.”

      Possibly. Nobody is perfect. A large part of it is cultural. And the thing about alcohol (and other recreational drugs) is that they can be a blast. Really fun. Over-the-top. There’s a reason they are popular.

      1. ArcadiaMommy

        My sense is they just liked the hell raising and rampaging around. Based on their yearbook nonsense they took great delight in these antics.

        1. James

          All in the wake of Animal House, which mythologized such behavior for a generation. Ahh yes, I vaguely remember those times fairly well!

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Compare Animal House with say, American Graffiti where high school parties (not college ones, though high school kids partied or tried to sneak into the Delta house) were much tamer, with chaperones even.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Has he overcome that? It’s not easy and it often is a life time struggle, recovering by going to AA.

      Or is he another Yeltsin, drinking on the job?

        1. bronco

          ya sure . So for 2 weeks he was a supposed groper with no witnesses bute now though he is literally leader of a full on gang of bill cosbys.

          From 5 mph to 200 mph as quick as that , courtesy of stormy daniels nutty lawyer friend. If anything this means that none of it ever happened.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            She signed and released an affidavit. I think she is very brave, knowingly throwing herself onto the gears of the smear machine.

          2. pretzelattack

            so all the cosby accusers spoke up at once? i didn’t realize that. give it a few weeks before there’s a vote, see what happens. the way it worked with cosby and weinstein, people took heart from seeing other people come out. maybe that will happen here, maybe not.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Time will tell, and we don’t have much time – today is Wednesday and a vote is, I understand, scheduled for Friday, after the hearing Thursday.

            It’s likely we hear more from either side later today.

          4. FluffytheObeseCat

            I’m guessing, based on +50 years of life in the U S of A (a fair bit of which was spent in this Eastern snot-school milieu) is that most of “it” happened. However, Kavanaugh’s personal knowledge of or participation in some of these things is tenuous.

            What’s been documented recently is the utter rottenness of the leadership on both sides of our failing duopoly. Weinstein. Moonves. Cosby. Roy Moore. Trump. Kavanaugh. Ad infinitum. There are no real surprises for anyone who’s been paying attention.

            At the top, it’s all sh*theels, all the time. I doubt these kinds of men were naturally more honorable c. 50-80 years ago. But, they were a helluva lot more scared of us little nobodies in those days. That’s the key thing, the thing that unites people as “different” as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump: their comfortable and complete contempt for the average guy.

          5. ArcadiaMommy

            And Cosby is now an inmate in state prison. Try again. This women could be prosecuted for lying about this. She could lose her job as she has many federal clearances. Not to mention being exposed to a bunch of lunatics threatening her life.

            1. bronco

              swore an affidavit that basically says nothing provable or disprovable , conveniently timed of course .

              Viva la resistance !!!!!!!

              1. FluffytheObeseCat

                Absent the “convenient” timing she would never have gotten a hearing. One strikes when one can you know, once one is powerful enough and savvy enough to do so.

                I believe we should have been hearing a lot more about the Patriot Act, and Kavanaugh’s history on the bench. But, I’m grimly amused by the current circus. This late in life embarrassment couldn’t be happening to a more deserving bunch of guys.

                It’s not just him you know. There are yearbooks full of these little 1980s Reaganite darlings, many of whom are now having trouble sleeping at night. The furor will pass too quickly for most of them. They’ll go back to underpaying their staff with no repercussions way too soon. But for the moment, it’s vastly amusing to see them stammer and shudder in public.

                1. bronco

                  Reagan? do youmean to imply they are all republicans? wasn’t there a sleazeball democrat or 50 ? What do you suppose cigar boy was up to in college?

                  Anyone seen Clintons yearbook ?

                2. Firean

                  The Holton-Arms yearbooks are still online and make for some interesting reading ,incl. photos, of the wild party life of the young female student attendees, for the years when aclaimed incident took place.
                  ( some data has been redacted by the persons reposting for the privacy of those who otherwise be referenced by name or image )

                  – Fíréan

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s moving fast.

          Just saw an imagine of his 1982 Northwestern Mutual calendar. Looks genuine enough on first glance. Will they test the ink? At least two colors – black and white, from different pens presumably.

    1. JEHR

      Yes, Trudeau is trying to make some kind of recompense for the treatment of indigenous children at residential schools. Perhaps more than 3 generations were terribly scarred (and worse) by their experiences there. I give him credit for trying to do the right thing.

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      Unfortunately, the tribal world of the First Nations these kids were taken out of doesn’t have any better record on child abuse than the white man.

      In fact, what our culture calls rape and paederasty is pretty much universal in small insular human bands. Older high status males casually exercise le droits de seigneur over the tribe’s young girls and boys alike.

      This ‘degeneracy’ is almost universally commented on by missionaries and anthropologists alike, at least up to the point they join the ‘pizza’ party.

      It’s larger social units, where marriage is emblematic of political alliance and property rights, that require a restrictive attitude toward promiscuity and careful guardianship of the chastity of the female offspring.

      In most such cultures, the primate urge is then given ‘safe’ outlets, either by an “upstairs downstairs” understanding (it’s not *really* adultery if it’s done discreetly with a social inferior like Sally Hemmings, or Camilla Parker-Bowles), or else a formalized houri/ geisha/ temple eunuch system, often with religious sanction.

      While in our repressed desert religion cultures, sex or the wrong kind of sex is denied and shamed, and therefore is expressed in furtive, exploitative or violent ways. “Dancing boys”. ‘Honor killings’. Pedo priests. And Animal House.

  12. L

    For all the talk about Trump’s approval rating, Republican consumer confidence continues to soar relative to that of Democrats.

    — Tracy Alloway (@tracyalloway) September 26, 2018

    This shouldn’t really be surprising. During the Obama years when I spoke to family members who lived in some of the “Red States” they were watching Fox News or trading email threads about the coming collapse and government theft and buying gold or at least postponing investments. Others who were in business told me about how “noone would start a company these days” because of all the new regulations and the over taxation. Meanwhile people around me bought tech stocks and solar.

    Now the former group sees good news on their cable channels as if everything has changed, and I am inundated with emails that tell me about the latest Republican plot to burn our children to death for coal and asking for “just five dollars” to fight the good fight.

    That [explitive] will get to you.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Looking at the consumer confidence news, it is as if* we live in two separate nations.

      *WHAT DO YOU MEAN, ‘AS IF,’ I hear someone shout…

    2. Adam Eran

      Worth noting: National “debt” is on the increase…and the economy improves, exactly as MMT predicts.

  13. rd

    NPR has been doing an interesting series on air ambulance costs:

    An interesting contrast is the Canadian single payer system:

    Here is an example of one of the sub-areas in the BC Healthcare system for how ambulances and air ambulances are billed:

    Basically, if you are covered under the BC Health Plan, there is no charge. Since this is a near-universal coverage plan, very few BC residents get charged. Also, there are generally reciprocal agreements between the provincial systems, so there is generally no charge for Canadian residents for medically necessary transportation. Even so, the standard per hour rates means that a visitor would need to be flown from one end of the country to the other (4,000 miles) to get to the upper range of charges uncovered in the NPR series.

    Under the single payer system, the air ambulances actually play a role in system-wide cost reduction because it means that they can avoid expensive duplication of services. It is usually cheaper to put somebody in an air ambulance and fly them to a hospital with that specialty than duplicate that hospital service in multiple locations. It also means that remote communities can get people to major hospitals without having to figure out how to provide those services in a areas with sparse population.

    So the provincial system evaluates how many air ambulances and of what type they want to support, so there isn’t lots of expensive excess capacity (BTW – many of the providers are private companies). They then offer the service to their residents as part of their regular medical coverage. The healthcare system uses that transport capability to avoid expensive duplication of hospital facilities. Theoretically, that is how a free market should reduce costs as well, but the US is proving that it does not because there is no coordination between the various health care provider sectors.

    1. Wukchumni

      Here @ Sequoia-Kings Canyon NP’s, if you get injured or lost in the backcountry and can contact the park through a SPOT device or similar emergency locator beacons, depending on the severity of injury or whatnot, a team of a few to a few dozen will begin searching for you, and this will often entail the use of a helicopter, and oddest of all…

      …you’ll not be charged one cent for the rescue

      1. Anon

        No charge for rescue is SOP in all US National Parks. If you’re out at sea the Coast Guard will do the same. However, the CG will only take flight if you’re in near death endangerment, otherwise wait for the Cutter.

    2. Lord Koos

      A friend of mine had a heart attack while he was in Costa Rica. He was in a more remote area and had to be flown to San Juan for treatment. The total cost for the hospital stay, surgery and helicopter was something like $17,000. He had a similar incident in Seattle and the ambulance ride alone billed at $11,000.

  14. Wukchumni

    We’re borrowing money from China, in order to pay farmers that can’t sell their crops to the middle kingdom, because of tariffs.

    Soy Lent Green

    1. JEHR

      The US is not borrowing money from China!

      The U.S. government does not borrow money to cover its debt, but instead sells marketable Treasury securities, a process known as issuing debt.

      1. Plenue

        Perhaps Jim Haygood isn’t so much a person as a role that permanently inhabits the NC community, and when absent another person naturally arises to fill the role.

    2. ewmayer

      @Wuk: “We’re borrowing money from China…”

      As opposed to balanced-budget financing, or as the Chinese call it, “Pai as you Gow”.

  15. Carolinian

    Re the great Chrome controversy–since this is really about Gmail it seems a bit strange that people are suddenly in a panic about privacy when for years Google quite openly said that their algos would read your mail in order to show you ads. The tradeoff of privacy for convenience (and “free”) was always quite explicit.

    Perhaps what has really changed is that Google has decided to embrace evil after all and started censoring at the behest of panicky politicians who think a hack is the equivalent of Pearl Harbor (while not even being sure who did the hacking). These companies have become so large and dominant they now feel they can no longer be above the political fray and have to kowtow to DC and even take partisan sides as in Schmidt’s work for Hillary in the last election. The antitrust threat is real.

    Meanwhile it’s easy enough to access Gmail with a standalone mail client or another browser or Chrome in private browse mode. Yes it’s a shame we have to keep tabs on this constant software provider tinkering, but that has also been true forever.

    1. Mark Pontin

      Meanwhile it’s easy enough to access Gmail with a standalone mail client or another browser or Chrome in private browse mode.

      You are naive.

      Firstly, Chrome in incognito ‘private’ mode is only opaque to, say, the cookies that the sites you visit try to store on it. Forex, the NYT, New Yorker or Bloomberg when you exceed their article limit for the month (whereupon you then close and reopen Chrome in incognito mode and resume reading those sites). Conversely, Chrome is transparent to Google itself and Google is storing your data — and you know that’s true if you think about it, because you can bookmark sites in incognito mode and you couldn’t do bookmarks if Google wasn’t storing them. Right?

      Secondly, it is NOT easy enough now to access gmail via another browser.

      If you’re a Firefox user and you want to read your gmail via that browser, Google has now started doing almost everything possible to prevent you doing that via Firefox. You’re forced to wait 2 minutes after you initially launched the browser before gmail finally downloads and to make multiple log-ins .

      Not incidentally, none of this happens if you’re using Chrome (or of course do a full Google sign-in on Firefox) and it started at exactly the same time as the change in Chrome was introduced.

      Google’s doings with Chrome would be well within the scope of an anti-trust action if the US still had effective anti-trust legislation. Also, I’ll bet when this move was discussed by the powers-that-be at the Googleplex that at least one person used the phrase ‘leaving money on the table’ about the hitherto-existing situation.

      1. Carolinian

        Private browse mode was the recommendation of this site, not me. I don’t even use Chrome as a rule.

        And there are other browsers besides Firefox. I have five different ones on my computer. However on my Linux laptop I use Thunderbird mail client which takes about 15 seconds to get my mail. There are also standalone mail programs for Windows, can’t speak for Apple.

        As for the notion that Google is spying on everything no matter what we do–could be true! Stay off the web I guess if it worries you…..

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A million?

      Half a million?

      Are they being detained?

      The fact is that, to build the Three Gorges dam, according to a 2010 BBC article, at least 1.3 million people were relocated.

      It happens all too often – to make way for an infrastructure project, people are forced to move, and their homes destroyed. There is a 2012 article from the Atlantic titled, Razing History, The Tragic Story of a Beijing Neighborhood (referring to the traditional hutongs).

      So, are they being detained, or just forced to relocate (to somewhere the government can watch over them)? And how many?

          1. pjay

            Once again, those despicable Chinese! Come on, guys. I won’t repeat my “yes China is authoritarian, but…” argument again. But for some reason the sensitivity to anti-Russian propaganda at NC does not seem to extend to China. Again (ok, I will repeat it), not to deny MLTPB’s observation, but the MSM does not need any help demonizing China to justify our own geopolitical machinations.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Actually, it’s beware of Russia, and beware of China…anyone else for that matter.

              No country is doing its job not trying to influence another country. Perhaps, say, for example, it’s not cost effective for, say, Iceland to influence Sudan, but if it’s cheap enough and significant enough, it would be the duty of the government to do so.

            2. Craig H.

              Do you think the fellow who wrote the Medium piece is an anti-China propagandist?

              I’m sure it is possible the guard tower shadows could have been photoshopped into the google earth images.

              1. pjay

                I do not know. And I don’t read Chinese. But it certainly reads like one. This particular meme has been addressed several times in nd comments over the last week of so.

          2. Duck1

            Much more cost effective to bomb countries and fund insurgencies, pure grift, no long term overhead (facilities). Going on as we post, oh somewhere by the hegemon or its proxies.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              But we can still talk about China damming rivers or diverting water from neighboring countries?

              1. pjay

                Certainly. But in context, and not as part of a propaganda effort. If we are talking about “degrees” of evil, for historical reasons the U.S. is a much more free and open society. But if we are discussing what we have done to the rest of the world, there is no comparison; the chaos and destruction U.S. policy has fostered is unmatched. So…

                1. pjay

                  That is, the U.S. has been a more “free and open” society for *some*. My apologies to native Americans, African Americans, Chicanos, women, and many others. Even my attempt to be “fair and balanced” has to be qualified.

                  1. Duck1

                    A lot of us are of the Mathew 7: 5 ilk and don’t appreciate diverting comments to pet hobby horse. The blog post regarded NA boarding schools and missing souls, so to speak.

                2. Duck1

                  Look Craig H. started off with the Intercept article about the native American boarding schools and then diverted attention to the Uigher situation, with an interesting link I might add. It seems to me that NC encourages such links, but why not post them as they stand, encouraging a discussion. Instead the blog link seems to be a pretext for China bashing (half a mm or one mm, the Economist hasn’t figured it out), rather than having any interest in the lost children of the old NA boarding schools. Bad manners, I think.

                  1. Duck1

                    By the way us Olds are aware of these schooling efforts, but I don’t think a lot of younger people may have heard of such efforts, in Canada and Australia as well.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Honeywell’s ‘smart’ thermostats had a big server outage and a key feature stopped working entirely — and customers were furious”

    At least their customers could control those thermostats manually. You wonder how many of these IoT devices can still work if cut off from their servers. I always thought it a good idea to legislate that devices like this should have a fail-safe manual operation but we all know that that is never going to happen. I would go further and say that there should be a mode to still use a device even when there is no power but that is just my opinion. Again, never going to happen. Still, if you have the money and inclination to install these devices in your homes, then you should have the resources to deal with the consequences when they foul up.

      1. Wukchumni

        I remember being at the trading desk and another trader asked if I had any 1d10t forms he could borrow. It threw me for a loop when spoken.

      2. ewmayer

        Hmm, I prepend ‘id’ instead … does that make me an idiot?

        Note It’s not just IoT devices that have been crapified in terms of manual control – recently did something very rare for me, left a negative review on an eBay seller from whom I had bought a cheapie refurb major-brand DVD player as a replacement for one that gave up the ghost. Reason for the negative? Seller description: “unit is fully functional”, but I spotted that the remote was not included. So before buying contacted seller with “fully functional means all features accessible even sans remote, yes?” Seller said yes. Unit arrives, turns out the geniuses who designed it included only 2 front-panel buttons: on/off and open/close. I had seen that on the item picture but assumed that inserting a DVD and pressing ‘close’ would auto-play the DVD. Nope! You can turn the thing on and load a DVD using the front-panel controls, but should you actually desire to *watch* the contents of said DVD, you need the remote for the ‘play’ option, as well as all the other DVD-menu-accessing controls. So needed to make a separate $8 remote purchase. Not a lot of money, but the delay and unneeded e-mail/multiple-order rigmarole was intensely irritating in the “tax on my time” sense.

    1. Clive

      My Nest thermostat did this to me in April last year (cold enough to still need heating here) due to a botched software distribution. U.K. regulations mandated a means of “manual” control for IoT thermostats because of the risk of property damage if the heating couldn’t be made to kick in and (not so much in the southern parts of the country (England) but definitely a possibility in nippy Scotland) loss of life if someone, perhaps elderly or otherwise vulnerable, couldn’t get to alternative accommodation.

      But you need to have the instruction manual to know how to do this. Which, of course, is “online only”. So most users never knew it was possible. They therefore contacted Nest. Who, being tech, didn’t believe in such anachronistic things as having people on the phone. By the time your “Contact Us” was responded to, you’d have had burst water pipes.

      I should never have been taken in by such Silicon Valley chutzpah. Talk about having buyer’s remorse.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Wasn’t it just last year that one of these internet-enabled thermostat companies was taken over by another company – who shut down all the servers servicing those thermostats thereby making them non-workable junk?

      2. rd

        Other than a WiFi modem, DVD player that hooks to the Internet, and computer/tablet/cellphone, I avoid household appliances that connect to the internet. As far as I can tell, the downside potential of having them hook to the internet is vastly greater than the upside potential. I figure it will take 5-10 years for the reliability and security to get to the point where it would make sense to look at it.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I wonder how many appliances and such will eventually be forcibly internet pre-enabled without an option to buy a purely “analog” version of the appliance. If the appliance industries try to chip every single appliance they make, I suspect a craft industry will emerge of repair people and repair companies who can remove all the digital cooties from your appliance, and make your appliance analog and invisible to the webnet.

  17. mihcael hudson

    The “Thucydides trap” is indeed a travesty of history — basically a product of Kagan et al.
    It claims that Sparta simply was “jealous” of Sparta. What Kagan and his neocon and neoliberal censors strip out of history is that the war between Sparta and Athens was one of oligarchies against democracies. Sparta supported oligarchies — the Achaean League, Macedonia, etc. — and when it defeated Athens in 404 it installed the Thirty Tyrants, the leading oligarchs.
    They were overthrown in months, and Athens backed democracies. So there was a political war. That was always the key, not simply like US-Soviet rivalry. Without looking at the alliances between oligarchies cities on the one hand, and democracies on the other, you can’t understand the Peloponnesian War — or how Delphi was part of the Sparta/Persia alliance. (My book The Collapse of Antiquity will describe this in detail.)

    1. JTMcPhee

      And as to the legitimacy of the author’s “Thucydides” argument — really, citing Woodward’s “Fear” as some kind of actual honest factual expose and authority on and about what has gone on in “the Trump White House”?

      For Kuni Miyake,

      The real question is not whether China poses a strategic threat to the United States, but whether Washington has a consistent and realistic strategy to deal with Beijing, a longer-term, slyer competitor, given the “whims of an impulsive, ill-informed and undisciplined president,” as Bob Woodward wrote in his new book, “Fear.”

      So in the outlying districts and from within one of the also slyer competitors/players in the Great Game, current edition, comes this minatory screed telling us that we Americans (actually, our imperial rulers who are putting so much effort into self-enrichment and other manufactured conflicts) have to do better, step up our game, in “dealing with Beijing.” Yah, sure. When how many “American corporations” are in bed with “the enemy?” What policies does Kuni Miyake think the dying US empire ought to be prosecuting, again, regarding the other Yellow Peril over there across the Sea of Japan? Given that Miyake offers advice to both parties (a gross oversimplification, of course) on “what should be done:”

      China Should Heed Pearl Harbor’s Lessons —
      Another Asian power is in danger of repeating Japan’s mistakes.

      Kind of him to share his wisdom with the wider world — looks like he saves the really good advice only for paying customers:

    2. JTMcPhee

      And we are supposed to take as written the information and policy prescriptions in this article? Which is based on Woodward’s “Fear” as its guiding text? From the linked article, this bit for the red-meat crowd:

      The real question is not whether China poses a strategic threat to the United States, but whether Washington has a consistent and realistic strategy to deal with Beijing, a longer-term, slyer competitor, given the “whims of an impulsive, ill-informed and undisciplined president,” as Bob Woodward wrote in his new book, “Fear.”

      This is the author, Kuni Miyake: “Kuni Miyake is President of the Foreign Policy Institute, a private think-tank in Tokyo, Research Director for foreign and National Security Affairs at Canon Institute for Global Studies and a Visiting Professor at Ritsumeikan University.”

      One might ask what the Canon Institute is all about, and not be surprised that it is Nihon-Centric:

      Amid the current worldwide economic slowdown and increasing uncertainty regarding the global economy, Japan faces mounting concerns regarding the country’s future, including changes in its governing structure, an aging population coupled with a declining birthrate, and problems involving social security. On a global scale, as emerging countries continue to develop, the world faces many daunting problems that have never before been experienced, including a range of food and environmental crises. To find solutions to these problems, not only are national-level responses important, but also the assumption of a multifaceted and active role based on the broad collective wisdom of mankind.

      The Canon Institute for Global Studies, upon carefully assessing the future directions of Japan and the rest of the world, will investigate, analyze, and provide information from a global perspective on the challenges that stand in the way of future progress. Through the reflection of these in national policy, Canon will strive to contribute to society, and to the future development of Japan and the rest of the world.

      And he offers advice to all players in the current Great Game, like “Beijing:”

      China Should Heed Pearl Harbor’s Lessons —
      Another Asian power is in danger of repeating Japan’s mistakes.

      If you want the really GOOD advice, though, you gotta sign up and pay for it:

    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel


      As always, much appreciated, Doc Hudson!

      Too bad my latin n greek professors werent Marxists!

      1. Plenue

        My experience in my forays into Greco-Roman studies is that the entire field is on some fundamental level retarded. I mean the dictionary definitions of the word. Too many of them seem to be in awe of their mass-murdering, slave-owning, pleb-loathing subjects. To this day people still take the anti-democratic screeds of Plato (and his sockpuppet Socrates) seriously.

        You have to dig up Mommsen to get an account of Republican Rome that doesn’t idol worship its subjects.

        1. witters

          “To this day people still take the anti-democratic screeds of Plato (and his sockpuppet Socrates) seriously.”

          I suggest this is because they read The Republic (an account of what political power must be to avoid the corruptions of wealth and power and nepotism and elite collusion) and The Laws (an account of how to best realize such political power which turns out to mean – you really should read Plato – a radically democratic state with absolutely limited inequality.)

          And you seriously say, it is not worth taking seriously.

          1. Plenue

            The Laws doesn’t matter when no one actually reads or takes lessons from them. It’s The Republic that gets most of the focus.

            And yes, I say it’s not worth taking seriously. Plato’s ideal vision is of communally raised superchildren who are groomed (no girly music!) for power, with administration of the society divided into three parts. It would last about five minutes before the military faction launches a coup.

            His position on democracy is that it’s a second best form compared to his Republic, but might actually be achievable. The plan starts with purging the state of ‘undesirables’, ideally under the rule of some sort of principled tyrant who will impose egalitarian democracy.

            Interesting thought experiments, but terrible as guides.

            1. juliania

              No, that is not Plato’s ‘ideal vision’, Plenue. You have missed what ‘The Politeia’ is about. It is only one of a series of dialogues, which have other persons within them, in the whole unfolding drama of Socrates’ actual, real life imprisonment and death at the hands of the State. If you don’t read this dialogue in context and from start to finish more as a play than a positional paper, you won’t get a glimmer of what he is conveying. The dialogue is central. And it is about man in his political activities wrestling with the same powers we wrestle with today.

        2. juliania

          I take Plato seriously, Plenue. Of course, in my ancient liberal arts studies, the fact that Sparta was an oligarchical state while Athens leant towards democratic principles was not glossed over – it was accepted fact. Sad lessons could be learned today from the tragedy that was ancient Greece. Plato could teach us to discover them – I mean Plato in his writings, not in his currently being lectured upon. He knew all the pitfalls of political life, but his main message was ‘figure it out for yourself.’

          You see, he thought and believed that we could.

    4. bruce wilder

      . . . the established power will lose the game after fighting unnecessary wars or even without fighting. This is the real danger for an established power facing a rising power. To avoid these traps, all you need is a coherent and professional strategy under a non-impulsive, well-informed and disciplined president.

      You see, Michael, you are confusing us with the facts of class warfare, when the “real solution” is technocratic: leave it all to the professionals. It doesn’t matter what the strategy may be, as long as it is “coherent and professional” under a President with good brand management.

      1. knowbuddhau

        Athenian Democracy was explained to me as, “For Athens, democracy; for the rest empire.” And even that democracy, of course, was not meant the School House Rock version.

  18. Lost in Oregon

    About a month ago there was an excellent article that split us into believers or disbelievers. Either the system just needs to be tweaked or it needs to be trashed. That it works for us or it doesn’t.
    I’d love to reread that article if someone has the link.

  19. Tom Stone

    Lots of CalPers/ Marcie Frost news today.
    The compensation committee recommended she get a 4% raise and an $84,873 Bonus…
    The WSJ coverage is decent, Adam Ashton’s coverage is typical ass kissing and I’m looking forward to Hiltzik and Butka’s take.
    My take?
    Sesta/Fosta clearly hasn’t worked.

  20. allan

    The party of family values always puts children first … oh, never mind …

    E.P.A. Places the Head of Its Office of Children’s Health on Leave

    The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday placed the head of its Office of Children’s Health Protection on administrative leave, in an unusual move that several observers said appeared to reflect an effort to minimize the role of the office.

    Dr. Ruth Etzel, a pediatrician and epidemiologist who has been a leader in children’s environmental health for 30 years, joined the E.P.A. in 2015, after having served as a senior officer for environmental health research at the World Health Organization. She was placed on administrative leave late Tuesday and asked to hand over her badge, keys and cellphone, according to an E.P.A. official familiar with the decision who was not authorized to discuss the move and asked not to be identified. …

    Several people within the E.P.A. or who work closely with the agency said that Dr. Etzel’s dismissal is one of several recent developments that have slowed the work of the children’s health office. One person cited a proposal outlining a strategy for reducing childhood lead exposure, which had been in development for over a year with the involvement of 17 federal agencies, and which has been stalled since early July.

    Lead. In 2018. Brought to you by the GOPb.

    1. JBird4049

      Several people within the E.P.A. or who work closely with the agency said that Dr. Etzel’s dismissal is one of several recent developments that have slowed the work of the children’s health office. One person cited a proposal outlining a strategy for reducing childhood lead exposure, which had been in development for over a year with the involvement of 17 federal agencies, and which has been stalled since early July. …

      I’ve been meaning to do some real research on lead in America. The industries selling and using lead have slowed and often blocked laws and regulations against its use by all levels of government, federal, state, and municipal, for at least a century.

      Who knows how many people were poisoned, crippled, even killed because of it, and the lead industry knew and knows all about it. This probably caused more damage than tobacco, but it is more insidious, and therefore hideable.

  21. Edward E

    The Magnitsky affair: the confession of a hustled hack

    This is no excuse. I didn’t do my due diligence, and take full responsibility for erroneous information printed under my name. For that, I apologize to readers. I refer to two articles of mine published in a Cypriot publication, dated December 25, 2015 and January 6, 2016.

    At least he owns it, many stay quiet when they have an aha-moment

    1. JEHR

      I, too, was taken in by what Browder has said about his sojourn in Russia and he even convinced the Canadian government to pass a so-called Magnitsky law. In these days of fake news and pungent lies, it is refreshing and courageous of you, Edward E, to correct your erroneous information in a truly fullsome manner. Thanks for taking the time to do so.

      There are still two opposing stories making the rounds in the news about Browder. I for one will be skeptical of all further information about Browder and Magnitsky. We may never learn the whole truth.

      1. Carolinian

        It’s the author that he is quoting, Elias Hazou, who regrets being taken in by Browder.

        And while we may never learn the whole truth it’s pretty clear that hardly any truth is coming from Browder’s direction, at least if the now widely available (on the web) film is to be believed.

  22. Carla

    Some local color from Cleveland: I can’t recall whether there’s been any NC coverage of the scandal involving William Preucil, recently suspended Concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, and pedagogue recently fired by the Cleveland Institute of Music. His sexual abuse of a female student at CIM was first reported in the Cleveland Scene in 2007. Here’s what happened:

    I’ll save you the suspense: absolutely nothing happened for ELEVEN years.

    In July 2018, when the Washington Post “cited two more times Preucil allegedly made unwanted advances,” (and, oh, BTW, threats of blackmail) suddenly the allegations were taken seriously and the Orchestra and CIM responded. It remains to be seen when the Orchestra will actually bite the bullet and fire the criminal creep. But it is all too typical that the Cleveland power structure was able to bury a 2007 story in an “alternative” weekly until more than a decade later, it was corroborated by a national news source.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “The Cat Who Could Predict Death”

    I don’t know about that cat but I heard of a bed in a South African hospital not long ago in which critically ill patients would die as regular as clockwork every Friday. It turned out that what was happening was that a cleaning woman would unplug all the monitors and support devices so that she could plug in her floor-polisher, without realizing the significance of what she was doing, and by the time she finished the patient would be gone and no-one would be the wiser. True story that.

  24. FFA

    One of yesterday’s links was an article the social cost of carbon [dioxide emissions]. The article claimed a particularly high cost to US, India and Saudi Arabia. When I read the article I thought “Are they really arguing that the US will be worse hit than, say, Bangladesh?”

    The article mentioned one of the authors, Kate Ricke, and that lead me to the (paywalled) paper:

    There is supplementary material at the link above and at:

    They take models from:
    (You can login as a guest)

    I can’t access the papers involved, what I think they are doing is to run models of future GDP under varying climate change projections. The lower GDP (due to losses or opportunity costs incurred) in scenarios with greater CO2 emissions is then discounted to give a present day dollar cost of CO2 emissions for each country. I don’t know what these models include but they seem to aim for comprehensiveness. My suspicion is that forgone sales of fossil fuels and profitable crops and abandonment of first world real estate and infrastructure score very highly. Subsistence farms and third world villages score very low (in dollars).

    For those that are interested, losers (cost, dollars per ton of CO2): India 85, US 48, Saudi 47, UAE 25, Brazil 24, China 24… Bangladesh 2.
    Winners (cost, dollars per ton of CO2): Russia -11, Canada -8, Germany -5, UK -4. Almost all of Europe is scored as gaining in GDP.

    1. Linden S.

      I tried to dig around for a free link, I wish people didn’t publish in Nature so much..

      Apologies for the negative energy…but I hate it so much. I try to keep up on these “cost of climate change” studies, but I don’t really know how to engage with the economics of it. How do you price the loss of someone’s ancestral home? How do you price the knowledge that if you dig a well and build a house, clean water will come to your tap for decades to come? How do you price healthy, resilient, beautiful ecosystems? You can’t. One of my questions about these studies is: who are they for? Who do they convince?

      I have recommended this old article about discount rates before:

      It cuts to the heart of some of my confusion about “pricing” everything. I feel like we should have moved past these economic arguments for climate action a long time ago. I understand I am being naive, but it seems like the climate scientists/economists that cling to these kinds of studies are also being naive!

      1. Lorenzo

        thoughtful, friendly discussion of the most important issue I’ll ever have to face… what I come to NC for!

        thank you Linden, FFA

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I’ve found many pay-wall protected papers on the personal websites of their authors, especially the personal websites of Phd. students. Katherine Ricke’s personal website has a list of her papers [ Some of the papers can be downloaded as pdf files. Looking down the list of titles offers a fair idea of Katherine Ricke’s research.

      3. FFA

        The thing is, Ricke et al have posted a lot of their stuff to Github – they’re not trying to obfuscate this. Part of the problem is that dipping into a conversation between specialists is going to be baffling, even if I have access to everything. I hope open-access becomes the default though.

        I still think that they’re comparing umpteen runs of models described elsewhere:
        RCP: Representative Concentration Pathways, climate change under varying levels of CO2.
        SSP: Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, Hari Seldon’s psychohistory.
        GDP models: three of them for triple the fun.

        The pathways apparently are:
        SSP1: Sustainability
        SSP2: Middle of the Road
        SSP3: Fragmentation
        SSP4: Inequality
        SSP5: Conventional Development

        I think the overall modeling effort is more valuable than some particular model results (“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Dwight D. Eisenhower [citation needed]). I doubt these models will include major breakages like war or genocide and the GDP focused papers don’t count stuff you can’t put a price on so this is a deliberately restricted examination of certain aspects of the problem.

        They’ve added more links to the landing page above, including a short editorial by Ricke:

        The paper might aimed at long-term, very ‘patriotic’, materialistic thinkers (or technocrats, my interpretation) in the countries their model highlights as worst affected. This seems unlikely to have any immediate effect, in my jaundiced and poorly-informed opinion:
        India: If India could marshal constructive, long-term efforts across the country without crippling corruption and factionalism then ordinary Indians would be so much better off in many, many ways.
        US: The dominant party has shibboleths that include denying climate change, undoing environmental protections and deriding anything that smacks of technocracy. The other party does not believe it has support for more than a token effort and will not risk being ahead of perceived public opinion.
        Saudi, UAE: These autocracies are furiously pumping hydrocarbons to pay for fighting wars and bribing the populace.
        Brazil: Brazilian politics make me weep.
        China: I think the central government gets it (as much as any government does); but power struggles with provincial powers, corruption and a desire to make the masses feel richer every year to avoid unrest mean that China does less than it could.

        On the other hand, please don’t tell the Canadians or the Russians that every ton of CO2 emitted somewhere in the world makes them richer! Though I think the Canadians should expect another invasion attempt from the south when things start getting bad, so that might encourage some moderation.

        (apologies for the wall of text)

      4. FFA

        I forgot to thank Linden for the link to the grist article on discounting. The purely financial approach to climate change is very limited even within it’s terms of reference and ignores vital moral considerations (IMHO). I think (hope) that the authors of this paper are trying to reach some of those who favour national selfishness in terms they will understand. I’m not sure it will work.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Thank you for chasing down this information. The research paper the Independent story is based on seems to me like a variant to the old method of lying with statistics — lies crafted from statistics and ‘predictive’ models. I disagree with your guess that GDP was used as a measure for the SCC [Social Cost of Carbon] although GDP or something similar may have been a part of the calculations. Katharine Ricke is the main author of a paper from 2011 “Effectiveness of stratospheric solar-radiation management as a function of climate sensitivity” [Nature Climate Change — The abstract from that paper describes the modelling techniques it used: “Here, we use a perturbed-physics ensemble modeling experiment to examine how the response of the climate to SRM implemented in the stratosphere (SRM-S) varies under different greenhouse-gas climate sensitivities.” I have the feeling the models used to measure SCC are probably similarly fudgy. The solar-radiation management-stratospheric SRM-S analyzed in the paper is geoengineering.

      Following Kate Ricke to here web information at UCSD reveals a cluster of research centers at UCSD which, to me, have fragrance of geoengineering. I wondered about the other article in the Independent linked to a couple of days ago discussed an “Invited background document on economic transformation, to chapter: Transformation: The Economy” for the report “Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 drafted by the Group of independent scientists. One of the sections in this background document, written by a team at the BIOS is titled: “Rapid economic transition requires proactive governance – markets cannot accomplish the task”. The BIOS research unit “launched in autumn 2015” doesn’t sound like it has ties to geoengineering. It claims funding from the Kone Foundation — where ‘bold’ seems to be the watchword although its hard to tell what else the foundation stands for. The layout and organization of the UCSD websites and the BIOS website leave me with an eerie feeling of similarity to the layout and organization of think tank websites I’ve scanned that are openly Neoliberal in their outlook.

      “Prof. Philip Mirowski keynote for ‘Life and Debt’ conference” [ ] — The slide at minute 35:00 of this presentation:
      “Neoliberal Biopolitics
      1) Short-term holding action: Global warming denialism {agnotology}
      2) Intermediate term: Immobilize more direct carbon emission abatement through elaborate carbon trading schemes.
      3) Long term utopian: Foster entrepreneurial attempts to restructure and re-engineer Nature through commercialized segment of scientists under science fiction scenarios of planet geoengineering.”
      The slide at minute 49:00 “Proof of Concept Underway This Year” — shows one solar-radiation management stratospheric [SRM-S] proof of concept, which Mirowski discusses in his presentation.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        An afterthought — no matter what politics or economic concerns guide the multitudes of research centers and think tanks I have more and more trouble thinking the science they do is “independent” research.

  25. Jason Boxman

    “Senators, while coming out of a closed-door caucus lunch, acknowledged the situation remains fluid, but said they expected to be in session through the weekend to run out the procedural clock, a move that would allow them to wrap up Kavanaugh’s nomination next week.”

    Republicans don’t mess around. Liberals Democrats “fail” because that’s the point, a rear-guard action against the left.

  26. Jason Boxman

    On Chrome, I’m actually shocked just how many people use it. I’ll see people at work hunting through dozens of tabs trying to remember where something is. Why?

    I use Opera, which essentially solved the where-is-my-tab problem a decade ago. It has tab previews, control-tab behavior that rotates through your most recently used tabs instead of in sequential order, and this year they added the ability to search open tabs by text. (On OS X, this is control space and it works like CMD space for Spotlight. Very handy!)

    Firefox, too, has better tab handling.

    So I am continually astonished people use Chrome, simply because it’s a terrible browser, like IE was back in 2000s when everyone switched to Firefox.

    1. nippersmom

      My work computer has suddenly started to refuse to even open Firefox, which was always my go-to browser. I have no idea why this happened.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Domino’s offered Russians a lifetime of pizzas if they got tattoos of the company logo – and then they had to shut down the offer because too many people got inked Business Insider. UserFriendly: “ROFL I would totally have done this. Free food for a not totally ugly tattoo?”

    On the Iceman or Ötzi, there are (found so far) 61 tattoo marks, or so.

    The speculation is that (they are located where injuries or diseases are found) those were painkilling tattoos.

  28. Darius

    The Jonathan Cook piece in Counterpunch is must read. Most succinct summation I’ve read in a while of our predicament and the opportunities it presents.

    1. Judith

      Jonathan Cook’s essay is so thoughtful. I wished I shared his optimism about what can happen after the abyss. Unfortunately, I do not.

      I am re-reading Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table and encountered this passage today:

      “In the great centres of power, you see, competition is based not so much on winning but on stopping your enemy from achieving what he or she really wants.”

    2. Summer

      “Power’s goal is to keep looking like it has become something new, something innovative. Because the power-structure does not want change, it has to find front-men and women who can personify a transformation that is, in truth, entirely hollow.”

      The relationships of people in power have to be disrupted to create change. The system is nothing more than those relationships, not any piece of paper.

  29. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From ‘How China is losing the world’ article:

    More people in Europe and the United States are starting to be uneasy about the ways in which Confucius Institutes are allowed to operate in Western establishments without similar freedoms for Western equivalents in Chinese ones.

    I haven’t heard much of that, and the author didn’t elaborate. What do those institutes do in the US? And what would some Western equivalents?

    1. Mel

      Ostensibly they’re like the Alliance Française, or the Goethe Institute. Cultural outreach, language lessons, kind of thing.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thanks for that.

        According to the author, these Western institutes are not allowed the same freedoms in China.

        Is that correct?

  30. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump Escalates Tensions With China Through Taiwan Weapons Deal – 09/26/2018 – Yves Smith


    That contrasts with the recent news that Taiwan is making English the official language next.

    Not sure if Hakka, Taiwanese Hokkien or the indigenous (they prefer that over aboriginal, I read somewhere) languages are official or not.

    Perhaps this will allow them to make more money or easier to get an American credential, if not forgetting their own cultures. Certainly it will make reading US weapon users manuals easier. And this is all voluntary, without Trump escalating US cultural hegemony.

    Will this (English as an official language) provoke China?

    Maybe, or maybe not – a while back, I was reading about the history of simplified Chinese characters. At one time (or perhaps still under consideration), the plan was to do away with the cumbersome writing altogether, and go with an alphabet set…already, minority languages in China are written that way (I believe).

  31. JEHR

    Here’s an interesting article on fraud and corruption as a major characteristic of neoliberalism and/or capitalism. It makes one’s country seem inhospitable. I want to look around and see where fraud thrives in Canada. I know that our banks have done some deregulation (i.e., deposits can be used for “investment” by banks and banks can now sell insurance; they were bailed out by our central bank and the Fed). There are also quick loans with 59.5% annual interest on repayment (usury). Maybe that pavement that was put down two years ago and is already full of holes and cracks is due to someone’s need for personal use of materials that go toward making pavement. I’m going to pay more attention for signs of fraud and corruption around me.

    1. adam eran

      One of the neoliberal projects has been to cut funding for education (Federal funding for higher education has declined 55% since 1972, says David Cay Johnston)…so tuition increases occur, leading to student indebtedness, so students can’t take public service jobs, they have to pursue the almighty dollar at all costs. Land of the Fee is the source of this observation.

  32. Wukchumni

    An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter — the disease’s highest death toll in at least four decades.

    The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, revealed the total in an interview Tuesday night with the Associated Press.

    Flu experts knew it was a very bad season, but at least one found the size of the estimate surprising.

    “That’s huge,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert. The tally was nearly twice as much as what health officials previously considered a bad year, he said.

    The figure eclipses the estimates for every flu season going back to the winter of 1976-77. Estimates for many earlier seasons were not readily available.

    I’ve never seen a flu season such as last year, mine hung on for 4 weeks and was quite relentless.

  33. cripes

    The Cat Who Could Predict Death
    Just wanted to note the score:

    Computer algorithm- 95%
    Cat – 100%

    Maybe better to find what data the cat is using.

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