Links 9/16/18

Guy who says dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark tapped to review Arizona’s evolution standards AZ Central

Sex, Lies, and Grappling Hooks: How Parasitic Beetles Trick Bees National Geographic

Google China Prototype Links Searches to Phone Numbers The Intercept. Well, I’m sure two-factor identification with one factor a phone number will never be used to achieve the same goal in this country. Because that would be evil.

Google Employees Are Quitting Over The Company’s Secretive China Search Project Buzzfeed. Leaving the dregs behind…

Uber glitch leaves drivers unpaid and frustrated Associated Press

Theranos closes deal with Fortress to shut down embattled firm MarketWatch

3 Investments That May Have Hit Their Peak NYT. Three asset classes: private equity, venture capital, and private real estate.

Why Is Virtual Reality Interesting for Philosophers? Frontiers in Robotics and AI


With a Brexit deal in sight, Britain is entering a no man’s land Nick Clegg, FT

UK constitutional crisis looms if Brexit talks founder The Irish Times

United Ireland would ‘permanently reduce’ living standards of those in Republic Belfast Telegraph

Brexit Region Lives With Alarming Echoes of the Past Bloomberg


Syria says it shot down Israeli missiles over airport FT

The Dike Breaks – Netherland Ends Support For “White Helmets” Terrorist Propaganda Moon of Alabama

America’s Death Trail in Yemen, and the Importance of Showing Graphic Images of War Walter Bragman, Paste. If we can trust their provenance, yes.


This thread on Xinjiang and the Uighers seems useful:

Got a problem? Ask China’s online agony aunts The Star

How Asia Got Crazy Rich n+1

Imperial Collapse Watch

The price of precarious labour in contemporary warfare OUP Blog

Trump Transition

The Watergate ‘Road Map’ and the Coming Mueller Report Lawfare

FEMA to test ‘Presidential Alert’ system next week NBC

Our System Is Too Broken to Assess the Sexual Assault Claim Against Kavanaugh Slate

Why Did the New York Review of Books Publish That Jian Ghomeshi Essay? Slate

Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria was a manmade disaster. Hundreds of families told us what really happened Quartz

Democrats in Disarray

Republican war criminals endorse CIA Democrat Slotkin WSWS. Torture is bipartisan!

The Progressive Playbook: How These Candidates Pulled Off Their Upsets NYT

2020 Dems: Rebels v. restorationists Axios

Jeff Klein spent $3M in stunning loss to newcomer Biaggi NY Post

New York’s Faux Democrats Are Out, and Conservative Democratic Politics Thoroughly Discredited In These Times. Maybe. Surely the Blue Dogs are the IDC on a grander scale?

How high was turnout in the New York primary? 5 things to know Democrat & Chronicle

Money Talks. Will the G.O.P. Listen? Bari Weiss, NYT

The Threat to Democracy Isn’t Coming From Its People Slate. Response to The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Rosen on “mob rule.”

Shooters are twice as deadly when a semiautomatic rifle is in the mix, study finds Los Angeles Times. So the techology is working as designed.

The Crash Ten Years After

Repo 105 Episolon Theory

1 big thing: Why we’re safer Axios

The financial crisis hit 10 years ago. For some, it feels like yesterday Los Angeles Times

Meltdown 2008: A Grim Anniversary for the Middle Class The American Conservative

Black Injustice Tipping Point

We Want Black Students, Just Not You: How White Admissions Counselors Screen Bllack Prospective Students (PDF) American Sociological Association

Class Warfare

A new authoritarian axis demands an international progressive front Bernie Sders, Guardian

If Jeff Bezos wants to help low-income people why not just pay them better? Guardian

Sorry, Not Sorry Boston Review. Boots Riley is an interesting figure.

Severe Typhoon Mangkhut: signal No 10 raised as Hong Kong braces for waves up to 14m high South China Morning Post

Florence’s SC forecast felt so unpredictable. But the NHC nailed it. Post and Courier

Dire Flood Threat for the Carolinas as Florence’s Record Rains Continue Weather Underground

Don’t Condemn People Who Don’t Evacuate for Hurricane Florence Scientific American (KS). Or in cartoon form:

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. fresno dan

    So I watched a portion of a MSNBC special about Michael Moore and Flint last night (now I wish I had caught the whole thing). Usually I can only take Moore in small doses, but this was informative (and outrageous with regard to how wronged the people of Flint have been)
    One point that was brought up is that in the 2016 election, just under 90,000 ballots did not have a presidential candidate selected. That is, of all the people who voted, 90,000 did not vote for president (so I was surprised at how often people vote but do not vote for president)

    This site seems to confirm that

    87,810: Number of voters this election who cast a ballot but did not cast a vote for president. That compares to 49,840 undervotes for president in 2012.

    1. timbes

      At least $1 trillion/yr for Department of War and Aggression ($800 billion officially admitted plus hundreds of billions in classified secret spending/yr plus off budget appropriations is that still happening?). A horrible candidate threw a few bones out about maybe getting out of a few our forever wars, and all of D.C. and both parties are “investigating” him because of it even as he retreats in full on those random musings that sparked a few hopeful notices form some of us.

      But we can’t have safe clean public water or healthcare.

      America is exceptional.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Time to rename the Department of War Department of Defense yet again — I suggest it be called the Department of Hegemony Maintenance.

          1. Richard

            “They create a desolation and call it peace.” I know I’ve got it something wrong, but isn’t that Tacitus quoting the Gauls on the Romans?

            1. JBird

              Sounds right as Julius Caesar did have a little Celtic Genocide but a number of other Roman conquest got similar treatment.

            2. Amfortas the Hippie

              Yup. “ubi solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant”–Calgacus, a Caledonian war chief, as quoted by Tacitus in the Agricola.
              I think it’s one of the most timely utterances from those days, and I recall it whenever I drive through the Barrio.

              “Robbers of the world, having by their universal plunder exhausted the land, they rifle the deep. If the enemy be rich, they are rapacious; if he be poor, they lust for dominion; neither the east nor the west has been able to satisfy them. Alone among men they covet with equal eagerness poverty and riches. To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it peace.”

              It’s quite depressing, especially when you consider that they had to wait some 300 years for the empire to start collapsing under it’s own weight, before the Legions were withdrawn.

        1. Procopius

          No, “Department of Defense” is the appropriate name. I believe it was Robert Heinlein who said (through his character Lazarus Long), “No Department of Defense has ever won a war.”

      2. Richard

        Lee Camp had a show a few months ago, about $11 trillion in unaccounted for spending over an 10 year period that was found by DoD workers IIRC, then the data taken down from the website after it was brought to the attention of the accounting office.
        I’d say it’s a stone cold certainty they have more than their budget shows, maybe 2 or 3 times more if there’s anything to the 11 trillion story.

        1. JBird

          Eleven trillion unaccounted?? Over only eleven years? The State of California’s whole economy is only roughly 2.7 trillion and (I think) all expenditures state and municipal in total is less than a trillion.

        2. Oregoncharles

          That’s what all that Afghan heroin is for. That, and destabilizing black neighborhoods back home. Of course, now it’s spread to whites too.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      I believe my ballot, on which I wrote none of the above since writing in Sanders was not being tallied in North Carolina, would be among those considered as voting for other offices but not president.

      That wasn’t an undervote, it was a protest vote!

    3. Oregoncharles

      If people believed they had to choose between Clinton and Trump, why would they vote at all? At least they voted on other offices.

  2. Wukchumni

    Arizona is the sump of all our fear, get Jurassic out of there.

    The earth is just 6,000 years old and dinosaurs were present on Noah’s Ark. But only the young ones. The adult ones were too big to fit, don’t you know.

    “Plenty of space on the Ark for dinosaurs – no problem,” Joseph Kezele explained to Phoenix New Times’ Joseph Flaherty.

    1. Arizona Slim

      And here is a fun fact: Arizona has one of the highest rates of religious non-affiliation in the country. Non-observance is way up there too.

      In short, this place is about as far as you can get from the Bible Belt.

      1. Wukchumni

        In short, this place is about as far as you can get from the Bible Belt.

        That’s the beauty of designating it the crass-test-dummy for the real thing back east, if it plays in Arizona, the theoproles will fall in line.

        1. newcatty


          As an Arizona resident of oh, so many years I have noticed your enlightening responses and comments on almost any subject related to the state. Indeed, there are many things to criticize and, if so inclined, to mock the state governance, most politicians, and the mostly Republican voters who support the ridiculous and greedy candidates of the Party. You have stated your assessment of the state as:

          designating it as the crass-test-dummy for…

          Many times. Really? Arizona is the test case for, example, “Christian Fundamentalists” trying to worm their agenda into the education standards in our science curricula. This is deplorable. But, to state that Arizona is the crass-test-dummy compared to states like Texas, Mississippi, Alabama or some others is odd. Painting Arizona as the unfortunate leader for unprogressive and backward policymakers is smacking of a bias about the state and it’s people. We are not all in that camp. A tip of my cowgirl hat (which I actually don’t own), a toast of prickly pear margarita ( I prefer them trad) and a wink and a nod to Arizona Slim.

          1. Wukchumni

            The strokes of my brush are applied to your politics in particular, the populace being willing accomplices to their monkeyshines in the majority, but not all.

            So, there’s hope.

      1. Richard

        We’re also lied to constantly and shamelessly. It’s a wonder people know anyhing at all, or get anything right.
        I think if they’d stop lying, we’d do pretty well.

        1. Carey

          A comment that I once read at JH Kunstler’s blog keeps coming to mind:
          “If you’re paying attention, you’re being played”, and with the 2013
          NDAA making psyops against the citizenry permissible, well…

  3. fresno dan

    Guy who says dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark tapped to review Arizona’s evolution standards AZ Central

    FROM THE ARTICLE: The earth is just 6,000 years old and dinosaurs were present on Noah’s Ark. But only the young ones. The adult ones were too big to fit, don’t you know.
    People, people, people – that is just the silliest thing ever. ALL the animals on the Ark were in egg form because OBVIOUSLY there would not be enough room for food. Sure, animals are born live NOW, but back than all animals got laid….as eggs.

    1. pretzelattack

      this isn’t true, stewards were complaining that the teenage dinosaurs were constantly keeping the other guests awake, playing fortnite and smoking dope and sending out for pizza at all hours. it is important to maintain scrupulous accuracy in science.

        1. wilroncanada

          There were two Dinos on the Ark. But they weren’t alive unfortunately when the dove returned.
          They were suffocated by the rabbits which kept doing what they do. You know what rabbits, or mice, can do in 40 days and 40 nights? Then there were the insects, the mosquitoes, the black flies, and all the others which did what came gnaturally. those poor Dinos didn’t stand a chance.
          They ended up down in steerage, covered in s$$t.

    2. Wukchumni

      A fellow cabin owner did a 20 day raft trip on the Colorado River last year and had the time of his life, it being something he’d always want to do, and got in on a cancellation.

      He related that along the way, they ran into creationists that were laboriously searching for something geologically that was exactly the 6,000 or so years old, in order to prove that their dogma will hunt.

      He couldn’t stop laughing inwardly, as all around them was oh so many hundreds of millions of years of erosion in practically every direction one looked.

      1. pretzelattack

        creationists probably destroyed some dinosaur footprints in texas, and worked on changing others to look more like human footprints. no shame, cause god’s on their side.

        1. mark

          Douglas was a Brit, all British school children learn about the formation of the fjords during the last ice age in about 2nd grade, hence the joke. Both Adams and Pratchett write (or wrote) extremely funny novels that work on multiple levels, but one of the big things to me is how much of the humor non-Brits miss because they don’t have the ingrained cultural references that drives so much of the humor.

          1. wilroncanada

            Similarly, an hilarious take on creation myths is the 1999 novel by Thomas King, ‘Green Grass, Running Water’. King includes first people’s as well as the white versions from Judeo-Christ-Muslim sources, all mixed together.

    3. Jake Mudrosti

      Folks will laugh at the Young Earth creationist. Meanwhile, Elon Musk is officially on record as firmly believing in a Young Earth as a “simulation”, and still unaccountably decides on new schools for kids (“Ad Astra”), covered approvingly in the media.

      deGrasse Tyson saw Musk getting tons of praise, and pushed the simulation line himself in the media. He’s still treated as some sort of Voice of Science.

      Or, as I mentioned in NC comments in past years, YouTube created an internal program to push its content into classrooms. Their flagship lesson, promoted in the media with great fanfare upon its launch, taught that the sun plays no role in affecting the heights of ocean tides. YouTube spokespeople stonewalled my questions about their program for months, and then simply stopped replying.

    4. ewmayer

      Old Silicon Valley – from the days when SiVal made at least a few interesting and useful things, before it became a cesspool of personal-data-hoovering and technotopian grift – chip-designer joke about the ark:

      After forty days and nights of rain, the waters receded and the ark finally alighted on solid ground. Noah opened the doors of the ark and the animals came out two by two, just as they had entered the ship. And Noah said unto them, ‘go forth and multiply’. And two of the snakes turned back to Noah and retorted-eth unto him, ‘we can’t – we’re adders.’

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        “OMG RUSSIA” has nothing to do with Trump for the average Democratic concerned citizen. It’s absolution for not addressing the disaster Team Blue had become or supporting a candidate so weak she lost to Trump. In such an important election, putting up a weak candidate makes no sense. As Herm Edwards famously said, “you play to win the game.” They played for style points. In the case of the Team Clinton election escapades, these aren’t secrets. They simply don’t do well, and they’ve fared poorly on the national stage.

        Caitilin Johnston gets to it at the end when she mentions Democratic rage towards Susan Sarandon. Losing faith in the PUTIN!! means recognizing 1 in 5 , id’s faced food insecurity in 2016 before Trump was President (insert problem of choice). Sarandon is smart, but she’s not a member of the expert class. If she knew, everyone else can be expected to know too at least the ones who devote time to the #resistance or skipped brunch.

        1. Carolinian

          It gives CNN something to talk about 24/7 and the million or so dedicated CNN viewers glued to their sets. Not for nothing are “police procedurals” a popular TV show format. Whodunnit can keep viewers watching through the dullest of plots. Trump could probably easily defuse all this by acting presidential but he obviously enjoys all the attention. As he said, and I quote, “if I acted presidential you would be so bored.”

          1. clarky90

            “The Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia Sect” is a Neo-Creationist Religion.

            “Then, behold, The Great Anti-AntiChrist appeared in the East, in the Land of Russia….”PUTIN, the Betrayer”.

            The Mighty Priests of Baal were shaken and confused by the unexpected threat. They turned to their God, The Invincible, Golden Bull of Wallstreetstan. Many burnt offerings were sacrificed……as a warning to The People not to stray from The Narrative…..

    1. allan

      If that op-ed is a bombshell, I’m Marilyn Monroe. The standard for opening a criminal investigation is
      not that you can already prove that someone has committed a crime, but that there is a suspicion of criminal activity.
      Oddly, or not, for a piece written by an “award-winning investigative journalist”,
      it doesn’t ever state the actual legal criteria for appointment of a special counsel.

      The author, John Solomon, is well-known to have GOP leanings.
      Check out his work circa 2006 for the AP, where he worked at the time,
      trying to tie Harry Reid to the Jack Abramoff scandals.
      Solomon then migrated back to his natural habitat (Washington Times)
      and has bounced around right-wing media since.

      1. Plenue

        . The standard for opening a criminal investigation is
        not that you can already prove that someone has committed a crime, but that there is a suspicion of criminal activity

        There was never any real suspicion that ‘the Russians’ ‘interfered’ in the election, much less that Trump is some sort of KGB agent. This entire farce has been a politically driven joke from the start.

        1. TimmyB

          No. Criminal investigations take place, in the great majority of circumstances, after an actual crime has been committed and the crime is serious enough that law enforcement will devote resources to solving that crime. Suspicion of a possible crime? Only witch hunts investigate those.

          With the Trump special prosecuton/witch hunt, the Clinton campaign paid a private firm for opposition research. While the series of reports put together by the firm contained some salacious gossip, there was no evidence an actual crime was committed. However, Clinton supporters in the Government got the organs of state security to gin up an investigation of Trump based upon those reports. Those reports were also spoon fed to the press.

          As a result, a special prosecutor was appointed. The purpose of a special prosecutor is not to investigate crimes. It is witch hunt investigating people. For example, the special prosecutor who investigated Bill Clinton was originally appointed to investigate a supposedly crooked land deal in Arkansas (Whitewater) and ended up investigating presidential blow jobs and semen stained dresses in DC.

          My point is that special prosecutions are witch hunts. If any American were the subject of a special prosecution, I bet that at least one of the subject’s friends or family members would say, for what ever reason, something false to an investigator. That person would then be indicted for the crime of obstruction of justice and lying to a federal investigator. That’s blood in the water for the press and great publicity for the special prosecutor. So the witch hunt continues.

          Go look at the crimes the Whitewater special prosecutor charged people with. All of them were unrelated to the president and would never have been discovered but for hundreds of government agents going over people’s lives with a fine tooth comb looking for any possible criminal behavior. That’s a government witch hunt investigating people, not crimes or even suspicion of possible crimes.

          The same thing is now happening with Trump. There is zero evidence that Trump is a Russian agent. But if you open up a federal investigation with hundreds of agents putting everyone under a microscope, the special prosecutor will always find criminal activity. I don’t care who the subject of the investigation is, Clinton, Trump, Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, or even Bernie Sanders. Witch hunts always find witches.

          So let’s not kid ourselves that what’s going on now comes close to being a typical criminal investigation. It is not. It’s as far from a typical criminal investigation as one can get.

          1. allan

            28 CFR 600.1 – Grounds for appointing a Special Counsel.

            § 600.1 Grounds for appointing a Special Counsel.

            The Attorney General, or in cases in which the Attorney General is recused, the Acting Attorney General, will appoint a Special Counsel when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted and –

            (a) That investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney’s Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances; and

            (b) That under the circumstances, it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside Special Counsel to assume responsibility for the matter.

            Apparently Rod Rosenstein, not previously known as an agent of the Democratic Party,
            felt that these criteria had been met, and didn’t base his decision solely on the Steele dossier.
            Special counsel Mueller (there are no more special prosecutors) has so far obtained guilty pleas admitting to foreign interference in US elections (the reason Rosenstein made the appointment),
            facilitated by senior government officials in both Ukraine and Israel. That is not a witch hunt.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              So, not exactly.

              He’s gotten guilty pleas for lying to the fbi, tax evasion, FARA violations and, this one I’m not sure of, buying incredibly ugly clothes for incredibly exorbitant prices.

              The original Russian “agent,” Carter Page, hasn’t even been charged.

              All those accused of election “intervention” have been Russian people with names like Igor or corporations and, with one exception, have blown him off–as he intended. That one corporation decided to answer his indictment and hired lawyers came as quite a shock, and mueller and his merry band are backpedaling on that one as fast as their little legal legs will allow.

              One thing a witch hunt must guarantee–witches. Even if the hunters have to stick the hairy warts on the witch noses themselves.

              1. allan

                “All those accused of election “intervention” have been Russian people”

                No. Mueller has now put the DOJ on the record, and Manafort admitted,
                that a senior Israeli government official interfered in the 2012 election:

                MANAFORT coordinated privately with a senior Israeli government official to issue a written statement publicizing this story. MANAFORT then, with secret advance knowledge of that Israeli statement, worked to disseminate this story in the United States, writing to Person D1 “I have someone pushing it on the NY Post. Bada bing bada boom.” MANAFORT sought to have the Administration understand that “the Jewish community will take this out on Obama on election day if he does nothing.”

                See my comment on Friday’s Links.

                1. Unna

                  So they need to charge Manafort with being an unregistered agent of Israel, and charge the Israeli guy with election interference. He can share a jail cell with the Russian guys. Oh, Israel doesn’t extradict people and neither do the Russians.

                  You have to know this is primarily political when they announce the latest Russian indictments 2 days before Trump goes to meet Putin. Once they announce, none of the defendants will ever stand trial, which is the point. If the charges were serious, then the prosecuter should have waited. Maybe a long time until one of the Russians tries to vacation somewhere in the West, and they can arrest him. That’s what a serious and honest prosecutor would do. But that’s not what was done. I wonder why?

                  1. Procopius

                    You haven’t heard of Concord Consulting? I’m not surprised. They are one of three Russian companies charged in the first indistment. They sent lawyers to plead at the arraignment, much to the dismay of the DoJ prosecutors, who never expected to actually have to try the case. Fortunately for them, they don’t have to present evidence at the arraignment, but then the lawyers for Concord Consulting demanded to see the evidence against them so they can prepare their defense (it’s called “discovery”). Turns out the DoJ lawyers are desperate to get the judge to deny discovery because some of the material, although not classified, would reveal investigatory methods and sources. I haven’t been able to find anything about the case since early July.

                2. Grebo

                  Interference in an election surely must involve something a little more direct than simply trying to influence people’s opinions or politicians’ actions. Otherwise, I can think of a few media billionaires, thinktanks and K Street firms that should be investigated.

                3. Procopius

                  Speaking of the Democratic Party paying a private firm to write an opposition research dossier of essays, I rarely see mention of the fact that rather than report suspected hacking to the FBI (the single agency charged with counter-espionage in the United States) they hired a private firm to write a report accusing sections of the Russian Intelligence Service of doing the hacking.

            2. Unna

              So if I’m a local prosecuter and there’s a suspicion – but no real evidence – just a rumour, that a local Doc sometimes smokes some weed while out on a vacation skiing in another state, I should investigate all the small time druggies and see if I can flip someone on the Doc, you know, because he ran for county government and won against someone I would have prefered working with. Then when the local reporter gets a hold of it I brag about all the two week county jail sentences I got to justify myself. Boss Hogg at the highest level.

            3. TimmyB

              Please tell me who’s plead guilty for the crime of “interfering” with a US election Better yet, since you can find your way around the US Code, what is the statute that makes election “interference” a crime? That’s right, there isn’t any such statute, so no one has plead guilty to it as you claim.

              The investigation is a witch hunt.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        That’s some great reporting. I enjoyed her intervention at the EU hearing with the US representative. That’s exactly what happens there every day. The EU bureaucracy is useless. Must watch.

  4. gordon

    Slate’s article on the “threat to democracy” and Bernie Sanders’ article on the authoritarian axis make a nice pair. They were very reminiscent of the “Belle Epoque”, I thought. The world of Jaures, Trotsky, Lenin, Eugene Debs and Rosa Luxemburg seems to be reconstituted.

    What is to be done? Well, there’s always the Fourth International, I suppose…

  5. Wukchumni

    A Czech design that was appropriated by der fuhrer, came to the end of the line…

    The Tatra 97 was designed to complement two full-size cars in the Tatra range: the Tatra 77 launched in 1934 and the Tatra 87 launched in 1936 along with the Type 97. Each of the three models has an air-cooled rear engine and share similar aerodynamic fastback four-door sedan bodies. But whereas types 77 and 87 each have a large V8 engine, Type 97 has a flat-four engine.

    In both streamlined design and technical specifications, especially the engine design and position, the Type 97 has a striking resemblance to Volkswagen’s KdF-Wagen. Adolf Hitler is reported to have said of Tatra’s cars, “This is the car for my roads.”. Ferdinand Porsche was accused of using Tatra designs to design the Volkswagen quickly and cheaply. In Ledwinka’s words, “Well, sometimes Porsche looked over my shoulder and sometimes I looked over his.”

    Tatra sued Porsche for damages, and Porsche was willing to settle. But Hitler cancelled this, saying he “would settle the matter”. Soon after Germany occupied the Sudetenland, Tatra stopped production of the Type 97 and the lawsuit was discontinued. After the Second World War Tatra resumed its lawsuit. In 1965 Volkswagen settled it by paying Tatra 1,000,000 Deutsche Mark in compensation.

    1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      Well Germany demolished France with a Czech tank as its main medium tank. The Skoda LT38 became the Pz38(t). Variations of it served right till 45.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Yes, thanks! Very encouraging in its description of how progressives are making headway in Trump country by RESPECTING those they are trying to win over. What we have in common far outweighs our differences.

      The Intercept strikes again. And if y’all haven’t listened to the latest Intercepted podcast, you really should. Jeremy Scahill hosts Zephyr Teachout who conveys so much energy and enthusiasm she sounds unstoppable talking about the tools she will bring to bear on cleaning up Wall Street, and he is SCATHING on McCain’s funeral. And as always puts the ugly present in historical context.

  6. Alex

    The price of precarious labour in contemporary warfare

    Wow, they should read what happened to other empires that turned to low-cost barbarian mercenaries.

      1. Alex

        Yea that’s a good example (I was thinking of Germans and Varangians in the service of Romans and Byzantines actually). Though it paints a more optimistic picture: an empire that uses foreign cannon fodder can actually survive and even thrive for century or two after that

      2. ewmayer

        It’s an interesting coincidence to see this mention of Hessian auxiliaries (technically, they were not mercenaries as they were fighting for their prince in leased-out mode) in King George’s army immediately below a subthread about Lancaster, PA. Wikipedia:

        Many Hessian prisoners were held in camps at the interior city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Lancaster was a center for the Pennsylvania Dutch, who treated the German prisoners well. The Hessians responded favorably; some volunteered for extra work assignments, helping to replace local men serving in the Continental Army. After the war, many POWs never returned to Germany and instead accepted American offers of religious freedom and free land, becoming permanent settlers. By contrast, British prisoners were also held in Lancaster, but these men did not respond favorably to good treatment – they tried to escape.[24]

        Wikipedia notes that in total, around 5000 of the 30,000 German auxiliaries who fought in the Revolutionary War ended up settling in the U.S. after the war. I’d wager tht most Americans probably have friends who have such a soldier as an ancestry. As is also true of any of the other significant ethnic subgroups who wove their way into the great demographic tapestry that is us. And now I’m starting to sound like a promo for a schmaltzy feelgood NBC Idpol-R-us TeeVee series, so I’ll stop. :)

  7. fresno dan

    Why Did the New York Review of Books Publish That Jian Ghomeshi Essay? Slate

    Q: O. J. Simpson was not found guilty in a criminal trial. I assume, even if he didn’t have other issues, we might have paused before asking him to write an essay.

    A: That is true, but he was found guilty in a civil trial.

    Q:I think even if he hadn’t been is perhaps the point to be made. But let’s also note that Ghomeshi signed a peace bond and avoided another trial by apologizing to a victim. And these allegations were from more than 20 women. We don’t know what happened, I agree. But that is an astonishing number, no?

    A: I am not going to defend his behavior, and I don’t know if what all these women are saying is true. Perhaps it is. Perhaps it isn’t. My interest in running this piece, as I said, is the point of view of somebody who has been pilloried in public opinion and what somebody like that feels about it. It was not run as a piece to exonerate him or to somehow mitigate the nature of his behavior.

    Q: You say it’s not your “concern,” but it is your concern. If you knew the allegations were true, I assume you would not have run the piece.
    First, OJ Simpson was interviewed about the murder he (OJ) was accused of committing. Not a self written essay, but somewhat analogous.

    My problem with the line of questioning is that it seems to advocate that “bad” people never be allowed a forum. The interlocutor seems not to understand that the readers will presumably know what the author has been accused of, and can come to their own conclusions about the veracity of the accusers.
    I have read interviews of serial killers who make the most outlandish claims, such as the victim wanted to be tortured and murdered. The point of reading them is my interest about mental illness, psychopathy and criminals and the ruses they use to justify (even to themselves) their horrendous actions. I imagine most readers will not be so gullible as to believe such claims.

    1. Lobsterman

      This is deliberately disingenuous. There is a world of difference between uncritically printing anything the man puts out without bothering to fact check and an adversarial interview.

      1. fresno dan

        September 16, 2018 at 11:43 am

        OJ Simpson wrote a BOOK that many interpret as saying that he got away with murder. Was the publisher “uncritical” in publishing it? I think any critical thinking person can read that book and any book, and evaluate it for themselves. I

  8. The Rev Kev

    “If Jeff Bezos wants to help low-income people why not just pay them better?”

    I am going to take a stab at this one. Suppose Bezos had a come-to-Jesus moment and he thought: “Damn, I should pay my workers a living wage. That way, not only would they be my workers but with a small discount, they could be my customers as well. Ford was right!” Sounds good, doesn’t it? But think what happens next. All the other tech billionaires suddenly come under irresistible pressure to follow up on his example. They would never, ever miss the money but that is not the point. That is THEIR money that you are talking about.
    So Bezos has made all the tech billionaires, and by extension Wall Street, enemies of him. Using their combined power, Bezos suddenly finds himself in front of Congressmen asking all sorts of hard questions. Embarrassing revelations are made in the media in a coordinated campaign. Federal charges are discussed being filed for tax evasion and all sorts of misdeeds and the next thing you know, Bezos may find himself in the slammer. I would say that this related scenario would not be too far from the truth.

    1. cnchal

      Pay people moar -> Wall Street hates that -> Amazon stawk price collapses -> Jeffie can’t fund his rockets and is no longer the richest person in the world by paper assets “value”.

    2. Carolinian

      If Bezos didn’t run his warehouses like sweatshops then the dubious economics of his mail order/low price model would become obvious–threatening his entire empire and the stock price that is the true source of his wealth. When Amazon first started as a book seller even executives were working in the warehouse as needed to somehow make the thing work. From drone delivery to an experimental store without cashiers the company is obviously seeking ways–however impractical–to take labor out of the equation altogether.

    3. John

      See Dodge vs Ford Motor Co…1919. Your scenario is essentially what happened…except Henry Ford wasn”t sent to prison. He just lost the court case. Ford wanted to pay workers more so they could buy what they made.

      1. TimmyB

        The “Ford wanted to pay worker’s more so they could buy his products” myth is complete bullshit. There were many highly skilled mechanics in Detroit when Ford started out. However, few of them wanted to work on Ford’s mind-numbing assembly line doing the same exact thing for hours at a time when they could be paid the same wages doing more interesting work under better conditions at some other car maker’s shop.

        Ford had a serious problem. Too many people were being hired by Ford, trained on the assembly line, and then quiting, which was seriously impacting assembly line production. Ford’s solution to his inability to retain trained workers was to raise wages to keep trained people on the assembly line. That was the only reason he raised wages PERIOD.

        Ford did NOT raise wages because he wanted to increase his workers’ living standards. That’s bullshit. Dodge v. Ford was about the Dodge brothers wanting to be paid stock dividends from Ford Motor Co. and Ford wanting to use that money to grow the business instead of paying it to shareholders/competitors. It had zero to do with employee wages.

        Today, as American corporations must always be run with the purpose of “increasing shareholder value,” if Bezos raised employee wages in order to increase their living standard, he would be instantly sued by Amazon shareholders. He would also lose.

        The problem here is that our entire economic system is designed to enrich the owners of corporations at the expense of everyone and everything else. Bezos can’t change it, even if he wanted to. While I strongly doubt he would ever want to change it, he would be crushed if he tried.

        To change it, people need to organize and confront this horrible system. That will not be easy. What makes it more difficult is people believing Ford, Gates, Buffet or Bezos ever looked out for the interests of working people.

    4. David

      There are many lessons that Henry Ford could teach Bezos. From Wikipedia:

      [Ford] employed various intimidation tactics to squash union organizing. The most famous incident, on May 26, 1937, involved [Ford’s] security men beating with clubs members of the United Automobile Workers… While [Ford’s] men were beating the UAW representatives, the supervising police chief [a former Ford employee]..”did not give orders to intervene.”

      In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Edsel—who was president of the company—thought Ford had to come to some sort of collective bargaining agreement with the unions because the violence, work disruptions, and bitter stalemates could not go on forever. But Ford, who still had the final veto in the company on a de facto basis even if not an official one, refused to cooperate…

      The Ford Motor Company was the last Detroit automaker to recognize the UAW.

      1. JBird

        Don’t forget the teargas used on strikers in the Ford factory or the police and Ford goons security guards both firing, as in with real guns, on protestors.

        The main reason I think it is going to get much, much more violent soon is because of the not so distant American, or for that matter, British past violence used by the rich, connected, and powerful on the poor or even just reformist. There were plenty of working and middle class, and often college educated, people who enjoyed (often false) arrests and charges, rigged trials, imprisonment, beatings, severe injuries, even murder including outright assassinations, by private military, police, and actual military.

        Fun times then and more fun times coming up.

    5. Lee

      If Amazon workers got paid more they’d just fritter it away on food, housing, medicine, education etc. In essence, it is not Bezon donating to charity, but his workers who are doing so in order to help those who are bit less well of than themselves. And Bezos gets all the credit!

      To paraphrase William Blake:

      Charity would be no more
      If we did not make somebody poor

      1. Edward E

        The solar observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico is to reopen tomorrow.
        “The Sunspot Solar Observatory no longer faces a security threat to staff, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy said in a statement Sunday. The facility closed on Sept. 6.

        The association has hired a temporary security team to patrol the observatory when it reopens. “Given the significant amount of publicity the temporary closure has generated, and the consequent expectation of an unusual number of visitors to the site, we are temporarily engaging a security service while the facility returns to a normal working environment,” the association said.”

        The rotation of Florence is just about stopped near the Georgia line while the rain is going up, seems odd.

    1. rd

      There is a high moving across the northeast. When it is far enough east, the wind flow impacting Florence will shift from weak SW and W winds to stronger winds NW, then N, then NE. That is why it will suddenly swing up through West Virginia and then Pennsylvania later today after stalling for a couple of days in South Carolina. It should be moving 30-40 mph by the time it hits the NE coast.

      There was another high in the Atlantic that strengthened mid last week which pushed Florence much further west into the Carolinas on an unprecedented track. When that high weakened, the circulation driving Florence slowed which meant it has just been drifting since Friday.

  9. SOMK

    Re: United Ireland would permanently reduce living standards in republic.

    Study seems to come with the fairly large caveat that the Irish would rule Northern Ireland with only the equivalent competency of the British or worse (which is frankly insulting, but par the course for traditionally unionist Irish Times) or that there would be no other benefit attached, or that a United Ireland and unified economic policy would not errorde the need for the North to be subvented in time, never mind the boon in FDI the North would likely receive especially considering housing crisis down south with even the web summit twitter account (and by extension the tech community) expressing solidarity and support for the ‘take back the city’ group who last week had a very dramatic encounter with balaclava wearing Gardaí (Irish cops) and private security on Frederick street, when they cleared out a derelict house it’s owner had left to rot.

    It was only as far back as the late 90’s Northern Irish people would jokingly refer to the south as ‘Mexico’, not so much anymore, where the tables have turned in terms of living standards. Besides the ongoing housing crisis is reducing living standards just fine all by itself. If Ireland can afford to throw some €100 billion (the bailout + NAMA + interest + opportunity cost) into the banks in the middle of a recession without permanently reducing living standards, it can afford to support the north and likely the EU would be sympathetic to the project.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can you imagine if the same arguments put forward by that author were also used about Germany uniting again back in the 90s? Sure, unification cost Germany a boat-load of money but how different would Europe be with an East and West Germany still existing side by side? And saying that the economy would never recover? So in the year 2218 AD a United Ireland would still be crippled economically? Time for Ireland to get back together again in spite of what the Belfast Telegraph thinks.

    2. a different chris

      >as the late 90’s Northern Irish people would jokingly refer to the south as ‘Mexico’

      And I suspect that a lot more to do with The Troubles than given credit for. Now the tables have turned. And as far as I can tell, the Irish are shunning religion as fast as anybody. But the NI is run by the 50-and-up crowd who don’t even remember why NI wanted to stick with GB in the first place, it just is “the way” in their calcified brains.

      God and we have talk about extended to eternal lifespans. I am starting to believe lifespans are already too long.

      1. Wukchumni

        One perk of getting old in Japan is a gift of a silver cup from the prime minister in the year you celebrate your 100th birthday. But from this year, new centenarians will be sipping sake from cheaper vessels.

        The rising cost of supporting the aging population — almost 32,000 people were eligible to receive the gift this year, up 4.5 percent from last year — has prompted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to present cups made of silver plate rather than sterling silver. The move halves the price to ¥3,812 per cup, public broadcaster NHK said, reducing total spending on the gifts by about 40 percent to ¥150 million.

        The cost-cutting follows a move to make the cups smaller in 2009, and highlights the struggle the government faces to cap spending in a debt-ridden country where more than a quarter of Japan’s 127 million people are older than 65. The proportion will rise to 40 percent by 2060, the government projects — a problem compounded by a faltering birthrate.

        This predicament is perhaps seen most clearly by the swelling of centenarians from 153 in 1963 to a record of more than 65,000 this year. The government distributes the sake cups every September to honor the elderly.

    3. makedoanmend

      One also has to imagine that the EU might stump up some long term money for Irish Reunification (as they already do for border “reconciliation”), if only to get rid of the headache of the only land border after Brexit.

      The Belfast Telegraph is basically aping the DUP line that the South can’t afford the North – but I’m sure the South also cannot afford to let a new set of troubles fester.

      The entire article smacks of some Unionists trying to, once again, comfort themselves so that they don’t have to face stark reality that confronts them. Intransigence as a sole political policy only takes one so far.

      The entire population of the six counties deserve more.

    4. Oregoncharles

      Yes, I noticed the article assumed there would be no overall impact on the economy. It also didn’t ask WHY NI needs that huge subsidy from the UK. I honestly don’t know, but unification would be an opportunity to address the real problems. That might be even more expensive for the Republic, but could pay big dividends.

      Too bad unification would very likely involve violence. I think it would be the right thing, and that’ with Orange ancestors.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “The Watergate ‘Road Map’ and the Coming Mueller Report”

    Oh dear god, has Trump Derangement Syndrome gone so far as to resurrect this thing? They think that this is a short-cut to get rid of Trump but what it is is a way to blow up the Republic real quick. In fact, it would be safer to hand out white-phosphorus hand grenades in the Senate. It is why they kept the thing out of that creepy Ken Starr’s mitts as he would have been fanatical enough to use the damn thing. I can just imagine what someone like Meuller would do with it.
    And just why, pray tell, are they listening to John Dean? I remember him. The man is a convicted criminal who spent time in the slammer with a reduced sentence for ratting out his friends. Has he been ‘rehabilitated as well? I have seen him giving interviews lately so he must be respectable again. M’kay?
    If I had my way, I would get that Road Map, lock it in a metal box, break the key off in the lock, put it in a safe, spin the dials so that there is no known combination for that safe, put it on a military transport, fly it across the Pacific, chopper it down to Fukushima, then drop it in Reactor 1 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant where nobody will be able to touch it for tens of thousands of years.

    1. roxy

      The usual media suspects have been trotting Dean out as the éminence grise of OMG IT’S LIKE NIXON for a long time.

  11. Ignacio

    Those capybara puppies (carpincho, chigüire) are lovely. They run behind their moms crying “cui, cui”
    I tried to bred one I found abandoned in Venezuela but I did not find a good milk recipe for capybaras.

  12. a different chris

    >one of nearly three dozen Democrats with extensive military-intelligence backgrounds running

    So you know the D party is essentially swamp meat when the gators start to feast on it. I would have never thought of this but now it seems so obvious. It would be nice if the Sandernistas commandeered the hulk (I’m into random analogies bigly this morning) but I now think that’s unlikely.

    Ah well, the MIC is nothing if not socialist, at least within their boundaries. Basically free health care for their version of “everybody”? Check. MMT paying for everything? Check. Sigh.

  13. John Merryman.

    Why does philosophy like artificial intelligence?
    For the same reason physics likes multiverses. They can’t fit the real thing to their models, so it is easier to propose a different reality, than change the model.
    For instance, constantly seeking ideals in a reality fundamentally composed of polarities, contrasts and context.

    1. Duck1

      What’s not to love about an abstract that serves up the phrase heuristic fecundity? Sort of sounds like what Stormy Daniels job is, but high-brow like.
      (Far as I got.)

        1. Duck1

          Not a philosophy major, but read Husserl, Heidegger, S
          artre and intro courses at UCB, but as is said, have forgotten more than I learned. More’s law for the mopes.

  14. a different chris

    Further on Ms Slotkin in the “I read (crap) so you don’t have to” – my emphasis of course, bingo bingo and bingo.

    I believe all Americans should have access to healthcare they can afford, regardless of pre-existing conditions. No one should ever go broke because they happen to get sick, and no family should have to decide whether they can afford to save the life of a loved one. To get there, I believe we need true bipartisan reform of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We should also consider options that would allow people the choice to buy into plans, such as Medicare,

    1. Craig H.

      Three top civilian Republican national security officials and a former general all endorsed Slotkin this week. The four include John Negroponte, former ambassador to Iraq and the first Director of National Intelligence; Stephen Hadley, national security advisor to President George W. Bush; former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who was secretary of defense in the Obama administration; and retired General Douglas Lute, deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan under Bush and for Afghanistan and Pakistan under Obama.

      Slotkin, born and raised in Michigan, spent 15 years with the CIA and in subsequent national security positions at the White House and Pentagon, before moving back to run for Congress last year. She has both the backing of a wealthy family—her grandfather founded Hygrade Foods—and the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which was seeking a candidate with her right-wing credentials for the 8th District. She now has the stamp of approval of the military-intelligence apparatus.

      Everybody should read this. These are not nice people.

    2. allan

      In fairness to the CIA, mealy-mouthed healthcare platforms are not limited to Agency veterans.
      Here’s one from someone, recently added to the DCCC’s Red to Blue list,
      who seems not to have the IC on his resume:

      Like most Americans, Cort knows firsthand the importance of keeping healthcare affordable for everyone. After recently losing his mother to a battle with breast cancer, Cort understands how critical it is for all Americans to have access to quality healthcare, regardless of their economic circumstances. Families who are fighting illness shouldn’t have to fight to keep their coverage at the same time. That’s why Cort is committed to defending Medicare and Medicaid, strengthening the Affordable Care Act, and working towards new alternatives to lower premiums and increase coverage.

  15. Wukchumni

    Insurance companies will have taken quite the beating the past year with water & fire the usual suspects…

    They know that thanks to climate change playing havoc, things are only going to get worse in ways perhaps not even imagined now.

    You’d have to expect an awful lot of no-fault divorce proceedings between homeowners and their insurance coverage, no?

  16. Wukchumni

    65 Russian women that went to different high schools at the same time as the reign of error, have vouched that he always treated them with respect when it came to textual harassment, as the methodology didn’t exist back then.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Republican war criminals endorse CIA Democrat Slotkin”

    On the surface, three major Republicans supporting a Democrat candidate against a Republican candidate makes no sense. What ever happened to party loyalty and discipline? However, if you postulate a deep state that is actively trying to put in their own people as Senators and Reps, it makes perfect sense. It explains why the Democrats are heavily recruiting candidates that are either ex-military or ex-spooks. It explains why with passing budgets that award tens or hundreds of billions of dollars for the industrial-military-security complex, they come together as one and vote without debate. Slotkin is merely one of their people and by putting her in, it stops maybe a ‘progressive’ getting in. Want to know another word for a ‘progressive’? An traditional American.

    1. barefoot charley

      And it’s a fun fact that Bezos spent his first $10 million charitable contribution on a ‘foundation’ to recruit and fund vets of both parties to run for office–and it’s purest coincidence that he’s moved to DC, bought the local official mindmelder, and with a $13 billion war contract ‘in the cloud’ under his belt, is on the inside track for his next one. How could he not be?

      Absolutely loathsome. So I should buy AMZN? Oh I miss Haygood!

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          He got booted by Yves for bragging about how he gets around paywalls, concluding with the rallying cry, Don’t Feed the Press.

          Turns out he never gave NC a penny, which kinda surprised me.

  18. rd

    “Presidential Alert System”

    I assume this means we will get the occasional Presidential tweet even if we are not on Twitter about some perceived crisis.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve heard the reach is so extensive, that even if your communication device is a couple of empty frozen orange juice concentrate cans & a string, you’ll get the alert from that person peering down into their black rectangle who’s always conveniently close.

  19. Pelham

    Re “How Asia Got Crazy Rich” and this:

    “Could we therefore point to crazy rich Asia as something worth holding onto, not as a celebration of the wealthy or even of Asia in particular, but rather as the historical possibilities of successful wealth redistribution from its former centers to the margins and from the top to bottom—as a resource for renewing a more radical vision of global development?”

    Note the absence of agency in the reference to “successful wealth redistribution.” Who redistributed the wealth? Who had the wealth that they might redistribute it? And who generated the wealth for those who ended up with it?

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Good questions, Pelham. Interesting review by Andrew Liu of the film “Crazy Rich Asians” in N+1 from today’s link under “China?”. As with some genres of music, the moments of silence and what is not said can be as important as what is said.

      The role that the U.S. economic class war and offshoring of the U.S. industrial base by the U.S. political and economic elite in the final quarter of the 20th century played in the economic rise of East Asia, along with the related transfer of geopolitical influence, was largely ignored other than in Liu’s brief allusion to the amorphous term “globalization” in the final segment of his review. Would be interesting to include a brief snippet of formerly middle class Americans waiting in line for food to feed their children at a charitable organization in Dayton, Ohio, juxtaposed against the scene in the film of Elainor’s husband buying the London hotel outright and her firing its staff when denied accommodations. The coldly implicit message is that wealth trumps all. Also ignored were the roles of the extractive industries in Southeast Asia, the related massive degradation of the regional and global environment, and the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s in the rise of China and the extent to which that event was engineered.

      But as a film producer once said, “If you want to send a message, write a letter.” So, there’s that caveat. Think I’ll be buying a ticket while keeping in mind Liu’s hopeful message of possibility in his concluding paragraph (thinking of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and reduced demographic pressures correlated with rising wealth).

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I just returned from Beijing. Make no mistake, China is where all of the money went. People who were sleeping next to the pig 20 years ago now have a car and a bigscreen TV. The number used to be “300M people lifted out of poverty” but that number is now 470M. The money was not “redistributed” from local sources, it came straight from places like Pittsburgh, PA and Turin, Italy that used to make things.

      And you should see the infrastructure they have over there.

      Their focus on STEM education means there are absolute legions of developers heads down writing code. In the office park I was in you have to solve a math problem to access the wifi in the cafeteria. Different problem every day just to keep everyone’s skills honed up.

      We are so screwed. Unlimited funds available to incinerate an impoverished woman in the Yemeni desert but Flint can’t even get drinkable water. And our distracted, overmedicated, supine population thinks that’s perfectly OK.

  20. Norb

    America’s death trail in Yemen-

    A sane and healthy person abhors war and all it brings. Being sheltered and removed from the actual horrors of war does not bode well for a Nation, and the policy in America of not allowing the images of war to reach the public breeds a child-like innocence that is the worst of all possible worlds.

    This lack of experience lends one to be misled by charlatans and conmen. It leads to lack of empathy and respect. It leads to delusional thinking. It leads to being influenced by propaganda.

    I wonder if those not drunk with power, who find their livelihoods embedded in the MIC and Security establishments ever take the time to consider the morality of their actions- or do they just keep taking the money.

    While one can doubt the providence of these images as being in Yemen, it is very perverse to question that these are images of war- and as everyone knows for a fact, America is at war.

    The perversity in America today is that the population can be worked into a frenzy of indignation from images of someone chopping a persons head off with a sword, but become dismissive and reluctant to acknowledge the barbarity and horror of someone being blown to bits with a 500lb bomb. And Americans are dropping lots of bombs.

    As Smedley Butler pointed out, war is a racket. He fully realized this when he left military life. Another of his quotes was that the only legitimate use of force was to protect ones home and the bill of rights. He also talked about the only way to stop the racket was to remove the profit war brings to a few.

    How to remove the profit of war?

    In America, this would take the complete breakdown of the economy- or its transformation.

    So, for the time being, hide the images, discount the military suicides and drug addiction, burry the tragic stories of those crippled by war, and by all means never discuss the casualties of our “enemies”.

    In one sense it is remarkable that these two extremes can coexist at the same time- forever war and common civilian life. In a way it is quite a perversion.

  21. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Our System Is Too Broken to Assess the Sexual Assault Claim Against Kavanaugh Slate

    Vote democrat, they say. Elect women, they say. Well, the pathetic fossil known as dianne feinstein is both. Trouble is, it would appear that SHE likes the system just as it is. It’s been very, very good to her
    after all.

    “[Dianne Feinstein] has let down the victim, the Senate, and the entire country who may now have a 2nd #MeToo Justice on the Supreme Court unless other Democrats step up to lead.”

    –Democratic activist

    I’ve no idea who or what brett kavanaugh is. To my mind, his proudly-proclaimed, slavish devotion to the perverse anachronism that is catholicism is a screaming red stop sign. Now, thanks to the senior senator from California, we may never know. Until it’s too late.

    I can’t help remembering how significant she and the rest of the senate considered the decades old allegations against roy moore just a year or so ago. I wonder if she could at least enlighten us as to what’s “different” this time.

    1. anon

      I’m reminded of Dianne Feinstein slobbering over that horrid sexual predator, Oregon Senator Robert Packwood — even while the Republican chair of the Ethics Committee denounced him — who was forced to resign, but kept his $83K pension, and Government Healthcare Benefits intact:

      By W. Joseph Campbell 20 years on: Remembering the senator who quit in disgrace

      Had he not quit, Packwood faced certain expulsion.

      That he be expelled was the unanimous recommendation of the Senate Ethics Committee, which investigated Packwood’s suspected offenses and found them sordid and numerous. They included evidence-tampering and influence-peddling in addition to sexual misconduct, the committee said in a report of 179 pages that was supported by thousands of pages of documentation.

      “These were not merely stolen kisses, as Senator Packwood has claimed,” Senator Mitch McConnell, a fellow Republican and chair of the Ethics Committee, said about Packwood’s harassment of women, adding:

      “There was a habitual pattern of aggressive, blatantly sexual advances, mostly directed at members of his own staff or others whose livelihoods were connected in some way to his power and authority as a senator.”

      Feinstein’s a giant man eulogy:

      In describing those eulogies, the New York Times reported that Senator Dianne Feinstein “delivered a gracious tribute to Mr. Packwood, whom she said she hardly knew. She said her father always told her to remember a man by what he did best, not by what he did last.”

      “We do make mistakes,” the Times quoted Feinstein as saying, “but it is a sign of a wise man, and even a giant man, who stands and does what needs to be done and goes on to fight another day.”

      Packwood, the Times said, was “apparently surprised and overwhelmed”; he crossed the floor to Feinstein’s seat, “clutched her hand and cried.”

      Of course Packwood’s doing just fine, after all, 82 is the new 52 for our political elite:

      So why, 20 years on, is it important to recall the sordid Packwood case and its dénouement?

      Several reasons present themselves, including that of Packwood’s hanging on in Washington. Despite his disgrace, he never completely went away. He became a lobbyist, like many former insiders in Washington, and apparently has thrived.

      “By any measure, life is pretty good for Packwood these days,” Politico reported in a lengthy article last year. “He spends half the year in Washington — about 80 percent of the time Congress is in session — and the balance of his days in the posh Portland suburb of Dunthorpe. As a lobbyist does, he fills the weeks he’s in D.C. trudging up to Capitol Hill to buttonhole congressional staffers or lawmakers.”

      Oh, and of course, Dianne’s fellow DemoRat, Joe Biden, who utterly screwed Anita Hill during those Clarence Thomas Hearings, had nothing but fond memories of Ex Senator, Predator ‘Bob’ Packwood, a few years back:

      About a year ago, Packwood, who is now 82, was fondly recalled in remarks by Joe Biden, the gaffe-prone vice president. Biden referred to Packwood as representative of the bipartisanship that Republican lawmakers showed in the mid-1990s. ….

    2. newcatty

      Dianne Feinstein:

      the pathetic fossil

      When people show you who they are, believe them.

      The fossil, masquerading as a progressive democratic woman representing the progressive and leading light state of California and champion of the people in the country has shown her true colors, again. Nothing is different this time…dims or repugs. Spin it…the bottle will point your way in the treacherous game of power and properganda.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I particularly recall her comments to an angry crowd demanding M4A. “If we’re talking about a complete government takeover of healthcare, well I would not support that”. Her Grace then left the crowd in a stretch limo, straight to a gala fundraiser that evening paid for by…wait for it…Big Pharma.

        I mean this stuff is just not that hard to figure out.

        1. sd

          I would have thought people would have clued in to Feinstein when her husbands company was in the early wave of no bid contracts in Iraq.

  22. Romancing The Loan

    The Boston Review piece on Sorry to Bother You has spoilers galore but is a great read. Hopefully I will have forgotten the specific plot points by the time the film is finally available in October.

    1. Wukchumni

      5 open minded people went and saw Sorry To Bother You some months ago when it was in limited release, and 4 of us couldn’t wait for it to end quick enough.

      That’s 8 thumbs down.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Amazing. I loved it, and so does everyone I know who saw it (that’s 6 thumbs up). In fact, I have seen it twice: it is so packed with ideas and references on so many levels you can’t nearly catch it all in one or even two viewings.

        Plus, it is hilarious! The plot is coherent but the structure is kinda like a series of Chappelle vignettes strung together like pearls. What the review doesn’t mention is that, like Chappelle, Riley isn’t afraid to make fun of anybody, including those fighting the capitalist overlords.

        It sends a powerful message without being preachy. Highly recommended, definitely the best movie I’ve seen in a while.

        1. newcatty

          ChiGal, I haven’t seen it, yet. Since I have come to appreciate your open minded and astute comments on topics in NC, we will look forward to watching “Sorry to Bother You.” Hmmm…I like funny, and interesting films that have layers of some complexity of thoughtful ideas. Thanks for your, and the other thumbs up .

        2. fresno dan

          ChiGal in Carolina
          September 16, 2018 at 12:43 pm

          September 16, 2018 at 11:38 am
          2 commentators I like and respect….differing! Well, the movie is already in my DVD queue, but with about 43 in front of it. I am going to move it to the head of the line to resolve this conundrum….

  23. Unna

    On Bernie’s Guardian article: Where to begin? Let’s start with Bannon. Bernie doesn’t say his name but he should have in between mentioning the Mercers, Breitbart, Trump, and the common front of international authoritarian capitalists, etc. Bannon’s been in Europe lately trying his best to woo bad boys like Orban along with the “authoritarian capitalists” of Poland but without much success. A quick look at Wikipedia will tell you that Poland’s Law and Justice party is embarrassingly social democratic in its economic policies in a way that would make Nancy Pelosi’s skin crawl. Law and Justice replaced the Polish neo liberals who have been waging war against Law and Justice via Donald Tusk and the EU ever since. Trump is, in actuality, pro oligarch.

    Concerning Orban’s Fidesz party Wikipedia says, “Like the Hungarian right in general, it has been more skeptical of the neoliberal economic policies than the Hungarian left: according to researchers, the elites of the Hungarian left (MSzP and SZDSZ) have been differentiated from the right by being more supportive of the classical liberal economic policies, while the right (especially extreme right) has advocated more interventionist policies.” What? As I remember Orban’s trouble with the West began when he opposed Hungarians taking out home mortgages offered by banks in non Hungarian currencies. In Italy, how might Bannon and Trump feel about Salvini and di Maio’s government program which includes a “citizen’s pension (income) guarantee.

    For me, Bannon is the “populist” sheepdog for the American right. Judeo Christian values for the people, tax breaks for American Wall Street oligarchs. Trump, Bannon, Rees-Moog right wing economics won’t travel well on the continent. Sure, all these bad guys are anti mass immigration, but so was Bernie sort of before he got his mind right and that part of his past went down the memory hole.

    So what’s Bernie’s article really about? My guess is, not that’s he’s a sheepdog, but that he wants to be president too much and has to be seen mouthing the correct ideas. Don’t get me wrong. I like Bernie, but on foreign policy I like Tulsi Gabbard and, gasp, Rand Paul more. There’s a lot in Bernie’s article I agree with but the overall impact, I fear, is misdirected. The article tells me that even with Bernie, there’s still little hope of America exiting the so called foreign policy Blob.

    1. sd

      Having read Fire and Fury, I have a hard time picturing Bannon as anything other than a self serving narcisstic *ssshole who is too busy in his own head to notice anyone’s else is even in the room.


  24. Wukchumni

    For nearly 150 years, the Cressoni Theater hosted some of the greatest operas to come through northern Italy — but its final curtain call came years ago. In 1997, the building in Como was turned into a movie theater. Now, it’s being gutted to make way for the lakeside city’s newest luxury apartments.

    But as crews worked to tear down one piece of history last week, they happened upon another piece of Italy’s past.

    In the basement of the theater, inside a cracked, two-handled jar made of soapstone, workers found hundreds of gold coins dating to 5th-century Rome.

    Photos from the Italian Cultural Heritage and Activities Ministry showed the cracked amphora, the same muddy gray color as the surrounding earth it sat in.
    What makes this find quite interesting, is that the emperor on most of the gold coins is from really late in the Roman Empire dating from 461 to 472 AD, and it’s quite possible that the owner somehow couldn’t make it to New Zealand, and merely buried his stash instead, as the fall of the Roman Empire came calling in 476 AD.

    1. Unna

      Lots of coin stashes from dark age Britain also. Those secluded country villas defended by trained slaves or hired “security” teams didn’t do much good. Security probably sold the villa owners kids off as slaves to the barbarians and split the profit. Sometimes money just can’t buy love. There’s a Bad Moon Rising when a politically and economicly alienated population doesn’t care much about rich guys and their families.

      1. Wukchumni

        Maybe in 3572 on a Sunday in July, somebody will come across a digital stash of 1’s & 0’s, buried in a hard drive?

        1. The Rev Kev

          I don’t think that standard hard drives will last a century before degrading to the point of being unreadable so worth diddly squat. If civilization collapses, whatever is on a computer hard drive will be gone in that time period as if it never existed which means nearly everything that we have.
          Now those gold coins on the other hand…

          1. Wukchumni

            There will be an interesting gap starting more or less @ the turn of the millennium where it’ll look as if we disappeared, and historians in the distant future will speculate that we must have banished wood pulp products in the guise of book & periodicals as the trees ran out due to onset climate change.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            I read somewhere that the “Dark Ages” were called that in part because there are so few records surviving from that time to this for us to study and learn from. That is what some people are talking about when they say we are living in the Digital Dark Ages. After the Bonfire of the Chips and Digits, most digital records will be long-since erased or decayed, and any data stored there-on will be disappeared.

  25. lyman alpha blob

    RE: parasitic beetles

    I had some of those buggers show up on my potato plants a few years ago. I hadn’t ever seen them before and I didn’t want to assume all insects in my garden were pests since they didn’t seem to be chewing up my potatoes too badly plus they were actually kind attractive insects – the ones on my garden had deep blue iridescent carapaces like this. So I took a picture and sent it to my entomologist uncle who identified them for me.

    The interesting thing about them is that their first reaction to potential danger is to roll up and play dead which I witnessed after poking them a couple times. If you keep after them and start trying to touch them, then they’ll release the blistering oil at you.

    Also the article notes:

    When the male bee attempts to mate with this decoy, the triungulins {beetle larvae} latch onto him with their hook-like claws and tackle him to the dunes below. Eventually, when the male flies off in search of a real female, he does so with a horde of hitchhikers attached to his fuzzy body. The larvae then latch onto the female and ride her to a burrow.

    There, she lays a single egg and deposits a ton of pollen and nectar. But those nutrients may not make it to the baby bee, because the triungulins gobble them up first before transforming into adults

    The article is concentrating on the evolutionary aspects of these beetles rather than their specific habits so it’s worth mentioning that the beetle larvae don’t just eat the baby bees’ food, they also eat the baby bees and basically destroy the bees nest.

    So considering that my then toddler daughter liked to walk through the garden now infested with skin blistering beetles, and the fact that the beetles were definitely not helping bee populations that were already in decline, the beetles in my garden got the thumbs down.

  26. lyman alpha blob

    Just watched a really interesting documentary on Gore Vidal and William F Buckley that I thought might be of interest to readers here – Best of Enemies.

    I’d seen the famous clip before where Vidal goads Buckley into losing his cool but hadn’t realized it was said during a lengthy series of debates during the 1968 Democratic and Republican conventions. If you want to know where all the identity politics we’re wallowing through today came from, this movie is a pretty decent primer.

      1. Eudora Welty

        I’ve seen the clip where Vidal calls Buckley a crypto-Nazi, and Buckley calls Vidal a queer. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t an adult yet in 1968, but I just don’t see why calling someone a crypto-Nazi is exceedingly offensive. I don’t know what it means. It sounds like a joke insult. On the other, calling Vidal a queer on national TV was just plain mean.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Not to defend Buckley, but WWII wasn’t that far in the rear view mirror yet at the time so the US conservatives were pretty touchy about being associated with the Nazis. So of course after calling Vidal a ‘queer’, Buckley then exaggerates his own military service in WWII, something conservatives are still wont to do today.

          And I don’t think Vidal was joking with his accusation. If you watch the film, they really did not like each other which is precisely why ABC set up the debates in the first place – ratings.

          It’s really quite enlightening to watch this old footage and compare it to today. Vidal may have won the battle in 1968 but Buckley won the war, changing the way the news is served up.

          1. Carolinian

            Vietnam was not even in the rear view but was all around which is doubtless the source of Vidal’s “crypto Nazi.” Many conservatives still defend what we did there as Buckley did at the time.

            As for who won, having watched the documentary is there any doubt? Buckley thought his “sock you in the jaw” performance would dog him forever and it did. Vietnam probably did not and he was later warmly interviewed by people like big liberal Dick Cavett.

    1. fresno dan

      lyman alpha blob
      September 16, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      After I saw that, I looked more into Gore and I believe he has some of the very best insights into American politics.
      I highly recommend it.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Also a Mainiac, and I don’t see King losing.

      I actually had to just look up who his Democrat and Republican opponents were since they aren’t talked about much. Now I know what those signs for someone named Ringelstein I saw in my neighborhood were for – I’d assumed he was a state senate candidate and had no idea what party he belonged to. But bang up job Maine Democrats on getting the word out!

      This election will be done using ranked choice voting, which in theory at least should be helpful to smaller party candidates. Since King is already an independent, my guess is this will only help him further, not that he really needs it.

  27. Wukchumni

    Watching the CBS NFL halftime show, and all 5 announcers assembled-are wearing American flag lapel pins on their suits, territory usually claimed by politicians previously, but not now where the beleaguered league’s adherence to old glory is oh so very paramount, lest anybody think less of their patriotism off the field.

    The funny thing is, back in the day of wearing nationalistic flag lapel pins, only the Soviet leaders did it, Breshnev et al.

    No American leader woulda ever been seem emulating a commie, in those thrilling days of yesteryear.

    1. Pat

      I find them pointless, hypocritical and insulting, but the perfect symbol of how little the people who wear them think about things of real importance in America. See they may be proud Americans, but two to one everyone of those pins is made in China or Taiwan or some other country where labor is cheap. Because you know proud Americans won’t actually pay for products made by Americans, not even a flag. (Most flags are also produced outside of America, btw).
      Bomb the hell out of some people who can do little or nothing to harm us – sure. Protest a mild and relatively respectful expression of free speech – certainly. Demand that Americans can make a living wage with benefits…that’s downright UnAmerican.

  28. Oregoncharles

    “UK constitutional crisis looms if Brexit talks founder
    [And the subtitle:] World View: Political instability makes fudge most plausible immediate outcome”

    I was rebuked for saying that. I still think some sort of fudge is the only plausible outcome, mainly because it’s an insoluble problem. Remember, it might involve inspections between the Republic and the EU, too, depending on how serious the EU is. That’s another sea border.

    Re-uniting the island remains another long-term solution – probably the only real solution.

    1. Monty

      I thought it might be a demented game of chicken. Pretent to welcome catastophe, so that the other side thinks you must be insane and backs down before the crash. Maybe it will work? Dubious, but if not, HMGov can just say “Only Kidding!” on March 18th and withdraw Article 50.

  29. Oregoncharles

    Thanks for the T, Greer Twitter thread, which I actually managed to read – some Twitter threads are completely opaque. Very useful summary.

    The one thing he doesn’t mention is that the Uighurs, like the Tibetans, are under occupation and have a right to resist; nor does he draw the lesson that locking up so many of them is genocide. It’s also an effective way to drive a turn to fundamentalist Islam (Wahhabism).

    1. Duck1

      Well, the Uighers are under occupation in the same sense that the Hispanics in the SW USA are under occupation. Empire proceeds by conquest.

  30. The Rev Kev

    “Syria says it shot down Israeli missiles over airport”

    What, is it Monday again is it? Israel does this stuff all the time and threatens those that try to defend themselves with retaliation for doing so. In fact, if you did, that would be down right anti-antisemitic of you. I believe that this time they were going after an Iranian transport plane at the airport. Whatever.
    They are still not happy that the Jihadists did not take the country. Yeah, I know that it sounds crazy that Israel would want to have Jihadists on their border but remember that Israel was also partly responsible for the formation of groups like the P.L.O. so no thought to long-term consequences.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Bibi is still a right winger. My best guess is the expectation the U.S. would engage in a direct way fresh off the Libyan intervention especially with HRC preparing her Presidential run. She previously lost due to voting for the Iraq War, and the message around Kerry was how he would have done Iraq but SMRTER or some nonsense.

      A client state such as Israel follows U.S. politics, but how closely?. One misstep was the calculation was that the U.S. economy was strong enough that people would tolerate intervention. Libya wasn’t that popular despite Gaddafi’s long term status as a bad guy. As plans were made, was there a underestimation of the U.S.’s populace’s willingness to go along with another war based on recovery summer narratives?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Bibi is still a right winger.

        Going by recent remarks that he made, I think that he could be more accurately described as a Social Darwinist. You know, survival of the most powerful.

  31. Harry Cording

    Uber glitch leaves drivers unpaid and frustrated


    Per the disruptive economy this could be looked at as full fledged software feature.
    More development nuance to come in future version updates.

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