Links 9/25/18

This Exhilarating Video of a Rare “Triple Whale Breach” Is a Real Nice Break from Everything Mother Jones

The Secret Life of Kelp Nature (David L)

Planet Earth Wobbles As It Spins, and Now Scientists Know Why LiveScience

Monsanto’s global weedkiller harms honeybees, research finds Guardian (David L)

Study cracks open the secrets of the cancer-causing BRCA1 gene Stat (JTM)

US to be hit worse than almost any other country by climate change, report says Independent (David L)

Draft executive order from Trump would crack down on tech companies Daily Dot

Special Report: High-nicotine e-cigarettes flood market, despite FDA rule Reuters (EM)

U.S. Near Bottom, Hong Kong and Singapore at Top of Health Havens Bloomberg (Dr. Kevin)

The Current U.S. Drug Overdose Crisis Began In The Late 1970s, Study Finds Gizmodo. Original study: Changing dynamics of the drug overdose epidemic in the United States from 1979 through 2016 Science (Jeotsu)

DNA ancestry tests branded ‘meaningless’ Telegraph

North Korea

Gina Haspel Is Skeptical of North Korea’s Willingness to Give Up Nuclear Arms New York Times Bill B” “”Ms. Haspel was careful with her remarks about the president, keeping her comments apolitical but supportive of the administration’s stated priorities.’ The Times is keen to paint division in the upper ranks.”


China: Hong Kong Party Banned Human Rights Watch (furzy)

Inequality in China Bruegel

The next cold war? US-China trade war risks something worse The Conversation

German Catholic Church to own up to decades of child abuse AFP

Deutsche Bank ordered to do more to prevent money laundering Reuters


Britain is humiliating itself Chris Grey (vlade)

Brexit Britain sets itself up to learn the hard way Financial Times

New Cold War

Extraordinary and Deliberate Lies from the Guardian Craig Murray (YY)


S-300 missile system: Russia to upgrade Syrian air defences BBC

EU and Iran agree to create ‘special vehicle’ to maintain trade despite US sanctions DW

Russia Beefs Up Syria’s Air Defenses – Tells “Hotheads” To Cool Down Moon of Alabama

US military document reveals how the West opposed a democratic Syria Le Monde diplomatique (Michael)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Big Tech’s Business Model Is Broken, Report Says Wall Street Journal

Spotify Is Using DNA Tests to Curate Playlists, Which Is Pretty Creepy Noisey

Trump Transition

Rod Rosenstein, who has been overseeing Russia probe, has offered to resign, according to White House officials Washington Post

Trump to meet with Rosenstein on Thursday The Hill

“The Strategy Was to Try and Do Something Really Big”: Trump Wanted to Nuke Rosenstein to Save Kavanaugh’s Bacon Vanity Fair (furzy)

Undocumented Immigrant Faces a Choice: Become an Informant for ICE or Be Deported Intercept


Kavanaugh: ‘I will not be intimidated into withdrawing’ The Hill

128 arrested after anti-Kavanaugh protest on Capitol Hill Washington Post (furzy)

‘I know his heart. This is not consistent with Brett.’ Kavanaugh’s tearful wife backs embattled Supreme Court nominee as he ADMITS high school drinking but DENIES sex assault saying he was a VIRGIN and pleads for a ‘fair hearing’ Daily Mail. Reader Li, who has a thick enough hide to watch Fox, says the interview was done by a Fox reporter, not a commentator, so most of the questions to Kavanaugh were tough (the wife got softballs). Li says they both looked wooden. Plus it isn’t hard to work out Kavanaugh’s wife married him when he was ~35, meaning well after his oats-sowing period.

The Kavanaugh Circus Could Destroy the Me Too Movement National Review

Death at Delta Sig: Heiress Wages a Million-Dollar War on Frats Bloomberg

Money – Born of Credit? Reserve Bank of Australia

The Myth of Authoritarian Competence Atlantic (Bill B)

Oil jumps to a 4-year high after OPEC denies Trump and fails to raise output CNBC

Saudi Arabia Worries Oil Crunch Could Push Up Prices EIA. Joe Costello: “This is first time House of Saud has ever said it could not increase capacity.”

This is how UN scientists are preparing for the end of capitalism Independent (John C)

«We’ve wasted an important opportunity to fix the system» Finanz and Wirschaft

Guillotine Watch

What Beyoncé and These Billionaires Have in Common: Massive Mortgages Wall Street Journal (Lance)

Ultra-Rich Families Ride Surging Stocks to Double Annual Returns Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Unions Did Great Things for the American Working Class Bloomberg. UserFriendly: “Urgh, now they notice.

Teachers’ Strikes May Reinvigorate US Labor Movement Consortium News

Antidote du jour. Anne M: “My husband shared some nuts with this fox, leaving them in the grass when he was playing golf at Overpeck in NJ, not far from the George Washington Bridge. Hopefully Mr. (or Ms. ) Fox will not be tempted to venture across the river!”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. JTMcPhee

      If you got all the power, you don’t have to be “competent” in any sense that a mope would understand and resonate to. You get to decree what “competence” means. See “1984.”

    2. Altandmain

      This idea has become mainstream since the rise of East Asia. China and Singapore are good examples. While under authoritarian regimes, South Korea and Taiwan also saw rapid growth.

    3. Unna

      This Atlantic article is flawed. To compare Putin’s government, which in fact is a balancing act between Russian Westernizers, Orthodox traditionalists, Eurasianists, security state interests, business interests, along with the many different ethnicities and religions across the Russian Federation, etc, with Tsarist Autocracy which was a particular theory and practice of government and not just a cute negative epithet to toss at the establishment’s bete noire du jour, is to display…profound confusion. Autocracy, authoritarianism, strongman, Stalin, Erdogan, Donald Trump, Happy the Clown, and everything else the Atlantic doesn’t like are not all the same word.

      Question: would the Atlantic describe Obama as an authoritarian ruler when he used his unchecked executive power to not prosecute hundreds of criminals on Wall Street, allowed the unchecked power of the Federal Reserve to bail the criminals out, and used his unchecked executive power to bomb Libya?

      Some peoples feel the need for strong government, and some feel the need for the exact opposite based on history, geography, culture, being overrun, or not, by Mongols, Germans, Swedes, French, Germans, and the Germans again last time with 26 million dead. The author of this piece ought to take his first baby step in understanding the perceived national need for strong and stable government in a certain country by listening to the opera Boris Godunov by Mussorgsky and then figuring out what it means and why Russians attribute such great cultural importance to it.

  1. ACF

    Re the changing dynamics of drug overdoses

    It’s unfortunate that the individual drug data only goes back to 1999. I was born in NYC in 1970, and was “raised”–not just parental teaching–to *never* do heroin/opioids. The culture knew it was bad news. Too many people had a connection to an addict. Then came coke & crack, and we weren’t inoculated against it the same way. I’ve been wondering for awhile if a similar shift would be coming, maybe to meth instead of coke, maybe coke, but basically a stimulant that’s very different from opioids so despairing people or people just looking for escapist highs or whatever can try/embrace it, because it’s so different from that well-understood-as-bad opioid stuff.

    A history of the drug of choice in overdose culture that extends back to the 70s might have much more to offer than one that ends in the 1990s

    1. Wukchumni

      The economy of drugs pushes those that can’t afford the $400 an oz dank og, into meth made by a sloppy user more than likely, incorporating battery acid into the mix, and you don’t want to know about the rest of the ingredients.

      The bottom line being, $10 of meth will keep you higher than a kite for a lot longer than $10 worth of marijuana.

      A common story from the 1980’s of a cocaine (not crack) user, was they went through $300k before hitting bottom, it’s waning being economic once again.

      I don’t think it ever comes back.

      1. Oregoncharles

        This assumes that drugs are interchangeable, which they are not. If people move swiftly from marijuana to, eg, coke, it’s almost certainly because the marijuana didn’t do it for them – they’re essentially self-medicating, however crudely.

        Part of the purpose of making hemp legal is precisely to make it a preferable alternative to harder, more destructive drugs. That isn’t happening in Cali? It did in Oregon – we had a glut last year. The primo stuff is still expensive, because it’s quite labor-intensive to process (I’ve seen it done), but there’s a lot of very cheap dope in WA and OR, to say nothing of growing it yourself.

        1. blowncue

          It is legal in Cali ($5-7.50/gram; 1/4 oz $50, 1 oz $200 per in downtown LA) but:

          -onerous state excise, state income, cultivation tax (flat rate per unit of weight)
          -heterogeneous approach to + high cost of + payola in some cases for licensing / choice as to whether to allow dispensary sale / by municipality, and
          -bottleneck in available lab testing facilities + state requirement by CA to sell only lab tested weed = forced dump of untested weed by CA dispensaries this summer – they overbought before 1/1/2018 to beat a tax hike, shortsightedly
          -slow progress in prosecuting unlicensed sellers in CA. LA only stepped it up recently.

          CO was more restrictive in granting licenses to grow at inception compared to OR. That’s why OR has had the glut. I’m guessing you hear periodically about someone getting busted trying to ship out of OR to Chicago, etc.

          Disclaimer: wrote a paper on CA tax landscape vis-a-vis cannabis as part of my accounting degree in NC. Long story short: retailing cannabis (THC not CBD) very tough in CA. You cannot deduct any ordinary business expenses at the federal level (IRC Section 280E), so you get taxed on your gross margin (sales – COGS) at the federal level–21%. Plus state and local income taxes–9+%. Plus you have to front the CA excise tax payment due from the future end-customer-15%. Oh, and no banking services, sorry, bankers do not want to get indicted by federal prosecutors.

          I’ve seen tax returns from AZ of dispensary startups that included both net loss *and* FIT tax liability. IRC Section 280E causes vicious operating leverage for retailers. I would either be vertically integrated, grow, manufacture or wholesale only – if I operated legally.


          IRC Section 280E was Congress’ reaction to a US Tax Court case where the drug-dealer defendant argued that he should be able to deduct business expenses if Uncle Sam was going to tax his revenues. And then proceeded to painstakingly itemize said expenses, whereupon the judge pondered a bit, and said “yeah, you can, I find for the defendant.” Later cases established if you run a legitimate 2nd line of business under the same entity you can deduct business expenses incurred by that 2nd LOB. Economically substantive, mind you, not just on paper.

          Earlier this year, a day care center operator got busted for selling weed + in NC. A back room had $100K in cash, drugs and guns. My first thought was, “hey, they can deduct the business expenses of the day care operation prorated to the square footage used for the kiddies, against the combined income from kiddies + drugs. And if certain employees only got paid to mind the kiddies, 100% of their compensation as well.”

          I really, really, really want to start a credit union and commercial lender in the Emerald Triangle.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            What about Michigan?

            My buddy lives in the UP and told me legalization is on the Nov ballot.

            We want to open up a dispensery. Hes kinda not book smart so i offered to look into the Nuts n Bolts.

            I lived in Denver in 2014 when weed first became legal as well as Tacoma/Seattle last year. I live in New Orleans now. Id appreciate any CAPITALIST WEED business opinions you and the NC community has to offer!

    2. Jean

      Assuming a pool of people who all had the opportunity to try soft and hard drugs in their adolescence, it would be an interesting study to try and quantify if people who were never exposed to junkies and drug culture in their youth were more likely to start using and become addicts than those who did see the results of hard drugs around them as children and teenagers.

      IMHO, other than medically induced addiction from injury and war, I think people who recreationally get addicted to drugs are pathetic fools who deny common knowledge about drugs, or, who have suicidal tendencies, both for themselves, their families, communities and the nation.

      Cue the the excuses, rationalizations and dialectical reasons why people take drugs voluntarily.

          1. Jean

            “Hard drugs”, not grass.
            “safe prescription..”
            Oops, didn’t have my legally imported South American caffeine drug before I wrote that.

      1. dunning kroger

        what about drunks though? Whenever I hear shit like this it seems like a person who drinks is saying it.

        My step father was against drugs for instance but that didn’t stop him from being an alcoholic

        1. perpetualWAR

          Alcohol use has gone down in Washington State due to legal marijuana. IMHO, alcohol is the more dangerous drug.

          1. Procopius

            I heard years ago that the biggest advocates against legal marijuana (including lots of lobbyists and campaign contributions) were the distilleries and breweries. They feared the competition. From what you say they had good reason to be afraid.

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        For me it was low self esteem. All Boys Jesuit HS, being fat af, Latin n Greek Nerd. Bullied.

        Never took a sip of alcohol during HS.

        Then i played drinking games with my freshman buddies off campus.

        For me Alcohol truly lowered my inibitions and is my ‘gateway drug.’ coke crack ecstasy.

        Nvr Heroin theaux.

        You have to be an addict to understand the disease.

        Drinkin/Druggin is NOT THE MAIN CAUSE OF UR PROBLEM. Its merely a symptom.

        So quitting is like putting a bandaid on a bullet wound.

        True triage requires MONTHS OF INTENSE INPATIENT REHAB with a pinch of freedom.

        There. How was that for an excuse?

        1. Procopius

          I don’t think you meant “triage,” but can’t think of the correct term. “Long term avoidance of problems resulting from using.” My experience and observance of others is that “intensive rehabilitation” is a bezzle. I did know one woman who went through several “programs,” including one that was essentially three months in prison. Emphasized taking responsibility. I thought she was kind of flaky, but she was clean. My opinion is that the greatest likelihood of success is getting sick and tired of being sick and tired, hitting “bottom.” Alcoholics Anonymous met my needs, but it was a kind of AA Bill and Doctor Bob would not have recognized because most of us never “got the God thing.”

      3. Unna

        Canada in October is about to begin it’s great legal MJ social experiment. In a year or so we’ll see how it works out.

  2. ACF

    Re the changing dynamics of drug overdoses

    It’s unfortunate that the individual drug data only goes back to 1999. I was born in NYC in 1970, and was “raised”–not just parental teaching–to *never* do heroin/opioids. The culture knew it was bad news. Too many people had a connection to an addict. Then came coke & crack, and we weren’t inoculated against it the same way. I’ve been wondering for awhile if a similar shift would be coming, maybe to meth instead of coke, maybe coke, but basically a stimulant that’s very different from opioids so despairing people or people just looking for escapist highs or whatever can try/embrace it, because it’s so different from that well-understood-as-bad opioid stuff.

    A history of the drug of choice in overdose culture that extends back to the 70s might have much more to offer than one that ends in the 1990s

    1. Jim A.

      ISTR seeing an article that posited an approximate 20 year cycle of flipping back and forth between Heroin and Coke for must abused drug because of this factor. People see and don’t want to end up like the addicts that were prevalent when they were growing up so they use OTHER drugs.

  3. Olga

    While the US is entertained by the Kavanaugh show, important things are going on around the world. Pepe Escobar takes on Bannon, who is now trying to stir up trouble in Europe (with a specific plan):
    “Bannon has correctly identified Italy as the vortex of post-politics, spearheading the crusade to defeat the EU. The game-changer should be the May 2019 European Parliament elections, which Bannon reads as a certified victory for Right populism and nationalist movements. In this do-or-die battle between populism and the Davos Party, Bannon wants to play The Undertaker against a puny George Soros.”

    And Martin Sieff (what has the world come to?) provides a good history lesson for our compatriots on the fleeting nature of unipolar moments:
    ” Once these historical facts are understood, it is easy to see why the US Unipolar Moment only lasted even less time than Britain’s 20th century one had – less than a decade. Since 2001, the United States has bankrupted and exhausted itself, just as Habsburg Spain, Bourbon France and post-Victorian Britain did before it in futile, doomed and ludicrous attempts to deny and roll back the inevitable tides of history. That should come as no surprise: As Friedrich Hegel warned us, “The only thing that we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.”

    1. fresno dan

      September 25, 2018 at 8:04 am

      From the second link:
      George W. Bush should have been impeached for his gross incompetence. Instead his popularity soared. Imagining the Unipolar Moment (or Era) to be still in full flood he invaded Afghanistan later that year and Iraq less than two years later. The United States is still endlessly stuck in those unending wars.

    2. Lorenzo

      about that Pepe Escobar piece: my head hurts. on a more serious note, I’ve noticed that in his critique of the Western political establishment he fails to mention that the same policies, by the same classes with the same values and interests, are being applied throughout the global south with very few exceptions or variations.

    3. Unna

      Bannon: Big dripping sheep dog for neoliberalism and American financial hegemony. Is that what European populist national movements are about? It will be interesting to see how this Movement of his works out.

  4. The Rev Kev

    When I read about that fox eating nuts as reported by Anne M I thought that that can’t be right. I was wrong. Seems that foxes eat near everything ( “such as birds, rabbits, rodents, frogs, mice, insects, and fish….also known to eat fruits and vegetables including berries, seeds, and fungi” and they “seem to enjoy eating wild apples and blueberries in particular”.
    They also see to be able to live in all sorts of places. Once I was walking in a suburb near central London late at night when suddenly a fox scooted across my path. Where he had his den I had no idea – perhaps in one of the large city parks – but he was making a home for himself in one of the largest cities on the planet. Amazing.

    1. LaRuse

      One predawn morning a few years ago, I was driving into Downtown Richmond, VA, to meet up with a marathon training team for a 20 mile training run that morning, and a gorgeous red fox looked up from where it was trundling along the side of the road. My first thought was “Uhoh, that fox must be ill (rabies or distemper) to be out walking around the city like it owns the place.” My second thought was “Well, actually, the fox is just doing his little foxy thing. The sun isn’t out yet and I am the one about to go voluntarily run 20 miles. I bet that fox thinks I am the sick one!” I adore foxes.
      And that 20 mile run was horrible.

      1. Marcia Welby

        Great post — we share our world with the foxes, and they occasionally give us a glimpse of theirs.

        Re: nuts and carnivores. In my hometown, Hanover, Indiana, we used to burn the raked up leaves in fall, after we’d jumped in the piles of course. The Tate’s big red oak tree produced a ton of leaves but it was dangerous to jump in the piles because acorns made for a painful landing. After the raked up rows of leaves along the road were burnt they would smoke for awhile — oh what a dream for youngsters to get to play with fire! I noticed a dog — they all ran free in those days — picking something up from the ashes and eating it. Ahh, garbage I thought but no, it was roasted acorns! That was my first lesson about the wisdom of dogs and I’ve never forgotten. Roasted acorns, by the way, are delicious and taste just like chestnuts.

    2. Edward E

      Fox news: some are on the path to doghood. Gray foxes have been living here longer than I have, more than eighteen years. They will venture out for awhile but always return to keep the place free from rodents and poisonous snakes. You can always tell when they’ve returned, they’ll be near the persimmon trees or picking up seeds the birds dropped from the feeders and I do put something good out for them when I’m around.
      “We met the world’s first domesticated foxes”

      1. The Rev Kev

        Fascinating video that. I have read about those Russians foxes but did not know that some had been exported. After watching it, you do wonder if you will have such things as fox pets in future generations.

    3. Di Modica's Dumb Steer

      Foxes are truly fascinating creatures. I’ve seen some people keep them as pets in the exotic animal circuits (not my thing, but I’ve known a few people within), and they’re an odd mix of dog and cat, to me. However, first time I heard one ‘call’, it was terrifying. I’d remember hearing what sounded like bloodcurdling screams in the backgrounds of some older BBC shows set close to wilder areas, and the people within acting like no one was getting stabbed in the woods. It was really jarring, until I finally reconciled the adorable creature with what I was hearing.

    4. windsock

      I used to volunteer on a city farm in London, where we had problems with urban foxes raiding our chicken coops and duck houses.

      Once, however, on leaving the farm at around 4 p.m., I walked along the road to see one such city fox walking alongside me. In its mouth was a frozen chicken still with its Tesco wrapping on it. Urban foxes learn urban ways, it seems.

      1. polecat

        Waste not, Want not ..
        Why go through the hastle, and quite possibly the danger therein, of confronting the ire of an highly agitated coop tender, when a vacuumed-wrapped cleaned and dressed chicken materializes out of the either, or the delivery van .. for free.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      My suburban neighborhood is lousy with foxes – we see them all the time. They seem to leave the neighborhood cats alone and go for the smaller prey. They like to dig up insect grubs out of my lawn for which I’m quite thankful – I get fewer insects eating my garden and a smaller lawn too!

    6. Jeremy Grimm

      As far as I know, foxes are affected by distemper and some dogs can carry the disease and pass it to foxes. I was told that the left over doggie crunchies foxes steal were a culprit — but please correct my ignorance! I am very fond of foxes and their kits but most especially after a fox killed and ate the fat woodchuck that ate all my tomatoes and tulip flowers. [One of her kits returned to die [distemper?] at our house. I fed it as long as it could eat. I think of foxes like an arms length ‘pet’ I would help whenever I can. I don’t raise chickens, ducks, or turkeys which colors my affection for foxes. They are very very cool animals.]

  5. FreeMarketApologist

    Love the juxtaposition of “DNA ancestry tests branded ‘meaningless’” and
    Spotify Is Using DNA Tests to Curate Playlists, Which Is Pretty Creepy“.

    The latter article (and perhaps Spotify as well) shows an unclear understanding of the definitions of ‘culture’, ‘nationality’, and ‘ethnicity’.

  6. Carolinian

    Re Draft executive order from Trump would crack down on tech companies

    While the majority of Americans think that there is some form of censorship occurring in large tech companies, even right-wing organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council worry that the executive order could interfere with First Amendment rights.

    In other words these companies that dominate online communication may claim that they have a First Amendment right to interfere with everyone else’s First Amendment rights. Clearly if ALEC is on your side it’s time to admit you are doing something wrong. And it’s also time, perhaps, to put the antitrust hammer down on arrogant corporate actors.

    1. Olga

      Not sure how this fits in, but Google “seeks STA (Special Temporary Authority) for 3550-3650MHz tests in Philadelphia.” And yes, if ALEC is now your ally, we’re in big trouble.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Regarding antitrust, even though we live under oligarchy and have always, we still have to struggle and not give up.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    U.S. Near Bottom, Hong Kong and Singapore at Top of Health Havens Bloomberg (Dr. Kevin)

    Some questionable assumptions I think (I can’t believe for a start that the Irish health care system is more efficient than the UK NHS), but its worth pointing out that Taiwan is at no.8, while the US is near the very bottom. The significance is that the Taiwan health care system is the closest you can get to a Medicare for All model – the Taiwanese in the mid -990’s explicitely modeled their system on Medicare, but they made it universal.

    1. Katsue

      If GDP is one of the denominators for determining the efficiency of a health care system, and my impression from the article is that it seems to be, then this artificially deflates the scores of countries like Cuba while inflating the score of countries like Ireland, particularly given that the comparator year is 2015, which we may remember for “leprechaun economics”.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Irish healthcare spend is consistently higher in terms of GDP/PP than the UK, whichever year or baseline you choose, thats why I’m surprised. But generally Ireland has better outcomes in certain sectors such as maternal and infant survival, so their weighting system may give a particularly strong bias towards that side of things.

        I can’t access the main report, but it would seem its a pretty crude calculation based on things like mortality rates and spend per GDP. In that case, it would have a strong bias towards countries with a culture of healthy lifestyle – such as Italy or France, over northern European countries.

        I’d note also that some countries have regional based healthcare systems, so you might have a very wide disparity even within a country – Spain for example. In Spain, I understand that the poorer southern areas actually have a very good system compared to the richer north as its largely subsidised by all the northern European retirees on the Costas.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Was that health care system in Taiwan modeled in the 1990’s under a KMT government or under the party in power today?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        So far as I know, the KMT was in charge at the time. I think they were strongly influenced by Singapore, but I’ve read several accounts that say they pretty much cherrypicked everything they liked about the Medicare set up, they just made it universal.

        The KMT may have been very corrupt and not exactly progressive, but, like the Singaporeans, they tend to take a very systematic approach to policy, ideology rarely comes into it (although of course money usually does).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Escobar, in a recent article, mentioned China being Confucian, which is really debatable, in my opinion.

          Taiwan, on the other hand, is, in comparison to China. As is Singapore (being influenced by Confucians).

          In that belief system, it is progressive or unprogressive in its own ways. Confucius taught students from all walks of life…sort of universal education. It is also a hierarchical system, and those on top are, in theory, admonished to behave responsibly, toward and to look after those below them.

          That sounds good for those on top, but for the serfs, it has always been to depend on the kindness of strangers above you.

          But as we see here with Taiwan’s health care system and the rapid growth mentioned by Altandmain at 1:41pm above, once in a while (or more, maybe) it works.

          1. skippy

            There is that neo Confucius movement in China Beef and in my experience it does have connotations to the recent dominate western metaphysical atomistic individualism.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I didn’t know that, though Neo Confucianism refers to the Song dynasty movement, in reaction to Daoism and Buddhism.

              Originated in the Tang dynasty, with Han Yu, who was compared to Dante, Shakespeare and Goethe, it spread to other Asian countries, like Korea, Japan,, etc, in subsequent centuries.

              Since I hadn’t heard of it before, I can’t say whether this neo Confucian movement is the same as the one over 1,200 years old.

              1. skippy

                neo? new?… its just the recent modified version being sold by some, but, being early and rushing off to work I misspoke and should have said New. Amends.

                Anywho for a good time you can search ‘Libertarianism in Ancient China’ at the libertarian site Mises institute. Hay they dropped the Von thingy….. chortle….

          2. Lord Koos

            Mao tried as hard as he possibly could to eradicate Confusionist thinking. I’d guess he succeeded to some extent, but it’s such a basic part of Chinese culture that it was impossible.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    S-300 missile system: Russia to upgrade Syrian air defences BBC

    EU and Iran agree to create ‘special vehicle’ to maintain trade despite US sanctions DW

    Russia Beefs Up Syria’s Air Defenses – Tells “Hotheads” To Cool Down Moon of Alabama

    Lots of details to be filled in, but if the Russians really have given Syria at least partial control of a fully functional S-300 system, this is a complete gamechanger for the region. These have a range of at least 150km, which means a system based in Damascus can knock out aircraft over Lebanon, and at least half of Israel. Israel can no longer fly recce or strike north of Israel now without extreme difficulty and risk.

    The indications are that it was a genuine screw up by Israel, they didn’t intend to bring down the Russian Aircraft. But it will prove a very costly mistake for them.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thats the big question of course, you’d have to assume they’d either give an older version or the (degraded) export version they sold to Venezuela if it was for the Syrians to use independently. I read somewhere that the Syrians actually value the short to medium range Pansir system more, maybe because its more cost effective.

        But if the Russian military has control of it, they may be more comfortable providing a full suite. It would be excellent advertising for them if it visibly scared off the Israeli air force, and the Russians have never hesitated to use Syria as a big open air arms marketing opportunity.

      2. Plenue

        MOA commentators think they’re taken straight from Russian stocks, given how quickly they’re being delivered and the fact they have full IFF capabilities.

        1. Bill Smith

          They may not be actually giving it to them at this point.

          They deliver additional air defense systems for the Russians to protect themselves (as was reported in the Russian newspapers). The Russians train the Syrians on the system and …eventually… turn it over.

          That way the Russians can have it both ways. They control the system so it doesn’t shoot at the Israelis if the Israelis give the Russians enough advanced notice of their airstrikes in Syria. At the same time the Russians take credit for backing their Syrian friends.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      So now im supporting Syria and Russia over Israel and the US, my own country.

      Strange Times, Indeed.

        1. Procopius

          9/11. Torture. GWOT. It isn’t so much that they became “good guys,” but the American leadership turned so thoroughly to the dark side. I ended up voting for Hillary, but I was very tempted to not vote, because I thought both major candidates were likely to get us into a shooting war with either Russia or Iran, the Libertarians are just like the Koch Brothers, and I didn’t find the Greens attractive.

        2. Plenue

          When were they ever the villains, is my question. They aren’t the ones who ever had a first strike policy; instead it was the US that did (and still does). As far as anyone can tell from what’s been declassified after the end of Cold War 1.0, Soviet military planning was always based on the assumption of a NATO assault. From Stalin on the Soviet policy was ‘socialism in one country’. The USSR and the West had a lot of proxy fights for influence across the globe, but the nightmare vision of commie armor pouring through the Fulda Gap seems to have been just that: a dream.

          I find it hard to avoid the conclusion that America has always fundamentally been the aggressor in American-Russian relations.

  9. Skateman

    Am I the only one that gets a screen full of crazy looking html code when I try to “subscribe to comments.” What am I doing wrong?

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Skateman, that crazy code you see is an RSS feed, which is formatted in XML. You only need an RSS reader to make sense of it (e.g., Chrome has an extension for this).

  10. Alex

    I’ve read the Telegraph article and the Sense About Science piece but I’m not convinced, mostly because there’s a lot of space between being ‘meaningless’ and being 100% precise. Surely these companies try to sell the correlations as hard facts but these correlations are still there.

    1. Ted

      So that’s the state of public understanding if DNA studies. Of course it is true that DNA cannot tell you if you are related to Richard the Third or to “Vikings” … whatever that means. And it is fun to see how the industry has turned into so much snake oil salesmanship. But, there are ways to read certain broad patterns of ancestry from some DNA. Specifically, there are markers in mtDNA (which everyone gets as a direct copy from their mothers) and the Y Chromosome, that men get from their fathers. There are now very good databases that associate markers on these with specific populations around the globe, and using these we can know with come certainty some aspects of your heritage (e.g., if it is true you have any “Cherokee Blood” as a common American ancestral belief goes … just not “Cherokee” specifically … but some sort of Native American ancestry along the maternal line or the paternal line for men)

      1. ape

        Yeah — I doubt even that.

        Yes — if you take populations and compare that to other population data you can see the time-evolution of densities of markers. That really does tell you something.

        But I see a lot of papers that go into Science and Nature that seem to be snake oil, beyond the companies, which are total snake oil.

        So, I grab a blue ball out of one of two bags: one is 10% blue balls, another is 90% blue balls. What I get, at best, is a relative probability of which bag I pulled the ball out of. But since it’s a sample of one, I don’t really have a distribution to compare with another distribution — the confidence I can have even in that guess is quite low. It may be 9:1 that I picked from bag 2 — but what does that mean for a single individual ball? It’s 90% of what, precisely? 10% I’m simply wrong.

        The trick in the above that simpifies it is that we know the distribution in the bag. The harder problem is we pick from each bag a bunch of times, then we pick one ball and try to guess which bag it came from. Given error in the population estimate and then comparing a sample of 1… not good.

        And in genetics you’re working with identifying people from bags that aren’t 90% one thing, but are 10 different things with a high end of maybe 40% — but there are billions of characteristics and 10s of thousands of relevant characteristics. And now you’re picking one ball out of that set and trying to guess which bag it belongs to, which itself hasn’t been thoroughly sampled because it’s so high-parameter.

        In the end, you get certainty levels that I expect approach next to nothing. Of course, if you know that a group of people belong to a population, and then compare them to another set of populations, you can learn a lot. But one individual out of a high-parameter space? Why bother?

    2. Harold

      What I have been able to glean is that the current state of genetic testing can tell if your genes, symbolized by letters arranged on a string or line and their location on the line, resemble those commonly found among people in certain geographic areas. That’s pretty much all that they can tell you, both because so much of heredity is due to chance, and the amount of DNA one shares with relatives falls off quite a bit with each generation.

      As far as individuals, people have most genes in common with their “first-degree relatives”, i.e., parents and full siblings, then aunts and uncles (parents’ full siblings), and grand parents. If, say, twelve items on a string from one person are identical to twelve items on someone else’s string, then the chances are good that they are closely related, but if twenty items on that string are identical, the chances are closely related are much better. Thus, the longer the string the more accurate the prediction.

      As the testing companies’ sampling includes more and more people, the analyses are getting more accurate since they can identify longer and longer “strings” of DNA. Several years ago, a friend submitted her DNA to a well-known company which reported that she was 19 % Irish and 5 % English. Recently they have notified her that, due to more accurate testing (of longer strings), the Irish proportion has gone down to 6% and the English risen to 37%, which is more in line with her family’s “paper” record, as it happened. It is still all a matter of statistical probability not absolute proof, however.

  11. Carolinian

    Re Rosenstein: time to admit that our “anonymously sourced” version of the news is little more than gossip since the sources don’t put their name to their assertions and the press outlets don’t seem to care whether they are true. This particular incident seems to have gotten people’s attention since it caused the stock market to temporarily plunge.

    Meanwhile from the National Review on Kavanaugh.

    The only corroboration Farrow and Mayer offer is one hearsay account from someone who says he was told that Kavanaugh did this. We are given no indication from whom this man heard it; for all we know, it could’ve been a tale passed along in a lengthy game of telephone. The New York Times noted on Sunday that its reporters had been aware of the story as well, but had “interviewed several dozen people” and could find no one with firsthand knowledge of Ramirez’s story.

    So gossip once again and a story that other outlets wouldn’t touch but it is assumed that the mere assertion will sink Kavanaugh, particularly if he conveniently withdraws.

    1. dunning kroger

      Don your tinfoil hats

      From the “Sell them the rope which they will hang themselves department”

      This is actually an effort to marginalize Farrow to protect the people he was going after in the entertainment industry.

    2. Linda

      Re NYT comment.

      Dean Baquet is a hero of mine and I also respect you immensely, Erik—but it is not accurate to say the Times “declined” to publish Ramirez’s story. Their reporter pursued Ramirez aggressively. She declined to participate because she was talking exclusively to the New Yorker.

      R. Farrow

      Also, a comment from NYT exec editor which is unable to be copied to paste in:

      1. Carolinian

        The ZH site claims WaPo and NBC also passed on the story without offering any link or sources so I guess you could say that I heard “with 100 percent confidence” that it was true….the confidence being in the hearing, not the truth. Adding that in the New Yorker case several decades have passed.

        So IMO the New Yorker story is just more gossip masquerading as news. Ronan they love….Seymour Hersh not so much.

    3. UserFriendly

      The Daily Mail Article is much more important because:
      A. New victim went straight to the cops.
      B. No statute of limitations on any sex crime that would involve jail time in Maryland.

    4. k

      Agree completely with the NR opinion on the effects of this kavanaugh fiasco.

      The most likely outcome is now the worst–kavanaugh will be seated as a “supreme,” and #MeToo will suffer a debilitating, lasting, wholly self-inflicted black eye.

      And all courtesy of dianne feinstein, who seems to have secured her own “lifetime appointment” to the world’s most deliberative body during the previous “year of the woman,” and has done nothing but *uck it up for the rest of us ever since, with a late-in-the-game assist from the witless mazie hirono who, it is reasonable to assume, has absolutely no idea what she is shouting from the bandwagon but keeps shouting it anyway.

      All this hysteria is egged on by smirking, patronizing male dems like schumer and blumenthal, who reap all the benefit of association with such righteousness without any of the hormonal taint. I’d imagine neither of them fears that a so called “pink revolution” will ever threaten their glorious careers.

      The thing is, if the dems were as good at “governing” and worthy of public trust and confidence as they are claiming, they could have borked this guy with political acumen and solidarity of purpose, instead of resorting to slimy histrionics. But they didn’t. Or couldn’t. Or wouldn’t.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Can we just remark on the epic level of foot-shooting by the Dems?

        First it was two years of #RussiaRussiaRussia. But the NYT finally admitted in paragraph 178 that “there is no public evidence of collusion”. Oops. And Gallup said fully 1% of people believe it would matter anyways.

        Then we got Stormy Daniels and mushrooms. Yes, sure, let’s give them the microphone for endless news cycles, mm-hmm that’s what’s important to the voters.

        Now it’s Kavanaugh. Epic. Ignore the actual evidence of sexual harrassment by DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison, go with fuzzy, uncorroborated 35-year old memories at drunken parties. And the #MeToo outing potential of numerous top Dems is at least as large as the Repub side. Where’s Savonarola fer chrissakes.

        It’s almost like…um…THE PARTY wants to distract and misdirect the plebes so they don’t notice that Pelosi and Feinstein and Schumer are busy voting for everything The Orange Man (and their corporate overlords) want.

    5. Dan

      The Kavanaugh circus is polarizing in unexpected places. I had a chat with my unabashedly far-left, second-wave-feminist mother last night and she thought these charges against Kavanaugh were nonsense since they took place when he was such a young man, and people change over time. Not that she wouldn’t be happy to see him Bork-ed based on his wretched record of jurisprudence – but as we know Democrats are happier to hide behind vague claims of misbehavior than actually take a stand on politics.

      1. polecat

        Yes.. misbehaviour that many of themselves, of Both sexes, likely engaged in while in Their youth as well !
        This is just more vapid virtue-signaling, with a big glop of projection thrown on top.

      2. marym

        Agree that Democrats should have a broader focus on his record, but if the assault allegations are true, the change over time on this issue is that he now thinks thinks he has the right to decide what all women, including teen-age girls, can and can’t do with their own bodies.

      3. Doug Hillman

        The Kav circus is great political theater, a salacious agitprop diversion that perpetuates outrage and pointless political conflict. A raging hurricane of manure.

        We are witnessing democracy inaction: special congressional hearings about sexually deviant frat brats because the stakes are enormous. Which corporate candidate will wield the rubber stamp on the US Supine Court?

      4. ewmayer

        “…she thought these charges against Kavanaugh were nonsense since they took place when he was such a young man, and people change over time.” — In this regard, I found Yves’ above use of the colloquialism “sow one’s wild oats” Mrs. Kavanaugh’s “this is not my Brett” pearl-clutching quite interesting, because it embodies a deep historicocultural acceptance of wildly promiscuous behavior, especially on the part of men, in their youth. I’m not saying such acceptance (and its gender-biasedness) is right and proper and that this cultural norm is not in need of changing to fit modern attitudes, just that its mere existence and ancientness are telling.

          1. ewmayer

            Not a fan of Mr. K by any stretch, but unless you are privy to some secret evidence the rest of us are not, you are assuming he is lying and that the alleged victims are speaking the truth as they know it, and moreover that their memories of the alleged incidents over 30 years ago are reliable.

            Can’t speak fo anyone else, but the McMartin preschool case ended the believe-the-alleged-victim instinct for me forever.

  12. paul

    Rather scaremongering piece on e fags which skates over that they are a harm reduction product and one which has proven dramatically effective in getting people off combustible tobacco. (3.2 million in the uk, only 4.2% non smokers.

    The fear of high nicotine levels is ridiculous as smokers and vapers self titrate (and the study above suggests people also move to lower concentrations over time). High nicotine allows you to indulge your habit and ingest less of the other components (flavouring/carrier medium).

    The EU tobacco products directive concerning these products was spectacularly ill informed and both limits their efficacy (switching generally requires higher levels of nicotine) and ecologically moronic (10ml limits on bottles means 10-100 times the plastic waste needlessly produced).
    But then the EU is also implacably opposed to the product (SNUS) that has given sweden the lowest smoking rates in the EU.

    I’ve been using e fags for 8 years (high nicotine,low power,low volume) and have been very grateful for their development.

    1. Dan

      I’m totally alarmed by this anti-e-cig mania too – what’s the matter with nicotine anyway, compared to alcohol, caffeine, or cannabis? I agree that vaping products are a godsend from the personal and public health point of view. Here in California it’s still cool to bomb your lungs with a blunt and blow the smoke everywhere, but g*d forbid you vape in public. I find the hypocrisy baffling…

      1. tegnost

        for one thing it’s illegal to put nicotine in your garden as a pesticide (likely what it’s purpose for being in the tobacco plant is). It’s too poisonous. There is to my knowledge no poisonous corollary in the marijuana plant.

      2. paul

        It’s curious how quick off the mark the fda are vis a vis prescription opioids.

        Kids do stupid stuff, would you rather they have fags rather than a fairly benign alternative?

      3. Skip Intro

        Nicotine is a deadly poison. It was apparently used by German spies in WWII as their suicide option, since such a small amount could kill so quickly. Anyone messing with it or the fluids should be very careful. I would wear gloves too.

        1. paul

          The poison is the dose, as with everything.

          Pure nicotine can’t be handled safely without a suit and a fume hood.

          At the recreational dilutions discussed in the article, it’s not a deadly poison.

    1. John k

      I have a copy. He was a dozen or so years early, but the largest pot drains if you persistently drain it.
      Not like draining the dc swamp, which gets replenished every election cycle.

  13. noonespecial

    Re: Monsansanto’s global weedkiller

    At some point during this week at the UN, it is expected that Colombia’s newly-elected president will remark on his forthright pursuit of eradicating coca production within his term in office. This administration has already come back around to supporting the use of Monsanto’s gift to the natural world, but this its use won’t be harmful since drones will be deployed to spray fields, not Cessnas.

    Backing up Duque is the new Minister of Defense who said the following at a news conference: “In my experience as a farmer, I have not encountered a better herbicide than glyphosate.” At 1min50sec of the linked video, the MOD delivers his views on the use of the chemical. The video also includes interviews of people whose health was affected by glyphosate.

    Beyond the health effects, the use of the herbicide has also been known to damage crops which feed local communities.

    Earlier this year former Secretary of State Tillerson provided these words regarding the Monroe Doctrine which I think neatly sum up the empire’s views: “I think it’s as relevant today as it was the day it was written.” (

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      We make a line between ‘pets’ and ‘wildlife’. I wish we might erase that line and instead form alliances and cooperate with certain animals. In the hard times to come we might help each other, and need each others help. Each species has weakness others might fill. We live with many intelligent beings on this world. ‘Pets’ like dogs and cats are special from long long ties between us. But we can help other intelligent beings and elicit their help.

  14. Wukchumni

    The Secret Life of Kelp Nature (David L)
    There was 5 of us on a backpack a few months ago to Iva Bell hot springs in the High Sierra, and we were soaking and a friend described going skin diving in the ocean, and she was caught in a kelp bed momentarily and was able to wriggle out of it, but it could have been curtains for her, she said.

    Being the mad punner, I rather calmly asked, did she seek kelp?

    She pushed me head first into the 106 degree water with a mighty shove.

    1. ewmayer

      Kelp! I need somebody
      Kelp! Not just anybody
      Kelp! You know I need someone

      (When) When I was younger (When I was young) so much younger than today
      (I never need) I never needed anybody’s kelp in any way
      (Now) But now these days are gone (These days are gone) and I’m not so self assured
      (And now I find) Now I find I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the doors

      Kelp me if you can, I’m feeling down
      And I do appreciate you being ’round
      Kelp me get my fronds back on the ground
      Won’t you please, please kelp me?

  15. allan

    Kavanaughtiness: Interesting thread from Emptywheel resident criminal defense attorney bmaz on an upcoming SCOTUS case which could protect certain unnamed individuals who might obtain Presidential pardons from being prosecuted in state courts. (And here is a CNN story from June when SCOTUS agreed to review the case.)
    It turns out that Sen. Orrin Hatch [R-BCCI] filed an amicus brief in the case.
    Weird what happens to Sagebrush Rebellion 10th Amendment extremists when their friends
    might be subject to state-level law enforcement.

    Puts Hatch’s rabid support for BK in perspective.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      A little sunlight would go a long ways. Release the list of recipients of the Congressional slush fund that’s been used for-evah to pay off sexual harassment victims. Kinda like #RussiaRussiaRussia snaring the likes of John Podesta, the Dems hanging their hat on #MeToo will be a complete blowback.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Theres a Congressional Slush Fund for Sexual Harassment and Assault?

        Does #metoo know?!!!!

  16. Wukchumni

    ‘The Virgin Berth’

    ‘I know his heart. This is not consistent with Brett.’ Kavanaugh’s tearful wife backs embattled Supreme Court nominee as he ADMITS high school drinking but DENIES sex assault saying he was a VIRGIN and pleads for a ‘fair hearing’ Daily Mail.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s possible that some people choose to live that way.

      And on the other hand, we have the National Lampoon’s Animal House people, which is still a great movie, though many of the things they have done we must condemn today (because we are older now, and there is less peer pressure).

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              And I wrote ‘many of the things they have done we must condemn today.’

              Why would that lead to ‘none of it was real?’

              Did high school or college kids drink and party too much that they now regret 40 years later?

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I’m sorry to hear that, as I can’t make sense of what you’re trying to say here either.

                  I made a simple statement about questionable acts and may or may not to related to today’s news – specifically, kids in high school and college drinking and partying too much. It was in the movie, made in 1978, about 1962, and it happened in the 80’s and likely today.

                  A movie is a movie, and as Margritte showed, a picture is not a pipe. But a movie can reflect the world…it’s real in that sense.

    2. Lee

      Virginity is hardly proof of not having committed a sexually motivated assault. We have an ongoing case here in my town in which the attacker has been arrested for at least twice assaulting women with an obviously sexual motive but was unsuccessful in his attempts to rape them.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Actually, virginity is just the thing to motivate such a clumsy attempt – she got away, after all. No contradiction at all.

  17. Henry Moon Pie

    Two interesting articles:

    “Why Is UBI such a tedious topic?”


    But the idea that work is valuable in itself is outdated. It began with the Calvinists, or maybe a little before, and created the ideological basis for capitalism. It destabilized the power of feudal lords, and suggested the surplus created by hard work could be put to use creating a brighter future. Work (suffer) today for payment (heaven) tomorrow. However, the profits from running a business, the surplus, are plugged into all kinds of useless things, like inflating the housing market or creating wasteful products that are designed to be obsolete as quickly as possible. So maybe work is pointless.

    How Radical Municipalism can Go Beyond the Local


    The key actors of social change aren’t think-tanks or lobby groups: they’re people, and people live and work somewhere. This kind of critique often forgets the fact that all successful international movements of the past were also intensely local.

    For example, the labour movements of the 19th and 20th centuries were able to make demands of governments because they were so embedded in people’s day-to-day lives. Historically, unions weren’t just at the workplace; they ran dance halls, classes, cafeterias, and sports leagues.

    It was only by broadening their reach to every aspect of life that unions were able to become indispensable to working class communities. This made it possible for them to organise effective strikes and, eventually, mount a significant challenge to their bosses and the state. It’s regular people that are the actors of world-historical changes.

    What some people deride as ‘localism’ is actually the very foundation of transformative change.

  18. fresno dan

    FRESNO, Calif. (FOX26) — An F-35 Lightning fighter jet landed at Fresno Yosemite International airport today after declaring an engine emergency.

    Two of the F-35’s were flying together when the emergency happened.
    The plane landed safely with the second plane covering overhead and then also landed.
    Fresno airport was the closest secure airport with a military base to park the plane.
    The plane was taken to The 144th Fighter Wing where it will be worked on.
    I bet the warranty ended on the 23rd.
    I’m glad they had air cover for it – lot of recalcitrant Germans flying above Fresno in their doppeldeckers itching to paint an allied fighter on their fuselage….

    1. The Rev Kev

      Kudos to that pilot for getting his plane down on the ground in one piece. With that plane an engine emergency is really an emergency as it only has one engine. If that engine goes down then you are left flying the most expensive glider in the world.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “S-300 missile system: Russia to upgrade Syrian air defences”

    Had to have a laugh about this today. We had the Usual Suspects demanding that Russia not do this such as Netanyahu, Pompeo and Bolton. They are calling it a “major mistake” and a “significant escalation”. Pompeo said he would raise the matter this week with Sergey Lavrov at the U.N. General Assembly. Good luck with that. The Russians understand that if they pulled back on this, that it would be seen as a sign of weakness and would invite yet more attacks on Russian personnel.
    I think that the Israelis really screwed the pooch on this one. Would you believe that they are also trying to blame Iran for the shoot-down along with the Syrians? The Russians are now solidifying an aerial umbrella over western Syria. Not only does this make Israeli attacks on Syria a magnitude of order harder, but this covers the same region that F-UK-US ships shoot missiles off against the Syrians.
    This means too that if the Syrians under Russian cover go for the unreconciled Jihadists in Idlib, any ship-based missiles from the west have a higher likelihood of being shot out of the sky. This also means Lebanese skies too. Last time it was 70% of the missiles launched that were intercepted and that was with the older system in place. The Russians are also negotiating with the Iranians for the use of a base in Iran which makes things even more complicated for any western attacks on Syria. I hope that the Israelis are happy with themselves. I bet that they were back-slapping themselves getting that plane shot down. Not so funny now, fellas.

    1. JTMcPhee

      BIbi says S-300s will have no effect on Israeli invasion and bombing and strafing of adjoining and not-yet-absorbed-into-Greater-Israel nations:

      And here’s an interesting little story, also from today’s Jerusalem Post, for anyone wanting to keep track of the Millenialist thinking and cultural vectors of the Israeli -ite political economy:

      “Unto all the Nations: What One Thing Is Missing From Israel’s Hotels?” (Hint — the Tanach, what us white folks call the Old Testament).

      A “conservative Rabbi,” talking his book…

      1. Carolinian

        Bibi wants to go to war with Russia? Not likely. Of course they might not mind if we did it.

        He hasn’t yet gone to war with Iran either. See above. Netanyahu is big on trash talking but seems to have some restraint when limits are placed.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Indeed, Israel is bravely willing to sacrifice all the American lives it takes… when it comes to their own however…

    2. Hameloose Cannon

      I think the S-300 in Syrian hands will be just as dangerous to Russian pilots as the S-200. The excuse that a pair Israeli F-16’s were hiding behind a turboprop, as opposed to an impulsive Syrian operator’s poor training and absence of a friend-or-foe ID system causing a gross misidentification, might save face in the eyes of the Russian public, but really? No mention of a comprised integrated air defense network a la BAE / L-3’s Suter program, deployed via EM beam from an aircraft similar to the one shot down? How about Russian idiomatic equivalents of “jumping the gun” recklessness? I mean, usually the Russians are real upfront about this stuff, accidents of this nature, and the like.

      1. Bill Smith

        The Syrians said a number of months ago when they hit that Israeli F-16 that went down they intended to repeat the tactics they used. That tactic was was to launch a barrage of anti-aircraft missiles towards the enemy even if they didn’t have a lock on the target.

        My guess it was a bad confluence of events that end up with the Russian plane going down.

      1. The Rev Kev

        This was during that illegal attack back in April. The Pentagon at the time claimed that none were intercepted while the Russians claimed 71 out of 103 intercepted. That was the one where afterwards the Russians were collected relatively intact missiles and were shipping them back to Russia for analysis.
        I tend to believe Russian Defense Ministry briefings more than Pentagon briefings as the Russians give analysis, maps, images, etc whereas the Pentagon may give you a link to something that they saw on YouTube. Remember, the Pentagon is constrained by how admitting how many missiles gets intercepted makes for a a lot of sad faces at Raytheon which effects stock prices. These prices tend to spike after their use in a large attack.

        1. Plenue

          Aside from the fact that they collected and showed off pieces of missiles the Pentagon claimed weren’t intercepted, the US was claiming dozens of missiles hit a single building complex, much of which was very conspicuously still intact. That’s a lot of still standing walls for being hit by such an absurd amount of firepower…

          I’m very much leaning toward the age of the Tomahawk having come to an end.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Why is that (70% interception) sad for Raytheon? It just means they have to use about 3 times as many missiles. Or decoys, probably also expensive.

          1. Plenue

            Sure, if people kept buying them they’d sell more. But why would anyone want to buy a weapon that is so wildly ineffective?

    1. Carolinian

      He went on to say that the story Dr. Christine Blasey Ford “is one that I know was repeated dozens of times in my 4 years at Prep.”

      Sounds like our crack press corps should have found plenty of corroborators therefore for this slam dunk.

      BTW the “he” in the quote is someone who says he was molested by a priest and is attacking Mark Judge for defending the priest.

      1. pretzelattack

        what’s the rush, here–it took a very long time for a lot of these stories to come out–the abusive priests, the sandusky case at penn state, bill cosby, harvey weinstein. our crack press corps maybe had something to do with that. i think gridlock is our friend. the priest did turn out to be a serial abuser, so judge defending him would seem relevant to judge defending kavanaugh. i’m quite content to see this play out–naturally the repubs want a quick vote, and naturally the dems will play politics. i’m not seeing the harm in letting this marinate.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The other option is to make a quick decision, and let this become an issue for the voters to decide.

          1. pretzelattack

            if you make the quick decision, you’re voting for kavanaugh. i don’t think this guy belongs on the court, anyway. i do think it’s relevant to his qualifications if he tried to rape dr. ford. we went for years with the republicans delaying nominations, what’s the pressing need to do this now?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I am thinking, for some Democrats, that is how they would like the politics of this to play out, if it affords them some political advantage.

              1. pretzelattack

                no doubt both parties are seeking political advantage, the republicans by pushing for a quick vote before any other people come forward, the democrats by delaying. i think gridlock is good here. we’re going to get kavanaugh or somebody equally bad, and maybe a 4 4 court won’t do as much harm.

      2. Kokuanani

        Why were the “crack FBI investigators” so unable to find any of this info on Kavanaugh in the PRIOR background checks they did on him, like for his current judicial seat?

        Now I know none of the current accusors had come forward back then, but there were still the various roommates to attest to his drinking and other escapades. Did the FBI find this stuff and the recipients of the background checks just didn’t care, or did they not find it?

        Inquiring minds and all.

        1. LifelongLib

          I don’t know anything from personal experience about life in prep schools, but from the published accounts it sounds wild and crazy. Maybe Kavanaugh’s just par for the course.

  20. The Rev Kev

    So I was thinking about Trumps upcoming appearance at the United Nations Security Council and wondered what tweets that he would shoot off. Just for fun, I have thought up one that he might make what with his obsession for trade-

    Donald J. Trump – Verified account

    Have learned nearly every country in world uses Metric System. Very bad for US industries. NOT FAIR! This must change. Europe and world must totally go with American measurements or tariffs! None for Burma & Liberia. Will make demand at UN this week. AMERICA FIRST!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We dictate, sorry, we say what is beautiful.

      You go to China, long legs are beautiful…today. In the past, for thousands of years, it was not so.

      So, why not?

      1. Carolinian

        They were too busy foot binding?

        And apparently Trump did get some snickers during his opening speech. No reported mentions of that unAmerican Metric System.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That (foot binding) was really tragic.

          Not sure how far back that went.

          The famous beauty during the Tang dynasty was Yang Guifei, who was, let’s say, Rubenesque, which is out of fashion these days, due to, in no small part, to Western cultural hegemony, perhaps unhealthy as well (can’t say for sure, probably debatable on that).

  21. Rojo

    Re: DNA ancestry tests branded ‘meaningless’ Telegraph

    How are these tests supposed to work exactly? They compare your profile to other parts of the world and use that to proclaim you’re “Swedish” or “Angolan”?

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      The one I used simply lists the regions of origin, which meshed well with what I know of my actual ancestry. And given most of that is German, it also came as no surprise I have a comparatively high level of Neanderthal in the mix. I confess to being somewhat surprised at the tiny nip of Askhenazi, but again, given the known background that would likely have been inevitable.

      On the other hand, I was recently contacted by a second cousin I didn’t know about and am looking forward to putting in the chart, as thats side of the record has gaping holes in it. The thing is: you need to have a slight grasp of what DNA does and doesn’t mean going in to really use the information to any degree. Most people, I suspect, don’t.

  22. oaf

    Request for info: Local water supply is being treated with *algeacide*…No word on what it is…or concentrations…I would like an MSDS sheet. Requested info from the media running an informational story; but not satisfied with vague response. Chemistry caused big problems in Flint, remember? I am filtering my drinking water; but would like to know what we are being dosed with in the Lewiston/Auburn area.
    Thanks, all…I thought it tasted real bad…

    1. oh

      I suggest you use duckduckgo to search for “MSDS Algeacide”. It looks like the State is taking the easy way out instead of aerating the lake!

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The next cold war? US-China trade war risks something worse The Conversation


    There was a Three Kingdoms Period in China, about 2,000 years ago.

    Similarly in Korea, when the country was divided into Baekje, Goguryeo and Silla.

    Compared to the present situation of US-China-Russia, there is a lot to be learned from studying those historical periods.

    For situations involving more than three major players, the Chinese can also get books on the Spring and Autumn period, and the subsequent Warring States Period, the latter involved seven major states.

    In Japan, they also experienced a Warring States Period (Sengoku), towards the end of which came Nobunaga, Hideyoshi and Tokugawa, who prevailed finally because he was able to keep a low profile, acting ‘soft’ in the Dao De Jing sense, and strike when he was ready finally.

    When one looks at all these historical examples, one thing stands out – don’t be used by another power to fight a third power or more.

  24. Musicismath

    This is both funny, sinister, and, finally, just sad. New Zealand blogger Giovanni Tiso and the hamfisted attempt by Louise Mensch to our him as a Russian spy:

    This story is 95% ridiculous, but it’s also 5% serious. ‘Reporting’ people to the intelligence services for pointing out on Twitter that you said some stupid things in the past is not a normal thing to do, although it has become normalcy adjacent. The pervasiveness of conspiracism in the global political discourse, combined with the attrition-free nature of social media (leading to what I called in the past the unbearable closeness of others), is a breeding ground for a new culture of suspicion from which no country or community is quite immune.

    Giovanni Tiso, That time Louise Mensch claimed I’m a Russian spy, Overland (25 September 2018).

    1. ChrisPacific

      Reading this I realize that people at intelligence services like GCHQ must be dealing with wild-eyed types like this on practically a daily basis.

      I would be tempted to string them along (“We are aware. Please stop drawing attention to him. The situation needs more time to develop.”) Just one reason why I would be poorly suited to that kind of job.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Louise Mensch needs to go away. Has she not got a life? Could you imagine what would happen if she came to NC and started to read some of the comments here? Just to save her some trouble, I am supplying the web page to contact ASIO for some of my comments-

      Us Putin/Assad apologists aim to please and help.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It was not that every Democrat never proposes any policies.

      Such as, some, at some point in time, in the past, distant past or future, would come up with one is not excluded.

      1. Skateman

        “It is often mentioned here, not just by me, that the Democrats distract to avoid any policy proposals.”

        So much for this statement.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          When it was said, by a commenter here, usually it referred to a specific instance. And that’s why it is often mentioned.

          I don’t believe anyone saying that they are this way or that way, all the time.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      First, Liz Warren is one Senator proposing something 40 days out from an election.

      Two, she is a life long Republican.

      Three, where is the Democratic leadership? How does one Senator undo the recent history of the leadership represented by the ilk of Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid’s right hand man?

      Four, policy proposals are nice, but as long as people like Warren provide cover for the ilk of say Mark Warner, its just the rotating villain strategy but morphed into rotating heroes and just acceptance most are simply awful. We can always find exceptions to the rule, but the “good” Democrats need to demand accountability to their fellow travelers.

      1. Skateman

        1. There are tons more examples from other Democrat leaders as well as Liz Warren if you care to look.

        2. She’s been a Democrat since the mid1990s – hardly a lifelong Republican.

        3. This is a good point. The old guard Democratic leadership is woefully out of touch and terrible…But still better than the Republican leadership.

        4. I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about here. But the rise of young progressive Dems is definitely changing the equation in the party.

        1. pretzelattack

          dunno when she switched, seems like she hasn’t said whether she voted for bush or not, most of her life was spent as a republican, though.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          1. Examples are nice, but those examples are going to overcome the leadership. Its much like Obama’s recent endorsement of Medicare for All echoing his pre-Presidency position on the matter.

          2. She was well into adult hood. Part of the problem is she is a thought leader of the Democrats, who again promote the same tired leadership.

          3. The old guard Democratic Leadership. Who is the new guard?

          4. The rise of young progressives doesn’t change your point. The Democrats are by and large a tired party, and your example a person who doesn’t hold leadership responsible (Warren was MIA in the 2016 primary when she might have helped avert the Trump Presidency). Pelosi is still there which tells me until we replace 90% of the sitting Democrats its a party perfectly happy with “old vanguard.”

        3. tegnost

          1. It is customary to cite specifics, always a problem for defendocrats, please list so these achievements can be specifically rebutted.
          2. Switching to democrat in the late 90’s was indeed what has happened in the duopoly. Moderate repubs liked (or disliked) the identity thing, and since the clinton/biden/ lieberman /schumer/(should I go on?) crowd were so in with wall st., why not switch to dem?
          3.yes they are, and they’re charlatans and carpet baggers who speak with forked tongues, and so, different from the republican party in some respects that you are free to list specifically, but not better, another more effective evil.
          4. He’s talking about ciphers. so it appears you do know, for you cite the rise of young progressives as a remedy. The equation was changed by bernie and trump. As for the party, I will wait and see whether or what the equation change is.

      2. Doug Hillman

        I’m sure this was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek, bitten and bleeding to prevent chortling aloud:

        Warren’s bill includes”…raising of the estate tax, which means it has no chance of passing a Republican-controlled Congress. However, if Democrats take the House and possibly the Senate in November, the bill could at least be seriously considered.”

        Might as well throw in something about Medicare for all, raising the minimum wage and so on.

    3. dunning kroger

      please enough with that phony too. If she wants to speak for the poor let her give up her 6 figure no show law professor job .

        1. dunning kroger

          no you can’t have a job in mass and be a friggin senator at the same time and run for president for years off and on.

          You try just wandering away from a job to do another job in a different state and then blow off that to campaign , as the president would say “You’re Fired!!”

          Poor people sometimes have more than one job , but they actually have to work at all of their jobs. they don’t get to sleep walk through them.

          I don’t need some clown that makes 300,000 a year to teach one class (that she has some minimum wage assistant do for her) to also be my senator. I think senator needs to be a full time job . That also means quit both if you want to run for president .

          1. Skateman

            So as I understand your rant, you want Elizabeth Warren to work full time as a Senator and are mad that she simultaneously makes $300K as a professor. Yet at the same time you state that she probably has an assistant teach the single class she teaches, which is an admission that her professorship isn’t taking up any of her time. I’m not sure why you’re so worked up over this.

            1. dunning kroger

              because I live in Mass , she is my senator . Who is she to lecture people about poor peoples issues , working class issues , blue collar issues ? She knows nothing about any of it based on her actual life of privilege.

              What working class person has a second job that they don’t have to show up for? Hands up everyone that makes 6 figures not to come to work …… anyone anyone …. Bueller?

              If the assistant teaches the class what do they need Pocahontas for? These are what you call bribes .

              What do you know about her? Are you in Mass ? Or are you just a liberal and groupthink tells you to be pro-warren regardless of what she actually does?

              1. Elizabeth Burton

                Oh, for heaven’s sake. All you need to do to know what it’s like being poor is to read and understand the body of literature on the subject and talk to people.

                Can she know what it’s like to be poor? Probably not, any more than I can know what it’s like to be a college professor or a Senator. Or rich, for that matter. That doesn’t mean she can’t understand what it’s like for those who are.

                She at least has the good sense to focus most of her attention on the issues she’s best qualified to deal with—economics and the financial industry. And as far as I can tell that focus has always been with the poor and middle classes in mind.

                Frankly, I regard this kind of rant about a particular politician, especially when it’s one who has actually done some real progressive work, an effort to defame that politician for no other purpose than the defamation. Warren has her flaws, as do we all. If you really want to prove something, tell us how that teaching assistant is being paid, and how much.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  That is an eternal question – do you have to be a member of a group to know what it is like to be one of them?

                  So, for example, some blacks have reacted to the participation of white progressives, after the experience of the 60’s, by striving for change on their own.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  She doesn’t have to, but if it would be a big statement to give up her college salary or to donate it, and to live as a senator.

                  It would be a bigger statement than Trump giving up his, because relatively speaking, what she would give up is much more, and she could still live comfortably.

                  And maybe let the assistant have her job.

                  Still, she doesn’t have to. It’s her choice.

  25. Oregoncharles

    “This is how UN scientists are preparing for the end of capitalism Independent”

    I would call that a must-read, though it could use some pruning. It’s about the real resource constraints we face, and the kind of measure that would be necessary to deal with them. Actually, I thought that part was half-hearted; they’re saying fossil-fuel capitalism is reaching an end, but not proposing any radical solutions.

    And it contains another claim that, if all costs are considered, there has been essentially no real “growth” in the past few decades. Hence the bubbles and the dominance of finance, cut free of real resources. For the moment.

    And again, there is an institution trying to plan a post-growth economy: Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy, Based on the work of Herman Daly, the environmental economist who pioneered the field.

  26. polecat

    Thank you for the reply Jean. The reason I asked is because when many people make a statement with regard to ‘drugs’, they often don’t specify ‘which’ kind they’re refering to, which can be misconstrued to mean all, or some, or one .. but other’s wouldn’t know, thus shifting the context or their argument, perhaps unintendedly, as you’ve just noted above … although, I find that many people, including various pundits .. and our elected officials, use this ‘unspecified inference’ as a method of persuasion in the argument for draconian measures in ‘fighting the ‘WAR’ on the 1-10% class-sponsered ‘unapproved’ drugs, knowing there are vast differences/effects of, and on, a population, but push awful legislation anyway .. because $$$, even though they may have friends, family .. or dare say they themselves, caugh on a runaway train to some kind of addiction .. while rational, decent, and humane ways to uh, deal .. with drug issues are found wanting, never broached.
    Rant off

  27. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “US to be hit worse than almost any other country by climate change”
    I am confused by some of the recent climate reporting from the Independent. From today’s link I can only wonder what are the SCC costs [social cost of carbon — defined by “sneak-in” in the link]. Part of my confusion results from my lack of understanding about how social costs are measured by this measure. Next I wonder why it matters who will be hit hardest. Are we not one planet and one species and are not many many other innocent species tied to our failures? So does it matter what homo sapiens related countries will be hardest hit? We should be involved in solutions/mitigations/adaptations whether we are most or least impacted. There is no World ‘B’ when ‘A’ fails.

  28. Mary Bess

    Re: The Current U.S. Drug Overdose Crisis Began In The Late 1970s, Study Finds
    Ed Cara

    Most writing about the crisis buries the lead:

    “Long before legal opioids began being widely misused and abused starting in the mid 1990s, the rate of
    The study doesn’t delve too much into what these deep drivers could be. But Burke notes some researchers have theorised that people’s growing lack of purpose, loss of community, and economic woes are helping spark a rise in so-called deaths of despair, such as overdoses, suicides, and alcohol-related illnesses.”

    It’s a spiritual crisis. When a civilization loses confidence in itself, it collapses.

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