Links 10/1/18

Vehicle subscription becomes reality at Naperville dealership Daily Herald (JB). I’m so old I remember when ordinary people actually owned stuff…

U.S. and Canada reach last-minute accord to conclude talks on new NAFTA Los Angeles Times. Surprising many.

Renegotiated NAFTA Deal: Improvements on Some Key Demands and More Work Needed (PDF) Lori Wallach, Public Citizen

News Analysis: Why global trade in urgent need of change Xinhua

ECB’s economic model shows US losing trade war but neglects politics Handelsblatt

Elon Musk Tweets May Cost Tesla Investors Close to $20 Billion Bloomberg. Oopsie.

Tory Conference App Security Blunder Exposes Ministers’ Personal Details HuffPo

Watch: Tory conference attendees applaud Boris-bashing in main hall Spectator


Brexit Has Brought Britain to a Standstill Bloomberg

Paris set to triumph as Europe’s post-Brexit trading hub FT

Money launderers are taking EU to the cleaners, experts say France24

Nobody has a plan to lift the curse on centrist politics in Germany Wolfgang Münchau, FT

Why the League Is New Bane of Italy’s Establishment Bloomberg

Huge protests in Brazil as far-right presidential hopeful returns home Guardian

The Brazilian Elite’s Plan to Destroy the Workers’ Party Has Failed The Nation

Why independence is not on the ballot in Quebec’s election The Economist


China’s Leaders Confront an Unlikely Foe: Ardent Young Communists NYT (JB).

Beijing’s Bismarckian Ghosts: How Great Powers Compete Economically (PDF) The Washington Quarterly

Will China’s new laser satellite become the ‘Death Star’ for submarines? South China Morning Post

China’s Health Care Crisis: Lines Before Dawn, Violence and ‘No Trust’ NYT. “While the wealthy have access to the best care in top hospitals with foreign doctors, most people are relegated to overcrowded hospitals.” Incroyable!

Abused Hong Kong maid Erwiana now a champion for migrant workers’ rights Channel News Asia

Lessons for Hong Kong-Beijing relations from Quebec’s 2018 provincial election HKFP


The US Military-Industrial Complex’s Worst Nightmare: The S-300 May Destroy and Expose the F-35 Strategic Culture. Big if true.

North Korea

North Korea, South Korea begin removing landmines along fortified border Reuters


Chad Ludington’s Statement on Kavanaugh’s Drinking and Senate Testimony NYT. Ludington: “I can unequivocally say that in denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking, and in downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, Brett has not told the truth.” Kavanaugh: ” I — passed out would be — no, but I’ve gone to sleep, but — but I’ve never blacked out. That’s the — that’s the — the allegation, and that — that — that’s wrong.” I’ve helpfully underlined Kavanaugh’s perjury. “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.” Oh, and this from Chad: “On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett….” Nobody can stick in the shiv like a WASP!

1 big thing: Brett Kavanaugh is “too big to fail” Axios. No plan B? I don’t believe it for a minute.

Mormon women speak out about the Brett Kavanaugh proceedings Medium (GF).

Pack the Supreme Court The Intercept. “Democrats should add at least two new seats to the Supreme Court and then fill them, ideally, with left-wing, well-qualified women of color.” Except you know that won’t happen. The Democrats will pick “well-qualified” neoliberal “women of color.” I mean, come on.

In memo, outside prosecutor argues why she would not bring criminal charges against Kavanaugh WaPo

Fury Is a Political Weapon. And Women Need to Wield It. Rebecca Traister, NYT

Silicon Valley’s Brett Kavanaugh problem Engadget. NDAs, private arbitration…

Trump Transition

How the Trump Era Lays Bare the Tension in the Marriage Between Conservatism and Capitalism The Intercept

New California internet neutrality law sparks US lawsuit AP

Report blasts TSA leadership for ‘toxic culture,’ blames it for high attrition, poor morale Federal New Radio

Imperial Collapse Watch

Where Are The Most Viruses In An Airport? Hint: It’s Probably Not The Toilet NPR. Hilarity ensues, as security theatre provides the vector for the next pandemic…

New Draconian Policy Affects Books & Mail in PA Prisons CBLDF (SC).

Moats: As higher education shifts to worker training, is there room for the humanities? VT Digger. As I keep saying, humanities major Stephen King was the largest donor to the University of Maine, until a corrupt neoliberal administrator (the President) ticked him off.

Class Warfare

Climate gentrification: the rich can afford to move – what about the poor? Guardian

Why the distribution of wealth has more to do with power than productivity Open Democracy

You Might Call It Wealth n+1

Chasing ‘likes’ on Instagram, hikers break limbs — and need rescuing Stars and Stripes. Nice work if you can get it without breaking a leg or drowning.

So is it nature not nurture after all? Guardian

Your DNA Is Not Your Culture The Atlantic. The Spotify/Ancestry DNA partnership “creates custom playlists for users based on DNA results they input.”

Escaping India within India LiveMint

Psychologists define the ‘dark core of personality’ Science Daily (original). n>2500. Readers?

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. Olga

    Sanctions are much more about economics than anything else… if you cannot win on merit and in a fair competition, just clobber’em with sanctions:
    “The US uses pressure to eliminate competitors and do away with any hope for fair competition. Washington protects Boeing by resorting to the policy of twisting arms.”
    Wonder how long these tactics can work?

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    “dark core of personality”–

    From the article:

    As the new research reveals, the common denominator of all dark traits, the D-factor, can be defined as the general tendency to maximize one’s individual utility — disregarding, accepting, or malevolently provoking disutility for others — , accompanied by beliefs that serve as justifications.

    In other words, all dark traits can be traced back to the general tendency of placing one’s own goals and interests over those of others even to the extent of taking pleasure in hurting other’s — along with a host of beliefs that serve as justifications and thus prevent feelings of guilt, shame, or the like.


    But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

    1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NRSV)

    Maximizing one’s personal, individual “utility” at the expense of others, in our society, can be aptly described as “loving money.” The author of 1 Timothy 6 was pretty close to making the same point nearly 2,000 years ago, and it didn’t require divine inspiration, just open-eyed observation of the surrounding world. What the author might not have foreseen was a society organized to promote such individuals to all its positions of power and influence.

    1. hemeantwell

      The article dallies in the shallow end, doing a variety of riffs on something like “selfishness.” It fails to mention a factor that psychoanalytic writers, Otto Kernberg for one, emphasize: envy. Let’s take a look.

      The normal experience of envy involves someone else having what you want. (Envy can blur with jealousy, but you can start working with a distinction of you think of the paradigm of jealousy — A loves B and is jealous of C because B loves C and not A — as a more relationally based problem). Envy is usually a transient experience, resolved by distraction or focusing on one’s compensating strengths etc. But it can instead become a preoccupation. From there it can become saturated with aggressive hostility. From there, add destructiveness >>> malignant envy and the forms of hate associated with it.

      Malignant envy manifests in different ways. At the extreme the blowback into the personality of the envious person is devastating. Sketchily, they’ve gone from
      — enviously wishing they had something to
      — a wish to destroy what it is they want so that no one can have it to
      — destroying the person who has it in order to utterly spoil the experience of satisfaction the envious person is obsessively forced to witness to
      — a final solution: destroying their own wishfulness

      That last stance tends to be self-obliterating and, to avoid that, demanding of “innovations” in personality that can tend to the psychotic. I think it is often part of what is alluded to when people talk about something “dark” in a personality. These dynamics are often more or less explicitly referred to in serial killer depictions. Silence of the Lambs is a good example.

      To try to cover this with “egocentrism” is terribly inadequate because it ignores what has happened to the ego that has become so central. At the extreme, there’s a turn against the self, a self-negation, that can drive virulent masochism. But that turning against the self can be finessed. To manage overwhelming feelings of “badness,” to avoid crumbling under the weight of guilt and shame, the malignant envier can pull off an elevation of the malignancy into a virtue. Their own viciousness can be portrayed as desirable and socially useful.

      Although these dynamics can be so pervasive that they dominate a personality, they can also be more circumscribed, taking tendential forms that are moderated or encouraged by society.

    2. Enquiring Mind

      Playground empirical research over the years helps me note that there will be some kids who find it very important for someone else to lose, and not just for them to win.

      Then there is the Kissingerian philosophy about Iran and Iraq where he uttered what was one of his truer sentiments: Why can’t they both lose?

    3. clarky90

      I attend Eastern Orthodox Church, and immerse myself in the New Testament. No wonder Jesus Christ is so “hated”, vilified and ridiculed by the MSM.

    4. Korual

      Funny how the definition of “D-factor” is so close to “rational expectations” in neoclassical economics. It’s like there’s some kind of connection…

    5. Darthbobber

      Though for literal believers in Christian doctrine, the maximization of utility is simply transferred to the afterlife, and foregoing wealth (which is seen as inimical to one’s chances of eternal bliss) is simply a Prudential ethic.

      1. juliania

        Um, not entirely. It’s also about loving: loving God, and one’s neighbour as one’s self. That sort of maximization, here and now. (Literally speaking.)

  3. ChristopherJ

    Re climate gentrification, the rich can pick and choose, assuming there is any choosing left soon.

    partially related is my mate asking why the next king has his private residence in rural Wales… along with a hundred other bolt holes no doubt. Comment if you really need me to answer that one…

    and then tonight, excruciating 4 corners on ABC about the worst drought in living memory across our wheat and meat belts in Australia. Stoic people, waiting for the rain, not wanting a handout, but getting one nonetheless. Raises all sorts of questions, but not a word about climate change.

    Then, there’s the 1000 death toll in Indonesia….

    sad times, even with the end of the footy season and the world chugging along.

    Truly blogged we are. TY S and L and J and O

    1. Wukchumni

      You can never be sure what the good locales are going to be, so i’ve acquired a pied-à-terre in Tierra del Fuego, and a condo on the good side of the Great Slave Lake, where hopefully I can grow citrus.

      But getting back to reality, yes it’s going to a scramble to not only get away from previously bountiful areas, into newfound places to call home, and like all real estate it once again boils down to Location Location Location.

      The easy way for governments to nip it in the bud, would be to curtail air transportation, and as there isn’t much going as far as sea travel goes, greatly suspend that too.

      All of the sudden, transportation world wide would be back to the 17th century, as in nobodys going nowhere.

      1. ChristopherJ

        ty wuk for that. At least you are being proactive and have the life skills in the slim chance there are pockets of us that will make it. You are going to need a good coat.

        Even so, not sure there are going to be those goldilocks spots on the world once it all goes tits up, particularly where we seem to have placeed most of the earth’s nuclear reactors. – FK couldn’t get out of the way. We can, but are not planning for it.

        Morning here, kookaburras, drongos, nightingale larks, finches, TI pigeons, wrens, kingfishers, sunbirds, the odd butcher bird and heaps of helmeted friar birds, … and they’re just the common ones. Not quite on city fringe, but close enough, otherwise all you seem to get away from the bush are the weedy birds – doves, starlings, minor birds.

        TY again for response – Coffee then a run are next, simplest of things are often the things we miss the most

  4. timbers


    The US Military-Industrial Complex’s Worst Nightmare: The S-300 May Destroy and Expose the F-35 Strategic Culture. Big if true.

    I take a contrarian view: IMO there is no greater favor/advantage to Russian military defense capability than allowing the myth of the F-35 to continue and for the U.S. and it’s puppet regimes in Europe and elsewhere to spend heavily on it, because based on what I’ve read about all it’s bugs it will to only fail in many ways in an actual military conflict against a well armed and knowledgable adversary, but it drains the budget of it’s owners, thus diverting funds to military systems that might actually work better.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Considering the article says we’ve spent a trillion on the F-35 already…

      And we could have waged a war on sepsis right here at home, employing many health soldiers at living wages while saving what, over a million lives at home.

      Our ‘dark core of national personality’ indeed.

    2. Jason Ipswitch

      The F-35 works just fine for what it’s supposed to do: putting money in defense contractor pockets, and smashing third-world nations that anger the US.

      The idea of directly confronting the Russians or Chinese is a pipe-dream the US establishment no longer takes seriously, even if it pretends it might do so in public. The terrible shape of our military establishment makes this very clear.

      1. JTMcPhee

        To move the F-35 to “deployed status,” do like was done with the V-22 Osprey: pick some quiet corner of the Global Battlespace where nothing much is going on except for Imperial troopers pricking “Wogs” and “hajjis” to pull ambushes on said troopers, thus creating the self-licking ice cream cone that “we took Coalition casualties and so we have to take revenge and go kick a$$ in Helmand once again again again.” Then on some quiet day when nobody is likely to be able to shoot back, fly the Latest and Greatest US MIC wingy-thingy into and through the airspace, and claim that it is no longer a developmental system but fully “deployed” in “combat conditions.” Because that status opens the floodgates of ancillary expenditures, like what you can read about here: “V-22 Opsrey [sic] deployment,”

        And of course the notorious vulnerability of this “system” to ground fire when “dropping Marine Expeditionary Forces behind enemy lines” wherever those lines are, in like Syria or Notagain?istan,” had to be “addressed” by the MIC. Because it was designed as a mostly unarmed and unarmored light troop carrier, but is morphing into another “Swiss Army Knife,” may have fittings for a whole lot of actions but does nothing well or the blades break off, like the F-35. That led to loading an 800 pound “belly-mounted 7.62mm Minigun” (I bet the ammo, fired at 3,000 rounds per minute) weighs a whole lot more). (Note that the controller for the weapon “is like an XBox 360 controller—” got to love the convergence of virtual and actual reality, no?

        One would love to see the after-action reports on the Israeli missions with the F-35s (which of course are largely being paid for with Uncle Sucker MMT dollars, not Israeli wealth). Likely stand-way-off and shoot missiles, not the kind of close-support that people who forget that Imperial Expeditions are “illegal under international law and notoriously ineffective, with lots of blowback” get all wet about and write their congresspersons demanding the A-10 be resurrected and put to work killing “wogs and hajjis.”

        Threats and counter-threats and counter-counter-counterthreats — an infinite asymptotic series, a curve that nothing in nature will support for long…

        The stupidity and futility, they burn so bad…

        1. Carolinian


          The pilot ejected and was being evaluated by medical personnel and the F-35 program office for insight into whether officials could credit the pilot or Lockheed Martin for the aircraft hitting its most recent milestone. The crash came just one day after a different F-35B conducted its first combat strike in Afghanistan against an important enemy weapons cache of AK-47’s and RPG’s, costing the Pentagon only about $150,000 in spent munitions and aircraft flight hours.

          “Just as the F-35 secretly outperformed the A-10 in a close air support role in the past, this aircraft has shown it is far better suited at crashing than the F-16,” said Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson.

          Stories on the crash said that the crashed plane was the bargain $115 million version as opposed to the super duper $400 million version so that’s something to be thankful for.

          1. Darthbobber

            As a piloted bomb it outperforms the Mitsubishi Zero. On the other hand, you could fill 50 flight decks with Zeroes for the cost of one of these babies.

      1. a different chris

        And anyway the whole thing is useless even if it worked:

        Will China’s new laser satellite become the ‘Death Star’ for submarines?

        You’re not going to be able to “death star” a submarine with a laser probably ever despite all the sci-fi. But once you know where it is…. funny, I have been pointing out for awhile now that the surface Navy is near useless in any sort of war, whether against “camel-jockeys” or (looks around furtively*) Russia… it is essentially dead meat. Or more accurately an expensive coffin full of somebody’s dead children at the bottom of the sea.

        And I’m one that thinks that subs are where money should be spent, if you insist on spending money. But subs to the Navy are like the Air Force to the Army, nobody has ever won a war via air “power”. And they won’t win anything with submarines either.

        Anyway, yes I do have a point: self-guided missiles have one and only one mission – to destroy what they are pointed at. No human cargo and life support. No “multiple defense (haha) capabilities”. They do one thing, they do it well, and… well they don’t move on, that’s it, but boy oh boy they don’t need to.

        AI and the like are comically overrated, but pretty much any decent physics grad could design a guided missile, land or water, that would mercilessly take out anything with a human in it. And if it can’t by itself, a half-dozen are cheap and only one has to get through.

        *Any Benny Hill fans?

      2. PlutoniumKun

        POGO has some very detailed investigations into the shortcomings of the entire F-35 programme, they are long but well worth diving into if you are interested in how major projects can manage to keep going, even when they are failing miserably in achieving their objectives. The reality is that the entire F-35 project was misconceived from the very beginning.

    3. Wukchumni

      Tom Cruise has been locally on the set of Naval Air Station Lemoore, as the F-35 will be the star of Top Gun II-which is in filming, and even if it’s an Edsel of the air, surely tinsel town can save it from it’s surfeit of shortcomings through the usual daring do, etc.

      Hooray for Hollywood!

    4. The Rev Kev

      There is an article that appeared today at which talks about these weapons systems. The risks to the Israelis are large and I am not sure that Lockheed Martin will allow the Israelis to risk getting them shot out of the sky by the two-decade old S-300s. Services are already starting to opt out of F-35s and I believe that the US Navy is ordering Super Hornets rather than F-35s. Can you imagine the effect on sales if a one was actually shot down?
      The US does have leverage. The Israelis only have a dozen of them out of an ordered fifty. In addition, without American servicing, those birds would be on the ground for good in a short order of time. For the Israelis, this is not like shooting up an unarmed UN border post. And there is no single target for them to shoot but dozens of vehicles with radar, missile batteries, aircraft all fused together in a network. They can also all shoot back which Israel is not really used to. I guess setting up those 15 Russians to be killed wasn’t such a bright idea after all. I wonder if that idea came from Netanyahu himself?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think most of the more level headed analyses of the shooting down of the Russian aircraft indicate that it was a genuine screw-up by the Israelis. It was probably a mix of arrogance and pilot panic. It was not in their interest to stir things up with the Russians this way, they had achieved many of their aims with those informal agreements with Putin.

      2. JTMcPhee

        The Israel-ites are also not used to paying for anything, if they can make a “freier” (sucker) out of the seller. So it appears that all or a good part of the cost of letting Lockheed-“We never forget who we’re working for”-Martin pocket hundreds of billions of MMT and “taxpayer” dollars for the delivery of F-35s to Israel, is coming out of the US (colloquially, “Uncle Sucker” in Israel) treasury.

        $38 billion, in one chunk, from the Obomber period of Imperial administration, and lots more past and future wealth transfers to prop up a bunch, a “regime” one might call it, that has such a long reach into “elections” and policies of the Imperial regime. And practices apartheid and worse on its own citizens, as well as almost anyone nearby…

    5. rd

      The big blunder in the F-35 program was the insistence on making it a Swiss Army knife convertible from traditional land-based runway planes, to vertical take-off and landing to aircraft carrier capable. All three of these have very different design requirements and should have been handled in separate development programs while sharing stealth and communication technology developments.

      They could likely have developed three more capable planes for those different purposes for the same cost as the F-35 program.

      Meanwhile, planes like the A-10 have a place in providing close support to ground troops in low-tech battlefield environments which is where most of the US engagements have occurred over the past 70 years. Trying to replace the A-10 in places like Afghanistan with the F-35 is inefficient so the F-35 type of capability should be reserved for use in more high-tech battlefields like direct confrontation with the Chinese and Russians if it ever came to that. Russia in Syria means that it has become a hybrid battlefield with some tech capabilities.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And dare I ask, “War — what is it good for?” I do find it so interesting, the fan-boy mentality of so many people — all the serious discourse and debate about which weapons systems are appropriate and “winning technological choices” for this, that or the other “battlefield,” hybrid or asymmetric or other. I find it hard to spot a “mission” for anything that the Great Powers and our Empire do and have done that means squat, in terms of sort of important stuff like keeping the species alive and not trashing what is left of the Great Commons that was the planet.

        But of course one is urged to be “realistic,” because after all THEY (whoever one wants to identify as such) are all about being Empires too! and want to Take Our Stuff and Control Our Country!!! And Seee?? Our Weapons Systems, developed by the brightest brains in the C Suites of the Huge War Armaments Industry just keep coming up with these self=propelled “programs,” with their own constituencies like they were actually parts of the polity instead of huge sucks on the wealth of the nation and nothing but an idiotic but well-paid treadmill that the mopes get to run on. So guys like the former CEO of General Dynamics can use Air Force helicopters to fly him from his Beltway headquarters to his palatial home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and keep doing it even after the “auditors” at the Pentagram told him that was “not legal.” “What are you going to do about it?” he said. debar my corporation from getting federal contracts?

        It’s of course complicated… And we should all forget that initial consideration that Sun Tzu, old in war, offered to the generic nation: Better be damned sure you have a really good reason to start a war, and if you conduct one over great time and distance, however ”
        successful” you are, you will bankrupt the peasants and destroy the nation. But hey, who cares about all that downer thinking? We got really cool new potentially Game-Changing ™ Weapons Systems and Doctrines to roll out, so we can advance our careeers and trigger our bonuses!!!

        Note again: In the DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms,, the word “war” is never defined, nor are “victory” nor “winning” nor even “success.” Though there are thousands of obscure and interrelated and interoparable and interstitial and interplanetary other terms and associated abbreviations all constantly morphing and reproducing into yet undiscovered realms of “conflict generation” replete with contractor corruption and disputes and (I shouldn’t say it, it’s not supposed to exist in the new Era of Joint Operations) interservice rivalries. All in the name of effing “national security,” another term used heavily in the Dictonary but along with “national interest,” also heavily used, neither of them merit a definition. Because I guess everybody knows what BS buzzwords and phrases like that really mean… and what would happen if the Warfighters actually had to define and live by such defined terms. Might be an end to the idiocy and the Surges and stuff…

    6. Procopius

      The S-300 is an old, obsolete system the Russians no longer are installing. The Russians are currently upgrading all their systems to the S-400, which is even more capable. I’m sure the S-300 can see the F-35. The “designers” sacrificed some features improving stealth to satisfy the demands of the different services, so it’s not really very stealthy. I’m not sure if it can easily detect the F-22, which is a better stealth aircraft, but lacking some of the bells and whistles of the F-35 (which currently don’t work anyway). The funny thing is, really old radar systems used a different frequency and they can see all the stealth aircraft easily. The claims about stealth aircraft are as bogus as the claims about our anti-ballistic-missile systems.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I read once that the radars that they used in WW2 will pick up these ‘stealth’ aircraft. By the way, the Russians are now bringing in the S-500 system which is why they are willing to export the S-300s and even the S400s. I notice too that the Russians have been able to intercept F-22s over Syria, though I am not sure which system they used to pick them up with, and just recently they published a foto of an F-22 in a thermal sight.

  5. Steve H.

    > Beijing’s Bismarckian Ghosts: How Great Powers Compete Economically

    Not so much arguing with most of its facts. But as stated in a recent link: “If a fact is true, but is incomplete, then it might actually leave us more ignorant than we were before.”

    A Chinese perspective, via Qiao Liang:

    : “Third, the secret that American soldiers fight for the US dollar…

    Everybody says the power of America rests on three pillars: money, technology, and military. In fact, today we can see that the real pillars of the US are monetary and military, and supporting the currency is the United States military. Wars all over the world burn money, but the US military goes on fighting despite it. But it can burn money on one hand and earn money for the US on the other hand, which other countries cannot do. Only the United States can gain a great deal through war, although the United States also has lost some hands.”

    This “Bismarckian” article has it’s purpose, to argue against tariffs and for TPP and its ilk. There are language hints, but the missing fact of the trillions of dollars spent on military adventures that is key. It argues that the issues are money and technology. But as Ian Welsh noted recently about Temujin, “Many of Temujin’s victories were over other horse archers: He unified tribes beyond just the Mongols and did so fighting troops which had the same horses and bows and so on that he did.” Remove technology from the argument and it’s all about the money.

    See: Paul Kennedy, “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers.”

    1. a different chris

      >to argue against tariffs and for TPP

      I just realized something – if you starve the Deplorables then the best of them have no choice but to sign up to become cannon (IED?) fodder. The rest can just live meth-shortened lives, it’s all fine with TPTB. Better then fine, they make money from the Medical Complex as well as the MIC.

      The dropping of the draft was the best idea these cretins ever had. Everything else follows from that.

      1. Darthbobber

        Of course, tariffs were not all, or even most, of what tpp was about. If they had been, the thing might have floated a little better.

  6. allan

    Red Ink Floods IPO Market [WSJ]

    … More than 80% of U.S.-listed initial public offerings in this year’s first three quarters involve companies that lost money in the 12 months leading up to their debut, according to data compiled by University of Florida finance professor Jay Ritter. That is the highest proportion on record, according to Mr. Ritter, an IPO expert whose data goes back to 1980.

    Investors’ tolerance for red ink has been rewarded, with stocks of money-losing companies listing in the U.S. this year soaring 36% on average from their IPO price through Thursday. That is better than the 32% return for IPO stocks with earnings and a 9% gain for the S&P 500. …

    As the Nobel-prize winning bard from Hibbing, MN, once put it, There’s no success like failure.
    Unfortunately, the next line was, and failure’s no success at all.

      1. Brindle

        Pretty healthy looking coyote—coud be a coywolf. They certainly have them is Northern Minnesota. Another thing about coyotes…when in packs they can and will prey on dogs, so be careful with your pet if you go on a hike in coyote country.

          1. kb

            Think it’s a coyote too Edward….I wish the DNR would change their average weight posted….They are much heavier and larger up here, like you said….”Nawth”….love it…We have such a large population here now, it’s getting scary….people can send pics of scat in our back yards and the DNR sends back notice: Yep, it’s a coyote. Have seen at least 3 within a house or two of mine in the last 10 years…regular siting by residents now and becoming less afraid of humans..Hope nobody is feeding in the Big City now. I never let my pup out alone anymore, even with a fenced in backyard..

            1. Edward E

              They’ll kill dogs because of an instinct to eliminate the competition, what they’ve told me after losing a number of beagles. If I wrote the way I tawk it would take y’all all day to read. Y’all take me a long bit ta read… so there’s no way possible to read’m ‘awl

              Did tell stupid jokes for over an hour Friday evening, was supposed to be 45 min but everyone was in a good mood and I got paid $500

              Better than the dive bar farther south near Table Rock Lake when I nearly had to pay them…

        1. Wukchumni

          A year ago I was talking to a gentleman in Mineral King, who was born a month premature in 1937 in the cabin his parents owned here and the one he’s called home for many decades. I love to pick brains and dredge up memories of the past, and he was a golconda in the rough, and let loose with so much, I could barely keep up. I asked him what has been the biggest change in his 80 years of being here?

          He furrowed his brow for a few seconds, and then exclaimed “Coyotes!” you used to see them everywhere, and you hardly do now.

          In a similar vein, in the 1870’s, there was an estimated 150 or so Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep in 2 different herds up here, and the last of them were seen in the 1920’s.

          They would have been as common as deer are now, driving up to the end of the road we saw 13 yesterday.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        What about a red wolf? You might say “same difference.”

        I saw a couple of these similar looking fellows North of the James River a few years ago crossing a high way in the early morning. From what I know, I was quite a bit over an hour by car out of the red wolf range, so I assumed Coyotes.

      1. juliania

        Just as I scrolled to the antidote at 4:15 am (don’t ask) a coyote sent up its yodel in the arroyo out back. So, I will affirm; it’s a coyote. Not going to challenge on that one. Case closed.

  7. el_tel

    re personality dark core: One of the main personality questionnaires in use (pdq – vsn 4?) is good (but unfortunately not free to use so the NHS in the UK doesn’t routinely administer it except in certain secondary care services by psychiatrists) splits narcissism into two different traits – broadly and colloquially interpreted as “internal” and “external”. Internal scale measures (broadly) your belief in your abilities compared to others. It was explained to me that as a (former) academic, my slightly higher score compared to the population median was expected – actors/teachers/those used to “being the centre of attention” and deriving a degree of self-validation from external sources tend to do so and it’s “no biggie” where the mental health professionals are typically concerned.
    It’s the “external” scale that gets them worried and from which they proxy possible sociopathy – it attempts to ascertain your tendency to “step on others, even friends and colleagues” in order to get to the top. IIRC it has been used to show that oft-quoted statistic that CEOs tend to score disproportionately highly on sociopathic tendencies. Thankfully I was well within “population norms” (though that maybe explains why I wasn’t aggressive enough to “climb the greasy pole successfully”). This study does look at sociopathic tendencies separately so it may just be another way of gleaning the kind of info the existing questionnaires have been revealing….so neither a criticism or endorsement of the findings…

  8. Jeff W

    Psychologists define the ‘dark core of personality’ Science Daily

    As the new research reveals, the common denominator of all dark traits, the D-factor, can be defined as the general tendency to maximize one’s individual utility — disregarding, accepting, or malevolently provoking disutility for others — , accompanied by beliefs that serve as justifications.

    Isn’t that standard-issue neoclassical economics?

    1. Darthbobber

      It also just redescribes the behaviors themselves as caused by traits that dispose one to-those selfsame behaviors. Rather like saying that the eye sees because it possesses the property of seeing. What exactly one knows after such a diagnosis that one did not know before is not self-evident.

      1. Jeff W

        Yes, exactly—I think what one knows after statements like those is that the person making them is not all that good at reasoning, maybe.

        I wouldn’t mind so much if the article said something like, “For some of these ‘dark core’ traits, if you display it, you might display others”—it might be obvious but at least it’s something behavioral—but this circular stuff that is described as causation is a bit ridiculous.

  9. Dave

    Freud believed that there was a ‘dark core of personality’ or “D-factor” that unified all those anti-social behaviors. He called it the death drive. (Re: last link on today’s list.)

  10. Steve H.

    > Psychologists define the ‘dark core of personality’

    Worthwhile. Valid, and solid within the context of social/psychological studies. In practical terms, think of it like this: how useful is it to consider someones base level of intelligence? In many situations, necessary but insufficient, and mostly in the extremes.

    Important, in the sense that , for example, studies on loss aversion showed that utility can’t be well-considered as unimodal. Dangerous, in that measuring D and translating as unethical is likely to lead to a disruptive number of false-positives.

  11. DonCoyote

    Well, this one of their sample “dark questions”:

    “It is sometimes worth a little suffering on my part to see others receive the punishment they deserve.,”

    Maybe not how I word it, but justice isn’t free (unless you put all your trust in divine beings and karma); the suffering may be financial (but often isn’t for those in the justice system), but I at least want punishment going to those that deserve it, and think that is preferable to the alternatives of no punishment (you can’t run a system with only positive feedback) or punishment going to those who don’t deserve it. So I am unclear how this reflects D, except as language/justification.

    In any case, as noted in the article, Spearman published about general intelligence 100 years ago and people have been arguing about it ever since (and showing that specific intelligences correlate does not prove they are or come from the same thing). Some of the specific intelligence models have proven to be useful (even if they are ultimately wrong) So will the Dark Core/Heart of Darkness/”Come to the dark side” model prove useful? We’ll have to wait and see (and I’ll see if I can get the full pdf from work or a colleague).

  12. The Rev Kev

    “So is it nature not nurture after all?”

    Not buying this one at all. You start going there and, through the magic of social Darwinism, that will lead you to picking winners and losers and before you know it you are living in Gattaca. Let’s try a thought experiment that I came up with years ago. Say I slap a Flux Capacitor to my DeLorean DMC-12 and go back to 1343 in England and travel to a typical medieval village. Any baby born in that village would almost certainly grow up to be a serf/villein who would expect to spend their entire lives within sight of the parish church spire.
    Now suppose I kidnapped a baby and brought it back the the 21st century where I gave that child a good quality education. They might go on to be a pilot, an accountant, a technician. Who knows? So my point is where are the full effects of genetics there apart from talents that they were born with? Same baby but different settings.
    A small story to illustrate how genetics can be overblown. A professor wanted to research if criminalism can be passed onto the children of that criminal. He located a career crim in prison and found that he had two sons. One was also a career crim but the other was an ordinary guy doing well in the suburbs. He asked the criminal son how he got to be a criminal and the guy said “With a father like that, what else could I become?”. The professor then drove out to the suburbs and interviewed the other son living a respectable lifestyle and asked the son how he got to be the person he was. The son said “With a father like that, what else could I become?”.

    1. el_tel

      I am genuinely agnostic about the strength of nature vs nurture. However, one very research frontier area is epigenetics (former colleagues at Bristol Uni had/have a big centre to look at this). Implications can be worrying in that environmental factors can, in fact, “turn on/off” genes/alter genetic code, so that phenomena thought not to be heritable can, in fact, be passed down the generations. In short, what your grandfather ate/experienced, CAN alter the odds of certain genes to cause you problems. (I’m not discounting your example, merely pointing out that nature and nurture can interact in ways we have yet to fully understand.)

      1. The Rev Kev

        Very good point that. Have read a bit about that before and the implications are very worrying. And this is talking about stuff that our grandparents experienced. God knows what some of the untested tens of thousands of chemicals now in the environment are doing to our genes.

        1. el_tel

          Thanks for the constructive response. Yeah, it’s one of those topics I often now just “turn off” from investigating, knowing just where this kind of research could lead – as you say, it’s very worrying. Mendelian randomisation is something my Bristol former colleagues were into….I understood it all once upon a time but people would do better to look on wikipedia etc these days to get a better idea of it and what the Bristol people are doing to try to isolate what these chemicals might be doing….I suspect a lot of the explosion in food allergies/asthma/autism are all bound up in this somewhere…we already know our gut has only a fraction of the microbes etc that our grandparents had.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Indeed – epigenetics is one of the confounding factors in the whole nature/nurture debate. As you say, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that even minor hormonal changes in the womb can have very significant lifetime impacts, and scientists are only just getting to grips with the whole issue of the gut microbiome and its impact on development.

            But I’ve read plenty of detailed expositions on the nature/nurture debate which never once mention any form of epigenesis.

            1. el_tel

              even minor hormonal changes in the womb can have very significant lifetime impacts

              Indeed – one type of homosexuality in men is almost certainly due to this. It’s been observed statistically for decades that once a mother has a homosexual son, subsequent sons are far more likely to be homosexual than basic genetics would predict (and nurture is ruled out because of the observed frequency of “previous” straight sons). Indeed anecdotally I have met no end of guys who are gay, with straight older brothers but whose younger brothers are all gay too. They identified 10+ years ago a hormone involved in sexual development/orientation of a male foetus that is toxic to a mother. Thus, once her immune system successfully “neutralises” it in a male pregnancy, it can’t activate in any subsequent male foetus. NOT definitive causation but the correlation and theoretical explanation is so strong that they have ruled out chance.

    2. Redlife2017

      The professor had a weirdly fixed view of humans. People learn to deal with who they are and how to better balance themselves in relationship to the world. It doesn’t matter if its genetics or environment from whence we get our personality – we have to learn how to be in this world as we get older. Giving people the space to figure it out / learn about themselves is the important part. It’s called gaining maturity.

      I am definitely a different person from who I was in my early 20s because I’ve been able to recognise those aspects of myself that I need to balance a bit better.

    3. JohnnyGL

      “Now suppose I kidnapped a baby and brought it back the the 21st century where I gave that child a good quality education.”

      I don’t disagree with your larger point, but it’s worth pointing out that you haven’t removed the medieval environment from the equation, merely only reduced its impact. Research over the last few decades has pointed out that babies in the womb are very much impacted by the life of the mother while developing. Nutrition levels, stress hormones, and other external factors are already having an impact on the baby’s development.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You mean like babies born to poverty-stricken mothers like in the present worse parts of the Appalachians or other such areas? I was reading about sailors recruited from these areas into the US Navy before WW2 and after they had been indoctrinated into such things as hygiene, having shoes to wear, discipline, being given three square meals a day with solid medical & dental care they turned out just fine. People from deprived areas are not to be written off. Somebody should have really told Hillary that.

    4. Carolinian

      Social Darwinism was a crackpot ideology that was tacked onto a scientific theory in order to justify the social arrangements of the time. It really has little to do with what would now be called evolutionary psychology. These days references to Hitler and the Nazis are used by some to discredit any notion that instincts and genetic heritage control much of our behavior.

      The point being that what really matters may not be the way that each of us is different but rather the ways each of us is alike. Your respectable son of the suburbs may be a lot more like your career criminal than many would care to admit. That alikeness can be chalked up to nature rather nurture (another article upstairs calls it “dark core”). Christianity–maybe ahead of its time?–said that we are all sinners and to “hate the sin, not the sinner.” Whether one agrees, we are definitely all part of the same species–what Darwin was all about.

    5. Alex

      Do you have data supporting this or you just don’t like this idea and its consequences (I also don’t)?

      1. bruce wilder

        Does Robert Plomin ?

        As soon as someone starts talking about 50% nature, 50% nurture, I wonder about his basic sanity. Do the things he is talking about lend themselves naturally to linear estimation and the division of a whole into percentages? What is the denominator? Really, what is the denominator?

        Polygenic testing? Wow!

        How handsome a man is at 20 may be down to genetics (a lucky combination of many genes no doubt — a less felicitous combo, homely) plus good health and exercise and a lucky escape from disfiguring accidents. Good looks are inherited, but being due to a mix of genes do not get passed on exactly. (and, How are we to account for how ugly a man is at 80?)

        Some of what we see as intelligence is like being handsome: a lucky configuration of talents enhanced by youth, good health and education. So are patterns of personality.

        Reducing all this to numbers is harder than it looks. gene frequencies may be relatively easy to cast into a spreadsheet, but what other numbers is the scientist to use to represent traits and outcomes? Is their variation and co-variation linear, proportional, transitive?

        Saying that Bill is a great software programmer at 30 because of his genes (? %) is silly to the point of meaninglessness. The category “software programmer” is not in anyone’s genes; it is a social construction. Duh.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I did label this a thought experiment but I will say that as soon as I have enough plutonium to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of power needed for my DeLorean, I will get back to you. Think about this by the way. If, like myself, you are descended from European stock, then it is almost certain that you have serfs/villeins in your ancestry. We can’t be all descended from Royalty after all. Now ask yourself this – what is the difference, if you could meet your serf/villein ancestor, between him and you. What are the real differences?
        History is replete with populations being relegated as being stupid because that is just the way they are. You could be talking about slaves in the Roman world, peasants in medieval times, the Irish in the early 19th century, whatever. In each case it is a class of some sort of overlords who treat them that way and making jokes at their expense. And yet when conditions change and education and opportunities are achieved by that ‘stupid’ population then surprise, surprise, they are discovered not to be so stupid after all.
        Let me tell you about how this worked out in practice in early Australia as far as expectations go. For the first fifty years of the Colony there, it was a dumping ground for the criminals in England so that they could rid themselves of the expense of housing and feeding them. Everybody ‘knows’ that criminals breed criminals, right? And yet the English were confounded that the next generation of the Colonists were some of the most law-abiding people in the empire and could not work out why. A clue might have been that those children of those convicts were also much taller, stronger and healthier than their convict parents bu they did not think of that.
        A final point. Think of an Amazon worker stuck as a slave worker in one of those warehouses with monitors strapped to him, a urine bag taped to his leg and having to ask the government for a hand-out as his wages are not enough to feed himself or his family. Now ask yourself this. Did he get to this situation because that is all that he was capable of (nature) or is he there because that is all the present system will offer him (nurture)?

    6. Elizabeth Burton

      “With a father like that, what else could I become?”

      Likewise, abused children can become abusers or absolutely wonderful parents. It’s all about the choices, and I can’t help thinking the way the social sciences are obsessed with “nature v. nurture” is standing in the way of helping people make constructive choices. I know someone who still blames a parent for their current problems, and the man’s been dead for forty years.

      Like the idea or not, we’re all the result of what we decided to do at any given moment. Unfortunately, our culture has trained us to believe once those choices are made they’re carved in granite for all time. And that there are always choices, even when it’s clear to anyone not high on gaslight there aren’t.

  13. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to Brexit, it was interesting to hear the BBC World Service bulletin at 5 am today. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s attack on the EU was the opening item, swiftly followed by a longer report about Russia (which made me, the son, grandson and nephew of British military personnel and lived and visited secure bases, wonder how easy it is for the BBC to track down Russian military intelligence personnel deep in Russia) and a report about how hard done by Anglophones are in Cameroon and why they want out of “French domination”. It was interesting to hear the EU and French conflated with the Soviet Union and Russia, all in association with words like prison, domination, repression etc.

    It was also interesting to read a column in today’s Le Figaro, calling for greater Franco-German integration, even at the expense of the EU and a loosening of the EU, and saying that a bigger mistake than Brexit would be to allow the UK, or what’s left of it, back in.

  14. Darthbobber

    Looked over the “dark core” article, and it hardly improves on, and may even represent a regression from, Fromm’s humanist/Freudian “Anatomy of Human Destructiveness”(1973). Fromm at least tried to integrate individual psychology with social psychology and sociology in his explanatory efforts (considerable discussion of group narcissism, lack of healthy outlets offered by societies, and shared pathologies which are not experienced as pathological precisely because they are widely shared.)

    I think efforts to locate a “dark core” at a purely individual level puts more explanatory weight on personal psychology than it can really bear, and also offers no answer to the question of why some societies either produce more people with such characteristics than others, or seem to have less effective countervailing tendencies than others.

    1. el_tel

      puts more explanatory weight on personal psychology than it can really bear,

      I agree largely – people do cluster into “personality types” – but two societies with identical patterns of clusters might turn out very differently since attitudes merely probabilistically influence preferences (in the way economists might define them). Thus a “me, me, me” person might not turn out to be a looting banker exercising certain preferences (do this rather than that) under one system with the right checks and balances but under the infamous “criminogenic environment” of Black and discussed frequently on NC (s)he might indulge preferences that are far more malign. In short, attitudes/personalities don’t define your life, but with certain incentives they can certainly cause quite significant differences in how a society evolves.

  15. Roger Smith

    Perjury: When the NYT and politicians on the Hill address Clapper’s perjury, on a much more serious matter, we can revisit this discussion about someone’s college drinking habits. This is theater. In this corridor, who doesn’t lie to Congress? The panel wanted Kavanaugh to say he blacked out so then they could stick him with, “Aha! So you are a rapist!”. This clown show will never address his actual law history and rulings.

      1. anon

        He either blacked out or didn’t. If he didn’t, there is no possibility he did. Is Ludington claiming that Kavanaugh (in his opinion) drank enough to blackout or that he actually saw him blacked out? What are his qualifications to make such a determination? How drunk was he at the time?

      2. anon

        “I know, because, especially in our first two years of college, I often drank with him.”

        So it is just as possible that the accuser drank to the point of blacking out and having memory lapses.

        1. pretzelattack

          oh i’m sure they both did, and laughed about it the next day. this guy hasn’t committed perjury yet, though, and isn’t being nominated to the supreme court.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I wonder if they smoked weed as well.

            Not likely to be underage drinking when they were in college…but pot was illegal then, at any age.

    1. Carolinian

      Kabuki theater?

      But it didn’t start last week. Many of us looked on in amazement and horror as the Repubs moved to impeach Clinton in the late nineties. It was possibly Newt Gingrich who really killed off David Broder’s beloved bipartisan centrism. The Repubs back then thought they needed to exterminate the Dems. Now they’ve merely coopted them on most matters other than Judge Kavanaugh.

        1. jonhoops

          Exactly!! All this back and forth was mooted by Kavanaugh’s unhinged performance. The guy couldn’t even perform to the extremely low standard being set for him. All he had to do was keep his composure, act like a sober impartial adjudicator and show a little humility. He couldn’t even manufacture the facade needed to give the GOP and the turncoat Dems the cover they needed to shepherd him onto the court.

    2. rd

      Jeff Flake clearly said last night on 60 Minutes that Kavanaugh’s bid would be over if he lied to the Senate.
      It is right at the end of the segment on Kavanaugh.

      There has been an avalanche of people coming forward about Kavanaugh’s drinking in high school and college which as a key issue that he obfuscated on in the hearing with misdirection on responses and possible outright lies as people have been documenting. So we are back to Watergate, where it may not be the original event that does you in, but the cover-up.

      The prosecutor talking about not having a prosecutable case is exactly why many women like Dr. Ford never make their experiences public and why sexual assault and abuse is probably the most under-reported crime. So they aren’t going to find more “evidence” (like a semen soaked dress kept for years) regarding her allegations and she knew that when she came forward.

      However, a drunken Brett Kavanaugh has been the common element in every allegation about him regarding sexual assault and it appears there is going to be a lot more eye witness testimony on that counter to his assertions. So it is likely to be perjury on drinking that will become the central theme. Would Jeff Flake and some others say no based on that? “Liking beer” is kind of a red-blooded American male thing that will be supported by much of the base.

      Would the Republican Party be willing to give up women support for a generation in order to confirm Kavanaugh, similar to Lyndon Johnson losing Southern Democrats over the Civil Rights bill? To me, that would be the height of political insanity as there are lots of alternative conservative jurors out there that are effectively Kavanaugh clones while there was only one civil rights bill.

      1. apberusdisvet

        I wonder how many binge drinkers in high school or college go on to become full fledged alcoholics? I imagine quite a few. Given Kavanaugh’s resume and list of accomplishments, it’s doubtful that he’s even been an alcoholic; his numerous decisions have been clear and concise, regardless of ideology. Which indicates that his adolescent or young adult drinking should not preclude his nomination.

    3. Darius

      Larison at the American Conservative has a good rundown with links of the multiple lies Kavanuagh told under oath on Thursday and previously. Figures for a veteran of the Bush White House, in which the highest ideal was plausible deniability.

      The thing is that guys like that usually win. Just look at all the high fiving for Lindsay Graham. And it’s bipartisan. The Republicans are just much better at it. A big reason why we’re a rotting hell state.

      1. stefan

        During his meretricious performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh displayed a capacity for mendacity bordering on the weird. Alternately blustering, argumentative, accusatory, tendentious, and evasive, his pompous weeping and sneers evinced no true inclination to actually restore his good name. Obviously, he has been living a lie. It is hard to see why the nation should be saddled with a coward like Kavanaugh on the highest court for the next twenty years.

        1. a victim

          what follows does not pretend to be objective or factual but merely to mention some aspects of alcoholism and trauma with which people who have not encountered them intimately (in themselves or their loved ones) are not usually well acquainted.

          yesterday i asked a friend who is a longtime alcoholic in recovery for his take on BK based on his performance in the hearings.

          he said, “he is clearly an alcoholic, he displays classic alcoholic behavior.”
          i asked him “do you think he is currently active?” (i.e. still actively drinking)
          he said, “absolutely. no question about it.”

          i’ve seen BK referred to here and elsewhere as a binge drinker. if he is that, or if he is simply actively drinking to excess, he is also clearly what is called a functional alcoholic, that is, one who is able to maintain competence outwardly, at social events and in the workplace, and even professional excellence. binges can be disguised as vacations and take place away from the scenes where one performs (that being the operative word) one’s social roles.

          i believe it is generally understood in the field of alcoholism treatment that it is especially difficult for functional alcoholics to ever recognize/come to terms with the fact that they are heavily addicted, for the very reason that they are able to succeed in such outward performances and may even receive ongoing approval from neighbors, friends, associates, etc.

          i tremble to think what BK’s wife and children may endure when he is at home, if it is anything like the levels of rage, petulance, self-pity, dissembling, rationalization, disregard and disrespect of others, and the like that he has exhibited under questioning.

          i believe it is also generally understood in the field that long-term chronic alcohol abuse generally renders the addict unable to even discern the difference between speaking honestly and not– chronically unable to discern or speak truth about anything at all, including, tragically, himself/herself and the reality of the addiction itself. for a great many, the ever-worsening progression of the dependency is never interrupted.

          i will add, tentatively, that i see in BK’s face–especially his eyes–and demeanor indications of some early trauma that has kept him in a state of continuous fear ever since. trauma can and does do this to people, and it can and does happen to privileged children in both their private schools and their families. this is just speculation, obviously. i do wonder if any other observers have had a similar impression. such trauma is often in play in the development of alcoholism and other types of addictions.

        2. ewmayer

          BTW, congrats on getting such good value out of your “grow your vocabulary in just 10 minutes a day!” app.

          But, “pompus weeping” – are you sure ‘pompous’ is the Use The Right Word™ candidate to be preferred here? Perhaps ‘shameless’ or ‘theatrical’ might be better, or as you might say, ‘more felicitously apposite’? Ooh, even better – my Thesaurus app suggests ‘dramaturgical’ as an alternative to ‘theatrical’ which evinces greater capacity for loquacity, without condemning the user thereof to accusations of orotundity.

    4. pretzelattack

      so we have to support kavanaugh cause clapper didn’t get busted. ok then, let’s put a torturer on the supreme ct. true, they should mostly boot him because of his actual law history and rulings, and perjury.

    5. flora

      When GHWBush appointed David Souter to the SC he assumed he’d have a reliable conservative vote. Souter could think for himself and ended up voting with Court’s liberal wing more often than with the conservative wing.
      When Nixon appointed Warren Burger to the SC he assumed he’d have a reliable GOP friendly conservative vote. The SC voted unanimously to deny Nixon’s claim of executive privilege in the Watergate lawsuits. Burger was Chief Justice at the time.
      Whatever else K may be, there’s no question he’ll toe the line for his sponsors and mentors and never think for himself about Constitutional questions. (see: perjury, torture, etc.) He is a guaranteed “safe” appointment for the forces putting him up. (That includes far too many Dem estab types, who could have grilled him about his past opinions. K’s “judicial temperament” displayed itself in the Senate, so no need to ask any questions about that.)

    1. knowbuddhau

      Word. “Dark core,” what is this, scifi? Better: it’s psyfi. All you need is a plausible narrative people can identify with. Try to avoid details, anything to do with actual psychophysiology, at all costs. Implying we’re all a bit bad is good.

      I’m still unpersuaded by the whole paradigm. People jump at catchy headlines with the latest fad. And on surveys, do we really think it’s 100% pure honesty being recorded? The data do not support the free-wheeling generalizations.

      Make up all the relations you want amongst categories you define, sure. But let’s not talk about the actual organism. More like literary crit than science.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “North, South Korea begin removing landmines along fortified border”

    This is really good news. That fortified border that they are removing mines from was apparently the site of some pretty ferocious battles during the Korean War. This means that they will be able to hunt for remains of soldiers from both sides killed during the war. One site – Arrow Head Hill – is reckoned to have a coupla hundred American, French, Chinese and North & South Korean soldiers still undiscovered. If they clear the mines, it may mean that a lot of soldiers left over from that war may finally have a chance of going home.

      1. ewmayer

        Removing landmines will be bad for wildlife? How so? Or are you thinking in terms of greatly increased human activity in the area?

        Perhaps once the area is demined the 2 Koreas will recognize the unexpected-but-welcome ‘nature preserve’ side effect of creation of the DMZ and agree to take steps to preserve that.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Sounds like a good idea that. You could turn the DMZ into a sort of Peace Park/Nature Preserve. That would be something that as a permanent crowning achievement to peace on the peninsular.

  17. Wukchumni

    Chasing ‘likes’ on Instagram, hikers break limbs — and need rescuing Stars and Stripes.
    I guess i’m glad those from the City of Angles are actually taking a hike somewhere finally, and if assorted broken bones and whatnot were incurred in being famous for +/- fifteen seconds, it’s a reasonable cost.

    There’s a respectable 10 foot wide Giant Sequoia right next to the road in Mineral King, and we’ve taken to calling it “The Selfie Sequoia”, as it’s a magnet for Club Mill types that dash out of the car and be one with the paparazzi, we’ve seen it happen half a dozen times.

    My favorite all-time selfie doofus, was this guy, who needed over $150k worth of anti-venom in a cold-blooded attempt at being Ansel Adams.

    Guy’s Attempt To Take Rattlesnake Selfie Ends With $153,000 Bill

    1. RUKidding

      There’s loads of hiking happening around LA, especially the Angeles Crest, which I’ve hiked a lot. It can be surprising how much good hiking is available around and about the greater LA area.

      That said, vis dumb people doing dumb things in the wilderness to get some sort of cool selfie: I, myself, feel it’s going too far. But that’s just me.

      This kind of stuff is just dumb and wastes emergency rescuers time and money:

      It’s like watching dumb people climb on the very slippery rocks surrounding the waterfalls in Yosemite or, even worse, deciding to take a dip in the Merced River at the top of Nevada falls. I’ve cautioned people doing this – because it’s not just dangerous, but deadly – and I’ve been chewed out, told to STFU, and that they can do what they want because – and I’ve heard this literally many times – they pay taxes.

      Er good luck getting your “taxes” to revive you when you die.

      1. Wukchumni

        Anything that happens in the wilderness in a bad vein must be told far and wide, and most injuries/deaths reported would never make the news if it was a mundane car crash with whiplash, or somebody slipping and breaking 4 ribs in their bathtub/shower, or an unfortunate perishing while trying to knock snow down off the roof.

        About 5 years ago, a cabin owner in her mid 60’s went for a dayhike and didn’t come back, and they did a SAR on her, and found her body 3 days later where she’d fallen off the trail as a result of a heart attack.

        Now, if she had the same heart attack @ the Sequoia mall in Visalia, yawn.

    2. montanamaven

      Had a neighbor friend bit by a rattler. Cost $100,000 mostly the anti-venom. I think similar anti-venom for dogs is around $1000. By the way, there is a theory from a friend in the Imperial Valley that a snake bite can change your personality. He got more belligerent. He committed suicide two years later. Became addicted to opioids, but I bet the snake bite didn’t help. So, I concur. Don’t take selfies with wild animals.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Those sorts of articles are a kind of lay up for Caity Johnstone, but they’ve got to be written, because, really, no one else writes them.

      She’s got a nice little niche for herself just grabbing the cold, hard, undeniable truth like a blunt object and beating the reader over the head with it. Always a fun read.

      1. tommy strange

        I agree, really like her, and been reading for years. The metaphors of rage hit a nerve with most of us. I’ve got ‘liberal’ friends on facebook just say “sigh, same old same old’…..and in the same ‘vernacular’ I just say ‘whatever!’

    2. a different chris

      Brilliant, as usual.

      BTW, I google’d so you don’t have to:

      Tanden: Yale
      Kristol: Haaavaard

      The Ivy League is not only not turning out the “best and brightest”, but people that should be washing dishes somewhere if you could get them to shut up long enough to even do that adequately. Which you probably couldn’t.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      “Populism Undermines Democracy” is like saying “Darkness Undermines Night”. It’s a complete oxymoron.

    1. Wukchumni

      The team showed up for the entire 60 minutes of play, and you have to compliment them on that, for there was nothing else to root for, as our QB apparently wasn’t tested for being color blind in throwing 7 picks to the other side, but long suffering Bills fans wouldn’t have it any other way, as success would be the ruin of us.

      1. Edward E

        the Razorbacks played hard against the Aggies maybe because earlier in the week an Aggie with Monica Lewinsky tried to rob a bank on the U of A campus. So Monica goes in there’s Bubba Clinton in the bank with Jim Morrison. She just had to practice on Jim and Bubba for old times sake. The Aggie got caught when frustrated yelled, “Monica you’re supposed to blow the doors open on the vault”

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      At the very least, SNL took the easy route. Kavanaugh and all those octogenarians were low-hanging fruit.

      More interesting would have been a sketch focused on a Supreme Court conference discussing Roe with Kavanaugh as a member of the panel. He could have addressed Roberts and Alito as PJ and Squi and asked them when they going to join him for a weight-lifting session. During a heated discussion about penumbras, he could have asked Sotomayor if she liked beer in between guzzles of his own brewski and demanded that Ginsberg ‘fess up to blacking out from alcohol. If anyone challenged a point he made, Brett [Damon] could have recited his academic achievements and how he busted his ass. The sketch could have concluded with Thomas and Kavanaugh announcing they had to leave early because they both had scheduled private meetings with their law clerks.

    3. Lord Koos

      I find the modern version of Saturday Night Live remarkably un-subversive. They give the impression of satire but it’s fluff. They make fun of personalities and mannerisms but rarely make fun of the beliefs of the ruling class, it’s always light-weight stuff when it could be really cutting… playing it safe.

  18. Bridget

    I have finished reading the Mitchell report and timeline. Turns out that her plodding technique, despite the frequent five minute interruptions, nailed down any number of holes and discrepancies in Blasey Ford’s narrative. I wonder if her attorneys will allow her to be interviewed on these matters…..

    1. Quentin


      Would you be so kind as to enumerate one or two of the ‘holes and discrepancies? Then we can get back to ‘her attorneys’.

      1. Bridget

        Sure. Here is a link to the report:

        As far as holes and discrepancies…..
        On July 6 she texted the Post that the assault happened in the mid 1980s.
        On July 30 in a letter to Feinstein, she said that it happened in the early 80s.
        On August 7 her polygraph statement said it happened “one high school summer in early 80s,” but then she crossed out the word “early”.
        By the September 16 Post article, it had been narrowed down to the summer of 1982.

        How did the assault move from the mid 80s to the early 80s to the summer of 1982? Why was the word “early” crossed out on the polygraph statement?

        Ditto her statements about her age. Was she in her late teens as reflected in the therapy notes reviewed by the Post or was she 15 as she told the Post and the Committee?

        It would be interesting to see how she answers these questions if the FBI is allowed to ask them and her attorneys allow her to answer them.

        1. Unna

          Mitchell is very very good at what she does. I read the Scribid memo this morning, and yes, it’s very bad for our newest Dem heroine of the Resistance. As to Mitchell’s plodding technique, that’s what lawyers do in the courtroom with this kind of witness. Don’t alienate the jury, treat her kindly. Slowly suck her in, get her to say all kinds of inconsistent things that contradict other evidence the prosecutor already knows about. Especially a witness like Ford who thinks she’s so much smarter than Mitchell, which she clearly is not. The Mitchell memo is the outline of Mitchell’s closing argument to the jury where she then proceeds to completely destroy the credibility of Ford and wins the case. People need to stop thinking TV and think real life. Mitchell is the consummate professional. And the jury wouldn’t deliberate much more than an hour before returning not guilty, unless of course they started deliberating around lunch time and managed to squeeze the court for a stack of Pizzas and some big plastic bottles of Diet Pepsi.

          This memo should be the outline of a multi hour long FBI interrogation of Ford. I wonder if she’ll submit to one. If she does, maybe her lawyers ought to get her a good dose of use immunity. You know, just to be on the safe side.

        2. FluffytheObeseCat

          Thank you for enumerating. However, none of these items constitute “holes and discrepancies in Blasey Ford’s narrative“.

          References to the end of 1982 as either “mid-1980s” or “early 1980s” are not “discrepancies“. People regularly use either term to describe that portion of a decade.

          Likewise, a therapist misusing the term “late teens” to include age 15 is not indicative of inaccuracy or lying on Dr. Ford’s part. It’s indicative of sloppy note-taking on the part of the psych “professional”.

          Like Darius, I grew up near this milieu, although not deep within it. I was born in a hospital the District when my parents lived in Bethesda, but they moved to Westchester County, NY before I started school. I grew up in Scarsdale in the late 1970s, but we visited family friends in Potomac a few time a year throughout that time. The teen subculture was pretty much the same in both suburbs. Arrogant little sh*ts were thick on the ground in both places.

          Ford’s story is far more believable than Kavanaugh’s denials to anyone who knows the subculture, and the time period involved. Oh, also, just for the record… parties where parents were absent commonly involved more than just alcohol. Ford, Kavanaugh, and all the Yalies who knew him have been quite careful to keep cannabis, quaaludes and coke out of the discussion. Their elisions must be grimly amusing to anyone who lived in either Bethesda or New Haven c.1982-5.

          1. Bridget

            So, Kavanaugh is guilty because you visited the Potomac when you were young and there were some teenagers who lived there that were a lot like the teenagers in Scarsdale who you didn’t like. And Kavanaugh must have been doing all kinds of drugs too because….it was common back in the day.

            1. pretzelattack

              there are quite a few reminiscences cropping up, about that time period and that culture. that’s why i want to wait.

          2. Unna

            How about at the end of Mitchell’s memo and that possible influence on Ford’s testimony by her political and legal handlers. Wonder what that’s all about?….So many questions about this witness to ponder.

          3. Unna

            Oh and not to forget: my own personal advice to Dr. Ford. Go get your own independent lawyer, Sweetheart, and not two “lawyers” dug up for you by Sen DiFi. Get a clue about life and don’t let yourself be made a victim again. Just saying.

            1. allan


              … The texts between Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, both friends of Kavanaugh, suggest that the nominee was personally talking with former classmates about Ramirez’s story in advance of the New Yorker article that made her allegation public. In one message, Yarasavage said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense. Two other messages show communication between Kavanaugh’s team and former classmates in advance of the story.

              The texts also demonstrate that Kavanaugh and Ramirez were more socially connected than previously understood and that Ramirez was uncomfortable around Kavanaugh when they saw each other at a wedding 10 years after they graduated. Berchem’s efforts also show that some potential witnesses have been unable to get important information to the FBI. …


              As an undergraduate student at Yale, Brett M. Kavanaugh was involved in an altercation at a local bar during which he was accused of throwing ice on another patron, according to a police report.

              The incident, which occurred in September 1985 during Mr. Kavanaugh’s junior year, resulted in Mr. Kavanaugh and four other men being questioned by the New Haven Police Department. Mr. Kavanaugh was not arrested, but the police report stated that a 21-year-old man accused Mr. Kavanaugh of throwing ice on him “for some unknown reason.”…

              The outlines of the incident were first referred to in a statement issued on Sunday by Chad Ludington, one of Judge Kavanaugh’s college classmates …

              And that’s on day 2.5. You’re welcome to find the links.

              1. allan

                What’s a little false statements under oath between friends?

                southpaw @nycsouthpaw

                In the 9/25 transcribed interview with Senate investigators, Kavanaugh unequivocally denies knowing about the Ramirez story at any time between his college graduation and when the New Yorker story was published. …

                It all depends on what the meaning of “knowing” is.

                It’s hard to see how Team K survives the week.

                On the bright side, he still has his lifetime D.C. Circuit appointment.

              2. allan

                The train wreck continues:

                Eric Boehlert
                ‏Verified account @EricBoehlert Retweeted Yamiche Alcindor

                lol, WH releases Chris Dudley statement abt what an angel Kavanaugh was in college one hour before Bloomberg posts story about how Dudley was w/ Kavanaugh night he Kav threw drink at guy, sparking bar brawl.

                Surely there’s some way of blaming this on Obama.

            2. pretzelattack

              she seems to feel that kavanaugh made her much more of a victim than feinstein. and now trump is making ambivalent noises about the kavanaugh nomination, saying he is keeping an open mind. i think that’s a good thing to keep.

              1. Unna

                Let’s do a thought experiment: We’re dismantling a drug organization. Make pretend DiFi is Mr. Big Drug Lord and Dr. Ford is a street level dealer who works for him. “Ford” gets busted. The “Ford” person shows up in court with 2 high priced lawyers paid for by Mr. Big. In our Judge K Dr Ford case, provided by DiFi “pro bono”, whatever. What do you think is going on in the drug case? The 2 high priced lawyers are not there to represent defendant “Ford” but are there to represent Mr. Big and make sure that defendant “Ford” doesn’t do anything to implicate Mr. Big. So in fact, the 2 high priced lawyers do not represent defendant “Ford”, a lowly street dealer, they really represent Mr. Big. Only usually the street level dealer is so stupid he doesn’t realize that until, on the state’s motion, a hearing is held to remove the 2 lawyers in order to prevent a Conflict of Interest and assure proper representation of the defendant “Ford”.

                So that’s why the actual Dr. Ford needs her own lawyers whose only loyalty is to Dr. Ford. I’m very sure that Dr. Ford’s 2 lawyers are saintly paragons of legal virtue but there are inherent “issues” in allowing your lawyers to be provided to you by someone else where your interests and the other person’s interests could possibly at some point be in conflict. And I would bet that Ford is completely unaware of this.

                1. Darthbobber

                  But are there inherent issues in allowing somebody to recommend a law firm when that is specifically what you requested of them? Which is what actually happened. I see nothing on the record to indicate that they are doing the work for Ford on Feinstein’s payroll. And their own testimony when asked directly was that the work is pro Bono. But I’m sure Dr Ford appreciates your doubtlessly tender concern for her well-being.

                  1. Unna

                    Here is the issue: Mitchell believes that Ford’s testimony may have been influenced by her contacts with lawyers and politicians. Did you read Mitchell’s memo? Apart from pretty much destroying her story, It ends with this:

                    **The activities of congressional Democrats and Dr. Ford’s attorneys likely affected Dr. Ford’s account.**

                    I shouldn’t have to spell out what that could mean. Like in possible felonies? And who gets charged with them? Do you not think that would give rise to a conflict of interest between her and her lawyers and the congressional Dem politicians who might have “affected” her testimony to serve political interests rather than hers? So don’t tell me about tender concern. I don’t know where this will go and if she will be questioned by the FBI. She should be. But I see a big fat problem out there for her if this goes in that direction. And If I were one her “friends on the beach” I’d tell her to get her own criminal lawyer. Just in case things go South.

                    And remember, I don’t want to seee K confirmed either.

                    1. Darthbobber

                      But Mitchell provides literally no evidence for her speculation on that. None. Apparently your skepticism doesn’t extend to cover bare assertions.

                  2. Yves Smith

                    I think you are missing Unna’s point.

                    Unna doubts these pro-bono lawyers are pro-bono in the normal sense.

                    Getting a referral for a lawyer that YOU PAY FOR is as common as the sun rising in the East.

                    Getting a referral to a lawyer who works for you at a discount to their normal rate is a favor. Free is a really big favor.

                    Whatever Ford’s lawyers were getting out of this, it was not likely coming from Ford but DiFi.

  19. UserFriendly

    Pack the Supreme Court The Intercept. “Democrats should add at least two new seats to the Supreme Court and then fill them, ideally, with left-wing, well-qualified women of color.” Except you know that won’t happen. The Democrats will pick “well-qualified” neoliberal “women of color.” I mean, come on

    How are so many news outlets cluess on this? I would love to pack the court but dems can’t.

    Court packing is absolutely not eligible for reconciliation; and therefore would require 60 votes in the senate to overcome a filibuster. They could always nuke what is left of the filibuster, but keep in mind that dems have a permanent disadvantage in the senate, and just think about all the awful things that are dead right now because there is still a filibuster; tax cuts for oligarchs 2.0 for example, the border wall, LOTS more. And also, it was dems nuking the filibuster for lower court nominations in 2012 that triggered the GOP to nuke it for SCOTUS putting us in this mess in the first place.

    Push for DC and PR statehood to balance out the senate disadvantage first and then take another look.

    1. edmondo

      After this little charade in the Judiciary Committee, there’s no way there are two people – regardless of color or gender – who are pure enough to sit on the Supreme Court.

    2. Jason Boxman

      If the Democrat Party sought to win elections, it could simply pass new laws to counter unfavorable Court decisions. The Democrat Party has no political project, so it’s simply listless, festering in its own corruption.

    3. Darthbobber

      But the filibuster exists purely due to Senate rules, which given the majority needed to pack the court in the first place implies the equal ability to change the rules.

      The belief that the gop would not be doing this had the Democrats not done so for other judgeships ignores that the Republican Senate leadership had already explicitly threatened the exact same action in response to the Dem slow walking of Bush appointments. Which was averted by a partial cave by the Democrats. The “norm” was already effectively dead at that point, though the formal funeral was delayed until the day the threat didn’t suffice and actual execution was needed.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      According to the pictures in my year book from junior year, I’m in every club except Spanish Club, multiple sports team, and featured in every class page.

      I’m listed first for every club except Spanish Club because there was no one around to actually take the picture. I might be listed as “not pictured.”

  20. Antifa

    The Dark Core article isn’t all that helpful. Watching The Godfather, Goodfellas, or any of the Star Wars films illustrates this aspect of humans far better — plus these archetype tales at least demonstrate that every last one of us walking apes has two sides to our personality.

    Watch any documentary about chimpanzees, or visit your local zoo. It doesn’t take long to conclude that chimps are highly social, caring, loving, and that they are also confirmed assholes, every last one. They throw their poop at one another as freely as Donald Trump throws his tweets around. This indicates that whatever common ancestor we share with chimps was as fully capable of saintly altruism and vicious behavior as we are.

    Yes, it is the job of clinical psychologists to hold up the human creature, poke and prod it, measure it, test it, and find out how it works. No doubt they also do studies on human abilities to be kind, altruistic, forgiving, etc. But it does little good to study only one side of a nickel. The magic and mystery of being human is that you can watch a perfect gentleman turn into a raging monster after a single comment about his mother habitually wearing Army surplus footwear. Down at the bordello.

    The reason most sworn testimony about alien abductions contains some element of anal probing is that extraterrestrial scientists are trying to determine — are humans assholes to our very core, or can we be civilized? What other explanation can there be?

    1. RUKidding

      Which is why Dems and Repubs, alike, luvs ’em some Kavanuagh bc he helped write the original.

      I knew this was happening, but the Kavanaugh dog ‘n pony show created the expected and reliable distraction.

    1. zagonostra

      Thanks for link, always enjoy Taibbi, although Chomsky’s dismissive comments on 9/11 and JFK/RFK/MLK assassinations have soured me on this otherwise legendary intellectual.

  21. marym

    Some reviews of the Rachel Mitchell report

    8-tweet thread by an attorney

    On Sunday evening, with no forensic interview of the victim, no serious interview of the alleged perpetrator, FBI still out in the field playing catch up interviewing other possible witnesses … what reasonable prosecutor sits down to type out her final decision on the case?

    4. Mitchell’s memo doesn’t consider all the evidence the committee has, limited as it is. No discussion of Kavanaugh’s evasions and inconsistencies, his calendar, the July 1 entry she pointed to in her own questions. It’s exclusively a sloppy broadside against Ford’s credibility.

    3-tweet thread by a legal reporter

    …Partisan counsel for committees write partisan “internal” memos all the time that are then obtained by journalists. They’re political documents aimed at moving the political needle, not legal documents…

    Detailed critique by Marcy Wheeler

    In short, this report is an attack on Ford. It’s not a measure of a he said she said dispute. To assess such a dispute, Mitchell would have had to examine how badly Kavanaugh flubbed his responses to her.

    And she wasn’t paid for that kind of scrutiny.

    1. Darthbobber

      The only part of Mitchell’s argument that actually is true is that no prosecutor would want to go to trial with this if this was where their case stood after a thorough search for evidence. And if judge kavanaugh were on trial for his life or liberty, I wouldn’t vote to convict on this evidence. Even though her story seemed much more likely than his to be true.

      But it’s disingenuous to suggest that we’ve been through anything like a responsible prosecutor’s efforts to find the relevant facts, and her remit hardly extended to doing that.

      Indeed, we seem at pains to avoid anything that would normally be dignified with the term investigation.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Do you think if we started referring to these places as “piglet mills” instead of “pig farms” more people would get the idea just how awful factory farms are?

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Yeah, but you can show people pictures of abused dogs until forever and mostly they just shake their heads and move on. Tell them you’re seeking homes for X number of dogs and puppies from a puppy mill, though, and you don’t even need pictures. The whole thing will go viral.

          So, if we start referring to factory hog farms as piglet mills, there’s precedent. ;-)

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I thought the mortality rate for pigs bred to be eaten was close to 100%.

      Or is death here refers to dying before money can be made of a pig?

    3. blennylips

      The awesome autistic artiste of abattoir design, Temple Grandin in

      Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals

      Sows in stalls don’t have their social needs met, either. Pigs are social animals that don’t like being alone. In the wild, pigs live in small groups and probably survive by hiding from predators. Pigs need to interact with other pigs, and just lying beside another sow in the next stall probably does not satisfy social needs. So the stalls may be bad for the PANIC system, too.

      The stalls may also have contributed to the decline of the pigs’ physical well-being. I know this isn’t a book about physical welfare, but I want to say something about the physical problems of sows in sow stalls. The sows go lame at very high rates inside the stalls and their bones weaken. They go lame partly because they don’t get any exercise, and partly because they move so little that stockpeople can’t see the first signs of developing lameness. There’s no way to tell that an animal is going lame if you can’t see the animal walk.

      Sows have so many genetic problems now that they’re living only long enough to bear three litters. A sow without genetic problems could have twice as many litters. When an animal is kept in a box, breeders forget about breeding for important traits such as strong feet and legs. I am appalled at the foot and ankle defects I have seen. In some young pigs, the ankles had collapsed and the pigs were walking on their dewclaws, which are the two little nubs on the back of the leg above the hoof. This happened because breeders were single-mindedly selecting for fast growth and high weight. Fortunately, some breeders are adopting a more whole-pig approach to breeding and are finally changing the genetics to correct these serious defects.

      >The industry needs to get rid of sow stalls.

  22. Jill


    One of the most important aspects of this hearing is being largely
    ignored. There was mass, peaceful protest in the halls of the
    powerful. People were occupying the space of injustice and confronting
    the powerful as they attempted to commit injustice. We out number these
    corrupt, evil people. They weren’t prepared for this. This was what
    the real fight for civil rights and justice looks like. This is what
    power of the people, for the people looks like.

    We can be certain the police state will be ready this next time. It is
    after all, the military and police’s job to protect the interests of the
    powerful, both at home and abroad. I hope people understand this.
    Whatever party is asking for your vote, they will not save you from the
    police state. They are part of the powerful. Therefore, we should look
    to each other and mass protest. It must be peaceful and the more
    massive it can be the better.

    This is a civil rights awakening. The hatred of women is showing itself
    as never before. That is a good thing because that hatred can no longer
    be easily denied. It can now be confronted by brave people who want
    justice in our society. This isn’t about voting, it’s not about a
    political party. It is about justice and equality for all people.

  23. JEHR

    Re: U.S. and Canada reach last-minute accord to conclude talks on new NAFTA

    Now I have an understanding about Trump’s art of the deal: Use a threat to get what you want. Leave the threat there even after you get what you want so that you can get more of what you want. When one economy is ten times bigger than another economy, using threats from the bigger one to the smaller one is sure to get results. I thought that negotiating in good faith was for both sides to truly compromise without ruining the smaller economy.

    Not so! I have become a little wiser today.

    The tariffs for steel and aluminum remain in place in spite of Canada’s agreement with the US. What is to prevent Trump from using those tariffs (and perhaps others) at any time, again and again to get what he wants, for example, quotas. The agreement with Canada and Mexico has probably made all other countries that have seen it run to Trump (as he himself has said) in order to try to make agreements that probably will be to Trump’s liking. The Sword of Damocles hangs over the heads of those who persists in pursing their own interests. What a world we live in!

    1. John k

      Imagine trump is sufficiently successful with his tactics we end up with balanced trade with each country.
      Our ability to bully ends.

  24. bruce wilder

    Escaping India Within India

    Only a couple of years ago, I took a package tour in India’s golden triangle of tourism — Delhi to Rajasthan to Taj Mahal and back again hitting the usual highlights — very conventional.

    But, by the end I realized that the tour operator had very artfully arranged the sequence of events to show both the old India (which is what we tourists wanted) and the new. Our last rest stop on the long bus ride back to the airport in Delhi was for a meal at a Country Club, the kind of place where people in a semi-rural area in the U.S. go to play golf ⛳ and eat an entirely conventional meal with cloth napkins. The first thing brought to the table was a basket of Parker House rolls. The whole homesick group sighed at the prospect of warm white bread and a foil-wrapped pat of butter.

    To a complete outsider, India seems an archipelago of islands, old and new. Just in the last week, I have been watching Bollywood movies on Netflix, guided in my choices by a “Best ten Bollywood movies on Netflix” found with a Google search. These are not Busby Berkeley in a sari. And, the abrupt and precarious transition from a traditional life on the strength of a steady job is a frequent background element.

    It is an easy guess that India’s middle classes exceed in numbers the entire U.S. population and both elite and middle class are embarked on a new global diaspora that creates a greater Bharat. As an immigrant group in the U.S., I think Indians are now second only to Mexican-Americans.

    These are fascinating developments — radical, rapid, remarkable to contemplate.

  25. Pylot7

    I am afraid Mr Hussein (How the Trump Era Lays Bare the Tension in the Marriage Between Conservatism and Capitalism The Intercept) has created his own definition of conservatism and then written his article based on his erroneous definition. How often do we see this done for the convenience of putting forth a non sensical proposition?

    Conservatism is “get the government out of my business, personal, private and commercial”. Conservatism is about life, liberty and freedom. The ones wanting to impose a traditional order are the Marxists!! I don’t care how you roll. I respect your space, you respect mine. I don’t care if you want to marry a goat. Just don’t expect me to go along with you teaching my children that marrying a goat is a good idea.

    There is no tension between capitalism and conservatism. And capitalism does need to be regulated, i.e. monopolies are not allowed. Regulation of freedom is what Marxists do.

    Articles that open with a false premise and pretend to say something relevant are boring and all too common today.

    1. Lord Koos

      “Conservatism is about life, liberty and freedom.”

      Really, perhaps you could give us a short list of current conservative politicians who exemplify this? Because the things I see modern “conservative” politicians do are removing our freedoms ASAP.

  26. ewmayer

    “Elon Musk Tweets May Cost Tesla Investors Close to $20 Billion Bloomberg. Oopsie.” — That BB headline is already way out of date, after the weekend announcement that SEC settled and will allow Musk to remain on as CEO, Tesla shares rallied yuuuuuuuuugely today, more than making up for last Friday’s hammering and boosting the market cap. by a cool $10 billion.

    Note that SEC said something to the effect of “to prevent further disruption in the markets” in the settlement announcement – i.e. precisely the same captured-regulator BS Obama DOJ #2 Lanny Breuer admitted on that now-famous 60 Minutes segment which ended up costing him his job (at least the low-paying government one – fear not, he’s since been handsomely rewarded for his work to keep the Wall Street croooks safe). Today’s rally is a thanks to the SEC for another justice-avoiding job well done.

  27. knowbuddhau

    Here’s a thought, originally from Pepe Escobar’s Facebook, regarding all the talk of religion lately: “nonreligious Christianity.”

    Although Vattimo has been a supporter of Francis since his election, his particular interpretation of religion goes back to the 1990s, when Vattimo began to apply his philosophy to the possibility of a ‘nonreligious Christianity’. This expression refers to a faith without foundations, that is, free of the power-laden relation with God that traditional theology always imposed upon believers through the Church.

    Vattimo justifies this interpretation through the biblical concept of kenosis (the self-emptying, incarnation, or weakening of God), and he uses this concept to dismiss the Church’s eternal connection of God with Truth. This association is at the origin of the ecclesiastical establishment’s conservative stance toward matters concerning gender, sexuality and procreation. Against this association, Vattimo calls for a nonreligious Christianity, where the pope and the Church substitute charity for truth.

    The weakening of divine transcendence and sovereignty – which are figures of violence for the Italian philosopher – leads to softening the faith and encouraging believers to doubt the authority of sacred texts, the Church and, most of all, the pope. But when Francis responds to questions about ‘gay believers’ with a simple ‘Who am I to judge?’ or agrees that ‘there must be more’ women in key roles in the governing body of the Church, he is inviting us not only to doubt these principles but also to change our attitude toward religion.

    This attitude is not meant to doubt the existence of God but rather to recall, as Francis wrote in Rejoice and Be Glad (2018), how ‘Christianity is meant above all to be put into practice’.

    Kenosis is one of my favorite things. It’s the opponent, but much underappreciated, force to kinesis. Your computer probably recognizes kinetic. Try kenotic.

    It’s the power of grass blades to shatter concrete. Soft power. Comes from within. Like we do.

    Would “religionless Christianity” be what many mean by “spiritual, but not religious”? Going into a box to be all we can be? Just doesn’t work for me. To congregate is one thing. To think the truth is in one and only one book, just happens to be yours, kept in a great big fancy box, just happens to be yours, telling of one and only one path to divinity, just happens to be yours? Get out of town.

    But I like the emphasis on practice. We need to embody our beliefs. And we do need community, we do need fellowship. Look at how some of us post here religiously.

    1. witters

      Kenotic theology? This is the best, I think: Peter Forrest, “Developmental Theism” Clarendon Press, 2017.

      Blurb: ”

      Table of Contents
      Author Information
      Reviews and Awards

      Developmental Theism
      From Pure Will to Unbounded Love
      Peter Forrest

      Clarendon Press

      This is a work of speculative theology based on three themes: that a version of materialism is a help not a hindrance in philosophical theology; that God develops; and that this development is on the whole kenotic, in other words an abandonment of power.

      Peter Forrest argues that the resulting kenotic theism might well be correct. He claims that his hypothesis concerning God is better than known rival hypotheses, including atheism, and that if there is no unknown better hypothesis it is good enough to be believed. In the Introduction he offers a defense of the type of metaphysical speculation on which his thesis rests. Elsewhere in the book he defends his ‘moderate materialism’, expounds the notion of the ‘Primordial God’, and discusses how God changes. In the resulting account, Forrest reconciles the unloving and unlovable God of the philosophers with the God of the Abrahamic tradition. In a quasi-Gnostic fashion he puts the blame for evils on the Primordial God and argues that after God has become loving, the divine powers of intervention are limited by the natural order. In the final two chapters he applies this kenotic theism to specifically Christian teachings, notably the Trinity and the Incarnation.”

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