Links 10/2/18

Cats May Have Duped Us about Being Great Rat Catchers Scientfic American. Mice, yes. Rats, no.

UN report spotlights government inaction on climate Agence France Presse

How Feedback Loops Are Driving Runaway Climate Change Truthout

The Gulf of St. Lawrence is Losing Oxygen Faster Than Almost Any Other Marine Environment Yale Environment 360

How Persistent Are the Effects of Sentiment Shocks? Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

GE’s dealmaking and outlay to M&A advisers called into question FT. $6 billion in fees since 2000? Holy moley, that’s real money!

The Era of Near-Zero Interest Rates Is Over Bloomberg


Toyota to reconsider future UK investment under no-deal Brexit Nikkei Asian Review

The UK still isn’t ready for a no deal Brexit Institute for Government. With chart:

Not seeing a “muddle through” item on the list, a curious omission.

British seem to think the EU is quitting the UK – Juncker Reuters. Fog in the Channel….

What the EU will do if Westminster votes down a Brexit deal FT

Philip Hammond: UK will enforce hard border in Ireland if there is no Brexit deal Politico

Boris Johnson ‘would delay Brexit by six months if he topples Theresa May to become leader’ Evening Standard. “I, as leader, will use power like a drum, and leadership like a violin.”

Conservative Party Conference: Where have all the Tories gone? Sky News. To the, er, fringe….

Hardline policy likely driving up migrant drownings, Italian think-tank says CBC

Danske’s Crisis and the Populist Fallout It Risks Igniting Bloomberg

Macedonia-Greece name deal: What happens next? Deutsche Welle

Brazil judge releases damaging Workers Party testimony days before vote Reuters


On Iran, White House Criticism Grows, but U.S. Military Posture Recedes WSJ

Saudi military colonialism sparks protest movement in Yemen’s east Middle East Eye

US says it will stay in Syria until it spends $1 trillion defeating ISIS Duffel Blog


Air pollution is killing 1 million people and costing Chinese economy 267 billion yuan a year, research from CUHK shows South China Morning Post

China’s ‘great wall of capital’ set to benefit mutual funds FT

In the struggle for AI supremacy, China will prevail The Economist

Corpulence Is Bliss: The Chinese Embracing ‘Fat Happy’ Culture Sixth Tone. “To be clear, ‘fat happy water’ is not water at all, but rather another name for Coca-Cola.”

Indonesia quake, tsunami death toll could reach ‘thousands’ Asia Times. Now 1234, with many districts not yet reached.

India Dodges a Lehman Moment. That Was the Easy Part Bloomberg

The Freshness of Gandhi’s Religiosity in the Age of Celebrity Gurus The Wire

Neither rich nor crazy: film noir sheds light on Singapore’s migrant labourers Agence France Presse


Trump Talks Kavanaugh Investigation: ‘We’ll Do Whatever the Senators Want’ Roll Call

Yale classmate recalls Kavanaugh as frequent, heavy drinker as FBI interviews accusers Los Angeles Times

Kavanaugh Knew About Ramirez Allegation Much Earlier Than He Says New York Magazine

Kavanaugh and the Rule of Law The American Conservative

Trump Transition

After Budget Cuts, the IRS’ Work Against Tax Cheats Is Facing “Collapse” Pro Publica

Trump Hails Revised Nafta Deal, and Sets Up a Showdown With China NYT

This visa program for Canadian professionals was on Trump’s hit list. Not anymore. McClatchy

Trump Administration to Deny Visas to Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats, U.N. Officials Foreign Policy. “The new policy will insist they be married—even if they’re from countries that criminalize gay marriage.”

Inspector General: The Family Separation Policy Was a Disaster From Its Inception New York Magazine

Border patrol agent’s gender reveal party ignited a 47,000-acre wildfire CNN. So what gender were they?

Have you been PURGED? Georgia voters – you MUST check this NOW Greg Palast

Class Warfare

This Labor-Trafficking Case Exposes the Twin Cities’ Seedy Subcontracting Underbelly The Nation (Furzy Mouse).

Devin Nunes’ Family Farm Moved to Iowa, Employs Undocumented Workers Esquire

Free Marketeers Defense of CEO Pay and a Rigged System is a Disservice to Free Markets Evonomics

Thoughts and Prayers n+1

The mineral frontier: inside the US agency chasing global resources Nature

NASA Has Just Released 2,540 Stunning New Photos of Mars. Beauty of Planet Earth (DK).

Antidote du jour (via):

Leveling up my wolf game.

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. pretzelattack

    i guess the party was aborted before the gender was revealed, as everyone fled for their lives. if we lived in a better world, this would be the fake story and the shoplifter heroes from yesterday would be real.

      1. pretzelattack

        i wonder why you wonder,since it was clearly stated in the story. i wonder how that could be considered adequate compensation, whether or not an individual that isn’t a billionaire could pay it. one reason i wish it were fake–what a stupid family blogging way to cause so much damage. at least typhoid mary was trying to do her job.

        1. j84ustin

          Admittedly I didn’t read the article. I was being a little facetious because I know others have been required to pay damages, but would never be able to pay.

  2. Steve H.

    The Mars imaging is intriguing, with the choices affecting what gets highlighted. “False colours assigned to certain minerals” “alters how you see” Especially juxtaposed against the previous link from Nature.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Cats May Have Duped Us about Being Great Rat Catchers Scientfic American. Mice, yes. Rats, no.

    Parsons and his colleagues set up cameras around the Brooklyn recycling facility and fitted as many rats as they could catch with unique radio frequency tags (RFID units). This was “so that we can follow each individual and their behavior,” he explains. After that, and analyzing more than 300 videos of cats and rats on the floor of the recycling center, the results—published Thursday in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution—were clear as day: “The cats didn’t really bother [doing anything] when the rats were on the open floor,” Parsons says. In one video, a rat walks calmly around the floor while a cat watches it from a box a few feet away.

    This doesn’t really prove anything – its not uncommon to see wildebeest graze calmly close to lions. Its not that they are safe from lions, but that they know when the lions are hungry and hunting and when they are not. Predators and prey often reach a sort of amnesty when it suits them. This seems much more likely to occur when they are forced into unnaturally close proximity, like in a deserted building. It may suit the cats not to scare the rats too much, they would be useful as an emergency lunch if they can’t find an alternative. It may also be that urban rats are infested with the Toxiplasma parasite and the cats know they can pick their time.

    There may also be a distinction between urban and rural cats. A friend moved into a rural house next to a river in a damp valley. The place was infested with rats which used the river as a sort of highway. The only solution they found was to move a few semi-feral rural cats in to their barn. This proved very successful, although they told me they never saw one kill a rat, the smell alone seems to have done the trick.

    Mind you, for centuries people have known that dogs are far better rat catchers than cats, thats why terriers were invented.

    1. Wukchumni

      We don’t have rats around here that i’ve seen, but the crew @ the all cats and no cattle ranch are hardly discriminate in what they dispatch to the nether regions, as long as it’s smaller than them. Einstein-the brains of the outfit, recently killed a king snake and a juvenile red tail hawk (how’d he pull that off?) and when he’s just goofing off, maybe a mouse or vole or gopher, merely to keep in practice.

    2. vlade

      As you say, for rats, you want dogs.

      My grandma used to have a few wire Fox Terriers, and they were terrific at catching rats.. Couldn’t give a toss about mice though, so you take your pick…

      1. tegnost

        Dogs are absolutely the right tool for the job, rats are pretty big…baby rats on the other hand, very crunchy and apparently tasty vertebrae on the other side of those organs and the feline may wake one during kitty’s midnight snack…

    3. pretzelattack

      there was an unpleasant “sport” back in the day in london, involving terriers killing rats, when they got tired of the usual dogfights.

      1. Polar Donkey

        I lived in house in the south Pacific that backed up to the jungle. A mother and daughter set of cats lived at house as well. I never fed the cats. They would hunt rats almost every night. When they caught a rat, they would bring to the door and wail for me to come take a look. Once I acknowledged them catching the rat, they would take away and eat it. A lot of times, they would just leave dead rats on the porch.

        1. perpetualWAR

          Yep. I lived in Seattle with a neighborhood of small restaurants, bars and a little grocer. With all the food came rats. My cat was an excellent mouser. What I have experienced, is cats with large ears are the better hunters. Don’t know if there is any scientific evidence of that, just what I have observed.

          I really want another kitty, but Lord do I hate the litter box!

          1. Brian

            I live on a creek and the rats used to come and go as they pleased. When we got a couple new cats, we started seeing dead rats, many brought for us to see. It took the cats only a few years and the rats we used to see are no more. I think a different explanation may be in store here;
            Cats that live with people kill the rats that intrude on the territory. They get praised for doing so.
            Now we have feral cat that has taken up residence and it kills rats within a few seconds of seeing them.
            (two of these cats are russian blue, if that makes any difference)

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I had a few native, marsh rats living out back. I was content to let them live as they supposedly don’t come to the house. All in all, it was a mistake because a stray moved in, and now I don’t have rats. I have a kitten on the porch, moms is getting fixed, and I’m waiting to get the trap back from the vet to get the other two kittens.

              One of my in house cretins is clearly not happy about the situation. Oh well, I got rid of the rats.

            2. KFritz

              Excellent observation. For five years I lived in the Oakland CA Hills, adjacent to a 1 acre sea of ivy with a few scattered Live Oaks. Each spring my 2 cats would present me with a few rat corpses, left on the front doorstep. The territorial explanation makes sense. Rats were common in the neighborhood, and the ivy patch was rat heaven…as long they stayed clear of my apartment’s immediate vicinity. I assume that spring brought an increase in the rat population, with new encroachment.

                1. polecat

                  I know ..
                  Dogs can be real gross at times. Couple years ago, some cheap a$$ nitwit dumped a load of decomposing fish guts in the alley behind the neighbors nextdoor, who have 2 dogs .. they both when “All Right !”, and proceded to roll in it .. to their canine-hearts’ content .. Needless to say, my neighbor was Not amused !

                  1. LifelongLib

                    Decades ago my family owned a cabin next to a river where salmon spawned. Our dog at the time loved to roll in the dead fish. It led to many an emergency dog bath before the car trip home.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        This was the whole point of a terrier. Their speed and bite strength will handle a rat in a flash. Cats play with their prey which is a no no against a full sized rat or squirrel for most cats and their usual attack pattern. A normal cat can get hurt.

        This is the whole point of “barn” cats. Its not a random cat but a big male. Its why 10 Downing Street has a specifically selected cat. Its rugged enough to take out rats, but social enough to deal with the many strangers. A big enough cat will clear anything it sees as being handled.

        1. a different chris

          We have a monster male. I refer to him as a “local extinction event”. Beheads rabbits. Or did until we didn’t have rabbits anymore. Our other cats won’t catch anything no matter how small. He has tried to teach them. Ewww is basically their reaction.

          The one generalization about cats I have faith in is that you can’t make any generalizations about cats.

        2. HotFlash

          Our grey Chico-cat (perhaps a Russian Blue? dunno, he is a rescue) has dispatched all the rats who came into his territory (and ours — hurray!). The other two guys are non-commital, although the ex-barn cat will deign to catch the ocassional mouse. A former chicken-ranch guy, he is confused by birds. That is OK with me and the birds we feed, and a real treat to watch. He notices but tolerates the sparrows, finches, jays and cardinals at our bird feeder, but I am sure he woonders why we don’t collect the eggs.

        3. ChrisPacific

          I once watched our cat battle a rat on the lawn. The rat wasn’t going down without a fight. The cat did a fair amount of scuttling backward while the rat leaped at her repeatedly with teeth bared. I think size and reflexes told in the end and she did end up winning (she continued killing rats successfully even when she was old and toothless) but it was clearly not free of risk. I would not have put money on her against a large rat population.

          Terriers on the other hand are little killing machines. I watched one kill a possum once after it was flushed out of a tree. It was probably about the same size as the terrier, but it was still dead less than a second after it hit the ground.

          1. Oregoncharles

            We had a wolf-dog we dearly loved. She was death on possums, which are very easy to catch, and I saw her kill a nutria, a rat the size of a beaver with teeth to match. Granted, she had some help from me – I was trying to chase it away. Never saw her catch mice, but she may have when we weren’t watching; we had a lot fewer voles (meadow mice) then.

            OTOH, we’d taught her not to chase fowl (ducks, originally), and that applied to the neighbor’s geese that kept escaping. She would chase them exactly as long as I did.

    4. Lee

      My pit bull Stafforshire Terrier is an excellent ratter. If allowed, she would also cheerfully dispatch cats, squirrels and small yappy dogs.

    5. Savonarola

      The technique for killing rats is different from that for killing mice. A cat must be taught by its mother to do this, or they don’t know how. Some cats that are excellent mousers, taught by their mother, don’t know the rat skill. Those that know it are lethal, but seem to be pretty sensible about what size of rat is a decent risk and which are too big to tackle.

      Speaking from experience here. Cats, properly trained from youth, kill rats very efficiently. And mice, voles, birds, bats, shrews, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, and anything else that isn’t really careful. They are really very impressive predators.

    6. Yves Smith

      New York City rats are BIG and very very well fed! Every one I have every seen is sleek. I’m not sure all rats are as big as our super sized Norwegian rats.

      And cats might eat baby/young rats, which would control population.

      1. ChrisPacific

        I think the Norwegians lived in the sewers in Boston. I saw one on the street once when the drains were flooded during heavy rain. They are huge.

    7. Oregoncharles

      The research on this was reported long ago. The difference between urban and rural rats is size: the urban ones eat better and grow faster, quickly becoming too big for the cats. (Cats will take rabbits – I’ve seen one brought in – but rabbits don’t fight back.) In the end, urban cats and rats wind up sharing the bounty.

      Besides terriers, ferrets (especially males, which are much larger) are often used against rats. However, they don’t work well in a partnership with people, since in the excitement they can be mistaken for rats – they’re about the same size. Ferrets are used primarily to chase the prey out of its hole, and emerging rats look a lot like emerging ferrets. So there can be a high casualty rate among the ferrets. It’s one reason they were bred to be white.

      Resident ferrets will keep rats and mice away, as will resident cats. If someone could domesticate bobcats, at least twice the size, they could be very useful. Our own problem is squirrels – tree rats, in my opinion, so I’ve thought about this. We could use a couple of fishers (tree weasels), but I’ve no idea where to get them.

    8. YankeeFrank

      Another interesting possibility — my dogs grew up with squirrels everywhere and they go nuts chasing them. We moved to the city a few years ago after they were fully mature (6-8 years) and when they see rats they show absolutely no interest. I thought they would see them as squirrel-like and go crazy but no. They still go nuts for squirrels though.

  4. Wukchumni

    Thoughts and Prayers n+1
    What if we rebranded guns, and called them ‘nucleus weapons’ instead, for they tend to wipe out family members in a way where you can’t get everybody together anymore, adios nucleus of former family.

    Unlike most murders by hand cannon, the LV shooter knew not one of the 600 or so in the night brigade some 30 or so stories below. All he was desirous of was maximum carnage. The results were much the same though, the tearing apart of families.

    Thoughts & Prayers, why are we so easily placated by them?

    It’s as if, oh yeah we’re cool, some politician spilled out exactly 2 words and a symbol that seemingly ties them together, that makes everything ok until the next episode where the same 2 words are trotted out again.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Two more words that may eventually be seen more frequently, since they seem to explain a lot of what is going on among the suddenly-less-restrained and frequently well-gunned mopes: “Running amok.” It’s an actual DSM diagnosis, actually two — amok, and beramok. In Europe it looks like the weapon of choice for their version of the malady is a knife or maybe sword, and of course for real effect, a van or semi-tractor or other multi-tonne vehicle:

      Coming soon to a neighborhood or work place near you!

      Too bad the violence is almost always directed at fellow mopes, not at the (personal security-staff-protected) Elites, whose practices and policies and power plays create the incentives and forces that lead to the explosive behavioral outbursts.

    2. BoyDownTheLane

      Thoughts and Prayers n+1

      Someone here some days ago recommended the book “The Money and The Power: by Denton and Morris. A trip to Abe Books via Good Reads got cheap rapid delivery and I have read the book and echo the recommendation. Americans have embraced the corruption and depravity and violence that brought us Dealey Plaza, the Ambassador Hotel kitchen, 9/11, and so much more. To blame the NRA is laughably naive.

  5. Wukchumni

    A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia on Saturday killing around 850 people and decimating the regional capital of Palu. 25-year-old Kiwi pilot, Andrew Todd, was situated about 40 miles south of the epicentre when the quake and proceeding tsunami struck. He is one of two Kiwis understood to be in the Sulawesi area and his airline, Susi Air, is now assisting the Indonesian military’s rescue efforts. He spoke exclusively with the Ashburton Guardian in between flights.

    Todd’s first task was to take two local reporters to Palu and pick up several Susi Air ground crew members from the airport. From 8000 feet, he has been able to see the full extent of the devastation.

    “Whole mountains have changed shape,” he said.

    Steep terrain, once speckled with small villages, are now scarred with
    hundreds of huge landslides. From the air, he said, you can see dust rising into the air as aftershocks create more slips.

    “It usually takes a few days to get to some of those villages. Now that they are cut off we can only assume there’s a lot of damage that we don’t know about yet,” he said.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Conservative Party Conference: Where have all the Tories gone?”

    Where have all the Tories gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the Tories gone?
    Long time ago
    Where have all the Tories gone?
    Fringe meetings have drawn them every one
    When will they ever learn?
    When will they ever learn?

    1. el_tel

      When JS Mill used the term “stupid” he meant “pragmatic, non-ideological” so the original meaning of the saying regarding the British Conservatives doesn’t hold true….but under modern usage, the Conservatives really do seem to be “the stupid party”.

    2. Epistrophy

      There is a serious lack of leadership across the entire political spectrum. And it is fracturing the United Kingdom in the process.

  7. Steve H.

    Speaking of feedback loops:

    “Reasserting the #establishment. A stealth tech company effort that removes
    those who oppose the establishment from public discourse (from account
    suspension to soft bans to AI-led censorship) in tandem with efforts to nudge (via
    social AIs) public discourse towards opposition to the government(s) it opposes.
    An effort that becomes increasingly ambitious and capable as it achieves success.” [John Robb]

    I’ve seen indications that Fcbk has not only done this, but has coalesced small groups on unitary issues and then highlighted wedge issues. There is a quantity of debunking on restriction of number of friends people are seeing, but “it’s the algo” is functionally having the same effect. A shift in the boundary conditions by a single node can entirely alter the flow direction of a system.

    1. Epistrophy

      Yes, there is complex math at play in these non-linear systems. For example, most people do not realize that only a minor percentage (not even half) of a collective’s metadata is required to make statistically valid inferences on the whole. And an algorithm being imposed in this way on a set of dynamic nodal connections is like the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings that create a hurricane; such is the non-linear, chaotic nature of social media connections.

      In any case things are going to get a lot more interesting next year when Inrupt is launched by John Bruce and Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > when Inrupt is launched by John Bruce and Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

        I linked to Inrupt the other day in Water Cooler and signed up for it. But there doesn’t seem to be a lot going on. Do you know more?

  8. vidimi

    re kavanaugh, i often hear the arguments of due process and innocent until proven guilty in favour of confirming the man. but this is a canard as kavanaugh is not being accused nor tried for any crime, in which case those lofty standards should indeed be applied. he is instead applying for one of the top judicial jobs in america and so the burden of proof should be much lower. if you want to get on the supreme court, the suspicion alone of being a serial abuser should be enough to disqualify him. supreme court justices should be unimpeachable.

    also, i love how he kept denying that he ever participated in any drinking games but then, when asked about the devil’s triangle, casually said that it was a drinking game.

    1. Quentin

      The Devil’s Triangle is generally taken to refer to sex between one woman and two men. Lots of drinking may be involved but that’s not the point. The Dems on that committee are so damned thick you can only wonder what they’re doing there anyway. And if not thick, they’re simply deceitful whores.

    2. Quentin

      And his mention of a drinking game called ‘quarters’ was just a bold-faced lie he invented to distract attention from the Devils Triangle. Neither he nor anyone else can explain how it works because it seems no one apart from Kavanaugh himself has ever heard of it while he’s even in the dark about it.

      1. TheBeeman

        We played quarters at school – 1978 – 1982 – the setup was shot glasses in front of the players sitting around a table in the pub. The game was played with either the glasses full or empty. Players in my crowd were asked to play – no one was forced. Make love not war!

        Each player in turn placed a quarter (coin) between their thumbs with their palms flat on the table.

        If the player could fling the quarter into his shot glass, he was allowed to either consume a shot of liquor or instruct another player to drink.

        Simple game – desired outcome was laughter, inebriation, metaphysical insight (no not really) and copious barfing (sometimes), and for those who played a lot, better hand eye coordination

          1. The Beeman

            how about me explaining it incompletely – does that mean my credibility is suspect?

            When writing my comment I didn’t remember the quarters variation with a highball glass and bouncing off the table. and I wasn’t under any pressure.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Lots of people forget, or don”t remember, lots of times.

              We all don’t tell the whole truth when we don’t remember.

              Like Hillary in Whitewater…”I don’t recall*.”

              (Or was it Bill?)

              *I** also don’t recall her exact quote.

              **I, referring to this commentator here, today (10-2-2018).

        1. Bill Smith

          We played with at twist in that you could and would from time to time lay off your required drink to someone you had earlier designated. Like your girlfriend.

          We also played a game were every minute you had to drink 1 ounce of beer.

      2. Brucie A.

        I’ve heard of quarters. Something about the coin and bouncing it into a cup… *That* wasn’t a lie.

        1. The Beeman

          Yes, we played that variation as well. You put a highball glass in front of the players and they have to bounce a quarter off the surface of the table into the glass.

        2. a different chris

          >*That* wasn’t a lie.

          Yes it was, or more correctly part of a structure of lies, which requires some truth to paste them together.

          There is a game called quarters that you described correctly. There is no comprehensible* way it can be expanded to a triangle. So trying to lump the DT in with quarters as the same thing is the lie part.

          *and even if there is a way that is beyond my understanding, it is a game to get drunk – not an alternative to, say, bridge – and nobody complicates games to get drunk.

          1. The Beeman

            Not sure what you mean when you say it is no comprehensible way to expand it to a triangle. Isn’t triangle a term related to sex acts and what prevents a drinking game from leading to the other? Or does this mean when the game breaks up, a triangle of drunk people is not cool? Isn’t that up to the participants?

            Do not understand what you mean by “and nobody complicates games to get drunk.”

            We used to play bizz-buzz or fizz buzz (don’t remember the name). the whole idea was to have fun with inebriation as a distraction, but if you couldn’t do factors of 5 and 7 in your head you would have a hard time keeping up and the goal was to count as high as we could as a group without having to drink – yes I went to an engineering school.

            1. JacobiteInTraining

              “….here’s to Cardinal Puff, for my first drink of the evening…”

              Ah,good times. Those I can recall, anyway.

              I mean, no – I recall everything…never blacked out, though I might have catnapped. We played with apple juice.

              yeah, thats the ticket.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                That would be so typical of Bill Clinton: My billing records? I don’t recall blacking out.

                “And no, I don’t recall having a serve in my basement either.”

            2. a different chris

              >is no comprehensible way to expand it to a triangle.

              You can’t sensibly expand “the game of quarters” to a triangle.

              >he whole idea was to have fun with inebriation as a distraction

              As a distraction, not the point of the game. And what I said was “nobody complicates games to get drunk”. The point of your game did not seem to be to get (familyblog)faced.

              PS: it was “bizz-buzz”.

          2. Jeff W

            It would be astonishingly easy for for the FBI to question any of Kavanaugh’s classmates on the reference to “devil’s triangle”; what it meant to them, if anything; if it was a game, how it was played, by whom and how often; and so on (I’d figure if Kavanaugh felt the “game” warranted mention in his yearbook, at least some people would know about it enough to get the reference); and if they made and can produce any verifiable contemporaneous references to it as a game. Since that’s out of the scope of the FBI’s investigation, I doubt the FBI will pursue that line of inquiry. . But it’s not like we just have to accept his testimony as his unverifiable belief—his statement regarding the nature of that term could be corroborated—or not—by other sources as a way of assessing his credibility.

      3. Stephanie

        IIRC, there a “Freaks and Geeks” episode that featured Seth Rogen’s character winning at quarters because he was the only one who knew they weren’t actually drinking beer.

        1. polecat

          So, is it a Bermuda Triangle .. when it’s 2 woman to 1 man ? .. or is the man just eliminated entirely, replaced by a 3rd female participant ? Judging by the rhetoric of some feminist ‘academic’ authorities in sjw uni-di-versity land, the ‘man’ (especially ECs .. Encounters of the Caucasian kind) should either be ‘cockholded’ into complete submission, or disappeared entirely !
          So does that leave ‘procreation’ to Seri, and her AI counterparts, higher tech, and gestation pods .. or at least the male as nothing but a sperm packet ??
          Between this D.C. sexteria .. and RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA, I’m begining to think the credentialed class has taken parts of “A boy and his dog” as a primer !

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      I don’t agree that suspicion alone should disqualify a candidate for a job, but completely agree that a job application does not and should not require the same standard of proof as a guilty verdict in a court of law. Suspicion alone would lead to a whole industry of finger pointers in our already corrupt society just as a legal standard of proof would permit all manner of obviously inappropriate candidates to pass through by hair splitting legal beagles.

      But none of that applies to Brett Kavanaugh anyway. This is pure political theater by Democrats and Republicans. Kavanaugh and his sickening tortuous world view was confirmed many years ago.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Isn’t Kavanaugh’s whole is that he’s plain and boring? Its not because he’s a landmark jurist the country will desperately need to navigate the future. At least with Roberts and Alito, the GOP liked to pretend they were selected for reasons other than not being obviously offensive.

        The suspicions around Kavanaugh sully his one attribute the GOP is pushing. Banality.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Interesting point, banality! But granting that, I still think it’s not the suspicion that sullies kavanaugh against (in your case) the virtue of banality, it’s the credibility that Dr. Ford gave to those suspicions in her sober testimony – regardless of time elapsed – and the boost the thug henchwoman gave to that credibility by her performance and inevitable outcome of grilling as if this was testimony in a court of law with the usual legal hair splitting gymnastics in which the saints themselves would invariably have holes in their testimony (where James Clapper can lie all he wants, but not someone who might thwart a Supreme Rapist).

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Last line should have read, (where James Clapper can lie all he wants, but someone who might thwart a Supreme Rapist must be able to make an inhumanly air tight statement on the fly against a trained expert trickster as if this were indeed a murder trial and not a job interview).

        2. todde

          I would say this is his just due for being a partisan warrior his life.

          Probably his appointment has more to do with being on the Starr investigation and being a team player just as much as his future court rulings.

          Might also be why there is a democrat push back.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            He’s a partisan no doubt, but if Orrin Hatch thought he could get away with it, he would demand only Elder (X) be considered for the hours they spent screaming at women who walked into an abortion clinic. They can’t, so they move to a fellow traveler who is basically boring and wouldn’t give away the game. Until Kavanaugh was accused of rape, the narrative was how the Dims were just asking dopey questions and getting non-answer in return on the way to Kavanaugh being confirmed. The question wasn’t whether Collins would vote “yes” or “no” but how many Democrats would vote “yes.”

            Beyond Kavanaugh being a name and having been a judge, the narrative was 65 women claimed to know him and he even recommended a colleague’s daughter for a job once. So yeah!

      2. Carolinian

        pure political theater by Democrats and Republicans

        Indeed. Maybe the real problem is with the people doing the selecting, er, hiring. Rather than making justice and rule of law the focus both parties approach the SC as a proxy for their ongoing power struggle. The Dems in particular seem to take the attitude that the courts will save us from their unwillingness or inability to turn the country to a more progressive direction.

        So our system as a whole seems to be broken. In part you can blame that on the Supreme Court with decisions like Citizens United, but the real way to win an ideological struggle is by mustering popular support, not judicial fiat. At some point the Dems are going to have to come to terms with the dreaded Deplorables.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          I think your comment goes right to it (that is, spot on) but want to look at a particular point…

          The Dems in particular seem to take the attitude that the courts will save us from their [the dems] unwillingness or inability to turn the country to a more progressive direction.

          A fascinating idea, so much so that I’m almost sure I’m missing something, but respond anyway, probably boorishly, that it gives too much credit to the Dems. I’d say they are just obeying their donors and their donors want law of the land decisions by the Supreme Court that are favorable to business, to finance, to crony/monopoly/oligarchy capitalists with an international model of human exploitation and more recently to authoritarians (particularly of a stereotypical masculine bent).

          Yes, the system is indeed broken, Dems, already moribund as a party, will have to face the music, and this fiasco of a confirmation process as was the last non confirmation fiasco couldn’t provide better proof of the fact.

          1. a different chris

            I was going to cite that part, too! Carolinian did say “unwillingness” so I’m not sure he didn’t cover what you said.

            Since you beat me to that, let me then go on to 1a:

            “the real way to win an ideological struggle is by mustering popular support, not judicial fiat. ”


            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > “the real way to win an ideological struggle is by mustering popular support, not judicial fiat. ”

              See under Roe v. Wade, and contrast the success of gay marriage. Coming out came first, and the law followed.

        2. Expat2uruguay

          May I suggest that it may be easier to reach out to non-voters with a platform that gives them something to get excited about. Let’s remember non-voters are the largest segment of eligible voters in the United States.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Poor people are the non-voters. The ones Hillary and her campaign explicitly ignored. She pursued Republican voters. They are more likely to see Hamilton than the “deplorables” who struggle with bills and might be excited about something like single payer.

            Many poor whites don’t vote. After all, why should they? Bill was bad for them, and Hillary calls them deplorable. Bill and Hillary also oversaw sharp decline of minority voting, again a group that tends to be poor. I wonder if there might be a connection.

            The Republicans who joined the Democratic Party in recent years might fancy themselves as sophisticated and wealthy group in the Democratic Party, but once you start breaking it down based on incomes versus relative wealth its not. At the top it is, but basically, the party is dependent on “deplorables” to win.


            Wealthy whites in the old South hated poor whites. Which group was responsible for Jim Crow? I bet it was the people who clung to God and guns not the ones with power.

            The population of middle class of non-voters is virtually non-existant. Its people who are struggling.

            1. Carolinian

              I bet it was the people who clung to God and guns not the ones with power.

              The version I’ve seen said the remnants of the planter aristocracy used race competition to keep the poors under their thumb. This may have been true before the Civil War as well. To be sure the poor whites went along with this.

              A couple of weeks ago we were talking about America as a caste society rather than a class society. In India even the very poor felt (feel?) they still had one up over the untouchables.

      3. Llewelyn Moss

        John Oliver did a Kavanaugh hearing review on his show. He goes clip by clip thru the hearing. If you watch it and at the end still believe Kavanaugh is qualified to be a SCOTUS justice, well then… I don’t know whether to call Kavanaugh a sociopath or psychopath — probably a blend of both.

    4. The Beeman

      Not to seem like I am defending Kavanaugh, but I disagree – he has been accused of sexual assault and is still subject to being charged for a crime since the SOL has not expired (nor will it if I understand MD laws correctly as presented by NC commentariat)

      Second point, I thought I read that no one so far has stepped forward to say that either of them was seen at the party and the report from the sex crimes prosecutor (Ford?) says these charges would never hold up because there is nothing corroborating the essence of the story.

      If there is no proof of either of them being at that party, I discount the entire episode.

      I don’t like his judicial opinions but there aren’t enough senate votes to deny confirmation – as has been reported.

      (just for full disclosure, I was accused of horrific crimes and was at risk of losing access to my infant son. Luckily, the court asked for proof of what his mother said, and nothing was forthcoming.

      The court bent over backwards to give her the benefit of the doubt and to fry my a** and the court decided in my favor. I had full legal joint custody with liberal visitation. The mother was angry and made sh*t up.

      My son is 25 now (a graduate student in early childhood education – he wants to be a teacher) and if the court had “just believed her” I would have been devastated and perhaps my son would have lost his father.

      1. Bill Smith

        He would be tried as a minor? His record would be sealed upon reaching 18? Which is 30 some years ago so we would retroactively know nothing about it :)

        I’ve once saw the same type of thing that you describe in divorce / child custody proceedings. In the end the woman took it back saying she had been upset.

      2. vidimi

        it sounds like the system worked as it should in your case.the standard of proof should have been higher in your case than it is for kavanaugh, where a strong moral compass ought to be an absolute prerequisite for the job.

        1. ArcadiaMommy

          I’m glad that you and your son are well and the “system” worked for you. The standard of proof is higher in a criminal case but Kavanaugh is not being tried for a crime.

          Look the man has perjured himself many times. That alone should get him disbarred or his license(s) to practice law revoked. Or suspended, I’m sure there are legal distinctions depending on the licensing state. Bill Clinton got himself in the same kind of pickle.

          Yes I believe his legal opinions are destructive and god awful and he should not be on the Supreme Court.

      3. pretzelattack

        i believe both were seen at the party. kavanaugh has an event, including the boys mentioned on his calendar for the day. as i understand it, only ford, judge and kavanaugh were in the room; judge may dispute that he was in the room, and kavanaugh does dispute being in the room or at the party.

        1. The Beeman

          Dr. Ford’s account of the alleged assault has not been corroborated by anyone she identified as
          having attended—including her lifelong friend.
          • Dr. Ford has named three people other than Judge Kavanaugh who attended the party—
          Mark Judge, Patrick “PJ” Smyth, and her lifelong friend Leland Keyser (née Ingham).
          Dr. Ford testified to the Committee that another boy attended the party, but that she could
          not remember his name. No others have come forward.
          All three named eyewitnesses have submitted statements to the Committee denying any
          memory of the party whatsoever. Most relevantly, in her first statement to the Committee,
          Ms. Keyser stated through counsel that, “[s]imply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr.
          Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was
          present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.”
          In a subsequent statement to the Committee through
          counsel, Ms. Keyser said that “the simple and unchangeable truth is that she is unable to
          corroborate [Dr. Ford’s allegations] because she has no recollection of the incident in

          Now this may change over time – someone might come forward who saw them both at the party.

          I have written appointments in my calendar and not attended. I have missed all kinds of scheduled events over the years that were in my calendar. As the saying goes, sh*t happens….

      4. Procopius

        I thought I read that no one so far has stepped forward to say that either of them was seen at the party and the report from the sex crimes prosecutor (Ford?) says these charges would never hold up because there is nothing corroborating the essence of the story.

        Well, somewhere I read that this was not a large party but six or eight high school students who were drinking beer at someone’s house in the late afternoon, early evening. Nothing remarkable, so likely none of the few people who were there remember it. Seems to be a distortion in the media presentation of what Dr. Ford alleged. Game of Telephone kind of thing.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I believe the ‘Innocent until Proven Guilty’ concept should be afforded to all.

      Defendants in legal cases.

      Supreme Court nominees.

      Presidential Candidates.

      “Sanders’ wife mishandled money terribly.” – an allegation.

      Mrs. Sanders should be innocent until proven guilty…mere allegations will not and shall not do.

      1. todde

        beyond a reasonable doubt, clear and convincing, or a preponderance of the evidence to establish guilt would be my next question to your reply.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Where are we with regards to Mrs. Sanders today – innocent beyond a reasonable doubt?

          Was she presumed to be innocent from the very start of the allegation?

          1. pretzelattack

            she isn’t being nominated to the supreme ct. if she faces a jury, she would be judged under the applicable standard. since kavanaugh is having a job interview, he should be judged under the standards of job interviews–and not the marcie frost calpers job interview standard, either.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Her husband was and possibly is running for the White House.

              And an employer is liable to legal challenges for not handling allegations against an application fairly.

          2. False Solace

            So now you’re smearing Jane Sanders — saying she “mishandled money”? And exactly what does that have to do with a SC nomination? The allegation against Jane Sanders is that she was president of a small liberal arts college that borrowed money to finance an expansion, then went under. Except that’s not really an allegation, just a recounting of events that happened. Are you saying Jane Sanders is at fault for decisions that were also made by the Board of Trustees? How exactly did she “mishandle money”?

            I know this is a popular smear from the right wing. But if you can’t back it up please drop it.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I wrote ‘an allegation.’

              And that she deserves to have her presumed innocence.

        2. MLS

          A fair question, and my response would be “it depends”. In a court of law, then we need to have a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, no question. In other circumstances where there is no crime in question (I saw Bob at the zoo with his kids when he told his boss he was “working from home”) then a lesser standard of a preponderance of evidence is more likely to be appropriate. But the presumption of innocence is not limited to just the court room and we have to stick to facts and what can reasonably be determined.

          In the Kavanaugh case we are IMO in “preponderance of evidence” territory. But to this point there is so little evidence pointing to him being guilty of what he’s been accused of that I can’t see Dr. Hunt’s claims as a valid reason not to confirm him. There has been zero corroboration by any of the individuals with alleged knowledge of this party. The fact that he’s been evasive in some answers and downright untruthful in others (I think he’s seriously misrepresented how much he partied and drank in his youth, for example) speaks to his character but it does not make him guilty of sexual assault. Even the stories about aggressive behavior while drinking/drunk and starting a fight in a bar are not relevant to this scenario. Those facts (if true) make him a slimeball and probably an a**hole, but they do not make him guilty of sexual assault.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The presumption of innocent is not limited to the court room…

            I’m glad we can agree on that…it is fearful to think that we’re destroying a village in order to save it (when we limit that presumption to just the court room).

            1. marym

              Presumption of innocence isn’t even a standard in all legal situations, outside the criminal court room.

              In life we make decisions about business, voting, personal relationships, whether to click on a link, all the time based on what we strive to establish as reasonable grounds other than than the presumption of innocence.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Specifically, regarding Mrs. Sanders, I hope we can start with a presumption of innocence, and proceed from there.

                1. False Solace

                  What did I miss? Is Jane Sanders testifying before Congress for the Supreme Court? What are you accusing her of, exactly?

                  1. Wukchumni

                    Not to worry, it’s the usual GOP sleight of and, quick look over there, and she’s just as guilty!

                  2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    Again, I wrote ‘an allegation.’

                    And it is used here as an example of how it can be abused if we don’t give people the presumption of innocence.

                    As for she is connected – that’s the worry about the path we are taking…she is connected to her husband, and he is possibly running.

                    We don’t want that kind of allegation = guilty world.

          2. ArcadiaMommy

            Explain to me how “preponderance of evidence” standards would apply in the confirmation process. This is neither a civil nor criminal process.

            1. pretzelattack

              exactly. people keep trying to fit this into a trial framework in order to put the burden of proof on ford and help kavanaugh. in a job interview, the candidate has to show their fitness for the position. perjury does not do that.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                As long as it’s consistently applied.

                We will how we like it when it comes to our champions, faced with real and manufactured allegations that are impossible to prove one way or another.

                1. ArcadiaMommy

                  I still haven’t received an explanation on how to apply the concept of preponderance of evidence to these proceedings. I am not a lawyer but have some basic understanding.
                  From what I understand from lawyers, this guy will be lucky to keep his license.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    If the person is our guy/gal, preponderance could mean a lot.

                    If the person is not their guy/gal, preponderance could mean anything.

                    So, it could be quite slippery.

                    For example, Mrs. Sanders did what her accusers have alleged, for some people.

                    And it is possible to further allege that Mr. Sanders, being her husband, knew.

                    I don’t want to go down that path.

                    1. False Solace

                      Continuing with the dark and terrifying smears about Jane Sanders, without bothering to state what you’re actually alleging.

                      This is the same thing the right wing does when they accuse Bernie of having “3 million dollar homes”. Neglecting to clarify that he has 3 homes, one of which was inherited, and if you add them all up they value $1 million. And he’s the poorest member of Congress. Just to make him sound like he’s rich or on the take like all the rest of them.

                      What a waste of time these people are.

                2. jonhoops

                  At this point Kavanaugh’s innocence or guilt is moot. His unhinged performance would have disqualified him in any normal setting.

            2. todde

              If you can bring more evidence that that accusations are true than the person accused produces to refute your statement, you have won based on a preponderance of evidence.

              Are you being deliberately obtuse?

              1. ArcadiaMommy

                Todde- you are being obtuse. Speaking only for myself, I have asked how the concept of “preponderance of evidence” would apply to the scotus confirmation process. Please explain the concept to me. Looking forward to learning more.

                1. todde

                  Please explain the concept to me.

                  I thought I just did.

                  If someone has two witnesses to an assertion, and the person refuting the assertion only has one, and all are equally believable, then there is a preponderance of evidence for the person with two.

                  If both accuser and accused have one witness, but one is the persons mother while the other is impartial, then there is a preponderance of evidence for the person with the impartial witness.

                  And this can be done anytime someone makes an assertion, and another person refutes it.

                  In this specific case, if you believe Kavanaugh is lying, then you would put a lessor weight to his testimony than Ford. and Ford would ‘win’.

                  Under ‘reasonable doubt’ you could believe Ford was truthful. but the lack of any corroborating evidence may cause enough of a reasonable doubt to find him ‘not guilty’

                  1. pretzelattack

                    why should it apply to the confirmation process, any more than any other job interview? why are we using a legal standard for trials at all? is a prospective employer required to prove by a preponderance of evidence that an applicant is not qualified for the job? if ford ever takes him to court, then she will have to meet the burden of proof.

                    1. todde

                      Everyone (a senator included) is free to use whatever standard they want to judge these people.

                      I tend to go with preponderance of evidence for most my decisions, including choosing between job applicants and if someone is a rapists or not.

                  2. ArcadiaMommy

                    Todde – Explain how it applies to the Supreme Court confirmation process. I am well aware of how the concept applies to court proceedings.

                    1. todde

                      I am well aware of how the concept applies to court proceedings.


                      Explain how it applies to the Supreme Court confirmation process

                      I just did – again. And it really isn’t a hard concept to apply, as there are similarities between the two processes.

                      Evidence is evidence, and judging the relative merits of evidence is the same, no matter in what type of proceeding it was given in.

                      In this Supreme Court confirmation process the Senate had two witnesses testify under oath – HEY GUESS WHAT, THEY DO THE SAME THING (call witnesses under oath) IN A COURT OF LAW !!!

                      Then, people will judge the evidence provided and determine an outcome favorable to one or the other, HEY GUESS WHAT ITS JUST LIKE THEY DO (judge evidence, determine outcomes) IN A COURT OF LAW !!!

                      maybe you are confusing how with why.

                      Explain why it applies to the Supreme Court confirmation process

                      it doesn’t have to, but that is how I generally judge assertions as truthful or not.

                2. MLS

                  “Preponderance of evidence” in the SCOTUS confirmation process means some burden of proof being met by the individual(s) making a claim against a nominee. It means the weight of the accusation itself is not enough to determine the suitability of the candidate. It can be a low bar such as a single corroborating witness or an old letter/email with incriminating details, but there should be some piece of information separate from the accusation that suggests “maybe he did or maybe he didn’t, but there’s enough smoke here to disqualify him from consideration”.

                  It’s a grey area, much greyer than “beyond a reasonable doubt” but at least you’re not in fantasy land where all it takes is an accusation of misconduct to disqualify someone. You can’t put that genie back in the bottle.

                  1. todde

                    but there should be some piece of information separate from the accusation that suggests “maybe he did or maybe he didn’t, but there’s enough smoke here to disqualify him from consideration”.

                    You could determine that Kavanaugh is a lying sh!tbag and untruthful and accept Ford’s testimony as true without any other evidence being presented.

                    1. ArcadiaMommy

                      Your standards of evidence make no sense. They are just what you would like to apply. Good luck.

                    2. todde

                      Explain how they make no sense.

                      Explain how they are just what I would want to apply.

                      Looking forward to learning more.

                    3. MLS

                      Kavanaugh being a lying sh!tbag does not mean he attempted rape, even if she claims he did. The whole concept of “presumption of innocence” should be applied consistently to everyone, even the scumbags among us.

                    4. todde

                      Kavanaugh being a lying sh!tbag does not mean he attempted rape, even if she claims he did.

                      I agree 100%. But if I am to make a judgement under the preponderance of evidence standard, even assuming innocence, if circumstances lead me to believe a testimony is false and another is true, and I have no other evidence to consider but these two testimonies, then I would find in favor of the person whose testimony I deemed truthful.

                      Otherwise I wouldn’t be using the preponderance of evidence standard, I would be using clear and convincing or beyond a reasonable doubt.

                    5. todde

                      preponderance of the evidence
                      n. the greater weight of the evidence required in a civil (non-criminal) lawsuit for the trier of fact (jury or judge without a jury) to decide in favor of one side or the other. This preponderance is based on the more convincing evidence and its probable truth or accuracy, and not on the amount of evidence. Thus, one clearly knowledgeable witness may provide a preponderance of evidence over a dozen witnesses with hazy testimony, or a signed agreement with definite terms may outweigh opinions or speculation about what the parties intended. Preponderance of the evidence is required in a civil case and is contrasted with “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is the more severe test of evidence required to convict in a criminal trial. No matter what the definition stated in various legal opinions, the meaning is somewhat subjective.


              2. Procopius

                The thing is, the Republicans have managed to focus all attention on this one accusation as if it is the only factor in deciding his suitability to be a justice on the supreme court. Do we really want a mean, belligerent, sometimes violent drunk? Do we really want someone who lies about small things routinely? Do we really want a political operative? Do we really want a judge who had rendered several judgments that are clearly based on misogyny? Do we really want someone who evades questions about his finances? I found Dr. Ford more credible than Judge Kavanaugh, but that’s only one of many things I hold against him. And as many people are trying to bring to the fore, this is a job interview and the standard is not the same as a law suit. Last of all, I think there must be a reason, probably nefarious, why the Republicans are hiding all the documents. “Committee Confidential” is not a real thing, and threatening to expel a Senator is a weird thing to do when your party does not have two thirds of the Senate.

                1. Todde

                  The republicans, the democrats and the media have focused on this one issue…

                  And ive already said you can use whatever standard you want to judge these people.

                  If you recall, my reply was to a.poster that believed that everyone was presumed innocent until found guilty.

                  I simply asked what the burden of proof was to establish guilt.

                  So i get it, lots of reasons not to get confirmed.

                  I’ll go with hes a partisan hack who spent a lifetime being a politcal hack and Merrick Garland payback.

                  Not that i care 1 iota about garland but yo uh have to punch back somehow

                  But that wasn’t the discussion i was trying to have.

    6. ewmayer

      “this is a canard as kavanaugh is not being accused nor tried for any crime, in which case those lofty standards should indeed be applied. he is instead applying for one of the top judicial jobs in america and so the burden of proof should be much lower.”

      [Playing devil’s advocate, pardon the pun] True, but OTOH the specific job for which he is interviewing is one in which the presumption of innocence must needs be the paramount principle guiding those performing said job. Do you see the ethical conflict in asking someone to hallow said principle in performance of their duties and at the same time flouting the same principle in the determination of whether they are fit to do so?

      Getting back to the theater-of-the-absurd aspects, IMO Judge K should be disqualified based on his expressed legal views, but that legal-principled stance wouldn’t be the gift that keeps on giving in terms of weeks of MSM histrionics and the associated orgy of virtue signaling by the legions of self-appointed experts and upholders of our society’s high ethical standards, would it?

      1. False Solace

        The job for which he is interviewing requires the upmost in good character and moral probity. It’s an appointment for life to our highest court. In my opinion, his answers to Congress included multiple instances of perjury which automatically disqualify him, and that’s without even considering the sexual allegations. Then there’s his support for torture while working in the Bush 2 administration. On that basis alone he’s a war criminal and should be in prison.

        1. ewmayer

          “On that basis alone he’s a war criminal and should be in prison.” — The same is-a-war-criminal could be said of just about every US president since WW2, and quite a few secretaries of state, as well. Which is not to say you are wrong, just that it’s curious that e.g. BK supports torture and should be in jail, but the current CIA head was approved by reps from both parties even though she personally – and by some accounts gleefully – *committed* torture, and when a recent SoS personally decided to turn a sovereign state, Libya, from a relatively moderate and progressive state into a civil-war-racked exteremist hellhole, she was making “hard choices”. Let’s just say that that sort of selective outrage always gets my skepticism level re. the process in question up.

          Also, you mention perjury, but “in my opinion” is doing a lot of work there. Again, my point was that his legal views suffice to disqualify, and are at present the only such item which need not be qualified with “IMO” or the word “allegation”. But absent the late-breaking sexual allegations, the Dems on the committee (who sat on the same allegations until the very last minute) apparently would’ve approved him, despite the same crazypants views-on-the-rule-of-law. That indicates some really warped priorities.

  9. Brooklin Bridge

    Is anyone from MA aware of recent legislation making it legal for health insurance companies, for that matter for any company or local government agency, to automatically enroll their customers/public in programs and then inform them they are enrolled? Granted they can opt out if they want to go through a long phone torture session options session followed by a lengthy wait for what is probably a human on the other end, or go to a web site so that a volley of turds cookies can be laid all over their computers/phones/watches, but I thought it was illegal to enter someone in a program without their knowledge and active conscious acknowledgement, usually in the form of a signature. Did that get changed while Brett was pounding the table?

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Needless to say, but I will anyway, I got caught up in such a scheme recently or wouldn’t ask.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Indonesia quake, tsunami death toll could reach ‘thousands’ ”

    It turns out that a major reason why the people were not expecting a tsunami in that area is that Indonesia’s tsunami early detection buoys haven’t worked for six years due to ‘lack of funding’. The Indonesia’s geophysics agency cancelled the tsunami warning simply because there was no information coming from this area to make an informed decision. Mind you, they did have fair warning that this was a major problem much earlier. There was a large earthquake off Sumatra two years ago which caused a panic and one side effect from this incident was to learn that none of the buoys were working. More on this at-

    1. Wukchumni

      From the NZ Herald story above:

      Palu, a seaside city of 335,000 residents, also had the threat of tsunamis to consider.

      Alarms sounded out and city residents began to make their way inland. 34 minutes later the alarm was cancelled and many made their way back towards the seaside. But it was 10 minutes too soon.

      Waves up to three metres smashed through the town, wiping out homes, temples and hundreds of lives.


      Compare and contrast that situation, with a group of people that were ‘backward’ as far as we’re concerned, although when it came to shared cultural memories, they were quite advanced.

      Traditional knowledge handed down from generation to generation helped to save ancient tribes on India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands from the worst of the tsunami, anthropologists say.

      But other isolated communities who moved to the islands from South East Asia centuries ago fared far worse than the indigenous peoples, evidence suggests.

      The aboriginal tribes – some of the oldest and most isolated in the world – have oral traditions apparently developed from previous earthquakes that may have allowed them to escape to higher ground before the massive tsunami struck the island chain off Indonesia.

      The Onge tribe, for example, have lived on Little Andaman for between 30,000 and 50,000 years and, though they are on the verge of extinction, almost all of the 100 or so people left seem to have survived the 26 December quake and the devastating waves which followed.

      Their folklore talks of “huge shaking of ground followed by high wall of water”, according to Manish Chandi, an environmental protection worker who has studied the tribes and spoke to some Onges after the disaster.

      There’s clear evidence that the aboriginals know about tsunamis and they know how to deal with them

      “When the earthquakes struck, the Onges moved to higher ground deep inside their forest and escaped the fury of the waves that entered the settlements,” he told the BBC News website after talking to some of the inhabitants who knew some Hindi as well as their own ancient languages.

      He said another aboriginal people – the Jarawa on South and Middle Andaman – also fled to higher ground before the waves.

      “There’s clear evidence that the aboriginals know about tsunamis and they know how to deal with them,” he said.

        1. el_tel

          Thanks for that. Do you know of any links that discuss building construction in Japan? My best friend has lived there for donkey’s years and when visiting I had the dubious pleasure of experiencing a minor earthquake when we were driving over a bridge! It happened to be the first earthquake he’d experienced (twas 1998 and early in his residency) but I recognised it for what it was pronto and my heart skipped several beats!

          My impression (which may or may not be correct) is that whilst traditional construction can be better, Japanese “clever” use of modern brick/concrete construction can beat all previous types in terms of minimising earthquake damage…but even if true, Japan of course has a lot more resources than other countries in East Asia….

      1. a different chris

        I intend to read that link later… your quote says “when the earthquakes struck, the Onges moved to higher ground” but that would obviously be too late.

        I bet they were “long gone”. My question is how were they long gone, and I am going to guess that this ties into the enjoyable cat thread above. It might have been dogs, or some other domesticated animal (or all of them or even undomesticated birds) but I would be very unsurprised to find out that animal behavior is how they detected the oncoming waves.

        Probably in the link, like I said I haven’t read it yet.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Another factor is that the quake came from the wrong kind of fault. A strike-slip fault isn’t supposed to cause trunamis, as it doesn’t cause vertical earth movements.

      There is speculation that the cause was an underground landslide, a hard thing to predict – though clearly it’s very unstable terrain above the water, considering the number of terrestrial slides.

  11. Wukchumni

    It was very similar to his dodge in regards to underage drinking, in that he said that seniors were allowed to, which of course there is nothing in any state law that describes the drinking right to be commensurate with schooling, but he had to get around the law, and the fact that he broke it repeatedly by only being 17, and a junior scofflaw.

    1. barefoot charley

      One of his many bare-faced lies. Isn’t it curious that if you lie to the FBI you go to jail, but if you lie to the Senate, you go to the Supreme Court? I guess we can’t set a precedent making such sworn perjury wrong, because poor James Clapper lies to Senate committees for a living, and where would that put him? Otherwise Kavanaugh’s dry-drunk ravings themselves would be enough to disbar him. And his clumsy fibs contradictable by every high-school survivor his age in Montgomery County? Now that’s entitlement. (btw I love that in high school he ‘ran a small business mowing lawns.’ The paperwork, the withholdings, the expensive legal counsel, what a learning experience that must have been!)

      1. Wukchumni

        How easy it would have been to pounce on him when he lied there, you could have hoisted him on his own petard, er calendar.

        1. Procopius

          Yes. Why didn’t the Democratic Senators do that? They seem to be cooperating with the Republicans to make Dr. Ford’s accusation the only factor to be considered. Probably going to be a successful strategy. It’s clear that several Democrats intend to vote for confirmation, so there’s no reason for the focus of attention on Senators Collins and Murkowski.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Bill Clinton: I did not inhale.

      And he went on to occupy* the White House for 8 years.

      *An original ‘occupier?’

  12. allan

    US considered ban on student visas for Chinese nationals [FT]

    White House hawks earlier this year encouraged President Donald Trump to stop providing student visas to Chinese nationals, but the proposal was shelved over concerns about its economic and diplomatic impact.

    As the administration debated ways to tackle Chinese espionage, Stephen Miller, a White House aide who has been pivotal in developing the administration’s hardline immigration policies, pushed the president and other officials to make it impossible for Chinese citizens to study in the US, according to three people familiar with the situation.

    The debate about Chinese students intensified after the White House in December released its national security strategy, which said it would “review visa procedures to reduce economic theft by non-traditional intelligence collectors” and consider restrictions on foreign students in science-related fields.

    While the debate was largely focused on spying, Mr Miller argued that his plan would also hurt elite universities whose staff and students had slammed Mr Trump, according to three people. …

    Michael Green, a Georgetown University professor who was the top White House Asia adviser in the Bush administration … added that the irony of the Miller proposal was that colleges in states that Mr Trump won in 2016 would suffer rather than elite universities. …

    For some definition of irony. It’s clear by now that the business model is to talk Iowa State and hire Yale.

    1. Mike Mc

      This would be a major blow to many US land-grant universities – a significant portion of both undergrad and grad students’ tuition comes from Chinese students, certainly here in deep red Nebraska.

      Blowback from a boneheaded move like this would be swift and noisy.

      1. Oregoncharles

        My first thought, exactly, as we live with a land-grant U. The number of foreign students, many of them Chinese, is amazing.

  13. Craig H.

    > In the struggle for AI supremacy, China will prevail

    TL/DR: their source is a Chinese. The reasoning is they have more users and more data and their algos will converge first.

    Basically this is fake news or flawed logic whichever you prefer. No idea how the editors figure it’s worth an article. Looking at pictures of big bad wolves is a vastly more productive use of our time.

    1. vidimi

      by this logic, we should automatically dismiss any american cheer -leading from americans. you’re right to be skeptical, but try harder.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Every nation has to do what is best for her.

        That means, China will try to steal information from the US and the US will try to defend against that, or Germany will try to steal from Russia, and Russia will try to prevent it…etc.

        In this case, it’s up to the CIA to equalize that AI supremacy from Beijing.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It doesn’t look as bad as a reply to Craig H, perhaps making even more sense, as a stand alone reply to the headline itself (the one about ‘In the Struggle for AI Supremacy, China will prevail’).

  14. The Rev Kev

    Tonight’s Antidote du Jour. Is that what they call a Red Wolf? Whatever it is it looks magnificent. Probably just personal prejudice but to me wolves always have a look of intelligence as you can see in that foto.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think the fur is too thick to be a red wolf. Its probably just color variation within the grey wolf population. The Mexican grey wolf population has neat coloring.

    1. cnchal

      That should chop it’s stawk price in half.

      Wall Street hates the idea of anyone making money, themselves excepted.

    2. The Beeman

      without giving it too much thought or turning on the skeptical machine, this sounds great. Happy for the Amazon workers….

      1. Art

        Too little too late. The magic number 15 is very popular these days. Maybe it’s a good wage for affluent teens trying out part time work for the first time, but for people who need to make healthcare payments, car payments, housing payments, childcare payments, tutition payments, payment payments? Good luck.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Its not a good wage. Its okay. As far as Bezos as an enlightened billionaire goes, no, he’s a miserable POS, and he’s frightened enough of Sanders even discussing legislation. The only proper response is to kick Bezos again now that he’s demonstrated weakness.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I hope he is not thinking of replacing those $15/hr human workers with cheap imported AI robots.

        1. Carolinian

          Of course he is thinking about it! He already has robots in his warehouses but they don’t seem to work very well.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Not the robots’ fault.

            Mr. Bill Ionaire needs to re-design all his products and warehouses so the robots can succeed.

    3. Louis Fyne

      But sounds like doesn’t include all the 1099ers and subcontractor s that amazon uses, like the folks who deliver the amazon packages to my block.

      I am a hypocrite., I shop at amazon occasionally

      1. Carolinian

        The story says that it will apply to seasonal workers and temps but since “contractors” don’t get an hourly wage perhaps you are right.

    4. Roger Smith

      Nice distraction from the fact that Amazon is destroying the retail market. Will it work?

    5. Big Tap

      Amazon may of been concerned by the attempt to unionize Whole Foods. They’re not a benevolent organization. Quite the opposite.

  15. allan

    The Hill:

    … One Democratic senator, who requested anonymity, said there’s hopeful talk within the Senate Democratic caucus that Kavanaugh will drop out, even though he has adamantly vowed to stay.

    The lawmaker said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) is urging undecided centrist Democrats to wait until three undecided Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.) — make their positions known.

    “He’s telling them, ‘Keep your powder dry.’ That means you don’t have to decide this — wait and see how it plays out. There’s some speculation that Kavanaugh may not last,” the lawmaker said. “They always vow to stay right until they don’t.”…

    Heroic, principled leadership for sure, but using ‘Keep your powder dry’ unironically in 2018?
    Maybe someone let Chuck in on the joke.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        The fact that he is still using this term decades after it was ridiculed on Daily Kos means one of three things: They are out of touch, they don’t care, or a combination of both.

    1. marym

      PBS correspondent

      @LisaDNews @LisaDNews
      SCHUMER: of Dems take over the Senate, we will have to look at setting the SCOTUS nominee requirement back up to 60 votes
      12:07 PM – 2 Oct 2018 from Washington, DC

      They have to keep it dry now, or there won’t be any left to keep dry in the future.

      1. flora

        Keeping the powder dry (misdirection on issues followed by inaction on important to-their-voters issues) sure looks designed to promote the wrong policies and wrong people, while whining “not our fault, what could we dooo??” ….

        “Contrary to the mantra that the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have it in for Kavanaugh, they’ve largely let him off the hook on a number of critical issues, instead favoring theatrics.”

        “While there’s substantial attention being paid to the serious charges of sexual assault by Kavanaugh, there’s been very little note that he is a putative war criminal. Specifically, recently released documents show that while Kavanaugh worked for the George W. Bush administration, one of the people he attempted to put on the judiciary was John Yoo, who authored many of the justifications for torture that came out of the Bush administration.”

        -Francis Boyle
        Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He was an elected member of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA from 1988 to 1992.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Schultz is the former billionaire CEO of a global corporation. He knows how to get things done. ”

      From the comments. With originality like this, it has to be Brock.

    2. WobblyTelomeres

      I suspect his appeal/spiel works best with “Prosperity Gospel” folk than anyone else. That is, if someone is rich, it is because they are blessed by God. Their religion doesn’t work any other way. His (macro)economic illiteracy is immaterial to their world view.

      Just like Trump.

      1. Wukchumni

        Gimme some old time prosperity gospel…

        “Get rich, young man, for money is power and power ought to be in the hands of good people. I say you have no right to be poor.”

        Chautauqua (/ʃəˈtɔːkwə/ shə-TAW-kwə) was an adult education movement in the United States, highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s. The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers, and specialists of the day.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Trump is already President, and the GOP is already the party of the prosperity gospel. HRC seemed to do well with Republicans in high MIC contracting areas such as DC, Silicon Valley, and Boston largely because Trump couldn’t be counted on to keep spending in place. Trump has delivered, and those votes are largely in states which aren’t likely to flip anyway making their votes largely irrelevant.

        Since I happened to read it while skimming the comments, rich guys who affiliate with Wall Street are deeply unpopular, but Trump won because the Wall Street guys hate him. Trump didn’t take your house. The bank did. Schultz might attract the “never Trump” Republicans, but Trump beat their brains in. Even #resistance hero, George W. Bush, is out stumping for Kavanaugh despite that moment of humanity when he gave Michelle Obama a cough drop!

  16. Expat2uruguay

    Point 1. I n yesterday’s Water Cooler Lambert posted two links regarding NAFTA 2.0 negotiations being agreed to buy Canada. This is an important development, as it could be that the NAFTA renegotiation will be one of the best things to come out of the Trump Administration, after his decision not to sign the TPP. We could actually have a win during this Administration! The US trade negotiator for NAFTA is a friend of progressives on many important issues. The renegotiated agreement to begin with, the new agreement eliminates the entire chapter on ISDS. Secondly, it has some important revisions regarding labor. Tragically, here was not one comment in yesterday’s Water Cooler regarding this item, completely ignoring the huge step in rolling back the neoliberal agenda.
    Point 2. There were the usual links posted regarding the Kavanaugh hearings. To my knowledge, there was no new news yesterday, just more opinions and so forth. I would estimate the half of the comments and yesterday’s water cooler had to do with this item.
    Point 3. It is often discussed in this blog about how our media focuses on the trivial shiny objects and ignores the important developments. Oxygen is given to and inflames items of distraction, while oxygen is robbed from the crucible of consideration for important developments. I think we’ve all agreed that it is a bad thing.
    Given these three points, I asked people to consider carefully how they are spending their time and energy right now in this moment, and how they are presenting to readers of comments what are the important issues to focus on.
    Fortunately, I can make some strong recommendations on YouTube videos that you can watch to bring yourself up to date and give yourself a break from the ridiculous Kabuki theater of Kavanaugh. The first link is to a short 17 and a half minute video with Lori Wallach conducted by RJ Eskow at Netroots Nation last week. Ms Wallach makes the important point that we need to evaluate NAFTA 2.0 on policy, and not fall into the Trap of reflexively dismissing and attacking it because it’s being done by the Trump Administration. And we need to focus the attentions of our friends as well, who are not aware that we may be about to have a win and we don’t even realize it! Because the neoliberals are losing important things in this renegotiation, they would like to trick us into reacting reflexively without due consideration to policy. Expect to see the new Democrats attack the renegotiations as yet another agreement-breaking activity by Trump to be opposed.
    The second link is to a two-hour plus webinar analyzing the characteristics of the renegotiated NAFTA 2.0. the first 10 minutes is background and then there is a presentation complete with slides by Lori Wallach getting further into the weeds and really fleshing out the important things to focus on for progressives. She finishes up around the 50 minute mark and then there’s questions and answers which are also very good. She’s a very smart and articulate woman who knows her stuff and is laser focused. At around 1 hour in the second presentation starts with Bean Beachy of the Sierra Club’s trade watch group. He does a good job of not going over the same ground as Ms Wallach and really focuses in on the environmental implications of the renegotiation. And he’s not happy with it, as it doesn’t advance what he wants to see very well at all. His presentation is a bit shorter than Ms Wallach’s and afterwards there is more questions and answers, which is again recommended. (One question regards the Sierra Club providing cover for neoliberalism, so that’s good to see.) Ms Wallach also chimes in with her opinions in this second question and answer session.
    Once again, I encourage people here to educate themselves on this important policy advancement coming out of the most unlikely place and time. Take a break from the ugliness that is Kavanaugh and embrace the possibilities for Progressive advancement on the trade agreement front. Like me, it has the potential to actually make you feel better. As the second video makes clear, trade agreements have become a trojan horse for corporations to pursue neoliberal goals in ways that they cannot do legislatively or in the light of day. Trade agreements are where we will lose or gain, and if we don’t pay attention, the possibilities can slip right by and/or go the wrong way. Look, either Kavanagh is confirmed or some other neoliberal partisan Lackey is, it really doesn’t make a difference what happens in these hearings. The Supreme Court is already lost and there’s no room for advancement at this time. Don’t fall for the bait of the gossip and titillation of the shiny object, be the insightful and powerful community that I fell in love with years ago. Naked Capitalism commenters I salute you and I look forward to your comments. I am so pleased and proud to finally present something of substance and importance to this community, thank you for taking the time to read this very long comment.

    1. RUKidding

      Thank you. I agree. I don’t have a tv and listen to radio “nooz” very sparingly. There’s nothing more to be said vis Kavanaugh. Pointless exercise in futility.

      I AM v. interested in the NAFTA 2.0 deal that Trump managed to get w/Canada & Mexico. Will do my best to watch your recommended YouTubes.

      Hope that Yves and Lambert have some time to work on this topic.

      1. barefoot charley

        Thanks very much for calling this to our attention, Expat! I choked on WTO (and pepper spray) for the Battle of Seattle in ’99, and learned that democracy dies in inscrutable legalese. Scrute on!

    2. David

      USMCA has been called “TPP+”. So we’ll see.

      Until now, we’ve been told that trade deals are so complex and take so much time to negotiate, that they can’t be quickly changed. Trump got this done in a year. To me, that is the big breakthrough.

    3. Procopius

      I will be pleased if they eliminate ISDS from NAFTA 2.0. First baby step. The Democrats should adopt a policy of working to make illegal any labor contract that requires arbitration. Haha, I make the comedy. It’s a shame the Canadians appear to be ready to screw their dairy farmers and raise the price of their prescription medicines.

  17. Wukchumni

    Here in the land of little rain, we are experiencing our first since June, and it’s a bit early on account of the sloppy seconds of Hurricane Rosa’s water breaking overhead.

    The smell emanating from the forest for the trees is that of exultation, an aroma to savor unlocked after 4 months of thirsting.

    1. Carey

      This morning we’ve had a few drops here, ten miles inland from Morro Bay.
      Fingers crossed for real rain…

        1. polecat

          Mount Doom is when you decide, on a whim, to climb Morro Rock .. having forgot how you got up there in the first place, while leaving the cellphone in the car !

    2. Chris

      One of my favourite words is petrichor – the smell of rain on warm rock. Love the smell, too.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Nice word. Thanks.

        What about for the smell of fertile, tilled soil? Just looked it up – the same word. That’s nice.

      2. ArcadiaMommy

        We are enjoying petrichor in PHX. Couldn’t take kids to school today because of flooded roads out of our neighborhood. It’s a nice break. Kids and dogs having fun before the next wave comes.

    3. Arizona Slim

      Half an inch here in Tucson. Rain started around 5 pm on Sunday and really picked up yesterday morning. Then the clouds went away — for the most part.

      Looks like we could get more rain this afternoon.

      1. ArcadiaMommy

        And Tucson missed the main part of the storm. Judging by our pool, we got 2-3 inches in PHX. It was sunny for a bit but getting gloomy again.

  18. Lorenzo

    Brazil judge releases damaging Workers Party testimony days before vote Reuters

    they’re doing something very similar down in Argentina against our own populist ex-president. Even using similar tactis: in our case to business people that were previously awarded gov’t contracts were thrown into jail without sentence and offered immunity if the sung. And sung they have. Another paralel of note is that there’s one particular judge leading the charge. In Brazil it’s Moro, in Argentina it’s Claudio Bonadio. Fully expect it to escalate as next years election approaches.

    1. Carolinian

      It’s all part of the regime change playbook. Use corruption or alleged corruption to put other corrupt people (“our SOBs”) in power. Compliant media are essential to the scheme. Fortunately for the changers news outfits have become even more a plaything of the oligarchs than they ever were. We saw all this in Ukraine although a recent article I saw says it’s not working–at least as planned–in Brazil.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “On Iran, White House Criticism Grows, but U.S. Military Posture Recedes”

    There may be more mundane reasons why the US military is pulling back assets from the region and that is simply down-time for maintenance is needed. This is why they haven’t had a carrier in the Persian Gulf since march. With carriers themselves, whenever there is a problem these ships are pushed towards conflict zones such as when the US Navy sent three carriers to Korea last November to threaten Kim.
    But after each tour those ships need serious maintenance and they aren’t getting any younger ( The aircraft aboard those carriers need their own maintenance to keep them operational after eight months at sea. The sailors too need down-time as when pushed too far, they end up resigning.
    Probably find pulling those four Patriot missile-defense systems out of Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain was an admission that they weren’t actually doing anything there but were to make the locals happy. Fox news may bitch about this pullout but Iran is simply not threat to the US. Maybe Trump’s administration is reasoning that having those units there just encourages the Pentagon to play their own games like when Obama and Putin made a deal only to have the Pentagon launch a murderous attack on the Syrian army a coupla days later. If so, smart move.

    1. Bill Smith

      Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain have their batteries of Patriot missiles.

      The Iwo Jima arrived in the Gulf the other day with some Harriers on board. It likely has an escort. They would be carrying SM-3 and SM-6’s.

      But overall I agree, those Patriot’s weren’t doing anything and the locals have their own. Part of Trump’s let the locals deal with it themselves? Nah, he likely can’t remember he said that.

    2. Synapsid

      Rev Kev,

      How would sailors in the US Navy go about resigning? Unless the Nav has changed since I was in (’65-’69) enlisted types sign up for a fixed term and have no choice about shortening it.

      Are you including officers? We certainly didn’t call them sailors (it is to laugh) but I think an officer can resign the commission after serving the mandatory first term.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You’re right. I should have made that clearer when I wrote that last night. What I meant was that when those sailors finished their term of service, that they would not sign up again for another which I understand to be a serious problem for the US military. It means that all the training and experience of that man or women goes out the door with them and then a new recruit has be to be trained in the years long process to replace them. Personally I don’t blame them as those long tours are putting too much strain on the families of those sailors.

    3. Edward E

      Seems like the entire One Belt & One Road will be protected by Russian surface to air missle systems the way it’s going.

  20. Jessica

    About “The Freshness of Gandhi’s Religiosity in the Age of Celebrity Gurus” in The Wire
    Gandhi was a good influence on the rest of the world, for example on Dr. Martin Luther King.
    However, within India itself, he did everything he could to ensure that when the British left, the Brahmin elite could slide right into their place. Whenever the independence movement threatened to become actually independent of his elite friends, he did what he could to shut it down.
    His stance on caste was criminal, about like someone working for humane Jim Crow or humane apartheid. Actually worse.

    1. vidimi

      it was also groundbreaking and totally revolutionary. he was the first to openly associate with dalits and other untouchables and would clean toilets himself. so whatever his private views on caste were, they have to be judged in the context of how far he managed to progress the debate on it.

    2. Anon88

      Those are some quite baseless arguments. If you check around, you will find out that he wanted to dissolve the Congress party immediately after independence, wanted to make Jinah the first prime minister instead of Nehru to prevent the partition, and was completely broken hearted and out of the picture from the new government which took over once neither of the above occurred.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Thanks for that link.

      Too many people have been distracted by the regime change effort here in the US.

  21. Expat2uruguay

    Here is the latest Economic Update from Richard Wolff, subject title: Black Socialists of America. It’s really helpful that in the comments they provide a table of contents with timestamps so you can see if anything in this update is of Interest.

  22. Jill

    Kav–He perjured himself. He said he had’t heard of the Ramirez allegations until after the NYorker article came out. The texts show otherwise. (See his exchange in transcript with Hatch about what Brett said). This should be the end of it. Brett himself said perjury is enough for impeachment. He should not be a judge, period.

    Grassley said anyone who lies to Congress should go to jail. Of course we all know that will never happen but actually, it is illegal. Given that there are many toadies to the ruling class which will do everything for them that Brett will do, why is he still in the game? I just can’t figure that out.

    1. MichaelSF

      If only we could expand Grassley’s comment to “anyone who lies IN Congress should go to jail”.

  23. John k

    Amazon raising wage to 15 is good news, will encourage others to follow suit, and evidence neoliberalism is now in decline.
    And makes Bernie look good.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Strike while the iron is hot – Sanders can look into anti-trust vis-a-vis Amazon next.

      If not, does this sap the energy of trust-busters (…if not)?

    2. Procopius

      Really, nowadays $15 isn’t much. It was accepted as a compromise because too many Centrists believed our industries “can’t afford” more, but the inflation adjusted updated minimum would be about $23 an hour.

  24. annie

    for any of you, like me, alienated by the n.c. commentariat’s dismissal of the kavanaugh/ford hearing as ‘kabuki,’ mere ‘theater’– i encourage you read (follow on twitter) sources such as corey robin, matt stoller, jedediah purdy.

    purdy last week summed up an answer to ‘what in the hell is happening in the u.s.?’ as 1) an insurrection against forms of sexual predation long ignored; 2) collapse of the idea that the supreme court is above politics; and 3) fall of forms of civility that suppressed numbers (1) and (2).
    (i find the near complete ignoring of #1 here telling.)

    purdy’s most recent thread examines history of and possibilities of taking the court back from reactionary justices.

    1. vidimi

      hi annie, i also think this hearing is all theatre, even though i 100% believe in dr. ford’s story.

      the reason why it’s theatre is simple: the democrats will still confirm him by having just enough of them side with the republicans. tom perez said as much when he answered ‘yes’ when asked whether the party would still support candidates who voted to confirm k.

      1. pretzelattack

        i agree this is likely. if public opinions shifts enough, they will throw him under the bus though. trump has alreadly alluded to kavanaugh’s drinking problem as a teenager and college student, so the all denial all the time wall is cracking.

    2. Quentin

      annie, ‘Telling’. That says nothing. In what way ‘telling’? A bit of specificity would be appreciated. Of course it’s about time all this comes out. Yet I can’t get my head around the fact that we evidently need a Trump to trigger the process. Mr and Mrs Clinton, no, they are still hiding in their trap of lies and deceit about Bill’s predations and Hillary’s backroom arrangements to protect him. Mr. Clintons never seems to appear in lists of sexual predators.

    3. Kurtismayfield

      Of course it is Kabuki.. look at what has happened during it:

      Trump sabre rattling at the UN
      NAFTA 2.0

      It’s a big distraction, and a way for both parties to fire up their base. It’s a win-win

    4. allan

      Agree. “theater” is the new “whatever”, a way of avoiding having to deal with an awkward situation.
      Such as the presence of facts that go against one’s viewpoint.
      If the theater aspect can be documented [as in TSA nonsense at the airport], fine,
      but otherwise it’s a vacuous label.

      Back in real world, Real America is not happy:

      Kavanaugh is unfit for Supreme Court [Bangor Daily News]

      … Further review is not necessary to conclude that Kavanaugh is unfit for the Supreme Court. His performance before the Judiciary Committee last week confirmed that. Generally, we, like [Sen.] Collins, believe presidents have broad leeway in their appointments and initially we felt that Kavanaugh met this broad standard. No more.

      Kavanaugh lied, under oath, about small things. He said he could legally drink during his senior year at Georgetown Prep, a Catholic all-boys school in Maryland. This is demonstrably false. He said he had no connection to Yale University, where he attended college and law school. Yet, his grandfather went there. His explanation for entries in his high school yearbook, which appear to be about drinking and denigrating women, stretched the bounds of credulity. If he’ll lie, under oath, about these things, he’ll lie about much bigger things. This is demonstrated by his earlier denials regarding his knowledge of documents taken from a Democratic Senate server in the 2000s during the judicial confirmation process in the George W. Bush administration. Or his denial of knowledge of sexually explicit emails frequently sent to a long list of recipients by Judge Alex Kozinski, who he called a mentor but who was forced to resign after allegation of sexual harrassment. …

    5. Todde

      Sexual predation is a hard crime to prosecute.

      That is why we have the #metoo movement.

      That is why we are socially ostracizing people who commit sex.crimes that cant be prosecuted.

      Let me know whwn Bill Clinton is driven out of the Democrat party.

      Then the kabuki theater won’t apply

      1. Carolinian

        Joan Baez loves him and she’s a bit of a feminist.

        And to annie–some of us are not convinced that Ford’s story is true. Should we then condemn Kavanaugh’s “sexual predation” regardless? It’s a little more complicated than the way you put it.

          1. todde

            It appears to me that there are plenty enough people willing to go to great lengths to debunk unverified reports of sex abuse.

            DO you think we have more of a problem with over reporting of sex crimes or under reporting of sex crimes?

            Frankly if we were to deny Kavanaugh a seat on the Supreme Court based on his alleged sex assault, he would be a shoe in, as there isn’t much evidence of such.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              We have under-reporting of economic and war crimes, among others.

              With respect to the current topic, my hope is that we don’t undermine what we’re trying to preserve.

              So, ‘by all means necessary’ would be something I keep an eye on.

              1. todde

                and I see Ford’s testimony being attacked and pushed back by politicians and media and a whole slew of powerful people.

                It seems she is also being judged, rather harshly. That should help curtail ‘any means necessarry’ types of false allegations.

    6. Plenue

      What’s really telling is that the Dems have chosen this as their line of attack. I suspect Kavanaugh did what he is accused of; he seems to have been a stereotypical college frat douche. But it doesn’t seem likely any hard evidence is going to come to light thirty years after the fact. It’s just competing hearsay.

      Whereas his judicial record isn’t a matter that can be debated. The very fact that the Dems are focusing all of their efforts on alleged rape and not the public record of a public figure in and of itself shows this whole thing is kabuki.

      Although I’m starting to wonder if the Democrats literally can’t deal in issues of policy anymore. As in they’ve been doing identity politics and personalities for so long they’ve forgotten how to do anything else. Maybe they’re attacking Kavanaugh for his personal transgressions because they don’t know of any other way to attack him.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I really don’t like defending the Dems, but in this case it comes down to the votes. Kavanaugh’s judicial record is terrible, but the Republicans like it and were prepared to confirm him despite (or because of) it.

        The sexual accusations, OTOH, have already forced them to back up and rethink. That’s precisely why they’ve been so panicky about them. So I have to admit that in the circumstances, the Dems’ focus on scandal makes sense.

    7. Elizabeth Burton

      There won’t be any insurrection allowed, although what might begin as one will always be co-opted. Which is why so many of us refer to the Kavanaugh thing as political theater. Dr. Ford is being used. Which is another form of rape, because rape isn’t about sex it’s about being screwed over by anyone with power. The only way there can be any kind of insurrection is by taking away their power, and they aren’t going to permit that.

      Rape culture wasn’t and isn’t the product of civility. It’s the product of a pervasive idea that other people can be treated like property, like “the spoils of war”, like possessions one can do with as one wants. The only way to cure it is to retrain everyone to recognize that living beings aren’t property.

      Good luck with that.

    8. Lambert Strether Post author

      > telling

      I always find it “telling” that those who find things “telling” hardly ever explain why they find them telling. It’s akin to the other great passive-aggressive trope, “Let that sink in.”

      In any case, this from Stokely Carmichael is a propos:

      “If a white man wants to lynch me, that’s his problem. If he’s got the power to lynch me, that’s my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude; it’s a question of power. Racism gets its power from capitalism. Thus, if you’re anti-racist, whether you know it or not, you must be anti-capitalist. The power for racism, the power for sexism, comes from capitalism, not an attitude.”

      Substitute “rape” for “lynch,” and “rape culture” for “racism.” What’s, er, telling is that #MeToo, the #Resistance, and the various liberal Democrat apparatchiks claiming to speak for all women don’t seem willing to think in those terms. See the site motto? “Finance, economics, politics and power”? Well done.

    9. Procopius

      The Supreme Court certainly hasn’t been “above politics” since the Civil War ended and they started chipping away at the 13th and 14th Amendments. Remember when the 14th Amendment didn’t apply to the States? Good times.The Republicans want to go back to them.

      By the way, anybody know what Kanye West is babbling about with this “abolish the 13th Amendment” thingy? While wearing a Kaepernick t-shirt and red MAGA cap?

  25. Lorenzo

    How Feedback Loops Are Driving Runaway Climate Change Truthout

    I’m not one to dispar, but the scientists featured here are pretty much saying that we’ve locked in hothouse earth/runaway climate change.

    I think (though I could be wrong here) that it’s widely accepted that even if we stopped all emissions now, we would have something like 0.3 C of fruther warming without accounting for feedback loops. And what these guys are saying is that around 1.5 C (so about a third of a degree of fruther warming from now) is way too late for stopping some of the feedback loops we’re seeing in the Artic from releasing amounts of methane that would trigger and feed other loops thus triggereing a “super exponential progression” of climate change.

    Am I getting something wrong, or working with a degree of uncalled certainty here? I’d really like to know the conclusions I’m arriving at are to a good extent backed up by the science or if I’m getting ahead of myself

    1. vidimi

      but despair not, there’s good news: the sun is getting weaker as it burns through its helium so, in a few-hundred million years, the temperature may go down to pre-industrial levels based only on solar depletion.

    2. Steve H.

      Lorenzo, here’s kinda how it breaks down. We can have a high degree of certainty about greenhouse gas effects for a given quantity, that’s 18th century chemistry. However, anytime you extrapolate to the future, you are using models with assumptions. The global atmosphere as a unit is simple, the world is complex. So then you check your models, and over time compare them, weighting to the ones that work the best. The problem is the models have consistently underestimated the rate of change.

      For example, ice is extraordinarily good at absorbing heat. Most models were using surface area, and only more recently has the evidence come in that it’s the volume that’s been melting. There’s a big difference between ^2 and ^3, and so the assumptions about the total volume of ice remaining were incorrect.

      The simple model is, science is good at interpolating simple equilibrium situations, but calculating complex feedback situations magnifies assumptions and errors. But it’s simple to tell when the models are one-sided.

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Corpulence Is Bliss: The Chinese Embracing ‘Fat Happy’ Culture Sixth Tone. “To be clear, ‘fat happy water’ is not water at all, but rather another name for Coca-Cola.”


    Back in the early 80’s, not just the mid 80’s, Coke vs. Pepsi was a big thing.

    Not being always up-to-date on many things, I have to ask, is Pepsi still relevant, or as far as this question is concerned in China?

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    A hero in Sanctuary?

    Devin Nunes’ Family Farm Moved to Iowa, Employs Undocumented Workers Esquire

    Some people talk a good game, but they will not hire undocumented workers…they talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk.

    Some are like the French Resistance, pretending to support Petain, but secretly try to undermine it, for various reasons, political, patriotic (those scoundrels), monetary, etc;.

    Is he an unsung hero? I doubt it.

    1. barefoot charley

      It’s an excellent awful story. Farm belt county seats have filled with (and some even awkwardly thrived from) illegals for more than 50 years, since the union-busting of Chicago’s slaughter-houses (last big one closed in 1954) relocated them up the railroad tracks to towns surrounded by farmers already in the course of ruination. The original moonlighting farmers didn’t stay after wage cuts and line speed-ups became the norm. Famous one-time railhead Dodge City KS had Laotian and Hmong communities decades ago. We got an excellent cup of Yemeni coffee off Highway 30, the old I-80, in Lincoln NB.

      1. barefoot charley

        oops, not Lincoln, Lexington! They already had good coffee in Lincoln.

        Highway 30 is the old Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental paved road, running along the main line of what’s now the Union Pacific, and was originally the Oregon Trail. It should be as cool as Route 66, and still has at least one cement dinosaur.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Yes, US 30 ends at Astoria after going through Portland.

          My town is on US 20, which is also worth tracing – goes through Yellowstone, the Black Hills, etc, to say nothing of the Cascades and all across eastern Oregon. We actually did that once, returning from a family trip to Michigan. However, it was a bad year for forest fires, so we were forced off 20 twice (nice echo, there), once in Yellowstone and again going through the Cascades, quite close to home. In both cases the alternate routes were themselves beautiful.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The mineral frontier: inside the US agency chasing global resources Nature


    That has been going on for millennia, and not just by the US.

    The Spaniards did that in the New World and everywhere else they went.

    The British in too, including here in North America.

    And China did too, with the rare-earths-rich Inner Mongolia, and water-abundant Tibet.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not to slight Russia, let’s not forget the tsars of all russias secured Siberia over time.

      What happened to all the indigenous peoples?

      They are still there, I believe.

      1. ewmayer

        Replying to yourself … whatever helps you keep your percent-of-comments above the 10% mark, I suppose.

        [I know, I should’ve heeded the bright yellow “do not feed” sign, but somedays it’s just too much to ask.]

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s a bad habit, I admit.

          Sometimes it’s arguing with myself, and other times, I am not happy with what I write and try to improve/add or perhaps make it worse.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Adding (not replying to myself): I notice something unique and quite the opposite of my bad habit of replying to myself, and that is, you will lump two, three or more subjects in one comment.

          That’s quite, eh, efficient or space-saving.

          1. ewmayer

            I usually do that when – as opposed to replying to a fellow commenter’s post – I’m posting drive-by thoughts on several stories in that day’s links. I’ll often just compose those in a text-edit window as I peruse the day’s links, and then post the lot in a single reply-to-article. I’m [a] a night-owl/late-riser and [b] a left coaster, so those drive-bys appear late enough in the day that they only sometimes draw a reply, but to me it’s as much as keeping my critical-reading eye and propaganda detectors sharp as anything else.

  29. Dikaios Logos

    re: GE M&A

    In addition to the bill ($6B? yowza!), GE’s had a history of omitting change-in-control provisions (severance packages, etc.) from it’s annual reports. I’m not sure that’s a punishable offense, but the $6B figure makes any relatively innocent explanation even harder to imagine.

  30. polecat

    The Romans, the Assyrians, Myceneans, Japanese, Mayans, Inca, least we forget .. the Portuguese, the Polynesians , the Apache …….. but never the Russ ! ‘;]

    Yes, everyone is complicit when it comes to resource grabs !

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And Martians.

      Don’t forget those little green* things.

      *green, referring to the refuted color of their skin, not that these guys are earth-friendly (or Mars friendly for that matter). And as a matter of fact, I mentioned this T-shirt idea of mine a while back:
      “Not All Green People Are From Mars.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        ‘Reputed,’ not ‘refuted.’

        I must have blanked or blacked out there, for a moment (and I haven’t had an alcoholic drink, except a small glass of Kombucha tea since last night).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It has always been drinking, smoking and acting badly…for ages.

      Do we go back to Prohibition, seeing drinking has been revealed to be a problem?

      Ban smoking (tobacco)? We do, in public places.

      Ban weed smoking?

  31. Oregoncharles

    “Philip Hammond: UK will enforce hard border in Ireland if there is no Brexit deal”

    Actually, they probably won’t, but I wondered when that would come up. The Republic is just as much a hostage in this transition as the City of London is. Especially if the Brits are willing to sacrifice N. Ireland’ interests, as they are presently in a position to do, because Unionists they’re in a coalition with would be willing to – at least until the next election.

    In this respect, a number of Varadkar’s statements struck me as dangerous bluster. Ireland is more important to him than it is to May.

    1. polecat

      Couldn’t the Land of Ire do some exclusive trade deals with the U.S. .. got the ‘Dealer’ in the whitey houze .. and maybe throw some tariffs on potatoes, whiskey, and butter, just for good measure
      That’ll show those Bits who’$ bo$$ ..

    2. JTMcPhee

      The City of London is a “hostage to this situation?” Really? Strange notions of history and agency, to my thinking. Maybe we mopes can hope that the City will now go all Stockholm Syndrome and start loving the rest of us, sharing the stuff in their rice bowls and all?

  32. ewmayer

    “After Budget Cuts, the IRS’ Work Against Tax Cheats Is Facing “Collapse” Pro Publica” — Possibly true, but beside the point: The real problem is the “legal tax cheating” written into the code at the behest of the multinationals, by which they dodge enough in taxes each year to make individual-level tex cheating a relative joke. Nice bit of “look over there! squirrel!” misdirection, which our corrupt leadership class and their corporate owners and corporate-owned-MSM propagandists are masters at.

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