Links 10/20/19

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Cuttlefish wear their thoughts on their skin Nature (furzy)

Revealed by earthquakes, Earth’s inner core may be softer than previously thought

This 3D-printed house made of earth and rice husks costs less than an iPhone Digital Trends (David L). I see no mention of plumbing, let alone a kitchen…but at 215 square feet, there’s barely room for a hot plate.

Robotic indoor farms can grow food anywhere, anytime ZDNet (David L)

In Japan, A Strange Sight: Cherry Blossoms Blooming In The Fall NPR

How blockchain could actually damage voting security Asia Times


Chinese vice-premier makes plea for calm as growth slows Financial Times. Marshall Auerback via e-mail:

Hmm…China’s growth slowing (slowest official quarterly growth figure in almost a decade and if that’s the OFFICIAL number, then you know the unofficial number is much worse). And the RMB has fallen to its lowest level since the start of 2017. I recall people like Martin Wolf were arguing vociferously that Trump was taking on a shrewd foe whom he couldn’t defeat in a trade war. But Beijing has been gaming the global trade system for decades and he’s actually the first president to respond to it (and not fall for China’s bogus threats about exercising its so-called “nuclear option” in the bond market). I wonder if China’s economy is about to be exposed for the paper tiger that it is. I don’t advocate fighting trade wars, but Trump was probably right here when he suggested that China would be more vulnerable, not the US.

In what universe is voting Liberal in Wentworth about stability? Guardian. Oz local politics but with some larger implications. Kevin W explains:

A real dog’s breakfast. The Coalition loses this seat, they lose their one set majority in Parliament. The Coalition candidate, Dave Sharma, an ex-Ambassador to Israel, had Scott Morrison float the idea of moving the Australian Embassy to Jerusalem and supporting Trump’s position on the Iran treaty as 13% of the seat of Wentworth is jewish. All our neighbours, mostly Muslim, said do that and see what happens next to all your trade. This week, somebody said in emails that the challenger, the popular Kerryn Phelps, had HIV and was pulling out the race (Kerryn is well known as a lesbian but nobody cares). The seat itself, Wentworth, is blue ribbon and was Malcolm Turnbull’s seat.


Brexit Is Ripping the World’s Financial Plumbing Apart Bloomberg (furzy)

Revealed: EU’s attempt to control Britain’s tax policies after Brexit Telegraph

Barnier ‘not yet convinced’ Brexit deal will be done Politico

Pro-EU activists set to march through London calling for second Brexit referendum as pressure mounts on Theresa May The Sun.

A second referendum is now firmly on the cards Independent. Note the Independent has been campaigning.

If you think Brexit will leave us weaker and poorer, march for a people’s vote Guardian. Clive: “Only taken it since the Dawn of Time, but the Guardian’s Brexit coverages finally gets into the right gear.”

New Cold War

U.S. brings first charge for meddling in 2018 midterm elections Politico

The Most Shocking Moments of the New Russia Complaint, from ‘Civil War’ to ‘Fake’ Rubio to ‘Colored LGBT’ Daily Beast. Kevin W: “Twilight Zone stuff here.”


Saudi Arabia fires 5 top officials, arrests 18 Saudis, saying Khashoggi was killed in fight at consulate Washington Post (furzy). “Fight”. Help me.

How to Punish Saudi Arabia Politico (furzy)

Saudi Arabia pays UK firms millions to boost image Guardian (Bill B)

Saudi electronic army floods Twitter with insults and mistruths after Khashoggi’s disappearance Washington Post (furzy)

America needs to stabilize Libya The Hill. UserFriendly: “You break it you buy it…. Of course they have conveniently written out our role in creating the mess.

A Middle East Monarchy Hired American Ex-Soldiers To Kill Its Political Enemies. This Could Be The Future Of War BuzzFeed (Bill B)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Smart home makers hoard your data, but won’t say if the police come for it TechCrunch

Apple CEO Tim Cook Is Calling For Bloomberg To Retract Its Chinese Spy Chip Story BuzzFeed

Buggy software in popular connected storage drives can let hackers read private data TechCrunch

Trump Transition

Migrant caravan: Tear gas on Guatemala Mexico border BBC

Mueller report PSA: Prepare for disappointment Politico (UserFriendly)

Paul Manafort shows up to court in a wheelchair, learns sentencing date NBC

Trump jumps into Western water wars ahead of midterms Politico

Trump’s home tax changes costing votes in the suburbs Financial Times. I thought the plan was to punish the donor class in blue cities.

Republican Doublespeak on Health Care Starts at the Top Bloomberg (furzy)

Ajit Pai killed rules that could have helped Florida recover from hurricane ars technica

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Hillary? Politico (furzy). Cover story of the magazine.

1,495 Americans Describe the Financial Reality of Being Really Sick New York Times (UserFriendly)


Judge dismisses NRA lawsuit over Seattle’s new gun-storage law Seattle Times

My Morehouse Brother Chinedu Okobi Died After Being Electrocuted by Police. Tasers Are Not “Less Lethal” Weapons. Intercept

Fake News

Brazil court to probe allegations Jair Bolsonaro financed WhatsApp misinformation campaign DW (David L)

In Facebook’s Effort to Fight Fake News, Human Fact-Checkers Struggle to Keep Up Wall Street Journal (furzy). Lambert had an AP story in Links. Clearly a pre-election PR push.

Temporary economic downturns have long-lasting consequences Economist (UserFriendly)

The New Thing in Energy Is Old Pipes Bloomberg (furzy)

Why Kodak Died and Fujifilm Thrived: A Tale of Two Film Companies PetaPixel (David L)

Tesla quietly drops “full self-driving” option as it adds $45,000 Model 3 ars technica

Tesla Model 3 dismantled: It’s needlessly complicated to build, says analyst Autoblog (EM)

At Midterms, Republicans and Likely Voters More Upbeat About Job Market HiringLab. UserFriendly: “New poll, JG is the economic policy with the most bipartisan support.”

Class Warfare

Everyone Is Incredibly Angry at This Silicon Valley Exec’s Daily Routine Vice

The Harvard Admissions Trial Won’t End Affirmative Action – But That’s The Ultimate Goal New York Magazine (Kevin W)

When Black Panthers Aligned with Confederate-Flag-Wielding, Working-Class Whites The Conversation (UserFriendly)

VR study dramatically increases people’s compassion by making them virtually homeless RT (Chuck L)

Jack Dorsey complains about ‘unfairness’ in San Francisco homeless tax on corporations The Hill (Kevin W)

Report Finds Gaping Hole in Retirement Savings as Policymakers Craft Innovative Solutions National Conference of State Legislatures (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (Angie Neer): “This Costa Rican bird (I have no idea of the species) has great camouflage and a built-in periscope”:

And a bonus video from Lance N: “The MTV-style cutting is unfortunate, but it’s
fun anyway”:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. emorej a hong kong

    Saudi electronic army floods Twitter with insults and mistruths after Khashoggi’s disappearance Washington Post (furzy)

    This kind of headline eventually has to make a few more WaPo readers ask themselves:

    If Saudi money buys online mistruths, and if the highest-spending national security apparatus in the world is that of the USA, then is it credible that Putin’s former Soviet “gas station dictatorship” has been on the cutting edge of online misinformation during 2016–2018?

      1. emorej a hong kong

        … except that:

        excellent programmers

        don’t seem to be the key asset for the types of fake accounts and provocative role-playing that is alleged to have influenced voters more effectively than the better-financed traditional influencers of voters.

      2. JCC

        Excellent programmers mean nothing, anyone can post to Twitter and FB without any programming skills whatsoever.

        And even if it did mean something, programmers do what they’re told, Saudi Arabia can buy the best, and they can effectively bribe/blackmail Congress, and Corps to make sure that they are not tagged for fake accounts or disseminating blatant lies. In fact, full support would be all but guaranteed.

  2. Watt4Bob

    So, it turns out race relations in America would be just peachy except for those darn outside agitators.

    Where have I heard that before?

    We used to have the paranoid, commie-under-every-bed, thing sort of isolated at the top of the FBI, now we’ve got the whole alphabet salad, and of course the MSM singing the same song.

    The more things change, the more they get worse than you can imagine.

    It’s sort of like America’s sub-conscience can be accessed directly by talking to Jeff Sessions.

  3. TheScream

    re: Harvard
    Affirmative Action means that public and private institutions must make amends for society’s racism and ensuing socio-economic disparities. If the arguments for Affirmative Action are still valid for whites vs. minorities, they should be valid for Asians vs other minorities. Arguing that limiting admissions for Asians is racist (Affirmative Action) might be true in a strict sense, but the same arguments should apply to them as would apply to whites.
    If Asians are overwhelmingly qualified for admission to Harvard disproportionately to their demographic representation, then they don’t really need help. If blacks, hispanics and other minorities are still under-represented based on qualifications, then they need help (Affirmative Action).
    This all assumes that one agrees with the underlying principles of Affirmative Action. I agree with those principles. Study after study continues to show that being qualified (smart, hard-working, etc.) matter less than being born rich and white.

    1. Fraibert

      I think there is a serious disconnect between your argument that society must “make amends” for historical racism and the basic point of the Harvard case. What is being alleged there is that one minority group (Asians) receives disfavorable treatment when compared to every other ethnic grouping, _including_ white persons.

      Even accepting the arguments for affirmative action, the Asian “quota” should be pooled together with whites as “groups that do not need special assistance.” That is not what is happening.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      By seizing on the grievances of a small but vocal cadre of Asian-Americans, the vast majority of Chinese descent and recent immigrants………

      So, just wondering, how do “recent immigrants” have “standing” to challenge, in court, a program established to address historical educational or employment imbalances in a country in which they have only recently taken up residence? The word historical would seem to imply, well, some sort of history.

      In institutions of higher education, affirmative action refers to admission policies that provide equal access to education for those groups that have been historically excluded or underrepresented, such as women and minorities.

      Sounds like a bit of creative carpetbagging.

      1. Fraibert

        In legal terms, standing only requires that the plaintiff alleges with reasonable specificity a causal chain between an act of the defendant and a harm to the plaintiff. Notionally, there’s also a question about whether the courts can correct (“redress”) the harm, but that inquiry isn’t as significant in civil rights type case.

        So, if a plaintiff alleges that a discriminatory admissions process harmed his or her chances of admission at Harvard, that’s essentially enough to have standing to sue. Standing is a separate question from whether the plaintiff states a valid (“cognizable”) claim under the law.

        In light of the above, I think what you’re asking is whether there is a kind of “moral” standing to challenge the law. This is a more difficult issue. There’s no question that past American racism has inflicted serious harms. The recent immigrant, however, can point out that he or she has no moral culpability for this racist history–and therefore ask why it should be “used against” him or her. But, of course, in counterargument, one can readily note that all citizens, by virtue of joining in the American polity, share the same social/political obligations, including appropriate redress of past wrongs committed by the social body as a whole.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Thank you for your considered response.

          I’m going to have to think about this for a bit.

      2. Andrew Watts

        Most of the people involved in this lawsuit are the children of H1-B visas from China and India. This lawsuit by Blum essentially treats all Asians as if they’re interchangeable at any rate. There’s a huge difference between people from Southeast Asian countries and Indians. Similarly, there isn’t a lot of uniformity between Chinese and Pacific Islanders. Organizations like the JACL, which have had members and relatives suffer real persecution, are rallying against it at least.

        That said, Affirmative Action might be one of the great legacies of Liberal America and like all their other half-measures it will be dismantled easily. It wasn’t ever going to address the various inequalities for ethnic minorities as a whole. The massive disparity in school funding and educational opportunities in K-12 school districts pretty much guarantees this. But now every ethnic minority with an Ivy League education can be considered a model minority.


    3. John k

      Is the goal a color blind society? Hard to see that an endless racial policy will lead to reduced racis.
      When title VI was passed senators were assured it was all temporary. A temporary policy would logically have a sunset provision.

    4. Kasia

      The goal is that Harvard’s student body should look like America. Since we know there are absolutely no differences in intelligence between identity groups; any groups with a lower representation than their proportion of the population must be suffering discrimination. Vice versa, any group that is over represented is benefiting from privilege. Currently the numbers at Harvard are roughly as follows: Blacks 15% (13% of population); Asians 23% (6% of population); Hispanics 12% (17% of population); Jews 10% (2% of population) and Whites 38% (60% of population). Asians and Jews are wildly over-represented while Whites and Hispanics are getting the short end of the stick. Blacks are more or less where they should be.

      The best move for whites would be to demand proportional representation at universities. Each identity group would compete among themselves for places at universities. The percentage would be set by proportion of population. This would be the only fair given that we know there are no differences in intelligence between identity groups and so there is no reason there should be any over or under-representation.

        1. Craig H.

          > The goal is that Harvard’s student body should look like America.

          This will never happen.

          The goal is to continue building their glorious future with minimal inconveniences. The student body will continue to be creamy. All the kids who need to be placed (donor and power people offspring) will continue to be placed. Everything else is minor details, public relations boilerplate, and bovine feces.

          I like the detail about the lead Harvard lawyer being the same ethnic as the plaintiffs. This type of aesthetic touch lets everybody know this is theater.

        2. Kasia

          Although surely a worth goal, paradoxically linking the admission rates to income quintile would only help the wealthy defend their status. The key thing to remember is that while a student may enter from the lowest income quintile, ten years after graduating she will now be in the top quintile thanks to the credentials Harvard supplies to her. The new boss, same as the old boss and all that. Are we really expecting people from the bottom quintiles to lead the class war once they are admitted into the gilded halls of wealth?

          I totally support such a policy but I am also realistic enough to know that it would act as a sort of NFL draft with the wealthy able to take the best and brightest from each quintile and placing them firmly on Team Wealth.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Kasia, can I presume to test your assertion that “the goal is to have Harvard’s student body look like America?” There are a lot of parts to the congeries that constitute what “America” looks like. Which parts, other than “identity groups,” are we to consider?

        Can I ask, whose goal is that, then? Are the estimable collective noun “we” going to make Harvard and the other bastions of the coastal elites to their knees, to bring in the 25% of Americans who live in virtual poverty and serfdom to those Elites, and have no secure food or housing and are without medical care and don’t have any kind of “job” or are disabled so badly that they cannot walk or even in many cases communicate?

        What is proposed is just a set of tranches of the Elites and their whelps, who happen to have slightly different skin tones and physiognomies, one to the other. Is the goal to do like sort of happened when the military had a draft, where all kinds of people (not talking about WWs I and II where segregation and exclusion were the orders of the day, but Vietnam, e.g.) and now subsequent forever war, were and are forced into positions of interdependence, where they can learn all kinds of stuff about each other, good, bad and ugly, and about hierarchical autocracy and the attitudes of the Blessed Brass. Along with how to kill people and stuff.

        No differences in whatever you mean by “intelligence” between “identity groups?” A contested assertion, but you going to want a mixed race person from the Ninth Ward of Noo Awleans to have to try to compete with some smart-ass (pick any other “identity group you want”) who got to go get “prepped” at “elite prep schools” like the ones listed in this article? “The 50 most elite boarding schools in the US,” No amount of remedial reading and math and “cultural enrichment” is going to make that any kind of “level playing field.”

        And I love the line, “Blacks are more or less where they should be.” Blacks like gansgta rappers, or the women who work as secretaries and career-climbing bureaucrats, often doing good for the world, or like one of the salutatorians at the Elite midwestern “can’t get into the Ivy League schools” college I graduated from? She was the daughter of a Cleveland neurosurgeon, who was there on a full scholarship.

        Some things just cannot be fixed without breaking the whole structure and (with any luck, given the human propensities shown by the las couple of thousand years of “progress) initiating the processes that might build something “better.” Go ahead and propound a definition for what might be “better.” Fiddling with tranches is not going to do it, in my sour estimation.

        1. Kasia

          I certainly agree that fiddling with the identity tranches of the Harvard student body isn’t going to change all that much. It’s more of a suggestion of a framework for peacefully divvying up the ethnic spoils in an increasingly diverse America.

          1. Alex

            A lot of Jews would register as Whites under such scheme. But then you can always use some good old methods to identify and throw out wily sons of b–tches

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              A lot of Hispanics would also register as Whites under such scheme. And then we could always some good old methods to identify and throw the wily Hispanic sons of b-tches along with the wily Jewish sons of b-tches.

    5. Code Name D

      Affirmative action simply providing tools to identity where discrimination is taking place, so counter actions can be taken.

    6. Todde

      Being born rich and white….

      Odd that affirmative action only acts on one of those items, and the oddly enough the item that effects to outcome least.

      AA should be income based, not race based

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Saudi Arabia fires 5 top officials, arrests 18 Saudis, saying Khashoggi was killed in fight at consulate”

    In all fairness, when Khashoggi went for them, that 15-man team was “in fear of their lives” and was thus forced to kill him.

    1. Edward E

      Turkey has vowed to reveal all details about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi because they’re so totally against the killings of journalists and covering it up. /s

    2. JCC

      He must have been one exceptionally tough human being. According to a report I read last night, according to the Turks, those 15 also had to inject him with some drugs and saw off his fingers, too, in self defense.

      Apparently he would have made Rasputin look like a welterweight.

      1. Duck1

        Drink the Kool aid, let’s hear what Glaspie was up to, not to mention how many pieces Obama’s signiture strikes (genuflect) left the victim in, less than seven minutes, I guess but with collateral damage.

    1. Eudora Welty

      I was scanning the reader’s comments in the NYT article about medical expenses – while thinking about 2 recent NC posts about student debt, and also the item in today’s links about lack of retirement savings. There’s a breaking point coming our way fast, I hope. I don’t understand how our populace stays so compliant!

      1. Kokuanani

        The comments to the article really are fascinating: stories of terrible tragedy and financial ruin; tales of better treatment/conditions in Europe, Mexico or Canada; repeated calls for “Medicare for All.”

        And, of course, the occasional report of getting out from under the debt via bankruptcy. [I did add a comment that such rescue was NOT available re education debt.]

        1. heresy101

          Ten years ago this coming Thanksgiving, I almost joined the bankruptcy and loss of savings from a severe broken leg due to a fall caused by a killer gopher (think “Caddy Shack”). I got an infection from one of the first surgeries (7 in all), but we had Kaiser and the 7 weeks in the hospital intensive care didn’t break us. Kaiser has its faults as will Medicare for All, but at least I survived both medically and financially.

          The US needs Medicare for All, or better yet, a National Health Service!

          1. John k

            I’ve had great results at kaiser, my wife joined when she retired and is also happy. Sadly, it was expensive until she reached 65. Now the two of have m4a of us, wish our kids would have it, too.

    2. perpetualWAR

      I was going to post that the federal government in collusion with Wall Street took 18 million American homes with phony paperwork. Their home equity is usually the largest savings for an American. Then conducted a study, which quelle surprise, shows no savings! Could government be any more stupid? (rhetoric)

  5. a different chris

    >This week, somebody said in emails that the challenger, the popular Kerryn Phelps, had HIV and was pulling out the race

    I’m not sure if the above was a truncated comment or the poster was reporting it as news? I googled and she won and the HIV report was fake.

    And that’s all that I know about Aussie politics.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That HIV report was a smear campaign by the Coalition that tried to get voters to vote for them as they would think that Kerryn was no longer running. They were getting that desperate. Kerryn Phelps is a widely known respected public figure ( and Wentworth – the seat that she was running for – is one of the wealthiest in Australia but which was unhappy that Malcolm Turnbull (the ex-Prime Minister) who had the seat before was turfed out. Her opponent, Dave Sharma, was recently parachuted into that seat by the Coalition and did not even live there.
      The long and the short of it is that the Australian government is screwed because of all their shenanigans and now they must wait for the next Federal elections in a few months time to give them the expected chop.

      1. curlydan

        not to mention the fact of how unlikely it would be for a lesbian to get HIV. you can tell the lack of intelligence and moral depravity of the liars by making such a terribly dumb lie!

    2. ChristopherJ

      Kerryn Phelps has won the seat. She is wealthy and resilient. Whether she votes with Labor in a no confidence motion though, will be something to see now. If she does, she may not return in a general election, but I don’t feel that was her motivation in running for the seat.

      LNP no longer have a majority in the House of Representatives.

      Thus if NC motion is passed, then a full general election is likely before the end of 2018 and the likely outcome is a Labor government.

      btw, Malcolm Turnbull’s son, a hedge fund manager in HK or somewhere not here, publicly supported the Labor candidate. Malcolm has not been seen. Which is a good thing imo and one that other retired Australian PMs could emulate.

      1. skippy

        As an astute Australian commenter said on a ozzie blog –

        “being an outspoken lesbian aside, she’s otherwise a text book Liberal MP.

        You probably couldn’t find a safer set of hands for the “protest” vote anywhere in the country.”

        I would add –

        “I’m staying for a few days with an aged somewhat wealthy aunt in Wentworth. Her eyes widened slightly at the initial 27% swing, but seems otherwise comfortable with the result. Considering she’s a 93yo rusted on lib…
        It’s kinda interesting how deep the dislike of scummo is. I think she tells me he’s a Pentecostal at least three times a day. And it’s a swear word…”

        For me the LNP has had a bit of an arm wrestle between the more fundie sort and the more egalitarian set. Say my father in law who is a born and bred national party sort out of the bush, can’t stand the in your face moralizing fundies. One of his best friends from his private school days was a top gay socialite in Sydney.

        Then again lots of people are getting sick of the end results of the economic agenda over a protracted period of time and how that effects their feelings of security and well being. It will be interesting to see how it all washes considering the RE thing [labour might touch NEG], China’s capital controls and how that washes, along with the whole America – China thingy.

        Aside the wife is in Vanuatu for a club rowing comp and getting offers to do a bit of extreme paramedical – obstetrics work for a short stint, after a meet and greet at the club house, seems some Australian dignitaries and Medical staff were in attendance. I’m going to hurt myself one of these days sighing and laughing at the same time.

        1. ChristopherJ

          Thank you Skip. I think the postals are coming in strong for the Libs and there is now only 900 votes in it, so there could be a late surge…

          Yes, the Pentacostals… I honestly think Aussies have more to fear from the Christians than all the other religions combined.

          RE – yes we are shades of Ireland in 2007, richest paper wealth in the world per capita. More cranes in Cairns than I’ve ever seen. Just waiting for things to go boom

        2. norm de plume

          ‘being an outspoken lesbian aside, she’s otherwise a text book Liberal MP’

          She is the latest edition in an apparently inexhaustible series from PseudoProg central casting, like Obama and Hillary, her identitarian bona fides are impeccable. Gender, check. Sexuality, check. Colour, well you can’t have everything.

          Liberal hot buttons like climate and refugees and gay rights she will press. We will wait and see if she goes after bankers and tax havens, talks MMT, supports the right of labour to organise, criticises Israel or (makes sign of the cross) the US.

          Bold strides in any of these directions are about as likely as Winx losing the Cox Plate.

        3. skippy

          Chris… are you located at the mud flats.

          norm de plume… I chortled at your “makes sign of the cross’ all things considered… pounds table over the dialogue previous and how that effects all things sociopolitical, but naw, we [Royal] have to self flagellate for some stoopid [tm] reason. Oh yeah…. that might screw with goats plan.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Hillary?”

    Though I have not seen the film “Sound of Music” in decades, I was reminded of the that song from it called “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria” for some obscure reason. And you just know that during the 2020 Presidential elections if Hillary was not running, that she would still be out there making pronouncements and the like while sucking the oxygen from the democrat candidate in the process.

    Speaking of elections, the Australian election mentioned in links had a result within 90 minutes of the polls closing. The independent – Kerryn Phelps – won and the government is shocked, shocked at the result.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      On her own, she would simply be a two time loser without the merits of Adlai, but the embrace of the inevitable cult of personality candidate is the problem for Team Blue. Even if she stayed quiet, it wouldn’t fix the recent election or make it go away with the Obama problem which is basically the Clinton problem sans a #metoo crisis. The long term lack of progressive records will always be a loadstone on Team Blue until they address it and remove heads.

      1. roxy

        Reines said. “She is smarter than most, tougher than most,”
        If she was tough, she would have come out to speak to her people at the Javitts Center after conceding, instead sending Podesta out to address the weeping throngs.

        1. perpetualWAR

          You cannot send out a losing candidate that cannot speak without slurring. It wouldn’t be prudent!

          1. The Rev Kev

            I read that she got loaded that night so perhaps the worry was that she might go out and berate her audience and accuse them of failing her and saying that it was all their fault. I wouldn’t put it past her as she was very unstable that night.
            Having said all that, I believe that there is a great film to be made one day about that election night centered around Hillary. Can you imagine it? The feeling of victory and vindication to be followed by her world breaking up as her staff tried to protect her. I’d pay to see that film if they had a really good actress to play the part.
            Not being vindictive here but I think that it would make a really great film that story.

              1. skippy

                Oh yes I remember the debates about the French Lieutenant’s Woman during Mels uplift vs her contenders as such was the talk of the town [tm] at the moment.

                For all Sal’s faults I think he was correct in his political observation at that time.

        2. Richard

          I challenge that “democratic strategist” to give me one example of political smarts from HRC. In 30 whatever years of “public service”. By this I mean the political smarts that pertain to a democracy, toward a common benefit. She may indeed have “political smarts” pertaining to an oligarchy, but why should anyone care about that besides oligarchs?

      2. Unna

        “She is smarter than most….” No, she’s maybe as smart as some but I’d say, clearly as the game was played out, no where near as smart as Trump. More importantly, as Bernie said, she has no judgment. Personally I’d go with Gen. Powell’s estimate of her in one of his leaked emails when he said, “….everything [Hillary] touches she kind of screws up with hubris.” That’s why a lot of people, me included, thought Hillary as president would be dangerous.

      3. Big Tap

        Hillary as the Democratic standard bearer in 2020. Why not? The Democrats entire party apparatus is mostly her people. They all got promoted for losing. Fixing primaries their good at. Particularly if no candidate is a leader of the pack early she can come in late as a ‘savior’ and win.

        You mentioned Adlai (Stevenson) but I give you a three time nominee – William Jennings Bryan (1896, 1900, and 1908). Mostly known if at all for three things: Scopes trial, “cross of gold” speech (he was a silver man), and he lost three races for president. So why can’t Hillary go for the hat trick?

  7. Polar Donkey

    Regarding the silicon valley exec’s daily routine, isn’t her bank’s primary business model money laundering? I think the Goop mention is the best part.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      HSBC knowingly accepted the narcotrafficantes huge cash deposits in special packaging made to precisely fit the opening below their teller windows.

      When I closed my accounts there I made it a point to send them a letter telling them that this was why I was leaving them.

      I really don’t doubt that this exec lives this shallow, worthless and dull – but very time consuming – life.

    2. oh

      I too noticed the fawning over a bank “executive”. BFD! It reminds me of the “Lifestyes of the Rich and Famous”.

  8. Charlie

    Vice article: Well, I clicked the link that went to the controversial HBSC exec day. I found myself having to decide which was more torturous, the obvious PR stunt or the Scorpion venom video embedded as an ad.

    The scorpion video was more realistic.

  9. NotTimothyGeithner

    Whenever I hear about 3D printing, I’m reminded most of the houses on the street where I grew up were Sears Roebucks. Unsurprisingly, there were a number of basement moisture problems on the street, but the houses were largely assembled.

    1. bronco

      I now own a sears house built in the late 30’s. They didn’t give out any extra parts with the kit I guess because the rafters on the front are 16 inches on center and on the back 19 inches on center . They were either 4 short or screwed up 4 and just spaced them farther apart to make up for it.

      The guy that built the house hung himself in it not sure if there is a cause and effect relationship

    2. c_heale

      How is this anything new? People have been mixing straw with mud to build houses for centuries. And they didn’t have to pay for some expensive non-sustainable machine to do it either.

      1. Lee

        As usual, when I searched Google Image to see what they’d come up with for the photo, they provided their typical wildly wrong result. I got Eastern Whipperwill and rattlesnakes. Do we really want these folks providing driverless car and other visual recognition technology? Perhaps it’s just a matter of them not yet having figured out a way to adequately monetize pictures of birds.

        1. polecat

          What do you expect of said entities that want to drive us all of a cliff ..

          ..figuratively AND literally !

  10. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. brings first charge for meddling in 2018 midterm elections”

    Look, the Justice Department can bring criminal charges against Boris and Natasha until the cows come home. Hell, they can charge all 145 million Russians but they know as well as I do that it is a dead letter legally speaking. The reason is the Constitution of the Russian Federation where it says-

    Chapter 2. Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen
    Article 61
    1. A citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported from Russia or extradited to another State.

    1. Unna

      Probably just another click bait for profit operation. Target highly emotional themes in a hysterical political environment, and make money. Will be interesting to see more analysis of this other than just RRR.

        1. Richard

          wait, actually they did that last time too
          didn’t russiagate premier a month before the 2016 election?
          of course, the millions of people actually purged from the voting roles, by real and prosecutable Republicans, don’t bother the dems a bit
          just their ghost russians

    2. Jean

      Meddling? What, by buying advertising on Fakebook? Isn’t that supposedly the basis for our new economy?

  11. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: America needs to stabilize Libya The Hill.

    From the looks of the images in the BBC article on the migrant caravan, “america” needs to “stabilize” Honduras first. My god, those pictures are horrific.

    On behalf of the people of Libya and Honduras, thank you to barack obama for compensating hillary clinton for a lost presidency with the secretary of state job to enhance her resume, and thank you to hillary for graciously accepting the job.

    May you both burn in hell, and may hell look like the road from Honduras to “america.”

    1. Duck1

      When I saw the headline “How do you solve a problem like Hillary?” I took it the other way and thought you bless the coup and bomb the sovereign state and fund the headchoppers and liver eaters and start cold war 2, being Yale clever by garbling a Ceasar quote.

    2. wilroncanada

      Katniss et al
      America (the US that is) needs to stabilize America (the US, that is).
      Libya needs to stabilize Libya, Honduras needs to stabilize Honduras. And neither can do that until the US leaves them alone. The only thing the US needs to do is pay each a few trillion $, unconditionally,for all the damage it has inflicted upon them.
      US, fix yourself. First World, fix yourselves. Leave the rest of the world alone.

  12. Carolinian

    That’s an excellent article on Kodak versus Fuji. Here’s a view inside the remaining Rochester unit where Kodak still makes Ektachrome. Kodachrome–which used a different process and needed proprietary Kodak processing–is now defunct.

    Another tour

    Those of us having a history with film can hardly regret the demise of the incredibly complicated photo/chemical process. For consumer snapshot purposes digital cameras such as my trusty Canon take much better pictures. And one selling point for the iPhone is its very good camera.

    Hollywood has some film holdouts. That probably won’t last much longer.

    1. curlydan

      I like my iPhone’s camera as well, but if someone has a good pointer for how to take a photo with an iPhone in low light/evening, I’d sure appreciate it. All I get is fuzz.

      1. Carolinian

        Wish I could help but I don’t have an iPhone. Smartphone cameras have very limited lenses for telephoto or low light which is why there’s still a market for non pro digital cameras.

        Of course the original Kodak Brownie cameras had a fixed meniscus lens made out of plastic and only one exposure setting (sunlight) but still took good pictures that some of us treasure. The large (compared to 35mm) roll film format helped.

      1. Carolinian

        Per the above link Kodak still makes Ektachrome color slide film. They may even still provide the home development kits with the many bottles of solutions that had to be kept at a certain temperature for correct processing. It was rather complicated. Since it’s no longer a mass market product the film is likely a lot more expensive.

        Not that it was cheap back in the day. One of the great advantages of digital is that you can take all the pictures you want at little cost and–IMO–that makes it much easier to learn by doing. When Nat. Geographic photogs went out in the field they would take a suitcase full of Kodachrome for the handful of shots that would appear in the magazine. These days almost all non art photographers use digital. The technology keeps getting better.

        1. Unna

          I keep looking at the Nikon Fx 800 series of digital SLR’s with 36mp and up but I just can’t bring myself to pull the trigger, at least not yet. I see they have a new one out now, the D850 with 46 mp. Pricy.

          My little coolpix w/ 16mp that rests flat in your palm I really like, but there’s a minimal kind of fake control over anything with little pictures of moons and mountains, stars, firecrackers, a small animal, and what not on a digital menu. I still crave the days of using my F4 with B/W film wandering around taking pictures of old buildings, on total manual using the zone system etc. And everything is a button, switch or dial. No digital menus.

          1. Carolinian

            I have a couple of old 35mm Nikons–now largely useless. These days I use a compact Canon superzoom that weighs maybe a third as much as those Nikons. The pic quality isn’t as good as a full size dslr would be but the telephoto is mega. The smaller size and weight also makes it handier for travel.

  13. Zzzz Andrew

    I’m by no means an expert on the subject, but the article in The Conversation, “When Black Panthers Aligned with Confederate-Flag-Wielding, Working-Class Whites,” seems to me to blur a point that needs to be drawn pretty carefully. Namely, that the Young Patriots Organization (the “Confederate-Flag-Wielding, Working-Class Whites” of the title) were explicitly anti-racist leftists whose use of the Confederate flag in combination with Black Power symbols was part of a campaign to recruit poor whites to a program of united class struggle. There’s a practical difference between that as a model for coalition-building, and article’s implication that coalitions on the basis of class will pretty much take care of other differences as a matter of course. The “Hampton worked with white supremacists” soundbite has come in for a lot of misuse over the last year-plus, and NC readers will want to be aware of the context.

    Critique of this framing from Wendi Muse’s twitter feed, with links to extended sources:

    Further short-form critique from Benjamin Dixon:

    Longer-form dive into the history from Jacobin:

    1. JBird4049

      There’s a practical difference between that as a model for coalition-building, and article’s implication that coalitions on the basis of class will pretty much take care of other differences as a matter of course.

      True, but I am more worried about just having the opportunity to even try. I am also frightened of the very, very likely mutual increasing sea-sawing violent reactions soon to be seen.

      So although, I’m not an expert either, I can say that using deliberate state sanctioned violence, with the very occasional class and race specific legislative bribe, to destroy any potential, and sometimes, active ongoing multi class and race movements has been a thing since before the United States was the United States. The larger and more (potentially) effective any coalitions were, the more brutally they were suppress.

      Some people say that Americans are naturally violent genocidal racists, but that’s quite not true. Well, maybe the violent bit. Every time single time that the better angels of our nature tried to rise, it was crushed, or at the very least, strongly hampered. Every. Single. Time.

      Focusing on just race and class alliances, and going off the just the top of the my head:

      New York City in the early 1700s (Poor/Working Whites and Slave and Free Blacks) the Carolinas ongoing since the 1600s(Indentured/Poor/Working class Whites and Native Americans/Black Slaves and Free),

      Anywhere in the South especially Deep South. Where to start? Truly. The fricking Slave Patrols, and the later Ku Klux Klan, there evolved into the current police departments. It never ended except in the levels of violence 1600s to the 1900s Ferguson, Missouri is not only normal, it has always been normal.

      1600s South – All classes of whites, especially the indentured and poor, below the small middle class and Free and Slave Blacks and Indians.

      1700s South – Same except the Indians were… dealt with. The Cherokees were prosperous, peaceful nonwhite Indians What an abominable example! (Actually, I think President Andrew Jackson’s racial cleansing was in the early 1800s)

      1800s – Started the same, but gradual spread to include all reformers especially abolitionist, any newspapers, businesses, and religious denominations that did not completely support the Slavocracy, which included the complete separation of the races, steep economic hierarchy of the few rich, a slightly middle class, the very large poor white class, and then the black slaves.

      One of the reasons for the rising tensions that led to the Civil War was the South increasing nationwide militancy including violence against abolitionists, kidnapping rings of (often born free) blacks, the growing violent removal the the moderate and even neutral, supporters of slavery, from the South, its corruption of much of the legal system throughout the United States. Even Northern racists became angry at the South.

      This is part of why I am worried about now. The South’s efforts to maintain and strengthen the Peculiar Institution caused it destruction. The more violent efforts were made, the more people pushed back, not because they actively supported slavery, and they remained, as did most of the United States, but that the whole vile thing was being beaten over there heads. They were forced to look at the human beings trapped in the whole evil thing. Racism does not equal support for slavery. This increased the South’s efforts which increased the push back, which… so think about any reform efforts now and the push back that might occur. No one really wanted the war, certainly not on the scale that happened. America just wondered into it.

      1800s (late) The Civil War, In which most of the dead were poor and working class whites, and yes the elite classes’ officers, who all died at God awful rates; If one does not include the Civil War, the various armed, coordinated, coups of some towns and states(Yes real coups, just like in many other countries in the now global south.) riots, bombings, assassinations of, again, anyone who did not support the Neo-Slavocracy. This included the entire black population, a large chunk of the white poor, working, and sharecropper classes, and all those Northern supporters especially the socialist ones. The various leaders, their cross racial movements and new political parties were… dealt with and the whites usually, but hardly always, offered a chance to not be shot or become strange fruit.

      1900s (Early) Not much except for the anti-lynching groups and individuals. Too much death and violence from the previous half century; the 1920s are thought of as the Nadir, the era in which the most white on black lynchings and oppression occurred nationwide. Like the eradication of the prosperous black section of Tulsa, Oklahoma. There were several other eradications of small towns,or more accurately villages, too.

      1950s Civil Rights Movement had a number of incidents of white on white beatings, shootings, and lynchings. The various Southern states’ police did plenty of spying on and assisting the violence towards all activists, and eventually the FBI was forced to intervene on the KKK and others to stop that.

      1960s to 1970s had a continuation with less outright violence, but more proactive use of the police, and with the implicit support through co-option, the Black Misleadership Class, the destruction of most of the Left’s movements, parties and leadership, and the gradual development of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Identity Politics there was little effective cross racial and class alliances.

      It could be said that the destruction of the Left’s leadership, the crushing of the unions, the active betrayal of the Liberal Democrats, and of the Black Leadership Class, the increasing corruption in the various churches, along with the collapse of the middle class has been partly due to proactive efforts to destroy any leadership that might lead any rising reformist movements. An act of grand violence across the whole country especially anyone unorthodox individuals and groups. The very groups that would start the reform process all other again.

      And don’t forget the rising Police State, which could indirectly include Faceborg and the Twitter, efforts at suppression.

    2. marym

      Thank you for your comment and additional links. The Conversation was something of a superficial image of movement activities and activists in the ’60s. Fred Hampton was a revolutionary and a gifted organizer. Among other points, it’s hard to see (as one commenter noted) how one writes an article about him without mentioning his assassination. It’s also hard to relate an apparent call to Democrats for identity-based coalition building, even if that were a substitute for revolutionary class solidarity, as envisioned by BPP and YP organizers, without acknowledging that Democrats were responsible for this death and Mark Clark’s, and for violent movement-busting in Chicago.

      Your summary and the narrative and references in the twitter threads and the Jacobin, article are much more informative.

  14. Jean

    Larry Summers article;

    Financialization is not the plumbing that’s being threatened, it’s the shit that threatens the economic plumbing that acts as a conduit for it.

  15. Jean

    Farms and robots. No mention of how much electricity these “farms” are going to use.
    A few nuclear plants here and there can take care of their indoor sun and robot energy needs.

  16. Unna

    On how to punish Saudis article:

    *Stop supporting the war in Yemen.
    *Step back from Saudi-Iran conflict.
    *Limit military cooperation.
    *Distance America from MbS.

    #1,2,&3: the “Deep State”, MIC, Israel, and Trump’s favourite daughter and her husband won’t like those, but Russia and China would surely welcome them. And #4: if he needs to to survive, MbS now has some chance, although a very messy one, of making new friends, although not as profitable as his old friends. Given all of the above, maybe that’s why Trump is making a real, as opposed to a fake, laughingstock of himself by swallowing whatever MbS’s line might be from day to day, hook, line, and sinker.

  17. JEHR

    From my podcast readings I came across a follow-up story about the 10 million homes that were foreclosed on from 2007 to 2009. A private equity company called Blackstone (under the name Invitation Homes) has bought up so many of these foreclosed homes that it is now the largest owner of single-family rental property in the US. Apparently, these homes are also the subjects of derivatives similar to the sub-prime securitizations that caused The Great Recession. Private equity has to be the the lowest form of life on earth, that’s all I have to say.

    Blackstone manages more than $210 billion in assets, according to its 2012 Securities and Exchange Commission annual filing. It’s also a public company with a list of institutional owners that reads like a who’s who of companies recently implicated in lawsuits over the mortgage crisis, including Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and of course JP Morgan Chase, which just settled a lawsuit with the Department of Justice over its risky and often illegal mortgage practices, agreeing to pay an unprecedented $13 billion fine.

    1. ewmayer

      Consider that Blackrock’s AUM have skyrocketed from that $210 billion in 2012 to over $6 TRILLION currently. They are also deeply involved in advising governments around the world on fiscal policy- see the Wolf Street link in the 10/17 edition of Links for more on that.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Blackstone and Blackrock are two COMPLETELY different companies. Blackrock manages liquid securities, like stocks and bond. It also manages a ton of ETFs. So it is managing a ton more assets but at much much smaller fee levels.

        1. ewmayer

          Thanks for correcting my misread! Hard to believe such two dissimilar names could cause confusion… /s

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      We’ve written extensively about Blackstone’s push into the home rental business. It has had trouble finding an exit. It did a couple of deals to securitize the rental income stream from a pool of homes, which is NOT derivatives, it’s a securitization. We were skeptical at the time because mortgage servicers had done such a terrible job and there was no good reason that thinking that dumping even more responsibility on a newfangled type of servicer would end well. The initial two deals did badly (the cash flows almost immediately fell short of forecasts) so that put a big chill on that idea.

      Blackstone was already engaged in predatory behavior in its rentals (not fixing pretty much any problem, even leaks, which is incredibly short-sighted. You destroy the asset that way).

      1. JBird4049

        >>>Blackstone was already engaged in predatory behavior in its rentals (not fixing pretty much any problem, even leaks, which is incredibly short-sighted. You destroy the asset that way).<<<

        Isn’t that the main reason why we have so many problems? As destructive as capitalism is, it does take serious short sightedness by many people to simultaneously burn down the planetary economy, ecosystem, climate, and political systems in only two generations, or less than one full lifetime, and just for some extra money? When most of the elites has access to all the knowledge possibly needed to be informed?

        1. Richard

          it is a stunning situation that you describe
          of course, “just for some extra money” is the beating heart of the religion
          so perhaps not so stunning

  18. Pespi

    Re: Mercenaries in the Yemen. (This turned to invective, feel free to skip over)

    A year ago, Houthis successfully dropped a missile on a base full of Australian/British/American mercenaries and their Colombian charges. Send all the HGH addicted glorified swat team members you want. Send all the Colombians trained to slaughter peasants in the name of “the war on drugs” you can load on a commercial flight.

    The establishment media’s deafening silence on this Saudi euphemized “population control” or genocide, democide, whatever you like, contrasts interestingly with their shrill cries about the Syrian government’s so called genocide, whose remedy was naturally providing all the arms in Libya and the Balkans to groups of men who really wanted to kill, enslave, and convert every Christian and Alawite.

    The political class and their media organs have no credibility on the subject. They lost control and are resorting to the overt measures of censoring social media to regain a bit of it.

    1. Edward E

      Now that’s a lot better than watching a robot. Bald eagles occasionally touch down in the field behind the cabin or down towards the Buffalo River. They’re attracted to good music too, it seems.

      “Buffalo Gals – Kate O’Connor and Maggie O’Connor”

  19. djrichard

    Baudrillard on “the fourth world”. What I think we’ve been calling the modern day equivalent of Indian Reservations … for the deplorables. Excerpting this from Baudriallard’s 1986 book “America”. I couldn’t find a good URL for this so simply excerpting instead. Sorry for the length, but it’s highly relevant. Been waiting for a slow news cycle to post this up. The man was prescient.

    This is ‘must exit’ logic: ‘poor people must exit.’ The ultimatum issued in the name of wealth and efficiency wipes them off the map. And rightly so, since they show such bad taste as to deviate from the general consensus.
    It is as though the Last Judgment had already happened. The good have been found virtuous, the others have been cast out. No need for good will any more. No need to feel guilty. The Third World, which no one mourns, has been obliterated. After all, it only served to give the rich a bad conscience and all efforts to save it were certain to end in failure. That is all over.
    Long live the Fourth World, the world to which you can say, ‘Right, Utopia has arrived. If you aren’t part of it, get lost!’, the world that no longer has the right to surface, the disenfranchised, who have no voice and are condemned to oblivion, thrown out to go off and die their second-class deaths.

    You lose your rights one by one, first your job, then your car. And when your driver’s license goes, so does your identity. This way entire swathes of the population are falling into oblivion, being totally abandoned. Enfranchisement was an historical event: it was the emancipation of the serfs and slaves, the decolonization of the Third World and, in our societies, the various social and political rights: workers’ rights, the vote, sexual liberation and the rights of women, prisoners and homosexuals – things which today have been won everywhere. Human rights have been won everywhere. The world is almost entirely liberated; there is nothing left to fight for. And yet at the same time entire social groups are being laid waste from the inside (individuals too). Society has forgotten them and now they are forgetting themselves. They fall out of all reckoning, zombies condemned to obliteration, consigned to statistical graphs of endangered species. This is the Fourth World. Entire sectors of our modern societies, entire countries in the Third World now fall into this Fourth World desert zone. But whereas the Third World still had a political meaning (even if it was a resounding world-wide failure), the Fourth World has none. It is transpolitical. This is a result of our societies withdrawing political interest, of our advanced societies withdrawing social interest, of that excommunication which affects precisely the communications-based societies.
    The policies of governments are themselves becoming negative. They are no longer designed to socialize, to integrate, or to create new rights. Behind the appearance of socialization and participation they are desocializing, disenfranchising, and ejecting. The social order is contracting to include only economic exchange, technology, the sophisticated and innovative; as it intensifies these sectors, entire zones are ‘disintensified’, becoming reservations, and sometimes not even that: dumping grounds, wastelands, new deserts for the new poor, like the deserts you see forming around nuclear power stations or motorways. Nothing will be done to save them and perhaps nothing can be done, since enfranchisement, emancipation, and expansion have already taken place. There are therefore none of the elements here for a future revolution …

    1. Unna

      Thanks. I read Simulacra many years ago, and it was not, at least for me, easy. This has been on my to read list. Thanks again for reminding me to read it.

      1. djrichard

        Hi Unna,

        If you’ve read Simulacra, then you’ll find America to be an easier read. It’s a breezier style and it’s kind of a sequence of different riffs on whatever he’s coming across.

        There’s one concept in Simulacra that I think leads to what he wrote above on “4th estate”. And that’s his concept of “remainder”.

        Witness the “Society” column of Le Monde, in which paradoxically, only immigrants, delinquents, women, etc. appear – everything that has not been socialized, “social” cases analogous to pathological cases. Pockets to be reabsorbed, segments that the “social” isolates as it grows. Designated as “residual” at the horizon of the social, they enter its jurisdiction in this way and are destined to find their place in an enlarged sociality. It is for this remainder that the social machine is recharged and finds new energy. But what happens when everything is sponged up, when everything is socialized? Then the machine stops, the dynamic is reversed, and it is the whole social system that becomes residue. As the social in its progression eliminates all the residue, it itself becomes residual.

        What he’s describing in the “society” column is the current equivalent to political parties identifying which segments of society are “redeemable”. They’re being re-absorbed into society.

        As Clinton made clear, the deplorables are irredeemable, so they’re going through the reverse process of what Baudrillard described. They’re being transferred to the “residue” of society. They’re the “remainder”. And as Baudrillard suggests, society will continue shedding more of itself this way. Global capitalism is very effective at increasing the size of the “fourth world”.

    2. Unna

      Sounds almost Spenglerian where, after the decline of a civilization, man enters into a never changing non-historical phase of political unawareness, living his day to day life with no point other than to get to the next day, in a state of “cultural formlessness.”

  20. flora

    Related to retirement savings gap, from the Intercept:

    How Wall Street drove public pensions into crisis and pocketed billions in fees.

    A “Wall Street coup” — that’s how pension expert Edward “Ted” Siedle describes it. Public pensions across the country now squander tens of billions of dollars each year on risky, often poor-performing alternative investments — money public pensions can ill afford to waste. For all the talk of insolvency, $4 trillion now sits in the coffers of the country’s public pensions. It’s a giant pile of money of intense interest to Wall Street — one generally overseen by boards stocked with laypeople, often political appointees. “Time and again,” Siedle has written, “hucksters successfully pull the wool over these boards’ eyes.”

      1. flora

        Yes. Author gives a shout-out to you and NC blog in the article. Includes a link to one of your CalPERS stories.

        Better late than never.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Good (possible) typo — they can retreat to their enclaves and the Capitol and the rest of the Beltway Bubble, and “do” us to their black hearts’ content…

      There are several new cancer therapies that are aimed at choking off the blood supplies to tumors, by the way. What happens if the Beltway becomes instead like that Wall Around New York, in the Kurt Russell classic, “Escape from New York”? Not that the Elites and “our elected leaders” (sic) would ever let themselves be cornered like that.

      1. dcblogger

        Trump got all of 4% of the DC vote, so inside the beltway is not a good place for them. I am told that Stephen Miller cannot go in and out of his apartment without is neighbors shouting at him about baby prisons. I imagine they have their groceries delivered, can’t imagine them going to the store.

  21. ewmayer

    “This 3D-printed house made of earth and rice husks costs less than an iPhone | Digital Trends” — Don’t you just love how the latest Silicon Valley buzz term, “3D printing”, keeps getting stretched further toward meaninglessness? How about, “Hundreds of years ago, Spanish settlers in the American Southwest manually 3D-printed adobe houses of mud and straw … and for many centuries the world’s masons 3D-printed amazingly durable structures by stacking successive courses of bricks atop each other and cementing them together with a disruptive high-tech binding material called ‘mortar’.” ISTR the Egyptian pyramids were 3D-printed, too, and unlike the SiVal hatred-of-labor paradigm, the workforce was well-fed, housed and paid a living wage!

    1. JCC

      And let’s not forget the 3-D printing of the famous katana sword used by the samurai:

      “Katana are traditionally made from a specialized Japanese steel called tamahagane which is created from a traditional smelting process that results in several, layered steels with different carbon concentrations”

      1. The Rev Kev

        Those bare trees make it look like that it is surrounded by barbed wire. It may have to be one day. But you are right – it is ugly. To use a local expression, it is as ugly as a hat full of a**holes.

      2. Lunker Walleye

        Truncated building — sums up his presidency — looks like there should have been more to it.

  22. JTMcPhee

    I’ve been plumbing the depths of increasing despair over the last several months, as it increasing looks like “humanity” is about to self-destruct — kind of like the relative few of us who will strap explosives to their bodies or into a vehicle they are driving (or a couple of airliners full of fuel) and go detonate themselves among others of their kind.

    So it occurred to me when I came across this Grauniad article, that maybe others are so deep into the “futilitarian dogma” that I expose here that they just want to escape a bit and look up, or inward, or sideways, or backward (assuming such directions exist in the Real Universe behind our perceptions) for something healthy and loving and aspirational. So here it is: Book Clinic: What books might ease my despair about the world’s state?

    Maybe there is some medicine for melancholy, some anodyne for a burning death wish, in there…

    1. JBird4049

      Thanks. Never hurts to have some suggestions for the soul. And if I can make the attempt a good book almost always is a nice balm.

      Better than a gallon of ice cream or beer at least.


  23. Edward E

    Vladimir Putin uses speech to herald end of US hegemony

    Vladimir Putin gave his annual foreign policy speech on Thursday — and he used it to hail the end of a US-dominated world: ‘Luckily this monopoly is disappearing. It’s almost done.’

    Russian President Vladimir Putin gloated Thursday about what he sees as the end of the United States’ world dominance due to growing “mistakes.”

    Putin also claimed America holds “some responsibility” for the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi because the Saudi journalist was living in the U.S., he said this in annual foreign policy speech, according to the Financial Times. He did not elaborate. Khashoggi has not been seen since he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkish officials say he was murdered and dismembered on the order of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

    (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Saturday the United States will exit the Cold-War era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that eliminated a class of nuclear weapons, in a move that is likely to upset Russia.

    1. skippy

      I thought you would appreciate it… sigh…

      On another note –

      I once saw Weird Al live at a place in Calif called Knott’s Berry Farm Theme Park. Once a year during Halloween the park transforms after dark to Knotts Scary Farm, most of the lighting is turn off and smudge pots are put out to create a London type of fog through out the whole place, staff then get the full movie special effects makeup treatment and attire. Best bit is they give some cans with rocks in them and they wait in the shadows or bushes to ambush people walking by, I’ve seen them chase a pack of teenage girls for at least a block.

      Anywho…. my friend and I were in line for the show and without any provocation everyone started mooing as we moved up the broad ramp with guard rails to the doors of the auditorium….. Truly a Weird Al moment.

  24. Tom Denman

    > How blockchain could actually damage voting security Asia Times

    I must confess to being befuddled by how easily people are willing to entrust anything, let alone their money, to something that they do not really, really understand. Yet every day we see news articles about what amounts to tulip bulbs in a black box.

    It seems that millions are queuing up [3] to buy a virtual bridge over a virtual river (a virtual East River, that is).


  25. marym

    Iconic Dodge City moves its only polling place outside town

    Access to the ballot box in November will be more difficult for some people in Dodge City, where Hispanics now make up 60 percent of its population and have remade an iconic Wild West town…

    But the city located 160 miles (257 kilometers) west of Wichita has only one polling site for its 27,000 residents. Since 2002, the lone site was at the civic center just blocks from the local country club — in the wealthy, white part of town. For this November’s election, local officials have moved it outside the city limits to a facility more than a mile from the nearest bus stop, citing road construction that blocked the previous site.

    Get Out the Vote in Dodge City

    To combat this voter suppression, the Kansas Democratic Party is raising funds and recruiting volunteers to make sure all eligible Dodge City voters are able to vote and have their vote counted.

  26. Bob Kavanagh

    Is it just me or does the ‘immigrant caravan’ seem too opportune for the rightwingers? This caravan takes $$$ and organization to run. Who is behind it? Who benefits from it?

    1. Quentin

      Maybe it’s now clarifying to see her and her family’s activities as an ism, an ideology, even religion. Anyway her exalted veneration by so many USians demonstrates the requisite features.

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