Links 10/30/18

“Schrödinger’s Bacterium” Could Be a Quantum Biology Milestone Scientific American. Science is popping!

Gut microbes alter the walking activity of fruit flies Nature

Humanity has wiped out 60% of animals since 1970, major report finds Guardian

Pension Funds Point Finger at Lobbyists of Polluting Companies Bloomberg

Unions helped write Washington’s carbon fee initiative. Some also want to sink it. McClatchy

Red-hot leveraged loan market draws regulatory heat FT

4 questions ahead of Fed proposal to overhaul regional bank rules American Banker

Wisconsin’s $4.1 billion Foxconn factory boondoggle The Verge


UK chancellor eyes Brexit boost — as long as there’s a deal Politico

How the Irish border became Brexit’s defining issue FT

Australia is the latest country whose banks are planning to abandon London as Brexit looms Business Insider

EU pledges access to UK clearing houses in no-deal Brexit FT

A deep dive into the EU regional funds EU Observer

Searching in Europe for Glory Days Gone By Der Spiegel


Syria Sitrep – ISIS Defeats U.S. Proxy Force – Again Moon of Alabama

‘Extraordinarily Important’: Top US General Defends Saudi Relationship, Yemen War DefenseOne

Khashoggi fiancee hits at Trump response, warns of ‘money’ influence Reuters


China Machine ‘Working Very Well’ Amid Stimulus, Rio Chief Says Bloomberg. Rio Tinto.

China reverses 25-year ban on trade and use of rhino horns and tiger bones, alarming conservationists South China Morning Post

Chinese dog owners are being assigned a social credit score to keep them in check – and it seems to be working Business Insider

And speaking of social credit scores:

New Cold War

U.S. Withdrawal From the INF Treaty and the End of the Bilateral Era Carnegie Moscow Center

After INF, is New START next to go? Brookings Institution

WikiLeaks’ Assange says Ecuador seeking to end his asylum Reuters (J-LS).

Net Neutrality on Pause: California Agrees Not to Enforce New Rules as States Fight FCC in Court Governing

Trump Transition

Trump administration considers travel-ban-like order for Mexican border, sources say San Francisco Chronicle

The US is sending 5,000 troops to the border. Here’s what they can and can’t do. Vox

Midterm elections: Fearing loss of the House, Republicans blame each other. ‘Welcome to Washington’ USA Today

Paper and the Case For Going Low-Tech in the Voting Booth Wired

Democrats in Disarray

Beto O’Rourke Once Supported an El Paso Real Estate Deal. Barrio Residents Remember. Stephanie Saul, NYT

Latin America braces for ‘Bolsonaro effect’ France24

Corruption, fake news, and WhatsApp: how Bolsonaro won Brazil (interview) Vox

What Brazil Investors Expect From Bolsonaro’s First 100 Days Forbes

To Gut the Amazon, Bolsonaro Needs Local Help Foreign Policy

The Lessons for Western Democracies from the Stunning Victory of Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro (video) Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept. Very much worth listening to.

Investors May Yet Warm to Mexico’s AMLO John Authers, Bloomberg

The Crash: Ten Years After

What Are the Fiscal Costs of a (Great) Recession? Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis. See Figure 2.

Imperial Collapse Watch

In Defense Of Military Pilots Drawing D*cks In The Sky Task and Purpose

Class Warfare

We Don’t Have Time for Nihilism Jacobin

Wealthy Applicants Have A Much Easier Time Getting Admitted To Better Law Schools Above the Law (J-LS). Film at 11.

An exclusive look at Cory Booker’s plan to fight wealth inequality: give poor kids money Vox. Baby bonds.

In Kenya, free cash is the latest solution to poverty Capital News (J-LS).

Elizabeth Warren’s New Housing Proposal Is Actually a Brilliant Plan to Close the Racial Wealth Gap Slate

The Children The Opioid Crisis Has Left Behind HuffPo

Surgery students ‘losing dexterity to stitch patients’ BBC

Using “radical hospitality” to bring communities together to discuss important issues Nieman Lab

Ignore the news and America seems pretty nice Japan Times

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

In Istanbul, every day is National Cat Day!

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. The Rev Kev

    “Chinese dog owners are being assigned a social credit score to keep them in check – and it seems to be working”

    You’ll notice that they are not even going to attempt to do the same for cats. Even the Chinese can recognize a hopeless endeavour.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “…and it seems to be working.”

      The mind soaks that bit of information in, and now, to the mind, social credit score will be less unfavorable.

  2. Steve H.

    > The Lessons for Western Democracies from the Stunning Victory of Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro (video) Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept.

    “the establishment refuses to take any accounting of it’s own failures,
    and refuses to accept any blame.
    They instead their strategy seems to be
    to call the people who are voting against them all kinds of names
    . . .
    All that does is exacerbate the perception
    that the establishment class hates them
    and therefore they should hate the establishment class
    . . .
    The easy solution, which is to blame everybody else
    and to call names of the people
    who voted the way you that you think was bad
    is the exact one that will ensure [alienation] will continue.”

    Recall the Centrist Paradox paper linked to on the 18th.

    Identity Politics as uniting the Democratic Party strategy with a right-wing ideology.

    Mansplained. That Bolsonaro is a theocrat better not be overlooked. In that sense it is Pence implementing the Koch agenda to keep an eye on. “If you see vengeance.” ‘Clinging to religion’ is for many people clinging to the most central ideology, and why you can forget Tulsi ever being president. Sanders is a strong enough leader to fill the gap, but crikey who’s the second option?

    1. newcatty

      LOL…we have that cat’s twin here in the USA. My little black and white has similar markings, but IMNSHO, her’s are more striking. Most funny, she has the same personality, the same spunk and self confidence as runway kitty. She is a lot of fun to have us as her companions, along with sister cat.

    1. JTMcPhee

      “I’d like to be president.” Says wistful, grasping she.

      “I’d like to be slender,” says still overweight he. “And handsome and rich, too.”

      1. Big Tap

        Hillary Clinton can now forget being president. The comment she recently made should officially make Hillary a deplorable. Let’s see according to Hillary blacks are: “superpredators” and “they all look alike”. Hopefully this once and for all puts a stake in any future campaigns by her for higher office. Interestingly in the ‘deplorable’ and ‘they all look alike’ speeches the audiences were laughing with her having no problem with what they just heard. This would be repulsive if anyone but her said this particularly a white rich person that defies ‘white supremacy’ like her.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      When you let people talk long enough, they reveal themselves, and HRC reveals her problem. She didn’t want to do the work or had no idea why she wanted to be President beyond the cool house and plane and thus could never articulate a vision for why she should be President. “Ready for Hillary”

      Back in 2007, she tried to rig the primary calendar, being so naked about her efforts the DNC wouldn’t allow Michigan’s results. Then of course, there is everything from the recent election from rigging the primary to the “pied piper” candidate (Trump) in what should have already been a slam dunk election. Even her Senate race, she didn’t go back to Arkansas for 2002. No, she went to New York for a safe seat.

    3. edmondo

      I wouldn’t be so quick to discount Her Highness’ ability to take the nomination in 2020. She seems to have some well-regarded friends:
      “Hillary Clinton understands that we must fix an economy in America that is rigged and that sends almost all new wealth and income to the top one percent,” Sanders said. “Hillary Clinton understands that if someone in America works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty.

      “Hillary Clinton understands that we must fix an economy in America that is rigged and that sends almost all new wealth and income to the top one percent,” Sanders said. “Hillary Clinton understands that if someone in America works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty.”

      Senator Bernie Sanders

      1. vidimi

        you’re more than welcome to keep waiting for a presidential candidate who is perfect, most of the rest of us should stand behind bernie

        1. edmondo

          Perfect would be nice. Principled is even nicer,
          I just want one who is capable.

          I remember Obama couldn’t go to the bathroom unless he had 60 votes in the Senate. Trumpolini seems to be able to change the Constitution with an Executive Order. He may be crazy but he is effective.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            On the one hand, we ask perfection.

            On the other, we ask to not criticize at all.

            I think we all are somewhere in-between.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      The phrase about Europe and the Left being “stuck in analog” is interesting. I heard it for the first time in July at a talk about Italy. An Italian City veteran turned author compared the broad Italian centre / neo-liberals as analog politicians in a digital age. He added Corbyn, perhaps harshly, to for good measure.

    2. vidimi

      the brazilian election is a global tragedy. one quibble i have with greenwald is that in brazil, unlike most other democracies, they actually had the choice to vote for the party that had brought more people out of poverty than any other government in the world during the same time. the horrible media managed to convince the people that this was not so and now they elected someone who wants to fight corruption with dictatorship; violence with more violence; climate change with deforestation of the amazon…

  3. Wukchumni

    To Gut the Amazon, Bolsonaro Needs Local Help Foreign Policy
    One of the cabin owners in our community has many thousands of acres of citrus, and I asked him if he was concerned about Huanglongbing-which causes citrus greening and kills trees en masse, as has happened in Florida and elsewhere, and the answer I got wasn’t what I expected.

    He laughed and said:

    “That’s a down the road problem, my issue now is that they are ripping jungle out of the Amazon and planting tons of Valencia (juice) orange trees, and undercutting me on price. I’m not effected on Navel oranges, although despite coming from Brazil originally, they can’t be grown there now.”

  4. rjs

    “first they came for the socialists, but i did not speak out, since i was not a socialist”…

    Gab, the alt-right twitter, is now off the air after Go-Daddy pulled their plug…

      1. rjs

        that’s my point. once the web oligarchs start shutting down dissident websites it doesn’t stop with one. just because you’re not a nazi doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak against it…

        1. The Rev Kev

          Agreed. Just because you shut down their voices – for the moment – does not mean that they go away. It reinforces their beliefs and recruits more to their cause. If you shut down other people’s opinions, it means that you are not certain enough about the validity of your own and you want to turn the whole social media world into a ‘safe space’ for your own narratives.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Those left and semi-left groups which have been de-platformed off of Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc.; might well consider migrating to Gab . . . once it finds a new platform.

      If Mr. Torba means what he says, he will welcome the banned-everywhere-else left just as he welcomes the banned-everywhere-else right. At the very least, his words should be sincerity-tested.

  5. Wukchumni

    Goooood Moooooorning Fiatnam!

    Frankly, nobody expected the Dếbt Offensive to occur as long as they kept making the monthly minimum payment due, and when the Fiat Cong hit in a series of surprise attacks on savings, our initial reaction was to raise interest rates, to greatly lessen the threat.

    Meanwhile back in the world, young adults were seen to be chanting:

    “Hey, hey B.O.J., how many bond holders did you kill today?”

  6. Craig H.

    > Searching in Europe for Glory Days Gone By

    Steve Bannon definitely did better with this reporter than Johnny Depp did in his latest public relations project. There is some kind of long con involved where the journalist jives the subject into thinking they have rapport, respect, and an expectation that the forthcoming story is going to be a sympathetic picture. Then it comes out and it is surprise, surprise, surprise. How many times can they pull that trick off?

    Christoph Scheuermann is the guy who wrote the piece. His story might be more interesting than the one he wrote. I wonder how many of the people whose job it is to manage press relations for big shots knew before this piece ran to avoid Scheuermann. They all know it now!

    I made it all the way through the article. There is a funny bit in the third to last paragraph. Bannon’s nephew Sean (no-last-name-given-presumably-it-is-Bannon, who is a flunky working on the campaign or whatever this is called) asks, “do we get the Spiegel cover?”

    Sure thing. Cover of Spiegel is going to be Steve and Sean do Europe like it’s Pensacola for Spring Break.


    I know it is an Italian flag motif. I presume it’s a story about the Euros are pitching a fit about the Italian government spending plan but I am too ignorant to understand the Italian government spending plan, the Euros pitched fit, or the Spiegel cover.

  7. JTMcPhee

    I see that the “Well Regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” is headed for the RTexas border to “deal with the invasion of the job snatchers and polluters of our precious bodily fluids:”

    This ought to be illuminating. Wonder what the actual “rules of engagement,” of the official government Troops and the fat guys with sniper rifles and Glocks and AR-15s, and some of them favor the AK-47 “real weapon of mass destruction,” are going to prove out to be…

    The IDF has no problem shooting unarmed and innocents.

    1. Wukchumni

      If said militias are anything like our local evang militia church that hightailed it for Idaho* a few years ago, they’ve been spoiling for a fight for oh so long…

      The tiny church has been well outside the mainstream since the early 1990s, when founding pastor Warren Lee Campbell (father of the current pastor) bought into the notion that churches should shun all government regulation and answer solely to God. Since then, the church has become increasingly radical, ramping up its paramilitary activities and forging alliances with an array of figures revered on the radical right — among them, militia and Patriot leaders, white supremacists, neo-Confederates, border vigilantes and Christian Reconstructionists, whose goal is to turn America into a theocracy based on the Old Testament. In the meantime, the church’s militia has gone from patrolling the banks of the Kaweah River to conducting joint exercises with Minuteman groups along the Mexican border.

      * Locals are heard to say occasionally: “Idaho’s gain is our gain”

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Wisconsin’s $4.1 billion Foxconn boondoggle”

    In 1987 the Australian billionaire Kerry Packer made a fortune at the expense of tycoon Alan Bond by selling him the Nine Network at the record price of A$1.05 billion and then bought it back three years later for a mere A$250 million when Bond’s empire was collapsing. Packer later said: “You only get one Alan Bond in your lifetime, and I’ve had mine”
    The reason for this tidbit of history is that after reading how this so-called deal has played out for Wisconsin, I think that Foxconn chairman Terry Gou can now say: “You only get one Scott Walker in your lifetime, and I’ve had mine”

    1. cnchal

      > “You only get one Scott Walker in your lifetime, and I’ve had mine”

      Actually Gou has had many Scott Walkers. He eats them for breakfast.

      Wisconsin would not be the first government Foxconn has shifted its promises to. Foxconn had promised to invest $5 billion and create 50,000 jobs in India, only to cut it to a fraction of that. “Similar results were seen in Vietnam, where Foxconn committed to a $5 billion investment in 2007, and in Brazil, where Foxconn spoke of a $10 billion plan in 2011,” and the plans were never realized, The Washington Post reported. And then there is Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where Foxconn’s promise to invest $30 million and hire 500 workers never happened.

      That’s what happens when the plan is written on a napkin doodle.

      Will governments ever come together and call a ‘corporate bribery truce’? Not likely when these politician / narcissists have the opportunity to hand over billions of not their money to get reelected to their roughly $200,000 / year jawb. Another case of billions being destroyed so that one guy and his cronies can make a few million.

      The only bit of less bad news is that Foxconn will pollute Wisconsin a little less than originally planned.

      Ah well, at least Trump gave the gold plated shovel one good heave and the heavy equipment operators had fun moving dirt around for pay. I hope Wisconsin changes the name on that exit sign from Mount Pleasant to Mount Polluted.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        walker could probably have saved himself a lot of heartburn if he’d just GIVEN the state to foxconn in return for the promise of his being governor-for-life. So much less messy than trying to pretend he was actually “governing.”

        The federals are going to want less to do with the state than hillary did in 2016 once it becomes a giant Superfund site, and this country already produces too much milk so those famous dairies won’t be missed.

        They could wall off a little statelet around Green Bay for the Packers. Kind of like the vatican.

        All this “investment” pretense is so exhausting.

  9. ChiGal in Carolina

    Warren clears her throat–on the AHEM Act:

    The bill directs HUD to provide a grant that would be equivalent to an FHA loan down payment to all low- and middle-income first-time homebuyers who live in formerly redlined communities that are still low income. While many first-time homebuyers have help from family in putting together a down payment, government discrimination robbed most families in redlined neighborhoods of that opportunity. And so this provision has the potential to facilitate homeownership for hundreds of thousands of black families.

    The bill also toughens the Community Reinvestment Act to force financial institutions to serve creditworthy families in communities they’ve ignored for decades. The bill expands the CRA to include nonbank mortgage lenders and credit unions who now provide more than half of mortgages;

    I have no idea whether the numbers involved are sufficient to make a dent in the problem, but on the face of it, this seems a sensible and long overdue step. And I like the framing of past unfair application of government intervention itself being part of the problem: harder to object to govt inserting itself where it doesn’t belong.

    1. Roger Boyd

      Just what we need, getting more low-income people into housing debt just before the next credit downturn!

      In the 1970’s the UK still had the mortgage “corset”, rules that allows bank lending to housing to only increase by a given percentage each year – resulting in a steady rise in very affordable house prices that tended to track nominal gdp. Then the joy of the free market fundamentalism came and off the corset went. To the great benefit of financiers, realtors, land owners and builders (only the last not being pure rent seekers).

      We don’t need more credit facilitation, we need finance put back in the post-war straight-jacket that delivered affordable housing. The missed chance of 2008 just keeps on giving (to the rentier elites) and the democratic “progressives” wont simply point to the obvious.

      1. Lord Koos

        Yes it’s a good idea but something of a band-aid. Without decent-paying, secure jobs that allow people to afford the mortgage payments I wonder how much it will help. Still, it might work for some families.

      2. SerenityNow

        I agree with you–this is just a ruse to get more people into the homeownership casino. Any real solution to “affordable housing” will have to address the fact that the commodification of housing is what makes housing expensive–and this act seems to ignore that all together.

    2. Steve from CT

      I headed a nonprofit doing affordable housing for almost 40 years. Our company used every single HUD program available from 1972-2009. Most of what we did was to provide home ownership opportunities to low and mod income families. Some people that we helped to buy homes were able to stay. Many others could not make it even with an FHA 30 yr mortgage with no variable interest rate.

      In retrospect, I think those who couldnt make it would have been better off in a good rental housing development. Big problem is that since the reign of Andy Cuomo at HUD (Bill Clinton admin) HUD had no rental program except low income housing tax credits which benefit the 10% at least as much as they do the tenants.

      I think Warren’s program is only good in so far as it applies to existing homeowners. The plan for attracting new homeowners will result in getting a lot of people to invest in a home only to get in over their heads and suffer the consequences. We should have learned by now that the nation’s housing problem will not be solved by making every poor person a homeowner

      For a bank like JP Morgan/Chase CRA is another scam to allow them to look good without doing anything real or important. CRA has been around for a long time and it is hard to identify any positive gains from it.

  10. Another Scott

    I’ve been more apprehensive about co-ops, especially larger ones, than a number of people here. A big reason for this is the amount of corruption that occurs at electric co-ops, which serve largely areas (and now outer suburbs as well).

    Here’s an example of what happened in Louisiana.

    “Under subpoena, Claiborne in September disclosed that its nine-member board received an average of $35,000 in pay and benefits and that its highest-paid member collected nearly $50,000 last year.”

    Note that the average pay they received is more than the average income is almost 3 times the average salary in the parishes served by the co-op.

    This earlier article better details the abuses.

    1. vidimi

      a little perspective is needed: corruption will be inherent to any human organisation and it does scale. but the governance of a coop means that it will only ever be a fraction of the corruption existing within a corporation. for reference, you are refering to a boondoggle of a salary thrice the average in a coop compared to 300x + the average for a CEO in a corporation. which is worse?

      1. Another Scott

        These co-ops have revenues in the millions, not billions. Claiborne’s CEO’s salary was a higher percentage of revenue than Eversource’s (my local utility), and this is for a non-profit board, which are usually uncompensated. A large number of these electric are simply these backwater, corrupt organizations, with little oversight from anyone; they get away with it because they still charge less than for-profit utilities. Muni utilities seem to eliminate much of this particular problem.

  11. John Wright

    Re: Surgery students ‘losing dexterity to stitch patients’

    In my engineering classes of many years ago, I took a Biomedical Engineering class taught by a physician.

    I remember him saying, “sometimes there isn’t much difference between a good surgeon and a good seamstress”.

    He certainly was aware of the need for good dexterity in surgeons.

    1. Craig H.

      My college friend who became a surgeon took up embroidering and cross stitching the day he got his medical school accept letter. That would be kind of funny if he is still doing them.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s always good to work with one’s hands, and not engage in brain-experiments all day long.

      Too theoretical.

      When one gets older, the benefits will show.

      And I recall, hopefully correctly, a link here years ago, about making sounds with the mouth (i.e. speaking) is a good exercise for seniors.

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: In Defense Of Military Pilots Drawing D*cks In The Sky Task and Purpose

    Pardon that Penis. It’s the Price of Freedom.

    Such profound insight from “a retired colonel of the United States Army Reserve, an Iraq War veteran, and a graduate of the United States Army War College.”

    It’s no wonder “winning” in Afghanistan has become “seventeen years and counting.”

    1. Plenue

      “Fighter pilots are America’s first line of defense. They protect our freedom.”

      Protect it from…what, exactly?

      1. Wukchumni

        Did you happen to notice how useful fighter jets were when Mubarak thought a flyover of Tahrir Square would make the assembled masses below disperse?

  13. Wukchumni

    Despite irony not being worth a plugged nickel these days, it’s still has some shock value nonetheless…
    >The Children The Opioid Crisis Has Left Behind HuffPo

    “That’s the thing that shocked me more than anything,” said O’Brien, who is now retired after decades working at Eli Lilly and Company, the pharmaceutical company. “The number of people around town raising grandkids or helping raise their great-grandkids, it’s crazy. In some ways, you probably hope you’re the only one.”

  14. The Rev Kev

    “In Defense Of Military Pilots Drawing Dicks In The Sky”

    Well I suppose that you can simply say boys and their toys but I do not think that it is so simple. The author may invoke Maverick as an example but he is so 1980s. Back then it was all Fighter Jocks but since then you now have Fighter Jocketts and fine pilots they make too. Now let’s flip this and ask the question. What if one of these hot-shot aviatrices used jet exhaust to draw the ancient rune “Algiz” in the sky. Would that be so cool then? Would that get a pass like the boys get? What’s good for the goose….

    1. Wukchumni

      We’re headed to Saline hot springs in Death Valley NP next month, and in past outings, we’ve had as many as a few dozen fighter jets buzz those attired in their birthday suits soaking below, one at a time-sometimes in pairs, with passes as low as 100 feet above the ground @ speeds of 500-700 mph. Who knows why they do it, as all they get is a fleeting glimpse?

      A visual:

      From inside the cockpit of a F-18:

      1. Lee

        Otherwise attired, we’ve had similar experience while fishing in winter for Lahontan cutthroat trout at Pyramid Lake, in Nevada’s high desert.

        1. Wukchumni

          When i’d go to Burning Man, you drive north of Reno through endless scrub brush desert mostly void of life aside from the usual human suspects, and then Pyramid Lake breaks into view and oh so heavenly blue.

          A stunning body of water!

            1. The Rev Kev

              That would not have gone down well back then. There was a lot of hard feelings about the Indians back then. Read this quote-

              The proud spirit of the original owners of these vast prairies inherited through centuries of fierce and bloody wars for their possession, lingered last in the bosom of Sitting Bull. With his fall the nobility of the Redskin is extinguished, and what few are left are a pack of whining curs who lick the hand that smites them. The Whites, by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians. Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled, their spirit broken, their manhood effaced; better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are.

              This was written by L. Frank Baum back in the early 1890s. If the name is not familiar, he is the author of many children’s books and his best know one was “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”.

              1. Wukchumni

                Zenas Leonard went west in 1831 from Pennsylvania and spent 5 years being the genuine article, a mountain man. He was with the legendary guide Joseph Walker, and his account was written in 1839, when fresh, and along the way he comes across many different tribes of Indians, some of them very bad hombres, others friendly. When he finally gets to California, he’s disappointed by our Indians here, as they are not unlike latter-day counterparts, the ones he encounters are laid back and pretty peaceful, I think he called them lazy even.

                A lot of times, prose can get lost in it’s era and is hard to follow, but Zenas wrote for all time.

                Read the whole thing:


        2. Amfortas the hippie

          aye. we’re on the eastern edge of the West Texas Training Area. for some reason, when a Dem is in the White House, military air activity drops off precipitously, and then goes way up as soon as a gop gets in.
          Lil George’s regime was the worst so far…proto-predator drones(sounded like a lawnmower), Kiowas buzzing so low we could see the pilot out mom’s sliding glass door(like 25 feet!), apaches, pavelows, and an abundance of fighter aircraft that I can’t distinguish one from another.
          I’ve witnessed utterly silent helicopters at night, not a half mile away…wouldn’t have even known they were there if I had been inside.(!!)
          C-130’s of various configurations…it was one of these that banked and buzzed us one day…scaring everybody. not 200 feet up…we could see the guys strapped in. Thought it would crash.
          …and the enormous C-5’s deploying the drag chutes for landing at Goodfellow, some 100 miles west….looking for all the world like they’re fixin to fall right out of the sky.
          I even saw a B-52 during the missing nuke fiasco…stood out at first because of it’s odd heading. The sound of it came ten plus minutes after it had gone…a long low uniform roar that just went on and on and seemed to come from all directions.(Vietnam Vet stepdad switched immediately to whiskey)
          since trump arrived, I have heard all this…but not seen very many.(one can hear the fighters especially from over the horizon)…mostly various helicopters, of late.

          None of this was mentioned by the realtor, almost 30 years ago.(he left out the abundance of frac sand, too,lol)

    2. JTMcPhee

      And all of them are anachronisms. Missiles and smart devices make them nothing but potential smoky blots in the sky. But testosterone is a potent poison.

      And how interesting that the feminists are now all about “equal opportunity” to arm up and go kill Wogs in foreign lands, and presumably also get to blow off the Posse Comitatus Act when Operation Garden Plot/CONPLAN 2502 gets activated…

      Will there be female combat soldiers among the Troops being sent to keep the women and children displaced by the assaults of Empire on their nation and environment? There was a very different set of selling points to feminism back when I wore a younger man’s clothes…

      1. Skip Intro

        You have nicely captured how well identity politics slots into imperialism… it’s not just for neoliberals any more!

  15. Alex morfesis

    Warren2warren…Elizabeth Warren gives warren buffett a 45 billion dollar gift…read the fine print. There are plenty of existing regulations not being enforced that would make the world a better place…and I love the narrative in the story. Private lenders were only following govt lead in FHA discrimination maps…#pokeaholeinit

    1. JTMcPhee

      Alex, Alex — we are not supposed to Disturb the Force of the Narrative, or trouble our little minds by reading the fine print…

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      It’s all in the implementation: the finer print says the program was in effect made to serve the values of those at the local level who implemented it. Redlining is real–visit the Roselawn community on the far south side of Chicago to see the blight to this day.

      Question now is, have the values of people on the ground actually changed? My guess is yes, in some places (btw this expands non-discrimination to the LGBQT community).

      Even back then, the nearby community of Evergreen Park determined NOT to allow redlining and theirs is a much stabler–and integrated–community to this day.

      From your comments over the years Alexis, I realize you know a lot more about the workings of corruption in Chicago than I do, but how is knee-jerk dismissal productive?

      1. alex morfesis

        was at a fake and shake “housing” event recently brought to us in st pete by our own little hospital conversion foundation (emphasis on the conversion)…they brought in some national experts…one of which was said head of affordable housing tax credits for corporate benefits non profit…

        most low income housing tax credits get twisted up and combined with other programs to reduce (eliminate) the actual funding capacity with a small cadre of individuals working the process…low income housing tax credits have been diverted to senior housing mostly these last few decades…seniors do less to create maintenance issues for the “developers” and tend not to move…and become an annuity for the developer…actually providing affordable housing with those tax credits for families is not as profitable…

        Federal HUD funds are used to demolish perfectly repairable houses which would cost less than 40 grand to repair to then have a vacant lot which then will have some “happenstance for insanity” chapter go through 300 grand per unit to actually spend 50 grand in building the home and then charge that new happy homeowner with their new 6 car garage painted over as a home 150 grand…

        Look…I do not come from the hugs and kisses world of please throw the po’ po’ foke a few crumbs…when the professors at Northwestern (now DePaul) decided to pilfer ABCD from yours truly and the not ready for prime time players (midsouth planning and development council), they forgot the tough love part…

        section 6 of the ’70 enforcement act is still good law…SCOTUS 1968 (in between the shots) Jones v Meyer…

        the fair housing act was an attempt to “water down” jones v meyer…

        and it worked…

        Reducing expectations is a sad disease…maybe moi should start a non profit or foundation since it seems to be such a prolific disease that affects those who claim to be helping those who have been left behind…


        the usa is a 17.5 trillion dollar economy…florida is about to go past one trillion itself…in florida, the black community is 17.5 percent of the population…it would stretch reality to suggest the black community sees 175 billion dollars per year in Floriduh flowing through their pockets…so…in the scheme of things…

        over the course of ten years…correct me if my time line is not correct…and there is nothing that I see that this money stays as a black folks thing and an “american” black folks thing at that, since nyc banks love passing out CRA money to recently arrived folks from the Caribbean…since they have enough of color…

        that warren2warren plan would not even make a dent in Florida over ten years…let alone as a “national” statute…or should we call it an ordinance since there are no criminal penalties…

        no it is not a good start…

        a good start was the stuff that happened in 1971…

        50 years later…we don’t keep “good starting” because it taxes the capacities of the self appointed guardians of po’ po’ folks…

        was just finishing a CRA strategy after 5th 3rd just proclaimed they will stick to their 2 billion dollar chicago commitment “if” the merger goes through…

        funny that…
        we will follow the law only if required and act as if the CRA laws are charity and optional…

        productive or effective…

        having access or having effectiveness…

        certainly can appreciate the “workable” pieces of legislation negotiated on with the lives who should not have to beg for the laws that exist to be enforced…

        keep your parties and photo ops…

        moi was born and trained to be corporate evil…

        it just turns out that evil tends to be boring to moi…

        the sound of that train coming down the tracks as the plates rattle on the cupboard…

        but maybe it is easy as pappason and grandpason made sure moi was exposed and properly bored with the trappings of life…the stuff money is to create happiness with…

        so perhaps it is not fair to project mois boredom with mammonitish stuff onto the oi poloi

        a nice diversion this warren2warren plan but if she got herself appointed chair to some subcommittee and started having hearings where she then passed out subpeez and offers to testify then…then…

        but giving a speech on some tiny morsel…pebbles painted as crumbs…50 years after Jones v Meyer…nah…sorry…

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          Thanks for the courtesy of a reply, Alex…I too am familiar with government programs (like Medicaid) as fig leaves that don’t come close to actually meeting the needs but rather serve the purpose of letting the citizenry go about their business believing themselves to be virtuous both because their tax dollars support those in need and because they themselves aren’t.

    3. SerenityNow

      I’m with Alex morfesis–anything that encourages more mortgage-dependent housing is not addressing the real problem–and may actually be expanding it.

  16. Lee

    And speaking of social credit scores:

    Pretty much all school children in the U.S. are, or were in my day, subject to social credit scores starting in kindergarten. We were graded on deportment, playing well with others and the like. That the Chinese government is applying such measures to the adult population is an indication that they are failing to teach kids all they ever need to know about such things in kindergarten. I have had my suspicions about this every time a diminutive Chinese woman, of advanced years, hobbling along at first, then miraculously with the cat-like quickness cutting me off or ramming me with her shopping cart at Costco. I used to feel affronted but over the years I have come to find the behavior cute and just laugh, evoking from them a sly smile.

    1. edmondo

      Yesterday, Bernie Sanders endorsed Jovanka Beckles for AD15.

      Three weeks after early voting started? And, somehow, this is the guy who is going to win the presidential nomination?

      1. JTMcPhee

        What was it my old grampa said? “Better late than never.” And is this the best possible impeachment of Bernie Sanders, who at least generally is actually working on the real problems of most of us? “Any stick to beat a dog,” I guess.

  17. Henry Moon Pie

    I hope Glenn Greenwald is looking into a Plan B re: residency for his mate and himself. He might make a very tempting target for Bolsonaro, and ‘Murcan spooks would probably be happy to have Brazil’s newly elected Chief Lunatic put away the pesky journalist/lawyer for an indefinte period.

    1. vidimi

      yes, this is serious. they are unsafe there now. as you say, there would be no justice in brazil (cf marielle) and the US would happy to have him gone.

    2. Lord Koos

      I thought the same thing after watching his video. I’m sure they are thinking about it, you would be crazy not to. Uruguay, maybe?

      1. Oregoncharles

        Uruguay would be a good bet, being next door, with a socialist government. (The Tupamaros won in the end.) Not so scenic as Brazil, but lots of beaches.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Syria Sitrep – ISIS Defeats U.S. Proxy Force – Again”

    Strange that the most powerful military force in the world has not been able to mop up this pocket of ISIS for the past what, two years? Looking at the scale, it is only about 15 miles long and 3 miles wide with the ISIS forces having little chance for reinforcements or resupply. Strange that.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Either admit they are “our guys” or blame the sand storms. Or both. It’s hard to shoot the good liver eating help these days.

    2. Roland

      We could try giving the ISIS guys a bit of credit. In five years of war, they have proven to be dogged in defense, courageous in attack, and loyal to their cause.

      We can hate them all we want, but objectively, we ought to have some respect for them.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And we ought to understand their long game: “The Management of Savagery,” which you can read here:

        Interesting that several business publications have written articles expressing almost jealous admiration for the ‘business model’ and “success” of the ISIS brand… How many supranational corporations and “startups” would just love to be able to act in the looting realm with such impunity? Not that many of them don’t already, albeit with gentler PR and lobbying support…

        1. Roland

          The Abu Bakr Naji book is very interesting. I notice some correspondence between his stages of “Vexation and Exhaustion” and “Management of Savagery” with the first two stages of Mao’s concept of “Protracted War.”

    3. VietnamVet

      ISIS holds the Southern portion of the Euphrates River valley in Syria. Where the irrigated soil gave birth to civilization. The USA occupies the eastern desert and oil fields. This is not too different from the Rio Grande, Colorado or Snake River valleys when civil war breaks out again in North America. Getting rid of the farmers has been impossible for the last 7,000 years. An added complication is that for decades the Jihadis have been the proxy force used to destabilize uppity nation states who don’t kowtow to the western hegemon. With Iraqi Shiites bonding with Iranians and the Turks hatred of Kurds; the only sure ground access to the middle of nowhere is through Jordon. All in all; this is a very unstable and dangerous illegal occupation for no good reason except to make money. Europe has guaranteed Syria’s former borders. Allies Israel and Saudi Arabia make enemies. The USA is wildly out on the end of the limb. Disaster awaits in this the latest sequel to the fall of the Roman Empire.

  19. abynormal

    We here at NC do appreciate the numbers… prepare for eye bulging on this scroll:

    All these children are targets… predators of all sorts are keen to slightest weakness.

    Let’s add a face to the numbers.
    …26min you won’t forget.

    MHO, the solution at the end of the clip is as horrifying as problem…one trigger could set that child off.

    Lately my post have not been appearing …i Hope this one does. Since 07 the majority of my serious post have been advocating children…our immediate future.

  20. Ranger Rick

    That Japan Times piece pretty much sums up how the average person interacts with national politics: not at all until election time. As people hyperventilate about the latest thing Trump did on the international stage, they forget that not everyone follows the news or even seeks it out.

    As Lambert says, “XX days is a long time in politics” — especially when you see it as a race to determine who’s on top in the news and popular opinion, up until the the people finally tune in at the last minute to find out who they should vote for.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It always seems strange, to me, that volunteers try to register voters and just before the election, call to remind people to vote.

      People don’t forget to go to their bowling league games nor to register for that free trip to, for example, Chernobyl.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Bowling league games are weekly occurrences. Once a year activities that don’t require much more than a few minutes are often forgotten. Its similar to how the latest mass shooting will go down the rabbit hole. Most people aren’t being shot or near a shooting in a country of 300 million, but everyone went to school in a fashion, uses the road, or gets sick.

        The other issue especially with renters and students is precinct lines. Or even anyone who moved.

        People forget to vote all the time, and the turnout differences when GOTV operations are functioning versus non-functioning are apparent.

        A family friend was a state legislator. I didn’t know this when I was a kid, but she was actually a widow. Her first husband was a fighter pilot who crashed, and as a legislator she went above and beyond on veteran’s issues. The Democratic brain trust were so excited to run ads with a local doctor and former army staffer (my dad hates calling those guys soldiers) saying the delegate was great on issues. The veterans in the area would say it was true. Here is the rub. She represented a district with the lowest rate of veterans in Virginia. There are no bases or veteran employers in their area, and the result is no one will say, “i’m having a problem with the VA or whatever” and hear “oh, delegate X…just call her office” because no one has those problems. She LOST. She ignored black voters in favor of what basically would be called “suburban Republicans” and ran on no issues. She could have run on transportation. Those new rail lines everyone uses happened because of her (Which isn’t really true, but she was there at the time) or talked about education. She dropped 300K on her losing effort.

        At the end of the day, her only public face was an issue that was not relevant to her average voter, and if thats the face she wants to present, you can’t blame voters for not caring. I come back to something like abortion. Its an important issue, but it can’t be THE issue for a candidate’s campaign. Why? Simple, no one wants to talk about abortions. Its gross. Most people aren’t having them, and for people who have abortions, its not a regular occurrence that surprisingly they aren’t eager to discuss.

  21. Wukchumni

    Mineral King was to be the new Comstock Lode, as it had oh so much metamorphic rock, a good indicator of precious metals usually. A silver rush took off in the early 1870’s, with as many as 3,000 people (the typical summer population is in the low 100’s now) in MK Valley, all rushing around making mining claims, sinking mostly horizontal shafts or sometimes glory holes, convinced they would find their Golconda…

    Well, they all ran into what was termed ‘rebellious ore’ where the silver couldn’t be separated from lead and other minerals, as in worthless.

    There were around 50-60 mines, and NPS has done a good job in filling in most of them, although there’s still a dozen you can poke around a bit, but that said, mines give me the willies-not like a cave that’s taken forever to be established, it was quick and dirty human effort that did the trick.

  22. John Hoeffleur

    Re: Booker’s Baby Bonds

    In isolation, the idea itself is one thing, but when we consider Booker’s record on education (TFA, charters, Betsy, I probably need not hip anyone reading here), that’s what strikes me as most problematic.

    What do you call an 18 year old with a crummy, corporate-designed education and $40k in cash? An easy mark, seems to me. A fool and his money…..

    If we want to make sure kids can go to college, why not lower the costs of college? If we want to make sure young people can afford the down stroke on a house, why not expand first time home buyer programs in such a way? There are targeted ways to achieve any of the shifty, currently undefined ends this baby bond is alleged to be aimed at.

    Giving kids who we regard, nationally at least, as not responsible enough to buy alcohol tens of thousands in cash seems a good way to make sure that money is spent unwisely, and also is great way the to blame the kids (“you wasted your baby bond”) when a large portion inevitably spend it irresponsibly. I wonder if Booker might chalk that up to meritocratic function?

    If I were a cynical person, I might think that was exactly the intent – a creative, long term giveaway to businesses and the wealthy that masquerades as a hand up to the poor (like the ACA).

    I dunno. All are welcome to try and change my view, as it would be nice to find some redeeming policy proposal in a Booker candidacy, maybe.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      The ACA was a transfer of wealth from the middle class to the poor, insofar as it expanded Medicaid, and a gift to corporate health care.

      1. ambrit

        Only partly so. The ‘gift’ to the corporate medical establishment was nationwide, but the Medicaid expansion was left up to the states, who were collectively the epitome of foot dragging ‘Mummies From the Tomb!’ Going on to secondary effects, the continued excessive cost inflation in medical billings resulted in overall worse medical outcomes for all as constrained resources were redirected from true service provision to financial “management” of said services. Alas, this ADA ‘experiment’ has ended up, class wise, as a ‘lose lose’ proposition. (I will not endorse the idea that the top tiers of the managerial hierarchy, and old line Robber Barons constitutes a ‘class’ per se. Freely adopting the rules of “Venery,” I would refer to that grouping as a “Contagion;” thus, “A Contagion of CEOs.”

  23. Wukchumni

    An early Silicon Valley effort, OSH (Orchard Supply Hardware) went bankrupt about 2 months ago, and it was a weird retail fit @ best, seeing as they were owned by Lowe’s, and then previously by Sears.

    The stores were about 1/4 the size of a Lowe’s and pretty much replicated everything you could buy there, why bother?

    I was picking through the remains last week, everything 50-70% off, but the cupboards were pretty bare. I blew $41 on this that and whatever, confirming my status as a bottom feeder, I suppose.

    All Orchard Supply Hardware stores in California and elsewhere will close by February, the company’s parent — home-improvement retail giant Lowe’s — announced Wednesday.

    The chain, also known as OSH, has 99 locations in California, Oregon and Florida, as well as distribution centers, all of which will close. The move comes five years after Lowe’s bought most OSH stores out of bankruptcy following an ill-fated spinoff from the chain’s former owner, Sears Holdings Corp.

    OSH, founded in San Jose in 1931, started out as a co-op supplying fruit growers in the days when what’s now Silicon Valley was filled with orchards. It grew into a more general hardware store, one that in recent years catered to homeowners and do-it-yourselfers, setting it apart from contractor-focused big-box retailers Lowe’s and Home Depot.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I passed by, a few times during the last one or two months, one of their stores, with the going-out-of-business sign, and thought that was just some sort of promotion to close that particular branch. Did not know until now, the whole chain was shutting down.

      Maybe I will stop by this weekend.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Will we see more Man Han Imperial Feasts*?

    China reverses 25-year ban on trade and us of rhino horns and tiger bones, alarming conservationists South China Morning Post

    *From Wikpeida, Man Han Imperial Feast:

    … was one of the grandest meals ever documented in Chinese cuisine. It consisted of at least 108 unique dishes from the Manchu and Han Chinese culture during the Qing dynasty, and it is only reserved and intended for the Emperors. The meal was held for three whole days, across six banquets.

    The history:

    When the Manchus conquered China and founded the Qing dynasty, the Manchu and Han Chinese peoples struggled for power. The Kangxi Emperor wanted to resolve the disputes so he held a banquet during his 66th birthday celebrations.

    So, a precedent for a conquered China by America or by Russia.

    The dishes?

    Some of the individual names of the dishes within:

    Snowy Palm – bear claw with sturgeon[1]
    Golden Eyes and Burning Brain – bean curd simmered in chicken, duck and cuckoo brains
    Monkey King and Shark – goat brain
    Monkey brain
    Egg tart
    Wensi Tofu
    Dezhou braised chicken
    Peking duck
    Shark fin soup
    Edible bird’s nest
    Dried Sea Cucumbers
    Ye wei

    Monkey brain…wonder if Anthony Bourdain ever had that in one of his shows.

    The cost. How much?

    The cuisine is extremely rare in China today, and if offered it is by a large margin one of the most expensive meals in the entire collection of Chinese cuisines, even in the late 80’s, it was estimated to cost over 1 million yen then.[3] Even when served, it is done with replacement ingredients, as many of the animals are essentially endangered species.

    Definitely for (ecologically responsible – see above about replacement ingredients) billionaires only.

  25. BoyDownTheLane

    Apparently Elizabeth Warren and others have not gotten the news about the Blexit movement. As for the moment of violence not yet to come, remember the battle of Blair Mountain and the US Army at Wounded Knee,

  26. ewmayer

    o “Khashoggi fiancee hits at Trump response, warns of ‘money’ influence | Reuters” — LOL at the ‘money influence’ bit – honey, ‘money influence’ is what the Saudi elites generally, and the Khashoggi clan specifically, are all about. We sympathize for your loss, but surely this cannot be news to you.

    o “Investors May Yet Warm to Mexico’s AMLO John Authers, Bloomberg” — Not if he keeps doing anti-corruption stuff like this, they won’t: Whiff of Panic After Mexico Voted to Scrap Mega-Airport & Corruption Project | Wolf Street

  27. Plenue

    Regarding Chinese social credit scores:

    This can’t possibly be sustainable. I just can’t conceive that the Chinese government’s madman visions of micromanaging over a billion people has any long-term future. Chinese are largely complacent right now because of all the economic growth. But when that gravy train stops, how long will their tolerance for all the ridiculous monitoring, restrictions, and censorship last?

    Perhaps its the idealist in me, but when your entire system is so vulnerable to truth that you need to erect a massive digital wall around the citizens of your country, surely that system can’t have a future. Especially not given how many Chinese can easily get outside that wall (tourism, work, being foreign exchange students etc).

    1. JTMcPhee

      Seems to me the strategy is working pretty good right here in the Imperium. And a lot of the people getting outside the wall are still enclosed in what GIs used to call “?Uncle Sam’s Green Dream,’ busy killing Wogs and making and training and arming more “unlawful enemuh combatants…”

    2. Ook

      It has been pointed out before in these pages that the FICO score is a similar concept, pioneered in the land of hope™ and freedom™, the difference being FICO is more focused on what Americans find important.
      I’d much rather have a couple of points knocked off a (recoverable) social credit score than be arrested and given a permanent criminal record, which seems to be the approach here.

  28. Howard Beale IV

    Google Street View car drives into flooded road: KSAN – Can’t wait for the first death by self-driving car drive into a flooded street….

  29. RMO

    RE: The border caravan and Vox’s take that the military can’t do anything… I dunno, for almost two decades now Congress, Senate, the courts and the commercial media have been fine with presidents having a secret review with some advisors, determining various human beings are threats to the security of the U.S. (some of those being U.S. citizens whose offenses were calling for the violent overthrow of the U.S. government, an offense that seems pretty common among U.S. politicians and pundits regarding other nations) and blasting them to pink mist with missiles or bombs. They all seem fine with dozens or hundreds of people who just happened to be in the general vicinity being killed or maimed in the process too. It’s been going on for years and it seems to only be nutty leftists like me who think there’s something wrong with that.

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