Links 11/13/18

10 great English proverbs that are obviously bollocks Daily Mash. From last month, still worthy.

Massive global health study reveals “disturbing” trends New Atlas (David L)

How plants evolved to make ants their servants EurekAlert (Kevin W)

Israel Aims To Ban Gasoline, Diesel Vehicles By 2030 ars technica

Declassified military documents reveal the terrifying power of solar storms Metro (Kevin W)

UFO spotted by multiple pilots prompts investigation CNET (David L)

The plastic backlash: what’s behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? Guardian. PlutoniumKun: “What I find interesting – and hopeful – is that this is a bandwagon right wing politicians (at least outside the US) are climbing onto. Which might mean something will get done.”

Inside the hype and reality of the voice technology ‘revolution’ Recode

How NTP Controlled Coverage of Cell Phone Cancer Story MicrowaveNews (furzy)

China?

US tells China to remove missile systems in South China Sea Asia Times (Kevin W). Hoo boy.

Liu and Mnuchin Talk Trade for the First Time in Months Bloomberg

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of Amnesty International’s top human rights award abc.net.au (Kevin W)

Angela Merkel and the future of the EU DW

Nationalists and Patriots Illargi

Portugal Dared to Cast Aside Austerity. It’s Having a Major Revival. New York Times (furzy)

Brexit

Brexit shows that idiots and incompetents are in charge in UK Irish Times. PlutoniumKun: “Not quite as good as the heading, but Chris Johns is a mainstream business journalist (British, not Irish), it’s not usual that writers like this use this type of language.”

New Cold War

Nord Stream 2 Could Still Be Derailed By U.S. Sanctions OilPrice

Syraqistan

US & UK Not Truly Committed to Ending Saudi ‘Total War’ on Yemen Real News

Why a strategic port in Iran was exempted from sanctions Asia Times (J-LS)

U.S. Considers Asking Afghanistan to Suspend Presidential Election Wall Street Journal (Kevin W)

US has ‘gone rogue’ — Economist tells RT about SWIFT’s Iran cutoff RT (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook To Let French Regulators Investigate On Moderation Processes TechCrunch

Drive-By Shooting Suspect Remotely Wipes iPhone X, Catches Extra Charges AppleInsider

Crucifying Julian Assange Truthdig (RR)

Trump Transition

Trump and Big Media: Clash or Collusion? Consortiumnews

Sinema defeats McSally in Arizona Senate race The Hill

Over-reach is a risk for the Democrats after the midterms Financial Times

Democrats Say Their First Bill Will Focus On Strengthening Democracy At Home NPR. UserFriendly:

It’s 3 things that democrats would run away from if they could actually pass it. If they actually cared about voter turnout they would push election day registration which, unlike automatic registration, has been shone to increase turnout by around 5%.

Environmental damage prompts a rethink among US coastal voters Financial Times (David L)

California Burning

44 dead in California fires as the Camp Fire becomes the deadliest in state history CNN

‘No fresh air’: wildfire smoke sets apocalyptic haze over San Francisco Guardian

From atop Point Dume, a former Marine with binoculars, a radio and American flag tracks fires Los Angeles Times (David L)

A new fire burning in Malibu Canyon Los Angeles Times

8 of 13 mountain lions with working collar trackers in the Santa Monicas are detectable during fires Los Angeles Times

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black security guard who stops shooter is then shot and killed by police The Hill (UserFriendly)

Fake News

The real reason Palmer Luckey was fired from Facebook ZDNet

Kill Me Now

I Watched Joe Biden Give An Award To George W Bush So You Don’t Have To

Comcast should be investigated for antitrust violations, say small cable companies The Verge

Students in Brooklyn protest their school’s use of a Zuckerberg-backed online curriculum designed by Facebook engineers Business Insider (David L). We may need a new category, “Neoliberal Infestations”.

U.S. Chip Cards Are Being Compromised in the Millions ThreatPoat

Boeing Withheld Information on 737 Model, According to Safety Experts Wall Street Journal. Jerri-Lynn: “Send in the lawyers.”

Class Warfare

Homelessness in New York Public Schools Is at a Record High: 114,659 Students New York Times

Amazon’s HQ2 Spectacle Should Be Illegal The Atlantic (UserFriendly)

The Current Affairs Field Guide To Socialist Animals Current Affairs (UserFriendly)

‘Big Law Killed My Husband’: An Open Letter From a Sidley Partner’s Widow American Lawyer (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H:

Sorry I mucked up the water bowl. Maybe you could empty it and make it fresh? Orrr, maybe make it bigger? And bring raccoon treats? Please? Thank you.

And a bonus video. A bit slick, but still fun. I liked the cat door bit:

Not a normal bonus but worth your tome. Hat tip UserFriendly:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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186 comments

  1. Loneprotester

    Ilargi is absolutely right to call out Macron’s garbage “explanation” of why patriotism is GOOD and nationalism is BAD. I am a modern historian and a student of French. It is garbage thinking even in continental Europe. Outside of the EU (where a “higher master” is now to be served) it makes NO SENSE to trash the nation state, as there is no alternative.

    Moreover, on a day set aside to honor the dead of WWI, how do you justify proclaiming Patriotism to be ok? Does no one read Wilfred Owen anymore???

    “To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
    Pro patria mori.”

    Pro patria: for the homeland, i.e. Patriotism. Patriotism is BAD, says Owen. But for some reason Macron chooses this occasion to praise it. And because Orange man bad logic works every time, he is not questioned by anyone. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    Reply
      1. pjay

        Thank you for reposting this; I missed it the first time. In addition to the Macon article, this is a fitting companion piece to Caitlin Johnstone’s ‘I Watched Joe Biden Give An Award To George W Bush So You Don’t Have To.’ The wrong people always do the dying.

        Reply
        1. Teejay

          Howard Zinn said the wrong people are in jail and the wrong people are out of jail and the wrong people are in power and the wrong people are out of power.

          Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      I still think that patriotism and nationalism refer to the same phenomenon. The people who periodically see a big difference just want to use one word for the aspects they approve of, and a different word for the more disliked parts that are nonetheless inextricably intertwined with the approved parts.

      People are also in the habit of sliding from nationalism to an invented “white” or “European descent” nationalism, which really aren’t traditional nationalism at all, but efforts to redefine the meaning of nation as volk, or something like.

      And with the exception of a relative handful of proletarian internationalists and pan-islamists, most citizens of most countries continue to act like nationalists for all practical purposes. Probably because there is nothing beyond the nation-state that has any mechanism for most people to exercise any agency at all.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        When one pays one’s taxes, one is fighting one’s nation’s inflation, and not some other nation’s (at least directly).

        Very few people are fighting inflation in more than one country. Those who do are the internationalists, if not necessarily members of the proletariat.

        In this way, and many other ways, one confines oneself to one nation to varying degrees.

        Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is Macron a Bolshevik?

      The way he signaled his hierarchy this past week by where a person stood or sat reminds me of the annual parade before soviet leaders in the Red Square.

      A person would sense an imminent purge knowing that he or she had become more distant from the supreme leader.

      Reply
    3. Harol

      I agree with this. I get the impression that in France, the term nationalism has a bad connotation because associated with the Dreyfus affair and the Romantic and chauvinistic nationalisms of the late nineteenth century. It is ironic because France was arguably the first modern nation state (though some say Holland), in which citizenship was based on civic obligations and rights rather than ethnicity or social rank. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_state#History_and_origins

      I find Orwell’s thoughts on this, referred to in a comment below, as lacking in rigor, though interesting. It is a very complicated issue, not suited for soundbites (unless one is Ernest Renan).

      Reply
    4. auskalo

      In Basque language, we use the same word to say nationalism and patriotism: abertzaletasuna.
      But we don’t expect too much respect from french natinalism/patriotism: teaching at school in basque to children hasn’t been allowed until a few years ago.

      Reply
    5. Jean

      After visiting Paris this summer for the first time and staying there for 3 weeks, I am convinced that France is Over. Beyond the rudeness, cigarette smoke everywhere, the beggars, pickpockets, con artists and take over of entire neighborhoods and tourist areas by Africans, the place just doesn’t offer much to a tourist, even with lots of money.
      The countryside is lovely. Speeding through it going 190 miles an hour on the TGV is thrilling, once you climb over the legs of the passed out people in the aisle and get to the bathroom that lacks toilet paper, hot water and functioning locks.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > the TGV is thrilling, once you climb over the legs of the passed out people in the aisle and get to the bathroom that lacks toilet paper, hot water and functioning locks.

        You’re kidding. I was last in Europe over 10 years ago this seems like a radical deterioration. Can other readers confirm?

        Some problem with Africans?

        Reply
      2. Kurt Sperry

        The TGV is, I’m afraid, about as good as trains get. If you have problems with that, you are eternally predestined to disappointment. And anyone who finds today’s gentrified Paris too gritty would surely have been appalled by the Paris of, say, 20 years ago, which was definitely rawer. There are a lot of homeless and beggers in Paris, but for me at least the most African areas such as the Goutte d’Or are far more interesting than the antiseptically lily-white (except of course for the help who commute in) Western arrondissements, where Jean should probably confine him/herself to avoid being racially upset.

        Reply
    6. Tomonthebeach

      I think a great many of us view patriotism in terms of defense of the homeland , whereas nationalism is about economic and social dominance . I surely do.

      Macron is dead on. Trump wants global economic dominance and views every other country as an adversary. Obama, and most past presidents since Eisenhower, wanted global peace and prosperity and viewed all countries as allies or future allies. It is not relevant that both used murder and mayhem to achieve their goals – which is why Obama failed miserably.

      Reply
    7. djrichard

      Outside of the EU (where a “higher master” is now to be served) it makes NO SENSE to trash the nation state, as there is no alternative.

      Your comment makes me think of the study of oceanic potlatch societies that Mauss did. Basically they don’t serve a higher master. Everything is quid-pro-quo. But that doesn’t mean they don’t sacrifice. Their mentality is “I sacrifice so that you may sacrifice” – their way of building relationships and trust with each other.

      Compare to how countries relate to each other in western (and even eastern) society. A good amount of it is necessarily quid-pro-quo, leading to win/win relationships. But there’s plenty of win/lose as well.

      And even when it’s “positive” relations between countries, in a global capitalistic system we have now, it’s not really the countries themselves that are having the relationship as it is the “higher master”: the capitalists. The countries are just their conduit to cycle currency flows and goods between themselves – to have a common market from which they can extract surplus. And more importantly a common means for swapping surplus hoards with each other. [Ah, but just think of the sacrifices they make with each other to build trust, lol.]

      I can’t find the full text of what Macron actually said and it doesn’t look like he actually used the words “higher power” (whatever the french equivalent to that would be). So can give a him a benefit of a doubt.

      Still, I suspect he believes it with all his heart. Not only in terms of how countries should relate to each other, but also how people should relate to each other. The belief being that people should focus first on how they serve a higher power rather than, well rather than like what the potlatch societies do.

      Reply
        1. djrichard

          You figured out the flaw in the story, lol.

          Personally for me, it gives me a way to put our society into perspective. It’s an empire. And it will forever be an empire. Even if our (the left’s) most outrageous desires are achieved, there’s no escaping the model of authority that we worship.

          Even if we go through the dark ages (post-Jackpot), I don’t think we can unwind that cultural mode of being. We’ll just devolve into mini empires.

          Reply
  2. Amfortas the hippie

    there’s a weird disease that raccoons carry…around here, known as “raccoon fever” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baylisascaris
    they leave it in outside water bowls.
    we had a couple of dogs die of it…strange lurching movements, slobbering dementia, creeping paralysis.
    not pretty.
    just thought i’d mention it.

    Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        and coats.
        alas, it sometimes falls to me to thin the Mob, since we humans have been so effective at thinning the predators. Due to the three dog experiences, I’ve been reluctant to skin the resulting coon corpses.
        also, tanning,scraping, etc is one of my least favorite activities..
        in my south neighbor’s woods, there’s apparently a large mob/colony…by footprints and actual surveillance, I would guess as many as an hundred masked bandits.
        and yes, they are very intelligent..opening gates to facilitate absconding with pecans, turning off lights, even.
        no trashcan of grain is safe without a large and stable rock.

        Reply
    1. Quentin

      This is the lack of service notice we get from LATimes in the Netherlands:

      Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries. We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market. We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism.

      Reply
      1. Bugs Bunny

        Same in every EU country and this includes all LA times-related sites. Good news is that any Gannett newspapers (USA today and a lot of formerly good local papers they now own) have no ads on them when accessed from the EU.

        A decent VPN will run about 100$/year. Useful for TV too.

        Reply
          1. Kurt Sperry

            I’m using the Opera VPN set to “Americas” to get access to some sites that are geofenced against being accessed from the EU. The offered choices in that VPN are “Americas”, “Europe”, and “Asia”, so pretty lacking in geographical granularity.

            Remember when the web was the same wherever you accessed it from (Maybe the PRC notwithstanding)? Seems to me like any reasonable and useful definition of net-neutrality would preclude having access restricted by geographical location. Let those countries who oppose such net-neutrality build their own local “non-worldwide” webs isolated and separate from the WWW and see how that goes over.

            Reply
  3. timbers

    U.S. Considers Asking Afghanistan to Suspend Presidential Election Wall Street Journal (Kevin W)

    Which one? Ours?

    (Pardon my Snake Plitskin)

    Reply
    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Snake!

      As a young teenager Snake blew my mind when he chose to bring the world back to the Dark Ages.

      That final shot of him striking a match and lighting a cigarette…

      Escape From LA is a John Carpenter movie from 1996 IIRC ICYMI

      Reply
    1. UserFriendly

      Speaking of videos, I was just watching one (It happened to be anti-Obama, so clearly targeting GOP base) when a commercial, paid for by Trump’s joint fundraising committee with the RNC, of Trump telling me Russiagate is a hoax, everyone knows it cause our poll numbers. Donate by 9 p.m. to get on the presidents special list of supporters.

      Which, for the first time made me think maybe there is something to Russiagate if he feels the need to advertise a week after midterms to discredit it to his base….. Not that it’s proof or anything, just very very odd.

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        Oh, that reminds me of something. I need to do more practice with the formal and informal forms of Russian speech.

        Thanks for the reminder, Mr. President and the Democrats. I wouldn’t be so motivated to learn the Russian language without you.

        Reply
      2. Jessica

        It may also be that his base already sees Russiagate as a hoax aimed at their hero by his and their enemies and therefore he can use it to motivate them.

        I wonder if Trump will wind up like Joseph McCarthy from the 50s: turned loose, then shot down when his backers wanted to shift to doing the same thing but with more control (for them) and class.
        While McCarthy was hysterically waving his list of communists in the State Department, a Senator Carlson from Kansas was quietly purging the civil service of New Dealers. Kind of ironic for such an anti-communist to be mimicking the Stalin of the 1920s.
        Whether you hate the man on the screen or love him, pay no attention to that main behind the curtain.

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          We just watched a great film called “The Death Of Stalin”. Subtitled: A Comedy Of Terrors”. Dark satire at its most deliciousness. Brilliant ensemble cast. I wore my aluminum foil beret, to protect myself from Russian subliminal propaganda. Putin already knows I didn’t fall for Russiagate.

          Reply
    2. Mark Gisleson

      Hmm. I’ll keep checking back to see if Twitter deletes my posting of that video. I’ll be sad if they do because that young woman speaks a lot of truth in five minutes.

      Reply
        1. Synoia

          She should study the concept of “The King’s Peace” and try to find an alternative.

          The British tried Libertarianism in the dark ages, for about 400 to 500 years. It was not a successful experiment.

          Reply
          1. UserFriendly

            Well, I don’t need convincing and I don’t actually know her. Though I was thinking about effective ways to explain MMT to anarcho capitalists (her biggest gripe against government is being forced to pay for wars and ineffective welfare), and if I come up with a decent pitch I might email her and attach NC’s great 6 part series Journey into a Libertarian Future.

            Reply
            1. Amfortas the hippie

              Thank you for linking to that.
              Chilling.
              Mencius Moldbug, dissected and splayed open for clarity.
              as a teenager, i was a Libertarian because they were the only ones who cared about Rights, and were against the wars, and for the freedom to smoke weed. The Randian Version always creeped me out.

              Reply
          2. Oregoncharles

            “Not successful,” bt it went on for 400 years?

            Who was it not successful for?

            Precisely when are you talking about? This might be interesting.

            Reply
        2. Plenue

          Yeah, after about a minute of clicking through her other videos the stupid started to appear. Like the one about how gun control is racist, with no mention of the partially racist origin of gun rights in the first place.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            Expecting not just a detailed but also comprehensive exploration of any subject never mind a contentious subject like gun rights from a 3-5 YouTube video is asking too much.

            Reply
    3. barefoot charley

      Glad to know about Carey Wedler. Her pussy piece above is stellar–funny, smart and even original. I’d never thought about how the Democrats branded female body parts.

      Reply
          1. pjay

            Am I correct in assuming that you do not live in either (1) a coastal liberal enclave, or (2) an academic community? If I’m not, you are lucky.

            Reply
  4. John Beech

    Massive global health study reveals “disturbing” trends – New Atlas

    What it shows is women don’t want to bear children.

    Me? I think we make it entirely too hard. Not only are women paid less for equal work, but time off to bear children is done begrudgingly, or not at all. Time to care afterward also means loss of status at work, and time not gaining experience. Then we crush the young with day care costs. Small wonder, they use birth ‘control’ and some, like Casey Anthony in Orlando, would rather shed the obligation and drug the ‘mistake’ and leave them in the trunk of the car so they can go party-hardy.

    Then again, maybe it was set up correctly from the beginning, like the middle easterners still do it, and the women are kept in subjugation. This last is meant tongue in cheek, so no pitchforks, please!

    Reply
    1. Huey

      I agree John. Also, iirc the article stated the average fertility is going down, but as mentioned in the article, and being in the Third World myself it’s hard to imagine when the vast majority of females have 7-8 children, even tho supposedly out rates are decreasing as well. Regardless we regularly have kids starting in on baby making from 15, and one young man I met aged 21 has already had 4 young’uns to his name, all of which he says he supports with his meager earnings driving taxis.

      In all honesty the malea here generally have somewhere on the order of 12 to 20 children.

      Reply
    2. Mrs Smith

      It isn’t just women who don’t want kids. Almost every couple I know who are younger than 35 are not having children because it’s expensive and leads to even worst precarity than they already live in. It’s the economy stupid.

      Women use birth control (don’t know why you put that in quotations) because reproductive choice is a human right, despite all efforts to restrict it, and the world is a much better place when women and their partners can choose when, and if to have children. A falling birth rate is not a bad thing and has positive impacts on individual and national health and wealth, not to mention educational and employment opportunities. That you clearly believe that birth control is so that women can “shed their obligations” is just repellant.

      Also, your JK about “middle easterners” is wildly racist, and your example of a woman killing a child to go party is anecdotal and vile in the extreme.

      Reply
      1. Robert Valiant

        Falling birth rates are bad for GDP. You must either increase per-capita consumption, or increase population for GDP growth. I don’t see how global capitalism survives without a growing global population – not that I think that it should survive. I don’t think the global elite can grow consumption enough by themselves, and I don’t think the Western “middle class” (the sub-elite) can either. Lord knows both groups are trying.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          When we read ‘capitalism can’t survive without contributing more humans into the game,’ doesn’t that sound like a Ponzi Scheme?

          “Who is going to pick our grapes?”

          “Who is going to take care of the seniors?”

          Having more babies is one solution. Letting someone else do the birth work, and inviting them to this country is another less-messy, and inducive-to-pride-in-not-contributing-to-global-population-problem.

          Another solution is robots. They are not human and therefore do not contribute to an ‘over-population’ problem.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Turnover of the staff @ my mom’s assisted living place is constant from the top to the bottom of all levels. She’s on her 4th general manager in 3 years, and even more prevalent is the turnaround of Millennials in lower echelon positions.

            Reply
        2. Amfortas the hippie

          that’s why the Masters of the Universe don’t count externalities.
          it’s difficult to both believe real hard that your preferred civilisational operating system is a force of nature, mysterious and almost a deity,( and thus not your fault)…and also at the same time acknowledge the actual natural world that everyone can see, with it’s pesky limits to growth and consequences for over-reach.`
          Beginning with Reagan/Thatcher(altho it began long before), the Masters have done the rest of us a grievous disservice. Their Aristocrat counterinsurgency,promoting balls to the wall I-Got-Mine Greed-is-Goodism, while suppressing evidence and advocacy of the very Idea of limits, or of an alternative, has likely doomed us all.
          There should be consequences for that. In the spirit of Humanism, I’d settle for taxing the hell out of them, and removing their steering wheels.
          But as things progress towards biocide and Doom, I reckon others might not be so gentle.(Rich folks…the other white meat)
          When I discovered Peak Oil…then Peak Everything…after the second Iraq Adventure, and came across the Club of Rome, I spent a good deal of my meager resources obtaining a copy.
          One of the most depressing lightbulbs to ever light up in my head was the realisation that They Knew…way back then when there was still a choice…and that they took it upon themselves to choose wrong.
          the prospects are dim for an overturning(ie: revolution) on a scale that would actually matter, but when I’m under the Big Oak and my mind wanders into these dark places, I remember Shelley:

          ““Rise like Lions after slumber
          In unvanquishable number-
          Shake your chains to earth like
          dew
          Which in sleep had fallen on you
          Ye are many-they are few.”

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            Thanks for that scrap of Shelley; I sent it to myself to save it. Did he write a lot like that? I’ve always seen him very differently.

            Reply
            1. Amfortas the hippie

              I’m more familiar with the life of Byron, but this is from the Masque of Anarchy ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Masque_of_Anarchy ) and is my favorite Shelley, by far.

              one of my other favorite political poems(actually part of a much longer work, filled with obscure references to contemporary criminals/pols) is the end of Pope’s Dunciad:
              https://www.naic.edu/~gibson/poems/pope1.html

              “Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos is restored;
              Light dies before thy uncreating word:
              Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall;
              And universal darkness buries all. ”

              the question remains, which side of the duopoly fits? In my view, the great anarch could be either Hil or Don…but moreso, what they both represent.

              Reply
          2. Hepativore

            There is also the fact that more and more people are realizing that they do not HAVE to have children, where as in the recent past, having kids was just “something you did” without actually thinking about why, or even not having any at all. Without going on too much of a tangent, I think that there are some very large cons with having children, and not just financially, but physically and psychologically as well. As I am 34, most of my friends have started having children, and a good many of them have admitted to me privately that it is not all it was cracked up to be and actually regret it.

            I got a vasectomy when I was 22, and have never regretted it. The older I get the happier I am about the fact that I have never had children. I have seen far too many kids that are little demons which grow up into even more destructive individuals despite the best efforts of their parents.

            Reply
            1. Huey

              There are cons for the children as well. Personally I think that most people intending to have children without giving up a good part of their lives are crazy. At least to be a good parent, you have to denote a significant amount of your time to this kid, even when they’re 30 and struggling to find a job and need a roof and a place to sleep again for a while. It’s much more of a lifelong commitment than anything.

              That said children as a group are hardly little demons, they just take a different approach than most adults. I should also say like any artifical group children aren’t really homogenous, aside from needing love. Nazi children are different from tribal children, and there are in-group differences, nature vs. nuture. Suffice to say results may vary.

              Reply
            2. Elizabeth Burton

              Those with sufficient means who opt not to reproduce could always establish a trust fund, find some poverty-stricken family, and see that one or more of the offspring are provided for such that the family is no longer in need of the rapidly dissolving “social safety net.” They would have no contact, thus eliminating any whiff of human trafficking.

              There are a slew of elderly and disabled who could also benefit from such an arrangement.

              Just sayin’.

              Reply
            3. JBird4049

              My better half and I would have loved to have children, but poverty put paid to that. If you can’t pay the rent because finding enough work which pays much more than minimum wage is problematic, with both of you working…

              If you look at the Great Depression, the birth rate just cratered and since the Great Recession has never really ended for most Americans, even in the Coastal Blue areas, having a falling birth rate is kinda unsurprising. Having the extended family structure fracturing accelerate, in part because of neoliberal policies, in the past few generations along with the rest of society also makes having children far more difficult. Every social ill, every problem or obstacle, increases the risks and makes it more likely to destroy the family.

              Restated, an increasingly impoverish, fractured, and severely stressed society is not going to full of people joyously raising children. If you don’t accept and deal with that, everything is just nonsense.

              Reply
  5. Huey

    Pretty concerning news about the micro/radiowaves verdict. Not sure what to do about that one either since we’re all bombarded by everyone else’s radio waves constantly. I gotta do more external reading but presumably this includes Wifi as well?

    And in the end we still need more info if their insight into the atypical dose-response relationship is anything to go by.

    Reply
    1. gepay

      Instead of funding studies that are geared toward finding which frequencies and at what levels are dangerous, I would imagine that industry studies are geared toward claiming that everything is awesome.
      I have read some studies looking into microwave exposure safety using the definition of a user as using a cellphone once a week, Imagine how that that dilutes the pool and dissipates clusters. Especially as the concern is that fairly constant and long term exposure is necessary for the effects of non-ionizing radiation.

      Reply
  6. voteforno6

    Re: Amazon HQ2

    This is from Bezos’ own fish-wrapper, so I guess this is close to an official announcement:

    Amazon HQ2 decision: Amazon splits prize between Crystal City and New York

    The good news from Amazon, I guess, is that they’ll actually be able to walk to the Pentagon, at least from the first building that they’ll occupy there. National Airport is just a short drive (or slightly longer walk) away from there as well. I’m not sure if National offers direct flights to Seattle, though.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe Bezos can get Musk to build a hyperloop between Amazon HQ2 and the Pentagon as well as the CIA. Be easier getting between them all considering he basically he owns a big chunk of their computing now through contracts.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Hah! I noticed locally that WalMart is not allowing RVs to overnight in WM parking lots anymore. That says something to how “downscale” the ‘nomad’ community is becoming. I personally have seen converted school bus RVs making a comeback. From a previous few, here and there, I’m seeing more and more.
        When we lived in the Superannuated Airstream for a few years, back in the eighties, it was from choice. We were crypto-hippys, and wanted to see a bit of the country before our lives became too resource depleting, (three kids take a lot of resources to raise.) I’m sensing that now the choice to live a Neo-Transhumance lifestyle is by necessity. (Except that now the ‘livestock’ are the ‘workers.’)

        Reply
      2. Suzie

        Steven worked several years in the Amazon CamperForce program, priding himself on being one of the oldest in the warehouse.

        77 years old working 12 hour shifts in a warehouse for $11/hour.

        This is the future of America that corporate America is making happen.

        Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Atlantic article title is ‘Amazon’s HQ2 Spectacle Should Be Illegal.’

      It is, and the same with professional teams in various sports playing governments (cities, counties, etc) against each other.

      What should also be illegal is its size. Make it illegal and the government can break it up.

      Reply
    3. Craig H.

      The last time I was in Crystal City it did not appear to have space for another 25 000 workers without building multiple 40 story skyscrapers. I thought this was considered an obsolete office design?

      Does anybody know of a good urban planner commentary on this situation who is not partial?

      I was thinking all along this was going to be an office park 10+ acres. Like the new Apple HQ2 in Cupertino. With trees and goose ponds and squirrels.

      Reply
  7. Huey

    The black security guard story is absolutely hilarious in a ‘I can’t believe this is actually happening’ way. Another one for the zeitgeist.

    Similarly Zuckerberg et al’s hubris has no bounds, neoliberal infestation indeed.

    I’ll just also say the Socialist Animals schtick is admittedly kinda funny but seems to lump a lot of things under socialism that speak mucn more to identity politics. My imagination?

    Reply
    1. marym

      The story is absolutely a number of things, but I would disagree with your particular description.

      A police officer responding to a shooting in a Chicago-area bar shot and killed a black security guard who had subdued and disarmed the shooter.

      This story and the loss of this life are many things in many ways, but I disagree that hilarious is one of them.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        yeah, probably especially not funny to black people. I’m a mid sized white guy who has never had the slightest concern a cop might shoot me. This borders on/is an epidemic.

        Reply
        1. Huey

          It is an epidemic, I’d say, and I am black. It’s perhaps a problem with my coping strategies, but for something worsening so much and so out of my control it feels like I can either just laugh or go crazy, to me.

          Reply
            1. Huey

              Sure.

              At the end of the day anyway, people have different tastes. I have a penchant for dark and cynical humour, but it’s not for everyone.

              I must admit that I mostly replied because I actually really dislike persons saying that xyz might be offensive to discrete identity groups because it kinda feels like your individuality’s being wiped out, praise be to the commonality.

              tegnost is absolutely right that several black persons probably won’t find that funny, but I’m just as certain there are others like me who do, and being not-black while seeing the irony in this is also not necessarily a sin. We are all just people, and a lot of us are just trying our best.

              That’s what’s kinda nice about anonymity, you could be anyone, and so people tend to respond to you more based on your thoughts and actions than an ascriptive identity. That, also is an important part of you as well but that’s another argument.

              Reply
          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            People get pissed sometimes when i laugh at Tragedy, but its better than getting pissed and angry.

            Plus people start to tune out when im explaining how it got this bad.

            PlusPlus Jesus said to celebrate the dead.

            Reply
            1. Huey

              I’m kinda numb to a lot of tragedy now. Where I work and live everyone is dying horribly, one way or the other. It’s sad but if you really think about all of it it’ll kill you too. I certainly can’t manage it. I also can’t change any of it, at least not all at once, so I joke about it, and keep on doing what I can. It’s limited but, at least what feedback I’ve gotten has been positive.

              Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s tragic, an innocent man was killed.

      Would be more tragic to make it more than what it was, without providing additional details to questions.

      Questions like

      1. Would a non-black have been similarly shot in the same situation where it was chaotic and uncertain (arriving at a scene initially), though not excusable to act like that?

      2. Was the shooting officer white or something else?

      3. How often do police shoot at a security guard, of any group, by mistake? Does it by itself make national news? Then this becomes a question more people will be concerned about – should the police be armed at all, unlike some other countries where they are not?

      Where we are right now, as far as details are concerned (from the linked article), is it necessary to be not-color-blind here with this case of justice?

      It feels like, with the title, we are being directed to focus only on some key word.

      Reply
      1. Huey

        Very good points, thank you for sharing.

        I’m a bit ashamed, normally I also consider this stuff but I’ve gone and jumped the gun this time.

        Reply
    3. RUKidding

      Hilarious? Really? Wow.

      It’s tragic on so many levels, especially the one that said: this was bound to happen.

      So much for the NRAs favorite trope about “good guys” with guns. Guess NRA forgot to mention that blacks are also not included in that whites-only club.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Also tragic is friendly fire shootings – police officers on fellow police officers, soldiers on other soldiers from the same side, etc.

        It seems to be more than just the NRA, but whether the police should be armed (or the way they are armed, that is, every officer, always, when on duty).

        Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Trump and Big Media: Clash or Collusion?”

    CNN says it’s “Facts First” which I find to be optimistic on their part but I thought that I should note something about what happened after Jim Acosta’s credentials were yanked. I think that by now most people have seen the footage of when Acosta confronted Trump and how the White House intern tried to give the mike to another journalist but Acosta pushed her arm away. Well, not long afterwards Acosta was giving an interview when he out and out lied about even touching that intern. Said he never touched her.
    So we now have representatives of the main stream media reaching the point where they can tell an outright lie which is in direct contradiction of recorded facts seen by hundreds of millions of people and think that people will believe them. Clash or collusion? I would go with clash but instead of challenging Trump on his deeds, find it OK to make stuff up. Where is an Edward Murrow or a Walter Cronkite when you need one?

    Reply
    1. Mrs Smith

      I think the case Acosta might be making is that she got into his space and he was never moving to “touch” her, but she got in his way as she reached into his personal space. It’s a small distinction, but a reasonable one and I wouldn’t call it a lie as much as a clarification of his intent, or lack thereof to come in contact with her.

      A similar example is the woman who called police because a child “groped” her in the grocery story. It was his backpack that grazed her and there was zero intent on his part to touch her at all. He’s not lying if he says he didn’t touch her, even if a part of his body came in contact with hers.

      That this type of clarification is even necessary is a bit startling, but feel free to continue to be outraged by Acosta’s defence of himself.

      Reply
      1. Lynne

        But… the two examples are not remotely similar. No part of the child’s body touched that woman and there does appear to be zero intent on his part to touch her.

        Acosta did touch the intern, albeit not with malice. So yeah, I may not be outraged but I am disgusted by his apparent lie. Why can’t he just explain what happened, instead of using a falsehood to “clarify” it? Doesn’t serve him well the next time he attacks Trump’s lies.

        Reply
    2. RUKidding

      Depends on who you think is lying, I suppose. And then that depends on which version of the video you choose to believe.

      Choices, choices… just so hard to decide who’s lying these days, even with video footage readily available.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Even with one video, live (as in everyone being there), everyone told a different version of the story in Rashomon.

        Reply
        1. RUKidding

          There was no video in Roshomon as far as I remember it. That was the point. It was based on what the observers remembered or thought they saw.

          This case, imo, is utterly different. We have actual live video footage that can be viewed by all concerned. Completely different.

          One may choose, I suppose, on how one “interprets” what happens in the video. But it’s not based on memory.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I agree this case is different.

            It’s an ‘even if’ case.

            That is, even if we are all sitting here, watching a live event (referred to in the original comment as ‘one video, live’) together, at the same time, we would still see it different, depending on what we want to see, what we are taught to expect to see, etc.

            Reply
            1. RUKidding

              imo that’s dancing on the head of a pin. Have to agree to disagree on this.

              Video can produce stills that are pretty irrefutable.

              Cheers.

              Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          in the version I saw, it appeared that she touched him, and he shrugged her off. I thought it was pretty clear cut.

          His real sin was hogging the microphone, but it’s the other reporters that would have a beef. Trump sense that the questions weren’t going his way, and cut it short; the foofaraw over the young woman’s attempt to retrieve the mike is a handy distraction.

          Reply
    3. Elizabeth Burton

      Based on an admittedly short career as a professional working journalist, all of the furor that followed the event struck me as overlooking what to me was the real significance of the whole performance. And I do believe that’s exactly what it was, on both sides.

      I cannot accept that a professional journalist with Mr. Acosta’s resumé would behave in such a sophomoric, in-your-face confrontational manner unless he deliberately chose to do so. I have also heard a rumor Trump went into the pressie fully intending to do a job on someone, and Acosta walked right into it, if so. Again, hard to believe given his background.

      Then, when that wasn’t generating enough outrage, there appears a version of the video filmed during the event that is immediately declared to have been doctored to make it appear Acosta…well, accosted the young woman. This, apparently, did the trick, and suddenly the entire world is defending what from a professional standpoint was indefensible, even if the recipient was someone the likes of Donald Trump.

      Meanwhile, Christine Assange is on Twitter begging people to say why they support Julian as the same media screeching on behalf of Acosta silently turns its collective back on a journalist who is really being screwed over.

      Reply
  9. Wukchumni

    Spent 45 minutes in the hot tub just now and felt as if i’d chain-smoked a pack of unfiltered Camels, the state of the state of things.

    The real X factor is the usual boogeyman in our profound lack of rain, which aside from the remnants of a Mexican hurricane in early October, we’ve been bone dry, with nothing on the week out horizon, coupled with humidity rates as low as the single digits, as in no bueno.

    We need a good drenching to quell the fires or possibility of…

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      In AZ during October, I measured 3.75″ in my rain gauge. Two tropical depressions — the remnants of the hurricanes mentioned above — really saved our bacon. Right now, I’m at a hair over 11″ for the year, and normal annual rainfall is 12″.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        for the pnw my sense is we’ve had more than normal cold for nov., but anecdote is not data. we are getting rain but it seems to be coming from a higher latitude than normal as the storms are coming in the strait of JdF rather than backing up on the olympics, with the previous caveat still in effect.

        Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “Angela Merkel and the future of the EU”

    I have read this through and I find a common thread woven between all the elements in this article. It all came down to when Merkel decided to have Germany take in well over a million ‘refugees’ not long ago. Before then, Merkel was in a superior position but afterwards she found herself isolated. Certainly the AfD party would never have made the inroads that they did recently, thus cutting out the ground from underneath the CDU and CSU, without this high-handed decision. Popularism is now on the rise because of decisions like this and not only in Germany.
    She even destroyed bridges with other countries by demanding that they take a big share of the refugees that she had let into Germany. The EU is still dealing with the fallout from this in their fight with Poland and Hungary to take in their ‘share’. The EU and especially Germany would be wise to help Syria be reconstructed so that a big chunk of these refugees can go home but that would mean admitting defeat in Syria which she will not do. It’s still “Assad must go!”
    Because of this, Macron is now a bit isolated himself and there is no longer a power block left capable of introducing ‘reforms’ such as a banking union. Thus this decision about the refuges that Merkel made is now going to have repercussions on European history and EU integration. Who would ever have believed that ignoring the will of your people and ram-rodding through deeply unpopular measures would have an effect come election time. Oh yeah, there was Brexit. And I guess Trump too. Hmmm.

    Reply
    1. Quentin

      You can only wonder, what was Angela Merkel ever thinking when she invited all those people to walk to and enter Germany, not to mention the other countries she had no jurisdiction over? Might she think she’s the Empress of the EU or something? It’s so peculiar the way we were seeing thousands upon thousands of people arranged in orderly lines in open fields on their way to her Realm and elsewhere in Europe. And everyone was supposed to regard the images as objective facts triggered by an Act of God. At the time you couldn’t openly say, here in the Netherlands, that the whole event was absurd, mind-boggling. No, these people had to be taken in because ‘Assad had to go’. He was such a bastard.

      And shortly before all this, Germany, with cover from the IMF, led the way to trashing—sorry, extorting—Greece. These are two German experiments which have sorely backfired on all the peoples of Europe. Kudos to the Portuguese for defying the austerity politics and economics of Europe under the leadership of Germany, as explained in the NY Times article linked to above. The sooner Merkel disappears, the better it will be, even though he’s leaving emptiness in her wake.

      Reply
      1. tiebie66

        The improvement of the Portuguese economy has very little to do with defying austerity, but much more with the substantial increases, since 2014, in tourism. Revenue from tourism now accounts for around 18-20% of GDP.
        “Portugal’s tourism boom has made the industry one of the biggest contributors to the national economy and the largest employer, with almost 1 million direct and indirect jobs…..Portugal has been spared the bloody attacks seen in neighboring European countries and benefited as violence and political unrest deter visitors from parts of the eastern Mediterranean and north Africa. ”
        https:// http://www.reuters.com/article/us-portugal-tourism/ portugals-flourishing-tourism-becomes-economic-mainstay-idUSKCN1GS1YF

        Reply
        1. windsock

          Portugal is a lovely country. In Brexitannia, I wish I had Portuguese ancestry and therefore access to a passport… Alas, I don’t.

          Reply
      2. Mark Pontin

        Quentin wrote: You can only wonder, what was Angela Merkel ever thinking when she invited all those people to walk to and enter Germany, not to mention the other countries she had no jurisdiction over?

        According to Wolfgang Streek (author of HOW WILL CAPITALISM END? and much more), Angela Merkel was thinking that inviting the refugees to Germany would increase her support among German Green Party supporters and, thus, Green backing for Merkel. That’s all.

        In other words, Merkel’s decision was a completely self-centered politician’s miscalculation. Not unlike David Cameron’s decision to have a referendum on the UK leaving the EU in order to beat down growing UKIP support among Eurosceptic Tory voters.

        Merkel, the wise elder stateswoman and linchpin of the EU, my a**!

        Reply
    2. windsock

      Refugees in inverted commas?

      She could do nothing else but let them in. Putting refugees in sealed railway trucks and sending them back to Syria would not have been a good look for Germany. She was the one true adult in the room at the time.

      “Popularism is now on the rise because of decisions like this and not only in Germany.” So we give in to the demons of our worse nature because it’s more convenient?

      I do agree that the handling of immigration into the EU has been atrociously handled, especially with regard to the “distribution” of refugees among states like they were pieces to be laid out on a game board. Germany/Merkel invited them in therefore Germany/Merkel should have dealt with them. “Wir schaffen das.”

      Reply
      1. divadab

        “She could do nothing else but let them in”

        Not so in any legal sense. No country is under any legal obligation to accept refugees who are already in a safe third country. Period.

        Merkel could have done any number of things including providing housing and food to refugees in place in Turkey, for example. Or using cruise ships. Or paying Greece rent on some under-populated island and providing refugee accommodation there.

        The article is spot on, I’d say understating the treasonously poor judgement exercised by Merkel in this regard.

        Reply
        1. windsock

          Not in a legal sense, you are correct. But the wave of migrants was already on the move through the Balkans, and Austria/Hungary could never have accommodated them nor resisted them. Germany was their destination and the photo of Alan Kurdi dead on a beach prodded a truly moral response from Mrs Merkel.

          Reply
      2. JEHR

        I think that Merkel was loathe to turn away any refugees or migrants because of her knowledge of Germany’s past history. It was the right thing to do under the circumstances. The immigrants were not invited in so much as not dissuaded from coming which would seem like an invitation when you are fleeing from war and war’s atrocities. We really do have to be more empathetic about others trying to do the right thing and about those who try to find a better life without violence.

        Reply
    3. Darthbobber

      If it is truly the case that the entire EU project stands or falls with the fortunes of a single German politician, that says a great deal about the project itself. But I suspect it is not literally true.

      Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    Declassified military documents reveal the terrifying power of solar storms Metro
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    That must’ve been something though in the death throes of the Vietnam War in 1972, imagine 4,000 underwater mines going off more or less simultaneously?

    Solar storms are right up there with volcanoes in events that are something to worry over, not that you can do anything all that much.

    It’s why we keep about $500 worth of canned & dry food on hand, an insurance policy against hunger if the unexpected comes calling.

    Reply
    1. divadab

      Well this explains why I saw the aurora borealis at the 45th parallel on that date. And why there was nothing at all in the news about it at the time.

      Reply
        1. newcatty

          Jonathan, I have wondered about that, too. Think the most fascinating thing is that Ancient Peoples often had an amazing understanding of the natural world in which they lived and, mostly through keen observation of the cosmos surrounding them, a connection with phenomena emanating from that cosmos with a belief in something grander than the known experience. In my limited readings, and some experiential learning, I have been consistently reinforced in the fact that cross culturally people’s have similar beliefs and creation stories. Shamans and priestess have access to cosmic power. A Zuni medicine man tells of the star people in their long history. A shaman in Siberia does too. Native people’s in almost every current nation state on the planet, have many in their communities who believe in everything on Mother Earth having Spirit…from rocks to trees to waterways. Imagine having the consciousness to have respect for and gratitude toward all life. There is hope here.

          Reply
  12. Jason Boxman

    These voice assistants are terrifying. I flatly refuse to ever, ever speak to my stuff. Unless it’s to utter a few choice phrases I cannot repeat here.

    Reply
    1. Jason Boxman

      They also appear to be, quite literally, an answer to a question no one asked. In virtually every way, a voice driven device is vastly constrained in its usefulness. And the recode article points out how valuable that is for retailers, because it’s such a hassle people generally just buy the first suggested item.

      I feel like America used to do innovative stuff, once upon a time. Now it’s all cons and dups.

      Reply
    2. Brooklin Bridge

      My concern is that these intrusive devices (whether voice capable or by other inputs) become unavoidable. Already, I can’t contact Verizon (and now others) without answering questions by voice. They no longer support answering numerically by push button. If I keep pushing numbers, they just exit the call (hang up) but not before getting in a dig in a mechanical voice implying I’m not being “cooperative”. If I go to their web site (and they make a good effort at herding me there), they lay super cookies on my machine that are difficult or impossible to get rid of without major effort.

      Along with being unavoidable, these intrusive devices come with contracts that implicitly or explicitly exact the user’s permission to record and use any data they can collect about you basically in any way they so choose OR the device is basically unusable. Look at the “license” info that flashes across new automobile screens every time one starts their car. How long before it’s impossible to get a toaster or washing machine, never mind furnace for your home, that doesn’t command you to get them connected to the net or, not only will they not work, but you will be flagged as an uncooperative.

      And yet the vast majority of people (or so we are told*) are comfortable with them and couldn’t be less concerned about invasion of privacy or -given human nature- the inevitable dystopian horizons ahead.

      Whether real or perceived, the profits and rent extraction potential of these devices is so powerful that I’m very suspicious of the polls and surveys that suggest no one could care less about privacy. That may be true, but it may also be, and to some extent certainly is, a “manufactured” truth.

      Amusing or ironic antidote; my wife recently insisted on getting a smart phone and just barged into my office with a cousin from France on the other end of (what I consider a spy device and she considers) a super cool gadget where both could see and hear each other from thousands of miles apart (and I was forced to either be polite and jabber for while under the scrutiny of a camera or be a poor sport. As my wife left, oblivious of what I was writing on my computer, chatting into the phone across the wide Atlantic, she commented – as if on cue – that she doesn’t care a whit if she sold her soul to the devil, it’s just too cool to speak to and see someone from that far away.

      Que faire?

      Reply
      1. Jason Boxman

        Thanks for so clearly describing the dangers of this entire class of devices. Much like neoliberal capitalism, one day we will be told there is simply no alternative.

        Reply
      2. TimR

        To me these things always seem to go beyond profit motive. I can’t connect all the dots, but you have these think tanks like Tavistock that are doing something all day, probably working on technocratic “utopias” (ie dystopias for us.)

        The people at the top already have all the money… They’re probably interested in engineering the human livestock beneath them, using technocratic experts that interlock with big biz, gov, academia etc. The profit motive may operate for lower level ones, but it’s a fig leaf for the very top of the pyramid, one would think.

        So that to me is the disturbing thing about the mad rush to inflict all this tech on a shell shocked populace.

        I do also entertain the idea that even uber elites are caught up in the internal logic of some deep historical currents and unable to break free.

        Reply
      3. Jean

        I’ve found with a lot of these systems, for the time being at least, if you swear loudly and long, you will be routed to an operator.
        This works even better than saying “operator”.

        Just take a wild guess how I figured this out?

        If you want human beings, call the new business linewhich is usually “humanstaffed”. Did I just invent a new word in the English language?
        Ask them to transfer you to the help desk and get the ‘secret’ phone number that they have first in case you get cut off.

        Reply
        1. Brooklin Bridge

          if you swear loudly and long, you will be routed to an operator.

          I tried a more mundane variant of that excellent idea and it has worked for years; right up until the present, that is. Now, as I probably didn’t make clear, the automated system repeats the question several times and then just hangs up on me no matter what I say or what tone I use to say it.

          This is the future – because more and more companies are interested in your biometric data and a reasonable way to ascertain your identity under as many circumstances as possible (and not simply or even primarily to service you better).

          Reply
          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Actually, I could go VOIP, but given my ISP, that’s a little like suggesting I use Al Capone when taking out a loan.
            -Leery.

            Reply
        1. Huey

          Wasn’t there some expose a year or 2 ago showing that Tails wasn’t actually properly wiping your trails? My memory on what exactly they screwed up is not 100% unfortunately. Do you know if there had been any improvements since?

          Personally if you’re really concerned about traceability I would use Qubes. If you’re really concerned about anything actually, I would suggest Qubes. Amazing system design with the concept that you can never trust anyone at its core. My machine was too much garbage to run it, sadly, but I regularly follow up on their dev, and a new OS version was fairly recently released. You can check them out at qubes-os.org if you wish.

          Very great poeple & concept imo.

          Reply
          1. Brooklin Bridge

            RevKey and Huey,

            These are good suggestions and are definately worth knowing about, to others as well, but my lament isn’t so much the rather hapless task of digitally wiping up after myself on my pc as it is the inevitable onslaught of intrusive data collection in so many aspects of our lives – and remember, we tend to live with others so there is also that.

            As I mentioned above, my wife rushed in with her enthusiasm for technology, not to mention her cousin on the other end of the line, and I opted to go along with her elan (after all – it IS cool) all while my fingers were still typing a screed about technological intrusion. She also recently insisted we go to the CIA or FBI or whoever it is that takes your finger prints and all sorts of information about you and in return gives you some sort of card that gets you rushed through the security lines in case we get on a plane to somewhere other than where we are and feel that new fangled phone isn’t enough magic for the occasion. Again, though I put up more of a fuss on that one, I opted to go along because it’s important to her.

            Reply
            1. Brooklin Bridge

              I might also mention that I never EVER go on-line to any company that supplies me with anything, service or product, as I am convinced – rightly or wrongly – that doing so gives them some sort of legal cover to stop sending me invoices as well as notices of contractual changes by mail and allows them instead to send such to my email account which already gets hundreds of spam per day and is not something I want to be legally obliged to wade through to come up with the few legitimate communications that concern me.

              Reply
              1. Brooklin Bridge

                I never EVER go on-line to any company that supplies me with anything, service or product,[…]
                ->
                I never EVER go on-line to any company that supplies me with anything, on a regular basis, service or product, […]

                Reply
      4. Lambert Strether

        > Already, I can’t contact Verizon (and now others) without answering questions by voice. They no longer support answering numerically by push button.

        That’s horrible. Can other readers confirm?

        Reply
      5. knowbuddhau

        You’re spot on, well said. Abso gobsmacked about the license flashing on the windshield.

        My alma mater, UWashington, partnered with Google to provide email. That’s ended now, and so has access to the Google account associated with that address. It still works via forwarding.

        Their online “help” ends in a dead-end. Emails go unacknowledged. No way to contact a person.

        Their suggestion? “Create a new account.” Or put up with device degradation and worse, as you describe. See also, “learned helplessness.”

        Or disintermediate the bastards and figure out how to make my devices my own? How hard can it be to reformat and install a Linux OS on a tablet? Asking for a friend….

        Reply
    3. Brooklin Bridge

      What ever you reply, it will provide for them biometric data that can eventually be used to identify you with considerable accuracy under most any circumstances. This is useful to them for pecuniary reasons, but it will be offered to others (cops or thugs, most anyone willing to pay) for other potentially more insidious uses.

      Reply
  13. Wukchumni

    Took a drive up to Mineral King to assess the state of the Eden Fire-which hadn’t been updated in a week, and has left our air looking like any old day in Los Angeles in the late 60’s, down under in the foothills.

    We couldn’t see jack on the way up it was so smoky, and then on the way down, the wind had shifted east of Eden, exposing columns of smoke ascending in 3 canyons right through the grove which hadn’t seen fire in over a century, and really isn’t threatening anything.

    Some videos from a week ago:

    https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/photographs/6248/

    I’ve been many remote Sequoia Groves, and Eden was always one of those ones you’ll eventually get around to, and it’d be fun to go check it out next summer, after it’s had a winter to absorb ignition sequences, and to see what effect the lesser members of the tree food chain encroaching had on mortality of the giants, hmmmm?

    In the meantime, a repeat of somebody’s rare visit to a grove with close to 300 trees the size of the biggun’ in the photos.

    https://funhogpress.wordpress.com/2017/11/03/exploring-sequoia-country/

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      p.s.

      My favorite backcountry one is the Garfield Grove (sorry you got assassinated-we named some trees after you) which is on mostly steep terrain giving the goliaths even more grandiosity as they loom even larger to the eye looking upwards at them.

      Hard to get to, even though a trail goes through it. Your own personal grove, while you’re there.

      http://famousredwoods.com/garfield_grove/

      Reply
  14. JohnnyGL

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/12/us/georgia-governor-election.html

    Abrams camp gets a win in the GA gov race. I really hope she can force a run off and get a win.

    It would be a wonderful abject lesson to Democrats. Fight until you win. I know there’s criticism on Abrams from a policy standpoint, but she’s growing the electorate and building the power base for the party and fighting to improve election integrity. These things are worthy in and of themselves, policy aside.

    Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        Yes, but Abrams appears to be dead-serious about mobilizing the electorate. Her campaign has been doing a lot of canvassing, registering voters, organizing and has been filing a flurry of lawsuits when they’ve been brazenly blocked.

        I suspect that the media has been giving her very little coverage post-election as her actions aren’t particularly appreciated. She’s been told to roll over and she isn’t listening. I’m gaining respect for her by the day.

        Reply
      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        Apparently no longer. Democrats in the Deep South are actually fighting to win, and the Republican leadership has gone immediately and tellingly to calling their efforts “theft”.

        Note how that language – out of Trump particularly – hasn’t been used as much on the white lady candidate Sinema in Arizona. However, every time you read a quote from a “Republican spokesman” or governmental figure regarding Gillum, Abrams, Nelson…… they make a point to insinuate vote theft. They connived at disenfranchising southern Democratic voters, and are now working to paint Democrat efforts to retain their franchise as “theft”.

        It’s an artful, coy tactic, based on the awareness that their target audience believes younger, less white Americans do not deserve citizenship. Or representation.

        Reply
    1. marym

      These things are worthy in and of themselves, policy aside.

      Agree, and not only worthy but necessary if we’re to continue to believe that electoral politics is to be the means,or a substantial component of the means, to make changes.

      There seem to have been several wins.
      From your link:

      A federal judge on Monday ordered a delay in the certification of Georgia’s election results, citing concerns about the state’s voter registration system and the handling of provisional ballots.

      Today

      Jim Sciutto @jimsciutto

      New: A federal judge finds Georgia county violated Civil Rights Act by rejecting voters’ absentee ballots with omitted or incorrect birth dates. Earlier in same case, judge prohibited state’s rejection of absentee ballots for signature mismatch issues.
      8:14 AM – 13 Nov 2018

      Reply
  15. Lynne

    I the Summit Learning piece, BI reports that in response to privacy concerns, “However, Summit Learning has stressed that its relationship with Facebook is incredibly limited aside from its funding relationship with the Zuckerbergs.”

    So yeah, I would be incredulous at claims that the connection is limited. I suspect that’s not how they meant it, but really, whaat they are saying is that there *are* links with Zuckernerg other than funding. And that “incredibly “ is a tell. It’s like the people who start a statement with, “I’ll be honest with you.”

    Reply
    1. newcatty

      Yeah, Lynne. Another tell that one should be careful to notice is when a person starts a statement with, I am the nicest person in the world, but…

      Reply
  16. flora

    Windows 10 licensed/activated installations falsely reporting ‘not activated, enter license key’. Problem in Windows Activation Server after MS upgraded that server. You don’t need to buy a new license. Your activated Win 10 has not been deactivated. See story from ZDNet:

    ‘ Windows 10 user DanielRandy posted his activation issue on Microsoft’s answers forum and posted a quote said to be from a Microsoft agent.

    ‘ “Microsoft has just released an Emerging issue announcement about current activation issue related to Pro edition recently. This happens in Japan, Korea, America and many other countries,” wrote the support agent.

    ‘ “I am very sorry to inform you that there is a temporary issue with Microsoft’s activation server at the moment and some customers might experience this issue where Windows is displayed as not activated. Our engineers are working tirelessly to resolve this issue and it is expected to be corrected within one to two business days, Daniel.” ‘

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/windows-10-users-left-baffled-and-mad-over-microsofts-activation-glitch/

    Reply
  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    US tells China to remove missile systems in South China Sea Asia Times (Kevin W). Hoo boy.

    —-

    Has Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines or Taiwan told China to remove them?

    Is the US meddling? Are those nations too timid? Have they also asked the same?

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that the problem is military in that these islands are now de facto immobile aircraft carriers but with much more solid missile defenses. Too hard to crack hence the demand to disarm. Saw something similar in the middle east. For years now Israel has been launching hundreds of strikes on the Syrian Army but especially the Iranian forces and killing them with glee. They went too far, however, and got a Russian recon plane shot down killing 20 Russians so now the Russians put in a whole bunch of S-300s which closes large chunks of Syrian air space. In spite of all their bluster the Israelis are boxed in trying to attack those Iranians. Out of desperation, they are now calling for an international coalition to get the Iranians out of Syria for them-

      https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1459551/israel-proposes-forming-intl-coalition-paris-push-iran-out-syria

      Reply
      1. ObjectiveFunction

        These artificial islands have no fresh water supply. Daisy cutters are entirely unnecessary to forcing their evacuation. If it comes to that, which it won’t.

        … The moment the Chinese begin shooting at their primary export market, what do you imagine happens to their mercantilist economy? and to their fair weather Asean neighbors who are currently being bought off to stay neutral. Team America (“Famblog yeah!”) holds a lot of cards here.

        Reply
  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    44 dead in California fires as the Camp Fire becomes the deadliest in state history CNN-

    —-

    Lambert had a very article yesterday on the fires, included was a segment on what to take or how to survive in similar situations.

    We also have lists for other emergencies, like floods, quakes, etc.

    If we ask what one can do to protect oneself in a home-invasion situation, what sort of things should one have in one’s apartment or house? I am curious to know.

    Guns?

    Kitchen knives?

    baseball bats?

    Taser guns?

    Love for the invaders?

    Katana samurai swords?

    Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It was a while ago that some smiths commented here that the Japanese swords weren’t that special, that there were others that were sharper and/or stronger.

        Did or would the UK also ban those other swords?

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I think you’re in deep trouble in merry olde if caught with a filed flathead screwdriver that could give somebody shiv’ers.

          Reply
        2. Plenue

          The weak point of the katana is the terrible iron sand used to make them. It’s about the worst raw material you can use to make steel.. Traditional Japanese furnaces couldn’t get quite hot enough to fully liquefy the iron, which means that the resulting tamahagane steel still has a huge amount of impurites in it (by the standards of the rest of the world its slag) The entire forging process, with the smith repeatedly folding the blade, is an attempt to spread the impurities evenly so that no single part is weaker than the rest. Otherwise blades have a tendency to snap. It’s an attempt in the forging process to overcome a defective metallurgy. It doesn’t make a super-blade, it just makes something you might be able to actually use in battle.

          And it looks like swords of any kind are banned in the UK, full stop. https://www.gov.uk/buying-carrying-knives

          Reply
    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Ka-Bar for me. Had a snub nose 38 (S&W 642) for a while which I carried when I was escorting at the woman’s clinic. Surprisingly, most of the escorts were carrying, usually in ankle holsters. Bunch of bad-ass women you really don’t want to mess with.

      Reply
  19. John Beech

    US has ‘gone rogue’ — Economist tells RT about SWIFT’s Iran cutoff RT (Chuck L)

    Respectfully, that’s a mouthpiece for Russian interests. What do you expect them to say?

    You may hate the President, and believe him uncouth, or even off his rocker, but he puts our interests first. And he’s getting things done. Those who don’t like it have been having their way with us too long and are protesting. By calling them on it with blunt, even coarse, language, he signals clearly what’s on his mind. Some view it as the alpha ensuring it’s place in the pack. Those who side with foreign entities should be suspect, in my opinion. More bluntly, what kind of American sides against our interests and with those of our adversaries?

    Reply
    1. precariat

      This is absurd, garbled spin. ‘Alpha’ hero Trump is on record as embracing and defending Putin/Russia (Helsinki demonstrated he does not see Russia as an adversary). “Those who should side with foreign enities should be suspect”, eh?

      Choosing an RT piece critical of Trump’s economic war on Iran, and his distorting the global financial institution SWIFT to do it, as an opportunity to cast aspersions with little logical context seems ‘suspect’ to me.

      Reply
      1. Darthbobber

        Except that tangible US policy towards Russia (Javelins to the Ukies, overtures to the Poles, rotating “exercises” along the borders, sanctions well beyond those previously existing, and more) has actually been quite confrontational from early in this administration. So no-Trump hasn’t made it clear at all at the level of action that he doesn’t see the Russians as adversaries.

        Oh-but he refrains from being rude to Putin in public venues. The horror!

        Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Trump sabotages-from-within our serving our own survival-interest in lowering the sky-carbon level.

      He and his administration also undermine our health and safety interest by standing-down the EPA (for example) from preventing the bussiness community from filling the air with cancer gas, filling the water with cancer juice, and covering the food with cancer gravy.

      But I support his fitful efforts to destroy the International Free Trade Order.

      Reply
  20. precariat

    Thanks for the Caitlin Johnstobe “I watched…”

    We are in a totalitarian moment when the only way to show truth is showing the absurdity of what passes for consensus reality. And thanks to msm media, it’s getting more absurd and harmful all the time.

    Sam Husseini on ‘Media Collusion’: CNN first among others gave Trump free (constant) air time in the Republican primaries. CNN is partly responsible for establishing him as a de facto front-runner by using his ‘brand’ to jack up their ratings. A neoliberal (and deniable) wag the dog that only Hillary could make backfire. Then, a neat trick to reconstitute into a outlet of pseudo-principled, FOX-style opposition to Trump, again for ratings. The press playing fast and loose with their somewhat constitiutional role in our system should tell us all we need to know about the Establishment’s idea of our democracy: theater and spectacle elicit a sense of participation with nothing positive in return, while meaningful engagement is repressed or ignored.

    Reply
  21. anarcheops

    “U.S. Chip Cards Are Being Compromised in the Millions ThreatPoat”

    As the article describes, it’s actually the fact that businesses aren’t using the chips and are sticking with swipe that is the problem, not the “chip” aspect per se. Adoption of chip-and-pin among American businesses has been astonishingly slow. Unfortunately personal/banking info breaches are currently treated like one of those costs of doing business that are entirely externalized to the customer. Most breaches aren’t ever discovered and fines are minimal.

    If anyone is interested in further reading on the scams associated with credit card skimmers (stealing the info on the mag stripe of a credit card) from the side of the scammer I’d recommend checking out Brian Kreb’s blog series.

    Reply

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