Links 11/26/18

Mutant superbugs menace future space station expeditions – NASA RT (original).

Ancient termite megapolis as large as Britain found in Brazil CNN (original).

“The YouTube algorithm that I helped build in 2011 still recommends the flat earth theory by the *hundreds of millions*” Guillaume Chaslot

Free Software Messiah Richard Stallman: We Can Do Better Than Bitcoin Coindesk. Stallman: “We need a state to do many vital jobs, including fund research, fund education, provide people with medical care – provide everyone with medical care – build roads, maintain order, provide justice, including to those who are not rich and powerful, and so [sic] the state’s got to bring in a lot of money. I wouldn’t want perfect privacy because that would mean it would be impossible to investigate crimes at all. And that’s one of the jobs we need the state to do.”

How I changed the law with a GitHub pull request Ars Technica

Goldman revamped risk oversight shortly after 1MDB deal Australian Financial Review

Comparison sites cry foul over Google Shopping service The Register. EU anti-trust remedy not succeeding?

Markets Can No Longer Rely on the Fed ‘Put’ John Authers, Bloomberg

Household debt hit a record high of $13.5 trillion last quarter NBC

Brexit

After EU endorses Brexit deal, Theresa May tells UK: ‘This is all there is’ The Journal

This Brexit deal is the best available Wolfgang Münchau, FT

Will May Get Her Deal Passed The Second Time? Markets Think So Blooomberg. Look what’s under the Christmas tree!

It’s not ‘remotely possible’ for Theresa May’s Brexit deal to pass Parliament, UK lawmaker says CNBC

Brexit deal is a depressing masterpiece of political theatre Sidney Morning Herald

Brexit and the DUP: Triumph or disaster? RTE

The Bright Yellow Line Over Globalization in France The American Conservative

‘Swiss-law first’ referendum fails Politico

Syraqistan

Revealed Israeli Cyber Firm Negotiated Advanced Attack Capabilities Sale With Saudis, Haaretz Reveals Haaretz

Here is a Saudi ‘war game’ scenario that demonstrates the peril of a post-Khashoggi period for the US and the Middle East CNBC

China?

How China’s Rulers Control Society: Opportunity, Nationalism, Fear NYT. Sounds legit.

Personal Ties, Meritocracy, and China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign (PDF) Peter Lorentzen, Xi Lu

Hong Kong democrats fail to regain veto power in crucial by-election Reuters

AP Explains: China’s megaprojects fuel unease in Pakistan AP

EXCLUSIVE: Chinese scientists are creating CRISPR babies Technology Review

Australian regulators watching non-banks for financial stability risks: RBA Reuters. A vector for contagion from China?

India

10,000 farmers in Mumbai after walking 40 km, give ‘wake up’ call to govt Hindustan Times. Loan waivers.

New Cold War

Russia reopens Kerch Strait to shipping after Ukraine standoff: RIA Reuters

Trump Transition

Alan Dershowitz says Mueller report will be ‘devastating’ to Trump CNN. “I still don’t think it’s going to make a criminal case, because collusion is not criminal.”

US authorities fire tear gas to disperse migrants at border CNN

Trump demands action to reduce deficit, pushes new deficit spending WaPo

Democrats in Disarray

Bernie Sanders Will Face Donald Trump in 2020 Election, Democrats Say Newsweek

“I’d Vote for Michael in a Heartbeat”: Wall Street’s Case for President Bloomberg Vanity Fair. On the Democrat ticket.

Obama Alumni Return to Washington, This Time as House Freshmen NYT. Second time as farce?

Is Student Debt Forgiveness Progressive? Jacobin

Health Care

Why Don’t We Have Vaccines Against Everything? NYT

Junk science promoted by bots and trolls results in North Carolina chickenpox outbreak Boing Boing

Our Famously Free Press

NPR Infomercial for Its Sponsor Amazon Omits Labor and Environmental Criticisms FAIR. “The words ‘labor,’ ‘worker’ or ’employee’ are nowhere to be found in the six-minute report.” Say, can I get that tote bag today?

Police State Watch

Toys for tots. Read the whole thread:

 

Cotton candy or meth? Woman sues Monroe Co. over false drug test results WMAZ

Dispute Over ‘Lingerie’ Comment Persists, as Society Rejects Professor’s Appeal The Chronicle of Higher Education. The professor’s defense; the accuser’s rejoinder; difficulties of adjudication (skip to “Here are five flaws that jumped out at me”).

Dartmouth Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Following Professor Misconduct Allegations Valley News. Here’s the URL showing the original headline, which the editors must have toned down: “Lawsuit-alleges-tenured-Dartmouth-College-professors-sexually-assaulted-students.” More party culture.

Class Warfare

Overdoses, bedsores, broken bones: What happened when a private-equity firm sought to care for society’s most vulnerable WaPo. “Private equity,” “vulnerable,” and “care for” just don’t seem to go together, somehow….

How A Mysterious Tech Billionaire Created Two Fortunes—And A Global Software Sweatshop Forbes

A New Economic Model for the South: Ditch Corporate Welfare and Fund Agricultural Co-ops In These Times

Researchers measure carbon footprint of Canada hydroelectric dams Agence France Presse

Camp Fire – the deadliest wildfire in California history – is finally 100 percent contained after burning for TWO WEEKS Daily Mail. Contained, not extinguished. 85 killed, 249 missing.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

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.

211 comments

  1. integer

    A few commenters have already mentioned it, but Electronic Intifada’s release of Al Jazeera’s politically sensitive and long awaited documentary series “The Lobby – USA” appears to have gone under the radar, most likely due to it having been released at the same time as the midterms were coming to a crescendo. Anyway, it is simultaneously unbelievable and unsurprising to see the measures the Israel lobby is willing to undertake in order to silence critics of Israel and supporters of BDS. Highly recommended viewing.

    The Lobby – USA – Episode 1
    The Lobby – USA – Episode 2
    The Lobby – USA – Episode 3
    The Lobby – USA – Episode 4

    Reply
    1. Mark Gisleson

      Thank you very much for these links. Neither my Usenet site or the pirate sites I frequent have this (which is frankly very troubling to me).

      Reply
    2. Philip

      I fully concur with integer, eye-opening documentary.
      I would add an emphatic recommendation, preferably watched first, but watched in any case.
      https://www.occupationmovie.org/

      the full length film @ 84 minutes can accessed directly here:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP0-YohJR-g
      copy/paste from the description:

      The Occupation of the American Mind documentary Published on May 30, 2018

      Over the past few years, Israel’s ongoing military occupation of Palestinian territory and repeated invasions of the Gaza strip have triggered a fierce backlash against Israeli policies virtually everywhere in the world — except the United States. The Occupation of the American Mind takes an eye-opening look at this critical exception, zeroing in on pro-Israel public relations efforts within the U.S.

      Narrated by Roger Waters and featuring leading observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S. media culture, the film explores how the Israeli government, the U.S. government, and the pro-Israel lobby have joined forces, often with very different motives, to shape American media coverage of the conflict in Israel’s favor. From the U.S.-based public relations campaigns that emerged in the 1980s to today, the film provides a sweeping analysis of Israel’s decades-long battle for the hearts, minds, and tax dollars of the American people in the face of widening international condemnation of its increasingly right-wing policies.

      Narrated by Roger Waters / Featuring Amira Hass, M.J. Rosenberg, Stephen M. Walt, Noam Chomsky, Rula Jebreal, Henry Siegman, Rashid Khalidi, Rami Khouri, Yousef Munayyer, Norman Finkelstein, Max Blumenthal, Phyllis Bennis, Norman Solomon, Mark Crispin Miller, Peter Hart, and Sut Jhally.

      Reply
    3. JerryDenim

      Great investigative journalism. Thanks for the links!

      Worry about the Russians subverting American democracy right?

      Reply
  2. emorej a hong kong

    “I’d Vote for Michael in a Heartbeat”: Wall Street’s Case for President Bloomberg Vanity Fair

    Contains nothing remotely surprising, but might mainstream the concept “centrist progressive wing”, which presumably describes the basic view that ‘all will be well when Wall Street has more non-traditional sexual preferences, genders, and other identities’:

    The only unanswered question is whether the Democrats will nominate someone from its liberal progressive wing—in the Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke mold—or whether the nominee will be from the party’s centrist progressive wing, in the form of, say, Bloomberg or Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts who has been a Bain Capital partner for the past three years.

    Reply
      1. emorej a hong kong

        “a Progressive who gets things done”

        — like not prosecuting Mnuchin’s fraudulent home loan foreclosure program. Another thing she won’t “get done” is Medicare4All, for which she is feigning support, along with several other likely Presidential candidates.

        Reply
      2. Massinissa

        I’m not even convinced Kamala Harris is even a liberal, much less a progressive. She’s basically to Hillary’s right as far as I can tell…

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          More evidence there isn’t an Overton Window, there’s only an Overton Tube, we’re allowed to peer through but the swivel on the telescope is locked so you can only view the right hand quadrant. Your phrase “to Hilary’s right” struck a chord: how can someone possibly be to the right of a politician who loves Big War, Big Wall St, Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Surveillance, and Big Prison? Can we revive Dwight Eisenhower and run him as a Dem so we can have what passes for “left” again? Tax policy, health care policy, foreign policy, infrastructure policy…I’d take Dwight D anyday over this crop of hyper-hypocritical poseur “Democrats”.

          Reply
    1. voteforno6

      I’m still trying to figure out just what Michael Bloomberg’s actual constituency is. Its interesting that the anonymous people quoted in the article seem to think that the biggest stumbling block for Bloomberg is his position on guns. They really don’t get out of New York City very much, do they?

      Reply
    2. Robert McGregor

      “The basic view that ‘all will be well when Wall Street has more non-traditional sexual preferences, genders, and other identities’:”

      This goes to the explanation that the 1% doesn’t mind if there is greater social equality as in more queers, marriage equality, diversity etc–as long as the power structures remain the same! That’s all they care about. The greater “social equality” is even a useful distraction, because then they can say, “Look how liberal I am! Look at all these gays and lesbians who work in my investment banking firms.”

      Reply
    3. Jen

      I loved this bit: ““If he wants to win Texas or Ohio, you don’t go in there proposing that we ban guns,” he said. “That’s just not going to fly. Definitely not. You got to tone down the New York bit and do more of the international businessman, I think.””

      You think? Sure, don’t tell the people in flyover states he’s going to take their guns, just tell them he’s another Wall Street A$$hole who’s going to take their jobs. That’ll work.

      If he runs, I predict he’ll get fewer votes in the NH primary than Vermin Supreme.

      Reply
  3. Amfortas the hippie

    regarding the In These Times bit on farm co-ops:
    that sort of hyper-local autarky is exactly what I’ve been pining for for years.
    my efforts suffer from the isolation and low population in this place…but I figure this is the kind of lifeboat that will be needed, as the Very Large comes apart at the seams.

    the quote from the Black Dirt guy: ““Land is the primary mechanism for many of us poor folks and people of color to actually have something to stand on and have a future to farm.””…is poignant.
    ….

    on another note: did the trump “administration” just attack mexico?
    lobbing gas grenades across their precious Border…I guess that imaginary line is only sacrosanct from a northern perspective. “it’s ok when we violate sovereignty”
    Perhaps Mexico could figure a way to cut off the supply of car parts and tomatoes…and maybe even cocaine and smack.

    Reply
    1. Eclair

      Or, they could hold back the avocado supply during the week before the Super Bowl. Plus, send all the Dos Equis south to Central America.

      Reply
  4. bwilli123

    Re: Dispute Over ‘Lingerie’ Comment Persists, as Society Rejects Professor’s Appeal.
    …”Sharoni, in an interview on Wednesday, rejected the idea that the matter should have been resolved informally. She said it’s not fair to put the burden on someone who feels hurt or violated.”
    How is her response meant to be read? Are feelings of hurt and violation been made equivalent here, or are they meant to indicate the boundaries of a range of responses?

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      Rule #2 for my boys is “don’t be a dick”.
      of course, this is an entirely subjective determination…which is why this sort of thing is so disheartening.
      I’ve been verbally decapitated for holding a door open…that I’m an equal opportunity door holder is immaterial, it seems.
      I made the egregious faux pas of holding the door for that particular female human, and it’s outer darkness, for me.
      she hadn’t given any indication of such irrational hatred when she was rushing towards the door I held.
      But I was, apparently, supposed to know…and, what? allow the door to close on her? Slam it shut and jigger the lock?
      What was the appropriate, gender-inclusive response?
      Feminism eats itself.

      Reply
      1. perpetualWAR

        The woman who believes someone holding a door open is a misogynist, rather than someone being polite, is a fool, not a feminist.

        Reply
      2. Lee

        Next time you hold a door open for someone just say “Apres vous” with a smile, a slight bow and an open handed gesture. They’ll think you’re a charming old fashioned foreign gentleman who doesn’t know any better. Works for me. Also, when you have grey hair, wrinkles and walk with a limp like me, the gals around here hold the door for me. I quite like that.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          aye. I walk with a stick, and out here at least, i get the door held for me.
          the incident above was maybe 5-6 years ago, going into a bookstore in Austin….long before Metoo, but the dysfunctional and self-destructive parts of that necessary development have been festering unnoticed for years.(one thinks of andrea dworkin and misandry unbound)
          maybe she was having a bad day…who knows?…but “soooo sexist…” was about the last thing I expected to hear,lol.

          Reply
          1. Lee

            I lived in a politically active collective in the 70s and there were among us some pretty clueless guys, myself included, and some spitting mad women, who hadn’t the patience to educate us. The group fractured and with no small amount of turmoil gradually winnowed out the ineducable and impatient. The new normal we achieved was definitely an improvement in terms of gender equality. Men did childcare and housework, women re-roofed the house, sex lives improved and so on. Alas, it lasted for quite a few years but eventually the group dispersed. But all of us carry what we learned in those years into the wider world.

            Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          lol.
          “don’t do stupid shit”…which has the corollary,” gotta think, first”.

          the wording had the dual benefit of 1. sticking in their little brains(they got to cuss, in this exercise) and 2. making my mother nuts.
          the other thing drilled from an early age: me:”what’s the first step on the path to wisdom?”
          correct answer:”I don’t know”.
          They grew into this latter….and it was not lost on them that most adults needed it explained.

          Reply
      3. Geo

        While these sorts of responses are annoying (have had this happen as well others like it) it is nothing but a little backlash for the heaps of hostility, dehumanization, and unrealistic standards women have been made to deal with for millennia.

        It’s nothing compared to what many women have to deal with in their encounters with men on a regular basis. If the worst we men can claim in our concerns about the rise of modern feminism is that we’ve been scolded once or twice in our lives for holding a door open then we’re doing fine and should be able to manage a fulfilling life. It doesn’t exactly merit a “we shall overcome” movement for men. :)

        Reply
      4. HotFlash

        My dear Amfortas, that was no feminist. Personally, I think uproarious laughter would have been appropriate, although quiet amusement might have been more diplomatic. Slamming the door and jiggering the lock is attractive, too.

        There are jerks everywhere, and probably equally distributed amongst all the various ‘identities’, and no surprise if feminism and its automatic, sanctioned grievances is (mis)used as a weapon by the permanently aggrieved, esp those with no real greivance. You will never be able to make these people happy.

        I get a pass on a lot of things b/c I am female myself, although I do get called out by (some) female colleagues when I refer to females as “ladies” — that, apparently, being official ‘disrespect’. I am reminded of the Monty Python sketch of the oppressed peasants.

        Carry on, Amfortas, and if you are ever in a position to advise granddaughters, you can tell them for me “don’t be a twat.”

        Reply
        1. Avalon Sparks

          “There are jerks everywhere, and probably equally distributed amongst all the various ‘identities’, ”

          This 100%

          Reply
      5. nihil obstet

        In an egalitarian society, this wouldn’t happen. Nor would you have to try to figure out what I mean by “this” in your comment. That’s because I think that the best thing to do is to work for the egalitarian society without too much umbrage at the reactions of those who are also trying to work out how to get there.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          Yeah. being a weirdo in Texas my whole life gave me a hard carapace.
          One learns to deal with boors and often violent morons, as well as the Touched.
          I just don’t think any of this is particularly new…just modified in unexpected ways by tech/communication.
          I’ve spoken before of the young woman on the hippie commune, fresh from Oberlin, who did the embryonic metoo ,near 30 years ago.
          The occasional crusader nibbling on my ass won’t curtail my inherent chivalric tendencies.
          “sancho! my shield! and my armor!”

          Reply
    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      These academics are in International Relations? No wonder the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Great argument against the smartocracy, if that’s a word.

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Whew! No kidding!

        Four tabs open and what must be thousands of written words based on the utterance of two simple words–“ladies lingerie.”

        I can’t help thinking how much better off the planet would be if HALF this much energy was expended in response to two other simple words–“climate change.”

        Everyone–and I do mean everyone–involved in this sorry display of preening, narcissistic egomania should be profoundly embarrassed and ashamed.

        Trivializing an important issue to this extreme extent is the real insult here.

        Reply
            1. wilroncanada

              Parker Dooley
              My sister learned equal opportunity repartee from my mother (she would be 98 were she alive), and my daughter learned from both my wife and me. My sister and at least two of my daughters would have quickly responded: “but you know the sex aids are in the men’s HARDware department” (with emphasis on the hard).
              Equal opportunity repartee! Quickly shut down fools.

              Reply
              1. Lee

                We must be related. Messing with my mom, b. 1920, could prove extremely hazardous to your well being in every sense of the word.

                Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            The depressing part is that the most pervasive festering of Orwellian ThoughtCrime orthodoxy is on college campuses.

            I remember living near Le Quartier Latin in Paris and marveling at the incredibly brave leaps of intellect they made there when they germinated the outlandish idea that The Church was not the sole fount of truth in the world. Highly unlikely our society will benefit from any radical freethink from college campuses any more, just the opposite in fact.

            To see what rabid ideologues are truly capable of these people should be required to read a history of China’s Cultural Revolution. Dog save us.

            Reply
        1. polecat

          I’d just settle for health CARE … with no penury required !

          One can’t very well deal with the effects, and/or mitigation of a chaotic climate if one is sick !

          Reply
    3. Lobsterman

      These kinds of complaints never come in a vacuum. This is likely the end of a long chain of people being harassed and demeaned by this guy.

      Reply
      1. The Beeman

        How do you come to the conclusion

        “this is likely the end of a long chain of people being harassed and demeaned by this guy.”

        ?

        Nothing I read in that story leads me anywhere near this conclusion….. Did you forget to include a sarcasm tag?

        Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        What a sad, sad commentary on where we are with Cultural Marxism, I’m not sure I want to live in a world where people are not allowed to make and laugh at jokes…and where someone making the offhand comment “you look nice today” gets skewered by HR.

        Yes we need to redress the balances but I’m with Catherine Deneuve: vive la difference

        Reply
        1. Kent

          It’s just an excuse for me to not talk to women around the office anymore. Just treat like men without the camaraderie.

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Cultural Marxism

          Cultural Marxism is a nonsense concept. Whatever one might think of feminism, and even of Third Wave feminism, they’re not nonsense (and not Marxist, either).

          Reply
          1. pjay

            Thank you Lambert. Please do not use the right-wing term ‘cultural Marxism’ to refer to PC identity politics. It was designed to allow the right to belittle the latter while linking it to academic “Marxism” — another way to obfuscate class analysis since no real “Marxist” would privilege cultural identity in this way.

            Reply
          2. Aumua

            Interesting to note how the term, and others that originated with the far/alt right have crept into the edges of general usage. It’s just another indicator of just how much the window has shifted to the right.

            Associating Marxism with identity politics is also an effective poisoning of the well against any discussion of it.

            Reply
        3. todde

          I spent a lot of time in the HR department when I worked for a multi-national.

          Who cares, no-one at the office is my friend anyway. I laugh when I get home

          Reply
        4. Raulb

          Marxism is a class construct about the economic reorganization of society. Anyone who has read Marx and is even slightly familiar with communism will know ‘cultural marxism’ is a nonsensical term that does not inform about ‘culture’ or ‘marxism’. This is like referring to right wing identity politics as practiced by Steve Bannon and his cronies as ‘cultural capitalism’.

          Marxism is not focused on sexism, oppression of women and identity politics. Class in marxism is not defined by any of these categories. The astonishing thing is there are no marxists with any kind of power in the US and never have been, but yet apparently they are held guilty of diabolical plots on US society by the very forces that have always held power in the US? How is this possible?

          Making a joke about women’s undergarments to strangers or colleagues is clueless and in a formal context inappropriate. This kind of ‘familiarity’ should be reserved for friends, and everyone has freedom to do it but don’t be surprised if its looked on as odd.

          Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    “Here is a Saudi ‘war game’ scenario that demonstrates the peril of a post-Khashoggi period for the US and the Middle East”

    It does not matter which scenario is used by the Saudis as the method to fight the war is always the same – get Americans to do the fighting and dying for them. Not so simple this time. Apart from the fact that the Iranians have both the population and geography going for them, there is no way that the Iranians will let the west have several months without hindrance to put together an invasion force the way that the Iraqis let the west build up their invasion force. The Iranians might say that if they try, that they will launch hundreds of missiles to take out Saudi Arabia’s oil fields which are well within their range. Anybody care to guess what effect that that would have on the world economy? Will any oil cargo ships be able to get insurance for transversing the Persian Gulf during this war? If the Saudis want to destroy the Iranians so bad, then let the Saudis spend their blood and treasure doing so. Just as soon as they defeat the Houthis that is.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Bring back the draft, explain the Saudi’s “need” for our young people to “defend”… um, whatever we are defending, and suddenly parading around in a gas-guzzler will not be well received. At all.

      But as long is the 10% has optional personal involvement in deployment and body bags, the crap will continue.

      Reply
      1. Robert McGregor

        If there is a war against Iran, you’re not going to see the mass US hypnosis like you did last time (The Iraq War). Remember all the Pro-War “Patriotism”. The pundits eagerly jumping on board (David Brooks, Tom Friedman); Whitney Houston’s glorious star-spangled banner during the Super Bowl which was turned into a battle cry; that NFL player who left his multi-millionaire dollar player job to go “serve his country,” and ended up dying of “friendly fire.” A good US military recruitment strategy might be to deliberately crash the economy, and then start the Iran war so there will be more desperate young men and women to enlist.

        Reply
      2. HotFlash

        Oh, I think there would just be ‘another Pearl Harbor”. Or sunken Maine, ‘Polish Invasion’, or dead archduke.

        Reply
    1. crittermom

      I LOVE today’s antidote of the fox.
      To me, however, its expression (priceless!) is the epitome of “sly as a fox”.

      Reply
  6. Furzy

    Via a French friend, the Bright Yellow Line article, as many others, overlooks one of the most important factors driving these demonstrations: that the citizens will be paying up, but not the corporations,those who ship fuel in mega-tankers about the world, and the airlines spewing pollution throughout the stratosphere…both much more major polluters of the environment than the French middle and lower classes…

    Reply
    1. Alex V

      But, but, but, FREE MARKETS!!! Consumers will force the corporations to change through their buying decisions!!!

      Why are you begin so negative about the power of the Invisible Hand? It gently holds us all in its kind palm, softly warming and comforting us in our most difficult moments.

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        When the invisible hand has you by the balls, you heart and mind follows.

        I believe this is something of a quote from the Vietnam war.

        Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The government can regulate by banning certain flights to cut down on carbon emissions.

        Another idea is to ban alcohol and meat.

        The consumer can choose to consume less.

        Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Bernie Sanders will Face Donald Trump in 2020 Election, Democrats Say”

    Look, I know that Bernie has a lot of people supporting him but over the decades I have seen how the Presidency seems to prematurely age men in that job. Sanders would be doing it, if elected, while he was in his eighties. And not only would he be fighting the Republicans but he would also be fighting huge chunks of the Democratic party as well. To be brutally honest, it would be a good idea to know who exactly his Vice-President would be and he or she had better not be someone in their seventies either. Smart way would be have a Vice-President that has the latitude that Bush gave Cheney in order to get the job done.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The DNC could use Bernie Sanders to slip in a ‘Truman’ as his running mate at the convention. Whomever runs as VP on a Sanders ticket would be the crucial matter.

      Reply
    2. Massinissa

      I would rather have an old person like Bernie who has policies I agree on than vote for someone more young like Cory Booker who has no policies I agree with whatsoever. The closest person to Bernie would be Warren, and she is 69, so she isn’t all that much younger. And people seem to keep mentioning Joe Biden constantly, but Joe is 76, a year younger than Bernie. And if Her Royal Highness Hillary Clinton runs again, at 71 not only is she almost as old as Bernie, she seemed to be in poor health during her campaign 2 years ago compared to Sanders who was very hale at the time. I can’t imagine her being any better off now

      All the younger candidates like Cory Booker and Kamala Harris are significantly to Bernie’s right. I would rather take my chances with Bernie, or even a second term of Trump, than let Booker or Harris into the white house. Either one would be Obama 2.0 (Or Bill Clinton 4.0), and in Harris’ case I think she would actually be farther right.

      Is Bernie’s age concerning? Maybe. But unless someone like Gabbard runs (which I dont see happeing… Yet), I don’t see any alternative. Also one last thing: Remember, VPs are always picked *after* the primary. Always.

      Reply
      1. elissa3

        Yes, the smart move would be for candidate Bernie to announce at some point during the primaries–good timing is everything–that Tulsi Gabbard will be his VP, and one with expanded powers. That might seal the deal for me.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          We already live in a gerontocracy, Nancy P is 78 and DiFi is 85 friggin years old.

          I guess if you’re under 45 you’re too busy playing Red Dead Redemption 2 to notice that they’re repossessing the couch in Grandma’s basement out from under you

          Reply
        2. Spring Texan

          Bernie is fantastic, but Tulsi Gabbard is horrible, he needs a different VP – which I agree is very important. https://jacobinmag.com/2017/05/tulsi-gabbard-president-sanders-democratic-party She supports awful people like Modi.

          I’d settle for a Sanders-Warren ticket for sure, or even Warren-Sanders. Sanders-Merkley maybe.

          Don’t trust Harris or Booker an inch, plus Harris’s tax plan is absolutely horrible, the reverse of the kind of broad-based public benefit programs (like Bernie with Medicare for All, free college education etc.) we need. More neoliberal means-tested EITC stuff. And not well thought out either.

          Yep, Bernie’s age is concerning. But not as concerning as the defects of most others.

          Reply
          1. pjay

            I’m not sure Gabbard is ready or the right VP candidate, but don’t swallow the crap from the Jacobin article. Its content is recycled from the standard Gabbard hit piece template. The selective and distorted use of evidence is obvious from just a quick reading. At the moment I’d take her policy positions over just about anyone else.

            Reply
          2. Oregoncharles

            Age in Congress, one of hundreds, is a very different matter from age in the Presidency, who is singular and far too powerful. Personally, I don’t think we should encourage people that age to run (let alone win) unless we want to get rid of them. It notoriously ages people very quickly.

            Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When Sanders is a credible swamp drainer, do we not expect another collusion investigation?

      Perhaps the trip to the Vacation in the summer of 2016 will be looked into.

      Reply
      1. SpringTexan

        NOOOOOOOO!!! https://jacobinmag.com/2017/05/tulsi-gabbard-president-sanders-democratic-party
        and also https://medium.com/@pplswar/tulsi-gabbard-is-not-what-you-think-she-is-86771a49d387
        “When you itemize Gabbard’s public positions on the main fare, she is a standard Democrat, who is not even listed among the members of the Progressive Caucus. Her critical vote scorecard from Progressive Punch is an F, rating her 136th overall, between Dwight Evans (PA) and Mark Veasey (TX). She has carried water for billionaire uber-Zionist casino magnate, and Trump-buddy Sheldon Adelson. And she loves to post pictures of her in her Army uniform, an opportunistic cash-out of her veteran status which ought to trouble anti-militarists. Perhaps more troubling than her essentially centrist politics and her cozy relationship with Adelson, however, is her selective if vicious Islamophobia and her willingness to associate with anti-immigration reactionaries. ”

        Tulsi Gabbard is neither progressive nor trustworthy.

        Reply
        1. allan

          Also: What Does Tulsi Gabbard Believe? [New Yorker (2017)]

          … In her first political incarnation, Gabbard balanced liberal environmentalism with a pronounced conservative streak. In 2003, she voted against a bill to oblige hospitals to “provide emergency contraception immediately” to survivors of sexual assault, because it did not contain a “conscience clause,” to allow providers with a religious objection to opt out. She supported government surveillance efforts, warning that the “demand for unfettered civil liberties” could make the nation vulnerable to terrorists. …

          I think I’ll pass.

          Reply
          1. pjay

            Look, I’m not president of the Gabbard fan club, and I have not always agreed with her policy positions, especially early in her career. But *please*, everyone, be aware of the well-organized establishment effort to smear her. This New Yorker article is part of this effort — I think it was discussed at NC when it appeared. Again, I’m not necessarily endorsing Gabbard for anything, but her positions in support of both Bernie and foreign policy sanity have mobilized the blob against her.

            Reply
    1. Liberal Mole

      Watch the DNC throw their identity politics out the door as Gabbard’s foreign policy positions (far better than Sanders) are anathema to their warmongering owners.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        We will definitely be inundated with the importance of “working class whites” that Joe Biden supposedly appeals to except for the ones in Iowa and New Hampshire.

        Reply
        1. Massinissa

          I’ve noticed how some of the people I know who say Sanders is ‘too old’ to be president happen to support Biden, who is… One year younger than Sanders.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            There is more work for Sanders than for Biden.

            The latter wouldn’t have to tear down or build something new. I am not sure how much work he would have to do.

            Reply
      2. Judith

        I received this email for The Sanders Institute (but have not gotten around to listening to the interview linked at the bottom) about a talk between Jane Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard .

        “While we tend to discuss domestic and foreign policy separately, in truth, they are deeply intertwined. The choices that we make as a country determine our national priorities and reflect our values.

        Foreign policy is more than just war and peace, it is a nuanced and complex issue that directly affects us here at home.

        I sat down with Representative Tulsi Gabbard to talk about foreign policy, starting with her personal experiences serving our country both at home and abroad, through the government’s budget decisions between foreign and domestic spending, and our country’s approaches to some of the most contentious current foreign issues.

        Thanks for staying engaged,
        Jane O’Meara Sanders

        The Sanders Institute”

        https://www.sandersinstitute.com/blog/foreign-policy-is-more-than-just-war-and-peace

        Reply
  8. Samuel Conner

    I recall reading in the paper version of Wired, years ago — perhaps more than a decade — an article propounding and justifying the idea that “the natural price of every commodity is zero.” That might be an interpretation of the absence of mention of ‘labor’ in the NPR Amazon infomercial; Amazon regards labor to be a commodity.

    Reply
    1. Rod

      I was listening to the NPR and caught this ‘story’ segment. And I waited for the sponsor disclaimer–which came with “I guess we should mention that Amazon is a…”, a good bit into the ‘story’.

      But the host and ‘reporter’ were obviously very excited about the content and its potential for enabling consumption for the Holidays and beyond–and because I was counting the uses of “like” as a preposition/conjunction during the dialogue–I just let it pass as an example of the current degradation of NPR News.
      Like, like-you know-right?!

      Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “How China’s Rulers Control Society: Opportunity, Nationalism, Fear”

    Looks like another story to make China look bad which is not too hard to do. In reading it though, the thought struck me. Is this such a bad deal for most people? Consider this. China is saying that you can have a great career and make a ton of money but stay away from politics. They say work hard and study and you will have a chance at success and that is OK with us. Just let us run the country. They no longer have people starving in the streets like in former times and their infrastructure is world class. If anything, this sounds a lot like western countries are supposed to be like.
    Now consider how we do it in the west. The bulk majority of people will never be able to make a great living for themselves. It does not matter how hard you study and how much debt you get into, that is just the way it is. Poverty is increasing in western countries in fact and to be honest, large swathes of the population have been written off by those in power. How many readers here would look at that deal and say, sign me up. Maybe people who are prepared to study and work hard to get ahead but are forced to be Amazon drones instead.
    Maybe in previous decades the west encouraged China as the idea was that eventually billionaires will arise and take over the levers of power in that country like they have in the west. Even Jimmy Crater has come out and said that the US is no longer a democracy but an Oligarchy and that is true of many western countries. China’s party squished that one on the head which I believe is a cause of the tension between the west and China. No common oligarchs to get together. The Chinese appear to be spending enormous resources in education and its people so it will be interesting to see how that pays off in the long run.

    Reply
    1. vlade

      The problem with that is that the hand that gives can take – on a whim. The fact that right now you’re ok doesn’t mean someone will not try to sink you in a month, or a year. I know that from the former Soviet block. You were “ok” until you weren’t. And it didn’t take much to not to be – normal human jealousy, irritation etc. was all it took to destroy families. And I’m not talking billionaire families, I’m talking normal people you’d meet in a corner pub.

      All that with no, absolutely none, way of redress. When the state (or more precisely, someone who had the power) decided you were guilty, you were guilty. The whole law system was built so that it was pretty close to impossible not to be guilty of something. So the state had a legal lever over just about anyone.

      Whatever you say about the UK, or the Western Europe, there are still cases where the little people win against corporations or even state (don’t have the visibility in the US, so can’t really comment) – it’s not common, but it’s not rare. In the Soviet block system (which I believe Chinese one resembles closely), it was impossible.

      Also, you’re ignoring the poverty in China. The fact that it has large middle class doesn’t mean there’s no poverty. And the China poverty is worse that most Western poverty is. Amazon drones? Hey, China was there with Foxconn half a decade earlier (at least). Rural vs urban in China are different worlds (amusing, as the China tries to show its Confucian face out, when Confucius valued peasants more than urbanites).

      Don’t know whether China changed its permits systems, but it used to be so (to control the population) that to move you needed a permit and all. Which was hard to get. So you had a lot of “illegal” migrants to the cities, which, if they run into problems, had basically no right, as they were there illegaly. Indentured service? More like slavery.

      Lastly, I’d also question “their infrastructure is world class”. Their infrastructure, in parts, can be better than west, since it was almost greenfield project compared to existing ones. But some of their infra – even newly built – is pretty bad I’m told. Most certainly when they tried to build roads in Europe (Poland to be precise), all that happened was a lot of money wasted.

      One needs to be very very careful in parsing China information – from all sources. All sides have incentive to paint their own picture.

      Reply
      1. Mike Mc

        Sometimes 21st century China seems like what the US would be if the Pilgrims/Puritans were still running the country.

        Eldest son has a degree in Asian Language (Mandarin) and has traveled extensively there. Urban China very First World, including bullet trains and the like. Outside of the high tech bubble, many places still 19th century only with cell phones. Local trains and other transport would look familiar to travelers who frequent the Third World, and travel to certain regions like Western China or Tibet would be ill-advised.

        Reply
      2. olga

        It is hard to agree with most of what you say, as it mainly recounts certain stereotypes without the context. My FS block experience differed greatly – although yes, justice can be arbitrary anywhere. Just think of thousands of minority folk imprisoned in the US, with no possibiity of recourse. As for poverty in China – no doubt, it persists – but do you ever think about where the country was just 30 yrs ago?
        “And the China poverty is worse that most Western poverty is.” Really? How so? That is a pretty broad statement, not backed up by any analysis. My view is that what China accomplished is quite unrivaled in the recent history (warts and all). The only other country that came close could have been USSR if it had not been tripped up by WWII.
        And victories of little guys in the West? Can you recall a recent one? These are in fact so rare as to be non-existent.
        I can imagine that some pople fear China, and yes, it is important to be careful, when opining about China. But starting out from a deeply negative standpoint – and mixing China and USSR (two very different societies and times) – does not foster understanding of either place.
        But there is one more point that rarely gets mentioned – it matters not a whiff what some westerners think about China. This is a place with 1.3-1.4 billion people, 5000 years of history behind it, and a strong culture. Given the way it was treated by the west in the 19th cent. and Japanse in the 20th, it likely has no choice, but to move forward the best it knows how to – regardless of how long it takes and/or what we all think.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Taiwan traces its history directly back to the Qing dynasty of the 19th century, and a lot of them have parents and grandparents who fought the Japanese in the 20th century (and some whose ancestors fought FOR Japan).

          China’s way is not the only way, nor the best way to move forward, given the common historical background.

          For people in Taiwan, they favor the West more than Russia.

          Reply
          1. Olga

            And your point is…? Not sure anyone argues that the Chinese way is the only way. The way they are developing is what they’ve figured out for now… and it has shown results. It may change in the future (kinda the point in “development”), but for now, it is what it is. Regardless of whether the west approves… particularly, since when it had the chance, it just sought cruel exploitation of the country.

            Reply
            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              “.. it likely has no choice, but to move forward the best it knows how to – regardless of how long it takes and/or what we all think.”

              Not sure anyone argues that the Chinese way is the only way.”

              First, likely no choice.

              But we don’t say the Chinese Way is the only way.

              The Taiwanese Way on the island of the Republic of China can be considered a different Chinese Way.

              Reply
        2. vidimi

          victories over the system do happen once in a while but are usually just symbolic. once in a while, first nations peoples win an injunction against a pipeline or somesuch but then the pipeline gets built anyway with only minor concessions.

          basically, victories for the little guy are the rarest of animals, and only occur often enough to maintain a public belief in the system.

          Reply
      3. upstater

        I can’t speak for China, only the US.

        Vlade, Have you dealt with the US legal system? I have in spades in the past 5 years. Believe me, it is as corrupt as any third world S*hole. It has been a nightmare come true. It is quaint to suggest that the western legal system somehow protects us from arbitrary actions of individuals, corporations or the state.

        Our daughter and her supervisor were killed in the commission of a crime. The judge’s son was cohabitating with a member of the defendant’s family and was a drug dealer. The judge should have, but did not, recuse himself. The defendant was tried at a bench trial. Needless to say, the defendant got off lightly. When we filed a complaint with the judicial commission, it was brushed off. We had no recourse to right this wrong.

        I was a self-employed consultant and developed unique statistical models which were trade secrets. Five years ago, one of my clients, bound by contract to me, gave them away to a trade association. This is called “misappropriation” and “breach of contract”. I think it was criminal theft. I tired to resolve the matter myself informally, but failed. I then retained an attorney and we attempted to resolve the matter amicably over an 18 month period and also failed. I then filed a lawsuit in federal court, which took over three years to come to trial and finally resolve (we “won”). It cost me almost $1 million, money which I really didn’t have. The deep-pocketed defendants spent $8 million trying to stomp me into a bloody pulp. If you take away the tragic death of my daughter, the litigation was the worst experience of my life. My business is now completely ruined, I have been blacklisted in the industry where I worked for 25 years. Thankfully I will be social security eligible very soon.

        We have a son with mental illness. Do you have any idea how bad care for the mentally ill is in the US? Does it surprise you that half of all inmates in jail have mental illness because they simply are not cared for and untreated? Let it suffice to say the US treats the mentally ill like trash. It is a bastion of legal Jim Crow discrimination by the state and health care providers (i.e., Medicare and Medicaid are exempt from providing equal coverage for mental illness and for “physical” illness).

        The broader issues of the US having the largest jail population in the world speaks for itself. 70,000 overdose deaths from opioids also is revealing.

        In my business, electric transmission, the infrastructure is perhaps a C or C- grade. Highways similar or even D. Railroads are private and for passenger service it is an F-. Air service is probably a C- or D. And so on.

        I have relatives in Lithuania and have been there several times in the past couple of decades. It is a corrupt place. Its largest export is educated young people and greatest source of foreign earning are remittances. The demographics have cratered.

        I don’t know about China, but I sure know about USA!USA!USA!

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That was injustice in the USA!USA!USA!

          Would be even sadder to hear other similar stories in other countries…at the least, it means more victims worldwide. And comments here and elsewhere in the news, unfortunately, that’s what we read as well.

          Reply
        2. Olga

          Unfortunately, I have lots of experience with the so called justice system and the way US addresses mental illness – and I do concur with your points (although really sorry for the terrible events you describe).

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Chinese mothers voting with their money by buying Western baby formula would seem to imply that the Chinese justice system is no better.

            Reply
            1. witters

              Because “baby milk” = “system”. A peculiar contrarianism here MLTPB – any chance and we get China-as-told-in-wikipedia, and anytime anyone speaks positively of any aspect of modern China we get Taiwan!

              Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I read one story by one person, upstate, and it was enough for me, and for others, to comment on the ‘US justice system.’

                Taiwan, in fact, offers the closest comparison, for the number of issues raised here, today, specifically. I would not say it’s ‘every time.’

                As for speaking positively of America, we don’t get that or maybe we get Canada.

                Do we say, ‘sometimes, we need more than one example…more than one comment from one person?’

                Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Chinese appear to be spending enormous resources in education and its people so it will be interesting to see how that pays off in the long run.

      The tradition goes back at least 2,000 years, when the Imperial Examination system was first implemented.

      Of course, by the time of the Xinhai revolution, the criticism was that students were being educated in useless subjects.

      “Kids need to study how to make bigger guns and more powerful battleship to protect China from Russia and the British.”

      And Dr. Sun Yatsun proposed building a railway to Tibet.

      Reply
      1. Albacore

        I hope nc doesn’t go all “China China China.” US security strategy has identified it as a national adversary as well as Russia and Iran. And the Chinese did need to learn about how to make bigger guns after the Opium wars in the mid-nineteenth century when the British bombarded them to force them to take Opium instead of silver in payment for Chinese goods. They haven’t forgotten the lesson. And they do study hard.

        Reply
        1. UserFriendly

          NC will do what it always does with other countries. Criticize them when they launch Orwellian survalence systems or do other stupid/insane things, and still not want the US to invade them.

          Reply
        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s always ‘bigger guns,’ in the past, present and future.

          On the other hand, it was ‘study Mao’s quotations hard’ in the 60’s but now it’s ‘Xi Jinping Thought.’

          Earlier, it was all Confucianism…only.

          Reply
        3. Sparkling

          It’s not hard to get over the “everything is good vs evil!” kneejerk and see a geopolitical confrontation as evil vs. evil if you’ve been practicing long enough.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            In some places, it’s evil, as in the Great Satan.

            It would be every hard to say to the locals to get over everything is good vs. evil.

            Reply
            1. Sparkling

              I see you have been brushing up on Iranian propaganda. Trust me, their religious conservatives and nationalists are just as programmable– and deprogrammable– as ours. There are plenty of people like me who supported Bush(/Ahmadinejad) last decade but now realize that we were conned.

              “We do not want to die for Gaza!” is heard on the streets of both countries. Yes, the fundamentalists are still fired up about fighting each other but the rest of us just want to be left alone.

              Reply
  10. Ignacio

    RE: Comparison sites cry foul over Google Shopping service The Register. EU anti-trust remedy not succeeding?

    Google lays out narrow ‘EU election advertiser’ policy ahead of 2019 vote

    In a blog post laying out a narrow approach to democracy-denting disinformation, Google says it will introduce a verification system for “EU election advertisers to make sure they are who they say they are,” and require that any election ads disclose who is paying for them.

    The details of the verification process are not yet clear so it’s not possible to assess how robust a check this might be.

    Oh, oh, what could go wrong? Is this just a way for google to press EU politicians against the so-called by google google-tax?

    Reply
  11. Hana M

    Absolutely fascinating elucidation of the left-wing case against open borders, with this bit of wisdom from Karl Marx:

    Marx argued that the importation of low-paid Irish immigrants to England forced them into hostile competition with English workers. He saw it as part of a system of exploitation, which divided the working class and which represented an extension of the colonial system. He wrote:

    “Owing to the constantly increasing concentration of leaseholds, Ireland constantly sends her own surplus to the English labour market, and thus forces down wages and lowers the material and moral position of the English working class.

    And most important of all! Every industrial and commercial centre in England now possesses a working class divided into two hostile camps, English proletarians and Irish proletarians. The ordinary English worker hates the Irish worker as a competitor who lowers his standard of life. In relation to the Irish worker he regards himself as a member of the ruling nation and consequently he becomes a tool of the English aristocrats and capitalists against Ireland, thus strengthening their domination over himself. He cherishes religious, social, and national prejudices against the Irish worker. His attitude towards him is much the same as that of the “poor whites” to the Negroes in the former slave states of the U.S.A. The Irishman pays him back with interest in his own money. He sees in the English worker both the accomplice and the stupid tool of the English rulers in Ireland.

    This antagonism is artificially kept alive and intensified by the press, the pulpit, the comic papers, in short, by all the means at the disposal of the ruling classes. This antagonism is the secret of the impotence of the English working class, despite its organisation. It is the secret by which the capitalist class maintains its power. And the latter is quite aware of this.”

    https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2018/11/the-left-case-against-open-borders/

    Reply
    1. Watt4Bob

      /\+++

      Over time it seems more and more important to our politics that people become aware that their racism is not the ‘natural’ result of their life experience, but a disease of the mind, deliberately nurtured by the ruling class to control the cost of labor and to preclude solidarity of the working class.

      IOW, I am not completely ‘guilty’ for the degree to which I harbor racist opinions towards people of color, the ruling class has carefully nurtured those racist ideas so as to hold both myself and those I consider the ‘other’ firmly under their thumbs.

      As Jay Gould so blatantly stated;

      “I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.” …

      Maybe we could save a lot of time wasted in soothing white folks reflexive defensive reactions to discussing race relations if we could get this bit of knowledge firmly in the forefront of our collective understanding.

      And of course, this is another reason they demonize Marx.

      Reply
    2. georgieboy

      Thanks Lambert, for that post. The utter stupidity of the fake-left needs to be hammered home. In addition to stupidity it reeks of racial hatred, masquerading as open-mindedness.

      In keeping with Hana’s comment, as was also commented on in a recent post on this topic, even the very first Marxist saw that open borders served the purposes of the rulers much more than the ruled.

      https://monthlyreview.org/2017/02/01/marx-on-immigration/

      Reply
    3. Partyless Poster

      Thanks for linking this, The “left” seems to be confused about immigration policy.
      I’ve been getting frustrated over the response to Hillary’s speech about refugees causing a rise in right wing parties. On Common Dreams, and some other lefty sites people are acting like that is the worst thing she’s ever said, almost no one seems to question open borders.
      And now there is reports of tear gas being used at the border but several lefty sites didn’t even mention that the migrants were actually breaking through the barriers.
      It would be nice if there could be a serious discussion and not just both sides trying to use it for political gain.
      That is a lot of why I appreciate this site.

      Reply
    4. Katniss Everdeen

      This is an absolutely amazing article. I especially appreciated the way it explains the consequences of unrestricted immigration on the countries from which the immigrants come, a perspective not often considered by “indispensable”, relentlessly navel-gazing americans:

      Developing countries are struggling to retain their skilled and professional citizens, often trained at great public cost, because the largest and wealthiest economies that dominate the global market have the wealth to snap them up. Today, Mexico also ranks as one of the world’s biggest exporters of educated professionals, and its economy consequently suffers from a persistent “qualified employment deficit.” This developmental injustice is certainly not limited to Mexico. According to Foreign Policy magazine, “There are more Ethiopian physicians practicing in Chicago today than in all of Ethiopia, a country of 80 million.

      And then there’s this:

      Trump infamously complained about people coming from third-world “shithole countries” and suggested Norwegians as an example of ideal immigrants. But Norwegians did once come to America in large numbers—when they were desperate and poor. Now that they have a prosperous and relatively egalitarian social democracy, built on public ownership of natural resources, they no longer want to.

      Again, perspective.

      Reply
    1. ChristopherJ

      Well it is here, unless you believe in flat earth (whose believers became so from AI trolling them to click on Youtube vids, I kid you not)

      Reply
  12. Wukchumni

    Buckeye trees grow slow and twisted never in anything approaching a straight upright manner and they’re an early riser in the spring flowering out into what looks like peeled bananas before playing dead-as in dormancy as the 100 days of 100 degrees comes calling.

    In the midst of the long drought here, young ones weren’t effected all that much, but the old guard could say no more and one by one 200 year old trees encompassing 5 to 7 foot-wide trunks 15 feet tall-mostly died, and it’s a softwood & in terms of stored energy from the Sun, not a good performer in that a 2 foot length takes about 20 minutes to burn, or around a minute for every decade of growth, I reckon.

    …not that it’s warmth wasn’t appreciated on a chilly morning today outside next to the fire pit

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      neighbor’s place has numerous standing dead mesquite…and i opened the door to “helping her with this problem” because a number of them threaten our shared fenceline.
      so me and the boys…and their buddies…have been hewers of wood since last march.
      the only problem…aside from my neck down arthritis…is the damned prickly pear which covers her place. a lot of it 15 feet high. rattlesnake heaven.
      other neighbor…the one with the big spread…has several standing dead post oaks. enormous trees, half fallen over….killed by drought several years ago. Gotta get the oaks quick…but mesquite can stand dead for 50 years without rotting.
      I figure we have enough firewood for 20+ years before I ever have to cut a living tree. (when that time comes,mesquites are great for coppicing)
      I’ve convinced my sports obsessed boys that splitting firewood is coach approved…and having them and their buddies out in the woods all day provides ample time for applying the Socratic Method to various world problems.
      Reckon this might make up for whatever net carbon I release in a given winter.

      Reply
      1. Joe Renter

        Socratic Method. Nice one.
        I appreciate a hippie’s view on life.
        I was raised in Northern CA when the term “hippie” first was circulated in my memory. The conversion went like this.. hey did you hear about those young people down if Carmel with their long hair and living in buses? They are called hippies. At least that is how I remember it. I also took notice when the term Yippies came around as well. It was good experience growing up in liberal city (Santa Cruz) where the University changed the molding minds of youth faster that the norm. Also have to give credit to my step father who took me to an anti-war rally in front of the post office when I was in 4th grade. The local B of A was bombed and the feel of change or at least disruption of the status quo group think was alive. The revolution was real to a degree until it morphed into what, I am not sure. I was hoping that the world change for the better looking back at it all. Reading history makes one realize there is always one thing to count on and that is change. Love the comments on NC

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          in the podunk East Texas backwater I grew up in, they called me “hippie”. I had grown my hair over my large prominent ears…and I was way smarter…and much more liberal…than anyone they had ever seen. So I adopted “hippie”–unconsciously, mind you– in the same manner that many of the black kids I grew up with adopted the N Word, and made it their own.
          I lean more Beatnik, really…with a great helping of coonass and hill people.
          The rednecks out here(a much better class of redneck, btw) still call me hippie, and I’m fine with it. my hair is longer than many of their wives’, and I sport a prophet’s beard, too.
          in fact, their wives often ask me how I keep my hair so well,lol.
          the rednecks back home would have had my hide if i were to talk argan oil with their better halves.

          Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        Hey Amfortas – do they use moths to control the prickly pair where you live? I’ll quote from Wikipedia to explain what happened down here-

        Prickly pears (mostly Opuntia stricta) were imported into Australia in the 19th century for use as a natural agricultural fence and in an attempt to establish a cochineal dye industry. Many of these, especially the Tiger Pear, quickly became widespread invasive species, rendering 40,000 km2 (15,000 sq mi) of farming land unproductive. The moth Cactoblastis cactorum from South America, whose larvae eat prickly pear, was introduced in 1925 and almost wiped out the population. This case is often cited as an example of successful biological pest control

        The stuff took off like wildfire and people were so grateful to that moth for killing it mostly off that they actually built a small monument to it. Just curious if you have heard it being used to control that prickly pear where you live.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          I certaily hope not,lol.
          Opuntia spp. belong here much more than us pasty european descendants do….and there’s cochineal all over the place, too…a little bug that makes a white yarn-like substance around itself, that…when squished…is a bright purpley red.
          I’ve seen reference to the moth you mention in org/sust. trade rags over the years…controlling an introduced invasive with another introduced invasive is counter to the Principals, to say the least.
          More recently, I saw a mention somewhere of a pest or disease moving in that’s killing prickly pears…but I’ve been too busy and scatterbrained to look into it.
          Opuntia spp are essential habitat and forage for a whole bunch of the native critters around here.
          and, if you burn the spines off really well, the pads are sort of like green beans mixed with okra. The juice of the tunas(fruit) makes awesome jelly and even pancake syrup.
          physical control is the best…but it’s a pita, even with a blade or a front end loader.(I’ve removed many over the years by hand, ugh!) They don’t burn well, if at all, but make good skeletons for artificial mounds for windbreaks.
          The ranchers around here, however…always looking for an excuse to spray diesel all over everything(!!)…apply diesel mixed with an herbicide(“sendera), that’s also used for mesquite control.(sendera’s directions call for a “surfactant”. peanut oil is cheaper(in bulk) and eco friendly…but…”Hippie!”,lol)
          Most of the time, it’s left alone…so that during extreme drought, one can burn the spines for the cattle to forage.

          Reply
      3. Oregoncharles

        There’s a wonderful wood-splitting scene in “The Seven Samurai.” You and even your boys might appreciate it, even though it’s in B&W, i fyou haven’t seen it already. Don’t know what the equivalent is in “Magnificent Seven,” a Western based on it.

        Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How does Ohio value each Bitcoin?

      Today, $14,000 per coin that will be valued at $4,000 tomorrow? How does it help the Buckeye state.

      Reply
      1. todde

        hence the quotes.

        the Bitcoin is immediately converted into dollars…

        but the article does mention that being accepted as tax payments will make the demand for Bitcoin grow.

        Reply
            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Thanks, that addresses one concern.

              Does it open the door for other forms of legal tender?

              Will states accept bolts of silk (they did in ancient China)?

              Reply
                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      Archaeologists discovered this Han dynasty lady wrapped in silk in a crypt in Hunan (the kingdom of Changsha, I think).

                      The garment was well preserved.

                      Would a (plastic) nylon dress have done better?

  13. Lee

    EXCLUSIVE: Chinese scientists are creating CRISPR babies Technology Review

    My inexpert, hasty perusal of the topic indicates that the gene in question, CCR5, is a relatively recent mutation, occurring within the last 2000 years in northern Europe. It then spread outward from there in the usual way. While it appears to make carriers more vulnerable to AIDS, it may also confer greater recovery capability from and resistance to ill effects of other pathogens.

    As for the human subjects of this dubious enterprise all I can say is: Good luck kids!

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      I hate this term, and I don’t think it describes a real thing. Seems like more RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA fearmongering to me.

      EDIT: my bad, did not read the article before posting and did not realize article was making fun of the term.

      Reply
  14. JBird4049

    Cache of weapons that came with @playmobil‘s police helicopter/motorcycle given to my son by very well-meaning relatives. 1 gas mask. 3 handguns. 1 Machine gun. 1 baton. 1 asp. 1 set of handcuffs. 1 flashlight. Loves the helicopter. I confiscated the rest. Why are these included?

    And that twitter post also had a toy prison setup complete with guards. Perma-war including the idolatrous worship of the Holy Military and now concurrent with the Happy Police State™ and Office Smiley as the Friendly Neighborhood Police Officer Prison Guard as the new good. Edward Bernays would be just proud of these…people.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Clintwood Eastwood made a film about the 3 Americans who subdued the bad guy on a train from Amsterdam to Paris.

      In that movie, when they were kids, they played with toy guns.

      What message is being conveyed there?

      As for conditioning, do we include video war games or any games involving violence?

      And there are other risky gifts from relatives – sweet soft drinks, salty snacks, etc.

      Reply
  15. BlueMoose

    If you didn’t have a chance to read the link to Forbes (How A Mysterious Tech Billionaire Created Two Fortunes—And A Global Software Sweatshop) under Class Warfare today, I encourage all my fellow software developers to do so. Not sure what best sums up my reaction. Perhaps, revulsion? Of course, we all know that developers do their best work when keystroke loggers are installed, right? /sarc

    So glad I’ll be ‘retired’ in less than 1 year. I’ll probably still do some coding, but on my terms.

    Reply
    1. Duke of Prunes

      Yikes! As someone in the software industry, that is a very scary article. Oddly enough, I was just chatting with some folks about the “old days”, and the topic of bottom feeding Computer Associates came up… something along the lines of “what ever happened to CA? Surprised no one has taken their place.” I guess someone has… but this time on steroids.

      Reply
    2. Kent

      I’ve run IT for various counties and cities in Florida for 20 years. There is an entire software industry built around specialized local government activities like police, fire, water plants, permitting, government finance, etc… In the last 20 years, pretty much the entire industry has been bought up by 3 or 4 PE funds. Innovation has stopped. Dead cold stopped. Annual maintenance fees are growing rapidly. And getting someone knowledgeable on the phone when you have a problem is essentially impossible. A miserable and depressing time.

      Reply
  16. a different chris

    >But this sort of reasoning has a lot of problems. For one thing, forgiving outstanding student debt does not actually make everyone who took on student debt whole as it provides no benefit to those who took on debt and then subsequently drained their potential savings to pay it off.

    Dumb argument, drenched with the stench of “but what if!!” morality. It ignores what a complete cluster(family blog) college loans are whilst at the same time demonstrating that they are.

    Problem #1: people take out different levels of debt, but don’t the poor take out the most?

    Problem #2: even I don’t know what I mean by “levels of debt”. Relative to what? A journalist who will start at starvation wages and maybe get to low middle class has a lot more trouble with 20K of debt than a surgeon does with 200k. My point is it helps the journalist so much that who cares if the surgeon gets a lot more? He’s going to pay it back in taxes. Most of the people with huge student loans are in fields where they do not struggle much for the big $$s, I suspect.

    If you can’t sort the mess out, then just money-bomb it away, and clean things up going forward. That’s pretty straight management 101. The hope of perfectly calibrating fiscal fixes to only those “deserving” from a 300million+ population is so Clintonish it is ridiculous. I don’t think the Jubilee worked like that.

    Reply
    1. HotFlash

      In Matt B’s analysis, one chart did not see was total $ indebtness by quintile. After all, the thing about the 1% is that there aren’t very many of them, I am also thinking that quintiles aren’t all that enlighteninig. The 1% and .1% may be skewing the upper quintile by their greater wealth, as the lower quintile may be skewed by their greater numbers.

      Besides, if some rich people get a benefit, fine. Increase their taxes to Eisenhower levels and all will be well.

      Reply
    2. Spring Texan

      Yep, we need decent, simple programs, not complicated programs that involve a zillion conditions and means-testing. Those end up like the terrible student-loan debt-forgiveness program for public service that nobody qualifies for after changing their career paths: http://fortune.com/2018/11/19/30000-people-applied-for-federal-loan-forgiveness-only-96-got-it-report-says/

      Of the 30,000 applicants for federal student loan forgiveness, the U.S. Education Department has released less than 100 from their debt, CNBC reports.

      The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, signed into law in 2007, aims to forgive the remaining balance of loans after debtors make 120 qualifying monthly payments while working full time for the government or a nonprofit. Since it takes 10 years of payments to qualify, 2017 was the first year of eligibility, and new data provided by the education department showed that only 96 people received relief, CNBC reported.

      Many worked in public service for 10 years and thought their loans would be forgiven, but later found out they didn’t qualify, according to the news source.

      While one-fourth of Americans were meant to be eligible, the newly released numbers show that less than 1% of applicants were forgiven of their loans, the news source reported.

      Reply
  17. Parker Dooley

    “Dispute Over ‘Lingerie’ Comment Persists, as Society Rejects Professor’s Appeal ”

    This is a classic case of academia’s “more trivial the issue, the more fierce the battle” problem. I would “compare & contrast” it with the Dartmouth case, also linked here, where actual physical and professional assaults are alleged.

    My first problem is, I simply don’t get the joke. Why would this ever have been considered funny, much less a “gag”? Perhaps a wiser head can explain this to me.

    But aside from this, I think the comment was inappropriate from a class standpoint, as it assigns to a fellow member of the meritocracy the status of an elevator operator, i.e. a member of the delta-plus category, and therefore a contemptible and valueless individual./sarc So, from that perspective, the comment would be equally objectionable if made to a male colleague of lesser academic or social status, even if changed to “hardware” (suggesting that said colleague might actually have occasion to work with his hands). Or, hypothetically, “ladies lingerie” to a closeted gay male colleague, regarded as an insidious attempt to out same. Plenty of opportunity to make the outrage gender neutral.

    What is most astounding to me (or not) is the inability of academic institutions to define when an event requires institutional intervention vs. simply a response of “screw you, jerk” from the offended party.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      What is most astounding to me (or not) is the inability of academic institutions to define when an event requires institutional intervention vs. simply a response of “screw you, jerk” from the offended party.

      Bovine excrement such as this elevates bad humor to assault which is just nuts; the controversy also is both a very excellent opportunity to move attention away from serious problems such as actual sexual harassment that many poor, working, or even lower middle class people are vulnerable to all the time, and a chance to show one’s personal virtuousness.

      Reply
  18. ChristopherJ

    Re the flat earth stuff. I love a conspiracy and have delved down into the videos to see how people convince themselves. There’s even conventions and so on, ffs. Now, I see it was an invented conspiracy designed to get clicks, air time and money.

    Well they got me too, I guess…

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What practical changes does flat-earth present?

      Does a believe go west in order to reach China, from, say, Portugal?

      And are those believers dangerous for non-flat earth believers?

      Reply
      1. UserFriendly

        Considering they are on the same land Mass, I would assume they don’t question that. The anwser to the question you meant to ask is; they don’t believe the Pacific ocean is continuous.

        Reply
          1. ChristopherJ

            To understand how they have convinced themselves of this fact (and hence the cover up by scientists and govt), you need to spend a few hours looking at their vids on youtube or equiv. Eventually, the topic will disappear from your feed…

            Reply
      2. polecat

        I’l give your 3rd question a shot ..

        Not if they’ve misplaced their ‘sure gip’ 2001 PanAm flight shoes … then gravity on a Flat Earth, as such, I guess takes over.

        What of a 2-dimensional Moon … ?? No one ever brings that one up.

        Reply
      3. Amfortas the hippie

        something about an icewall that surrounds the flat earth, and a magnetic ….anomaly?…that creates the appearance of roundness.
        or something.
        I’ve encountered several true believers in my 20 years on the intertubes…they are not the sharpest tools.
        Many of them seem to also believe real hard that the moon landings were faked by Kubrik.
        Tolerance for these poor souls is the price of free thought, I suppose.

        Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I read Russia (or was it China) wanted to verify American Moon landings.

        Not quite flat earthers, but their kindred spirits perhaps.

        Reply
        1. ChristopherJ

          Yes, going to take a few close up pics on the next flyby, to see if the US really did leave stuff behind… nice of them really.

          Maybe they can also take a pic of the earth that isn’t fake news, eh?

          Reply
  19. How is it legal

    `Re Camp Fire … 249 missing.

    Actually, the most recent official report was 296, yesterday, November 25th

    It was 249, the day before that,on November 24

    I’m clueless as to how it increases by 47 extra missing within 24 hours, 18 days after the disaster, along with some of the other recent, large count changes. I wonder how much pressure there is behind the scenes from the Governors office, etcetera.

    Don’t know what the number of the most recent accounted for number of 2,599 in that latest report means, as the missing count noted was the highest at nearly 1,300, from what I’ve noticed from varying sources; and, it oddly increased by 96, from the 2,503 accounted for on the 24th, despite the missing figure jumping up by 47 people, and the fatality count, of 85, not changing.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      In a disaster like that many would have lost everything, including money, phone, car, and papers and are looking for just a place to sleep. Add that town, county, state, and federal governments and agencies plus various volunteer organizations would be dealing with the attempted coordinated aid for thousands of victims many of whom lived in everything from tents, cars, couches, apartments, houses, nursing homes, hospitals, and for all I know trees even before the fire. People lived in the area because it was cheap which means fairly isolated especially as this is California.

      Also, unlike earthquakes and floods, fires that strong can turn entire buildings and the occupants into ashes and dust; sometimes there is nothing to find. Even when there is, it can take a long time to adequately cover a county size burn area. It sucks but it’s gonna be a while before a “complete” count will be available.

      Reply
      1. How is it legal

        I understand and agree with most of what you noted, but, 18 days after the disaster, with FEMA and the stunningly wealthy State of California involved, your response does not at all address what I wrote above:

        I’m clueless as to how it increases by 47 extra missing within 24 hours, 18 days after the disaster, … I wonder how much pressure there is behind the scenes from the Governors office, etcetera.

        47 people were added back to the missing count between the evenings of November 24th, and November 25th with no notes as to any errors caught, and it has little to do with people not having phones, since, presumably, whoever reported those 47 extra people missing on November 25th, have phones.

        Something seems amiss, outside of what you’ve noted.

        Reply
  20. ewmayer

    o “EXCLUSIVE: Chinese scientists are creating CRISPR babies Technology Review” — Breathtaking disingenuousness in this quote:

    [The scientist behind the effort, He Jiankui] appeared to anticipate the concerns his study could provoke. “I support gene editing for the treatment and prevention of disease,” He posted in November to the social media site WeChat, “but not for enhancement or improving I.Q., which is not beneficial to society.”

    …said the high-I.Q. guy developing groundbreaking technology in the area of gene editing for the treatment and prevention of disease. There is precisely 0 chance this technology and future ones of its ilk will remain restricted to disease mitigation, especially with oodles of cash in the offing to enhance, erm, I mean “disease-mitigate” the wealthy and their precious offspring:

    He is also the chairman and founder of a DNA sequencing company called Direct Genomics. A new breed of biotech companies could ultimately reap a windfall should the new methods of conferring health benefits on children be widely employed.

    Looks like the road to GATTACA has arrived at last.

    Reply
  21. roxan

    That WaPo article about HCR nursing homes pretty much tells the truth. My agency used to send me to their facilities now and then. The buildings were very nice, and the care wasn’t too bad in part of the building, but the back halls–where they stored all the really debilitated patients–was one of the worst I’ve seen. They had them 3 & 4 to little rooms, and so many patients in that hall, it was impossible to get to even half. Also, the entire staff was sometimes from various agencies. No one knew the patients, and demented patients tend to eat their hospital bracelet, so it was impossible to guess who was who. One evening, I got upset and wanted to call the building supervisor about half way through the shift. The aides laughed and said, “You’re it!” No one had mentioned I was in ‘charge’ of around 300 patients I had never laid eyes on. That sort of thing is common in nursing homes, and I would have been blamed if anything had gone wrong….

    Reply
  22. Louis

    Regarding the Jacobin piece on whether canceling student loan debt is progressive, the analogy of comparing compensating people who’ve successfully paid their debt to those who’ve paid insurance premiums is weak sauce to say the least. For one thing going to college is a conscious choice, you have to apply to do so, whereas with healthcare sometimes life just happens. In other words, you have a medical emergency or medical issue that you have no control over and happens regardless of whether you have medical coverage .

    I support universal healthcare and an could even support Medicare for All, provided it was designed and implemented properly and math works out. I am amenable to forgiving student loans under certain circumstances: e.g. public service. However, an across the board forgiveness of everyone with student loans is no more fair than the bank bailouts in 2008.

    If the Democratic Party supports a bailout of everyone with student loans–I’m currently a registered Democrat and have been for a long time, but also happen to have paid off my student loans early–I am done with the party and will join the ranks of independents and third parties (no way I’m voting Republican).

    Reply
  23. Oregoncharles

    From the Atlantic article on the “ladies’ lingerie” controversy – the ISA’s supposed “standard:”
    ” The key is that the actions or comments are experienced as demeaning and unacceptable by the recipient.”

    ‘By the recipient.” This is no standard at all. There is literally no way to know how someone else, especially a total stranger, will respond to a comment. This would mean that everyone, or at least everyone in a “privileged” category (Ms. Sharoni, the complainant, is white, is she not?) walks on eggshells perpetually. It’s a recipe for making society ever more hostile. Even “reasonable person” standards are better than that.

    The ISA is an academic professional organization. Aren’t they supposed to be intelligent people? I hope he does sue them.

    And To Be Fair: the article makes essentially that point, less strenuously. Personally, I conclude that the institution is stupid.

    Reply
    1. ewmayer

      This is why jurisprudence makes much of the notion of “a reasonable person” – but the same twits making hay of the lingerie-comment incident would surely decry any such standard as unfairly judgmental and oppressive. I do so love cults of victimhood, especially of the cloistered, subjective, touchy-feely academic-ivory-tower variety.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        subjectivity as the basis of crime and punishment is a recipe for disaster…we’ve already been toying with it for a long time(long haired dude=dope smuggler, broken windows “theory”, “papers please”, etc).
        That’s the part of what became of metoo that bothers me the most…it contains the total disregard for even the concept of Due Process within it.
        “I am offended, therefore you are guilty”
        something the Red Queen might say…but I guess we are quite far down the rabbithole, after all…

        Reply
  24. The Rev Kev

    “Russia reopens Kerch Strait to shipping after Ukraine standoff: RIA”

    I’d guess that this story is basically over. Sure there will be lots of recriminations as well as shouts of Russian aggression but the real story is hiding in plain sight. Consider this. Poroshenko gets to make the Russians look bad and at a cheap cost. A land excursion could go badly wrong but a naval one was always going to be limited. The west gets to jump on their high horses and make the thing sound like the Battle of Midway but this too is just temporary. This is not the first time ships have been bumped in this region (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1988_Black_Sea_bumping_incident) either.
    The real prize for Poroshenko is that by next Monday he will be able to push through a 60-day martial law act for the the south and east of Ukraine – the very areas that won’t vote for him. More to the point, the Ukrainian presidential elections are scheduled for next March so in that time he gets to run all over political opposition, media companies, etc. so instead of losing it like predicted, I would guess that he will spend that time rigging the deck so that he will win a further term. Tough luck for those three wounded Ukrainian sailors but Poroshenko will probably give them a medal and make them Heroes of the Revolution or something.
    In a case of the dog that did not bark, not much is being said about the Jihadist chemical weapon attack on the city of Aleppo a few days ago. No major denouncements in western capitals. no screams about what-about-the-children from the media but just the sound of crickets. No Tomahawk missiles streaking for Jihadist strongholds either. I don’t know if the OPCW is going to bother sending a team to find the truth of what happened or to take samples. Funny that.

    Reply

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