Links 11/28/18

How villages in Maharashtra learned to coexist peacefully with the growing crocodile population

Returning looted artefacts will finally restore heritage to the brilliant cultures that made them The Conversation

Justifying Diversity New York Review of Books

Justice Announces He Suffered ‘Mini-Stroke’ Over Citizens United Above the Law

Why Ebola crisis in DRC is unlike anything before Al Jazeera

Top fund managers sue top banks in global forex manipulation scandal Handelsblatt

Lion Air jet should have been grounded before fatal flight, Indonesia says AFP

California Burning

California Wildfire Likely Spread Nuclear Contamination From Toxic Site TruthOut

Countries must raise emissions targets fivefold to stop disastrous global warming, UN warns Independent

Cutting emissions could prevent tens of thousands of extreme heat deaths annually MIT Technology Review


As Farmers March to Delhi, Climate Change Fuels Their Larger Crisis The Wir

Waste Watch

London coffee shop turns their cups into biochar Treehugger

Fast fashion: ‘How do you justify selling a £2 T-shirt?’ BBC


US complicity in the Saudi-led genocide in Yemen spans Obama, Trump administrations The Conversation

Exclusive: 50+ experts and former officials urge the Senate to end US role in Yemen war Vox


Brexit: let me count the ways …

Government ‘complacency’ could lead to border chaos in case of no-deal Brexit, MPs warn Independent

Class Warfare

Labour plans to give customers of big firms vote on boardroom pay Guardian

Farm bankruptcies in the Upper Midwest have jumped — in one chart MarketWatch

Worked Over The Baffler

DeVos decries student-loan program as a ‘looming crisis’ WaPo

Subway riders decry MTA fare hikes at first public hearing  am New York

Meet the Politician Fighting to Make Cash-Free Cafés Illegal Grub Street

Democrats in Disarray

The Pelosi Playbook Jacobin

Freshman Dems demand more power from Pelosi Politico

New Cold War

Drama in the Kerch Strait: teasing the Russian bear Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

Ukraine – Poroshenko Initiated Clash With Russia To Gain Dictatorial Powers – He Failed Moon of Alabama

Ukraine-Russia sea clash: Trump says may cancel G20 Putin talks BBC

Manafort allegations throw new uncertainty into Russia probe AP

‘This Is Sketchy’: Critics Warn Against Blind Acceptance of Explosive Guardian Report About Secret Manafort-Assange Meetings Common Dreams

Fake News

Global lawmakers turn up heat on Facebook Politico


“A New Paradigm”: How Netflix and Apple Are Upending Hollywood Hierarchy With Studio Deals Hollywood Reporter

Health Care

Big Tech Expands Footprint in Health WSJ

You Snooze, You Lose: Insurers Make The Old Adage Literally True ProPublica

FDA promised a ‘lower-cost option’ to EpiPen, but the price isn’t any lower Stat

Big Tech Expands Footprint in Health WSJ


China ‘won’t get away with vague promises this time’ in trade talks with US SCMP

Trump Transition

Roberts’ Rare Rebuke of Trump is Disingenuous American Conservative

Judge Delays Decision Whether to Unseal Assange Criminal Complaint Consortium News

A rush to judgment: The Trump administration is taking science out of air quality standards The Conversation

Trump proposes a government-run TV news network to counter CNN Ars Technica

White House makes last-ditch push on criminal justice reform bill Politico

Trump says he’ll cut GM’s subsidies. He can’t do it without Congress. Vox

The Bill and Hillary show! Power couple kick off 13-city paid speaking tour in CANADA where bank executive lobbed questions at them in half-empty arena, as they accuse Trump of being part of a Saudi ‘cover-up’ Daily Mail. The pictures are priceless.

Antidote du Jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. bwilli123

    Re: Lion Air
    …”Captain Hasan Basri, a pilot for Lion Air, said that two years ago, he checked the logbook to find that the weather radar nestled in the nose of the plane he was to fly wasn’t working.
    The problem should have been fixed within 10 days. But Capt Hasan said the carrier had a habit of simply moving the faulty radar to another plane.
    As the clock wound down on the next 10 days, the radar would then be switched to another plane, he said, in a dangerous game of hot potato.”

    1. cnchal

      Yesterday evening on the national news (ABC ? I don’t know or care, they all sound the same) they had a thirty second explanation of the Lion Air crash.

      I am paraphrasing here but it went something like this.

      After recovering the black box we learned that the pilots fought valiantly against a system that was lowering the nose in flight and tried two dozen times to raise the nose.

      The punchline?

      All they had to do was turn the system off.

      Left unsaid was that this system, as we learned here at NC, is undocumented, which would be a very good reason why the pilots failed to turn the system off, not even knowing what was happening to the aircraft in their care.

      For most viewers the implication is pilot error, so my question is was it fake news by leaving this critical information on the cutting room floor? And worse, are the reporters and people putting these words in the talker’s mouth venal, incompetent or both?

      1. jsn

        If it’s broadcast, assume bad fait somewhere. Maybe, maybe not the presenters, but somewhere. The bias is too systematic and uniformly worded across outlets.

      2. Gareth MacLeod

        Yes. Boeing got way out in front of this one with their PR efforts, pushing the “Just turn it off” line. It’s harder to explain to the public that the behaviour of an automated system changed, and the pilots (all pilots) weren’t adequately informed by Boeing about the new system.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, I came across the same in a article that I saw as in ‘all that they had to do was to turn it off’ i.e. pilot error. The fun and games really start when car companies start putting in undocumented behaviour into the software for their cars to give unwary drivers a big surprise.

      4. VietnamVet

        GM is going to use the money it saves from closing four manufacturing plants in North America to invest in autonomous vehicles. This is the corporation that bought back $10 billion in stock since 2015. They and Boeing have lost contact with reality. Fake news and quantitative easing go hand and hand with delusional self-serving leadership.

    2. Lee

      This should serve as a cautionary tale for those considering a future when our roadways teem with automated cars.

      According to the report, a sensor falsely signaled that the jet’s nose was too high. An automated Boeing anti-stall system pushed the nose down, while pilots tried to use their controls to bring it back up.

      Data showed the 737’s pilots managed to pull the jet’s nose back a total of 26 times from takeoff until its plummet into the sea in what Lemme has called a “deadly game of tag.”

      Indonesian Airliner Crashes With 189 Aboard, Minutes After Takeoff
      This automated system is called the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system, “a computerized system Boeing installed on its latest generation of 737 to prevent the plane’s nose from getting too high,” as The New York Times describes it.

      There are steps pilots can take to manually override the system, but it’s not clear whether the Lion Air pilots aboard Flight 610 knew them.

      1. Gareth MacLeod

        I think the analogy to self-driving cars fails when you consider that planes are far less prone to pilot error than cars are, and it is largely due to how heavily automated planes are already. Certainly this automation adds in new dangers (like the one we see here), but overall the automation of cockpits has been extraordinarily successful.

        1. a different chris

          Yes. Making an airplane is quite an engineering achievement, but once it gets off the ground, it has a much simpler, um, “landscape” to deal with.

          Planes don’t turn on a dime, but they can access three uncluttered dimensions. It would be nice if, when approaching an apparent collision, our autonomous cars could both just turn right. But what is on the right? Could be a sidewalk full of people. Planes not only can do the “turn right”, but I believe they have some methodology where one will gain altitude while one drops.

          Runways are “one at a time”, approaches centrally controlled. And I could go on…

        2. rd

          Planes don’t have to worry about tree branches, leaves, and soft squishy things (aka people etc.).

          Once in the air, there is little to hit and the entire landing and takeoff system is designed to make sure that two things aren’t occupying the same space at the same time. Basically, the planes largely need to focus on the laws of physics as opposed to a series of random events and objects of indeterminate nature.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Many times in life, a thing, in and of itself, is neither good or bad.

      Here, MMT could be abused for the federal government to pay, directly or indirectly through the local government, those $200 million, and not taxpayers

  2. Justsayknow

    Re cash free discriminates
    “that tells me the business community will mobilize to oppose the bill. I expect a big fight.”
    No kidding. Not mentioned in the article it the fact that with cards a bank gets a cut if every transaction.
    So no way will the councilman succeed. Pity.

    1. Paul O

      This is true enough (on the cut). I am finding recently that even small business owners are become surprised when I offer cash for even small purchases – and I am talking about a single beer here, for example.

      Sometimes I have asked them on this. The transaction cost is small (in the short run!) and the effort and costs of handling cash and maintaining a float is high – they say.

      I still use cash for most items – even in the £100+ range. People think I am weird.

      1. Quentin

        Paul O, Don’t let yourself be intimidated by the the social control scolds. They feel intimidated because you’re doing something they’re not. They love to support the neo-liberal onslaught, including the banks. I use cash all the time here in Amsterdam, even when I bought a new refrigerator for 450 euros! It’s not ‘cool’ to use cash. Several weeks ago some central banks (Canada, Netherlands, even Sweden) warned against getting to carried away about cashless transactions because the systems are vulnerable; see the blackout of certain payment companies over a weekend in Britain and, the mother of all cash/card disasters, Puerto Rico.

        1. Bitr

          Exactly! Recently in Ottawa area right after partial post tonado blackouts. Small rural village convenience store kept running thanks to generators but only one till could accept cards, hence huge line up. I loved skipping it all paying at the other ‘cash only’ register!

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          in the big city, the cashless “opportunities” abound. “wave yer fone in front of this red, glowing eye!”, etc.
          out here, we’re lucky if the card reader(?) can handle a card with a chip in it.In fact, my 100+ year old bank doesn’t even offer cards, at all.(and there’s still counter checks in all the businesses on the Square)
          the gas station/beer store I frequent not only has manual gas pumps(lift the iron hook thing), but still use the “kachung” manual machine about half the time.(when’s the last time y’all even saw one of those,lol?), and even when the reader works, it’s behind the counter…has no keypad for PINs…and one must sign a receipt. Just like 1985!
          The insidious, but as yet subtle, nudging towards cashlessness has not penetrated I wonder if they could even try to force the issue, a la India…
          Over the years, I’ve put the Local Currency bug into the ears of my banker friends, as well as a number of the local movers and shakers(and they ain’t all country bumpkins). To no avail, of course…but the groundwork is laid for a potential workaround if the Machine does try to force it.( I’ve brought Local Currency up in the past as a potential solution to low wages and jump starting local ag to alleviate some of the poverty and despair)
          Cashlessness is something I fear, as I’ve tried real hard to remain as unplugged as possible.

      2. perpetualWAR

        Be careful. Cash transactions are dangerous, doncha know?

        I, too, rely on cash.

        I don’t know if you remember, but trying to withdraw my money in cash caused a bank to close my account! Dangerous. And scary cash.

        1. anon

          In my tourist town, cash is king with a huge portion of the working population and the tourists alike: the landscapers pay for groceries with 100 dollar bills (don;t trust the banks) and the out-of-towners use cash to keep their concubines a secret (don’t trust the banks, either).

      3. lyman alpha blob

        I paid with cash for an iPod an an Apple store a few years ago and I think it gave the factotum (I’d say cashier, but…) I was dealing with an aneurysm.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      For a bricks-and-mortar business, especially a busy one, not having a register full of cash, and not having to go to or send an employee to the bank at least once a day is safer. Especially if the business is one known to be a favorite of robbers. Just having a safe isn’t going to improve that, since a gun barrel at the head is a great incentive for remembering the combination.

      There’s a reason why businesses post signs saying they only have a small amount of cash on hand, a reason that going cash-free eliminates. The fee the bank collects for that is considered a small price to pay for the safety of not being a robbery target.

      Adding a banking service to the USPS would resolve most if not all of the problems that exclude people without bank accounts from doing business without need to have cash, yet how much support have y’all seen at any government level to bring that back and expand it? Instead, we get all kinds of piecemeal “solutions” like banning cash-free businesses, because the goal of privatizing USPS must continue apace.

      1. Procopius

        Our 7-11 stores here solved that “remembering the combination” problem. I would have thought they did in the states, too. There is no combination. As money comes in a certain (small) amount is kept in the cash register. When that passes a trigger amount the clerk puts in into the safe. There’s no combination. It can only be opened by a key brought from outside by an armed guard in an armored car.

  3. allan

    Re: “Freshman Dems demand more power from Pelosi Politico”

    A nice counterpoint is the pearl clutching in the NYT:

    In Courting New Liberals, Pelosi Runs a Risk: A Freedom Caucus of the Left

    … after an election in which Democrats made considerable gains in districts won by Mr. Trump, the prospect of a crop of outspoken progressives having outsize power and influence in a newly realigned Washington is worrying some of the more pragmatic Democrats, especially those who flipped Republican seats this month. …

    Speaking of those newly elected “more pragmatic Democrats”, a big round of applause for the Blue Dogs,
    who have helpfully, if inadvertently, provided a list of who to primary in 2020:

    Blue Dog Coalition Verified account @HouseBlueDogs

    NEWS: We’ve inducted 7 members-elect to @HouseBlueDogs who are dedicated to fiscally responsibility, a strong national defense, & bipartisanship. Congratulations to Anthony Brindisi, Ben McAdams, Max Rose, Mikie Sherrill, Abigail Spanberger, Xochitl Torres Small, & Jeff Van Drew!

    “fiscally [sic] responsibility, a strong national defense, & bipartisanship.”
    Otherwise known as moderate Republicans if they still existed.

    1. Procopius

      Also known as New Democrats and Third Way. Some used to be known as Democratic Leadership Council (hi, Bill), but Al From decided to retire and closed it down. Yeah, they’re terrified of anyone as liberal as Richard Nixon.

  4. David Mills

    The “Explosive” allegations against Manafort are brought to by Luke Harding (author of Collusion) and the Guardian. IIRC Luke Harding was on the wrong end of an interview with Aaron Mate of the Real News ( ), where he coined the term “Collusion Denialist”.

    The Ecuadorean Embassy is under total surveillance 24/7. There is no way Manafort could’ve gone there without MI6 having a record. The Embassy logs all visitors, Manafort does not appear in the logs. The Guardian is, apparently, walking the story back and Wikileaks is already calling for the head of Kathrine Viner. London is not a great jurisdiction to get done for libel.

    To sum up, I think we can all stop taking the Guardian seriously.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Aaron Mate has quietly neutralized a string of Russia-gaters who’ve made careers for themselves on this garbage. Some acquitted themselves better than others. Isakoff wasn’t terrible.

      Luke Harding lost his cool and made a fool of himself.

      The simple genius of Mate is that he stays focused on concrete evidence and keeps hammering at it when the writers try to distract/obscure. I think Jamarl Thomas called him a journalistic Detective Columbo (I remember my grandma liked that old show). He just keeps asking basic, obvious questions until he gets answers. He doesn’t disembowel critics, he gets them to disembowel themselves.

      My only recommendation to Mate would be that he should compare the body of evidence that we have with Russia-gate to the evidence of actual conspiracies with the enemy like we saw under Nixon and Reagan. It’s not even CLOSE!

    2. Quentin

      Julian Assange: a political prisoner in virtual solitary confinement without ever being accused of a crime in the middle of London, can you imagine, a civilisation of hub of the ruling Anglo-American hegemony. How quaint of the British. They’re so rabid about all this that, if he dies in the Ecudoran embassy, the London police will arrest his corpse as it is carried out.

        1. Quentin


          There was no reason for him to be on bail. He was never charged with any crime and—are you kidding me—the rape allegations were never any more than allegations. If he went to Sweden to talk to the authorities, he would have been sent to the US. And the British authorities did everything in their power to dissuade the Swedes from going to London to interview him. The Swedish prosecutor leveraged rape, used rape allegations, which were later withdrawn, to pressure him. Why did the Swedes do that? The allegations were later shown to be meaningless. If not, why would they withdraw the Interpol arrest warrant. As far as we know, he raped no one. windsock knows as I do that if he agrees to go to jail because of his jumping bail he will be sent to the US for ‘trial’. Why do you persist in supporting the leverage of rape to persecute a man? Men and women should be ashamed of themselves.

          1. windsock

            “windsock knows as I do that if he agrees to go to jail because of his jumping bail he will be sent to the US for ‘trial’. ”

            Neither you nor I know that. We might speculate, but that is all.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          If he isn’t a political prisoner then why have political authorities from several nations (Sweden, Ecuador, Australia, US, UK) gotten involved with his situation? If he can’t leave without being arrested, which he can’t, that would seem to make him a political prisoner even if he hasn’t been thrown in an official jail yet.

          1. Big Tap

            Why isn’t Australia insisting on his extradition and that he not be sent to the U.S.? As far as I know Assange still has Australian citizenship. If he is charged with a crime that should be adjudicated in Australia’s courts not in the U.S. where he is not a citizen of. As a publisher he should, even by U.S. standards, have the protection of the First Amendment.

            1. Anon

              …and so let’s hope the judge will unseal the US indictment against Assange and we can learn what “legal memo” he has violated.

        3. todde

          He chose to go there. He broke his bail conditions. He is not a political prisoner.

          I would say he chose to go there and break his bail conditions in order to NOT BECOME a political prisoner.

          1. windsock

            That may be a better framing. But he entered into the bail agreement voluntarily and willingly, and by breaking it, committed a criminal offence for which he will, of course, be arrested.

            Once that ha been dealt with, the Swedes would have had first option for him. Although that may have changed by now.

    3. Bill Smith

      Between about June 19, 2012 and October 12, 2015 the UK police kept a uniformed presence to keep Assange from sneaking away. For a much longer time, until this year the Ecuadorian government paid a private security company with their own closed circuit cameras watching the embassy. Then though the entire time one would guess that UK Intelligence would have kept track of who came and went.

      This talks about the private security Ecuador hired:

      However the entire things stinks given the current efforts of the new Ecuadorean government to get Assange out of the embassy.

    4. integer

      Politico has published an opinion piece by an anonymous ex-CIA agent, who writes under the pen name of Alex Finley, floating the idea that Harding and Collyns were the victims of a Russian disinformation campaign. Apparently the Russia!Russia!Russia! cohort have become aware that the Guardian’s article is widely being perceived as the obvious bs it is (even Marcy Wheeler is skeptical) so they are now trying to redirect the narrative.

      Did Someone Plant a Story Tying Paul Manafort to Julian Assange? Politico

      While the immediate reaction to the story was a collective “Wow!”, it is fair to take a step back and remain wary. Rather than being the bombshell smoking gun that directly connects the Trump campaign to WikiLeaks, perhaps the report is something else entirely: a disinformation campaign. Is it possible someone planted this story as a means to discredit the journalists?

      If this latest story about Manafort and Assange is false—that is, if, for example, the sources lied to Harding and Collyns (or if the sources themselves were lied to and thus thought they were being truthful in their statements to the journalists), or if the Ecuadorian intelligence document is a fake, the most logical explanation is that it is an attempt to make Harding look bad. This, in turn, would call into question any of Harding’s past reporting and could be raised any time someone mentions his reporting as evidence of wrongdoing. Any mention of Harding going forward would include the caveat, “according to a reporter who was once duped.” The underlying question would always be: How can anything he writes be trusted?

      Ha! Anyone who has been paying attention already knows that nothing Luke Harding writes can ever be trusted.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        “the most logical explanation is that it is an attempt to make Harding look bad.” Ha!

        I do this with my kids – when something unexplained happens, I’ll say “the most logical explanation” is something totally preposterous – usually involving space aliens – and have them tear apart my logic, and come up with their own “most logical explanation”.

    5. Procopius

      I read that the embassy announced Manafort has never been logged in. If Mueller’s Merry Men are relying on this informant they screwed the pooch. I have heard that Mueller is extremely careful, so I am looking forward to seeing what he presents to the court. He or his subordinates were very careless with the Concord Consulting indictment (the indictment released in January 2018). They did not have evidence ready to pursue a case when Concord sent lawyers to enter a plea at the arraignment.

  5. Jos Oskam

    Justifying fast fashion? I can’t even justify the old-fashioned fashion.
    Fashion must be the most sorry phenomenon ever devised. Perfectly usable items are discarded only because they are no longer “in fashion”. From clothes to cars, from phones to furniture, the amount of waste produced as a result of passive subservience to the fashion kings defies comprehension.

    If one is really concerned with the future of the planet, banning fashion should be a number one priority. I do not consider myself a treehugger, but the day that I throw out something just because it’s out of fashion is the day I have finally lost my senses and should be locked away.

    Fashionistas are killing the environment in the name of ego. For me, that’s despicable.

    1. Lee

      When I was a kid, my mom’s favorite rejoinder whenever I asked if we had any rags: “Yeah, we’re wearing ’em.”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Fashion ban will likely include banning hair spray, cosmetics, etc.

      A lot of those are single-use: lipsticks for example. Ear rings can be used.

      1. Wukchumni

        When I started skiing in the 70’s, everybody seemed to be attired in see me-dig me clothing, and then when snowboarding came along, they had to be iconoclasts compared to the double plankers, and did so by looking as if they’d come off a shift in the meat locker, wearing industrial looking fashions, and it still holds through to today that way.

    3. Eureka Springs

      Jerri-Lynn is the resident NC expert. But I will say much of the problem began with the demonetization of hemp. I believe it was DOW who wanted it out of the way so they could monopolize with newly developed synthetics. Nylon, poly, etc.
      Hemp, cotton, wool, etc., can be recycled and most important, can be made well enough to last many, many years.

      The use of toxic synthetics, crapified to the point of being disposable like styrofoam cups because they simply can’t be re-worn more than a few times without falling apart is a far larger problem than ever changing hemlines and seasonal colors part of fashion.

      If I could travel back in time -50 years one of the first things I would do is go shop for clothes at JC Pennys and Sears and the original Marshal Fields. Quality fabrics, style and sewing available then for everyone, that even the rich can’t find today.

    4. Copeland

      Where I live, if you’re trying to be somebody, your house must be blue-gray with white trim, your SUV must be white and less than five years old, your jacket must be puffy with narrow ribs of puff, your phone must be i and you must have a ring device at your front door.

      These days I think fashion allows a person to not have to think, just do it, and you will be accepted into “the club”.

    5. Sparkling

      And if you don’t like what’s hip and happening you’re blinded by nostalgia and therefore shouldn’t be taken seriously.

      I have stuff in my closet I can no longer wear because it is out of fashion. But recycling old trends is going to be the downfall of civilization and contributed to the election of Donald Trump? Give me a break.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “The Bill and Hillary show!”

    This is starting to get sad now, especial with Hillary suffering obvious health problems. Know who they remind me of? Edward VIII – the man who was King – and his wife Wallis Simpson – the woman who would be Queen. The same way this couple were in self-exile in southern France, trying to plot their way back into the circle of power, living the role of high class celebrities – it is all starting to remind me of the lifestyle that the Clintons are now leading. But I remind myself that in the end that they did it to themselves. History will not be kind to them.

        1. bronco

          remind sort of implies you were alive to experience an event. I was negative 4 years old when JFK was shot I don’t remember it very well. Exactly nothing could remind me of how I felt on that fateful day.

          If I was 100 I might have read about the king abdicating to marry Wallace Simpson. Id have been 18 though so couldn’t possibly care about that bit of fake news from 1936. Id probably be at least 120 .
          Really sounds a lot like a bit of power politics and a phony face saving story invented to fiddle the peons . Still hearing about it today like it actually went down that way is amusing.

          The reason they were in semi exile is that they didn’t choose to leave for true love they were shoved out the door so in that respect I suppose it is a bit Clintonian LOL

          1. Elizabeth Burton

            In an era when film and TV news have been ubiquitous, and where celebrities are daily fodder, to say one can’t be “reminded” of people who were the Donald Trump equivalent of their day, and who have been portrayed in any number of movies and TV series, and about whom numerous books have been written, both singly and together, is nitpicking of the first water.

            I don’t see that many parallels between the Windsors and the Clintons, but I’m sure other parallels can be found of narcissistic couples no longer in fashion continuing to seek public veneration.

            1. ambrit

              Both sets of “Celebrities” were suspected of crooked financial dealings and murder. Both sets can be said to have had a penchant for authoritarianism. Both sets believed in the “Divine Right of Things.”
              There’s my subconscious speaking. I’m referring to Bill and Hillary in the past tense.

      1. Lee

        There’s this thing we call “history”, which can be accessed through various media. And, yes, reading and participating at Naked Capitalism promotes extraordinary longevity.

        1. polecat

          I don’t know about that Lee .. I sure don’t feel very ‘longetic’ inspite of reading this and other informative sites.
          I just continue to glide into a grittier, and crankier state of curmudgeondom, as nothing really changes in ‘StatusQuoesUStan’ … while I ponder my existence as a member of Greater Peonville !

          1. ambrit

            Welcome to the Club! This one is for everyone else not in the ‘Exclusive Club.’
            More accurate Lee; “…makes longevity bearable.”
            The state of continuing past one’s ‘sell by’ date.
            Archaic: To be well rounded, a cosmopolite. “He doth, within, encompass the very World. Longetitude is his crown and glory.”

            1. wilroncanada

              As I sink slowly into old codgerdom I remember I started out with nothing…and I still have most of it.

      2. todde


        Is there going to be a quiz later? Have to be prepared.

        I believe it was right b4 WWII and didn’t these two ‘collaborate’ with the Nazis and/or Vichy Regime?

      1. JEHR

        The Bill and Hillary Show reminds me what happens when a power-hungry couple lose their power–they look sad, old, tired and hungry still.

  7. Wukchumni

    I was in L.A. when the fires broke out, but far away from the action in Whittier, and it was kind of weird, in that if you didn’t know there was a wildfire going on 50 miles away, you would have no clue, as the Santa Ana winds were blowing the smoke out to the ocean.

    Driving home, I had the most crystal clear view of the San Gabriel mountains i’ve ever witnessed from a freeway, the detail of the canyons was astounding from 10-15 miles away, total clarity.

    If bad nuke ju ju from Santa Susana drifted anywhere, it all went to Malibu, and not knowing anything about how long it takes for the radiation et al to assert itself, virtually all of the Hollywood movers and shakers would be asymptomatic, and seeing as they are very visible public figures that millions or even a billion of us plebians would recognize in a heartbeat, what effect would it have, if suddenly a svelte beauty or a handsome hunk disappeared from the public eye on account of wasting away as a result of a covered up nuclear explosion of some nearly 60 years prior, with a second act?

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      The Woolsey Fire story, TruthOut link; The people that live near the Woolsey fire have been exposed to deadly toxins the state and fed governments will not remove or clean up. The southern California basin has a few dozen million people that have been exposed to these toxins for years, the fire at the SSFL making that exposure magnitudes greater. But that won’t be fixed either. All the people could be affected, have been affected, will be……. We know the answer is blowin in the wind.
      This story is a basic intro for those of you that may have not yet read about potential dystopian futures. If we had a government of, by and for the people, would they have cleaned it up? Might they have prevented it? If the health and safety of the people that live in the LA basin mattered to the governments would evacuation notices being sent out to millions be appropriate? Would we have to hear the pleas of celebrities from Malibu before something will be done? These folks can evacuate with ease.
      I lived in So. Cal. When I learned that the water table where I lived in Orange County had been completely inundated by contaminated ground water and wells from the former El Toro Marine Air Station. They dumped av gas and toxic chems, munitions (and won’t comment on it) in the dirt for decades. It can’t be cleaned up, so it never will be. It was too toxic for the Marines. So what did they do? They sold it for new residential housing. It is now covered with people that will come to find out what it means only with their cointinuing exposure. And the beat goes on.
      Is there even one municipality in this nation that treats the water to remove the toxins to ensure their citizens have clean water to drink? Vermont used to have a very strict statute about water use and cleaning it before it is sent on to the water treatment facility. I wonder if the state could supervise compliance at any time when the US government would do anything in its power to quell such investigation/intervention, so very afraid of what the public might learn.
      If we really had a government of the people, by the people and for the people, might these places be cleaned up already? Prevented from from occurring to begin with? Our EPA doesn’t work for us, and is now in danger of being disbanded by our government. The non response means people will die every day until superfund sites are cleaned up or the people are able to move to somewhere that hasn’t been poisoned for the next few hundred years. They won’t give us many facts about our air and water, only lower the standards so the polluters won’t face consequences for poisoning it. And it is such a mystery to the government why people don’t want to bear children in such an environment.
      Millions live in these conditions in most of our states. Do you deserve an evacuation notice if appropriate to save your lives? Until then make sure you set fire to your water before you try to filter out the remaining toxins and particulates your water treatment plant can’t.
      If you can find a place in a state that has not been contaminated, take the economic hit and have a better life.
      If you are waiting for infrastructure projects to start turning it around, look and see if your government has ever done anything to benefit those of us that only pay taxes and not bribes. and as Kurt would say; “and so it goes”

    2. The Rev Kev

      Happened before. And I quote Wikipedia here-

      Among the cast and crew who filmed The Conqueror (1956) on location near St. George, Utah, 91 cast/crew members developed some form of cancer at various times, including stars Wayne, Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead, Pedro Armendáriz, and director Dick Powell. The film was shot in southwestern Utah, east of and generally downwind from the site of recent U.S. Government nuclear weapons tests in southeastern Nevada. Many contend that radioactive fallout from these tests contaminated the film location and poisoned the film crew working there

      And they only had to wait about 20 years, not 60.

    1. pjay

      A nice response to that ridiculous “Straightest Arrow” Guardian article from the other day (and following David Mills above, I stopped taking the Guardian seriously some time ago).

    2. John

      LOL. I got this far before I bust out laughing:

      “Earlier this year, Republican congressman Louie Gohmert also highlighted various issues in a report titled “Robert Mueller Unmasked” that opened with a bold assertion:”

      Quoting Gohmert immediately negates any credibility this article might have.

      1. pjay

        No, it does not! Gohmert’s an idiot, but he’s RIGHT here! That’s how f***ed up things are! Tell me where the inaccuracies are in this article. I don’t care much for Devin Nunes either, but he has also been much more truthful than the Dems on the Mueller probe. The fact that Louie Gohmert could possibly be on the right side of any issue is in itself a sign of the apocalypse!

  8. Wukchumni

    In regards to audience no shows @ the Clinton gig…

    Was watching Inside the NFL last night, and they’re pretty careful about not showing the crowd above the field level seats in the highlight reel, but every now and then it inevitably happens, and one game i’d guess the upper tier seats were about 80% empty.

    1. Pat

      The game is obviously televised.
      There are several a year. Some match ups are going to be more interesting to the public than others.
      Ticket cost is prohibitive for football. For instance the cheapest tickets I found for the Giants were two at $33 for a Tennessee Titans game, Not going to comment on the drawing power of the Titans or the Giants. Last minute tickets were supposedly a third of that.

      For me the bigger question is not why the stadium was empty but “Why would Canadians want to pay good money to listen to them pontificate at all? And who did Live Event even think this would be a big seller?”

      I’m serious. I might wonder at their appeal to a significant portion of Americans, but I can come up with more reasons beyond having too much money and too much time to fill as to why one might go. I cannot think of any reason for a Canadian who isn’t a crazy fan to spend money to go hear Bill and/or Hillary.

    2. tegnost

      here’s a handy chart
      give or take a million people a week pay to attend games. Excluding the chargers, who despite their low numbers still fill their current stadium, the lowest attendance I saw was a lowly 45,134 in a matchup in which the Bengals defeated the Bucs 37-34 so there was real entertainment left on the table there. The Cowboys crushed the competition with an astounding 95,512 when they played the NY Football Giants (h/t Chris Berman). That doesn’t include tv, or my personal favorite, radio.
      Here is hillary giving her major foreign policy speech in san diego, barely filling the balboa ballroom, please don’t watch it, just go to 39:02 and take what little glimpse they give you of her crowd…
      no comparison can be made between the clintons and and the nfl in terms of popularity.
      Now Bernie on the other hand…
      Here’s a story from just a little over a month ago entitled “Thousands flock to Bernie rally”

      1. Wukchumni

        Getting a root canal is probably less painful than being in attendance for a Clinton cabal…

        When I was a kid, I went to around 100 LA Kings games in the early 70’s with my dad who was a big hockey fan, and learned about the ‘announced attendance’ lie firsthand, as the Fabulous Forum held 16,005, and rarely was it half full, a lot of times a 1/3rd full, and sometime in the 3rd period the pa announcer would spit out that tonight’s attendance was 10,846, and even an 11 year could just look and see it wasn’t so, the emperor new seats, that is.

        Attendance @ NFL games is meaningless compared to the tv money each team earns, and those ‘announced numbers’ are mostly whimsical.

        I’ve been watching the game for some time now, and never saw so many empty seats as this season…

        The announced attendance of 57,013 was the lowest for a Redskins home opener in the 21-year history of FedEx Field — down more than 21,000 from the 78,658 who attended the Redskins’ 2017 home opener against the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles.

        It also broke what the Redskins have claimed is a 50-year streak of home-game sellouts.

        Swaths of empty seats attested to the story, along with the large section of 300-level end zone seats that was covered with advertising signage and, at the opposite end zone, the removal of seats to create an open-air plaza for fans to mingle, order drinks and keep tabs on other NFL games via 30 HD TV screens (WaPo).

        1. ambrit

          I remember going to Dolphins games in the old Orange Bowl with my Dad. A few minutes before one particular game started, the announcer came on and stated that this was a televised game, so, would all the people in the upper rows move on down and in to make the crowd look bigger for the television audience. When the Dolphins were bottom of the barrel, we could often end up in row ten to twenty between the pair of thirty yard lines.
          Working people could afford to go to professional sports games back then.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You’re right there. During the Olympics, corporations are allowed to buy seat tickets in bulk rather than have the mopes that actually want to see the games have a chance. During the Olympics themselves a lot of the corporate seats are no-shows as they are working or can’t be bothered which explains why during the Olympics you see whole ares of seating that have nobody sitting there.

        1. ambrit

          It is still suspected that the N’Awlins penchant for sports, especially da Saints, is due to the water. Me, I remember the ‘Aints and Baghead.

      1. Copeland

        Every touchdown and especially a victory is accompanied by fireworks in my suburban Seattle neighborhood (rolls eyes).

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine-Russia sea clash: Trump says may cancel G20 Putin talks ”

    Mentioned this in a comment yesterday as a probable aim of the Ukraine’s blatant provocations. This seems to be phase two of a plan as I have seen news in the US, UK & Australia suggesting that the proposed Putin-Trump meeting cannot possibly go ahead now and raising the expectation that this is the way that it is going to be. Trump himself is as usual a wild card and appears to be saying he won’t meet Putin but who can say? This all reeks of a planned, internationally co-ordinated plan and I am seeing Pompeo in the mix due to his trips to the Ukraine. I am not that great a believer in coincidences anymore and the timing is too neat and fine tuned. It would be tough luck for Poroshenko if Trump, in revenge, started to have personal phone calls to people like Yulia “Gas Princess” Tymoshenko leading into the elections there.

    1. Dr. Roberts

      Is Tymoshenko in the running? Didn’t she leave office with single-digit approval ratings? It seems every Ukrainian president becomes less popular in office the country is so dysfunctional. It’s a tragedy you see all over the world in recent history, when governments are funded more by external cash flows they govern very poorly because they have little incentive to build a domestic state that can support itself. Ukraine was a victim of billions in “democracy promoting” funding from US and German NGO’s on the one hand, and various Russian bribes on the other. They’ve had no chance to develop a domestic political system built on sound internal political structures because of this and it’s the primary reason the country has become immiserated since the end of the Cold War.

      1. Massinissa

        Yes, shes back. There are basically no alternatives. Its either this right wing nationalist or that right wing nationalist. Ukraine is in a bad spot.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Given the integrity of elections, anything is possible.

        She’s probably too much of a clown at this point to even be propped up which is why the neocons imported Saakashvili. They needed a cadidate just in case to prop up and read a teleprompter. Poroshenko is a clod. Who is left that hasn’t bugged out? I don’t have any particular insight, but with the various problems, the more competent have likely skipped town. The general philosophy of the ilk of Poroshenko and Tymoshenko tends to lead an obviously decayed lot.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump himself is as usual a wild card and appears to be saying he won’t meet Putin but who can say?


      A man of Dao or Zen would go along when the situation on the chessboard dictates so. Trump says he won’t meet Putin….for now. He did something similar in the beginning of his presidency, not meeting Putin immediately, and letting the Russia investigation limp along on its own or Democratic momentum, before meeting him (last year or earlier this year).

      That’s something Xi could do, reading outdated Chinese classics like the Daodejing or the tale of the great general of Han dynasty, Han Xin, instead of trying to push back harder. Ali did the same with Frasier, with his rope-a-dope. That was Dao in action.

      I suspect Putin also knows a thing or two about Dao as well…as Dao is everywhere, except Beijing at this moment.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      Can someone explain to me how the Russian closure of the Kerch Strait is in accord with International Maritime Law? Seems like a violation of the most blatant sort. Even assuming the Crimean annexation was somhow legal under international law, which it obviously wasn’t, I can’t see how it could justify closing the strait to Ukrainian maritime traffic, in effect blockading Mariupol’ and the other Ukrainian ports from international waters. Blockades are usually considered as acts of war.

      I don’t think whether we like the Ukrainian or Russian governments is likely to be even remotely relevant in regards to the legalities. Maritime law doesn’t, I assume, swing on subjective political popularity claims.

      We got any maritime law adepts here who could shed some light?

      1. todde

        straight is open and was shut down for a limited time

        the seizure of the freighter used to block the straight is definitely illegal.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Could you imagine what the US Coast Guard would do if the Mexican Navy sent naval ships to do the same sort of antics outside the Golden Gate bridge while trying to get through?

      2. todde

        It appears Russia has somehow shut down the AIS for ships in the Sea of Azov.

        Its empty with a few ships that are only displayed because a satellite has picked them up.

        Russia’s Electronic warfare capabilities seem top notch.

      3. Duck1

        My understanding is there was a temporary closure to prevent the transit of military craft which had not received permission from the Russian authority. Once the vessels were seized and some other vessels fled the strait was reopened and innocent passage resumed. So there was an interruption, not a blockade of shipping.

      4. Olga

        The strait is not closed. There is a lot of mis-information or deliberate lying about what is going on. A protocol has been established (based on the agreement between the two countries), which the Ukrainians did not follow this time around. Why not…? And why go for a martial law? Seems a bit of a disproportionate response – and in light of the upcoming elections, kinda gives the game away. The U. Rada was not pleased, and curtailed Porky’s demand for the martial law.
        I keep waiting for someone to pen an op piece, with the headline “Bridge over Troubled Water.”

  10. Another Scott

    Re: MTA fare increases.

    I was thinking about this solution for the MBTA in Boston, but it probably applies to public transit systems throughout the county. Apply a levy on ride-hailing apps, reports indicated that take passengers away from public transportation and add vehicles to the road. My guess is that it would be less regressive than the fare increases too. This would provide revenue to the strapped agencies and discourage driving. In the case of NYC, it could also serve as a kind of congestion tax, which Cuomo supports.

    1. JohnnyGL

      I’ve long been in favor of throwing in another gas-tax hike, too. Cut income or sales taxes a bit, if that helps to make it a bit more palatable.

      I remember some people pushing a specific SUV-tax awhile back, but I think that’s misguided. I’m okay if people like riding in SUVs, I just don’t want them burning lots of gasoline.

      1. Altandmain

        I am against a fuel tax because often, people who are unable to afford the high rents in the areas with good mass transit are forced to drive. A fuel tax is regressive.

        Personally I think that a capital gains tax enacted at the municipal level is the least regressive tax. Maybe adding a few more tax brackets too at very high income levels.

        1. JohnnyGL

          “people who are unable to afford the high rents in the areas with good mass transit are forced to drive” — yes, this is true, and often increasingly so.

          But, an affordable housing problem should be solved with an affordable housing solution, not with a low gas tax. We’ve got to find a way to lower fuel consumption. Raising the price is a neoliberal move, I realize, but it should be done in concert with a larger package of measures to fix climate change, reduce energy consumption, improve housing policy, reduce car use, pollution, traffic, etc.

          Even MMT provides that taxes have a usefulness as far as discouraging behavior that is bad for soicety overall. Using lots of gasoline fits the bill.

          1. JohnnyGL

            Oh, and yes, going back to the pre-reagan era tax policy where dividends, cap gains (both ST and LT) all counted as regular income should be restored.

    2. Pat

      They already did it.

      Look some combination of fare hike/taxes/levies is probably necessary for the MTA, but this is all bigger than is presented. The MTA has been a pork ridden place where people went to get big salaries and largely disappear from view. It has been mismanaged and when they can make the wrong choice they do. See deferring maintenance. In fact some of the problems is that they were being starved decades ago and cut back on maintenance. But unless there is a photo op in it for Cuomo he hates the MTA. He has also done as much as possible to starve the beast. I point out that it was practically immediately after the last fare increase was set in stone that Cuomo announced his new budget with a cut to the MTA budget that pretty much wiped out the projected budget increases from the new fare. That was helpful wasn’t it?

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I certainly would have linked to this Craig Murray post if I’d seen it before I posted today’s Links. Thanks for this.

      1. ChristopherJ

        Yes, thanks Paul.

        Last para from Craig, who has met with Assange several times:

        Assange is not a whistleblower or a spy – he is the greatest publisher of his age, and has done more to bring the crimes of governments to light than the mainstream media will ever be motivated to achieve. That supposedly great newspaper titles like the Guardian, New York Times and Washington Post are involved in the spreading of lies to damage Assange, and are seeking his imprisonment for publishing state secrets, is clear evidence that the idea of the “liberal media” no longer exists in the new plutocratic age. The press are not on the side of the people, they are an instrument of elite control.

        1. Olga

          Yes, let’s all remember the Gary Webb story – NYT and WP did untold damage to his career and life. They are more like IC outlets than anything else.

  11. Wuzzy

    Cash-Free Cafes

    Our top local coffee shop has a sign: Cash or Check Only no Plastic. The line moves a lot faster.

    1. Isotope_C14

      Here in Germany they use cash almost exclusively.

      The only time the line gridlocks is when someone whips out the plastic.

        1. bronco

          why do you need to hurry up cash transactions? They are much faster than cash free transactions already

          1. anon

            Sometimes. Sometimes not. Depends on the customer and the cashier. Paying for $6.17 six-pack in quarters (tips) can take longer than a “chip” transaction (if you don’t want a receipt).

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Cash is reusable. Coins are practically indestructible unless one tries intentionally.

      Checks are single-use only, legally speaking.

      Probably will have to ban checks as well. Let’s hear it from the public first.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Please ban checks at tills. Nothing wastes everyone’s time like check writers. Luckily check writers are pretty much an expired demographic. I always thought cash was good “for all debts public and private”. If it isn’t, it should be by law. Maybe put a limit on pennies of a under of a dollar to avoid those wheelbarrow stunts. Or just take the familyblogging things out of circulation.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          we paid an illegal ad valorum tax on vehicles in pennies, after fighting with the scofflaw local tax appraiser for years.
          that tax had been specifically undone by the texas lege a decade before, and we were one of 2 counties who persisted….until our “wheelbarrow stunt”(really, feedsacks) made such a big stink
          but there’s apparently no actual enforcement mechanism to reign in local tax assessors in texas. This guy could pretty much do as he pleased.(now he’s rich, and has a lot of property. go figger)
          pennies do have their uses.

        2. How is it legal

          Please ban checks at tills. … check writers are pretty much an expired demographic.

          I just got a huge hit of PTSD reading your comment. I’ve not seen that expired demographic validated; and it would further depend on whether one uses a percentage of populace which Rentiers and Corporate Predators always prefer, or count those actually still using them, which I will bet are millions of the population and small to medium sized businesses.

          Just for one, checks have become necessary for those large amount purchases for those who don’t have credit cards, because most receipts are no longer visible after a few months, and millions still don’t use credit cards (for valid reasons). Also, I’ve seen an equal amount of time, and then some, taken at registers because of various issues with cards. Not to mention the ever increasing poverty spots in the country where some don’t feel safe carrying much cash.

          Further, If checks are obsolesced at checkout counters, pretty soon they’ll be obsolesced for paying rent on housing, and other large monthly bills – to corrupt landlords, and increasingly corrupted corporations – which, frankly, would be evil.

          Changing a payment system that worked for centuries, and didn’t require extra fees and interest is something that should have the input of everyone, persons: of all income classes; of all types of locales; with infirmities; running local businesses; who comprise a vast elderly population; etcetera. It’s not something that should ever be implemented just because it might take a minute or two longer at a counter.

          Lastly, those wheelbarrow stunts, as you call them, are mostly made by those impoverished, and or, elderly.

          I.e. NO

          1. ChristopherJ

            I have not seen a check (cheque) in 25 years. No one owns a check book in Australia anymore, not even businesses. The Tax Office used to send you refunds that way, but that was like 25 years ago too…

            Not sayin checks should be banned…

            1. How is it legal

              Wow, seemingly horrifying, regarding Australia. Just found this, from March 2018, Millions of cheques still written yearly in Australia, figures show – DIGITAL payments are all the rage but nothing compares to the satisfaction of signing off on an old fashioned cheque for these Australians.:

              ASK Australians about cheques and most would say they are a thing of the past; the payment version of fondue parties and shag carpet. But a new analysis revealed they are not dead yet.

              Financial services firm Canstar examined RBA payment statistics and found there are still plenty in use — more than 81 million cheques were written by individuals or businesses during 2017.

              Group manager of research and ratings Mitchell Watson said this proved they are still needed.

              I thought cheques were either very low volume or non-existent,” he said.

              “But it turns out a lot of businesses and government departments still send them.”

              Among consumers it’s more likely to be older Australians who reached for the cheque book.

              Further down:

              Overall cheque usage has declined by 79.61 per cent over the last decade.

              As implied in the piece, that decline seems quite tricky and deceptive, And I’ll bet (though it’s not noted in the piece) there are many residents who still use checks (even young ones), but only for basic monthly bills and larger amount items. (I fall into that category, for all else now, I use cash only, where I used to write far, far more checks for purchases.)

              So how are Apartment and Home Rentals generally handled in Australia, do you know? I’d likely off myself if my Landlord was given such a gift as to refuse my check and insist on accessing my bank account automatically. Though it’snot at all noted in that piece, I’m guessing that renters make up a vast amount of those 81 Million checks written, at least I would hope they can still pay by Australian cheques.

              Not surprised at this horrid worldwide turn of events pushing towards cashless and checkless/chequeless. Renters – for just one class of the most likely victims – have always been treated as low-lifes, potential criminals, and third class non-citizens, despite much evidence to the contrary.

              (Would love to know if Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffet, et al, still pay by check (written and stamped by paid monthly bill payers at some quiet and exclusive CPA Firm). I’ll bet they do.)

              Have to run now, but will return to read any response, thanks for the info regarding Australia, Christopher!

              1. How is it legal


                (Would love to know if Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffet, et al, still pay by check (written and stamped by paid monthly bill payers at some quiet and exclusive CPA Firm). I’ll bet they do.)

                yeah, well maybe not paper checks, but I’ll bet they demand the vetting of amount due, unlike the average person has the ability to do, when Auto Wireless Payments are enforced on them. And the banks they bank with, are quite exclusive and private, they actually defend their client’s required payments to the last dime. those banks don’t advertise to the US public at large, like Wells Fargo and Chase do.

                (Now,I really have to run.)

              2. ChristopherJ

                Thank you, HIIL. I guess I got used to internet banking early and transferring money that way. Plus an early adopter of the visa debit cards, which let you use the card like a credit card, but it is attached to your money.
                Still stand by what I said earlier, haven’t seen a cheque in 25 years, although I can see how some people would pay their remaining paper bills by return mail and a cheque – just because they can.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              To use a physical check, one would have to practice handwriting.

              It seems that is one more area we will be doing less of it.

              1. Sparkling

                Cursive has always seemed classist to me, even as a kid. What’s the point of it? Nice, *elegant*, takes a long time to learn and perfect. Time you don’t have if you’re working in the mills and not in school.

                I spent years learning D’nealean (or however that’s spelled) in order to spend God knows how long learning cursive. That’s a lot of time spent learning how to write your name on legal documents in fancy letters.

                  1. Sparkling

                    Considering you can buy light beer for fourteen dollars at a concession stand in California, that may prove my point.

                    1. Wukchumni

                      No, all it means is that the word “California” is written in cursive on all license plates, nothing more.

          2. Kurt Sperry

            I apologize. Checks are great for the transfer of funds via the mail where time isn’t critical, and for large purchases, bill paying in person, and, of course, many people still receive payments via check and I see no reason to discontinue that if people prefer it.

            What I had issue with is the lady at the 10 items or less line at the grocery store writing a check for her $20 purchase and insisting on balancing her checkbook in longhand before the next person in line can buy their small purchase. Please, just use cash for that if you don’t have plastic.

  12. allan

    In California’s Inland Empire, fewer than half of jobs pay a living wage [LA Times]

    … The vast area encompassing Riverside and San Bernardino counties has added 200,000 jobs since the peak of the recession. Payrolls are swelling at a year-over-year rate of 2.5%, faster than in neighboring Los Angeles County or California overall.

    The jobless rate is down to 4.1%, and the spectacular growth of the warehouse and transportation industries seems unstoppable …

    The report, drawing on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and academic studies, found that:

    Despite lower housing costs in the Inland Empire than in coastal counties, just 4 in 10 jobs pay enough for families to make ends meet.

    Poverty rates in Riverside (15.3%) and San Bernardino (17.6%) were higher last year than before the Great Recession, and income inequality grew from 2010 to 2016.

    350,000 residents commute to jobs outside the region, mainly because of a shortage of well-paying opportunities. …

    Surely another round of tax cuts will fix this.

    1. How is it legal

      Governor elect Gavin Newsom has been soaking in Brown’s wisdom on: handling a state with the number one poverty and inequality rate; preventing the increasingly deadly PG&E and Edison disasters; cleaning up the decades old Santa Susana Field Laboratory Nuclear Meltdown site, which just caught on fire; fixing a less than worthless California Medical Board; decreasing an obscene rate of Incarceration; reducing a stunningly punitive against the increasingly impoverished and homeless, Highest State Sales Tax Rate; fixing the nightmares at the DMV, and Francshise Tax Board; etcetera, etcetera, etcetera:

      Spent my morning soaking in the wisdom of @JerryBrownGov. Feeling humbled, excited, and ready to get to work! [ ]

      3:02 PM – 13 Nov 2018

      God, I can’t stand that smug look, it’s even worse than Brown’s Serious Daddy Jesuit look.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I didn’t know it was the highest sales tax rate.

        If highest doesn’t work, lower or lowest is worth a try.

        1. How is it legal

          As I wrote above, California has the highest State Sales Tax Rate, 7.25%. Many states allow County and Municipality additions to those State rates (California is one of them). The average State and Local Sales Tax rate rounds up to 9% in California, which, I believe, is around the ninth highest Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate in the US.

        1. How is it legal

          Keep running cover for PG&E (behind the scenes), and other contributors and mentors; keep gushing Identity Politics hollow concern for immigrants and citizens he wouldn’t allow anywhere near his home; keep REPEATEDLY DEFLECTING TO TRUMP DID IT, when Trump – as odious as he is – had nothing to do with the ever increasing misery of Blue State!™ California’s average residents with no connections or wealth.

          As a California resident for decades, his twitter feed is bleakly priceless (and repugnant). It’s not called The Republic of California for nothing, there’s ultimately not a dime’s worth of difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties here when it comes to brutalizing those with no wealth or connections.

  13. Anthony K Wikrent

    The Forex Scandal was probably the largest financial crime ever committed, because of the size of the foreign exchange markets. Here is the Wikipedia entry:

    The forex scandal (also known as the forex probe) is a financial scandal that involves the revelation, and subsequent investigation, that banks colluded for at least a decade to manipulate exchange rates for their own financial gain. Market regulators in Asia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States began to investigate the $4.7 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market (forex) after Bloomberg News reported in June 2013 that currency dealers said they had been front-running client orders and rigging the foreign exchange benchmark WM/Reuters rates by colluding with counterparts and pushing through trades before and during the 60-second windows when the benchmark rates are set. The behavior occurred daily in the spot foreign-exchange market and went on for at least a decade according to currency traders.

    Imagine if the world was spending just one tenth of the forex market – $470 billion a day – on solving the problem of climate change. Do you think we would be making any progress?

    1. georgieboy

      Thought experiment, to try to understand scale:

      $4.7 trillion in transactions daily = $4.7 million x 1million

      Guess that bid/offer spread in liquid FX is 1 bp. That is .0001 x $4.7 million x 1 million, = $470 x 1 million.

      Figure the illegal skim on that spread at 10%, again just for a guess, and we get $47 million per day in skim, not $470 billion.

      Still real money, no argument there.

  14. Craig H.

    > California Wildfire Likely Spread Nuclear Contamination From Toxic Site TruthOut

    E Street and Alfa Road

    is not on the google maps data base from where I sit.

    34.232207, -118.696065 is the lat-lon of the Santa Susana facility. There doesn’t look like there is much there. About a half mile away is a building labeled Boeing which has a parking lot that can hold at least 400 cars although it was nearly empty when the satellite for the current data passed over. Could have been on a Saturday or Sunday.

    This is the zip code of the Charles Manson “family” if you are curious. The topography is rough and it costs a lot of money to build roads, water works, power lines, single family homes, &c. on it.

      1. Anon

        There doesn’t look like there is much there.

        GoogleEarth Pro does indeed show an apparently abandoned facility at Lat. 34.232207, Lon.-118.696065 . Alfa Road dead ends into some major steel contraptions rising into the sky. Close by are other concrete structures that appear to be warehouses of some kind. The overall facilitly takes up quite a bit of acreage.

    1. JohnnyGL

      I’m sure Egyptian pharoahs thought it was appropriate for workers to work themselves to death to build their pyramids, too. Because it was worth it!

      Today’s would be pharoahs think similarly, unsurprisingly.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Discoveries made in recent years have shown that workers there had it pretty good…meat, beer, etc.

        They brought along their families, and apparently, it was meaningful work (perhaps spiritual or religiously significant) for them.

        1. todde

          It was the first Jobs Guarantee program.

          Or at least the 1st that probably didn’t involve creating an army and invading the neighboring tribes.

      2. Craig H.

        In Tocqueville’s Democracy in America chapter 18 he has a few paragraphs on the difference between the two banks of the Ohio River, Ohio and Kentucky, how much better a free economy is than a slave economy. He said something to the effect of it is obvious to anybody who has eyes to see it.

        People with ownership will often work their ass off. People without ownership always do as little as possible.

        1. How is it legal

          (I think my first comment, yesterday evening, may have been snagged up somewhere,trying again)

          People without ownership always do as little as possible.

          UUUGH. Oh my, please tell me you’re not serious. Especially as regards the Elite, I would reverse that entire sentence.

          On my own, I poured quite a few thousands worth of cash (over a thousand in cash), and full weeks of labor, into beautifying the property I once rented an apartment at, not expecting, asking for, or receiving, recompense. I did receive a huge rental increase though, quite shortly after many thank you words for the beautification. That property was owned by a slumlord couple who couldn’t be bothered with even minimal ‘grounds keeping,’ but were, and still are, wealthy as sin; no small wonder.

          I, know I’m not a rarity. Humans don’t want to live in some slumlord’s dump that they [those slumlords] don’t even have the human decency to make truly livable despite the insane profits they make.

  15. JohnnyGL

    Jacobin article on Pelosi is pretty good. It helps you understand who she is and how she got there.

    Built a career on fundraising from Silicon Valley, the financial players around it, and CA real estate developers.

    Some lovely brazen episodes of corruption, too. Like that around the Visa IPO.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why Ebola crisis in DRC is unlike anything before Al Jazeera


    This is one of the reasons for some kind of border control, globally, so that it’s not just on people from that area (that would be selective).

  17. Balakirev

    “Returning looted artefacts will finally restore heritage to the brilliant cultures that made them” reads the title of the article on the Conversation website, but the article itself has nothing to do with this. It discusses the looting that occurred in moderate detail, briefly mentions a 108-page report commissioned by the French government in which an art historian recommends the artefacts’ return, and concludes with the hope that something will come of this. That’s it.

    I have to wonder whether the unknown person who wrote that title ever read the article. Probably considered it a waste of time.

    1. Wukchumni

      Sounds almost as promising as the English returning the Elgin Marbles to the Greeks.

      Finders keepers rules do apply if you absconded with it long enough ago…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not to mention there are more obelisks in Rome than in all of Egypt.

        The former was first collected more than 2,000 years ago. So, they do have a nice collection…because you have to be patient as it takes time to build it up.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Been seeing quite a few stories of museums being forced to return collected artifacts including one such story just a few days ago. Places like museums make easy targets for the do-gooders who get behind these efforts and I am calling this high level virtue-signaling. It would be far better to protect artifacts in endangered regions from theft today – places like Iraq and Syria – but there is a lot of money involved in a lot of influential circles.
          As an example of how this plays out. Straining the memory banks here but I remember reading a story that went back before the Iraq invasion & occupation. If I remember right, a group of antiquarians & archaeologists went to George Bush to plead that Iraq’s archaeological sites be protected and reminded him that this was in fact international law. Not long after, a group from some organization representing antiquarian collectors went to Bush telling him of the opportunities to be had after the invasion.
          You can guess which way that he went. Just to underline his choice, think about this. The ancient remains at Ur represent one of the most ancient cities in this planet’s history and were fundamental in us understanding the first stirrings of civilization. After the invasion, the US military built a huge base next to this site and caused all sorts of damage-

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Justifying Diversity New York Review of Books


    Meditating on diversity, in general.

    It’s good, for example, to have diversity in plants. We don’t only monoculture.

    At the same time, we have invasive plants, like kudzu (which has many uses in its original habitat).

    Do we go with ‘diverse, but stay where you are?’

    Humans are, of course, not plants. So, the situation is more nuanced.

    “We have Russians, Americans, Turks, Saudis, Uyghurs, and others here in Syria. We are diverse and some of them are invasive.”

    1. Wukchumni

      Tamarisk (Saltcedar) is kind of the western Kudzu, although only along water typically.

      It spreads like a conquering army, not allowing other plants to get any purchase in it’s vicinity. In great abundance on the banks of the Colorado River.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        My fault for leading people to think that.

        First of all, humans are not plants.

        The one comparison I wanted to make was private military contractors in Syria…they are more like kudzu.

  19. perpetualWAR

    Mini-stroke over Citizens United?

    The next “Citizens United” is headed for a decision: Obdusky v. McCarthy Holthus. This case surrounds whether or not the trustees and financial institutions are actually debt collectors. This will affect all property owners. It is huge. And the CFPB submitted an amicus brief in support of the crooked financial industry, opposite of the CONSUMER position!

    Criminal Financial Protection Bureau <—-their new name

    1. polecat

      “I have an eye on a bunch of old post offices I’d like to acquire on the cheap. It would be a shame … well …. not really, if sumptin where to happen to them …..”

  20. Tomonthebeach

    Trump proposes a government-run propaganda network to counter CNN – What-thu is FoxNews?

    PS: I wonder what PBS is.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you.

        Yes, the BBC has for the past two decades given up any semblance of impartiality and become the mouthpiece of the government / neoliberal order.

        The worst things are that the BBC still commands some respect outside the UK, a most unworthy respect, and every facet of the BBC is poisoned, even science programmes.

        1. harryhippy

          I thought it went downhill fast after the Iraq war when some BBC reporting was at odds with Government statements.

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