Links 12/1/18

Eagle huntresses challenge the patriarchy in Mongolia South China Morning Post. FWIW, I know a woman from Mongolia. She was educated in Chinese schools in Mongolia. She then got a PhD in Japan in medicine, and was hired by Yale to do oncology research. Now does oncology research in one of the NY teaching hospitals. Hard to think of anyone else who has undergone so many large cultural transitions.

Roadkill deaths halved on Australian road thanks to a fence of sound New Scientist

“The virtual fence technology involves small devices, approximately the size of a mobile phone, mounted on a pole on the side of the road which are triggered by car headlights when they hit a sensor in the device,” Samantha Fox, the researcher who led the project, told Digital Trends. “This sets off blue and yellow flashing lights and a high pitched siren. These together warn local wildlife that a car is coming, and give the animal time to move away from the road.” Over the course of a three-year trial, the technology has reduced roadkill on one particular road by a massive 50 percent. On this stretch of road alone, this has meant saving the lives of around 200 animals, ranging from wombats to possums.

Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94 The Hill

Lambert: “Let the hagiography begin”:

Shocking Maps Show How Humans Have Reshaped Earth Since 1992 Motherboard

Powerful quakes buckle Alaska roads, trigger tsunami warning Associated Press (David L). See 1964: Alaska’s Good Friday Earthquake Atlantic (Kevin W)

2.4-Million-Year-Old Stone Tools Turn Up in an Unexpected Place Atlantic (Kevin W). Important if you are into this sort of thing…

This Swedish Mall Is The World’s First Ever Secondhand Shopping Center Huffington Post (Kokuanani)

Reading Minds with Deep Learning FloydHub

Pentagon looks to exoskeletons to build ‘super-soldiers’ Reuters. EM: “Ever since we watched Aliens we’ve been itching to throw money at this.”

A cure for HIV is in sight as science chases the holy grail Guardian (UserFriendly)


Samsung’s Foldable Screen Tech Has Been Stolen, Sold To China CNN

Why are so many Chinese officials killing themselves? South China Morning Post (furzy)

G20 Argentina: Rifts laid bare as world leaders meet BBC (Kevin W)

G20 opens under clouds, threats and discord Asia Times

Man finds himself sitting next to Germany’s Angela Merkel on flight to G20 DW


Donald Tusk: No deal or no Brexit if UK parliament rejects May’s deal Politico. As I’ve been saying in comments, May had an uncharacteristic spell of being truthful when she said the only choices were her deal, no deal, or no Brexit.

UK government in Google bidding war with Brexit deal opponents BBC

Why I cannot back the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan Telegraph. Sam Gyimah, seventh minister to resign.

Why the idea of a united Ireland is back in play Financial Times

UK may never recover £1.2bn invested in EU Galileo satellite system Guardian

UK WTO Schedules – What’s going on now? Trade Explained

Something crazy happened in parliament last night, and no one is talking about it New Statesman. Windsock: “Meanwhile, in Brexitannia, the Bonkers is now at pandemic proportions.”

Italian Workers Feel the Pain as the Eurozone Economy Sputters Wall Street Journal

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Amazon May Be Hiding Its Plans to Test New Wireless Tech by Masquerading as a Massage Spa IEEESpectrum (Chuck L)

Automakers give the Chinese government access to location data of electric cars The Verge and In China, your car could be talking to the government Associated Press. Coming to the US soon!

500 million Marriott customers have had their data hacked after staying at hotels including W, Sheraton, and Westin Business Insider (Kevin W). If you didn’t join their loyalty program, you got charged for Internet service.

Trump Transition

Trump poised to allow Atlantic Coast seismic testing for subsea oil and gas Axios (David L)

Document: Michael Cohen Plea Documents in Mueller Probe Lawfare (furzy)

Get in Line, Long-Suffering Asylum Seekers Tell Caravan Arrivees Wall Street Journal

Federal judge rules against Trump’s crackdown on ‘sanctuary cities’ Guardian

Trump Admin Takes First Steps To Overhaul H-1B Visa That Tech Companies Use To Hire Internationally GeekWire

Whitaker fielded early fraud complaints from customers at patent company even as he championed it, records show Washington Post (furzy)

How Donald Trump appeals to men secretly insecure about their manhood Washington Post (furzy). A genre variant to armchair analysis of Trump.

The More Education Republicans Have, the Less They Tend to Believe in Climate Change New York Times (UserFriendly)

Full Bernie Sanders Speech on Economic Justice, Healthcare, Opposing Trump & Ending the War in Yemen Democracy Now! (furzy)

Rain triggers debris flows as storm rolls across fire-scarred regions of California Los Angeles Times (David L)

Tensions rise as oil and gas flow to the Texas coastline Center for Public Integrity

The Suburbs Are Changing. But Not in All the Ways Liberals Hope. New York Times

Fake News

Free the Free Press From Wall Street Plunderers FAIR (UserFriendly)

Does Google harm local search rivals? EU antitrust regulators ask Reuters

California judge condemns startup for giving secret Facebook papers to UK Guardian

Facebook Discussed Using People’s Data As a Bargaining Chip, Emails and Court Filings Suggest Washington Post

Exclusive: Airbnb will start designing houses in 2019 Fast Company. Kill me now.

Credit faces worst year since 2008 as strains intensify Financial Times

Class Warfare

Seeing Social Decline As A National Security Threat May Change Conservative Policies Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

In the Coming Automated Economy, People Will Work for AI IEEESpectrum (David L)

DHL To Invest $300 Million To Quadruple Robots In Warehouses In 2019 VentureBeat

Twitter’s Trans-Activist Decree Quilette (furzy). Wowsers.

Antidote du jour albrt: “Rufus the Arizona basset hound seeks refuge under the slip cover when the temperature falls below 80 degrees.”

And a bonus video (Kevin W). Handsome beavers!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. dk

    Speaking of earthquakes…

    Strange waves rippled around the world, and nobody knows why

    On the morning of November 11, just before 9:30 UT, a mysterious rumble rolled around the world.

    The seismic waves began roughly 15 miles off the shores of Mayotte, a French island sandwiched between Africa and the northern tip of Madagascar. The waves buzzed across Africa, ringing sensors in Zambia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. They traversed vast oceans, humming across Chile, New Zealand, Canada, and even Hawaii nearly 11,000 miles away.

    These waves didn’t just zip by; they rang for more than 20 minutes. And yet, it seems, no human felt them.

      1. Rosario

        Cool link! So amateur geologist question here for any actual geologists that may be on the forum. I assume the second longer duration wave is the s-wave? Also, am I just imagining it, or does this wave linger on the Eastern continental margin for longer, and is it dissipated more readily in the continental interior? If so, is the reflection and lingering of the wave a result of reflection off of oceanic crust and the drop off at the shelf, or would we see a similar slow dissipation if there were sensors on the ocean floor?

  2. samhill

    Seeing Social Decline As A National Security Threat May Change Conservative Policies Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

    Sadly wrong, when the stark reality of their philosophical and policy failures stare back at them Conservatives don’t turn reformist they turn fascist.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Wait until impoverished “men and women in uniform” turn against them. Losing the military’s loyalty by destroying any belief left in the American Dream will be (is?) the bellwether of a big change.

        1. Jessica

          The Frei Korps that the Nazis grew from were demobilized WW1 soldiers but on the other hand most of those involved in the October revolution were deserters from the collapsed Tsarist Army and the Bonus Army that went to Washington D.C. in 1932 was certainly more of the left than the right. (Hoover had McArthur attack them with infantry, cavalry, and tanks, but FDR gave most of a smaller second march jobs in the CCC a year later.)
          So perhaps more accurate to say that how the ex-military respond can be a crucial factor.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            Quick footnote: my understanding is that Hoover told MacArthur not to use violence in dispersing the Bonus Marchers, but that MacArthur flagrantly disobeyed him and used maximal force, including saber-wielding cavalrymen destroying the tent cities around DC, because MacArthur thought of the Bonus Marchers as the first step of a Communist revolution.

            When Hoover found out that MacArthur had disobeyed his orders, he was enraged but did nothing. Whereas a strong President (cf. Truman, Harry), would have fired MacArthur on the spot.

            Not that Hoover had any love for the left, but this does seem to have been a case of a far-right officer usurping the civil authority to a great extent.

            1. Massinissa

              It wasn’t just Hoover who was afraid of McArthur, either. FDR said that, along with left-wing firebrand Huey Long (at least, before his death in ’35), McArthur was one of the two most dangerous men in America. Probably could have used the military to do a coup if he wanted to: most of the military was loyal to him rather than the presidency or the government.

            2. Andrew Watts

              Truman had the support of Bradley and Eisenhower who were both worried that MacArthur would provoke a wider war. I wouldn’t necessarily say that President Truman was a strong president.

              The entire nature and function of the federal government changed during the Great Depression / World War II so any comparison is hard to make.

            1. Wukchumni

              The possibility of a second bonus army loomed large in 1933, so FDR allowed WW1 vets into the CCC as the 1st enlistees and most were 35-40 years old, way over the 25 year old age limit for civilian enlistees. (and all men, except for the Susan B. Anthony CCC camp)

              “Roosevelt’s Forest Army: A History of the Civilian Conservation Corps 1933-1942” is a good read on it.

            2. Procopius

              >georgieboy: I’m confused. Do you mean Hoover did not instruct MacArthur not to use violence, or he did not reprimand MacArthur? I would believe he never ordered MacArthur not to use violence.

        2. Bugs Bunny

          I’d be interested in reading something concrete that backs that statement. Battleship Potemkin and what followed seems contrary…

          1. The Rev Kev

            And Germany at the end of WW1 when the Imperial Navy and large parts of the German Army became revolutionaries and communists.

          2. Daryl

            Might not be universally applicable, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that is exactly how the US military will swing, probably with a particularly theocratic flavor of fascism to boot.

              1. Kurt Sperry

                Anecdotally, I’d say you’re right about the enlisted services, all kinds and stripes from wingnuts to real lefties. Marines too. Luckily for us, the USAF would be pretty useless for a domestic coup. Just as they are pretty much useless for much else other than wasting petroleum distillates and redistributing USD upward to MIC cartoon villains. It’s not like they’ve ever won actual wars or anything.

                1. gepay

                  what you will find is that Ghadafi was holding his own until NATO became the jihadists airforce. Or in their first encounter in WW2 with German troops in North Africa, the US troops without air support were soundly trounced. or notice how in the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba a couple of Cuban trainer jets were a main cause of the invaders instant annhilation. or notice how the addition of a small cadre of the Russian air force turned the table just recently in Syria.
                  An airforce by itself won’t win any war – but – an army with a competent air force will usually win any battle against an opposing force with none.
                  That said, an airforce is always good for killing tons of civilians.

          3. ef

            My maternal grandfather was in the German Imperial Navy WWI til his ship sunk off Spain. He returned home, then the US and stayed left-wing.
            My paternal grandfather became part of the Frei Korps, raised hell and rioted. His brother was a card carrying Communist party member. They both moved to the US in the late ’20’s and never spoke to one another – and lived in the same US city, Cincinnati, OH.
            So, as far as left and right go – it seems like a toss up. But when they mobilize at home, get ready for the firecrackers.

        3. rowlf

          I was surprised ten years or so ago when my aunt was passing on emails from her nephew who was a Army Captain in an infantry company in Afghanistan where he mentioned his group thought Occupy Wall Street was on the right track and they were rooting for OWS.

      1. Pookah Harvey

        Major General Smedley Butler wrote “War is a Racket” in the early 1930’s after retiring.

        WAR is a racket. It always has been.

        It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

        A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes……..

        For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it.

        Being in the military is life in a bubble. Retiring and leaving the bubble can be an eye-opener. Major Richard Ojeda is a modern example of a Smedley Butler. After retirement he became a teacher and then state Senator in West Virginia where he was a strong proponent for the teachers’ strike. He ran for Congress and lost but had the largest swing from Republican to Democratic vote in the nation. Ojeda has decided to run for President. It is definitely is a long shot endeavor but I hope he stays in the race as an example to Democrats as to how to fight for blue collar votes.

        If interested check out these videos:

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If Mr. Ojeda is deeply conversant with the West Virginia culture where he lives, and if he runs for DemPrezNom on a more-or-less SanderSocialDem platform, he may not divide the SanderSocial vote. He may well increase it in W. Virginia.

    2. Carolinian

      The ever popular “f” word. Of course the Republicans have always had authoritarian tendencies–it’s not new–but that’s not the same as invading Poland. Meanwhile the Dems have embraced a kind of “stabbed in the back” nationalist ideology aimed at Trump and Russia that might be right at home in the 1920s. So perhaps it would be most accurate to say that social decline makes people irrational regardless of ideology.

      And Moon is specifically referring to The American Conservative magazine which did aspire to “reform” Conservatism from the cynical extremism of people like Gingrich. It may indeed take some kind of meeting of the minds–the much maligned “red-brown” alliance–to break out of the current impasse. This process of ideological opponents making party with each other used to be called the social contract.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        But for Nader!!!!

        I tend to think the Clintonistas following Bill’s Arkansas experience believe coalition politics matter or is always effective and that securing loyalty of elites is sufficient to gain the plebes, hence the obsession with Susan Sarandon versus addressing a decline in minority voting . With every promised Clinton condition for victory, the Clinton still lost, and every issue in 2008 with HRC repeated itself. Social contracts are nice, but every article of their faith was exposed (Bill as a master strategist; HRC as a secret liberal etc) as fraudulent.

        1. Carolinian

          I believe what M of A is talking about is a kind of social contract where the elites realize that social instability is not in their interest and “too much is never enough” has gone too far. Which is not to say it’s going to happen short of further financial disasters. The American Conservative is hardly a mainstream outfit.

          The Clintons were more representative of the “high Broderism” version of compromise–i.e. give the plutocrats everything they want but call it bipartisan.

    3. JBird4049

      I think that it is not Conservatives, but those in power. Note the increasing authoritarianism from the ostensibly liberal Democratic Party.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Bill and Hill are basically old fashioned Southern Democrats who dropped the outward support of Jim Crow, but they still seek to govern through the old boys network and interest group elite loyalty rather than mass mobilization. Their loyalists seek the same, but outside of a few temporal conditions, this is hard to do on a national scale. As they bungle about, the people who would stay by their side are the natural authoritarian followers.

        Obama in the 2008 primary drove off the long term, local black misleadership class who promised to deliver votes in exchange for ring kissing. Axelrod understood the local aparatiks were beneficiaries of a lack of choice versus loyalty and didn’t need to be entertained. Sanders started behind, but like Obama the campaign was built around people not the local leaders delivering votes. I knew a retired Queen of the Lesbian Witch coven in an early state who despised the Clintons in 2008. She was retired, but she would get weekly calls from HRC seeking her support. All she wanted was for HRC to add mental health to her Healthcare promises. Instead of offering a popular program out of the gate, HRC expected the head lesbian (her description of herself) to deliver votes in exchange for being attached to celebrity or power.

      2. Another Scott

        Look at their clamoring for Bloomberg, who has a track record of pushing for strong authoritarian policies, ranging from Stop & Frisk to his social policies on soda, guns and other issues.

        1. polecat

          Mayor pizza parlor .. Haha ! None shall pass … without being disarmed of one’s sugary beverages ……..
          … but I digress, on his ingress.

      3. Lambert Strether

        I suppose it would be unfair to call Slotkin and Spanberger CIA assets, but whatever else they may be they’ve joined the New Democrat Coalition:

        Founded in 1997, the New Democrat Coalition is a group of 68 forward-thinking, pro-growth lawmakers committed to seeking pragmatic solutions that will foster a new era of American prosperity at home and keep our families secure from threats around the world.

        Formed by Members of the Coalition, the NewDemPAC helps re-elect House NewDems and elect new, like-minded leaders who can help develop a positive policy agenda and message.

        Gabba gabba blah blah Blue Dogs…

    4. flora

      from the article:

      It was Bill Clinton’s ‘welfare reform’ that systematically impoverished people. The current opioid crises developed under the Obama administration and it did nothing to stop it. Obama ‘reform’ of the health insurance system shunned the ‘public option’ which would have given insurance to anyone who can not afford the commercial offers. With many Democrats firmly in the hands of big pharma there is little hope that change will come from their side.

      But if the social decline of the United States is viewed in terms of ‘national security’ then conservatives may start to push the issue.

      This will only happen if conservatives manage to disenthrall themselves from the idea that the bond market must always be protected from market losses, no matter what.
      See this 1994 LATimes article for reference of how we got here.

      Clinton threw in his lot with the bond market, has nothing to show for it, hasn’t got an investment program and is locked on a path of deficit reduction in a sluggish economy with no prospect of long-term improvement.

      Moral: Formulate a good plan and stick to it, regardless of what bankers and bond traders say. …. Now we have no program of economic recovery and no health reform, with Clinton waging merciless war, in the guise of welfare “reform,” against the powerless and the poor.

      an aside: protecting the bond holders at all costs is surely part of the reason for Greece’s economic misery, imo. When did bond holders become the especially entitled and protected people, even at the expense of the rest of the country?

      1. flora

        adding: the idea that one type of investment or investor, in the bond markets in this case, must be given govt protection from financial loss is not capitalism. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not capitalism.

        1. John k

          It’s CC, crony capitalism, meaning elites must be protected at all costs.
          Bankers, certainly, excepting only foreigners and little fish.
          Bond holders… some of my best friends are major bond holders…
          And of course if, against all odds, an elite is actually convicted of a felony, he should spend his time in a comfortable place, certainly will need frequent home visits.

    5. polecat

      Because the soft leather iron fist of Democrat faux diversity is so much better, right ? Just ask ‘no table’ Nancy, or Steny, or ‘I misremembered’ Diane, or unka Joe, or Debbie W, or or now reformed convert – G.W., or our former first pharaoh Barack the 1st, or the hack-ing whitewalking dominatrix herself – MacBeth in a Moa Suit .. and that’s just some of the priciple ‘playas’ — haven’t even gotten to the punditry yet !

      Spare me ..

      1. Wukchumni

        There’s about a 12 foot tall Moa in the National Museum in Wellington NZ, I couldn’t imagine HRC pulling it off though.

    6. Andrew Watts

      Huh, haven’t heard anybody cite Emmanuel Todd in years. I remember reading Todd’s book a few years after it was released and it seemed to be short on solutions. He thought that America could return to a previous era where egalitarian ideals and civic virtue would play a role in revitalizing the country. Orlov wrote his book comparing the collapse of the Soviet Union to the downward spiral of the US around that same time too. It seemed then as well as now that Orlov’s prognosis would be correct. Collapse would offer a variety of solutions and opportunities.

      Those were the only two authors that I can remember who were even discussing the subject before the insurgency in Iraq broke out it in earnest in 2005 and the idea of American decline was back on the table.

  3. Whoa Molly!

    Re: Airbnb housing
    I wonder if a 2019 house will improve on the 1906 earthquake cottages? 5610 union built houses in seven months, housing 11,000 displaced residents. After one year they were sold and moved to permanent lots in San Francisco. Consider the startup story one could make with that, today.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Hopefully Lambert will weigh in. He’s not keen on shipping containers. Bad form factor, not insulated, no windows…

              Those modular homes are cute but I wonder how well made they are….and personally, I’d like way more windows.

              1. WhoaMolly!

                I put a new modular house on a lot 20 years ago. The doors and cabinets and some trim is ready for replacing but overall its sound, and dry and warm. I bought max insulation and oriented house on east-west axis. It maintains a 30 degree difference from outside temp. On 30 degree days its about 58 inside. A small wood stove brings temp up to comfortable 70s quickly.

                Agree with Lambert. You couldnt pay me to live in a container house.

                1. Jean

                  Please note, shipping container wood floors are deliberately impregnated with long lasting pesticides.

              2. Keith

                There’s a container house going up in my very urban and very emptied out neighborhood. I like the people putting it up, but don’t really care for the design of it. Also, my understanding is that the anti-corrosion paint the containers get out of the factory is quite toxic. That may be why the owners are painting the whole thing gray (encapsulating the toxic paint layer?) instead of leaving the original paint with shipping company logos. That removes the only reason I would think it looked cool, the original paint schemes of the containers.

                Insulation isn’t hard if you frame out (stud out) the inside with either wood or steel studs. More thermal bridging with steel studs, but if you leave a gap between the exterior wall and studs you could tuck some high r-value foam insulation behind the studs to reduce the thermal bridging. Fill the rest of the wall cavities with spray-foam insulation or some sort of dense-pack cellulose.

                The interior form factor isn’t bad if you use high-cube containers. They have a 9’6″ interior height. When studded out that gives you around an 8’6″ to 9′ ceiling height. That’s approximately the height you’d get in most stick-built houses. Not my choice either since I’m quite tall and like ceilings at least 9′ tall and preferably 10′ or taller.

                Structurally, you have a few choices when using containers. Options one and two involve stacking the containers and welding them together. Option three is that you build a structure and tack the containers or parts of the containers onto all or part of that structure.

                Option one, you cut only small single-door-sized openings between the containers. You also don’t put many windows in. This minimizes the reduction in structural strength you get by cutting the holes in your containers. Your rooms then have to conform to the dimensions of the containers except where you’ve added dividers to segment containers. Since the containers are only 8′ wide that really limits the width of your rooms.

                Option two, you cut wider openings between containers (possibly including container ceilings and floors) and weld in steel beams to replace the structural strength you’re removing. This opens up the interior much more, but still limits you.

                Option three is you build a conventional building structure then assemble the exterior from containers or container pieces. You can do this over the entire exterior or just one part. I wouldn’t really call this a container home. It’s just a regular building with some unconventional exterior cladding or modular rooms attached.

                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  Yeah. I considered those when I was thinking about a house.
                  Too expensive, and no tractor to move them around.
                  I had wanted stone…but also too expensive(labor).
                  ended up with post/beam…much like the tree houses/forts I built as a kid, just grander and with 40 years of experience.
                  2500 sq feet, for under $30K, no mortgage.
                  paid for with EITC.
                  and prolly 80% built with me, alone. Housebuilding as physical therapy/Magick.
                  Used up almost all of the windows and doors and barn lumber and other myriad odds and ends that mom and i had collected over the last 40+ years.
                  It’s “different”, to say the least.

            2. Lambert Strether

              I used to be a romantic about shipping container housing, but I’ve been argued out of it by the commentariat (see for example here and here).

              The problem in essence seems to be that shipping containers are designed for…. shipping. So we have bare metal, no insulation, flooring with chemicals, gawd knows what they shipped, and the more you try to mitigate, the more it seems you might as well not have used a container as a starting point.

              Perhaps if the container technology was modified it might work. But recycling shipping containers into housing seems less than optimal. (The idea also seems to crop up when we have a surplus of container, so perhaps it’s an index.)

          1. TheMog

            In my book, the issue with tiny houses is that they use the same construction methods than larger houses, just in a smaller footprint. I don’t think that’s a very efficient way of building a small home, and gut feeling says that it adds to the overall cost.

            Maybe I’m old and grumpy but I still don’t see the point in building something that has to be on a trailer in most jurisdictions (because it is too small to qualify as a permanent dwelling) when you can buy something like a used Airstream of fairly similar size that’s actually designed for the purpose, for less.

  4. Wat

    Well, between Bush and Clinton, 800 savings and loan bankers went to jail. That’s the only good thing I know about the guy.

    1. The Rev Kev

      One other thing that he did which I know will sound old fashioned. When America declared war on Japan, at the earliest opportunity he joined the Navy and went to war. He flew 58 combat missions in the Pacific and survived getting shot down in his Grumman TBM Avenger and was rescued by a sub.
      He was the youngest naval aviator when he joined up and never used daddy’s connections to get him assigned to a squadron defending the skies of Connecticut against the Japanese Air Force but put his life on the line instead. That must count for something.
      Contrast this with his entitled son who joined the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war so that he would never be sent there and spent the war years defending the skies of Texas against the Vietcong Air Force until he wondered away from the military one day.

    2. upstater

      I find the Bush clan repugnant. Warmoners with blood on their hands.

      However, I would credit G H W Bush for his early support and signing the Americans with Disabilities Act.

      IMO, this was perhaps the last landmark progressive legislation passed into law — I draw a blank when I try and think of anything in recent times as monumental as the ADA since the 1960s or early 1970s.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        I was married to a fifth cousin twice removed(or whatever,lol) to Daddy Bush.
        from the Black Sheep side of the crimen familia…the one’s who actually did the work in the West Texas oil fields…and got robbed by the Kennebunkport Crowd, and ended up as white trash loggers and farm hands, if they didn’t run pickups full of gold brick out of central america….
        Daddy Bush(and secret service in the trees) attended her grandma’s funeral.
        it was a strange window into all that.
        our marriage was almost exactly coincident with W’s first term as Goobernor.
        Lunatic tension in the air…like rubber bands stretched taught.

    3. gepay

      The only other good thing I can think of is that he limited funds to Israel because of their continued illegal settlement program. Funny how after that he became a one term President. Even though Bill was the choice of the Rockefeller TriLateral Commission and a Bilderberger attendee, he still needed Perot dropping out (why did Perot drop out just after his daughter’s wedding as his poll numbers rose?) and then dropping back in for Clinton to beat Bush.

    1. polecat

      That grope photo in links pretty much says it, all doesn’t. All bow down to your American BOHICA Aristocracy … and lick your chains.

    2. georgieboy

      Russ Baker: now there was a WW II pilot.

      Told a great story about bad nerves leading up to his qualifying flight — a mind-splitting hangover numbed him so much he flew the best test flight the pilot had ever seen. Slow and easy does it.

    3. Craig H.

      Russ Baker has the best one line description: the only man alive when JFK was shot who claims he cannot remember where he was.

    1. jhallc

      Thanks for the link.
      Somehow the author managed to leave Obama out of the last paragraph. Happens all the time.

      “To put it another way, if you don’t like Donald Trump—if you didn’t like Bush II or for that matter Bill Clinton—you should wish that George H.W. Bush never got into policies.”

      1. Peter

        What W. H. Bush got right:
        “I come here to tell you: we support the struggle in this great country for democracy and economic reform. In Moscow, I outlined our approach. We will support those in the center and the republics who pursue freedom, democracy and economic liberty. Americans will not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far-off tyranny with a local despotism. They will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based upon ethnic hatred.

        “Bush told the members of the Verkhovna Rada not to seek independence, but to stay in a union with Russia and other soviet republics. Bush was advised by the realist Brent Scowcroft and it showed. The speech was drafted by Condoleeza Rice but Bush personally edited it to empathize his main point: Ukrainian independence was dangerous as it would lead to fascism.”

        From MoA:

        1. Olga

          As the blog entry (above) states:
          “Bush refused to encourage Ukrainian efforts to break free from the Soviet Union in summer of 1991 and warned of “suicidal nationalism” on the part of Ukraine.”
          Suicidal indeed, unfortunately, it’ll be the little folk, who’ll pay the price, not the idiots at the top.

    2. Olga

      Yes, thanks. A good – sober – assessment.
      “Bush’s success, in one sense, had been as dangerous as his failure.”
      That’s what happens, when one leads an empire, riddled with contradictions.

    3. pjay

      Consortium News reposted two stories by the late Robert Parry today. One was on the Bush CIA coverup of the Letelier murder, the other concerned Bush’s role in the 1980 October surprise. These are offered not only as responses to the coming hagiographies; they are also lessons in great investigative reporting. Just compare Parry’s meticulous research and sourcing with that of, say, Luke Harding. RIP Robert.

    4. ewmayer

      Whatever Bush the Elder’s war-hero/public-service/all-around-swell-guy bona fides may have been, I never forgave him for, at the end of Gulf War 1, exhorting the southern Iraqi “marsh Arabs” to rise up against Saddam Hussein, then doing nothing to help them and giving self-congratulatory “mission accomplished” interviews during rounds of golf while leaving them to be slaughtered en masse.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I believe Elder Bush tricked them into rising up in order to get them killed on purpose, in order to weaken them as part of keeping Saddam in securely in power.

        1. Sparkling

          If that’s what really happened then it changes my view of W. Riddled with guilt for the sins of his father and desperate to atone for them– exactly like a lot of center-left white Americans. All of them easy marks for the people who really run the show.

          1. pretzelattack

            evidence that he is riddled with guilt over anything whatsoever? certainly not the hundreds of thousands of war dead, or the displaced millions in iraq. he did really run the show, so did his dad.

            1. Sparkling

              First off, username checks out. Second off, Cheney did a lot of stuff behind his back. A report was released sometime in the last ten years detailing how a group of people including Cheney lied to the Senate and to the President of the United States himself about the full extent of our activities in Guantanamo Bay. When questioned Cheney gave the totally-not-vague-at-all answer of “Bush knew torture was happening.” There are, of course, many more stories like that.

              I’m sorry, I can’t see a guy who couldn’t define sovereignty (that’s not a joke either, it’s on video) and once said “Education is where wings take dream” as a secret evil genius mastermind of anything. What I did see was a guy who had the same look in his eyes and the same words in his mouth as every other brainwashed conservative in the country that I saw in person and on television. In retrospect, tens of millions of people exhibiting the same cookie-cutter behavior is kind of creepy… but I guess that’s what brainwashing is supposed to achieve.

  5. Wukchumni

    I went to high school after the fall of Saigon, and our vaunted MIC was at the lowest ebb, only losers enlisted in the military and there was scant adoration for the service, as is common now (to be fair, almost all of it is of the forced variety-with corporate & civic sponsorship exclaiming what heroes each and every veteran is) and for once we weren’t @ war with anybody. A botched attempt @ rescuing the hostages in Iran in 1980, only reinforced how inept we’d become militarily.

    Fast forward to Bush the elder, and he gets us into the 1st shooting war since Vietnam (sorry Operation Urgent Fury-you don’t rate) and thanks to whiz-bang computer guided armaments and the Iraqi military being not all that, we win in a heartbeat, exorcising the demons of South-East Asia. It set the table for our post 9/11 endeavors, and we’ve since wasted so much capital and over twice the amount of lives lost on that day in September, all for nothing.

    Funny thing about Poppy, he was everything his son George wasn’t, an accomplished pilot who flew into harm’s way often from the swaying deck of an aircraft carrier, and one mission to bomb the Japanese listening post @ Chichi Jima is memorable in that his plane was shot down along with a bunch of other U.S. aircraft, and parachuted out of his plane, and unlike other pilots who parachuted from their stricken planes, he drifted away from the island, and was picked up by a U.S. Submarine. Amazingly there is footage of him being rescued in 1944:

    The other downed pilots that drifted towards Chichi Jima?

    They were captured by the Japanese, and the garrison commander there ordered them killed, and had his soldiers eat their livers

    Nine airmen escaped from their planes after being shot down during bombing raids on Chichi Jima, a tiny island 700 miles (1,100 km) south of Tokyo, in September 1944. Eight were captured. The ninth, the only one to evade capture, was future US President George H. W. Bush, then a 20-year-old pilot.

    After the war, it was discovered that the captured airmen had been beaten and tortured before being executed. The airmen were beheaded on the orders of Lt Gen. Yoshio Tachibana (立花芳夫, Tachibana Yoshio). American authorities claimed that Japanese officers then ate parts of the bodies of four of the men.

    If the future President drifts towards the island and isn’t late for dinner, no George W, no Jeb, no nothing.

    1. David J.

      I was an enlisted sailor when Saigon fell. I find your “loser” comment to be just another example of your glib and snarky style. I also think you are mistaken.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Heard a story of a kid back before WW2 who saw Navy ships in port that were all spick and span and clean. On that good impression, he joined the Navy. Soon after he learned how those ships got to be so spick and span and clean as well as the origin of the sailor’s name of “swabbie”.

          1. RMO

            As I understand it pretty much all of that sort of duty has been moved on to private civilian subcontractors Certainly that was the experience if the one person I know who has been in the U.S. Army in the 21st century. It funnels more money to KB&R and Halliburton which seems to be the primary reason for the change.

        2. Sparkling

          As usual the plebians were blamed for the excess and malice of the patricians. I guess it’s just the nature of some people to be willfully ignorant, judgmental, and unfortunately charismatic/manipulative enough to convince a lot of other people to act the same way. (I’m aware you’re the messenger and have no intention of shooting you.)

          At least the current groupthink doesn’t equate a guy who was mutilated fighting a pointless war with Dick F*cking Cheney.

      1. whine country

        I had returned to civilian life after a stint across the pond which included the ’68 Tet Offensive. I was a conscripted grunt. I didn’t take the writer’s comments to mean that he agreed with it, only that what he described about the military was the prevailing attitude of our best minds at the time. So today we have no forced conscription although the writer does focus correctly on the reality that the majority of “volunteers” in recent times serve because there are way too few good opportunities for your youth. Instead we have a completely unaccountable military establishment that cannot find enough wars to fight for any reason other than they can. The lesson for those best minds and the rest of us for sitting complacently: Be careful what you wish for.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          But it is not the military establishment seeking these wars. It is the civilian leadership ( or rather the Establishment OverLordship) which is seeking these wars.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Sorry to disagree, d w, but I don’t think you understand the dynamic very well. And it is, from what I see, just nonsensical to believe that the military brass don’t seek those wars. That it might have been the case that the Brass staff deterred Obama from launching it all over some “red line” in Syria that likely was painted in by the “White hats,” given that in the then “strategic posture” they would have had their a$$es shot off, and a few other instances where they warfighters saw the “policy” (that everyone-understands-what -it-means word) getting a little far out over its ski tips does in no way undermine the reality that the Brass and their adjuncts, say in operational commands like SOCOM and AFRICOM, are busily fomenting armed violence and instability and “civilian deaths to be deplored and blood money paid when the PR visibility is too high.”

            They are all over the planet, over 300 “bases” and “lily pads” and “training centers,” actively fomenting and committing armed violence. Many of them go to their Pentagram offices and write up war plans, others sit around inventing perceived “threats” and creating “counter-threats,” and thinking up new “scenarios” and weapon systems and grand strategies and logistics and acquisition, all in “support of” and in anticipation of and in planning for more of that vague thing that the mopery refers to as “war.” There’s of course a vast interlock between the supposedly “civilian establishment” and the think tanks and policy pundits and the Secret Squirrel types in places like Langley and Foggy Bottom, all of them working on global hegemony, to be enforced by coercion, “regime change,” and just bombing the crap out of any place where the ‘wogs“ are not quick enough to “cry Uncle.” But do not wander around with the misapprehension that the Brass recoil from “war.”

            It does not appear to me that a damn one of them is familiar with the wisdom of Sun Tzu, which before getting to all the fun parts of fighting and all, tells the war leaders they better have Heaven on their side, and the backing of the peasants, before risking the future of the nation on some asinine Grand Venture. And still, there are over 4,000 deployed large nuclear weapons on hair-trigger status, all planned out where each one will go, and a lot of the Generals believe they would be doing God’s work to bring on Armageddon. As well as doing all kinds of stuff at the bidding of the Israel -ites, for that and other reasons.

            I’d ask you to think just what “war” means to you, in as much granularity as you can. The War Department has its “Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms,” which they spend millions of dollars updating to match the definitions to the current doctrines and narratives. There’s a nice search function, if you open the document, and you can look for a definition of “war” if you want to see what they think it is. It’s become such a slurb of a word that it’s just a meme and an invocation of an attitude and a social construct, so much a shibboleth that the War Department does not even include a unitary definition of the term in their lexical Bible. Though the word appears hundreds of times, it’s either as part of a compound word like “warfighting,” or if stand-alone, one is left, from one’s world view and general knowledge, to presume and assume a meaning of the term. Look for yourself, here’s the .pdf:

            You want a depiction-style definition of “war,” I’d suggest reading, or re-reading, “Catch-22,” focusing on Milo Minderbinder, and following up with a re-reading of Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler’s oeuvre, “War Is A Racket.” It’s an enterprise, but the US general officers, looking to enlarge their rice bowls, are happy to take the dial-a-yield nukes and “MOABs” and rail guns and drone swarms and cluster bombs and the rest and run with them, over places already bombed to flinders and new areas still not brought to heel under the hegemony of the Empire.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I disagree with your characterization of Wukchumni’s comment as having a “glib and snarky style”. I enjoy Wukchumni’s comments and agree with his characterization of the regard given those who volunteered as enlisted men during the closing years of the Viet Nam War and after as “losers”. The label ‘loser’ is a most kindly label compared with some of the labels and motives attributed for enlisting I recall hearing around college in those times.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Pentagon looks to exoskeletons to build ‘super-soldiers'”

    Of course a lot of people think about the Powerlifters as seen used by Ripley in the film “Aliens”-

    Probably a more accurate rendition would be the Exo Suits as seen in the Tom Cruise film “Edge of Tomorrow”-

    It won’t make a difference in the long run. Why do I say that? That article mentions that soldiers should only carry about 50 lbs (23 kgs) but that in practice they go into battle with 90 to 140 lbs (40-64 kg) which can numb soldier’s nerves. Lets say that those exoskeletons lets soldiers carry ten times what they carry now i.e. 500 lbs (230 kgs). Guess what would happen. Yep. They would then have those soldiers carry 900 to 1400 lbs (400-640 kg) because that gear would be all “essential”, dontcha know.

    1. JTMcPhee

      On “supersoldiers” enhanced by “tech:” “Batteries not included.” Bummer to be going “over the top” when the little buzzer tells you your “exo” is out of juice. And how much does the power supply for the devices that flex the joints of that thing actually weigh? Effing goddam idiocy, case #14,109.

      As to George H.W., his corpse will lie (carefully selected verb, here) in state, and get that boots-backward-on-the-horse funeral, right? Not to worry, there’s more creatures like him coming down the pike. I wonder if they are all going to be as good at writing little bred-and-better notes to people. Supposedly one of his positive and effective traits. Along with overthrowing governments, stuff like that.

      And as observed in comments here, what is with the sanctification of soldiers? “We won” WW II, the believers say. “We” being what, the oligarchs that run the empire? Lucky George HW, who like JFK had a nice war story to build his avatar on. I wonder if “we” apotheosize these Great War Heroes to somehow mitigate the simple brutality and vicious destructiveness in the name of “us,” I guess, that “we” have mostly all gone along with?

      What are the elements and structure of the political economy “we” want, again? Any chance the “system” will ever deliver a truly democratically agreed upon version? Any way the mopes can agree on what constitutes a “Lagom” set of institutions and policies, given how popular opinion is formed?“lagom”-really-means And band together to demand and then operate such an agreeable political economy? Maybe even one that minimizes the Great Die-Off that’s hanging over most of us?

    2. Lee

      Pentagon looks to exoskeletons to build ‘super-soldiers’ Reuters. EM: “Ever since we watched Aliens we’ve been itching to throw money at this.”

      IIRC, the first I read about such devices, they were being developed in Japan for workforce applications and for the disabled. Given the condition of my knees and back, I could really use something like this for gardening and deferred maintenance on my old house.

      1. JTMcPhee

        In Japan, where there reportedly is some residue of “care” about old people, you might be in line for one of those exos, if the corp types opted to produce ones that worked for your application. Unless you are pretty rich, maybe not so much here. And here, unless an exo lets a Bezos slave work faster and more efficiently, or an Imperial Trooper do a better job of kicking in doors in Kandahar and Abu Ghraibing, not likely there will be much help for older folks in getting around and doing stuff. I love the Techies getting off on some device that lets them jump 20 feet, direct the device to lift a thousand pounds, run faster than the wind and all that, all part of their inculcation into a Future Vision that is largely “Starship Trooper” and “Brazil.”

        Shoot, the chicanery and corruption and denial of service involved in just getting a power scooter or power wheelchair for mobility, if you are disabled or weak with age, is simply amazing. Lots of us USian mopes lie in bed, developing pressure ulcers (bedsores), being overdosed with Ativan because “behavior problem,” abused and neglected and desperate for death, because “the system” no longer values us and we “were not prudent enough to buy original issue MSFT or FCBK or BRK-A.” Just getting approved for Medicare help with acquiring a power chair or scooter is a real trip,, and in my nursing work I struggled to help many a mope get approval, and then repairs and replacements were another whole kettle of rotten fish.

        This is not the world of Star Trek. No replicators to give us whatever we want, whenever we want it.

        1. polecat

          “This is not the world of Star Trek.” …
          Yep. It is instead, LG 423, where the face-hugging MICsters impregnate your district with the vile, slime-smiling, lethal silvery pearlies of the MilitaryIdustrial A•L•I•E•N known colloquialy as a CONgress .. uh .. ‘person’ !

    3. Synoia

      Pentagon looks to exoskeletons to build ‘super-soldiers

      And when the batteries run out, what then?

  7. Wukchumni

    Fire safe councils are grassroots community-based organizations which share the objective of making California’s communities less vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire. Fire safe councils accomplish this objective through education programs and projects such as shaded fuel breaks or firebreaks to protect area residents against an oncoming wildfire and to provide fire fighters with a place to fight the oncoming fire. The first fire safe councils started in the early 1990s, and there are now over 100 around the state.)

    We’re starting one of these in our community, and it’s almost all volunteer based, and really needed.

    Our patchwork quilt of land here is on the maddening side, as one property might be cleared of brush and other burnables, while the one next to it, the owner hasn’t lifted a finger to do anything.

    I’d imagine everybody will be quite receptive to the idea. Similar to an Amish house raising, a team of a few dozen people could clear out a potential fire trap in no time flat. I’ll be glad to help out.

    1. Whoa Molly!

      Re: Fire Safe councils

      Thanks for link. I clear trees and brush every winter but several of my neighbors have a thickly covered lots with plenty of undergrowth.

      Cheapest way to clear around here appears to be winter burn piles.

      1. Wukchumni

        I do a burn pile about once a week in the winter months, everything accumulated in 7 days is cinders in 20 minutes, poof!

        1. WhoaMolly!

          Good scheme. First rains this week. If we can get burn permit will start a few days after storm moves on.

          1. Wukchumni

            I like it to be greened up a bit before I burn…

            January is about when I begin. The wildgrass is now poking up through the dirt and if you weed-whacked, those sections will have the look of a manicured golf course around xmas, fore!, on their way to 3-4 feet tall, before dying and becoming a lack of water hazard again come the May to December romance with a wild flame.

  8. Tom67

    Re eagle huntress: I run an outdoors business in Mongolia and every other year I lead trips in the West where the Kazakhs (the ones that hunt with eagles) live. Believe me, this trope that Kazakh women are challenging partriarchy by hunting with eagles is absolute and utter bullshit. Kazakh women have been hunting with eagles since as long as anybody can remember.
    I heard about this (somebody made a documentary with the same theme) already 4 years ago and the locals were livid. Pure and utter crap, they said. They tried to have their voice heard in the fashionable circles (you can imagine Hillary applauding) that routinely pad each other´s back about how progressive they are and how they are furthering women´s rights worldwide. Of course their complaints were ignored and of course some new hack made money out of the same (evidently already half forgotten) story that was false already four years ago.
    It fits with all the BS NGO´s are paddling in Mongolia to get some money out of Western donors. Just some nugget: the very best endowed medical NGO in Mongolia is the AIDS foundation. They flooded the country with condoms to such an extent that Chinese traders came in and bought the surplus. Ten years ago I challenged their country agent by stating the simple fact that Mongolia has almost no HIV but that the most terrible scourge is Tuberculosis (TB). The reason being the absence of intravenous drug users, the fact that there are no dark rooms and finally that there is a very strict and functioning quarantine system. TB though is largely due to bad nutrition, housing and pollution in the capital. It is a real and terrible problem and chances are that you never heard of it when reading about Mongolia. It is also a function of the breakdown of Socialism. For the majority life in the old system was way better then today.

    The good man became livid and started to slander Mongolia. The country supposedly had no reliable health statistics and the official numbers were all wrong.
    It is true that Mongolia is a poor country and there is no chemotherapy for cancer and if you have a rare disease you should take the first plane home. But registration and public health is working indeed as I know because I know a few doctors and have lived in Mongolia a long time.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Tom67’s post embodies exactly what is best about NC: the seemingly high preponderance of commenters who actually know of what they speak.

        (Hey! by posting I think I just patted myself on the back! How meta.)

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      Indeed, thanks for the perspective.

      Reminds me of an article that got written in a large east coast newspaper years ago by one of those ‘traveling local american color’ columnists about my great aunt. She was rather elderly, lived by herself on a hilltop next to the Columbia River in Oregon, used a scythe to harvest hay in the traditional way for her small herd of cows, kept an M1 garand locked and loaded on the porch for ‘any interruptions the almighty might throw at me’, and just generally lived a great healthy life doing things her own damn self.

      This was way before the days of SJWs and all that, but I remember the article still being all overly gushing about ‘traditional female roles’, and ‘inspiration to young ladies’ and such like stuff. We family members (and my auntie) were tickled to have the article and the notoriety….but still rather bemused by the big city perspective.

      Its like… ‘yeah, columnist…theres a carbon copy of our auntie, on just about every hilltop spread, farm, pasture and barn around here for a couple hundred miles in every direction.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Showing once again that “everything we think we know is probably wrong.” The world is not even close to what we think it is.

      1. Olga

        Ever since I faced questions such as “And do you have ice cream over there?” when first arriving on these shores, it has been (sadly) clear that most Am’rikaans now very little about the outside world. And then add to it complexities, inherent in almost all human endeavors/stories, and we’re off to the land of utter ignorance. But what has always baffled me is how is that in a country with so many immigrants, the memory of other lands is so thoroughly abandoned.

        1. Keith

          It takes effort to learn about other places. So many Americans don’t want to put any effort into anything other than sports stats, the occasional hobby, overscheduling their kids or watching tv.

          1. Wukchumni

            Americans learned about such places as Fallujah, Tikrit, Helmand Province & Kandahar, among others.

            Weren’t 6,000+ of our lives worth the price of tuition?

          2. newcatty

            Olga, perhaps the memory of other lands is not so much abandoned , but quite systematically destroyed by the devolution of the public education curriculum. It’s not only History that was white washed and propagandist with outright lies or the sin of omissions. Geography became just a jigsaw puzzle for kids to play with, as they were proded to memorize countries, capitals and the major landmarks. The seas and oceans were mentioned on the classroom globe. Not all teachers were facilitating this view. Often ,those who do, are just following district guidelines. I knew a few iconoclastic teachers, who were enlightened enough to know that Geography is more than just Physical Place. They taught that the field was about how place determines how and why it affects the people who live there. And, of course culture and more.

          3. polecat

            I doubt very much that geography is taught with any intensive regularity, much less history & civics, as was the case when I was a high schooler … And college ?? What’s the emphasis there ? .. except to turn out ever moarrr ‘mis-educated’ neoliberal-induced cogs, to throw into the maw of thy god “Mammon” !
            It seems as though the greater the ‘technical progress’ … the more idiotic society becomes .. at least over the last 30-50 years.

    3. In the Land of Farmers

      I no longer trust any news story I read. Really, not one. This is just another example in this new, internet assisted pump and dump scheme. They put out these stores, it gets hits and eyeballs and they make some AD money, article is later proven to be wrong but they are gone with the loot.

      But Tom67, please leave Mongolia and leave them alone. Your presence there is part of the problem.

      1. LifelongLib

        The Mongolians can tell him to leave, if they want to. The belief that they don’t have agency is a problem too.

        1. In the Land of Farmers

          Agency is easily corrupted by the promise of wealth. That is what con men have perfected.

          1. divadab

            I question why you think it a good idea to chastise tom67 when he provided us with very useful information based upon his personal experiences. Information that showed a news media report to be primarily feel-good propaganda.

            WHat’s tom67 doing that’s so bad? Is it that you think somehow that the Mongolians need to be protected from him? How so? How has he offended your sense of propriety? HOw is he a problem to the Mongols? Cultural imperialism? That horse left the barn with the internet. Is it somehow bad in your view to be a tourism operator in a foreign land? We should all just stay home and feel guilty, or what?

            1. In the Land of Farmers

              Can we just start with climate change and international tourism as the low hanging fruit?


              But why the hell should I care that women in Mongolia are taking up eagle hunting? Why does that article even have that written in the first place in order to be corrected?

              You don’t have to feel guilty when you stay home, you can stay home, be happy, and love people.

              1. Plenue

                “But why the hell should I care that women in Mongolia are taking up eagle hunting?”

                Er, because you’re not a sociopath? It’s nice to see people break through unjust barriers (though that probably isn’t what’s actually happening in this specific case).

    4. Grebo

      I saw the Eagle Huntress documentary a few months ago and thought it was quite wonderful. I was a little suspicious about all the old men trotted out to say ‘girls can’t/shouldn’t do this’ but none of them actually trying to stop her, and then they give her the prize. And there was also the question of how a western film crew happened to be in the right ger just as a young women decided to start eagle hunting.
      Still, even if it half fictional it’s a great film.

    5. Plenue

      I was thinking much the same. Western ideas of patriarchy don’t really work well with steppe cultures. The idea that the different sexes should have different but equal spheres of influence is often trotted out by conservatives as a bad faith argument (in practice is really means most or all leadership positions go to men), but from what I’ve read the Mongols get much closer to that kind of ideal.

    6. rps

      For the majority life in the old system was way better then today.

      It’s worth revisiting the case of the IRI and Mongolia. How Washington Hacked Mongolia’s Democracy

      There was the matter of Mongolia’s vast mineral reserves, with more than a thousand mineral deposits and some of the world’s largest gold and copper reserves.

      The story may not have attracted much attention at the time, but today, when stated plainly, the facts make for stark reading: from 1991 onward, the US government and multinational corporations dispatched a team of political operatives to engineer the electoral victory of free market forces in a foreign country and then guide those forces as they threw the country’s economy open to multinational investment and presided over a devastating economic collapse.

  9. timbers

    How Donald Trump appeals to men secretly insecure about their manhood

    I going to wait for the article that headlines How Hillary Clinton appeals to Bernie Bros who secretly want to be dominated by women before I read this, so I can read them together and get a balance view.

    Oh…I wonder if it matters if you’re a cat person or a dog person and what sign of the Zodiac?

      1. ambrit

        It goes all the way to the top.
        Most (in)famously, Bill Clinton could never keep his ‘manhood’ secured.

    1. Tomonthebeach

      This article is junk science. As I read their logic, I could not believe that colleagues made such non-sequitur leaps of logic. For example, how are the number of erectile dysfunction Google searches in a voting district an indicator of voter concern about masculinity when erectile dysfunction is also correlated with age, and Google searches are correlated with computer savvy? Male teens concerned about sexual orientation or whether or not they will get a girlfriend if they do not go out for football may experience something like acute masculine insecurity – but most are too young to vote anyway. Just because all the rednecks in town drive Rams or F150s does not mean they are insecure males (or does it?) hahaha.

      From a clinical perspective, many colleagues think Trump has masculine insecurity issues. Their case is far stronger than that of Knowles & DiMuccio.

        1. ambrit

          It’s the “Gourdian Not.” A variety of string theory. It all depends on if Alexander did his thing or knot. Shorter version; no one wants their Oxus Gourd. But then, that’s the extent of my Asiatic scrutability.

  10. tomk

    I disagree that Airbnb’s venture into home design deserves a kill me now. I understand that Airbnb has had many negative effects, but it’s no Uber. If they can spur much needed work on sustainable building practices, and on designing residences friendly to communal living, and that are easy to modify, this will be good. Read the article.

    Full disclosure, my wife and I, teacher and carpenter near retirement, sometimes rent our grown children’s bedrooms to supplement our income. Airbnb has made this possible for us. As borderline slobs, we have had to organize our space, and keep our house presentable. For people who don’t care for motel rooms we provide a distinct alternative. We’ve met many delightful people and had thoughtful conversations with them, and turned a few on to NC. We’ve also been bored and annoyed. We sometimes use Airbnb when we travel and have always had positive experiences.

    1. Jessica

      I too personally had only positive experiences from AirBnB.
      I think that a lot of the tech powers have at their core an actually good idea. Facebook lets me keep track of folks I would otherwise lose track of.
      However, when that good idea is put in the hands of predatory greed – and we have structured our economy so that sooner or later, this must happen – that good idea comes to serve as cover for something harmful.
      In AirBnB’s case, as long as a few people use it, it does provide a bit of extra income for ordinary folks, but once too many people use it, it warps local housing markets (Barcelona).
      Having seen real estate ads touting how AirBnB-suitable a house is, I suspect that over time, AirBnB just further drives up the price of houses and eventually many more people have to rent out spare (or not so spare) rooms on AirBnB to meet the higher mortgage payments that AirBnB helped cause. If so, then the extra income from AirBnB would wind up in the hands of the banks.

        1. Todde

          If they pay you over $20,000 you will get a tax form for certain.

          Otherwise it will depend on rhe state the property is being rented.

      1. Wukchumni

        Vacation rentals have really divided not only our community, but our school and way of life.

        Back in the day a dozen years ago, there’d be 3 or 4 homes for rent from $800 to $1200 per month, and now in the summer months, a diligent owner can get closer to $5k for the same abode, here in a town where jobs are few and far between.

        The worst of all is the out of town owner, of which there are quite a few, one fellow from L.A. has nearly 10 homes in his empire, and really contributes nothing to the community, aside from a shuffling deck of tourists, some good-some bad, a mixed bag.

        A few weeks ago the contents of the garbage truck lit on fire, and more than likely it was an touron that had an illegal fire during the red flag warnings, and thought the ashes were cool, and deposited them in the trash. The driver of the truck called the fire department in quite the panic, and they showed up and had him dump the entire load on the road and they sprayed it down, alleviating what could have been a horrible wildfire that made the NYT: “Tiny Town Burns Up Thanks To Vacation Rental Miscue”

        The enrollment in our school is way down too, a thousand dollar a month rental home is encouragement for young families, a $5k rental home is out of the question.

        1. Summer

          “The enrollment in our school is way down too, a thousand dollar a month rental home is encouragement for young families, a $5k rental home is out of the question.”

          I was just thinking the $5k rental home is encouragement for multiple families to share a home. If people are forced to try to live a city as they become the places where good jobs are clustered and nobody has the will or imagination to provide affordable housing for variety of incomes, that is what the future holds for all but the super wealthy.

          Full disclosure: my personal nightmare is having to ever live where I don’t at least have a bedroom of my own to retreat to as necessary.

          1. Wukchumni

            There’s scant work possibilities here except for NPS (they aren’t exactly well paid) employees-and maybe a few $10 an hour jobs in the service sector, that sort of thing. If you drive an hour to the big city, there’s also $10 an hour service jobs and not much else. It’s the reason a home here is 1/3rd the price of the same home in SF.

            That’s the tragedy of vacation rentals, is that they make so much sense here, but at what cost?

          2. newcatty

            Summer, Agree with that as a nightmare that I don’t ever want to live either. Also, I really would not want to share a bathroom with any body but family or close friends. Prefer only with spouse. Your ideas on people having to share ,with other families(or singles), a home is not occuring in the future. That future is now. This phenomenon is happening now. We know several people in our circle of friends and family who are, or who have been, living in a shared house or apartment. It’s entirely economically class based in America. The ones we know have been exactly where you are talking about: ” forced to try to live a city as they become the places good jobs are clustered”…
            People are doing this all around us. Unfortunately, it’s not just people who are working at what many would call a good job. With the proliferation of low wage jobs(often purposely hired as part time employees) people are house sharing out of sheer necessity. The few people I have talked with, who have or are doing this, are not happily creating a “community ” with strangers or acquaintances. They feel stuck and stressed. This is quite different than choosing to live in a communal setting. Full disclosure my spouse and I are not in this situation. Many elderly are, as well as younger people. This is not just limited to poster child cities like San Francisco. We know those who find themselves in this trap in small towns, too.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Senior Servces here in FL actually has institutionalized “dwelling sharing” for us older folks. They do a bit of vetting, I believe, to try to minimize the potential bad outcomes like fraud and theft and looting by “sharers” preying on each other, but it happens and occasionally even gets reported.

              We Exceptional Americans, mostly the ones who rule and own us and their adjunct parasites, sure have built a massive pile of vulnerabilities, and tossed a whole lot of elements of community and resilience and decency on the “burn pile.”

              Interesting to observe how seductive the invitation to join in the looting is — Uber, AirBnB and the like have so many apologists among the upper parts of the lower classes, and the lower parts of the upper classes. “Only way to make ends meet,” and “I really enjoy the AirBnB experiences I have as I travel the globe — too bad about the communities that are debased by all those nice opportuties to personally experience the world’s variety and pleasures.” And “Uber is just so darn Convenient, dontcha know?”

      2. In the Land of Farmers

        Jessica, when someone thinks only about how a product or service affects them and neglects to think of how it affects other people, well, we call that ignorance and selfishness.

        1. tomk

          True, but how does this relate to Jessica’s thoughtful comment, which discussed how Airbnb affected different communities? Are you suggesting that we should avoid Airbnb even though it serves a positive function in our lives because of negative effects it has on some communities? Maybe so, but we should also stop driving, flying, heating our houses with oil, using electricity, buying insurance or using money at all. Things are complicated, we learn, we make judgments. My hope is that communities institute rules that limit the commercial use of person to person platforms but allow people to rent rooms in their primary residences, or rent their primary residences out when they are away.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Yes, I am willing to say that. AirBnB turns residential neighborhood and apartment buildings into hotels. They are not zoned for that. The communities and landlords can and should crack down. Renting your house or rooms in your house to strangers poses noise and even safety risks to your neighbors.

            AirBnB is an example of precisely the wrong answer to the problem of stagnant worker wages.

            1. ChristopherJ

              Agree, Yves. To establish a bed and breakfast establishment here in QLD. Need a license, a commercial kitchen to do the breakfast, fire safety laws, off street parking, time for neighbors to comment…

              Airbnb has bypassed all that shit. Everyone must have been paid to look the other way. All those rentals turned into hotel rooms, not good, none of it, incl uber

              Sad times

    2. Lambert Strether

      > I understand that Airbnb has had many negative effects, but it’s no Uber.

      AirBnB’s business model is exactly the same as Uber’s: Regulatory arbitrage. It enables property owners to go into the hotel business without being regulated like hotels (thereby also taking employment away from hotel workers, many of them unionized, many of them immigrants). I do grant that, unlike Uber, AirBnB’s top management does not appear to be openly criminal.

      I don’t deny that you and others have had individually pleasant experiences, exactly has many people have had pleasant experiences with Uber drivers. But let’s not allow our individual experiences to blind us to systemic effects.

      1. JTMcPhee

        “AirBnB’s top management does not appear to be openly criminal.” But they created and foster the business model that results (except where their lobbying has changed the law to make running a stealth hotel “not criminal any more”) in wholesale violations of health and safety laws, and hides from what used to be referred to as the “police powers of the state.” They are deeply involved in creating and fostering criminal acts, and there are actually still laws on the books that criminalize such behavior. What’s missing is active enforcement of those laws, for all the reasons that get discussed here.

        And for those who missed Civics classes, and are all okay with buccaneering “property owners’ (them and the banks that hold their mortgages, anyway), here’s a reminder of what that other understanding of “police powers,” beside the cop-shoots-mope one, is supposed to mean:

        In United States constitutional law, police power is the capacity of the states to regulate behavior and enforce order within their territory for the betterment of the health, safety, morals, and general welfare of their inhabitants.

        And “individually pleasant experiences:” Is that the standard now, for “legality of all our behaviors? Seems like.

        Bezos understands.

  11. John Beech

    How Donald Trump appeals to men secretly insecure about their manhood Washington Post

    Good grief, this is what it’s come to at the newspaper of record these days? Sigh.

    1. Carolinian

      I believe the NYT is the self-styled “newspaper of record” (in their “good gray Times” phase they published long transcripts of documents). The WaPo–insecure about their manhood–saw themselves as local paper also rans. See the film The Post.

    2. Plenue

      WaPo is Jeff Bezos’s funny pages.They’re equal parts clickbait trash and blatant propaganda these days.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “The More Education Republicans Have, the Less They Tend to Believe in Climate Change”

    Could this be because more educated Republicans tend to be more well off and live in areas not yet effected by climate change like Washington DC but that poorer Republicans live in areas already being hit by the effects of climate change like the Gulf Coast States and need no convincing?

    1. Linden S.

      I admit I have not run into all the kinds of climate denial, but I think we have reached a saturation point with climate science communication that means you really have to start asking new questions to cut to the chase. I think one of the main divides here is *how wealthy are you, and how much do you presume you and your family will be able to shield themselves from the impacts of climate change with money.* Another main divide is powerlessness: has that person ever heard a compelling strategy for how to combat global warming?

      I think a question to ask is “Would you support sweeping policies that aim to keep warming to ‘safer’ levels by the middle of the century?” Now that there is a (infant) policy with that ambition, and it aims to address inequality and poverty, I think a huge number of people will support it and the core deniers of well-off nihilists will be exposed.

      The new shape of dangerous climate denial is believing “technology will save us” or “it won’t be that bad” or “we still have plenty of time.” Once again I think that it will be rooted in wealth.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I know many “climate change believers” who seem incredulous when I suggest they do something as simple as walk to the nearby grocery store instead of taking their hybrid SUV.

        The GOP breakdown is interesting and actually suggests a way for lefty types to make alliances, but I fear many Democrats simply use climate change as a cultural signal more than anything else. Obama recently bragged about his efforts to make the US the number one oil producer. A few years back, the White House released a draft of his SOTU which didn’t even mention climate change. A shut down of the White House switch board led Obama to say “climate change is real” in the prepared version with nothing else to add in typical Obama fashion. Does Obama believe in climate change? Probably, but for too many it’s like being a fan of a particular sports team or taking joy in a win. “We did it,baby. We won.” Yes, you sure watched scores all season!

        The danger is we have accepted “belief in climate change” instead of an understanding it’s a real problem from too many people. Whether it’s Moonbeam, Pelosi, etc, their position on climate change is as meaningful as a position on whether Pluto is a planet.

        1. Carolinian

          I know many “climate change believers” who seem incredulous when I suggest they do something as simple as walk to the nearby grocery store instead of taking their hybrid SUV.

          Hear hear. The media and political opponents made fun of Jimmy Carter when he put on that cardigan sweater but still claim, like Obama, to be environmentalists. There’s way too much posturing.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I don’t mean to dismiss the major polluters such as the MIC, but it is important to recognize the virtue signaling at play especially as we seek to address climate change.

            Dealing with various transit advocacy groups over the years, I’ve faced the high speed rail idiots who would just love to make day trips on nice clean trains to Chicago or New York but balk at the idea of increased trolley style services. These people took the train from Paris to Berlin. After all, we need to reinvent the paradigm! Don’t worry they have bumper stickers announcing how green they are.

            I live near a grocery store which I walk to so I’m there quite a bit, and it’s appalling how many people are just running to the store to pick up one thing or driving to the little gym to use a tread mill. It’s hilly where I live. I guess I’ll excuse the women who make use of it. You will see all kinds of pro-environment bumper stickers or stickers for creeps like Kaine and then see a person return to their vehicle with one plastic bag. My favorite is a local Democratic archon who drives his truck (a small one) for little trips, plastered in green bumper stickers and always loaded down with the same garbage in the bed. He can walk too. I see him on leisure walks when I go for a run. He can walk to the store, but when it comes time to demand accountability from Team Blue elites he rambles on about the politics of the art of the possible and gets around to invoking the great spirit of JFK for not even bothering to register disgust with the ilk of Mark Warner.

            Also the bag boys at my local kroger clearly sell pot. One of the many things you’ll learn from walking everywhere.

            1. Carolinian

              I love to walk and for awhile would bike to the grocery store until my knees stopped cooperating. So now I just walk instead of bike and drive to the store..

              In towns like mine there aren’t many shopping options in the center city so you pretty much have to drive. But you don’t have to drive in a two ton vehicle. The proliferation of full size pickups and large suvs is ample evidence that the public, and not just politicians, refuses to be serious about AGW.

          2. jrs

            and really stop eating beef as well right? I am cutting down, not off it 100% yet, but frankly never was a big consumer. Maybe morality would be infecting everyone with that disease that makes them unable to eat red meat! Ha. Now how is that for a conspiracy theory.

        2. Linden S.

          “The danger is we have accepted “belief in climate change” instead of an understanding it’s a real problem from too many people.”


          I think this is what the climate communicators are doing better now that they aren’t as distracted by the big $$ deniers: to understand the basic message of climate science is to understand *the need for fast action.* Anything else is denial, and I think the relatively conservative message of climate scientist communicators is starting to reflect that.

          1. Wukchumni

            In our need for fast action, in July of 1942, all registered drivers were only allowed 3 gallons of gas per week for the duration of the war.

            The only way I see any change in our habits and way of life as the climate modifies to it’s version of the new normal, would be doing something similar-but different, in a mutual effort.

            Would it make any difference if it was just us depriving ourselves of driving, with my or your equal in China using up what we would’ve otherwise gone through, given the chance?

            1. Linden S.

              At some point I think it is going to come down to rationing, but I don’t know how it could possibly happen. The fuel riots in France seem like a sign of things to come.

              1. Wukchumni

                Was watching a video of the ‘sans oilottes’ and it looks as if Burning Man relocated to the city of lights.

            2. rob

              like so many other companies like ford,gm,itt,chase bank, and others, who were trading with the enemy before,during and after WW2. AS a good book details; the nazi american money plot ;1933 to 1949. by charles hingham.
              standard oil (of new jersey, later to be esso ,then exxon)was selling more gasoline to the axis than it was to the allies. They changed their port of lading to venuzuela to ship product through spain. the bank of international settlements was set up to ensure war time payments be able to be handled without jeopardy of restrictions placed by national governments, to prevent disloyal actions.
              Rationing is just one of those things, where all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

              1. Wukchumni

                A few decades ago I met an older German-American in Santa Monica that was the right age, and asked what he did in the war, and he told me he was an engineer and was part of the team that came up with the swept wings on the ME-262, very impressive.

                He then asked, “where do you think most of the engines for mid 1930’s Luftwaffe planes came from?”

                I told him I didn’t know, and he told me they were from U.S. plane manufacturers, built under contract in the Fatherland.

            3. ambrit

              Yeah, but that rationing of gasoline was really to cut down on the use of rubber tyres. America had plenty of gasoline. It did not have adequate supplies of raw rubber. Gas rationing thus was a two-fer. It cut rubber consumption in the domestic market and limited the public’s mobility, and thus helped keep the ‘home front’ pacified. As a bonus, it helped foster a false sense of communal virtue. Everyone was ‘suffering’ visibly to help the war effort.
              Back then, the ‘powers’ tried to develop a sense of national unity. Today, exactly the opposite occurs.

          2. gepay

            to – Linden S seems blissfully unaware that it is only a handful of climate scientists that are positive of “climate catastrophe”. – as are most NC readers who comment on climate.
            Most mainstream climate scientists are more like – Michael ‘Mike’ Hulme – Professor of Human Geography in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge. He was formerly professor of Climate and Culture at King’s College London and of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia who says things like – Hulme’s 2006 quote (via the BBC) from section 2: “This discourse is now characterized by phrases such as ‘climate change is worse than we thought’, that we are approaching ‘irreversible tipping in the Earth’s climate’, and that we are ‘at the point of no return’. I have found myself increasingly chastised by climate change campaigners when my public statements and lectures on climate change have not satisfied their thirst for environmental drama and exaggerated rhetoric. It seems that it is we, the professional climate scientists, who are now the (catastrophe) skeptics. How the wheel turns… … Why is it not just campaigners, but politicians and scientists too, who are openly confusing the language of fear, terror and disaster with the observable physical reality of climate change, actively ignoring the careful hedging which surrounds science’s predictions?” Of course the Guardian would never lie to you – would it? Or the Powers That Be would never use something like a carbon footprint as a control mechanism ?

        3. Robert Valiant

          An effective approach to climate change will require no reduction in current living standards or changes in current behaviors, just at most a switch to non-petroleum energy resources and maybe some geoengineering. Or at least I haven’t heard otherwise from any mainstream political group who acknowledges climate change.

          1. ambrit

            Hmmm…. There has to be a trick to this.
            Question: Find a mainstream American political group that acknowledges climate change.
            Instead of sticking my fingers in my ears, I’ll have to place one in a ‘fundamental’ place.

        4. drumlin woodchuckles

          ” Belief in climate change” sounds like a secularised re-expression of “Belief in Jesus as my Personal Savior” or other religious declarations of faith. I wonder if there is a way to de-religionize popular discussion of manmade global warming. America’s Puritan and Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian heritage streams run very deep in the mass mind.

          1. Wukchumni

            {imagines a climate pastor dunking people into the oncoming surf inland-exclaiming “you are saved!}

        5. Plenue

          Climate change for most people is at most a distant, vague threat. These are the people who are convinced that the Paris Agreement was more than a feckless band-aid, and that Trump abandoning it and pushing for more fossil fuel use and extraction represents some great shift. It’s just something else to attack Trump with, basically. They have little inkling of how bad things already were, how bad they are now, and how bad they will likely get in the (near) future.

    2. pjay

      “When political elites disagree, their views tend to be adopted first by higher-educated partisans on both sides, who become more divided as they acquire more information.”

      I’d like to see the relationship between education and the D/R split on anti-Russian hysteria. Gallup?

  13. JacobiteInTraining

    Merkel on plane: Apropos of nothing other then its in the context of ‘meeting famous people on/near planes’ …and I love the story – my older brother once got ‘lost’ in an airport in California back when he was 10 and I was 8.

    We were on our way to Disneyland, but I was too young to remember which airport – I just recall being fascinated at all the displays, people, huge open spaces, and planes. Wasn’t even really aware my brother had gone missing. My Mom and Dad were no doubt royally freaked out and i do recall multiple traverses at a fast-walk-gallop of previously walked terminal areas, circling, searching, until they finally went to a desk and reported it.

    Moments later a call came in – brother had been found!

    We got escorted over what seemed like a long distance to another desk and there was my brother, talking to this guy. A guy who happened to be Bob Hope. I may have been only 8 but I sure knew who he was…and so did my bro…who apparently had earlier seen Mr. Hope and just decided to disconnect from my parents as they walked by and stay there to ask him questions about jokes and such.

    Mr. Hope was exactly the way you would think he would be, smiles, pleasant, pat kids on the head, chit chat to mom/dad… although I’ll bet my parents were probably more embarrassed then they ever had been in their lives.

    But my brother got a great story to tell in class on his return… :)

  14. timotheus

    Re “cure” for HIV.

    I believe in finance this is called “talking your book.” While breakthroughs are always possible, this cure-around-the-corner meme has been around since Margaret Heckler bragged that a vaccine would arrive in two years–in 1984. The Hosanna! a cure is nigh! headlines did a serious disservice to the field because they reassured the nervous public that Science would be to the rescue soon and thus the hard work of sex ed and care for the ailing wasn’t all that urgent.

  15. Henry Moon Pie

    Re: trans activist decree

    In many progressive corners of academic and online life, it now is taken as cant that anyone who rejects transgender ideology—which is based on the theory that a mystical “gender identity” exists within us, akin to a soul—may be targeted with the most juvenile and vicious attacks.

    Well, you guys included a link to the article, so I’ll blame you if a posse comes after me.

    While I encourage people to express themselves honestly and be what they want to be, I’ve been reminded by trans activists of Origen’s (a 3rd-century church father) musings about the relationship between the soul and the body. He believed that souls resided in some repository until they were matched with a body. Now Origen was a Christian who relied on his Christian god to match the soul to the body, so he would balk at the concept of a screw-up that put a female soul in a male body or vice versa, but trans theory seems to rely on some sort of soul repository and a bureaucratic blunder when the soul is connected to a body. Either way, it’s a long way from what we used to learn was a hard, scientific connection between gender and chromosomes except in the case of the XYY folks.

    Anyway, I was glad to see that someone else is somewhat mystified by what the trans theorists are pushing. I would add that there is also a ka-ching aspect to this in the medical and psychological professions along with Pharma.

    1. Aleric

      Trans identity was not created by trans theorists, but came from trying to make sense of the lived experience of actual human beings. Once you start seriously looking into the complexity of human sexual biology and the way it interacts with the brain, and in turn with a culture to produce the intricate phenomena called gender, you won’t be as dismissive of the idea that it can turn out differently at times. Just a natural human variation like left-handedness.

    2. diptherio

      I agree that there seems to be a kind of unspoken metaphysics to some trans-activism. However, you are confusing biological sex with socially-defined gender. Chromosomes don’t code for gender, they code for plumbing. Also, you may want to check out some recent science on chromosomes. As it turns out, there is a lot more variation than I was led to believe in my high school science class. Just sayin’.

      1. JBird4049

        There are many cultures with multiple genders although not biological sexes, and human sexuality is extremely complex, in today’s society, nuance, common sense, and asking questions are evil things. Identity politics is also being added and used as a club to crush one’s enemies, or at least silence them. Add in fanaticism and folly, and we really do have a problem.

        1. Dandelion

          Not to mention that biological males are now crushing it in women’s sports, or that lawsuits are already being filed about homeless women and female prisoners being made to shower with males, and high school girls and boys being made to change in locker rooms with classmates of the opposite sex.

      2. cm

        Right, and it is completely reasonable for Twitter to ban someone for saying “men are not women.”

        Double plus good! Oh, and chocolate production is up!

        Just sayin’.

        1. jmkiru

          Please allow me suggest that weighing any action twitter takes on a moral scale is bound to disappoint. Even on their best days, they’re really, really terrible at being anything but the absolute worst.

          But more to the point, twitters’ reaction to her statements really depend on the context. Ex: if the tweet the author is referring to was a reply to another post about how beautiful a trans-woman is, then with the caveat that twitter is always bad at this, I’d say yes, there are grounds for twitter demanding she pull the post before she is re-instated; Especially in conjunction with her other post, especially if they’re in a thread that’s resulted in numerous complaints, etc…

          i.e. saying ‘a man is not a woman’ is a statement. Saying ‘a man is not a woman’ to a trans-woman who has been introduced to you is both provocative, and terribly, terribly petty.

          Again, twitter is always bad at this, but I have a really, really hard time believing they’re under some special trans-oriented sway, when they have repeatedly banned people for calling others TERFs as ‘hate speech.’

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Your defense of Twitter here is almost certainly incorrect. The author is debating politics. It’s highly unlikely that she would go after a particular person in the manner you suggest. Twitter bans people based on complaints and does not investigate their merit. If you can be depicted as as being too argumentative, it’t not hard to be drummed out. See Peter Van Buren, for instance:


            1. jmkiru

              If this came across as a defense of twitter, then I really missed the mark. My intent was more to suggest that the author (of the quillete article, not the NC comment) impeaching the ban based solely on the statement ‘men are not women’ both lacks context, and is not free from a context where it would be deemed hostile and provocative. This, in turn, could reasonably result in a crowd of people flagging the tweet as inappropriate, and twitter reacting.

              The article seemed to suggest the author felt that she / her arguments were singled out. I’m suggesting the alternative – Twitter is bad, it is consistently bad, and assuming an agenda unique to her views is unfounded when it can just as easily be explained as part of the giant miasma of awfulness that is Twitter.

              Regarding the author debating politics, YMMV, but my experience with Twitter suggests this would rarely prevent someone from singling out a user / opinion they disagreed with, certainly not when it was related to something in their wheelhouse, and equally not to reply with what they felt was simply a statement of fact.

              Just to be clear, I am *not* trying to suggest this is what happened – merely that the author poses the ban based on this comment (a man is not a woman) speaks for itself, and I’m suggesting it is not so clear as she proposes.

        2. diptherio

          Who said that? Certainly not me. At issue is only the link between chromosomes and sex and gender.

          1. cm

            If you conclude a post with “just sayin'” you had better have your ducks in a row. Passive-aggressive debate with no substance is a very weak position.

            “At issue” is Twitter’s banning of someone who made a factual statement. Or do you somehow disagree that “men are not women”?

      3. Lambert Strether

        > Chromosomes don’t code for gender, they code for plumbing.

        It would be maladaptive if coding for plumbing did not also “code for,” as it were, UI/UX, including well-designed affordances. Maladaptive because the species would be less likely to reproduce.

        In other words, I think “gender fluid” is a nonsense (although a profitable nonsense in some circles and for some political factions).

        Nevertheless, and contradicting myself, as I’ve remarked, Thailand is said to have at least 13 genders (handy chart), and also has kathoeys (“ladyboys”). In fact, they have beauty contests for kathoeys, reported on the major media outlets.

        Still contradicting myself, I’m pleasurably contemplating the reaction of the Gender Studies establishment to importing the idea of Trans Beauty Contests into the United States (“ZOMG!!!!! Objectification!!!!”)

        I guess what I find baffling is the traction a numerically tiny segment of the population has succeeded in getting. We have falling life expectancy in the 90%. That means tens of thousands of excess deaths (although not among the rich; or in at least the tenured faculty in Gender Studies departments). We also have a planet that’s about to put most of Florida and a lot of low-lying Asian cities underwater in a few decades. So I can’t help but regard this discussion as a distraction.

        I think there are several models for how to deal with the oncoming collapse, and they work by class. I’m sure this is overly schematic, but–

        1. The 0.1% thinks they can ride it out in New Zealand (or Mars). Most everyone else can go, Jackpot-style. Hence the (IMNSHO delusional) focus on robot cars, AI (i.e., slaves) and so forth. Hence also no investment in infrastructure. It’s a tear-down. They’ve known this for a generation, and have been planning for it on that time-scale.

        2. The 10% wants a “diverse” Noah’s Ark style solution — one of every identity (refining Adolph Reed), where the individuals chosen are sufficiently aspirational and deferential to the 0.1%, who they will also save, the balance again going, Jackpot-style.

        3. The left wants to save as many people as possible, no matter their identity.

        I see the enormous and disproportionate focus on trans issues as supporting #2 and erasing #3.

        1. Plenue

          DNA isn’t code though. It’s a much messier, more ad hoc process than computer programming. To the extent gender identity is biological, it doesn’t at all surprise me that there are people whose brains don’t match their bodies.

    3. Wukchumni

      I’m thankful for more public toilet possibilities, and yeah the ex-distaff ones are so much cleaner looking. (well, at least initially, give it a few more years for men to muck them up)

      Taboos such as trans really went the way of the Dodo, except for incest. For whatever reason it never caught on. Perhaps because the genetic consequences were too dire.

      Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire had quite the nickname…

      Perhaps due to inbreeding among his progenitors, the hereditary Habsburg jaw was most prominent in Leopold. Because his jaw was depicted unusually large on a 1670 silver coin, Leopold was nicknamed “the Hogmouth”

    4. John Massie

      I suggest you look up and consider the wiki on endocrine disruptors, a class of pollution that the human environment is awash in.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I would like very much to know of gender dysmorphia is constant historically, or a relatively recent development. I would bet the latter (though I’m sure Gender Studies would argue the former).

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I think of course some people do not feel like accepting their gender, but that doesn’t mean I must accept the “gender” they made up to describe how they feel.

          The latest list says there are 112 “genders”:

          Maybe we can get away from the use of the term “gender”, just state what your sexual preferences are, no need to try and get into the scientific categorization business. XX or XY, I’m pretty sure there won’t be any science behind a XX Y XY YX description of “cavusgender” or “heliogender”.

    5. Ted

      I think you have missed the larger point of the article, which is about aggressive attacks against feminists who would like to preserve some places in society where people without penises and large male bodies can feel safe from people who have them, regardless of how those penis/male body endowed people identify or experience themselves in terms of gender.

      1. WendellG

        > … feminists who would like to preserve
        > some places in society where people without penises and large
        > male bodies can feel safe from people who have them …

        But … oh, MY! … look what happens nowadays when people with penises would like to preserve some places in society where people with penises and large male bodies can feel comfortable in the absence of other kind(s) of people! No no no! That’s sexist! Pernicious! /sarc

        Kind of reminds me of the old slogan:
        ‘What’s mine is mine. What’s yours is negotiable.’

    6. jrs

      I accept that a felt gender identity exists for them if they say it does, that that is in some way central to their experience of life (it might be nature, it might be nurture, I don’t know).

      But it is not how I experience life at all, I could have in some sense been any gender at all, I am mostly like the Buddhist say am just an awareness, my soul in some sense could be any age, any gender. But socially I present as my biological sex, of a certain age, with a certain appearance etc..

    7. Aileen

      I am fine with people defining their “gender identity” as they see fit for their own personal mental health. However, what we are witnessing with current transactivism is an attempt to claim that self-identity trumps biological sex– and to go even so far as to say that biological sex is a “social construct.” Thus, if a male-born and male-bodied person “feels” like a woman, that makes that person an actual woman for legal purposes. In the UK this is being encoded in revisions to the Gender Recognition Act: that one only need to claim status as the opposite sex in order to be considered that sex. No period of living as a member of the opposite sex (social transition) or hormones & surgery (medical transition) are required.

      This is development is what is alarming feminists: that males who self-declare as women are now 100% legally allowed access to spaces and activities formerly reserved for female people (aka “women” and “girls”). Women have accepted males who wish to present as women for a long, long time; many societies acknowledge the existence of men who, for whatever reason, wish to live as women (females accepted living as males are much, much less common culturally/historically). What are now commonly called “transwomen” have been accepted as a sort of honorary woman, as these people truly are just trying to live their lives as they need to.

      But this new breed of trans-identified males are another sort altogether. The examples in Murphy’s article are representative of a kind of aggressive colonization of women’s spaces by males who claim to be actual females. It’s not just about “having a place to pee”: women’s shelters & prisons, girl’s locker rooms & sports teams are now open to any male who claims a “gender identity” of female. This has absolutely devastating implications for women’s rights to self-organize and create female-exclusive spaces.

      And for those who argue that there’s something fluid and/or arbitrary about biological sex: nope and nope. Humans are sexually dimorphic: two sexes, one that produces ova and one that produces sperm. One of each are required for reproduction. There are no “third” sexes: the existence of intersex conditions does not alter this fact of male and female, and anyway trans =/= intersex (another colonization is happening where trans people are claiming to be intersex when they’re not).

      The claims of an immutable “brain sex” have been thoroughly debunked. Male and female brains are different but there’s no evidence of a mechanism whereby “gender identity” is rooted in brain structures or neurochemistry. “Born in the wrong body” is a harmful fantasy that is being foisted on vulnerable individuals, especially young children.

      But all these pesky facts are now considered heresy, and those who question any aspect of transgender ideology are automatically labeled hateful bigots: and now, being systematically banned and censored. It’s a chillingly Orwellian state of affairs when stating that “men are not women” is considered a thought crime.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, consider the mundane battle ground of bathrooms.

        I know middle aged women (as in not fit) who are now very concerned about bathroom safety with trans. Not the trans people per se, but that straight men could cross dress and then go into bathrooms and rob or rape women.

        1. Aileen

          @Yves absolutely. The issue is being framed as “OMG feminists are saying all trans people are perverts!” when the problem really is, now the predators have the perfect cover to enter women’s and girl’s spaces–just “identify” as a woman, and hey presto!

          1. Duke of Prunes

            This is exactly what many conservative critics predicted during the last bathroom crisis. This prediction was widely criticized at the time.

            1. Dictynna

              Strange that this is an issue; bathrooms aren’t safe for women even if trans people are kept out. I remember well when two students at my college were sexually assaulted there by men who just walked in, back in the 1980s. There really aren’t any ‘safe spaces.’

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                I’m over 60 and I never heard of a woman being assaulted in a women’s bathroom. Not saying it doesn’t happen, but my impression it is rare, way rarer, say than women being assaulted in parking garages.

                In our modern world of lots of surveillance cameras, a guy or guys waking in and out of a women’s bathroom is way more likely to be caught now that decades ago, where as a trans poseur would be harder to pick out, and the trans costuming would make them harder to identify in gender normal attire.

                There is still an additional issue: I know women personally who are now afraid of going into women’s bathrooms if they aren’t well trafficked. Crime now is vastly lower than it was decades ago, so this is objectively silly compared to the risk of walking around in NYC in the early 1980s (I was pickpocketed successfully several times, but never mugged, and I know only one woman who was mugged). But if crime rates go back up, particularly if the economy takes a nosedive and there is more economic desperation, I wouldn’t see this concern as overwrought as I do now.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Must live a sheltered life or something as I have never heard the term TERF before and I feel sorry for the flack that that Meghan Murphy is going through. It’s like these activists constantly come up with new litmus tests for their beliefs and then banish others not able to meet it. It’s kinda like that Gideon’s army where the candidate pool is shrunk again and again until you get a hard core set of believers. The worse aspect of this is that you not only get more people become solid conservatives because of this but it justifies the positions of people like Paul Joseph Watson. They can point out the lunacies of the positions of people like that, for which there is no defense, thus confirming people’s own conservative beliefs. In a way, you can say that when hard core conservatives like Watson attack people like these, they are doing so from the left of them.

      3. How is it legal

        Thank you for that voice of sanity. The clear hostility towards biological females is tangible (reminiscent of Billionaire Gay Male, Peter Thiel’s hostility towards females) – from what I’ve read on feminist’s twitter feeds – and so analogous to the historic system of Patriarchy which has economically, physically and psychologically oppressed the vast majority of females, I find it impossible to understand how they could even consider themselves to have a women’s mentality, demanding to be ‘first,’ even before actual biological females,

        At this year’s Pride March in Montreal, biological males who identify as women led the parade, carrying a banner reading, “Transwomen first…”

        whose undisputed historic travails of physical and economic violence, and lack of ‘agency,’ those male ‘women’ have never even experienced. I ‘ve never witnessed biological women, as a group, demanding to be first in anything (outside of being listened to on issues particular to them), only demanding to be treated fairly. And there’s a long, long way to go on that.

        Not at all surprised that more than one of the horrid instances of abuse noted in the piece were in California. Of course Jerry Brown was the first Governor to gutlessly write into law bathrooms and locker rooms of one’s choice for minors – unable to even fight the legislation – from kindergarten through high school in all State School Districts, with the fabulous Fourth Estate proclaiming that the only parties opposed were Republicans, though I’m absolutely positive they didn’t survey any minors in public schools as to how they felt about it. And they certainly didn’t ask any non Republicans, I know I can’t be the only non Republican who thought that this was a horrid law.

        There’s got to be a ton of money behind this, would love to see the list of names, I’ll bet my life they’re Bipartisan in their Political Contributions and Party Registrations.

      4. Lambert Strether

        > revisions to the Gender Recognition Act: that one only need to claim status as the opposite sex in order to be considered that sex.

        The key contradiction of identity politics explodes, shaking the foundations of the entire enterprise. See Adolph Reed here for a similar issue: Rachel Dolezal, white woman who claimed status as black, and acted as black (did not “pass,” but fully took on the role) in society “One Trans Good, the Other Not So Much“:

        The transrace/transgender comparison makes clear the conceptual emptiness of the essentializing discourses, and the opportunist politics, that undergird identitarian ideologies. There is no coherent, principled defense of the stance that transgender identity is legitimate but transracial is not, at least not one that would satisfy basic rules of argument. The debate also throws into relief the reality that a notion of social justice that hinges on claims to entitlement based on extra-societal, ascriptive identities is neoliberalism’s critical self-consciousness. In insisting on the political priority of such fictive, naturalized populations identitarianism meshes well with neoliberal naturalization of the structures that reproduce inequality. In that sense it’s not just a pointed coincidence that Dolezal’s critics were appalled with the NAACP for standing behind her work. It may be that one of Rachel Dolezal’s most important contributions to the struggle for social justice may turn out to be having catalyzed, not intentionally to be sure, a discussion that may help us move beyond the identitarian dead end.

      5. georgieboy

        “The claims of an immutable “brain sex” have been thoroughly debunked. Male and female brains are different but there’s no evidence of a mechanism whereby “gender identity” is rooted in brain structures or neurochemistry. “Born in the wrong body” is a harmful fantasy that is being foisted on vulnerable individuals, especially young children.”

        Please cite your sources.

        Here is Robert Pokalsky, author of “Behave”, on page 215 footnote, 2017 hardcover edition:

        Remarkably, studies have examined brains of transgender individuals, concentrating on brain regions that, on the average, differ in size between men and women. …the dimorphic brain regions in transgender individuals resembled the sex of the person they always felt themselves to be, not their “actual” sex. In other words, it is not the case that transgender individuals think they’re a different gender than they actually are. …

        Pokalsky is a generous person, and he may over-generalize in favor of promoting kindness to transgender folks. That said, this suggests a first-approximation test for sincerity of declared transgenders: fMRI for relative size of dimorphic brain regions. Negatives may not be disqualifying (i.e., possibility of false negatives), but positives would suggest the person in question is sincere (and also more likely to behave appropriately in their bathroom of choice).

        [Pages 210-222 of this book are well worth a look.]

        Certainly the fakers and the ideologues would be opposed to such a test, were it genuinely useful.

    8. Stephen Gardner

      All this is about getting the left to fight the right so we won’t notice we are being stolen blind by the neoliberal order.

      It’s pretty simple: sex is between your legs and gender between your ears. We mix the two up in this country mainly because sex is a fraught word and gender isn’t. Alternatively gender is the box they put you in because of your sex. People who have been told their whole lives that the things they like are wrong because they aren’t the right sex for that activity often end up hating the sex they are. I think that if there were more gender freedom there would be fewer people who needed to change their bodies to match the sex of the gender role they feel drawn to. Society needs to stop punishing girlish boys and boyish girls for what they feel.

      1. JBird4049

        Partly this is weaponized identity politics and it is that we Americans tend to be neurotic and weird about sex and gender. We also tend to have limited thinking in only man/male/straight and woman/female/straight and don’t have any extra social/sexual genders to deal with the slightly greater complexity of human sexuality.

        Fortunately on sexual orientation or attraction it has gotten better, but then people were not saying that biological sex was ignorable or transmutable. If you had said anything like that in the Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights movement back in the day they would have looked at you like you were crazy.

        Thirty or forty years ago I would have been a serious far, far to the left on social issues and my beliefs in the importance of such things as the Bill of Rights has always been almost fanatical; today there seems to be a gigantic swath of the population that either thinks I am a hate monger; many think we cannot trust the people and that the Bad People are out to kill us for our (shrinking) Freedom so the government needs to keep taking away our freedom to protect us; that means I support the terrorists or something.

        This is a bizarre, strangely amusing, yet terrifying world we are living in. Unmoored from facts or reasoned beliefs and opinions. I really don’t like it.

        1. Musicismath

          I see a lot of crossover between contemporary trans rights and the Men’s Rights Movement of the 1990s. This to my mind is a crossover that goes beyond rhetoric and common targets (a shared hatred for “radical feminists”). It’s as though men’s rights activists have discovered a new way to target women—simply identify as trans and any form of anti-feminist abuse is condoned, even celebrated.

          The question, I guess, is what explains this crossover. Misogyny, of course. But the kind of misogyny that men’s rights activists used to display was one of a special kind—one that expressed itself as a kind of resentment of women, and a thwarted desire to share in or appropriate what women were perceived to have. MRA types in my experience were rarely hyper-masculine. Instead, they cultivated their sensitive sides. Many had gone through a phase of intense interest in, or even identification with, feminism. Their anti-feminism was underscored by a desire not to obliterate the feminine but to control it—to claim it somehow for themselves—as well as a deep disquiet or anger about those aspects of the feminine that they felt excluded from by biology, childbirth and primary parenting in particular.

          The fact that it’s just those aspects of femaleness that are now stigmatised by TRAs as “cis-woman privilege” is kind of a giveaway here. The MRAs of the ‘90s and TRAs of today are, I suspect, to a large extent the same people, angry about their perceived exclusion from the more essential aspects of femaleness, and displacing that anger onto “cis-women,” “radical feminists,” and anyone who threatens their world view.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Roadkill deaths halved on Australian road thanks to a fence of sound”

    I hope that this is such a success that it becomes a thing. Gets depressing when you see dead wallabies, kangaroos, possums and the like dead beside a road. Worse when they have been run over by trucks a coupla times. Of course if it a rabbit or a hare, people here consider that a plus.

    1. Wukchumni

      An enduring memory on NZ roads, is a majestic NZ Falcon eating possum roadkill buffet almost right up to the moment you arrive on the scene, and then the powerful flapping of it’s wings as it makes a getaway.

    2. WendellG

      Indeed. On the road west out of Mt Isa heading toward the NT line, there must have been a carcass, rounder or flatter (i.e., fresher or older) just about every ten metres. :-(

    3. Enquiring Mind

      We’ll need an environmental study about how roadkill eaters are ignored, neigh, marginalized in the onward drive of technology. Possum pie, squirrel satay and other staples will be in short supply, all while enriching some distant tech firm and Beltway bandit intermediary. /s

        1. Synapsid

          Rev Kev,

          Thanks. Yeh, I know about the cane toads. I’ve no advice to offer there, I’m afraid.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I use Dettol antibacterial though I do not know the American brand name for this stuff. Dilute it a bit with water, put it in a spray bottle like you use for spraying clothes with, and then go out in the night with a torch. When you see one just spry it on its back a coupla times and then go after the next one. Next morning just go around with a plastic bag to pick up the dead cane toads. When we moved here there were a ton of them but doing this cleared them mostly out.

            1. Synapsid

              Rev Kev,

              That’s the first I’ve heard of anything being used on the critters. Wouldn’t it be great if it could be scaled up? Imagine Dettol copters flying back and forth across Queensland spraying. I wonder what else it would hurt though, probably a lot. Not a good idea.

              I once saw a short film of a guy driving a VW bus down a road covered with cane toads, swerving from side to side to get every one of them. And here I’d thought Los Angeles was strange.

            2. WendellG

              > I use Dettol …

              That, of course, won’t win you any points with the eco-mob. In Darwin last year we joined a hunt in the Botanical Gardens where we grabbed ’em by hand (or with a net, for the squeamish) and put ’em in a gunny-sack. At the end the supervising ranger collected them all together — our group of 13 caught something like 175 in two hours — then she put them in a freezer where they would die overnight and be pulped into mulch the next day. The ranger acknowledged / admitted that the battle would never be won … but you’ve got to keep fighting, don’t you?

              1. The Rev Kev

                I always thought that freezing them was kinda cruel. Collecting them sounds like a good idea but if you cull the numbers, won’t more come along to compensate this loss on their population like with humans? When the cane-toads come in I notice that the frogs get pushed out so it is war. I’m just helping the frogs with local air strikes to even up the odds.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Reading Minds with Deep Learning”

    October 24th, 2026 – based on the research in this article, Elon Musk uploads his consciousness into a computer AI to achieve immortality.

    October 27th, 2026 – Through a horrible oversight, Elon Musk discovers that the base code for his computer AI is Windows 10.

  18. Lee

    2.4-Million-Year-Old Stone Tools Turn Up in an Unexpected Place Atlantic (Kevin W). Important if you are into this sort of thing…

    I am intensely interested in such things. The way things might develop so far as this project we call civilization is concerned, in the not too distant future I expect that knowledge of edged stone tool and pointy stick technology may be coming in handy.

    I also find it fascinating as to the ways and means by which one of the most altricial and physically fragile species on the planet managed not only to survive but become so lethally dominant, at least momentarily.

    1. Wukchumni

      We were way off-trail and had spent a couple nights @ a no-name lake on the topo map a dozen miles deep in the backcountry that turned out to be quite a delight, about a 100 yards long, shallow, and it had a small island @ the 25 yard line as an added bonus. We were there for the Perseid meteor shower and the 1st night was amazing. We were about 25 feet above the lake on a wide granite bench and saw so many shooting stars, and then it dawned on us to look down at the lake, where we watched the reflection of shooting stars, too cool!

      There’s a certain color scheme in the Sierra Nevada that repeats itself over and over again, and when you see something that doesn’t fit, it instantly catches your eye, and when I noticed something black and shiny on the ground and bent over to pick it up, it was an atlatl throwing point (they also used long wood spears) that weighed about half an ounce, with dimensions of 3 inches high by 2 inches wide, perfectly knapped. The bow & arrow came along about 1,500 years ago in the Native American arms race-replacing the atlatal, and you didn’t need that big of an arrowhead with a bow & arrow, in comparison.

      What sort of game was the Wukchumni or Paiute aiming at with their atlatl when they missed on a Tuesday morning in 536 AD, and how long did they search for the rare obsidian object (no sources of it in the surrounding area for a 50 mile radius) to no avail, way back when?

      Atlatl 101:

    2. JBird4049

      Interestingly, the area in Africa where we started from at that time tended to be erratic climate wise. It would shift from jungle to forest to savanna and from swamps to lakes to ponds, from rivers to streams to dry regularly.

      That is one of big reasons we became tool using omnivores. The food sources and the predators (we were often among the slowest and weakest after all) were always changing.

      1. Jessica

        A variety of research seems to suggest that we weren’t predators, but prey until we discovered fire.

        1. Harold

          There is some evidence that we were scavengers and that stone tools were used to scoop out bone marrow from prey killed by other animals.

        2. JBird4049

          Fire can certainly make predators uncomfortable true, but what use would it be for hunting? Scavaging maybe to keep the local people eaters away. Maybe once something was killed the hunters would be able to keep the meat?

          If you have any suggested reading I would appreciate it.

    3. Synapsid

      It interests me that Sahnouni thinks it unlikely that hominins could have moved 3000 miles in 150 000 years.

      People go where there’s food, water, and room just as the animals they have followed for some millions of years do. Average a quarter mile a year over that time span and you’d circle the Earth with plenty left over. Allowing for differences in livability over time and place, there’s still nothing to be surprised at.

      I expect that as more of northern Africa is investigated we’ll find more of Olduvai-type and later tool cultures.

      1. divadab

        Ya especially since people moved to CHina and Java from Africa in something less than 300,000 years.

  19. BoyDownTheLane

    “Most people have absolutely no idea what the Bush criminal dynasty has been up to over the last several decades, just like they wouldn’t recognize the special significance of the number 322 appearing in a piece about a dead member of Skull and Bones.
    Mention any of it, Skull and Bones, Prescott Bush, Zapata Oil, Mena, the covert and illegal arming Iraq… How many people would you have to talk to before you found anyone who knew anything about any of this?
    I think that 322 at Operation Mockingbird Washington Post is them flipping us the bird and saying, “We got away with it. All of it.””

    Weishaupt’s dream has come to pass.

  20. anarcheops

    “Exclusive: Airbnb will start designing houses in 2019 Fast Company”

    Underneath the Fast Company jargon, all I can see is yet another startup reinventing the wheel — this time cheap rooming houses. You might think “smart-home”/surveillance is a new factor, but I have read court cases from London back in the 1800s where the testimony of cohabiters in rooming houses were used to convict a fellow roomer with sodomy. Farewell, tenant’s rights!

  21. Livius Drusus

    On George H.W. Bush, let’s not forget that Bush negotiated and signed NAFTA so that needs to be added to his legacy. I know NAFTA actually passed under Bill Clinton and that Clinton rightly gets a lot of criticism for that but Bush also supported NAFTA as did most Republicans. Most Democrats actually opposed NAFTA at the time although many Democrats also supported it.

    NAFTA was a very contentious issue and divided Democrats just like trade does today although it might have been even more contentious in the early 1990s when there were more old school New Deal Democrats around. But Bush and the Republicans need to take more heat for supporting NAFTA and Bush’s passing is a good time to remind people that NAFTA passed with bipartisan support, but with major Democratic opposition and smaller Republican opposition.

  22. Livius Drusus

    On George H.W. Bush, let’s not forget that Bush negotiated and signed NAFTA so that needs to be added to his legacy. I know NAFTA actually passed under Bill Clinton and that Clinton rightly gets a lot of criticism for that but Bush also supported NAFTA as did most Republicans. Most Democrats actually opposed NAFTA at the time although many Democrats also supported it.

    NAFTA was a very contentious issue at the time and divided Democrats just like trade does today although it might have been even more contentious in the early 1990s when there were more old school New Deal Democrats around. But Bush and the Republicans need to take more heat for supporting NAFTA and Bush’s passing is a good time to remind people that NAFTA passed with bipartisan support, but with major Democratic opposition and smaller Republican opposition.

  23. petal

    All of my liberal friends are mourning Bush. I don’t understand how they can’t remember or not know about all of the stuff he did.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Seniors have mocked young people about short attention spans for my whole life. Maybe, television does rot the mind?

      A retired “liberal” neighbor of mine who said Biden should have run (I just can’t let that stand) seemed astonished when I went over Joe Biden’s greatest hits, not at necessarily what I was saying as he couldn’t verify it, but at how little he knew about Joe Biden beyond Biden being a guy who rode the train to work. It was clear he had no idea Joe had been a Senator for over thirty years.

    2. newcatty

      Ahhh, If Rufus, the Basset Hound lives in Northern AZ then he would be right at home under the quilt along with me and my cats. Threre was a beautiful frosting on the grasses and roofs surrounding our home today. Snow in in higher country. I am cozily wearing my cardigan sweater. And, you know that desert country can be cold on clear sky nights, ?

    3. Massinissa

      I don’t know. Considering how every president in the last 50 years has been awful, you could maybe make an argument that H. W. Bush was among the least awful.

      1. neo-realist

        A mixed bag on HW Bush, maybe at least as awful as Clinton, but he certainly sucked on civil rights as pretty much all republicans do—Not only did he appoint a reactionary mute to the court-Thomas, but he vetoed the Civil Rights Act of 1990, which would have made it easier for people discriminated against on the basis of race and sex to sue.

        At least he wasn’t hard core on accommodating the religious right like Reagan and his son.

  24. Savita

    if HIV is of *any* relevance to you personally you will appreciate this list of quotes from health professionals, which includes Nobel Prize winners

    hint: it’s in the opposite direction to the Guardian article included in links. we don’t need a ‘cure’

    1. Quentin

      It never occurred to me that HIV might not cause AIDS. Then what does? Can you explain where the ‘opposite direction’ would lead us? What does the ‘opposite direction’ entail? All these questions.

    2. Roger Bigod

      Nauseating. I didn’t notice any citations from the last 10 years, and not many after 2000. It looks like a compendium of AIDS denial poo from the early years of the epidemic. The only effect of that movement was the unnecessary deaths of thousands, in particular in South Africa. It’s cautionary that people who do excellent work in some areas (Mullis, Duesberg) can go on to be so spectacularly, stubbornly wrong.

      1. ahab

        When AZT first became commercially available in the US, the only patients receiving it were those with advanced HIV /AIDS. Most of them had multiple complications (malignancies.opportunistic infections) and died shortly after starting treatment.
        The idea then took hold that AZT was the cause of their demise. Correlation does not imply causation…

        As far as the quotes on testing, they are so out of date as to be laughable. HIV testing involves a multiphase process so nowadays highly reliable results are available quickly – not like the old days this person is referring back to.

        1. gepay

          It is over 35 years and hundreds of billions of dollars later and there is still no definitive knowledge of how HIV kills T cells. There is no vaccine in sight. AIDS deaths in the US declined rapidly when AZT treatment was radically reduced – yes it is once again another correlation but so is the correlation of HIV antibodies and AIDS. There are thousands who have exactly the same symptoms but have negative HIV tests. Have you ever heard of Human Endogenous Retroviruses? I was aware in the 80s when I read of the coming plague of heterosexual AIDS. How prison costs would skyrocket because of the care of prisoners with AIDS. Do you really believe that every teen and college age kid uses a condom when they have sex? How about sex workers? Having indiscriminate anal sex or the use of injecting into your bloodstream chemicals made by gangsters might have an effect on your immune system. In the Western World the people who mainly get AIDS are still promiscuous male homosexuals and drug users. Only in Africa where malnutrition, bad water, parasites, and fever diseases still kill the majority of what are said to be AIDS patients – a place where 3 different tests as in the US or even one is rarely used to confirm diagnosis. Only in the continent of Africa is AIDS an equal sex opportune disease – the only one in the world that is different on a different continent. Let’s see – is there a 10 to 20 billon a year industry predicated on the belief that HIV is the cause of AIDS? Where are the thousands of health care workers who have been infected by accidental needle pricks and died? The US military tests for HIV every year but there is no epidemial pattern or increase into who is positive or where they come from. I can remember when HIVpositive =;AIDS = death was invented to stop the sexual revolution – Herpes just wasn’t scary enough.

  25. Wukchumni

    If PG&E equipment is found responsible of both the Camp and Tubbs fires, the commission has a couple tools at its disposal, according to Weissman.

    It could bar PG&E from compensating executives or directors with funds received from ratepayers, Weissman said. Or it could penalize the utility if it doesn’t restructure its board, he said, stressing that he is not advocating any particular outcome.

    So in the end, PG & E’s board goes over to CalPERS, and vice versa.

      1. Enquiring Mind

        Will there be headless roses or similar memento mori left at Dealey Plaza to memorialize HW’s Dallas visit(s)? If there are any remaining witnesses, not totally off the grid, maybe one will provide some evidence.

        1. nobody

          Heeeeere’s BAR:

          Dearest Family,

          Wednesday I took Doris Ulmer out for lunch. They were here from England and they had been so nice to George in Greece. That night we went to . . .I am writing this at the Beauty Parlor and the radio says that the President has been shot. Oh Texas – my Texas – my God – let’s hope it’s not true. I am sick at heart as we all are. Yes, the story is true and the Governor also. How hateful some people are.. . . Since the Beauty Parlor the President has died. We are once again on a plane. This time a commercial plane. Poppy picked me up at the beauty parlor – we went right to the airport, flew to Ft. Worth and dropped Mr. Zeppo off (we were on his plane) and flew back to Dallas. We had to circle the field while the second presidential plane took off. Immediately Pop got tickets back to Houston and here we are flying home. We are sick at heart. The tales the radio reporters tell of Jackie Kennedy are the bravest I’ve ever heard. The rumors are flying about that horrid assassin. We are hoping that it is not some far right nut, but a “commie” nut. You understand that we know they are both nuts, but just hope that it is not a Texan and not an American at all.

          I am amazed at the rapid-fire thinking and planning that has already been done. L.B.J. has been the president for some time now – 2 hours at least and it is only 4.30.

          My dearest love to you all,



        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          As one commenter said “GHWB was the only person in the world who could not recall exactly where he was and what he was doing on November 22, 1963”.

          I’d suggest that on that date both he and his great pal E. Howard Hunt happened to be visiting a “knoll” that was “grassy”.

  26. Savita

    HIV. It’s a rabbit hole. By saying ‘opposite direction’ I was speaking loosely. My intensive reading has just suggested a large number of issues challenging the official narrative. They are largely covered in the link I provided to substantiate it. Quotes by experienced medical profesionals all rejecting the offical line. It’s a case of doing further reading. The Regan Administration threw billions at medical and advertisng (remember! we had the advertisments in Australia too) before the medical profession had even provided a research paper with proper proof – the same proof that accompanies every single treatable disease out there. A lot of feedback I’ve received is that ‘if you test positve – question the positive result’ and
    2. HIV drug treatment is what kills people , not HIV. I’ve known people who have avoided all drug treatment and basically eradicated HIV from their body by choosing clean lifestyle choices and, natural treatments for example, herbal protocols. To the absolute bewilderment of the treating physican ‘ No more HIV antibodies? the test results must be wrong – lets run them again. And again. And again. Here, you better have some of this AZT because something clearly could be wrong here’ There was one physican who offered a 1 million dollar bounty for any researcher demonstrating with medical rigour that HIV becomes AIDS, and that AIDS actually exists. This was decades ago. The bounty is yet to be collected.
    All I am saying is, even brilliant professionals are saying the science isn’t there. Make up your own mind, I’m just repeating to you my intensive reading

    1. Roger Bigod

      “There was one physican who offered a 1 million dollar bounty for any researcher demonstrating with medical rigour that HIV becomes AIDS, and that AIDS actually exists. This was decades ago. The bounty is yet to be collected.”

      Do you have a source for this from your “intensive reading”? Sounds like “fake news”, aka confabulation.

      1. Savita

        Hi Roger. I’m disappointed you are so ready to throw that phrase ‘fake news’ around just because you are presented with something challenging. True, the onus is on me to justify my claims, on this site. I did however give a link to some extensive and substantiated sources and then say ‘ well, it’s a big subject,i can’t be expected to entirely prop it up here in the comments, keep looking if it interests you’
        The same point I made (no rigorous proof, no quantified studies) is indeed referred to in that same link. As for
        the million dollar bounty, I have searched to a limited extent but
        it does appear to be true that it’s harder to find things on google than it used to be! It was in the early ninties, and the physican had his license to practice taken, surprise surprise, from memory

        ‘To help you make better informed health decisions, this Web site archives evidence and opinions of scientists, journalists and others against the myths of AIDS. The site contains more than 1500 pages with over 1000 articles. Most of these articles have been published in (peer reviewed) journals, magazines, and newspapers.’

        And another:

        1. Roger Bigod

          “True, the onus is on me to justify my claims, on this site.”

          And you failed to come up with a single citation for the “bounty”. 1500 pages of irrelevant gibber don’t do the job.

          By the standard arguments of HIV-deniers, you’re missing a splendid opportunity to save lives, since the claim is that followers of the conventional approach are killing patients with the side-effects of worthless antiviral drugs.

          1. Savita

            Excuse me? I serioously don’t understand what point you’re making. I explained I couldn’t find a reference to the bounty. Does that minor lack eradicate everything I’m saying? Does that mean what I shared is worthless, wrong, and not worth attention? Good luck with that. I apologise for imagining you to have an open mind, as of most whom patronise this cherished web site. ‘ I am missing a splendid opportunity to save lives’ , hmmmm I have read and re-read that final paragraph/sentence of yours and I really don’t follow what point, if any, you are making there.
            All the best.

            1. Roger Bigod

              I sent an answer earlier that apparently didn’t made it through.

              My point was that the claim about the million dollar bounty is one of the few definite claims you made. I wasn’t surprised that you couldn’t come up with any basis for it.

              All you have are links to long compilations of quotations, most from the 1990’s. You suggest that conventional treatment is worthless. A more recent summary from the Wikipedia entry on AIDS:
              “After the diagnosis of AIDS, if treatment is not available, survival ranges between 6 and 19 months. … [antiviral therapy] and appropriate prevention of opportunistic infections reduces the death rate by 80%, and raises the life expectancy for a newly diagnosed young adult to 20–50 years.”

              There’s also

              I remember watching a friend and several patients suffer from AIDS back in the early 90’s. Their misery was exacerbated by the stigma of claims that the disease was God’s punishment for immoral behavior — including the hemophiliac and transfusion recipients. Public health and research were starved for support under Reagan and GHW Bush. It’s a sordid history.

              There are doubtless some sincere and well-intentioned people among the AIDS denialists. But there’s nothing to admire about the effects.

  27. Savita

    There is a great book called ‘Overworld’ by Larry Kolb
    he was a manager for Muhammad Ali and father was highly placed in the CIA. he was kind of outside the system though. The book is an autobiography. Enthralling reading. He says he could basically get anyone in the world on the phone at any time, he was so well connected and placed.

    He says he was involved in the Contras, was at the meetings, the book goes into a lot of detail. He actually sounds like a likeable guy with his head screwed on, maybe it’s his writing style – there’s just a tiny bit of Forrest Gump about his approach to things

  28. ewmayer

    o “Man finds himself sitting next to Germany’s Angela Merkel on flight to G20 | DW” — [Imagine actor Peter Stormare speaking the way he did in those classic VW “unpimp your ride” ads of yore] Yo, babykuchen, you wanna join the Kilometer-Hoch club, or what?

    o “How Donald Trump appeals to men secretly insecure about their manhood Washington Post (furzy). A genre variant to armchair analysis of Trump. — You can substitute any strongman leader, male sports star with swagger, hunky actor, fireman, soldier, tradesman … pretty much any “manly-man” role model for Trump in this vapid disquisition. But I was disappointed not to see the obligatory gratuitous small-hands invocation. (Hell, Trump’s hands look more or less normal-sized for a guy his height to me, so I wonder how that whole distracto-meme gor started. Maybe by some digital-ink-stained wretch secretly insecure about his manhood?)

    o “The More Education Republicans Have, the Less They Tend to Believe in Climate Change New York Times (UserFriendly)” — Not to defend the Repug twits, but replace ‘Republicans’ with ‘Economists’ and ‘Climate Change’ with ‘Reality’ and the headline still works. It’s called ‘drinking the Kool-Ade’, it happens in just about insular-tribal setting.

    o “California judge condemns startup for giving secret Facebook papers to UK Guardian” — California judge is way, way out of his jurisdiction here and should STFU. “conduct is not well taken by this court” — Conduct, as in complying with a legal-albeit-unusual demand of the UK parliament, while in their jurisdiction? And the judge presumes that his “valid court order” is somehow magically applicable worldwide? Wow. Just wow.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Maybe by some digital-ink-stained wretch secretly insecure about his manhood?

      Behind door number one, Marco Rubio!

    2. dk

      The back-story on the hands:

      Nearly 30 years ago, Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair magazine, described Trump in Spy magazine as a “short-fingered vulgarian.”

      In an editor’s letter in “Vanity Fair” last November, Carter said that he wrote the Sky magazine comment in 1988 “just to drive him a little bit crazy.”

      And according to Carter, it still does.

      “Like so many bullies, Trump has skin of gossamer,” Carter wrote in November.

      “To this day, I receive the occasional envelope from Trump. There is always a photo of him—generally a tear sheet from a magazine. On all of them he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers,” Carter wrote. “I almost feel sorry for the poor fellow because, to me, the fingers still look abnormally stubby.”

      “The most recent offering arrived earlier this year, before his decision to go after the Republican presidential nomination,” Carter continued. “Like the other packages, this one included a circled hand and the words, also written in gold Sharpie: ‘See, not so short!’ I sent the picture back by return mail with a note attached, saying, ‘Actually, quite short.'”

      From , a search for “short-fingered vulgarian” yields pages of results.

      The typical proportions of human hands is that the distance from the base of the palm to the base of the middle finger is approximately the same as the length of the middle finger. Carter’s comment references this internal proportion, not the size of Trump’s hands in proportion to his body.

      Many years of photographs show that Trumps palms are large, size-proportionate to his 6’2″ frame, and his fingers are a bit shorter in proportion to his palm.

  29. John Massie

    Bush…son of a war profiteer who was board member of Nazi connected bank. Another capo goes down. I think getting the Iranian hostages released on Raygun’s inauguration day was your smoothest move. To borrow from the German scientist, Max Planck, progress is made one funeral at a time.

  30. John

    Bush…son of a war profiteer who was board member of Nazi connected bank. Another capo goes down. I think getting the Iranian hostages released on Raygun’s inauguration day was your smoothest move. To borrow from the German scientist, Max Planck, progress is made one funeral at a time.

  31. William Hunter Duncan

    Lambert: “Let the hagiography begin”:

    Methinks I will take a break from media for 4 days so I am not subjected to another eliteist neoliberal and neocon “America united” propaganda opera. All Hail Your Beneficient Rulers or be subject to rebuke and ostracization.

      1. Wukchumni

        Seeing as our departed royalty are all tied into the war machine, canonization seems more appropriate.

  32. Jean

    Didn’t FBI head Mueller thwart the 9-11 families request for information?

    How is it now that he’s the top investigator?

  33. The Rev Kev

    “UK may never recover £1.2bn invested in EU Galileo satellite system”

    I wonder if they could pay the Russians to connect with their GLONASS satnav system? Might be cheaper than starting from scratch.

  34. George Phillies

    “…The Suburbs are changing…”
    I would really be nice if one of these articles would link to someone saying what they thought a suburb, sparse suburb,… was. There’s some sort of definition hiding there.

    1. Adam Eran

      Suburbs are typically sprawl (“Conventional Suburban Development” = CSD). How can you tell you’re in sprawl? Every trip of significance *must* be in an auto. No walking to the store, or a transit stop. All you see around you is a single use (residences, commerce, offices, etc.). No mixed use. This absolutely shuts down viable (i.e. unsubsidized) transit.

      FYI, Mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods (like almost everything built before 1950) cut vehicle miles traveled roughly in half, accommodate mixes of incomes (multi-family among the mansions), and are favored by the market (premiums go from 40% for Orenco Station, OR and Kentlands MD to 600% for interior lots in Seaside, FL).

      Building sprawl is simply perverse, but it’s part of the racist redlining / white flight that is the U.S. history.

  35. The Rev Kev

    “Why the idea of a united Ireland is back in play”

    This is a really great article this. For those interested, the Star Trek episode segment that he mentioned can be found at-

    That north-south marriage sounded hilarious though the divide was real. You had the same in Germany between the Catholics in the south and the Protestants in the north. When living there, I was told about a village on the divide line where the Catholics had one side of the main street and the Protestants the other. I believe that the village had only one chapel so they simply shared it by scheduling different times for services. What is more, there were never, ever any marriages between the young people on either side of the main street – that is until WW2 when all differences were dissolving. Germany got over not only this division but the east-west division as well. Ireland will one day get over its divide too.

  36. anon in so cal

    “The historian and critic of US foreign policy William Blum has been in failing health for some time. 85 years old, he suffers from kidney failure and is on dialysis. Over two weeks ago he sustained a serious fall at his apartment in the Washington, D.C., area and was rushed to the hospital after a friend discovered him still lying where he fell two days after his injury.”

  37. knowbuddhau

    Something to think about if you’ve got the climate change blues. Apologies if it was in Links and I missed it.

    It’s a documentary, in theaters only AFAIK, about a radical shift in perspective. The subject, Donna Haraway, sees capitalism as “alien to its own planet.” Its dependence on infinite growth on a finite planet has provoked a “metabolic rift.” I keep hearing that.

    Haraway does not stop there. If she did, she would be a Marxist, a tradition she admires but, as she says in the documentary, she thinks fails because it’s a totalizing narrative. Haraway imagines a revolution of human culture that precisely displaces the centrality of the human animal.

    Some call her philosophy post-human. I call it cultural realism. And the last 15 minutes of the documentary perfectly capture the tone of this darkling modality.

    You are not human; you are, instead, a metabolic process that is made possible, directly and indirectly, by other metabolic processes. This is the symbiotic planet of the late biologist Lynn Margulis. It’s also the feminist sociobiology of Sarah Hrdy.

    While technically true, I’d say, you’re not *only human. It’s *how we’re human that’s in question. What role have the Sentinelese played in bringing about anthropogenic climate change? How would the ecology of North America played out over the last half millennium, had the bison/human symbiosis not been wiped out?

    We’re human in a way that’s entirely too denatured. And I can prove it.

    Listen to your metaphors for a day. Pay attention to the ones you read. What world do they imply? Is it natural, mechanical, or what? Is it coherent, or are you and your sources all over the place?

    I’ll bet none of us, yours truly included, thinks of themselves and their world in purely natural and kinship terms. We’re lean, mean, fighting machines, amirite? An Army of One.

    Yeah right. And what of our non-human kin, biological and geological?

    What a twist on history. These days, the Pope is more scientific than the Prince. I reject both their worlds. Haraway’s sounds closer to reality, as long as the reductionism isn’t overdone.

  38. knowbuddhau

    This is what Nancy Krieger would call “embodiment.” (Lambert featured it, 355 days ago today, here.) If it’s necessary for getting to know fruit flies, how much more so us humans?

    To van Breugel, this experiment is an important lesson for researchers: “If we want to understand how an animal functions, how the brain works, or even how genes function, we can’t just be looking at animals in some very artificial laboratory environment. If you’re going to do neuroscience, you need to make sure you’re considering the behavioral and ecological context of the animal.”

    Looking at you, economists, and your psycho friends.

  39. Lobsterman

    TERFs are some of the most tedious, nasty, and space-consuming humans alive. Banning them is just good customer service; they’re gonna eat up every ounce of bandwidth you have access to.

  40. Matthew G. Saroff

    See Alaska’s Good Friday Earthquake?

    I was in it, though at the age of about 21 months, I remember little, though it was a family friend’s car, sideways in a crack in the ground, made the cover of Life magazine.

    My father was on the committee that recommended making certain land off limits to building because of liquefaction, specifically on areas with what was known as “Blue Clay.”

    They were completely ignored.

    1. rd

      The Anchorage area has large, thick deposits of glacial clays and silts that are “quick” (they can liquefy under stress). These are similar to to Norwegian and Quebec quick clays. Where they are above the water line, you get the types of failures you see in the photos of the roads and other structures where the ground has torn apart and spread out. Where they are underwater, they cause underwater landslides that can cause large, very destructive tsunamis locally when confined in bays and fjords. Many of the lives lost in 1964 were due to these underwater landslide tsunamis.n the bays. since the landslide can take a little while to develop, the tsunami can be delayed compared to earthquake displacement of the sea floor, which is where the really great tsunamis that can send large pulses across oceans come from. So the Alaska government waited a while before giving a tsunami all-clear until they were sure they didn’t have large underwater landslides. The big surprise to me from this earthquake was the lack of landslide induced tsunamis given the amount of damage in these types of clays above the water line.

      BTW – landslide tsunamis just need a landslide which can be caused by other reasons than an earthquake. Alaska has a really good fact sheet on these types of tsunamis cited below.

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