Links 12/11/18

Once hunted to extinction, elk poised to possibly return to NE Minnesota MPR News (Chuck L)

It’s Official: Voyager 2 Has Entered Interstellar Space Gizmodo (Kevin W)

HIGH-HAND – HELL IN MAGALIA High Hand Nursery. Randy K: “Someone that I know is doing amazing work after the fire in Paradise, CA.”

Deadly Winter Storm Strands Drivers, Cuts Power to Thousands in Southeast US Sputnik (Kevin W)

More bioplastics do not necessarily contribute to climate change mitigation PhysOrg (Robert M)

Money talks: Investors with $32 trillion at stake sound the alarm on climate change CNN (JTM)

Life in deep Earth totals 15 to 23 billion tons of carbon—hundreds of times more than humans PhysOrg (Robert M)

Uncertain fate awaits quirky Rochester landmark MPR News. Chuck L: “This is an icon – one of the two things people know about Rochester: the Mayo Clinic and the Corn Tower. ;-)”

Puzzle solving ‘won’t stop mental decline’ BBC (David L)

Can We Really Inherit Trauma? New York Times (Robert M)


Where India quietly watches China at sea Asia Times

China’s trade data wasn’t pretty — and analysts say the worst is yet to come Business Insider


Status of Huawei CFO’s husband questioned as he tries to post bail for wealthy wife CBC. Notice judge struggling with whether house arrest can prevent Meng from fleeing, given her family’s potential access to means to defeat monitoring devices.

Phone Carriers Fear Possible Order to Rip Out Huawei Equipment Bloomberg

Huawei CFO Case Hinges on an Offshore Puzzle Wall Street Journal


RBI Governor: Urjit Patel resigns as the RBI Governor Economic Times (J-LS)

Gilet Jaunes

Macron offers sweeteners to calm Yellow Jackets protests Politico

Home for the “Gilets Jaunes” Days Current Affairs


Donald Tusk says the EU will not renegotiate the legal text of the Brexit deal after a humiliated May pulls crunch vote so she can return to Europe to try to get new concessions to buy off her Tory rebels Daily Mail. I love Daily Mail headlines.

ECJ ruling is not carte blanche to cancel Brexit The Times

France’s political crises are always played out in riots – unlike Britain’s Guardian (resilc). IRA bombings curiously air-brushed out of this account.

From Politico’s morning newsletter:

What’s possible: Yet another statement of goodwill, and no more. Earth to Westminster: The EU will not reopen negotiations. Donald Tusk announced he’d convene a EU27 meeting Thursday, and reiterated: “We will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop, but we are ready to discuss how to facilitate U.K. ratification. As time is running out, we will also discuss our preparedness for a no-deal scenario.”

‘Put it back!’: Labour MP grabs the mace during parliament – video Guardian

Artist Taxi Driver has been talking about Theresa May/Smeagol/Gollum for a while…but I didn’t expect to see this (hat tip Troutwaxer):

New Cold War

Discerning Vladimir Putin Patrick Lawrence, Raritan (Anthony L)

Cold War Number One: 70 Years of Daily National Stupidity; Cold War Number Two: Still in Its Youth, But Just as Stupid Counterpunch. UserFriendly: “This is great, a year old but still relevant.”


From Politico’s morning newsletter:

IRAN’S SPECIAL PURPOSE VEHICLE PUSHED TO YEAR END: The EU expects the so-called Special Purpose Vehicle, which will facilitate trade with Iran, to be established “in the coming weeks, so before the end of the year,” foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said at a press conference Monday. Of course, Mogherini said in September that the new mechanism, which is supposed to help European firms avoid the Trump administration’s reimposed sanctions for companies that deal with Iran, would be in place by November. What’s with the delay? “It’s just a very complicated mechanism to put together,” an EU diplomat told our own Jacopo Barigazzi.

Ending America’s Middle East Purgatory Foreign Affairs (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret New York Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

Space Force now soliciting uniform concepts from industry Duffle Blog

Trump Transition

Trump Must Face Lawsuit for Terminating Child Refugee Program Bloomberg

Clinton Hunter David Bossie Emerges as Dark Horse Chief of Staff Pick Daily Beast (resilc)

An editorial on Trump’s methods Sic Semper Tyrannis. Chuck L: “Pat Lang’s assessment of Trump’s management style.”

Why It Might Be Impossible To Overturn A Presidential Pardon FiveThirtyEight. “Might be”? How about “Should be”? Lordie. And spare me the hand-wringig about Manafort. He was working to promote Western (as in pro-Europe) reforms in Ukraine, and he was charged with trading with Iran and tax evasion. Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, who evaded taxes on a much grander scale than Manafort; “indicted on 65 criminal counts, including income tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering, and trading with Iran during the oil embargo.”

False statement charges abound in Mueller probe, in contrast to Hillary Clinton case Fox (J-LS). Yes, Fox, but the argument is well substantiated.

Alleged Russian agent Butina appears to have reached plea deal Politico. UserFriendly: “Let me guess, for time served and a flight to Moscow she says whatever they want her to. Not that I blame her.”

Kavanaugh and Roberts join liberals to reject Planned Parenthood case Los Angeles Times (martha r)

GOP Purse Strings Held by Saudi Lobbyist LobeLog (resilc)

Speaker Paul Ryan retires: his legacy is debt and disappointment Vox (furzy)

Best Option For Funding Medicare For All May Be Employer Mandate Shadowproof. UserFriendly: “Meh”

A college kid running for 13th ward alderman gets a lesson in the Chicago Way Chicago Tribune. Joey: “Amazingly corrupt, and apparently accompli.”

Fake News

How Plutocratic Media Keeps Staff Aligned With Establishment Agendas Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

Apple And Qualcomm Slap-Fight Continues With ‘Ban’ On IPhone Sales In China Gizmodo (Kevin W)

The Jim Hightower Column They Don’t Want You to Read Texas Observer (furzy)

Class Warfare

Jay-Z’s $200-million clothing battle could be game changer for black lawyers the world over The Conversation (J-LS). Note that, confusingly, in New York, the Supreme Court is the lowest trial court, so this ruling will probably be appealed.

Slave Bible from the 1800s omitted key passages that could incite rebellion MPR News (Chuck L)

How Anarchists Helped Californian Fire Refugees in a Walmart Parking Lot Vice (resilc)

Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers Counterpunch (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (Wat):

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. zer0

        Disturbingly off point may be? In fact, it seems reversed.

        May hates the Brexit camp, not the remain camp. The fact that this obvious point is lost on so many just shows you how brief the human attention span is.

        She was a Remainer herself. She never wanted an easy deal. She wanted to bring it to chaos. Chaos is great, it makes Brexit look like a horrible idea.

        She accomplished her plan.

        So actually, the Evil-Gollum-Theresa should be talking about how to dick over the brexit camp. Not how to dick over the remain camp.

        Instead, Sorkis insinuates that the people actually wanted Remain, or at least now want Remain. Which is obviously false. Im not suprised though, seeing as he is a wealthy actor that has never worked a hard job in his life. Most of the working classes in the EU want out of the EU. The EU has lead them to disaster, with the refugee influx, years of growing taxes, years of political maneuverings to allow unelected officials to dictate who does what and to whom the cash will flow.

        The idea that Brexit ‘wont work’ is the idea that every decision needs to be painless for it to be acceptable. I see this in Yves’ viewpoint, which I most definitely disagree with. The idea that trade deals that benefit the .01% should be at the forefront of the debate is ludicrous. The average Brit sees none of this, has no stake in it, and has his seen his wages suppressed by the globalization of labor. They could care less if the market goes down or if the pound is trading at the low. They dont care, because they can barely afford to live, and live decently.

        The idea that a country should shelter its own is gone. It has been replaced by penultimate greed caused by the largest printing of money & debt ever seen in this world. Brexit, even misguided, was the working classes of Britain seeing beyond the self-centered, morally-righteous, and altogether laughable idea that freedom of movement across countries is something to be desired, that ‘diversity’ is a strength (every research paper in the world on the subject shows the exact opposite) that rights to waters, oil, etc. need to be ruled on by a high court in Brussels that is not elected by anyone. The fact that I see so many Americans, including Yves, think that Brexit as a terrible idea, just illustrates how f’ed America is in its fight against the multinational corporations.

        Wake up. We live in Feudalism 2.0 and its not going away. Its getting much worse.

        1. makedoanmend


          It’s funny. By the time I got to the end of your wonderful rant, the Smeagol/Gollum voice was cross-pollinating and interceding onto your words. It was both weird and rather distrubing – the voice-over intrusion I mean, not necessarily your rant. I like a good rant on a wet Tuesday.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          No, you have this wrong. Please see today’s Brexit post. May accepted the Tory party position of delivering Brexit when she became PM. One of her threats over the weekend was if the Tories did not back her deal, they’d get Corbyn and no Brexit. Those were meant as equally bad outcomes.

          May is actively opposing Remain as a way out. Even though we have said repeatedly there isn’t enough time of a referendum, it’s one of the unicorns still prancing about the UK political countryside. No. 10 sources said May was considering a referendum without Remain as a choice.

        3. John k

          Hard to say what mays position is now going forward. But I agree Brit is better off on its own if they are willing to spend like mad to compensate for coming job losses, fix health, railroads etc. unfortunately the idiot shadow chancellor is promising austerity… if labor takes over and spending is cut because markets it will be a long slog.

          1. Procopius

            So, you think the Tories are going to end austerity and spend large if they are not driven out of office? You think Labour under Corbyn will embrace and continue, maybe even increase, austerity? I’m really curious, because I don’t think I get any honest appraisal of the situation in Labour through American media. I trust what I read here (with a grain of salt).

        4. Lambert Strether

          > May hates the Brexit camp, not the remain camp

          Reminiscent of:

          A newly elected young Tory MP, eagerly taking up a place on the benches and pointing to the benches opposite, said to Churchill, “So that’s the enemy”.

          Churchill supposedly replied, “No son, that’s the opposition”, and then pointed to the benches behind and said, “That is the enemy”.

          I can’t find the original, though (“son” seems an odd locution from Churchill). Nevertheless!

          1. The Rev Kev

            Hilarious that. There was an episode from “Yes, Prime Minister” where he was saying that the opposition can have you out of your job at the next election but your backbenchers can have you out of your job that weekend.

        5. InquiringMind

          Quibble from a film production worker:

          Serkis is wealthy by most standards for sure, but working on a film set is hard work no matter what your job is. It’s a handy illusion to think of film/TV as glamorous work, but in reality it is a slog. Harder labor than most jobs.

          (and the “easier” tasks on set usually come with commensurately increased stress levels).

          1. zer0

            Im not denigrating working as an actor. Just the idea that actors somehow hold the viewpoint of the most economically affected classes in society. Which they seem to misunderstand over and over again. It’s become a symptom of that tribe with Meryl Streep talking about MeToo and Trump but lavishly praising Polanski (a pedophile/rapist), Robert de Niro using the f word to describe the countries president, etc etc.

            I own a business and my wife is a JD/PhD who works for a major law firm. So I view ourselves as also firmly removed from the way of life of the majority, or ‘in the ivory tower’ as they say.

            But I still remain empathic enough to realize that how I live and the people that surround me are the minority, the lucky few. Serkis is clearly enrobed by the whole Hollywood/UK film industry and I dont think has the slightest clue why so many people want out of the EU. The EU is great for him. He enjoys the easy flights to Paris etc, doesnt have to even see a refugee if he doesnt want to, lives in a nice zipcode that is regularly policed, etc.

            That isnt reality though for the majority of British citizens.

            So when he makes the hilarious but misguided video, it just once again is a sort of slap in the face to the people that have to live with the decisions made by the eurocrats.

            1. Procopius

              Minor quibble: I didn’t think it was hilarious. I didn’t think it was funny. I thought it was pretty hateful, as a matter of fact, but then I don’t have a dog in that fight.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        This video is most disturbing for its ultimate source: Silverfish — Films with Impact [] “We specialise in quality content – working with Oscar and Emmy winning Directors as well as new talent for brands as diverse as Visa, IBM, Natwest and Astra Zeneca.” I don’t know what sort of ethics and morality moves this firm … but if money talks I am afraid they might work for Sauron.

        I guess I’m inclined that direction after watching a DVD of “Michael Clayton” last night that I bought yesterday at Goodwill. I immediately recalled the video ad for U-North [] “U-North … We grow your world together.”

  1. windsock

    Is that a clouded leopard? How absolutely stunning.

    And the corgi just wants to have fun! Mean duck! But it made me laugh out loud.

    Thank you for both.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      I guess the Corgi is its own judge of energy for the fight, but from where I sit its using up waaayyyy too much of it with the feints, checks, and blocks: showboating like Ali, without apparently any ‘sting’ to back up its butterfly floating.

      Meaning, of course, that the weaker chicken only needs to stand its ground and conserve both energy and time in order to stay in the fight. A death peck may not be easy to get in around the corgi paw flails – but as long as chicken is patient, protects its jugular, bides its time, and uses the occasional unexpected duck flank attack to its advantage…victory could be in the offing.

      Life lessons…..patience, indirect approach….vae victis….

      1. a different chris

        I wouldn’t write off the chicken as “weaker”. Birds are amazingly gifted physically. You realize what it takes to be able to fly? Our one chicken leveled our full-sized cat, now she doesn’t mess with chickens any more.

        That chicken’s foot is big enough (and talon-equipped) to encompass the lil’ dog’s entire face. And that opportunity is what the bird is waiting for.

      2. a different chris

        Actually I rescind the “just waiting for” – having watched the video for real, not out of the corner of my eye, this time. The chicken is just playing, too. No wing extension at all is the clue. No leaning down.
        No serious pecking when the opportunity is there.

        Now the duck, OTOH, is serious…but not fighting, just “get out of here” annoyed.

        1. Pat

          Oh, yeah that Corgi is ready to PLAY!!! and the chicken is indulging the puppy. Not really playing but not trying to discourage it either. I get the feeling this is a regular event. Right up to the duck breaking it up – that puppy knows the duck is not playing, even if he does run back to try again. That darling corgi needs another dog to play with.

        2. neo-realist

          Corgi’s are the most playful and friendly dogs I’ve ever come in contact with and in keeping with its personality it is being very playful with the chicken while the chicken is obviously not having it.

    2. divadab

      Ya the corgi is playing. My corgi-chihuahua cross plays in exactly the same way. Also runs from ducks – I’ve never seen him more panicked that when he got stuck in the duck enclosure and had several ducks on his case. And they wouldn’t accept his desperate yelping of “uncle”!

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Until recently, it was rare to spot, I think, a snow leopard and maybe a clouded leopard. How do you tell them apart?

    4. Cat Afficionado

      Yes, clouded leopard. My heart skipped a beat for a second…as unbelievable as this may sound, I encountered one a decade ago, alone on a ridgeline in Hong Kong while scouting rock climbing spots in the New Territories. Based on what you can read about them, they are not terribly large, getting up to ~60lbs. BUT, when you come around a boulder and see the hind quarters of one sticking out of a shrub <10 meters away, it looks a LOT bigger! I ultimately made myself look tall and large and yelled as menacingly as possible at it, because there was NO way that I was going to continue up that mountain until it was on its way elsewhere.

      As I yelled, it let out the lowest, meanest, most gutteral sound I have ever heard in my life. It raised its head for a moment and made eye contact with me. Despite my best efforts to be intimidating, there was a non-verbal understanding at that moment of who was in charge of the situation. It then leapt sideways a good 4 meters in a strafing motion, paused for another look, one of general annoyance really, and then it took off down the mountainside. The first 250 meters of ascent were thick jungle, which it eventually disappeared into. At this point I was maybe 400 meters up, where the mountain was knee-high grass and scattered shrubs. The most logical course of action was then to ascend the last 100 meters to the peak and descend the other side.

      You generally read about how you need to scare a large cat away by being big and loud. That is bunk. You make yourself big and loud in hopes that you will annoy it enough that it decides you are simply not worth the trouble. That was the overwhelming message that was conveyed to me as I made eye contact with the creature. On top of that, it was a relatively small large-cat, and I cannot even imagine the hopelessness of being confronted by a cougar or other 100lb+ cat.

      It was a stunningly beautiful animal, not that I thought along those lines for even a nanosecond when the whole situation occurred, or even for a day or so after. It is one of three times in my life where the thought of "I may very well die now, and it is out of my control, so I am going to stay calm and do my best" has struck. There is some sort of evolutionary switch deeply embedded in our brains that will flip when the circumstances appear to be true life or death, and a strange calm sets in. The hit of adrenaline is certainly there, but there is also a weird clarity to it where the stakes are so high that you simply cannot afford to panic. Obviously, looking back, a <60lb cat was not likely to engage with a grown man as it is way too smart to risk injuring itself, but given that the whole episode unfolded over less than 10 seconds (which felt like an eternity) the "life or death" switch got flipped none the less.

      Naturally, my friend in HK did not believe me when I got back to his flat. Yet, a year or so later he emailed me a newspaper scan about sightings of a "large cat" in that very area!

      1. ChrisPacific

        The “I might die and I am weirdly calm about it” response might have been dissociation. It’s a protective response to high pressure or emergency situations where you feel detached from yourself.

        I’ve spoken to people who found themselves in very dangerous situations (typically driving accidents) and needed to take certain actions to survive. They say that while they could feel their emotional reaction, there was a small corner of their brain that was looking at the situation calmly and dispassionately and describing exactly what they needed to do to get through it. They talk about giving control to that part of the brain and shunting all the rest off to the side until the crisis was over – or perhaps more accurately, recognizing that that part had taken control and that it was probably a good thing and they shouldn’t fight it.

      2. Wukchumni

        I was in the ranger station in Mineral King this summer, and a couple came in to pick up a wilderness permit, and the gent asked the ranger if mountain lions were in the area, and she said “Ask this gentleman” pointing to me, and I detailed the 15-20 encounters from the previous year, and he told me he was a big cat specialist and had been all over the world in search of, and had done doctoral studies, etc.

        Here, we’re told if there is an encounter, to play big with arms outstretched, and shout and make lots of noise.

        I asked him, what he’d do if he had a mountain lion encounter?, and he told me, whatever you do, don’t yell or in particular scream, as the feline might take that as a form of aggression, and attack.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Working for Russian-leaning politicians does not mean Manafort was working for Russia, in fact, as I said, his recommendations were against the interests of Russia. Nice try.

      in 2008, when they worked as political operatives for a Russia-leaning party in Ukraine (and for which Manafort was previously investigated, but not indicted).

      There is widespread supposition that Manafort’s dealings in Ukraine make him a prime candidate for collusion with Moscow. But that stems from the mistaken belief that Manafort promoted Kremlin interests during his time in Kiev. The opposite appears to be the case. The New York Times recounts that Manafort “pressed [then–Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor] Yanukovych to sign an agreement with the European Union that would link the country closer to the West—and lobbied for the Americans to support Ukraine’s membership.” If that picture is accurate, then Manafort’s activities in Ukraine during the period for which he has been indicted were diametrically opposed to the Kremlin’s agenda.

      1. Hameloose Cannon

        Paul Manafort’s aide-de-camp, Kostya Kilimnik, went to the Military University of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation [Moscow], FKA Teaching Institute of the Red Army. Kostya’s linguistic talents were useful for his previous employers: a Russian arms dealer, and the pro-democracy International Republican Institute in Moscow. Both employers held no illusions about Kostya’s gov’t ties. It was only in 2005, when it became clear the Russian gov’t did not support democracy, that the IRI had to fire Kilimnik. Whether the ties to Manafort or the ties to the GRU were more damaging to democracy is anybody’s guess.

        1. integer

          The IRI is only concerned about “democracy” in countries with governments that the US disapproves of. From Wikipedia:

          The majority of the IRI’s funding comes from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. State Department, and the National Endowment for Democracy.

          Hard to imagine their Moscow office was up to any good.

  2. Doktor Capitan EH

    “Speaker Paul Ryan retires: his legacy is debt and disappointment” — The article says far more about the failures in the Fourth Estate than Paul Ryan. Anyone paying attention knew he was a fraud from the very beginning. But the Fourth Estate failed utterly to challenge him and his numbers.

    1. Wukchumni

      I remember his faux physical exploits he crowed about that were instantly discredited in the 2012 failed Presidential bid when he was the choice of 2nd fiddle, his lies about running marathons and climbing close to 40 widely scattered ‘Fourteeners’ in the Rockies.

      I’ve climbed close to 40 mountains in the Sierra Nevada, and it takes a lot of time to do such things, here it’s not uncommon to have to backpack 10-30 miles just to get the approach to the route on the mountain, so it can be a weeklong affair getting to the top of a peak and back to civilization. Add in having a family, and you’re talking being away from them for large stretches, as in his ‘exploits’ never happened.

      …and his slavish devotion to Ayn Rand?

      Tell me if this passage from Atlas Shrugged doesn’t perfectly describe Paul Ryan…

      “Then you will see the rise of the double standard – the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money – the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law – men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims – then money becomes its creators’ avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they’ve passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

      “Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Paul Ryan was Romney’s choice to make Mittens look humane and intelligent by comparison. A less buffoonish version of Sarah Palin.

      2. Briny

        I’ve had a copy for years, never bothered to open it. I see I have some catching up to do as those two paragraphs precisely map to my weltanschaung.

        1. Wukchumni

          Most acolytes of Ayn in the Grand Old Party are oblivious to that essential passage that sums them all up in a nutshell.

      3. vidimi

        I’ve climbed close to 40 mountains in the Sierra Nevada, and it takes a lot of time to do such things, here it’s not uncommon to have to backpack 10-30 miles just to get the approach to the route on the mountain, so it can be a weeklong affair getting to the top of a peak and back to civilization.

        unless you’re killian jornet

      1. Wukchumni

        Sometimes on the trail you’ll see people that go to the gym almost exclusively-and they look fabulous all buffed out, but doing repetitive exercises on a machine isn’t good preparation for what’s entailed in climbing thousands of feet on uneven surfaces and then giving it all back on the way down.

        PR is a gym rat.

    1. Procopius

      Doesn’t seem to hamper the neo-conservatives. I’ve been amazed by the success of anti-Russian propaganda since Hillary was Secretary of State and promoted Victoria Nuland (Mrs. Robert Kagan).

  3. JacobiteInTraining

    Submitted for appropriate end-times consideration: Starshot, a startup whose goal is to send tiny thingies to the planets…and beyond, using (eventually) a 100-gigawatt laser!

    An engineer is quoted as saying (probably, hopefully, hint hint hint and ‘hope the War Department sees this!’)

    “…Klupar noted that a 100-gigawatt laser “beamer” would be powerful enough to “ignite an entire city in minutes” if it were reflected off a mirror in space and back to Earth…”

    Guess who is on the Board of Directors?

    “…Vaporizing cities is not the goal of Starshot, of course….”

    Of course.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Too bad you won’t control the aiming point.

        Just another vulnerability to add to the mountainous mass of such dangers, which pile is at or.just about to exceed its “angle of repose.”

  4. flora

    Another link.
    A long, interesting read from The Economist; a wide ranging interview with Adam Curtis.

    The Antidote to Civilisational Collapse

    This sort of ties in with the ‘May: We wants it, Precious’ video (great video), in terms of seeing May (and other pols) not as politicians – representing the people, but as corporate ‘managers’ in the global neoliberal system.

    1. Jessica

      A general thanks to all the commenters who post interesting links. Lately, I find myself making sure to go through the comments looking for them.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yes. powerful stuff.
          this: “Mr Curtis: But you would agree that politics is not about desperately trying to hold the world stable. You can’t hold the world stable in the face of history. The ideology of our time, especially amongst the liberal middle-classes, even more than the conservatives, has embraced the idea of trying to hold things stable and static.”

          remember American “Conservatism” was once defined as “Standing athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!'”(Buckley).
          Now that inertia…static ossification…encrustation…is the purview of the Big Center.
          This interview(halfway through, now) has reminded me as it went along of so many books…everything from Burnham’s “managerial society” to Tofler to Roszak,”where the wasteland ends”…
          The Powers have tried, once again, to arrest History…
          There was a girl I knew who usually showed up to my acid/mushroom parties in the woods, long ago…who would always make a point of finding all the clocks, and either unplugging them or removing the batteries…before the festivities got rolling. Asked what she was doing, “I’m stopping Time!”.
          which I saw as an intuitive understanding of the difference between Sacred and Profane space and time(per Eliade).
          This other arrest…that by the Powers…is like reversal of that…maintaining this moment of the Profane space and time when they are at their height…
          This lens explains perfectly the myopic and distant elite, living in their mirror room and wondering why the hoi polloi are so upset with them.
          …the whole “America is already great”/” Mangeant de la brioche!” confusion at the upper levels. Perhaps the pyramid of our civilisation has fattened so much in the middle that those at the tippytop can’t see the base of the thing that supports it all…

          1. JTMcPhee

            The antidote to civilisational collapse – Open Future

            Interesting observations on what’s shakin’ these days. One wonders how the French “Gilets Jaunes” situation is going to play out. Not that there is a US equivalent to those bright yellow safety vests that the authorities in France wisely required everyone who drives to carry in their cars…Oops. Nor an equivalent to the French readiness to go “aux barricades, avec eclat et elan!”

            No equivalent, except historically, like Shay’s Rebellion, or our own severing ties with England because the Empire was keeping us down economically, of course the “War of Northern Aggression,” a few bomb-throwing episodes, the ‘68 Dem convention, various largely ineffectual mass marches (good places for people to “score,” though, in several colloquial senses), multiple actual and near-mutinies in the Imperial Military, and now the teachers striking and even Walmart workers and nurses and other working class-ers saying “no more boot — more soup!”, who knows where all that goes?)

    2. Goyo Marquez

      This quote seemed about right:
      “I often think that one of the reasons why there is so much pessimism around, especially among the baby-boomer generation, is that they cannot face the terrible fact of their own mortality. So what they have to do is project that onto the whole planet.

      If you take climate change, which is a serious issue, it’s been co-opted by pessimistic baby-boomers and turned into a dark nightmarish scenario, rather than saying that we need to restructure power and resources in a way that could make the world a better place. That would have been a really good way to deal with climate change. Instead, it got possessed by a dystopia which I think reflects that generation’s fear of mortality because they can’t see anything going on beyond their own death.”

      Much of the talk about global warming has the same tone you here from fundamentalists, who are absolutely certain that Jesus is coming back tomorrow or the day after.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Huawei pretends to be a private company.

      Meng is being accused of lying to banks, not violations of Iran sanctions.

      The conduct at issue was before the JCPOA (2015). The US left the JCPOA in August, the EU didn’t.

      1. JTMcPhee

        As you have noted, the facts and arguments are not clearly fleshed out yet. She is apparently (facts and claims not clear yet) charged with committing fraud on banks, of which intentional misrepresentation of a material fact is one element of the offense. The Canadian prosecutor’s claimed basis for holding her and proceeding with extradition is that US “fraud law” is “similar enough” to Canadian law on fraud, but of course with no Canadian nexus to the situation shown, other than that they grabbed her at the Canadian airport. And what bank(s) did she defraud/lie to, again? I guess maybe they have offices in the US, maybe thus argued as precedentially sufficient “contact” to make a prima facie claim of subject matter and personal jurisdiction? And the “injury” to those banks (another element of the offense) is that they would be exposed to us sanctions for handling funds from a sanctioned person, thus “doing business with the enemy?”

        It will be interesting to see how it’s argued out, for this old former attorney who was dumb enough to first enlist in the Imperial Army, in 1966, believing the Boy Scout hype about My Native Homeland, and then dumb enough to matriculate in 1973 in a Law School in the fervent belief that there was a mostly honest rule-of-law legal system here that could be persuaded to “do justice.” I finally begin to detect a pattern…

        As to connection to sanctions, it seems to me that these proceedings are clearly addressed to the US (arguably illegal under international law, whatever that is?) “sanctions” on Iran, which are enforced by imposing US-raw power “law,” including via SWIFT, on anyone who deals with Iran and particular Iranian citizens (excepting the non-Iranian corporate persons and individuals who get a nice waiver from the imperial regime, somehow), and of course on other “sanctionees” like Venezuela and Cuba and such. This is not, from what I can see, some kind of straight-up enforcement proceeding. Maybe not lopping over into “rendition” versus “extradition,” but one has to maybe not look at a number of characteristics and issues to claim it’s “legally bona fide.”

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          The laws she is accused of breaking are anti-money laundering statutes. Canada and pretty much all advanced economies have very similar laws on that.

          And it does not appear that you understand how extradition works. This happens all the time. This is not a novel process. The US and Canada have an extradition treaty. Canada is obligated to arrest the accused if the US has an arrest warrant, which they did with Meng. A defense against extradition is that the country where the person is being extradited from does not make the conduct at issue a crime. Based on what we have seen so far, that is not the case here.

          Quite a few UK and US bankers have been extradited and no one got upset about that. –

      2. Raulb

        This blog itself has detailed in great depth and length the multitude of flagrant violations that show the ‘rule of law’ does not apply to banks and the influential, the conflict of interest of revolving doors, and resulting ‘timid’ regulation. And when applied is done selectively for reasons other than rule of law.

        There is a coordinated global campaign against Huawei based entirely on speculation, intelligence agency reports with zero evidence, press releases that regurgitate this and nothing approaching due process that seem to show the accepted rules of capitalism, globalization and free markets used to access markets do not apply the other way around, replaced by political games, scaremongering, collective collusion and control of financial systems and cover of process to undermine competition.

        What makes this even more galling is we know for a fact the US and UK are guilty of far worse surveillance crimes apart from privatized surveillance capitalism by Facebook, Google and others that have made a mockery of human privacy and make money by building deeply invasive profiles of users for ‘behavioral’ targeting not unlike a totalitarian state.

        Huawei’s daughter’s arrest in this context case cannot simply to reduced to ‘technical violations’ and a bookish recourse to rule of law. Given the US and Europe just bailed out its banking system to the tune trillions of dollars, supports its industry unapologetically with the military industrial complex and has a history of meddling in other countries to push the interests of US companies its time to abandon the false distinction of ‘state supported companies’.

  5. Craig H.

    > The Jim Hightower Column They Don’t Want You to Read

    This headline is a bit misleading. This is the Jim Hightower column that has been actively thwarted. The Be Powers don’t want us ever reading Jim Hightower.

    There’s nothing in the middle of the road but a yellow stripe and dead armadillos.

  6. Wukchumni

    Trump administration poised to strip protections from up to two-thirds of California streams and millions of acres nationwide

    At stake are billions of dollars in potential development rights, the quality of drinking water for tens of millions of Americans and rules that affect farming in much of the country, as well as wildlife habitat for most of the nation’s migratory birds and many other species.

    Under the administration’s plan, the Clean Water Act’s protections would no longer apply to most seasonal ponds, wetlands and streams, including those that form major parts of drinking-water systems and fisheries throughout the nation, particularly in the arid West. As many as 1 in 3 Americans drink water derived in part from seasonal streams that may no longer get protections, according to scientific studies the Obama-era EPA relied on in writing the original rule.

    Not content to despoil ground water underfoot via fracking, we’re going after the stuff on top too. It only pertains to seasonal sources though, of which there are an abundance of in California.

    We’re so rapacious now, that if we were confronted with another Cuyahoga River on fire, we’d bring oil tankers in to add more to the bonfire…

    1. Darius

      Wetlands too. This is profoundly consequential. It’s still a proposed rule. But I’m sure the public comment process will be a joke.

  7. Off The Street

    Johnstone’s article in the Fake News section addressed what so many have seen and heard. The echo chamber aspect of so much media across the spectrum reflects those “4:00 a.m. talking points” or variations thereon that got some unwanted attention not long ago. JournoList and more recent variations are only symptomatic of larger issues.

    Free press, for whom?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Just to add to this piece – this morning I came a cross a story about a group of Soviet journalists that were touring America back during Cold War One. After reading the newspapers and listening to the radio they said that they were amazed that it was basically the same message told in the media no matter where they were. They wanted to know how America did it as back home to get the same result they had to do stuff like put people in labour camps and pull out fingernails.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Two things spring to mind:

        -necessity of meeting deadlines
        -the concept of news…it new…not retrospective, and as a result, the newspapers/msm are very good for immediacy of events. Yes, another black person was arrested by the police. Yes, another brown person was arrested by the police. Yes, another white person committed suicide.

        I would look to the decline of the weekly and monthly “news” sources might be a bigger problem as they put news in context. I don’t think the nightly news, the dailies, and especially the 24/7 aspects are capable of doing this in any functional way beyond reporting on the immediacy and what is shared from the various PR functionaries of the power elites.

        I think the whole White House press corp daily pageant is a structural problem. The idea the President is going to make a newsworthy announcement in the press room is just absurd, but as long as that idea is held onto, everything will be homogenized to a point of just pointlessness.

        1. whine country

          It’s not that complicated. The news (once a profession) went the same place as all of the professions once they were turned into corporate profit centers whose principal interest was generating returns for shareholders, many of whom were the people running the corporations. In my lifetime professionals went from being individuals who devoted themselves to their professional calling while trying to pay the bills to what you see now. The former professionals are no longer such but corporate assets tasked with generating a profit. Once they became sources for great profit by the “management” and Wall Street you get what we have today. Substitute Accountants, Lawyers, Doctors and others who were at one time ‘professionals’ and you see a clear pattern.

          1. Procopius

            If you ignore what William Randolph Hearst said (“You give me the pictures, and I’ll give you the war.”) then you are going to misunderstand the nature of “journalism.” The job of reporters is not to find the “truth,” it is to write entertaining stories that attract readers, which are the actual product the media sells to advertisers. I wonder if Hearst was friends with Mark Hanna.

      2. Ignim Brites

        The best mind control technique, instilled in our brightest from an early age, is the value and importance and reward for being intelligent. Consequently, there is a tremendous fear of being perceived as unintelligent and consequent frenzy to conceal ones unwokefullness through conformity to the line. Gene McCarthy’s theory of “blackbird” journalism. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Wolf Blitzer comes to mind

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Re the echo chamber aspect, there’s the concentration of media ownership and its effects on reporting. I recall an incident last March when dozens of local news anchors at Sinclair Broadcast Group television stations across the country recited the same script to their combined millions of viewers. If we are to have independent media voices, it is clear that the large media conglomerates need to be broken up, limits placed on span of media ownership, antitrust laws enforced, and the Fairness Doctrine and ban on domestic propaganda restored.

      1. Ex-Journalist

        If anyone still hopes for objectivity in the news media, look at the following site to see documented examples of how coverage is manipulated depending on the audience. Also see how facts are somewhat flexible depending on who wants to say what when.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Life in deep Earth totals 15 to 23 billion tons of carbon—hundreds of times more than humans”

    So I suppose that you can say that from their viewpoint, humanity for them is like the mold smeared on the exterior rind of a block of good cheese.

    1. Jessica

      For them, humanity would be like chemtrails, no? They probably have pictures of humans on the front pages of the tabloids by their checkouts at the supermarket.
      Joking aside, if underground bacteria colonies were the main form of sentient life in the galaxy – and they would be far more resilient to climate change, gamma-ray events, asteroid strikes, and what have you than life on the surface – that would explain Fermi’s Paradox. Or life in oceans under miles-thick ice crusts, such as on moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Same principle.

  9. cm

    Correct link for the NY Times article on spying apps. Ironically, the current link points to the NY Times’ various (spying?) apps…

  10. whoamolly

    Re: Puzzle solving ‘won’t stop mental decline’ BBC (David L)

    Well… it apparently matters what kind of puzzles and how long they are played–each day, and how many days. I’m not surprised that gardening and socializing with family are shown to slow decline. They both have the potential for regular, and require long term mental challenge.

    There are many ‘brain game’ companies, but my impression is that only a few are based on hard science. One that is, is BrainHQ. Their games are based on the work of Michael Merzenich—a professor emeritus in neurophysiology.

    1. Wukchumni

      Most everybody @ my Mom’s assisted living place are in their 90’s, and almost all have one attribute in common…

      Very sharp minds-although the body isn’t so willing anymore.

      I fear that because we’ve let computers do all the heavy lifting in terms of memory retention, that a use it or lose it dilemma will manifest itself eventually as we further surrender ourselves…

      …that ain’t no bueno

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        So the Turing Test, that is, the test itself, gets easier and eaiser, asking simpler and simplers questions, or the grader gets easier and easier to fool.

        At the same time, machines gets smarter and smarter…and start to ask, ‘Why am I here?.’

    2. whoamolly

      Being a “lifelong learner” also protects from mental decline in old age. The theory apparently is that the brain forms new connections each time one learns something.

      Lifelong learners enter old age with a rich, dense mass of interconnections.Thus when inevitable brain injuries accumulate with age the brain has the ability to to ‘re route’ signals through the dense mass of pathways to compensate.

      If all this is true–and there is good science to say it is–then my suspicion is that reading and commenting on NC daily should protect against decline…

      PS: Way too lazy this AM to dig out links to the studies.

    3. Craig H.

      According to the most popular source, Peak, K. Anders Ericsson, there are exactly two proven tricks for enhancing or preserving cognitive function: 1. learning and practicing foreign languages; and 2. learning and practicing playing musical instruments.

      Nothing else. Chess, bridge, crossword puzzles, and other such legendary methods are supposedly proven useless. The part I liked best is his report on the IQ’s of chess masters who turn out to be perfectly average on this axis.

      If anybody knows of a good debunking of the Ericsson work I would love to see it.

      1. Wukchumni

        It all depends on your cranium workout regimen and what’s entailed…

        When I was in the living of making a business, buying and selling the past, I had to remember everything in minute detail, and time travelling was a given. I might be in Ancient Rome in the morning and deciding on les Cent-Jours as whether to buy or sell it, in the afternoon. Although I was never physically there on these trips, the talisman in my hand had been.

      2. pretzelattack

        i’ve read it’s important to learn new stuff. if you’re already a chessplayer or musician, you aren’t creating new connections.

      3. Jean

        Easy to implement, just put on your favorite foreign language’s subtitles, or better yet, CC descriptions of every scene in that language, when you watch something on Netflix or Prime.
        It’s very easy to do from the control at the bottom right of the images. Conversely, you can listen to foreign language audio and read English subtitles. Of course, if you are hardcore, do both audio and subtitles in your favorite foreign language if it’s available.

      4. John

        My take away from this is that it is the novelty of the activity which helps the brain stay plastic. Learning to solve sudoko puzzles may be helpful, after a few years you can do them automatically. My guess is that if you learned a musical instrument, then played the same tune everyday that also would be useless. If I learned French then read Le Petit Prince everyday that would also be useless.

        Riding a bicycle is good exercise for the body, but riding for an hour in a velodrome is useless for the brain. Riding on windy, outdoor bike paths in different seasons and kinds of weather would be better for the brain.

        1. vidimi

          this is true. it is the act of building new neural pathways that is beneficial. similar to physical exercise: you start to plateau after adaptation sets in.

    4. Janie

      Bridge. If you used to play, get back to it; if you never learned, the ABCL has resources. Duplicate clubs are everywhere and save you the effort of finding three other players. But be forewarned: it’s addictive.

        1. John k

          But modern bidding gets you to the best contract much more often than, say, older gored methods.
          Only 15 words are allowed, so the meaning of all bids many modern bids are context based, depending on what happened before.
          So learning modern methods does require learning a more complicated language than in the old days, and does form a barrier to new players. The rewards come from reaching the optimum contract, sometimes after fierce competition from the opponents.
          And bidding is still evolving.

  11. Not From Here

    Corn Tower – maximum Neo-liberalism
    Heck with the jobs lost in factory closure, let’s preserve the corporate symbol.

    1. UserFriendly

      To be fair, MPR has covered this story from the jobs lost angle extensively for months now. But the mayo clinic CEO angle is a bit much.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Once hunted to the brink of extinction, elk poised to possibly return to NE Minnesota”

    I wonder how long it will be before the elk program is so successful and their numbers increased to so many, that it will be realized that to keep the herds healthy, they will have to bring in wolf-packs. Now that will be hard sell.

      1. Lee

        There will probably be a bit of a hiatus between elk reintroduction and their selection as prey wolves. Wolf packs tend to specialize, often ignoring available species they don’t typically hunt so long as the latter are abundant. Such pack preferences are passed on and so persist intergenerationally.

        In Yellowstone the reintroduced wolves were elk specialist. The elk were overabundant and it was some time before they turned their attention to other prey animals. IIRC it took at least a couple of years for one pack to begin specializing in bison, which although much more dangerous to the wolf, were much more abundant than elk within their territorial boundaries.

        I’ve read that the Isle Royale wolves specialize in hunting moose but I don’t know about packs in other areas of the state.

  13. jfleni

    RE: Money talks: Investors with $32 trillion at stake sound the alarm on climate change.

    At least we don’t have to wait much more til the rich start screaming GIMME- long overdue; Tell OcC-cortez that Green new
    deal is postponed.

  14. Carolinian

    Thanks for the link on the two cold wars. There does seem to be a determination by some to turn the 21st century into a reenactment of the 20th. Many of them are old enough to remember the first cold war so perhaps it’s nostalgia for their youth.

    And the 20th century lingers on elsewhere. In Los Angeles the school district will paint over a mural celebrating the now demolished Cocoanut Grove because sun rays emanating from Ava Gardner’s head reminded some Korean/Americans of the Japanese WW2 battle flag.

    Jeong, of the coalition protesting the mural, said the artwork could even be likened to a hate crime. He said his group had been prepared, if necessary, to take legal action against the nation’s second-largest school system.

    Here’s proposing that our 21st century, with important problems like AGW, is far too obsessed with the 20th.

    1. lordkoos

      That thing with the mural is crazy. Why can’t they just paint over the sun rays and replace that with a different background, instead of obliterating the whole thing?

  15. Olga

    How Plutocratic Media Keeps Staff Aligned With Establishment Agendas Caitlin Johnstone
    A good recounting, and includes this brilliant observation by Chomsky: “I’m not saying your self censoring. I’m sure you believe everything you’re saying. But what I’m saying is that if you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting where you’re sitting.”
    That’s all we need to know about how the media work (plus, of course, financial rewards for those who comply with establishment’s narrative).

    1. Olga

      And this, of course, only confirms the above:
      The Jim Hightower Column They Don’t Want You to Read Texas Observer (furzy)
      If you’re going to criticise hedge funds that scoop up media outlets and then drain them of all money – well, we just wont publish your column; after all, we wouldn’t want to offend the pou’lil hedge funders

      1. Carolinian

        Gatehouse bought my local paper which was once owned by the NY Times. Now a weekday copy costs $2 which perhaps reflects the fact that nobody was buying it anyway. One should say that local TV news has probably had a far greater impact on the decline of small town newspapers and ours, under Gatehouse, doesn’t seem all that different from before (which is to say not very good).

        What’s really bad of course is the effect consolidation of ownership has on that manufactured consent you mentioned. For my local paper this has meant the editorial stance is less conservative in this very Republican region. That too may be a reason they are selling fewer copies.

        Obviously you can’t blame all the newspaper industry’s problems on hedge funds. They are picking off the weak.

        1. Wukchumni

          New Yorker has a manufacturers suggested retail price of $8.99…

          …meanwhile the L.A. Times wants me to subscribe for 4 months for a mere 99 cents

          There’s a weird disconnect

          1. Carolinian

            If you have to ask what a New Yorker costs you can’t afford it?

            Still, it sounds like New Yorker has only doubled in price while my news leaflet has quadrupled in price.

            I’m sure the subscription price for the newspaper is a lot more reasonable.

            1. Wukchumni

              It works out to about a buck fifty per copy on the New Yorker if you subscribe, which brings up an interesting thing…

              What if everything we bought on a consumer basis had such steep discounts off of sticker price?

              A $20k new car could be had a few grand, that sort of thing.

  16. Fraibert

    I do not think the Jay-Z decision will even be affirned by the trial court after further consideration. As a commercial matter, he could have contracted for a certain arbitration panel makeup, as there was enough sophistication and bargaining power.

    Additionally, it is probably a violation of the state and federal constitutions for a court) a state instrumentality) to base a holding on an implicit assumption of racial bias.

    However, it’s also unclear whether the courts could enforce a private agreement on the racial makeup of an arbitration panel. The Supreme Court found that the Constitution prohibited courts from enforcing racially restrictive covenants that run with the land, reasoning that judicial enforcement of a contract is state action. But that reasoning behind that case has been questioned.

  17. Summer

    Re: Jim Hightower article

    If the buying up the news was purely about money, I doubt the Hightower article would scare the hedge funds.
    It scares them becuse it is about power, which they prefer hidden.

  18. abynormal

    That each day I may walk unceasingly on the banks of my water, that my soul may repose on the trees which I planted, that I may refresh myself under the shadow of my sycamore.

    Egyptian tomb inscription
    circa 1400 BC

    Top of the day Y’all

    1. Lee

      Thanks for that. A similar, more recent (~400 a.d.) sentiment:

      Swiftly, the years beyond recall,
      Solemn the stillness of this fair morning.
      I will clothe myself in spring clothing,
      And visit the slopes of the Eastern Hill.
      By the mountain stream a mist hovers,
      Hovers a moment, then scatters.
      There comes a wind blowing from the south
      That brushes the fields of new corn.

      Tao Yuanming
      Translation by Arthur Waley

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The same Tao Yuanming who wrote the Peach Blossom Spring?

        That’s the famous Shangri La, hidden land, Chinese have been searching for over 1,500 years.

        1. Jean

          Easier to get a foil pouch that prevents signals from getting out, and at the same time, irradiating your eyeballs, ovaries/testicles. Of course, no one can call you when it’s in the pouch.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Years ago I read how the rebels fighting the American troops would also pull the SIM card out as well so as not to be tracked. It had not escaped their notice that one of the first thing the occupation troops did in Iraq was to build mobile phone networks throughout the place.

  19. Lee

    Big Brother is Watching You Watch

    Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret New York Times

    If so, my apps have long since died of boredom. Now, there was a time…”Ah, but that was long ago and far away….”

    1. nippersmom

      The comments on that article are absolutely terrifying. Sad to think there are that many delusional people out there.

    2. a different chris

      I don’t want to get my hopes up, but:

      Sarah Dolan, communications director for the conservative opposition research group America Rising [said]
      “Being the first to take the most progressive position of the day will only lead to a party that can’t compete in the general election as it becomes unrecognizable to independent voters,”

      Always take your enemy’s advice seriously. And do the opposite. They are sure not going to tell you what a winning position for your side would be. There is even a slip-up in this particular one about “being the first”.. so there will be more, Sarah? Why, because maybe every day the problem becomes more obvious? Interesting. Can you expand on that for us, Sarah?

  20. Olga

    For once, the Guardian has something of interest:
    “When I asked Guardian readers recently for examples of “everyday things that represent non-capitalist living”. I received a deluge of replies, full of very useful advice and an appealing spirit of qualified hope. “I am frequently filled with despair at the way things are going in the world at the moment, and doing this small thing at least makes me feel as though I’m doing something positive,” said one participant, which gets to the heart of the idea, and the responses collected here.”

    1. abynormal

      Libraries & local Live Music…best of dayz

      kids…once they begin socializing they don’t like to be too different. i use to tell my child about how it was up to us parents to pay half or more for Santa gifts so that no kid on the planet would be left out. thought it was a good idea, then parents called screaming at me. early on i use to tell my kid ‘let me teach you how to live like the poor so you won’t have to live in fear of walmart running out of child labor products, because let’s face it… mindlessly chasing riches detaches us from our greatest quality, imagination’. it worked…kiddo never cared how dirt poor we really we’re!

      1. polecat

        Imagination ..

        Couple of weeks ago, I came across a diamond in the rough — an upright cabinet, of oak both solid and veneer, and a local ‘reuse’ non-profit retait biz. Paid 10 quatloos for it .. a real score !! So after doing some minor repairs and upgrades, I’m about ready to finish .. with recycled paints , then on to fashioning 2 upper stained-glass panels for the top door frames — thus transforming an ugly duckling into a gem of a soon-to-be polecat family heirloom.
        So far, I haven’t spilt any marbles .. so it may not be only chess and mathematics that keeps one’s mind goin strong !

    2. knowbuddhau

      Yes, thanks. That’s what I’m talkin about.

      To renature is to re-embody. To re-embody, put another way, is to re-incarnate, which, if you look closely at your own physiology, we’re doing all the time. We don’t stay the same for a second.

      I like the idea in the Adam Curtis quote: Renaissance. Lately been building raised beds in a side yard, where grass never grew anyway. “Too much” southern exposure. And took gates off a chain link fence so the working-class neighborhood deer can wander through.

      If I do the voodoo I do, and they do the doodoo they do, I’ll have Voodoo Doodoo.

  21. Wukchumni

    Gonna try a little experiment today, and this being the CVBB*, I wonder if anybody will catch on?

    Here’s the gig:

    I’m going into Visalia, a city of some 130,000 or so, attired in a yellow vest over my shirt.

    I’ll look completely out of place in the supermarket and a few other stores that i’m going to frequent, and hopefully somebody will ask why i’m wearing it?

    If given the opportunity:

    I’ll just calmly explain that i’m in solidarity with the cause, and nothing more.

    *Central Valley Bible Belt, there are perhaps a dozen evang mini-mega-churches in Visalia with 1,000+ congregations

    1. Wukchumni

      No reaction whatsoever to my yellow vest…

      I even lingered about 15 minutes in the supermarket longer than I wanted to, but it didn’t matter.

  22. JEHR

    Why It Might Be Impossible To Overturn A Presidential Pardon FiveThirtyEight. “Might be”? How about “Should be”? Lordie. And spare me the hand-wringig about Manafort. He was working to promote Western (as in pro-Europe) reforms in Ukraine, and he was charged with trading with Iran and tax evasion. Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, who evaded taxes on a much grander scale than Manafort;

    Why should any president be given the power to pardon anyone for anything?

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Why should any governor? Last resort. Clemency. Some notion of forgiveness or awareness that sometimes the gears grind out injustice?

      Doesn’t seem to be used much in that spirit these days, though…

    2. Big River Bandido

      Oh Gear Dog. Really?

      The pardon power lies at the heart of freedom. Belief in the individual against the oppression of the majority — which can and does make frequent mistakes. The pardon power is acknowledgement that the state can err and that leaders have an obligation to show mercy.

      Your cavalier dismissal of the pardon power — one of the most generous, humane, and merciful characteristics in the Constitution — is simply disgraceful.

  23. Summer

    Re: Slave Bible 1800s

    I’m tempted to grab some bibles from the pews of today’s black churches and count the pages.

    1. Big River Bandido

      The article makes an unfortunate conflation between “service animals” and “emotional support” animals. Service animals are legit; however, I can understand the age restrictions (not that the airlines will have any way of verifying the dog’s age).

      As for the latter: anyone who needs a dog for “emotional support” cannot provide one of the animal’s basic needs, and thus should never own a dog in the first place.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From BBC’s stopping mental decline article:

    And last year a report from the Global Council on Brain Health recommended that people should take part in stimulating activities such as learning a musical instrument, designing a quilt or gardening rather than brain training to help their brain function in later life.

    Learning here with the links daily, and participating in stimulating debates – The Global Council on Brain Health should include these activities in their next report.

    1. Randy

      Reading the daily Links can be downright depressing most days. I might have to stop or visit my doc for an antidepressant scrip.

  25. Rory

    Re: Discerning Vladimir Putin

    Thank you for Patrick Lawrence’s very worthwhile essay.

    I was struck by this observation:

    “No one since the last Romanovs has been able to ignore rural Russia.
    “To lead I had to follow” is the thought of a nineteenth-century French
    radical. Its place in Russian political culture is to me unmistakable.

    “There is plenty to suggest Vladimir Putin is well acquainted with the
    notion. This modernizer is consistently attentive to the unmodern, and
    the unmodern in Russia is vast.”

    Back in the USA, “Basket of Deplorables” anyone?

    1. Olga

      Yes, a good account. This had been, and still is, a big problem for Russia – it is so large that, too often, small towns and villages fall through the cracks. Russians are well aware of the fact that both Moscow and Peterburg get way too many resources, while the the provinces tend to get neglected. In his 3/1/18 speech, VVP spent most of the time rattling off a list of projects that must be done if the country is to join fully the 21st cent. It was an impressive list, and six yrs are not enough to get it ll done. But even if a quarter gets done – that’ll be good. One thing Russia cannot afford is to have a fifth column emerge somewhere in the boondocks, as a result of economic neglect and ripe to be exploited by foreign powers.

  26. zagonostra

    >Gilet Jaunes

    Remember when NPR had zero coverage of OWS until it was absolutely embarssing for them not to cover it…and Obama making a video promoting Macron during last French Election (

    “…Egyptian dictatorship of General Abdel Fattah al Sisi is banning the sale of yellow vests, as protests spread internationally in sympathy with the movement against French President Emmanuel Macron. This came as “yellow vest” protesters in France rejected Macron’s offer of concessions in an attempt to placate the growing movement.”

      1. Big River Bandido

        Wow. I scrolled through several dozen comments — every single one of them withering.

        I was going to skip that link because Neera Tanden is so horrible. But seeing all those smart people trash her in comments was…delightful. I may have to go back and re-read them later.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yeah. it was a blind link in the Current Affairs article, otherwise I never would have seen it. Neera is one of my least favorite humans, currently.
          so i was pleasantly shocked, as well.
          It’s encouraging that words like “neoliberal” are being used, more or less properly, by so many, in such a space.
          it’s also encouraging that none of her hundreds of thousands of twitter “followers” were manning the barricades. Maybe I just missed them…but I scrolled way, way down, and Boot was the only one I saw.
          I see this as a positive sign.

  27. ChiGal in Carolina

    Why “meh”? Jon Walker consistently writes some of the least ideological, most practical analysis on M4A. It is absolutely true that single-payer advocates avoid talking about the fact that providers make too much money. Savings from doing away with insurance cos will not be enough, and people are reluctant to endorse anything that sounds like a tax. I have long been frustrated at the movement’s failure to reframe tax increases as premiums paid to the government rather than insurance cos.

  28. Harold

    Providers may make too much money, but insurance companies and hospital executives make WAY too much money.

  29. polecat

    Imagination ..

    Couple of weeks ago, I came across a diamond in the rough — an upright cabinet, of oak both solid and veneer, and a local ‘reuse’ non-profit retail biz. Paid 10 quatloos for it .. a real score !! So after doing some minor repairs and upgrades, I’m about ready to finish .. with recycled paints , then on to fashioning 2 upper stained-glass panels for the top door frames — thus transforming an ugly duckling into a gem of a soon-to-be polecat family heirloom.
    So far, I haven’t spilt any marbles .. so it may not be only chess and mathematics that keeps one’s mind goin strong !

  30. pretzelattack

    i’ve read it’s important to learn new stuff. if you’re already a chessplayer or musician, you aren’t creating new connections. not sure how this appeared down here, supposed to be a reply to craig h. above. learning a new language is an interesting idea, you’re learning to see the world is a new way.

      1. pretzelattack

        hi, i think you’re from the intercept, right? i haven’t been there as much lately, not many articles from greenwald and too many from the risen/mackey axis of anti russia propaganda.

  31. JBird4049

    Guardian (resilc). IRA bombings curiously air-brushed out of this account.

    I know that that is being sarcastic, but oh so not really; If you are not considered fully human or at least less than, political rights, including that of protest, don’t really apply to you.

    The British seem to have a blindspot on their multi-century oppression of the Irish, much like the Americans’ oppression of Black and Native Americans as if invasions, wars, massacres, mass death, discrimination, deportations, enslavement, disenfranchisement, and near genocide was the fault of the victims’ remotely violent or criminal responses; that those responses being done when all the other previous peaceful responses having failed means nothing.

    When Police Chief Bull Connor set the dogs on those peacefully protesting Jim Crow in Memphis, Alabama or the British Army shooting to death those peacefully protesting. If one wants to go old school, there is always Wounded Knee. Over 150 mostly unarmed women and children murdered by the 7th Cavalry. Although in that example, the Indians did take a few of their murderers with them.

    Stretching this a bit, it is too a lesser degrees like the Deplorables refusal to back the neoliberal regime’s water carrying Democrats or even the neoconservative Republicans. That both political parties have consistently screwed over a majority of Americans, and under their international neoliberal regime, most of the planet’s population, don’t mean anything to some as even a protest vote is unacceptable criminal disobedience by the little people to their betters. People keep getting poorer and more disenfranchised, but apparently they don’t have the right to vote as they choose, even in protest.

    1. Synoia

      The British seem to have a blindspot on their multi-century oppression of the Irish

      Yes, we the British did.

      I personally did none of it, and also do not feel guilty.

      1. JBird4049

        No worries. There’s no reason you should! I’m not blaming any individual for how can anyone be held responsible for centuries of bad deeds done before they were even conceived? I am holding the nation, or better yet, the state that was responsible; more specifically the mental and cultural blindness that prevents its seeing cause and effect, or action and reaction, and the end results of what it did.

  32. ewmayer

    “Life in deep Earth totals 15 to 23 billion tons of carbon—hundreds of times more than humans PhysOrg (Robert M)” — Interesting, but the headline is an example of ‘data gerrymandering’ in service of clickbait-ness: Humans only constitute around 1/10,000th of the mass of the surface biosphere, so even though the subsurface biome has “hundreds of times more [mass] than humans” it is still dwarfed by the surface biome.

    1. Synoia

      When they come to the surface, will they be treated an illegal immigrants?

      The US being thousands of miles wide but only a few inches deep?

      1. ewmayer

        I don’t know, but think it’s high time to re-watch the John Agar B-scifi classic “The Mole People” in hopes of gleaning clues. :)

  33. Max

    “France’s political crises are always played out in riots – unlike Britain’s Guardian (resilc). IRA bombings curiously air-brushed out of this account.”

    The Brits have a blindspot for all things Irish. That’s why they’re in such a mess with Brexit.

  34. polecat

    My reply above, which got timed-out .. then shifted down, was in response to both Craig H. and abynormal up comments …

  35. Savita

    So Uber is supposedly gearing up to go public. This was always dismissed as a huge fantasy. Yet, 12 months ago they were in heaps of trouble on multiple fronts and now seemingly its all gone away.
    Can anyone comment on the likelikhood of them succeeding in their quest to go public
    It’s a very depressing thought

  36. JBird4049

    Randy K: “Someone that I know is doing amazing work after the fire in Paradise, CA.”

    And tell them Thank You! if you wouldn’t mind? Stuff like this makes me feel that there is still some good possibilities.

  37. JBird4049

    A college kid running for 13th ward alderman gets a lesson in the Chicago Way Chicago Tribune. Joey: “Amazingly corrupt, and apparently accompli“

    Ah, yet further explanation of why CPD’s amazing near century long record of false arrests, false confessions, false testimonies, evidence evidence, murders, beatings as well as Homan Square and the very corrupt and/or violent gangs, guns, and drug units are hardly ever even hindered. The machine’s enforcers must be kept happy.

  38. georgieboy

    Re the Chicago/Madigan electoral fraud story from the Tribune:

    Of local interest is the failure of most media to cover the story in any detail. Other than this John Kass piece in the Trib there is little mention of the prime fact of the Madigan fraud — his people submitted more signatures disavowals than the number of signatures submitted by the opposition candidate.

    Talk about being, uh, cocksure of party control and no chance of prosecution by the local DA.

    Local tv newsrooms are terrified of crossing Comrade Madigan here in Soviet Democratic Chicago.

  39. The Rev Kev

    “Slave Bible from the 1800s omitted key passages that could incite rebellion”

    I guess that the deal was that this was the only way that the missionaries would get access to the slaves to ‘save’ them – by using a censored Bible. Even if a slave could read, if he went through that Bible he would not be able to find anything in it except for stuff that justified his treatment. And then a thought occurred to me. Is this so different to the way that the modern internet is evolving to? After all, for so many people the internet holds a place in people’s lives that the Bible once held not that long ago. Think about the people who are being removed from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc., the websites shut down, the journalist banished from mainstream websites. It will be like a Disney version of the internet in the end and looking for divergent opinions will be as futile as that literate slave trying to find help in that Bible. Yeah, I know that this is all a bit of a stretch but I do believe that there is an element of truth there.

    1. Savita

      It’s another one of those things the rest of the world can’t ‘get’ about the US of North America, like guns and racism, ‘Why are all of you so religious?’ Religion is like the ultimate IQ test
      Australian comedian Jim Jeffries was making some observations about the bible in his most recent special on Netflix. How, for the ‘Word of All Knowing God’ the Bible historically had a funny habit of including things specific to the knowledge and time of people of where the Bible was written, and lacking in knowledge existing beyond that geographic – including the world being flat

      1. JBird4049

        Religion is an I.Q.? Like guns and racism? Which the rest of the world doesn’t get about Americans?

        Well, okay. We’re all entitled to, indeed we have the right to, our beliefs.

        I must say as an American socialist, deist, gun rights supporter, myself who has had friends and family that have ranged from fervent atheist to devout Southern Baptists, Catholics, Anglican, Buddhists and Muslims, from high school dropout to PhDs, extremely conservative to just as leftist, even from very bigoted to strongly equal rights I have yet to see any difference in intelligence amongst them.

        I have really, really disagreed with some of these people’s beliefs, even angry, but their intelligence, sanity, or sincerity. Just because someone has beliefs that I don’t agree with, or even think are stupid, does not make them stupid.

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