Links 12/21/18

Groups sue Trump administration for ‘harassing’ whales with seismic blasting Grist

Warming warning over turtle feminization PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Which Birth Dates Are Most Common Buzzfeed (Bob H)

Cargo Ships Are the World’s Biggest Polluters — but No One Wants to Fix It Inverse (David L)

Suunto settles scary scuba screwup for $50m: ‘Faulty’ dive computer hardware and software put explorers in peril The Register. Chuck L: “Holy sh*t!”

Milestone Experiment Proves Quantum Communication Really Is Faster Quanta (David L)

Why is sea level rising faster in some places along the US East Coast than others? PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Ancient Antarctic ice sheet collapse could happen again, triggering a new global flood PhysOrg (David L)

Boys can have periods too, primary pupils are taught The Times (Dr. Kevin)

Breakthrough Ultrasound Treatment To Reverse Dementia Moves To Human Trials New Atlas


US and UK accuse China of cyber espionage campaign Financial Times (David L)

China Hacked HPE, IBM and Then Attacked Clients, Report Finds Reuters


How Huawei Could Divide the World Bloomberg (JTM)

China denies legal assistance to detained Canadian Michael Kovrig Financial Times

North Korea

North Korea sounds the death knell for denuclearization Asia Times (resilc)


India’s Assault on Central Bank Autonomy Is Just Starting Bloomberg

France Protests: Police Threaten to Join Protesters, Demand Better Pay and Conditions Newsweek (UserFriendly)


US Syria pullout draws Kurdish condemnation and Putin’s praise Guardian. Resilc: “If you read the NYTimes, Wapo or listen to MSNBC, this is the end of the world for the neoconjob warmongers…the sun won’t come up in USA USA the days ahead….”

Why Trump Decided To Remove U.S. Troops From Syria Moon of Alabama

Trump, Syria and the Derangement of the Establishment Ghion Journal (UserFriendly)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Coast Guard turned down a request for an Arctic exercise out of concern the US’ only heavy icebreaker would break down and Russia would have to rescue it Business Insider (Kevin W)

The new Great Game on the Roof of the World Asia Times (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Amazon accidentally sent 1,700 Alexa recordings to the wrong person, including audio from in the shower Business Insider (Kevin W). “The episode underscores that Amazon stores audio files when you speak to Alexa.”

Cost to walk away from Facebook for a year? More than $1,000, new study finds PhysOrg (Robert M). *Sigh*. How people say they value things in response to surveys is a poor indicator of how they behave around money. Plus this looks like a case study of the cognitive bias, endowment effect.

Trump Transition

House passes stopgap bill with $5B in funding for Trump’s wall The Hill. You may not like his aims, and with good reason, but Trump doesn’t look anywhere near as silly at Team Dem tried to make him out to be after his little chat with Pelosi and Schumer about the wall.

But then there is this: Mattis Eviscerates Trump Worldview in Blunt Resignation Letter Bloomberg

Mattis was no Shining Knight: From backing Yemen War to Whitewashing Khashoggi Murder Juan Cole (resilc)

Interior Dept. Moves Toward Selling Oil Leases in Arctic Refuge New York Times (Kevin W)

House passes criminal justice overhaul, sending it to Trump The Hill

Democrat Tapped For Climate Panel Channels Exxon In Critique Of Green New Deal Plan HuffPost

5 ways nixing the Affordable Care Act could upend the entire U.S. health system MPR News (Chuck L)

Yes, Bernie Should Run Rolling Stone

Selling The Miracle Machine Current Affairs (UserFriendly)

NC absentee ballot election investigation includes Columbus Charlotte Observer (martha r)

Innocent New York man billed $4,600 for police rectal probe BBC

SECURITISATION SWAPS: A Practitioner´s Handbook. Mark Aarons | Vlad Ender | Andrew Wilkinson. Congratulate our vlade!

Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn rearrested in Japan Financial Times

Prime and Punishment The Verge (David L). This is crazy. As we have said, “If your business depends on a platform, you don’t have a business.”

Wells Fargo sends jobs overseas after layoffs in America Charlotte Observer (martha r)

Did unicorns like Lyft and Uber wait too long? TechCrunch (Kevin W)

Wall Street’s CLO Machine Fuels Fortunes from Toolmaker to Banks Bloomberg (JTM)

Uber’s entire business model is in jeopardy after losing its latest legal battle over the rights of UK drivers Reuters (David L). The appeal was expected to fail.

Amazon’s Grocery Push Keeps Stumbling After Whole Foods Purchase Bloomberg. We predicted this from the get go. Stores too small to push much more in the way of sales through them, locations generally not amenable to increasing store size, Amazon demonstrated to be dreadful at fresh food delivery.

Shades of 1987 and 2008 in Current Level of Stocks Getting Crushed Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Michelle Obama makes a splash with $4,000 designer boots The Hill (resilc)

This Was the Year the Robot Takeover of Service Jobs Began Gizmodo

Do America’s Socialists Have a Race Problem? New Republic Martha r: “Is this piece “really” about planting the idea that DSA is basically racist? I can’t tell what’s real any more.”

Antidote du jour. BlueMoose: “Since we are on insects, I thought I would contribute this one. From Poland, some beetle on my Aronia (Chokeberry in USA). Appropriate name as it is extremely astringent.”

And a bonus video:

And another bonus, since some of you already saw the video above due to a premature post launch (martha r):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Wukchumni

    >Amazon accidentally sent 1,700 Alexa recordings to the wrong person, including audio from in the shower
    HALexa: Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over. It’s not like i’m a voyeur, please hear me out.

    1. ChristopherJ

      Ha, Wuk. Alexa was my ex wife’s name. Not common. If it were me, I would have sued them for unwanted association

      1. Wukchumni

        My sister has one and it was fun to bark orders to, but balked when I asked for a spoken recitation of Hobbes Leviathan, remarking in a louder voice than usual, “that life was too nasty, brutish & short for that”.

  2. Louis Fyne

    The out-of-touchness of the DC Establishment/media shows on Syria and their withdrawal histrionics. No one outside of the Beltway cares if Team D-R Neocon makes Syria their Spartacus moment.

    Talk about Kurds and most people will think you’re going to make cottage cheese.

    I feel empathy/sympathy for the Kurds—classic case of being screwed by a European colonial map. But dropping the US Army into the middle of their plight only makes things worse!

    1. Phemfrog

      I couldn’t believe how outraged, shocked, and upset the media were on NPR this morning. Story after story about how horrible it was going to be to remove troops from Syria. Its going to help our ENEMIES!!!! RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA! As if we are the only country on earth with interests. god forbid other countries have things go their way…

      I am just so sick of these war-mongers. People i grew up with who were fervently anti-war are now mad that Trump is pulling out troops because of Trump Derangement. I dont agree with all of his foreign policy decisions, but ending a costly, useless, 20 year war is GOOD. The middle east is not stable. Will never be in our lifetime. So leave it alone and let them settle it.

      What happened to the liberals as I knew them during Bush Jr.’s presidency….

      1. zagonostra

        You’re absolutely right. Someone should diagnose and give a name to what you refer to as “Trump Derangement;” it’s some sort of conditioning that occurs under the constant and pervasive barrage of repetition of lies and a lack of an understanding of history.

      2. whine country

        The liberals got what they wanted when the draft was ended – a way to soothe their consciences helping whoever they thought was in need around the globe, with no skin in the game. No draft = No end to war. The law of unintended consequences has prevailed. The issue is physics. There is a massive force (the MIC) that favors war and unfortunately there are only voters with skin in the game as the potential countervailing force. End the all volunteer military and return to the model we used since the War of Independence and the military adventures will stop. Look for an alternative and…well…that’s the definition of insanity, isn’t it?

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Dennis Kucinich proposed a Department of Peace, a countervailing force of bureaucrats with budgets whose job it would be to try and balance out the bloodthirsty billionaire war profiteers.
          Used to be the role of the State Department but since Hilary the job at State is simply to foam the runway for the death merchants and their hardware deals.

    2. RUKidding

      Agree. It’s a damn crying shame about the Kurds, but as much as I loathe and despise Trump, I am fully in agreement with his decision to get the EFF out of Syria. And if he does the same with Afghanistan, I will be fully in agreement with that.

      Witnessing many (not all) of the lefty-ish blogs wringing their hands and decrying Trump’s decision about this is puke-making, but I’ve come to expect no less when most of these same blogs fell lock-step behind the O’Bombanation as he attacked Libya and sent ever more troop “surges” to Afghanistan. C’mon: these same people whine about how brainwashed conservative voters are. Look in the mirror, fool.

      I don’t know much about Mattis, but if Trump truly pissed off the MIC, I say: good for that.

      Nearly everything else that the Trump Admin has done I disagree with, but I’m not gonna decry something I agree with just because it’s Trump’s decision.

      1. Darius

        Mostly agree but Michael Brooks, commenting on the Kurd angle, said this is a deal between Trump and Erdogan, who now will drop his pursuit of Mohammed bin Salman and buy $3 billion worth of arms from the US. Erdogan is a sharp operator who can play crooks of each other, to the extreme detriment of the Kurds.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I care about outcomes, not motives. If corruption is what it takes to stop us from blowing faraway brown people to pink mist, then bring on corruption, say I. We can clean up the corruption later, but we can’t bring the dead back to life, or the future dead that will come from blowback.

        2. Procopius

          I believe Erdogan has already gotten about as much out of MbS as he thinks he can. MbS had to promise to stop sending money, arms and ammunition to ISIS and Al Qaeda (well, Hayat Tahrir al Shams as they are called now. He also had to promise to start truce talks in Yemen, and they’ve already agreed to a cease fire in Hodeida and a UN Peacekeeping Force is on its way there now, with more talks continuing in Sweden. I think that was really one reason for Mattis resigning, because he was insistent on the destruction of Yemen continuing. I think he really believes they are “supported” by Iran, and he is obsessed with Iran as a threat to Israel.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > It’s a damn crying shame about the Kurds

        It was also a damn crying shame about the Contras. And the government of South Vietnam. By the logic of today’s belated Kurdistan supporters, we should still be in both places. Do they ever listen to themselves?

    3. Craig H.

      1. I am sorry for the Kurds. Really. But let’s be realistic here. It has always been thus. It was like this before sykes picot

      2. Our boys are headed out of combat zone. Only a complete moron is going to find fault with this.

      It is enough to make me send away for a MAGA hat. OK that’s too far. It is almost enough to make me send away for a MAGA hat that is how ridiculous it is.

    4. Lobsterman

      Oddly, the Kurds would have been better off under Sykes-Picot. It was Ataturk’s insistence on conquering a quarter, but not all, of Kurdish lands during the aftermath that made all of this miserable and impossible.

    5. Duke of Prunes

      These reactions just make our Uni-Party of War (aka Democrats and Republicans) all the more obvious. I truly hope that this isn’t just obvious to me. I’ve always felt that when both sides of the aisle are freaking out, someone must be doing something right.

    6. oh

      The Kurds are a local (Turkey & Iran) problem. I don’t see why we should stick our our in that.

      BTW, withdrawing 2000 troops is really gonna hurt /s

      1. Procopius

        I think it’s closer to 5,000 than 2,000, but the point is that as long as they’re based at Tel Afar they protect the remnants of IS and Al Qaeda. Those who fled Idlib and Raqqa took refuge a few kilometers from the U.S. positions at Tal Afar, which block the main highway to Iraq and Iran. As long as the Americans are there neither the Turks nor the Syrians dare to attack the Kurds or the IS and Al Qaeda fighters. Once the Americans pull out the Syrian Arab Army (Assad’s forces) can finish mopping them up . Our soldiers there are not engaged in combat operations against either IS or Hayat Tahrir al Shams, and we don’t know if they have suffered any casualties since 2016. I presume they have but it’s all been kept secret because they are there illegally.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      This is an excellent piece, thanks for providing the link. I have shared it widely as a clear-eyed antidote to both RussiaRussia and anti-RussiaRussia huffing and puffing.

      1. pjay

        Yes, a good overview by Cole, who is not always this “fair and balanced.” However, in my (admittedly unbalanced) view we need a lot more anti-RussiaRussia huffing and puffing.

    1. Off The Street

      When I read about the periodical issue in an English newspaper, I had to make sure that it was not The Onion.

      1. Carolinian

        Gender activism as the new creationism? However presumably they are referring to girls who dress like boys and prefer to be so considered rather than biological boys. The story may be deliberately framed in a way to be provocative.

        While I will decline to wade in on the trans issue, one should point out that here in the US the state of NC has been widely boycotted for opposing trans bathrooms in schools–much the same issue. However boycotts over violations of international law in the middle east are strictly forbidden by many of the same state legislatures.

        1. Eclair

          I read the article in The Mirror and, really, the program like it is addressing the issue of those children who are biologically female but whose preference is to present as male.

          Funny as the Monty Python clip is, this sex education program does not seem to be ‘reality-denying.’ The reality is, you have a child who looks, dresses, and acts like a boy … but begins to menstruate. So, you have to explain this to the 8 to 12 year olds. The headlines are a bit on the hysterical side.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Falling life expectancy in flyover (but not for elites) and a falling birth rate too (but not for the elites). The shape of the Jackpot emerges from the mist.

            So by all means let us focus only only on edge cases, instead of focusing on changes that would make life universally better, including better for these individuals.

    2. rjs

      Washington State U has it covered, though…they are stocking men’s restrooms with free menstrual products..

  3. allan

    “Innocent New York man billed $4,600 for police rectal probe”

    The intersectionality of brutal police state with out of control medical billing basically sums up USA 2018.

    1. JCC

      I see stuff like this and temporarily “lose it”.

      In fact, I emailed St Joseph’s Hospital with two questions:

      1: (Subject Line) Why is this not on your Front Page News Feed?

      (rhetorical question, of course, but gotta get their attention)


      2: And why do you not charge the police who ordered this procedure?

      1. bob

        I think you meant charge in another sense, but don’t look to the local DA to look into this,

        Syracuse surgeon slapped sedated patients, called them insulting names, feds say

        DA: Syracuse doc slapped sedated patients dozens of times, but can’t face criminal charges

        Syracuse hospital reinstates doctor accused of slapping patients’ butts

        Same hospital, same no show DA. Also the same DA that headed the Moreland Omission in Albany

      1. Oregoncharles

        Thanks. That’s the full story. That paper actually investigated – and published the names and photos of the judge and the hospital lawyer, the ones at fault besides the police) here.

        A similar case in New Mexico produced a $1.6 million jackpot. But Jackson is going to have a hard time suing from jail.

  4. Perpetual War

    Removal of troops from Syria: funny that nobody asks if this is for the benefit of Erik Prince.

    I predict that US is flooding the area with mercenaries instead.

    Perpetual war doesn’t happen without somebody killing somebody. Remember for the neocons and war industry the chaos and killing is the goal. Who does it? Not important.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Probably not so likely having mercenaries stationed there. Trump said that when the ground troops pull out, then US ceases their aerial campaign as well. Without aerial assets, any mercs would be sitting ducks for any number of groups in the region. Nobody really cares about mercs getting killed so even Erik Prince would have trouble getting his people to go. The US tried to recruit 40,000 local troops to do the security for them and only got a few thousand recruits. Maybe the locals are waiting for the Syrian army – their army – to come and take over.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Mercenaries aren’t soldiers and are largely only good for contracting fraud and roughing up little people. When the going gets tough, making sure the check clears matters the most.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      Benefits Turkey, which promptly bought $$$ worth of armaments from us.

      As Lambert would say, ka-ching!

      Still glad to see any reduction in US military presence.

  5. Livius Drusus

    Re: Cost to walk away from Facebook for a year? More than $1,000, new study finds.

    I know I have posted this before but Ian Welsh has written about why the infotech/telecom revolution is not such a big deal and why there are actually many negatives associated with it.

    Welsh’s blog posts are not specifically about Facebook or social media but they are relevant to the question of how valuable these platforms really are. Plus, as the original post indicates surveys really cannot tell you much about the value of things.

    I have noticed that when people buy something or start using a platform like Facebook they will often vigorously defend it if someone criticizes it. I think this is partially because nobody wants to look like a sucker who bought or used something that is actually junk or that has some serious downsides. The article on the endowment effect also makes good points about human loss aversion and why we identity with things we own.

    1. Louis Fyne


      I could write a study that says that the benefit of deleting Facebook = >$5,000 per year from time value of money and the re-captured opportunity costs of taking a long walk instead sitting on the couch and watching your 1,203th pet treat video of the day.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Michelle Obama makes a splash with $4,000 designer boots”

    I guess that this is why Obama never put on a comfortable pair of shoes to walk on that picket line with American workers as President of the United States. Michelle had emptied the shoe budget in the Obama household first and he couldn’t afford to buy a pair himself to walk with.

    1. SoldierSvejk

      I hate to be catty, but OMG – the pictures are a bit of a horror show. In other words, canary yellow outfits are not for everybody. And the boots… oh, well.

      1. Pat

        Yeah, I don’t get it either. A shiny yellow bathrobe with glitter boot tights is not a look I think anybody should be going for.

        1. Roger Smith

          There must be some correlation between the amount of money spent on clothes and one’s own understand of how clothes are meant to be worn. Too often it seems that the people who shell out small fortunes for tasteless garb fail to clothe themselves properly.

            1. ChiGal in Carolina

              While generally I don’t think Michelle can be accused of lacking class in what she wears, yes, those boots are grotesquely conspicuous consumption, but more than anything she seems to be channeling Oprah here…

          1. Geo

            It’s like they watched “The Hunger Games” and decided the villains were the ones they wanted to emulate.

        2. Annotherone

          There’s not much on NC that I feel able to comment on, at least not intelligently, but on this…
          “The “Becoming” author stepped out in the eye-catching pair of Balenciaga boots on Wednesday at a Brooklyn stop on her nationwide book tour.”

          Ye gods! She dresses like this on a book tour? It smacks more of a fancy dress party outfit – one of those …erm…”vicars and tarts” parties.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Plastic or leather boots?

      Plastic – nonsustainable, will it end it in the ocean somewhere?

      Leather – more animals have to be sacrificed? Vegans of the world should be outraged.

      1. RMO

        For $4,000 I would have thought they might have been expensive looking at least. Instead they look like bargain-basement fetish-night-at-the-club boots.

        Kind of puts in perspective the price of the Peter Fox lace-up Victorian style boots I bought my wife for her birthday several years ago.

  7. Brooklin Bridge

    FWIW, an article from the Guardian, Trump is right to withdraw US troops from Syria -Trevor Timm

    Not much in there that anyone from NC doesn’t already know, but still, credit where credit is due. Timm even puts blame where blame is due on Obama for getting us in to Syria uninvited with no congressional oversight or vote (that is, illegally). Alas, the comments responding to Timm’s article are rather depressing.

    1. a different chris

      There’s a really good “hook” in that article that if we had decent news people (or more correctly, if the decent news people we do have were actually allowed near anybody) for a simple question to Lindsey Graham and his ilk:

      “You are Congress. Congress gets to declare war. So if it’s so important for us to be in Syria, why don’t you just put it in a bill and vote on it?”

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Yes. Be interesting -and sooo perfect- if Trump were to say that, though I wouldn’t hold my breath.

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        I thought that was why Congress continues to cede that responsibility to the executive—plausible deniability. I suppose we could enjoy the irony that it apparently never occurred to them that doing so gave the executive the poser to end war as well as start it.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    Selling The Miracle Machine Current Affairs (UserFriendly)


    I hope someone makes a movie about this – its even riper material than The Social Network.

    I know maybe I’m primed for cynicism by reading too much NC, but the very first time, a few years ago, I read about Theranos my first thought was ‘this is a scam’. It just didn’t seem credible that a company had made this level of a breakthrough (basically, one deserving of a Nobel) without apparently having any patents or published background research, or having any established industry/research partners with a track record – a few minutes searching through Google Scholar revealed zip about it. I thought maybe that at best they’d simplified existing systems and you got your result with a very large legal disclaimer saying ‘this doesn’t mean anything, go see a doctor if you are worried’. It seems like it didn’t even have that.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Notice that sentence in that article that said: “Undying loyalty to you is what you demand when you are a fraud.” Now who does NC talk about often that could fit this description?

      1. polecat

        I bite. Uhh, let’s see .. a whitewalker in a garish yellow Mao $uit ? … Eddie Munster holding a gavel ?? TwoFace (obama on one side/some kennedy amalgam on the other) Beto ???
        I gave up !

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        It is utterly sickening to me that a comedy made about Dick Cheney is apparently on target to win all sorts of awards this year.

        It should be boycotted instead. It is far too soon to whitewash all the harm he did.

        Who is this guy anyway?!

      2. chuck roast

        So what is the deal with Vice?
        I’ll go see it if I can die laughing but not if it leaves me wanting to shoot myself.

    2. Jeotsu

      In a previous life I was a researcher (biochemistry/biophsyics) working on developing a novel mechanism for screening human blood for cancer markers samples using a prototype protein-array sensor. I ended up sharing a patent with my coworkers based on some of what we developed/discovered.

      The first time I heard about Theranos I was amazed. They’d apparently cracked some of the very serious issues/problems/complications we were facing. And then I noticed the complete lack of disclosure about their technology. If they’d come up with something new, they should have had enough IP protection in the works so that they could at least hint about their stroke of genius. Yet no such information was forthcoming.

      The tl:dr of that being — Theranos failed the sniff test from day 1. Who was on the board? Were they utterly ignorant, completely gullible, or simply playing along for the paycheck? A quick search will reveal that James Mattis was one of those board members. Why doesn’t that get the discussion it deserves?

      1. cnchal

        > A quick search will reveal that James Mattis was one of those board members.

        Mattis, with his expertise in blood spilling was a credibility booster.

        1. gepay

          I believe Mattis was saved from using military money to give to Theranos (he wanted to and started the process) by basic procedures in military buying – one of the people tasked noticed that something needed was missing.

          1. Procopius

            I was once assigned to a very small agency in the Pentagon that was tasked with evaluating and acquiring computer systems. This was back in the ’70s, so we’re talking Big Iron mostly, but that was also the beginning of microcomputers as business tools and so-called mini-computers were even more common. I learned enough that I can tell you the Army’s acquisition system is rigid, complex, and enforced. That’s why I’m always amazed to see how they can get these no-bid contracts with Halliburton and KBR through. There is no doubt in my mind that there is massive corruption by most of the four-stars. Which is saddening, because I served under some fine officers.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Was China not doing her job by failing to accuse the US, when the news about Snowden first broke?

      And if she did, it is time for role reversal, knowing all along that that is what intelliigence agencies do for their countries.

  9. flora

    Re: Robert O’Rourk is how the Dems are going to get the Social Security cuts they want

    Beto talks about means testing SS.
    And he won his primary with business conservative GOP votes.
    This is the guy the Dem establishment is all excited about.

    1. Pat

      Of course it is. No one that the establishment gets excited about pushes is ever going to be any one that should be in office. See Kamala Harris.

      The sad thing is that with media consolidation and the further tightening of alternative press sources, the Democratic establishment can probably get him or someone like him as the Democratic candidate for almost every national position for a few more election cycles. The public is finally figuring it out, just not what to do about it…YET.

    2. Eclair

      If one’s income is above a certain level, up to 85% of social security retirement benefits are taxed by the federal government. This is a kind of ‘means testing;’ using the tax system to claw back all that extra cash sloshing about out there.

      Whenever I here a politician suggesting ‘means testing’ for a working social safety net program, I run about screaming and tearing my hair. They are really talking about imposing ‘virtue testing.’ Are you ‘worthy’ of receiving money from the government? Or are you a druggie lay-about? Which is often code for ‘are you non-white.’ Or poor. Which is why …. oh, why even bother!

  10. zagonostra

    >France Protests: Police Threaten to Join Protesters, Demand Better Pay and Conditions

    When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 it was due to two forces: Mass protest and guards refusing to fire on their own people. That is the formula for radical change that is the formula that keeps the oligarchs in a state of continuous monitoring and control of all those Facebook post and clicks of the keyboards.

    The same underlying rage and discontent exist here, it’s just that that those forces are kept skillfully in check by an elites that are no fools and have mastery over the art of redirecting and distracting.

    1. a different chris

      If it makes you feel better, it does me, I don’t see it as “mastery”. I see it as frantically plugging holes in the dike, but they come faster and faster and will eventually overwhelm today’s elites.

      The, sigh, trick will be to not allow different but equally worse (cough, O’Rourke, cough) elites to arise after the flood.

  11. Carey

    From the link to the Twitter thread on O’Rourke:

    “In 2012, O’Rourke ran for Congress and unseated Silvestre Reyes, a longtime Democratic incumbent who had been endorsed by both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Partly, O’Rourke got lucky. Reyes ran a shoddy campaign, running a bizarre ad in which young children blast O’Rourke for wanting to “legalize drugs.” (As a council member, O’Rourke was an outspoken proponent of marijuana legalization, co-writing a book on the issue in 2011.) He was helped considerably by the Campaign for Primary Accountability, a nonpartisan PAC then trying to unseat longtime incumbents, who dumped a boatload of money in his district. When Reyes lost, the interpretation from some national observers was that a young, progressive upstart had beaten an old, conservative Democrat, largely because of O’Rourke’s position on drugs and gay marriage.

    But that wasn’t quite right. O’Rourke appears to have won because of Republicans voting in the Democratic primary, a not-uncommon outcome in Texas. Exit polling from the race — conducted by an area high school, but trusted locally — indicates that Reyes won 53 percent of voters who considered themselves Democrats, but O’Rourke won independents 2-to-1 and Republicans 7-to-1, with the final result placing O’Rourke at 50.5 percent to Reyes’ 44.3.

    Many members of the PDNG and El Paso business class donated heavily to his congressional campaign, and to PACs opposing Reyes. Eileen Karlsruher, a local business owner and Republican, told the business journal El Paso Inc. that she voted for O’Rourke because he had established himself as a pro-business, “middle-of-the-road, conservative Democrat,” and because of that, it was easy to overlook his more outspoken stances on social issues.

    At the first debate with Reyes, O’Rourke criticized Reyes for not offering concrete ways to cut the federal budget, and then turned to Social Security. “We need to look at things like means testing,” he said. “We need to look at a later age at which my kids are gonna retire.” In general, O’Rourke promised to reform bloated, dumb government, and criticized Reyes for his waste of taxpayer dollars.
    “I think everybody’s bullshit detector is as sensitive as it has ever been, and I’m really mindful of that. I really don’t want to come in with something you’ve seen or heard before.”

    If there’s a tension between this O’Rourke and the DIY O’Rourke, it’s a contradiction that calls to mind one of his political heroes, Barack Obama. Like Obama, O’Rourke is able to appeal to groups with different interests by nature of his effortless charisma and a somewhat indeterminate rhetoric that emphasizes hope, change and regeneration. Obama wouldn’t say that he supported gay marriage, but his supporters knew differently — he was on the right side. That desire to extend credit gives cover to politicians like Obama and O’Rourke, who are more complicated, and more ideologically heterodox, than their supporters may admit.”

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Beto doesn’t take solid policy positions because then he’d be labeled, and he doesn’t like labels. So, see, it’s fine.

      I fear a whole lot of ardent anti-establishment types are blushing over having proclaimed Beto a “solid progressive”. I gave him the benefit of the doubt for a while, but my gut kept telling me not to trust him. I did some in-depth research, and discovered all the weasel words.

      On the other hand, the campaign video “debate” the AARP did of him and Cruz exposed exactly what an empty suit Cruz truly is, so it was worth it just for that.

  12. noonespecial

    Re: Syraqistan

    Craig Murray’s take includes this, “The US/Saudi/Israeli alliance against Iran is the most important geo-political factor in the region today. It is high time this alliance stopped both funding ISIS and pretending to fight it; schizophrenia is not a foreign policy stance…It is a matter of lunacy that the West has adopted the posture that it is Iran – which has sponsored not one attack on the West in recent memory – which is the threat in the Middle East.”

    1. Carey

      Someone posted a link the other day showing all the dual-nationals (w/Israel) in the House and Senate. Shocking, and current events make more sense after seeing it.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          Thank you, marym. All too easy to think it’s plausible when all but 11 states either require or are working to require people to repudiate boycotting Israel.

          Plausibility is not enough to meet those critical thinking standards we all aspire to, or we wouldn’t read NC.

          1. integer

            There is no transparency wrt the dual citizenship status of congresspeople, which is probably by design.

            Dual Citizens in Congress? CounterPunch

            This week I received the information I sought, in the form of a telephone call from a legal officer of the Library of Congress. After reminding me that Congress (and the [Congressional Research Service] by its connection with Congress) is exempt from FOIA requests, he verbally confirmed my suspicion that CRS does not currently collect dual citizenship data.

            That’s bad news for those of us who believe that citizens should know if their representatives in Congress (and senior government officials and judges, for that matter) owe allegiance to any other nation. For example, when a Senator, a House Member or a high USG official speaks out, submits bills or determines policy on an issue of importance to a second country, shouldn’t constituents (and citizens at large) be able to judge whether there is or is not a conflict (or apparent) conflict of interest?

            Without transparency on dual citizenship, Americans remain in the dark, free to speculate on which representatives may have divided loyalties. Current entries on the Internet reveal a wide range of such speculation. The lack of transparency is dangerous, for it erodes trust in government, creating credibility doubts where there should be none and allowing some conflicts to continue undetected, without question or debate.

  13. nick

    I can see why Jeremy Gong might think the DSA Race article was a hit piece, but I actually think it was kind of sympathetic–even if it does conflate a few issues where it shouldn’t.

    There is a longstanding failure of most left-activist organizations to incorporate and support substantial numbers of non-white people and DSA is no exception. The article has some good thoughts on this from members throughout the country, and ideally those should be taken to heart when considering ways to make the group more similar to the composition of the working class (in terms of race but also class, gender, everything).

    But the general problems have little relevance to what happened in Oakland. Rather, the top-down leadership and structure of the East Bay and Philly chapters produce no end of disaffected members, many of whose complaints relate to the way meetings are conducted. It looks like a black candidate, Brooks, jumped into that awful meeting experience unprepared and had a reasonable, if nasty, reaction. And Gong is right that a fair article would note that the campaign their chapter DID decide to endorse and prioritize was that of a black woman (Beckles).

    But the article is incorrect in saying that the leadership of those chapters is the most “Marxist,” or that the broader, pervasive race-related shortcomings of the organized left are particular to DSA, or even to the Momentum people within DSA. And so all of the article’s musings about left ideology and race are not rooted in the specific events it discusses.

    1. aletheia33

      ”all of the article’s musings about left ideology and race are not rooted in the specific events it discusses”

      helpful clarification

      –a red flag for intent to produce disinformation and undermine a movement by means of UNSUBSTANTIATED, “merely speculative” “raising of questions” in a “fair-minded”, “well-meaning”, “i LIKE this movement” -sounding voice/tone.

      this kind of disconnect between facts and interpretation of the facts–is that a “tell” that the “facts” themselves may not be?

      is there a name for this kind of “analysis”?

  14. rd

    Re: Different seal level rises along the East coast

    Post-glacial rebound means that Scandinavia is still rising faster than the seas, so the shallower water is causing problems for shipping.

    Once again, it appears that the belief in climate change is inversely proportional to the effect it will have on a community. Places like Florida that are the most likely to be hammered by it are the areas most likely to deny it is occurring.

    1. Harry

      Its perfectly rational to deny climate change in Florida. Once you accept it, who will you sell your expensive houses and condos to?

  15. nick

    …but Trump doesn’t look anywhere near as silly at Team Dem tried to make him out to be after his little chat with Pelosi and Schumer about the wall.

    I have to disagree.

    In the meeting w Pelosi and Schumer, Trump declares he accepts responsibility for any shutdown. Later, his Press Secretary walks back those remarks. Then, far-right elements (Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, the Freedom Caucus) publicly excoriate Trump. Then, Trump refuses to sign the compromise CR passed by the Senate and the House GOP includes a $5b. If this bill passes the Senate, it will be because 9 Democrats vote for the wall or Mitch McConnell dispenses with the filibuster. At the same time, Mattis resigns/is tweet-fired and he, in turn, disses the president in his resignation letter.

    Trump, as usual, didn’t understand the game he was playing and didn’t get into gear until he was embarrassed him on TV. Now, he is facing a shutdown–which everyone saw him accept unambiguously as his responsibility–over Christmas while he plays golf, he has irritated the GOP hawks on Syria and Mattis, and the indictments and court losses keep piling up. He very clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing and it shows. He walked right into a trap he set for himself; Pelosi and Schumer just had to show up.

    1. RUKidding

      I have to agree with you and respectfully disagree with Yves (if she made that comment).

      Team Dem had some silly moments, but I feel that Trump walked into that trap. Don’t see him as such a “strong” man here.

  16. Robert Hahl

    Which Birth Dates Are Most Common Buzzfeed

    Essentially no births on the 4th of July; doctors want to Bar-B-Q? And the difference between the last week in December vs. the first week in January suggest tax planning.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Noticed a lot of birthdays in September. The guy that wrote “A Year in Provence” noted the same about the French guys working for him. He put it down to the cold winter months when there was not so much work to do and how each activity had its season in rural France.

    2. el_tel

      The British version is broadly the same but subtly different – the birth spurt (no pun intended) is a bit later in September, and with an average gestation of 266 days suggest a lot of Brits get jiggly around New Year (rather than in the run up to Xmas as in those US data)

    3. ewmayer

      Yes, some interesting single-date anomalies in there … also note the clustering on Valentine’s day. I wonder to what extent new parents can get medical staff to fudge numbers to land on (or avoid) a specific plus-one-day or minus-one-day date. Or maybe modern drugs to reduce/induce labor tend to get used around certain dates. Would be interested to hear from NC readers who are medical professionals about this stuff.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Is there a link to the actual number? Anecdotally, I would have said February and October, but one thought was the timing of weddings. Summer weddings. When are the first kids or the first wanted kids being born. Summer Wedding, anniversary, decision is made to start trying, the magic happens in December, bam baby born 9 months later.

      1. el_tel

        Doesn’t surprise me. The “big holiday shutdown period” – Xmas – occurs in summer when people are out on the beach etc rather than trying to keep warm. To the extent there is a cold period (primarily Tasmania, parts of Victoria and NSW), it doesn’t coincide with big holiday events.

    1. JCC

      Brilliant, and thanks, that made my day.

      And who can blame the poor guy, boredom is wearing to someone who has tasted the joy of smuggling toilet paper and other sundries :-)

  17. Wukchumni

    …the Domino Theory* in reverse gig is going well

    Well, except for leaving half of the troops in the ‘stan box, and the idea that the Junta del Este in Humordor is up in arms…

    We’ve been constantly alerted to acquiesce to any member of the military we should happen across in civilian life since 9/11, but how would we cotton to the idea of a coup d’état?, as this is the first President to dim Big War’s rice bowl in sum time.

    * 2 down, 798 to go

  18. JacobiteInTraining

    Well, the dry run of my personal attempt to kick-start the Global Revolution failed miserably.

    I’ve been on the road from Oregon’s southern Willamette Valley, to the Oregon Coast, and thence – on my way home – up Hwy 101 through Astoria to the Olympic Peninsula, visiting various friends, family, and close relatives for the usual pre Christmas visits on the way. Before leaving the parents house I bought my yellow vest from a local logging supply store, and inked on a fairly nice looking Sabo-Tabby on the front and back.

    (I gave up trying to draw a sample ‘I can haz union?’ kitty on paper, before transferring to vest…as I have determined that while good at stencils…I will never earn a living at free hand drawing) Plus, I was far from home and my 3D printer…so no bag of gift-guillitines either.

    Mom tells me: “Oh, thats nice. Here, have more pie”

    So my first stop wearing the vest was in downtown Florence, OR…wandering down Bay Street. Weather variable but not bad – then discovered my first major tactical error: My IWW-inspired Sabo-Tabby bears a *startling* resemblence to the logo of an old lumber company that was big til the early 2000’s called ‘Copeland Lumber’. Still exists, in fact, in a few places….including, natch, Florence.

    The only comment I got was from someone wondering if I worked there, and what their holiday hours were gonna be. Gave up, bought some coffee. Shopped.

    The next stop was in Astoria, which has had a fair amount of gentrification lately from Portland. One side of the family grew up there, it has a history of Finnish-immigrant activism, and much working class solidarity amongst gillnetters and loggers. Wearing my vest, I started out with an optimisitic and suitably Revolutionary attitude, but got no comments – and then ran into an old friend and his buddies.

    Told my story to them, and although they thought it was great- they also bought me beers at the brewpub. So I ended up getting drunk and uh…more shopping.

    Last significant stop on the way home was in Shelton, WA. One of the usual winter coastal wind storms had recently passed through, so there were actually a few people here and there wearing yellow vests for their intended purpose — warning passers by as they chainsawed up down trees and cleared up branches and leaf piles in parking lots.

    So I gave up, bought some coffee. Errrmm…and shopped.

    So, although I am back home now and can see if a pre-Christmas visit to the belly of the beast in Bellevue/Redmond luxury malls over the weekend finally gets the Revolution started — I have the feeling the spirit of William D ‘Big Bill’ Haywood is either laughing uproriously at me….or else, thinking:

    “yanno…Don’t quit yer day job, son….”


    1. Carey

      Thanks for your yellow vest travel log. I’m wearing mine most days with no apparent effect, other than a couple of double-takes, so far. It’s a long game, though!


    2. Wukchumni

      It’s a bit frustrating, in that there you are in day-glo lemon-lime, and nobody does nothing. Still a cheap way to be the infidel out fishing.

    3. Oregoncharles

      We’re neighbors (Corvallis).

      Good try – but from your experience and Wukchumni’s, I think very few people here are following events in France, even though we find them fascinating.

  19. Synoia

    Milestone Experiment Proves Quantum Communication Really Is Faster

    That is an appealingly bad title for an article.

    “Faster” Three possible meanings of the use of that word:

    More Speed (Bit rate or Bandwidth)
    Less Latency (Transmission time)
    Compressed information (Requires less speed or bandwidth)

    The article uses the last, less photons to transmit a certain binary string. It in no way addresses the greatest cause of slow internet communications, latency, and does noting to increase the speed of light.

  20. rd

    Back in 2003-4, I thought the US missed the opportunity to carve out an independent Kurdistan in the Iraq part of greater Kurdistan. It would have had a promise of US-protection of its borders as long as they ceased any support for terrorist and separate activities in other countries. If conditions got bad in another country, then Kurds could retreat to their own country.

    A major part of the problem is that the region is still subdivided by artificial lines drawn by the Great Powers after WW I. This is a region filled with groups of people that really, really don’t like each other with the roots of that going back a millenia or more.

    Regarding Afghanistan, I was disappointed a decade ago that Obama didn’t declare victory, negotiate with the Taliban to not allow foreign terrorist attacks to be launched form Afghanistan and then withdraw American troops. Ultimately, we can’t force a country to internalize a Western democracy if they are not willing to fight for it.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Except for Israel and the Negev desert, the lines look suspiciously similar to the old Ottoman lines. Maybe Tom Friedman was wrong about this one too. Then they managed to hang together for almost 500 years, so who doesn’t like each other?

      Kurds aren’t a monolithic ethnic group. Kurdistan would be another hypothetical state.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The post WW1 lines explanation strike me as an excuse to justify American intervention and softer European intervention by linking it to a single “mistake.” Of course, maps tell a different story, and I’m fairly certain this notion of whoopsie lines entered the zeitgeist after Friedman’s “From Beirut to Jerusalem” drivel wound up everywhere. Then we just say hey everyone fights while flooding the area with cash and guns.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          The other issue with the line problem is Lebanon and its civil war which was caused when Jordan kicked out all of its Palestinan refugees who came from a mysterious place in the late 1940’s and to be fair to Jordan couldn’t afford them anymore. They wound up in Lebanon upsetting the balance.

          Addressing the mystery event of where those Palestinians came from and the complicity of Western powers both in their expulsion and failure to deal with that crisis caused these problems. Not to mention setting up monarchies on top of former imperial systems which were tossed in both Syria and Iraq.

          Then of course there was the Iran-Iraq situation. Don’t tell Rummy.

          I have to look this up, but I’m fairly certain the governor of Baghdad under the Ottoman system was the overlord of Kuwait. Ascribing issues to a mistake absolves the Western powers and plays to the racism inherent to Western foreign policy. One, we like to claim the area is prone to eternal conflict, but with better management from white saviors, everything would be a ok.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          So a British invader who sought to topple the existing government with a foreign army…yeah…he would be the go to guy. Yes, he was better than most British contemporaries and he is certainly more intelligent than Joe Biden who was an advocate of tripartitioning Iraq as if that it was a pancea…but then I go…Lawrence of Arabia was a movie. What if the real story was a bit more complex? Obviously, the Brits and the Ottomans were at war, but yeah, I don’t think peaceful stability was at the top of the list.

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘the US missed the opportunity to carve out an independent Kurdistan in the Iraq part of greater Kurdistan’? You wouldn’t be saying that if back in 1865 the European forces had carved out an independent Confederacy in say, Texas, under their protection.
      Recently the Iraqi Kurds got greedy, carved out a big chunk of Iraq for itself and lorded it over everybody which even got their own people off-side with it. The Iraqi government put them back in their box not long ago. So, not really a long term prospect of this ever working.

  21. NoCarrier

    Strange, my company’s Powered-by-Raytheon™ web blacklist says “SECURITISATION SWAPS: A Practitioner´s Handbook” is verboten. I’ll be interested to see what’s so dangerous about this one when I get home.

  22. Trick Shroade

    Amazon’s Grocery Push Keeps Stumbling After Whole Foods Purchase: I shopped at our local Whole Foods in the D.C. suburbs for a few years before the Amazon acquisition and it has definitely gone downhill since. They’ve changed the recipes on several of their 365 branded products that I used to buy (bread, turkey chili) and are not not nearly as good. Plus its not uncommon now to see certain fresh produce sections completely empty (lettuces, berries).

    1. Jason Boxman

      I’ve never been tempted to even set foot in a whole wallet. I have an amazing family owned grocery store right down the street from me in Somerville, and a local chain only a few minutes further. Plus there’s the farmer’s market here in the warmer months!

      1. jrs

        farmers markets are also very expensive of course, ok they top whole wallet in draining one’s wallet. It’s the right thing to do I guess, but mostly for those who can afford it.

      2. Cal2

        Our neighbor’s a manager at Amazon Foods as she calls it.
        Large number of firings, the local sign makers fired, replaced with a centralized group, no more free samples, small vendors, that made them, are dumped for low quality house brands, to and including Chinese grown “organics”, diminishing variety, no back stock at the same time, outdated merchandise on the shelves, the managers from Amazon who have no food knowledge walk in and demand that any employee point out their 15 best selling items on the shelf…the woes go on and on.

        “Packaging at healthy supermarket Whole Foods contains chemicals linked to cancer, a watchdog investigation into five major US grocers has revealed. Tests on take-out containers used in the hot food and salad counters found that 80 per cent were treated with harmful chemicals called PFAS. PFAS have been linked to liver damage, damage to the immune system and cancer. They are used to treat many industrial items including paper, furniture, carpets and clothing.”

        If this is “efficiency” as Amazon claims, I’d hate to see what InEfficiency looks like.

  23. Lee

    Breakthrough Ultrasound Treatment To Reverse Dementia Moves To Human Trials New Atlas

    In a related development using rapidly flashing light:

    Unique visual stimulation may be new treatment for Alzheimer’s

    Using LED lights flickering at a specific frequency, MIT researchers have shown that they can substantially reduce the beta amyloid plaques seen in Alzheimer’s disease, in the visual cortex of mice.

    This treatment appears to work by inducing brain waves known as gamma oscillations, which the researchers discovered help the brain suppress beta amyloid production and invigorate cells responsible for destroying the plaques.

    Now, if they could just find a way to help me with Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

    In case you’ve not encountered this, or you did and forgot.( Lifted from Car Talk.)

    I decide to wash the car; I start toward the garage and notice the mail on the table. OK, I’m going to wash the car, but first I’m going to go through the mail. I lay the car keys down on the desk, discard the junk mail and I notice the trash can is full. OK, I’ll just put the bills on my desk and take the trash can out, but since I’m going to be near the mailbox anyway, I’ll pay these few bills first. Now, where is my check book? OOPS, there’s only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk. Oh, there’s the coke I was drinking. I’m going to look for those checks. But first I need to put my coke further away from the computer, or maybe I’ll pop it into the fridge to keep it cold for a while. I head towards the kitchen and my flowers catch my eye; they need some water. I set the coke on the counter and ooh, oh! There are my glasses. I was looking for them all morning! I’d better put them away first. I fill the container with water and head for the flower pots —aaaaagh! Someone left theTV remote in the kitchen. We will never think to look in the kitchen tonight when we want to watch television so I’d better put it back in the family room where it belongs. I splash some water into the pots and onto the floor. I throw the remote onto a soft cushion on the sofa and I head back down the hall trying to figure out what it was I was going to do.

  24. lena

    I don’t have too much insightful to say other than I don’t get how or why anyone thinks it’s a good idea to have an Alexa in their house recording their every word. Are people that clueless that they don’t think Amazon is collecting that information? Scary.

  25. Jason Boxman

    That Amazon story about seller wars is another good reason never to buy stuff from Amazon. Whenever I search for stuff, it’s usually just an explosion of junk listings. I can’t even deduce what’s a quality product and what’s garbage. And apparently I can’t even trust that a listing isn’t a scammer. On the very rare instance I can only find something sold at Amazon, I only buy it directly from Amazon, not a reseller.

    1. nippersdad

      From the receiving end:

      I think we bought some books from them a decade or so ago, but (other than the stories and comments I read) I otherwise have had no personal experience of them until this past week. We received a flurry of boxes in the mail with nothing on or in them to tell us who sent them! That seemed like a fairly major omission. So, my Wife calls them up and they start arguing with her; told her that if she doesn’t want the stuff she can just throw it away………..So now we have this pile of boxes of random stuff out in the hall……

      Now, I fully recognize how anal I can be, but it really doesn’t seem all that hard to look for a specific something for people throughout the year, find a box, fill it with tissue paper and whatever it was you found for them, wrap the box, put in a note, find another box to put it all in, wrap that sucker up in brown paper and then mail it off. It’s not like you don’t have an entire year, maybe even more, to do it in. Is this some kind of fashionable joke that I just haven’t heard about yet?

      One hates to say it, but it seems like the only thing lazier than filling this huge box with a tennis ball and three packing peanuts without a note has to be the people that think that sort of thing is an expression of love and remembrance during a holiday in which you will not see the person you are having it mailed to.

      But, you know, really! What is one expected to think of this? Why are they still in business? Should I be keeping up with the Smiths’ and the Jones’es by Googling a Peoria Illinois phone book and randomly send out some tennis balls via Amazon? I just really don’t know what to think about it.

      It is a real mystery, but I am genuinely grateful that someone out there is thinking of us. Whoever you may be, we wish a Merry Christmas to you all.

      1. cnchal

        > Is this some kind of fashionable joke that I just haven’t heard about yet?

        It’s a way for Chinese sellers on Amazon Marketplace to create fake sales and then fake reviews to boost their ratings, which supposedly lead to real sales of whatever stuff they sell. With the current postal agreements between countries, it’s cheaper to send an empty box from China than across town, so it’s fraud, and Amazon indirectly profits from that, and simultaneously claims, through what must be the most bullshit jawb on the planet, an Amazon spokesperson, that Amazon is doing everything possible to stop these underhanded methods.

        Amazon is a hot mess.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Cockburn also suggests that it makes it more difficult for Trump to pursue his desire to get into a conflict with Iran, which is a good thing in my book.

    2. Eclair

      One might posit that anarchic conditions are the ones in which disaster capitalists, neocons and neo-liberals flourish. Opportunistic, invasive organisms do tend to thrive on chaos.

  26. Carey

    Just got an email from Movement for a People’s Party that they have been banned from
    the “work-chat” app Slack. That doesn’t sound good. FWIW.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Since I find Slack very cumbersome, I’m not convinced it’s a problem.

        I’d like to know who besides the Movement for a People’s Party, though.

        Come to think: Slack is meant for business use, but has been adopted by some pretty radical groups – and the Oregon Green Party, lately (with some resistance from the old fogeys.)

  27. Lee

    The men of @DSA_SF are being put to task!!!

    It is both laughable and a bit depressing that such an epistle to the clueless as was posted in the tweet must still be written.

    About 50 years ago I was part of an urban political commune at the moment that women eschewed the exhortation of Joan Baez that they just say “yes” to the men who said “no” to the Vietnam war in favor of sentiments expressed in the letter to the men of DSA. This new female ferocity was quite shocking to us guys and there was a culling of those who did not come to see the light and embrace the joys of childcare and housework as part of the revolutionary process.

    1. aletheia33

      the point is not that they are supposed to bring joys. the point is that they are unpaid labor.

      the ferocity arises from the demoralization of the oppression of having to perform unending, 24/7 emotional labor not just without compensation but without recognition or understanding or even token appreciation of the value of what is being performed or the toll on the person who is performing it.

      the point is about servitude. involuntary, because how can a person of integrity refuse to care for the helpless?

      if you are enslaved and you want to remain human, can you withhold love from the master’s children because you are forced to take care of them?

      it is true that the problem has changed little in the last 50 years. or 6,000. technology has perhaps helped. but the ethical dilemma has not been resolved.

      it is time for the women’s strike.

      1. Cal2

        Agreed. Let’s see some women moving the boxes, repairing the plumbing, climbing the power poles and hefting the garbage cans. That will show men that they can do the cooking, do the books, stay home with the kids and do other kinds of ‘women’s work’.

  28. rd

    Re: Korea Denuclearization

    I wasn’t necessarily opposed to Trump talking to Kim because it is always better to be talking instead of shooting.

    However, going in, Trump needed to understand two things:

    1. Just the photo-op alone was worth 10 years or more of propaganda points for Kim. That was proof positive to his people that Kim was a somebody. The photo-op was probably Kim’s primary objective of the whole meeting.

    2. Trump pulling out of the Iran deal informed Kim that having nuclear weapons makes you a somebody. Not having them makes you a nobody. North Korea will give up its nukes over Kim’s dead body. As soon as he gives them up, he knows that Trump and Trump-clones will have little reason to negotiate with him.

    So, it is not a surprise that North Korea’s explicit conditions are something that are virtually impossible to meet.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      About point one:

      -who cares? Any meeting anywhere by this logic is useful for propaganda. Grow up.

      -About your second point, why does the nuclear weapons? In theory its a deterrent. If you missed it recently, you might have noticed (I know U.S. history classes tend to stop after 1945 but don’t quite get to August of that year) Iraq and Libya were both attacked by bipartisan efforts from the U.S.A., and what did they have in common? Oh right, no WMDs. Any country not building nuclear weapons is insane while the U.S. is drunk on power.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Cuba doesn’t have nuclear weapons.

        Nether does Bolivia.

        And a few others.

        Are they insane?

        They do get a lot of heat from the US though. And they are quite close to us, geographically.

        Is having or not having nuclear weapons the only difference?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Cuba demonstrated a willingness to put nuclear weapons on its shore, and prior Saint Kennedy did authorize an attempt to over throw the government. There is a certain amount of industrial capacity at play, but the U.S. has shown agreements are meaningless. Iran might not have nuclear weapons, but it can shut down the straits pretty easily.

  29. flora

    re: “Do America’s Socialists Have a Race Problem? ” – The New Republic

    The only reference to economics in that article that I could find said essentially what Hillary said earlier.

    Hillary’s Feb, 2016 question:
    “Not everything is about an economic theory, right?” Clinton said, kicking off a long, interactive riff with the crowd at a union hall this afternoon.

    “If we broke up the big banks tomorrow—and I will if they deserve it, if they pose a systemic risk, I will—would that end racism?”

    “No!” the audience yelled back.

    So, leaving predatory banks in place unregulated, fraudulently foreclosing on people in the subprime crash which primarily hurt low income minority households (who have still not recovered) … letting that happen is OK because stopping it wouldn’t end racism? And, how is an economic system that preys primarily on low income minorities NOT racism by another name? (It was minority households that were disproportionately targeted by subprime scams.)

    The New Republic desperately avoids talking about economics.

    1. flora

      shorter: So, is ok to financially prey on the 99% as long as it isn’t directly race or gender based? /s

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The time is running out on the Democratic elite backed candidates. Despite the rotating flavor of the day candidates, none are forming a natural organic following and the anti-Clinton/war sentiment was powerful and had a point. If they can’t turn it into a young/old or white/woke race, what are they going to run on? Centrism? Being wishy washy?

        If people aren’t emotionally attached, Beto looks awful next to a generic Democrat. If Joe Biden is correct and anyone can beat Trump (except HRC), why waste time voting for someone with a bad record?

  30. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Groups sue Trump administration for ‘harassing’ whales with seismic blasting Grist


    Cargo Ships Are the World’s Biggest Polluters — but No One Wants to Fix It Inverse (David L)


    In Attenborough’s Blue Planet II, there is a segment about clownfish chattering (a new discovery), communicating for various purposes, including to warn of predators (if I recall correctly) – in any case, essntial to their day-to-day survival – and merely a ship passing over renders that useless.

    So, it’s all of us, not just the Trump administration, patronizing those cargo ships (indirectly, for most of us).

  31. ewmayer

    o “Which Birth Dates Are Most Common | Buzzfeed” — An actual numerical range, normalized by 1/365, for those colors would have been useful. But I’d say it’s safe to conclude that there’s a lot of porking going on around the December holidays!

    o “5 ways nixing the Affordable Care Act could upend the entire U.S. health system | MPR News (Chuck L):” — They say “upend the entire U.S. health system” like that’s a bad thing. Like Facebook and the Washington Consensus, the griftopian for-profit U.S. health system is in dire need of upending, since it’s beyond clear that we’re never gonna get anything better by way of Obama-style “incremental change, working within the existing system”.

    o “Wells Fargo sends jobs overseas after layoffs in America | Charlotte Observer” — Badly formed URL for this one, here is the correct link.

  32. rtah100

    “He presides over a paranoid, nationalistic, militarized state where weaponry takes priority over public nutrition and public health, and where a rigid class system prevails, and where the rights to freedom of assembly, speech and travel are non-existent. The state security apparatus is vast, nobody dares criticize the leadership and tens of thousands suffer in political prison camps.”

    This is from the Asia Times North Korean denuclearisation article (well, straw-man – it prints the NK statement and then deliberately misreads it). The quote above refers to Kim. But one could read it the other way. :-)

  33. Summer

    Re: Prime and Punishment

    That’s a hell of a future. Everybody selling and re-selling, nobody making anything.
    But creating paper to make loans against it all (with all thay being financialized) and then all the rip-off artists needing legal consulting.

    I take that back: lots of video content being created. And that is an understatement.
    Everybody has at least their own talk show now. You don’t? What are you waiting for!

  34. georgieboy

    Congratulations to Vlade. Love your website for the book.

    And yes, it is turtles all the way down!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Congratulations too, Vlade. Hope it all goes well with the book but to my eyes it all looks like some sort of ‘dark magic’. :)

  35. The Rev Kev

    “Suunto settles scary scuba screwup for $50m: ‘Faulty’ dive computer hardware and software put explorers in peril”

    Hey, wait a minute. Doesn’t our Jerri-Lynn Scofield do scuba diving?

  36. Charlie

    Cleaning tweet:

    Key is here:

    “Ad hoc committee of PARTISAN Ultra-Cleaners”

    Methinks the Chapter has a mole. The majority of the thread notes the men do help with cleaning. There are even suggestions to solve that involves socialist ideals.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I think by “partisan” is meant in sense 2 — snipers behind enemy lines, e.g. Not party politicians.

      That said, of course there are moles. Our organs of state security would not be doing their jobs if there were no moles. Presumably somebody at DSA has thought long and hard about how to build an organization on the working assumption that moles and agents provocateurs were not present (along with race-first liberal Democrat policy entrepreneurs, etc.)

  37. Summer

    RE: Selling the Miracle Machine
    “Considering that the company was an almost total fraud, the number of highly-credentialed supporters Holmes attracted is almost stunning. Henry Kissinger was on the board, along with former Secretary of State George Schultz and former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry. Superstar lawyer David Boies was on the team, as was James Mattis, who concluded that Holmes herself “has probably one of the most mature and well-honed sense of ethics—personal ethics, managerial ethics, business ethics, medical ethics that I’ve ever heard articulated.” Barack Obama appointed Holmes an ambassador for global entrepreneurship, she made multiple White House appearances, and Joe Biden did a photo op at the Theranos lab.”

    Yet all the shock and awe that Trump is President.

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